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Let's talk the dislike of religion and spirituality.

Terralynn

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Religion just seems like some kind of way to feel an attachment to something greater, smarter, stronger than yourself- it's a social role to allow a sense of comfort and release from having to think for yourself. That and it does make socializing much easier, when you trust the people around you have something in common.

Spirituality seems to be built into the human psyche, and so I wouldn't even call it spirituality. (I don't believe in the supernatural, I believe that everything is simply everything, and if something happens to be supernatural that would just make it natural in the first place.) I think that we all just feel like we need something to justify our decisions and morality, something to avoid the discomfort of being the sole bearer of your failures, and something to avoid the being full of yourself and to allow yourself humility and the ability to say "I'm not so important as to be responsible for everything good that has happened". And I believe we don't want responsibility for the good and bad that happens to us, because it makes us feel alone in a universe of chaos. You see, the universe is so chaotic and seems to have not much rhyme or reason to what occurs within its boundaries... so if we take responsibility for the uncertain results of every little thing, we will go mad with fear and anxiety. We simply cannot bear the idea that we have no control over chaos, and so the mind must create order, something like a father figure to guide us in the right direction... even if it comes from a place within us. I do believe we create Gods, and they are there to give us power to act strongly in tough situations and to help us treasure fleeting and rare moments of good... otherwise we wouldn't know who to thank when a random act of kindness comes our way, or who to fear when a hurricane comes spiraling through the city and leaving destruction in its path. It's much more comforting to devise a powerful human-like figure that has ultimate power and knowledge, rather than some alien-like non-living entity.. like mathematics.

So all in all, I think both religion and spirituality both appeal to the human need to look up to another human father figure. The former employs a whole boat load more people though.
 

Magic Poriferan

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1. When you say you dislike religion or spirituality, do you dislike them all or do you dislike a few?

All of them. In fact I can get rather annoyed with atheists who are very inclined to play favorites with religions.

2. Is your dislike correlated to experiences? You are allowed to share if you so are willing.

Not really. I was home schooled by non-religious parents in the middle of nowhere PA. I had very few formative experiences with religion. It is alien to me more than anything.

3. Do you dislike true belief or do you merely dislike organized religion?

I take issue with the belief, organized or not. Mind you, the organizations can bring a whole host of their own problems, but they are not the only problem. Probably the greatest issue I have with religion is that it appears to me to be characterized by the motivated preservation of belief, which I think is an error.

4. Do you distinguish religion and spirituality as two different things? i.e. can someone be religious but not very spiritual or spiritual but not very religious?

Not really. I find this distinction strange.

I guess I should say that I think the word "religion" borders on useless. It encompasses so many different things that I think it may not mean anything at all. No two people seem to be in agreement as to what they are talking about when they talk about religion.

5. If you could ban religious belief, would you? Why or why not?

If the "ban" that we speak of is remotely grounded in reality, then no, I would not ban religion. I cannot see such a ban being at all enforceable, and when you try to enforce unenforceable things, there are always bad results.

The closest I could get to this would be in a fantastical scenario, like if I could make a wish. If I could wish away religion, I might. But that consideration has no overlap with reality, so it hardly matters.

6. Do you think a belief in a higher power is damaging? Why or why not?

It can be. Depends on the details.

I mean, you could say I believe in a higher power, after all, I believe in gravity.

I see belief in a "higher power" being a problem when I think the higher power, as it is imagined, is something which doesn't exist. It's usually bad when people believe in something that doesn't exist. The more interventionist this false higher power is alleged to be, the more harmful belief in it becomes, because with intervention comes practical implications for how we live our lives and tell others to live their lives.

8. Do you think people can rationally discuss theological matters?

At the very least, some people can some of the time.

I am, however, skeptical that one can rationally engage with faith specifically. I'd say faith is inherently irrational.

9. Do you believe that another person's religiousness impacts their of quality of character?

The answer to this is almost identical to my answer about whether I think belief in a higher power is bad. It can, but it depends on the details.

If you put the details aside, there are only a few broad traits that I might expect to correlate with religion. Namely, magical thinking and tribal loyalties. Since I think both of those are bad things, I suppose I'm asserting that religious conviction at least mildly correlates with some character flaws, I'm afraid.

10. Are you yourself religious/spiritual/non-religious/etc? (you're welcome to be as specific as you'd like.)

I am an atheist. I am an ontological and cosmological materialist (technically I am a physicalist), an epistemological rational-empiricist, and an ethical positive utilitarian.
 

