Unbelievers - an Emotional History of Doubt - new book

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Fleeing in Terror's picture
Unbelievers - an Emotional History of Doubt - new book

Thought the group might be interested in this:

Equal time - national Catholic Register reviews a book on Atheism.


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Cognostic's picture
@Mrs. Paul Owczarek: Ha ha

@Mrs. Paul Owczarek: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .... "unbelief has a mercurial history." Gee, we probably should not have burned down all those churches during the dark ages. Fuck us! "If you are an atheist is is because you are angry or anxious." Or could it just be a response to being called sinner, infidel, doubter, and worthy of eternal torture and damnation? Naw... no one should even think about responding to Christian bullshit by being anxious over what the sick fucks are going to do next, or responding in anger and they kill homosexuals and witches. I'm certainly going to be enthralled by all the amazing insights this book has to offer.

Lucky for the Christians, everything is understood. "It was the failure of the church During WWll that has led to this decline in religiosity. America adopting the "In God We Trust" motto and plastering it all over the money was not enough. God is not pleased. (FUCKING IDIOT) As a result of the failure, Hitler became the new iconic Satan! (GODWIN'S LAW is obviously unknown to this author.)

"Ryrie is a careful observer of history and, with one glaring exception in this book, a good explainer of complicated theology. For instance, he uses accurate Aristotelian-based terms to describe how, in the doctrine of transubstantiation, the substance of wine and bread get changed into the substance of blood and body." SO IF YOU WERE EVER CURIOUS ABOUT HOW THIS REALLY HAPPENS --- ORDER THE BOOK!

And the book is completely free of contradictions "It's true that the Catholic catechism teaches that the soul "is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death. …" But it's also true that broad segments of the church universal reject that." FUCK ME!!

If you want to waste 30 minutes of your life and lose three IQ points, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of UNBELIEVERS: AN EMOTIONAL HISTORY OF DOUBT.

*NOTE: An Emotional History. Is there such a thing as an "Emotional History?" I suppose if you were writing a book and cherry picking around all the facts, examples, and rational logic, you could come up with something called "Emotional History." This book will not be on my Christmas list.

boomer47's picture


*" Is there such a thing as an "Emotional History?"

Well yes, I think so. In that there is no such thing as 'objective history as far as I can tell, so far. . Without exception every historian I have read writes with some emotional bias. The discipline of history didn't really begin before Gibbon, and yet "The Rise And Fall Of the Roman Empire '" is replete with moral judgements.

Roman historians tended to write for patrons or for self glory (such as Caesar) Many writers produced propaganda . EG Most of what we think we know about Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Caligula )comes from Suetonius' "The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars "a work at least one modern revisionist historian calls its history of Caligula 'scurrilous' ***

There is also the problem of the very nature of recorded history. Through necessity and bias, history tends to be written as a record of the deeds of great men and the events surrounding them, or even allegedly caused by them. For a simple reason, the lives of ordinary people are rarely recorded, no matter how significant they may be. Consequently ,a common view of history is the record of dates and events surrounding the great movers of history From Ramses 11 to Alexander The Great to Julius Caesar to Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. etc etc etc

History seems linear, with clear causes for change. My view is that history is a continuum. That change is constant , through the agency of vast numbers of people, quite possibly of all people.That great men are not so much great men who cause change, but are
extraordinary men thrown up by events****


*** Caligula The Corruption Of Power. Anthony A Barrett 1989

**** this theory is based on the notion of 'liminality 'and that 'great men" are liminal characters, thrown up by events. My reference 'Forrest of Symbols' ,Victor Turner .

I studied the lives of three people in detail to test this theory; Mohandas Gandhi, Eva Peron and Joan of Arc,. Liminality provides a pretty good explanation of the public lives and events surrounding those people. Having said that ,I make no truth claim. I have presented a rather simplistic explanation of the concept of liminality. It's just one model ,and not the consensus among anthropologists and historians as far as I know. I happen to think it's pretty much spot on.

David Killens's picture
It is an interesting read,

It is an interesting read, but incredibly biased.

I am an atheist because I removed doubts and uncertainty. IMO as long as anyone has doubts and uncertainty, they are a prime candidate for religion.

I do not hate or fear religion, that is definitely not the reason why I left organized religion. In fact, I left organized religion because my impression was that it was more of a social club, and I wanted to get closer to my god.

The terms use by the author are offensive. The author may label this atheist as uncertain and an unbeliever, but I redefine it was myself being very certain (decades of intense research and discussions) and believing in reality, not fairy tales.

Like most theist books, this one is targeted 100% at theists and not intended for atheists. It is a self-serving religious masturbation.

Cognostic's picture
Re: Religious masturbation?

Re: Religious masturbation? Come on, you can't hold hands with God when you are masturbating. You know what Jesus said, "If you have the urge to masturbate, reach out to me and we can beat it together." Remember women, the clitoris is the devil's doorbell.

