Sunday, May 29, 2011

What Do I Believe?

To people who don't understand atheism, this post if for you. I get asked all the time, if there is no god, then what is the purpose of your life? Since you don't believe in god, you don't believe in anything. Since you don't believe in sin, you think you can do anything you want without consequences.

I'll start off by sharing what I don't believe.

I don't believe that I should have to take anything on faith. Faith, by definition, is the belief in something which has no evidence. Maybe faith works for you, but not for me. I can't believe in something just because an ancient book said so.

Without god, life has no purpose. Really? Why? Why does there have to be a purpose? Even if it is all just a big cosmic mistake that we all happen to be here, why does it matter? You are alive. You are a person with feelings and desires. Enjoy that life. Even if your life is a mistake, enjoy it while you have it.

Let's just imagine that I'm right for a second. Just bear with me. When you die, that's it. You're dead. No afterlife. No heaven. No god. But all of your life, you lived with the belief in an afterlife. Now you're dead and there's nothing. Your life had purpose while you lived it. Your life had purpose, even if that purpose was to believe in a false god. Why does belief in a god have to be the only purpose? It doesn't. A rock is not alive, so what is its purpose? That rock exists, so it must have a purpose, right? So everything that exists, must have a purpose. Why? What about a giant floating meteor out in space 300 million light years away from earth? What is its purpose? My point is that just because something exists, doesn't mean that it has to have a purpose. Your life is no different. Your life has whatever purpose you give it.

Since you don't believe in god, you don't believe in anything. A very common assumption. True, I don't believe in god. But why does the lack of a belief in god mean that I believe in nothing? I believe in mankind, science, love, beauty, family, integrity, education, honesty, laughing, fun, work, life, friends, service, etc. I believe in many things, just not fairytales.

Since you don't believe in god, you don't believe in sin, and therefore can do anything you want without consequences. Strangely enough, that is true. However, just because I can steal something, doesn't mean that I will. You see, above I just listed a bunch of things that I do believe in. I can know a certain action is wrong without a belief in god. No, I don't believe its a sin to kill, BUT I do believe that it is wrong. Not because I'll be punished if I do it but because it's just wrong. It's wrong to take other peoples stuff. It's wrong to hurt people. It's wrong to say mean things to someone. These things are wrong just because they are wrong, not because god said that they are. Are you trying to tell me that without god in your life, you would have no self control at all? Now that is sad. I can be good to other people without god being involved because I just know what is right and what is wrong. You do too. It is an inherent human instinct.

This has to be true because I know and have heard many stories of believers who have done terrible things to other people. If belief in god makes you good, then why do some believers do bad things? Why do not all atheists go out on crime sprees? It is because the knowledge of right and wrong is not from god, but is from within yourself.

I am no different than you. I have a job, a family, a home. I have bills to pay. I have doctor visits. I have a lawn to mow and weeds to pull. I have a car that breaks down sometimes. I deal with life and all its issues just like you do.

Since an atheist doesn't believe in god, he must believe in the devil. Wrong! Since you don't believe in Peter Pan, then you must believe in Captain Hook! Stupid, right? I don't believe in god, therefore I don't believe in his enemy. To assume that all atheists are devil worshippers is just wrong. If I don't believe in your imaginary god, then why would I believe in his imaginary arch enemy? Don't make the mistake of thinking that all atheists are devil worshippers. Fact is, they don't believe in the devil either.

Another misconception is that I threw god out of my life on a temper tantrum because god wouldn't give me everything I asked for. I'm hoping that if I ignore god, then he will feel sorry for me and give me everything I want.

No, that's wrong too. I don't believe in god beacuse he isn't real, not because I want to "punish" him for not kissing my ass. It is true that I prayed for certain things and did not receive them. You think I left god because he didn't give me what I wanted. I actually left god because I realized that he isn't even there to give me or not give me what I pray for.

