What to make of ”state atheism” ??

51


Discussion by: Albanist
Hello fellow atheist

I am a 17 year old Student and English is my second foreign language so sorry for any errors

Albania(Europe,Western Balkans) the country i come from was during
Stalinist times the only officially ”atheist country” in the
world.Religion was brutally persecuted and religious people where imprisoned, publicly humiliated or even killed in very brutal ways.The Stalinists where so efficient in destroying religion in Albania that that currently about
70% of Albanians don’t practice any form of religion(even higher in the capital city where I live).For example my
whole extended family is non-religious(grandparents on both sides are atheist)  and I personally
don’t have anybody that is religious in among my friends.I had never
even had actual contact with religion until 3 years ago(Internet).One thing is for
sure though that if it wasn’t for the ”state atheism” my family and myself would have not been atheist (I say this as an anti-communist).

The question is did the end justify the mean ?????

51 COMMENTS

  1. No, the ends do not justify the means. Just as it’s wrong for Christians, Muslims and other religions to jail, torture or kill non-believers (or wrong-belivers), it was wrong for Stalinist to jail, torture or kill non-believers. Basic human rights demand that people should be free to believe, or not believe, as they choose.

    Of course it’s human societies that define these “basic human rights”, not some divine being which some people find troubling because they want there to be absolutes. But it’s really just a matter of exercising empathy and deciding what seems like the best way for large groups of individuals to live together.

  2. Atheism has a one sentence definition.

    State atheism, as you recount it, is something else entirely. In fact your state atheism resembles a quasi-religion featuring not a pope but rather a political figurehead with immense authority. No reasonable person would look to such regimes as being models of tolerance, freedom, and rationality.

    Welcome to this forum!

    Mike

  3. To link the atrocities in ex-soviet countries to not believing in a god or gods is ridiculous. Even if the power at the time declared that the country was “Atheist” all that this means is that there was no state religion. The same power then went on to murder and slaughter for political and ideological reasons. You imply that being Atheist is a synonym to repressing religion and that is nonsense.

  4. Hello, Albanist. SomeDude answered your question well. It is wrong for any group to deprive people of the freedom of thought and conscience that form the basis for freedom of religion, association, expression, politics, property-ownership and so on. I am not sure of the current political situation in Albania, but I take it that you are now free to enquire into religions and even to join a religion and live according to its teachings, if you see fit. Stalinist communism was as superstitious as any of the Abrahamic religions in its metaphysical beliefs concerning the realization of the proletarian state. So you had the adherents of an atheistic superstition persecuting the adherents of a religious superstition. My hope is that Albania and other former client states of the Soviet Union will not go the way Russia seems to have gone by reinstating the traditional church to its former position; I hope instead that they will make the most of their current freedom from entrenched religion to develop a well-educated, freedom-loving society that enjoys the rule of law and democratic institutions of secular government.

  5. I seems to me that under communism the state didn’t stop religious people being religious just prohibited it. I can’t imagine one moment you believe in god the next you don’t. Essentially this is how the current crop of religions knocked off the earlier incarnations. In time of course younger generations not exposed to the particular dogma’s associated with judo-Christianity let them drop off. I assume that the dogma preached was now communism.

    The question i’d ask is are people in your circumstance more rational, reasonable and open minded overall from not being exposed to religion? If not then communism knocking off religion in your area would not be much different from say asking the question is it better most of the world believes in Christ rather than Zeus?

  6. Well, Albania might not have been a theistic country but it surely was a religious country. Your religion was a political ideology. Religions don’t necessarily need gods. The worship of Stalin and the communist ideology very much resembles a religion. Hence no modern atheist would support or think such a society is any better than a theistic one.

  7. I don’t know enough about the early days of the Russian revolution to know how soon after 1917, religion was repressed. Obviously, Albania was not part of the Russian sphere of influence until much later. But certainly by Stalin’s time, it would have been obvious that the churches could act as a focus for opposition (much like recent developments in the Middle East). So the main reason communist states got rid of religion was because they were getting rid of a political threat. I don’t believe it had anything to do with anything spiritual or believing or not believing in god.

    In the UK, we have always had several power basis – the monachy, the church, the government and most recenty (ie the last 150 years) “the fourth estate” the media. Although most Brits on this site are anti-monachist and anti-church, and would like to see them gone, there is a great danger in allowing any one of these power basis to get too much control. In my view, the government in most western countries is already much too big and powerful to be controlled. I aways say, beware of the left in politics – they always want governments to do more and regulate more. The attack on civil liberties under New Labour (which has only partly been undone by the Con/Lib Coalition) should be enough to show everyone how dangerous big government is and always will be.

  8. I think the relevant element is tyranny. If tyranny is used to wipe out slavery, disease, war, hunger, racism, superstition, rape, or any other evil, do the ends justify the means?

    I don’t know and neither does anyone seeking to employ such methods. The evil of tyranny itself needs to be appraised, and in the case of Albania its a question of how much harm religion posed. Religion can get really bloody so it’s technically possible, but I doubt it. I wish I knew more about this part of history.

    There is a misconception that atheism has no bloody history, but there is also the example of the Cristero War in Mexico, which might be an example of an atheist atrocity, though I’m still undecided about how to label it.

  9. What Sagan the Cat said.

    It is possible to understand their motivation, misguided though it was; but that is not the same as justifying it.

    I remember shortly after reading the God Delusion I was in discussion with a colleague who is dismissive of Dawkins and sympathetic to organised religion whilst not being a believer himself (maybe he should take part in debates a Cambridge).

    I said in a rather offhand way that if I had my way then all religion would be banned. My motivation for saying this was a desire share with others the feeling of enlightenment that I enjoyed thanks to “having the veil lifted” as Prof Dawkins would put it. This is a desire that I held (and still hold) in the face of the daunting task of trying to persuade people who aren’t willing to listen (it would be so much easier if they just BELIEVED us!).

    Before I had even finished speaking I realised that this was nonsense and my colleague quite rightly took me to task for it. I think that my having even uttered those words colours his judgement of me even today.

    SOME of the cronies working for Stalin may have had a misguided sense (akin to my fleeting one) that they were doing a service to their people and that the ends would justify the means; but by failing to recognise that to have any meaning “revelations” must be freely attained, by forcing their views on others, they cemented a place for their leader and themselves behind only the gods as a cause of human suffering.

    Totalitarianism is the same who or whatever you point to as the progenitor of authority. Your enlightenment doesn’t justify that; but it does perhaps give you more cause than most to make the most of it. Good luck to you.

