Positives that religion provides and making a case for a different approach to promote atheism

While I am what most people would describe as an atheist, I normally call myself an agnostic, not so much because of any belief in a creator, but more because I would be open to accepting there was one if I had any proof. Dawkins has said about the same thing, but unlike him, I am not sure that the world would be a better place without religion. Yes, many bad things have been done because of religion, but there is a huge bias working in what we hear and see. Most religious people that have moderate views are silent and get much from their faith. Many if not most believe in science, evolution and such, but simply add the comforting belief that there a loving god and afterlife. I see this coming from several basic human needs.

  • First, the more miserable a life someone has, the more need there is to seek some sort of comfort. A belief that they suffer for a reason, that there will be something better is a powerful balm.
  • Second, people often are tempted to do things that they morally know are bad, like stealing, lying, etc. Religious belief sets up within people a sort of self governance.
  • Third, people suffer when they lose someone they love, A belief in an afterlife removes much of the pain.

There is also a big difference in peoples reality due to IQ differences. Most of us here have a higher than average IQ. My IQ is higher than 99.99 percent of the people around me. The world seems much different to someone with an IQ of even average range. I got a hint of what it would be like to be less logical when an illness affected my cognitive abilities. I had to learn new coping skills and it made me see how someone who just does not have the mental abilities to really understand things like deep time would simply come to the conclusions they have. Nature is really rather miraculous looking.

I have come to the conclusion that humanity will not ever be free of superstitious thinking and it is understandable. With that in mind, insulting religion does not seem to me a good way of fighting against it. Maybe we would be better off trying to influence religious beliefs instead to promote them being a more positive influence while insuring that as much science education as possible while trying to minimize parental indoctrination.

I am not at all sure that Dawkins is a positive force for atheism. I understand why we tend to have a chip on our shoulder. I am so tired to having people try to indoctrinate me, flipping through the religious shows on tv, etc. Before the Internet, I had not even met another person who would admit being an atheist. We have a lot of pent up frustration. But now, we have the Internet and people who are interested in atheistic ideas will find us. We should work towards ways of being seen positively.

Be Well,

HoP

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So basically, religion is true, it's just confused. 

These ideas are all based on real-life experience, mine and other people's.  Because, after all, what is philosophy but an analysis of real life? 

I admit to feeling a little swamped by this project, by now.  I'm unsure of a strategy.  I think I need to concentrate on coming up with material, and then to organize it nicely.  After that, I need to pass it on to others so that they can expand it.  I'm finding that it goes over everyone's heads when they first see it.  Christians, however, tend to turn white - which suggests to me that this theory is religious in nature. 

I'm in favour of these pithy sayings, because people need something snappy which they can apply in seconds.  Also, as in mathematics, moral behaviour follows simple rules. 

I don't understand how you got  "So basically, religion is true, it's just confused" Simon's quote to me are examples of texts that suggest the basis of human morals not tied to "God said this is so". Perhaps you are drawing from past discussions in this topic while I am new. I agree with you about it going over the heads of the people I would want to understand.

Perhaps it would be better for me to read more of the archives here before I pose questions. Is it common for people to get frustrated at going over the same subject?

Oh, now this is making more sense. I was reading the site using an old computer that does not have the newer goodies in the web browser, so the page was messed up and looked as if your second reply was from a third party when it was actually a continuation of your thoughts.

So yes I agree that in this sense religion has it's basis in some natural truths, just with a bunch of supernatural mumbo jumbo applied in thick sweet and sour layers to make it all go down nice and smooth.

You know, I think of myself as a fairly good communicator, but I find the topic of religion difficult. It takes some care to express my ideas in a clean and simple manner. Pithy is good when you can pull it off.

BTW nice dreadlocks. Do you like playing with heavy equipment? The excavator in the picture was the clue. I love operating a backhoe or dozer. I am a caver and digging open some new entrance to a cave sealed for hundreds of thousands of years, then exploring the virgin passage is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. Deep time stares you in the face. Ten thousand years starts to make sense, it becomes real.

HoPpeR:

"I find the topic of religion difficult."  I think even religious people find it difficult.  What I've got there is a clean, efficient, stripped-down version.  I found it hard work to get to that stage, because the ideas are so profound and all-encompassing.  Now, I find it very easy to understand.  Adding new ideas however is still hard work. 

I've never used heavy equipment, but I used to be a squatter and I love derelict buildings and situations.  Something about the teeming history of the place. 

1- there are other things that comfort other than religion.

2-people should do what they know is right because they want to do right not because some god says their going to hell for it.

3-i am happy with the fact that once i die i will be no more.  people shouldnt invent something thats not there, lie to everybody, and raise hell because nobody else believes in their imaginary friend.

My imaginary friends better than yours!

While it may not do any good to fight it, im tired of taking bullshit from so called christians. im not takin it anymore. im standing up for myself. they need to fuck off. they try to convert us, why cant we try to convert them?

Tiffany, I share all these sentiments and understand the desire to tell off someone who tries to convert you. I have done this myself many times. After checking out your bio, I also understand well the situation you are in. Believe it or not, I am familiar with where you live. I grew up in Wytheville and until about a year ago lived there. I have relatives that live in the Austinsville area. It's pretty well filled with poor uneducated country folk who would find it hard to accept someone suggesting their god is not real. Still, you have to ask yourself what your goals are. If it is to promote secularism, then telling a religious person off is not the best way to get this done. Keeping quiet also gets you no where. While being rude to some proselytizer is satisfying and sometimes appropriate, if your goal is to promote your ideas, then taking the high road is really the only way of doing it. Otherwise you just end up proving (in their mind) their points and dismissing your arguments.

I'm not saying we need to respect their beliefs or remain silent. We can choose to word our statements so that a believer is not instantly enraged and then hears nothing about our view of things. I think maybe I have been mentally where both you and Tiffany are now and gotten past the urge to tell them off. I can remember a time when I had to stop going to church because I was afraid I would not be able to control the urge to jump up and yell "Bullshit" at the preacher. I was going to satisfy family at the time and had a big chip on the shoulder over it. But now I want to promote secularism. The majority of Christians are very moderate and do not speak out. They do listen to other people's views and when they listen to us insulting some fundy, they often hear us also insulting them, when they have never said anything at all. These are the people I would like to reach and they are reachable with a more moderate, reasonable message. Many of them go to church for community and acceptance more than anything else.

I don't agree that secular organizations can provide every good thing that religious ones do. Religion provides the soothing idea that we do not end when we die, that our loved ones will be seen again, that the wrongs people endure will be corrected in the end, etc. These ideas may be false, but many people need this lie and the worse their lives are, the better the lie sounds. Do I promote believing in something false, just because it makes you feel better? No, for me, never, but it is obvious that religion is and has been a big part of humanity. There are reasons for this, some of them may even be hard wired into us by evolution. I think the idea that we can stamp out religion any time soon is being naive. If so, then a better way of minimizing future harm by religious beliefs would be to manipulate those beliefs and make them less damaging while allowing the belief to still be comforting. We do this by finding common ground and cooperation for now and later by controlling it's teaching. 

You are not challenging or showing your dissatisfaction by insulting a believer, you are making an enemy. No matter how satisfying it is, insults are not in our best interest, just as remaining silent does nothing.


Be Well

HoP

and yes hope, while it may make enemies im not just sitting back anymore and taking their crap. im standing up for myself. if they can say their opinions and beliefs, so can i.

i've heard it once said opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. according to christians, their the only ones that can say theirs.

i have the right to state my beliefs, as do they. they insult me, i can insult them back. they shouldnt even be insulting/judging to start with.

we have been goin at it for years and they have a part in it too. im not sitting back anymore and getting run over by christians, ive did it long enough. im standing up for myself. if nobody likes it, i dont need them in my life. the only person i have to proove myself too is my boyfriend. everybody else can kiss my butt. i know i sound pissed or whatever, im just sick and tired of it all.

well said nate!

im glad you can relate to me. im just tired of taking bullcrap from christians. they can say their opinions i can too. yes people here are idiots. im originally from mississippi. bible belt. holy rollers. damn retards.

 

and nate i completely agree with you. 100%

Hey Hopper,

We just had a long thread on this about anger management. I think you and Nate are both right. imo, We have to be pragmatic while at the same time not surrender the indignation that drives social change.

- kk

Back soon, HoPpeR, I'll answer you then. 

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