I'm Curious About You Atheists

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It's kind of impossible for me to talk about my beliefs as such... that's part of the problem I have with Christianity (and most other Religions.) Christians, Muslims, Hindus, whatever... fine. I have no problem with any of the individuals (or rather if I do it's a problem with the individual and not the collective.) But it's the organization that I have a problem with. Specifically forcing their religion on children and even infants. I may take spirituality pretty lightly, but it is akin to child abuse to force him into a belief structure onto a child before he is able to legitimately make a rational decision about what he chooses to believe. I don't know what age that is, but my former protestant church it was 10. Too young by far (especially in my case.) Indoctrination of children and inclusion of infants into rituals is just sick. That's why I can't talk about my own spirituality or beliefs, the one thing I can say about them is that I do believe TELLING anyone about any faith I may or may not have is the one of the most despicable of sins. Spirituality is something between an individual and their god and is no-one else's business. Every single organized religion makes the same mistake of hubris. If they try and spread their beliefs, they do nothing but harm. After all, if the soul (whether or not it exists) is so important... how can anyone spreading a faith system possibly live with themselves? I'd be terrified that I would be leading souls to their damnation if my beliefs weren't the "correct" ones. Spreading even a possibly false faith is something I could not live with. But there are so many people that seem to have no problem with it.

Enjoy your life and shut up you will have only one shot then you will be fertilizer is everything in for me in a nutshell. (if you want to ask me about what I think about god feel free to ask.)

GeneWard:
I love religion. It makes millions of people feel like they belong in a world to which they might otherwise feel alien. Personally, I'm not religious in the slightest, but even for all the bad that's come of it, religion is a very, very good thing, and I'm glad it exists. One thing I do take exception to, however, is people who attempt to convert me because of how accepting I am. I get this a lot, going to a Catholic school. It's just that, on a totally personal level, I prefer to think that the universe, and everything in it, came to be out of a few million years of nothing and a pinch of luck, which is every bit as (un)believable as the teachings of Christianity and Islam, and asshats like Richard Dawkins who can't take the fact that some people *gasp* enjoy their spirituality and didn't have it indoctrinated into them by a religious cult trying to conquer us all, make me sick.

I wish more atheists were smart enough to recognise the good that comes from religion like this guy. Not just the bad. Like all the different charities that exist.

I guess it's hard to compare an atheists belief to that of a religious person, since theres no "concrete" thing (i.e. God) to focus your belief on. Personally i have faith in the good of people. There are so many bad things in the world, but there is far more good. We just never hear about it. For every rapist there are 100 people who respect and cherish their partners. For every murderer there are 100 people who value life. Other than that I also believe in the ingenuity of mankind. Think of all the things our species has overcome thanks to a select extremely dedicated few. It doesn't really compare to belief in a God, but since I don't believe in that, this is what I believe in.

If I could be said to believe in anything it would be my own senses, and my ability to learn from experience. Call me an atheist by way of nigh-universal skepticism.
As for meaning and acceptance... is it wrong that I've never really longed for such? I've led a fulfilling life up to this point. I enjoy myself while also moderating my behavior, living by a set of morals concocted from what western society pounded into my head as a kid and the lessons I've learned on my own since then.

Also, I like that Tim Minchin quote up there back on the first page (hot damn this thread expanded quickly), though it's a bit too much of an optimist position for me to adopt myself (when I'm asked if the glass is half full or half empty, I'm the type to actually measure the capacity of the thing and give a decimal answer... and if that decimal is actually 0.5 exactly, then the glass is at half capacity). Still, to each their own.

"the meaning of life, lies in the value you place on it, and those around you, Life without others around would be meaningless, as such, being there for others enriches their lives as much as they enrich yours."

-Me, just now

so yeah, purpose and belonging can be found it your fellow man as well as a holy book, I also find it far more motivating to be nice to someone for the sake of said person, instead of hoping for a better afterlife.

Faith wise? I'm a Deist, the thought of a personified God irks me and is just non-sensical, used to be Atheist, but...yeah.
Philosophy wise? Based around Honour, Chivalry, and keeping my word, even if it kills me.

We make our own purpose, and the best one I've found is that we are here to help and serve each other during our existence.

