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When you break it down: is atheism unappealing?

rousseau

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So, tldr version: Atheism does not necessarily entail advocating materialism nor being anti-religious. I stand behind only naturalism because 1) the ecosphere matters more than anything else including humans; 2) naturalism is a big tent that doesn't try to keep the religious out (or "get rid of religion") and thereby 'cut off its nose to spite its face'.

Maybe I have a poor understanding of what materialism entails. I don't see it as having a relationship with any particular dogma or framework, except that the universe can be modeled. To me it's a statement that the universe is made of chemical elements, nothing more, nothing less.

I like naturalism too for the reason you mention - it is inclusive of the religious - they become a part of the aforementioned modelling, rather than a problem that needs to be solved.

If we're talking facts, to me that's a fact.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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I don't get the reference of materialism being the alternative to theism. Buddhism (areligious philosophy) teaches that blind materialism is kind of a dead end sort of thing due to our own impermanence.
 

abaddon

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I don't get the reference of materialism being the alternative to theism. Buddhism (areligious philosophy) teaches that blind materialism is kind of a dead end sort of thing due to our own impermanence.
I guess people are used to thinking of religion as being about a spirit realm "added" on top of the material world. So to convey "you're wrong" tends to rely on being adamant about "no spirit! only matter!"

The humanist philosopher Luc Ferry, in A Brief History of Thought, describes Christianity as the most materialist of religions. In his description of it, people's bodies will be restored bodily, and the earth will be restored but perfected. They don't seem to want out of the material world, they seem only to wish it wasn't painful.
 

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I don't get the reference of materialism being the alternative to theism. Buddhism (areligious philosophy) teaches that blind materialism is kind of a dead end sort of thing due to our own impermanence.
I guess people are used to thinking of religion as being about a spirit realm "added" on top of the material world. So to convey "you're wrong" tends to rely on being adamant about "no spirit! only matter!"
Very Christian thinking, ironically. Supernaturalis was never a Pagan term.

The humanist philosopher Luc Ferry, in A Brief History of Thought, describes Christianity as the most materialist of religions. In his description of it, people's bodies will be restored bodily, and the earth will be restored but perfected. They don't seem to want out of the material world, they seem only to wish it wasn't painful
Somewhat true, but Ferry never spoke with a Gnostic if he thinks all Christians share that tendency, belief. And though that view is doctrinally correct, I have found that even orthodox Latin Christians don't necessarily think of the afterlife or the eschatological future in material terms; and are surprised to learn that some of their beliefs are heretical.
 

Elixir

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For me, it doesn’t matter whether or not atheism is appealing (to me or anyone else).
Until I experience something that informs me otherwise, it’s what I got. If that’s a problem, it’s not one that I could solve by pretending to believe in any god(s).
 

abaddon

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Speaking for myself, to be mindful has everything to do with materialism. If nothing else, mindfulness is an emergent property of materialism. Even if I think I'm a ghost that is going to mindlessly fly away when my material body is dead to answer to some master ghost in the sky I've just entered into another material world. Non-materialism is only possible because we have materialism front and center. Non-materialists live a 100% material existence and pretend in a non-material existence. Their lives are 100% atheistic until we find those ghosty souls of Bigfoot and Nessie. If I continue to pretend in non-materialism as an adult, a behavior that came naturally in childhood, then I have to look for a scientific explanation, not a religious proclamation. That's just dragging childhood into adulthood.

In the end theism is one example of pretending, and it's quite popular. And it carries into adulthood. What causes that to happen when other childhood fantasies fade away? If I appreciate scientific investigation the answer is obvious. If I don't the answer is hidden.
Do you mean matter is hard and that's why things look and feel solid to you? And that's why it's obviously material and not mental?

Do you say "ghosts" because you imagine them to be airy insubstantial things? Therefore a mental world must be airy and without a substantial feel?
Sorry, I pretty badly misread your post. Nevermind. :)
 

TomC

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The chief attraction of religion, at least its main stream Abrahamic varieties, is the prospect of life after death. Atheism precludes that possibility.
Not necessarily. One can still believe in some form of an afterlife that is not related to any gods.
This is quite true. Frankly I am smitten by the fact that every bit of me is eternal, you might as well say immortal. I may go to pieces but I'll never go away.
This is what I prefer to believe, AKA faith based beliefs.

