Mudboy
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Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:29 am

I started to post this in Doc's religion thread, but decided it was better for a thread of it's own

I have a question for all the Athiests and the Agnostics on here, and I am being serious, because I have always wanted to know this? I will use an example we can all relate too. If the person you loved the most was on Flt 93 on 9/11/2001, or trapped in the top floors of the WTC after you saw the first one fall, and people were jumping out the windows rather than burn to death, and you knew most likely what their fate would be, what do you do? As a Christian, I would be praying obviously to God to please don't let them suffer and give them the strength, and comfort them.
My question is, who do you turn to, if you do not pray? Do you just sit there and accept it. What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?
I mean no disrespect when asking this. I am by no means a Holy Roller, and respect your religion or lack of, as much as I want you to respect mine. I am one that believes religion should not be pushed on anyone, and it is between you and whatever you believe in, this question has just always intrigued me?
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Aesma
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:43 am

I have never been in such a dramatic situation, but for more common ones, like my grandmother dying, when I was still a little religious (I never really believed, but I tried, and was involved in the Catholic Church from childhood till 20), I found that turning to "god" and praying didn't help me at all, it was frustrating. So now I accept things as they come and it can also be frustrating, but at least there is no big guy in the sky to blame.
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nighthawk
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:08 am

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
My question is, who do you turn to, if you do not pray? Do you just sit there and accept it. What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?

I'm an atheist.

In such a situation, then yes, I would just sit there and watch, and accept the inevitable, as I personally do not believe there is anything that can be done.
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:19 am

It is sadly ironic that in this particular example there would have been other people who were praying to their God for as much pain and suffering to occur as possible.

Perhaps being outside of that irony is where some of the strength of those who are not religious comes from ?
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:20 am

I'll turn the questions around. What good is praying to God to save your friend in the WTC? If there is a God, he clearly doesn't give a toss about people suffering.

If i need mental support i can turn to friends and family, they've been a lot more supportive than any God has been to anyone.
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:22 am

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
As a Christian, I would be praying obviously to God to please don't let them suffer and give them the strength, and comfort them.

Would God need to be told or would he be watching anyway and act accordingly, if your belief system is so inclined? Would those who didn't have anyone praying for them suffer a more horrific death because there were no prayers for their comfort in their last few moments?

Any questions of God as to why it happened in the first place? Why are you being tested in such a way?

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
Do you just sit there and accept it. What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?

Fortunately I've not been in such a situation, so I can't say for certain. Carry on and pick up the pieces after however many days/weeks of loss.
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EISHN
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:31 am

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):

Unfortunately there is nothing anyone can do. The Pope can sit there and pray all he wants, it would only have the same affet as me sitting there watching the TV. Of course it was horrible, nothing can detrct from that.
You also have to remember that there are so many horrible things happening around the world, constantly. I don't like the idea of leaving things up to someone else.
I'll give you an example. A girl who'll be going to my college this autumn was having financial difficulties with her accomadation, and her answer to the problem was to fast and pray to God rather that ring up the school, explain the situation and ask for some help. Someone eventually talked some sense into her, and she rang up the school, who were very accomadating, and she had the problem sorted. Then she thanked God for making the situation turn out in her favour. In my opinion, "God" didn't do anything. The girl getting up off her ass, and ringing the school allowed for her to be helped.
It's not about faith in deity, but about faith in your fellow man to help one another. But sometimes, and these are difficult, there is nothing you can but wait. It's horrible, in the case of 9/11, there is nothing you can do when you're sitting in California. The only way a person from CA could help would be to get in there car and drive to NYC and help with the clean up. We can't just leave things up to God.

So I say, do it yourself, and if you can help in anyway, then do. But that won't always be the case, and as painful as it might be, we just have to accept certain things.
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:58 am

Quoting EISHN (Reply 6):
I'll give you an example. A girl who'll be going to my college this autumn was having financial difficulties with her accomadation, and her answer to the problem was to fast and pray to God rather that ring up the school, explain the situation and ask for some help. Someone eventually talked some sense into her, and she rang up the school, who were very accomadating, and she had the problem sorted. Then she thanked God for making the situation turn out in her favour. In my opinion, "God" didn't do anything. The girl getting up off her ass, and ringing the school allowed for her to be helped.

But to a person that believes in God, they are not looking at it as God clapping his hands, and getting the outcome your friend needed, she probably believes that God helped by sending her friend to talk some sense into her?

First off, I am not trying to change anyones beliefs or disbeliefs, I respect what your opions are; the reason I asked the question is, that being raised a Christian, in times of need, you looked to God in tragic times, so I am just trying to understand what a person that does not believe does?

Also, not all Christians are ones that try to project their religion on to you, just because I asked this question does not mean I am in any way, trying to challenge your beliefs. If you say there is no God, I respect that, but please don't try to make us that do believe, out to be a bunch of idiots.
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:04 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 4):
I'll turn the questions around. What good is praying to God to save your friend in the WTC? If there is a God, he clearly doesn't give a toss about people suffering.