Lady Lunacik

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I deleted my post in response here because after I saw you wrote this. XD Although there were some solid points. I had aforementioned I know you have some personal anger with faith.
Yeah, but not for the reasons you'd think. I worked on some art contents that were considered "adult" for a living when I converted, believed I had to sacrifice that (or else go to hell, like it was that job or salvation) but had faith God would provide something to replace it, and instead it just gave me years of so much hardship that it was actually traumatic. I basically gave it my all and then God wasn't there in several ways besides this as well. I didn't walk away from it until I saw actual reasons not to believe though, based on logical inconsistencies, etc. in the Bible. My anger comes from the fact that following the Bible screwed up my life, not from being offended by Christians. I do get angry about the shittier "Christians" also, however.

But to be clear, I think perhaps we came from differing places here. Religion around you was used to abuse and defend such abuse.
It was but also was not, actually. IIRC I've said this before (if not I must not have ended up posting it after typing it up), but I've been exposed to several different "flavors" of Christians. Some of them are still, to this day, some of the most wonderful people I've ever met in my life; I have a great deal of respect for them and see them as prime examples of what a Christian should be like if people are going to be Christians. I have an extremely wide range of experiences when it comes to Christianity. Even within my family EVERYONE is religious besides my brother and me, and there are several "flavors" of Christianity. Some of them are even basically opposite from each other, good people but too accepting/relaxed and all-loving, all-merciful, watered down / diluted "prosperity gospel" stuff VS condemning others yet using it to justify their own "sin;" that type that goes further than they normally would because religion clears their guilty conscience. I joined a flavor of Christianity that was outside of my family experiences though, and these people are the ones I still hold in high regard. Never in my life have I met another group of people who strived so hard to "bear fruit" (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, humility, etc.). They actually strived to live up to the moral standards in the NT. However, they themselves suffered in a number of ways because of their beliefs. Theirs is still the least toxic Christianity I've ever seen though.

Furthermore, I'm also not speaking as someone who hasn't been religious but has been offended by religious people. Even if my experiences had mostly been with abusive religion (they weren't), I wasn't that way myself and I have my own experiences to reflect on also.


My mother believed in us having a choice so she did not force religion upon us. But I did feel abandoned by people, rejected, unwanted, discarded. When I ended up in the psyche ward, I ended up with literally no one. My family did not even want to talk to me. I just left severe emotional abuse. And that is when I developed spirituality and not religion. I used to be one of those people you are discussing. That person that reads my book, believes it, and sits around telling others they're wrong for not doing so. Spirituality is so much different than religion. God is so much different than the various books that try to explain Him or his actions. When I opened my heart truly, I found a different kind of "faith". I would say a real one, not an authoritarian described one. It felt like those 8 months that Jesus was giving me this warm hug while I cried. I realize this is not everyone's experience, not everyone may have it, but this is why I ascribe sprituality as very "personal". Religion is a process, a rule book. Spirituality is the relationship, the heart, the actual faith. Many people who call themselves religious never find that aforementioned spirituality. I choose to try and follow the way of Christ, which is a path of love, of understanding, of kindness. And this does not mean making others follow. He never forced anyone to follow Him. but he listened. He heard. He did not come to judge, he came to help. And that is the life I want to lead as a person. That is why I call myself a "Christian" albeit a nontraditional one. The closest thing I found to other people like this was the college church of the Nazarenes I was in when I went to the school. If you cried someone would pray over you. No one forced you to convert. No one forced you to believe in God, or even believe in God the same way. This openness from a Church community almost felt weird to me. There's usually so many judgments and doors in front of you. I am always the first to say the worst people I've had the honor of associating with is sadly, other Christians.
Before I finished reading I was going to ask, "I'm guessing you prefer to call it "a personal relationship with God, not religion" partly due to stigmas associated with religion such as ritualistic Pharisee type stuff?" but then you clarified within this text that it is indeed this way for you. I have met some other believers who fall into this category or think the same way as you. There are a couple of them in my family.

Another point to add to the first quote - it sounds like I actually have some better experiences with Christians than you do.

