(Closed) Calling All Atheists–Please Give Me Some Insight

posted 8 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 77
Member
4322 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

@sylvia.riggle:  That part was said more as a joke than anything else. Inflection doesn’t translate well via text.

Post # 78
Member
5219 posts
Bee Keeper

I am really enjoying this thread ! ( and I am not athiest… I just find it so interesting and informative!)

Post # 79
Member
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

1. In your view, what is responsible for the existence of the universe? Where did the world come from? How did it come into being?

I don’t know. I don’t claim to know nor do I think I need to. People spend their entire lives studying the universe and seeing as I don’t even have a graduate degree yet, I can’t say I feel comfortable pretending to posses such knowledge.

2. What are the basic elements of your belief system?

I believe considering others in your actions and avoiding selfishness would make for a beautiful world if everyone used it as a rule of thumb, personally. Mostly I advocate for tolerance, equality, and freedom to pursue happiness within reason. I do not believe faith is necessarily a virtue, and I tend to value free thinking and reason as virtues.  (:

3. Explain to me in which religion you were raised by your parents, if any. How did your parents approach religion in the home (strict, lax, etc.)?

I was raised catholic until middle school, when we switched denominations to Pentecostal. I started having serious doubts when I was 14 or so and by the time I hit sophomore year of college it wasn’t a matter of if I was loosing my faith but I should handle it with such a deeply religious family.

4. What events in your past affected your beliefs about God’s existence (e.g. – I studied biology; comparative religions or anthropology; or I met a boy/girl I liked and was influenced by him/her)?

I first started doubting when I was 14 and started falling for a girl. My Mom made it pretty clear in the months leading to her all out kicking her 14 year old daughter out for having a girl friend that she found it, and me, repulsive. My girl friend at the time is still a dear friend who was one of the first people in my life to inspire me to open my mind. Eventually my love for history, scholarly writing, and critical thinking gave me the backbone to leave my faith.

5. What are your main objections to belief in God’s existence (e.g – suffering; pluralism; hiddenness)?

I just don’t believe I should believe in/advocate for something that I am not absolutely, intellectually able to say I believe exists. Not to be offensive to anyone, but I think in ways that religion is very characteristic of human nature- we’ve had religion as long as we’ve had recorded history, practically. I think many people who are religious have it in their personalities, cultures, and of course were indoctrinated at a young age. For many their religions are geographical accidents. For example- my dear Madre is VERY, deeply religious. I think she would be this way no matter what culture she was born in, whether it be in a Christian, or Muslim practicing culture. I think it’s hard to overcome all that influence for most; I mean, 90% of Americans identify as some slice of the Christian pie. And in the words of Bill Mahr, “Not having faith is really a luxury.” For many people faith is just a deep seeded, emotional need.

6. What is your purpose in life, and why did you choose that purpose? Is it just yours, or for everyone else too?

I don’t have that answer. I think if any of us did, they’d never get the rest of this argumentative world to agree anyways!

7. What happens to a person at death?

I’m not sure, but I’ll know when I get there. I assume nothing, because thats about all we have evidence for. I recently saw a postsecret that said: “If oblivion is all there is when we die, if nothing happens except suffering ends, or a happy life was lived, or a boring life was finally over, an evil life was snuffed out, I think that’s a wonderful alternative to heaven and hell. And I’d chose oblivion.

8. How important is your belief system to you in terms of your decision making process? How does it enter into the ways that you establish priorities and goals?

Very important. I’d worry about a person who’s belief system and decision making process weren’t combined…

9. If you could say anything you want about what you perceive to be the Christian community, what would you say? What are the problems with the Christian view of reality? What do you like/appreciate about Christians? What do you not like or appreciate?

I just don’t have much in common with that belief system or way of thinking. That’s as simply as I can put it.

10. Is there anything else you think I should know about atheism from your perspective?

We’re not evil or lacking morals (:

11. Please include a little about yourself, for example: age, gender, worldview affiliation, occupation, education level, married or not, etc.

20, F, University student, Engaged. 

