Atheists on belief threads. Why?

(411 Posts)
DioneTheDiabolist Thu 21-Mar-13 22:55:59

While there are sometimes interesting threads where atheists and believers discuss and debate religion, it seems to me that increasingly atheists only come onto threads here to poopoo or disrespect the beliefs of others.

Am I right about this and if not then what is the reasoning behind the posts where atheists call the beliefs of others rubbish etc?

crescentmoon Mon 25-Mar-13 04:13:24

Just as the post mediaval Europeans assimilated and then innovated. Except the Europeans out of ethnocentrism didnt acknowledge or teach about the contributions of non Europeans and non Christian scientists and experts for hundreds of years.

crescentmoon Mon 25-Mar-13 04:48:01

I would agree with you about individual rights, large scale charity to the poor and destitute, I'd even point to the campaigning of christians against slavery and the activity and drive of Christians in the trade union movement. Also pro democracy : 'if as a citizen he claims rights for himself he refuses to confer among others he fails to fulfill the precepts of Christ'z

newhistories.group.shef.ac.uk/wordpress/wordpress/?p=1657

Before the welfare state it was the Christians who taught literacy and ran schools. who took care of the sick who were too poor to afford medical help and fed the hungry. Then as now. when ron paul was asked in the lead up to the republican nominations where should poor people go if they couldn't get subsidised or free healthcare he said 'the churches'. now in the UK as the welfare state is receding its mainly churches and Christian groups that are providing food banks to the increasing numbers of people and families that would go hungry otherwise.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 25-Mar-13 05:39:50

Perhaps you are blinded by your religions, but isn't it possible that universities and hospitals just happened to be developments which humankind made at a time when Christianity and Islam were rife in the developed world.

How about we stop arguing about who made them first or who spread them around and agree that, as humans, we're pretty cool.

Also, let us remember that the 9 largest charities in the world are secular so it turns out we are quite capable of being 'good' people without religion.

It's also interesting to note that the 10th largest charity in the world, which is religious, is St Jude Children's Research Hospital which has been widely criticised for using up to 80% of charitable donations on administration costs.

seeker Mon 25-Mar-13 05:58:28

And anyway- nobody is denying that good things have come out of religion, are they? Let's get back to the institutionalised covering up of child abuse, the frankly criminal policy on condom use..........

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 25-Mar-13 06:25:58

Careful seeker, you might start a war.....

crescentmoon Mon 25-Mar-13 07:02:51

You would wish to say it was inspite of whereas I would say it was because of in the context of the Muslims and science.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 25-Mar-13 09:20:47

What about being a Muslim makes one superior in science that anyone else?

crescentmoon Mon 25-Mar-13 09:43:27

iv not used the language of superiority at all, iv said the muslims progressed very quickly after the rise of Islam, because of not inspite of. from primitive nomadic folk to building hospitals and universities within 200 years. different trajectory and reason than with science in the west. so you cant say that humanity only progressed scientifically when they shucked off the shackles of religion, id say it was the opposite in different parts of the world

infamouspoo Mon 25-Mar-13 10:00:30

'Charity is a specifically Christian virtue. There may have been kind acts in the ancient world -- I'm sure there were -- but there was not charity.'

I'm sorry but that is tosh. Read the Torah. A whole host of stuff about charity towards orphans, the widows and the poor. Which predate Christianity by several thousand years. Read the Buddhist scriptures, same things. A lot older than Christianity. And charity is not a christian preserve. Athiests manage it too, and well. I suspect there were athiests in the ancient world too although it was much more religiously orientated.
But to waltz in and claim every human acheivement is down to Christianity is just silly.
And no Christian has answered why we still have to put up with Christian religious rules in the Uk in 2013. Next Sunday, which I believe is Easter sunday, most of the country will be shut. Just like Xmas Day. Why? Today is Pesach. Passover. Are Jews insisting everyone stop for their beliefs. No, they are getting on with it. About 4% of the population attends church. Fair play to them but keep it private and remove the religiousity from our schools, Govt and day to day life please,

DomesticCEO Mon 25-Mar-13 10:25:00

niminy, you really have been brainwashed haven't you?? They say religion is the opium of the masses hmm.

