Seem to criticize religion from a Christian or western religious perspective? In other words, those religions which have their basis in Hebraism, Judaism, and Islam; the so-called "Abrahamic religions." They rarely are ever familiar with eastern religion or philosophy where "God" is thought of in a completely different and antipodal way. For starters, God is not thought of as an "entity," and that really boggles the mind of some atheists who've spent their entire lives conceptualizing "God" as some kind of entity.

Of course, most English-speaking atheists that we encounter here at Atheist-Nexus are from the U.K or the United States where western religion is predominant, and that may explain why that is. That's why I've always enjoyed when Sam Harris emphasizes ignosticism which aims to define "God" before any discussion or debate takes place.

There's an interesting video I came across on YouTube where an Indian guru spills his insight to a young "spiritual seeker." He makes an interesting comment about atheism.

Ramesh Balsekar on Atheism

Basically that the "God" from his perspective is not the same God in which some atheists reject, the God as "entity," but instead a "source" which he vaguely describes. Because the God that the atheist rejects, he also rejects.

It kind of makes you think, what if the entire theist vs. atheist argument is one of semantics? That this flexible term that we use "God" has a spectrum of meaning, and on one side of the spectrum makes no sense, but on another side, can correspond exactly to reality. After all, Einstein used this word, but of course, not in the same sense a zealous Christian might use it. Just a thought.

And if anyone's interested in eastern philosophy and how "God" is thought about in something like Buddhism for example, a good place to start is this video here, just listen out for "final self." Truly fascinating for anyone with an open-mind… Perhaps some of you have heard this one before…

Alan Watts- What Buddhism's About

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There is a very simple reason for that. Eastern religions are not trying to impose their religious views on all Americans. The overwhelming majority of the religious in the USA are Christians, and they are the ones imposing their flawed ideas of morality on all aspects of civil society.

Hindus and Shintos are not calling atheists terrorists, such as a Virginia county supervisor did. Buddhists and pagans are not calling us bigots and racists as a recent Christian religious legal foundation did.

No other group of people are trying to overturn science standards in public schools (or social studies standards as is going on now in Nebraska) and replace them with religious dogma and political ideology.

No other religious group is so open and honest for their scorn of us, ceaseless efforts to convert us to their faith, imposition of their views on our children, our property, and our lives.

No religious group other than Christians complains that a couple small radio and cable access TV programmes such as "Ask an Atheist" and "Atheist Experience" should not be on the air whilst millions of hours of programming goes out on AM, FM, TV, shortwave to the entire world plumping for Evangelical Christianity.

No religious group has a president who was alleged to have stated atheists should not be citizens or are not patriotic.

No other religious or secular organisation goes out of its way to violate the tax code against politicking as a non-profit and openly and notoriously sends video of such sermons endorsing candidates to the IRS, knowing they will not enforce the law against it.

No other religious organisation is openly and notoriously trying to take over the US Military and indoctrinate its members.

The current sitting president's campaign adviser does not think atheists, agnostics, and don't cares are a constituency, despite the fact we are twenty percent of the US populace. That egregious statement by Broderick Johnson is on a par with Willard Romney's infamous "forty-seven percent" statement.

No other religious constituency upholds faith as more important than the Constitution in matters of law and society

I don't care what unsupported and wacky ideas a person holds in their own home or personal life. I care a great deal when they try to impose those unsupported wacky ideas on all through law and indoctrination of my and other people's children.

They earn that scorn. They are un-American.

That is why Christianity draws such ire.

Yes, I see that. However, I was trying to open up people to different concepts or new concepts if they're not familiar with eastern religion. You see, there's a reason Buddhists don't go around in the fashion of Jehovah's witnesses telling everybody they "ought to be converted." It's not simply that they do not do this, and Christian's do. I seem to have provoked a Greta Christina-esque rant out of you, and that's okay. Perhaps there's some atheists here that aren't familiar with how organized religion is influencing people's lives. However, I was hoping to invoke something deeper about religion... I'll leave you with a link, if you don't mind: 

The Illusion of the Ego

I am somewhat familiar with Eastern religions, and I used to be a Wiccan.

My wife and I used to live in Oklahoma, but married in Colorado because of a provision in the state constitution that says marriages can only be performed by jurists, retired jurists, ship captains on their ship (find one in Oklahoma), or Ministers of the Gospel. (Religious privilege written right into the state constitution.) Buddhists need not apply to conduct marriages, nor Wiccans.

It is notable that as a Wiccan I would still draw a response from some Christians that "at least you believe in something" (though I was an atheistic Wiccan). From others I would draw ire, and when stationed in the military in Virginia Beach my house was picketed and my wife and baby son received death threats for daring to run a computer BBS on non-Christian religions and freethinking. (The Navy moved us to another state.)

