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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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.
One of my close friends who's always been pretty solid in his thinking and is an atheist saw one of those crappy shows on the history channel about how aliens genetically engineered humans to mine ore for them. We were talking about something completely unrelated and he changes the subject to this topic and babbles on about it while the rest of us just kinda looked at him. I was such in shock by the whole thing I couldn't think straight to debunk it. After all he shouldn't be the one to go off on nuttery. The concept might be interesting, but come on aliens that have high technology and FTL probably have better ways to mine ore than genetically engineering ape people and giving them pickaxes.

On a side note the history channel needs to stop having shows about aliens, ghost and other woo, and go back to fact land where they belong. Unless of course somebody actually has proof of something, but then I doubt we'd here about it on a show like ghost hunters. I think that would be something the media would obsess about for a few weeks.


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