Every atheist becomes an atheist for different reasons and by a different thought process. So, there could be different reasons of all of us for being atheists. I generally totally dislike talking about myself, but I have to do so if I have to talk about my pride for being an atheist. The roots of atheism must have existed in my blood when I was eight or nine! I observed happenings around myself with a total detachment and stored their memories in my mind till I was free of family induced religious beliefs, when I was about eighteen. I took fourteen more years to become a confirmed atheist. As I look back now on my life, I see that I possed a good analtyical ability, an independent and rational mind, a strong belief in free thought and strong resistance to accept anything because it was a rule. I am perplexed in my mind that I possed these faculties even though my parents were very orthodox, but it was so. Possessing these qualities of a free mind and being able to use them in a right manner that ultimately led to atheism, the philosophy of the future, makes me proud, or rather, selfrespecting. Pride in this case simply means a selfrespect, for being a rational creature.
You were lucky to be raised Atheist and didn't have to suffer the indoctrination -- so nice to have you as a friend Valerie!
You state, "Religion is something imposed on children’s initially-free mentality by the perverse will of elders, whether parents, school, church, synagogue or mosque." There is at least one other large group that has had religion imposed on them...primative cultures around the world that have been destroyed by missionary zeal. In my under-educated view, a primative people's culture is defined by their religion. Christianity has made it a priority to convert these people thereby destroying their original religion (culture). Of course the result is the same for a primative people as it is for a child indoctrinated from birth...an irrational belief maintained by outlawing rational thought.
Yes, you are right to indicate that overzealous christian missionaries usually succeed in destroying anciently-held cultures that nonetheless did have merits of their own, as anthropologists and professorial historians of religion have often pointed out.
I agree with everything you have said. We do have the advantage of having the most accurate information due to the scientific method.
But I agree with Allan as well. In my opinion, because of the knowledge we have, we should stand in awe and be humbled by it rather than feel higher. Science does not hold all of the answers and has been wrong several times. The most fascinating thing about science is when we are wrong or find something completely different all together. The scientific method is beautiful.
Religious people who base their lives around faith and the thought that god will provide for them should not be looked at with pity despite their flawed logic. People who are unable to accept anything besides what they know previously are all equally flawed. Atheist and religious alike. Just because someone does not believe God exists, doesn't automatically mean they are logical or able to see past their own previously conceived notions. In my opinion it is the generalization of group characteristics that bring about prejudice and the inability to reason with each other.
With intelligence comes great responsibility. We need to be the example. Many people have come from religious backgrounds into atheism because of the humility and beauty of reality shown by an atheist that they could not find within religion. My opinion is that humility is the back bone of scientific discovery and knowledge.
With intelligence comes great responsibility. We need to be the example.
I wholeheartedly agree with you on the above points, but the atheists have to realise this responsibility and the need to be an example for others. Atheist refuse to realise this responsibility and say that atheism in nothing more than not believing in god and nothing less.
Enjoyed reading that.
I agree with you that by and large atheism holds the intellectual high ground. However, as you reference the religious as humbling themselves to imaginary gods, I can't help but feel you are insinuating that we as atheists should not feel humbled. I disagree, if that is the case.
With the knowledge we have, by our choice to obtain it, we see how vast and powerful the universe is. Not controlling, so as to watch over us and intervene, but powerful nonetheless. We should feel empowered, in our knowledge but humbled by sheer wonder of what else we will discover. I'm not sure if I am getting my point across, so I will point to a very meaningful quote but one of our brilliant scientific minds, who I amcertain you are all familiar with.
“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson.
I sometimes hard to find it hard to articulate precisely what I mean, but I think that quote sums it up pretty well. My point is, there is a great amount of unknown in the universe. We know quite a lot, but almost nothing in comparison of what there is to know. To be humbled and stalled in pure wonder of all of the universe, all of existence, that wonder and curiosity is what drives us to discover more.
What's up, Doc?
My question is; what do we call the unforeseeable? Surely it need not be anything deific or fantastical, but what is a prediction when you're downwind of it? Surely mysticism points to truths, if we learn not to accept them as not whole truths, but mere expectations.
Why all the hubbub over what one person calls one thing? What of the "soul" and its more demure impact on what we call life? I can attest to having no prior knowledge of what a "soul" might be... but perhaps a portent for something indistinguishable to any of us at this point in our lives.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is; what do you call a hypothesis when you're trying to look at its substance before defining its beginning and its end?
When an adult turns to religion, what are the unmet needs that propel them toward faith and belief?
1) Community is one; lonely people turn to a church community for comfort and feelings of belonging to something bigger than themselves.
2) Easy answers to complex questions in one's life, with certainty of provided answers.
3) Feelings of powerless when confronted by conflict, whether with a spouse, children, personally or professionally.
4) Seeking power and control that religious dogma bestows on some while not on others. Strength, domination, control, and use of power over others are all enabled and justified by religious beliefs.
5) Justification for feeling weak, submissive, controlled, powerless, self-sacrificed.
Atheism becomes attractive to some when they experience faith and belief as insufficient to meet life's challenge.
Theists may experience a sense of:
being requires a sense of agency without supernatural influences guiding or comforting;
doing what needs to be done and developing the skills needed to make things happen;
belonging involves being part of something bigger than oneself, of belonging to a community in response to our nature as social animals;
thinking provides cognitive tools to recognize problems, explore options, make decisions, gather resources, build teams, and evaluate outcomes;
participating means joining with others in a sense of "we" to accomplish bigger things than one can do alone, providing strong leadership if needed, and knowing the skills of being an effective follower if needed.
Atheists live knowing there is no superhuman power that can answer prayers, or that protects us when we are in danger. We have all we need to make it possible to anticipate danger, to be alert of mind/body, seek self-sufficiency for ourselves and participate with others.
There is pride, self-respect and dignity in knowing one exists as part of this grand universe, that there is plenty of work to be done and one has some qualities to offer, that one loves and is loved as part of family, neighborhood, nation, and world, and one can think and reason in very special ways because of one's experience and training.
I wish I were as articulate on this topic as you Joan. Very well said.