😀

Post # 81
Member
679 posts
Busy bee

I’m afraid of death and dying in the sense that I don’t want to die before I’ve been able to do and accomplish all the things I desire. I’m afraid of death and dying because it might happen in a painful or prolonged way. 

I am not afraid of death and dying in the sense that I won’t have anywhere to go after I die or that I will cease to exist, because I know that I’ll be dead and won’t be able to feel or perceive anything. I won’t know I’m dead and not in heaven or a “better place” because…well…I’ll be dead. So I won’t care. Or be able to care. I’m not sure I’m making sense…

Post # 82
Member
4322 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

@AnAppleA_Day:  I also fear the last few moments of death more than the actual event itself. That has to be a harrowing experience.

Post # 83
Member
3580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@MissB2MrsO:  I can’t pretend that I am one of those wise people who stay positive all the time because ‘this is the only life we get’.  But what bums me out more are the folks who die thinking they’re going off to some great party and then…nada.  But I guess they don’t really care either so there is really no point in being bummed out.  I dunno.  Mortality is a tough subject for me.

OMFG, I was actually on the John Edward show.  I told you my mom was spiritualist, right?  She won the ticket drawing and she, my aunt, and myself flew out to NY.  It was in the 3 story old building in Queens and I remember that we made sure not to say anything while we were waiting in line in case they had the area bugged and used the info in our reading.  Sure enough we were called on!  It’s crazy, my mom has a copy somewhere, they all followed up with my mom and aunt to ‘validate’ everything.  Which they did!  That said, if you dig deep enough, you can validate anything.

 

Post # 84
Member
1074 posts
Bumble bee

@WillyNilly:  It’s called hot reading, it’s a really interesting little psychological loophole. Some people are really good at it, that plus selective editing and outright bugging like you mentioned. 

South Park actually did a hilarious episode where Stan demonstrated hot reading and everyone thought he was psychic.

EDIT: My bad, it’s actually called cold reading. I always confuse the two. :/

Post # 86
Member
1074 posts
Bumble bee

@WillyNilly:  Yup! It’s probably one of my favorite episodes too. I think I’m going to go put it on right now even. 🙂

 

Back on topic slightly, I just wanted to commend you OP for being so open to something that you’ve never been exposed to. It’s not an easy thing to do and I hope you get an A!

Post # 87
Member
4369 posts
Honey bee

 

1. In your view, what is responsible for the existence of the universe? Where did the world come from? How did it come into being?  The big bang probably. We don’t know yet, and I’m ok with that. 

2. What are the basic elements of your belief system? Treat other people how you would want them to treat you.Treat living creatures with respect. 

3. Explain to me in which religion you were raised by your parents, if any. How did your parents approach religion in the home (strict, lax, etc.)?  My parents and most of my family are Catholic. I was raised as one, church on Sundays, sacraments, so on. 

4. What events in your past affected your beliefs about God’s existence (e.g. – I studied biology; comparative religions or anthropology; or I met a boy/girl I liked and was influenced by him/her)? I started doubting the Church around 13 or so after I learned about the crusades. The more and more inconsistencies and illogical things about the religion became apparent. For example, it made no sense that a just god would condemn people he supposedly loves to hell just because they were born in the wrong place or wrong time. Or that free choice was some kind of a gift if it can condemn you (after all, you wouldn’t let a 2-year-old play with fire and say “too bad, it was your choice” if he then burns himself). By 18, I was over the whole religion thing. 

 

5. What are your main objections to belief in God’s existence (e.g – suffering; pluralism; hiddenness)? I don’t object to a god’s existence, I object organized religion as a tool to control the masses. I can believe in a “god” as an impersonal fire-starter or domino-pusher, but there is no evidence of a personal god, especially one that has been used to justify all kinds of hatred, greed, and intolerance. 

6. What is your purpose in life, and why did you choose that purpose? Is it just yours, or for everyone else too?  Live a happy and fulfilling life, love those around you and leave the world better than when you found it. 

7. What happens to a person at death?  Who knows? The body dies for sure, anything else is the great mystery. 

8. How important is your belief system to you in terms of your decision making process? How does it enter into the ways that you establish priorities and goals?  Pretty simple-treat people fairly. 