Slightly out of place as an agnostic, but I would like to answer. By definition I don't know if there is a god, but I am open to the possibility. I don't mind religion, or the lack of it, so long as "you all" don't try to shove it down my throat, or kill me because of it. In short all I have to rely on is my personal set of values and morals. I am a man with convictions, and there is no more dangerous a thing. In the broader scope of things I believe that literature is important, just like math, science, art, PE, et all. Lastly are my personal views. I have a conservative base with some liberalism. I believe that a person should be held accountable for their actions no matter what. I believe that a person should strive to do the best they can regardless of if they like the job or not. I believe in a "hand up" not a "hand out" in regards to the welfare system. I believe a person should not be afraid to get their own hands dirty. I believe a person should be moderately self-sufficient. Like changing a tire, checking the oil, and defending yourself. I do not suffer fools, fools suffer me. I would not hesitate to kill someone who did something that violated a very specific list of personal guidelines. Those include encountering a rapist in the act, home invasion, encountering a murderer in the act, and such. On the other side of things I would not hesitate to stand between an innocent and harm so long as they (the innocent) was not at fault.

I'm complicated to say the least.

Think of me like Batman. A good man with a dark soul, willing to do bad things to bad people so you don't have to.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -George Orwell

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Caramel Frappe:
What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

I have lots of beliefs, one I prioritize rather highly is critical thinking though - the examination of claims based on logic, reason and evidence, then going with the answer whether I like it or not. So naturally I'm a big fan of science.

I consider faith as a concept to be dishonest, and not in a good way where you're like a magician or an actor or a writer weaving a tale of intrigue and wonder, but in a more fundamental sense. If you believe based on faith, or emotion or anecdote or feeling, you're making a baseless claim - asserting that some important part of the universe works the way you want it to because you like the idea of it doing so, and you never bother to check if you're right or not. It's a lazy way of thinking, like writing anything that fits into a crossword puzzle. There's an off chance you could be right, but more than likely you just wrote something that will prevent you from ever finishing the puzzle properly, and the universe is far too vast and extravagant for that kind of guesswork.

And belief makes it feel so small, and personal and human, like the entirety of the cosmos is a little snow globe for you to enjoy the view at night, and I could never be satisfied with that - condensing the infinite splendor of the cosmos so arrogantly into our limited terms. For that matter I've no desire to defer my free will to a cosmic overlord, or my morals to an ancient desert tribe who lived in circumstances utterly alien to me. Most of all I never ever want to stop asking questions, especially if only to spare the sensibilities of people who suspect they might not like the answers. So, to put it bluntly, I see faith and by extension religion to be counter to pretty much everything I believe in - deferring all intellectual responsibility to concepts and people who have really done nothing to deserve it except sounded appealing.

BiscuitTrouser:
-snip-

Well said. I personally am far more in awe of a universe which sprang into existence with physical laws which allowed the formation of all that we see. And if all that awaits me after death is oblivion and my very consciousness is little more than an emergent property of the structure that atoms and molecules trended towards over millions of years of evolution then I am ok with that because it is far more wondrous than the thought of being purpose built. If we are here through the convergence of the physical laws of the universe and a little bit of luck then we are all the more amazing for it, and owe it to ourselves to understand all that we can in the time we have.

As far as purpose in life, I've long believed that life should have no purpose save for that which we define for ourselves. Who better to tell us how to live our lives or what to hold dear, if we hold onto anything at all?

As for morality, a common criticism of atheists from those who simply don't bother to understand us (not that anyone I've seen in this thread falls under this umbrella) is that without God and the promise of heaven or threat of hell, or some perception of their being a higher power with laws greater than us that there would be nothing to keep people from murdering and raping each other in the street. I always wonder if this says more about the people who say these things than anything else though. :D

My morality is relatively straight forward though. Personal freedom should come before everything else, in so far as it doesn't infringe on the personal freedom or safety of others. Because at the end of the day, while I think people should have the right to do whatever the hell they want to themselves, and with other consenting adults, you still have a responsibility to the 7 billion other people on this planet to not be a complete dick and endanger their lives, or take away their right to do the same. There's an implicit trust in there that should not be violated, and if it is, then the rest of us have every right to take you to town for it. Which is really what happens anyway, though the mob often goes much too far in curtailing freedom simply because they don't like something. Not because it actually harms them.

