Just an Idea

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mysticrose's picture
Just an Idea

Why do atheists think that the belief about god is merely an invented idea? What are the psychological factors behind it? What if theists would say that your non-belief in god is just an invented idea too?
I just found this interesting article, check it out: http://www.str.org/articles/is-god-just-an-idea#.Ub3jgdiknaQ

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TW Duke's picture
It might have something to do

It might have something to do with the fact that many of the claims religions make about their gods have been proven wrong by science.

Zaphod's picture
I think for some there is a

I think for some there is a yearning to make sense of what hey can not comprehend and to answer the age old question "What happens to you when you die?", Religion and God fulfill this need for many people by answering with lack of proof what happens to us when we die and how everything came to be it helps some to silence their yearning for the infamous question "why?". For some it gives a way to get over the emotional hell and the stress of having done horrible things in their past has caused them. For some it helps them to more easily accept what they feel is the inevitable end of the life they are living. For some it even helps, and now I believe these particular people are sociopaths, it helps to distinguish from right and wrong and therefore serves as their moral compass. I could go on. I constantly point out there are plenty of good reasons for the existence of Deity none of which I currently subscribe to or ever intend to.

I am fine with people believing what ever they want as long as it does interfere with the lives of others and this means people should keep their religious beliefs out of politics since politics effect the life of people with different religious beliefs, I feel some religious people are fine but unfortunately, some are not and they push their belief on others. Fanatics from just most major religions in the world have used their religions as reason to kill mass amounts of people this is usually the case with religions that use fear as a guiding force. I think peoples beliefs should be respected and they should respect the beliefs of others. It is the lack of respect I see all the time for other peoples belief that I have a problem with.

First, let me state I am an atheist and I think the belief in god is much much more than a merely invented idea. I tend to look at belief in God as an answer to many for unanswerable questions. Atheist,Ye of little faith tend to not be satisfied with answers based on faith and even if God were to be proven would still real have a hard time thinking religions are not created by people trying to use these answers for some form of agenda. I think many religions fail to take in to account that many other religions that believe in a God do not feel this god is the same god that they feel is their God and all sizable religions have people who feel as strongly if not stronger about the beliefs they hold to be true. I think most religions were started out what could have been good ideas made for what some hopeful individual or group of individuals thought would ultimately the benefit of all but over time these Ideas were corrupted by people along the way to garner power wealth ect... I cant not speak for all atheist but I will say that without disputable proof of a god's existence it is hard not to think a god was not a made up idea.

If a theist were to say my non-belief in God was a made up idea as well, I would say of course, but it took their made up idea for mine to come about. However, I would also point out, before I ever heard of God I did not believe in him either so one viewpoint seems a little more "made up" than the other. I would pose the question to a theist who questioned my belief, who was at the point of asking the question you pose above would seem like they were just trying desperately to shift the conversation to my belief in stead of theirs, did you believe in God before you heard of him? I would ask them to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this "God" the particular theist questioning me believed in existed and to therefore prove my non-belief to be wrong. I would point out that not to believe in something that is not provable is more rational than to believe in something that can not be proven. I would point out that things cannot be proven with just points and questions alone. I would go further even to ask if they think someone is crazy when they tell them they hear voices or that they see things that can not be explained like ghost, I would point out a world of people who don't believe in what they believe is enough to drive some people insane and that some mental disorders are not far removed from belief in God. I would pose the question, should the views of people they deem crazy deserve as much defense as their own belief in their God. I know I wrote a lot here but way more was implied.

That all being said, Ludwig Feuerbach is not the first person to suggest that God was nothing more than psychological projection, people have been saying that in one way or another for almost as long as people have been saying that God existed. He is just the first to do it in recent memory on such a large scale and it made made a real stir in the 1800s C.S Lewis was a smart man worth reading just keep in mind he is biased as any writer really is to some degree or another if you don't agree with him. I also recommend a book by Friedrich Nietzsche which involves a caricature you may recognize as having some similarity to another poster on these forums name.

This all reminds me of a good joke:

"God is dead" Friedrich Nietzsche 1882
"Friedrich Nietzsche is dead" God 1900

mysticrose's picture
Very funny joke!

Very funny joke!
I appreciate your very long reply. It clearly explained what you're trying to imply. Very skeptical as a typical atheist really was. Your point is agreeable but after reading this, I still believe that god exists.

DarkLight's picture
It just happens to be that

It just happens to be that there is a lot of proof that anyone can claim to be the son of god and come to earth bringing hope. There are frauds such as those all the time in present day. The Jesus Christ story is just old enough for there to be no way to trace any of it to a legitimate source. It's all books and novels, like everything that happened before that.

All the tales of famous kings and warlords, they can all be half true, if not completely made up. I'm not saying that the great historical moments that happened thousands of years ago are not true, but there is plenty of room for exageration and creativity in everything that was writen before we could have any visual proof of it.

Matty Arnold's picture
Non-belief in God is no more

Non-belief in God is no more an invented idea than the non-belief in Santa, the non-participation in blood rituals, the non-drinking of cranberry juice. Not doing any given thing can't be an invented idea - these are things that would happen anyway. Non-belief in God is a state that existed long before humans arrived on the scene, simply because there was nothing to believe in him. Non-belief is God, by definition, is nothing more than the rejection of an invented idea.

As for why I think God is an invented idea, because in the initial stages of development of human thought and culture, we had no explanation for things we found in nature. Biologically, those early humans would not have been comfortable with not knowing the answers to these puzzles (biologically we are predisposed to search for answers) so we would have to find an answer. When these answers were not forthcoming - they weren't scientists, after all - we invented answers and convinced ourselves that they were right in order to 'fill the gap' so to speak. This was then perpetuated and grown into mass organized religion by people seeking power and wealth.

SammyShazaam's picture
Wasn't Saint Nicolas a real

Wasn't Saint Nicolas a real person? I believe he was - I'll hunt down the info :)

I was never told about the Santa Clause thing when I was a kid, and therefore was appalled by the idea that my classmates seemed excited to let a strange man come into their house while they were asleep, and bringing presents, no less. I had watched my Sesame Street and I knew all about "stranger danger" - a creepy old dude sneaking down the chimney trying to win me over with gifts was just not ok!

I immediately told the teacher that I feared some of the other kids were being harmed.

efpierce's picture
You are indeed correct, Saint

You are indeed correct, Saint Nicholas (Nicholas of Myra) was born in the third century in Turkey as far as I am aware - maybe somebody would like to verify this for me?

Henry Plantagenet's picture
And he has essentially

And he has essentially nothing to do with Kris Kringle.

SammyShazaam's picture
So close :) 4th century! And

So close :) 4th century! And back in the day, that was Greece - Nikolas is a Greek name.


Trevor's picture
Rebelling against something

Rebelling against something that you find absurd is never a bad thing or a problem.Infact, you should always be rebellious about such things if you want to evolve as a species. Those that get stuck in old ways of thinking even though they find serious illogical issues with them, are always goint to remain in state of halted evolution.

We need to questions things that happen to us in life. The more we allow ourselves to stop feeling fear towards questioning religion and god, the more we allow ourselves to grow significantly as a result. There is no reason to fear anything, nothing shoujld be imposed.

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