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?
I know that is often the case, but in my case I wasn't born in a religious family. Although my Dad privately was into eastern mystycism through budhism and meditation. But that never affected the rest of the family. I became 'religious' (a christian) when I was 21 by going to church with a girl I was going out with.
lol weak, so you were duped by your hopes to get love/approval/laid. No wonder you became religious, love makes blind. :P
I still have to hear why you're not a Muslim though. I guess you never got the opportunity to date a Muslim chick?
Interesting. I started going to church in my teens because a girl I had a crush on was a part of their youth group.
If you don’t believe all religions are equally valid please tell us why they are not. The comparison to politics is a fallacious argument.
I am sorry, I didn't mean to ignore your post, I didn't see it. Got lots of discussions on the go and generally biting off more than I can chew! ;-)
All religions cannot be valid because they contradict each other. If one says there are lots of gods and another says there is only one God then they cannot be both true. Also if one says you get right with God by trying hard enough to be good enough, and another says that no amount of trying hard enough will ever be good enough - so we need grace and mercy - then again, both cannot be true. Then, if you beleive that God does exit, begins the process of trying to discover if any one of them, or none of them is true.
I don't see what is falacious about my refering to politics. I was merely saying what is self evidently true. Religion cannot, of itself cause anything bad to happen. People can take up religion and make up religion in order to do the evil that is already in their hearts. Politicians can be on a success and power trip without any heart to serve people. They may love money and the advantages of their position more than their role which will come out in some way. People are people, give three of them a knife and one will cut their bread, another will cut themselves and the third will stab the first.
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."
-- Blaise Pascal --
"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that requires religion."
-- Steven Weinberg --
Then, if you beleive that God does exit, begins the process of trying to discover if any one of them, or none of them is true.
@ Trevor - Then begins the process of becoming a scholar in each religion, to see which one, if any, rings true. Not possible in one lifetime. Therefore, I am assuming that is not the route you chose. What method did you choose to figure out which religion is the right religion?
Saith Trevor: "All religions cannot be valid because they contradict each other. If one says there are lots of gods and another says there is only one God then they cannot be both true. Also if one says you get right with God by trying hard enough to be good enough, and another says that no amount of trying hard enough will ever be good enough - so we need grace and mercy - then again, both cannot be true."
Aye, and Christianity says all of those things. Surely you cannot be doubting the truth of Christianity . delivered once and for all time unto the Saints, to be preserved until the Final Judgement?
I could have had religion too….but that little girl…. She wouldn’t let me pray….one of the other Gods....
When I came to realize that I was an atheist what was probable the best thing about it was realizing there is no afterlife. It was like someone had slapped me across the face and told me to stop wasting time, go out and enjoy every opportunity and live life to the fullest. I started doing things I never would have before from trying different food to jumping out of a plane!
It is tough knowing you only have one chance to live and once someone as died that you won't see them again but I think it give's you a much bigger appreciation of the time you have here and how lucky you are to simply be alive. Yes, I would like the chance to see people from my life that are gone again, I doubt anyone wouldn't, but I don't think it will happen, so I'm going to make today count just in case!
As James Dean once said; 'Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.'
We need our passions to keep us going, our logic and good sense to keep us sane.
I had to leave my catholic loyalty once I realized that my honesty and sanity where becoming suspect. Self awareness can be a sword that sadly dices self delusion when it comes into force.
Religion, at its worst, can aide in the preservation of self delusion. Whitehead's position on 'self sealing' logic systems seems to be applicable. Our dear folks, often time called 'trolls' here, could be considered persons that have not yet seen fit to reach past the 'logic' used to preserve belief. Being told that 'doubt' and 'questioning' is 'sinful', and threatening 'excommunication' or issolation, can be powerful tools for thought/belief control.
Over the years I have seen these in force.
Would religions have survived so long if they did not promise immortality? It is the bottom line. I find it a strange thing that so many adults expect they will get a second life that will last for infinity. They believe they will live for more that 1000 billion years after they die.and give me a hard time becasue I don't believe it. All the other religions that promise similar "rewards" are wrong becase they say so. Apparently I am not humble enough to allow this magic sky daddy into my heart.