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  1. #1
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    Why atheists care about religion...

    I came across this video the other day and, even though I am not an atheist, I found it very concerning for the secular minority in the US. If his claims stand true, I feel that the US is becoming more influenced by religion than is acceptable in a rationalist state.

    Can anyone confirm or deny the video's claims? Does anyone not agree with the idea of a secular society that this particular atheist is trying to portray?

    Take a look. There's a 30 second intro followed by this atheist's case against religious discrimination in the US.

    [CENTER]-=] Starcreator [=-

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    It's common knowledge, I believe, that Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin were all non-Christians, but outside that, and I think the Boyscout thing, I don't know about the rest.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    What is the rationale behind limiting boy scout membership to only Christians, I would like to know? If that was practised over here, it would raise a big stink.
    Trendem

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    I didn't see one false claim in the video. I didn't see any claim being misrepresented either. As for the Boyscouts thing, it isn't limited to just christians, you just have to affirm some belief in a higher power or supreme being. Muslims could join if they wanted (and if their religion allowed it?). I actually don't have a problem with this since they are a "private" organzation, however, it becomes an issue when public schools and community centers are used by a group that discriminates.


    Opposing theory to the creation of the "known universe". Read it carefully, it's not a difficult read on physics and quantum mechanics.

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    What is the rationale behind limiting boy scout membership to only Christians, I would like to know? If that was practised over here, it would raise a big stink.
    It's a Christian group. It started as a Christian group. That's like asking, "What is the rational behind limiting the boy scout membership to only boys, I would like to know?"

    If you don't want religious descrimination:

    What about giving money to religious schools on the same basis as giving them to secular schools? Why should a school that provides religious education be discriminated against?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    It's a Christian group. It started as a Christian group. That's like asking, "What is the rational behind limiting the boy scout membership to only boys, I would like to know?"

    If you don't want religious descrimination:

    What about giving money to religious schools on the same basis as giving them to secular schools? Why should a school that provides religious education be discriminated against?
    Well, if it's teaching religious studies as a mandatory part of it's classes, then contributing money to it would be supporting that practice.

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by starcreator View Post
    I found it very concerning for the secular minority in the US. If his claims stand true, I feel that the US is becoming more influenced by religion than is acceptable in a rationalist state.

    You find it concerning? Try moving to the Southern United States and living for a bit and then see what you think.

    The below text has been automerged with this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    It's a Christian group. It started as a Christian group. That's like asking, "What is the rational behind limiting the boy scout membership to only boys, I would like to know?"

    If the boy scouts or any other organization for that fact are going to act in such a discriminitory manner then the simple answer is to stop giving them public monies.

    The below text has been automerged with this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    What about giving money to religious schools on the same basis as giving them to secular schools? Why should a school that provides religious education be discriminated against?
    Public funded education is porvided for every citizen of this country, since it is run by the goverment it must abide by the seperation of church and state. Everyone does not believe in the same way. If you want to teach you kids about religion, do it at home and take them to church.
    Last edited by Perkis; October 4th, 2006 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  8. #8
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    The big thing that really irritated me about this video was the idea that atheists cannot hold public office or testify before a court. So called "blue laws", as well, represent unnecessary integration of church and state. What kind of "free society" is the US if in certain states, blatant religious discrimination prevents citizens without religious faith from active participation in democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    What is the rationale behind limiting boy scout membership to only Christians, I would like to know? If that was practised over here, it would raise a big stink.
    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    It's a Christian group. It started as a Christian group. That's like asking, "What is the rational behind limiting the boy scout membership to only boys, I would like to know?"

    If you don't want religious descrimination:

    What about giving money to religious schools on the same basis as giving them to secular schools? Why should a school that provides religious education be discriminated against?
    I'm very divided on this issue. On one hand, it is religious discrimination. Do people have the right to refuse a minority group services? Is it my right, if I run a bussing company, to force one race to always stand? I feel that people do have a right not to be discriminated against by business on the basis of age, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation unless the provision of that service is contingent upon the recipient's being of a certain age, race, gender or sexual orientation. So in other words, refusing men mammogram treatments because provision of the service requires the person to be a man isn't discrimination, but refusing men entry to a certain supermarket by the rationale that women are more honest is discrimination.

    On the other hand, although I don't see the rationale of the Boy Scout coordinators (and think that they are continuing to practise a policy that is inherently discriminatory), I feel it may be their right to decide what values they want their organization to represent. After all, I am certain nobody would be angry about discrimination if theist kids wished to join Camp Quest and couldn't. But then again, does an organization renounce its "right to discriminate" when it receives government funding? I don't know.

