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To Christians and atheists on the DP

The primary purpose of this article is to show that many people on the DP are using the same words in their arguments, but are thinking of different meanings when using them.

Clarifying what meanings are intended will help to make discussion more civil. If you aren't sure that someone is thinking of the same meaning as you are, asking them about their definition could prevent a lot of hostility.

The secondary purpose is to lay out reasoning that leads to one conclusion: Personal beliefs change only in the long-term, and are not likely to be strongly influenced by what most people have the time and space to say in a few comments.

As such, we should recognize that fighting in the comments does a lot of harm, while very little else changes. It is better to hold long discussions about beliefs over private messages or email.

    A few of the things that I address below:
  • Meanings for "Evidence"
  • Meanings for "Faith"
  • Meanings for "Proof"
  • Meanings for "Science"
  • Illustration: Explanation of my beliefs
  • Requests that I make of the members of DP


Evidence

The moment the word "evidence" is mentioned, a big problem can occur. That's because there isn't one meaning of "evidence" that everyone uses.

Colloquially, people say "evidence" and mean "anything that leads a person to think that something is true", which includes things like feelings, personal experiences, and so on - which is how many theists often use it.

Some people also colloquially mean "scientific proof" - which is how many atheists often use it.

Formally, "evidence" means a proposition that has been demonstrated to be right. That is, it isn't reliant on consensus by the community of academic researchers, but it also isn't simply up to one's personal feelings or experiences. It has to be something that has been carefully scrutinized.

The difference between scientific evidence and colloquial evidence seems to be one of the reasons why there is so much fighting going on. Several people feel that only positive scientific proof constitutes a reason to believe something, while others feel that feelings, intuitions, and personal perceptions of events can constitute evidence.

It's beyond the scope of this letter to get into philosophy of science and philosophy of epistemology to show that no one has beliefs that are based solely on verifiable scientific facts, but I encourage all of you to look both subjects up on the internet. There are plenty of online encyclopedias of philosophy and theses written by great philosophers and theologians that are available for free.


Faith

It must also be understood that the colloquial meaning of evidence and the meaning of faith are not necessarily the same. This is another mistake that people make.

Faith has one definition, but can mean three things colloquially:

The definition: confidence (or belief) in the truth or rightness of some proposition or person's character

The colloquial meanings:

(1) adherence to a proposition as true in light of a great preponderance of evidence that is not necessarily conclusive

(2) adherence to a proposition as true despite there being no confirming scientific evidence

(3) adherence to a proposition as true due to colloquial evidence

When a person follows meaning #2 and adheres to a belief in the face of disconfirming scientific evidence, or to #3 in the face of disconfirming colloquial evidence they are given a clinical diagnosis.

That clinical diagnosis may be that the person has an "overvalued idea" - such as the belief that evolution is a set of scientific propositions that are lies pushed by public and private researchers in every discipline. This is demonstrably false (there is disconfirming evidence).

When the amount of disconfirming evidence is great and the adherence to a proposition is great, a diagnosis such as "delusional disorder" may be given. This applies to people who think that they are Jesus, Hitler, the Devil, and so on.


Proof

Some people also equate "evidence" with "proof". It's beyond the scope of my letter to get into philosophical discussion about topics like "degrees of certainty", but I'll address this quickly.

Though many people use the word "proof" in daily conversation, very few philosophers would ever say that there are universally agreed-upon conditions that, when met, would allow someone to say that they have "proven" something.

In other words, almost everything that people believe is always subject to being shown to be wrong in the future due to new developments - or can never be shown to be "objectively right" because we are limited by things like our reliance on inductive reasoning.

Some people use the word "proof" to mean "confident without a doubt" about something. But not leaving any room for doubt is a really foolish idea. We don't have to be certain without doubt in order to believe something - we can be more confident in our beliefs as we get more evidence for them, and less certain of them (or more certain of alternatives) as our supporting beliefs/evidential propositions fall apart or evidence for alternatives arises.

In fact, this is how humans operate. It's called the "web of beliefs".

On a side note, some people say "objective" colloquially to mean "something that no one can deny". Formally speaking, objectivity is impossible for reasons stated above (re: degrees of confidence and our limited ability to experience things in the universe).

