Non-Christian Interview
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11-12-2013, 08:24 PM
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  1. So how can you still find joy as an atheist? it seems depressing to believe there's nothing more than this life
2. What gives your life purpose? Do you bring meaning to your life?
3. Why not cheat, destroy, lie, break promises, and steal if there's no reason not to?Is there a reason not to? Does something hold you back?


I'm afraid I will have to answer your questions with additional questions.

1. What does a deity have to do with Joy? This life is precious and wonderful. What's wrong with there being nothing afterwards?

2. The same thing that brings purpose to everyone else's lives. A career, opening a bakery, our kids.....How is this a question?!

3. Why is there "no reason not to?" Are you saying the only reason you don't cheat, destroy, lie, break promises, and steal is because you think a deity will punish you later? That sounds like the epitome of immorality to me. You are supposed to be a good person because *you* understand it's the right thing to do.

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11-12-2013, 09:19 PM
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  A couple of random questions that don't really have anything to do with apologetics (please don't be offended, these are totally serious. Never having been an atheist, the prospect seems enormously terrifying to me)

Actually, if you think about it, they have everything to do with apologetics.


Quote:1. So how can you still find joy as an atheist?

How can you feel joy at all, with an axe hanging over your head? We feel the same joy, pain, love, and everything else you do, but we don't kid ourselves into thinking it comes from some imaginary friend.


Quote: it seems depressing to believe there's nothing more than this life

But there's plenty to this life! It's only as depressing or joyful as YOU make it!

Quote:2. What gives your life purpose?

The idea of a life having "purpose" or not, especially in this context, is really a strawman, a contrivance designed to make life without superstition appear untenable to people who have not thought it through. Your life has whatever purpose YOU give it, whether you choose to assign that purpose to whatever YOU want it to be, or hand it over to some apologetics teacher or pastor or other snake-oil salesman, or whatever. You might think, "My life's purpose is what this deity or that assigns me", but really what it is, is you letting some pastor or some other irrelevant person tell you what to think and do. And if you happened to have been born in Pakistan or Tibet or India instead, your perceived "purpose" would be completely different and dedicated to a completely different deity.


Quote:Do you bring meaning to your life?

Sure. But let's see what you actually mean by "bringing meaning to your life".


Quote:3. Why not cheat, destroy, lie, break promises, and steal if there's no reason not to?

You probably don't know it, but there is a semantic trap laced into your question. It's called "Begging the Question". What your question assumes, is that there is no reason for one who doesn't believe in your particular flavor of superstition (out of the many many available) has no reason not to do these things. That is simply not the case.

Let's picture for a moment what might happen if you were to stop believing the fairy tales you believe in, for whatever reason. Can you honestly picture yourself going our and killing people, stealing, cheating, destroying (what does that mean in this context, really? I honestly can't see how you could come up with such ideas by yourself, did your apologetics teacher put you up to this question?), raping, pillaging, etc, just because you realized that The Emperor Has No Clothes and stopped believing in fairy tales and superstitions? I think not. If you really think about it, even for just a little, the idea is completely absurd.

Quote:Is there a reason not to? Does something hold you back?

What's holding you back? You've heard of people having a "crisis of faith". Do you really think that when they do, they opt to join the Manson Family? Would you? Can you honestly say that you think that the good folks on this board are all criminals, liars, thieves, murderers, vandals, rapists, etc? Is that how it looks to you? You would do well to seriously and carefully rethink whatever the people have been telling you, who have been teaching you how bad atheists are. I would suggest that they are not being at all truthful to you. Maybe some are telling you these things out of their own ignorance and fear, but I can't help but think that at least some of them know full well that they are lying. Just sayin'.

