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?

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Wishful thinking does not work, but telling this to someone of your kind is futile.

I know that, but thanks for the thought.  There is a great line in the film, City of Angels.  It says "Some things are true even if you don't beleive them."  Theism is in the category.  Atheism is the wishful ramblings of people who want to be autonimous as they beleive that would be better for them.

Theism is the wishful ramblings of people who think that magic can solve the issues that Man faces.

Theism is the wishful ramblings of people who think that magic can solve the issues that Man faces.

This should be the official dictionary definition of Theism.

"beleive"? "I before e except before c."

"autonimous"? I'd be surprised if the board software didn't flag that as a misspelling.

"Some things are true even if you don't believe them"? I'd put the nonexistence of God in that category.

Theism is one of those things described as "The Great Vanishing Hypothesis." About half of what was once asserted has been abandoned with the progress of science along with common sense. Things like the earth being the center of the universe and women being property and human sacrifice. Someday you'll just be defending the word "God" itself.

How do you know that theism is true? Where is the evgidence to sustain your statement? And even if it were true, in what way would a good need to intefere in mere mortal lives? Some people cannot help to not believe in such silly fairy tales. And to talk about wishful ramblings, it is the theist who wish and hope for a afterlife, for it is their own mortality that they deny and are afraid of. Most atheist do not need th thought of an afterlife to get them through this life, they just live for this life and this life only. I personally find it kinda silly to hold onto such beliefs in which you needd only blind faith to believe that which most likely is false.

Trevor, it isn't true.  My Atheism began as I was deep in prayer, faithfully practicing the principles of Charles G. Finney's Lecture III on the Revivals of relgion, trying to uncover the history of the Church, so that I could faithfully practice a more pure form of Christianity for the sake of my dearly beloved creator.  It was as I studied the faithfulness of the early church fathers that I realized it was the arrogance of the protestants to deny grace and assume these weren't people seeking God's will.  Sure they didn't have everything how I thought they should have, but grace ought to have covered that.  It was that God allowed them to develop doctrines when they were seeking him wholeheartedly that would bring about the most horrific divisions the Church has ever seen.  All he had to do was impress the truth on the hearts of individuals and they would have avoided catastrophe.  But as it seemed that moment, God allowed these people to develop notions of Church infallibility, and doctrinal essentials.  Yet the greatest value of the early church was unity.  And that was destroyed when Arianism rose, and at the Council of Chalcedon.

I told myself as I began to doubt, that I was reacting to a horrible shock and shouldn't allow myself to follow these doubts.  I fought for years to find a foundation to rest my faith on, but the more I studied early Church history, the more foreign of a religion I discovered early Christianity to be.  The more I noticed that the same notion that the Church had to be infallible, was the notion that supported that the bible had to be, and God allowed both to gain a foothold in religions dedicated to him.  I came to the realization that I had to love truth as I had always done, and after years, and more study of the Old Testament from an archaeological perspective, I realized that the Christian God just wasn't possible as much as I wanted him to be.  

I still see the beauty in my former faith, though I feel that few actually practice it to it's full extent.  I would prefer there to be a God, because I would prefer to be united to the essence of truth love power, purity and holiness.  But nothing seems to support that such a being exists.  My study of the Bible and Church history has nailed that coffin shut.  It was the love of truth that Christianity gave me which caused me to not practice mental gymnastics when coming to the acceptance that God just had no good evidence for existing.

Hi John, thanks for sharing your story, very moving, and very tragic.  It is strange how people can have very similar journey's and come to very different conclusions.  I do hope you one day find your faith again.  I mean that sincerely.

 

I could add to that journey that the clinching moment for me was the startling heart level realisation of justification by faith.  My journey involved being levelled by the holiness of God, feeling intesnsely my sin, and having a glorious sight of the saving work of Jesus Christ.  Being born again was a definite event that marks out my life as clearly as BC and AD.  An ongoing experience from which everything changed.

What's moving and tragic?  Am I missing something?  Sounds pretty routine to me. 

@ Trevor - You wrote: "Some things are true even if you don't believe them."

Yes, like how the Christian Bible is a combination of mythology and somewhat historically based story telling, yet it's followers consider it to be a message to mankind from God.

It is not a message from your God because your God, does not exist. On top of that, the message does not make sense anyway.

@kOrsan - RE: your A-theism - did he pray the A away?

Well said, C Woods, well said!

Might I also recommend Twain's Letters From the Earth in which case Satan - not a bad guy, just a prankster who gets on god's nerves from time to time and gets banned from heaven for a millennium or so, writes back to his fellow Arch-Angels what ridiculous ideas Humans have come up with about religion. He says we all mistreat each other on Earth, but believe that somehow, when we all get to heaven, we're just going to "hug and hug and hug." He demonstrates that most people can't stand more than a couple of hours of church, and that only once a week, but we invent a heaven that 24-hour church forever!

I thjink you'd enjoy it.

pax vobiscum,
archaeopteryx
www.in-His-own-image.com

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