What people should focus on are "inter-subjective" facts - things that everyone who has had roughly the same amount of in-depth experience (research, personal application, etc) agree on.


Science

Some people also get mixed up when speaking of "science".

Colloquially, people say "science" when they mean "generally the institutions that are regarded as scientific, and what the people in this institutions believe is true or is most important in determining what is true".

Others, when speaking colloquially, say "science" and mean "formal beliefs about what constitutes proper scientific processes" such as positivism.

Still others say "science" and mean "what most academics believe".

Formally, "science" means "the scientific method and disciplinary studies that employ it".

Science is not a thing that can be worshiped, just as atheism is not a belief about the world. Neither are a religion. A person who has dogmatic views about what science is or what atheists should do with their lives are simply dogmatists of their own intellectual or moral code.


Conclusion

Given all of the above noted possibilities of meaning, it makes little practical sense to say something like, "He is 'irrational' for having 'faith' when there is 'no evidence' for (or even 'evidence against') his belief." or "Only 'science' can provide 'objective' 'proof' about the things in our universe."

Rather, a good discussion must start with an agreement on the meaning of terms to be used.


My background

I am an atheist. More specifically, I identify as an agnostic atheist. I am also a philosopher, a psychologist, and a communication specialist - by saying which I mean that I have done academic research and presented professional work in all of those disciplines. I also was once a Christian and intended to be a minister. I studied with religious officials and scholars from several Christian denominations as I tried to find what I called "the true path to a moral and pious life".

I have also studied anthropology and world religions including Buddhism, Shintoism, Islam, and others.

I bring this up because I'm often asked "Why is this any of your business?". The answer is: I know the issues in great detail from personal experience, and want the conversations to be civil.


Illustration: Explanation of my beliefs

I believe that the universe has always been present in some form, that cosmological and biological evolution got the universe to this point, that there is no residual experience of life after the particles that compose one's body are separated, and that there only the material things exist.

Simply put, I am a naturalist and a materialist. I don't believe that spirits, ghosts, etc are words that reference things that actually exist - I think that they are words for things that people have created through storytelling.

However, other atheists may believe completely different things. They may believe in ghosts, reincarnation, a universal consciousness, and so on.

Being an atheist doesn't mean believing in some specific replacement belief, or that one doesn't believe in other specific things. If you tell me a ball is filled with mercury and I see no good reason to think that (and probably some reason to doubt it), it doesn't mean that I do or don't specifically believe that it is filled with sand, water, a combination of sand and water, lemonade, or nothing at all.

My views on these things are kind of like my views on having a roommate: I can't say that there is no possible way that I would find someone that I would like to room with, but I don't have sufficient reason to believe that there is someone - especially given what I know of my incompatibilities with the way other people like to live.

Said another way, I have a lot of "colloquial evidence" that suggests that I'm not likely to ever choose to have a roommate. I don't have "scientific proof" that I won't choose to have one under any circumstances, and I wouldn't claim to have it. I'm agnostic about the idea in the epistemological sense, but I really don't believe that it's going to happen.


Q&A and Requests

I'll end by answering two questions and making two requests.

Question #1: What would convince you to become a spiritualist - whether a deist, theist, or otherwise? (I get asked this all the time, either by people who are genuinely curious, or by people who are trying to make me say something stupid, like "There's nothing that could ever convince me.")

Answer: For me, it could only be a personal experience with something that I could not explain. Any retelling of the experience to people who can't relate would make me sound 'out of my mind', and I would be ascribed a mental disorder or something of the like by nonbelievers. This is similar to the answer given by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard.

Given that, I cannot look down upon anyone who says that they are a theist because of their personal experience.

Question #2: What caused you to become an atheist? (Also a big question, as some people really struggle with the idea that someone who is knowledgeable and was once very devout is now an atheist.)

Answer: Every core pillar of my theistic and deistic belief systems fell apart in the face of research and reflection. This includes historical texts, supernatural events, explanations of how the universe came to be and operates, divine revelation of moral laws, and - most importantly - the poor initial physical and intellectual conditions under which life originates [whether with reference to evolution or traditional creationism, and whether we're talking about the first human or a newborn].

In other words, a lot of evidence - colloquial and scientific - that many theistic and deistic claims and arguments are wrong (morally, logically, or factually) in the light of.