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11-12-2013, 10:08 PM (This post was last modified: 11-12-2013 10:12 PM by Free Thought.)
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  Yeah, girls do use the internet, Rob. Haha! Especially teenage girls! Of course, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my apologetics teacher. He wanted us to get practice talking to atheists because... Let me be honest and say every single one of us is in a little Christian bubble. I'm in junior year at my high school and I'd never met an atheist until this summer. But like I said before, I've gained a lot more out of this than I expected so thank you, everybody!
A couple of random questions that don't really have anything to do with apologetics (please don't be offended, these are totally serious. Never having been an atheist, the prospect seems enormously terrifying to me)

You probably have meet quite a few atheists in your time prior to now, they probably just haven't said anything. Unless you are one of those poor sods where have been pretty much kept in a religious bubble their whole lives..

(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  1. So how can you still find joy as an atheist? it seems depressing to believe there's nothing more than this life

I find joy in the same way any human gets it: pleasure chemicals release in my body, usually upon completion of a task. I set tasks and try to do them and get joy for success.

As for the depressing part: If something is without limit, than it's existence cannot be properly appreciated. Life is special because it is limited; Do what you can in the time you have and appriciate the fact that your were born to begin with, let alone in this age of near-continuous progress and discovery.

(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  2. What gives your life purpose? Do you bring meaning to your life?

Life both has and does not have purpose or meaning.
Life itself has none from the start, rather it is the individual who creates their purpose and meaning. Some follow the banner of religion and construct simulacra of deities to be the cause, reason and purpose and to provide meaning, some create their own entirely.

The purpose I built for myself is learning. My one realistic desire is to learn and pass the knowledge on before I die; try to put a dent in the ignorance which to this day grips our species and to dispel my own.

(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  3. Why not cheat, destroy, lie, break promises, and steal if there's no reason not to? Is there a reason not to? Does something hold you back?

This is a common, if naive sentiment.

Humans are naturally social beasts, as I am sure you are aware. Our past of being highly cooperative and social beings has lead to social rules developing; these rules like don't steal, don't murder, cooperate with others etc existed long before the Torah, Bible or any other religious text we know of.
I and many others hold that religious people are good despite their books, not because of them.

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11-12-2013, 10:32 PM (This post was last modified: 11-12-2013 10:53 PM by Logisch.)
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  Yeah, girls do use the internet, Rob. Haha! Especially teenage girls! Of course, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my apologetics teacher. He wanted us to get practice talking to atheists because... Let me be honest and say every single one of us is in a little Christian bubble. I'm in junior year at my high school and I'd never met an atheist until this summer. But like I said before, I've gained a lot more out of this than I expected so thank you, everybody!
A couple of random questions that don't really have anything to do with apologetics (please don't be offended, these are totally serious. Never having been an atheist, the prospect seems enormously terrifying to me)
1. So how can you still find joy as an atheist? it seems depressing to believe there's nothing more than this life
2. What gives your life purpose? Do you bring meaning to your life?
3. Why not cheat, destroy, lie, break promises, and steal if there's no reason not to?Is there a reason not to? Does something hold you back?

1. I find joy the same way other people find joy. By enjoying myself. Enjoying time with my family, enjoying things I do at work, enjoying my hobbies. Surely you don't spend 24/7 of your day worshipping jesus and 100% of it reading the bible. You have hobbies, right? Things you like doing? Atheists are the same as everyone else, we literally just don't believe in a god. I see no reason I need a god to enjoy my life. I wouldn't want to spend an eternity doing anything really. More realistically I think most people want an afterlife to exist because they're afraid to die and don't want to cope with the reality that they're going to die someday. It doesn't really bother me, someday I'll die, the end. So will you. You can face it and deal with it, or you can pretend it won't and hope for something more, but everyone copes with it in some way, I think for many... religion is that coping mechanism.

2. Plenty of things. I find a lot of purpose and meaning in helping other people, it makes me happy. I love my job and what I do. Doing charity work and bettering the life of someone else always feels awesome. I spend a lot of time in my hobbies, especially astronomy. I find astronomy fun and interesting, kind of my way of seeing "myself", a self portrait if you will. We're all made out of the same stuff, we all came from the same place billions of years ago. Regardless of whether or not you believe a deity was responsible for the big bang or if the big bang happened, all matter in the universe came from the same infinitesimal point. Every time I go out with a telescope and check out the stars or take astrophotos, I feel like I'm looking at myself. I suppose it's the feeling of, "We're all the same stuff... and in a funny way, I am the universe looking upon itself." In moments like that, it's hard to feel stressed out about anything, mad at anything, sad about anything because it's all the same thing.

