Author Topic: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.  (Read 432 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline SevenPatch

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 704
  • Darwins +108/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • A source will help me understand.
A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:23:48 PM »
I was watching a program on HBO recently about creationists and Darwin, I forget what it was called.

Anyway, there were a few stories told by a few people in which their belief in God helped them overcome some problem in their life.

I don't know if the stories were true or not, but the concept of someone not believing in themselves and thus needing to believe in something more powerful than them in order to resolve a problem in their life is understandable.

So I was wondering, what might happen to these people if there was no religion and everyone on the planet didn't think there was a god or gods?

From my perspective, it wasn't a god that helped those people overcome whatever problems they had, it was themselves.  They used the idea of god to motivate themselves to resolve their own problems.

So without religion or god, I wonder where these people will find their motivation.

Would they find some other source to motivate themselves?  Would they have to be helped by others?

I'm just wondering what others think about this subject.
"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride - SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!" - Bill Hicks

Offline Foxy Freedom

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1434
  • Darwins +97/-12
  • Why is it so difficult to say you don't know?
    • Foxy Freedom on Doctor Who
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 09:46:56 PM »
I have never needed to rely on a lie to make me feel better, and I have been in a situation where I did not expect to be alive the next morning.
Neither Foxy Freedom nor any associates can be reached via WWGHA. Their official antitheist website is http://the6antitheist6guide6.blogspot.co.uk

The 2nd edition of the free ebook Devil or Delusion ? The danger of Christianity to Democracy Freedom and Science.       http://t.co/2d1KcJ9V

Offline bgb

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 862
  • Darwins +8/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • That felt great.
    • BGBART SHIRTS AND GIFTS
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 10:00:27 PM »
Religion teaches you to rely on something other than yourself.  Even though you are doing the work yourself.  Not giving credit to themselves but more reason to trust in their god.  Losing god can improve ones self worth.
The whole point of science is that most of it is uncertain. That's why science is exciting--because we don't know. Science is all about things we don't understand. The public, of course, imagines science is just a set of facts. But it's not.  Freeman Dyson

Offline Astreja

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3012
  • Darwins +265/-3
  • Gender: Female
  • Agnostic goddess with Clue-by-Four™
    • The Springy Goddess
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 11:59:51 PM »
I've always tended towards "I'll believe it when I see it" rather than depending on positive thinking.  I also fit into the nAch (need for achievement) motivational type described by psychologist David McClelland.   What this means in practical terms is that I tend towards intrinsic personal goals and extrinsic task motivation, so most of the time it's just Me versus a problem that I see as soluble through natural means.

In this context, I view any crying out for supernatural assistance[1] as just an outburst in a moment of frustration or fatigue.  It's not really a motivator at all; it's more of a signal to Myself to back away from a problem and sleep on it, or to start asking friends and business contacts for their input, because I just hit the wall.
 1. Which I may have done maybe once or twice in the past 56 years.
Reality Checkroom — Not Responsible for Lost Articles

Online Nam

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12437
  • Darwins +323/-84
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm on the road less traveled...
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 04:44:04 AM »
I feel only strong contempt toward Christianity; I don't agree with other religions (excluding the atheist branch of Jainism) but I have no contempt for them.

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6198
  • Darwins +408/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 10:16:50 AM »
Would they find some other source to motivate themselves?  Would they have to be helped by others?

I'm just wondering what others think about this subject.

Depends.  Probably for the current population, there would be problems.

But then - once you had taken away the persistent and diminishing teaching that "you owe everything to god, you are nothing, everything you do is bad and good comes only from god", I suspect those people might have a whole lot less problem motivating themselves in the first place.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline penfold

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 681
  • Darwins +63/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • ...buzz buzz buzz...
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 11:39:47 AM »
I don't know if the stories were true or not, but the concept of someone not believing in themselves and thus needing to believe in something more powerful than them in order to resolve a problem in their life is understandable.

Not only understandable but ultimately a wise strategy. As William James said if a creed makes a man happy, then he will almost inevitably adopt it.

This is an aspect of religion - salvation midst the terror of being - that I have no problem with.

For my own part I have an old friend who has struggled his whole life with severe bi-polar and schizophrenia - his Catholicism is a huge part of his identity and, I suspect, has helped keep him from suicide, a sadly common outcome for people with his pathology. Not only do I accept his Catholicism, I applaud it.

