11/13/08

Atheist / Secular Societies – Their Successes, Morality and High Standards

FYI: this post has been moved here.

19 comments:

  1. "...does not mean that atheism or secularism are cogent concepts."
    Oh, Mariano. You may be aware, but in Calvinist Naturalism, only the elect receive the Truth(TM). Without His non-support, most peoples' hearts are hardened by their own sins of simply being (as well as the Original Sin, made by the first Man and his identical twin sister who failed to exist, of disobeying someone who also does not exist), and they are unable to believe in and praise His own divine non-existence.
    So, in a way, it's not your fault that you can't believe in His of Himself. Sadly, this means that after death you will face an eternity of not suffering forever with no gnashing of teeth in torment with your worm quickly dying in a fire that is quenched, while the elect will receive their reward of not singing hymns to His own most Just and Merciful non-being in His choir for never and never more.
    Amen.

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  2. So Mariano: what you are saying is that just because secular or atheist societies are apparently successful, that doesn't prove that God does not exist. I agree.

    What it does demonstrate is exactly what you said: God is not necessary for moral, successful societies. If the Christian God does exist, of course, all that success and nice behavior goes to waste, because all of those upstanding atheists will burn in Hell forever after having enjoyed their lives filled with secular pleasures.

    But that's another topic. The point is, Christians often claim that believing in God is necessary for people to behave nicely, and that is pretty obviously not true. Thanks for recognizing that.

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  3. Wups. I lost a word there. That should be "His lack of Himself".

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  4. whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop.

    DEFINE "moral" and "successful."

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  5. whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop.

    DEFINE "moral" and "successful."


    More semantic, philisophical-wordplay, nit-picking, quote-mining merry-go-round that goes nowhere and eventually bores most of the guys to just find something else to talk about.

    You guys want to teach your kids and our kids that the Earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old, and that Noah's Ark was real, and that If you don't believe in the God Mariano believes in, you will be tortured forever. Are you guys suprised that many have serious reservations with that agenda?

    Wake up guys.

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  6. Can you give me an example of moral, successful society without God?

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  7. tremor: you ask

    Can you give me an example of moral, successful society without God?

    Depending of course on what you mean by "moral" and "successful", sure: all such societies are without God, because God does not exist. But I suspect you mean "without belief in God". In that case, there are none, because (at least as far as I know) there are no societies of any size that don't have at least some believers in them. If you mean "are there any successful, moral, societies, where the majority of the population does not believe in God?" then we're getting closer to a question that can be answered, albeit in a very general way.

    By most measures, Scandinavian countries have a very high percentage of atheists, and are moral and successful societies in many ways: the standard of living is high, crime is low, and the number of non-Christians they kill is also low. The largely Christian USA doesn't compare very favorably on any of these counts. But things might improve, now that the kleptocrats have been give the bum's rush.

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  8. There are no atheist societies. Zuckerman study sux. It's not a scientific study it's crap.

    Japan is not a "secular" nation any more so than the USA is. People of Japan have done a lot to integrate their religion into modern society. They just see things differently than we do. Japanese religion is different, less exclusivity, less atheistically oriented. By not stretch of the imagination are they atheists.

    a new study has found that the number of Christians in Japan was underrated.Japan almost became a Christina nation in the Tokugawa period (1600's-1700s). They used Christianity as a motivating force against the emperor in a peasant revolt, but he also used Christianity (Catholic) to counter them.

    Christianity swept Japan but most of them were killed in the revolution that failed. They started Christian samurai who outfought Buddhists Samurai (not that that matters).

    Here's my pages on the Zuckerman "study" that's the one that supposedly says "atheist" nations do better than "religious" nations.

    the only atheist nations were the communist nations. China is still 50% religious and still communist (in name only).


    Bugus Atheist social sciences>

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  9. I would say that ALL societies (moral, successful and otherwise) almost certainly did so without God since God almost certainly doesn't exist.

    Which societies through out history CAN be considered 'moral and successful'? I submit that you can find something wrong with any society such that the claim of 'moral and successful' is problematic. Sweden is often held up as an example of an enlightened society but they have a major problem with alcoholism.

    You also have the definition problem of what is 'moral'. For some 'moral' is doing what God wants. But this leads to the issue of deciding what God actually wants - so we get true believers squirting acid in the faces of school girls because God doesn't want educated females. Or stripping couples of the right to get married because they happen to be of the same sex. Or forcing 14 year old girls to marry much older men because that's the way it was done in the Old Testament.

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  10. Thank you so much for linking to the article, it was very, very funny.

    It states, “relatively secular countries, such as…the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution.”

    The US is “relatively secular” but then “the majority believes in a creator.”

    Then the US is exampled as a God believing country that is basically worse than any other on any social indicators.

    But they claimed that the US is, “relatively secular.” So there you go, secularism is deleterious for society.
    It is also very, very funny that secular societies are the new kids on the block, that God believing societies are our history and that now, one single study calls into question that very history that brought us to our present.

    Well I suspect that our über critical and skeptical atheist readership will look into the study’s actual data and pick it apart.

    Moreover, Gregory Paul, the author of the study, shows his Europeans are the world’s judge leaning in stating, “I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the Christian states”—remember that by “Christian states” he is referring to “relatively secular” countries. His other statements also makes his various biases obvious.

    “…theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of God scientifically proven”—great stuff, science proves? And if it did then we would be reminded that science only offers the best guess thus far.

    I am so glad that I read this first thing in the morning, I am giggling like a Japanese school girl :o)

    Thanks again and aDios,
    Mariano

    PS: Whatever truth there may be to the claims of successful, moral and high standards of atheist or secular societies does not mean that atheism or secularism are cogent concepts.

