18th September 2008

“For hundreds and hundreds of years – and still to this day in the world's second largest religion – anyone who rejected religion's claims was either murdered or, at best, shunned, vilified and laden with opprobrium and civil disabilities.”

A.C. Grayling

20 Responses to “18th September 2008”

  1. Tony Pro Says:

    And the prejudism still continues TODAY! Much to my dismay. I dare not let a customer know (until they get to know me) that I’m an atheist. Sadly, some of the brightest minds must hide in the closet because they know jobs, promotions, and friendships could be riding on the line.
    It’s too bad the word “Atheist” has such a negative connotation hooked to it.
    Probably just a result of being such a minority.
    I love Dawkins’ suggestion that maybe we should change it and begin calling ourselves “Bright!”
    But keep your chins up, I love to use this quote by Thomas Huxley: “All new truthes begin as heresies…”
    Think about it, it’s true, and we’re on our way to becoming the new truth!

  2. Another Primate Says:

    Tony Pro,
    I understand completely and hope one day soon we (Atheist) can exercise the freedom of free thought aloud…

  3. Gregory Syme Says:

    So, you want to be the oldest religion in the world while at the same time being the “new truth?” That doesn’t seem so bright- maybe you should call yourselves “Dim.” I think that is a better fit.

  4. Critic Says:

    Mr. Syme,

    Sorry, I’m a bit confused. Could not really understand your point. Care to reiterate?

    TIA,

    Critic

  5. Gregory Syme Says:

    P.S. I agree with Ray. He doesn’t believe in Atheists. I do believe that the fool says in his heart “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). So, if you want to change your name, why not choose “fool” instead? Or Ignorant? What kind of intelligence denies the very existence of God and then wants to be called “Bright” for it? How odd.

  6. jeangv Says:

    Mr. Syme,

    I do not understand. Where did you get “Ray” from and the statement that “He doesn’t believe in Atheists”. Where in this quote or discussion is the reference to “Bright”?

    Thanks,
    Jean-Marie

  7. Critic Says:

    The particularly nasty individual Gregory Syme referenced:

    Psalm 14:1

    which is particularly interesting in relation to yesterday’s AQoTD. According to info at http://www.biblegateway.com the hebrew word translated as “fool” is a term referring to someone who is “morally deficient.”

    So, this false idea of morally superiority of the religious is referenced again. Just an interesting aside I thought the more intellectually curious of us might enjoy.

    Now, as to the rest of the childish post of Mr. Syme.

    …why not choose “fool” instead? Or Ignorant? What kind of intelligence denies the very existence of God [sic] and then wants to be called “Bright” for it?

    We see here an interesting aspect of the religiously contaminated mind. Its implied superiority over those it would call “ignorant” and “fool” is based on the fact that the religious mind accepts, without question, reflection, or independent thought, the writings collected in an ancient religious book.

    I suppose his next argument will be that god exists because the bible, which defines god, says god exists? I’m getting dizzy already from the circuitous nature of Mr. Symes thought processes.

    Please sir, do continue. Why is it that we are wrong and you are right in the belief in a god business?

  8. Tony Pro Says:

    Reply to Gregory Syme,
    I invite you to an intelligent conversation.
    Although, not to hard to overlook, dispense with the name calling please.
    That’s exactly what thwarts our goals to reach a resolution with whatever it is we’re discussing.
    I brought it up the name change in an attempt to avoid ongoing negativity, I believe “fool and ignorant” would be a step in the wrong direction.
    Moving on, the “intelligence that denies God’s” is inherent in the fact that we (and I hope everyone out there) is searching for the truth. We heard what our parents told us, and the schools taught us. But if you are wise, at some point you begin to doubt things, because of discrepencies or irrationalities or things just aren’t adding up in your own mind. This is why with EVERY book I read (not just theology), I sift, check the facts, question, discuss, and eventually reach an informed opinion. I believe this denotes a move towards intelligence. Pragmatic thinking.
    For people who just believe what the books, parents, and schools/professors teach us; that too can show intelligence.
    But I believe it to be stagnant intelligence, one that continually quotes outlived, outdated ideals. They don’t add to the collective knowledge of the human species.
    Where is the progress? We must think for ourselves, independent of the enviornment that inundates us with imperfection.
    And there is my real base belief: “Imperfection.”
    With that base to work with, we will always strive to improve upon the great pile of knowledge that has been left to us by our ancestors.
    Read nonfiction,
    Tony

  9. Renshia Says:

    I find it amazing at the level of anger portrayed by those like Mr. Syme

    They so much preach salvation and love, yet they seethe with violence and hate.
    What a pathetic example you are of christ. You and your actions are more proof of the nonexistence of god than anything else. There is no way any god could allow itself to be associated with dimwits that turn every word of his book into a lie.

