U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-05-2011, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
2,756 posts, read 5,412,809 times
Reputation: 4623

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texan2008 View Post
As an atheist in Texas I run into quite a few Christians who make claims that their lives have been transformed by their "relationship" with God and Jesus. The common thread is that their lives have been changed for the better and that in some cases there is a belief that certain things would not have happened to them if they had not become Christian. Is there anyone who believes that there is some kind of "placebo effect" going on here? Are they ignoring all the people for whom their lives do NOT change appreciably or who still suffer and die in misery after converting. We can imagine this scenario I would think in certain very poor parts of the world.

BTW, one of the best "atheist prayers" I have ever seen on the internet is the one below. Quite moving and powerful if you ask me.

Please Forgive Me? - Ex-Christian.Net
Uhhh, how exactly do you call that prayer an "atheist" one when the very first line addresses a "biblical God, Jehovah, and Jesus?"
And the prayer was on a Christina website!
LOL--I think you are a bit confused.

As far as the power of prayer? If to works for you, then it's true. If I find that if I believe my daily prayers to God furnish me with hope and inner-strength, than they do, since I can feel that power. (Even if there is no God. Or He's not listening; or is listening and doesn't care.)
So, yeah, sure: I guess you could equate the power of prayer to a placebo effect, but that would be an accurate comparison only if God does not exist. And that theory, my friend, will never, ever be proven. Although I sincerely believe that one day proof for God--most likely of the Deist variety--will emerge for us.
Your question reminds me of the famous theological postulate known as "Pascal's Wager." On this subject of the existence of God, he basically said that we were better off to believe in God and follow a Christian life, because if He did exist, we would be aligned to receive assistance from Him during our lives, and then also be entitled to the reward of Heaven upon our death.
And even if God did not exist, Pascal continued, one could still reap the benefits of the placebo affect of prayer during their life, and then when they finally perished it would not matter any longer that there was no God or afterlife.
So my advice to anyone who finds they need some inner-strength and resolve in times of trouble would be for them to prayer earnestly and humbly to the God they believe in. Or even "sorta kinda" believe in.
The cost is nil, and the payoff can be incredibly enormous.
Peace, y'all.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-06-2011, 09:49 AM
 
16,105 posts, read 17,923,003 times
Reputation: 15897
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrummerBoy View Post
Uhhh, how exactly do you call that prayer an "atheist" one when the very first line addresses a "Heavenly Bible God, Jehovah, and Jesus?"

And the prayer was on a Christian website!

Ex-Christian website, not Christian Website

http://new.exchristian.net/


So my advice to anyone who finds they need some inner-strength and resolve in times of trouble would be for them to prayer earnestly and humbly to the God they believe in. Or even "sorta kinda" believe in.
The cost is nil, and the payoff can be incredibly enormous.
Peace, y'all.
The cost of this kind of bet is *not* nil. People are dying because of their religion every day. Which religion should the better choose and why?

If this God exists, presumably he would know that the bettor is pretending to believe. Would a god really want a hypocrite in preference to an honest agnostic or atheist? Not a god I want to pretend to believe in.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-06-2011, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texan2008 View Post
As an atheist in Texas I run into quite a few Christians who make claims that their lives have been transformed by their "relationship" with God and Jesus. The common thread is that their lives have been changed for the better and that in some cases there is a belief that certain things would not have happened to them if they had not become Christian. Is there anyone who believes that there is some kind of "placebo effect" going on here? Are they ignoring all the people for whom their lives do NOT change appreciably or who still suffer and die in misery after converting.
In Christianity, God gets all the credit for things that go right and believers get all the blame for things that go wrong. Even where Satan is to blame it's a believer that "gave him place", enabling Satan to influence things for ill. Or if you're of a more liberal persuasion, substitute something more generic for Satan, like "evil". Same principle: God has no responsibility to follow through on this promises.

To me what you're describing just reflects this thought-system. The believer is a lowly worm who would be nothing without Jesus stepping in. Everything good that has happend is because of Jesus. Every loss, every calamity, every mistake is a personal failure because "Jesus never fails".

It also reflects a very self-absorbed, life-is-all-about-me worldview that allows them to explain away the suffering of their fellow believers as "tests of faith" or to say or imply that "real Christians" don't suffer or doubt or hurt. After all, the only intelligent thing I recall coming out of a minister's mouth was this saying: "The church is the only army that shoots its own wounded".

It's not so much a placebo effect as a selection bias.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-06-2011, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by DayLight1555 View Post
And why do people who become Christians (or in other beliefs) become more loving? Because they become happy. Good people who are happy tend to be loving to others. They tend to want to embrace all and wish everybody good will. Because they are happy.
In my experience as a former Christian it really had more to do with faking that you give two Moderator cut: inappropriate language about your fellow man because that's what you're "supposed" to do. It's true that some people have a warm fuzzy emotional response to religious sentiment and this tends to make them well-disposed at those particular times to their fellow man, but it's not sustainable or transformational in any meaningful way. Everyone just agrees to the fiction.

