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Indian Man Charged With Blasphemy For Exposing "Miracle" 796

Posted by samzenpus
from the smoke-and-mirrors dept.
bhagwad writes "When a statue in Mumbai began to miraculously drip tears, huge crowds began to gather, pray, and collect the water in vials. Sanal Edamaruku has exposed such bogus miracles before, and when he was called in, his investigations showed that it was nothing more than a nearby drainage. The entire investigation was caught on tape. The priests were outraged and demanded an apology. When he refused, a case of 'blasphemy' was registered at the police station and they now want to have him arrested." In related news, today Kuwait's parliament "passed amendments to the Gulf state's penal code stipulating the death penalty for those who curse God, Islam's Prophet Mohammed or his wives." However, they made no change to the penalty for playing a joke national anthem at a sporting event.
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Indian Man Charged With Blasphemy For Exposing "Miracle"

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  • Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeremy85mai (2520912) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:37PM (#39669605)
    Hopefully the world will start to grow more accepting toward skeptical beliefs(such as atheism, Agnosticism, etc). It makes me sad how often these beliefs are persecuted :(
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:38PM (#39669611) Homepage Journal

    In more related news, Tennessee just attacked science to make it harder to teach evolution and climatology [chicagotribune.com] because theocrats can't handle the truth.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grege1 (1065244) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:48PM (#39669647)
    The world is rapidly going the other way. Back in the 60s and 70s people thought that The Age of Reason had won and we could move into the future with hope. Now reason is under attack from the religions of the world. And it is getting worse by the day. All the fundamentalists from all religions should be made to sit and watch The Life of Brian at least one a year and eat halibut.
  • Such a non-story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dahamma (304068) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:52PM (#39669669)

    NO chance anyone would actually get tried for blasphemy against the Catholic Church in Mumbai.

    Not only does 98% of the local population not give a shit, but the church leaders in the Vatican will be smacking their foreheads when they see this. They have been trying for the last couple hundred years to undo the massive ill-will they have caused persecuting/prosecuting "heretics" throughout the ages...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:53PM (#39669679)

    "Some religious nutjob wants him arrested" is a far fucking cry from "He's been charged." I want the author of the article headline to be charged with a crime too, doesn't mean it'll happen.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:53PM (#39669685)
    When I pray, I pray that science gathers more knowledge for mankind such that we can create solutions to solve world hunger and disease. I never understood why a Christian would want to be against science when science is seeking truth. God is truth, so Christians should welcome the enlightenment of science. I evangelize to both unbelievers and believers alike that there is no conflict between the Bible and science. Related: An article on the Long Day Theory [fatherspiritson.com]
  • Re:Blashphemy??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Securityemo (1407943) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:54PM (#39669701) Journal
    Well, people in my country worship a man who was allegedly tortured to death over 2000 years ago. There are life-sized statues of the man, wearing only a rag, nailed to a cross in every temple. People wear smaller depictions of the torture instrument as a good-luck charm of sorts. Part of the rites involve drinking wine and eating a small piece of bread in the belief that it, in a spiritual sense, is the blood and flesh of this poor man.

    Well, I guess it's a lot more intimidating than a jolly elephant man at least? Keeps the unwashed foreign tribes at a distance.
  • by epyT-R (613989) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:01AM (#39669739)

    labeling someone a hater or fearer because he doesn't like or has a rational reason to not agree with something is not a counter argument, no matter what the political correctness thinktanks say.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jeremy85mai (2520912) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:04AM (#39669751)
    Ah, ok. I wouldn't know all that well(Born in the early 90's). It just seems like(or, at least, online) atheism is a lot louder about it's beliefs or with its objections to things. Do you think it's possible that why we see so much moronic stuff is because we're just being louder/more public about it? It seems like that could be a possibility.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:04AM (#39669753)

    The fact they're getting louder doesn't mean they're winning. It might be taken as a sign of desperation.

