National Blasphemy Day

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby NecklaceOfShadow » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:10 pm UTC

Sigh... This topic completely exploded while I was at school. I'm going to try to respond at everything all at once, even though I'll probably fail spectacularly at that.

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Horswood Beer-Master wrote:Let me condense your point down for you.

"I can't find a response to Horwood's points, so I'll just go and build one of these to attack instead,"

*image of a straw man*

What you've just posted above does not even vaguely represent the point I was trying to make. And as for your assertion of my 'arrogance' and 'stupidity', are you in the habit of making ad-homs without backing them up? Or is that, like your strawman, just another tactic to make it look like you've responded to my points without going to the effort of actually doing so?

For your information, none of what I said was about taking the piss out of believers, it's about my right to take the piss out of belief. Although I'd be happier if people saw through the lies of religion, I perfectly respect the right of people to believe whatever they like, and I perfectly respect the right of people to accept and abide by certain rules and boundaries placed on them by their religions on how or what they may discuss when it comes to religious matters if they freely choose to do so. What I do not respect is their perceived right to act as if those rules and boundaries apply to other people as well!


First off, "arrogant" and "stupid" were directed at the views, not the person, though I'm sorry if you took it personally. You know what, you're probably right; I generalized far too much and I may have parsed one of the sentences incorrectly. I'll admit fault there.

I still think that the phrase "...and I'm certainly not going to 'suspend my disbelief'! (It's not like the theist when listening to my views, is going to first 'suspend their belief'.)" borders on arrogance; it does seem as if you're not trusting a theist's mental capacities to be large enough to be able to put aside the emotional baggage when necessary and that is insulting to the people who can. I also don't want to ask you to unflinchingly accept my views; you can rip them apart all that you like. On second thought, asking for it to be done in a manner that's not rude does seem stupid, since someone somewhere will take offense to it no matter what. All I ask is that it's done to the standards of a civilized conversation. Both people get to express their views, both people get chances to fight back, hopefully with copious amounts of logic and good taste.

Your point that centuries ago it would have been suicide to blaspheme is valid. It's depressing but valid. It's not suicidal now and rational discourse is allowed and in many cases even encouraged. I don't think that it's an appropriate justification to say "because hundreds of years ago, I would have been killed for expressing these views, now that I can express them I should go and be as offensive as I can be torward this specific group in order to make it easier for myself to express these views. To me, it's similar to a black person telling a white person to stand off of a bus seat so they could have it because "a few decades ago, I would have had to have done the same for you." [ Yes, I realize it's not the best comparison, but it was the only one I could think of ] I don't think that going about this with a goal to antagonize will get you any further to your goal; no one responds well to being patronized, to being insulted, or anything of the sort.

To respond to your comment about 'pushing peoples' buttons' though. The problem as I see it, is that there are too many people who's 'buttons' are so easily 'pushed', that it's next-to-impossible (and sometimes totally impossible) to discuss their religion at all without pushing them. And when they are pushed, the backlash (witness the Danish cartoon furore) can potentially lead to unacceptable restrictions on free speech, and make it impossible to conduct any discussion on this topic, if we let it.

It's clear to me that the only solution is for people to develop thicker skins, and become less sensitive to having their buttons pressed. How to achieve this? Well as I see it, just as the only way to desensitise someone to the cold is to expose them to the cold, the only way to desensitise people to blasphemy against their religion is to commit blasphemy against their religion.


I can see your logic there, but I guess that I don't understand is why it's so important to talk to the people who have absorbed their faith in so much that they can't even take the time to be civil to a fellow person. These are the people who will lash out against those so violently that they'll either "win" their argument or kill themselves in the process. Why are they so important? If one wishes to have an interesting, enriching conversation, why not just ignore them and try to focus on the people that will show a worthwhile response?

[ Also, please don't think that I'm targeting you. You're just one of the people who has posted the most content lately ( that hasn't been about Moo's posts ) with whom I don't necessarily agree. ]

gmalivuk wrote:
Rakysh wrote:blasphemy: good for changing taboos, not so good for changing minds.


But taboos have to change first, before the kind of open discussion capable of changing minds is even possible.


That makes sense, but I don't necessarily see blasphemy as necessary to change anything. Maybe I should define what blasphemy means to me, personally: it's purposely saying something that goes against someone else's religion in order to incite a negative reaction. I don't think of rational discourse and questioning as blasphemy, though maybe if I substituted that as one of the many possible definitions that one may have for blasphemy, a lot of the posts in this thread would make more sense. Or maybe I'm just too naive, hoping that everything can be solved with a nice, friendly chat over tea and crumpets...

