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Old 03-20-2006, 08:45 PM   #1
TheFieroKid
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Atheism is the fastest growing "religious" identity in America

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Posted on Sat, Mar. 18, 2006
Atheists put their faith in ethical behavior
By MELISSA FLETCHER STOELTJE
San Antonio Express-News

SAN ANTONIO -- Melissa and Chanse nibble on club sandwiches and french fries at a local coffee shop. To look at them, they're just another young couple enjoying lunch on a weekday afternoon.

She wears stylish glasses, and her thick black hair is swept up in a ponytail; the only hint of a slightly rebellious streak is the tattoo that peeks from under her shirtsleeve. He is a slight, soft-spoken man with a laid-back demeanor and a full beard.

Melissa and Chanse are young atheists. They don't believe in God. As such, they're part of a small but substantial minority that swims against the overtly religious mainstream of America, a spiritual tenor that has grown more strident in recent times as issues of faith increasingly become entangled with politics and public policy.

The public face of atheism in recent times has been Michael Newdow, who filed a lawsuit over his daughter's having to repeat the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually dismissed his case, stating he did not have proper parental standing on behalf of his daughter.

The story made headlines for months. But for most atheists, it's not headlines or scandal they desire. They simply want to go about their own lives without hassle or pressure.

Atheists, they lament, are the last minority in this nation that is fair game for bigotry. Experts who study religion in public life concur.

"Atheists are not very well-thought-of in America," says John Green, a senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. "It's still acceptable to criticize atheists in a way that's not polite. People may harbor negative views about Jews, Catholics, Muslims and evangelicals, but they know they're not supposed to voice those views, so they don't. But it's still OK to say anything bad you want about atheists."

The overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens profess some religious faith, although far fewer attend worship services on a regular basis. The public square has become increasingly dominated by religious (specifically, Christian) rhetoric, from the "values voters" of the 2004 presidential election to hot-button cultural issues that carry a religious edge -- abortion, gay rights, stem-cell research, intelligent design, the right to die.

And yet at the same time a compelling undercurrent is at work. A study done by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York found that the percentage of the population that describes itself as "nonreligious" more than doubled from 1990 to 2001, from 14.3 million to 29.4 million people. The only other group to show growth was Muslims.

"Right now, the fastest-growing religious identity in America is the nonreligious," says Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a Madison, Wis.-based group that champions church-state separation and works to educate the public on nontheism.

A study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 16 percent of Americans (about 35 million) consider themselves "unaffiliated" -- a category that includes "unaffiliated believers," "secularists" and atheists/agnostics.

The latter terms -- atheists and agnostics -- are lumped together, says Green, because they share so many similarities. But there is a subtle difference: Atheists forthrightly affirm that there is no God; agnostics simply say as humans we can never know. Together, they constitute about 3 percent of the American population.

Green says atheists/agnostics as a group tend to be well educated and politically liberal (although, he says, there are atheist Republicans). They tend to cluster in big cities on the East and West coasts. They tend to be younger, not older. They tend to be male more than female.

But what, exactly, do atheists believe in, if not in God?

In a nutshell, atheists believe in reason alone, in those things that can be arrived at through intellect and the scientific method. Concrete evidence for God, they argue, simply doesn't exist. They don't cotton to leaps of faith or anything that involves a supernatural being reaching into human lives. They believe you can live a happy, respectable life based on human ethics that were derived not from God handing down a tablet but from a code of rules that emerged naturally through an evolutionary process in which humans learned how to live together successfully.

I think its a good read... and... yup I'm a minority
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:23 PM   #2
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A lot of my friends are (or at least claim to be) atheists...I personally do believe in God, but not the whole Bible thing with Adam and Eve...It's definitely a good read though....
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:28 PM   #3
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Is there a purpose behind this thread or is it just another attempt to stir shit?
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:53 PM   #4
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I think it's the latter.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwhobo
Is there a purpose behind this thread or is it just another attempt to stir shit?

Not really, I read it and thought it was an interesting read... personally I don’t see anything about it that could "stir shit". It just an observational piece... if you find something objectionable about it, perhaps you should just turn around an exit the thread...

