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Sitnamorcen
19 Oct 2010, 15:12
In the pre-crash forum it was RoknRoll who originally started an "Ask an Atheďst" topic, but I'm pretty confident that I can respectfully answer any questions towards Atheďsm (well at least my Atheďsm, not the "hurr you're all dumb" kind).

So ask away! :)

B. de Corbin
20 Oct 2010, 05:39
OK - So...

Do you ever feel (and by "feel" what I mean is have a bodily sensation or emotion, rather than the other "feel" which means "have the opinion that") that there are more to some things than can be explained by a physical understanding of those things?

Juniper
20 Oct 2010, 08:52
Why did you spell it "Atheďst"?

thalassa
20 Oct 2010, 10:02
Why did you spell it "Atheďst"?


...it could be that crazy Dutch-speak ;D

Sitnamorcen
21 Oct 2010, 04:02
OK - So...
Do you ever feel (and by "feel" what I mean is have a bodily sensation or emotion, rather than the other "feel" which means "have the opinion that") that there are more to some things than can be explained by a physical understanding of those things?

Well first of all, I like to believe that any person's view on "the supernatural" is one of personal experience rather than just belief or disbelief:

Some prefer the view of "Anything supposedly supernatural can be rationally explained" but the part of being able to succesfully rationally explain it would also be a matter of being there when it happens.

Then again, some people witness one or more inexplicable thing(s) in their life and suddenly everything inexplicable is labelled "supernatural", which in my opinion is not a wise approach to the subject.

But to answer your question about me specifically, no. I've never experienced anything out of the ordinary or inexplicable so TO ME PERSONALLY there is no such thing as the supernatural.
Up to today I find my life as dull and agitating as looking at a blank piece of paper thinking of what to write on it.
I may be only 20 years old and perhaps have many years to go in which I could stumble upon something possibly supernatural, but that feels like standing next to the street waiting for a purple car with yellow stripes and a green bumper to drive by and honk at me.

You could argue "Oh but you can give it the benefit of doubt if you don't have any proof right?", well that's the thing: If it's not there, then the only proof of it not being there is that it isn't there.
That may sound kind of lame, but for example: If there isn't any milk in your fridge, how do you prove there is no milk in your fridge? The only proof you can come up with? Exactly.
(Well, unless you could prove it by showing a video of you drinking the last of the milk from the fridge but that's a different story! Shut up! xD )

Hope that answered your question :P



Why did you spell it "Atheďst"?


Because I find it shiny that way.
I guess you could discuss how it should be written, but come on it's not like the capital "A" is hurting anyone because it's pointier than the "a". He has feelings too! :(
And yes, maybe it IS just the crazy Dutch-speak :o . Wie weet...

Sitnamorcen
21 Oct 2010, 04:24
Sorry I bumped myself, but I couldn't modify it anymore.
Towards B. de Corbin's question:

I may have generalized your question towards using "the supernatural" to talk about, but the answer should be the same, I have no such experience(s) that something feels "more" than it physically appears/feels like. I've tried to do so (tried-ish... I guess) in the past tough, but then you could argue that either I didn't try hard enough or that it's just something you come across.

thalassa
21 Oct 2010, 04:45
Because I find it shiny that way.
I guess you could discuss how it should be written, but come on it's not like the capital "A" is hurting anyone because it's pointier than the "a". He has feelings too! :(
And yes, maybe it IS just the crazy Dutch-speak :o . Wie weet...


I think she meant the ď vs i...

Sitnamorcen
21 Oct 2010, 04:47
I think she meant the ď vs i...


Oh :-[ in that case it entirely IS crazy Dutch-speak because that's how I'm taught to write it, with an ď .
If it was about that, then it's typical of me to start ranting about what I think she was talking about rather than asking the details. Might also be due to the fact that I'm quite energetic today. o.o

thalassa
21 Oct 2010, 04:49
Oh :-[ in that case it entirely IS crazy Dutch-speak because that's how I'm taught to write it, with an ď .


I think it looks cool. Is there are difference in pronunciation for them or something?

Also, were you raised as any particular religion?

B. de Corbin
21 Oct 2010, 04:56
I may have generalized your question towards using "the supernatural" to talk about, but the answer should be the same, I have no such experience(s) that something feels "more" than it physically appears/feels like. I've tried to do so (tried-ish... I guess) in the past tough, but then you could argue that either I didn't try hard enough or that it's just something you come across.


Thanks for coming back with that - I actually wasn't asking about anything supernatural.

So - if we're understanding eachother, what you're telling me is that, when you go out and look at the stars on a clear night, away from city lights, you don't feel anything? Or when you look over a the side of a high mountain, or into a deep canyon, you don't feel anything?

I do - the feeling is best described as "awe" - that's what I was trying to ask about.

Sitnamorcen
21 Oct 2010, 05:07
I think it looks cool. Is there are difference in pronunciation for them or something?


It's because in Dutch the letter combination "ei" is a pronunciation similar to that "ij" of "kortrijk" you heard the other day.
Normally we'd pronounce it something like "ateisme" (the way an english-speaking person would hear it) and without the ď you would get the incomprehendable "atijsme" because you don't even use the pronunciation of "ei" or "ij" in English.




Thanks for coming back with that - I actually wasn't asking about anything supernatural.

So - if we're understanding eachother, what you're telling me is that, when you go out and look at the stars on a clear night, away from city lights, you don't feel anything? Or when you look over a the side of a high mountain, or into a deep canyon, you don't feel anything?

I do - the feeling is best described as "awe" - that's what I was trying to ask about.


I'd probably be thinking "yep... the stars... woohoo" and "yep... it's a mountain... a big one" and immediately move on with what I was doing. So no I wouldn't feel special or anything, really.
But I think that's more the nihilist part about me than anything to do with Atheďsm.

Sitnamorcen
21 Oct 2010, 05:19
Also, were you raised as any particular religion?


Didn't see that question before, must admit I read past that. A bit busy.

My parents didn't baptise me at birth (which a lot of people did, religious or not) and thought it was best for me to choose my own religion, which I appreaciate.
I have had moments of thinking "would the world be better off without religion?", but not much later thought it would be wise to learn more about it rather than dismissing religion just for the actions of extremists.

B. de Corbin
21 Oct 2010, 05:25
I'd probably be thinking "yep... the stars... woohoo" and "yep... it's a mountain... a big one" and immediately move on with what I was doing. So no I wouldn't feel special or anything, really.
But I think that's more the nihilist part about me than anything to do with Atheďsm.


OK - thanks!

Sitnamorcen
21 Oct 2010, 05:31
OK - thanks!


You're welcome! And sorry if I was a bit vague sometimes, as I said before in this thread it's typical for me to start babbling about what I think you meant with your question without asking details.
Or maybe you just needed to be a bit more direct. :)

Caliburn
21 Oct 2010, 21:38
What is your opinion on atheistic associations?
What do you like and what do you dislike about them?
Do you think that organized atheism is a form of religion?

Madness
22 Oct 2010, 06:45
Can I play too?!?!



Do you ever feel (and by "feel" what I mean is have a bodily sensation or emotion, rather than the other "feel" which means "have the opinion that") that there are more to some things than can be explained by a physical understanding of those things?


I think this is where I differ from a lot of atheists I know. I DO "feel" something. There's a lot out there that is awe inspiring and a lot things we don't currently understand. For me, atheism is more about the fact that there are no creator gods and no intelligent force guiding things outside my control. It doesn't mean I don't think there's other weirdo woowoo stuff going on out there (that one day, with enough understanding, could be explained by science).

Sitnamorcen
22 Oct 2010, 09:39
What is your opinion on atheistic associations?


I must admit that I don't have any experience with or great amount of knowledge about such organizations. But I am guessing (and ONLY guessing) that the need of such organizations arised because of misinformation or certain people treating atheism like it is a mental disease.



What do you like and what do you dislike about them?


As said by the question above this one, I don't have much knowledge about such associations and therefor cannot truly say what I like or dislike about atheistic assosiations.
However if you insist on knowing my opinion about a perticular organization, feel free to reply back with the name of the organization in question and I'll look into it in order to give you my unsalted opinion. (maybe some pepper, though ;D *pa dumm tsh* )



Do you think that organized atheism is a form of religion?


No, I do not. It does not resemble a religion, but rather an organization (duh) much involved with religion.

A bit off topic, but that reminded me of an awesome part in the Metalocalypse episode "Religionklok":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jncCLe39Btg
(Clip contains a low amount of violence)

Madness
25 Oct 2010, 13:55
What is your opinion on atheistic associations? What do you like and what do you dislike about them?

That entirely depends on the group. Some are obnoxious and others aren't. I like that certain groups give you a chance to get together with people that you can feel free to express your nonreligious opinion too, without fear of being jumped on or accused of going to hell.


Do you think that organized atheism is a form of religion?

There are certainly some people that treat it as such. While officially the definition of 'religion' connotes a belief in the supernatural, I think it can easily be extended to a 'disbelief' in the supernatural. The people/groups that behave as though it's a religion are usually the ones that proselytize and actively try go convert folks. They usually also have atheism as a key or central point of their lives. For me, it's more of a non-issue most of the time and I'd be a pretty poor follower of Atheism The Religion.

Here's a question for other atheists:

Do you feel the need to find reasons to be an atheist or defend your atheism - i.e., do you look for inconsistencies in the bible or koran, or do you revel in finding logical sequences that end in "there must be no god"? If so, why is that important to you?

Medusa
25 Oct 2010, 15:06
Do you feel the need to find reasons to be an atheist or defend your atheism - i.e., do you look for inconsistencies in the bible or koran, or do you revel in finding logical sequences that end in "there must be no god"? If so, why is that important to you?
I don't ever feel the need to defend my Atheism. Sure, people ask me, prod me, argue with me. But it's not like they are going to get anywhere with me. Thankfully I really care very little of people's opinions in such things.

As for inconsistencies in the bible? Well I don't go actively searching. But it did sort of push me into finding another belief system. If Christian math doesn't work for me I had to find another more suitable answer. Though God does not belong squarely on the backs of Christians. So when I say I am an Atheist, I am also an Atheist to pagan gods et al. As for the Qur'an? Ah, tis the rub. I have yet to really find any inconsistencies there.

Sitnamorcen
27 Oct 2010, 19:26
Do you feel the need to find reasons to be an atheist or defend your atheism - i.e., do you look for inconsistencies in the bible or koran, or do you revel in finding logical sequences that end in "there must be no god"? If so, why is that important to you?


I don't feel the need to find reasons to be an atheďst, because I already know why I am.
And I've never had to "defend" being an atheist, guess it's just a topic that was never brought up.
Plus I don't feel the need to "defend" being an atheist because such discussion seems pointless to me.

I don't actively or deliberately look for inconsistencies in religious texts nor feel a general need to prove non-theďsm.

