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November 26, 2007

Comments

I wonder what values get taught at the Humanist Center. The article doesn't go into detail.

It would be better if a large millstone were......well, you know the rest.

Sounds wonderful. I have to admit I kind of like my free Sunday mornings since abandoning Christianity, but I'd probably go for this if it was in my area. Not sure I'd show up "religiously." Sleeping in is pretty nice.

Sounds like a lot of effort for something that should come naturally like atheism. If one believes socialism to be a failed and treacherous government, are they still welcome to celebrate in this smorgasbord of personal expression? Wonder what would happen if one of these kids chose God? Would that mean a “U” for unsatisfactory on their report card? (Shesh; so many questions so few Sunday Schools for Atheists.)

"It's important for kids not to look weird,"

This doesn’t help I’m afraid to say.

Zzx375,

>>” I wonder what values get taught at the Humanist Center.”

I believe there is a heavy dose of socialism; or at least a hint. One would just have to read the secular parable to see which way the wind was blowing.

“a traveler who feeds a village by making a stew using one ingredient from each home....”

See, this is nice - very utopian. The problem comes when a villager decides they don’t want to fork over their carrots. Then it hits the fan.

It looks like even atheists can’t avoid “fairy tales”.

I would second zzx375's question concerning what values are taught at the center. From what I see here though, there really isn't as much emphasis on striving to be a better person, or what being a better person looks like, as their might be in actual Sunday School.

Also, the comment by the 11 year-old girl is rather ironic because although what she says is rather intelligent (I doubt anyone reading her quote would not themselves say the same thing as she) in all likelihood she is merely repeating what she has been taught in "Atheist Sunday School."

There's a program like this where I live, but it's a long drive and it only meets monthly instead of weekly. People who are not religiously inclined need to know that they don't need a religion to have values and a supportive community. Dennis Prager said that Atheists have values, but that it's like a flower in a vase, it will only last a while before it withers and dies because those values have been cut off from their source: religion. I think he's wrong, the source of values is mostly your community and family. The decline of values in our society is not the result of a decline of religion itself, the decline of religion causes a side effect, it leads to the decline of community and family. But it doesn't have to, and we're proving it. People are starting to see that there are not only intellectual reasons to leave religion, but ethical reasons too. I think that in time more of these programs and community centers will be made, the estimated 14% of Americans who profess to have no religion will grow and become more united, both in physical organization and in moral integrity. Only time will tell.

Wow, I've heard of programs like this.
Usually, though, they're just called, "Public School."

Steve,

You wrote:

”I think he's wrong, the source of values is mostly your community and family.”

What if your community and family are rotten to the core?

(Pretend I'm a child in an Atheist Sunday School asking this question)

I'm sorry, if you're going to say that humanism has "a heavy dose of socialism" then you have to admit that Jesus taught socialism just as much. The difference between what this humanist parable teaches (what Jesus also taught) and true socialism is that the act is VOLUNTARY. The article doesn't say that they're forcing kids to give up everything they have and live communally does it? It's teaching kids the benefit of SHARING. You guys really go out of your way to paint the rest of the world evil, don't you?

Steve,

I did draw an inference from the parable; there’s no doubt about it, but I’ve seen this stuff before. It’s not like I pulled it out of the atheistic air.

What if a child doesn’t want to share though? What if he asks for evidence as to why he should share his Blue Bell ice cream when it tastes oh so good?

>>“You guys really go out of your way to paint the rest of the world evil, don't you?”

Steve, I definitely agree that socialism is evil. We can at least put that behind us.

What unites atheists?

The only common bond I can tell lately is not liking theists.

Wow, this is the first time I have heard of such a thing.

I'd have to echo the question of what exactly is taught in such an environment? "I'm Unique and Unrepeatable" - why are they unique and unrepeatable? And who cares, since they are just soulless creatures, evolved from slime, with no purpose in the world, and when they die they go back to dust?

How sad.

"a secular parable of a traveler who feeds a village by making a stew using one ingredient from each home"

Why should anyone help feed a village? Why should any of the villagers share what they have?

How utterly ridiculous, to attempt to have 'morals' without something to ground them in.

"What unites atheists? The only common bond I can tell lately is not liking theists."

It's hard to separate "not liking someone" from "not liking what they believe" because what you believe has such a huge effect on who you are. There are plenty atheists don't necessarily like fellow atheists and don't necessarily dislike theists, just like Christians don't necessarily like their fellow Christians and don't necessarily dislike atheists. It's the beliefs, not the people. Sort of like "hate the sin, love the sinner."

"And who cares, since they are just soulless creatures, evolved from slime, with no purpose in the world, and when they die they go back to dust?"

You could say it like that. Or you could say we are an incredibly unique combination of atoms, the building blocks of everything in the universe, and we are the only species in the known universe with self awareness, intelligence, emotion, and an appreciation of beauty. Just like you could say we were created by a loving heavenly father who knows and cares about us and sent his son to die for us so that we might live. Or you could say that our existence is a mistake, the result of Adam's sin, we are doomed to die and suffer eternally unless we grovel at the feet of a celestial dictator. It's all about perspective.