Living things are animated by a little spark of the Divine. That's the difference between a living thing and a non-living thing. Including the difference between a living human being and their corpse. While we're alive we're a combination of the material(our bodies) and the spiritual(our spirit or soul). When we die they separate. Our meat continues through the unimaginably vast cycle of transformation that is the material universe. Our souls merge with the Original Source, like a raindrop falling back into the ocean.

That raindrop will never exist again, but it doesn't disappear either. It becomes the ocean. So, in my world, death isn't ceasing to exist. It's losing my human limitations, including my identity, and becoming God.
Tom
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Maybe I have a poor understanding of what materialism entails. I don't see it as having a relationship with any particular dogma or framework, except that the universe can be modeled. To me it's a statement that the universe is made of chemical elements, nothing more, nothing less.
Materialism to myself just means the same thing as naturalism. It's defined differently depending on the source, much of the time disparagingly. It really just means that there isn't any magic going on, nothing supernatural, nothing of woo value. This doesn't mean we can't comfort ourselves in fantasy. It doesn't mean I can't enjoy a movie like Avatar or that there is something wrong with my experiencing emotions. It just means I'm aware of what is going on and I control it to some degree, not it always me. It requires a healthy dose of skepticism and scientific curiosity and it is definitely not pessimistic. I don't have to surrender myself in any way.
 

skepticalbip

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The chief attraction of religion, at least its main stream Abrahamic varieties, is the prospect of life after death. Atheism precludes that possibility.
Not necessarily. One can still believe in some form of an afterlife that is not related to any gods.
This is quite true. Frankly I am smitten by the fact that every bit of me is eternal, you might as well say immortal. I may go to pieces but I'll never go away.

Living things are animated by a little spark of the Divine. That's the difference between a living thing and a non-living thing. Including the difference between a living human being and their corpse. While we're alive we're a combination of the material(our bodies) and the spiritual(our spirit or soul). When we die they separate. Our meat continues through the unimaginably vast cycle of transformation that is the material universe. Our souls merge with the Original Source, like a raindrop falling back into the ocean.
That is poetic but does it really mean anything? Does it apply to tape worms, slugs and crab grass (which are living things)? Can the metaphor also apply to automobiles? Is the difference between a smoothly operating automobile and a rust bucket with a blown engine that has been towed to the scrap yard that the "operation" has separated from the metal and moved on to the Original Source while the metal is recycled?
 

TomC

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That is poetic but does it really mean anything?
It does to me. I've no reason to care about anyone else's opinions on the subject. It's entirely Faith. But it works for me.

Does it apply to tape worms, slugs and crab grass?
I presume so. They're alive. I don't really care though.
Except for my dogs. I care about them.
Can the metaphor also apply to automobiles.
Are automobiles alive?
Perhaps you can answer that question without my insight.
Surely.
Tom
 

skepticalbip

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That is poetic but does it really mean anything?
It does to me. I've no reason to care about anyone else's opinions on the subject. It's entirely Faith. But it works for me.

Does it apply to tape worms, slugs and crab grass?
I presume so. They're alive. I don't really care though.
Except for my dogs. I care about them.
Fair enough. You are talking about what makes you feel comfortable rather than about trying to understand reality.
Can the metaphor also apply to automobiles.
Are automobiles alive?
Perhaps you can answer that question without my insight.
Surely.
Tom
It depends. As an analogy, a life form is a system of various parts working together as is an automobile. When the various parts of either a life form or an automobile fail to be able to work together, it is no longer functional and begins to decay.
 

bilby

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The chief attraction of religion, at least its main stream Abrahamic varieties, is the prospect of life after death. Atheism precludes that possibility.
Not necessarily. One can still believe in some form of an afterlife that is not related to any gods.
This is quite true. Frankly I am smitten by the fact that every bit of me is eternal, you might as well say immortal. I may go to pieces but I'll never go away.
This is what I prefer to believe, AKA faith based beliefs.

Living things are animated by a little spark of the Divine. That's the difference between a living thing and a non-living thing. Including the difference between a living human being and their corpse. While we're alive we're a combination of the material(our bodies) and the spiritual(our spirit or soul). When we die they separate. Our meat continues through the unimaginably vast cycle of transformation that is the material universe. Our souls merge with the Original Source, like a raindrop falling back into the ocean.