    But, then again it is, isn’t it.

    Mr. syme, your a disgrace to the lie.

    Every time I see writings like yours, dimwits like you, you confirm my decision to reject the concept of a god.
    I applaud you, in your ignorance you do more for support of my beliefs than any books that are written on atheism could ever do.

  10. Gregory Syme Says:

    Renshia, it is without hatred, violence, or malice that I suggested the name Ignorant, or Fool- but your response shows that truth isn’t relative and that real meaning can be derived from language. For that I thank you. I apologize if I caused you to blaspheme the Name of God more or to believe in Him even less. Do you know Christ well enough to accuse me of being a pathetic example of Him? What have you heard about the Christ? Again, it is without hatred that I suggested Ignorant (after all, it is closely related to agnostic, which in this forum may prove to be). As for the violence and hatred in your own response- is this only a knee-jerk reaction to what you assumed was my own hatred, or do you really hate all Theists this much? As for this,

    “Mr. syme, your [you’re] a disgrace to the lie.” Madaam, you compliment me too highly. If only I could attain to such a measure- in all humility!

    Mr. Pro, I sincerely appreciate your desire to communicate. I hope do just that in an effort to find the truth. Do you really believe that truth exists? If so, you will likely be subject the same treatment a Theist receives on this forum. Do you really believe there is still truth inherent/beind our language? If not, you must admit sir that this is not having integrity towards your belief that God doesn’t exist. Again, I did not intend to begin a conversation with name calling- but if language games are being played then “Bright,” “Dim,” “Fool,” and “Agnostic” can be equally valid terms to use. Does Dawkins actually mean that all Atheists are smart while Theists are dumb- like the Critic believes?

    Jeangv- the reference was to Ray Comfort.

    -Mr. Syme

  11. Critic Says:

    …all Atheists are smart while Theists are dumb- like the Critic believes?

    Here is either a misunderstanding, or a lie.

    I do not believe all theists are dumb or all atheists are smart. It was the silly post of Mr. Syme that said I was either a fool or ignorant to which I was replying. Perhaps it was foolish to reply to his baiting statements, but not morally deficient as implied by his inane bible quoting. And, while ignorant of some things no doubt, I seem to have a much better grasp of Mr. Syme’s religion than he does. Not to mention that Renshia’s enlightened comments regarding his religion seem to be beyond his ken.

    It is the height of irony when the theist has a dimmer grasp of his religion that the atheists.

  12. Tony Pro Says:

    Ha! A worthy opponenet! I will reply in 5 hours when have more time.
    Back on track and I like it,
    Tony

  13. Hypatia Says:

    It is the height of irony when the theist has a dimmer grasp of his religion that the atheists.

    With people like Syme their religion is more about tribal loyalty than knowledge: “you’re not with us so you’re against us”.

  14. Mr. Syme Says:

    Mr. Tony Pro-

    I will not be awake when you reply to this, but thank you for conversing without the prevalent personal attacks on this forum. Do Theists happen along very often? If so, what is the survival rate?

    I can see where you would want to change the name of the position. You spoke of ongoing negativity, yet I would suggest that your position will have to change with the name. The Atheistic position states that “There is no God” (or) “I, will unlimited knowledge, know that there is no Being out there with unlimited knowlege.” This is what I understand the Atheist to be saying- to the best of my understanding. That carries quite a bit of arrogance in itself. Changing the name of your position to “Bright” (if you are implying intelligence or cleverness), would seem to double or triple the arrogance. As if intelligence was inherent in claiming God doesn’t exist. We are using God’s language, and the meaning His existence brings to language to say such things. If, however, you mean nothing by the name change and could just as easily use other titles to escape the negative connotations of Atheist- then what do you mean by “searching for the truth?” Why bother if you deny a unified field of knowlege. And as for Atheism becoming the “new truth” – it cannot be new truth, as Psalm 14:1 was written well over 2000 years ago.

  15. Critic Says:

    Do Theists happen along very often?

    Yes, on occasion.

    If so, what is the survival rate?

    Not that great – they have a hard time posing a logical argument for their beliefs. The response varies, but can be a bit terse. Especially for those that start by calling us ignorant, morally degenerate, fools as you saw fit to do. Don’t whine if we are rude in response to your initial rudeness.