  10. I would like to thank to the author of this article. I am fed up with Americans who comlain about influence of religion in their country. I wanted to ask a man who visited Soviet Union in 1973 why did he not stay there, but I didn`t want to be rude to the man who is much older than me.

    If some Americans are unhappy about influence of Christianity why don`t they move to the North Korea? If they move there they will be sure, their children will never hear anything about God.
    But they want to enjoy prosperity.

    You cannot have both – prosperity and religious freedom.
    Protestant who were persecuted in Europe and emigrated to the USA brought prosperity there. But they brought their faith too.
    And countries that made them leave started to decline economicaly (Czech, France etc.)

    Albania is a good example of totally atheistic country which is very poor. They have Mediterranean, beautiful beaches but no tourists come because of poverty and lack of services.

  11. Hi and welcome to our forum. I am having trouble forming this thought, so it might come out a bit garbled. First and foremost, NO, the ends do not justify the means.

    Here is the part I am struggling to articulate: I am not afraid of other people’s freedom. As an atheist, I point at and ridicule the silly assertions of religions or groups of religious people. I, however, am not afraid of their freedom to have the religion if they need it.

    It is the religious folks who are afraid of my freedom. It isn’t enough that (if they are right) I will go to hell for eternity. (BTW, if they really believed that and understood infinity they’d sing a different song). Anyway, I would argue and fight FOR their right to this freedom. They consistently argue and fight to block my freedom.

    My freedom scares the hell out of the believers. Their freedom is boring and commonplace to me.

  12. This is twisted thinking, full of straw men and ridiculous assertions. Your logic says that I should move away from my job and family, away from my roots and education, away from all that I have ever known, so that I can live in a place that “has no chance of prosperity”?

    Oh, and BTW, it is only you who thinks “you cannot have prosperity and religious freedom”. This is among the most ignorant statements I have come across. You simply made this up off the top of your head and are basing your post on it. It is pure unadulterated bullshit.

    I, for myself and my family, assert that you can have both. And, the sooner we educate people to the point where they can think clearly, the sooner we can get onto the business of being both free and prosperous.

    In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:

    I would like to thank to the author of this article. I am fed up with Americans who comlain about influence of religion in their country. I wanted to ask a man who visited Soviet Union in 1973 why did he not stay there, but I didn`t want to be rude to the man who is much older than me.

    If some Americans are unhappy about influence of Christianity why don`t they move to the North Korea? If they move there they will be sure, their children will never hear anything about God.
    But they want to enjoy prosperity.

    You cannot have both – prosperity and religious freedom.
    Protestant who were persecuted in Europe and emigrated to the USA brought prosperity there. But they brought their faith too.
    And countries that made them leave started to decline economicaly (Czech, France etc.)

    Albania is a good example of totally atheistic country which is very poor. They have Mediterranean, beautiful beaches but no tourists come because of poverty and lack of services.

  13. You chastise this young man and offer absolutely no reason for it. What is wrong with his attitude? Why should he be ashamed? The kid is being honest and truthful and seeking out opinions from an established group. What is wrong with that?

    In reply to #17 by peder.holm.90:

  14. No. The persecution of people who have a different worldview from oneself is traditionally a characteristic of religious societies, and is not something that secularists should ever adopt. Even atheists who think, as I do, that the world would be a better place with no religion in it should not try to impose that by force. To do that would be to become like the worst of the religious.

  15. In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:

    I wanted to ask a man who visited Soviet Union in 1973 why did he not stay there, but I didn`t want to be rude to the man who is much older than me.

    You should not be afraid to ask questions Robert. It is how we gain knowledge, and it is much better than making stuff up.

    I explained on another thread, that I visited Moscow in 1973 to look at Russian space technology with a group of UK scientists. I also went to look at the local culture, just as I have done visiting Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and the USA.

    My mention of being tailed by the KGB, might have given you a clue as to why I might not wish to stay in the USSR in the communist era.

    If some Americans are unhappy about influence of Christianity why don`t they move to the North Korea? If they move there they will be sure, their children will never hear anything about God.

    I am not American, but my children were never kept from studying gods. My daughter even visited Shinto and Buddhist temples in Japan.

    But they want to enjoy prosperity.
    You cannot have both – prosperity and religious freedom.

    This really is nonsense. Prosperity comes from rational economic management and the applications of science. Some of the best life-styles in the world are in the Scandinavian countries which are the most secular.

    Protestant who were persecuted in Europe and emigrated to the USA brought prosperity there. But they brought their faith too.

    Err! no! You need to study history instead of making up wishful thinking. They brought poverty and hardship, with many starving and dying in the attempted move to a new life. The wealth of resources was already there in the Americas, as were the native tribes who they dispossessed and killed to seize land.

    And countries that made them leave started to decline economicaly (Czech, France etc.)

    You seem to have forgotten Britain – which went on to rule a large part of the world with the richest empire in the 19th century.

  16. Well I doubt very much the means acheived the ends. Force rarely works and tends, if anything, to provide fertile ground religion to thrive in reaction to it.

    Atheist states are probably going to be as bad as theocracies i’e; resort to force. What is healthy are secular states free from any particularly strong ideologies. Everyone is free to believe whatever they wish in private, human rights and equalities are respected whatever others may wish and the state does not support or give special privilages to anyone.

    The UK is supposedly under the remit of the CofE but is about as good as it seems to get. And religion is slowly but surely dying a death without anyone forcing anyone to do anything. By allowing apathy!

  17. I don’t see anything wrong with asking this question. It doesn’t reflect anything wrong or evil with the person asking it. We could also ask “If Hitler did create a super race and that new infusion of great intelligence drastically changed the world for the better, would that have been worth the cost? How about USA’s relentless attacks on one country after another to not just line their pockets, but also trying to head off a world wide financial crisis. I personally say no. I do not believe in killing anyone except in self defense. I was also raised fundamental christian so retain many of their morals. The means do not justify the end. The end and the means have to follow our morals or ethics. I think man is biologically geared to have morals. We are a group animal and therefore would have to have both the group protected from individuals and individuals protected from the group.We use morals to do this at least to some extent. All societies have had morals or ethics. We do vary in what morals we have by our circumstances or our enviroment. We DO NOT need a god to have morals. I also think religion or lack of religion is a tool used by controlling classes to make people perform in certain ways and to be easier to control . ALBANIST do you think your society is better in any way with most of the religious beliefs removed. I would be very interested in your thought about this.