You have it turned around. The prayer is not for, in this case, the friend...the prayer is for the strength to accept what is happening and the strength to get through it. When someone prays, it should be for the strength to accpt the burdens he has, not to be relieved of them.
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nighthawk
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:16 pm

Quoting Mudboy (Reply 7):
hat being raised a Christian, in times of need, you looked to God in tragic times, so I am just trying to understand what a person that does not believe does?

You turn to God, who you believe gives you the strength to deal with tragic times. Atheists believe we already have that strength within us, and we just get on and deal with it. We dont turn to anything.

It's not really something that is easy to explain, you probably cannot imagine dealing with a situation without the help of God, and an Athiest can't imagine praying and turning to God actually helping.
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:22 pm

Quoting Mudboy (Reply 7):
First off, I am not trying to change anyones beliefs or disbeliefs, I respect what your opions are; the reason I asked the question is, that being raised a Christian, in times of need, you looked to God in tragic times, so I am just trying to understand what a person that does not believe does?

All I can do is hope for the best. Religion can offer a sense of comfort, but a false sense of security won't help me in a bad situation.
In bad situations, religious and non religious people are faced with the same problem, and probably go about it in the same way. Religious people pray, and I hope for the best outcome, and if we can help in any way, we do.

When you break it down, we're quite similar. Religious people put it in the hands of God, atheist people just have to accept that this is the way the world works.

Quoting Mudboy (Reply 7):

But to a person that believes in God, they are not looking at it as God clapping his hands, and getting the outcome your friend needed, she probably believes that God helped by sending her friend to talk some sense into her?

I can understand how she can see it that way, but credit is not given to the people who intervened and helped her. What if they hadn't helped her? She would have spent her time not eating, and talking to herself in her room. If that's what she believes, then that's fine, but ringing the college, not fasting and praying, helped her.
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:55 pm

I am an atheist, but fortunately I've never been in a situation as tragic as the examples stated in the OP. That said, my way to deal with a tragic situation is to believe in myself. I have plenty of positive things in my life that I can think of to "compensate", and for the rest, I just have to sit there and accept the facts. And last but not least, there are my partner and my friends that I can ask for moral support.

With this mindset I have always managed to cope. I have also tried to believe, but it was frustrating, as my rational mind kept telling me that believing in the irrational doesn't help. Something like what Aesma said in reply #1.

I once read an article with a theory saying that religions were created to help people cope with tragic events. If everything went well in life, there would be no reason for religions to exist. I believe this may be somewhat true: after all, many people I know who believe in a religion "somewhat", pray only when they need to cope with a tragic event. Otherwise they don't care. It's an opportunistic way to believe, but then again, I don't blame them. If praying helps overcoming sadness, why not? It just doesn't work for me, but I respect those who do.
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:58 pm

I am an agnostic or whatever because atheism is kind of a religion in itself. In such a situation I would feel pity for the people, for their families and loved ones. I'd hope that they don't suffer.

What else can you do? 9/11 was a crime committed in the name of God which simply shows how mean religion can be and that is not only the islamic religion. Cruelty in the name of Christ has a long path in history. .
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mt99
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:37 pm

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
My question is, who do you turn to, if you do not pray? Do you just sit there and accept it. What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?

I am a recovering Catholic, so i cant say my life is devoid of Religion (Catholic guilt still with me alive and well), but i think that just because you would have no religion, that does not make you heartless.

I am sure that atheists can still see and understand human suffering and if they would see someone suffering that wouldn't just smile and leave.. You dont need to pray in order to feel sympathy for others.
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Mudboy
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:33 pm

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 9):
You turn to God, who you believe gives you the strength to deal with tragic times. Atheists believe we already have that strength within us, and we just get on and deal with it. We dont turn to anything.

It's not really something that is easy to explain, you probably cannot imagine dealing with a situation without the help of God, and an Athiest can't imagine praying and turning to God actually helping.

Excellent post Nighthawk!

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 11):
I once read an article with a theory saying that religions were created to help people cope with tragic events. If everything went well in life, there would be no reason for religions to exist. I believe this may be somewhat true: after all, many people I know who believe in a religion "somewhat", pray only when they need to cope with a tragic event. Otherwise they don't care. It's an opportunistic way to believe, but then again, I don't blame them. If praying helps overcoming sadness, why not? It just doesn't work for me, but I respect those who do.

Another Excellent post!! I have thought of this theory myself at times, because there are many that need something to believe in, to keep them going in tragic times.

Some really great answers so far!!
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:53 pm

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 8):
The prayer is not for, in this case, the friend...the prayer is for the strength to accept what is happening and the strength to get through it. When someone prays, it should be for the strength to accpt the burdens he has, not to be relieved of them.

What of all the people who exclaim "oh God please help me!" then??   

Strength in any given individual comes from a variety of sources - be it religion, life experience, upbringing, attitude, whatever - the way we deal with challenges and critical situations is just part of our nature. It doesn't really matter what you exclaim in a critical situation as much as how you mentally address the stress of the challenge. If prayer is what works, great. If talking to yourself or others works, that's fine too. Just part of the grand human adventure.

