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Old 07-02-2001, 04:47 PM   #11
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Confucianists and Taoists are non-theistic. Buddhists do not worship anything that you would recognize as a god. </font>
I'm not sure that qualifies them as atheists.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Reading the Bible is more likely to produce atheism than governmental persecution. It worked for most of us.</font>
Why is is that skeptics get away with unsupported statements like this? Oh yeah, because it fits their preconceived notions and biases. The truth is that atheism is most common in formerly communists areas where atheists persecuted theists. For example, the former Soviet Union, despite being roughly equivalent to the U.S. in population, has a much higher number of athiests (56 million) than the United States (less than 2 million).

Unless you can provide me with stastics demonstrating that Bible reading was drastically higher in the USSR--where it was controlled literature--than in the United States--where it continues to be the #1 best-seller--then you need to revise your statement.

You've been most succesful in making converts when you've adopted atheism as the official position of the state and killed and imprisoned theists for their beliefs.



[This message has been edited by Layman (edited July 02, 2001).]
 
Old 07-02-2001, 04:59 PM   #12
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Can you cite a source for your statistics?

It seems that Christianity got its start by being the official religion of the Roman empire and killing and imprisoning its opponents for their beliefs. Now you want to claim that religion will only die out when the state persecutes Christians.

I think that Western Europe disproves your thesis. There is no persecution of Christians, but Christianity is losing its appeal.

None of which proves anything about whether Christianity is good, or the shroud of Turin a fraud.
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Old 07-02-2001, 06:01 PM   #13
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Can you cite a source for your statistics?

It seems that Christianity got its start by being the official religion of the Roman empire and killing and imprisoning its opponents for their beliefs. Now you want to claim that religion will only die out when the state persecutes Christians.

I think that Western Europe disproves your thesis. There is no persecution of Christians, but Christianity is losing its appeal.

None of which proves anything about whether Christianity is good, or the shroud of Turin a fraud.
</font>
Those stats were from the World Almanac, 1994 edition. I have the 2001 edition at home. The fact that Christianity is losing its appeal in Western Europe is not to say that Atheism is gaining ground proportionately. In fact, throughout all of Europe there are only 17.6 million atheists. Despite Europe having more than 1/3 again the population of the former USSR, the former USSR has them beat, 56 million.

Christianity spread far and wide before it became the religion of the Empire. It's done well in South Korea with no coercive backing. And it is gaining ground in China despite persecution. It has maintained high numbers in the United States despite having a secular government, freedom of speech and religion.

Regardless, atheists have done much more coercing and persecuting in the last 100 years than Christians.

And I never said that Christianity will only die out when it is persecuted by the state. In fact, I think that Christianity can do quite well when it is persecuted. But I think that persecution and oppression of theists will see a corresponding rise in atheism. China is a good example. I was at a meeting of some of the leaders of the underground church in China and they are succeeding despite persecution. However, when atheists imprison and brutalize theists for their belief, and propogate atheistic indoctrination in elementary schools, then yes, I think they will have some measure of success. Atheists have successfully implemented these programs throughout this century.

After reading your thread that flirted with ridding our Constitution of Freedom of Expression, I thought you'd be more sympathetic. Afterall, atheists in those countries have obviously found a way to counter the destructive influence of Christianity on society. It's been more succesful than the American atheists' efforts have been in free countries.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited July 02, 2001).]
 
Old 07-02-2001, 06:06 PM   #14
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Can you cite a source for your statistics?
</font>
And since I've provided my source, could you please provide your source for saying that Bible reading is more likely to cause atheism than athiests' persecution of theists?

 
Old 07-02-2001, 06:24 PM   #15
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Those stats were from the World Almanac, 1994 edition. I have the 2001 edition at home. The fact that Christianity is losing its appeal in Western Europe is not to say that Atheism is gaining ground proportionately. In fact, throughout all of Europe there are only 17.6 million atheists. Despite Europe having more than 1/3 again the population of the former USSR, the former USSR has them beat, 56 million.

Christianity spread far and wide before it became the religion of the Empire. It's done well in South Korea with no coercive backing. And it is gaining ground in China despite persecution. It has maintained high numbers in the United States despite having a secular government, freedom of speech and religion.

Regardless, atheists have done much more coercing and persecuting in the last 100 years than Christians.

And I never said that Christianity will only die out when it is persecuted by the state. In fact, I think that Christianity can do quite well when it is persecuted. But I think that persecution and oppression of theists will see a corresponding rise in atheism. China is a good example. I was at a meeting of some of the leaders of the underground church in China and they are succeeding despite persecution. However, when atheists imprison and brutalize theists for their belief, and propogate atheistic indoctrination in elementary schools, then yes, I think they will have some measure of success. Atheists have successfully implemented these programs throughout this century.

