Someone once said that if one does not believe in the existence of God, then one ends up believing anything and everything. This emanates from the perception that atheism's interpretation of existence is primarily nihilistic, devoid of purpose and meaning. For what is purpose and meaning but an explanation of why we exist (as opposed to the purely ermpricistic "how we exist").. From perception to interpretation and then explanation, the atheist's denial of an existential and supernatural being or entity is indeed an ultimate expression of desolation... an emptiness so heart-rending, it defies all logical realism.
Is it then less heart rending to see so many making up a "why" out of nothing, believing whatever makes them "feel" good, with no other reason than the state of their emotions? Unable to live with reality, they will make up their own to assuage the fear of death or the emptiness that all will face one day.
Now that defies all logical realism.
And yet, reality would show the opposite, that it is "believers" (note the word's meaning) who "believe" anything and everything.
Which is why the thinking mind creates purpose and meaning rather than falling back on believing in false purposes and meanings that only show mankind are automatons serving an non-existent entity.
The believer only "subsists" as they toss out all reason and rational in favor of being a robot.
Logic would dictate that the acceptance of one god over thousands is similar to atheism, in that believers lack faith in all other gods except one, whereas the atheist accepts one less god than the believer.
I must say this is one of the more humorous and silliest atheist bashing threads you've created thus far.
At Wilderness and Encephalo:
No I'm Confused. On the one hand wilderness avers that believers are so emotional they have to invent the existence of God just to satisfy their emotional longing; and on the other hand Encephalo posits that believers are robotical, throwing out all reason and logic in believing that there is a God. So which one is which: In insisting in the existence of God are believers both mind-full and mind-less? I suppose that could both be true if human's larger existence is also ruled by the perplexities of quantum mechanics as it does in the sub-atomic realm, i.e. Schroedinger's cat being both alive and dead at the same time.
I don't quite see that either scenario is your "mind-full". Both give up reason and logic, switching to imagination instead to answer their fears and curiosity.
I take you disagree - that making up stories to explain what is not understood is not heart-rending or defying logical realism? That it is logical to make up a god to allay fear of death or a need for a father figure?
Reason and logic can only lead you so far, so you still need your imagination, that is of course informed by your intuition/instinct/experience, to guide you along further down the path of discovering the inner and outer workings of humanity vis-à-vis the cosmos. Therein lies the importance of also being tutored, while traveling the path towards man's destiny of unraveling the mysteries of existence, of the ethical and moral underpinning of spirituality i.e. belief in the divine, the non-material and non-physical.... what you inchoately term "making up stories to explain what is not understood".
Having such a narrow and bigoted understanding of how other people think is far more vacuous.
I don't even see anything to engage with here. It is just an insult based on the assumption that the only value in human life comes from the specific God you happen to believe in. I would note that an atheist can believe in the supernatural. It's a diverse group.
Are you suggesting that atheists don't have a narrow and bigoted understanding of how believers think? Please read through Widerness' and Encephalo's post and if you think that they are not narrow and bigoted, then again I suppose human's larger existence is neither dependent on nor subsumed by the subjective interpretation of that existence as is objectively so in the sub-atomic realm, i.e. one could not be entirely sure of the position and movement, thus the existence, of these particles unless they are being directly perceived by an observer.
What is a "larger existence"? The subjective one imagined as real, but without supporting evidence?
The "larger existence" is that which allows humans, having developed the cerebral capacity, to try to fathom the perplexities and complexities of his existence and that of the wider universe that sorrounds him, and in the process become witnesses to the grandeur of Creation. None of the other sentient beings on earth, as far as I can gather, share Homo Sapiens' almost boundless curiosity to know the whys and the hows and wherefores of existence. Therein lies man's unique place in that creation... a place that Atheists, in denying the purpose and meaning of that Creator would also deny his meaning and purpose.
Ah. Intelligence. Why the funny words, requiring everyone to assign meaning to while knowing that everyone will have a different concept. Why not just say "intelligence"?
And if you don't think animals can be curious you've never owned a cat. But of course atheists deny that we know an imagined creator has meaning and purpose - we can have no idea if that is true or not. Better question might be why theists insist there IS a meaning and purpose without knowing it to be true?
I had a cat... very curious fellow indeed, but not curiously and or imaginatively perceptive enough I think come up with an elegant equation such as E-mc2, or build a Taj Mahal, or compose a sonnet, or conceptualize that the universe did not create itself.
Neither did mankind not long ago. We were pretty much on the same playing field as your cat
Speaking of cats, did you know they all evolved artificially from a common species, just like dogs?
Or, do you believe God made them, too?
If we were much in the same playing field as the cat, sometime in the past, then why didn't they develop in the same way that we did? Evolution is neither random nor self-directing because its impetus( empirically termed the "laws of nature or genetics/physics) was neither random nor self-directing.
Different ecological niche, different random mutation. There is absolutely nothing that says all species will end up identical; the theory actually says they will all be different, filling different niches.
The differences were pre-ordained even before the mechanics of evolution set-in on all the myriad living entities that have ever populated earth. Ecological niche/transformational mutation only continued the process of evolutionary differentiation and persistence. For millions of years the dinosaurs roamed the earth but only came up to a point in the evolutionary cycle, but never developed the cerebral capacity to endure/survive what appeared to be a catastrophic natural event that eliminated their specie. Humans on the other hand, have only been on earth for close to 200-300,000 years(give or take) which in evolutionary time is very very short indeed, but within that short time evolved, because it was pre-ordained, with a superior cerebral capacity for his specie to have survived several near extinction events over the millennia. Having gone so far bio-cerebrally, man will probably continue to survive whatever mother nature throws at him, but the possibility of self-destruction (E=Mc2) is always lurking behind him.
Oh, mine is definitely curious enough, just not smart enough.
The thinking mind understands that the brain capacity of humans is simply a branch of evolution, just like the superior eyesight of the eagle, the speed of the cheetah or the ability of chimps to move through the trees. These are all just branches of evolution that have developed in these species.
And, it was not that long ago, geologically, that humans weren't curious to know the whys and hows and wherefores of existence. That too evolved in us.
Question is why did it evolve in humans, and not in the other sentient entities? Was it enough evolution-wise for the eagle to develop superior eyesight, or cheetah to develop superior speed, or chimps to hang and move swiftly through trees? If so, then I'd rather belong to a specie, that without superior eyesight, or speed or movement through trees, has become the dominant specie in all of earths creation....because of its superior brain.
It was obviously enough for the cheetah and eagle. Until humans arrived on the scene and promptly, before evolution could adjust, are wiping them out. Something (the mass extinction) that has happened many, many times throughout the history of this planet. Maybe a meteor, maybe a volcano in a limited area, maybe an ice age, maybe a thousand other things. Species come and species go, lasting only as long as evolution can cope with the environmental changes. When it can no longer keep up the species dies.
What you rather is irrelevant. We get what we need to survive, humans needed weapons, intellect and 25 years before our brains become fully developed so that we can adapt to environments.
If what you say is true, then man's propensity toward "religion" is, and was, an evolutionary phenomenon, which, according to atheists, is being done away with.
Do I sense an air of superiority on the side of atheists, as a result of them being "more evolved"?
I don't know that religion was an evolutionary phenomenon. Certainly curiosity is, and certainly a brain big enough to wonder and question is.
But religion isn't about either of those; it is about making up answers to the curiosity and wonder, and refusal to recognize reality would not seem to be a trait designed to increase reproduction rates.
Evolutionary psychologist suggest that it was perpetuated by qualities such as willingness to die for a group even if genetically unrelated, and because in early times religious scripts were the only source of life saving knowledge such as about "unclean" (potentially diseased) meat etc.
It has been proven beyond any doubt that altruism is not limited to Homo Sapiens. Other sentient beings have demonstrated the value of "martyrdom" if it meant the continuing propagation of their specie.
Belief in the supernatural, a Deity inevitably becomes entwined with religion and are the sole purview of Homo Sapiens. I would theorize that altruism and belief in God may have developed simultaneously in humans...a theory that evolutionary psychologists, are as far as I can gather, are silent about.
Small correction - you would "hypothesize", not "theorize".
Do you have any evidence to turn that hypothesis into a theory? Or proof that no other animal "has religion" (as far as I know we don't understand any other language, just a very few isolated words)? Is the cow, standing quietly and chewing it's cud, praying that it will stay down this time?
It is entirely conceivable that altruism and belief in a deity developed in tandem, for one simple reason...altruism as far as it goes leads to martyrdom, and what is martyrdom but a manifestation of the idea that there is someone/something far greater that you are. Now you did say, in another post on this discussion, that atheists are filled with themselves, and therefore do not feel empty at all. Is that your way of saying, in a roundabout way, that atheists are so full of it, they could not countenance the idea that there is someone else far greater than themselves? In that case, my assertion that atheists are narcissist, just got a big thumbs up from you.
It's more likely that altruism has existed before homo sapiens as without it we most likely wouldn't be here. Oh look we see it in chimps as well.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 … 085134.htm
Superiority? Is that how you see it?
No, we are not more evolved. You are just as evolved. However, the fact that you refuse to accept your evolution while we do is the difference.
No, we are not more evolved. You are just as evolved. However, the fact that you refuse to accept your evolution while we do is the difference.
The way you phrased that , sounds like evolution IS your God. And you are in here evangelizing.
No, evolution is not a god, it is fact that you refuse to accept. No, I am not evangelizing, I am responding to your post.
NO you need to accept the fact that you are evangelizing the theory of evolution in the SAME manner other evangelist are promoting their theories. A belief is a belief ! You are defending your belief exactly as Christians are defending theirs. You are certain you are right as they are. NO Difference!
You are here to evangelize Your concepts. For sure!
Evangelists don't promote theories, they promote myths.
Sorry, but evolution is not a belief, it is a scientific fact which no one needs to defend because the facts speak for themselves.
I get the fact you don't want to learn anything and must wave your bible around every time another fact of nature in some way disagrees with your faith. I have no problem with those who wish to remain completely ignorant to the world around them. They are a tiny minority, of course, and are disappearing as people get educated. Your offspring will accept evolution, some day, and they will look back at you and laugh.
But a theory is not necessarily a theory. Not when there is the everyday definition thought of by the man in the street and the scientific definition used by the science community.
Same with evangelism; the theist evangelizes his opinion and religious concepts. The "evolutionist" evangelizes evidence and fact backed truth. Would you call it "evangelism" to proclaim that grass is green, or the sunshine is warm?
You assume people must put things in the place of God, and that whatever people put forward as true the put forward as God. This is simply not the case. It is purring a square pegs in a round hole rather than accepting that some people just do not have (psychological) round holes. And others have both square and round holes and therefore believe in evolution and God.
Sitting on a fence like that is not too comfortable.
Eventually, one has to get off, and land on one side or the other.
Only if you subscribe to the fallacy that they are contradictory--a point of view pretty much never encounter outside of the US. I mean, Darwin himself was Christian as are a majority of all research biologists.
That being my point. Science is not religion, religion is not science. You can be a Buddhist chemist, a Sikh biologist, and atheist doctor. It is pure mix and match because these ar, as Gould said, non-overlapping majesteria.
