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Thread: Am I becoming a complete asshole?

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  1. #1
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    Default Am I becoming a complete asshole?

    So the Mormon thread got me to thinking about something that I have been struggling with for about the last year or so, and I'm really not sure how well I'm going to verbalise this, so please bear with me.

    A personal belief of mine, as is that of most people, is that in any debate, religious, musical, political, whatever, all views should be listened to, respected, critisized, and evaluated equally.

    Now, my opinion on errr ..opinions, has always been the same respectful stance. I believe/think what I believe/think and I will argue to defend it, but I have always made a point to respect other peoples views and opinions, and try to see it from thier side, always. I genuinely take a dislike to people blindly refusing to see the other side of the argument, and this is where my problem with myself is starting.

    To digress for a second (yes this is going to be a thread about Religion), I have always been an Atheist, from as far back as I learned to become a critical thinker (13/14?). Obviously like every other child in my country (Ireland) I was brought up in a Christian (in my case Catholic) school system, and naturally as a child took these beliefs as un-questionably as I did language or maths. So as an Atheist as we all know, I didn't/don't believe in any God, Religion, Deity, Fairytale, etc, but that was the extent of it, I don't believe it, everyone else I leave to their own devices to believe what they want.

    Now in the last year, thinking more and more on the subject, I have found myself taking a more extreme view than that of an Atheist, and in fact becoming an Anti-theist. Moving away from my previous rather lathargic and passive views of Religion, to a much less respectful one. That is to say, I truely now believe that Religion in all of its forms are positively harmful to society as a whole, and I simply cannot find it within myself any longer to respect the belief system of people who buy into Religion, a view which to my eyes is just becoming more and more so completely, utterly, and incomprehensibly *incorrect*.

    Honest to goodness, I would rather debate the views of a right wing National Socialist thinker and try to respect his ideals, than do the same with a Christian or Muslim. Simply based on the fact that at least Nazism (as completely wrong as it is) has it's basis in fucking reality, rather than fiction.

    Now therein lies my conundrum. I have *always* had time to hear the other side, and genuinely hate when views cannot be held, shown, and respected, but now, I myself, can't even entertain the possibilty of respecting someones views who believes in a false deity, and as much as I think I'm right to think that...completely shutting out an opinion and having no respect for someone goes against every fibre of my being. Fuck.

    Oh well, at least I'm not as much of an asshole as Andy.

    Disclaimer: Not trying to get into a Religious debate, and I completely understand any Religious people being offended by this post, but I don't care, I am *not* going to engage in a Religious debate in this thread, and you should be in an insane asylum, and the more I say things like that, the less guilty I feel about it.

    I dont know what point this thread is trying to make, I'm sure it's interesting enough for people to post though.
    Last edited by mrconeman; 07-31-2010 at 12:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    I don't think I'm like this anymore, though many on this forum might think otherwise.
    As I've grown up some. back in the day. I even use myself as an example. reflected on things that happened in the past. I have a better understanding of things now. At least I can admit it now. I have somehow caused this situation by mentioning how I used to act on here. how I've changed. I'm a relatively normal poster now

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    I'm sorry in advance because I'm not going to really add anything to this conversation, but I've observed that of the five or six times I've heard someone with your viewpoint lately, they've always been Catholic and attended Catholic school. I don't want to read into it, as I don't know what it means, but I'm hoping someone else noticed this or can shed a bit of light on it.
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    I grew up super Christian (but not Catholic), and though I'm not atheist (I'm agnostic), over time, I become less and less tolerant of religion. I have a lot of religious friends, and sometimes I think I'm dishonest to them because I don't want to offend them... I respect them as people and as friends, but I can't respect their religious beliefs. I really think they're nuts. So yeah, I pretty much understand you, coneman. I don't know if it's something I should change or not... what I should do differently.
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    I'm exactly the same. My understanding is that I've developed a blind hatred of religion and a stubborn refusal to listen religious people because they [in my experience, as limited as that may be] have not employed logic in an argument or discussion with myself. The main problem I run into is the desperate counter-argument they largely employ of "because it's written in the Bible". You can't argue with that, because their God wouldn't lie to them(!). They (by and large) will not accept that that argument does not hold up if either God is evil and thus lies about being good, or that someone other than God (the ancient clergy, maybe?) dictated their holy book instead.

