Tolerance and embracing new thoughts

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Danny Craft's picture
Tolerance and embracing new thoughts

Hello fellow subjects :) .. As time goes on, I feel my opinions on religion changing somewhat. I am still an agnostic atheist, and I'm pretty certain I always will be. But I used to be quite vigilant in my lack of belief, and pounce on any opportunity to point out the absurdity of religion. Now I find myself in a more "just let it be" phase. Is this a good or bad thing?
While I understand the importance of attempting to help a person break free from the chains and stop living their lives in delusion, realistically, I haven't actually successfully done this. No theist has ever listened to my rational logic and reason and suddenly just snapped out of it, ya know? Can you honestly say you have experienced this? .. I used to think like; even if I have made them stop and think about it, even for a second, then it's worth it. Now I'm thinking; was it really? Has my many religious debates really been worth the time and energy invested in them? And I'm leaning towards saying; no, it hasn't. While I have appreciated the agreement and support from fellow atheists and the sense of unity and connection it has brought me, they are not the ones I am debating for. We could talk all day about how insane religion is, and not actually achieve a thing, besides the knowing that we are not alone in our mindset. Maybe that is enough?
I don't know. I consider the overwhelming diversity of human nature and conclude that maybe (and I hate this line) this is just the way it is. Maybe some people will always grow into dissatisfaction with not knowing and so will throw their lives away to fictional dogma. Human nature?
I'm feeling more and more that it's time for me to be an atheist and just shut the fuck up about it.
What do you think?

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chimp3's picture
I am not an atheist preacher.

I am not an atheist preacher. "Converting" a believer is not a goal for me.

xenoview's picture
Theist have to find their own

Theist have to find their own way to Atheism. All I can do is offer some support, and answer questions.

CyberLN's picture
Well, I don't stand on street

Well, I don't stand on street corners and wax philosophic about a/theism to gain de-converts either. However, I don't shy away from talking about it. I think I do so mostly to increase the normalization of atheism. And I think that this normalization will have a huge effect on decreasing the damaging stranglehold religions have on societies.

People deconvert every day. Danny, you just don't know if anything you have presented on the subject hasn't (or may not in the future) had any effect on anyone.

chimp3's picture
"The normalization of atheism

"The normalization of atheism". I like that. Adding it to my repertoire!

Pitar's picture
The ideological presence is a

The ideological presence is a conflict within itself, as all ideologies are, because notion can't be nailed down. Example: Monotheism people claim to embrace is impossible to fathom because each person's notion of god is different than the next person's. At best there's an insidious polytheism at work rather than monotheism. That is simply a fact in the absence of revelation. But, people reject that correlation because all have been indoctrinated towards monotheism and fearfully dismiss the fact checking introspection it begs.

Regarding the idea of live and let live, I'm an adherent to that. The theological whirlpool keeping people off balance, by the for-profit makers of such machines, is no business of mine so I tend to leave them to their (e)motion sickness.

Endri Guri's picture
We are like Jedi or Sith. We

We are like Jedi or Sith. We don't make someone our Follower, we only pave the path, the rest is unto him.

SBMontero's picture
@Danny Craft: ehm... no, or

@Danny Craft: ehm... no, or you're atheist, or you're agnostic, or you're a believer, but you cannot be an atheist Satanist, a believing agnostic, or an agnostic atheist, that's called oxymoron, as intelligence and military in the same sentence.
I'm sorry, I'm not interested in convincing any believer, I just tell the truth, gods, or god doesn't exist, and to show the fiction on which any religion is based.

Danny Craft's picture
I do not believe in any God,

I do not believe in any God, but I know that there's no possible way I could truly know. Therefore I am an agnostic atheist. I know some people just can't handle that title, but it's the truest description of my position on the matter. Deal with it

LogicFTW's picture
I used to be like what you

I used to be like what you are now Danny Craft. Let the theist do their own crazy thing, it does not involve me.
I too realize the folly of convincing a hardened life long theist that feels the need to debate on these boards to defend their particular religion.

The religion and themselves have pretty well sealed off all possible reason/evidence based arguments.

For me I turned to a more militant atheist when trump was voted in as the the 45th president, despite all obvious evidence that he would make a terrible president. (I actually do not want to start a political debate here, derailing this topic.) I then read about the enormous support he got from evangelicals and theist in general. I connected the two dots and realized how people could vote in such an obvious liar is because they were conditioned to listening to things they want to hear without fact checking them.

I debate here for a couple reasons, one is it fun to me, to watch otherwise intelligent people twist themselves into pretzels to make their particular religion/book work. Two, to support other atheist out there, and three, maybe, just maybe convince someone that is on the fence of atheist/theist to lean towards the atheist side. The person that reads these comments but does not post.

