Question of the Week- 05/04/2016

May 3, 2016

If you were an atheist candidate running for public office, how would you explain your attitude toward, and beliefs about, religion?


Our favorite answer (non repeat winners only) receives a copy of “A Brief Candle in the Dark” by Richard Dawkins!

 

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32 comments on “Question of the Week- 05/04/2016

  • I would explain the benefits to all of our secular society, I would explain that we can only prosper if no one group is able to dictate to all policy based upon their personal beliefs.

    Our first female PM in Australia I think made the mistake of playing down her lack of belief including choosing not to support gay marriage. It was a vain attempt to bring along Christian minorities rather than appear to be a person of conviction. No one was fooled the Christians I think knew this was an attempt to pander to them and wouldn’t have voted for her anyway, the progressive left all moved over to voting Greens the only party in this country which held clear socially progressive policies. Even if people don’t like who you are they often will vote for a person of conviction. being dis-honest about your faith or in her case pretending to hold a view you do not, helps no-one.



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  • @Reckless Monkey

    This was sad. Such high hopes.

    Our first female PM in Australia I think made the mistake of playing down her lack of belief

    I suspect this question is probably directed at Americans, because in countries like Australia, religion is not much of an issue. We have a small noisy conservative religious right, which in some electorates where a massive fundamentalist church resides, it is enough to get them elected to the lower house, or to get one Senate candidate up.

    Only rarely is a piece of legislation brought before the Parliament that is religious in content. The conservatives have been trying to fund religious chaplains in tax payer funded schools recently, and while they got it through the parliament, it has been struck down twice by the High Court, courtesy of a suburban father who fronts up to challenge these actions. (Hero of mine) When it was running, the people who applied and got the jobs were highly motivated religious fundamentalist trying the Happy Clapper method of recruitment and salvation. The students were mostly derisive.

    So in Australia, you make noises about supporting peoples rights to practice their religion, but make no commitments to favour one religion over another. Because it is not an issue, it rarely comes up in forums or the news. Our last national census found that the largest religion in Australia was Catholicism with around 25%, but the second largest grouping and fastest growing was No Religion with 22%. So your electorate will probably react badly if you open an election rally with a prayer.



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  • @David R Allen,

    Agree in general, we have no issue it seems electing a non-religious politician in fact being too overtly religious out here makes you look like a tool or a wanker. However someone on Q&A this week pointed out that often things the majority of Australians as for, gay marriage, euthanasia etc. don’t get up because the 5% who will change their vote over an issue are enough to allow a party that sides with the nutbags to gain power on their backs, at least in marginal seats, which may determine an election.

    This election coming looks to much closer than I could have imagined when Abbot was ousted by Malcolm Turnbull. So these marginal seats will have a massive impact and this is where even a religious minority will have massive impact. I feel robbed by the religious that for example I won’t have suitable control over my death, or that gay friends will still be considered second class citizens because a tiny fraction of voters allow themselves to dictate to the rest of us.

    I would never try to ban religion, I would not support moves for example to force by law religious institutions to have to marry homosexuals, but they won’t offer me the same level of tolerance, every religious voter should be asking themselves the question “Is it my right to cast my vote on the proposition others should have fewer rights than me because my religion claims homosexuality is a sin or my holy book says I cannot take my own life”. Too few ask themselves this question or answer it in the affirmative. If the shoe was ever under the other foot they would soon be looking for secular values. Evangelical Christians I know are afraid of the higher birth rates of Muslims, they fear Sharia law and Muslim attitudes to Christians, and yet they want chaplains in schools, they would vote against a party that supported gay marriage or euthanasia. They want it for them but the moment it shifts from Christianity to some other religion they are terrified.

    We need politicians to go beyond simply being able to state their faith but the positively state the benefits to all of secular values especially for the religious. Nothing to do with atheism though as you can clearly be a believer and a secularist.

    regards



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  • I feel robbed by the religious that for example I won’t have suitable control over my death, or that gay friends will still be considered second class citizens because a tiny fraction of voters allow themselves to dictate to the rest of us.

    Concur. Agree with what you say. The power of one mega evangelical church like Hill Song in one electorate is enormous. They can swing an entire seat if the “Pastor’s” god tells him his flock should vote one way or the other.

