I've just decided I'm an Atheist

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I tend to justify it with my own sense of ethics.

Let me put it this way:

-Whether I am right or wrong about the nature of the universe, I will strive to lead a good life. One that brings happiness to myself and enriches others along the way.

-I will not waste my time mocking the religion by going through the motions of something I can not bring myself to believe in without good cause. Faking belief isn't likely to earn any points with an omniscient being anyways.

-If I am correct about the nature of the universe, and if all goes well, I go to oblivion sated and with the knowledge that I made a positive impact on the world I left behind, which is the only kind of immortality I honestly desire.

-If I am incorrect, there is some kind of afterlife and the deity/spirit/whatever chooses to look past my inability to believe and chooses whether or not to let me into the "party" as Nuke em describes it simply on the basis of the kind of life I lead, so much the better. I would likely only have myself to blame if I fail to meet the standard in this case.

-If I am incorrect, and the deity chooses to punish people simply for their beliefs, I may not be happy; but a leader that is egotistical enough to make judgments on the basis of blind devotion, and attempts to control people through fear, is quite simply a tyrant, and likely not worth our spittle, much less our service. Whether or not resisting a tyrant with that kind of overwhelming power is worth it is another question, but I still face the problem of being unable to fake devotion.

Mr.Mattress:

Istvan:
I've found logic to be a pretty good companion.

I find Logic to be a tool of the Lord (Catholic Deist Here).

OT: If you feel like you can't believe in God, then you might as well not. I believe in God and I can't think of a universe without him/her/it/them.

Either way, Congratulations! I hope you find happiness being an Atheist. Just, don't be a jerk about it.

Eh?

To state that more clearly, what the ever loving fuck does that mean? Socially Catholic but actually Deist? As far as I'm aware those two terms are entirely contradictory.

Nuke_em_05:
You're throwing a party. You've invited all of your friends, and anyone who wants to be your friend. You've put directions to the party out there for everyone. So, anyone who is your friend, and who follows the directions can come to the party.

Are you responsible if people don't follow the directions and don't end up at the party? Are you responsible if people who aren't your friends, or who openly hate you aren't allowed into the party, even though they followed the directions?

No. You aren't.

If the directions are inadequate, or even fail to convince people that a party is actually impending, then yes, you are.

kurupt87:

Mr.Mattress:

Istvan:
I've found logic to be a pretty good companion.

I find Logic to be a tool of the Lord (Catholic Deist Here).

OT: If you feel like you can't believe in God, then you might as well not. I believe in God and I can't think of a universe without him/her/it/them.

Either way, Congratulations! I hope you find happiness being an Atheist. Just, don't be a jerk about it.

Eh?

To state that more clearly, what the ever loving fuck does that mean? Socially Catholic but actually Deist? As far as I'm aware those two terms are entirely contradictory.

It's hard for me to explain, but let me just say that I believe in a Clock-Maker God, A God who would have a son with Mortals (AKA Jesus), A heaven where everyone who is good on the Earth goes to Heaven, a God who doesn't care about prayers and is focusing on keeping the Universe safe from the most Corrupt Creatures, and that God would have Human Messengers on the Earth (Though I highly doubt the Current Pope is the one he's talking to right now).

I forgot to talk about the OP so here goes; you don't believe in god, stop worrying about hell. My input on this is not really helpful, I never believed in it so have no true concept of how terrifying it is to have done so.

Mr.Mattress:

kurupt87:

Mr.Mattress:

I find Logic to be a tool of the Lord (Catholic Deist Here).

OT: If you feel like you can't believe in God, then you might as well not. I believe in God and I can't think of a universe without him/her/it/them.

Either way, Congratulations! I hope you find happiness being an Atheist. Just, don't be a jerk about it.

Eh?

To state that more clearly, what the ever loving fuck does that mean? Socially Catholic but actually Deist? As far as I'm aware those two terms are entirely contradictory.

It's hard for me to explain, but let me just say that I believe in a Clock-Maker God, A God who would have a son with Mortals (AKA Jesus), A heaven where everyone who is good on the Earth goes to Heaven, a God who doesn't care about prayers and is focusing on keeping the Universe safe from the most Corrupt Creatures, and that God would have Human Messengers on the Earth (Though I highly doubt the Current Pope is the one he's talking to right now).

Alrighty, you can drop deist as a self descriptor then.

Deism is basically the belief that a god started everything, made the natural laws etc, and then does not interfere at all. There's no hard and fast stance on afterlife.

I'd describe you as a non denominational Christian/Catholic, you're certainly more theistic than deistic though.

Thanks for clarifying.

Oirish_Martin:

Nuke_em_05:
You're throwing a party. You've invited all of your friends, and anyone who wants to be your friend. You've put directions to the party out there for everyone. So, anyone who is your friend, and who follows the directions can come to the party.

Are you responsible if people don't follow the directions and don't end up at the party? Are you responsible if people who aren't your friends, or who openly hate you aren't allowed into the party, even though they followed the directions?

No. You aren't.

If the directions are inadequate, or even fail to convince people that a party is actually impending, then yes, you are.

If the directions seemed unclear to some, I'd expect them to call for clarification. My number would be in the directions.

That's the heart of what Jesus did, create a personal direct line to the party host in case you get lost.