I lost a magneto in a Cessna on one of my first solo flights a few years back and was renting an aircraft that had a pretty spotty maintenance history. I didn't have much experience and spent quite a bit of time wondering what I would do if the other shoe dropped. After about 30 seconds of being scared, I thought about praying, and realized it would be useless because I needed to devote all of my mental energy to situational awareness. As they say, you just do what you have to do.
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:00 pm

"I have a question for all the Athiests and the Agnostics on here, and I am being serious, because I have always wanted to know this? I will use an example we can all relate too. If the person you loved the most was on Flt 93 on 9/11/2001, or trapped in the top floors of the WTC after you saw the first one fall, and people were jumping out the windows rather than burn to death, and you knew most likely what their fate would be, what do you do?"

I'd be horrified. Just like I was that day.
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NAV20
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:05 pm

Good question, Mudboy........

But one can only answer it on a strictly personal basis. To my mind it depends on what, from your earliest beginnings, 'makes you tick.' In my view there is no 'right answer' to your question.

In my own case I was brought up as a Christian, a Catholic. But religion only 'clicked' with me at school, and that was in the Lower Sixth when a marvellous guy we used to call "Doc Ward' (actually a Jesuit priest, a convert after he'd spent years as an infantry officer in WW1) gave us a course on 'comparative religion.' The very FIRST thing he did was to write up on the blackboard (he was a 'blackboard' sort of teacher) no less than seven proofs that God did not exist!  

His point was, of course, that the existence of God (and, therefore, any sort of 'after-life') cannot be proved. You either think (on balance) that He does, or (again on balance) that He doesn't. You have to make your own decision; anyone who tries to make the decision FOR you (one way or the other) is just plain wrong-headed.

The key, to my mind, is probably the question of the 'after-life.' You either think that there MAY be one, or you think that there PROBABLY isn't.

I find that religion (regardless of whether you actually practise one, for myself I largely gave that up a while ago) gives me a certain amount of comfort at difficult times. The old saying (by a US soldier, years ago) that 'there are no atheists in foxholes' rings very true to me. I'm as sure as I can be that that was the literal basis of Doc's conversion......

But it boils down to a personal choice. And, to my mind, we should respect whatever choice anyone else cares to make, it's not our place to interfere with it.

Unless and until, of course, the proponents of ANY religion start preaching that members of one particular religion have the right to, and should start, killing members of another. For my money, THAT'S the point at which I draw the line.....

[Edited 2010-07-15 08:28:53]
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:56 pm

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
As a Christian, I would be praying obviously to God to please don't let them suffer and give them the strength, and comfort them.

Isn't god the same guy making all of this happen? I'm agnositc; I've seen too much injustice to even consider that god is a nice guy, if he's there at all.

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
My question is, who do you turn to, if you do not pray? Do you just sit there and accept it. What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?

The only thing you can do is know that this too shall pass, and you will grow and gain strength from it.
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NAV20
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:07 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 18):
Isn't god the same guy making all of this happen?

The 'only available theory,' MaverickM11, is that God 'made us,' but that He also equipped us with 'free will.'

Before you say it, I agree with you that the whole theory is open to serious question. But that's what religious people of all creeds tend to believe; that God set up a self-determining 'system,' not some sort of puppet-show with Him pulling the strings........
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
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Mortyman
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:23 pm

God always seem to be on an awfullly long lunchbreak when you need him....  
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:38 pm

I don't know, honestly.

I was an atheist. There were circumstances in my life which led me to believe that everything about the organized religions was bullcrap, and that there is no possible way there could be a god.

But then things changed in ways I couldn't explain... things that were so improbable and that felt so unlikely, that to me it almost couldn't have not been meant to happen. I then realized that there are a certain number of things which I do in fact believe in -- and always sort of have... but then again, I'm also ready to accept that my system of beliefs is all phony and completely determined simply by whether I'm in good times or bad times.

I think in the bad times, it's easy to be an atheist. In the good times, it's easy to be spiritual and believe in the supernatural. Of course that's not to say all atheists are unhappy and non-atheists are not. That's just my own personal experience.

And then I almost wonder if people in general even have the capacity to fully understand and appreciate such ambitious thoughts as epistomology, determinism, and all fate and reason.

It's easier to just go to work/school everyday and try to be content and moral.

Cheers,
Anthony/Airport

[Edited 2010-07-15 10:41:35]
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:47 pm

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
Do you just sit there and accept it.

Yes. Because specially in such an extreme situation like what you mentioned there's nothing I can do, and no point in trying to do something.

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?

Time heals. Sometimes. Otherwise I just suck it up.
 
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:50 pm

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
and you knew most likely what their fate would be, what do you do?

Hope that they somehow manage to find a way out of it.

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
My question is, who do you turn to, if you do not pray?

Family, friends, "higher power" (as distinct from God), whatever/whoever.

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
Do you just sit there and accept it.

Eventually, yes. Same as everyone - religious or not. More often than not, though, acceptance takes some time.

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?

I dunno. I don't personally feel like I am all that strong deep inside. Yet I've gotten through tragic situations. The biggest helpers of all are other people.

Quoting Mudboy (Reply 7):
the reason I asked the question is, that being raised a Christian, in times of need, you looked to God in tragic times, so I am just trying to understand what a person that does not believe does?
Quoting nighthawk (Reply 9):
We dont turn to anything.