I would like to add as well that for me personally, I think people should take that responsibility to others farther than simply leaving people to their own devices and not screwing them over (though I respect people's right to choose to simply stop there). The thing about this crazy fucked up world we live in is that we have always accomplished far more working together than not. I also think that people's right to live as they choose should include the right to have shelter and food and access to adequate medical care regardless of their standing in the world, if only because absolutely anyone can fall, but no one deserves to be simply ignored and left to die because they haven't met some arbitrary minimum level of success as determined by the rest of society.

Caramel Frappe:

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

I believe that people should try to not be complete bastards to one another and make their way through life causing the minimal amount of harm and disruption to those around them. That you should live for this world and those in it, not a theoretical next one. I believe that people can and should make moral decisions without the influence of any God having anything to do with it.

I don't believe, per se, in a higher purpose - in the sense that I don't feel that everyone and anyone can change the world. In contrast, I do believe that people should use their talents to the betterment of others and the world in general.

And yes, I suppose I do believe that science should be a higher priority in modern society; finding solutions to worldwide problems through science rather than arguing about whether or not homosexuals can be priests or whose prophet got it right. Lets put all these obsolete, outmoded and frequently contradictory rules aside and concentrate on finding ways to either live sustainably on this planet or get the hell off it before our mismanagement bites us in the behind.

I may be coming across as someone who dislikes religious people...but that's not true. Most of my personal philosophy has a deal in common with Christianity and it's rarely individual followers of a given faith I have a problem with and more the people in positions of authority who'd rather waste time and engage in conflict with each other about rules that have become increasingly irrelevant to human society, whilst at the same time appearing to ignore the broad tenets of their own faith to "judge not, lest ye be judged" and "love thy neighbour."

Oh, and because I simply couldn't type all those "i believe" statements without thinking of it:

well, i've sort of figured that with so many people around, no matter what i do i'm going to fade into obscurity. so, might as well enjoy life then.

My beliefs? That there is no god and the world should stop wasting its time with such nonsense.

Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you?

Well I believe the search for knowledge and happiness trumps almost everything else.

Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

Lolwut? Uh... Well I think science is a higher priority than religion, as it actually tries to accurately explain the world we live in, not spreading 2,000 year old propaganda.
Yes, skills should be valued, if that's what you're asking. I guess I'll answer by saying we should all strive for a purpose, to try to do good things. If you can write well, do it. If you can make great games, do that. Whatever makes you happy and such.

Well i believe their is a deity out their but its ridiculous to claim you know its exact nature.

I don't really think we need a purpose in life, aside from that which we create for ourselves. There's a sort of duality to it - if I don't believe in a god, then I must accept the consequences for all my decisions in life. I can't rely on anyone or anything to create meaning for my existence, because I must create this meaning for myself. We control our own destinies, and it's up to us what we do with our lives - we can do as much or as little as we wish, as long as we can live with it. And personally, I try to make a lot out of my life, because it's the only one I've got - I don't believe in a second chance, and the idea of an afterlife is, quite frankly, undesirable.

First off, I must thank you for being so open-minded!
I would consider my belief to be that balance is something to strive for. You can't have a concept of "good" if you don't have "bad" etc. I also consider education and development of the sciences to be of higher priority than most other fields. And finally, I believe that I should make the most out of my time on this rock, just in case there won't be anything afterwards.

My beliefs are simple.

Don't be a dick, unless when dick-ed to.

Don't treat things or people badly just for being different.

To me there is no meaning to life, and I feel sad whenver I think about death. I don't believe in any God or afterlife, but that doesn't mean I don't wish they were real.

Caramel Frappe:

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

I imagine that overall they aren't all that different to yours. I'm something of a political lefty (in the UK, so from a US perspective that's probably quite 'socialist' :D )
I think that ultimately people should be allowed to do pretty much what they want providing it doesn't harm anyone else, but that everyone has responsibilities (paying taxes to help those not as well off as yourself, generally being altruistic and basically not being a dick) to society to ensure that that is the case. I suspect the only real difference is that you think that morality is preordained and objective, and I think morality is simply an optimal survival choice that results in the least amount of human suffering. And thus, on merit, should be the option we all choose.

