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Below are the 16 most recent journal entries recorded in The intersection of polyamory and nontheism's LiveJournal:

Monday, November 12th, 2007
2:02 pm
loved ones turning religious
Last week, for the first time in more than a year, I went surfing in my long-ago-ex-partner's blog so that I could show my current girlfriend a photograph of what my ex looks like and also show some samples of my ex's often excellent poetry.  But I found a different photo than the one I was expecting-- and quite a few other things were different too.

After a few minutes reading through her blog, it became obvious from her "about me" statement, from some of her poems and other writings, and from the head scarf she now wears in her homepage photograph, that my ex has recently converted to Islam.  Not radical Islamic fundamentalism (thank goodness!!), but Sufism, and she now self-identifies as part of the "Islamic left" socio-politically.

While I welcome the existence of Sufism and the Islamic left, I've been realising over the past few days that my ex's transformation is weirding me out a bit.  Two decades ago, when she and I were together, she was strongly agnostic and quite skeptical of mysticism.  The only religion that carried any philosophical appeal to her was Buddhism, but she didn't think she'd make a good Buddhist because she considered herself "too selfish" and "too grounded in scientific materialism."

Things change, obviously.  That was 20+ years ago.  She was much younger then, and she has since had plenty of time to see the world in new ways.

16 years ago, she married her non-traditional-agnostic-Jewish boyfriend in a ceremony that followed the Jewish tradition in some ways and not in others.  I had guessed that the traditional Jewish details of that wedding were mostly out of respect for his parents, and that's the only hint of non-Buddhist religious sympathies I ever saw in either of them.  Now I find myself wondering what her husband thinks of her conversion (assuming they're still together, which I know they were up to just a couple years ago) .

These are idle thoughts-- and none of my business, except that I loved her so much in the past that it still matters to me that she's living a good and happy life and making good decisions.  And I'm so strongly atheist myself that I know her conversion would have been very difficult for me if we were still together.  I imagine that I would have felt quite alienated in that case.

So I'm just wondering, and using this as an excuse to stir up some discussion.  How would readers of this forum feel if a non-religious partner turned religious?  How would you react to discovering that an once non-religious ex-partner had turned religious?  Why would you feel that way?

Current Mood: curious
Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
11:05 pm
okcupid questions... again
To continue directly on from flamingnerd's post. (linky)

The question I said I would submit has gone through, and been rejected from okcupid.

The Question Click HereCollapse )

The Responses Click HereCollapse )

My Comments Click HereCollapse )
4:32 am
Atheist Ethics
I feel this follows on nicely from the previous post...

In particular for those non-spiritual atheists out there, where do you derive your ethics?

I'm sure we agree that it is a false statement that atheists can't be moral, but seemingly true that many 'sources of morality' that people adhere to aren't available to atheists.

We can't look to religious texts for codified ethics. We can't claim to be doing God's will or following a divine order. We won't be living up to a code of ethics for heavenly reward, fear of hell, or to avoid unwanted bad karma.

So what do you base your ethics on, and in particular your romantic/sexual ethics, and why?

How do you justify what you consider to be ethical? Or do you even try to justify it?
Saturday, September 1st, 2007
10:10 am
Religious people have morals?
So I recently was wasting time answering OK Cupid questions and came across a particularly offensive one:

Do you think it is possible for someone to be an Atheist and still have a solid moral framework by which to live?


Hopefully I don't have to explain why that question is leading and offensive. Because really, we all know the REAL question is:

Do you think it is possible for someone to be religious and still have a solid moral framework by which to live?


So of course I submitted the question saying (note Question ID: 47764 which is the same except it uses "an Atheist" instead of religious.)

and it was rejected.

the feedback:

Uninteresting or too obscure for most people

Too similar to other questions

Too similar to other questions

Offensive / worthless

Offensive / worthless

Offensive / worthless

Too similar to other questions

Question or answers ambiguous
wouldn't this question serve better to say "and still not have"

Friday, August 31st, 2007
2:10 am
Marginalisation of Atheists
fire_clarity has made a post on his community about 'making USA money constitutional'. Whilst I wouldn't want to encourage people to start defacing their money it does raise an interesting point.

The writing on money could be understood to have a marginalising effect on atheists. This strikes me as true, but at the same time a coin is still just a coin; without any wider marginalisation in wider society it can be shrugged off.

