Alright, so a couple of days ago I was talking to a friend of mine in class. And we began to talk about religion. Now I'm far from the kind of person that likes to showcase my views on things, But I told him I was an Atheist. He Actually didn't believe me at first, and said that people have to take a oath to become an atheist. We literally argued about this for 5 whole minutes before I finally said lets go to an computer and get google the definition. after I showed him what atheism actually is, He still retained doubt. I just said forget it, and ended the conversation on it there.
What I'm asking is how long will people remain that ignorant on atheism. It's not like he's dumb when it comes to other topics. He says He's a christian and he never even read the bible. And when I told him and another friend I read it They Laughed. Oh yeah and I forgot to mention one of the guys laughing has a tattoo that says "blessed" on his chest. And he never read the bible. That's just stupid to me, But I kinda want to know what other people think about this.
Not only have many Christians not read their bible, many become Atheists BECAUSE they read the bible. It was like that for myself, my room mate, one of her friends and quite a few other people I have met over the years. I find that there is a common theme: Christians looking for answers goes to the bible. Christian discovers the bible is actually full of some pretty awful stuff (usually counter to what they have been taught about god). Unable to reconcile the god they felt they knew, with the god described in the bible, they begin their flight from faith.
All we can do is stand up, be who we are and show the world through example that we are decent people. One of the most interesting (and oddly common) reactions I get to telling people about my Atheism is "but you're such a good person!" They just can't fathom the idea of anybody being good without a god. I think the bible does get a few things right here and there. I must say that the idea that "they will know us by our works" is good advice. Being a positive face of Atheism is very important.
Thumbs up for this well written opinion.
I work as a cashier (I'm retired & bet bored) @ Wally World (i.e. WalMart). I'm very customer service oriented and bite my tongue often in response to either hateful people and/or religious fanatics trying to "save" me from hell.
I'm an ex-Christian who probably knows more about what the Bible says than all of these customers put together having studied the Bible in my younger days from both the Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek. Subsequently, I matured, focused and integrated my knowledge and realized it's a scam worse than that of Bernie Madoff!
One lady who continued to come to my register and harass me about "the Lord" finally got to me, and I said, "Maam, you are now at the point of harassment and I am going to point you out to management, but let me ask you this: Do you believe the Bible teaches salvation by faith under the grace of god (she said yes). Then why does the Book of James state that you can only be saved by 'works'...hmmmm? Now, leave me alone."
Religion usually trumps intellect, but you have to fight back at some point to these whim-worshipping witch doctor magic man in the sky types.
Beautiful ! You made your day & your point. Who knows - you may even have made her think. ( But I doubt this.)
I loath people who proselytize to someone at work. We're a captive audience, unable to tell you off. If I were not on the clock, I would be free to walk away and/or bark back. It's a cowardly move on their part.
My response to people trying to save my soul is simple.
Me: What is the only unforgivable sin?
Me: Alright, I deny the holy spirit. Upon my death, I will go straight to hell, I will not pass go and I will not collect $200. I cannot be saved. Can we move on now?
i know exactly what you mean... i was termed an escapist and a coward when i told people i dont believe in god. they thought i had severed paths with god in an angry fit when he didnt bring me my favourite candy. i wouldnt dare to compare that belief system to diabetes... you wouldnt know you have a disease unless you run into it while you are getting some more important tests of your life done! guess we'll each have to wait for our tests before we realise its not cowardice... but merely the courage to poen one's eyes..
