You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 06, 2016, 02:22:31 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Why I am an athiest  (Read 4888 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2014, 11:29:38 AM »
Your belief in no god is a product of reason. Dpn't let other peoples' fantasies scare you.

And it's shit like this that has those who believe so antagonistic towards those who don't believe. A little respect on BOTH sides would be lovely.

Offline Mathim

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2014, 02:35:39 PM »
You misunderstand the concept of faith and the place that it holds in a lot of people's lives. Faith isn't just religious. It is, by definition, the concept of believing without evidence. You have faith in the love that a person has for you, even if they could be faking it. You have faith in a doctor who will be holding your life in the twist of his scalpel without knowing him almost at all. I could go on, but so long as people aren't constantly surveilling their loved ones for signs of treachery, or running background checks on doctors about to perform their appendectomy, there will always be faith in the psyche of a human.

So there, so long as there are phenomena that we cannot explain, reduced with the amount of science advancements in the past few hundred years, admittedly, or the 'coincidences' in life that people will see as some sort of deity watching over them for better or for worse, there will always be that little niche in humanity for religion. *shrugs* Can I explain it? Not really, but there is a reason that humanity has been going through groups of religions over their history. Unless you get rid of all the unanswerables in science and even then managed to infuse every human on earth with that knowledge, it looks like it'll be there to stay. I don't see it as a particularly bad thing, so long as it is held in check. You obviously do, though.

That is such a bald-faced abomination of a statement I can't keep my mouth shut. There is a difference between having a completely unfounded, unwarranted, unreasonable belief in something, and having a non-guaranteed but reasonable expectation backed up by evidence of some kinds even if those things are potentially products of dishonesty or mistaken interpretations. That you could compare religious belief to believing in a medical doctor's chances of saving a person's life is utterly repellant. I could believe I'm going to shit out a gold brick tomorrow and people will think I'm batshit crazy, but if I say I believe the sun is going to rise in the morning because in over 2000 years of human history, that is something we've learned is a given, nobody bats an eye. See how ridiculous the comparison is? It's these kinds of false ideals and skewed definitions and poisoned perceptions that are preached even by supposed religious moderates that make it impossible for positive discourse to ever occur. A typical religious person will not even acknowledge that 'Hey, maybe your side has a point, I'm going to have to think about this a bit' because the mind is so poisoned by the brainwashing effects of indoctrination that this new information simply takes a backseat to fairy tales.

And it's all because of faith and beliefs in things that nobody bothers to really think about or do their research on. My ex-girlfriend, a mormon, was encouraged not to seek psychiatric counseling and only see her Bishop for guidance and help. Is that logical, or even moral? This is just one of the many examples how ideas that are so commonplace are the product of completely throwing common sense out the window in favor of dogmatism based solely on faith. Faith is not a virtue. It is not ethical. It is not, in any way, good. Taking a 'leap of faith' is basically just gambling, which is a completely irrational activity, in case anyone wanted to argue that.

And not having an answer to something doesn't give a person permission to insert their catch-all answer to everything in its place (read: the God of the Gaps argument). An unknown is an unknown, it's not evidence for bolstering faith just because the opposition, common sense and reason and rationality, don't have an answer (yet). It's only evidence of a lack of understanding on our part as human beings and nothing more, and it doesn't mean we won't one day understand it either.

And by the way, I'm not exactly sorry if I come across as hostile about religion because of how I was brought up but I will at least acknowledge it. I feel that if I'm not communicating clearly how unacceptable the whole mess is to someone of a completely rational disposition, it'll just roll right off someone's back. Maybe you can blame my uncle who wasn't shy at all about telling me when I was very young how an unruly child, way back in biblical times, would be murdered by their parents. Why on Earth would I ever think a book that instructed parents to do this, then or now, was in any way holy or positive? And it occurred to me, not until I was in my twenties, that Noah's Ark was a story about God murdering everyone on the planet but for a family of 8. God is a sociopathic sadist, and yet these stories are so mainstream, and we afford him such deference, that we think these are appropriate children's stories. It's frightening, outright child abuse as far as I'm concerned. And the American Psychological Association needs to grow a pair and start classifying religious dogmatism as a serious mental illness. It took them long enough to cave in and finally retract their opinion that homosexuality was a mental illness.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2014, 02:41:46 PM »
Dial it back on the sweeping generalizations, all of you.

