Atheism as a civil rights movement

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Zcorp
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:09 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Additionally, I'm not questioning that the encyclopedic definition might be the better one--I'm trying to get you to understand how citing a dictionary definition that directly contradicts your definition does not support your definition. All you really have to say here is "Yeah, I don't think the dictionary definition is a good one, it certainly doesn't support the definition I prefer" and that's that. Your inability to even acknowledge how the dictionary contradicts your preferred definition makes me suspect you don't comprehend how it contradicts your preferred definition--and if you can't even understand how you might be wrong, constructive dialogue is impossible.

Faith is a failure to imagine in what cases something becomes untrue.

It doesn't contradict my definition...to do that we would have to have already established what it means to be a member of the Church. To do so I expected people to be able to reference the citations I provided first. The ones that give greater depth on what is generally meant by "a member of the Church." Which quite explicitly displays them as a monotheistic christian group. As the more sophisticated source does not use the word member we can safely assume that the less sophisticated source uses the word member as short hand for "an individual that shares the beliefs of the church."
Last edited by Zcorp on Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:11 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:11 am UTC

Zcorp wrote: I'll again refer you to wikipedia. American.
The very top of that article wrote:For other uses, see American (disambiguation), and American (word) for analysis and history of the meanings in various contexts.
And if you just go to the article for "American", it goes to the disambiguation page. But I suspect you already knew that, and picked the plural instead because it seemed to prove your point better.
The first three paragraphs of the (word) link wrote:The meaning of the word American in the English language varies according to the historical, geographical, and political context in which it is used.

'American' is derived from America, a term originally denoting all of the New World (also called "the Americas"). In some expressions it retains this pan-American sense, but its usage has evolved over time and, for various historical reasons, the word came to denote people or things specifically from the United States of America.

In modern English, "Americans" generally refers to residents of the United States, and among native speakers of English this usage is almost universal
So yeah, Wikipedia directs "Americans" to what they expect most people will be looking for, but right off admits to there being ambiguity and contextual differences in what that word means. And then in their article about the word itself, they describe it as referring not to citizens but to residents from the United States.

Good find!
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Edit: In any case, I'm done discussing this with you. You're clearly uninterested in accepting any greater nuance to what these words mean beyond what you yourself think is the most important defining characteristic of the labels. So fine: I hope you have a happy life in your little pretend world where words mean only and exactly what you proclaim them to mean. I'll be back here in reality where identity labels are complicated.
Last edited by gmalivuk on Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:17 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:16 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:And if you just go to the article for "American", it goes to the disambiguation page. But I suspect you already knew that, and picked the plural instead because it seemed to prove your point better.

I didn't actually. I searched google for American and 'Americans' was the link provided by wikipedia, I have no intention to deceive.

In modern English, "Americans" generally refers to residents of the United States, and among native speakers of English this usage is almost universal
So yeah, Wikipedia directs "Americans" to what they expect most people will be looking for, but right off admits to there being ambiguity and contextual differences in what that word means. And then in their article about the word itself, they describe it as referring not to citizens but to residents from the United States.

Good find!

Thanks!
And on the page in Catholics it does the same thing. Except atheists aren't on there, instead other Christians are.
omgryebread summed it up quite well but go have a look yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholicism

Edit: In any case, I'm done discussing this with you. You're clearly uninterested in accepting any greater nuance to what these words mean beyond what you yourself think is the most important defining characteristic of the labels. So fine: I hope you have a happy life in your little pretend world where words mean only and exactly what you proclaim them to mean. I'll be back here in reality where identity labels are complicated.

This isn't true in the least. I've more than accepted nuance in words, I'm given examples of that nuance.

It still isn't about what I think is the most important characteristics. I am quite fine with Americans meaning both residents of citizens of America the only reason this even got brought up was to make an argument by analogy, which you started.

