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As an atheist my beliefs obviously do not include a belief in God or creationism. In fact, I think creationism is a fairly twisted thing to believe in. However, let me make this clear... I get it. I get why so many want to believe in God or a higher being. I get that people want to feel a deeper purpose and that when horrible things happen, they desperately want to seek comfort in their faith and believe that somehow it's all part of some big plan. However,when a person believes that their 3 year old being killed by a drunk driver is a test or part of a grand plan designed by God and they somehow find comfort in that....I'm sorry, that's disturbing to me. Sometimes people will say things like, "God must have needed another angel up there..." when faced with a tragic death. Really? Really? I find it scary the things people will force themselves to believe so they don't step outside the chains of their religious belief. With religion, does "sense" matter at all or is it all about blind faith and just believing what makes you feel better? I get that in a world filled with unbearable pain and suffering that believing that a supernatural force has got everything under control can ease a person's mind. I get that believing your loved ones are living on in a beautiful, eternal place of pure comfort and peace is something you would want to believe. I get it....and yet I don't.

More after the heathen Cheeto...

Have the fundamentalists ever really thought about what it is they believe in? I mean on a very basic level? They believe that a long, long time ago (or maybe just a few thousand years ago if you believe Jesus snuggled baby dinosaurs) God just up and decided to create everything in existence including the creation of human beings simply to test them and their worthiness. Eve (of course it was Eve) failed and BOOM! Original Sin. These lucky new humans could have lived and flourished in a Utopian garden forever for....for some reason I suppose. ??? God's entertainment? Anyway, Eve (of course!) screwed it ALL up by eating that darn apple and mankind was doomed into suffering unless they worshiped and followed their creator. (clever caveat!) Should a human deviate then they will suffer and eventually burn in eternal hell. So, the entire purpose of creating these beings (us!) was so they (we!) would worship him? Sounds a bit narcissistic, huh? The sole purpose of our existence is to please, worship and follow this almighty, magical being who created all of mankind from two test subjects. (by the way, that means we're literally all related) That sounds totally awesome and reasonable and not at all twisted or disturbing. If you worship and follow him the right way, you will be rewarded with glorious eternal life....if you don't, you'll suffer for all of eternity in hell. Yikes.

This same God who out of boredom or curiosity (wait, he's all knowing and all is predetermined, so how could he be curious, he already knows every single thing that will happen) created a whole new world and whole new "beings" to inhabit it also allows unimaginable and continual suffering because.....hmmmm? Oh, yes, it's all a test. A test of faith. Or maybe it's becasue of gay marriage or because we don't pray in public schools. It's something like that. Yeah, that's not twisted AT ALL. I don't all sounds like pretty much the most disturbing thing to believe in, yet...millions and millions do. This "God" they worship also commanded the suffering and deaths of countless people in the bible they like to thump and quite often out of pure rage or jealousy. Sounds like a great guy!

My husband comes from a pretty religious family, though he does not attend church or even really talk about it. When we first got together he came to realize my beliefs and we decided that religion just wasn't something we could or should discuss. A few times in the beginning it did come up and we had some very emotionally-charged arguments/discussions. When he struggled to explain how or why he could believe this, this and that (insert typical supernatural/baffling things Christians believe without question) he finally said in frustration, "I know it doesn't make sense...I know that! I just have to believe we are here for a reason!" I told him that if he believed in creationism and everything else in the bible...then he was basically believing in a God who created humans who had to worship HIM and follow his "rules"...and if they didn't, they would be made to suffer greatly. I asked if that sounds like the kind of "God" you would actually want to believe in. I asked if he believed the "reason" we are here is to worship and please God, the very being that supposedly created us. Didn't that seem strange and shallow....and disturbing? He had never thought of it like that before and the discussion ended abruptly. We've never discussed religion again.

