One thing I noticed as a Christian even as a child was that church seemed to be far more of a social club than a place of learning or actually acting on said beliefs. I never could wrap my mind around how our immortal souls were in danger of going to Hell forever and people at church talked casually about puppies and baseball. I found this to be universally true to any church I went. Yes there was a secret language the people used just like in golf, or football, but in general it was just the same. You meet throw down a few Jesus sounding phrases, maybe talk about the weather, endure the religious ceremony, and get back home as soon as possible to catch the game or go fishing.
I just didn't understand the casual approach to church or Christianity. It was like going to bowl for a birthday party. No one was really interested in bowling, it in fact was not mentioned or talked about that much, rather it was an excuse to socialize. If these people really, truly believed in spiritual warfare, the devil, and any possibility of their friends and family being tortured forever would they be so apparently unconcerned about it? Would they casually say well that's my belief when the subject of God did come up the conversation? Would people keep religion out of the workplace if they actually believed in an all powerful god? If Christians truly believed that our lives were going to end in heaven or Hell forever would that not be the ONLY important thing in life to worry, or talk about? Yet this subject wasn't even casually spoken about at church functions! I am really serious it's just not a priority subject even at church!
This was partly why I stopped going to church. I went to many churches not unoften four times a week. I wanted to learn about God not talk about puppies. My fellow hard core church going Christians appeared to not be that interested in well....GOD!
What I find particularly interesting is that many of these casual believers will get emotional and even go to their deaths in wars etc. for their apparent casual beliefs. How is it that their beliefs don't seem to matter until someone ask for the ten commandments or a Christian flag to be removed from government property? Boy howdy, then all the sudden they will March with the proverbial pitchforks! I honestly don't think it's because they actually believe in what they are doing or saying in these situations at all. They don't live it in any apparent way normally. I think it is simply another social construct. I would really like to go to a mob the next time their is a Christian flag, or monument removed from government property. I would like to hang out and listen to the conversations in the crowd. Baseball, the weather, that cute baby?
Do theist truly believe in what they believe? Why do their actions say otherwise?
Some time back, Daniel Dennett coined the term, "belief in belief," suggesting that it was the quality of belief itself which held the desirable positive benefits believers wish to possess. To me, this is right up there with the concept of faith as a virtue, which Christopher Hitchens so loathed. To me, either you've got the goods or you don't ... or in other words:
If you have the truth, you can demonstrate it. Talking doesn't prove it. Show people.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
I'm still waiting to be shown.
I see your point pretty well. Recently I had to call down a person in Walmart who gave me a bible tract and said I would be in hell soon if I didn't act on it. I made that person appear as a damned fool and he quickly walked away. That type is an exception.
I remember my church days when Bobby and Susie confessed to being caught doing the nasty. Church members had prayed with both of them and maybe wanted to "pray the devil out." Both Bobby and Susie cried. Secretly some of the men might have wanted to be alone with Susie. Some of the congregation talked of whether they should get married. Finally Bobby said "at least it was a natural sin and not like tobacco or something."
WAIT. Are we to believe that it would have been worse if they both sneaked off for a cigarette? Yes, it's hard to imagine what church members really believe. In this case of idiocy I think they were trying to deal with it all the OT way without shootings or ass whippings. It's still all mucked up!
I know what you mean Compelled. It was the same in the Mormon church that I was raised in. Although the Mormon hell isn't eternal torture, it's bad enough that I thought true believers should have been more concerned.
I remember many of my mother's family seldom or never went to church, but say anything against it, and they would jump to it's defense.
I often go for a walk in early morning when it's dark and notice that the Mormon church and Catholic School have many lights on, to keep burglars at bay.
That seems like a huge lack of faith &/or belief that god will protect the property.
I believe Ben Franklin proved once and for all time that god doesn't protect the property of a church.
After his lightning rod became well known (anybody could use any of his ideas without payment), two Italian churches were debating whether to install the devices. One decided to, the other not to.
The church without the lightning rod was struck and burned to the ground.