Daojia wrote:Approaching someone and discussing faith/belief isn't a terribly offensive thing to do, nor should the questioning of any facet of religious belief be seen as blasphemous or sacrilegious. And that works both ways; any religious person should be able to have this sort of discussion with an atheist without either side feeling like they're trying to convert or one-up the other.


I guess that this is really what I've been trying to say throughout all of my awkward little posts. If people could just put aside the baggage and the anger, we could have some wonderful discussions and learn from all sides.


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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:19 pm UTC

Moo wrote:...the guy's rudeness was getting on my nerves...

I've still at no point whatsoever had it pointed out to me exactly where I have been rude.

This is precisely what you get when you let people decide for themselves what they are going to consider 'rude' based primarily on what subjects they are willing (or not) to have discussed.
The phrase "you're being rude", just like "you're being blasphmous" can be used as a way of basicly saying "I don't like what's being disscussed - so shut-up".

The difference is that unlike "being blasphmous" there is actually such a thing as "being rude". But as I've said, I fail to see where I've been it.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby abitha » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

Ignoring all the shit-slinging... I don't know if anyone has already pointed this out, but aren't we rather confusing the concepts of "blasphemy" and "heresy" here?

Blasphemy (as far as i'm aware) = speaking or acting in a way that is offensive, usually intentionally so, about something considered holy by someone else. Examples might include using the name of God or Jesus as an expletive, burning effigies of a god, or drawing cartoons that portray Mohammed as a suicide bomber. Equivalent to defamation, or perhaps to insulting someone's mother - that is to say, if the holy thing is something they genuinely hold in such high regard, it's understandable that they may get a little upset about it.

Heresy (as far as i'm aware) = holding or expressing opinions that are contrary to the mainstream opinion or received wisdom of a particular religious group. Examples would include being an atheist/expressing atheist opinions, being a believer of a religion other than the believer's own, or in some cases being a member of a different sect or denomination within the believer's own religion. Although, as others have pointed out, this has in the past been considered a crime by followers of some religions (and still is by some), heresy is not usually in its nature offensive.

I may be wrong here, but a lot (though not all) of the arguments in this thread seem to stem from a misunderstanding of these terms and concepts. As i see it, "blasphemy" and "heresy" are pretty distinct. It is perfectly possible for someone to be thoroughly 'heretical' (i.e. not share any of the same beliefs as the religious person) without being blasphemous about the things the religious person holds dear, and thereby not cause offence. This takes a little knowledge and sensitivity, but is basically just human decency/politeness. The concept of a 'national blasphemy day' seems directly intended to cause offence - wouldn't 'national atheism day' have done just as well? I don't see the point in a day that seems intended to deliberately offend.

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:44 pm UTC

Let's just say that in the venn diagram of life, the two circles overlap.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby setzer777 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

abitha wrote:Blasphemy (as far as i'm aware) = speaking or acting in a way that is offensive, usually intentionally so, about something considered holy by someone else. Examples might include using the name of God or Jesus as an expletive, burning effigies of a god, or drawing cartoons that portray Mohammed as a suicide bomber. Equivalent to defamation, or perhaps to insulting someone's mother - that is to say, if the holy thing is something they genuinely hold in such high regard, it's understandable that they may get a little upset about it.


The problem is that it is the listener, not the speaker, who decides whether a statement is offensive, and to a non-trivial number people, stating that God doesn't exist is offensive, and blasphemy. I'm not sure if anyone can legitimately tell them they are wrong about it being offensive.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:49 pm UTC

abitha wrote:Blasphemy (as far as i'm aware) = speaking or acting in a way that is offensive, usually intentionally so

If it isn't *always* intentionally so, by definition, then the difference between blasphemy and heresy isn't that important. Because a lot of the people saying blasphemy is (or ought to be) okay are asserting that there are those who find any heresy offensive.

And anyway, even if blasphemy requires an intent to ridicule, remember that it started as a response to the overreaction among some Muslims to a stupid cartoon about Muhammad that showed up in a Danish newspaper. In other words, some religious people got horribly offended, to the point of death threats, at a fairly minor insult printed in a newspaper. I think it's quite reasonable to respond to that by saying, hey, fuck you, we live in the 21st century now and everyone needs to learn to react a little less violently when someone pokes fun at them.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Yakk » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:54 pm UTC

Suppose I found the Church of Radical Agnosticism.

