Today in Conversations With Theists

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This is one of the most unintelligently argued statements I have ever read reeking of deliberate misinformation, conflation of unrelated facts, logical fallacy and just pure sophistry.

I might also add the unintended hilarity of them putting “Atheist” dark ages on there because we all know who was responsible for the actual Dark Ages.  Ha ha, joke’s on you, sucker….

Anyway, North Korea is not using science and reason to do anything. Quite the opposite. The North Korean regime uses jingoism, brainwashing and sequestration of their population from the outside world, as well as pure obedience to uniformity to achieve the totalitarian shit-hole they have created.

They don’t employ science and reason to do anything. The only science they use is how to make nukes. That is where it ends. They don’t engage in trade, they don’t exchange ideas and they can’t even feed their own population, which they could if they actually used science for any purpose other than making weapons of mass destruction.

Second, just like any other dictatorship, especially a Communist one, they have abandoned the church and religion in general because it is just another competing institution next to the Communist dictatorship they are running.

And this is where most people get it wrong when they pick some dictatorship such as Stalin’s Communist Russia or Hitler’s Nazi Germany  – all of which admonished religion – to argue that atheism causes totalitarianism. What such arguments fail to understand is that totalitarian leaders don’t oppose religion and/or god on philosophical grounds, they only oppose them because they don’t want church leaders and Popes competing with the obedience to The Fuhrer or Supreme Leader that is running the country.

Ever note how the North Korean leader is equated to a god? With his picture hanging on everyone’s walls and even how and when the first one in the line was born is shrouded in some religious mystery? The Korean Central News Agency describes Kim Jong-un as “a great person born of heaven“, a propaganda term his father and grandfather had enjoyed as well.  According to official biographers of the North Korean state, Kim Jong-un father’s birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow across the sky over the mountain and a new star in the heavens. In reality, that murderous charlatan was born in the Soviet village of Vyatskoye without any rainbows and shit appearing.

As I have mentioned before, trying to have a constructive, intelligent and meaningful conversation with religious people is almost impossible because it is impossible to have a meaningful conversation with an entity that uses fiction such as the Bible, god and Jesus, as the “back up” and back bone of their arguments. However, it is not just that. When religious people do try to make an argument against atheists, for instance, without even employing the Bible and “god”, it still stinks because they cannot even do that right. Case in point, the pathetic attempt above trying to pass as truly intelligent thought when in reality it is just as coherent of a thought-process as their belief in a fictional entity.

I recommend whoever came up with this ridiculous dribble actually do their research and maybe try this thing called fact-based arguing and deductive reasoning, but I know I expect too much of entities that believe the earth is 6,000 years old.

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  1. #1 by agrudzinsky on August 3, 2014 - 11:10 PM

    I don’t argue that atrocities of totalitarian communist regimes are caused by atheism. That’s nonsense, of course. I completely agree that totalitarian regimes are built on brainwashing and propaganda.

    But why, when people speak of atrocities committed by religious people, it is said that these atrocities were caused by belief in God? Why criticize religion as a whole or belief in God in particular, rather than criticizing the misused brainwashing and propaganda which seem to be the real cause of harm in both cases? After all, it is true that Soviet regime was atheistic. So, if atheism did not cause the atrocities of Soviet regime (which makes sense), why would you say that belief in God caused Inquisition?

    And I say “misused propaganda” because not all propaganda is harmful. E.g. every country needs a healthy amount of patriotic propaganda to exist. Those countries that do not “brainwash” children into respecting state symbols, military, traditions, laws, etc. end up with disloyal population and can be destroyed by external enemies or internal squabbles. Ukraine is a vivid example today. What happens in eastern Ukraine today is the result of Russia brainwashing people in 2 eastern Ukrainian regions and Crimea in the absence of counter-balancing pro-Ukrainian propaganda. As a result, people in those regions of Ukraine despise Ukraine and believe that they are Russians and their territories should belong to Russia. This would not happen if people had grown up identifying themselves as Ukrainians and with a healthy amount of pride for their country.

    I’d say, religion creates a sense of cultural identity in a very similar way. It’s inevitable and, in many cases, necessary. But religion and propaganda need to be used carefully. They are very powerful tools and can easily be used to cause great harm.

