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Is your religion mythology?

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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09 July 2019 08:32
 

Religion is bullshit, 100% man made bullshit, without a single iota of data to support it. Atheism calls bullshit on bullshit and isn’t myth because it is fact. Whining here that religion has some social benefit is bullshit and is nothing more then an argument for believing and worshiping make-believe bullshit because it makes you feel good.

 
 
MrRon
 
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MrRon
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09 July 2019 08:54
 
Brick Bungalow - 08 July 2019 10:12 PM
MrRon - 08 July 2019 01:26 PM
Brick Bungalow - 08 July 2019 08:46 AM


I would rather embrace atheism not necessarily as a positive assertion but at least an active and self conscious position that takes responsibility for both the positive and negative conclusions and consequences. Not because I owe anyone an explanation but because it empowers me as a citizen.

Brick,

Can you please elaborate on the “positive and negative conclusions and consequences” of atheism?

Thanks.
Ron

This will vary per person but I think every considered world view has consequences. I will list a few from my own perch. I will leave it to the readers preference as to whether they are good or bad.

1. Mortality is real. Decrepitude is real. There is no special poetic significance or lesson contained in most of the suffering we experience.

2. Moral responsibility transcends mere codes behavior and requires one to form personal standards absent any final authority. We must not simply do good but are in fact charged with naming the good. Anti realism if you like such terms.

3. Lack of persistent, reliable companionship. If we want friends we have to put in the work.

4. Lack of absolution or redemption. If you did it, you did it. That responsibility is yours for life.

5. The void. It’s hard to explain this with precision but essentially the idea that the universe is mostly dark and empty as far as the specific needs of humans are concerned. This physical reality is, I think conjoined to a set of internal human conditions. Our idealistic goals both personal and social are unlikely to be satisfied. We have no parachute.

6. Scope of options. I can find my significance and poetry anywhere I like. I am not forbidden from any literary tradition or mythology nor am I forbidden from creating my own. Not only can I read and enjoy anything I like I can interpret it however I like. I can decide whether it’s true or valid or coherent or relevant according to my own intuition and my own needs. I can determine my own lifestyle and diet and fashion and cultural tastes. At the end of the day I am only beholden to consequence, natural law and the internal witness.

Thanks Brick.

Ron

 
MrRon
 
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MrRon
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09 July 2019 09:17
 
EN - 09 July 2019 03:27 AM
MrRon - 08 July 2019 01:26 PM
Brick Bungalow - 08 July 2019 08:46 AM


I would rather embrace atheism not necessarily as a positive assertion but at least an active and self conscious position that takes responsibility for both the positive and negative conclusions and consequences. Not because I owe anyone an explanation but because it empowers me as a citizen.

Brick,

Can you please elaborate on the “positive and negative conclusions and consequences” of atheism?

Thanks.
Ron

One negative is the blind hubris that some (not all, by any means) atheists exhibit in asserting that they have the only way of discerning truth and reality or the best way in all circumstances.  It leads to the weakness of complete self-assurance.  An example is their rejection of personal revelation or private experience as even a possible method of discerning some realities.

If the personal revelations are unfalsifiable, then on what grounds should they be considered as valid sources of knowledge? Moreover, some personal revelations are in direct conflict with other people’s revelations. How then, do we determine which one is correct? Without a checking mechanism, there is no good reason to believe that revelations can discern objective reality.

Ron

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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09 July 2019 09:52
 

To relegate all of religion under the heading of ‘myth’ serves no purpose.  It creates divisiveness and conflict where there need not be any.  In my opinion, we should limit our criticisms to specific harmful doctrines that affect civil/human rights and those that will ensure secular government.

Free societies recognize the need to guarantee freedom of thought and religion.  Should we not also show tolerance and respect to those who practise this right?  Live and let live, I say.

And what of some of our heroes – e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi?  Denying the role that religion played in making them who they were is to deny them their reality.

Should atheists treat those of faith as atheists were treated in the past – with scorn?  The type of intolerance shown by some who call themselves ‘atheists’ has some of us preferring the term ‘humanist’.

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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09 July 2019 10:04
 

If we are going to credit religion for MLKjr, then we need to also talk about the religion of the police officers who used fire hoses and dogs on children during those protests.  We need to talk about how religion was used to create and justify the system of oppression that MLKjr was fighting against.

If we’re going to talk about how religion influenced Ghandi, are we also going to talk about how religion influenced the deaths of a million of people during the partition of India?

