I would like your help on a few questions i pose to friends and family, mostly armchair moderate christians, a few agnostics, and some young nieces and nephews that are atheists but afraid to admit it to their parents...i would like some honest and thoughtful answers that i could possibly use in a section of a book i am writing, nothing that involves names ect; or even specifics of any kinds...its just a fill in section to take the writing from one chapter to another.  here are a few and i thank you for your answers.

1. Will there ever be a U.S. President that is an outright Atheist?

    a. If YES in what approximate year do you think this will happen?

    b. If NO why not?

2. Do you believe Atheism is an evolutionary process in the shape of: Evolved Intelligence>Civilization>Polytheism>Monotheism>Atheism...ect?

    a. Or Not, its just a choice we happened upon

    b. Or Yes but not necessarily in that order or any order at all or couldve been just atheism throughout

    c. Another situation(s)

3. What would/would not happen to organised religion if alien life was found?

4. What was your personal story in the denial of religion?

5. Do you believe, as i DO, that organised religion will die out and...

    a. It will make the earth a better/worse place for it

    b. It will direct the earths focus on prolonging our lives, advancing technology, eradicating disease, ect...

    c. It will never die out

    d. It will just take on a new form since there are people who will never be able to live without some semblance of a higher power

6.  CAN YOU ADD ANY QUESTIONS OF THE SORT ABOVE FOR DISCUSSION?

 

Thank you for your answers, support, and for being true to yourself.  We dont have to deny or justify anything, facts are facts and truth is truth.  I stopped believing in fairy tales and childrens fables when i was younger, and some of them were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the bible, and more believable.  I am glad to have a community of like minded "friends" who i can share, discuss, argue and debate with.  I have been working on 3 books for the past 4 years, 2 of them are novels, one is a discussion of my personal atheism, how it affects my family friends and the like, how i relate it to the world and how it has shaped my view of other humans on this beloved planet of OURS.  I cannot express fully how helpful this site has been, our contributors and their works, both private and public, and how they and you all have shaped my still learning mind down new paths and unexplored directions.  thank you and keep on truckin.....  ~rookie~

 

Views: 298

Comment by Strega on May 28, 2013 at 4:05pm

Wow, will I get marks out of 10? Grin, let's give it a go...

1. I think you need at least a couple more vassilating Presidents before one could admit the whole hog. So I'd guess at either 2024 or 2032, assuming the future incumbents serve both terms.

2. I think the movement from polytheism to monotheism was a streamlining effect. I think atheism just jumps off the religious bus wherever it happens to be. Science can free an atheist, but living with cognitive dissonance and retaining religion is a technique which, once learned at a young age, can be very hard to shrug off.

3. If alien life were found, the religious would praise god for another creation, the Mormons would gleefully announce the planets name as Kolob, and all of us would actually pull together more, as the alien nation would provide a strong enough "them" for humans to need to consolidate to an "us".

4. I was brought up in a pretty low-religiosity nation (London, UK) by a pretty non-religious family so I never became indoctrinated. I read the Greek, Roman, Norse and other mythologies avidly as a youngster, and they were, I agree, much more fun. When I got to hear about current religions, they didn't seem as colourful and fun, so I stuck with Zeus and his wayward activities.

4. Organised religion will polarise, in my opinion. Those on the outskirts of a belief system will drop it altogether, but those who are in the centre will simply cling to it harder. Some people actually prefer to be told what to do. Religion fulfills that need.

There, that's my input. Hope it's what you were looking for, I'm not very structure-orientated... unless I invent the structure, of course.

Comment by kris feenstra on May 28, 2013 at 4:05pm

1. re: POTUS

a) Yes, though perhaps not within the next fifty years. I believe opposition to the idea of an atheist American President will largely diminish over the next few decades, but actually having an atheist elected will take longer.

The same can be said for a female president: I believe many people have been open to the idea since the 90s, but Clinton was/ is the first real threat of seeing it happen. It will still take some time for it to actually happen, even if many people (enough to determine the election) aren't opposed to the idea.

2. re: atheism as evolutionary process

c) I think religion has served a function in society for some time, but rather than the relevance of atheism increasing, the relevance of theism is simply decreasing. You can look at it more as the process of extinction of religion rather than the evolved emergence of atheism.

3. re: religion and alien life

Some religions are more adaptable than others, but all are ultimately capable of flexing in light of new discoveries. Organized religions will simply work it into their world view as if it was there all along. Some may take longer to do so than others.

4. re: personal story

Born into an irreligious family. Had exposure to religions, but minimal social pressure to accept any of them. The veracity of religions currently held to be true did not seem appreciably different from those humanity had already dismissed and abandoned.

5. re: religion dying out

d) I think humans are capable of being rational, but rationality is not the primary driving force of our species. Atheists may have abandoned religion, but we still seem to be prone to irrational impulses. Losing religion may improve the way we navigate reality, but irrational behaviour is part of our neurology. We will take religious thinking habits and apply them to other things.

6. Do you think atheists are different from theists beyond belief or disbelief in deities?

a) Yes, as a general trend atheists are significantly different in the following ways:
b) Yes, atheists are inherently different in the following ways:
c) No, atheists are people just the same as theists and statistical differences are not significant.

My answer to my own question is 'c'.

Comment by Strega on May 28, 2013 at 4:07pm

^^ as you can see by the two separate 4.'s and the absence of a 5, crap at structure :)

Comment by Strega on May 28, 2013 at 4:13pm

Oh Kris - sterling question!