Although, despite all that, I think I might enjoy a good discussion on the subject with someone of whom I 100% know he/she isn't just trying to troll - and that is a rare find on the internet.

cesara
28 Oct 2010, 06:38
Can I play too?!?!

I think this is where I differ from a lot of atheists I know. I DO "feel" something. There's a lot out there that is awe inspiring and a lot things we don't currently understand. For me, atheism is more about the fact that there are no creator gods and no intelligent force guiding things outside my control. It doesn't mean I don't think there's other weirdo woowoo stuff going on out there (that one day, with enough understanding, could be explained by science).


Very much how I see things, too. No 'creator gods', no 'intelligent' force....but a force nonetheless.....science just has to catch up. ;)

Sin
01 Nov 2010, 13:56
ooh ooh oohh!! *jumps up and down waving my hand in the air* memememmememememememeee!!!!


As an athiest how do you approach the subject of dualism and that of the soul? Do you have a soul? Or are you just a body?

Madness
01 Nov 2010, 14:17
As an athiest how do you approach the subject of dualism and that of the soul? Do you have a soul? Or are you just a body?


I had to look up dualism. You mean like yin/yang and good/evil? I guess I don't see it as a driving factor of life. It's too black and white for me. Nothing is absolute.

Hmmm...a soul. I think that human consciousness is simply the result of a certain configuration of material, interacting with the world at large. Is that a soul? Will "it" continue after I die? I've read arguments that our "energy" will exist forever in some form. I can understand the argument but it doesn't speak to me. I guess I just don't have interest in the afterlife really (as in, I don't think it exists and I'm not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on it).

But there are vast definitions of soul, so its hard to say yes or no to believing in a soul. But essentially, I do just think we are bodies.

Sin
01 Nov 2010, 16:19
ahhh dualism as in haveing both a mind/soul and a body

alot of people think we have only a body

others believe we have a body AND a mind/soul

and the there are people who believe we are completely spiritual with no material body :P

Madness
01 Nov 2010, 16:43
Ah, ok I know read some definitions along those lines!

Well, I do believe we have a 'physical' form. But that could merely be a good way to describe it. There's weird research that the whole universe is a hologram (I don't recall the details...) but I think it's just semantics. I think I have a material body as I currently understand the definition of 'material'. :P

But I do also see that our minds are something special. Now, our minds could entirely be a result of the stuff inside our head, or they could be something all together different. I've heard an interesting argument that our brains are a holding medium for a type of energy that then manifests itself as coherent thought. As in, our minds are simply the interference pattern between matter (the brain) and the universe (the energy). I think that's cool. I don't necessarily have an opinion on whether or not its true. But I don't believe that we have an entirely separate entity (a 'soul') that comes from somewhere and resides in our bodies while we live and then leaves them when we die and stays as an entity.

So...I guess I'm halfway between "just body" and "body + mind/soul". :D

But, like I've said before, I don't think there is anything woo-woo or supernatural about the (hypothetical) soul. Just something that we currently can't explain with science but is perfectly naturally.

B. de Corbin
01 Nov 2010, 16:59
As a near atheist ( ;)), let me jump in here -

What I imagine is this:

We do have something which could be called a "soul" (it depends on how you define "soul," of course). However, it arises out of the functioning of the body, just as the mind does. When the body goes, so does the mind and soul. Whatever "energy" it has just goes into whatever energy goes into when it stops having a source (entropy? I dunno).

Sitnamorcen
01 Nov 2010, 20:24
As an atheist how do you approach the subject of dualism and that of the soul? Do you have a soul? Or are you just a body?


To say it in a kind of crude manner: I believe that the concept of a soul is one created out of the idea that our bodies are but a "container" and that whatever is inside it goes/does somewhere/something notable when we die.
I think that whatever "energy" in our brain that could presumably be the "soul" in question, withers away into the ground like one's body decays after death.
And as to the idea that that "soul" and body are seperate or seperable, I do not think so.

But related to atheism by definition, I'm certain there are atheists who can believe in the existance of a soul, but feel sure that there is no such thing as a god.

Sin
03 Nov 2010, 14:57
for the athiest who believes in the soul.. what substance makes up the soul? It is there.. but we cannot see it? Or can we see it through it's acts and quirks? Does this sound like a God?

Could the belief in a soul through this lead to belief in a God? If one can believe in a soul that was... these properties that can reflect something of a greater being.. such as.. God..? :P

ok I don't believe in God... But I like to think I have a soul so yeah ;D

spartacandream
03 Nov 2010, 15:48
But I do also see that our minds are something special. Now, our minds could entirely be a result of the stuff inside our head, or they could be something all together different.
It's our brains in my view. The mind is what thinks, and when we think, areas specific to specific thoughts are fired in the brain. That and the fact that people with serious brain damage lose certain abilities, to me, is enough evidence that there is no mind seperate from the physical brain.

I don't believe in a soul either. We are what we are, and unless we find a way to make death obsolete, we have an expiration date. After that, we just return to being matter scattered about. If there is an immaterial soul and afterlife, there's no way of knowing, so there's no reason to worry.

Madness
20 Nov 2010, 20:14
Ok atheists, put your thinking caps on!

Why does humanity seem to have an innate desire and need to worship something, or someone? Why is there such a universal religious sense within humanity?

How do you account for the many supernatural experiences that people have, such as encounters with god(s), ghosts, spirits, etc.?

Medusa
21 Nov 2010, 02:00
How do you account for the many supernatural experiences that people have, such as encounters with god(s), ghosts, spirits, etc.?
some are the following:
delusions
drugs
fear
boredom
imagination
lies
reasons for why when we can't explain things
scapegoat

you know, the usual human emotions

spartacandream
21 Nov 2010, 07:15
Why does humanity seem to have an innate desire and need to worship something, or someone? Why is there such a universal religious sense within humanity?

Go to a concert, a sports stadium, or watch nationalists shout praises to their country. There is a parallel to the worship of the divine. When you see something as so great, maybe even greater than yourself, you can become quite devout. Also, we're pack animals that tend to be organized hierarchical, God just fills in the role of "leader of the tribe". (or nation, clan, kingdom, etc...).

Honeysuckle137
09 Dec 2010, 15:25
To say it in a kind of crude manner: I believe that the concept of a soul is one created out of the idea that our bodies are but a "container" and that whatever is inside it goes/does somewhere/something notable when we die.
I think that whatever "energy" in our brain that could presumably be the "soul" in question, withers away into the ground like one's body decays after death.
And as to the idea that that "soul" and body are seperate or seperable, I do not think so.


This response is just for friendly debate. :)

It is scientifically quantifiable that humans (I'm excluding other forms of life for the moment) run on electromagnetic energy, along with other forms of mechanical energy. If we can look at all forms of energy (including dark energy), and accept that there are forces (intelligent or not) that are still as yet undiscovered, then could you accept the possibility that what gives humans their sentience is a form of energy that is undiscovered? And if that energy/energies is what can be identified as what we call a "soul" or our human sentience, you must come to accept the law of physics that states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Also, since energy is not organic, it cannot simply wither and decay.

What happens to the energy that powered our body/brain/sentience once we die? I think that is a more potent question in terms of stepping up scientific inquiry.

Oh, I have a little interesting Discovery-esque tidbit I found recently that actually kind of puts a whole "Space Odyssey" spin on this whole "existence" thing. Astrophysics has taken the turn for the mind blowing in terms of the actual beginning of the universe. Ever hear the theory that the Big Bang was actually the impact of two flat, atom-thin separate universes drawn together every few billion eons or so? Yeah, they then expand outward until there is nothing left. And yes, there has been physical evidence to support the development of this theory. Cool idea huh?

And there are dozens more universe theories just as viable. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, humanity. ;D

Sitnamorcen
10 Dec 2010, 09:22
This response is just for friendly debate. :)


Of course it is! :P Welcome to PF!



including dark energy


Care to elaborate? What do you mean with "dark energy" and how is it different from the low amount of electricity (chemically created) in our nerves and brains?



then could you accept the possibility that what gives humans their sentience is a form of energy that is undiscovered?


Not everything is really known about the specific workings of our brains and such research is, I presume, in progress.
However, to speak of an undiscovered form of energy responsible for our sentience is purely hypothetical until discovered.



And if that energy/energies is what can be identified as what we call a "soul" or our human sentience, you must come to accept the law of physics that states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Also, since energy is not organic, it cannot simply wither and decay.

What happens to the energy that powered our body/brain/sentience once we die? I think that is a more potent question in terms of stepping up scientific inquiry.


The "withering and dying" part in my post was somewhat meant metaphorically.
Well the energy or chemical electricity in our bodies is created by food.
(cell membranes, potassium in, sodium out... ugh I really don't want to explain all that right now)
When we die, we stop making it, but the remaining energy is still there.
It happens sometimes that a dead body slightly twitches some time after the cessation of heart functioning, which I presume is the remaining energy in question.
Anyway, the remaining energy is either transferred into heat or grounded if I'm not mistaken.

But, not meaning to discourage those that believe in a soul, you could always argue that the soul is not material and bla bla bla... ;)

Witcher
07 Jan 2011, 14:34
Hello everyone. I'm new to the board (was a member of the old a long time ago but go very inactive before it fell).

I thought this would be a nice thread to get started with! I hope the OP doesn't mind if I throw in some of my opinions as an Atheist.

Okay, here goes...

The question of looking at the world and feeling awe...
-Religion does not have a corner on this market. All human beings, the faithful and the agnostic, can have feelings best described as numinous. I can look at the beautiful moutains I live in or the starry night sky and feel a sense of immense awe or wonder. This does not, however, lead me to put an agency behind it, not even a pantheistic one. The universe is amazing, yes. The natural world is sometimes quite beautiful, yes. I can enjoy these feelings without labeling them "divine." The fact that they (these feelings) are just brain chemistry does not devalue them in the least for me.


The question of Atheist organizations...
-I Think they are very important in a legal sense. Here in the U.S. religion is unabashedly sticking its nose into government. Organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (the Atheist organization I support the most) fights for civil rights and the Constitution. Some may come as a brash or harsh but I think this is unfair. Religious organizations and churches/mosques/etc. get away with the most cruel and wicked kind of rhetoric because they are cloaked in the garment of faith. I think that most Atheist organizations are actually mild but they get taken as harsh because they are speaking out against something that is so "sacred" to so many people. Even nice Atheists are almost always labelled "militiant" even if they say the smallest critique of religious faith. It's something that irritates me a lot.

