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annals of creation, fallacy of false equivalence

“Yao Annals of Creation” page 2

“Yao Annals of Creation” page 3

The author of this translation of the Annals is unknown. The colored symbols are actually a form of text called Dongba text or Naxi. Though the Dongba symbols are not always directly translatable nto Naxi because the artist/writer may have personalized them in such a way as to only be intelligible to them. The black symbols below are Chinese text. Naxi was developed as a written language around the 7th century. As the title suggests The Annals of Creation tell the story of the Naxi people, the origins of humankind, how they understood the natural world to be and how the Naxi migrated during the course of their history. To exist is to struggle thus the stories of their struggles to survive against the forces of nature are also part of the Annals. Also included are their matrimonial ceremonies, religious philosophy and tales of their daily social life. That religion incorporated a lot of ancestor worship.

The Library of Congress where I got the map below has a good entry on the Naxi.

 

In western culture, if we exclude Native Americans, ancestry worship is a minority religious belief. Though it is clearly a form of theism. maybe it is obvious or maybe not, but if you were a Naxi and did not believe your ancestors were alive in the spiritual realm or adhered to any other forms of theism, that would make you an atheist. If there were people who owned swans and people who did not, we could list all the things they have in common, but we could not say that swan owners and non swan owners are the same thing. They are different because of that one characteristic. The same is true for theists and atheists. To say that theists and non-theists are the same is to say there is no difference between them. Thus non-believers are really believers and/or the reverse is also true, that believers are in this new semantic reality, non-believers. One could list all the ways those two groups are the same – say for example both groups are very rigid in their beliefs. Both groups have beliefs, thus they are the same. That would not be true because theists have logically unjustified beliefs and atheists have justified beliefs or are waiting for logical justification before they will believe. So we’re back to both groups sharing some qualities, but with – in a cultural  and logical context- at least one major difference. I’ve mentioned before that most libertarians are similar to religious fundamentalists in that their thinking is very dogmatic, replacing the belief in a deity with belief in money. Beliefs in unregulated free markets that has much of the cult mentality of some religious groups. Some libertarians – a surprising number – are also theists. Because some atheists or simply non-religious are zealous about what they believe that does not make them a category of theists because one one essential characteristic – they do not believe that one or more deities/spirits exist. This probably all seems fairly fundamental, if not silly, yet it is easy to find people, ironically some theists who claim that atheism is a religion. Religion by definition in the belief of a god, gods or spirit. If you were to list all the ways both groups are the same you would come up with a list of similarities in terms of general human attributes that would be far longer than the differences. That still does not make theists the same as non-theists any more than it would make swan owners the same as non-swan owners. There are real world consequences to say different groups are the same when they differ on some important aspect. Let’s apply the there is no difference logic to people who are allergic to peanuts being  the same as people who are not allergic. So when everyone is fed peanuts, the allergic group goes into anaphylactic shock and dies. If some theists want to have atheism designated as a religion that would entitle them to certain safeguards and financial benefits reserved for religious groups. Or it could also mean that since theists are atheists in the new logic, they lose their religious based rights and privileges.

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