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Atheism, Religion and Open Mindness

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    I've always tried pointing out my controversial opinion about how Atheism is much more similar to following a religion as people tend to think.
    It's based on my opinion that each religion is very similar (in my opinion, the same) as a philosophical movement.
    But, in spite of your opinion on this theory of mine (I understand perfectly if you disagree with me), there's a different point I'd like to make in the post about Atheists and religios people.

    Science is fascinating, but it only goes so far. There are questions that aren't just unknown to man-kind, but simply don't have an answer. For example: If the Big Bang theory is right, what came before it and where did THAT come from?

    On the other hand, religion doesn't explain everything either, and (in my opinion) should be taken metaphorically instead of literally.

    The fact is that our intelligence can only view a slight slight tiny tiny proportion of the complexities and realities of both the Universe and of life.
    In fact, we always have to simplify history in order to understand it, let alone the whole Universe.
    It's my opinion that we'll never know "the whole picture", and we don't actually need to.

    Keeping this in mind, I find it much much easier to understand different point of views; including different religions.

    Hense, what I DO find ridiculous in people isn't what you believe in, but having the closed-mindness to think that you are right, no matter what, and that your beliefs DO (or will) have the big picture of things.

    This goes equally to all people who throw their ideas around (both religious people or atheists), and that assume that anyone with a different mind-set is simply WRONG.

    In my eyes, it's far superior of someone to be humble, and accept that they don't, and never will, know the answers.

    Do you think that you're belief (atheism, islam, catholicism, The Spagetti monster, etc) is right?
    What do you think of my opinion?
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    (Original post by C_B_C)
    Do you think that you're belief (atheism, islam, catholicism, The Spagetti monster, etc) is right?
    I'd be willing to accept that my set of beliefs don't hold all the answers to everything. There are many issues on which I'd simply say "I don't know" or "I have no particular belief on this".

    But of course I think that my beliefs are right. By definition.
    If I didn't think they were correct, then they wouldn't be my part of beliefs, would they?
    I wouldn't really believe them. To "believe" something is to be of the the position that it is correct.
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    The difference between an atheist and a theist is that the atheist generally rejects religious belief because it relies on faith - that is, belief in something without credible evidence to support it. For most atheists (and generally rational people) the system of believing in something because there is evidence for it is pretty logical and pretty much how the world works.

    So although the worldview of "Oh everyone's beliefs are equal and wonderful and we should all be endlessly tolerant" sounds all well and good, the fact of the matter is that for many rational people, the idea that faith-based belief can be held in the same esteem as evidential belief is both wrong and absurd.
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    (Original post by C_B_C)
    What do you think of my opinion?
    I think you think your opinion is right. Yes, it's good to have an open mind to new ideas, but not so open that your brains fall out.
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    The crux of the issue though, is not the mere existence of a God, or some greater power, but what religious people believe that they tag on to that.

    You believe in a God? That's fine, I don't. If it were as simple as that, then we wouldn't have a tenth of the problems we do today. The problem is that the majority of religions go on to tell you what their God wants. What is right, what is wrong. What we should do, and what we shouldn't. And that is why I am not 'accepting' of religions, that is what I believe is 'wrong' about them.
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    I'm agnostic and believe that is right.

    I believe that I nor anyone else knows everything.

    I'm yet to hear of or see proof of anyone who knows everything about everything, therefore agnosticism is in fact 'right'.
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    (Original post by 04ghicks)
    The difference between an atheist and a theist is that the atheist generally rejects religious belief because it relies on faith - that is, belief in something without credible evidence to support it. For most atheists (and generally rational people) the system of believing in something because there is evidence for it is pretty logical and pretty much how the world works.

    So although the worldview of "Oh everyone's beliefs are equal and wonderful and we should all be endlessly tolerant" sounds all well and good, the fact of the matter is that for many rational people, the idea that faith-based belief can be held in the same esteem as evidential belief is both wrong and absurd.
    But why is "rationality" the solution?
    How does coldly thinking about scientific evidence concerning the Universe reside above a religious belief? Neither achieve much, to be honest, how is yours better?
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    I agree exactly. Thats why I'm agnostic or perhaps a Skeptic.
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    Religion was supposed to be an easy way to control the masses, instead it did the opposite. I wonder how many million have died due to religion?. People were not yet smart enough to develop a proper law-system, so controlling people via religion was the only way in which society would be able to function. The bible says this, the bible says that - if you do otherwise you will be doomed to hell for eternity.

    It is understandable as to why religion was once followed, however these days there is no excuse for being ill-informed, and having a closed-mind. I have no problem with thiests, however people should not be brain-washed from a young age, regarding what they should believe in.
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    (Original post by C_B_C)
    I've always tried pointing out my controversial opinion about how Atheism is much more similar to following a religion as people tend to think.
    I fail to see how not believing in something can be a religion, but I do see how some atheists can behave 'religiously'. It often frustrates me when I see atheists being close-minded and dogmatic in their way of thinking, as this is simply missing the point of what reasonable and honest skepticism is all about.
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    (Original post by C_B_C)
    But why is "rationality" the solution?
    How does coldly thinking about scientific evidence concerning the Universe reside above a religious belief? Neither achieve much, to be honest, how is yours better?
    You're claiming that rational thought hasn't achieved much...? I find that a bit odd. Science based on evidence has given us an incalculable amount of knowledge and lead to practical problem solving which has touched almost everyone alive.

