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Member since: Thu Jul 24, 2008, 05:59 PM
Number of posts: 5,018

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So you don't stop saying a word just because a group finds it offensive...

that's the whole point I'm getting at. Only for a certain class of words, ones you find "derogatory", do you stop saying the word.

More specifically, words that criticize a person for irreversible or inherent traits especially, from your examples, do you consider unjustifiably offensive. This makes sense. There is no logic behind attacking someone's character for their skin color, or ethnicity, or mental disability, or sexual orientation etc. etc., since it has nothing to do with character. I'm just trying to show you that this is really your reasoning, not the fact that some group considers the word offensive.

From your accounts, it sounds like you were ignorant of the derogatory nature of the word until you were informed by someone else, and once you knew of the derogatory nature, you stopped using it, not because a group found it offensive, but because you found out the meaning behind the word.

Lots of groups consider words offensive, but some of them are justifiably used against those groups.

Religion, oftentimes, is still conflated with being an inherent trait in many cultures, the same thing as skin color or ethnicity. It's not. So words that attack or belittle religious beliefs may be offensive to those that hold them, but they also may be justified, and the offense to the criticism is not logical. Belief systems are always fair game to criticism, and those that hold such beliefs will be subject to criticism as well.

For example, the Koran is a bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic religious text, and Islam is based on it. Islam itself is homophobic and misogynistic as a belief system. That makes all people who subscribe to Islam, Muslims, homophobic and misogynistic. If a Muslim says they are not homophobic or misogynistic, that simply means they are engaging in cognitive dissonance. It's like a member of the KKK telling you they aren't racist. It may be true, of course, but it's still cognitive dissonance and it's intellectually dishonest, they're essentially saying they don't believe what they say they believe. Now, because religion has so much privilege still, a post like that got deleted by a jury on DU, simply because people found it offensive.

That sort of logic is terrible, and should not be a reason to censor words or criticism.

Whether they are "targets" or not makes no difference...

for example, I call people who oppose gay marriage "bigots". This offends them. Yet, I don't retract what I said because they are offended. It's an honest assessment. Indeed, I call the current Pope a bigot, homophobic, and a misogynist. This is an honest assessment based on his own statements and confirmed belief system. Yet many people on DU are offended, but their offense is not logical, it's emotional. They like certain things about this particular Pope, or they were raised Catholic, etc. etc. that bias them so much that they cannot take honest criticism of the Pope on any subject very well. They'll even say it's rude. I've seen posts deleted based on irrational grounds by offended DUers, so it's something to keep in mind.

You didn't stop saying "gypped" because the target group was offended, you stopped saying "gypped" because you gained new information about its origins that lead you to believe that its use was justifiably offensive. That makes sense, that's a good way to go about it.

Whether something is offensive is completely subjective...

the definitions of words are not. So you are bringing up a different topic.

People may find things offensive, but that has nothing to do with whether they should "prevail" or not. Many conservatives find gay marriage disgusting and offensive, yet that fact doesn't mean you think they should "prevail" I would guess.

When someone tells you they find something offensive, all it tells you is that they think it's offensive, not whether their offense is in any way rational or logical or justified.

Of course not.

Otherwise words have no meaning. A person may call themselves a fish. They aren't a fish.

Words have meaning, they are not completely subjective. Atheism and agnosticism are actually fairly clear definitions, compared to many other words.

Many people may think they are something they actually aren't, happens all the time. Usually it's because they want the benefits of the label without actually ascribing to what the label is. It's considerate to inform people that their beliefs don't actually match up with the label they've given themselves, so they can better understand reality and themselves. If they wish to continue to identify themselves that way, that's fine, no one can stop them, but all that says is that they identify that way, not that they actually are what they claim to be. And it shows they're intellectually dishonest.

It's called cognitive dissonance. This is something many theists have to engage in all the time, considering the inherent contradictions of many of their belief systems and religious texts, so perhaps the idea of saying they are one thing while holding beliefs that actually contradict what they just said is a usual practice. More likely, theists just ignore any contradicting ideas. That's what I did when I was a theist.

To recap: If you want words to have meaning, then people are not what they say they are simply because they identify as such.