    I also would not ban religion, but IMHO, in 2016, it’s time for religion to be practiced by consenting adults in private. The time has past for one religious group to demand of their elected politician that they should vote against gay marriage because there personal reading of their personal gods mind tells them that it is wrong. Fine. If it is wrong for you, follow your “Mind” (Can’t get this word right) but the moment you want to step outside your church and demand that everyone else is required to follow your personal god’s dictates, you go to far. Person the barricades. Time to resist.

    This might be a long bow, but I see little difference in the “Objectives” of ISIS and the christian fundamentalists or my favoured expression, the American Taliban. Not the methodology employed, but their aims through the influence of political power is to say,

    “I have the only one true god. All other gods are false. Anyone that doesn’t follow my god is a infidel. You are all going to hell unless you convert.”

    ISIS might use a gun, but Kevin Andrews’ (Conservative christian politician. Oz’s Ted Cruz) god told him to repeal the Northern Territories euthanasia laws. He imposed his god on other citizens. How is this different from ISIS.

    So, religion, like sex, should be practiced by consenting adults in private and no longer has any place in the town square.



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  • Probably wise to profile yourself as a humanist, rather than an atheist; atheism means you are against something, humanist means you are FOR something; altogether a more positive outlook.
    I think Richard, Hitch and Sam have already provided a simple answer to why you do not believe in supernatural beings; all 2,000 “One or more and true gods” or so of them since recorded history, neither fairy tales (Which is basically the same), father christmas or the tooth fairy. I realise that in the USA this a touchy subject, but I think that with reason, logic and perseverance the USA will have a humanist president in the next 10 years (Whoops, you already have one, although he doesn’t say so).
    Luckily, as in Australia, religion plays only a minor role in Holland; 18% claim to be religious, 25% are openly secular, and the rest don’t care/are agnostic.
    If challenged about your lack of religion, just point to ISIS/the inquisition to show that religion equals mass murder.



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  • I am an atheist. If I were running for president, I would explain my worldview this way:

    I take a very evidence-based view of the world. If I don’t find enough evidence to support an idea, I don’t buy in to that idea. I am, of course, open to considering any evidence of that idea, but if it is not conclusive, I need more. I hope this gives you confidence in me as your leader. I will do my level best to make the very best decisions based on the very best information. I want to know all sides of an issue.

    This also means that the writing that I hold as my highest compass for governance is the Constitution. I have nothing that will conflict with or hinder me in upholding the Constitution of the United States with fairness. That is my highest goal.

    As someone who does not subscribe to any religion, that also means I do not take sides. I am not on anyone’s “team,” and am therefore on everyone’s team. I will fight for you based on the principles of equality, compassion, and fairness. There is no favoritism that will be shown to any group of people, because you are all equal at the highest rank this country has–that of an American Citizen. You are who I serve. All of you.



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  • I agree that word games and pretentions are ill advised. Any answer to this kind of question must be met with a peaceful stoicism and logic. Religious people who would care about such things are likely followers, looking for a parental figure to “guide” them, so being fair but firm would be essential to getting elected.

    I would indicate that my personal beliefs about spiritual things are private and not open for debate, and that my morality comes from my optimism for the future of humanity and not any specific dogma. I would further explain that separation of church and state demands this mindset to avoid the past bias and prejudice in the fair administration of state business. And finally I would openly support science and logic as the tools for deciding state policy. If they persisted with “Are you an atheist?” I would expound that the universal notions of God are natural contemplations not to be taken lightly, as they are a sign of curiosity and desire to find our place in this universe. It is a good instinct that has been hijacked by bad people in the past. It is time that this uniquely human trait be accompanied by the other uniquely human traits of abstract reasoning, reciprocity and logic. We have all the moral dogma we need to make viable, fair policy decisions: love, honesty, compassion, empathy, sympathy, kindness, forgiveness etc… These are universal, unassailable and attainable. Useful in making our way as a species. Separation of Church and State is the only paradigm that allows everyone to keep their religion and still participate in society without mob rule or violence. So, if don’t interrogate me, then I will never support the interrogation of you. Then I would pose this question: Would you rather have a fundamentalist of any religion dictate the specifics of your life through force of the state, or an administrator who respects your beliefs sufficiently to grant them sanctity in your private life regardless of demographics and geography? Before we are of any philosophical stripe, we are first and foremost human beings. It is incumbent on any leader or civil servant to protect all constituents regardless of their stripes.

    If this diatribe were to fail, I would scream Allahu Akbar and blow myself up.