Happily, the long term trend of religion, (over centuries) is in serious decline, as science, and education continues to climb, theism continues to decline. A majority of Christians may identify as Christians, but they barely go to church on Sunday, or speak/consider their "god" anymore than in passing. Atheism/agnostic has zoomed from less than 1% to more than 10% world wide. The idea of being atheist is slowly but surely becoming normalized.

Having places like atheist republic does matter, anyone in the world can potentially access sites like this, and for the first time in their lives read about the counters to their particular religion, if they suddenly find themselves unsure. There is an alternative to the dogma doled out at church, they can hop online and read about "the other side."

jamiebgood1's picture
I think the trump election

I think the trump election helped me make the jump from agnostic to atheist too. Many of the tactics used in his politics were the same as I've seen in the church. FEAR and HATE. Not great things for people to be passionate about but it worked.Its helped me to realize that some christian delusions can be detrimental.

Sky Pilot's picture
I discuss religion and

I discuss religion and politics because I don't want to do calculus problems.

Danny Craft's picture
Thank you for the responses..

Thank you for the responses.. I think I needed a kick up the arse

BAACKJD's picture
"For me I turned to a more

"For me I turned to a more militant atheist when trump was voted in as the the 45th president, despite all obvious evidence that he would make a terrible president. (I actually do not want to start a political debate here, derailing this topic.) I then read about the enormous support he got from evangelicals and theist in general. I connected the two dots and realized how people could vote in such an obvious liar is because they were conditioned to listening to things they want to hear without fact checking them."

I had a very similar experience to yours Logic.

charvakheresy's picture
I try not to discuss my

I try not to discuss my atheism with too many theists as the fear of repercussion is more omnipresent than their gods. But once in a while I do enjoy rocking the foundations of belief of some know it all theist with just basic questioning (pretending of course to be a believer).
But you are right. It would be futile to try to convert people to atheism. I guess our debates cater to those who have found their faith to be wanting and are looking for voices that are as rational as theirs.
I happened to benefit a lot from listening to debates between theists and atheists. And though it was none of them that made me disbelieve (it was only after reading the religious books themselves that my faith was shattered), their words did give me a sense of hope that it was alright to disbelieve, to be an atheist.

LogicFTW's picture
These boards are the first

These boards are the first place I have heard the "go read your bible" argument from atheist. It seems to be a particularly effective one. You are not the first theist to atheist I have heard say that reading the bible was the real turning point for them. It makes a lot of sense, never seen a bible that was coherent, not full of contradictions, and that clearly showed this was not the word of some all powerful god, but instead written and edited by men, a long time ago.

Sky Pilot's picture


The basic story was created a long time ago but most versions of it were just written. And the recent versions tend to omit a lot of key points that are part of the earliest written version. Not only do they omit key words but entire verses as well as entire books. So those omissions tend to alter the story.

The most relevant question is why do Gentiles believe in an ancient ethnocentric Middle Eastern Jewish (Israelite) religious fairy tale in the first place? It makes as much sense as believing in a Neanderthal's deity.

LogicFTW's picture
Yep, and as we leave the age

Yep, and as we leave the age of books behind, and even increasingly thoughts longer than 30 second (sound bite) the editing and rhetoric will continue to ratchet up. The churches will have to adapt or die. Already the idea of reading an entire difficult to read book is beyond many people.

I would like to think for the facebook generation, soon the explaining of god existing and how, will simply be too long of an idea for many people to grasp, as we are already seeing, (discussed in another thread.)

Sky Pilot's picture


That's an interesting observation.

Lawrence Andrade's picture


I am a Christian so I don't know how well anything I can contribute will go over here. ( Full disclosure and trying to be honest. )

I don't know if I agree or disagree with your post here. But do you really think this could be a good thing?

I quit school at age 15 - ninth grade - I am retired now - but I can say that in my experience ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge is ( for me ) something to be sought after and valued.

And one of the best ways to get that - if not the best - is to read books and thoughtful essays.

It seems to me that if it really goes this way you would find yourselves living in a dictatorship.

Discussions of belief in whether or not God exists may not go anywhere. Though I would be willing.

But I have this idea that knowledge is connected to freedom - intimately so - they are bound up together - and also bound up
in alike way with the ability to read.

What do you think?


LogicFTW's picture
I believe knowledge is power,

I believe knowledge is power, which makes knowledge also linked strongly to freedom. I feel strong reading skills, coupled with powerful reasoning abilities can have a large impact on how successful one is.

