Given that the god/no god debate gets so unneccessarily emotional at times, I wonder. . .
Is the feeling experienced by the theist when confronted with the notion of a reality without god not exactly the same feeling that an atheist has when confronted with the notion of a reality with god?
It appears that players on both sides react with equal vitriol when confronted with a contrary opinion. Individuals on both sides get angry, insulting, insulted, and just generally unpleasant.
Are they drawing from the same well? Are they not in fact feeling exactly the same emotion?
Safely agnostic, so genuinely curious. Why does the opposing position make you so angry? Discuss. (not too heatedly)
The culminating feelings are likely the same, however the source can spring from many different wells.
Doubt:-- Both theist and atheist can be challenged in this regard. As Winston said, cognitive dissonance causes fear.
Frustration:-- To be misunderstood, unable to express yourself adequately, unable to comprehend what the other person is talking about, to have comments ignored, to have comments insulted, part and parcel of these forums is frustration.
Indignation:-- to feel that something you hold dear is being attacked or misrepresented.
The wells are many and deep.
Many atheists, like myself, are former believers and thus we know what it's like to believe and what it's like to both defend and eventually lose those beliefs. So I think, at least in the case of former believers, the emotions aren't the same. I've been on both sides of the coin so I can sympathize with the believers to an extent.
Certainly the TYPES of emotions are similar, frustration especially, but frustration can be present in any debate between passionate folks. Generally I try to keep emotions out of my debates, which is much easier online than it is in person.
Being a theatre artist, I actually prefer the live emotional exchange and find the 'writing only' communication very challenging.
And come to think of it, I find that total strangers are ruder (and sometimes kinder) to me online than they ever are in person. Less exposed, less vulnerable perhaps.
Both sides of this debate (politics too) say things online that they would never say in person because they are secure in the knowledge that the person they are offending probably won't punch them.
That's what I define as "keyboard courage", people are sometimes braver and more rude or arrogant online than they ever would be in person. For someone like me it's probably quite the opposite (usually). I prefer to be logical and try to keep emotions out of it when on the internet in text debates (which doesn't always work) while in person it's much easier to get me riled up and filled with rage.
With online text debate there's a level of emotional detachment that I think helps because people tend to say remarkably stupid things in these discussions. If they're right in front of me I'd want to smack them in the back of the head for being so immensely stupid but if they're all the way on the other end of the world staring at a computer monitor all I can really do is explain to them just how incredibly wrong they are.
That's interesting, as I used to call those type of folks "keypad warriors." But ya know something, I find that many people who "talk it up" online without the fear of getting arrested by the police or "punched," as someone else said, are often way more honest - at least with their selves. If you remove PC (political correctness), for example, people start tending to lean towards doing something like "telling the truth" as they see it without influence of authority or, even worse, "speaking their mind" as in what they truly feel, whether it is right or wrong. Fun stuff... Ha!
("Many atheists, like myself, are former believers and thus we know what it's like to believe and what it's like to both defend and eventually lose those beliefs.")
If you were a former believer, what is it that makes someone a believer?
What are the guidelines to losing a belief?
If you have once known the truth of God's existence, how then do you become an atheist?
Did you put sugar in your porridge?
There is an explanation for this phenomenon. Our minds sort ideas as being “right” or “wrong.” The brain, however, has a problem because being wrong feels the same as being right and there is no mechanism in the brain to alert it that it has made a mistake. Kathryn Schulz provides an excellent explanation at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QleRgTBMX88
The feelings may be similar in some respects, but there's one thing that's often overlooked---the motive of Christians, and that motive is backed by feelings of compassion and love. We're not just Christians just for the sake of debating or being right; we're Christians who have a genuine sadness at the thought of anyone's soul going to the lake of fire (hell). If it weren't for that burden for lost souls, we (or at least I) wouldn't even find it worthwhile to debate about religion at all. We're called by God to spread the message of hope of salvation from sin. And often we're mocked even when we put that sincere feeling out there. Christians are genuine and truly want to see people saved, even, yes, at the risk of being mocked and insulted. What's a little (or a lot of) mockery when people's souls are at stake? And yeah we get angry sometimes. Usually when falsely accused; mostly when we see someone who doesn't give a whit about someone else's soul, or their own even.
