seeking the truth

hunter008
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seeking the truth

I am new here.

I have been brought up in a religious family all of my life. Now at the ripe old age of 30 I am in much doubt of all I have been taught.

I have never learned much about atheism. All I have ever heard is they believe in nothing which sounded awful to me. However, after much thought I started to wonder if maybe the here and now is all I really have. I am reading as much as I can to learn if there is more to it than what I have been told.

The members here seem to be very knowledgeable. I hope it is ok to ask questions. It seems there is a lot of anger towards people who believe in God and I was a little hesitant to post because of my background and the fact that I am searching for the truth. I do not know what that is yet. I have not sworn off God as of yet but I definately have much to learn.

Do you fear religion, God or both? Many people I know believe in God but do not call themselves religious. They believe religion is from man not from God.

I was thinking that believing this is all we have would be a relief in one way, as the pressure to make it, or be accepted to the next world would be gone. I thought people who believed this would be the carefree happy go lucky type.  I haven't sensed that by reading the posts here though. A lot of the post sound angry and resentful. Is that because you fear people who do believe? If so why? Do atheists feel they are responsible to enlighten believers like the believers feel they do to convert atheist? I am somewhat confused as  you can tell.

I have many questions but I know as a new member I should read all I can. I have read a lot but have much more to read.

Please be gentle with me. I promise my questions are asked in pure ignorance of your beliefs.

Thank you,

Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Quote:I have never learned

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I have never learned much about atheism. All I have ever heard is they believe in nothing which sounded awful to me.

Here's something I wrote just for people in your position.

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The members here seem to be very knowledgeable. I hope it is ok to ask questions.

Of course.  That's why we're here.

Quote:
It seems there is a lot of anger towards people who believe in God and I was a little hesitant to post because of my background and the fact that I am searching for the truth. I do not know what that is yet. I have not sworn off God as of yet but I definately have much to learn.

I can't speak for everyone, but as far as the core members, we're here to help anybody who has an open mind.  People who accept things on blind faith do make us angry, but our goal is to help people who want to learn, or who want help.

Quote:
Do you fear religion, God or both?

It's impossible to fear something you don't believe exists, right?  Do you fear fire breathing dragons?  You can work up an idea of what kind of fear you would experience if you met one, but that doesn't mean you really fear them.

Yes, I fear the power of religion.  People in big groups blindly following orders are really, really scary.

Quote:
Many people I know believe in God but do not call themselves religious. They believe religion is from man not from God.

This has always seemed like a cop out position to me.  If there is a god, then what does he want from people?  If he doesn't want anything, what relevance does he have to my life?  Why even discuss it?  If he wants something, then there's some religion that's correct, even if we haven't discovered it yet.

Furthermore, it's usually not that simple with people who are 'spiritual but not religious.'  Talk with them long enough, and you'll usually discover that some of what they believe about life coincides with whatever religion they were brought up with, but now reject.  In other words, they're picking and choosing what they like about religion, but ditching the church services.

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I was thinking that believing this is all we have would be a relief in one way, as the pressure to make it, or be accepted to the next world would be gone.

It can be.  Please read that essay I linked to.  I think it sums things up really well.

Quote:
A lot of the post sound angry and resentful.

Then, read this essay:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/why_are_atheists_so_angry_0

Quote:
Do atheists feel they are responsible to enlighten believers like the believers feel they do to convert atheist? I am somewhat confused as  you can tell.

I'm just guessing about this, so don't hold me to any actual numbers, ok?  How many churches have you seen in your life?  Thousands, probably.  They're all about converting people to religion, right?  Take a guess how many churches there are in the world.  Hundreds of thousands?

That's just churches.  There are missions, Christian music companies, Christian button makers, bumper sticker manufacturers, ad companies... The list goes on and on.

Now, how many billboards have you ever seen preaching atheism?  Ever been accosted by a street preaching atheist?  Other than this site, how many atheist websites can you name that are actively trying to convert people?

You see my point?  Most atheists aren't particularly interested in preaching to people.  In my experience, most of them just want to live their lives.  If you read the second essay (Why are Atheists so Angry) you'll see that that's all most of us want, but things have gotten so bad that we feel we have to speak up.

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Please be gentle with me. I promise my questions are asked in pure ignorance of your beliefs.

I'm a kitty cat.  Of course I'll be gentle.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Quote:I have not sworn off

Quote:

I have not sworn off God as of yet but I definately have much to learn.


 

 

Can you elaborate on this?


Loc
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hunter008 wrote:I am new

hunter008 wrote:

I am new here.

I have been brought up in a religious family all of my life. Now at the ripe old age of 30 I am in much doubt of all I have been taught.

I have never learned much about atheism. All I have ever heard is they believe in nothing which sounded awful to me. However, after much thought I started to wonder if maybe the here and now is all I really have. I am reading as much as I can to learn if there is more to it than what I have been told.

Like you,I was brought up religious,but fairly recently I became atheist. I know that when you are theist,atheism does sound terrible. Mainly because you are misinformed.Just the fact that you are willing to go find out for yourself is admirable

hunter008 wrote:
The members here seem to be very knowledgeable. I hope it is ok to ask questions. It seems there is a lot of anger towards people who believe in God and I was a little hesitant to post because of my background and the fact that I am searching for the truth. I do not know what that is yet. I have not sworn off God as of yet but I definately have much to learn.

There are lots of very clever people here,and they are always willing to answer genuine questions. You may find people seem angry at theism,this is usually because when you realise you've been lied to and have wasted years living that lie,you get a bit pissed. I can assure you though,no one will attack you for being a theist,unless you troll. We're here to help people get over their theism

hunter008 wrote:
Do you fear religion, God or both? Many people I know believe in God but do not call themselves religious. They believe religion is from man not from God.

We don't fear god, because we don;t believe he exists. We may fear the results of religion,and that is why we fight it. It is a very dangerous thing.People who bleieve in god are still deluded,even if less dangerous.

hunter008 wrote:
I was thinking that believing this is all we have would be a relief in one way, as the pressure to make it, or be accepted to the next world would be gone. I thought people who believed this would be the carefree happy go lucky type.  I haven't sensed that by reading the posts here though. A lot of the post sound angry and resentful. Is that because you fear people who do believe? If so why? Do atheists feel they are responsible to enlighten believers like the believers feel they do to convert atheist? I am somewhat confused as  you can tell.

Most atheists will indeed tell you they are happier without their former religion,and better people for it. I don't know why so many posts seem angry to you. It is true that when a theist posts the same questions that have been answered a thousand times before,people get annoyed and can be rude or sarcastic. If you ask honest,meaningful questions though,you will be treated accordingly.

I would say that atheists do feel an obligation to help people get over their beliefs. Not only for the persons sake,but society's. When you are freed,you want other people to be too

hunter008 wrote:
I have many questions but I know as a new member I should read all I can. I have read a lot but have much more to read.

Please be gentle with me. I promise my questions are asked in pure ignorance of your beliefs.

Thank you,

Hunter

I understand you may know nothing of atheism.I was very misinformed about it when I was a theist.As I am a fairly recent de-convertee, I would like nothing more than to help with your questions if it will clear any misconceptions and give you a better idea of us.

 A question for you.You seem to be a chrsitian.Is this right?

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

dudeofthemoment wrote:
This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

Argument from Sadism: Theist presents argument in a wall of text with no punctuation and wrong spelling. Atheist cannot read and is forced to concede.


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Atheists not believe in

Atheists not believe in nothing. That's theist-speak to make us seem like we're empty and our lives are meaningless. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

We believe that there is no God. Whether it's the Christian God, the Muslim God...choose a diety. We don't believe in them.

 

From there, you'll see a lot of variation in the attitudes of atheists towards religion and the religious. Some atheists would be happy to see religion wiped off the face of the earth (non-violently, for the most part, despite what you hear from theists calling us "militant&quotEye-wink. Other atheists just want to avoid persecution (especially those who live in heavily religious areas).

 

My personal feeling about theism, for example, is that I don't mind at all if someone believes in God. What makes me "angry" is that people often use religion as an excuse for actions (or inaction) that go against common sense. Especially when people think that God is somehow going to take care of everything, and therefore we don't personally need to do anything about stopping genocide, global warming, etc.

