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Prayer in Schools

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by NOG (No Other Gods), Aug 24, 2009.

  1. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    NOG, what violence have you seen? I've seen court actions and filings, but no violence on the part of atheists in the US. "Full circle" would include beatings, tar and feathering, killings, and rape -- all of which have been done to 'non-believers.'
     
  2. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Oh, no, I meant full circle in terms of our discussion. Though I don't suppose this thread was a spin-off of the atheism vs religion thread. Sorry for the confusion.

    As for violence, I have seen some, and I do believe atheists are well on their way to matching religions (considering the time they've had), but they've still got a ways to go.
     
  3. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I have not seen the level of violence used against believers from aethiest that believers have used in the past. When it does reach that level, I can guarantee you there will be a Law and Order episode depicting it. There always is. :)
     
  4. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    What exactly is this "official atheistic belief" of which you speak? Perhaps it's just because I consider myself a dedicated agnostic who has no more interest in embracing the certainty of Atheism as I have in embracing the certainty of faith (and therefore distance myself from such issues), but I have yet to encounter any sort of Atheistic orthodoxy.
     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I agree Drew, if you were raised in a very secular household, with no mention of God at all, then I think you'd be agnostic or atheist by default. Yet, that would just represent the absence of any belief system. You wouldn't say you didn't believe in God, you'd just have no ideas about God at all.

    I also think it is appropriate to to bring up Richard Dawkins, as he puts it quite plainly. There have been hundreds of Gods throughout history - Roman Gods, Greek Gods, Norse Gods, etc. and dozens of religions that are presently being practiced by millions of people. If you happen to follow one of these religions you are atheistic in respect to your belief in all the others. An atheist simply does not believe in one more God than you do.
     
  6. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    I find it rather interesting that here in Finland religious programme is a much more obvious part of education. I remember that during elementary school we very often had prayer and religious education by priests even outside the scheduled religion classes. Of course our society is much more homogenous with over 80% of the people being members of the Finnish Evangelic Lutheran church which is also the official state church.
     
  7. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I went to a public elementrary school. I have always, even as a child, fought against people pushing their beliefs on me. When in the 6th grade, our teacher used to make us sit in a big circle, holding hands and tried to make us pray. I would never do it. I was sent to the principles office for this several times, who just told me to sit there for an hour and then go back to class. The principle didn't do anything about it, otherwise. I was never sent there for any other reasons, as I was a good little boy!:D That teacher was eventually fired over it. Several of the parents had conflicts with him at the teacher/parents meetings that were held quarterly. My father was one of them. The teacher was an arrogant jerk and spoke down to all of the parents who's children didn't go to church weekly. After several of the parents logged complaints to the district about him, they finally took steps to remove him. He was later banned from teaching by the state for his actions in future teaching jobs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  8. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Not so much orthodoxy as confirmed disbelief in a supernatural. In the past, almost everyone believed in something or other (Christianity, Islam, Wicca, Satanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc), and even those who didn't generally simply ignored the issue as a whole (agnostics). The actual belief that there is no supernatural, nothing beyond this reality defined by science and our perceptions, is relatively young. Definitely no more than a few centuries, and only even close to popular in the general culture within the past century or less.


    Blades, that's the result of a religion becoming a cultural norm. It's sad, and a bad sign in general, but it always happens. It's happening to atheistic belief now.
     
  9. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Am I the only one who sees this as a giant oxymoron?
     
  10. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    DR, we had this debate before. A lack of any belief isn't atheism, it's agnosticism. Atheism (or rather, gnostic atheism) is a confirmed belief that the supernatural doesn't exist. If you say, "I don't believe in gods", that may well be an agnostic statement (though it doesn't rule out atheism either). If you say,"There are no gods", that is an atheistic statement, and a belief.
     
  11. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I don't think that really meshes well logically and have several rejoinders, but since you pointed out that this has been hashed out before (and, frankly, I'm not in the mood for rehashing) I'll just leave it there.
     
  12. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Yes, DR there is a Santa Claus -- just as there is atheistic belief. It seems the theists want to force the term belief down the atheists throat no matter the obvious incongruities (while at the same time demanding to be allowed to describe themselves on their own terms). The entire 'belief' issue I believe comes down to basics for theists -- if it is a belief system, and not the theist's belief, it can be wrong. If it is not a belief, then it is either a lie or a fact (which takes the argument to a very uncomfortable place for most believers I know).

