Atheist Christmas Advertising

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby dedalus » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

Arancaytar wrote:
dedalus wrote:I meant more that there was evidence as to the existence of a god one way or another. We have none. A belief is only delusional when there's evidence to the contrary.


This guy named Russel has a teapot he wants to sell you. Belief in the absence of even circumstantial evidence is exactly as delusional as belief against contrary evidence.

I'm not saying you have to prove religion is false before you can get annoyed with them trying to force it on you. I'm also not saying that the existence of a god is fairly likely; I certainly don't think that. But as soon as you start calling them downright delusional, then you take the burden of proof.

SlyReaper wrote:I suppose you could say not all religious people are delusional, but that religion is itself a delusion. The ones that hold particular religious views without considering the possibility that they're wrong - those are delusional. The ones that hold particular religious views because they were raised in that particular culture and haven't given it much thought (or find it socially inconvenient to voice doubts), those people are not delusional.

What about the people who were raised in a particular culture, have decided that religion explains the world to them as well as everything else, interpret the bible to their own ends, and believe little of official doctrine bar 'there is a god. He is pretty cool.'?
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:07 pm UTC

Dedalus, you're missing the point of what I said. Deism != religion.

Religion usually refers to a somewhat complex belief system, often based off falsifiable stories. Believing these stories against reason is delusional.

"Existence of God" is a whole other matter.

EDIT: I wouldn't consider "existence of God"...just by itself like that, to even be a cognitively valid concept. Therefore, you can't be delusional for believing in it.
Last edited by sje46 on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:32 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:25 pm UTC

For me, my atheism is based on a somewhat different point... Whatever came before the observable universe is by its very nature not something we can deal with, so a scientific theory for anything at or before time = 0, is basicly a conjecture requiring faith as well; because it is beyond our knowlege, the creation whether a random phenomenon in a much larger multiverse, god, or the FSM is irrellivant to me and thus can be safely ignored for all practical purposes. By the realisation that I can't know, it is easier to deal with the unsettling uncertainty that supernatural explainations origninally filled. Coupled with this, as a humanist, I believe than humans are naturally "moral"...
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:20 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Starting a discussion on religion with the basis being that it's quackery is.. not exactly respectful.
Why should you be respectful towards it?
To be polite? You're not going to help your case of people needing to volunteer spare time to better their community if you head in to the local RPG convention with the premise that sweaty manchildren should just grow up and stop dicking around playing make-believe and instead go do this thing. And yes, religious extremists have done horrible things in the name of their faith. People have also shot at each other for wearing the wrong color of shirt, or for sounding different, or having the wrong hair color. The problem isn't religion, it's assholes.
Last edited by SecondTalon on Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby setzer777 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:20 am UTC

To me the biggest issue, as others have pointed out, is that there is far more public condemnation of the slightest rude atheist message, while the countless anti-atheist messages are practically given a free pass. Sure if the subject comes up people will say they disagree with it, but there's nowhere near the active opposition that there is towards any perceived anti-Christian message (and a large number of pro-religious tolerance arguments hinge on the notion of shared spirituality between religions).

Also, I get somewhat annoyed by people who draw false equivalence between "radical" atheists and "radical" Christians. "Radical" Christians (which if the bar is set at the level of rudeness this billboard displays might not be such a minority) are in a position to do vastly more real harm than atheists simply by nature of their numbers and political influence.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Saurus33 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:43 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:The problem isn't religion, it's assholes.

Well, that kind of depends. The fact that it promotes two of the three characteristics needed for a belief to be considered delusional could easily be considered a massive negative, much like how the preying on people in their hour of need is promoted as a charitable activity.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Greyarcher » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:01 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:And yes, religious extremists have done horrible things in the name of their faith. People have also shot at each other for wearing the wrong color of shirt, or for sounding different, or having the wrong hair color. The problem isn't religion, it's assholes.
I'm inclined to disagree with this line of thought. Your view makes me think of a No True Scotsman variant: "no true non-asshole will be influenced by their religion in a way that causes problems or makes them assholish". I hope you're not falling into that trap to deny religion causing a problem nor being a problem; I mention it, just in case.