    What do all of you think? In what circumstances is an individual obligated to treat everyone equally? To what extent does someone have the "right to discriminate"?
    [CENTER]-=] Starcreator [=-

  9. #9
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    I'm very divided on this issue. On one hand, it is religious discrimination. Do people have the right to refuse a minority group services?
    A good question, although I'm always curious about how much Liberals focus on minorities; shouldn't the question be, "Can anyone be denied a good or service based on religion?" Anyways.

    Yes, they can. I can form a private group, say, the College Republican Christians. I don't have to let Democrats and non-Christians into my group.

    This is where we are going to disagree, I think, because you are in favor of rights that confer positive obligations: Me forming a group that doesn't include you...in NO WAY deprives you of life or liberty. We aren't attacking you, taking your property, etc. We are merely excluding you.

    Heck, I could make the Christian Men's College Republicans, and exclude women, if I so choose. I see nothing wrong or anti-woman about this, so long as the focus of the group is not "women don't deserve to interact with us" but "we are attempting to strengthen Christian brotherhood".

    On the other hand, although I don't see the rationale of the Boy Scout coordinators (and think that they are continuing to practise a policy that is inherently discriminatory)
    Oy. "Discriminatory" isn't necessarily a bad thing. You know what else is discriminatory? Not allowing felons to own firearms. Not allowing children to purchase alcohol and tobacco.

    And even *gasp* religious discrimination, so long as it is practiced by individuals, not the government, is fine. I don't mind a group calling themselves "American Atheists" demonstrating on Main Street. I don't mind a group calling themselves "Atheist Survivalists" being the Godless equivalent of the Boy Scouts. I really don't mind, so long as they are not intruding on the rights of others.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  10. #10
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    A good question, although I'm always curious about how much Liberals focus on minorities; shouldn't the question be, "Can anyone be denied a good or service based on religion?" Anyways.

    Yes, they can. I can form a private group, say, the College Republican Christians. I don't have to let Democrats and non-Christians into my group.

    This is where we are going to disagree, I think, because you are in favor of rights that confer positive obligations: Me forming a group that doesn't include you...in NO WAY deprives you of life or liberty. We aren't attacking you, taking your property, etc. We are merely excluding you.

    Heck, I could make the Christian Men's College Republicans, and exclude women, if I so choose. I see nothing wrong or anti-woman about this, so long as the focus of the group is not "women don't deserve to interact with us" but "we are attempting to strengthen Christian brotherhood".
    Okay. I agree with you here, and I think most liberals would agree with you. I can form a straight male Christian club without discriminating against anyone.

    But where does it cross the line? What if I started up a restaurant and only let WASPs in, evicting all others? What if I put a water fountain on my building just for people of a certain race? Does everyone but the government have the right to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    Oy. "Discriminatory" isn't necessarily a bad thing. You know what else is discriminatory? Not allowing felons to own firearms. Not allowing children to purchase alcohol and tobacco.
    Not letting felons own firearms isn't discrimination, it is a consequence of the felon losing his gun rights. Not letting children procure drugs isn't done by virtue of their age, but rather because they are not mature enough to be permitted to make that decision.

    To quote from a wikipedia article on discrimination which I think sums up my challenge to this idea that discrimination can be good quite nicely (emphasis is mine):
    Distinctions between people which are based just on individual merit (such as personal achievement, skill or ability) are generally not considered socially discriminatory. Consequently, prohibitions against such discrimination generally will not prevent a government from acting in a legitimate and justifiable way based upon the merit of an individual person.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    And even *gasp* religious discrimination, so long as it is practiced by individuals, not the government, is fine. I don't mind a group calling themselves "American Atheists" demonstrating on Main Street. I don't mind a group calling themselves "Atheist Survivalists" being the Godless equivalent of the Boy Scouts. I really don't mind, so long as they are not intruding on the rights of others.
    Do you mind if you can't use the washroom of a mall because you're Christian? Do you mind if certain buildings close their doors to non-whites? At what point does it become inappropriate?
    [CENTER]-=] Starcreator [=-

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Oy. "Discriminatory" isn't necessarily a bad thing. You know what else is discriminatory? Not allowing felons to own firearms. Not allowing children to purchase alcohol and tobacco.
    This is your comparison to an orginization that gets public funds, paid by all, that discriminates against different groups? If the boy scouts want to do this they have every right, but they should not receive public monies.
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    The other thing to keep in mind here though, is private vs public organization. A shopping mart, bus company, etc... are public organizations/businesses. The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization. It has the right to uphold any values and policies it sees fit in as far as membership standards.

