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An Atheist asks Atheists a Question.

Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by Lone Wolf8634, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

    Dec 23, 2007
    Under the bus
    Since we're all asking questions:cool:.

    My questions are a bit less polarizing than the previous offerings.

    It seems, in many of the threads I read, that Atheists participate in, that someone invariably someone becomes frustrated and writes something close to this:

    "Since you don't believe as I do, why do you come here and poke me in my belief with a sharp stick?"

    Ok, so I took a bit of liberty with the paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

    So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...

    Next question...

    I'm curious:

    Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?


    What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?

    I've seen these questions posed in various threads and I think it would be helpful for future discussions to have a place where the answers are gathered.

    Ok, my answers:

    1. I lurk here and read a lot. I used to think I was able to defend my (lack of) belief quite admirably, till I tried it a few times here. Seems that there are folks here (on both sides) that have done way more research, are far more eloquent and educated than I. In other words, I got my rear end handed to me. So I come here and read and learn from both sides. So far, its only solidified my (lack of) belief.

    2. My disbelief started at a young age. I was sent to Sunday school as a little kid, and even as young as I was, I found I felt like an imposter. I could never accept the entire concept of Jesus, God and the bible. I'd look around at my friends and wonder if they knew I was "faking" it. I kept my mouth shut for years, mostly because my closest friends belonged to a very devout family and I believed if I actually told anyone what I was thinking I would no longer be allowed to hang out with them. So there was no bad experience, just a complete inability to take any of it seriously. When I got older I began to understand what an Atheist is and realized "thats me!" And nothing since has convinced me otherwise.

    3. I really can't think of anything that would cause me to become a believer at this point in my life. I suppose a miracle that I see with my own eyes may do it, but it would have to be something that absolutely defied explanation and be witnessed by others(so I don't doubt my own sanity).

    I really expect to come to the end of my life with pretty much the same attitude as I have now.

  2. "I really expect to come to the end of my life with pretty much the same attitude as I have now."


  3. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

    Dec 23, 2007
    Under the bus

  4. Norske

    Norske Millennium Member

    Mar 24, 1999
    My experience was much the same.

    Force fed the variety of Christianity that had been force fed to my parents, who had been force fed it by their parents, and so on and so on back to whichever Christian missionary originally convinced my ancestors to give up their belief in Odin and the other Ashatru Gods and adopt Christianity.

    And so forth back to the invention of "religion" itself 10,000-odd years ago.

    I went through the whole routine; including "confirmation".

    But I still had questions.

    Why were there so many differing religions?

    Why were there so many differing schisms within each of the differing religions?

    Why did all the varying schisms, and differing religions, all have such differing ideas about what "God" was and what "God" wants from us?

    The only (lame) answers I got amounted to "you must accept these things on faith" I concluded that no one had the answers and it was time to do my own thinking on the subjects.

    After a lifetimes' worth of reading on subjects like history, geology, genetics, politics, archeology, and the like, I reached my own conclusions, to whit:

    (1) Mankind invented "religion" to be what we now think of as "government" at the time mankind moved from being hunter-gatherers to agriculture.

    (2) Religion was government and government was religion for the next over-10K years.

    (3) Societies need an idea to unify around. The unifying idea was "God".

    (4) New religions, and schisms within religions, are essentially revolutions on the part of those on the "outside" of the accepted religion/government to supplant those in authority at the time. (Which explains the entire story of Jesus, by the way.)

    (5) This is why the multiplicity of schisms, religions, and Gods. New schisms and new religions seek to gain new followers at the expense of the older, existing religions, and thereby gather to themselves the authority the older religions enjoy.

    (6) In the modern era, the concepts of "government" and "religion" have split into two separate concepts. Secular government (two versions; either with or without respect for the liberties of individuals) with "religion" relegated to mere advisory or ceremonial functions without the authority they once enjoyed over the society.

    (7) One Theocratic/Governmental system still insists that a single religious/theocratic governmental system still is the one ordained "by God". Their God; "Allah". And that it is their religious duty to bring all of mankind into submission to the will of Allah. By violent means, if necessary.

    (8) In secular systems with respect for individual liberties such as that of the USA based on the CothUS and BoR, the only remaining purpose of any "religion" is merely to continue to exist to provide a relatively easy living for the clergymen within each and every religion. They no longer have any sort of governmental authority. They are merely parasites upon the "faithful" whose tithes support them and their families.

    (9) There are secular political systems that do not respect the liberties of individuals. Two, very similar, systems are Nazi and Communist. They simply attempt to replace the concept a unifying "God" with an equally nebulous, equally false, unifying concept like "Aryan Superiority" or "Dictatorship of the Proletariate". But in truth, they are just as much philosophical dead ends as Theocratic Governmental systems are.

    Keeping these in mind, I find just about everything I read makes sense for the first time. Including reading the Bible!

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  5. Japle

    Japle John, Viera, Fl

    Feb 26, 2000
    Viera, Florida
    Nothing unusual with me, either. I was raised by religious parents and a fanatically religious grandmother. I took it for granted, as kids usually do, that they knew what they were talking about.

    Question 2 first:
    When I was eight years old, I found out my Sunday School teachers were incapable of answering the most basic questions about the Bible. My parents didn’t know the answers, either. That’s when I knew something was seriously wrong. It took a few years, but by Jr High, I was a confirmed Atheist. The more I’ve studied religion (and I have an extensive library on religion and mythology – not that there’s any real difference) and science, the less I can understand why anyone would actually buy into any religion. It’s just absurd. It requires an amount of willful ignorance and self-deception I just can’t fathom.

