Many atheists in the world today do not only disbelieve religion, they also denounce it, sayings things like it is poisonous, delusional, or even ignorant or stupid; but many Christians would disagree. Do you think belief in a god is rational, or do you think it defines ignorance? Can a person be religious and logical at the same time?
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Just think of all the gods that we had in the past. The god of war, the god of thunder, the god of fire. Now society sees those gods as ridiculous and maybe 200 or 300 years from now believing in christ being the son of god and the bible being writen from the word of god will also be ridiculous. This could happen thanks to the way technology is allowing people to get informed and have good debates like we do here at the Atheist Republic.
Do I think belief in God is rational? No, but does it make sense some one might believe in a god? Sure! Does simply believing there is a god make you ignorant, noooo! but to not listen to what others believe or say thus actually ignoring the thoughts and questions of others or being closed-minded to other possibilities besides your belief and/or arguing with them in a non progressive manner because their opinion differs from yours, does that make someone ignorant? Yes! Is someone delusional be cause they believe there is or may be a god? No, but are they delusional if they assume things they think are real to be more real than the things others believe to be real or the the world around them with any less proof? Well I could be wrong here, but I believe this would make someone delusional. Can someone be religious and logical at the same time? Yes, but can someone allow their religious belief to stand in the way of logic? most certainly.
Now, this last question I threw in is the part many atheist are going through on a regular basis with theist and why many atheist may come across as think the whole lot of theist to be delusional ignorant or stupid, honestly if you were arguing from the other side you would quickly realize how much of these things theist can be. That being said, atheist can be guilty of being the same way about things but many theist are down right rude and would probably physically attack you or walk away if you were rude in the same manner back to them. It is my theory that many theist feel they can act this way because they are sticking up for their imaginations rendition of a god and this is what in their mind their god would want them to do. They feel in the right and they put you in the wrong.
Now to return to your opening statement. Is religion poisonous? well Unfortunately, you would have to be ignorant, stupid or delusional to live in this world and now see how religion can be viewed that way.
I think that any side of the atheist / theist debate can be rational, and logical. As an atheist for the first 27 years of my life and being surrounded by atheist family and friends I can see rational and logical application, but I'm not sure that that is saying a great deal. Cognitive thinking is more important. What is rational and logical can be fallible, subjective, and baseless. Commenting on religion, a loathsome thing in my opinion, it is the primary reason I was an atheist most of my life. When I say religion I mean organized religion. Independent religious conviction is far more likely to harbor logical and rational, or more importantly, cognitive thinking.
It isn't just the belief in the supernatural, though, that I think organized efforts are harmful to. It is any organized effort. Any movement that becomes a product of the masses is subject to abuse, manipulation, distortion of the origins, a tool for greed and power. Atheism would be subject to the same if it were organized on a massive scale.
It's sinful human nature. The Jews had Jehovah God himself with them and they screwed it up. The apostle Paul foretold that the majority of Christians would turn away from the truth to have their ears tickled, turning to what he said in the Greek, mythos, or myth, and was later translated into the Latin fabulas, fables. 99% of Christians teach the immortal soul from Socrates, the Trinity from Plato, Hell from Dante and Milton, the phallic symbol the cross from the emperor Constantine, Easter from the goddess of fertility and consort of Baal, Astarte, Christmas from the winter solstice celebrations, and the Rapture from Darby.
Non of that is rational or logical to me. Its all well documented examples of the apostate Church's attempt to gain pagan adherents for more money and political power.
When people create their own Litmus test, their own prerequisite for the qualifications of a god that doesn't seem rational or logical to me either unless the intention is to gain wealth and power.
PM, really enjoying your comments, they are well thought out and not just because I agree with them.
All large organizations or large masses be they gangs government religion ect.. will eventually lead to few controlling the majority this lead to power then corruption and things branch out like a virus evolving growing spreading. Many htings that start out as good things turn into to tools for those who would do bad.