Like I stressed earlier in the diary, I get why people would want to believe. What I don't get (or condone more precisely) is how organized religion has brought about the most horrific and senseless hatred, wars and division in history. It's interesting; if a person doesn't believe what I do (that there is no "god" and that the world evolved over billions of years and that just living your life to be a good human being to other beings and the world around us because it's simply the right thing to do) I in turn don't believe that they are doomed to suffer unimaginably for it. However, if I do not subscribe to their beliefs....then I will in fact be damned to burn in hell. Who's the twisted one? Who's the one with issues?

I am aware that there are many positive aspects to religion and in its practice. What too many religious people are not aware of, however, is that there are many positive aspects to atheists. We are seen as either pitifully ignorant or persistently evil. How can we NOT believe in God? I say, "How CAN you? WHY do you?" The positive aspects of, for example, Christianity, are not exclusive to Christianity. The morality I embrace does not come from doctrine, it comes from common sense and a healthy respect and concern for others. Being a good person has nothing to do with being religious. Just as it's true that atheists are perfectly capable of being good people (and I'll bet overwhelming they are) I understand that not every religious person is a brainwashed bigot.

There are people in my family who are religious, though none of them are loud-mouthed fundies by any stretch. When my mom sends me a text message that says something like, "I knew God would see you through that" in reference to one of life's typical struggles I don't roll my eyes. My mom is literally one of the best people I've ever known in my life and I don't mean that in the the "she's my mom" kind of way...I mean that in the literal way. She is amazing actually, but her religious beliefs do not define her, just as my lack of religious belief does not define me. She doesn't use her religious beliefs to excuse hateful thoughts or actions (she doesn't have them anyway to be honest). She has her beliefs and although they are not mine and I have serious issues with them, I love my mom and accept her completely. If she knew that I was an atheist I know she would love me exactly the same. If only most religious people would be as open-minded.

My dad died of kidney cancer three years ago on his 62nd Birthday and my entire family believes he's in "heaven" and that they'll all get to hang out again when they pass through those pearly gates. He wasn't a religious man and he did not believe in all of the supernatural "nonsense" that everyone around him did. One of our last conversations was about religion and it was literally our first and last conversation on the topic. He wanted to make sure that his Celebration of Life (he did not want a funeral) was about his life and most importantly about his friends and family....and about memories, NOT about religion. I told him I'd do my my best to make it something he would have wanted. In one of our last conversations he said to me, "You've never pretended that I'm going to heaven and that everything will be sounds strange, but I appreciate that." I think he knew I was an atheist, though I'd never told him or anyone in my family that. I said, "I'd like to be wrong, I'd love to think of you in a perfect place surrounded by everyone you've lost...but I honestly don't believe that. What matters is that you will always be in my heart and everything you've ever taught me and everything you've ever done for me has shaped me into the person I am and into the parent that I now am...and that means you will live forever."

I wish that more people could simply believe in people. I wish that the divisiveness of religion did not exist. I wish that if a person did believe in a higher power it didn't mean that they judged and condemned those who do not (and yes, I know some religious people are not that way. Some.) I wish people didn't use their religion to discriminate against others and to excuse their own wickedness. I wish politicians would have the sense not to mix religion and politics, particularly when they use it to harm others. I wish that more people believed in doing the right thing; for ourselves, our loved ones, our fellow human beings, our fellow creatures and our shared planet simply because it's the best thing for all of us, not some of us.

Originally posted to jellin76 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:10 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Progressive Atheists.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (31+ / 0-)

    To be blunt, if you do not suffer from seriously diminished mental capacity or the personality disorder that is right wing extremism and still vote Republican...I'd double check on the two previously mentioned conditions.

    by jellin76 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:10:38 PM PST

  •  There are many ways of conceptualizing a deity (5+ / 0-)

    One of the most annoying of those ways is as some dude with an agenda. I really don't have any patience for that. Any being with a chip on his/her/its shoulder, or a need for constant validation by way of worship, really isn't all that supreme.

    Also (I said it here earlier but I'll repeat it because it's pertinent): any deity that has to change its own rules part of the way through the game, as Mr. Ham suggested in yesterday's debate, is hardly worthy of the title. And, looked at another way, saying that your god had to go and revise the game plan part of the way through is kind of an insult to that god, isn't it? Kind of diminishes the "all-knowing" part at least. And the "inerrant" part as well.