Based up which, biology really, really, really,is not a religion or a religion substitute or contradictory to religion unless you are a pure slave-owning, neighbor stoning, long fringed, kosher eating, child beating Biblical literalist.
They are contradictory, and mutually exclusive, by default.
Creation implies a creator, with purpose and design.
Evolution excludes designer/creator, and relies solely on naturalistic, accidental and chance.
The only (micro) bridge between the two, is that ID allows for minute (micro) evolution.
Even this doesn't work the other way. Evolution allows for NO supernatural intervention.
So, I don't see how one could say what you just said!
The first is correct, while the latter two are not. Evolution is not based on accident or chance. It might help if you familiarize yourself with evolution, first.
Ah, so, if not accident, or chance, then what's left?
I had a read, and, to best summarise the content of the link, is "mutations", or, more accurately, "beneficial mutations".
So, given that "randomness" within specific organisms, is bound by biochemical laws, the process is termed random, but not in the same sense we would apply the meaning outside of living organisms.
In effect, the randomness is governed by specific laws and limitations.
Great. Now, having put that into perspective, we can move on.
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation#B … _mutations , only 2.1% of all mutations are deemed to be (even slightly) beneficial. The other 97.9% are either deadly, or neutral, in their effect on the organism.
Which then leads us to the following problems,
1) An awful lot of mutations will either kill the organism, or have no effect whatsoever.
2) Mendelian laws demonstrate that the parent of the mutant is always dominant, over the (recessive) offspring.
3) All changes, so far observed were minute, within organisms, that led to insignificant changes.
Information was never added, but either reassigned, or lost.
So much for one cell to human transition over millennia.
I stand unimpressed by your examples of educational sources. If this is the stuff you believe, then it's a matter of faith, in MHO.
If we just didn't have all those pesky examples of animals evolving from one species to another we could effectively ignore evolution.
That most mutations are neutral/bad does not mean good ones don't happen, which in turn means that change can and does occur.
Yes, dominant genes are dominant over recessive genes. That does not mean that change does not occur and does not become a part of the population. Recessive genes can and do become the majority.
Information is never added? You mean as in a new color or beak shape? While it is true there are only four chemicals in a DNA string, the order they are put in is what gives information, and any time that order changes new information is added. As in a new shape for a beak.
Which all says that your final paragraph is totally false in that it does not follow from the statements. None of those statements says that one cell cannot become human over millenia. Just you, but you have no reason for saying it.
Uh no, that is not the summation of that article, that is just one piece of the article. And, mutations are not just beneficial, many are either not beneficial or have no real effect.
Mutations certainly can be random, but that doesn't mean evolution is random, nor is it termed random.
Sorry, but is not what the article is talking about. It does not appear as if you understood the article.
Sorry, but where do you get that from? Nowhere does it draw that conclusion.
It's called science, not faith. It appears you didn't understand the article, hence are drawing that conclusion from your own confusion and bias.
While ID requires a creator, without knowing if there is one, evolution has nothing to say about creation of the universe or life. Even abiogenesis (the study of beginning of life) does not preclude a creator, however, and just says that one is not necessary. The existence of a creator is thus unknown to science, whereas ID claims there is one without evidence to show it.
Likewise, ID (according to some theists) allows for one or two mutations per organism, but it must stop then. Additional exposure to radiation, chemicals or other mutation causing things has no effect; the DNA has become immune. Evolution makes no such claim, recognizing that mutations are ALWAYS possible, and that the DNA of a second organism does not become immune because a different one is mutated.
Evolution absolutely allows for supernatural intervention, it just does not make the claim that it is there without being able to find evidence of same. Only theists make such claims without any proof or even evidence.
What's this all about?
It was edited in after your original comment.
There is this idiotic misconception among theists that in order for things to have meaning they must somehow be tied to something eternal or completely indestructible. The idea that without eternal life our lives are meaningless, that without eternal cosmic purpose, there can be NO purpose, is absurd and completely unfounded.
Yet as we look at reality as it actually is we don't see things that are actually eternal, anywhere. Even stars burn out and explode. Everything ends. But that fact doesn't somehow make everything meaningless. What effects embracing reality has on your philosophical view of things may vary.
In fact having an eternal or divine meaning to everything actually takes away meaning from our everyday lives. For if the meaning of life is to believe in or love God than what meaning does loving our family members have? A Dad playing catch with his son has no meaning if it is overshadowed by some unfathomable cosmic God who demands fealty and threatens damnation.
No, the things we human beings attach meaning to have meaning to us, in the here and now, and often across human history. Adding a God does NOTHING to add meaning to our lives and adding an eternal afterlife robs everything in our lives of meaning. The meaning of life is a subjective idea, even if there were an objective meaning the vast majority would reject it - AND RIGHTFULLY SO!
As an atheist I embrace the reality of my finite existence. It may rob the Universe of an overarching purpose, there is no grand cosmic meaning in my world view, but it does nothing to rob my life of meaning in the here and now. It does nothing to negate the time I spend with my friends and family as important to me, as meaningful to me.
Good for you that you have found meaning in your daily life while living it in relation to other sentient beings , and maybe to non-sentient entities as well. I don't begrudge you those as I'm sure you won't begrudge mine.
Your existence and mine and the existence of the billion other human beings that have lived, continues to live and will live on earth have purpose and meaning beyond what we think and aim for while living our everyday existence. Granted that some if not a lot of us do not necessarily think of life's/existence's meaning and purpose beyond what is required for us to go through the day or week or months or years, but if not for anything, almost everyone , would episodically, in some philosophic way would stop while doing their daily chores and engaged in their daily relationships, to think about the larger meaning of life in general and existence in particular vis-à-vis the rest of earthly and heavenly creation. If none of us have done so, or is doing so, or will do so... then how to explain man's longing for answers beyond the merely physical and material?
"then how to explain man's longing for answers beyond the merely physical and material?"
We are self-aware and this means we are aware of our own mortality. It also means that to some extent we are aware of what is all around us, this vast cosmos, this vast planet, with circumstances far beyond our control and certain things beyond our understanding. The current level of scientific understanding we possess is extremely recent in the history of our species and yet already we have eliminated many superstitions that used to send our ancestors to their knees crying out for mercy. We don't have to sacrifice people or animals when we have a bad drought, or seek out the witches among us when an illness strikes our town.
There will always be unanswered questions and so in some form that longing will always remain. Most of all we want to be something more, we want to be something special, for many people they refuse to accept a naturalistic view of this instead seeking something beyond all of nature itself to give us and our Universe meaning. For me the Universe is big enough and who knows what's out there, we don't need the supernatural when we've already got a billion billion galaxies. Not only do we not need it but really the same enrichment people seem to get out of religion, that feeling of oneness, of communion with something greater than themselves, requires no deities or supernatural forces.
Carl Sagan once said that we are a way the cosmos can know itself. Each of us is made of stardust.
We can't all be Neo from the Matrix, and there is this somewhat anthropocentric obsession with the idea that human beings have to be special to someone bigger or more powerful than ourselves for us to be special at all. I think the naturalistic view of things, which is supported by the evidence, that we are mortal finite beings that evolved naturally on this planet without any supernatural interference is pretty damn special.
Religion without a God as you are proposing is something akin to what a rabid delusional person would concoct i.e. cult. And cults never oulast the person who imagined, proposed and established them. Religion on the other hand is undergirded by its moral and ethical precepts based on the spiritual teachings of its founder...teachings that has for its basis the concept of a Higher Being.... there are some notable exceptions of course, where a Deity have not been invoked, but nonetheless the teachings are for the moral and ethical guidance of its adherents.
From a purely historical perspective, as was observed by the historian Arthur Schlesinger (and others), a society that does not believe in God, typically and most assuredly follows the trajectory of the monstrous totalitarian creeds, notably during the 20th century rise of Nazism, fascism and communism....authored by Hitler, Stalin, Mao---the great genocidal madness of our times.
The flaw in your assertion is that you're blaming genocidal madness on a society as opposed to the insane dictators who ruled those societies. It also shows you are ignoring the fact that the basis of those societies, Nazism, communism, etc. had a great deal of various edicts, religion being only a minor one amongst many, yet you appear to be basing them entirely on belief in a god.
An insane dictator can do nothing without a whole herd of followers to hold him up.
Sure, but the followers may be doing what they're told because they don't want to be killed. Stalin was a perfect example of that.
That's true. But all the blame can still not be placed on the dictator. Some yes, but the people must accept responsibility for some of it too.
As I have stated numerous times in various posts/threads, the common thread that weaves through Communism, Nazism, Fascism-- is Atheism attuned with Nihilism. Atheism on its own is a rather benign i.e. vacuous interpretation of realism, but once tethered to Nihilism, it becomes quite malignant resulting in the genocidal madness that we have experienced in the just concluded century.
Yes, you keep calling us vacuous. I have no idea why that does not lead to a warm conversation full of fellow-feeling.
Really, if you insist on linking atheist nihilism to genocide you should except that it absolutely pales in comparison to what has been done in the name of religious fervor. The crusades, the inquisition, ethnic cleansing of non-Christians (e.g. CAR right now), the child soldier of the Army of God etc etc etc.
Not Christianity per se, of course, just Christianity paired with religious bigotry as it so often is.
[/good for the gander]
"...the genocide(sic)....absolutely pales in comparison to what has been done in the name of religious fervor." is a statement not borne by facts. Just on the basis of the amount of human suffering and carnage, and death, nothing can compare with the genocidal madness of the 20th century. Having said that, I am not at all diminishing the historical veracity of what you are saying i.e. that religious fervour, fanaticism, bigotry, malevolence, leads to "crimes against humanity". Anything that human's touch could be corrupted by his overweening EGO.... including religious beliefs.
You can say that all you want, but there are all kinds of things common to Communism, Nazism, Fascism, etc. Focusing entirely on atheism is disingenuous as it is only one minor part of them.
But, you can learn something here:
"Fascism is Closer to Christianity than Liberalism or Marxism"
http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitler … ascism.htm
Atheism is vacuous? What does that even mean? Are you just stringing words together?
I am not in the stringing business, but I could be talked into weaving "words of wisdom".
We're still awaiting that moment. So far, it hasn't happened.
Referring me to a website that glorifies atheism, and which strongly suggest that Christianity is closer to fascism than atheism is.....now that is what I would call vacuous.
It doesn't appear that you even read it as it does not in any glorify atheism. You haven't even addressed any of the points there, but dishonestly conclude it's vacuous. You don't seem to have any points to make.
There are no pints to address in the article you referred me to... because the article is "all sound and fury... signifying nothing."
Would you like me to link you to the Roman Catholic Church? Who about the American Republican Party?
I'm not talking about religion without a God, I'm talking about the fact that so-called "religious experiences" are Universal to the human experience and have nothing to do with any supposed supernatural beings or phenomenon.
Religions and cults have very few real differences, from what I can tell religions are just cults that get popular outside the cult-group. We can look at the Gospels for evidence of this, where Jesus has his close set of followers convinced he is divine. Christianity was, whether you take the Gospel story seriously or not, likely a very small religion to start out, a cult really, one centered around a human sacrifice of its founder. Now it is practiced by Billions and is culturally acceptable even by many who don't adhere to it or who adhere to a different version of it.
