I'm Curious About You Atheists

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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?

Oh, what can I say? Lets see...I believe that in terms of how the world works, the basic laws of physics and chemistry govern everything. Things that they do not allow, cannot happen,and things that they do allow, under the right circumstances, will happen. If these circumstances do occur, then that's probably all there is to it. I believe if we can prove the cause behind a particular phenomenon, then we should accept that proof as correct, until it is proven to be incorrect. I don't believe that there is a God, or that any natural process occurs by the plan of said God, or that the actions of humanity as a whole are controlled by anything other than the general psychology of humanity, except maybe by a few deviants in positions of power. If another person wants to believe differently, that's fine, but to start broadcasting their beliefs as truth they need to provide enough scientific evidence to outweigh that of the current theories.

In terms of morality, I believe that a person should simply try to avoid being a dick. Its not that hard, and there are enough people doing it that if they all stopped, the world would actually be a much better place. That should be all the motive to be a good person that anyone would need- it would make the world a better place to live. You shouldn't be an extremist in any sense. A person should tolerate people of other ethnicities and genders, and then everyone can feel comfortable and we'd get rid of idiots like Fred Phelps, or Hitler.On the other hand if they deliberately treat other groups better than their own people take advantage of that, and then you get things like extreme feminists or, I don't know 'gangstas'?
Violence is probably unavoidable, but if more people restricted themselves to using it in self defence, it might also be beneficial.

Thats all that comes to mind at the moment, but I should be working right now, so I don't have much time for the Escapist anyway.

Caramel Frappe:

TheYellowCellPhone:
Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society?

I don't understand the question, honestly.

Ah, forgive me about that- I figured I would confuse someone with my questions. When I asked that, I was trying to ask if you have importance in life.. if you believe that your talents are meant to be used for greater good (or bad, but most go with good). Does that clarify? Please let me know otherwise.

I believe that my life has importance, to me, because I am the most immediate thing I have in this existence, but on a grand scale, knowing that I live on a very small speck in the cosmos, I recognize the hard fact that I am insignificant. It doesn't bother me, it's just humbling.

I believe the human mind is unable to comprehend certain aspects in life due to the restrictions of the context it is in. Let me clarify with some examples:
How can we understand death when all our experiences come from being alive
How can we understand infinity when our most of what we know has a beginning and an end.

These maybe obvious examples but I think it also relates to more common things. Can you really imagine the distance between the earth and the sun? U can look up the absolute figure but you can't -imagine- how big that distance is.

I think that due the fact that we know there is much knowledge to be found outside out comprehension, we look for a way to explain this. I try to find scientific explanations to -understand- how these things work, and use art to try to -comprehend- them. For instance by analyzing the rotation times of all planets in our solar system and transposing these frequencies to an audible spectrum as a musical piece.

This is how I see the world, not as a place created by an almighty being, but as a collection of immensely complex systems. The fact that I do not believe in God makes these all the more beautiful to me, because I know I can find the governing rules and use to these to make beautiful things.

As for everyday life, it's fairly simple. Treat others as you want to be treated yourself. I don't need a bible to tell me what's wrong and right. I don't want to change people, but I love to inspire people. I don't believe my talents were -meant- to change to world for better and good, because I honestly don't believe anything is meant for anything. But it makes me feel better about myself to help and inspire others. So i hope this response was as helpful as it was inspiring.

i'm not having a go, and i'm not saying 'you shouldn't believe in stuff cos of these points i have right here' i am merely interested in the answers to these questions if you have them. i'm very open minded and genuinely would like to know.

everyone i know would rather watch celebrity jungle than discuss something worthwhile...

Why would you believe something without any proof or indications of proof or smattering of evidence whatsoever? Something that is so ancient it is impossible to know the origins of. Something based on a book written by multiple people who can't even be named, let alone have character references and be deemed trustworthy and not merely drunk or insane. And even if they could, they can't have been there at the start so how did they know? who told them?

Also, why is any religion more feasible than any other? Why is one persons god real and another persons make believe?

If i made up a religion and wrote a book about it, why is it any more or less credible than other religions and books? At least mine would be by an actual real human who you can see and talk to, not an unknown dead for 2000 years guy/girl.

also, what good has it ever done? it would seem that there have been one or two little scuffles that were soley about who's god was harder than who's. needless? maybe?

message me if u wanna talk, this forum could get quite clogged....

My belief is this:

If you need a religion to tell you what you are morally obliged to do or not do, then you have a fucked up sense of what is right and what is wrong.

I believe not in a greater unity. Nor do I believe in science.

