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Ask An Atheist Anything

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posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
I knew a guy who worked at some venue in Pennsylvania and did a lot of the load-in and out for the drummers (I think he was a drummer, probably why they gave him the job) and he said that Peart and Bill Bruford had the most amazing drumheads that he's seen, because the heads had the tiniest wear marks -- well worn, but amazingly precise.


Yes, some drummers will actually judge others by the diameter of the wear marks on the drum heads. In the case of many pro drummers though they play the same thing nightly, rarely deviating from contrived parts and the muscle memory involved in that task should result in smaller wear patterns. I suppose it is the signature of a professional.




posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 02:32 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Unless you believe that it's purely instinctual to be altruistic and good to others, or you've some sort of "moral gene", they have to come from an outside source. Whether it's parents, society, king, country or church, your morals and your definition of right and wrong came from someplace.

I don't see that as being "lazy" or abrogating responsibility, just a rational determination that, as animals, we tend toward being fairly self-centred, and a moral code that calls on us to act contrary to that is obviously learned behaviour.

As for the other post about war, you kind of missed the point -- it's not about what the "powers that be" might be on about, but rather what the people who support them and go to fight have been sold.

I do not view the "Christian Right" in the United States as being particularly Christian, nor particularly "right" (in the sense used above, lol.) God is neither Republican or Democrat, and if I was him, I'd be a little torqued off with any politician claiming he represented me.


Human's are animals - - but they are evolved animals with the ability to speak and record history.

Communication is a valuable tool in understanding needs and wants of all.

Being able to record history and pass on memories to the next generation goes a long way in understanding society needs.

Although humans are animals with inherent instinct - - - they can also reason and work with their evolved knowledge and understanding.

I see Zero need for any external force.

It is social evolvement and understanding that lays down the need for Ethical behaviors.

Personal responsibility does not need an excuse.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 02:47 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Do you really think the average person supports war? I don't.

I think we are "trained" to follow superiors - - the average person is a sheep - - and follows/supports the Power/Control.

Pick your Power that Be. Then follow.

No thanks.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 03:58 PM
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Originally posted by Annee

Originally posted by adjensen

Unless you believe that it's purely instinctual to be altruistic and good to others, or you've some sort of "moral gene", they have to come from an outside source. Whether it's parents, society, king, country or church, your morals and your definition of right and wrong came from someplace.

I don't see that as being "lazy" or abrogating responsibility, just a rational determination that, as animals, we tend toward being fairly self-centred, and a moral code that calls on us to act contrary to that is obviously learned behaviour.

As for the other post about war, you kind of missed the point -- it's not about what the "powers that be" might be on about, but rather what the people who support them and go to fight have been sold.

I do not view the "Christian Right" in the United States as being particularly Christian, nor particularly "right" (in the sense used above, lol.) God is neither Republican or Democrat, and if I was him, I'd be a little torqued off with any politician claiming he represented me.


Human's are animals - - but they are evolved animals with the ability to speak and record history.

Communication is a valuable tool in understanding needs and wants of all.

Being able to record history and pass on memories to the next generation goes a long way in understanding society needs.

Although humans are animals with inherent instinct - - - they can also reason and work with their evolved knowledge and understanding.

I see Zero need for any external force.

It is social evolvement and understanding that lays down the need for Ethical behaviors.

Personal responsibility does not need an excuse.


You seem to be consistently missing my point. Maybe that's intentional, maybe we're just misunderstanding one another. In no way do I abrogate personal responsibility, to the contrary, I'm a big proponent of it. Regardless of what beliefs a person may or may not have, nothing justifies passing off your own bad actions as due to the fault of someone else.

Similarly, you say you "see Zero need for any external force", and yet you say that we use history and memories to "pass on" morals and ethics. Said societal pressures are external forces. They're not God, they're not supernatural, but they have the same, heck, they have more things to bear. God says "be good", society says "here's a bunch of specific things to do". God says "if you disobey, you'll be punished after you die", society says "if you disobey, you'll be punished right now."

No person is an island. If you want to have morals and ethics on your own, great, but you'd better make sure that they coincide with that external force you say that you have no need of.

As for whether the average person supports war or only does so after being sold on the idea, I suspect that the answer is a little deeper into psychology than I would tread, sorry. But I do know that if the leaders of culture A have sold their followers on the right nature of attacking culture B, culture B had better come up with a similar argument for their own people, or there ain't gonna be a culture B for too long.

