Does it make me close minded if I can't understand why people are atheists?
I guess how is the better way to say it. I seriously question everything...like facts from history, ect...but for some reason Ive never questioned religion. I grew up in a Christian home, not a SUPER Christian home, but one with our beliefs, and all aspects of my personality make me think I would have questioned by now. How does an antheists rationalize there not being a God? Forgive me if I am stepping on toes here, I realize Im not informed about it....and not trying to judge anyone:) just trying to understand!
It doesn't mean your close minded but instead probably just implies that you believe strongly in your faith and thus don't necessarily accept the views of the opposing argument. I assume based on this that you are theist?
Atheists are the equivalent to religious people, they dont know what they believe.
Religious people does not include "Born Again" believers.
I was neither a religious person, nor was I an atheist growing up. I, like may had questions, to which I searched for answers. I looked at a wide range of things, although not too deeply. It was my experience with Jesus Christ that set me on the path I now travel.
I have never doubted the reality, or validity of my faith ever since. I KNOW what I believe and WHY I believe. My understanding of God's word still answers my questions better than anything any atheist has ever offered. And believe me, they have offered quite a lot on the forums.
These same ones, many of them, have been hurt by religion, in some way, shape or form. It has led them to turn totally away from anything resembling religion.
God is PERSONAL, and will deal with each individual on a basis they can relate to. He is waiting to relate even to atheists, if only they turned to Him. If they don't seek Him, He will leave the alone. One day, we all will give account for our lives, atheists included. All will be revealed then. No-one will have any excuses. And they will KNOW that their excuses are not acceptable.
Not closed minded, perplexed. Atheist are just as deficient in information as believers are. There is just not enough information to be either. The best answer is not to be anything. Is it too difficult to believe we are just like all sentient beings? Is it too difficult to believe our job is to raise the next generation, to keep the species alive and nothing more?
I am an atheist. For every reason someone believes in God I just think of a reason there can't be one. I would never try to convince someone to believe what I believe. I'm more happy for people with religion than I am for myself. You have something to believe in and when you die something to look forward to. It bothers me that I don't have that comfort but I can't lie to myself and tell myself to believe something I truely do not have my heart in. If someone tells me "bless you" when I sneeze, I thank them. When someone says they pray for me, I thank them. I'm not the closed minded atheist that is portrayed by most. I understand most people don't see life and the world I do and I'm okay with that. You're not closed minded for not understanding why atheists don't feel the same as you do. Closed minded would be telling them they are wrong when you don't completely understand why they believe what they do.
You've dissipated any accusation of being closed-minded by asking the question.
As to the next step, like any other intellectual pursuit, it's worth doing some reading.
I presume you've read at least some of the bible or at least had it read out to you or explained. I would recommend, to develop your understanding of atheism and agnosticism, reading a book or two by Christopher Hitchens - who also can be found on youtube and is a superb debater - and Richard Dawkins.
Reading's nothing to fear if you have an open mind; you will decide whether there's anything in another viewpoint or whether to dismiss it but at least from a position of knowledge.
As to what makes people atheists, it's important to bear in mind that lack of belief in a monotheistic god is not a belief in anything else per se. I would presume that most atheists are humanists and rational and in most situations, decent. They generally see no evidence for god; ultimately, arguments for god come from people as a result of belief in the divinity of certain texts and personal faith. No one I know has ever seen God; if they claim they have, I'd want evidence or I'd most likely question their mental fitness.
I've found that atheists are more likely to have studied religious texts and arguments than theists have studied lack of belief, and they've often studied more religious texts and arguments than theists.
Atheists and agnostics most often have problems with the dogmatic nature of theistic religion and the sense that debate is censored. Religion has often stood in the way of science and progress (take the flat earth debate or creation versus evolution). They also quite often fixate on the many inconsistencies and contradictions in supposedly sacred text.
You have one contribution in this thread from someone, presumably who styles themselves a believer, who also makes quite a mean-spirited threat -
"One day, we all will give account for our lives, atheists included. All will be revealed then. No-one will have any excuses. And they will KNOW that their excuses are not acceptable."
If you, to the best of your knowledge, have a strong conviction about something - in this case non-belief in god - and believe it to be true in all honesty, how can your excuse not be acceptable, assuming an afterlife, to a creator whom you rationalised did not exist? Such poverty in thinking would be sure to put many people's backs up and would not be a great advert for belief.
Also, this apparent threat of eternal damnation makes many non-believers think that apparently religious people are cowards - is the threat of divine punishment the only thing that keeps you on the straight and narrow? Look inside your heart.
Best of luck with your further study and thanks for the question; some great posts here.