The issue I have with people believing this is that it still trains people to think in certain ways that aren't logical or fact based. It's a slippery slope into the realm of delusion. This can be harmful to humans still despite seeming innocent because people are just striving to be better people and having some extra source of strength or comfort in their lives. Certain things with scientific explanations are sometimes dismissed or attributed to the wrong things sometimes, for starters. One example is mental health issues/depression. Someone might be clinically depressed, but jump to God to resolve it when being spiritual can't/won't do that for you in the right way. It may add some joy in a similar way to how a cat is therapeutic, but it's not a cure. Many people turn to their spirituality to resolve problems that cannot actually be resolved properly or in the healthiest way through spirituality, in other words...even if it's not always the first place they turn or they are more educated (I say this because a lot of believers--not saying all though--aren't as formally educated, generally speaking, at least in the USA. The Bible belt overlaps with rural Deep South areas, which are generally lower in formal education, higher in drop out rates, etc. and the lack of education can make them think that depression symptoms are a lack of joy due to sin in your life or being too distant from God, or being punished, etc. for example). People see holes and issues in their lives and they turn to this concept of God to fill voids, but most of the time it's basically like trying to fix everything with duct tape. It's just not a real solution to issues. Things such as this, rather than offenses through personal experiences, are what I have against religion/spirituality.
 
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Lady Lunacik

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If you want to choose to discount and discredit some, but not all of it - Did I pick and choose to "discredit" certain parts as decided by man? I follow the Bible more as a "guidance" rather than "really from God's hand." In the past I subscribed to the theory that the Bible, was in fact, Inspired and came straight from God. I now subscribe to the theory that the Bible is a tool for my faith but it is tampered by man and cannot be the all ends of knowing the Lord. It is vital to have a personal relationship with Him. There's not a "book" to it. The book is stories of faith and growth and also a lot of the failures of mankind and I think as @Coriolis said, there's a lot of "what not to dos" in it. Do not suggest I did something I did not do.
How do you decide what you do and do not believe? What is it based on? It isn't evidence because there isn't any. Thus, you choose what parts to believe and which parts not to. It's ultimately just your own values based on what you read somewhere else and believe, but it's being called something spiritual, even while believing some parts were tampered with by men. At that point you may as well read and follow any article or book you want to and call it spiritual and a relationship with God. It's easy to obey your own principles. The Bible talks about obedience to God though. Ultimately, it wants you to at least in some ways give up your free will.

To believe in the Bible as a general guide makes no sense to me. If you believe it was tampered with by men, why don't you believe it's possible it was entirely created by man? If some parts are made up, what is it in your mind that stops it from being fully made up? How do you decide which parts are true, and which ones aren't? How do you know that is a book related to a real god whatsoever? How do you trust anything in it if you can't trust everything in it, especially while there is a lack of evidence to support what you choose to believe out of the Bible?

Furthermore, why would heaven or hell exist as punishment or reward just simply for believing in God's existence? To believe in this kind of afterlife suggests that following some sort of law is important for salvation - not that it's what people are saved by according to the Bible, but nevertheless, it seems like it'd be necessary since that seems quite extreme for mere "belief in the existence of." Why does that set people apart from those who strive to be good people to the best of their ability without the Bible? What kind of God makes it that imperative to believe while simultaneously creating a meager guide that's tampered with and untrustworthy, and doesn't provide any evidence to show He's real? It makes more sense that if something is so important to Him that it leads to such drastic consequence or reward, He would leave a clear way for people to be able to adhere to what He wants them to be doing. Even a decent boss at work would do that. If it was necessary to follow it, why wouldn't God make it more trustworthy and not tampered with if He's all powerful (able to do so) and all good (willing to do so, so that people would be saved)? If it's not necessary to follow it, why be so cruel with making it hard to believe but necessary to believe or else heaven or hell?

So believing in a book you can't truly believe in makes no sense to me and seems all the more like harmful thinking.
 

Red Memories

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I'm gonna come back to this, but just note, my theology is very different and I may look like less of a "Christian" after I post it. XD
 

Magic Poriferan

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I agree with you on a lot of this, for the most part we share the same viewpoints, but I can't help but point out...

Doesn't the belief that there is no god require faith?

No, I don't see that it would.

For one thing, a belief does not intrinsically require faith. A belief can be founded on reason. I would say my atheism is.
Secondly, even if it were not, I don't think lack of belief in something is necessarily faith. We to assigned the word "faith" to a lack of belief in the infinite number of untrue things that could be imagined.

Anyway, it may be of interest to that question to share some fairly technically and usually irrelevant details about my belief in this. There are technically two conceptualizations of god that exist so far outside of empirical means I have no choice to be agnostic about them. That would be a pantheistic or panentheistic concept of god indistinguishable from all physics. But basically it's a wash, I'd say for all I know there's a 50% chance of a god of one of those forms existing or not existing. Never the less, I call myself an atheist because 1: That compromises a small percentages of all concepts of god and even those I only give a 50% chance of existing. 2: Only a small minority of theists subscribe to such a god, instead they tend to imagine a form of god that I am very confident does not exist. 3: Those forms of god, by nature, have no practical relevance to our lives if they existed, so in the even of their existence I'd still be an "apatheist". For these reasons I think it would be more misleading to call myself agnostic than atheist.

