Former Atheists: You Do NOT Know Me

Marty Hamrick
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Former Atheists: You Do NOT Know Me

On several religious debate forums, I've had more than one former atheist say that they were "once like me", and thus my motivations are similar to what there's were. Furthermore many go on to insist that every person has some sort of, for lack of a better word, "faith seed" in them that accounts for all the anti religious attitudes in atheists. These folks say that because atheists fight what god put in them, that we're an angry lot with a chip on our shoulders looking to fight Christians.

While I can't speak for all atheists, I can say with assurance that none of this describes me. I don't believe that I ever had this "faith seed" in my system (I'm really curious to see what Dr. Persinger's God Helmet would do for me. Richard Dawkins tried it and got nada. I feel pretty sure my results would be similar). I never disbelieved out of rebellion, in fact, except for some brief teen episodes, I wasn't a rebellious kid, so the belief that people are atheists because they don't want rules is utterly ridiculous, at least in my case it is. I'm the type of person who will stand at a street corner at 3 AM and wait for the traffic light to change before I cross even when there's no traffic.

All of my life growing up, I wanted to beleive.Religion was a big part of my family's personal and professional lives. My parents were very popular gospel singers in their day,having a TV and recording career that went back decades. For one thing, I was taught that if I didn't believe, I would burn eternally in hell or miss the Rapture, which was the cause for many of my childhood nightmares (they began to fade as I reached adolescence, the recurring nightmares of being dragged to hell started to become a comedic parady by the time I was 12, often the dream images were mixed with images and sounds from popular media. I once had a dream of being in hell and listening to the Kentucky Fried Chicken jingle). Also, virtually all of my friends were (many still are ) devout believers ( as is evidenced by the interviews I've shared here with my old friend, Ben Schumacher). It was in my best interest to believe. If you've ever lived in the deep south, especially in decades past, you know what I'm talking about. If you're a church going believer, you have an entire support system in the infrastructure, connections to jobs, schools, the best deals on car and house loans as all of those avenues can be found in the tight circles in churches.

I just didn't get it. I tried, more than once in various stages to be a believer, but it just wouldn't work with me. I would see my folks getting all emotional about god and what they believed and it stirred absolutely nothing within me. I couldn't buy it intellectually or emotionally. I have never once felt any attraction to the belief system or culture of any religion I was ever exposed to. For the longest time I thought something was wrong with me as I would see people who were very happy in their beliefs as well as those that cried during testimony, I wondered why I didn't feel anything.

Furthermore, I don't hate religious people. I really don't even hate religion, per se as I see it as a need for many folks, yet I absolutely deplore it when religious people feel the need to impose their beliefs on people through political action. This isn't limited to religious people, I also hate it when political fringe types and some of the crazier special interest groups do the same thing.

The bottom line, here, theistic friends, is that I don't feel you or your god and I never have, so any of you former atheists who have now renounced your unbelief, your background is most likely nothing like mine and your former motivations for non belief are not mine.

(mod edit: removed duplicate text)

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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O.O tl;dr   

O.O

 

tl;dr

 

 

 


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Is there a reason why you

Is there a reason why you pasted this so many times?

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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Hey, good introduction.

Hey, good introduction.  maybe a mod can modify it a little.

 


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Fixxored.

Fixxored.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


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It's how the church keeps

It's how the church keeps people, by telling them every opponent knows the truth and denies it because they hate god. It's sad really. Every time I hear a theist make such a ludicrous claim I feel sorry for their lack of intellect and education. They willingly delude themselves so much that they project delusional behaviour onto their opposition in a desperate act to save their sanity.

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Marty Hamrick wrote:These

Marty Hamrick wrote:
These folks say that because atheists fight what god put in them, that we're an angry lot with a chip on our shoulders looking to fight Christians.

I once heard Peter Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens christian brother) bring up that same old chestnut during a Newsnight debate with an atheist.

The funny thing was, he was practically foaming at the mouth when he said it, ready to jump out of his seat and headbutt the other guy.

The atheist, on the other hand, was soft-spoken, friendly, utterly relaxed, and apparently the only one who appreciated the irony.

 


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They have to believe things

They have to believe things like that about atheists, otherwise we represent a standing contradiction of the Biblical claims about the 'nature of man', just by our existence as apparently rational, ethical persons, sans God.