Offline ThesunmaidTopic starter

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2014, 03:52:25 PM »
Wow this degenerated into angry real fast. Look I realize some people hate religion...some people scream Jesus and use the bible to be bigoted assholes and really the only people who would follow every single thing in the bible are socio paths. (IE selling your daughter into slavery and stoning a woman for not being a virgin at marriage)and some of it is just plain silly like we will go to hell for wearing mixed fabrics and stoneing someone who works the sabbath(again with the stoning..)I only posted this because I have in the past had people look at me like I was a complete monster for saying"I am an atheist".
1. Your an athiest? But your such a nice person? (did I eat a baby when i was not looking...what about this makes me horrible and on par with Hitler I would love to know)

2. Oh you know atheism is a religion...you have to believe in something.(No to me it is not...perhaps to some but to me no...I like things proven and considering that science can disprove alot of things in the bible...no all but many..yes i believe in science..all hail bill nye and carl sagen)

3. Oh well don't you believe at least a little bit?(No not really...over the years I have wrestled with this..I wanted to be a good person..I got lucky my parents accept it as they do and so do my religious friends. They don't push it on me)

4. Aren't you afraid of going to hell? ( umm..no..you telling me I am going to hell is a bit like me telling you your going to mordor. It to me is a fictional place)

5. You're doing it to be trendy right?(no I am not..I have lost freinds because of it..I have had people scream at me because of it...and some people are simply ridiculous when it comes to accepting this. I thought long and hard to decide..yes I am not just agnostic..I am an athiest.)

6. Oh so you hate all religious people then?(NO NO I DO NOT! There are some people who are lovely...sweet..kind people who do so (some think despite being religious) They help people...they do good things for others...they have fun..they have sex..children marry and have families and it works for them.)

So...not all religious people are bigoted ass's...not all Muslims are terrorists...not all people from England call people guv'ner...not all gay men are fabulously femmy...not all Canadians say eh at the end of every sentence..and on and on and on.

I was actually surprised when there were responses in people simply sharing their experiences and such. Yes religion can fuck a person up...but so can many other things taken to an extreme. I was pleasantly surprised by no one writing a venom filled post about how religion is the scourge of the world and all religious people are sheep..blah blah blah. Looks like I thought too soon..I thought I would share because honestly..I was upset by someone so narrowminded that they felt the need to try and"save my soul from the pits of hell." because I had a different opinion whether i wanted it or not. I did not mean this to spark people glaring at each other and hissing..we are adults here people. Relax...people have their own opinion they are allowed to..if you want to believe in Buddha and it works for you..awesome..he seems like a pretty laid back guy...wanna worship Jesus..awesome..seems like a nice guy curing lepers and blind people. Wanna worship the sun...it is rather pretty and warm..bring your sun screen.

The point I was trying to make is if it makes you happy...it works for you and your not hurting anyone else...go for it. Just don't get mad at me if I don't agree.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2014, 03:56:15 PM »
Assumptions are a large part of life.  That is simply a fact of existence.  People assume that the physician operating on their loved ones is trained and qualified, assuming that the credentials on the wall or the governing bodies that gave the physician those certifications is reputable.  Past evidence has shown that this is not always so.  Therefore, one could make the reasonable assumption that the medical process is corrupt based on X,Y, and Z and therefore refuse to seek medical treatment.  Many people have stories about the horrors of medicine and so forth, thereby refusing to seek medical treatment.  Often times these people are considered to be crazy in their extreme circumstance as their foot turns black or they continue to cough up blood.  Yet based on this notion of evidence, these people have some sort of basis for their thought process.  A rational thought does not always lead to a good outcome.  There is a certain amount of faith or belief or what have you required to invest yourself in medical treatment and so forth. 

People have some notion that their neighbors will not murder them in their sleep.  I can easily pull up articles of people doing just that.  People believe their children are safe while sending them off to school.  Evidence can easily be found to the contrary, but people still have enough faith in human decency and protections of society to continue doing so.  People do things on a routine basis that are not supported by evidence and sometimes have contradictory evidence, but they do these things believing in an already determined outcome.  Driving is a great example as the leading cause of death in the United States is motor vehicle.  Yet when times comes for me to go to work, I will get in my car and drive down the street to engage in what is considered the most dangerous activity I can perform based on scientific evidence.