One of the reasons for communities like this is to create a more friendly atmosphere for atheists. Some members also think that it's important in reversing bad stereotypes of atheists.

I'd be curious to hear more about that. As an urban British atheist I find most people, poly or not, don't care about my atheism. I do realise that other people's mileage may vary, and possibly vary by quite a lot.

How many people here feel they get marginalised (et cetera) for their atheism, whether that be in general or specifically within poly circles?
Thursday, August 30th, 2007
2:59 am
Atheist social networking site
Richard Dawkins's site has added a social networking area. It seems pretty cool so far!

(I'm Baerana there, if anyone wants to add me)

Current Mood: cheerful
Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
8:59 pm
Judging religious people
One of the main complaints about atheists is that they are intolerant of religious people.

And from rather recent drama we know that is certainly sometimes the case. There are a number of (unfortunately rather loud and noticeable) atheists that vehemently dislike and hate religion and religious people.

I'm sure we can all agree that attitude is very silly.


I personally do not believe in God and I believe that people that do not agree are wrong as a logical consequence of that belief. I also believe that some varieties of religious belief are more sensible, more rational or less absurd than others.

I also believe that the more intelligent a person is the more likely they are to believe correct things. Hence I expect more intelligent people to tend towards certain kinds of belief, including atheism.

Naturally I won't dismiss someone as 'stupid', 'insane', or 'subjectivist' just because they aren't atheist, but more specific religious beliefs may make me lose respect for people.

So, I ask the members of this community; Are there any religious beliefs that you find off-putting? Are there any varsities of religious belief that would stop you from wanting to date someone? Are there any varieties of religious belief that would make you think someone is stupid or less worthy of 'respect'?
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
8:27 pm
"Posters are not allowed to try to redefine atheism as including both atheists and agnostics."
.... wtf?!

Any community that talks about this stuff, and doesn't even use proper non-ambiguous terms, is just doomed to have flamewars.

"Atheist" and "agnostic", unspecified, are virtually useless in any conversation *about* religion and stances towards theism.

Using those terms unspecified, and then saying "ha ha ha no you shall not define it as including both atheism and agnosticism" is ridiculous.

So as a short list:

1. Theism - belief in at least one god
- more variants than I want to get in to in a post about atheism...

2. Non-theism, aka weak atheism - no belief in a god. Includes the (mostly) mutually exclusive terms:
2.1 strong atheism - belief there *are* no gods
2.1.1 uncertain strong atheism - belief, but not knowledge, that there are no gods
2.2 strong agnosticism - belief that the existence of gods is definitely unknowable
2.3 weak agnosticism - belief that the existence of gods is currently *unknown*, but might be knowable with the right data
- both versions of agnosticism are compatible with theistic and strong-atheistic variants, if you're willing to do the twisty method of saying that 'knowledge' and 'belief' are separate, i.e. you don't *know* there is a god, and indeed you think you can't have any evidence for one, but you believe in one anyway... that's theistic (weak/strong) agnosticism.

... compatible with:
2.4 non-theistic religion - religion that lacks a deity, e.g. Taoism, Buddhism, "secular Christianity" (!), et al.
2.5 antitheism - belief that the belief in a god, is a Bad Thing
2.6 implicit vs explicit ~ism - whether someone's actually thought about it

That's the basic categories at least - the ones that come up most often. I find it really irritating when people discuss this, and then get in a fight over wtf the definition of 'atheist' is, and then resort to bullshit etymological "arguments" to "prove" that their definition is right. (?!!) Hint: in polite formal debate, you have to first agree on all definitions and evidence, THEN discuss what conclusions to draw. Otherwise you just end up it pointless headbutting.

FWIW it's my belief that weak agnosticism is the only rigorously defensible position, absent either data I don't have (e.g. direct communication from a god?) or the willingness to make moves I consider to be just really sketchy (and unnecessary), like a difference between knowledge and belief. YouTube has tons of videos against theism, some of which are pretty good (I am partial to those by 2LegHumanist and and blueadept111); I have a series attacking strong atheism (in favor of weak agnosticism).