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  • 8
    petermetric says:

    Imagine that someone of the same religion as you is standing for election. What do you know about this candidate? Well a reasonable guess is that he/she has similar views to you on a number of issues that have a religious connection. This might be abortion, the role of certain charities, attitude to faith schools etc. A humanist/atheist is likely to differ from your (religious) view on these things. So, coming clean does not feel like a vote winner with religious groups. If you openly identify yourself with being an atheist, you are not going to get those votes.

    Assuming a candidate is not primarily in politics to eradicate religion, I would suggest they concentrate on what matters. If that occasionally touches on a religious sensitive area, then give reasons and evidence why you hold a differing view. Simple as that: give reason and evidence for your views. Reason and evidence is not threatening and ultimately can only be countered by tighter reasoning and better evidence. Anthony Grayling, for example, is a master of this. I particularly remember one member, representing the religious side of a debate, saying that he wished Anthony Grayling was debating for his side.



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  • The nice thing about being an atheist is that there is nothing to explain. It was when I was a Christian that I was obligated to explain by beliefs in an invisible God, the resurrection of Jesus, Noah’s flood, the creation of Adam and Eve, and the like.

    When pressed on non-belief, it is easy to turn it around and require the other person to explain their unscientific ideas. That is harder to do. With atheism, you simply say, “I believe in science.”



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  • Religion is like a necktie.

    Some folks have a very nice necktie. It compliments their attire and makes them pleasant and easy on the eyes. Some folks have a crappy necktie. It is mismatched or gaudy and they should know better and take it off; but they persist and it turns them into the butt of many face palms, jokes, and even invective.

    Some folks do not wear a tie. They look great without it. It is not a necessary part of their outfit. This compliments their attire and makes them pleasant and easy on the eyes. Some folks with no tie look crappy. They are mismatched or gaudy. They end up the butt of many face palms, jokes, and even invective.

    Here’s the really important part. Some folks routinely take off their ties and strangle other people with them. They only wear the tie on-camera. It is a photo op and the first opportunity they get, the take the tie off and some of these people actively hurt others with their tie. There is no analog in the non tie wearers paradigm.

    Now, of all the types of people mentioned, I staunchly do not wear a tie, however, the only people I would vilify are the tie wearers who use their ties to hurt others.

    This is how important religion should be. As important (or trivial) as wearing a tie with your suit. Why are we divided because of it? Because religions COMPETE. This competition is what drives the people who earn money from religion to rail against everything that could potentially cost them money. We murder over petty, meaningless differences because the leaders have stake in the destruction of other institutions. And, the real god every single one of them (the leaders) worships is the dollar sign.



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  • A presidential candidate who does not “believe” in a god and states just that, will never get elected in the US. However the uproar that would follow would be healthy for people to hear.



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  • As an atheist candidate I would stress tolerance of all religious faiths and backgrounds. Although I would support a completely secularist government, I would explain that a secularist government does not mean the abolition of religion. As long as religious practices and beliefs do not get in the way of a humane society with modern values, they are acceptable. Of course, sometimes religion does get in the way of a human society, and as an atheist candidate I would explain that these certain aspects of religion need to seriously be evaluated and changed in some way.

    I would also stress that human values and morals do not need to come from religion and that they are something that can be found innately in humans, which is in my opinion is a more optimistic view of the humanity as well as a true one.

    I would be a strong supporter of science and critical thinking and would definitely oppose things like creationism being taught as fact in science classrooms. If creationism is taught in religious history class or even Sunday school, that would be acceptable. And if parents want to raise their children in a certain religion, that is fine too. But it is very important that throughout a child’s life they have easy access to all information about all science, history and humanities and are made aware of this.



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  • crookedshoes #12
    May 4, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Religion is like a necktie.

    Some folks have a very nice necktie. It compliments their attire and makes them pleasant and easy on the eyes.

    Unfortunately, behind the cosmetic effects, the tightening knots of dogma, restrict the blood-flow – and functions of the brain!



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  • In the US, I would ask the public, if they are concerned about who to vote for…a Christian or an atheist….. which approach they would prefer when dealing with ISIS……turn the other cheek and forgive them or bomb the *** out of them!



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  • I don’t like the terms atheist, agnostic, humanist and secular. They are too heavy and demand some education to get involved in any discussion about them. Joe public in the UK would move away from someone using these terms just as fast as he would move away from someone saying alleluia.