I'm quite aware that identify labels are complicated and I'm quite aware what people mean when they say are Atheist-Christian. What I am stating is that we can choose to be more reasonable than that. We can and should choose to not to harm language not threaten the identity of actual Christians.
Last edited by Zcorp on Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:37 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:18 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:It doesn't contradict my definition...to do that we would have to have already established what it means to be a member of the Church. To do so I expected people to be able to reference the citations I provided first. The ones that give greater depth on what is generally meant by "a member of the Church." Which quite explicitly displays them as a monotheistic christian group. As the more sophisticated source does not use the word member we can assume that the less sophisticated source uses the word member as short hand for "an individual that shares the beliefs of the church."
Okay. So you think that being a member of the Catholic Church is different than being a member of the Church of Scientology--in that you actually have to embrace the principles of the Catholic Church to be a member, but you can be a member of the Church of Scientology without embracing the principles (or do you think that Hubbard wasn't actually a member of the Church of Scientology? Considering that he probably knew it was a scam?). So being a member of the Catholic Church is something of a 'special case' of membership? Maybe one that extends to churches and religious organizations in general?

At the very least, do you agree that this actually a very fuzzy distinction to make, and it is not at all unreasonable for someone to think differently? Because what I am hearing from you is essentially "This is how it is, and anyone who disagrees is not being reasonable". Which is pretty much the least reasonable stance I can imagine taking on this issue. Particularly if you aren't a Catholic yourself.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:33 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:30 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:]Okay. So you think that being a member of the Catholic Church is different than being a member of the Church of Scientology--in that you actually have to embrace the principles of the Catholic Church to be a member, but you can be a member of the Church of Scientology without embracing the principles (or do you think that Hubbard wasn't actually a member of the Church of Scientology? Considering that he probably knew it was a scam?). So being a member of the Catholic Church is something of a 'special case' of membership? Maybe one that extends to churches and religious organizations in general?
I don't know anything about the structure of Scientology so I couldn't say.

I can say that Catholic is a term used by multiple authorities of secular and Catholic institutions and generally throughout history to mean someone a monotheist that believes in the divinity of Jesus and often with more specificity than than.

At the very least, do you agree that this actually a very fuzzy distinction to make, and it is not at all unreasonable for someone to think differently? Because what I am hearing from you is essentially "This is how it is, and anyone who disagrees is not being reasonable". Which is pretty much the least reasonable stance I can imagine taking on this issue. Particularly if you aren't a Catholic yourself.
I'm not a Catholic but that is entirely irrelevant. What I am doing is stating the history of the word, what is has generally always meant, what established authorities in language and within the Church itself take the term to mean, that a core aspect of this term is the belief structure. I am then saying that based on this information and the precedent of use it is unreasonable to assert that it should simply mean 'someone who sometimes engages in or that grew up in Catholic culture.' I'm not only stating that this is unreasonable I'm stating that it is harmful to both the identity of the people who hold the beliefs that the word Catholic has traditionally and still formally meant as well as our ability to communicate ideas. That some people are using the term to mean the loose concept above displays a failure in reason to understand what is traditionally and formally meant by the term.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:35 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:I'm not a Catholic but that is entirely irrelevant. What I am doing is stating the history of the word, what is has generally always meant, what established authorities in language and within the Church itself take the term to mean, that a core aspect of this term is the belief structure.
Didn't omgryebread just provide a post demonstrating that this isn't what the word actually meant, historically?
Zcorp wrote:I am then saying that based on this information and the precedent of use it is unreasonable to assert that it should simply mean 'someone who sometimes engages in or that grew up in Catholic culture.' I'm not only stating that this is unreasonable I'm stating that it is harmful to both the identity of the people who hold the beliefs that the word Catholic has traditionally and still formally meant as well as our ability to communicate ideas. That some people are using the term to mean the lose concept above displays a failure in reason to understand what is traditionally and formally meant by the term.
I would like to hear what Catholics think about the word being harmful to their identity. I think they'll know better than you, on account of--y'know. Being Catholics.

EDIT: And yes, you could take 'member' to be shorthand for 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church'. Or you could take 'member' to be shorthand for 'member'. I am asking if you can understand how it is reasonable to think 'member of the church' means 'member of the church' and not 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church'. Particularly when if they meant 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church', they could have just written 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church'. Instead of 'a member of the church'.

I am basically asking you here if you can understand why it's reasonable to think you could be wrong. Either way, I'm done. Have fun with your word-based religious beliefs.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:36 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:As the more sophisticated source does not use the word member we can safely assume that the less sophisticated source uses the word member as short hand for "an individual that shares the beliefs of the church."

Why is that safe to assume?

