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.
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.
Rick, like you, I can live happily without answers to some questions. I sometimes ask a questioner, "Will knowing an answer help me pay the rent?"
Yet, when people state their thoughts too rapidly, they tend to....
"Whether I want to believe in gravity or not, if I jump off a building I will get hurt."
What hurts isn't the jump, but the sudden stop at the end.
You are right about that, Tom.
We all have beliefs, of course. We can't avoid believing. What's crucial, however, is that we take care as much as possible to invest our belief only in what we know to be true. The key element, then, is knowledge, for knowledge and belief are inseparable. What we know we also believe. We can't help it.
What we justly regard as "true" is that which meets the confirming epistemological standards that warrant trust and belief. Truth need not be immutable or unarguable to be accepted and trusted. If a conviction or a condition accords with sufficient facts that can be independently cited in its support--and not contradicted by other facts--then it's true. It's worthy of belief.
Anything that can be asserted without proof, can just as easily be dismissed without proof. If you are going to insist that God exists, then it is up to you, the believer, to produce evidence of his existence.
What Theologians find so infuriating about this is that unbelievers have such a phenomenal head start in this area that nothing will prove his existence, short of God coming down to earth to a Dasani bottling factory, and buying a round of wine for the whole town.
In fact, the only saving grace that your god has is the fact that he's unfalsifiable. Meaning there will be no definitive proof of his non existence, despite the fact that science can explain almost every single facet of the rest of the world.
It seemed to me that Mercedes is simply very young. A teenager, or perhaps even slightly younger. Likely intelligent, maybe even beyond her years, but still very young, and perhaps not yet developmentally capable of the kind of thinking that would have been required of her to engage in the sort of discussion on offer here.
I don't think that she is mentally deficient, and I don't think she actually had any malicious intent. I think she truly was an innocent looking for understanding, but was ultimately incapable of processing what she got in return.
Daniel, I think your observations are very perceptive - I would think that "young and naive" pretty much sums it up.