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Ask An Atheist Anything

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posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:08 AM
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reply to post by AlphaZero
 


1. Yes, atheism, in the purist form is just a lack of belief in deities, however atheists may actively claim that they feel it is very likely there are no deities.

2. I am open to the idea, but if it can't be proved or demonstrated, then I can't believe it. NDEs have some evidence that something happens, but I don't know if its just a result of oxygen deprevation or brain failure. You would be suprised how hypoxia feels. I definately haven't seen proof of reincarnation.

[edit on 19-7-2010 by C09JayLT]




posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:11 AM
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reply to post by Come Clean
 


Please look up the definition of a religion. It involves worship of deities, communal moral/ethical code, explanation/meaning of the universe, etc. Atheism is none of these, it is just a lack of a belief in god.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:31 AM
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Originally posted by Def Youth
I have a question. Do you carry that dead horse on your back everywhere you go or do you just beat it here on ATS? You're an atheist. We get it. Are you interested in anything besides yourself and your non-beliefs? Or maybe you're looking to convert the infidels who believe in something other than what you've decided to (not) believe in? I guess Ani DiFranco was right when she said, "Everyone...is a @$%$#$ Napoleon."

[edit on 18-7-2010 by Def Youth]


Although I have many other interests, in this thread I'm only interested in clearing up misconceptions people have (usually angry and/or bigoted people) about atheists. I have no interest in "converting" anybody.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:32 AM
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Originally posted by Come Clean

Originally posted by awake_and_aware


Then why are there not religions for NOT believing in evolution,


There are. It's called Christianity, Islam, methodist, baptist, etc etc etc


Where is Evolution denounced in the Bible or the Qua'ran?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:36 AM
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Originally posted by AlphaZero
1. Does atheism simply refer to the lack of belief in deities, or is it the stance that no deities exist whatsover (which would seem illogical to me, because you can't actually prove that a god doesn't exist)

2. Are you open to the thought of reincarnation? What about near death experiences? NDE's have evidence backing them up that they aren't simply hallucinations of the mind (because many occur while there is a little to no brain activity). Reincarnation has less direct evidence supporting it but numerous anecdotal accounts that simply can't be all blown off as people making stuff up.

Once again, sorry if you've already answered these.


1. It can mean either. The first is usually called "soft" atheism, the latter is called "strong" atheism.

2. I am open to both ideas although not much objective evidence supports them right now. Actually, concerning NDE's, there is a lot of evidence that are are indeed hallucinations of the mind. They can be reproduced in a variety of methods. My mother had an NDE. They are interesting.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:39 AM
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Originally posted by Come Clean
Isn't atheism a religion? A group of people who believe in something. In this case, nothing?



No, atheism is not a religion. It has no leaders, no messiahs, no mandates, no holidays, no false promises or any of the other features of religions.


Funny, I thought religion was a set of shared beliefs in something. Is that not the same as atheism?

What are the shared beliefs among Atheists?


But let me ask this. If a group of atheist got together then the subject of "not believing" can never come up right? Because if it comes up then the meeting now becomes a set of shared beliefs in something. In this case, a shared belief in nothing.


"Not believing" is not a belief. That would make them no different from any other group of people gathering to discuss similar interests. Model train enthusiasm is not a religion just because they regularly meet to discuss their love trains.


Is it a cult instead?

[edit on 19-7-2010 by Come Clean]


Why do so many theists insist that Atheism is a belief in no beliefs? Is it because that is what you are told or does that logic really work for you?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:39 AM
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Originally posted by Come Clean
But let me ask this. If a group of atheist got together then the subject of "not believing" can never come up right? Because if it comes up then the meeting now becomes a set of shared beliefs in something. In this case, a shared belief in nothing.

Is it a cult instead?


It's neither a cult or a religion. Atheists tend not to congregate with regularity over their non-beliefs, but it does happen. It's no more a religion than people assembling at say, a sci-fi convention or a gun show.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:43 AM
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Originally posted by Come Clean
What if you're wrong and God does exist?


Then presumably at some point I'll discover the indisputable, objective evidence that's so fleeting and difficult to find



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:47 AM
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reply to post by evil incarnate
 


Creation stories, when taken literally.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:52 AM
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Originally posted by C09JayLT
reply to post by evil incarnate
 


Creation stories, when taken literally.


