IanKennedy wrote:No, it's the exact opposite of what you said.
No, my point seemed to be pretty explicit: you are an atheist because you believe the things you do. It would be pretty ridiculous to assume that you woke up one day, decided that you liked the nomenclature "atheist," adopted it, then
adopted the tenets that go along with it.
IanKennedy wrote:I mean equal in the degree of respect that should be granted to people who belief it. We are told that faith is something that has to be respected, Voyager was very big on this, to bring in Star Trek, for example. It's a view that seems to be quite prevalent in American society, at least from it's portrayal on television. As I said there are people who have an unshakable belief in the 'fact' that the moon landing where faked, others that people are being abducted by aliens and having experiments performed on them. American society seems to treat these people as if they are insane because of what they have faith in. At the same time chistians get very upset if you challenge their faith, take Deeps as an example. I'm being openly accused of insulting him because I challenge the concept of religion and faith. Clearly some faiths are treated better than others. That is also reflected in the fact that 'religious' faiths are given tax breaks. If all faiths are equal then are all to be given tax breaks. (irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the politics giving anyone tax breaks).
The alien abduction people are constantly shown as idiots in American television and movies, take for example "Independence Day" or "Conspiracy Theory" (with Mel Gibson). This goes way beyond disagreeing with them they are truly treated as nuts.
You keep saying "in America" but I'm not sure I believe that things are so different in the UK. Be that as it may, you are unfortunately correct; there is a difference which I already demonstrated, though - conspiracy theories, et. al., are patently not religions. However that may be, you seem to be conflating how many people act with an institutionalized or absolute paradigm of "right and wrong." Many people feel that persons of races other than their own are inferior; we wouldn't say that such a belief is correct or appropriate just because there are a lot of people who think so, would we?
As far as your concern with tax breaks: yes, all faiths are treated equally in that regard so long as it is (as I said) reasonably demonstrated that the faith is at least seemingly genuine, and not a simple tax dodge; AND that said faith has need or use of a structure or other asset which would otherwise be taxable.
GrahamKennedy wrote:I mean it's not a path to truth, as defined by the dictionary : in accord with the actual state or conditions, conforming to reality or fact, etc.
Yes, and I spoke to that condition.
GrahamKennedy wrote:The existence or not of god is not a personal truth.
Good. Now read
the passage of mine which you quoted. I never said it was.
GrahamKennedy wrote:There is no such thing as "god exists for me but not for you".
No, rather there is "G-d exist in my belief, and I don't much care either way whether you believe or not."
GrahamKennedy wrote:the fact that you have faith in it doesn't clarify that question one way or the other.
Nor is it meant to. I need no such clarification; you seem pretty sure in your own beliefs, so you don't seem to need any clarification either. For whom, then, are we clarifying this?
GrahamKennedy wrote:It would be ridiculous only in the sense that santa and god really are identical or not identical, and that he would be rejecting a rational comparison in favour of going with whatever he felt the truth was. But in the worldview that talks of truth as though it's a personal thing and assumes that something is true only because you believe it, then the statement is every bit as justified as any other.
You are completely missing the whole context and meaning behind that statement. What is being referred to as "ridiculous" is the idea of asking such a question or putting forth such a position, because it is in effect asking for an answer based on faith, which we can already take as a given is something which the asker rejects. I might as well ask you to explain the meteorite theory of dinosaur extinction... but without any reference whatsoever to meteors, the iridium stratum, dinosaurs, or the sky.
GrahamKennedy wrote:Really? Because it does sometimes seem that it does.
I meant your system of beliefs (or non-beliefs, as you may choose to call them.) It certainly does bother me when I am treated as substandard because my beliefs are at variance with yours; what was being referenced above is the fact that I have no intention of convincing you to adopt religion, while your arguments at times seem to go beyond an explanation of your position to an attempt to convince me to abandon my faith a/o an expression of personal offense that I might not be an atheist.
GrahamKennedy wrote:No, actually you hadn't. It's an excellent example of people who believe things on faith, and then find those beliefs running up against the hard reality that that's really not a good way to judge truth.
Yes, actually I had - it wasn't meant to be an example of what you just mentioned; rather, Ian used it as a (skewed) example of how a non-religious group can adopt a tenet based on faith and therefore should be treated as a church.
Anyway, since this horse is long dead but still being beaten so mercilessly, may I sum up in brief and hyperbolic manner?
Atheist: "There's no evidence for what you believe."
Believer: "Yes, I know. I admit that freely."
A: "It's stupid to believe something for which there's no evidence."
B: "Did you just call me stupid? I think you just called me stupid. Well, you're an ass for calling me stupid."
A: "... Hm. Well, where's your evidence?"
B: "I thought we both just agreed that there's no evidence."