Originally posted by Rajk999
Someones beliefs as an atheist has no bearing on me. I think that beliefs are a personal matter and I respect your right to believe that there is no God. What you believe matters to you not me, and viceversa.
Can you explain how a normal religious person impacts negatively on society? Please dont use exceptional cases of religious extremism to justify your conclusions.
I am assuming that your referring to things like the KKK or 9:11 terrorists as extreme cases.
I don't need to refer to such instances to justify my claims, but they do add weight to them.
You say someone's beliefs as an atheist has no bearing on you.
Skipping past, atheism isn't a belief system...
If I for example, were in charge of the curriculum of your education system, that you or your
children were attending.
I could in that position include, or exclude, the teaching of things that contradict your religion.
Many theists do indeed take exception to this, with the teaching of science in general, and
evolution in particular, being hotly challenged by many theists.
If I were in government I could make laws that impact on your lives in ways that might impact
your religion and its practices.
Now, not making judgements about the rightness or wrongness of those laws and policies, they
do potentially effect you, and those around you, and shape the society you live in, so I think its
reasonable to say that my beliefs would matter to you in this circumstance.
Now of course the reverse could (and often is) true, where the head of a school board, or a politician
is religious, sometimes highly so. And makes decisions that effect many people that are rooted in the
religious positions they hold.
Much (if not quite all) anti abortion and contraception legislation, and disastrous, abstinence only
education programs are driven by religious beliefs in those promoting and enforcing their beliefs on
Also, in line with a question I asked earlier (of someone else)....
How do you decide which unsubstantiated things to believe in?
There is no evidence For
the existence of god, just like there is no evidence For
of fairies at the end of your garden.... However you believe in god, but not the fairies (I presume here that
you don't believe in fairies, but if you do, substitute in something you don't believe in that has no evidence).
You also believe that it is the Christian god (and probably a particular version of the Christian god) that is
real and not some other monotheistic god, or any other unfounded religion.
What's the point?
If you are prepared to believe in something without proof, what is to stop you deciding that if you can believe
one thing without evidence why not believe this other thing without evidence.
Your judgement is now called into question.
If you require evidence and reason to believe in something then you stand a much higher chance that the things
you believe are objectively and demonstrably true.
And if the evidence or arguments are shown to be wrong you can change what you believe to fit the new evidence
meaning your world view tends to get better and more accurate over time, and if you believe things that don't
work you can change them for things that do.
If however you believe things without evidence on 'faith', and/or because some 'authority' says so. And they
(as some beliefs inevitably will be) are wrong, how do you change them?
You have already thrown out the only reliable or practical way of verifying what you believe against reality.
Science is the embodiment of scepticism, rationality, reason and evidence through observation, and controlled
It is the only proven way of testing and validating what we believe against the reality we live in.
If you reject it and it's principles in one area, why would you value it in others?
And yes, if you have lots of people saying the bible/Koran/ect is the only/best source of knowledge, and that
everything in there is the word of god and some such, then ever so often you will get someone who actually
believes it and goes and reads the thing, and starts doing some of the horrible things it tells you to do.
The fact that most believers will filter out (never read) the crazier parts of their holy books, doesn't mean everyone
You can use religion, pretty much any religion, and certainly Christianity, as a justification for war/terrorism/genocide/ect
and many people have throughout history....
You can't use secular Humanism (for example) to do the same.
However, which ever side you happen to be on...
You can't claim that other peoples beliefs have no effect on you or society.
You make the choices and decisions in your life based on what you believe, Where those choices and decisions effect others
and they effect you what those others believe matters.
If you think those beliefs are wrong, or harmful, why would you not want to change them.