The question of the "soul" and the mind/body duality...
-This is really a question about hard consciousness. I agree that hard consciousness is complicated and amazing and a field we still know little about, but that doesn't mean it should be relegated to the world of the supernatural. There are a group of scientists and philosophers who believe that consciousness is an enigma that cannot be solved by the human intellect (i.e. by the brain) because it is simply impossible. Many of these people are called “new mysterions.” The philosopher of science Daniel Dennett is very opposed to these people and I agree with him. There is a mystery only in the sense that we have not figured it out yet, not because it is some ineffable and impossible enigma. The “soul” is, yes, brain chemistry and neurology. That is my belief after having looked into it for a good long time. There is nothing outside the flesh that constitutes “the mind.” When we speak of the mind we are speaking of the brain. Period. There is nothing beyond the chemicals and organs of thought that make thought. This does not bother me in the least. Art is still amazing, poetry still moving, theatre still inspiring. Just because we understand the chemicals and synaptic firings that inspire these does not make it base or ugly, in my opinion. The subjective experience we still have is beautiful even if it has an objective, explainable basis behind it.

The question of how to explain the many experiences people have that lead them to believe in a God or a spiritual force in the universe and to the reason why we have a pull in our minds to believe in these things or at least to want to believe in them...
-This is one that might make me seem harsh, but I honestly believe all experiences of the supernatural are simple delusions or effects created by the human brain. Meditation does relax you. Sitting in a cave fasting and praying will lead to interesting experiences. This is because the brain is an amazing machine that can sometimes, fool us. We think we can hear our conscience, we think we can see angels. It’s all in the head, basically. There are lots of reasons why our brain would do this to us. Think of human evolution in its early forms. If you were out in the wilds hunting and you heard a growl or saw something bizarre in the forest it would benefit you to run or feel a sense of fear. The fact is it is a conditioned, evolved response so as to help in survival. This evolved trait, I believe, leads us to still have fears of the dark and fears of the intimidating. We extrapolate these fears into mythologies and beings outside of the natural world. Also, I think one of the reasons religious belief in any strain continues is because we are the only animals that are constantly conscious of our own impending deaths. This makes religious belief a comfortable panacea to dread and paranoia. Also, as to the idea of a religious pull being “universal” well that isn’t completely true. There are a large and growing number of Atheists and Agnostics in this world who lead a happy life without any religious belief. Also, just because something is found throughout the world does NOT make it true, or even good. Racism and sexism are universal traits as well (tribalism).

The question of energy conservation and the quantum physics used to defend religion...
-I have a very big problem when spiritual people try to claim quantum physics for their side. This is the Deepak Chopra approach to physics and it is totally voodoo science. The quantum level is, yes, very very difficult to understand and yes it does do things that boggle the mind. Non-locality and dark matter and dark energy are all very fascinating subjects. But, again, why relegate them to the supernatural? Just because it is hard to understand or awe-inspiring does not a god make it. Also, yes it is true that energy is not destroyed; however, it is radically altered. First off, what is this energy we are speaking of? Is the consciousness what people are calling energy? Well, that’s a bit suspect for a scientific statement. I mean, sure, there is energy involved, but it is a collection of energies and molecules and chemicals and reactions. All of these together, working in tandem, is what makes your conscious. When you die, these components are no longer in tandem and therefore you do lose consciousness. There is no evidence whatsoever that these energies function after death. It is not some “energy” that makes you conscious. It is the brain, it all its glory that does that. Without a working (read: alive) brain…your consciousness would not exist. The electrical energy that is “conserved” may go on somehow but it will not be able to formulate thought, have memory, or any thing else you consider “You.” There may some way to fluff up the after-dead state of being by saying that we join the universe in some way such as our molecules rejoin other beings, our bodies fertilize the earth or whatnot. But this is simply a sexed up way of saying you cease to be.

The question of defending my Atheism, finding innacuracies in holy books, etc....
-In many ways, I am a “militant” Atheist in the sense that I am almost an anti-theist. I find religious and even supernatural beliefs to be harmful to our planet and harmful to our species. There are exceptions. I mean, one of the reasons I love Pagan forums and Pagans in general is that I find them a much more evolved spiritual outlook than traditional religions. The only problem I ever have with my Pagan or Wiccan or Witch friends is the New Age beliefs they tend to hold. I honestly believe that belief in magic or the supernatural is not beneficial to our planet, especially if it is a proselytizing faith or a faith that believes it is the only answer. There is a scale of religious wickedness with Buddhists, Pagans, Jains, etc. on one end and extremist Muslims, extremist Christians and Orthodox Judaism on the other. So there is a part of me that loves to find innacuracies in holy books, because it baffles me that someone could believe that a book as brutal and archaic as the Torah could be the divine word of a perfect God. It really does astound me. I mean, as someone who was at one time fanatically religious (Roman Catholic convert) I can understand the sentiment but it actually horrifies me more becaue I know what those feelings are like, how deluded and self-hating and vitriolic they can become. So yes, I do feel a need to stand up for my Atheism, to be proud about it, to at least get others to question their beliefs and look at what the religions they belong to are responsible for. I think it is important. I know it is important.

Well, that is just a collection of some of my opinions, long winded I know, but I thought it would be fun to use this as an intro of sorts and also to give some more Atheist opinions for this thread!

Sitnamorcen
16 Jan 2011, 03:22
I've been off this forum for a while, lots of things happening.

And of course I don't mind you throwing in some of your opinions. :)

I have to admit that I as well have found belief in the supernatural and similar topics to be harmful to our species for a time, but at one point I just stopped caring because in this world of extremely differing ways of personal perception, the religious opinion of one person seems to have little to no value and expressing it really doesn't change all that much (unless you're rich, famous or both).

I've always kept my opinion(s) towards religion/spirituality to myself besides on this forum, because well... no one asks about it in my everyday life lol.
And I think that's great just the way it is. :)

Roknrol
07 Feb 2011, 19:54
Well now, brown cow - looks like the Admins decided to give us our own section :) We didn't even have a section for Atheists when I was running the place...we had to misappropriate the Academics section :p

I'm on and off, but I do look for this thread when I show up, so if y'all have any questions for us nonbelievers, ask away!

CttCJim
07 Feb 2011, 19:59
Well, we need to keep y'all out of the way to keep ya from making trouble of course ;)

I'll just leave this here, Penn's challenging words to the devout:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swkAGExZCII

Roknrol
10 Feb 2011, 17:37
ooh ooh oohh!! *jumps up and down waving my hand in the air* memememmememememememeee!!!!


As an athiest how do you approach the subject of dualism and that of the soul? Do you have a soul? Or are you just a body?
Sorry to spam - I'm going to pick through this thread and answer questions that I haven't answered here yet. Why? Because I'm bored, and this is one of the few threads I feel comfortable posting in :p

I view "soul" as being just another word for "conscious thought". Most animals don't really have conscious thought, at least, not in any discernible way, but some animals are a bit brighter. Most mammals, for example, I would say have a "soul" in the same way that humans do, but don't misunderstand me: I do not believe that there is an "energy" or any sort of physical evidence (nor will there ever be, IMO) to point to a "soul", because I view it as being a byproduct of everything that we ARE (our intelligence, reasoning, etc).

Face it - we are a unique animal in many regards, and part of what makes us unique is that our physical bodies have allowed us the opportunity to promote our own intelligence. It's not just the opposable thumb - apes have those, and they aren't as bright as we are. It's not just the brain - dolphins are lauded as being just as intelligent as we are (even as far as social conduct, murder, rape, etc), but they lack the ability to do much with their bodies but swim (although they do it very well). We also have the ability of linguistics, which allows us to do something as insignificant as "name things"...which is a much bigger deal than you would assume: http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb05/hues.aspx

All of these insignificant differences puts us at the top of the heap. A poor analogy: Roughly the same amount and type of material goes into building a Hyundai Accent as a Ferarri. Performance differs ;) It's all how they were "put together".

So do I have a soul? By my own definition, yes, but that's just my perception of what people refer to as a soul. Do I believe that there will be some semblance of existence once I'm dead? Nope.

---------- Post added at 01:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:13 AM ----------


Ok atheists, put your thinking caps on!It's on. It's made out of tinfoil, does that matter?


Why does humanity seem to have an innate desire and need to worship something, or someone? Why is there such a universal religious sense within humanity?Hrm. As much as I'd like to break these two questions up, I can't think of a way - so please bear with me ;)

I believe that due to the evolution of our brains, we have more "questions" than other animals do. The only thing a question is good for, is to get an answer...so the "how does that work" or "why does that happen" is simply part of our evolutionary make-up. I imagine it would have something to do with hundreds of thousands of years of bouncing between a variety of near-uninhabitable environments, but I digress ;)

Unfortunately, just because a person can ask a question doesn't mean that they're capable of providing their own answer. Even more unfortunately, for many people, AN answer is better than the CORRECT answer. Don't believe me? The vast majority of the people that I work with on computers ask me what I did to fix the problem. If it's too technical, "magic" works just as well as the real answer, and it's a helluva lot easier to explain (or not explain, you get my meaning :p ). People simply don't care if the answer that they have is the RIGHT answer until it affects them, and religion is just full of vague words with fuzzy meanings. Me personally? I'd rather have NO answer than the WRONG answer. An answer means we can stop looking, but if it's wrong, then we probably shouldn't stop :p

[
How do you account for the many supernatural experiences that people have, such as encounters with god(s), ghosts, spirits, etc.?
I know this has been answered by others, but the short answer is: it depends on the situation.

If you'd prefer the "broad" answer, I would have to say that it's because people rely so much on their imperfect senses without realising how imperfect they are, and making assumptions that may have more to do with their mood than anything else. It happens ;) Just to give you an idea of the sort of thing that can cause some of the above (and this is by no means an answer to every event, but it expresses how poor our senses can be at establishing the Truth): http://www.cracked.com/article_18828_the-creepy-scientific-explanation-behind-ghost-sightings.html

---------- Post added at 01:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:24 AM ----------



This response is just for friendly debate. :)

It is scientifically quantifiable that humans (excluding other forms of life for the moment) run on electromagnetic energy, along with other forms of mechanical energy. True.




If we can look at all forms of energy (including dark energy), and accept that there are forces (intelligent or not) that are still as yet undiscovered, then could you accept the possibility that what gives humans their sentience is a form of energy that is undiscovered? Tentatively, yes. The reason that I say Tentatively, is that there are no questions that I've come across (so far) that *require* some other form of energy, or a "soul" or anything like that. To use an analogy (I know it's kind of a Straw-man, but bear with me please :) ), one of the reasons that we're pretty sure Bigfoot doesn't exist, is that not only is there no *evidence* that it exists, there's also no "niche" for a creature like that to "fit in" to any of the areas where they're purported to exist. The balance of the ecosystem would be drastically different if Bigfoot hung out in those areas, so not only can we not FIND any Bigfeet, but we really don't have a reason to assume that they're there.

That's more or less how I approach the "electrical energy" argument: If there isn't a *reason* for it to be there, and there's no evidence to support that it's there, why assume that it's there but we haven't found it yet?

