... where does the atheist believe they will spend eternity/after life/whatever ... and if its nothingness, why do they spend so much time trying to take others with them ... when there is no place to go ...
It's easy to be afraid of death, pretty much everyone is whether they admit it or not, whether they believe in an afterlife or not. I used to have a great deal more anxiety about death when I was a Christian, because in Christianity there is no such thing as death, you're either trapped forever in a never-ending Heaven from which there is no escape or end goal or trapped forever in an endless hell where there is no escape and no end goal. So as you can see Heaven and Hell end up being the same place, just one has better climate control, they both end up as Hell.
What I've realized since becoming an atheist is that there are two ways to look at death. I can look at it with my ego and say "I'm special, I like living, I don't want to stop living, its not fair! I don't want it to all end!" or I can look at it from a Cosmic perspective. This Universe is so vast, hell this WORLD alone is so vast, and while each and every living thing is an amazing display of the way the Universe works the Universe is constantly changing, nature is constantly making room for the next generation. the next iteration, the next project that your molecules and atoms will be recycled into.
An individual can be important, can change the world but most of us will only change our small part of it, we'll only influence our sphere of friends and family and loved ones. Isn't that enough? Why do I demand cosmic significance? Why would I throw a fit if my life didn't have eternal meaning? Human life and human death are important to US, to human beings, to demand that they be important to the Cosmos at large or to any god or gods in charge of that cosmos is the height of human ego and hubris attempting to shield us from the fear of what we intuitively understand about death.
So where will I be when I die? The same place I've always been, planet Earth, Sol system, on a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy in an endless sea of other galaxies swirling and colliding and birthing new stars and new worlds and new life and new people. And if you want to get real weird we can include space-time coordinates as well and there will always be a place and time where each and every one of us is still alive.
interesting comments Titen ... i would have to disagree a bit with your first issue ... death ... i honestly don't fear death ... however ... dying is another matter ... my preference is to go to bed and wake up on the other side ... cancer ... bullets ... plane crashes ... nope ... not for me if i can help it ... and as to Heaven and Hell ... my preference is the first ... and i don't plan to crawl around on my knees singing holy, holy, holy for an eternity ... i don't find that in the Bible ... i want, actually, i plan to ride on a cloud ... visit old friends ... meet new folks ... and eat from the trees of paradise ... yup, kinda prosey and cheesy to some but, assuming i have the right belief (and i am confident i do) ... its a lot better than the alternative ...
Be nice if we could get what we wanted. For speculation sake as afterlives go I've always been fond of reincarnation, the Universe simply reimagines you as another lifeform with another chance to reach enlightenment and achieve true oneness with the cosmos.
As for how I die I know its unrealistic but I've always liked the idea of being torn apart by zombies and getting to watch as they eat me alive. Not only does it sound really really painful but its also really gory and cool, none of those lame "die in your sleep" fantasies for me thank you
... that zombie thing made me laugh ... my son in law never misses the walking dead ... i don't get it ... i mean i understand sci fi and horror films are fantasy but entertaining ... rather have a robert duval or gene hackman movie ... anyway ... reincarnation ... how bad do you have to be to come back as a fly ... sucking snot and stuff in an orderly and proper fashion just so you can move up the line to a ... um ... frog maybe ... think i'll stick with Jesus ... he knows what i am and accepts me as such ... so i'll never be a fly ... just want to ride on a cloud ... ... that's it for tonight ... look for your response in the am ..
Still hung up on the "fear of death" idea? Tsk-tsk.
Death is only a transition from one vehicle to another. If you're not attached to your body, then losing it isn't so painful. I've lost thousands.
And what evidence do you have to suggest, even for a moment, that what YOU are can leave your body and go to another one? Another one where? On some astral plane or heavenly cloud? Thus far I've seen no evidence of a soul, essence, lifeforce, or any other mystical woo-woo explanation for HOW or WHY one would survive death in a non-physical state.
