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Everything posted by Tampitump

  1. I take full responsibility for this statement. I've already admitted ad nauseam to being stupid and of inferior mind, so no one can call me stupid for this. I'm going go ahead to claim entitlement to my possible unrealistic assessment of religion. I think religion is as close to being THE problem as any one thing can be. Almost every erroneous action can be traced back to a belief that was informed by a person's ridiculously-idiotic religious worldview, or something very similar to religous thinking.
  2. I'm not my own worst enemy. Everything I've said of myself is actually kind of conservative. All the empirical data (without exception) supports my assessments of myself. Your statements are mere euphemisms and straw grasping. This is how girls/people in general have always treated me. I consider suicide quite often. I'm not suicidal now, but these realities often lead to a desire to die.
  3. I find statements like, "Religion gives meaning to people's lives, and morals to live by," very offensive. For one thing, it implies that without a religious belief, morality and purpose cannot be had. Secondly, if you have to believe in fairy tales in order to act right and to feel special, then it is you who is the lesser person, not me. There is absolutely no need to believe in ancient holy books in order to have what is innate to us and many other species. Euphemisms like these do not work with me. Believing in the occult or the Nation of Islam probably gives meaning to some people's lives too, but I don't think there is one good thing about either of them. I think they are despicable and absurd. Like I said in one of my recent posts, get a hobby, study philosophy, learn science, go outside and explore, listen to music, etc. There is plenty of meaning in the natural world you inhabit. There are still seemingly infinite things we haven't discovered about the world we live in that should be the basis of purpose in our lives. We don't need divisive, ignorant, and absurd religions to try to make sense of life or ourselves. Science and philosophy do just fine at that without any help from religion. All of the good parts of religion are not exclusive to religion and can be easily had without it. So yes, I believe religion is ENTIRELY bad, full stop. The parts that are considered "good" really have nothing to do with the religion. The good parts are usually the secular parts. The "religion" parts are the divisive and dogmatic parts. Dogma, in my opinion, has absolutely no place in human society.
  4. Its not quite as much about getting rid of religion as it is changing the ways people think. I think religion would evaporate in light of that, and the world would become better and less violent/hostile. Getting rid of religion itself won't automatically change the magical, illogical ways people think. You have to put fires out at their sources. You have to somehow get people to think skeptically and reasonably, I think religion would eventually phase out after that. Of course I don't believe this will ever happen. I think the world will continue to get more secular, people might drop religion out of trends and societal pressures, but that doesn't mean rational thought will gain steem. I think unreason is here to stay,
  5. At my age, even if you were normal-looking, the only women you'll find have already been down the road tens (or even hundreds) of times. They'll expect you to be as fluent and versed in dating and relationship stuff as they are. If you can't get it right, the relationship won't last. You gotta know the lingo, the movements, the dos and don'ts, etc. I have more confidence in my learning and understanding neuroscience than me catching onto that. Or you could find a girl who is just as pathetic as you are, who has never dated, and who is unwanted like you. But who wants that? I'd rather be single for life than to do that. There really are no other options. There are no wonderful, attractive women out there at my age who aren't already taken, or who aren't at least way ahead of guys like me in the dating/relationship world. And even if there were, they wouldn't even think about touching me with a 40 foot pole. I'll never have a relationship. I know this as fact, not a hunch or opinion. It just doesn't happen for guys like me. I don't think the guys here really understand or grasp the severity of my repulsive looks. I also hate when people try to undermine it and grasp at straws to cheer me up about it. "Well, looks aren't everything." Sure they are. Please say the truth. I hate pussies who sit there and say a bunch of pansy ass bullshit like that. Of course looks are 100% of it. They aren't even just a big part of it, they are 100% of it. There is NO other factor. I'm speaking about the initial attraction part of it, not the relationship itself. There will never be an initial attraction for me because girls do not get past my revolting looks.They really are that bad. It's hard to look at myself in the mirror. I'm a freak. I'm not the kind that girls think is cute or adorable either. I'm the kind that frightens them and makes them recoil. There's just no way a girl will ever look at my face and feel love for me, or think of me as a "prince charming". I'm a freak. The girl at the store the other night, I think, was trying to be overly nice, because that's what people do when they are trying to not be mean to someone whom they think is disadvantaged or pitiful. They don't want to act like they see your problems or your flaws, and sometimes they are overly-aggressively-nice. That's what she was doing, she wasn't attracted to me. I'm not sure why I'm even talking about that, of course she wasn't. It is impossible for a girl to be attracted to looks like mine. I don't want a blind girl or someone I don't think is attractive. I have standards too. I'm not going to date for the sake of it. I think that's the problem with people. They date/marry as an end in itself. I see no reason whatsoever to do that. If there is anything that isn't an end in itself, its dating and marriage in my opinion. I think that's where the general public gets it completely, utterly, and ass-backwardsly wrong. Dating, in my opinion, should only be done when it is the right relationship and fit for you, not for a single other reason. If it can't be quality, or what you want, there is absolutely ZERO reasons to engage in it. ZERO. Not to keep on the sorry talk, but I think my chances of having a girlfriend at this point are about as good as the chances that we'll see the invention of the perpetual motion machine within the next 48 hours. Even if the girl can make it past my looks, she'll have my personality to deal with, which you guys know first hand, is not very good either.
