Why should I be an atheist?
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01-05-2017, 10:22 PM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
I just want to say how impressed I am with everyone replying with sources and information.

Am I the only one who just decided "Whelp, this is complete bullshit." without doing any research? lol

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01-05-2017, 10:37 PM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
I haven't read through this thread and maybe someone mentioned this already, but christianity survives by convincing people that they are born unworthy sinners. It's pounded into the mind of children, or potential converts, that they were born with a kind of cancerous sin and then when the person is finally convinced that they are indeed miserable sinners they are then handed the only antidote for this horrible cancerous, sinful condition..... to "accept Jesus" or end up in hell. It's a type of bait and switch situation with extortion thrown in for good measure.

The most horrible aspect of christianity is that Ted Bundy who killed 30 women and Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed 17 young men (and ate a few of them) both confessed their sins and "accepted Jesus into their hearts" not too long before they died. According to Christian dogma they are happily ensconced in heaven.....maybe alongside the people they murdered. How nice.

However Gandhi and many of the atheist doctors who work for Doctors Without Borders will end up in hell because they don't accept Jesus. Doesn't matter that they saved the lives of people instead of murdering and eating them. Nope, doesn't matter. They haven't accepted Jesus so they'll burn in hell for eternity.

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01-05-2017, 11:15 PM (This post was last modified: 01-05-2017 11:24 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
Either there is an afterlife, or there is not. What we believe about it does not change the fact. All that represents is wishful thinking. You'll find that some atheists wish and hope that there is some sort of (pleasant) afterlife while not believing in one.

In fact, it's possible to be an atheist and still believe in an afterlife. Only mythology binds afterlives to gods. For all we know, we die and then go to "Heaven", or some place else, without any other agency being involved.

It's a matter of whether you want to believe what is true, or what makes you comfortable. If it's the latter, then there's not much to discuss. Such a person is living in semi-fantasy because reality is too hard to cope with; people use alcohol in the same way.

If you're more concerned with what is true, then it's about weighing the evidence to see what is most likely. There's never any real certainty about anything; the best we can do is come up with the most reasonable conclusion.

What is an afterlife? It's generally the idea that consciousness survives death. All the evidence points to consciousness only ever occurring in functioning brains. It's observed to be an emergent property of brains. It is patterns within the workings of the brain, like waves on a sea. Take away the sea, and it doesn't even make sense to ask if the waves can survive. They were just configurations of the sea.

So there is no reason at all to think consciousness survives. There's just the clinging to the possibility that it does, in spite of the evidence. If you base your beliefs this way, you're just again picking what makes you feel good rather than what probably represents reality.

As for being scared of God: you're scared of a boogey man that has been implanted in your head. If this reality was created, it's far more likely such a creator doesn't give the slightest shit about anything we do. Just look at the size and scope of our reality. We are some moving grit stuck to a rock. Our species will exist for the blink of an eye, cosmically speaking. A hypothetical creator may not even notice us. If there is a "God" (which is just a really loaded way of saying creator), then it almost certainly isn't one of the obviously human-like caricatures described in those silly story books.

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01-05-2017, 11:20 PM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
(01-05-2017 07:41 PM)Zombocalypse Wrote:  Why should I be an atheist?



As of this post, I am currently a devoted Christian. But I've been having some thoughts recently...

My hero and role model is Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon is NOT a Christian. He's an enlightenment skeptic. He is unconvinced of the divinity of Jesus. That's about as heretical as anyone could ever be.

I am a Christian for two reasons. Reason # 1: I want a glorious afterlife. Reason # 2: I fear the wrath of God.

However, if I'm an atheist, then I wouldn't really fear anything because I would be unconvinced of God's existence.

But the thing is... Why should I be an atheist? How could I be sure that there is no God?

According to Blaise Pascal, it is a much safer bet to believe in God. And with that said, why be an atheist?



In short, what are some good reasons for being an atheist? Will you list things for me, please? Point me to an article? Or a book?



I'm sorry if I seem like I'm all over the place. I'm having a hard time gathering my thoughts right now for whatever reason. lol

Don't be. Continue being a pussy who's afraid of an imaginary wizard and not getting a treat after you die. See if I give a shit.
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01-05-2017, 11:21 PM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2017 12:18 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
Also, if you want to look more into the logic of Pascal's Wager (your given reason for believing, even if you didn't name it), here's a half-dozen different you-tubers on the subject. All of them are fair in dissecting the illogic of the argument, but some of them are less... polite than others. I've organized them by accessibility, with the easiest ones first and the more difficult (but more in-depth) later. I've put each video in a spoiler box in order to make the post smaller and avoid dominating the page, so click on the spoiler button to bring up the video. Below each box is a blurb that might tell you if it's something about whether you want to watch the video or other content by the authors.




A. Hughman. I don't know much about this guy other than this one video. It's pretty silly (in order to highlight the argument's silliness) and not the kindest approach, but he definitely highlights one of the argument's biggest absurdities and makes it very easy to understand.




