Atheists, why?

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    Apr 01, 2008 9:22 AM GMT
    I’ve always been curious about why people chose to be believe in no life after death. I’m not asking if there is or isn’t a God I just asking why would you chose to believe something so… sad. Personally I think that no one knows if there is a God, they may seem so confident in their beliefs claiming that they know, with out a doubt, that there is a God but the mind is a powerful thing. We will know what we want to know and feel what we want to feel. I think that both possibilities seem so impossible that either could be true. If there isn’t life after death then the idea of a life form with the knowledge that one day, no matter what it does, it will die seems overwhelmingly cruel. And I understand that humans, being animals that still retain basic instincts, would strive unwavering to find a way to survive. But how would they do this, how does one survive death? This is one theory of how religion was started; we survive death by creating life after it. But I think the theory of evolution has just as many holes as religion. How did we, and only we evolve?

    Clarifying “evolution does exist, but I just think that the idea that we evolved seems radical, but I DO NOT know much about it so my opinion means barely more than nothing”

    My question is – Why would you chose to hope for no life after eath. Sure the ideas of religion and heaven are very much like a fantasy where all our dreams (or the dreams of their founders) will come true but why wouldn’t you hope for life to continue. If you don’t think there is life after death that’s one thing but why accept it? Why not hope? If religion was started by people creating their own perfect world and calling it heaven then why not create your own heaven and hope for it to be there when your life comes to an end?
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    Apr 01, 2008 9:52 AM GMT
    Atheism seems a bit hypocritical to me.

    The atheists I've talked to have said they don't want to buy into the existence of a deity (or deities) because there's no solid proof. However, there's also no solid proof that deities don't exist. Thus, isn't atheism just as extreme a claim as the claim that there's a higher power?
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    Apr 01, 2008 9:53 AM GMT
    And I definitely have a double-negative in that response.

    I apologize.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Apr 01, 2008 10:15 AM GMT
    I don't see the problem with Atheism. It's a personal choice whether you believe in a god or not.

    At least atheists only use their arguments about there not being a god in reply to the constant harping on about god, retribution and after-life they have to put up with from believers.

    If you need to believe in a higher power to somehow validate your existance - then that's fine for you. But please don't expect me (as an atheist) to live by your (often vague and contradictory) rules.

    Just because someone choses not to believe in God doesn't make them sad or inadequate. I try to live a decent life, contribute to our society, and have a bit of fun. I just don't see the point in wasting my time worshipping something that doesn't exist.


    Loz
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 01, 2008 10:20 AM GMT
    This is something akin to why would someone choose to be gay? I don't consider myself to be an atheist but I certainly don't believe in what the Churches and the rest of the organized religions teach us
    If believing that there is a man up there in the clouds
    looking down at us and determining what we do down here
    .... Mazel tov
    But don't label anyone else's beliefs as sad
    Because someone can then turn around and say the samething about your beliefs and come up with similar rationalizations as to why

    As far as evolution having as many holes?
    There are no holes in evolutionary science except the ones someone who doesn't understand told you are there
    Evolution exists and continues to shape the living things here on earth as sure as the sun rises every morning
    ... HERE there is no room for beliefs
    if you don't think that's true your closing your mind
    and THAT is where the true danger of religion lies
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 01, 2008 10:25 AM GMT
    By believing in nothing, you're still believing in something.
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    Apr 01, 2008 10:44 AM GMT
    Atheism isn't 'sad' man, but I am not equipped this morning to spell it all out. Watch some youtube videos from Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, they do a great job at it. Mind you, the clips below are long, but I think they are worth the watch. It takes some time to explain away all the attacks against atheism, including 'the watchmaker' argument, how morality doesn’t come from the Bible or religion in general, etc.

    I like this one:



    and this one:



    I also get a kick out of watching videos from Midwest Atheist:

    http://midwestatheist.blogspot.com/

    I was watching this when I saw your post this morning:



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 01, 2008 11:39 AM GMT
    Christ, another religion-atheism argument. LOL

    Park_FourIf you don’t think there is life after death that’s one thing but why accept it? Why not hope? If religion was started by people creating their own perfect world and calling it heaven then why not create your own heaven and hope for it to be there when your life comes to an end?


    See? You yourself admit that the reason you believe is because you are afraid of a meaningless life and the concept of REAL dying without the life after death promises of religion.