You do realize that there is a formal process for joining the Catholic Church, right? I can decide right now that everything in the history of Catholic dogma is right, confess the Nicene Creed, and say a dozen Hail Maries, and yet no Catholic priest will take me seriously if I claim to be a member of the Catholic Church if I haven't so much as started that formal process.

Conversely, suppose I go through that process, join the church, and continue to believe almost everything I did before, but — God forbid! — I take up the belief that Mary's body is in a grave somewhere, with only her soul up in heaven. According to the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, this means that I have "fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith." If I do this, am I still a member of the Catholic Church? Keep in mind that, in this case, the Catholic Church itself will still regard me as a member of it. Just a member that's living in heresy and needs to fix that before he can take part in certain religious rituals.

But if I can believe everything the Catholic Church believes and not be, by the lights of the Catholic Church itself, a member of the Catholic Church, and I can be, by the lights of the Catholic Church itself, a member of the Catholic Church and not believe everything that the church belives, how the fuck is it "safe to assume" that being a member of the Catholic Church means believing what the Catholic Church believes?
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:49 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:]Didn't omgryebread just provide a post demonstrating that this isn't what the word actually meant, historically?
Not exactly, you're welcome to go read it or the link I provided to the History of the Term Catholic.

I would like to hear what Catholics think about the word being harmful to their identity. I think they'll know better than you, on account of--y'know. Being Catholics.
Your welcome to listen to them, go ahead. I have been, as I stated. Many of them feel very threatened. We can see the same thing in America, we have seen significant backlash in regards to "happy holidays" and "secular christmas" among a variety of other perceived threats to by 'Secular Christians' and secular society as a whole.

I'm not making things up, I'm stating what has been observed as well as logically inferring using the knowledge I've gained through studying human behavior how people react when you challenge aspects of their identity.

EDIT: And yes, you could take 'member' to be shorthand for 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church'. Or you could take 'member' to be shorthand for 'member'.
Except that as I mentioned Member isn't a specific term. We need to understand who is the authority to declare someone a member, the process if initiation and a few other things. Which TGB gets into...

I am asking if you can understand how it is reasonable to think 'member of the church' means 'member of the church' and not 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church'. Particularly when if they meant 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church', they could have just written 'an individual that shares the beliefs of the church'. Instead of 'a member of the church'.
And I'm asking if you understand how 'member of the church' doesn't mean anything concrete.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Zcorp wrote:As the more sophisticated source does not use the word member we can safely assume that the less sophisticated source uses the word member as short hand for "an individual that shares the beliefs of the church."

Why is that safe to assume?
Because the more sophisticated source defines them as "an individual that shares the beliefs of the church."

how the fuck is it "safe to assume" that being a member of the Catholic Church means believing what the Catholic Church believes?
It is safe to assume that is what is meant within the dictionary as that is what is stated in more sophisticated sources.

You do realize that there is a formal process for joining the Catholic Church, right?
Yup and not just one for adults, often you don't have a choice. We can refer to mike-I's story for that.

Conversely, suppose I go through that process, join the church, and continue to believe almost everything I did before, but — God forbid! — I take up the belief that Mary's body is in a grave somewhere, with only her soul up in heaven. According to the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, this means that I have "fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith." If I do this, am I still a member of the Catholic Church? Keep in mind that, in this case, the Catholic Church itself will still regard me as a member of it. Just a member that's living in heresy and needs to fix that before he can take part in certain religious rituals.
In this case it doesn't even really depend on who you ask. Both a linguist and clergy would still believe you are a Catholic.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:58 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:It is safe to assume that is what is meant within the dictionary as that is what is stated in more sophisticated sources.
It is much safer to assume that what is meant within the dictionary is what the writers of said dictionary actually wrote. The supposedly greater "authority" or "sophistication" or whateverthefuck of an encyclopedia has precisely nothing to do with that.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:00 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Zcorp wrote:It is safe to assume that is what is meant within the dictionary as that is what is stated in more sophisticated sources.
It is much safer to assume that what is meant within the dictionary is what the writers of said dictionary actually wrote. The supposedly greater "authority" or "sophistication" or whateverthefuck of an encyclopedia has precisely nothing to do with that.