My views on life might be a bit different then the rest. I am willing to accept that other people believe in a greater force behind life and suches, wich is of course fine by all means. However, I somehow can't escape the notion that the Holy Book (be it the Koran, Bible, Torah or Budda's memoires) is ment as a guidebook for a balanced and virtuous life. In an age where nothing was certain people needed something to keep a grip on life. The Holy Book brought the solution, and was enforced with a reasonable sturdy hand (See the Crusades & other religious wars on 'infidels' also known as other minded people.) when someone higher up deemed it neccesary.

Now that's all fine by me, but I prefer mortal laws over divine laws as I can blasphemer all I want and deny the existence of any Greater beeing without receiving punishment. Seriously though, if there was a bigger thing out there, wouldn't you think it would make itself a bit more known then through a mere book?

By no means I am saying that you should or should not believe whatever you desire. Oh no, I encourage to take that journey and find out what works for you. Religion just does not work for me. At least not modern day religion. I prefer polytheistic religions. In a way they make much more sense. Shame they are exctinct nowadays.

I'd have pledged my life towards Anubis or Toth. But oh well. Since that's not viable anymore, I'll settle for the nothingness.

to answer your original question, what do I believe in? I believe in myself. And I believe in my own mind and reasoning to understand the meaning of it all in due time when the opportunity presents itself. But untill that moment I'll believe nothing. Not even science =/

I use to believe in God. I still want to actually. But honestly, I don't see him. Anywhere.

I see Atheists stepping up and being more charitable, accepting, and kind than Christians. I see Christians using their beliefs to beat down anyone who thinks, looks, or acts differently than themselves. I see the political party most associated with religion hating to be the one most concerned with the well being of their fellow man. I see the political party most associated with bible thumping to be corporate shims using religion to get the people they fully intend to fuck over to vote for them.

I've gotten sick of trying to make excuses for him. He's either not there or he doesn't give a damn. Either way, I've washed my hands of the whole thing.

And honestly, it's liberating. I never took comfort in my faith. I never once thought he'd ever be there for me when I needed him or had any sense I was being listened to. Instead I always felt like I was being watched and judged.

My loss of faith has been an overwhelming relief to me.

I personally believe that the purpose to life is what you make it out to be. There's no fixed 1 great goal that everyone should follow. As long as a person thinks by themselves, the purpose of their life is to do whatever they decide. If you decide to go make the world a better place, your purpose is to make the world a better place. If you decide you just want to live your life away in between parties with no other real objective, that's cool as well. I wish everyone would TRY to make the world better in their own little way, but I respect people who decide not to. Even at risk of sounding like a jerk, and I'm really hoping I won't, that is why I feel slight distaste for religious people. They help the world because they expect to go to heaven. I help the world because I want to make it a better place. Once again, I'm really hoping not to sound offensive there, and if I did, I heartily apologize. Basically, I believe every person creates their purpose, whether it is good or bad. I'm devoting my life to helping the world become better by furthering scientific knoweldge, and by attempting to create something artistically beautiful in the form of a book. I don't expect to be paid back in any way for any good I do, and I'm content to know that anything bad I've done will also go by unpunished.

i believe in Gravity, when i drop stuff it will always move towards the strongest source of gravity with a certain acceleration, meaning stuff falls down on earth. Because i have seen it happen again and again and again and can explain why.
i believe that organised Religion is dangerous because it makes people kill each over their difference in imaginary friends. Because i have seen it happen again and again and again and can explain why.
i also believe that 100% of everything that happens is completely irrelevant and totally random, there is no higher purpose, we just happen to be here by a series of highly unlikely events, which makes us different from most other planets in the Galaxy(as far as we know).
Just think about how unlikely it is that YOU, precisely you and not someone else is born.

Caramel Frappe:
...because beliefs do make up for a person. Not entirely, but a good portion...

I disagree. Beliefs are overrated and with religious beliefs it's nothing more than just jumping on the bandwagon. Religious people haven't acquired their beliefs naturally, over the course of time, with a lot of effort and thought. It was laid down before them, ready for consumption. It's such an easy way to lead a life, but also not a very healthy one. Yes, I am saying that Religion is on par with fast food.

I personally only believe in one thing and one thing only: myself. That is the only postulate in my life, I need no other. Still I am more of an exception than a rule. There are atheists that believe in spirituality, love, friendship and more, I'm just not one of them. Call me a cynic, because that's who I am.

P.S.: by the way - believe in science or not, but it works, otherwise you wouldn't be able to enjoy your time here on The Escapist amongst many other things.

BiscuitTrouser:
I go with this.

"Isn't this enough?

Just this world?

Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?
How does it so fail to hold our attention that we have to diminish it with the invention of cheap, man-made myths and monsters?
If you're so into your Shakespeare, lend me your ear:
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw perfume on the violet... is just fucking silly"
Or something like that.
Or what about Satchmo?!
"I see trees of Green,
Red roses too,"
And fine, if you wish to glorify Krishna and Vishnu in a post-colonial, condescending bottled-up and labeled kind of way then whatever, that's ok."