Which in turn simply allows us to be even more confident in our position, since we know their ideas do not describe our outlook.

We can quite readily accept what they say truly describes their mental state and world-view (not the truth of their claims about the reality of God, of course, but the fact that they believe it to be true), but they can't accept that what we say about ours is similarly true.

The demonstrable fact that there are well-educated, intelligent people who can go about life confidently, ethically, coping with the same problems we all face in life, as well or better than they do, even calmly accepting the fact that it will end, without any regular reference to God or Scripture annoys the hell out of them, or should I say the 'heaven'.

Just like the preacher friend of David Hume who was reportedly so disturbed to see Hume so calm as he faced his imminent death that he began to have doubts about his own faith.

Then when we can point to whole societies, such as the largely secular nations of northern Europe, which contradict their claims that people need 'God' to be moral, no wonder they can get to the point of 'foaming at the mouth'.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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You said it better than I

You said it better than I did.

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I too have never had any

I too have never had any belief in any gods for as long as I can remember.  Though I've also never really felt like I wanted to or even should believe that crap.  My parents weren't quite as involved as yours, but they did drag me to church and I complained the whole way.  But I don't remember ever feeling like I ought to be doing/believing/feeling something different with regards to religion.

 

There are a lot of assymetries between theists and atheists.  It's funny, because theists have this tendancy to downplay the assymetries by claiming that we have a "faith seed" or that science uses faith or that atheists really believe but are are just angry at God or whatever nonsense they come up with.  On the other hand, most atheists are perfectly fine admitting that there are very significant differences between the way we think and the way theists think.  Which, incidentally, is just another one of those assymetries.

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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 I don't know how I'd feel

 I don't know how I'd feel about people just randomly assuming they were "once like me" either.  I think I'd be rather offended, actually, since I grew up completely believing in Jesus and God and loving church camp and youth group and singing hymns and getting baptized and being a member of the most welcoming and open-minded congregation I think has ever existed.  I was raised on the "God is Love" philosophy, and so I didn't have much reason to doubt it until I had gone off to college and hit seven or eight or nine huge, significant potholes in my quest to find myself. 

Anyway, long story short I did get angry with God.  I thought He was watching me and laughing at my failures, even though I tried so hard to be a good person.  Then I thought about all the other good people in the world who get sick, who get abused, who get killed for no apparent reason and the longer I thought about it the harder it was for me to believe in the wonderful, loving, all-powerful God I'd been raised to believe.

I don't know how many ex-atheists grew up trying as hard as I tried to be chaste and pure and hard-working and respectful of authority just to go out into the world and be used as a filthy, worthless doormat.  I don't know what made them turn to religion, either, but from the testimonials I've heard (usually at those charismatic/Pentecostal type churches), they're never ex-atheists who did regular volunteer work and planted trees for a hobby, they're ex-atheists who had some methamphetamine addiction and slept in a gutter for six months before Jesus SHOWED THEM THE WAY.

 

...This turned out longer than I intended.  My point is that if someone ever said they were "once like me" I'd find it incredibly doubtful.


Marty Hamrick
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Quote:Is there a reason why

Quote:
Is there a reason why you pasted this so many times?

 

Strange hiccup in the computer.


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Sans God?

BobSpence1 wrote:

They have to believe things like that about atheists, otherwise we represent a standing contradiction of the Biblical claims about the 'nature of man', just by our existence as apparently rational, ethical persons, sans God.

 

 

Bob, that is assuming that God did not create you.  You are apparently rational, ethical persons, sans belief in God.

 

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

Then when we can point to whole societies, such as the largely secular nations of northern Europe, which contradict their claims that people need 'God' to be moral, no wonder they can get to the point of 'foaming at the mouth'.

Would that be the youth in England?  Smiling  Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.


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joe_2007 wrote:BobSpence1

joe_2007 wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

They have to believe things like that about atheists, otherwise we represent a standing contradiction of the Biblical claims about the 'nature of man', just by our existence as apparently rational, ethical persons, sans God.

 

 

Bob, that is assuming that God did not create you.  You are apparently rational, ethical persons, sans belief in God.

Which means what? You are making the assumption that God does exist.

Whether or not God does exist, I am a rational ethical person who has no intellectual or emotional need for a 'God' figure in my life, among many like myself. God belief is manifestly not necessary for morality and purpose and meaning.

