Mocking religion

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Tessa K
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:55 am

shpalman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:37 am
J.B.S. Haldane wrote:My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.”
But God is inordinately fond of beetles :D

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:58 am

Tessa K wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:55 am
shpalman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:37 am
J.B.S. Haldane wrote:My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.”
But God is inordinately fond of beetles :D
J.B.S. Haldane wrote:If one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of creation it would appear that God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:04 am

secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:04 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:02 am
Except, of course, a man can easily serve two masters if they agree with each other - the problem arises when they differ.

It's hard to see from a modern British perspective, but people used to really believe in their religion. This did not cause much conflict with science when science was much less advanced than today. The theory of natural selection caused no trouble at all through most of human history because it only arose recently. There was no conflict between science and religion over medical matters when scientific medicine knew almost nothing. Religion said that the world worked in a certain way, science said that we could figure out truth about the world, and they happily coexisted until science started to discover things that conflicted with religious teachings. This exposed the fundamental conflict betwen them - science is about finding out things about the world, while religion is about knowing it already.
This doesn't reflect the actual historical record though, and seems to be based on looking at 20th and 21st century biblical literalists and projecting backwards. But this does a severe disservice to the religious thinkers of the past. The church was usually at the forefront of European science during the middle ages. Yes they believed the religious authorities should be the final arbiters of science, and yes they took scripture into account, but they also cared about physical observations. Back in the 4th century St. Augustine complained about Christians not taking modern science (as it was then) into account and thereby making themselves look ridiculous. I believe the context for that was the '7 days of creation' story (Augustine thought it was silly to take it literally).

If you actually look at medieval Christian theology you'll see a large amount of it is concerned with trying to make sense of scripture based on what was then 'known' about the physical world, and also basic logic. E.g. Augustine trying to accommodate Plato, Aquinas trying to accommodate Aristotle, Anselm trying to resolve the obvious paradoxes about omnipotence etc., Abelard thinking about what could be meant by the doctrine of the trinity, and so on. Obviously you can make studying the physical world a lot easier for yourself if you don't worry about what scripture says, but they did care about scripture, even though they realized that naïve readings of it made no sense.

Miracles didn't contradict science because the whole point of miracles was that they were outside of the natural order. Conversely, science didn't contradict religion because God was considered to have created a complex orderly universe governed by laws which he could break if he wanted to. When Copernicus published De revolutionibus he wasn't concerned at all about censure by the Church. I believe he was more concerned about the reaction he would get from fellow humanists, humanism at that time being concerned mainly with going back to the ideas of the ancients (i.e. the Greeks). Galileo had to work quite hard to get the church riled up about heliocentrism, which involved declaring that the Church should have no authority at all on matters of science, and making fun of the pope.
There's a quote from the bible which my mum showed me, which I can't find, which says something like "don't listen to so-called 'wise' men they don't know anything".

At the time the bible was written, it was probably good advice.

Similarly, a whole load of examples from the middle ages doesn't contradict "this did not cause much conflict with science when science was much less advanced than today".

But if even Augustine thought it was silly to take 7-day creationism literally, there are people today who do take it literally.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by snoozeofreason » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:58 am

shpalman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:04 am
There's a quote from the bible which my mum showed me, which I can't find, which says something like "don't listen to so-called 'wise' men they don't know anything".
I think that might be from the Revelation of Saint Michael of Gove.
In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. The human body was knocked up pretty late on the Friday afternoon, with a deadline looming. How well do you expect it to work?

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:55 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:17 pm
JellyandJackson wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:42 pm
AR seems to have been on a bit of a mission (ho ho, sorry) lately, the one tweet which stuck in my mind was in reply to someone defining faith as belief in things for which we have no proof, she replied with “that’s the definition of psychosis”. This strikes me as needlessly unkind, esp to people who might have had psychosis or similar experiences (I’ve had a couple of hearing voice type episodes, and in the middle of a panic attack I’m not terrifically lucid - all those things are terrifying) and it also comes perilously close to doing that thing of using MH terms as an insult.
It's also very much not the definition of psychosis, or even close. That is actually a rather (and as you say, also needlessly) unpleasant thing to say.
Yes. Most of the discussions in this place are between people who believe in things without any proof.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:00 pm

A scientific hypothesis is basically a belief for which we don't have any proof yet.

Some things can be believed with no consequence if the hypotheses have no testable consequences.

Believing things which are demonstrably false, however, is delusion.

