Eventually there comes a time when we as rational adults have to give up some things in the face of logic.
Religion is probably the biggest hurdle.
Besides giving up the belief in a nostalgic paradise after death, there are a ton of other modes of thought we have to let go of.
Here is a list of the things I miss believing in:

Karma- The world isn't fair. Bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. The idea that the dickheads of existence would eventually get what's coming to them had always been a comfort to me. Call it hell, karma, justice or whatever, the fact of the matter is that humans are imperfect, so is our system of fairness. Our laws and punishments don't work 100% of the time. Nature itself is only fair in such a broad way, it does little to appease the individual situations that I am forced to witness. I want people to be held accountable, damnit! Letting go of that notion was hard for me.

Ghosts/ESP/Astrology/Whatever- Right, not so much the astrology for me personally, but I have always been in love with the supernatural. In fact, I do still cling on to this notion more than any self respecting atheist should. Evidence points to the conclusion that there is no "beyond the veil" but I just like to think that there are energies/dimensions/again, whatever out there that science hasn't discovered the technology to explore yet, let alone explain. As I said. I LIKE to think that. I'm not saying I do (anywhere but in the secret fantasies of my own overly imaginative brain.) All technology is magic to anyone sufficiently ignorant to it's workings. Hell, my iphone could be a wizard's wand for all I know....right? Anyway. I mourn the ghost stories of my childhood. I have to realize that frightening coincidences are just that. Coincidence.

Friends and Family- While this isn't a system of belief so much as it is a real, physical loss, I have to realize that there are some people out there that cannot accept my lack of faith. These people have systematically cut me from their lives. It was probably the most humane thing to do, in all honesty. I know there are certain right-wing god-fearing women out there that I love but can no longer stand the presence of due to the drastic differences in our ideology. :(

Someone looking out for me- Religion teaches you that there is always someone that loves you, and there is always some master plan. Even if things are bad now, they will be better soon, and all problems will be magically resolved as long as you keep the faith. As much bullshit as it is, the feeling that I don't have too much responsibilities for my failures was always a nice one. Especially now when I'm underemployed. Oh what I'd give to be able to sleep at night knowing that god doesn't close a window without opening a door.

Ultimate enlightenment- Even as a child, the concept of heaven sounded flimsy to me. It was.. well.. boring. But learning all the answers to the questions I accumulated was the one thing that made it ok to die. Oh... that and pet heaven. I am far too curious to sit on a fluffy cloud and play the harp, but I would like to know EVERYTHING that has always bugged me.

So that's my list. I'm sure I'll think of more later on.
You guys tell me about the things you miss now!

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Purpose! ... we lose (the illusion of) that. But then there is no need for it if we can "create" our own, less metaphysical purpose.

Need a new purpose? how about reproducing ourselves (having kids)?...seems to be the only thing that we can point to as being the prime motivator for survival.
Does it really? - One could theoretically be a Buddhist, and an atheist, one could also engage in astrology or any of the other things described and still remain an atheist. All that you are effectively saying is that these things do not fit into your own definition of atheism.

Let me explain. Atheism comes from the terms in Greek - A theos - A lack of God. Or a lack of a belief in a God.

So yes, if one doesn't believe in a God, then one is an atheist. One could also go further and say that atheism is the lack of theism. This makes it even more difficult. If one is a deist, such as Voltaire, and Thomas Paine, I.E that they believe there is a creator God, but that this God isn't a personal God. They too under that definition are atheists because they don't believe in a personal God (theism).

Technically you can believe in astrology, an afterlife, karma and anything else and still be an atheist. Heck, technically you could still believe in a creator God.
A "belief" in astrology, karma, afterlife, etc, implies by its very nature a belief in some supreme being, doesn't it? And since one's "fate" under karma is determined by one's actions here on earth...there would have to be some celestial "god" who keeps the books.

I've known many atheists and not one is a "believer" in the concepts you've mentioned. I suppose it depends on how BIG and POWERFUL your "god" might be. Maybe it's not GOD who manages the astrology books...perhaps seraphim or cherubim? (That's a joke.)
By definition, atheism refers to the lack of belief in a god or gods. Some go further and say that it only refers to the lack of believe in a personal god.

