This relates to veganism, i promise :P.....I'm an atheist and a big fan of the Hitch (Christopher Hitchens) and his book 'god is not great' hence the tittle. anyway, by looking at religious books and just the world around us, if there was a god, it would mean humans in general are more compassionate than him/her/it ( or the people that forged these religions). If people believe in a god that would send a person to hell to eternal damnation, or a god that answers your prayers, but leaves people starving, or a god that asks for animal sacrifice, especialy if this is the message many people are giving to impressionable children. how do they justify their compassion for animals (or say that its even necessary) and belief in god at the same time? i don't feel they can go together, because i don't believe god is compassionate. And that religion teaches that humans are worthless servants. also take this verse in leviticus for instance talking about sacrificing a live dove . Leviticus, 1:12
“And he shall cut it into pieces, with its head and its fat, and the priest shall lay them in order upon the wood that is on the fire upon the altar.”
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There is no need to forget the past
indeed you do so at your own risk!
it's unhealthy to induce vomiting after each meal.
better to exercise so your consumption doesn't become baggage as the past sometimes does for some people.
i can tell you that im an atheist. but i do know many theistic or deistic people believe that it is impossible to not believe in god
How are there no atheists? You can believe in unity and morals, etc., without believing in a god or all-powerful being (although, granted, not all religions do that). I do not believe that (ORGANIZED) religion is the only hope for the human race. Open minds, thought, good morals--things like that may be.
I do not believe that (ORGANIZED) religion is the only hope for the human race. Open minds, thought, good morals--things like that may be.
This is very much in-line with what the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle and other "spiritual leaders" have called the future "secular religion" of humanity. This would not be anything dogmatic or organized, but simply a recognition among (at least the majority of) humanity of the fundamental ethics required for civilization to justly thrive. Those very same ethics are also at the foundation of veganism and animal rights.
To me, it is a matter of going beyond any one religion and straight to the heart of Universal Brotherhood. If we can all really consider and attempt to live with brotherhood then we'll be ready to let go of the formalization of religion that has become our collective habit.
I think that religion doesn't poison everything, people do that. Religion is simply the framework to faith, some fairly recent people coming out of religion that were not poison but antidote in my opinion:
Martin Luther King Jr.
I think the key is how is the religion practiced? How is the faith lived? I don't buy the one or two verse "proofs" simply because I can say "Cain killed Abel... go and do likewise" and it IS scriptural, but it is not correct. The verse you mentioned is taken out of context and meant to teach the people the huge cost of sin in the wrold, make them understand that God was going to have to die, that sacrafice would hurt, but that in the end it would be redemptive. There are other verses such as Isaiah 1:11-17
11“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?”
says the Lord.
“I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood
of bulls and lambs and goats.
12When you come to worship me,
who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
14I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
There ARE plenty of things I do not understand in the bible and I agree that eating animals, not OK. There are also old testament versyes I struggle with like where whole peoples are slaughtered wholesale, it doesn't fit the overall pattern I see when I read the old and new testament together, like I am missing something. There's the verse about Jephthah's daughter that always breaks my heart, I never get it. So I'm not trying to come off like I can show you "poor deluded non-believers" or anything like that. But on whole I just do not get that religion, faith, is bad, I get that misapplication of it is bad, more than bad, it is evil in my opinion. But there are people I respect, in this forum who believe there is no good or evil, I sort of get that academically, but it just doesn't "ring" with me right now.
But there is also something that resonates with me in the stories I have been taught about and read about God loving us so much that we were given free will, that God was willing to die so God could have a chance for us to be with God forever. About the story of the men who brought the woman caught in adultery before Jesus and how he drew a line in the sand and told them "he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone". All the men left and Jesus asked "Is there no one to condemn you?" she said "no one sir" "then neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more". About calling people out on their BS and something about the good Samaritan that rings deep within me. Enough things that do ring for me, that I buy it, with some questions that are not yet answered.
So yes, there has been all kinds of evil done in God's name, by all sorts of fools throughout the ages, religion has ever been used as a tool to control and lord over others. But that's all misapplication in my opinion, that's all evil.
