Candidate Without A Prayer, pg 122

May 3, 2016

“Discrimination still exists against blacks, women, gays, and Jews, but neither as overtly or permissibly as it once was. Politicians know these groups have well-organized advocates and constituencies. Now it was our turn to seek that respect. For too long, our non-theistic constituency had been considered politically inconsequential. We may be the last minority against whom intolerance and discrimination are not only permitted, but also sometimes promoted by political leaders at every level. Surveys show that at least 50 million Americans have no religious preference. The Secular Coalition was formed to advocate for those millions who choose to live without religion.”

–Herb Silverman, Candidate Without a Prayer, pg 122


Discuss!

 

15 comments on “Candidate Without A Prayer, pg 122

  • @OP – Surveys show that at least 50 million Americans have no religious preference. The Secular Coalition was formed to advocate for those millions who choose to live without religion.”

    While the invasive fingers of theism will poke wherever they can, this lack of atheist political leaders in government, is substantially an American problem.
    Numerous atheists and non-believers have been elected to public office, or held senior public positions in Europe, Scandinavia,and other states.

    https://atheistpapers.com/2013/12/29/godless-heads-of-state-and-government-atheist-leaders-around-the-world/



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  • With so many like-minded, it might be an idea to form a political party, rather than just a coalition.
    Most smart (And atheist/humanist) people are in business, who could easily rule a country under humanist rule. As it is, current government in the USA is made up of people who are least fit to rule with their claims in favour of the supernatural. As Bill Maher already said about Bush: “I don’t want a guy who believes in fairy tales with his finger on the nuclear button.”



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  • Truer words….. Me thinks the crux of the matter be courage. The courage of individual atheists to hold ground and “just say no”. To be adults in the land of children. Blacks risked their lives for many years for their civil rights. The LBTG folks have a “community” and vehemently blog, picket, debate and parade around for their civil rights. The rights of atheists are no different. I have to disagree with the political party formation idea, simply because I am against any parties in politics. Politics should be about people not large groups or gangs of people. It is polarizing to have parties. Always has been. It would further divide common issues that require common ground for solution. This obsession is an American phenomenon primarily because of our relatively recent protectionist origins as well as the momentum created by Capitalism. There are huge profits in the business of religion in America. This social momentum is difficult to stand up to individually, because we are all intimately related to folks who are still under its spell; mothers, brothers, bosses, neighbors. There is also a social aspect that is easily missed here. Atheism has become the one target that can be the hate scapegoat. Anyone of any religion, race, sex, party affiliation, nationality or sexual orientation can hate an atheist. After all atheist hateful, mean, evil demons sent here by Satan to foil Gods perfect plan, don’t you know.



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  • I’m not sure what I would call myself or even if I wish to apply a label to myself. I refuse to call myself atheist since I would never define myself in terms of what I don’t believe. It is still a belief system centered round the concept of a God. I don’t call myself humanist since there is such a vast range of different views that go under that name that I have no idea what it really means. Secularist is probably more accurate, but again I’m just the kind of person who believes that we should judge every issue based on its specifics, not on what ideological system I have used to indoctrinate myself. When I look back through history at the various atrocities that have occurred , religion has contributed heavily to those and with Islam, it appears to be on the rise again. But then again the 20th Century held the all time record for carnage and a good amount was initiated by secularists, particularly Communism. So I’m not sure exactly where we move next. Maybe there is no solution to the problem of human beings slaughtering each other. Maybe evolution made us that way!



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  • 7
    Cairsley says:

    To DavidPun #6

    I’m not sure what I would call myself or even if I wish to apply a label to myself. I refuse to call myself atheist since I would never define myself in terms of what I don’t believe. It is still a belief system centered round the concept of a God. …

    I sympathize; I too am very wary of people (myself included) being put in categories and defined by labels. Yet, given the control and influence that religious organizations and communities still have in the USA and other countries, there is a need for those who are free from religious superstition to identify themselves (come out), recognize each other and co-operate to oppose the long-established, unquestioned influence of religion in society. Saving children from being miseducated is alone a good enough purpose for doing so. To do so, they need to be able to name themselves. They are those who are free from belief in supernatural entities and destinies, free from belief in gods, and that is all the word ‘atheist’ means. In such a context it is actually appropriate for them to call themselves atheists, for that signals exactly what their purpose is — to rid society of the scourge of religious superstition.

    I am fortunate enough to live in a country where there is no need for me to label myself as anything. Although I am in fact an atheist, many other, more significant and informative terms can be applied to me as well, and religion plays virtually no part in public life — none at all in politics (in fact, for a politician to express his or her religious beliefs in public would be politically very damaging). Until the USA has rid public life of the influence of religion, there is a serious need for American people to own up to being atheists and cleansing their constitutionally secular society of religious interference. David Silverman makes this point very eloquently in this interview with Dave Rubin and Paul Provenza.



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  • To David and Cairsley #6 and 7:

    I’m not sure what I would call myself or even if I wish to apply a
    label to myself. I refuse to call myself atheist since I would never
    define myself in terms of what I don’t believe. It is still a belief
    system centered round the concept of a God.

