The wonders of Atheism

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poiumty:

lowhat:

The argument is wrong. We don't even have a catalogue of all the large NEOs, much less the small ones, and any of the non-catalogued objects on a collision course would likely have no warning before impact.

Using fancy acronyms now, are we? Suddenly we're all in NEOs and shit after just a day ago we were looking out into the entire universe for fear of asteroids hitting earth. Derp.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/multimedia/gallery/neowise/pia14734.html

93% and counting by 2011.

If we all used religion as the only source of knowledge, or remained "agnostic" in all domains until now:

0% and counting by 2011.

See the difference? But you've already cherry-picked this argument to hell anyway. Asteroids were just a side-thought to support the main point, that we aren't so helpless in the face of nature as we were thousands of years ago mainly because our pursuit of knowledge allows us to predict and counteract. And what it still doesn't allow right now, it will in the future. Knowledge is growing, not stagnating.

So you'll excuse me for not following this argument any further.

Translation: someone called me out on my bullshit argument, so I'm going to link to an article which confirms what they said as though it actually agrees with my own point of view instead, and then continue on to derping like I'm not a clown who makes easily refutable comments on the internet. As an aside, I don't understand what the word religion means, so when my own irrational religious beliefs are questioned, I react in the same hostile manner as the other religious people that I look down my nose at.

"Atheist life style" -the op

Wow, this is BRILLIANT!

Seriously though, they're no different from believers, except they're going straight to hell when they die (I mean no offense, but it's true!).

vonmanstein:
...except they're going straight to hell when they die (I mean no offense, but it's true!).

That's the funny thing: You ask different people of the same religion and get vastly different answers. I've been assured numerous times that I would go to heaven/that I would go to purgatory and then to heaven if I'm a good person even as a non-believer. But, yes, there are those that think I'll go to hell simply because I'm an Atheist.
Honestly, it's one of the many reasons I can't take these claims seriously: The constant divergence of interpretations. While some communities actively try to maintain a stricter consensus, the number of different denominations (not to mention the countless different personal interpretations) only keeps on growing.

Skeleon:

vonmanstein:
...except they're going straight to hell when they die (I mean no offense, but it's true!).

That's the funny thing: You ask different people of the same religion and get vastly different answers. I've been assured numerous times that I would go to heaven/that I would go to purgatory and then to heaven if I'm a good person even as a non-believer. But, yes, there are those that think I'll go to hell simply because I'm an Atheist.
Honestly, it's one of the many reasons I can't take these claims seriously: The constant divergence of interpretations. While some communities actively try to maintain a stricter consensus, the number of different denominations (not to mention the countless different personal interpretations) only keeps on growing.

That's an interesting perspective.

vonmanstein:
That's an interesting perspective.

Well, think how those constant squabbles, incompatibilities and growing differences look to somebody who isn't convinced of any of it yet. To me, it looks like their beliefs reflect their own views, representing what they believe/want to believe rather than what's objectively true. So, yes, that's an aspect of it.

Skeleon:

vonmanstein:
That's an interesting perspective.

Well, think how those constant squabbles, incompatibilities and growing differences look to somebody who isn't convinced of any of it yet. To me, it looks like their beliefs reflect their own views, representing what they believe/want to believe rather than what's objectively true. So, yes, that's an aspect of it.

It would look just fine to me if it didn't present itself as, to quote a podcaster I frequently listen to, the plug-n-play religion (as in, objectively true and meant for absolutely everyone). If The Truth (tm) doesn't have unanimity, how can it be The Truth?

If it weren't for that, though... all of those squabbles, incompatibilities, and growing differences in a religion are, to me, a sign of life. A religion that *isn't* doing that is, IMO, effectively dead. All these bifurcations are a sign of active engagement with a changing environment, which is something I think a religion should be doing. But it's also a sign that there just isn't one religion for everyone, that that's a concept which is conceptually flawed and impossible in practice. I do wish they'd realize that and come over to the dark side with those of us who've never stopped believing that.

lowhat:
snip

Hey, whatever confirms your logical and rational superiority on the internet. Don't forget to add a snide reply to this post too, just to be sure you get the last word in.