The burden of proof is on the one making the claim, and of course to complicate things human beings have conjured up hundreds of different claims about contradictory after-lives none of which have ever been substantiated by a shred of evidence.
Also, I'd love to know how you can go through life without being "attached to your body", how many bridges have you jumped off of today Lonestar? Real life isn't the movie Groundhog Day, you don't just start over in Punxsutawney.
tetin... did you receive my response yesterday regarding personal study ... still trying to figger out this "notifications" and "explore" stuff ... not that new to hub but the above is my first question posed in the "forums" ... my last response seems to have died and gone to the mutara nebula ...
It would be difficult to improve on the comment by Titen, as he pretty much says it all.
We all look to the sun and we each see it differently, so too, life and death. Being born into and raised Catholic, with a Catholic education to include pre-Jesuit training ( I discovered women); I have some knowledge of Christianity and having adopted Atheism, as a philosophy of choice at the age of 15, 55 years ago I have a working knowledge of life and as a Viet combat veteran, a working knowledge of fear and death.
I am surprised that you did not bring Pascals Wager into the conversation, but to the question. Simply put, I have no interest in where you think you may or may not go upon your death and that you would think that I do speaks well to the egoistic god belief that you follow. First of all there is no such thing as nothingness, so far anyway and you have to be somewhere all the time, you can never be nowhere, even in death, as Titen so poignantly pointed out.
A dead theist is of no consequence, as is a dead Atheist. Only life has value and I am always amused by the theist who thinks more of death than life. What a waste. Perhaps, this may be one reason that an Atheist will argue with a theist; he wishes to prevent a life from being wasted. Do you think theists so pliable that they would so easily follow an Atheist. Are their convictions so weak that it is your concern. Do you not have faith in your fellows, in their character and inner strength to fight the ungodly.
I have been in many such arguments, conversation, debates and symposiums and I have never heard an Atheist threaten a theist with hell, but in far too many situations have I and others been threatened by the theist with the fires of a hell. That has even occurred on this site.
In any case, I cannot categorically say that god/gods, heavens or hells do not exist, as I do not possess a universal intelligence. I am not the fool who in his heart speaks of such things. Is he the fool who says, most emphatically, that a god, his heaven and his hell exist, when he does not posses a universal intelligence. Is this your position? Or like me, do you rely on your capacity to reason objectively with a knowledge of the histories and origins of religions combined with an understanding of human nature and science? I am sure you do. It is, after all, what homo sapiens-sapiens should be doing.
Blind faith always brings the pictures of lemmings rushing over the cliff, of Nazis in Jack Boots marching in lock step or the Marxist Socialist so possessed with the greed for power over others that reason is no longer a part of his character.
Quite honestly, I have no interest in your death. It is your life and how your thinking and actions affect me. So rest easy, as there is no evidence that you have a soul for me to steel.
... pascal was is given too much credit for a much older than he mind set ... its just a twist from the Bible by the way ... however it would seem an agnostic such as you seem to be could be in tune with it ... as to my fantasy styled statements, they were directed to titen conversationally ... its not a prereq for believers to have a dower outlook on things, such as you project about yourself ... i have very little knowledge of what Heaven is like but what we do know from scripture is it sure beats the alternative ... but the original question was, and has been for many years, is learning why atheists, of which i do not believe truly exist in the number presented by comment, why atheists want to change a believers point of view ... which we call faith ... i understand why believers want to see everyone believe as they do ... but it escapes me as to why unbelievers want to steal that away, if it were possible, and have us join the malaise of inconsistency and self aggrandizement ... and, while we are jawing here ... why do "atheists" even bother to observe propriety ... that is unreasonable ... without God there is little or no reason to conform to the mores' of society ... the penal retribution is certainly no deterrent ... so what spurs one to do so ... and, should you chose to respond, let's not use that old bromide about "judging others" ... an observation is an observation ... only the weak minded would use the argument anyway ... you are free to do and think as you like ... God says so ...