After reading your thread that flirted with ridding our Constitution of Freedom of Expression, I thought you'd be more sympathetic. Afterall, atheists in those countries have obviously found a way to counter the destructive influence of Christianity on society. It's been more succesful than the American atheists' efforts have been in free countries.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited July 02, 2001).]
</font>
1. Reading the JC Bible made me a skeptic.
2. I have never coerced anyone to do a damned thing, nor have I ever gone door-to-door trying to get people to adopt my views.
3. According to the 1998 Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook, there were (based on mid 2000 projections) approximately 24.5 million nonreligious persons in the US.

rodahi
 
Old 07-02-2001, 06:58 PM   #16
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Layman:
Good point, I was thinking of the United States. My understanding that there were large numbers of Confucianists, Buddhists, and Taoists in China. As well as millions of Christians. But I'm willing to concede that several decades of harsh governmental persecution of theists is likely to produce a more atheistic population.

Huh? I'm sorry. What did the Chinese believe in before the Communists? Do you think they are all Christians or something?

Oh, I forgot to mention India. And SE Asia.

I guess this would be a typical Layman post, ignorance of history following an ethnocentric remark.....


That is one way atheists continue to impose their belief system on others. Governmental coercion.


You mean like monogamy, blue laws, the State constitutions that restrict atheists from holding office, dry counties, and a hundred other things I could name. Nt to mention that lack of taxes on Churches.

Michael
 
Old 07-02-2001, 07:09 PM   #17
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Layman:
In fact, throughout all of Europe there are only 17.6 million atheists. Despite Europe having more than 1/3 again the population of the former USSR, the former USSR has them beat, 56 million.

There are A LOT more atheists in Europe than the figure you give.

See: http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html


Christianity spread far and wide before it became the religion of the Empire.

No, it basically remained restricted to the Mediterranean Littoral.

And it is gaining ground in China despite persecution. It has maintained high numbers in the United States despite having a secular government, freedom of speech and religion.

Why should you use "despite?" It has done well because of these things.

Regardless, atheists have done much more coercing and persecuting in the last 100 years than Christians.

No, Communists, another authoritarian belief system like Christianity, have. Atheists as atheists have done no persecuting at all. Additionally, I think you need to familiarize yourself with other Asian, African and S. American history before you start toting up the scores. What religion were Marcos, and Chiang Kai-shek, and Franco? Oh yeah.....

And I never said that Christianity will only die out when it is persecuted by the state. In fact, I think that Christianity can do quite well when it is persecuted.

Most religions do, actually.

But I think that persecution and oppression of theists will see a corresponding rise in atheism. China is a good example. I was at a meeting of some of the leaders of the underground church in China and they are succeeding despite persecution.

Substituting one authoritarian belief for another. How sad.

BTW, there are official churches in China, you know. The Chinese do not so much fight religious belief as fight the rise of other authoritarian power centers, such as Churches. The rivalry between the two is, after all, sibling rivalry. Are you so naive as to think a state run by Christians would be a democracy?

The other reason the authorities in China suppress religious movements is that in Chinese history, they have long been a source of political opposition to the state. Religious and quasi-religious movements (like sworn brotherhoods, tongs, hongs, and triad gangs) often have a political slant, some were even founded as "nationalist" gangs. When the Falungong does its evolutions in Tiananmen square, the Chinese leaders see the ghosts of a millenium of Chinese history. And in fact, Li -- the FLG's leader -- has been pretty cagey about his politics, so I the authorities there may not be as insane as they seem.

I am saddened by the persecution of the Christian Churches in China.

Michael



[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited July 02, 2001).]
 
Old 07-02-2001, 07:16 PM   #18
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:
1. Reading the JC Bible made me a skeptic. </font>
I don't doubt it made you a skeptic. But being a skeptic is not the same as being an atheist. And your example is apparenlty not the norm.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> 2. I have never coerced anyone to do a damned thing, nor have I ever gone door-to-door trying to get people to adopt my views. </font>
I didn't accuse you of doing any such thing. Nor have I.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">3. According to the 1998 Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook, there were (based on mid 2000 projections) approximately 24.5 million nonreligious persons in the US.</font>
Well, I was talking about atheists. Not "nonreligious persons." And my point was not that there are no atheists in the United States, but that atheism has succeeded the most where atheists have most brutally persecuted theists.