As an atheist who devotes 90% of my waking time currently to charity your idea that charity is specifically christian couldn't be more ludicrous.

You do your religion no favours by spouting such crap.

Have only read some of the thread. Surely most would agree that people have the right to believe what they like. But, from an atheist's point of view, why should a thread about religion be immune to non-believers' opinions, when threads about other topics can be challenged, pooh-poohed, etc?
From what I've seen on here, the language and attitudes used by atheists when commenting on religion are no more offensive than the (admittedly often quite robust and forthright) words used by many posters when commenting on all sorts of popular MN topics. But it seems that religion is a special case, or in some way sacrosanct as a topic. Well, to atheists it isn't! Surely the same rules regarding offensive posts (I.e. the MN guidelines) should apply to all topics equally.

sieglinde Mon 25-Mar-13 10:43:39

Yeah, but I don't go to threads on formula feeding or controlled crying or pushchair buying to tell everyone that they are deluded, bigoted creatures of mass marketing and brainwashing...

I suppose the larger question is what ANYONE hopes to achieve with ANY posting? I think I'm most often motivated by a wish to support others - in this area, especially people of faith like crescentmoon who is reasonably pointing to Islam and the caliphate's stellar record in science....and also by sheer irritation with some local historical idiocies, like the notion that hospitals and orphanages simply evolved all by themselves irrespective of the Xtian ideals of their creators.

The Dawky default is

Anything atheists do is the result of their freedom of thought. Anything people of faith do is achieved DESPITE their brainwashing by some little inner atheist.

It's just so fucking stoopid.

seeker Mon 25-Mar-13 11:13:28

".and also by sheer irritation with some local historical idiocies, like the notion that hospitals and orphanages simply evolved all by themselves irrespective of the Xtian ideals of their creators. "

I don't think anyone is saying this, are they? Certainly I'm not. There have been shining examples of people doing amazing things motivated by their Christian faith. I am disputing the assertion that hospitals, universities, charity and a sense of self didn't exist before Chrisitanity.

sieglinde Mon 25-Mar-13 11:17:37

Which universities existed before the 2nd century AD???? (Genuinely curious.)

Agree about charity, but post-Xtian charity is very slightly different in kind; basic idea that Christ is the ultimate recipient, 'if you do this for one of them, you do it for me...'. Not sure this has an earlier parallel.

seeker Mon 25-Mar-13 11:34:44

Plato's Academy for one. And the was a Bhuddist centre of learning at a place bginning with T somewhere in Pakistan sometime BCE. I'm sure Google will find more.

And I suppose you're right about charity if you mean giving to the poor as if you were giving to Christ-charity as a Virtue. But that is a pretty fine distinction- I took niminy to implied that there was no giving to those less fortunate before Christianity.

sieglinde Mon 25-Mar-13 11:49:10

Can't speak for niminy, but this view was a huuuge impulsion to charity in the Xtian middle ages, esp. to charity to those often seen as beyond the pale - lepers, prostitutes... see esp. St Francis.

Not sure about the Academy as a university, though... analogous, but some big differences. It came into being at least in part to oppose the rhetors, who were kinda private coaches for money... maybe more analogous to something like the Centre for Policy Studies.

I'd be interested in the Buddhist one.

niminypiminy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:19:59

There's lots to say, but I'm really genuinely regretful that I'm going to have to take a break from posting. The school I'm a governor of is being threatened with being forced to become an academy, and I am leading a working party of governors visiting other schools, doing research on outcomes of academy conversion, redoubling our efforts to monitor the school's improvement... So I will be very busy (and still working, and doing all sorts of other stuff too). So I am absolutely not walking off in a huff, or because I don't want to, or can't continue the conversation -- which I've found challenging and interesting. I just can't spend the time on it at the moment.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 25-Mar-13 12:29:19

"iv not used the language of superiority at all, iv said the muslims progressed very quickly after the rise of Islam, because of not inspite of. from primitive nomadic folk to building hospitals and universities within 200 years. different trajectory and reason than with science in the west. so you cant say that humanity only progressed scientifically when they shucked off the shackles of religion, id say it was the opposite in different parts of the world"

