Debate The Origin of Symmetry

Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by Jose Yero, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. Jose Yero

    Jose Yero Cochiloco

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    I thought this statement was interesting and deserved a thread of its own.

    "If there was no religion, how would we know anyone was an atheist? The very idea of someone being an atheist was the invention of the theist. How else would they show a distinction between believers and non believers? An atheist wouldn't know he/she was an atheist until the theist told them so. So you see, we don't need anyone to validate our beliefs, that's for the theists."
    [From THE HOLY BIBLE thread]
    Does any one remember when a certain ethnic slur was used by the American racist community when it made reference to Americans of African descent? Does anyone remember when Americans of African descent began using the same term to refer to each other?

    "Queer" is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or not cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer scholars and activists began to reclaim the word to establish community and assert an identity distinct from the gay identity. People who reject traditional gender identities and seek a broader and deliberately ambiguous alternative to the label LGBT may describe themselves as "queer".
    [wikipedia]

    The term athéisme was coined in France in the sixteenth century. The word "atheist" appears in English books at least as early as 1566. The concept of atheism re-emerged initially as a reaction to the intellectual and religious turmoil of the Age of Enlightenment and the Reformation, as a charge used by those who saw the denial of god and godlessness in the controversial positions being put forward by others. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word 'atheist' was used exclusively as an insult; nobody wanted to be regarded as an atheist. Although one overtly atheistic compendium known as the Theophrastus redivivus was published by an anonymous author in the seventeenth century, atheism was an epithet implying a lack of moral restraint.
    [wikipedia]

    At one point in history, the term "atheist" was used exclusively as a slur. Civilized human beings simply did not refer to themselves as atheist. They were "tarred" with it, even as recently as the 1960's. At what point in recent history did that change? More specifically, when did Americans begin self identifying as "atheist" as a form of solidarity?

    In a socio-political sense, is "Atheist" the new "Queer", or is "Queer" the new "Atheist"?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  2. Dave514

    Dave514

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    A non debate thread may be a difficult place to discuss this. Suffice to say that it's not much different than a bunch of tennis players pointing at those who don't play tennis and giving them a label.
     
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  3. ziggy2525

    ziggy2525

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    No

    Long Context:
    The Eastern philosophical approach would be without "bad" there is no "good." Without "dark" there is no "light." That's just how human brains categorize/name things. We use words as shorthand for broader meanings.

    Also, when there's a strong force pulling people one way, there's usually an equally strong force trying to pull them back. We're seeing that now with the changes Trump is making and the protests against him.

    I'll leave socio-political answers to Political Scientists and Anthropologists. From a practical perspective I think the Atheist push back that's happening is a reaction to a change in American Christianity that's occurred over the last 20 or 30 years. It used to be being a Christian meant living a "New Testament, Christ-like" lifestyle. With the growth of Evangelical denominations, being a Christian has turned churches into populations of politically oriented Pharisees that twist the Bible to judge anyone not like themselves. Nothing new, it's happened before.

    Short Answer:
    The labeling (Atheist/Christian) is what people do. It's how we're wired. The push back from Atheists is a reaction to changes in the behavior of Christians. I'm really glad for the Christians that post here on GTRI. It puts their behavior front and center, on display, for a worldwide audience.
     
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  4. Jose Yero

    Jose Yero Cochiloco

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    I have asked the moderators to re-prefix this thread to DEBATE.
     
  5. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

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    Done. Play nice, people.
     
  6. Jose Yero

    Jose Yero Cochiloco

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    Perhaps "Evangelical" is the new "Queer".
     
  7. ziggy2525

    ziggy2525

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    I get the point, but I think that's too far. For me, Evangelical is the new Pharisee. Evangelical churches seem to attract people that focus on law over relationships. For them, the bible isn't a guide to life. It's the religious equivalent of the Code of Federal Regulations.
     
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  8. Dave514

    Dave514

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    Labels are only nice or unkind based on the intent of the user. People often refer to themselves and others like them with a term. When someone who doesn't like that group uses the same term...it can have a different connotation.
     
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  9. Jose Yero

    Jose Yero Cochiloco

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    Legalism is often associated with the Roman Papacy in that it has historically used the church as he means to extend and expand political power. The Protestant Reformers of the 16th century rejected the centralized power grab and split the church in western Europe into denominations, which have never ceased splitting.

    Evangelical Christianity is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or the "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.

    Technological developments, particularly in radio, television, internet, made it possible to for modern evangelical "leaders" to more easily communicate with their "flocks". The result was a new armchair Christianity, in which faith, grace and by extension, "salvation", could be passively received, apart from the Christian life.

    Thru the electronic media, the power grab has come full circle. Evangelicals have forgotten their anti-authoritarian roots in the Reformation and become just another interest group, ripe for exploitation by self serving politicians. The New Legalism.
     
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  10. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

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    First impulse is to note there is a difference between comparing the labels that denote opposites and one that denotes the absence, not the opposite.

