I think that religion didn't cause anything good but only start wars, create gilt , hold science back , repressing women's rights, repress sexual subjects , promotes violence racism sectrianism backwardness discrimination ignorance , violates human rights , opression of homosexuals , bigotry , hatred , extremism , terrorism . But sometimes it helps people cope with their problems. I want to hear your opinions and arguments. Plus excuse my English since it's a second language.
PS : I meant abolish not by forcing but using logic and reason.
Mathew T., can you define for me what you mean by "existential nihilist"?
No problem, Joan - when a person refers to him or herself as a nihilist (a title which I believe Nietzsche was the first to hold), they are referring to a gamut of different meanings (possibly without even knowing so). Most atheists use the ambiguous title of nihilist when they actually mean to identify as an existential nihilist, because there are many other forms.
For example, moral nihilism is the contention that no moral act is either good or bad; it is simply an act, because there is no morality. About half of the atheists I've met or messaged with online identify as such.
Epistemological nihilism posits that there is no real form of knowledge, nor can any such thing exist. In other words, our "knowledge" is merely a subset of our belief, and the only reason we "know" anything, is because we believe we do.
Existential nihilists, like me, believe that life has no inherent value or purpose whatsoever. We live our lives and create our own meaning and destiny. There are other forms which disconnect the idea of creating one's own meaning as well; they simply state that life has no meaning, period - nor can we create or realize it.
There are others, some of them political and some of them very abstract ideas about reality. I've even heard of one which states that the form in our universe is merely perception, and without our brain interfering we could see reality in its true form. I've never really understand this last one, or taken the time to learn about it, but I'm sure google could help out hahaha
I have seen The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic where the earliest tombstone dates 1439. Their cemetery includes at least 12 layers of graves, one burial put on top of another due to limited space. There are estimated 12,000 tombstones placed on the top layer, raised by fill dirt from the original ground level tombs and placed on top, leaving a garden of stones. They built up a vertical wall on the street side of the grounds as burials rose higher over centuries.
This site caused me to reflect on life, the meaning of life, and from where we come and to where we go.
I have been to other ancient burial grounds in Asia, the Americas, Alaska, and east and west Europe. I came to the conclusion that you articulate, Mathew:
"life has no inherent value or purpose whatsoever. We live our lives and create our own meaning and destiny."
The implication, at least for me, is that we have the gift of life, we live doing good or ill, we participate with others, doing and thinking according to one's own lights, and when life is finished, the electric energy turns off, the current stops, and bone and tissue return to the stuff of stars. Energy does not go away, it changes form.
Therefore, I am the author of my life and I can make it as healthy or sick as I choose, I live in community with needs that can only be met by cooperation, I have things I do well and ideas that either bring me and others pain or pleasure, and each one has the right and responsibility to define him/her self.
Beautifully written. Thank you.
In my not very humble opinion, if there's a religion gene it's joined to an unhappiness gene.
I wonder if the "religion gene" isn't more of a "belonging gene"? We are social animals, and like bees or geese, lemmings, or prides of lions, or bonobo monkeys, most prefer to be in community. Reptiles have no such compulsion, I don't think. Those who leave their church community and their faith report missing the community, not the dogma, music or projects, they miss the concept of family, of having dinners, or going place together, of sharing their lives with others.
The good news is, belonging and community exist and flourish in the atheist community.
Well said, Joan. Having a community of people who share at least a few things in common creates an outlet that I would guess many of those here went without for a long time when they first lost their faith.
Matthew, EXACTLY! I hear it over and over.
When I left faith in god, and jesus, and the bible, I missed the close friendships and it took me a very short time to build a community of people who like to discuss the kinds of things I like. There were individuals and groups who held different values than I, politically and economically and religiously that gave me exposure to many sides of issues and I wasn't cherry picking, I was picking people and groups where I could speak my disgust and whatever else was ringing my bells. Working through differences and finding people who were willing to ring their bells was just right for me.
As for close friends, that takes longer, is worth every bit of effort.
In an ideal world, religion would be abolished. It certainly won't happen in my lifetime, more's the pity.
i guess i would like it abolished and i want everyone to think like me. not really. it definitly would be a different world without it. when you say abolish what do you have in mind? this sounds like were going to force people to give up religion. it also sounds like some utopian dream. i dont think you can abolish something like that.
While I would prefer that there was no religion in the world, as I believe it does not have positive benefits that cannot be achieved without religion, I do not think anyone should force anyone else out of a religion. If you try to force to get rid of religion you are going to try to control what people think, and I think that is wrong to do. The actions should be limited though so people are not oppressed.