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Author Topic:   Motivations for the non-belief in God
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 31 of 89 (309844)
05-06-2006 9:27 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Faith
05-06-2006 8:09 PM


Re: Motivations

You are a riot

I'm just amazed that somebody would say, "I feel that I am highly intelligent."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Faith, posted 05-06-2006 8:09 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
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iano
Member
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 32 of 89 (309847)
05-06-2006 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by robinrohan
05-06-2006 9:27 PM


Re: Motivations
I'm highly intelligent too

Now define "highly".

Sheesh.. RR you should know better than that


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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 33 of 89 (309850)
05-06-2006 9:40 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by iano
05-06-2006 9:37 PM


Re: Motivations
Sheesh.. RR you should know better than that

I should know better than what?


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Faith
Member
Posts: 16998
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 34 of 89 (309916)
05-07-2006 2:46 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by robinrohan
05-06-2006 9:27 PM


Re: Motivations
I'm just amazed that somebody would say, "I feel that I am highly intelligent."

I know. I just enjoy your quips.


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 Message 31 by robinrohan, posted 05-06-2006 9:27 PM robinrohan has not yet responded

    
Chiroptera
Member (Idle past 1104 days)
Posts: 6202
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 35 of 89 (309952)
05-07-2006 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Hyroglyphx
05-06-2006 8:35 PM


Re: Motivations
quote:
But the point is, being prideful over your actual or percieved intelligence is pretty asinine, only because you had no control over how smart you were going to be.

I agree.

-

quote:
Maybe you do believe in God and you just aren't willing to admit it.

And maybe I don't believe in God, and I am speaking the truth when I say that I don't. How could you know what I believe or do not believe, what I think or do not think, or feel or do not feel? The only way anyone (or at least anyone who does not know me well) can tell what I believe, think, or feel is when I tell them what I believe, think, or feel.

But then, that is the purpose of this thread. There are many Christians, especially of the evangelical type, who seem to feel that they know what an atheist really believes, and what motivates her belief. I am asking why is it that one would insist that they know what I believe and why I believe the way I do?


"Religion is the best business to be in. It's the only one where the customers blame themselves for product failure."
-- Ellis Weiner (quoted on the NAiG message board)
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Annafan
Member (Idle past 1104 days)
Posts: 418
From: Belgium
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 36 of 89 (327552)
06-29-2006 5:34 PM


I grew up in a Catholic environment, but a really watered down version of it. That is, the generation of my parents was the last one over here (Belgium) that really got submerged in religion and the last one where you sorta isolated yourself if you didn't participate in the whole thing. We did go to church about once a week (I think about as long as my grandparents lived), I was baptized, we had religion lessons in school etc. But all in all, I can't remember a single second in my young life that religion was an issue one way or the other. It simply didn't "stick". I never consciously decided 'not to believe', I simply didn't. But I also wasn't vocal about this, and I always joined my parents to church as long as they went simply to avoid possible (unnecessary) conflict. My grandparents would have been disappointed, for example. It was a small price to pay.

I always wondered how much it mattered in this, that I was allowed not to believe. That is: what would have happened if I grew up in a very devote community? What would have happened if I were born 50 years before? I'd like to think that I would have resisted it, but I'm realistic enough to accept the possibility that I would just have gone along with the mainstream, after all. I'm possibly not enough of the 'rebellious' type, lol.

Like I said, I never had deep thoughts or a serious internal conflict about the whole issue. But (and now we get on topic), I do think I can, in retrospect, identify the 'background' reason why I never believed. What it all comes down to, I think, is an ability to recognize that people can deceive themselves. People fool themselves all the time. Because they lack self-critique, because they lack necessary information, because they are deceived by their limited senses, because they are misled by their prejudices, because they want something to be true so much, that they disregard any indications that it might not be true. Because they are submerged in a culture that has all these properties.