I don't believe in purpose as such, but since we're here, we might as well make the best that we can of it both individually and as/for a society as a whole. Because if you have a fair society, people tend to be happier, and being happy during our lives is really all that there is! (that sounds kind of bleak, but I don't view it as such)

In terms of science, yes I think it would be better overall if it had a more prominent place. At the end of the day, science is what has given us a life expectancy that is doubled from what it 'naturally' would be. It's given us ridiculously good communication techniques (hence I am typing this) and means that we can effectively feed ourselves, and has provided evidence based medicine that actually works when we're ill. So I don't think that science should be at the forefront because it's the next great dogma, but because it has more of a capacity to improve the lot of humanity as a whole. When I say 'it' I mean evidence based reasoning, because that is the foundation of modern science - that might cut down on those incredibly aggravating anti-ageing remedy of the month ads on TV too!

That said, I don't have a problem with religious people, although I do take issue with a fair number of religious teachings, especially with regard to the Abrahamic religions. I don't see why perfectly good people need to follow a book that was written 2000 years ago in order to consider themselves moral. Something that was liberal and progressive thousands of years ago is generally going to be tyrannical and unjust by modern standards (whatever it's source - Cicero was considered far too weak by his contemporaries, but if someone assassinated a political rival today, there would be *something* of an outcry).
No one seriously follows books like the Old Testament any more (or at least the only ones that do fly planes into buildings and shoot doctors) so why is it still revered? As a historical document, it's interesting, but good people trying to justify and interpret the most excessive of actions can all to often lead them to do things that they'd otherwise consider wrong. This is a good example. It's the most concise description of the study that I can find, but talks about religion rather unpleasantly, so I'm sorry about that (the study itself is interesting, I promise!!).
The point is that religious people are generally good people anyway, they don't need a religious organisation based around a 2-3000 year old book to tell them how to do it. And sometimes, as the study highlights, the attempt to marry ancient beliefs with modern morality can do a great deal of harm when it leads to extremism (not all the time obviously)

In summary I have no problem with religion on the whole, religious people, or it's place alongside science in the future. But a more enlightened religious attitude from those in positions of religious authority wouldn't do any harm either, or more precisely would STOP doing harm when taken to extremes. Hope this doesn't sound anti-religious, because I intended the opposite.

Caramel Frappe:

I admit it's sort of hard to ask a question in such a manner but basically what I am asking is what are your beliefs that make you, you? Yeah, that's a good way to put it because beliefs do make up for a person. Not entirely, but a good portion. I'm here to listen, well... read, but still.

Add a healthy dose of cynicism and bit of grumpiness to the above and you've basically got me lol

I believe that people should try to be good because being good is the right thing to do.
I also believe that life is a bugger who will try to trip you up if you don't pay attention to it, and that any success you experience is more often than not despite the best efforts of outrageous fortune.

As much as I respect the beliefs of others, no matter what they believe in, I personally don't believe in god. But I call myself athiest/agnostic. Why? Because I'm not out to try and prove anything. My life in my eyes has always been to want to be the best person I can be. Not just for myself, but for those I care about aswell. Maybe there is or isn't god or multiple gods. I dont know nor will I know unless evidence is 100% apparent.

I'm no scientist but I think that anyone can find the peace that they aspire to from their beliefs in God, in simple acts of kindness, generosity and a concerted effort to be a good person.

Simplistic I know, but isn't everything so much better when things are simple? :)

I don't believe in fuck all.

That's, for me, essentially the point of being an atheist, I don't have to blindly trust someone else to tell me what's what. I'm an avid fan and supporter of science, where I have the opportunity to get the claims they make confirmed myself if I wanted to, and I do.

I don't see the appeal in constantly working towards a reward that most likely isn't even real. There's no universal "meaning" to our existence, we're fucking here and that's all there is to it. If you want a purpose, go on, make one, you have all the right and opportunity to so knock yourself out.

