The Growth of Atheism and What it Means for Our Future

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posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:12 PM
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reply to post by nicolee123nd
 


I believe the trend toward atheism is a natural process resulting from the growing reputation of science and the scientific method. I don't think religion is a "bad thing" per se. I believe bad people will often use religion as an excuse to justify their ambitions. But most religions do NOT advocate bad behaviors. Granted, you can find examples encouraging violent acts in pretty much any religious text, and contradictions and so forth. You have to remember that religious institutions survive on the art of interpretation. They combine the positive things from a religious text with positive attitudes in modern society. So, in general, the violent suggestions are ignored or re-interpreted, and most modern religions are actually quite peaceful. Perhaps the most important reason is because they have to appeal to a wide audience in order to survive... so, things that don't fit with modern society (like stoning your child to death for misbehaving, from the Old Testament) get, essentially, left behind, and new interpretations are made to keep the religion practical.

The bottom line, though, is that the whole "atheist / theist" dichotomy is really blown way out of proportion. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's really not that big of a deal, in my opinion. A true atheist is, by definition, an "a - theist," or simply "not a theist." In other words, somebody who does not ascribe absolute belief to a single doctrine. The word "atheist" has become loaded with controversy and is often falsely defined as somebody who stubbornly says that "there is positively no deity, and no evidence could convince me otherwise." But in science, you cannot prove a negative. The truth is that most atheists claim there is no god simply because there is no scientific evidence for a god. If there WERE scientific evidence, most atheists would choose to believe in god. In the meantime, they simply choose to operate under the assumption that there isn't one. It's pretty harmless, really.

Finally, the notion of "god" itself changes depending on who you talk to. The joke of the Freemasons is a great example. They have a prerequisite that in order to join the Freemasons, you must believe in some kind of Creator. But the only reason they have this prerequisite at all is because of their blinding obsession with tradition... because atheists are admitted into the Freemasons all the time. That's because people who have joined the Freemasons over time have offered so many different definitions of "Creator" that they basically just don't even care anymore. You could tell them you believe the "Creator" is defined as a totally imaginary religious doctrine and they would say, "as long as you believe in your Creator," and let you in. It's ridiculous.

What we are seeing in western society is, in my opinion, the relegation of religious beliefs to their proper place in our modern, science-based civilization: philosophy. The notion of a god, if you ask me, should be treated as a philosophy. That is, it should not be ridiculed, nor should it be forced down your throat. It should be considered a hypothetical idea that may, someday, provide some additional insight into who we are.
edit on 13-6-2011 by Magnus47 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by SaturnFX
But the point is, just because you experienced something "supernatural", doesn't suddenly mean some 2k year old book of superstitions = valid...it just means you may have taken a lazy way out of truely pondering your experience..which is a sad waste if you consider it.

Actually I think that was a great post, except, I'm not sure where you got that last part from.

Was it because I referenced a Biblical parable that applied to my situation?

Are you sure it is me who is saying we must believe everything written in a particular book without question, or is it perhaps you who are (implicitly) saying everything written in the book is utter nonsense and none of it whatsoever should be even considered for taking seriously?

Who is being black-and-white here?

edit on 13-6-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:14 PM
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Originally posted by TKDRL
Ok, for those who can't seem to comprehend what atheism is.....

Picture a cup, imagine water is faith. An empty cup is an athiest, a full cup is a thiest, and all the agnostics are somewhere between empty and full. Get it?

Not a full cup of red juice is an athiest, and a full cup of blue juice is a theist. Does that help any?


Not really

What is the difference between an agnostic and a atheist?

And finally, which one am I?
I do not believe in a deity...but I am open to the concept of one...but I do not believe one as no proof has yet to be shown..

So..am I agnostic or atheist?



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:14 PM
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Originally posted by Centurionx
reply to post by Dissent
 


Yeah, it does remind me of Pike's letter as well. Especially this:

We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil.