    I like the term NO POSITION and note that there are some using the term NONES in the US. NO POSITION/NONES is nice and light and a regular position with respect to ghosts, UFOs and favourite numbers.

    As a presidential candidate it was always necessary to proclaim your protestant allegiance. Being a catholic or Mormon worked against you. Kennedy had a problem with some voters for being catholic and the recent Mormon candidate had no chance. Yet in the UK PM Blair’s press officer could boldly state “we don’t do God” and PM Blair didn’t contradict him even though Mr Blair started doing God big time when he left office.

    Not doing God was the vote winner in the UK. And in due course it will be the vote winner in the US as the proportion of believers falls. It has fallen from 80% Christian fundamentalists in the 1960s to 50% today. In the UK it is more like one in sixty and lower in some western European states.

    But better still it would be nice if in the US, like in the UK, the candidate for political office (or any office) could stick to politics and keep his religious beliefs, colour, sexual orientation etc. out of it.



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  • 18
    rocket888 says:

    If I were a politician in America, and wanted to get elected, I’d (have to) lie about everything, not just religion. Let’s face it, in America at least half the people WANT to be lied to – the half that lives off the other half. They expect it. I’d have to promise them everything, while never telling them they might have to pay for it. I’d tell them God has chosen America to be the chosen nation, and that we are the only hope for the world. Not living in the UK or elsewhere, I cannot attest to how politics works in other countries.

    Now, since I’m not a pathological liar, I’d never stand a chance at getting elected to anything, and moreover, since I’m a libertarian in philosophy, I’d never want to be someone who runs other peoples lives.

    In fact, I don’t even like this question, since it seems to assume that being a politician is some sort of honorable activity. That this is not the case is why the other half of the American people are willing to accept an outsider like Trump, or actors like Arnold S., Clint E. or R. Reagan.



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  • 19
    fadeordraw says:

    As an atheist political candidate, my approach toward religion would be to strongly reinforce that we live under free thinking governance, which means that anyone can believe and state whatever foolish or wonderful appreciations they understand; barring hate and inciting violence, etc. I would spend most of my time promoting practical solutions to realistically defined problems and to realistically creating a compassionate and sustainable future. And I would spend some of my time warning against voting for those who believe in an afterlife, especially those who believe in a better afterlife. As well as highlighting that there’s obviously superstitious involved in problem solving and future creating, I would repeatedly emphasize that they, with their belief in an afterlife, are actually abrogating their responsibility for bettering the lives of their constituents; creating the back way out – that if thing don’t work out on earth as promised, there’s always a better afterlife. Life on the planet is serious for all; there aint anything else. Politicians seeking guidance from gods and awaiting an after planet existence, should not be trusted to do well by you and your family.



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  • I think I need to pour a brandy before I enter my response to this interesting question.

    I forget the name of the accomplished classical pianist, but this particular fellow always struggled with a musical phrase while performing a certain tune. For a little motif, his fingers couldn’t handle the pattern. The piano piece was probably written by Liszt. The player confessed his dread to his friendly peer, about getting on stage to play the piece. The friend suggested that the pianist take a shot of alcohol prior to performing, but the musician refused, protesting. He didn’t drink alcohol, on or off stage, but, later in age, and out of desperation, he gave it a shot. The future performances of the piano music were thereafter flawless; the pun worked. [I would like to edit this paragraph (but can’t) when I can find the book, and passage detailing this story. Due to two head-on car accidents, my memory isn’t as sharp. Certain gorillas and I have something in common, a depressed genetic fitness due to cell phones. Our US state laws have yet to allow police to access a driver’s phone records at the time of an auto accident.]

    I would suggest to the atheist, maybe have just one drink before you speak, it might help relax your nerves, and say, “If elected, I’ll pass laws … to allow police to access your cell phone records at the time of an auto accident, be you Catholic, Protestant, or atheist.”

