When people ask me about my beliefs, I generally say that I non-religious, rather than saying that I'm an atheist.  I don't do this in an effort to avoid controversy, rather, it's a more accurate statement of the situation.  I just don't have any religiously-held beliefs.  Let me explain what I mean.

While organized religions generally tend to favor a particular god or gods, some, such as Jainism and certain varieties of Buddhism, manage to exist as non-theistic religions.  So, just for the purpose of discussion, let me define 'religion' non-theistially as any set of beliefs, adhered to in toto, that exist either without, or in opposition to, any supporting evidence or logical basis.

For example, I have an acquaintance, let's call her Sandy, who is not conventionally religious.  If you asked her, she probably would say that she doesn't believe in God. However, she does believe, quite fervently, in ghosts, psychic phenomena, fortune telling, reiki, auras, and the idea that extraterrestrial aliens are constantly whizzing about our planet in flying saucers and abducting farmers in swamps.   

We once got into a discussion about this, and she attempted to demonstrate that her various beliefs were correct, by citing people that agreed with her. When I finally pointed out that that wasn't any sort of evidence, and that in any case many of them contradicted each other, she burst out that you didn't need evidence, you just had to BELIEVE.

Now, I submit that Sandy's viewpoint, despite it's lack of a supreme being, is just as much a religion as any sort of fundamentalist Christianity.  It has a dogma, and its adherents cling to it tightly, in the face of all evidence to the contrary.  They defend it vigorously, and decry as heretics any that fail to believe; indeed, many of them even look towards a sort of salvation, undoubtedly waiting to be scooped up one day by the mother ship.

Now, the area I live in seems to have quite a bit of this sort of thing, whether it applies to fundamentalism, UFOism, vegetarianism, fascism, anti-establishmentarianism, liberalism or any other sort of "-ism"... people who are utterly fanatical about their particular beliefs, and want to convert others.  The local atheist society seems overrun with this; they may not believe in God, but most of them certainly believe in plenty of other things, with equally religious fervor.  And I find that they are just as obnoxious and difficult to get along with, as any doorbell-ringing cultist I've ever met.

So where would one go to avoid this sort of thing?  Where best to find people that that are not only deism-free, but are also rational, and dogma-free?

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... besides, it's not a No True Scotsman fallacy when you can give solid explanations for why they were crappy atheists. The reason it particularly applies to Christianity is that Christians like to say that someone not acting with perfect love isn't being Christian. No, LOOK RIGHT HERE at your holy book. *points* This person being an evil, bigoted asshole was following the scriptures better than YOU were! They're the better Christian.
yeh, i was thinking the same thing. I'm halfway through the King James Version Bible, and .....FUCK, this "God" is an arrogant petty maniac. Still, that book is so vague, and open to different interpretations, that it's hard to say what a "true Christian" would even be. Assuming this "God" were real, you'd think the Bible would be more clear.

With an atheist, logic and reasoning, are the only true things required.
Hmm, half way ...

Oh good lord. Psalms and Proverbs? Yeah, I thought the Pentateuch was a total drag, and then I got to the Wisdom books. Holy crap, those are painful to slog through. Once you're out of Job, it's just dense and meaningless.

For what it's worth, the prophetic books are better, in spots. Then, the Gospels are amusing, all over the place ... the letters of Paul, not as much. Those read kind of like inter-office correspondence.
Actually, it's more like 70% through than half. I'm towards the end of Ezekiel. The worst parts of the book are the parts about the building of the arc of the covenant.....like i'm reading some sort of friggin carpenter's manual. lol. I try to mark passages i find interesting in any books I read....most of it bores me to tears, but I did get some lulz out of the dumbest passages. Like God "swearing" to his self (Jeremiah 51:14).
Yeah, I think the Histories are the best part of the Old Testament, but you're through the worst part, at least.

Well, Genesis wasn't nearly as bad as Numbers. Honestly, I skipped a few chapters of the Census. So insanely repetitive. Whoever wrote the Pentateuch had no concept of good narrative form.

Oh, Arc of the COVENENT. Whoops, wrong arc. Yeah, that part about building the temple to house the Arc was right up there with the census, as major league boring shit.

And what the hell are you doing up at 3:00 AM, man?
I tend to be on this bored/depressed/insomnia kick a lot.....once again, all stemming from being broke and struggling....confused about my future/career despite all the time spent getting my associates degree (long story) and currently being unable to afford much of a social life. I got a lot of issues I'm trying to work through at this point in my life.

Even if I were completely content with my situation, though, I'm a night owl, anyway.
Yeah, right there with you. I know multiple people who are getting a Masters Degree, simply because they got their Bachelors Degree and discovered that there are no jobs for them, since they don't have 5 years of experience in their field. They're hoping that the job market will have something for them that doesn't involve a Drive Thru, in another year or two.

Personally, I'm laid off for the next two months, so I've got some enforced work time on my creative pursuits. Fun stuff. At least the unemployment insurance will hold out that long.
It sounds like he's got one in his area, and they're a bunch of woo-heads. Sucks, when the local atheists are like that, too. Rough area.
Hmm, he's got two to pick from, actually. There's one based in Seattle and another based in Redmond. The Seattle one seems to be more of an outdoorsman group that just happens to be atheism/agnosticism oriented. Very weird. My group is more centrally organized, covering Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and Chapel Hill ... and of course anyone is welcome to drive in from the outskirts, too. We have a few who drive from Greensboro, for some reason.

I can sort of relate, though. Each group has its own character and issues. My group's message board has a major infestation problem, of hardcore Libertarians. We're talking the type who think it should be illegal for the government to levy taxes ... all public schools should be disposed of, in favor of private schools (hey, won't most of those schools be religious?); all police forces should be private; all roads should be private; the military should be private ... it's insane. They tend to hijack conversational threads that have nothing to do with politics. "Well, this sort of thing wouldn't happen in a stateless system."
I dunno. I'm admittedly very naive about politics, but side with the libertarians more because of having some conservative (and liberal) values, and annoyance with many on the left's "conservative. BAD! Blaaaahh" dogmatic generalizing. I've just grew a distaste for CERTAIN liberals. I mean, if you rail on fox news for being biased, but support sites like alternet (RADICALLY left biased), I'm going to take your opinions with a grain of salt.

I don't know enough about economics to truly commit to a political label, yet, though. Libertarian just is the closest fit for me, right now.
Never been to alternet. I wouldn't know. I generally stick to the mainstream news sources.

The problem is that the dissolution of the entire government, except for contract law, is not the solution, if you're sick of liberals. What you end up with then is corporations with their own personal armies to silence anyone who speaks out against them, and no government to step in and defend the little people against the people with all of the money and the power. The Libertarians would take us back to the days of the Robber Barons, in the 1800's ... only with the even weaker government of the Libertarians, the federal government wouldn't have the power to fix the situation, like the first time around. Libertarianism doesn't work in groups larger than a hundred or a hundred and fifty.

And yeah, your first line is the big problem. Libertarians tend to be very naive about politics. They go around spouting their absolutist principles that unlimited freedom is always better, without stopping to think about what the likely end results of the system they're creating will be. Politics should be results-based.

I thought you were already in the group and not active, for some reason. Whoops.




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