1. Standard membertelerion
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    23 Mar '06 02:05
    With all the talk of how "vile" atheism is, I thought this would make for some interesting discussion.

    http://www.ur.umn.edu/FMPro?-db=releases&-lay=web&-format=umnnewsreleases/releasesdetail.html&ID=2816&-Find

    and just in case it doesn't, let me stress one bit of the article

    "The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts."

    For those hick cowpokes among us: the teacher sayuz to hate them atheists is like yur stoopud er sumpin.
  2. Standard memberorfeo
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    23 Mar '06 02:20
    One observation is to say that more educated people are more tolerant of diversity in all its forms - religion, race, breakdown of traditional gender roles etc.

    Another observation is that it is arguable that modern 'education' is designed to achieve precisely that.

    Another, more inflammatory observation is that what it is really achieving is a society of people who tolerate EVERYTHING, possibly because they no longer have a concept of truth.

    Whether that's a good or a bad thing is an entirely different question - one that you appear to have implicitly answered already.

    PS I don't necessarily have a concluded view on all of the above, I just couldn't resist trying to puncture your post.
  3. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    23 Mar '06 02:28
    Originally posted by orfeo
    One observation is to say that more educated people are more tolerant of diversity in all its forms - religion, race, breakdown of traditional gender roles etc.

    Another observation is that it is arguable that modern 'education' is designed to achieve precisely that.

    Another, more inflammatory observation is that what it is really achieving is a society o ...[text shortened]... a concluded view on all of the above, I just couldn't resist trying to puncture your post.
    Absolutely. Small-minded, intolerant, bigoted christians are far more use to the world than open minded people who just want to get on with living.
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    23 Mar '06 04:51
    Originally posted by telerion
    With all the talk of how "vile" atheism is, I thought this would make for some interesting discussion.

    http://www.ur.umn.edu/FMPro?-db=releases&-lay=web&-format=umnnewsreleases/releasesdetail.html&ID=2816&-Find

    and just in case it doesn't, let me stress one bit of the article

    "The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is relate ...[text shortened]... k cowpokes among us: the teacher sayuz to hate them atheists is like yur stoopud er sumpin.
    I grew up pretty sheltered, and when I seen or heard of an atheist, I was like OMG, How can they be one? I just couldn't imagine it.
    Now that I'm older and in college, and have many atheist friends, I can see why they are atheist, I sortve feel sorry for them. With all the hypocrisy out there, I can perfectly see why they believe the way they do, and I don't blame them. Although Jesus to me is everything, I know he exists.

    I also find it interesting how vile atheist is to theism. On this forum, I get the impression that Christians are Small-minded, intolerant, bigoted, Right wing etc. etc. When in fact if you'll go out in real life, and meet most of these people, and live with them, you'll get a new impression of them.

    Just my 2 cents worth.. Got to get back to studying.
  5. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    23 Mar '06 05:02
    Originally posted by flyUnity
    I grew up pretty sheltered, and when I seen or heard of an atheist, I was like OMG, How can they be one? I just couldn't imagine it.
    Now that I'm older and in college, and have many atheist friends, I can see why they are atheist, I sortve feel sorry for them. With all the hypocrisy out there, I can perfectly see why they believe the way they do, and I do ...[text shortened]... ou'll get a new impression of them.

    Just my 2 cents worth.. Got to get back to studying.
    I agree. Well said.

    You see the point though?!
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    23 Mar '06 12:46
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Absolutely. Small-minded, intolerant, bigoted christians are far more use to the world than open minded people who just want to get on with living.
    It's just a good thing we don't have small-minded, intolerent atheists out there as well.
  7. Standard memberorfeo
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    23 Mar '06 13:33
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Absolutely. Small-minded, intolerant, bigoted christians are far more use to the world than open minded people who just want to get on with living.
    Despite the tone of sarcasm that was apparently said in, it's worth considering the question further. Who is more likely to actually shape the world they live in - someone who is just 'getting on with living', or someone who strongly believes in certain things?
  8. Standard membertelerion
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    23 Mar '06 16:21
    Originally posted by orfeo
    Despite the tone of sarcasm that was apparently said in, it's worth considering the question further. Who is more likely to actually shape the world they live in - someone who is just 'getting on with living', or someone who strongly believes in certain things?
    I've enjoyed all of the responses so far. Very sincere.

    Before I respond directly to your question, let me clarify that I'm reading into your post here a bit by assuming you mean "shape the world they live in" to be a positive action. It should be obvious immediately upon a moments reflection that such an action need not be positive at all!

    Another problem with the question is that it equates non-theists with people who do not strongly believe in any certain things. This, however, is not a true relation. Atheists may have strong beliefs in many causes. The only thing that necessarily seperates theists from non-theists (i.e. atheists) is the belief in at least one god. Two people, one theist and one atheist, can share a great number of other beliefs (e.g. the importance of preserving the planet, our duty to educate our children and care for our families, the benefit of helping the poor and sick). These shared beliefs may cause both people to influence the world in a positive way. Note that it is true that theists and non-theists may share other beliefs that lead them to influence the world negatively as well.