 

I'd rather live assuming there is no God, and that we need to deal with problems here and now and do the right thing. If I live this way and it turns out that there is a God, I have a hard time believing he'd negate a lifetime of good work because I didn't believe in him. And if he did, then he's a bastard who never deserved my respect in the first place.

 

Anyway, that's what I think. Good luck on your journey to the dark side. Remember - we have cookies.

Nobody I know was brainwashed into being an atheist.

Why Believe?


hunter008
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answers

Thanks for the answers and for being gentle. I was a little apprehensive about posting.

My comment about not swearing off God and having much to learn simply meant I am realizing I really don't know much about religion or athesim. You can be raised a certain religion all of your life and still not know much. And yes I was raised in a christian family.

Let me say nothing horrible has happened to me to where I am filled with anger at christians. I simply am at a place in my life where I am wanting to know if what I have been taught all of my life is true. Not to exciting I guess but the truth. What I am not looking for is anger or bitterness. In other words if I should find atheism a sweeter cup of tea I would not be angry or hate christians because I had finally found what is true. You see I believe we all are responsible to learn for ourselves. Nothing stopped me from researching before now. I was just content to carry on with life the way I always had. Well now that isn't so true. That is something I do find hard to understand. Maybe I have a Pollyanna kind of thinking but why should I be angry if you don't believe in God or if you do? I have never feared atheists but had been given negatives views of your beliefs all of my life.

I am finding this forum very interesting. I will read the link I just wanted to respond and say thanks and answer the couple of questions. I will post more after I finish reading since you have made me feel welcome.

 

Hunter


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questions

So would it be fair to say you are angry because of discrimination? You believe that you are not treated fairly? Well if that is where your anger lies then I can understand that. However, I can't think of any group of people or religion that has not faced much discrimination throughout history. It is just a fact of life. People fear the unknown and for many atheism is unknown or misunderstood.

Now I might agree you need to be somewhat angry at discrimination and fight to gain your place in society but why the need to change people? Truth lies within you. If you are happy with your beliefs then they are true for you. If this simple rule would be accepted then why care what someone else believes. We shouldn't care what someone else chooses to believe as long as there is a fair system in place. I'm having a hard time expressing myself. I'm not as well spoken as most of you.

I wanted to respond to the essay. I really need to read more. Hope it is ok to post as I read.

Thanks to everyone for your patience.

Hunter


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I know your questions have already been answered, but the more points of view you get the better. We don't have a dogma, we are all individuals.

If you keep your posts like this, i doubt that you will get any anger directed towards you.

Atheists believe in lots of things, we just don't believe in gods. That is the definition, it is up to each individual to believe whatever else we like.

I don't fear God and I am not angry at him, he just doesn't exist. I don't fear religion, but it disgusts me, I loathe it. It is a mental disease that is destroying the planet. Even in its mildest forms it manipulates people and tells them what to think and believe. I am glad that you are on the path to curing yourself. Smiling

The people who believe in God but aren't religious go into two loose catagories (please don't crucufy me pantheists): non-practicers (christians or whatever who don't really believe any more, but haven't let go. Some will be in a transition phase like yourself) and deists (people who believe there is a god/s but that he/she has better things to do than worry about our sex life or whether we love him/her). Deists are ok because they have no religion and therefore noone telling them what to think. Agnostics are undecided, they are ok too.

Everyone would like to be happy and carefree, but we live in the real world. We are concerned with the reality of what is going on around us. At least in our spare time we don't have to stress about whether we love god enough or whether we are going to hell for checking out the ass on a women we're not married to.

A lot of people who have just converted or who are just starting to become more aware as an atheist get angry for a time at the deceit, brainwashing and injustices going on. I still get angry from time to time. But we are not angry people most of the time, just om a situational basis.

I don't push my (dis)belief on people but I feel honestly sad and sorry for people living in a religious delusion, so if they are open to it I will discuss it with them. I would like everyone to be free from having that crap in their head influencing their lives.

Good luck on your journey.

 

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


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Quote:So would it be fair to

Quote:
So would it be fair to say you are angry because of discrimination?

Yes.  It would be fair, but it wouldn't be a complete answer.

Quote:
People fear the unknown and for many atheism is unknown or misunderstood.

You want to take a guess at what group spreads the most falsehoods about atheism?  Are you often buddy-buddy with people who lie about you and say you're a bad person?  I hope you can see a little more clearly why we tend to get angry at theism.

Quote:
Now I might agree you need to be somewhat angry at discrimination and fight to gain your place in society but why the need to change people? Truth lies within you.

I'm guessing you're not part of an oppressed minority.  This is something that people with power are really fond of saying.  It's nice to say truth lies within you, but you should try being powerless sometime.  It changes your perspective on things.

Quote:
If you are happy with your beliefs then they are true for you. If this simple rule would be accepted then why care what someone else believes. We shouldn't care what someone else chooses to believe as long as there is a fair system in place.

Part of why I respond to each sentence is so you can clarify what you mean when you see problems with what you've said.  Don't sweat it.

I'm curious, do you think the system is fair to atheists?

Quote:
I wanted to respond to the essay. I really need to read more. Hope it is ok to post as I read.

Well, I did construct it as a whole, so it probably will make more sense after you've read the whole thing, but I am pretty sure everything within it will hold up individually.  Whatever floats your boat.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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thanks

I am learning a lot and appreciate the time you give to help me learn. I am sure many of you get sick of explaining everytime someone like me comes along.

Why be mad at the people you may have agreed with at one time? Aren't we all raised believing whatever the adults around us believe? Just a natural thing. When we become adults we have the responsibility to find out if what we have been told is true. I do not believe you are brainwashing people, (children) anymore than a religious person is brainwashing the children in their lives. Look we are all told something growing up. Had my family been atheisit I would have been too. What do you tell your children if you have any? Wouldn't you tell them there is no God? If so what if they grow up and hate you for brainwashing them and then told you you were responsible for almost making them go to hell? Am I making any sense?

You see I am finding out for myself what is out there and what the truth is for me. I only know now that happiness is what I want. If all I had was anger and bitterness why not remain in the religious community? They have many hangups that may or may not have anything to do with God.

Ok I'm reading.

Hunter

Quick answer. I did read it in its entirety. Yes I have always been treated fairly and not discriminated against so I guess I do not understand. However, help me as I do want to learn how the atheist have been treated. Never really looked at it and just assumed it was a happy place to be.

 

 


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Just to clarify. I don't

Just to clarify. I don't hate theists, I hate theism. Theists are people, theism is a belief system. Just like I don't hate Muslims, but I hate Islam, because it makes Muslims believe and do dangerous things. Most people are raised in the religion of the place they live. That's not their fault. But when a religion creates division or conflict, that's what I have a problem with. So I don't have a problem with the people, I have a problem with their beliefs.

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Quote:I do not believe you

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I do not believe you are brainwashing people, (children) anymore than a religious person is brainwashing the children in their lives.

But it is brainwashing.  That's the point.  Religion is a lot like smoking in one way.  How many people do you know who begin smoking in their thirties?  The reason cigarette companies target children is that adults know better.  In the same way, if you've ever known an adult who came to America from a highly secular country (Like Sweden or the Netherlands, for instance) they usually think religious belief is pretty silly.  They never even consider converting to Christianity because they were not conditioned as a child to believe things that appear false.

Furthermore, it appears that humans "imprint" much like other animals.  If you're not familiar with this, I'll give you an example.  Some birds learn their songs from their parents.  If you take a baby bird away from its parent during a certain "imprinting period," usually around 24-72 hours after birth, it will NEVER learn the song, and won't get to mate as an adult.

The taboo against incest is a good argument for imprinting in humans.  There are hardly any cases of brothers and sisters having sex.  It's not because the laws against it are so strong.  In fact, there are precious few laws about it, anywhere in the world.  The reason it doesn't happen is that brothers and sisters don't want to screw.  The question is why.

In studies with separated twins, step children, and other non-genetic siblings, it has been found that children who live together in the same family from somewhere around 3 years of age to 12 or 13 simply have no significant sexual desire towards their siblings, whether they are biologically related or not.  This is imprinted, not taught.