You obviously missed the point of the question then. Not one of those religions is ABOUT or BASED ON THE IDEA that evolution is wrong. None of them even mention it.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:52 AM
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reply to post by Come Clean
 


Then I will die and be judged. If they have an issue with me not beleiving something without proof then I don't want to be their friend either. But I (obviously) don't think I am wrong.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:54 AM
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Originally posted by Come Clean
What if you're wrong and God does exist?


What if?

What happens? Which religious myth do you subscribe to? Will we burn in the hell not mentioned in the bible? Will we go to the tacked on purgatory? How about the religions that have no punitive resting place? Will I get to slide into one of them?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:55 AM
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reply to post by evil incarnate
 


Ah, fair enough. Good point. It's not designed in as a core feature, but some folk often add it though.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 07:00 AM
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Originally posted by C09JayLT
reply to post by evil incarnate
 


Ah, fair enough. Good point. It's not designed in as a core feature, but some folk often add it though.


Sorry if there was some confusion. I was specifically responding to this -


Originally posted by Come Clean

Originally posted by awake_and_aware


Then why are there not religions for NOT believing in evolution,


There are. It's called Christianity, Islam, methodist, baptist, etc etc etc


Come Clean does not seem to understand that a religion older than the idea of evolution could not possible have been a religion FOR not believing in Evolution. Come Clean also does not seem to understand that there are only two different religions in his list.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 07:04 AM
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reply to post by evil incarnate
 


Ah and haha. I see and that is a very short list. Thanks for clearing that up.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 07:27 AM
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Please look up the definition of a religion.

Some of your readers have already graduated from junior high school. They know that the meanings of words are determined by how the words are used by members of the linguistic community.

All that anyone could "look up" in a dictionary is a record of how some people have used the word in the past, usually skewed to the written language, since written attested instances are more easily documented than spoken ones.

Even casual critical thought discloses that such an arrangement would be incomplete, and probably inaccurate, in many cases. Under no circumstances could such a record be considered to be the definition of any word.

Well, unless you were a dictionary salesperson.

Fortunately, many of us here are adult native speakers of English. So, we know what common everyday words like religion mean. We know first-hand how that word is used by other native speakers of English.

Some of us have also studied the wide variety of human religious expression, with its enormous diversity over space and time.


worship of deities,

Shamanism, ancestor worship, some flavors of Buddhism, some flavors of Hinduism... all are examples of other religions besides atheism which do not worship deities. My own religion, agnosticism, also involves no deity worship, even though the possibility that there are gods to wroship is not excluded.

Deists, who affirmatively believe that there is a god, may or may not worship the god, depending on their personal choice.


communal moral/ethical code,

Spit on the street in front of a cop, and you will likely discover that there is an entirely secular "communal moral and ethical code." This feature is typical of human groups. Religion is one kind of human group, so no surprise that it has this feature, but other kinds of groups do, too.


explanation/meaning of the universe,

I have yet to see any evidence that most religions which teach associations between natural and supernatural phenomena offer the latter to "explain" the former. For instance, it is perfectly obvious that a chief reason why Zeus hurls thuderbolts is to enhance Zeus' stature, that is, to explain him, and why anybody would care what he thinks.

There's very little in mythology about where Zeus gets his thunderbolts, how they are made, what materials are used, where he keeps them when he's not hurling them, etc. In other words, the claim that Zeus hurls them contains nothing that would form even a marginally satisfactory explanation of the thunderbolts.

And of course the religious system of which Zeus was a part has no consensus "explanation" of the Universe as a whole. It was already there before Zeus was born.

As to "meaning" of the Universe, that would seem to be an entirely personal matter. I have read atheists offering the meaning to them of the Universe, just as I have read adherents of other religions telling their personal opinion. It seems to be a widspread human activity, and not anything peculiar to religious expression.

In the United States, it would be very convenient for Christian fundamentalists if atheism weren't a religion. The First Amendment only protects the free exercise of religion, along with speech, the press, peaceable assembly, and right to petition.

So, given the political will, the majority could restrict your lot (my lot, too) to stating your views, but deny you anything else, such as tax exemptions, which could still be given to other religions more to their liking.