    This has been repeatedly decided as the case, by state, federal and even the US Supreme Court. To compare the BSA to businesses is comparing apples to bowling balls.
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    This has been repeatedly decided as the case, by state, federal and even the US Supreme Court. To compare the BSA to businesses is comparing apples to bowling balls.
    So has eminent domain, just because it is currently help practice does not make it right.
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    Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
    King Whitney Jr.

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    It's a Christian group. It started as a Christian group.
    It is not a "christian" group. It was started in England by Robert Baden-Powell in 1908 after he returned from war and wrote a scouting book designed for the military. It was brought to America by accident when a publisher got lost in England and asked for directions from a scout who didn't take any money for the help. I won't argue that Baden-Powel wasn't a christian, I suspect he was. But scouting wasn't designed to be a christian organisation at all. Just a belief in "A" God is required and scouting is practiced in just about every country. Source

    In fact The first religious body to formally adopt Scouting was was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints, and as far as I know, many of you don't consider the mormons to be "true christians".

    Source, you gotta take the quiz to get the above answer.

    Nothing in the Boy Scout oath says anything about Jesus, just "God", so Jews, Hindus, Muslims etc, can join, just no Atheists or Gays.


    Opposing theory to the creation of the "known universe". Read it carefully, it's not a difficult read on physics and quantum mechanics.

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Perkis View Post
    So has imminent domain, just because it is currently help practice does not make it right.
    The courts have decided that the BSA is a private organization and as such, like all other private organizations, there are different rules due to their nature as a private organization.

    You are saying that like the courts have incorrectly agreed with eminent, the courts have also incorrectly agreed that the BSA is a private organization. Very well, please explain to us why the courts are wrong (all of them), and how the BSA is NOT a private organization.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Perkis View Post
    This is your comparison to an orginization that gets public funds, paid by all, that discriminates against different groups? If the boy scouts want to do this they have every right, but they should not receive public monies.
    What about schools like the University of Michigan law school, which explicitly has lower entry requirements for minorities?

    But where does it cross the line? What if I started up a restaurant and only let WASPs in, evicting all others?
    A bad move (you're losing out on lots of customers). I don't think the government should be the one to stop this.

    What if I put a water fountain on my building just for people of a certain race?
    Again, don't expect to get lots of customers. Most Americans don't like racists.

    What a strange notion...as though, if racism were legal again, there would be a sudden outburst of it. Thank God we have The Government to restrain those Bad, Bad Racists, right?

    Does everyone but the government have the right to discriminate?
    YES. The government is a PUBLIC ENTITY. Its monies are derived through force and coercion. They must be spent in a non-discriminatory fashion.

    Not letting felons own firearms isn't discrimination, it is a consequence of the felon losing his gun rights. Not letting children procure drugs isn't done by virtue of their age, but rather because they are not mature enough to be permitted to make that decision.
    My understanding of the English language is that "discrimination" means "distinguishing based on one or more characteristics". If you mean "unlawful discrimination", or "racial discrimination", or whatever, fine. Say that.

    Not letting felons own firearms...discriminates who can own firearms based on felon status.

    Distinctions between people which are based just on individual merit (such as personal achievement, skill or ability) are generally not considered socially discriminatory. Consequently, prohibitions against such discrimination generally will not prevent a government from acting in a legitimate and justifiable way based upon the merit of an individual person.
    ...what does this have to do with felon status? Do felons not possess the skill or ability to wield firearms?

    Let's take a look at the definition of "disrimination":

    Main Entry: dis·crim·i·na·tion
    Pronunciation: dis-"kri-m&-'nA-sh&n
    Function: noun
    1 a : the act of discriminating b : the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently
    2 : the quality or power of finely distinguishing
    3 a : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually b : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment discrimination>
    So I guess when dealing with Starcreator, we have to assume that the first and second most widely-used defintions are "wrong", and that, of the remaining possibilities, the least-widely-used definition is the one being used. How odd...
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You are saying that like the courts have incorrectly agreed with eminent, the courts have also incorrectly agreed that the BSA is a private organization. Very well, please explain to us why the courts are wrong (all of them), and how the BSA is NOT a private organization.
    I am not saying it isn't a private orginization, I am saying if it is going to be discriminitory that it should not receive any public funding. If it is such a great Christian group I am sure you guys could pass around a couple more offering plates and make up the difference. They are my tax dollars too and I don't want them being spent on a bunch of homophobic, anti-athiestic, groups.

    The below text has been automerged with this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    What about schools like the University of Michigan law school, which explicitly has lower entry requirements for minorities?
    Not right either, discrimination is discrimination even if it is in reverse.
    Last edited by Perkis; October 4th, 2006 at 01:08 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    King Whitney Jr.