The Octanathema:
1: God, Goddess, a Supreme Being, a Pantheon of Deities, or a Universal Spirit exists.
2: Pretending Mechanically Separated Animal Product is Meat, and similar crimes against nature.
3: Prayer for someone without consent.
4: Tax-exempt (or any tax-advantageous) status of organisations that place any religious shibboleth or belief requirement on employees, organisers, volunteers, or beneficiaries.
5: Restrictions on saying or expressing the name or appearance of any fictional, historical or living thing.
6: Shamans, Con Artists, Priests, Politicians, Priestesses, Spirit Guides or Druids soliciting for (by proxy or by themselves) for donations to support their vocation, even as passive as leaving a hat out.
7: Restricting activities of individuals on a calendar basis based on religious teachings through legal or social means.
8: Murder, Sex without enthusiastic consent, calling someone on the phone/sending an email/etc without good reason to think your contact will be probably be welcomed.

Expressing, supporting or bringing about through action the Octanathema is considered Blasphemy.

So, as a believer who doesn't want people to Blaspheme -- do you support banning Blasphemy, as defined by the Church of Radical Agnosticism? Do you Blaspheme against the Octanathema?

Or does a Religious group have to be in existence for a long time and/or have a large number of formal members and/or be similar enough to your own for it to count?

Or do you think that I find the above rules to be insufficiently offensive to me?
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:27 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:
Rakysh wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:"It's a waste of time to talk to X, because they don't pay attention anyway. Besides, they don't know how it is to be Y."
Isn't that what Moo was being chewed out for saying earlier?
...I think that was his point.
Probably, I don't know. Hell, I'm not sure what she said if she said it, but whatever. It pretty much applies to everyone. It's hard to stop and look at it from the other perspective - that you either have a person making fun of your understanding of how the universe was put together, or you.. have a person making fun of your understanding of how the universe was put together (Random explosions of matter, huh? Oh, like a giant magic clockmaker is so much more sensible! Hey! I have a giant egg in my creation myth, damnit! Oooo Egg, huh? That's as sensible as using someone's skull to make the sky. Hey!) About the only way to be civil in your discussions is to keep everything so personal that conversation on it is nearly impossible (I personally believe X, but I respect your belief in Y, and I understand your disbelief in both X and Y. Thank you. I respect your belief in X but do appreciate you understanding my following of Y So.. what are we talking about? Or is this just a respect circle jerk?) without just pretty much coming out and saying that you're pretty sure the other person is wrong.

And that usually leaves the taste of "See, you're an idiot because the way things REALLY are is..." in everyone's mind, which isn't exactly conductive to respectful conversation.

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:38 pm UTC

NecklaceOfShadow wrote:...I don't think that it's an appropriate justification to say "because hundreds of years ago, I would have been killed for expressing these views, now that I can express them I should go and be as offensive as I can be torward this specific group in order to make it easier for myself to express these views. To me, it's similar to a black person telling a white person to stand off of a bus seat so they could have it because "a few decades ago, I would have had to have done the same for you." [ Yes, I realize it's not the best comparison, but it was the only one I could think of ]...

You're right, it's an appalling comparison. The equivalent of the black person telling a white person to stand on the bus, would be me calling for the murder of Christians. I'm not calling for anything like that.
And I wasn't using the way blasphemers were treated in the past as an excuse for blaspheming now, I was using it to point out how the boundaries of what's considered blasphemy can be pushed back by standing up to it.
My justification for blaspheming is twofold.

A. There should not even be such a thing as blasphemy, my transgressing the boundaries people put up as 'blasphemy' is a way of asserting this as a proving a point of principle. And...

B. The days where blasphemy equals a death penalty are sadly not wholly in the past, certainly not in many parts of the islamic world. It's important we push back the boundaries of blasphemy in islam the same as we did with christianity. Not least because there are concerted forces in the islamic world which are trying to enforce their view of blasphemy upon the rest of us (don't believe me? this may enlighten you)

NecklaceOfShadow wrote:...I can see your logic there, but I guess that I don't understand is why it's so important to talk to the people who have absorbed their faith in so much that they can't even take the time to be civil to a fellow person. These are the people who will lash out against those so violently that they'll either "win" their argument or kill themselves in the process. Why are they so important?..

The last point I just made shows why they are so important. It's impossible to simply leave these people alone, for the simple reason that they have not the slightest intention of leaving the rest of us alone. If we don't succeed in desensitising these people to having their religious worldview questioned, then they are going to cause a lot of trouble for us. (In fact why am I saying "going to cause", I think those aircraft hitting those buildings fits most peoples definition of 'trouble', to say the least).

NecklaceOfShadow wrote:...Maybe I should define what blasphemy means to me, personally: it's purposely saying something that goes against someone else's religion in order to incite a negative reaction. I don't think of rational discourse and questioning as blasphemy...

