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View Diary: Why Do Atheists Vote Democrat? (98 comments)

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  •  Seeing the world as arbitrary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, Wee Mama

    with no divine safety net or do-over.  It's up to us to do the best we can.

    For me, facing that I couldn't sustain belief in a parental God meant facing this horrible, arbitrary meaninglessness.  Made me suicidal.

    Keeping my view a bit smaller and trying to contribute in a positive way has kept me from despair.

    Nice explanation--just wanted to add how scary it has been for me.

    •  It was scary for me too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      political mutt

      It is  much scarier world, when there is no divine plan at work.

      •  speaking only for myself... (7+ / 0-)

        ... the notion that this is part of some divine plan is scarier than the idea that what we see is what we get. At least I can make sense of the latter scenario.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:27:54 AM PDT

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        •  I can see the comfort (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          political mutt, bobtmn

          It would be nice to believe that there is a sense of universal justice, where suffering righteously is rewarded and the wicked are punished.

          I find the cruelest part of Christianity is the idea that somehow the suffering felt by the poor and disenfranchised is somehow noble.  Christians would be a lot more pissed at a rigged system, if they weren't lead to believe this.

          •  The idea that suffering/poverty is noble (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Teeth, Nowhere Man

            is a, not the, Christian position.

            It's not the position of the Social Gospel (see Walter Rauschenbusch), Christian Realism (see Reinhold Niebuhr), or Liberation Theology (see Gustavo Gutierrez), to name three very significant movements in twentieth-century Christian theology.

            If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

            by dirkster42 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 08:42:26 AM PDT

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            •  OTOH (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dirkster42, Dr Teeth

              I remember a Pope -- pretty sure it was John Paul II -- telling parents who were unable to conceive a baby that they should consider their suffering as an opportunity to join with Jesus in his suffering on the cross. So there is that.

              I agree with your larger point, though: Though I'm not even sure that there was a historical Jesus, obviously somebody came up with the words attributed to him. And from what (relatively little) I know, I believe that the liberal Christian movements are much more in line with those teachings.

              Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

              by Nowhere Man on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 09:15:34 AM PDT

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              •  Yep - (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nowhere Man, Dr Teeth

                the idea is a Christian position, no doubt - and one that has as much to do with the calamities of the fourteenth century, when the idea really takes off, as with anything inherent in the Gospels (Thomas of Kempis is one who takes it to an extreme, and is oddly macho about it).  It's just not the only stance Christians take.

                If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

                by dirkster42 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 10:07:30 AM PDT

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      •  Quite frankly (5+ / 0-)

        I think it a much saner world that recognises that man alone is responsible for outcomes.

        We caused it, we can fix it and anything else is just a meaningless distraction.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:32:50 AM PDT

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      •  I've never really understood this. (5+ / 0-)

        I've never understood this sentiment, and to me the notion of the Christian god has always been horrifying. But then I've been atheist all my life, so I probably can't understand what it's like to be in a religion.  The religious claims, as I hear them (Not necessarily what people actually believe) go something like this:

        There is a being out there that exists who has an enormous interest in my daily life, and is watching everything I do.

        If I don't live my life by a set of inscrutable divine rules, I will be punished for eternity.  Yet there is no objective measure to discover the correct set of rules so that they could be accurately followed.  The fact that no objective measure exists leads to religious fractioning in the form of splintering groups and sects.

        Worse than that, there are forces at work, 'worldly' forces, bent on undermining my confidence in the validity of the correct set, if I even happen to stumble upon the absolute correct combination of divine laws.  The world is fundamentally corrupted, and will lie to my senses in an attempt to trick me away from obedience to the divine laws.

        That's always seemed more like a horror story than any kind of thing to celebrate.

        The notion of a divine plan seems scarier to me than none at all.  Hopefully my perspective on this is clear enough to understand.  Perspective makes all the difference, I suppose, but this is just something I've never really understood how it could be squared with objective reality.

      •  that's a subjective attitude too. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenPA, dirkster42, Dr Teeth, trumpeter

        One can feel perfectly at home in the universe, with or without belief in a deity.

        One can feel threatened and scared, with or without belief in a deity.

        See also the phrase "God-fearing."

        Fear as the basis for one's relationship to the universe at-large doesn't depend on the presence or absence of religious belief: it's a pervasive emotional state, and it can change.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 07:05:01 AM PDT

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    •  It's not scary at all (5+ / 0-)

      If you think of "divine plan" as "laws of physics" and realize that everything proceeds from there.

      It may not be a human-centric "plan" but it is a somewhat deterministic world anyway.  Things aren't truly random -- they are the result of many interactions on all levels of the physical world.  We think of them as random because we often don't fully understand their cause.  Science makes this easier to understand and accept -- and science also reveals a wondrous world that we are only beginning to comprehend.   If you're looking for truth or elegance or beauty, just go outside and look up at night.  It's truly an awesome sight to behold, the Universe.

    •  Andre Comte-Sponville's book (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth, political mutt, dirkster42

      The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality has helped to make atheism a joyous experience for me.  Who knows, maybe you could find it beneficial too.

      Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

      by lockewasright on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:47:04 AM PDT

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      •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lockewasright, Dr Teeth, dirkster42

        I will take a look if I have time.

        Actually I've come a long way from those early days and am happy with my views. I think that a lot of it was a matter of hormonal changes when I had children, though, rather than philosophy!  It's kind of nice to be genetically programmed to have something important and meaningful in life.

        •  I was skeptical at best as I picked the book up. (5+ / 0-)

          Words like "spiritual" turn me off.  I have no more respect for the concept of a spirit than I do for the gifts of Miss Cleo, the reading of people's auras, or Dionne Warwick's psychotic friends network.  

          I am more comfortable discussing "spirituality" as emotional contentment.  That way we aren't wandering into the imaginary by not being selective with our terms.  Still, the book has helped me to realize how extremely powerful learning to reject hope can be and what a valuable and necessary step it is in learning to live for the moment, re-prioritize, and cherish the experience of life and connection with others that it can contain.  It helps one to recognize that life is actually one instant.  Time which has passed is irretrievably gone and therefore not very relevant to this moment and time not yet arrived is even less relevant as it has not and may not ever arrive.  I am not explaining it nearly as well as the author does so I am going to shut up now.

          Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

          by lockewasright on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 06:06:05 AM PDT

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          •  You explain well enough (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lockewasright, Dr Teeth

            to make me really want to read it.

            I never thought in terms of "rejecting hope" but it makes sense in terms of taking responsibility for what I can do in the now.

            •  Hope by definition is not focused on the present (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              political mutt, dirkster42, Dr Teeth

              but future.  Where the hope is for happiness it can gate (serve as an obstacle to) taking joy in life NOW.  I would not ever suggest rejecting hope where it pertains to having foresight, making good decisions, and remaining ever focused on strategically positioning one's self to enjoy positive results or to change one's circumstance to be more to their liking.  It is about granting ourselves permission to enjoy the process, enjoy the experience in the meantime.

              Here is a quote from Groucho Marx that I stumbled upon.  I normally expect humor in his quotes, but this one is simply a pearl of wisdom.  I am trying and failing to put it in practice.  I am getting better at it though.

                   

              “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.” ~ Groucho Marx
              I wouldn't call that a universal axiom, but I would say that the exceptions are, in fact, exceptions.  

              Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

              by lockewasright on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 07:45:50 AM PDT

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