    I find it interesting that when I first came to SP I was solidly in the agnostic court. But the inane arguments here have pushed me to be fairly atheistic.

    "There are no gods" is not a belief at all. It is a lack of belief in any god -- I'm not sure why such a principle is so difficult to comprehend. It's basic logic -- freshman philosophy -- not rocket surgury or brain science.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
    Blades of Vanatar likes this.
  13. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG]
    Then the term atheism has been largely misused on the boards for ages. According to your definition, I and most proclaimed 'atheists' on the boards today, are in fact agnostics.
    I'll quote wiki for you NOG, coz I know how much you hate it when people do that:p:
    So technically both sides of the argument are true.

    But here's my question:
    If atheism is in fact a stern, unwavering belief in the absence of a god, isn't this similar to monotheism or polytheism? Atheism would simply be another form of theism. So what's the point of having atheist vs. theist discussions atall? By your definition it's all the same anyway. It's all belief. The point I think you try to make in this thread, is that certain atheists are behaving religiously in their opposition, because their 'faith' supersedes their reason and logic. It's a valid argument, but it only illustrates that some people are totally missing the point:doh:. Perhaps they behave this way, because it's how they learned to behave in their religious background...

    I disagree with your claim that atheism is a belief. As an atheist I subscribe to the Scientific Method, and I try to be vigilant:bigeyes: for any dogma's, unquestioned beliefs, and invalid assumptions that I may make. This is how I think proper atheists should think and act:good:.
    Human logic and reasoning is something wonderful, even miraculous. I find it counterintuitive that a divine entity would require us to not use this tool, and simply accept things based on faith and belief:xx:. My atheism is not comparable to theism, because I don't make unquestionable assumptions, I don't have a belief system, and I'm open to new ideas even if they alter my old perspective:).
     
  14. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    No, T2. You're missing it. "There are no gods" is a factual claim. There's no denying that. You aren't stating an opinion here, you're making an absolute claim about reality. Since that claim cannot be proven (as I think we'll all agree on these forums at least), I feel confident calling it a 'belief'. That's the definition of a belief, pretty much. A factual claim that is not proven, but is believed. If you believe it, it is your belief. A lack of belief means you don't believe anything in particular, which means you don't know if there are gods or not. That's agnosticism, not gnostic atheism.


    Coin, this is why I talked about terminology at the beginning of that other thread on this topic. It's useful to actually talk in common terms. My objection to calling anyone who doesn't believe in gods 'atheist' is that it doesn't distinguish between a simple lack of belief and the actual belief in the non-existence of it. There's a huge step between the two. As huge as the step between nonbelief and belief in gods. Such a difference deserves (and needs for any real debate) a seperation in terminology. 10 years ago, that seperation was between atheism and agnosticism. Today, many people seem to think they mean the same thing, or have simply never heard of agnosticism. If that happens, then what do we call the people that I'm talking about, the people that say "There are no gods, and anyone who believes in them is flat out wrong"? If I'm going to talk about them, they need a name (and 'Those people that say...' is a little long). I suggest using the name that was used before, instead of inventing a new one.

    As to the atheism, theism, polytheism, monotheism, etc. issue: it all depends on how you define the term theism. If you define it as typical: the belief in gods of some form or another, then no, atheism isn't a form of it, but rather the opposition of it. If you define theism as simply the field of beliefs about gods (i.e. if you believe anything in particular, even that there are none, you fall in that category), then yes, atheism is a form of theism. I don't think that's actually theism, though. I think there's a different name for that.

    Then let me ask you something. Do you have any firm belief about gods? Do you believe that they exist? Do you believe that they don't exist? Do you believe that they are products of our imaginations? Do you believe they are some sort of evolutionary imperitive or holdover from more primitive minds? If any of these are true (or any other you can think of), then you have a belief. If that belief in any way says that gods are not real supernatural beings, then it is an atheistic belief.

    It does seem, however, that there may have been another confusion in termonology somewhere. Just to make sure you all know what I mean:
    belief =/= religion
    Religion is a type of belief (or a construct of beliefs), but it's hardly the only example. In the same way, the fusion bomb is a type of technology, but it's far from the only kind. A belief is anything that you believe. In the strictest terms, even the facts that you know that you know are beliefs, they're just very certain beliefs. I believe that I'm typing at my computer right now. And you know something? I'm right.
     
