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Thread: Perspective from athiests/agnostics

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Why does it seem strange?
    Within the human race there are hundreds or maybe millions of gods. It is a guaranteed fact that if you are a believer in a single god (monotheism) you do not believe in any of the rest of them. An atheist simply believes in one less god than you. So to most of the universe your one god belief means you are an atheist to all gods except one.
    However strange and goofy you think atheists, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus,etc. are you have to know that they think your beliefs are just as unusual. Even more telling is the fact that most of you believers only adopt the faith of your parents and culture. That is not a real logical and error free process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jaque Janaviac View Post
    I would like a different perspective on some matters, particularly the perspective of atheist/agnostics.

    It seems a little strange to hear someone claim they don't believe in god when the term is seldom clearly defined in conversation. So I thought it might be better to ask people, "what/who do you worship?"

    By worship, I don't necessarily mean grovel before something. What I mean is what do you center your life around? What do you sacrifice for? I think it is commonly accepted that everyone worships something, money, sex, power etc. In other words there is something in everyone's life that they are willing to sacrifice great amounts for.
    EDG

  2. #22
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    Within the human race there are hundreds or maybe millions of gods. It is a guaranteed fact that if you are a believer in a single god (monotheism) you do not believe in any of the rest of them. An atheist simply believes in one less god than you. So to most of the universe your one god belief means you are an atheist to all gods except one.
    I have used this logic many time before.
    If there were 5,000 gods being worshipped today, Christians would not believe in 4,999 or them.
    I just take it one god further. The evidence for all of them is the same.

    So without evidence, I have to focus my life and my efforts on things I know exist.
    I don't know if there is a god or not. But I know that I won't let one day of the life I know exists to be wasted.
    Life is a series of bullseyes and backstraps - Ted Nugent

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkansas Paul View Post
    .........
    So without evidence, I have to focus my life and my efforts on things I know exist.
    I don't know if there is a god or not. But I know that I won't let one day of the life I know exists to be wasted.
    So, from what I just read you do not believe there is a God.
    Does that mean you are a believer of the Big Bang Theory to explain this beautiful earth we all live on?

    Or, is the jury still out on this one for you.
    Just curious. Thanks.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rizzo View Post
    So, from what I just read you do not believe there is a God.
    Does that mean you are a believer of the Big Bang Theory to explain this beautiful earth we all live on?

    Or, is the jury still out on this one for you.
    Just curious. Thanks.
    Actually the BBT was first proposed by a Roman Catholic priest. This priest still believed that God created everything, but obviously was not a New Earth advocate. Only the most conservative Christians still cling to the New Earth concept. Other Christians accept that science can not be completely ignored and see Creation over a much longer time period than 6 -24 hour days. Look up the Gap Theory for further edification if interested.

    https://www.catholiceducation.org/en...-big-bang.html
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jaque Janaviac View Post
    Your own freedom and happiness is what you put at the center of your life? How is that not the seed of narcissism?
    Is perceiving the problems of total strangers as NOT MINE TO SOLVE narcissistic??? Guess I'll just keep watering that seed.
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    Is perceiving the problems of total strangers as NOT MINE TO SOLVE narcissistic??? Guess I'll just keep watering that seed.
    Yes, does your life make those of total strangers better or worse. If you don't care about people you have never met and are not likely to meet then you might be a narcissist. You probably aren't a narcissist, you probably hold doors for strangers and make it easier for them to merge into traffic. You probably contribute to charities that help total strangers. Total strangers and the wider world is full of problems and if you aren't helping solve them then you are one more of the problems and a narcissist.

    Tim
    Words are weapons sharper than knives - INXS

    The pen is mightier than the sword - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

    The tongue is mightier than the blade - Euripides

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rizzo View Post
    So, from what I just read you do not believe there is a God.
    Does that mean you are a believer of the Big Bang Theory to explain this beautiful earth we all live on?

    Or, is the jury still out on this one for you.
    Just curious. Thanks.
    I certainly am a believer in the big bang theory.
    The question of whether it was orchestrated by God is where the jury is still out for me.

    I asked a question in another thread, regarding whether firm believers could reconcile faith and science, if God did indeed speak everything into existence, could it mimic a big bang.
    The Catholic church seems to have no problem reconciling the two. Pope Francis said that the big bang does not contradict a divine act of creation. He is also quoted as saying that the evolution of nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation.
    I'm not saying I necessarily agree with him, I'm just using that as an example that a lot of people believe that you can believe in science, and believe that is the way God chose to do things.