You assume to much. I am an Atheist, as there is to much evidence to reasonably conclude otherwise. To say that one cannot disprove a god, certainly does not lend any credibility to the assertion that one may exist. As the Muslim will gladly tell you that your god is a false god; are you than the atheist. Of course you are, as you cannot prove him wrong.
Having been a military and civilian police officer, I made many arrests and was the custom then, religious preference was placed into the booking register. There were no Atheists, some agnostics, couple of Jews, but all the rest were Christian. I have found over the years that law bidding people have an innate respect for other human beings regardless of what god they do or not accept. Such social and civil accommodation exists in all cultures that promote a theism or an atheistic perspective. To assert that such can only exist when the population is coerced into a god belief speaks to a hateful prejudice and one, that is usually accompanied by an Inquisition or a gestapo.
I could care less of the god you do or do not believe in or that you have multiple gods, as in Christianity. My concern, as with the Atheists who promote a Marxist Socialism is how that belief manifests itself, intrudes into my life. For example, the assertion that this country was founded upon Christian Principles and the proponents of Christianity would attempt to hijack this country under such a false pretext is and has always been problematic.
I am a proponent of 'Freedom of Religion', as it is imperative for a free and evolving society, but to have a freedom of religion, freedom from a religious mandate is crucial. And, I do understand that you may not see it that way and most theists are fearful of the human capacity to reason. I think Martin Luther summed in up quite nicely, " Reason is the Devil's greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil's appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom ... Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism... She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.
Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148
Why do atheists go out and "evangelize" is what I understand your basic question to be. The answer is obvious to me but I can understand how someone else might not understand it.
I grew up in a fundamentalist household, spent my teen years as an Old Earth Creationist, and so when I actually took the time to read the Bible, study how it was put together, and seek God in my own way I came to realization that I'd been taught a lie and instructed that if I did not believe that lie I would be put through the worst torture imaginable for eternity - So it was a no-brainer to try to talk other people out of this insidious self-deception and childhood indoctrination.
Now my parents didn't know any better, they were just repeating what someone else had taught them and there are far more gentle versions of Christianity than the one I was taught so I cannot truly blame them, but I can hopefully raise some questions, put forward some doubts and explain my reasoning as to why people shouldn't believe in gods.
People also constantly ask why so many atheists talk about Christianity so much, for many of us its the organized religion that we escaped from. I know that you are a Christian so I hope you do not take offense in me comparing Christianity to a cult that I managed to escape the brain-washing of (I went to a Pentecostal church where speaking in tongues, casting out of "demons", etc was common if that helps). So naturally I would want to go to these other people, who through no fault of their own have been duped, and figuratively shake them by the shoulders to "wake them up" so-to-speak.
Keep in mind that from my perspective Christianity was fed to me by people, no gods ever reached out to me during my years of searching.
Here is another story, I will try to keep it somewhat short, that will help explain my perspective. I was 13 in 2001 when 9/11 happened. I was a fairly normal teenager at the time, going through all the changes, and thus had a huge "spiritual struggle" going on with all the sexual fantasies I was having at the time. When your religion teaches you that lust and adultery are one and the same and introduces vague and undefined concepts of sexual immorality things get very confusing at thirteen. I was also taught that the rapture was around the corner and that if Jesus returned and you had sins that you hadn't repented of you might be left behind.
When left behind you had two fates to worry about, you either ended up going to Hell or you ended up being beheaded by the government of the BEAST.
So then the first vague reports came in to us kids all we'd heard is that something had happened in New York with airplanes crashing into buildings and that the whole East Coast might be involved or in danger somehow. I spent the next half hour mortified that the rapture had occurred and that I had been left behind, I was sure that this was the beginning of the end times and that my best case scenario was to be tormented and beheaded for my beliefs. When I finally learned that there had been a hi-jacking, a perfectly natural and terrestrial explanation, I was RELIEVED, not horrified. While most people recoiled in horror at what they saw on TV that day the impact of that event was buried by the brain-washing I'd received.
