Why are the religious so scared?
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05-03-2010, 11:07 AM
 
Why are the religious so scared?
I know this will piss a lot of people off, but I just couldn't help NOT posting this thread...

Is it just me, or does the irrationality from theist arguments seem to be steeped in fear? I'm not really talking about 'fear of god'...I'm willing to bet that most theists don't actually 'believe' in god, it is almost like a knee jerk response at this point...

What I'm talking about is 'fear of themselves', meaning if god and religion were successfully removed from their mentality, that they would become immoral in every way imaginable.

Also, referring to Jonandrew's post "The Story":

"Christainity was the contrivance of the Roman Empire as a tool to control people. It served as a weapon against judaism and as a belief system is no more than the usurpation and perversion of the jewish identity."

I had a chat with a relative of my wife's who is a freemason. He seemed quite knowledgable about a LOT of things (mind you, in hindsight, a lot of what he said sounded like conspiracy theories). But, the one thing he did say was "religion was devised as a way to control people. If you take away religion, everyone will (paraphrasing) go 'crazy'" Although I didn't quite agree with him initially, I'm almost wondering if this would be true. Although, one could ask the question 'how much crazier can the world get?"

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Supermanlives1973

"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." - Mark Twain
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05-03-2010, 11:31 AM
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
It is most definitely NOT just you. I see this all the time. It seems that a perfectly logical person can suddenly lose all ability to reason when you challenge their belief in god. Suprisingly though, I find myself coming to the defense of theists in this instance. I believe that fear stems from the fear of having everything you base your life on crumbling down around you. Often the most irrational defenses come from those who are actually on the verge of accepting the reality that the god they were raised to worship is nothing more than an illusion created a long time ago to control the masses through fear. Granted, there are the fanatics who just believe so strongly that they are simply unable to hear any logical argument, but for the most part (at least in my limited experience) it seems to be that those who argue with emotion and fear are simply taking a last stand before walking through a door into the unknown.

In the end, seeing the relief on the face of someone who walks through that door is worth the frustration of arguing with a person who is having a hard time using logic. There really is a peace that only an atheist can know. Allowing myself to accept that I don't have to have all the answers, and when I don't, not having "god" as an explaination is truly comforting. Theists are taught to fear the unknown, which is why they explain all things they cannot grasp with god.

Good thread. Can't wait til Martinb gets a hold of this one! LOL

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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05-03-2010, 12:22 PM
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
A good way to illustrate this particular issue is through Plato's Myth of Giges:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Gyges

The main idea of it would be that people are moral only as long as they are held liable for their actions in front of a higher authority. In the case of theists, this authority is God. Let us not forget that they believe their God to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, that is, that he sees everything they do at every moment of their lives and that he will punish their ill-doings by casting them into the eternal flames of hell. On the other hand, if they behave correctly in light of the requirements of their respective religions, they will be rewarded with eternal life and happiness. Now imagine you were raised believing this and that you never doubted the word of the scriptures because this is considered as an unforgivable sin that would immediately have you sent into a very 'hot' place in the afterlife. Imagine you have also lived all your life sacrificing your basic needs, resisting temptations, giving your money to charity, going to church etc for no other reason that this 'reward' you were promised; after all, what is some tens of years of suffering on earth compared to an eternity of bliss in paradise? Imagine also the guilt you would experience at having certain thoughts and drives that are contrary to religious teachings, the remorse, the pain, the anguish, the days and nights spent kneeling and humiliating yourself for forgiveness, flagellating yourself either literally or figuratively speaking. Now imagine that someday you would somehow discover that God doesn't exist, that an irrefutable proof was presented to you in this respect. What would you do? Just try to put yourselves in this situation and try to give an as honest an answer as possible. Would you continue to live your life as you did until that point, or would you feel empty and the your life futile?