As for Greta Christina, I am unfamiliar with her or her rants. She apparently does not come to this part of the Third World (Western Nebraska).

Actually, what is in my post is exactly true, thus it is not a rant. Buddhists do not go around trying to impose their view of religion as the law-of-the-land. They do not actively door knock. They do not put signs up in tree lots saying "Christmas trees: for Christians only" in violation of the law. They do not seek to subvert the tax code and the military. They are not a danger to civil society.

That is why many atheists are incensed with Christians. Most would likely not hold to the idea of promoting views in civil society and public schools that are antithetical to the Constitution. Most are patriotic and desire to be citizens.

It is not a rant. It is how we are actually treated: the largest minority group it is still okay to discriminate against.

I meant rant in the sense that it's the reaction that atheists have towards the treatment they get from Christians. And sure, it is a rant, but just because it's a rant, doesn't mean it's necessarily untrue.

Greta Christina's Rant

However, I posted that link in my previous post, I'm not sure if you took a look at it, but there's a reason why Buddhists don't tend in the same way as westerners to be missionaries, and say that it's "very urgent that you be saved," but I suppose if you had clicked the link, you would have knew.

My posts are not rants. From, the definition of rant.

verb (used without object)
to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave: The demagogue ranted for hours.
I submit my posts are not extravagantly nor violently declamatory in nature, not wild nor vehement, and not ravings or demagoguery.

Well, as an ex-Wiccan atheist who was never a Christian, I no longer hold to the idea that religious beliefs (any religious beliefs) are true or factual in any way, because they have not been so demonstrated to be true, with evidence.

On the issue of your YouTube video of Mr Balsekar, a click on the link renders a page of YouTube in Russian and all sorts of security warnings from my security software.

I do not read Russian, thus the comments are unintelligible to me. I do not view videos that set off my security software, and I generally do not follow links given as argument (but do follow links given as evidence).

The "cut and paste" idea of argument could be considered a logical fallacy of the Internet Age: Argument from laziness, a subset of the appeal to authority fallacy.

I do not wish to hear what some fellow has to say on YouTube about this (or any other matter) when in a discussion on a forum. I want to hear what you have to say.

If you posit an argument that atheists do not understand Eastern religions and are thus either unopposed to them through ignorance (demonstrably false) or agreement with their premises (also demonstrably false), that is fine, but you must make your own arguments.

If you wish to cite as a reference something to support your argument, that is fine, but "here look at this tell me what you think" is not an argument. At least it is not your argument. It is yours I am interested in.

An argument for what? I'm not even sure how you thought of this as an argument.

You mean, like an argument for there being something more to religion than what the average atheist sees on the surface? Sure, I have something like that, but I'm not about to type it all here. I've expounded heavily on it on another atheist forum, and have had atheists such as yourself ask questions about it, and there is a kind of dialectic ongoing debate on it. If you'd like a link to it, I'd gladly give it to you, but you don't seem too receptive to new concepts, and I'm not even sure you'd read it as you haven't taken a look at anything else I've posted.

And if you want to insist that what you've typed out here isn't a rant of some form, it surely sounded Greta-esque to me. I even linked you to a specific spot in a video where she begins her rant, and it sounded very much like the list of things that annoyed you about religion.

The only way you couldn't have meant that as a rant is if you say those things monotone without any vehement or passion behind it. But if you weren't agitated by it, then why even point it out?

"Argument" as used in the sense of rhetoric or logic: a position stated and supported with evidence.

My first reply to this thread answered the opening question of your post, that atheists in the USA and UK seem to pay more attention to Abrahamic religions than other religions. Those Abrahamic religions are the religious forces in our societies that exert the greatest political and social pressures on it, and atheists are the direct target of their attentions. So yes, at least I do. (I cannot answer for all atheists of course.)

Not receptive to new concepts? I will pass, that is an ad hominen. You have no idea how receptive or not I am to new concepts.

And I am still not interested on a discussion forum what some guy from the Internet thinks about any matter at all. I am interested in what you think.

I viewed God and Goddess as a Wiccan not as physical entities, but archetypes or ideals of the male and female division of life.

But there is no evidence that is true than there is of a personal god or gods. I did not reject any god, I rejected the idea that any sort of god is real, based on a dearth of evidence for any god of ten thousand ever posited by humans over ten thousand years.

There is no more evidence the (somewhat) atheistic religious belief of Buddhism is any more or less true than Islam, Christianity, Shinto, or any other religious faith, because there is no evidence for their veracity.

Now if you have viewed the video in question you posted a link to (and read the commentary in Russian), and didn't download a virus doing so, then I would be interested in your opinion on the video or the fellow's position.

