Author Topic: Where should I stand on religion?  (Read 422 times)

Offline St Truth (OP)

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2017, 11:43:21 AM »
Not all atheists aren anti-theists.  If you are an anti-theist, expect to have few friends ;-(  I know it is hard to be tolerant of other human beings, nor not be self-hating (you seem to have reacted with a superiority complex instead of an inferiority complex).  Being anti-X usually is a symptom of a larger problem, being anti-social.  I hope you are able to have friends, though I would agree with some here, it is best to keep your anti-theism to yourself when around them.

I am an altar boy and I work closely with priests. I am only anti-theist on the Internet because on the Internet, theists become bold and make claims that they know they can't justify. In real life, theists usually don't want to talk to atheists or they don't want to hear anything against theism so they don't provoke me to be anti-theistic.  I don't bash village idiots. But on the Internet, village idiots somehow become bold. They make outrageous claims and they taunt atheists. That's when the justice in me becomes intolerant of such a gross injustice. Village idiots are lovely people. But the moment they taunt geniuses, that's when I will have to put the village idiot in his place.

But mostly, theists are innocuous people. They know their limits (both mental and intellectual) but it's on the Internet that they overstep the boundary.

I'm not even an atheist but I am intelligent enough to know that atheism is right. Atheists are very tolerant of theists and it's clear on an atheist forum such as this one. The reason why atheists are nicer people than theists is obvious. CF is vicious against atheists because CF is full of morons. They view even a single atheist as a threat against their loony belief in God. But atheists don't have to be firm against theists (even the more loony ones) because atheists are dealing with theists from a position of incredible mental and logical strength. Theists are a laughable bunch as far as the atheists are concerned.  There's no threat of theists peddling their flawed beliefs to atheists.

But I still get irritated by theists sometimes when I'm just amazed how wrong they can be and how unable they are in addressing their minds to the correct issues. It's easy to show theists they are wrong. It's like showing a mentally subnormal person he is wrong. The only problem is getting the theist or the mentally subnormal to UNDERSTAND what we are saying. Often, they just don't get it. It's the same on CF. Theists are definitely on the average mentally slow. This is in fact a statistical fact.

This is why nothing will induce me to go back to CF under a different identity. It's no fun going to a forum that is full of dumb fools. I used to think theists were dishonest but now I know it's nothing to do with honesty. They're just stupid. Of course there are exceptions but even then, the intelligent theist becomes automatically strangely stupid when he addresses his mind to religion.  Francis Collins is a good example. In his book 'The Language of God' the first half deals with the truth of evolution from the standpoint of a geneticist. You can't read it without accepting the truth of evolution.  The second half talks about how he became a Christian. It's unbelievable how much he can descend to the depths of imbecility the moment he addresses his mind to dumb God.  The only miracle this cursed non-existent God has ever done is to miraculously turn an otherwise intelligent theist into a bumbling fool.  In fact, this miracle is verifiable - it happens every time.

Offline SGOS

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2017, 12:47:37 PM »
I have to give a name for myself. To identify myself as a theist would be unbearably humiliating. Come on, I'm too intelligent to believe in theism. But Christianity is theistic. I have long called myself an Honest Christian. An Honest Christian is one who KNOWS that his culture / religion is old and contains fables and legends which are of course unreal. God and his merry angels are nonsense.
I will read this entire thread, but I'm guessing this must have been addressed by now.  If you have already responded to this, just ignore it.  I will catch up.

You are an atheist by definition.  You don't believe in a god.  Whether you are sure there is no god or just don't have a belief in one, you are an atheist.

I understand your position on this, because I've been there most of my life.  I also understand your connection with the church and that you feel a connection to Christianity, as I did culturally.  BUT... Christians believe in God.  They also believe in Jesus as the son of God.  That's the definition of a Christian.  By definition, you are NOT a Christian.