As for religious people being unwilling to see an alternate point of view, this statement is without basis other than anecdotal evidence.  The majority of people on this planet subscribe to a religion and so you are saying that the majority of the majority (which means close to everyone) refuses to even consider new ideas.  Seriously sweeping generalization there.

As for your coming across as hostile and disrespectful to others, that is simply a reflection on your intelligence and inability to find a better way to express yourself.  I grow tired of people harassing and ridiculing religion with such open hostility because that is the thing to do.  If you are going to scream for a rational conversation, then perhaps you should show yourself as a rational person rather than a screaming, angry zealot.  If you put forth hate and anger, you cannot be surprised when people respond in kind.

Offline Rogue

  • The Bratling ~ her Mx ~ they/them unless other pronouns/gender are specified please~
  • Champion
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Nov 2012
  • Location: delens solem lunam facti sunt ei
  • ~Edenmon Master~ ~GenderFluid~
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2014, 04:13:04 PM »
As a general question: Why does religion = believe in God? I wish I could name them off the top of my head but an interesting lecture in my religions class was Atheistic Religions. Buddhism (Traditional from India Buddhism, not "Worship Buddha as a God" Buddhism practiced in most of China and Japan) is one of these religions as Buddha abhorred worshiping Deities and viewed those who would be deities as beings closer to Nirvana.... This is probably what lead to Buddha being worshiped as a deity himself but that's beside the point. The point is Buddhism, and several other Eastern religions, don't necessarily have Gods but rather a philosophy to hold on to. This is far from harmful, in my opinion.

And yes, Pumpkin's point does hold. We do hold faith that what we are being taught is correct (to an extent as there are several classes where they show us that this is correct).

Take recent Russian history for instance. In the past century people were wiped from the history books and did not exist. This could happen in the US and we would have no clue. This is why conspiracy theorist exist.

Online Qt

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2014, 02:05:49 AM »
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2014, 03:30:50 AM »
I would recommend if you are entering a debate that you use more than a one sentence statement.

Offline Kythia

  • Noooo-one Fights like Kythia no-one bites like Kythia
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Gender: Female
  • No one chain smokes Marlboro lights like Kythia
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2014, 07:19:03 AM »
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

Context and correct translation.  Fun for all the family.

Quote from: Questions sur les miracles (1765)
Il y a eu des gens qui ont dit autrefois: Vous croyez des choses incompréhensibles, contradictoires, impossibles, parce que nous vous l’avons ordonné; faites donc des choses injustes parce que nous vous l’ordonnons. Ces gens-là raisonnaient à merveille. Certainement qui est en droit de vous rendre absurde est en droit de vous rendre injuste. Si vous n’opposez point aux ordres de croire l’impossible l’intelligence que Dieu a mise dans votre esprit, vous ne devez point opposer aux ordres de malfaire la justice que Dieu a mise dans votre coeur. Une faculté de votre âme étant une fois tyrannisée, toutes les autres facultés doivent l’être également. Et c’est là ce qui a produit tous les crimes religieux dont la terre a été inondée.


Quote from: Unsure of the translator
Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2014, 03:59:18 PM »
And yes, Pumpkin's point does hold. We do hold faith that what we are being taught is correct (to an extent as there are several classes where they show us that this is correct).

I have to disagree. I hold no such faith in the things I learn. I trust that what I am being taught is true based on the corroboration of my senses and my logic, and compare that to those around me. For instance, mum says don't touch the stove. I don't just simply accept that on faith, I deduce that she's probably giving me good info based on the fact I don't enjoy being burned. Or, maybe I decide to test her word myself. Ow! That burnt me! Well I certainly won't be doing that again, now that I've confirmed my mums words myself.

We have absolutely no 'faith' in human decency Pumpkin, we have a reasonable expectation of humans, a species that relies on social interaction, to act in certain ways. Yes, sometimes they don't, but those incidents don't render our expectations of other humans conduct to suddenly be void and allow you to crowbar the word faith in.

Not a page ago was the confusion between faith and trust cleared up guys, can we please try and use these words correctly? I'm going to requote Ephiral on this.