But at any rate, I'll get to laying out the structure of my disagreement.

Religion is an enabler for problematic policies, behaviors, and mindsets. It enables by providing justifications for those policies, behaviors, and mindsets (or perhaps more directly causing them). If religious beliefs are themselves rationally dubious or false, it would mean that these justifications are based on irrational or false grounds. And that is a problem with religion.

To deny that religion is an enabler, I think, is to deny that religion has any real influence or effect on people's mindsets, decisions, and actions. And I do not think there's a good case for that. I'll make a illustrative argument on that point.

Let's suppose you put people who discriminate against homosexuals in the "assholes" category. If lines in the Bible and Papal statements notably permitted and praised homosexuality--instead of condemning it--would one really expect that people's behaviors and mindsets would not be changed in the slightest? Or is there a reason to think all assholes are specially resistant to religious influence, so they would continue discrimination against homosexuals regardless of what their religion states? I think the answer to both of these questions is "No".

Thus, if religious beliefs are irrational or false, and religion is an enabler for problematic policies, behaviors, and mindets, then religion and religious beliefs are themselves a problem.


Edit 2: At least, they are a problem in that regard. I am aware and can predict that someone may give rebuttal remarks about religion also having good effects, but I don't want to kill people with more text so I'll save my counter-remarks for if someone actually says them.
Edit 1: adjusted the phrasing of that "no true scotsman" section for ambiguity. Alas, it made the phrase a little more cumbersome and perhaps lacking in oomph, but the ambiguity irritated me and any misunderstanding as a result would be doubly sucky.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:48 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:And yes, religious extremists have done horrible things in the name of their faith. People have also shot at each other for wearing the wrong color of shirt, or for sounding different, or having the wrong hair color. The problem isn't religion, it's assholes.
I'm inclined to disagree with this line of thought. Your view makes me think of a No True Scotsman variant: "no true non-asshole will be influenced by their religion in a way that causes problems or makes them assholish". I hope you're not falling into that trap to deny religion causing a problem nor being a problem; I mention it, just in case.
It's a fair point you make, that religion is a problem because it can convert nonasses to asses.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:26 am UTC

dedalus wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I suppose you could say not all religious people are delusional, but that religion is itself a delusion. The ones that hold particular religious views without considering the possibility that they're wrong - those are delusional. The ones that hold particular religious views because they were raised in that particular culture and haven't given it much thought (or find it socially inconvenient to voice doubts), those people are not delusional.

What about the people who were raised in a particular culture, have decided that religion explains the world to them as well as everything else, interpret the bible to their own ends, and believe little of official doctrine bar 'there is a god. He is pretty cool.'?

That's not religion, that's deism. And it's not even wrong.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Aetius » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:56 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:It's a fair point you make, that religion is a problem because it can convert nonasses to asses.


I think it was Steven Weinberg who put it: "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:25 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
sje46 wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Starting a discussion on religion with the basis being that it's quackery is.. not exactly respectful.
Why should you be respectful towards it?
To be polite? You're not going to help your case of people needing to volunteer spare time to better their community if you head in to the local RPG convention with the premise that sweaty manchildren should just grow up and stop dicking around playing make-believe and instead go do this thing. And yes, religious extremists have done horrible things in the name of their faith. People have also shot at each other for wearing the wrong color of shirt, or for sounding different, or having the wrong hair color. The problem isn't religion, it's assholes.

Right, you should be polite, but not polite to religion itself. You should be polite in debates. That's why you shouldn't disrespect religious people themselves by dismissing them as idiots...because they're not. Neither are they assholes or converted to assholes. That's completely the wrong way to think about it. What happened is that the meme of their religion has taken hold and hijacked their logic to make them think things like "Well, there may not be proof of all this, but if I don't believe it, I might go to Hell" "Well, there may not be proof of all this, but everyone else I know believes it, so it must be true!" "Well there is no proof in all this, but I better teach my kids it so they won't go to Hell!". And heck, those are just the more skeptical Christians. Nevermind all the indoctrination from youth.

