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    Did we win?

    About a decade ago I was deep in the mix of the Atheist vs Christian debates. I've been an atheist, and anti-religion since childhood, but this was a fevered pitch of it that I hadn't seen until then. Then more recently my focus has switched away from Atheism vs Fundamentalist Christian and more towards Identity Politics of both the left and right. The Sam Harris interview with Cenk Uyger in which Sam had moved from attacking Christianity and onto Islam and Cenk's (and Aflek's) gut reaction to scramble to protect islam/Muslims may have been the transition point for me.

    Today I don't meet or see many fundamentalist Christians pushing their religion on others. It hasn't been done to me for a long time now. It seems to have become not just accepted, but almost cool to be an Atheist. We used to get reactions of horror to it. Are we still the "most hated group" and is being an atheist still the one thing that will prevent you from taking office? Or have we won?

    Note, I'm talking about the west. Go to many parts of the world and atheism is still something you need to keep secretive about, and I don't only mean in the middle east. Go to the Philippines for example and talk against religion and you won't like the reactions. I have heard it is similar in south america but I haven't been there more than for a few days in Galapagos, so somebody can correct me / inform me on that.

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    Well, perhaps winning, but when it comes to cults, that can turn on a dime. Look at the Cult of Bernie Sanders for an excellent example of a modern day cult springing seemingly out of nowhere.

    It grew--imo--out of the atheist "wave" (if you will) on the left and it was a cult of personality combined with promises of magical ponies in a form of after-life (after the election/"revolution"), in spite of bald-face pronouncements that nothing he was advocating could possibly be implemented after the election, without a utopia behind it.

    He was--to his followers--a messianic figure, but try to get a Sanders supporter to see that and you're just a Hillary-loving heretic to be burned at the stake for such blasphemy. And yes, I'm aware they could lob the same accusation at Clinton supporters, but I don't think it applies for a myriad of reasons I could go into, but probably better in another thread.

    The point is, that the need--or perhaps yearning--for an altruistic leader is, I believe, a fundamental one in our species and obviously so judging from our tribal ancestry/evolution. We are constantly searching for someone that is going to both help everyone, but also not hurt anyone in the process so anyone that comes along and makes such a promise--particularly in times of strife, whether real or imagined (or manufactured)--a certain percentage will cling to that "savior" mentality out of sheer desperation if nothing more tangible.

    In regard to Bernie, that ended up to be only about 6% of a third of the population of America, but it seemed much larger (and arguably may be if you go by popularity polling alone). Yet those same supporters have more-or-less maintained that cult-like devotion to a "revolution" that actually did not exist. It was all digital smoke and mirrors (pushed, as we now know, by nefarious agents, as well as honest ones), yet it continues among people who are supposed to be the more intelligent ones in the country (i.e., Democrats).

    I don't think the same can be said of Trump, however. His followers are in a cult, certainly, but it's still primarily just good ol' fashioned Cult of Christianity that dominates their programming. Trump's "message" just imprints well on that programming and that's why it was effective, but I don't think his core really thinks of him as a savior/messiah so much as they see him as a disruptor/destroyer and they're fine with that. Which fits their cult dogma. Earth has to be destroyed--and the sinners killed--before God will come, but they certainly don't see Trump as Jesus.

    Which is endlessly ironic. They are actually finally understanding that the biblical "messiah" of the OT couldn't be Jesus; it is someone that, when "he" arrives, will brutally kill everyone but the "best" as a precursor to God's return. But I digress .

    Point being, that I think we--atheists--are "winning" in the sense of spreading awareness about various cults and how they operate (as well as getting an important message out there to think for yourself and be as critical a thinker as possible), but at the same time losing some ground in regard to the fundamentals that exist in our makeups/psyches that push us toward cults in the first place.

    Those haven't changed and so long as that's the case, there will always be a yearning for a messianic/savior/god to just magic our problems away, even among the most intelligent, critically thinking among us. Who doesn't have flights of fancy regarding the "miracle" of winning the lottery, for a simple example? Same concept.

    Fantasy incarnate--fantasy made real--is really the heart of all cults and the heart of all of our art and fundamental desires. Why? Because "we" are constructed analogues; pinocchio's forever wishing to be "real" boys, only instead of wood we're made out of neurons and algorithms.

    And we all bow down to the indifferent, dumb brain that creates us demanding it tells us our "purpose."

    How the fuck do you overcome that?

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Yes
    You won. Or at the very least achieved a nil-all-draw. #post_atheism
    And so your 'on-trend' counter-culture boldness has passed its shelf life use-by date.
    So 2008

    Now, get on with your life. Tic toc. Tic toc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Yes
    You won. Or at the very least achieved a nil-all-draw. #post_atheism
    And so your 'on-trend' counter-culture boldness has passed its shelf life use-by date.
    So 2008

    Now, get on with your life. Tic toc. Tic toc.
    It certainly has where I live (Toronto area). The bible pushers were never huge here though. I've heard it was also never huge in Australia? Is that true? Has it also died down significantly in the bible belt?