  18. Well it’s good to see a letter like this published by RDFRS. You bring up an important point. I have raised this before on this site. We can never forget the outrages commited by people who had no overarching fear of God. This is not to discourage people from becoming Atheist , it’s a timely reminder that atheists should understand that there has being vile acts perpetrated in their name. A few ; the eugenics movement , science centered incorporating darwinian princles to brutalise the impure,handicapped and mentally ill , Charles Darwin’s son himself was head of the movement in Britan. the murder of the handicapped and the mentally ill by Nazi Death Camps to prevent gene pool contamination and of course there are the atrocities that you kind sir have reminded us of.

    The fact is that every view should be weighed against an opposing view and that includes Atheism.

  19. I apologize for a mistake. I ment you cannot have prosperity WITHOUT having religious freedom. And part of that freedom is that sooner or later you will meet people who will preach gospel to you. I am glad I was born after democracy came to my country and had the opportunity to hear about God and decide what to do with it.

  20. Pretty big omission!!! Well, I will respectfully back off. I still do not know if your premiss holds, but is a bit less abrasive.

    In reply to #25 by Robert Kubik:

    I apologize for a mistake. I ment you cannot have prosperity WITHOUT having religious freedom. And part of that freedom is that sooner or later you will meet people who will preach gospel to you. I am glad I was born after democracy came to my country and had the opportunity to hear about God and decide what to do with it.

  21. In reply to #15 by crookedshoes:

    Hi and welcome to our forum. I am having trouble forming this thought, so it might come out a bit garbled. First and foremost, NO, the ends do not justify the means.

    Here is the part I am struggling to articulate: I am not afraid of other people’s freedom. As an atheist, I point at and ridicule the silly assertions of religions or groups of religious people. I, however, am not afraid of their freedom to have the religion if they need it.

    It is the religious folks who are afraid of my freedom. It isn’t enough that (if they are right) I will go to hell for eternity. (BTW, if they really believed that and understood infinity they’d sing a different song). Anyway, I would argue and fight FOR their right to this freedom. They consistently argue and fight to block my freedom.

    My freedom scares the hell out of the believers. Their freedom is boring and commonplace to me.

    Hi crookedshoes,

    I think you are being unfair and sterotyping people of faith. Your freedom hardly scares me (or any other Christians I know), and I would vehemently defend your right to believe it. In fact, I find much of the discussion on this site invigorating, and it has help me question and plunge much further into my faith as Christian. It’s been very helpful indeed. I have the same types of conversations with my atheist friends, and we continue to respect and love each other.

    I would say that you should read careful the comments on this site from the viewpoint of a person of faith. We are regularly called demeaning names, told we belong in insane asylums for reprogramming, lumped into the same category as fanatical religious people, and labeled delusional just because we hold a different view of this universe than the group here. These are the behaviors that lead to atrocities when people come to power (whether they are theists or atheists), and it should not be tolerated.

  22. To add to what has already been said here, no, the ends do not justify the means, and the reason has less to do with ‘religion’ and more to do with ‘close mindedness’. It’s a matter of semantics whether people are afraid of different ideologies because the name of God is different, or their political views are radically different, or their culture has certain traditions that are radically different. Killing people because they do not believe as you do is never acceptable, no matter how ‘right’ you may be (or think you are).

    Religions and political systems are both no more than sets of beliefs (though religion does have the unique advantage of being ‘unquestioned’ quite often), and there are places in the world where the two are more or less inseparable. Sets of ideas in and of themselves are incapable of performing evil acts without willing accomplices to commit evil acts, often in the name of some ideal but always for the same fundamental reasons. Whether Stalin or Hitler or Mao Tse Dong or Pol Pot were religious, atheist, communist, or whatever else is irrelevant. Based on any measure of secular ethics, their actions were deplorable.

  23. Albania was a religious country with a pope or a god: Enver Hoxha, and the people was forced to practise the cult of personality of the “great” leader. You don’t need a god to be regarded as”religious” Nobody has the right to force others to believe or not to believe in a religious or political ideology. If you want to believe in a religion, do so using your own thinking and brain,because you found the evidence to believe in it and not because you’ve been brainwashed since you were a child or because you’ve been threatened. The Stalinist regime in Albania used the same methods as the theocratic states in Medieval times or in some Muslim states of today.

  24. In reply to #30 by Odalrich:

    …You don’t need a god to be regarded as”religious” …

    This point occurs to me in other post made in this thread. It can be said Sovietism or Stalinism were atheist religions. Buddhism is also an atheist religion, and Buddhist theocracies have been involved in violent conflict against theists (Muslims and Hindus), as well as with each other (Thailand v. Cambodia). I’m not familiar with Buddhist tyrannies that sought conformity, except in ancient Tibet but I don’t know if it can be compared.

    A while back I was researching if suicide-bombers were exclusive to theism, thinking I would find afterlife belief was needed for that, as a war tactic. I stopped when I found Nepalese Maoists. The conclusion is the mania commonly attributed to theism is not exclusive to theism. While theism may render one susceptible to irrational beliefs, atheism grants no immunity from them.

  25. In reply to #20 by Alan4discussion:

    I am quite good at history. So it is a reality that when protestants had to leave Czech after 1620, economical decline started, because they were the elite of the nation. The same thing happened in France when Louis 14th made Hugenots leave the country. Perhaps they were poor when they arrived in US or Canada but many of them were educated or skillfull workers who managed to be successful in their home country and brought their qualities with them to their new home.

    Scandinavian countries started to prosper when they accepted protenstanism and I think their properity is part of their herittage.

    In a secular book about history of Great Britain I have read that John Wesley probably saved England from bloody revolution and methodism was one of the reasons why prosperity came.

  26. In reply to #30 by Odalrich:

    Albania was a religious country with a pope or a god: Enver Hoxha, and the people was forced to practise the cult of personality of the “great” leader. You don’t need a god to be regarded as”religious” Nobody has the right to force others to believe or not to believe in a religious or political ideology. If you want to believe in a religion, do so using your own thinking and brain,because you found the evidence to believe in it and not because you’ve been brainwashed since you were a child or because you’ve been threatened. The Stalinist regime in Albania used the same methods as the theocratic states in Medieval times or in some Muslim states of today.

    Well said, Odalrich. Freedom to believe as you choose (without impinging on the civil rights of others of course) wthout fear of harrassment and tolerance for all views is a pillar of a secure, prosperous society.

  27. In reply to #32 by This Is Not A Meme:

    In reply to #30 by Odalrich:

    …You don’t need a god to be regarded as”religious” …

    This point occurs to me in other post made in this thread. It can be said Sovietism or Stalinism were atheist religions. Buddhism is also an atheist religion, and Buddhist theocracies have been involved in violent conflict against theists (Muslims and Hindus), as well as with each other (Thailand v. Cambodia).