Don't get me wrong - we discover things all of the time that we didn't know existed...but really, over the last 50 years or so hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of real scientists have studied this stuff. If there was ANY indication that their research could lead to something, wouldn't they still be doing it? Instead, what we end up with are real scientists that have failed (and moved onto other fields of work), or "real" scientists that also failed, but are willing to lie through their teeth to sell books (and probably because they don't want to admit that they may have been wrong).

So yes, technically speaking I can agree that there may be some as-yet-undiscovered-form-of-energy-within-the-human-body that we don't understand and that accounts for things like magic and conscience or whatever...but because I don't see a reason for that energy to exist, I have a difficult time accepting that (even as a POSSIBILITY).




And if that energy/energies is what can be identified as what we call a "soul" or our human sentience, you must come to accept the law of physics that states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Also, since energy is not organic, it cannot simply wither and decay.Um...this is a misnomer.

It is true that energy cannot be destroyed, but Newton's Laws also dictate a significant loss whenever energy changes form, as well as the fact that we aren't quite capable of converting some forms of energy into others (for example, some chemical elements are only found at the core of the sun because it requires such vast amounts of heat and pressure to create them).

Energy does not just "change form" all by itself. It requires a mechanism for the change to occur, and according to what we know about the human body, no such mechanism exists.



What happens to the energy that powered our body/brain/sentience once we die? I think that is a more potent question in terms of stepping up scientific inquiry. The same thing that happens to the potential energy in your car when you disconnect the battery. Only with our bodies, that energy gets "used up" when/as our cells die off.



Oh, I have a little interesting Discovery-esque tidbit I found recently that actually kind of puts a whole "Space Odyssey" spin on this whole "existence" thing. Astrophysics has taken the turn for the mind blowing in terms of the actual beginning of the universe. Ever hear the theory that the Big Bang was actually the impact of two flat, atom-thin separate universes drawn together every few billion eons or so? Yeah, they then expand outward until there is nothing left. And yes, there has been physical evidence to support the development of this theory. Cool idea huh?It is :) I would really like to be a Quantum Physicist so I could spend my time making up ridiculous shit :p

Seriously? I can't wrap my brain around more than 4 dimensions, and understanding something like the above requires something I'm just not capable of ;)



And there are dozens more universe theories just as viable. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, humanity. ;D
Aye ;) Imagining the Tenth Dimension is AWESOME :)

Roknrol
10 Feb 2011, 17:39
A final note: It helps me to understand Atheism a little more by having a firm understanding of Evolution. I know it sounds kind of silly (or maybe even self-evident), but if you really look at what it took for HUMANS to exist, it's pretty easy to see how "religion" could come to be ;)

cesara
13 Feb 2011, 06:52
What is the practical purpose for emotions from an atheistic perspective? (and not just human ones....animals have been shown to possess them as well....elephants, for example)

Roknrol
13 Feb 2011, 11:33
What is the practical purpose for emotions from an atheistic perspective? (and not just human ones....animals have been shown to possess them as well....elephants, for example)
Well, obviously I'm no behaviorologist or whatever, so this is just my perspective on emotions :)

Depending on the emotion, they can be quite powerful - the right emotion can help you survive in a crisis, breed when you really don't feel like it, kill an animal that you would otherwise be unable to kill, and basically allow animals to be something other than automatons. A scared animal can jump farther, run faster, and tolerate far more pain than an animal that's relaxed and at rest.

That being said, the word "purpose" kind of implies design, so I just want to be clear that I, personally, believe that evolution has "held onto" emotion because in larger animals it's necessary. While some types of emotion seem to belong only to human beings, we obviously can't know for sure what the full range of emotions other animals feel. It's a conceivable notion that some animals feel certain emotions that we are simply incapable of feeling.

westwoden
11 Dec 2012, 18:54
who do atheists look up to as their 'Higher Power'?

Medusa
12 Dec 2012, 00:03
who do atheists look up to as their 'Higher Power'?

I'm an atheist. Though it says Satanist over my religion area. I am considered an athestic Satanist. For me, it's myself. I bet most will probably say the same thing.

B. de Corbin
12 Dec 2012, 04:35
who do atheists look up to as their 'Higher Power'?

I would agree with Medusa.

The "higher power" would be me.

Or maybe somebody pointing a gun at my head (the atheist's version of The Threat of Hell).

Dumuzi
12 Dec 2012, 06:16
I would agree with Medusa.

The "higher power" would be me.

Or maybe somebody pointing a gun at my head (the atheist's version of The Threat of Hell).

I'm not an atheist, but wouldn't an atheist answer that question with "no one"?

B. de Corbin
12 Dec 2012, 06:25
I'm not an atheist, but wouldn't an atheist answer that question with "no one"?

Possibly.

The point is, though, that, unless it is "me," it would be no one. There is no "higher power" for an atheist - there is only the self giving direction.

Whether that makes the "self" a higher power or not is debatable, or maybe it's just a personal choice to call it that or not.

westwoden
12 Dec 2012, 22:30
what if you can't trust yourself though, let's say if you were dysfunctional in some way?

Who can you look to then?

Jembru
13 Dec 2012, 00:33
what if you can't trust yourself though, let's say if you were dysfunctional in some way?

Who can you look to then?

Parents, friends, wikipedia.. Those places are more likely to give an instant, clear and decisive answer anyway. I'm religious but I don't get all my guidance (or even the bulk of it for that matter) from a higher power.

More to the point, religions themselves, never mind their followers, can most certainly be dysfunctional too. Very, very much so!

Medusa
13 Dec 2012, 01:22
what if you can't trust yourself though, let's say if you were dysfunctional in some way?

Who can you look to then?

If you cannot trust yourself you are f'd. No one in this world is responsible for you except you. The world doesn't care of your dysfunction. Function or die.

Bjorn
12 Dec 2013, 09:52
what if you can't trust yourself though, let's say if you were dysfunctional in some way?

Who can you look to then?

Yourself. You always have to be the one to pick yourself up, to do research and know your dysfunction, to learn about remedies that may alleviate the struggle, to call a therapist and work out the issue...

You can say you're looking to god(s)/divinity/whatever but the real work always comes from within, not from some intangible thing that had no part in your creation.


If you cannot trust yourself you are f'd. No one in this world is responsible for you except you. The world doesn't care of your dysfunction. Function or die.

For real.

ThorsSon
12 Dec 2013, 13:55
I agree with what Bjorn and Medusa have said... but would like to add, asking an atheist who they look to for "a higher power", is a meaningless question.

I do not believe that there is any such thing as a "higher power." I am sovereign to myself. I, and I alone, am ultimately accountable and responsible for what I do, think or choose.

I do get help and support from friends, family and society, but there is no invisible-man-in-the-sky looking out for me, judging me, guiding me, etc.

Poetics13
13 Dec 2013, 10:49
who do atheists look up to as their 'Higher Power'?

Camus, Sartre, Nietzsche... The Existential theme of personal responsibility over all decisions and events in our lives has been critical to my "spiritual" development.

Even good 'ol So-crates... Thoreau, Emerson... Hell, Pearl S. Buck. Twain. Definitely Shakespeare! (or is it Edward de Veer, the Earl of Oxford??) Sun Tzu... Dostoevsky is a personal favorite... (no one can write crazy like Dostoevsky)

*Not* Kant. :)

There are hundreds more, but you get the idea. ;)

(For the record, I am currently revising my atheistic tendencies; the reasons of which will most likely make it into this thread, just not when I'm on the clock ;) )

-Poetics


(Would someone be so kind as to include in their response how many posts are needed to include links? I have not been able to locate that information... the "Sexy Women" thread is calling me.)

Bjorn
13 Dec 2013, 11:33
I agree with what Bjorn and Medusa have said... but would like to add, asking an atheist who they look to for "a higher power", is a meaningless question.

I wonder if perhaps they meant something more along the lines of, "do you draw inspiration from anything that some other people attribute to a higher power?" For example, nature (pantheism), observation of the cosmos, coincidence, "healing miracles," etc.

Medusa
13 Dec 2013, 18:07
I wonder if perhaps they meant something more along the lines of, "do you draw inspiration from anything that some other people attribute to a higher power?" For example, nature (pantheism), observation of the cosmos, coincidence, "healing miracles," etc.

I do. But I also correctly do not add significance past their true nature. Nature isn't a deity to me. This poet I follow is not a god to me. That eerie feeling I got when walking in the dark isn't my ghost boyfriend. You get the drift?

Bjorn
13 Dec 2013, 18:20
I do. But I also correctly do not add significance past their true nature. Nature isn't a deity to me. This poet I follow is not a god to me. That eerie feeling I got when walking in the dark isn't my ghost boyfriend. You get the drift?

OH yeah. Mos def.

MaskedOne
14 Dec 2013, 06:04
Camus, Sartre, Nietzsche... The Existential theme of personal responsibility over all decisions and events in our lives has been critical to my "spiritual" development.

Even good 'ol So-crates... Thoreau, Emerson... Hell, Pearl S. Buck. Twain. Definitely Shakespeare! (or is it Edward de Veer, the Earl of Oxford??) Sun Tzu... Dostoevsky is a personal favorite... (no one can write crazy like Dostoevsky)

*Not* Kant. :)

There are hundreds more, but you get the idea. ;)

(For the record, I am currently revising my atheistic tendencies; the reasons of which will most likely make it into this thread, just not when I'm on the clock ;) )

-Poetics


(Would someone be so kind as to include in their response how many posts are needed to include links? I have not been able to locate that information... the "Sexy Women" thread is calling me.)

15, posts in introductions or the lols, quizzes and games sections don't count. They won't show up in post count either so pretty much once your post count says 15.

Poetics13
14 Dec 2013, 14:31
Revere : to show devoted deferential honor to : regard as worthy of great honor <revere the aged> <revere tradition>

Reverence is the word I have been searching for to describe how I view what others would describe as worship. I have whole heartedly delved into the world and ethos of paganism, as I recently had an experience that I was unable to see any rational way to explain its happening. I am still unable to say that I believe in deities, the divine, or an otherworldly being of any nature; but I am also less apt to disregard the possibility of such.

I have been a staunch, self-described atheist for about eight years now. During that time I was constantly open to being convinced otherwise, but no single event had been able to sway my "belief." I enjoyed pondering the existence of such a force, and still do. As a poet I have a deep regard for anything that causes Awe, be it the most mundane (often the most awe-inspiring), or watching something happen on a scale that is beyond our true comprehension (i.e. a lunar eclipse, which we know, and understand, but is difficult to truly comprehend, just as is the number 1,000,000,000).