    Today, when I listen to Atheist speakers like Matt Dilahunty it almost feels like listening to somebody debate Jehova's Witnesses or Mormons. But I found Hitchens back in the day very much more controversial and bold. Sam Harris moved on from it to Islam quite some time ago too. Maybe we really did win. At least here. Now we need a Hitchens of Saudi Arabia

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    the baby-eater
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    Religion in Australia is steadily declining: Lion can pretend that the child-molesting priests were not real Catholics, but the most of the country sees that church for the corrupt organisation it really is.

    The Christian lobby has been getting more strident lately; they know they're losing the public's support so they're beating the religious freedom drum. Only the die-hards actually share that delusion; most people are unsympathetic, particularly in light of child abuse cases such as the conviction of His Eminence, Cardinal George Pell.

    Churches still don't pay tax, though. So the political fight for secularism isn't over yet.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    We've certainly won. I blame that victory on intelligent and informed exchange.

    An example is bringing to Christians the knowledge that our Pledge of Allegiance did not always contain "Under God." Some may have known as much but the vast, vast majority were clueless. Show them a clip of Bing Crosby portraying a priest and leading his class in the Pledge, and you only hear "One Nation, Indivisible" and they shit their pants.

    Link them to the knowledge that their bible stories are recreations of earlier works. Show them that their gospels are only those that remain of dozens. Inform them that all the wars of Europe were christians hacking christians. Let them know that the Nazis and Stalinists were all baptized in the name of Jesus. Link them to Jefferson speaking about the silliness that is christianity. Catholic pedophiles who have been protecting catholic pedophiles being convicted in world courts. Pretty soon it becomes obvious that the humiliating pounding has had an effect. I think that is what we are seeing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfield View Post
    Churches still don't pay tax, though. So the political fight for secularism isn't over yet.
    This is an excellent delineation. I would consider we have won when no cult can be given tax exempt status.

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    Veteran Member Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Penguin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Yes
    You won. Or at the very least achieved a nil-all-draw. #post_atheism
    And so your 'on-trend' counter-culture boldness has passed its shelf life use-by date.
    So 2008

    Now, get on with your life. Tic toc. Tic toc.
    It certainly has where I live (Toronto area). The bible pushers were never huge here though. I've heard it was also never huge in Australia? Is that true? Has it also died down significantly in the bible belt?
    Down here in Texas, Buckle of the Bible Belt, Bible thumping fundies are still rampant and numerous. Our State Board Of Education is larded with creationists peddling superstition. Every time we have to consider new school textbooks, we have to battle them tooth and nail to prevent them from forcing creationism into the schools, or peddling faux history text books on the children of Texas. Women's health issues supporters have to battle far right fundy supported politicians 24/7. Climate change is a dirty set of words to many who are soaked in fundamentalist Bible literalism. Deep in the heart of savage America, militant anti-intellectualism marches on.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Penguin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Yes
    You won. Or at the very least achieved a nil-all-draw. #post_atheism
    And so your 'on-trend' counter-culture boldness has passed its shelf life use-by date.
    So 2008

    Now, get on with your life. Tic toc. Tic toc.
    It certainly has where I live (Toronto area). The bible pushers were never huge here though. I've heard it was also never huge in Australia? Is that true? Has it also died down significantly in the bible belt?
    Down here in Texas, Buckle of the Bible Belt, Bible thumping fundies are still rampant and numerous. Our State Board Of Education is larded with creationists peddling superstition. Every time we have to consider new school textbooks, we have to battle them tooth and nail to prevent them from forcing creationism into the schools, or peddling faux history text books on the children of Texas. Women's health issues supporters have to battle far right fundy supported politicians 24/7. Climate change is a dirty set of words to many who are soaked in fundamentalist Bible literalism. Deep in the heart of savage America, militant anti-intellectualism marches on.
    I don't understand the climate change denial and bible thumper connection, but it is definitely there. Is it because they think the world is about to end so why not abuse it? Another Christian could just as easily say we are appointed by God to care for the planet and have a pro-environmentalist message. This is the wonder of religion and the bible. It supports whatever you want it to.

  10. Top | #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Penguin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Yes
    You won. Or at the very least achieved a nil-all-draw. #post_atheism
    And so your 'on-trend' counter-culture boldness has passed its shelf life use-by date.
    So 2008

    Now, get on with your life. Tic toc. Tic toc.
    It certainly has where I live (Toronto area). The bible pushers were never huge here though. I've heard it was also never huge in Australia? Is that true? Has it also died down significantly in the bible belt?
    Down here in Texas, Buckle of the Bible Belt, Bible thumping fundies are still rampant and numerous. Our State Board Of Education is larded with creationists peddling superstition. Every time we have to consider new school textbooks, we have to battle them tooth and nail to prevent them from forcing creationism into the schools, or peddling faux history text books on the children of Texas. Women's health issues supporters have to battle far right fundy supported politicians 24/7. Climate change is a dirty set of words to many who are soaked in fundamentalist Bible literalism. Deep in the heart of savage America, militant anti-intellectualism marches on.
    Yea if by 'we won' he means that atheism is accepted in an incredibly small part of the world, then sure.

    The globe:



    Here's Canada:



    I expect that, in Canada at least, it will change significantly over the next few generations.

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