It seems to me that you are trying to hold onto two mutually exclusive view points by coming up with a definition or a word that somehow brings the two things together and allows you to not let go of either.  Literally, I don't think that's possible.  Why are you a Christian then?  Because you believe it's wrong to lie, cheat, steal, and murder people?  Non Christians believe that too.  There's nothing special there, so holding some Christian values is not what makes people Christians.

I guess you could make up a new term, and call yourself a "cultural Christian."  You can make up any term you want, but you won't really be a Christian.  This kind of thing kind of runs around the No True Scotsman fallacy, and challenges it somewhat on the grounds that you say you are a Christian, but I for one will never believe you are a Christian.  Not because you are lying to me.  But I believe you are playing one of those ever present mental games that we all play with ourselves in an attempt to create an image that you think you deserve.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't care if you do this, but being the pedant that I am, I do not accept your claim to Christianity because you are playing with definitions.  Unless you can come up with some explanation that I haven't considered.

Now I will read the rest of the thread.

Offline SGOS

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2017, 12:55:42 PM »
As an altar boy, I am very much into anything ceremonial and ritualistic. But you'd be mad to think that I pray when I'm not doing my altar duties in church. Even during prayers, my head is bowed and my hands clasped as is required of an acolyte but my mind is on other things.
Wow!  How I can relate to that.  Even before I came to grips with the thing, I would concentrate on praying.  But my mind would be on other things.  I'd be concentrating on prayer, while in the back of my head there was this tune constantly playing:  "There's nothing on the other end of these prayers.  I'm acting like an idiot praying when there's nothing listening."

Offline SGOS

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2017, 01:10:58 PM »
Really?  I somehow don't think you really mean that.  Are you suggesting that the mind you have now will crystallize and stay the same? You will have no new thoughts in 35 years?  No new emotions?  You have seen all and done all in your 15 yrs?  Do you think the world will stay as it is now?  Do you think the world of 2050 will be as it is now? 

One lesson I'm always learning--never say 'never', 'ever' or 'always'.  You just never know what the world is going to visit your life with; or whom. 
OMG!  You nailed that one.  People change.  There's an old adage:  "People don't change."  I suppose it's built on some idiosyncratic perception.  But people change.  Sometimes not a lot, sometimes a whole lot.  I know the feeling as you get older, say into your 50s and 60s, where you have this realization that your getting older, yet you still think about sex like you did when you were in your teens, and you often find yourself making the same mistakes as if you haven't learned a thing, and there's this thing that pops into your head that even though you are older and more mature, you're still having these "immature" primate thoughts.  But you also have other thoughts and accumulations of experiences that change you in ways you may not think about.  People do change.

If you say you will never change, and you somehow are able to stay always the same, you are immediately cutting yourself off from the experiences that give meaning to your life.  This is called growth.

Offline SGOS

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2017, 01:17:29 PM »
Of course I will have new input from external stimuli. But what I mean is my brain has reached its full potential. I don't think a 50-year-old is more logical than a 15-year-old. I mean if the theists here (or worse, in CF) are anything to go by and I'm assuming they're all older than me, I think I have done very well.
Yes, you're much farther ahead than most 15 year olds from what I can tell, but you are light years from your potential.  We all are.  One of the hardest things for me was letting go of perceptions and approaches to problems that were nothing short of habits, often bad habits.  And some of those bad habits were things that I cherished.  Don't become complacent thinking your habits need to be held onto on the grounds that you think they are special.

Offline Drew_2017

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2017, 05:58:01 PM »
St. Truth, I feel I should warn you about discussing your views on religion with others - it may become dangerous for your health. Even if it's not detrimental to your physical safety, in could lead to you being ostracized by your community, or some such.

Only you can choose how much of your views to share, though, so good luck with it.

Even as a theist, they're many religious claims I don't subscribe to and I haven't been involved in organized religion in over 10 years. I never get into a conflict with such people who are often very nice people and I don't attempt to disabuse them of their beliefs. People are free in their pursuit of happiness who am I to disagree?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
Albert Einstein

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jex6k2uvf9aljrq/theism.rtf?dl=0

Offline SGOS

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2017, 07:22:47 PM »
Even as a theist, they're many religious claims I don't subscribe to and I haven't been involved in organized religion in over 10 years. I never get into a conflict with such people who are often very nice people and I don't attempt to disabuse them of their beliefs. People are free in their pursuit of happiness who am I to disagree?
Far be it for you to disagree with anyone.

