You're familiar with the satirical wit of "The Onion", right? Well, they have a new "Book of Known Knowledge". I got it from my library. Here's their definition of atheism. 

Atheism, rejection of a belief in the existence of God in which one deeply devotes oneself to the nearly nonstop studying, writing, thinking, and talking about God. Upon raching the philosophical and logical conclusion that God cannot exist, an atheist will dedicate the rest of his or her life to poring over books about God, fervently arguing with those who believe in God, and meeting with other devout atheists to discuss God or listen to someone lecture passionately and at length about how there is no God. The firmly held belief that there is no God gives atheists a deep sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

I don't know about you, but I love it! That's exactly why, in my very first Nexus post, I said I probably wouldn't write much about the subject (nor read other posts about it), despite this being a blog site explicitly for atheists. 'Nuf said.

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Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on March 13, 2013 at 8:57pm

Well Luara, we are creating such a community right here, though it is not a physical presence which is also required for full social satisfaction.  We are united mentally.  Through such a site, we can arrange meetings with close members and have such gatherings privately, theists need no know and thus no vilification is possible.  A bit like cutters or Emos meeting to view each other's latest self inflicted wounds. 

Here in Australia the tide has already pretty much turned on religion and nearly all the social gatherings here, Rotary Club, Lions Club, local sports clubs and even male health support groups like the "Mens Shed" are full of non-theists.  So I don't bear the same indignation and discrimination when I walk down the street.

If you could form such as non-profit social help groups that either support problems such as men's health like the "Mens Shed" which gathers men together to do work for local businesses for a small fee that goes towards charities. Without putting a non-religious tag on it, but simply have no affiliation with religion.  You may find gradual and deepening acceptance of your meetings along with a growing number of people understanding that not all charity and goodness comes from a belief in god.  Thus subtly making grounds with the occasional convert.

The way forward in your situation requires gentle baby steps, rocking the boat without shaking the bottles off the shelf.

Aye M8!  :-D~

Comment by Luara on March 13, 2013 at 6:27pm

Non-religious people need to either create a community with regular gatherings and some structure (organizational) to replace what was lost on leaving religion.

Definitely, and when you're in a society where nonreligious people are vilified, that also make them unhappy. 

Many extremely religious individuals may suffer temporal lobe (ecstatic) epilepsy.  These occasionally produce heaven and god like hallucinations.

Dostoevsky had epilepsy, there's a wonderful description of an epileptic fit coming on in his novel The Idiot.

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on March 13, 2013 at 4:52pm

Humans are naturally social creatures, thrive in communal activities.  Religion satisfies such needs with group gatherings like Church meetings.  This keeps the social creatures content.

When you are an individual, outside of group activities, then this social craving prevents you from being satisfied.  Non-religious people need to either create a community with regular gatherings and some structure (organizational) to replace what was lost on leaving religion.

Though as far as psychology and neurology goes. 

Many extremely religious individuals may suffer temporal lobe (ecstatic) epilepsy.  These occasionally produce heaven and god like hallucinations.

It is believed by some as being the probable cause of Joan of Ark's escapade as she gave detailed accounts of her visions, that when analyzed in a psychiatric light, point to a high probability of such epileptic episodes.

Maybe Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, etc.. also were sufferers of temporal lobe, ecstatic epilepsy.

Possibly all the world's religions are temporal lobe phenomenon.

Comment by Luara on March 13, 2013 at 4:09pm

Loren,

I looked at a few articles on it, and one thing they said is, religious people are happier because of the social support.  Also, when they talk about difficult circumstances, they mean religious people are happier in really difficult circumstances - people living in third world countries, in terrible conditions.  For example, if you took a look at that documentary "Prostitutes of God" about girls who get sold as temple prostitutes at 10 years old, and that's how they spend their lives ... 

It doesn't imply that everyone would feel that way. 

Nor that you would feel better if you invited those Mormons at your door, into your house and your mind :)  Despite what the Mormons think :)

Comment by Loren Miller on March 13, 2013 at 3:57pm

If religious people are generally happier than non-religious people, I think a question is begged: is their happiness based in reality or in their fantasy-based belief system?  If happiness has a false foundation, is it still valid?  If a man who's in debt up to his eyebrows figures that someone will come to help him at the 11th hour, what happens when that delusion is broken?

I would far rather have a real-world basis for my happiness, and if something is going on to cloud that, act to correct it.  And if I can't act - if the tumor is inoperable or the circumstances overwhelming - then I do the best with what I've got.  To me, it beats the snot out of fooling yourself.

Comment by Luara on March 13, 2013 at 3:41pm

prayer found to be a symptom of a mental illness called blind faith. It is a delusional disorder in which the victim believes things are true,  in the complete absence of any rational reasons to do so.

Religious people are apparently happier on average than nonreligious people - in religious countries.  It's easier being in the majority.  And in difficult circumstances, religion may help people cope. 

So in some circumstances, perhaps it's rational to be irrational :)

Except if you are too rational to be happily irrational ...

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on March 13, 2013 at 7:56am

LOL Randall: The Onion giveth and the Onion taketh away!  

Nicely balanced Aye M8!  :-D~

Comment by Randall Smith on March 13, 2013 at 7:42am

Here's Onion's def of prayer: "religious practice intended to create a deep personal and spiritual relationship with God that doesn't work because, you know, God doesn't exist." Gotta love it.

Comment by Luara on March 11, 2013 at 8:50pm

So does Onion have a satirical definition of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism etc.?

Comment by Karen Wright on March 11, 2013 at 6:30pm

So you agree with a piece that was written as satire?

But be that as it may, perhaps those types of atheists are that way simply because they see blind faith and religion as the one of the most important issue facing the future of humanity and want to do all they can to change it. Is it any different than any other activist for change? Without people like that we couldn't hope for a different world.

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