Tim Minchin= /thread.
But OP, I feel perfectly happy as an insignificant speck of carbon in a giagnatic and continually expanding universe. I feel no need to justify my existence on this planet, nor am I worried about what will happen to me after I die. I'm perfectly happy to live life able to make my own moral code, and not have it pre-determined by some old guys in a giant building somewhere (no offence intended, just my personal view, sorry if it's a bit biased).

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 rely on evidence for my conclusions. How the physical world works, why it works and the evidence for thinking that and so on. What ever personal value faith had for me when I was a believer, it was never real. It never felt real. Was to fluid and raised more questions then it answered.

Caramel Frappe:
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?

Not sure I understand the question. You mean philosophy and spirituality? If so, I let Carl Sagan answer for me. The world seen through the eyes of a scientist and a human being. This is also seen through mine.

I believe morality comes from empathy. In the absence of a divine power (I am not a believer) we get our morality from imagining ourselves in other people's positions. Jesus's golden rule, in other words, only to me it's common sense and no one should need a messiah to tell them it. As someone a few posts above me said, "don't be a dick". That's it, really. That's basically the only rule, even though it's not always simple or straightforward, or even possible (sadly) to live by it.

We live in a society, among other people, whether we want to or not. I think we all have a responsibility to help each other or try and make life easy for each other. If you do that then you can expect the same from other people. If you go through life with the attitude that says "I only care about myself and I'll stamp on other people to get what I want" then sooner or later you'll come into conflict with someone bigger and badder, and they will stamp on you, and I'll have no sympathy whatsoever. I'm not under the illusion that the world is fair in any way or that there is such a thing as karma; but if everyone had the balls to NOT be selfish even in the face of unfairness, I think things would be much better.

My attitude to religion changes a lot. Sometimes I think religious people are ultimately on the same side as me, since their beliefs basically come down to doing what is right and making a better world. But other times I think religion is inherently opposed to the search for truth, and to freedom of thought and expression, and I just can't get past that. And the world demonstrates every single day that there is no divine power looking after us, and I get frustrated by the fact that people still insist on believing in one.

BiscuitTrouser:
I go with this.

"Isn't this enough?

Just this world?

Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?
How does it so fail to hold our attention that we have to diminish it with the invention of cheap, man-made myths and monsters?
If you're so into your Shakespeare, lend me your ear:
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw perfume on the violet... is just fucking silly"
Or something like that.
Or what about Satchmo?!
"I see trees of Green,
Red roses too,"
And fine, if you wish to glorify Krishna and Vishnu in a post-colonial, condescending bottled-up and labeled kind of way then whatever, that's ok."

I feel it kinda devalues what we see, the majesty of a universe so vast it may as well be a deity, but it is not, a place where everything is possible, a universe so vast and so beyond our comprehension that simply looking at the tiniest fraction of a billionth has blown us away with its beauty. I think the work is purer if we see not the artist but rather the art. That science and life and everything in the universe is natural and beautiful because it is natural. It wasnt put there, or made for us, its arrogant to assume so, we are just here, tentatively looking up into the sky and seeing so so so so so much more than ourselves. When i look at that, i dont need a god. A universe as amazing as ours doesnt need anymore to it to complete me.

That and i calls it hows i see it. I think that life, while objectively pointless, only has a point if you want it to. And look at us! We are thrown, a dust mote, into an infinite ocean of art and knowlegde, and i say the meaning of life is to explore it! Its a waste not to. Look at all this stuff! How can we live idly by while we sit in the middle of the greatest piece of natural art ever, explore it all is my view, starting with our own dust mote.

I think science and technology are our ways of viewing and understanding this amazing place we find ourselves in. If the universe is a room we are still huddling in the corner trying to work out what colour the wall is. And i think its our job to look further than that. Science is discovery, its looking and observing and documenting and appreciating the universe as it is. I think it needs the highest of priorities. The more we understand where we live the more control we have over it and the better we can make our tiny corner for ourselves.

Being an atheist doesnt mean a bland world, on the contrary its a world so full of colour and meaning you can start to see why we dont need a god in our hearts to be 100% content with simply what we can see and hear and touch. I for one dont feel empty at all. I dislike the statement commonly made that my life is emptier for my atheism.

Holy shit! That has got to be the single greatest thing I've ever read in the history of anything! WOW!

EDIT: Totally not being sarcastic. That was brilliant!

"You Atheists", well, that sounds a little off.

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

First things first, Atheists are a very diverse group, so you will probably find very many different answers here. And, to be fair, the same goes for religious people.

As for the things that matter to me, you'll find an extensive list under Secular Humanism. Furthermore, I value scientific progress a lot and am particularily interested in biology. So I guess I value knowledge. Furthermore, I value truth.