There is no justification for belief in a God, especially in one with the attributes of the Christian version, ie omnipotence, goodness, all-knowing, etc.

If you feel you can't cope with life without it, that's your problem.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Then when we can point to whole societies, such as the largely secular nations of northern Europe, which contradict their claims that people need 'God' to be moral, no wonder they can get to the point of 'foaming at the mouth'.

Would that be the youth in England?  Smiling  Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.

I was more referring to the Scandinavian countries, such as Norway, which was recently shocked by the actions of an individual who admired the Crusades of the Medieval Church. It was very shocking in the context of a nation where such actions are very rare compared to the US, and where they don't even need a death penalty to maintain order.

And no, even with the UK, it would be a more comprehensive study of many aspects of the society, over a period, that is relevant.

No rational person would claim that any society is, or even could be, perfect, and any one failure of societal order, as in the recent events, does not mean it can no longer be regarded as healthier in the long run that other more religiously shackled societies.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Jean Chauvin
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Hi OPIE

You're a liar.

YOu never attempted to believe.

Hmm, an atheist as a liar, is this even possible? I mean, what about a Satanist? or a Demon? Could a demon lie? never.

Since belief is a gift, this is not something YOU do. or try to do. lol. Faith is given to those who are decreed to have it. You were never decreed to have it thus you never tried (Romans 3:10-12).

Also, the part of you that likes rules is due to the fact that you are the image of God though tempered. Thus, this means you are a very inconsistent atheist. In other words, you're not a very good atheist. A consistent atheist would be a communist/ anarchist and walk in contradictions and eventually eat poisoin and kill themselves right before they murderered everybody including their family.

The Gospel of Christianity has definitely INFLUENCED YOU despite your pagan behavior and you being a liar.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Hi OPIE

You're a liar.

YOu never attempted to believe.

Hmm, an atheist as a liar, is this even possible? I mean, what about a Satanist? or a Demon? Could a demon lie? never.

Since belief is a gift, this is not something YOU do. or try to do. lol. Faith is given to those who are decreed to have it. You were never decreed to have it thus you never tried (Romans 3:10-12).

Also, the part of you that likes rules is due to the fact that you are the image of God though tempered. Thus, this means you are a very inconsistent atheist. In other words, you're not a very good atheist. A consistent atheist would be a communist/ anarchist and walk in contradictions and eventually eat poisoin and kill themselves right before they murderered everybody including their family.

The Gospel of Christianity has definitely INFLUENCED YOU despite your pagan behavior and you being a liar.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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^ jean gets all pissed off

^ jean gets all pissed off every time his beliefs are exposed for the lies they are. Laughing out loud

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Hi Jean Chauvin

Jean Chauvin wrote:
Could a demon lie? never.
Methinks you are exchanging demons for devils.

Jean Chauvin wrote:
Since belief is a gift, this is not something YOU do. or try to do. lol.
Faith is not a gift, you train it and create it out of you super-ego. It's just a piece of living intelligence that resides in your brain.

Jean Chauvin wrote:
Faith is given to those who are decreed to have it. You were never decreed to have it thus you never tried (Romans 3:10-12).
Which means there's no real causality so it means randomly so it doesn't really exists (the giving).

Jean Chauvin wrote:
Also, the part of you that likes rules is due to the fact that you are the image of God though tempered.
No, it's called "culture". A lot of human communities developed the same rules. Maybe you need an encyclopedia of cultural values? May I add also "the evolution of cultural values"?

Jean Chauvin wrote:
Thus, this means you are a very inconsistent atheist. In other words, you're not a very good atheist. A consistent atheist would be a communist/ anarchist and walk in contradictions and eventually eat poisoin and kill themselves right before they murderered everybody including their family.
Wrong again because you're arguing your definition of atheism. Also a communist is not really an atheist for he believes in economics (in money) like a religion.

Jean Chauvin wrote:
The Gospel of Christianity has definitely INFLUENCED YOU despite your pagan behavior and you being a liar.
Christianity, whatever it is, is a pagan religion like all the others and it has been influenced herself from other cultures.

Jean Chauvin wrote:
Respectfully,
R.O.T.F.LOLCOPTER... Seriously, isn't it time to remove this word?

May I ask question to you? Why biblical religions calls the biblical god "father", he is supposed to create life, which is something women do. Therefore it should be "mother".