I have never once heard, in response to a party invitation; "prove that this party is happening". If people choose not to believe in the party, then they choose not to go. They miss out on the party, and the host and other guests miss out on them. It's a lose/lose.

That's the heart of evangelism, to make sure everyone at least gets an invitation.

I'm not saying that you have to believe in the party. I'm just trying to clarify what it is. Too many people, "believers" and non-believers, try to make it about something ugly: shame, guilt, punishment, power, control, politics, maniupulation; and it isn't. A great many have certainly benefited by twisting it into something like that, and that is terribly unfortunate.

I know my analogy isn't perfect, none really could be; and the inadequacy of language, or at least my limited skill with it, makes description difficult; but the point is, the "party" is Love. Pure Love, not "love" like commercialized love, or even friends, family, or romantic love. According to Christianity, God is the source of Love. If you choose to not be with God in the end, you choose to be separated from Love. If all good flows from Love, and you choose not to be with Love, with what are you left? Hell is the absence of Love.

To use a much more over-used analogy; darkness is not punishment for disobeying light, it is simply the result of not choosing light.

Again, all that really only matters if you choose to believe. If you don't, you should have nothing to worry about. If you do, then there you are. No one should be coerced, shamed, threatened, or argued into believing, despite far too many terrible attempts. They must simply choose.

Nuke_em_05:

If the directions seemed unclear to some, I'd expect them to call for clarification. My number would be in the directions.

That's the heart of what Jesus did, create a personal direct line to the party host in case you get lost.

I have never once heard, in response to a party invitation; "prove that this party is happening". If people choose not to believe in the party, then they choose not to go. They miss out on the party, and the host and other guests miss out on them. It's a lose/lose.

That's the heart of evangelism, to make sure everyone at least gets an invitation.

I'm not saying that you have to believe in the party. I'm just trying to clarify what it is. Too many people, "believers" and non-believers, try to make it about something ugly: shame, guilt, punishment, power, control, politics, maniupulation; and it isn't. A great many have certainly benefited by twisting it into something like that, and that is terribly unfortunate.

I know my analogy isn't perfect, none really could be; and the inadequacy of language, or at least my limited skill with it, makes description difficult; but the point is, the "party" is Love. Pure Love, not "love" like commercialized love, or even friends, family, or romantic love. According to Christianity, God is the source of Love. If you choose to not be with God in the end, you choose to be separated from Love. If all good flows from Love, and you choose not to be with Love, with what are you left? Hell is the absence of Love.

To use a much more over-used analogy; darkness is not punishment for disobeying light, it is simply the result of not choosing light.

Again, all that really only matters if you choose to believe. If you don't, you should have nothing to worry about. If you do, then there you are. No one should be coerced, shamed, threatened, or argued into believing, despite far too many terrible attempts. They must simply choose.

Of course no one has asked for proof of a party. This isn't the same thing as a party, it's much larger. The invitation is there, but just saying "believe in god, believe in god" doesn't convince me that YHWH is real. You can say "There is a party down the block" and I'll believe you, but I'm gonna need more then words to convince me of something like the Christian God. And even if you DO get them to accept, how about convincing them god is GOOD? Heaven is just worshiping god. God damned Adam and Eve for eating an apple before they even knew the difference between good and evil. God killed a bunch of children to stick it to the pharaoh.

So, yeah. That analogy isn't just not perfect, it doesn't work at all. He gives you no proof, no reason to believe aside from a threat that you will have your genitals crushed and your bum raped for all eternity if you don't. "Hell" sounds like a freaking punishment to me. Even if it isn't eternal torture and just a big, gray abyss, it's still a goddamn punishment. Spend all your life doing good and being noble, but no paradise for you because you are a poor Chinese woman who can't even pronounce "bible", much less go to church every Sunday.

...Sorry, if that came off rude. I didn't intend it that way.

If there is a God and he's a jolly good chap then if you live your life as a goodish person, not being a dick and all then you'll go to heaven. God being a jolly good chap and all there would be no problem.

If there is a God but he's a damn loathsome chap then sadly we're in the shitter ol' boy and there's not much we can do about it. Who wants to be on a chap like thats side though eh?

If there isn't a God then good to know you've had a good life before an eternal darkness strips you of your whole existance and all life was pointless... but thats life ol' boy.

(I did that in a British Colonial Officer voice)

TheDarkEricDraven:

Nuke_em_05:

If the directions seemed unclear to some, I'd expect them to call for clarification. My number would be in the directions.

That's the heart of what Jesus did, create a personal direct line to the party host in case you get lost.

I have never once heard, in response to a party invitation; "prove that this party is happening". If people choose not to believe in the party, then they choose not to go. They miss out on the party, and the host and other guests miss out on them. It's a lose/lose.

That's the heart of evangelism, to make sure everyone at least gets an invitation.

I'm not saying that you have to believe in the party. I'm just trying to clarify what it is. Too many people, "believers" and non-believers, try to make it about something ugly: shame, guilt, punishment, power, control, politics, maniupulation; and it isn't. A great many have certainly benefited by twisting it into something like that, and that is terribly unfortunate.