I hope that helps you understand why I argue against Christianity and perhaps even in favor of atheism.
Well stated Titen, a well grounded and sincere sentiment. Freedom is a wonderful feeling, both emotionally and intellectually.
tetin ... fundamental is usually defined by the guy (or woman) in the pulpit nowadays ... if he's wrong (though sincere) and no one questions him well fiat accompli for the devil ... people on both sides of the cross are obligated to know directly, as best as personal investigation can allow, that that which is given as factual is indeed fact not supposition ... on this side of the cross, there are way to many charlatans interested in money rather than people ... but there are many on the other side also ... case in point yesterday evening a paleontologist was giving more "facts" about the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs ... supposition based on subjective reasoning developed by those who taught him ... and those listening in here, please don't give me that "all you have is supposition about God" ... we are or should be what you are hopefully through personal investigation and deductive reasoning ... the same as i ... (and of course if you want to be right you'll agree with me) ... but tetin, i was pleased to see you only "lean" toward atheism ... i'm thinking your folks gave you a good foundation before getting into some off-brand doctrine ... i suspect i'll be seeing you around Heaven one of these days ... by the way admiring a good looking woman in not lust and the great tribulation and catastrophes don't begin until after the rapture ...
"And, of course, if you want to be right you will agree with me."
I believe that these are your words, It sound as if the Inquisitions are making a comeback on Hub Pages and you are the Inquisitor, but than, is this not what theism is all about? Was it not Galileo who faced a similar Catholic tribunal, with the same ultimatum? And as that turned out, we all know that the earth is the center of the universe.
Such arrogance is unceasing, as it was when thousands were burnt alive. Nothing has changed and that is the pity. Given the opportunity Christianity would reemerge, as it was from the 400 century to the Founding of America and something called Freedom of religion, as it is now embodied in the zealot savagery of Islam. In the words of Albert Einstein, "---all has changed save our mode of thinking---."
... feel sorry for you, really ... seems when you threw out any notion of God, you also threw away your sense of humor ... as i indicated in reply to one of your barbs, you appear to have a rather dower existence ... now i am confident you are most miserable having no hope in anything but the works of man ... and we all know, as you are slowly finding, what value that has ... but God is still there for you ...
Actually I have experienced a pretty full life up till now, married 50 years, father, grandfather, viet combat vet, police officer, writer, inventor, business owner, speaker and some failures. Now enjoying my retirement I do some speaking advancing the idea of the American Constitution and the perspective of Atheistic thought. One of the most enjoyable and, at times, humorous is confronting those that possess a godly intellect.
I have enjoyed our entanglement. I certainly have learned a few things; hopefully I have given you some happiness and enjoyment.
... i hope i did not come across as having "Godly intellect" ... on the contrary ... i know about God and i know some about the things of God ... and we still argue ... He wins every time ... no, i don't consider myself an intellect in any area ... and the only Godly knowledge i may have is the insight i get from His Book which is supported by the workings of this world ... given your stated background, even though we disagree on this most important issue, we are not that dissimilar ... and though it might have been a struggle at times, we could probably have been friends ...
I don't think the idea that dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid strike is the same as a religious belief, for one thing we know Earth's history was filled with such impacts and we know, geologically, that said extinction took place.
Science is built on facts, and though its conclusions are tentative and always subject to change as better information is found it certainly trumps religion when it comes to figuring out the world around us.
