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About mankytoes

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  1. I agree with that, I know people find it odd, or even offensive, that a rationalist sceptic can enjoy yoga, but I feel no contradiction in that. I have no idea if what I did truly corresponds with the ancient Hindu roots, but I'm not really bothered, I found it worked really well for me.
  2. I think this is a wider part of our culture of moderation, or small 'c' conservatism. Look at politics- we are one of the few European countries that never had an electorally successful communist or fascist party. We also haven't had a civil war in a very long time. And as a few of us have said, one of the most striking features of our established church, the CofE, is how low key it is. It has bad sides as well, we are very accepting of a class system, of old aristocratic privilege. It's a bit like how I've heard people say "why are all gays so over the top?". Of course they aren't, the only ones you recognise (or think you recognise) on sight at the over the top ones. Most people probably know several atheists, but they don't mention it. The ones they do hear talking about it are the Dawkinsists, so they think we're all like that. You're still supposed to be a little guilty about atheism. Note that any politician who is an atheist always says this "I'm an atheist, but I have great respect for religious people". Why do they have to qualify that? If anything, judging by history, Christian politicians should say "I'm a Christian, but I have great respect for non-religious people", but I've never heard that. So maybe we should be a bit more out and proud- not preaching atheism, but openly identifying ourselves, and then just getting on with our lives. What do you guys think about Eastern v Abrahamic religions? I think generally atheists are more interested in Eastern religions. I have met a lot of travellers who totally rejected our religions, but were exploring Buddhism. It is very intreging, and I try to be open minded, so I gave it a bit of try. I do like meditation, and I was doing it in a pagoda, but then you look up and the Buddha statue is giant and made of gold, and I can't reconcile that with what I know about the Buddha's teachings. Just like how Jesus is portrayed as very humble and non-materialistic, so we spend vast sums of wealth building incredibly fancy cathedrals to respect him. I think we can learn from all religions, but ultimately Buddhism is primarily for the same thing as the others- acquiring and maintaining power. Yes, you can say all life is suffering, but it's a hell of lot more suffering for the serfs in the fields than the nobles in the castles. Reincarnation justies privilege- I actually earnt all this, in a previous life. You deserve your life of hard labour, you must have been bad in your previous life.
  3. The thing is, when people say "Christian, Muslim or Jew", they're often asking about your background as much as what you believe in. Like on the UK census, a huge number of people tick Christian, but other surveys shows they don't believe in the Christian God, don't go to church, don't read the bible. But they still have that identity. I put Christian on visa applications when I think it would help, and it's not technically lying- there's no process for leaving the Church of England once you're baptised, so I'm still a member. Christian atheism isn't well known, but it's very much a real thing- Same with Muslim atheism, a lot of people in our country have the impression that all "Muslims", as in people from Islamic backgrounds, are religious, attend mosques, pray, etc.
  4. Interestingly, the rise in atheism in the UK has actually been fairly moderate, considering the collapse in numbers of people attending church- and many of those who do still go are from immigrant groups. If you look at people who aren't old or immigrants, church attendance is extremely low. But while most people I know will say they are non-religious, people still raise their eyebrows at me saying I'm an atheist. Atheism still has a bit of a hardline reputation. A lot of people just don't care, they don't think about it, they aren't interested. I find that harder to relate to than hardcore belief. How can you not think about this kind of thing?