Somehow (it may have been a case of reading the right books or whatever), I came to realise that skepticism and something along the lines of the scientific method were the only ways to seperate pseudo-knowledge from reliable knowledge. An honest attempt to work around our inherent limitations as humans. And pseudo-knowledge was just unsupported opinion and thus totally, completely and utterly uninteresting. As an aside: I feel a mixture of respect and disbelief when I see some of the people 'on my side' discuss religious matters (Trinity, salvation, the Ark...) in here. I'm always immediately reminded about the 'number of angels that fit on the tip of a needle' example. What a complete loss of time, lol. Just the observation that there are so many religions, and that place of birth seems to be the overwhelmingly most important factor which determines to which religion one belongs, was more than enough for me to catalogue religion under 'pseudo knowledge'. How do you decide between religions?

Bottom line: while the fundies always claim that science is arrogant because it claims to explain so many things, I find that the scientific mindset is actually the humble one here. And when I realized this, there was no way back (although I never was 'there', to begin with :) )


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Jaderis
Member
Posts: 622
From: NY,NY
Joined: 06-16-2006


Message 37 of 89 (329191)
07-06-2006 2:53 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chiroptera
03-10-2006 6:17 PM


I wouldn't say that I have any "motivation" for my non-belief in a higher power. I just evolved that way :)

Like I have stated in another thread, I grew up without religion, at least as far as one can without being totally sheltered from the outside world. My parents held the belief that their children should be able to form critical questions before being exposed to religious doctrines of any kind. Being an inquisitive child and a reader of pretty much any book I could get my hands on from a very early age and, of course, having friends and going to large public schools, I was exposed to the concept of the Christian God (and to other religions to a lesser extent until I was older) and naturally I questioned my parents about God. They answered that many people believed in many gods and that I could attend any kind of service I wanted to once I reached the age of 13. They did not curtail any independent exploration of religion through books, did not evade my questions about religion and the idea of god/s and they even let me attend Sunday school a few times with my best friend starting at about 7 or 8, but because they told me the reason why I should not attend formal services until 13, I approached these explorations with many questions and a suspension of belief.

Most of my exploration early on had to do with the Christian concept of God, but by the time I was about 10 or 11, I was extremely fascinated with the concept of a Mother Goddess as I read about ancient history and fiction featuring idea of one (I still have a few prayers to the goddess that I made up and translated into a language I made up just for talking to her...I didn't continue with the language, tho). I had also discovered a collection of creation myths from around the world and began to entertain the notion of multiple gods.

I still approached all these subjects with many questions, but I was beginning to feel a sense of reverence when I thought about any of these gods/goddesses. For example, I remember coming upon a copy of the Tao Te Ching in my mother's bookshelf and somehow knowing it was a sacred text. I kept it in my room for some time before finally one night, turning out the lights and lighting a few candles and reading it all the way through by candlelight because I thought that was the way it was supposed to be read.

Enter my 13th year and I have a best friend who attends a non-denominational Christian Church and I decide to go along with her to a few services. At this time I had no firm belief in a higher power, but I was leaning towards a goddess centered belief system. I had already read the Bible (A Roman Catholic Bible - Old and New Testament), but I had never heard of the concept of being "saved." I read the Bible again after hearing a few sermons and started to see the contradictions inherent in the text. I had entertained the thought of accepting Jesus, but I didn't want to do it just because I had attended this one church. I decided to attend many churches. Another good friend of mine was Catholic and I started attending mass and CCD classes with her. Another friend went to a Pentecostal church and I went to a few services with her, and so on all the while reading the Bible and finding more and more contradictions. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I went with a friend of my mother's to a Unitarian service and was amazed. I thought I had found my home. For almost a year I was happy going with her and I could even reconcile my lingering belief in a goddess and my exploration of Paganism (mostly a Celtic centered Wicca). But then one day, while walking along the canal behind my parents' house I looked up at the sky and really pondered the existence of God (or any higher power really) and I just buckled over in laughter. I can't explain what prompted this, and thus I cannot say there was a motivation, but it happened quickly and unexpectedly and all serious thought of a supernatural creator/overseer/savior expunged itself from my mind.