This isn't argument worth having and it is way off topic. Lets just look at more sophisticated sources then and ignore the dictionary.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby lutzj » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:07 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:
I would like to hear what Catholics think about the word being harmful to their identity. I think they'll know better than you, on account of--y'know. Being Catholics.
Your welcome to listen to them, go ahead. I have been, as I stated. Many of them feel very threatened. We can see the same thing in America, we have seen significant backlash in regards to "happy holidays" and "secular christmas" among a variety of other perceived threats to by 'Secular Christians' and secular society as a whole.

I'm not making things up, I'm stating what has been observed as well as logically inferring using the knowledge I've gained through studying human behavior how people react when you challenge aspects of their identity.


lutzj wrote:You're just plain wrong about this. What threat there is has nothing to do with "these atheists are calling themselves Catholic" and everything to do with "these Catholics are not believing in God". Whether members of the Church are Catholics is not something anyone worries about, because it is already a non-issue by definition.


I really don't want to sound like I'm speaking for all Catholics, or that this ought to make my opinion weigh more heavily in this discussion, but I feel that I should add by now that I am a confirmed and practising Roman Catholic.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:08 am UTC

lutzj wrote:
Zcorp wrote:
I would like to hear what Catholics think about the word being harmful to their identity. I think they'll know better than you, on account of--y'know. Being Catholics.
Your welcome to listen to them, go ahead. I have been, as I stated. Many of them feel very threatened. We can see the same thing in America, we have seen significant backlash in regards to "happy holidays" and "secular christmas" among a variety of other perceived threats to by 'Secular Christians' and secular society as a whole.

I'm not making things up, I'm stating what has been observed as well as logically inferring using the knowledge I've gained through studying human behavior how people react when you challenge aspects of their identity.


lutzj wrote:You're just plain wrong about this. What threat there is has nothing to do with "these atheists are calling themselves Catholic" and everything to do with "these Catholics are not believing in God". Whether members of the Church are Catholics is not something anyone worries about, because it is already a non-issue by definition.


I really don't want to sound like I'm speaking for all Catholics, or that this ought to make my opinion weigh more heavily in this discussion, but I feel that I should add by now that I am a confirmed and practising Roman Catholic.

Sure, I'll amend my statement. There are multiple ways in which Catholics perceive this as a threat.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:10 am UTC

But the threat doesn't come from those people calling themselves Catholic, it comes from those people being atheists. That they are obviously Catholic isn't in question: they are members of the Church.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:11 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:Because the more sophisticated source defines them as "an individual that shares the beliefs of the church."

The fuck are you quoting? Google it: this is literally the only page on the internet containing what you just put in quotation marks.

Zcorp wrote:Yup and not just one for adults, often you don't have a choice. We can refer to mike-I's story for that.

Please quit quote-sniping. The gripe you raise against religion here has precisely dick to do with the argument that I am making.

Zcorp wrote:In this case it doesn't even really depend on who you ask. Both a linguist and clergy would still believe you are a Catholic.

Even though I don't believe what the Church believes? Even though the clergyman would also say that I've fallen away completely from the faith? So then it's possible to be "a Catholic" and "a member of the Catholic Church" and not believe what the Catholic Church believes, right?
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:15 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:But the threat doesn't come from those people calling themselves Catholic, it comes from those people being atheists. That they are obviously Catholic isn't in question: they are members of the Church.

It is a question, lutzj just seems to accept the idea that people don't have to believe in Jesus and God to be Catholics. Many Catholics including those within their authority and formal sources on language do not accept that.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Even though I don't believe what the Church believes? Even though the clergyman would also say that I've fallen away completely from the faith? So then it's possible to be "a Catholic" and "a member of the Catholic Church" and not believe what the Catholic Church believes, right?

You have only expressed one different belief that is generally not considered to be a core concept of what makes people Catholic.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:25 am UTC

So if the standard is what people "generally consider" to make you Catholic, what do you make of the fact that everyone else here and millions of people in France think that you can be Catholic and an atheist?
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:39 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:So if the standard is what people "generally consider" to make you Catholic, what do you make of the fact that everyone else here and millions of people in France think that you can be Catholic and an atheist?

Sigh, by 'generally consider' I was using short hand for what I meant every other time. By generally consider I meant "what is common throughout history, what is used by authorities in the Church and within sophisticated sources that define such things."

This is beyond tedious.

My only point was to state that we should care about people using Catholic to mean something it does not traditionally. Doing so harms language and the identity of Catholics (by which I mean what is traditionally called a Catholic).