    • #2 by popreflection on August 3, 2014 - 11:29 PM

      I think the point is that Stalin did not decide to be a dictator and despot because he did not believe in god and so thought to himself “gee, how can I put this atheism to good use? Oh yeah I will murder and oppress people.” In other words, his atheism did not influence his dictatorship. He just was a dictator and evil man who also happened to be an atheist, albeit not for philosophical reasons but because as pointed out, it fit his agenda.

      Atrocities committed by religious people, however, have always been the direct result of religion. See witch burning, see Crusades, inquisition and all the crimes committed by the religious in the name of god, jesus, Prophets etc. Stalin did not become a dictator in the name of atheism, but people were murdered by the church in the name of god.

      And it is still the case today. Sure, we dont burn people at the stake anymore (well the religious dont) but we deny them, oh, say, marriage rights and if they are women we deny them the right to bodily autonomy and choice etc. – all in the name of Jesus or God or whatever. So therein lies the difference. As I pointed out earlier, the terrible things we see coming out of the religious camp are not solely confined to a small lunatic fringe of extremists. Bigotry, intolerance, othering have become quite common place.

      As to the argument that religion is misused/misunderstood/misinterpreted: I really have to wonder whether something that has been, since its inception, used to hurt people, can then really be said to be misunderstood.

      I am supposed to believe, and politely so, that religion is this wonderful, amazing, beautiful thing that says all these wonderful, amazing, beautiful things that somehow inexplicably, for thousand of years, have been used by people to harm, hurt, kill, murder, oppress, torture and shit on each other. And i am supposed to think that all that routine harming, torture and abuse was just a mere misunderstanding? (misunderstood for thousands of years by millions and billions of people independently of each other) ? A misunderstanding would be if in its entire history religion had been used by a small minority in a fee incidences to abuse the system. But when something is just a routine part of things, can we really say it is misunderstood? I would say. I think it is time we saw religion for what it is and stopped making excuses.

      • #3 by agrudzinsky on August 4, 2014 - 12:52 AM

        Stalin was not an atheist by mere chance. His worldview was based on Marxism which had materialism as one of its philosophical tenets. He did not wake up one morning with the intention to kill people. People were killed not in the name of atheism, but in the name of communism. Killing was a result of Marxist materialistic ideology. The mechanism is virtually identical to the mechanism that lead to Christian atrocities that you mentioned except that those were a result of a certain theistic ideology. Now, we have two ideologies. One (communism) is based on atheism. The other (Christianity) is based on theism. Both lead people to commit atrocities. If you look for the cause of atrocities, we must look for commonalities. There are plenty of commonalities between the two, but atheism and theism are among the differences. So, if you reject atheism as the cause of atrocities (which is correct), you must also reject theism for the same reason.

        • #4 by popreflection on August 4, 2014 - 8:29 AM

          Communism is not based on atheism. In that, unlike religion/Christianity where belief in a god is the most central aspect of the faith – without it you cannot go on, the central tenet of communism is not just rejection of god as the first step toward being communist. Through the study of religion, faith and other such things, marx came to see the mechanisms of exploit from a larger framework, but no communist entity has required people to pledge an allegiance to atheism before moving forward. Also atheism without communism is possible – they don’t belong together and neither does one satisfy the requirements of the other. To equate marxism with atheism is cold war propaganda.

          Communism is a socioeconomic system structured upon common ownership of the means of production. It is centered on that very concept, rejecting religion in so far as the Marxist considers it the opium of the people. Religion promotes passive acceptance of suffering on Earth in the hope of eternal reward. In other words, the communist thinks while you are busy worshipping your invisible sky god and putting up with exploitation on Earth in anticipation of heavenly reward, you are being fucked over by the industrialist capitalist pig over there.

          Atheism is not a central tenet of communism around which the entire communist ideology is built so to make that side by side comparison you just did where communism = atheism, capitalism = Christianity is just not accurate.

          You are drawing a false equivalency here. Not to mention that even if that were so, Communism never supported or even endorsed mass murder and dictatorships or tyranny. That was Stalin’s thing, not atheism’s central tenet. Unlike the Bible that talks about what to do with non believers all the time and where god himself encourages rape and murder and commits genocide all the time to punish people.