I would strongly debate that statement. I certainly turn to my close friends, girlfriend, family, etc. when I need to. I'd wager the same is true for many, if not most, atheists/agnostics.

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 11):
I once read an article with a theory saying that religions were created to help people cope with tragic events. If everything went well in life, there would be no reason for religions to exist. I believe this may be somewhat true: after all, many people I know who believe in a religion "somewhat", pray only when they need to cope with a tragic event. Otherwise they don't care. It's an opportunistic way to believe, but then again, I don't blame them. If praying helps overcoming sadness, why not? It just doesn't work for me, but I respect those who do.

Although I haven't read anything about it, that's basically what I believe about religions. I think religion was/is simply a way to explain the unexplainable, like deaths, natural disasters, astronomical events, etc.

Attending AA meetings has been quite an eye-opener for me. They can be quite spiritual (and/or religious, depending on the people). Now, AA does not demand religion (it doesn't even really demand spirituality); it just asks you to keep an open mind. There are lots of references to your Higher Power, which can be God or some other form (some people use AA itself as their higher power). It's been a great experience, and taught me that there are an infinite number of shades of gray when you're talking about religion and spirituality.

Worth noting that because of AA, I do find myself briefly praying every now and then....Mostly saying the Serenity Prayer:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"

And although I do use the word "God" in there, I don't actually believe in God - for me, it just refers to a higher power.
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NSMike
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:34 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 19):
Before you say it, I agree with you that the whole theory is open to serious question. But that's what religious people of all creeds tend to believe; that God set up a self-determining 'system,' not some sort of puppet-show with Him pulling the strings........

Which always led me to question why people pray? Seems a waste of time if one believes in a hands-off system.
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fr8mech
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 15):
What of all the people who exclaim "oh God please help me!" then??

I would submit that the conclusion of that little prayer should be "get through this". Or maybe their view of religion and God is different than mine.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 18):
Isn't god the same guy making all of this happen? I'm agnositc; I've seen too much injustice to even consider that god is a nice guy, if he's there at all.

Here you start getting into the philosophy of religion, God's alleged attributes and free-will.

The toughest class I took in college was The Philosophy of Religion. Not because it was hard, but because it had me tackle the contradictions in the belief of a god that is all-knowing, all-powerful and good and the world we live in. I'll say that I had my faith shaken and flirted with the ideas of atheism and agnosticism. In the end, I still don't know, but I take that leap of faith and believe.
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ATCtower
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:06 am

Quoting Mortyman (Reply 20):
God always seem to be on an awfullly long lunchbreak when you need him....

While I personally condemn organized religion of any sort in its entirety, that was a pretty crappy thing to say even if you are an atheist.

Only my life experiences, and times I should have died can tell me personally that God does exist, and not only does he exist but he is in existence to protect and watch over me. Just because something evil happens does not necessarily mean there is no God, but perhaps he has grander intentions in mind. For example, while I believe this to be a crock of crap and I do not know why 9/11 happened, perhaps it was to wake the Western World to an event far greater than that of 9/11. Of course the CIA will never tell us, but who is to say in the wake of the tragedy, UBL was not caught with a dirty bomb that would have wiped out an entire city. While the negativity and evil prevailed on that fateful day 9 years ago, I think we can agree the outcome was not to the extent possible by radicals.

As I said, I do believe in God, but hold it as a belief in my mind/heart knowing what I have been through and survived is generally not a way of life. I, thankfully, will never impose my opinion on this subject on another person, as it is ones choice and if my choice happens to be the correct one, I will be thankful on judgment day, I made the choice I made, and lived my life believing in a higher power.

My $.02 (of course)
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RottenRay
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:41 am

Most assuredly an atheist.

Looking at current events, and going back to some other texts, I have to say that most of the pogroms and denial of basic human rights has occurred under the aegis of one religion or another.

An organized religion seems to me to be nothing more than an excuse to violate human rights, using a fear factor to coerce the less-educated to do or commit acts not for the common good but for the edification / entertainment of the few in high religious power.

Two things have been going on for many centuries: A suppression of indigenous beliefs, and a predilection to abuse minors in one manner or another.

If there was a God - which I suspect is nothing more than people wishing to blame their personal failings upon - and he or she was as all-knowing and as all-powerful and as beneficent as the sheeple have been lead to believe, then there is no excuse for the general condition of the world as we know it.

On the other hand, if there is a god and he or she is pleased with the current state of humanity, again, I have no use for that deity.

Not that I would personally EVER worship another being.

The only things which are "god-like" in my life are honesty, integrity, and compassion.

I have not seen these qualities in any so-called "god."

They all have their own foibles, and as such, are not worth my worship.


I guess the bottom line is this:

Do you live an honest life, or do you mask your dirty dealings by believing or pretending to believe in a mythical being?


There are no miracles, but there are statistical probabilities.

If there is an "afterlife," there is scant proof of it, and most of that "proof" has been delivered for consumption by out and out charlatans.


Jesus coming back to life sounds like a bad zombie movie. Immaculate conception is a hoax, given the many women who would love to become with child but cannot.


