Positives that religion provides and making a case for a different approach to promote atheism

While I am what most people would describe as an atheist, I normally call myself an agnostic, not so much because of any belief in a creator, but more because I would be open to accepting there was one if I had any proof. Dawkins has said about the same thing, but unlike him, I am not sure that the world would be a better place without religion. Yes, many bad things have been done because of religion, but there is a huge bias working in what we hear and see. Most religious people that have moderate views are silent and get much from their faith. Many if not most believe in science, evolution and such, but simply add the comforting belief that there a loving god and afterlife. I see this coming from several basic human needs.

  • First, the more miserable a life someone has, the more need there is to seek some sort of comfort. A belief that they suffer for a reason, that there will be something better is a powerful balm.
  • Second, people often are tempted to do things that they morally know are bad, like stealing, lying, etc. Religious belief sets up within people a sort of self governance.
  • Third, people suffer when they lose someone they love, A belief in an afterlife removes much of the pain.

There is also a big difference in peoples reality due to IQ differences. Most of us here have a higher than average IQ. My IQ is higher than 99.99 percent of the people around me. The world seems much different to someone with an IQ of even average range. I got a hint of what it would be like to be less logical when an illness affected my cognitive abilities. I had to learn new coping skills and it made me see how someone who just does not have the mental abilities to really understand things like deep time would simply come to the conclusions they have. Nature is really rather miraculous looking.

I have come to the conclusion that humanity will not ever be free of superstitious thinking and it is understandable. With that in mind, insulting religion does not seem to me a good way of fighting against it. Maybe we would be better off trying to influence religious beliefs instead to promote them being a more positive influence while insuring that as much science education as possible while trying to minimize parental indoctrination.

I am not at all sure that Dawkins is a positive force for atheism. I understand why we tend to have a chip on our shoulder. I am so tired to having people try to indoctrinate me, flipping through the religious shows on tv, etc. Before the Internet, I had not even met another person who would admit being an atheist. We have a lot of pent up frustration. But now, we have the Internet and people who are interested in atheistic ideas will find us. We should work towards ways of being seen positively.

Be Well,

HoP

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    Ed


    • First, the more miserable a life someone has, the more need there is to seek some sort of comfort. A belief that they suffer for a reason, that there will be something better is a powerful balm.

    Human suffering being explained as a necessary circumstance in life to appease an invisible being is not that comforting to me. It actually just pisses me off.

    • Second, people often are tempted to do things that they morally know are bad, like stealing, lying, etc. Religious belief sets up within people a sort of self governance.

    It's called having a conscious. There is no rule book in life, contrary to popular religious opinion. The idea that I am good to placate an invisible being is a shitty reason to be moral. Morality was created, adapted, and advanced long before religion and supernatural myth had come into existence. 

    • Third, people suffer when they lose someone they love, A belief in an afterlife removes much of the pain.

    What if they believe the person is going to Hell because they happened to not play by the rules of religion? Life is a finite proposition. Why the wringing of hands? 

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      Donald S. Chase

      I like that 99.99% thing. Old Pappy used to say, "The best way to make yourself look good Is to hang out with a bunch of ugly people".

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        Andrew

        Your "benefits of religion" list seems to center around Marx's famous criticism: Religion is the opiate of the masses. 

        Personally I think opiating the masses is a bad thing. And opiating myself is a bad thing. I would never numb myself against thinking about all the wonderful aspects of life (philosophy, scientific discovery, and yes, the bad things too, like pain, existentialist despair, etc). Something doesn't have to feel good to be a worthwhile life experience, and if you avoid everything that doesn't feel good, you're seriously missing out on life.