this is why i am an atheist. long ago a friend died, and i had to try figure out why. i was still a mild believer. my grandma had repeatedly fed me the mantra, god is love. so why wud a just, benevolent god, who is love, create this world, filled as it is with evil? thats my question.

nother query. how many of you were turned to atheism by this?

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a believer who has a self only thru god might so need attention from others that s/he will tell others they are totally self-centered.

I don't know that empathy for others requires a prior empathy for self (thinking of all the caregivers who devote themselves to others and burn themselves out), but it seems to require an AWARENESS of self. Interestingly, animals that have shown awareness of self also show evidence of altruism, grief, caring, sharing, and other behaviors which we formerly thought to be only human.

Natalie, my own experience led to my asking if empathy for others requires a prior empathy for self.

While president of a junior college Catholic students club (the first time I was an officer of any kind of club) I acted like an automaton in the belief (learned in Catholic schools) that setting a good example would result in the other members becoming more active. Wisely, they didn't fall for my naive manipulation and my burning out resulted in my learning how to delegate.

Thank you for your post; it reminded me that sometimes, either of two inconsistent and even contradictory beliefs can motivate an action, a change of view, or a better-phrased question.

I now ask, does empathy for others without a prior empathy for self define workaholism?

Asked differently, do workaholics have empathy for themselves?

Whether they do or don't, workaholic officers do harm organizations; they make themselves too busy to develop successors to their positions.

ive seen arguments that jaspanese have little sence of self, and that this is the cause of the many workaholics that were and still are here. yes, sucsessor developement is a maj prob in japanese compasnies. here its nothing to do with religion per se. here its the culture. and i have to say i see little empathy for others here.

perhaps god is a skapegoat. thebeliever can always say god did that, i didn't. wouldnt th=at interfear with the creation of self in our western culture.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family where the bible was read from cover to cover - all true and all god´s word, they said. It didn´t take me long to find inconsistences; to whom were Adam & Eve´s children married? Why is a loving god so content with genocide? why is the one and only god jealous of other gods? Then I tried to cash in the promises made in the bible: an earthly father would give his child what it needs and heavenly father would do it even better - both let me down of course.

Living in a dysfunctional family opened my eyes to the fact that the religious answers to problems never work, so I grew up as fast as I could and left my parents and their church at the first opportunity.

Gautam Buddha was much affected by the grief and sorrow he saw among human beings. Consequently, he became an atheist. The pain, sorrow, grief are the evils of human life. I was much affected by the poverty I saw around me and the consequent pains, particularly to the children. Simultaneously, I also saw the people's blind and irrational faith. Both these things made me think deeply and finally lead to a strong atheist beleif.

 

yes madhukar and chris but did the problem of evil bring you to the conclusion that god, if he exists must himself be evil?

What else could god (if he existed) be but evil? A psychiatrist told me once that god wasn´t sane enough to be left on the street; he and jesus should be in a mental hospital...  

When I became an atheist 40 years ago, I had almost no knowledge of christianity. I realised that the hindu gods were creations of humans and that was it. I never thought that gods were evil and that is why I have no strong dislike or hate for gods or religion.

cool one of us wasnt affected by the prob of evil.

Madhukar - Even though you have not undertaken the horrific decimation of being subjected to religious and barbaric rites of religion - please step back and take in the wonders of the blood shed by Christianity - women being multilated to force 'confessions' to the 'church' could take her assets - and then burned at the stake. Tens of thousands of women - and this was after the 'church' had alrady murdered as many men as possible.

Stand in their shoes for just a minute and perhaps your 'dislike' of gods or religion will increase just a bit.

How about I provide just one name for you. Her name was Fanny Alger - she was 'taken' by a Christian prophet when she was age 13 - and she and he were caught 'in the act' in his barn by his wife.

This did not deter this Christian prophet of God - no - he made her his 2nd wife at age 16 - and then went on to have a total of 39-wives - many already married to other men.

Give her a thought if you have some time.

id just like to say that the reason i started the thread was i was reading "Misquoting jesus" by Brad Ehrman, at the end of which he says hes an agnostic not because of his reasearch on the boble, but because of the problem of evil

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