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  • NewChapter

    He was a real to me as Santa Claus was when I was a child. (I wasn't born in). But letting go of Santa wasn't too traumatic, and holding onto any vestiges of a myth seems unreasonable. If reality is perception, then one could argue he was real. But I don't think that perception is reality, however I believe the perception is stronger than reality for those under its grip.

    We don't call ourselves doll atheists. We probably wouldn't call ourselves atheists, except that within a believing society, we are forced to define ourselves as to how our view compares to the views of a believer. For instance, the insistence by some that atheism is a religion, shows that they are incapable at the moment of defining the world outside of their own belief. Belief is their compass, if you will, and everything is measured against such. We cannot even communicate with them unless we come up with a term that allows them to start at their True North.

    I've seen this a lot in our discussions lately. Believers start to explain their god and his personality to people that don't even acknowledge that their god exisists. Rather than talking about the evidence at hand, they tell us about their 'dolly'. Maybe we encourage this by reasoning within their context. We start with the possiblity that there is a god, and then pick apart that god's personality and deeds, in an effort to show how contradictory and human their friend really is. As such, we indulge them---perhaps too much.

    It would be interesting to start the conversation from where we stand. That there is no evidence for a god. Then instead of getting into conversations about their god, we insist they first prove this god exists. But we don't really get to start from our True North, and endlessly get pulled into the murky waters of conflicting beliefs and interpretations.

    I think it would be fun to have a board for athiests/secularists that used to be JW. Where we could speak freely without being called extreme or militant. Where we wouldn't have to qualify every statement we make with 'I know this is not true of all believers' or where we won't be portrayed as horrible because we cannot respect belief. Not respecting a person's belief is apparently understood not to respect the person. It puts us in quite the corner. Either we say there is value to belief, or we are saying we don't respect the person. We aren't given other options by the believer.

    I like the idea of a separate forum----where conversations start with OUR true north. Not at the exclusion of other forums, but a supplement.

    Just rambling.


  • james_woods

    The battle between activist (or militant) Athiests and the various believers on this forum has caused more trouble and hurt feelings than all of the politics combined. This is really a shame.

    If the Atheists here are so much more sophisticated than the Believers, why don't the Atheists just let the Believers have whatever Belief they want instead of starting verbal arguments about the subject?

    I am agnostic, but I do not criticize other's beliefs out of courtesy. I usually take an opposing view to loud preaching on this forum, however.

    I think that Atheists who want to preach Atheism are deluding themselves when they say they do not have a religion. They are worshipping Atheism, and preaching in the name of Atheism to all who are within range.


    NewChapter "He was a real to me as Santa Claus was when I was a child."

    When I was a boy we had very little in the way of material things. My brothers were always bored with nothing to play with. I was never bored. Fortunately I had a vivid imagination. I could conjure up anything I wanted in my imagination. I had imaginary conversations with people. I heard voices and made friends with people who existed only in my mind. I could make up jokes, tell them to myself and laugh out loud when I got the punch line.

    I even had an imaginary horse that I could gallop down the road to the local store on. The lady store owner always asked how the horse was and gave me free nuts to feed it. I also had a panda that was so real he had a small chair of his own to sit on. Occasionally a place was set at the table for the panda.

    One day I announced that the panda had gone. My father asked where? I told him that I didn’t need him any more. Soon after the horse went too. Now I have to live in the real world. I envy people who are still capable of such illusion.

  • james_woods

    Now I have to live in the real world. I envy people who are still capable of such illusion.

    Same here. Which is why I am very reluctant to try to convince them that their illusions are not real until they realize it for themselves. So long as they are not practicing human sacrifice or such, of course.

  • d

    I agree seeing reality for what it is can be quite scary.


    Yes james_woods I have noticed that we share the same view of believers. Encouraging them to examine a different point of view is one thing. Having a burning desire to destroy their faith is another matter. It could be mistaken for jealousy or even hate. People change when they are ready and as long as they are not causing serious harm, allowing them to change at a pace they can cope with is perhaps a better approach.

  • james_woods

    ^^^ - Exactly, GLADIATOR. It also avoids many useless emotional fights.

  • Terry

    Using any tool takes knowledge, familiarity and practice.

    Many of us who were, in our youth, obsessed with Religious indoctrinations, never encountered much in the way of rational thinking, critical reasoning or

    objective research.

    Reality was what we thought we were confronting. It was fantasy. Odd and bizzare.

    What "Facing Reality" really means now is abandoning really deplorable thinking habits and finding some useful tools to make life more enjoyable.

    Religion is constantly worrying that somebody somewhere might be enjoying themselves.

  • corpusdei

    Religion is, at its core, born of ignorance. Throughout history, we as a species have been driven to understand the workings of the cosmos. Where that understanding was beyond us, or we fell short of reaching it, it's blind faith that we've turned to in order to fill in the gaps, and explain the discrepancies. "Why does the sun go round the sky? I don’t know, so I will attribute it to the efforts of a sun god with a golden chariot." "Why do people die? I can’t say, but I will choose to believe it is the murky business of a reaper who carries souls to some afterworld."

    That religious faith, that belief in daemons, in spirits, in an afterlife and all the other trappings of a preternatural existence, simply existed to make us all more comfortable and content in the face of a measureless cosmos. They were bolsters for the soul, crutches for the intellect, charms and fetishes to help us through the darkness. Now, as we make mammoth leaps forward in our understanding of our world and our universe, we have witnessed the cosmos, learning more and understood more about reality. And as we continue to draw that curtain back, as we've become more able to take that measure of the cosmos, we see that the stars have no clockwork mechanisms, no golden chariots carrying them abroad. We're starting to realize that there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for demons or devils or spirits. The greatest thing mankind could ever do would be to reinvent itself as wholly as a secular culture.

  • james_woods
    We're starting to realize that there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for demons or devils or spirits. The greatest thing mankind could ever do would be to reinvent itself as wholly as a secular culture.

    Some people are starting to realize that. The problem is that most people do not, and probably never will - given human nature.

    The question then becomes - should atheism be actively preached to those people?

    Should those people even be forced to accept atheism "for the good of all"?

    I don't think so - for one thing, it is against basic human rights. For another, I think it would be culturally a disaster.

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