Request #1: Please post your responses to this article below, both so that I can edit in any oversights and so that this article can be read by others who have been caught up in arguments on these subjects.

Request #2: Please stop attacking each other in the comment sections of posts on the Daily Paul.

Those of you trying to convince others to change their beliefs aren't even going to be that successful by posting a handful of comments, anyway. Belief change is a long-term process that requires a lot of resources. It's one thing to correct a misconception about a single, simple idea (like what the word "atheist" means). It's another to try to get someone to change their whole worldview.


Thank you for your time.

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"I also have seen no evidence

"I also have seen no evidence that currently convinces me that there is any sort of creator."
For this to make sense you must define your terms. You did fairly well define "evidence" but you did not define "creator". I have found enormous evidence such a "creator" does exist but it is a creator defined a bit differently than is usually done by religionists, churchists and bibleists. This definition can be found here:

http://pondscienceinstitute.on-rev.com/svpwiki/tiki-index.ph...

Following the linked materials you can see there is adequate evidence to hold to such a concept. Keep in mind "science" does not yet entirely see beyond the 3D material (sense) world choosing to ignore the scalar world of unseen cause - even though such scalar causes do exist and have been noted by science though not yet generally accepted.

I didn't intend to defend my generic agnostic atheism here

I only mentioned what I specifically meant by atheism in my case in order to distinguish myself from "positive atheists" or "gnostic atheists".

That said, your link reminds me of the old Gnosis theology mixed with a universal consciousness definition of god and a little bit of Descartian creationism.

Let me answer your question briefly as it relates to your link:

I don't see any evidence of any sort that would convince me that there is a self-aware being (some entity of whatever instance that is conscious) that generated the contents of what we call the (multi)universe, and [the union of, but also the disjunctive syllogism interpretation of] which is of any concern to me in my life-as-consciousness.

Also, as I previously stated, I am a monist, but a naturalist monist. I don't believe that any spiritual thing exists.

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Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for your comments. I'm not here to defend, challenge or convince anyone of anything. Those with discernment will find their way to wherever it leads.

Defining "spiritual" (unseen cause?):

http://pondscienceinstitute.on-rev.com/svpwiki/tiki-index.ph...

Pay particular attention to the second paragraph.

Right on

I'm with you.

As per your question and link again, I present this:

The definition of spiritual that I'm using is the recent philosophical one in materialist theory - that is, *things* which are observable either via the senses directly or indirectly through study. That includes infrared light and electrons, for example, but not time (since time isn't a thing - it's a name for an abstract concept that arises from experience).

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Thank you for your courage and effort

JordanShaw

As an occasional student of political and moral philosophy, I found your post intriguing. Not that it matters, but I too am a naturalist and a materialist in the senses you meant; however, I am not atheist, but a Unitarian Christian.

I wanted to thank you for your courage and effort on this topic. I believe we owe it to ourselves and one another to routinely re-examine our views, belief systems and positions. I truly believe this process makes us better people, no matter what faith or creed we might subscribe to.

Highest regards - Todd

Support our republic and the liberty it provides - Todd

Thank you

Your message was very kind.

I've run into Unitarians before. Their ideas fascinate me, though I don't adhere to them.

"I believe we owe it to ourselves and one another to routinely re-examine our views, belief systems and positions. I truly believe this process makes us better people, no matter what faith or creed we might subscribe to."

You said it very well. One of my missions in life is to promote that lesson.

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"never be troubled by Deities"

[[...11) If we were never troubled by how phenomena in the sky or death might concern us, or by our failures to grasp the limits of pains and desires, we would have no need to study nature.

12) One cannot rid himself of his primal fears if he does not understand the nature of the universe but instead suspects the truth of some mythical story. So without the study of nature, there can be no enjoyment of pure pleasure...]]

From The Principal Doctrines of Epicurus

a very WISE man said

"Get to know the laws of nature and live by them".

`

Epicurus

One of the most influential, respectable, and misunderstood people to ever live.

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if your intent is to spread peace--

(as I said to Tzion on another thread) I compliment and thank you.

