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zolkowski

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#1  Edited By zolkowski

@fetchfox said:

Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens, and while not changing my view on religion, it certainly added to my knowledge of religious traditions and influences. I believe one can gain knowledge from any belief and culture, as long as one avoids being completely consumed by it. Or said in a better way: "Let my house not be walled on four sides. Let the windows be open. Let all the cultures blow in. But let no culture blow me off my feet" – Mahatma Gandhi

P.S. followed.

Those are very good quotes somewhere along my line of thinking right now. Having an identity makes a diverse and rich world. It's when people get absolutely blinded by who they think they suppose to be are is when it becomes a problem.

@AhmadMetallic said:

The history of the human society has proven that unless you are proud, and consequently ignorant, clinging to what you know and what you believe, you are a loser. I am one of the very few people of my closed minded back-fire-like-a-motherfucker Arab-Israeli community, and for that I really am a weak individual amongst these proud tall-walking individuals. Yes, in theory, you and I are the better people for being understanding like this. We evolve, our conversations are always based on the fact that we're discussing to learn, not to win. But in practice, in our everyday lives, the people who are doing the most with their lives, fucking like animals, building skyscrapers, popular on facebook, losing weight, getting over misfortunes, are those who have that ignorance-soaked pride. And the reason is because.. you know how a very popular advice 'stable' people use to help 'shaky' ones is "Just be yourself, enjoy your moment, HATEZ GAWN HATE" ? That advice, which is usually a success, stems from the whole "I don't have time to be understanding, Im gonna cling to this collection of beliefs, thoughts and habits I have, and take pride in them. That is how I become stronger"

That first sentence screams of truth. While maybe not losers, as you can blame human nature to be content with where it's current sphere of knowledge is. Too much pride in what we know and who we are is probably one of the worst things. It's the reason when you say anything that might be counter to their point of view, no matter how relevant or right it might be, you might just get an answer like "Fuck you." Or a fist to the face because you don't dare mention anything related to their background or culture even if it's a critical thought.

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#2  Edited By zolkowski

@sanchopanza said:

I think atheism has become a kind of religion, but worse in my view because of the smug superiority that some people adopt as a result.

@Zolkowski: Good blog sir, I look forward to more.

I'd like to agree that atheism has become a blind following for some, but I think the worst that has come of it is people denouncing other's religion without fully understanding their own reasoning or logic as to why they are atheist. The majority of these people have probably had a bad experience and are emotionally detached from religion as opposed to logically. Which is equally as potent as a fundamentalist in any belief as there is a lack of reasoning. Potent in the sense of verbal attacks.

Thanks for your sentiments, I also look forward to hearing from you guys more with other blog posts.

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zolkowski

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#3  Edited By zolkowski

@Vegetable_Side_Dish said:

A reasonable, well thought-out and well-expressed post by an atheist that is open to another's point of view? On the internet?
Kind sir, I don't think you've read the rules!

Followed..

I'd be honored! Thank you Veggie Side. I wasn't sent a memo on proper internet etiquette, fortunately.

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#4  Edited By zolkowski

@Mageman

I just went on the assumption there was some kind of vote on it. Though I've had some pretty strange topics on my Modern Problems class before.

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#5  Edited By zolkowski

Ah, the modding community never fails to please. I'm still thoroughly upset over the lack of mod support for Battlefield 3, I really hope those mod teams move over to some other games to work on so we don't miss out.

They tried this Multiplayer Mod with Oblivion with barely any success. Here's to hoping they can get further.

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#6  Edited By zolkowski

@Xeiphyer said:

I added the bold for emphasis. The thread continues on, but I think I have made my example.

There are so many people who are completely locked into their views and positions, that they refuse to see any other viewpoint besides their own. Its hard to tell if its just a product of the times, or inherent to human nature. Most probably its both, we are imperfect beings after all, but I think the current culture supports the belief that "You" are special, that you can be whatever you want to be, and you are always right. That's what most people's parents tell their kids. They raise us to believe that we are better than everyone else, which is of course an elitist concept. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with elitism. Not all people are created equal, and there isn't really any reason to treat everyone as such. Genius children should be given special treatment so that they can excel, instead of being confined by the limits imposed on other kids of their age. Though that doesn't mean we should take all the slow kids and stick them in the slow kid class where they don't learn as much, obviously we should take special care to help them learn at the regular speed.

Pardon the digression, but the point is that we are raised in a society where we are taught to stick to our views and not let anyone change them. "Stick to what you believe in" might sound like great advice when giving to someone with dreams of doing something great, but it can just as easily apply to someone with dreams of killing all the jews, which is probably an idea they shouldn't stick to. People need to realize that the things they know, the things they're taught and learn from others, might not necessarily be true, or the right things to believe. When we are kids, we learn the ideals of our parents first, we go to church with them because that's what they do. When we get older we start to discover conflicting beliefs, and we either lock in to what we believe, or open up to what other's think, and decide if that's what we really think too. Maybe a lot of people just get stuck in that mode, where they pick one stance and refuse all others. Hell, I know there are some things I get stuck believing, and get defensive when someone starts pointing out the flaws in it. I'll probably even get angry, but afterwards I'll still see their point of view and learn from it. I formed my reply to Hermoor's thread about population by examining his beliefs about the topic, and forming my reply around them, to show him another side. The rebuttal to your beliefs is what helps you decide if you really believe in it, or if there is something better and more true to yourself. I might have gotten a little offensive towards the end of my reply to him though, especially after reading some of his replies to others in that thread, but we are imperfect beings.

That was a great example Xeiphyer. I feel if someone gets to the point where you know they aren't acknowledging any evidence you are bringing up to simply call them out on it. It'll either force them to finally answer what you've brought up or it will force them to ramble nonsense some more - which by then you know it's not worth your time.