I guess I was also curious as to how many others might be in the minority... I don’t encounter a lot of other agnostics in my daily life... and was curious at to the validity of the numbers given in the article. Obviously those of you with strong religious feelings will want to chime in… and your more then free to… but it wasn’t intended to spark a philosophical debate.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFieroKid
Not really, I read it and thought it was an interesting read... personally I donít see anything about it that could "stir shit". It just an observational piece... if you find something objectionable about it, perhaps you should just turn around an exit the thread...
And you just dispayed publically why something like that stirs shit. I agree it's interesting, but a car forum is hardly the place for such a topic. Add to that your attitude of closed mindedness "if you find something objectionable about it, perhaps you should just turn around an exit the thread", and it'll turn into a real barnstormer. When someone comes along and questions your choice (or non-choice) of faith, are YOU going to find that objectionable and leave? I bet not, you'll piss and moan as usual.

I mean come on, get real. You're not even man enough to say what your choice is, you just identify yourself as a minority. What kind of namby pamby bullsh*t is that?
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFieroKid
I guess I was also curious as to how many others might be in the minority... I donít encounter a lot of other agnostics in my daily life... and was curious at to the validity of the numbers given in the article. Obviously those of you with strong religious feelings will want to chime inÖ and your more then free toÖ but it wasnít intended to spark a philosophical debate.
Aagin I'll respond to the second edited part seperately. Don't you think you're being a bit closed minded and presumptuous when you say "obviously those of you with strong religious feelings will want to chime in" to me. You've already made up your mind what my beliefs are.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:44 PM   #8
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Oh I’m sorry, I’m agnostic, I don’t believe we as humans can even begin to understand who or what god is... and WTF this isn’t the place is this not the off topic section? there’s lots of shit in this section that doesn’t pertain to cars or have any real need to be here... quit censoring me!
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFieroKid
Oh Iím sorry, Iím agnostic, I donít believe we as humans can even begin to understand who or what god is... and WTF this isnít the place is this not the off topic section? thereís lots of shit in this section that doesnít pertain to cars or have any real need to be here... quit censoring me!
Censoring YOU. You're the one who wants to censor me. Remember your remark that I quoted earlier, "if you find something objectionable about it, perhaps you should just turn around an exit the thread". That is censorship. I only gave my opinion. I have no power to censor you nor any desire.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwhobo
Censoring YOU. You're the one who wants to censor me. Remember your remark that I quoted earlier, "if you find something objectionable about it, perhaps you should just turn around an exit the thread". That is censorship. I only gave my opinion. I have no power to censor you nor any desire.

Obviously you do, I say the same thing every one says to any one who bitches about what’s on TV, turn the station if you don’t like it! That’s not censorship that’s me telling you if you don’t like it leave! You know me well enough to know that you probably wont like my post by the subject title, and so you should know whether or not its going to be one that will anger you and any rational person would avoid said aggregations!

And perhaps if I got more responses to my car related posts (like where I asked for help with my cars) I might actually have something more to talk about... but as far as it goes and as much as I love this forum its not the wealth of technical knowledge that some other sites I’m members of are.

And as a small point of fact, I belong to several forums not all car ones, and a woman posted about her love for Jesus no rhyme or reason for her posting it other then perhaps her overwhelming happiness over it… but I didn’t even post in it… why? Because I just turned around and walked away, I knew I had nothing positive to post and what ever I said would probably just upset her and there was no reason for that she and I don’t get along but there was no reason for it…
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFieroKid
Obviously you do, I say the same thing every one says to any one who bitches about whatís on TV, turn the station if you donít like it! Thatís not censorship thatís me telling you if you donít like it leave! You know me well enough to know that you probably wont like my post by the subject title, and so you should know whether or not its going to be one that will anger you and any rational person would avoid said aggregations!

And perhaps if I got more responses to my car related posts (like where I asked for help with my cars) I might actually have something more to talk about... but as far as it goes and as much as I love this forum its not the wealth of technical knowledge that some other sites Iím members of are.

