Why do Atheists see it as the best option?

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I can tell I'm going to get insulted at some point in this topic. Ah well.
Okay so the very basics is that I live in the UK. And I am an extremely devout Greek orthodox Christian. Been one my entire life, and it has helped me a lot.
But that's not the point, what my point is that on the internet, on TV, and other places. Its really easy to find someone acting like all religions are really stupid. "flying spaghetti monster" is the easiest example to think of.
And I don't get it. I really don't guys. I honestly can't comprehend the concept that the world is better once you decide there is no God. I've tried to understand, think of an explanation and nothing.
What follows is MY OPINION if you see things differently, then I 100% accept that, mean you no offence, and have no wish to try and change your mind. Really. Okay we cool? Right then.
So to me, when I try to think of the concept of their being no god or divine power of any kind, and consider a universe where the big bang was an accident and everything is because of how science works. I can't help but see it as darker. You see in my beliefs , we are special, we are all loved truly by a God that truly desires our lives to be full of peace and joy. (I'm not going to start on the classic "bad things happen to good people argument" this is more or less the cliff notes.)
my beliefs hold that the world, maybe even the universe, was created for humanity and that there is a distinct, and concrete meaning of life and everything. No I do not have the arrogance to claim I know what the meaning is.
And I truly do believe death is not the end, everything is going to be alright and that we will all live forever, loved ones, heaven etc etc.
And I really do understand why people choose to say there is no God. Really I do. I've read intelligent and well thought out theories and statements that make good points, even if I disagree with them.
But I don't know WHY it is seen as a good thing. Can someone please help me understand why it's seen as better to believe in a world where life is an accident and holds no meaning. And once you are dead, all that greets you is oblivion. Yes that is the negatives of Athiesm, and that's the point, I can't think of plus sides to it.
Thank you for your time.

For me personally it was a huge relief to realise that Yahweh didn't exist, since most of his worshipers say that I'm, at best, doing something abhorrent by just existing, and at worst that I deserve to be tortured for all eternity because I have a relationship with a man instead of a woman. It's hard to see Yahweh as anything other than a petty, sick, vindictive, hate-fuelled monster, and I'd rather have my consciousness terminated than be tortured for all eternity. Can you possibly see how to someone like me it's better for Yahweh to not exist?

Even if I wasn't gay, I couldn't believe in gods because I see absolutely nothing that suggests that gods exist. It doesn't matter what I want to believe, or what I wish the truth was, I can't lie to myself. There's nothing there.

....okay yeah. i can 100% agree that i wouldn't want a situation like that to exist if i was in your place either. if its worth anything to you, i really am sorry that there are people who treat you like that. i guess since i've never had to deal with anything like that, is why it didn't occur to me.

When I was young I was terrified of the idea of there not being a God, but I still just couldn't believe in one because it seemed too absurd to me. As I got older I realised that I wouldn't want someone you gives ultimatums, especially really arbitrary and pointless ones, and presents them as a choice even though one results in an eternity of turture. Even at the age of about 8 I couldn't get over how unfair it was that you could be a good person, but if you didn't believe in Jesus you would be tortured. And if you were gay you would be tortured. And if you had sex with someone you love but weren't married yet you would be tortured. Apparently God also made animals without a soul so they couldn't be saved, but then made them capable of feeling pain, presumably for the lulz. I mean, what the fuck is that? I'd rather be oblivious than be in eternal agony at the behest of some sick, sadistic power.

But the main point to take away from this is- why should how pleasant the belief is have any bearing on whether or not you should believe it? I don't want to believe that I'll never be able to travel at the speed of light, but I do.

Edit: And don't get me started on how much I hate the Greek Orthodox church. So conservative and homophobic.

I don't necessarily see it as the best option, just the most rational.

Atheism is not comforting. It does not make you sleep easy at night. However, the fact remains that unless you start from a presupposition of God, evidence does not support the notion of one existing.

It comes down to a preference for truth over comfort.

No need for the disclaimer, haters will hate, non-haters will accept. Not much you can do to influence that.

I don't really give much thought to whether atheism is better, because what I would like doesn't have much of an effect on what is true. As far as I can tell, none of the major religions are true, and the world seems consistent with one in which there is no creator.