    Now, as to your post.

    The Atheistic position states that “There is no God” (or) “I, will [sic] unlimited knowledge, know that there is no Being out there with unlimited knowlege.”

    Wrong. Atheist’s cannot prove that there is no god. The atheist takes the default position: there is no scientific evidence for a god – all god beliefs are based on nothing that can be proven.

    Atheists are not about disproving the existence of god. Atheism arises because there is no proof of god or any supernatural superstitious being that humans have created. You too are an atheist Mr Syme. In fact, I would guess that you are much more of an atheist that you are a theist. The fact that we don’t believe in one more god than you does not make us much different.

    And, as for the “Bright” movement. Not all atheists approve of that moniker and it has nothing to do with relative intelligence – it is a not-so-great name for a group of people who promote a naturalistic world view. They have a web page if you are really interested in learning about the Brights.

    http://www.the-brights.net/

  16. Tony Pro Says:

    Mr. Syme,
    I wish I hadn’t brought up the name change, as I’m not that interested in the “Bright” moniker or any connotations implied by it. Sorry if I’ve wasted anyones time, it’s hard to get a message perfectly understood while blogging. I’ll leave you all to that discussion and say that I am proud to be an Atheist no matter how some continue to malign our kind.

    Speaking of some who do…
    Psalm 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

    As I’ve stated before, I like to read, analyze and then take the good and leave the bad.

    I have just deleted some of your Gods (but really, the author) craziness from my mind (and thankfully my childrens minds) after analyzing this verse, so we all don’t drive ourselves nuts trying to figure out how any Atheists could be allowed to walk the streets!
    Just think kids, you are incapable of doing any good if you choose to believe as your father does!?
    If you can’t convince yourself that there might be something wrong with this verse then why don’t you do the world a big favor and take the bible to the supreme court and show the Justices this quote and have all of us in the U.S. locked up. The proof seems to be right there if you take it literally.

    But really, don’t worry. I’ll make perfect sense out of it. I know your God didn’t say this. A writer did.
    Either way it can’t stand up to logic. Way to many Atheists doing good out there. This is too easy.

    As far as arrogance goes, I teach my kids that they are important. Be proud, and expound your beliefs, whatever they may be, as best you can.
    I think “arrogance” is another term that gets a bum rap. And I don’t shy away from it.

    My search for truth began when I first realised I’d been taught something wrong and sought out the right answer. Since that young age I’ve been constantly battling the wrongs that bombard my eyes and ears, forever replacing them with the best answers science has labored over for my benefit.

    “Intelligence inherent in claiming there is no God.”
    Sorry, here’s where I earn my arrogance.
    I’ve no doubt that I’m intelligent. I have little doubt that you also are intelligent. What is truly humbling is knowing everything you and I do can be done better; and we’ll probably live to see it.
    I think for us that have been brought up with religion, -many of us inundated by it- there was a arduous transformation over many years of “searching for truth” that was very enlightening.
    Personally, I’ve acquired quite an education (intelligence) by trying to find a God that my parents first taught me was there. After searching The Bible, Geology, Evolution, Astronomy, Anthropology, Statistics, Animal Behavior, Theology, Mythology, Occult, Philolgy, and Lexicography, I made a the best decision of my life! I became an Atheist because I proved to myself there is no

  17. Tony Pro Says:

    God

  18. Mr. Syme Says:

    Mr. Tony Pro-

    Thanks for your reply. I appreciate the personal touch with sharing both your desire to read, study and analyze things for yourself, and your campaign find truth. You mentioned that science has replaced the wrong answers you had been getting with right answers. May I ask what questions you were asking and what were the wrong answers you were receiving?

    If I may, I’d like to look at Psalm 14 in context, and especially at the phrase “there is none that doeth good.” You seem to be inferring a meaning that does not fit with the context. The author is not saying that there is no one who does good according to what we commonly think is good. In other words, there are obviously people who do “good” things that better our world. The psalmist is saying that no one does good in God’s estimation of good. And in the next verse we see this means, among other things, that no one understands and no one seeks after God. Critic aptly pointed out that the fool who says in his heart “there is no God,” is morally bankrupt or deficient. That is, in God’s eyes, in God’s righteous judgment. (Critic is quite wrong, however, to think that this gives the Christian Theist any moral superiority, imagined or otherwise). And this is because we are all in the same position before God for our unbelief. Tony, trusting in God should in no way cause Christians to feel or act morally superior to any other human being. If this happens it is an aberration. Our fellow man (Christian or non-) is not the mark which we must measure ourselves, but God’s image, God’s nature, is our ruler. Adam, before he fell into sin, was morally superior to us in that he was in God’s untarnished image. We are in the tarnished image of God. Jesus, the second Adam, is morally superior to us as He lacked the original sin nature and was completely obedient to God. We read Jesus’ words to the Rich young ruler “there is no one good except God alone.”