    I believe there has been discussion on the part of at some Talmudic scholars about the possibility that the Creation we exist in was not God's first attempt. However, they at least conclude that he ditched everything and started over from scratch--unwound the whole thing and made it "unhappen"-- rather than insisting that His subjects be punished for His own lack of foresight.

    •  Do you believe in something (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, rduran, pvasileff

      for which there is no evidence of its existence?

      I understand the difference between deism and theism.  In my humble opinion, they are both total nonsense.

      •  You asked, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Do you believe in something for which there is no evidence of its existence?

        But your desire to explain the unknown must be contrasted against your (or sciences) ability to first explain what is known.

        Can you explain where matter came from?

        We have plenty of it, where did it come from?

        If you cannot explain where matter came from, are you any more certain of that which, in your opinion, does not exist?

        In other words, if you cannot prove what we all know exists (matter), then how do you come off knowing about things that might exist in a form science cannot (yet) measure?

        As to a belief in something for which there is no evidence - you are reaching too high up.

        The first breathe of life came from someplace, can you explain it with science?

        God need not be an old person sitting in a chair beyond the solar system to be real.

        Is it possible that God is merely that which science can never explain?

        Why must believing in God be anything more than an explanation for believing in things that science will never be able to explain?

        Until you can tell us where matter came from, please do not express insults to people who believe in things that science will never be able to explain.

        •  god is (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quill, rduran, koseighty, DJ Rix

          a superstitious explanation for that which science has yet to offer an explanation.

          It has been so since humans first tried to explain the lights in the sky by creating beliefs instead of telescopes.

          •  And when you or any non-beliver says, (0+ / 0-)

            "Thank God," and not, "Thank Galileo,"  then asks yourself why.

            •  Do you really think (0+ / 0-)

              that expressing a colloquialism "Thank God" really means that someone is "thanking" God?  If so it suggests that those doing so believe in a meddlesome, quirky, malevolent diety who does play dice with the universe.

              Similarly, when you sneeze and your neighbor says "Bless you" do you really think they are summoning up a deity to protect you from the devil who might sneak into your mouth when you have your mouth open and your eyes closed during a sneeze. (They don't say bless you when you cough.)

              Both are simply expressions handed down in our culture for the past several hundred years, and have no more meaning than the "devils ears" or rabbit ears or whatever that kids hold up behind on another during class photos. ( The original gesture related to donkey's ears, and the individual being cuckholded).  Kids don't know that, but they know it is mischevious to do it.

              As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

              by BPARTR on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:38:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Rubbish. (0+ / 0-)

                People are superstitious about many things.

                I recall a recent beer commercial, "It's only weird, if it doesn't work."

                I will bet you anything you'd like that there are countless atheists who also have good luck charms, lucky shirts, never step on sidewalks cracks, etc..

                So despite what you might believe, their are countless people who believe in superstition, and yet, inexplicably, suggest that they do not believe in God.

                Being superstitious at all while at the same time disbelieving in God is simply hypocritical.

        •  There's plenty of things that science can't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          explain.  Whenever a system in the past irrevocably loses information to entropy, we'll be unable to reconstruct it by any method.  At best, we can only bound a space of states it may have taken.  For example, if our last universal common ancestors remains have decayed to dust, we'd never even know it.  However, based on what we know today we can surmise that such an ancestor existed and make many reasonable statements about her physiology.

    •  I misspoke a bit above (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, quill, koseighty, BPARTR

      The fact is that among the more reasonable interpretations of the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden is that the Biblical God DID make his subjects suffer because of his own lack of foresight into their natures. Or that he intended all along for them to fail the test. Which is simply cruel.

      •  So all of the joy and creative capacity we have... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and have expressed throughout the centuries, as a species, is the product of failure?  Maybe God saw that the possibility of success outweighed the (metaphorical) expulsion from Eden.  What you deem cruel is no more cruel than a parent letting a child fall down when it's learning to walk.

