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Old 03-02-2014, 02:37 AM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
I'm probably having a day of being brain dead. but after reading the Thread title again. "Do you think that the fear of death and nonexistence will keep most people from ever becoming atheists?"

I can not see any relationship be tween Fear of death/nonexistence and Atheism. How could either affect if a person has or has not found reason to believe God(swt) exists? If a person has not found reason to believe God(swt) exists, they are an Atheist, no matter how scared of death they may be.
Emotional reasons such as "Feeling" that this or that is true or that you would rather this or that be true because it's happiest to believe.
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:16 AM
 
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There are two main points coming out of these posts

1) the reason why people continue to believe in religion is not fear of death, but because of their belief- system, shall we say. In a way Christians are of course right when they say they don't believe to get into heaven, but just because they believe. Fear of death (and judgement) is just an arguing ploy, just as, in fact the atheist 'you just do good to get into heaven' which is an arguing ploy (yes, we goddless bastards have Ploys, and Gambits too ) in the morality debate.
This is good, because the major atheist case against religion is that it doesn't stack up logically or evidentially. On fear of death, judgement, Pascal's wager actually works better than is generally thought, because the only hellthreat worse than the Christian one is the muslim.

2) The fear of death is innate. Everything has a genetically - encoded instinct to avoid death. There is also a genetically encoded override that kicks in to protect the offspring and the group. We have all seen these. We see them made the culmination of many a film or TV show. And yet hardly anyone understands where they come from or how they work (the kneejerk explanation is God is on our side). But it's pretty obvious, when you think that the only meaning that evolution had for us is 'Survival'.

When Faith in the almost divine Rightness of our particular society is seen in this perspective, we look at flag -waving rallies, mass prayers with USAF jets roaring overhead and all the rest of it, we stare appalled and wonder how we can continue to have all our heads bashed together by the competitive forces of evolution.

If we understand it, we should learn to control it. And mental control of instinctive fear of death and the possible part it plays in reinforcing the impalpable claims and flimsy promises of religion has been known from the time of the Greek philosophers (No wonder they were regarded as atheists and blasphemers). It is not hard to overcome the innate fear of death through accepting what can't be changed and equally not hard to overcome the fear of hellthreat by reasoning it out and seeing what a complete crock of crud it is.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 03-02-2014 at 03:37 AM.. Reason: need a 'cause'
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:40 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,240 posts, read 19,541,004 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
I can not see any relationship be tween Fear of death/nonexistence and Atheism. How could either affect if a person has or has not found reason to believe God(swt) exists? If a person has not found reason to believe God(swt) exists, they are an Atheist, no matter how scared of death they may be.
I'd say that is putting the cart before the horse.

It is the fear of death and the pain of loss which probably led humans to believe in God in the first place - or at least these factors caused humans to reinforce their belief in a God who will provide them some kind of afterlife, eternal life, reincarnation or what have you.

These make-believe concepts have been necessary for people to rationalize their actions while they're living. Be a good person and you'll go to heaven. Don't be a good person and you'll burn in hell.

People simply are not comfortable with the idea that they are no different than any other animals or life on earth when it comes to their inevitable fate.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I'd say that is putting the cart before the horse.

It is the fear of death and the pain of loss which probably led humans to believe in God in the first place - or at least these factors caused humans to reinforce their belief in a God who will provide them some kind of afterlife, eternal life, reincarnation or what have you.

These make-believe concepts have been necessary for people to rationalize their actions while they're living. Be a good person and you'll go to heaven. Don't be a good person and you'll burn in hell.

People simply are not comfortable with the idea that they are no different than any other animals or life on earth when it comes to their inevitable fate.
I doubt I am unique. But, I can not remember ever having a fear of death.

While that may not be the best thing for survival as lack of fear of death has dang near gotten me killed several times. I seem to have a habit of being a bit reckless. But, even though I am a theist, fear of death does not seem to have entered into my reason for being so.

I, on a personal reason or limitation, am unable to comprehend how fear of death can keep a person from being an Atheist, if they have no reason to believe in God(swt).

I can understand how it might make an Atheist wish God(swt) existed, but I do not see how it could MAKE them believe.

I do hope that most Theists are not so shallow that they believe only because they fear death. That strikes me as a very poor reason to believe.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Here
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
From my experience, it seems that there are a LOT of people out there who know in their heart of hearts that religion is basically a bunch of nonsense. But in spite of this, they just cannot accept their own mortality and they are terrified by the idea that their lives and that of their loved ones have an expiration date.

People desperately want to believe in things like God, heaven and afterlife.

