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Old 02-14-2014, 02:54 AM
 
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I 'loked over the cliff' when I was a teen and wondered 'If there is no point to life' (and I understand completely why it seems that way if we do not have an overarching deity with a purpose for us all) why not just end it all?

The only answer was that I really didn't want to. Having made that rather lame and personal but really quite effective decision, I then asked 'So, what do I do with my life?'

The answer was 'Whatever you like'.

That was a revelation. Without a god telling me what to do, the world was my oyster. Grey, slippery and rather expensive.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
... the world was my oyster. Grey, slippery and rather expensive.
LOL! I love that kind of humor. My favorite in this vein is, "I slept like a baby -- I woke up and cried every hour."

We like to call ourselves freethinkers, but with freedom comes responsibility. In retrospect, I recognize that much of the appeal of fundamentalism for me was that I could avoid figuring out for myself what life means and what my values are. It was easier and safer to have those prefabricated and issued to me by someone else who had already done all the heavy lifting. It avoids facing the fact of one's mortality, the realization that "there are no guarantees in life" is more than an empty aphorism but is actually true, the seemingly "unfair" realization that we find ourselves in this unasked-for existence with all the possibilities AND pitfalls, the nature and very existence of free will, etc. Granted, even fundamentalists figure some of that out, even if they are encumbered with somehow at least secretly rationalizing it alongside their precious dogmas. But not Yours Truly. I wanted a turnkey package. Of course that made the abstraction extra leaky for me and ironically just about guaranteed that it wouldn't work forever.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
All I have is questions and more questions. Philosophically, if you do not seek God what do you seek? Do you have a blueprint? If one in your world one enunciates 'I have seen God', would you shoot him?.
Seriously? I thought we established that a few posts back.

Are you currently tempted to kill people of other religions? Is your religion the only thing holding you back?

I am an atheist and I have never killed anybody. Never planned it, contemplated it, or come close at all. Why would I start doing that in the future if atheism became the dominant meme?
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:41 AM
 
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I am an atheist and I have never killed anybody. Never planned it, contemplated it, or come close at all. Why would I start doing that in the future if atheism became the dominant meme?
fishbrains et al...

Let me say this and then I guess we'll keep kicking the can down the road because this looks like an intractable subject. I know all of you have a 'moral' character just like me. We are all together like this. We are all thinkers here. So as usual there's that 'slippery slope'. Really I do think you are all 'honourable men'. I believe you. Yet I go with Antony brooding over Caesar's dead body and showing what 'honourable men' can do in the quest for an ideal.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
fishbrains et al...

Let me say this and then I guess we'll keep kicking the can down the road because this looks like an intractable subject. I know all of you have a 'moral' character just like me. We are all together like this. We are all thinkers here. So as usual there's that 'slippery slope'. Really I do think you are all 'honourable men'. I believe you. Yet I go with Antony brooding over Caesar's dead body and showing what 'honourable men' can do in the quest for an ideal.
O,IC ... so you are concerned about "keeping honest people honest". It is a question of what does that. It is the theist belief that god's enforcement of his decreed morality does that. Or that is basically the idea; there are some who embellish it further and say that it only really works with Real Christians (tm) or Real Christians who are filled with / yielded to god's spirit sufficiently, and that it is only some indirect trickle-down that keeps the godless in check.

IF for the sake of argument that is not true, then obviously the imperfect but workable morals and ethics that we have come from somewhere else (I'd argue implicit and explicit societal consensus, via laws, penal systems, peer pressure, accountability to one another, etc). Because we have not descended into chaos with darkness marching all over the face of the earth -- in fact we have turned back some efforts to make that happen (various totalitarian regimes of the 20th century that are now in the dustbin of history, for example).

IF for the sake of argument it IS true that god's morality works as described above in my opening paragraph, then it is a systemic failure that god cannot maintain his exclusive lock and hegemony on moral authority and I guess he's going to have to cause the earth to open up and swallow his opponents or something. I mean if it weren't for the fact that the Christian god claims to "not be willing that any should perish" and yet by standard evangelical dogma has allowed the majority of humanity over time to do exactly that, I'd be willing to bet that god would just not allow his authority to be challenged. But given his track record in related areas, you're right, he'd probably just let everything go to hell in a handbasket.

The reason that atheists do not trouble themselves about this possibility is that most of us are highly convinced -- 95% to 99.9% -- that there are no god(s) at all, much less your particular god, much less your particular god following your particular doctrine about god's holiness / morality. Because of this, and good indications in relatively godless nations that we are not on some sort of thin ice, we feel that the risk of Christians or other religions of the book being right on this score are not worth any anxiety at all.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:35 AM
 
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Because of this, and good indications in relatively godless nations that we are not on some sort of thin ice, we feel that the risk of Christians or other religions of the book being right on this score are not worth any anxiety at all.