Well you're welcome to that interpretation of blasphemy if you like, but I'm afraid it strikes me as just playing with words, and I'm also afraid that it's very much a minority view of what blasphemy means, even in the west.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

I do believe religion, just like any other topic, can and should be allowed to be parodied. However, people saying it shouldn't be in its own category are wrong. Because religious belief is completely unique in that it is impossible to logically justify, yet is widely held by almost everyone on the planet (talking about the proportion of atheists vs theists here, not going into denominations). Now I'm thoroughly agnostic myself, but it is impossible that this many people would buy into something (theism) without having a damn good reason for it. That reason is NOT logical, something both theists and atheists agree on. It can't be logically justified. That's kind of the entire point of faith.

So, religion IS special and different as a belief structure, but still able to be parodied. People who want to get into logical arguments about faith are, generally speaking, doing it wrong.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:06 pm UTC

As I said elsewhere, I find it fascinating that if I rant about religion, people take personal offense. If someone ranted about, I dunno, why they hate short hair and new balance shoes, I wouldn't get all pissed at them. But no, religion is a topic that is sacrosanct (heh), and we need to use the utmost of respect when talking to people about it. Stars above, that we should offend them by saying we don't believe in what they do!

I wish people afforded everyone the same respect they demand they get treated with.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:08 pm UTC

zug wrote:...Because religious belief is completely unique in that it is impossible to logically justify...

That's kinda the problem with it.

zug wrote:... it is impossible that this many people would buy into something (theism) without having a damn good reason for it...

'Reason' is the wrong word there. 'Explanation', is the word I'd choose. And just because something is widely believed does not in itself add the slightest bit of extra weight to the likelihood of it being true.

zug wrote:...It can't be logically justified. That's kind of the entire point of faith...

That is indeed the entire point of faith, but it's not a point I'd count in it's favour.

zug wrote:...People who want to get into logical arguments about faith are, generally speaking, doing it wrong.

No. Logic is the only possible antidote to the circular thinking of faith, it may not always succeed but it's all we've got.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:24 pm UTC

zug wrote:it is impossible that this many people would buy into something without having a damn good reason for it.

Having a reason for it, sure. Having a good reason for it? No. Millions of people buy into all *kinds* of stupid shit for all kinds of stupid reasons. The number of people who believe any given thing could be as much a testament to their own gullibility as it is to the quality of their reasons for believing.

So, no. You'll have to come up with some kind of real explanation for why religion is somehow unique for not having logical reasons for people to believe in it.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:02 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:So, no. You'll have to come up with some kind of real explanation for why religion is somehow unique for not having logical reasons for people to believe in it.

Argumentum ad populum. The sheer percentage of theists in the world (>90%, isn't it? at least in America). I know it's a logical fallacy but again, you're mistaken in trying to apply logic to something which necessitates a complete suspension of logic. It's like trying to apply our criteria of life (carbon-based, ambulation, energy intake and output) to potentially alien species which might match none of those criteria but are still alive.

Trying to logically analyze a belief which forces the abandonment of logic to believe in = doing it wrong.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby guenther » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:12 am UTC

zug wrote:That reason is NOT logical, something both theists and atheists agree on. It can't be logically justified. That's kind of the entire point of faith.

It can be logically justified. It just takes believing in principles that are unsupported by evidence. But I think we are all filled with beliefs that are unsupported by evidence.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:21 am UTC

guenther wrote:
zug wrote:That reason is NOT logical, something both theists and atheists agree on. It can't be logically justified. That's kind of the entire point of faith.

It can be logically justified. It just takes believing in principles that are unsupported by evidence. But I think we are all filled with beliefs that are unsupported by evidence.

Faith doesn't just require belief in evidentially-unsupported principles. It also usually requires belief in principles that have been proven to be impossible from a logical standpoint (Jesus had nails through his hands, even though his body weight would have ripped him down... Jesus rose from the dead). I'm sure there are other examples but I'm only really familiar with Christianity.

oh editing, I just remembered. Titan swallowed and regurgitated his children, and was dumb enough to eat a rock in place of Zeus. A goddess (Athena?) sprang from her father's forehead. Some goddess was conceived of "sperm" in the foam of the ocean. etc etc etc
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:28 am UTC

zug wrote:Argumentum ad populum. The sheer percentage of theists in the world (>90%, isn't it? at least in America). I know it's a logical fallacy but again, you're mistaken in trying to apply logic to something which necessitates a complete suspension of logic.