"Origin of savagery and the most bloody turmoil" Which makes sense imo, if one has no fear of the afterlife or judgement, he can do whatever he wants while on the Earth, and it won't matter right?


Well, obviously nobody in America is religious then, because we bombed and killed in a country like Iraq for no good reason -- so by this standard, we DESERVE to go to Hell.

Or else, there aren't any standards and you can do whatever you like as long as you utter "I believe in Jesus" and -- magically, causing deformed babies in Iraq from Depleted Uranium dust is all absolved.

Too bad I've got to deal with a conscience and that Cause and Effect matter in my Atheist handbook. Due Process, Not stealing other countries stuff -- these things MATTER TO ME.

Atheists constantly tell people they are against war, corruption and abusive distributions of wealth -- at least many of them and then someone else says "No, this is what you believe in." And then when we QUOTE what you say you believe in, and hold you to account. I'm not TELLING you what you believe in -- only what your organizations do or don't do. But saying; "Most atheists believe such and such" -- is kind of hard, because it's basically, a large, diverse group that doesn't ascribe to something you ascribe to.

What you can say about ATHEISTS ON AVERAGE: More likely to have a higher level of education, and satisfaction in life. More likely to STAY married (according to a survey at first commissioned by the church and then buried). Other than that, I think we need a questionnaire and a survey and find out what Atheists think about things. It's not a group of like-minded individuals, after all.


>> And again, having a mythical reward or punishment after THIS LIFE, is really not anything that ensures good behavior. Kids react to demonstrable and immediate rewards (mostly) and punishment (while in your presence). And by the way, studies have shown that parents who spank their kids to get them to behave, are more likely to have dishonest kids who behave better while someone is watching, but do what they want when someone isn't.

People do or don't do, based upon how they are raised and their environment. Religion, or believing in Santa -- is just crap people talk about. A politician running for Congress, will parade out their kids and talk about the Ten Commandments to get elected. In fact, the MOST publicly religious a politician is -- the MORE LIKLEY they are to be corrupt.

Do we need to compare a spread sheet of all the bible-thumping moralists we've seen on TV who've been caught snorting coke off a young man's back? You swing a dead cat in the Vatican, and you are more likely to hit a child molester than you are in the worst Federal Prison America has to offer.

So, people do or don't do, what they do. They then pat themselves on the back for doing what they normally do on Sunday or they don't. I have NEVER cheated on my wife -- not because I think I will burn in Hell, but because I choose not to. However, statistically, MOST people do cheat on their wives, given the opportunity. The average man in America is average, and he does what average people do. And most people go to church, cheat on their taxes, go a little faster than the speed limit, and,... whatever.

Being a very church-going nation, hasn't stopped us from killing innocent people for thinly disguised reasons which were all so that some corporation could get some thing or some labor for less money. A non-church-going nation might do the same thing, but it would take more excuses to rationalize it. We just shrug.

How does a church going nation so easily allow for torture, war and corruption? Obviously, the number of churches we have has no effect on the goodness of our people what-so-ever.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:16 PM
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Every time I see an Atheist post a video or a response I'm fearful of what our future holds if populations become mostly atheistic. Not that I have a problem with people not believing in a God... Not at all, I think people should be free to believe in what they choose to believe in.

Now here is the problem.. The reason why I fear what would happen in the future, is that the Atheists I have met have personality trait that is superior, authoritarian and ultimately dictatorial. They come out with these grand sweeping statements. "If there was no religion.. There'd be no war!" -- But when you look at the real reasons for war, it's rarely ever to do with religion. The puppet masters just use it as a vehicle to push their agenda on.

So what does that say... In a largely atheistic democratic society, we will see religion/faith outlawed. I personally wouldn't want to live in a world where I can't think for myself and come to my own conclusions on my own existence. But I fear we are all being made into obedient subservient drones with the dumbing down of our populations.

