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Saturday, October 11, 2008

I give up...

Ok, guys, you were right all along. It's completely useless discussing things at AC. Rays followers are allowed to quote mine, lie, nut pick and show their lack of education/logical thinking, but our comments don't get posted even if we take care to capitalize and follow all these other stupid rules.

I'll get sick, if I have to read another of those ignorant comments on abortion and can't even answer. Where do they get their data from, anyway?
There are less than 50 million abortion in the whole world per year and only around 850,000 in the US.
We have less than 120,000 in Germany. That means 7 out of 1000 pregnancies, while the rate is 21/1000 in the US.
And why? Because we look at the reasons and try to deal with them instead of crying murder...
These are the reasons for abortion in the US:

* 25.5% Want to postpone childbearing
* 21.3% Cannot afford a baby
* 14.1% Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy
* 12.2% Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy
* 10.8% Having a child will disrupt education or job
* 7.9% Want no (more) children
* 3.3% Risk to fetal health
* 2.8% Risk to maternal health
* 2.1% Other

I couldn't find matching data for Germany, but I'm sure you could shift the point in no. 2 and no. 4 to the left and divide no. 5 with 2.

There are many ways to reduce the number of abortions.
Telling teenagers about contraception would be one.
Helping young mothers in difficult financial or emotional states would be another.
The churches in Germany are against abortion, but they do the consulting that is required here before an abortion (well, the catholic church isn't allowed to participate any more) and they sign the letter, if you want them to. Without telling you that you are a wicked murderer. They just try to provide help.

And, looking at the data, that's more effective than bombing abortion clinics.

Choice is important. And I think it leads more often to the acceptance of the pregnancy than to abortion.
What would you prefer to tell your child?
-You exist, because it would have been a sin to kill you.
- You exist, because I decided that I wanted to have you despite all difficulties.


  1. I noticed that "Love of killing potential humans" is not in the list. I thought that one would be up there, as that is what I do on Sundays when I don't go to church.

  2. ts, ts, "potential humans"...
    You just don't want to say "cute little babies"

  3. Tilia, I gave up hoping to get through to Ray's cadre of fundies. Don't be exasperated by people who arent interested in discussion.

    They're talking at people and refusing to listen to the responses.

    Incidentally, abortion might be an interesting topic to follow up here with the Raytractors. We appear to be willing to listen to each other, even if we don't agree

  4. whateverman,
    yes, discussion is much more lively here.
    It's just so frustrating that, when discussing abortion with fundies, I always end up defending abortion. I don't think it's a good method of contraception and I even don't want these Christians to believe it is a good thing. But you can't tell them that. They just think you're only a little step from their position.
    They clutch with all their might to their extreme position and can't even imagine that you stand firmest in the middle...

  5. Tilia said: when discussing abortion with fundies, I always end up defending abortion. I don't think it's a good method of contraception and I even don't want these Christians to believe it is a good thing. But you can't tell them that. They just think you're only a little step from their position.
    They clutch with all their might to their extreme position and can't even imagine that you stand firmest in the middle...

    I've said this before, but I spent a long time arguing in alt.abortion - and during the vast majority of it, I worked at forging this middle-of-the-road opinion you describe.

    Despite the fact that most in that newsgroup seemed to stand at diametrically opposed viewpoints, I came to the conclusion that almost all people there felt the issue was too populated by fundamentalists on the "wrong" side of the debate.

    It took a lot of work to establish myself as a "lesser of 2 evils" kind of person. Any time I criticized those who wanted to curtail abortion rights, I was an atheist lacking morality and in league with the devil. Every time I expressed reservation at "Buy one, get one abortion free!" coupons available in the newspaper, I was a religious fundamentalist.


    You make me want to stand on a soapbox about this :) But I'll try to cut it short as follows:

    In very heated debates conducted via text (abortion, God, politics, etc), everyone seems to pigeonhole the "competitors" into stereotypical ideologies no matter what is actually said. I actually think this happens in face-to-face discussions as well, but that's another topic.

    So - I don't think what you've described is specific to religious fundamentalism (though Ray's cult seem all to eager to demonstrate otherwise). It seems to be the nature of discussion between people who simply don't know each other.

    To boil it all down: the problem is due to a lack of empathy.

    Now it's time for a confession. I'm a member of the Raytractors for two reasons - to support the values of logic and reason, and to carve out a spot for people who feel that religion can be useful / helpful. I don't think this is a particularly noteworthy admission, mostly because we all seem to agree about our favorite topic (re. Ray's a fruit loop).

    But, I still want to try to establish the utility of religion, over the long haul. The middle-of--the-road opinion is in short supply today, even if it only appears that way due to this You vs Me thing we're eagerly taking part in.


    Damn, I was standing on this freakin soapbox the entire time :p

  6. Tilia,

    Don't let the bastards ear you down!

  7. whateverman,
    "Buy one, get one abortion free!" coupons available in the newspaper

    Please tell me, that you are joking. That can't be true...

  8. whateverman,
    you're probably right about this discussion problem. Anyway I would have liked to hear some new arguments, but all I got at AC was stupidity. Especially this comparison between abortion clinics and Nazi-camps.
    Just digusting.

