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The Big Question

Are you a believer?

  • Atheist

    Votes: 21 56.8%
  • Agnostic

    Votes: 9 24.3%
  • Believer

    Votes: 7 18.9%

  • Total voters
    37

Jake

Well-Known Member
Wow, this has got pretty deep, which will make this look really simple but meh, this is a summary of what I think.

There are probably loads of typos cus I'm in a rush, about to leave the house...

I'm probably more Agnostic than anything. The universe is so ridiculous and amazing that for all I know, there could be a deity.

I think religion is just a product of social conditioning. Not many people who are raised in Muslim families end up being Christians, etc. Likewise, if you were raised Atheist I doubt you'd turn to god later in life.

The reason religion has been embraced in general is because it allows people to ignore the most basic, but terrifying human fears, which no other organisms on this particular planet are capable of thinking about, such as...

What happens when I die?
What's the point?
What the hell is all this?

... etc.

It's a defense mechanism which people use to give some meaning to their lives. It answers those questions, regardless of if it's a load of crap or not.

Another thing which annoys me is that religious people think humans are so important, and that the whole universe revolves around us. They ignore all those stars in the sky, many of which have planets mincing around them. I don't just believe that there is more life out there, I'm sure there is. To be honest, I think we're very insignificant.

Sometimes I'm jealous of religious people because they've found their answers and are satisfied with them. I'm still looking for mine.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Jake said:
Sometimes I'm jealous of religious people because they've found their answers and are satisfied with them. I'm still looking for mine.

Definitely. I would love to know, just for a day, to understand what having absolute faith feels like, and if it actually does exist. Coming from my atheist point of view I simply can't understand how someone can have complete blind faith without question and assume that there must be the tiniest percent of doubt in someone who does so. I find it very interesting.
 

furie

SBOPD
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CMonster said:
I'm an evangelical Christian (one of the few here apparently).

While I was born into the church, and have been going my whole life, I wouldn't say that my parents thrust this belief on me. I made my own decision, and have confirmed it in the last couple of years as I grew wiser and started thinking for myself.

So what was it made you pick Christianity over Hinduism, Taoism, Hare Krishna or Islam? ;)

Jake said:
I'm probably more Agnostic than anything. The universe is so ridiculous and amazing that for all I know, there could be a deity.

I think most atheists go through this, and to be honest, you have to be agnostic to a degree. There is always that possibility of a God. It's just if you remove religion from the equation (as I kind of did above), the chances of God become very remote.

Jake said:
I think religion is just a product of social conditioning. Not many people who are raised in Muslim families end up being Christians, etc. Likewise, if you were raised Atheist I doubt you'd turn to god later in life.

Absolutely. It was all part of my Christian downfall, hammering in the nails into the Christian coffin and undermining religion :)

I don't dissuade my kids from having anything to do with religion and I don't open discuss my beliefs so as not to encourage them to my way of thinking. I believe people need the free choice and to do it themselves. Minor_Furie is atheist now 100%, but Maxi-minor_Furie is Christian (well, he thinks he is, he's not baptised and doesn't go to church, but he believes in Jesus and God (and Santa and the Tooth Fairy)). He may carry on wanting to go to church and stuff, or he may not - it's up to him but 6 is far too young to push a child into anything for you as a parent.

Jake said:
The reason religion has been embraced in general is because it allows people to ignore the most basic, but terrifying human fears, which no other organisms on this particular planet are capable of thinking about, such as...

What happens when I die?
What's the point?
What the hell is all this?

... etc.

It's a defense mechanism which people use to give some meaning to their lives. It answers those questions, regardless of if it's a load of crap or not.

Again, absolutely. It's such a difficult thing to let go of, the idea that you go from something after life to nothing. Infinite nothing is impossible for the human mind to comprehend, so we don't. Even though I don't believe in anything, I hope that there's some kind of magical thing afterwards, simply because the concept of nothing is completely beyond me. To recognise you have experienced the nothing of sleep, you have to experience the something of wakefulness. It's no wonder there is religion and belief in God.

Jake said:
Sometimes I'm jealous of religious people because they've found their answers and are satisfied with them. I'm still looking for mine.

