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?

sieglinde Thu 28-Mar-13 10:55:59

Yes, but earlier upthread the dark Ages had made their way into the fifteenth century...

Can I just say Byzantium again?

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Wed 27-Mar-13 19:41:14

Bit of research suggests the dark ages are a bit ambiguous in definition. Originally applied to the period from the 6th to 13th centuries, but since the 20th century it tends to be applied to the 5th to 10th centuries. However, scholars tend to avoid the term due to its arbitrary nature!

sieglinde Wed 27-Mar-13 13:46:14

Sorry, infamous - when have the Dark Ages been moved to now? They seem to have moved around quite a bit.

Last time I looked, Byzantium was in Europe during them. Has that changed now?

infamouspoo Wed 27-Mar-13 09:06:18

d'oh. Silly me. Forgot they didnt have inventions, culture or anything really until Christians showed up and civillised them all wink

seeker Wed 27-Mar-13 09:03:12

That must be wrong, infamous- they aren't Christian countries, are they..........?grin

infamouspoo Wed 27-Mar-13 08:37:15

'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.'

Oh there was. In the rest of the world. The Persian empire, North Africa, India, China. You know, outside Europe. Which they considered a bit of a smelly backwater at that time wink

crescentmoon Wed 27-Mar-13 08:24:03

(my post was responding to the Tim Minchin clip technodad posted.)

crescentmoon Wed 27-Mar-13 08:14:23

"The Florida pastor who has threatened to burn the Quran has unwittingly evoked some of the worst moments in Western history, Strenski says.

When a group of people conquered another, they often sought to destroy their victims’ sacred books. The Spanish conquistadors and Christian missionaries, for example, destroyed the sacred books of the Mayans; American slaveholders tried to destroy the African religion of slaves.

Desecrating a people’s sacred book is like “destroying their soul; you destroy their sense of who they are,” Strenski says.

“It’s about controlling memory,” Strenski says. “You can oppress people. You can beat them down, but if they can retain some kind of memory of who they were before you beat them down, they can pass that on and when the time is right rise up again.

The notion of burning a Quran was so offensive to one religious scholar that he drew on his own personal history.

Van Gorder, the religion professor at Baylor University, says that Nazis not only murdered millions of Jews. They also burned Torahs.

“As a German-American,” he says, “I rue that the day of burning books has come to my own ‘civilization.’ "

articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-08-27/world/35491373_1_afghan-soldiers-koran-burnings-criminal-charges

sieglinde Wed 27-Mar-13 08:07:21

Cote, sorry, but the Templar trials were waaay later than the so-called Dark Ages. Are you now saying the whole of the Middle Ages are the dark ages?

technodad Tue 26-Mar-13 22:41:06
Cooroo Tue 26-Mar-13 14:27:35

I'm an atheist but irresistibly drawn to religious discussions/debates. I know many people who have no faith and are just not interested. I find religious belief fascinating, so I like to read what people are saying. I think they are misguided, but it's all interesting.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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 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?

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.

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.

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 11:17:37

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 11:13:28

".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 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.

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