Theory on why Atheists and Theists would rarely see eye to eye

curiousjorge050476
Theist
Posts: 59
Joined: 2007-06-05
User is offlineOffline
Theory on why Atheists and Theists would rarely see eye to eye

First of all, i'm posting this not to seek an argument or the sort, but only to air my opinion and see if anyone would agree with me or would benefit from it.  My ultimate goal of course is to learn how to effectively interact with others having a set of beliefs totally different from my own.

 Having said that, here goes:

 I believe that a person's perception of reality is based on beliefs or truths he/she has accepted (remember reading about this, but can't quite remember from what school of thought this idea came from originally).  Therefore, its possible for people who live on different beliefs to see reality differently.  We can then see the difficulty of something as simple of even explaining or describing one's perception of reality to another, especially when their beliefs are so different.

An example would be two children playing with a white colored toy.  Now lets say that child1 is wearing shades tinted blue, and child2 is wearing shades tinted green.  At one point child1 who wears the blue shades comments,"this is a nice blue toy," child2 would try to correct him saying, "No, that is a green toy".  Now the argument would never end, with each child trying to convince the other.

Neither is lying, nor is anyone being dishonest and both earnestly believe in what they say.  Its just that neither child can comprehen why his friend just cannot see things the way he does. 

So what do you think?


ugzog
Bronze Member
ugzog's picture
Posts: 84
Joined: 2007-02-08
User is offlineOffline
The child that wore no

The child that wore no shades, and saw it as a white toy, will be the future atheist.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13254
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I constantly run into this

I constantly run into this from both theists and atheists.

The answer is "Yes" we as a species CAN see eye to eye on issues. But that is contingant on people being willing to step outside a claim and seperate it from the person.

Humans for far too long have associated titles and labels and status to being the person itself. Words are not the person, the person is the person and each person is an individual.

"I am an atheist" only refures to my position on the existance of a deity. It shouldnt and does not absove me from seeing the common good and common flaws in humans.

When humans start seeing beyond labels such as nationality, race, party, govement ideology, class or status ect ect, and learn to look for overlap, the differances that will continue anyway, wont be so much on the front burner to end up in violent conflict.

So on the issue of "existance of a deity" I agree that the atheist and theist rarely see eye to eye. But dont lose sight that there is more to a person than just a theological position either way.

1. We all want a place to live and food to eat.

2. We all want to be loved. Not nessarly by everybody, but by those close to us such as family and friends.

3. We are all capable of doing good or bad.

4. We all can feel pain and can and do suffer.

5. We all are capable of emotions such as love, jelousy, hate, ect ect ect. 

I think that list above is much more helpfull uniting people than ancient  books that people cant even agree on. 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


zntneo
Superfan
Posts: 565
Joined: 2007-01-25
User is offlineOffline
curiousjorge050476

curiousjorge050476 wrote:
 I believe that a person's perception of reality is based on beliefs or truths he/she has accepted (remember reading about this, but can't quite remember from what school of thought this idea came from originally).  Therefore, its possible for people who live on different beliefs to see reality differently.  We can then see the difficulty of something as simple of even explaining or describing one's perception of reality to another, especially when their beliefs are so different.

I think George Kelly talks about this in his Personal Construct Theory.  I think based on what i know of Kelly that he would say that showing an understanding of the other persons postion and show the likeness of how they perceive realty provides a way to loosen that persons Person Constructs and then allows for that person to move outside of his personal constructs more easily .
Kelly talks about how anxiety,Threat, fear, guilt, aggressiveness and hostility all have to do with experiences that lie outside the range of convenience of one's construct system. In other words someone has these feelings when the expereience is to outside of their own constructs about their life and reality. 
Ok i'll stop i could go on but i feel i'm ranting. 


Strafio
Strafio's picture
Posts: 1346
Joined: 2006-09-11
User is offlineOffline
jeorge, you have a good

jeorge, you have a good point in some ways.
How beliefs are holistic, i.e. how we interpret something will depend on the rest our beliefs. Kuhn pointed out that how scientific data was interpreted depended on the paradigm of the time - and this wasn't a flaw that most scientists make, it's the right way to go about things.

That doesn't mean relativism though.
These different 'paradigms' that stop people seeing eye to eye can themselves be criticised. The theistic one comes out flawed and that's why people in the business of reason often end up leaving it behind. The important point is that something that seems obvious within your paradigm might be nonsensical in another persons, so a theist's theism will be rooted in a number of background beliefs that need to be tackled as a whole.


Andyy
Andyy's picture
Posts: 182
Joined: 2007-05-18
User is offlineOffline
I agree with ugzog.  Only

I agree with ugzog.  Only the kid who removed glasses (or never put them on in the first place) sees the toy as white.  So they will see eye to eye they both have no glasses or the same color.  However, black toys, like some issues, are seen as black regardless of the glassses that are on.   

Just like the common atheist cliche...  Off is not a TV channel, bald is not a hair color.


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
Quote: I believe that a

Quote:
I believe that a person's perception of reality is based on beliefs or truths he/she has accepted (remember reading about this, but can't quite remember from what school of thought this idea came from originally).

Absolutely.

Quote:
Therefore, its possible for people who live on different beliefs to see reality differently.

Nevertheless, there are unavoidable truths. The fundamentals of philosophy and logic are necessary for ANY knowledge to exist. Since knowledge clearly exists, anything that contradicts these fundamentals, or anything that follows logically from them, can be definitively proven false. A person who does not understand this, and believes a falsehood can be shown to have a false belief. There is objective reality outside of our perceptions, and we can know some things with certainty.

Quote:
We can then see the difficulty of something as simple of even explaining or describing one's perception of reality to another, especially when their beliefs are so different.

Precisely! How do you explain that the word "supernatural" is incoherent and meaningless when the person you're talking to is convinced that not only is it meaningful, it is intrinsic to existence? Nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine times out of ten thousand, you can't. Might as well bang your head against a wall for an hour and call it a productive day.

(Of course, "supernatural" is objectively incoherent, and this follows logically from the foundations of thought and logic...)

Quote:
An example would be two children playing with a white colored toy. Now lets say that child1 is wearing shades tinted blue, and child2 is wearing shades tinted green. At one point child1 who wears the blue shades comments,"this is a nice blue toy," child2 would try to correct him saying, "No, that is a green toy". Now the argument would never end, with each child trying to convince the other.

Of course, a perceptive child would remove the glasses. Maybe the argument wouldn't be over, but at least one child would know the truth.

Quote:
Neither is lying

You're not familiar with Benny Hinn or Kent Hovind, are you? Pardon me for extending your analogy, but there are many dishonest theists. If this isn't where you were headed, pardon me. Also, you must consider that many theists are dishonest with themselves. Take it from a former theist.

Quote:
Its just that neither child can comprehen why his friend just cannot see things the way he does.

In my years of debating theists, I've run into an awful lot who wouldn't comprehend. But, your point is well taken. Many people have been indoctrinated to the point that they cannot comprehend simple logic, and don't even see the glasses on their own face.

I know I'm not going the way you want with this, but where your analogy ends is at objective reality and logic. It's fine to say that someone doesn't understand your argument because they believe differently, but the fact is, one side is right, and one is wrong, and the differing belief systems can be analyzed critically to determine the truth.

 

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


The Patrician
The Patrician's picture
Posts: 474
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
My wife is a deist.  I am

My wife is a deist.  I am an atheist.

We see eye to eye.

This is not an uncommon situation. 

 

 

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.