  15. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    ...or, more succinctly, it is a system of beliefs. Atheism is not, though, since "there is no God" is the only somewhat* universally accepted tenet of Atheistic "dogma".

    * Only somewhat, though, because Atheistic beliefs range from a rejection of Theism (which means "Agnostics" like me are in fact "Atheists") to a firm belief that there are no Gods. The opposite of the firm belief that there are no Gods, however, is the firm belief that there are. Theism. You can't compare Atheists to Judeo-Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs because they don't as a group "just" believe in a God or Gods. You can only reasonably compare an Atheist to a Theist and, like Atheism, Theism has no orthodoxy. A Theist believes there is a God, but there is no attached belief system.

    A Christian, on the other hand, believes the bible is God's word. Consequently, he necessarily believes the Commandments in the bible are God's commandments, that sometime around 30 AD, a really nice Jewish Carpenter was executed on trumped up charges but came back from the dead within 3 days, and that his crucifixion was necessary to save the souls of man. A Theist doesn't necessarily believe any of that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  16. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Normally, I'm am *very* against any sort of prayer in public schools.

    However, I vividly remeber the time Jessica and I snuck into an unused classroom back in high school to have some "fun". :love: By the end, she was screaming, "Oh GOD!!!" which I didn't mind at all....so I guess it all depends on the situation...
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    NOG - just one slight question - I seem to remember you say at one time or another that you were certain of the existence of God, but you just lacked to ability to prove such to others. At that point, does it not supercede belief? Or does this go back to your statement that "even the facts that you know that you know are beliefs, they're just very certain beliefs." Just curious.
     
  18. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Aldeth:
    No, knowledge does not supercede belief. I say that knowledge is a sub-type of belief. A level of certainty in that belief such that any doubt is erased. I know the sun is a ball of fusion fire, but that is still a belief.

    Drew:
    So, if you call all those groups 'atheist', then what do you call the specific group that believes in the nn-existence of gods?

    You are correct, though, that atheism isn't equivalent to Christianity. Atheism is a category of singular beliefs. The systems of belief that arise from Atheism tend to be mostly self-formed systems based on science (what I called Scientism in the last thread). Make no mistake, though. Such systems of belief still exist.
     
  19. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    You have it backwards. If there is no evidence of a god -- where does belief lie? When I accept the evidence (along with the preponderance of evidence the first five books of the bible are inaccurate) there is no belief system involved at all. To accept something that has no evidence in the "mortal realm" involves faith -- which is the cornerstone of a belief system.

    What you don't understand is that I don't have any need to prove there is no god -- the proof is already there IMO. There is no "faith" that there is no god and therefore no belief system. I don't "believe" in something that is not tangible. That it eases your mind to think atheism is a system of beliefs (and could then be wrong) is just fine -- don't force that belief on me. That you take offense that an atheist does not believe in God is your problem, not the atheist's problem. I think you're wrong in your beliefs -- so what? Why should what an atheist think have any bearing on your faith? Why should you feel the desire to categorize all atheists into a neat little box? I, on the other hand, do not really care if a person is religious or not. I accept people for who they are and think a person should follow the path that makes them happiest (so long as that path doesn't harm others).
     
  20. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    NOG, firmly believing that there is no God carries no more baggage than firmly believing that there is a God. No moral guidelines, stories, or additional beliefs stem from either one. The only thing that follows is that someone who firmly believes there is no God is almost certainly not going to pursue a religion, while someone who firmly believes there is almost certainly will. The belief system is acquired from the religion, not the belief or lack of belief in God.

    The problem with you "scientism" canard is that a lot of the first-world faithful (most of them, in fact) believe in evolution and respect modern science, allowing religious and scientific concepts to co-exist. The friggin Pope acknowledged evolution, for crying out loud, so it's clear that you don't have to believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old to be a good Christian. Science and scientists have a long history of threatening the belief systems held by the faithful, yet even after a 2,000 year run of new scientific discovery, Christianity is still alive and well. The only reason an Atheist is more likely to be open to scientific thought and scientific ideas is because he has no external belief system to threaten in the first place. He isn't replacing his belief system with science any more that John Paul II did when he acknowledged the undeniable reality of evolution.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
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