I've had thoughts on why many cling on to religion, even after constant debunking and debating. I think I may have a possible reason why some do not give them up.
Most religions all have some system of an afterlife. People practicing the religion believe that, if they follow their specific book and appease to their specific God, they get to go to a magical place where nothing bad happens and they get to live out their wishes and desires that were either impossible in their mortal life, or there life was too short to live it.
When someone suddenly suggests that such a concept does not exist, the believer becomes defensive. Death is a bitter result of life. We dread the day we where we breathe our last breath, or if our life was suddenly cut short. To us, the concept of an after-life is comforting, a God protecting us like a Dad telling his son everything is going to be alright, even though he knows the bitter end is near.
I think, while not the sole reason for many that hold on to their faith, a denial of a mortal death being a permanent death is what keeps them from swallowing the bitter pill of reality that life is not fair, and that shit happens and you may not get to do everything in life or you could drop dead the very next day.
I was born in Mississippi, and raised Baptist, although, my family was mostly lazy Christians who only went to church on around the Holidays. I had the hope as a small child to go to Heaven and be with Angels and no kids there would ever be mean to me again. The thought that I couldn't have any of that would probably have scared me back then.
I came to realize that it's for the best that there is no afterlife. Imagine what exactly you would be doing in an afterlife. As the eternity went on, you would grow tired of the same mundane things. Would you truly want to spend your mortal life appeasing some God, only so you can appease him the rest of your life? I can't think of anything else that would be so...well, boring.
In a way, I feel more confident in this life. It won't be okay if I skip out on opportunities, because I may not get the chance again. This is my one shot, and I don't want to blow it on wishful thinking.
How about you? If you were once religious and now Atheist, how did you overcome the hurdle of accepting there is no afterlife? Or, do you not believe in an afterlife, but in some way, wish/hope there is one? Has any of this changed your perspective on how you live your life than how you lived your life beforehand?
Sorry, I don't have a mirror handy. I'm afraid I won't see myself in it.
Okay Blaine, John, Unseen and whoever else is interested:
Here’s the thread, starting from the top and ending in the dark alley
I will focus on the last post (mine) shown. It contains 3 short paragraphs which I’ll be referencing as paragraphs 1, 2 or 3.
I’m puzzled by Unseen’s post because it doesn’t correlate to anything I’ve said.
As indicated in paragraph 1, his reply is incongruous, so he might have inadvertently replied to me instead of his true target (a mistake he’s involved me in just recently; in the last week). In that case, I’m calling out Unseen for implying that somebody (anybody) is lying without a valid reason.
Now, I know some of you don’t think that implying somebody is lying is a big deal. I disagree. Whether or not it’s me or somebody else who is the target of such an implication, I will definitely speak up and claim a foul. If it’s me who is the target, then I will come down on the foul even harder. I do NOT apologize for that. Sure, a more measured response is an option – perhaps even a better option – but I intentionally chose to display clear disapproval. Some (most?) people won’t like that stance. Many people are put off by a strong, unequivocal, stance. You would have let it slide? Good for you. I won’t.
If the case is that Unseen is implying that it is I who was lying, then it becomes personal – unless, of course, I actually did lie. It doesn’t matter what he was thinking or why he said it: wrongly implying that I have lied is going to draw my ire even more than implying somebody else has lied. You don’t like that? So what?
The term, “dark alley” has raised a tempest in a teapot. I don’t know what the term means to you but to me it means a place of vulnerability where you exercise caution because it’s associated with risk and the lack of witnesses. I used the term to invoke its associations. Doing so was intended to display my dissatisfaction and contrast the difference between conversing face to face versus conversing online. The point being that it would not have gone well for him if he had said the same thing to my face. It’s easy to spout off when you’re insulated from your target. If you don’t like that association and want to make something more of it, be my guest.
I don’t believe in mincing my words except when I’m trying to be tactful or persuasive. Unseen pissed me off and I let him know about it without regard for tact or persuasion. If you, the reader, don't like that AND if you also dismiss the foul I was responding to, then you obviously don’t have my interest in mind. You’ll just have to excuse me if I don’t roll over for you.
Duh, yeah, I was just born yesterday too.
Unseen, himself, has never challenged that "Oh, so you know you've deconverted theists by offering scientific facts and syllogisms? I doubt it." implies a lie.
He's one of these people whose response when confronted with a mistake will dig in even deeper. You're wasting your time and I'm done wasting mine. I don't know if English isn't his first language or what, but if he could understand he would by now, so I'm through with this and I think you should be too. He's by the wayside now as I'm concerned.
And, apparently, Unseen, your response is to duck and run.
This whole sordid affair revolves around your hubris. Let's take a close look at it.
Here it is:
"Oh, so you know you've deconverted theists by offering scientific facts and syllogisms? I doubt it."
You didn't say: "I doubt you can deconvert theists by offering scientific facts and syllogisms." You didn't generalize it at all. You specifically targeted it ("so you know") and narrowed the focus to specifics ("by offering scientific facts and syllogisms").
I wasn't born yesterday, Unseen. And neither was anybody else here. Your command of English is sufficient to express yourself as you please. And it pleased you to impugn me with this chicken-shit way of saying "you're lying".
You're full of shit, Unseen. Your words stand as they are. YOU instigated this and thought you were safe from retort. You and those who support you obviously have your heads up your asses.
There's a thousand ways to say ANYTHING. You chose your words. I chose mine. I'm fine with it.
Bring it on!
Get ye to a psychiatrist.
If you are going to paraphrase Shakespeare, do it right.
Other than borrowing the basic sentence structure, I didn't really have Shakespeare much in mind. Actually, "thee" is the friendly or informal form of "you," like "tu" in French or "Du" in German which would be stretching it a bit whenever I direct a comment to Atheist Exile.
You're a liar.
Now what, gonna kill me? Grow up.
Some (most?) people won’t like that stance. Many people are put off by a strong, unequivocal, stance. You would have let it slide? Good for you. I won’t.
Get over yourself already, it wasn't strong or 'unequivocal'. It was childish and that's what put people off.
You could have spared yourself that whole post, but your pride is riding you in only deeper trying to twist your own and his words. Like the other guys said "I doubt it" implies disbelief, that disbelief does not even have to be about what you said. You're extremely touchy, the polar opposite of strong. Strong does not get upset by the words that Unseen used.
By the way, threatening someone with a dark alley beating is admission of weakness. It's basically like saying "I'm such a little coward I'm gonna have to take you by surprise, when no one else is around."
@Atheist Exile. Wow you must really need the exercise! I can't believe that you went to all this trouble with that long post, digging yourself a deeper hole. You were never accused of lying. PERIOD. @Unseen was just expressing a doubt about what you'd said. It had nothing at all with challenging your integrity but rather why people deconvert.
All this talk of dark alleys was so over the top and you still cannot see it! We all know that tackling someone in a dark alley is what cowards do, jumping on the unsuspecting and vulnerable.
The point being that it would not have gone well for him if he had said the same thing to my face.
Back to Schwarzenegger tough guy talk again! What would you have done, hit him for a comment on the internet? I've said before that you are someone who gets really angry, really quickly (remember when I pointed out your inconsistentcies?). Ironically you said I was a zealot for daring to argue with you! This is just a forum to exchange a few ideas and maybe learn something along the way. None of us have all the answers. Why not take a deep breath and apologise now?
Hasta la vista baby.