My point is the same point as Dawkins. The individual religions themselves (I'm not going to say all religion) are the problem, by their very nature. They're designed (not necessarily by the Bible alone, for example, but also by current leadership) to propagate themselves against reason. And there is really no reason to respect that.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:07 pm UTC

SexyTalon, I get what you're saying, but it only holds so true in Eagleland. Practically speaking, just being an atheist is considered impolite.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Oregonaut » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

They have conventions for Rocket Propelled Grenades?
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby uncivlengr » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:29 pm UTC

To expand on that point, if I say, "The story of Noah's Ark and Jesus performing miracles are myths," and someone fundamentalist is offended by that, it doesn't make my statement impolite or unwarranted. If you're making a statement on what you honestly believe (ie, you're not just making something up to offend people), then whether or not someone gets offended is irrelevant.

Like I said before, if you're behaving in a manner so as not to make anyone uncomfortable, you're not actually going to change anything anyway - changing someone's worldview is most certainly an uncomfortable process. If one's goal is nothing more than polite small talk, then they should stick to the weather, or what was on television last night.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby duckshirt » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

Aetius wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:It's a fair point you make, that religion is a problem because it can convert nonasses to asses.


I think it was Steven Weinberg who put it: "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "
And for evil people to do good?
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:54 pm UTC

Aetius wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:It's a fair point you make, that religion is a problem because it can convert nonasses to asses.


I think it was Steven Weinberg who put it: "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "

Without an excessively broad definition of religion, that strikes me as extremely unlikely. Well-intentioned people doing ill in the name of the greater good is downright cliche. Eugenics is the obvious example.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Dargon Cophe » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:16 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:Right, you should be polite, but not polite to religion itself. You should be polite in debates. That's why you shouldn't disrespect religious people themselves by dismissing them as idiots...because they're not... What happened is that the meme of their religion has taken hold and hijacked their logic to make them think things like "Well, there may not be proof of all this, but if I don't believe it, I might go to Hell" "Well, there may not be proof of all this, but everyone else I know believes it, so it must be true!"

Pause and think for a second: If a person is so easily derailed by the thoughts of another group of people, and instead of observing and analyzing, decide to let other people think for them, wouldn't that make them as intelligent as the other group, i.e., the idiots?

The intelligence of people who are led < or = leaders. Intelligent people think for themselves, bro, not a group.

Edited for "Bro".
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby sje46 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

Dargon Cophe wrote:
sje46 wrote:Right, you should be polite, but not polite to religion itself. You should be polite in debates. That's why you shouldn't disrespect religious people themselves by dismissing them as idiots...because they're not... What happened is that the meme of their religion has taken hold and hijacked their logic to make them think things like "Well, there may not be proof of all this, but if I don't believe it, I might go to Hell" "Well, there may not be proof of all this, but everyone else I know believes it, so it must be true!"

Pause and think for a second: If a person is so easily derailed by the thoughts of another group of people, and instead of observing and analyzing, decide to let other people think for them, wouldn't that make them as intelligent as the other group, i.e., the idiots?

The intelligence of people who are led < or = leaders. Intelligent people think for themselves, bro, not a group.

Edited for "Bro".

I don't really understand what you're saying here. First you said that if a person is derailed by a religious group and doesn't think for themselves, and therefore joins that religious group, then they are dumb as "the idiots". I'm not sure which idiots you're referring to. Are you just saying that religious people are idiots? I would disagree as that. There have been many religious geniuses. I don't agree with them, but that doesn't make them any less intelligent. Often they are "stupid" in one area while being smart in another area. In fact, I think this is the case for most people. I'm smart at procrastinating, and stupid at every other thing I could think to do.

>The intelligence of people who are led < or = leaders.