Actually, I can say no. Because all people have their own belief and you have the right to believe or think whatever you want. But what's important is to respect someone else's belief and principle in life. Hope this helps.
I'm an atheist and don't think you are closed-minded. You have your reasons for believing and it's just as hard for me to understand why someone WOULD believe in a god.
The best way to understand why atheists don't believe in the same god as you is to ask yourself why you don't believe in someone else's god...allah, zeus, vishnu... whoever.
I know a lot of religious people and this is the best I can do. Not believing in any god to me is just releasing one more than you and being ok with saying "I don't have the answers to how and why we are here and I'm never going to know and I'm ok with that." or "I accept that I am just part of the natural world and that's enough for me."
I can't speak for all atheists, but I am happier as an atheist. I still volunteer to help less fortunate, give a lot of money when I have it to charity and am (maybe overly) compassionate. I may feel good doing these things but am not trying to please a god or earn point toward my eternal reward by doing them, just doing them because it helps someone else. (and I do realize there are christians and other religious people who would do the same without the judgement of a god or reward of heaven, just because they are good people).
I'm not sure if that helps clarify an atheist's position at all, but I appreciate your sincere question.
I would say that it would be healthy to question your religious beliefs, because its only by questioning beliefs and facing doubts and wrestling with them that we can come to a really solid conviction and understanding of them.
You, and the rest of us too, need to own the beliefs that we found our lives on.
Surprisingly, it seems to be frowned on for a Christian pastor to encourage people to investigate atheism and its arguments. But if you do, then you will come out the other side a stronger Christian for it, I am sure of it. The God story holds up perfectly against historic and scientific arguments.
I personally have found my faith strengthened and grown by investigating science and history along with other aspects of 'secular' study.
I see a lot of long answers of why people do or don't believe, or why they don't think you're closed minded. And all are well written, and helped me understand a bit what an atheist must go through.
What I don't see is the answer I think you're looking for.
If you were blind, and people told you your whole life that the sky is blue, you'd believe them. You would have faith that that sky not only existed but it was in fact blue. You would not be closed minded in questioning someone if they walked up to you and told you there was no sky.
No I think its human nature to question everything. I too am a Christian but have friends who contradict my beliefs (atheist, homo sexual etc) but I dont judge them. Sure I'd love it if they shared my beliefs but I accept them for who they are.
At the same time, just as its human nature to question everything I also think its human nature to believe/trust/look to a higher life form how ever you interpret that
Anyways thats just my opinion
P.s please read my novel Undertow
I personally am not atheist but I am not religious either. I keep my mind open to everything and anything. I grew up with the catholic religion so I know both sides of the argument pretty well. Closing your mind is not even bothering to listen to the opinions of others. Just by asking this question you have proved that you are not a closed minded person.
I've read all the other replies you've gotten, and I'm not sure how much I can add or shed light on the question, but, being an atheist myself, I'll give it a shot.
First off, you could pretty much take everything you said and flip-flop it for me. I grew up in a home where, if my parents did have any religious beliefs or preferance, they kept it to themselves.
I never gave religion much thought one way or the other until my early twenties. I have to admit, I went through a religious "phase", bought a small crucifix necklace, tried my hand attending several different churches.
For a short while, I truly had myself convinced I was a "believer". Then I guess I just woke up one morning and realized... I wasn't. I had truly made an effort, it just never felt real.
For most people, to try and explain how a computer works, or their cell phone works, they would be lost. Almost as if it were magic. But we all know that's not true, over the last hundred years or so, we've pretty well mastered electricity and learned how to make it do some seemingly miraculous things.
You may not completely understand how a computer does what it does, but obviously some genius does in order to figure out how to build one. It's those same kind of geniuses that have figured out things like the history of the universe and the origin of life.
Nobody questions that a computer or cell phone works (most of the time). Yet a lot of people question the "big bang" and evolution because, unlike a computer, they fly in the face of established religious beliefs... despite the fact it was the same kind of scientists and engineers that figured them all out.
Beyond that, to me, there are way more unanswered questions as to the existance of God then there are to the non-existance. I guess I tend to see religion, in all it's varied forms, as a way to cope with the natural fear of death.
Personally, it doesn't bother me too much, I look at the year 3000 the same way I see the year 1900. I didn't exist in 1900, and I won't still exist in 3000. I would rather acknowledge that fact and enjoy the relatively short life I'm going to get as much as I can while I have the chance.
Not trying to be abrasive or offensive, as I have no issue with people of faith (except maybe scientologists... they're just creepy!)... just trying to provide some insight. Hope this helps.