Fortunately, it is settled that for legal purposes religion does include atheism in the United States. You can get all the advantages that any other religion enjoys here. Probably most importantly, the state cannot use tax money to promote other religions collectively and generally in opposition to yours.

BTW, you can find that widespread usage of the word readily enough in writing on the web. So, if it isn't in your dictionary, then maybe you need a new dictionary.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 08:11 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


Sweet, so you don't have to use the meaning of the word when it suits you to make a point. In that case this is pointless, but I will say this anyway. Religion has a certain definition. If you use the word incorectly, then that is your fault. Ask a professor if you want the most current definition, but religion has a certain definition which atheism does not fit. it is not an organized system of beliefs, it does not involve worship, it does not explain the universe, it does not provide morals, and it does not fit any part of any accepted definition of religion. Now, if you use the word 'religion' differently than it is defined that is your business, but atheism does not fit the correct definition.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 08:34 AM
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Originally posted by Come Clean

Originally posted by awake_and_aware


Then why are there not religions for NOT believing in evolution,


There are. It's called Christianity, Islam, methodist, baptist, etc etc etc


Wrong. First of all, Methodists and Baptists belong to specific denominations of Christianity, but they are, of course, Christians.

Secondly, I am a Methodist, I believe in evolution, and our Church (the global Church, not the one in my town) has no stated perspective for or against it. The Catholic Church, in fact, has stated support of evolution.

While there are many Christians, almost entirely Fundamentalists, who flat out disbelieve in evolution, they are not the majority.

Can't speak to Islam, though.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 08:44 AM
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Originally posted by Dark Ghost

Originally posted by Come Clean
What if you're wrong and God does exist?

I will admit that on balance, it seems like believing in God is the better choice because the consequences of being wrong are pretty dire. The thing you have to remember is that the only reason it seems better is because it appeals to one's sense of Fear.

Notice how the reverse doesn't involve appealing to Fear. If you take away the Fear aspect, little separates them in being the desirable alternative. Intuition tells me that using Fear as the deciding factor makes it the wrong one, because Truth does NOT fear Untruth; Untruth Fears Truth.

[edit on 19/7/2010 by Dark Ghost]


I agree, coming to God through fear, while understandable, is wrong. I'm not a fan of those who use fear to motivate, because it leads to a very weak faith, if nothing else. I prefer to live a life that demonstrates the positive aspects of faith, and allow people to make their own choice. The biggest benefit of my faith is in the here and now, not in the next life, as the here and now is tangible, while the next life is mostly conjecture.

God is love, and love doesn't come out of fear.

(I know that there are places in the OT that implies that it does, but I've always wondered if "fear" in those contexts means something other than what we associate it with, as it does seem contrary to human nature.)



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
2. I am open to both ideas although not much objective evidence supports them right now. Actually, concerning NDE's, there is a lot of evidence that are are indeed hallucinations of the mind. They can be reproduced in a variety of methods. My mother had an NDE. They are interesting.


Here's an interesting insight into NDEs that I came across recently. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the psychiatrist who developed the "Five Stages of Grief" and one of the early promoters of hospice care, spent a lot of time with dying people, including a fair number of kids that were dying.

In the case of the kids, she wrote, one would assume that any who had a self induced NDE, as per the "brain struggling to understand and put in context as it is shutting down", the children would envision meeting or being welcomed by their greatest source of comfort, their parents. Children that young wouldn't be expected to comprehend that someone in the "next life" had to be someone who was dead.

However, she noticed, after tracking these experiences, that, in 100% of the cases, children never saw their parents in the NDE experience, unless the parent had preceded them in death. They saw grandparents, aunts and uncles, or others who had died, but never a parent.

She cites one case that she believed at the time refuted this -- a young girl who was in a car accident that killed her mother and injured her brother. As the girl was dying of her injuries in hospital, she told Kubler-Ross that she would be okay, her mother and brother were already there. Kubler-Ross noted this, as the brother had not died, but was recovering in another hospital. However, when she followed up on the case, she learned that the brother had, indeed, died shortly before the little girl made her statement.

It's been a while since I read the book (actually a compilation of lectures that she'd made,) but my recollection is that, in the case of the kids, they weren't instances of "going and coming back", but rather the last moment observations of death, and the people that they saw were there to help or guide them.



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