    The problem addressed by the question, for me, has a few confounding inferences. For example, is it about being an atheist projecting their value system to grow a level of trust within the greater community, or is it about getting elected? If it’s about getting elected, talk to Trump (I don’t know what he believes). I imagine the method used by a candidate to convince their peers, when the voting majority disagrees with the candidate’s particular religious view, is a problem that many people face all over the world, and time, irregardless of atheism, or any other view of religion. For a community that is primarily atheist, the issues debated between candidates would likely sound very different when compared to a community heavily biased towards divine worship, unless this community has suffered greatly due to war, such as a series of wars between Protestants, Pagans, and Catholics, in which case maybe the oratory preference for argument is restrained to secular statements. What to say to a crowd greatly depends upon knowing the context, knowing the audience, and the question doesn’t address to whom the atheist is speaking, or if the atheist individual is even educated, moral, etc. In 1880 an American Protestant trying to get elected in a Southern State in the US, that is primarily Protestant, during Reconstruction, might get very few, if any, votes, just for speaking with the accent of a northern Yankee, depending upon which town the individual was living in at the time. It would be easier to answer the presented question if the atheist’s education and audience was also known. I’ll assume the question is about confronting prejudice, so an atheist confronting bias would need an excellent network of established members of the community to counter any doubters, and speeches would need to avoid confrontational memes while focusing on vision, ideas of general agreement, social matters at hand, solutions, team work, etc. To talk about religion would only create entropy, so contain it with a statement that religion is a personal matter to be kept private, or say you go to church to admire its artistic structure. Who knows, maybe an atheist trained the artist that grew up to make the stained glass windows, so dig it for what it is, not for what other people want you to believe it to be, and talk about it in a general way that everyone can enjoy.

    Where I live, a person who merely mentions atheism, to answer a client’s question, might get a complaint that causes the person’s manager to ask for a written statement, to respond to a client’s complaint (filled with fictitious exaggerated evidence) with a demand to never see the person again. Fortunately, this person lives in one of the most secular states in the USA, although, it was here that nearly 30 years of fire and brimstone preaching, against slavery, would help motivate an army that would raze the racist south, which also used religion to justify slavery. This state invented the rifles with interchangeable parts, based upon science rather than prayer, which probably helped to win the Civil war in the US.

    Over the last decade I have thought about a certain problem, a problem addressed by Isaac Asimov in the Foundation Series. In short, how to expedite the process of getting civilization back to “normal.

    Some axioms: let there be no civilization, let there be people, let there be the creation of civilized systems, let civilized systems fall to pieces, let people recreate civilized systems, repeat.

    On many levels I know and agree with Mr. Dawkins, and it’s not because I’ve read his books, which I haven’t. I know him to a degree because I have spent hundreds of hours reading books on math, statistics, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, cell mechanics, plant physiology, zoology, genetics, art history, music history, etc. How am I going to rationalize simple political conversations with my peers when these people have made it an art to spend as little energy as possible to get through school, by doing just enough work to earn a passing grade, people who think it’s a good idea to drive a car while texting on their cell phone, to their friends/family, about a party, or cool concert, etc.? Measuring the content of all the cell phone texts, associated with car accidents, how many have been about Mr. Dawkins books, or ideas about science? I digress.

    My problem: how to create an oral history, of short stories, that can survive the complete destruction of a civilization, a system of stories that captures the imagination of young children, that helps the critical needs of an adult to work in multi-cultural groups without destroying or exploiting each other or their environment, and skips all the crap that fills our history books with the sadness and tragedy that bedevils Mr. Dawkins, such as the tragic story of Hypatia of Alexandria. Is it possible to create a hybrid system that melds the biological tendency of humans to create divine rational, with easily understood dogma and ritual, within an atheistic secular system? If God were just an idea about love, compassion, fidelity, justice, etc. could we create a system of stories to guide folks who lack the ability, or time, to truly know history and science, and is this system a self perpetuating system that will out compete the other oratory systems based upon divine ideas?

    Get an Atheist elected, great, maybe it’s progress, but maybe not if the person is a corrupt individual. Plenty of God fearing American politicians have been corrupt individuals, such as the recent news of Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert who appears to have molested kids. Eventually in time everything we think is normal will completely fall apart, but it is more than certain that somewhere in the destruction a few humans will survive, repopulate, and recreate society. What stories will these people tell their children?

    I don’t think atheism is for everybody, and never will be, as measured by comparing the number of the world’s confrontational/exclusive religions based upon the divine. If people can’t get along or agree on a subject about God, how can these people agree on atheism? I can only assume that just as many atheist groups will exist and will also disagree on atheism, that someone with a big hammer/mace will say, “hey, that’s not how you do it. This is how you do it.” Hopefully in a world run by atheists the rebellious punk rock music, that it inspires, will be good music for skate boarding, like the Clash or the Sex Pistols. For the people who need a divine dogma of ritual and daily conversation, maybe we can create and satiate the want for a system of the divine that also respects and honors atheists, a system that might have a fighting chance to reappear when society is crawling out of a cave due to some unknown factor that destroys society as we know it. Maybe God could be the measure of work achieved between humans and their environment, in which case some metrics for me would be love, compassion, rational, justice, fairness, etc.