People see what they are looking for. If you are looking for god, you will see god in everything. I'm not looking for god, I'm just looking. And what I see is life. I see a beautiful planet. I see beautiful people. I see good people doing good things. I see bad people doing bad things. But I don't see god. I see a book called the Bible and I see that it is full of funny stories. I see real life and I realize that just because a funny book exists, doesn't mean that it is true, because lots of books exist with funny stories but that doens't make them all true. I just look and I see what there is to see.

It's simple. It's beautiful. Why complicate things by throwing in an imaginary friend? Be yourself. Be good because you know it's the right thing to do.

30 comments:

Heather B said...

Good Post...

It think its rather funny how religious people think that their religion has a monopoly on morality and keeps people from doing harm, but it takes free thinkers/activists to make positive changes in the world... where religion falls short to make those changes.

Just because someone throws out the belief in God does not mean they throw out morality. I would rather do something because I believe its not right, then believe in God and not do something just because I fear eternal punishment.

Mormon411 said...

Again, well said, Heather.

If true morality came from religion then...

9/11 would not have happened.

The cruisades would have never taken place.

Ethnic cleansing of the Jews.

And many other atrocities that have taken place in the name of god.

Tim Young said...

Hey, great post. It's really fascinating for me to get to read your thoughts. Neat stuff.

You said, "Faith, by definition, is the belief in something which has no evidence." I have to challenge that. For belief to be called "faith," it doesn't have to be in something that has no evidence. Faith is just belief, plain and simple. Evidence or no evidence. Agree or disagree?

Mormon411 said...

Good question, Tim. I got my definition of faith from the dictionary. If faith was belief, straight across, then there would be no need for two different words.

So what is the difference between 'faith' and 'belief'? Straight from dictionary.com:

Faith: "belief that is not based on proof"

Belief: "confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof"

They sound very similar to me. There is still a difference though. It's early still and I can't put my finger on it. Thoughts anyone?

crobl005 said...

At the end you have to options, belive that miracles don't exist, or that everything is a miracle.

L said...

Since moving to Utah five years ago, I've seen an awful lot of ex-Mormons become atheist. I think it's sad that they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Their feelings are so strong, they actually remind me of rape victims in some ways, and I think this skews their world view. So what I'm suggesting is that your strong feelings are driving you. Just think of it was a possibility to consider.

Mormon411 said...

crobl005, I don't know if I would necessarially take the position of that black and white a world view. Science can do some pretty amazing things that, while they are explainable, mankind could not have even imaginged 100 years ago. In the Bible, Moses tapped a rock and water came out and it was a miracle. But that happens every day now. We have water that comes out of the walls of our homes and even out of rocks (drinking fountaines) all over the place. What was once seen as a miracle, is now common place. Science can produce much cooler "miracles" that any Biblical author could even comprehend.

Mormon411 said...

L, I can see why you might draw a comparison between an ex-Mormon and a rape victim. However, they are not exactly the same. A rape victim is quickly forced into the situation against their will, while a Mormon is slowly conditioned to "like" being raped.

If the disbelief in god assists in my recovery and helps me become a better functioning member of society, how is that bad? In my opinion, all people who believe in god have a "skewed" life view.

You (believers) literally believe in a father up in the sky whom you have never seen or talked to, and base the evidence of his existance on an ancient book that contradicts itself, contains ridiculous stories about magic, wizards, dragons, talking snakes, poisonous apples, etc., and is dead wrong in every aspect of any scientific explanations it offers. You believe this so much, that you are willing to die (or kill) for it. That's a pretty strong feeling, isn't it?

Your strong feelings for god drive you. Believers admit that every day. So why is it okay for you to have strong feeling for and be driven by your belief in gods existance? When I state my beliefs that god does not exist, it suddenly becomes a bad thing, yet people don't realize that their belief in god drives them much more than my disbelief will ever drive me.

Your strong feelings for god lead to world violence. My strong feelings lead to a better understanding of the world. Have you ever heard of an atheist group that is responsible for any type of violent attack? I haven't. But every suicide bomber you read about in the news thinks that his god will reward his sacrifice with 72 beautiful virgins, or something like that.

And you think my belief system is something to be concerned about?