And when we say “religion” in these situations, are we crediting supernatural powers?  Or are we talking about community of humans who falsely believed in supernatural powers?

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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09 July 2019 10:18
 
Garret - 09 July 2019 10:04 AM

If we are going to credit religion for MLKjr, then we need to also talk about the religion of the police officers who used fire hoses and dogs on children during those protests.  We need to talk about how religion was used to create and justify the system of oppression that MLKjr was fighting against.

If we’re going to talk about how religion influenced Ghandi, are we also going to talk about how religion influenced the deaths of a million of people during the partition of India?

And when we say “religion” in these situations, are we crediting supernatural powers?  Or are we talking about community of humans who falsely believed in supernatural powers?

There are countless examples of when religion influenced oppression, injustices, cruelty, etc.  But to deny that it has also provided focus and strength for good people to do good work is a mistake, in my opinion.  People should be judged on their actions, not criticized for their personal spiritual beliefs just because we do not share them.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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09 July 2019 10:38
 
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 09:52 AM

To relegate all of religion under the heading of ‘myth’ serves no purpose.  It creates divisiveness and conflict where there need not be any.  In my opinion, we should limit our criticisms to specific harmful doctrines that affect civil/human rights and those that will ensure secular government.

Free societies recognize the need to guarantee freedom of thought and religion.  Should we not also show tolerance and respect to those who practise this right?  Live and let live, I say.

And what of some of our heroes – e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi?  Denying the role that religion played in making them who they were is to deny them their reality.

Should atheists treat those of faith as atheists were treated in the past – with scorn?  The type of intolerance shown by some who call themselves ‘atheists’ has some of us preferring the term ‘humanist’.

Typical marketing bullshit. You scan all of history to find some positives you can spout to support your wacky beliefs and ignore all the ugly facts and statistics against. Just proclaim your love, devotion and worship of make-believe gods and magic and be done with it, hiding behind terms like ‘humanist’ is cowardly.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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09 July 2019 10:43
 
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 10:18 AM
Garret - 09 July 2019 10:04 AM

If we are going to credit religion for MLKjr, then we need to also talk about the religion of the police officers who used fire hoses and dogs on children during those protests.  We need to talk about how religion was used to create and justify the system of oppression that MLKjr was fighting against.

If we’re going to talk about how religion influenced Ghandi, are we also going to talk about how religion influenced the deaths of a million of people during the partition of India?

And when we say “religion” in these situations, are we crediting supernatural powers?  Or are we talking about community of humans who falsely believed in supernatural powers?

There are countless examples of when religion influenced oppression, injustices, cruelty, etc.  But to deny that it has also provided focus and strength for good people to do good work is a mistake, in my opinion.  People should be judged on their actions, not criticized for their personal spiritual beliefs just because we do not share them.

People inspired (for good or for bad) are still inspired by stories that are largely mythological.
Talking snakes, flying horses, golden tablets, negative-energy-monitors, magic underpants, feeding a crowd from a small basket of fish….  it’s all just extensions of previous stores of magical powers employed by fickle ‘gods and goddesses’ used to explain mysteries or impress simple folk, many of which have been explained by employing tools that help keep our brains from fooling themselves with inherent perception-and-opinion-traps that seem to be built-in to our evolved cognition.

So while people who do laudable things - even if inspired by mythology - should be applauded, people who do despicable things - while inspired by mythology - should face the public consequences of their actions.  But we still need to recognize that some of the foundational stories of our cultures are simply the extension of ‘legends and fables’ from our story-telling pasts.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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09 July 2019 11:32
 
Jefe - 09 July 2019 10:43 AM
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 10:18 AM

There are countless examples of when religion influenced oppression, injustices, cruelty, etc.  But to deny that it has also provided focus and strength for good people to do good work is a mistake, in my opinion.  People should be judged on their actions, not criticized for their personal spiritual beliefs just because we do not share them.

People inspired (for good or for bad) are still inspired by stories that are largely mythological.
Talking snakes, flying horses, golden tablets, negative-energy-monitors, magic underpants, feeding a crowd from a small basket of fish….  it’s all just extensions of previous stores of magical powers employed by fickle ‘gods and goddesses’ used to explain mysteries or impress simple folk, many of which have been explained by employing tools that help keep our brains from fooling themselves with inherent perception-and-opinion-traps that seem to be built-in to our evolved cognition.