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?

The latter. That said, I believe that different people will have different purposes. I try to find mine in biological sciences, which is why I'm currently trying to get into that field overall. But others may be great writers and contribute thus to society, sure. People are good at different things and the beauty of modern society is that we can afford to specialize.

Skeleon:
"You Atheists", well, that sounds a little off.

Actually I find it rather comforting that he's curious about atheists, despite being religious. In my overly religious childhood atheists were considered to be beneath even the worst of satanic cultists, because "at least the satanists believe in something". I used to listen to "The Police" and Sting (still do sometimes), which my father later forbid me to listen to, because Sting was an agnostic... Now that I think of it, my childhood was pretty messed up.

Anyway, questions are good. He might become an atheist one day, who knows. I did, after all and I used to be one heck of a believer.

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

Dooo iiiit! :D

Seriously, I'm actually kind of intrigued

Divine Miss Bee:
i found this topic to be pretty insulting. atheists are people, exactly like you, who believe that being the best we can be comes from within, not from fear or the dictation of a higher power. we are not animals you can poke at with a stick and "study." treating the beliefs of others as an interesting distraction is not a way of treating those others like people who have valid thoughts, and you're not bothering to complexly understand your fellow man if you just say "tell me why you are the way you are." it's rude, it's pretty lazy, it's incredibly small-minded, and it's marginalizing a rather large population of humans. you're clearly on the internet, google "atheism" and link your way through wikipedia rather than standing on your high horse and telling us how terribly fascinating our heathen ways are.

See, here's the thing though:

You came to this thread, and you didn't have to reply to it since it's simply just there for whoever wishes to answer the OP's question(s). I do not think badly of you guys, nor think differently from you or me (I even said I do not shun/judge/think otherwise of atheists but yeah). Another thing is that most people tend to relate things with small mindedness which is a misunderstanding.. the way you've expressed it. Being small minded means only your beliefs matter while everyone else is wrong while being open minded means you accept and understand other ideas/beliefs. This is what I am doing, wishing to know more about you.

Along with you telling me to google 'Atheism'... I can do that, but it's not the same as knowing how it affects peoples lives. Those who write articles, biographies, and studies in real life (on history for example) could just google online to see what happened. But, it's much better to meet someone in person and get their side of the story on it. That's what I am doing, seeing how it affected all of your lives. This is only offensive to you because you try to find a reason for it to be so. I have nothing against you at all, nor feel any rational emotions toward you. Just pointing these factors out that I mean really no harm, and just confuses me that you'd think I am treating you all like lab animals to test on.

P.S: So far, no one else seems to take any offense and they've given me plenty of feedback. Some factors I am surprised to see but delighted to learn. Only did this thread to learn more about the people around me.. rather then judge no?

I see faith as driven by fear of death, we revel in the constance of something superior. We want and need to hang on to something from our lives, even when we know all is lost. What i've seen is atheists grow religious as they come closer to death and religious people grow disillusioned. It all pretty much depends on your existence and past.My experience with religion is about death, abstinence, punishment and solace. Having read and spent some years studying religious and redundant texts(christianity, islam and Hinduism) i find myself intrigued by the absence of enjoyment of oneself. Atheism as i see it was a much needed retaliation against some excessively retrograde ideas harming our societies' evolution. Although many of the most liberal parts of societies today are technically religious they are anything but what you might call faithful. The belief in science and mankind seems to sum it up pretty well. It also happened quite often to me and friends that girls wouldn't go to third base because of beliefs although they clearly wanted to. My atheism is what previously said added to hedonism and contempt for most traditions. This does not only include intercourse, but also drinking, diets, language itself and pretty much anything defining human relationships on a personal or societal level, and between societies.

Fieldy409:

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.

Yeah! We need more people like this sexy beast right here! Yeah!
:D

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?

Asking "what is it an atheist believes" is not much less vague of a question that "what is it people believe".

As atheists, we're defined by something we DON'T believe in. That's all. There is no positive claim or belief you have to make in order to be an atheist.

Now if you'd like to speak in a more generalized way, and ask what common threads do you find among atheists, then I can give you a little bit better of an answer on that one.

Generally, atheists value reason and science as the best methodology to discover truth. The majority of atheists I know prefer to say "I don't know" rather than "I believe", unless of course there is a valid, logical reason to hold a belief. They often take a "humanist" standpoint, which is to say that they are concerned with the future and well being of the human race. Generally, most but not all hold to the fact that we can never entirely rule out the existence of some sort of intelligent being that created the earth, but certainly nearly all hold positive claims that religions are out and out false. Usually this is done through showing contradictions in the Holy Books, such as the fact that the empty tomb story in the NT has contradictory views on how that went down, or pointing to the often ignored sections of the Bible that are more akin to the primitive thought and values of the time rather than the awesome philosophical intellect of a perfect being.