Molly Anne said...

Heather: I don't think it's correct to put 'religious people' into a stereotype. Some people are able to have a balanced life with their faith, not using it as a weapon or a way to justify their actions. Just my thought.

Heather B said...

Molly,

As I agree that I shouldnt clump all religious people together, the ones I am around (and that is quite a few) DO think that their religion is the only correct one that teaches the "only true" morality principles. I guess that is a downside to living in such a dominantly Mormon community, as I have not been able to experience other denominations....but I would assume that those other denominations feel the same way with their morality teachings. Just my opinion.....

Karahbelle said...

This post completely summarizes my view on life! Thanks for this!

Bubba Muntzer said...

I'm on your side, but I just wondered if you have tried separating religion and "god" in your thinking. What if there was no Bible? What would you argue against then? You do argue against both, religion and the existence of god, but you run them together. I do that too, but it never occurred to me until I noticed it in your recent essays here.

But it is something to think about going forward, as you, we, refine our arguments, our thinking, and defend against attacks, because eventually someone will point it out, that religion and god are two different things, or rather, one is a thing and one is a concept maybe.

Very interesting web log though and you get some interesting comments. I think I will check back with you. I know a nasty Mormon/Republican, or Republican/Mormon, and also I listened to that book of a few years ago, Secret Ceremonies by Deborah Laake, the Mormon woman who told how she was abused so badly by her husband and his family.

Meredith McRae does a good job reading that. The narrator can make or break a book on tape. You can download a lot of them for free now for an mp3 player. I drive truck, but anyone who does a lot of driving, that is a great way to pass the miles, and a great way to catch up on your "reading." Librivox and the Gutenburg Project are both good free sources for a lot of classic literature.

Cheers!

Mormon411 said...

That is a great question and yes, I have thought about it.

I can't say with 100% certainty that there is no god; however, I am certain that the god of the Bible is not real.

This could get complicated and is better as a new post rather than a comment...

First we have to define god. Is god alive? Does god have unlimited power? Did god create the universe?

Is god separate from religion? I don't know. Religion is the worship of any particular god. So I daresay religion cannot exist without a god. God however, could exist without religion.

Say there is a being out there that did create the universe. But since creation, he has not interfered at all with man. Man, therefore, has no knowledge of the true god. In this case, god could exist without religion.

But again, the existance of a god is not scientific and everything we used to attribute to a "god" can now be explained scientifically. The more we know about our world, the less need there is for god.

If you had a severe headache and I told you that you could either, 1) take a pain pill created by science OR 2) have your pastor pray for you to feel better, which would you choose?

Prayer is random but that pain pill works every damn time.

I'd rather have the pill.

Thanks for the references. I'll check them out and see what I can find.

Beth said...

Hi! I'm a Christian and I find your blog interesting. If you don't mind, I'd like to follow along and perhaps post a comment now and then. I'll try not to get "preachy" and promise not to throw fire & brimstone.
Beth

Mormon411 said...

Hi Beth, you're more than welcome here. Please do leave comments. I love a good discussion!

Sasha said...

Great thoughts. I definitely believe what you said about sin.

EriK said...

I'm going to clarify some things for you in the hope that you will understand the Biblically Christian position.

~"Faith, by definition, is the belief in something which has no evidence."

**This is your definition, but it's not the definition I or many Christian believers use to refer to faith, nor is it the definition that the Bible gives. Hebrews 11 says that faith is the "assurance of things one is confident of; the evidence of things not seen." Faith and Hope are seen as a 'confident expectation' in the Biblical worldview. I don't believe anything without evidence. I agree with you that that would be irrational. So when I say that I have faith in something, I am not using your definition, because my definition is more akin to the word "trust." Realistically, those words are synonyms. What you are referring to as 'faith' is what I would call blind faith. I hope this clears this up for you.

"Without god, life has no purpose. Really? Why? Why does there have to be a purpose?"