    The first people to leave a majority religion are the ones who don't fear ostracism, the rebellious, the suborn and the alienated mostly. After them are the ones who go when it ceases to be socially unacceptable. Then there are those who leave when it becomes increasing obvious that their faith and their religion have parted company, and the religion is no longer something they want to be a part of, disgruntled moderates for the most part.

    The very last hangers on, the ones who will never, ever leave as long as they still draw breath, are the fanatics. A religion can have just as many total fanatics when it comprises 90% of the population as it does when it comprises 40% - they go from being a few bad apples to the gradual majority who drive away those disgruntled moderates I mentioned above.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:04AM (#39669755)

    Well...

    The bible belt is going in this exact same direction. Arabs took like 8 thousand years to fuck up and get religion infested up the wazoo. The US has managed to catch up in insanity much, much faster.

    Praise capitalism!

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:08AM (#39669777) Journal

    Sanal received a phone call from a Police official of Juhu Police Station in Mumbai directing him to come to the said police station to face the charges and get arrested

    I'm not clear on how instructions from the police to come in and be arrested are "nothing to see here"? Perhaps you could explain?

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:08AM (#39669779)

    What I'd like to know is how any religion that professes to believe in an all knowing and creative deity would deny the mastery apparent in the minds of its own creations.

    I mean seriously, why would God create a brilliant analytical brain, only to shun its use?

  • by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:11AM (#39669801)

    Eventually you mature and leave the cradle. No guarantees for those who choose to remain behind in the cradle.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:12AM (#39669813)

    what a dumbass comment. the whole story is a non event. it's not in the mainstream news in india, nor on any channels. nutjobs exist in every country. and oh, are you going to tell me that there are states and universities planning to have creationist museums/ have it taught as a part of curriculum ? KKK and others are fictitious ? are you xenophobic sitting in the USA ?

    India is a democracy much like USA. there is space for any lunacy, also, its a developing country just coming to terms with poverty and other issues. I'd bet every advanced / developed nations had such teething issues to deal with. with such a condescending/ sneering attitude... I begin to wonder how perfect is your country ?

  • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:14AM (#39669825) Homepage

    no conflict between the Bible and science

    Except thats not entirely true.
    Science and the Bible conflict an awful lot. Straight from page 1 onwards.

    What you meant to say was that your religious world view and your scientific world view do not conflict.

  • Re:Blashphemy??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:21AM (#39669851)

    Yeah, every religion is going to seem wacky to outsiders, but..

    Everyone can clearly see how foolish everyone else's religion is. For some reason not many can turn the same critical eye on their own.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:36AM (#39669927)

    Maybe they're the ones to blame for the rise in religionism

    yeah, they're to blame.

    you nailed it.

    (how this was not marked troll, I don't know. but to blame athiests FOR the rise in religion is hand-waving that not even sky daddies could pull off)

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fluffeh (1273756) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:37AM (#39669929)

    The world is rapidly going the other way.

    Actually, I think it is becoming more polarized. I am fairly young, but I see more and more people moving into non-practising belief, moving into an agnostic belief system or totally throwing out and declaring atheism. Most people that I know who are religious are quite moderate and totally respect the chosen paths of others, but in this age of instant communication and viral sharing of video/blogs etc I find that many fundamentalists who in previous decades may have only been heard in small secluded places of worship or backroom debates are now able to spout their messages to the masses. This sadly can result in many moderates who may have previously never heard or even seen such messages being taken in and following.

    I think globally, we are moving (very slowly) to a much more moderate stance on religion, but there are pockets where small fundamentalist wildfires have started. Hopefully those flames will be doused before they spread into too much of a firestorm.

    Living in Australia (which is quite multi-national in ethnicity and religion) I am always utterly amused when fundamentalists of any nature demand to be tolerated for their beliefs while spouting anti-tolerant messages against others the next moment. I can't help myself and weigh in asking that exact sort of question - I started to walk out of church on Easter Sunday just passed (I go to church at Easter and Christmas to appease my parents when I visit) when the priest started spouting about propsed changes to the Australian Law by changing "Marrige to be between two people, rather than a man and a woman" which would lead to "the fall of Christians and civilisation" at which point I was too disgusted to stay for the rest. He saw me walking out and pulled me up on it. I accepted the challenge and politely debated him on the arguments for and against for around ten minutes in front of the entire congregation.

