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Old 08-24-2009, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Utah
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Do Atheists rely on Faith? Does Consciousness continue after Death?

Regarding the atheism vs. religion controversy, in my opinion it's all a matter of Faith - with an added dash of Prudence!

It has been my observation on the boards that Christians are fond of writing such things as "God lives" and "Jesus is the Christ." To which and similar statements atheists tend to respond with something like PROVE IT! (Meaning of course, prove it by applying the scientific method and manufactured tools; which cannot be done, at least not with today's tools.) Christians respond with testimonies of spiritual experiences and beliefs derived from intangible sources and studying the books of the bible.

It is of course proven that the physical body must inevitably die. So, the big question for all thinking mortals is, does awareness/consciousness continue after death? If it does, there's a larger than life reason for our being on this planet and God probably does live. If it doesn't, you've only got at best a few years to exist, you don't know when you'll take your last breath, so why not live your life with no thought for possible eternal consequences?

As far as I know the life after death question has not yet been scientifically proven either way, though some scientists studying near death experiences, and of course those scientists who have an active faith in God believe that there is life after death.

It's likely that many people who do not believe in God (atheists) have faith in their unproven belief that consciousness is forever extinguished when the physical brain dies, or soon thereafter.

Religious folks, those who believe in God and life after death also have faith. Their faith is in their belief that life goes on, that a part of their being continues to exist with full awareness even after death, and on into the eternities.

Based on faith in their contrasting beliefs, both atheists and religious people probably weight many of their life choices towards what they believe to be true. Of course there are no doubt responsible caring considerate people who choose not to believe in God, but some atheists and probably many rebellious religious people tend to choose an "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die" type of lifestyle.

And meanwhile, those who have hedged their bets, believing that this mortal life is a time to prepare to meet God, shape their behavior accordingly, trying their best to keep what they believe to be God's guidelines for their eternal well-being, his commandments to His children who are having their mortal experience.

In your opinion is it rationally prudent to choose a religious lifestyle even if it requires a lot of faith, just in case there really is a God and an eternity of awareness waiting?

Or is it better to have faith in one's belief that awareness ends at death, and therefore maximize pleasure and squeeze every moral and immoral experience possible out of one's years, with no thought that there might be eternal consequences for our choice of behavior?

What say you?
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:20 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Faith isn't an insurance policy. You believe in Jesus or you don't. If you're just practicing Faith "just in case", you're not practicing anything.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Faith in what?
Atheists just don't believe in a god thing, nope, none of them.
That's about it.

Talk about projection.
Most of the ones I know try to live a good life here on earth because it's the only one we have.
When we're dead, we're dead.

So you're religious because of fear, not because you really believe in a god, but what if you don't.
What a convoluted reason for a belief. How absolutely misguided.

This sounds like breeders who have kids so that someone will take care of them when they're old.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
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justamere10 wrote:
Quote:
In your opinion is it rationally prudent to choose a religious lifestyle even if it requires a lot of faith, just in case there really is a God and an eternity of awareness waiting?

Or is it better to have faith in one's belief that awareness ends at death, and therefore maximize pleasure and squeeze every moral and immoral experience possible out of one's years, with no thought that there might be eternal consequences for our choice of behavior?

What say you?
I agree with what kevcrawford said. You can't just fake it and pretend to believe something you really don't. Most people, except for agnostics, tend to form an opinion one way or the other and generally stick with it for their entire life. Also, I have to disagree with your suggestion that an atheist is just spending their life doing whatever they please without any sense of morality. I find it very irritating when religious people tell us that we can't have morals because we don't believe in God. I've done things that I regret like everyone else but my atheism hasn't resulted in my becoming a major felon and in general I feel that I have a strong sense of responsibility and contribute to society as much as anyone else. I'm simply an atheist because I see no evidence that God is real and it seems apparent to me that God is a human invention.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Richland, Washington
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Basing your life on something just because it might be true seems rather ridiculous to me. If there is a god, it is just as likely that god could be Zeus, Jupiter or Athena. It is also possible that god may reward disbelief and punish belief. They may also reward only people who keep slaves and punish those who don't. Also, if there is no god then it actually does matter since the inordinate amount of time you spent on religion could have been spent on real people.
A common misconception that you express in your post is that you assume that atheism is equal to libertinism. This is not so. This is rather frightening. Do you mean that the only thing preventing you from going out and murdering, raping, robbing and causing mayhem is that god says no? Most believers go through a period of doubt in their lives. If the only thing keeping someone from wreaking havoc is because god says it's wrong then they are a very immoral person and shouldn't be trusted. If atheism caused depravity and moral decay then you would expect atheists to all be out destroying society. This is not true though. Most atheists are moral law abiding citizens.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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Is it really prudent to bet on the unknown? You don't know the possibilities. You don't even know if what you are doing in this life will be of any good on the other.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevcrawford View Post
Faith isn't an insurance policy. You believe in Jesus or you don't. If you're just practicing Faith "just in case", you're not practicing anything.
Some books teach that if you do something long enough you become the part you are playing.

But I'm wondering if some atheists who deny the spiritual side of existence and limit themselves to the intellect might consider it a viable option to in effect 'hedge their bets' and live a moral lifestyle as a matter of prudence, just in case God does live and consciousness continues after death?

Last edited by justamere10; 08-24-2009 at 12:57 PM..
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Utah
2,331 posts, read 1,992,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agnostic soldier View Post
Most atheists are moral law abiding citizens.
Why would that be? Fear of the consequences of manmade laws perhaps? (Prison, fines, etc.)

Maybe I do have an incorrect understanding of what it means to be an atheist. Maybe I attribute to God what an atheist might attribute to "nature" or whatever?

For me, morals are founded in what I would call "conscience" or "the light of Christ" given to man by God. But I suppose it's possible to deny God and still be aware of and follow the feelings that allow civilization and selfless loving relationships to exist.

But where would such feelings come from if not from God?
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Old 08-24-2009, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
25 posts, read 44,443 times
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If a person lives a moral lifestyle just in case God exists then they aren't really an atheist. I think that it's obvious by now that atheists can live "moral" lifestyles without the need of religion. These ideas are based on natural human emotions such as empathy, love, etc. These are basic traits that all people share with the exception of sociopaths and the like.

Also, I think people on both sides of this debate focus too much on the "life after death" idea. I'm actually a somewhat religious person myself, but I'm not overly concerned with an afterlife. In my opinion the afterlife is similar to the life we know right now; you get what you put into it. If you want to be with God in the afterlife you will be, if you don't then you won't. In either case we should be more concerned with what we are doing in this life, how we are treating people and acting in the present.
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Old 08-24-2009, 01:12 PM
 
1,403 posts, read 2,043,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
But I'm wondering if some atheists who deny the spiritual side of existence and limit themselves to the intellect might consider it a viable option to in effect 'hedge their bets' and live a moral lifestyle as a matter of prudence, just in case God does live and consciousness continues after death?
First of all, atheist aren't by definition people who deny the spiritual side of existence. To say "deny" insinuates that some evidence of such a spirit exists and that atheists just refuse to accept it that evidence. The reality is that no evidence for a spiritual side of existence even exists in the first place.

Second, if an atheist is living a moral life for the sole reason of "hedging their bets", then some part of them must believe that a God exists. Therefore, by definition, they aren't really atheists.
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