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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 11 2013, 12:01 AM   #106
Shawnster
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post

Atheism is not a belief system. Any positive belief that an atheist has has another source.
Actually, I've grown to see that Atheism is a belief system. One of the people to influence my viewpoint was atheist Penn Jillette, from the Penn & Teller duo.

Penn was interviewed for NPR's series "This I Believe" in 2005.

His opening statement:
I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

Penn goes on. I'm a Christian and yet I found the whole interview quite powerful and insightful.

Now, granted, Penn starts off saying he's BEYOND atheism and that atheism is not believing in God. I did like his statement "I believe there is no God." It may be a grammar thing, but that statement is more positive and direct than "I don't believe in God." Tell me what you believe, not what you don't.

Then, later, I found images like this image:



For something that ISN'T a belief system, looks like they sure are trying hard to proselytize. Now, granted, this group does not represent every atheist.

To claim 'belief in the physical world is equally a position of belief/faith as 'belief in the metaphysical' is patent foolishness. That is the claim that too many entertain as a valid argument allowing Creationism in the classroom. It's absurd.
It is the sort of poor thinking that Creationists utilize to claim their beliefs should be accounted equal to the beliefs of science, though. However, science doesn't work on belief as faith. The beliefs of science are knowledge of facts and knowledge of tested, verifiable, and replicable results. There is no issue of faith what so ever. Similarly, asserting Atheism is a belief as faith is simply wrong. It no more works from a position of faith than does science.
Just for the record, there are millions of Christians that believe in creation, yet reject Creationism. Please do not confuse their misrepresentation of facts with our sound beliefs.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:05 AM   #107
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Now, granted, Penn starts off saying he's BEYOND atheism and that atheism is not believing in God.
So, there you go.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:29 AM   #108
Hober Mallow
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Then, later, I found images like this image:



For something that ISN'T a belief system, looks like they sure are trying hard to proselytize. Now, granted, this group does not represent every atheist.
One problem in our modern culture is that the word "myth" is widely believed to mean "lie." A myth is a system of shared sentiments, a truth (the opposite of a lie) which can be communicated no other way. Calling someone's belief a myth is not, in many cases, supposed to be an attack on those beliefs.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:37 AM   #109
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

American Atheists doesn't speak for all atheists (not even in the US), just as Bible fundamentalists don't speak for all Christians.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:39 AM   #110
Ovation
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Fair enough. But myths are not factual and therein lies much of the confusion in terms of responding to them. Greek mythology offered many truths but they did not represent a factual account of reality. It is the assertion that "there is a higher power" as a factual statement that sets off alarm bells. Such an assertion has no factual basis and thus no material basis. Hence, for some, a lie.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:47 AM   #111
1001001
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Ovation wrote: View Post
Fair enough. But myths are not factual and therein lies much of the confusion in terms of responding to them. Greek mythology offered many truths but they did not represent a factual account of reality. It is the assertion that "there is a higher power" as a factual statement that sets off alarm bells. Such an assertion has no factual basis and thus no material basis. Hence, for some, a lie.
My first day of college, Fr. Nolan came into our Theology class and without saying a word, wrote on the board in big letters: THE BIBLE IS A MYTH.

He went on to say that if that bothers you, you don't understand your own faith. He said that myths reveal underlying truths, not facts.

He then gave the following example, which is probably not PC, but there you go:

A Catholic and a Fundamentalist read Aesop's fable about the Lion and the Mouse. A good Catholic reflects on the underlying truths: kindness begets kindness, size doesn't always indicate value, a "gentle answer turneth away wrath", and so forth.

The Fundamentalist starts worshipping the mouse.



I've always liked that. Even though I don't believe most dogma, I like the idea that there are things to uncover with reflection and examination, rather than just taking the face value.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:53 AM   #112
iguana_tonante
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Shawnster wrote: View Post
Now, granted, Penn starts off saying he's BEYOND atheism and that atheism is not believing in God.
So, there you go.
Yeah, pretty much.

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Tell me what you believe, not what you don't.
Why?
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Old June 11 2013, 12:53 AM   #113
Hober Mallow
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Ovation wrote: View Post
Fair enough. But myths are not factual and therein lies much of the confusion in terms of responding to them. Greek mythology offered many truths but they did not represent a factual account of reality. It is the assertion that "there is a higher power" as a factual statement that sets off alarm bells. Such an assertion has no factual basis and thus no material basis. Hence, for some, a lie.
And therein lies the problems.

Religious texts aren't supposed to be regarded as historical or scientific. When one does so, one no longer has religion, but ideology. Most Christian believers in the U.S. believe the Bible is a book of historical and scientific facts. Atheists believe the Bible is not a book of historical and scientific facts. Neither side gets it.

When I talk to someone in my family who takes the Bible as literal and historical, I point out that if one takes Jesus' parables literally, one misses the point entirely.