I'm not aware of any scientific studies dealing specifically with religious indoctrination and this proposed "human imprinting period," but I feel pretty certain of the results based on other studies.  For instance, well over 90% of theists in America were raised in theist homes.  In other words, less than 1 out of 10 people raised in nonreligious homes become religious.  Remember, atheism is the default state.  In other words, you were born atheist.  You had to be taught that there was a god.  So, think of theism as comparable to smoking again.  Suppose you had these stats in front of you (I'm making them up for illustration.)

90% of children who start smoking live in households with at least one smoker.

5% of children who start smoking live in households with no smokers, but have other close relatives who smoke.

2% of children who live in smoke free environments until after the age of 18 become smokers.

10% of all people reaching age 18 without smoking will become smokers later in life.

 

If you were presented with these facts, you would accurately induce that exposure to smokers in childhood is a huge factor in whether someone starts smoking.  We see the same things with religion.  Religion is intrinsically tied to childhood, and those who make it out of childhood without religion rarely pick it up.

Quote:
What do you tell your children if you have any? Wouldn't you tell them there is no God?

Most of the atheist parents I know don't tell their children the answer.  They teach their children how to think critically and use logic.  When the children ask about god, the parents encourage them to answer the question themselves.

I'm sure there are some atheist parents who dogmatically beat atheism into their children (metaphorically, of course).  I'd guess that these children are more likely to pick up religion, because atheism isn't about dogma.  It's about logic.  If you have to beat it into somebody, you're not very good at teaching good thinking.  Atheism is a no-brainer.  It really is.

(I know it seems like a more complicated question to you, else you wouldn't be wondering about it.  This is a great example.  Even though you are stepping away from your childhood indoctrination, it's very difficult for you to see how obvious it is that the whole god thing is silly.)

Quote:
I only know now that happiness is what I want. If all I had was anger and bitterness why not remain in the religious community? They have many hangups that may or may not have anything to do with God.

If you knew me in person, you'd have a different perspective.  I'm one of the happiest people you've ever met.  I know this because everybody tells me that.  I wasn't able to be this happy until I ditched religion.  It is my love of my fellow man, along with my anger at being treated unfairly, that motivates me to do this.  All people see here is my focused anger towards theism.  Ask anyone who knows me.  I'm a very happy dude.

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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funny

I am trying very hard to picture a happy group of people. It would be good to see you in everyday life. This may sound a little funny but I went through and looked at some of the pictures and many of them look angry too. Am I seeing something that isn't there?

I guess I had a different perspecitve. Well that is why I am here to gain the true perspective. I have to admit I liked the perspective I had previously but as stated by a member I have not suffered persecution. Maybe I am looking for the easy way out and wanted to find out how I could escape a world full of hangups. I guess when it comes down to it that is a fantasy.

I appreciate the honesty.

hunter


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Do you ever think it's

Do you ever think it's appropriate to be angry? If so, when?


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hunter008 wrote: Why be mad

hunter008 wrote:

 

Why be mad at the people you may have agreed with at one time? Aren't we all raised believing whatever the adults around us believe? Just a natural thing. When we become adults we have the responsibility to find out if what we have been told is true. I do not believe you are brainwashing people, (children) anymore than a religious person is brainwashing the children in their lives. Look we are all told something growing up. Had my family been atheisit I would have been too. What do you tell your children if you have any? Wouldn't you tell them there is no God? If so what if they grow up and hate you for brainwashing them and then told you you were responsible for almost making them go to hell? Am I making any sense?

 

 

I have to disagree. Firstly, since many atheist were raised religiously before they were able to decide for themselves, they wouldn't do the same to their children. Even though I want my children to be atheist, I wouldn't teach them that from an early age.That's brainwashing and asking for later resentment. Everyone is born atheist, and religion is a learned behavior. Religious people do brainwash their children before they can think for themselves. Why else would 5 year olds recite a sinners pray they actually have no comprehension of.

This is a subject I feel very strongly on,and you may want to check out a essay I wrote on child indoctrination. http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/the_rational_response_squad_radio_show/freethinking_anonymous/12697

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

dudeofthemoment wrote:
This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

Argument from Sadism: Theist presents argument in a wall of text with no punctuation and wrong spelling. Atheist cannot read and is forced to concede.


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Rambling

Man, I am posting a lot. That's what working graveyards does, I guess. Need to stay awake.

Anyhow, I won't quote a post here and want to respond to the opening post and the general feeling within this thread. I grew up looking at the universe with awe and wonder. I then became a Christian and that changed to awe and wonder about God. Now, taking God out of the equation does not make the universe less beautiful. In fact, I am more aware of my place in the universe now than I ever was inside a church. Every night I walk to work and I have the stars overhead (when it isn;t raining, stupid BC weather) and I am back to the awe factor.

I am NOT an angry person. That said, I am rather offended that me decided that I cannot believe in God anymore seems to make me less of a person in some peoples' eyes. My wife went so far as to threaten to leave me if I declared myself an atheist. We have been together almost ten years and I have never shouted at her, raised a hand to her or our kids. I don't drink, use drugs or go out with friends. I watch our kids, watch movies and work 40 hours a week on graveyards so my wife can work any day shift she can find. So, how many of my friends will turn against me when they find out I am an atheist? The reaction people get to telling others their belief in no God is what makes people defensive and upset.

Just look around and do research, objective research on God, the Bible and on science that relates to geology, archeology. It brought me here and has the potential to change your life. This forum and atheists in general are not as unfriendly as people think.

*** If this seems like rambling, I apologize, going on 30 hours of no sleep.


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FormerXstian, I too share

FormerXstian, I too share your experience of awe and wonder, but I do not like the implication made by the OP that we cannot be angry ever. Anger serves a purpose and there is such thing as legitimate anger. Feeling angry does not make one an 'angry person', it makes one a person who feels angry. Anger is natural, but there appears to be a fear of anger in our society, a taboo of sorts. As if feeling angry will necessarily lead to rash action. No. Feeling angry motivates you to change the situation, but how you channel that anger can be restrained by reason and common sense. For example, I channel my anger at theism to online activism for atheism. Nothing violent, nothing particularly offensive. But the anger is necessary to keep that motivation going. I will not let anyone tell me I shouldn't feel angry. That's like telling me I should sit down and shut up when I see a bad situation that needs to be changed. Sorry, I've kowtowed to theism for too long, and I'm not going to do it any longer. I'm an atheist who feels angry, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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hunter008
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anger

You have every right to be angry if that is what you choose. I am not trying to take that away from you. I am simply searching and had a view point of atheism that is obviously wrong. I came here expecting something else. My problem not yours. Never meant to put it on you.

At this point in my life I am looking for people who are content and happy with their choices. I may never find that. I guess I was looking at your belief or non belief as a release from anger and hangups. Trying to live up to something unknown and unseen. I had the christians or I should say all religious people as the angry hung up ones.

Please accept my apology.

hunter


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hunter008 wrote:I am trying

hunter008 wrote:

I am trying very hard to picture a happy group of people. It would be good to see you in everyday life. This may sound a little funny but I went through and looked at some of the pictures and many of them look angry too. Am I seeing something that isn't there?

I guess I had a different perspecitve. Well that is why I am here to gain the true perspective. I have to admit I liked the perspective I had previously but as stated by a member I have not suffered persecution. Maybe I am looking for the easy way out and wanted to find out how I could escape a world full of hangups. I guess when it comes down to it that is a fantasy.

I appreciate the honesty.

hunter

Yeah. It's not like you want to be an atheist to lead an easy life. Believe me, I've often wished I could just turn on a belief in God. It would make life so much easier.

Although it's been a long time since anyone was hung for being an atheist in the US, the persecution is still there. During basic training, one of my drill sergeants asked us as a group, "Everyone here believes in God, right?" I was lucky all it took was a general murmur of assent. I kept my mouth shut, but I didn't look like I disagreed. Believe me, you don't want to get noticed in basic training. So, when nobody dissented, he said, "Good."