Not being able to understand it does not make you closed minded. The fact that a student cannot comprehend math does not make them closed-minded. We become closed-minded when we refuse to listen to reason and other arguments. I suggest that you give those around you with those beliefs the opportunity to explain them to you with the understanding between you that you have no intention of adopting the belief but simply listening to the rationale of why they believe. One of the great things about having someone explain something step by step to you is that you quickly begin to see how well they understand it and in most cases it exposes the flaws in their thinking. Whether you want to argue the facts is up to you but the bottomline on atheism is that those involved with it do not subscribe to a higher being. They feel we just exist as does any animal and at some point we die. There is no heaven, no hell, and no afterlife. Basically there is nothing in their mind. Now, if your problem is that you cannot understand how that person could possibly believe in that manner, well then, I cannot help you. Only they can explain that aspect of it...it's an individual thing in that regard. WB
I will make this short as much as I can. I am not a believer or a non believer right now. I grew up in a family where everyone was in the same religion and that it was the only right religion and we worshiped once a week. Any I questions I asked my parents like when and how did our family come to the religion they did or why this or that I never got an answer it was all about just having faith. After I left my parents home I opened my eyes to all possibilities and realized that a lot of the stories didn't match up such as God does not want us to be vengeful in some parts and others he is vengeful and again other parts 'eye for an eye'. It is inconsistent as a whole so I don't know that I can have faith in the bible. I wouldn't say that 'God' is not real but you can't just pick and choose pieces from the bible to be true it is all or nothing since it is presented as a whole. Sorry that came out longer than I wanted hope that helps.
Absolutely, I went to catholic and mormon school, but am myself an atheist. Of course, I have a healthy respect for religion, or I wouldn't have been able to go there. I have always been just as offended by the religious people who think that athiests are dumb or naive because they don't believe in god, as by the athiests who think people who believe in god are naive and gullible. Clearly, if we had all of the answers, there wouldn't be anymore questions. There needs to be understanding of others on both sides of the issue.
No. You might be close minded if you refused their right to not believe or deny the possibility of the existence of God. But that doesn't seem to be the case.
It sounds as if you, like me, recognize that they have the right to not believe. What I find amusing is that, at least with some atheists, or those who think they are, are pretty religious in their fervent belief that they are right and the rest of the world that does follow some belief system is wrong and quite misguided.
You might be interested in a couple of websites. One is Beliefnet.com and the other is (if I remember correctly) religioustolerance.org.
The latter is quite good and gives a nice overview of many world religions, in luding paganism and some fringe cult-like organizations or systems.
For the record I consider myself Christian but also find Buddhism quite interesting. As far as denomination, I gueass I would be a retired Catholic.
This was a very good question.
To not understand is simply to lack experience..........that is all.
I do not understand industrial buidling techinques, after 20t years of living with a man, who makes our living doing this.
If you do not know, understand, grasp, relate............you simply do not.
Those things, be they be " building, constructing, or Faith", do not apply to you.
I , too, have a difficult time 'understanding' those, who have NO faith..........factually, I know they exist.........but I can not "relate", even to my own brother...............
It makes us different, not less...................which ever side of the fence we are on.
Not understanding, the concepts of construction, do not make them less viable.
It is the same with faith..............either you have it, grasp it, research it, abide by it........or you have no understanding........Building is not lessened because I am not a builder, and faith is not lessened by those who have none.
You are asking a question.........you are not 'closed minded'..........you simply do not understand everything......none of us do.
That in itself doesn't make you close minded. You are close minded if you can't accept the fact that some people don't believe in God. You don't need to understand atheists to accept them.
it's quite understandable seeing how you came from a religious background. i can't even begin to understand how people actually believe in god or jesus or any such thing so if your closeminded in your beliefs then i'm closeminded in what i know.
Not closed minded, but ignorant. If someone were to tell you 2+2=4 and you don't understand it, "trying" to understand it doesn't change the fact that you don't. People could spend hours explaining it to you. You would understand better if you actually listened. I'm not trying to insult you, but that is the very definition of ignorant. Not knowing.
If you want to know the answer to your question, why not start by question everything, including your religion. If you question history, facts, etc, why not also question religion? By not doing so, you are blinding yourself from the answers you seek. This leads me to believe that not only are you ignorant, but wilfully ignorant. This is actually pretty common among religion people.
I don't think you are closed minded at all. You are lucky enough to have a firm belief in God. But this doesn't make you close-minded. You sound open-minded and if something comes up that makes you question your beliefs, I feel like you are the type of person who would examine them. I'm not sure how old you are--but belief in God gets harder with age and experience. I still believe in God, Jesus and prophets of all types. But I as a 40-year-old, I have a terrible problem now with organized religion. God bless you in your life.
The question is how do religious wackos rationalize there being a "God'. You posit it, YOU prove it. We don't have to prove anything; YOU are making the claim.
