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.
To an atheist God, Santa Clause, etc. are all imaginary beings of which at some point there is a group of people that believe in them (small children typically). This is the point of comparison - to the atheist they are all the same thing as a consequence. The last examples were actual dieties that are worshipped by a modern people in the thousands or even millions (I haven't checked the numbers lately). So my question boiled down to "What is the bar for you believe in something that you currently find imaginary and why is that bar is as high as it is?". If you want to know what it takes to convince someone to believe in something you have to put yourself exactly in their position and consider what it would take for you to be convinced.
Comparing God to the tooth fairy is really a bad comparison I think.
Why not? There is the same amount of evidence for God as for the tooth fairy.
Not really. The Bible is centuries worth of history which is much more proof than the tooth fairy.
Hey, that 50 cents under my pillow was hard tangible evidence. The bike that Yahweh was supposed to give me never arrived. That proves, conclusively (at least by your standards), that The Tooth Fairy is real and Yahweh isn't.
Human history is not proof that God exists.
Mercedes, no two actual things are the same thing. Imaginary things and conceptual objects can be the same thing, but no two real things can. If they are the same thing, then there is only one of them.
Richard, I too was a minister. Like you I found the truth.
Mercedes, please read this carefully, here you have two ex ministers who discovered the brainwashing techniques of the church as well as the fables of the bible. We have something important to say to you that you may never hear in church or from a church minister. We will provide THE TRUTH.
I found numerous other ministers who were actually closet atheists leading the rock star life of an elder minister. They were unwilling to quit because in the upper echelon of the faith, the leaders are often wealthy, powerful, and reaching those lofty positions takes far more political persuasiveness than it does religiosity.
I wrote my Ph.D dissertation on (to use the colloquial) brainwashing in the Catholic Church. i found they hired a complete crew (hundreds) of psychologists to assist the individual ministers in their churches in continuing the brainwashing to raise additional unneeded funds.
They have been inordinately successful. The Catholic church is the largest and wealthiest of the Christian organizations with TRILLIONS of dollars plus BILLIONS in ornamental gold--just for the pope to feel comfortable.
The very strange thing is that I have personally interviewed 194 ministers, priests, and so on that all were closet atheists. They easily admitted this to me because I asked the question correctly. "Umm, do you see the same problems with the bible I do?" and they would say, "Such as?" and I would say "If you read it, I mean REALLY read it, it insults your faith--I'm not leaving the ministry, but I don't know how so many can find truth in this thing (waving the bible) I can't."
They could not either. That's 194 out of 466! Making over 41% of the church ministers and priests religious fakes who are in it for the money, the prestige, the exalted position and all the social perks--often without a day of education beyond sixth grade.
Now how does the church sound? Continue to be a believer because I also heard many many times how those in the ministry had so many young women willing to sleep with their minister. he IS seen as close to the glory by the parishioners right? Another perk.
The final straw, before completing and defending my dissertation I let it jell while I took a trip to Europe. Because I was a doctoral candidate at a religious university, I was invited to see the Pope while visiting the Vatican. I find I can easily talk my way into almost whatever I want, and somewhat to my surprise I found myself invited to speak with the Pope. I will not reveal the name of the Pope as he was a genuinely open and intelligent fellow, pleasant and honest. With a bit of research you will know which Pope this was.
When pressed with the same question about the Bible he quickly admitted he was an atheist. he did not feel there was an actual god, but he hoped to bring Christianity to many because in his opinion it was the best way to control a violent and warlike people and bring peace to a corrupt world.
Actually, however, it is more accurate that religion promotes strife, war, pestilence, torture, murder, etc. etc. (remember the dark ages, the inquisition, and the twin towers taken out by Islamic fundamentalists--all evil, all religion)
So, before your young mind is further warped you need to hang out with atheists for a year or two so that you have a realistic and balanced outlook before committing to religion. Seriously!
I am not saying this to promote my position, but to help you from making a huge mistake.