EDIT: Even regard other forms of god, on strictly philosophical grounds I can never declare with 100% certainty that they do not exist, but I am confident they do not exist to a degree that approximates certainty. In theory, there could be evidence that changes my mind, but it seems extremely improbable to me.
 

Coriolis

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Doesn't the belief that there is no god require faith?
Indeed it does, since we can no more prove the absence of a god than the existence of one. To be clear: atheism, taken to mean the idea that there is no god, is based in faith. Agnosticism, the idea that we cannot know for sure one way or the other, is based in reason.
 

Lady Lunacik

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No, I don't see that it would.

For one thing, a belief does not intrinsically require faith. A belief can be founded on reason. I would say my atheism is.
Secondly, even if it were not, I don't think lack of belief in something is necessarily faith. We to assigned the word "faith" to a lack of belief in the infinite number of untrue things that could be imagined.

Anyway, it may be of interest to that question to share some fairly technically and usually irrelevant details about my belief in this. There are technically two conceptualizations of god that exist so far outside of empirical means I have no choice to be agnostic about them. That would be a pantheistic or panentheistic concept of god indistinguishable from all physics. But basically it's a wash, I'd say for all I know there's a 50% chance of a god of one of those forms existing or not existing. Never the less, I call myself an atheist because 1: That compromises a small percentages of all concepts of god and even those I only give a 50% chance of existing. 2: Only a small minority of theists subscribe to such a god, instead they tend to imagine a form of god that I am very confident does not exist. 3: Those forms of god, by nature, have no practical relevance to our lives if they existed, so in the even of their existence I'd still be an "apatheist". For these reasons I think it would be more misleading to call myself agnostic than atheist.

EDIT: Even regard other forms of god, on strictly philosophical grounds I can never declare with 100% certainty that they do not exist, but I am confident they do not exist to a degree that approximates certainty. In theory, there could be evidence that changes my mind, but it seems extremely improbable to me.
Faith is basically believing without evidence though. Religious people believe based on reason as well (even if illogical), but it's still faith. Since there is no evidence that there's not a god, how is it not faith to believe in atheism?

I see, interesting. I would've categorized that as agnostic, as it covers seeing the potential for there to be a higher power / diety that is not of the Abrahamic religions also. I consider myself to be agnostic-atheist (I think???) despite also quite firmly believing the God of the Bible isn't real. In my mind there's absolutely no way it could be based on flaws in the logic. I came to the conclusion that the God in the Bible is basically evil (by His own definition of it even) on my own before discovering The Problem of Evil, but it basically presented 2 more alternatives I hadn't thought of yet and now I'm pretty supportive of that concept. However, I still think the God in the Bible is immoral and a hypocrite in some ways, as well as a hot-headed authoritarian.
 

Lady Lunacik

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One thing I dislike about spirituality is the way it causes people to form the tendency to read into events in life through the bias of their beliefs. Coincidences are no longer coincidences, consequences everyone experiences as a natural part of life are suddenly either punishments or some bad that will be used for good and part of some master plan, and said conclusions are foundationless.

Back when I was a Christian I always struggled in this area while others didn't seem to. People seemed easily able to distinguish whether something was a gift from God, or believe that God was behind something in their lives. I was never really on board with this. "How do you know?" It didn't really sit well with me to automatically conclude something had God's hand in it. The same applies to blaming some outside force (such as God or Satan) for what's wrong with our lives or what humans do "wrong" - as defined by the values adopted.

Furthermore, I think the presumptuous nature of faith like this is harmful to society. Those values are purely from a place of faith, yet that faith closes peoples' minds to any science or logical reasoning that opposes this faith. That which has more evidence is denied in favor of what doesn't. Some faith based values cause unacceptance or intolerance toward things to proliferate in societies where spirituality is intertwined with culture, even during times when evidence suggests that it's actually beyond peoples' control (homosexuality). Thus, society's growth is stunted and schisms form in societies, families, friendships, peers...everywhere. In my eyes it's like watching flat earthers defend their belief that the world is flat and refusing to believe in evidence that proves it's not, except it's happening on a widespread level and actually affects others' lives. Example: A belief that Satan is behind homosexuality or the belief that homosexuality is wrong instead of a thing that can't be helped. As more individuals fight against intolerance and come out of the closet, people surmise that Satan is attacking the world and we're headed for the end of times.