    Question 1:
    I know perfectly well I won’t dissuade anyone from continuing to follow their religious beliefs. My goal is to point out the ridiculous reasoning and lack of critical thinking often expressed by believers. I’m a big believer in the Scientific Method. It works. It leads to new knowledge. It leads to facts. It leads to the truth.

    Blind faith leads nowhere. It’s a dead end. A waste of time, money and energy.

    Question 3:
    What would make me believe? Read the end of Carl Sagan’s book “Contact”. Something like that, which would be simple for a being capable of creating this universe, would do it. Of course, in the book there was no hint that the creator was the god of the Old Testament. There’s nothing that would make me believe in him, since he’s so obviously a human construct.
  6. Bearlaker


    Oct 21, 2005
    Monroe, Utah
    I was raised a Mormon, for a while I was a born again Christian. I keep running into the faith vs reason deal.
    I can understand someone's belief, but just because they believe it, don't make it so.
    I try and treat others the same way I want to be treated.
  7. Norske

    Norske Millennium Member

    Mar 24, 1999
    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

    Never said Jesus was not a smart Rabbi.

    I just do not think he was of divine origins.

  8. Lack of critical thinking???


    Look at YOUR hand.

    Now open and close it.

    Now tell me there is no intelligent design.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  9. Bearlaker


    Oct 21, 2005
    Monroe, Utah
    Yeah man!
  10. rgregoryb

    rgregoryb Amerikaner

    Oct 20, 2004
    Republic of Alabama
    I discovered that it is the philosophy of Jesus that attracts me, the whole divine thing is problematic.
    Raised Christian, Seminary trained...pastor for a while...began thinking through the whole "faith" thing ..too many questions left unanswered.
  11. Altaris


    Feb 16, 2004
    Round Rock, TX
    Here is a previous thread that a bunch of people answered on "what made you turn away from god/religion?". My answer is in there as well.

    As far as proof to make me believe, all I require is evidence. I see religious people make all kinds of claims about things, but have never seen anyone of any religion present one bit of verifiable evidence to back up those claims. Give me one thing, then I will at least consider that we might be on track to something. Then as more and more evidence is found the more I will say, 'wow, this really is real.' But to start with, at least give me 1 piece.
  12. Altaris


    Feb 16, 2004
    Round Rock, TX

    There is no intelligent design.
  13. There is no intelligent design. For example, the respiratory and digestive systems sharing the trachea allowing thousands of choking deaths, primarily in children. Of course, death is the wages of sin, so I suppose all those kids needed killin' -- all part of God's master plan.

    Yes, lack of critical thinking. Your argument from incredulity can be restated as:

    I, Colubrid, cannot fathom how the hand could have developed through natural processes. Therefore it must have been the Christian God.

  14. Starting with 2: Nothing dramatic, or even particularly interesting. I just outgrew it recognizing it for what it was (or wasn't). Much more detail here.

    Continuing with 1: As posted here

    1 in 8 high school biology teachers has admitted to illegally advancing Creationism in the classroom -- that's a religious issue.

    2 of my children have autoimmune diseases where stem cell research could hold promise, but it is highly resisted on religious grounds -- that's a religious issue.

    I have friends that are gay and hope for the same rights as straight couples, but that is an "abomination" to many Christians -- that's a religious issue.

    Perhaps science discussions here will convince somebody to be a little more open to what science can explain to us.

    On occasion I get a PM from a lurker thanking me for my participation.

    These are some of the reasons that I'm here.

    Question 3: like Altaris, verifiable evidence would be a good start, but an omnipotent god would be more creative and know what it would take better than I, so I'll defer to God.

  15. G23Gen4TX


    Nov 9, 2010
    I was born and grew up in Israel. I never found any reason in Religion. It always looked stupid to me even as a child. I did my Bar-Mitzvah and that was about as religious as I got.

    The older I get, the dumber religion is to me.
  16. Syclone538


    Jan 8, 2006
    1. I honestly don't know. It is interesting to me, but I don't know why. I don't think anything is ever going to be accomplished here in GTRI.

    2. By default. I've never seen, or even heard of, a good reason to believe in a deity, so I lack belief. I was raised in a religious environment, and believed without question as a child. I questioned religion from maybe 12-14 years old, and by 15 or 16 I was atheist. I've never told a member of my family and can't imagine doing so anytime soon.

    3. I don't know the answer here either. Anything that could convince me would also make me question if I was hallucinating.
  17. AG and Altaris. I already know your pendulum is so far off there is no critical thinking. My question was for Japle.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  18. Because you don't know how it will be at the end of your life.
  19. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

    Dec 23, 2007
    Under the bus
    No I dont. But I didnt state that I would, only that I fully expect to.

    At this late date I cannot realistically see anything happening that would change my mind.
  20. So your previous post was an argument from incredulity, and now we can add to that the ad hominem.

    You think that Japle will find your argument from incredulity more compelling than Altaris and I?... um... okay.

    So, care to answer what is Intelligent about the trachea being share by both breathing and eating/drinking? Choking deaths is just a Design feature?

    Or perhaps why our optic nerve passes through the retina causing a blind spot and forcing our brain to hallucinate a portion of our field of view to mask the blind spot while octopus do not have this Design feature.

    Or why are many animals able to synthesize their own vitamin C, but in humans a deficiency leads to scurvy. Is this just another punishment for Eve's transgression?

    Or perhaps the Intelligence behind the rabbit's digestive system requiring rabbits to eat their food, pass the smelly mucousy cecotropes, then eat those in order to get the nutrients that they need.

    The list of Unintelligent Design goes on and on, you're probably better off just sticking with the ad hom and your argument from incredulity.