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.

Now if you're talking about me personally, I believe that education is of the utmost importance to the success of our species, and I have the statistics to back it up. I believe in a modified consequentalist morality, where our actions are dictated by what we can best discern will have the best future consequences, and this applies to how we administer punishment in the legal system as well. I believe that while religious individuals are often good people, it is so often despite their religion and less often because of it. I believe that the majority of believers don't understand their own religion, and that many of those that do understand their religion don't understand the history and context by which it was created. I believe that respectful dialog and honest discussion is important, and that being respectful to your enemies will cause you to fair much better than if you did not, even when your enemies do not return that kindness, and in fact especially so. I believe that we all deserve the same chance in life, and that we should be working to extend our lives while taking care not to overuse our resources. I believe that we do not have free will, and that neuroscience shows this quite well, in addition to showing that who and what we are is based in our physical brain.

I could go on, but I think I've said enough for now. Let me know if you have other questions.

GeneWard:

Fieldy409:

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.

Yeah! We need more people like this sexy beast right here! Yeah!
:D

Is it the religion that's generating the charities, or is religion a platform through which people extend the arm of charity? Is it correlation or causation? Would a smaller degree of charities exist were it not for religious organizations, or would good people still give their good will and organize charitably? There are plenty of charities not affiliated with religions, so this seems to indicate otherwise.

The question then is, is religion necessary for all sorts of positive things to happen, or can those things happen without it? If they can happen without it, then is religion really doing good? If religion increases the amount of positive things that happen, what are the indications of this?

On a side note, the atheists I know, even the ones that are staunchly opposed to religion, have little to say about personal spirituality. They usually take issue with major religions like Christianity and Islam influencing the world in a very direct manner that usually becomes apparent in their everyday lives. Anti-theists seem to be in a minority. But, that's just been my experience.

Dexiro:

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.

I'd like to ask you the same question; Sorry if you've already been asked, I tried skimming through the thread but my eyes are having a hard time getting used to the new design of the site.

Not at all, i'll be happy to answer your question and I appreciate yours (as well as everyone's) response in this thread. Also yeah I read up on almost every post but now my eyes ache from such long paragraphs haha.

What makes me, me due to my beliefs is that morals come to mind. Yet, the ones that actually matter and impact people in a positive manner. Most Christians I admit focus on the 'judging' part where they shun homosexuals or non-religious people because they're not following the path. That's honestly inconsiderate since my favorite quote in the bible states, "Treat thy neighbor as thyself."

Which means treat people the way you want to be treated. I'm very well aware that I have flaws as well and have no place to judge anyone. How could I judge you for a belief when even I don't tend to follow my own religion like a rightous person or purely holy? It's impossible for me to be perfectly good, or even close to pure overall. Yet acceptance, treating people fairly and learning from them is a step to actual peace in my eyes.

I've seen enough and experienced enough to know how life goes. Each person within a group causes something and then everyone else categorizes that group with the person. Like how all Christians categorize atheists as sinners. You can't do that, for it's a violation on them and yourself (because we've all done bad.. we're all people who make mistakes no?) You don't have to have faith to be a justified good person. I respect those who try and that doesn't change if they're not a Christian, or engaged with the same sex, or whatever else comes to mind. Only issue I will have is an action taken like if you were to slap a child across the face then I would get on you for your actions of hostility. Hope that sums up what you were asking of me. Please feel free to ask more if you're interested. I still got much to read in this thread.

OneCatch :

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

Dooo iiiit! :D

Seriously, I'm actually kind of intrigued

OK...I'll try and do this as simply and quickly as possible.
Firstly, I DO believe in the idea of an illusion of free will, and it makes little difference whether or not free will is genuine or an illusion in any case (since they appear to be the same from our perspective).
Basically, if you know EVERYTHING about something, lets say, an atom. You will be able to determine exactly how it will behave in the next few quadrillionths of a second following, or at least until it interacts with something else. Unfortunately you cannot do this because it will constantly be interacting with everything simultaneously, (the strength all of the forces act as reciprocals over distance, but never reach zero, so all matter (and presumably everything else) is constantly interacting in some way ALL the time).
However, if you look at a closed system (no interaction with anything outside of it) as a whole and knew EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING it contains. I know this is impossible practically, but bear with me, its the philosophy that matters here, you would be able to determine what would happen to everything it contains indefinitely, and there would be no way to affect this outcome in anyway, without outside interaction. Now if we apply this to the universe in its entirety, we can know exactly what any one atom, beam of light, even people (since we are just complicated arrangements of atoms) will do, at any time, for eternity.
Since we can't comprehend the universe in such a macroscopic scale in infinite detail, it doesn't matter in reality.