...no. Leaders are usually leaders because they have strong social intelligence, or because they're more knowledgable, or because they're the ones that actually want to do the job. There are many, many, MANY people more intelligent than George W, but he still became president. And if you're talking about belief systems, there are many people in a cult smarter than the cult leader himself. Intelligence isn't this unilalteral thing.

>Intelligent people think for themselves, bro, not a group.

More accurately, intelligent people are more prone to think for themselves in more areas than to let a group think for them. Unless they're lazy. Or they want to believe in a group because of all the stress and pressure of ordinary life. It's called a defense mechanism. But I don't really get your point anyhow.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby dedalus » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:24 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
dedalus wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I suppose you could say not all religious people are delusional, but that religion is itself a delusion. The ones that hold particular religious views without considering the possibility that they're wrong - those are delusional. The ones that hold particular religious views because they were raised in that particular culture and haven't given it much thought (or find it socially inconvenient to voice doubts), those people are not delusional.

What about the people who were raised in a particular culture, have decided that religion explains the world to them as well as everything else, interpret the bible to their own ends, and believe little of official doctrine bar 'there is a god. He is pretty cool.'?

That's not religion, that's deism. And it's not even wrong.

I know people who hold to that style of thinking and call themselves religious... Definitely, I would be surprised at many people labelling themselves a deist when they've been brought up a Christian and then evolved their thinking from there. And just because it's unfalsifiable, doesn't mean it's delusional. Just unscientific; but that's ok.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Dissident Love » Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:36 am UTC

Nothing wrong with being religious. Just try to think with your head-brain while doing it.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Xeio » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:08 am UTC

dedalus wrote:I know people who hold to that style of thinking and call themselves religious... Definitely, I would be surprised at many people labelling themselves a deist when they've been brought up a Christian and then evolved their thinking from there. And just because it's unfalsifiable, doesn't mean it's delusional. Just unscientific; but that's ok.
When there are explicit exceptions in psychology for religious beliefs, I'd say it's not too far to make that leap. Granted, for their purposes, it doesn't make sense (or at least, it isn't useful) to declare 90% of the population delusional.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Steax » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:52 am UTC

You know, some people take on a religion not from the logical side, but because of the psychological effects and benefits of believing in a god. Those seeking closure, those hoping that people who've been evil to them get justice, etc. Logically it doesn't fit, but the psychological side does.

Therefore, Dargon Cophe, does that mean anyone doing stuff for psychological benefits (against logic) make them idiots? Doesn't that include, say, people paying a lot of money to go on a long vacation off work?

This is actually why I feel the billboards are of ill intent. It's like saying to someone with a phobia "USE REASON" in their face while they're trying to deal with it. That's just my personal feeling about it, though.

Off topic: it doesn't help my train of thought that many avatars here are that of literal death gods. shinigami.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby PeterCai » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:04 am UTC

Steax wrote:You know, some people take on a religion not from the logical side, but because of the psychological effects and benefits of believing in a god. Those seeking closure, those hoping that people who've been evil to them get justice, etc. Logically it doesn't fit, but the psychological side does.

Therefore, Dargon Cophe, does that mean anyone doing stuff for psychological benefits (against logic) make them idiots? Doesn't that include, say, people paying a lot of money to go on a long vacation off work?

This is actually why I feel the billboards are of ill intent. It's like saying to someone with a phobia "USE REASON" in their face while they're trying to deal with it. That's just my personal feeling about it, though.

Off topic: it doesn't help my train of thought that many avatars here are that of literal death gods. shinigami.


Bullshit. People gets comfort from drugs too, should we not have billboards that informs you of the ill effects of substance abuse? These billboards aren't even that. They are the equivalent of saying that drugs are, well, chemicals

I don't know where you get the feeling of phobia from. If anything, it seems to me that theists who claimed to be attacked by "militant atheists" are the bigoted one

dedalus wrote:I know people who hold to that style of thinking and call themselves religious... Definitely, I would be surprised at many people labelling themselves a deist when they've been brought up a Christian and then evolved their thinking from there. And just because it's unfalsifiable, doesn't mean it's delusional. Just unscientific; but that's ok.