        "Life is the crummiest book I ever read - there isn't a hook, just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock, and characters an amateur would never dream up." - Bad Religion

        by TheOrchid on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:14:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Kids fall down when learning to walk (0+ / 0-)

          Then they pick themselves up, after experiencing discomfort, and try again, typically after being consoled by one or more adults (or at any rate individuals who have successfully negotiated that particular lesson). Usually the memory of the pain is short-lived. The expulsion from Eden along with the other punishments and condemnations meted out by God simultaneously are, as far as I can tell, intended to be of either permanent or at least indeterminate but extended duration and to fall on those who had nothing to do with the initial failure.

          •  exactly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            When our toddlers fall, we do not spank them for it- and we certainly don't punish their kids and grandkids for their failures!

            Perhaps we should- it might make them all better walkers!

            As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

            by BPARTR on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:40:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Adam and Eve and Eden didn't exist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty, BPARTR

        At least there is no credible evidence for their existence.

        Does this fact not influence your opinion?

        Does this fact not influence your obsession with trying to explain it?

        •  I don't believe they existed (0+ / 0-)

          Certainly not in any literal sense; if there is any such sense at all it would be merely in terms of the first two humans who found themselves capable of somewhat rational thought and who then went about attempting to explain the world about them as best they could conceptualize it.

          Other than that they are assumptions, taken as a given for the purpose of making or rebutting certain arguments.

        •  Actually there is evidence (0+ / 0-)

          That two people a/k/a Adam & Eve parented the entire human race. The billions of us, in all our glorious genetic diversity, prove beyond all doubt that two humans did not -- could not -- parent our race.

          There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. --Mark Twain

          by stlkaper on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 04:30:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Why not? (0+ / 0-)

      Why can't you have supreme being with a chip on his shoulder?  One that's capricious?  One that's omniscient and yet still changes things?

      I'm not so annoyed by religious belief as religious belief that is malleable for sake of convenience.  It's very convenient these days to believe in an inoffensive higher power.

      •  You are certainly entitled to your views (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We are, after all, discussing matters of faith. I've hope I've made my perspective on the matter at least somewhat clear. A supreme being with a chip on his (or her, or...whatever) shoulder does not work for me. We exist in a community, here in the US at any rate, where people are at least ostensibly pretty much free to believe as they please. And this seems to me to be a desirable state of affairs.  It strikes me as at least plausible that a deity with an axe to grind is more likely to be used as justification for forcing beliefs on dissenters by means of coercion.

        •  Of course we're entitled to our views (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Just as we're entitled to share them, seek and receive commentary on them from others, etc.  But just so we're clear, you reject a God with a chip on his shoulder because such a being "does not work for [you]."  That's not a statement on such a being's plausibility, it's a statement of preference.  Just want to be clear on that.  I won't debate the merits of believing what you want to believe just because it "works for [you]," so long as you're not taking umbrage with people doing the same with beliefs you might find...well...repugnant.

  •  I'll give a tip but not a rec. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rduran, Yoshimi

    You make some good points, but miss some too.

    Gods and belief in them predate Jesus by thousands of years.  Therefore "why" people believe in gods may be more complex than what you claim to understand.

    You left out "not" in the first sentence.  Yeah, overly nitpicky.  Sorry.

    I agree, people should believe in people.  It ain't happening.  What should we do about that?

  •  It's hard for me to think of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, sajiocity, Da Rock

    the creation stories in Genesis as being anything other than what some illiterate shepherd came up with 4-5 thousand years ago when his child asked him "Daddy, where did the world come from?"

