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View Diary: Being an atheist in America (242 comments)

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  •  i understand where youa re coming from (2+ / 0-)
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    snout, Buffalo Girl

    but as someone who has been on both sides of this at different times in my life, I think you are being a little full of yourself.  It is foolish for the religious not to acknowledge that they could be wrong, and silly for the atheist to presume that they are correct.

    •  I probablly (3+ / 0-)

      am full of myself but I don't assume I am correct. I am what some call a "weak" atheist (hate that term). Which means I don't believe in God but I'm not absolutely sure there is no God, just as I am not absolutely sure there are no unicorns. Unless God comes down and kicks my ass or I get to ride around on a unicorn, I'll remain so.

      I don't think I worded my earlier response correctly. I don't think religious people are necessarily mentally ill, I think what they believe is crazy. It's a subtle but important difference.

      •  as subtle as (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heart of the Rockies

        Christians saying, "Love the sinner, hate the sin"

        •  No. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shadan7, chimpwatch, Ja of Anoroc

          Because it's not an issue of hate. On this board, we're all pretty smart. We're able to find nuance in arguments, logical falacies, etc. We can counter almost any argument another poster makes.

          For me, it comes down to this. If we consider a man who claims to believe in Aliens (not the Sigourney Weaver kind) as having an odd belief, we should extend this to people who believe in miracles from the bible. Why is it acceptable to deride someone who believes that aliens are listening to his thoughts, but not someone who thinks Jesus hears his prayers? Again, I don't think religious people are crazy (it's such a broad term), just as I didn't believe that David Koresh's followers were crazy. Both bought into something illogical because it fills a need in their lives. Just as a belief in aliens may fill a need in someone else's life.

      •  'strong' atheism (1+ / 0-)
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        makes no sense to me at all if it means that you have 'faith' that there is nothing supernatural. If you do that sounds like a kind of religion to me.  I would prefer to think of a-theist as not-theist rather than against-god-existence, which is really a subset.

        As for religion being ‘crazy,’ well it does frighten me that people are willing to ignore what they encounter with their senses in favor of something they can not encounter with their senses -- at least when they are in contradiction.  For example, if I didn't have any idea what that the sun was a star and a star was a ball of gas far away like many others, it would be mentally helpful to speculate about its possible supernatural nature. However, once I have seen evidence that it is not a supernatural phenomenon, I should be able to abandon my previous notions without fear of eternal damnation. Without the ability to speak honestly about the world around us, some aspects of society just don't function well.

        In other words, what people do in the same of religion is a double edged sword.  On one hand I am grateful if fear of hell prevents someone from murdering me or stealing from me. That's really what religion is all about -- incentives for cooperation. But when it prevents me from understanding natural phenomenon just because it contradicts supernatural beliefs it is quite counterproductive. I don't just mean science and natural history. I also mean daily events routinely interpreted as supernatural.

        Finally, the ‘good side’ of religion is negated by millenarian beliefs.  If people think the world will end in a decade or less, they will act (vote) in ways that are not in synch with what those of us who plan to be around for a while a concerned about.

        •  No offense to any intended, but (3+ / 0-)

          I have always considered modern christianity to be like santa claus for adults.  God keeps a list, checks it twice, gonna find out who's naughty and nice.  Good boys and girls get presents, bad ones get a lump of coal.  It serves both as a threat of punishment for exhibiting inappropriate behavior and a promise of reward for appropriate behavior(incentives for cooperation like you said).  Does this mean that, without santa claus, children would be uncontrollable and amoral? No, of course not.  The same can be said of those without God.  Godlessness should not be meant to imply an absense of morals or ethics.   I was raised with neither God nor Santa Claus, and I think I turned out okay.

          "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."- Emerson

          by Sidof79 on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 08:13:54 AM PDT

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          •  I'm not offended - who cares if you're (0+ / 0-)

            a decent person.  Thinking Christian (and most likely Hindus, Jews, Muslims) adults usually get it:  "no good deed goes unpunished."  What do you think we are:  naive.  As to the afterlife, well who knows but I have hopes.  Nothing to do with you - just my mindset.    

            I have no patience with people who grow old at 60 just because they are entitled to a bus pass. Mary Wesley, British novelist

            by xanthe on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 10:10:05 AM PDT

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            •  'Thinking Christian', (0+ / 0-)

              The problem is that outside of this board, there aren't as many of those as I would like.

              •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

                The problem is that outside of this board, there aren't as many of those as I would like.

                I can't remember who made the observation, but it's been said that a person is smart but people are dumb. I wonder how much of what you describe is due to how encounters in places like this tend to feel a bit more "one on one" whereas in the "real world" a group mentality can more easily form?

                Perhaps there is no connection at all, but I thought I would bring it up in case others had more insight into it...

                "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

                by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 10:32:01 AM PDT

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              •  here's a thinking Christian (0+ / 0-)

                you may like.  http://www.nationalcatholicreporter....

                Joan Chittester - a Benedictine abbess.  Seriously - just enjoy reading -- believe me I'm not, repeat not - prosthetizing.  Some days, I'm agnostic.  

                I have no patience with people who grow old at 60 just because they are entitled to a bus pass. Mary Wesley, British novelist

                by xanthe on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 11:28:19 AM PDT

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    •  You have to look at atheism as (0+ / 0-)

      a rejection of faith.  It's not a matter of who's right or wrong, that's a ridiculous argument to entertain because nobody will ever know.

      Frankly I don't see many instances (or any) where atheists are threatened by people's faith.  That's just a bit of sophistry. Almost by definition, someone without faith cannot have it challenged.  

      I do see many instances where atheists are threatened by people of faith, who, by definition, are choosing to believe without any tangible evidence.  People who reject faith challenge those with faith, never the other way around.

      "Republicans are people who say government doesn't work... then get elected and prove it." --Will Rogers

      by jetfan on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 09:03:47 AM PDT

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