In those examples of atheistic societies you aren't dealing with a population of people who have voluntarily and individually given up theism you are dealing with a society where atheism is imposed by the State in favor of some other equally destructive ideology or religion (such as the bizarre mix of Celtic, Nordic, theosophic and Christian beliefs that were associated with Nazism). These are not, in the real sense, atheistic or non-religious societies, these were people of faith who had their faith stripped away by the State. To suggest that atheism or a lack of religious belief among the people somehow leads to these atrocities and tyrannical states is dishonest in the extreme so I hope that is not what you're trying to do here.
"Religion and cults have very few real differences"... is another statement that defies logical realism.
Be that as it may, the teachings of Jesus, most specially the Sermon on the Mount, is what undergirds Christian beliefs. Nothing cultish about those at all.
"A cult is a religious group or other organization with deviant and novel beliefs and practices. However, whether any particular group's beliefs are sufficiently deviant or novel enough to be considered a cult is often unclear, and thus establishing a precise definition of cults is problematic.
Catherine Wessinger (Loyola University New Orleans) has stated that the word "cult" represents just as much prejudice and antagonism as racial slurs or derogatory words for women and homosexuals. She has argued that it is important for people to become aware of the bigotry conveyed by the word, drawing attention to the way it dehumanises the group's members and their children. Labeling a group as subhuman, she says, becomes a justification for violence against it.
At the same time, she adds, labeling a group a "cult" makes people feel safe, because the "violence associated with religion is split off from conventional religions, projected onto others, and imagined to involve only aberrant groups." This fails to take into account that child abuse, sexual abuse, financial extortion and warfare have also been committed by believers of mainstream religions, but the pejorative "cult" stereotype makes it easier to avoid confronting this uncomfortable fact"
All new religions are cults. So Christianity had to at some time be considered a cult.
Modern Christianity has very little to do with the teachings of Jesus.
The original message is always lost over time.
As I explained to Psycheskinner, Atheism all by its lonesome self is a benign doctrine, but once tethered to and entwined with Nihilism, becomes malevolent, caustic, destructive.
If there is no other being (in our case, God) to be answerable to for our actions and the dire consequences of those actions, then the supremacy of man over man becomes institutionalized. With nihilism proposing that there is no meaningful aspect to life/existence i.e. a life that has no objective meaning, purpose or value, then knowledge, moral certitude and ethical considerations are non-existent as well, then man's supremacy over man becomes the ruling dogma...--- leading to all sorts of human devaluation, degradation involving not only the victims of such horrific acts, but also the perpetrators of those horrific acts..
What alternative do you suggest offers a Christian the same level of ultimate meaning?
The alternative is to embrace reality and stop trying to convince yourself a fantasy is real. It is not the job of atheists and the non-religious to provide an alternative to every instance of wishful thinking and fantasy that believers indulge in.
I think if theists actually think about the things they find meaningful they will find that none of those things, other than the God they believe in, are eternal. A kiss is over in an instant but its meaning can linger for a lifetime. Brevity and scarcity only add meaning and value to life and it is absurd to think that only things which last forever or have eternal consequences are meaningful.
Obviously there will always be some people who would rather carry on with the fantasy than embrace reality.
Embrace reality? Some people's "reality" is crap because they live in dire circumstances, and they have no realistic hope of changing it. Want to change that? Fantastic. Help to end poverty, inequality, corruption and all the other things that cause millions of people to live in misery. While those things exist, then human beings will seek a source of truth, justice and ultimate hope, i.e. all the things encapsulated in the god concept.
And if you don't think it's the "job" of atheists to offer an alternative vision of hope for people, okay, but if you go around telling people to give up the idea of god, then expect to be asked what can offer the same consolation. If anti-theists cannot answer that question, they may as well pack up and go home in my opinion.
Suggesting that people "embrace reality" for the sake of some noble, ideal of facing up to the truth, is feeble in comparison to the solace that religious belief brings to people dealing with the traumas of everyday existence. Why should anyone in such a situation, with no realistic prospect of change, face up to the truth? What do they benefit from that, apart from making you feel more content with the world?
Solutions for those problems? Do you actually believe that turning to false gods is any kind of solution? That only serves to make things worse.
It's got little to do with noble, idealistic notions of facing up to the truth and more about solving problems with real solutions in a world divided by religions and false beliefs. The problem IS the religions and the gods and the false hopes they provide.
Did I say religion was the solutions to those problems? I didn't, so why ask that?
What we think are the solutions to those problems are irrelevant to the fact that those problems do create suffering. Humans have a psychological defence mechanism against suffering: the capacity to believe in a positive outcome despite negative material conditions; Commonly known as hope. The god concept is the ultimate expression of hope (by definition you can't get anything more perfect). So it's an aspect of human nature. Telling people to not be religious is like telling people to not be able to hope. It's fruitless.
We agree on something though (hallelujah) If removing religious belief from society is the goal (is that the goal? It's not clear) then I think addressing real world problems effectively is the best place to start. I personally would not want to tell a mother who has lost all her children to famine or disease that her belief in god is a lie, and she should "embrace reality". I would much rather be able to tell her that thanks to a political breakthrough, or innovations in medicine and agriculture, less children will die in the future. That is how to win the religion vs non religion debate. To encourage people to let go of god (if that's what you want to do) you first need to enable them to have faith in humanity. Many people don't have faith in humanity, and for good reason.
Like not telling that to an atheist in a foxhole, for example? How about insulting? Certainly, if someone were to express hope to me in the form of a god, I would be insulted, as would many people. Should we tell Muslims to have hope in Jesus?
No, it's not an aspect of human nature, it's an aspect of religious indoctrination, which is the real problem.
That's highly unlikely to never work considering the religions themselves teach their followers to hate mankind, let alone have any faith in it.
However, that IS exactly what non-believers are doing, telling us to have faith in humanity rather than gods. But, the believer once again is influenced by their religion that teaches them humans are evil by nature and that the only salvation is through their gods.
Of course, bringing anything up that has science attached to it will have little success, too.
These course of action are being tried, but they are fighting a losing battle in the face of what religions teach people.
Hope is very much an aspect of human nature and is a fundamental requirement for religious belief. It is an expression of a desire for something to happen. Whether it be an atheist hoping to get out of a foxhole unscathed, or a theist hoping to be forgiven by god. The same mechanic is at work. Hope does not rely on indoctrination, it just relies on being human.
"religions themselves teach their followers to hate mankind"?? Some Christians believe being a true Christian means hating gay people. Others believe being a Christian means loving gay people. If Christians themselves can't agree on what being a Christian means, what makes you think you are the final arbiter, enough to confidently declare that being a Christian means hating mankind? As you are not the final arbiter what you think Christianity teaches is irrelevant to the multitude of Christians who believe it teaches something else. The most anyone can reasonably say is that some Christians interpret Christian teachings in a way that has led to behaviour which threatens the peaceful existence of others. In the same way we can say some Muslims interpret Islam in a way that has led to behaviour which threatens the peaceful existence of others. We can equally say some non-theists live their lives in a way that threatens the peaceful existence of others. So I don't think your argument is valid here.
I know non-theists are trying to encourage faith in humanity. The question is, given the dire circumstances in which some people live (and die) why should people have faith in humanity? It's not good enough to say that the problems are all caused by religion. Firstly, they're not. But secondly, if atheism is correct and god does not exist, then humanity is responsible for religion. Why have faith in humanity if humanity is capable of something which, by your own argument, is the bane of existence? Isn't that all the more reason not to have faith in humanity?
I get that. But, hope in God is based on indoctrination.
Here are just a few verses that teach Christians to hate humanity. There are many more.
Psalm 118:8 - It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
Micah 7:5 - Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms
Jeremiah 17:5 - Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.
Psalm 118:8-9 - It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
Psalm 60:11 - Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
Psalm 119:128 - Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Dire circumstances? This is your argument? What about everyone else?
No one said religions cause all problems, so why would you say that? But certainly, they have caused more problems than they've solved.
Gods can't alleviate the suffering, only people can do that, just as people can cause suffering. Humanity needs to have a good hard look at these problems and do everything they can to fix them. If religions stifle or impede that process, which they do, then they are part of the problem, not the solution.
Religious indoctrination depends on the capacity to have hope in god. Hope in god does not depend on religious indoctrination.
You know as well as I do there are just as many quotes from the Bible that say people should love each other, humanity is special, chosen etc etc. That's the point. You can interpret the Bible as being all about hate, or all about love. Christians have been having that debate for 2000 years. Again what makes you believe you are the final arbiter of that dispute, and get to decide what the Bible is all about? Like it or not, you aren't and you don't. Any argument you present which is supported by what the Bible says is no more valid than an argument presented by a Christian based on what the Bible says.
Nope. It's the basis of a question. Let's start with an answer before moving on to everyone else. The question is: why should people have faith in humanity?
Human nature causes problems. Religion, is merely the rationalisation. If religion cannot be use to provide that rationalisation, other things can and are used. Modern religion is just one of the layers of socialisation we call civilisation. The biological imperative to compete with others for resources has been the root cause of most of the problems throughout human history in my opinion.
Humanity impedes its own progress. We are a mass of chemical and biological processes that happens to be self-aware. Self-awareness coupled with modern civilization enables us to behave in ways that are dictated by rationality not biological imperative. It is this outgrowing of our biological imperatives that is the source of many problems facing humanity. E.g. Rationally there is no reason for anyone on the planet to starve. There is more than enough food and resources to support everyone. Yet the biological imperative to compete with others hinders any rational efforts we make to end starvation. We actually still believe that people from another "country" (an artificial social construct) is a different type of person from people from another "country", even though scientifically we know that to be nonsense. These are the things that hinder humanity in my opinion. Religion is a very small part of a much bigger picture.
Or, you can just read the hate in the bible, which is substantial.
I never said I was the arbiter, those are your words. I don't decide what the Bible is all about, I just read the words there.
If you say so.
Because humanity is all there is and it takes humanity to solve problems. This is obvious.
You interpret the Bible as being about hate, some interpret it as being about love. You are as entitled to your interpretation, as they are to theirs. What you say about the Bible has no more weight than what they say, so it's pointless using that as the basis for an argument. You would not accept it if someone with religious belief relied on scripture quotes as the basis of an argument. So why should I (or anyone else) accept it when you rely on scripture quotes as the basis of an argument?
Yes, and people do not see humanity solving it's own problems. What they see is existing problems remaining unsolved, and yet more problems being caused by humanity. That's all the more reason people turn to something other than humanity. Whether that works for you, or whether you agree with it or not, is irrelevant. Some people simply do not have faith in humanity. You can rage against that as much as you like, but that won't change it. In my opinion, the most effective way to reduce religious belief, if that's your goal, is to restore people's faith in humanity. Those who rail against religion have simply not done that, and have therefore failed to address the biggest issue. The fact that, like it or not, some people need god.
The abandonment of reason really isn't the way to go.
You're arguing that humanity is responsible for religious belief, and religion impedes humanity's progress. It follows that humanity is therefore ultimately responsible for impeding it's own progress. If not, then who is? That's not bs, it's just reason.
I have no idea what you're talking about, I don't need to interpret the Bible, the words are written right there in the book. What gives you the idea those words require some interpretation when they are clear as day.