That raindrop will never exist again, but it doesn't disappear either. It becomes the ocean. So, in my world, death isn't ceasing to exist. It's losing my human limitations, including my identity, and becoming God.
Tom
Reality doesn't give two shits what you believe.

What you describe is demonstrably not reality, so it's basically just a little fiction you like; Which is great as entertainment, but bloody dangerous as a basis for personal policy.

'alive'/'not alive' is one of those myriad false dichotomies that humans are so prone to. It's not a description of anything real though; If you try to come up with a solid definition of 'alive', you invariably exclude things that are clearly living, or include things that are clearly not, or more often, both.

Dualism - the idea that there's a separate 'life spark', or essence of life, our 'soul' that things either posess or do not, is even more wrong.

That you like the idea is fun, as far as it goes; But being insufficiently embarrassed at believing something that is utter codswallop as to post it in public like that makes me cringe. It's like hearing a grown up person seriously and earnestly declare that they think Santa is real. That's cute from a five year old, but in an adult, its a sign of serious cognitive failure.

Dualism is false, and 'alive' is an arbitrary category that has no counterpart in the real world. This may not be intuitive, poetic, or inspiring, but it's very clearly true.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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The chief attraction of religion, at least its main stream Abrahamic varieties, is the prospect of life after death. Atheism precludes that possibility.
Not necessarily. One can still believe in some form of an afterlife that is not related to any gods.
This is quite true. Frankly I am smitten by the fact that every bit of me is eternal, you might as well say immortal. I may go to pieces but I'll never go away.
This is what I prefer to believe, AKA faith based beliefs.

Living things are animated by a little spark of the Divine. That's the difference between a living thing and a non-living thing. Including the difference between a living human being and their corpse. While we're alive we're a combination of the material(our bodies) and the spiritual(our spirit or soul).
So, how does that work? This would imply that our awakened self is the spirit, but when the meat (brain) gets seriously injured, a person can change greatly (completely). So this would imply the meat defines who we are and the spirit is just a fancy thing with absolutely no meaning or purpose.
 

bilby

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
What, you want me to post five years of high school biology, four of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology, and a few years of post graduate stuff on a discussion board?

Just because something is known to be true doesn't mean it's simple or easy. If you want to know stuff, you have to learn stuff. Your only other option is to take the word of people who did the work you eschewed - but that's a dangerous business, because by definition you're unqualified to know how far to trust them.
 

abaddon

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
What, you want me to post five years of high school biology, four of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology, and a few years of post graduate stuff on a discussion board?

Just because something is known to be true doesn't mean it's simple or easy. If you want to know stuff, you have to learn stuff. Your only other option is to take the word of people who did the work you eschewed - but that's a dangerous business, because by definition you're unqualified to know how far to trust them.
No one should have to trust anybody declaring "I'm right because science says so". Even if you're right, it's still a dogmatic authoritarian pronouncement in the present context. Why not make a science-based logical argument against TomC's dualism, instead of proclaiming "science says!" at people on an internet message board?
 

Jimmy Higgins

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
What, you want me to post five years of high school biology, four of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology, and a few years of post graduate stuff on a discussion board?

Just because something is known to be true doesn't mean it's simple or easy. If you want to know stuff, you have to learn stuff. Your only other option is to take the word of people who did the work you eschewed - but that's a dangerous business, because by definition you're unqualified to know how far to trust them.
No one should have to trust anybody declaring "I'm right because science says so". Even if you're right, it's still a dogmatic authoritarian pronouncement in the present context. Why not make a science-based logical argument against TomC's dualism, instead of proclaiming "science says!" at people on an internet message board?
That will require TomC explaining what in the heck a "spark of life" is. What is the "spirit"? It will undoubtedly be unconvincing as far as it being a viable answer. So we'll be stuck where we are. An inadequately defined deistic proclamation made by a person who doesn't care or feel the need to defend it, but cares enough to proclaim it.
 

Elixir

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
No Tom.
You’re free to believe whatever floats your boat about gods, afterlives, spirits etc.
That what you have put forth depends on a false dead/alive dichotomy is for you to realize if you want to, not for someone else to drag you kicking and screaming into understanding.

Billy says it’s dangerous but I don’t think so. Unless it involves groupthink, it’s of little consequence. If it gives you peace or comfort maybe it’s just as well that you continue to harbor those superstitions.

