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

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What blogs, podcasts, etc. do you visit?

if you don't mind me asking, always looking for more


The federal government is trying to continue giving unfair advantages to religion, and are having to twist themselves in logical pretzels to do so. Atheism isn't a religion. Housing allowances that are tax-free should be unconstitutional when given only to religions.

From every definition I've seen of ideology...

It's a comprehensive set of ideas. Atheism can make up a part of one's ideology, but a lack of belief in gods is not a belief system, like most religions are. Most religions are a comprehensive, if somewhat contradictory, set of ideas. Likewise, theism, in the most basic sense, is not an ideology either.

It's pretty arbitrary which issues are "off limits"...

These issues, generally still divide the left since they aren't fully agreed upon in the US left (unlike in other countries, where the left is much more secular, sides with Palestine, and is for gun control, and it's not even an issue). All it really does is sweep that division under the carpet. However, there are other similar topics which are allowed in GD and are up for repeat day in and day out, so again, a bit arbitrary.

I gotta say that Skinner's wording is a bit insensitive, if not intellectually dishonest. I think it can be said quite easily that all three of those topics have news about them every day, with religion being the easiest case to make.

The fact that they must be kept in separate forums is a symptom of the failure of the forum and those who run it, not of people who want to discuss it. Instead of blaming others, Skinner should just say that he doesn't care enough to deal with those issues in an open and honest way, because it might involve more thought. There are many who would like to discuss and learn about all three issues on GD, and griefers or repeat posters shouldn't stand in their way. But easier to ignore these huge issues I guess. Kinda reminds me of when, during the Democratic Convention, there was a proposal to remove references to a diety from the platform, and it got shot down just because, even though it had support. Sweep the controversies under the rug for the sake of a somewhat more unified ideological front, I guess?

Atheism is not an ideology....

and I'm not sure where "Islamophobia" is part of atheism. There has already been numerous discussions about how many accusations of Islamophobia are similar to accusations by the Christian Right that they are victims under constant attack. People can't see the difference between harshly criticizing the tenets of religion and outright bigotry because religion is so privileged in the US and treated with kid gloves. People must step lightly when discussing it because of the power it has. What's sad is that the right does use real bigotry against all sorts of groups, and then when atheists harshly criticize a religion, which itself is inherently bigoted, some on the left resort to the right's tactics of using the privilege of religion in society as a bludgeon, because some on the left are still heavily invested in the idea of religion as a positive force.

I don't think atheists, as a group, are "elites", atheists are a more varied group than that. They may have more privilege generally, at least those that are out, but they are not unified by one ideology. Most lean left rather than right, and many who lean right are of the libertarian sort, the kind who rarely recognize that privilege exists, ironically. I remember asking one atheist who was conservative whether he felt slighted when Newt, in the 2012 primaries debate, said that he would never vote for an atheist because they couldn't be trusted. The guy could care less. Why? He was well off, and a white male. It's an annoyance rather than a real issue when you have enough privilege.

In the US....

Where religious privilege is so great, those with other privileges will be more likely to give up one privilege in exchange for intellectual honesty by being out about their atheism, or even having the time to think about philosophy.

Meanwhile, much of religion continues to prey successfully on the poor and ignorant, as it always has, and is used as a wonderful tool to get the poor and ignorant to vote against their interests, especially in the US. It's no wonder that churches are expanding rapidly in places with terrible governments and desparate poverty while fading in wealthy socialized countries. And it's no wonder the progressive movement has substantially more atheists than the conservative movement.

Basically, the fact that the privileged in the US are much more likely to be willing to part with religion belies the privilege religion still has, and the power it holds over the poor. When people rely so heavily on private religious charities, not to mention their religious communities, because the US has a terrible social safety net, then that's what you get.

In other countries, being an atheist is less tied to privilege, if at all, because religion has substantially less power and societal privilege itself. You won't find many of those who are already disadvantaged in the US rushing to join the most distrusted group in the US, where there are still laws against atheists holding office and where few politicians consider it safe to be open about their atheism, especially when it's easy to keep in the closet about it, go with the motions, and get what benefits you can from a society that is still under the thumb of religion in many ways.

Reconstruction 2.0 and the Neo-Confederate Backlash

Good article written by a moderate Republican, though honestly I don't know what keeps him in that party, looking at other stuff he writes. Anyways, enjoy!


Or if enough people leave the church...

It will change. Actually, I have no doubt that is what is driving the latest, snail pace shift in the church, not the reformers. The church isn't a democracy, and the reformers don't have the tools to enact change. It is a hierarchal structure meant to preserve dogma. If enough people leave, either the church will be forced to change, or it will lose so much power as to be less relevant.

I know there are more atheists on DU per capita than in your average US town, I'm just saying, that by DU standards, religion is treated with kid gloves compared to secular ideologies. No way a post praising a misogynistic, homophobic leader of an organization would be allowed to stand, or would receive near as much support.

Is there any other organization you would remain in...

That had the same views on women and homosexuals as the official Church doctrine states? Personally, I don't think there is ever a good enough reason to give any such organization the time of day, much less be a member of it. There are so many alternatives as well.

The religions provide none of the good...

It's the people in the religions that do. If the religions went away, the people would still be there to do good, as you stated. Which is why people who don't agree with those religions should drop them and take up a new one, or none at all, and do good works through organizations they actually believe in.

Look, I think the new Pope is somewhat less bad than the previous Pope, but the fundamental beliefs are all still there, and it's still terrible. I know those that remain find something of value, it's just my opinion that there is nothing valuable enough to keep a person working for any organization with that sort of ideology and which actively hurts others with its power, especially given the numerous alternatives.
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