That said, I think the explanations we have for things that don't rely on Gods are more complex and more interesting than the explanations that do. I don't think Genesis can hold a candle to the story of natural history we've been able to piece together. For me, it's not a grim or dark picture. I don't worry about oblivion because it makes no sense to worry about something I will never be aware of once it happens. The time limit imposed by death also adds to the challenge of life. If I could, as an immortal soul, visit all the places I wanted to go, I can't imagine it being as enjoyable. Going to those places while living feels like an accomplishment.

As for why I should bother if it's all for naught in the end, well, if you apply that attitude universally, why do anything? Why wash dishes if they're just going to get dirty, or sweep the floor, or get out of bed? The meaning is not in permanence, it's in what you do... well, to quote Gandalf, "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you." And when I remember to, I try to use that time as best I can. My writing this post shows that I'm not always successful, but I try.

Besides, not all of it is for naught. If I live life fully, some echo of what I do will affect some other person's life, hopefully for the better. It won't make much difference to me after I'm gone, but it will to them, and that's enough.

The major problem with believing in a god is it's a massive weak point ready to be exploited by any power hungry person. If you absolutely believe in the teachings of a religion, but someone with less-than-good intentions reaches a high rank in your system, they can cause a lot of harm.

Also, to me just not existing sounds pretty nice when compared to any afterlife. Think about it this way, human beings get bored. We would get bored of heaven and hell and be stuck there for all eternity. They would have to alter your mind for you to not get bored and that gives massive psychological implications, not the least of which is "If they alter your mind are you really you anymore".

It's pretty hard to believe in an afterlife if you're already cemented in Atheism. Even if you don't think about what i just said in the last paragraph, there's always that niggling feeling in the back of your head that you're just lying to yourself to make yourself feel better.

I don't think of the Big Bang and the development of life as an "accident". It's deterministic. It's physics. It's just what happened, that doesn't make it an accident. If I put a ball on a diagonal surface, it'll role downhill. It's just what it is.

In my beliefs, we are special. We are a speck of consciousness in the void that is space. We have potential to move beyond our limitations like no other animal we know of as yet. We've done so many times and there's a good chance we'll continue to do so. There is no justice in the universe besides that which we impose. There's no hope in sitting back, doing nothing and trusting in outside intervention. But there is hope in trying to make things better for each other. There's no external meaning to life, only the meaning we find ourselves. And that is not bleak, it's very liberating. We're all different to some degree. Our meaning of life will differ to some degree as well. There's not one fixed mold that we all have to adapt to.

There are more than a hundred billion galaxies with billions upon billions of stars, some with planets, others without. We are not the center of the universe, simple as that. We are part of a larger thing. The wonders of the natural world are unimaginably great. Isn't that enough to inspire awe?

All that being said, your question is based on a bit of a faulty premise. I for one certainly didn't choose to believe there's no god. I was not raised religious and no religion ever convinced me. I didn't think of religious tales as things that people believed in literally for quite some time of my childhood. I never felt the need for religion to add artificial wonder to the world, either. Being an Atheist is kind of my default. Hell, it was before I even knew what "Atheist" means. So it's not that I chose to do anything, it's simply that the information I had coupled with my experiences, views etc. precluded believing. Belief is a reaction, not a choice, in that sense.

Once you accept that there is no afterlife, you can live life to its fullest without worrying about meaningless rules and rituals handed down by endocrtinated people.

Also, the Christian God is a tyrant, so I don't see why anyone would want to believe in him.

Not that that really matters, what truely matters is what is the truth and what isn't.

There's no best option when deciding what the truth is; there's the right option and the wrong option. I didn't choose to be an atheist because I like the implications of it.

Because, should I be wrong, I would rather throw myself upon the mercy of a god who never made themselves apparent to me after living my life obeying the "Golden Rule" than dedicate myself to one of the thousands of gods conceived by humanity and run the higher chance of being wrong in my choice there.

There is a higher chance of there not being a god than picking one of the thousands of gods/pantheons to be the correct one.

Also, many of those pantheons demand their followers to not obey the "Golden Rule" (do unto others as you would do unto yourself) or place pointless, joy denying, harmful, and/or destructive moral barriers upon society.

But it ultimately doesn't matter because there are no gods - only fairy tales turned into manipulative political devices used by almost every sentient culture known to man.

Also, because this "saying" is apparently a way some religions try and convince others to follow them "Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?". In other words, everyone is clay to the Creator and we have no right or cause to question our Maker. We are not even sentient when compared to Him. He can fashion us into whatever shape He so chooses and should we end up deformed or unsatisfactory we are to be cast away like a potter would with any other failure. Submit to your Master. Do not attempt to understand Him. Do not question Him. You are not even sentient in His eyes. You are too base, simple and suited only to the whims of God to be even capable of understanding the hand that fashions you. And THAT is supposed to be a compelling argument to support following the religion.