    Aside, today I read a rather sad essay about a person I knew in high school. A bisexual majoring in the social sciences has accused her of helping to “clean house” by removing professors and discouraging certain students, at her religious college, who are individuals who apparently challenged and questioned a rather strict interpretation of Christianity that is practiced by the top officials who run the college. My high school associate is likely just being loyal to her employers, and maybe fighting to keep her job, by expressing certain values considered sacred. I don’t really know too much about it. If I were to guess, I’d rather guess that based upon statistics, and the number of kids she has adopted, one will grow up to be gay, and, if so, in about ten years she will have to deal with her religious bias as a parent.



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  • To Paul #5:

    Probably wise to profile yourself as a humanist, rather than an
    atheist; atheism means you are against something, humanist means you
    are FOR something; altogether a more positive outlook.

    Yes. A humanist is usually for some positive things, however I think that you are confusing “atheist” with “antitheist.” How can an atheist be against a god when in the atheist’s mind a “god” does not exist??? Atheism does NOT mean that person is “against” something, no way.

    In the same vein, how can an atheist be a devil worshiper when a devil (satan) does not exist?



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  • To David #17:

    I don’t like the terms atheist, agnostic, humanist and secular. They
    are too heavy and demand some education to get involved in any
    discussion about them. Joe public in the UK would move away from
    someone using these terms just as fast as he would move away from
    someone saying alleluia.

    Perhaps you also don’t like the term “evolution”, after all evolution is a VERY difficult subject and is “too heavy and demand some education to get involved in any discussion” about the complex theories involved.



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  • David #17
    May 4, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I don’t like the terms atheist, agnostic, humanist and secular.

    When using them in conversation with the uneducated (or the dogmatically brainwashed), it is best to explain the terms first –
    ie. Secular means, “no one religious view is allowed to dominate matters”.

    They are too heavy and demand some education to get involved in any discussion about them.

    Any conversation, should be pitched at a level with is understandable by participants, using simple explanations, rather than technical or misunderstood terms, when taliking to those who have a limited vocabulary.

    Joe public in the UK would move away from someone using these terms just as fast as he would move away from someone saying alleluia.

    In discussions with those who do not want to be bothered with religion (pro or anti), I find the straightforward answer, “No“, clearly answers the question, “Are you religious?”
    We can then move on to discussing, science, politics, or features of society.

    Lots of atheists have been elected to political office in the UK, (including prime ministers) but they do not make a big feature of “atheism”!
    They just get on with the practicalities of effective legislation and government.

    I like the term NO POSITION and note that there are some using the term NONES.

    “None”, is a reasonable answer to, “What is your religion?”, but we should remember that ” NO POSITION” while pretending to be open minded of sympathetic to ALL VIEWPOINTS – including contradictory ones, is a favourite of charlatan politicians, who face in any direction where votes are to be found, while doing NOTHING but posing for voters!

    in the US. NO POSITION/NONES is nice and light and a regular position with respect to ghosts, UFOs and favourite numbers.

    Those with NO POSITION on ghosts, UFOs, astrology, global warming, and quack-medicines, are likely to be the most light-weight of intellect, ignorant, obstructive, uselessly incompetent, and least suitable to be in charge of important decisions about modern life!

    (See the thread on Sarah Palin!!)



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  • As an Atheist, I would be fair to all – to people of all Religions, including people of no religion. Also, since I don’t believe in after-life rewards by some supernatural power, I would emphasize ways of improving this life on this planet, using logic and science, better than people having religious beliefs, who tend to downplay this life, focusing on after-life benefits!



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  • To Jay #24:

    As an Atheist, I would be fair to all…..

    Truly magnanimous! How about those who want to make you obey their religious rules or get stoned to death (or burned at the stake)? How about the Catholic Church where in the majority they are powerful enough to not only outlaw “abortion” but also contraception (e.g.: Latin America)? After all, it is their “moral authority!”



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  • cbrown #25
    May 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    As an Atheist, I would be fair to all…..

    Truly magnanimous! How about those who want to make you obey their religious rules

    That is indeed a problem in gaining power or being elected to government.

