Discussion in 'Community' started by Lowbacca_1977, May 18, 2010.
Vulnerable people are easier to brainwash, so that's not surprising.
That cuts both ways though, right?
I lost my faith after having seen too much senseless suffering, and although many agnostics/atheists may position themselves as rationalists, I'd bet you that plenty more would chalk their disbelief to a similar despair/outrage.
There's a reason why Dostoevsky still resonates.
Yes, though some (internet) atheists would have you believe otherwise.
Yes it cuts both ways but for different reasons. The depressed and misguided person embraces religion as a way of feeling better about themselves and the world based upon the premise that some supernatural diety loves them and cares about them. The depressed and misguided person rejects religion because it becomes apparent that the promise of religion was empty, that in fact, some supernatural deity doesn't care about them or love them at all, given the suffering that others are subjected to. I wonder how many converts go 'full circle', they start in a depressive state and end in a depressive state afer realizing the magic pill was just sugar after all.
I personally found more despair and hopelessness in the idea that **** happens while some omniscient deity who is supposed to love us, just sits around and watches.
I'm much more at peace with the idea that it's life, and life events are random and accidental and yes, occasionally suck...but no one is to blame for that.
It's sad how many people would rather embrace a comfortable lie than a harsh truth.
Perhaps, but then life itself is sad. If clinging to a cosmology keeps one from screaming at night, then it's not my place to judge. Besides, apart from the fundamentalists, there's nothing "comfortable" about faith. I know plenty of religious/spiritual folks who struggle with the reality of senseless suffering and unfathomable evil on a day to day basis.
Have you ever read Tennyson's "Oh Yet We Trust"?
Oh, yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final end of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy'd,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;
That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
I shrivell'd in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another's gain.
Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last--far off--at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.
That last stanza crushes me every time.
But isn't that the whole point of religion to make life less sad because religion gives life and suffering purpose and meaning? People suffer yes, but they are suffering because that is God's Will and He has a Plan for Them? It's supposed to be senseless suffering that causes misery, not suffering According to God's Will. I mean, wasn't there some jolly old religious fellow who popped up on the internet following the Sandy Hook shooting declaring how happy he was for the kids who were killed because they all got to go to heaven early??? It's that eternal optimism that gives religion its edge in the first place.
That's the atheist stereotype of what religion is for, traded avidly among people who never seriously practiced anything, and unchecked against the actual experiences of people who do.
I can only speak from personal experience I suppose and whilst I appreciate that "religion" is an overly broad term, I can just comment that from my observations of religious ceremonies (my wife has taught in christian schools for over 10 years and my kids attend christian schools) that is very much the message which is being espoused from the Catholic, Anglican and Adventist pulpits I have attended.
I'd argue that message and purpose are two different things, though. I'm not super religious these days, but I believe what u believe because I think it's true, not because I'm looking for purpose or meaning or something.
On the God's will aspect, I've always viewed it as do you want to believe in a God who decided to teach leasons through suffering and pain? If he was an omnipotent and loving god, he could have made the universe all goodness, and made us able to learn lessons in such a manner. But instead he chose to make us experience pain and suffering.
Whereas if you dont believe in God, believe in non interventionalist god, other type of God, ect., that would explain why everything apears to happen for no reason, and why there is evil in the world.
Sorry if my writing seems disjointed or if I commited any logical fallicies. I havent been here in a while and my debating skills are a little rusty.
And I too miss NancyAllen. It was fun to watch her post 5 troll posts get banned for a week. Come back post 5 more, get banned again, and watch the cycle continue.
Maybe it will get like that one day but the vast majority of atheists are in fact formerly religious.
no religious person would say they only believe in order to create meaning in their life. it's just obviously the underlying reason.
Which part do you disagree with? That it's the "whole point?" LoH certainly could have pulled any one of these statements from the countless Methodist and Baptist sermons I've attended in my life. Everyone experiences death and almost everyone experiences illness and mourning in a lifetime. If the whole point of religion isn't stepping into that moment and providing a framework for meaning and comfort, then certainly it must be a primary point of religion?
Regarding my family members who are religious, i.e. most of them, a framework for comfort and hope as well as meaning in life is the entire point.
They're not obnoxious about it and if it works for them, I'm not going to say that it shouldn't or that they're wrong. It just definitely never worked for me.
What really bugs me is how Christians cherry-pick the Bible, only following a few key verses and either misinterpreting or completely ignoring the rest. If they believe that the Bible is the word of their god, how can they ignore parts of it? Doesn't make any sense to me.
