[ExI] "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoyyour life."

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Nov 2 13:27:59 UTC 2008

2008/11/2 Gary Miller <aiguy at comcast.net>:

> It is as ridiculous to stereotype believers just as it is ridiculous to
> stereotype
> ethnic groups.   The people who strap bombs to themselves and blow
> themselves
> up in the name of their beliefs are certainly not hypocrites, misguided by
> our
> standards of course but they are sacrificing themselves for their beliefs.

Well, yes, those people who blow themselves up so that they will go
straight to heaven wouldn't do it if they didn't really believe it, so
they're not hypocrites.

> And yes in any group of people there are some who will alter their beliefs
> or rationalize
> their behavior to fit their given circumstances making them hypocrites but
> to label
> everyone in that group hypocrites is to ignore the fact that many others
> within the group
> are willing to die or risk death for their beliefs through military service
> or missionary or
> relief work in dangerous countries.
> It is hard to pick up a paper without reading about missionaries being
> killed or raped in foreign lands
> for devoting their live for sharing their beliefs and still they go.
> How many Extropians and or Atheists have given their lives for their
> beliefs?

This is a different use of the word "belief". Someone who sacrifices
themselves to achieve some political aim could be said to "believe" in
that political aim, but it's not the same as believing in an empirical
fact, which is what religion claims. If we go to Heaven when we die,
and heaven is a good place, then we shouldn't be too upset at the
prospect of many people being killed by terrorists or natural
disaster, for example. And yet religious people do get upset if
something like that happens. I think this means that they have their
doubts about the claim that we go to heaven when we die. They might
like their church and they might even sacrifice themselves for the
church or to help others - but they don't *really believe* the things
the church presents to them as matters of fact, no matter how much
they want to.

> Labeling believers beliefs irrational can only be done by assuming that they
> have had access to the same facts
> and information you have had.  Many believers grow up isolated and highly
> indoctrinated into their
> belief systems and have been taught to demonize or to disbelieve other other
> belief systems.  So without the information
> necessary to judge their beliefs as irrational their beliefs are rational to
> them.
> Many people leave their belief systems when exposed to alternate belief
> systems which either seem more correct of
> offer them something at an emotional level that is more comforting to
> believe in.
> But from my point of view , stereotyping believers is irrational and
> offensive to potential Extropians who do not
> share the atheist belief system.   No one was ever converted from one belief
> to another by mockery and derision.

You will note that I haven't said anything about whether religious
beliefs are true, only about whether believers are rational. If
someone claims to believe an empirical fact but acts in a way contrary
to that fact, then he is being either irrational or hypocritical.

Stathis Papaioannou

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list