... and that is my answer to the "pseudo-sciences," which is a major ingredient to the foundation of humanism ... they are ever changing ... the majority willingly accepts new evidences and discoveries of "science" yet never hears "science" say "oooppps, we made a mistake on that cuz this new stuff proves us wrong." ... never an admission of inconsistency ... that would cause
a loss of status and stability to the public ... my take is the only things static God and the Bible ... first i see no change in God, and of course i cannot see Him ... but the Bible shows His consistency and proves Him as well as itself ... His world continues, as it is stated, even though we do our best to mess things up which fits in with His Word ... and yup, we have lot of bible versions out there ... but they are, presently, a major part of the problem ... their purpose seems to be, as evidenced by the church today, to make the church like the world and not the other way which would be proper ... one might call them text books of the "pseudos" ... can't help but believe they are the devils greatest achievement since the "theory" of evolution ... again, personal objective study of God and Bible, or any worthwhile endeavor, will produce truth ... a is a and 1=1 ...
Science is not afraid to correct itself and does so when it is confronted with new information. An example would be when it was first realized that we have an old earth rather than what was thought at the time and of course when evolution was presented. We know have very good evidence of the exact age of the universe. Even Einstein at one point admitted he was wrong, however further evidence showed he was actually correct.
"yet never hears "science" say "oooppps, we made a mistake on that cuz this new stuff proves us wrong."
Science does this all the time, of course they don't send some scientist out on TV with a tearful apology as you seem to desire but they admit when they were wrong and present the new information and new hypotheses that supplant the old ones.
My studies of the Bible, while I was a Christian mind you, found its God morally and intellectually inferior to most human beings alive today and found the Bible to simply be the work of man, its God a fictional invention and a logical contradiction.
A = A, the law of identity, its amazing how many simple laws of logic the God of the Bible contradicts.
It was studying the Bible that caused me to leave Christianity behind.
"can't help but believe they are the devils greatest achievement since the "theory" of evolution"
You do understand that evolution is fact of biology right? As for the devil, any of his supposed evils would pale in comparison to the wickedness of the Biblical God, who created an eternal lake of fire in which to torment those he deems unworthy of singing his praises eternally. Within Christian mythology the devil never damns a man, only God can judge, and so the devil's evils will never match those of God.
As a research scientist I come across just that admission every single day. Every experimental report I read points out what it shows that contradicts what happened before. Just today that includes a medication that was thought to be a sedative but turned out to be a paralytic, and the decision that hoarding disorder is not a compulsive issue but an attachment issue. It probably does not make the popular media because it is in fact extremely common for scientific information to be found in error.
tet ... in response to your points 1) disagree 2) disagree 3) disagree 4) disagree 5) He said it so it is true ... subjective or vindictive reasoning never brings knowledge, only confusion and point 5 is not subjective reasoning but my position based on objective study and reasoning ... i suspect in 10 yrs, when the world has beaten on you enough, your view on some things will change ... in some 20 yrs they will change again ... and somewhere in your later years you will think to yourself "i shudda done this" or "i wish i hadn't done that ... for now, we disagree ... it would appear this is because some folks fooled you or didn't give your the whole truth which caused you to come to your position based on the human failings which brought about a subjective or vindictive reasoning not logic ... i am confident the 50 yr old will have a different view and presentation that the 26 yr old ... and hopefully we will have agreement on the above points ...
... tet ... forgot an item ... you mentioned evolution which i addressed only minutely ... a more in depth view point might be found in my hub "The Firefly, a True Example of Evolution" ... don't forget to poke the advertisements for me ...
You are aware that google monitors many things and comments like poking your ads could cost you your adsense account?
... thanks ... no i dint ... guess i never got that far in the rules ... i got tired of reading the non-descrip and noxious nothing about how it all worked ... you were not allowed to poke your own was as far as i got (think it was page 859 of book 3) ... well, there goes another weeks work and another 2 cents of income ... gotta cancel the cruise for this year ...
Um, never crossed your mind that our focus is on how people interact with reality while they are alive? Because, um, it's kind of obvious?
When you're dead, you're dead. And that's it! Show's over, folks! Ba-da dah ba-dum bum.
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