I know my analogy isn't perfect, none really could be; and the inadequacy of language, or at least my limited skill with it, makes description difficult; but the point is, the "party" is Love. Pure Love, not "love" like commercialized love, or even friends, family, or romantic love. According to Christianity, God is the source of Love. If you choose to not be with God in the end, you choose to be separated from Love. If all good flows from Love, and you choose not to be with Love, with what are you left? Hell is the absence of Love.

To use a much more over-used analogy; darkness is not punishment for disobeying light, it is simply the result of not choosing light.

Again, all that really only matters if you choose to believe. If you don't, you should have nothing to worry about. If you do, then there you are. No one should be coerced, shamed, threatened, or argued into believing, despite far too many terrible attempts. They must simply choose.

Of course no one has asked for proof of a party. This isn't the same thing as a party, it's much larger. The invitation is there, but just saying "believe in god, believe in god" doesn't convince me that YHWH is real. You can say "There is a party down the block" and I'll believe you, but I'm gonna need more then words to convince me of something like the Christian God. And even if you DO get them to accept, how about convincing them god is GOOD? Heaven is just worshiping god. God damned Adam and Eve for eating an apple before they even knew the difference between good and evil. God killed a bunch of children to stick it to the pharaoh.

So, yeah. That analogy isn't just not perfect, it doesn't work at all. He gives you no proof, no reason to believe aside from a threat that you will have your genitals crushed and your bum raped for all eternity if you don't. "Hell" sounds like a freaking punishment to me. Even if it isn't eternal torture and just a big, gray abyss, it's still a goddamn punishment. Spend all your life doing good and being noble, but no paradise for you because you are a poor Chinese woman who can't even pronounce "bible", much less go to church every Sunday.

...Sorry, if that came off rude. I didn't intend it that way.

Too often people on both sides of this discussion are aggressive and rude, so people on both sides tend to assume the other is being aggressive and rude to them by default, especially in the written word; particularly the written word online where everything is aggressive and rude as a rule. In your case, I certainly understand your position.

The "party" analogy was more to the concept of Hell, and I probably tried to stretch it too far into other aspects. As far as "convincing" people of the existence of God; of course no written word or logical argument can prove it. It it could be proved, it would be fact. That is why we call it a belief.

How to evangelize is not to just throw a bible at someone and quote scripture. Of course, that's how many attempt to "evangelize", and it does more damage than good. The most effective form of evangelism is witness. I can testify how God has worked in my life, the great things I have done through a power not my own, the leading I have felt in my life from him. I can share God's love with others through service of my fellow man; not because God demands it of me, but because I choose to allow Him to work through me.

This can all be dismissed as coincidence and acts of my own volition, however. Again, that's where the faith comes in.

I can tell you about God, tell you about what He's done in my life, and offer to help you get acquainted with him, but it still up to you to make that choice, to believe, to trust, to have faith.

That's your call, not mine. I can't make you believe, and I can't make you follow the path. Again, I realize that many have tried and only made things worse for everyone.

With Adam and Eve, they were told, explicitly, by their creator not to eat that fruit. They chose to eat the fruit against God's will. They chose to leave God. They chose to break his command, and he only had one, and they entered sin. Sin and God are like oil and water; they must be separate. The casting out of Eden was not a punishment, is was the direct result of their choice.

With the Egyptians, I honestly can't give you an answer. Many men have claimed to understand God's reason, and being men, they certainly lack the capacity for such an understanding, but they pretend nonetheless, only doing more damage as they try to "justify" God's actions. I don't pretend to have such an understanding, but here's my perspective: if God exists, if God created all things including Man, it is not my place to question Him, or to even understand it if there is an answer; all I can do is trust Him.

As for the various people of the world who haven't "received an invitation". I have no idea if God has special provisions for such people. According to the bible, there was a time when all people knew God, and many turned away from Him and were scattered. So that choice was made for them many generations ago. This, however, is the point of the Great Commission: "Go out into all the world". God wants everyone to know Him, and He has sent us (believers) to go introduce them.

God, and believers, do not (or should not, as some have forgotten) rejoice in the fall of any person. It is a sad thing, but it is not a punishment.

Being undesirable doesn't make something a punishment.

If you go 50k miles on a car without changing the oil and your engine explodes, crippling your car, your car didn't punish you, the road didn't punish you, the DMV didn't punish you; it was simply the natural result of choosing not to change your oil.

If you choose to not make payments on a car or house, the bank isn't punishing you by taking it away from you; it is simply the result of choosing not to pay for something.

If you choose to eat tons of fatty foods and not exercise, having a heart attack is not a "punishment" from the FDA, it is the direct result of your choices.

Living a life of sin is like not changing your oil, not making payments, and eating nothing but McDonald's fries; it is a choice that you make. Like any choice, there are natural consequences. The consequence of not choosing to be with Love is not being with love.

Again, I can't convince you, it's your call. If you choose not to believe because you don't have enough evidence, or because you don't like some of the "rules", or because you can't be given an explanation, then that's your choice. It saddens me, but I can't do anything about it. It saddens God, but he can't do anything about it. You have to make the choice. I respect your choice either way.

Again, if you don't believe, you have nothing to worry about.

I never will understand the narrow-mindedness that some people have when it comes to God being "evil." There are alot of different interpretations of hell, heavan, and the motives for God's actions and its stupid to only consider one interpretation.