Sorry, but the words are written there for all to see, perhaps someday you should read it to find out yourself.
Those who use reason and logic do see people solving their own problems, unfortunately a lot of the world is ruled by religious mindsets that have no trust or faith in people and pray to their gods for guidance.
No, they are taught by their religions to turn to gods instead of humanity. I just provided you plenty of verses that support it.
Raging? LOL. Yes, it will change some day when religions have no more influence over societies and humanity.
That will never happen while religions have influence over people.
That is ludicrous considering no gods have ever been shown to exist. People are just as better off needing the Easter bunny.
What gives me the idea that the Bible and other sacred texts are open to interpretation? The millions of people who disagree over what they mean. For all those people, it is "clear as day" that these texts mean exactly what they believe they mean. You are just another person claiming the same thing. Like it or not, what you believe the Bible means holds no more weight than what anyone else believes it means. Unless you are suggesting that everyone is wrong about the Bible except you, in which case you have resorted to special pleading.
My belief about what the Bible means holds no more weight than yours, so it's irrelevant. The fact is that people disagree on the message of the Bible. How people respond to that disagreement is the issue. You are responding by saying "I'm right, everyone else is wrong". My response is "I don't care what you think the Bible means, as long as you behave in a way that does not threaten my own way of life". I think that response is more conducive to living peacefully.
You are showing your cognitive blind-spot again. There are many who are not solving but maintaining or creating problems who are not religious. Certain corporations do a very good job of that. Do you think their motive is religion?
People do not need scriptures to lose faith in humanity. They can lose faith in humanity by just looking around them. Organised religion just provides a convenient alternative. People are in pain, plain and simple. Physical, emotional, psychological. So much so that they are willing to put their faith in anyone who claims links with something beyond humanity. Scripture did not teach people to have faith in L. Ron Hubbard. No, deep seated personal need and a bit of persuasion did that. That's all that's needed if someone is in pain, as many many people are. Offer something that appears to ease that pain, and they will take it. You can shout as many warnings as you like. Doesn't matter. Until you can offer something that takes away people's pain equally well, you are just shouting to the wind.
Yes raging, i.e. demonstrating a passion for something. You clearly have vehement opinions on the subject.
Things will change when we become smart enough to stop the pain in my opinion. It has started to some degree already, but there's a long way to go. Even then I don't think religion will die out completely. I think it is a fundamental part of our nature, like the capacity for language.
As I said, religion doesn't have a hold of people, suffering does. Religion is a symptom of that suffering, not the main cause of it. We can lie, and kill, and steal and rape and run each other into the ground perfectly well without religion.
Billions of people around the world appear to need the concept of god. Whether you think that is ludicrous or not is irrelevant. It is simply a fact. I don't think we should ignore facts however much we dislike them.
Billions of people around the world have been indoctrinated to believe in one of many different gods. This is a very sad fact of life and we need to change it if we are going to save humanity.
Do those billions need a god or do they need to understand their emotional side and learn to control it better?
We could train millions of psychologists, that would take care of the job shortage as well.
Clearly people need something they are not getting elsewhere. And yes I do think it relates to their emotional needs. Some people feel hopeless, and unloved, and alienated, and experience injustice and are unable to meet these emotional needs via other means. For some the concept of God and organised religion fills that gap. It offers some sense of hope where they would otherwise feel hopeless; a sense of feeling loved where they feel unloved; a sense of belonging where they would feel alienation; a sense of ultimate justice where they might only experience injustice. And it's completely irrelevant what you, or I, or anyone else thinks about that. Religion is meeting a need in human society that has not been met by secular parts of society.
When anti-theists tell people to just "embrace reality", it's the same as telling someone who is drowning that they could swim if they really wanted to. Such people think that because they feel everyone should be able to swim, therefore everyone can swim. They don't seem able to accept the reality that some people need help keeping afloat. But why do those people turn to religion? Because if you are drowning and someone throws a life preserver, you will take it. And that's what religious faith is to lots of people. Something that helps keep them afloat.
I think more can be done in secular society to address the hopelessness, alienation, lack of love and support, and feelings of injustice people experience. Workplaces and schools need to become psychologically informed environments, and we need to teach children about emotional intelligence and resilience etc. The effort anti-theists make in trying to tell people with religious belief they are wrong, would be better spent assisting these things and promoting them in my opinion. But unfortunately telling people to "embrace reality" is much easier than showing them how to. Just as telling a drowning man he can swim, is easier that helping him keep his head above water and showing him how to.
You should hear yourself to see just how utterly ridiculous you sound. You're talking about people who have problems, real problems, problems that need real solutions. And, rather than even trying to understand those problems or offer any solutions, you are of the mind to just give them a placebo, a sugar pill and send them on their way hoping their problems will disappear like the sugar pill.
Gods do not love people, they don't give them belonging or hope, primarily because they have never been shown to exist. People need other people to help them, to actually try to understand their problems and make every attempt to help them. If they have serious mental disorders, then they need real professional help, not a Bible. Religions only mask problems, they do not solve them in any way. Take away the religion and the problems return.
LOL. So, rather than trying to teach people to swim before they get in the water, let them dive right in unprepared and then throw them an imaginary life preserver. Yeah, real solution, there.
Great idea, in fact, that is what is occurring, but unfortunately, we have folks like yourself who would much rather offer false hopes, false promises and false solutions to real problems. And, until those false solutions are removed can we ever really deal with finding real solutions.
Wow. I'm impressed. That was thoughtful, well written out, and utterly true.
There are folks here on these forums who show symptoms of schizophrenia and other disorders. They are deeply religious and often quite negative about the world around them. They do little more than evangelize their beliefs, falling deeper into the pit of delusion. Their problems are not going away or being dealt with at all.
Don would say that's perfectly okay, that those religious beliefs are offering comfort and solace, when it's so very obvious they're doing more harm than good. Let's not bother with treating them or even bother to understand them, let's just give them a Bible and send them on their merry way. Ludicrous.
Organized religion is definitely a problem, as it creates more problems than it solves. If given too much power, you get the Inquisition. In our society, you get voting power that is influenced by the church. You get things like the Dover trials where Christianic creationism is nearly allowed to be taught in schools disguised as intelligent design. Religion is a personal thing, and shouldn't have a major role in how society runs or is governed, as religion stands in it's current state. What needs to be done is some sort of control over organized religion that doesn't ruin a person's right to practice it in their own home.
I don't equate religion with schizophrenia though. I don't think people's schizophrenic ideas are much a problem to anyone else but themselves (in a general sense, I'm sure it affects their families, and society to a certain extent if they are dangerous, but I don't think that's much of an issue in terms of a society as a whole)
Loonies on a forum (like myself:) I think can safely be ignored.
Please indicate where I suggested that no one should try to understand and offer solutions to the problems people face. I didn't. What I actually said was that trying to eradicate religion is futile, unless you plug the gaps that religion fills. Anti-theists such as yourself go on about how dreadful religion is, but fail to address the fact that people turn to religion because they are clearly not getting what they need from secular society.
Please indicate where I said god loves people or gives them hope, and please indicate where I said god(s) exist. What I actually said was:
"God and organised religion fills that gap. It offers some sense of hope where they would otherwise feel hopeless; a sense of feeling loved where they feel unloved; a sense of belonging where they would feel alienation; a sense of ultimate justice where they might only experience injustice."
So you are responding to something I never actually said. You have created a straw man. Congratulations on knocking it down. Remember what I said previously about actually reading what people write. It's very important.
Again, please indicate where I said that. What I actually referred to are those people already in the water. Sure, ideally everyone would be taught certain things from an early age, but it is a fact (whether you like it or not) that there are people for whom that didn't happen, and who are now living their lives struggling to meet their own emotional needs. Telling them to "embrace reality" as someone else did previously, is all very noble, but it does nothing to meet those immediate needs.
So let me get this correct. I suggest teaching emotional intelligence from an early age and through people's working life, in order to promote greater resilience etc, which you admit is a "great idea". Yet at the same time you suggest I am promoting "false hopes, false promises and false solutions to real problems". Let me make this as clear as I possibly can. Acknowledging that religious belief fills a void in some people's lives, is not the same as endorsing, or advocating, or promoting religious belief. It is simply an acknowledgement of fact.
People feel that religious belief has a positive impact on their lives. I'll explain this very carefully in an effort not to be misrepresented again. I'm not saying it is a fact that religion does have a positive effect on people's lives. I am saying it is a fact that people feel that it does. Therefore telling those people they just "need other people" is not enough. But anti-theists like you are so wrapped up in your anti-theist polemic, that you fail to recognise the best way to counter the negative effects of religion is to replicate the positive effects of religion, minus the supernatural. Communion therefore becomes community, hope in god becomes optimism in life, submission to divine will, becomes resilience to circumstance, and love for god becomes love for each other etc. You cannot achieve that by telling. You achieve it by showing.
I think these words are wasted on you though because you are so embroiled in tribalism that you can only see in terms of religious people vs non religious people, or "us" vs "them". So much so that you appear to be incapable of recognizing that there is no "them", we're all just different parts of the "us".
Filling that gap with reality, not fantasy. That is the point.
Anti-reasoner/thinker/logicians like yourself go on about how dreadful reality is, but fail to address the fact that people have been indoctrinated into religions and are taught not to trust secular societies.
Uh, right here:
Ah, so what you're saying is that religions offer short-term solutions, but not long term solutions, ie. "immediate needs"? Sorry, but religions offer no short or long term solutions, they only offer false hopes and false promises. It is people, ie. "reality" that can only offer solutions.
But, religious beliefs don't actually fill those voids, they only mask them and do not deal with the underlying problems associated with those voids. They are nothing more than placebos.
Sure, just like a placebo, people can "feel" better, but their problems continue to exist.
But Anti-reasoner/thinker/logicians like you are so wrapped up in your anti-reasoner/thinker/logician nonsense, that you fail to recognize the best way to counter the effects of religion is to expose it for what it is and show that it does more harm than good.
And yet, reality does not show that actually results from religious beliefs, quite the contrary.
Actually Don, religions are based on tribalism and it is religions that teach "religious people vs non religious people, or "us" vs "them". Presenting reality means to present humanity as one united entity.
Like it or not, these are the facts:
- Some people have unmet psychological, emotional, material needs that cause problems which are persistent, significant and intolerable.
- Some people cannot find comprehensive answers to their problems within the secular sphere.
- Religious teachings generally provide a framework of ideas about how and why the world is the way it is, the relationships between things in it, and how people should live in it.
- Many religious communities provide a support network that can assist individuals, including assistance with material needs.
- For some people this framework of ideas and support enables them to assimilate misfortune and cope with their problems.
- Individuals who feel more resilient as a result of their religious belief will generally not care whether it is a "placebo" effect. Instead they will take it as a positive reinforcement of their beliefs.
- Negative effects of religious belief are disproportionately represented in the media relative to the proportion of the world's population who hold religious beliefs (approx 80%).
- Positive effects of religious belief are underrepresented in the media because of the nature of what is considered 'newsworthy'.
- Religious belief has positive effects on some people. Many people have "turned their lives around" in some way due to contact with a religious person, or organisation. Even if they do not remain part of that religion, that contact was a positive one.