  • by hack slash (1064002) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:10AM (#39670041)
    If America wants to make itself even more ignorant and closed minded, fine, just stop enforcing your fucked up shit on the rest of the world.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrootLoops (1817694) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:18AM (#39670083)

    Your two posts summarize some of the major problems with religion debates. (The GP may not have been serious, but assume for now that it was.)

    mvdwege:
      * Unfair generalizations: "The current crop of atheists is indeed loud, and particularly obnoxious." People are not a ubiquitous mass and treating them that way inevitably leads to problems. Humans like to personify everything, especially groups of other humans, but that natural urge needs to be replaced with complex mental models that accurately reflect reality to the extent a human mind can do so.
      * Defensiveness: "sheer seething stupidity" ... "current crop of idiots" -- those statements will only convince people to fight you.

    TheGratefulNet:
      * Sarcastic responses: "yeah, they're to blame." See defensiveness.
      * Poor reasoning: "to blame athiests FOR the rise in religion is hand-waving". The obvious argument (likely missed because of defensiveness) is that religion felt threatened by a rise in atheism and responded by becoming louder. Whether there's any truth to that argument is a good question, but it isn't patently ridiculous hand-waving.

    Each of the problems above is caused by an emotional response overcoming clear thinking. People in general could stand to be more like Spock when it comes to debates.

  • Re:Blashphemy??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dadioflex (854298) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:27AM (#39670127)

    So Christianity is every bit as nutty? You don't say!

    The point is that regardless of what the evangelicals might wish, you can't get arrested for calling them out on their shit in the US. This makes the US "better" than India on this score, regardless of how equally ridiculous the respective "common" religion is.

    Well there you have it, your new national motto. "The US - currently better than India". You go guys!

    What gets me about this is that there ARE a bunch of different faiths in India, and they're trying, officially at least and in parts some better than others, to get along by studiously ignoring each other's mutually exclusive beliefs. So a sceptic comes along and disproves a miracle, IN HIS OPINION, which is rude but within the scope of his unprotected belief system. I don't understand how a Christian system based on faith can really ever take offence at someone poking holes in a local miracle, or the entire canon even. I genuinely mean this - if you're Christian and you're letting someone bamboozle you with logic and facts then it shows a profound lack of faith and a misunderstanding of the teachings of Jesus if your first reaction is anger. If those Indian Christians had simply blessed the sceptic and agreed to disagree there'd be no issue. The people with REAL faith could believe in whatever they want, and the people with actual FACTS can be smug in their knowledge and the impending empty soulless non-existence they have to look forward to when they die. Everybody's happy.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:31AM (#39670149) Journal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_inventions_and_discoveries#Medicine [wikipedia.org]

    But luckily, not for very long.

    Oxygen by Antoine Lavoisier in 1778.

    How can you denounce something when you can't breathe?

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bryan1945 (301828) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:46AM (#39670213) Journal

    I cannot comment on the world, but I can comment on my experiences here. People say they're atheist or agnostic, no problem. Someone says they're Christian, like I have in the past, and I'll get a bunch of replies mocking my belief in "fairy tales" and "how's that intelligent design going for you." And that's all I say- I'm a Christian, don't defend anything, don't push any agenda. I'll await the derision over in the left corner.
    The point being I get derided just because I say I'm something different from you, but Cthulhu help me if I try to say anything against atheists/agnostics here, which I never have, BTW.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:50AM (#39670227) Journal
    Ah, it's silly season again, when the astroturfers for products and companies are displaced somewhat by the astroturfers for politicians. I always hated this part of the cycle. But it is what it is.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:05AM (#39670283) Homepage Journal

    Who is the moron here? I'd put my money on the one totally oblivious to sarcasm.

    Really, all you and the ones who modded me Troll accomplished is prove my point: the current crop of atheists, especially the ones haunting Slashdot, are as humourlessly fanatic as religious fundamentalists.