Of course, I am sure that a good part of you were raised in a religious background, yet the loss of religious belief didn't make you go out and kill people. But I am talking here of those who dedicated their lives to a belief and who sacrificed things that were precious to them for its sake (such as their own freedom to follow their natural instincts, e.g. having sex outside marriage or with someone of the same sex etc.). Certainly, once your own reason leads you to ascertaining the fact that the God of the Bible cannot exist because of the many contradictions between the Bible and science, the matter loses all importance to you. Religion itself becomes unimportant, and the only things that hold you accountable are secular law and your own conscience. But when you've spent all your life defending a certain belief and committing yourself to it for fear of punishment or because you thought there would be a reward, being faced to the certainty that your belief is false and, therefore, no matter what you do you will not be punished or rewarded in the afterlife means that you are no longer accountable for your actions before that superior authority, as you have discovered it to be inexistent, and that therefore there is no need for morality, as there is no one there to 'guard' it. This is why having a moral sense that is solely based on religious grounds is dangerous, and also why religious people feel so threatened when it comes to that matter.

All learning is quite useless if you haven't learned to question what you learn.
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05-03-2010, 02:09 PM
 
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
[/align]Juppers,

Thank you for your response. That was a very well thought out and descriptive response.

I was semi-religious growing up. I am an ex-Orthodox Christian, but my 'devotion' was more part-time than anything else (we attended church only for the 'important' times of the year...Christmas, Easter, etc.) My admission that I was an atheist (to myself) was a bit difficult, always worried that if god heard my doubts (both verbal and mental), that I would really be in trouble! The funny thing is, the more I thought along that line (that god would punish me), the more I realized how stupid it sounded. Eventually (and to everyone's shagrin), I came out to my family. It was tumultuous at best!

I have always been big on science and what it helps us understand about the world. It was when I started reading the definition of Atheist and Humanist that I realized this is what I am. Here are some things about my former belief that started breaking down the god wall...

- I have an affinity to promote environmentalism, as a natural instinct in myself. Why? Because this planet is all we have and, letting it get to such a bad condition only hurts us in the end (and our children). My family (the Orthodox ones and my Catholic brother-in-law) don't support environmentalism (or, at least, do a VERY poor job at doing so). For example, my brother-in-law refuses to recycle because "...it all ends up in the garbage dump anyway..."

- I have always had a problem with friends and family degrading people from other cultures and backgrounds (racism). We should all be treated equally. (the example I like to use is if you strip away our differences, we are ultimately no different at all). Again, my Catholic brother-in-law speaks negatively about anyone not Caucasian. This from the guy who says religion is the basis of morality!

- Some of the religious practices I had to adhere to were not changing with the times. For example, during the Orthodox 'lent', you are to refrain from meat (and anything made from an animal) and oil. You are basically only permitted fruits, vegetables, and anything made without oil or animal parts. Oil was forbidden because a) the oil of the old days was pig fat and b) vegetable oil was stored in a container made of animal skin. well, the oil I buy today is made from vegetables or plants, and it is stored in a plastic or glass container. Yet, regardless, this is still forbidden.

- Seeing the priests of the churches I attended with my family driving Mercedes Benz, and also hearing of scandals within the church (priest cheated on his wife, who happened to be the Archbishop's daughter) brought the whole holiness attached to the priest crashing down. I realized that those priests, whom we were to trust, obey, and respect, were worse people than I was.

I know some of the items I listed above seem a bit selfish, in that they were rules I really didn't want to follow, but it all equated to one thing: religion is a bunch of bullox.

From there, my thoughts led to picking religion apart, down to the core fundamental belief that all religions were built upon. It's funny...my mind created a checklist of items that were required in order for religion (and god) to be true...once I started crossing out items, there was less and less left on my list to support the idea that religion and god were both true and/or necessary.

I was a deist for a short time, then agnostic, then finally an atheist. No, I did not go out killing people once I found out that I was not accountable to a sky ghost. However, I did not go out killing people because a) it is just wrong to do so and b) even if I was to do that, I would be held accountable by society (law enforcement, courts, etc).

I would love to say that the matter isn't important to me. Unfortunately, it is VERY important to me...I have two children, one of which has started school. Hearing all about creationists trying to bring their 'agenda' into the school systems is very worrying...I don't WANT my kids to learn what they are teaching. I want them to learn what science teaches, I want them to be logical, reasoning individuals.

