The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#81  Postby zulumoose » Mar 12, 2018 8:47 am

From my experience, and it should be taken as it is, just personnal experience, the behaviour of a believer depends on his level of acceptance of his mythology. The stronger the belief, the more they are lunatic and destructive with others


My experience too. The best believers seem to be the casual ones who don't read the books much, cherry pick the morals that go along with what society accepts, believe vaguely that "God is love" and really just want to be part of a like-minded community who are well meaning and benign. There is no such thing as a militant cake sale. While these people may be deluding themselves to some extent, they are fairly harmless.

I see the main problem with believing communities like this as the legitimacy they add to religion in general. People to some extent blindly support religious causes because this background leads them to assume they are well-meaning, and extend the benefit of the doubt when it is not deserved.
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#82  Postby Cito di Pense » Mar 12, 2018 9:21 am

Skinny Puppy wrote:
Yes I know, my post may appear to be at odds with being an atheist.

You already probably know this, but I was a fundie for much of my life.


You know exactly what is at odds with being an atheist: Belief in one or more deities. What's missing is your commentary on why you experience so much nostalgia for theistic fundamentalism. You probably don't comment because there are nothing but platitudes on the topic of desiring to believe in deities and the judgements they dictate. Nostalgia for fundamentalism is not difficult to understand. You now express your fundamentalism in a different way, but you have not abandoned fundamentalism. Belief in deities is not really a significant category compared with fundamentalism. The latter is harder to shake than you admit, or perhaps even realize.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#83  Postby Animavore » Mar 12, 2018 9:53 am

I think the reason they get worse the stronger belief is because they really believe in that hell shite. To turn the famous saying on its head, the road to saving people from hell is paved with good intentions.

You hear it when you talk to some Christians when they say that until the World turns to Christ we won't have World peace. For them the very fact of different cultures, religions and languages is itself the problem (as per Tower of Babel). If only they'd all fly straight and follow the True Belief then these problems would go away. Some even go as far as saying it's not just the harm we do to each other which goes away, but even all the natural ailments and disasters which befall us, as they are a result of our sinning.

It's not hard to see how you can go from that to Aquinas recommending that killing heretics is for the greater good. It's not good enough that the heretic takes himself to hell, he says, but he has to take others with him. For Aquinas this is merely taking down a perp. to protect the innocent. The morality of shooting a crazed gunman to save the lives of others taken to belief.
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#84  Postby aban57 » Mar 12, 2018 10:16 am

Animavore wrote:I think the reason they get worse the stronger belief is because they really believe in that hell shite. To turn the famous saying on its head, the road to saving people from hell is paved with good intentions.

You hear it when you talk to some Christians when they say that until the World turns to Christ we won't have World peace. For them the very fact of different cultures, religions and languages is itself the problem (as per Tower of Babel). If only they'd all fly straight and follow the True Belief then these problems would go away. Some even go as far as saying it's not just the harm we do to each other which goes away, but even all the natural ailments and disasters which befall us, as they are a result of our sinning.

It's not hard to see how you can go from that to Aquinas recommending that killing heretics is for the greater good. It's not good enough that the heretic takes himself to hell, he says, but he has to take others with him. For Aquinas this is merely taking down a perp. to protect the innocent. The morality of shooting a crazed gunman to save the lives of others taken to belief.


I think cognitive dissonnance also plays a role in this. The stronger the belief, the further from reality they are, causing this feeling of discomfort more often. This "agression" might be more and more associated with this real world they don't want to live in, reinforcing their beliefs and generating aggressivity towards "the rest of the world".
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#85  Postby Cito di Pense » Mar 13, 2018 4:56 am

aban57 wrote:
Animavore wrote:I think the reason they get worse the stronger belief is because they really believe in that hell shite. To turn the famous saying on its head, the road to saving people from hell is paved with good intentions.

You hear it when you talk to some Christians when they say that until the World turns to Christ we won't have World peace. For them the very fact of different cultures, religions and languages is itself the problem (as per Tower of Babel). If only they'd all fly straight and follow the True Belief then these problems would go away. Some even go as far as saying it's not just the harm we do to each other which goes away, but even all the natural ailments and disasters which befall us, as they are a result of our sinning.