Fuck.
That.
Noise.

Is irrelevant to ask whether god exists or not.
The question is why religion fights to survive when it's clearly being force choked for a reason.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsyzRUKwgng&t=5s

deadpoolhulk:
But I don't know WHY it is seen as a good thing. Can someone please help me understand why it's seen as better to believe in a world where life is an accident and holds no meaning. And once you are dead, all that greets you is oblivion. Yes that is the negatives of Athiesm, and that's the point, I can't think of plus sides to it.
Thank you for your time.

A couple of things:

Life being a fluke does not in any way mean it is meaningless. It does imply a lack of overarching objective purpose, but that state of affairs does not prevent us from finding meaning in life itself. To be perfectly frank, I do prefer it this way. Our current mode of existence is an astounding achievement in order for us to have come from simple random chance, but it is a bitter failure in terms of what a perfect creator would expect.

Oblivion is just fine with me. I cannot claim to be happy about an end to existence, but consider that fate to be at significantly better than serving as an eternal plaything for a being that waves a carrot in one hand, a whip in the other, and wishes for me to jump through hoops on its behalf before rendering judgment on the basis of poorly established standards.

The above two points matter little in the end though. The search for existential truth does not depend upon what a person finds comfortable. I am reasonably convinced that there is no supernatural element to this existence, at least not in the sense of there being a creator figure pulling the strings out there and collecting the spiritual gestalt of our beings, whether or not I am comfortable with the idea does not change that.

Methinks you confuse Atheism with Nihilism. Not always the same thing.

deadpoolhulk:
I honestly can't comprehend the concept that the world is better once you decide there is no God.

Two things. First, we didn't decide there is no God. You can't decide things in and out of existence, you simply don't see compelling evidence of its existence. Second, the world being better is irrelevant to why we have our stance. It's not a matter of perspective, attitude, or philosophy. The world shapes our opinion, not the other way around.

Here are some quotes from Richard Dawkins addressing some of the other themes in your post. I'll apologize in advance for the rather...hostile nature of some of them. I support a lot of the points he made, but he didn't make friends.

There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point... The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.

Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked-as I am surprisingly often-why I bother to get up in the mornings.

The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living and it does so, if anything, more effectively if it convinces us that the time we have for living is quite finite.

The world and the universe is an extremely beautiful place, and the more we understand about it the more beautiful does it appear.

If you're an atheist, you know, you believe, this is the only life you're going to get. It's a precious life. It's a beautiful life. Its something we should live to the full, to the end of our days. Where if you're religious and you believe in another life somehow, that means you don't live this life to the full because you think you're going to get another one. That's an awfully negative way to live a life. Being a atheist frees you up to live this life properly, happily and fully

My objection to supernatural beliefs is precisely that they miserably fail to do justice to the sublime grandeur of the real world. They represent a narrowing-down from reality, an impoverishment of what the real world has to offer.

ten.to.ten:
For me personally it was a huge relief to realise that Yahweh didn't exist, since most of his worshipers say that I'm, at best, doing something abhorrent by just existing, and at worst that I deserve to be tortured for all eternity because I have a relationship with a man instead of a woman. It's hard to see Yahweh as anything other than a petty, sick, vindictive, hate-fuelled monster, and I'd rather have my consciousness terminated than be tortured for all eternity. Can you possibly see how to someone like me it's better for Yahweh to not exist?

Even if I wasn't gay, I couldn't believe in gods because I see absolutely nothing that suggests that gods exist. It doesn't matter what I want to believe, or what I wish the truth was, I can't lie to myself. There's nothing there.

To continue this thought, let us look at how Christianity believes life works on an individual level:

Christians teach that each of us was designed by God by hand. We become what we were intended to be, because God is omnipotent. He tells us we have free will, but if he is all-knowing then he knows how we will use our "free will" before we're ever born. He also creates everything we like, everything we dislike. And then tells us to go against the very things that he made us like. I'm a lesbian. That means that God made me attracted to other women. Then he tells me that this is wrong. If it is so wrong, why was I made that way to begin with?