But sufficient study on your part would show Billy correct: there is no clear boundary between life and death.
 

TomC

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
What, you want me to post five years of high school biology, four of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology, and a few years of post graduate stuff on a discussion board?

Just because something is known to be true doesn't mean it's simple or easy. If you want to know stuff, you have to learn stuff. Your only other option is to take the word of people who did the work you eschewed - but that's a dangerous business, because by definition you're unqualified to know how far to trust them.
No one should have to trust anybody declaring "I'm right because science says so". Even if you're right, it's still a dogmatic authoritarian pronouncement in the present context. Why not make a science-based logical argument against TomC's dualism, instead of proclaiming "science says!" at people on an internet message board?

I think you're wasting your time.

I grew up in a conservative Catholic world. I learned early on that some people just aren't interested in views that don't match their own. They're more interested in explaining why they are the authority. If you don't agree with them, they find the obvious explanation in your stupidity and poor education.

I learned to smile and nod a long time ago. Ignore them and put their assertions in a certain file.

Tom
 

abaddon

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I learned to smile and nod a long time ago. Ignore them and put their assertions in a certain file.
That looks like a good way to avoid learning.

Make no mistake, I agree with the people who think you're wrong. But "science says", without showing that science really does say it, isn't reasonable.

------

Tom,

The discussion was the lack of appeal in atheism compared to religion. Can you explain a bit about why you prefer your deism to either atheism or materialism or naturalism? Is there something more to your deism than "it comforts me"? What is it about atheism that seems so discomforting?
 
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TomC

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I learned to smile and nod a long time ago. Ignore them and put their assertions in a certain file.
That looks like a good way to avoid learning.

Make no mistake, I agree with the people who think you're wrong. But "science says", without showing that science really does say it, isn't reasonable.
It was a great way to avoid learning!
They all wanted me to learn that Jesus is God. He Rose from the Dead. He died for my sins.

Yeah, I avoided learning things presented. I thought for myself. I didn't really care if the person telling me I was wrong for disagreeing with them because I hadn't studied enough.
------
Tom,

The discussion was the lack of appeal in atheism compared to religion. Can you explain a bit about why you prefer your deism to either atheism or materialism or naturalism?
Sure.

As long as we all understand that you're wrong about my attitude towards naturalism. And atheism and materialism.

Also, that I don't care about what anyone else thinks about Creation or afterlife or anything like that. I do not care about anybody's beliefs concerning the undemonstrable truth of reality. I don't care about the opinions of Bilby, the Pope, or Elixir.

I made no truth claims I couldn't back up.
Tom
 

Jimmy Higgins

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
What, you want me to post five years of high school biology, four of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology, and a few years of post graduate stuff on a discussion board?

Just because something is known to be true doesn't mean it's simple or easy. If you want to know stuff, you have to learn stuff. Your only other option is to take the word of people who did the work you eschewed - but that's a dangerous business, because by definition you're unqualified to know how far to trust them.
No one should have to trust anybody declaring "I'm right because science says so". Even if you're right, it's still a dogmatic authoritarian pronouncement in the present context. Why not make a science-based logical argument against TomC's dualism, instead of proclaiming "science says!" at people on an internet message board?
That will require TomC explaining what in the heck a "spark of life" is. What is the "spirit"? It will undoubtedly be unconvincing as far as it being a viable answer. So we'll be stuck where we are. An inadequately defined deistic proclamation made by a person who doesn't care or feel the need to defend it, but cares enough to proclaim it.

I learned to smile and nod a long time ago. Ignore them and put their assertions in a certain file.
That looks like a good way to avoid learning.

Make no mistake, I agree with the people who think you're wrong. But "science says", without showing that science really does say it, isn't reasonable.
It was a great way to avoid learning!
They all wanted me to learn that Jesus is God. He Rose from the Dead. He died for my sins.

Yeah, I avoided learning things presented. I thought for myself. I didn't really care if the person telling me I was wrong for disagreeing with them because I hadn't studied enough.
------
Tom,

The discussion was the lack of appeal in atheism compared to religion. Can you explain a bit about why you prefer your deism to either atheism or materialism or naturalism?
Sure.

As long as we all understand that you're wrong about my attitude towards naturalism. And atheism and materialism.