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  11. Mariano,

    Why did you intentionally present a falsehood about what the article said? We had the link in front of us and read the sentence that you twisted and corrupted just to support your position. What makes you think that if you remove certain key words and replace them with three dots that the meaning of the sentence is unchanged? This is a scurrilous technique that is frequently used by Creationists when they quote mine - it is dishonest when they do it and it was dishonest when you did it. Shame on you.

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  12. There is a major error in the article that needs to be pointed out, that's the common error of confusing correlation with causation. While the correlation between religiosity and social dysfunction is strong, it has not been established that religiosity causes that social dysfunction. It could easily be (and some evidence supports it) that social dysfunction leads to religiosity.

    It could also be that there is a circular causal relationship: a social dysfunction leads to a reliance on religion, this gives a religious institution undue social influence which then thwarts efforts to relieve the social dysfunction. The Catholic church in South American countries could be a prime example of this with it's opposition to birth control.

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  13. Jdhuey;
    Thank you so much for pointing that out, you are right (at least half-right).

    All I can ask is that you believe me when I say:

    Firstly, let me state that I suffer from some odd dyslexia-like cognitive malfunctions which sometimes makes me read oddly. Add to this the fact that I read it first thing in the morning and I ended up unintentionally misunderstanding the statement.

    Yes, you had the link right before you and so no, I was not misleading on purpose. You are right in that, as it turns out, it was not referring to the US as a “relatively secular” country. I placed the ellipses at that point not to purposefully distort but to remove reference to the UK since I wanted to comment about the US.

    I will leave my original comment, yours and this one for all to see since I did make a mistake and you rightly corrected me. Although, I must ask you to empathize because while your correction was right your judgment was not.

    You wrote that I “intentionally present a falsehood” that I “twisted and corrupted” that it was a “scurrilous technique” that it was “dishonest and finally you proclaim “Shame on you.”
    Sir, this is how far you have allowed your prejudice to twist blind you towards the people with whom you disagree. All I can do is assure you that it was a simple good ol’ fashion mistake.

    Let this be a lesson for me to do what I usually do and double check and take time to muse.

    Let his be a lesson for you et al to cease from allowing your thoughts to be peppered with prejudice and automatically assume that those with whom you disagree are what you called me. This is unrighteous judgment. You should have pointed out the un-contextual partial quote and I would have still come to admit my mistake without all of the hostility.

    Peace?

    aDios,
    Mariano

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  14. Mariano,

    I do apologize for presuming to know what your intentions were. I know in the abstract that it is virtually impossible to what really motivates a person to do or say what they do or say and it was wrong of me to impute motives. I do accept your explanation and again I do apologize.

    Peace.

    John

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  15. "There is a major error in the article that needs to be pointed out, that's the common error of confusing correlation with causation."

    Well, I haven't read the original article by Paul, but from this report that fallacy seems to be the result of interpolation by the Times columnist who wrote this piece. When Paul is quoted directly there is no hint of this fallacy. His conclusions seem to chiefly be addressing the notion that without God a country could not be prosperous and moral. In case anyone believed this.

    The strongest statement I can find is this one: "He said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills." While we don't equate correlation with causation, after staring at correlations long enough one has to start consider the possibility that there is also a causal relationship, at some level.

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  16. zilch: If you mean "are there any successful, moral, societies, where the majority of the population does not believe in God?"
    Actually God is not necessary for moral, successful societies is your statement, not mine. But you elaborated it a little more, so it's clear now (that was one of my points, other to define moral and successful).
    I wanted to eleborate more but all I have to say is: this article is total bullshit, it's impossible to make meaningful research on such complicated topic.
    As for Scandinavia: what about material status of society, density of population, closeness to nature? I wonder how Austria would look like with its similiar material status and probably higher rate of religious people.

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  17. "I wanted to eleborate more but all I have to say is: this article is total bullshit, it's impossible to make meaningful research on such complicated topic."

    I assume that having read the original article and being informed in the subject underlies such condemning assertions? Would you care to explain exactly why it would be impossible to "make meaningful research on such complicated topic"? Perhaps start by defining your criterion for "meaningful." Why don't you humor us.

    Regarding your concerns about Scandinavia and Austria, I was not able to discern a coherent question. I am half Swedish and half Austrian, have lived most of my life in Sweden but also spent enough time in Austria to know the country somewhat. If you are able to formulate a more specific question perhaps I can enlighten you. Though that may be too optimistic.

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  18. @adonais
    No I haven't read entire article.
    I just dropped an eye, then on article linked by Hinman which states:
    Dr. Larsen did a literature search of social science abstracts in the 90's and found that there were 2000 articles, these are in social science journals, real academics who find religion as a positive force in people's lives and in society.

    * Cities on a Hill foundation found 300 studies that show religion good for society, contradicting the very things these atheist studies are talking about.


    Meaningful research would start from showing that at least corelation links rate of believers and checked idicators before jumping to conclusion: "RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today."
    Number of compared societies, namely two, is ridicolous.
    I've already mentioned some factors who can significantly influent measured factors, but surely there's more, e.g. "age" of society, its foundation and common values, tradition, diveristy, law, police efficiency. Choice of indicators also does matter.
    Morever - how to determine number of belivers? On which side agnostics are? What about sects? Does it matter if majority of theists practice the same religion? Who, theists or atheists, commit majority of crimes within given socity? How big difference are we talking about? Author didn't care to show exact numbers. Should I go on?

    Regarding Austria and Scandinavia - I was simply thinking about numbers for indicators mentioned in article. Seeing figures for many countries wouldn't be meaningful, but at least interesting ;).

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