    Mart

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:07AM (#39670291) Homepage Journal

    Actually, I was aiming for +1, Funny, but unfortunately the atheists on Slashdot are a bunch of humourless fundamentalists with obviously no sense of sarcasm at all.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:28AM (#39670407)

    Everything on here is "hand-waving", but his hypothesis is sound: the idea is that if someone advocates a cause, but does so in a manner that puts off people who aren't committed to that cause, it can cause them to run the other way. Humans usually look at the person delivering a message, and if they don't like that person for some reason (they act like an asshole, for instance), they'll reject the message. Extremely rational people might not, but most humans aren't extremely rational.

  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:31AM (#39670423) Journal

    The Catholic church was fine with evolution, they didn't push for creationism

    Catholic Church pushes for creationism? Since when? Got any references?

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KeensMustard (655606) on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:40AM (#39670479)

    The world is rapidly going the other way. Back in the 60s and 70s people thought that The Age of Reason had won and we could move into the future with hope.

    Yes, but the disillusionment with the "age of reason" (modernism) is what led to post modernism - The Age of Reason didn't actually lead to any more reason.

    Now reason is under attack from the religions of the world. And it is getting worse by the day.

    Nonsense. Reason and religion are not mutually exclusive, and have coexisted for a long time, and continue to do so.

  • Re:Blashphemy??? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by KeensMustard (655606) on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:42AM (#39670491)
    Indeed - atheism being the classic example of this
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:1, Insightful)

    by master_p (608214) on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:56AM (#39670541)

    And damn right they do. It is time for you to reexamine your position and think critically about the world, including your religion. You are part of a segment of the population that, by not thinking critically, you help perpetuate the myths and all their negative aspects, as well as the social structure that leads to huge inequalities between people.

    And before you say 'freedom of religion', I'd say yes, there is freedom, but it is high time to end the mass insanity called religion. Being free to exercise religion results in far worse things than mocking you because you believe in fairy tails.

    Think about only this: without the excuse of God, how many politicians would have to find another way to persuade us to follow them in their quest to serve their buddies' interests.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:08AM (#39670583)

    That's one way of illustrating his point. He says that he's a Christian and you accuse him of not thinking critically. How do you know that he doesn't have a PhD in theology?

  • Re:Not really (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Barsteward (969998) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:36AM (#39670689)
    "The church isn't anti-evolution. It is anti-critical thinking."

    it's anti-thinking, critical thinking is a step too far. Thinking is the danger to faith.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crutchy (1949900) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:53AM (#39670771)
    agreed. i swear there were velociraptors in the garden of eden. the apple told me so, right after i ate the pretty orange mushroom
  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:11AM (#39671075) Journal
    I grew up in the 60's and 70's, my mum was a sunday school teacher up until I was about 6-7, I still remeber overhearing her saying to dad something like "I'm brainwashing my own kids", after that she quit and started encouraging me to read aboriginal dreamtime stories ( not as fact but to demonstrate there were lots of different 'stories' ). It probably helped that my dad was an engineer.

    Anyway, my anectdotal experience over the last 50 odd years, plus a bunch of census stats from the US and around the world, tells me that people have turned their back on religion in droves during my lifetime. I agree it started with the sexual revolution in the 60's, but it has been accelerating ever since. More recently it has been put somewhat unkindly as "the internet, where religions come to die', and I think there is a great deal of truth to that because kids will find a plethora of dreamtime stories [youtube.com] all by themselves. From a very young age they no longer have to rely on their parents digging out obscure books from the adult library, which is something even my own 80's era kids could not do until their late teens.

    Religion is loud and angry in the US right now but it's losing its power and income base (which is why they still disaprove contraception). After millenia of being at the top of the food chain in all previous civilizations they suddenly find they have to start justifying their previously unquestioned claims of 'moral authority' in society with something more substansive than 'might is right'. They find themselves in a world where more and more of their 'sheep' are no longer affraid to laugh in their face and are willing to hold them to account for their hypocricy and crimes.