The assumptions, the faith...the consequences for not believing...it breeds closed-mindedness, and that closed-mindedness breeds intolerance. It results in a failure to accept things that are contrary to their established beliefs. "Coz I just think so" is basically acceptable, even when evidence says otherwise.
 
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Red Memories

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I am structuring this post. I realize that, in fact, it may not be some direct answer to every question. But it'll give a perspective on what my faith actually is. I have spent years studying Christian theology of several differing denominations, and some other theologies as well. That is because my line of logic is such below:

Complexities are purposefully formed -> this world is very complex including the human body and all -> this complex nature argues against a mere random formation which seems sheerly irrational in concept to how complex it is as usually randomness is more...random, small, less complex. -> therefore there's SOMETHING which created this -> there is some higher power.

So at the very least we can now conclude I am agnostic.

Now, let us follow another train of logic.

There is a higher power -> we cannot fully connect to said higher power -> we cannot properly define higher power.

So this implies anything to do with God is quite subjective and some ways beyond our understanding. There are theories and theories of theology. The essence of God. the meaning of God. there are actually, in fact, no ways to know these are 100% correct. This is where faith comes into play and why there are so many religions. Each one of these books, faiths, etc. are attempting to define God, and it may be solely based on the sort of relationship they have with God rather than the true essence. So if you dislike one view of God, perhaps it is good to have a conversation with him and find another.

Since all religion is a subjective viewing of what this higher power may be -> all religions are interconnected

Not just abrahamic. As I have studied, I feel I agree with the Hinduism developed "indifference" of faith. This is their belief that any form of spirituality is leading us upon the same path, but of course it has the saying of "my point of view is most correct, BUT, I am not going to force it upon you because we are all on the same path toward God." I think this philosophy has made it very easy for me to feel interconnected with people of any faith. That we all have a relationship with God, we just have somewhat differing viewpoints on God.

so now...why do I follow the Bible?

I have actively seen in my life how following a philosophy of love, kindness, and soft-heartedness leads both to the healing and aid of so many broken people, yet also leaves you burned and persecuted. Jesus, in my eyes, is a pristine example of how I feel we should live. Based upon the philosophy of Christ, I am a Christian. It is more a life philosophy than a "Faith." On many other stories, I take them at face value as I take any person's testimonial stories of feeling transformation through God at value, and many experience this differently. Jesus loved, He forgave, He did not judge, He attempted to teach his disciples to live similarly. He called out false bible thumpers, He complained of church corruption. I fail to see how Jesus is a bad person to follow for judgment if you were to follow someone philosophically. Unless of course, you find kindness and love to be weakness.

I accept a reality of several things.
1. There are no for sure religions. I do not know which philosophy is "most correct". I know since I follow the philosophy of Jesus' love, if I meet someone who does not, we are okay. I just also acknowledge due to a defining difference in our life philosophy, I cannot enter a permanently romantic sort of relationship with them. I wouldn't want anyone to have to give up anything or the children to suffer from us feeling resentful of sorts of things,
2. All these books are more likely than not compiled by humans. As stories, as their own personal relationships with God, as accounts of things to try and persuade what not to do and etc. You can find these beneficial faith stories in more than just the Bible. I personally enjoy the book of Psalms because it is a prayer book, really. These people wrote songs and prayers to send to God. This is them speaking to God.

But to be clear, the only things I think anyone needs from the Bible is the ten commandments (which aren't hard to follow if you are a decent human being plus there's plenty of theological relation to evils cancelling themsleves in situations like "I am going to starve to death therefore I stole food" or "I had to kill a man who broke into my house and was going to kill me." These become neutral acts without sin associated.), the fact we have original sin, and the 4 gospels and Acts. I do like...Revelation because...if you read Revelation, along with understanding how Jesus already went at corrupt Jewish synagogues, you'll sort of understand why churches tend to be not so good. You start following a Church instead of seeking God and His understanding yourself, but before the end, all churches will become corrupt, so they will lead their sheep astray. It is like a reminder your faith should be rooted in God and a personal relationship with Him, not what your church says.