  6. It's a parlor trick used by the religious, because they know that if they have to stick with strictly facts, reality, and reasoned-argument, their case is KOed in the first round. They have to invent tricks like this to try to corner you. It shows immense desperation on their part, and to my mind, proves that their god is bogus and non-existent.
  7. +1 Be ruthless (not rude) in your criticisms, but everyone deserves their right to free speech and thought, even the racist right wingers. PC is bullshit. If you don't like free speech, there are a number of theocratic countries I can point you to.
  8. Religion is harmful even in the lesser forms I'm convinced. At the minimum, religion gets people to accept things on terrible to non-existent evidence that they wouldn't normally accept for a given claim. This is already the seed of a dangerous phenomenon that, when taken on board by billions of people, can hold disastrous consequences. We can not have serious conversations about the biggest issues that plague our species because we have to bring people's sacred delusions into the conversation and be sure to accommodate and walk on egg shells around them. We have to suspend the truth in important and consequential conversation in order to accommodate the religious. We cannot talk seriously about the prospect of combating global climate change, or reaping the benefits of embryonic stem cell research because the religious would rather preserve their childish delusions than to get with the program and help humanity and the world at large. We cannot get basic rights for people around the world because vast groups of people think that their personal beliefs are relevant when deciding who gets human rights. When preserving the validity of an ancient superstition becomes more important to people than the future well-being of the planet, and the rights of their fellow man, then we have a huge problem, a problem only something like religion can create. Religion ruled in medieval times and human well-being waned. Science pulled humanity out of those dark ages. Religion has decreased since then and nearly every aspect of humanity has gotten better. The parts of the world that are still controlled by religion are the worst parts in just about every sense. The US may be a religious nation by population, but our secular government keeps us doing well. I'll meet the less hawkish of our members here halfway by taking back my statement about religion being THE problem. I think it is possibly the biggest of many problems. There, hows that? You have legitimate sociopaths and psychopaths who do truly evil things with no religion required, but religion has a very unique and sinister problem. Religion makes otherwise decent and rational people believe things similar to what the sociopaths and psychopaths believe. Religious thinking as a whole needs to be done away with. I think it is fundamentally incompatible with the advancement of our technological and scientific society.
  9. This actually sounds pretty helpful. Thanks iNow! I'm really looking for just a fundamentals, or introductory book to get the basics down. But thanks for the suggestions. I'll give them a look.
  10. Just a quick series of google searches shows that not many books are published on this topic. I was looking for one that was set up in more of a "spelled-out" format like a "Neuroscience for Dummies" book without being a "for dummies" book. For instance, I recently bought a book called "Science: The Ultimate Visual Guide" which goes through the entirety of scientific history and all the main discoveries and important scientists in history. It is a big, thick, anthology-type book made for the lay reader who likes plain language and visual aids. I find it a good way to get aquainted with scientific concepts. I see nothing like it for neuroscience. But then, I suppose neuroscience is one of the more fledgling, younger, less developed, and less popular fields of science.