Quote from: Ephiral being a logical cobra as usual
As an atheist and generally faithless person, I get a lot of this. And it's dead wrong. I don't "have faith" in people's love for me, I have the evidence of the way they treat me. (As Tim Minchin put it, "Love without evidence is... stalking.") I certainly don't have faith in doctors - I have their certification and ongoing monitoring by expert organizations. Projecting your faith on others in this manner comes across as condescending and rude - by positioning faith as an intrinsic human trait, you define those who lack it as less than human. By claiming to know another person's mind better than they do after minimal contact, you define them as either incapable or completely lacking any sort of introspection. Perhaps people of faith could take it on faith that we mean what we say on the subject?

« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 04:19:08 PM by Sabby »

Offline Ephiral

  • The Firebrand Logica | Gender Ninja | Their Toy
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2013
  • Location: In between the lines, outside of the law, underneath the veil
  • Carpe diem per sol delenda.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2014, 04:26:20 PM »
Pumpkin Seeds, there are two problems with every single example you cited - the same two problems that crop up again and again every time people like you try to project your faith onto others.

1. As Sabby indicated, there is a difference between 'faith' and 'trust'. Finding a doctor, for example, is the clearest possible example of a web-of-trust situation - you do it by asking around among people whose opinions you trust and who have experience with the sort of doctor you need, examining any past cases that are public information, and checking credentials.

2. Sure, you can point out examples of individual cases that buck the trend in every one of these situations. And pretty much every other situation with a large enough sample size. But let's not pretend that making decisions based on these extraordinarily rare incidents is rational or evidence-based thinking. The balance of evidence is overwhelmingly against you here. It's not 'faith' to assume and act as if the sun will rise tomorrow, or that the person you pass on the street is probably not going to murder you, or that summer will be warmer than winter - it is reasoning on the extremely goddamn vast evidence we have toward those things.

(If you want to be extremely strict and technical about it, yes, all of those exceptional cases have a nonzero chance. But that chance is so close to epsilon as to be indistinguishable for all practical purposes, and as such it is a very distinct form of akrasia to spend any more than the most extremely minimal time, effort, or resources on them.)

Offline Kythia

  • Noooo-one Fights like Kythia no-one bites like Kythia
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Gender: Female
  • No one chain smokes Marlboro lights like Kythia
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2014, 08:09:14 PM »
It seems, and this is particularly at Ephiral and Sabby but probably applies broader, that the word "faith" is viewed as offensive in and of itself and that that is derailing a really interesting potential conversation.  To paraphrase the initial discussion between Daemonbane and Ephiral a little (paraphrasing in order to specifically pull out how it read to me):

Daemonbane:  Faith is believing without evidence.  You have faith that your loved ones love you in return.
Ephiral:  I have evidence of said through their actions.  I don't have faith and being told I do is offensive.

I might be putting words in Daemonbane's mouth now but, hey, at least I'm being open about it:
It seems Daemonbane is saying he has the same level of confidence in the existence of God that he does in his loved ones loving him (Rogue and Pumpkin make broadly similar points but much less strongly).  It seems to me a discussion of what that level of evidence is would be a lot more interesting, productive and worthwhile than what seems to be little more than, borderline defensive, denials of "faith" being the right word. 

Ephiral was quick to deny she had faith at all, but that's an issue of Daemonbane's word choice, nothing else.   It's a distraction.  The core point is that Daemonbane (pace Daemonbane, ironically) isn't actually claiming that he believes in God without evidence.  If we believe Ephiral to be correct and that there is evidence for the feelings of others, Daemonbane is claiming - through using the same word in both situations - that there is also evidence for God of the same level of....errr....reliability.

Or at least that's what I read, I've deliberately avoided quoting as I'm reading into both (predominantly Daemonbane's) arguments and I wanted to try to show how I was reading/interpreting what was said.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2014, 09:16:00 PM »
Relying on personal senses and logic has actually lead more people astray than toward the truth.  People place a high price on their own perception, but in large part the senses lie to their user or make interpretations to expedite the process of decision making.  To be honest and meaning no offense, I highly doubt you understand even a fraction of how even one of your sensory organs work in order to understand the deception and meanings presented.  Also logic is not simply a gift, but is something that can be trained and does not always lead to a rational truth.  Logic is typically taught as a course with quite a lengthy field of study in philosophy departments across the world so that logical arguments can be made.  Essentially people are taught to construct logical arguments in order to debate other logical arguments.  A philosophy student could form an argument and proof that shows all manner of things.   So both of what you rely upon is quite faulty.