I see spirituality on the individual level as a potent force that sees its execution as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we believe in the possibility of X, and focus our energy on respecting, or revering X, and feel that in doing so X gives us the ability to follow through on a personal goal, then for all practical purposes, X exists. The example that most readily comes to mind is the association of AA with Christianity. Their belief that X is looking out for them gives them the strength. If this is the case for anyone, in any situation, then more power to them! (Unless its mean, in which case: you suck and please stop.) I wish I had the outright faith to verbally confirm my beliefs in such a power. To date, even with my questionable experience, I am still unable to claim such a faith.

What I have determined though, is that I can be a stronger, healthier person if I make an effort to outwardly *revere* the things, persons, ideas that give me strength and comfort. As such, I am searching the pantheons for deities that embody the ideals that I have strived to make part of my life. I desire to honor these things with ritual and meditation, and in doing so, open myself to creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that will help me grow as an individual and will inspire me to not be complacent in my life, but to engage it and further any knowledge, understanding, and comprehension to whatever end that I can.

My life has seen me fall prey to many a self-fulfilling prophecy, the vast majority of which were extremely unhealthy and nearly ended my life a time or two. I respect the power of giving reverence to thought or action. Many of my poems speak on this topic, and through more of them than I would like to admit I created the prophecies that would ultimately lead to months of my not-very-long-life being wasted in severe depression and ideation of the most heinous sort.

There is exactly one person I have encountered in my life that has challenged this paradigm of thought. Six years ago we dated for about a year, and a year and seven months ago I allowed myself to be open to her influence again. We have now been engaged for a year and six months ( ;) ).

To me (to "us" is all that matters), our love is the divine. The love we create in our life together is the pinnacle of [my] human potential, the peak of [our] evolutionary possibility. When we open ourselves to each other, eyes closed, generally foreheads touching, we can experience a shared conversation of energies, a back and forth of extreme emotion flowing from one body to the other. It is consistently the most overwhelming experience of my life, and the catalyst for my renewed search for understanding the divine potential in everything that surrounds our existences.

So now, while still unable to say I believe, I have upped my self-described spiritual affiliation to Heathen, with the possibility of much more. I will revere those things which I find suitable of reverence through ritual. I will explore how they can influence my life for the better. And I will open myself to allowing these experiences to help craft me into a Man that I a can be content in being.

As its been stated in so many threads in here. We are all different, atheist to atheist, re-constructionist to re-constructionist, and it goes without saying, eclectic to eclectic. There is nothing more divine that knowing who *you* are, so to that end, I'm back to hitting the books. If you read all of this, I sincerely hope it didn't come off an a grandiose thesis on me... its meant as a modest explanation that the connotations and semantics of our souls are as varied as the lines on the pads of our thumbs. What is an atheist? It doesn't matter what I think an atheist is... only one person can answer a question like that...

Best, Blessed Be, and Keep Your Powder Dry,

-Poetics

Roknrol
22 Mar 2014, 09:03
I wonder if perhaps they meant something more along the lines of, "do you draw inspiration from anything that some other people attribute to a higher power?" For example, nature (pantheism), observation of the cosmos, coincidence, "healing miracles," etc.
I draw inspiration from nature and from those that have come before me. I'm also inspired by the ideas that drove those people, and by the science behind Evolution.

I firmly believe that the human body is an amazing machine, and while Science has enabled us to survive longer and easier, I think that there has been a disservice to the species by making us weaker as a whole (not that I think this is a "real" problem...when Nature is ready to get rid of us, we will be gotten rid of).

I do have an example that I can relay here, I'll try to be brief :)

I tried LSD for the first time. It was long after I had converted to Atheism, and I was certain that I was in a "good place" when I tried it, since I've heard so many horror stories about bad trips.

Three things: 1) It was f-ing awesome. 2) It's NOT a recreational drug (as in, something that you can do regularly...it's pretty exhausting) and 3) I finally understood what everyone else says about things like Faith, Love, Belief, etc. For the first time in my life I felt what other people SAY that they feel. Do they really feel that way? Eh...I'm inclined to think "no"...hyperbole is pretty common in music and art, but for once, for about a 5 hour period, I "understood" on a fundamental level what they wanted to be feeling. All I could think about was how much differently I would perceive the experience if I were not an Atheist. It would have been very VERY easy for me to think that I had "met" God (or whatever, I'm not prone to focusing on that very much anymore), had I done so as a believer.

ALL of that being said, Medusa really nailed it above: People are people, nature is nature, and religion was constructed for one reason: control. While it (like other social constructs) has evolved and has become a far more personal means of exploration, I still think that the root of any religion is control and resist it almost as a reflex anymore. I'm always looking for the "why", and I usually find the "why" tends toward the more bigoted aspects of humanity - something that thoroughly discusts me.

I *do* believe that some people can find value in religious belief. There are plenty of folks that have quit their drug(s) of choice by relying on their higher power, and it's certainly not my place to tell them they're wrong (especially if it's working for them). Am I one of those people? I used to think so...but I've found that the more Atheist I get, the happier I am (so far), so it must be working for me ;)

Hekla
02 Apr 2014, 21:29
I've been wondering about something for a while now, and it prompts this question based off hearing various atheist counterarguments on the internet (namely YouTube). This something is hearing atheists say "how do you know your god is the right god?" or "sorry Thor worshiper, Zeus is the right god" and many other statements/questions of the like. And more famously, Richard Dawkins in this video clip: http://youtu.be/_6iss-xq2-E?t=2m57s
It bugs me because it makes them come across as heavily influenced by the Abrahamic religions.

So my question, now become two, is:
1. What do you think of people who make this kind of statement?
2. Why do you think, according to atheists who put forth such a stance, there must be one true god/pantheon?

Denarius
02 Apr 2014, 22:46
Why do you think, according to atheists who put forth such a stance, there must be one true god/pantheon?

Two things here. One, most of the people atheists argue with are monotheists. Thus most arguments are formulated within that context.

Two, it's not saying that there must be one true god/pantheon. What it is saying is that there are lots of gods out there, and they all have just as much evidence proving their existence. None. So, it's absolute nonsense to say that your god/s are real and all the other ones are false.

It is not (usually) used as an argument against religion, rather the notion that your beliefs are true and everyone else's beliefs are false. If an atheist is using that argument against a pagan, then they are doing some serious context-dropping.

I favour the Socratic method, just ask people questions about their religion. Why do you believe the things you do? Why is that? Etc... It gets people thinking critically about the nature of belief and why they believe the things they do.

Ultimately much more fruitful, and besides I don't really have any reason to dissuade people from believing what they want to believe. A good conversation is a much better goal, and regurgitating points from Dawkins' latest book is hardly conducive to that end.

ThorsSon
03 Apr 2014, 00:10
I've been wondering about something for a while now, and it prompts this question based off hearing various atheist counterarguments on the internet (namely YouTube). This something is hearing atheists say "how do you know your god is the right god?" or "sorry Thor worshiper, Zeus is the right god" and many other statements/questions of the like. And more famously, Richard Dawkins in this video clip: http://youtu.be/_6iss-xq2-E?t=2m57s
It bugs me because it makes them come across as heavily influenced by the Abrahamic religions.

So my question, now become two, is:
1. What do you think of people who make this kind of statement?
2. Why do you think, according to atheists who put forth such a stance, there must be one true god/pantheon?

That argument is made precisely against the claim of One True God.
When that line of reasoning is presented, it is in the face of the majority of religious people (aka adherents to the Abrahamic faiths).

It is a valid response to monotheists who try to condescend to atheists with Pascal's Wager (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager).

When presented with Pascal's Wager (as so many Christians like to do, when confronting an atheist), it is perfectly valid to point out that I only believe in 1 fewer god than they do.

They pretend that they can't understand how anyone could disbelieve in a god, yet they disbelieve in all but one.

Plus, it also works to point out the folly of Pascal's Wager... what if you chose the wrong god? (given that Pascal's Wager is all about hedging your bets for the after-life)

Hekla
03 Apr 2014, 00:39
Huh, I didn't make the connection to Pascal's Wager before. Funny how the brain works (or doesn't). Still, comparing pagan gods to each other is a silly and stupid argument, and I have heard it multiple times, especially since that is still used toward monotheists. Why put pagan gods into the equation in the first place? Why not compare the biblical god to a Hindu god? (I don't know enough about Hinduism to make the statement I want to make, so I'll just leave it there). I get name recognition, but surely these atheists look into pagan customs from the past and see that (more or less) people didn't have one true pantheon mentality. I don't know where I'm going with this.

I guess because I grew up with an "all or nothing" view of theism (you either believe in them all or believe in none), I just find it disappointing that people stoop to this level. But, if you gotta make a point... /shrug

ThorsSon
03 Apr 2014, 01:16
Huh, I didn't make the connection to Pascal's Wager before. Funny how the brain works (or doesn't). Still, comparing pagan gods to each other is a silly and stupid argument, and I have heard it multiple times, especially since that is still used toward monotheists. Why put pagan gods into the equation in the first place? Why not compare the biblical god to a Hindu god? (I don't know enough about Hinduism to make the statement I want to make, so I'll just leave it there). I get name recognition, but surely these atheists look into pagan customs from the past and see that (more or less) people didn't have one true pantheon mentality. I don't know where I'm going with this.

I guess because I grew up with an "all or nothing" view of theism (you either believe in them all or believe in none), I just find it disappointing that people stoop to this level. But, if you gotta make a point... /shrug

Greek, Roman and Norse mythology is studied in most American schools. So, most Americans are aware of those deities... and do not believe in them.

So, when confronted by someone who is demanding to know why I don't believe in God, or is presenting Pascal's Wager, or any of the myriad arguments that I tend to get (for the record, it is almost ALWAYS a Christian that is trying to talk me out of atheism)... I find it very handy to turn their very own arguments against them but replace "God" with "Thor/Odin/Zeus/Mars/etc"... they always reply with "but I don't believe in 'Thor/Odin/Zeus/Mars/etc'"... to which I reply, "exactly."

And as I said, it is almost always a Christian who is trying to argue with me about my atheism, and as such, I tailor my argument to them.

In the context of Richard Dawkins and the like, the same is true. most of the religious people in the USA are Christians. World-Wide, the majority is still Christian, then Muslim, then Jewish, with everything else making up a tiny fraction of the world's population... Since most religious people are of the Abrahamic faiths, most religious atrocities come from those faiths (partially because of the nature of the faith, but mostly just due to raw numbers)... so that is the target that needs to be addressed most.

thalassa
03 Apr 2014, 02:56
So, when confronted by someone who is demanding to know why I don't believe in God, or is presenting Pascal's Wager, or any of the myriad arguments that I tend to get (for the record, it is almost ALWAYS a Christian that is trying to talk me out of atheism)... I find it very handy to turn their very own arguments against them but replace "God" with "Thor/Odin/Zeus/Mars/etc"... they always reply with "but I don't believe in 'Thor/Odin/Zeus/Mars/etc'"... to which I reply, "exactly."

And as I said, it is almost always a Christian who is trying to argue with me about my atheism, and as such, I tailor my argument to them.