    "Labor was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things" -- Adam Smith

    by HugoDog on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:32:40 PM PST

  •  Good diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, Smoh, Eric Hopp

    I don't classify myself as an atheist, but I do question the existence of God.
    There is an authoritarian political cult that hijacks Christianity, and looks to use people's faith as a shackle to their agenda.
    They work very hard to separate all Christians from the "secularists" or people of other faiths, using ploys like the "War on Christmas".
    Another ploy is to exacerbate and delegitimize the natural doubt that ordinary people have and encourage the projection of that doubt onto an "other", atheists, Muslims, gays, etc. They exacerbate doubt by hardening the dogma, for instance the insistence on the Bible as "the complete and inerrant word of God", "abortion is murder", etc. The "New Age fundamentalism" of young-earth creationism is a good example.

    There are religious people like your Mom, and my late mother, who are sincere in their personal faith, but
    don't judge others. They don't dispute the science of evolution, don't deny their own doubt.

    There are people who go to church out of social habit, who may have doubts, but don't want to exacerbate others' fear of death, etc.

    I personally hope that people in this country are able to free themselves from the grip of these authoritarians and the huckster televangelists and pursue a personal spirituality based on the concepts of love and compassion , regardless of religious heritage, or none.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:39:54 PM PST

    •  Hijacks Christianity? (0+ / 0-)

      I do classify myself as an atheist, but I also like to think that history is rich and illuminating on its own without having to rewrite it for my convenience.  I've heard it over and over again that there is somehow this new, cultish conspiracy sweeping over churches in the past 40 years.  Yet my reading of history shows liberal mainline theology as the more recent development.

  •  No, Fundamentalists Have Not Sat Down and Thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    through the implications of their beliefs. They do think, but they don't genuinely reason about anything taught by the faith because those are fixed truths where even doubt is forbidden. They also believe they collaborate with the supernatural on a routine basis and that it is often easy to see what the supernatural has been doing in our daily world and what it intends.

    So, just not a bunch that can be reasoned with.

    And they're the only creationists I've seen in any numbers. Even radically rightwing Catholicism doesn't seem to reject science about the natural world, other than a few elements of women's reproductive systems.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:47:23 PM PST

    •  They're hardly FIXED beliefs, per se :p (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sajiocity, tytalus

      Fundamentalists will worship words, but they'll gladly flip interpretations of said words at earliest convenience. There's a reason that these "fundamentalists" you speak of don't give a damn about the non-violence that their Aryan Supply Side Jesus commanded them to.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 06:02:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

      Fundamentalists have entire institutions that do nothing but sit down and think through the implications of their beliefs.  We saw the representative of one such institution last night, and if we don't let our irritation take over our forebrains we'd acknowledge that his "slickness" is evidence of careful consideration of both his and his opponents' points of view.  You don't have to agree with Ham or even like the guy to acknowledge that much.

  •  I find your tolerance (and love) for people who (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are both religious and genuinely good people refreshing.  I too have had the privilege of knowing such people, as well as good people who are not religious.  Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we were only judged by one thing - how well we treat each other?

    I'm not sure how much of what is written about Jesus is true, but I believe the part about sitting down at meals with people who broke the rules is in fact true, because it went against the grain of religion then and now, so it is unlikely it would have been made up by the religious establishment.  While eating with people who do not share our beliefs may not seem like a really big deal to many of us today, it was a very, very big deal in first century Judaism.

    Jesus of course believed in the existence of sin, but that did not stop him from embracing those whom he believed were sinners.  In actual fact many of his own religion thought HE was a sinner, because he broke religious rules himself, when common sense and concern about others told him it was the right thing to do.

    Except for the deification that took place in the decades after his death, Jesus the man was about as close to a humanist as one immersed in the religious dogma and superstitions of his time could be.

    Setting religion aside, I see a lot of the humanity in the historical Jesus reflected in much of what you have said.  I think you two would have sat down to a meal together and enjoyed each other's company, and he would have regarded the love and tolerance in your heart as far more important than the differences in each of your views of the cosmos.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:54:31 PM PST

  •  Your entire tone is a bit condescending. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not saying you're not right.  But you should have the humility to let those who want to believe do so without you looking down on them.

    Of course, the same could be said of a great many people who follow a particular religion.  A person's relationship with God--even if it consists of believing there is no relationship--is a personal decision, and it's no one else's damned business.