- Religions can and do change over time.
The Crusades and the Inquisitions are facts, Hitler wiping out millions of Jews is a fact, cannibalism is a fact. Facts specially aren't good just because they are facts.
Everything you wrote there can be easily accomplished without religions.
Facts are simply what we know. It is reasonable to start there:
- Of the 1,763 wars chronicled in the three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, only 123 (6.98%) are categorised as religious in nature.
- Some conflicts characterised as "religious conflicts" relate more to ethnic and cultural differences. The Catholic/Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland is an example. Such conflicts cannot be accurately described as religious conflicts.
- The holocaust was an example of ethnic cleansing, not religious conflict. It was based on the racial policies of Nazi Germany which were implemented to defend the so-called master race (Aryans) against "racial and cultural degeneration". Other "impure" races were targeted also such as Gypsies. Political opponents such as (non Jewish) Marxists and Liberals were also among the victims. It is for these reasons that Jewish historians have described the motivation of the Holocaust as "purely ideological".
- Religion played no major role in the wars that cost the most human life in the 20th century.
- The things in my last comment that can be "easily accomplished", are not being accomplished adequately. That is one of the reasons some people turn to religion.
- Facts are important. Ignoring them often leads to things being misrepresented.
Exactly, which is why your statement above is not a fact, it is your misrepresented and misinformed opinion.
"In 1609, Scottish and English settlers, known as planters, were given land confiscated from the native Irish in the Plantation of Ulster. Coupled with Protestant immigration to "unplanted" areas of Ulster, particularly Antrim and Down, this resulted in conflict between the native Catholics and the "planters", leading in turn to two bloody ethno-religious conflicts known as the Irish Confederate Wars (1641–1653) and the Williamite war (1689–1691), both of which resulted in Protestant victories.
British Protestant political dominance in Ireland was ensured by the passage of the penal laws that curtailed the religious, legal, and political rights of anyone (including both Catholics and [Protestant] Dissenters, such as Presbyterians) who did not conform to the state church, the Anglican Church of Ireland."
"Presbyterians and Dissenters too faced persecution on a lesser scale, and in 1791 a group of dissident Protestant individuals, where all but two were Presbyterians, held the first meeting of what would become the Society of the United Irishmen. Originally they sought to reform the Irish Parliament which was controlled by those belonging to the state church; seek Catholic Emancipation; and help remove religion from politics. When their ideals seemed unattainable they became more determined to use force to overthrow British rule and found a non-sectarian republic. Their activity culminated in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which was bloodily suppressed."
And from the same source you cited:
"The conflict was primarily a political one, but it also had an ethnic or sectarian dimension, although it was not a religious conflict."
But quibbling about whether the Troubles represent a religious conflict does not change the fact that only 6.98% of wars chronicled in the Encyclopedia of War are categorised as religious in nature, or the fact that the Holocaust was racially not religiously motivated, or the fact that the biggest conflicts in the 20th century were not religious conflicts. Those are facts.
If you are claiming that religious belief does more harm than good, then have you really, closely, and objectively examined that claim? Have you applied the same rigor and scrutiny you would (presumably) to a claim made by a theist? Your misguided and misinformed comments about religious wars etc. suggest you have not. If you are making that claim, then the burden of proof sits with you. Otherwise this view is of no more (or less) significance than any other view on the subject.
Sorry, don't you mean the online sources where I got that information that stated specially, or the online sources you provided that stated specifically about religious wars?
What you're talking about occurred in the late 1960s–1998. If you had noticed, my references were to the original religious conflicts several hundred years prior.
Your comment about wars and the Holocaust in response to my comments about the positive effects of religious belief, suggest that you think religious wars are an example of how negative effects of religious belief outweigh positive effects. By pointing out that religious wars form only a small percentage (6.98%) of wars, and the Holocaust was motivated by race not religion, I'm highlighting the fact that your comment was misguided and misinformed.
If you want to limit your assertion to a specific period, that's fine. The fact remains that some conflicts appear to be religious conflicts, but are actually about political, ethnic and cultural differences. The Troubles (1960s–1998) is an example of that.
The main question is whether or not you are claiming religious belief does more harm than good.
No, I mentioned that even facts are not necessarily a good thing.
Religious wars are a fact, so what's good about that? How is it that the fact religions themselves teach their followers not to trust humanity a good thing? How is this misguided and misinformed?
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
That's how it all started, over religion.
The Catholic church is opposed to using contraception because of a belief that dates back to the first centuries of Christianity, that sex must only be for procreation. Therefore, the only form of birth control permitted is abstinence. Teen pregnancy is highest in states that only offer abstinence-only education. A lack of sexual education also contributes to the spread of the disease. Abstinence-only is a fundamentalist christian-backed policy. Another policy broadly supported by all the Abrahamic religions is the belief that homosexuality is wrong. In this modern age, it is understood that homosexuality occurs naturally, not only in humans, but all the animal species.
Bertrand Russell said, “Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence. It will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.” If science can’t explain how something happened, then god must be the explanation. Two thousand years ago, god was the explanation for a lot of things. These days, god has become an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on. Religions are fighting back, recruiting the naive and the uneducated, and attempting to discredit the science and have their supernatural explanations taught alongside. The Dalai Lama said about his religion: “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” All other religions see science as a threat. After centuries of scientific advancement, there is a movement afoot to drag us backwards so a supernatural belief system can survive.
Religion matters to me as an atheist because it acts to stifle funding for progression in science and technology. For example, religious institutions are pushing to prohibit stem cell research, which is one of the most promising medical fields known to us today.
Religion matters to me because it imposes all sorts of psychological turbulence on it’s members, and cages children’s minds with indoctrination.
Religion matters to me because atheists are actively discriminated against in supposedly public institutions. Take for instance, the boy scouts – a tax-payer funded institution – which do not allow atheists to take part in it’s program.
Religion is trying to remain relevant by discrediting scientific fact in order to dupe people into believing their lies. Religions are wrong, they are lying to you, and we can no longer afford to smile and nod politely.
No one (not me at least) has mentioned the word "good" in relation to facts. So that's a straw man. The point is that you tend to reference facts about religious belief that are deemed to be negative, and seem unable to tolerate facts about religious belief that can be deemed positive. When I listed a series of facts about the positive impacts of religious belief. Your response was to either ignore them, deny them, or try to replace them with facts which better fit your view. That is an example of cognitive bias.
Another illustration is your response to the question "does religious belief do more harm than good?" You've written a list of things you consider to be bad about religion. But to consider the question objectively you have to consider the good things too, right? Because the question is a comparison. A comparison of the harm and the good. So where is your list of the good? Are you suggesting there is not a single good thing about religious belief? That is demonstrably false.
It also leads to the question, how are you objectively comparing the harm vs the good if you are only considering the harm? And if you aren't making an objective comparison then what is your view based on? It's clear from your comments that you don't like certain things that you attribute to people with religious belief. It seems obvious that your view that religion does more harm than good is based on that dislike. You don't actually know that religious belief does more harm than good, you just assume that to be the case because it fits your general view. Again, that is a classic example of cognitive bias.
A further illustration of this can be seen in your generalisations:
The fact that some religious groups act to "stifle funding for progression in science and technology", for you becomes: religion acts to stifle funding.
The fact that some religious groups "[impose] all sorts of psychological turbulence on it’s members" becomes: religion imposes psychological turbulence on it’s members.
. . . and so on
Did it even cross your mind that some atheists might be against stem cell research? Or that some Christians support stem cell research? And do you know what Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Shintoists, Taoists etc. think about stem cell research? Did you even consider it? I suspect the answer to these questions is no. Because it's much easier to say religion is against stem cell research, and ignore any facts that do not fit that view. Rather than deal with the nuanced and complex reality that people with religious belief are a diverse group with different ideas, beliefs and attitudes, some positive, some negative; it is easier to lump everyone into the same category of religion and call it bad.
Cognitive bias is a human characteristic, so I won't fault you for it. I'm certain we are all guilty of it at various times. But it is important, in my opinion, to recognise it and do our best to counter it. If you are concerned with how deviation in people's judgement affects society, then I think it's reasonable to suggest the best place to start is by examining your own.
Here's the definition of a strawman fyi so you may use it correctly in the future...
"The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position"
LOL. Unable to tolerate them? No, I just showed you that they were nothing more than placebos masking underlying problems.
I did not such thing, I simply showed you that people with problems need real help, not false hopes and promises.
You don't seem to have much of an argument going on here, yet. You're just misrepresenting my responses, so far.
Then, I await your lengthy list of positive things religions have contributed. Be aware though, that they must be due to religious beliefs and can't be anything that can't be accomplished by non-religious means, such as charities, for example. Go for it, let's hear all the positive things. Then, we can do a comparison.
Btw, I barely scratched the surface of the iceberg of negative things religions have contributed, there are many more. One need only look to Uganda to see the atrocities committed there as a result of religious beliefs.
That doesn't even deserve a response as it pure bs.
Uh, those are facts, not personal dislikes. Try and formulate your argument instead of misrepresenting what I said.
This may help you understand that:
http://atheism.about.com/b/2005/06/04/t … search.htm
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of stem-cell research, both in terms of its medical potential as well as its potential to divide society. Because of its possible benefits, it promises to fundamentally restructure the traditional forces that stand opposed to abortion. Support for it is even more widespread than is support for legalized abortion."
Again, try forming an argument in favor of religious beliefs and the "positive" aspects you believe they offer society rather than misrepresenting what I said. I await your lengthy list.
If you are claiming that religious belief does more harm than good, then the burden of proof is on you. It's not my job to do your research for you.
It doesn't matter if the positive effects can be achieved in other ways. If a charity can achieve the same thing as a religious organisation and vice versa, then great. Is there a rule that says there must only be one way to achieve something?
The problem with your generalisations is that they assume everyone who is religious is the same. That's clearly not the case. Even if you restricted your statements about stem cell research to Christians only, there are Christians who do not oppose it. There are also atheists who question such research on the grounds of medical ethics. Do you think only religious people consider questions of ethics?
Things would be easy if we could place people into neat categories and know exactly what they think and feel based on that category. Reality isn't that tidy. Some religious people believe this, some believe that, some support this, some oppose that. Even someone who identifies themselves as a particular religion, does not necessarily believe what they are "supposed" to believe as part of that religion. Do you honestly believe no Catholics use contraception? If you do, then you are naive. Religious beliefs are diverse, because human beings are diverse. Some have negative effects, some positive. If some organisations are doing something you consider harmful, then address those organisations. You can't reasonably say it's the fault of all religions.
From your comments it appears you cannot approach this subject objectively. That is genuinely not meant as an insult. I honestly think you would find it challenging to write a list of positive effects of religious belief, not because there aren't any, just because it seems you would find it difficult to bring yourself to do it. In fact I think you would find it challenging to say even one positive thing about religious belief. You have a perfect opportunity to prove me wrong, and I honestly hope you do. But I strongly suspect you won't.
And, I have done that. Now, we are awaiting your lengthy list of positive aspects religions have contributed.
Of course not, but by removing the religious aspect, we remove the negative components of religion. Of course, with most religious charities, it is often just a way of recruitment, which doesn't occur in non-religious charities. Yet, another negative aspect of religions.