Unfair? Probably, but that's human nature. You know, those basic instincts, same ones that keep the lion from lying down with the lamb.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 04:57 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Your point is to convince there is a god.

How is that even relevant in a thread entitled: Ask an Atheist Anything?



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 05:01 PM
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reply to post by Annee
 


Huh? If that's what you thought I was doing, I apologize for it. I was responding to you saying that morals don't come from anything external. I don't really care (and said so a number of times) where you think that happens to be, parents, society, country, church, etc, but it seems inherent that it does.

And I never said anything about it allowing one to dismiss personal responsibility. That's flat out wrong.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by Annee
 


Huh? If that's what you thought I was doing, I apologize for it. I was responding to you saying that morals don't come from anything external. I don't really care (and said so a number of times) where you think that happens to be, parents, society, country, church, etc, but it seems inherent that it does.

And I never said anything about it allowing one to dismiss personal responsibility. That's flat out wrong.


Real life experiences - - whether from past proof or current - - is not the same as an External Force. I am sure you know exactly what I meant by External Force.

If you give god credit - - then you are not fully personally responsible.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 05:34 PM
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reply to post by Annee
 


If you obviate the decision of what is right and what is wrong to something else, what difference does it make what that something is? Are you saying that it's okay to subjugate yourself to society or a country, but not a religious figure? If that's your point of view, yes, I think that's arbitrary and it makes whatever that other thing is the functional equivalent of a religious teaching, minus the worship aspect.

The 20th Century showed us that it's a thin line between that societal moral compass and a religious one and, on the basis of that experience alone, I'll take the consistency of "love God and love everyone" over a constantly shifting moral and ethical directive that waxes and wanes depending on who is in charge and what their motivation is and resulted in genocides that caused tens of millions of deaths in a matter of a few decades.

However, that's me. I don't really care if you believe in God or not, or where you happen to find your moral compass, so long as you recognize that it didn't come with you at birth.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 07:45 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by Annee
 


If you obviate the decision of what is right and what is wrong to something else, what difference does it make what that something is? Are you saying that it's okay to subjugate yourself to society or a country, but not a religious figure?


Ok for starters, most well developed countries live in a social democracy, which enables people to debate their argument, have their say, thats why we have had things like the women vote and the acceptance of homosexuals and their rights to respect. These laws are not absolutist, they can be changed.

Religion depends on what the God dictates as right and wrong, most of the time you have horrible statements like Fight anyone who opposes Islam, or Jews praise everyday that they are glad God didn't make them a woman.

Good people can do bad things with a believe in an unprovable dictator shown in any of the scriptures. ITs absolutist, no question, this is the word of the creator of the universe.

Frankly this is sick, that someone can abdecate power and try and impose their supernatural beliefs on our democrative society without any question in this unprovable concept of God.

I think it's about time humans unite in one common belief: TRUTH and science, not fanatasy. Its idiotic, its out-of-date.

Thats the difference, thanks.

[edit on 31/7/10 by awake_and_aware]

[edit on 31/7/10 by awake_and_aware]



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 10:42 AM
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reply to post by awake_and_aware
 


Ultimately, I think that you're closer to the truth than most theists would think, but the basic problem is still there.

Consider Christianity. Jesus said he was God. Someone asked him what he had to do to be "right" with God. Jesus said "love God, and love everyone as yourself." That's it. Nothing else. Do that and you're fine by me. How much more simple could he have made his religion?

So, where do we get the Inquisition, people blowing up abortion clinics and other such nasties of out that? People take the statement and say "okay, love everyone really means that if a doctor does abortions, we can kill him." Jesus never said "make your own judgements and carry out your own executions."

I read the same Bible, but I will never force someone to believe, or bomb an abortion clinic, or fly a plane into a building. I weigh pretty heavy on the tolerant scale, and I vote for the candidate that I think is better for the office, not the one who spouts a couple lines of scripture, calls himself a Christian and thinks he need do nothing more to get my vote.

Is that okay with you? Is it okay for me to be a Christian under those conditions?

The problem isn't with the religion, the problem is what people do with it. And time and time again, people have demonstrated that, whether religion is part of the equation or not, they're going to make stupid and selfish decisions.