Anyway, to the OP, hopefully you will follow the path that is best for you. Although I don't think there is much else to say that hasn't already been said that doesn't boil down as a request to join one side or the other.

Nuke_em_05:
Snip

You certainly have a better view of Christianity as a whole then you could have, and I applaud you for that. Anyway, my point about Adam and Eve was that they were like, literally born yesterday. Even if God had told them not to, it would be like banishing a child from the house for stealing from the cookie jar, don't you think?

But the choice thing is what grabs my goat. Like the OP said, why would he not believe in Zeus or Vishnu, or Xenu? Without proof-any proof, any at all-how are we making a choice? You're making the choice to not follow X, so you are making the choice to go to Hell/Hades/whatever. If Jesus came down on a chariot of gold(gold, mind you, not iron, Jehova doesn't do chariots of iron)and said "I am Jesus, worship me and you will go to Heaven, don't and you will go to Hell" then THAT would be a choice. But as it stands, it is not, because we don't know it is true anymore then we know any other religion is true...well, I've seen a god, but that is another matter entirely.

And you say that it is okay if we don't believe because then there is nothing to worry about, but you do, and surely you must see that's a little unfair.

TheDarkEricDraven:

Nuke_em_05:
Snip

You certainly have a better view of Christianity as a whole then you could have, and I applaud you for that. Anyway, my point about Adam and Eve was that they were like, literally born yesterday. Even if God had told them not to, it would be like banishing a child from the house for stealing from the cookie jar, don't you think?

But the choice thing is what grabs my goat. Like the OP said, why would he not believe in Zeus or Vishnu, or Xenu? Without proof-any proof, any at all-how are we making a choice? You're making the choice to not follow X, so you are making the choice to go to Hell/Hades/whatever. If Jesus came down on a chariot of gold(gold, mind you, not iron, Jehova doesn't do chariots of iron)and said "I am Jesus, worship me and you will go to Heaven, don't and you will go to Hell" then THAT would be a choice. But as it stands, it is not, because we don't know it is true anymore then we know any other religion is true...well, I've seen a god, but that is another matter entirely.

And you say that it is okay if we don't believe because then there is nothing to worry about, but you do, and surely you must see that's a little unfair.

I think with Adam and Eve, it was more like the parents telling the kid not to stick a fork in the outlet. The kid did it anyway, and was electrocuted. It wasn't a punishment, the parents didn't want it to happen, but it was a natural consequence for the action. You play with electricity, you get shocked; you play with fire, you get burned; you sin, you get separated from God. They aren't crimes and punishments, they are actions and reactions; choices and consequences.

Well, Jesus did come down and say it; "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." You have a choice to believe Him or not. I can form a personal relationship with Him, and experience Him in my life through the Holy Spirit. I can't say the same for Zeus and Vishnu. Again, my evidence of that is personal, and something I can't convince you of rationally or empirically.

The way I see it, if Jesus came down on a fiery chariot of gold (Jehovah loves to pimp his rides with fire), and proclaimed his sovereign deity with an army of angels at his back, would it really be a choice? There'd be no need for faith, hope, or trust, you'd just pick it, default. If your choices of drink were Coke and battery acid, maybe you're picking Coke because you actually like it, but even if you didn't you'd still pick it because (despite Pepsi advertising's best attempts) you wouldn't rather die than drink Coke.

Imagine the party analogy for a moment. If you've been in the military or older education systems, you may be familiar with mandatory "social events"; parties that you must attend no matter what. They can be enjoyed, but there's that looming cloud that everyone had to be there anyway.

I won't pretend to know God's motivation, but if I was hosting a party, or creating a club, or gathering followers, I'd want them to join because they actually liked me, not because I was simply the best option.

I do believe that those who don't follow God will end up in a state of "Hell", whatever it may be, and that they will suffer for it. I don't want that for anyone. That isn't my motivation for evangelizing, however. My motivation is that I know what a relationship with God is like, and I want to share that with as many people as possible. Too many pitch "avoid bad", when in reality we should be selling "meet good". I can testify and witness as much as I want, but in the end, it is the convert's choice. If I've done all that I can, and they are still unfazed, I can't force them to change. Lord knows that many have tried, but that simply doesn't work. I can tell you about God and what He's done in my life, and what He can do in yours, but it is between you and Him beyond that point so there's no point in me concerning myself with that.

If you have already convinced yourself that there is not God, as a fact, then there is nothing I can do or say to persuade you otherwise. I'll still let you know my experience, but I've accepted that there is nothing I can do. For you, however, if you are truly convinced that there is no God, then you don't need to concern yourself with things like Heaven and Hell.

Nuke_em_05:
Snip

I guess you have a point, about the "Coke or Battery Acid" thing. I will concede that.

What I see, though, is like...someone telling you that there is a pitfall in the middle of your room. Against all odds, all evidence to the contrary, there is this person telling you that there is a big hole covered up or camouflaged so you can't see it. But if you brush your teeth in a certain way, you will not only be able to walk over the hole, but you will get the best massage of your life on the otherside.

Wow, that analogy was terrible. But you see my point. Or, you don't. Thanks for your time anyway. As it happens, it's like 1:00 AM here and I'm bored out of my mind, I've rather enjoyed this chat.