If God takes an active hand in everything you do, then you can't claim credit for anything. Become an amazing musician? God made you with that talent and sent you into this world knowing how you would use it. Work hard to grow your business and then give your excess means to charity? That was all you were meant for to begin with. The world becomes a very elaborate doll house, where nothing you do is really your own, you're just being moved around by the invisible hands of someone else.

That also means that everything bad that happens was also his intention. My girlfriend is dying of cancer. If we take the Christian outlook, that means that God designed her just to let us find love together, and then have me watch as she is slowly and painfully killed right in front of me. That's fine if you're writing a soap opera, but slightly less justifiable when you are running a universe full of beings you supposedly love. Imagine if you could choose your child. Now imagine the way people would look at you if they found out you chose to make your daughter gay just so you could disapprove of her, and chose to give her cancer.

Yes, it can sometimes feel that life is overwhelming, complicated, and even out to get us. But I'll take the logic that sometimes life is like that over a belief that I was specifically created to be hated and eventually punished for eternity based on something I never had control over in the first place.

Here's the difference.

When I read your post, it seems like you just want it to be a certain way. What you write, I read as wishful thinking.

I'm quite happy with the truth and find it to be particularly enlightening.

In the end you seem more concerned with what makes you feel good than with reality, so... just enjoy that I suppose.

Indecipherable:
In the end you seem more concerned with what makes you feel good than with reality, so... just enjoy that I suppose.

Quite true. Perhaps I focused too much on how I think an Atheist point of view can be very awe-inspiring and even - to use a very loaded term - spiritual, how you don't have to miss out on those feelings and even comfort while still looking at the world as it is. But as you and others have said: Truth sometimes just isn't comfortable.
That said, I happen to think that the truth is generally preferable in the long run, not just because, well, it's the truth, but also because even if it may cause short-term discomfort, I think it'll lead to the better outcome in the end.
I have yet to find a counter-example. And no, I did think of not knowing you have cancer or something. If my life came to an end soon and predictably so, I'd want to know. I'd want the opportunity to say goodbye, to do the things I feel I need to do before I'm out. I'd want the opportunity to conclude my life aware of what is happening.
I've seen this attributed to Mill, but I'm not sure if that is correct/it was paraphrased or whatever: It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.
With the exception that I don't even think we have to be unhappy.
That may sound insulting, but the point is this: Short-term comfort isn't desirable over truth.

Honestly, I -wish- I was religious.
It can be a beautiful thing and it can be a source of strength and hope.
Sure, it's been abused throughout the ages, but science has been abused and is being abused aswell.

I do -not- see atheism as the best option.
Let's say for the sake of argument that we could choose between an almighty and all-loving god or... science, I would pick god.

I don't like the black & whiteness of how religions depict reality, but I think that in the case of an all-loving god, the picture isn't as black & white as they tell you.

The problem is... I have been an atheist all my life. Something drastic needs to happen if I am ever to believe in god.
Until then, I don't think I'll ever be able to genuinely believe in god, even if I wanted to (I want to, I have my reasons).

The one thing I do think is important for all religions, is to stick with the times.
Science and religion shouldn't necassarily have to be eachother's opposites.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't think the world seems any better since I became non-religious, it's just that I have no reason to believe in a God.

Think about it like this: if someone insisted to you that robot unicorns made of smarties whose favourite beverage is ribena created the world and now control it, based only on the fact that a book said so, you would believe they were crazy. That's how religion appears to a lot of atheists.

I would much rather there was a benevolent God and an afterlife, but there probably isn't.

deadpoolhulk:
I honestly can't comprehend the concept that the world is better once you decide there is no God. I've tried to understand, think of an explanation and nothing.

....

Can someone please help me understand why it's seen as better to believe in a world where life is an accident and holds no meaning. And once you are dead, all that greets you is oblivion. Yes that is the negatives of Athiesm, and that's the point, I can't think of plus sides to it.
Thank you for your time.

I don't see the world as better or worse without the belief in a god. For me, I find it preferable to accept a worldview that is subject to the scientific method. I may not have all the answers, and my understanding of how the universe works may change over time, but I want my mind to be flexible enough to accept that change.

I don't accept that life is without meaning if there is no god or afterlife. Just the opposite. What I have right now is very meaningful, because I think this is all I get. I want to make the most out of this life, and appreciate the time I have here. For me, the idea that there is an eternal afterlife, well, may not degrade how I feel about the time I have here, but would certainly lessen the sense of urgency to appreciate every little thing life here has to offer.

deadpoolhulk:
And I don't get it. I really don't guys. I honestly can't comprehend the concept that the world is better once you decide there is no God. I've tried to understand, think of an explanation and nothing.