It is not your burden because our lives have nothing to do with what you want.
Yes, what YOU want, not what we want.
Unbelievable selfishness. You get angry because you can't get what YOU want.
(We're called by God....
And often we're mocked....)
Can you not grasp the correlation here between the two phrases? Let me see if I can help you understand a little better:
There's a spaceship in the tail of the comet that will take us to heaven...
And often we are mocked...
Xenu brought 75 million alien souls to earth and killed them with a hydrogen bomb....
And often we are mocked....
Planet "x" is on a collision course with earth because a calender ran out....
And often we are mocked....
The angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith....
And often we are mocked....
The angel Gabriel visited Muhammed....
And often we are mocked....
And Brenda said, god called....
And often we are mocked....
Are you starting to see the pattern here?
Yes I see a pattern. A pattern of unbelief in God. Coming from you of course. That's all. Wait. Another pattern, yes. The modern pattern of paralleling every false fantasy with Christianity, lumping them all into the same box.
(The modern pattern of paralleling every false fantasy with Christianity, lumping them all into the same box)
I see. Of course, you have evidence of Christianity that is different than the evidence presented for these other fantasies?
Of course. The very existence of planet Earth. Your very existence. My existence. Childbirth. Life, period.
History is filled with stories that explain your examples. Bottom line is this, we either have good reasons for what we believe or we do not. You point to superstition as a reason. Fine. But it is a poor reason.
You do realize that - by your logic - you could use the planet Earth as evidence for ANY CREATION STORY IN ALL OF MYTHOLOGY right? Just so we're clear.
If god exists, I'm OK with that. Nothing -- or little -- would change in my life. I certainly wouldn't get mad at theists.
Theism seems, to me, so illogical, so flawed (as a belief system). Illogic frustrates me. That's why I get mad at theists, when I do, seldomly. Frustration fuels it.
I don't think the emotions are the same at all.
It's like a comment I saw in a thread about atheists being arrogant and not wanting to bow to God. I don't think the believers can comprehend a thought process that doesn't assume there is an eye in the sky.
Believers appear to get mad because they think their God is being insulted. I assume it's a point of piety for them to get angry. They appear to think God is watching and smiling that they are standing up for his good name.
I would assume the atheists get mad because, really, it's just people going on about what they've conjured up and labeled God. I get irritated at the arrogance of people claiming spiritual stuff that they honestly couldn't know.
So, no. The anger and emotion on each side is not similar because it is different origins. One thinks they are talking for God and the other side gets irritated with people playing God.
Anger whatever the origin, it's basically the same emotion. We feed on emotion and we become emotional. We see fits of anger and insults when our deepest beliefs are challenged. It works that way on both sides...
The origin is the important part, not the label by which you chose to identify the behavior. It doesn't matter that the resulting emotion has the same label or the person agitated displays similar traits. If I followed your line of thinking I would think you could get pregnant by eating chocolate; since sex and chocolate would be the same. They both stimulate the same neurological centers in the brain.
The reasons for the emotions are what drives the argument. And the inability of both parties to fully understand the other pushes emotions higher since it is difficult to determine if the parties involved on the far ends are simply naive or are being intentionally obtuse.
I think it's more a matter of pride, ignorance and piousness.
Just to clarify, there are good reasons to get angry and then there are bad reasons to get angry, is that correct?
If so, which has the good reason to get angry and which the bad?
"I would think you could get pregnant by eating chocolate; since sex and chocolate would be the same. They both stimulate the same neurological centers in the brain."
