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  1. #11
    Ruler of the Stars Asterion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    I think there are two main ways people arrive at atheism:

    1. People who just got a raw deal in life. These people literally had the faith beat out of them. These are the "pessimistic atheists". And for good reason, because in their eyes, if there was a God, the God must really hate them.

    2. People who arrived at atheism through a slow series of existential and intellectual musings, that had nothing to do with the harshness of life. Most of these people aren't angry at all, they just can't fool themselves into believing. So with these people, optimism is more compatible with their atheism.
    Point two also includes the agnostic side. Also, is it that they can't fool themselves or others can't fool them? (or a combination)

    I used to be agnostic, then I watched a few TED lectures made by Richard Dawkins that were very convincing. I don't mind if people want to believe in religion, it's their choice (occasionally people have alternative reasons for being a part of a religion). I just don't believe a word of it, and it's not worth arguing about. Now, as for optimism/pessimism, I'm quite optimistic in that if any gods exist, they wont burn me alive in hell for eternity. That's optimism and atheism isn't it?
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  2. #12
    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    Western monotheists think there's a better world to be found in death and we atheists get called pessimistic.
    wails from the crypt.

  3. #13
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    I'm an optimistic atheist, (though, technically speaking, I'm agnostic)!!!



    Yes, there is ugliness in the world we live in, but my oh my there is also so much beauty and awe-inspiring wonder!!!

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    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  4. #14
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    "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality." - George Bernard Shaw

    I'd rather be badly adjusted to reality than well adjusted to falsehood. I know what you're saying, though. I think that when you don't have a book, a church, and a community of believers that tell you how to think, feel, and act, it will take a little more time and effort to adjust yourself peacefully to the universe on your own. (Especially when there's a major shortage of people around you who can set a positive example.) But once you get there, it's real at least.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #15
    Head Pigeon Mad Hatter's Avatar
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    Optimism and Pessimism both refer to a future state of affairs - probably better or probably worse than expected.
    For theists, these things may be influenced by a supernatural entity, and if they believe in such an entity, they will probably think there is some plan or purpose as well to how things are going. Maybe pessimists will think that after a miserable life, things will get at least better, while optimists might think that things will get even better. - I don't know, being a strong agnostic myself.

    I don't know whether I'm an optimist - maybe leaning in that direction; I'm just definitely not a pessimist (though I think "realist" probably wouldn't accurately describe me either because "reality" is already a messy and complicated issue in itself). In any case, I have neither the need for, nor do I see, any consolation that religion might give me. I just think that our own possibilities of perception are large enough to perceive a lot of things as accidental, or in any case not predetermined, and I'm fairly convinced that most things won't happen in the most negative direction.
    It's also a somewhat pragmatic decision because I think that if I actually expected things to turn out for the worse, I wouldn't put much effort in anything since I would think that things would go wrong anyway.
    IN SERIO FATVITAS.

    -τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ-

  6. #16
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by murkrow View Post
    Western monotheists think there's a better world to be found in death and we atheists get called pessimistic.
    That's quite funny (the intended thought), but technically inaccurate. Atheism isn't disbelief in an afterlife, it's disbelief in the existence of gods, no more, no less. Many atheists believe in an afterlife (e.g. spiritualists, buddhists) and many theists don't believe in an afterlife (e.g. Jews). You'd need to coin opposite terms like 'afterlife-ists' and 'a-afterlife-ists' for that witticism to make sense.

  7. #17
    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    That's quite funny (the intended thought), but technically inaccurate. Atheism isn't disbelief in an afterlife, it's disbelief in the existence of gods, no more, no less. Many atheists believe in an afterlife (e.g. spiritualists, buddhists) and many theists don't believe in an afterlife (e.g. Jews). You'd need to coin opposite terms like 'afterlife-ists' and 'a-afterlife-ists' for that witticism to make sense.
    wails from the crypt.

  8. #18
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    I think there are two main ways people arrive at atheism:

    1. People who just got a raw deal in life. These people literally had the faith beat out of them. These are the "pessimistic atheists". And for good reason, because in their eyes, if there was a God, the God must really hate them.

    2. People who arrived at atheism through a slow series of existential and intellectual musings, that had nothing to do with the harshness of life. Most of these people aren't angry at all, they just can't fool themselves into believing. So with these people, optimism is more compatible with their atheism.
    Nice generalization, it seems to capture the basics.

    I'll have to say too that I find both optimistic and pessimistic evangelicals. The difference in those cases are (1) people who realize their belief in God is a positive choice on their part, and they don't judge others for having different views, vs (2) people who are afraid God will punish them if they veer and in the process view other people and the culture very cynically if they see it not conform to their views of morality.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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