Why is it so important for those of you who are religious to convert others?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Wormie2, Jan 16, 2002.

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  1. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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    Nov 6, 2001
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  2. GreedoCMZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 1999
    star 4
    Here's some people who take atheism pretty religiously, if you ask me:

    http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/evangelicalatheism

    http://www.chestnutcafe.com/cafe/index.html?manifesto
  3. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
    star 5
    Atheism is a belief system. It's the belief that God doesn't exist, but it's a belief nontheless.
  4. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    There are people who take their political ideologies religiously. Does that make the Republican party a religion? Or the Liberal party?


    Yes, and not believing in ghosts is a religion?


    This article explains it better than I can:


    Atheism, by definition, is the absence of theism. If you cannot say "I believe in a Deity/God/Supreme Being" then you are an atheist. If you are not a theist, then you are an atheist.

    As mentioned in the Introduction page, there is a subtle but important difference between "believing there is no God", and "not believing there is a God". The first is a belief, the second is a lack of that belief. I don't know any atheists who "believe" God (take your pick, there are plenty) does not exist. All the atheists I know simply do not believe God does exist.

    There is a big difference between positively believing that a thing does not exist, and simply lacking belief in it's existence. In many cases, atheists will say "That God does not exist", not because they choose to do so, but because, from the description of the God, it cannot exist due to contradictory attributes. In the same way that a square circle cannot (and therefore does not) exist, a God defined as (for example) all-knowing, yet cannot see into the future, cannot and does not exist because the definition is self-contradictory. If you describe your God with self-contradicting attributes which make it logically impossible, then I may safely say that such a thing does not exist as described. This is not faith - this is reason.

    If someone asked you about unicorns, would you say "I believe there are no unicorns", or would it be more honest to say "I do not believe in unicorns"? These are two different answers. Nobody disbelieves in unicorns purely as a matter of personal faith.

    Again, apply the same reasoning to the Gods of other religions. Example : if you are a Christian, do you believe the Hindu God Ganesh does not exist? Or do you not believe in Ganesh?

    If you believe that unicorns do not exist, then may I say that you a member of the "No unicorns" religion? Is it a matter of faith that unicorns do not exist? Can I come along to your non-unicorn church with you tomorrow?

    If you are a Christian, do you believe Ganesh does not exist? Why, then you must be a devout follower of the "No Ganesh" faith!

    Do you see where this is going? [ Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but it's excellent for getting a point across. :cool: ]

    If me not believing in your God is a faith, then you not believing in other Gods is an equal faith. How many Christians do you know who would say they do not believe in other Gods as a matter of faith?

    If my atheism with respect to your deity is a religion, then your atheism with respect to other deities is also a religion.


    Edit: Forgot to give the link to the site:

    Is atheism a religion?

  5. GreedoCMZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 1999
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    And you have to have faith that God does not exist.
  6. GreedoCMZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 1999
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    Rush Limbaugh seemed to turn Republicanism into a religion. But no, because it doesn't have to do with unseen things.
  7. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    You even read the article?
  8. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I skimmed it briefly. Would I be amiss in saying that it seems to be saying it's mostly/all about perspective?
  9. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    So you have a religion based on your nonbelief of Ganesh then?
  10. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    *steps out*

    Okay, I think I'll take my slow mind out of here.

    Can't say I understand that question, nor the article, I think.

  11. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Coolguy: I think it is important to share you gosple because it brings happiness. If you had something that made people happy and full of joy, wouldn't you want to share it?

    A nice sentiment, but by this same reasoning, if someone has found homosexuality to bring them a lot of genuine happiness (freeing them from the inherently unequal relations between male and female, etc.), should they be out trying to convert heterosexuals?

    Or perhaps you just meant they should share it with those who show interest? That's fine by me - I just think it is harrassment to preach at people who already have another belief system, or have chosen not to, and don't want to hear.