Also, that I don't care about what anyone else thinks about Creation or afterlife or anything like that. I do not care about anybody's beliefs concerning the undemonstrable truth of reality. I don't care about the opinions of Bilby, the Pope, or Elixir.

I made no truth claims I couldn't back up.
Tom
Yup... been at this too long.
 

bilby

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
What, you want me to post five years of high school biology, four of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology, and a few years of post graduate stuff on a discussion board?

Just because something is known to be true doesn't mean it's simple or easy. If you want to know stuff, you have to learn stuff. Your only other option is to take the word of people who did the work you eschewed - but that's a dangerous business, because by definition you're unqualified to know how far to trust them.
No one should have to trust anybody declaring "I'm right because science says so". Even if you're right, it's still a dogmatic authoritarian pronouncement in the present context. Why not make a science-based logical argument against TomC's dualism, instead of proclaiming "science says!" at people on an internet message board?
Because I am tired. Because I don't have much time to spend here. And because I am right.
 

bilby

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What you describe is demonstrably not reality,
Demonstrate.
Tom
What, you want me to post five years of high school biology, four of undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology, and a few years of post graduate stuff on a discussion board?

Just because something is known to be true doesn't mean it's simple or easy. If you want to know stuff, you have to learn stuff. Your only other option is to take the word of people who did the work you eschewed - but that's a dangerous business, because by definition you're unqualified to know how far to trust them.
No one should have to trust anybody declaring "I'm right because science says so". Even if you're right, it's still a dogmatic authoritarian pronouncement in the present context. Why not make a science-based logical argument against TomC's dualism, instead of proclaiming "science says!" at people on an internet message board?

I think you're wasting your time.

I grew up in a conservative Catholic world. I learned early on that some people just aren't interested in views that don't match their own. They're more interested in explaining why they are the authority. If you don't agree with them, they find the obvious explanation in your stupidity and poor education.

I learned to smile and nod a long time ago. Ignore them and put their assertions in a certain file.

Tom
From what I see, you still live in a conservative Catholic world, but have persuaded yourself otherwise.
 

TomC

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From what I see, you still live in a conservative Catholic world, but have persuaded yourself otherwise.
From what I can see,

When it comes to smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists.
Tom
 

1Heidegger1!

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I'm reminded of the Star Trek voyager episode about the deathless, godlike Q continuum philosopher Quinn who wanted permission to commit suicide because he had done everything and been everything countless times and so was stuck in a perpetual state of tortuous boredom. Maybe finitude and secularism are the only conditions under which life can be happy, if you really tease out the consequences of what eternal life would actually be like. Heaven better have a Helluva Band, lol.

 

Elixir

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smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists
Yet you choose to cling to remnants of their BS.
Doesn't say much for your independence of thought...
 

skepticalbip

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...
smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists
Yet you choose to cling to remnants of their BS.
Doesn't say much for your independence of thought...
But simply accepting the dogma and tenants of a religion as truth is easy and comforting. It is the draw of religions. Questioning and reasoning can lead to disquieting and uncomfortable conclusions. "knowing" that 'there is a plan' and that one will be taken care of and consciousness will never die is more attractive than reasoning that "shit happens".
 

Elixir

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...
smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists
Yet you choose to cling to remnants of their BS.
Doesn't say much for your independence of thought...
But simply accepting the dogma and tenants of a religion as truth is easy and comforting. It is the draw of religions. Questioning and reasoning can lead to disquieting and uncomfortable conclusions. "knowing" that 'there is a plan' and that one will be taken care of and consciousness will never die is more attractive than reasoning that "shit happens".
Hey, I'm all about easy. If it was easy to believe in all that crap I'd be all in. But I find it impossible.
Don't get me wrong - I am gratefully aware of the fact that what we observe and experience is "miraculous" whether only from our human perspective or from some more universal one beyond our grasp. (I suspect it's both because everything seems very fractal)
But that doesn't mean that things beyond our ken may be usefully reduced to points of religious dogma. This is a recent development, as religions have served a function in the success of the HSS species, and probably in that of its forbears.
IMHO, we have overpopulated the planet thanks to science, to a point where only science can get us out of this mess. And religions place themselves and their subscribers right in the way.
 

