There have been times that I have wondered if there could be the possibility that I am missing something... that perhaps I'm missing the antennae in my brain that picks up sky-man's signal or something... Maybe a mental disorder? A lot of christians say atheism is just that... Sometimes it seems I am the one person in a room of a thousand people who doesn't believe in god. I work in an educational environment filled with scholars and professors of varying disciplines, and I am constantly being surprised, and completely perplexed, by their faith in something, that is to me, so mindlessly illogical.

 

Just last Friday, one of the smartest people I have ever known, who has never once mentioned god and who has one of the most spectacular analytical minds I've ever come across, came out and said, "I wonder how I'll find medicine for my family when the rapture finally comes..." I thought he was kidding; I laughed; he took offense. I felt completely defeated. Yet another hopeful atheist checked off the list... The same night, in a local restaurant, I had to comfort an 11 year old who was scared to death that the end of the world was coming, because a christian adult had told him so. He told this innocent child to enjoy his birthdays while he still can, because god wouldn't allow him to have many more... that he would be ending this miserable world very soon. I said what I thought would comfort the child - basically that people have been saying the end is coming "right now" for 2,000 years, and it never happens. After I was finished talking and he was settled, I noticed that I was surrounded by dirty and disagreeable looks from neighboring tables... I had never felt more like an alien on a strange world in my entire life. I was almost expecting a lynch mob to be waiting outside.

 

Ever since that day, my head has been swimming in the numbers I'm up against here - swimming with the questions, "Why is my thinking so radically different from others? Could I be missing something, maybe? Could my way of thinking actually be a disorder of some kind?" Has anyone else ever felt this way or gone through this phase? I know, with all my heart, that I would never go blindly back to sky-man. I'm just curious if this type of questioning is common. Thanks guys.

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The plural of anecdote is not data. If you asked everyone you knew to take a survey you would likely find less useless coersion by irrationality. You are reinforcing a cognitive bias that intellegent people are rational in all aspects of their lives AND that that "neural correlates of religious anxiety" matter to life, the universe and everything. Do you feel this anxiety about other peoples choice of mutual fund? Find irrationality in your own mind. Epistemic ignorance is the norm not the exception. Ignorance is woven into this cloud of bosons and fermions.

Gold bud? With a sprinkle of mushroom dust? Followed by a shot of tequila? Oh well, I'm sure his point is quite profound.

 

Just kidding Kirk. Please don't be mad at me. I just like to goof off sometimes here at TA. I was right behind you up until the bosons and fermions part, kinda.

Sounds like the old argumentum ad populum is wearing you down.  Take comfort in the very important lesson that history teaches us:  Just because "everyone" believes something, doesn't make it true.  In fact, as a general rule, the majority tend to be wrong (oh so very wrong) on most important issues throughout history.  For this reason, a majority belief should be circumspect right from the start.

 

You're not missing anything in your brain just because you don't believe a delusion that most people DO believe.  Remember that at one time people believed that volcanoes and lightning were the work of gods.  They were wrong.  People believed the world was flat; they were wrong.  Everyone believed that women were inferior, child-like, and incapable of doing anything for themselves; they were wrong.  Everyone believed that black people were some kind of sub-human race that God put here to serve white folks; they were quite wrong.  These and many many more examples are littered throughout history to show us that a majority collective mentality tends to be stupid, not right.

I can definitely empathise with the “Is it just me” syndrome. At various times I have wondered how so many people could hold these beliefs. If they were intelligent surely they could see through it all? It was confusing to me for a while and sometimes I doubted my own Atheism, especially because of the numbers who do profess a belief. The 2 posts above explain it quite well. The numbers grow because of the continuous confirmation bias by their peers and because of the cognitive dissonance it creates even in those who are “smart” in all other areas. They just do not see that there is even a possibility that they are wrong.

I mean the idea of their religion being wrong does not arise powerfully enough in their brain as a viable question. If and when it ever does they are indoctrinated into switching off the “reasoning cogs” because they are programmed all their life into “knowing” that doubt is bad and unnecessary because of course there is a god. Those that go further with the questions soon realise that there may be consequences to losing their religion – loss of peer respect, work and social factors, grief caused to family and of course having to contend with the fact that the promise of eternal life is as it sounds when rationalised – a ridiculous concept. So it is easier to keep the peace. They rationalise ideas like “religion is good and brings peace and comfort and who am I to rock the boat.”

I am convinced that many of the theists who get “offended” are the ones who deep down know its B.S. but are too afraid to agree. They know you are been “good” when you comforted the distressed child. They may even agree that they had no right to scare the child with Rapture stories in the first place. Even so they cannot agree with you because they would have to allow doubt some time on stage and that is not allowed.

I remember having this thought years ago “Even if I am the only person in a room with ten thousand people who worship and believe in god then they are all wrong and I am right in my disbelief. In fact I know there are no god and they are all wrong”

People who are religious can be brilliant, intelligent, wonderful people that have chosen to wear blinders to blaringly obvious logic so they can hold onto the emotional comfort religion gives them. They go into "ignore/blinder" mode if circumstances shine a light on the obvious contradictions of logic their faith forces them to accept. 

Don't worry , you aren't the only one who feels so , at least you have the courage  to attack those ''thoughts'', personally I don't and I have no intention to tell anyone about my atheism ..? so don't worry  we all feel the same ;;;; try laughing at their beliefs rather than fixing them !! I know it's mean but it works for me ...don't let them see you laughing
You have it better than everyone around you. These people around you live in fear that tomorrow may be the day of the rapture. You on the other hand can live happily knowing that there isn't such a thing. how fun is living life in fear?
The only thing your missing is the ability to give yourself over to a delusion. That certainly isn't a bad thing in my book and you certainly are not suffering from a disorder... there is nothing wrong with you. I had the same feeling of missing something or of something being wrong with me when I was young. Even when I was really little I didn't believe but I certainly tried for a long time due to those feelings- at times it was like torture. Eventually I said fuck it all I don't care what everyone else believes it's not working for me and I've never went back. It is still a little daunting at times especially when otherwise smart people talk about thier faith in god or belief on some other woo thing but I just try not to let it bother me... oftentimes I laugh to myself and think If only they knew how ridiculous they sound/look right now.

The only thing you are missing is a desperate need to fit in--you don't have the mind of a sheep.

 

The fact is that "intelligent" believers are simply well-educated believers.  Being a believer actually makes it easier top get an education in the U.S. in general and where you live in particular.

 

You are right to wonder how anyone can take seriously something so mindlessly illogical, just as you were right to wonder about the lynch mob that might be waiting for you.  Religion is an expression of the mentality of the mob--not something to be respected.

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