The faithful of course have this "you can't test it or else it wouldn't be faith" defence but of course this is just "don't actually try to verify any of the stuff I tell you".
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:59 pm

shpalman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:00 pm
A scientific hypothesis is basically a belief for which we don't have any proof yet.

Some things can be believed with no consequence if the hypotheses have no testable consequences.

Believing things which are demonstrably false, however, is delusion.

The faithful of course have this "you can't test it or else it wouldn't be faith" defence but of course this is just "don't actually try to verify any of the stuff I tell you".
In the olden days gods had the common decency to manifest now and then so no 'faith' was needed. Odin used to go wandering, Zeus was always up for a shag and Krishna liked to hang with shepherdesses. Of course, if you were Actaeon, getting a glimpse of a goddess wasn't such a good thing. "Ah right, she does exist ... oh sh.t".

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:37 pm

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Lew Dolby » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:59 pm

^^^ that is just effing brilliant !!

[wipes tears from eyes]
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:38 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:52 pm
Why are you painting this as whether science and religion have a conflictual relationship?

Isn't it the faith vs atheism conflictual relationship? Or christianity vs humanist conflict? Science doesn't come into it and it's nothing to do with doctrine. Dead people becoming alive isn't a scientific topic, any more than the sun being pulled by a chariot is.

Where's the evidence that mockery, condescension, anger etc are counterproductive? Jehovah's Witnesses have a pitiful conversion rate as you say, while the humanist club is seeing fast growth. Atheism rates are soaring. Christianity in the UK has been diving since 1945, possibly with an acceleration in the last 30 years.

Looks to me that there's a winning message as it is. Are you arguing humanists would do even better if they were less confrontational? Hard to imagine even bigger success, but that's what your "if humanists want to be taken more seriously and win converts, they might want to consider being less confrontational" sentence seems to imply. Are you claiming christianity in western Europe would be in an even more dire state if Monty Python hadn't taken the piss?

Why change a winning formula? Is there any evidence from other countries or other time periods that suggests non confrontational formulas destroy religion even quicker?
I'm trying, but I don't really see where you get so upset about, sorry. The science angle is relevant because she's a "public engagement in science" professional, and public engagement in science is something I care about, for my sins. Maybe it's other people who want to make this about atheism or humanism, but not me. I'm not having a moan at humanism or atheism, I'm moaning about her specifically. Any humanist or atheist who holds to a conflict thesis I believe has insufficiently considered the historical evidence, but the moan about conflict thesis is there because this is what Roberts strongly appears to be riffing off of, and it brings her in direct conflict with furthering the public understanding of science, which as I said, I do care about somewhat. My moan has nothing to do with humanism or atheism, but frankly if I was a humanist with an interest in recruitment I would also be annoyed at her, because her tactics are likely to be counterproductive.

As to that, you express some doubts. Fair enough, I'm sure there's enough studies to cite, but this is such a fundamental part of communications studies that it's a bit like trying to find peer-reviewed medical journal papers proving that people don't come back from the dead, and I've got all my introductory textbooks back at the office. But think about the effects Clinton's deplorables comment had, or Gordon Brown's bigotgate, or the fact that 4 years of us calling Brexiters idiots had no noticeable effect other than making Brexiters even more angry. Or think about how no advertising agency would call people idiots for not driving Skodas (other than occasional and clearly marked attempts at humour). If that fails to convince you, fair enough, but at least this explains where I'm coming from and please believe me that it's not a controversial opinion.

As to your claim that atheism and humanism are soaring and Christianity is diving, I would like to see some evidence of that myself actually. You may be right but I'm a bit more skeptical. It might be a very localised thing (i.e. as you say, Western Europe), but the US for example has seen a spectacular rise in religion, especially the bible thumping kind, since about the time of Reagan; and though I believe recently its scaling down again a bit, this appears to be more of a regression to the mean than a long-term trend. Debatable perhaps, but from what I've read there is much clear evidence of a clear sustained trend towards secularism, Western Europe or elsewhere, though I suppose this is complicated by the fact that terms like religion, spirituality or secularism don't have particularly clear definitions. But also, as I said above, I never had any beef with humanism as such, if they are growing then great for them - that would have been despite Roberts' intervention though, luckily for them they're maybe not all that bad at communicating.