*** You don't rebut the assertion in this paragraph--you agree with the statement.

"Your life has whatever purpose you give it"

*** This is problematic. How can a person give purpose to something? Please explain what you mean.

"But why does the lack of a belief in god mean that I believe in nothing"

It doesn't. But it means that you're being inconsistent if you're not a nihilist, SINCE, if you don't believe in God, you have no logical reason to believe anything else.

" I believe in mankind, science, love, beauty, family, integrity, education, honesty, laughing, fun, work, life, friends, service, etc."

What is integrity? What is love? Are these not merely chemical reactions in your material brain? Your worldview demands that these are illusions and not self-existent concepts. They are merely the names you give behaviors that are the result of random chemical processes. So what do you mean when you say you 'believe' in these things?

"Since you don't believe in god, you don't believe in sin, and therefore can do anything you want without consequences. Strangely enough, that is true."

*** It is a good sign that you acknowledge this. The more logical an unbeliever is, the more likely they are to be able to understand the logic behind the Biblical position.

"I can know a certain action is wrong without a belief in god"

***I agree. But you can't justify it, and this is the whole point. You can know it's wrong, but where does that knowledge come from? Care to take a guess?

""No, I don't believe its a sin to kill, BUT I do believe that it is wrong. Not because I'll be punished if I do it but because it's just wrong. It's wrong to take other peoples stuff. It's wrong to hurt people. It's wrong to say mean things to someone. These things are wrong just because they are wrong,""

*** Pay very close attention now. I'm going to take a dialectical approach, like Socrates, for the sake of argument. Just because I ask you a question doesn't mean I don't know the answer, or that I disagree with something you've said, or even your position. It is simply a tool for argumentation, and if you answer my questions, you will eventually be challenged more and more to provide answers. So here goes.

Why is it wrong to kill someone? You say "it just is," but that's arbitrary. What that means is that I can say "It just isn't," and my opinion will carry the same weight as yours, because they are both mere opinions. How would you convince anyone else that it's wrong to kill?

EriK said...

"Are you trying to tell me that without god in your life, you would have no self control at all?"

Not at all. But without God in your life, WHAT REASON would you have to control yourself? You control yourself, but you have no reason to. It doesn't make you a bad person. It just means you're acting a particular way that you have no justification for doing as an atheist. You're adopting the morality of God when it's convenient to you, and denying the foundation for the morality that you accept. This is an inconsistent position to take. You either need to abandon morality, or find a source for it apart from God. If you do not do this, you are by definition behaving irrationally, since you have no reason to be moral.

"It is an inherent human instinct"

*** Romans 2 says that the Law of God is written on everyone's heart. That means that God is the source of your moral instinct. However, your sinful nature has tainted your sense of morality, so neither you nor anyone has a -perfect- sense of what is right and wrong, but needs to be instructed. However, everyone has a basic instinct called a conscience, that convicts us internally when we do something wrong. But if God does not exist, there is no explanation for the existence of such a thing.

"If belief in god makes you good, then why do some believers do bad things"

*** It doesn't. A saving faith in Jesus Christ does just that--it saves you from the effects of sin (death and hell) and Justifies you in the sight of God. It doesn't make you perfect. Everyone still has a sin nature, and everyone will retain this nature until they are resurrected for eternal life...unless they didn't believe. Believers sometimes do horrible things because they are also sinners, just like the unbelievers. The only difference is that the believers recognize their hopelessness and appeal to God for help. Believers have a relationship with Jesus, such that the Father, when He looks at us, sees the righteousness of Jesus, because He took the punishment for our sins. But that can only be the case if you've accepted the exchange. Like a philanthropist offering you money, you don't receive it until you accept it. If you don't, you miss out.

""? Why do not all atheists go out on crime sprees?""

Oh, many do. And the less of a relationship someone has with God, the more bad fruit they bear. On the other hand, ungodly people living in a very godly society can have godliness rub off on them. This has happened in America. This country is becoming very unChristianized, but the value system of Judeo-Christian culture remains in place, for the time being. When the next generation of children are raised without respect for the values nor their foundation, said values will begin to disappear more rapidly, as they have been doing. You might think of it as 'freedom,' for now, but it will lead to slavery. Hopefully you will live long enough to see the changes that are bound to happen here, and begin to consider what I've spoken here.