6. I think atheists are just people and they are likely to be like other people, irrespective of religion.  The ones that are different, are the "de-converts".  They are the ones that actually threw off the mantle of religion, and they are the ones that are going to be "different" if any, because of their need to find the Truth, and their refusal to simply believe what they were taught as children.  Once we have a majority of atheists being brought up without religion, then we will be back to being comparable without major difference.  Kudos to the "de-converts" though!

Comment by Keith Konecny on May 28, 2013 at 4:31pm

very nice Kris, exactly the type of deviation im looking for....deviation meaning something other than the $h*t spewing out of my head at the moment.  and yes strega, the Bday wishes gave you a 11 outta 10 before you even answered lol...thank you for participating, all of this helps me toward my goal of ACTUALLY finishing a project...

Comment by Kyle Bates on May 28, 2013 at 6:00pm

1. Probably.  I don't see this any time soon. I'd say the current generation would have to be elderly and have spawned multiple generations of atheists. :)

2. Erg, no.  Positioning it like that makes it seem like that development was inevitable or at all required. I see religion as a function of civilization.  Hopefully as we are increasingly forgoing religion that we will eventually get the point when we can leave civilization behind as well to embrace whatever it is that comes next.  Civilization is not a function of intelligence but of entitlement.  Indigenous peoples are just as intelligent if not moreso (due to better diets, etc) than us civilized folk.  

3. Like with any other discovery, there will be those who embrace it and those who oppose it.  There will be some religions who will embrace aliens as part of the creation story of their religion.  There will be others who will take more extreme positions.  Like Strega said, I'd be very worried about the ingrouping we humans will do.

4.Raised Catholic. Heavily involved in the church to the point that I was actively being groomed for the priesthood.  Came to a number of realizations... "we call their stories myth and ours creed" and that it simply seemed far more likely we invented the idea of god rather than the other way around.  I then began an earnest study into how things came to be this way that spanned many disciplines.  I also wanted to see how religion fit into our cultural development.

5. This completely depends on what takes the place of religion.  Any sort of philosophy embracing transhumanist nonsense (life extension, etc) would be just as destructive as religion. The only difference would be the justification and the belief in supernatural entities (but then who but the gods could give us such authority?  Or it is that said entitlement is so ingrained in us we no longer need a god to tell us to be fruitful and multiply?)    If we want things to be better and live in a truly sustainable world, we have to get rid of this sense of human exceptionalism.  

6. Essentially we are all the same except that supernaturalizing the human experience makes it impossible to understand and value humanity's place in the natural environment.  But to reiterate my point in question 5, NOT supernaturalizing the human experience does not automatically guarantee said understanding.

Comment by Strega on May 28, 2013 at 6:52pm

we will eventually get the point when we can leave civilization behind as well to embrace whatever it is that comes next. Civilization is not a function of intelligence but of entitlement.

How fascinating - I hadn't thought about civilisation as being surpassable.  Way cool!

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on May 28, 2013 at 8:07pm

1. Will there ever be a U.S. President that is an outright Atheist?

Yeah, by the time my generation comes into full possession of the US government, which will probably be 35 years from now.

2. Do you believe Atheism is an evolutionary process in the shape of: Evolved Intelligence>Civilization>Polytheism>Monotheism>Atheism...ect?

In some ways yes. In others no. Religion, being a cultural construct, varies from civilization to civilization, region to region, person to person. I think whether a person is likely to have theistic beliefs has more to do with the level of education, wealth, and personal security, than any sort of natural progression or evolution.

3. What would/would not happen to organised religion if alien life was found?

Not much. Likely it would be microbial life and they'd just say that there is no contradiction as the holy books don't state one way or another about what happens on another planet.

4. What was your personal story in the denial of religion?

It's long but there were a number of factors. I had lived with two atheists in college one who was studying neruopharmacology and the other was going for a masters in anthropology and their knowledge greatly influenced me. I had been for awhile trying to dispel cognitive dissonance. I realized how detrimental religion had been to my own life, and had at some point resolved to toss away all beliefs and start fresh thinking that if it was true then I'd find it again. Needless to say, it all added up to me not believing anymore.

5. Do you believe, as i DO, that organised religion will die out?

I don't think it will. As long as there is poverty, severe inequality, and systemic injustice there will always be a niche for the memes of a universal guardian/protector/giver-of-divine-justice to take hold. We would have to be in a utopia for religion to loose it's hold, a situation that I don't think we will ever reach unless we can change something fundamental about the workings of the human brain.

6. CAN YOU ADD ANY QUESTIONS OF THE SORT ABOVE FOR DISCUSSION?

Hmmm.... For those who it was an issue, what was you greatest personal struggle in admitting you were an atheist? How's that work? Any good?

Comment by Unseen on May 28, 2013 at 9:12pm

3. If alien life were found, and it turned out to be some sort of intelligent pond scum, it would be interesting to know if the earthly Jesus is their savior, too, or do they have a pond scum Jesus of their own?

Comment by Keith Konecny on May 28, 2013 at 9:14pm

kyle...i see exactly what you mean in #2.  The reason i used the civilization>ect was just for example, it didnt really have to be those words or even that form (A>B>C>D>E), i just threw in there what i could real quick.  Regardless i believe what you say is correct and i shouldve taken my time in formulating the question better prior to posting it.  Very good thoughts on it tho, i believe whole heartedly that religion is developed by us, and not a premise to a species.  im sure many if not all probably entertain ideas of where we come from ect, but not as a necessity in their developmen, esp religion as we humans know it. and i also agree with Strega in saying nice thought on civilization being surpassable.  We know nothing of an alien species, how could one even postulate what their growth would be like, except the old fall back of narrow minds thinking of aliens as humans, like putting a human face on a "GOD".

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