I have read many religious and philosophical texts before and since then, but I have not felt the urge to believe in the supernatural (well...there was an exception - when my little brother died a little over a year ago I thought it would be nice to believe in a heaven for him, but I realized that he would probably rise from the dead and slap me for even wanting him to go there so that thought was very short lived, I also realized that he could be anywhere I loooked because energy never dies and that helped. Death is one of the main reasons religion came about IMO.).

My journey to disbelief (if you will) has given me a wide and accepting (but critical and analytical) worldview and a respect for everyone else's particular spiritual (or non-spiritual) journey. I have picked up many pieces of truths and beliefs and "morals to the story" to form my own core, but those are also ever-changing. I have a few absolutes that I hold true for myself and most of my "morals" stem from variations on those absolutes and I lead a very fulfilling, joyful life, always willing to learn more and always willing to teach and give when I can. Everyone I meet fills the place of "god" for me because they have some sort of affect on my life and I have an affect on theirs, no matter how minor. No supernatural fairy tales necessary.


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suzy
Inactive Member


Message 38 of 89 (350298)
09-19-2006 12:25 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by robinrohan
03-28-2006 2:01 PM


Russel wasn't exactly what you would call a quality human being, infact what he put his 'loved' ones through, was a classic example of why his 'atheistic morality', just don't work.

Sorry, but he's one for our side. By his examples that he was, "full of it".


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Taz
Member
Posts: 5065
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 39 of 89 (350387)
09-19-2006 3:59 PM


A short story that might add some light to this conversation.
When I started college a hundred-seventy years ago, I was a Jesus freak. After all, I spent the majority of my childhood, teen, and early adult life preparing myself for heaven. I had heard about these heathens that plagued our country for years, and I knew that I would had to save some of them while in college.

I began to explore the different christian youth groups on campus and met a young girl name Sara in one of these groups. She too was raised christian from birth to become a jesus freak like myself. We became great friends. Through her, I was able to meet many other young people like myself who thought we had a special place in God's heart.

Beside hanging out in the Jesus freak group, I also befriended many other people mostly from our study sessions. As the first semester progressed, I found myself spending more and more time in the student lounge studying and talking with other students. The conversations about religion and whatnot were inevitable. I must admit that in those conversations I often found myself way way over my depth. Toward the end of the semester, I began to attend the weekly student philosophy debates and learned much about things I had never heard of before in my life.

The following semester, I continued to attend the various religious meetings and the philosophy debates. This went on for a while before something struck me. THE WORLD WAS NOT GOVERNED BY MAGIC!!! WHAT'S WORSE, ATHEISTS WERE NOT CHILD MURDERING HEATHENS THAT I HAD THOUGHT!!!

Paradoxically, I was a science major, too.

How could someone that for the better part of his early life believing in a magical world decided to major in science? The answer was simple. I was lead to believe while growing up that science's only purpose was to praise god.

Half way through college I had already lost most of my faith. I think I finally became an atheist toward my B.S.

The reasons why I decided to abandon my faith? It wasn't lazyness, like a lot of people seem to suggest. I was more than willing to attend these religious ceremonies every Sunday. Heck, I was attending these prayer sessions more than three times a week. It wasn't because I wanted a convienient way to not have a set of moralities. I didn't start kicking every dog I could find or raping every girl I could get close to. As a matter of fact, I often find my sense of atheistic morality far superior to the typical christian, but that's another story.

I gave up my faith because of the total lack of tangible evidence for it. I gave it up because of how much I didn't know back then and how much I still don't know nowadays. I can sit here and give you as many reasons as there are words in this post. But one of the main reasons for my leaning toward atheism was I found myself loving everyone more than when I was a Jesus freak. It was through my non-belief in a creator that convinced me to treat everybody with the respect they deserve. Women are people. Gays are people. Muslims are people. And as much as I don't like it, riverrat and Catholic Scientist are also people ;) And as people, I really can't find any valid reason why they shouldn't be treated or viewed the same as everyone else.

You could say that I blame my unconditional tolerance on my non-belief in god.