    "Life is the crummiest book I ever read - there isn't a hook, just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock, and characters an amateur would never dream up." - Bad Religion

    by TheOrchid on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:55:07 PM PST

    •  Yeah, if only THEY felt that way!! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Da Rock, koseighty, BPARTR, skrekk
      A person's relationship with God--even if it consists of believing there is no relationship--is a personal decision, and it's no one else's damned business.
    •  Agree in part, disagree in part (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BPARTR, skrekk

      Condescension is rarely ever warranted, regardless of what someone else believes.  That's partly because a lot of our beliefs are irrelevant for our day to day interactions, but it's also largely because too many people adopt a tin god attitude that's unwarranted by the depth of their own knowledge and experience.

      However, a person's relationship with God is only as personal as that person choses to make it.  We have no obligation to humor anyone's beliefs should they decide to share it, and no belief should be immune from criticism and even outright opposition if it escapes the confines of one's inner thoughts.  The moment you share something with anyone, it becomes their business.

  •  So many, including the Diarist, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    believe that people who are religious look for God too high up.

    The play, Inherit the Wind, that was made into a movie starring Spencer Tracy shows only one example of how Genesis & Evolution are not mutually exclusive.  The story followed the path of the real life Scopes Monkey Trial defended by the great Clarance Darrow with a witness of William Jennings Bryan.

    I believe in God & I believe in the science of evolution.

    But I also believe that the Bible is not inerrant.

    I am comfortable believing that the 'First Day' in the Bible is not a literal day.  Further, I am comfortable with the poetry and lessons that can be found in the Bible.

    Whether or not I believe in the pomp & circumstance of organized religion has nothing to do with my faith and/or belief in God.

    The breath of life came from someplace.  Science will never be able to explain the first breath.

    This is all many people need to understand for having a belief in a higher power some of us refer to as God.

    In yesterday's debate, Mr. Nye was respectful of both science and religion, unfortunately, Mr. Ham showed no respect for science and, much like the characters in Inherit the Wind, he looks for God too high up.

    •  Never is an awfully long time (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tharu1, Smoh, sajiocity

      To say that science will never be able to explain, shows a distinct lack of faith. Perhaps it may be true in your lifetime, but I'm confident science will eventually unravel the mysteries of life's origins.

      the only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror... FDR first inaugural address

      by blogokvetsch on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:21:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I don't know (0+ / 0-)

        it could just be a god-believer, needing things they can give their preferred god-concept credit's just like creationism, or perhaps creationism lite.

        Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

        by tytalus on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 06:31:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nah, have you ever tried spiritualism? (0+ / 0-)

          Sometimes it can be very moving embracing that unknown. It's that moment you connect to something and you don't quite know what it is.

          Spiritualism has been a part of man since we existed. Science is awesome but spiritualism can also be awesome.

          •  Scientists are well acquainted (0+ / 0-)

            with the keen sense of not knowing things, sorry. I don't think I'm missing out. Although, as a skeptic, I know there's a chance.  :)

            How does one try spiritualism, anyway?

            But I think in this case that some believers may hold articles of faith about things they believe science won't or can't resolve; things they don't want science to explain.

            Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

            by tytalus on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:20:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  And at that point we will be God. (0+ / 0-)


  •  Republished to Street Prophets (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, tharu1, Smoh, midnight lurker, DJ Rix

    Opposition to evolution and the promotion of creationism or intelligent design as an alternative comes primarily from Protestant Evangelicals. The Catholic Church has accepted evolution and has noted that if people want to understand God's plan, they must understand evolution. Since the 1950s, the Popes have issued statements supporting evolution.

  •  I tune out anyone that tries to talk me into (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DJ Rix

    their belief system. Be it religious or not.

    If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

    by thestructureguy on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:15:15 PM PST

  •  Before the stupid took over American Christianity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sajiocity, sfbob, Yoshimi'd have your hands full arguing with a protestant theologian or a Jesuit.  The noisiest ones out there today are a very dim bunch compared to them.