    I used to try to argue or talk with them. Using logic and rational though. I had one friend in school who was a Christadelphian and an extremely intelligent and nice guy; I had lots of interesting conversations with him about theology, but he was the only one I've ever come across.

    If someone won't even give logic a chance because they're so sure of their blind belief then what position have they placed you in, really? One where your only options are to either not bother, argue anyway until you want to shoot both them and yourself in the face just to make it stop or to be as stubborn as they are in the hopes that maybe they'll see it's not nice to have a conversation with someone who doesn't even give your 'logic' a chance.

    I recall a study reported on a few months ago where it was concluded that humans are the only animal on the planet who have religion, based on the findings that they are the only animal with the mental capability to believe in something that is not real.
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    Am I becoming a complete asshole?
    (wide open . . . )

    somehow, i think the 'complete' part was accomplished a long time ago . . .
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    Right, but you're only saying that because you're religious, aren't you?

    I don't know where to begin. This, like most of my writing on this forum, is probably going to be muddled and confusing.

    I am an adamant atheist. There is no doubt in my mind that the Catholic church is one of the most corrupt and anti-Christlike organizations in the world. Disregard the crusades, misogyny, 2000 years of persecution and ignoring science. If Jesus came to earth today, he would crush Vatican City. Westboro represent everything Christianity should not be. Mormons, who may not be quite as bigoted as the other two, have their own prejudices. Now, before anyone jumps on me for not mentioning Muslims or any other non-Christian religion, it has nothing to do with some vendetta or attention seeking related to my childhood. I do have my qualms with other religions, they just aren't as well represented, as destructive, and growing up in Arizona for 19 years, I am much more familiar with Christianity. I am currently reading the bible, and I plan to read the Qur'an at some point soon.

    So anyway, I can argue about the churches and how they disgust me for hours.

    Now, if I disregard the churches using their influence to corrupt and destroy. I still have issues with individual spiritualism. Its fucking preposterous to believe in something like that. Not only is it ridiculous to completely disregard everything science has to tell you because it is 'constantly changing' or 'but this has been around for thousands of years!', but also the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of religions. What makes you think yours is right? On top of that, what makes you think your religion gives you the right to dictate others lives or pass judgment? No, religion is not required to have morality. Even if it was required at some point, are we not past that now?

    This was said on the forum about 2 years ago, I only noticed it maybe a year ago, so I didn't want to bump the thread. But I feel like it is kind of relevant to what I have to say, and I am curious what others think.

    Why the fuck do atheists need to impose their beliefs on others? Because they believe that some poor kid in rural Kansas is The Chosen One for curing cancer, only he'll never be able to accomplish that unless all the religious dogma he'll be taught throughout his life is stopped before it reaches him? Fuck that. Christians impose their beliefs on others because there is a destiny involved in their religion, because evangelism consistent with their beliefs. Atheists' "beliefs," as a group, are limited to "God Ain't." The only logical reason for them to impose this belief on others is simple bigotry and intolerance. Annoyed by those who believe in God(s)? Cry moar.
    Is this out of line? I really haven't any idea if this is something that shouldn't be done or not. If so, just message me and I'll edit it out.

    Anyway, despite all my problems with religion, not only in practice, but the thought of blind ignorance for the sake of happiness, I'm still not bothered by people being religious. As long as they keep it too themselves. Don't be a narrow minded bigot, don't pass judgment, don't dictate others lives based solely on your religious belief, and we shouldn't have a problem.

    It all boils down to this, I judge people from a person to person basis. Atheists can be just as much of a fucking ass as a theist can.

    To be completely honest, I think the only reason I feel this way, is because I have a lot of religious friends who are good people. If all the people I met were like some of the kids I have gone to school with, I'd be in the exact same position you are, and I wouldn't doubt if I got to that point in a few years anyway.

    Llamas, can I ask what Agnosticism means to you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovellamas View Post
    I grew up super Christian (but not Catholic), and though I'm not atheist (I'm agnostic), over time, I become less and less tolerant of religion. I have a lot of religious friends, and sometimes I think I'm dishonest to them because I don't want to offend them... I respect them as people and as friends, but I can't respect their religious beliefs. I really think they're nuts. So yeah, I pretty much understand you, coneman. I don't know if it's something I should change or not... what I should do differently.
    An honest post....... I really like your post. keep posting, friend.