This right here is your problem - the absolute BEDROCK of why you don't understand atheists, and vice versa. You seem to be under the impression that truth is contingent on your personal opinion - that because you prefer X over not X, X is therefore true. This is where (at least sceptical) atheists have a massive mental departure from you, because they don't believe truth gives a shit what they think about it. Things are what they are, they're not what they're not, and no amount of "deciding" that "the world is better" is going to have any bearing on what the world actually is. Choosing to believe (i.e. pretending) I've won the lottery isn't going to affect my bank balance, so why should I believe that pretending there's an afterlife will score me an eternity in Heaven?

For me, as a sceptic, the concept of beliefs being "decisions" doesn't work. I'm incapable of willfully deluding myself by pretending X is true, and whether you see that as a blessing or a curse will be different for everyone. My beliefs are formed based on reason and evidence, with little (preferably no) influence from my preferences. Even if I believed being a theist would make the world a better place to exist in, I still couldn't "choose" to believe in God any more than I can "choose" to believe I can fly (and let's face it, having the ability to fly would DEFINITELY make the world a better place to exist in). There's just so much evidence telling me, despite what I want to be true, that I can't fly. Likewise, there is so much evidence telling me that religious claims are myths, legends, fairytales. Fiction. As nice as some sound, pretending they're true doesn't make it so. All it does is make me dishonest, and I have too much integrity for that.

Might I interject with a counter-question there?
You say you believe in the Christian afterlife, but why? Because you like it? That's a pretty weak justification considering there are countless other religions out there with their own books and stories.
What if you're wrong and the Greeks were right and you get denied access to the aferlife because they didn't bury you with two silver coins to pay the ferryman? What if you don't pass the tests of Anubis and get your soul fed to the crocodile-headed demon Ammit because your body wasn't prepared properly? What if your soul gets destroyed on your way through the trials of Xibalba because they failed to provide you with the items needed to complete them (a dog, water, a jade bead, and gifts for Michtlantecuhtli)?

Similar to you, I don't understand how belief in a certain type of religion can be justified when there's so many that are logically all equally valid but with drastically different requirements.

World mythology is fascinating but I can't see how it could be anything but superstition.

As far as I can tell most Atheists don't particularly want to be so, they just have come to the conclusion that is probably right. I don't just believe in God because I want it, but also because I think its probably right. If I wanted to turn around and be an Atheist or a Hindu I'd have a hard time doing it as I really can't rationalized them; for a lack of a better term.

I can see how you get the idea that Atheists seem to think the belief (or lack thereof) is super special awesome based on some of their proponents running around basically linking up a lack of belief with the whole dogma of Secular Humanism. Never really made much sense to me to be so bombastic over Atheism, but to each his own.

deadpoolhulk:
I honestly can't comprehend the concept that the world is better once you decide there is no God.

So you are asking why people rely on evidence or the lack of it. You fail to understand that evidence is an important part of the rejection of any god. Not just yours. There is no better evidence for one god over another. They do not support the idea of a god what so ever. Honest scrutinization of ones own existences hold much weight for many. And as you have relied on faith your entire life rather than proof, this is hard to grasp for you.

For us Atheists there is no gold at the end of the rainbow because all the evidence says it ain't, and second, all the gold is already here. It is called life and we enjoy it. The universe was not made for us. We are the universe and a way for it to know it's self. And we have a wonderful thing called science to do just that. To marvel at the reality of life and the universe gives me a sense of awe religion never came close to giving me. That is a meaning worth having. And as for death. This is how nature have always worked. We simply accept this as another fact. Everything that ever lived have died and so will we. It does not scare me. This just is.

deadpoolhulk:

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for yours.

The response to your question is an easy one, for me. It's not about 'choosing' what is better or not. It's about accepting what is true (or most likely to be true) and what is not likely to be true. For background, I was raised catholic and 'deconverted' shortly before my confirmation.

I am a person that holds great respect for the scientific method. I like to think that I am a skeptic (and I recognize that I am in no way unique in that) and I try to make sure that my worldview is bolstered not by what I want to be true, but by what has been proven to me to be most likely true. A preponderance of evidence is important to me; more important than my own selfish desires for self-gratifying half-truths and myths.