With the propaganda in full swing on just about all aspects of life, it's truly an unenlightened time to live in.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:17 PM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened

Originally posted by SaturnFX
But the point is, just because you experienced something "supernatural", doesn't suddenly mean some 2k year old book of superstitions = valid...it just means you may have taken a lazy way out of truely pondering your experience..which is a sad waste if you consider it.

Actually I think that was a great post, except, I'm not sure where you got that last part from.

Was it because I referenced a Biblical parable that applied to my situation?

Are you sure it is me who is saying we must believe everything written in a particular book without question, or is it perhaps you who are (implicitly) saying everything written in the book is utter nonsense and none of it whatsoever should be even considered for taking seriously?

Who is being black-and-white here?

edit on 13-6-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)


I was talking less about you specifically and more about people whom experience something paranormal and then immediately adopt a religion or some theistic system based on it.
Sorry, mean't no offense to you personally..and ya, it did come off as a bit focused on you..my bad, but hopefully the message got across anyhow.


I like some parts of the bible actually...some good proverbs and parables..very quoteworthy..but then again, so it lord of the rings.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:20 PM
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We should live our lives as if there were no gods. Imagine if all of humanity were focused on taking care of each other in the here and now instead of wasting our lives looking forward to a non-existent fantasyland.

"Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today "-John Lennon



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:24 PM
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Originally posted by LeJimster
the Atheists I have met have personality trait that is superior, authoritarian and ultimately dictatorial.


Well, everyone has those traits to some degree.

the atheists you seem to talk to probably see the discussion as basically a talk about sock gnomes stealing socks from everyone. they are discussing how there are no sock gnomes and that there are reasonable reasons why that one sock keeps going missing from dryer to folding...be it stuck in some other article of clothes, getting caught in a trap in the dryer, etc...and the person may feel the whole discussion is just silly, yet amusing to talk to.

Then they see these politicians and other huge world influencing organization creating sock gnome movements, demanding the sock gnome is taught in school alongside engineering, sock gnome temples given tax exempt status, etc. its enough to drive someone mad really when you look through their eyes.

the sock gnome = organized religion (in case you didn't catch on).

However, its not really their entire personality now, is it...its just how they see this specific small subject. next time you talk to one of them, if you want to see their personality..switch the subject...talk about fishing, or music..things outside of this narrow subject and you may find a totally different personality. Never judge the entirity of a person based on if they have a yes or no next to the "do you believe in deitys" box.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by VitriolAndAngst
 


BTW - I am Agnostic, or whatever sat on the fence term you can give me. I don't want to be rabbit holed =).

The only reason many "church goers" are like you suggest is because their leaders have failed them and they do not think for themselves. If they followed the words of Christ they would be against all war, killing and torture.

This is why I say religion is often used as a vehicle and if a corrupt leader can get in the driver seat he can turn the bus around and send everybody in the wrong direction.

This is not something that is unique to religion though. When ever you bring together a collective group there is always a chance the leader of such a group can be corrupt. Hitler anyone?
edit on 13-6-2011 by LeJimster because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:27 PM
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Christianity, properly understood, places man in his rightful place at the leading edge (and even as the crown) of an eternal evolutionary process, not separate from the creation nor from God as the first/last cause, of love.

That is has been misinterpreted and misunderstood is not the fault of Jesus who did everything in his power to convey the truth about himself and ourselves as fellow human beings who also possess the divine nature, as intended in the fullness of time and history.

Jesus is God realized in human form, and what makes it a marvel, is what it also states about us.

"Churchianity" has it's own spin on it of course, but that doesn't negate the meaning and the purpose of the true message and the true understanding.

Read "The Phenomenon of Man" by Pierre Tillard de Chardin, or "The Nature and Destiny of Man" by Reinhold Neibuhr, and you'll see. One caveat however - you would have to approach the whole thing and any investigation free from contempt, prior to investigation..



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:28 PM
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Originally posted by The ?
We should live our lives as if there were no gods. Imagine if all of humanity were focused on taking care of each other in the here and now instead of wasting our lives looking forward to a non-existent fantasyland.