    Ooooh, I’m wincing a bit. Please don’t use the expression “atheist religion”. I’m happy to accept that Stalinism could be called a religious cult without a god, but let’s not give the religious an inch when it comes to them accusing atheism of being “just another religion”.

  28. In reply to #31 by Smill:

    Hello, Nordic 11, how are you? A short while ago you posted a very kind and thoughtful reply to a post of mine and I was very grateful for it. Thank you x

    My pleasure, Smill. Enjoy a great day!

  29. In reply to #14 by Robert Kubik:

    If some Americans are unhappy about influence of Christianity why don`t they move to the North Korea? If they move there they will be sure, their children will never hear anything about God.
    But they want to enjoy prosperity.

    Or they could move to Australia where their children will never hear anything about God and still have prosperity. Also beaches and less hand guns. Plus kangaroos and no bears.

    I’m not sure either of our examples proves anything.

    Michael

  30. In reply to #37 by mmurray:
    >

    Or they could move to Australia where their children will never hear anything about God and still have prosperity. Also beaches and less hand guns. Plus kangaroos and no bears.

    I’m not sure either of our examples proves anything.

    Michael

    But to trade in peanut butter for Vegemite… I dunno man…

    To Robert’s point about Protestants, they evolved from the dogmatic Catholics, and many went on to further evolve into the expressions of rationalism we started seeing in the 1800′s. Overcoming one’s paradigm is tricky indeed (a fact I love throwing in peoples’ faces when I here ‘the Founding Fathers were Christians!’ argument). Protestantism represents (historically) a freedom of thought, the same freedom that we should all have, even if said freedom then moves us away from Protestant beliefs or any others.

    It’s really a shame to see what the myriad Protestant faiths have become in the USA. Seems that for every decent church you see at least one sliding back into the fire and brimstone mindset.

  31. In reply to #7 by Reckless Monkey:

    I seems to me that under communism the state didn’t stop religious people being religious just prohibited it. I can’t imagine one moment you believe in god the next you don’t. Essentially this is how the current crop of religions knocked off the earlier incarnations. In time of course younger generations not exposed to the particular dogma’s associated with judo-Christianity let them drop off. I assume that the dogma preached was now communism.

    The question i’d ask is are people in your circumstance more rational, reasonable and open minded overall from not being exposed to religion? If not then communism knocking off religion in your area would not be much different from say asking the question is it better most of the world believes in Christ rather than Zeus?

    I think there is a more important point here that you seem to be ignoring. And that is that in any value system that I respect its never appropriate to use force to dictate what people should think, read, etc. It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

  32. In reply to #40 by Red Dog:

    It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

    Law enforcement and regulation are important. Outlawing deception and fraud: – (which may be acting under the guise of religion, quackology, or whatever), is important. Fraudsters or nutters are not going to desist because of reason, so on matters like children’s education or financial transactions, an honest legal framework is needed.

  33. If a person is going to be decent, then a person does decent behavior. Does a person have any responsiblity to ancestors who were brutialized but left their decendents several generations down the road better off or at least in a different set of cultural enviroment. All I can say is look at the countries today that are very religious and compare it to what is going on around you and the opportunities you will have.

    Gandoff in Two Towers and Sam Harris have it right to me, we can only make choices on what is available or why you and I will never be the hereditary head of the Church of England.

  34. In reply to #41 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #40 by Red Dog:

    It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

    Law enforcement and regulation are important. Outlawing deception and fraud: – (which may be acting under the guise of religion, quackology, or whatever), is important. Fraudsters or nutters are not going to desist because of reason, so on matters like children’s education or financial transactions, an honest legal framework is needed.

    Hi alan,

    Are you saying that all of us theists are particpipating in fraud and decption, and therefore the law should 1) lock us up, 2) forbid us from worshiping 3) take our children into state custody 4) all of the previously mentioned?

    What if a government deemed atheism as fraudulent? Will your reasoning work both ways? Do you see this mindset as the best way of moving forward as a global society?

    Looking forward to hearing from you, and enjoy your evening if I don’t get back to the site tonight (the kids have a lot of homework).

  35. Would you like to enact laws that block my right to have an abortion (if I were a woman)? Would you block my right to marry another man (if I were gay)? These are the freedoms that I am talking about. Religious folks march on Washington against abortion. They flock to the polls to vote against gay marriage.

    It is not enough for them to oppose these decisions, but rather, they want to bind me to their beliefs through law. That is what I am talking about. I am not talking about my right to not believe, they have no real idea of what non-belief means.

    If i am painting with too broad a brush, I acknowledge that as a possibility and if that is what you are speaking of, I understand. But, they are afraid of freedom and consistently demonstrate it.

    In reply to #28 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #15 by crookedshoes:

    Hi and welcome to our forum. I am having trouble forming this thought, so it might come out a bit garbled. First and foremost, NO, the ends do not justify the means.

    Here is the part I am struggling to articulate: I am not afraid of other people’s freedom. As an atheist, I point at and ridicule the silly assertions of religions or groups of religious people. I, however, am not afraid of their freedom to have the religion if they need it.

    It is the religious folks who are afraid of my freedom. It isn’t enough that (if they are right) I will go to hell for eternity. (BTW, if they really believed that and understood infinity they’d sing a different song). Anyway, I would argue and fight FOR their right to this freedom. They consistently argue and fight to block my freedom.

    My freedom scares the hell out of the believers. Their freedom is boring and commonplace to me.

    Hi crookedshoes,

    I think you are being unfair and sterotyping people of faith. Your freedom hardly scares me (or any other Christians I know), and I would vehemently defend your right to believe it. In fact, I find much of the discussion on this site invigorating, and it has help me question and plunge much further into my faith as Christian. It’s been very helpful indeed. I have the same types of conversations with my atheist friends, and we continue to respect and love each other.

    I would say that you should read careful the comments on this site from the viewpoint of a person of faith. We are regularly called demeaning names, told we belong in insane asylums for reprogramming, lumped into the same category as fanatical religious people, and labeled delusional just because we hold a different view of this universe than the group here. These are the behaviors that lead to atrocities when people come to power (whether they are theists or atheists), and it should not be tolerated.

  36. In reply to #41 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #40 by Red Dog:

    It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

    Law enforcement and regulation are important. Outlawing deception and fraud: – (which may be acting under the guise of religion, quackology, or whatever), is important. Fraudsters or nutters are not going to desist because of reason, so on matters like children’s education or financial transactions, an honest legal framework is needed.