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby jules.LT » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:32 am UTC

Point taken. You think that and nothing will make you budge.
Now could we please get back on topic? I think we were talking about what happens when atheists are a majority in a country...
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Choboman » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

This whole thread has devolved into repetious "yes it is - no it's not - Yes, it IS - No, it's NOT" diatribe. Can't we just move on?

On the one hand, something as complicated as church affiliation has many facets. I can attend church for social connections, or because I find the process familiar and soothing, or just because I like the free counseling, and still not believe in the underlying principles. In those cases, I may well consider myself a Catholic because that's where I go to church regardless of whether my doctrine and that of the guy with the funny hat align.

On the other hand, just because a person calls themselves something doesn't mean they are that thing. I can call myself a velociraptor, but that doesn't mean that you have to change all the textbook definitions to account for me. [Velociraptor ( /vɨˈlɒsɨræptər/; meaning 'swift seizer') is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that existed approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period, except in rare cases where it's a middle-aged telecommunications manager with an active imagination.] (disclaimer - I'm not actually a velociraptor, though sometimes I wish I was.)

So it's perfectly valid that we can all have different ideas about what a 'true' Catholic is and none of us are necessarily wrong (or right).

That said, this isn't really central to the whole point about whether atheists are the subject of widespread discrimination (I tend to think not.)

I'm personally agnostic leaning toward atheist and have never suffered for it. But I don't try to cram my beliefs (or lack thereof) down anybody's throats either. If somebody walks up to me and volunteers unsolicited info about their beliefs I'll nod and smile, but inside I'm rolling my eyes because it's some self-important jerk who thinks I should give a crap. I do this even if they think the same things I do. To the person who said they felt dissed by interviewers after they announced their atheism, maybe you weren't dissed because of the actual belief, but because of the perception that you're the kind of guy who insists on waving your beliefs in everyone else's faces.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:09 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:I'm personally agnostic leaning toward atheist and have never suffered for it. But I don't try to cram my beliefs (or lack thereof) down anybody's throats either. If somebody walks up to me and volunteers unsolicited info about their beliefs I'll nod and smile, but inside I'm rolling my eyes because it's some self-important jerk who thinks I should give a crap. I do this even if they think the same things I do. To the person who said they felt dissed by interviewers after they announced their atheism, maybe you weren't dissed because of the actual belief, but because of the perception that you're the kind of guy who insists on waving your beliefs in everyone else's faces.


What do you say if the interviewer asks you what church you go to? Or your boss and all of your co-workers go to the same church and invite (expect) you to come too?

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:31 pm UTC

Lie if your worried. Say a lapsed Catholic or a non practicing Baptist, assuming that you were raised in a Religion that's not even a lie. Or admit the truth. Your position is no different than a minority member looking for work accept that he finds it harder to lie. It's illegal in the US to discriminate based on data provided in the interview. And if being an atheist has no value to you other than the mere fact of it why would you care?

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:39 pm UTC

An interviewer would be stupid to ask. Asking for protected class information can lead to allegations of discrimination based on protected information. The safe legal bet is to avoid it altogether.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:41 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:And if being an atheist has no value to you other than the mere fact of it why would you care?
What if it does, though?

In some sense this is a non-problem: If atheists don't care about their atheism, then they can just lie about their atheism and there's no problem. I agree with you there, and I would absolutely file myself as one of those atheists (I don't particularly care about my atheism, and I'm comfortable lying about it to 'trick' someone into treating me like an adult).

But there may be atheists who do care about their atheism, and that concerns me--because lying about it actually represents a loss for them. They don't want to lie about it; they want to express it proudly. As someone who likes to support people with a healthy measure of personal pride, I'd like to support them in this endeavor. So if there are people who are atheists and care about their atheism--well, I might not care about my atheism, but I'm willing to care about their atheism, if that makes sense.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Technical Ben » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:23 pm UTC

"What if it does, though?"

You carry one with your beliefs. You stick up for them by living by them. Sometimes this means you take it on the chin. Why? Because you believe the beliefs you live by are for your benefit, right? Or that in some intrinsic way are "correct" or "right". If you do not believe this, why are you living by them? If you do believe this, then is not standing up for them going to be of benefit, even if it means you don't get the job this time?