Polarity27:
If The Truth (tm) doesn't have unanimity, how can it be The Truth?

Why does The Truth™ require unanimity? Just because everyone (or nearly everyone) agrees on something doesn't make it The Truth™.

jehk:

Polarity27:
If The Truth (tm) doesn't have unanimity, how can it be The Truth?

Why does The Truth™ require unanimity? Just because everyone (or nearly everyone) agrees on something doesn't make it The Truth™.

I'd respond but I'm honestly not sure what you're asking me. Please clarify.

Polarity27:

jehk:

Polarity27:
If The Truth (tm) doesn't have unanimity, how can it be The Truth?

Why does The Truth™ require unanimity? Just because everyone (or nearly everyone) agrees on something doesn't make it The Truth™.

I'd respond but I'm honestly not sure what you're asking me. Please clarify.

Unanimous. Being of one mind: agreeing. Everybody could agree to something. Everybody could be wrong. The Truth™ is independent of what we believe.

I don't think asking about what it's like to be an atheist is something that will prove fruitful.
The problem with atheists as a category is that there aren't any significant unifying traits. The lack of a unifying trait is what defines the category, and as such any given atheist may have absolutely nothing in common with an other given atheist.

Look at it like this: when it comes to theology, you can divide people into different groups.

"Christians"
"Muslims"
"Jews"
"Åsatru"
etc....
...
"People who fit into none of the above"

See how that last group is problematic?
It consists of a mish-mash of all the people who are left over after you've tried to catalogue the people of the world by what sort of metaphysical beings they believe in. The group is made up of the people who don't fit into the categorizer's way of viewing the world, and as anything other than a "people that don't fit into this labeling system"-label, the term is fairly useless.

So here's a summary of my experience of life as an atheist:

    Living life like any other person
    Failing to understand why some people subscribe to religious thought (Maybe even debating it if the topic comes up)
    Occasionally being frustrated by the treatment the non-religious receive in certain cultures.

jehk:

Polarity27:

jehk:

Why does The Truth™ require unanimity? Just because everyone (or nearly everyone) agrees on something doesn't make it The Truth™.

I'd respond but I'm honestly not sure what you're asking me. Please clarify.

Unanimous. Being of one mind: agreeing. Everybody could agree to something. Everybody could be wrong. The Truth™ is independent of what we believe.

I'm wondering if we're just misunderstanding each other. Basically, my point is this: Christianity wants to tell non-Christians that it has the one, unvarnished, absolute, objective truth; and that because of their holding of this truth, the rest of us should convert immediately. The problem is that they can't manage to agree on what that unvarnished truth that we're all supposed to be bowing to actually *is*. If this truth that they claim to hold is so un-obvious that they can't even manage to convince *each other* to fall in step, why in the world should the rest of us pay it any attention at all?

I personally think it's fine that they squabble and disagree, and I also personally think it proves the reality that there is, in fact, no such thing as one religion suitable for everyone. (In fact, I find the very idea completely absurd.) That they're dealing with the subjective and calling it objective is, I think, something pretty clear to everyone but them.

Polarity27:

I'm wondering if we're just misunderstanding each other. Basically, my point is this: Christianity wants to tell non-Christians that it has the one, unvarnished, absolute, objective truth; and that because of their holding of this truth, the rest of us should convert immediately. The problem is that they can't manage to agree on what that unvarnished truth that we're all supposed to be bowing to actually *is*. If this truth that they claim to hold is so un-obvious that they can't even manage to convince *each other* to fall in step, why in the world should the rest of us pay it any attention at all?

I personally think it's fine that they squabble and disagree, and I also personally think it proves the reality that there is, in fact, no such thing as one religion suitable for everyone. (In fact, I find the very idea completely absurd.) That they're dealing with the subjective and calling it objective is, I think, something pretty clear to everyone but them.

As a guy who spent years 3 to 6 in a catholic primary school, and went to church during that time, I don't think that Christians believe they have the one, unvarnished, objective truth, or that Christianity is about finding truth or enlightenment.

It's partly about having a relationship with God, praying for companionship and the feeling of sharing your feelings, resting assured that as long as you're good, there's a good afterlife in store for you.