"Since an atheist doesn't believe in god, he must believe in the devil. Wrong!"

Agreed. But the Bible doesn't say that. If you are not with God, however, you are against Him. Whether you claim semantic wordplay about believing or not, you are still against Him. You're either serving God, or you're serving yourself and Satan. You don't have to be aware of it for it to be the case.

"It is true that I prayed for certain things and did not receive them. You think I left god because he didn't give me what I wanted. I actually left god because I realized that he isn't even there to give me or not give me what I pray for"

*** This is nothing more than an admission. Again, you disagree about what you were thinking the whole time, but the facts and implications remain the same. You prayed, didn't receive what you thought you should IF God existed, and stopped believing. Same thing, different spin.

EriK said...

"People see what they are looking for. If you are looking for god, you will see god in everything. I'm not looking for god, "

*** Therefore you don't see God. A remarkable observance. I'm pleased to see this hint of philosophy in your writing.

" I see a book called the Bible and I see that it is full of funny stories."

*** I really hope you don't believe the Mormon "Bible" is the same as the Christian Bible.

**************Comments*********


"You (believers) literally believe in a father up in the sky whom you have never seen or talked to, and base the evidence of his existance on an ancient book that contradicts itself, contains ridiculous stories about magic, wizards, dragons, talking snakes, poisonous apples, etc., and is dead wrong in every aspect of any scientific explanations it offers."

***I literally do not. Heaven is not located in this universe. The ancient book does not contradict itself (I've triple-checked), nor does it contain ridiculous stories like you mention. Poisonous apples are from Snow White, for example. I think you've conflated Disney and History.

You seem to have a strong preconceived bias, or at least a visceral dislike for what you perceive to be a lie. I hope this won't hinder you from honestly approaching the subject to inquire into the truth.

"" So why is it okay for you to have strong feeling for and be driven by your belief in gods existance?""

Because mine is rational and I actually believe the Truth. I know this statement might irritate you or seem biting, but hey--the truth hurts.

If you don't believe it's the truth, you should have an easy time convincing me, since I am a highly rational person.

"Your strong feelings for god lead to world violence"

***Because people hate people who believe the True God and want to wipe us off the face of the planet. So I would hardly lay the blame on me, or even God and the Bible, but the ill reaction of sinful mankind against God, the Bible, and His Disciples

"Have you ever heard of an atheist group that is responsible for any type of violent attack?"

Numerous. The Nazis, Stalinists, those under Mao and Pol Pot, the drug lords of South America, the abortionists under Margaret Sanger, and the list goes on...but doesn't really need to. These people together have killed almost as many, if not more, than all people who have EVER died in a religious conflict (at least one side involving a monotheistic belief) on the face of the planet. 150 million died by the hands of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao alone. Over 1 (was it 4?) million die --in America alone-- every year, in the silent holocaust. The atheists are winning, but the Muslims as a group have them beat. Simply because they're more organized, whereas atheists can strike anywhere but have a hard time propagating their beliefs because of their obvious ludicrousness.

"But every suicide bomber you read about in the news thinks that his god will reward his sacrifice with 72 beautiful virgins, or something like that"

***Which says nothing about Christianity, now, does it? If you want to be an analytical thinker, you should not hesitate to consider the fact that if there is one true God, that there would be numerous false religions and copycats, particularly if they were invented by a relentless Satanic foe. Islam, incidentally, has the best chance of all candidates to be the Beast from Revelation--the religion of the Antichrist--i.e. Satan. Is it any surprise that they murder more Christians every year than were murdered in the hundreds of years since Constantine gave Christianity protected status, until the 20th century? This isn't happening in a vacuum.

EriK said...

"I can't say with 100% certainty that there is no god; however, I am certain that the god of the Bible is not real."