skepticalbip

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...
smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists
Yet you choose to cling to remnants of their BS.
Doesn't say much for your independence of thought...
But simply accepting the dogma and tenants of a religion as truth is easy and comforting. It is the draw of religions. Questioning and reasoning can lead to disquieting and uncomfortable conclusions. "knowing" that 'there is a plan' and that one will be taken care of and consciousness will never die is more attractive than reasoning that "shit happens".
Hey, I'm all about easy. If it was easy to believe in all that crap I'd be all in. But I find it impossible.
That is because you rely on critical reasoning in trying to understand reality. You have to recognize that some people prefer comforting ideas even if any critical examination would reveal it as BS.
Don't get me wrong - I am gratefully aware of the fact that what we observe and experience is "miraculous" whether only from our human perspective or from some more universal one beyond our grasp. (I suspect it's both because everything seems very fractal)
But that doesn't mean that things beyond our ken may be usefully reduced to points of religious dogma. This is a recent development, as religions have served a function in the success of the HSS species, and probably in that of its forbears.
IMHO, we have overpopulated the planet thanks to science, to a point where only science can get us out of this mess. And religions place themselves and their subscribers right in the way.
Exactly right but people think and reason differently depending on their priorities. Those attracted to religion aren't comfortable with unknowns so accept 'answers' without any deep questioning of that 'answer' even if the 'answer' is "god works in mysterious ways" or "it is a miracle". Other people will see an unknown as a challenge and try to work out or reason exactly what it is. If they fail to understand, they will reluctantly accept that they just don't know.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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From what I see, you still live in a conservative Catholic world, but have persuaded yourself otherwise.
From what I can see,

When it comes to smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists.
Tom
Smugness is reserved to no belief. Also, that doesn’t change the fact you want to just proclaim stuff instead of discuss it:
 

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From what I see, you still live in a conservative Catholic world, but have persuaded yourself otherwise.
From what I can see,

When it comes to smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists.
Tom
Smugness is reserved to no belief. Also, that doesn’t change the fact you want to just proclaim stuff instead of discuss it:
You are assuming that constructive, productive discussion is possible with everyone when that is just not the case. That assumes that everyone has some basic skill set that allows them to enter into such exchanges rationally and dispassionately. Is that what your observations reveal or is that just an assumption you make?

Humans aren't naturally rational. Humans are naturally emotional and impulse driven. There are lots of reasons for this besides simply different neural arrangements. Children are a good example. The focused, productive youngster is the exception and some of us never leave that otherwise state. Rational discussion is enabled and learned, it's not the default setting. The default setting is emotional decision making despite the fact that in movies and stories children are wise and informed.

It makes no rational sense to me that in today's world someone could chose to be deistic or agnostic or believe in something for which there is no evidence. To me that's just an emotional position. It fulfills some need in a person's emotional well being, which is obviously very important, maybe it simply gives security and purpose. Life is tenuous and we all need our security blankets, besides the fact that emotions and feelings are pretty impossible to describe for us. The behaviors those feeling elicit can be easily documented but we're still at a loss trying to describe exactly what is going on inside us. Words just fail.

I hope I got the gist of your post as intended.
 

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Trying to go back to the OP.....

I didn't choose atheism. I just wanted to know the truth. After leaving the conservative Christian religion of my childhood, I searched for truth in other religions for several years during my 20s, and eventually came to realize that no gods exist. The truth set me free. It doesn't bother me in the least knowing that "you only live once and when you're dead you're done". I honestly don't understand the appeal of an afterlife. I guess it gives some people comfort in believing they will be reunited with their loved ones and pets, but the truth is that "we are stardust". That's awesome enough for me.

If others need to cling to beliefs in the supernatural, as long as it helps one navigate life and be a more caring person, I don't see that as a problem. It's very obvious that humanity has always been attracted to mythology.

Unfortunately, humans tend to be tribal and group think can lead to harm, but that can happen among both religious and secular groups. The only appeal I see in organized religion, is the ability to find a community of those who share your beliefs. It's hard for atheists to maintain close communities. I know this from personal experience. Of all the atheist groups that I've joined over the last 20 years, several no longer exist. The one in my local area died out during the pandemic, so currently, most of my friends are Christians. We share many values, so we do our best not to allow our different belief to come between us.
 

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It makes no rational sense to me that in today's world someone could chose to be deistic or agnostic or believe in something for which there is no evidence.
..."no rational sense", except, as you already pointed out, that IS the default setting.
Can you say "stolen election"? What an easy sell, right?
 