No problem! nt

I was born an atheist...

I was indoctrinated into religion by my parents and the various adults at the different churches we attended. For years, they were the biggest influence on me and my views of religion, when I didn't even have the critical faculties to understand what it was I was "believing". I was told God existed as a fact, and that not believing could lead to burning in hell for eternity, and that the Devil was real, etc. etc. Pretty scary stuff to a kid.

Then, the next biggest influence wasn't a "who" so much as a "what". I began noticing that my belief system made no sense on many different levels, but I didn't want to delve or think any further, mainly out of fear of hell and burning for eternity, but also out of fear of what it would mean socially if I were to reject a belief. So, for many years while I was a teenager and even in the beginning of college, my views of religion were based on fear.

Over time, especially once I was out of the house and on my own, the fear of social ostracization faded, and the fear of hell slowly faded, I began to explore the parts of my belief that had never made much sense. There was no one person that influenced me at this time, there were multitudes. Various books I read, various atheist friends (who I had never known of before) I had, various articles, even some discussion from here on DU, and lots of other internet sources, slowly, very slowly chipped away at what had been a lifelong comfort and also source of fear for me.

Now, what influences me the most when it comes to my views of religion, or many other topics, is skepticism. I try to apply it in all areas of my life.

Don't take my word for it...

it doesn't matter if you're a Christian or a Deist or a Hindu or an atheist, anyone can know the definitions of words and their application. People aren't agnostic atheists because other agnostic atheists say it's so. It's just the definitions of words applied to beliefs, or lack thereof. I encourage you to look up the definitions yourself to get a better understanding of them, it can be pretty complicated if you're not familiar with it, and there is a lot of misinformation about them as well that doesn't help, mostly spread by certain religious interests that want to put atheism on the same level as theism for a variety of reasons (a Catholic website describes atheism as a belief system, for example).

Some people may think I'm wrong, in the sense that they may think there is no difference between knowledge and belief. But this is just a preference. I think there is a difference because I think it's a useful distinction, and it also would mean the words knowledge and belief would have less meaning and be less useful otherwise.

I think this video explains some of the definitional issues of atheism very well:

Many people on here mislabel atheism and agnosticism...

which I think is what the OP is getting at. Indeed, a full thread about how one should be an agnostic instead of an atheist was going on... which is funny, considering they're not either/or, they're completely different questions.

Also, a very common tactic of theists in debates (not necessarily always on here) is to mislabel what atheism is. A belief system, gnostic atheism, anti-theism, faith-based, etc., mostly as a way to stick to technicalities and avoid the unanswerable questions they receive. Considering theists are making the incredible claims, the burden of proof is on them, but this is a way to shift that attention away from themselves, or to pretend that atheists indeed have the same burden because they somehow make similar claims. "Moving the goal posts" by being indirect with definitions of words is a classic defense of many theists, which is why the definitions of words are so important for any meaningful discussion to occur.

Most of the snarky non-answers on here are very similar to the snarky non-answers many theists in the real world usually give, which probably explains the frusteration of the OP.

The OP asked, in the religion forum, how others would label him based on his beliefs, in order to have a discussion about labels and definitions of words. Instead, he's getting a lot of snark. Not surprising at all as to why he's frusterated.

No, it makes him an agnostic atheist...

Everyone is either an atheist or a theist, and everyone is either agnostic or gnostic when it comes to theism.

Agnostic atheism is the only truly rational position IMHO, all others are variably intellectually dishonest or irrational. Most theists anymore are agnostic, because they have to be. Their religions have evolved to be so as well. It's the only way they've kept around, and even then, they're still being ditched as some of the power and social privilege of religion dwindles.

This guy doesn't have his definitions straight...

you're either an atheist or a theist, an agnostic or a gnostic, there is no inbetween. He sounds like an agnostic atheist.

I would say the vast majority of atheists are agnostic, as are the vast majority of theists in the modern world at least, especially since many of their dogmas say that faith is all you need, not knowledge, so they are perfectly fine saying they don't know that God exists, since belief is all that is required. And, considering the insane claims religion makes, it makes it easy to shirk questions about the truth of the claims if you simply don't care about the truth, but instead what you believe to be true.
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