    I don't think I will live long enough to see it but when governments start taxing what are essentially some of the richest organisations on the planet, then you will know reason has won the day. But reason can only take us so far, at some point you just have to accept an assumption, science has boiled it all down to a handful of very basic assumptions (ie: the fundemantal forces and dimentions exist). It may boil it down further but it will always require the assumption that the real world exists and is not some sort of matrix senario where it's all in our heads.

    Of course the alternative to all this social upheaval is for everyone to simply tell the truth and just admit that nethier they nor I know the answer to the existential question (Why am I here?), none of us even know if the question makes any sense in the first place. The closest thing to a rational answer that I've ever found is more a statement of fact than an answer, it's a Sagan sounbite;"We are a way for the universe to know itself".
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:41AM (#39671195)

    Religion can and often is used as means of control of the (unwashed) masses: it's like a police in the brain and is far more effective than the police on the street.

    Probably this is why America's founding father explicitly sought to separate the state ( and politics ) from religion.

    Unfortunately, in this day and age when the US Constitution is completely disregarded, religion is once again a tool in the toolbox of politics.

  • by JosKarith (757063) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:41AM (#39671197)
    I've always wondered why an omniescent deity would require open worship. If God knows all then surely it knows how you feel without you having to say anything.
  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:57AM (#39671287)

    How is it that as a rule religions seem to think that their creator is so narcissistic that he/she/it would want/need/demand that people worship he/she/it?

    My assessment of this has always been that if man was created in God's image, and man requires the worship and admiration of his peers, then God must also.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nyctopterus (717502) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:14AM (#39671413) Homepage

    I know that people identifying as christian have a huge variety of beliefs, ranging from "it's all metaphor" to "everything in the Bible is literally true", but for the vast majority, christianity involves some sort of belief in the supernatural. Your statement that you are christian translates to most people as "I believe in supernatural things", probably specifically about the divinity of some middle-eastern guy about 2000 years ago, and that it is an important part of your identity.

    I have never seen an argument that gets you close to personal-god christianity being a reasonable set of beliefs (even the arguments for the weakest forms of deism are really poor). So, from an atheist perspective, people dropping into conversation that they hold such beliefs is a provocative affirmation of the absurd. Personally, I don't jump at people for saying they are Christian, but I do feel like it would be intellectually dishonest to pretend that I think it makes any sense at all (metaphorical brands aside). If it is used as any part of an argument, then it just sticks out as a huge false premise.

    So, I guess my point is that you feel you get derided for simply holding a differing belief, but I think you are making an assumption that atheists will see your beliefs as equivilant in some way. Most atheists don't see it that way, they see religious beliefs as not even having made the first few baby steps toward being a plausible set of ideas, and see little to no chance of that changing. To many atheists, there really isn't an intellectual debate of any substance to be had -- all that is left is derision.

    Just to set the tone of this, I don't mean it to be an attack, but an attempt to honestly lay out what I see as the atheist position, and something of an explanation for why they act like they do. (Of course, some atheists are just dicks, no denying that.)

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:31AM (#39671515)

    Think about only this: without the excuse of God, how many politicians would have to find another way to persuade us to follow them in their quest to serve their buddies' interests.

    You mean the way that Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro kept referring to God as a reason for them to persecute millions of those in the countries they controlled? Oh wait, no, none of them did that. They were all professing atheists.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitig (1056110) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:39AM (#39671553)

    Actually, I agree with his statement to a degree. Recently I had a Jehova's Witness bang on my door trying to peddle her wares. When I politely told her that I was Atheist she took that statement w/out a beat and immediately came out with a pamphlet SPECIFICALLY for self-professed atheists. She also had an entire set of pre-arranged arguments regarding atheism and morality. I was a bit taken aback. I think that the religions of the world are taking notice to their shrinking congregations and are going on the attack to stem the loss of money in their coffers. Even 30 or 40 years ago, although you wouldn't immediately be stoned for professing your lack of religion 'we' were most definitely a backwater. Now Reasoning people are far more numerous and far more vocal about their views. 30 years ago I could NOT have told my parents I was atheist; now we have rather heated discussions on the topic, when we aren't smart enough to avoid the subject. :)