It's also a kind of fandom, they assume that JC was wise, kind, and a kick-ass miracle worker, who sacrificed himself, and then came back from the dead, in a bid to spread his teachings (word of a crucified guy coming back gets around), they celebrate certain events in his life, like his birth (Christmas), his meditation in the desert (lent), his arrival in Jerusalem (palm Sunday), his sacrifice (good Friday and Communion), and his resurrection (Easter).

To the OP: I pretty much live the same way I did when I was christian, only I don't attend church and I have my concerns focused on what I'm doing with my life day to day. Also don't have much of a concern about the afterlife as it doesn't exactly exist. I celebrate Christian holidays because they are culturally significant to me and I find it important to honor the beliefs of my family.

Polarity27:
It would look just fine to me if it didn't present itself as, to quote a podcaster I frequently listen to, the plug-n-play religion (as in, objectively true and meant for absolutely everyone). If The Truth (tm) doesn't have unanimity, how can it be The Truth?

If it weren't for that, though... all of those squabbles, incompatibilities, and growing differences in a religion are, to me, a sign of life. A religion that *isn't* doing that is, IMO, effectively dead. All these bifurcations are a sign of active engagement with a changing environment, which is something I think a religion should be doing. But it's also a sign that there just isn't one religion for everyone, that that's a concept which is conceptually flawed and impossible in practice. I do wish they'd realize that and come over to the dark side with those of us who've never stopped believing that.

Hehe. Yeah, when the guy says "I mean no offense, but it's true!", it's kind of hard to think of it as anything but a claim to The Truth™. Don't get me wrong: Sure, I want religion to change and adapt and become, for example, more socially compatible (obviously, things like homosexuality, women's rights, contraception and protection from HIV, abortion, evolution and other education-issues etc.), but I am looking for The Truth™ when it comes to claims about objective reality. A lot of religious people (not just Christians) claim to have The Truth™ and yet it doesn't hold up.

In the thread where Shadowstar18 asked about Atheists' outlook and lack of descent into Nihilism, you said that - while you appreciate my answer - you look for different things than I do. I'd think that's fair to say and also that it's fair to say it applies here in the reverse as well. I'm assuming that since I never was religious, I don't feel any desire towards these non-The Truth™ aspects that a religion can provide (a specific community perhaps), so I look at those incompatibilities, look at those The Truth™-claims and conclude that there's nothing for me there.

Actually the really bad thing that Christians don't seem to get when they say someone is going to hell for not believing, is that they are saying unintentionally that if they were in Gods Shoes they would judge a non-believer as worthy of eternal torment in hell. There is no shift of responsibility for the statement.

Does anybody get the feeling we've been trolled? OP turns up, asks a mildly inflammatory question, and is never heard of again.

Meh, at least we got some half-decent discussion out of it.

Polarity27:
Christianity wants to tell non-Christians that it has the one, unvarnished, absolute, objective truth; and that because of their holding of this truth, the rest of us should convert immediately. The problem is that they can't manage to agree on what that unvarnished truth that we're all supposed to be bowing to actually *is*. If this truth that they claim to hold is so un-obvious that they can't even manage to convince *each other* to fall in step, why in the world should the rest of us pay it any attention at all?

This is basically my Big Problem with accepting religion in general. How am I meant to put my "faith" in a system which is so obviously just the blind leading the blind and people making it up as they go along? Most religions promise, at least implicitly, "the truth" or "the way" or some other panacea that was missing from your life up until now - and yet even within a single religion they can't get their story straight on the level of the most fundamental basics. How the hell am I supposed to take this stuff seriously?

Batou667:
Does anybody get the feeling we've been trolled? OP turns up, asks a mildly inflammatory question, and is never heard of again.

Meh, at least we got some half-decent discussion out of it.

Polarity27:
Christianity wants to tell non-Christians that it has the one, unvarnished, absolute, objective truth; and that because of their holding of this truth, the rest of us should convert immediately. The problem is that they can't manage to agree on what that unvarnished truth that we're all supposed to be bowing to actually *is*. If this truth that they claim to hold is so un-obvious that they can't even manage to convince *each other* to fall in step, why in the world should the rest of us pay it any attention at all?