If I wanted them to follow the teachings of a 2000 year old text and all the fables it contains, I'll start telling them that Hansel and Gretel was FACT, that bears really can talk like in Goldilocks, that beans CAN grow high into the sky where a GIANT (with an affinity for human bones) lives with his talking harp.

I cannot and will not cease pushing for logic and reason. Forgive me for sounding defensive, but this is an issue that must reach a conclusion, for the betterment of all human kind.
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05-03-2010, 09:05 PM
 
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
(05-03-2010 11:31 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  It is most definitely NOT just you. I see this all the time. It seems that a perfectly logical person can suddenly lose all ability to reason when you challenge their belief in god. Suprisingly though, I find myself coming to the defense of theists in this instance. I believe that fear stems from the fear of having everything you base your life on crumbling down around you. Often the most irrational defenses come from those who are actually on the verge of accepting the reality that the god they were raised to worship is nothing more than an illusion created a long time ago to control the masses through fear. Granted, there are the fanatics who just believe so strongly that they are simply unable to hear any logical argument, but for the most part (at least in my limited experience) it seems to be that those who argue with emotion and fear are simply taking a last stand before walking through a door into the unknown.

In the end, seeing the relief on the face of someone who walks through that door is worth the frustration of arguing with a person who is having a hard time using logic. There really is a peace that only an atheist can know. Allowing myself to accept that I don't have to have all the answers, and when I don't, not having "god" as an explaination is truly comforting. Theists are taught to fear the unknown, which is why they explain all things they cannot grasp with god.

Good thread. Can't wait til Martinb gets a hold of this one! LOL

I am kind of busy this weekend, but trust me I will get back to you.
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07-03-2010, 01:46 AM
 
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
(05-03-2010 09:05 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  
(05-03-2010 11:31 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  It is most definitely NOT just you. I see this all the time. It seems that a perfectly logical person can suddenly lose all ability to reason when you challenge their belief in god. Suprisingly though, I find myself coming to the defense of theists in this instance. I believe that fear stems from the fear of having everything you base your life on crumbling down around you. Often the most irrational defenses come from those who are actually on the verge of accepting the reality that the god they were raised to worship is nothing more than an illusion created a long time ago to control the masses through fear. Granted, there are the fanatics who just believe so strongly that they are simply unable to hear any logical argument, but for the most part (at least in my limited experience) it seems to be that those who argue with emotion and fear are simply taking a last stand before walking through a door into the unknown.

In the end, seeing the relief on the face of someone who walks through that door is worth the frustration of arguing with a person who is having a hard time using logic. There really is a peace that only an atheist can know. Allowing myself to accept that I don't have to have all the answers, and when I don't, not having "god" as an explaination is truly comforting. Theists are taught to fear the unknown, which is why they explain all things they cannot grasp with god.

Good thread. Can't wait til Martinb gets a hold of this one! LOL

I am kind of busy this weekend, but trust me I will get back to you.

Can't wait! Tongue
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07-03-2010, 07:13 PM
 
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
(05-03-2010 11:07 AM)supermanlives1973 Wrote:  I know this will piss a lot of people off, but I just couldn't help NOT posting this thread...

Is it just me, or does the irrationality from theist arguments seem to be steeped in fear? I'm not really talking about 'fear of god'...I'm willing to bet that most theists don't actually 'believe' in god, it is almost like a knee jerk response at this point...

What I'm talking about is 'fear of themselves', meaning if god and religion were successfully removed from their mentality, that they would become immoral in every way imaginable.

Also, referring to Jonandrew's post "The Story":

"Christainity was the contrivance of the Roman Empire as a tool to control people. It served as a weapon against judaism and as a belief system is no more than the usurpation and perversion of the jewish identity."

I had a chat with a relative of my wife's who is a freemason. He seemed quite knowledgable about a LOT of things (mind you, in hindsight, a lot of what he said sounded like conspiracy theories). But, the one thing he did say was "religion was devised as a way to control people. If you take away religion, everyone will (paraphrasing) go 'crazy'" Although I didn't quite agree with him initially, I'm almost wondering if this would be true. Although, one could ask the question 'how much crazier can the world get?"

