Humanists and atheists look to higher profile

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Humanists and atheists look to higher profile

#1

Post by August » Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:57 am

Hi everyone,

Here is an interesting little story about atheists getting organized globally. I think it's interesting that they deem it necessary to become organized in this way, that means religion must be making progress. I guess their fear is that governments will become state religions. It's also interesting that they seem to leave the more militant theocracies alone, and are concentrating on the West instead.

Thoughts?

Stuff (New Zealand) ^ | 04 January 2005

GENEVA: Humanist and atheist groups around the world are looking to boost their profile in 2005 to counter religious fundamentalism and efforts by some Western leaders to relaunch faith as a keystone of national life.

Under pressure from the rise of militant Islam, Vatican activism in the European Union and the re-election of a "born-again" Christian to the White House, they feel they must resist to ensure the ideas of secularism survive and spread.

"In the face of the religious onslaught on Humanist values, we have to speak out and get our message over," says Roy Brown, Swiss-based president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) which links groups totalling millions of members.

Two central events will be a World Atheist Conference at Vijayawada in India in early January and the IHEU's World Congress in July at the Paris headquarters of Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

"We must work hard to combat the encroachment of religion on public policy and on the rights of non-believers everywhere," said IHEU executive director Babu Gogineni.

Atheists, who see no evidence for the existence of a deity, and Humanists, who are mainly atheists but include some believers, share that core concern: to keep religion out of politics and limit it to the private sphere.

They draw their inspiration from freethinkers down the ages, from ancient Greek and Indian philosophers through the 18th century Enlightenment that shaped much of modern political thinking in Europe and North America.

PRINCIPLES ATTACKED

But they see key Humanist principles — respect for human rights and racial and sexual equality with morality based on reason rather than on the dictates of a supreme being through a holy book — as under assault, and not just in Muslim countries.

The re-election in November of George W Bush, US Humanists fear, strengthened the influence of Christian fundamentalists dedicated to restoring the Bible, "God's word," to a central role in public life and foreign policy.

Many of Bush supporters appear to see the war in Iraq in the same terms as the president, and Muslim fundamentalists, as one arena of a cosmic struggle between good and evil in which what Humanists would regard as crimes are permissible on both sides.

Bush's triumph has also boosted opponents of abortion and homosexuality, as well as supporters of Intelligent Design (ID) which rejects evolution — the development of all life on earth from lower forms through natural selection of the fittest — as elaborated by 19th century British naturalist Charles Darwin.

The ID movement emerged from the ranks of US creationists, who believe the Bible is literally correct and that their God created the world and all in it. ID limits itself to arguing that an intelligence must have shaped life.

In many US states, fundamentalists on school boards ensure that creationism — taught widely until the late 1960s — is still present in some form. ID supporters are now demanding that their beliefs be taught alongside evolution.

Last month British philosopher Anthony Flew, long a champion of unbelief, announced to the dismay of some fellow atheists that he was now convinced an intelligence must have provided the spark of life and perhaps even done some designing.

His "conversion" was greeted with delight on creationist and Catholic websites. But Flew hastened to clarify that he believed that the intelligence involved was not the Christian, Jewish or Moslem "personal" deity, and that there is no "afterlife."

GOD OF THE GAPS

Atheist scientist-thinkers, like British biologist Richard Dawkins, said Flew had simply come to "the god of the gaps" — a view held by some philosophers but few scientists that some "force" must have been at play because science has not pinned down how life could have begun otherwise.

In Britain, many Humanists feel that Prime Minister Tony Blair — a strong religious believer — and members of his government are undermining secular traditions.

They point to his promotion of faith schools run by various religious communities, including two financed by a fundamentalist businessman where creationism is taught as science.

Blair's push for a new law that would protect all believers from "incitement to hate" on the grounds of their faith — a key demand of Muslim activists — is bound to restrict criticism of religion as such, Humanists argue.

His readiness to bend government policies to the views of "faith" leaders, they say, has led religious hard-liners to demand ever more concessions on social and cultural issues such as limiting the right to stage plays that might offend religion.