The way we are raised has very much to do with how we tick today. I've mentioned somewhere else in this discussions that I feel like having a critical analysis and thinking class when we are younger would help remedy the situation a lot more. As studies would suggest, however, it seems to also be somewhat hardcoded into our brains. It's uncomfortable to be wrong. Who ever wants to be wrong most of the time, really? It would just seem perfectly natural for someone to close up and defend something they hold truth because we act like it's a part of us.

I'm not much of a pacifist when it comes to debating so long as it still moves the conversation along. Getting hostile is also something for us that is very natural :p

@AlmostSwedish

The internet, to me, is one of the greatest places where we can express our views. For me it's very hard to articulate exactly what I want to say unless I were to pause a lot and think through what I wanted to say - and even then might slip up by succumbing to some pressure to hurry up. The internet is the perfect place to play ping-pong with ideas without every really having to worry of any repercussion. If it weren't for the internet, I would not have found out my friend's political/religious views as it's never discussed in person. We feel a little more safe to fight it out behind a monitor.

@Vodun said:

There's a pretty hilarious quote by Skeptic Comedian Tim Minchin that goes something like, "If you open your mind too much your brain will fall out." To consider everything a possibility without some reason and evidence behind it can get a little tiresome and ridiculous. I'm sure you have some borders still set up to prevent such an incident from happening. :p But in all actuality, I get what you mean.

@gamefreak9 said:

I'd love to continue this discussion sometime as I feel like we are still misunderstanding each other. Perhaps some other time :)

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#7  Edited By zolkowski

@Packie said:

You know, I wish more people on the forums were like you. You earned yourself a follow.

You're too kind! Really. If more people were like me I think the forums would be a very boring place! The follow is appreciated, I'm getting overwhelmed by this. I hadn't expected any responses until I had at least a few blog posts up.

@PrivateIronTFU

It's a pretty enlightening experience.

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#8  Edited By zolkowski

@Little_Socrates said:

I don't even think your frustrations need to be restricted to just religion alone. There are people on literally hundreds of different subjects that we could talk about. It's frustrating, yes, but if you can manage to figure out how that person got the way they are it's a little easier to reach them. Though often you won't be able to and it's really not worth your time.

@Vonocourt @baconbits33

I take your kind words to heart :) I'll be working on another one soon! Promise! I hope I don't fail your expectations

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#9  Edited By zolkowski

@gamefreak9 said:

Although I've never really been much of a fan of religious debate because I see it as a waste of time... atheism or theism... who cares to each his own. Though study of game theory and philosophy it pretty much makes sense to just be a theist... + I think anybody that gives people an excuse to come together and socialize as real people is probably a good thing... I think I did see a regressive study with % of pop religious and happiness polls, it almost seem to be as big a factor as the divorce coefficient. So I am an agnostic and I think you should be too... I mean if your not an agnostic then your going in with preconceived notions and those will affect you with confirmation bias, giving more power to Anti-religious stuff your exposed too, and less power to religious stuff.

Alrighty, I'll break this down the best I can to avoid confusion. When arguing religion you can do so in various ways. You can argue the science in religion - Tangible Arguments. We could discuss whether or not there is the existence of god - (mostly) Philosophical argument (which I will touch briefly), we can discuss the historical facts/accuracy of religion - Tangible Argument. Or we could discuss whether or not we are better off with religion, specifically organized religion. - Which is my favorite, it's a mix of philosophy, science, and historical fact.

To touch your first point on game theory and philosophy I am assuming you are putting the point you are safer with believing in a god as it's a safer choice - a better chance to go into heaven. The problem I have with this is a moral dilemma. If a god wanted me to be aware of his presence, as well as praise him, I'd like to think that they would make it a little easier to believe in them. If it is the case they truly do exist, I'd rather not serve a god that would send people to hell for doubting and asking questions. They should judge us for our character and what we have done with ourselves.

The argument of happiness is a pretty flimsy one to go on. I could argue that Sweden, one of the most secular countries in the world, proves that you can be happy without religion ( http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/lif_hap_net-lifestyle-happiness-net ) as it is tied for 2nd as the happiest country in the world. We can also have statistics skewed on happiness of when these polls and surveys were taken. Chances are, if these happiness questions were asked while a republican was in a seat of power you are going to have fewer happy Atheist/agnostics/secularists as Republican stances are somewhat positioned against them.

And last and finally the ever-so-famous label debate. We could argue what is Atheist and what is Agnostic all day. I identify myself as atheist because the definition is damn near the same as an Agnostic-Atheist. An atheist can be defined as (http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t98.e278) "Either the lack of belief that there exists a god, or the belief that there exists none." An Agnostic-Atheist holds no belief in a god because it is unknowable. It's outside the realm of science. Both of these have a lack of belief in a god because there is no way to prove there even is one. In essence I have as little belief in god as I do that we live in the Matrix.

This fact, that I simply have no belief in a god, is not a pre-conceived notion. I think I should have made this more clear re-reading what I wrote as I have read very much material regarding religion, which started immediately when I started gaining doubt of my Catholicism. There is differences between anti-theism and Atheism.

Edit: If you'd like I can create a blog post on this at some point so we can have a more serious discussion further. I don't want to overly flood this with a somewhat off-topic debate. I was simply using my stance on Atheism as an example to the main message.

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#10  Edited By zolkowski

@BelligerentEngine said:

Sigh...

Book trailers are a terrible way to convey the medium and this one was a perfect example of why that's the case.

It really wasn't meant to prop up my message at all, I was just trying t offer some good reading for those interested in expanding their horizons a 'bit.

@Blackout62

Thanks! I've actually never read those books, but the more I hear about it the more I think I should.