Why religion still makes sense in the 21st century human experience

Now obviously religion does not make much sense when examined through the lenses of science, logic, or, in the absence of childhood indoctrination and with basic understanding of the previous two, common sense.

But let's just think about basic life and everyday reasons that could lead one to suspect that other worldly powers haven taken interest in worldly affairs. I'm not talking about a primitive human's fear of a thunderstorm leading him to believe in a thunder god, I mean shit we deal with today that just seems weird or fateful. 

For instance, my life was changed in more ways than I can think of by as a simple choice as where to have lunch. When I was travelling abroad I asked a passerby where I could find a good place to eat. He pointed me to a small restaurant at the end of the street and then as an after thought, mentioned one in the opposite direction. With no information about pricing or menu, I mentally flipped a coin. I'm acquainted with both establishments now and know that, had I chosen differently, absolutely nothing would have happened at restaurant A. But since I chose restaurant B I am now engaged, overcame my depression and fear of bees, have broken half the bones in my body, and had 4 of my teeth knocked out and replanted.

In my book and in yours, this by no means constitutes proof of a deity. But I can tell you that looking back on that moment, it feels like destiny. As though it were meant to happen that way. Were I religious, I would think that I was guided to make the decision I made because I seemingly had no control in what was truly a random though process.

I bring this up because I don't think we pay enough attention to little things like this that convince people that there is some grand plan and an omnipotent plan maker. We've all had weird feelings about fortunate or unfortunate coincidences and strings of circumstance. It's basic paranoia. But because we are atheists we simply dismiss this feelings of situations which seem to bear some ominous significance. But to the religious (at least those who believe God to be an interventionist), these little things fit the narrative and reinforce stone age understandings of the universe. But if tomorrow I choose to eat at Subway instead of cooking and get hit by a bus, that's not God. It's life. It doesn't seem like much of a point but I think it's worth discussing. Humans are naturally egotistical and I think that for many of the religious, their own life experiences (close calls with death, lucky days, etc.) offer enough proof and it's a factor that I think is underestimated.

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RE: In my book and in yours, this by no means constitutes proof of a deity. But I can tell you that looking back on that moment, it feels like destiny. As though it were meant to happen that way. Were I religious, I would think that I was guided to make the decision I made because I seemingly had no control in what was truly a random though process.

I recently made a connection through my therapy about something similar. I remembered a moment in my life when I was starting towards a better, stronger path. It was at this point that I faced a crossroads decision. My head told me to go one way, my heart told me to go another...

I ultimately followed my heart. Not my head. And I can tell you with certainty that it was my religious beliefs that ultimately led me to that choice. I was confused, and lonely...

I don't regret it at all. I don't regret getting married, and I love my son who is a result of that marriage. But that day when I sat on the shore looking out over beautiful waters, at my favorite place....I told myself I was going to heal and embrace solitude, and face up to myself.

But after a short time my resolve broke....and I went back to him.....

Religion clouds the mind and it is deceiving. I have started to see clearer and clearer...it's taken me 2 years and only through trauma therapy (which I really needed a LONG time ago, not "God")....If I had not been afraid to embrace help from anything other than the Bible, and if I had not been groomed to think that the Bible held all the answers, I just had to "seek" it....I might have stuck to my resolve that day.

Religion did nothing for me. Even when I thought it was good because I got sober through AA and becoming a Christian.....it was really only a mask. everything underneath that mask was still in crisis.

Religion has nothing positive to offer this world. We would be better without it.

@Bill C   Can you provide some examples of atheists murdering in the name of no god?  

Even if (and it's a mighty big if) that were true, I don't think killing fewer people can exactly be called a benefit.  A benefit is something gained.  Less loss is not a gain.

Are you talking about the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from 2005?  That was done to prevent discrimination against a non-believer prison inmate.  The prison's policy of only allowing religious groups to be formed by inmates was clearly discriminatory.  The court called atheism a religion so the inmate could also be allowed to form a group of non-believers, just like the religious groups.  The wording of the ruling is short-sighted and unfortunate because now it can be twisted and misconstrued to suit the xian agenda. 

Do you agree with every court ruling and see their rulings as the sum of all wisdom?  How about Roe v Wade?  Or do you just stick to the ones you agree with, like bible verses?

Sorry Bill C... you christians can't play the "atheism is a religion" issue from both ends without leaving yourself open to be laughed at for your hypocrisy.