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    Okay seriously my final thought before going to bed...

    the word Theory, has two meanings, and people need to understand that when we say theory, about Evolution, or anything in the field of Science it does not mean it is just a farfetched idea, like the theory that there is a God. It means a Theory in the intellectual sense, it is an item of knowledge which is pointed to by all of the evidence supporting it, as being a fact, unless further evidence disproves it, or modifies it. But for the time being, it is accepted as fact.

    So when we call the Big Bang Theory, a theory, it does not downplay the fact that all of the evidence, literally everything in existence, points to the fact that it happened.

    Whereas when we refer to Religious theory, we are refering to the first meaning of the word theory, which is an idea with some semblence of possibility, but *absolutely no proof, and absolutely unprovable*.

    It is usually the Religious people who bend the meaning of the word theory, when reffering to Evolution, or the Big Bang, to down play them from facts.

    Goodnight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    I don't think I'm like this anymore, though many on this forum might think otherwise.
    As I've grown up some. back in the day. I even use myself as an example. reflected on things that happened in the past. I have a better understanding of things now. At least I can admit it now. I have somehow caused this situation by mentioning how I used to act on here. how I've changed. I'm a relatively normal poster now

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrconeman View Post
    Okay seriously my final thought before going to bed...

    the word Theory, has two meanings, and people need to understand that when we say theory, about Evolution, or anything in the field of Science it does not mean it is just a farfetched idea, like the theory that there is a God.
    This coming from a guy raised by hippies w/out much Christian background.

    So when we call the Big Bang Theory, a theory, it does not downplay the fact that all of the evidence, literally everything in existence, points to the fact that it happened.
    Agree w/ big bang theory. But, there had to be an initial 'mover'. The presence who 'pushed the first domino', if you will....

    Whereas when we refer to Religious theory, we are refering to the first meaning of the word theory, which is an idea with some semblence of possibility, but *absolutely no proof, and absolutely unprovable*.
    Why do I get the feeling I've beat my head against a brick wall with your talk/language on this topic before. Of COURSE there is no way to 'prove' God, because it requires FAITH.

    It is usually the Religious people who bend the meaning of the word theory, when refering to Evolution, or the Big Bang, to downplay them from facts.
    laughs. *thinks* laughs some more.

    Let's see

    1. Big Bang = yes, a theory, and probable fact
    2. Evolution = yes, for many species, but not for humans
    3. you & me on this board getting along? = not a chance

    Goodnight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PilZ-E View Post
    I posted it, I'm glad you liked it. I wasn't sure if anyone would watch it because it's actually pretty long. You probably can't find it because of the way the forum colors links you've already clicked. It makes them a gray color that is hardly distinguishable from the regular text.
    Yeah, thanks! It was really good. I couldn't stand that one cunt on the "for" argument. She's everything I hate about old British ladies. Very telling how people were convinced that the Church is not a force for good. Honestly, I expected people's minds to remain unchanged due to the "I think what I think and I don't care what evidence you show me" phenomenon.

    Quote Originally Posted by T-6005 View Post
    The same goes for scientific arguments. We easily dismiss religious people's explanations of "we don't know that it doesn't exist" as irrational misunderstandings of the scientific method. Yet we often treat theories as facts - we accept the existence of the atom because it appears to explain the phenomena we observe, and we continue to build our scale model of the universe by tacking on new discoveries and observations to what is essentially an intellectual rather than a physical construct. Richard mentioned the tentative application of thermodynamics to explain the theory of gravity rather than what we simply accepted as mass attraction. Dark energy has been postulated to explain the expanding rate of the universe.

    Damn, guys - the last people to expand their model of the universe so much while keeping its constants were the geocentrists - they added smaller and smaller circular variations to the observable orbits of stars and planets (what they called the Celestial Spheres) to account for retrograde motion. That's when the Earth cuts inside other planets' orbits and they appear to be moving backwards for a short time.

    So I guess we can't be sure that it is atoms and not tiny strings that make up matter. We can't be sure that it isn't, either. That seems to parallel another argument pretty strongly, to my mind.