  11. I've been thinking about pursuing an education in neuroscience for some time now, whether this be purely self-education via the internet, books, and seminars, or a formal education. I was wondering if there are any good books on neuroscience out there for the layperson? I'm mainly talking about popular science books written for the general, lay reader, and not technical textbooks, etc. I was wondering if there may perhaps be some comprehensive books that skim over the broad history of the field and are written to be interesting or entertaining to the reader? These are the types of books I try to start with before really delving into the topic. I'm sorry if this is asking for too much or being too specific. Thanks
  12. I don't know why we have to sit here and debate over the possible core causes of these problems. Religion is THE problem. Religion is what informs people's worldviews to begin with. It is the lens they view the world through from the moment they are indoctrinated as a child (or later). There is a reason there are absolutely ZERO atheist groups whose mission is to persecute minorities, or to bring on the end times, or commit terrorism, etc.(National Socialism and Stalinism are not atheist groups so don't even try that one). There is a reason for the variance in values among the different religions. There is a reason why muslims are, for instance, okay with stem cell research, as their doctrine says the soul is not injected into the fetus until like the 40th day or something. There is a reason why Christians oppose stem cell research. These are doctrinal beliefs. Religion is the ultimate informer of most people's perceptions of right and wrong, and people's perceptions of right and wrong are the ultimate informers of their actions. So religion gives you peace and purpose in life? Big freakin' deal. Go watch football, get a hobby, study philosophy and science, etc. Find something else that gives your life meaning. You don't need religion to do that, and ultimate purpose is nonsense and overrated anyway. Ultimate purpose means that you lose control over your own life. You don't need to believe that a first century carpenter with magical powers is going to drop out of the clouds one day and destroy the earth in order to have a purpose in life. Hell, the lack of "ultimate purpose" is actually a good thing because it means no one is determining things for you. You can steer your own ship, and create your own unique sense of meaning. Religion crushes your individuality and makes you a slave in just about every sense of the word. I have absolutely ZERO concerns if this offends or upsets people. You need to be upset. The religious should be ashamed of themselves for being grown ups who still engage in this childish nonsense. Grow up, and drop the religious nonsense. If that sounds a little too Hitchens-like, it was meant to. I already have a crappy reputation on this forum so I might as well bask in it.
  13. I'm sorry for the offensive language. I made an ass out of myself again.
  14. That is on topic. A discussion between an atheist and clergy relates to atheism and spirituality. It was everyone else who got off topic on the pages prior to this one. I'm out. I'll never be back to this stupid forum.
  15. I offered two fairly lengthy accounts of recent experiences I had with the clergy, and some very good points to debate on, but no one is biting. This thread likely does not contain any information that would be useful to anyone on a Google search. I'd rather it just get deleted or archived. Either way, I'm going to start doing what everyone else is doing and ignoring this thread/forum.
  16. Agreed. Agreed. I see that this thread has become essentially a failed attempt at herding cats. Would a mod please delete it?
  17. Secularism alone does not have the tenets of pursuasive power to lead nations into genocide or corruption. It takes a dogmatism or tyranny to do that. Whatever Stalinism, National Socialism, and all the other so-called "secular forces" that led to this type destruction were, they weren't secular. They carried very religion-like tenets. They were, at least, nothing like the type secularism I would advocate.