I can't bring myself to believe in a god, at all. Having said that I don't have a preffered theory on how the world was created. We don't know, no one knows and I doubt we ever will know.

As for other peoples beliefs, I'm not saying that we should all keep quiet about them, but when its going to piss off other people its probably best kept to yourself, dispite being non-religeous myself I get more annoyed by" Athiests" who can't shut up and think there by default more intelligent that religeous folk, Kinda letting the side down guys.

Personally I think everyone should try to be a Good Person, though everyone has there faults.

Basically "Can't we all just get along?".

If you're looking for a single conclusive answer then you will be hard pressed, apart from lacking belief in God or gods atheists have no tenet or belief system that is inherently common to them. Being an atheist means and ONLY means you do not believe in God or gods. There are atheists who believe homoeopathy to work for example, or that aliens interact with us regularly and so on. One belief is not common to all.

As for me personally though, I trust and respect others until I see no reason to, ie if they stop respecting me. Being good has always been beneficial to me as well as others, I see no reason to be utterly selfish.

As for purpose I don't think we have any, what we do is ultimately our choice.

I do think science needs to be a higher priority, at least in the UK. Partly for ideological reasons, I do trust to the scientific method and the progress it has given us and as we look ahead we are deadly close to some startling and revolutionary breakthroughs which could make life a LOT better for all. Partly for pragmatic reasons too, our greatest export as a nation is essentially our intellect. Data and technology are our works in the world and we have precious little else to offer to the outside. So purely from an economic and political viewpoint we need emphasis on science to encourage people into the field to continue producing revenue for us.

What you believe isn't really a good sum of you as a person; actions define, beliefs explain. How you explain, or do not explain, life to yourself is immaterial to me, but how you treat me and others, that matters. If you believe in some god or other wanting you to be nice, friendly and helpful to people around you, and so you try to be, good on you. Keep believing that, or don't, but the being nice, friendly and helpful bit is definitely a keeper.

Me, I believe that most people in this world have little interest in harming me, and a bit of a threshold against doing it needlessly. I believe that all humans are at base selfish, our nature also means we tend towards being reasonable towards one another unless the stakes are high. Therefore, I try to be nice, friendly and helpful to people I meet, since for the most part, they will at best tend towards being that way towards me, and at worst tend towards indifference and impatience. I can live with some people being gruff and impatient with me, but I try not to be that way towards others.

As for deeper philosophies, I feel that the existence of any being like what gods are generally described as is so unlikely that I comfortably round it up to atheism. On a side note, the Judeo-Christian "God" in particular seems such a vindictive, petty and inconsistent personality that I would not like IT. I have no trouble with a personal religious belief, but I do consider religious organizations to be unambiguously a force to the detriment of humanity, so I oppose, however passively, their existence, and I find the undeniable power of religion in politics worldwide, western and eastern countries alike, to be an abomination and a tragedy for the species.

Caramel Frappe:
What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

If I had to be pigeon-holed into some philosophical school, I'd probably opt for "secular humanist", with a side order of utilitarianism.

I believe happiness is the goal for, and ultimate purpose of, the human being. By that I mean, I believe that a person should be free and able to pursue their own goals, interests and life in the way that brings them the greatest happiness, and that attempts to restrict or otherwise hamper that pursuit is morally wrong. In general, I believe the best way to determine the morality of an action is to consider the effects it will have in terms of happiness and unhappiness; an action which will create a lot of happiness, or prevent a great deal of unhappiness, is a good action. An action which creates a great deal of unhappiness, or more unhappiness than happiness, is not a good action. (Not necessarily an evil action, mind, just not a good one)

Obviously this comes with the caveat that one's pursuit of individual happiness should not impact negatively upon the happiness of others. By this I mean a couple think they'd be even happier having a baby, that's great if they have their own biological child or adopt, but if someone thinks they'd be happy with a kid and so they kidnap a baby? Not cool.

In terms of the role of science in society, I do believe it is very important but as someone who comes from a scientific family background but ended up working in the arts and humanities, I obviously don't believe science should be the be-all and end-all of our culture. The way I think about it is this: science provides us with the engineering, medicine and mechanics which form the frame for our society. Art fills in the frame.