Unscientific? No, deism is unprovable, illogical and defies reality. It is the very definition of delusional.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby uncivlengr » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:16 am UTC

The analogy I like to use in that regard is to compare it to a crutch, or pain killers... it's understandable why one would require them in unfortunate circumstances, but when people continue to use them beyond the point where they need them, it starts becoming an impairment.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Xeio » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:40 am UTC

Steax wrote:You know, some people take on a religion not from the logical side, but because of the psychological effects and benefits of believing in a god. Those seeking closure, those hoping that people who've been evil to them get justice, etc. Logically it doesn't fit, but the psychological side does.
Should we not attempt to have people deal with this directly? Rather than relying on a belief structure that could at any point crumble (and potentially cause relapse)? Hate to say it, but painting a pretty picture of the world may offer some temporary relief, but if they don't come to terms with reality, I can't help but see this as a harmful influence.

There's been at least one article here where a previously christian committed suicide because he lost his faith and suddenly without a god he had claimed to have no concept of right and wrong anymore. That is a problem. That is unacceptable.

And then of course there are the harmful beliefs they hold to society as a whole as part of their religion. See "Homosexuality is a sin", "Abortion is murder", ect. I hope you can see why many people think we would be much better off without it.
Last edited by Xeio on Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:42 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:42 am UTC

Xeio wrote:
dedalus wrote:I know people who hold to that style of thinking and call themselves religious... Definitely, I would be surprised at many people labelling themselves a deist when they've been brought up a Christian and then evolved their thinking from there. And just because it's unfalsifiable, doesn't mean it's delusional. Just unscientific; but that's ok.
When there are explicit exceptions in psychology for religious beliefs, I'd say it's not too far to make that leap. Granted, for their purposes, it doesn't make sense (or at least, it isn't useful) to declare 90% of the population delusional.


To be fair, when faced with the religious view of death (some form of life beyond the grave) and the atheistic view of death (you just cease to exist for all of eternity), not a lot of people are going to be to thrilled with the latter. I know that I try not to think about death too much and assume that God may exist in some form simply because I would be driven completely batshit insane from the absolute terror I'd experience otherwise.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Levi » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:42 am UTC

uncivlengr wrote:The analogy I like to use in that regard is to compare it to a crutch, or pain killers... it's understandable why one would require them in unfortunate circumstances, but when people continue to use them beyond the point where they need them, it starts becoming an impairment.


It's also a problem when people start trying to get you to take their painkillers or use their crutches. And when they start hitting you with the crutches.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby davidstarlingm » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:28 am UTC

duckshirt wrote:
Aetius wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:It's a fair point you make, that religion is a problem because it can convert nonasses to asses.


I think it was Steven Weinberg who put it: "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "
And for evil people to do good?

Then along came Jesus, proclaiming, "There are no good people, and religion doesn't help the bad ones."

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Steax » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:44 am UTC

PeterCai wrote:Bullshit. People gets comfort from drugs too, should we not have billboards that informs you of the ill effects of substance abuse? These billboards aren't even that. They are the equivalent of saying that drugs are, well, chemicals

I don't know where you get the feeling of phobia from. If anything, it seems to me that theists who claimed to be attacked by "militant atheists" are the bigoted one


Except that drugs cause impairments that can hurt other people, and also gets spread to people who otherwise wouldn't need them. When religion becomes that big a problem, it's time to kick their ass, too. But otherwise, as long as they keep it to themselves, I don't see why people bother about it.

I do get the impression that the billboards are trying to aim for the general public who might have not really realized that Christmas about a religion and so forth. I'm perfectly fine with that (and I'm guessing most people are, too), but it's the "reason" bit that I feel is pretty bad taste.

PeterCai wrote:Unscientific? No, deism is unprovable, illogical and defies reality. It is the very definition of delusional.