Good timing- an example of not understanding atheism- from my mom- tonight-
"The old Testament proves that Moses, Abraham, Lot, Noah, David , & others existed & their god is the only true God Jehovah. Even the muslims believe in Father Abraham. What evidence do you have of Zeus or Shiva having attributes of true gods? They're either false gods or myths. You having been to Israel know that their God is the only true God Jehovah. What caused you to believe otherwise? Atheists are a religion of nothing & only persecute others who believe in God such as the ACLU. If they don't believe in God why in the world do they want Him,in whom they don't believe, out of America? They're communists!!!!! They should all go to countries who believe as they do and leave believers alone. They make their money by sueing believers who want to display their rights of honoring God.They are theives!!! They are ruthless, arrogant,empty, loveless and hostile. And I as your mother do not believe that you have these attributes. Something has poisoned your mind to believe such nonsense. I love you too much to see you deceived so my prayers for you will continue until the day I die. And hopefully I will see you & all my family in heaven. What or who do you think Jesus Christ is? What is the meaning of life to you? Do you call Him a liar or Lord? Amazing how many people call Him Lord. Are we all fools or did Jesus have a real message to humankind? He loves us in such a personal way that no one can compare to Him. Let men be liars but let God be true!!! He is the Holy One & the only God I will serve."
The Old Testament was written by misogynistic, racist, primitive, uneducated, superstitious men - the Bible, at face value, like any other book, proves nothing. In fact, we know most of it is false and even contradictory.
And Muslims now have credibility in your eyes?
I am compelled to educate you on atheism- atheism is not a religion, it is simply a lack of belief in god. It says nothing else about one's political views, economic views, moral views, etc. It is as if you labelled someone who doesn't collect stamps an astampist- labelling them an astampist says nothing about any of their beliefs other than whether they collect stamps. So it is with atheism- it simply reflects a lack of belief in god/supernatural- that's it.
This article may help you understand why atheism is not a religion:
"Many Christians seem to believe that atheism is a religion, but no one with a fair understanding of both concepts would make such a mistake. Because it’s such a common claim, though, it’s worth demonstrating the depth and breadth of the errors being made. Presented here are the characteristics which best define religions, distinguishing them from other types of belief systems, and how atheism utterly fails to even remotely match any of them.
Perhaps the most common and fundamental characteristic of religion is a belief in supernatural beings — usually, but not always, including gods. Few religions lack this characteristic and most religions are founded upon it. Atheism is the absence of belief in gods and thus excludes belief in gods, but it does not exclude belief in other supernatural beings. More important, however, is that atheism does not teach the existence of such beings and most atheists in the West do not believe in them.
Differentiating between sacred and profane objects, places, and times helps religious believers focus on transcendental values and/or the existence of a supernatural realm. Atheism excludes believing in things that are “sacred” for the purpose of worshiping gods, but otherwise has nothing to say on the matter — neither promoting nor rejecting the distinction. Many atheists probably have things, places, or times which they consider “sacred” in that they are venerated or esteemed highly.
If people believe in something sacred, they probably have associated rituals. As with the very existence of a category of “sacred” things, however, there is nothing about atheism which either mandates such a belief or necessarily excludes it — it’s simply an irrelevant issue. An atheist who holds something as “sacred” may engage in some sort of associated ritual or ceremony, but there is no such thing as an “atheist ritual.”
Most religions preach some sort of moral code which is typically based upon its transcendental and supernatural beliefs. Thus, for example, theistic religions typically claim that morality is derived from the commands of their gods. Atheists have moral codes, but they don’t believe that those codes are derived from any gods and it would be unusual for them to believe that their morals have a supernatural origin. More importantly, atheism doesn’t teach any particular moral code.
Perhaps the vaguest characteristic of religion is the experience of “religious feelings” like awe, a sense of mystery, adoration, and even guilt. Religions encourage these sorts of feelings, especially in the presence of sacred objects and places, and the feelings are typically connected to the presence of the supernatural. Atheists may experience some of these feelings, like awe at the universe itself, but they are neither promoted nor discouraged by atheism itself.
Belief in supernatural beings like gods doesn’t get you very far if you can’t communicate with them, so religions which include such beliefs naturally also teach how to talk to them — usually with some form of prayer or other ritual. Atheists don’t believe in gods so obviously don’t try to communicate with any; an atheist who believes in some other type of supernatural being might try to communicate with it, but such communication is completely incidental to atheism itself.Religions are never just a collection of isolated and unrelated beliefs; instead, they constitute entire worldviews based upon these beliefs and around which people organize their lives. Atheists naturally have worldviews, but atheism itself isn’t a worldview and doesn’t promote any one worldview. Atheists have different ideas about how to live because they have different philosophies on life. Atheism is not a philosophy or ideology, but it can be part of a philosophy, ideology, or worldview.
A few religious people follow their religion in isolated ways, but usually religions involve complex social organizations of believers who join each other for worship, rituals, prayer, etc. Many atheists belong to a variety of groups, but relatively few atheists belong to specifically atheistic groups — atheists are notorious for not being joiners. When they do belong to atheist groups, though, those groups aren’t bound together by any of the above.
Some of these characteristics are more important than others, but none is so important that it alone can make a religion. If atheism lacked one or two of these characteristics, then it would be a religion. If lacked five or six, then it might qualify as metaphorically religious, in the sense of how people follow baseball religiously.
The truth is that atheism lacks every one of these characteristics of religion. At most, atheism doesn’t explicitly exclude most of them, but the same can be said for almost anything. Thus, it’s not possible to call atheism a religion. It can be part of a religion, but it can’t be a religion by itself. They are completely different categories: atheism is the absence of one particular belief while religion is a complex web of traditions and beliefs. They aren’t even remotely comparable.
So why do people claim that atheism is a religion? Usually this occurs in the process of criticizing atheism and/or atheists. It may at times be politically motivated because if atheism is a religion, they think they can force the state to stop “promoting” atheism by eliminating endorsements of Christianity. Sometimes the assumption is that if atheism is simply another “faith,” then atheists’ critiques of religious beliefs are hypocritical and can be ignored.
Since the claim that atheism is a religion is based upon a misunderstanding of one or both concepts, it must proceed from flawed premises. This isn’t just a problem for atheists; given the importance of religion in society, misrepresenting atheism as a religion can undermine people’s ability to understand religion itself. How can we sensibly discuss matters like the separation of church and state, the secularization of society, or the history of religious violence if we don’t adequately define what religion is?
Productive discussion requires clear thinking about concepts and premises, but clear and coherent thinking are undermined by misrepresentations like this."
Personally, I believe it is difficult, if not meaningless, to discuss whether a god exists until "god" is defined. The only definition of a god that makes any sense, to me, is a definition of god as the sum total of all things - any other definition, including your Jehovah, is not consistent with all we know and observe.
Again, once you understand why YOU don't believe in Zeus or Shiva or any of the other gods/goddesses created by humans other than the Judeo-Christian god, you will understand why I don't (and never will) believe in the Judeo-Christian god or any other such man made god.
Gods were created by man to help cope with and understand life, the world, and the universe. I have no need for a god for such things - including knowledge, wisdom, or morals - neither does anyone else, in reality. I think it's a shame so many people are duped by the perpetuators of religion, superstition, mythology, and magical thinking into believing this "stuff" with absolutely no evidence.
Have you never wondered why your god, or anyone else's, won't/can't heal amputees? http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/all-videos.htm
Who do I think Jesus is/was? Maybe a person, historically speaking, but now the concept of Jesus is one of a hybrid mythological figure with the attributes of Sumerian, Egyptian, and other Mediterranean/Middle Eastern gods/mythology. The Jesus figure as portrayed by modern Christians actually has no unique features, and Christianity offers us no unique perspectives on life. Neither the golden rule nor the Jesus "sacrifice," which is utter nonsense and fundamentally immoral, are unique to Christianity.
Finally- the only Pascal's Wager "variation" that I might agree with-
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” – Marcus Aurelius
I envy your courage in standing up to your mother. That reply was very intelligently put-together and I hope things smooth out.
Or, as "Gregory House" said, "If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people."
Hi Lil this ties in a little with my pondering's on atheism and culturalism. I think people are born into a particular culture and that that culture wants to maintain the status quo so nobody seems to have a need to challenge it because acceptance is so much easier and requires nothing from us.
once you step out of this culture you get all sorts of responses from ridicule,hatred to complete indifference. I would pursue science and reason .when people are mature enough to question, you will be well ahead of them and be able to help steer them towards atheism as the only rational way to live in the world.
It seems to me that the only people who really understand atheism are those who are atheists themselves. Which is why it's important to come out and debunk stereotypes and misconceptions.