The original thread is gone. That would be my bad.

Here's what happened, told in my usual verbose parenthetical style. If you just want to get on with it, skip past the italics.

I originally registered for Atheist Nexus last Sunday after listening to a Chariots of Iron podcast where AN was mentioned, while on a bus from Wilmington NC to Washington DC following the Christmas holiday. Since I was using my Motorola Droid (which is cooler than shit, by the way) I actually registered on the bus using this hand-held computer, browser and Twittering system with GPS cabability with which, I'm told, you can also make phone calls with.

I have two Gmail accounts, one using my given name which syncs directly with Google Calendar and Google Docs and I use mostly for work, family and my capacity as director of the National Association of Hen Teasers (I can get a chicken from head-under-wing asleep to apoplectic in 30 seconds, but anyway...) and the other is associated with my site and the nom de guerre "Mykeru" (which is a story in itself). Being too lazy to switch accounts, I registered using the email for my given name and thought that I could fill in the pseudonym later. Which I did. What I didn't realize was that the underlying architecture of Atheist Nexus was a tool of Satan and used my initial registration to create a URL using my given name.

Now, keep in mind that I'm an atheist, a recovered alcoholic and an incorrigible asshole who tends to overshare anyway, so although I can't keep everything separate, I try not to make things easy for fuck nozzles who use Google as the groundwork for being complete assholes. Seriously, once I had right-wing nutbags get my name from the domain information on my site, when it was poorly protected by RCN and cause all sorts of mischief. I since changed from HTML to WordPress and moved the whole operation to Laughing Squid, who not only protect anonymity better, but just love a good bogus DMCA notice that they can chew up and spit back into some lawyers face.

Plus, and this is important, by using the Mykeru brand name, I can be even more of a pain in the ass than I already am.

I'm about to reboot my site and I would like to have the ability to link to my page on AN without giving the whole game away. I tried to change the URL in the settings, no good. I changed the email, but still the URL held my name. I sent a couple "issue" reports to AN, but no response.

I was spending more time trying to deal with this dumb quirk "through channels" than it really deserved in terms of redoing my profile. So before I added too much content I decided to just delete my registration and re-register making sure that the mark of quality that is "Mykeru" was used. I figured I would have to redo my profile, add my picture again and make friends all over again.
I didn't. Miraculously, when the re-register was approved, the page came back with all settings, links and what have you intact.

However, and I didn't expect this: The fucking thread "Religion vs. Spirituality" was gone. Just gone. I thought maybe, if anything, my remarks might disappear, making it sort of one-sided, but the entire thing was gone.

So, for everyone who contributed to that thread, offered their thoughts and opinions, whether they were really stupid or not, I apologize profusely. Although I don't have a problem with my writing in that thread being deleted, there is no way that I intended the same for everyone else who contributed.

I fully accept whatever punishment is coming to me, especially if you are anything from a 20-something girl to a cougar in the metro Washington DC area with an extensive latex wardrobe and really like horned guys with creepy lemur eyes.

So, where were we? The thread began relating religion to spirituality and degenerated into an exercise in lexicography and Howard's fuck-all worthless opinion.

So, taking it from there:

1. Does the term "spiritual" necessarily involve the supernatural? I claim it does and people who use it in any other way are just too lazy to use a dictionary. Is using the term for the non-supernatural just sloppy language? Is using it aiding and abetting the religious by at the very least seeming to be fellow travellers?

2. Can one be an atheist and not be a skeptic towards the supernatural? This is the reverse of the case I hear reported at the last The Amazing Meeting (TAM) where Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience recounts that the "skeptics" in attendance were told to lay off those skeptics who were also theists. I can't disagree more with that, and think those kid gloves represents another example of religion getting a pass. But is the reverse true: Can one be a critical atheist, whose lack of belief is derived from rational grounds and not also be a skeptic when it comes to the "spiritual"?

3. Is Atheist Nexus' underlying architecture a tool of Satan?

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I really tried hard to pay attention.. you honestly did lose me with all the macho krapola all over the place.. Sweet Jeezus. True: I admit, I did not hang on your every word, stunned and amazed at your intellect and wit. I did get this great mental image of a gorilla flinging poo though..

I'm not staking any claims on being right about anything.. just for me myself and I maybe, but that would be about it. And that's really amusing that you're calling me a troll when you're the guy who won't even show his face and yet waves his little dick around trying to piss on everyone else with a different point of view.

It's pretty clear that this is not really a place for an exchange of ideas and experiences. It's actually been much more entertaining and informative to see how you're filling in the blanks and assuming all kind of stuff. You are so convinced, you're like a brick wall so what the hell would be the point? It would be like trying to have a conversation with a Jehovah's witness. There's simply no room in your reality for anyone else's. I'm kinda wondering if that's the general flavour here on this board or what..
Dude, did you just mention me in the same sentence with PZ Meyers?

What you say about pushing the envelope is true, if I understand my "mission" (if you want to call it that) at all. Rude assholes like me are the ones who take the stand, incur charges of incivility from the indifferent and timid and in the end the same people who are just too fucking lame to take their own side in the argument eventually reap the benefits.
I do have osme ver nice freidns who ar einto various kinds of woo-woo...and I have to just allow them to be themsleves, just as I hope they will allow me. Now, I understand what it is to proselytize and preach, and it doesn't work for atheism just as it turns off the heathens. Have you heard about that group Young-- somethings? ( sorry, ain't it awful to get old?) a group which preys on youth who are looking for identity, sense of belonging etc. How funny it would be to have an atheist brainwashing cult. Wait...that couldn't' work, cuz if you taught them to think for themselves, well...they couldn't be brainwashed. And yet... would be a funny short story.