  18. My pastor friend invited me back to his church tonight for a one on one conversation just between us. So we sat down in his office for about two full hours and had a discussion. I was actually looking forward to this because he wanted to understand more about why I was of the opinion I am, and inevitably I wanted to know more of where he stood in terms of his theology and his views on science etc. The conversation went very well as I had expected. I think I kind of overwhelmed him with my science talk and the many logical arguments I made. It was apparent that he had not spent much time studying the arguments on this subject and was not well-versed in apologetics. At the end of the discussion, it all boiled down to what it always bouls down to: I, as an atheist, am not willing to take things on faith and he, as a Christian, is. He tried to question where my objective moral standards comes from, and I gave him my naturalistic, evolutionary explanation that I think is most probable. He claimed to love science, but seemed to have a very fundamental misunderstanding of how the methods of science work, how skepticism works, how inductive and deductive reasoning work, how the burden of proof is supposed to work, and ultimately how science and rational thought works. There were moments where I felt like my arguments were getting through to him and he was starting see the merits of them. But ultimately his response was that he holds his faith in God based on how God "makes him feel", and that he is convinced by that alone despite science and evidence. I also picked his brain about his understanding of evolution and where he stands on matters of origins. He said that he didn't know how old the earth is, but that he believes it is 6-7 thousand years old as the Bible would indicate. He also didn't seem to know a great deal about what the theory evolution says, and was very dubious of it. Ultimately, I got the sense that he just does not trust that science has, or could ever provide reasonable answers to these questions. He expressed concern for me, but also a great deal of respect, which I appreciated. He asked me a myriad of questions about things ranging from the afterlife, to what I would do if the existence of the Christian God could be proven, to whether or not I wanted it to be true. I provided my honest answers. I don't think my attitude would change much if this God were proven to exist, I really don't wish for it to be true, and I'm not really troubled by the fact that this could be my only life. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather it not be, but I'm not depressed knowing that it is. At the end of the day, I think the conversation was positive and productive on both parts. I think I gave him a ton of things to think about. I think I changed him in some ways, I really do. This guy is only 24 years old, so I think I unloaded some pretty profound knowledge on him that just hasn't ever been exposed to. His behavior made it seem as though he had just been enlightened with information he's never thought about before. I'm not bragging that I "owned him in debate" or anything like that, but he certainly did not seem to have expected me to drop this type logic on him. We agreed to disagree and remain friends/allies. The end! The story was worth telling.
  19. I think that is also the key. On one hand, religion seems very loving and welcoming (especially in southern baptist churches), but the love is very in group/out group, us/them type of love. Most of the charity, outreach, and volunteer work has a "spreading the word of Jesus" slant to it, rather than just helping others for the sake of helping others. There were many times when my pastor friend talked about "taking Jesus out of schools" during his sermon, to which I wanted to face palm right then and there, but I was trying to show respect. After all, its their church, they can say whatever the Hell they want and I don't care. I felt like Dawkins when he sat through the Ted Haggard sermon. Though my friend was not quite as obnoxious or moronic as Haggard, and I'm not nearly as sophisticated and smart as Dawkins. lol
  20. So, I have a little story to share with you all today..... This morning I went to church for the first time in about 8 years or so (other than funerals/weddings/etc.). This was my first time actually GOING TO CHURCH in 8 years or more. I was invited by my friend who is the pastor at this church. He knows I'm a non-believer, and he asked me to come out and sit through one of his sermons. It sounded like a decent excuse to get out of the house, so I accepted his invitation. I was kind of nervous as I haven't been to church in years and I was going alone. I thought I would feel out of place. But my main goal was to observe church (and Christianity) through my new atheist lenses. I had never done this since becoming an atheist, and I wanted to just see what it was like to be in church with the knowledge and education I now have. I also wanted to see again what it was like to be part of the congregation and what emotional/spiritual benefits might be there to reap for an atheist. And, of course, just to go back and revisit the church and see what it was like to me now. The first thing I noticed after walking in was how bright and smiling everyone's faces were, hugging each other and saying very nice, loving things to each other. I could immediately see why church and religion are so comforting to most people. All this community and fellowship stuff..... that's good stuff. This type of thing pays emotional dividends for many people, and I don't dispute that one bit. It is very nice to have that kind of community and to back it all up with preachments that reassure everyone that they are someone very special, that their worldly problems are being looked after by a benign, and all-powerful father, and that their inevitable deaths will only be the beginning of a wonderful eternal life. It is no question that this is a wonderful thing to believe (even though this just a cherry-picked version of Christianity). My friend's sermon was decent and charismatic (preachin' the gospel), and it seemed as though he sneaked some stuff about atheism into his sermon, to which he just basically said something to the effect of "everyone wants to have eternal life, even atheists would like to have eternal life." I suppose I would agree with that, depending on what kind of eternal life it is. I could tell he had structured a goodly portion of his sermon about me, though he would not single me out or call me by name. He kept talking about "someone who hasn't accepted Christ whom he has been talking with lately." Well, since I haven't accepted Christ, and him and I have been engaging in discussions of this sort lately, and since he invited me to his sermon, my guess is that he was referring to me. At the end of the service, I could tell that when it comes to community, support, family, and having a place to gather every weekend and show love and care for one another, the religious have us beat hands down. There is no denying the principal advantage to winning people over that religion has over science and reasoned argument. Science just does not offer that kind of emotional reinforcement that humans crave. Religion is like the big party that everyone is so excited about, and science is like the party pooper that says the party doesn't exist and is a myth, and that we're all going to die and be dead forever. This, I believe is the main thing that keeps people in the churches and believing in false things. What religion has to offer is something that science and reason simply cannot compete with. That is, at least not for the people who don't crave evidence and reason. I honestly don't want to get rid of the churches. I would just like to see them reformed and re-purposed. As someone who was born and raised in the south, I cannot imagine a small town around here without all the nice little white churches everywhere that complement the scenery and tie things together. Also, realistically, I don't see religion ever going away, and getting rid of it is just a pipe dream I believe. I actually loved every part of my experience in church this morning save for the nonsensical superstitious and dogmatic beliefs behind it all. If we could get rid of those, get rid of prayer (in the traditional sense), and just focus on the gathering, community, and emotional support, I would be perfectly fine with church. But I don't think that will ever happen. Of course, I could be wrong. Anyway, I thought this was relevant to the topic and thought I'd throw it out there.