    Evolution has holes, but not as humongous as Creation. And because I'm atheist doesn't mean we automatically agree about the particulars of Evolution, nor worship Science as a replacement religion.

    Aaron_MatthewThe atheists I've talked to have said they don't want to buy into the existence of a deity (or deities) because there's no solid proof. However, there's also no solid proof that deities don't exist. Thus, isn't atheism just as extreme a claim as the claim that there's a higher power?


    huh?

    Boy 1: I have a frog in my room.
    Boy 2: Show me.
    Boy 1: I will not. But I have a frog in my room.
    Boy 2: Prove it.
    Boy 1: You think I'm lying? Prove that I DON'T have a frog in my room.
    Boy 2: icon_rolleyes.gif

    Aaron_Matthew
    By believing in nothing, you're still believing in something.


    Ugh.

  • TexanMan82

    Posts: 893

    Apr 01, 2008 1:58 PM GMT
    I'm agnostic.

    That means I believe in something, some sort of higher power, but we as humans will never know or understand what it is.

    I don't believe in Christianity. I don't beleive Jesus was a messiah. I don't believe in the bible nor creation.

    We aren't the only ones to have evolved. Really? EVERY living creature around us has evolved in their own way.

    To me, Christianity is a fairy tale. All religion is.

    Until humans are no longer afraid of death, religion will always play a large role in our lives.
  • irishkcguy

    Posts: 780

    Apr 01, 2008 3:35 PM GMT
    TexanMan: a lot of people don't fear death because of their religious beliefs.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Apr 01, 2008 3:36 PM GMT
    Most atheists I am aware of are recovering Catholics or fundie Protestants of some stripe. They have been so abused at the hands of hateful dogma that they have run far and fast in the opposite direction, and take great pride and pleasure in telling the devout that we are delusional.

    I myself fled a fundie upbringing (Southern Baptist, go figure) and spat upon all religion for many years. I was brought back to Christianity by a brush with the Episcopal Church, which is all about Christ's message of unconditional love and social justice, not who is damned to eternal hellfire. We hardly even talk about hell. Some other things that are mostly off the table:

    Virgin Birth? - Nope
    Divine orgins of Jesus? - Nope
    Resurrection? - Only as metaphor
    Heaven/hell? - Almost never (especially Hell). A note on that, while I'm here. We liberal Christians have a rough time with the concept of evil. Conservative Christians have a rough time with the concept of good.

    The bulk of the Old Testament only comes up in proscribed readings, mostly because they're part of the liturgy and have to be done. I have the hardest time talking to nonbelievers because of that damned first third of the Bible, they never seem to get past it.

    I have tried on several occasions to advocate my form of Christianity as modern, intelligent, questioning and consumed with improving this world rather than the next
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    Apr 01, 2008 3:36 PM GMT
    I am also agnostic. The idea of there being a God is not strange to me, but that there is a prescribed religion and we are all playing Russian rhoulette with our choice is completely absurd.

    I grew up in a home that was not the least bit fanatical. My parents were somewhat religious but they didn't overwhelm me with their views or push me in any certain direction. Because I grew up in the Bible Belt and am gay and felt the pressures of religion to "fix" the latter I became a Christian at 16 and stayed that way into my late 20s.

    But then something clicked for me. I just couldn't see any of it anymore. First the concept of hell started looking ridiculous and pointless, then the devil went to the wayside. And that's when I realized that Jesus ALWAYS seemed to me to be an ironic and iconic distraction from God. That's when it all came tumbling down. I thought that when I got off the Jesus train it'd be like being stranded in the middle of the desert, but it was more like finding one's self in the middle of a great city. I've never been happier with my religious choice.

    That all being said I can see why someone would be atheist. It's all about what you can qualify in your mind. I always ignored the fact that I couldn't understand WHY Jesus had to die on the cross and HOW that was a supreme "sacrifice" if he was going to return the heaven from which he came. Wasn't 33 years out of his eternal life just a minor distraction? And isn't a true sacrifice something that you will do without forever?

    I can see these kinds of ideas being applied to God and coming up short for some people. I myself have a hard time believing that thought and reasoning just happen, and that human capability is what convinces me there is a God, though what he is like will be a mystery unless I see him, which would be nice because I've got lots of questions! icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 01, 2008 3:37 PM GMT
    I chose to be an atheist because it reflects my high IQ. WTF? Nobody chooses what to believe. You either believe it or you don't. You're convinced or you're not.