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:

Ok. I'll try to respond from my own perspective.

Caramel Frappe:
What are your beliefs?

Atheists aren't exactly united in what they do believe. The only thing the term atheist implies is they lack a belief in all gods. In the same way that a Christian lacks a belief in Zeus (typically, I guess?). That's really it. If you're asking me do I believe in any other deity? No. I mean, then I wouldn't be an atheist.

Are you asking me to list everything I ever believe in, like so I believe that my cat is right here right now trying to get on my keyboard? I don't think really either of us have the time to detail all of that.

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

Things do matter to me, and I'd assume most atheists. I just don't tend to allow what matters to me be based on trust or faith that what I think is automatically right. I guess, I try to formulate what matters to me based on what is, rather than come up with what matters to me, and then try to use that to rationalize the world.

Often the things that matter to an atheist and theist are similar, but because we're both human, we both need to eat, sleep, etc.

Caramel Frappe:
Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society?

I'm not sure what this means entirely. It seems like two questions crammed together. Do I believe that writing can have a purpose? Absolutely. Maybe not in a universal way. What we right here isn't gonna matter much to the 'grand scheme' of the universe. But among other humans? I'd have to be blind to not think that literature has moved people, for better and worse.

I guess a common misconception is that atheists, who don't believe in the supernatural, don't want or have emotions, or don't hold things to be beautiful or moving. But that's not really entirely true or fair. Now while I'm sure there are some people out there like that, there's no real reason why an atheist can't understand and enjoy emotions. I might not think that my 'soul' or 'magic pixies' is what causes me to be happy, and I might realize it's all chemicals and dopamine, but I can still be happy. That's just part of being human.

Caramel Frappe:
Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

Really they don't need to be entirely divorced. Scientific advances can still create awe and wonder, which can create art and literature, which can move things. Science isn't about making things boring.

And it might be prudent that the literature that move men to think and do be grounded in science and reason.

Should science be a higher priority than art? Maybe, but in the same way that a society that creates more art than it does food is likely to starve. That doesn't mean that neither have their places.

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.

Beliefs can make a person, yes. But beliefs don't have to come from faith or intuition or 'gut instinct', and not all beliefs have to be in metaphysical or supernatural terms.

Uriel-238:

Fieldy409:
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.

Fieldy409 seems to be of the belief that charity only comes from religion, and doesn't emerge from secular notions that those who suffer may need help to rise from it.

Myself, I've found charities suspect due to religion, or rather the common belief that proselytization to the forsaken is charitable enough, since at least their souls will be saved. It has become necessary for one to look at the fine print of a given charity to see what they actually do lest they only offer salvation of an afterlife or (to cite a less directly religious example) merely erect billboards to encourage hunger awareness to passers by.

As an off-topic tangent, I've noticed that the best solutions to famine and hardship come not from alms but from the application of science. Norman Borlaug fathered the Green Revolution, supplying high-yield crops, pesticides, herbicides and modern agricultural tools to places like India and Pakistan, and is credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation.[1]

Thats what I get I guess for not saying much.

No, no. Of course I dont believe charity is religion exclusive, Im just trying to point out that religion does good as well as bad, which cannot be denied as many very sucessful charities have sprang from religion. The red cross, The city mission and the salvation army off the top of my head. Also most churchs do their own small scale charity work in the local community, the decent ones anyway.

I also agree with you that science and clever men coming up with strategies is more important for long term solutions to the problems of the world, but charity is what helps people who are suffering right now. Charities are what bring food/clothes/whatever to people who are in need of them right now, whilst science might one day find a way to fix all of lifes problems, charities are what ease suffering now. Science is the medicine and charity is the band aid I guess.

Besides, many scientists are religious. Just becuase some people disagree with evolution doesnt mean they want to ignore all science(except for idiots)

I also forgot to point out that I am christian, so I cant really discuss the topic here.

edit: Also, quoting you has taught me a lot about how this forums code works, I now know how footnotes work, yay. So thanks.

[1] The adage oft used as a Christian allegory Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. is actually Chinese, and works far better with a more literal interpretation.

Fieldy409:

Uriel-238:

Fieldy409:
I wish more atheists were smart enough to recognize the good that comes from religion like this guy. Not just the bad. Like all the different charities that exist.

Fieldy409 seems to be of the belief that charity only comes from religion, and doesn't emerge from secular notions that those who suffer may need help to rise from it.

Myself, I've found charities suspect due to religion, or rather the common belief that proselytization to the forsaken is charitable enough, since at least their souls will be saved. It has become necessary for one to look at the fine print of a given charity to see what they actually do lest they only offer salvation of an afterlife or (to cite a less directly religious example) merely erect billboards to encourage hunger awareness to passers by.