His priest, on the other hand, who tells his congregation that homosexuality is a form of 'moral disorder' and tells children that Hell awaits them if they have 'dirty thoughts', him I would gladly kick the sh*t out of.

Life's a complex business, we all do what we can to stay afloat...
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." - P.K.D.

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12324
  • Darwins +675/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 12:02:01 PM »
"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."
P.C. Hodgell



I have no room for the argument that religion can be a necessary and useful tool.  It is a net negative and a completely uncontrollable monster easily turned ugly.  See Stephen Law for thoughts on that.[1]

If religions were practical methods that were revised based on efficacy, I could see it.  If the ten commandments were updated to include "thou shall not own people", or "thou shall treat women and men equally" or to omit the part about gays being an abomination, I could see it.  But they aren't.  They leave the bible as is and just kind of sweep the parts they don't like under the rug.  As a result, the bible increasingly has little to do with modern society.  And those ugly, anachronistic parts are dragged back out periodically by bigots and lunatics to support regressive ideas, which they call "fundamentalism". 

 1. http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2009/01/religion-as-social-tool.html
Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline penfold

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 681
  • Darwins +63/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • ...buzz buzz buzz...
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 01:58:58 PM »
"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."
P.C. Hodgell

Another one for you:

“It seems to me a fundamental dishonesty, and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it's useful and not because you think it's true.” - Bertrand Russell

(Still don't agree though...)
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." - P.K.D.

Offline Hatter23

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3884
  • Darwins +258/-7
  • Gender: Male
  • Doesn't believe in one more god than you
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 02:31:58 PM »
Yes, the lack of a security blanket would be detrimental to some. The superstitions that may incline some toward more altruism would be lost.

Compared that to the fact the same thing was reasons for wars, executions, discrimination, slavery, second class status for some, impeding scientific progress, murder, and useless expenditures of resources.

Thus to keep religion around would be a classic case of penny wise and pound foolish.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline SevenPatch

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 704
  • Darwins +108/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • A source will help me understand.
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 03:37:18 PM »
Thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts so far.

I have never needed to rely on a lie to make me feel better, and I have been in a situation where I did not expect to be alive the next morning.

There was probably a point in my life that I believed in “God” and that probably made me feel good thinking that something more powerful than me was watching out for me.  Other than that, I can’t think of a lie that I might have relied on to make me feel better, but I’ll leave open the possibility that I have so perhaps I can identify it and realize my mistake.

Thankfully, I also haven’t been in a situation where I did not expect to be alive the next morning (we are both perhaps a bit fortunate and wise not to be in such situations).  Still, Foxy Freedom, not everyone can be or is as fortunate and wise enough to avoid being in bad situations where they might not be alive the next morning.

__________________


Religion teaches you to rely on something other than yourself.  Even though you are doing the work yourself.  Not giving credit to themselves but more reason to trust in their god.  Losing god can improve ones self worth.

Yeah I agree.  Too often, people confuse having self worth with arrogance.  I’ve overheard a few conversations among Christians where they almost expect people to view themselves as worthless in the eyes of their god.  It is very emotionally unhealthy for someone to view themselves as worthless, and there is nothing wrong with someone having enough self worth as to be able to help themselves, others and overcome obstacles in life on their own.  I think arrogance is a description reserved for people who think they are better in some way or “more equal” than other people.

Although most of the Christians I know or have met seem to buy into the “God helps those who help themselves” slogan.  There is probably some hint of irony there.

______________________

I've always tended towards "I'll believe it when I see it" rather than depending on positive thinking.  I also fit into the nAch (need for achievement) motivational type described by psychologist David McClelland.   What this means in practical terms is that I tend towards intrinsic personal goals and extrinsic task motivation, so most of the time it's just Me versus a problem that I see as soluble through natural means.

In this context, I view any crying out for supernatural assistance[1] as just an outburst in a moment of frustration or fatigue.  It's not really a motivator at all; it's more of a signal to Myself to back away from a problem and sleep on it, or to start asking friends and business contacts for their input, because I just hit the wall.
 1. Which I may have done maybe once or twice in the past 56 years.