So while people who do laudable things - even if inspired by mythology - should be applauded, people who do despicable things - while inspired by mythology - should face the public consequences of their actions.  But we still need to recognize that some of the foundational stories of our cultures are simply the extension of ‘legends and fables’ from our story-telling pasts.

Yeah, it’s human nature.  As Tyrion Lannister says, “What unites people ... stories”.  (Heh, my moral code is based on some good bits from the Bible and Star Trek.)  We want inspiration, something greater than ourselves, something lasting.  Those of us who are atheists/humanists see these as fables with moral lessons, but for some people there is a spiritual aspect that has greater meaning to them.  Who are we to judge this?

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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09 July 2019 12:03
 
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 11:32 AM
Jefe - 09 July 2019 10:43 AM
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 10:18 AM

There are countless examples of when religion influenced oppression, injustices, cruelty, etc.  But to deny that it has also provided focus and strength for good people to do good work is a mistake, in my opinion.  People should be judged on their actions, not criticized for their personal spiritual beliefs just because we do not share them.

People inspired (for good or for bad) are still inspired by stories that are largely mythological.
Talking snakes, flying horses, golden tablets, negative-energy-monitors, magic underpants, feeding a crowd from a small basket of fish….  it’s all just extensions of previous stores of magical powers employed by fickle ‘gods and goddesses’ used to explain mysteries or impress simple folk, many of which have been explained by employing tools that help keep our brains from fooling themselves with inherent perception-and-opinion-traps that seem to be built-in to our evolved cognition.

So while people who do laudable things - even if inspired by mythology - should be applauded, people who do despicable things - while inspired by mythology - should face the public consequences of their actions.  But we still need to recognize that some of the foundational stories of our cultures are simply the extension of ‘legends and fables’ from our story-telling pasts.

Yeah, it’s human nature.  As Tyrion Lannister says, “What unites people ... stories”.  (Heh, my moral code is based on some good bits from the Bible and Star Trek.)  We want inspiration, something greater than ourselves, something lasting.  Those of us who are atheists/humanists see these as fables with moral lessons, but for some people there is a spiritual aspect that has greater meaning to them.  Who are we to judge this?

We are their audience?  And judgement by peers is common to human history. If we see someone doing something, we should respond to it, based on it’s favourablity?  Like applauding the good folks who help others, and booing the bad folks who hurt others.
That being said, personal revelation and fondness for myths is great and fun sometimes.  I’m partial to sci-fi and fantasy stories, and those that have ethical conundrums or characters with ‘realistic’ problems and emotions are far more likable than the mamby-pamby space-magic-solves-all ones.

To paraphrase from the movie Gladiator, what we do echoes through eternity.  So if we pull hatred and discrimination from our myths - we become the black-hats (IMNSHO).  If we pull valour and sticking up for each other through thick and thin, we’re probably edging toward the white-hat team.  Somewhere in the middle we all find those stories and people who inspire us to be our truest selves.  (For good or for bad.)

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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09 July 2019 12:35
 
Jefe - 09 July 2019 12:03 PM
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 11:32 AM
Jefe - 09 July 2019 10:43 AM
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 10:18 AM

There are countless examples of when religion influenced oppression, injustices, cruelty, etc.  But to deny that it has also provided focus and strength for good people to do good work is a mistake, in my opinion.  People should be judged on their actions, not criticized for their personal spiritual beliefs just because we do not share them.

People inspired (for good or for bad) are still inspired by stories that are largely mythological.
Talking snakes, flying horses, golden tablets, negative-energy-monitors, magic underpants, feeding a crowd from a small basket of fish….  it’s all just extensions of previous stores of magical powers employed by fickle ‘gods and goddesses’ used to explain mysteries or impress simple folk, many of which have been explained by employing tools that help keep our brains from fooling themselves with inherent perception-and-opinion-traps that seem to be built-in to our evolved cognition.

So while people who do laudable things - even if inspired by mythology - should be applauded, people who do despicable things - while inspired by mythology - should face the public consequences of their actions.  But we still need to recognize that some of the foundational stories of our cultures are simply the extension of ‘legends and fables’ from our story-telling pasts.

Yeah, it’s human nature.  As Tyrion Lannister says, “What unites people ... stories”.  (Heh, my moral code is based on some good bits from the Bible and Star Trek.)  We want inspiration, something greater than ourselves, something lasting.  Those of us who are atheists/humanists see these as fables with moral lessons, but for some people there is a spiritual aspect that has greater meaning to them.  Who are we to judge this?