Truth be told, I feel that I adopted a greater appreciation for my own life, brief though it will be, when I accepted that in all likelihood it is the only one I will ever get. there is no eternal afterparty; absolutely no evidence for one has ever been proven to exist. This isn't a dress rehearsal. This is all there is. And when you accept that, every single sunrise is all the more beautiful and special, because you know that it is one fewer in the grand total you will ever get to see.

Some might say that's depressing, but I choose to see it as a gift. "Growing old is a privilege denied to many" is an adage I try to live by. I'm lucky; incredibly lucky, and I choose to enjoy every day I get.

It's important to shed the illusion that life has to have "meaning", and that somehow our existence being a cosmic "accident" is somehow a bad thing. Why? Is it not enough that you're alive? We're pattern-seeking animals; we have evolved to look for patterns in things because our ancestors who possessed this skill survived better than those who did not. This pattern-seeking finds its way into every mode of our thinking, so when we contemplate our own mortality, we look for patterns in that. I must exist for some purpose, we say to ourselves. I must be part of some larger pattern.

But that's not the case, as least as far as we can support through evidence. All the evidence states that we are special only insofar as we're the only species of life with our level of rational thought, on the only planet (that we can see with our primitive instruments) that can support life; scientists now say there could be millions of such planets in our galaxy alone. We're made out of the most common materials the universe has to offer and on a cosmic timeline, our entire existence from the development of verbal speech to day has been less than a blink in the darkness. there's NOTHING special about us, as far as can be told.

And yet in another way, we are special. How many millions of years passed on this earth before there was a creature that could appreciate the beauty of a sunset? How many stars lived and died in an otherwise empty black universe before their deaths scattered enough raw material to create planets? At long last the universe managed to produce a thing, a living thing, made up of its own parts, who can look at it and give it a name and appreciate it. "You are the universe, experiencing itself."

That in itself has given my life far more meaning than some bronze-age human sacrifice, written down in a book that also says that women should be silent in the presence of men and that homosexuals are evil. How can the burning bush compare with the cosmos? No, the atheist worldview, for me, has been far more illuminating, and I'm not unique in that.

deadpoolhulk:
But that's not the point, what my point is that on the internet, on TV, and other places. Its really easy to find someone acting like all religions are really stupid. "flying spaghetti monster" is the easiest example to think of.

But His Noodlyness is basically an argument, a comparison, to show that the arguments used in favour of religions are not true. You can basically take the argument, staple something ridiculous (a flying spaghetti monster) on it, and make the same argument that's made for religion. This ridicules those arguments by showing the same can be said about anything or anyone, and it's equally untrue.

deadpoolhulk:
But I don't know WHY it is seen as a good thing. Can someone please help me understand why it's seen as better to believe in a world where life is an accident and holds no meaning. And once you are dead, all that greets you is oblivion. Yes that is the negatives of Athiesm, and that's the point, I can't think of plus sides to it.
Thank you for your time.

That's not true. Religion doesn't provide a meaning to life. If you ask questions like 'why are we here', nobody can answer that for everyone. Someone who does so anyway is lying. So like my old man likes to say; now that we're here anyway, better do something usefull. You give a goal to your own life, you make it usefull yourself. It's a free choice, not some divine dictate.

As for that, it also liberates you from a religion, and that word is chosen with care. To name an example that's come up before: religions are without exception homophobic to some degree. Suppose I still were a Christian, back then I had to explain to myself why I didn't think homosexuals were teh evilz. After all, god clearly said so, and how dare you disagree with god? So I had to hate people, or be a bad person. That's why you get to pull yourself into all sorts of impossible bends to explain such a contradictory position. And you're stuck with that problem on so many fronts. For instance I don't have to waste time praying or going to religious sermons. That's time that could be spent on other things, like for instance helping people.