What rubbish, either you are saying Muslims are superior and that's why the hospitals and universities he so quickly, or you are saying there's no superiority, in which case there's no reason why the same things couldn't have been achieved without religion. Pretty simple really, are you superior or are you lying?

crescentmoon Mon 25-Mar-13 21:31:41

"What rubbish, either you are saying Muslims are superior and that's why the hospitals and universities he so quickly, or you are saying there's no superiority, in which case there's no reason why the same things couldn't have been achieved without religion. Pretty simple really, are you superior or are you lying?"

where are you getting any kind of supremacist tone from my posts pedro? why personal attack and taking offence?

or did you wish me to take offence and flounce off?

iv explicitly said and posted a journal that medical centres existed in the near east before Islam. iv implicitly said that whilst the oldest university is Al Karouine it isnt the worlds FIRST university, just most continuous? (there were other institutions before but that ceased). iv pointed out that my early predecessors sought secular knowledge from all types of backgrounds and religions, assimilated it and also built on it hugely. iv pointed out what i see as the contributions of christians towards modern british society and institutions.

"isn't it possible that universities and hospitals just happened to be developments which humankind made at a time when Christianity and Islam were rife in the developed world."

i ignored the blindness comment and mildly responded to you by pointing out that in the muslim world, the primitive desert peoples who BECAME muslims were only interested in science and technology because of the teachings of Islam. this is not just my own view - you asked me if i was lying? - but the established view of science historians.

by saying dont assume the rest of the world followed the same programme for scientific advancement as the west it is not downgrading european science. or trying to bring supremacy into the conversation. but i am responding to a cultural nepotism that the dawn of mankind and modern science only began in the 17th century.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 25-Mar-13 21:43:23

You are over complicating the matter. If there is no reason why a Muslim can progress hospitals and universities any faster than anyone else, then it's irrelevant what the dominant religion was in the location where they started or flourished. Otherwise you are stating that Muslims are superior in the matter. Which is it that you are claiming? It has to be one or the other, there are no other options. It's not that I sense a supremacist tone, but the statements you are making are contradictory.

CoteDAzur Mon 25-Mar-13 21:48:14

I'm not sure what the argument is here, but it surely can't be that knowledge, science, and education flourished in the time of early Christianity.

Do we need to go over why Dark Ages were called DARK Ages?

seeker Mon 25-Mar-13 22:00:18

"I'm not sure what the argument is here, but it surely can't be that knowledge, science, and education flourished in the time of early Christianity.

Do we need to go over why Dark Ages were called DARK Ages?"

Have people actually forgotten about the ancient Greeks?

Rosieres Mon 25-Mar-13 23:04:14

The Dark Ages are not called that due to their lack of learning, knowledge or culture. Rather it is because of the limited written historical evidence surviving from the period, compared with (for example) Roman Antiquity or the Middle Ages. Trying to shine a light onto that period is therefore more difficult because there is less prinary written evidence to deal with than with other historical periods.

sieglinde Tue 26-Mar-13 08:25:20

Thanks, Rosieres.

However, let's think about where that classical learning was preserved - oh yes! The monasteries! and by whom it was revived... Yes! The Italian Renaissance, and the Eastern European Renaissance of Matthias Corvinus, both of which were backed by the successive Popes of their day. Would we have half of the plays of Euripides if it were not for the Laurentian Codex? Nope, we would not. seeker, we only know about the ancient Greeks because the Christian and Islamic worlds preserved and valued their writings.

To save time, I will add, not ALL their writings... Just as we do not preserve everything, they too culled out what they thought most valuable.

CoteDAzur Tue 26-Mar-13 14:23:54

"The Dark Ages are not called that due to their lack of learning, knowledge or culture. Rather it is because of the limited written historical evidence surviving from the period"

You are wrong. There is an abundance of historical evidence surviving from this period. Historical records were meticulously kept in the Dark Ages, including the places and dates of the specific forms of torture inflicted on those who didn't toe the line by the Inquisitors of the Church.

I recommend The Trial Of The Templars by Malcolm Barber if you would like to see just how incredibly detailed historical written evidence from the period is, with dates, names, and documents.

If you don't see much historical evidence of creativity, scientific exploration, and myriad forms of art during the Dark Ages, that is simply because there wasn't much of it happening. Except in forms and directions approved of by the Church, of course.

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