I view things in the same way these days.  I wonder if the people I’m thinking about would be able to motivate themselves in the way you’re talking about Astreja.  I suppose it’s possible or maybe even very possible that they would. 

Thanks for the link.

__________________________

I feel only strong contempt toward Christianity; I don't agree with other religions (excluding the atheist branch of Jainism) but I have no contempt for them.

-Nam

I agree in regards to Christianity (strong contempt).  I’ve never heard of Janism, interesting, I’ll look it up.

__________________________


Would they find some other source to motivate themselves?  Would they have to be helped by others?

I'm just wondering what others think about this subject.

Depends.  Probably for the current population, there would be problems.

But then - once you had taken away the persistent and diminishing teaching that "you owe everything to god, you are nothing, everything you do is bad and good comes only from god", I suspect those people might have a whole lot less problem motivating themselves in the first place.


I was thinking the exact same thing.  Short term there would be problems, but overall the long term benefits would really be overwhelming.

_______________________________


I don't know if the stories were true or not, but the concept of someone not believing in themselves and thus needing to believe in something more powerful than them in order to resolve a problem in their life is understandable.

Not only understandable but ultimately a wise strategy. As William James said if a creed makes a man happy, then he will almost inevitably adopt it.

This is an aspect of religion - salvation midst the terror of being - that I have no problem with.

For my own part I have an old friend who has struggled his whole life with severe bi-polar and schizophrenia - his Catholicism is a huge part of his identity and, I suspect, has helped keep him from suicide, a sadly common outcome for people with his pathology. Not only do I accept his Catholicism, I applaud it.

His priest, on the other hand, who tells his congregation that homosexuality is a form of 'moral disorder' and tells children that Hell awaits them if they have 'dirty thoughts', him I would gladly kick the sh*t out of.

Life's a complex business, we all do what we can to stay afloat...

Yeah, sometimes I feel this way, I just think to myself that there has to be a better way for these troubled people to find resolution to their problems besides something that is imaginary.  Really what we’re ending up with is a bunch of people with problems believing in something which isn’t real, and this sounds pretty dangerous.


______________________

"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."
P.C. Hodgell

I have no room for the argument that religion can be a necessary and useful tool.  It is a net negative and a completely uncontrollable monster easily turned ugly.  See Stephen Law for thoughts on that.[2]

If religions were practical methods that were revised based on efficacy, I could see it.  If the ten commandments were updated to include "thou shall not own people", or "thou shall treat women and men equally" or to omit the part about gays being an abomination, I could see it.  But they aren't.  They leave the bible as is and just kind of sweep the parts they don't like under the rug.  As a result, the bible increasingly has little to do with modern society.  And those ugly, anachronistic parts are dragged back out periodically by bigots and lunatics to support regressive ideas, which they call "fundamentalism".
 2. http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2009/01/religion-as-social-tool.html

That is probably what got me thinking about this last night, in reference to the good vs evil/bad and discussing necessary evil.  I also wondered if religion was a necessary evil.  I do have to agree with you that the net negative and completely uncontrollable monster easily turned ugly (fundamentalists) is not worth whatever positives religion might provide.

Thanks for the link.

_______________________

Yes, the lack of a security blanket would be detrimental to some. The superstitions that may incline some toward more altruism would be lost.

Compared that to the fact the same thing was reasons for wars, executions, discrimination, slavery, second class status for some, impeding scientific progress, murder, and useless expenditures of resources.

Thus to keep religion around would be a classic case of penny wise and pound foolish.

Ha, yes, good point.  I usually dream about how much better those wasted resources could be spent.  How many people could have homes and be able to sleep in a warm bed in place of all the expensive churches, temples and cathedrals.  The donations made to religions every year are staggering, and every time I look at the numbers I shake my head and think to myself “religion has to be the greatest scam in human history”.
"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride - SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!" - Bill Hicks

Offline jdawg70

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2060
  • Darwins +372/-8
  • Ex-rosary squad
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 03:39:07 PM »
Not only understandable but ultimately a wise strategy. As William James said if a creed makes a man happy, then he will almost inevitably adopt it.

This is an aspect of religion - salvation midst the terror of being - that I have no problem with.

For my own part I have an old friend who has struggled his whole life with severe bi-polar and schizophrenia - his Catholicism is a huge part of his identity and, I suspect, has helped keep him from suicide, a sadly common outcome for people with his pathology. Not only do I accept his Catholicism, I applaud it.