This is basically my Big Problem with accepting religion in general. How am I meant to put my "faith" in a system which is so obviously just the blind leading the blind and people making it up as they go along? Most religions promise, at least implicitly, "the truth" or "the way" or some other panacea that was missing from your life up until now - and yet even within a single religion they can't get their story straight on the level of the most fundamental basics. How the hell am I supposed to take this stuff seriously?

I think your problem has the solution already written into it. They put their faith in the system, that's how. Faith by definition is belief without need for evidence. Faith by definition is blind. How you are meant to put your faith in it is by stop demanding evidence or logic; then at that point lack of evidence or logic no longer becomes a problem to you. Then it doesn't matter if their story isn't straight. Hell, more than half of Christians (statistically proven) don't even know much of their own story, let alone what parts are or aren't consistent. It's easy to take it seriously as the truth when you don't think about it, evidence, logic or know anything about any of the above and you don't particularly want or need to. Just let that emotional 'panacea' placebo effect take hold and never question the high.

You don't need to know anything to understand an Atheist's perspective. Atheism is perspectiveless. In fact, the only thing you can do to better understand Atheists, is the complete opposite of what you're trying to do - you must assume the perspective of someone disregarding your current presumptions about God.

Atheists simply don't believe supernatural things without evidence. I don't believe in leprechauns because there is no reasonable evidence of their existence - same with God and anything supernatural.

I find it strange that you want to understand how Atheists think, and what their perspective is. It's basically empty. Atheism requires no complicated presumptions for it to make sense from the start.

If anybody is finding it hard to understand anybody, it should really be the Atheists struggling to understand religious people, because religious people have a lot to explain (without evidence) beforehand, whereas Atheists, obviously, do not.

vonmanstein:

Seriously though, they're no different from believers, except they're going straight to hell when they die (I mean no offense, but it's true!).

Im not really sure how you can type that and not see the inherent sadness/injustice of eternally punishing people EXACTLY like you for a very minor difference in belief :/

Colt47:
Actually the really bad thing that Christians don't seem to get when they say someone is going to hell for not believing, is that they are saying unintentionally that if they were in Gods Shoes they would judge a non-believer as worthy of eternal torment in hell. There is no shift of responsibility for the statement.

This also makes me subtly sad inside when i think of religious people, good or bad, who believe in hell. Not angry. Just sad that they can rationalize such mindless hatred and cruelty toward innocent people... its happened before in history and even if it doesnt lead to anything bad its definitely a bad president to hold in your mind that "Lesser peoples" are worthy of such torment and agony. That its righteous. Its disturbing.

Coppernerves:

As a guy who spent years 3 to 6 in a catholic primary school, and went to church during that time, I don't think that Christians believe they have the one, unvarnished, objective truth, or that Christianity is about finding truth or enlightenment.

It's partly about having a relationship with God, praying for companionship and the feeling of sharing your feelings, resting assured that as long as you're good, there's a good afterlife in store for you.

Okay, here's the problem with that-- tell me if Christianity holds that there are other ways of doing this-- other gods, other ways of relating that don't have to do with Jesus but are equally valid, other beliefs about an afterlife that are not Christian and are equally valid. I've never, ever, no matter how kind and accepting the Christian, had that answer come back "yes". Or, if it does, it's couched as "there are many roads that lead to a single mountain, and all the roads are okay", which is really a part-kind, part-passive-aggressive version of "no", because nowhere in there is there the slightest tolerance for the idea that there aren't only different roads, there are *different mountains*.

That's an example of what I'm talking about, that there's one truth and it's the Christian's truth; they are a jealous kind and will suffer no competition around them. That it's hard to see is simply a reflection of the fact that we've lived with it all our lives and most of us haven't been exposed to anything really, substantially *different*. When you get down to it, even the many, many arguments on here about the afterlife or the veracity of the Bible attest to that singular truth put forward by Christians-- they're arguments conducted pretty firmly on Christian soil. (Which isn't to say that there can't be atheist arguments against non-Christian religions; there certainly can, but they'd be fundamentally different arguments reflecting a substantially different worldview.)