 


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....snorting

I just had a similar discussion with my twin sister.  I'm trying to get used to being the 'evil twin' when I used to always be the 'shy twin'.  She's still a super-fundy evangelical whose faith is of course as unique as a snowflake.  And she totally understands my depravity and rejection of god more than I myself do - it's completely transparent to her.   But 'I still love you as a sister'.  mpfhhhh

I really made an effort to get through to her that as long as she thinks I'm a puppet of satan, we can't have a reasonable conversation.  We aren't really talking now, unfortunately.

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


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Thanks Marty for your

Thanks Marty for your background.

No one has my experience. It is mine alone, but I can identify with other's story.

Because of fear I threw myself heart and soul into religion. But there was always, even at the very best of times, a shred of doubt, solid and constant. I was told it was the sin in me. Now I call that the best part of me. I cheer for the rebel in me. It keeps me from buying BS.

I was ready to accept you didn't have the "faith seed" implanted until you wrote about the horrors of your childhood nightmares that continued into your adolescence and faded. That seems quite a stretch of time and must have planted some "evil seed" into your subconscious. You felt socially you needed to believe (a southern as well) and even made attempts to believe. I think that is the religious experience and that is why people join. If there was no hell in religion, especially Christianity, there would be few followers.

I have been hostile to religion, but as years go on and I fully embrace atheism and science that is lessening. 

My parents were heavy church goers, but I knew that guilt and fear played a heavy part.

Maybe I am one of those people but seems you did go through it, just shorter than others and in particular me.

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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Vastet wrote:^ jean gets all

Vastet wrote:
^ jean gets all pissed off every time his beliefs are exposed for the lies they are. :D

 

So I've noticed.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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ex-minister wrote: I was

ex-minister wrote:

 

I was ready to accept you didn't have the "faith seed" implanted until you wrote about the horrors of your childhood nightmares that continued into your adolescence and faded. That seems quite a stretch of time and must have planted some "evil seed" into your subconscious. You felt socially you needed to believe (a southern as well) and even made attempts to believe. I think that is the religious experience and that is why people join. If there was no hell in religion, especially Christianity, there would be few followers.

I

 

Maybe "faith seed" was the wrong choice of words, perhaps I should've said "faith organ". Dr. Michael Persinger has done experiments with his so called "God Helmet" that seems to point to something in the hypothalamus that appears to be the seat of religious/mystical experiences. Some folks seem to be able to easily tap this region and others, such as Professor Dawkins , who tried the GH, could not. I suspect that I don't have whatever it is in the hypothalamus that makes those experiences. The nightmares were a result of sitting in church every Sunday hearing preachers talk about hell as if they were born and raised there. Not sure if I agree that if the hell doctrine disappeared, Christianity would follow, there are many religions that don't believe in hell, including some sects of Christianity.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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I know

Marty, I know exactly what you mean.

I can not tell you how many times, when I have been debating a theist, they will come at me with something like :

"I used to be just like you, I did not want nothing to do with god, I hated god, turned my back on god,".

They almost ALWAYS have to proceed with something like "Then I got strung out on drugs, hung out in the worst places and committed the worst acts of sin, but the grace of JEEESSSUUUSSSS saved my soul and changed my life".

THEN, they have to end it with : "I'll be praying for you,".

It really pisses me off when I hear that sort of nonsense.  They are making a bunch of presumptions and I am not sure that these people were ever truly atheists.Just disenchanted theists. I have been through all sorts of tragedy and turmoil in my life ( who hasn't ?) and after I left religion, I have never once thought about going back to it nor sending up prayers.

After all, aren't prayers just a fancy way of saying wishful thinking ?

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Marty Hamrick

Marty Hamrick wrote:

ex-minister wrote:

I was ready to accept you didn't have the "faith seed" implanted until you wrote about the horrors of your childhood nightmares that continued into your adolescence and faded. That seems quite a stretch of time and must have planted some "evil seed" into your subconscious. You felt socially you needed to believe (a southern as well) and even made attempts to believe. I think that is the religious experience and that is why people join. If there was no hell in religion, especially Christianity, there would be few followers.