Its a hard call. there is a saying in Christianity, you may be the only Bible anyone ever reads.

I think conversion is a one on one thinking, and you just have to sense when someone is ready to hear. And its always better to share ones experience than it is to share a dogma.

What do you think of Dawkins call to being more militant, if you will? Or at least, not so bloody respectful.
Good point again Tom, but I don't find it so easy with my wife, as you do with yours. If it makes people feel good to have imaginary friends, for example, I don't feel comfortable letting them live a lie- just because it makes them feel good. Especially if I have to sit there and listen to them talk to their imaginary friends. Knowing the truth feels good too. Better, in my opinion.
You're right about pissing people off...I have to walk on eggshells with my wife.
Some of us have a need to understand, for others ignorance is bliss. My wife doesn’t want to know…ignorance really is bliss. Since she doesn’t posses this desire to understand and make sense of it all, I have to find little ways to poke and prod and inflict my scientific skeptical view on her as much as possible. Otherwise she’ll keep talking to imaginary ghosts and I’ll have to fight to keep my mouth shut.
I feel your pain man. I'm lucky my wife followed me at least half-way down the heathen path 40 years ago - at least she's not Christian, just a happy Buddhist. But the rest of my family is like your wife, so I know. How does she respond when you "poke and prod?" Does she appreciate that you are just trying to help her learn? Does she try to re-convert you?

I like what Kim said: better to share your experience...

And as far as Dawkins call to arms, for me, I'm moving ever so slowly out of the closet. It has taken years to even figure out that there is one other atheist at my company. We have fun emailing each other little jokes, etc. That's it - not very militant.
For the longest time her response has been instant sadness...followed by anger. Usually some yelling involved. She’s sad because I'm going to hell and her "heart aches" (her words) for that. Angry because when I am able to poke and prod...I make her really uncomfortable with her own beliefs (though she wouldn’t admit that, she would say her anger is surrounded by the fact that I think I know everything). She gets really upset that I know the bible better (much better) than she does.
The truth is, she is a very typical christian...walks the walk, talks the talk, believes the beliefs- but when asked, she couldn’t explain in any detail why she believes what she believes. Why she knows its true. She just does. In the past 9 years I can count the times we have really had a serious discussion about it on one hand. So in reality, most of my pokes and prods get me nowhere.
HOWEVER….a series of videos I got her to watch on youtube sparked a ground breaking moment. She seems to have jumped on board the old earth bandwagon and has reconciled to the fact that the entire earth was never flooded. That’s a recent development.
P.S. The fact is, she has never really allowed me to tell her all of the reasons behind my atheism. I don;t agree with her anymore, I'm wrong and going to hell, so she doesn’t really want to hear it. It drives me nuts....but it seems as though she just doesn't want to know (probably because she too has doubts about the craziest parts of her beliefs and is afraid to explore them...she could end up a heathen like me!)
Ah-HA - you're on to something (sorry Mykeru we're off on a tangent here - but important). You hit on something with your wife that I think is likely true for the vast majority of Christians. I think most of them have doubts - and I don't mean 51%, I mean 91%! No one can sit there and listen to that bullshit their whole lives and not have doubts. We don't live in the dark ages any longer. So you found a little chink in her armor. You got her to watch those videos - that's awesome. I think almost all Christians just stick their heads in the sand (or up their butts if you like) and refuse to listen to reason. They know reason will kill their precious beliefs. That's why we are such a threat. If they didn't have doubts they wouldn't feel threatened.

So (and I'm talking to myself mostly here) we should quit being so quiet. What the louder atheists are doing is a big favor to the believers out there.

So... back to the original questions one last time (and then I'm shutting down and starting my party). This little dialog has helped me. I think Mykeru and you are right: we should stop using the word spiritual, and we should consider the word Atheism to imply non-supernaturalism. If you are not a non-supernaturalist, then you are not an Atheist - you are a deist.

Happy New Year everyone! See you next year! Peace!
I thought the issue was that people were using the word "spiritual" inappropriately, ignoring its overt supernatural denotation. Do you really think the issue is that someone "doesn't like" the word?

See, I must be a "wanker" thinking it was more complex than that.

I would write a snarky "straw man much?" but that would be cheap because maybe you are legitimately incapable of following people's arguments.
there is already a group on here for discusion of mixed faith relationships but this thread for me is really about context of words and how we choose to use or mis use them. I by far am no means at being great at using words but i do love a to argue too the point that keeping words with in the realms of what they mean to a significant number of people is the best thing we can do becuase when we make up our own use for words it cuases more confusion and then you must explain what you mean buy those words when you are abusing the definition and basic use of a word to mean something other then what the word is normally taught to mean. Once you draw line and go ok i can see how this person feels about this word and i must paint a picture on how they could better communicat what they are trying to express to me with out cuasing the confusion in the dual or out of context meaning of that said word. but who knows what i just typed to re explain what i ment to me, i hate days like this.
LOL, Jon....I heard you, and I get it!
Hear Hear!




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