Then finally, yes she was writing a tweet, not giving a presidential address. This is an internet forum, not a scholarly journal. I would certainly hope that she employs a different tone in more formal environments. But I opined that her tweet was silly, and I'm still quite convinced by that.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by monkey » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:14 pm

warumich wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:38 pm
... the US for example has seen a spectacular rise in religion, especially the bible thumping kind, since about the time of Reagan; and though I believe recently its scaling down again a bit, this appears to be more of a regression to the mean than a long-term trend...
Pew looks into this. Here's some tables: clicky

Christianity in general is in decline and has been since the 40s and "none" (which I assume includes everything from "meh" to past Dawkins) has been on the increase. So there is a long term trend for general Christianity and any recent decline isn't a regression to the mean.

There's a table that asks "are you Born Again?", which looks noisy and I couldn't be bothered to plot it or owt, but I'd guess there's not much change there. And it also doesn't go back to Reagan.

But maybe the Evangelicals are just more noticeable at certain times, like when a President (or candidate) wants to use them for votes.

I'd be interested in a regional/state/rural vs urban breakdown. I bet things like church attendance might be stable or on the increase in some places, and decreasing in others, which could have an influence on how things are perceived.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:32 pm

Interesting, thanks monkey.

Things I read took a more inclusive view on religion from what I remember, i.e. spirituality hasn't declined much, even if no formal religious affiliation has been identified. But in general terms I suppose I may have been wrong on this above.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by dyqik » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:31 am

My parents are "Born Again" (converted at a Billy Graham gig in Eastbourne, of all the hell-forsaken places). But they're currently Baptist, and English, which means they speak in tongues, wave their hands around, vote Lib Dem, hate the Tories, have never heard of the prosperity gospel, have a former refugee from Eritrea as regular preacher at their previous church, and have an atheist part-time cosmologist for a son (who "converted" while his father was training as a minister in a pentecostal church, and has teamed up with his father with difficult questions when JWs call at the door).

IME, the white evangelical movement in the US is 75% national politics/racial politics, 15% local politics/community center and 10% religion.

I'd also say I currently have a larger "spirituality" element to my thought than I did ten years. But (I think) it's based on pretty solid sociology/political theory bases rather than religion.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by monkey » Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:43 am

dyqik wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:31 am
IME, the white evangelical movement in the US is 75% national politics/racial politics, 15% local politics/community center and 10% religion.
I'd agree with this. Couldn't give you percentages, but the brand of religion they have is definitely part of the imagined past that American conservatism is all about.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:59 am

dyqik wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:31 am
My parents are "Born Again" (converted at a Billy Graham gig in Eastbourne, of all the hell-forsaken places). But they're currently Baptist, and English, which means they speak in tongues, wave their hands around, vote Lib Dem, hate the Tories, have never heard of the prosperity gospel, have a former refugee from Eritrea as regular preacher at their previous church, and have an atheist part-time cosmologist for a son (who "converted" while his father was training as a minister in a pentecostal church, and has teamed up with his father with difficult questions when JWs call at the door).

IME, the white evangelical movement in the US is 75% national politics/racial politics, 15% local politics/community center and 10% religion.

I'd also say I currently have a larger "spirituality" element to my thought than I did ten years. But (I think) it's based on pretty solid sociology/political theory bases rather than religion.
There has long been a political and social identity component to religious affiliation. White far right Christians and the various flavours of black churches in the US. For my parents, going to a CofE church was part of the package of being 'English' along with cricket, voting Tory and despising everyone who came from more than about ten miles away. There was also (and still is to a less violent extent) the Protestant/Catholic divide in Northern Ireland which is more to do with politics and identity than how you take Holy Communion and what you think about Mary.

This is why many people cling onto their beliefs; they're so enmeshed with identity on all levels that any challenge to a belief is a challenge to identity and social belonging.

I have no idea what 'spirituality' means, it appears to mean whatever people want it to. I wrote this ages ago about it (it's quite long).

https://tessera2009.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... othes.html

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:25 am

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:57 am

Tessa K wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:59 am
dyqik wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:31 am
My parents are "Born Again" (converted at a Billy Graham gig in Eastbourne, of all the hell-forsaken places). But they're currently Baptist, and English, which means they speak in tongues, wave their hands around, vote Lib Dem, hate the Tories, have never heard of the prosperity gospel, have a former refugee from Eritrea as regular preacher at their previous church, and have an atheist part-time cosmologist for a son (who "converted" while his father was training as a minister in a pentecostal church, and has teamed up with his father with difficult questions when JWs call at the door).