  9. No, I wasn't serious :)

    But there are people (on the extreme end of the pro-rights side) that feel any criticism of the free and unfettered use of abortion constitutes anti-feminine bigotry and/or fascism.

    IMHO anyone who carefully considers the issue has to understand (to some extent) that both sides make compelling arguments.

    Extreme points of view seem to drive the debate, however (re. Rayalites)...

  10. whateverman,

    It's interesting that you should point out that one of your purposes is to point out that religion can be useful or helpful. I agree that it can be to a point. For example, it gives people a sense of belonging. It also provides a lot of enjoyment for some people. In my case, I find religion helpful because it is a topic of debate that I feel sharpens my mind. However, I do not believe there would be a huge void in the world if religion did not exist, just as there would be no void if baseball did not exist. One of the question I cannot answer though is if there is a certain religion that is more useful/helpful than the others. If there is, I don't think I have come across it yet.

  11. Thanks MJ.

    The feeling of "belonging" is a survival mechanism - or at least, I believe it was back when issues of surviving the environment were still a significant challenge. I say this only to point out that I'm not belittling the term.

    As to "enjoyment", I think I'd actually lump that in with "belonging". And to be perfectly frank, both are a part of one thing religion really does provide: Community.

    By this, I mean its members try to help each other and the group as a whole. It provides protection, a value system, extra hands when manual labor is needed, etc.

    Of course, any group committed to its own physical survival does the same - I don't mean to imply religious community is superior to any other.

    I also think that a certain portion of humanity actually needs some external reason to continue fighting to survive; to "know" that there's some purpose for our existence. Regardless of what the Raytractors feel about this purpose provided by religion (as we've seen at Ray's Funhouse), I think it's a mistake to dismiss religion entirely.

    If I could wish for anything, it'd be that religion discovers how to distinguish between faith and blind faith, and to prefer the former. To at least be honest with itself that it doesn't necessarily have every answer to every fundamental question we've ever asked.

    Failing that, however, I think compassion for those unable to come up with their own reasons to live be allowed to believe in things we find objectionable (or ridiculous) - as long as those beliefs do not intrude on the lives of those who believe differently.

    In other words, both sides really need to put this into perspective. I'll grant that religion really has caused most of the trouble we've experienced to date (in regards to this topic) - but I still think there's room for tolerance from non believers too.


    I dunno - didn't really mean to turn this thread into my soapbox.

  12. whateverman,
    I like your soapbox a lot more than Ray's. A whole lot more...

  13. whateverman,

    While I agree with you that religion provides both community and a value system, I'm not sure any of the Abrahamic religions provide a value system that is worth living by. There are some good things that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism give, but I fail to see how their values are a road map by which to live your life.

    As far as giving a purpose or meaning to life, I think this is where religion fails most. The biggest problem I have is that religion tries to apply one cosmic meaning to everyone's life, and I find that to be an impossibility since many people define their own meaning through their contributions and actions.

    Could you provide your definition of faith and blind faith? I'm not quite sure where you are going there.

    In closing, I definitely think nonbelievers should be tolerant of those that are religious. I would never want to see the government legislate what they want people to believe. However, I will continue to use my right of free speech to challenge those with ridiculous ideas (e.g., the Earth is 6000 years old because the bible says so). I also believe those that are religious should be tolerant of nonbelievers. All to often, theists try to paint nonbelievers as nihilist and immoral.

  14. Thanks Tilia :)

    MJ, I agree with most of what you've said in general. I'll try to asnwer the question you asked, and add a brief comment.

    The difference between faith and blind faith: with the former, you're willing to accept that your faith may be fallible. For example, let's say your sister (whom you love dearly) has a substance abuse problem. The first time she's entered into treatment, you'll bend over backwards to help *and defend* her.

    The second time it happens, you're still going to do whatever it takes.

    The third time - well, you're still eager to help, but she's let you down in the past and it's difficult to ignore this.

    This represents faith that isn't blind. Personally, my faith in some kind of higher power is similar to this: I accept that there's very little tangible evidence for him/her/it, so I keep my faith personal. I don't trust my own senses enough to assert to other people that I'm right.

    Blind faith, on the other hand, seems to require that you leave your brain and perception packed away in the attic. The thing you have faith in is to be supported, and the actions that result are not to be questioned.

    Simply put, recognize that no matter how strongly you feel about a subject, you never have all the information needed to know with certainty.


    Damn, this is getting long again :p

    Abrahamic religions and "valid belief systems"? I wont argue the point :)

    Christianity providing purpose? Well, I really think that no matter how ridiculous such a purpose might appear to you, its validity is judged by each individual. To wit, if I think my life's purpose is to bring The Smurfs back as a successful dramatic stage show on Broadway, it doesn't matter whether you think I'm fulla crap. It gives *me* meaning and purpose - and makes me want to get up and be productive.

    This is the kind of purpose I'm talking about. The purpose itself may be silly (or dangerous or useful or whatever), but the fact that it gives some person a reason to keep on living means it's got utility

    To some extent.

    Cheers y'all


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