Perhaps the biggest hoax is that the pope rides around in an armored car, escaping the terrors of the flesh while explaining the wills of the so-called god.

Utter hogwash.

Sorry if this offends.

But, if there was a god, and he / she was all-seeing and compassionate as some religions would have one believe, then he / she would certainly not have let the human condition slip to the lows that is has.


God was invented by man, as a means of control. God's will is what any organized religion says it should be. The concept of telling someone that he or she must act in a certain way in order to avoid hell and brimstone is complete s**t.


Again, sorry if this offends, but before you go flaming me, please provide proof.


God cannot love children yet let his minions sodomize them for their own entertainment.





RR
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:33 am

I've learned throughout my life that the more seriously religious people I come across tend to be extremely, I dunno, weak minded and dim-witted, and with a seemingly unfounded fear of life and the unknown. I find it idiotic that said people base relatively simple things (storms, lightning, earthquakes, etc) to be "Acts of god" and fail to even bother at getting to understand the mechanics behind those natural forces. However, I must say Christians seem to be the worse by far in this regard. I've come across hardcore Jews, Muslims (not fundamentalists though) Hare-Krishna and you name it, and they seem more in touch with reality than most bible thumpers (which isn't saying much, but still).

I was invited to a christian retreat not long ago. Yes they were good guys/gals, and I respected them at the time and vice versa, but while they did their prayers/bible study and I sat quietly in the back observing I couldn't help thinking I was surrounded by the cabbage patch kids. Just the questions they would ask, it was sickening. Mind you, these were people in their mid-20s. Don't remember any specific questions but I couldn't believe how much over thinking and over analysis they could do over a stupid book, and such childish questions and views on life. It was very sad for me to see otherwise bright kid's minds handcuffed and restricted to the moral and ideological constraints of a work of fiction. What a waste of humanity.  
Quoting ATCtower (Reply 26):
that was a pretty crappy thing to say even if you are an atheist.

I've felt the exact way as Mortyman. So I can relate. I've come to the realization along time ago that I'm on my own no matter what. And I have no problem accepting that as fact.

Quoting rottenray (Reply 27):
rottenray

Damn, that's word for word how I feel about religion. Though I don't blame child abuse cases on the religion itself but on the perverts who do it. (Celibacy doesn't help of course)
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:50 am

I´m an atheist. I´d just sit there and accept it.

What I don´t understand is the following, I´m not meaning to offend you I just wonder what your point of view is.

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
As a Christian, I would be praying obviously to God to please don't let them suffer and give them the strength, and comfort them.

You say you´d pray they won´t suffer. But why didn´t God stop the tragedy from happening? You pray for your friend/family member to live, instead they die. Why does God let these things happen in the first place? This is one of the biggest reason´s I can´t believe in a God, there is so much tragedy in the world, so many prayers, but it still happens!

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BMI727
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:06 am

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 29):
Why does God let these things happen in the first place?

The Christian answer to that question would be that sin causes these things to happen, as humankind is not in the pure form that God intended. Now, some Christians take this too far and say things like "9/11 happened because America legalized abortion" or "You got cancer because you obviously did something wrong earlier in life." That just isn't the case, but such things have been said for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

[Edited 2010-07-16 00:14:56]
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TheCol
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:14 am

Quoting EISHN (Reply 6):
In my opinion, "God" didn't do anything. The girl getting up off her ass, and ringing the school allowed for her to be helped.

I'm religious, but I agree with you there. IMHO, if a person isn't willing to get off their ass and take the initiative, then God certainly won't.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 18):
Isn't god the same guy making all of this happen?

That brings up the question of "free will". I'm not going to get into it in length, but it's pretty clear that there is a trade-off.
No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
 
Yellowstone
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:33 am

Quoting TheCol (Reply 31):
That brings up the question of "free will". I'm not going to get into it in length, but it's pretty clear that there is a trade-off.

Christians always bring up free will when trying to resolve the theodicy problem, but that ignores all the human suffering caused by natural disasters, in which human will has no causal relationship with the suffering. And it doubly ignores the problem of animal suffering - animals don't have free will, so where does their suffering stem from?
Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
 
Springbok747
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:51 am

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 28):
weak minded and dim-witted, and with a seemingly unfounded fear of life and the unknown.

Bingo! And its amazing how other people exploit this and how so many weak minded people fall prey to these scammers.

I've never been in a situation like those mentioned above. If I was, then yes, I'd sit and accept it because there is nothing else you can do. If God (or any other power/force/supreme being etc) actually existed then why is he/she/it allowing such things to happen in the first place?
I was brought up in a fairly non-religious family, and my parents still believe in a God, but through the course of my life I've seen things that have convinced me that God does not exist. Religion is just something created by man to control people, and "God" was dreamed up to instill fear in people about the "unknown".
As a medical student I get to see a lot of people at their end stages of life, and its still amazing to see how many people are afraid of dying, and they are somehow convinced that praying to God will make it all better, and they will have eternal life in heaven etc. Sorry, but I've seen what happens when people die, they just die and in some cases leave behind little kids who end up in foster care etc.
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Severnaya
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:21 am