Now a secondary thought: hell.
So do you in fact think someone like Hitler, or let's even go as far as to say Trump, are people deserving of eternal salvation? Fuck no. Hell exists for a reason. Many of us good decent people will not have to worry about hell. I would like to refer to the story of Doubting Thomas, which exists in the Bible.
Thomas did not believe Jesus resurrected. So Jesus appeared to him, and let him touch his wounds. Then Jesus said that blessed are those who believe without seeing. He did not condemn Thomas to hell for having doubt. I don't think the "lack of faith" narrative applies. I think if you are a decent person who tries to be a good person, you are in line with God and can still obtain salvation.
If you are like Trump, using God as a prop for your bullshit, or Hitler who murders thousands of innocent people, then you EARNED hell. You chose to be a piece of shit and GO to hell thinking there would be no repercussions har har har. God's justice gets a last laugh. I absolutely see Hell as necessary because otherwise what is the point? There's no justice! I think that the "faith alone" narrative is quite damaging because that implies you can go to church and hallejuah on sunday and the rest of the week be a serial killer and still obtain heaven. I am not a faith alone believer because it is quite clear that Jesus expects us to transform our lives to be better people, to love our neighbors, to care and help each other. If you are only a Christian by word you are not a Christian at all, you are a fraud. I think [MENTION=10251]Red Herring[/MENTION], a good person who doubts God, has a better chance of obtaining the rewards of Heaven than a fake ass word only Christian.

Perhaps that will clear up some lines of thought for my view of faith. But as I said, I probably now sound even less like a Christian. XD
 

Lady Lunacik

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[MENTION=33903]Red Memories[/MENTION] I'm not entirely comfortable responding to that simply because it turns this into a situation where the only option I really have here is pointing out all the flaws in your personal beliefs, and I'm thinking that's not likely going to be appreciated. I prefer to keep out of personal beliefs and stick with religion/spirituality in general, lest it turn into a debate about your beliefs and offend you.
 

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When we are sick, we seek the authority of evidence based medicine, but in religion or spirituality we seek authority without evidence.
 

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Doesn't the belief that there is no god require faith?
Atheism isn't a belief, it's the absence of a belief so faith is irrelevant.

Does one require faith to be atheist about the existence of of the gods of dead religions or supernatural beings? Do you require faith to think Zeus is mythological? Or is it simply a logical lack of belief in the absence of proof?

The agnostic stance of sitting in the middle of believing in something and holding a lack of belief often isn't the most logical stance, facts can be drawn on to make having the absence of belief more or less likely, the current mainstream religions are simply a popular belief so a lack of belief is viewed differently there. Tell people you don't believe in the existence of fairies and they're hardly likely to tell you that your stance is a faith based system and the correct position is to say there is an exactly 50% chance that they exist or don't exist as anything otherwise requires faith.

Most atheists will stop short of making positive statements outside of disbelieving a specific religion.

Dawkins offers a 1-7 scale;

1. Strong theist 100% probability of God. In the words of Carl Jung: "I do not believe, I know"
2. De facto theist Very high probability but short of 100%. "I don't know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there"
3. Leaning towards theism Higher than 50% but not very high. "I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God"
4. Completely impartial Exactly 50%. "God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable"
5. Leaning towards atheism Lower than 50% but not very low. "I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical"
6. De facto atheist Very low probability, but short of zero. "I don't know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there"
7. Strong atheist "I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one"

Here's where faith comes into it, there are a lot of people in category 1 who would say nothing will stop me believing, there are few people who would put themselves in 7 and most atheists would change their stance if proof was provided because it is a lack of belief, not a faith based stance. Personally, I would only rate myself a 6.5.
 

Obfuscate

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Atheism isn't a belief, it's the absence of a belief so faith is irrelevant.



because there are words that specify a lack of belief and because aethism is generally used to refer to a Belief that there is no god(s) that is a fair question...

your follow up dawkins scale makes sense, but most people don't have a measure of degrees in mind when they use these words... one is simply lumped into one of however many cattegories... at 6.5 it is fair to question what causes you to be so certain...

anyhow, i feel like you evaded a real awnser... from where does your near certainity spring, and how is such near certainty different from faith? agnostics need no faith, evidence, or reasoning... to take a stance does..
 

Siúil a Rúin

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1. When you say you dislike religion or spirituality, do you dislike them all or do you dislike a few?
To varying degrees of application, I'm uncomfortable with the notion of shared, non-verifiable perception of god (ultimate power) the will of which is assumed to be understood by the in-group to impose on others. I can see this being a transference of personal ego onto an external entity assumed to have all knowledge and power, and then the individual "submits" to it, when it is actually a projection of individual will. The premise of religion makes me uneasy, but I think in some cases the shared group reality encourages people to help each other survive.