Theramin Trees, in collaboration with his brother, Qualia Soup. This is one of his earlier work back when he favored text over narration. I highly recommend every last one of Theramin Trees' videos, especially on topics of deconversion and the harm that religion causes. He is unwavering in his compassion but does not shrink from showing the harm that faith can cause to both the believers and those they interact with, and he has a soothing voice with a wry, understated British humor. Qualia's fallen off in content of late, but he's got some excellent stuff in his archives about more abstract logical subjects like superstition and the burden of proof, things that will make you think about HOW we believe things and WHY, which should come before WHAT we believe, but rarely does. I highly recommend both.




Crash Course is one of my guilty pleasures. It offers brief overviews of all sorts of subjects at the level of a late high-school or early-college course, though naturally less in-depth and less interactive than any class would be. This video on Pascal's Wager presents the argument, the major objections, and some potential variations. It's not really about arguing for or against, but instead just gives us a look at it and puts it in context.




Wireless Philosophy. I haven't explored them in-depth as much as I should, but what I have looked at I like. This is another overview, exploring yet more faults of the argument and different versions of it that might avoid them. It's not really taking sides, though it identifies one version that's not coherent and suggests another version has preliminary evidence in its favor.




Rationality Rules is a fairly new atheist YouTuber. He's made his mark with short videos (usually under 6 minutes) debunking apologetics. He is merciless in his analysis of the arguments, but usually just identifies fallacies by their name and moves on without expanding on what those fallacies are or why they are problematic. If you're already acquainted with logical fallacies and other critical thinking subjects, great! If not, expect to get left behind.




Matt Dillahunty. .... oh, Matt. Matt, Matt, Matt. Matt's one of the biggest names in online atheism these days, though he doesn't have much in the way of written content. (... does he have anything?) I wouldn't normally suggest Matt as viewing for the faint of heart... especially not his segments on the Atheist Experience show. His oft-strident interactions with believers can be a bit... offputting, to say the least. (Justified, but not exactly something that will lower your blood pressure.) But that's not true in his Atheist Debates breakdowns of arguments. If you watch the video above, expect a 30-minute monster examining Pascal's Wager in every detail and putting it squarely in the grave, without him ever raising his voice.

Hope you find some of these useful!

EDIT: Added the spoiler boxes. Sorry for not doing it first thing, y'all!
EDIT2: Fixed a link.
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01-05-2017, 11:43 PM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
Whether or not there is a "god" (whatever that even means), there are many reasons that religion is stupid.





Whether or not you're an atheist is simply a matter of whether you have an active belief that there is a god. It's a matter of fact about you, not a choice. If you do have such a belief, you're a theist. If you don't, you're an atheist.

Atheists may also have a postive belief there isn't a god. But many simply have no beliefs either way. This latter middle position is often (inaccurately) referred to as "agnosticism", but is in fact the default atheist position.

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02-05-2017, 02:38 AM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
What you "should" do is choose for yourself.

An Atheist can give you advice, but I wouldn't go out of my way to call any religion 'wrong'. I personally don't believe because of the evidence that is readily available online, here or even in your own brain (if you start to question things/use logic), but if you're happy being a christian, then why not. Have at it.

All I would say is, you can't prove god is real or not real, but then same can be said of pretty much all countless religions, so why is yours the right one? Once you start to question things you 'know' to be true, you might get somewhere, but on the other hand if you like being Christian and don't want to go down the rabbit hole of knowledge, that's fine as well.

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02-05-2017, 05:09 AM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
(01-05-2017 10:22 PM)ShadowProject Wrote:  I just want to say how impressed I am with everyone replying with sources and information.

Am I the only one who just decided "Whelp, this is complete bullshit." without doing any research? lol

Only atheist book I've read is God Is Not Great and that was couple of years ago, long after I'd doomed my immortal and non-existent soul to be cast in outer darkness, where there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. When I first joined TTA I knew NONE of the names that kept being mentioned.

I always say that I've no idea how I caught religion (was certainly not brainwashed into it, which makes me my own brand of self-deluding stupid (a brand I still stubbornly cling to, I must say, just not when it comes to religion). I think something just snapped in my brain... and un-snapped years later. No research necessary, really.

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02-05-2017, 05:09 AM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
(01-05-2017 08:13 PM)Zombocalypse Wrote:  I believe that Jesus died for our sins.

What do you think?

I think that according to Christianity, God sacrificed himself (Jesus) to prevent himself (God) from throwing all of humanity into hell. I think that without the "original sin" of the fall of man, that story makes even less sense.

However, since we now know we evolved from animals, it makes much more sense to think that we still have animal tendencies because of our evolutionary inheritance. If you want to say God was responsible for evolution, then he also has to be responsible for that "original sin". So in other words, he blames us for his own mistake and is willing to cast us all into hell for it.

From my perspective, it's not enough for some god to exist. He also has to be worthy of worship. Nothing in this story makes me think the Christian God is worthy of worship even if he did exist.

So in conclusion I think it's much easier to discard the ideas that "God exists" and that "Jesus died for our sins" than to try to make sense of them.
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02-05-2017, 06:12 AM
RE: Why should I be an atheist?
The OP also needs to be cognisant that all of the links and suggested reading will be of no use whatever if they approach any serious study while in the state of mind whereby their desire to believe is still greater than their desire to know. I think Dom kind of alluded to this in her post regarding the OP's honesty quotient. If I'm honest I have some doubts the OP is quite there yet.
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