I've know many, and heard of many more people, who live by what they believe. If someone discriminates them, the best response they gave was to be better people, and not retaliate. They may have used the situation to politely inform the others of the mistake. Or they might just go somewhere else, it's not their loss, but the employers (or discriminators, where ever they are).

They did not agree with the discrimination, but tried their best to work around it, do better even facing it, and give a visible retort to it.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:59 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:But there may be atheists who do care about their atheism, and that concerns me--because lying about it actually represents a loss for them. They don't want to lie about it; they want to express it proudly. As someone who likes to support people with a healthy measure of personal pride, I'd like to support them in this endeavor. So if there are people who are atheists and care about their atheism--well, I might not care about my atheism, but I'm willing to care about their atheism, if that makes sense.
Without some other underlying mechanism or social force it's like being proud that iron is iron, so what? Proud that there is no God? Or proud because they are smarter than theists? If they are smarter than theists or more evolved in some ethical manner, then they need to show it. Otherwise it is just posturing and they aren't offering anything. At least Humanist's recognize the need for rituals and social cohesiveness to replace those things which work for theists. Churches are a community.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:06 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Without some other underlying mechanism or social force it's like being proud that iron is iron, so what?
Squint the right way and this is how all pride starts to look.

People are weird. The things they value are even weirder. I just try to move in the direction that makes them happier. If someone wants to be proud about their atheism, that's kinda weird, but hey--I can go with it.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:35 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Without some other underlying mechanism or social force it's like being proud that iron is iron, so what? Proud that there is no God? Or proud because they are smarter than theists? If they are smarter than theists or more evolved in some ethical manner, then they need to show it. Otherwise it is just posturing and they aren't offering anything.


Many atheists were raised within a religion. And in their time they challenged what they were taught was true, questioned, reasoned and decided for themselves that [certain religion] just made no sense and couldn't be true. And when you are raised within a community that all follows [certain religion], merely challenging it could have fairly serious social costs.

Its not a stretch to consider that this might actually be a hard thing to do and like achieving anything that is hard, there could be a sense of pride associated with doing that thing.

Further accepting atheism often requires questioning and challenging the very core beliefs that one has grown up with. The ability to challenge ones core assumptions about anything or everything is certainly an attribute that someone could find pride in. (I would consider it more pride worthy than some random feat of physical endurance for example)

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:23 am UTC

I'm not questioning the difficulty of throwing off Religion, I'm questioning the utility of taking pride in doing so if it achieves no other purpose. I could program a child with that worldview, if I was so inclined. When a Christian does so he does so for a purpose, no matter how misguided that purpose might be. What is my purpose? I know that it might make him a clearer thinker. But how does that evolve to doing it better than Christians. What do atheists add to the moral picture? I take it as a given that if Religion went away tomorrow that not much would change for the better. If I had a different view of life in an atheistic majority than the idea of civil rights for atheists might excite me.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby qetzal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:35 am UTC

morriswalters,

I hope I'm misunderstanding you. Why should civil rights for atheists depend on them offering something beyond whatever Christians (or other religious believers) offer? So what if you can't see a reason for anyone to be proud of their atheism, or want to be open about it without facing discrimination? How is that a relevant standard at all?

I'm pretty sure there must be things you believe or value that mean nothing to me. Should I conclude that you and others who believe similarly don't deserve civil rights?

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:41 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'm not questioning the difficulty of throwing off Religion, I'm questioning the utility of taking pride in doing so if it achieves no other purpose. I could program a child with that worldview, if I was so inclined. When a Christian does so he does so for a purpose, no matter how misguided that purpose might be. What is my purpose? I know that it might make him a clearer thinker. But how does that evolve to doing it better than Christians. What do atheists add to the moral picture? I take it as a given that if Religion went away tomorrow that not much would change for the better.
Nobody who takes pride in their identity is taking pride in something meaningful they accomplished, whether that identity is religious or atheist or of some particular nationality or ethnic group or whatever else. Would you argue similarly that when any other such group wants civil rights, it's as pointless as it is with atheists? Or do you admit to having your own personal bias against us?

f I had a different view of life in an atheistic majority than the idea of civil rights for atheists might excite me.
That's a pretty horrific thing to say, so for now I'll just assume (hope) you communicated badly.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:46 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'm not questioning the difficulty of throwing off Religion, I'm questioning the utility of taking pride in doing so if it achieves no other purpose.