***You are in effect saying that you are certain there is no god. The only other alternative is a deistic god who does nothing, since all other candidates fail to match up to the standard of the Christian God. But if there was a deistic god, it would not matter, since we couldn't know. For God to want us to know Him, it would require Revelation. He would have to make His mark on history. He has done so.

"Is god separate from religion?"

*** Yes. Just read John and watch Jesus infuriate the Pharisees (very religious folk) by not following their standards, and claiming that what mattered to God was in your heart, not in how well you could perform self-imposed rituals.

"Say there is a being out there that did create the universe. But since creation, he has not interfered at all with man. Man, therefore, has no knowledge of the true god."

***This would be deism, and it's really an irrelevant thought, since it immediately leads to a dead end. 1) We couldn't know it was true if it was true, and 2) it doesn't matter, since due to (1) that god can't logically expect of us to do anything.

"But again, the existance of a god is not scientific and everything we used to attribute to a "god" can now be explained scientifically. The more we know about our world, the less need there is for god."

This is a common misconception. Understanding how the world works doesn't get rid of God. Explaining how God upholds the universe doesn't explain it away. All you're finding out is how He chooses to operate. Incidentally, all the recent discoveries in biochemistry, genetics, astronomy and physics have served to make disbelief in God logically untenable. There is much to be found on this topic if you wish to look for it.

"Prayer is random but that pain pill works every damn time"

Because the pain pill is designed from extracts of compounds in a plant that God created for our benefit. Funny how that works. God is consistent--that's why it tends to work consistently.


(post is broken up because there was a 4,096 character limit, incl. spaces. :P)

Mormon411 said...

EriK, your thought process is so circular that I find myself getting dizzy just by reading it.

My argument: science explains things that were once attributed to god.

Your return: God is science, so any miracle that science produces is really from god.

If science and religion were the same thing, then evolution would be taught in church.

My argument: I kicked god out of my life and have never been better.

Your return: That is because god is giving you a chance to "come back".

But doesn't religion teach that without god, man will be evil, vile, and corrupt? Then how come I'm not? Why does religion teach that my life will go to pot without god, when in reality, nothing changes without god? Where does it say in the Bible that those who leave god will still have good lives because god is giving them a chance to "come back"?

It doesn't. But you can't stand to lose an argument and will even make up your own doctrine in order to be right. How do you know gods intentions for my life?

Have you ever considered the very remote possibility that my life is no different because there is no god up there who punishes me when I am "bad"?

You and your imaginary friend just keep up with the cicular thinking. Running around in circles will get you nothing except a blurred view of what the world really is.

Mormon411 said...

EriK,

Replying to everything you said would take forever and would be exhausting. I will respond to a few things.

That is not MY definition of faith. That definition came directly from dictionary.com.

Secondly, religious fanatics, such as yourself, are so quick to point out that Hitler (and therefore the Nazi party) were atheists. Do a little more research next time. Hitler was a Catholic and he exterminated the jews because... Christians have always hated the jews.

The rest of your arguments are not even worth responding to. Your god is the absolute truth and you can't stand to let me have even one word that disagrees with you. You literally have to disect every sentence I write and put your god spin on it.

Why do you waste your time defending god? If he is all powerful and such, then why does he need you to defend him? Why doesn't he just come down here and set the record straight himself?

As seen on the blog of Exhalted Outcast:

"The word of god: Its funny how it's always humans doing the talking."

Twin-Daddy said...

Mormon41:1
EriK:0

elderwesto said...

Your argument that 'science explains things that were once attributed to god' is an interesting one but you avoid the paradoxes science has encountered with itself and the nature of God.

http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/freemasonry_paradox.html

Is an interesting discussion on what lay people think of science and why it is wrong.

Currently the evolution taught in schools has been proven wrong by molecular biologists. I am not stating a new theory or even a theory. I am just saying the experts have researched this subject and have stated that complexity of a single cell is so advanced they don't know how it came to be.

The mistake many make in hearing this is rushing to the conclusion that science being proven wrong necessarily proves religion correct and vice versa.