IME, the white evangelical movement in the US is 75% national politics/racial politics, 15% local politics/community center and 10% religion.

I'd also say I currently have a larger "spirituality" element to my thought than I did ten years. But (I think) it's based on pretty solid sociology/political theory bases rather than religion.
There has long been a political and social identity component to religious affiliation. White far right Christians and the various flavours of black churches in the US. For my parents, going to a CofE church was part of the package of being 'English' along with cricket, voting Tory and despising everyone who came from more than about ten miles away. There was also (and still is to a less violent extent) the Protestant/Catholic divide in Northern Ireland which is more to do with politics and identity than how you take Holy Communion and what you think about Mary.

This is why many people cling onto their beliefs; they're so enmeshed with identity on all levels that any challenge to a belief is a challenge to identity and social belonging.

I have no idea what 'spirituality' means, it appears to mean whatever people want it to. I wrote this ages ago about it (it's quite long).

https://tessera2009.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... othes.html
Interesting blogpost, thanks Tessa - yes religious affiliation is strongly linked to social identity, that's why social surveys asking about affiliation are only showing part of the picture, at least if you're interested in people's actual beliefs. And yes, spirituality is a very flexible term; all that makes it difficult to really understand any clear dynamics on how belief trends. A fantastic read, which I'm kind of hesitant to recommend because it's 700 pages long, is Charles Taylor's "a secular age", which is a philosopher's attempt to tease these things apart a bit; it doesn't discuss survey research much but takes a historical view on the development of secularism
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:58 am

I'm in a waning place when it comes to the faith that I grew up with and which lasted pretty strongly until around the time I turned 30. I definitely wouldn't describe myself as an atheist and only after a lot of hesitation and consideration as an agnostic. In the census just recently I ticked the Christian box. I pray from time to time under severe stress, I feel comfortable around churches and proper Christians with stronger faiths than me (if a little guilty at not being where they are), and discussions of Christian stuff. I also feel defensive when people make stupid comments about the whole religion debate, on either side, because morons abound everywhere.

The things that made a difference to me moving towards agnosticism were as follows:
  1. The BBC website dedicated to the evolution of life (sadly I think it may have disappeared), which I discovered entirely on my own out of curiosity, and was fascinated by
  2. A particular incident with a Christian being a dickhead about the evidence for evolution.
Things I discovered in my own time, or personal things that happened to me from the Christian side.

The things which didn't make a difference to me moving towards agnosticism, and which just pissed me off and, if anything, made me minded to cleave even stronger to my faith, were:
  1. Jobbins being a c.nt about my faith on the old forum, to the extent that I walked away from it (the forum, not my faith) for a month
  2. Other people on the forum since then being c.nts about religion, including one or two of the posts on this thread
  3. Anything Richard Dawkins has ever said on the matter, because he can be a massive c.nt about it
  4. Any other c.nt being a c.nt about it
Any time an atheist has acted like a c.nt it's made me stop listening. It doesn't matter what the topic is - politics, religion, vaccination - if you piss people off, they'll just shut you out.

Alice Roberts' tweet won't really affect anyone who believes in this stuff, because they disagree with her. Christians can, in general, take a joke, and even mild criticism or pushback (which is where I'd place her tweet). I made a gently teasing post on Easter Sunday about my Christian friends' propensity to write "He has risen! Alleluia!" on facebook by posting a photo of the two loaves (no fishes) that I'd just baked, captioned with "They have risen! Alleluia!". I received no blowback, and a few laughing emoji responses. Most of the Christians that are my friends can take a joke. If someone starts being a c.nt to them, they'll probably either walk away, cut that person out of their lives or argue back and then start being even more annoying to that person.

Roberts' tweet won't make the blindest bit of difference to anyone's faith. It won't have any positive (from her humanist perspective) impact on shifting any Christian's point of view. All it'll do is make people see her as someone who isn't worth listening to on the matter, and weakening the position of humanism as the sort of field that c.nts like Dawkins live in, and very few people want to be like that. My identity is in a strange place, and it's important to me - sort of post-Christian, but I'll be f.cked if I ever identify as a humanist with shite like that going on.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by jimbob » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:02 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:58 am
I'm in a waning place when it comes to the faith that I grew up with and which lasted pretty strongly until around the time I turned 30. I definitely wouldn't describe myself as an atheist and only after a lot of hesitation and consideration as an agnostic. In the census just recently I ticked the Christian box. I pray from time to time under severe stress, I feel comfortable around churches and proper Christians with stronger faiths than me (if a little guilty at not being where they are), and discussions of Christian stuff. I also feel defensive when people make stupid comments about the whole religion debate, on either side, because morons abound everywhere.