Skeleon:

Hehe. Yeah, when the guy says "I mean no offense, but it's true!", it's kind of hard to think of it as anything but a claim to The Truth™.

Yeah. And so reflective of Christian hegemony-- not even the slightest nod to "I mean no offense, but it's what I believe is true". They don't see the need. They're not one flavor in a crowded marketplace, there is no marketplace.

Don't get me wrong: Sure, I want religion to change and adapt and become, for example, more socially compatible (obviously, things like homosexuality, women's rights, contraception and protection from HIV, abortion, evolution and other education-issues etc.),

Do you? I'm not sure I do. At least, not to change to these positions *because* they're socially compatible. I want to see vigorous internal discussion within religions, each one coming to a humanity-affirming position from their own internal logic, because the differences in the ways this might happen are incredibly interesting and potentially helpful to the wider community of humanity. That is, I think, religion's greatest strength-- to have this give-and-take dialogue with secular society that sometimes has secular society demanding of religion to grow, and sometimes has religion demanding of secular society to grow. (Sometimes even the fear of change that produces religious conservatism produces some worthy questions; change for change's sake isn't always wise.)

In the thread where Shadowstar18 asked about Atheists' outlook and lack of descent into Nihilism, you said that - while you appreciate my answer - you look for different things than I do. I'd think that's fair to say and also that it's fair to say it applies here in the reverse as well. I'm assuming that since I never was religious, I don't feel any desire towards these non-The Truth™ aspects that a religion can provide (a specific community perhaps), so I look at those incompatibilities, look at those The Truth™-claims and conclude that there's nothing for me there.

I think my starting assumption with all things relating to religion is that there is no such thing as a religion for everyone. Or a philosophy for everyone. People want and need and are moved and inspired by different things, and that's not a bug, it's a feature. I wasn't brought up to be religious (my father was an apatheist and my mother a lapsed Catholic who, except for Grace at Thanksgiving and carols at Christmas, thought that it's tacky to discuss religion in public or even amongst family), yet I was endlessly fascinated by it anyway. Now, I think that there are some very deep psychological needs in me that religion uniquely fills, and those practical questions where culture intersects society intersects ethics/morality/way to live life probably interest me more than any other subject, so the things that seem to be of primary concern to atheists (interest in physical science, sense of awe at the workings of the cosmos) don't fill those needs and are off-beam of my interests. One of those needs is something you probably couldn't even parse, being European, and that's the rootlessness that my religion addresses. I'm told that most Europeans find European-descended Americans' preoccupation with our ancestry completely bizarre.

Sorry for the digression. Yeah, I can completely understand your feeling that there's nothing there for you, there probably isn't. I don't think it comes from whether you were taught to be religious or not, these needs and how we fill them are incredibly complex and not amenable to easy soundbites.

BangSmashBoom:
snip

I think my lack of faith may be very hard for you to understand, just how your faith is very hard for me to understand.

So I guess I'll start from the beginning; I wasn't raised with any real religion. In fact I didn't know jack about my cultural heritage, and my religious heritage until only a few years ago. I didn't even really have a conception of God! This is probably the most important thing for you. Did you always have a conception of God? Or did you come into your faith?

I'm going to type another reply in a minute asking about specific passages in the Bible (specifically the gospel according to John) and what some of my favorite philosophers have to say.

Polarity27:
Do you? I'm not sure I do. At least, not to change to these positions *because* they're socially compatible. I want to see vigorous internal discussion within religions, each one coming to a humanity-affirming position from their own internal logic, because the differences in the ways this might happen are incredibly interesting and potentially helpful to the wider community of humanity. That is, I think, religion's greatest strength-- to have this give-and-take dialogue with secular society that sometimes has secular society demanding of religion to grow, and sometimes has religion demanding of secular society to grow. (Sometimes even the fear of change that produces religious conservatism produces some worthy questions; change for change's sake isn't always wise.)