          Marx opposed religion in the hopes that it never again finds power over people’s minds through its deception and promotion of fear from the mystical forces of God.

          He argued that religious belief had been invented as a reaction against the suffering and injustice of the world. In Marx’s view, the poor and oppressed were the original creators of religion, and they used it as a way to reassure themselves that they would have a better life in the future, after death. Thus, it served as a kind of “opium,” or a way to escape the harsh realities of the world.

          “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” – Marx

          Marx came to see that religion was determined by the economic superstructure and therefore he believed abolishing class society would lead to an end to religion.

          And he is right. I mean if it wasn’t for religion, most people would not put up with the crap they are putting up with these days. If it wasn;t for the belief of a reward in another life, most people would not be able to get out of bed due to the depressing nature of their existence; the injustices (ties in with existential uncertainty).

          I think it was Napoleon who said that without religion the poor would murder the rich or something in that regard.

          That Stalin then became a dictator was not a function of him philosophically sharing Marx’s ideals in any way. he wasn’t even a real communist. He was a power-hungry sociopath setting the stage for a worldview that used communism to oppress people.

          Note that I am distinguishing communism from atheism because that was never really a central factor in any communist state. Considerations of faith influenced Marx’s initial thinking and approach of forming his philosophy, but once people like Lenin and Stalin took over, that was never a consideration again. At that point churches were banned not on philosophical grounds but because the communist state no longer wanted to deal with the competition of the institutions of religion so that it can concentrate power. And you cannot concentrate power when the church is meddling in and telling people to basically put up with the exploitation because of there is a better tomorrow under the Lord.

          Not to mention that Jesus was a socialist!! he constantly advocated for helping the poor and needy and what is it that about the camel through the eye of the needle and rich man making it to heaven? That wasn’t an allegory you know.

          At any rate, to conflate atheism with communism in the same way you conflate the actions of religious people with their holy books, is fallacious. Not to mention that atheists are the most peaceful, least violent entities in the world. I asked you a couple of comments before to name me one piece of atheist drafted or inspired legislation and especially one that has been harmful or detrimental to peoples. And I doubt you will find one.

          I have thousands of years or oppression, mistreatment and murder at the hands of the religious in the name of god to show you – what you got on the atheists? Just Stalin?

          The Nordic/Scandinavian nations are some of the least religious and last I looked they were doing hella better than nations where people call themselves religious and who say that god and faith guide them. Oh the irony.

          Looks to me like you are holding on to straws to make the case for what? That religion is not bad after all? That it is misunderstood? That atheism is just as bad? Are you that desperate to believe in a higher power, is the urge to believe that strong, that you are willing to muddy the waters and engage in this kind of false reasoning and draw false equivalencies? Is the world such a horrible place and life so unbearable without a god that you are willing to forgo reason in all its manifestations to desperately make the case for religion being amazing? I just don’t get it. I cannot imagine my need to believe in the invisible be so strong that I am willing to stick my head in the sand for it.

      • #5 by agrudzinsky on August 4, 2014 - 12:57 AM

        I did not mean misunderstanding by misuse. I meant intentional use to cause harm as one can misuse a kitchen knife to cut another’s throat. You can’t blame the kitchen knife or ban the use of everything sharp because sharp knives are useful for many good purposes.

        • #6 by popreflection on August 4, 2014 - 8:05 AM

          Now you are engaging in pure sophistry. A knife, which is an inanimate object just lying there, is not the same thing as a written document instructing people what to do. You cannot say the shit emanating from religion is not religion’s fault but the fault of its followers only – as if religion did NOT intend those things when in reality it really did. I think that is where you are in denial. You think the Bible is this amazing book of awesomeness that’s been deliberately misinterpreted and misused by billions of people for ages, and that is simply not true. You think the bible wanted all men to be freethinking, loving, inclusionary skeptics but was somehow wrongfully co-opted to be what it is we see today (and have seen since Christianity’s inception) – which is not true. A cherry picking Christian, arent we?