    Red Dog is on point here, and Nordic11 brings up an excellent example of this mindset taken too far. Should there be a law stopping televangelists from saying, ‘send me your money, and Jesus will pay your taxes!’? Perhaps. It would still need to be settled in court, and this is one of the more conspicuous examples of fraudulence; there are many more subtle messages that various religions wish to espouse, and those would be far more difficult to curtail. By all means, leave secular education to teach a-religious ideas (except of course for the impact of religion on history), but having a state step in and tell people what to think is NOT okay. I have seen once or twice on this board the phrase, ‘we let our children think x, y, or z’ and cringed; teach people to think, REALLY think, and the excesses of dogma will seem utterly ridiculous to them.

  37. In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

    Would you like to enact laws that block my right to have an abortion (if I were a woman)? Would you block my right to marry another man (if I were gay)? These are the freedoms that I am talking about. Religious folks march on Washington against abortion. They flock to the polls to vote against gay marriage.It is not enough for them to oppose these decisions, but rather, they want to bind me to their beliefs through law. That is what I am talking about. I am not talking about my right to not believe, they have no real idea of what non-belief means.If i am painting with too broad a brush, I acknowledge that as a possibility and if that is what you are speaking of, I understand. But, they are afraid of freedom and consistently demonstrate it.In reply to #28 by Nordic11:In reply to #15 by crookedshoes:Hi and welcome to our forum. I am having trouble forming this thought, so it might come out a bit garbled. First and foremost, NO, the ends do not justify the means.Here is the part I am struggling to articulate: I am not afraid of other people’s freedom. As an atheist, I point at and ridicule the silly assertions of religions or groups of religious people. I, however, am not afraid of their freedom to have the religion if they need it.It is the religious folks who are afraid of my freedom. It isn’t enough that (if they are right) I will go to hell for eternity. (BTW, if they really believed that and understood infinity they’d sing a different song). Anyway, I would argue and fight FOR their right to this freedom. They consistently argue and fight to block my freedom.My freedom scares the hell out of the believers. Their freedom is boring and commonplace to me.Hi crookedshoes,I think you are being unfair and sterotyping people of faith. Your freedom hardly scares me (or any other Christians I know), and I would vehemently defend your right to believe it. In fact, I find much of the discussion on this site invigorating, and it has help me question and plunge much further into my faith as Christian. It’s been very helpful indeed. I have the same types of conversations with my atheist friends, and we continue to respect and love each other.I would say that you should read careful the comments on this site from the viewpoint of a person of faith. We are regularly called demeaning names, told we belong in insane asylums for reprogramming, lumped into the same category as fanatical religious people, and labeled delusional just because we hold a different view of this universe than the group here. These are the behaviors that lead to atrocities when people come to power (whether they are theists or atheists), and it should not be tolerated.

    Hi crookedshoes,

    Thanks for the clarification. These are two thorny issues (which I will readily admit that many Christians are hsotile about in their support of them), but you are speaking as if abortion must be wrong and gay marriage must be right. We live in democracies, and the majority of voters must decide the legitimacy of these issues. For example, I wish my country did not have a gun for every man, woman and child, and I believe our very liberal gun laws are a moral issue, but US voters consistently vote against any meaningful gun legislation and so nearly unlimited gun ownership is the law of the land. I live with that decision. If Christians or other theists organize themselves into a voting block to pass certain legislation, well that’s there right as citazens of a democracy. If atheists have particular political agendas to push, they can do the same. Speaking from the perspective of a secular democracy (such as the US), there are no right things or wrong things. There are legal and illegal actions under the law that the citazens of the country decide upon. Obviously, you believe abortion is a right woman should have. I believe in the protection of every human citazen including those in the womb. In the US, citazens decided your position was legal, and I accept that decision. I am bound to your beliefs by the law, but if I want to try and change it through the same democratic process, I have every right to do so and then you (if you’re a US citazen) would be bound to the law by my beliefs. That is how democracy works, and it keeps us from reaching for each other’s throats (metaphorically speaking of course).

    I appreciate your comments on this site crookedshoes and your passion for your belief. It is always entertaining to “tune in” and read what you have to add to discussions.

    Enjoy a pleasant evening!

    Nordic

  38. Thanks for the kind words…. I am a kind of passionate person.

    I see your point completely on the abortion issue and I would bow to your explanation of it regarding our two “points of view”. I respect your take on the issue and agree that “the majority has spoken”. In some cases that majority speaks in a way that I agree with; in some cases they speak in ways that I disagree with. I also agree with your assessment of how democracy is changed and manipulated/controlled. Everyone has the right to their voice.

    I think the difference that I am kind of focused on is the idea that the believers rely on the idea of free will and doing the right thing in order to get into heaven. They then seek to restrict other people’s choices so that the free will thing is taken away. it is extra illogical to me. If I am going to go to hell for getting an abortion, why isn’t that enough? If I choose to do the wrong thing, I have made my choice. That is the point that i am trying to make. Many many believers want to establish laws and rules that are in line with their holy book (take the middle east for example). That is why i think that they are afraid of my freedom.

    You have a great evening as well… I have a lot of chores lined up …. miles to go before I sleep!

    In reply to #46 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

    Would you like to enact laws that block my right to have an abortion (if I were a woman)? Would you block my right to marry another man (if I were gay)? These are the freedoms that I am talking about. Religious folks march on Washington against abortion. They flock to the polls to vote against gay marriage.It is not enough for them to oppose these decisions, but rather, they want to bind me to their beliefs through law. That is what I am talking about. I am not talking about my right to not believe, they have no real idea of what non-belief means.If i am painting with too broad a brush, I acknowledge that as a possibility and if that is what you are speaking of, I understand. But, they are afraid of freedom and consistently demonstrate it.In reply to #28 by Nordic11:In reply to #15 by crookedshoes:Hi and welcome to our forum. I am having trouble forming this thought, so it might come out a bit garbled. First and foremost, NO, the ends do not justify the means.Here is the part I am struggling to articulate: I am not afraid of other people’s freedom. As an atheist, I point at and ridicule the silly assertions of religions or groups of religious people. I, however, am not afraid of their freedom to have the religion if they need it.It is the religious folks who are afraid of my freedom. It isn’t enough that (if they are right) I will go to hell for eternity. (BTW, if they really believed that and understood infinity they’d sing a different song). Anyway, I would argue and fight FOR their right to this freedom. They consistently argue and fight to block my freedom.My freedom scares the hell out of the believers. Their freedom is boring and commonplace to me.Hi crookedshoes,I think you are being unfair and sterotyping people of faith. Your freedom hardly scares me (or any other Christians I know), and I would vehemently defend your right to believe it. In fact, I find much of the discussion on this site invigorating, and it has help me question and plunge much further into my faith as Christian. It’s been very helpful indeed. I have the same types of conversations with my atheist friends, and we continue to respect and love each other.I would say that you should read careful the comments on this site from the viewpoint of a person of faith. We are regularly called demeaning names, told we belong in insane asylums for reprogramming, lumped into the same category as fanatical religious people, and labeled delusional just because we hold a different view of this universe than the group here. These are the behaviors that lead to atrocities when people come to power (whether they are theists or atheists), and it should not be tolerated.