  5. I think the important fact to me is that my senses can be tricked. That doesn't mean you're mad or stupid, it's natural, it applies to everyone. I know why people believe in ghosts. Once I was jogging, and I saw an old man stood by a car, and then he was gone. I don't "think" I saw him, my brain fully recognised the image of a man. But I know my senses can be fooled, that my brain "fills in the gaps". So can everyone else's. People say "I can feel God, so he must be real", but that's arrogance, assuming that your feelings must be truth. I'm not denying that people genuinely "feel Jesus", or Muhammed, or Thor, or L Ron Hubbard. The feelings are real, that doesn't mean they're based on any form of truth. That's why I think Neitzsche's great, because his stuff is all about how you need to form your own moral code, about how that is such a difficult and potentially alienating thing to do, but it is so worth it. I can't really discuss atheism without discussing philosophy, because to me atheism is just saying "I don't believe in God"- everything beyond that is philosophical. The meaning is highly debated. For me, the starting point is accepting the hard truth that you probably know deep down- that there is no inherent meaning to life. There is no point is any of this, no grand purpose, it just is. I don't know about you, but just typing that still makes me feel a little dizzy, a little angsty. A part of me still yearns for what Hitchens called "a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea", where I am subject to a higher power, to guidance, to be like a child, forever led. But this realisation isn't ultimately depressing, and I won't slide into nililism. It's ultimately extremely uplifting, because it means I am truly free in the most meaningful way- I am free to give my life meaning, and choose what makes life meaningful. I don't have to earn x, own x, do x. I have no inherent obligations or duties. If I do good, it isn't for fear of some kind of hell, or for the hope of the reward of some kind of heaven, but for something much more meaningful- because I want to. If I do bad, I was not coerced by some demon, I am responsible, I am ultimately answerable to myself. I don't really have the ability to properly put these ideas across. I recommend The Stranger by Camus to everyone I can. It's very short and easy to read, and it challenges your whole way of thinking.
  6. Well I don't understand your point, please give an example, what problem would you say it "isn't your place to sort out" if your male friend asked you about it? I bought up suicide, as that's an issue bought up in the OP. Addiction? That's something that disproportionately effects men. Paternity?
  7. 1. I'm an atheist, but I prefer "sceptic", meaning I don't believe in anything without convincing evidence, I don't have "faith" of any kind. Atheism just says you don't believe in God. I don't believe in God, ghosts, heaven, reincarnation, horoscopes, etc. 2. Only as a child, as I was raised Christian (though in a British, fairly relaxed, CofE way). I think I stopped about ten, I'm not sure I believed in a meaningful way, I don't think children can. I thought things my mum and teachers told me were true. 3. I went to church sometimes, and Sunday School, and a CoeE primary school (which most people in England do). 4. I only state it if it comes up. I'm only combative if a religious person wants to discuss it. Most Christians I know are kind people who don't want to preach to me or belittle my beliefs, so I have no desire to do so to them. I met some missionaries traveling, and I do enjoy a good chat about why I consider the Abrahamic God to be evil. One guy annoyed me, because he talked about how me and all the buddhists needed to have open minds about Christianity, but when I asked him if he kept an open mind at all he basically said he didn't. I promised (sincerely) to read up on his church online if he would watch some Christopher Hitchens videos in return. He wouldn't do that. I consider that hypocritical. Someone with strong faith should be more willing to have it challenged, not less. I used to be a bit more into atheism. Now I think it's a bit meh. Who cares about what you don't believe in? I think all atheists (all people really, but even more so atheists) should read a bit of philosophy, because I don't like the concept of defining yourself by not believing in something. I'd much rather talk about being an existentialist. Existentialism can be scary, but also wonderfully life affirming and freeing.
  8. Don't they? You're getting into cliches a bit in my opinion. I think the vast majority of men listen to women at least some of the time- their partners and mothers, at least. You keep talking about everyone having their own space, based on demographic. To me this is like segregation. I don't want to be in a male space or a white space or a straight space. I love football, for example, which has traditionally been a white, straight male space. This has changed to an extent, which is great. I think this "my space, your space" attitude is regressive, not progressive. I've never used the expression "emotional labour", I don't like it at all. Most women, and some men, I know, actively want me to open up more and discuss these things. This should be considered a part of friendship, not "labour", that's a horrible term in my opinion that makes people feel like a burden. If a friend comes to me with a problem I consider it a compliment that they want my help, not that they're forcing me into "labour". I don't want you tell me "what to do and how to be", and I don't want men to tell me those things either. I want to figure them out for myself, and I think that we can help each other work these things out. If I want to talk to all males, I'll just invite some male friends to do something. I definitely don't want some formal "all male spaces". So if one of your male friends told you they were having suicidal thoughts, you'd say "it just isn't my place to sort this out, go talk to a man"? I really don't understand your viewpoint here at all. Aren't we supposed to be moving past this gender splitting stuff? I'm from a conservative area, and my parents went to a social event, and my mum came back outraged- all the men went in one room and the women went in another. I thought this was hilarious and so old fashioned, I commented I hadn't encountered this since primary school. Do you think we should encourage this?