Again, how do you prove that something is unprovable? And therefore illogical?

You can say it's unreasonable. But that's entirely a personal choice.

P.S. Guys, maybe we should cut back on the "do gods exist" discussion and get back to the billboard matter?
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Dargon Cophe » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:55 am UTC

Steax wrote:[Stuff of importance]

Therefore, Dargon Cophe, does that mean anyone doing stuff for psychological benefits (against logic) make them idiots? Doesn't that include, say, people paying a lot of money to go on a long vacation off work?

[More stuff of importance]


No, I was making the statement that they were idiots because they lacked an original thought on the concept. I'm fine with doing stuff for psychological benefit; I eat chocolate and extra portions all the time.
The difference being that someone didn't tell me "eat more and you'll be satisfied a bit longer," I came to the conclusion that eating a bit more than necessary made me a bit happier. They aren't believing in a religion because of the psychological effects, they're doing so because it's convenient to let others think for you; when you don't do your own thinking, you can only be as smart or less smart than the leader(s).

Personally, I think their leaders are idiots. Thus, idiots, everywhere!
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby paulisa » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:07 am UTC

I'm not religious and do not live in the USA, but I think that if I were religious I would be far more offended by all the billboards showing christmas as a time to buy loads of crap for loads of people you hardly care about than the atheist billboard. Heck, as a non-believer I get annoyed by the celebration of consumerism that is christmas now. I think the logic is that I wouldn't care if religous people celebrated christmas in their own home with their own family/friends, but the constant advertising and christmas-music is basically shoving this (religious) festival down everybody's throats.

I see the atheist billboard (perhaps wrongly) not as a statement against christmas, but against churches advertising. So all those people driving through the countryside seeing hundreds of "Jesus loves you (attend church X)" and "Sinners repent (church Y)" signs realise that that's not the only form life can take. As such, I think the poster should stay up all the time, because "season" is not referring only to christmas.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby PeterCai » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:37 am UTC

Steax wrote:Except that drugs cause impairments that can hurt other people, and also gets spread to people who otherwise wouldn't need them. When religion becomes that big a problem, it's time to kick their ass, too. But otherwise, as long as they keep it to themselves, I don't see why people bother about it.

I do get the impression that the billboards are trying to aim for the general public who might have not really realized that Christmas about a religion and so forth. I'm perfectly fine with that (and I'm guessing most people are, too), but it's the "reason" bit that I feel is pretty bad taste.


So, since some people find fantasies reassuring, I am a dick for telling the world that we need to celebrate reason instead of irrationality?
And, in case you haven't notice, of late, religion is getting out of control, and it is time to do something. As an atheist, am I suppose to do nothing because it might burst someone's bubble?


Steax wrote:Again, how do you prove that something is unprovable? And therefore illogical?

You can say it's unreasonable. But that's entirely a personal choice.

P.S. Guys, maybe we should cut back on the "do gods exist" discussion and get back to the billboard matter?


So by your definition, nothing is illogical?

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Steax » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:15 am UTC

PeterCai wrote:So, since some people find fantasies reassuring, I am a dick for telling the world that we need to celebrate reason instead of irrationality?
And, in case you haven't notice, of late, religion is getting out of control, and it is time to do something. As an atheist, am I suppose to do nothing because it might burst someone's bubble?


No, you're not. I don't have a problem with atheists promoting their point of view and reminding people about a truth (that christmas is a christian holiday/concept/event). I'm just clarifying that sometimes, people will and do believe irrational stuff, and it's completely normal. My problem with the "reason" bit is simply that. They know it's unreasonable. They don't believe because their logic says so.

Thus I feel the billboard i missing the point.

About religion getting out of control, sure. If you feel christmas is getting out of hand, you're free to stop celebrating and get other like-minded people to stop as well. I've got nothing against that.

PeterCai wrote:So by your definition, nothing is illogical?