So, does it really boil down to this particular reason that most people will never be atheists?
If a person looks at religious belief and concludes it is nonsense and that god does not exist, then that person is by definition an atheist. Simply wanting to believe in a god does not make a person believe in a god. The best that can be done is to fake a belief in god.
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:05 PM
 
40,053 posts, read 26,735,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
I doubt I am unique. But, I can not remember ever having a fear of death.
While that may not be the best thing for survival as lack of fear of death has dang near gotten me killed several times. I seem to have a habit of being a bit reckless. But, even though I am a theist, fear of death does not seem to have entered into my reason for being so.
I, on a personal reason or limitation, am unable to comprehend how fear of death can keep a person from being an Atheist, if they have no reason to believe in God(swt).
I can understand how it might make an Atheist wish God(swt) existed, but I do not see how it could MAKE them believe.
I do hope that most Theists are not so shallow that they believe only because they fear death. That strikes me as a very poor reason to believe.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalileoSmith View Post
If a person looks at religious belief and concludes it is nonsense and that god does not exist, then that person is by definition an atheist. Simply wanting to believe in a god does not make a person believe in a god. The best that can be done is to fake a belief in god.
Confusion about this centers on the absurd idea that anyone CHOOSES whether or not to believe in God. It is not and cannot be a choice. Either you truly believe or you do not. As a choice . . . it can only be faked . . . which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:45 AM
 
Location: California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Confusion about this centers on the absurd idea that anyone CHOOSES whether or not to believe in God. It is not and cannot be a choice. Either you truly believe or you do not. As a choice . . . it can only be faked . . . which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
I agree. I've always found the whole idea of "choosing to believe" ridiculous. Even ACTUAL BELIEF can't change what is and what will be. Ideas and thoughts in our head, actions we take to symbolize faith, are not going to change anything. Especially anything that occurs after our physical deaths. There will be no "whoops I was wrong" moments like some faithful gleefully proclaim when talking to non believers. Death doesn't mean TOO LATE and the fact that anyone can actually think that way is insane.
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Old 03-03-2014, 03:06 AM
 
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What is amusing the that Mystic and Ceese, while apparently agreeing, are saying the opposite.

Ceese is talking about the irrelevance of belief in respect of 'what is'. And implication of that is that what we can find out (or not find much evidence for) is the basis of what we choose to believe, or rationally, should be.

Mystic, on the other hand is talking about just that 'whoops, I was wrong' moment, which comes, as it did for him, in a moment of revelation.
Thus for him 'choice' is absurd, since only a revealed experience is going to show us the truth. Human knowledge is all very fine, but only when it is marshalled to explain the divine truth which is revealed only by personal experience.

If it doesn't do that, it is merely blindness and ignorance.

I on the other hand take the view that 'Choice' on the basis of weight of evidence (or lack of it) IS the only rational way to approach the God-claim. 'Believe or not' is merely the Christian ploy of pretending that evidence isn't important.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,195 posts, read 9,082,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
What is amusing the that Mystic and Ceese, while apparently agreeing, are saying the opposite.

Ceese is talking about the irrelevance of belief in respect of 'what is'. And implication of that is that what we can find out (or not find much evidence for) is the basis of what we choose to believe, or rationally, should be.

Mystic, on the other hand is talking about just that 'whoops, I was wrong' moment, which comes, as it did for him, in a moment of revelation.
Thus for him 'choice' is absurd, since only a revealed experience is going to show us the truth. Human knowledge is all very fine, but only when it is marshaled to explain the divine truth which is revealed only by personal experience.

If it doesn't do that, it is merely blindness and ignorance.

I on the other hand take the view that 'Choice' on the basis of weight of evidence (or lack of it) IS the only rational way to approach the God-claim. 'Believe or not' is merely the Christian ploy of pretending that evidence isn't important.
Arq, old boy, it's been days since I clicked the rep button since it's basically useless, and sure enough, I can't send you any love for this particularly cogent observation, particularly its culmination in the last sentence.

Christianity is really a thicket of false choices and dilemmas. One is put in mind of Lewis' "liar, madman, or son of god" argument, Pascal's Wager, etc. Even when the choices presented make sense, they are an artificially truncated list of possibilities that an increasingly educated and informed public finds it easier and easier to see through.

Cesse's observation is also very good. Even a Christian would agree in principle that things are what they are and what you (dis)believe will not change it. It therefore only follows that one had best have a correct and relevant basis (aka: reality) for what one (dis)believes. It is an amazing work of legerdemain that people can be convinced, at least in the modern era, that old legends and doctrines and one's hunches and fantasies and preferences are to be taken as authoritative over empirical data.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:40 AM
 
39,052 posts, read 10,837,135 times
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You may think of my ass and blow me a kiss.

And you also are right in saying that the choice is really whether to believe that Godfaith is a valid starting - point from which one can see ...practically everything ...as evidence for God and any problems can be explained away in the many adroit rhetorical gymnastics they use, or whether to not start with Godfaith and see whether there is a sound case for God -belief in any way that matches what religion teaches.

Thirty years ago, people would have tended to have grown up with the former worldview, but things are changing.
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