    Wormie, I feel as you do regarding religion being kept private - that people, particularly Christians, should choose not to express their faith in overtly public ways (there is a balance). The reason I say "particularly Christians" is my own background: my father was a minister, and my mother a sincere believer, and they taught me your relationship with God is a very private thing, and you shouldn't go about praying in public, shouting from the rooftops, or harrassing people. That makes you a Pharisee, and Jesus had a very low opinion of Pharisees for a reason. You can plaster your car with Christian bumper stickers, silently pray anytime or place you want, etc. That's not the same as making a big show of yourself or shoving it down someone's throat. Although my family chose not do exhibit ANYTHING regarding our Christianity to the outside world (by the way, back in the 70's and 80's, this was considered tacky) and it didn't hurt our belief system.

    Ender, I agree with your article. I suppose from a very Zen point of view one could see atheism as a religion, but it makes no logical sense. As you stated, not believing in ghosts would also be a religion, and not believing in minimum wage would be, too.
  12. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    My POV on this is that your "relgion" is described by your belief system. I believe in God (Yaweh, Jehovah), therefore my religion does not need to be defined by what I do not believe in. However, if you don't believe in anything, then your belief system, or religion, must be defined by what you do not believe in. I don't consider atheism a religion, but it is certainly a system of beliefs.
  13. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    I believe in things. Just not things that lack evidence. We may find evidence for god one day. As it is now though there's as much evidence for that invisible unicorn as there is for god(s).

    That's why I don't say there are no gods. I doubt there are gods.

    If a religion is defined what one believes then everything is a religion. I believe that London is in England. That's a religion!!

    Thanks for actually reading it, TreeCave. ;)
  14. GreedoCMZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 1999
    star 4
    Are sexual relationships between males and females inherently unequal? (Maybe I better start a new thread.) I would say only if one is predatory and the other falls for it. Wouldn't homosexual relationships be just as unequal because one is still taking and one is still giving?
  15. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
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    Ender, while you may not find evidence for God (or gods), others do. It all depends on your definition of "evidence," I think.
  16. cydonia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    I must be dumb, i think i know what that article meant but i have no clue.
  17. Endermunkee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2000
    star 4
    Unless you want to redifine what a religion is?


    I hadn't thought about what a religion was until just recently, and I believe that it's a person's concentration towards achieving an ultimate goal, whether that goal is salvation or enlightenment, or whatever it is you care passionately about, and devote much time and thought to.

    Sort of.
  18. GreedoCMZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 1999
    star 4
    He is saying that atheism is not a religion because you can't form a religion out of lack of a belief.

    Which in a way makes sense. But I do believe that there are some atheists who turn atheism into a religion and expend a lot of effort trying to dissuade believers. And then there are some atheists who just don't care.
  19. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    I hadn't thought about what a religion was until just recently, and I believe that it's a person's concentration towards achieving an ultimate goal, whether that goal is salvation or enlightenment, or whatever it is you care passionately about, and devote much time and thought to.



    That could be considered a philosophy as well. Atheism of course lacks that. You can be a Buddhist atheist, a Humanist or whatever philosophy you care about.

    I am passionate about hockey and devote much time to it. That makes it a religion?
  20. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Are sexual relationships between males and females inherently unequal?

    Greedo, this was just according to my fictional person I made up for the example. Similarly to the person in my example assuming male-female relationships are inherently unequal, some proseletyzing Christians believe everyone needs to get "saved", even though clearly people of other faiths would have a reaction similar to yours, along the lines of "I don't see why, where are you getting that?".

    (However, if you want to start a thread on that, I'll join you in there. I think there simply ARE some differences between being male and being female that cause us to have different needs the other isn't aware of - so in that sense, there is an imbalance or inequality, if you will. But I don't mean in terms of taking or giving.)

    Cydonia, you're not dumb. Maybe you're just tired?

    EDIT due to cross-posting:

    Greedo, "But I do believe that there are some atheists who turn atheism into a religion and expend a lot of effort trying to dissuade believers."