And, I might add, the number of "nonreligious" in the former USSR is 86 million. Once again far outstripping the United States. So the central point is unaffected even if we inappropriately assume that "nonreligious" is somehow the same as "athiest": Atheism (or nonreligiousism) has succeeded mostly where it was imposed by vicious governmental oppression, persecution, and indoctrination.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited July 02, 2001).]
 
Old 07-02-2001, 07:24 PM   #19
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
Huh? I'm sorry. What did the Chinese believe in before the Communists? Do you think they are all Christians or something? </font>
No, nor did I indicate such. In fact, I mentioned Buddhists and Confusiaists, didn't I? I believe there was probably some other traditional religions and ancestor worship. I don't, and didn't, claim they are Christians, but I doubt they are properly classified as atheists.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Oh, I forgot to mention India. And SE Asia. </font>
What about them? Most Indians are Hindus (83%), with a lesser number being Muslims (11%), and a much smaller number being Christians (3%). Since my point was that atheists has spread most rapidly in those countries were atheists persecuted theists, I don't know how these examples help you. It appears to support my point. India is a Hindu nation. Theists in general are not persecuted, although Muslims and Christians may face some persecution. And, guess what? Atheism is almost nonexistent in India.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I guess this would be a typical Layman post, ignorance of history following an ethnocentric remark..... </font>
No, this is a typical example of Turtonm misunderstanding and/or distorting my statements. You don't seem to have understood my point. Of course, it also seems like you didn't try very hard to understand the point.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> You mean like monogamy, blue laws, the State constitutions that restrict atheists from holding office, dry counties, and a hundred other things I could name. Nt to mention that lack of taxes on Churches.
</font>
I don't equate democractically produced laws with throwing theist in jail, beating them, destroying their property, placing their children in orphanages, or refusing to recognize the freedom of worship. State constitutions prohibiting atheists from holding office are clearly unconstitutional and I'm skeptical that any federal court would uphold them. There are very, very few dry counties in the United States.

And no one is prosecuted for violating a law establishing monogamy. You can have as many sexual relationships as you want, no matter how socially destructive.

 
Old 07-02-2001, 07:37 PM   #20
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
There are A LOT more atheists in Europe than the figure you give. </font>
You are going to have to break down the source for me. I didn't see where it listed a total number of atheists for Europe. And my figure of European atheists excluded Russia, which would cut down on any figure that included Russians.

But your link is very useful because it further supports my point. I will bookmark it, so thank you.

Look at a country with a common language, culture, and history: East Germany and West Germany. In E. Germany, 88% of the population are atheists! But, in W. Germany, only 12% of the population are atheists.

The difference? 40 years of brutal atheist rule and persecution of theists. Once again the data demonstrates that atheism has spread mostly by oppressive governments.

See: http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">No, it basically remained restricted to the Mediterranean Littoral. </font>
Armenia, Germany, France, North Africa, Syria, Greece, Italy, Spain, and even modern day Great Britian. This is an impressive accomplishment obtained by peaceful means.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why should you use "despite?" It has done well because of these things. </font>
It raises the costs of joining the new religion, thus discouraging many adherents. It also gaurantees indoctrination of the young and their attempted innoculation against religion. The most impressive and succesful leaders end up in prison, beaten, and/or dead. It works to dissaude Christianity in many ways.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> No, Communists, another authoritarian belief system like Christianity, have. Atheists as atheists have done no persecuting at all. I think you need to familiarize yourself with African and S. American history before you start toting up the scores. </font>
These communists were atheists. Their official state creed was atheism. They persecuted Christians and other theists, even if seemingly loyal communists, because they expressed theistic beliefs.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Most religions do, actually. </font>
Too an extent, but regardless of the religion, I don't think persecution guarantees growth. In fact, if the persecution is effective, it can destroy the religion. Whether Christian or otherwise. Depends on a number of factors.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Substituting one authoritarian belief for another. How sad. </font>
Christianity is not inherently a politically authoritarian belief system. Certainly it is the predominatly Protestant countries which have produced and gauranteed the most politically free nations on earth.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> BTW, there are official churches in China, you know. The Chinese do not so much fight religious belief as fight the rise of other authoritarian power centers, such as Churches. The rivalry between the two is, after all, sibling rivalry. Are you so naive as to think a state run by Christians would be a democracy? </font>
The USA is run by Christians and yes, I think she is a democracy. Christianity is not attempting to seize power in China and establish a theocracy. They want the freedom to worship God. The ruling athiest regime believes theism to be inherently socially and politically destructive. Thus they crack down.

None of your discussion has affected the centra point: Atheism's success in this century is a result of brutal oppression and indoctrination.

 
 

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