Probably because (at least in Greek Paganism) there has historically been a decent tradition of atheism, agnostism, and untraditional ideas about the nature of the gods. And because...with the exception of some hard polytheists, most Pagans (at least in my experience) are fully able to admit that they might be incorrect--thats what happens when pluralism is a basic assumption of belief.

anunitu
03 Apr 2014, 05:09
I really don't concern myself with others beliefs,mainly because I am of the belief each human deals with their belief and connection ALONE,even when they belong to a large group. This is to say each of us connects with the spiritual within our own context and concept of "reality". When a person who professes a belief and is bothered by another questioning existence of said belief in reality,what this shows is the person of belief does not feel their belief is strong enough. If one is a "True believer",then nothing will concern you when others question it.

I may make jokes or play around with speculation concerning the existence of ANY or ALL deities,BUT I am of the type that believes sometimes we take ourselves way to seriously. Belief should make you happy,and NOT paranoid about about defending your beliefs.

Hekla
03 Apr 2014, 05:21
I don't think I implied anything about belief in my posts, nor any implication of security in belief. All I was wondering was why atheists sound so much like monotheists, and now that the connection has been made a sort of 'slam' to Pascal's Wager, I have my answer.

Ektor
03 Apr 2014, 07:24
In the context of Richard Dawkins and the like, the same is true. most of the religious people in the USA are Christians. World-Wide, the majority is still Christian, then Muslim, then Jewish, with everything else making up a tiny fraction of the world's population... Since most religious people are of the Abrahamic faiths, most religious atrocities come from those faiths (partially because of the nature of the faith, but mostly just due to raw numbers)... so that is the target that needs to be addressed most.

Actually it's something like Islam>Christianism>Buddhism>Hinduism. There's a lot of non-monotheistic religions out there, and you really shouldn't take the arguments Christians use and think they have anything to do with the way a pagan believes in stuff.

MaskedOne
03 Apr 2014, 09:01
It's sort of a side item but

2996

accompanying article (http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/)

Christianity + Islam outnumber everyone else put together.

Judaism (numerically, not politically, economically or militarily) is sort of a side item these days globally but there are areas where they have regional dominance. Hindus and Buddhists command sizable numbers by comparison to anyone not under the Christian or Islamic umbrella. Otherwise combined, they come in about even with Islam and still trail way behind any united count of Christianity.

ThorsSon
03 Apr 2014, 12:02
There's a lot of non-monotheistic religions out there, and you really shouldn't take the arguments Christians use and think they have anything to do with the way a pagan believes in stuff.

I never said anything that one should. I explained that the argument Hekla brought up is specifically an argument against monotheism.

Roknrol
08 Apr 2014, 18:21
A little late to the party, sorry :)


I've been wondering about something for a while now, and it prompts this question based off hearing various atheist counterarguments on the internet (namely YouTube). This something is hearing atheists say "how do you know your god is the right god?" or "sorry Thor worshiper, Zeus is the right god" and many other statements/questions of the like. And more famously, Richard Dawkins in this video clip: http://youtu.be/_6iss-xq2-E?t=2m57s
It bugs me because it makes them come across as heavily influenced by the Abrahamic religions. Mostly they use Christianity as the basis for religion because it's one of the more popularly obnoxious religions around. The loud believers, etc...much like Atheism is judged based on the mentioned assholes, they base their arguments on Christianity. For the most part they don't apply to the Pagan religions, true enough, but the underlying logic *does*. If I've come to the conclusion that there's not an all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal God because I haven't seen evidence of Him, then the same conclusion can be had of any of the Pagan Gods as well (as long as I have not, in fact, seen evidence ;) ). I've probably rambled more than is proper - let's move on ;)


So my question, now become two, is:
1. What do you think of people who make this kind of statement?I think that people that talk like that are assholes. I avoided becoming an Atheist for a couple of years while I decided whether or not I wanted to be a part of a group that had these jerks as their "leaders". Of course, eventually it was hard to argue with...I was an Atheist, and if that means that these guys are in the same group, so be it.


2. Why do you think, according to atheists who put forth such a stance, there must be one true god/pantheon?Well, I have a couple of different guesses here (I personally don't believe that there must be one...I don't see a reason, and I don't see evidence, so whether one or millions, I don't think any of them exist).

I think that their approach stems from debating with individuals, honestly. When they talk to a crowd, they forget that the guy in the front row might believe something different than the guy behind him. If Richard Dawkins, for example, asked you specifically why you believed in your pantheon, he wouldn't expect you to argue in favor of another. It simplifies the conversation without having a whole crapload of qualifiers.

Also, they think it's amusing to refer to Gods such as Zeus because they think it's absolutely ludicrous that anyone in todays day and age would believe in them. In more recent years they've moved from Greek and Roman Gods to things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, because they realized that more people believe in Zeus ;)

Now, don't get me wrong - I absolutely believe that people should be out there asking the questions, publically, to bring awareness to the idea that you don't need religion. If you want it, fine, keep it, but if you are struggling so hard to find one that fits you...well...maybe one doesn't? But I do think that their approach is one fraught with anger and frustration of an inability to control other people. My personal stance is this: You have your religion or you don't. If you keep it out of my yard, I honestly do not care. If it makes you happy, that makes me happy, and so forth.

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I don't think I implied anything about belief in my posts, nor any implication of security in belief. All I was wondering was why atheists sound so much like monotheists, and now that the connection has been made a sort of 'slam' to Pascal's Wager, I have my answer.

Many of us come from a monotheistic background. A lot of Atheists drew their "conclusions" from the fact that they hated believers, or that they were incapable of honestly following the tennets of the belief that they wanted to hold so badly. They are bitter, and angry, and think that they are smarter than you are. It's a sad fact, but the truth...that's their opinion. Not that it's much different from the opinions of most believers, mind you...but they're obnoxious enough to voice it.

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Actually it's something like Islam>Christianism>Buddhism>Hinduism. There's a lot of non-monotheistic religions out there, and you really shouldn't take the arguments Christians use and think they have anything to do with the way a pagan believes in stuff.
So ask us questions from a Pagan perspective ;) The publicity videos are made with the assumption that most of the watcher are Christian. If they were to voice it from a Pagan perspective, most of their watchers would say, "Oh, yeah, knock down 'witchcraft'...why don't you take on a real religion." It's a sad fact of being in a minority group, but you're going to be largely ignored when you're a member of a larger group (believers in religion).

satanic witch
14 Apr 2014, 12:27
why are some atheists so mean and hateful when it comes to religion some of you are like christians on steroids in the hate department. i know alot of you are fine with religion though.

ThorsSon
14 Apr 2014, 12:35
why are some atheists so mean and hateful when it comes to religion some of you are like christians on steroids in the hate department. i know alot of you are fine with religion though.

Part of it is simply because some people are assholes.

Part of it may be because they are angry about injustice sand atrocities that they see brought about by religion.

It is probably a different reason for each one.

Gleb
14 Apr 2014, 12:46
Part of it is simply because some people are assholes.

Part of it may be because they are angry about injustice sand atrocities that they see brought about by religion.

It is probably a different reason for each one.

Perhaps it is just because they think that the religious stuff is just strange and they act accordingly to the person who follows that religion. What do you think?

Roknrol
14 Apr 2014, 15:44
why are some atheists so mean and hateful when it comes to religion some of you are like christians on steroids in the hate department. i know alot of you are fine with religion though.

Because some people are assholes. You may as well ask why some Wiccans are rabid believers, or why some Christians preach love but show hate. Some people just think that their experiences trump everyone elses, and you're wrong if you disagree with them.

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Part of it is simply because some people are assholes.

Part of it may be because they are angry about injustice sand atrocities that they see brought about by religion.

It is probably a different reason for each one.
True - sometimes it's because they had a particularly bad event involving religion...sometimes they are floored by what some "believers" can get away with (like those folks in PA that have now killed two of their kids by not getting them insulin for their diabetes, opting instead to let God fix them). Some of it are the other atrocities that are committed in the name of religion - everything from starvation to slavery, torture to genocide. I think the brutal reality though (as we've both said above) is that some people are assholes. If the reason wasn't religion they'd find one that's just as ridiculous.

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Perhaps it is just because they think that the religious stuff is just strange and they act accordingly to the person who follows that religion. What do you think?

Most Atheists that I know don't find religion to be strange, per se. They think they understand why people believe (at least on the surface). But Atheists think that they're smart enough to see under that crunchy outer shell and see the gooey bits inside, and they wonder why other people can't see those gooey bits themselves :)

Ektor
14 Apr 2014, 19:51
Rok, you told me to ask something from a pagan perspective. So, being a pantheist in basis, I believe everything is a deity, every living day is a proof of its existance cause my highest deity is reality itself. I believe in other deities, but I have a basic tenet that is "I cannot prove this, I can only say those things because I have felt them, and in no way I claim this to be truth, it is but my experience".
There are also atheistic/agnostic religions like Buddhism.

When you say you feel no evidence of an all-powerful, all loving God is because there is not necessarily any of them, mostly deities could be explained as our own subjective needs made into archetypes we can experience because we induce those experiences in ourselves through rituals, and I'm fully aware of this, I just chose to believe them anyway.

The point of this is that "atheism" sometimes comes off to me as "anti-christianity"; it seems like it builds in complete opposition, and to me I can't really distinguish from the way Christian speech de-legitimizes other religions from the way this more popular Atheist movement does, and it irks me. It upsets me because it departs from a basic view of pluralism and feels like the Christian "No other religion is correct" adapted to "No religion is correct". It's a totalizing point of view, and I fear anything that claims to be ultimate truth.

I'm not saying this is personally what you believe, I'm saying those things because of the experience I've had with atheists, feel free to correct me.

Medusa
14 Apr 2014, 21:23
Being mean weeds out the idiots from me. It's a form of protection for the dumb.

Roknrol
15 Apr 2014, 09:17
Rok, you told me to ask something from a pagan perspective. So, being a pantheist in basis, I believe everything is a deity, every living day is a proof of its existance cause my highest deity is reality itself. I believe in other deities, but I have a basic tenet that is "I cannot prove this, I can only say those things because I have felt them, and in no way I claim this to be truth, it is but my experience".
There are also atheistic/agnostic religions like Buddhism.

When you say you feel no evidence of an all-powerful, all loving God is because there is not necessarily any of them, mostly deities could be explained as our own subjective needs made into archetypes we can experience because we induce those experiences in ourselves through rituals, and I'm fully aware of this, I just chose to believe them anyway.

The point of this is that "atheism" sometimes comes off to me as "anti-christianity"; it seems like it builds in complete opposition, and to me I can't really distinguish from the way Christian speech de-legitimizes other religions from the way this more popular Atheist movement does, and it irks me. It upsets me because it departs from a basic view of pluralism and feels like the Christian "No other religion is correct" adapted to "No religion is correct". It's a totalizing point of view, and I fear anything that claims to be ultimate truth.