I'm not sure every religion can reach a socially compatible/humanity-affirming state solely based on internal discussion and reflection on their sources and texts. Some simply don't lend themselves to that end and, instead, need to be glanced over, ignored or considered inapplicable to modern times etc.. Maybe that is unfair, but I do view it as an issue of pressure. Especially when we're dealing with a religion that possesses long-entrenched power structures (and therefore a lot of power and influence to lose), the people in charge would do their best to ensure the continuation of that power to the detriment of social change. This is not specific to religion, obviously, as any number of systems with power structures demonstrate; but in this case, it's often the external and secular pressures that force them to adapt.

It is good to see internal debates and changes, but they need some sort of trigger. Perhaps that is what you mean with the second part of the paragraph I quoted, but if it is then I wouldn't consider that still an issue of "vigorous internal discussion" because it's a lot more external than just that.

Case in point, a lot of Christians have become more open towards LGBT-needs, even though the vast majority in power structures and positions of authority still cast condemnation on such issues: In my view, that is the effect of secular society upon the religious in opposition to the religious power structure. There doesn't even need to be a lot of internal debate going on in there, it's simply people being raised in a more open, less isolationist society: I don't really think most of the Christians in favour of LGBT-rights have held theological discourse with themselves or others over those issues but rather adopted a cultural point of view, like most of us do on any number of issues.

...yet I was endlessly fascinated by it anyway.

Oh, I'll give you that. Religion fascinates me as well, otherwise I wouldn't spend so much time here. But obviously in a different way than it does fascinate you. I'm more interested in the phenomenon, the development, changes, lifecycles, biological and psychological backgrounds of their creation etc..

One of those needs is something you probably couldn't even parse, being European, and that's the rootlessness that my religion addresses. I'm told that most Europeans find European-descended Americans' preoccupation with our ancestry completely bizarre.

Yes, quite. Although doubly so to me in particular considering I'm not especially nationalistic. Being situated in the very middle of Europe where wars, migrations, trade, travel, intermingling etc. have been going on for hundreds of thousands of years, it's hard for me to consider countries particularly well-defined or to be "rooting". Some of my ancestors might be from Italy, I'm not sure, I think my grandparents mentioned something along those lines. But I have no clue where they are from, to be honest. In the end, we're all Africans anyway.

Skeleon:

I'm not sure every religion can reach a socially compatible/humanity-affirming state solely based on internal discussion and reflection on their sources and texts. Some simply don't lend themselves to that end and, instead, need to be glanced over, ignored or considered inapplicable to modern times etc.. Maybe that is unfair, but I do view it as an issue of pressure. Especially when we're dealing with a religion that possesses long-entrenched power structures (and therefore a lot of power and influence to lose), the people in charge would do their best to ensure the continuation of that power to the detriment of social change. This is not specific to religion, obviously, as any number of systems with power structures demonstrate; but in this case, it's often the external and secular pressures that force them to adapt.

It is good to see internal debates and changes, but they need some sort of trigger. Perhaps that is what you mean with the second part of the paragraph I quoted, but if it is then I wouldn't consider that still an issue of "vigorous internal discussion" because it's a lot more external than just that.

I don't disagree about the need for a trigger at all; it's what I meant by the push-pull of society and religion in dialogue with each other. But...

Case in point, a lot of Christians have become more open towards LGBT-needs, even though the vast majority in power structures and positions of authority still cast condemnation on such issues: In my view, that is the effect of secular society upon the religious in opposition to the religious power structure. There doesn't even need to be a lot of internal debate going on in there, it's simply people being raised in a more open, less isolationist society: I don't really think most of the Christians in favour of LGBT-rights have held theological discourse with themselves or others over those issues but rather adopted a cultural point of view, like most of us do on any number of issues.