Maybe it's in the bottom of that next bottle of wine? I keep looking for the answers there too, but they're not forthcoming ;)
 

danielfitzgerald99

Active Member
If you unplug the ariel the TV can't function. That's right. The body isn't functioning either because it's dead. The signal is still there though and being picked up by other TV's. What if there is just one universal soul and we're all connected to it? Much like your internet analogy really. Once you're session is up the internet leaves your computer and just exists as the same global internet that was always there. New people will buy computers and connect to it and so on.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
I always found the idea of a deity and like, existence after death etc, to be a very arrogant, patriarchal ideology. Why the hell should we be privileged souls that continue to exist for eternity (either in bliss or damnation) over something like bacteria or even a pet dog (to go for an example of something that most people would agree have 'personalities' and a strong relationship with humankind'. I think it's this kind of arrogant, priviledged thinking (spawned by MEN) that makes me doubt God/religion even more. The feminist in me denies God and religion because it is an arrogant patriarchal idea that was conjured, in part, to suppress me. So **** that.
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
nadroJ said:
I always found the idea of a deity and like, existence after death etc, to be a very arrogant, patriarchal ideology. Why the hell should we be privileged souls that continue to exist for eternity (either in bliss or damnation) over something like bacteria or even a pet dog (to go for an example of something that most people would agree have 'personalities' and a strong relationship with humankind'. I think it's this kind of arrogant, priviledged thinking (spawned by MEN) that makes me doubt God/religion even more. The feminist in me denies God and religion because it is an arrogant patriarchal idea that was conjured, in part, to suppress me. So **** that.
I agree.

And I don't think many religious people know that a lot of agnostics/atheists think this, so I'll go for it...

Like Jordan, I think belief in god, an afterlife and the idea of innate morals and the like to be so... Yeah, arrogant is the only word. It's so self centred, as if the entire world revolves around you. Both you as in "the human species" and you as in the individual.

The concept of praying. Uggggh! Rage, absolute rage, that anyone could think that does more good than actually getting off your arse to DO something. Okay, so that's a bit extreme, but don't you feel guilty with the concept of prayer when people are always going to be worse off than you? I realise prayer isn't just asking after yourself, but it is a very selfish concept to think that your opinion **** matters in the first place.

No amount of religious reasoning can ever explain why bad stuff happens to good people. Why people are dying and starving from natural disasters, whilst us douchbags in the 1st world are pretty much a-ok. And any answer a religious person tries to give is ultimately selfish. Crap like "free will" - as if suggesting those people did SOMETHING wrong. Or maybe that they aren't part of your religion. Or sinned. Or some other blame. Or "god works in mysterious ways".

I have a HUGE hangup in particular with the idea that this life isn't the only life. Especially when people say "this can't be it." To me, to even consider that is so utterly ungrateful of the sheer magnificence of existence. How can you live your life every day and not be in awe of everything? Whether you believe in a creator or not, how could you possibly even want to conclude there's an afterlife? Why would there be? It's just beyond me.

The concept of an afterlife is not just ultimately selfish, it's so nonsensical. When you're put under simple anaesthetic, your consciousness goes. Turn the brain off, you turn YOU off. You are gone. You are nothing but physical matter. Consciousness is so obviously an illusion, it's beyond me why anyone thinks its some separate magical entity. Just... Just what? Even some atheists believe that consciousness is "special" and I just want to batter them over the head with evolutionary psychology books until it sinks in, presumably by causing serious brain damage, which would be fantastic evidence were they still with it enough to comprehend.

See, this is the thing, the more you learn about evolution - the less and less the concept of god makes sense. They are not compatible ideas, and denying evolution is... Just. Well it makes me angry, to put it nicely. No one, and I mean no one, who is reasonable and sane, would deny evolution if they understood it. So if you're one of those people, go educate yourself. Not interested in biology? Well that's fair enough, I guess, but your ignorance doesn't make you right.

Where was I? Oh yeah, selfishness.

So here's the thing, what's special about people? Well, tonnes of stuff, but theres a lot of special things about every single species on the planet that ever existed and ever will exist. To think, like Jordan says, that we have an afterlife and a god who made us in his image is just so self-centred. Why would people have an afterlife, but not other conscious creatures? And where do you draw the line of what to call conscious, anyway? You can't.

I'll end with a fab quote...

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

[/rant]

Been a while since I had a religion related rant.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Joey I love that quote <3 And I'm so glad somebody thinks the same as me. I love that you also think that we are NOTHING except physical matter that will eventually die. That's what I've thought for years and years and it's nice to see it voiced by somebody else.
 

gavin

Administrator
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^^ Prayer is an incredibly passive-aggressive way of telling God that His plan for you is flawed. And shockingly stingy.

