necessary and sufficient
Posted in the Atheism Forum
#1 Aug 14, 2012
it is much easier to state that a certain something is both necessary and sufficient to be an adequate definition of a word - or concept - that to say that it is not, and then look for all the other things that might be necessary, or sufficient, or both.
do define atheist - it is a simple matter. to not believe in the existence of a God, god, gods or Gods. that is necessary, and it is sufficient.
to define a good person is far more difficult. since I value ethics more than theology, I always insist that it is neither necessary or sufficient to be an atheist to be a good person. I must look far and wide for qualities of a good person, and not assume that agreement on this one relatively minor issue is very helpful. I place kindness very high on my list of what is necessary to be kind. people with many different views can be kind. there are also many different aspects of kindness - some of them highly personal - and some of them political, in the sense of supporting policies that are kind, and not selfish or cruel.
For me, it is necessary but not sufficient to support political leaders who want to help the poor, the oppressed, the exploited, the injured, the helpless, the innocent, the ill, the young, the powerless, the old, etc - and who want to protect animals and the entire environment as much as possible. so I find it difficult to feel that a person who is for selfish policies that help the oppressor, the crooks, the exploiter, the powerful, etc. is really a good person. maybe it is stupidity or naive thinking or lack of information, so there is perhaps less to blame the person for, but I still do not feel the person is good.
so I do not think a good person can support a Romney Ryan ticket, and I think that to prevent their election, a good person must support Obama and Biden, even as the lesser of two evils. and it dos not matter at all what the voter's religious views are.
of course this is not sufficient to be a good person. personal kindness to other persons, to animals, and to particularly worthwhile plants!, and to the environment are also needed, at least in intent and to a degree that is reasonable.
so I strongly object to atheists who are negative about Christians in general, and other religious persons in general, without considering the ethics of specific persons. there are fine advocates of peace and social and economic justice among religious persons. there have been coalitions on many issues that included both religious and secular thinkers. the insistence on hostilities against a believer - by some atheists - is a barrier to such alliances that are needed to make a better world. If some believers also resist an alliance with nonbelievers, even for a good cause, they also are acting foolishly.
I see few Christians on here who would be willing to support the same sort of causes. But I do not like it when atheists are so very hostile to Christianity as a religion that they use words meant to insult all Christians, and write them all off as unworthy.
Over-generalizations do that. To include potential friends and allies, in a big category along with real enemies, is stupid, unkind, and close to being evil itself. We need a majority for decent policies, and we need many individuals to be kind in their own personal lives.
#2 Aug 14, 2012
I regard kindness as good, largely because I regard pain as bad - all sorts of pain, though sometimes a small pain is a warning that helps people to avoid greater pain. I regard pain as a very major portion of life experience, not only for myself but for all sorts of living beings. Thus I believe that any creator of this world that was allpowerful, and could have done things differently, was definately not a good Being.
So apologists for such an alleged Being offend me greatly. But when I must choose between someone who is personally kind and yet worships a nasty God, and someone who is cruel and does not worship a nasty God, I have to hope that the kind person will not weaken and follow some leader who claims to speak for the God, into supporting very unkind public policy. I must have tests to see what and whom they will support.
One of them is whether they self-medicate on evil and lies by watching Fox news primarily and/or with willingness to believe it. And now one is whether they support Romney and Ryan or Obama and Biden.
On the atheist forum, I find too many people who have a sort of them versus us mentality - possibly caused by the dominance of extreme rightwing religious persons on topix, rather than a range of religious views. the hunt for decent Christians is one of the duties of a good person who happens to be an atheist, in my view. and the recruitment of decent human beings into a coalition that goes far beyond the current political agenda, and extends to a general philosophy and policy view, is urgent, in my view.
I think the rightwing true believers want to set us on a course that will destroy any hope of happiness and health and maybe even of socalled higher life itself, on this planet. I want them to be isolated from other religious persons, who do not want this to happen. I call this group the Armageddon Welcoiming and Facilitating Committee.
I think many nonbelievers do believe that this faction of Christianity is the most evil and most dangerous. I think that some believers would also agree, once they consider the policies that such extremists favor. I do not think every Christian wants Armageddon, and thinks that it is part of some wonderful God's plan.
I also think that some atheists would gladly sabotage the prospect of a decent coaliton among those who oppose the extremists of the far right, in order to advance their very limited agenda of fighting religion. That is the context in which I am so opposed to certain comments by certain atheists, which seem to be so intolerant, and so indifferent to the need for a large enough, sustained enough coalition, to block the agenda of the ultra rightwing fundies.
“There is no god.”
Since: Jan 12
#3 Aug 15, 2012
I think you are wrong, you can figure out where with your superior intelect.
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