I'm not saying this is personally what you believe, I'm saying those things because of the experience I've had with atheists, feel free to correct me.
Contrary to how many Atheists feel, Atheism does not automagically make a person intelligent or well-reasoned. Oftentime Atheists act like rabid Christians because they used to act like rabid Christians...their faith changed, not their approach.

Of course, when an Atheist is raised to believe that there is only one "real" religion, and they believe in that religion, when they decide to start questioning their beliefs, they are going to question those beliefs first. Just like most true believers, they're going to stop looking as soon as they think they've found what is "right"

Personally? I think that when people "feel deities", they are feeling what they want (maybe need?) to feel and calling it "God". Don't get me wrong - I get crazy vibes sometimes, weird things happen, sometimes coincidental and sometimes a little more difficult to believe is coincidental. But the outcome is exactly the same: I still have no proof, no evidence, and absolutely no indication that there is anything behind the scenes.

I can't answer for other Atheists any more than you can answer for other Shaman ;)

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Being mean weeds out the idiots from me. It's a form of protection for the dumb.

I've started doing this occasionally, but I definitely pick my time and place. Mostly I'm rude to salesmen - especially ones that are wasting my time.

eternal sovernity
18 Jun 2014, 04:57
Here is one. Does an atheist believe in cooking their own meals from scratch? There! I like the answer to that one.

Denarius
18 Jun 2014, 05:14
Does an atheist believe in cooking their own meals from scratch?

No more or less than the next guy. I like cooking my own meals, because I am very particular about my food and self improvement is a good plus.

Roknrol
18 Jun 2014, 05:59
No, I don't have to "believe in cooking meals from scratch" because I know such a thing exists. Belief is unnecessary.

dgirl1986
19 Jun 2014, 20:56
I havent read all of the content so I apologize if this has been covered, but...

I am an Atheist also and I am trying to find my spot spiritually and am currently going through testing different things. One thing I wonder is what do you think of Tarot?

Quetzal
19 Jun 2014, 21:08
what do you think of Tarot?

Cards created in Europe and used for card games such as tarocchi. Picked up their occult reputation much later.
I don't put much stock in the occult uses of tarot, but the major arcana do look pretty. I like the symbolism, but that's as far as it goes for me.

ThorsSon
19 Jun 2014, 21:17
I havent read all of the content so I apologize if this has been covered, but...

I am an Atheist also and I am trying to find my spot spiritually and am currently going through testing different things. One thing I wonder is what do you think of Tarot?

Quetzal gave a pretty good answer.

But I would like to expand: personally (and this doesn't apply to ALL atheists, see Buddhists (and yourself, clearly) for counter examples), I do not subscribe to any belief in anything supernatural.

God(s), magic, precognition, prayer, karma, luck, fairies, genies etc are all hokum, as far as I can tell.

Denarius
19 Jun 2014, 22:35
One thing I wonder is what do you think of Tarot?

Cool symbolism, but I don't put much stock in divination. Even if I did, I generally like to figure things out on my own and experience the future as it comes.

Roknrol
20 Jun 2014, 08:22
I havent read all of the content so I apologize if this has been covered, but...

I am an Atheist also and I am trying to find my spot spiritually and am currently going through testing different things. One thing I wonder is what do you think of Tarot?

Um...kay...I'm not sure we have the same definition of "Atheist" ;)

I used to "read" Tarot when I was still a Pagan. I was apparently fairly convincing too - had quite a reputation for awhile. But then I started doing research on how we learn and how we perceive our surroundings. How we interact without even realizing it. And how very very very VERY good our brain is at allowing us to lie to ourselves. I think between confirmation bias and "loose" interpretation I can't really say anything scientifically about it, other than it's an interesting parlor trick. Since I do not believe in...well...magick, or energy, or spirit or soul or...well...any of that, I do not believe that there is anything mystical about Tarot.

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Quetzal gave a pretty good answer.

But I would like to expand: personally (and this doesn't apply to ALL atheists, see Buddhists (and yourself, clearly) for counter examples), I do not subscribe to any belief in anything supernatural.

God(s), magic, precognition, prayer, karma, luck, fairies, genies etc are all hokum, as far as I can tell.

Holy crap, when did you turn to the Dark Side?

In addition to TS' list:
Elves, orcs, hobbits, talking horses, giant bunnies that deliver eggs on the anniversary of Christ's rebirth (oh don't fucking ask ME what makes sense about that), giant fat men delivering gifts by way of narrow chimneys and flying reindeer, and Russel's Teapot. I also don't believe in honest politicians and honestly my faith in humanity in general is pretty crappy.

dgirl1986
27 Jun 2014, 02:41
Um...kay...I'm not sure we have the same definition of "Atheist" ;)

Atheist = No belief in a god or gods :)

Roknrol
27 Jun 2014, 10:16
Atheist = No belief in a god or gods :)

Ahh, ok - that explains the difference then :) My particular...I guess brand of Atheism is as minimalist in the "belief" department as it's humanly possible to be. I.e, no proof, no pudding. As a convert once before, I already had a long series of questions that I needed to answer from a new perspective, and every piece of fiction (referring specifically to works of fiction like movies and books, I'm not trying to belittle religions here) that touches on religion or faith just basically gets lumped into the "fantasy" category. I guess for me, when I realized that "Truth" could never include anything spiritual/supernatural/subnatural/whatever while being honest to the definition of "Truth", I started questioning everything with that idea in mind.

I do still have some weird superstitious habits...knocking on wood and the like, but I think that's more out of habit or comfort than any real belief. I know I feel goofy when I do it (but then again, I've been prone to "crossing myself" for effect as well, so maybe it's just a touch of that)

dgirl1986
27 Jun 2014, 19:30
Ahh, ok - that explains the difference then :) My particular...I guess brand of Atheism is as minimalist in the "belief" department as it's humanly possible to be. I.e, no proof, no pudding. As a convert once before, I already had a long series of questions that I needed to answer from a new perspective, and every piece of fiction (referring specifically to works of fiction like movies and books, I'm not trying to belittle religions here) that touches on religion or faith just basically gets lumped into the "fantasy" category. I guess for me, when I realized that "Truth" could never include anything spiritual/supernatural/subnatural/whatever while being honest to the definition of "Truth", I started questioning everything with that idea in mind.

I do still have some weird superstitious habits...knocking on wood and the like, but I think that's more out of habit or comfort than any real belief. I know I feel goofy when I do it (but then again, I've been prone to "crossing myself" for effect as well, so maybe it's just a touch of that)

I tend to lean towards No proof = Explore it, investigate it, test it. Which is what I am currently doing and I'm blogging it. If science speaks on something then I take it pretty seriously. But science doesnt know everything...yet :)

ThorsSon
27 Jun 2014, 20:47
But science doesnt know everything...yet :)

Science doesn't know everything. Science will never know everything.

Everything that we know is only to a degree.
We continue to fine tune that degree.
But there is, and always will be, fine-tuning.

The first example that pops to mind is pi. Pi is an irrational number. There are mathematical proofs that demonstrate that pi IS, in fact, an irrational number (meaning that it cannot be represented by a fraction of whole numbers... meaning that the digits to the right-hand side of the decimal point go on forever, with no pattern or repitition)... tau, e, 2^-1, and an infinite number of other numbers all fall in this category... which means that, no matter how precisely we calculate them, there is, and always will be, things that we don't know.

Then, we can get weird with -1^-1...

There are, and always will be, an infinite number of things that we don't know... and that's OK.

There is no such thing as absolute/complete knowledge.

As a result, it is scientifically IMPOSSIBLE to prove a negative.

I (nor anyone) can prove that god(s) do(es) not exist.

That is why the burden of proof is on the claimant, not the skeptic.

I could claim that there is an invisible pink unicorn in my garage. It would not be your burden to prove me wrong, it would be my burden to prove my claim.

On the other hand, if we look at the evidence for god(s), it keeps diminishing.

Once upon a time, god(s) explained volcanoes and earthquakes... now plate tectonics does nicely.
Once upon a time, god(s) explained lightning... now meteorology and static electricity do nicely.
Once upon a time, god(s) explained the origin of the universe... now astronomy does nicely.
Once upon a time, god(s) explained the origin of homo-sapiens... now evolutionary biology does nicely.
etc...

The things that "god(s)" do(es) keep(s) getting explained away by science... at what point do we throw up our hands and say, "I give up! there is/are no god(s)."?

I have passed that point... the evidence is trending in a specific direction... away from god(s).

Derivative Calculus would state, "The limit of the possibility of god(s), as evidence approaches infinity, is 0 (zero)."

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where I said "^-1", I meant "^0.5"

what I meant was square root.

the square root of 2 is irrational.

the square root of -1 is FREAKING WEIRD!!!!

sadly there is no easy way to type to square root symbol, and thus, I was forced to publicize my failure at converting roots to exponents.

MaskedOne
27 Jun 2014, 20:50
the square root of -1 is FREAKING WEIRD!!!!


Imaginaries always amused me for some reason.

ThorsSon
27 Jun 2014, 21:06
Imaginaries always amused me for some reason.

because they are fascinating... I have thought that the name for the square root of negative numbers was quite appropriate... "Imaginary"... perhaps i (the square root of -1) is god.

-----------

kidding... please do not take this post to indicate that I believe in a god

Bjorn
28 Jun 2014, 05:06
I was wondering if anyone would mind if I started chiming in on some of these questions. I identify as an agnostic which is the only reason I ask.

Roknrol
28 Jun 2014, 07:44
Doesn't bother me in the slightest :)

Bjorn
28 Jun 2014, 08:57
I shall preface this by clarifying that I currently identify most accurately as an agnostic.


I havent read all of the content so I apologize if this has been covered, but...

I am an Atheist also and I am trying to find my spot spiritually and am currently going through testing different things. One thing I wonder is what do you think of Tarot?

Since I do not believe in anything more than the possibility of the supernatural and do not believe in gods, fairies, spirits, ghosts, or anything else unexplained and seemingly far-fetched, I do not use tarot as a scrying tool. Instead, I find it to be a powerful social and emotional tool. I do not ask questions for myself, like I said, I don't believe, but when my friends ask me to throw cards for them, I oblige. After all, what they're really asking for is advice so I give them advice. Sure, it's tarot advice but chances are they they've already consulted in me about their problems so it's easy as hell to 'read' the cards.

After all, since tarot so much relies on having a relationship with the deck and whatnot, it is basically saying that it's all up for personal interpretation. It's just proverbs with pictures, and everyone can get use out of proverbs.

This all sounds like I'm manipulating my friends. I hope you understand.

midgnostic
29 Jun 2014, 04:06
But science doesnt know everything...yet :)

Investigations of physical laws often raise more questions than they answer.