2. Is your dislike correlated to experiences? You are allowed to share if you so are willing.
I was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church and found that underlying arrogance of assumption to be destructive. There are loving individuals, but the culture is not loving. They drove my single mother and family into homelessness and throughout my education treated me like shit, beating down my self-esteem, and showing great favoritism to the children of the conference leaders who could get away with anything. The culture has tremendous passive aggression and lack of compassion because it is imbued with a deep arrogance that they are right about everything and all other religions worship the beast, etc.

3. Do you dislike true belief or do you merely dislike organized religion?
Sincere belief can be misguided. I think organized religion provides a tremendous boon for control freaks who like to impose their will onto others. All they have to do is convince the group that they are conveying the "will of god" when they are simply conveying their own will, and then everyone worships.

4. Do you distinguish religion and spirituality as two different things? i.e. can someone be religious but not very spiritual or spiritual but not very religious?
I see spirituality as asking the deepest, philosophical questions, and organized religion as providing pat answers that limit understanding.

5. If you could ban religious belief, would you? Why or why not?
Definitely not. Banning things makes people crave it more and becomes a self-justifying feedback loop completely devoid of reasoning. I would prefer to increase education that strengthens reasoning skills, the ability to identify credible sources of information, and logical methods for understanding interrelations, cause-and-effects between verifiable data points.

6. Do you think a belief in a higher power is damaging? Why or why not?
Speculation is healthy, but needs to be treated as a different kind of data from fact defining. As I described before, I think higher powers can be psychological projections of personal ego, and so can be damaging.

8. Do you think people can rationally discuss theological matters?
People can rationally discuss logical connections between non-verifiable data points, but it can be an exercise in futility when those foundational reference points are false or flawed.

9. Do you believe that another person's religiousness impacts their of quality of character?
It can, and it is a complex question because there are millions of ways people relate to religion. Having examples of good behavior to emulate can positively impact character.

10. Are you yourself religious/spiritual/non-religious/etc? (you're welcome to be as specific as you'd like.)
I am spiritual in that I care about compassion and constructive outcomes. I also value speculation and not assuming that the universe is limited to humanity's perception and current definitions. I would never expect anyone else to find my speculation or experiences factual. It might even bother me if they did. I see it as intensely private and a way of explorations and questions, but never assuming answers.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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The thing that's fascinating about the Bible is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways. In the same book you can find justifications for genocide alongside support for anarchism. What people believe then is a reflection of the person believing it... people believe what they want to believe, and that tells you a lot about their character.
 

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because there are words that specify a lack of belief and because aethism is generally used to refer to a Belief that there is no god(s) that is a fair question...

your follow up dawkins scale makes sense, but most people don't have a measure of degrees in mind when they use these words... one is simply lumped into one of however many cattegories... at 6.5 it is fair to question what causes you to be so certain...

anyhow, i feel like you evaded a real awnser... from where does your near certainity spring, and how is such near certainty different from faith? agnostics need no faith, evidence, or reasoning... to take a stance does..
Let's take another definition; Belief: an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.

I don't have that.

The people who assign "belief" to atheism, are rarely the atheists. It's generally theists/agnostics either viewing it through their own lens or are unable to comprehend how someone could not believe. Disliking the answer doesn't make it an evasion, I disagree with the premise.

Assuming I have certainty of any kind of positive belief is incorrect. I have a lack of evidence, I have contradictory holy texts, a world where miracles used to happen but only in a time where proof could not be ascertained from a largely illiterate population, I have religions that follow the geographical patterns of something that is man made, I have endless wonder for the universe we live in that provides me with interesting questions and find a small convenient answer unsatisfactory. Give me evidence something supernatural exists, and I'll follow the proof.

I do not consider the chances of a god/s existing to be even to their not existing because of the inconsistencies provided so far, so I'm not agnostic.

I give the Abrahamic gods, the Hindu gods, the old mythological gods, fairies, trolls and pixies the equal rating of 6.5. I don't have positive proof they do not exist, however, all my logic reasoning leads me to the conclusion they are highly improbable, so I live with the the assumption they don't exist. It's not a belief, it's the explicit opposite of a belief. I do understand why people think otherwise, so I attempt to liken it to things we all hold an atheist stance on to give a comparisons.

My stance on religion is different, I do hold a positive view there that it's manmade, but that's a separate thing.
 

Obfuscate

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Let's take another definition; Belief: an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.

I don't have that.