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 32):
Christians always bring up free will when trying to resolve the theodicy problem, but that ignores all the human suffering caused by natural disasters, in which human will has no causal relationship with the suffering.
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soon7x7
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:53 am

"Their are no atheists in fox holes"!...and so it goes. While there is no proof God exists...in any form , I do believe conversely, no proof that he doesn't exist, exists either. Having recently watched the NATGEO series..."Life" with its incredible photography, watching the animal kingdom is amazing. How smart creatures are, how discriminating they are ...all for survival. They don't read books and attend college. They don't worry about stuff, or maybe they do , but they get down to business. They manage to figure life out and do a good job. Silly humans have much to learn from animals. As for myself,...I asked God three times in my life for some pretty tall orders and I was granted my requests. If God does exist, he will certainly want us all to use what he has given us to our fullest potential. "God helps those that help themselves". Do you want your Mom to pick up after you and have her go to work for you, party with friends for you, of course not, so then why ask God to do all this for you. I've been brought up Catholic and have just as much of an ax to grind regarding those bitch nuns...truly, God did not create nuns! My aunt is a nun and she's a bitch!. And the priests and the sex scandles...let 'em get married for crying out loud!...But when you do things like fly a plane in the middle of the night alone under a full moon, or at sunrise...things like that you wonder how it all came together. One of the most religious and tranquil days in my life...don't laugh...this is true...One of our local surf spots is in a local nude beach. The first day I went to surf here, it was a post card day...light green sparkling water, deep blue sky peppered with white cumes...light winds offshore which made for machine made perfection surf, waves about 5-6 feet high...and five butt ass naked gorgeous college girls bobbing in the shallow water all around me. I looked up at the sky and laughed...and said...God, you are a true artisan, life doesn't get better than this! So when you see planes crashing into tall buildings, Humans are not figuring life out the best way we can, we are proving we can't do it. If God exists, he no certainly can or will drop his giant hand down and catch the 767's before they hit the towers no more than Obama can swim down 5000ft and stick his finger in a bleeding oil rig. We are just like the animals, our instinct is our Gut Feelings. But as humans do, we create laws that prohibit us to exercise or belief in our gut instincts.
So we have only ourselves to blame for screwing everything up, and we are doing a real good job. In short...don't know if God exists but when my number is up, I sure would be comforted knowing I was right.   
 
MingToo
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:59 am

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 35):
While there is no proof God exists...in any form , I do believe conversely, no proof that he doesn't exist, exists either.

Ditto leprechauns, the tooth fairy, Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry ....
 
Mudboy
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:19 am

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 29):
You say you´d pray they won´t suffer. But why didn´t God stop the tragedy from happening? You pray for your friend/family member to live, instead they die. Why does God let these things happen in the first place? This is one of the biggest reason´s I can´t believe in a God, there is so much tragedy in the world, so many prayers, but it still happens!

First off, I never said I would pray that they live, I don't pray to change an outcome. I pray for being able to accept what is laid before me, and having the strength to never stop moving forward. In this situation, I am only asking the same for them.
For those that feel they need proof that a God exists, or wish to discredit those that believe or cast them off as weakminded, I am not the one to give you these answers, as I feel I do not need to prove to you, what I believe, or if it is right or wrong. I personally, cannot stand to be having a normal convo with someone, and they go to quoting scripture, as I do not want Religion crammed down my throat.

What makes me believe? All I can say is that I was at the lowest point of my life, and very distraught, and I am driving down the highway, and out of nowhere, this warm feeling came over me, as if someone had wrapped their arms around me, and told me everything will be alright, you have to just keep moving forward. From that moment on, I have moved forward, and never looked back, and life has gotten better and better. I can't explain the feeling I had, and don't feel the need to. I didn't win the lottery, the sky didn't fall, all I got was a nudge in the right direction. Call that stupid? I respect your opinion, but it won't cange the way I feel.
 
Doona
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:23 am

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 35):
I looked up at the sky and laughed...and said...God, you are a true artisan, life doesn't get better than this!

After which the girls thought you were a weirdo for actually using the word "artisan" in a sentence, and quickly swam away?      

Cheers
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Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:34 am

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
My question is, who do you turn to, if you do not pray?

I trust in my own ability to deal effectively with any scenario by turning to my memory and recollection of skills I have learned along the way in life.

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
Do you just sit there and accept it

Yep. Life may not go on for them, but as long as I'm breathing I should not be dwelling on things outside my control. We all live and we all die. Some of us are fortunate to die the way we would like, others aren't. I then think to myself how lucky I am and get on while I still can. In general Athiests are Pragmatists not Romantics so I think yes most will just accept what gets thrown at them.

For example I flipped my car travelling at around the open road speed last year end over end & side over side (like a gyroscope). As it happened though, the moment all four of my wheels left the road and the car started to roll over for the first time I knew I could no longer control the car any more and I made a conscious decision to relax and accept the situation. I ended up about 50m down the road having landed on my roof in a ditch. I climbed out of the car with no scratches or injuries at all. I was back driving shortly after. Some of my family who are religious said I must have someone watching out for me. I tend to think that the reason I was uninjured was because instead of praying I was focusing my energy on being as calm and my body as relaxed as I could make it in the time.