    We atheists and agnostics like to pretend we're smart as scalpels, dancing around the opposition, but we're really playing the B-Team.

    Many of the arguments I see deployed by my fellow nonbelievers are basically aging, antique things first used by pagan philosophers in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, not the cutting edge stuff we think it is.

    The matter of free will, for instance, and the existence of evil, to which smart Christians put us into submission holds centuries ago.

    Can't blame us too much, since the bunch we're going against thinks the King James version of the Bible is the literal word of God, despite a mountain of evidence about how it came to be.  Or that Jesus was a white guy, despite...well, fuck, I'm feeling dumber just repeating their shit.

    You get the point.  If ever smart Christians return to the forefront of the religion, be prepared for an epic contest. Until then, remember you're going up against the B Team.

    Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

    by rbird on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:38:26 PM PST

    •  Please, tell me more about (0+ / 0-)

      this golden age of Christian theology and how it beats the pants off of what we have today?

      •  You want me to give you an education... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yoshimi, Santa Susanna Kid the history of Christianity?  Holy shit, I'd have to charge you for it. Instead, I'll give you a few names, that should get you started.

        Just one point before the lists.  The rejection of modern science is not uniform among believers. Last time I checked, the Catholic church accepts the existence of evolution.  Many liberal protestant churches also accept modern science.

        You want a quick sprint through Christian theology.  Here are some of the early ones.  I'm just going to give you names, you'll have to look them up. They are in no particular order.  

        Augustine of Hippo
        Justin Martyr
        Clement of Alexandria
        Athenagoras of Athens
        That should get you started.  Here are a few from the Middle Ages.
        Thomas Aquinas
        Some Reformation authors...
        Desiderius Erasmus
        John Calvin
        I strongly recommend Erasmus's In Praise of Folly.

        Just because, I'll mention a few early men of science.

        Aristarchus of Samos
        Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi
        William of Ockham
        Francis Bacon
        I'd rather be talking about the CBR, Tipler cylinders, supermassive black holes, and quantum superposition, but you insisted.

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 02:14:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't asks for lists (0+ / 0-)

          of people who could barely compete with today's 9th graders.  I asked for proof of this:

          Before the stupid took over American you'd have your hands full arguing with a protestant theologian or a Jesuit.  The noisiest ones out there today are a very dim bunch compared to them.
          •  I can't give you proof if you won't read... (0+ / 0-)

            ...the original sources.  Or even look up the summaries in wikipedia.

            Compare their reasoned arguments with those of the current batch of knuckle draggers who seem to dominate American Christianity at the moment, and guys like Augustine of Hippo look pretty good by comparison.

            But you didn't do that.

            The knuckle draggers have been at it a long time, since before the Scopes Trial.  It's part of a war over the soul of American Christianity, sometimes called the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy. Look it up on wikipedia.

            But you won't do that.

            Hunt up a Jesuit, that's easy to do, five minutes using google and a phone will do it. It's harder to do for protestants, since the fundie revolution has split American protestantism down the middle. Go with a Jesuit, safe bet.  Ask him some questions.  Me, I can hold my own with them, since my agnosticism is based on my readings in quantum mechanics and cosmology.

            But you won't do that.

            To learn is hard work, something you might not be up for.

            I recommend that you learn how to use google.  Punch in "christian responses to the existence of evil" or "religious views on the existence of suffering" and look at a few of the 66,000,000 responses, some of them quite intelligent.

            That you can't move your own fingers to do this, or even to look at wikipedia for a few answers indicates to me a level of intellectual laziness awesome to behold.

            Or is it laziness?

            Maybe you're just like the fundies, a mirror image of them.  You're willfully ignorant and you wish to remain so.  Any information that challenges your preconceived notions of the world must be rejected.

            Here we are at the end.  If you won't put even a minimal effort into educating yourself, I'm done with you. Think what you want, argue with yourself in the mirror.  My advice?  

            Go read a book.

            Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

            by rbird on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 02:12:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If that were the case (0+ / 0-)

              then the only proof anyone would need to provide to substantiate any claim is simply "go look it up."