Sure, Zaphod, from the sacred to the profane. We screw everything up. Love, sports, television, art, music, entertainment, religion, politics, science, technology, eventually probably the Internet . . . all for money. And then we screw money up.
On an aside, though, Zaphod, where in the hell is everybody? Is it that its the holidays? Is it me? Did I chase everyone off? It seems if it were not for you, Shock Of God and I this place would be empty? I was looking back in the old posts, and though this is a new board the posters have been remarkably prolific. What gives?
The people come and go in waves. Every once in a while the boards get some people who are a little to extreme. but historically this has been a pretty down to earth Atheist site. I don't mind long post but some people find them intimidating and really they don't feel like taking the time to read it all in one go, I remember when Henry Plantagenet wrote his first few epic post toward the last we heard from him and the boards were considering nominations and getting the guy a pizza. He was a bit angry with southern baptist and for some good reasons but we had our differences and you can look them up. Recently we have gotten a few what I would call epic posters on the site. Interestingly they range widely in stance. Every time I see one I think of Henry though.
There are some truly awesome veteran contributors on this forum that are still active ie. Sammy is the best writer in my opinion, Spewer, Rob, Nick, Mattyn, Efpeirce, Ginamoon, Atheister, Unknowntyper and Mystic (it's been really interesting watching Mystic come on here a theist and evolve into an atheist, let this serve as a warning) Have not heard form Lauren in a while (Really used to enjoy the topics she would start kind if missing her) Samking and Dtommy have been gone a while too would like to hear how they are doing. Used to see more Dan Dare too. but there are also lots of people who come and go am there has been a huge amount of great discussion on these forums.
I personally love talking with others about a lot of stuff that has to do with the perspectives, I use this sites forums to expand on my views and I try to help atheist in need of advise when they come to the site which happens from time to time. I also try to and remind people who need reminding where they are exactly what site they are posting on from time to time. The board does seem to be changing lately though but IMHO its a remarkable resource for atheist however it is growing and becoming harder to find certain things that once were easier to find. I think i'll make some suggestions to help improve the site after I think about them a bit more.
That people come and go is typical of forums like this. Back in the mid 1990's when I first got online and started debating and discussing religion with atheists and theists is seemed there was a phenomenal interest in the subject. About 7 years ago, it seemed as if overnight, everyone abandoned ship. I think our egos and intolerance, really an emotional manifestation of our frustration, turned everyone off. And, some of them, apparently had lives.
Nowadays it seems that you can't pay people to hash this shit out. I'm always surprised these days to see a new forum crop up, because all of the ones I was on of old are gone. Except for a few big ones that are really like ghost towns.
I read the thread you were talking about regarding long posts. Depending upon the forum I can post some long and boring posts, but having read that I have tried to keep it relatively short. I actually like that myself, so long as I can get what I need to convey within that context. I could bore y'all's socks right off, but I really like discussing this stuff, and reading other interpretations.
Of course I have a website that goes sadly neglected when I go on a walkabout looking for someone to talk to.
Alright. Thanks Zaphod. I like our conversations.
Thanks for the compliment, Zaphod!
Though I'm Atheist I can somewhat understand why someone might believe in god/higher power or whatever it is you prefer to call it. Keep in mind I don't know the anwsers to what makes human minds work but in my opinion people want to feel like they can turn to someone when life starts getting hard. They want someone there that they can tell their worries to. The feel that if there is a higher being somewhere then they will make it throw all their problems okay because someone somewhere has a plain. I don't agree with the age old saying "Everything happens for a reason." Mainly because I have seen too many things in life that would never be explained well enough to make me believe it was part of some grand plan. However, some people need that encouragement and support system that the belief in god/higher power provides because if its taken away they are not sure what to believe in. Too many questions come up like what happens after death if this is all there is?? Why am I here to begin with if this life is not a test of some kind?? Will I get through this life struggle?? And there are hundreds of more questions that comes to mind once the illusion of god/higher power no longer exists. So to avoid questions that no one truly possesses anwsers to they decide that there must be someone or something with a plain that is the root of everything in our universe. That's my opinion anyway for whatever its worth.