Also, biblical contradictions are so fun to point out to Christians and watch them gasp open-mouthed as they try to explain them away. Go check out these three passages and let the lulz begin: Luke 14:26 + 1John 3:15 + Revelation 21:8 = proof that following Jesus will send you to hell!
yea, sure, you can do that with pretty much anything if you, you know, take things out of context. for instance, the thing in luke isn't speaking literally. ever consider that as a possibility mayhaps? but then again it's probably too much work to actually read the whole thing. what jesus was talking about in luke was what it will cost, basically, to follow him. i believe it's a reference to something in the old testament, but i don't remember it off the top of my head. if you actually read the ENTIRE section (25-33 being the relevant verses) you can see that it does even specifically state as such. so basically what will it cost you to follow jesus, specifically in that time of turmoil where he was both reviled and loved? potentially everything, especially if those family members are non-believers who will end up hating you for doing that.
what else could it possibly mean by hate there? not loving them above everything else. or possibly this: Luke 14:26 I.e. by comparison of his love for Me.
now, doesn't that make a LOT more sense in context of what he's talking about, instead of "cherry picking" verses and using them for your own purposes?
It's intellectual lazy, but I'm sure everyone does that with everything. It comes from being only able to remember a few things at a time and then just forming long-term memories from those blurbs you like or remember. This isn't new. It's just that Christians take their particularly favorite passages and re-interpret them.
Or for a visual example here's one of my favorite KiTH sketches:
Yes, Christians, Muslims, and Jews tend to be the Kevin McDonald character here.
There is, to begin with, a deep methodological problem here. He's lifting common themes that do exist in Christian theology, re-purposing them, and then using it to bolster his own suppositions. Fundamentally, though, it never escapes the fact he's just projecting motives onto other people. Nuance or concern that he may have in fact missed something is just dismissed as the fact that only he has identified the "real" or "underlying" motivation, which apparently actual practitioners can't gain any insight to.
It's neither a valid nor rigorous form of inquiry.
By way of comparison, a number of criticisms of Christianity talk about its over-reliance on guilt. Many on this site complain regularly about the restrictive nature of its dictates. These statements are undeniably part of the intellectual current of atheism, and could be drawn from the many atheist discourses I've heard in my lifetime. By the same logic he employs above, one could conjecture that the true reason people ascribe to atheism is that they are bad people that don't want to be made uncomfortable by being called to account for their behavior. Yet, such a superficial analysis misses the truth about how atheists understand ethics, how their metaphysics reorganizes their overall outlook, and how they came to the position they did.
There's very little to be gained by pretending magical insight into the behavior of others while simultaneously dismissing their actual lived experience.
i, personally, would have to seriously question any christians that use guilt as a motivating factor. that's essentially legalism, not actually what it's supposed to really be about, which is mainly relationship instead of following stingy dictates enforced by humiliation and guilt. but that's neither here nor there, considering that is what a lot of mainstream christianity is about.
and on a more personal note, i can only speak for myself and my family, but none of us "practice" christianity for any of the reasons that have been listed here. it isn't about making sense out of reality for the reason that otherwise everything is pointless, or about reconciling how god can allow evil horrible things to happen (ever heard of freedom of choice or free will? what it comes down to is god can use those things to further his goals, but it is our choices that ultimately cause most of the bad crap that happens). and let me tell you, when you've actually seen miracles happen repeatedly, it kind of colors your outlook on things. significantly. it becomes more about finding out what is causing said miracles and getting into a relationship with that, which ultimately transcends the miracles and becomes merely about knowing said thing, which to us is god. if you want to call it something else, so be it.
What LostOnHoth suggested there is very, very close to being exactly the reasoning I was given for why I should believe in god like two weeks ago by some missionaries that stopped by my house. That without a god, there wasn't a real purpose or meaning to life, and through believing in god, there could be that.
Here's the thing though guys. The fact that some people believe a certain thing for a certain reason does not mean that that certain thing exists for that reason. Religious ideas exist because people find them to be accurate explanations of the way the world works. Religious institutions exist because like-minded people like to get together and do what they think are meaningful things together. The point of 'religion' is figuring out how the world works, and how we should act in it. That religion tends to give suffering meaning or explain things with a sense of purpose does not mean all religion exists to perpetuate said purpose. Certain religious institutions, perhaps. But not religion as a whole.
Internet Atheist "joke":
Internet Atheist: Knock, knock.
Normal Person: Who's there?
Internet Atheist: NO ONE'S THERE!!! STOP PROJECTING YOUR DADDY ISSUES ONTO REALITY!!!!!