The interference pattern produced when a coherent light source is shone through parallel slits onto a background shows us that light travels as waves. However, when photons are induced to pass through individually their discrete impacts are probabilistic. Photons as particles therefore demonstrate an awareness of their function as wave components without having any intrinsic qualities to which this behaviour can be attributed. The same phenomenon has also been observed in similar experiments involving electrons, atoms and some molecules.

I believe that dead matter exists in symbiosis with living matter and that the motion of dead matter orbiting the Sun is governed by the same intangible laws which determine events on Earth. Although an advanced understanding of Astrology can give us clues, any science is limited by the limitations of man.

Amadi
29 Jun 2014, 12:09
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?

B. de Corbin
29 Jun 2014, 12:26
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?

My faith led me to it.

Sounds sarcastic, but my "faith" requires exploration, experimentation, and removal of self delusion.

Bjorn
29 Jun 2014, 12:47
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?


My faith led me to it.

Sounds sarcastic, but my "faith" requires exploration, experimentation, and removal of self delusion.

This. Soooooooooo much this. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Medusa
29 Jun 2014, 17:22
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?

It was a false faith for me. I was raised Catholic. But found I actually never believed in a deity. Even as a young Catholic girl doing her prayers. It never connected with me. At all. And I had to find my own level.

ThorsSon
29 Jun 2014, 18:34
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?

fascination with science. The more I learned about science, the smaller and smaller the box that enclosed "god" got, and I finally had to admit to myself that there is no justifiable reason to believe in the supernatural.

Quetzal
29 Jun 2014, 18:37
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?

I wasn't raised under a religion, but I did try the opposite, turning toward faith. I'm pretty sure (no offense, personal opinion here) that religious experiences are just delusions, but they're delusions I'd like to have. I genuinely think my life would be better and I'd be happier if I had god/s.

So I pretty much tried to force my mind open to faith. Unfortunately, faith isn't really something you can force. So I gave up on that eventually. I'm just not capable of believing things on faith alone, I need some modicum of evidence.

Anyway, I've come a ways since then in terms of personal acceptance, and beyond just religious views too. S'all good.

dgirl1986
29 Jun 2014, 20:02
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?

Because all experiences, or lack there of, pointed towards there being no gods

Roknrol
29 Jun 2014, 20:06
I gotst one:

If you previously followed a faith, why did you turn towards Atheism?

Science has results.

ThorsSon
29 Jun 2014, 20:57
Holy crap, when did you turn to the Dark Side?

somewhere between 5-7 years ago... not sure when the switch flipped, exactly.

I just found myself realizing that I no longer believed in god(s)... but I don't remember a single ah-ha moment.

As you said, science has results... god(s) do(es)n't

Bjorn
07 Jul 2014, 15:47
Quick poll of the group: how many atheists believe in the concept of the soul? It just struck me today that we don't have one. It was a harder blow than I'd anticipated and so I was wondering if this is just one of the steps towards truth, so to speak.

So, guys?

Medusa
07 Jul 2014, 15:53
I have no idea. Soul is of emotion. Emotion is of chemicals. The ladder down on that one leads to a biological answer I'd rather not really care about.

I dunno.

Quetzal
07 Jul 2014, 15:57
Quick poll of the group: how many atheists believe in the concept of the soul? It just struck me today that we don't have one. It was a harder blow than I'd anticipated and so I was wondering if this is just one of the steps towards truth, so to speak.

So, guys?

Hey miss agnostic, I have absolutely no idea :p I err on the side of definitely maybe.

Denarius
07 Jul 2014, 15:59
Quick poll of the group: how many atheists believe in the concept of the soul? It just struck me today that we don't have one. It was a harder blow than I'd anticipated and so I was wondering if this is just one of the steps towards truth, so to speak.

So, guys?

Our legacy is the only part of us that lives on when we die. Of that, I am pretty damn sure. So, invest in cryogenics and life extension folks! At any rate, even if we did have a "soul" I don't think that would be "us." Who we are depends on our brain, something goes kaput in yer noggin then you aren't you anymore. If we had souls that were us, then that shouldn't happen.

Aside from that, people have "essence" or rather that is to say people feel like themselves. I can look at something my mom wrote and it just feels like her, but that is most likely just a quirk of how our brains work. We do most of our thinking subconsciously after all.

Medusa
07 Jul 2014, 16:01
When we aren't 'aware' of ourselves, like when we sleep, are we soulless?

B. de Corbin
07 Jul 2014, 16:02
Quick poll of the group: how many atheists believe in the concept of the soul? It just struck me today that we don't have one. It was a harder blow than I'd anticipated and so I was wondering if this is just one of the steps towards truth, so to speak.

So, guys?

In Alchemy, there is a thing called a "soul." It's created by the emotional feelings one has for another, or for a thing, and isn't much like the generally accepted definition of the soul.

So - yes and no.

Bjorn
07 Jul 2014, 16:32
When we aren't 'aware' of ourselves, like when we sleep, are we soulless?

Good question.

I've been contemplating the following:

Soul vs Consciousness

Brain = Consciousness? ------> (is that why I don't feel like bugs and plants are 'sentient,' like animals and humans?)

Soul is supernatural. There's no evidence for it. I ain't got one. OUCH.

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Hey miss agnostic, I have absolutely no idea :p I err on the side of definitely maybe.

But what do you think?

Quetzal
07 Jul 2014, 16:38
But what do you think?

If I had to hazard a guess at something it's not possible to know for sure? Then probably not. The brain is probably the source of everything you are. The concept of a soul is likely just something thought up because we don't want to think that after we die, everything we ever were or would have been ceases to exist.

Of the two options, soul or no soul, no soul is the most likely.

ThorsSon
07 Jul 2014, 17:43
Quick poll of the group: how many atheists believe in the concept of the soul? It just struck me today that we don't have one. It was a harder blow than I'd anticipated and so I was wondering if this is just one of the steps towards truth, so to speak.

So, guys?

I have no belief in a soul.

Bjorn
07 Jul 2014, 18:20
If I had to hazard a guess at something it's not possible to know for sure? Then probably not. The brain is probably the source of everything you are. The concept of a soul is likely just something thought up because we don't want to think that after we die, everything we ever were or would have been ceases to exist.

Of the two options, soul or no soul, no soul is the most likely.

Wasn't so hard, was it? XD

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I have no belief in a soul.

Yeah, I just realized today it didn't make sense. Talk about old habits dying hard, I didn't even notice until I actually said it. "Wait, there's no such thing as a soul."

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In Alchemy, there is a thing called a "soul." It's created by the emotional feelings one has for another, or for a thing, and isn't much like the generally accepted definition of the soul.

So - yes and no.

How are yes and no different in this instance?

Roknrol
08 Jul 2014, 11:00
Quick poll of the group: how many atheists believe in the concept of the soul? It just struck me today that we don't have one. It was a harder blow than I'd anticipated and so I was wondering if this is just one of the steps towards truth, so to speak.

So, guys?
Well, take a deep breath.

First, nothing has changed. You are the same person you were a week ago (just with a week's experience tacked on), so no reason to panic.

Does it bother you that there aren't angels? Or that Hell doesn't really exist? So no need to sweat other made up words :p

What we consider to be a "soul" is...well...intelligence and consciousness. That hasn't changed at all - there are still good and bad people (good and bad souls).

But maybe I do understand what you mean.

For me, the "soul" crisis was about the afterlife though, not about the soul (although for me they went hand in hand). It was the revelation that between now and the next 50 years or so I won't exist anymore.

Then I realized that if I wasn't going to exist anymore, I probably wouldn't be in a position to have an opinion about it anyway.

So I thought about it - quite a bit - and I realized that if it was going to get done by me, it would have to get done NOW, because tomorrow is not a guarantee. "It" being...well...whatever. There will not be another life for me to be a rock star or an actor - if it's going to happen, it has to happen in this one.

Does it bother me? I guess, sometimes, but I chalk that up to the brainwashing I underwent for the first 25 years of my life.

I think this is another one of those many "lies to make you feel better about life" things - like "you suffer now but you'll be rewarded in the afterlife" deals. And as an Atheist I can see how much of a disservice those lies are to humanity :( There is a lot of wasted energy and effort on things that don't matter, because we're told that the things that DO matter, don't.

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Forgot to mention: My entire life the whole "rewarded in the afterlife" thing always reminded me of those shady life insurance salesmen - sure, of course, the check's in the mail. I'll tell you what: You *show* me what I stand to gain, then I'll decide if it's worth the effort. If I don't get to see the prize first, I've learned, that it probably doesn't exist anyway - and that almost pissed me off more because so many other people have been sucked into that lie and are effectively wasting their potential because they trusted someone that was supposed to care about them.

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When we aren't 'aware' of ourselves, like when we sleep, are we soulless?

I know that Dream Rok has done some pretty shitty things that Real Rok probably wouldn't do.

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Other thoughts:

Since converting and re-addressing most of these questions over the last few years, I have a whole newfound respect for the written language (not that this was lacking before, but a renewal is good anyway ;) ).

Think about, say, movies or TV shows from the 1970's. Have they held up well? How about music? What's the OLDEST song you can think of? Meanwhile, we are almost able to figure out what our predecessors (via cave paintings) experienced. We can really understand what someone 6000 years ago experienced. And that person hasn't existed for 6000 years.

THAT is some powerful stuff, AFAIC. I have gained a new interest in antique items because someone 200 years ago made it. With their hands, their blood, their sweat, and often their tears. It wasn't some machine produced piece of stamped out metal, but something hand carved or hand written. There was a brain involved. A "soul". And that is gone now...but their imprint is still around.

It has motivated me to start writing again. To start investing in the arts. To stop wasting my time with stupid projects that I'm never going to finish. To indulge in those things that I was told were a waste of my time when I was younger. Why? Because it is an experience I may never have another opportunity to get. Ever. And that's a long motherfucking time.

If I'm 80 years old in a home I can accept that. But I do not want to be incapable doing the things that I wanted to do. I would rather have done them, and enjoy reflecting on that, than lamenting my caution and my hesitation. I don't want to hear stories about those that did anymore. I want to do.

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Man, I'm not going to be able to let this go.

I will admit that it is a little disappointing to know that I can't explain or describe that feeling to a lot of people. Their answer is simply, "Well, then believe in God!"...but you're aware, that doesn't solve the problem. Believing in the invisible unicorn in my kitchen doesn't make it exist.

dgirl1986
10 Jul 2014, 19:08
Quick poll of the group: how many atheists believe in the concept of the soul? It just struck me today that we don't have one. It was a harder blow than I'd anticipated and so I was wondering if this is just one of the steps towards truth, so to speak.

So, guys?

I am unsure when it comes to the concept of the soul. People use it to describe personality and traits but personality is meant to come from your frontal lobe...so who knows.