    True. Then again, there are people who turn selling Amway products into a religion. Actually, I think the company got bad press for trying to do that itself. Bottom line - there are nuts in every jar. :D
  21. GreedoCMZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 1999
    star 4
    I see your point.

    There are some feminist extremists who have said that the sex act could never be anything but an act of violence against women, which we all know does not have to be the case.
  22. Altima Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 2001
    star 1
    A lot of you people seem to misinterpret converting attempts as some sort of underlying sinister, spammy mission. People convert because they want to be together with each other after death. It's not akin to nabbing people to "join my l33t mesagge bord w00t". It's much more sentimental than that.
  23. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    greedo, see the edit in my above post. And yeah, I do not see that sex is automatically violent. It's basically whatever participants make of it - I just think it's often not the same thing to one partner as it is to the other (and this can be true in same-sex as well).

    Altima, are you just talking about married couples where one converts? That's not all we're talking about. We're also discussing people who stand on the street corner, grab your arm and verbally abuse you about whether or not you've been saved, attempt to shame you in fromt of passersby, and so on.

    But mostly, we were talking about how some people on this board can't get into a religious discussion without assuming their religion is right simply because they thiink it is, and castigating those who choose something else.
  24. Wylding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2000
    star 5
    "Why is it so important for those of you who are religious to convert others?"

    The only religions that I've encountered who actually try and convert are athiesm, secular-humanism (rampant and everywhere on TV, the radio, movies, etc.), and Christianity. The reason for Christians is biblical:

    Mark 16:14-16

    "Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

    Secular-humanism seems to be popular and is a very subtle in getting it's message across. As for athiesm, I've noticed that the vast majority (not all mind you but most of the athiests I have met fall into this category) of those who are athiests like to actively attack those who believe out of spite or some percieved threat from Christianity of another religion.


    As for me, I like to argue. It helps me figure out what I believe and why. Even if the argument is deemed not necessary or moot by others.

    Which begs the question, if you don't believe in any form of God, why do you even waste your breath to care about it? Where is the big threat and why is it so threatening to see someone else with an active spiritual life? There's nothing there for you, after all you don't believe in it. Why give it power over your life enough for you to have to argue over it?
  25. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    Which begs the question, if you don't believe in any form of God, why do you even waste your breath to care about it? Where is the big threat and why is it so threatening to see someone else with an active spiritual life? There's nothing there for you, after all you don't believe in it. Why give it power over your life enough for you to have to argue over it?


    That's the thing as offline most people don't even know I'm atheist. But to address your comments: Why argue on these boards? Why not? Some people like to argue. It helps improve their debating skills. Why do Chistians argue if they are so sure?

    I hope there is a god just not one like the Christian god. I'm not threatened by the concept of a god. But I am threatened by the concept of a god who punishes innocent people for their lack of belief in him. Such a finite offence.


    If when you say "attack" Christianity you mean being critical than I agree with you. A lot of atheists are former Christian fundies so they have a lot of baggage due to Christianity. Maybe that's why they are so aggressive to it?

    I see more Christians attacking other religions personally. I'm very critical of fundies.

    I do admire many Christians though like my grandfather.

    I could careless what people believe. But when they make incorrect statements about atheism, such as it being a religion and all atheists being immoral, then of course I'm going to say something. Plus, I have always had an interest in mythology.


    Wylding: In what way is atheism a religion? If you're going to make statements like that then please elaborate. You saying Atheism is a religion is comparable to me saying Christianity isn't a religion. When looking at the definitions of a religion this statement has no basis in fact and makes no sense whatsoever.

    Don't forget people, down is up, in is out, and lack of belief in something is a religion!


    As for me, I like to argue. It helps me figure out what I believe and why. Even if the argument is deemed not necessary or moot by others.

    Hmmm, funny, you just answered your above question for me. That's basically the reason why I argue too. Are you allowed to and I'm not?


    "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."

    -Stephen F. Roberts

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