As I said mordant you I know are an 'honourable man'. I hope you take the compliment beacuse ultimately some are not. But please don't ignore the anxiety in contemplating a future where you really don't know what the answers will be because you are coming from a present where you apparently revel in certainties.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,191 posts, read 9,079,084 times
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
Quote:
Because of this, and good indications in relatively godless nations that we are not on some sort of thin ice, we feel that the risk of Christians or other religions of the book being right on this score are not worth any anxiety at all.
As I said mordant you I know are an 'honourable man'. I hope you take the compliment because ultimately some are not. But please don't ignore the anxiety in contemplating a future where you really don't know what the answers will be because you are coming from a present where you apparently revel in certainties.
Thanks Tavric, I appreciate that you can at least allow that some of us godless are honorable nonetheless. I in turn allow that some of us are not -- but surely you realize the same can be said of Christians, or of anyone. Indeed, I am still looking for one solid data point that says that Christians or atheists do significantly better or worse than the other. They are all just people, and this is another observation that points toward both groups operating from the same morality already.

I don't know that I revel in certainties, they are just information in which I have a high degree of confidence. I could, of course, be wrong, and I can't, of course, gaze into some sort of crystal ball and see the future. However, past IS prolog, as they say, and no one is talking about flipping a switch and making Christianity vanish. It will be a continued slow transition, as it has been, and if there is a causal connection between the phasing out of hellthreat, etc., then we will certainly discover that and have time to do something about it.
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:42 PM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
What will you do? Will it be the same? Will it change? Will you make a 'better' world? And what does 'better' mean? You say this will happen and that will happen etc etc but you cannot know for sure. All I have is questions and more questions. Philosophically, if you do not seek God what do you seek? Do you have a blueprint? If one in your world one enunciates 'I have seen God', would you shoot him? What would freedom mean to you? The move to the no-god idea appears to be more of an 'escape from' episode rather than a 'looking forward' approach. Slights, inattentiveness, repulsiveness, brainwashing etc etc etc look like your motivators to usher in the 'new world' free from the supposed lie of God. Surely an unappetizing start at the atheistic table....;-).....
I was going to write a long diatribe slicing apart your assertion line by line by line as I'm somewhat famous (or perhaps infamous) for doing.

But I realized .... why? You haven't even addressed anything I've said in my first post. Why write a second one?

So it still all comes down to this:

Can you point to even a single freedom-loving and benevolent theocracy? Anywhere? Ever?

Because until you can cough up an example of a theocracy that didn't stink of corpses and dungeons, why would we want a return to that? An atheist society might be a big experiment, but at least we would be exploring uncharted ground instead of retreating into the darkness of the past.

Nothing else that you can say here really matters until you can give us this example.
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:55 PM
 
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An atheist simply doesn't believe in God, or that he exists.

Doesn't mean s/he is a bad person, or is a sociopath, or a depressed nihilist. lol..

People balk at subjective morality, but it makes some sense since religious people can be cruel by nature of how they think, they're upbringing, etc. I've known many religious people who are not kind or charitable people, so believing in God or the Bible/Koran makes little. I try my best not to judge/detest others, but then atheists are no worse or better than others IMO. Well I am known and to my knowledge I've never killed, raped or tortured anybody
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,933 posts, read 8,397,741 times
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
fishbrains et al...

Let me say this and then I guess we'll keep kicking the can down the road because this looks like an intractable subject. I know all of you have a 'moral' character just like me. We are all together like this. We are all thinkers here. So as usual there's that 'slippery slope'. Really I do think you are all 'honourable men'. I believe you. Yet I go with Antony brooding over Caesar's dead body and showing what 'honourable men' can do in the quest for an ideal.
So, credit to you for repeatedly coming back to a thread where you are fighting the lone fight.

The atheists here all have a common point. We are asking you for proof to support your fears, something beyond it-might-be-bad-for-Christians. This goes back to something that many atheists seem to share, which is a skeptical view of the world.

It seems to me that you have lost the debate though.

Atheists in this thread have demonstrated:

Repressive theocracies
A system of secular morality
A correlation between secular societies and high standards of living/freedoms

For your part you have demonstrated nothing more than a nebulous fear of the unknown.

I understand that we are not going to change your mind, nor is it at all necessary. But I would like you to understand that atheists do have a solid basis for saying that an atheistic culture is possible.
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