"How utterly ridiculous, to attempt to have 'morals' without something to ground them in."

Good and evil are self-evident, you don't need religion to be a moral human being. You call it relativism, but I think that having moral absolutes like "thou shalt not kill" is true relativism. What about war to stop an atrocity like the holocaust? Or self defense? Or euthanizing the sick and elderly who are in pain, have no chance of survival and just want to die? Or killing embryos to use in stem cell research to save lives? Using different actions in different situations does not indicate a lack of morals.

"It's hard to separate "not liking someone" from "not liking what they believe" because what you believe has such a huge effect on who you are. There are plenty atheists don't necessarily like fellow atheists and don't necessarily dislike theists, just like Christians don't necessarily like their fellow Christians and don't necessarily dislike atheists. It's the beliefs, not the people. Sort of like "hate the sin, love the sinner.""

You don't seem to have answered my question, what will atheists come together on.

All you seem to have proven is that atheists can't even come together on not liking theists.

I guess our being 'homo religiosus' means that when we stop believing in the one true God, we begin worshiping ourselves.
How great and glorious we are!
I never would have known.

Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am unique and unrepeatable.

"You don't seem to have answered my question, what will atheists come together on."

Yes, I didn't answer this because I was busy making the important point that atheists don't simply come together on disliking theists. Disagreeing yes, not necessarily disliking. Atheists/humanists come together on a lot of important things, like open-mindedness, skepticism, curiosity, the importance of evidence, morality based on reason and a desire to relieve suffering instead of a morality based on ancient dogma. Stuff like that.

Steve,

I for one and not able to visualize the end results from the list in your last post. Perhaps a better way to put it is what, in the context of our back and forth here, is meant by open-mindedness, skepticism, morality based upon reason, and so forth?

Ahhh....yes...
Palo Alto, the bastion of capitalism. Why am I not surprised that they would lead in this kind of a thing. It's just the kind of fertile ground that atheism can grow in.

"There are plenty atheists don't necessarily like fellow atheists and don't necessarily dislike theists, just like Christians don't necessarily like their fellow Christians and don't necessarily dislike atheists. "

Now, this is interesting. There is a certain maturity that comes with time for Christians that results in "loving your enemies." Is there any such directive in atheism? Is there any path to atheist maturity that will eventually result in loving your enemies? The evidence of mass slaughters by atheist regimes seems to say a definitive NO!

Steve wrote:

“but I think that having moral absolutes like "thou shalt not kill" is true relativism.”

I don’t have anything else to add.


"Is there any path to atheist maturity that will eventually result in loving your enemies? The evidence of mass slaughters by atheist regimes seems to say a definitive NO!"

Is there any path to Christian maturity that will eventually result in Christians backing up their claims with more than ad hominem attacks and arguments based on ignorance? The evidence of the majority of their responses seems to say a definitive NO!

Seriously though, most atheists will agree that those atheist regimes were evil, it's not atheism itself that caused those atrocities, in fact there is an element of religiousness (that is dogma and absolute authority) in them that is easy to see if you take an honest look at them.

"Is there any path to Christian maturity that will eventually result in Christians backing up their claims with more than ad hominem attacks and arguments based on ignorance?"

Your joking right ? I suspect your not, but i'm not sure such rampant idiocy even warrants a response.

Are you really trying to claim that Christianity has no evidence at all in its favour ?

In terms of what they would teach at such a Sunday School. If they were serious they would teach the kids the wisdom of intellectually credible atheists like Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Camus, Nielsen and others.

Though I would not expect such careful thinking from such groups normally. Especially if they are teaching things like "Stone soup".

At least if they educated the kids properly perhaps they would actually learn to think critically and examine arguments instead of behaving like so many of the eternally clueless "New Atheists".

"Is there any path to Christian maturity that will eventually result in Christians backing up their claims with more than ad hominem attacks and arguments based on ignorance? The evidence of the majority of their responses seems to say a definitive NO!"

Utterly wrong and there are ample examples like William Wilberforce, Marin Luther King and mother Teresa(the list goes on)...not to mention many christians that I have met in my lifetime who are unknown and yet have done many good works that reflected their christian maturity.
Now, would you like to commence a similar list of atheists that have had the kind of impact on the world these folks have had?
Well, Steve?

"Now, would you like to commence a similar list of atheists that have had the kind of impact on the world these folks have had? Well, Steve?"

Why limit it to just atheists? There are plenty of freethinkers, deists and agnostics and non-christians who have made the world a better place. How about Ghandi, who said "God has no religion" and when asked if he was a Hindu replied that he was a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian and a Buddhist. Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony, the Dalai Lama. Those are my favorites, here's a good video that lists several more (take out the spaces) http://norakism.blogspot.com /2007/07/famous-atheists- throughout-history.html

Steve,

I believe your true colors are coming out; but I could be mistaken.

You wrote:

>>”How about Ghandi, who said "God has no religion" and when asked if he was a Hindu replied that he was a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian and a Buddhist.”

Ignoring the huge glaring contradiction of Ghandi’s statement; it appears you find this admirable - which, of course, is baffling.