Joseph Campbell pointed out there is no conflict at all between religion and science. The conflict is between the science of today and the science of three thousand years ago.
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Old June 11 2013, 02:31 AM   #114
Lance
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Not addressing anybodies specific point other than the general one about atheism. Gene Roddenberry, writing in 'The Making of Star Trek' (page 40):
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry wrote:
Intolerance in the 23rd century? Improbable! If man survives that long, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear. It's a manifestation of the greatness that God, or whatever it is, gave us. The infinite variation and delight, this is part of the optimism that we built into Star Trek.
This was the Roddenberry of the 1960s. It sounds to me like what he advocates isn't that humanity don't believe in God(s), but that nobody actually cares about other people's belief systems anymore. Humanity has moved beyond the point where they start conflicts based on one faith or another, and they all respect each others right to have whatever beliefs they want. Some of them probably don't believe in God, while others probably still do. But they aren't hung up on the emotional ramifications of it. They accept and respect each other.

I do think by the TNG era Roddenberry had definitely developed a much more staunch opinion that religion would not survive in the humanity of the future that he had envisioned, and occasionally TNG/DS9/VOY reflects on that. But it sounds to me like he wasn't actually dismissing religions in the above quote... he was just saying that the people on the original Enterprise feel comfortable enough with who they are that believing in one faith or another, or indeed not believing in a God at all, means nothing to them as people.
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Old June 11 2013, 06:22 AM   #115
prizzm
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Ovation wrote: View Post
Fair enough. But myths are not factual and therein lies much of the confusion in terms of responding to them. Greek mythology offered many truths but they did not represent a factual account of reality. It is the assertion that "there is a higher power" as a factual statement that sets off alarm bells. Such an assertion has no factual basis and thus no material basis. Hence, for some, a lie.
Myths may be unproved. They may be unprovable. But why assume that they are not factual, or at least have some factual basis? One example: In the dim past people of several cultures believed that gods, or some supernormal people, mated with humans. Were these ancient people simpletons? Or could they have observed something, some fact, which motivated such belief? I don't know, but I'm not going to call them liars.

I listen to way too much Coast to Coast.
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Old June 11 2013, 07:16 AM   #116
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

prizzm wrote: View Post
Ovation wrote: View Post
Fair enough. But myths are not factual and therein lies much of the confusion in terms of responding to them. Greek mythology offered many truths but they did not represent a factual account of reality. It is the assertion that "there is a higher power" as a factual statement that sets off alarm bells. Such an assertion has no factual basis and thus no material basis. Hence, for some, a lie.
Myths may be unproved. They may be unprovable. But why assume that they are not factual, or at least have some factual basis? One example: In the dim past people of several cultures believed that gods, or some supernormal people, mated with humans. Were these ancient people simpletons? Or could they have observed something, some fact, which motivated such belief? I don't know, but I'm not going to call them liars.

I listen to way too much Coast to Coast.
I think I know what you mean.
I would agree that many myths resulted from observations that might have seemed superimpressiv and the human desire to explain them.
Think volcano, lightning, rainbows, shooting stars... The list is endless.
So religion was the next best thing to science, but only because they did Not have the means yet to investigate proper.
Today we know exactly how those things I listed came about and they seem still impressiv and spark the Imagination, but none of us would call those phenomenons magic or devine.
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Old June 11 2013, 03:48 PM   #117
suarezguy
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

It's interesting to consider if atheism at least verges on religion when the "adherents" actively, let alone aggressively, try to proselytize (not collecting stamps isn't a hobby but actively bashing stamp-collecting, the Star Wars prequels (let alone a weekly show) or Nascar seem to at least be hobbies) or when they feel that atheism does demand or necessarily call for alternative ethical codes, most notably secular humanism.
From the General Trek thread on United Earth, stj seems to think that democracy (the will of the greatest majority of people) is not merely the best form of government but should be maximized and trump all other considerations. I myself valorize human rights; I admit that they can come into conflict with themselves and there can be disagreements about what to do when they do (let alone in how to best secure them) but some religious people could admit and uneasily accept that their religion's ethical prescripts or even descriptions of the nature of God can conflict.
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Old June 11 2013, 03:53 PM   #118
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Shawnster wrote: View Post

Actually, I've grown to see that Atheism is a belief system. One of the people to influence my viewpoint was atheist Penn Jillette, from the Penn & Teller duo.

.
.
.
Now, granted, Penn starts off saying he's BEYOND atheism and that atheism is not believing in God.
So because Penn contradicted your incorrect notion that atheism is a belief system, you decided that atheism is indeed a belief system.

You're mistaken.
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Old June 11 2013, 03:55 PM   #119
Ovation
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

suarezguy wrote: View Post
It's interesting to consider if atheism at least verges on religion when the "adherents" actively, let alone aggressively, try to proselytize (not collecting stamps isn't a hobby but actively bashing stamp-collecting, the Star Wars prequels (let alone a weekly show) or Nascar seem to at least be hobbies) or when they feel that atheism does demand or necessarily call for alternative ethical codes, most notably secular humanism.
Then any and all ideological movements would have to be classified as a religion. So no.
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Old June 11 2013, 04:05 PM   #120
suarezguy
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

If you truly think a person or commandment trumps all other considerations (indeed, all alternatives are invalid) and people must live their lives around it, aren't they essentially "deifying" it (feeling and acting towards it as people traditionally have towards god)? It is more obvious when the object of devotion is a particular person.
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