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August 31st, 2009
11:34 pm

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No drama like Facebook drama
Gah. A while back, I dared to expand upon one of my most politically incorrect, unpopular beliefs--specifically, that any belief in one or more "deities" is irrational and is in some ways much like a delusional mental disorder. Now some of my dearest friends in the world are religious people. I suppose they think I'm just a bit daft for being so anti-religious. I think generally they just pray for me in the hope that someday their deity of choice will manifest its existence in such as way as to successfully whack me across the head with the proverbial cruciform clue-by-four. [For them, there is no question of the existence of God--leading to the classical rebuttal to any infidel's statement of disbelief: "Oh, but he believes in you!"] I digress. My point is that despite what would seem to be a pretty irreconcilable difference in world views, at the end of the day we "get" one another. We manage to get along famously. We can even crack jokes at one another on the subject without anyone getting all twisted up in a knot.

In any event, as a result of my most recent postings and comments on the subject, I've been accused of "lacking the tact gene." Mind you, this assertion was laid on my doorstep by one of DC's snarkiest, nastiest, snobbiest women. Further, her note was in a response to my private attempt to apologize for upsetting her, trying to make amends.

Anyone who has known me a long time, knows that I've gone to incredible lengths in the past to mend broken fences. There are some I'm still trying to mend after all objective evidence suggests there's no reciprocated desire for reconciliation.  Some years-long efforts I've only recently abandoned after realizing that there's no hope. Maybe it's a sign that I'm getting older and finally realizing that some people just aren't worth the effort. Having had the olive branch slapped in my face, with respect to this most recently broken fence I am burning the remnants to the ground and then burying the ashes.

Hey, gregorsf : I get it now. Sometimes it just takes me a few years to catch up.

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated

(22 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:marc_breaker
Date:September 1st, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
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belief in one or more "deities" is irrational and is in some ways much like a delusional mental disorder.

Now you sound like RAH...


and I congratulate you for it.

I do not say that there is no deity who created the earth and life, but do not

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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)

see my comment else-thread...

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I think we're pretty much in agreement.
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From:c1
Date:September 1st, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)

Tact gene? You have one?

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We weren't going to tell you this, but behind your back, people think you're a nasty guy with a lot of anger and hate to spew.

OK, let me try writing that again, this time with a straight face.

Aw pooh, I can't do it.
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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)

Re: Tact gene? You have one?

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Good try, though...
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From:flyingwolf
Date:September 1st, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
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While I agree with your views I've refrained from voicing them on Facebook. I seem to not be finding the words to explain why right now.

And, well.. you know I learned that lesson a long time ago (that some people just aren't worth the effort.)
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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 10:33 am (UTC)

Nod..

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It's just sort of been not been my style to give up the fight on these things.
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From:wordwelder
Date:September 1st, 2009 09:43 am (UTC)
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*hugs* Sorry hon. I've had the peace-attempt slapped down as well. *hugs*
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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 10:34 am (UTC)

in some ways this is better...

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...I've got another one-time friend that is simply giving me and others the cold shoulder with no explanation, no response at all.
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From:kitwench
Date:September 1st, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
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Ah, defense of the invisible friend in the sky - it's one of life's most persistent psychoses.
I suppose it's not helpful right now, but please remember that if someone can not accept you for who you truly are, then that person wasn't much of a friend.
My personal take is that we get one go-round (no one's ever proved otherwise) and I'm darn well gonna be true to ME.
I owe it to myself.
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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 10:35 am (UTC)

amen, preach it!

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I've met you, so I know you're real...otherwise I'd ask you to be my invisible friend in the sky.

Thou Art Goddess!
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From:datavortex
Date:September 1st, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
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It is prima facie obvious that believing in supernatural constructs like those proposed by the judeochristian religions is a psychological disorder. The same people who would refuse this clear relationship would support it for other supernatural beliefs that are not their own - believing that Dracula, Teletubbies, or Sesame Street is real, for example.

Really when people become accusatory and abusive in response to such an obvious observation as "believing that clearly imaginary things are real and then using this as a basis for your world view", they are exhibiting another psychnoogical phenomenon - projecting. That is to say, they are not mad at you (the messenger) so much as they are angry at their own lack of ability to overcome their own problems which are causing stress and discomfort in their own lives. As such, it is best not to take such attacks or accusations personally. You have to treat the victims of the phenomenon of religious faith with the same patience and respect you would afford sufferers of any other illness, including others affecting the mind that cause the victim to attack those that might try to help (Asperger's, schizophrenia come to mind).

Still, there are definitely people who will not be helped and who will never listen to reason or anything that contrasts with their deeply ingrained illusions. These are generally people that were indoctrinated while young and psychologically defenseless. But still, they are victims, even though they create new victims should they choose to indoctrinate others (especially children). It is best to not uselessly engage such people, except when they threaten to spread their impairment to others whom you can help.
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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 10:36 am (UTC)

so when I encounter religious mania...

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back away slowly, keep smiling, and hope the nice men in white coats get there quickly?
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From:mabfan
Date:September 1st, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
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"I think generally they just pray for me in the hope that someday their deity of choice will manifest its existence in such as way as to successfully whack me across the head with the proverbial cruciform clue-by-four."

Interesting. When I offer prayers for atheists, it's usually first with their permission and then only if they are having health problems. I have yet to have an atheist friend decline my offer of prayers (most of them are Jewish atheists and tend to take the attitude that it couldn't hurt), but the last thing I'd want to do is offend anyone.
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From:happypete
Date:September 1st, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)

I've accepted prayers...

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I feel like a prayer is like any other positive wish, and I accept such offers in the spirit intended.

I actually feel the same way about people who pray for my salvation, conversion, &c. They surely do me no harm by doing so. I acknowledge that they are wishing me and mine well.
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From:mabfan
Date:September 1st, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)

Re: I've accepted prayers...

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I see it slightly differently. If someone wanted to pray for my health, that's one thing. It shows concern for something that I myself want improved. But if someone wanted to pray for my conversion, well, no thank you. I've found an operating system that works for me, thank you very much. :-)

(Have you read God's Mechanics by Brother Guy Consolmagno? You might find it fascinating; it's about technical people who choose to be religious, and how they come to those decisions.)
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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)

Re: I've accepted prayers...

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ah...but that's the rub...I don't consider what they're praying for, since I've [personally] already thrown out the whole "deity" thing as a bad deal.

I mean if somebody honestly feels that if I'm not converted, that I'm consigned to an eternity of torture, their motivation is not to convert me, it's to save me from eternal damnation. I neither desire conversion, nor do I fear the pit...I can still appreciate the kind wish that the prayer is trying to prevent me from coming to [eternal] harm.

Now if they're praying "in my face," getting in my way, becoming combative, &c., that's a different matter...I only appreciate prayer if they are not only well-intended but also do me no harm.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 1st, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
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I suppose they think I'm just a bit daft for being so anti-religious.

We do from time to time, when we're not being amused by the irony that those who are virulently anti-religious are cut from the same cloth as the "holy rollers". Utterly convinced of the truth of their position, the anti-religious tend to not realize that they are themselves practicing a religion - and puzzlement ensues when they experience disapproval for exceeding generally accepted limits on when and where it's considered OK to proselytize. The incongruity of a notoriously graceless person observing that such conduct is tactless does not negate the validity of the observation. You ought to take it under advisement... if your "religious" convictions do not preclude it.

-RS
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From:happypete
Date:September 1st, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)

My true position is probably agnosticism...

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I'd use the term "objectivism," except that is fraught with overloaded political freight that I don't want to carry.

More thoughts later.

From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 2nd, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)

Re: My true position is probably agnosticism...

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the uncomfortable truth might be that the political baggage hits a little too close to the mark (and don't get me wrong, i enjoyed reading rand, but i have been known to make tongue-in-cheek comments about "objectionists")

-rs

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From:happypete
Date:September 2nd, 2009 10:23 am (UTC)

Re: My true position is probably agnosticism...

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Here's kind of where I'm at...when you start drilling into otherwise rational people who are religious, you get into the "what happened before that" discussion. It's a cosmological debate.

Even if I ultimately posited that something must have caused the "big bang," that doesn't mean that that something was one or more omniscient, all-powerful, all-loving deities. It could have well been a convention of galaxy-sized Easter Bunnies that partied too hard and accidentally left the lid off of one of their baskets of Universe Eggs. You know, you drop one of those things and you've got a problem on your hands.

I circle back around to the "so what" of these arguments. There's no proof that a supposed "root cause" for the universe implies a deity. There's certainly no proof that implies any given religion's "flavor" of deity or deities is valid.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 3rd, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)

Re: My true position is probably agnosticism...

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As Don Rumsfeld said in the same NATO press conference where he made his brilliant comments about "known knowns" and "unknown unknowns":

There's another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist.

Don't let the windmills get ya on your crusade to educate the benighted masses.

-RS
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From:happypete
Date:September 15th, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)

Re: My true position is probably agnosticism...

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it may not be evidence of absence, but it's not evidence of presence, either...

I can't prove a negative, but I think I can pretty demonstrably show that religious people spend their precious time and treasure on institutions that promise eternal salvation after death, while not doing much for their lives. [ c.f. http://www.infidels.org/infidels/newsletter/1999/may.html#Prayer ]

I do have evidence of the corrupting nature of religious power, the hypocrisy of many--if not most--religious people, and worse.

Is all of that damage worth the possible salvation of some tiny fraction of the world's population [given that all of the religions can't be right, some large fraction of people who think they are saved would find themselves out-of-luck anyway, even after years of tithes and toil.
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