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Communism, Atheism and oppression

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  • Ernie Schreiber
    On Mon, 31 Dec 2001 09:36:11 -0500, John Como wrote ... Thanks, John, for your support. One question, though: what do you have against
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 1, 2002
      On Mon, 31 Dec 2001 09:36:11 -0500, "John Como" <jcomo@...> wrote
      (in part):

      > >Getting rid of religion only makes matters worse because it gives people
      > >the idea that they no longer have to give account to a higher power and
      > can do
      > >whatever they want without fear of consequences when "the game of life"
      > is over.
      >JOHN has always disagreed with this concept which, in one of his less
      >tolerant moods, he would describe as illogical nonsense.
      >
      >ERNIE makes several valid points, including: "The human drive to power
      >...and human greed are the root cause of much of the injustice and
      >violence committed", and "religion has outlived its usefulness to human
      >society and, in order for humanity to not self-destruct, an atheistic,
      >rational approach to life is essential."
      >Delete the word "atheistic" and I am in complete agreement. In my
      >opinion, rationality is called for and humanity can survive even if some
      >members believe in god(s). Well said, Ernie. Happy New Year.

      Thanks, John, for your support. One question, though: what do you have
      against the word "atheistic"? I did not imply, after all, that everybody
      must be an atheist. To be sure, some people who are religious can very
      well remain part of a properly functioning society just as long as they do
      not form a commanding majority; however, to become a rational society it
      must, in the main, necessarily be atheistic. How could one come to a
      "rational judgement" if one subscribed to the belief that a "higher
      authority" (or God) has to be obeyed? The trouble with that would
      obviously be that some individuals who demand to be recognized as the
      representatives of God on earth will tell society that they must obey
      ancient "scripture" (...goeth forth and multiply...) as, for example, in
      the prohibition of family planning (contraception, abortion). Now there's
      the rub: how can society possibly come to a rational approach if a majority
      of that population is guided by ancient scriptures that are never supposed
      to change?

      Seems to me that logic dictates that atheism is a precondition for rational
      action.

      Regards,

      H. E. (Ernie) Schreiber
      EUNACOM Secular Journal: http://eunacom.net
      Discussion List Server at: <eunacom@yahoogroups.com>
    • jarmilkies
      ... Rational is relative and depends on who s reason it s based on. Rational is a myth. When the Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg trial presented their
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 2, 2002
        Ernie wrote:
        >>How could one come to a
        >>"rational judgment" if one subscribed to the belief that a "higher
        >>authority" (or God) has to be obeyed?


        " Rational " is relative and depends on who's "reason" it's based on. Rational is a myth.
        When the Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg trial presented their "rationale" that what
        they did was perfectly legal and were merely obeying orders from their superior authorities
        to which the panel of international judges unanimously concluded that there comes a point at which
        one must obey a Higher or Supreme Authority.
        Life, not unlike love, is not always " rational " and, even if it is, it still is dependent on who's doing the "reasoning".



        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Ernie Schreiber
        To: Canadian Atheists
        Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2002 10:17 AM
        Subject: [CanadianAtheist] Communism, Atheism and oppression


        On Mon, 31 Dec 2001 09:36:11 -0500, "John Como" <jcomo@...> wrote
        (in part):

        > >Getting rid of religion only makes matters worse because it gives people
        > >the idea that they no longer have to give account to a higher power and
        > can do
        > >whatever they want without fear of consequences when "the game of life"
        > is over.
        >JOHN has always disagreed with this concept which, in one of his less
        >tolerant moods, he would describe as illogical nonsense.
        >
        >ERNIE makes several valid points, including: "The human drive to power
        >...and human greed are the root cause of much of the injustice and
        >violence committed", and "religion has outlived its usefulness to human
        >society and, in order for humanity to not self-destruct, an atheistic,
        >rational approach to life is essential."
        >Delete the word "atheistic" and I am in complete agreement. In my
        >opinion, rationality is called for and humanity can survive even if some
        >members believe in god(s). Well said, Ernie. Happy New Year.

        Thanks, John, for your support. One question, though: what do you have
        against the word "atheistic"? I did not imply, after all, that everybody
        must be an atheist. To be sure, some people who are religious can very
        well remain part of a properly functioning society just as long as they do
        not form a commanding majority; however, to become a rational society it
        must, in the main, necessarily be atheistic. How could one come to a
        "rational judgement" if one subscribed to the belief that a "higher
        authority" (or God) has to be obeyed? The trouble with that would
        obviously be that some individuals who demand to be recognized as the
        representatives of God on earth will tell society that they must obey
        ancient "scripture" (...goeth forth and multiply...) as, for example, in
        the prohibition of family planning (contraception, abortion). Now there's
        the rub: how can society possibly come to a rational approach if a majority
        of that population is guided by ancient scriptures that are never supposed
        to change?

        Seems to me that logic dictates that atheism is a precondition for rational
        action.