Maybe "faith seed" was the wrong choice of words, perhaps I should've said "faith organ". Dr. Michael Persinger has done experiments with his so called "God Helmet" that seems to point to something in the hypothalamus that appears to be the seat of religious/mystical experiences. Some folks seem to be able to easily tap this region and others, such as Professor Dawkins , who tried the GH, could not. I suspect that I don't have whatever it is in the hypothalamus that makes those experiences. The nightmares were a result of sitting in church every Sunday hearing preachers talk about hell as if they were born and raised there. Not sure if I agree that if the hell doctrine disappeared, Christianity would follow, there are many religions that don't believe in hell, including some sects of Christianity.

 

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert Burton. 

Dr. Burton calls it a feeling of knowing and it appears to be a primary emotion like fear, anger, happiness, etc.  That is, you can stimulate the brain chemically or electrically and get the response.  Unlike disgust, embarrassment, and other secondary emotions.  The feeling is often associated with religion.

You may learn the letters and symbols: e=mc2.  But you may not know what it means or understand how to apply it.  But you work with the equation, gallantly continuing on with your physics class, until one day -- you know.  You have that feeling of understanding and comfort of knowledge.  It is the eureka! moment.

Evolutionarily, why people are comforted by the feeling of knowing is being debated.  And I don't know why some of us have the feeling when presented with religious rituals/knowledge/emotions and why some of us don't.  I have tried to be religious a couple of times in my life.  But it seems my feeling of knowing was triggered at a young age by science and so the religious thing never got started for me.

Dabbling around in the world of Why People Believe Weird Things, but not really a psychologist myself, it seems that once your feeling of knowing is triggered, it is next to impossible to eradicate it if you are later presented with facts that disprove what you thought you knew.  I have had people say to me - your facts are right, but I am going to believe what I know is so.  Usually because, they say, they have faith.  Which always astounds me - how can you have faith in misinformation?  Which is probably my major problem with religion.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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That really seems to be the

That really seems to be the basic problem - how do you get empiricism and the need for 'objective' evidence across to a person has adopted their whole "world-view" based on the conviction that that "feeling of knowing" is by itself all you need, that it cannot be just a feeling, ie with no factual substance in the content of what is "known".

Maybe once you 'get' science, and the idea that your intuitive conclusions can be quite wrong, and the importance of independent evidence, you've cut the ground from under the "I know I know" approach.

Or is it just that with some of us the 'feeling of knowing' by itself is not strong enough to block the acceptance of a more scientific approach when we are introduced to it? There does seem to be evidence that the propensity to 'faith' has a genetic component.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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ex-minister wrote:Thanks

ex-minister wrote:

Thanks Marty for your background.

No one has my experience. It is mine alone, but I can identify with other's story.

Because of fear I threw myself heart and soul into religion. But there was always, even at the very best of times, a shred of doubt, solid and constant. I was told it was the sin in me. Now I call that the best part of me. I cheer for the rebel in me. It keeps me from buying BS.

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but I am not yet convinced that doubt does me a great deal of good for me as a person. Yes, lots of different types of faiths can be a "mindfuck and a half", and yes often it is better to be disillusioned than deluded. I have the seemingly unique ability to smell other people's BS coming from a mile away, but that oddly does not stop me from falling into a trap, and there are some who can truthfully claim to be in better shape mentally and emotionally, if not better informed, while participating in religion, or even woo for that matter. They essentially enable a sort shield of ignorance for the mind, and while these people I refer to anonymously might be more easily exploited and abused by the leaders and masterminds of whatever religion they follow (usually Christianity), they either carefully hide that fact from everyone else, or they've yet to be shamelessly exploited and abused by others. (For some reason, I'm reminded about how Ludwig "Tarzan" Fainberg refers to the US as "The Wild West", because it was so easy for him to con and steal from people in the early 90s)

Self-doubt "the best part of me"? I would be delusional to claim that. It is very easy to learn to cast doubt on far too much, though I guess I can at least brag about being a better realist, if nothing else. That, and I feel like binge drinking. Sad

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


ex-minister
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Kapkao wrote:Not to rain on

Kapkao wrote:

