Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Quick remarks for religious people on the 'religion debate'

My general policy these days is to stay quiet with those I know on the subject of religion, unless they take an interest in the debate. And even when they take an interest in the debate, my only thoughts are to present the argument from the atheist side rather than to attempt to persuade them to change their beliefs, or even expect them to change mine in rebuttal. In a situation where me and someone else disagree but both feel confident in our beliefs (as is typical with polarizing issues) I can only present my side in a neutral manner, if I'm going to present at all; I can't take it seriously as something to be 'won' or something to be fruitful in my pursuit of the truth. There is an exception to my attitude, in that I'll treat the exercise seriously and try to stay or get close to the object level, and that's if I know the other person has the same beliefs about rationality and how to actually change one's mind and make beliefs pay rent that I do. Without that common ground, it's pointless to argue seriously, but not necessarily pointless to argue. I think a lot of atheists come to that position not through any one argument but by being exposed to enough material and thinking about it long enough. The best I can hope for when I don't have a common ground in rationality with someone is to seed some ideas for them to reflect on later.

So what prompted this blog is a post a cousin made on Facebook that appears to be a copy-paste thing. In it, the post asks several mostly rhetorical questions and answers or implies answers to them that aren't actually what an overwhelming majority of atheists believe. It was clearly put together by someone who only imagines what people who don't believe in God actually believe, possibly in response to an atheist being mean on the internet. (I can't deny that happens or that I never partook in such activities years ago, but it's no reason to infer beliefs or values of all non-believers...)

I haven't replied on Facebook yet since I ask if the person is actually interested in hearing a rebuttal or not. Again I don't want to waste people's time if they're not actually interested. But I did type up some quick answers to the questions in a separate text editor and thought I could at least put them on my blog for later. Since my blog is a better format than Facebook to write things, instead of the answers all at once (like I'd do for Facebook) for each question I'll post a quick summary of the question on one line and then my quick response on the next line.

"Why is it so important to mock us believers?"

Mocking isn't important to me (at least these days) -- but I can't speak for anyone else, however I do recall hearing some argument before on the importance of satire and ridicule especially of popular things so maybe you should ask the comedians -- or evolutionary psychologists for why we have ridicule in the first place.

"What do we lose if we're wrong? Nothing! You lose so much more."

You lose your time and money and maybe some friends -- but have you considered the Church of Opposite-God which some have faith in? Opposite-God's chosen Prophet said that Opposite-God punishes all who believe in God with Hell, and all who don't with Heaven, so your losses if you're wrong could be far greater than merely mortal concerns and certainly aren't nothing.

"How is our faith harming anyone?"

Some of you participate in policy-making (locally or nationally or globally, to a greater extent by governing or to a lesser extent by voting or participating in a discussion) that affects the rest of us, some of the rest of us would prefer those making policy do so using the methods of rationality if they're going to do so at all, because when policy is made without those methods it typically ends in harm.

"Do you think we're stupid?"

No -- many brilliant people also had/have faith in some deity or deities.

"Do you think we're gullible?"

Not necessarily.

"Do you think we're ignorant?"

Probably but ignorance is fixable.

"How does our faith even affect you?"

It only affects me when you influence policy or otherwise intrude on my life because of implied beliefs of the core faith -- for example, an implied belief for many who have faith in Allah and the Prophet Muhammad is Sharia Law which itself can have (but not necessarily have) likely implied policies I find very distasteful and would not voluntarily live under and doubt you would either -- for another example an implied policy of your God is finding it more difficult to conduct commerce on Sunday, a very minor annoyance in comparison but not a figment.

Posted on 2016-12-31 by Jach

Tags: religion


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