Even worse is that your logic is then based on your senses, which are deceptive.  A logical argument is only as good as the supporting frame work and stipulations.  This is a pretty poor way to proceed then.  There have been quite a few philosophers that have argued against even recognizing the senses as a contributory factor in pursuing the truth due to their faulty nature.

Also, I think you are profoundly wrong that people lack faith in human decency.  A simple response to a tragedy shows that people trust that others possess human decency.  The first process performed is distancing of one’s self from the individual, individuals or group that has performed this task.  An assertion of group identify and an ostracizing of the other.  Basically some development of “us” versus “them” is constructed.  Someone stabs a hallway of innocent students and the first question is, “what’s wrong with him?”  There is not acceptance that this person is like us, but rather that something obviously sets him apart and makes him different in a way that is non-functioning and near non-human.  Normal people would never do such a thing as this; normal people are decent and good.

I would also argue that you think the issue was settle by Ephiral because you agree and find those sentiments more in line with your logic, which as we’ve shown can be faulty.

My use of the word faith is actually in line with the definition of the word because the word is defined as complete trust in someone or something.  I would argue that atheists attempt to crowbar the word, as you put it, into an argument that possessing faith means a lack of rational thought and ability to argue.  Much like this thread is dedicated to voicing frustration at preconceived notions of atheists, I am simply showing how preconceived notions of the religious are also false.


Car accidents are not rare incidents.  Deaths in surgery due to practitioner error are not rare incidents either that serve as anomalies.

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2014, 10:16:02 PM »
Relying on personal senses and logic has actually lead more people astray than toward the truth.

Really now? We're lead astray (astray from what, I have no clue) by the only faculties that we possess that allow us to explore and make sense of reality? Do you have an alternative? Is there a way to perceive and decipher reality that does not involve my 5 senses and the brain they're all connected to?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 10:21:11 PM by Sabby »

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #39 on: May 01, 2014, 10:57:41 PM »
Faith: Strong belief or trust in someone or something. Belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs. A system of religious beliefs.
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b: fidelity to one’s promises. Sincerity of intentions.
2 a: belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.
b: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Complete trust.
3. Something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially a system of religious beliefs.


There. With that said - I feel that anyone who says they are atheist also fall under this definition. Why? Because they believe with strong conviction that their beliefs are right.

So where does that leave this whole discussion? Back to that old ‘you believe what fits you best, I’ll believe what fits me best.’ There’s no reason to hate on someone else because of their beliefs. Don’t believe in God? Great! Don’t hate on those who do, call them delusional and act an ass about it. Believe in God? Great! Don’t hate on those who don’t, don’t tell them they are going to hell and act an ass about it.

Seriously, I swear this world has become so damned thin skinned it is ridiculous. I work a job where I have customers who will start talking about christianity with me on the phone while I’m fixing their problems. They’ll witness to me till I am done. Know how I handle it?

Politely. “Thank you for sharing your beliefs/saying you’ll pray for me/saying God bless me.” It isn’t hurting me so why in the world should I get upset about it? It isn’t affecting what my personal belief system is. So what if someone tells me I’m going to burn in hell because I choose to live by the Nine Noble Virtues. I don’t believe in the christian hell so how can this be offensive or damaging to me? So what if someone accuses me of worshipping the devil. I don’t believe in the christian devil. I know it’s not the truth.

I do not understand all this angst towards something that, in my opinion, isn’t that big of a deal. You know what you believe in/don’t believe in. No one can force you to change your beliefs and being polite to those that try and share (because it is part of their religion) tends to cause less stress than deliberately poking at them.

Offline ladia2287

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2014, 11:11:30 PM »
Faith: Strong belief or trust in someone or something. Belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs. A system of religious beliefs.
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b: fidelity to one’s promises. Sincerity of intentions.
2 a: belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.
b: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Complete trust.
3. Something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially a system of religious beliefs.


There. With that said - I feel that anyone who says they are atheist also fall under this definition. Why? Because they believe with strong conviction that their beliefs are right.

So where does that leave this whole discussion? Back to that old ‘you believe what fits you best, I’ll believe what fits me best.’ There’s no reason to hate on someone else because of their beliefs. Don’t believe in God? Great! Don’t hate on those who do, call them delusional and act an ass about it. Believe in God? Great! Don’t hate on those who don’t, don’t tell them they are going to hell and act an ass about it.