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Supermanlives1973

"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." - Mark Twain

Boy…Where do I start with this one? This will incorporate many of the comments on supermanlives1973 post and others.

First, from the Biblical perspective, God came to earth as a man, died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins, rose from the dead to prove that he was God and if you believe in that you will have eternal life. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to Father except through me”. That was it, nothing else. He didn’t say if you belong to a certain church, or create a church, etc. that you will have eternal life. So what man has done after that was not God’s intent. He did say hang out with others who believe the same thing to encourage each other. But He didn’t say start the Catholic church and molest boys and cover it up, or head a huge evangelical organization and church and secretly have homosexual relationships, or get on TV and raise money from people and use it to enrich yourself etc. You can’t blame God for what people with free will have done to His creation. Just like you don’t sue gun companies getting sued because someone was killed with their gun, or a car company getting sued because a guy drives a car into a crowd of people. And that goes back to the Old Testament stories that you guys love to quote also.

Second, from the Biblical perspective, the Bible is clear it is not your works (things you do here on earth, like moral behavior) that gets you into heaven, but your faith in Jesus alone. Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation, karma etc. and that IS based on what you do here. So the idea that, I as a Christian fear God because I commit some immoral act whatever that is, is wrong. STOP SAYING A BIBLE BELIEVING CHRISTIAN FEARS GOING TO HELL BECAUSE HE RUNS A RED LIGHT, OR CHEATS ON HIS TAXES. AND THE REASON I DON”T RUN A RED LIGHT OR CHEAT ON MY TAXES IS BECAUSE I FEAR GOING TO HELL.

Third, I love how atheists/agnostics base their beliefs on friends, or families or the guy on the street etc. I don’t believe in God because my family are not environmentalists, Priests driving Mercedes, having affairs, my brother-in-law Is catholic and is racist, therefore God doesn’t exist.

Fourth, because I don’t believe what you say I am illogical. Post some of these comments on a theist page and you will get the same response from them.

Fifth, Atheists commenting on the Bible and Christianity is like me commenting on Australian Rules football, or knitting etc. I know nothing about those things, so to comment on them, and to think I am right in my opinion is delusional. Supermanlives1973 proved he knows nothing about lent and I am not an orthodox catholic.

Sixth, I don’t want to use Pascal’s wager, but I really don’t know what the harm of believing in a God that doesn’t exist is. If we end up as worm food anyway, what’s the harm in praying, hoping for an eternal life, maybe giving you some purpose here on earth? Supermanlives1973 wants the best for his kids, give them the chance to decide for themselves if God is real. Every time my kids have a chance to debate evolution etc. I have them take the position of the evolutionist or atheist; I don’t fear my kids learning about those things because to me they aren’t true. What are you afraid of supermanlives1973, that your kids won’t buy the argument that God doesn’t exist because uncle Bob doesn’t recycle?
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07-03-2010, 08:41 PM
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
(07-03-2010 07:13 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  Fifth, Atheists commenting on the Bible and Christianity is like me commenting on Australian Rules football, or knitting etc. I know nothing about those things, so to comment on them, and to think I am right in my opinion is delusional.

HYPOCRISY

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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07-03-2010, 08:55 PM
 
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
(07-03-2010 08:41 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(07-03-2010 07:13 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  Fifth, Atheists commenting on the Bible and Christianity is like me commenting on Australian Rules football, or knitting etc. I know nothing about those things, so to comment on them, and to think I am right in my opinion is delusional.

HYPOCRISY

Based on you using the term "Bullocks" I guess you are from the UK, so should I say Rugby?
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07-03-2010, 09:46 PM
RE: Why are the religious so scared?
(07-03-2010 08:55 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  
(07-03-2010 08:41 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(07-03-2010 07:13 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  Fifth, Atheists commenting on the Bible and Christianity is like me commenting on Australian Rules football, or knitting etc. I know nothing about those things, so to comment on them, and to think I am right in my opinion is delusional.

HYPOCRISY

Based on you using the term "Bullocks" I guess you are from the UK, so should I say Rugby

Actually, I'm an American. I'm just a Monty Python fan. Big Grin

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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