On the art/science point, there's this perception that all atheists are scientists and it's true that there's a correlation between one's level of scientific education and the chances you'll be atheistic. But that's not the only possible option. There's a similar correlation between one's level of religious education and the chance you'll be an atheist, and that's something backed up by personal experience on my part.

Like I said earlier, I'm an arts major and I came to the conclusion that God doesn't exist through studying mythology, religion and philosophy - the arts and humanities, in other words. I distinctly remember being into myths and legends as a kid, Norse and Egyptian especially. They were so bizarre and weird that part of me knew they weren't real stories about real things that actually happened. And during assembly at my Christian school, when the school chaplain was assaulting us with Bible stories, my pre-teen brain suddenly clicked and realised that these were just another set of clearly-untrue myths and legends. The only difference was the packaging. But what I didn't understand was why people still told these blatantly-untrue stories, so I kept pursuing religious education courses at my school, and I kept reading up on religious and ethical matters out of school.

I ended up taking it to A-level (just below university-level in my country), where I was the only atheist in the class. I was consistently the highest-scoring student in the class and won the prize for the highest scoring student both years. Which I personally found hilarious.

Caramel Frappe:
Hello everyone! Let me just say that I am a Christian, yet I will and shall not judge/shun/insult any of you who come to this thread. I already know a bit about atheists but I wish to know more since I like to observe other people outside of my beliefs. There's so much I can learn and understand from you all, so please let me ask this:

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

I admit it's sort of hard to ask a question in such a manner but basically what I am asking is what are your beliefs that make you, you? Yeah, that's a good way to put it because beliefs do make up for a person. Not entirely, but a good portion. I'm here to listen, well... read, but still.

hmmmm

I will say that somones upbringing can be a VERY big driving force in regards to what they belife

I imagine in some circles being an "atheist" is very strange

and of coarse there are those who might condemn it..and they also cant fathom why somone wouldn't have faith

the thing is they were brought up christain, so of coarse its the "norm"...I, like many others was brought up completley secular..so for me "non beliveing" is the norm..unfortunatly they just cant understand this (not you personally Im talking about the YOU WILL BURN IN HELL brigade)

Im not exactaly a hardline Atheietst...But I figure a god as the religions describe him is very unlikley....and I dont see myself taking up any religion

I had experience with religion..going to a very catholic school (and attending mass) it didnt really change my belifs

generally I tend not to think about thease things all that much, I dont see the point, I just focus on the short term..what Im doing and where Im going to go..perhaps Ill contemplate the universe later on...or leave that to the experts

Jedamethis:

On a side note: I thought once that religion was like a teddy bear. A comforting piece of the past that we don't need anymore, but still makes us feel good. What kind of man shows his teddy bear off to the world and wants other people to share it?

You know what, in the past I've tried to sum up the whole religion thing in a succinct and yet not disrespectful manner, and I haven't come up with a better way then what you put. Nice work.

Caramel Frappe:
Snip

Firstly, hello to you too!

As for what I believe, I think we're apes that have had the sheer luck(good or bad, that's another debate entirely) to evolve a higher intellgence capable of things like self awareness, curiosity, and unbelievable cruelty. Now, I think that we're largely in something of the 'teen' years as a species right about now. As far as animal species go we're extremely young indeed, no arguing that, but unlike all other animal species we have dominated the globe and have the power to make an incredibly bright future for ourselves. And that is what we should be looking at.

We're on the cusp of major population and resource issues, and we can control our own fate and the fate of this planet and every species on it. We shouldn't be looking at how to kill each other for some God or trying to understand the mind of something made up by people in caves thousands of years ago, we should be looking at securing the planet for future generations.

Ironically my friend, we should behave like the Stewards of the planet those philosophers long ago said.

Now, conversely, why do you believe in a personal god? I can understand the existence of a creator god, the origins of the universe are indeed, and probably always will be, a complete mystery, and I don't think we'll ever really understand it. So I'm fine personally with crediting the origin of creation to some external force that we can't understand or describe in math. You can call that force 'God' if you want, but the leap from that (the Deist) kind of god, to a personal God that can see your thoughts and knows all, that's a leap I'm literally just unable to comprehend, and I've truly tried.