The people who assign "belief" to atheism, are rarely the atheists. It's generally theists/agnostics either viewing it through their own lens or are unable to comprehend how someone could not believe. Disliking the answer doesn't make it an evasion, I disagree with the premise.

Assuming I have certainty of any kind of positive belief is incorrect. I have a lack of evidence, I have contradictory holy texts, a world where miracles used to happen but only in a time where proof could not be ascertained from a largely illiterate population, I have religions that follow the geographical patterns of something that is man made, I have endless wonder for the universe we live in that provides me with interesting questions and find a small convenient answer unsatisfactory. Give me evidence something supernatural exists, and I'll follow the proof.

I do not consider the chances of a god/s existing to be even to their not existing because of the inconsistencies provided so far, so I'm not agnostic.

I give the Abrahamic gods, the Hindu gods, the old mythological gods, fairies, trolls and pixies the equal rating of 6.5. I don't have positive proof they do not exist, however, all my logic reasoning leads me to the conclusion they are highly improbable, so I live with the the assumption they don't exist. It's not a belief, it's the explicit opposite of a belief. I do understand why people think otherwise, so I attempt to liken it to things we all hold an atheist stance on to give a comparisons.

My stance on religion is different, I do hold a positive view there that it's manmade, but that's a separate thing.

so why call it aetheism over agnosticism? by your own definition of belief, it is acceptance of a truth... in this case the truth you ascribe to is an absence... i fail to see why an assumption held about an absence is alien to an assumption about a presence... they are both beliefs... you don't need to feel like i am pushing for a response here, but this distinction you are making is akin to splitting a hair and calling the left half inherently different than the right half... if you merely had a lack of evidence the term agnostic would be most accurate... by using the word aetheist it implies that you have an opinion... calling it a lack of belief changes nothing... for example, lets say i think it is 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999% likely that dinosaurs have not survived in a secret bunker beneath antarctica... calling it a nonbelief wouldn't negate that i find it extremely unlikely (perhaps even absurd) for non arbitrary reasons... it is still a belief even if it is a belief i can't prove about the absence of a thing...

post script:

i understand your viewpoint and the reasons for it... it is your hangups on terminology that appear (to me) to be nonsensical... i won't drag this out further if you reply... i am pretty sure i am not going to understand why you find a reasonable assumption with no likelyhood of being disproven to be distinct from a belief... it feels pointless to differentiate equivalent things...
 

Siúil a Rúin

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so why call it aetheism over agnosticism? by your own definition of belief, it is acceptance of a truth... in this case the truth you ascribe to is an absence... i fail to see why an assumption held about an absence is alien to an assumption about a presence... they are both beliefs... you don't need to feel like i am pushing for a response here, but this distinction you are making is akin to splitting a hair and calling the left half inherently different than the right half... if you merely had a lack of evidence the term agnostic would be most accurate... by using the word aetheist it implies that you have an opinion... calling it a lack of belief changes nothing... for example, lets say i think it is 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999% likely that dinosaurs have not survived in a secret bunker beneath antarctica... calling it a nonbelief wouldn't negate that i find it extremely unlikely (perhaps even absurd) for non arbitrary reasons... it is still a belief even if it is a belief i can't prove about the absence of a thing...

post script:

i understand your viewpoint and the reasons for it... it is your hangups on terminology that appear (to me) to be nonsensical... i won't drag this out further if you reply... i am pretty sure i am not going to understand why you find a reasonable assumption with no likelyhood of being disproven to be distinct from a belief... it feels pointless to differentiate equivalent things...
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" is a position for which statistical likelihoods are irrelevant, a completely different mental process for positions reliant on measurable likelihoods. Consider that the difference between a statistically supported assumption and a non-statistically supported assumption is significant enough to not force both into the same category of "belief". If one "belief" is reliant on a notion being extremely likely statistically, that infers that new evidence would readily change the position because it is mapped to externally justifiable probabilities. The position does not exist as a closed mental circuit that denies reason and likelihoods. The belief that dinosaurs actually do exist in a hidden bunker does not rely on its statistical probability and so by its nature would resist revision. There is possibly no condition that could change the position of such a belief because you can prove they aren't in one bunker, but what about the next imagined bunker?

There are different levels of "belief" that are fundamentally different, so that forcing them into the same category creates a distorted notion.

Edit: consider that there are "beliefs" that are not primary reliant on externally derived credibility and which resist revision, and then there are "working assumptions" that function as beliefs but are reliant on externally validating measures and as a result they respond to ongoing revision. This is distinct from both "belief" and "agnosticism" which implies a notion is unknowable.
 
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