I think I see where you are going with that analogy, but whether sex is pleasurable or not has nothing to do with procreation. Ask many women. The part of the body chocolate stimulates has nothing to do with procreation.
Whether it feels good or not is sort of the point of the original question, though. Doesn't either side argue strenuously for the part of the arguement they are most comfortable with, and strenuously against the part that they most object to?
No, I wouldn't imagine there are good reasons to get angry. You said that the feelings are the same. My point was that the anger is fueled by completely different reasons. I can understand where both sides are coming from. I sympathize with one side, but I emphasize with the other.
And, your last point seems odd because isn't that typical during a debate?
Yeah, I'm reading it as odd too. Its the strenuous part that I question. If we all accept we like our own opinions over others, I'm not sure why we are getting so angry about it.
And I find that the righteous anger of the theist sounds a great deal like the righteious anger of the atheist, at least once the name calling starts.
I think for some of those on both sides of that discussion do have the same emotional reaction. But I also think that what the person feels is more related to the person and how they also would feel if you disagreed with them about brand of mayo to use, or ANYTHING, and not due to any faith based sense of obligation, or to any smug assumption of superiority over the superstitious & foolish believers. Rude and judgmental is the same in a Baptist church as it is in a psuedointellectuals living room. have friends on both sides, and neither of them would talk down to the other. Thy are comfortable with themselves and our friendships enough to allow differences in views and belief without judgement.
I doubt your premise is correct that the feelings are the same. Anger is an expression of fear. What is the fear of the atheist - that someone's opinion about the unknown may be right? However, on the theist side, the feeling of cognitive dissonance rouses a doubt, and that doubt causes fear, which is expressed as anger.
More than anything I think the atheist side feels frustration and to a degree contempt, not contempt for the people involved but contempt for the bad arguments and dogma cited as reasons for belief.
Anger and fear can be equally destructive, but are to very different responses. Fear is primal, anger is more of a cognitive reaction.
This is a notion I've always struggled with so I'm glad you mentioned it as I would like to hear more.
"...not contempt for the people involved, but contempt for bad arguments."
This is not exactly the same as, but sounds similar to a well known christian dogma: "hate the sin, love the sinner"
Both trouble me because its equivalent statement is 'It's not contempt for you I feel, its just your silly argument' , or to take an example on the christian side a similar statement 'I don't hate homosexuals, just homosexuality'.
How does the object of the contempt or hate successfully differentiate the two?
(It's not contempt for you I feel, its just your silly argument)
More aptly, someone has no choice in whether he is or is not stupid. Likewise, phychological neediness varies. I have no contempt for either person.
At the same time, my basic position is this: if you are going to be a sucker, be a quiet one.
I think it's different emotions, but in the end, everyone invests some sort of emotional energy into those arguments.
Personally, I don't. I grew up Mormon in Detroit, and after a while you learn how to deal with those arguments in a lighthearted way. I developed very specific defense mechanisms and after a while, I just didn't care what other people thought.
If people want to know about my religion, I'll tell them. Part of the problem is people throwing their ideas about the world everywhere as if everybody has to or needs to care.
But people don't and you can't make them without severely annoying everyone. That goes for both religious people and non-religious. People just need to let things alone more often than not.
Yay-y-yy, Shanna11. You are right. No need to fight about it.
The frustration is with the argument of non-compliance with true and real facts based on the argument. This topic is simply to large and impossible to argue with the facts in this forum. When ones only desire is to argue with ones opinion and created the topic to debase it with no facts, its simply a useless hub or in most cases a question they asked and did not really want any answer that opposes them. One can not take a truth or fact and hope to change it based on ones opinion. One can not argue the truth and replace it with a lie. One can not ask a question and receive an answer and consider the answer as a disagreement, but must accept their answer no matter how ridiculous it might be. I try most of the time to enter subjects that promote the answer or the story. A story on being witch is great if you our a witch. If you ask the question are all witches Christian? Expect an honest answer. Someone here will surely argue that they can be both I am sure. But the Bible will most likely disagree regardless of what I believe. So if I pull out the Bible and tell you the facts how can you be mad at me? Because you did not like the answer? All I did was the research and found the proper answer. This is a fact and not my opinion.