His priest, on the other hand, who tells his congregation that homosexuality is a form of 'moral disorder' and tells children that Hell awaits them if they have 'dirty thoughts', him I would gladly kick the sh*t out of.

Life's a complex business, we all do what we can to stay afloat...

What happens if your friend decides that his priest is actually an authority figure of some kind in the Catholic Church[1], and that his explanations of homosexuality as a form of 'moral disorder' are essentially decreed by god himself?

Would you let him hold on to his 'salvation midst the terror of being' if his creed of salvation meant actual harm imposed on others? 
 1. They're supposed to be considered as such.
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

- Eddie Izzard

http://deepaksducttape.wordpress.com/

Offline Dante

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2200
  • Darwins +72/-9
  • Gender: Male
  • Hedonist Extraordinaire
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 03:46:56 PM »
So I was wondering, what might happen to these people if there was no religion and everyone on the planet didn't think there was a god or gods?

For starters, maybe they'd start appreciating science, medicine, and the deeds of others instead of thanking their good-for-nothing imaginary fucking god every time some firefighter or EMT or doctor saves a life or heals the sick, etc.....

Every time some shmuck-of-a-friend posts shit like that on Facebook, I want to go spider monkey on their asses.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline penfold

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 681
  • Darwins +63/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • ...buzz buzz buzz...
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 04:50:35 AM »


What happens if your friend decides that his priest is actually an authority figure of some kind in the Catholic Church[1], and that his explanations of homosexuality as a form of 'moral disorder' are essentially decreed by god himself?

Would you let him hold on to his 'salvation midst the terror of being' if his creed of salvation meant actual harm imposed on others?
 1. They're supposed to be considered as such.

My friend actually does believe that.

It's complicated; I don't know where to draw the line. I suppose my response is this; and I am sorry if it seems like a cop-out; insofar as Catholicism is a source of strength for my friend I think it is a good thing for him; insofar as Catholicism promotes hatred it is a bad thing for him.

Do I approve of Catholicism in general? No.

I would also add the following; I have the advantage of living in a secular society where the dignity and rights of minorities are well protected, where women have autonomy over their bodies, where mosques, churches and synagogues can all be found on the same street. I acknowledge that my view would be different if I lived in another a place (or time) where this wasn't true.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." - P.K.D.

Offline Foxy Freedom

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1434
  • Darwins +97/-12
  • Why is it so difficult to say you don't know?
    • Foxy Freedom on Doctor Who
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2014, 11:45:18 AM »
I think you misread my quote.

I have been in a situation where I thought I would not be alive the next morning. I was shaking with fear for hours and I kept thinking the same thoughts over and over so much that I got the worst headache you can imagine and filled my whole body with adrenaline. The main feeling I had with fear was total isolation like I was facing the unknown alone. Eventually I just had to turn off my thoughts, but it never occurred to me to hope that Christianity was true or that a god would help me. Luckily the situation was not as bad as I thought. Afterwards I did not think how brave I was because I had faced it on my own and not prayed to any gods. My main reaction immediately after was that I was not psychologically prepared and that I wasted too much time being afraid.

One thing I learned from it was that not all deaths are equally frightening. Falling into a black hole sounds like one of the worst deaths, a plane crash, drowning, and brain cancer sounds very bad too. On the other hand I have found that I am not afraid of being killed for standing up for issues I support. I have visited several countries ruled by dictators where the people were afraid to say anything.
Neither Foxy Freedom nor any associates can be reached via WWGHA. Their official antitheist website is http://the6antitheist6guide6.blogspot.co.uk

The 2nd edition of the free ebook Devil or Delusion ? The danger of Christianity to Democracy Freedom and Science.       http://t.co/2d1KcJ9V

Offline SevenPatch

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 704
  • Darwins +108/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • A source will help me understand.
Re: A question for any atheist who strongly opposes religion.
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2014, 06:44:18 PM »
Oh, you're right I did misread your quote Foxy.  Sorry about that.

My bad.

I might have gotten my thoughts mixed up while trying to respond to everyone or I probably just read what I wanted to read for some reason.  Either way, thanks for correcting me in regards to what you did say and sharing additional background.
"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride - SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!" - Bill Hicks