"As for your post here, quite a lot of doctrine or dogma can win the form of rationality."
Does anyone know what he is talking about? What exactly is "the form of rationality"? Is that some kind of pseudo-rationality? Like rationalization?
Well, I asked Amicus what he meant and he came back with a long reply in which he never really gets to the original question. It illustrates the thinking of someone who has been brainwashed and lied to most of their life. It illustrates many Christian flaws -- a lack of scientific knowledge, a lack of social data or blinders, a lack of moral development (He basically asks: "If there is no god, why should we be good?"), and lack of imagination. Here's my first example, he wrote:
"I think agnostics have a more defensible position than do atheists, because atheists actually posit a truth that ultimately looks like a religious truth - a belief IN something, i.e. "no God" - rather than agnostics, who don't go so far, but just recognize the limits of rationality on the matter."
The first thing wrong with that is that he obviously doesn't know the definition of atheism and according to Austin Cline the particular definition he uses is attributed to Christian lies:
"Most disagreement over this comes from Christians who insist that atheism must be the denial of gods, or at least of their god. Mere absence of belief in gods is, they claim, properly labeled agnosticism — even though agnosticism has it's own definition and is about a different concept entirely."
Amicus gets that even more wrong by saying this:
"belief IN something, i.e. 'no God'"
That would mean that Amicus' non-belief in Zeus, Allah, Amen Ra and Shiva are all various religion-like beliefs to Amicus. Or will Amicus claim to be agnostic about Zeus? If he's going to be consistent, he'll have to claim he is agnostic about Zeus and Shiva.
To be fair, it is a muddy issue this definition of atheism and it ultimately divides into weak and strong versions of atheism. Austin Cline and Wikipedia both offer explanations.
I am a strong atheist of a type, it has to do with two things, 1) the Christian concept of God as usually defined is contradictory and 2) there is strong evidence that the anthropic intelligence people want to attribute to God must evolve and cannot exist before there is a universe.
There is justification in believing the Christian God does not exist based on current evidence. I'll get to that in a different post, but for now more huge examples Amicus' brainwashing, like this:
"For me, the 'insanity of religion', as you phrase it, is too broad a characterization (and unbalanced because it ignores the ideological excesses of non-religious 'insanity'). If Islamic Jihad is Sam's yardstick (first letter), then that 'insanity' is de minimus compared to the large number of self-describe religious people who are NOT involved in that."
Jihad is neither Sam's yardstick nor mine, it is but one small (numbers of people wise) symptom of religious insanity. Other more prominent symptoms are:
1) It's the fact 47% of Americans believe God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.
2) Women treated as second-class citizens or even slaves.
3) Pentecostal snake-handlers
4) Persecution of homosexuals
5) Sometimes fatal exorcisms by priests believing they are removing demons.
6) The requirement of theism in order to stand for public office.
7) Religion represents a huge financial and work burden on mankind. Imagine how that effort could be better spent.
8) Faith healers and plenty of instances of ill people being "healed" by a priest, ceasing to take the medicines prescribed to them by doctors, and dying as a result. Some people have died because they have refused blood transfusions on religious grounds.
9) Opposition to birth control, and even condoms and embryonic stem cell funding by the Fed.
10) Ted Haggard
11) Mel Gibson
12) People who claim to be Jesus:
13) Pat Robertson's contradictory theology
14) Swami Prabhupada
15) Scientology, Scientology
16) The Salem Witchcraft Trials
17) The European Witch Craze
18) When God sanctions killing
And that's just a quick surface scratch, I could keep going on. In fact, I've found other people doing similar lists that don't repeat mine, like here.
And then comes the clincher that proves how brainwashed Amicus is:
"As an atheist, how do you reject murder (homocide) on an exclusively rational basis?
"That would be one example, one of a 'moral truth' that might be evidenced *both* by rationality (whatever your own atheist argument might be), but also by dogma/doctrine (derived solely from various religious texts thought to hold the truth on such matters)."
Third, I might offer faith as a viewpoint, a perspective, not altogether arbitary in the way Sam (and Dawkins) suggest, but as ways of ordering the world as far as individual ethical questions. Arjuna, at the opening of the Gita, as best I recall, learns about duty, amid the mind-numbing destruction of war. Christians, Jews, and Muslims have an injunction to Honor they Mother and Father. This is a viewpoint, one on which moderates, extermists, and atheists might all have widely different interpretations, but, notwithstanding, it is a general point of departure that pure rationalists (or "truth now" people) do not have, arguably."
This question has been dealt with often so I don't have to answer it, here's one answer:
And some more, and one more.
As for the practical dimension, survey's have shown only one major difference: That church members are more charitable than non-members. Probably because churches get some social pressure going that atheists aren't yet exposed to.