While we were sitting waiting for our turn to walk up to the president of the university to get our degree, I was debating the philosophical and moral implications of religion with a jesus freak. At the time, I was a recovering Jesus freak. I told you this to tell you how important and how much time I devoted to thinking and talking about the issue of religion and how it has changed me as a person. In fact, while John and I were walking up to shake hand with our department head, we were still at it discussing on the pros and cons of religious beliefs.

That was a hundred-seventy years ago.

A hundred-twenty years ago, I received a long and detailed email from Sara. You see, she was one of the few people that noticed my radical transition from an intolerant Jesus freak to something else as it happened. The email she sent me started off with what happened after we graduated and the various things that had impacted her life afterwards. The main point of the email was that she now has no idea what she is. She had given up her faith much the same way that I had given up mine. She had realized that she was doing everything (praying, going to church, etc.) that she was expected to do as a "good" christian girl. She had been going to third world countries on humanitarian missions and those experiences had shed some light on what the real world was like. Essentially, she found herself developing into a more loving and tolerant person and that aspect of her life conflicted with what she was before when she was still a Jesus freak. Her negative attitude toward non-christians was gone. She no longer thinks that gays should be "cured" or persecuted. Before, she found it impossible to not talk about her faith and try to convert other people. Now she has become a teacher and as a teacher she her the duty, as a teacher AND a good person, to show her students that intolerance will only result in people suffering.

On the moral side, I am motivated to not believe in god by the apparent hate and intolerance that come hand in hand with the belief in god. On the "real life" side, I am motivated to not believe in god by the total lack of evidence for such a being. And as someone on this forum pointed out a while back, a being that cannot be detected by any instrument and has absolutely no effect on any physical object bares a familiar resemblance to a nonexisting being.


  
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 123 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 40 of 89 (350488)
09-19-2006 9:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chiroptera
03-10-2006 6:17 PM


Everyone is an Atheist
The principal motive I see for atheism is honesty. One does not see evidence for deity so one does not believe in deity.

Honesty is a motive all can respect. It's odd, though, how rarely religious people put honesty on the table when they ponder the motives of atheists.

quote:

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

- Stephen Roberts


Edited by Archer Opterix, : HTML.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : HTML.


Archer

All species are transitional.


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SuperNintendo Chalmers
Member (Idle past 2359 days)
Posts: 772
From: Bartlett, IL, USA
Joined: 12-27-2005


Message 41 of 89 (350515)
09-19-2006 10:39 PM


An easy answer
from http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Jesus/Intelligence%20&%20religion.htm

I'm not going to into it but numerous studies have shown a correlation between intelligence and lack of reliigious belief... Now if we look at the conclusion from the above link:

The consensus here is clear: more intelligent people tend not to believe in religion. And this observation is given added force when you consider that the above studies span a broad range of time, subjects and methodologies, and yet arrive at the same conclusion.

Why does this correlation exist? The first answer that comes to mind is that religious beliefs tend to be more illogical or incoherent than secular beliefs, and intelligent people tend to recognize that more quickly. But this explanation will surely be rejected by religious people, who will seek other explanations and rationalizations.

A possible counter-argument is that intelligent people tend to be more successful than others. The lure of worldly success and materialism draws many of these intellectually gifted individuals away from God. After all, who needs God when you (apparently) are making it on your own?

However, this argument does not withstand closer scrutiny. Most of the studies outlined above describe the religious attitudes of students, who have yet to enter the working world, much less succeed in it. Some might then argue that the most intelligent students are nonetheless succeeding in school. But "success" in school (for those who may have forgotten!) is more measured in terms of popularity, sports, physical attractiveness, personality, clothes, etc. Grades are but one of many measures of success in a young person's life -- one that is increasingly becoming less important, as many social critics point out.

And here is the kicker, which I think is the probably the most reasonable explanation for non-belief in god. THIS DOES NOT mean that there aren't plenty of intelligent people who believe in god(s) however.. it just means that the more intelligent you are the less likely you are to believe in god.

The simplest and most parsimonious explanation is that religion is a set of logical and factual claims, and those with the most logic and facts at their disposal are rejecting it largely on those grounds.