Without mentioning this former members name I will say she was on A/N with some persuasive arguments. She started a lot of blogs here but had to drop out in the end. Why? She was getting married. Of course, she was marrying a believer so it meant her atheist days were over. Loren and a few others will remember her.
Do theists really believe or is it just a social club? I'm a little alarmed when I'm at a church testimonial service and some guy says "he was just back in the last row talking to Jesus." In fact, I'm so alarmed that I stopped going to church for any reason. If that person said he was talking to Woody Woodpecker he would be looked at as strange. He might even be declared to have a mental condition.
I quit going to Mom's Baptist church when I was four because it seemed like the people there were acting kind of crazy -- talking of ghosts and things that I knew weren't real. I've visited a few churches in the intervening 60 years and my opinion of them hasn't shifted much. I think that they are mainly social clubs -- a place where like-minded people can relax and talk about what matters to them to those most sure to share their values, whether it's puppies and ball games or a perceived attack on their tribe. People go to churches to be comforted but also to be guided, and so the leader(s) -- minister, pastor, priest, imam, rabbi, shaman or whatever has particular power over them that isn't available in any other realm except perhaps politics and sex.
Now that we, you and I, are free of the superstitions, we can continue to join with others who are like-minded, where we can talk honestly with each other, encourage, support, inspire, influence, and learn from each other.
I am free to doubt and question you as you are able to do the same with me. We are in a safe place where we show respect, even as we disagree. It is the disagreement that can be the most fun. However, I like to be with people who do not believe in myths. I like being with people who confront me when they disagree with me, not in an angry way, or with a sense of superiority, but with an honest statement of dispute.
I like sharing ideas and experiences; we live on such a splendid planet and we can't all see the features ourselves. Seeing through another's eye offers interesting perspectives.
I come to Atheist Nexus because I feel safe here, even as experience being challenged. I live in a Republican dominated, religiously organized community and have no atheist with whom I can visit. The idle chatter here has to do with church, redemption, salvation, and suffering.
I am suffering, not because of any sin I committed but because I ruptured my plantar fasciitis and it hurts like hell. It is curable, at least the tissue will either heal or can be repaired with surgery.
I'm sure glad you are my friend, Ted because you have a firm, stable, and safe shoulder upon which I can rest.
Do theists really and truly believe? They never question anything and that includes the obvious. Recently I'm flipping TV channels and I find evangelist Womack reading a scripture that says over 4000 people were saved that day. This was the result of preaching. Nobody in the religious world bats an eye on this.
How would a crowd of 4000 people even hear the message 2000 years ago? This event wasn't like a rock concert. Megaphones would not work. Too many people are in the responding area of this event.
Could it be that numbers were sacred in a religious sense and we have to go by numerical meaning rather than actual facts? 4000, 40 days and nights, 12, 120, etc. If this is true then there is no real event as we know facts today and that makes it all so much bullshit.
It's hard to convince a believer of that.
Thanks, Michael, for providing even more evidence that scripture just does not make sense. How could 4,000 people hear a sermon 2,000 years ago?! Good point!
Michael, I enjoyed that comment. I have listened to talks and read many things by professionals. All of those things have made me an "agnostic" on the biblical talk of a "Jesus".
Isn't it funny how as former Christians we could easily formulate ways that it could have happened? Of course we would have to throw out reason and logic, but seriously could we not simply just explain it away? Well there must have been 40 Christians there to to lead 100 people each in the sinners prayer...done....of course there was no sinners prayer at that time but let's talk about puppies!
Religious justification or modern apologetics? They are much the same. My stepdad is in a nursing home with a broken hip and he also has dementia. My boyhood Pentecostal friend says his god can heal dad without question and it is all dependent upon how much "faith" you have. Faith is everything, he says. Show me evidence. Show me a person who has had their mind and broken hip healed by this god and they are walking around talking about it. My friend says that evidence is "works" and not "faith". He dismisses the idea anyway because dad does not have the mindframe now to have this wonderful "faith." I told him it was all BS and he refused to talk to me any longer about it.
This is the religious mentality of many believers.