Those are your assumptions, not mine.
I am all for hearing any medical questions, but no one is interested in religious ones.
Of course, Catholics use contraception, even when they are taught not to, hence the contradiction, hypocrisy and complete waste of Catholicism in that regard.
And, we are awaiting your lengthy list of positive attributes to compare to the negative. Hopefully, they are as diverse.
Even though, I have objectively provided a list of negative issues surrounding religions.l
As you mentioned at the beginning of this post, the burden of proof is on you to provide those positive effects, not me. I did my rigor, now you do yours.
You are making the claim that religious belief does more harm than good. The opposite of that claim is that religious belief does not do more harm than good, or religious belief does more good than harm. You'll notice I have not claimed either of those things. You are the only one making a positive claim about the amount of harm religious belief does in comparison to good. So the burden of proof does not sit with me, because there is nothing for me to prove.
I am asking you to explain your conclusion, because although you have listed what you believe to be some of the harm associated with religious belief; that only demonstrates that you think religious belief does harm. But that's not all you're claiming. You are claiming that religious belief does more harm than good. To arrive at that conclusion, you must have compared harm and the good associated with religious belief, and concluded that there is more harm, no?
I am simply asking you to share the list of positive effects you considered as part of your comparison. If you didn't consider any positive effects, okay. But how is it possible to conclude that religious belief does more harm than good without considering the harm and the good? In other words, listing the harm is only half the "rigor" needed for the claim you are making. It would be useful if you showed the rest of it (the good you considered). Alternatively, please explain how you have made a comparison between two things without actually comparing the two things.
Here are your claims:
It would appear you did in fact state religious beliefs have positive effects.
No, that is what YOU claimed. I merely offered points showing that religious beliefs do in fact cause harm to societies, which you don't agree.
That is your job, not mine, based on your claim above. I await your lengthy list. For some reason, you don't wish to offer any. Can I conclude you have none to offer?
Read it again: "You are the only one making a positive claim about the amount of harm religious belief does in comparison to good". Do you see the key features of your claim that I've emphasised? You say you didn't make that claim. Well here it is in black and white:
Now it's established that you did make the claim, again, please share the list of positive effects you considered as part of your comparison between the "harm" and the "good" associated with religious belief, or if you don't have one, then please explain how you made a comparison between the two without actually comparing them. It's clear you are claiming that religious belief does more harm than good. That requires a comparison between the harm and the good. You have listed what you believe to be some of the harm associated with religious belief. That's half of the "rigor" required to arrive at your conclusion. I'm asking for either the other half, or an explanation as to how you arrived at your conclusion without making a comparison. Either will do, I don't mind which, but as you made the claim it is very much your job to provide one or the other.
Of the claims you mention that I made; the first one, claiming that religious belief has positive effects on some people, would not be demonstrated by a list of the positive effects of religion. It would be demonstrated by showing the existence of just one person on whom religious belief has had a positive effect. Do you really need me to do that? I'm more than happy to.
As for the second, "I do not believe religion is harmful to society." What I actually said was:
How strange that you should selectively quote me in a way that makes it sound like I do not think harm can result from religious belief. My full comment makes it clear that I recognise harm can result from religious belief, but I think the key agent is the person and their behaviour, not the religion. I'm sure you are glad I checked it, as I'm certain you would not have wanted to deliberately misrepresent me.
Even if we accepted your selective quote, there would still be no burden of proof because it is not a positive claim. Disbelieving something does not put the burden of proof on the person who is disbelieving. That is why there is no onus on certain types of atheist to prove god does not exist.
Okay, here is my list of positive things religions have contributed to societies:
I want it to be absolutely clear, so you don't get confused again about what claims you have and have not made. Does your blank list (assuming you intended it to be blank) indicate that you have done no research whatsoever into the positive effects of religious belief? Or does it indicate that you did research, but did not find a single positive effect associated with religious belief?
Or, what claims you assume I have made or ones you have created yourself.
I found nothing that couldn't be accomplished without religion.
When are you going to offer us your list of positive effects?
I'll say it once again: you are the only one making a positive claim about the amount of harm religious belief does in comparison to good.
So you found "nothing that couldn't be accomplished without religion". Does that mean you found some positive effects associated with religious belief that can also be accomplished through other means? If so, okay. Like what?
And, I provided plenty of reasons to back that up.
I already pointed that out, as well, charities, for example.
So, when are you going to offer your positive effect list? You're just going round and round in circles and it would appear you actually have nothing to offer and your entire argument is moot. So, until you do offer something substantial, I see no point in repeating myself.
I'm highlighting the fact that critical thinking is applicable to all arguments, not only those of people who believe things we don't like. People tend to be uncritical when it comes to their own belief systems and world views, and I do not believe that anti-theists are any less capable of cognitive bias than theists. The only difference is that lots of atheists and anti theists tend to assume the application of reason within their respective world views. You yourself have shown a deep reluctance to justify your reasoning when asked, as if it's plainly obvious, and have been quite defencive in providing what little you have. But it's important that we don't just assume an argument critical of religious belief is therefore a reasonable one, as that is to abandon reason. For example:
In the book "When Religion Becomes Evil", Charles Kimball writes on the very first page: "It is somewhat trite, but nevertheless sadly true, to say that more wars have been waged, more people killed, and these days more evil perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history." Only it isn't true. Most of that claim is demonstrably untrue, as discussed earlier. To make matters worse Kimball offers no supporting evidence. It's deemed to be so obvious that it needs no justification. But the worst of it, for me, is that I do not believe many atheists or anti theists would have critically examined that statement, or challenged the lack of evidence for it. This is a known phenomenon. It's a tendency to accept things that confirm our own beliefs (confirmation bias). So what?
So the reason I have been questioning your claim that religious belief does more harm than good so staunchly is because it isn't good enough for you to make such a claim and not willingly offer supporting evidence or expect to be asked for it, it isn't good enough for Kimball to make a similar claim without offering any supporting evidence, and it isn't good enough that in all likelihood those claims would not have been challenged by a non theist. If a theist claimed that religion had done more good for society than harm, I can only imagine how quickly they would have been challenged by non theists, including yourself. As soon as you start accepting things without critical examination, you lose any claim you may have to rational thinking. It's also a double standard, and I don't like double standards.
As for your claim, you have not provided "plenty of reasons to back that up". Exactly what positive effects of religious belief did you consider? Psychological, social, economic, political? When making comparisons did you use a quantitative measure only or did you include a qualitative measure? How did you quantify the positive effects? How did you quantify the harmful effects? If you did use a qualitative measure what were the measures you used? Did you account for differences in culture, geographic location, social class, economic status etc? You seem to want to ignore the indirect effects of religious belief. How did you distinguish between the direct and indirect effects? What overall methodology did you use? In short, to determine if religious belief does more harm to society than good, it would take a serious, interdisciplinary study which, based on your responses, I think it's reasonable to assume you have not done (I'm happy to be corrected). If you have read such a study, then great, I'd love to read it too. If not, then you'll forgive me if I take what you say about religious belief with a pinch of salt.
That is an obvious fabrication, try to be honest.
Those were originally your words, I simply offered negative effects of religion and you added the rest.
Another obvious fabrication, try to be honest.
Why don't you answer those questions if you're capable.
Again, I see no reason to continue this discussion as I have made my case and offered just some of the negative effects of religion, while you have offered none and refuse to do so, most likely because you can't find any yourself.
I have asked what I think are reasonable questions about how you arrived at your conclusion. You have not answered those questions. The more you refuse to, the more the above point is proven. Regarding being honest, as I've had occasion to say to you before, there really are times when you should take your own advice.
Do you really want to deny this again? Again, here it is in black and white:
Can you see the part where you refer to religious beliefs? Can you see the part where you refer to those beliefs doing more harm than good? Which part was added by me?
Again, either you genuinely believe what you are saying is true, in which case you do not understand the point at all, or you are being disingenuous. Either way the fact remains you have not fully explained the reasoning behind your claim. I'm happy to explain why again if you think that will help.
(Note: this is another example of the reluctance to explain your reasoning I mentioned earlier. The reluctance you referred to as an "obvious fabrication"). We've been through this; you made the positive claim that religious belief does more harm than good. The burden of proof for that claim sits with you. To arrive at such a conclusion you must have done a comparison between the harm vs the good. I'm asking how you did that? How am I supposed to know? It's your conclusion, not mine. The reason I am asking is because I want to test the reliability of that conclusion. That's critical thinking. Try it, it's really useful.
Again, you either genuinely believe you have made your case, or you are being disingenuous. Either way, the fact remains that you have not, and I'm genuinely sorry I have been unable to communicate that in a way that is clear to you.
As I said earlier, you are the only one making a comparison between the level of good vs harm caused by religious belief. I have made no such comparisons. So I'm not sure what you think I should be offering exactly. If you want to ask me a direct question about something, just ask.
I think the message we are attempting to make and covey is that we shouldn't indoctrinate the masses so that we can catch the few that need more care. Start teaching ethics instead of teaching children to be good or you will burn in hell fire as sometimes that's all people learn.
I agree with most of this.
Except for one important detail.
Yes, we can currently support the population with the resources we currently have.
However, this will only be the case until around 2030, when we reach the limits of sustainability.
We can support it yes, but at the level of comfort the "first world" enjoys? I highly doubt it.
No, I think the report said sustain things how they are currently. Not at the higher level for everyone.
?? I don't get it. The third world is starving; to feed them will cost the first world some of it's luxury. Unless it just means to maintain status quo throughout the world, including those nations with starving citizens?
"Unless it just means to maintain status quo throughout the world, including those nations with starving citizens?"
I think that's what it meant.
I can't seem to find the article where I read it though.
I can see now how I worded it strangely in the first place, sorry.
Well, looks like I'm wrong. That's not what the article said at all. I totally misunderstood it, and I'm not even sure I understand it now after rereading it:
As I read it man is using half again what the earth can produce; we are destroying/using the "capital" instead of just the "interest" of nature. And not just food, but the entire ecological balance. I don't think the article means to address the use of metal ores, fossil fuels, etc.; just food and the ecology of the world.
So, for instance, we are eating all that can be produced, plus large numbers of animals that will not be around next year to reproduce. Destroying the whale population, among others. Fishing in general is getting harder and harder to do as fish are disappearing; we're not only eating the new fish produced each year but the stock doing the reproducing if that makes sense.
That's a fair point. We are killing the planet we rely on for survival, and people wonder why there is a lack of faith in humanity.
Reality is that way. Believing in a God does not change how harsh reality sometimes can be. When you lose a loved one you take comfort not from some ridiculous fantasy about golden streets and angel wings but from the fact that the person in question loved you, that you loved them, the time you shared together was precious and their impact on the people around them was lasting.
Obviously the fantasies will continue to be popular. I actually care about what's true, about finding out the real answers to the big questions. Whether the reality at the end of that road is emotionally satisfying or not does not affect what is actually true. This isn't to say atheism is truth or anything like that, just that I reject theism until it is proven, and the same goes for any other supernatural claims. I'm not going to delude myself to believe something just because it alleviates fear of death or can temporarily make a bleak or lonely situation seem better, I've been down that road already. How emotionally attractive an idea is should make us more skeptical. If some Medium comes up claiming they can contact my dead relative who I miss very much I should be MORE skeptical, not more gullible.
