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View Diary: I've Been a Bad Atheist (330 comments)

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  •  Humility (27+ / 0-)
    Attempting to grab other folks' illusions away from them feels unkind. Offering nothing to replace the stripped away illusion with can seem cruel.
    Humility is one of the greatest comforts that an atheist, or anyone, can enjoy.   Recognizing the limits of your power over other people, over events, over the universe, is greatly reassuring.   The truth is that you cannot grab other folks' illusions away from them, no matter what you say to them.   A person will only give up their illusion when they decide to do so.    Believe me.  I know.  I live in Texas.  You can talk until, as they say, the cows come home, and people will remain firm in their illusions, unless they make a decision to move beyond them.

    Besides, if someone views atheism as a worthless bag of sand, then clearly, they have not truly discovered  atheism.    If they are disappointed to discover the absence of a heaven or a God then apparently, they still believe there is a heaven or a God to be missed.   A true atheist was already expecting to find atheism, and so they find exactly what they were searching for, and they recognize it immediately.  They are usually greatly relieved and reassured when the world actually starts to make sense, and they are comforted to feel the truth, like bedrock, under their feet.

    However, I sort of know what you mean.  A relative who had terminal cancer once asked me if I believed in God, and I replied that she was probably talking to the wrong person, if she wanted reassurance in her faith.   I believe that all religious people experience some stress and anxiety, due to the disconnect between their beliefs and reality.  I don't think she would have asked the question if she had not been experiencing the inevitable doubt.  
    But, I felt she was trying to shore up the leaky dam of her beliefs, not indicating that she was ready to give them up, and so I did not judge that to be the best time to giver he a short course on atheism. I feel that atheism can be a comfort in a time of death, but it does take some time to reach a comfort level in those beliefs, and in a terminal patient, there may not be time to incorporate a new set of beliefs to a point where you can find comfort in them, so holding on to what is familiar might be the best way to go.  As an atheist, I am practical, and if religious beliefs comfort you in your final hours, then do what works.  It won't make a difference either way, other than simply helping you be less anxious.   It's not like you'll go to atheist hell for committing the sin of believing in God.

    I love atheism.  I really do.   It is so freeing -- like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness all rolled into one.

    •  wow this could be a diary on its own (8+ / 0-)

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 08:16:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ya don't see the logical fallacies? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, gustynpip, Dragon5616, OrlWriter, Satya1
      A true atheist was already expecting to find atheism, and so they find exactly what they were searching for,
      I'm never surprised when someone only finds what they went into a situation looking for. In science, we call that bias.
      Besides, if someone views atheism as a worthless bag of sand, then clearly, they have not truly discovered  atheism.
      If I replaced the word " atheism" with the word " catholicism",
      would the sentence be true to you?

      I'm agnostic as get out, because we just plain don't have the data.

      I've already told my family that, when my gravestone is being cut, I don't want a name or a date- I just want it to say

      Ha Ha! I know something you don't know!
      •  I would argue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01

        you won't "know" anything.

        "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

        by Dragon5616 on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 02:10:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not science (0+ / 0-)
        I'm never surprised when someone only finds what they went into a situation looking for. In science, we call that bias.
        We are discussing the aspects of existence which science has not, or cannot explain, or which don't exist, for which no explanation can ever exist.   It is a realm of pure bias and opinion, the exact opposite of science.  

         

        If I replaced the word " atheism" with the word " catholicism",
        would the sentence be true to you?
        Yes.  I can imagine that a true Catholic must not see his religion as a bag of sand.    I certainly can't see whatever it is that they are seeing, so I can agree that, even though I've been exposed to Catholic rituals, I've never "experienced" Catholicism, as they do.   I'm OK with that.

        Amusing gravestone idea.  If you have it made before you pass, by chance, post a pic!

    •  I am having a weird existential moment (0+ / 0-)

      I am working on my genealogy, and fortunately my family background has been well-documented.

      So I have managed to go back to the 800s - to my 40th great-grandfather.

      Do you know how many hundreds upon hundreds of people who have existed in that time to make me?  And for the most part, most of my ancestors are forgotten, undocumented and ignored.  

      How many generations of Henry King's who did absolutely nothing but have kids do you have to look at before your own life seems unimportant and insignificant?

      But yet they moved history forward, and they made me, and I think I am pretty cool, and they made the society I live in, which while far from perfect, is bearable.

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