    We must grant authorial intent to the writers of the Scripture and interpret it as a unity. The unity does come, however, in having God as the final Author. This is part of what I’m talking about when I speak of unity of knowledge. Modern, atheistic philosophy has long abandoned the belief in a unity of knowledge, yet the Christian Worldview insists on it. You may reject or accept the unity found in Scripture, but it must be seen in relation to the entirety- otherwise it will not make sense. I suspect you were not being taught Christianity in this way- otherwise you wouldn’t be interpreting the Bible in this way. So, please don’t unnerve yourself trying to figure out how to get each and every fool off the street and off the Supreme Court bench – they were there long before you and I were born, and they will likely remain beyond our time. Oh- and you mentioned “locking them up.” I realize you were speaking in hyperbole, but God does not enforce commandments 1-4 through use of human authorities, and this practice was eventually phased out of the church with the Reformation (with isolated exceptions, like some over-zealous religious adherents).

    Paul uses this verse to preach the Gospel to the church at Rome. He cites Psalm 14 to point out the Biblical truth that “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…” Again, my point is to say that a very specific definition is embedded in the word good and points us to God’s standard in judging us. Romans 1-3 tell us that the “Righteousness of God” is that standard, and that Christ’s sinless death on the cross in space-time history is the real space-time referent that satisfied the demands of God’s justice for us. The summation of man’s sin, for which Christ died, is that “although they [all men] knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him…” and “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” I realize this is TMI (too much information), and I actually just want to give a defense for the truth of Psalm 14 – that no one does good (understands/seeks God, honor Him as God or give thanks to Him) as we all are deficient of the actual moral righteousness that God originally imparted to Adam and imputes to those who believe in Christ for Who He claims to be.

    Tony, I want to apologize, on behalf of all who are truly Christians, for anything that was said or done to you in the name of religion in aberrance to Christ’s teaching. If that just amounts to having religion pushed down your throat, then I encourage you to feel free to take a fresh look at the answers the Christian Worldview gives to life’s toughest questions, even the question why people do mean things in the name of religion (or God). This apology isn’t an attempt to elevate myself in your eyes, but to elevate Christ, who apologized to God for the sins of the world.

    Knowledge precedes faith. This is crucial to understanding where I am coming from- and where the Bible is coming from. If my faith is on the basis of false knowledge, then I do desire to discover that and make the appropriate changes. Would you agree to that? Only faith which believes God on the basis of knowledge is true faith. That is part of the meaning behind the command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

    Tony, can I ask what you are reading in support of your current belief system? And what are you reading in opposition to your current belief system? Perhaps you might suggest something for me to read in support of your belief (or unbelief)? Might I possibly do the same?
    I can say, along with Richard Dawkins, that I never had religion pushed down my throat. I did not grow up in an overly religious home, but participated in sporadic church attendance throughout my time at home. In reading your story, I begin to sense that passed each other on the way, as you exited and I entered into Christianity. Might I bother to ask you your specific religious background?

    Here is what I would suggest. Please feel free to comment (or not) on this post. Above all else, I am wondering if you can agree with me that the Scriptures we began with in Psalm 14 cannot be isolated from the whole – and that they do communicate a unified belief in God’s absolute moral perfection, man’s fallen humanity, and His righteous judgment that “no one is good.” The picture that the Bible presents us and moral dilemma is this: the God Who is there has spoken in space-time history – will we believe Him or no? None of us are born believing Him, and so all of us stand on level ground. The Christian Worldview is the only system that believes man is equal both in his original, perfected state before God, and in his fallen state after sin entered into the world. We were created as equal. If not, we certainly evolved unequal. What are your thoughts on continuing our discussion? I appreciate your sincere responses to my original probing. Feel free to probe around and let me know if I am being inconsistent in what I believe.

    Just one inconsistency I did note in your last post. If you are allowing your children to explore the truth for themselves- to read, analyze, and decide for themselves, then why are you deleting the idea of God from their minds? Or what did you mean by this practice?

    I apologize for the long post.

    -Mr. Syme

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