Here is a story on CNN today, "Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism"
So, how does one go from reason and rationality to superstitious nonsense? I know that there are some atheists who are only atheist through not reason and rationality but rather from "hating god" because of something that had happened to them. I term these atheists as fake atheists. But someone commented on the site that in her blog that she was raised in a non-faith household (I am not sure if this is true, but for the sake of argument that it is true) - how the hell does one get brainwashed to go from reason and rationality to superstition and irrationality?
Really? I tell theists that I see no evidence often and challenge them to show me evidence. I get the usual sunset and baby stories with some other "design" ideas thrown in. Recently one told me I sounded like somebody who wanted to get "saved." Apparently I'm now envious of what they have.
Saved from what? Just what is it I'm going to be saved from? Oh, I C. If I believe in god he will save me from what he was going to do to me if I didn't believe. Yeah, I got it now.
Even if one will admit that most theists have a psychologically based need to believe as they do, or their beliefs are the sum total of indoctrination, or their beliefs are childlike...whatever, if you are taking the position of defender of atheism you may find that doing so from an theisticly educated orientation would increase the effectiveness of your position.
So, your challenge for evidence is wasted and displays ignorance of the Biblical basis of belief and faith as the belief in God is totally one of faith, or belief in that which is unseen and unprovable.
We all have faith to one level or another. For instance, some have great faith in the scientific method, and for good reason, even if it is limited by the ability to gather sufficient physically based data and even if this data may not ever be found. You have faith in the existence of electrons even if the evidence is indirect and you've never actually seen an electron. Some have faith in the multiverse even if this hypothesis has, as yet, no scientific basis. You have faith in flying or you wouldn't take an airplane. On and on.
As for the "saved" bit. Those theists that use this expression use it to refer to the act of being saved from original sin and/or your own current, perhaps sinful life with a true "repentance" and then a handing over your life to be guided by the tenets of a christian belief system of one sort or another. They believe this is one way to increase the odds (collect "grace") of obtaining "salvation" and going to heaven in the afterlife, etc.
Though you obviously mock these beliefs those theists that espouse it are serious and truly believe this. But why mock it. I'm sure there are mockable things pertaining to yourself but, do you believe, does that give anyone the right to mock you?
HarveyLM, I take the David Silverman approach. That makes me a militant atheist. Calling it like it is is not mocking people, but I certainly can mock what they believe in and I also do not have to respect it.
As for flowery bits about how we all have faith in something, I totally disagree. Using your airplane example I admit to flying but I have no "faith" in the airplane. Flying in one scares the holy shit out of me, but I have flown in them.
Going through other church beliefs or theistic beliefs in general is a waste of time for me. Been there, done that, and not going to do it again even in trying to find more on how a theist thinks because it's redundant. I'd rather study Silverman books or read up on Boghossian's way of creating an atheist. I read you and it sounds like you are trying to turn atheists into theists.
Michael Penn, I don't think you understood, or maybe took enough effort, to gather the gist of my words. For instance, the "bits" I wrote about faith weren't "flowery" at all but, rather, quite true. Related: as to your fear of airplanes and flying, the fact that you do it anyway indicates to me a faith in those machines nonetheless, however small it may be. But we all MUST work under assumptions built up over a lifetime and they are all based on the idea that "if it's true yesterday, it should be true now", or, our assumptions (or conclusions about reality) are there because that's how we've learned to survive. In fact, our learned assumptions, based on experience, is one of the pillars of survival. So, forget airplanes if you insist, but I think you have great faith in electromagnetic principles, otherwise you'd never trust the floor that your feet have to touch after waking up each morning, not to mention my other examples, all there to clarify my point.
I went through the theistic beliefs because, in a prior answer, you seemed to not know certain important things that, as a "militant atheist", you'd look quite foolish not knowing. So, you said "Saved from what?", and I answered. Amazing that you didn't know the answer to that very basic fact despite your claims to have "been there, done that,..." I mean, you can't really be legitimately against something for which you don't understand, yes? :)
Harvey, I can quote scripture chapter and verse. I choose not to do that because ministerial things are not my lifestyle any longer. Perhaps I have taken a lot of what you have said in a wrong way. I don't have the use of words or writing style that you do. If I use words like "saved from what" I am mocking the very idea of biblical salvation, and not mocking the person.
Your hints that I must have faith in gravity are wrong. I do know how my feet have always been able to hit the floor in the morning as I get out of bed, and I trust this will work every time. So far, so good. This has nothing to do with "faith." I might also add that I can tell you nothing about believing in a multiverse. I'm not a scientist. I don't think they have evidence of it either.
So, I do understand but I'm still against "salvation." Biblical salvation is nonsense. It makes no more sense than sacrificing a goat. I do agree with you that we all work under assumptions that were built up in our lifetimes. That is why some believe and some do not.
Ah, good. Thanks for calming down a bit and allowing me to get where you're coming from.
My point is always that, if a person or organization isn't infringing on the legal or "natural" rights of others, it's OK. We're all human, or at least most of us, and as such share in the existential angst of living. Among the stresses is that we know that we'll die and that our time is limited. Atheists and theists know this but they each deal with this in different ways. The point is, our dealing with these things (and it's not just about death, though it may all be inevitably connected to it) lead us on our various paths.
If people want to believe something because it helps them deal with death as related to purpose of life, meaning of life, their place in our universe, etc., well that's just being very human. The fact that we know we'll die eventually pushes most of us to examine our lives and what meaning, legacy, purpose, etc., we give to it. Plato was credited with the quote, "An unexamined life is not worth living". So, theists do it their way, and you yours...but it all stems from the same source.
I write this not to put theism on a platter but, rather, to show that we are all connected and, whether we search for meaning, etc., in one way or another, we do so because of our humanness. If an atheist has anything to beef about it should, in my opinion, only come from a situation where a theist, or a fellow atheist, actually starts infringing on your lawful and protected rights. That's the issue. Otherwise, if someone feels that going to Mass, praying, going to confession, etc., helps their purpose of being in God's graces so that, upon death, they will be in heaven, etc., who cares?
Harvey, that was all very well put and very well said. I can certainly agree. :)
Unless you take it that reason is a potent adversary of emotions. :)