Wanted the opinions of fellow atheists on this subject. I always felt that being taught to believe in a God, and a religion from when you are a child, like most people have been, is being taught to completely ignore all common sense and reality, and has caused alot of damage and heartache in peoples lives. In my view, that also makes these people more vulnerable to believe other outrageous claims. Because, well, if THAT exists, as we believe it does, then ANYTHING is possible. For example, it is mostly the theists, in my personal experience, that will pay large sums of money to see "psychic mediums," individuals that claim to be able to communicate with the dead, and have "telechinetic powers." We all know that these scam artists are, and have been, proven frauds going back 150 years. Houdini himself went to these " shows" and exposed these frauds right in front of audiences. Look it up, there is article after article, some even written by the "psychics" themselves ( after geting a conscience about "duping" innocent, ignorant people at their most vulnerable momment, and taking their money...especially the elderly) telling you the "tricks" they used to fool people, and that the whole thing is ( BIG SURPRISE!!) phony. But, I find that most of the people that are theists, will INSIST that some of these phonys have a "special gift." Meanwhile, the only gift they posses is being able to prey on peoples emotions, and vulnerabilities, at their weakest momments,and take their money. NONE of these creeps were ever able to prove anything, nor did they want to, INCLUDING John Edward ( "I don't have to prove anything...as long as the people believe it, thats all I need." By the way, Mr. Edward was caught cheating on one of his telecasts..look it up) There are also a host of other scams involving get rich schemes, online " dating" where a complete stranger will profess their "love" for someone, and get them to send all their money. I have seen these fools on national t.v. look like complete idiots for being conned into such schemes. There are so many other scams, too many to list. But the point being , the "believers" of these schemes are believers in a God most , if not all of the time, in my personal experience. I find it sad, and at the same time, pathetic, that there are so many people out there that are so desperate to believe , and cling to, a fantasy, no matter how ridiculous. Years ago, a teacher I highly respected told me that if something looks, and sounds too good to be true, it is... and he was RIGHT. There is a TRICK to everything. In closing, these are reasons why I advocate that being taught to believe in things that defy science, common sense, logic, and reality, makes people more vulnerable to scammers, and con artists. But, if people want to be THAT gullible, then, for lack of a better way to say it, they deserve any heartache that may come with it. What are YOUR opinions?
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People that believe preposterous religious claim have always puzzled me. At the age of four or five I remember thinking the story of Adam, Eve and the talking snake bizarre in Sunday school. As a child, I was required to attend church until the age of about fourteen. I guess I was a natural skeptic, I felt relieved distancing myself from the religious sycophantic behavior I witnessed at church when I quit attending. The final nail in the coffin of religion came when I took Geology in college. 4.5 billion years – 6000 years backed by tangible evidence was too much time to ignore. I don’t understand how people can be logical in most of their lives but section off part of their brains to believe nonsense. I’m so glad to be free of mental bondage.
Yep. After the American Civil War southern man (USA bible belt, especially) was the easiest mark for snake oil salesmen and carpetbaggers scamming them with secret potions and elixirs that were simply colored water with herbal seasonings. These cats would put their shills in the audience swearing to god that the products worked, how they cured their poor old (insert elderly relative here), and the ignorant on-lookers couldn't get their money out fast enough.
Fast forward 100 years and the same thing is happening with TV evangelists and Sunday meeting halls.
Pathetic, but that's the nature of man. He wants to trust and believe (faith) there's something out there looking after him and ensuring him a happy eternal existence. All he has to do is play the part of a believer and cough up the few sheckles god needs for his weekly habit, whatever that is.
I do think atheists tend to generalize that all espoused theists are duped into being fools for the theist doctrines and dogmas. I would temper that. I would consider that there are many who are simply playing theist games for personal gain. I would further that thought by noting that the ones who defend theism the loudest are probably the shills in it for profit only, believing nothing about it beyond the fact that it gives them their livelihoods. Going one step further than that, I would suggest that those who played a role in the writing of the bible and creating the various religions are the architects of this profit-driven scam.
Very smart people. Unscrupulous, yes, but otherwise brilliant.
Another thing I forgot to mention was the Evangelists...HOW PHONY!!! You have Baker, Swaggert, Jackson and his son, Proffetta, and my all-time favorite "scrounge," Osteen, and on and on. Most of these guys have been caught doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they preach...and along with that , have the riches that go with it...all from the contributions of hard working people. Even after some of these men were caught in their phoniness, some even doing jail time...they went back to what they were doing and guess what... the same people ( followers) gave these creeps money again!!! These gullible fools can't even be hit over the head to realize what they are doing...it wouldn't work!!!
Peter Popoff is one of the most egregious of the faith healer scam artists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7BQKu0YP8Y
It is outrageous how this scum bag preys on people. It makes me angry to watch and listen to this piece of shit even to learn of his deception.
