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Has the influence of Atheism (Agnosticism/Skepticism) improved civilization?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by paarsurrey, May 15, 2015.

  1. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Secularism has nothing to do with Atheism. Having a concept to deal with temporal day to day worldy matters is coping with secular.
    Regards
     
  2. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Thanks to the Theists and the Atheists for giving their points of views in the thread.

    Regards
     
  3. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    Hey paarsurrey,

    In the OP, were you implying that Atheism, Agnosticism, Skepticism are roughly the same? Or were you asking how the three together have had an influence? Perhaps I misunderstood you? From my perspective there is a strong overlap between atheists, secularists and skeptics...
     
  4. NewGuyOnTheBlock

    NewGuyOnTheBlock Cult Survivor

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    As an atheist, I'd have to say that this is cheating; as the development of our operating systems (which I strongly dislike, by the way) were not created or influenced by the belief that there is no god. Correlation is not necessarily causation.

    This is true. However, when religion comes into the picture, one is prevented from thinking critically; as one may NOT question the dictates of that higher authority.

    Among the greatest "sins" among theistic beliefs is this: Doubt. When one who has decided to believe in a given theistic tradition, to end their mortal lives with "doubt in their hearts" bears terrible, sometimes eternal, consequences. With this powerful motivator, one certainly can not question:
    • Is this a good rule?
    • Is this deity truly real?
    • Is this dictate by that higher authority moral?
    • Is this what I should really be doing?
    Murders of abortion doctors, the Inquisitions, beheading of infidels, feeding your own children cyanide, mass suicides, botched exorcism events causing death, excessive corporal punishment of children leading to serious injury or death -- all of these travesties are directly linked to strict adherents to particular religious doctrines where the perpetrators never asked: "Is this what I should really be doing?" -- and neither were the permitted to ask.

    In fact, this same concept can be applied to Pol Pot and Stalin. If one were to criticize, openly, these two dictators, the result would be death -- or worse. When facing torture, imprisonment, consequences to your loved ones, and death -- these are powerful motivators to "tow the line". Moreover, Stalin and Pol Pot repressed adversarial ideas, as much as they possibly could, from their environment.
     
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  5. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    That is not a feature that is exclusive to religious states.
     
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  6. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    True, but it is universal to religious states.
     
  7. NewGuyOnTheBlock

    NewGuyOnTheBlock Cult Survivor

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    *sigh*

    I did not say that it was.

    In fact, I stated that it wasn't when I presented Pol Pot and Stalin in my post.

    Let me post it again. I will highlight the parts of my post that you may have missed by bolding it.

    Bunyip put it quite well:

     
  8. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you. This is why I started with

    The only way I can think of as influence of atheism is as the work of individuals.
     
  9. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
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    Yes, it has.

    Blessings of The Wanderer on atheists, for they help keep theists like me questioning and exploring.
     
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  10. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
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    I'm not so sure.

    Most European countries still have state religions, and yet seem far better at acting secular, at least culturally, than the US. Certainly many of them have freedom of religion.

    EDIT: To clarify, I still fully support secular states, and do not support state religions at all. One is definitely less of a slippery slope.
     
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  11. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Oh ok. I took 'religious states' to mean theocracies, as opposed to secular states. If you are taking 'religious states' to mean any state that has a state religion, then I agree.

    Those European countries that you refer to are I believe all secular, not theocracies.
     
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  12. enthused antagonist

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    We seldom contemplate whether lack of belief in Ra or Zeus has left a significant impact. Our views on religion and lack of belief are the product of several things.
    Belief in gods and heavens and supernatural things have been around a long, long time. They are ever changing contingent on our needs and desires.
    Religion has done aome really bad stuff and some really good stuff.
    Dawkins is outspoken and proactive regarding the advancement of science and publically critical of many religious things.

    People of influence never remark on the trustworthiness of the Enquirer the day after they ran the bat boy story with compelling photos.
    Influential figures spend little time worrying about the political power and Influence the very Outspoken Ted Nugent has.
    The church locked Galileo up, silenced him, called him a traitor and and charged him with apostasy for revealing his scientific research supported the sun was the center of the universe.
    Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist with a weath of education, resources, and has a very large following. He's not converting by the sword or taxes or manipulation.
    Making him seem like a zealot extremist in the public eye behooves both religious and political institutions.
     
  13. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    This is not true.
    A far better predictor is not if a state is religious or secular, but how the leaders themselves govern. Typically things such as absolute power tend to be far more corrosive to rights and things such as skepticism.
     
  14. enthused antagonist

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    How many religious atrocities have been committed that resulted in mass subjugation, cruelty, death, injustice and such successfully committed their deeds completely apart from and unassociated with politics?
     
  15. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    And how many non-religious people have done this?
    People are naturally violent and cruel. We have different ways of expressing such things, but religious people and non-religious people alike are prone to bouts of violence. Religion just is not needed or necessary to find a reason to justify violence. People will latch onto whatever best justifies their behavior.
     
  16. NewGuyOnTheBlock

    NewGuyOnTheBlock Cult Survivor

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    Yes, in many ways, I agree with you; but the point I am trying to get across is this: Religion is that vehicle where atrocities are not only committed, but a vehicle by which these atrocities are called "right" and "good". Only a fringe of disturbed and ignorant people will see Hitler's actions as "right" or "good"; yet among the religious, such things as forceful marriages, oppression of women, "death to gays" laws and terrorist attacks are condoned as "right" and "good". Without the influence of religion, those who condone such actions may be able to ask themselves and each other:
    • Is it truly moral to force my daughter to marry this older man?
    • Is it truly moral for me to physically discipline my wife into submission?
    • Is it truly moral to condemn a homosexual to life imprisonment or hang them publicly?
    • Is there an alternative to violence against those who believe different than I do?
    Religion may not be needed or necessary to justify violence. But it remains a very potent and powerful force to do so. It is perhaps the most powerful force to do so.
     
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  17. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    The influence of them could be discussed separately who see gross difference in the three terms and make clear distinctions, and combined who club them together.

    Regards
     
  18. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    Nationalism is also very destructive. Ethnocentrism is very destructive.
     
  19. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    It is an erroneous concept. Newton was a religionist and a scientist, two in one.
    Truthful Religion always supports useful criticism or thinking critically.
    I don't agree with you.

    Regards
     
  20. enthused antagonist

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    Morality, good and bad....they are fluid social constructs. Not a single moral concept has been timeless and consistent from one side of the world to the other.
     
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