We are their audience?  And judgement by peers is common to human history. If we see someone doing something, we should respond to it, based on it’s favourablity?  Like applauding the good folks who help others, and booing the bad folks who hurt others.
That being said, personal revelation and fondness for myths is great and fun sometimes.  I’m partial to sci-fi and fantasy stories, and those that have ethical conundrums or characters with ‘realistic’ problems and emotions are far more likable than the mamby-pamby space-magic-solves-all ones.

To paraphrase from the movie Gladiator, what we do echoes through eternity.  So if we pull hatred and discrimination from our myths - we become the black-hats (IMNSHO).  If we pull valour and sticking up for each other through thick and thin, we’re probably edging toward the white-hat team.  Somewhere in the middle we all find those stories and people who inspire us to be our truest selves.  (For good or for bad.)

I agree.

To be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t recognize and criticize all that is wrong in many religious stories and doctrines, as I’m sure you realize.  I just don’t like the tendency or attitude of some atheists that consider religious people to be stupid or deluded; it’s not that simple and is its own kind of prejudice.

 

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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09 July 2019 14:25
 
MrRon - 09 July 2019 09:17 AM

If the personal revelations are unfalsifiable, then on what grounds should they be considered as valid sources of knowledge? Moreover, some personal revelations are in direct conflict with other people’s revelations. How then, do we determine which one is correct? Without a checking mechanism, there is no good reason to believe that revelations can discern objective reality.

I mentioned two types of non-empirical sources of information: revelation and experience.  An example of the second:  I saw a mountain lion once on an early morning walk near my house. No one saw it other than me. It cannot be scientifically verified that I saw the mountain lion. Yet, I know what I saw, and based on my own experience with the reliability of my senses, I accept it as real, even though I know that I can be mistaken. I consider it knowledge to me, even though I cannot prove it to anyone else. Regarding revelation, I have also had experiences that have, over the course of my life, given meaning to me and still appears to be true and valid.  So I consider it a source of at least information to me about objective reality, just like my experience with the mountain lion.  Whether it conflicts with someone else’s revelation, I have no idea.  I do know that at least three people on this forum have related revelatory experiences of God, and while every person’s revelation will have unique components, those revelations do not conflict in their ultimate conclusion - there is a God. I don’t expect anyone else to be convinced by that, but those revelations continue to be a source of information to people that is beyond the scope of scientific inquiry, and forms the basis of faith about a reality beyond empirical testing.

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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09 July 2019 14:58
 
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 11:32 AM
Jefe - 09 July 2019 10:43 AM
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 10:18 AM

There are countless examples of when religion influenced oppression, injustices, cruelty, etc.  But to deny that it has also provided focus and strength for good people to do good work is a mistake, in my opinion.  People should be judged on their actions, not criticized for their personal spiritual beliefs just because we do not share them.

People inspired (for good or for bad) are still inspired by stories that are largely mythological.
Talking snakes, flying horses, golden tablets, negative-energy-monitors, magic underpants, feeding a crowd from a small basket of fish….  it’s all just extensions of previous stores of magical powers employed by fickle ‘gods and goddesses’ used to explain mysteries or impress simple folk, many of which have been explained by employing tools that help keep our brains from fooling themselves with inherent perception-and-opinion-traps that seem to be built-in to our evolved cognition.

So while people who do laudable things - even if inspired by mythology - should be applauded, people who do despicable things - while inspired by mythology - should face the public consequences of their actions.  But we still need to recognize that some of the foundational stories of our cultures are simply the extension of ‘legends and fables’ from our story-telling pasts.

Yeah, it’s human nature.  As Tyrion Lannister says, “What unites people ... stories”.  (Heh, my moral code is based on some good bits from the Bible and Star Trek.)  We want inspiration, something greater than ourselves, something lasting.  Those of us who are atheists/humanists see these as fables with moral lessons, but for some people there is a spiritual aspect that has greater meaning to them.  Who are we to judge this?

Again, all of this comes down to what you mean by religion.

Do you mean people who share beliefs?
or
Do you mean supernatural claims about reality?

The specifics of my answer changes depending on the specifics of the definition of religion that is being proposed.

Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 12:35 PM

To be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t recognize and criticize all that is wrong in many religious stories and doctrines, as I’m sure you realize.  I just don’t like the tendency or attitude of some atheists that consider religious people to be stupid or deluded; it’s not that simple and is its own kind of prejudice.

I fully agree with this.  Religious belief does not define whether a person is smart or stupid, nor whether they are moral or amoral.

I think if you want to have a “baby and bathwater” discussion, it is best to define “religion” as the belief in supernatural.  We can then discuss things like group identity, community cohesion, individual leadership qualities, etc.  We can discuss all the positive things done in the name of religion, without actually discussing the religion at all.  We can talk about MLKjr’s activism in a way that doesn’t include confusion about the presence of claims of the supernatural.

We can discuss myth as a way to analyze what cultural values are important to a specific group, but understand that those myths are not factual.

[ Edited: 09 July 2019 15:04 by Garret]
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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09 July 2019 16:40
 
Garret - 09 July 2019 02:58 PM
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 11:32 AM
Jefe - 09 July 2019 10:43 AM
Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 10:18 AM

There are countless examples of when religion influenced oppression, injustices, cruelty, etc.  But to deny that it has also provided focus and strength for good people to do good work is a mistake, in my opinion.  People should be judged on their actions, not criticized for their personal spiritual beliefs just because we do not share them.

People inspired (for good or for bad) are still inspired by stories that are largely mythological.
Talking snakes, flying horses, golden tablets, negative-energy-monitors, magic underpants, feeding a crowd from a small basket of fish….  it’s all just extensions of previous stores of magical powers employed by fickle ‘gods and goddesses’ used to explain mysteries or impress simple folk, many of which have been explained by employing tools that help keep our brains from fooling themselves with inherent perception-and-opinion-traps that seem to be built-in to our evolved cognition.

So while people who do laudable things - even if inspired by mythology - should be applauded, people who do despicable things - while inspired by mythology - should face the public consequences of their actions.  But we still need to recognize that some of the foundational stories of our cultures are simply the extension of ‘legends and fables’ from our story-telling pasts.

Yeah, it’s human nature.  As Tyrion Lannister says, “What unites people ... stories”.  (Heh, my moral code is based on some good bits from the Bible and Star Trek.)  We want inspiration, something greater than ourselves, something lasting.  Those of us who are atheists/humanists see these as fables with moral lessons, but for some people there is a spiritual aspect that has greater meaning to them.  Who are we to judge this?

Again, all of this comes down to what you mean by religion.

Do you mean people who share beliefs?
or
Do you mean supernatural claims about reality?

The specifics of my answer changes depending on the specifics of the definition of religion that is being proposed.

Jan_CAN - 09 July 2019 12:35 PM

To be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t recognize and criticize all that is wrong in many religious stories and doctrines, as I’m sure you realize.  I just don’t like the tendency or attitude of some atheists that consider religious people to be stupid or deluded; it’s not that simple and is its own kind of prejudice.

I fully agree with this.  Religious belief does not define whether a person is smart or stupid, nor whether they are moral or amoral.

I think if you want to have a “baby and bathwater” discussion, it is best to define “religion” as the belief in supernatural.  We can then discuss things like group identity, community cohesion, individual leadership qualities, etc.  We can discuss all the positive things done in the name of religion, without actually discussing the religion at all.  We can talk about MLKjr’s activism in a way that doesn’t include confusion about the presence of claims of the supernatural.

We can discuss myth as a way to analyze what cultural values are important to a specific group, but understand that those myths are not factual.

My earlier comments weren’t in regards to specific beliefs, but at the way that atheists might choose to view and treat belief and believers.  The tendency by some atheists to make prior negative judgements about another based on their beliefs rather than their character – a fault that some religious fundamentalists sometimes show towards atheists which I think it preferable we not imitate.  By this I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be outspoken about what we don’t believe and the reasons why; it’s a matter of attitude and how it’s done.

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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09 July 2019 17:26
 

I’m not making prior judgments of people.  I am making judgments of arguments AFTER that have been presented.  It just happens that often new people will try to trot out OLD arguments in defense of their religion.  I don’t have to sit and listen to the whole argument with an open mind in that moment…. because I already heard it and have analyzed it.  I don’t look down on the people, I look down on the argument.  The problem is that those people often view their identity through association with that argument.  That’s not my problem, that is their problem.

I’m down for the sentiment that we should all try to get along.

I am not down for the sentiment that we should take bad ideas seriously.

Religion is a bad idea.

 
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