9. If you could say anything you want about what you perceive to be the Christian community, what would you say? What are the problems with the Christian view of reality? What do you like/appreciate about Christians? What do you not like or appreciate?  It’s irrelevant to me what others believe,it’s their choice. That said, the only people who have acted sanctimonious to me have been Christians. I know it’s not all, but I’ve come across many who have been intolerant, know it alwnand pushes their believes on others while condemning those who disagree. This is not something I’ve personally encountered from other religions. 

I would also want them to know that just because you’re atheist does not mean you’re immoral or unkind. People can do great things with or without religion; it is not a prerequisite. Also, many many horrible things have been done in the name of religion. Finally, I don’t want to live in a theocracy. As a thought experiment, religious people should think how they would like it if they had to live in a theocracy of a religion other than their own. 

10. Is there anything else you think I should know about atheism from your perspective?  Atheists are generally more knowledgeable about religions than many people, it’s something that a lot of thought has gone into. For me personally, I have engaged in philosophical discussions and researched a lot about religions and it’s historical impacts and significance. 

Post # 88
Member
1773 posts
Buzzing bee

I am wondering if anyone here that has answered the death question with that response is afraid of dying? I have to believe my soul is going somewhere when I die; I have to believe that I will be reunited with all my loved ones who have passed again someday. Otherwise, I would never want to step foot out of my door in fear that I will die and simply stop existing.



I’m afraid of dying, but not because of there isn’t something after. I’m afraid of it because of all the awful ways you can die, plus I’d feel bad (while I was still alive of course!) for my loved ones. Plus, all living things are specifically adapted to continue on living. Evolution shows that pretty plainly. It’s basic instinct to try to keep living. I very VERY much believe in living for this life, and can’t understand devoting so much to the belief that you get another after.

Post # 89
Member
4369 posts
Honey bee

I am afraid of dying. Very much afraid of the actual experience. But what can you do? It’s going to happen, so you just try to make the most of yourlife, so that the death is worth it. 

Anyway, I can’t just make myself believe in a religion just to be less scared of dying. Which one would I pick? I suppose I can spin a wheel or something, but that would be real “belief” and thus do nothing to assuage my fears of death. 

Post # 90
Member
466 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

1. In your view, what is responsible for the existence of the universe? Where did the world come from? How did it come into being? Re the universe… to be perfectly honest. I dont know. I think we have a good idea and I adore watching documentaries on it. But I wont say I know 100%. Because I dont. How did we come into being… I cant say anything for the planet itself, nor can I say for the very first little living bacteria, but I think evolution has had a lot to do with how we became what we are.

2. What are the basic elements of your belief system? I dont have a belief system. We are born, we live, we die. Our legacy lives on in the memories and the biology of those around us.

3. Explain to me in which religion you were raised by your parents, if any. How did your parents approach religion in the home (strict, lax, etc.)? Christian house, but not a strict one. Went to church, said grace, prayed etc. It was never strictly enforced and my parents only subscribed to the happy happy love part of the religion. Hell, sin etc had no place in our house. Mum and dad are also spiritual in the sense that Christianity is the base, but they also take elements of other religions and use them in their life.

4. What events in your past affected your beliefs about God’s existence (e.g. – I studied biology; comparative religions or anthropology; or I met a boy/girl I liked and was influenced by him/her)? I did not ‘leave’ the church out of anger or spite… to be honest I just could never bring myself to believe it. Even as a child I would listen to the stories and think ‘really? do you seriously want me to believe that? what kind of person do you think I am?’. I put god, jesus and the bible in the same category as I put santa and the easter bunny. They were a source of stories, holidays and presents and that was it.

5. What are your main objections to belief in God’s existence (e.g – suffering; pluralism; hiddenness)? I cannot bring myself to believe in the CHRISTIAN god. Is there a chance there might be one out there? yeah, maybe. I cannot say for certain one isnt out there. Do I believe its anything like the angry, jealous, possessive, spiteful god of the bible that only seems to be concerned with our sex lives and eating habits? No way!