I highlighted some of the values that are sometimes associated with becoming atheist.

1. Doing something that is hard
2. Challenging core belief structures
3. Challenging the status quo

These I think are admirable traits. Could serve to encourage others to aspire to these traits and perhaps if society in large valued these traits society as a whole may be improved. There is a utilitarian argument for you.

Not that utility has ever been a prerequisite for pride.

But its time to turn this question around, if we should not find pride in values then what should we find pride in? What should we be proud about?

Again I have no idea how this is relevant to the current discussion at all.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:17 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Nobody who takes pride in their identity is taking pride in something meaningful they accomplished, whether that identity is religious or atheist or of some particular nationality or ethnic group or whatever else. Would you argue similarly that when any other such group wants civil rights, it's as pointless as it is with atheists? Or do you admit to having your own personal bias against us?
Bias? Can I be biased against myself? I don't know. Is atheism an identity? It has never been for me. I've always identified myself in other ways, as a part of other social groups. In and of itself it has merely been a mindset, holding a whiff of superiority over a privileged group.

If I were black I could identify with a community like me, see other faces like mine. And I would have had my pride stripped from me. Pride in gaining my civil rights in that case would be taking pride in restoring something taken from me. In the US what has been stripped from me as an atheist? I'm not oppressed, it's more like I just don't fit in. Atheism hasn't given me a complete identity, it has simply removed me from some social groups. I'm already protected by law. Tell me the specific way that you think we are oppressed. What is being taken away from us. Why should I march over the bridge at Selma to protest our oppression?
gmalivuk wrote:That's a pretty horrific thing to say, so for now I'll just assume (hope) you communicated badly.
Horrific? No it just seems to me to be more of the same warmed over. Getting up, living, doing the mundane tasks that make it everyday life. The question I can't answer is how does it make it worth the effort I expended to gain my God free state. I suppose I am naive. I always had hoped that not being infected by the whiff of God would give me some clarity, or would have evolved my ethically. It seems to have done neither.
BattleMoose wrote:But its time to turn this question around, if we should not find pride in values then what should we find pride in? What should we be proud about?
What values are specific to atheists? In so far as I can tell they aren't a social group having unique values. I would have hoped that we were somehow better than theists. If we are, than I'm ignorant and missing it. I actually find that preferable, since I can choose to educate myself. I don't think that you can name a social cause that don't have theists at the forefront, be it LBGT issues or abortion. As a group they are invested in the communities in which they live. Where are atheists?

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:47 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:But its time to turn this question around, if we should not find pride in values then what should we find pride in? What should we be proud about?
What values are specific to atheists? In so far as I can tell they aren't a social group having unique values. I would have hoped that we were somehow better than theists. If we are, than I'm ignorant and missing it. I actually find that preferable, since I can choose to educate myself. As a group they are invested in the communities in which they live. Where are atheists?


I didn't say any of those values that I referred to earlier were specific to atheists. Nor is it necessary that they should be. You really are completely missing what I am trying to say.

I don't think that you can name a social cause that don't have theists at the forefront, be it LBGT issues or abortion.


I am really not sure what you are trying to present here. It is largely theist groups which are trying to repress civil liberties and civil rights for the LGBT community. This is a bad thing. Similarly for women rights in relation to abortion. And presenting such things as a social cause, is actually, deeply offensive.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:04 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I am really not sure what you are trying to present here. It is largely theist groups which are trying to repress civil liberties and civil rights for the LGBT community. This is a bad thing. Similarly for women rights in relation to abortion. And presenting such things as a social cause, is actually, deeply offensive.
Oh! I think we have a case of selective blindness. Are you asking me to believe that theists are not involved in a positive fashion in those movements? Since theists make up a supermajority of society they will be heavily involved in any cultural change both pro and con. Any number of LBGT members are also theist. Do they not count? The Doctor who was assassinated at his church for performing abortions, did he not cross that bridge? And if they are not social causes what are they? This is what drives me to the point of distraction.

The question at hand is why not treat atheism as a civil rights movement. I am asking you why I should? No one has shown that they are oppressed in any manner which cries out for a remedy. I haven't even gotten anyone to say that atheists are a group that self identifies as such, where atheism is the important controlling factor. It's more like, I am, so what? Is it important enough to struggle for? Is that to the point?

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:25 pm UTC

@MorrisWalters

I have no idea what you are trying to communicate.