"One can not take a truth or fact and hope to change it based on ones opinion."
And yet when speaking of the origins of the universe, its all opinion, no?
Though I accept that I have seen many arguments from both sides present opinions as facts and granted I see more of that from the purely faith based positions, but really, once we know we are dealing with an opinion, we can choose to engage. I'm just not certain why it has to get so downright verbally violent. (gosh darn it. shucks and other comments):0)
Anger is typically a secondary emotion: beneath it tend to be fear, frustration, or sadness. People also get angry when they are blocked. There is both good and bad anger. If a criminal wants to steal and he gets caught, he becomes angry. In this case, injustice being blocked caused the anger. I would call this "bad" anger. But if the thief was not caught, the one whose home was robbed becomes angry--justice was blocked--I would call this "good anger." People, regardless of their beliefs, have both good and bad anger. It is normal for the person who does not believe in God to feel anger when his/her intelligence is insulted by a person who claims to believe hurls an insult; just like it is normal for the one who believes in God to feel anger when the one who does not hurls an insult at him or his Father/friend/teacher etc. (God). What one does with the anger (or other emotions) is the bigger questions. To let emotions lead can cause trouble. Emotions are helpful, though. They expose hearts. Think about the one who sees an innocent child getting beat up on the street. What is the heart of the one who is angered? What is the heart of the one who is indifferent? Just like all things in life, there is a time, a place, and a way in which to utilize the various parts of our humanity for good. One of the main problems I see surface again and again is that so often people call opinions "facts" and facts "opinions" (I see this on both sides of the issue). And even the facts that are valid facts, when taken out of context, no longer are valid. And can't we jut call a theory a theory? Perhaps educational systems need to spend some more time on developing critical thinking skills, rhetoric, and the ability to reason, instead of having people memorize a bunch of facts out of context. Uh-oh--here comes my bias. That's another forum. :-)
Religious beliefs alone are insulting to the intelligence, but that is laughable as it only shows believers are not grown adults because they still believe in the boogie man.
Hurtling insults is also laughable as it shows how childish and immature is the person doing the hurtling.
No, facts are facts, they aren't opinions. Believers do not use facts when discussing their beliefs, but instead deny them in favor of their beliefs.
That makes no sense.
Uh, we do call them theories.
Unfortunately, childhood religious brainwashing destroys the ability to think critically and reason in favor of embracing irrational beliefs, regardless of what the educational systems will teach.
I think it's different. I was a theist from 6 years old until around 21 or so. It was difficult for me to accept the fact that God probably doesn't exist, at least in the way I was taught in my conservative baptist churches.
There's a lot of psychology involved, and being ready to accept information, vs just throwing it out because you don't like it, the way many reactionary Christians do today with evolution and homosexuality. I had to be willing, in theory, to actually change my mind. And even though I had reached that point, it was still a difficult transition. I still pray occasionally, but of course nothing happens .
People like me, who are former theists, who then change over (though I'm confused so I don't give myself a definite label, I'm more inclined to be atheist than Christian), are usually (not always) more acquainted with the typical reactionary Christian responses to certain topics. And these are the responses that the atheist went over in his/her head thousands of times before giving up Christianity. Just because a view is dismissed does not mean there is not good reason to do so. Sometimes evidence is just tilted one way more than the other.
If Bob tells Suzy the world is flat, and Suzy dismisses him as nonsensical, Suzy is completely correct, because the world is not flat, even if Bob is "offended" by her treatment of him.
I would be willing to make a hub about this. Just give me time.
It won't require anyone to follow me. I'll post a link here after I do it.
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