And as a small point of fact, I belong to several forums not all car ones, and a woman posted about her love for Jesus no rhyme or reason for her posting it other then perhaps her overwhelming happiness over itÖ but I didnít even post in itÖ why? Because I just turned around and walked away, I knew I had nothing positive to post and what ever I said would probably just upset her and there was no reason for that she and I donít get along but there was no reason for itÖ
You see, the problem with you and people like you is you start a thread like this having preconcieved notions. You've already decided that I have nothing to add, that I have strong religious beliefs and that I'm trying to censor you. Unfortunately, you're wrong on all counts. I've just been a member of this forum long enough to know that discussions about religion get rather heated... Mostly because peole like you who don't really care to hear what others think with an open mind. Just like you've done to me since the beginning of this thread.

As for your car related posts, IMO if you didn't have such a strong record of refuting any information that is provided to you if it doesn't support your ideas, you just might get some more help. You have a long history on this forum of being closed minded. People have learned that and so that's what they expect of you everytime. Because of your past actions you've put yourself in the category of "who cares".
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwhobo
You see, the problem with you and people like you is you start a thread like this having preconcieved notions. You've already decided that I have nothing to add, that I have strong religious beliefs and that I'm trying to censor you. Unfortunately, you're wrong on all counts. I've just been a member of this forum long enough to know that discussions about religion get rather heated... Mostly because peole like you who don't really care to hear what others think with an open mind. Just like you've done to me since the beginning of this thread.

As for your car related posts, IMO if you didn't have such a strong record of refuting any information that is provided to you if it doesn't support your ideas, you just might get some more help. You have a long history on this forum of being closed minded. People have learned that and so that's what they expect of you everytime. Because of your past actions you've put yourself in the category of "who cares".

You obviously didn’t have anything to add, all you wanted to know was if I was trying to stir shit which was not my initial intent, nor is it now. How am I closed minded? I’ve read the bible, I’ve gone and sat in on rabbi sermons… have you? I’ve gone to pro-life rallies, and gwb support rallies during the elections, can you say you’ve sat in at pro choice rallies or Kerry rallies?... i have a very open mind to different cultures beliefs and peoples... just because I may not agree doesn’t mean I don’t listen or understand and that’s what being open minded is about!

I posted once in a thread about engine design and what happened to me, was I was bashed and yelled and told how I was completely wrong in a tone that I found extremely unpleasant so no I wasn’t going to listen or take what anyone had to say with more then face value... and by the way I’ve talked to several mechanics since then and they’ve all told me that the I design is the longest lasting for all the reasons I posted in that thread, tho they did say I was wrong about the boxer engines.

Now when I asked if my mechanic was ripping me off I wanted to truly know, and I got like 4 reply’s to that, I wanted to know what every one thought, there were those who said it was steep and I didn’t say your ling or anything infact I agree with them, and when i asked about help with my control arm its self now how I should go about replacing it how in the hell am I going to not listen?

What you and every one else has done is paint me with a single colored brush because of my political and religious views, and that my friend is wrong. If you, or JediMario or any one else I don’t get particularly along with, had a question about your car that I had the answer to, I would gladly give you the advice you/they turned to this forum for... unfortunately you cant be bothered to show me the same curtsey and that makes you the hypocrite you know you are.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by TheFieroKid
You obviously didnít have anything to add, all you wanted to know was if I was trying to stir shit which was not my initial intent, nor is it now. How am I closed minded? Iíve read the bible, Iíve gone and sat in on rabbi sermonsÖ have you? Iíve gone to pro-life rallies, and gwb support rallies during the elections, can you say youíve sat in at pro choice rallies or Kerry rallies?... i have a very open mind to different cultures beliefs and peoples... just because I may not agree doesnít mean I donít listen or understand and thatís what being open minded is about!

I posted once in a thread about engine design and what happened to me, was I was bashed and yelled and told how I was completely wrong in a tone that I found extremely unpleasant so no I wasnít going to listen or take what anyone had to say with more then face value... and by the way Iíve talked to several mechanics since then and theyíve all told me that the I design is the longest lasting for all the reasons I posted in that thread, tho they did say I was wrong about the boxer engines.