It's not hard to see how you can go from that to Aquinas recommending that killing heretics is for the greater good. It's not good enough that the heretic takes himself to hell, he says, but he has to take others with him. For Aquinas this is merely taking down a perp. to protect the innocent. The morality of shooting a crazed gunman to save the lives of others taken to belief.


I think cognitive dissonnance also plays a role in this. The stronger the belief, the further from reality they are, causing this feeling of discomfort more often. This "agression" might be more and more associated with this real world they don't want to live in, reinforcing their beliefs and generating aggressivity towards "the rest of the world".


Don't forget that weird yearning to have everything done and dusted. Even people who are not fundie theists get a touch of that from time to time. Ask around and some professionals will tell you it's often a reaction to anxiety. I don't know the statistics, so I don't know if the percentage of fundies among theists is in line with the general incidence of severe anxiety disorders in the population at large. A better guess is that fundie theism is an anxiety-generating positive feedback loop, the cycle of which some people manage to break out of. Some individuals can put a lot of work into rationalizing the notion that their anxiety is actually protecting them: More feedback loop there.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#86  Postby Stein » Apr 07, 2018 9:49 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:Being non judgemental of others
Giving to charity without publicity
The Golden Rule [ also the Silver Rule ]
The Parables [ especially the Good Samaritan ]
Accepting responsibility for all of the wrong one has ever done in their life
Commandments Four to Eight [ more recommendations than commandments ]
The washing of feet [ not the act as such rather what it represents : humility ]

Regardless of whether or not they are original or exclusive to Christianity since that doesnt actually matter

I borrow from Buddhism with reference to all suffering originating in the mind and craving being the cause
Also questioning everything and accepting nothing without scrutiny. And I take from secular philosophy too
with regard to utilitarianism and absurdism. So therefore if some moral wisdom is of value to me I will use
it regardless of its origin which is of no relevance at all beyond simple historical fact far as I am concerned

Opening up the discussion here because atheists discussing the positive merits of Christianity isnt really going anywhere

Also answering this question that atheists get asked usually by Christians : where does your morality come from. To which
my answer is : the same place as yours namely evolutionary psychology which is as least as old as religion if not older and
by many orders of millennia predates Christianity [ and the other big four belief systems as well ]


Understanding evolutionary psychology is essential to human survival today. Some appreciate that; many don't.

We still know pitifully little of the full intersection between anthropology, history, biology, psychology, the chemicals of the brain, expanding connectivity, the instinct to love, the earliest social compacts, human expectations of fairness, the instincts to preserve history and contracts, and the urge to attain stability for future generations. These all involve a seamless web enfolding a perennial primordial urge to make life as safe and as long as possible for everyone around one, not just oneself. Fact is, we currently know zilch about the first expressions of this urge. But the notion that we can never know them is pathetic bullshit. Of course, we fuckin' can. It's just sociopaths with the concentration span of a gnat who masturbate over human suffering who will never fucking admit that the earliest expressions of the urge for survival and interdependent human community are shitting knowable just like the atom proved shitting knowable.

When the urgency for such knowledge gets the typical kneejerk pushback from sociopaths of such a stripe, it also gets diversion tactics from others who are simply idiots with shit like "well, don't you know, people have a herd mentality", which has fuck all to do with both the urge to expand and include more in community and the anterior reasons for humans to band together in the first place. Bleating about herd mentality is just useless shit about effect and never about cause. Fucking yawn. Why IS humanity a social animal in the first place, and why should it be so fuckin' hard to find the first typical expression of that sociality?

Answer: it fucking isn't hard if the shitty axe-grinders will get out of the fucking way and just let the anthropologists, the historians, the textual scholars and the biologists and all the other professionals do their goddamn job.