I do expect that even as religiosity decreases superstitions, particularly the belief in some kind of afterlife, will persist, even in the absence of traditional theistic religion.
The benefits to facing reality are obvious, you focus on what you can do to fix the problem OR, if there isn't a way out, take the brunt of the emotions instead of repressing them beneath false comfort. What, other than false comfort, does someone in a bad situation get from believing a ridiculous lie?
This emphasizes the initial point.......Atheism is indeed obviously empty.
Any glimmer of hope offers some relief.
that is why the lie that comes the way of religion is always relevant.
But Life/God lies separate from and integrated with, in spite of and despite of, these these two, and is the ultimate reality, which makes it perfect.
Relief. Relief from what? If an atheist had a need for what religion offered (s)he would probably be found in a church, but (s)he isn't. So relief from what?
Isn't an atheist human?
So how come you asking 'relief from what' as if you are something other than human?
I find it hard to accept that you really do not know.
Otherwise the emptiness of atheism again is made obvious.
You seem to be under the illusion that humans are all empty and need relief.
I take then you are full...the fullness of that which Atheism offers.
It is quite evident.
The illusion is the cause of the emptiness.
Your statement is the epitome of emptiness, considering you have not shown the emptiness of atheism.
You want me to show you, you?
You are right there.
How can the atheist make something other than what he is, regarding my words?
So as an Atheist You are quite correct to say my words are empty.
It cannot be any other way.
You're doing nothing but making assertions, you are not showing your assertions have any content or meaning. It's all just word salad. It means absolutely nothing.
So what? Your words mean nothing without content and explanation. 'As an atheist', what?
No, I don't know what they would get relief from. Do you? Or are you making up something that you assume the atheist has (or is missing) but that has no connection to reality.
Certainly atheists aren't "empty" somehow; just because they are filled with themselves rather than an imaginary friend/father doesn't make them "empty".
Atheism is the negation of theism. It is disbelief of the claim that a god or gods exist. It addresses only that one claim.
I have no desire to find false hope and certainly do not wish to put blind faith in something as flimsy and fantastical as most theistic beliefs and religions are.
As I said I've been down that road, whether it was as a Christian, believing in a bejeweled and dazzling New Jerusalem. Or when I believed in reincarnation, seeking to balance my desire never to cease to exist with my equal fear of existing forever with the same mind. I spent years trying to balance what was true with what felt right or "resonated" with me at the time, but that just led to dissatisfaction, confusion and hopelessness in equal measure to the false hope it gave me.
I suppose what you are saying is that ignorance is bliss, true ignorance, true mind-numbing stupidity and gullibility to drown doubt and reason. And I cannot argue against the idea that so long as people are capable of deluding themselves to believe a comforting lie they will continue to do so.
In your place of supposing that which I am saying,
you can only speak from your position not mine.
And your words is the true representation of yourself,
Which once again validates the point that
no matter how hard you look all you can an see is emptiness...
....but in denial you will obviously cast it upon me.
I am happy to be the bearer of your burden for a while, that you may find some relief.
If your perception of reality, minus God, is empty, that is your problem. I see a vast cosmos of possibilities. Perhaps there is no eternal hope for me, no afterlife, but I am not all there is in this cosmos. Not only is it selfish to demand a happy, hopeful, eternal ending and meaning to life but its also nonsensical in light of a naturalistic Universe. It is the height of human hubris to be given life and demand that it be eternal or else it must have no meaning at all.
When you're ready to stop thinking of the Universe with the assumption of God first, set up top down, let me know, until then I will happily save a seat for you here in reality.
You are describing what you take comfort from, which is fine. It's also fine that everyone is not the same as you.
Again, if that's what works for you then great, and it's perfectly fine if different things work for different people.
That may be true, it may not be.
Why does a doctor tell a grieving family their loved one did not suffer when they died? Why does an EMT tell someone who is mortally injured they're going to be okay? Why does a father tell his 5 year old son his painting of his mom looks "just like her"? Why does a grand daughter tell her nan the green jumper she knitted with a reindeer on it is just what she always wanted? Consolation, encouragement, hope, love, any number of reasons.
The real question is: Why would someone who takes comfort in the belief that their life has some greater meaning beyond the crappy circumstances they find themselves in, want to believe that their life is ultimately futile and all the suffering they are going through is for nothing?
That's not really the point, that we want everyone to be the same. The point is whether or not those false hopes do more harm than not, and it appears they do more harm based on what religions teach people.
I don't think Titen-Sxull was talking about comforting others, I think he was talking about comforting ourselves. Do you tell yourself these little white lies to comfort yourself? Do you stick to believing in God just because you find it comforting and soothing? If so, than that's okay, but you need to understand that some don't need or want that lie and feel comforted knowing the God of the OT is not real.
There are people in the world who feel the need for god. Whether you like that or not, or agree with that or not. It is a fact. Likewise, some people do not feel the need for god. Whether other people agree or like that is irrelevant too, because it's also a fact. Those people live in the same villages, towns, cities, countries etc. They have to share the same places and spaces. It's generally more beneficial to the welfare of human beings to live harmoniously, as opposed to living in conflict. So living harmoniously should be the focus, as that is mutually beneficial. These are all things we know. When we focus on who is wrong and who is right, we focus on things we don't know, things that cause division, not harmony. In other words, we focus on the wrong thing.
I do not care what you believe in. God, Allah, Vishnu, the flying spaghetti monster, or nothing at all. It's your business. You shouldn't have to hide what you do or do not believe in, as it's part of who you are. I'm happy to discuss philosophy, religion, politics and morality with you because I believe that enriches both of us. All good. We are in harmony. However, as soon as you start behaving in a way that encroaches on me or someone else's way of life, then we are in conflict. So it's not about beliefs, it's about behaviours. Millions of people who describe themselves are religious live in peaceful co-existence with people of no religious belief, and do not behave in ways that threaten the peaceful existence of others. Attacking the beliefs of those people is pointless and divisive because it causes disharmony.
Some people behave in ways that threaten the peaceful existence of others. They include the religious and nonreligious. Everyone, religious or not should be addressing that. The focus should not be on how to prove everyone else's beliefs wrong, but how do we all live harmoniously in the same space while maintaining the differences that makes humanity such a rich and diverse species. Of course, that's only my opinion.
Sure, have you ever had an atheist knock on your door? I had another JW yesterday, they of course came under the disguise of wanting help us manage our time and tried to give us a book. I asked them if they are witnesses and they said yes, so I politely told them there was no one here interested and thanked them and sent them on their way.
There come a time when people's beliefs impede on others and from my point of view I see the religious attempting to make laws that promote their beliefs as to impede others. Gay marriage come to mind as does slavery in the past and perhaps the present day. Let's not forget teaching ID in science class in schools.
Now religious folks may want there particular prayer said to start the day in a public school without the concern for all the other religions rather than telling the children to pray before or after school and some groups may not want an ill child brought to a doctor, but we have laws in place to prevent these types of unfair intrusions.
I've never seen atheist marching for freedoms in from of churches or asking for their beliefs being imposed onto others. Now here in a open forum we can discuss these issues because it's understood that if you are here you are willing to discuss them.
Someone knocked on your door with the intention of talking about their religious belief. You politely told them you were not interested. They went away. That's not exactly a threat to your way of life is it? Let's not be overly sensitive here. Sales people are worse than that. Making laws is different. That does impede on people's way of life because it affects everyone, regardless of belief. Public policy should be based on a common reality in my opinion. "God's will" is not a common reality because it's meaningless to anyone who doesn't believe in god. Public policy can't be based on "god's will". It has to be about shared values.
There are laws in place to protect against things we can all reasonably consider to be harmful. The issue is about the things we don't all agree on. In those cases, what is harmful and who decides? Some people believe religion is harmful. Would you make telling child about Christian teachings illegal? If a child started praying in class should (s)he be disciplined in some way? What exactly do you envisage?
Reading through all your posts on this thread, I have concluded that you are totally closed to the idea of anything beyond what is immediately inferred by your 5 physical senses. I suppose experientially, you have come to the conclusion that the supernatural and spiritual are just not the kind of icing that you'd want placed on the cake that is your individual life/existence.
Be that as it may, I have come to another conclusion, and that is, nothing in our existence is ever irreversible, even death or irretrievable, even the ones that we thought we have lost forever. For this reason I would suggest that you read Dr. Eben Alexander's Book titled: "The Proof of Heaven", and Prof. Andrew Parker's book titled: "The Genesis Enigma", if for no other reason than to give you pause and to think about possibilities that your mind is so closed right now.
You do realize that there is a very wide chasm between accepting something as a possibility and embracing it as something as real as the nose on our face?
Some of us simply need more than a desire for the supernatural to be there to accept it as real. You are not one of those, but surely you can recognize and accept that such people exist?
"....that such people exist." is an understatement. I could not count how many encounters I've had with people on HubPages and in the non-internet world whose peroration and perseveration for the spiritual is totally non-existent. Heart breaking really, to think about it. But it does not make them any more unloved by the Divine, than someone who takes to the spiritual as easily as breathing, and smiling despite the daily grind. The mother of all ironies if you must ask me.
It is only heart breaking if you think diversity implies a hierarchy from better to worse, rather than just an array of difference.
As I have said, God love us all in equal measure and whether one believes in his existence or not, is immaterial. It is only heart-breaking from my perspective.
Heart breaking? Like starving children? And dying of cancer at a young age. Awwwww. Wot a loving god did that? I love that you are so heart broken. Well done you! Yay! You must be very very proud of yourself.
@righteous: Your post I think I've read somewhere else...so familiar. Oh yeah the usual rants.
As for the starving children... man with his free will/ego is responsible for that. And dying of cancer at a young age... didn't you know that your much beloved random evolutionary mutation are mostly responsible for that?
God has a lot to do with human evolution, BUT nothing to do with human devaluation and degradation... they are all man-made---free will/ego and all.. But despite that he loves all human in equal measure. Now that thought alone should make your day.
Weird - it is heart breaking that people don't believe the utter drivel you believe, but you are good with starving children And your god is powerless to change that?
As a matter of interest - why does it make you so angry that some people don't believe the nonsense you pretend to believe?
Kindly define for me what you mean by reality. Because one's reality mayne another's delusion and vice versa.
Even the cosmic space we live in, as some astrophysicist have argued, may just be a mirror image of some other existence in another universe, quantum mechanics and all.
"Objective Rreality" to exist at all must first be observed subjectively, and depending on who is observing, the ultimate interpretation of that "reality" can only be subjective. Thus the validity of the statement: I think, therefore I (and the rest of "reality" ) exist, NOT I exist, therefore I think.