If nothing else, the pure fact that I exist is pretty amazing. We live on a small rock in the universe. Billions of planets in this solar system. Billions of stars. Consider that there are billions or perhaps more galaxies in the universe, each with their own billions of stars and planets. Yet here I am, on this particular world, having existed after life evolved on this planet because my existence is possible. We are in an amazing time for technology, humanity, discoveries and knowledge. Just having the pleasure of being here, now, in this time as a part of the universe, experiencing it all, soaking it in, figuring things out... being human... in general, is awesome. What is the relevance of worrying about a purpose when you can revel in the fact that you're even here? By the time you make that realization, most people are 1/3 to 1/2 the way through their life existing. Appreciate what you have now, enjoy what you have now, enjoy what existing even is, now, reality... and it's hard to even worry about things such as having a meaning when you can appreciate that you're even able to witness the universe as it is when thousands of years ago, no one even knew it existed the way it does.

3. There is a reason not to lie, cheat and destroy things... it's called harm to other human beings. You don't need a god to not want to harm other human beings. A better question I would ask is, "What kind of terrible human being feels it's ok to harm another human being if they felt there were no consequences... would it be because they are a terrible person, because they lacked moral foresight or because they simply lack empathy?" (Some call those sociopaths, it's a mental disorder) We are all accountable to each other, to society and of course to ourselves. Just because I don't believe in a god does not mean I suddenly lack empathy and the ability to want to treat others properly. Another question would be, "What kind of sky daddy tells people to believe in him or he'll burn them forever... but all other finite crimes can be forgiven?" as that means that rapists, murderers, thieves and all the people that none of us like, could be forgiven and spend an eternity with jesus, while nonbelievers (for the simple crime of not believing) would burn forever?

I have no desire to harm others. If you feel like you would want to go rape, pillage, kill, steal, lie and cheat without your god, I would question your morality as a human being.

I think if people wanted a good excuse to be terrible people and not be held accountable, it would actually make more sense to become religious... since you technically can be forgiven for anything except the "unforgivable sin" of not believing in god. "Everything else is pretty much okay." after all, he "died for your sins" so as long as you believe in him, you won't perish, right?

What kind of "father" would do that? On the contrary, I would think yahweh would need to be held accountable for the murder of millions.







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12-12-2013, 12:45 AM
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  1. So how can you still find joy as an atheist? it seems depressing to believe there's nothing more than this life
The same way you find joy in life as a theist. How does your joy tie directly to your belief of an afterlife? You willingly deny yourself pleasure in this life, pain that you can learn from, and experiences that help you grow and develop. I have been through so many more joyful moments post religion than I EVER had inside of my parents religious institution. I have learned far more after opening my mind than I ever could have within the religious bubble I was in. I do not deny myself experiences out of fear of angering a deity that otherwise doesn't seem to care about the goings on in the world.

I try to live in a way that does not bring regret. I do what makes me happy so long as I don't knowingly bring pain to others. I do what I can to help people because that's what I want to do. It brings me joy to help someone in need. I want to be a good person for the sake of being a good person, not for some false promise of delayed gratification. What I leave on this earth is a result of how I've affected the lives of others; Their memories of me is what I leave behind, and I would rather those memories be good ones.

It's the exact opposite of depressing to me. It makes the world, everything on it, and the surrounding universe just that much more special and beautiful. I want to experience all that I can before my time is up. It makes time with my family that much more important. It means my daughter, who I helped create from one simple act, is so much more special and precious than just some modeled clay sent to serve someone else's purpose. What is more beautiful to you? A beautiful landscape, or a painting of one?