    Despite the propaganda, you'll find reasoning people both outside and inside religion, but they're a minority on both sides of the divide.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrMickS (568778) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:52AM (#39671641) Homepage Journal

    And again unlike creationism, intelligent design is not fundamentally at odds with evolution. They can coexist. Intelligent design is not really answering the same question as evolution. It goes beyond. It poses a possible answer (perhaps a convenient one, but find me another) to a series of questions which rise in most people's minds when they learn evolution.

    Except that it implies an ordered direction to evolution, one that is controlled by some intelligence, to that end it is at odds with the general scientific principle of evolution. The differences between ID and creationism are a fig leaf. Fundementally they provide the same answer to the origin issue. That some super being, for which there is no testable evidence, that ordered things as they are.

    The questions you ask are interesting, but I'd counter with a simple reversal of them. For each question you can ask why not. Its ok to not know, which is the nub of all questions of faith and religious belief. In general people believe in a god figure because the alternative, that mankind is simply another animal, that evolved by chance, and there is no greater purpose in life than their lot on earth, isn't something that they can stomach. Their is a need for there to be more to their existance than this mortal coil.

    As a non-believer that is happy with this I have a couple of questions:

    * If a god is required to bring mankind into being, how or what created this god?
    * If its ok for a god to have just existed, why isn't it ok for life on the earth to have evolved as it has by chance?

    Eventually you get to a point where you just have to accept that you don't have an answer.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Friday April 13, 2012 @07:38AM (#39671943)

    Nice try, but since religion is superstition and lies, how does one maintain intellectual integrity and NOT attack lies?

    Superstitionists want POWER for their lies, so of course should be attacked by those who do not wish to submit.

    Superstition isn't rational. All religion is (j)ihad. Why exactly should I treat the ideas of "flat earthers" with respect when they want to RULE ME based on those ideas?

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Friday April 13, 2012 @07:41AM (#39671965) Journal
    It just seems like(or, at least, online) atheism is a lot louder about it's beliefs or with its objections to things.

    I'll take "louder" over "punishable by death", TYVM.

    And honestly, this whole vocal-atheist thing? I just haven't seen it. Yes, they have a few talking heads that occasionally get attention in the press; How many dozens of Jesse Jacksons / Fred Phelps / dead Dutch cartoonists / burned African witches, do we hear about for every public appearance by Richard Dawkins?

    Atheists in most of the western world finally feel moderately safe to have a voice at all; The zealots still hold the crown for volume.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:2, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Friday April 13, 2012 @07:43AM (#39671987)

    There is no reason for humor. All religion is toxic, all religionists backward and vicious.

    Religion deserves no respect. It deserves no credence as any sort of reasonable world view. It is simply nonsense devised by the lowest barbaric peasants and propagated through war. It's as nasty as Communism and even less logical.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:06AM (#39672185)

    You forgot his convictions about keeping women barefoot and pregnant at home. That's a key tenet of Mormonism.

    Meanwhile, for the benefit of Kuwaitis:
    #1 - God is a drunken asshole who starts wars, causes nothing but suffering, and is such a piss poor retarded deity that he "designed" humans with a windpipe crossing the food pipe and a reproductive system crossing the waste elimination system. If God were an engineer he'd have been flunked out in freshman courses and barred from reentry before he REALLY hurt someone... oh crap too late.

    #2 - Mohammed was a warmonger, a war criminal, a genocidal fucktard, and a pedophile. Deal with it.

    #3 - Mohammed's wives... don't really have much to say about them. For the most part, they were just a part of the society they were living in, and I really feel sorry for Khadija, who started out owning and operating her own business and only married Mohammed because she wanted a young boytoy (kinda like the Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher deal) and instead wound up with him taking her life, turning her into a virtual slave, and fooling around with as many other women as he could get his hands on.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dwpro (520418) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (777orpwd)> on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:17AM (#39672309)

    This false equivalence is not helpful, with regard to faith. "Trust not thy own understanding" isn't taught to atheists as a dogma, and it is evident [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:38AM (#39672545) Journal

    there are quite a few who apply reason rigorously to their religious beliefs.