I do not think that the dumbing down to 30 second sound bites is a good thing at all. But it is happening. There is a reason why most ad's stick to 30 seconds. And most major pictures do at the least, a camera angle change every 30 seconds or faster. Facebook readers with their endless scrolling of short bits of content geared towards their interest, and videos that are literally fast forwarded (watch a cooking video on facebook if you want to know what I mean,) because the creators know a normal video would have the viewer lose interest on the "slow" parts.

I read lots of books and essays. I think complete, well researched, peer reviewed material is the best source of information. I was just commenting, going with the thread, that this new generation that prefers to have everything fed to them in 30 second chunks, means a long winded discussion why god is real probably is not going to work.

I already have heard of churches changing their ceremonies to adjust for this fact. Instead of the hot, large, lots of stained glass, churches of yesteryear. We are seeing the more succesful churches in more modern building style, where they hold more concert like sermons, with light effects, fog effects, new age music, with a little bit of "god" mixed in. The churches that are more succesful are catering to the new attention spans of their audience. But how far can they take it when it is just feels another Creed concert?

Obviously, generalizing an entire age group is not a good idea, plenty of exceptions, especially on these boards, but churches are trying to win the hearts and minds of the majority, not the minority.

Closet_atheist's picture
I use to consider myself an

I use to consider myself an agnostic until i asked myself the question of, what is my definition of god?

You said you don't believe in god yet you can't be sure. Is it just the unknown your unsure about? There are many unknowns in the universe we have yet to understand but I wouldn't call any of them a god.

And there's the ifs and maybes, that possibly there are aliens with superior advanced technology or fifth dimensional beings, or even transdimensional travelers. Although all of which could be considered godlike, I would describe them as listed, but never as gods.

LogicFTW's picture
I was mostly agnostic, until

I was mostly agnostic, until a few things happened, one of which, is I looked up the agreed upon definition of god, and I realized I was never agnostic.

I believe in the very remote possibility of some greater being, that may have played a part in our creation. (Mainly because I know I do not know everything, and to exclude that possibility is to be arrogant.)

Most generally accepted definitions of agnostic include the word "god" in them. Like: they do not know if "god" exists. And when you look up the word god, the theist definition of god usually goes something like: "the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being."

I do not believe in ruler of the universe, moral authority, or supreme being. I am not truly sure, but I place the odds of a "god" being real as about the same of that as a winning 1 billion dollar+ powerball lottery jackpot ticket floats into my hand from the wind the next time I go outside. So unlikely, that for all intents and purposes I must assume and go about my life that god does not exist, just like I assume that I will not be getting a billion plus dollars tomorrow from the wind blowing in the unclaimed winning lottery ticket into my hand.

Dejawon's picture
Personally I cant let

Personally I cant let religion just be, I was like that for a few years actually but at some point one has to say no, because as much as we want religious people to mind their own biz they dont, they force it up on their children, relatives and family and spread religion like a cancer that takes more and more place in a secular society.

Truett's picture
Great topic, Danny. I am

Great topic, Danny. I am with Denz; I can not stay silent in the face of religious delusion and oppression. But I know what you're talking about, the sort of 'what's the use' feeling of speaking to theists who are impervious to reason while maintaining a white knuckle grip on their comforting delusions. My opinion of theists vacillates between pity and contempt, between caring concern and open hostility. So I've wondered too at the best course of action. But the fact that delusional adherence to bronze age mythology negatively affects humans, animals, and this planet we're riding around on is plenty of reason to confront religion wherever possible. I can't stay silent when someone is being harmed by someone else, and that's precisely what is happening to humanity and animals right now due to religion.

On the agnostic/atheist issue, I can't definitively rule out Santa Claus, but I'm not agnostic about him. I don't perfectly know that he doesn't exist, but I'm sure enough to take the firm position that he does not. God is less likely than Santa Claus. While I can't perfectly rule out the existence of an all present spirit that directs reality across spacetime, I am certain enough to definitively say that it does not exist. There may well be beings who defy our estimation of what is possible in the universe and potential multiverse, but we have every reason to believe that they'll be natural, not supernatural. There might be beings that create and beings that can transcend spacetime, but those beings will be the product of reality. That is the point. Reality might be far more than we know or appreciate, but it will be reality, not some sort of super reality.

Agnosticism doesn't address what one believes but rather what one knows. If you mean by agnostic that you can't "know" that god doesn't exist to 100% certainty, I agree with you. We're all agnostic in that sense. Even theists are technically agnostic, in that no one can be perfectly certain about the god claim in the way we are about mathematical certainty. But it is unreasonable to believe that a god exists. So I don't. That makes me an Atheist. I avoid using the Agnostic term due to the meaning that it conveys. People assume that an Agnostic is on the fence about god, and I'm way, way past that fence.