  18. #18
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Not right either, discrimination is discrimination even if it is in reverse.
    ARGH.

    Discrimination isn't the problem. Racial discrimination is. Discrimination isn't bad, per se, it's only bad if done for the wrong reasons or using the wrong criteria.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    The other thing to keep in mind here though, is private vs public organization. A shopping mart, bus company, etc... are public organizations/businesses. The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization. It has the right to uphold any values and policies it sees fit in as far as membership standards.

    This has been repeatedly decided as the case, by state, federal and even the US Supreme Court. To compare the BSA to businesses is comparing apples to bowling balls.
    What differentiates a public from a private organization? Both provide services to the public. Both can receive federal funds. I don't see the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    A bad move (you're losing out on lots of customers). I don't think the government should be the one to stop this.
    That's where we differ, then. I don't think businesses providing services to the public should be able to discriminate without a glance at individual merit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    Again, don't expect to get lots of customers. Most Americans don't like racists.

    What a strange notion...as though, if racism were legal again, there would be a sudden outburst of it. Thank God we have The Government to restrain those Bad, Bad Racists, right?
    Do you not think there are racists in the US? Look outside. Racism may not be prominent, but it's there. Laws against discrimination are all that holds many people in line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    YES. The government is a PUBLIC ENTITY. Its monies are derived through force and coercion. They must be spent in a non-discriminatory fashion.
    What about organizations receiving government funds, or primarily funded by government? What about non-profit organizations? Can the Food Bank start denying food to people of a certain race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    My understanding of the English language is that "discrimination" means "distinguishing based on one or more characteristics". If you mean "unlawful discrimination", or "racial discrimination", or whatever, fine. Say that.
    I'm looking at the legal and social idea of discrimination, obviously. Or did you honestly think I was arguing against the making of any choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    Not letting felons own firearms...discriminates who can own firearms based on felon status.
    Right. It denies them those rights based on individual merit - or lack thereof.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    So I guess when dealing with Starcreator, we have to assume that the first and second most widely-used defintions are "wrong", and that, of the remaining possibilities, the least-widely-used definition is the one being used. How odd...
    Well, if you want to define words to render them totally useless, go ahead. But you'll find it difficult to have any meaningful debate. If discrimination simply means distinguishing between people, then of course it isn't wrong. But when you look at the context of the arguments I'm making, I think it's clear that I am not arguing against any sort of distinguishment. We're talking about the law. We're talking about social discrimination. Did I give the impression that I was arguing against scholarships, the concept of grade levels, job interviews...any sort of distinguishment at all?
    [CENTER]-=] Starcreator [=-

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    Re: Why atheists care about religion...

    Quote Originally Posted by starcreator View Post
    That's where we differ, then. I don't think businesses providing services to the public should be able to discriminate without a glance at individual merit.
    If they discriminate based on race...they aren't providing services to the "public".

    I don't think that businesses SHOULD do that. I just don't think that we should use the government to stop by force those things that we find distasteful.

    Do you not think there are racists in the US? Look outside. Racism may not be prominent, but it's there. Laws against discrimination are all that holds many people in line.
    How many? I can count the number of racist cowboys I've ever met on zero fingers. Want to know why? Because there are zero of them.

    I think that there are racists in the U.S.; I think that there are very, very few of them.

    What about organizations receiving government funds, or primarily funded by government? What about non-profit organizations? Can the Food Bank start denying food to people of a certain race?
    Government money should only be spent on programs, entities, etc., with a string attached that says "You may only spend this money if you spend it in a way that, if we had, we wouldn't get in trouble for."

    I'm looking at the legal and social idea of discrimination, obviously. Or did you honestly think I was arguing against the making of any choice?
    You didn't say. Don't blame me for your own ambiguous writing.

    Right. It denies them those rights based on individual merit - or lack thereof.
    So, feasibly, we can deny the sale of firearms to people that we don't think deserves them, right? On a personal level?

    Well, if you want to define words to render them totally useless, go ahead.
    ...guess you need to talk to Webster, buddy.

    But you'll find it difficult to have any meaningful debate. If discrimination simply means distinguishing between people, then of course it isn't wrong.
    I guess I'm just used to debating in English, not NewSpeak.

    But when you look at the context of the arguments I'm making, I think it's clear that I am not arguing against any sort of distinguishment. We're talking about the law. We're talking about social discrimination. Did I give the impression that I was arguing against scholarships, the concept of grade levels, job interviews...any sort of distinguishment at all?
    You said "discrimination". I guess throwing "racial" or "unfair" in front of that was too big a challenge?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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