It's been like this my entire life. I have been fortunate in that there are very few times when I've had to hide my disbelief. But I have been intellectually assaulted by many people trying to convert me. And all their arguments are the same: "Why would you want to go to Hell?" or, "If you were to stand before Jesus today, what would you tell Him?" And so on, all assuming the truth of the Bible, all assuming I must see the truth of the Bible, and that I'm simply stubborn. Mostly, they tried to use the fear of death as a tool against me, tried to make me worried about my immortal soul.

I think they failed to understand that I don't believe in a soul. I believe that when we die, we're wormfood. And that's hard to deal with, too, some times. (Not any more. I've gotten over my fear of death a long time ago.)

And then there's the added responsibility. Once you realize this life is all you have, you understand your responsibility isn't to a fictitious heaven, but to this less-than-perfect world. And that takes work. Real work, with real decisions that must be made. It's not just a question of "What would Jesus do?" but of, "What's the right thing to do to help the world be a better place for others?"

Yeah. Being an atheist means you have to put on your big girl panties, and go out into the world like a reasonable, honest, responsible adult. Or not. It's your choice. You can be as nihilistic as you want.

The path of the Christian is certain. It's laid out in a book written 1900 years ago. It's defined by preachers and Christian music and sayings like, WWJD?

The path of the atheist is difficult. If you choose the path of positivism and science, you learn that all truths are contingent, and might change as we learn more about our world. There are vast unknowns, entire sections of knowledge we just don't have. There are political, social, and moral choices to be made based on your best understanding, which might not be complete. But it is your understanding, not the writings in a book, that dictate the choices and decisions.

I believe the rewards are great. There is a more-complete understanding of reality. There is the happiness knowing you are diong what you can to help make the world a better place. Or not -- whichever. The point is, you get to choose the path that best suits you. You have the luxery of questioning everything you know, of everything anybody knows. You have complete intellectual and philosophic freedom.

Your choices shouldn't be predicated by the ease with which you can live your life. They should be made entirely with the understanding that you are making a choice based on your beliefs and knowledge and convictions. Otherwise, you're not being true to yourself, and that will make your life harder all by itself.

At least, that's how I feel.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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hunter008 wrote:I am trying

hunter008 wrote:

I am trying very hard to picture a happy group of people. It would be good to see you in everyday life. This may sound a little funny but I went through and looked at some of the pictures and many of them look angry too. Am I seeing something that isn't there?

It's funny - I noticed that myself, but once you're on the forum a while, you'll notice it's all tongue-in-cheek. There are people who come on the forums to stir up trouble, and some of the responses to that are absolutely hilarious. It's a fun group.

hunter008 wrote:
I guess I had a different perspecitve. Well that is why I am here to gain the true perspective. I have to admit I liked the perspective I had previously but as stated by a member I have not suffered persecution. Maybe I am looking for the easy way out and wanted to find out how I could escape a world full of hangups. I guess when it comes down to it that is a fantasy.

You can't really escape suffering, but you don't have to lie to yourself in the process. Also, being happy (or content or whatever) is usually a temporary condition, just like sadness or anger. Believe me, you don't need an extra supernatural thingy to experience joy or anguish. But the relief at not having to pretend you believe something you really don't is very liberating.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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hunter008 wrote:I am

hunter008 wrote:
I am learning a lot and appreciate the time you give to help me learn. I am sure many of you get sick of explaining everytime someone like me comes along.

I can only speak for myself, but talking to someone who's interested is just as fun as sparring with someone who has an agenda. There's a lot to learn either way. You won't find a lot of people here trying to convince you to become an atheist (since your thoughts are yours in a group of free thinkers), but if you try to pass of a dishonest idea, the idea will most likely be ridiculed. It's rare that anyone who's played nice gets made fun of.

hunter008 wrote:
If so what if they grow up and hate you for brainwashing them and then told you you were responsible for almost making them go to hell?

But here's the difference: to people who value skeptical thinking, and free thought, their children are given as much information as they like. If they decide they want information on different religions, or they feel like visiting a church, why not? It can't do any harm to learn about things. If a child decides that they're going to be Christian and her parents are going to hell, well, who hasn't had a child be unreasonable every once and a while? It's practically their job. But in an atheist home (at least the ones I've visited with children) they're welcome to information and they don't have to go to church unless they feel like it. So win-win, as far as I can see.

hunter008 wrote:
You see I am finding out for myself what is out there and what the truth is for me.

My bias is for a more durable truth, that is, one that can be tested and falsified. My subjective truth is less important to me than what the world shows me is consistently true.

hunter008 wrote:
If all I had was anger and bitterness why not remain in the religious community? They have many hangups that may or may not have anything to do with God.

I guess so. But then you'd be angry and bitter AND you'd have to go to church. But if you want to go to church just for the social interaction, I'd say that's pretty functional. Everybody has hangups - I don't think there's a person without some sort of difficulty in life.

Anyway, I hope you can find what you're looking for. There are lots of people who are both open minded AND enjoy their lives. It's not really necessary to bring in gods to be happy (at least from my experience).

 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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Now that you've shown your

Now that you've shown your views on atheism, what are your views on Theism?


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Quote:Now that you've shown

Quote:
Now that you've shown your views on atheism, what are your views on Theism?

Poor pineapple... he's so desperate to find another agnostic deist theist to play nice with...

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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hunter008
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Well most of my experience has been from a christian perspective. Not much background in other religions.

Many Christians seem to be happy and content. Some of my confusion has been the belief that Christ saved us and yet our actions or works as it is called is still such a driving force. Now I know we all need to have some rules and morals just to keep society a nice place to be however, many believers seem to have so many hangups of what they consider to be right and wrong. If we can't ever live up to what we need to to be accepted by God and Christ died for us why is there so much judgment and fear among believers?

But again I am generalizing them as I did atheist. When I came here I saw what I believed to be angry people and yet MOST of you assure me you are not that angry and are basically happy. Believers would give me the same arguments but it still seems to me they are hung up somewhat on rules and full of criticisms.  

I do like the idea of having a heaven to go to when I leave here. Why wouldn't I? That is not my problem with Christianity.

I am just trying to figure out if it is really based on a God who gave us his word through the Bible or an idea created by man. I have problems with some of God's chosen people who basically tell me I don't have everything I want in life because my faith was never strong enough. To me they are saying if you are poor or have problems in life it is your fault because you didn't believe enough. I have seen people in very poor countries who have nothing and yet their faith is greater than most. So why are they suffering? How do we know if God is for us or against us? Is my faith strong enough or am I just playing a game with myself? Christianity is very confusing.

I am not an angry person though. I'm not mad at Christians and trying to disprove what they stand for. Just trying to find what is right for me. Right now I don't feel responsible for everyone else. Up to them to figure it out as well. What is the point of only having this life and spending most of it angry. Now don't jump on me. I'm not trying to rob you of your right to be angry. Just isn't important to me. At least not now. Should I announce I have become atheist and am treated unfairly that could change. Right now looking for something else.

Hunter

 


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hunter008 wrote:Well most of

hunter008 wrote:

Well most of my experience has been from a christian perspective. Not much background in other religions.

Many Christians seem to be happy and content. Some of my confusion has been the belief that Christ saved us and yet our actions or works as it is called is still such a driving force. Now I know we all need to have some rules and morals just to keep society a nice place to be however, many believers seem to have so many hangups of what they consider to be right and wrong.

Firstly,you don't need religion to have morals.Not sure if you were implying that,but just in case.

hunter008 wrote:
If we can't ever live up to what we need to to be accepted by God and Christ died for us why is there so much judgment and fear among believers?

Maybe because their always worrying if they're going to get that golden ticket into heaven. Afterlives are stressful in my experience.


hunter008 wrote:
I am just trying to figure out if it is really based on a God who gave us his word through the Bible or an idea created by man. I have problems with some of God's chosen people who basically tell me I don't have everything I want in life because my faith was never strong enough. To me they are saying if you are poor or have problems in life it is your fault because you didn't believe enough. I have seen people in very poor countries who have nothing and yet their faith is greater than most. So why are they suffering? How do we know if God is for us or against us? Is my faith strong enough or am I just playing a game with myself? Christianity is very confusing.

