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. 

~Dan.

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I can't say I've ever seen you otherwise - if memory serves, you were equally patient with Ariceli.

And that's the whole point.
When we ridicule and attack anyone who comes here just out of curiosity, then we are acting just like the religion they follow. I will answer any theist's questions about atheism, no matter what I think of the question. What happened here was really disappointing. She came here asking a simple question, answered the only way she knew how, and not once told us we are going to hell, or that we are lost souls, or any of the usual bullshit we get from theists. What did she get in return? People jumped at this girl like she was tearing heads off of puppies and juggling with them in front of an orphanage.

This girl, just like Araceli before (whether she was a poe or not) and just like at the time, Jessica (Sarah/Belle) did nothing wrong. They all came here with a question, and while some were respectful and took the time to answer, which I'm sure you all would expect if the role was reversed, others felt the need to attack like a swarm of angry bees in that one R rated Winnie the Pooh movie I imagined... poor Eore.. at least he had reasons to be glum now... and Pooh, ripping those 42 children to pieces for ma-- never mind, THAT was in the Bible. I tend to mix up my stories from time to time.

Anyways, back on topic. People sadly seem to forget that they, or others here were not that much different than Mercedes, or any of the other theists that come here. There is a lesson I learned from a decade of hardcore gaming that I tend to apply to many situations in my life.

Everybody was a noob at one point. Even you.

When they profess to have great hidden knowledge like our ET friend, or Michael, or any of the other comic book characters we get here, and refuse to have a conversation, then it is fine to ridicule, but when the person professes ignorance and wants to know about us, why not just answer and have a discussion? What did we accomplish as a community in this forum aside from scaring away a curious person and reinforcing all the negative things she heard, and will hear about the "hateful, angry atheists."

There is a time to ridicule and poke fun; this was not it.

To the folks that took the time to answer this girl (and others who have been here with simple questions and curiosity) fairly and respectfully, I have put on a hat, just so I can tip it to you now.

To those who attacked this girl, and who attacked Araceli (or anyone else who has come here out of curiosity and who answered your questions to the best of their ability), I really expected better from you.

One of the great benefits of retirement has been NOT being in staff meetings where people ask questions like I am going to ask. They lead to hours wasted saying nothing. But on the off chance it might contribute I will do it. You can shoot me later.

What is the purpose of this forum? Is it to educate visitors? Is it an atheist "only" exchange? Is it to defend against theists? to support those ready to "come out" as atheist? Is it to invent questions like this?

Have you read the "About TA" page?  You may find your answers there.  As far as what the purpose is for individual posters, I suspect the answer is wide and varied.

Now I have. So it is an atheist only website.

It's constructed for atheists - hence the name TA, Matt.  But what we choose to do with it is much more varied :)

I like the idea of providing information to the curious.  I sometimes get a bit frustrated with the adamant theist, but that's just me.

You don't have to be an atheist to join (as you can see) but we don't take the sort of crap from theists that we have to out in the real world, either.

I agree.  I have had some things I've said here brutally attacked and torn to shreds.  It doesn't feel good.  Some people seem to know a lot but not have insight into the the subtle nuances that affect how we respond to someone who thinks differently than we do.  Sometimes people are really just asking a question or trying to get clarification of something, or bringing something up for discussion just for the heck of it without realizing they've walked into a hornet's nest.

I am sure I have been guilty of it.  I try to learn from it and not keep doing it though.  I have been on Christian forums asking legitimate questions, and in the end I think some of them had some respect for my integrity.  I am sure they thought I was lost and going to suffer for eternity in Hell, but they couldn't find fault in my behavior on their forum.  Just like we respect theists who do that here, they must ultimately have some respect for individual atheists who are able to behave that way in their interactions.

I remember many believed Belle was an insincere troll and acted accordingly.

The thing I liked best about her "Jessica" character, was that she was sincere - she made it clear from the onset that she was here to convert us, no deception, no mind games. I like that in a theist.

Belle, your phrase "really harsh with her" reminds me of people I know who recently gave up drinking or smoking. In conversations with people who never drank or smoked, they express more patience with people who still drink or smoke.

I bolded the opening words there because they are important to that sentence. Don't confuse it with the quotation I heard long ago that perhaps explains what people here said to Mercedes: The noisiest arguments are between people who gave up a belief yesterday and people who will give up the same belief tomorrow.

Does that quotation square with your experience here?

You're exactly right Mercedes, I don't want to believe in God. In fact, I don't want to believe in anything. 
And that's what you have to do to really believe in something, you have to 'want' to. You want to live a simple existence where the answers to all your questions are written down for you, and you want to live a life where you don't have to actually think about anything. You want that. I do not. 
I don't want to believe there is a god in heaven that created me, because that is a lie, and I stopped lying to myself and reading fairy tales when I was a kid.
However, I have no choice but to accept that gravity exists. Whether I want to believe in gravity or not, if I jump off a building I will get hurt. There's a difference between wanting to believe in a lie, and wanting to accept the truth.
I personally don't believe in anything. I find the whole concept of 'believing' to be infantile and irresponsible. But even some of my good friends 'believe', so to keep the peace, and because I love them, I accept that there will always be weak minded people who 'want' to believe.
I either know something to be true, I know it to be false, or I simply don't know. And unlike so many believers,  I don't have to have an answer for everything. 

peace
Rick
rick@rickyost.com

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