Some of my atheist friends are some of my most Christ-like friends when it comes to being moral and trying to do the right thing. Sometimes they are also the MOST religious (LOL!) when it comes to trying to get me to believe there is NO god after all. But in the end, I feel right with what I believe and I am so glad to have their friendship and perspective. I could be wrong, I've been wrong about a LOT in my life, but I'm OK with that, this religion, this faith I have feels right to me and it makes me feel like I should love and help people around me AND respect them enough to not try to force my ideas or opinions on them, but be willing to share when asked and treat people with respect and love. It makes me feel like I should be taking care of the planet, that animals are precious gifts and every bit as worthy to be here as I am, that they are to be cherished, not mistreated and eaten. I think all this "bad stuff" coming out of religion stems from greed, laziness and misunderstanding or some combination of them.
The most important thing to me is that people use their minds and internal moral compasses. If you learn something in a religion that violates deep down, something that doesn't sit right, question it! You run into a "fail-proof" formula in any religion, run the other way! I would say that it's supposed (at least from a Judeo-Christian perspective) to be about a relationship, not about rules and formulas only. Rules and formulas are good as far as they go, but relied upon with no thought and no conscience, they become disastrous.
It's a big topic, those are just a couple of my thoughts on it. Whether you agree with me at all, or disagree entirely, that's OK, thanks for bringing it up, I think it's good to reflect on these sorts of things.
mother teresa is the devil, she was not that great......yes, i do agree that people should use their minds :)
Let us all work on our definitions here. What do we mean when we use the word "atheist"? Is it merely "non belief in the Christian God" or "non belief in a monotheistic God"? Do we mean "non belief in the supernatural"? There are many possible uses of this word and it varies widely, even among atheists. For instance, if we use the first or second definition mentioned, then all Buddhists would be rightly called atheists. But can we truly say that a Buddhist has the same outlook on life and on the source of life as an entirely non-religious, non-spiritual atheist? Heck, can we even say that all Buddhists share the same understanding of Buddhism or that all Christians share the same understanding of Christianity?
The main issue with discussions of religion, of the sort witnessed on this and other recent 30BaD threads is the lack of thought (meaning informed contemplation) that has been put into our view of what we mean when we use terms like Religion, God, Faith, Atheism, Prayer, Spirit, Soul, etc., etc., etc.
Without putting serious and sincere thought into how we, and more importantly how others view religion (particularly their personal experiences or personal perspectives), we end up like a bunch of Grade 2 physics students trying to intelligently discuss Einstein's theory of relativity!
In terms of religion and animal rights - the world's religions are severely divided on this point. Some (like the Christian and Jewish traditions - in their traditional, dogmatic sense) approach animals as though they are "soulless" (atheistic equivalent term may be "sentient") and therefor are here for our use. They imagine that the life of an animal is not the same as the life of a human, or at least is not to be regarded as such. A little common sense is all that is needed to eliminate this absurdity of twisted logic, and many in these traditions have utilized that common sense, and though still part of the tradition do not recognize this particular dogma any longer.
Other religions, like Jainism, certain sects of Hinduism (or Vedanta), the majority of Buddhists, many if not all Taoists, Zoroastrians, Essenes, etc., have their own stance on animal rights, ranging from simply respect for animal life (equivalent to animal welfare) to full and complete animal rights stances (Jainism easily topping this list, imho - see the Jain use of the term Ahimsa, in its highest meaning).
With religions like Islam, we see a middle-of-the-road stance, with fairly universal abstinence from some animals and some exploitation but advocation for others. In Hinduism we see high respect for Cows (which has a significant allegorical meaning, but also a practical health aspect to the original teaching), but lack of the same sanctity towards many other animals. What we see in the spectrum of religions is the same general pattern as we see among humanity as a whole.
At the core of nearly every organized religious dogma that relates to animal rights there is still an unconscious superiority complex at play, which stems from an unconscious "speciesism" common to nearly every human being on the planet. Regardless of any texts or teachings, the practitioners still imagine themselves to be more important than or superior to animal life. If we wish to rise above current religious views towards our animal brothers and sisters we must do one or both of these two things.
1. Unveil this unconscious superiority complex, address it, and vanquish it and/or
2. Recognize that any attribute that makes us more powerful than others creates increased responsibility towards them, not increased dominion over them.