I know what you mean.I've seen some damn poor people,but they will dress nice on Sunday and never doubt.Doesn't seem to help much though. Christianity is very confusing,and you have to ask yourself.If this is the innerant word of the creator of the universe,shouldn't it just make perfect sense and everything fall into place? The fact that you can hardly find two christians who agree on all aspects of it shows how flawed,and therefore manmade it is.

hunter008 wrote:
I am not an angry person though. I'm not mad at Christians and trying to disprove what they stand for. Just trying to find what is right for me. Right now I don't feel responsible for everyone else. Up to them to figure it out as well. What is the point of only having this life and spending most of it angry. Now don't jump on me. I'm not trying to rob you of your right to be angry. Just isn't important to me. At least not now. Should I announce I have become atheist and am treated unfairly that could change. Right now looking for something else.

That's a good stance to have.I admire that you have the courage to question and learn.Most christians,including myself at one point,would never.Just the fact that you came here to find out if your preconcerptions were wrong is a step in the right direction.Keep searching,I think you'll find it.

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

dudeofthemoment wrote:
This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

Argument from Sadism: Theist presents argument in a wall of text with no punctuation and wrong spelling. Atheist cannot read and is forced to concede.


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Sorry, this is completely

Sorry, this is completely off topic.  I am fairly new to the RRS list and I cannot find the means to start a new thread here.  Can somone clue me in?

 

Thanks

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At the top of the particular

At the top of the particular forum board it says "Post new forum topic" Look to the left of the page numbers.

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

dudeofthemoment wrote:
This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

Argument from Sadism: Theist presents argument in a wall of text with no punctuation and wrong spelling. Atheist cannot read and is forced to concede.


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If it is knowledge you seek,

If it is knowledge you seek, I suggest then you read these:

 

Finding Darwin's God

 

God Delusion

 

God's universe


Breaking the Spell

 

 

I've read all of them.


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hunter008 wrote:Well most of

hunter008 wrote:
Well most of my experience has been from a christian perspective. Not much background in other religions.

You may find that each is based on the other. If you're curious, start with the Epic of Gilgamesh. If that gets boring, at least read the part about the flood. That's an edited version of one of the first flood stories around. It's a common theme. Check out the ritual origins of the Catholic church in the cult of Mithras, which the Roman soldiers brought home from Persia (modern day Iran). Also the Council of Nicaea, where a group of people decided what would be in the bible. After that, check out how many times the bible was changed.

hunter008 wrote:
Many Christians seem to be happy and content.

Replace "Christian" with "people" and you're still right. Coincidence?

hunter008 wrote:
When I came here I saw what I believed to be angry people and yet MOST of you assure me you are not that angry and are basically happy. Believers would give me the same arguments but it still seems to me they are hung up somewhat on rules and full of criticisms.

I'm basically happy. Well, except when I'm sad or angry or uncomfortable. But again, those are things that happen to people. I'm absolutely certain that suffering cannot be eliminated by religion. Suffering is a difficult topic - I think I'll make a different post for it.

hunter008 wrote:
I do like the idea of having a heaven to go to when I leave here. Why wouldn't I? That is not my problem with Christianity.

Sure. That's a hope. Nothing wrong with hope. If you pretended that you knew there was a heaven, that would be saying you knew something you didn't know.

hunter008 wrote:
I am just trying to figure out if it is really based on a God who gave us his word through the Bible or an idea created by man.

Look at the likelyhood of each premise. Invisible fatherly thing with an inconsistent personality and a tendency to torment its creations, or some guys made it up (and decided what would be in the book in 325).

hunter008 wrote:
I have problems with some of God's chosen people who basically tell me I don't have everything I want in life because my faith was never strong enough.

That's another example pretending to know something they can't possibly know. How do they even know that your faith isn't strong enough? They don't. And how do they know that's the reason you don't have everything you want? They don't. In fact, on their part, it's not even a good guess. They took no real information about your situation to determine what they passed off as truth. I'd consider that a poor assessment.

hunter008 wrote:
I am not an angry person though. I'm not mad at Christians and trying to disprove what they stand for.

No one would expect you to be. I'll tell you what makes me angry on this site, though: people who just shout, and don't discuss. You've been civil, and look at the number and length of responses it got you. There are people who come on here and say "God is Truth - you're going to hell for eternity" who don't get treated as well because resorting to empty threats isn't ... convincing. It's boring, and it's insulting. That'll occasionally make me mad. But my reaction is to (oh no!) write a nasty diatribe.

That's about as bad as it gets here - some heated words. No planes, bombs, UN resolutions, or terrorism. Also, no gods.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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I haven't read "Finding

I haven't read "Finding Darwin's God," but I can endorse the other three.  Great books.  If you've got an extra thirty minutes, you might as well pick up "Letter to a Christian Nation."  It is not the philosophical or scientific tour de force that some of the others are, but it gives a very good layman's explanation for why atheists are justified in being actively opposed to theism.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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hunter008 wrote:I am not an

hunter008 wrote:
I am not an angry person though. I'm not mad at Christians and trying to disprove what they stand for. Just trying to find what is right for me. Right now I don't feel responsible for everyone else. Up to them to figure it out as well. What is the point of only having this life and spending most of it angry. Now don't jump on me. I'm not trying to rob you of your right to be angry. Just isn't important to me. At least not now. Should I announce I have become atheist and am treated unfairly that could change. Right now looking for something else.

Hunter, try a little experiment, just for fun. Next time someone starts talking about religion, just mention that you are an atheist. You don't have to agree, just try it to see what will happen. You may be surprised by the reaction. I'm assuming you're in the US, where this experiment will have the most obvious effect.

I predict that there will be an instant negative reaction. It may be subtle, it may be obvious, it may even be in-your-face. My point here is that people's beliefs affect their actions (and reactions). Many theists tend to believe that there's something wrong with atheists, and they act accordingly. It's the same thing with lots of other things. Because theists value faith, they tend to strongly believe irrational things. They then act on these beliefs. For instance, evangelicals were strongly in support of Bush, and without them, Bush would never have got into office. Their beliefs affected not only their actions, but their votes. This is a serious issue. The 911 hijackers likewise believed they would go to a glorious afterlife, and they acted on those beliefs. All sorts of crazy shit goes on in the world because of strongly held irrational beliefs.

This is not merely about feeling happy versus feeling angry. This is about people acting based on their erroneous beliefs, and their actions affect all of us. Global warming deniers are a perfect example. The more you contemplate this topic, the more you realize how important it is. Most problems in this world are caused by people strongly believing in dumb ideas.

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Quote:Hunter, try a little

Quote:
Hunter, try a little experiment, just for fun. Next time someone starts talking about religion, just mention that you are an atheist. You don't have to agree, just try it to see what will happen. You may be surprised by the reaction. I'm assuming you're in the US, where this experiment will have the most obvious effect.

This is a great idea.  I recommend it highly.  Maybe, if you're pretty outgoing, you should go out of town and try a few public places where you can talk to people and tell them at some point that you're an atheist.  You may not want to do it in your town because it could cause long term issues for you.

Quote:
The more you contemplate this topic, the more you realize how important it is. Most problems in this world are caused by people strongly believing in dumb ideas.

Actually, I'd state it a little differently.  Most problems are caused by people believing that faith is a virtue.  Some things are true despite all appearances to the contrary.

See that stack of papers by scientists detailing exactly how humans are contributing greenhouse gases?  Don't worry about it.  God says there is no global warming, and Bush agrees.

Abstinence only education?  Yeah, the science says it's a terrible idea, but morality is above science.  Kids should not be taught about sex.

Evolution?  Who cares about all the evidence.  We should teach creationism alongside.

Our relationship is suffering.  Who cares that all the stats show that marriage doesn't solve relationship issues.  If we get married, it'll be different.

I could go on and on and on.  Believing things despite a complete lack of evidence, or despite evidence to the contrary -- FAITH -- is the cause of most people's problems.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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experiment

Sounds like an interesting idea.