The fact that I believe that when I die I cease to exist I am ready and prepared to lose my life at any moment and accept that as a part of being 'alive'. I will do what it takes to improve my odds, but after that it's all about coming to terms with your own mortality rather than praying for either a 'get out of jail free card'.
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:36 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 30):
he Christian answer to that question would be that sin causes these things to happen, as humankind is not in the pure form that God intended. Now, some Christians take this too far and say things like "9/11 happened beca

Here's the answer on that one:

Ray dies and finds himself before the pearly gates of Heaven. St. Peter tells him that he cannot enter yet because he cheated on his income taxes. The only way he might get into heaven would be to sleep with a dumb, ugly woman for the next five years and enjoy it.
Ray decides that this is a small price to pay for an eternity in heaven. So, off he goes with this woman, pretending to be happy. As he walks along, he sees his friend Marcus up ahead - with an even uglier woman. When he asks what’s going on, Marcus replies “I cheated on my income taxes and scammed the government out of a lot of money.” They both shake their heads in understanding and figure that they might as well hang out together to help pass the time.
Now Marcus, Ray, and their two ugly women are walking along, minding their own business when they see someone who looks like their old friend Russell up ahead. This man is with an absolutely gorgeous woman.
Stunned, Marcus and Ray approach the man and discover it is their friend Russell. They ask him how it is he’s with this unbelievable goddess, while they’re stuck with these god-awful women. Russell replies, “I have no idea, but I’m definitely not complaining. This has been absolutely the best time of my life, and I have five years of the best sex any man could hope to look forward to. There is only one thing that I can’t seem to understand. Every time we finish having sex, she rolls over and murmurs to herself, “Damn income taxes!”
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MingToo
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:58 am

Quoting Mudboy (Reply 37):
What makes me believe? All I can say is that I was at the lowest point of my life, and very distraught, and I am driving down the highway, and out of nowhere, this warm feeling came over me, as if someone had wrapped their arms around me, and told me everything will be alright, you have to just keep moving forward. From that moment on, I have moved forward, and never looked back, and life has gotten better and better.

Two thoughts occur to me. Firstly, our understanding of the Universe is still in its infancy despite some of the major leaps in Physics over the past centuries. Our day to day physical experience and the nature of our senses biases us towards explanations that fit our observations, until we move forward and observe in other ways. We are programmed to think in 3 dimensions or to consider time as an absolute that runs the same in all places because that is the world we observe. But we know now that there is more complexity than that, that models which incorporate those complexities better describe the Universe and that with the right technology augmenting our sense we can even observe the effects.

Closed mindedness to the possibilities of things outside of our perception would have hampered our understanding of this. A true scientist should be open-minded and willing to accept that there may be things beyond our current ability to understand. That is why Richard Dawkins, despite making some good points is a fail. He has as much 'faith' in their being nothing else as others have in their being something more.

Perhaps that warm feeling was from something outside of our current understanding, but that doesn't necessarily imply it has anything to do with a bearded guy sitting on a cloud. Maybe there is a link between your conciousness and those of your friends and relatives that helped you draw strength from them. Perhaps one day we will even be able to observe and understand it. Or maybe we are just all characters worked by higher beings in some multi-dimensional 'Farmville' game and death will be a 'game over' pop up message.

For me, the key question is 'what is conciousness' ... faith and numerous other questions are probably a subset of the answer.

To say it is just chemical and electrical interactions between neurons is to imply that conciousness can be modelled. I find it hard to believe that such a simulation could be 'me' in every sense.
 
dandaire
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:15 pm

Am I correct in recalling that God said "there shall be no other God than me"? If so therefore God is an athiest  
Old age and treachery will triumph over youth and skill.
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:09 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 1):
I found that turning to "god" and praying didn't help me at all, it was frustrating. So now I accept things as they come and it can also be frustrating, but at least there is no big guy in the sky to blame.

   That's my line of thinking too. We pray for world peace since when....?

Quoting Mudboy (Thread starter):
what do you do? As a Christian, I would be praying obviously to God to please don't let them suffer and give them the strength, and comfort them.
My question is, who do you turn to, if you do not pray? Do you just sit there and accept it. What gives you the strength deep inside to make it through a tragic situation?

I've never been in something like that, but I'd be prepared to accept it. It'll be devastating and it'll be hard, but eventually I'll get over it and be more relaxed about what happened.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 12):
What else can you do? 9/11 was a crime committed in the name of God which simply shows how mean religion can be and that is not only the islamic religion. Cruelty in the name of Christ has a long path in history.

That last part is what opened my eyes to the Church and frankly, all it has done is reaffirmed my decision to remain agnostic.

I'm not atheist because:
1. I'd be responsible for the death of my family. They'd have a heart attack if they knew (though I'm nearing 21 years of age so I'll be old enough to decide what I want to do). So the happy medium is agnosticism.
2. I think there might be something beyond us. I just don't label it nor do I like praising. I'd like to think that instead of preaching a name, I can do good deeds and live my life to the fullest. We only get one chance at life.

I'll bring you a quote from Epicurus which I've used to justify my stance against a higher deity:
"Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
soon7x7
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:34 pm

Quoting Doona (Reply 38):

Your just jeleous, your waters too cold to swim in!
 