I was addressing your comment about aethists feeling pride about being aethist. You have not at all addressed my comments relating to that and if you don't want to I guess thats fine. But seeing as you are making comments not relevant to the arguments I am making, I don't feel the need to respond to those either.

Except this one, because its actually incredibly offensive.

And if they are not social causes what are they?


Petitioning to deny or continue the denial of civil liberties to subsections of society cannot be described as a social cause. I can only hope that this is some crazy miscommunication and hope that you will clear it up.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:42 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:you are making comments not relevant to the arguments I am making, I don't feel the need to respond to those either.
Welcome to trying to have any kind of discussion with morriswalters.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby Choboman » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:Except this one, because its actually incredibly offensive.
And if they are not social causes what are they?

Petitioning to deny or continue the denial of civil liberties to subsections of society cannot be described as a social cause. I can only hope that this is some crazy miscommunication and hope that you will clear it up.


I think you took Morris's quote out of context. He had just referenced a theist doctor who performed abortions (good guy), and was killed for it by a theist pro-lifer (bad guy). The point he was trying to make (as I understood it) was that theism isn't defined by either good or bad social movements. They're the majority of the population in the US and therefore are well represented in ALL parts of society. There are theists who do horrible discriminatory things, and there are theists who do wonderful uplifting things. Trying to claim that religion equates to just one side or the other is being willfully ignorant.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby jules.LT » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:55 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:I am really not sure what you are trying to present here. It is largely theist groups which are trying to repress civil liberties and civil rights for the LGBT community. This is a bad thing. Similarly for women rights in relation to abortion. And presenting such things as a social cause, is actually, deeply offensive.
Oh! I think we have a case of selective blindness. Are you asking me to believe that theists are not involved in a positive fashion in those movements?

I think that this is where the misunderstanding came from. Morris isn't saying that the theist groups repressing civil liberties are involved in a positive fashion in these movements, he's saying that there are lots of other theists who, on the contrary, participate in those civil rights movements.
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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:58 pm UTC

I not certain how to define a civil rights movement other than as a social cause.
BattleMoose wrote:Petitioning to deny or continue the denial of civil liberties to subsections of society cannot be described as a social cause. I can only hope that this is some crazy miscommunication and hope that you will clear it up.
The act of petitioning for the freedom they have been denied must be taken up as a social movement, else how would you achieve it? Is it a Social Issue. If so then those participating in rectifying or ameliorating the particular social issue are participating in a social cause. Suggest a better phrasing and I'll use it.
BattleMoose wrote:I highlighted some of the values that are sometimes associated with becoming atheist.

1. Doing something that is hard
2. Challenging core belief structures
3. Challenging the status quo

These I think are admirable traits. Could serve to encourage others to aspire to these traits and perhaps if society in large valued these traits society as a whole may be improved. There is a utilitarian argument for you.

Not that utility has ever been a prerequisite for pride.

But its time to turn this question around, if we should not find pride in values then what should we find pride in? What should we be proud about?
Take pride pride in those things. Enjoy it. Bask in it. Now perhaps you might do something with it? Turning rocks into sand is hard but it's only useful if you need sand, and challenging belief structures is certainly worthwhile, as is challenging the status quo. But once you've done it so what? I know what you don't like, but I don't know what you believe. If you are challenging the core beliefs would it not be pertinent to ask what you offer as a replacement? If your unhappy with the status quo then does it not follow that you have an idea of how it could be different? If the purpose of the exercise is to feel good about yourself I suppose that is sufficient. I've already stated what I thought would give me pride as an atheist. Believing that we had evolved a better way of way of looking at the world.

Ah Gmalivuk, your same old sunny self, it warms me that you waste so much of your time with me.

Well this has been fun. No one has explained why atheism and the problems we face by being one, rises to the level of an event that requires action, much less marches and legislation. There doesn't seem to be any coherent way to define the problem nor a coherent group to associate with it.

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Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Well this has been fun. No one has explained why atheism and the problems we face by being one, rises to the level of an event that requires action, much less marches and legislation. There doesn't seem to be any coherent way to define the problem nor a coherent group to associate with it.
The problem is that people think atheism implies things it does not. The solution is to get more people who do understand what atheism implies to talk about it with those who do not. This discussion is one way of accomplishing that.


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