While it may make me uncomfortable I doubt it would make me feel the kind of anger you are feeling simply because it would be one incident compared to what you have experienced. It would provide a little taste though. Of course I'd like to think that people would maybe try to convince me I was wrong out of true care and love, therefore not being hateful and causing anger but there again is that Pollyanna view point I seem to have.

I appreciate the patience and understanding I have received. Thanks to all who participated in helping me see who you are so I can find who I am. I do understand your anger to an extent but I'll be dang if this is all there is I would find a way to make it as happy time as I could.

Thanks again.

Hunter


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Hunter, Did you read my

Hunter,

Did you read my essay "Is this really all there is?"

If you did, I'd like to hear your comments on it.  It's been over a decade since I asked those questions for the first time, and I'd like to know if I made any strong impressions.  You are literally the poster child for my target audience with that essay.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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hunter008 wrote:Sounds like

hunter008 wrote:

Sounds like an interesting idea.

While it may make me uncomfortable I doubt it would make me feel the kind of anger you are feeling simply because it would be one incident compared to what you have experienced. It would provide a little taste though. Of course I'd like to think that people would maybe try to convince me I was wrong out of true care and love, therefore not being hateful and causing anger but there again is that Pollyanna view point I seem to have.

I appreciate the patience and understanding I have received. Thanks to all who participated in helping me see who you are so I can find who I am. I do understand your anger to an extent but I'll be dang if this is all there is I would find a way to make it as happy time as I could.

Thanks again.

Hunter

The experiment will hopefully let you see a darker side of some Christians, at the least.You might get a glimpse of how un-Christ-like many Christians really are.

As far as anger: not all of us are angry. I get frustrated by willful ignorance, and sometimes lose my temper when I aught not, but usually that is only in the face of those who are arrogant about their ignorance. I also get frustrated at casual selfishness, and a few other things I consider emotional defects, but I don't believe that anger is a common state for me.

You certainly don't have to be angry to be an atheist. Nor will being an atheist make you angry per se. The way people behave around you might make you angry, but that isn't the fault of a lack of belief in God.

And in truth, most of the Christians I know do not treat me poorly. Many are curious, just as you are. Not for the same reasons as you, necessarily. But I think it's natural for Christians to wonder where atheists get their hope, their inspiration, and their morals. Basically, all that their faith gives them, they often assume is missing from the atheist's life.

But it isn't. In general, they don't hold it against me. And I try not to hold some of their "morals" against them. (Generally, our differences in morality revolve around sex [no wonder] and science.) In general, we treat each other with acceptance, understanding, and mutual respect.

Anger is optional.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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anger

Thanks for the last response. I'd like to think not everyone is filled with resentment and that there is a true desire to understand. If someone does try to change or enlighten me on my beliefs I choose to believe it is out of conern for me rather than resentment towards other beliefs. If I really decide there is a place called hell I'd feel horrible about anyone going there. What other reason would there be for me to care what you believe? I know there are a lot of reasons for some but not for me.

I did read the essay. I found it very interesting and informative. I am still thinking about it. I have re read it a couple of times. I'm a little slow and like to process info slowly. It kind of boils down to no one really knows and all information is really from man. Science is right until proven wrong. Sounds kind of simple but how do we really know?

Hunter


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Quote:Just trying to find

Quote:

Just trying to find what is right for me

Be careful here. When constructing a contingent worldveiw, one problem I find crops up repeatedly is that most people are unfamiliar with how to construct it from the ground up, or, from an epistemological standpoint, start from the wrong place. "What is right for me" is an example of starting from the wrong place. Choosing philosophical positions on matters and evaluation of knowledge claims is not a process of deciding what you like. It is not a process of siding with your tastes or what your desires, or at least it should not be. Whether something is "right for you" is not a salient issue when trying to decide whether or not the knowledge claims of certain groups, people, methods, etc. constitute justifiable and rational knowledge claims.

I use the phrase "knowledge claims" for a good reason. The phrase crops up ubiquitously in the philosophical discipline of epistemology. "Knowledge" is broadly recognized as a justified true belief. Virtually everyone claims to have knowledge on certain aspects, or perhaps all aspects, of the nature of reality and concomitant ideas. Since not all, or even most, of these assertions could be correct, much of epistemology is a process of filtration. This is why we have the useful idea of "knowledge claims", the recognition that people claim to have knowledge and so it becomes critical to evaluate the justification or lack thereof of their assertion that they have knowledge of something, and alongside that, it is necessary to evaluate the justification of ways of knowing, or the ways by which beliefs can be justified, as rational justifications or not. This is the process on which you must build your worldview, whether or not the conclusions you reach are "right for you" is tangential to the point of irrelevance. If you try to make these decisions on grounds of what "works" or "feels right", you'll get nowhere fast.

As you can imagine, one of the biggest obstacles to getting people, especially religious people, to construct worldviews in the manner described above is that they don't, and it isn't societally encouraged. Many people think of beliefs about the world as if they were purchasing merchendise. They justify beliefs in terms of adverse consequences of the contrary (such as the notion of hell) or conducive consequences (it gives me hope) or authoritative foundations (parents/preacher told me) or faulty logic which usually arises from a preexisting desire to hold the belief (confirmation bias), or, even worse, bland moralization (it provides me with a moral code) (which, of course, is a completely irrational position to hold since said moral code would be arbitrary if the underlying assertions were false, hence undermining its claims to be a moral code!). To put it simply, from a critical thinking standpoint, sifting through beliefs and worldviews as if you were choosing comfort food is, well...bad.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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Testing!

hunter008 wrote:

Thanks for the last response. I'd like to think not everyone is filled with resentment and that there is a true desire to understand. If someone does try to change or enlighten me on my beliefs I choose to believe it is out of conern for me rather than resentment towards other beliefs. If I really decide there is a place called hell I'd feel horrible about anyone going there. What other reason would there be for me to care what you believe? I know there are a lot of reasons for some but not for me.

In general, we don't really care what other people believe. That's what freedom of belief is all about. You get to choose what to believe, and live your life according to your own doctrines.

As someone once stated, your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose. As soon as your beliefs affect me, I begin to care what you believe. Take this whole Intelligent Design fiasco. Although intelligent design has been proven to be unscientific, there is a political group that is trying to get ID taught in school science classes. This affects me, as it affects the quality of the education our children receive, and our children are the ones who hold the future in their hands, and they damned well better be prepared to take care of me in the style to which I'd like to become accustomed. "Fetch me that beer, young'un. Chop-chop!"

The religious resistance to allowing homosexuals to marry also affects me. Not directly, as I am a happily married heterosexual (really I am!), but I have friends who would like to also be happily married. And I say, let homosexuals be able to make the same mistakes we make. Stop trying to save them from themselves.

So there are a lot of selfish reasons to care what other people believe. And if you listen to modern Christian rhetoric, it's all about getting their way, and not about saving souls from eternal hell-fire. So it's not just atheists at work here.

Other than that: I'd love to live in a world were a person's belief didn't affect how they were treated, Christian, atheist, homosexual, or country-music listener. (Actually, if we could launch a tactical nuke to take out country music, but leave y'allternative alone, that might be a good place to start cleaning up the world.)

That's why protecting our secular society is so important.

Quote:

I did read the essay. I found it very interesting and informative. I am still thinking about it. I have re read it a couple of times. I'm a little slow and like to process info slowly. It kind of boils down to no one really knows and all information is really from man. Science is right until proven wrong. Sounds kind of simple but how do we really know?

Hunter

How do we really know? Because it works. Science has given us a coherent (though incomplete) view of reality. This is proven by making predictions from what we know, and testing those predictions against reality. As we fill in the blanks, new blank spots appear. Sometimes it seems blank spots appear faster than we can fill them in, but the important thing is, science gives us actual, practical, testable results.

Like the computer you are using to read this message. Like the airliner that takes you from place to place. Like those things with six drumsticks that have been genetically engineered from chicken that they sell at KFC. (That's not real. But it's fun.) Science has consistently given us correct answers that are testable against reality, and that give us practical things.

There is no other epistemology that has given us such practical and provable knowledge. None.