    Randy

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
     
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  11. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

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    A very good talk on the subject by Sam Harris.

    https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-problem-with-atheism

    Attaching a label to something carries real liabilities, especially if the thing you are naming isn’t really a thing at all. And atheism, I would argue, is not a thing. It is not a philosophy, just as “non-racism” is not one. Atheism is not a worldview—and yet most people imagine it to be one and attack it as such. We who do not believe in God are collaborating in this misunderstanding by consenting to be named and by even naming ourselves.
     
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  12. Judge Bean

    Judge Bean

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    I can agree with that. The theist makes his particular hypothesis known, and the atheist comes up with the response, "I don't believe that." Without the proposal, there would be no need for a rejection of it.

    The history of discrimination is not pleasant to think about. The Greeks before Christianity had their atheos people who didn't believe in the gods. Later in history, it got to the point where the atheists were purged with extreme prejudice. So naturally, there are big gaps in history when you didn't hear much about atheists. They were executed brutally up until the early 1800's. About that time, you had open skeptics of Christianity appearing, that we would today call deists, but the masses still called them "atheists" because they didn't believe in Christianity. These deists faced heavy discrimination. American patriot Thomas Paine would be one of these.

    Finally, around the mid-1800's, biologist Thomas Henry Huxley invented the term "agnostic" which kind of partially worked to escape the negative scowls directed at atheism. Rather than directly stating a conclusion of atheism, this approached it from a different angle, addressing the knowledge that went into forming the conclusion. A-gnostic meant without knowledge, and it fooled the masses into thinking that at least there might be some hope for him. This worked so well that you'll find many writers taking refuge under that umbrella. Among them would be Sir Bertrand Russell and Robert Ingersoll.

    Getting to the mid-1900's, the atheists were a civilian casualty of the cold war against communists. Seems like the anti-communists always had to speak of "godless atheist communists". Never mind that the Russians had religious freedom written into their constitution, our own propagandists had to emphasize the godless stuff. So being atheist somehow implied that you were also a communist.

    So yes, it wasn't that long ago that atheists were in the n___'s and queers category as far as society was concerned. So what started turning things around? I'm not sure, but I think better education over time helped a lot. People found out that stories like the 6-day creation and global flood just might not be correct. I think increasing prosperity helped too. Poor people seem to cling to their hope for the hopeless. Communications helped a lot to spread ideas and with the Internet, atheists could be open and honest without fear of retribution. Once atheists were able to push aside the evil stereotypes and explain their reasoning, things just started falling into place. Additionally, I think atheists owe a debt to the queer community for setting an example of coming out.

    So there it is in a nutshell.
     
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  13. Judge Bean

    Judge Bean

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    As "-isms" go, it isn't much of an ism. No dogma, no dues, etc. I think the atheists who feel the need for an ism in their lives move on to humanism.
     
  14. Grovenator

    Grovenator

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    So what was the first human? Queer, Atheist or Evangelical?
     
  15. Jose Yero

    Jose Yero Cochiloco

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    None of the above.
     
  16. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

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    Human.
     
  17. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

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    Serious question: We know from archeology, anthropology and eventually oral/written history that the status quo, the base of human belief was in a god/gods. We have truly ancient grave sites with burial goods, strongly arguing for a belief in an afterlife. So, why do you believe that the hypothesis and the accompanying burden falls on theists? Ought not the rejection or the proposal counter to the status quo be the actual focus?

    In anticipation of "you can't prove a negative", of course you can. It's done in mathematics and geometry on a regular basis.
     
  18. Judge Bean

    Judge Bean

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    Nice to see you involved.

    If we let the status quo decide things we would still be building temples to Zeus. How many people have to believe in a lie before it becomes truth? And what makes you think that gods were always the status quo? Could it not have been that the guy who first invented gods upset the status quo?

    By the way, that's called an argumentum ad populum. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

    So just how do you prove something does not exist when it in fact does not exist? Of the thousands of gods that have been proposed, how many of them have been proven not to exist?
     
  19. ziggy2525

    ziggy2525

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    Not when it comes to history.

    Mathematics has proofs because they produce repeatable, predictable results that can be tested. History is more like a police investigation. You can't recommit a murder over and over to test your theory. You pull together evidence to form your case. The stronger the evidence, the stronger the case. Before we had decent science, eye witness testimony was the gold standard. With science, we know eye witness testimony is flawed.

    Same with ancient accounts of Gods and the afterlife. With advances in archeology, anthropology, and basic science, we don't need to depend on just that ancient eye witness testimony. Science doesn't support their testimony.

    I think most atheists leave open the possibility there may be "a god" and some type of afterlife, but consider the probability near zero. I also think most atheists are certain if that God exists, it's not the god described by any of the major religions. The evidence doesn't support it.

    Just my 2 cents. (And also nice to see you stepping out of the mod role and contributing)
     
  20. mc1911

    mc1911

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    At least the LGBT community is not afraid of a word like many of a certain ethnic group.

    Words can be offensive. They only have power when you give them power.
     
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