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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#87  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 07, 2018 10:29 pm

Stein wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:Being non judgemental of others
Giving to charity without publicity
The Golden Rule [ also the Silver Rule ]
The Parables [ especially the Good Samaritan ]
Accepting responsibility for all of the wrong one has ever done in their life
Commandments Four to Eight [ more recommendations than commandments ]
The washing of feet [ not the act as such rather what it represents : humility ]

Regardless of whether or not they are original or exclusive to Christianity since that doesnt actually matter

I borrow from Buddhism with reference to all suffering originating in the mind and craving being the cause
Also questioning everything and accepting nothing without scrutiny. And I take from secular philosophy too
with regard to utilitarianism and absurdism. So therefore if some moral wisdom is of value to me I will use
it regardless of its origin which is of no relevance at all beyond simple historical fact far as I am concerned

Opening up the discussion here because atheists discussing the positive merits of Christianity isnt really going anywhere

Also answering this question that atheists get asked usually by Christians : where does your morality come from. To which
my answer is : the same place as yours namely evolutionary psychology which is as least as old as religion if not older and
by many orders of millennia predates Christianity [ and the other big four belief systems as well ]


Understanding evolutionary psychology is essential to human survival today. Some appreciate that; many don't.

We still know pitifully little of the full intersection between anthropology, history, biology, psychology, the chemicals of the brain, expanding connectivity, the instinct to love, the earliest social compacts, human expectations of fairness, the instincts to preserve history and contracts, and the urge to attain stability for future generations. These all involve a seamless web enfolding a perennial primordial urge to make life as safe and as long as possible for everyone around one, not just oneself. Fact is, we currently know zilch about the first expressions of this urge. But the notion that we can never know them is pathetic bullshit. Of course, we fuckin' can. It's just sociopaths with the concentration span of a gnat who masturbate over human suffering who will never fucking admit that the earliest expressions of the urge for survival and interdependent human community are shitting knowable just like the atom proved shitting knowable.

When the urgency for such knowledge gets the typical kneejerk pushback from sociopaths of such a stripe, it also gets diversion tactics from others who are simply idiots with shit like "well, don't you know, people have a herd mentality", which has fuck all to do with both the urge to expand and include more in community and the anterior reasons for humans to band together in the first place. Bleating about herd mentality is just useless shit about effect and never about cause. Fucking yawn. Why IS humanity a social animal in the first place, and why should it be so fuckin' hard to find the first typical expression of that sociality?

Answer: it fucking isn't hard if the shitty axe-grinders will get out of the fucking way and just let the anthropologists, the historians, the textual scholars and the biologists and all the other professionals do their goddamn job.

And they have and we know quite a bit already, one of the major things we know is that social behaviour in herd/group animals is evolutionarily beneficial, as is empathy.
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#88  Postby Stein » Apr 09, 2018 3:27 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Stein wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:Being non judgemental of others
Giving to charity without publicity
The Golden Rule [ also the Silver Rule ]
The Parables [ especially the Good Samaritan ]
Accepting responsibility for all of the wrong one has ever done in their life
Commandments Four to Eight [ more recommendations than commandments ]
The washing of feet [ not the act as such rather what it represents : humility ]

Regardless of whether or not they are original or exclusive to Christianity since that doesnt actually matter

I borrow from Buddhism with reference to all suffering originating in the mind and craving being the cause
Also questioning everything and accepting nothing without scrutiny. And I take from secular philosophy too
with regard to utilitarianism and absurdism. So therefore if some moral wisdom is of value to me I will use
it regardless of its origin which is of no relevance at all beyond simple historical fact far as I am concerned

Opening up the discussion here because atheists discussing the positive merits of Christianity isnt really going anywhere

Also answering this question that atheists get asked usually by Christians : where does your morality come from. To which
my answer is : the same place as yours namely evolutionary psychology which is as least as old as religion if not older and
by many orders of millennia predates Christianity [ and the other big four belief systems as well ]


Understanding evolutionary psychology is essential to human survival today. Some appreciate that; many don't.

We still know pitifully little of the full intersection between anthropology, history, biology, psychology, the chemicals of the brain, expanding connectivity, the instinct to love, the earliest social compacts, human expectations of fairness, the instincts to preserve history and contracts, and the urge to attain stability for future generations. These all involve a seamless web enfolding a perennial primordial urge to make life as safe and as long as possible for everyone around one, not just oneself. Fact is, we currently know zilch about the first expressions of this urge. But the notion that we can never know them is pathetic bullshit. Of course, we fuckin' can. It's just sociopaths with the concentration span of a gnat who masturbate over human suffering who will never fucking admit that the earliest expressions of the urge for survival and interdependent human community are shitting knowable just like the atom proved shitting knowable.