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but I am not yet convinced that doubt does me a great deal of good for me as a person. Yes, lots of different types of faiths can be a "mindfuck and a half", and yes often it is better to be disillusioned than deluded. I have the seemingly unique ability to smell other people's BS coming from a mile away, but that oddly does not stop me from falling into a trap, and there are some who can truthfully claim to be in better shape mentally and emotionally, if not better informed, while participating in religion, or even woo for that matter. They essentially enable a sort shield of ignorance for the mind, and while these people I refer to anonymously might be more easily exploited and abused by the leaders and masterminds of whatever religion they follow (usually Christianity), they either carefully hide that fact from everyone else, or they've yet to be shamelessly exploited and abused by others. (For some reason, I'm reminded about how Ludwig "Tarzan" Fainberg refers to the US as "The Wild West", because it was so easy for him to con and steal from people in the early 90s)

Self-doubt "the best part of me"? I would be delusional to claim that. It is very easy to learn to cast doubt on far too much, though I guess I can at least brag about being a better realist, if nothing else. That, and I feel like binge drinking. Sad

 

My tiny shred of doubt saved me from a life of misery and that is why I label it the best part of me. you know some of my background and I see people who spend their life as I did wrestling with this doubt and always trying to pin it, but with limited success. But it always comes back up. It is like CJ signature, I feel better once I stopped trying to believe. It certainly gave me a better and more satisfying life after I honored my doubt. I used to hate being in my own company. That is no longer a problem.

Now I am not sure what you are saying.

Are you saying ignorance is bliss and you desire it?

Are you saying you are tired of being a rebel without a cause?

I have no issue with your disagreement. I can only look at things from my viewpoint. It is like anger for instance. In my past I totally stuffed it and would never let it out except thru deep depression and passive-aggressive behavior. For me I had to learn to express it directly. I have met (and am related to) people on the other side who express anger all the time. It spills out everywhere and to everyone within hearing range. They need to go the other direction. The bottom line for both is to take responsibility for their behavior. For those like me it is expressing it directly. For others it is learning to not make it everyone else's problem and processing it more internally.

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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ex-minister wrote:Are you

ex-minister wrote:
Are you saying ignorance is bliss and you desire it?

Are you saying you are tired of being a rebel without a cause?

I'm saying I think the fairy tales still serve a function that most people here and even the cristnuts remain blind to. Whether it is 'comfortable complacency', or living in a dreamworld... I don't know 100%.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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cj wrote:   On Being

cj wrote:

 

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert Burton. 

Dr. Burton calls it a feeling of knowing and it appears to be a primary emotion like fear, anger, happiness, etc.  That is, you can stimulate the brain chemically or electrically and get the response.  Unlike disgust, embarrassment, and other secondary emotions.  The feeling is often associated with religion.

You may learn the letters and symbols: e=mc2.  But you may not know what it means or understand how to apply it.  But you work with the equation, gallantly continuing on with your physics class, until one day -- you know.  You have that feeling of understanding and comfort of knowledge.  It is the eureka! moment.

Stephen Colbert calls it truthiness, as distinct from truth.

I call it two things. In a general sense, I call it intuition, the feeling that one thing is right rather than another. You don't know how you know, you just know (or think you do, anyway). It's useful to use the word intuition because it's relatable to just about anyone, but it's also fairly well grounded in psychology, so you don't have to go with any superstition or woo woo interpretation. Also, it's useful to be able to point out that it is often simply wrong, and has obvious flaws and biases.

The other thing I call it is wonder. Specifically, that eureka! feeling. The Ah Ha! The Wow! Or my old stand by, the Cool!

Connecting it to the feeling of wonder, which I honestly think is really the same thing, is useful to show that it can come in small doses and big doses. A small dose is when you answer the math question, and check in the back of the book for the answers, and, "Yep, I got it right. Cool." It's a primary emotion for learning things. A big dose would be like when you first have a mind-blowing understanding of something, like evolution, or the scale of the Earth or Solar System, or Milky Way. Or thinking about a familiar thing in a completely new way that twists a whole lot of concepts in your mind upside down. Paradigm shifts. That sort of thing.

To me, they are all just gradations of the same feeling, wonder.

I once had a friend in university who kept going on about his philosophy that "Truth is a feeling." And I was always like, "WTF?! No it isn't! You're a really smart guy, how can you say something like that? Truth is truth. It doesn't change with our feelings! ... etc."

Now, if I were to meet him again, I would know how to talk to him about his ideas. He was on the same wavelength I was/am, he just used different words that were incompatible with my words, and so we continually misunderstood each other. He was talking about the feeling of 'truth', I was talking about the objective reality of a 'truth'.