Seriously, I swear this world has become so damned thin skinned it is ridiculous. I work a job where I have customers who will start talking about christianity with me on the phone while I’m fixing their problems. They’ll witness to me till I am done. Know how I handle it?

Politely. “Thank you for sharing your beliefs/saying you’ll pray for me/saying God bless me.” It isn’t hurting me so why in the world should I get upset about it? It isn’t affecting what my personal belief system is. So what if someone tells me I’m going to burn in hell because I choose to live by the Nine Noble Virtues. I don’t believe in the christian hell so how can this be offensive or damaging to me? So what if someone accuses me of worshipping the devil. I don’t believe in the christian devil. I know it’s not the truth.

I do not understand all this angst towards something that, in my opinion, isn’t that big of a deal. You know what you believe in/don’t believe in. No one can force you to change your beliefs and being polite to those that try and share (because it is part of their religion) tends to cause less stress than deliberately poking at them.

this +1

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #41 on: May 01, 2014, 11:15:16 PM »
Definitely support IO on this one.

Offline Ephiral

  • The Firebrand Logica | Gender Ninja | Their Toy
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2013
  • Location: In between the lines, outside of the law, underneath the veil
  • Carpe diem per sol delenda.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #42 on: May 01, 2014, 11:32:11 PM »
It seems, and this is particularly at Ephiral and Sabby but probably applies broader, that the word "faith" is viewed as offensive in and of itself and that that is derailing a really interesting potential conversation.  To paraphrase the initial discussion between Daemonbane and Ephiral a little (paraphrasing in order to specifically pull out how it read to me):

The offensive bit isn't the word "faith" per se; the offense is in asserting that you know the minds of effective strangers better than those strangers despite their specific assertions. It'd be just as offensive and annoying if I said I don't like chocolate, and the response was "Of course you do!" despite never having seen me eat any. "Of course you have faith!" just happens to be by far the most common way this assertion is made.

Relying on personal senses and logic has actually lead more people astray than toward the truth.  People place a high price on their own perception, but in large part the senses lie to their user or make interpretations to expedite the process of decision making.  To be honest and meaning no offense, I highly doubt you understand even a fraction of how even one of your sensory organs work in order to understand the deception and meanings presented.  Also logic is not simply a gift, but is something that can be trained and does not always lead to a rational truth.  Logic is typically taught as a course with quite a lengthy field of study in philosophy departments across the world so that logical arguments can be made.  Essentially people are taught to construct logical arguments in order to debate other logical arguments.  A philosophy student could form an argument and proof that shows all manner of things.   So both of what you rely upon is quite faulty.
You're making a lot of assumptions here that may be applicable in the general... but atheists are already an atypical case.

  • IYou're right, direct perception is crap. (I understand a lot more about perception, intuition, and probability than you give me credit for.) That's why perception is extremely weak evidence, and I (and many like me) treat it as such.
  • You're assuming a high value on logic for its own sake. Don't. The value I place on logic is strictly instrumental; it's good for getting me to a more accurate model of reality, nothing more.
  • You assume that I rely on "logic and personal senses", and do so to the exclusion of all else. In point of fact, I actually use statistics that place paramount value on real-world evidence to get to inductive logic.

Even worse is that your logic is then based on your senses, which are deceptive.  A logical argument is only as good as the supporting frame work and stipulations.  This is a pretty poor way to proceed then.  There have been quite a few philosophers that have argued against even recognizing the senses as a contributory factor in pursuing the truth due to their faulty nature.
Here's where you lay the foundation for the argument that all data ultimately depend on faith in the senses. Except... well, not exactly. Perception failure tends not to happen in such a coherent way that every data point you examine on a given subject, including directly verifying your conclusions against others presented with the same data set and priors, will coherently tell you the same wrong thing. Bias is a much more insidious beast, and pretty much impossible to overcome, but developing the skills to recognize and reduce its effects where possible is still more effective than throwing your hands up and saying "It's all faith!"

If you care about whether or not what you believe is actually true, at least.


Also, I think you are profoundly wrong that people lack faith in human decency.  A simple response to a tragedy shows that people trust that others possess human decency.  The first process performed is distancing of one’s self from the individual, individuals or group that has performed this task.  An assertion of group identify and an ostracizing of the other.  Basically some development of “us” versus “them” is constructed.  Someone stabs a hallway of innocent students and the first question is, “what’s wrong with him?”  There is not acceptance that this person is like us, but rather that something obviously sets him apart and makes him different in a way that is non-functioning and near non-human.  Normal people would never do such a thing as this; normal people are decent and good.