About Christianity especially. Remember that you mustn't covet what others have or basically not covet what's 'wrong'? Well, before I saw the light I used to be pretty motivated about such things. I had a friend who took it even more seriously, and we were more christian than the christians as it were, reinforcing eachother in it too because we were basically the only ones with brains in that religious community. But let me tell you, thought-policing yourself like that is seriously unhealthy, and that's also what professionals on mental health have told my friend. For one thing you're hardwired to spot female curves etc, so you will do so no matter what. So you can either beat yourself over the head for that 10-20 times each day while it changes nothing, or not engage in that religious rule of not coveting. But if you do that, you're a bad Christian. The bible is quite clear on the subject, thinking sinfull thoughts is the same as committing them as acts. So you have to explain yourself why you don't do something that's basically pathological self-loathing. I don't have to, because I don't believe in some being in the sky that's said women are but property, and ever looking at any other than your wife is a disaster.
Now I became religious basically through a chance encounter at primary school. Both my parents aren't all that religious. That and what I saw (and I saw some seriously ugly things going on in that community) made me question it all at quite an early age, and it was maybe age 15-16 when I really began saying it farewell. My friend, not so much. His parents are both fanatics and were thrilled with his status as brainy hotshot Christian, so they put a lot of pressure on him to continue. He even didn't go to university, but instead went to some religious school in Belgium, because Dutch theology studies are too secular and openminded for their taste.
But there it caught up with him anyway eventually, and he left the faith. Promptly all his friends (fellow preachers in training all) shunned him for it, and even his family abandoned him. His parents even still see him grudgingly. But what I said about self-loathing earlier? For him it's gone on so long he can't change it anymore. He's still seeing a psychiatrist quite often, trying to work it out of his system, and this year he's turning 29 and he's getting quite desperate to ever get a date, which is made impossible because the moment he has a connection with someone, he starts hating himself for his thoughts and doesn't make a move.

I think it's fair to say religion ruined his life. It stole his childhood for one thing. I got out way earlier and I also have a sort of 'I want that time, and my money back' kind of feeling.

But one closing remark, especially because of the ortodox part: Doesn't that bother you. Both before and after leaving the church it's always bothered me that orthodox priests dress up with tons of gold, jewelry, gems and other riches. It's decadent and disgusting if you ask me, and one of the few point rabbid protestantist denominations have gotten right. How do you bow to and obey people like that? There's a lot of problems in this world that require money to fix, so how does one tolerate one's preachers bathing in luxury, while those problems remain unsolved? It's both something to bash orthodox Christianity with, as a genuine question, because honestly, the Christianity I know, a priest with that much wealth and jewelry on him sticks out like a sore thumb.

deadpoolhulk:

But I don't know WHY it is seen as a good thing. Can someone please help me understand why it's seen as better to believe in a world where life is an accident and holds no meaning. And once you are dead, all that greets you is oblivion. Yes that is the negatives of Athiesm, and that's the point, I can't think of plus sides to it.

Let me respond to your questions with another question: why believe in malaria? After all, if you accept the existence of malaria you must also accept the notion that roughly a million people die from it each year, and that most of these people are younger than five. This is a horrible thing to contemplate. Obviously there is a very negative side to believing in malaria, so why do it? What's the upside? Why not just believe that there is no such disease?

The implications are irrelevant. Living in a godless world could be the worst thing imaginable but id still have to go with it. I didnt chose to be an atheist. I just dont have it in me to believe in a God that i dont have evidence for. Its not really bleak. I mean all i have is sex, love, music, science, discovery, curiosity, romance, nature, life, laughter, space, beauty, poetry, art, writing, friends, family and colour. The world as i can see hear and touch it is fucking beautiful. Im glad its this way because if it wasnt i cant see myself pretending a god is real to make me feel better. I just cant make myself. Im happy. I dont need to feel special. Im not special because the ENTIRE universe is special to me. And i get to be a part of this magnificent machine. How cool is that? Im super stoked.

The negatives and positives dont matter to me. After all i could convert you with the same reasoning:

As a christian if you do bad things and dont repent you go to hell and you have rules.

In MY new religion no matter what you do you go to heaven and you can do anything you feel like.

Mine has more positives.

Things dont need meaning. Simply because we are an accident doesnt mean we cant enjoy life. I dont need to "Mean" anything. Asking "Why are we here" makes as much sense as "Why rocks?". It doesnt matter. We simply are and should enjoy every moment.

Atheism doesn't provide a ready made explanation that is comforting or soothing or settles one's existential fears.

You have to find that on your own, so every Atheist will answer that aspect of it differently. And many atheists come to abandon their faith in God for different reasons as well. Really, the only thing atheists have in common with one another is that they don't believe in god.

The problem with religious belief is that it has a severe impact on decision-making. If you truly believe there is an afterlife where justice is given to everyone, you will probably be less likely to, say, donate towards stopping the hunger crisis in Africa. After all, it'll all be sorted out in the end, right?

Without any evidence to support the belief in an afterlife, basing your decisions off of that belief will lead to harm, directly or indirectly. Accepting that it isn't true, and that this life is all we have, means you'll have more motivation to help those in need. As such, if we want to better this world, we have to abandon baseless belief.

deadpoolhulk:
I honestly can't comprehend the concept that the world is better once you decide there is no God. I've tried to understand, think of an explanation and nothing.