As an off-topic tangent, I've noticed that the best solutions to famine and hardship come not from alms but from the application of science. Norman Borlaug fathered the Green Revolution, supplying high-yield crops, pesticides, herbicides and modern agricultural tools to places like India and Pakistan, and is credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation.[1]

That's what I get I guess for not saying much.

No, no. Of course I don't believe charity is religion exclusive, I'm just trying to point out that religion does good as well as bad, which cannot be denied as many very successful charities have sprang from religion. The red cross, The city mission and the salvation army off the top of my head. Also most churches do their own small scale charity work in the local community, the decent ones anyway.

I also agree with you that science and clever men coming up with strategies is more important for long term solutions to the problems of the world, but charity is what helps people who are suffering right now. Charities are what bring food/clothes/whatever to people who are in need of them right now, whilst science might one day find a way to fix all of life's problems, charities are what ease suffering now. Science is the medicine and charity is the band aid I guess.

Besides, many scientists are religious. Just because some people disagree with evolution doesn't mean they want to ignore all science(except for idiots)

I also forgot to point out that I am christian, so I cant really discuss the topic here.

edit: Also, quoting you has taught me a lot about how this forums code works, I now know how footnotes work, yay. So thanks.

See, I guess to me, it's sort of insulting when the religious insinuate that charity, or things like 'don't murder or don't steal' is a religion specific idea.

Not because it's insisting that non-religious people won't give, or have no problems murdering or stealing (though it does that too), but because it assumes also that non-religious people don't have basic needs like not wanting to be murdered, having stuff stolen from, or being helped out when we're in need, like we're some sort of bizarre alien species.

Claiming that charity is a religious idea because some religious people give charity is like saying that if a guy that happens to have sex with pumpkins gives money to needy children that giving to children is a pumpkin-fuckin' idea. Saying that religion is justified because some religious people give to charity is like saying that sex with pumpkins is justified because some people that do that give to charity.

They ain't really related. Charity isn't a religious idea any more than the internet is a 'gay' idea, just because some of the major work on it was done by gay men.

Science also doesn't come up with 'solutions' to things. It just comes up with theories. How to use those ideas is still up to us. Be they, nuclear power for cheaper and cleaner energy, or nuclear power to blow up people you don't like. Neither is a 'scientific' idea, nor 'religious'. Science might give us the atomic theory, but it's still up to us to decide if it's a solution or a new problem.

While I'm glad that the Red Cross and Salvation Army helps people, I'd still prefer them to not be a religious institution. Why? Because both discriminate against people based on religious ideals that they frankly wouldn't have much of an excuse for if they were more secular.

The Red Cross will refuse to take help from homosexual men, and the Salvation Army, if it knows, will refuse to give help to the same (and takes some of its charity money to use for lobbying against the same).

[1] The adage oft used as a Christian allegory Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. is actually Chinese, and works far better with a more literal interpretation.

Damien Granz:

Fieldy409:

Uriel-238:

Fieldy409 seems to be of the belief that charity only comes from religion, and doesn't emerge from secular notions that those who suffer may need help to rise from it.

Myself, I've found charities suspect due to religion, or rather the common belief that proselytization to the forsaken is charitable enough, since at least their souls will be saved. It has become necessary for one to look at the fine print of a given charity to see what they actually do lest they only offer salvation of an afterlife or (to cite a less directly religious example) merely erect billboards to encourage hunger awareness to passers by.

As an off-topic tangent, I've noticed that the best solutions to famine and hardship come not from alms but from the application of science. Norman Borlaug fathered the Green Revolution, supplying high-yield crops, pesticides, herbicides and modern agricultural tools to places like India and Pakistan, and is credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation.[1]

That's what I get I guess for not saying much.

No, no. Of course I don't believe charity is religion exclusive, I'm just trying to point out that religion does good as well as bad, which cannot be denied as many very successful charities have sprang from religion. The red cross, The city mission and the salvation army off the top of my head. Also most churches do their own small scale charity work in the local community, the decent ones anyway.

I also agree with you that science and clever men coming up with strategies is more important for long term solutions to the problems of the world, but charity is what helps people who are suffering right now. Charities are what bring food/clothes/whatever to people who are in need of them right now, whilst science might one day find a way to fix all of life's problems, charities are what ease suffering now. Science is the medicine and charity is the band aid I guess.

Besides, many scientists are religious. Just because some people disagree with evolution doesn't mean they want to ignore all science(except for idiots)

I also forgot to point out that I am christian, so I cant really discuss the topic here.

edit: Also, quoting you has taught me a lot about how this forums code works, I now know how footnotes work, yay. So thanks.

See, I guess to me, it's sort of insulting when the religious insinuate that charity, or things like 'don't murder or don't steal' is a religion specific idea.