    As for the argument that science moves forward - that's a non-argument. Religion moves forward and develops too. The Catholic Church of today is (thankfully) not the Catholic Church of the 1200s. More importantly - it shows religious organization willing to change over time. Even the fundamentalists of today have very little in common with the classical Church's doctrine as we know it.
    First let me say I get what you're saying overall and I appreciate the thought and effort you put into what you wrote. I agree with a lot of the sentiments carried in what you wrote. But I think in trying to make your argument stronger you have done some bad things. I have a lot of problems with the way you're treating science here. At its core, science is about the scientific method, and being able to reliably and reproducibly show something. It is also fundamentally about re-evaluating our understanding of certain things as our abilities permit us to do so with time. I am not an expert on all of the religions of the world. But the Catholic religion, under which I was raised, is about the permanence of the scripture and the teachings of the church. Where the Pope says "I am infallible. This is how things are," the scientific community openly admits that in the future our current understanding of things may be turned on its head.

    Let me take issue with your specific examples. Atoms. A somewhat accurate picture of atoms has been around for well over 100 years. Over the last century, our picture of the atom has been fine tuned twofold. On the one hand, progress in quantum mechanics allowed certain theoretical predictions to be made. Then, as technology improved, we have been able to make far more accurate physical observations of atoms. We can now image atoms and literally see individual atoms. The predictions we have made due to quantum mechanics have been verified by such direct observations. You say we stick to the atom because it explains the phenomena that we observe. To me this is not right. I would say, rather, that the fact that no phenomenon has conflicted with our understanding of the atom reinforces that they exist and are characterized in the way that we understand them right now. This difference in wording is incredibly important. You later say we can't know if atoms are actually just made of strings. I personally don't subscribe an awful lot to string theory. But in any case, the existence of a more fundamental framework does not invalidate our current understanding of something. Just like the discovery of quarks didn't shatter our model of protons and neutrons, the presence of strings another level below that doesn't harm our model of the atom.

    Geocentrism. This is an incredibly poor example for an almost painfully ironic reason. The stubbornness of the scientific community to accept a heliocentric model was because the church said the geocentric model was correct and anything else was heresy. That's all I'll say about that.

    Now allow me to do what I do best: make some awful analogies. Let's go back 100 years before we could get to space. Now suppose there is a religion, let's call them, Lacthans, who believe firmly that the moon is made of cheese. All of their followers subscribe to this belief. It is a popular belief all throughout the world. Now, no one can go to the moon and rip a piece off and say for certain, "no this is not cheese." A scientist may say, "The moon could be made of cheese but there is no evidence to support this. In fact, there is a great amount of evidence to refute this." To me this is a huge difference. Religions say, "I believe X; it cannot be proven but you can't disprove it." Science says, "I cannot believe X for certain; there is no definitive proof for it. However, Y and Z, which support the validity of X, seem very likely as evidenced by A, B and C."

    The purpose of this response was not so much to disagree with your thoughts on religions, but moreso to shed a more legitimate light on science which I thought you presented in a distorting manner.

    Quote Originally Posted by PilZ-E View Post
    The only way the church changes their view on something, this has been shown time and time again, is under pressure from other people. In the video I posted Stephen Fry is talking about the church and how they always defend themselves by making claims like 'well, we didn't know any better, because nobody else did' and he shouts 'we'll than, what are you for!?' It seems to me, that without the influence of non-religious people or people who do not believe 100% of what the church tells them, the Catholic Church would be exactly the same as it was 1000 years ago. The Catholic Church only changes it's opinion on something under great pressure and even then only when they can't make excuses or deny something any longer. They still find ways to fuck up their apologies, did anyone see the Pope's most recent apology? Basically, when a church changes it's ways, it rarely has anything to do with them, and more to do with the rest of the world not dealing with their shit anymore. Concerning their core beliefs, no change at all. I was going to mention that, but couldn't figure out how. I guess I was over thinking it.

    Oh yeah, religious or not, I highly recommend the video series I posted.
    Dude yes. Fry's point was amazing. That whole construct was one of the final important thoughts to cross my mind to really solidify my personal rejection of the Catholic church. What really got me, and I had never heard of it before, was the whole bit about the guy being tortured for having a copy of the bible in English and then getting canonized as a saint. Precious.
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