Hi, I've just noticed that since I've been on here my views have changed - in reaction to the heavy Americanisation of the site. I don't have anything against American per sa, but it has caused me to think more about the integrity of our own culture and maintaining that. We are heavily exposed to American culture already - especially due to our own smaller populations. I think it's important that we band together and preserve some of our own ideas and foster our own thinking and persepctives. I've met many atheists locally in Melbourne, who don't like the strong anti christian persepctives of American atheists and also writters such as Dawkins and Dennett and Harris. They are all great authors with great things to say, think and contribution to our understanding of truth and life as we currently know it to be according to science - but again I've noticed a sharp change in Dawkins work over the years, that is in direct reaction to American culture. This is in part to do with globalisation but also I think to American dominance generally.
I wonder if it is useful to aim to highlight these differences - so as to be more aware of them as a way of maintaining cultural identity as seperate. I don't want to loose my cultural identity to a homogenised culture dominated by the US.
I wonder if American culture generally sees itself as great and wonderful and a completely desirable influence on the rest of the world, in all it's forms - christian, atheist, cultural, scientific, social etc.
I personally am very impressed with countires such as Sweden, Norway and Iceland. Holland also. For their social policies. The Germans have gone a long way since their greens in power in the 70's with their green revolution and are pinoniring green technology. (forgive spelling - I've lost my spell checker and had a very poor education in northern england...)
I can think of many good things about many countries - but what my children are being exposed to on TV and internet is mostly american content with the same myths and scripts over and over - it's quite tedious and boring for me - as well as homoginased culture that lacks depth. I'm sure 'real' americans have lots of depth, and I've heard stories that they can be very welcoming and other such stories - but that's not the impact of their media exports.
It's interesting because we are all brought together in the name of not believing in God and in a way we end up talking about god an awful lot - in the same way I'm bringing up the idea that I'd like to foster an independant non american culture - only because I didn't think the way I do now, after strong american influence - so what I'm proposing isn't a long conversation about american - but what we are in contrast to that, and what we have that is unique and not nessisarily about not believing in God - but in what we do believe in - what we do value and what we do want to foster for our selves and our society.
Mike - well thanks for busting my urban myth re porn - it's embarrassing being caught red handed pushing one! But I'm grateful that I'm told, rather than ridiculed.
It is tough with stats though, because you can't know about those that weren't reported and also people's ideas change about what constitutes sex crime also - in terms of what's acceptable or not and also what's popular... But I think it very useful to study this stuff and find enough facts that can lead to some greater understanding and meaning being made from it.
I think child sex abuse in catholic church became cultural - in that it probably attracted pedophiles.
I am responding my impressions of the original issues Alice seemed to be bringing up. The conversation which ensued seems to have taken a different tack, which I'm not so involved in.
Alice appears to be contrasting two sorts of atheism - one more like Dawkins concerned with taking on aggressive Christianity - the second kind of atheism is one that somewhat rejects the first and seeks a different focus, (although they may vary on what that focus should be). The second camp might be called accommodationists.
I'm not sure if Alice is saying the first is American, and the second is Australian but if she is, I would point out that there are plenty of Americans in the second camp and plenty of Australians in the first one.
Some in the second camp are quite vitriolically critical of Dawkins and such, and some seem to say that they have no personal negative experiences of (some, all, or most) religious people and so can't see why anyone else has a right/need to be hostile.
Some in the first camp might see those in the second camp as selfish, naive, complacent etc. Vice versa might say first camp is angry, paranoid etc.
Alice are you aware of the tensions between these camps?
Anyway you're welcome to think and discuss as you please, but please don't characterise one kind of atheism as more Australian than another.
Are you aware of the Humanist movement which could be said to have tried to focus on "what we do value and what we do want to foster for our selves and our society"?
Sadly the Humanist movement is not prospering in Australia at present and has had little interest from young people.
Thanks for replying. You did start out talking about 'maintaining'..'the integrity of our own culture' so I guess my interpretation was coloured by that. And some would see complacency in an attitude based on 'because it's not attacking me'. I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, just trying to show you the impressions your own words might create for some of us.
By all means give the Humanists a go. They are, in principle, concerned about, as you said, 'what we do value and what we do want to foster for our selves and our society'. They haven't been getting support from many young people so if you can get some rejuvenation going that would be great.
I would just say that some of us do listen to what the Christians are actually saying, and live in suburbs and towns where they predominate, and at workplaces & schools (public as well as private) where they're in charge, and in religious families, and some 'think globally' about theocratic aggression of all forms. And it takes all types to make a movement.
Your point is reasonable. But maybe it's like a b horror movie where it seemed the monster was dead and buried but somehow he's back and pounding at the door. Decades ago we thought god was dead and religion was terminally ill. But the bloody beast came back. So people have had to turn their efforts to battling it, boring or not. I'm sure some of the authors would rather be writing about other things. Yes some people enjoy wars, but most people are dragged into them by necessity. You can't just wish bad things away.
There are millions of books out there, but it is hard to find the good ones. I tried running an atheist book club in Sydney but it collapsed for lack of interest, despite hundreds being in the Meetup group. There ARE lots of bookish atheists out there but they don't tend to join groups I suppose. I've no real idea what you've already read, so even though I work in a library I couldn't make useful suggestions. I'd hate to get someone to buy a book they didn't end up liking. Finding goods books is hard work sometimes.
I haven't seen Grayling's 'The Good Book' yet. Is it what you're looking for? There are books on philosophical naturalism around, written by atheists. Amazon works hard at linking together similar books, and has reader reviews which are useful. If you want to be able to read books that other people you know read and can talk about them too, that is hard to arrange sometimes.
Yes if you want others to talk about books you should explicitly make that your discussion point on nexus. You didn't make that clear before.
There's no harm in asking. I haven't read 'breaking the spell' yet. There's arguments for and against finishing it if you're stalled, so you may be allowed to use gut feeling on that. :) I like Dennett.
I also found Greatest Show interesting, but a better-structured complete-idiots-guide type work on evolution is needed - it may already exist. Greatest Show wasn't something you could hand over and expect to convert creationists. It was a bit rambly, and he should have newer computer experiments to show us.
I'm off for a little holiday now, so bye