I also think it's sad that religion seems to have a chokehold on 'sacred' experiences. There are many conversion stories I've read that basically start "I saw something amazingly beautiful" or "I had an incredible bit of luck and my life changed for the better" and end "... and therefore I believe in Jesus". WHY?!?! The only answer I can think of is because they have no other framework in which to parse that sort of experience. Which is, to me, sad, because then the religious crap takes over and dilutes the sacredness part. :-/

Anywho: Plz to not be using unqualified terms 'atheist' and 'agnostic'. Extra plz to not be arguing over definitions of such ambiguous terms. Kthxbye!
8:58 pm
problem with the term "atheism"
why not poly_secularism? as a person who has never had an interest in religion and was brought up entirely without religion (UU doesn't count), i've always balked at defining myself in apposition with theism.

just a thought. carry on.

Current Mood: curious
4:55 pm
Modified userinfo for this community. Requesting input.
Hi all, and welcome!

This community has now moved beyond its snark-inspired creation to be a fully open and welcoming space, and I'm the new mod. You may want to check out the modified userinfo.

I would welcome any further suggestions for the userinfo page, or any general suggestions about how you'd like this community to be run or what you'd like to see here.

Current Mood: optimistic
4:16 pm
Defining -ists
OK, this new community looks like it could be fun, although I missed all the drama and snark leading up to it... I recognize a number of you, hi :-)

I've defined myself as a Buddhist for a good 15 years. Yet I consider myself to be an atheist as well. I see no contradiction in this as I don't consider Buddhism at its core to be a theistic religion; to my mind, mindful living is the goal, and god/desses are culturally-dependent and basically optional.

I wonder though if I put Buddhism on my various social networking profiles, as I have, if that turns off people who are strongly agnostic/atheist because they might lump me in with other theists. I don't even formally practice Buddhism, currently; for me it's more a mindset and lifestyle.

I also have described myself in various places as "semi-pagan" but I'm realizing that is less and less accurate. I identify with the idea of honoring the Earth and with having open relationships, but neither of these require a religious or ritual structure. I have participated in a few pagan rituals at poly events and while they don't bother me, I can't really identify with the content. Unlike Buddhism, I'm thinking I should probably drop any stated affiliation with paganism as it really doesn't capture who I am well.

Just some random thoughts as my energy flags this late afternoon...

Current Mood: thoughtful
2:39 pm
Updating the userinfo?
Hey, now that this snark-inspired community has turned into a real community, maybe a bit of modification or expansion of the userinfo would be a bit of a help. Specifically, I'd think the group should be about more than just theological discussion. Perhaps including a statement like:
This is a place where like-minded people will find an open forum to discuss issues and topics that we may have in common, or just generally get to know each other. There will be no topic enforcement; almost anything goes.

Current Mood: optimistic
1:20 pm
Lost post
I had made a comment in that other community defending one of it's members. The post seems to have been deleted and the rule "Posters are not allowed to try to redefine atheism as including both atheists and agnostics" seems to have popped up on that other community's info page.

Did anyone happen to get a copy of it in their e-mail before it got deleted. My girlfriends didn't get a chance to see it before it went away. :)

I think I'll be turning off my membership to that other community shortly... This group looks much friendlier, funnier, and just more fun.

Current Mood: tired
7:32 am
Advertising this Better-Run Community
The understandably poor reactions to the poly_atheists advertisements in multiple poly-related communities, and to the lameness and ugliness and more lameness in that community itself, have concerned me quite a bit.
  1. It fostered much confusion and negative comments and even rude comments about atheists in those poly-related communities.

  2. The community itself gave an extremely lousy impression of what atheists were about.

  3. And the moderator of that community was the worst of all, of course.

I am quite concerned that this mess just ended up making atheists look bad, perhaps even worse by confirming and adding to some people's already negatively-biased opinions of atheists. Very frustrating!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So, I was wondering if people would be comfortable with advertising this community in those places (and perhaps others), in better and more functional way that would represent us in a more reasonable and open way.

Perhaps something like:
Hi all! I would like to announce that a new community, poly_atheism has been formed. This is a place where like minded people will find an open forum to discuss issues and topics that we have in common, or just generally get to know each other. There will be no topic enforcement; almost anything goes.
And for those communities that we have no particular strong connection to, just that the previous announcements showed up there, we could add that "There is no particular connection to this group, we just wanted people who saw the previous announcement to see this one too." (Adding "to counter any negative impressions that one may have left" might be a bit much.)

Current Mood: frustrated
Monday, August 27th, 2007
8:51 pm
We need something to argue about. This is entirely too calm.
2:40 pm
You mean that poly atheism doesn't mean that there is more than one god you don't believe in?
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