6. What is your purpose in life, and why did you choose that purpose? Is it just yours, or for everyone else too? My purpose is to love those around me and live a life that not only benefits my experience, but the experience of others.

7. What happens to a person at death? The die.

8. How important is your belief system to you in terms of your decision making process? How does it enter into the ways that you establish priorities and goals? It doesnt really. I just try and do what I think is best for myself and the people around me. I try and treat everyone the way I want to be treated. I dont think you need a belied system for that, its just how humans function in a group environment. If no one behaved in this fashion we would all be stuck in the middle ages!

9. If you could say anything you want about what you perceive to be the Christian community, what would you say? What are the problems with the Christian view of reality? What do you like/appreciate about Christians? What do you not like or appreciate? I think that they are a group of people who try and do the right thing, but quite often it is tained by the rules of their book. Love those around you? Sure. Give them legal rights? No way! Dont judge others? No worries. Believe someone will go to hell? Sure will! Get my point? I have a lot of christian and catholic people around me and for the most part, they are just people. They wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep just like everyone else. We may differ on ideas, but as long as it doesnt affect my life or their perception of me, I dont care.

10. Is there anything else you think I should know about atheism from your perspective? All it is, is a lack of belief in a god. Athiests are not out to hurt you, they are not there to threaten you. Athiests will protest laws that are religious based and that they feel are unfair and hurtful to other members of society but most of us dont care what you do as long as it doesnt hurt us. Yes there are some very vocal athiests out there and some go too far, but there are some very vocal christians out there that go too far too. Its a human trait to be a douche, not an athiest or christian one.

11. Please include a little about yourself, for example: age, gender, worldview affiliation, occupation, education level, married or not, etc. 25, female, australian, contracts admin, highschool only, engaged, no kids (yet)

Post # 91
Member
814 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

1. In your view, what is responsible for the existence of the universe? Where did the world come from? How did it come into being?
I believe in Evolution. I do not know how everything started right at the very beginning, but do not believe it was the doing of one of the Gods.

2. What are the basic elements of your belief system?

I treat others how I would like to be treated. My morals are the same as any decent person, it’s wrong to steal, murder, lie etc. I am a good person because I want to be.

3. Explain to me in which religion you were raised by your parents, if any. How did your parents approach religion in the home (strict, lax, etc.)?

One non-denominational Christian grandmother, the other is Catholic. Nobody else in my family is particularlly fussed by religion.

4. What events in your past affected your beliefs about God’s existence (e.g. – I studied biology; comparative religions or anthropology; or I met a boy/girl I liked and was influenced by him/her)?

I did my own research mostly. I went to a Christian school and knew from a very, very young age I didn’t believe in God, creationism etc, it just made no sense to me. So I read books about science and evolution (very basic ones at first) and that all made sense to me. I hold a bachelors degree in Theology Education these days so am quite schooled on the subject of Christianity (far more than my Christian friends haha)

5. What are your main objections to belief in God’s existence (e.g – suffering; pluralism; hiddenness)?

The fact that it just makes no sense. If God created the universe, who created God? For me “God” fills in ‘gaps’ that people don’t really want to investigate. Besides, which God would I choose? There are HUNDREDS of different Gods people believe in, even if I picked one, the chance of it being the right one is extremely slim.

I don’t believe in any God, but least of all a kind God. No good kind God would let all the horrible things in the world happen. If there IS a God, then IMO he/she is either cruel/evil, or doesn’t have any great power, so even if I did believe in a God, I wouldn’t support him/her.

6. What is your purpose in life, and why did you choose that purpose? Is it just yours, or for everyone else too?

Well on the most basic level, aren’t we all here to be born, live, procreate, die? My own personal purpose is to live a good life, do good for others, try and encourage kindless and compassion, and leave the world better than it was when I entered it.

7. What happens to a person at death?

It’s exactly like before you were born. Nothingness. I’m confused by soe people who get upset over the possibility of no afterlife, asking “is this it?”. ‘This’ is incredible! The world we live in is amazing and I wish more people appreciated it.

8. How important is your belief system to you in terms of your decision making process? How does it enter into the ways that you establish priorities and goals?