I am a Christian, and I don't like to see any belief or lack of belief attacked. I am weary of war, both of the physical kind and the spiritual. I am a former "Christian soldier" who wants to be a "peaceable follower of Christ"--

I don't like to see atheists/agnostics, Bhuddists, Christians (any sort), Hindus, Jews, or Muslims attacked for their belief (unless their individual actions are destructive, and then there need be no attack, only justice)--

I appreciate the sharing of experience. You mention your experience about coming to non-belief and atheism. I might, in a different forum, share mine about coming to belief in Christ. But I don't believe DP is the forum for that, and I'm not (any longer) evangelical.

But I won't attack you, and I am glad that you don't intend to attack me.

What to do about the violence?

I don't know. I know that science is intended to be neutral and not a belief system. However, I was raised in a highly scientific family (doctors' degrees being the altar of worship, primarily--LOL!), and there are people who make science a religion. *You*, personally, may not, but there are those who do. I had empiricism 'pushed' on me as steadily as some former Christians had prayer and public worship 'pushed' on them, and therefore rebelled. It is possible to get too much of a 'good' thing--or bad.

I know there is some merit in scientific research, some. But I have seen it overdone, too.

You are correct about semantics, too. This Christian did not "downvote" you.

Peace.

I am not sure if I made it clear that I, as a Christian (or hoping to be Christian in my actions) am not threatened by those of differing religious beliefs or non-beliefs. But I am not threatened; I do appreciate respect being shown, however. And often it is not. I think that many religious believers and non-religious believers can say that *they* have experienced lack of understanding and intolerance.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Thank you for your comments

I completely understand where you're coming from. I only mentioned my background because one of the first things that people say when I don't bring it up is that I don't know what I'm talking about.

When I was a Christian, I was so angry at people who said that I was ignorant, hateful, and so on. I truly believed in my positions on what I felt were moral grounds. In fact, I thought that they were the ignorant and hateful ones, given their attacks on me and their refusal to answer some questions that I posed.

When I first became an atheist, it almost was like I was in the reverse position. I couldn't believe how many people refused to look at the facts, or who attacked people based on their personal habits. I was stunned that the very people I had been working with before now said that I was never a true Christian and that atheists shouldn't hold public office.

Our personal experiences shape us, and verbal attacks do a lot more damage than I think most people realize.

Lack of respect - lack of civility - is the biggest contributor to people not understanding each other.

The fight for limited government is almost worthless in some senses if we can't even sit down together without being prejudiced against each other and attacking each other.

It takes a lot of effort to be considerate to people who come after you, and even more effort to really see things from their perspective. Since I've been on both sides, I try to do my best to help those processes along.

That goes for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, too - I've been all three.

People are more like their perceived enemies than they like to admit.

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I am here as a Ron Paul supporter, I am not a Libertarian.

I am here as a Ron Paul supporter, I am not a Libertarian. I am a Independent who believes in “ Fighting the Good Fight” I pick and choses what and who I vote for. I also think the subject of “god” is acceptable in any political arena.

I think the Church, Temple or Mosque is the main key to solving many of the problems that we have in our Country today. Not one of these houses of worship Believes that people have the right to steel from their fellow man. We also believe in speaking the Truth. We All have that much in common.

Most all of the people we have problems with go to one of these houses of worship. We all know what happened to our economy and which people are being Bailed out and which people are being oppressed. In many cases that I have seen these houses of worship are turning a blind eye to the truth

I think in many case's the heads of the Houses are heavily invested (piety is a rare thing) in Wall St. and are turning a blind eye to the Bail out because they think “god” would not want them to lose all their money (root of all evil) they have so many friend who have gave so much to the church so they have turned away from the laws and teaching of the scriptures, and Most of their congregation being wall st investors are all the happier for it. We need to call these so called men of god out for their deviation from the WORD.

Church's in this day and time have been given immunity to run black market labor operations out their back door by the government. They find it acceptable to stab their neighbor in the back to help illegal foreigners. they are defining the law upside down and backwards, while sucking up false profit from the Bail out by way of their 401k ( new world order welfare for wall street investors) some Church's are absolutely corrupt god don't live their any more. Jesus was mad at the Church to we need to call them to the matt for the sake of our Nation and our respective Religion. Hal Roberts...

Clinton/Bush/Obama: Centrist losers with their hand held out looking for a Government Bail Out Program to keep their Dividend checks propped up with Artificial Stimulus "False Profit. Welfare for stock market Gamblers.