I agree with Shay here, I think the atheist numbers dropped to a large degree when the world wide recession began because as she said life started getting hard and people wanted someone to turn to, lacking someone to turn to,for many that someone or something became the one they call God. Feeling powerless and in many cases like they have lived their lives wrong many people turn to prayer.
When times are better many turn away from God again People like this are what I would call fair-weather friends only turning to God when they need him. If God existed and I were he, they would be so screwed. Ironically some will think because they turn to prayer the world got better and their situations improved. If the economy were to collapse again tomorrow many of these folk would feel betrayed by God it must be so difficult living this sort of life, that of theist thinking everything is in Gods hands.
The way fair weather friends as you call them live would be confusing to me. If you only believe in something or someone when there is trouble then how can you truly say what you do and don't believe?? I want to say this though just to clear air.. I don't knock or hate any other religion. I don't agree with the things they do or believe but I live in the mind set of live and let live. The only problem I have with religion is when people shove their ways down my throat. With that said I think in some people's mind believing in their form of god is the only thing in their life that makes sense due to the fact that when everything in their life is changing he/she is there to help them through their every problem. The way I see it god is like ones inner voice. People need that nudge sometimes and they can give it to themselves for whatever reason so they ask someone whom they feel is wiser when in my opinion if the choices they make come from themselves all along they just didn't have the courage they needed without asking their god. So yes I think it's rational for someone to believe in whatever god the choose if that's what makes them feel whole just don't shove it down other throut. Live and let live and the world may actually survive in peace.
What's rational for some may be irrational for others. It all boils down to what you want to believe in. I don't push my religious beliefs on others, just everything else I believe strongly in! :)
You need to follow some rules, if not, go to hell and suffer endless pain. Most of your daily actions are sins therefore you are doomed to hell. You may confess, become a monk or something but at the end you will still be judged by your previous actions and you will go to hell. In some way, if you confess, you are saved, but at the same time you will be judged by all your life actions and you will go to hell anyway. Is not very nice to go to hell and suffer for eternity, probably. I don't know, some may like the idea.
If there is a God and he likes to hide and offer no reasons for its existence (maybe he is a shy guy, he is human in the end despite the fact that he isn't human at the same time) and we will be judged in the end, according to his rules, we will go to hell anyway and therefore why i need to waste my life and money on religion? I can enjoy my life on earth and then suffer alongside Freddie Mercury in hell. Sounds like a good time to me.
I am a believer so I could say that a person who believe in God could be both religious and rational, it is being open minded. I do not see any religion poisonous as long as it can make a person a good person and would say that they are the only one to be saved. :P
I think it doesn't matter that much how rational or not it is to believe in a god. Why? Because you don't have direct, conscious control over what you believe in the first place. Belief is not an act of will like whether to wear a blue or yellow shirt. You can't just choose to believe something different by trying harder.
You have a mental model of reality. Any proposition is evaluated subconsciously against this mental model. If a particular proposition doesn't fit into your mental model, you will either reject it or alter your mental model to accommodate it. Even so, this is not a conscious choice. In order to keep you sane, your mental model is shielded from direct control. You need a somewhat consistent mental model so that you can distinguish fantasy from reality. This is not to say that your mental model can't ever change. Of course it can, but the brain has evolved to keep this process out of direct control for consistency's sake.
That said, I think it *can* be rational to believe in a god. If you believe an uncaused cause or a primary observer is necessary to have a universe, then positing a deistic god can be rational. That doesn't make belief in any particular god from human history rational, but rather a more generic first cause concept. Once you start attributing specific behaviors and desires to a god, you are engaging in projection and speculation with very little rational basis, IMO.
The concept that we don't really have as much control as we think over what we believe is not really as universally accepted as you indicate in your comment... although I'm personally inclined to agree with you :)
This hearkens back to another topic, on the concept of free will, which also may or may not exist depending on how you look at it.