In most Muslim countries, religion and politics are closely intertwined and apostasy or renunciation of the faith is often a criminal offence. Penalties include execution, but "apostates" are routinely treated as outcasts and harassed.

Secular and evangelical Christian groups launched a campaign at the United Nations last year to convince Islamic leaders to work to change this, but to little effect.

SOME ADVANCES

However Humanists see some advances over the past year in Europe, Asia and even in Africa where atheists have begun to organise.

In Europe, Vatican efforts to have the EU constitution include a reference to the continent's Christian heritage were blocked. The European Parliament voted to bar a traditionalist Italian Catholic from becoming the new justice commissioner.

France's ban on Muslim headscarves in state schools was imposed in September with few problems, despite warnings that it would unleash protests and alienate many in Europe's largest Islamic minority.

In Spain, the Socialists replaced the Catholic-inspired Popular Party after its decade in power and began a series of secular reforms angering the Church hierarchy, including a move to allow gay marriage.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost power in India's general elections to the firmly secular Congress Party.

Even at the United Nations there was good news from for Humanists.

Bangladeshi writer and medical doctor Taslima Nasrin, living in exile after criticising Islam and an active campaigner for the rights of women and the non-religious, was awarded a Unesco prize for promoting cultural tolerance.

But at the same time a Vatican campaign led to the world body adding "Christianophobia" to "Islamophobia" and anti-Semitism as issues its human rights bodies report on — a sign for many that religious forces are reinforcing their grip.

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#2

Post by Kurieuo » Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:32 am

And they say they aren't religious... ;)

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#3

Post by Mastermind » Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:39 am

What the hell is "morality based on reason"? If morality was based on reason, I'd do the only morally reasonable thing to do: help myself. If it hurts others in the process, why do I care? There is no reason to care about anybody else if everything is relative. In fact, there is no good, evil, or logical morals. The only reason most atheists have morals is because they're just as "brainwashed" as religious people. Empathy? Caring? Those are sissy traits, unworthy of the human race. Such people should be removed before they infect our gene pool even more.</atheist derived morals>

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#4

Post by Anonymous » Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:16 pm

GENEVA: Humanist and atheist groups around the world are looking to boost their profile in 2005 to counter religious fundamentalism
I can't say I believe this to be a "bad" thing...after all, it was fundamentalism that created the whole ordeal on September 11. It doesn't matter what religion you are talking about...fundamentalism is a bizarre thing and it has disastrous results. Most Muslims are not "bad" people, just as most Christians aren't "bad" people. Fundamentalism, on the other hand, IS something that needs to have a close eye watching it.

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#5

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:24 pm

I may be biassed, but I'd prefer a fundamentalist Christian over a fundamentalist Atheist any day. ;)

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#6

Post by Anonymous » Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:14 pm

Wow I thought Bush was a bad President but this is well worth it!
It would be awesome if Bush could push for ID!

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#7

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Jan 09, 2005 7:48 pm

vvart wrote:Wow I thought Bush was a bad President
B&

J/K, obviously ;)

I did get a good laugh out of the article.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#8

Post by Anonymous » Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:49 pm

whats the joke?

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#9

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Jan 09, 2005 9:18 pm

n/m, bad joke
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#10

Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:24 pm

I'm happy to be a part of a country with First Amendment rights, but this is utterly ridiculous:
It would be awesome if Bush could push for ID!
I'd prefer a fundamentalist Christian over a fundamentalist Atheist any day.
Fundamentalism is fundamentalism regardless of the religion or non-religion...if I were to ask you which murderer you would prefer living with you, would you say you'd prefer a murderer with large blue eyes over a murderer with small brown eyes? It makes no difference what the things look like, it doesn't change the fact that they are crazy.
There is no reason to care about anybody else if everything is relative. In fact, there is no good, evil, or logical morals. The only reason most atheists have morals is because they're just as "brainwashed" as religious people
I think this statement is a little bit biased in favor of a religious viewpoint. If you've had a religious viewpoint your entire life and have refused to listen to others' views, how can you make such an assumption? There is no reason to care about anyone else? Unless you are either religious or "brainwashed" into religious views? That sounds pretty intolerant of other people and other religions.