    Who exactly? And what did they find? If they actually applied rigorous reasoning, they should have a convincing argument for their conclusions. I would be most interested in this.

    However, every time I check, and it's been often for many years, "rigorous reasoning" is anything but. Consider Pascal's Wager, for centuries it was considered logically sound, but it's really just a false dichotomy. Are you sure these reasonable religious people are not just dressing up their faith in the trappings of reason to make it sound better?

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitig (1056110) on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:49AM (#39672649)

    This false equivalence is not helpful, with regard to faith. "Trust not thy own understanding" isn't taught to atheists as a dogma, and it is evident [wikipedia.org]

    It isn't taught to most religious people as a dogma, either. Although I think everybody would be wise to remember that there might be limits to their understanding and that they might be mistaken. "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitig (1056110) on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:59AM (#39672755)

    Despite the propaganda, you'll find reasoning people both outside and inside religion

    Why would a reasoning person believe in the unverifiable? The only reasonable reaction when presented with a nonfalsifiable hypothesis is "could be, but I don't really know".

    Religion is at best wishful thinking. And wishful thinking isn't reason.

    Is there an objective reality? The existence of one is non-falsifiable. Is logic valid? The validity of logic is non-falsifiable. If you really believe that the only reasonable reaction when presented with a nonfalsifiable hypothesis is "could be, but I don't really know" then I assume you are an epistemiological solipsist, which is an intellectually viable position but one that challenges science just as much as religion.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Friday April 13, 2012 @09:02AM (#39672807)

    I can't even conceive the idea to put belief (let alone faith) in something that's unprovable.

    I suspect that you actually do put belief in something that's unprovable, but that you simply don't realize that you are doing so. For example, do you believe that the scientific method is a good way to learn about the universe? If so, then what proof do you have that such might be the case? Many people would answer that it can be proved using the scientific method, but those same people scoff when shown a claim by the bible that the bible is reliable, and call it circular reasoning. Ultimately, you're left with an infinite regress of reasons supporting reasons, which to my mind is more difficult to put faith in than the existence of god.

    On the other hand, suppose you're skeptical about the scientific method. Ask yourself whether skepticism is the correct way to approach knowledge of the universe. Shouldn't one be skeptical of such a belief? One must either accept and operate on the assumption that skepticism is the appropriate opinion to hold, or that it's not. One must accept one of those beliefs on faith, as it were.

    Stephen F. Roberts: "...I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

    Mr. Roberts' claim proves too much. Let me show you why using analogy with mathematics, as I'm particularly fond of mathematics. Let's suppose I believe that there exists precisely one even prime, and analogously that precisely one god exists. Let's suppose furthermore that Mr. Roberts believes that no even primes exist, and analogously that no god exists. I dismiss candidates 3, 17, and 61 because they aren't even. I dismiss candidates 10, 34, and 100002 because they aren't prime. I dismiss candidates h, e, and pi because they aren't integers. I dismiss candidates -3, 0, and 1 because they aren't greater than one. I now understand why I dismiss all the other possible even primes (other than 2). Mr. Roberts' would now claim that I understand why he dismisses 2. In fact, I don't. Number 2 is even; it's a prime; it's an integer; it's greater than one. Arguments that claim that something doesn't have a property have no bearing on other predicates. Specifically, if I claim that the flying spaghetti monster doesn't exist because it was imagined by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to protest a decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to teach Intelligent Design, then that has no bearing on the god that we supposed I believed in at the beginning of this paragraph, provided that we didn't suppose I believed in the flying spaghetti monster.

    ~Loyal
     

  • Re:Blashphemy??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday April 13, 2012 @09:29AM (#39673155)

    Everyone can clearly see how foolish everyone else's religion is. For some reason not many can turn the same critical eye on their own.