Maybe it's because some people don't like the idea of being an eternal property of an immortal all-powerful interdimensional wizard who keeps track of every time you masturbate and then punishes you for it?
Also, no matter how you look at it, all religions are just wishful thinking. You like the concept of some religion so you follow it. You don't follow it because you know it's true, you follow it because you believe/hope it's true.
Atheists just take all that wishful thinking and throw it away.

So to me, when I try to think of the concept of their being no god or divine power of any kind, and consider a universe where the big bang was an accident and everything is because of how science works. I can't help but see it as darker.

This is another problem with religious people. A lot of you have this "it's either god or nothing" idea. In my opinion, you have to be devoid of imagination to come to that conclusion. Read some sci-fi stories and you'll realize that there's an infinite number of possible origins of the universe and god is just one of them and a very improbable one at that.
I, for example, like this idea that the whole universe is a living being, the planets are cells, the galaxies are internal organs etc. There's no sin, no subjective judgement, no dogma. It's a lot better that your version of the universe.

my beliefs hold that the world, maybe even the universe, was created for humanity and that there is a distinct, and concrete meaning of life and everything. No I do not have the arrogance to claim I know what the meaning is.

But you do have the arrogance to believe that this amazing universe filled with millions of galaxies was created specifically for a race of primitive hairless apes. That's VERY arrogant.

Can someone please help me understand why it's seen as better to believe in a world where life is an accident and holds no meaning. And once you are dead, all that greets you is oblivion. Yes that is the negatives of Athiesm, and that's the point, I can't think of plus sides to it.

So, if something wasn't consciously created with a specific purpose, it's meaningless? If something ends, it's worthless?
Also, once again, god is just one of many possible scenarios. Getting rid of the idea of god opens up millions of alternatives, many of which are better.

HardkorSB:
I, for example, like this idea that the whole universe is a living being, the planets are cells, the galaxies are internal organs etc.

Yeah, sorry, I just thought it was kind of funny.

secretkeeper12:
The problem with religious belief is that it has a severe impact on decision-making. If you truly believe there is an afterlife where justice is given to everyone, you will probably be less likely to, say, donate towards stopping the hunger crisis in Africa. After all, it'll all be sorted out in the end, right?

Without any evidence to support the belief in an afterlife, basing your decisions off of that belief will lead to harm, directly or indirectly. Accepting that it isn't true, and that this life is all we have, means you'll have more motivation to help those in need. As such, if we want to better this world, we have to abandon baseless belief.

I don't buy that. Most religions explicitly instruct followers to help others. Also, just because the next life might be nice, it doesn't follow that you'd allow this one to be shit.

Furthermore, if you where concerned with maximising the people who get into the nice afterlife, surely you would work to eliminate the conditions that push people towards crime etc. This is why so many reformers where Quakers, whose beliefs motivated them to improve the conditions of others.

No, if religious people shut out the misfortune of others, it is through laziness and complacency just as it is with us secularists. It does not follow from any analysis of the philosophy/theology lasting longer than about 5 minutes.

ClockworkPenguin:

secretkeeper12:
The problem with religious belief is that it has a severe impact on decision-making. If you truly believe there is an afterlife where justice is given to everyone, you will probably be less likely to, say, donate towards stopping the hunger crisis in Africa. After all, it'll all be sorted out in the end, right?

Without any evidence to support the belief in an afterlife, basing your decisions off of that belief will lead to harm, directly or indirectly. Accepting that it isn't true, and that this life is all we have, means you'll have more motivation to help those in need. As such, if we want to better this world, we have to abandon baseless belief.

I don't buy that. Most religions explicitly instruct followers to help others. Also, just because the next life might be nice, it doesn't follow that you'd allow this one to be shit.

Furthermore, if you where concerned with maximising the people who get into the nice afterlife, surely you would work to eliminate the conditions that push people towards crime etc. This is why so many reformers where Quakers, whose beliefs motivated them to improve the conditions of others.

No, if religious people shut out the misfortune of others, it is through laziness and complacency just as it is with us secularists. It does not follow from any analysis of the philosophy/theology lasting longer than about 5 minutes.

That is a good point. I was more referring to the belief that the afterlife is open to everyone, and that you need to just be a "good person" to get in. Wishy-washy Christianity, if you will.

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