(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  2. What gives your life purpose? Do you bring meaning to your life?
Whatever I choose. My life's purpose (from a biological perspective) is to procreate, but being a conscious being, I have the ability to make my life mean so much more than that. Objectively, I can't say there is any meaning to life, but I don't see that as depressing or negative in any way. It means that we can make it whatever the hell we want it to be. We as humans have great potential, it's just a shame we haven't all come to realize that yet.

Additionally, my daughter is my world right now. She gives me ever more reason to work hard and to live in a way that I would want her to emulate and learn from. My wife and daughter make my world richer. My purpose in life does not revolve around them being in it, but it is absolutely enriched by them.

(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  3. Why not cheat, destroy, lie, break promises, and steal if there's no reason not to?Is there a reason not to? Does something hold you back?
Empathy, sympathy, essentially not being a complete socio-/psychopath. Most people on this planet are born with the capacity to feel for others, and imagine themselves in other peoples situations. Why would you inflict pain and suffering on others willingly, yet be unwilling to go through that same pain and suffering yourself? Personally, I see nothing to gain from being an asshole. Conversely, why would you NOT want to do what you can to help alleviate some of the suffering and pain in the world? Who sees an injured animal and doesn't feel bad for it in some way? Who sees a family in dire straights and doesn't want to help them? This basic chemical trait in our brains keeps us from utterly destroying each other, not fear of the bearded man in the sky.

If you're being a good person because you've been promised that you will be rewarded for being one, are you actually a good person? Or just a bad person selfishly making good decisions? Wouldn't your god be able to see right through that?

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12-12-2013, 04:34 AM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2013 05:21 AM by Vosur.)
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  Of course, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my apologetics teacher.
Why are you training to become a Christian apologist, by the way?

Not even one of the most prominent defenders of the Christian faith, namely William Lane Craig, is able to convince atheists and adherents of other religions here of the existence of Yahweh.

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12-12-2013, 06:58 AM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2013 08:37 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(11-12-2013 08:02 PM)Inquisitive Minds Wrote:  ...
1. So how can you still find joy as an atheist? it seems depressing to believe there's nothing more than this life
2. What gives your life purpose? Do you bring meaning to your life?
3. Why not cheat, destroy, lie, break promises, and steal if there's no reason not to?Is there a reason not to? Does something hold you back?

1. Pleasures of the flesh... mainly.
2. See signature, below.
3. Nothing holds me back. We can't all be angels.

Dodgy

Oh! and you forgot "kill". Yes, I kill too. Atheists kill and eat babies. Hadn't you heard?


(11-12-2013 10:08 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  ...
Some follow the banner of religion and construct simulacra of deities to be the cause, reason and purpose
...

Hey FT, I'm impressed. You almost sounded like you knew what you were talking about there.
Good job.


(12-12-2013 04:34 AM)Vosur Wrote:  ...
Not even one of the most prominent defenders of the Christian faith, namely William Lane Craig, is able to convince atheists and adherents of other religions here of the existence of Yahweh.

Yabut, he's not in it to convert, is he?
It's just about book sales.

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12-12-2013, 07:01 AM
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(12-12-2013 06:58 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Yabut, he's not in it to convert, is he?
It's just about book sales.
You tell me. Consider

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12-12-2013, 07:19 AM
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(12-12-2013 06:58 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(11-12-2013 10:08 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  ...
Some follow the banner of religion and construct simulacra of deities to be the cause, reason and purpose
...

Hey FT, I'm impressed. You almost sounded like you knew what you were talking about there.
Good job.

I think I should feel praised, but I'm not entirely sure...

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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12-12-2013, 07:25 AM
RE: Non-Christian Interview
(12-12-2013 07:19 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(12-12-2013 06:58 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Hey FT, I'm impressed. You almost sounded like you knew what you were talking about there.
Good job.

I think I should feel praised, but I'm not entirely sure...

Oh Free - you're such a hoot.
lol
By the way - I think "simulacra" sounds like something I should be wearing under a tight dress...
buwwwwaaahaaa

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