TheDarkEricDraven:

Nuke_em_05:
Snip

I guess you have a point, about the "Coke or Battery Acid" thing. I will concede that.

What I see, though, is like...someone telling you that there is a pitfall in the middle of your room. Against all odds, all evidence to the contrary, there is this person telling you that there is a big hole covered up or camouflaged so you can't see it. But if you brush your teeth in a certain way, you will not only be able to walk over the hole, but you will get the best massage of your life on the otherside.

Wow, that analogy was terrible. But you see my point. Or, you don't. Thanks for your time anyway. As it happens, it's like 1:00 AM here and I'm bored out of my mind, I've rather enjoyed this chat.

I certainly see your point, and the analogy makes sense as far as your perspective. I think an important thing to consider is that if there is a being, all-powerful and all-knowing, that created all things, or at least life and humanity, that being is at a much higher level of understanding than we are.

Like a parent to a child. In the fork in an outlet scenario; the child doesn't understand the concepts of mortality, electricity, conductivity, or cardiovascular and neuro-motor functions. The parent can't explain all that to them, the child simply doesn't have that capacity. So, the child sees no good reason not to stick a fork in the outlet, and the parent's warning seems arbitrary to them. In your toothbrush analogy, it is more like brushing your teeth to avoid cavities.

My point is, following God is not arbitrary steps to avoid unrelated dangers; it is following the only path around such dangers. Like a sonar leading a fleet through a minefield. To steal an analogy the Man Himself used; we are like blind men. We cannot see the dangers through our own understanding. How would you lead a blind man around hazards? "Take my hand", or "Follow my voice"; which is exactly what the Holy Spirit says.

This perspective focuses more on negative reinforcement; avoid bad. Though, given the original topic focused on "Hell", that's what this conversation has been about. I guess that's actually the simplest explanation; it isn't punishment, it is negative reinforcement. There is a negative condition (death, hell, oblivion, however you want to define it) that can only be removed by following God.

Again, however, this shouldn't be the perspective one takes in believing, or evangelizing. And again, I understand that far too many have tried that approach to the detriment of all. To follow the operant conditioning analogy, it is more like positive reinforcement, being with God is the positive condition gained by following Him. It isn't about why not to choose not to follow Him, it is about why choose to follow Him. Even then, conditioning is not an appropriate comparison. It isn't about desired behavior, it is about God loving us, and wanting us to love Him back. That experience is the greatest of all.

The Message is not "come with Me because the alternative is death and suffering (or even oblivion)". The Message is: "come with Me because I am Life and Love, and I want to share it with you".

Sadly, this message is lost even to most "Christians". So, I'm not trying to convert you, though I sincerely hope that you do some day experience a loving relationship with God, I'm just trying to provide a better understanding of what "it's all about".

I have enjoyed this chat as well, and I'd love to continue with any other questions or concerns you have, though I think to continue here would stray too far from the original topic of the thread. I apologize for the long-winded (in text...) nature of my posts, I just get a lot of ideas at once and get "verbal diarrhea" as it were... except in text... and then try to shape it into something coherent.

Be prepared to be attacked by people who dont know what an Atheist is, will tell you its a religion and tell you what YOU believe because you are an Atheist and as I said... they dont know what Atheism is in the first place.

I had a guy tell me I believed in Scientology because that was the religion of Science... that level of ignorance is worrying.

Kinguendo:
Be prepared to be attacked by people who dont know what an Atheist is, will tell you its a religion and tell you what YOU believe because you are an Atheist and as I said... they dont know what Atheism is in the first place.

I had a guy tell me I believed in Scientology because that was the religion of Science... that level of ignorance is worrying.

It's not a religion but it is a common set of beliefs/facts about the world. A belief doesn't necessarily constitute a religion though. I believe saturated fats are good for you, that doesn't make me a Lipidian preaching the good word of steak and eggs.

aPod:

Kinguendo:
Be prepared to be attacked by people who dont know what an Atheist is, will tell you its a religion and tell you what YOU believe because you are an Atheist and as I said... they dont know what Atheism is in the first place.

I had a guy tell me I believed in Scientology because that was the religion of Science... that level of ignorance is worrying.

It's not a religion but it is a common set of beliefs/facts about the world. A belief doesn't necessarily constitute a religion though. I believe saturated fats are good for you, that doesn't make me a Lipidian preaching the good word of steak and eggs.

No technically it's a lack of belief. Like how not collecting stamps isn't a hobby, not believing in religious deities isn't a belief.

You could get into schematics from the word "believe" but if you do you should also say "no hope" is still hope.

Anyway at least you decided to think logically for yourself. You thought rationally and logically for yourself using the facts of life, rather than using the baseless faith that others tried (and will still try) to impose upon you.

Pluvia:

No technically it's a lack of belief. Like how not collecting stamps isn't a hobby, not believing in religious deities isn't a belief.

You could get into schematics from the word "believe" but if you do you should also say "no hope" is still hope.

Do you believe that science and logic can explain the world?

aPod:
Do you believe that science and logic can explain the world?

What sort of an offtopic question is that? How is it relevant?

Like I said, he's trying to go into schematics about the word believe.

Just like how no hope is still hope.