Let me know

This article has received at least four upvotes and five downvotes so far, and someone has downvoted my comments below.

So I'm curious as to who is doing what.

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Theists

If you're a theist and are downvoting, downvote this comment.

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Deists

If you're a deist and are downvoting, downvote this comment.

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Meanwhile....Back at the Farm....

That was a pretty good Rant on an important subject. as a Deist I do not insist on a "God" I am hopeful for one though.
you seem to state that not having a position....is your position. I would counter that NOT having a position, IS a position. and quite the popular one too. very few people can really define just what their own beliefs are.
what do you think about Animism? basically that God is the spark of life? it is the next one I am going to look into.
you will probably enjoy this.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U

That was a hilarious movie

1) My non-position is just as much of a position as an assertion that I will not make an assertion on a subject is an assertion.

Say that three times fast.

2) Meh. Anything that uses a spirit world or that redefines "god" or "spirit" in naturalistic terms doesn't appeal to me. The first I see no convincing evidence for, and the second makes no sense to me.

3) In response to that video, I offer this short spoken-word poem:

As vociferous as he may be
I find no reason to speak with such certainty
About the idea that somehow his propositions are less ludicrous beliefs
Even given that they assert knowledge of a reality
That he had no access to read
Like the book that he ought to devour: "Contemporary Epistemology"
It is true that Storm was sadly mistaken
Regarding her adamant belief that no person can awaken
A knowledge of any sort
But to claim that all truth is found only in science
Or at least in peer-reviewed articles found to be in compliance
With peer-reviewed standards made by institutional giants
Is nearly to say that nothing at all is true until a community decides it

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Atheists

If you're an atheist and are downvoting, downvote this comment.

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Other

If you're not in one of the above groups, downvote and reply to this comment.

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People are not their beliefs or group labels

I'm posting under this comment because there is an "other" possibility that could unite everyone.

I support your carefully reasoned call for peace in the DP forums when it comes to personal beliefs. I especially agree about the complexity of this subject, which has polarized people for centuries. A significant percentage of all human communication ever crafted has dealt with it without there ever being a resolution. It is generally overlooked, but I think Ron Paul has offered a solution.

Dr. Paul was recently asked: "What's the biggest issue to you?" His response: "To me it's uh, limiting the government and maximizing individual liberty … that's what my goal in life is, is to make sure the government is small and people are important and people are seen as individuals and not part of a group."

In Dr. Paul's mind, efforts to limit government and maximize individual liberty are underpinned by the assertion that each person ought to be recognized as an individual, apart from any group. To illustrate how this could be a solution to the bickering on DP, I will use parts of your open letter, not because it is flawed but because it is close by.

Even if your stated goals would be realized and everyone agreed on the meanings of the words used in the debate, people would still be organized into groups, some of which derive at least part of their identity from their opposition to other groups.

In the body of your open letter you claim membership - now or at some time previous - in groups called:
Atheists
Agnostic Atheists
Philosophers
Psychologists
Communication Specialists
Christians
Intended Ministers
Students of Christian Denominations
Students of Anthropology
Students of Buddhism
Students of Shintoism
Students of Islam
Seekers of the True Path
Believers in Evolution
Naturalists
Materialists
Dis-believers in Spirits & Ghosts

You also organize other people into groups called:
Angry Members
Members with (Various) Misconceptions

It should be clear that even the most careful use of words and precise identification of group membership can never lead to peace and harmony among people.

Now consider Ron Paul's assertion that each person ought to be recognized as an individual, apart from any group. Accepting this requires the insight that a person is fundamentally NOT their beliefs or the group labels that might or might not be applied to them. Recognizing each and every person simply as themselves, apart from any label other than Human Being is another way of recognizing that each and every person is a sovereign individual.

In a society that recognizes sovereign individuals, each person is free to hold their own beliefs, claim membership in various groups or mentally organize other people into groups. But such a society does require a shared consensus that such universal human behavior is subordinate at all times to the reality that each person simply IS, apart from any other description or label.

The role of government in such a society is to defend the sovereignty of each individual … (and now we're back in familiar, non-divisive territory).