Wait, so now we can't use basic logic to discuss *anything* about religion? And it's okay to use fallacies as long as it's a discussion about religion? What the fuck?

You claimed religion was unique for not requiring logic for people to believe it. And that millions of people believing it must mean there's *some* good reason for it, logical or not. I said that plenty of people believe in plenty of other things for stupid (i.e. not good) reasons, and some of those are also not logical. So what's actually unique about religion?

That was not an attack on religion, it was an attack on your claims. As such, you can't hide behind the illogicality of religion when trying to defend your assertions that religion is unique and that there "must be" a good reason for it. (Don't use words for logical necessity if you think logic can't be applied to the discussion.)
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Hefty One » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:42 am UTC

So now atheists are the one's being oppressed by religious folk?

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:43 am UTC

They weren't before?
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:44 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
zug wrote:Argumentum ad populum. The sheer percentage of theists in the world (>90%, isn't it? at least in America). I know it's a logical fallacy but again, you're mistaken in trying to apply logic to something which necessitates a complete suspension of logic.

Wait, so now we can't use basic logic to discuss *anything* about religion? And it's okay to use fallacies as long as it's a discussion about religion? What the fuck?

You claimed religion was unique for not requiring logic for people to believe it. And that millions of people believing it must mean there's *some* good reason for it, logical or not. I said that plenty of people believe in plenty of other things for stupid (i.e. not good) reasons, and some of those are also not logical. So what's actually unique about religion?

That was not an attack on religion, it was an attack on your claims. As such, you can't hide behind the illogicality of religion when trying to defend your assertions that religion is unique and that there "must be" a good reason for it. (Don't use words for logical necessity if you think logic can't be applied to the discussion.)

Because it's a belief that seems to be ingrained into every member of humanity. Primitive undiscovered tribes (like the Native Americans back before 1492) always have some sort of religious belief structure. When I was a very little kid and had never been to a church or talked about religion before, I remember anthropomorphizing weather and animals in a similarly primitive, illogical way. I believe the search for god is instinctive.

I don't really understand what you are arguing against, though, or whether we're arguing against the same point or not. I believe that everything has a right to be mocked and parodied (if you're cool with people who are members of those groups thinking you're an asshole, which most intelligent mockers anticipate). I'm merely stating that arguing logically against a belief system (that is itself inherently illogical and unscientific) to a believer of such is completely pointless. You're not going to change a faithful mind by pointing out the logical fallacies in their religion, so why bother doing so (unless you like losing friends)?

plenty of people believe in plenty of other things for stupid (i.e. not good) reasons, and some of those are also not logical. So what's actually unique about religion?

Also, citation needed. What other thing is there that >90% of the world adheres to despite overwhelming logic to the contrary?
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:48 am UTC

I wasn't pointing out logical fallacies in religion, I was pointing them out in your argument.

And fine, if you lump every illogical belief system together under religion, then yes, religion is "unique" for being fundamentally illogical. But now it's a completely trivial and useless statement to even make, so I have to wonder why you made it?
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby poxic » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:48 am UTC

zug wrote:Also, citation needed. What other thing is there that >90% of the world adheres to despite overwhelming logic to the contrary?

Besides "I am special"?

Edit to add actual content:

People with no access to the results of science tend to be animists -- they attribute aliveness (or "agency") to random things around them. The volcano is an angry god that must be appeased. The skies contain angry gods that must be appeased in order to send the good type of rain. Watch your pets. They tend to believe that random crap is alive. A dog we had when I was a teenager once stood and barked at a motionless suitcase for a solid five minutes, maybe ten. (First time he'd seen the thing.)

The last few thousand years or so, at least in the West, have seen an increase in the amount of scientific understanding of the world. The early animist forms of belief seemed to retreat to "the whole universe is run by a central intelligence", or something like it. Modern science is now chipping away at everything that we couldn't explain before, giving us explanations aplenty that don't require any outside agency, just good ol' physics. You can call physics a god if you want, but it would be an unseeing, unhearing god that would be pointless to worship.

There are plenty of emotional reasons to follow a religion. Belief in agency does seem to be natural to us, like it is to dogs and cats and probably voles too. Emotional reasons are pretty much illogical (and therefore unscientific) by definition. If we all understood that emotions sometimes need structure, and that that structure doesn't give us the right to judge someone else's emotional structure, we'd be gold.
Last edited by poxic on Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:26 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:51 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I wasn't pointing out logical fallacies in religion, I was pointing them out in your argument.

And fine, if you lump every illogical belief system together under religion, then yes, religion is "unique" for being fundamentally illogical. But now it's a completely trivial and useless statement to even make, so I have to wonder why you made it?