Pluvia:
Like I said, he's trying to go into schematics about the word believe.

Just like how no hope is still hope.

>.>

<.<

Semantics. Just an fyi.

Please continue successfully ignoring the argument bait.

Now I don't want to quote nuke em because it would be a giant wall of text compared to my small amount of text. I am talking to him though.

I agree with you mostly, but,you make it sound like anyone who is say, hindu, is pretty much screwed. I think its simply a matter of wether, once they're dead, if they fully accept God or not. It's kinda hard to beleive that a merciful God would have such strict requirements for being with him. I'm not saying that a serial killer could just suddenly realise that (For the sake of argument, assume that God exists)God exists and get a free ticket to heavan. I'm saying that if someone who has led a good life and done good things dies. He realises who God is and accepts him.

Anyway, about how athiesm isn't a beleif/religion/whatever. There is one true fact about athiesm and that is that someone doesn't beleive in a God. Now those words can easily be added onto and become a cause. For instance, in order to want religion to be gone, you kinda have to be athiest. In order to hate religion, you have to be athiest. Those two things are beleifs and they stem from athiesm. Thus yes, athiesm isn't a beleif, but it can easily become one, and it can easily become a cause. "Purge the heretics!" is caused by a religious beleif. "Purge the zealots!" is caused by an athiestic beleif.

The reason I say that is mainly because I have a feeling that the whole "Athiesm isn't a religon/etc." thing is used so that people can say that no one can do something for athiesm, or because of athiesm.

Wow, I did not mean to post nearly this much.

Blablahb:

aPod:
Do you believe that science and logic can explain the world?

What sort of an offtopic question is that? How is it relevant?

It's relevant to the discussion we were having, I'm guessing you read everything so I don't get why this so ruffled your feathers as to inspire your response.

Psst, there is more than one religion in the world. If you feel you may want one, feel free to look them up. It ain't gonna kill you.

Or just don't fear something you don't think exists.

aPod:

Blablahb:

aPod:
Do you believe that science and logic can explain the world?

What sort of an offtopic question is that? How is it relevant?

It's relevant to the discussion we were having, I'm guessing you read everything so I don't get why this so ruffled your feathers as to inspire your response.

What he is saying is that Atheism has nothing to do with that... the only thing covered by Atheism is lack of belief in a deity. Thats it. Nothing else.

Not having a hobby is not a hobby, bald is not a hair colour, etc.

aPod:

Blablahb:

aPod:
Do you believe that science and logic can explain the world?

What sort of an offtopic question is that? How is it relevant?

It's relevant to the discussion we were having, I'm guessing you read everything so I don't get why this so ruffled your feathers as to inspire your response.

Since when does science equal atheism?

But, as for your question. Science has done a pretty neat job explaining the world so far, and by the looks of it, it's going to keep doing a pretty neat job at it. So it's not a question of belief. Unless "Do you believe a glass of water will make you less thirsty?" is a question of belief too...

Nuke_em_05:

TheDarkEricDraven:

Nuke_em_05:
Snip

You certainly have a better view of Christianity as a whole then you could have, and I applaud you for that. Anyway, my point about Adam and Eve was that they were like, literally born yesterday. Even if God had told them not to, it would be like banishing a child from the house for stealing from the cookie jar, don't you think?

But the choice thing is what grabs my goat. Like the OP said, why would he not believe in Zeus or Vishnu, or Xenu? Without proof-any proof, any at all-how are we making a choice? You're making the choice to not follow X, so you are making the choice to go to Hell/Hades/whatever. If Jesus came down on a chariot of gold(gold, mind you, not iron, Jehova doesn't do chariots of iron)and said "I am Jesus, worship me and you will go to Heaven, don't and you will go to Hell" then THAT would be a choice. But as it stands, it is not, because we don't know it is true anymore then we know any other religion is true...well, I've seen a god, but that is another matter entirely.

And you say that it is okay if we don't believe because then there is nothing to worry about, but you do, and surely you must see that's a little unfair.

I think with Adam and Eve, it was more like the parents telling the kid not to stick a fork in the outlet. The kid did it anyway, and was electrocuted. It wasn't a punishment, the parents didn't want it to happen, but it was a natural consequence for the action. You play with electricity, you get shocked; you play with fire, you get burned; you sin, you get separated from God. They aren't crimes and punishments, they are actions and reactions; choices and consequences.

Sorry, but what kind of irresponsible, all knowing, all loving parent puts a outlet in the middle of the children's room!?

I'm not all knowing and even I know that will NOT END WELL.

Ranorak:
Sorry, but what kind of irresponsible, all knowing, all loving parent puts a outlet in the middle of the children's room!?

I'm not all knowing and even I know that will NOT END WELL.

Right.

And can we drop the naturalistic analogies for sending people to hell? God chooses to institute his laws, he chooses to judge us, and he chooses to send us to hell. Not effing comparable.