Your morality has to have some constancy in it. You can't just waffle and accept that whatever the current thinking is is good enough for you. This isn't issue type stuff, gay rights or temperance or something, but core, fundamental right and wrong, good and evil.

I guarantee you that there were people in Germany who thought that killing Jews was both good and right. And I guarantee that they didn't come to that conclusion themselves, they had given themselves over to the state, to society, and said "okay, if you all think that's what 'right' means, I guess it does."

Stop whinging about the evils that religion does and recognize that they are evils that WE do, and it doesn't make a fig of difference what we claim to be doing it for, the evil is in the doing, not in the justification.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 10:46 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
Consider Christianity. Jesus said he was God. Someone asked him what he had to do to be "right" with God. Jesus said "love God, and love everyone as yourself." That's it. Nothing else. Do that and you're fine by me. How much more simple could he have made his religion?


It would have been nice if he simply would have left it at that. But of course he didn't, and he has much more than this to say about things. Plus, christianity is an end story to the religion of the Jews, a book still included in the christian bible. Those tales are chock full of immoral acts and despicable deeds and it should not be surprising at all that people so inclined could find reason to murder others in the name of this god.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 11:30 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
Consider Christianity. Jesus said he was God. Someone asked him what he had to do to be "right" with God. Jesus said "love God, and love everyone as yourself." That's it. Nothing else. Do that and you're fine by me. How much more simple could he have made his religion?


It would have been nice if he simply would have left it at that. But of course he didn't, and he has much more than this to say about things. Plus, christianity is an end story to the religion of the Jews, a book still included in the christian bible. Those tales are chock full of immoral acts and despicable deeds and it should not be surprising at all that people so inclined could find reason to murder others in the name of this god.


Two things:

First, as I pointed out before, unlike most other religions, Christians do not come to God through their holy text, in this case the Bible. For Christians to be reconciled to God, it is through Christ and Christ alone. The Bible is secondary, and within it, the words and actions of Christ are of the utmost importance.

If you don't mind, I'll post the relevant passage, Luke 10:25-28:



On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."


If you threw out everything else in the Bible, but left this, you'd still have the core of Christianity in its entirety. The rest of it is explanation, justification, vindication, interpretation. It expounds on this message. It attempts to explain why Jesus did what he did and said what he did, but the whole of it is right there in those handful of sentences.

Secondly, you say "he has much more than this to say about things." I would challenge you to find a statement attributed to Jesus, which is contrary to the above passage in Luke. It seems irrational to believe that Jesus should live 30 years as mute, say three sentences and then shut up again. But if his message remained consistent, then what's wrong with examples, parables and other sayings?

The Old Testament is included because it is the ancient testimony to the divinity of Christ. All of the rest of it, the Law and the "history" comes along for the ride. But Christians (sensible ones, anyway) recognize that God cares a lot about whether you kill someone, but can't see how the creator of everything would be so concerned with which hand you use to wipe your backside, or whether you touch a menstruating woman, or any of that other "societal norm" kinds of things that are far more easily attributed to human contribution than divine.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen

I don't really care if you believe in God or not, or where you happen to find your moral compass, so long as you recognize that it didn't come with you at birth.


You know this how?

I come from a long line of ancestors who were independent thinkers and valued integrity above all else.

Yet I was raised completely separated from any blood relatives - other then immediate family.

It was only after working on genealogy I discovered the strength of independence that runs through my family tree.

You have no real knowledge of how genetics played a part in who I am as a person.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
The Bible is secondary, and within it, the words and actions of Christ are of the utmost importance.


To christians I agree 100%. Still, secondary or not, there is much in the bible by which madmen can justify their wicked actions.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 11:55 AM
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Originally posted by Annee

Originally posted by adjensen

I don't really care if you believe in God or not, or where you happen to find your moral compass, so long as you recognize that it didn't come with you at birth.


You know this how?


I am not aware of a gene that allows one to inherit morality. I am not a geneticist, so there may well be one that is known, and I would welcome the knowledge. (I believe that I've read that serial killers or some other deviancy had some genetic commonality, but I'm not sure that's the same thing.)

In the breakdown of nature versus nurture, I'm pretty far over on the nurture side of things, but not entirely, of course. But I find it hard to believe that "good" and "evil" and "right" and "wrong" are encoded in my chromosomes (and if it is, I would think that would be more troubling to an atheist than a theist.)