If you need further reading on this subject: https://www.neatorama.com/2017/01/15/Diseases-Caused-by-Masturbation/

Why was it that the first time I read "Religious Masturbation" a scene from the Exorcist popped into my head?

dogalmighty's picture


"It is a self-serving religious masturbation."

What theistic religious based book isn't?

watchman's picture
It does seem a little

It does seem a little "parochial"...…

in that it only seems to view "Atheism" as a reaction to christanity…… completely overlooking the fact that atheists do not believe in the god of islam nor the god of Abraham ,still less the gods of the hindus or the sikhs or the jains or the zoroastrians. and what of all the other ,older gods ,what of the egyptian ,inca ,aztec ,greek and roman pantheons ….. we refute them all ,now and in the past.

For a more rounded view of atheism I recommend "Battling the Gods, atheism in the ancient world" by Tim Whitmarsh published by Faber & Faber.

It should be remembered that as Atheists we have a long tradition of disbelief far older than the "Johnny cum lately " christiaity.

Tin-Man's picture
This is one of those rare

This is one of those rare moments I actually took the time to read the book review in the OP link. And the first thing that popped into my head was, "Oh, dear. Does this guy even KNOW any atheists?"

For starters (speaking for myself only), I spent over forty years of my life living with doubt and mild anxiety due to my Christian upbringing. None of its teachings EVER made any sense to me, even as a little kid. Made even LESS sense as I got older, and better educated, and more experienced. But when people you love and trust teach you from a very early age that to doubt and question those beliefs will ensure you an eternity of unimaginable torture, that sort of thing tends to stick firmly into the psyche of a little kid, making it very difficult to dislodge as the child grows into an adult.

Found it interesting how the author made reference to how unbelievers are angry at god for some reason or another. Could not help but have a good chuckle at that. WHY would somebody have anger (or any other emotion) toward something in which they don't believe??? Do adults get angry at Santa when they do not get the Christmas gift they wanted? Anyway, just wanted to point that out, as it caught my attention and made me shake my head in amusement... *chuckle*...

So, back to the doubt. I am very happy and pleasantly relieved to say all the doubt and anxiety I endured for a majority of my life no longer plague my conscious. When I finally learned how to expel those last remaining remnants of the threat of hell from the back of my mind, my overall psychological health improved beyond measure. As a result, my life in general and my interactions with other people have become increasingly more positive and more satisfying.

Basically, I will not be reading that book. The review alone tells me everything I need to know about it. Namely, it tells me the author is quite biased and is merely pandering to an audience that is already preconditioned to accept his words as "authority" to reinforce the beliefs they are too afraid to question on their own.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
Thanks for the review of the

Thanks for the review of the review everyone. I mostly clipped it because of the word anger. I am in a state of continual anger from the maltreatment in the Church.

I tend to skim a lot and should read more in depth. At least I thought you would enjoy the debate here.

dogalmighty's picture
Let me get this straight, you


Let me get this straight, you are angry with the way people are being treated by the church? Yet are searching for guidance from the same people? Hmmmmm.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
No. I am searching for

No. I am searching for fellowship with those fed up and wanting to change the Church.

Whitefire13's picture


Great! Another sect in the making! Good luck with your “truth”.

Tin-Man's picture
Re: "No. I am searching for

Re: "No. I am searching for fellowship with those fed up and wanting to change the Church."

...*puzzled look*... Change the church?.... CHANGE the church???... Uh, why not just totally abolish the damn thing altogether?

Your Great Dane takes a massive shit in the middle of your living room floor. Oh, my. That is simply unacceptable and most unpleasant.. Something must be done.... *thinking-thinking-thinking*... Hey! I know! Take the pile of shit and mold it into the shape of a ladybug. Then paint it red with the black dots and use pieces of thin wire to make the legs and antennas. Douse it with a few sprays of your favorite perfume and then place it in a prominent spot like on the fireplace mantle, or maybe the center of the coffee table..... *deeeep satisfying breath*.... Ahhhhh... There we go! Much better. Now nobody would ever suspect it is still a piece of shit.

Then again... Maybe it should just get flushed down the toilet.

David Killens's picture
I wish you luck, but history

I wish you luck, but history has shown that anyone who desires to change the church eventually leaves it and forms another sect.

Sadly Mrs. Paul Owczarek, you are living through a time that proves what many say, that the roman catholic church is resistant to change and will do so only when it is forced, kicking and screaming, to change.

boomer47's picture
@Mrs Paul

@Mrs Paul

"I am searching for fellowship with those fed up and wanting to change the Church."

Imo, a good, honest ambition, which I think may be quite common among Catholics today.

It seems to me that it is often overlooked that the Church is its members, not the clergy .In a perfect world they would be the servants they claim to be, not the masters they think they are. . The gospels show Jesus saying :

Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (KJV).

I use King James because I can't find the Jerusalem Bible translation. I'm happy to use another if you want.

Do you think there is any point in devout Catholics agitating for a Third Vatican Council?

Whenever anyone says "Atheists are angry with god", some atheists get very angry. My observation is that with some there seems to be an element of protesting too much. HOWEVER to claim that generally it is the case or even common is facile and dishonest. (not being based on evidence) It is typical of the dishonestly of many apologists.