Not because it's insisting that non-religious people won't give, or have no problems murdering or stealing (though it does that too), but because it assumes also that non-religious people don't have basic needs like not wanting to be murdered, having stuff stolen from, or being helped out when we're in need, like we're some sort of bizarre alien species.

Claiming that charity is a religious idea because some religious people give charity is like saying that if a guy that happens to have sex with pumpkins gives money to needy children that giving to children is a pumpkin-fuckin' idea. Saying that religion is justified because some religious people give to charity is like saying that sex with pumpkins is justified because some people that do that give to charity.

They ain't really related. Charity isn't a religious idea any more than the internet is a 'gay' idea, just because some of the major work on it was done by gay men.

Science also doesn't come up with 'solutions' to things. It just comes up with theories. How to use those ideas is still up to us. Be they, nuclear power for cheaper and cleaner energy, or nuclear power to blow up people you don't like. Neither is a 'scientific' idea, nor 'religious'. Science might give us the atomic theory, but it's still up to us to decide if it's a solution or a new problem.

While I'm glad that the Red Cross and Salvation Army helps people, I'd still prefer them to not be a religious institution. Why? Because both discriminate against people based on religious ideals that they frankly wouldn't have much of an excuse for if they were more secular.

The Red Cross will refuse to take help from homosexual men, and the Salvation Army, if it knows, will refuse to give help to the same (and takes some of its charity money to use for lobbying against the same).

But I wasnt saying that charity is a religious idea. Im just saying, that religion has done good as well as bad.

[1] The adage oft used as a Christian allegory Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. is actually Chinese, and works far better with a more literal interpretation.

Fieldy409:

But I wasn't saying that charity is a religious idea. I'm just saying, that religion has done good as well as bad.

I was not trying to refer to just your quote, but the whole conversation.

A wild Cheap Shot appeared!

Caramel Frappe:
Only issue I will have is an action taken like if you were to slap a child across the face then I would get on you for your actions of hostility.

What if they tried to kill their son? You know, like Abraham did. Or is it ok for them to harm their children if they're convinced God told them to?

Jerram Fahey:
A wild Cheap Shot appeared!

Caramel Frappe:
Only issue I will have is an action taken like if you were to slap a child across the face then I would get on you for your actions of hostility.

What if they tried to kill their son? You know, like Abraham did. Or is it ok for them to harm their children if they're convinced God told them to?

If I told you the answer and reasoning behind the bible, it wouldn't be considered a valid answer because it's based on faith alone. God told him to do so, he was about to yet God stopped him before doing so because it was a test to see if he would follow through, trusting in God no matter what (even if it's as crazy as that).

But you'll of course not consider that a good enough excuse and I don't blame you. However I answered it honestly to the extent the bible covers that part. But as I said, in today's society even if someone told me that God told them to try and attempt murder on their child (or even a person) then I would still accuse them of a crime because anyone can say that it's God's will and I doubt that regardless if you're religious or not.

(Oh and I like your Avatar. Is it fan made or based on a show?)

Jerram Fahey:
A wild Cheap Shot appeared!

Caramel Frappe:
Only issue I will have is an action taken like if you were to slap a child across the face then I would get on you for your actions of hostility.

What if they tried to kill their son? You know, like Abraham did. Or is it ok for them to harm their children if they're convinced God told them to?

EDIT: It's super effective!

Seems I thought he was a water type, silly me.

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.

Howdy ^^
well, I'm sort've an agnostic, but eh, not a huge deal. So let me see, my beliefs in Life are this:
Give people decency, mercy, and care
Love ofton, laugh a ton, and try to make folks happy.
my beliefs in science are: plain awesome
and that overall more science isnt a bad thing

aei_haruko:
Howdy ^^
well, I'm sort've an agnostic, but eh, not a huge deal. So let me see, my beliefs in Life are this:
Give people decency, mercy, and care
Love ofton, laugh a ton, and try to make folks happy.
my beliefs in science are: plain awesome
and that overall more science isnt a bad thing

I've re-read your post about five times now, and all I can think of is this.

Ruwrak:

By no means I am saying that you should or should not believe whatever you desire. Oh no, I encourage to take that journey and find out what works for you. Religion just does not work for me. At least not modern day religion. I prefer polytheistic religions. In a way they make much more sense. Shame they are exctinct nowadays.

I'd have pledged my life towards Anubis or Toth. But oh well. Since that's not viable anymore, I'll settle for the nothingness.

I'm glad to know my polytheistic religion is extinct. I'm not sure what I really did tonight instead of go to a Norse Pagan bar meetup, but I'm sure I'll think of something.

Worshippers of Anubis and Thoth? I know quite a few, actually. If you were actually interested, I'd aim you at some of the less cult-like and say "go read the Kemetic forum on The Cauldron".

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