The things that made a difference to me moving towards agnosticism were as follows:
  1. The BBC website dedicated to the evolution of life (sadly I think it may have disappeared), which I discovered entirely on my own out of curiosity, and was fascinated by
  2. A particular incident with a Christian being a dickhead about the evidence for evolution.
Things I discovered in my own time, or personal things that happened to me from the Christian side.

The things which didn't make a difference to me moving towards agnosticism, and which just pissed me off and, if anything, made me minded to cleave even stronger to my faith, were:
  1. Jobbins being a c.nt about my faith on the old forum, to the extent that I walked away from it (the forum, not my faith) for a month
  2. Other people on the forum since then being c.nts about religion, including one or two of the posts on this thread
  3. Anything Richard Dawkins has ever said on the matter, because he can be a massive c.nt about it
  4. Any other c.nt being a c.nt about it
Any time an atheist has acted like a c.nt it's made me stop listening. It doesn't matter what the topic is - politics, religion, vaccination - if you piss people off, they'll just shut you out.

Alice Roberts' tweet won't really affect anyone who believes in this stuff, because they disagree with her. Christians can, in general, take a joke, and even mild criticism or pushback (which is where I'd place her tweet). I made a gently teasing post on Easter Sunday about my Christian friends' propensity to write "He has risen! Alleluia!" on facebook by posting a photo of the two loaves (no fishes) that I'd just baked, captioned with "They have risen! Alleluia!". I received no blowback, and a few laughing emoji responses. Most of the Christians that are my friends can take a joke. If someone starts being a c.nt to them, they'll probably either walk away, cut that person out of their lives or argue back and then start being even more annoying to that person.

Roberts' tweet won't make the blindest bit of difference to anyone's faith. It won't have any positive (from her humanist perspective) impact on shifting any Christian's point of view. All it'll do is make people see her as someone who isn't worth listening to on the matter, and weakening the position of humanism as the sort of field that c.nts like Dawkins live in, and very few people want to be like that. My identity is in a strange place, and it's important to me - sort of post-Christian, but I'll be f.cked if I ever identify as a humanist with shite like that going on.
Yes.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:13 am

That's it. To go back to the OP's question, I don't think any sceptic or atheist or anyone else will have especially altered their opinions on the matter. But I think that many have changed their approach to dealing with it, to be kinder, more considerate and thoughtful in how they interact with people. Which is a good thing. Overall, the cultural space of scepticism is still sceptical, but it's developed a bit more thoughtfully. Obviously, there are still c.nts out there, naming no names, quack but things seem to be better now.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by dyqik » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:21 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:13 am
That's it. To go back to the OP's question, I don't think any sceptic or atheist or anyone else will have especially altered their opinions on the matter. But I think that many have changed their approach to dealing with it, to be kinder, more considerate and thoughtful in how they interact with people. Which is a good thing. Overall, the cultural space of scepticism is still sceptical, but it's developed a bit more thoughtfully. Obviously, there are still c.nts out there, naming no names, quack but things seem to be better now.
I have a serious problem with the "sceptic/atheist" movement(s?) anyway, which to me seems to be just as much about identity and a chunk of politics (which also seems to be trending rightwards) as white US evangelicalism is.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by nezumi » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:30 am

I am atheist, solid and sure, but I can't describe myself as a humanist because I don't like humans very much. I'm rather comforted by the idea that I won't know or perceive anything when I die, it'll be like when I wasn't born yet.

I completely agree with the previous posts, as with everything, you get more bees* with honey than vinegar. Calling people names gets you precisely nowhere. You have to tailor your spiel for the audience. If you can't think like a salesman you have precisely no place in a communications leadership post. Obviously, I dislike sales as much as anyone else, but I find myself in the rather privileged position of begrudgingly being a salesperson right now.

In sales, you have to get to know your audience, what they enjoy about the product they are currently using (their religion) and use that to show why your solution is so much better. You can't just explain the logical, rational reasons why your solution is better, you have to emote. It helps if you truly believe your solution is better. I once had to sell phone lines on the phone. "Hi there, do you want a phone line? Oh you've got one haven't you. I'm ringing you on it." Two days I lasted. Two days. I made one sale which I wish I hadn't because it was a lovely old lady who didn't understand what I was selling and just went along with it. The Vultures jumped right on the poor dear. I quit right then and there.