This finding does not prove religion to be correct but it does destroy the dogma of science that mud and lighting made life.

The same thing happened with physics in relation to Newton and Quantum Mechanics. Newton's laws have been disproven as laws and replaced by a higher order of theories that state a closer understanding of what we believe is accurate.

Religion, especially Hindu texts, are full of religious teachings that these theories are now adopting in Quantum Mechanics.

In this case religion has far out paced science due to the dogma embraced by many scientists in wanting to claim something as a 'law'.

In short, the logic I have seen proven time and time again is that it is a logical fallacy to use the dogma of science to discredit religion.

They are both attempts at finding the 'universal equation' as they put it in science or the 'truth' as they put it in religion and the pursuit is the key.

Stating things like you believe this or that are really a waste of time as religion states

'I will not give it to you as you took no thought but to ask me'

and Science states

'You must do more than think it is true. You must study, test, and validate.'

Sounds to me like good religion and good science are in perfect harmony against dogma

Bearz said...

Nearly everyone on the planet gets guilt trips about something, some people turn the trips into guilty plesures, taboos, and secretly indulge etc. How does your atheism, or rather resistance to hardline Mormon Theology (other theologies are available), how does your atheism handle guilt?

Mormon411 said...

Nearly everyone on the planet gets guilt trips about something, some people turn the trips into guilty plesures, taboos, and secretly indulge etc. How does your atheism, or rather resistance to hardline Mormon Theology (other theologies are available), how does your atheism handle guilt?

I think we all have guilt over one thing or another. It is our innate sense of right and wrong. I feel guilt sometimes too. I feel bad when I said something out of anger or passion. It is not a guilt out of the fear that I have "sinned" however. It is a guilt from honestly feeling bad about a mistake I made and has nothing to do, whatsoever, with religion or the fear of god.

Religion uses guilt to manipulate people. Guilt is a great motivator. The fear of damnation is a great motivator.

Instead of bottle up our guilt and let it eat us alive from the inside out, we need to first, learn from the mistake and, second, forget about it. Each person needs to come to grips with the fact that they will make mistakes.

The only bad thing about making mistakes is if a person dwells on the guilt and doesn't learn anything from it. That is the true tragedy.

Learn from the past and then let it go! By the way, this view of guilt and mistakes is not, per se, the textbook atheist view of the issue, but is my personal view.

Please keep in mind that atheism is different for every person.

Kelline said...

I'm a Christian. Just putting that out front. I blog. I blog on my walk with Christ. A very difficult walk. I'm an angry Christian. I feel let down by the Church. I feel out here flapping in the wind alone. I believe we're supposed to respect each other and our respective views. I see you as a respectful atheist. As I skimmed through I notice that at one point you asked the readers why it seems to be wrong when you express a disbelief in God. Amen to that! Perhaps the people responsible for your spiritual health and guidance dropped the ball. It's possible that your foundation became cracked and the integrity compromised early on. The foundation being in God. We as parents tend to want our children to have that so their "good" people, someday. I believe in holding man responsible for my sufferings. Not God. I never caught an ethereal hand reaching into my purse for cash. It wasn't my ex-God that beat the crap out of me. I'm new to internet but if I can figure out how to join this site, I'm gonna. I think it's healthy for us to understand one another. There's no way on this earth that anyone is gonna convince me that I was a monkey. Nope. I'm too deep and too complicated. "Big Bang?"..how do you get order from chaos? Why are the monkeys still monkeys and we evolved so much? Know what I mean? I don't agree with people "telling" God to other people. It's just like you said, let Him defend Himself. Look Christians, let's let believers believe and non-believers believe not. On behalf of all others like me, I apologize for every moron that calls themselves a Christian but thinks shoving their faith down your throat will win your soul to Christ. You can't confront people on the street with their sins and expect warm and fuzzy. As a rule, I don't post lengthy comments but I could go all day about this. My reasons for being a believer aren't based on the Bible. I've experienced God. I've felt a touch from somewhere outside of this natural world. This is my faith. A belief in something that could make me realize myself. This world can't do that. One thing remains, I believe in God. I'm glad that I do. I don't LIKE(love is something different entirely) me or mankind enough to trust us with my afterlife...or lack thereof. Oddly enough, I see so clearly the truth behind some of your views. Expressly the fact that it's the religious of the world that are so controversial. Catholic priests raping children? Muslims blowing up other peoples? Hindu burning their dead on pyres for all to see? I see why you feel the way you do. Who can honestly blame you. I won't be the holy rolling Christian fanatic who tries to convince you of my God or His existence. If you want to know if He exists, you can seek Him out for yourself. I've never been to heaven or hell so who am I to say it does or doesn't exist? May be it comes down to every soul choosing to believe that they go on. I refuse to believe that all of this order and intricacy and worlds inside of worlds just appeared, perfectly ordered and working together as a fine-tuned and well-oiled machine. That's a hard sell. True, may be everything doesn't HAVE to have a purpose. But...well...it kind of does anyway. One more thing. The comment about Moses getting water from a rock and it was a miracle and it's commonplace now. Let's not forget about progress. The wheel also had to be invented. There's no separation really. Just progress happening. I better stop there. Here's hoping I don't get bombed :-)