It IS my observation that many atheists indeed seem to be angry. Yet how can we be angry at a being in whose existence we disbelieve?

In my opinion, it is necessary to first find the odd few thousand atheists. Then do a case study of each individual. THEN conclusions may be drawn. But, who does the study and under what guidelines?

Grinseed's picture
The Protestants are still

The Protestants are still recruiting.

David Killens's picture
@ Mrs. Paul Owczarek

@ Mrs. Paul Owczarek

"I am in a state of continual anger from the maltreatment in the Church."

I have anger towards any individual or organization that uses it's position of trust to abuse anyone, be it the roman catholic church, the boy scouts, or gymnastic coaches.

algebe's picture
@Mrs. Paul Owczarek

@Mrs. Paul Owczarek

I have absolutely no doubt about religions in general and the Catholic church in particular.

Cognostic's picture
@Mrs. Paul Owczarek: You

@Mrs. Paul Owczarek: You are working too hard to change the church and going about it all wrong. Got a match? Your problems could be over in a single day.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
I prefer the 6 tubes of super

I prefer the 6 tubes of super glue solution. As Trump in his wall envy has pointed out, Vatican City is a WALLED country with 6 known doors. Six tubes of Super glue at the next Sin Nod would solve a LOT of problems.

Sheldon's picture
Has the thread author

Has the thread author considered the possibility that religions are incapable of change until outside influences force it on them?

Consider this, if a person or persons believe they possess the inerrant word of an infallible and omniscient deity, what possible reason would they have to change any of it?

If it is open to interpretation, then it ipso facto is neither innerant or infallible, but theists don't seem to want to understand that fact.

You might also ask if an organisation like the RCC is worth saving through change, we didn't try to change the Nazi party, or Al Qaeda or ISIS, because those institutions are not worth saving, and because their core doctrine makes change impossible.

I think the RCC is rotten to its core, and though there are good people in it, their desire to preserve its core dogma means their good intentions are less efficacious and pragmatic than they might otherwise be.

Just a thought...

Cognostic's picture
@WELL ---- Just like

@WELL ---- Just like everyone else deflated and pissed at the Church, you will just have to start your own religion. A true and useful religion. A religion better than all the phony shit out there in the world today. Thousands of others have done it and SO CAN YOU!!!

dogalmighty's picture


Brother, we should watch our use of sarcasm, no? As people suffering from cognitive dissonance may blindly perceive your words as encouragement. Just a thought, your chimpness.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
IN a sense, that is what you

IN a sense, that is what you have here.

Whitefire13's picture
MPO ... clarity? Is the

MPO ... clarity? Is the statement suggesting this forum is a form of religion or that Cog can be a tad sarcastic?

Tin-Man's picture
@Whitefire Re: To Mrs. P. -

@Whitefire Re: To Mrs. P. - "Is the statement suggesting this forum is a form of religion..."

Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to get through this thing called Life.
An electric word Life. It means forever, and that's a mighty long time.
But I'm here to tell ya.... there's something else!.....
The AR-World...
A world of never-ending silliness.
You can always see the puns... day... or night.

So when you call out that theist who has swallowed that religious pill...
(You know the one, God'll Make Everything Alright.)...
Instead of asking how much time he has left,
Ask him how much he tithes, Baby!

'Cause in this Life,
Things are more amusing in the AR-World.
In this Life,
We hold our own!

And if the Theist Lies try to bring you down...
Go CRAZY! (Laugh and joke some more.)

(Thank you, Prince. You are missed by many.)

Oh, by the way, White, I'M the sarcastic one around here. Cog is just a straight-up asshole. Just for future reference.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
It is a group of people

It is a group of people gathering in solidarity of their (non)religious belief.

Cognostic's picture
@MPO???: Solidarity? Are

@MPO???: Solidarity? Are you fucking insane? Did you even see Tin Man's last post. Imagine that asshole telling me that I was not sarcastic! What f fucktard! You obviously are not paying much attention to what goes on around this place.

Tin-Man's picture
@Mrs. P Re: Cog - "Did you

@Mrs. P Re: Cog - "Did you even see Tin Man's last post. Imagine that asshole telling me that I was not sarcastic!"

See? I told you he wasn't sarcastic.

Tin-Man's picture
@Mrs. P Re: "It is a group

@Mrs. P Re: "It is a group of people gathering in solidarity of their (non)religious belief."

Sooooo.... by that reasoning, am I to understand that people who are regular members of a sports site (Baseball, for instance.) are gathering in solidarity of their non-football religious beliefs?... *tilting head to side*....

Fleeing in Terror's picture
I've hear several people

I've hear several people agree with you, including a LOT of Europeans.

I recently read a book by Sarah Grey - "A Life Everlasting." She married a man from Scotland. He was freaked out that at American Soccer games the fans from both teams are mixed together. In Scotland they are barricaded on opposite sides of the fields with armed police separating them.

It is mostly tribalism. I have seen a LOT of tribalism on this forum.


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