He only listens to privileged white people, too. He's kind of like a celestial ATM.
 

Mysterious Sue

Well-Known Member
I'm a scientist. I believe in what I can see and touch and analyse: fossils and rocks that can be dated back millions of years, the evolution of life, the movement of galaxies that can track our universe expanding from a single moment in time.

But there are things I can't explain. What happens when people die for instance? Someone's personality exists but has no form, so how can it live and die?

Therefore I'm agnostic. I can't proove anything, so anything could be the reality.

On a side note, religion is not the same thing as belief. Religion was originally a method of crowd control and lingers today as a large-scale delusion that humans will live forever and are the most important thing in the universe. The Chrstian churh that I grew up with does a lot of good charity work, but it has also done a lot of bad things, waring throughout history in the name of God.

Therefore I believe it is wrong to force religion in schools, except as a lesson so that students can make up their own minds. Instead, I think we should be teaching our children social responsibility and ethics that match current expectations of society, not the church.Homosexuality is ok. Women don't have to be virgins to start a family. Covering up paedophilia is bad. Promoting the spread of HIV in Africa is wrong etc etc...
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
But there are things I can't explain. What happens when people die for instance? Someone's personality exists but has no form, so how can it live and die?
I guess what confuses me is why would we think anything happens when we die? Why would personality exist independently of the physical form? Where does that idea come from? There's absolutely no reason to think something should happen when we die, so the default position should not be "what happens when we die? ooooo" it should be "nothing happens when we die".

Just a hypothetical question here... In their afterlife, what part of someone's personality lives on? When they were a baby? When they were 10? 20? 30? 44 and a half? People change. Would be how they were when they died? With all the memories of their other selves as they progressed through life?

What if they had dementia?

An afterlife of eternal dementia.

Sounds lovely.

When someone's brain physically becomes damaged, you CHANGE their personality and everything about them. It's gone. That should be enough evidence that personality doesn't exist independently. It's just a product of the physical workings of the brain.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
I think people find it hard to accept that we do just go 'off'. As Joey already explained, what happens when you go under anesthetic? How many of us have been knocked out in our lives? You do just switch 'off', you are unconscious, so maybe it's easier to think of death in terms of being in a state of permanent unconsciousness? Again, the arrogance thing comes up. We're so arrogant in thinking that our level of consciousness as human beings somehow means that just this life isn't enough, we're too special and powerful that we can't be contained by something as simple as an organic, living, breathing body that will inevitably give in one day and turn 'off', and therefore there MUST be something after. Which is just something I refuse to believe.

I know there are a lot of unexplained things in the world, but I think that once you really thoroughly look at them without the influence of 'ooh it's a ghost!' or and kind of religious explanation, and rely only on hard, proved science, then even the strangest of occurrences can be explained through scientific explanation and, in some cases, just plain old coincidence.

I think people strive to think of other worldly (holy, ghostly, etc) explanations for the weirdness of the universe because a lot of the time, the scientific explanation is not only boring, but quite disheartening. Of course nobody wants to accept that we just turn 'off', but I truly believe that this is what happens and can't see any other explanation.
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
Of course nobody wants to accept that we just turn 'off', but I truly believe that this is what happens and can't see any other explanation.
See, I think the idea of an afterlife is absolutely disgusting. The idea of turning off is much nicer.

I don't want the capacity to worry about my friends and family still living, or about what I should or should not have done with my life. Why the hell would you want that? Baffles me. And eternity is a horrible idea. Absolutely horrible.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Joey said:
Of course nobody wants to accept that we just turn 'off', but I truly believe that this is what happens and can't see any other explanation.
See, I think the idea of an afterlife is absolutely disgusting. The idea of turning off is much nicer.

I don't want the capacity to worry about my friends and family still living, or about what I should or should not have done with my life. Why the hell would you want that? Baffles me. And eternity is a horrible idea. Absolutely horrible.

Yeah I agree with you, eternity scares the hell out of me. But a LOT of people are scared that the end is just that, the end, and take comfort in the thought of an afterlife. Bizarre I know, but it's obviously quite a powerful notion because people get so worked up about it.
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
Nice cockroach analogy!

So, humans don't have the capacity to understand god. Sounds logical.