Mormon411 said...

Kelline, thank you for that very honest post. If religious people were more like you then I would not even have anything negative to say about religion and god.

I have done study and research. On top of violence made by the religious and the hipocrisy of believers, the main reason I don't believe is simply because I have studied the history of religion. Jesus Christ is just a recycled myth. The Bible is full of horrible things that god commanded.

The reason you don't believe in the scientific explanation of the origion of the universe (Big Bang) and in evolution is because you don't understand them. Evolutionists do not claim that we evolved FROM monkeys but rather than chimps and humans have a common ancestor. I would strongly suggest that before you discredit these things, make an objective study of them. You will not see ugliness but beauty.

I made those very same arguments as a believer and I realize now how futile they are. If we evolved from apes, why are apes still here? That is like asking, if Americans came from Europe, why are Europeans still there?

Before you discredit evolution and the big bang, learn about them objectively.

I will check out your blog. I may challenge you on some topics but don't be offended. I agree with you completely that believers and non-believers should treat each other with respect.

Chris Hunt said...

EriK suggests that atheists have no inherent reason to behave morally, os if we do it's because God programmed us to behave that way.

I beg to differ.

For most of us, I suspect, we start learning about morality when we start going to school and start mixing with other kids. Be nice and share your sweeties with the other children, and they'll be nice and share theirs with you. Be mean, and they'll be mean too. Do as you would be done by, you'll be done by as you did. What goes around come around.

Of course this is the "golden rule" and forms part of the teachings of many world religions and philosophies. I suggest that this is because the rule came first, and the religions built up around it. No doubt EriK will see it differently.

Nonetheless it gives us atheists a simple and effective way to both define and justify a moral code. I would not like to be murdered, so I don't murder other people. I don't need some supernatural being to command me not to kill (and then aid in the killing of thousands of innocent Canaanites).

The Bible says it's OK to keep slaves, but immoral to eat prawns. My "golden rule" approach to morality puts things the other way around.

Rose said...

I've had experiences that leave me no doubt there is a loving heavenly family watching me through this mortal experience and has protected me on many occasions. There is an inherent strength that I can't deny. As I read through these comments I understand how perspective influences what one thinks and ultimately believes. I've studied history, I've looked at many logical ideas. Sometimes I am influenced by them and I consider believing them. None of these things foster happiness or hope however and I can't live in negativity. Life throws enough of that around without my fostering it. You are right. Without faith you might as well just enjoy whatever is in front of you, never hoping for anything else. But it seems so limiting to me. Miracles occur every minute of the day. Miracles start out as things we do not yet understand but even when we learn what made them happen, are they any less miracles? Of course not. They continue always. I don't even call what I have as religion because of the negative connotations. The joy I have in living also comes from following LDS teachings. They travel hand in hand. This joy does not come from my looking around at others and seeing their weaknesses.