    I'm sure the Catholic church isn't alone in this. I am also aware that individuals in all religions/denominations have their own thoughts on the subject that may or may not line up with the official view of their particular church's creed.
    Life is a series of bullseyes and backstraps - Ted Nugent

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    Is perceiving the problems of total strangers as NOT MINE TO SOLVE narcissistic??? Guess I'll just keep watering that seed.
    I don't think so.
    I think we use the word "narcissist" a little too loosely.

    Narcissism is more than just caring only about yourself.

    To be considered a narcissist, one must exhibit at least 5 of the following traits (this is from the DSM).

    (1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    (2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    (3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

    (4) requires excessive admiration

    (5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

    (6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    (7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    (8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

    (9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

    Simply caring more about your family than the family across the street isn't narcissism.
    I guess you could call it selfish and be somewhat accurate, but I think most of us fall into that category to some degree.
    Life is a series of bullseyes and backstraps - Ted Nugent

  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy Wag's Avatar
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    I was raised in a cult religion. I've said that before on here and was roundly chastised for using the term, "cult." But it's what I believe about that particular religion/cult. I suppose that if the adherents to a belief don't have horns and tails, some believe that it's somehow not a cult. I digress.

    About 20 years ago, I kicked that cult to the curb and extricated myself from it and shortly after, my late wife did so as well. Our marriage continually improved ever after from that time forward until she eventually succumbed to her lifelong illness. Indeed, her illness was less pervasive for several years after we left that church and there's no indication that it would have been any better or worse had we stayed in the religion. Again, I digress.

    After kicking the church out of our lives, I did a ton of soul searching about what I really believed and at the end of it all, I realized that not only did I believe that there is no god, I never really had believed it. I reflected back on some of the answers I had gotten to my questions, even when I was as young as seven and eight years old and remembered that while I didn't believe, the people in my life who I trusted were most likely to tell me, "God will provide your answers if you remain faithful."

    Over the rest of my time as an adherent, I never got any answers. And yet, many people would stand and proclaim that after a life of debauchery, they had repented and god had given them the answers they needed to be faithful. I was faithful and didn't get any answers. That juxtaposition was a quandary to me for a very long time. Finally, my own final crisis of faith led to me my current belief (the story of that crisis is a story in and of itself for another time.)

    For a while, I searched for a way to believe in god, to find his religion out there. Then, I was pretty angry, not at a god who I had ceased to believe even existed. No, I was angry that I had wasted my life in fear and uncertainty, being manipulated by guilt, being told and convinced that I was a piece of trash in god's eyes. I discovered that those in the cult were never going to love anyone they considered, "evil," including my own family.

    As the anger died out over the next couple of years, I realized that I really didn't care any more. By then, my family had completely ostracized us and didn't want anything to do with us any more and we completely lost track of them. I still have a talking relationship with one of my brothers and occasionally, I'll hear something about the family but they really don't want anything to do with me.

    One item of note that I've discovered is that religion is somewhat of a choice for people. Regrettably, people have a difficult time explaining why they chose a particular belief. It's a question that is begged when the topic arises and I believe the answer lies in where we're born. It's assuredly true that the huge majority of people adhere to the religion of their parentage. Very rare that people change their childhood beliefs. If dare to speculate, it's easy to believe that you could change the belief of your children simply by practicing a different religion than the one you believe in.

    Various other atheists I know who were raised without any religious teachings simply don't care either.

    So, what do I believe as an atheist? Treat other people well. Pretty simple. It encompasses all of the things that many religions teach and yet, it doesn't require fear and manipulation to accomplish a good end. As for an afterlife, I don't believe there is one. That motivates me to live this one as well as I possibly can.

    Is there good in various religions and the adherents to religions? Yes there is. Are there evil people in religions? Of course there are. In atheists? You betcha. Every cross-section of our lives includes a portion of good and evil, whether it's church, law enforcement, government, schools, various races and cultures, your employers, science and any other grouping you can think of. It's why judging individuals without consideration of the person as a whole is just a bad idea. That wasn't as clear as it could have been. In short, you can't know a person's beliefs because of what label you put on them. All people have several or many labels and groupings and you can't know what a person believes.