              I'll put it this way, none of the materials you vaguely reference demonstrate that ancient and medieval Christian thinkers, or even Renaissance thinkers, were intellectually more capable than evangelical theologians today.  This is not surprising, since you're comparing thinkers educated in the Iron Age with thinkers educated in past century.

    •  What's your take on Pope Francis? (0+ / 0-)
  •  What do you mean you don't know HOW? Human nature? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rduran, Yoshimi


    This just seems to be the classic, universal mistake when it comes to one person from one group analyzing another group. They list all the horrible things ppl in said group have done and then wonder WTF is wrong with THOSE PEOPLE like human nature isn't enough to explain the shittyness. Christ, lol. I have this same argument on tumblr all the time vis-a-vie fandoms for crying out loud.

    How can something centered around a guy like Jesus turn into a war and torture machine within a few centuries? Gee, I dunno, I guess the same way the optimistic writings of a guy like Karl Marx can turn into a genocidal totalitarian oligarchy within a few decades. We. Suck. lol.

    I know the diary isn't really about that, but I just wanted to get that off my chest. I actually despise Creationism because (in addition to the stink of fascism) I feel like they're trying to make God Almighty "small". Like their whole world falls apart if this omnipotent (which again, would technically mean Xe can exist and not exist at the same time) thing beyond everything doesn't do stuff that fits into Your Neat Little Box. dare you lol. If you'd open you mind for five f'n seconds you just might realize how big the Omniverse is. And like there's no wonder in things being created over billions of years through processes science has only begun to grasp. Child please. There's reason that other Christians look down on Biblical Inerrancy as idolatry.

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:59:23 PM PST

  •  When I first heard the story of Eve's "fall" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lesliet, koseighty

    it was in grade school (public - which required bible readings each day until Ms. O'Hair rectified that) and it confused me. Why, I wondered was the tree of knowledge off limits, if learning was what we were all there for?  I thought it was a great thing. What was I missing?
    The ridiculousness of the story was so evident to my six-year-old self, I believe I may have become an atheist in 1st grade.

    Where there's smoke, there's residue.

  •  Why do people believe things they do? (0+ / 0-)

    Short answer, no one knows. Long answer, the fields that would tackle the question are very immature, and have stumbled in generating testable hypotheses.  Understandable.  Psychology in general is still trying to gain something a measure of credibility and we don't seem to be very close in establishing core links between it and biology.  

    In short, you don't "get it."  Neither do I.  No one does.  And when we say otherwise it's usually to be patronizing, to express exasperation (as you've done here), or to offer ourselves a bit of comfort in an explanation that we'll never have to demonstrate.

  •  Maybe you have a sense of purpose (0+ / 0-)

    because the universe intends you have a purpose.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 12:08:30 AM PST

  •  Plagarism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you dig into it, you will find that the Biblical account of Creation in Genesis is actually the older Sumerian creation myth with the serial numbers filed off.

    Just saying.

  •  If you ever had a HO train set . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Santa Susanna Kid

    . . . You will sort of understand being a god.  But I often wondered how those little people in my train set felt about me.  

    •  If they were smart (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Santa Susanna Kid

      they worshipped you and prayed that you didn't intentionally set up obstructions on the track to derail the train or pour buckets of water on the whole set to make a "flood".

      Because let's face it, if you ever had an HO train set you did do those things, didn't you?

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:48:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but maybe you are onto something (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Santa Susanna Kid

        perhaps the reason for hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, wars, pestilence, cancer and famine is that god is an eleven year old boy and he gets bored watching the train just go round and round.

        As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

        by BPARTR on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:02:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You don't get it. (0+ / 0-)

    Or at least you don't get that the aspect you do get is by no means universal among believers.

    I do believe in God, and most of the time I don't find that belief remotely comforting or reassuring.  I certainly don't find it comforting or reassuring to believe that all the terrible things that happen to us are part of God's plan, and I have very little patience with people who think I should ... or who assume I do.

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