Falling for scams is something that all people risk including scientists and other highly educated people.
The scam artist tells you something you want to hear, perhaps with a bit of credibility to it. It might be monetary, or health related, or some story of a victim of oppression that needs help. Someone could easily scam atheists by creating a back story about an atheist being harassed (this has already been done multiple times in the gay community, where people are convinced to send money to help out a "victim" of violence or discrimination). Once they've gotten past your defense, they can play on your beliefs and your sympathies. Good scammers are smart.
In a public park today I noticed a large assemblange of people seated in folding chairs and a male speaker at a microphone. At first I thought it to be an outdoor wedding event but then I heard the speaker toting words of god's greatness to cheers from the assemblage.
The first thing I thought of was the speaker's ill-intent as a taker of people's hard-earned money and giving them nothing but more theological rhetoric. Then again, I thought that the assemblage was getting exactly what they paid for and left thinking they deserved each other.
I hope you don't mind that, while I agree, your comment got a laugh out of me.
It's sad but true. Theists are unbelievably, indescribably gullible. One moment they'd make complete sense when discussing physics, biology etcetera, and then speak complete gibberish when talking about a book that has undergone so much editing that they bastardized the bastardized version.
You could say: Hey! I think I just heard that rock say 'Jesus'!
Christian: Uhh...I don't think that's -
You: The bible said it could!
Christian: I think it said 'Jesus Christ'. You didn't hear everything.
Or better yet
You:Did yiou here about that ISIS attack? (no, I'm not an islamaphobe)
Christian:Oh yes, it's horrible that they are saying that those people deserve it for believing in the wrong God.
You:So, when Christians used to burn people at the steak-
Christian:(interrupts) Those people deserved it for not believing in God!
Belief in a big lie probably makes one more susceptible to other lies. However , scams such as the Nigerian Check Scam or the old school Pigeon Drop work because of the promise of quick and easy money. Greed.
Well believers by definition have a belief which means:
Having a position that is not derived from a rational understanding or evidence.(opinion)
This is the problem when they think their belief is an opinion. It is not, but they think it is and expect respect for their "opinion".
If they actually had an opinion they would not be so gullible to believe that the most unreliable book on earth is reliable would they?
(simple fact example: there are more mistakes in the bible then there are words in it)
Another problem is that most believers consider doubt as evil, a way to sway them from their belief.
This is the true evil behind a religion, it creates gullible people that are easy to manipulate.
When you think about it, you could consider religion a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Think about it, when someone starts believing it they are told that they must believe it, and that not beliveing it is evil. Therefore they must believe it in order to not be considered an evil being so long as they actually believe it. Therefore once they start believing they are trapped in a cycle that makes it almost impossible to get out of and actually causes it(religion) to become self-fulfilling.
I'd go even further. Religion seem to almost evolve. With the most successful ones have similar traits, not unlike the one you discussed.
I suggest that the unsuccessful ones might be missing some key traits: failure to proselytize, failure to proscribe infinite punishment for those who are skeptical, failure to promise infinite rewards for blind faith, and other such things. I can't back this up with anything, just some random thoughts, perhaps related to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme#Religion
That's actually not a bad idea/theory. I may jump on and star researching this
Read The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins. The parts about Memes.
It's so sad How so many people don't believe in our Creator Jesus Christ, how all the bad things that happen around the world or to them they blame God for it. Or maybe that's why they become atheists because something bad happend to them and they blame God for it so they stop believing in him, but if he wasn't real why does this website even exsist? why argue about something fake? And the only one to blame for all the nasty things of this world is Satan! All the sin of this world is the cause of everything bad! Some people go of scientists but in reality some of them have even started believing in God also, why? Because they find out the truth that there is a God. I feel bad a sad for all you people who don't believe Jesus is our Father like it or not he's real! The day of your death is the day you will know how wrong you are but it will be to late! No man no scientists can create water the sky the moon nature, he's real people I will keep you all in prayer that God may change your hearts because he loves you and he's waiting for you to BELIEVE!
@Izzy: "if he wasn't real why does this website even exsist?"
God isn't real, but the harm done by his bigoted, blinkered, bloody-minded followers is all too real. Christianity and other religions have destroyed or blighted countless lives through wars, crusades, oppression, slavery.... You still weasel your way into positions of power so you can discriminate, judge, and hurt people.
Religion is a mental illness. I'm sorry for your affliction, but please leave me out of your unsolicited prayers.
P.S. Wasn't Jesus supposed to have been the redeemer? The creator was Jehovah, but he got it all wrong, so first he murdered everyone with a flood, and then he got a virgin pregnant to produce a son who was predestined to die horribly to save us from sins that happened before we were born. Is that how the gibberish goes?
This may be urban legend but I read somewhere that Albert Einstein commented on the illogic of religion. He supposedly said "I could never subscribe to a system that required me to check my brain at the door."