I appreciate your thoughts on these issues, Danny. It's helpful to hear you think through issues that I've considered as well.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
Truitt \,

Truitt \,


You said:

"But it is unreasonable to believe that a god exists"

Ok , I am an acknowledged theist and recognize that the question of whether or not God exists is a philosophical question - it can be viewed that way and in philosophy there are not right or wrong answers. So I can leave this question alone.

But I think my beliefs are rational and intellectually satisfying.

I can grant that you feel the same way about yours and that you must have good reason for believing as you do.

Could you provide a little support for your views that mine are irrational?


Sky Pilot's picture
Larry A.,

Larry A.,

Why do you think it's rational for a creature who created the universe to have only revealed himself to a bunch of unknown guys thousands of years ago who lived on 10 acres of Middle Eastern dirt and has ignored everyone since? Don't you think that it's more likely that those guys simply made up the story to entertain themselves because they had nothing better to do? Even the Bible says that it's just a story.

Do you have any idea how vast the universe is? It has untold numbers of galaxies, each with billions of stars and trillions of planets. But we are expected to believe that the god character only cares about a few special people who live on a few acres on a very small planet that revolves around a tiny sun in a medium sized galaxy. And then we are expected to believe that that god creature will spend eternity with a handful of people in a 1,500 mile sided golden bejeweled cube on a waterless planet that doesn't have any nights. Those guys thought that the stars were tiny specks of light that would fall to the Earth. You know better than that, don't you?

The story might have made sense when people were dumber than dust but we should be smarter than that in the 21st Century.

Lawrence Andrade's picture


Thanks for your reply. I don't know whether to agree or disagree with you because I don't think Christianity is anything like what you describe here.

To begin I don't think God is a creature. The Bible just says that God is. An uncreated being. But I do believe that God the Son did become a man and did live in a tiny occupied Middle east country two thousand years ago. In fact I believe this Man was a Jew.
I do think it was only Jews who wrote about Him.

Christianity differs from other faiths in this regard - it claims to be a historical faith and invites examination on that basis - as history.

I'll say that much in this post and leave looking at that for other posts if we can kick that around later. I hope we can discuss more slowly later about this.

The God I believe in is concerned about all people since there have been people on this planet. This God desired to be in relationship with all.

We could discuss that later also and also take some time with it - some back and forth posts.

The Universe is vast - but did you know it mostly consists of nothing? Yes I know about the trillions of stars and so on but I have a college level course that was recorded by the Great Courses people - the well credentialed scientist worked out two equations - one was the well know E=MC squared which yields a positive result. The other was another one that describes gravity or negative energy or something - the two cancel each other out and leave approximately nothing.

This is modern systematic science not a part of my faith - but is a justified belief I hold and something that I take on faith - faith that the scientist knew what he was talking about and that he was explaining it properly. I also believe that my faith rests on justified knowledge. I believe rational and thoughtful people have subjected the appropriate texts to critical examination. That I can do some of this work myself - and have to some extent - though I have a limited formal education - but it holds up.

Some of these people are well credentialed historians of the ancient Jews and Romans and their times. Of course others equal in credentials and knowledge take other views - everything in academia today is subject to controversy and dispute. So I have to rely on my own personal experience and on what research I can do myself.

But I would say more on personal experience - Christianity is about a relationship with this God - but it does seem to me that either I have been incredibly lucky over the course of my life ( 70 years ) or that this God has guided my choices in satisfying ways - in spite of my own many screw ups.

I guess this will have to do for this post - hope we can kick some of this around more in following posts.



Nyarlathotep's picture
Larry A. - ...did you know it

Larry A. - ...did you know it mostly consists of nothing...The other was another one that describes gravity or negative energy or something - the two cancel each other out and leave approximately nothing.

It is quite caviler to sum a property of every element of a system, find the sum is 0, then declare the system does not exist. Let me make it a little more concrete.

  • We have a room with 10 people
  • 5 of the people each have a net worth of $1
  • the other 5 people each have a net worth of -$1 (they each are in debt, owing one dollar)
  • The total sum net worth in the room is 0

It would be quite odd for someone to claim that since the total net worth of the room is 0, there is nothing in the room.

Sir Random's picture
"It would be quite odd for


"It would be quite odd for someone to claim that since the total net worth of the room is 0, there is nothing in the room."

Not necessarily true for the religious mindset. Remember: churches and similar religious institutions tend to see not people, but dollar signs. They then filter that view down as part of The Great Brainwashing.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
I can agree with you. The guy

I can agree with you. The guy that did the course said all the material stuff is borrowed - for negative gravity, I think the lecture was about that. Yeah the "stuff" - I just thought the lecture was interesting. Sorry for not replying sooner - I have my hands more than full here.


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