Err, if there's a proof, it can be made into a logical statement. In general, there's no proof of a god existing, nor is there proof of a god not existing. Certain people, naturally, may have personal "proof" of a god existing; certain people also have their own arguments that no gods exist. Until either proof can be, well, proven, nobody can say for sure if it's true or false, or logical or illogical.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Kewangji » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:04 am UTC

"You know it's TRUE,
this season, celebrate JESUS."

Sounds like they do it because they think it's real and sound and logical, to me.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Steax » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:36 am UTC

IMO the reply billboard was just trying to be witty. Can't say it was the best choice from them, either.

I could get into an explanation of how it shifts from a psychological need into a belief, but I think it's rather out of place here.

I have to say that I hate billboards in general, though, so if I lived in the US again, I might get just as annoyed as any theist/atheist about anyone's billboards. I also don't live in a country where Christmas is as big as in the US. This puts me out of contexts of the discussion, but there you have it.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Vieto » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:32 pm UTC

So these billboards remind me of this.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:02 pm UTC

Vieto wrote:So these billboards remind me of this.


That video pretty much sums up the basic argument here.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Nath » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:36 pm UTC

Steax wrote:Err, if there's a proof, it can be made into a logical statement. In general, there's no proof of a god existing, nor is there proof of a god not existing. Certain people, naturally, may have personal "proof" of a god existing; certain people also have their own arguments that no gods exist. Until either proof can be, well, proven, nobody can say for sure if it's true or false, or logical or illogical.

You were doing fine right until the bold part. Accepting a statement as true without being able to prove it is illogical. 'God exists' and 'god does not exist' are both unproven propositions, so strictly speaking, being certain of either one is illogical. Formally speaking, every rational person is agnostic. (Or would be, if there were such a thing as a rational person.)

Of course, outside mathematics, very few things are formally proven, so this is completely irrelevant. Even in the sciences, most things are based on statistical, probabilistic evidence rather than actual proof. So the real-life question is not whether you can prove something, but how strong your evidence is. For a rational person, their religious stance will be determined by how much evidence they think there is for the existence and non-existence of god, as well as their prior beliefs about how the world works (e.g. Occam's razor), which may weight things towards one side or the other.

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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby Greyarcher » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:45 pm UTC

Steax wrote:Except that drugs cause impairments that can hurt other people, and also gets spread to people who otherwise wouldn't need them. When religion becomes that big a problem, it's time to kick their ass, too. But otherwise, as long as they keep it to themselves, I don't see why people bother about it.
Mmm, if I think something's mistaken, it doesn't really need to be the cause big problems before I mention it and discuss it. And religion I think is rarely a purely personal thing: a lot of it is explicitly about one's conduct and interactions with other people (i.e. morality). And from there it gets into public policy too, at least from what I've seen of the USA.

Steax wrote:Again, how do you prove that something is unprovable? And therefore illogical?

You can say it's unreasonable. But that's entirely a personal choice.
"Reasonableness" can be a bit nebulous and lacking a solid list of formal criteria, but don't confuse that with meaning it is just subjective and purely personal choice. Consider: 1, Jon Doe believes there's a teapot on his table because he sees it; 2, Jon Doe believes there's a teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars because he saw someone write about it hypothetically. I think most people will say the second belief makes no sense (i.e. it's unreasonable), while the first is, ceteris paribus, reasonable.

There's a spectrum of reasonable grounds for believing and not believing. "Proofs" and "disproofs" are on an extreme and generally acknowledged as solidly reasonable grounds. They're exemplars. That doesn't make anything less extreme into mere subjective smoke and puffery.

Steax wrote:P.S. Guys, maybe we should cut back on the "do gods exist" discussion and get back to the billboard matter?
Nah, this is topical. Background positions like: "do we think religious beliefs are reasonable?" and "if not, what should and shouldn't be done about it?" are directly relevant to "what should we think of this billboard?"
Last edited by Greyarcher on Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Atheist Christmas Advertising

Postby bobjoesmith » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:46 pm UTC

Would not evangelical atheism just be another religion?


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