          Note that I did say that atheists can be bad people too because they are just human. Atheism is not the end all, be all of intellectual emancipation. But it IS a first step towards it. Not to mention that overall societies where religion is not dominant in any shape, are doing much better than societies where it is. I mean last time I looked, it’s been religious people, just as one example of many, that have made atheism punishable by law in 13 countires and 7 of those made that made it punishable by death.

          At any rate, engaging in this kind of debate to muddy the waters ultimately elides the harms done by religion and shifts the burden onto the people, ad if religion wasnt responsible.

  2. #7 by drewbai on April 6, 2014 - 6:17 PM

    For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure Hitler was a staunch Roman Catholic. ie. he was definitely NOT an atheist

    • #8 by popreflection on April 6, 2014 - 8:43 PM

      And there is that, of course. He was. That is another thing people just don’t know or don’t wanna know.

  3. #9 by myatheistlife on April 6, 2014 - 12:17 PM

    They used that word utopian. I don’t think it means what they think it means, and it was not religion free. It is Christian, Islam, and Judaism free… but that does not make it religion free. Then they had to go an diss nihilism – bastards. I’d like them to explain just what they think is wrong with nihilism! and !!!!! too.

    • #10 by popreflection on April 6, 2014 - 3:42 PM

      Well these dictatorships have replaced Jesus with dictators. When a leader is celebrated as some kind of a god, then you cannot say there is no religion.

      As to nihilism: The word itself (which means “nothing”) is already a value judgment. While nihilism, especially existential nihilism, posits that life has no intrinsic meaning or value, a lot of people have understood that to mean that existentialists then are nothing but immoral, negative, heartless pits of pessimism wearing black all day, worshiping Satan and shitting on everything, which is not at all what existentialism – and with it existential nihilism – is.

      On the contrary, the notion of existentialism is very liberating because it says we are free from all the bullshit constraints we impose on ourselves, such as religion and “fate” and the concept that god has a plan for us etc.

      There is no essence without existence. You are not anything pre-determined (no essence). You first have to live (existence) and experience in order to become who you are. Nothing is pre-determined or has an intrinsic value. An inanimate object has an intrinsic value, but not a person. Existentialism posits that we are the ones giving meaning to our lives by the decisions we make and things we do, as opposed to justify terrible behavior by hiding behind god and religious texts – which a lot of religious people do.

      For instance, if you oppose gay marriage then that is a choice you are making. You are CHOOSING to not only obey but also interpret the Bible such that you adhere to the notion that homosexuality is evil. In reality, of course, you don’t have to believe this. You can make up your own mind. Yet, you choose to obey the bible- i. e. hide behind it – instead. Existential nihilism rejects that as it puts the responsibility back onto the individual. In other words, there is no grand power telling you what to do, you are choosing to make up that grand power and then obey what it ostensibly tells you.

      According to existentialism, life has no intrinsic value ex-nihilo (i.e. god’s “you are my special children, I have created this Earth and all its creatures just for you etc.) – no essence – because we give our lives that “value”, that “meaning” by living it.

      I find that a very liberating, intelligent and thoughtful view on the human condition. It is not at all a position that is full of negativity. Just because I don’t think the billion galaxy universe was just created for me, doesn’t mean I have a negative view on life and do not see value in things. That is absurd.

      I really wish people who criticize nihilism and existentialism as these practically grim, suicidal world-views would understand first what nihilism and existentialism are about and say.
      North Korea does not adhere to an existential nihilistic philosophy. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It is a totalitarian, oppressive nation that is controlling people via brainwashing and a cult of personality – which is not nihilism. In fact, it is the exact opposite of nihilism and its related existentialism.

      • #11 by myatheistlife on April 6, 2014 - 6:38 PM

        Hell Yes. That is exactly what nihilism is. I am an anti-theist and nihilist among other things. Note, please, that a nihilist can choose to think homosexuality is evil without a holy text. It’s just that generally, once you understand nihilism such thinking is beyond the pale.

        • #12 by popreflection on April 6, 2014 - 8:42 PM

          Exactly. It is very unlikely to find an existential nihilist who believes that homosexuality is a sick abomination and that gays and lesbians need to be treated like second class human beings whom god hates etc.

          • #13 by myatheistlife on April 6, 2014 - 8:43 PM

            You might as well set out to kill all dandelions because they have multiple partners from another species…

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