  9. Mainly in a few cases, but generally I'd rather women were involved, I'm not trying to prove a point by saying I want their contributions, because some women don't want ours. Whether it's nature or nurture, I do find women are often better to discuss heavy issues with, even "our" issues. As you say, we aren't opposites.
  10. It's actually a pretty common view of feminists, many of the most prominent feminists have said that. People seem to think the current wave are particularly radical- they need to read some Dworkin or Greer. I do remember our dear leader saying he was initially involved in feminism, but then was told he couldn't be involved because he was a man, so he said ok then, and backed off. It is funny how people miss the feminist themes in the books though, because some of them aren't subtle.
  11. I made a thread like this a while ago, and it went a lot better than most people predicted, there were loads of good contributions from women. It's hard to discuss, say, the achievement gap in education without a female perspective. Even something like suicide rates... no gender is an island. Most male suicides are going to hit a mother, a partner, a sister, etc. You don't have to be a man for these issues to be very personal to you. Anyways, I recently read "How Not To Be A Boy" by Robert Webb, a British comedic actor best known for Peep Show (if you aren't British and don't know this show, check it out, it's genius). It's basically an autobiography of his childhood and youth, with an emphasis on the problems with our idea of definition of masculinity, especially for a boy who doesn't fit it (he a shy child). Some of it hit home pretty hard, especially the inability to process difficult emotional stuff in a healthy way. I do hope that we can have some more promotion of men's issues from moderate, even feminist people (Robert Webb is pretty feminist). I'd love to see him pushing for something. My old uni, Hull, introduced a men's officer (it already, like all unis, had a women's officer), but quickly got rid of it. I got to speak to a man who'd been involved in getting rid of it, he said it was because it was ridiculous as men aren't a vulnerable minority, it was like having a white's officer (there is also an ethnic minority officer). I asked if it wasn't possible men might want a man to speak to about personal issues, and that it was less about being a minority, but more about how men are more vulnerable to suicide, addiction, academic failure, etc. As a white man, I don't feel any real major problems that white people have. He gave me an "hmm", turned me out the conversation, and made it pretty clear to me that I was not welcome in university politics. I don't agree with blaming feminists or a more feminine culture. Yes, there is some nasty feminist stuff out there, I have noticed the phrase "male tears" being used mockingly a lot, which is pretty much the exact problem that we face, that I would be hoping for feminist allies on. But really, most things I've seen promoting men's rights are actively anti-feminist. I don't see any reason why these main issues should be anti-feminist, I think we should be able to work with feminists, even be feminists.
  12. Holy shit this is like the most technical argument I've ever seen on a forum. I'd give every king in 15th century Europe a nuke for shits and giggles.
  13. There's a line. You can't just judge everyone by today's standards, or someone like George Washington is a monster for owning slaves. But at the same time, there has always been morality. Slavery has often been contentious- we had it in the British Empire until the 19th century, but it was abolished in the UK in the 12th century. Even Genghis Khan had a code- if you didn't put up a fight, he wouldn't plunder anything, he'd just tax you. The only people who he literally wiped out, and destroyed everything of, were the ones who either killed his messengers (often a big part of war morality) or surrendered but then rebelled. But the Mongols were seen as exceptionally vicious by other cultures in the area. King Leopold the Second of Belgium was such an evil coloniser than he even disgusted the other Europeans ruthlessly carving up Africa. Colombus is another one who you can't just excuse by saying "he was a man of his time"- like Cromwell, his subjugation was seen as extreme. The carrot has always been an option as well as the stick. I don't know enough about Ceaser to place him on this. I know he did some things that could be called genocide today, I don't know many details, or whether that was controversial at the time.
  14. It's like all the terrorists, when their parents and friends say "but he was such a nice boy", like he's just going to sit there rubbing his hands together muttering "kill the innocents" all the time. It's partly an ego thing, people don't like the fact they never picked up on anything, that they could get something so wrong. I guess the question to ask is what would you say if you were in that situation? I think I would just say "all I can say on the matter is I have never seen anything like that, his conduct in my company has never led me to believe he was a threat to women". I think that's very different to our insider knowledge of Murray's situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year." (what Lena Dunham said).
  15. It's better to be feared than loved.