    Now from a structural point of view*, it is not obvious to me that the theist should be more concerned with shaping the world in a positive manner, especially if such an enterprise is costly (in terms of finances, effort, or perhaps status). Consider that all theists can be divided into two groups: those that believe in an eternal afterlife and those that do not. For those that do believe in an eternal afterlife, the optimal amount of positive "world-shaping" is that level which is just enough to reward them with the good afterlife payoff (heaven). Any additional effort is suboptimal since any improvement comprises only an infintesimal fraction of their entire life (earthly life + afterlife). Think of a game where you must build a sand castle to get $1,000,000. Time spent building the sand castle comes at the cost of effort and lost income from an outside source. Moreover, at some point the tide will come in and wipe the sand castle away. In such a game, the optimal strategy is to build the bare minimum of what satisfies "a sandcastle" and collect the $1,000,000. Any additional effort comes at the costs described above with no change in payoff, and of course, it will all be destroyed anyway.

    Now for theists who do not believe in an infinite afterlife, the incentive to shape the world positively grows because the improvement comprises a larger fraction of their whole life. The increased proportion of their earthly life to their whole life causes them to place more weight on earthly matters.

    So for atheists, most of whom do not believe in an afterlife**, the entire weight is placed on earthly matters. Life on earth is precious precisely because it is temporary. Therefore the atheist should work at least as hard, if not harder, to shape the world that they live in.

    Ironically, I've heard evangelicals use this same argument, but as a perjorative. Perhaps you've heard the following as well: "If there's no afterlife, and here and now is all there is, then atheists should be raping and stealing all the time, because who cares what happens?"
    Certainly if one is predisposed toward raping and stealing, the absence of some long or even infinite punishment will come as a comfort; however, there is no reason to think that atheists are any more predisposed toward raping and stealing than anyone else. The majority wish to make the world a better place. Given the view that this life is all that there is, the atheist actually has at least as strong or stronger incentive to work toward that noble goal than does his theist counterpart.

    * - by structural, I mean that I will examine the incentives created by the system itself. It does not mean that all theists of a certain type will always behave one way and all atheists will behave another way.

    ** - being an atheist does not necessarily imply that you do not believe in an afterlife, however, most do not.
  9. Standard memberKellyJay
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    23 Mar '06 16:26
    Originally posted by telerion
    With all the talk of how "vile" atheism is, I thought this would make for some interesting discussion.

    http://www.ur.umn.edu/FMPro?-db=releases&-lay=web&-format=umnnewsreleases/releasesdetail.html&ID=2816&-Find

    and just in case it doesn't, let me stress one bit of the article

    "The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is relate ...[text shortened]... k cowpokes among us: the teacher sayuz to hate them atheists is like yur stoopud er sumpin.
    There are a lot of things the 'educated' among us accept.
    That doesn't mean those things are right, correct, or wise.
    Kelly
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    23 Mar '06 16:47
    Originally posted by telerion
    I've enjoyed all of the responses so far. Very sincere.

    Before I respond directly to your question, let me clarify that I'm reading into your post here a bit by assuming you mean "shape the world they live in" to be a positive action. It should be obvious immediately upon a moments reflection that such an action need not be positive at all!

    Anot ...[text shortened]... ot necessarily imply that you do not believe in an afterlife, however, most do not.
    Very nice.

    I'd like to add that it seems to me that for all the theists I've met who do have a belief in the afterlife, not one of them has shown any desire to work harder to achieve any state of goodness than my atheist friends. I have to conclude that this is because of one of two reasons:

    1) Either the level of good required to achieve entry into the afterlife is fairly low. If so, how do they know this? Isn't this a risky tae on things.
    2) Most people, whether they claim to be theist or not, find it very hard to live in state that suggests you should do good things for any other purpose than just getting along in life. Especially if the effort involved is above the means of relatively normal existence.

    So I have to wonder why there aren't lots of Christians running around like greyhounds, doing as much good as possible, lest they get left behind.
  11. Standard memberKellyJay
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    23 Mar '06 16:531 edit
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Very nice.

    I'd like to add that it seems to me that for all the theists I've met who do have a belief in the afterlife, not one of them has shown any desire to work harder to achieve any state of goodness than my atheist friends. I have to conclude that this is because of one of two reasons:

    1) Either the level of good required to achieve entry into s running around like greyhounds, doing as much good as possible, lest they get left behind.
    Well that is because of the two different views on goodness both
    camps have.
    Atheist have to achieve their own righteousness it is a self
    righteousness since that is all they have.
    Theist at least Christians, believe one should also be good,
    but the righteousness they rest in is another's, and that is
    Jesus Christ's that He has given to all that come to Him.
    Kelly
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    23 Mar '06 16:54
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Well that is because of the two different views on goodness both
    camps have.
    Atheist have to achieve their own righteousness it is a self
    righteousness since that is all they have.
    Theist at least Christians, believe one should also be good,
    but the righteousness they rest in is another's, and that is
    Jesus Christ's that He has given to all that come to Him.
    Kelly
    None of that makes any sense, could you try again please?
  13. Standard membertelerion
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    23 Mar '06 19:50
    Originally posted by Starrman
    None of that makes any sense, could you try again please?
    It means that Jesus has done all the heavy-lifting. Therefore, from the perspective of any theist other than Jesus, the minimum level of good that must be done to enter heaven is zilch.
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    23 Mar '06 19:57
    Originally posted by telerion
    It means that Jesus has done all the heavy-lifting. Therefore, from the perspective of any theist other than Jesus, the minimum level of good that must be done to enter heaven is zilch.
    That's only true for OSAS Christians.

    Why does everyone here (except the non-OSAS Christians) seem to assume that all Christians are OSAS??
  15. Standard membertelerion
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    23 Mar '06 20:08
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    That's only true for OSAS Christians.

    Why does everyone here (except the non-OSAS Christians) seem to assume that all Christians are OSAS??
    I was clarifying KJ's post, not speaking for all of Christendom.

    You should direct your response to KJ instead of me.
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