    Including all of those cross sections above. I'm amazed and how bigoted people are toward me when I mention I don't believe in a supreme being. It only serves to reinforce the idea that I've made the right choice.

    --Wag--
    "Great genius will always encounter fierce opposition from mediocre minds." --Albert Einstein.

  10. #30
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    Wag,
    Thanks for sharing your views.
    Your post was interesting to me.

    It is sad to read that you and your family are not speaking.
    Not knowing the specifics, I don't know the whole picture but perhaps take a step up and contact them to re-establish the family?
    Maybe you have tried that already though.
    <sigh>

  11. #31
    Boolit Buddy T_McD's Avatar
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    Ah yes the thorny issue of religion not demonstrably solving life’s problems..... it tends to beg the question of “why bother?”

    The simple fact remains that it takes the same amount of mental gymnastics to believe or disbelieve

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wag View Post
    I was raised in a cult religion. I've said that before on here and was roundly chastised for using the term, "cult." But it's what I believe about that particular religion/cult. I suppose that if the adherents to a belief don't have horns and tails, some believe that it's somehow not a cult. I digress.
    Three short points:

    * A cult is any religion that does not teach that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah AND adds any "special revelation" from outside the Bible AND has hoops that people must jump through, or leaders to submit to, to earn God's love is, by definition, a cult. Objest to that? Well, call a rose any name you want but a rose by any name is still a rose. As my dear old granny used to say "Like it or lump it boy, that's the way it is."

    * Sometimes it's hard to believe some professing "christians" are indeed Christian. I'm a longtime Christian with a wide range of family and friends, sadly, some of them adhere to a cult but none of them are demonic. They are spiritually deluded but none of them are stupid or mean. In fact, as a group, I love them and find most of them are among the nicest people I know. Wish I could say as much for everyone professing the name of Christ.

    * Perhaps most sadly, some of the most unpleasant people I have even known are professing Christians who seem to love to kick people who don't believe the same as themselves. That is not effective outreach and is NOT what scripture tells us to do!


    Note to Wag:

    You haven't made the right choice yet. You're taking the actions and attitudes of a few people as representative of Christianity; that's a mistake.
    Last edited by 1hole; 07-21-2019 at 05:21 PM.

  13. #33
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    Not really.
    Say you are born to a cave man in the middle of no where. You live your life and die.
    You are never exposed to any religion. That is the natural state of man growing up and living in a pre-civilized world. Humans lived that way about 100,000 years. It is only in the last 10,000 or so years that all of these goofy religions have become popular. However the pattern seems to be given enough time religions tend to come and go. So eventually the religions of today will eventually be forgotten.

    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    Ah yes the thorny issue of religion not demonstrably solving life’s problems..... it tends to beg the question of “why bother?”

    The simple fact remains that it takes the same amount of mental gymnastics to believe or disbelieve
    EDG

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Not really. Christians make up the majority of the photos at the post office.
    Goodness! Do you actually think Christians are a majority of criminals? On what AOC metric are you claiming that?

    I mean, it is my (easily defendable) position that Christians are the the world's leading defenders of the powerless, not their oppressors! What insider information do you have that the rest of us don't?

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Not really.
    Say you are born to a cave man in the middle of no where. You live your life and die.
    You are never exposed to any religion. That is the natural state of man growing up and living in a pre-civilized world. Humans lived that way about 100,000 years. It is only in the last 10,000 or so years that all of these goofy religions have become popular. However the pattern seems to be given enough time religions tend to come and go. So eventually the religions of today will eventually be forgotten.
    I should clarify that belief in a higher power is distinct from religion. I can be persuaded that a God exists, but that is a far cry from saying “xyz” religion is correct.

  16. #36
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    Wag,
    A lot of what you said resonates with me. A LOT of it.

    Every aspect of my life was controlled by religion. Women were treated horribly. Every command given was delivered with a threat of eternal punishment attached to it.
    There is no doubt if I would have visited a psychologist in my early teens I would have been diagnosed with something. I was a constant nervous wreck. I lost weight because every time I tried to eat I got sick. I was in constant fear that I would go to hell. Nothing was ever good enough.
    Then I had a daughter, and shortly after decided that she was not going to be raised in that environment. So at first we changed churches to one that believed similar theological doctrine, but was a little more lax on the rules. Then we quit altogether. Now I go to church with my mother on Mother's Day and my father on Father's Day.