I think that is a pretty simple explanation


Replies to this message:
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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 2519 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 42 of 89 (350524)
09-19-2006 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by SuperNintendo Chalmers
09-19-2006 10:39 PM


Re: An easy answer
[qs]I think that is a pretty simple explanation[qs]

And an incredibly stupid one.

First the site you linked to stated that only 40% of scientists with a B.S. believe in a personal God, thus 60% deny the existence of a personal God. That's hardly a significant margin especially when taken from only one source.

But I wouldn't be surprised that more scientists deny the existence of a personal God than affirm it. But so what. That's one moment in time when you can say that. The same poll over the previous centuries of scientists would no doubt reveal a starkly different result. So what does that mean? Just that the correlation between science or "intelligence" and faith in a personal God is fluid over time, not static.

BTW, your study explicitly refers to a personal God AND an afterlife. Which means that all those Deists - all those who believe in a God, just not a personal one, or all those who deny the afterlife, are included in the non-believing category.


This message is a reply to:
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SuperNintendo Chalmers
Member (Idle past 2359 days)
Posts: 772
From: Bartlett, IL, USA
Joined: 12-27-2005


Message 43 of 89 (350531)
09-19-2006 11:13 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by mjfloresta
09-19-2006 10:56 PM


Re: An easy answer
You are desperately attacking strawmen without even reading the article that was linked.

The conclusions were based on NUMEROUS studies that have been conducted over the last 100 years. Most actually focused on students and not scientists.

Please read the article next time. The explanation isn't stupid when you consider the numerous studies that have been performed.

In any case, I don't mean to turn this into a non-religious = smart thread. I was just pointing out that

The simplest and most parsimonious explanation is that religion is a set of logical and factual claims, and those with the most logic and facts at their disposal are rejecting it largely on those grounds.

is a pretty reasonable explanation. It makes sense when looking at the data.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2230
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 44 of 89 (351175)
09-21-2006 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chiroptera
03-10-2006 6:17 PM


Where do they get those ideas from?

The religious life of my family was more implicit than explicit. My only direct exposure to church was going with our neighbors to a Protestant church where, after years of going to services, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, I was baptized at about age 11. One year later, I decided that I should be more serious in studying the things I was supposed to be believing and so I started reading the Bible. Didn't quite make it through Genesis (I'm sure I would have remembered Lot's daughters). Very early on, I was struck by how incredible the Bible was and so since I couldn't believe the Bible, which I was supposed to believe, then that meant that I didn't belong there. So I left. And I've been an atheist for the 42 subsequent years.

Upon thinking back on that experience, I realized that I had deconverted because I had made the assumption of naïve literalism, as well as the naïve assumption that biblical literalism was required by our church (to this day, I still do not know which denomination it was a part of). I also did this reading and thinking completely on my own, instead of discussing it with an adult or with a church leader. I had made the right choice, but for the wrong reasons.

The thing is that since having made that decision, it has been repeatedly confirmed as having been the right decision. And not only has nobody been able to present any compelling case for me to convert to Christianity, many proselytizing Christians, most especially "creation science" advocates, have presented very compelling cases against Christianity, mostly through the Matthew 7:20 test. Besides which, I find the systematic lies and deception of "creation science" to be morally repugnant.

Which brings us to Rawel Singh's:

quote:
Secondly belief in divine requires adherence to cetain ethical disciplines. Those who do not want to subject themselves to discipline deny the very existence or help of God.