My position is not the idea that atheism/theism is a question of semantics. My position is each speaks to what one believes, that there is no god (barring evidence for one), or there is. And if there is at least one god, then that god must be demonstrated to be true whilst others are demonstrated not to be true, or also true.

That is fine as far as it goes. But believers who choose to impose their beliefs through the force of law in the USA, or reserve seats for a particular religious faith in the House of Lords in the UK, are treating the rest of the citizens or subjects of those nations as unequal.

You know, it's funny. A lot of atheists like to use this "evidence" as a basis for their beliefs, when in fact we have not even explored not 1% of this universe, and yet this less than 1% is what we call "evidence." So, what the atheist is left with (if he or she chooses to rely on evidence) is basically a dearth of evidence which doesn't aim to prove or disprove anything, including the existence or nonexistence of God. And atheists are always basing this "evidence" on the "scientific method." Francis Bacon, the father of the modern scientific method, wrote in 'De dignitate et augmentis scientarium,' "It is very certain and has been shown in experience that slight taste of philosophy easily leads to atheism, while deeper imbibing brings us back go God."

Perhaps Bacon knew something about evidence that we do not.

But despite all of that, less than 1% may be better than 0%, however you'd think a more sensible position would be a kind of Socratic "I don't know," an empirical agnostic position.

"And I am still not interested on a discussion forum what some guy from the Internet thinks about any matter at all. I am interested in what you think."

Well, the forum I was going to point you to is what I think. It's not some guy, it's me. I've laid out a kind of perennial philosophy which exhibits concrete evidence for atheists to consider, criticize, etc. And if you're receptive to new ideas, then ask for link, and I'll gladly post it. Otherwise, you've given nothing but excuses as to why you're not going to look at any of this stuff. You know, if you're using Windows 7 or above, then it will automatically translate Russian to English. If that's not lacking a little receptivity, then I don't know what is.

If western religions weren't so intrusive, overbearing and influential, I doubt atheists and those of any sort of faith would ever even debate.  That would be like debating whether brussel sprouts are disgusting or delicious.  Who cares?  The animosity comes entirely from the fact that western religions want to define morality, and in doing so they intentionally discriminate against those who don't fit their highly warped definition of morality.  I'm no expert on eastern religions, but I know that there have been similar clashes between societies of opposing eastern religions.  Maybe the issues were more secular in nature, but the opposing sides were of opposing religions, and that aspect played a part in the conflict.  The Tibetan freedom movement comes to mind.

This clash with religion and secularism can be quite humorous if you take into consideration a view of a well-known atheist, Sam Harris, who believes that we do not even have free will. That all these events were predetermined perhaps throughout all of eternity! 

Then again, I suppose the humor and this post was, too. Hmm...

I wasn't really concerned about the animosity, but the deeper concepts in various religions, such as the Shekhina in Judaism, the Beatific Vision or the agapé in Christianity, samadhi in Hinduism or satori in Zen Buddhism. I think it's these kinds of things that some people find so mysterious about religion, while others might think it entirely hokum.

While I am fascinated by Sam Harris and nearly everything he espouses, that position on free will implies that someday humans will be able to absolutely predict the actions of a mind based on the particular brain that that mind is a product of. I can't imagine that is absolutely true. We may be able to mimic that correlation with some degree of accuracy, but I doubt an absolute prediction could be counted on, ever. For instance, I don't care for liquor, and I love wine, but I surprise even myself on the exceedingly rare occasion when the waitress is waiting on my order and I change my mind at the last second and order a rum and coke instead of a glass of Cabernet. That may sound simplistic, but I can't imagine what can account for such random decisions. I don't even like rum and coke, but it happens. The degree of average randomness may be predictable, but the exact moment for the occurrence seems to me to be a product of free will.

It should be noted that this kind of free will is entirely different from the free will that religionists spew about in their circular arguments, whereby it is used to justify the existence of god. That kind of free will is ridiculous, because it would only mean something if they could provide an example of an organism that does not have free will to contrast their position with. It doesn't exist, so that attempt at justification is as empty as "god gave us the wetness of water, or the darkness of night."

It's a tricky thing. Free will, when you attempt to define it, has a very slippery and ambiguous definition. However, there are points of views, such as the ones in Buddhism or espoused by people like Daniel Dennett wherein notions such as free will and hard predeterminism are one and the same thing. This view is also known as compatibilism. Perhaps you've heard that term before. Now, that may seem counterintuitive or even paradoxical at first glance, but there is way in which this could make sense. There's a 2-hour long video of Dennett expounding on the topic, but I won't post that. Way too long. Instead, I'll post a simpler, much shorter version that expresses it quite succinctly and eloquently.

Non Dual Mystery




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