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Cheerful Charlie

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I'm going to preface this thread with the fact that these comments aren't an attack on atheism. Whenever something looking like a critique of atheism is presented at this forum, we seem to get a few defensive responses. So to be clear this thread isn't intended to promote religiosity by any means. It's just a quick thought experiment for your consideration.

A few months ago I was reading a title called The Sociobiological Imagination which discussed, in part, why the field of Sociology was hesitant to integrate hard evolutionary theory into it's own theories. I found the answer interesting, and I think it is very relevant to why religiosity survives in our world:

The argument went something like this:

Acceptance of evolutionary theory
  • The world and your life is intrinsically meaningless other than what you assign to it
  • Anything negative that happens to you is primarily random and indifferent
  • Your well-being is entirely up to you, and if you fail it's because you failed / aren't skilled enough
  • When you die you will cease to exist. When your friends die they will cease to exist
Belief in God
  • Everything you see and feel was designed / has purpose
  • Anything negative that happens to you happened for a reason and can be justified
  • Your well-being is in someone else's hands, and failure is ok
  • You'll never lose your life or friends and family
Although a little more nuanced, that was it in a nutshell. Between the two worldviews it's obvious which one would appeal to more people. So as Atheists, we're all obviously invested in the lack of God because it appeals to us, but when you break the problem down to it's basic elements we're trying to sell the religious a bit of a shithole. Their religion shields them from what is a cruel and indifferent world, they do not want to accept materialism because it isn't much of a cakewalk.

As a Gallup survey demonstrated, 47% of people report having religious experiences. Spontaneous altered states of consciousness. Here is an often overlooked reason religion lingers on. Whether it is some religious manifestation like "The Toronto Blessing" or an episode of Maslow's "Peak Experience", one must understand the great power of religious brain facts. NDEs, OOBEs, and other things of this type can be powerful experiences to hang religion on. Some known powerful religious experiences. known to history were experiences of Pascal and Thomas Aquinas. L. Ron Hubbard created an entire religion based on his ability to induce brain facts in his cult members. This aspect of the phenomena of religion does not get the attention it deserves.
 

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My stock response is atheism is not monolithic in what atheists do believe.

Religion is not the only path to finding meaning.

Organized atheism provides community and meaning just like organized religion.

I think when it comes to evolution, sociology, and culture it can open a can of worms of political correctness.

No disagreement there. The argument wasn't so much that Atheism is never appealing, or valueless in of itself. It was that it's internal logic isn't appealing to many people, which is why we see so many people gravitate to religious answers.

If someone does find atheism appealing, that's fine.

Depends on who you are and where you are. In America, Generation Z members have rates of Atheism and agnosticism combined of 18%. In England we have higher rates of atheism than in Hogsnout, Alabama. I would think some American members of Generation Z have been influenced by seeing religious members of their families have their brains turned to shit by far right religion and politics. people
 

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smugly self righteous judgement the Catholics aren't much different from you atheists
Yet you choose to cling to remnants of their BS.
Doesn't say much for your independence of thought...
TomC smiles and nods and puts Elixir's opinions into a certain file.
Tom
Third person?? Interesting.
Your wisdom and insight are an inspiration to us all.
Tom
You give too much credit for noticing the obvious.
 

TomC

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It makes no rational sense to me that in today's world someone could chose to be deistic or agnostic or believe in something for which there is no evidence.
This is why I find atheism unappealing. It's a belief for which there is no evidence. Agnosticism is the only rational belief. Atheism is as unevidenced as theism.

Less evidenced, really. There is absolutely no evidence for atheism. While the evidence for any particular version of theism is extremely weak, at least there is some. Like me, you may find people's visions or whatever incredibly weak evidence. But there is some. Atheism has nothing whatever in the way of evidence.

To me that's just an emotional position. It fulfills some need in a person's emotional well being, which is obviously very important, maybe it simply gives security and purpose.

Then we get to this part of the human experience. You might prefer to believe that hard atheism, as opposed to agnosticism, isn't an emotion based world view but it is. It fulfills a person's need to believe that they understand reality, despite the utter lack of evidence supporting their world view.

Agnosticism is the recognition that we humans aren't all that smart. Our mental processes are weak. Our perceptions are weak. There's a lot more to reality than we can grasp.