I answered this question: Why is religion unique?

That's all. You even said yourself that I addressed that. Is there some hidden meaning in my words that I'm not seeing, here? You wanted to know why religion is unique and I explained why, in multiple ways. What else is there to say?
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Hefty One » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:55 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:They weren't before?


I never was. Just always ever heard of the Christians being oppressed all the time and whatnot.

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:06 am UTC

zug wrote:Also, citation needed. What other thing is there that >90% of the world adheres to despite overwhelming logic to the contrary?

Well like I said you dressed up your trivial tautology to make it look like you were saying something useful. But of course if you already lump everything people adhere to despite logic to the contrary as a religious belief, then sure, religion is the only thing that people adhere to despite logic to the contrary.

zug wrote:I answered this question: Why is religion unique?

That's all. You even said yourself that I addressed that.

Yes, you addressed it by greatly expanding the definition of religion so it included everything, thereby making an empty claim. You addressed my criticism of your claim by explaining why it was empty. Forgive me if that wasn't an entirely satisfying exchange.

What else is there to say?

Nothing. Now if you'll kindly leave, perhaps people who make more sensible statements could get back to having a productive discussion.

Hefty One wrote:Just always ever heard of the Christians being oppressed all the time and whatnot.

They were a bit at the *very* beginning, when they were in the tiny minority. But then Christianity enjoyed about a thousand years of being the most oppressive spiritual force in Europe, and another couple hundred of being violently forced on other continents.

If you believe Christians were being heavily oppressed in Western countries any time recently, you've fallen for some serious propaganda.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:12 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
zug wrote:Also, citation needed. What other thing is there that >90% of the world adheres to despite overwhelming logic to the contrary?

Well like I said you dressed up your trivial tautology to make it look like you were saying something useful. But of course if you already lump everything people adhere to despite logic to the contrary as a religious belief, then sure, religion is the only thing that people adhere to despite logic to the contrary.

zug wrote:I answered this question: Why is religion unique?

That's all. You even said yourself that I addressed that.

Yes, you addressed it by greatly expanding the definition of religion so it included everything, thereby making an empty claim. You addressed my criticism of your claim by explaining why it was empty. Forgive me if that wasn't an entirely satisfying exchange.

What else is there to say?

Nothing. Now if you'll kindly leave, perhaps people who make more sensible statements could get back to having a productive discussion.

Hefty One wrote:Just always ever heard of the Christians being oppressed all the time and whatnot.

They were a bit at the *very* beginning, when they were in the tiny minority. But then Christianity enjoyed about a thousand years of being the most oppressive spiritual force in Europe, and another couple hundred of being violently forced on other continents.

If you believe Christians were being heavily oppressed in Western countries any time recently, you've fallen for some serious propaganda.

I believe I was arguing atheism (10% of the us population, possibly world but I don't have those figures) vs everything else (theism). Unless you don't equate theism with religion.

Did you have a point, or do you have another scarecrow to conjure?
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby poxic » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:26 am UTC

Clarifying my last post: I'd be happy if all religion was understood to be "emotional structure by which a person may choose to live". Just like how one chooses to earn a living, one may choose an emotional structure to help them chart their course. So long as that structure (or means of income) doesn't harm anyone else, do as thou wilt. Don't insist that the structure take precedence over science (logic, observable facts) because that's not what it's for. At the same time, atheists would accept that emotions follow illogical rules, and that some people prefer a non-scientific emotional structure. It would be lovely if the adherents of each emotional structure also respected the choices of others outside of their own structure (none of this "our god is the only real one" peeing contest).

Or something. ..that will never happen.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Vieto » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:45 am UTC

zug wrote:
guenther wrote:
zug wrote:That reason is NOT logical, something both theists and atheists agree on. It can't be logically justified. That's kind of the entire point of faith.

It can be logically justified. It just takes believing in principles that are unsupported by evidence. But I think we are all filled with beliefs that are unsupported by evidence.

Faith doesn't just require belief in evidentially-unsupported principles. It also usually requires belief in principles that have been proven to be impossible from a logical standpoint (Jesus had nails through his hands, even though his body weight would have ripped him down... Jesus rose from the dead). I'm sure there are other examples but I'm only really familiar with Christianity.

oh editing, I just remembered. Titan swallowed and regurgitated his children, and was dumb enough to eat a rock in place of Zeus. A goddess (Athena?) sprang from her father's forehead. Some goddess was conceived of "sperm" in the foam of the ocean. etc etc etc


actually, no he wouldn't. The Romans used Crucifiction as a severe death-penalty for ages, and none (well, none that I know of) of the men they hing on crosses had their hands torn off the sides of their crosses.

gmalivuk wrote:They were a bit at the *very* beginning, when they were in the tiny minority. But then Christianity enjoyed about a thousand years of being the most oppressive spiritual force in Europe, and another couple hundred of being violently forced on other continents.