You're missing the broader point: "What's wrong with him?" is a perfectly valid question, because the overwhelming majority of the evidence (ie, all the hallways filled with un-stabbed students) shows us that people don't do that without major extenuating circumstances, and further evidence (ie, most mass assaults/murders) shows us that the failure tends to be in the assailant. This does not need to be "faith that people are decent"; it is a perfectly valid question arising from the mountains of data available.

I would also argue that you think the issue was settle by Ephiral because you agree and find those sentiments more in line with your logic, which as we’ve shown can be faulty.
Um. To be technical, you've made a naked assertion (though not one I disagree with) that some logic can be faulty. You have yet to actually show this, or to apply it to the reasoning anybody has presented in thread (though this would not be difficult to do, depending on who you're speaking to here).

My use of the word faith is actually in line with the definition of the word because the word is defined as complete trust in someone or something.  I would argue that atheists attempt to crowbar the word, as you put it, into an argument that possessing faith means a lack of rational thought and ability to argue.  Much like this thread is dedicated to voicing frustration at preconceived notions of atheists, I am simply showing how preconceived notions of the religious are also false.
Okay, then, let me be plain:

I do not place "complete trust" in literally any proposition, including but not limited to "1+1=2" or "The sun will rise tomorrow". I further assert that assigning a probability of 1 to literally any proposition is effectively insanity.

Car accidents are not rare incidents.  Deaths in surgery due to practitioner error are not rare incidents either that serve as anomalies.
Compared to the number of cars that don't get into accidents or the number of people who don't die on the operating table?

Number of vehicles in the US in 2009: 254212610.
Number of vehicles involved in accidents, US, 2009: 9534400.
Percentage of all vehicles involved in accidents: 3.75%.
(Data from here and here.)

I'm having a hard time finding hard numbers on total surgical fatalities, but subsets can be examined:this source indicates that the fatality rate among Medicaid hospitalizations due to patient safety incidents was 0.19%, and this one indicates that about 0.15% of the population above age 45 can expect to die from complications of medical care (and that the number of deaths below age 45 is likely to be statistically insignificant). If you have better sources, please let me know, as I'd like to get better numbers myself.

Now, I admit that "rare" and "anomalous" are subjective terms, but I'd say that using them to refer to things that happen less than five percent (or less than one percent!) of the time is pretty accurate.



Faith: Strong belief or trust in someone or something. Belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs. A system of religious beliefs.
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b: fidelity to one’s promises. Sincerity of intentions.
2 a: belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.
b: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Complete trust.
3. Something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially a system of religious beliefs.

Define "strong", please. This is an extremely subjective term that needs nailed down if you're proposing a definition for everyone to accept. Is it P>0.5? 0.7? 0.95? 0.99? Is it "Nothing will change my mind on this subject"? "More evidence than I can possibly see in my lifetime is required"? "All existing evidence supports this conclusion"?

EDIT 2: For the record: I ask this because sense 1 doesn't apply in this context, and I absolutely and completely reject sense 2. Sense 3 is the only one that might apply, and it hinges on that.

EDIT: As for why it's important? Because it's not just limited to "what you believe" and "what I believe". It's public perception - ie, the reason it's hyperdifficult for an atheist to run for office in the US. It's public policy. Other people's faith touches on almost every aspect of your life, whether you like it or not.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 11:36:17 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Sabby

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #43 on: May 01, 2014, 11:33:04 PM »
I actually agree, your still misusing the word. Faith in a religious context is different then using it as a synonym for trust, so this still doesn't help you when you attempt to equate the two. Yes, I technically 'have faith' in a doctor (I dislike that use of the word, but we're dealing with dictionaries, so I'll stomach it) but that still doesn't help you in trying to demonstrate that everyone has the same kind of faith as you do.

You still need to explain how my 'faith' in a doctor is somehow comparable in faith in a deity. It's the same word, but a very different context, so you still haven't managed to demonstrate that the kind of faith you hold for the unproven is a universal human value.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #44 on: May 01, 2014, 11:41:28 PM »
When it comes to matter of belief, the term strong generally means "You aren't going to change what I personally believe." An example would be my mother. I have sat down and shown my mother documented proof that this country (the US) was NOT founded on the christian religion and she still swears it was. Why? Because she believes that strongly.