        Regards,

        H. E. (Ernie) Schreiber
        EUNACOM Secular Journal: http://eunacom.net
        Discussion List Server at: <eunacom@yahoogroups.com>



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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • athofden freethink
        Actually, reason is not relative and it is not a myth. Reason is a method, a tool if you will, that can be misused and even more easily misunderstood, but it
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 2, 2002
          Actually, reason is not relative and it is not a myth. Reason is a method,
          a tool if you will, that can be misused and even more easily misunderstood,
          but it is a well-proven and certain path when employed properly.
          Reason is really two distinct processes. The first has to do with facts
          or rules of evidence and their use as premises in arguments. The second
          has to do with logic or how those premises are put together and how conclusions
          are derived from them. So, the first step in preparing any "rational"
          argument is careful and objective observation of the facts, which are
          then marshalled as premises. The argument is built up from this foundation.
          If this first process is done well, the premises will be true. The
          second step is relating these premises to each other and to their implications;
          this is logic, and if the relations between premises and conclusions
          is done well, then the logic will be valid. If premises are true and
          logic is valid, then the argument will be sound and almost certainly
          correct.
          Therefore, there are two different ways that an argument can go wrong.
          First, the logic may be good but the premises may be false or at least
          unsubstantiated. For example, take this syllogism: "All men are chickens;
          Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is a chicken." The logic is actually
          good here, but the conclusion is wrong, since one of the premises is
          wrong. Second, the premises may be true but the logic may be invalid.
          Take this syllogism: "Some men are Chinese; Socrates is a man; therefore
          Socrates is Chinese." Or take this one: "All Jews are bad; we should
          kill bad people; therefore we should kill Jews." The logic again is
          valid, in the sense of "All X's are Y; we should Z all Y's; therefore
          we should Z all X's." However, the two premises are both false or at
          the very least questionable, so it makes the conclusion unsound.
          When people say that reason has gone astray, what they usually actually
          mean is that either the premises or the logic of an argument are false
          or invalid. It does not matter "who is doing the reasoning." We can
          always subject the reasoning to the tests of truth-of-premises and validity-of-logic.
          If they fail, the argument fails, no matter who makes it or what their
          motivation is. So, as a great logician once said, never argue with the
          conclusions, argue with the premises and the logic.
          Finally, on the question of rationality and belief, one can in fact reason
          on the basis of belief (Aquinas did it quite thoroughly). The problem
          is that there will always be at least one questionable premise in any
          argument. The argument "All Christians go to heaven; I am a Christian;
          therefore I am going to heaven" is, again, logically valid, but the first
          premise is unproven and not even necessarily coherent, so the conclusion
          cannot be trusted as sound. Or, if the believer uses logical fallacies,
          such as appeals to authority or circular reasoning, we can also question
          the conclusions and show that they are unsound.
          That's all reason is. If you understand it and use it well, it will
          yield good results; if you do not understand it and abuse it, it will
          yield garbage.

          >>How could one come to a
          >>"rational judgment" if one subscribed to the belief that a "higher

          >>authority" (or God) has to be obeyed?


          " Rational " is relative and depends on who's "reason" it's based on.
          Rational is a myth.
          When the Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg trial presented their "rationale"
          that what
          they did was perfectly legal and were merely obeying orders from their
          superior authorities
          to which the panel of international judges unanimously concluded that
          there comes a point at which
          one must obey a Higher or Supreme Authority.
          Life, not unlike love, is not always " rational " and, even if it is,
          it still is dependent on who's doing the "reasoning".


          --
          athofden freethink
          athofden@... - email
          (303) 285-3482 x7118 - voicemail/fax



          ---- "jarmilkies" <nabeele@...> wrote:
          [Non text/plain message body suppressed]


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        • Monist
          ... The Soviet Union grew out of one of the most repressive religious environment that one can imagine and it is foolish to think a nation s character will
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 14, 2002
            On Sat, 29 Dec 2001 09:24:08 -0700, you wrote:

            >>>Dan wrote:
            >>>... The multitude of interpretations of its messages has lead to violent
            >>>conflicts between individuals as well as wars between nations, with
            >>>both sides using the same book to justify their respective acts ...
            >
            >I don't think it's entirely fair to blame all our problems on the Bible or religion.
            >Just look at the oppressive atheistic Soviet Union. They thought that getting rid
            >of religion was the answer to greatness.
            The Soviet Union grew out of one of the most repressive religious
            environment that one can imagine and it is foolish to think a nation's character
            will suddenly change due to a change in government policy. Stalin himself
            trained for the church but later proclaimed himself an atheist, to gain power in
            the new Communist regime. His actions show clearly that he was no atheist .
            Atheists do not --cannot- -kill people so willingly and for such stupid reasons

            > It did just the opposite.
            >The Chinese government doesn't like religion either, like most communistic atheists.
            >Getting rid of religion only makes matters worse because it gives people the idea
            >that they no longer have to give account to a higher power and can do whatever they
            >want without fear of consequences when " the game of life " is over.
            Getting rid of religion is the only hope for our species survival
            -consider six billion people so stupid that they are able to believe that some
            invisible Big Daddy actually runs this vast universe - -so they don't need to
            steer.
            And the idea that humans are not only so stupid but also so rotten that
            they need a fake god to keep them in line is outrageous. Matt Ridley's : " The
            Origins of Altruism " offers a good introduction into human morality.Worth a
            read.
            Cheers,
            Andy
            * * * * * * *
            "Though science has long since pulled the plug
            on religion's life support system, the patient
            still has convulsions and will not die easily."
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