Offline Drew_2017

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2017, 08:42:48 PM »
Far be it for you to disagree with anyone.

Present company excluded...
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
Albert Einstein

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jex6k2uvf9aljrq/theism.rtf?dl=0

Offline St Truth (OP)

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2017, 02:00:26 AM »
I will read this entire thread, but I'm guessing this must have been addressed by now.  If you have already responded to this, just ignore it.  I will catch up.

You are an atheist by definition.  You don't believe in a god.  Whether you are sure there is no god or just don't have a belief in one, you are an atheist.

I understand your position on this, because I've been there most of my life.  I also understand your connection with the church and that you feel a connection to Christianity, as I did culturally.  BUT... Christians believe in God.  They also believe in Jesus as the son of God.  That's the definition of a Christian.  By definition, you are NOT a Christian.

It seems to me that you are trying to hold onto two mutually exclusive view points by coming up with a definition or a word that somehow brings the two things together and allows you to not let go of either.  Literally, I don't think that's possible.  Why are you a Christian then?  Because you believe it's wrong to lie, cheat, steal, and murder people?  Non Christians believe that too.  There's nothing special there, so holding some Christian values is not what makes people Christians.

I guess you could make up a new term, and call yourself a "cultural Christian."  You can make up any term you want, but you won't really be a Christian.  This kind of thing kind of runs around the No True Scotsman fallacy, and challenges it somewhat on the grounds that you say you are a Christian, but I for one will never believe you are a Christian.  Not because you are lying to me.  But I believe you are playing one of those ever present mental games that we all play with ourselves in an attempt to create an image that you think you deserve.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't care if you do this, but being the pedant that I am, I do not accept your claim to Christianity because you are playing with definitions.  Unless you can come up with some explanation that I haven't considered.

Now I will read the rest of the thread.

I'm not sure if your definition of a 'Christian' is right.  Of course I don't believe in the existence of God. A person needs to be really stupid to accept that or if he's not stupid, he has to abandon his thoughts when he goes into a religious mood. I've read about it. This is how seemingly intelligent people can really believe in something as laughably stupid as God.

But a Christian who is consistently intelligent and does not anaesthetise his mind can still be a Christian. There are many priests in my church who don't believe in god. As my vicar tells me, whether I'm a Christian or not must depend on what the church says. I have been baptised and confirmed. I continue to serve the church as an altar boy. Dawkins went through the same thing. He was baptised and confirmed in the same church as mine. Both our names are in the same roll of the church. The only differences between him and me are:

1. Dawkins was a believer in rubbish until the age of 16  while I knew rubbish to be rubbish at a much earlier age.
2. Dawkins no longer attends church and does not participate in the rituals of the church nor does he submit to church authority and now calls himself an atheist. I'm still an altar boy. I still take the Sacraments. I submit to church authority.

As my vicar says, if Dawkins were to go to church, he will be given the Sacraments.  Because as far as the church goes, he has not been excommunicated. He is an atheist only because he wants to be one. But if he decides to join me in church at the altar to receive the Sacraments, no priest will refuse him.

Following this understanding of the faith and of the power of the church over who is or is not a Christian, every baptised and confirmed communicant of my church is a Christian unless he withdraws himself from the church or unless he is excommunicated.

So, I am a Christian. It's just that my mind is fully atheistic. I have no qualms about blaspheming like a pirate. But when I'm wearing my cassock and in church, I submit to the church. My vicar who knows my stand on this, says that submission coupled with my baptism and confirmation makes me a full-fledged Christian in the eyes of my church.  It's not just my vicar. Two bishops have said the same thing with respect to me. They all know I'm right in my head and I'm not a lunatic when it comes to accepting no God or fairy. But they still think I'm a fine Christian.