What we also must be clear on is that Atheism, in itself, does not solve this issue. One can be an atheist (in any definition of the term) and still hold themselves to speciesist notions that skew their sense of universal ethics and morality. In the ultimate analysis, we cannot depend upon anything outside of ourselves as our basis of morality - we must:
1. recognize that for life to truly and holistically thrive on Earth, there must be an elimination of suffering for all beings, and
2. look carefully inward and root out anything and everything that supports the suffering of sentient beings, ourselves included.
In that rooting out process, we will almost surely let go of many of our outworn religious ideas, but the spectrum of human belief can still be wide - in a world wherein equality and justice is extended to all sentient life, there will still likely be atheists and religious folks. But all can be treated respectfully and with adequate care for the sanctity of their life, and that treatment can be extended to all sentient life.
The relationship, therefore, between religion/religious-belief and animal rights is not a simple, linear one of cause and effect. One can approach animal rights from the perspective of any religious belief or ideology and still come to recognize the simple truths underlying the ethics involved. Thus, making animal rights into something related to religious belief is inaccurate. Animal rights is more properly seen to relate directly to our innermost sense of Self and our innermost sense of the relationship between our Self and other Selves. Addressing that is the key to addressing Animal Rights.
could be the makings of another article, jon!
[RESPECT]. I couldn't agree more. We generalize too many groups, and put easy labels on them--which is a big problem. I've done so myself, in this very post--unthinkingly. I'm thankful for your humbling post; it makes me think that I should have said some things differently, so that my points would have been more clear and accurate.
It's true that so-called "atheists" are actually a fairly diverse group. As an atheist, I personally have my own sort of "religion" that I follow--one without a god or all-knowing spirit. And I think that many of atheists' beliefs can actually parallel with one or more organized religions. For example, I don't believe in a soul in quite the same way most Christians do--as a separate-from-body-kind-of form, one that can be "good" or "bad" or somewhere in-between, and one that returns (returns?) to heaven (or hell), or whatnot--but as the energy that our bodies hold, energy that is given to us by our mothers, etc. and returns into the earth and back into the constant cycle of energy when we die, which is similar to their idea of a soul. It's a sort of scientific belief, but it goes hand-in-hand (to me) with the interconnectedness and unity of everything on this earth--which many religions, as stated in other (wise) posts, also hold in their beliefs.
Thanks Shananana (did I get the right number of nas? ;P ).
but as the energy that our bodies hold, energy that is given to us by our mothers, etc. and returns into the earth and back into the constant cycle of energy when we die, which is similar to their idea of a soul.
Also, quite easily relatable to notions of reincarnation. In some eastern traditions there are several simultaneous processes or 'cycles' (or wheels within wheels), and in Theosophy there are said to be three lines of evolution: spiritual, mental and physical. The physical would correlate with the energy/soul of our bodies returning and arising from the earth over and over again (as material, not personal energy - a very humanistic concept). The mental we see throughout history: rise of greek culture, fall, rise of roman culture, fall, rise of current culture - like a 'mental roller coaster' ;). And the spiritual is an "emanatory" one - from within without, or in scientific terms one might say from homogeneous to heterogenous (i.e. infinite substance gives rise to an individuality, for a time, then cycles back to native state, then gives rise to an individuality again). If viewed in terms of the births and deaths of beings, it can be seen that one could have this view of triple evolution (and thus of reincarnation) and simultaneously be an atheist (of various definitions).
And this theosophical idea is pure buddhism. :)
Haha, that's the right number of nas. Shananana is a weird old nickname of mine from middle school. (:
And that's basically what I referred to in my last sentence, but you put it in an even more descriptive way. (Buddhism, along with many American Indian beliefs, has always been one of the most intriguing and relatable religions.) I like how you brought up cycles in history, too, with the cultures. I've never really connected that with the concept of reincarnation. I've also never thought about atheism that way, until brought up in this post. But I did always hate to put the label on myself, because my beliefs amount to much more than just not believing in a god (or set of gods).
my beliefs amount to much more than just not believing in a god (or set of gods).
Ya, I think this is true for all atheists. It's such a wide-ranging word and can encompass so many details. Not believing in a personal God in no way reduces the thousand other ideas we may have (and share) about the nature of the universe, ourselves, etc.. :)
Cycles is one of the most interesting ideas to contemplate. We see cycles everywhere; all around us, and even within our lives (sleeping-waking, etc.). In a certain sense, things are 'reincarnating' all around us all the time; heck things are 'reincarnating' within us all the time :)