To elucidate further what I am talking about on the above post, let me quote in toto what Prof. Hans Christian von Bayer, ( a theoretical particle physicist and Chancellor Professor Emeritus at the College of William and Mary) wrote in his article on Quantum Weirdness: "Quantum mechanics is an incredibly successful theory but one full of strange paradoxes. A recently developed model called Quantum Bayesianism (or Qbism) combines quantum theory with probability theory in an effort to eliminate the paradoxes or put them in a less troubling form. Qbism reimagines the entity at the heart of quantum paradoxes-- the wave function, Scientists use wave functions to calculate the probability that a particle will have a certain property, such as being in one place and not another. But paradoxes arise when phycisists assume that a wave function is real. Qbism maintains that the wave function is solely a mathematical tool that an OBSERVER uses to assign his or her PERSONAL belief that a quantum system will have a specific property. In this conception, the wave function does not exist in the world- rather it merely reflects an individual's SUBJECTIVE mental state."
And yet, we can observe wave functions with the Double Slit experiment, no paradox with accurate, measurable properties
Me thinks you don't really understand what Baeyer (not Bayer) is saying with that quote.
Oh I understand fully what he is saying....: To quote him further:" Quantum mechanics flawlessly accounts for the behavior of matter from the subatomic to the astronomical, thus it is the most successful theory in all the physical sciences. Specifically in Qbism, the OBSERVER employs the wave function to assign his or her PERSONAL BELIEF that a quantum system will have a specific property, realizing that the individual's own choices and actions affect the system in an inherently uncertain way. Another OBSERVER , using a wave function that describes the world as the person sees it, may come to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONCLUSION about the same quantum system. One system- one event- can have as many different wave functions as there are OBSERVERS. After observers, have communicated with one another and MODIFIED their private wave functions to account for the newly acquired knowledge, a coherent worldview emerges."
That's bs, it completely contradicts the accurately measured results of the Two-Slit experiment.
Now tell me ... who am I to believe, You or the Professor. Given the choice I'd go with the professor. Nothing personal really.
By all means, pick one professor out of the lot and go with his pet theory. No problem. You'll not find many who agree with him especially considering his assertions contradict proven results. Of course, I seriously doubt you even know what he's talking about.
You are so ridiculously transparent....but then again that goes with vacuousness.
Better yet, God prefers hateful christians to hateful atheists.
Really? That explains an awful lot - thanks for sharing.
That's your opinion, why not be honest about it and say it like it is.
You prefer hateful christians over any atheists.
@encephalo, Dr. Lamb and Mark Knowles:
Your sense of humor has again taken leave of your senses. As I've said before, God loves all of his creation including the ones who do not believe that he exist. Now I may tweak you guys once in a while, but the rough and tumble debate MUST go on, so I don't think the tweaking has been so thoroughly one sided.
Are you saying we should believe in God because it gives our lives purpose that otherwise is not there? Shouldn't we believe in God because he exists? Or do you give your life meaning by inventing a God that needs our belief?
I don't feel empty and I certainly feel I have purpose, but I understand why you need to hold on to your concept of God as I guess without it you would feel empty and without purpose and since you can't seem to see beyond yourself you assume everyone feels the same as you do. But continue with your bigoted insulting ways if they make you feel superior and closer to your version of God that you seem to think has given you the purpose of attempting to belittle and insult the lives of those around you.
The fact is some people would rather spend their 80 or so years of existence dosed up on the morphine of religion, rather than try to hold down another potentially stark and unpalatable reality. I don't think those who are anti-religion have addressed that fully. Until they do, certain religious beliefs will always seem more attractive to some people.
Of course it seems more attractive, so does never never land. Would you switch to another religion if it had greater promises? The Mormons claim that if things are done right here on earth and you learn the secret hand shake you can be a God along side God in heaven. Why not become a Mormon? Sweet deal!
It doesn't seem more attractive. It is more attractive than the alternative offered by anti-theists, which so far is not-very-much. And it's not about one religion compared to another. It's about the difference between what some people get from their religious belief, compared to what they would get from no religious belief.
Are you suggesting that we should simply find the most appealing version of the afterlife and tell everyone that that's reality because it will make them most happy? I don't know about you but I'd rather live my life understanding reality and excepting that my job in the afterlife will be to push up daisies. Do you get to decide if other people should be deluded with lies to make themselves feel content because those lies make you feel content?
Nope. But if some people believe that is the reality and take consolation in that belief which helps them get through life, then who are you (or anyone else) to suggest doing so is wrong? Facing up to what you believe is reality, works for you. Great. But people are different. Are you the archetype of the perfect person that everyone should aim to be like? If not, then perhaps it would be useful to recognise there are more ways than one to be a human being, and different doesn't always mean wrong.
I'm of course no where near perfect and I understand that some may need a father figure that helps them through life and some may need to feel someone is always watching. This is perhaps the result of a lack of ethical education. If one's only reason for being good is because of the fear of God than that person is missing something great. The teaching of ethics in religion often stops at "God is always watching and will punish your behavior and reward good behavior.
At what point do we allow these delusions to go on. Do we allow those that feel that God will heal all wounds for those who pray and yet we have children who die because their parents don't bring them to a doctor or as in a recent case we have a guy bitten by a snake during a religious ceremony and dying because he was taught that the lord would heal him because of one passage in the bible. I suppose this is a fine way of weeding out the stupid adults but I don't think it's fair for the children.
My question is how far are you willing to go to prevent religious belief? That question alone, and the fact it has to be asked, is troubling.
Preventing religious beliefs? Since religious beliefs are based often on childhood indoctrination, we should instead be teaching children rather than indoctrinating them to accept false hopes.
I posted this to another thread. (You may have seen it).?
This woman was more full of false hopes BEFORE her conversion, (as an ADULT).
PS. She's not alone! (Many adults have found REAL hope in Christ! NOTE, I said Christ, not the Christian religion).
I have to put these clarification notes in, as nearly ALL atheists confuse the two as being = !
"Guess What? Jennifer Fulwiler is Still an Idiot.
The holes in her reasoning are so big and so obvious that a field test with just about any religious skeptic would have exposed them and forced Ms. Fulwiler to take her arguments back to the drawing board.
Ms. Fulwiler, if you’re really interested in learning what it would take to change an atheist’s mind, I suggest actually asking one. Our show did an episode on this very question and I don’t think you’re going to like the answer.
We’re not won over by appeals to popularity, appeals to unity through conformity or by dodging the question of proof by just pointing out that your dogma is less objectionable than someone else’s. Most of us are convinced by one thing alone: evidence."
http://askanatheist.tv/2011/07/28/guess … -an-idiot/
Okay don't answer my question at all, but ask me one of your own. The question I asked was how far and dangerous do we allow the delusion to be. Do we allow parents to not seek medical help and simply pray for the sick child?
To answer your question, I don't engage in religious conversation with anyone outside of these forums as I feel people here are open to the discussion. I don't knock or doors or attempt to convert my spouse or children to atheism. I've never told my children what I think and have simple taught them to think for themselves and question everything. When they bring it up and ask questions I try to be either honest or when they were younger I'd avoid the questions.
Unfortunately yes. I recall just recently seeing a couple up on charges for doing just that. They lost one child from praying vs medical treatment and now a second.
Because they are up on charges means we don't allow it. The line is drawn on the sand.
Well if we are going to base our opinion of people on anecdotes, then I have to tell you that none of the religious people I know (including sikhs, muslims, hindus, christians, and a half hearted buddhist) are peaceful, sensible people who go about their daily lives without causing harm or hindrance to anyone else. They are also quite ofay with medicine (two of them are doctors). Strangely we don't get to hear about these religious people. They never appear in the news and you don't hear about them in anecdotes. "Religious man goes to work, comes home, plays with kids, falls asleep on couch" doesn't make a good headline, and it's not a very interesting anecdote either. Instead, we hear only stories about foolish people who decline medical treatment for children, and are expected to swallow the line that it's the fault of religion. It isn't. The technical term for why they did this is: idiocy. But idiots are not unique to religions. They are everywhere. Atheism has it's own share of idiots. But on the positive side some religious people are geniuses. Likewise some atheists are geniuses. It is not religion or atheism that makes someone an idiot or a genius. That cast is usually set long before someone is able to identify themselves as one or the other.
I think it's sad that you feel the need not to engage others about their beliefs. I do all the time. I find what others believe and the reasons they believe it fascinating. But if that works for you . . . Personally I would not hide what I believe or don't believe, and don't think we should have to. It's part of our identity. And I do not believe religion is harmful to society. I believe people who interpret certain religious texts in a way that causes them to behave irresponsibly, are harmful to society.
"none of the religious people I know (including sikhs, muslims, hindus, christians, and a half hearted buddhist) are peaceful, sensible people who go about their daily lives without causing harm or hindrance to anyone else."
All I can say is I'm glad I don't have your friends!
"I have to tell you that none of the religious people I know . . . " was a typo of course. Should be "all the religious people I know".
Simple: some "men" yearn for these things in a literal sense ('there must be more to life than this') and others do not.
Both "men" are normal human beings.
New Zealand is a society that does not follow God (is secular) and where 50% of the people are irreligious. It's very nice there.
The Central African Republic 80% Christian and 95% deist--and they in the middle of a civil war so horrible atrocities are now a daily event and it is meaningless to even speak of human rights.
Connecting the virtue of a society to the religiosity of the populace is a fool's errand.
Could i point out something very important that to believe in everything is in itself a belief system, that cannot be said to be atheist. so when one does not believe in god we cannot then just assume that he is atheist, for as you put it yourself it could be that he believes in everything.
looked like somebody saw the word theory; and a bright light came on and it was so bright that ..... I think they missed the point I was making.
It seems like the Bible was written by schizophrenics for schizophrenics, to make sure they never get help, to make sure they are kept in a constant state of delusion, to make sure they never seek out other people to trust and depend. This is why we have believers who don't accept most of the Bible, they aren't schizophrenics.
Even the God they wrote about shows all the signs of a psychotic dictator who would kill you if you did not worship and obey them.
It's too bad we didn't know more about the the mind way back then, so many lives would have been spared, so much destruction wouldn't have occurred, so many wars never fought if those people got some real help.
I have a feeling that you are thinking that stubborn religious fanatics are schizophrenics. They're not.
The other way round, schizophrenics turn into stubborn religious fanatics.
Sometimes. But just as often, their delusions are about "reptilians" "mind control from the Galactic Zar". Sometimes, it's just their candy bar is being poisoned by Ronald Regan.
And fanatics aren't only of the religious type. There are political fanatics, sports fanatics, etc.
by augustine72 11 years ago
Is atheism non-belief in the existence of God or belief in the non-existence of God?
by Sean Thomas Gartland 11 years ago
If you have any evidence please present it.
by Alexander A. Villarasa 11 years ago
Is atheism an anchronistic non-belief system? Of all the "isms" that has bedeviled man's existence, it could be said that atheism takes the cake for being inexplicably incongrous with modernity, for in its essence, non-belief (in somehting or anything) belies...
by Mahaveer Sanglikar 3 years ago
Many believers like to say that Atheists should prove that there is no God. Believers should know that existence has to be proved, not the non-existence. If a thing exists, it is possible to prove its existence. So believers should prove the existence of God if he exists. But if they want to do it,...
by bdn9385 7 years ago
Does atheism means I don't believe the existence of God or I hate God for who He is?
by Cattleprod Media 13 years ago
I find most people are clueless. They say they are atheist, but can't properly form an argument as to WHY, or they say they are agnostic, with zero clue as to WHAT that is.Ignorance, above all, is our weakness. Not religion. Although ignorance and religion are good bedfellows.
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