Maybe it's only American Christians who are bothered about what a person actually believes. I know in most religious forums, people can't accept me as a Christian. But as my vicar says, it's for the church to decide and not outsiders. I don't really mind if I'm called an atheist. It can be very embarrassing to be thought of as a believer in God. In intellectual circles in Britain, you'll be looked on as a moron if you say you really believe in God. I always say I'm a cultural Christian. My dad does that too once when he brought me to a literary conference in Wales. The people there really treated believers as if they had a brain disease. Looking at the theists online and on AF, I wouldn't be surprised if indeed all theists have some form of a brain disease. LOL

Offline Cavebear

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2017, 02:30:30 AM »
The world extends too much courtesy to theists and this must stop. Irrational people must be told they are irrational. In most forums, I have noticed that these irrational folks are given special courtesy because we have all been brought up not to tell a theist that his belief is garbage. It's considered rude. But it's not thought of as rude for dumb theists to run down atheism. This imbalance of giving the licence to be rude to a bunch of idiots and intelligent atheists have to bear the brunt of their rudeness must be addressed and corrected. I believe theists should have the freedom to believe in nonsense if they want to. It's a free world. But there should be a law that requires them to at least confess that their belief is irrational and foolish.

It's particularly tough on me because I am not just a communicant Christian but an altar boy too. It's a pity I can't wear a sign on my cassock that says 'I don't believe in supernatural nonsense'.

These are hard truths that the world must acknowledge. We must forget courtesy for once and state the truth firmly and unflinchingly. I do it always for I am...

St Truth

The struggle is hard.  If we can help, we will.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline SGOS

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2017, 05:24:02 AM »
I'm not sure if your definition of a 'Christian' is right. 

Technically, I believe I'm correct.  But who really decides?  The definition given to us was created by the original Christians who chose which books were to be included in the Bible, and that book is generally lauded to be the final authority.  It sets down quite specific rules for being a Christian. 

But if I look at it your way, I could say identify yourself however you want.  God's characteristics are determined by people, and everyone tweaks the common definition, if indeed there is a common definition, to suit his own needs.  The end result is that very few people, even those of the same faith agree on what God is.

So why not tweak the definition of Christian to suit one's personal needs, and call yourself whatever you want.  In truth, people make up their own definitions about all sorts of things, which might be the biggest reason that people don't understand each other. And in religious matters where things must be taken on faith, and no actual evidence is provided, your word is a good as anyone else's...  Except that it renders the word useless.  And as centuries drift by, churches corrupt the Bible's words and spread their own authoritative interpretations.  That's OK, but they are not consistent.

There are many priests in my church who don't believe in god.
The same is true in the US although such confessions are more hush hush.

As my vicar tells me, whether I'm a Christian or not must depend on what the church says.
What makes him more qualified to tell you what you are than some Baptist preacher?  He doesn't believe in God, so it's not likely he's getting this from an objective source.  If you want to define yourself, deciding on a preferred authority to do it for you doesn't really meet that standard.

Following this understanding of the faith and of the power of the church over who is or is not a Christian, every baptised and confirmed communicant of my church is a Christian unless he withdraws himself from the church or unless he is excommunicated.
That's identical to the same bureaucratic authority used by biggest organized religions in the US.  The smaller protestant sects use more self determination.  But all religions are very similar.  Deciding for yourself is always applauded, as long as you decide their way.

So, I am a Christian. It's just that my mind is fully atheistic.
Well, in that case, I'm a cowboy, except that I don't know how to ride a horse or rope a cow.  But I think it would be good to be a cowboy.

I submit to the church.
Is this a point of pride?  Is it rational?