Atheism reminds me of the flat earth creationism of the olden days.
Based on the limited understanding available to primitive people, it was obvious that creation consisted of a huge, solid, lumpy plane. It had a blue dome over the top and the sun was a relatively small object that zipped across the sky every day.
The idea that we humans would develop better tools and methods and concepts didn't occur to most people. We did, but it took a long time.

Similarly, modern people often believe that our current tools and methods and concepts are sufficient to explain everything important. Particles, energy, wave functions, if our current science can't even describe it(much less explain it) it doesn't exist. It isn't important.

I don't have that much Faith in human ability. I'm confident that there's as much more to learn and understand now as there was three thousand years ago. But like then, human hubris will get in the way. Because people have an emotional attachment to believing that they understand everything important.
Tom
 

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My problem with agnosticism is what people think it is.
If they hear me say “I’m agnostic” and they believe in a god or gods, they think I’m saying “I don’t know whether or not the old white-bearded man in the sky that Christianity embraces is real”.
In fact I’m saying “Nope, that shit ain’t real. I don’t know if some creator entity beyond our understanding might exist, but that ain’t it.
 

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My problem with agnosticism is what people think it is.
If they hear me say “I’m agnostic” and they believe in a god or gods, they think I’m saying “I don’t know whether or not the old white-bearded man in the sky that Christianity embraces is real”.
In fact I’m saying “Nope, that shit ain’t real. I don’t know if some creator entity beyond our understanding might exist, but that ain’t it.
So, the problem with agnosticism isn't agnosticism. It's your opinion about other people's opinions.

You're an Abrahamic religionist who doesn't believe in Abrahamic theology. I understand that. I was one too, for most of my adult life. It took decades for me to realize that Moses, Paul, and Muhammad didn't know anything more about god than I do. I could blow off their opinions and develop my own world view.

I found the "bumbling Sky King with superpowers" image of God utterly lacking in credibility. I thought that made me an atheist. But, over time, I realized that I don't have to choose between that primitive god image and atheism.
So, now I don't.
Tom
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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In fact I’m saying “Nope, that shit ain’t real. I don’t know if some creator entity beyond our understanding might exist, but that ain’t it.
Now my question would be that even if this universe was created by a sentient being, what would make such being a god?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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This is why I find atheism unappealing. It's a belief for which there is no evidence.
You are correct. An absence of evidence for gods is atheism. We're in agreement.
That isn't what I said. Because I don't believe it.
Tom
Come on. You did actually say it and now you are saying that you don't believe what you say. I can believe that second part so we're still in agreement as I see it.

It might kinda get back to Sagan's "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." But the way you are making statements it would be like me saying "there is no evidence for and absence of evidence so Sagan's statement is pointless and wrong." If you are saying there is no evidence for an absence of evidence for gods that strikes me as silly.
 

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In fact I’m saying “Nope, that shit ain’t real. I don’t know if some creator entity beyond our understanding might exist, but that ain’t it.
Now my question would be that even if this universe was created by a sentient being, what would make such being a god?

Ever consider the possibility that god isn't a sentient being? The possibility that "The Creator", "Original Source", "Ground of Being", whatever, isn't limited by sentience?
Or any other human characteristics?
Tom
 

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Come on. You did actually say it and now you are saying that you don't believe what you say.

No, I didn't say that.
You may have interpreted something I as meaning that, but I didn't say it.

I'm pretty sure the problem is that you've got a theological world view that you filter everything through. So you change the meaning of which people say to match.

It's not a new thing, I'm used to this sort of thing from theological purists. Hard atheists to evangelical Christians, it's not very different.
Tom
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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In fact I’m saying “Nope, that shit ain’t real. I don’t know if some creator entity beyond our understanding might exist, but that ain’t it.
Now my question would be that even if this universe was created by a sentient being, what would make such being a god?

Ever consider the possibility that god isn't a sentient being? The possibility that "The Creator", "Original Source", "Ground of Being", whatever, isn't limited by sentience?
Or any other human characteristics?
Tom
Some people say that mountains and forests are gods. What makes them gods and not just mountains and forests? If a god is whatever I want a god to be than the word is meaningless. I could claim to be an alien from the Oort cloud. What does that accomplish? I could say that everything is an alien from the Oort cloud. Where does that go?
 
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