Elementary logic, which believers totally lack. Is it ignorance, stupidity, or both?
Proof of the Pudding is in the eating
An atheist, does not have that crucial information, that makes him a believer.
Their problem is, they don't believe in God because "know one" can prove there is God to them.
Yet a believer follows the pre-requisite to be able to experience and see that there is God.
Jhn 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Now all religions think they believe in God yet they believe in a False god (small g)
A true believer has experienced the invisible Grace of God that works in the believers life and thus he believes in God the one and only God, Jesus Christ
Proof of the Pudding is in the eating
Not being able to understand Atheism doesn't make you close-minded. Criticizing or dismissing Atheisam while not TRYING to understand Atheism would make you close-minded.
There is nothing wrong with sticking to your beliefs or your opinion. Being willing to learn about other beliefs and opinions is simply an open-minded attitude that will let you learn about and understand other people and the lives they choose to live.
If you were close-minded you wouldn't have posed the question. I'm sure you knew negative responses would arise, so your willingness to ask, putting that aside, shows you're more open-minded than you think. God Bless. :-)
No ! ...
You wonder, because you think, along the correct lines.
it doesn't make you close minded not to understand something. the fact that you are trying to understand indicates you are not close minded. you would be close minded if you refuse to listen to atheists, or anyone else for that matter.
No you are not being closed minded. Being a pagan based person, I have often had difficulty getting believers in monotheistic religions to see that my beliefs are equally valid, or possible. In the end, I have often found as a pagan I have had more in common with atheists, but yet my way of believing is closer in nature to people of religious faith. It has been a paradox at times. So I can see your point of view, being open minded begins with asking yourself the hard questions. Being closed minded begins always with assuming that problem is with others being wrong. You did not approach your question in a closed minded way. That is commendable, no matter if you are Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Pantheistic, Atheistic or Agnostic.
Love is the Law. Love under Will. As Above. So Below.
Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d
not at all. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO YOUR OWN BELIEFS. No one is not or should not take that away from you.
I started out as a Jehovah's Witness, then moved to born again christian and then to Atheist. Each belief system comes with it's own polarization, or certain type of close mindedness. When I was a JW, I couldn't understand why everyone didn't see it was the truth. After leaving the JWs and sticking to Christianity, I not only couldn't understand why people are atheist, I argued with them that god exists. Now as an atheist myself, I don't understand why more theists aren't becoming atheists. That isn't closed minded, it is simply a mindset.
Furthermore, the definition of Closed Minded: Intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas.
It appears to me that you are willing to listen to the other side, but you are comfortable and believe in your side. Therefore you are not closed minded.
When you study the brain's function of "believing" (through hypnotism, conditioning, and brainwashing), it becomes quite apparent why someone who believes finds it hard to understand those who don't.
Take it outside religion, let's say in tastes for music. A person who gets ecstatic listening to heavy metal or rap would not believe if he heard how crazy it sounds to me. The only rational way of bridging people's beliefs and disbeliefs is to allow each person to believe what they choose AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT BEING NORMATIVE ABOUT IT, IMPOSING IT ON EVERYONE ELSE.
Don't take my word for it, there are highly intelligent and educated folks, real geniuses, who are atheists - and equally smart ones who are believers. That should tell you everything. I think there is no better criterion than that - so we don't judge either believers or non-believers as "smarter-and-therefore-right".
Outside of belief there is no objective evidence that there is something like a supreme being. Then religionists are telling us how "an absence of evidence is not an evidence of an absence" - and that's fine, except that the same can be applied to any other supposition that's missing an evidence.
Why not say that the big bang is a perpetual cosmic event, with its energy entropy once reaching a state when all mass reverses its direction towards one point again where it gets that minimum critical mass to trigger the next big bang, and so ad infinitum. Why there had to be a "beginning"?
And, even if we say that consciousness which is orchestrating every event from the smallest to the biggest is a constant beside mass, speed, time, space, and energy - that consciousness if impossible to squeeze into our concept of a God. We are not smart enough to know the first thing about it - even though our intellectual arrogance always claims to have an answer.
Not being an astrophysicist and mathematician I have been playing here with some suppositions, just to give you a hint how it is possible to have visions of cosmic arrangements other than religionists are insisting upon as "the only truth".
Try reading theoretical physics and you'll get a glimpse into a world comparing to which every holy book in existence looks like a kids' coloring book. There is so much more to KNOW, but to "believe" - well, it's up for grabs, whatever intuitively feels like your cup of tea. As far as I care, you have my blessing to believe what you choose,
It doesn't make you close minded completely. Being a Christian I know that if I were to judge them that would make me more close minded because your basically making fun of someone without really understanding it and putting no effort in taking time to hear someone's point of view.
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