    Indeed - atheism being the classic example of this

    Most foolish of all is the belief that opting out of religion is a religion.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) on Friday April 13, 2012 @09:42AM (#39673359)

    I can't even conceive the idea to put belief (let alone faith) in something that's unprovable.

    I suspect that you actually do put belief in something that's unprovable, but that you simply don't realize that you are doing so. For example, do you believe that the scientific method is a good way to learn about the universe? If so, then what proof do you have that such might be the case?

    No, I don't believe that. I accept that the scientific method is the best method we know so far. I don't put a belief or faith in a method. You are comparing a method of work with religion which, to be honest, is above silly.

    Many people would answer that it can be proved using the scientific method,

    The scientific method is based around the concept of falsification.

    but those same people scoff when shown a claim by the bible that the bible is reliable, and call it circular reasoning.

    The bible isn't a methodology. The bible is a literal (or philosophical) text. Two completely different entities. The bible uses it's own authority to validate itself as fact (or philosophy) while the scientific method is just that. A method.

    Ultimately, you're left with an infinite regress of reasons supporting reasons, which to my mind is more difficult to put faith in than the existence of god.

    I don't have any faith. The questions "where do we come from", "why do we exist" and various others are fun topics to discuss, but they do not influence my world view. I don't need faith in a god (or in science) in order to consolidate reality with my own thoughts. For instance, I accept the concept of evolution as being the correct theory to explain how we as a species came to be, however, if tomorrow it turns out to be completely wrong and that there's a completely different mechanism at work, that will not alter my world view. (It would however, be a very fascinating discovery)

    On the other hand, suppose you're skeptical about the scientific method.

    The method is simple. If you do not grasp it then you have a serious intellectual deficiency. I can explain the method in 3 lines:
    Make observation: Apple falls from tree
    Make a hypotheses: something attracts the apple and causes it to fall
    Perform experiments to confirm the hypothesis.

    You can be skeptical of any given theory, but nothing is stopping you from validating it yourself. Even so, the correctness of a theory does not enter my world view, a theory (in science) is a tool, not a philosophy.

    Ask yourself whether skepticism is the correct way to approach knowledge of the universe.

    I do not believe anything at face value. When I read an article that makes a certain claim, I might accept that claim as usefull knowledge, but it doesn't alter my world view.

    Shouldn't one be skeptical of such a belief?

    One should think for himself.

    One must either accept and operate on the assumption that skepticism is the appropriate opinion to hold, or that it's not. One must accept one of those beliefs on faith, as it were.

    No. One must only accept one of these on faith. The other one, science, is a combination of a methodology and a set of observations and theories about those observations. You possess a mind of your own to think about and validate said methodology and theories.

    Stephen F. Roberts: "...I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

    Mr. Roberts' claim proves too much. Let me show you why using analogy with mathematics, as I'm particularly fond of mathematics. Let's suppose I believe that there exists precisely one even prime, and

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HeckRuler (1369601) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:13AM (#39673801)
    Ah, the no-true-scotman argument comes out again. Go get some learnings, you [wikipedia.org].
  • by cortesoft (1150075) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:04PM (#39678591)

    You describe Pascal's Wager (That you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in God, while you have everything to lose and nothing to gain by not believing in God). This can be a compelling argument to someone who already believes in God, or is in a culture where there is only really one choice of religion.

    However, the argument is a poor one. An unmentioned premise of the argument is that there is only one possible God to choose to believe in or not; of course, we know this is not true. There are countless different Gods that people choose to believe in. There are the major religions, and all of the thousands of offshoots. Many of those beliefs include the idea that God HATES it if you worship the wrong God (think the First Commandment).

    Because of this, you have to include in your calculation that you choose the WRONG God to believe in, and in doing so you actually piss him off more than if you had not believed at all. Maybe God exists, but his REAL desire is for no one to worship him, and worshipping him is what pisses him off.

    There are infinite possible Gods, so the argument that you should just choose to believe in one of them because you have nothing to lose doesn't hold water.

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