This website was, I thought, supposed to be "evidence for God from science." How is it that so many people can refuse a scientific standpoint--which requires a dismissal of preconceived notions if one is to truly find an answer--and still say that they are "proving God with science?" It would seem that the first thing they would do is understand what it takes to have the mind of a scientist before they pretend they have all the scientific answers necessary to defend a religious view.

Here are a few preconceived notions, for those who may not understand:
1) My religion is absolutely right, and there is nothing anyone can do or say that would make me believe otherwise. (Egocentrism)
2) My God is the only God there is, and anyone else is wrong. (Egocentrism...doesn't the Bible preach something against the ways of the egotist?)
3) Evolution is wrong because Satan makes it look right...it is wrong because it isn't in the Bible. (This is a preconceived notion that since the Bible is always right, evolution can in no way, shape, or form be true.)
4) Intelligent Design must be true because I believe God created man, and so it only makes sense that there is an intelligent designer. (Scientists should never skew data to work in favor of their religious views. To do so is against the integrity of the scientist in question. I don't see any real scientists skewing data, but pseudo-scientists and pseudo-mathemeticians do it all the time.)
Empathy? Caring? Those are sissy traits, unworthy of the human race. Such people should be removed before they infect our gene pool even more.</atheist derived morals>
Sounds like someone is acting on preconceived notions again. Sissy traits? That sounds like a Southern Baptist thing that an abusive alcoholic hillbilly with "I Love God," "Real Men Love Jesus," and "Proud To Be An American" bumperstickers all over his truck would say to his eight-year-old son. (Stereotypes work in both directions.) Atheist-derived morals? Did you know not all Buddhists believe in God? They are the most empathic, caring culture I've read about thus far. How many Buddhist Crusades do you read about? How many Buddhist Witch Hunts have there been in our history? How many Buddhists have stockpiles of nuclear weapons? How many Buddhists will tell you that God gave us the planet, so we have every right to destroy it? Wow, I hate stereotypes. I hate prejudice and bigotry. I hate hate, and there seems to be plenty of it. Try and explain to an alien civilization that atheists are evil and Christians are good as they witness your current Christian administration bomb the heck out of a third-world country...you say there is no logic in morals? I think it would be quite logical to assume that you are wrong based on the glorious history of this country and the "under God" people who have lived here, beginning with the slaughter of American Natives (who, for the most part, welcomed us God-lovers with open arms) all the way to the witch hunts...where is the logic in any of that? Where is the empathy? The caring? The understanding? The "sissy traits" when you are defending a culture that has hurt the planet and the people more than helped? "We are helping by spreading the word of God." Give me a break! Perhaps the Muslim extremists were thinking the same thing as they crashed into the Twin Towers...what do you think?

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#11

Post by Mastermind » Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:38 pm

My point flew over your head my friend. :p

The point was to show were reason could lead you. It is where it led Stalin, and where it led Hitler. The point is that Good and Evil, without something to declare either as absolute is open to interpretation. Let us take the gladiator fights of ancient rome. Back then, it was considered good, it was entertainment. So was slavery. To us, if somebody tried to organize something like that, it would be apalling, wouldn't it. Why is our good the real good and their good bad? Continuing on the logical, atheist path, the answer is that good is both relative and subjective. As such, a rapist who does not feel remorse about his actions is, as far as he is concerned, good. Going along this path, we get to a very dangerous pseudoatheism known as Satanism (http://www.churchofsatan.com if you must, to understand some of their philosophies). Satanic atheism(for it is thinly veiled in superstition, but heavily reeks of atheism, and as far as I'm concerned, it IS atheism in one of its lowest forms) shows a great truth: If, for an individual, good is relative and subjective, then the individual's good is his own good. As such, morals do not logically have a place as they hamper individual evolution. Why give a dollar to a homeless person when you could spend it on something for yourself? Going along these lines, once a person realises that morals are useless to themselves, and further undoes the brainwashing done to the individual by society, they become the true atheist, the one truly unbound by any mortal rituals. At this stage, nothing that goes against personal improvement and fulfillment will stand in their way. If such a person were to have to murder, accept the odds of not getting caught as reasonable, and the rewards as worth the chance, they would do it. Feelings, compassion, empathy are not logical. They are emotions, which, even if put within the atheist by evolution, they are made to help out society rather than the individual. You mentioned I am biased against atheism and "other religions". You are right. I am biased against both atheism and religions along the line of Satanism which I have deemed to dangerous for our own good at the logical level.