Or, imagine deciding to take the concepts of said fantasy land and creating it here to begin with. with enough good will and technology, we can out preform concepts of heaven..hmm...maybe that is the overall holy message in the end...

"thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Sounds to me this is a call not to focus on heaven, but to bring heaven to earth...the overarching themes of heaven is peace, love, joy, and mind blowing wonderful innovation (and music)...sounds like a pretty good plan imo...lets get on it.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by LeJimster
. . . the Atheists I have met have personality trait that is superior, authoritarian and ultimately dictatorial.



Please tell me where you meet these Atheists? Do you seek them out?

I'm curious because I am Atheist - - and never met another Atheist in real life.

I mean - you can't go down the street to the local Atheist church - - because there aren't any. There is an Atheist symbol I suppose Atheists could wear on a chain like Christians wear a cross - - but I have never seen anyone wearing one.

Is it some blowhard at a party - who would be obnoxious whether he was a believer or not? Or maybe 2 blowhards at a party since you said 'Atheists" - - as in plural.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by Gorman91
At birth we do believe in something.


I didn't say we were born believing in nothing. That's another misconception about atheists - that they "believe in nothing"...
I said we were born atheists. Are you confused as to the difference?

Faith and belief in parents (or in anything on earth) has NOTHING whatsoever to do with being an atheist.



Originally posted by ShakaDoodle
Don't you know what a heretic you are ...


You say that like it's a bad thing...


reply to post by Mr. Toodles
 


Not to mention everything that's been destroyed in this "war on terror", which is basically a religious war. Infidels, Islamic fundamentalists, etc...


Originally posted by Lemon.Fresh
Atheism - lack of belief in a deity

Black - lack of color


Black is not lack of color. Black is the color of objects that emit or reflect no light in the visible spectrum.

So, more correctly:

Atheism - lack of belief in a deity
Clear- lack of color

"Clear" is not a color.
Bald is not a hairstyle
Blind is not an eye color
Atheism is not a religion
Apolitical is not a party
Asexual is not a gender preference


Originally posted by Lemon.Fresh
So much for logical Atheists.


Oops! You may want to rethink that statement.



Originally posted by SaturnFX
So..am I agnostic or atheist?


Honey, you're both! And so am I.
edit on 6/13/2011 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by SaturnFX
What is the difference between an agnostic and a atheist?

And finally, which one am I?
I do not believe in a deity...but I am open to the concept of one...but I do not believe one as no proof has yet to be shown..

So..am I agnostic or atheist?


Don't listen to the people who claim an agnostic is just somebody who hasn't made their mind up. This mis-definition results from the desire to turn atheism into a "strong" doctrine in order to counter the perceived "strong" threat of theism. The truth is that most atheists are agnostics, and most agnostics are atheists. It's a confusion of definitions. Let me explain...

Technically speaking, an atheist is defined as "a - theist" which means "not theist." A theist is somebody who ascribes to a theology, which is the study of a particular belief system that tends to involve spirituality, one or more deities, and other material that cannot be confirmed by the scientific method. So, an atheist might be defined as anyone who "does not subscribe to a single religious belief system."

The term "agnostic" was created in the 1800's. It means "a - gnostic" or "not gnostic." Gnostic comes from a Greek word meaning "knowledge," however, it is important to note a historical context here. At the time the word "agnostic" was coined, early church leaders were using "gnostic" to refer to someone who claims to possess "spiritual knowledge." Additionally, Thomas Henry Huxley defined the word in basically its modern context, which is someone who defines their beliefs using scientific inquiry. In other words, if you claim to "not know" something is true (like the existence of God) because there is no scientific evidence, you might be an agnostic.

Wikipedia: Agnosticism

Atheism is a position on belief. Agnosticism is a position on knowledge. If you say, "I do not place all my belief in a particular religious doctrine," you are atheist. If you say, "I do not know whether or not there is a God, because I am not aware of any evidence for a God," you are an agnostic. So, it is actually very easy to be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time.