This is awkward for me because I absolutely do want every single social structure in the world to become more open and friendly to LGBTQ people, it's certainly to the benefit of LGBTQ people that this happens regardless of why it happens. I don't want to take away from that. Except that I think the why of it *does* matter some. I'm going to do this again even though I'd mentally sworn off doing this-- I'm going to borrow my liberal Christian mother-in-law again as a convenient bad example. Her church seems to have become LGBTQ-friendly because it's the socially-compatible thing to do. If there's theological discussion happening, it's not filtering down to the church level and certainly not the member level. Her church has gay couples in it, a fact which she and her husband never get tired of mentioning. She goes to Pride every year, with a "gay? fine by me" t-shirt on. My husband's stepfather tells me that he likes their favorite gay couple because they're "fine Christian men". And are they infinitely preferable to devoted churchgoers who tell people that LGBTQ people are going to Hell? Yes, they are. Is it still uncomfortable as hell to actually *be* queer and sit in a room with them when they're on this topic? Oh, hell yes. They seem to be Tolerant because Tolerance is a virtue and it's socially commendable to be Tolerant. I feel like they treat queer church members (and non-white church members) like Pokemon. (You've only got one gay guy? Well, OUR church has two gay couples and a lesbian! I'll trade you one Latina for another of your lesbians. And have you ever seen one of those elusive trans people? They're worth quadruple points!) She has no idea that her t-shirt could offend anyone, because it has never occurred to her that she doesn't actually get a vote on whether it's okay to be gay, because part of what it means to be Christian, to her, is to look down from a height of privilege and be a proper Christian by getting cookies for how many things you can show Tolerance to. She doesn't understand what LGBTQ people. She doesn't really know what Pride is for. She still Others the holy hell out of LGBTQ people; they're people to be pitied or to praise like you'd praise a puppy or Objects of Tolerance, they're not actual equals, and it shows really clearly in the way she talks about this.

There's a world of difference in how it feels to be queer around her, and how it feels to be queer around any Quaker I've ever met, and the vast majority of UUs I know (and I know a hell of a lot of UUs). Or her vs. a Dianic Wiccan, a Radical Faerie, etc., people from religious communities built by and for LGBTQ people. All of these have actually worked this through their theology, come to it from both a religious and a social angle, and IMO it shows because they don't just tolerate, they *accept*. Their commitment to LGBTQ people isn't as shallow as a puddle of piss, and if I said the words "privilege" and "heterocentrism" around them, they'd understand what I mean, and they've talked about it more than a little.

I want religious people to have actual theological discussions about this, because I trust the ones who've done the work on this a lot more than the ones who haven't. Their position is more nuanced, they're more likely to be on the front lines of working with and for affected people, and they're more able to convince holdouts because they've got more behind their position than a "it seems like we should". Honestly? There are religious communities that I think are, in a lot of cases, light years *beyond* secular society when it comes to thinking through the structures of oppression and they're pushing secular society to catch the hell up.

You're right, not every religion is going to come to a conclusion that doesn't hurt people. Some of those will die through attrition, and some of those are going to be dragged limping as society changes. Some of them will lend concepts to more adaptive variations. But IMO how they get where they get matters more than you probably think it does.

One of those needs is something you probably couldn't even parse, being European, and that's the rootlessness that my religion addresses. I'm told that most Europeans find European-descended Americans' preoccupation with our ancestry completely bizarre.

Yes, quite. Although doubly so to me in particular considering I'm not especially nationalistic. Being situated in the very middle of Europe where wars, migrations, trade, travel, intermingling etc. have been going on for hundreds of thousands of years, it's hard for me to consider countries particularly well-defined or to be "rooting". Some of my ancestors might be from Italy, I'm not sure, I think my grandparents mentioned something along those lines. But I have no clue where they are from, to be honest. In the end, we're all Africans anyway.[/quote]

Yeah, that's what I thought. I don't know how I could even explain it. It's not nationalism, what nation my kin are from isn't what matters most to me. Loss of continuity and the kind of anomie that happens when you spread so far apart you feel no tie remaining to land, culture, or each other (interestingly, the Romans mentioned a similar kind of thing, and it seems to have contributed no small amount to the spread of Christianity as a way to connect people who'd lost all other connections) is more the thing. It's not even as simple as "I'm doing a thing people related to me have done for ages and ages", although sometimes that's part of it. Continuity: how you lose it and how you create it anew. That, that's way more important than what gods are/aren't/exist/don't exist. That's a good example of a worldview thing, and maybe why the debates over the existence or nonexistence of supernatural entities seems so alien and inconsequential to me-- Christianity centers that, Heathenry doesn't. Does that make sense? I think, just based on what I observe, most atheists either don't experience that kind of anomie, or don't prioritize solving it.

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