I must agree with nwr that atheists are often more moral that most Christians. "Creation science" is a perfect example, wherein an atheist arguing for being truthful gets shouted down by Christians practicing lies and deception while proclaiming themselves to be morally superior. And despite Christians saying that they are more responsible because they have Someone to be responsible to -- and hence an atheist, lacking a god to be responsible to, cannot be responsible nor moral --, I have found that atheists are more likely to take personal responsibility of their actions than many Christians. I think that is related to the experiments done where test subjects were directed to administer electric shocks to other subjects (actually ringers) even to the point of inflicting lethal shocks under the direction of an authority figure who took full responsibility for their actions. Yes, they felt terrible doing it, but they did it nonetheless. A believer in God's absolute laws would be willing to apply those laws regardless of the consequences because God, Who had created those laws, is responsible for those consequences (this is rules-based morality, where right and wrong is determined by adherence to the rules and where you are responsible to the rules-giver for obeying the rules and the rules-giver is responsible for what happens when the rules are followed). OTOH, an atheist would act based on the consequences and would realize that he caused those consequences and hence that he is responsible for them (this is moral reasoning). Furthermore, part of the Christian's doctrine is the idea of turning to God when he has stumbled and done something wrong and being forgiven, whereas an atheist must live with what he has done, so an atheist will more mindful not to stumble.

For example, a local "creation science" activist tells the story of when he was an "atheist" (he actually never was, as evidenced by his saying that he prayed to God every single night while he was an "atheist", something that atheists would not do, something that atheists would have no reason to do). He became an "atheist" in the ninth grade, when he wanted to indulge his bubbling hormones freely and discovered a loophole that his religious training had given him: if he didn't believe in God, then he wouldn't have to be responsible for his actions. So he used his misunderstanding of evolution to use that as an excuse to not believe in God (though to be fair, we don't know if that hadn't also been one of his teachers' misunderstanding, or his misunderstanding of what his teacher was trying to teach). To counter his claim, like Rawel's, that atheists just want to indulge their carnal desires freely without guilt, I pointed out that despite my own bubbling hormones and having been an atheist for several years already, two women, on two separate occasions, offered themselves to me and I declined, even though I found them to be very desirable, because they were married. I had thought of what the consequences of my actions would be and decided that I did not want to take that responsibility and so I did not take the action. More specifically, I tried to imagine how their husbands would feel and did not want to do that to anybody. And the more that I see Christians present their mindset, the less I am able to see a Christian in the same situation coming to the same conclusions that I had; a Christian would likely also decide against, but more from fear of God punishing him for it.

But back to no compelling case having been made. They seem to follow the same logic of "creation science's" "Two Model Approach", which artificially clumps all ideas about origins into two mutually exclusive "models" -- the "evolution model" and the "creation model" -- and then proceeds to "prove" the "creation model" solely by attacking their "evolution model", without ever presenting any evidence for that "creation model", or ever trying to directly support that "creation model", or even ever actually presenting that "creation model". Their approach is driven by the false dichotomy (AKA "false dilemma") which is the "Two Model Approach", because in a true dichotomy you can indeed prove one thing by ruling out all of the other alternatives -- the "Two Model Approach's" fatal flaw is that it leaves out a multitude of other possible models, plus its "evolution model" is a misrepresentation of evolution and its unspoken description of its "creation model" is not all creation-based ideas as they claim, but rather only YEC. And, ironically, what it does achieve more often is to "prove" the "evolution model" when the YEC "creation model" is examined and found to be utterly false. The point is that in order to prove creation, "creation science" must instead present the evidence FOR creation (evidence against evolution doesn't count) and it must try to present a compelling case FOR creation (simply trying to discredit evolution doesn't count).

Similarly, Christian proselytizers will often seek to "prove" their religion by getting their target to accept that something doesn't have a natural explanation and so must have a supernatural explanation, whereupon that supernatural explanation becomes the Christian God and proves the whole of their particular brand of Christian dogma and doctrine. Uh, no, that's not how it works, guys. There have been countless other gods throughout history; there's nothing in that kind of approach to indicate that YHWH is the right one. Even YHWH has a multitude of theologies attached to Him; there's nothing in that kind of approach to indicate which theology is the correct one -- and we do know that finding the correct theology is absolutely essential when dealing with YHWH, don't we now?

So when an atheist gets proselytized at, he is faced with the serious moral issues raised by converting to a religion that allows and even promotes the practice of lying and deceiving (refer to "creation science") or the sanity issues of knowingly converting to a false religion (refer to "creation science" vis-à-vis the Matthew 7:20 test). Furthermore as an atheist, I cannot convert to Christianity because no one has made a compelling case for it being the correct choice, that it is indeed true.

I do not personally deny the existence of the supernatural -- I tend to doubt it, but I know that I cannot state with absolute certainty that it does not exist. At the same time, I do know that nobody knows anything certain about the supernatural. We have many subjective experiences, many "revelations", and many generations of fallible human interpretations of what they had been told by other fallible humans and misunderstood. If any of those "revelations" had been anywhere close to the mark, how could it have survived all that followed? Which one of this multitude of interpretations is the right one? Is any of them even close to being right? The only way for even one of them to be right is for there to have been a long line of infallible humans. Sorry, but I have never been able to believe in human infallibility.

A friend at church (UU) offered another reason for becoming an atheist. He used to be a fundamentalist, but he found that many things in everyday life contradicted his beliefs. The problem wasn't that those things existed, but rather that he would blind himself to their existence, he would deceive himself into believing that they did not exist. Finally, the constant effort of self-deception grew to be too much for him, so examined his faith, applied the Matthew 7:20 test to it, and found it to fail. Now he is "a complete atheist and thorough humanist" and a much happier and more fulfilled person because of it.

That was a positive case. There are also far too many negative cases, where the person discovers that his religious leaders had lied to or betrayed him (eg, when one discovers the truth about "creation science" claims -- eg, how Flood Geology had driven Glenn Morton to the verge of atheism). Such cases seem much more likely to produce angry, anti-religion atheists. Worse yet, since they had also been lied to about what atheists are like, they are also much more likely to become the kind of atheists that Rawel Singh described, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So a person changes from believer to atheist basically because he finds that he doesn't or can't believe in that religion. And a person remains an atheist because he cannot find any reason to convert. Religious persecution or threats of physical violence against the atheist (both of which I have personally experienced) don't count.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Chiroptera, posted 03-10-2006 6:17 PM Chiroptera has not yet responded

    
Guido Arbia
Member
Posts: 541
From: n/a
Joined: 01-19-2004


Message 45 of 89 (355083)
10-07-2006 9:55 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by jar
03-10-2006 7:42 PM


Re: I'm not too sure about a couple of the assertions.
It's been my experience that in most cases belief in some divinity has nothing what so ever to do with whether or not a person is ethical.

This is clearly wrong. While it is true that certian people have a certian sense of morality reguardless of whether or not they believe in some divine being it is rediculous to assume that religion has nothing whatsoever to do with affecting a person's morality.

The proof: There have been many genuine conversions to Christianity from inside prison. These people radically changed for the better, and did not even attempt to get out of prison, because they took responsibility for their actions. But they accepted Christ into their hearts and were forgiven, and changed. These people are not to be confused with those who come to the stand with a new haircut and claim they have found Jesus. Those are posers.

While someone might think that belief in a divinity would entail adherence to certain ethical disciplines, my experience is that very often those who profess the greatest belief in their diety are the least ethical. Just look at the transcripts from the recent Dover trial and look at the number of times the so called religious witnesses lied.

Once again, clearly wrong. There are just as many immoral athiests as there are immoral christians. This is not to say that religion doesn't affect morality. What you have to understand is, those immoral christians are not true or genuine about their faith. So they are in essence, not neccessiarily true christians, or if they are, they are not showing it.

[qs]Again, the only difference I see between those who are religious and those who are not, is that those who are not seem to be more disciplined than most of those who are religious. In addition, the Atheists and Agnostics seem to be far more likely to take responsibility for their actions and less likely to try to absolve themselves through cop outs like original sin or demons.

Rediculous jar. In true Christianity, one takes responsibility for their actions. Christians believe that demons can oppress us and cause us to think bad thoughts, but a Christian cannot be possessed, thus their actions are inexcusable. A true Christian will take responsibility for their actions.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by jar, posted 03-10-2006 7:42 PM jar has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by Archer Opteryx, posted 10-08-2006 1:12 PM Guido Arbia has responded

  
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