If you believe Christians were being heavily oppressed in Western countries any time recently, you've fallen for some serious propaganda.



In Soviet Russia, Athiests oppress you!*

"It is estimated the some 20 million Christians (18 million Orthodox, 2 million Roman Catholic) died or were interned in gulags under the Soviet regime 2.7 million martyred under Stalin."

compared to [urlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_church#History]this[/url].

"Over a 350-year period, this Spanish Inquisition executed between 3,000 and 4,000 people, representing around two percent of those accused." **

and this

(in the right-hand panel) "40,000 civilians killed" **

My point being, while Athiests were oppressed for a longer period of time and Christian influence has lasted over a millenium, Christians have been opressed by Athiests in the last millenium as well, and leaving out the other side of the story is a fallacy in it's own right. (Although the USSR wasn't technically in the west)

* No, I am not trying to say that Athiests in general are mass murderers. (I'm simply stating a historic example of a time in recent history where Christians were violently persecuted.

** Massacres done by the Catholic church for comparrison. I realise that these do not include the influence the church had on the rest of Europe in general. I did try to find the largest massacres though.

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:47 am UTC

You don't crucify on the hands, you do it on the wrists.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Vieto » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:51 am UTC

zug wrote:You don't crucify on the hands, you do it on the wrists.


that would support the fact that hanging people on the cross won't cause them to have their hand torn off.

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:54 am UTC

Vieto wrote:
zug wrote:You don't crucify on the hands, you do it on the wrists.


that would support the fact that hanging people on the cross won't cause them to have their hand torn off.

You'd do better to go back and reread my post. Logically, Jesus could not have been crucified through the hands, yet this is where the stigmata are traditionally believed to be. But a lot of people believe that despite logic to the contrary.

You know, the entire point I've been making? That's it, right there.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Maseiken » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:55 am UTC

Just an FYI
The Compact Oxford Dictionary wrote:Blasphemy
• noun (pl. blasphemies) irreverent talk about God or sacred things.

Webster's online Dictonary wrote:An indignity offered to God in words, writing, or signs; impiously irreverent words or signs addressed to, or used in reference to, God; speaking evil of God; also, the act of claiming the attributes or prerogatives of deity. When used generally in statutes or at common law, blasphemy is the use of irreverent words or signs in reference to the Supreme Being in such a way as to produce scandal or provoke violence.

Wikipedia wrote:Blasphemy is the use of reference to one or more gods in a manner considered objectionable by a religious authority.
Not making any specific point there, just thought they might be useful.

Here's my point:
Once again, the concept is solid, but it's a poor choice of words. You can whine all you want about how Blasphemy is not inherently offensive, or that it's only offensive to a certain point of view (Which, by the way, applies to everything, ever). Fact is, it has a negative connotation, and that's never, ever going to help anything.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Vieto » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:57 am UTC

zug wrote:
Vieto wrote:
zug wrote:You don't crucify on the hands, you do it on the wrists.


that would support the fact that hanging people on the cross won't cause them to have their hand torn off.

You'd do better to go back and reread my post. Logically, Jesus could not have been crucified through the hands, yet this is where the stigmata are traditionally believed to be. But a lot of people believe that despite logic to the contrary.

You know, the entire point I've been making? That's it, right there.


I present to you, this.

I think it answeres this "conundrum".

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby zug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:00 am UTC

Vieto wrote:
zug wrote:
Vieto wrote:
zug wrote:You don't crucify on the hands, you do it on the wrists.


that would support the fact that hanging people on the cross won't cause them to have their hand torn off.

You'd do better to go back and reread my post. Logically, Jesus could not have been crucified through the hands, yet this is where the stigmata are traditionally believed to be. But a lot of people believe that despite logic to the contrary.

You know, the entire point I've been making? That's it, right there.


I present to you, this.

I think it answeres this "conundrum".

There's no conundrum, it's a leap of faith and therefore logic applies nowhere near this belief. Regardless, a litany of Biblical sources (and no scientific ones) is not proving a logical argument to anyone.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Vieto » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:26 am UTC

zug wrote:
Vieto wrote:
zug wrote:
Vieto wrote:
zug wrote:You don't crucify on the hands, you do it on the wrists.


that would support the fact that hanging people on the cross won't cause them to have their hand torn off.