I live my life to a moral code that I have been brought up to follow the only difference is I do this because I want to be a good person while you do it because you think God wants you to be a good person. The only difference is motivation, unless your a bit of a religious zealot then your just crazy

every atheist is different, unlike those of you with religion we arent told what to belive and think so we all come to our own conclusions and ideas about what is right and wrong or whats importent

I like how the op says "you atheists" in a way that sounds like he's separating us into diferent types of humans or something.

The difference between a moderate, tolerant believer and the same type of non-believer is very small. Very, very small. Inconsequential to 99% of our daily lives. Most of the times it's childhood indoctrination that separates us from having the same belief system. I think a more educated and science-aware society will lead to more people becoming non-religious in the future, and it's already happening at a fast rate.

As for my "beliefs", I subscribe to the school of morals and ethics that four billion years of evolution have taught the complex structures of my genetic code. I like helping people, and I like fulfiling my needs. And I will most likely do so until I die. I don't see myself being one of the few to contribute in any major way to humanity's future, but I would like to.
I'm more concerned about our distant future than our immediate one. I firmly believe that we will be able to, and we must, eventually leave this planet if we are to survive. Colonizing all of known space is a distant goal, but I don't see any other, better outcome in the evolution of mankind. I have the same thoughts that Carl Sagan once had when he was still alive, the same thoughts that people following in his footsteps today also like to cherish as a passing fancy - the idea that in a time yet to come, very distant from our lifetime, humanity will set foot among the stars to explore the vast cosmic ocean, and with the reach of infinity in our grasp, set out to a grander journey that will as much fulfill our purpose as it will discover what, exactly, it is.
It is within this mindset that religion becomes a small, pitiful thing, a pathetic speck of human fantasy on a pale, blue dot whose light can barely be caught at the closest of distances. The horrific visage of Hell or the damning wrath of God becomes insignificant next to what humanity has already seen, by itself, with no help from a so-called omnipotent observer - to look within the true abyss and realise that the truth is far more awe-inspiring than what some people have trained themselves to believe for thousands of years - that even those thousands of years are a laughable amount compared to the real age of reality. But most of all, the grim realization that is the stillness and neutrality of the universe, the humbling truth that we as humans are not, in fact, special in any way - and have never been.

In a way, that is all the religion I need.

I am an atheist, but I have (nearly unique, I think) philosophical views, I think that there is no free will, but entirely due to scientific reasons. It took an hour to explain to my friend and I don't have to energy to put it into coherent sentences :P

I think by "you atheists" he means it the same way old people do when talking about young people that, simply, they perceive to be having more fun than them.

"You kids with your drugs and alcohol and sex, you disgust me though I really want to join in and wish I'd given it a go while younger." Same thing as the smoking ban, which essentially got brought about by middle age people who used to smoke but can't anymore because they have kids. They really want a cigarette, so you can't have one.

OT - the above essentially contains my thoughts on most things. Many laws exist to limit behaviour based on unacceptable absolutes, like murder, while limitations exist socially on behaviour thanks to a screwed moral code. Thats pretty much the atheism argument for me; take God out of organised religion and it looks mighty silly. So don't do organised religion.

Then look at the main reason for God existing; fear of death. Now realise there is no God and you're an over educated monkey holding on for dear life to a rock flying at countless miles per second trying not to think about death and the black abyss at the end of our existence.

Now relax and just be nice to people. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc, just play along. While belief in God is not necessarily a bad thing, the organs which have grown up around these beliefs are often flawed for they were made by men. If God is perfect, could there be any greater insult to His/Her glory than a bunch of culturally stunted zealots thinking they know what He/She wants people to do?

Whit:

And now that you've read basically everything I believe, I have only one question, why did you read all of that?

Because it's creepingly close to what I think.
Life should be enjoyed.
And no man has the right to take away someone else's joy because it's "not Normal".

Jowe:
I am an atheist, but I have (nearly unique, I think) philosophical views, I think that there is no free will, but entirely due to scientific reasons. It took an hour to explain to my friend and I don't have to energy to put it into coherent sentences :P

Genetics, instinct and psychology decide for you?
Something along those lines?

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