Now when I asked if my mechanic was ripping me off I wanted to truly know, and I got like 4 replyís to that, I wanted to know what every one thought, there were those who said it was steep and I didnít say your ling or anything infact I agree with them, and when i asked about help with my control arm its self now how I should go about replacing it how in the hell am I going to not listen?

What you and every one else has done is paint me with a single colored brush because of my political and religious views, and that my friend is wrong. If you, or JediMario or any one else I donít get particularly along with, had a question about your car that I had the answer to, I would gladly give you the advice you/they turned to this forum for... unfortunately you cant be bothered to show me the same curtsey and that makes you the hypocrite you know you are.
And you have once again proven why you are looked upon as you are on this forum. There of course is no possible way that you might be responsible for the way people treat you here. You're just a victim, everyone is out to get you because of your political and religious views. You are an ignorant individual, and let me give you one instance that proves my point.

If you took the time to read these forums, you would know that I am also an agnostic and have been for basically my entire adult life. That little man is longer than you have been on the planet. Honestly some of the threads have been deleted by the thought police, you know, the individuals I rail against all the time which by the way you never join in on because it doesn't directly affect you. Also, until reading this thread I had no idea that you were also agnostic. So, tell me again how I'm discriminating aginst you because of your religious beliefs. Make it short and to the point, because I'm not really in the mood for any more of your whining. And if you're going to respond, try some intellectual honesty this time and not emotional chest beating.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by vwhobo
And you have once again proven why you are looked upon as you are on this forum. There of course is no possible way that you might be responsible for the way people treat you here. You're just a victim, everyone is out to get you because of your political and religious views. You are an ignorant individual, and let me give you one instance that proves my point.

If you took the time to read these forums, you would know that I am also an agnostic and have been for basically my entire adult life. That little man is longer than you have been on the planet. Honestly some of the threads have been deleted by the thought police, you know, the individuals I rail against all the time which by the way you never join in on because it doesn't directly affect you. Also, until reading this thread I had no idea that you were also agnostic. So, tell me again how I'm discriminating aginst you because of your religious beliefs. Make it short and to the point, because I'm not really in the mood for any more of your whining. And if you're going to respond, try some intellectual honesty this time and not emotional chest beating.

I don’t read every thread on the forum so I must have missed an opportunity to join you in some railing of people who must have disserve it.

I’m not a victim of anything more then myself and how people cant move on.

Now obviously you cant be discriminating against me because of my religious views as that is yet another thing we have in common... but you never have anything nice to say. I’ve complemented you before or agreed with you in posts... but you’ve never once shown the same towards me. But maybe its my political views... we know those differ from you on a few points... I don’t know why you dislike me so much... but I can tell when it started and I can tell you have no animosity towards you.

So if you have something to add to the original post... you know your thoughts that our beliefs are growing, that we are one of the last peoples who can be hated openly any of the other things that the article says. Any body else for that matter.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:49 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TheFieroKid
I donít read every thread on the forum so I must have missed an opportunity to join you in some railing of people who must have disserve it.

Iím not a victim of anything more then myself and how people cant move on.

Now obviously you cant be discriminating against me because of my religious views as that is yet another thing we have in common... but you never have anything nice to say. Iíve complemented you before or agreed with you in posts... but youíve never once shown the same towards me. But maybe its my political views... we know those differ from you on a few points... I donít know why you dislike me so much... but I can tell when it started and I can tell you have no animosity towards you.
All I can say is victim attitude. If you look for something hard enough you're going to find it. Watch the TV show Black/White one time and you'll see exactly what I mean. I don't care what your political views are, your sexual orientation is, where you're from, the color of your skin or how much money you have. I don't dislike anybody, not even my ex-wife, and especially someone on an online forum. I don't even get pissed off, just very frustrated sometimes. I also don't hold any grudges, but like an elephant I don't forget. And I suppose most importantly for this post, there is no animosity against you.
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