  21. I don't think I'm to that point yet, or will ever be. I'm over that kind of stuff. I just don't do it anymore.
  22. I know I've been saying repeatedly that I think I'm stupid, or of "low intelligence" on this forum, but I have a confession to make. I think I'm actually of rather high intelligence, but very self-conscious and of low self-esteem. I've always been this way. I think the thing that makes me feel as though my intelligence or wit is lower than average is the fact that no one seems to recognize my intellectual prowess. But I do think I must take into account the fact that I am from the American south. I feel that my intellect is almost always profoundly above the norm here. I don't like to be self-aggrandizing, but I don't think there is a brain in my small town here that even comes close to matching my intelligence. I think the reason I usually get dismissed and under-appreciated for my wit is because the buffoons in my life are too dumb to recognize it. Again, I don't mean to be self-righteous or rude towards them, but I think this hypothesis bears out. I also kind of lied about education. I'm currently attending community college with hopes of transferring to my state's flagship upon completion. I'll graduate next summer. I didn't mean to lie or troll this forum, I just felt like self-deprecating when I made this thread. Make of this what you will. I think this girl thinks on the same wavelengths as me. We hit it off so well. Gosh, she was so much fun to talk to, and I felt like a little school boy talking to her. I could see myself being with her more often. I'm going to try to find her on facebook. I actually never asked her for her name. I can't believe I didn't do this. There goes my low-wit again! lol...just kidding.
  23. I hate to drag up this old thread kicking and screaming, but I had something to say. There's this girl at the local Dollar Store (yes, I'm a redneck from the south), who I've kind of liked for a few months now (not really liked, but I think she's cute and all, etc.). I've had some simple and fast convos with her and she seems very cool. Today, I just happened to have a more lengthy convo with her when I was in there buying dog food. We went to school together, but were many grades apart (she was like a freshman when I was a senior). Somehow we connected very well in this conversation. She seemed like someone I could just be myself around and let loose and have a fun, funny conversation with. It was very attractive. She said she had seen me a few times in there and knew that she knew me from school, but didn't know my name. There were moments in the convo when our eyes connected sort of "initmately" like. Almost like we both knew we were having a good time talking to each other. The only problem is that I know she has a bf or husband (I don't know what they are to each other). But nonetheless, it felt very good just to spend the small amount of time I spent with her. She made me feel good. It's nice for once. Really nice.
  24. If you take any kind of lesson on religion, or just research the history of it for yourself, it tends to make a lot of people angry. It is appalling to see how much utter societal retardation and destruction has been caused because a bunch of idiotic grown ups were convinced that their delusions were true. I makes me want to look at a Christian and spit right in their sweet, cute little face when they tell me "Jesus loves me." But I can't help but remain civil and just bask in how much more enlightened I am than they are. The best way to get rid of religion, to my mind, is just to stop calling ourselves "atheists", and just stop being tolerant of bullshit in our conversations by calling out nonsense whenever we see/hear it. Eventually, I mean EVENTUALLY, religion will go the fuck away and leave the human species alone. Just think of how much better it would be if the world required higher standards of evidence for their beliefs, and viewed spirituality as a metaphorical word describing the pursuit of achieving mental peace and well-being. We would be on the road to paradise. Fuck Heaven!
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