Science isn't as often wrong as a lot of people would have you believe. It is often incomplete, but that does not make it wrong. Science is all about filling in the gaps in our knowledge and understanding. Sometimes we reach a point where we realize we didn't fully understand the question, and so our understanding changes. This happened with the discovery of relativity and quantum mechanics. We realized Newtonian dynamics did not explain everything. This didn't do away with Newtonian dynamics. We still use it, every day. We get to the moon, and fling spacecraft at distant planets, using Newtonian dynamics. However, we discovered there's more to the world than just a thrown ball, or a spaceship to the moon.

If you want to know if something is true, merely look at how effective it is in predicting new knowledge. That is, predicting new knowledge beforehand. Going back and saying, "The Bible predicted the forming of Israel in 1947." No, it didn't. There are vague lines that may be interpreted that way, but it didn't predict it beforehand, just after the fact. Those same lines could equally be linked to events hundreds of years ago.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. It's just a question that is very dear to me: "How can we know?"

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Why do homosexuals insist on

Why do homosexuals insist on marriage? What is it about that title that they found they had to have? Why not call their unions something else as long as the same rights are granted? I really don't know as it has never been a subject that angered or interested me. It seems as thought these issues turn into a revenge issue rather than obtaining the same rights. JMO. I say this about both groups as christians are just as bent on protecting a title they value as sacred as homosexuals are in claiming it. If I were homosexual (which I'm not) I'd be more interested in having the same rights as married couples but I would not feel the need to claim the title of married. If I was in love and we were united what the heck to I care if we call it marriage.

I have learned a lot here and am still reading with much fascination. I have learned much about who you are. I can tell I do not fit in but I have felt welcomed and am thankful you have allowed me the avenue to discover that.

Thanks,

Hunter


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wow, a lot has been posted

wow, a lot has been posted in one day....

I was raised in an atheist family, but I was not brainwashed. I only really remember one discussion with my father on the subject. He told me that he didn't believe, but that I should investigate everything and make my own decision. He encouraged me to read the bible so that I would know what I would know what it was all about.

I still haven't finished it... but I would encourege you to read at least bits of it, not just the bits that you are told to read (even those bits, look at what they actually say, and keep reading for a few passages afterward). I suppose I can't really be 100% sure that there is no god (but I am damn close to that) but I am 100% sure that the bible and therefore the religions based on it are fiction.

I am completely content and happy with my choice. I feel no emptiness inside or need for anything other than the real world. I am generally a happy person. But no one is 100% happy. If you see someone who appears happy all the time they are either hiding their true feeling or suffering from a mental illness (possibly religious overload), or both. It is not a natural state to feel one thing all the time.

I have never been persecuted for being an atheist (I do live in Australia though). I am still relatively quiet about it though, even though it is more acceptable here you never know who is strongly religious or what their reaction would be.

My wife and I were married in a civil ceremony. We don't believe in God and yet we chose to be married. Why shouldn't homosexuals be able to do the same if they choose? I understand what you mean by the label, they could call it anything and it would be the same. But it is about the symbolism of marriage. It's just not the same to say "we're in a legally binding contract". Why are christians so defensive of the word "marriage"? Don't say it is because it is the word that God used, the bible wasn't written in English. Giving homosexuals an official union would be accepting that they are ok to exist. I think this is what the church opposes. In Iran they execute them, just like christians used to do.

 

 

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I am still confused on why

I am still confused on why the word marriage is so important. Why insist on using a word that christians obviously relate to their God? I am not saying the word marriage came from the bible. But it is the word used by christians to bless their union by their God. Why not create your own term that is meaningful to you. I just don't get the fight to use the term marriage other than to prove a point to christians. The government grants the same rights so it isn't about having the same rights.

How do you know the bible is fiction?

Someone advised me to read or study debates by various groups. Yes I admit I am uneducated in most of this. I mean I have been taught things but now am intrigued to learn some on my own. Finding it very interesting.

hunter


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Quote:How do you know the

Quote:

How do you know the bible is fiction?

Because it is contrariwise to what empirical inquiry into the universe has revealed. This severely undermines its knowledge claims. Whenever two contrary assertions are measured, it is best to back to the foundations on which they rest. So, where there is a method which uses a preponderance of fact to create coherent theories used to explain and predict phenomenon and concomitant facts, and it makes knowledge claims, these claims can be judged against what supports them. On the other hand, where there is no method or justification for knowledge claims, it is not rational to hold them as justified true belief. And if these two come into conflict...guess who loses?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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hunter008 wrote:Why do

hunter008 wrote:
Why do homosexuals insist on marriage? What is it about that title that they found they had to have? Why not call their unions something else as long as the same rights are granted? I really don't know as it has never been a subject that angered or interested me. It seems as thought these issues turn into a revenge issue rather than obtaining the same rights. JMO. I say this about both groups as christians are just as bent on protecting a title they value as sacred as homosexuals are in claiming it. If I were homosexual (which I'm not) I'd be more interested in having the same rights as married couples but I would not feel the need to claim the title of married. If I was in love and we were united what the heck to I care if we call it marriage.

If it is functionally and legally identical, then why call it anything other than a marriage? What is your specific objection to calling it marriage? It seems to me the only objection is a discriminatory one. "I want to limit marriage to heterosexuals because I don't want homosexuals to have that 'title'." Seems ridiculous to me. Why not also say that only whites can have marriage? Sure, blacks can have exactly the same kind of relationship and legal rights, but they can't call it marriage. Sounds ridiculous, right? Right. Because it is. It's pure discrimination. And if you base it off of the Bible, then it is religiously-based discrimination.

If you don't think it's discrimination, then I ask again, what is your specific objection to homosexual marriages?

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hunter008 wrote:I am still

hunter008 wrote:
I am still confused on why the word marriage is so important. Why insist on using a word that christians obviously relate to their God? I am not saying the word marriage came from the bible. But it is the word used by christians to bless their union by their God. Why not create your own term that is meaningful to you. I just don't get the fight to use the term marriage other than to prove a point to christians. The government grants the same rights so it isn't about having the same rights.

There was marriage long before there was Christianity. Hindus get married. Muslims get married. Native Americans get married. Atheists get married. Why do you think Christians have some mysterious special claim on the word, or even the concept? It has nothing to do with Christianity, except that Christians attach their own peculiar theistic interpretation onto it. Sorry. Neither the word nor the concept belong to Christians.

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hunter008 wrote:I am still

hunter008 wrote:
I am still confused on why the word marriage is so important. Why insist on using a word that christians obviously relate to their God? I am not saying the word marriage came from the bible. But it is the word used by christians to bless their union by their God. Why not create your own term that is meaningful to you. I just don't get the fight to use the term marriage other than to prove a point to christians. The government grants the same rights so it isn't about having the same rights.

Because it's not just Christians that get married. There are movies about it, magazines about it, television shows about it, and entire stores dedicated to it. It's part of our social fabric, the most important social ceremony we have.

Given that marriage is not uniquely Christian,  a more important question is, why do Christians wish to deny homosexuals the right to get married? How does it come between them and God? Or them and their spouse? In fact, how does it affect Christians in any way?

I have only one guiding moral principle. It's my equivelent of "What would Jesus do?" It's this: how does this make the world a better place? I try to minimize the adverse affects of my actions. I try to maximize the good. I still try to get as much enjoyment out of life as possible, since I believe that the only way to make our lives worthwhile is to enjoy them as much as possible, while trying to make the world as good a place as possible, so others might also enjoy this life. (Confusing, I know. Sorry about that.)

In the question of homosexual marriage, I ask myself, "How does denying homosexuals marriage make the world a better place?" And the answer is, "It doesn't." So, I ask myself the opposite question: "How does not denying homosexuals marriage make the world a better place?" And the answer is, "It will make people happier."

To me, it's a no-brainer.

Really, it's about acceptance. The whole marriage thing is like segregation. We used to deny people access to churches based on their skin color. "But they have their own churches! Why do they need to come into ours?" It's not about the word, "marriage," It's about being accepted into society as equals. It's about the end to an us-versus-them mentality.

Anyway. Here I am, going off on another rant.

Sorry. I didn't really mean to start a debate about gay marriage. It was an off-hand example of the whole concept of one person's belief affecting another person's life.

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hunter008 wrote:How do you

hunter008 wrote:
How do you know the bible is fiction?