Black Arrow Officer:
Well, over the past few weeks I've noticed religion really isn't that big in my life anymore. I also came to realize more and more that there is literally no proof of any God. I know there's no way to disprove any Gods either, but why did I believe in the Christian God but not Zeus or Shiva? Or any other of the thousands of Gods? They all have the same amount of proof of their existence: none. The only reason I believed in the Christian God was because I was born Christian, and I was told from a young age that the Christian God was the only god who existed. Well, to be fair my parents weren't exactly super religious. We only went to church on Sunday and said grace before dinner, nothing more. Anyways, I'm trying to keep back thoughts of my old religion, but I'm really worried about one thing. Even though I never believed in Hell as a Christian since the only references to any place after death are to Heaven and Sheol, which is described as a state of "blackness" and similar to sleep, I can't help but worry if Hell does exist and I'll be tortured for eternity. But then I think about why I'll be tortured. If a Christian never gives a cent to charity, is rude to everyone and gets into fights, will he go into Heaven if he simply believes that the blood of Jesus will wash over his sins? The Bible is really vague about how much sinning will disbar entry to Heaven. Could a murderer get into Heaven if he's a Christian? What about Adolf Hitler? The only sin that supposedly disbars entry from Heaven is denying the Holy Spirit. So, what prevents murderers from gaining entry into Heaven? Is there a "sin limit" that when exceeded, will deny you entry to Heaven? It's all very confusing to me.

And even if Heaven is real, my Grandma will probably be in there. She was a firm believer until her death. Just before she died, I promised her I'd see her in Heaven soon enough. If I go to Sheol or Hell or wherever, that means I won't be in Heaven with her, and I will never be for all eternity. What would God do? Would he create a false image of me to fool my Grandma into thinking I'm there with her? That would be a pretty dickish move. Not just her, but all of the people that I love will be disconnected from me for eternity. Assuming they still had their free thought, would they be upset and grieve? Would they think I "deserved it" for not being a Christian and continue having an eternal party? Or would God just remove all negative thoughts from their mind so that they don't grieve over the people that didn't make it in? All options are equally horrifying to me. Of course, Heaven could just not exist and we all go to the dirt after death, but the possibilities still worry me.

I'm still being open to the possibility of converting back to Christianity later in life, but for now I've decided that there are no Gods for me. Can someone please give me some advice and comfort on the problems that I'm facing with my new outlook on life?

You've taken a big step. Remember, Atheism isnt a religion, so for every atheist, you have a different perspective on things. In my view, birth and death are just entry and exiting points to this life here on earth. I find it silly that theres a man, with you know, a penis, somewhere floating in the sky, judging the actions of six billion human beings in the vast sea of the universe.

Learn to let go of your fears, I understand that the idea of never seeing your family again in the same form is scary, but cest la vie. We are all brothers and sisters on this earth, and as much as we desire stability, the nature of the universe is change. In a next life, you will find others to love and love you, and though the you of the present may fade with time, you will have many more lives to live. Thats what birth is, a blank slate, a new beginning with new possibilities. Do you really think that an all knowing creator would condemn you to an eternity in hell if you were born muslim, or jewish? What a petty, small God that would be. God gives us infinite opportunities to seek life and love, and to limit your being to this one life is merely what those with power want you to do, because in the end, the all powerful desire stagnancy, not change.

Mr.Mattress:

Istvan:
I've found logic to be a pretty good companion.

Either way, Congratulations! I hope you find happiness being an Atheist. Just, don't be a jerk about it.

Exactly. I am an Atheist and I try not to be a dick to the Christians in my life. I just let them do their thing. It's life.

I was a devout Christain for first 12 years of my life. When I reached about 12 maybe 13, I just let go.

I was in an abusive family when I was about 6. I prayed to God every day to get me out of that hell hole. For 6 fucking years, I was tormented. Finally, after a messy break-up, my mom's boyfriend left. I thanked God and asked him to watch over us.

After that, we were homeless for 3 months. Then we found a cheap house and I was very thankful. When we were on the brink of being homeless again, I just gave up. "God" would listen to me. If he was testing my faith, he had gone too fucking far. I was done. I haven't gone to church in years and I try to be respectful twards people of faith because I was once one of them. I know what it's like to be singled out by eliteist Atheist dicks.

I read a quote somewhere. It said, "Faith is like penis. Don't wave it around everywhere, don't brag about it, and try not to shove it down my kid's throat."

So if I won't be a dick about my religious affiliation, try not be a jerk about yours.

Vegosiux:

Since when does science equal atheism?

But, as for your question. Science has done a pretty neat job explaining the world so far, and by the looks of it, it's going to keep doing a pretty neat job at it. So it's not a question of belief. Unless "Do you believe a glass of water will make you less thirsty?" is a question of belief too...

This was my original point and the point I was trying to get at: "It's not a religion but it is a common set of beliefs/facts about the world. A belief doesn't necessarily constitute a religion though. I believe saturated fats are good for you, that doesn't make me a Lipidian preaching the good word of steak and eggs."

Atheist do believe that the world was created through natural means. That is not a lack of belief, that is a conviction they hold to be true in the face of creationist who would disagree. I'm not trying to tell atheist what they believe I just think the notion that they 'lack' beliefs isn't entirely true; that the lack of belief in the supernatural does not mean there isn't the opinion and conviction that everything can be explained through science and logic. That opinion and conviction in that being true is a belief.

Kinguendo:
What he is saying is that Atheism has nothing to do with that... the only thing covered by Atheism is lack of belief in a deity. Thats it. Nothing else.