    I am an atheist, however I do not ACCEPT a god any more than I accept tooth fairies, ghosts, and goblins. It is NOT that I do not “believe” in a god, I just don’t see any evidence that there is such an entity as a god in this universe. We must get away from the use of the term “believe.” To brelieve means that one thinks something is absolutely correct without any evidence, simply a belief is based on faith alone….no evidence in the natural universe is needed. Acceptance however, means that something is regarded as correct based on repeated observations in the natural universe (not repeated hallucinations, chants, mantras or repeated sentences from some revered scriptures). Being an atheist is NOT a belief system.



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  • 10
    Cairsley says:

    To CBrown #9

    … To brelieve means that one thinks something is absolutely correct without any evidence, simply a belief is based on faith alone….no evidence in the natural universe is needed. …

    We are in agreement in substance, but I have to disagree with your understanding of the verb ‘believe’ and the noun ‘belief’. The term ‘belief’ and its correlative verb ‘believe’ have a long history in Western philosophy. The entry in A Dictionary of Philosophy (1984) on ‘belief’ states that belief is: “the epistemic attitude of holding a proposition p to be true where there is some degree of evidence, though not conclusive evidence, for the truth of p.” Ordinary language-use also bears this out. If one wishes to indicate that one has been led to believe that such-and-such is the case but that one is open to changing one’s mind on finding stronger evidence to the contrary, one may, and often does, say, “I believe that such-and-such is the case (though I may be mistaken).” Wherever there is belief that something is the case, there is always the question of what evidence supports it and how strong that evidence is.

    Belief should therefore not be confused with faith, which is by definition belief that a proposition p is true, despite the absence of evidence and indeed quite regardless of evidence. People of faith readily declare that they believe various propositions, and these should always be met with requests for evidence and should not be allowed into intelligent discourse until evidence supporting the declared belief is provided. In parts of the USA, communities may contain so many people deluded by religious faith of one sort or another that the commonly heard or read use of the words ‘belief’ and ‘believe’ gives the impression to anyone unfamiliar with life beyond such communities that these terms are synonyms of ‘faith’. They are not. There is the expression ‘to believe in’, which can be seen as a verbal correlative of the noun ‘faith’, which adds to the possibility of confusing belief with faith. It is important, for the sake of the tentative kind of thinking that skeptical rational empiricism requires, to distinguish clearly between ‘belief’ and ‘faith’. I see no reason in any case why we should surrender the age-old common-sense and philosophical term ‘belief’ to the unthinking blindness of faith-enthusiasts.



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  • To Cairsley #10:

    Yes….dictionaries also make “belief” and “acceptance” as synonyms. I feel correct in defining these terms differently. The same kind of twisted meanings exist elsewhere, for example the terms “proof” and “prove.” Some think they can prove something by quoting chapter and verse from the bible. That would not be proof from the scientific point of view. Do you “believe” in evolution??

    Personally, I do not “believe” in evolution. I accept the various tested and supported theories in evolutionary biology.

    To use “believe” and “accept” interchangeably is fuel for such non thinkers as creationists and political blockheads.



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  • I’m not sure what I would call myself or even if I wish to apply a label to myself. I refuse to call myself atheist since I would never define myself in terms of what I don’t believe. It is still a belief system centered round the concept of a God. …

    This is all rather silly. If you believe in a god, you are a theist, whether you choose to describe yourself as such or not. Likewise you’re an atheist if you don’t. These are just words with simple dictionary definitions. Let’s not tie ourselves in knots about their societal significance.



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  • We’ll have a president with or without a prayer if Trump wins the general. Then the disparity of wealth and opportunity will increase. Then, finally, we will have rioting. Then military law. Then fascism.—Benign or maybe not so benign.
    That’s what worries me right now.



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  • 14
    Cairsley says:

    To CBrown #11

    … Do you “believe” in evolution??

    Hello again, CBrown. As I said earlier, we agree in substance, and my concern here is maintaining clarity in our use of established terminology in this area of philosophy.

    No, I do not believe in evolution, though I do believe evolution to be a true account of life. I, like you, accept the evidence and argumentation that have given rise to the theory of evolution. The evidence supporting this theory is so superabundant that to say that one believes it to be the case may sound like an understatement. The more appropriate term in this case is ‘know’ — I know that evolution is the case, given degree of certainty achieved on grounds of evidence.

    I respect your preference to avoid the use of ‘believe’ in contexts of this sort, and, if you are in an environment where faith-enthusiasts pose a threat to science and education, your preference is quite likely to be most prudent; but I would also like to propose that the use of ‘believe’ and ‘belief’, which have centuries-old philosophical meanings, can be a further arrow in your quiver in dealing with faith-enthusiasts, who think that they are right to “believe” (or even better to “beliiiieeeve“) without any regard for evidence (indeed their disregard for the natural desire for evidence is proof of their total self-abandonment to the will and mercy and saving power of what’s-its-name) — you can ask them for evidence. Of course no evidence will be forthcoming, and, although you are unlikely to get your faith-inspired interlocutors to admit that they are wrong, you can show up for others to see just how delusional they are in their groundless beliefs.



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  • To Cairsley #14:

    Yes, I think we agree in substance. I just want to emphasize that I read comments of people that throw around the terms “belief” and “believe” so frequently as well as the creationists and other religiously addicted that it appears that no one knows what they are saying or what they mean. The terms are much too ambiguous to be used as they are.



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