50% of the time you guys are whining cussing and pouting that atheism was given the same considerations and protections as your religions by this federal court ruling.  The other 50% of the time you're trying to tell US disbelief in gods is a religion because federal courts gave disbelief the same protections and considerations as your religions.

How does one murder people in the name of no God anyway? Isn't that just murdering people? Unless you mean murdering people because they believe in a God.

Also when you say atheism has been ruled as a religion are you using that as a compliment or an insult?

Simon, the Bill C above is an xian apologist. No matter what xians have done, he will say atheists have done worse. Two of the mass murderers he won't name are Hitler and Stalin. They were both brought up xians and in violent homes. Bill won't admit that the violence, and not the atheism, made them what they became.

Also when you say atheism has been ruled as a religion are you using that as a compliment or an insult?

Neither compliment nor insult, but a legal fiction.

Judges use legal fictions (harmless lies) to justify rulings that justice requires but no law-making body has considered. For instance, in old England the law let people sell what they owned but there was no law that let them rent it. So when people brought rental conflicts to court, judges used the laws on selling to help them decide how to rule. Wikipedia will probably tell you more than you want to know.

In the prison case above, the prison's rules let believers meet but didn't mention non-believers. The warden told the non-believers they could not meet, which violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. The judges treated atheism as a religion so non-believers could meet. They used a legal fiction to make the prison rule fair.

Judges use legal fictions (harmless lies) to justify rulings that justice requires but no law-making body has considered.

The law uses "terms of art" (which is another word for a legal invention) when needed. For example, the legal term "act of God" makes no actual reference to God and in no way affirms the existence of a deity, and in more modern times might have been termed "natural disaster" or some such. It's too late to change it now.

You did recycle a charge made by uninformed xians, Bill.

You also didn't know the purpose of legal fictions/inventions.

For whom were you speaking/writing?

Please go ahead, Bill.

I used to have all sorts of crazy coincidences happen to me. I was in a tiny village in Italy and partied with some backpackers. Years later I ran into one of them in a very random tiny village in Turkey. Neither of us had any good reason to be there and tourists rarely went there. That weekend in fact there were a few more tourists there (again total coincidence). We had even more fun partying together than in Italy. Some time later I ran into the second person I met in that Turkish village in a city in Iran (not the most tourist city and not one that I spent a large amount of time in). She was convinced it was destiny. My Iranian friends told me it was fate/god/amazing. I simply saw it as an inevitability after all the people I'd met and travelling I've done. The fact that there was a seeming chain of coincidences is not meaningful. If anything I'm surprised that there weren't even more coincidences considering that I was travelling like a madman. It is a cop out to call it destiny. There is a much more beauty in knowing the likelihood of such chance encounters and enjoying the randomness of it when they happen. There is a beauty to it that is tainted by spiritual or religious narratives that come along with them. A poisonous need to insist that there is meaning in random events...when in reality one can simply enjoy them in the moment (especially if you're lucky enough to encounter more than most people do). They tend to happen less and less the more you settle down).

I've had similar experiences, and while travelling. I've had a couple of near-death accidents where luck was the only reason I survived. But it can work the other way, too. When "fate" claims someone's life, we don't get to hear their story(s). When God destroys a town with tornadoes and kills people, the survivors still thank Him.

When God destroys a town with tornadoes and kills people, the survivors still thank Him.

Beanie, why not the below?

When Ma and Pa Nature destroy a town with tornadoes and kill people, the survivors leave Tornado Alley.

I remember from 11th grade Latin reading a line from a play that was a reply to a question similar to the one you're presenting.

"The word coincidence would not exist if it weren't needed now and again."

That and all the reason and logic in the world still cannot keep us from wondering otherwise once in a while.  I admit I have.  I still do and I imagine i will in the future.  My memorable "coincidences" have given me my own harmless superstitions that have some benefits.  For instance I've learned if I boast about either money or health it's a sure bet that within 12 hours I'll need to see a doctor or will have lost  money or been saddled with an unexpected large expense.  Hence I don't boast about anything. 

When events like that happen I'm content to marvel at them, laugh sometimes and always stop short of attempting to construct explanations out of pure nothing.  I like living in a world where some things I experience have no names, explanations or discernible causes.  I try not to talk too much about them because the people I talk to are too quick to loan me their names, explanations and causes for events they didn't experience.

When I boasted of my health and three hours later broke three ribs by sitting in a chair I mused that it was a god reminding me to be humble.  But a god who does that and doesn't attempt to save 60 people in a bus that falls off a bridge into a river isn't a god I would consider believing in.

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