    Very many people do not want a government which “is fair to all”!

    What they want is a government which pretends to be fair to all, while giving favour and privilege to their own economic class, industry, trade, religion, or social group!

    That is why so many disingenuous, two or multi-faced, politicians, are pandering to as many economic and cultural groups as possible, even when this means contradicting themselves in different locations!

    It is also why they hide any policies or issues, which may bring negative reactions from sizeable groups, and lose them votes or sponsorship.



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  • To Alan4 #26:

    “What they want is a government which pretends to be fair to all, while giving favour and privilege to their own economic class, industry, trade, religion, or social group!”

    I have two questions:
    Is that the case for european countries?

    Could a secular president or prime minister ( or political party) actually cause the truly separation of state from religion and be fair to all?



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  • cbrown #28
    May 8, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    “What they want is a government which pretends to be fair to all, while giving favour and privilege to their own economic class, industry, trade, religion, or social group!”

    I have two questions:
    Is that the case for european countries?

    This sort of posturing by politicians to blatant self interest groups, is common in minority opposition parties (in Europe and elsewhere where votes are involved).

    That is:- while majority parties take the decisions, disingenuous minorities will quite happily speak up demanding more of everything, and then vote against raising the money to pay for it!

    Majority parties once in power, will usually contrive favourable treatment for their supporters and sponsors.

    Could a secular president or prime minister ( or political party) actually cause the truly separation of state from religion and be fair to all?

    There have been examples of government teams – especially those with large majorities, standing up to dissent within their own parties and the media, taking beneficial but unpopular measures for the benefit of the community as a whole.



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  • That is:- while majority parties take the decisions, disingenuous
    minorities will quite happily speak up demanding more of everything,
    and then vote against raising the money to pay for it!

    Sounds like US Republicans! Always smaller government except when it comes to women reproductive health and weapons of war!



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  • I have tried few times to discuss religion with religious people but I always have the feeling that I am talking to mentally disturbed people. That is why I will have to lie to them what I am going to do when elected.



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  • 32
    fadeordraw says:

    Coming out of the closet as an atheist eh. Like gays like the acronym for transsexual stuff. I’ve lived as if I’m living on the planet, raised a family that way, since I was 17 (an RC childhood), since 1967. I have never felt any pushback; 1stly because, family members had come to think the same way and 2rdly because thinking this way was the trend in my central Canadian cultural environment. Some say I was too quick to declare that gifts came from parents (there aint no Santa Clause), to take away the joy in the magic; replaced as Christmas is an annual family and friends gift-giving and merriment.

    About 15 years ago, I attended a weekend Landmark seminar, with some 35 others, held at the National Museum of Nature (Canada), in a wonderful third floor meeting room. The sessions were long and with b-breaks and lunch/dinner, I exchanged greetings several times with a new immigrant, perhaps 23, a federal employee of the Museum, a good looking young Arabian. At our 1st exchange I asked him his name and he gave it saying it meant some form of “the blessed one”. I said my name was Mark and in Roman times I’d be called Marcus. Later he asked me if the session was really about a world without God and Religion, which it wasn’t specifically but was so for me, and I said of course in a confident, snide way, and his face drained from joy to fear/denial/regret; it hurt to see his pain – but he left, I’m sure with his faith intact. What struck me was the similarity with the loss of joy when there aint no Santa Clause. Loss of joy?

    Several times I’ve come across someone, mainly, if not solely woman, who pity me when they realize my atheism – because they think I will not be able to experience the joy they experience provided by with their belief. They experience a euphoria from their beliefs that I will never experience. They’re sad for me. I, of course, having never experienced such euphoria, let alone on an ongoing basis, can’t conceive of missing something I’ve never had; from my perspective, their euphoria is from delusion and ultimately uncontrollably dangerous.

    Atheist has god connotations and eventually we got to get
    to where we’re living on the planet with no god/gods connotations at all. Given Islamists, US Christians, African and SA Christians, that might take some time; even; it might be competitive advantage for survival to have a euphoric generating belief rather than the relatively boring realization that we’re living on the planet just like plants and animals.
    The anti-evolutionary perspective/the ante-atheist one, might very well be an evolutionary advantage, with the accompanying euphoric stimulus, compared to the joys and needed management when there’s only the planet and that’s all.

    Why is that such a big problem in the good old USA? Eh.



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