I think part of the reason like-minded people on DP descend into rancor over personal beliefs is the anonymity and lack of physicality of an internet blog. If our community could somehow be magically transported into a libertarian-type real town the shared desire to enjoy private property, personal freedoms, etc. would civilize the disagreements between people who hold differing beliefs.

To every sovereign individual on DP; before you post a contentious comment, close your eyes and visualize the other person, a real person, another sovereign individual with a reality above and apart from any label that might be applied to him/her and address yourself to THAT person.

Group membership vs labels vs demarcation

I agree with your general message - that we must see each other as individuals, and not as members of another group. I also agree that many people would be more civil if they lived next to each other, and thus has to face problems together and talk face to face.

I want to point out that my article is not speaking about the subject of meaning via disagreements along group membership lines. I'm drawing attention to this because I think that it's an important subject that's often overlooked by the liberty movement - you may not have come to these conclusions.

Though I spoke about atheism and Christianity, you'll find that I didn't once use the word "Christians" in my post. It was only in the article title. The reason for that is because I wasn't identifying "Christians" as a group of people, but making an address (the letter) to any person who applied the label of "Christian" to their beliefs. For this same reason, I spoke about my experience with multiple denominations.

My intent was to show that the issue of meaning affects every individual - that this is not a fight between one group (e.g. atheists) and another (e.g. Christians, deists, or what have you). For the same reason, I pointed out that atheists disagree on what should be believed (if anything), given that an atheist does not believe in a god.

All throughout the article, I said "some people". This was also intentional.

Some in the liberty movement would scold me for using labels at all, but that criticism is unfounded. To remove labels it to say that demarcation (drawing mental lines between conceptualizations) is less valuable than the ability of a person to not be lumped together with others.

For example, you stated that I identified as part of the group "Students of Islam". That isn't right. I made a demarcation between "student" and "not-student" and "Islam" and "not-Islam", and then identified my experience as having been on one side of the boundary.

This is not grouping myself together with some actual membership roster, it's identifying my experiences.

I don't believe that you intended to say that merely mentioning anything that describes a person is wrong, but there are those who take such positions without realizing what effect that would have on language and conversation.

In sum, labels (the result of demarcation) are not bad. Failing to recognize a person as an individual who also happens to label themselves - or who even identifies as belonging to a group - is bad.

I think that was your point, and I agree.

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People do but government must not

Creating mental groups is what people do, but I'm warming to the idea that what we call freedom was born when men agreed that our essential being-ness transcends all other labels and distinctions, and that the ideal state is blind to all but a very few labels/groups/distinctions between people.

Debate in our society is dysfunctional because general ignorance of true meaning results in garbled communication of peoples' actual mental and emotional states, but debate is profoundly dysfunctional because certain prominent minorities knowingly distort and subvert true meaning to accomplish their ends. Remedying either situation would seem to be very difficult.

'Christians' was included in the group list because you said "I also was once a Christian …". I like the way you generally avoided grouping or labeling others.

We're never going to get away from using labels or thinking of ourselves and others as belonging to various groups. Far from being bad, it is essential to human society. But the American experiment is based on the idea that our true selves transcend language-based labels and our government must be prevented from grouping/labeling us except in very general terms.

Thanks for your insights.

Government & statistics

I do agree that treating people as demographics is a huge problem, but the only real solution that I see to that is transferring governmental power to the local level, so that power decreases the closer it is to the federal level.

There's one simple question to ask: If our government is supposed to be about the people, how can it exist so far from our reach?

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Cheaters

If you're downvoting other groups' downvote-poll comments, downvote this one, too.

[Hey, I can't stop it.]

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I believe

In God, the only way to get to heaven is through Christ...but I also believe in evaluation. To me..theres no conflict. Without one, you cant have the other. I also believe in your right to believe what ever you want.