>>” Those are my favorites”

I just don’t understand this sort of thinking; but at the same time I get it. According to your thinking; if Christians would just call themselves all other ‘things’ equally - you’d be happy. This is what you love Steve– you love the obtrusive contradictions because it makes you feel safe. You don’t feel this way when dealing with a Christian.

This is why I say your true colors are coming out.

"Why limit it to just atheists?"

Because that is the scope of the conversation. Can't find sufficient candidates ? The criteria was not "famous" anyway, but those who contributed to the over all good.

After all Stalin was a famous atheist.

The point of Ghandi's statement is that religion is irrelevant. It would be great if what Ghandi's words imply were true, it would be great if religions could get along and admit their short-comings, but they can't. Because of their claims to absolute knowledge, wisdom and authority, they will never truly get along.

"The criteria was not "famous" anyway, but those who contributed to the over all good."

So, Susan B. Anthony's contribution to women's rights, Albert Einstein's contribution to our understanding of the universe, the Dalai Lama's contribution to our understanding of spirituality are not good enough for you? Bill Gate's billions of dollars donated to charity aren't good enough for you? Did you watch the video? It probably lists about a hundred people who have done all kinds of good things, but they'll never be good enough for you because you'll always point the finger of blame at atheism for all the worst things in the world and any good that comes from atheists is just a fluke, isn't it? You're thinking isn't even medieval, they recognized that there were "virtuous pagans" back then. No, your thinking goes back much further, doesn't it?

Could you please demonstrate Susan B Anthony was an atheist please. Just being "not a christian" doesn't cut it. I'm not an american and so I leave it up to you to demonstrate your claim.

"Albert Einstein's contribution to our understanding of the universe"

Einstein was not an atheist. He was some sort of deist apparently based on what he said.

"the Dalai Lama's contribution to our understanding of spirituality are not good enough for you?"

Again, not really much of an atheist in the traditional sense.

"Bill Gate's billions of dollars donated to charity aren't good enough for you?"

Gates counts, but that only makes 1.

"Did you watch the video?"
I did. Though I forget, did it mention Fred Hollows. He would be a much better example than Gates.

Though it should be taken with a grain of salt given the way it misuses statistics.

Worse yet, citing a bunch of "celebrities" as examples of "famous" atheists counts against your argument not for it.

It is pretty weak the whole presentation on the whole. Certainly for your case of showing that "atheists can be good people". Which is not the way the argument is presented anyway. Although I understand why through idiocy or malice that it is perverted and taken in that fashion so as to avoid an unassailable conclusion.

"It probably lists about a hundred people who have done all kinds of good things, but they'll never be good enough for you because you'll always point the finger of blame at atheism for all the worst things in the world and any good that comes from atheists is just a fluke, isn't it?"

No. Although as I said, the list is kind of weak on the whole. It is just that you seem desperate to deny the obvious reality that a militant anti-theism has probably done far more harm than good over time.

Why not make a list of "the most famous atheists of the 20th century". Sure they would mostly be communists and other butchers, but I guess that is also just a fluke ?

Once again, I will assume Steve is joking by his comment: 'Is there any path to Christian maturity that will eventually result in Christians backing up their claims with more than ad hominem attacks and arguments based on ignorance? The evidence of the majority of their responses seems to say a definitive NO!'

Do you read ANYTHING that is posted on this blog or on the STR site in general? You keep making outrageous statements like this that show that you must not.

How many people (including myself) have made intelligent comments to you on a variety of subjects, and yet you have the nerve to say that all we present are 'ad hominem attacks and arguments based on ignorance?'

Steve,

I'm afraid you have been reading propaganda again. I live in Rochester NY..the home town of Susan B. Anthony. Here is the real scoop on her religious views.

"Susan B. Anthony's Quaker upbringing greatly influenced the role she played in nineteenth-century America. Quakers, properly known as the Religious Society of Friends, arose as a religious group in the mid-seventeenth century in England. They founded their religion on the belief that priests and places of organized worship are not necessary for a person to experience God. They feel there is an "inner light" inside everyone that can guide them to divine truth. Quakers do not believe in armed conflict or slavery, and they were among the first groups to practice full equality between men and women. Other American women did not experience the freedom and respect Anthony did while growing up. She worked to change that disparity, by becoming a leader in the crusade for women's rights."

So, how many times must you be shown that you are mistaken before you come to know the truth?

Steve,

It appears you’re back peddling like a madman now.

One question:

What’s the value difference between saying as Ghandi said:

“God has no religion" and when asked if he was a Hindu replied that he was a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian and a Buddhist.”

AND

“Religion is bogus, you don’t need it.”

afraid i can't answer questions about what is taught in The Children's Program (the actual name of the program), but the Humanist Community is the best organization i've ever been involved with.

i highly recommend that anyone interested find a group near you and try it out. there are google maps for the u.s. and canada.

here is our org's website:
http://humanists.org/

cheers.

Peter,
this is fascinating. I followed the links wherever they may lead and here is where they lead.

"It is not a set of conclusions or a destination. Humanism is a pathway..."


Yup..exactly right. It is a path whose destination is nowhere. If you want to go nowhere, humanism is the pathway there. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

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