    I wonder - are there more poor in the world, or more Christians?
  • Squarejaw

    Posts: 1035

    Apr 01, 2008 3:52 PM GMT
    This thread is more interesting than most of our religion threads because Park_Four has pointed out a basic difference between theists and atheists: Why wouldn't you believe in something that's so emotionally appealing? vs. Why is emotional appeal sufficient reason to believe in something?

    Those of us who don't believe have trouble even understanding Park's question. And the responses that follow show that some people believe in something appealing unless there is reason not to, while others (me included) think that you shouldn't believe in the existence of something unless you have reason to.

    That's a basic epistemological difference that goes beyond the question of God, and I wonder this difference is consistently apparent in other areas of our lives.
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    Apr 01, 2008 3:55 PM GMT
    Food for thought: some of the posters here make it sound like atheism is a dirty, deviant 'choice,' made out of a desire to be contrary or make a statement. Don't some people claim the same of homosexuality?

    I never made a conscious choice to place no faith or belief in religion, organized or otherwise...the need to place my faith in a deity has simple never been necessary to me. It's as simple - and undefined, yet fundamentally intrinsic - as that. I don't expect anyone to follow my beliefs, nor do I feel that religious faith is misguided.

    Simply put, I don't ask people to justify their faith to me, as by definition faith is something that can't be justified...and I ask to be afforded the same consideration.

    Edit: oops, I took too long thinking and writing. Excellent points, McGay and Squarejaw.
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    Apr 01, 2008 3:56 PM GMT
    My dad was an atheist, I classify myself as agnostic. I don't think about whether there is a "God" or not, to me it does not matter. I don't care if there is an afterlife or not, it does not impact on my behaviour one way or another.

    I do wonder what started the whole process billions of years ago, and what existed before then, that to me is fascinating.
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    Apr 01, 2008 4:01 PM GMT
    jbedwards saidMy dad was an atheist, I classify myself as agnostic. I don't think about whether there is a "God" or not, to me it does not matter. I don't care if there is an afterlife or not, it does not impact on my behaviour one way or another.

    I do wonder what started the whole process billions of years ago, and what existed before then, that to me is fascinating.



    I wonder if there is a special place in heaven with extra ice cream and candy for the good looking ones.
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    Apr 01, 2008 4:09 PM GMT
    I think the attitude of atheism is sad is part of the holier than thou dilemma we find ourselves in when people who dont believe in the necessity of churches and religion to dictate how they go about life.

    The agnostic in me tho says it is sad that the inadequacy of your mind leads to failure to understand the purpose of life. Hmmmm now the question remains what is the meaning of life? Is it Propagation, husbandry and development of all organisms on this planet, not just ones that subscribe to a bunch of scribblings based on a system to control the masses.

    We are here to serve a purpose to keep this planet going and at the end of our days we then in turn revert to organic matter to feed the planet and enable the next generation to come to prosper. Heck you could even be of the belief that we are to be the fossil of a future species you never know.

    But when you are dead you are dead. Thats it no afterlife sorry so make the most of what you have now as that concept was just to give the poor in the street something to aspire to while their masters beat the stuffing out of them for not working hard enough.

    I respect your view point though and do not criticise you for your view point or ram my view point down others throats at every given opportunity, something which sadly is lacking from the other side of the court.

    And as for this comment "Why not hope? If religion was started by people creating their own perfect world and calling it heaven then why not create your own heaven and hope for it to be there when your life comes to an end?"

    I would rather channel my energies into making the most of this life and if you were truly religious you would cherish the life that a God has given you not hope for a better chance second time around in your Utopia
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Apr 01, 2008 4:09 PM GMT
    I believe in the mundaneity of our existence (i.e. there is no divinity, no consciousness driving us with purpose) because that's what I have faith in.

    My faith does not go toward a deity or innate purpose and I will not profess faith in something that I do not have faith in.

    This confused me when I experienced people trying to convert me (to Christianity): why would they have me claim faith in something I did not have faith in? Why would they have me lie before their deity?

    ***
    Park_Four, you may want to read at least the introductory pieces of the Theory of Evolution before attempting to discount it.

