One thing that that really get's to me is theist who think they have the right to not be offended and all people who enable this behaviour.
I find it hard to find a theist who will have an open discussion about why they believe in a personal god at all or why they think their god is real and all the other ones aren't. Yesterday I remarked on the hypocritical nature of the followers of xtianity and was met with no argument as to why what I said was wrong but that it was rude. When I asked why it was considered rude I was told that I should have respect for peoples religion. I disagree, I'll respect your right to have religion, by all means believe whatever crackpot fairy tales you like but if you are not willing to be offended and stand up for what you believe in then you need to take a serious look into why that is.
Most of the theists I know don't argue because they do not even care weather or not their god exists, they go to church on Sunday and go about their lives as if they were Atheists. But I know there are theists out there who might care but are too afraid of being offended by talking to an evil non believer so they just tell you that you are rude.
Are people just being too polite or am i really too insensitive?
Would you still want to believe in a god if there was no afterlife? I'd like to know :).
I am worried about offending people a lot of the time
Me, too. The problem is that adherence by its nature involves heavy emotional investment. That's why adherents are so arguably over-senstive about stuff like this. I've learned well over the years how to avoid talking to adherents about these topics and cast my opinions without an atheist or religious context.
If your own personal experience really convinces you, maybe there's no reason to question that. Sure, it's not going to be good enough for other people, but maybe you really know something we don't. That would be quite a privilege. As an atheist outsider, my thoughts in that case would turn to the psychology of belief. Maybe you have just convinced yourself of something without it actually being true?
My own "thought journey" from believer to atheist included wondering about all the people in hell and why they would deserve such a fate. Millions of people in the Americas before the explorers landed, who had never heard of Jesus... Or what if I'd grown up in China or somewhere where nobody took Christianity seriously, could I really be blamed for not "seeing the light"? Would I deserve to end up in hell? It boiled down to getting outside of my own biased perspective and asking if the whole idea was more plausible than anyone else's religious belief, or if it was even plausible at all. I decided it wasn't, and that kind of shut the door on the Biblical God for me.
Maybe you just believe in God but not all the theological stuff. For me, what did away with that idea was this thought: don't I just believe in God because of the Biblical perspective I was raised with and the society that reinforces it? If that wasn't my background, would I independently think to myself, "It seems to me that a grand intelligence is behind all existence and created this physical universe." I decided that was pretty unlikely, too. I decided that God was just the last vestige of my old belief after I'd discarded all the other religious stuff, and it wasn't that I really felt like he existed.
What's to distinguish the authenticity of the Hindu trinity of Brahma Vishnu Shiva verses that of the Christian trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?.. Is there anything you can think of that would make you switch from your personal view to one ot these or some other?
Sarah - I'm glad that you are finding it awesome :)
It took me about a decade to go from evangelical Christian youth pastor to having no religion, but I did it in my own time without help from an awesome group like this and I found the journey very difficult and lonely at times.
During most of that time I found that I couldn't connect with my Christian friends because if I opened up they couldn't understand and would try and fix me. I was not ready to give up my religion and I had been well programmed to avoid evil non-spiritual people, so that didn't leave much room for anyone until I eventually broke through that barrier. After that life improved dramatically and that has continued and I am far happier now than I was before, but that may well be because of getting married and having a fantastic family.
I don't like labels and although I sometimes identify as atheist for convenience because it removes a lot of confusion about my outlook on life, I don't consider atheist to be a valid label for me (or for anyone for that matter). I'm just me.
Today: I am not religious, I don't like the effect that religion has on people, I believe that indoctrinating young children is abhorrent and that children should be taught to think critically for themselves. I don't hold the opinions of any particular group and I reserve the right to agree or disagree with anyone and to change my mind at any time
Oops - almost forgot to comment on the thread topic - I try hard not to be offensive, but when religious people take liberties that are not theirs for the taking (particularly with children), I have no qualms and can be damn offensive.
@Katrin.. I like this responce very much.. I also don't see a need for a label that says what I don't believe in.. I don't see anyone going around saying that they are non-stamp collectors... so why should I go around with a label that says I'm a non-theist?
I AM a humanist....even a secular humanist. These are labels that describe me 'a little', but they don't describe the 'whole' of who I am or what I think. I also reserve the right to change my mind at any time..and not only that but to continually question myself on what it is that I do think.
I would like to say that as a Catholic, I agree with much of what you say in this post. Maybe offended is not the best word to describe it, but as you say, Christians should be ready and willing to stand up for what they believe to be true and should not brush aside arguement as simply rude and therefore not worth their time and effort. The bottom line is many Christians are christian in name and do not delve into all aspects of their faith, they simply do not have the knowledge of faith nor the reasoning to back it up and this whole lack of knowledge can be chalked up to apathy just as you said. I believe that for alot of nominal Christians, their faith is simply an insurance policy, they have the mentality that "if i go to church once a week, say grace before meals once in a while and claim to be a christian, then i will go to heaven if it exists, and if not then no big deal".
I would like to thank you for this post because i believe that anyone who claims to follow a certain belief system should be willing and capable to state simply why it is that they believe what they believe. I think it is great that you challenge people in their faith because no body should have belief without personal conviction of those beliefs and without being able to at least articulate why it is they believe.
From the Pope recently:
While actual atheists often think deeply about God before rejecting belief, practical atheism (i.e. nominal christians) “is even more destructive … because it leads to indifference towards faith and the question of God,” the Pope stated.
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/practical-atheism-more-destruc...
they simply do not have the knowledge of faith nor the reasoning
There is no such thing as "knowledge of faith". Faith is accepting something as true despite a lack of evidence, and in many cases in spite of evidence to the contrary. It is the opposite of reasoning.
I do like the commentary from the Pope (a guy whose job relies on keeping a flock of faithful supporting him in opulence, so he and his upper echelon followers can dress and think like their predecessors did centuries ago, and can feel free to give advice on sexuality despite being completely ignorant of the realities of it due to their vows of celibacy).
it leads to indifference towards faith and the question of God
Otherwise stated, "it leads to indifference towards belief in an imaginary, invisible, super powered, sky pixie." ... he says it like it's a bad thing.
knowledge/science of faith = theology
Atheism not at all indifferent towards god, atheism is quite adamant that god does not exist.
I don't know about that, but I am adamant about spreading atheism ... to everyone ... everywhere. So, put your money where your mouth is and let's dance ;-)