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#12

Post by Mastermind » Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:47 pm

Allow me to get to a few other points:
"Here are a few preconceived notions, for those who may not understand:
1) My religion is absolutely right, and there is nothing anyone can do or say that would make me believe otherwise. (Egocentrism)"
That is true in my case. However, I have come to this conclusion based on personal experience, and as such, do not expect you to understand.
2) My God is the only God there is, and anyone else is wrong. (Egocentrism...doesn't the Bible preach something against the ways of the egotist?)
Depends what you mean by God. The Christian God is vastly different(and infinitely superior) to all other gods. I do believe there are(or were) other gods(In fact, I believe they were the nephilim, but thats another story). I do not, however, feel they are worthy of worship or special treatment, and as such, they have no bearing on my faith in Christ.
3) Evolution is wrong because Satan makes it look right...it is wrong because it isn't in the Bible. (This is a preconceived notion that since the Bible is always right, evolution can in no way, shape, or form be true.)
4) Intelligent Design must be true because I believe God created man, and so it only makes sense that there is an intelligent designer. (Scientists should never skew data to work in favor of their religious views. To do so is against the integrity of the scientist in question. I don't see any real scientists skewing data, but pseudo-scientists and pseudo-mathemeticians do it all the time.)
ID and evolution really don't have anything to do with each other. Evolution is a process, while ID is the trigger, or cause of a process. If you would say Evolution vs Spontaneous Creation or Naturalism vs ID, then it owuld make sense.


"Sounds like someone is acting on preconceived notions again. Sissy traits? That sounds like a Southern Baptist thing that an abusive alcoholic hillbilly with "I Love God," "Real Men Love Jesus," and "Proud To Be An American" bumperstickers all over his truck would say to his eight-year-old son. (Stereotypes work in both directions.) Atheist-derived morals? Did you know not all Buddhists believe in God? They are the most empathic, caring culture I've read about thus far. How many Buddhist Crusades do you read about? How many Buddhist Witch Hunts have there been in our history? How many Buddhists have stockpiles of nuclear weapons? How many Buddhists will tell you that God gave us the planet, so we have every right to destroy it? Wow, I hate stereotypes. I hate prejudice and bigotry. I hate hate, and there seems to be plenty of it. Try and explain to an alien civilization that atheists are evil and Christians are good as they witness your current Christian administration bomb the heck out of a third-world country...you say there is no logic in morals? I think it would be quite logical to assume that you are wrong based on the glorious history of this country and the "under God" people who have lived here, beginning with the slaughter of American Natives (who, for the most part, welcomed us God-lovers with open arms) all the way to the witch hunts...where is the logic in any of that? Where is the empathy? The caring? The understanding? The "sissy traits" when you are defending a culture that has hurt the planet and the people more than helped? "We are helping by spreading the word of God." Give me a break! Perhaps the Muslim extremists were thinking the same thing as they crashed into the Twin Towers...what do you think?
To clarify, again, I do not share those beliefs. I was roleplaying an intelligent atheist. Read my previous post. That said, I don't know of any buddhist countries that hold nuclear weapons, but I could name a few atheist ones, which are far more dangerous than the west(former USSR, China, North Korea). Atheist nations have killed more innocent people than all the religious wars and the inquisition put together. Hell, atheists are the cause of the Inquisition and most religious wars. I'm sure you could understand why I am "biased" against them.

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#13

Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:03 pm

Um mastermind there were no "other gods" merely Demonic entities.
I'll post something shortly regarding the nephilim and its just something i found that could be of interest, nothing too explosive but you can check for yourself. :wink:

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#14

Post by Mastermind » Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:19 pm

The nephilim are fallen angels, and guess what fallen angels are?

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#15

Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:11 pm

true but there's bound to be more to it.

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