Belief in a being isn't problematic. Belief in a god, or a personal god is what is problematic. An atheist can believe in the paranormal, karma or anything else, without any form of god. A lot of Buddhists don't believe in any god.

I personally have met people whose skepticism guard goes up much sooner when one makes reference to God which accounts for the origins of all things, rather than when one is talking about tarot cards, or new age spirituality.

The term atheist is really a very limited one. One has to attach meaning to atheist to give it any substance. That's why people describe themselves as humanist, or secularist and so on and so forth, to give a bit of meat to their real position.
Did you read any of the other replies before adding your own?
This argument was already dealt with.
Yes of course. All atheism means is disbelief in god(s).
In my own education, I also came to disbelieve in goblins, witches, Santa, astrology and karma. The link, (though not a definition defining or changing one) is simple:
Give me a single argument against the existence for one that can't be used for all the others.
As zoolady pointed out, it's very difficult to have these sort of score-keeping mythologies without a sentient character running the show. The very idea of theism (and no, sorry, but you can't be an atheist deist. the very idea is an oxymoron.) cross the same logical line. If any god, no matter how impersonal actually were to exist, then why couldn't fairies, pixies, tree spirits, water nymphs or guardian angels?
For the MOST part, it is an all or nothing bag. If you apply the known laws of science to one imaginary aspect but not all others, you're a hypocrite.
And I, personally.. as an atheist live by a moral code comprised of two simple rules: Don't be a hypocrite and don't be a dick.
So for me personally, (and the reason I authored this post) was to see other ideas, arguments and justifications. It wasn't changing the rules of atheism, nor was it setting up an atheist code.
You, on the other hand say, " Some go further and say that it only refers to the lack of believe in a personal god."
Ok. Well, some people make a lot of definitions that don't agree with Websters. Ever heard of the No True Scotsman Fallacy? Sorry, but if I don't get to rewrite the definition to say that atheists don't believe in the paranormal, you don't get to rewrite the definition to say that they can believe in a god, as long as that god is distant and forgetful, or as long as it does nothing but create.
Steady on! - I'm only pointing out that being an atheist doesn't necessarily mean that you have to give up these things, but that this happened in your subjective case. Fair enough I would have thought?

As for "give me an argument that can be used for one that can't be used for all the others". I'm sure that you could find an argument that could be used for any and apply it to the others. I can guarantee you if you do just lob any given argument against Santa and apply it to God that you will seriously miss out on context, or what people actually believe about God. It's a recipe for disaster when it comes to good argument between theists and atheists.

As for theism and deism. My point is, (and I have heard this used by atheists on another discussion forum, so it isn't just my musings here) that atheism is the lack of theism. Theism is a belief in a personal God or gods that can impact the surrounding environment, and that can know you personally. Deism is the belief in an impersonal God. If one describes oneself as an atheist, what one is saying is that they are not a theist. Which means that deism could come under that category, as could paranormal believers who reject the existence of a personal God.

It's an all or nothing bag - see the problem with atheism is that it can only refer to peoples subjective definition. For the most part only means that most atheists won't believe in paranormal etc. As for "applying the laws of science" I don't believe that atheism of necessity must hold science in high regard. You can be plainly ignorant of science and be an atheist. Likewise you can be plainly ignorant of science and a theist. Likewise you can be well versed in science if you are a theist or atheist. High regard of science is something completely separate to atheism. It's unfortunate that people have decided to lump high regard of science into how people define atheism, but it is incredibly flawed reasoning!

Who said that atheism was about applying the laws of science to your life anyway? That's actually not even understandable. The laws of science are observed in nature. We just think about it. If I jump out a window, I know that I will fall. You mean applying thinking that is coherent with current scientific knowledge. The existence or lack of existence of God, the paranormal or anything else aren't covered by science. Dare I say, it is more agnostic than atheist!

No True Scotsman Fallacy? - Yes of course. I believe that you are potentially using it right now if one is going to start saying that people who believe in the paranormal aren't real atheists etc. Although some times the No True Scotsman is actually valid, but not in this case.

Long post, but you get the substance of my musings.

Looking forward to a response,




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