Until you wonder, why then, did we come up with the idea... Out of nowhere? That's a pretty epic coincidence.

It just always goes back to that. Why make some stuff up on the off chance its true?

I guess the reply would be that god has given us some inkling? But then this turns into making up reasons, without any evidence, as we go along to fuel the otherwise illogical notion. It makes no ounce of sense.

Beliefs are as varied as people, and getting the right one if any were true would be near impossible chance.

That's why its almost certain, beyond all reasonable doubt, that there is no god, no afterlife or anything that any human has, in the history of humans, made up about the subject.

If that wasn't well worded, apologies. I tired. I appoint Phil to rephrase in an intelligent and convincing manner. :p (in fact if he could do that with every post of mine, that would be great)

But I did like the cockroaches thing... Do they have an afterlife?

Sent from my HTC Wildfire S A510e using Tapatalk
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
^I thought it was common knowledge that cockroaches are indestructible creatures capable of even surviving a nuclear blast? ;]
 

Jake

Well-Known Member
I agree with Joey and Jordan.

For me, the only thing which would be worse than death would be existing forever. I find the prospect of an afterlife/eternity a very sinister and frightening thing, being forced to exist for ever and ever, ugh. Vile. Why anyone would want that I don't know... I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I do believe in reincarnation, but not in the typical way. We went from not existing to existing (at least) once, so there's no reason it couldn't happen again. But, I think it would be as a totally different organism, somewhere else, with no memory of anything before.

I also agree with UC, and have thought about the concept of intelligence many times before. It's impossible to imagine being more intelligent than you already are, so for all we know our entire biosphere could be being watched by more intelligent beings, who are laughing at us for not being intelligent enough to work it out. We do it to other creatures who aren't aware, so it's not crazy AT ALL to think of us as being those creatures. It's hard to explain, haha.

Perhaps we're 'trapped' in the Universe, being forced to appear as various life forms for an eternity, but never having memory of the previous existence or perhaps, not being intelligent enough in the previous existence to even know we existed. That is quite a scary thought actually, as we have no control over it.

I could go on, but when you start talking about reality and existence as a whole, it becomes a bit overwhelming!
 

CMonster

Active Member
furie said:
CMonster said:
I'm an evangelical Christian (one of the few here apparently).

While I was born into the church, and have been going my whole life, I wouldn't say that my parents thrust this belief on me. I made my own decision, and have confirmed it in the last couple of years as I grew wiser and started thinking for myself.

So what was it made you pick Christianity over Hinduism, Taoism, Hare Krishna or Islam? ;)

Okay, yeah, I phrased that wrong. :p

Yes, my parents introduced me to Christianity all throughout my childhood, and those influences helped me believe that I was a Christian ever since I was little.

As I grew older, though, they encouraged me to ask questions about my faith, to do my own research and come up with my own answers. So while I was "indoctrinated" (for lack of a better word at the moment (maybe influenced is better?)), I believe my faith is my own.

And honestly, even if I was indoctrinated, I'd be thankful for it, because I'm secure in the belief that I'm a Christian and will end up in Heaven praising Christ. I don't have to worry about where I'll be after I die, or even worry about death as much as others might.
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
Re: Reincarnation, technically it's scientifically proven, since atoms recycle... But the concept of consciousness being any more than an illusion, and capable of existing outside of the physical self or able to transfer to something else, is just daft.

I don't have to worry about where I'll be after I die, or even worry about death as much as others might.
You realise atheists have less reason to worry about death than you do, right?

I mean, you have to worry about all the sin in your life. The unavoidable sin, and whether you've done enough to counteract it, whether or not you'll be judged to be a good person.

Why is it that religious people think that atheists live in trembling fear of death? Is it because you think we should?

Also, I wanna take this moment to derail into a semi-related point. A lot of people think that a concept of an afterlife aids them. Makes them feel safe, makes them feel better about lost friends or family. It doesn't. It makes it worse. It makes you dwell in it through the avoidance by not accepting that something or someone has gone. When someone dies, the grief we feel is entirely selfish. They are gone, incapable of any thought or feeling. That is a humbling thought, and a calming one once you realise they have no capacity to miss you, or feel pain, or be judged by some omnipotent twat.

My point is less that "im right and you're wrong" and more that I'd like it if you stopped believing that atheists fear what happens after they die, or live miserable lives without God. Cuz we just don't. In fact, statistics show we're happier.
 
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