You'd do better to go back and reread my post. Logically, Jesus could not have been crucified through the hands, yet this is where the stigmata are traditionally believed to be. But a lot of people believe that despite logic to the contrary.

You know, the entire point I've been making? That's it, right there.


I present to you, this.

I think it answeres this "conundrum".

There's no conundrum, it's a leap of faith and therefore logic applies nowhere near this belief. Regardless, a litany of Biblical sources (and no scientific ones) is not proving a logical argument to anyone.

Your logical claim was that the hand would not be able to support the body with a nail driven through it/them, and that the wrist was used for crucifiction instead. (also, rechecking that source I just now noticed the bible verses, and I admit that they do little to my cause)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion#Nail_placement_in_crucifixion
the third paragraph relates to this: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7291066/

"More recently, however, researchers have come around to the view that the nailed feet provided enough support for the body, and that the hands could have been merely tied. "Quest for Truth" uses the Visible Human Project to show that putting nails through the palms would have resulted in maximum nerve damage and pain."

What do you know. the wrist/hand wasn't needed for support after all. (well, that's one red herring out of the way)

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:31 am UTC

Personally, were I religious, I would be a hell of a lot more offended by the claim that logic can't touch *any* religious belief with a ten-foot pole, than by the claim that my personal beliefs about god(s) might not be the most reasonable things to believe...
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby guenther » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:44 am UTC

zug wrote:Faith doesn't just require belief in evidentially-unsupported principles. It also usually requires belief in principles that have been proven to be impossible from a logical standpoint

Only seemingly impossible. However that's easily fixed if I believe (A) There is a God and (B) God can do anything. There, now it's logically sound again.

About logic, I think we're not great logic-crunching machines. We are all prone to making leaps in reason, be you a theist or atheist. I actually think faith is an effort to make belief more logical since it removes the need for evidence. It makes a belief axiomatic and therefore logically unfalsifiable. If instead of faith, I base my belief on shaky evidence arguments, then I will be more prone to being illogical. (I suppose different statements of faith can conflict, so one can have illogical faith. But faith isn't inherently illogical.)

And faith is different than wisdom. Sometimes I might place my faith in something very foolish, and other times my faith my yield great wisdom.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:48 am UTC

guenther wrote: We are all prone to making leaps in reason,.

I have to ask... what does this have to do with religion? A leap in reason is going from one reasonable, substantiated point to a reasonable, but less substantiated (but still reasonable) point.

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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:06 am UTC

guenther wrote:
zug wrote:Faith doesn't just require belief in evidentially-unsupported principles. It also usually requires belief in principles that have been proven to be impossible from a logical standpoint

Only seemingly impossible. However that's easily fixed if I believe (A) There is a God and (B) God can do anything. There, now it's logically sound again.

Logically valid, anyway, since soundness requires the truth of the premises.

But yeah, good point otherwise. There's nothing logically contradictory about saying "There's a god who can do anything, and therefore X", pretty much regardless of what X is. Scientifically this is useless, because it's untestable. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily illogical.
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Re: National Blasphemy Day

Postby setzer777 » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:40 am UTC

guenther wrote:
zug wrote:Faith doesn't just require belief in evidentially-unsupported principles. It also usually requires belief in principles that have been proven to be impossible from a logical standpoint

Only seemingly impossible. However that's easily fixed if I believe (A) There is a God and (B) God can do anything. There, now it's logically sound again.

About logic, I think we're not great logic-crunching machines. We are all prone to making leaps in reason, be you a theist or atheist. I actually think faith is an effort to make belief more logical since it removes the need for evidence. It makes a belief axiomatic and therefore logically unfalsifiable. If instead of faith, I base my belief on shaky evidence arguments, then I will be more prone to being illogical. (I suppose different statements of faith can conflict, so one can have illogical faith. But faith isn't inherently illogical.)

And faith is different than wisdom. Sometimes I might place my faith in something very foolish, and other times my faith my yield great wisdom.


Why would basing belief on shaky evidence arguments make one more prone to being illogical? It's easy to avoid. Either you can take: "The evidence is X" as a logically unfalsifiable axiom (which is just as valid as other axioms), or you can use conditionals to say: "If the evidence is X, then Y and Z" so that even if X is false you are still being logical, because you formulated your belief with a conditional built in.

I doubt that the primary effort of religious faith is to improve logic - just about anyone can easily start making up premises to build an unfalsifiable set of beliefs. Religion is quite unnecessary for that (unless you think it's primarily for people who don't realize how easy it is to make up unfalsifiable premises).
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