Not having a hobby is not a hobby, bald is not a hair colour, etc.

Belief is a conviction, and a conviction is a belief. What I'm trying to say is that the lack of belief in a god is a conviction of atheist.

Once again, I feel I must repeat, I do not believe that Atheism is a religion, just a common set of beliefs about the world (not about god). That's where all of this spiraled from.

aPod:
that the lack of belief in the supernatural does not mean there isn't the opinion and conviction that everything can be explained through science and logic. That opinion and conviction in that being true is a belief.

So, "Sky is blue" is a belief too? We "believe" it because we see it?

I'm not sure what you're trying to say. You're using such a broad definition that "Good day" could be labeled a "belief" under it ("I believe this day is good").

No, it's not about "believing in science and logic to explain everything." It's about "science and logic explaining everything well so far, so we'll go with that for now. Of course we will keep being critical and won't just take anything at face value, even if it comes from science".

aPod:
I'm not trying to tell atheist what they believe I just think the notion that they 'lack' beliefs isn't entirely true; that the lack of belief in the supernatural does not mean there isn't the opinion and conviction that everything can be explained through science and logic. That opinion and conviction in that being true is a belief.

I don't think that's as widely claimed as you think.

I don't see many atheists claiming science can explain everything, but what I think can be seen is a few similar claims - that it's a better way of explaining things than religion, and that something needs to be logically explicable and/or empirically verifiable to justify a claim that something is externally and objectively true.

God may not be either of those things and still technically existent, but if he's not addressable by logic and science then good luck trying to back it up in any convincing fashion.

cameron112497:
Now I don't want to quote nuke em because it would be a giant wall of text compared to my small amount of text. I am talking to him though.

Then how will I know that you're speaking to me unless someone else quotes me on the same page? :-)

cameron112497:

Ranorak:

Nuke_em_05:

Sorry, but what kind of irresponsible, all knowing, all loving parent puts a outlet in the middle of the children's room!?

I'm not all knowing and even I know that will NOT END WELL.

Oirish_Martin:
And can we drop the naturalistic analogies for sending people to hell? God chooses to institute his laws, he chooses to judge us, and he chooses to send us to hell. Not effing comparable.

Of course, the problem with analogies is that they fail at some point, because the two things are not exactly the same, else they would be the same thing. To the outlet: I could stretch it much further and say something along the lines of an older cousin in the room that the parents thought they could trust turns to the kid and says: "nah! It won't hurt you. It'll be awesome! Go ahead and stick the fork in there!". Then the analogy would devolve into some 80's sitcom scenario and really lose point.

Here's the deal; the paradigm as unfortunately presented by the majority of "Christianity" and "The Church" is that faith in God is about rules, behavior, conditioning, punishment, reward, judgment, condemnation, and praise.

My comparisons have been operating under that paradigm because that's how the OP viewed it. Instead of trying to explain within that paradigm, I should be trying to change the paradigm altogether.

The "Law" of God is simple: Love.

Matthew 22:36-40:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

God wants us to love Him, and love others. All the "Laws" are reflections of this. It isn't about the actions, it is about the love.

Matthew 5:21-22':
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment..."

The commandment "thou shalt not murder" is not about the act of killing, it is about letting anger win over Love to the point that you kill. "Thou shalt not steal" is about greed. "Thou shalt not covet" is about jealousy. His point isn't that the action condemns you, His point is that if you allow another emotion to control you, and pull you from Love, then that's where you find yourself, without Love.

God loves you, and is the source of Love. But one-sided Love, as J. Gelis Band put it, stinks. You have to Love Him back.

So, what provisions are there for those who never heard of Him? I don't know. I'm not God. What I do know is that God is Love. So, if there are people out there who devote themselves to Love, even if they don't assign it such a specific name or "personality", and live a life of Love, I believe that they have still devoted themselves to God.

What I do know is that people who don't devote themselves to Love in their hearts, even if they "walk the walk" and "talk the talk", have chosen not to be with Love. That is a terrible place to be, and I am honestly sad for them and hope that they find Love. So is God. That's the point of the Great Commission: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." The Gospel is the message of Love.

As for "Hell", which is the original topic: The concept of "Hell" as a punitive place of fire and brimstone, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and all that, shows up in the New Testament, and when it is mentioned it is talking about where The Deceiver will end up, and those who followed him directly against God. People who "believed" in God, and decided to spit in His eye. People who didn't simply not follow Love, but actively rejected it.

If that's not how any of you see it, that's not how you see it. I can't really blame you, most "Churches" and "Christians" have painted it in a much different light; based around power and control over other men. However, this is how I see it and maybe it makes more sense for people who have only been exposed to the "behavior" paradigm.

aPod:
It's relevant to the discussion we were having, I'm guessing you read everything so I don't get why this so ruffled your feathers as to inspire your response.

Because it was about as related to Pluvia's post as apples are to deep sea diving.

If anything it looked as if you were heading towards the fallacy of equating atheism to science, and science to a belief.
It's a fallacy often heard as people try to present their religion as some kind equal alternative to refusing to believe in superstition, while of course religions have no evidence at all, and the logic of the position of not assuming the actual existance of fictional beings is solid as a rock.

I wanted to make sure you weren't walking into that fallacy.

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