(BTW: This is one reason why I get annoyed when people complain that I argue about definitions a lot (not as much as I used to, but still), because IMO definitions are crucially important if you want to be able to understand one another. Otherwise, you get people using vague and fuzzy words like 'god' that literally have approx. 7 billion different meanings, depending on the population of the Earth at the time.)

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Evolutionarily, why people are comforted by the feeling of knowing is being debated. 

My best guess: It quenches the overpowering fear of the unknown. In this way, it can be addictive, like quenching a craving for a cigarette.

"Oh my god, Grandma's gone forever? (Oh no, what does that mean? I'll never see her again? I feel like I'm gonna cry or die or something terrible!)"

"Don't worry, child, she's in a better place in heaven, where everybody gets a mansion, and all their loved ones are there, and there's no pain."

"(could it be true? ) Really, momma?"

"Yes, dear, because Jesus blah blah blah"

"That's wonderful! Grandma's okay! I'll see her again? Wow! That would be really awesome!"

And a religion is born.

The fake 'truth' doesn't even have to have an evolutionary advantage on its own. It just has to trigger the fear-of-unknown/anxiety/relief pathway, which already has a clear evolutionary advantage (imagine a young child separated from mommy and then finding her again).

The unknown is scary. The known is comfy.

Quote:
Dabbling around in the world of Why People Believe Weird Things, but not really a psychologist myself, it seems that once your feeling of knowing is triggered, it is next to impossible to eradicate it if you are later presented with facts that disprove what you thought you knew.  I have had people say to me - your facts are right, but I am going to believe what I know is so.  Usually because, they say, they have faith.  Which always astounds me - how can you have faith in misinformation?

Fear of the unknown. "But if my religion is a lie... Then my parents lied to me! And if I'm being tricked by Satan into disbelief, I'll go to hell! Oh no! Unknown future! Fear! Help me Lord Jesus! I believe, I believe! Don't burn me for eternity! <huff puff> Whew! Thank you Jesus! What a relief! No more facing the unknown for me!"

This is why I frame the conflict as one between wonder and terror. Even feelings of relief from anxiety/fear can still be based in terror, by simply giving in to the fear and surrendering to it. I tend to think this is what Christians are really referring to when they speak of Jesus' 'love'. Wonder, on the other hand, keeps looking for the unknowns, and if fear gets in the way, wonder figures away around it. It is continuous curiosity, a desire to know the unknown, and to overcome the fear in that way. Once you know the unknown, it's no longer unknown, and no longer terrorizes you.

So, another possibility why science educated atheists hardly ever, if at all, convert back to theism is because the old unknowns are no longer unknown to us. We understand them, and they have no power of fear over us. So the ancient myths just sound childish. Like, "Oh no! The Boogeyman is real?! Although I distinctly remember that it was just the older kids playing a joke on me, for some reason I feel afraid of him now!" Yeah. Right.

This awesome video from philhellenes illustrates this idea beautifully. Why Don't Scientists Fear Hell?:


And this one is the nail in the coffin. Science Saved My Soul:


 

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Kapkao wrote:ex-minister

Kapkao wrote:

ex-minister wrote:
Are you saying ignorance is bliss and you desire it?

Are you saying you are tired of being a rebel without a cause?

I'm saying I think the fairy tales still serve a function that most people here and even the cristnuts remain blind to. Whether it is 'comfortable complacency', or living in a dreamworld... I don't know 100%.

I would go with complacency 9 times out of 10.

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I agree with you that for

I agree with you that for many people, it is baseless fear that keeps them in line.  And the videos are beautiful.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Kapkao wrote:ex-minister

Kapkao wrote:

ex-minister wrote:
Are you saying ignorance is bliss and you desire it?

Are you saying you are tired of being a rebel without a cause?

I'm saying I think the fairy tales still serve a function that most people here and even the cristnuts remain blind to. Whether it is 'comfortable complacency', or living in a dreamworld... I don't know 100%.

I think most people here are fully aware of the 'function' that the fairy tales and other mythical stories of all kinds serve. People do seem to be attracted to a 'narrative' which can give a 'context' in which to frame their life experience. Science of the mind/brain is helping us study and understand this.

We just go a step further and recognize the problems that can lead to, when the mismatch between the myth and reality becomes to great in some respect, and the meme-junkies aren't able to separate the comforting myth from what is really happening around them.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology