It almost seems like atheists don't want to believe in God. Do you just simply not want to believe in God because you don't want to give up your own free will?
ADMIN EDIT: Mercedes has left ThinkAtheist.com on her own accord. This discussion will remain, however do not expect a response from the author.
Sadly, I think a little more kindness is in order generally. I do find my own welcoming sensibilities significantly taxed dealing with theists, but my momentary 'mood' seems to not be easily available to my awareness. Maybe I should just stifle more?
Should our systems operator write some code that watches for certain catch phrases, that then offers a pop-up, 'hay that seems very mean', or 'yes, but maybe a reading list should be suggested', or 'it is doubtful that biblical authors had you as a proof reader!'
I expect that much of our painful excursions into 'meanness' could be avoided with just a little creative code writing. The 'trolls', on entry into this site, upon their first attempts to our 'deeper insights', might receive very large pop-ups containing the lore and previous contributions of many good thinkers. I would suggest a mandatory 'PRINT ALL'. I expect that at least a few of these 'good thinkers' might actually make contributions here. The desired result, reduced fluster, decreased number of rewrites, theist education, and reduced web site memory demands.
Just think of it as a deep wikipedia-like database of atheist literature, commentary, debates, and tirades. Of course, this then might become 'settled dogma', and a priest class could mature. While theists might abuse atheists, atheists might remove themselves from the need to 'abuse' theists, just let the new 'good book' do that unsettling type of work. Finally a nice day could be had by us, as a quiet settles in.
Can we bribe the SYSOP to build-in negative reinforcement? Maybe a nice computer virus that deletes the world 'God' or 'Jesus' from all text files on the theist home computer? Now I am being mean...;p)
Laughs - you're such a sweetie, James Cox. Grimace all you like... chuckles
I must claim a weak moment, my little brute does get out, but I feed it little. It, like I, does like thermonuclear curry over most any rather dull white colored foundation...
So how many theists like curry?
'And Curry said, let there be light, and there was light.'
Ever get the impression that life without humor, seems like government employment?
I tried my hand at 'fishing' today. I think it has been at least 35 years since a baited a hook, or cast a pole. After 45 mins and three casts, it was clear that I need to hit the books. As three people were walking towards the lake, their son noticed the green scum on the lake, and I offered my 4 second environmental education moment. In hindsight, I clearly know more that pond scum than fishing. I just wish I had a portable digital microscope for a lake side class in protozoology, at least I could have seen their eyes glaze over for entertainment, or maybe an anti-evolution tirade. An exchange of fishing skills might have been possible also, dang another lost opportunity.
I have been out of work too long, I think my humor is getting edgy. Please forgive if you feel like a captive audience.
This will be my first post on TA, but I have been lurking a long long time. However, I felt like I should tell you about myself. I went through all 49 pages of comments, and at first I thought you as a troll, and then I thought you were someone who was trying to convert people to your way of thinking, but now I see that you were really and truly trying to understand, yet you do not comprehend because you are so in grained and brainwashed into your way thinking. I hope that even though you said that you "left" that you will see this post. It took me a very long time to see the light, and It took one kind person who had the time and understanding to sit down with me and discuss things without judgement or trying to change my mind to finally see the truth. I hope that you you read this, and I could be this person for you.
First off, let me tell you about my background. For the first 12 years of my life, I did not grow up in a religious household. Then almost over night, my parents had a revelation about how they were "bad parents" and started taking our family to church. My farther became "saved" and then we were in church 4 times a week, every week, without exception. I quickly became indoctrinated in the ways of christian thought, and I believed, much like you, without question. I read all the passages of the bible I was told too, and God seems to be a perfect being without flaw. At 14 years old, I became "saved" and within a month I was baptized as my first act of obedience to the "lord". At that time, I believed I felt the power of the Holy spirit wash over me, and I found a new since of peace and direction in my life. (Now that I know the science behind that feeling, its actually quite interesting. I would encourage you to look up things about alpha brain waves, beta brain waves, trance, speech and hypnosis and how they all relate to each other)
All was well until I turned 16, and I became so devoted that I read the WHOLE bible twice over, trying to understand more about god and his love.I wanted to know more about this ultimate power, my creator who loves me so much that he died for me. Me, being an always inquisitive person, and curious to a fault, found interesting passages in the bible, such as God killing thousands of people, rape being OK so as long as you marry the woman, woman being subservient to men, how to beat your slaves and how its OK to beat them to death so as long as they don't die right away, how you can have many wife's/mistresses/concubines, and a host of other things that do not reflect the love I was told God was. To me, it seemed like God was showing human emotions of lust, malice, and jealously, which were, in my mind, contradictory to the perfect being and the "God of love" I was taught about.
So I asked questions to everyone I could find."Men of God", my parents, my peers in church, kids from school, and my pastor. I received many answers to why these passages existed inside the bible, including, but not limited to, that they were not meant to be taken literally, that they were a historical account of things that happened but they have no barring on the real message of the bible, and that I wasn't under the direction of the holy spirit while reading those passages, so I just simply misunderstood them and even that I was not to question god. I accepted these answers however, this is when the seed of doubt was planted within me.
This is when I started reading up on other religions trying to find answers. But, being in a very fundamental household, the only books I could get my hands on about other religions were written by Christian authors, and the way that they were written led me to believe that other religions were just tools of Satan trying to deceive mankind. I believed these things without question, for I believed that anyone who was Christan would not wish to deceive me, and I was a good sheep, yet I still had a lot of questions and doubt.
I would ask my pastor even more questions and discuss my doubt with him, and when he did not have an answer for the questions I had, he would simply state "We are flawed beings, we can not even being to understand Gods ways" I wanted to believe so bad, yet my faith was wavering. I was told that my doubt was just Satan trying to deceive me and pull me away from God and to look toward Doubting Thomas as an example . (That is the funny thing about Christianity, they have a built in protection system so that their members almost never get out) So I would get down on my knees and prayed for strength, for I was weak in my faith.
I continued to struggle with this lingering doubt and all my questions. I would pray and read the bible over and over, hoping to find answers, I was praying that I was just missing something important. I would prey for something that would click and make me go "Ahhh! so that's it! I'm sorry lord, for doubting you"
I never got that epiphany, and when I turned 18 I joined the United States Army.
When I got to basic training, I had quite the culture shock. This was the first time I was exposed to people who had a different belief system different than my own. I would have arguments with them, telling them that they were mislead in there way of thinking, that what they believed was a cult and a tool of Satan and they should repent and come to lord, even though I had my own doubts. I did this because that is what I was programed to do, for I must be a fisher of men and spread the word of god to everyone.
I kept a copy of my bible in my wall locker, and would read it every chance I got to try and find comfort during this stressful time. This only lead me to become more confused with even more questions. Then on a Sunday I went to a church service and something the preacher said while talking on the pulpit did not sit right with me. He said Christians make the best soldiers because they already know how to be good sheep, and that they follow orders without question. This made me very uneasy,and the wheels in my mind were going a million miles a second. I thought about how not all orders given are moral or just, such as "kill these innocent children with no weapons and of are no threat to us, just because they are our "enemy's children" or the numerous other atrocities (such as abu ghraib) that good sheep follow just because . This is why I changed my religion from "baptists" to "no preference".
I still had not fully understood the truth yet by this time, and I left Basic and AIT as a believer but a non practicing one I would at this time still say I was a Christan, but a very "backsliden" one. Shortly after arriving at my unit, I was deployed to the war in Iraq (this was 2005). It was here that I was introduced to Islam. I became friends with A few Iraqi's and we talked a lot about Islam. I came to the revelation that all the 1000's of years of fighting was simply over who was right, Jesus or Mohamed. The Bible, and the Qur'an are almost the same book otherwise, if you don't believe me, go read it yourself. I actually encourage you too, for you should take no ones word on anything and come to your own conclusions.
It is also here that I saw the all the evil that men can do, in the name of their god, on both sides of fence. I could not believe that the "God of love" that loved his creations would allow the sort of things I saw with my very own eyes happen. War is not pretty, but what bothered me the most was the suffering of the innocents. Children getting sold as sex slaves, Little boys and girls getting continuously rapped. Children being used as pawns in order to promote their cause by strapping bombs and or handing guns to them. People starving to death. The thought still sickens me to this day.
This is when I asked myself, "How can a loving god let these innocent people suffer." Children are innocent, and if you believe what the bible says, until they can understand what good and evil is, they are truly innocent and incapable of being held accountable (Deuteronomy 1.39 and Isaiah 7.16 ) so why must they suffer so? I am not a perfect being and I have more compassion than that, and willing gave up my food a number of times so that those starving children could eat. Why does a loving god not provide them with food or comfort (sadly, the one or two meals I was able to give only prolonged their life by a few weeks. I hope that they were able to survive but it did not look good for them)
It is after these experiences, and after long chat with a good atheist friend (who hated labels and refused to be called "atheist" ) I realized the truth for myself. The reason why a loving god does not show the millions of innocent people on the earth any compassion is because there is no loving God. He was a creation of man to explain things he did not understand and slowly over time it became a tool of the nations to keep their sheeple in check and stop people thinking for themselves.
One would think (at least if you are indoctrinated like I was) that this would be an earth shattering idea and that I would be another one of the hopeless. But In reality, after the unearthing of these truths inside my mind, I felt more free than I ever had. No longer was the burden of the invisible sky man always watching every thing I do on my chest. No longer was good and evil caused by God at Satan, but just men, and you can do something about men. I became responsible for me and my life. If I wanted something, instead of preying for it, I worked for it. I was a good person because its the right thing to do, not because I feared punishment in hell or rewards in heaven.
I started to live my life, instead of waiting to die for something better because this is all we have. I realized you have to make the most of it for one day you will nothing, much like before you were born. To some this maybe a fearful thought, to me Its quite liberating...
My only regret is that I took so long to come to this realization. I missed out of so much fun and excitement during high school for fear of punishment from god, such as sex, drinking, experimenting with drugs and all the other dumb things normal teens do.
But, to answer your question Mercedes, of why I don't believe in god. In a nut shell, Its not that I don't want to believe in a god, because with all of my heart I tired and wanted to. Life would be simple if there was a God so that we could have someone to blame for all our of mankind's issues. It is much easier to clam god or satan did something than admit that men are capable of such good and evil actions and accept responsibility for such things. My mind just can not think like that anymore. It is a childish way of thinking.
Until I get some proof, any proof what so ever, I will continue to think logically and for myself. A book telling me something is true because the book says its true will not cut it. A historical artifact saying that a man named Jesus existed and was crucified will also not cut it. All that would prove is that a man got murdered.
What would be acceptable proof you may ask? Well, a day without one person without going hungry, due to divine intervention (ie, no act of man whatsoever) would be a good start.
Anyways Mercedes, I really do hope this is food for thought for you. I know some people on here are frustrating at times. But try understand their point of view, You do not have to agree, but this world needs more understanding. Some good reading for you (or anyone else for that matter) http://globalethic.org/Center/decalog.htm. I think everyone from all faiths or non-faiths should try and follow these rules when talking about their faith/non-faith
Wow, Chrisn, for a "first post," that was a doozie! Well said!
Thank you archaeopteryx.
If you've been following, as you say, you know I don't dole out that kind of praise lightly.
Yes lol, I have seen your name many times, and not often giving praise. I am usually more comfortable just lurking around, but her post saddened me to a point that I finally had to step out of lurk mode and finally post. I hope that if it does not help her tear down some walls, that someone else will read it and it will help them start to tear down some walls.
Your comment was very gentle. I think she was very young, but didn't say her age, but she meant well. I also think when theists come onto a site like this, they are having doubts, or a just very naive as to what an atheist really is. This, compared to a lot of sites, is generally very gentle, until real apologists come on - and it is game on. Mercedes was just curious. Totally different matter. There are also, sometimes, a xian posing as an atheist - but they get spotted pretty quickly.
Many disagreements here, and that is good - the only thing we have in common is 'Prove there is a god, somehow, and I will listen.'
Otherwise, say what you think. It is all good.
Holo, I like your disease and vector metaphor and will use it.
Mercedes' words reminded me that the religion disease can blind its victims to the reality that they have the disease.
Twelve years in Catholic schools, aided by a somewhat violent home, had blinded me. An intervention that caused me almost enough trauma to shoot myself awoke me to the reality.
I was reaching to a bedside drawer for my gun when I realized that my life was mine. That realization, 55 years ago, BEGAN the cure. I didn't know that I would years later write my siblings and tell them the Tom they had grown up with had died. They of course didn't understand.
Religion needs people to be helpless so they will await the cure we call death.
I don't normally read the loooong ones...I read yours.
@Chrisn - Brilliant first post - now we will expect a lot from you :) just joking.
The bible is what converted me from a christian to an atheist - when you don't cherry pick, read the contradictions - realise that the god of the bible is also a temper tantrum throwing ego maniac - voila - another atheist is born.
I sincerely hope you have made up for the time you lost as a teenager, I did. And don't forget Rock and Roll in the things to make up for. :)