First, the descriptions of events are contrary to much of the pertinent discoverable history. So that's a start.

Second, the entire case for the validity of the Bible rests on the existence of God. I don't know how many times I've heard this argument:

  a. How do you know God exists?

  b. The Bible told me.

  c. How do you know the Bible is true?

  d. Because God wrote it.

I'm completely serious. This is almost verbatim a conversation I had way back in my youth. And I've heard the same argument hundreds of times since then. Usually, it's much more sophisticated, but in the end, that's the entire logic for the justification for the truth of the Bible. (I was married to a fundamentalist Christian. We had many lively debates. She only used this argument on me once. After that, it was the people she had over that tried it on me.)

Anyway, since atheists don't believe in God, there's no evidence that it's not fiction.

Thirdly, and this is most important, the Bible contradicts empirical evidence. As this has been covered in another post, I won't bother going over it again. However, if you have specific questions, please feel free to ask. I'll answer what I can, and others will answer what they can.

 

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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I can honestly say if I were

I can honestly say if I were homosexual and in love I wouldn't give a darn what we called it. I actually would be more concerned that we have the same rights as others. I am not against them calling it marriage. I don't care one way or another. I'm just trying to understand. It is all a bit confusing. If I didn't have any respect for a group of people I wouldn't give a crap about their acceptance. If society has given me the rights that me and my partner deserve I don't need any term for my union to be accepted. Wouldn't really want their acceptance nor need it.

I think I'll quit posting. Would really like to read. I feel like I am on the attack. You insinuate that I care if homosexuals are married just because I state it wouldn't bother me if I didn't use a term important to a group of people that I may not respect myself.

hunter

Thanks for the offers of help but I am starting to feel your anger. I am just stating a view point and do not appreciate insinuations that I am anti homosexual because I question the importance of the term marriage.

While I find much of what is written here very interesting and thought provoking I can definately live without the anger, accusations at every turn. I have alway considered myself opened minded even before re evaluating my beliefs and was honestly interested in the atheist view point. I have learned much. For that I thank you.

Hunter


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hunter008 wrote:I can

hunter008 wrote:

I can honestly say if I were homosexual and in love I wouldn't give a darn what we called it. I actually would be more concerned that we have the same rights as others. I am not against them calling it marriage. I don't care one way or another. I'm just trying to understand. It is all a bit confusing. If I didn't have any respect for a group of people I wouldn't give a crap about their acceptance. If society has given me the rights that me and my partner deserve I don't need any term for my union to be accepted. Wouldn't really want their acceptance nor need it.

I think I'll quit posting. Would really like to read. I feel like I am on the attack. You insinuate that I care if homosexuals are married just because I state it wouldn't bother me if I didn't use a term important to a group of people that I may not respect myself.

hunter

Oh! I'm sorry if I implied anything other than you were asking an honest, simple question. I didn't take it as an attack at all, nor did I think you were against the idea per se. So far you've given no evidence that you aren't being sincere and curious. I was just trying to answer the question to the best of my ability. I know I use the term "Christians" to refer to a whole group of people, which is really a diverse group with many disparate ideas and ideals. I apologize if you felt I was obliquely referencing you. I wasn't. I'm not passive-aggressive. If I mean "you," I will say, "you."

I hope you mean you are only quitting for the evening. I really have enjoyed this so far. And, I hope you have too.

I know this can be overwhelming sometimes. Me, I'm addicted to this site like I used to be addicted to Slashdot years ago. So I get a little over-exuberant.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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I guess it wan't you who

I guess it wan't you who asked what my objection to homosexuals marrying was. This is not a personal thing. As I said I was just curious why such anger over a term. I just want to be clear I am not here to judge but to learn. That doesn't mean I won't say what I am thinking polietly of course. What is the point of a discussion if I can't speak honestly and openly. Having said that I still think the word marriage is just that  a word. I think I would put my energies somewhere else but that is me.

Thanks for clearing that up. I realized it wasn't you who said that. I want to be able to discuss openly.

hunter


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hunter008 wrote:I have been

hunter008 wrote:

I have been brought up in a religious family all of my life. Now at the ripe old age of 30 I am in much doubt of all I have been taught.

I also was brought up in a very religious family. I went to years of parochial school, I was an altar boy, and in the choir. I was Lutheran and became Catholic when I married to simplfy things.

hunter008 wrote:

I have never learned much about atheism. All I have ever heard is they believe in nothing which sounded awful to me. However, after much thought I started to wonder if maybe the here and now is all I really have. I am reading as much as I can to learn if there is more to it than what I have been told.

Years ago I read the works of Ayn Rand a noted writer and atheist too. I agreed with much she wrote but just couldn't get how she could not believe. Over 20 years ago I began to research ancient history as a hobby at first. It expanded into researching religion as well. When the Internet arrived I used it extensively to research topics, history, and religion. Many on this site seem to center on philiosophy or evolution as the cause for their disbelief, mine was more based on history of other civilizations indicated much in the Bible wasn't accurate or real. I had already accepted evolution years before as the most likely theory despite the Christian upbringing, so when I saw that the Bible had errors compared to Assyrian literature or archealogical finds, I pretty much was done with it. I have probably read the Bible through 20 or more times in several versions. I think one should understand what it says and doesn't say. Most professed Christians do not really know what they believe and definitely do not know why.

hunter008 wrote:

Do you fear religion, God or both?  Many people I know believe in God but do not call themselves religious. They believe religion is from man not from God.

The only thing I fear from religion is the discrimination that it brings into our laws. How can you fear that which doesn't exist? I fear the like of Jerry Falwell selling lies to his followers. In the U.S. generally people just assume you believe, and unless they know you they sometimes freak when they find out you don't. My research convinced me that religions especially those based on Yahweh, God of Abe, are all based on myths and legends. If you study the ancient religions of Caanan it stands out, at least to my perspective. 

 

hunter008 wrote:

I was thinking that believing this is all we have would be a relief in one way, as the pressure to make it, or be accepted to the next world would be gone. I thought people who believed this would be the carefree happy go lucky type.  I haven't sensed that by reading the posts here though. A lot of the post sound angry and resentful. Is that because you fear people who do believe? If so why? Do atheists feel they are responsible to enlighten believers like the believers feel they do to convert atheist? I am somewhat confused as  you can tell.

As others have said sometimes there are those here that don't want knowledge they are just trolling. I personally have no anger at theists and don't seek fights with them. If as happens I get cornered, I will draw on my knowledge of scripture and show them in detail why their arguements are useless. As others have said, I have what I see as a happy life. I look forward to every day and I try to learn something new as well. After I concluded this was all there was, I lost my fear of death completely. That doesn't mean I will try sky diving without a parachute however, or run red lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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hunter008 wrote:I guess it

hunter008 wrote:

I guess it wan't you who asked what my objection to homosexuals marrying was. This is not a personal thing. As I said I was just curious why such anger over a term. I just want to be clear I am not here to judge but to learn. That doesn't mean I won't say what I am thinking polietly of course. What is the point of a discussion if I can't speak honestly and openly. Having said that I still think the word marriage is just that  a word. I think I would put my energies somewhere else but that is me.

Thanks for clearing that up. I realized it wasn't you who said that. I want to be able to discuss openly.

hunter

I think, Hunter, that it's because of the implied discrimination. What purpose does it serve to come up with a new term for it except to say 'YOU can't have what WE have'? Marriage is a social contract between two adults, giving them social rights, property rights, and legal rights with regard to one another. The list of what benefits spouses gain is long and involved, and often complex enough that it takes multiple fighting lawyers to answer simple questions. So if a new term were coined, it would need to either be defined as 'the same as marriage', which would defeat the purpose of having a new term to begin with, or you'd need a long process to establish each and every thing the same.

But far, far more important, as near as I can tell, is that implied discrimination. It's a way to exclude people from having the same thing that those in power have, and it never actually creates equality. It just creates resentment among the people who are expected to be happy that they're not being allowed into the 'cool club', and resentment and anger among the folks who think they're being magnanimous and wonder why 'those people' are never satisfied. Separate But Equal sound familiar?

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid