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    Thread: Atheism and being Armenian

    1. #46
      Anarchist KanadaHye's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by bell-the-cat View Post
      Most 4th-century Armenians had never even seen a Christian before Christianity was enforced upon them, so it was hardly a case of setting an example and allowing people to see that it was a better way of life. In many parts of Armenia Christanity was adopted and enforced using military force - sometimes involving full-scale battles. Non-christian shrines were atacked and destroyed, sacred statues were smashed, temple lands and temple contents confiscated and distributed to those supporting the Church, and the population was forbidden to practice non-Christian rites. Ironically, because Christianity was forced onto the ordinary peasant population, this resulted in many religious practices from pre-Christian Armenia being preserved within Armenian Christianity. The designs of early churches in Armenia show that most Armenians after Armenia became officially Christian were still not Christians - churches had porticos and external apses because it was recognised that, because a large part of the population was not Christian or had not been properly baptised, they could not enter inside churches.

      About the Erzinjan region:
      You left out the part where martyrs were seen to be met with force and put to death because they were teaching the peasants how to empower themselves which was seen as a threat to the current rulers. Kind of like the emancipation of women that the west uses against every culture in the middle east as an excuse for military force.
      "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

    2. #47
      Registered User Jinx's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Yedrarts,

      You keep implying that you're being told that there are no immoral or corrupt atheists, even though I haven't seen anyone state this. I don't know why you keep falling back on this.

      I also find your separation of belief and practice somewhat odd. I don't think it would a misinterpretation of your position to lump "clergy/practice/ritual" into one category of things that is different from belief, and that things in that category can be corrupted, misused or false... however belief is something separate and pure from that. I'm pretty sure this is what you're saying. However, there is a problem with this, and I'll explain the problem through analogy.

      As a Philosophy major, I go about learning about various thinkers or ideologies in one of two ways: One way is through companion books, reference materials, professors lecturing, and commentaries. The other way is to just directly read what that philosopher wrote him or herself. In school, you often have to do both, but theoretically I could spend my life ONLY learning through reading what they themselves wrote and forming my own interpretation based on that alone, or I could go through life ONLY learning about them through commentaries of what other people have said/written about them. It seems to me what you're saying is that all the practice and clergy in religion could be viewed as 'the reference material/commentaries' and belief comes itself from the pure, unadulterated source which is separate from the former category.

      However, the problem is that no such pure source exists. You only have your belief or faith because of the church, clergy, rituals and practices. Even if you ignored all that and only stuck to the Bible, you would still have to be aware that it was a book written by men. Even if you felt it was divinely inspired by the word of God, most modern believers knowingly admit that the Bible was indeed written by men who undoubted added their own bits too it. So you see, you're not as religion free as you think, because you only get this idea that you can have belief from man made institutions.

      Now, you could make the argument that even if there was no church and no bible, you would intuitively know that there must be a higher power, a God, and that intuition would be enough to justify belief. Even if that were true, you would only have belief in a very general sense. However you've very clearly talked about Jesus and being the children of God, which are specifics that you would have only gotten from either church, the bible, clergy or some other man made institution. You don't just wake up one day never even having heard of Jesus and suddenly just intuitively or magically know the story of the sermon on the mount or the story of the resurrection. You have to be taught these things, by humans. So there is no pure source, your belief only comes from the very institutions you claim aren't as important as the specific belief that only comes from them in the first place. It's all very circular.

      The only "pure source" would be if God directly appeared to you or spoke to you in your mind. At which point you would either be hallucinating or schizophrenic.
      Last edited by Jinx; 04-25-2011 at 05:50 PM.
      "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest" - Confucius

    3. #48
      Anarchist KanadaHye's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Jinx, I think you'll find that there are believers who believe because they have tested the things that were taught to them and found them to be true. When you tell a child not to touch the stove because it's hot, they don't believe you until they get burned and over a period of the learning/testing stage, they will discover that the parent speaks the truth.

      The only pure source that exists is intelligence. The bible and other written pieces of literature are historical writings and stories told by people and recorded by journalists of that time. Why do you as a Philosopher think that you're able to question your own existence? Does a bird or other creature sit there and ask itself why it has instinct to survive? Life is simple, survival is complex. Why should you as an Armenian care about the survival of Armenians as a distinct culture if you have no belief that you are here for a purpose?
      "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

    4. #49
      Registered User Jinx's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by KanadaHye View Post
      Jinx, I think you'll find that there are believers who believe because they have tested the things that were taught to them and found them to be true. When you tell a child not to touch the stove because it's hot, they don't believe you until they get burned and over a period of the learning/testing stage, they will discover that the parent speaks the truth.
      I absolutely agree. The problem is that spiritual or religious belief doesn't come anywhere near being a sort of objective, demonstrable truth as in the example of the baby and the stove. Sure, faith can help someone make sense of the world, provide comfort or meaning in someone's life, and be used as a tool to pass down values that parents prefer their children to have. But in no way does that make it true.

      Quote Originally Posted by KanadaHye View Post
      Why do you as a Philosopher think that you're able to question your own existence?
      I don't know why. And that's precisely the point, that I don't know. And I'm willing to try and find out, and investigate the issue, or at least respect those who actually do the hard work in studying this topic... which to me is a far nobler pursuit than just saying "What a mystery, it must have been God."

      Quote Originally Posted by KanadaHye View Post
      Why should you as an Armenian care about the survival of Armenians as a distinct culture if you have no belief that you are here for a purpose?
      A belief in God has nothing at all to do with preserving and appreciating human civilization. Anyone can stand in absolute awe of what we as a primate species have been able to accomplish, and wanting to preserve and pass down that love of art, culture, science and history, be it of our own specific one or human civilization in general, has everything to do with solidarity and nothing to do with any belief in Gods. If anything, religion has destroyed a lot of history and culture by branding it pagan or heretical, and often quite explicitly asks its followers to abandon any love or connection with the material world and submit fully to the celestial one.
      Last edited by Jinx; 04-25-2011 at 06:50 PM.
      "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest" - Confucius

    5. #50
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by Yedtarts View Post
      So according to you these writers, artists and historians were atheists just because they did not attend a church or even evolved with it. Maybe they were muslims or jehovah’s witness who knows? Don't give yourselves credits so fast!
      I never said that at all, they didn't necessarily build their lives around religion, nor was every song and book inspired by religion. If it was then Armenian culture would have been dull, never adapting or changing, I think it is quite the opposite. Religion has it's place and life has another, there is culture in religion but also culture in everything else. I wonder for example how you could claim the church teaches Armenians to cook. :lol:
      Last edited by hipeter924; 04-25-2011 at 06:55 PM.

    6. #51
      Anarchist KanadaHye's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
      I absolutely agree. The problem is that spiritual or religious belief doesn't come anywhere near being a sort of objective, demonstrable truth as in the example of the baby and the stove. Sure, faith can help someone make sense of the world, provide comfort or meaning in someone's life, and be used as a tool to pass down values that parents prefer their children to have. But in no way does that make it true.
      So what is your definition of truth?

      Better yet, what is real and what is fake? A real diamond vs. a fake diamond only differs in properties... if you aren't taught to know the difference between real and fake then it makes no difference to you. I find that what we value (both materially and spiritually) in some form or another affects our lives. If we aren't taught those things by people who care for our well being, then we are left vulnerable to manipulation. Believing without understanding or lack of knowledge is how people can be manipulated. We are to assume that one person doesn't have the mental capacity to know it all which is what yields people to believe there is a higher form of intelligence.

      Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
      I don't know why. And that's precisely the point, that I don't know. And I'm willing to try and find out, and investigate the issue, or at least respect those who actually do the hard work in studying this topic... which to me is a far nobler pursuit than just saying "What a mystery, it must have been God."
      I have no problems with this as long as the funding isn't by the state. The problem that most people have with many existing institutions is that they are funded by the state. Taking money from the working class and giving it to institutions to study a noble cause seems unfair to me. Society comes down to 3 main forms of development: Farming, mining and manufacturing. Those 3 things form the world around us today and the people working in those industries are the ones that are critical to the survival of mankind. Those things might exist by random chance or they were put here for a purpose, that is the only mystery.

      Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
      A belief in God has nothing at all to do with preserving and appreciating human civilization. Anyone can stand in absolute awe of what we as a primate species have been able to accomplish, and wanting to preserve and pass down that love of art, culture, science and history, be it of our own specific one or human civilization in general, has everything to do with solidarity and nothing to do with any belief in Gods. If anything, religion has destroyed a lot of history and culture by branding it pagan or heretical, and often quite explicitly asks its followers to abandon any love or connection with the material world and submit fully to the celestial one.
      If your house is burning down with all your possessions, do you go in to save them? What good are they to you if you aren't alive? People have destroyed a lot of history and culture, religion recognizes those as key events or turning points in history. What caused those turning points? Isn't that worth studying? Or should the past be branded as heretical because people have created stories or embellished the true events?
      "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

    7. #52
      Դէպի Հայրենիք Yedtarts's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
      Yedrarts,

      You keep implying that you're being told that there are no immoral or corrupt atheists, even though I haven't seen anyone state this. I don't know why you keep falling back on this.

      I also find your separation of belief and practice somewhat odd. I don't think it would a misinterpretation of your position to lump "clergy/practice/ritual" into one category of things that is different from belief, and that things in that category can be corrupted, misused or false... however belief is something separate and pure from that. I'm pretty sure this is what you're saying. However, there is a problem with this, and I'll explain the problem through analogy.

      As a Philosophy major, I go about learning about various thinkers or ideologies in one of two ways: One way is through companion books, reference materials, professors lecturing, and commentaries. The other way is to just directly read what that philosopher wrote him or herself. In school, you often have to do both, but theoretically I could spend my life ONLY learning through reading what they themselves wrote and forming my own interpretation based on that alone, or I could go through life ONLY learning about them through commentaries of what other people have said/written about them. It seems to me what you're saying is that all the practice and clergy in religion could be viewed as 'the reference material/commentaries' and belief comes itself from the pure, unadulterated source which is separate from the former category.

      However, the problem is that no such pure source exists. You only have your belief or faith because of the church, clergy, rituals and practices. Even if you ignored all that and only stuck to the Bible, you would still have to be aware that it was a book written by men. Even if you felt it was divinely inspired by the word of God, most modern believers knowingly admit that the Bible was indeed written by men who undoubted added their own bits too it. So you see, you're not as religion free as you think, because you only get this idea that you can have belief from man made institutions.

      Now, you could make the argument that even if there was no church and no bible, you would intuitively know that there must be a higher power, a God, and that intuition would be enough to justify belief. Even if that were true, you would only have belief in a very general sense. However you've very clearly talked about Jesus and being the children of God, which are specifics that you would have only gotten from either church, the bible, clergy or some other man made institution. You don't just wake up one day never even having heard of Jesus and suddenly just intuitively or magically know the story of the sermon on the mount or the story of the resurrection. You have to be taught these things, by humans. So there is no pure source, your belief only comes from the very institutions you claim aren't as important as the specific belief that only comes from them in the first place. It's all very circular.
      I’m not so good in quoting, that is why I answer in general cause I have hard time quoting line by line and answering them separately. So here I go again:

      It doesn’t take a philosopher to explain a simple fact. Who said that the bible was written by God, and why is it that you have a problem with the bible when it is written by people, just because it was written by people it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Isn’t that’s how we learn about our history, by your logic if it’s written by people then it’s not true, then most of our history is not true, right?


      The only "pure source" would be if God directly appeared to you or spoke to you in your mind. At which point you would either be hallucinating or schizophrenic.
      If that’s how you see it then let’s not talk at all, so what did you think when I was saying one can communicate with God in his private room without going to church and praying out loud?
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    8. #53
      Դէպի Հայրենիք Yedtarts's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by hipeter924 View Post
      I never said that at all, they didn't necessarily build their lives around religion, nor was every song and book inspired by religion. If it was then Armenian culture would have been dull, never adapting or changing, I think it is quite the opposite. Religion has it's place and life has another, there is culture in religion but also culture in everything else. I wonder for example how you could claim the church teaches Armenians to cook. :lol:
      You just don't get it don't you?!
      You can mock/criticize the people in church or who runs them as much as you want I don’t care, but not the real owner which is God. these people are just a temporary tenants that are running a show which sooner or later will end.
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    9. #54
      Registered User Jinx's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by Yedtarts View Post
      Isn’t that’s how we learn about our history, by your logic if it’s written by people then it’s not true, then most of our history is not true, right?
      That's not what I said at all. I'm noticing a trend here, and I really can't do anything to help If you cannot follow the basic information being exchanged in the conversation.
      "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest" - Confucius

    10. #55
      Registered User bell-the-cat's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by KanadaHye View Post
      You left out the part where martyrs were seen to be met with force and put to death because they were teaching the peasants how to empower themselves which was seen as a threat to the current rulers. Kind of like the emancipation of women that the west uses against every culture in the middle east as an excuse for military force.
      I don't know if you are being satirical or factual.
      But if there are those who would read it as factual, are Armenian churches full of priestesses, and images of goddesses? The rulers were the ones wanting the imposition of Christianity onto the peasants.
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    11. #56
      Anarchist KanadaHye's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by bell-the-cat View Post
      I don't know if you are being satirical or factual.
      But if there are those who would read it as factual, are Armenian churches full of priestesses, and images of goddesses? The rulers were the ones wanting the imposition of Christianity onto the peasants.
      Greek mythology is well known, Armenian mythology was probably similar. Why would modern churches contain symbols of mythological figures?
      Last edited by Federate; 04-26-2011 at 04:50 AM.
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    12. #57
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
      I suddenly had the urge to come back after a long, long, LONG time. I hope this will be interesting.

      I recently gave a presentation on 'Faith and Reason' at a philosophy conference, and afterward I was asked by someone if it is particularly hard for me to be an atheist as an Armenian. It wasn't a question I had thought about much before, as I tend to consider culture and religion two separate categories (though there absolutely can be overlap between the two). Certainly someone can be an Armenian who is also an atheist, such as myself, but my question to you all is if you believe religiosity is something necessary (or at least extremely important) to the Armenian experience? Why or why not?
      why do you care?

    13. #58
      Registered User bell-the-cat's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
      That's not what I said at all. I'm noticing a trend here, and I really can't do anything to help If you cannot follow the basic information being exchanged in the conversation.
      By three methods we may learn the pointlessness of Armenian message boards: First, by lurking, which is noblest; Second, by imitating the majority, which is easiest; and third by posting intelligent stuff and allowing experience to eventually tell you it was time wasted, which is the bitterest."

      We may also learn that it is against forum rules to satirise Confucius. If that is not the case, why was my post containing the above words erased?
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    14. #59
      RAmen Siggie's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      No church necessary to interact with other Armenians.
      I don't think I missed much by not attending church outside of early school years. Plenty of religion from K-3 when I was at a private Armenian school, but I was still an atheist by middle school.
      Is it difficult being an atheist as an Armenian? It's not easy even if you're not Armenian, but I do think it makes it a bit harder. Religious Armenians love to imply (most imply, the rest come right out with it) that you're somehow less Armenian if you don't subscribe to religion.

      Does every thread touching on atheist have to end up in argument over whether belief or lack there of is justified? That wasn't even the point of the thread. Aren't we tired of spinning our wheels yet?

      Quote Originally Posted by KanadaHye View Post
      If atheists are uncomfortable with Armenians and Christianity, then it just means their faith in non believing isn't very strong. It's human to be doubtful.
      You should review the definition of faith. There's no faith required for lack of belief.
      Who said they're uncomfortable with Armenians or Christianity? Their uncomfortable with how they are treated by their fellow Armenians, perhaps, but I think it's misleading to say they're uncomfortable with Christianity and especially Armenians.

      Quote Originally Posted by bell-the-cat View Post
      By three methods we may learn the pointlessness of Armenian message boards: First, by lurking, which is noblest; Second, by imitating the majority, which is easiest; and third by posting intelligent stuff and allowing experience to eventually tell you it was time wasted, which is the bitterest."
      Ah, the all too familiar #3...
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    15. #60
      Anarchist KanadaHye's Avatar
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      Re: Atheism and being Armenian

      I don't see anyone contesting the intelligent stuff but rather avoiding to confront it or pretending it doesn't exist.
      "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

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