    Fortunately, I still have a relationship with my family. Don't get me wrong, they believe I'm going to be tortured for eternity, but we are still on very good terms.
    Life is a series of bullseyes and backstraps - Ted Nugent

  17. #37
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    1) Atheism is a belief that there is no God. That requires the same faith or belief as anyone who believes there IS a God.

    2) Faith does not require proof, it requires a lack of proof. If you have proof then it's science.

    3) It is utterly pointless to ask anybody about God. Near everyone, even in the same church, mosque, temple, or Coronary Care Unit, has different interpretations of their holy book.

    4) I don't know if there's a God or Gods or not.

    5) I'm quite prepared to accept that there might be a God.

    6) Looking at the world, I am utterly convinced that if there is a God, He (She?) Ain't very nice at all.

    7) I try and live in a manner that hurts as few people as possible, I've made quite a few failures on that score but I honestly regret them.

    8) If there is a God and He turns out to be a nice old Geezer then I think I am likely to fare reasonably well. If He is as big a ragbag as I think He could be then we're all stuffed anyway.

    9) The nearest I get to any religion is Zen Buddhism. This is more of a philosophy that a religion (N.B. Zen, not the other man made religions that badly represent the teachings of Buddha, many of which I disagree with.) It's all about understanding and truth. The truth, like the law, is what it is and not what you want it to be or think it ought to be. You mostly don't know it.

    10) If you think truth can be found in the Bible, or any other holy book then find another person who believes the same and then go word for word though the bible and if you don't agree on every word and why it's there, then there can be no truth, just opinions.

  18. #38
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    Science as we know it now is still very much limited...with the advent of viable clues that blackholes do exist & may very well be at the center of how galaxies were formed, time relativity as theorized by Einstein remains a mystery...
    To question the creation of the universe in only 6 days (He rested on the 7th) is questioning the basic theory of relativity...earth or even our solar system, is not even a dot in the milky way which itself is minuscule compared to the infinite cosmic expansion...time concept is relative & basing universe creation argument on earthly measures is like believing that the universe revolves around the earth, a concept believed by many until Copernicus proved otherwise.

  19. #39
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    Science v faith. I cannot know all of science, even the scientists don't know it all. But, like breaking the sound barrier, when you find previously unknown facts you can accept them in science. Faith faced with evidence of it's falsity required mental gymnastics to overcome the plain truth. Some Bible followers (I cannot call then Christian) believe the earth is around 4,000 years old. This by information given in the bible. When questioned about dinosaur fossils they will argue that they were put in the earth by God to test peoples faith, a mean trick by any standards. When carbon dating is mentioned they will poo poo it as inaccurate science because they can't, or more likely won't, understand it. I can only think of such people as fools. I would recommend watching the film "Inherit The Wind". A Hollywood representation to be sure, of the 'Stopes Monkey Trial'. For those who cannot accept the possibility of humans evolving from apes, I would merely ask, who are you to judge how a God might produce humans?

    P.S. I do not believe that I have said anything that would contradict the possibility of Jesus being pretty much what the Bible says He was.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    Science v faith. I cannot know all of science, even the scientists don't know it all. But, like breaking the sound barrier, when you find previously unknown facts you can accept them in science. Faith faced with evidence of it's falsity required mental gymnastics to overcome the plain truth. Some Bible followers (I cannot call then Christian) believe the earth is around 4,000 years old. This by information given in the bible. When questioned about dinosaur fossils they will argue that they were put in the earth by God to test peoples faith, a mean trick by any standards. When carbon dating is mentioned they will poo poo it as inaccurate science because they can't, or more likely won't, understand it. I can only think of such people as fools. I would recommend watching the film "Inherit The Wind". A Hollywood representation to be sure, of the 'Stopes Monkey Trial'. For those who cannot accept the possibility of humans evolving from apes, I would merely ask, who are you to judge how a God might produce humans?

    P.S. I do not believe that I have said anything that would contradict the possibility of Jesus being pretty much what the Bible says He was.
    I am mostly in agreement with you, but then you brought up carbon dating.... it’s junk science. I have the same high standards of proof for science as I do religion. Any claim of certainty regarding origin of life must have an incredible amount of proof along with it. Today’s science relies on consensus too much for my taste. Evolution as a mechanism of change in a species is well documented fact. Evolution as a means for life’s origin is not only speculative but requires that other biological concepts be violated.

    “We don’t know” remains the best answer for the origin of life.

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