    Hi crookedshoes,

    Thanks for the clarification. These are two thorny issues (which I will readily admit that many Christians are hsotile about in their support of them), but you are speaking as if abortion must be wrong and gay marriage must be right. We live in democracies, and the majority of voters must decide the legitimacy of these issues. For example, I wish my country did not have a gun for every man, woman and child, and I believe our very liberal gun laws are a moral issue, but US voters consistently vote against any meaningful gun legislation and so nearly unlimited gun ownership is the law of the land. I live with that decision. If Christians or other theists organize themselves into a voting block to pass certain legislation, well that’s there right as citazens of a democracy. If atheists have particular political agendas to push, they can do the same. Speaking from the perspective of a secular democracy (such as the US), there are no right things or wrong things. There are legal and illegal actions under the law that the citazens of the country decide upon. Obviously, you believe abortion is a right woman should have. I believe in the protection of every human citazen including those in the womb. In the US, citazens decided your position was legal, and I accept that decision. I am bound to your beliefs by the law, but if I want to try and change it through the same democratic process, I have every right to do so and then you (if you’re a US citazen) would be bound to the law by my beliefs. That is how democracy works, and it keeps us from reaching for each other’s throats (metaphorically speaking of course).

    I appreciate your comments on this site crookedshoes and your passion for your belief. It is always entertaining to “tune in” and read what you have to add to discussions.

    Enjoy a pleasant evening!

    Nordic

  39. In reply to #47 by crookedshoes:

    Thanks for the kind words…. I am a kind of passionate person.

    I see your point completely on the abortion issue and I would bow to your explanation of it regarding our two “points of view”. I respect your take on the issue and agree that “the majority has spoken”. In some cases that majority speaks in a way that I agree with; in some cases they speak in ways that I disagree with. I also agree with your assessment of how democracy is changed and manipulated/controlled. Everyone has the right to their voice.

    I think the difference that I am kind of focused on is the idea that the believers rely on the idea of free will and doing the right thing in order to get into heaven. They then seek to restrict other people’s choices so that the free will thing is taken away. it is extra illogical to me. If I am going to go to hell for getting an abortion, why isn’t that enough? If I choose to do the wrong thing, I have made my choice. That is the point that i am trying to make. Many many believers want to establish laws and rules that are in line with their holy book (take the middle east for example). That is why i think that they are afraid of my freedom.

    You have a great evening as well… I have a lot of chores lined up …. miles to go before I sleep!

    In reply to #46 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

    Would you like to enact laws that block my right to have an abortion (if I were a woman)? Would you block my right to marry another man (if I were gay)? These are the freedoms that I am talking about. Religious folks march on Washington against abortion. They flock to the polls to vote against gay marriage.It is not enough for them to oppose these decisions, but rather, they want to bind me to their beliefs through law. That is what I am talking about. I am not talking about my right to not believe, they have no real idea of what non-belief means.If i am painting with too broad a brush, I acknowledge that as a possibility and if that is what you are speaking of, I understand. But, they are afraid of freedom and consistently demonstrate it.In reply to #28 by Nordic11:In reply to #15 by crookedshoes:Hi and welcome to our forum. I am having trouble forming this thought, so it might come out a bit garbled. First and foremost, NO, the ends do not justify the means.Here is the part I am struggling to articulate: I am not afraid of other people’s freedom. As an atheist, I point at and ridicule the silly assertions of religions or groups of religious people. I, however, am not afraid of their freedom to have the religion if they need it.It is the religious folks who are afraid of my freedom. It isn’t enough that (if they are right) I will go to hell for eternity. (BTW, if they really believed that and understood infinity they’d sing a different song). Anyway, I would argue and fight FOR their right to this freedom. They consistently argue and fight to block my freedom.My freedom scares the hell out of the believers. Their freedom is boring and commonplace to me.Hi crookedshoes,I think you are being unfair and sterotyping people of faith. Your freedom hardly scares me (or any other Christians I know), and I would vehemently defend your right to believe it. In fact, I find much of the discussion on this site invigorating, and it has help me question and plunge much further into my faith as Christian. It’s been very helpful indeed. I have the same types of conversations with my atheist friends, and we continue to respect and love each other.I would say that you should read careful the comments on this site from the viewpoint of a person of faith. We are regularly called demeaning names, told we belong in insane asylums for reprogramming, lumped into the same category as fanatical religious people, and labeled delusional just because we hold a different view of this universe than the group here. These are the behaviors that lead to atrocities when people come to power (whether they are theists or atheists), and it should not be tolerated.

    Hi crookedshoes,

    Thanks for the clarification. These are two thorny issues (which I will readily admit that many Christians are hsotile about in their support of them), but you are speaking as if abortion must be wrong and gay marriage must be right. We live in democracies, and the majority of voters must decide the legitimacy of these issues. For example, I wish my country did not have a gun for every man, woman and child, and I believe our very liberal gun laws are a moral issue, but US voters consistently vote against any meaningful gun legislation and so nearly unlimited gun ownership is the law of the land. I live with that decision. If Christians or other theists organize themselves into a voting block to pass certain legislation, well that’s there right as citazens of a democracy. If atheists have particular political agendas to push, they can do the same. Speaking from the perspective of a secular democracy (such as the US), there are no right things or wrong things. There are legal and illegal actions under the law that the citazens of the country decide upon. Obviously, you believe abortion is a right woman should have. I believe in the protection of every human citazen including those in the womb. In the US, citazens decided your position was legal, and I accept that decision. I am bound to your beliefs by the law, but if I want to try and change it through the same democratic process, I have every right to do so and then you (if you’re a US citazen) would be bound to the law by my beliefs. That is how democracy works, and it keeps us from reaching for each other’s throats (metaphorically speaking of course).

    I appreciate your comments on this site crookedshoes and your passion for your belief. It is always entertaining to “tune in” and read what you have to add to discussions.

    Enjoy a pleasant evening!

    Nordic

    Well written, and I agree wholeheartedly. I firmly believe in a secular society where religious and non-beliefs are respected and no laws are passed that restrict choices that are violence free. I also agree that many believers are trying to integrate Biblical laws into the laws of a secular society, which I adamantly oppose. I don’t know if they are afraid of your freedom, but they are afraid you will do to them what they are trying to do to you. One of the last places I would want to live is in a society where hard core fundamentalist Christians are writing the laws.

