Why Are So Many Religious People Not Able to Understand that There Are Actually People Who Do Not Believe in Any Deity

Dear fellows,

As I experience again and again, there are many religious people who are simply not able to understand that there are people in the world who truely do not believe in any deity at all. I recently wrote the following provocative message in a social network: 'Haven't you heard the good news yet? Lo: there is no god -- we are free!' One of my cousins asked me whether I were so afraid of God (capital g!) that I had to deny His existence to be free.
This is the first of two alternatives. The second is being angry at God (capital g again). Thus, in the eyes of the religious, if you claim that you do not believe in God, they suppose you to be either afraid of or angry at Him. They simply ignore the possibility that you really do not believe in such an entity whatsoever, because--at least so it seems to me--in their minds, it is impossible not to believe in a metaphysical being. My aforementioned cousin only believes in a deistic god, by the way, yet even he fails to realize what atheism is about.

Have you experienced similar reactions? What is it, do you think, that prevents those people from grasping that a human being need not necessarily believe in a deity?

Tags: afraid, angry, atheism, belief, believe, deism, deistic, deity, disbelief, disbeliever, More…experience, fail, frightened, god, grasp, ignore, nonbeliever, possibility, possible, prevent, reaction, realize, theism

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My brother told me I could not be an Atheist because I have been baptised.
How pathetic! It's like saying a person cannot grow. He or she is frozen at some point in their lives that saw a silly superstitious service stamping them as good little Christers, and one is not allowed to expand one's consciousness beyond this point in remote time. I am beginning to think that the only reason rational people go on believing is that they unconsciously associate their religion with the comfort and protection of childhood -- when most of us undergo the brainwashing that results in belief.
I think it has to do with fear...Fear if hell if they look outside their protective bubble,so they deny,deny,deny.

Well, after I had officially left the Roman Catholic Church, I received a letter from the local community that I thenceforward were not allowed to receive the Church's sacraments any longer.
One of my female cousins has a degree in theology (albeit I do not consider theology as science), and she told me that, although in Germany you can officially leave the Church, in the Vatican's opinion, you cannot annull your being baptized. In other words, once you are a Christian you are doomed to stay one for eternity.
It's worse with Islam - apostasy is punishable by death.

I tried to get myself excommunicated - but the Bishop of Bath & Wells refused, not because he believed it impossible, but he doubted the sincerity of my request. Rather like 'Catch-22', he believed that asking to be excommunicated showed that you had sufficient interest in religion to mean that you couldn't be. So the Catholic Church was being more honest.

I looked it up, and here's a reference to a case of the Catholic Church carrying out an annulment of baptism:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=69292

So it seems that whoever represents the matter in Germany is either not properly informed or untruthful.
True Believers (capital T, capital B) are so dedicated to their fantasy world that they refuse to even consider the remote possibility "God" does not exist. In many cases, it is a matter of education -- which is why I think creationism is the greatest threat to democracy. Ignorance is no excuse, yet it's all they have to cling to. Had they actually studied not only religion but the sciences, most could come to no other conclusion but that the existence of "God" is just about impossible. Now, how does that square with the smattering of scientists who are believers? I do not know. I think religion is one of those inexplicable beliefs that affects the smart and the dumb. Smart believers have blinders on when it comes to religion. Many men and women I have admired were believers. I feel sorry for them, but that is as it is.
Your cousin is also ignorant of or ignoring the fact that some people are born into cultures that are devoid of any belief in any supreme being, least not the Abrahamic one. Cultures from all time periods, including the one we happen to occupy, don't have such beliefs by choice or circumstance.
Accusing someone who has never heard of god(s) of being mad/afraid of he/she/it is not only ignorant and foolish, its downright disgusting.

I wasn't getting much response with the fundamentalists using traditional means of logic and reasoning, so I went and read most of Bart Ehrman's work and looked at http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/ to see for myself the inconsistencies.
Now, fundies will unplug their ears for a moment when I reference specific parts, but most of them will ignore that " The New Testament has more inconsistencies than words."
As I've calmed down from - yes - the Angry Atheist, stepped back, and taken much closer, more objective looks at how the debate plays itself out (thanks Atheist Nexus!), I do notice this a lot. "Why won't you let Jesus into your heart? Why are you angry at God? If you only took another look at Jesus' great deeds..."

To address these directly is to play into the hand that assumes Jesus and God exist. "I'm angry/not angry at God because... Look at some of the icky things Jesus did..."

I'm learning to at least qualify that last one by saying, "First off, there's zero evidence that Jesus really existed. But let's pretend for the moment he did..." And throughout the discussion, refer not to Jesus but "The character of Jesus."

I drop those qualifiers on this forum because they're implied. I also drop those qualifiers when I'm making, say a short, snarky, Facebook post about Health Reform. "And lo Jesus said unto the people, if you can't afford a few years' middle class salary to heal thyself then you can just suck it."

But I digress.

I think the very idea that some people truly don't believe - aren't just angry, or disillusioned, or following some false god, but really and truly don't believe - is indeed very foreign to some.

And I believe it's the first step in separating the sheep from the herd. Look at me, I don't believe in any god. I'm not being struck by lightening. My luck isn't any better or worse than yours. I'm not a criminal or amoral.
Indeed, I think quite the opposite is true. Unless there ARE really people touched by god (no reason for me to believe of course, but I won't completely disregard the "touched." That only means the rest of us aren't good enough though so I'd spit at that god.) I don't think that anyone actually CAN truly, honestly, believe in god enough to devote every second of their life to it like they should.

House says it best: "...Cause you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways."
It's so strange because I have a hard time understanding how they can believe.What is the difference between religion and a cult.I guess when more people believe it they called it a religion.People can be brainwashed to believe a lot of things.It makes me happy when I hear of someone who becomes an atheist.You have come to understand the universe in rational terms instead of those foolish superstitious ways.
Unfortunately, I don't have much trouble understanding how one can believe in a worship-me-or-die world. In short, they don't want to die.

Or be ostracized from society or their friends or family.

For most believers, it's what they were raised from childhood to believe. And children can be imprinted with beliefs so heavily that it's incredibly difficult for them to break free of it in adulthood.

I know a few people who fully acknowledge the wrongness of racism, yet also admit it's been so hammered into them from birth to hate/fear/distrust a black person they wonder if that gut instinct will ever completely go away. Like the child who was methodically abused all her childhood by creepy Uncle bad-touch and is all but incapable of ever having a healthy sexual relationship.

In that sense, religion is a disease. It's child abuse. It's ensuring that a child might never be completely comfortable thinking for themselves out of the fear you instilled in them.

It's out and out sick.
wow, that was a great reply. I feel like I should save that somewhere because some things I agreed with without ever thinking about it before. Child abuse... exactly!...

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