Anecdotes aside, Dawkins is an a..eh.le, pure and simple. And unfortunately, far too many public atheists and humanists are patronising and insulting to people with Beliefs, and a lot of them don't seem to realise they're doing it. I know you guys won't, so here's Nezumi's Reluctant Guide to Selling Stuff to People (this also reads like a manual for making people join your cult. Same techniques apply.)

1: Know your audience. Build rapport by actively listening, ask pertinent questions, look interested. While doing this consider how you can position your product as the superior choice.
2: Be a human being, but be a good one. Be sympathetic, be kind, this is where cults start love bombing. Don't do that. Be more like a counsellor - unconditional positive regard goes a very long way here. Find ways to subtly promote your product. DO NOT DENIGRATE THE CURRENT CHOICE. EVER. Be positive about your direct competitors, have some grace for pity's sake ;)
3: Listen for "buying cues". These are subtle ways your customer will hint their interest. Use those to draw them in. Invite them to a coffee morning or a free trial or whatever it is you're trying to sell.
4: Remain positive throughout. Use above the line language (ie. business jargon for positive phraseology) and act a little bit enthusiastic (not too much!) to have them on board.
5: After sale care is the most important part of your process. If it's a product, a courtesy call to check everything's ok. If it's an ongoing relationship then act as a guide for your recruit, make sure they are introduced to positive people and that the group takes an interest in them. Be welcoming. Accept current beliefs. No point challenging them outright when you now have them in a peer group that believes the new stuff. The environment will do the work, your job is to help people be comfortable within that environment.

FYI I am quite good at sales, for my sins.


* Or flies, if you're my Gran.
Non fui. Fui. Non sum. Non curo.

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Tessa K
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:03 pm

I like El Pollo's self-description as post-Christian. I was there for a while before moving to atheist (not suggesting that's an inevitable or superior position) and it's helpful to think about where you've come from in terms of what has influenced your thinking and also to identify the good things about any former beliefs or attitudes before jettisoning the whole lot.

Nezumi - why would bees be attracted to your honey? They can make their own. They're more likely to sting you for nicking it. :D

Your point about after-sales care is a good one. Too often Dawkins and his ilk just want to destroy someone's faith without thinking about what impact this will have on them and every aspect of their lives.

I wrote this a while ago - Why I Am Not A Humanist. It does put the boot in a bit, describing humanism as the methadone to the opiate of religion. I was clearly feeling fiesty that day.

https://tessera2009.blogspot.com/search?q=humanist

I just clicked something accidentally without noticing and now the font is really big. How did I do that? So inept.

Mod edit: fixed link

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by jimbob » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:11 pm

dyqik wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:21 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:13 am
That's it. To go back to the OP's question, I don't think any sceptic or atheist or anyone else will have especially altered their opinions on the matter. But I think that many have changed their approach to dealing with it, to be kinder, more considerate and thoughtful in how they interact with people. Which is a good thing. Overall, the cultural space of scepticism is still sceptical, but it's developed a bit more thoughtfully. Obviously, there are still c.nts out there, naming no names, quack but things seem to be better now.
I have a serious problem with the "sceptic/atheist" movement(s?) anyway, which to me seems to be just as much about identity and a chunk of politics (which also seems to be trending rightwards) as white US evangelicalism is.
One noun, which sums that up for me: "Brights"

But yes, especially as there is a distinct undercurrent in the US of a weird reflection of Marxist Leninist substitution of (pseudo)reason for theology. There is a distinct right-wing Skeptic movement who combine a love for Darwinism with a greater (and I use the word after thought) "worship" of Social Darwinism and a dismissal of any science that they dislike (global warming springs to mind). I first noticed this in one of the worst Science Fiction books I've read "Fall of Angels" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle - a combination which was obviously inspired by Heinlein but seems to think he was too nuanced and not right-wing enough. There is also a moderate number of such people on what was the James Randi forums now internationalskeptics.ocm - probably not that many, but quite prolific.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Grumble » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:19 pm

nezumi wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:30 am
you get more bees* with honey than vinegar.
* Or flies, if you're my Gran.
https://xkcd.com/357/
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You’ve got no chutzpah, your organisational skills are lacklustre and your timekeeping is abysmal.

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