We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know.
- Robert G. Ingersoll, "Why I Am An Agnostic," 1896
edit on 13-6-2011 by Magnus47 because: Fixed the quotation



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:41 PM
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reply to post by Dissent
 


wouldnt you think that believing in a deity would force a person into acquiring selfish-like traits? I mean those who are very devoted to their religion will give all their attention, as a matter of fact, there whole lives to these deities. Where as an atheist can help out anyone, doesnt have to worry about a deity that will judge if they help out someone who is homosexual for example. helping people physically and emotionally than spiritually will actually get you results, you'll be mking a difference. I'm all for atheism. and plus, morals dont all necessarily go out the window! im mean, we can still use them such as we shouldnt kill a person, not because w will be damned, but because its common sense! if we a society of hard workers, we;ll need as many helping hands as we can get. atheism is very much needed.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:44 PM
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The Godhead and the creator (first/last cause) seeks to express the true nature of his creative impulse and perfect will, through mankind, and realize the object of his desire, to know thyself, while sharing within a family framework the riches of the whole of creation.

Please tell me what is wrong with this conception..



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:49 PM
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reply to post by Magnus47
 


Nice post.
Yes, I know personally that I am agnostic-atheist...but often people do get confused and think that an atheist is somehow a gnostic atheist (they somehow know there is no deity..which is a belief).

I just wanted someone whom thinks there are 3 different catagories here to realize there are only 2...either you believe in a deity, or you don't...the rest is how defined you are based on that.

I think self described "agnostics" are actually agnostic theists (not sure which one, but I do believe in god)..verses the traditional gnostic theists (my religion is the right one).

most self described atheists are agnostic-atheists (sure, could be a god, but I have not seen any proof)..

I think most twitty youtube kid atheists are gnostic atheists (I have super secret special knowledge that there is no deity and I rock!)..these are also the type that later on "find" some religion and go from gnostic atheists to gnostic theists and become such a total tool with their "I used to be a hateful atheist, then I found aqua buddah and now I am super excellent" types.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by NewAgeMan
The Godhead and the creator (first/last cause) seeks to express the true nature of his creative impulse and perfect will, through mankind, and realize the object of his desire, to know thyself, while sharing within a family framework the riches of the whole of creation.

Please tell me what is wrong with this conception..


Highly unorthadox view. creates a duelism.

God creates the water and the fire, both serving good and evil equally...and as the designer of it all, it is created for that specific purpose.
what then alters its expression from good or evil is not from the design itself, but from the ones not seeing its full design (our narrow perception determines what is and isn't "good").

intellectually, there is nothing wrong with it, however, I think every major structured religion would have probably burned you or some such in the past for mentioning such blasphemy


The business of church is run on a non-duelistic nature of god, and rather, a confrontational clash between two seperate gods (the creator and the anti-creator...god V satan)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:55 PM
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reply to post by Sundowner
 

yeah same here not only that... but i loooovvveee to debate things...and it seems that in the case of religion every time u prove them wrong that get very very mad at you and they say the things like ooo u dont vaue human life and what not



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:56 PM
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I believe that one must take into an account the fact that organzied religion is a dying institution. Many people remain "spiritual" and some retain some of their organized religious institution's teachings even after they leave their churches, synagages and temples. Having fewer showings in churches etc.. does not imply that they in turn "convert" to Atheism. A disbelief in deities, is still a belief in a stance, in that you still have made a choice based outside factors (and inner analysis). The popluar stance is that one is born Atheistic is flawed IMO because a baby born is like a blank tape. There are no choices made until the brain develops to the point that one is able to distingish between his/her mother and a stuffed poodle. Atheism is a philosophical stance based on thought, contemplation, analysis and understanding which one would not be able to make unless they have the capability to comprehend choices.





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