When the urgency for such knowledge gets the typical kneejerk pushback from sociopaths of such a stripe, it also gets diversion tactics from others who are simply idiots with shit like "well, don't you know, people have a herd mentality", which has fuck all to do with both the urge to expand and include more in community and the anterior reasons for humans to band together in the first place. Bleating about herd mentality is just useless shit about effect and never about cause. Fucking yawn. Why IS humanity a social animal in the first place, and why should it be so fuckin' hard to find the first typical expression of that sociality?

Answer: it fucking isn't hard if the shitty axe-grinders will get out of the fucking way and just let the anthropologists, the historians, the textual scholars and the biologists and all the other professionals do their goddamn job.

And they have and we know quite a bit already, one of the major things we know is that social behaviour in herd/group animals is evolutionarily beneficial, as is empathy.

B-I-N-G-O! Thank you! Empathy is key. Now, where, historically, is that empathy first expressed, in the written record?

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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#89  Postby Thommo » Apr 09, 2018 3:33 pm

The earliest conception of empathy explicitly seems to date back to the 19th century:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/empathy/#HisInt
The psychologist Edward Titchener (1867–1927) introduced the term “empathy” in 1909 into the English language as the translation of the German term “Einfühlung” (or “feeling into”), a term that by the end of the 19th century was in German philosophical circles understood as an important category in philosophical aesthetics. Even in Germany its use as a technical term of philosophical analysis did not have a long tradition. Various philosophers certainly speak throughout the 19th century and the second half of the 18th century in a more informal manner about our ability to “feel into” works of arts and into nature. Particularly important here is the fact that romantic thinkers, such as Herder and Novalis, viewed our ability to feel into nature as a vital corrective against the modern scientific attitude of merely dissecting nature into its elements;


Broader conceptions date back to antiquity:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule#Antiquity
Ancient Egypt

Possibly the earliest affirmation of the maxim of reciprocity, reflecting the ancient Egyptian goddess Ma'at, appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant, which dates to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BC): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do."[14][15] This proverb embodies the do ut des principle.[16] A Late Period (c. 664–323 BC) papyrus contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another."[17]
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#90  Postby Macdoc » Apr 09, 2018 7:49 pm

Empathy and sense of helping others is pretty well hardwired. Preverbal kids will pick up something an adult dropped.

Little Helpers
Think toddlers are simply self-centered whirling dervishes, capable only of making a mess, waiting to be cared for and picked up after? Think again.

BY JENN DIRECTOR KNUDSEN | MARCH 1, 2006

A study recently published in Science suggests that preverbal toddlers as young as 18 months old understand when adults need their assistance and will do their best to help out, even for no reward. What’s more, the study found that some human-raised chimpanzees have similar altruistic tendencies.


https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/articl ... le_helpers

I think you are viewing empathy too narrowly and we have the mechanism in place

The Mirror Neuron Revolution: Explaining What Makes Humans Social ...
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... n-revolut/
Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist at the University of California at Los Angeles, is best known for his work on mirror neurons, a small circuit of cells in the premotor cortex and inferior parietal cortex. What makes these cells so interesting is that they are activated both when we perform a certain action—such as smiling or ...


finding out when it was "defined" is rather a pointless task ....it's part of human nature/biology.
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#91  Postby Thommo » Apr 09, 2018 8:15 pm

Macdoc wrote:I think you are viewing empathy too narrowly and we have the mechanism in place .


If you're talking to me, then you misunderstood my post. A question was put "where, historically, is that empathy first expressed, in the written record?", which I answered. I made no comment on whether that was a useful question.

In fact I suspect it isn't.

If you're not talking to me, fair enough.
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Re: The good bits of Christianity from atheists' perspectives

#92  Postby Tracer Tong » Apr 25, 2018 2:36 pm

An emphasis upon charity and forgiveness.
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