This is why people can sit in church and nod gravely at the minister's high-minded bloviations and not remember a thing they heard after walking out the door and certainly not practice it. Even preachers decry the chronic problem of people playing roles on Sunday and acting like everyone else during the week.

Last edited by june 7th; 11-10-2011 at 10:07 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-08-2011, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,495,090 times
Reputation: 8779
I think it might be a handy thing if we had a cult deprogramer on this thread.
I think many of us humans may not be optimizing our lives for one reason or another and something that gives us hope and direction and the 'warm fuzzies' sometimes can kick us into high gear and pull us out of our morass.

I also think there should be some sort of formalized and regular forum for the discussion of ethics and morals. There is too much of a tendency towards a government that used to be considered sci-fi. I know atheists can be very moral people, but think without religion there are many others who might run amok. It takes, usually, a higher intelligence and insight to break with the norms of society to question or reject the common concept of god. To me, when people are developmentally ready for it, they break away.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-08-2011, 10:22 AM
 
2,447 posts, read 2,682,255 times
Reputation: 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
Originally Posted by northstar22 So you're saying that it would make life hell if you believe in love?
Or that it would make life hell if you don't believe in love?

According to your logic morality doesn't exist either so why try to lead a moral life, right?
Actually, no. This is one of the most fallacious, and downright suspicious arguments ever.

If you really think that you can just do whatever you want just because there's no objective morality, you need to reevaluate your own subjective morals.

I think it's pretty strange how I hear this from some theists. They're essentially saying, although there are many people leading good lives without god, if they don't have god, they can't function in society. There's something wrong with that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-08-2011, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,495,090 times
Reputation: 8779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aganusn View Post
I think it's pretty strange how I hear this from some theists. They're essentially saying, although there are many people leading good lives without god, if they don't have god, they can't function in society. There's something wrong with that.
Has anyone analyzed societies that are predominantly religious vs. those which were not?

I see the Soviet Union and the suffering and corruption, but then there is Scandinavia, which is not known for corruption. So, does religion play any real role, bottom line, in a society?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-09-2011, 04:35 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
8,567 posts, read 14,812,220 times
Reputation: 1573
Originally Posted by Aganusn
Quote:
If you really think that you can just do whatever you want just because there's no objective morality, you need to reevaluate your own subjective morals.
Where have I stated that man can do whatever he wants because there are no consquences?
But it sure is a fact that, as long these consequences don't affect them personally, some people simply don't give a damn about the consequences of their actions.
I mean how else would the current global economic crisis be possible?


Originally Posted by goldengrain
Quote:
I see the Soviet Union and the suffering and corruption, but then there is Scandinavia, which is not known for corruption. So, does religion play any real role, bottom line, in a society?
My theory is that religion played a very important role in the forming of the 1st societies.
I'd say it would be impossible for man to form a large society without religion because if atheism would've been man's default position he would still have been too busy to survive the jungle on his own (or in his small tribe).
Sure the quest for power (read: politics) could temporarily solidify the alliance of several (small) tribes but it takes religion to make it 'permanent'; to create a national identity for each individual, where they accept the stranger as their own.

The biggest difference between atheist societies like the SU and Scandinavia is their population.
The SU has many different 'tribes' who come from different regions, which explains the many cultural differences within the SU, while I'm assuming that Scandinavia only has a few tribes where the terrain is largely the same.
So the more homogeneous the people the easier it is to form an atheist society were there is less corruption.
I don't believe there is a corrupt free society.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-09-2011, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Metromess
11,798 posts, read 21,996,789 times
Reputation: 5074
Moderator cut: edit

The only reason that it would have been "impossible for man to form a large society without religion" was that there were too many ignorant people with little knowledge of reality who were ripe to be taken advantage of by early shaman/cleric types.

Last edited by june 7th; 11-10-2011 at 10:10 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-09-2011, 05:31 PM
 
4 posts, read 4,820 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texan2008 View Post
As an atheist in Texas I run into quite a few Christians who make claims that their lives have been transformed by their "relationship" with God and Jesus. The common thread is that their lives have been changed for the better and that in some cases there is a belief that certain things would not have happened to them if they had not become Christian. Is there anyone who believes that there is some kind of "placebo effect" going on here? Are they ignoring all the people for whom their lives do NOT change appreciably or who still suffer and die in misery after converting. We can imagine this scenario I would think in certain very poor parts of the world.

BTW, one of the best "atheist prayers" I have ever seen on the internet is the one below. Quite moving and powerful if you ask me.

[URL="http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/44259-please-forgive-me/"]Please Forgive Me? - Ex-Christian.Net[/URL]
Knowing God and having Christ change is a personal jounery that everyone takes alone, and is between them and god. some see and some don't. but to see god you must seek him.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top