I don’t have a ‘belief’ system, Atheism is a lack of belief. I am good because I want to be.

9. If you could say anything you want about what you perceive to be the Christian community, what would you say? What are the problems with the Christian view of reality? What do you like/appreciate about Christians? What do you not like or appreciate?

I feel the same way about Christians as I do about Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and all other religious people. If you are part of a religion, that’s fine, just keep it out of my life, and my laws. I think if I had to pick one religion that annoys me more than the others it would be Christianity, but only because it’s the most prominent one in my country. The most conservative christians are the ones who want to let gay people continue being second-class citizens, they’re the ones who want to take away the right to use my body how I want to… now I’m prefectly aware that other religious people might feel the same way, and of course not all Christians feel this way, but the conservative Christians are the ones making the most noise.

I go out of my way to avoid supporting religious organisations (yes, even charities. I dontate to charities not affiliated with religion. Salvation Army are the ones who make me most angry) when possible because I generally disapprove of organised religion. I wont go around telling anyone not to do something, and I certainly don’t think anyone should not be allowed to practice religion, but it’s such a difficult concept for me to understand why anyone woul actually be religious (considering all we know about the universe), that I just don’t want to be a part of it.Plus many companies are owned by religious organisations (Sanitarium in Australia for instance) and they don’t have to pay taxes. IMO that’s BS and I wont support it. I’ll support businesses who support everyone and pay tax like the rest of us.

I’m also constantly surprised by people who are 100% certain that the God they’ve chosen to believe in is the right one. There are hundreds of Gods, and it just so happens that the one your parents believe in is the right one? What are the odds? Sorry, not trying to mock, it’s just one of those logical problems that irritates me when people challenge me about my beliefs (or rather, lack there of).

10. Is there anything else you think I should know about atheism from your perspective?

It pisses me off when people (not saying anyone here, I haven’t read all the replies, though I will), say Atheism is a religion. Atheism is a lack of belief. Is NOT collecting stamps a hobby? No. Atheism is not a religion.

11. Please include a little about yourself, for example: age, gender, worldview affiliation, occupation, education level, married or not, etc.

Female, mid 20s, married, Double Bachelor Degree in Education/Theology Education, Masters in Education. Currently a teacher/lecturer and part time professional photographer.

If anyone has read The God Delusion (note, I’ve also read the rebuttal, The Dawkins Delusion) they’ll know that Dawkins has a scale on which you place yourself in relation to religious beliefs. 1 is you are absolutely certain with no doubt what so ever that God exists.  2 is almost certain, 3 is pretty sure, 4 is leaning to wards agnostic, 5 is pretty sure there’s no God, 6 is almost certain there is no God. 7 is you are absolutely certain with no doubt what so ever that God does not exist.

On this scale, Dawkins is a 6, as am I. I think it’s foolish in such a scientifically advancing world to say ANYTHING with absolute certainty. Once you are absoloutely certain of something, there’s no point in continuing to investigate it. With something like God, the chances of us ever proving his/her existance one way or the other without a shadow of a doubt, is next to zero, so to say you believe one way or the other, leaves absolutely no room for discovery. I can’t remember who said it, but there’s a quote (and I’m paraphrasing) along the lines of “Religion teaches us to be ok with not understanding the world” which is where I come from with my Atheism I suppose. To be absolutely sure of something means you have indisputable proof, proof that can be backed up by objective sources, that something is real. I can prove that my kitchen has cream tiles. They’re on display for anyone to see. God however is entirely subjective.

 

I should point out, I don’t actually have anything against people who are religious, as long as it doesn’t impact on my life. I enjoy learning about religion but will never practice it. I wont fight about it with anyone (unless they start the fight. Trust me, you do NOT want to fight with an Atheist with a degree in Theology lol), I wont go around telling people they’re wrong or that the God they’ve chosen doesn’t exist… live and let live. I usually woudln’t post such a detailed post like this one, except that the questions were asked. I know I come across as extremely arrogent and up my self, but please understand I don’t go around preaching this. Questions were asked, and that’s the only time I go into so much detail.

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