My dear, there were NO gods. NONE. The church existed as did all religion in a time when the world was a frightening place and people needed a strong association to provide force to resist criminals, wars, thugs, political subversion, government robbers, and explain the unexplainable. The call was (in a way) "I don't know, therefore it MUST be god" Today many know why things are. They do not need fables.
The twenty-first century holds few terrors that we do not know of. There is no magic, and the church wants you to continue because you and other brainwashed believers provide the extraordinary wealth that keeps the church executives, the bishops and the higher clergy living a life of supreme power, extreme wealth, driving fine cars, in big homes, and so on. It's a gold mine, and you are the free work force (slaves) that supply the gold while over forty percent are actually atheists--in it strictly for the take.
Richard and I were honest enough to quit the scam and attempt to let the public know. We are seldom believed because the church engages in an extreme form of brainwashing that is a filter to stop any truth from reaching those who do not realize they are brainwashed. You do not think you are brainwashed do you? That is a testament to the success of the "Have faith, don't think, believe and follow or you will not receive the blessings of heaven" statement that all receive.
Sincerely Mercedes, its a scam to keep a few people hugely wealthy. A big boys club. Consider the absolute worst of them--the TV evangelists! How many have been caught? I'm certain that if you check thoroughly, you will be amazed at the number indited for dishonest practices. .
Consider what L. Ron Hubbard wrote in a letter to an associate before starting Scientology. He wanted to become wealthy and could think of no finer way than to start a religion and pull in young people ready to believe. It worked as any cult workes. Same with Mormonism, and every one of the 42,000 different sects of Christianity. (up from 34,000 only four years ago).
If the bible was so accurate, true, and the actual word of god, why are there 42,000 different sects of Christianity that do not agree with each other? Because the bible is the work of countless people shuffling stuff, modifying, rewording, re-translating those dead languages, until finally the pope and various councils had their way. The Bible is nowhere accurate. It is simply ancient scrolls and tablets that people translated as best they could and then made a mess of. They do not apply in the twenty-first century, and they will continue to apply less and less as people realize reality.
You are religious because your parents were, not because it's right, real, accurate, or useful. In fact, religion is outrageously dangerous when you can look at the realities.
Fortunately the majority of the youth today are coming up with no interest in religion because this info has drifted down thanks to kind and caring atheists attempting to save the brainwashed Christians from a false future.
Thank you dear, take care and be skeptical of what you hear from a wealth backed church. You can listen to atheists however because we have little to give but our peace and our time to assist those suffering from a chronic social brainwashing that takes place as parents, directed by the church, sell religious fears to infants and juveniles.
If you wish to be religious, that is your choice, but do consider both sides and you MUST read the entire bible with your mind in a skeptical frame, not as a believer who can only buy into the scam. Only then can you find reality and have a chance to save yourself.
Thank you for your patience and understanding,
John Cook, Ph.D, Gannon University, behavioral psychologist
(IFAI tech columnist, businessman and and ex minister)
John, I believe that is one of the most insightful contributions I have ever seen on this site, and I'm sure most, if not all of us, are grateful for it, thanks --
Yes, you are certainly correct, but I cannot engage in wild speculation. I can only report what I factually know. Other psychological scientists have come up with varying numbers however the median still seems to be about 40%.
You must realize that only the intellectually advanced are likely to shirk the boundaries of the effective social brainwashing that is religion. That leaves many who will only become damaged fools and continue to support religion within the gangs it so commonly provides.
I am so sad for those who have had their thinking processes permanently corrupted by the foolishness of religion. I wish I could assist better than I am, but it continues to be a difficult endeavor.
The invisible and the non-existent are very much alike. The bar isn't set high. It's actually set very low for theists, as they have continually failed for thousands of years to provide even ordinary evidence for their extraordinary claims.
I think you just simply don't want to believe the evidence that there is. That's why I'm asking, why don't you.