    Great talking to you. Sorry about the chores. I look forward to meeting up again on another thread.

    Cheers!

  40. In reply to #9 by GPWC:

    I don’t know enough about the early days of the Russian revolution to know how soon after 1917, religion was repressed.

    Most religions were attacked early on, especially the greek orthodox church, as they were actually major supporters of the tsars and would have prefered any military dictatorship to bolshevik communism. In a way, with the conjunction of the civil war and quashing revolutions in many other countries, they succeeded, since the idealised soviet communism quickly degenerated under the pressures of civil war and trying to run a country with a limited level of literacy, which led to a class of bureaucrats which quickly began to hold on to their power, through which Stalin was able to rise, thus creating a dictatorship.

    As for the rest of the comment… let’s just stick to you have some good points but we disagree majorly on the fundamental viewpoint about the left.

    (edit) Oh and I agree that somedude’s comment is probably the best summation of most of the opinions on this site

  41. In reply to #45 by GospelofJudas:

    In reply to #41 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #40 by Red Dog:

    It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

    Law enforcement and regulation are important. Outlawing deception and fraud: – (which may be acting under the guise of religion, quackology, or whatever), is important. Fraudsters or nutters are not going to desist because of reason, so on matters like children’s education or financial transactions, an honest legal framework is needed.

    Red Dog is on point here, and Nordic11 brings up an excellent example of this mindset taken too far. Should there be a law stopping televangelists from saying, ‘send me your money, and Jesus will pay your taxes!’? Perhaps. It would still need to be settled in court, and this is one of the more conspicuous examples of fraudulence; there are many more subtle messages that various religions wish to espouse, and those would be far more difficult to curtail. By all means, leave secular education to teach a-religious ideas (except of course for the impact of religion on history), but having a state step in and tell people what to think is NOT okay. I have seen once or twice on this board the phrase, ‘we let our children think x, y, or z’ and cringed; teach people to think, REALLY think, and the excesses of dogma will seem utterly ridiculous to them.

    Excellent question gospelofjudas. I would love to see a law banning televangelists who ask for money, but millions watch them freely and that would impinge on their rights. I would also like to see a law banning more than $2000 of credit card debt, but people are free to make their own bad choices. I do think laws that help inform people would help. For example, when asking for money, the evangelist would have to superimpose a summary of his organization’s budget that clearly states where the money goes. If his viewers know he is pulling in a million dollar salary while he’s standing there asking for more, perhaps fewer people would be giving him their last penny. If not, at least they are making a more informed decision.

    Have a great night!

    Nordic

  42. The question is did the end justify the mean ?????

    Of course not. Violence and oppression are never justified.

    But I would think that the persecution of religions was just a mean to an end, enforcing absolute control over the population, diminishing its cultural identity and eliminating all alternative sources of influence in favour of the hegemony of the state. It’s fascistic.

  43. In reply to #43 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #41 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #40 by Red Dog:

    It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

    Law enforcement and regulation are important. Outlawing deception and fraud: – (which may be acting under the guise of religion, quackology, or whatever), is important. Fraudsters or nutters are not going to desist because of reason, so on matters like children’s education or financial transactions, an honest legal framework is needed.

    Hi alan,

    Are you saying that all of us theists are particpipating in fraud and decption, and therefore the law should 1) lock us up, 2) forbid us from worshiping 3) take our children into state custody 4) all of the previously mentioned?

    No. I am saying that there should be legally enforcible codes of conduct (As there are in many professions and many countries) that deal with dishonest and fraudulent exploitation of citizens, or ignoramus charlatans posing as expert professionals.
    I am not saying this applies across the board to all religions or all religious activities, but there are some very clear examples.

    What if a government deemed atheism as fraudulent?

    Atheism is a lack of belief in ALL gods. There does not seem to be any rational basis for deeming this fraudulent, as clearly believing in ALL gods is not a credible position. There are no “atheist dogmas” to adversely affect other people.

    Will your reasoning work both ways?

    Which two ways? There are multitudes of variable possibilities. Issues of fraud, knowingly making false statements, and deceptive exploitation, should be dealt with on the basis of individual cases, cults, groups, quackology-enterprises, etc.

    Do you see this mindset as the best way of moving forward as a global society?

    I think all societies need well thought-out codes of conduct – based on the “golden rule”, respect for honest people and respect for honest and competent information.

    I have severe doubts about humans’ abilities to run a “global society” – given the failings in attempts on smaller scales, or the disputes over even limited agreement on issues of global collective welfare like climate.

    I see some of these issues have been dealt with in later posts.

  44. In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #43 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #41 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #40 by Red Dog:

    It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

    Law enforcement and regulation are important. Outlawing deception and fraud: – (which may be acting under the guise of religion, quackology, or whatever), is important. Fraudsters or nutters are not going to desist because of reason, so on matters like children’s education or financial transactions, an honest legal framework is needed.

    Hi alan,

    Are you saying that all of us theists are particpipating in fraud and decption, and therefore the law should 1) lock us up, 2) forbid us from worshiping 3) take our children into state custody 4) all of the previously mentioned?

    No. I am saying that there should be legally enforcible codes of conduct (As there are in many professions and many countries) that deal with dishonest and fraudulent exploitation of citizens, or ignoramus charlatans posing as expert professionals.
    I am not saying this applies across the board to all religions or all religious activities, but there are some very clear examples.

    What if a government deemed atheism as fraudulent?

    Atheism is a lack of belief in ALL gods. There does not seem to be any rational basis for deeming this fraudulent, as clearly believing in ALL gods is not a credible position. There are no “atheist dogmas” to adversely affect other people.

    Will your reasoning work both ways?

    Which two ways? There are multitudes of variable possibilities. Issues of fraud, knowingly making false statements, and deceptive exploitation, should be dealt with on the basis of individual cases, cults, groups, quackology-enterprises, etc.

    Do you see this mindset as the best way of moving forward as a global society?

    I think all societies need well thought-out codes of conduct – based on the “golden rule”, respect for honest people and respect for honest and competent information.

    I have severe doubts about humans’ abilities to run a “global society” – given the failings in attempts on smaller scales, or the disputes over even limited agreement on issues of global collective welfare like climate.

    I see some of these issues have been dealt with in later posts.

    Thanks for the reply, alan. I’m not certain you’re still reading this thread but here goes.