    The Theory of Evolution does not merely rely upon human evolution; it relies upon observances of all observable organic beings and how they and their biologies interact over time. All beings evolve, changing characteristics based on biological and environmental circumstances (particularly necessities).
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    Apr 01, 2008 4:10 PM GMT
    Squarejaw saidepistemological


    There's gotta be a special place in heaven for handsome men who can use the word "epistemological" and look good in a mouse costume. .... icon_wink.gif

    I am athesist for any god like the christian or jewish god...and I dont even consider elephant-headed gods, because of all the evil and suffering in the world. No god worthy of the name could allow what goes on here on Earth.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Apr 01, 2008 4:11 PM GMT
    Sad? The fact that something as amazing and complex as life can arise from chaos, simply by the nature of chaotic dynamics is *sad?*

    Now, I'm... not atheist (we'll leave it at that) but there's nothing "sad" about living your life for your life, living it HERE and NOW for the sake of HERE and NOW. There's nothing sad about the amazement you can feel about the amazing beauty and complexity of systems maintaining organization in the face of the the universal shift towards entropy.

    There are many many very happy atheists in the world. They really don't need your pity.
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    Apr 01, 2008 4:12 PM GMT
    Ok sorry that I offended some people by labeling their belief system as sad, I didn’t mean to offend but I won’t take it back either. Dying and disappearing into nothing is sad, for me at least. It’s not sad that atheists believe it; it’s just a sad though that once you die your mind will no longer exist and you’ll never see your family or friends again.

    Laurence and Sedative 14, you said that I need to believe that there is a god because I need validation or I’m scared of a meaningless life. You’re a little off. If there wasn’t life after death that wouldn’t mean that this life has no meaning, in fact it would give it more meaning because this would be our only shot at living. I wasn’t trying to harp; I just was asking a question. Do you hope that there is life after death? I know you don’t think there is I just wanted to know if you hope there is.

    GQjock – I should apologies for not wording my paragraph correctly. I know evolution exists, it would be impossible to deny. I don’t know much about evolution so it’s not like opinion about it means much I was just trying say that the idea that we evolved into the logical, intelligent beings we are today seems almost impossible to me. The ‘idea’ seems impossible but that may be because I don’t know much about it. I do however think it makes more sense than a man in the clouds watching over us.

    Original714 – thanks I’ll watch them as soon as I get home.

    So I’ll ask again because no one has answered it yet. I know you don’t think there is life after death but do you hope there is?

    ps sorry for offending people, I wasn’t trying to harp.
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    Apr 01, 2008 4:13 PM GMT
    NickoftheNorth saidI believe in the mundaneity of our existence (i.e. there is no divinity, no consciousness driving us with purpose) because that's what I have faith in.

    My faith does not go toward a deity or innate purpose and I will not profess faith in something that I do not have faith in.

    This confused me when I experienced people trying to convert me (to Christianity): why would they have me claim faith in something I did not have faith in? Why would they have me lie before their deity?


    Because to a follower of religion their blinkered view point is that you are a sinner and purely denying the true existance. Such is their level of contempt for the rest of society you are just waiting to find "your light".

    Its no different to the Witch drownings really!
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    Apr 01, 2008 4:14 PM GMT
    I find people who are amazed at the existence of life are also ignorant of biochemistry.
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    Apr 01, 2008 4:18 PM GMT
    Park_Four saidOk sorry that I offended some people by labeling their belief system as sad, I didn’t mean to offend but I won’t take it back either. Dying and disappearing into nothing is sad, for me at least. It’s not sad that atheists believe it; it’s just a sad though that once you die your mind will no longer exist and you’ll never see your family or friends again.

    Laurence and Sedative 14, you said that I need to believe that there is a god because I need validation or I’m scared of a meaningless life. You’re a little off. If there wasn’t life after death that wouldn’t mean that this life has no meaning, in fact it would give it more meaning because this would be our only shot at living. I wasn’t trying to harp; I just was asking a question. Do you hope that there is life after death? I know you don’t think there is I just wanted to know if you hope there is.

    So I’ll ask again because no one has answered it yet. I know you don’t think there is life after death but do you hope there is?

    ps sorry for offending people, I wasn’t trying to harp.


    No I dont hope there is in the slightest.

    I believe our energies are channelled back into the planet, I believe our memories we leave behind with others are the only form of life after death. In fact it is the very act of memory that keeps a person alive.

    I am stil not going to shave my head and call myself a Budhist tho!