Why Are So Many Religious People Not Able to Understand that There Are Actually People Who Do Not Believe in Any Deity

Dear fellows,

As I experience again and again, there are many religious people who are simply not able to understand that there are people in the world who truely do not believe in any deity at all. I recently wrote the following provocative message in a social network: 'Haven't you heard the good news yet? Lo: there is no god -- we are free!' One of my cousins asked me whether I were so afraid of God (capital g!) that I had to deny His existence to be free.
This is the first of two alternatives. The second is being angry at God (capital g again). Thus, in the eyes of the religious, if you claim that you do not believe in God, they suppose you to be either afraid of or angry at Him. They simply ignore the possibility that you really do not believe in such an entity whatsoever, because--at least so it seems to me--in their minds, it is impossible not to believe in a metaphysical being. My aforementioned cousin only believes in a deistic god, by the way, yet even he fails to realize what atheism is about.

Have you experienced similar reactions? What is it, do you think, that prevents those people from grasping that a human being need not necessarily believe in a deity?

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And true. I'd lose a lot of friends and family if I said it this bluntly out loud, but I really do equate a strict religious upbringing to being one step away from child abuse. It's emotional and psychological abuse.

It's why while I hate to see so many adults still sucked into the god fantasy, I do understand it on many levels. I see them as victims.

Though there are victims that at least try and help themselves and those who are fully embroiled in their Stockholm Syndrome. When someone is otherwise reasonable, logical, rational, and will actually listen to the evidence that god is man-made but still mindlessly cling to it 'just because,' then my pity turns into outright disgust.
I've heard that crap too many times. "You're just angry at god, blah blah blah". I think part of it is because the atheist in question doesn't fit the stereotype of atheists that has been put forth from the religious community for ages. Have you ever heard... "you can't be an atheist because you're .... moral, nice, polite, friendly, etc, etc. I've heard this numerous times from people who were shocked when they found out I was an atheist. When I ask them what they expected an atheist to be like, they roll out the same old ugly stereotypes. Atheists care only about themselves, are satanists, are commies, immoral, etc.
I hace experienced something similar only with both Christians and Wiccans, having gotten into some heated debates with both, who seem completely unable to understand the concept of people not holding any spiritual or religious belief.

It becomes very tedious to the point where one or two practically interogated me, not willing to let the subject drop until they could 'understand' it, insisting I believed something.
Thank you very much for your replies, fellows!

So I conclude I am not the only one to experience the situations I described in my original post.

I agree that religion amounts to some kind of mental disorder if held to beyond childhood. The question arising from this is whether there can be a cure, some kind of therapy in order to rearrange people's minds, so that they can experience clear and rational thinking as well. The main problem is, needless to say, that at present there are too many people in the world who hold religious beliefs, wherefore religion is not recognized as a disease. This may change over time, however, just as most people in the Western countries do not believe in demonic possession any longer, so that people with psychic disorders get psychiatric or psychological treatment instead of shamans or priests trying to exorcize demons.
Can't say I've never really thought about it. This may be because I don't care what others understand about me or anything else. It's hard enough for me to understand myself most of the time. I don't bother with people who are unable to simply accept me as I am. (and vice versa) That includes first degree relatives.

It's also my belief there is no reason any other person 'ought' understand anything. That they may not understand says very little about them,other than they don't understand.However, I think it says a lot about the person concerned,and none it flattering.


Allan Shore ; "Denny,doesn't it worry you that you may die without anyone ever having actually known you?"

Denny Crane; " Hell no! I don't want people to know me; I want them to know MY version"
> If religious people weren't unreasonable, they wouldn't be religious.
This begs a lot of questions. Of course, believing that it's important to believe irrational things is unreasonable, by definition.. What, though, is a 'religious person'?

I know some people who are atheists who go to church. Actually the Church of England used to comprise mainly of atheists (read Trollope). I even go to churches and mosques and temples myself. So, if you count people who take part in religious rituals as 'religious' then you're going to include an awful lot of reasonable people.

If you work as a teacher at a church school, for example, you have to attend services as part of your contract. They can be very good schools - despite the god-bothering bit. In fact they can be good schools because the god-bothering bit acts as an anti-theism inoculation, a handy thing to have early in life, so you don't end up sucked into some cult or other in your twenties or thirties.

I tend to visit places of worship because I'm keen on the architecture, sculpture and tranquility to be found in great cathedrals or mosques like the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. I'm also very fond of plainchant, and the poetry of the psalms. This has nothing to do with being religious.

It can also, simply, be good manners, if you're in a small community where they all do something communal together, joining in is a good idea, if you're going to get along socially. Church dances are good places to meet the opposite sex - yes, some of them may be complete nutters [but picking people up at a rave is no protection against that], but many are just there for the same reason.

So I'd not come to the conclusion that everybody who appears 'religious' is ipso facto unreasonable.
The quote is actually:
"If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people."

A little less question begging and a little more broad speculation. The quote is aimed at humor, buddy, so don't analyze it too much LOL
LOVE that quote
Have you read the Bible? It's definately in there and it seems like a uniquely Christian thing to me. All other religions seem to get it.

It says it literally and they follow it blindly. here are some of the poisonous verses, skimming articles:

2 Timothy 2:7 "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."

Romans 1:18-21 declares, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

they seriously believe that everyone experiences god and has no excuse for not believing. bullshit.
Yes, religious belief has been based on faith for a long time, but more so recently. Arguments like that of the anthropic principle have been used to try to lend rationality to that belief, but it is accepted as irrational. Most thoughtful, intelligent and literate theists [and many do exist] accept that religion is not based on rationality.

That wasn't my point though. It is not irrational to enjoy the beauty of a cathedral, mosque, psalm, organ piece by Bach or even, as I did, midnight mass at St. Marks in Venice. At least no more irrational to enjoy the aesthetics of a castle, or palace or to like rap music [well, maybe that is irrational, but for different reasons] or, perhaps, to enjoy the sculpture of the museum at Bilbao.

So, yes, actual god-bothers are unreasonable - but many you might call 'religious', because they, like me, like the Psalms of David sung in King's College Chapel in Cambridge, are perfectly reasonable and sound atheists.

That's my point.
The quote is actually:
"If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people."

Oh, I thought it was "if you could reason with religious people there wouldn't be any" (Greg House)


Tangent;why is it Christians seem to ignore the alleged encounter between Jesus and Thomas ('doubting Thomas') after resurrection ,where Thomas demands proof?

[ From memory]Jesus says something like "blessed are those who seeing,believe-----he then goes on to imply it's more blessed to believe without seeing.---Or have I misremembered?

At the Catholic school I attended,we were taught only a fool never questions his faith.
You haven't mis-remembered.

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." - John 20:29

And I get it a lot. It's a critical rule in selling something you know can so easily be debunked: Blessed is the person who pays no attention to the man behind the curtain, who doesn't ask for proof but believes blindly.

The modern equivalent would be "There is no news but FOX News: Blessed are they who trust and do not fact-check!"



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