My vicar who knows my stand on this, says that submission coupled with my baptism and confirmation makes me a full-fledged Christian in the eyes of my church.  It's not just my vicar. Two bishops have said the same thing with respect to me. They all know I'm right in my head and I'm not a lunatic when it comes to accepting no God or fairy. But they still think I'm a fine Christian.  Maybe it's only American Christians who are bothered about what a person actually believes.
Brits must be as bothered by the beliefs of others as American Christians, and you are a good example, unless you are an anomaly.  You are unusually bothered by American Christians, enough so that you join their forums to state your position and do battle.  Few Americans would go that far out of their way to express such disapproval, except for the few that enjoy the confrontation found in forums.  Here, your behavior would be considered unusual by the majority.

Your actions certainly must piss Christians off, but I don't think it's because they stay awake at nights being bothered by what Anglicans believe across the pond.  Really, they could care less about Anglicans, except when you get in their face.  The point is, who is actually the one most bothered?  I think you should try to answer that question honestly.  The meaningful quest in my opinion is not in searching for God, but the pursuit of inner discovery.  The kind of discovery that <horror of horrors> causes changes in people.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 12:49:44 PM by SGOS »

Offline Cavebear

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2017, 06:46:14 AM »
And keep in mind that most of the Christian books were written decades or even centuries after the death of the alleged Jesus.  Sort of like if WWI generations suddenly wrote stories about Fred the Founder of the US government without knowing much about him...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline SGOS

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2017, 01:29:01 PM »
And keep in mind that most of the Christian books were written decades or even centuries after the death of the alleged Jesus.  Sort of like if WWI generations suddenly wrote stories about Fred the Founder of the US government without knowing much about him...
It's difficult to establish the beginning of Christianity.  It was most like a century long process as the meme slowly spread until enough people began hearing the story over and over from multiple sources.  I arbitrarily chose the assembling of transcripts into the anthology as the beginning, kind of like the date when it was officially documented and submitted into the record.  In actuality, there can be no specific date for the long period of momentum building.  In it's beginnings, people wouldn't have even guessed it would become a dominant religion.  I doubt that is was even called Christianity at first.  I like to mark it's inception with the Bible, when charismatic leaders were able to give it a final push into celebrity status, articulate it's basic tenants, and produce a manifesto that would become the basis for all further Christianity.

Christians usually associate the beginning of their faith with the birth of Baby Jesus, but I'm a bit too cynical to think that anyone picked up the event on the evening news and was relieved to hear there was finally a new religion long awaited since the prophecies.

Other's might place the date of Christianity's establishment with the creation of the Nicene Creed, the basics of which clearly express the tenants of Christianity with the beginning words:

Quote
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

There are no doubt variations, as the original, still used by the Lutheran Church, back in my Christian days paid special homage to the "Holy Catholic Church."  This always perplexed me, since the Catholics were the bad guys, but someone had failed to remove that part from the creed when we adopted it.  I would guess the Anglican Church uses the creed or a variation of it.  It seems to be well established throughout Christianity.


 

Offline Baruch

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2017, 01:47:33 PM »
The struggle is hard.  If we can help, we will.

If you were an atheist from birth ... your struggle was what?
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 01:56:13 PM by Baruch »
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Offline Baruch

Re: Where should I stand on religion?
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2017, 01:52:07 PM »
Wow!  How I can relate to that.  Even before I came to grips with the thing, I would concentrate on praying.  But my mind would be on other things.  I'd be concentrating on prayer, while in the back of my head there was this tune constantly playing:  "There's nothing on the other end of these prayers.  I'm acting like an idiot praying when there's nothing listening."

Not the purpose of prayer.  G-d knows what you are thinking already, also knows what you need vs what you want (conventional theology).  You had a child-like view of prayer, as most people do.  You needed to articulate, to yourself, who and what you are ... and act on that ... that is the purpose of prayer.  Self examination and self motivation.  In the Jewish tradition, prayer is you bringing to your attention, your need for repentance.  The result of genuine repentance is a devotion to good deeds.  And one of the good deeds is to pray ... but with the correct intention.  Ignorant prayer or prayer with the wrong intention are useless ... and that is what you knew, or were taught.  You never got to the maturity necessary to realize this, but that is OK.
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