I believe in Hope & Change..I Hope the government will Change
Spindale-Rutherford County-North Carolina

I really don't

care if you believe in god, Christ, earth, the sun, the moon,, atheism or even cheese, so long as you don't force your views on me or anyone else for that matter. What has a lot of people scratching their heads is that Kokesh has been bashing Christians, and only Christians. "Christians don't have logic, they believe in magic ect" or "Libertarianism is mostly wandered upon by atheists using their logic, reasoning and critical thinking." Those are fighting words to some. Yea, like Christians are not capable of any of those, and Ron Paul doesn't have logic, reason, or critical thought. Kokesh has seemed like a collectivist lately. Also, he only mentions Christians, and leaves out the fact that AIPAC controls US foreign policy, and most of congress, and that he is Jewish. Now don't give the excuse that being Jewish is inherent, because that would mean being Christian is too. What he is doing is fine, it is none of my business, I just find it unnecessary, divisive and not Libertarian. Libertarian is live and let live. Not forcing your views onto others, and tolerance. Not saying “a perfect world is a world without religion”...that is dangerous. It has been tried before...in the last century, and 58 million people died from it....in China/Germany/USSR. So respect others views whether they are atheist or believers in a higher power, what does it matter any how if they believe in the non aggression principle?

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

what it looks like to me is

what it looks like to me is kokesh is getting a little big for his pants. The guy gets a show etc. and can't handle it.
Absolutley no reason for kokesh to go down this road and divide those who strive for Liberty no matter what they believe. Seems pretty stupid to me.

What this article is about

"what does it matter any how if they believe in the non aggression principle?"

I'm with you on this general sentiment.

However, you're commenting on the Kokesh situation, which is fine, I suppose, but really doesn't address this article. Is there anything I wrote that you disagree with?

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Appreciate your views,

and appreciate you writing this. This was not mentioned in your expose, but what p'os off a lot of "believers" or people of faith is the way people begin a convo like the way Kokesh did (and I know a lot of atheists get p’od when people of faith go up to non believers and say they are going to burn in a lake of fire, we all know it is a 2 way street.) Again, he can do what he wants. I have faith (I don’t push my views on anyone else, and have not been coerced into blindly believing something because I was told to), had one of those "personal experiences" when I was in a car that flipped upside down into a canal. It filled with water, couldn't see anything, door was locked, and couldn't get my seat belt off. I was panicking, gasping for my last breath and scared it would really be my last. I thinking I was going to die drowning, and really believed it, and accepted it and stopped panicking, basically gave up and waited untill I couldn't hold my breath any longer. Then all of a sudden it got real calm, real quite, and there was no color just a weird shade of white. I could see myself, but didn't know where I was, it felt like a dream. I would go into detail, but I usually don't like to speak of it, especially over a comment board. Long story short, I am here, and so is every single person who was in the car at the time of the accident thanks to the brave people who helped me get them out. Before that day, I didn't "prayer" or think about a higher power and would get disgusted about those "bible thumpers." Since then I welcome those who do/don't have faith, and those who actually live virtuously. I am not religious for I believe all religions are whor*s, and that was even said by J Christ. I believe in Jesus Christ, not blindly though. One thing that angers me about atheists is that they say there is "no proof," but that is like saying there is no proof the Great Pyramid was built by man. How do we know? All we have are "texts" and nobody was around to see them being built. The last thing that angers me is atheists try so hard to take the word "god" out of whatever it is publicly in. Who cares? No one is forced to say that word, and what they should be more worried about is having their kids forced to say the pledge of allegiance in the first place. It is a form of brain washing, and more upsetting than the word god. Again, I welcome your view, don’t expect you or anyone else to welcome mine. I find it dangerous when people say “a perfect would is a world w/o religion,” which is dangerous. A perfect world is a world without statists. It is wrong to say that people who believe in a higher power are illogical, don’t use reason, or is not capable of critical thought. That is collectivist talk, and it is anathema to Libertarianism.

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

First impressions and Public representation

You're right about how conversations start off. Anyone who comes off with the tone of - much less the message of - "You're an illogical and delusional idiot" or "You're an immoral and disgusting person who is going to burn in hell forever" isn't going to get very far. And that's a whole different problem that I'm not going to try to tackle in this article.

As for the issue of public representation - or as you brought it up, "No one is forced to say that word (god)" - you're not seeing the issue completely.

Just as I don't want to see "god" on government-funded buildings, money, and so on, I'm sure that you wouldn't want to see "There is no god" on those same buildings or other public property.

The issue is that what is public should equally represent every person who contributes to it. Public property should not more represent those who have a god as a part of their daily lives, nor should it more represent those who do not.

And, really, if you say "Who cares?" with respect to "god" being part of public property, then there's no reason that you shouldn't say "Who cares?" to it not being on public property.

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