Atheists and Christians
As a Christian do you believe that Atheist belief, in general, has contributed to the betterment of American society?
Then Atheists/ Agnostics do you believe Christianity, in general, has been good for American society?
What about atheists keep christains from becoming like the talaban. (checking religious rule). Or saying that christians have contributed faith based charity to society?
I ask the question really to determine the ‘divide’.
Okay, so I am Christian but not American. Can I answer generally then? If it matters, I’m Australian, (hooray!) and I live in the United Kingdom.
What has made American/Western society what it is, (and I’m pretty happy as a Westerner…not delighted, but happy enough), is SECULARISM.
Too much focus I think has been put by America/ns on “democracy”, hence the trouble American and its Allies, (Aus/UK) get into in other parts of the world. Please don’t let’s go down the whole “Iraq War” debate, but what I want to suggest here is that what such places need from the West, (if anything) is not “Democracy” so much as “Secularism”. One Man: One Vote is not the thing that built the modern world, it was the dissaociation between Church and State. US is founded on both freedom of religion, and upon the disassociation. The French Revolution, and now the modern French Republic, had the same idea. Even the United Kingdom where there is still an “Established Church” in two of the three kingdoms; saw in the Industrial Revolution a nation built by Christians of all demoninations on the ideas of the free market. Okay so “The Protestant Work Ethic” is protestant, but it isn’t “religious” and it certainly doesn’t make any nation Christian. It did however make Victoria’s Britain, (and Wilhelm’s Germanies) wealthy.
As a Christian I don’t think Atheism is “the answer”, but then neither is “religion” or even “morality”. I believe the Bible and all that “Christian stuff” and am quite open to call Jesus my saviour in the way that most American people would understand that phrase. However I see the God of the Bible as gracious and proactive, I’m not a huge fan of the “Ten Commandments” and all that “Religious Law” by which we have learned to “earn God’s favour”. Perhaps atheism (but I think Secularism) has contributed to the better in that; but to completely deny the spiritual aspect of life will ultimately prove troubling.
Secularism allows people to follow whatever religion they choose, but allows also for governance to take place without all the agression that “The Moral Majority” and “The Religious Right/Left”, not to mention the “[Insert Your Name Here] Fundamentalist Extremists” brings to the table.
You can rid the scene of bigotry and ~ism by going the way of Secularism: but to go as far as Atheism and deny God’s existence is not necessary. Not when God is such a gracious and stabilising effect in every day life.
That’s what I think…but then I’m an Aussie so what would I know?
What should I do to a person who talks extremely offensively about the topic of vivisection?
I asked a simple question. The gist of it was that if we were to put a blanket ban on animal testing, that would mean that human testing is legalised. He then acts hostile
1. This person retorts:When did we all agree that making humans the first guinea pigs raised a greater issue than making animals guinea pigs? I have to wonder about the narcissism of a species that thinks it’s somehow ‘better’ to test drugs on other species – and kill or forever maim many of them along the way – for a drug that won’t even go to help that species in any way. This is the sort of things science fiction movies are made of, and we all know which species is cast as the bad guy in those. Not just an ordinary bad guy, either. Their crime is portrayed as being unspeakable. The audience feels a sense of terror from the fact that anyone out there could be so callous. I really don’t think you’ve thought the logic of this through at all.
Many treatments today have come from animal testing, yes. That doesn’t change the fact that the animal testing was wrong. This is akin to asking a rape baby whether he or she thinks he or she never should have existed. Good things can come from tragedies. That doesn’t mean the tragedies should be allowed to continue.
2. I say: You are being a demagogue. I give him a series of ethical issues including doctors saving Jehovahs witnesses. Insulin developed from pigs. Lung Cancer fully understand through dogs. Vaccinations saving billions.
I even talk about the UK‘s stringent laws.
4. He e-mails me: “I think it’s interesting that you talk about compassion and loving nature in your arguments. It seems to me that you’re looking at this much more emotionally than I am, yet you’re claiming I’m the emotional one. To answer your questions:
I wouldn’t harm one being to save another. The species of the beings in question have no relevance on my decision. So if a dying patient needed a transplant from an animal, no I would not kill the animal to save their life, nor would I kill a human being to save an animal’s life if the situation were reversed. To me this question is the same as “If a dying white person needed an organ, would you kill a black person to save their life?” or “If a dying man needed an organ, would you kill a woman to save his life?” It’s this principle that throughout history, the human race has come up with some pretty absurd ideas about which lives have the most value, and I don’t think placing human life above other species is any less bigoted than placing whites above blacks.
I would stop animal testing in any way I could. even if it meant postponing medical breakthroughs that could save human beings. I would also stop testing on blacks even if it would postpone breakthroughs that could save white people. Again, I see no difference between the two scenarios.
You ask about compassion, but for me it’s about being ethical, and I don’t think ethical behavior is illogical. You can argue that from a purely rational standpoint, there’s no reason to care about ”
5. He e-mails again because he cannot keep his points concise: others, but if everyone had that mentality, society would cease the function, as everyone would constantly be killing/exploiting everyone else, and we would be back in the Stone Age. So we choose to be nice to each other because of the wisdom of this realization, and wisdom is really just logic with learned experience applied to it. We’ve realized that for society to function, we need to treat each other fairly, and to apply this principle fairly, we’ve agreed to apply this principle to everyone. When we first started this, we thought that it should only be applied to rich men. But over time, we’ve realized that true fairness means applying it to everyone: We extended the principle to include men of all economic/social status. Then we decided to extend the principle to women too. Then we agreed to extend it to other races. Very recently, some people have begun extending it to animals, and whereas abortion was once seen as nothing more than blowing one’s nose, the fetus is now viewed as at least having enough rights that most people agree abortion should be avoided if possible. Some people have even taken it as far as extending the fairness to plants. And rather than being laughed at, I think our society should praise them as the most evolved members of our species. In a few centuries’ time, they’ll undoubtedly be hailed as heroes, the same way we hail abolitionists as heroes.
So basically, to answer your question about compassion, my answer is that it’s about being logical”
M L, I posted part of your answer to him (I kept you anonymous) and he finally shut up. It did the trick.
That logic is absolutely retarded. If he is to hold all life to equal value, then he’d have to break down his own body and the bodies of all things around him into microorganisms. He has undoubtedly taken one life over another, in fact, he has taken billions of lives every day, just by breathing or walking. Following his logic, living is murder, and the only lives which should exist would be those that do not depend on any other to exist-which is none. Even plants require nutrients from the decomposition of other organisms.
Human beings have a greater capacity for pain than animals. Our depth of consciousness, potential (or loss of), and relationships allow us to suffer beyond the physical. Many human mothers would consciously accept torture and sacrifice their lives for their children, ten times over. The pain of burying your child cannot be translated into the physical. On the other hand, mice commonly eat their offspring. This is a preposterous position, and one that will get you laughed out of a medical board room.
Fortunately, most medical professionals don’t confine their ethics to this kind of abstract-fantasy land morality, because they aren’t sheltered from the real-world consequences of their thoughts and actions.
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