Delboy
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:56 pm

The bottom line is that most of the worlds conflicts are caused by God (or his derivative in an alternate religion). Some believe it's 'his' way of controlling the status quo of the population.

I'm sure all the families of dying servicemen and women have prayed to God to keep their loved ones safe only to get the dreaded knock on the door. I'm sure a lot of those poor people in Chile (a highly religious country) prayed for their lives in the earthquake as did the unfortunate people in the sunami. The list is endless and could probably fill a page or two.

I don't knock anyone who chooses to follow religion, good luck to them. It's just not for me.
 
jamincan
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:02 pm

Quoting NSMike (Reply 24):
Which always led me to question why people pray? Seems a waste of time if one believes in a hands-off system.

I was listening to a program on the radio recently where they were interviewing a woman who researches the body/mind connection. The basic point she was making was that the mind can affect the body. She mentioned one study (don't have a reference unfortunately) which showed that prayer can influence recovery time for patients. Not prayer for someone, but prayer by someone. Essentially, the meditative-like experience of prayer seems to have a beneficial effect on the patients.

This isn't so radical. Consider that prayer (or meditation) can reduce stress, and the negative health effects of stress are well-documented, the simple act of reducing stress through prayer or meditation should be beneficial.

That said, I don't pray or meditate. I found religion caused far more stress then comfort, but that certainly doesn't have to be true for everyone.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:50 pm

Quoting Delboy (Reply 45):
I'm sure all the families of dying servicemen and women have prayed to God to keep their loved ones safe only to get the dreaded knock on the door. I'm sure a lot of those poor people in Chile (a highly religious country) prayed for their lives in the earthquake as did the unfortunate people in the sunami. The list is endless and could probably fill a page or two.

I don't knock anyone who chooses to follow religion, good luck to them. It's just not for me.

Actually, seeing the poor Haitians praising god for being alive after the quake was heart-breaking. And then Travolta landed with an army of scientologists...
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:43 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 47):
Actually, seeing the poor Haitians praising god for being alive after the quake was heart-breaking. And then Travolta landed with an army of scientologists...

Speaking about the Haitian earthquake, another reason I've kept off from religion is because I would be embarrassed to be linked to any of them. When the earthquake happened, people in a newspaper website forum were all preaching on how this was the end of the world, and that the Haitians had gotten what they deserve because God kills those that don't follow in his footsteps. Santeria and voodoo is part of Haiti's culture and all of the sudden people are now saying that it was because of that that the earthquake happened. Not only that, what about Pat Robertson with his claims about them making a deal with the devil during their battle with independence?

I would seriously be ashamed to belong to a community of people who condemn others for their actions without looking inside to see if they are not part of the solution. I would bet that none of them even considered sending $20 for aid.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
GDB
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RE: Question For The Athiests And Agnostics?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:47 pm

My own view is that the emergence of religions, including kinds lost in the sands of time, came with the fact as that usually sentient beings, we know we are going to die.
Imagine if you've just realised that, as a child, it's a hell of a thing to take on board.

Me, atheist, for as long as I can remember.
Not hostile to those who find comfort and strength in faith at all, very hostile to those who push it, agitate for it, kill for it.
If it's that great and all encompassing, surely everyone would believe?

The path of human progress, scientific as well as social, has been made by all too often kicking against faiths.
Now many of faith have contributed in his positively, if like me, you see the major established religions as more like a multi national mega business than a path to enlightenment, then that makes my feelings on this stronger.

I also think, when taken too far, faith can be used to excuse not taking responsibility, on a personal and society level.
And there is the depressing attempts by the more militant (and ultimately political) believers to roll back the centuries of enlightenment.
Fine, if you yourselves are prepared to go the distance here - surely inspiring others?
So, reject inconvenient science - don't use it then, from medication and life sciences to electricity.
Live as those did when the influence of religious doctrine was so much stronger.
Funny how they don't seem keen to do this?

Many of these types also want much more censored societies too.
The reason is that aspects of culture they don't like, they claim, is dangerous, encouraging sex, bad behavior up to and including murder.
So, the idea here is that art, including the written, filmed and all the others, encourage and inspire bad things.
In that case the first to be banned would be the Bible and the Koran!

They will say, that's not the intention of these works, people misuse the message.
Fine, then the same applies across the board.

The US government has defined porn for instance, as of no artistic value and likely to cause sexual thoughts.
But does that sound an awful lot like a lot of the product of the massive advertising industry too?
Not cheerleading for porn, but it's an example of just how complex things really are.

I don't fear death anymore or less than the average person, I do not expect an afterlife either though.

Of course I live in a nation where the Christian history defines many of our landmark events, like Easter and Christmas, that's a matter of history and circumstance, we could have ended up as pagans just as easily.
(And many Christian rituals and holidays have pagan roots too, more of that historical circumstance again).

And never, ever, tell me I'm less caring, less of a person, less fulfilled, since I'm an atheist, I find the presumption and arrogance of that unbearable.
Luckily where I'm from, that does not really happen.
I just happen to find our explorations and achievements very inspiring.

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