What I am not understanding is this apparent (forgive me if I am wrong here) need for those who do not believe in any religion to deny and deprive those who do believe in a religion. Why this insane need to take away other peoples belief systems? Because whether you realize it or not, that is exactly how you come across. "I do not believe in it so no one else can! It's all bullshit so I do not think anyone should be allowed to believe in it!"

Again, you believe what you believe. I'll believe what I'll believe. Simple. Easy.

Offline Ephiral

  • The Firebrand Logica | Gender Ninja | Their Toy
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2013
  • Location: In between the lines, outside of the law, underneath the veil
  • Carpe diem per sol delenda.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #45 on: May 01, 2014, 11:51:20 PM »
When it comes to matter of belief, the term strong generally means "You aren't going to change what I personally believe." An example would be my mother. I have sat down and shown my mother documented proof that this country (the US) was NOT founded on the christian religion and she still swears it was. Why? Because she believes that strongly.

So P=1. Then I reject that definition, too; see my earlier comments on that matter.

What I am not understanding is this apparent (forgive me if I am wrong here) need for those who do not believe in any religion to deny and deprive those who do believe in a religion. Why this insane need to take away other peoples belief systems? Because whether you realize it or not, that is exactly how you come across. "I do not believe in it so no one else can! It's all bullshit so I do not think anyone should be allowed to believe in it!"

Um, what? You'd have to read pretty maliciously to get that from either me or Sabby. The closest I can find is Sabby's statement that religion's influence on society is a problem that needs to go. "This shouldn't guide our society" is not even remotely close to "Nobody is allowed to believe in anything I don't!"

Again, you believe what you believe. I'll believe what I'll believe. Simple. Easy.
It'd be a lot easier if your beliefs stopped forming the basis for public policy or special exemptions - this, not the mere existence of belief, is what most of us have a problem with.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2014, 11:56:09 PM »

It'd be a lot easier if your beliefs stopped forming the basis for public policy or special exemptions - this, not the mere existence of belief, is what most of us have a problem with.

Mind telling me what my beliefs are? Cause I know for a FACT that my belief system has never been used to make policy in this country.

Might want to stop making assumptions and actually read what I've posted before.

Offline Ephiral

  • The Firebrand Logica | Gender Ninja | Their Toy
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2013
  • Location: In between the lines, outside of the law, underneath the veil
  • Carpe diem per sol delenda.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2014, 12:13:40 AM »
Mind telling me what my beliefs are? Cause I know for a FACT that my belief system has never been used to make policy in this country.

Might want to stop making assumptions and actually read what I've posted before.
Please note that I said "public policy or special exceptions". You read pretty strongly as a believer of some type, given your comments about nonbelievers in this thread. Are you really asserting that there is absolutely no privilege given to "firm religious belief" in any public policy anywhere in the US?

Because if such policies exist, your beliefs are the basis for a special exception that you are granted but I would not be.

Online Qt

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2014, 12:14:22 AM »
What I am not understanding is this apparent (forgive me if I am wrong here) need for those who do not believe in any religion to deny and deprive those who do believe in a religion. Why this insane need to take away other peoples belief systems? Because whether you realize it or not, that is exactly how you come across. "I do not believe in it so no one else can! It's all bullshit so I do not think anyone should be allowed to believe in it!"

It's not people's beliefs that's the issue. It's how people act upon those beliefs.

There's nothing wrong with believing something that is not based on evidence, however to let that faulty belief guide one's actions. And when one's actions are ultimately called out on, they hide behind their belief without evidence. That's when an attack on that belief is justified.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Why I am an athiest
« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2014, 12:32:45 AM »
And yet no one reads what I have said before. I am a firm believer in each person having the right to believe or not believe as they will. I do not espoused any law or policy that would take that away. I believe in treating each person according to how they act instead of what they believe in - or do not believe in.

And for the record. I am not Christian  -  as stated above and ignored. I live by - and believe in -  a philosophy.  I am spiritual. Not religious. None of my beliefs have ever affected policy or created laws in this country.

And I would dearly love it if the attacks against those of us who do have beliefs, no matter what they are, would stop. Just because someone chooses not to believe does not give them the right to lash out at those who do. Just as having a belief does not give the right to lash out at those who dont.

Real, real simple folks. Do unto others as you would have done to you.