    As for your phrase
    “legally enforcible codes of conduct (As there are in many professions and many countries) that deal with dishonest and fraudulent exploitation of citizens”

    I would agree with you if I know what the definitions of dishonest and fraudulent are (as well as who decides them). For example, I believe in Christ as savior. You believe that is preposterous. If I share my faith with someone else (who wants to hear about it), am I being fraudulent and deceptive because you disagree with my beliefs?

    I would disagree with you that atheists do not have dogmas. One common dogma on this site is that all religious are detrimental to humankind and should be destroyed. If that’s not an official dogma is about as close as you can get to one.

    I think we have a cooperative global society right now, at least with regards to our overall economic growth and the abandonment of war by most countries. The question is, do you favor laws to make religion and faith illegal in that emerging society or will you protect people’s rights to believe what they want and tell others about it?

    Thanks for the discussion and enjoy your day!

  45. In reply to #53 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #43 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #41 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #40 by Red Dog:

    It doesn’t matter if believing something will have good or bad consequences or if there is or isn’t overwhelming evidence that its true, you don’t use force to change people’s minds. Period. You use reason.Its one of the reasons I’m so appalled at some of the more extreme things people sometimes say on this site (e.g., that outlawing religion wold be a good idea).

    Law enforcement and regulation are important. Outlawing deception and fraud: – (which may be acting under the guise of religion, quackology, or whatever), is important. Fraudsters or nutters are not going to desist because of reason, so on matters like children’s education or financial transactions, an honest legal framework is needed.

    Hi alan,

    Are you saying that all of us theists are particpipating in fraud and decption, and therefore the law should 1) lock us up, 2) forbid us from worshiping 3) take our children into state custody 4) all of the previously mentioned?

    No. I am saying that there should be legally enforcible codes of conduct (As there are in many professions and many countries) that deal with dishonest and fraudulent exploitation of citizens, or ignoramus charlatans posing as expert professionals.
    I am not saying this applies across the board to all religions or all religious activities, but there are some very clear examples.

    What if a government deemed atheism as fraudulent?

    Atheism is a lack of belief in ALL gods. There does not seem to be any rational basis for deeming this fraudulent, as clearly believing in ALL gods is not a credible position. There are no “atheist dogmas” to adversely affect other people.

    Will your reasoning work both ways?

    Which two ways? There are multitudes of variable possibilities. Issues of fraud, knowingly making false statements, and deceptive exploitation, should be dealt with on the basis of individual cases, cults, groups, quackology-enterprises, etc.

    Do you see this mindset as the best way of moving forward as a global society?

    I think all societies need well thought-out codes of conduct – based on the “golden rule”, respect for honest people and respect for honest and competent information.

    I have severe doubts about humans’ abilities to run a “global society” – given the failings in attempts on smaller scales, or the disputes over even limited agreement on issues of global collective welfare like climate.

    I see some of these issues have been dealt with in later posts.

    Thanks for the reply, alan. I’m not certain you’re still reading this thread but here goes.

    As for your phrase
    “legally enforcible codes of conduct (As there are in many professions and many countries) that deal with dishonest and fraudulent exploitation of citizens”

    I would agree with you if I know what the definitions of dishonest and fraudulent are (as well as who decides them).

    There are quite a few UK laws which have been drawn up by professional bodies (Medics, architects, trasport of dangerous substances, food quality etc) which have subsequently been made statutory te ensure enforcement and compliance. The government is looking at that sort of issue, in the current scandal of horse-meat being sold as beef.

    For example, I believe in Christ as savior. You believe that is preposterous.

    I believe there is no historical evidence for that view, and that what historical evidence is available shows it to be mythology or fiction.

    If I share my faith with someone else (who wants to hear about it), am I being fraudulent and deceptive because you disagree with my beliefs?

    There is no problem with speculating about history, or discussing mythology or fiction. It becomes a problem when people use it dogmatically as factual material in pursuit of objectives which clash with objective evidence, thereby closing their minds to rational persuasion.

    I would disagree with you that atheists do not have dogmas. One common dogma on this site is that all religious are detrimental to humankind and should be destroyed. If that’s not an official dogma is about as close as you can get to one.

    I’m not sure about “ALL” and certainly not “ALL aspects of religions are detrimental.

    However, the core thinking of “belief without evidence” or “Faith over-rides scientific evidence” (Vatican 1) is the basis of many destructive false beliefs (such as YEC) and strange views on human biology.

    I think we have a cooperative global society right now, at least with regards to our overall economic growth

    I think you are being naive on this. There is certainly some international co-operation on “economic growth”. I would not see this as a good feature and would nrather see “sustainable renewal and modernisation”. The planet cannot accommodate increasing human numbers or human consumption of resources.

    and the abandonment of war by most countries.

    There are wars going on and local armed revolutions / lawless banditry, going on all over the world. There are also some big political conflicts building in the Middle-East, Africa and Asia.

    The question is, do you favor laws to make religion and faith illegal in that emerging society or will you protect people’s rights to believe what they want and tell others about it?

    This is too general. It comes down to individual cases and the extent of their political activity or interference with other people. . Clearly teaching that some religion “is above the law” (as certain bishops and certain cults do) , is not acceptable.

    BTW – Sticking in the extra “>” or “>>” in front of re-quotes – with extra line spaces at the ends, makes them clearer

    Thanks for the discussion and enjoy your day!

    You’re welcome!

  46. In reply to #53 by Nordic11:

    I would disagree with you that atheists do not have dogmas. One common dogma on this site is that all religious are detrimental to humankind and should be destroyed. If that’s not an official dogma is about as close as you can get to one.

    In the sense that lots of people on here have probably come to hold similar individual opinions, the first part of that statement could adhere to the following definition of doma:

    a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation. Synonyms: conviction, certainty.

    However it is important to note that this is quite different to the religious definition of dogma:

    a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility. Synonyms: tenet, canon, law.

    Also I don’t think the phrase that all religions “should be destroyed” can even be applied to the first definition of dogma. My guess would be that most regular contributors to these forums would disagree with that. A more accurate wording would be that all religions “should be held to account for their actions and expressions.”

  47. In reply to #55 by Bigtimedwarfer:
    A more accurate wording would be that all religions “should be held to account for their actions and expressions.”

    Well said, and quite sensible. I would further say that you would have to take the organizations within said religions to task, but otherwise I agree.

  48. NO IT DOESNOT beacuse u can’t obligate somebody to be an atheist, because if u do you are just doing the same thing as other religions do using the method of totalitarianism, to impose their ideology before another, we atheists use logic, science, history, facts.
    And we do not force anyone to think like us
    As far as i know, Stalin killed and persecuted those who were against him, not persecuted for being religious, he also could never eradicate religion in Russia itself.

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