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
The Bible is secondary, and within it, the words and actions of Christ are of the utmost importance.


To christians I agree 100%. Still, secondary or not, there is much in the bible by which madmen can justify their wicked actions.


But madmen are few in comparison to non madmen who benefit from the book, and, in the absence of the Bible, madmen would still justify their actions, so the Bible isn't the problem, the madmen are.

Some people are bad. In our inability to picture a reality that doesn't have religion in it, it's impossible to categorically state whether there would be less or more of them, but logically, "less" is not the more likely of the two.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 12:07 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

I am not aware of a gene that allows one to inherit morality. I am not a geneticist, so there may well be one that is known, and I would welcome the knowledge. (I believe that I've read that serial killers or some other deviancy had some genetic commonality, but I'm not sure that's the same thing.)

In the breakdown of nature versus nurture, I'm pretty far over on the nurture side of things, but not entirely, of course. But I find it hard to believe that "good" and "evil" and "right" and "wrong" are encoded in my chromosomes (and if it is, I would think that would be more troubling to an atheist than a theist.)


In studies of adopted children. The children often behave and take on the characteristics of the birth parents.

Of course genetics has a major play in who we are.

In the advance of brain scans - scientist do believe some criminals are born. There are also people born without a conscience.

I am a huge proponent of nurturing - - but there are many who've been raised in loving homes that do bad things - - and vice-versa those born under horrible circumstance that go on to be very loving people.

I don't need a god to be able to think for myself on how I treat others. No one does.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 12:20 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
But madmen are few in comparison to non madmen who benefit from the book, and, in the absence of the Bible, madmen would still justify their actions, so the Bible isn't the problem, the madmen are.

Some people are bad. In our inability to picture a reality that doesn't have religion in it, it's impossible to categorically state whether there would be less or more of them, but logically, "less" is not the more likely of the two.


Agreed, people are the primary problem. Though how many otherwise normal, decent people would find the motivation to murder abortion doctors without religious influence? How could things such as the Inquisition, the Crusades, the American and European witch burnings and even 9/11 happen without religious influence? How much less time would American slavery have survived without religious justification? And these things exclude the endless list of muslim atrocities I could include. Perhaps such things would happen anyway though we see a persistent connection between wicked events and the inspiration and/or justifications of religion.

[edit on 31-7-2010 by traditionaldrummer]



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 12:25 PM
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In my 40 years as an assimilated Christian - - but always searching because it just never made any sense to me - - those I have met that I would say really "walked in his footsteps" I can count on one hand.

I found the majority of Christians to be extremely hypocritical - - using god as it suits them. Most were petty and vindictive.

In my belief (yes I have one) - thought is energy. Every thought is an action. Every action affects the whole in a positive or negative way.

You can not say to someone: "you look lovely today - is that a new dress?" - - - then walk away and behind their back say how ridiculous you think they look.

This is the problem I have with god people. They put on the god front - - then drop it when it suits them - or gets in the way of what they want to do.

They are really big at justifying their actions.

I can't do that. And I won't.

I am fully 100% responsible not only for my thoughts - but my actions.



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
But madmen are few in comparison to non madmen who benefit from the book, and, in the absence of the Bible, madmen would still justify their actions, so the Bible isn't the problem, the madmen are.

Some people are bad. In our inability to picture a reality that doesn't have religion in it, it's impossible to categorically state whether there would be less or more of them, but logically, "less" is not the more likely of the two.


Agreed, people are the primary problem. Though how many otherwise normal, decent people would find the motivation to murder abortion doctors without religious influence?


Other things aside, because this sort of encompasses your argument, are you saying that the belief that abortion is wrong is purely one derived from religion? That, in the absence of religion, abortion would be viewed, universally, as being good, or at worst, ambivalent?

I point you, yet again, to the atrocities of the 20th Century that were committed outside of any religious motivation, and far outnumber the sum total of religiously motivated killings. Removing religion as a potential motivator for evil (and for good, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater) isn't going to change any of that.

Seems to me that, rather than trying to eliminate religion, one would be better served to get people educated to what it really means. If everyone lived the way that the passage in Luke indicates is the simple, condensed core of what living in Christ means, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, abortion killers, 9/11 bombers, none of that would exist.

Unrealistic? Obviously! But that doesn't make it wrong.



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