    Coldly thinking about the evidence is how things get done in the world. No-one said that there is no room for emotion in life, but when it comes to something like religion and all the life-changing rules and systems that come with whatever religion you choose to follow, that is a major life decision. Major life decisions should be decisions you think a lot about, weigh up the pros and cons, and, consider the evidence backing up a particular decision.
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    (Original post by C_B_C)
    I've always tried pointing out my controversial opinion about how Atheism is much more similar to following a religion as people tend to think.
    It's based on my opinion that each religion is very similar (in my opinion, the same) as a philosophical movement.
    But, in spite of your opinion on this theory of mine (I understand perfectly if you disagree with me), there's a different point I'd like to make in the post about Atheists and religious people.

    Science is fascinating, but it only goes so far. There are questions that aren't just unknown to man-kind, but simply don't have an answer. For example: If the Big Bang theory is right, what came before it and where did THAT come from?

    On the other hand, religion doesn't explain everything either, and (in my opinion) should be taken metaphorically instead of literally.

    The fact is that our intelligence can only view a slight slight tiny tiny proportion of the complexities and realities of both the Universe and of life.
    In fact, we always have to simplify history in order to understand it, let alone the whole Universe.
    It's my opinion that we'll never know "the whole picture", and we don't actually need to.

    Keeping this in mind, I find it much much easier to understand different point of views; including different religions.

    Hense, what I DO find ridiculous in people isn't what you believe in, but having the closed-mindness to think that you are right, no matter what, and that your beliefs DO (or will) have the big picture of things.

    This goes equally to all people who throw their ideas around (both religious people or atheists), and that assume that anyone with a different mind-set is simply WRONG.

    In my eyes, it's far superior of someone to be humble, and accept that they don't, and never will, know the answers.

    Do you think that you're belief (atheism, islam, catholicism, The Spagetti monster, etc) is right?
    What do you think of my opinion?
    I'm happy to accept anything there is evidence for. I am happy for me to be wrong about religion, I'm atheist, I just think the chances of a God are small enough to ignore at the moment. I know that theoretically I could be hit by lightning the next time I go out of the house. I will not be wearing rubber wellies to protect myself from this possibility. Likewise I don't feel the need to believe in a religion. Science can't yet explain everything but I don't think it's as finished as everyone thinks. I like the idea that maybe we don't need to understand how this bridge stays up but I find it comforting that someone has done the maths and shown, that within the expected limiting factors, it will.
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    You're perfectly correct that science cannot answer all questions, nor does it claim to do so.

    Atheists simply do not feel a necessity to fill in the gaps by making stuff up.

    (Original post by Steevee)
    The crux of the issue though, is not the mere existence of a God, or some greater power, but what religious people believe that they tag on to that.

    You believe in a God? That's fine, I don't. If it were as simple as that, then we wouldn't have a tenth of the problems we do today. The problem is that the majority of religions go on to tell you what their God wants. What is right, what is wrong. What we should do, and what we shouldn't. And that is why I am not 'accepting' of religions, that is what I believe is 'wrong' about them.
    Couldn't have said it better myself
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    Excellent question - but very difficult to answer.

    How can we quantify or validate open mindedness? What can serve as a litmus test to ascertain how broad minded someone is?

    Bottom line: everyone is prejudiced. It is not a matter of asking whether or not one is prejudiced, because that is a foregone conclusion. The appropriate question, if we are honest, is "what are my prejudices?"

    May I be candid? I am a little bit prejudiced towards atheists. I have preconceived notions about them. There is a stark sense of irony here. I am actually an erstwhile atheist, myself! But as I grow older, the myths are dispelled one by one. I used to think that atheists were amoral. I was as wrong as could be. And I normally consider myself to be a wise and intelligent individual - but even wise people are not above being dead wrong sometimes. It is a myth that all atheists are amoral. I know from personal experience, because I have a couple of good friends whom are atheists. Although God and faith can serve to anneal one's sense of morality, this does not mean that non-theists are devoid of morals. That is a myopic point of view, and one with no strong evidence to support it at all.

    Because of the nature of the beast, we are all prejudiced. The definition of 'prejudice' is 'an unfavourable opinion formed without accurate knowledge.' Prejudice is invariably negative. A bias is not so strong a word, and it can be neutral. A person can have a bias either towards or against a certain group, thing, or idea.

    When it comes to a majority of social and political issues, it is likely that atheists are more open minded.

    When it comes to considering spiritual matters, it is likely that theists are more open minded. So as others have above exclaimed, it depends on the issue at hand.

    I don't fall for the negative stereotype that all atheists are amoral. I exhort you to not fall for the negative stereotype that all Christians and theists are unintelligent. I do understand that some atheists become frustrated when Christians resort to employing circular logic, or when they are dogmatic. I can't go through life without questioning things. For some people, it may work for them to accept things at face value.
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    (Original post by 04ghicks)
    faith - that is, belief in something without credible evidence to support it.
    A highly defective and biased definition of "faith" if ever there was one. :lolwut:

    Every time you go to a new doctor you have faith that they will treat you properly, based on your faith that they have been educated properly and know what they are doing. Which is based on evidence that most doctors know what they are doing. :yep: Faith is not defined as belief in something without credible evidence to support it.


    (Original post by Dandaman1)
    I fail to see how not believing in something can be a religion, but I do see how some atheists can behave 'religiously'. It often frustrates me when I see atheists being close-minded and dogmatic in their way of thinking, as this is simply missing the point of what reasonable and honest skepticism is all about.
    Well, if atheism was simply "not believing" that'd be true. But you've got New Atheism and Strong Atheism, which do, quite strongly, believe in something, and even weak atheists believe that the probability of a god existing is equal to or less than 49.9%. :dontknow:

    As to the topic, it's a lovely though, but some people will never be able to live that way because they are convinced they are right (this goes for all sides). Some religions even tell their adherents to go out and convert new people, which makes it hard and this makes atheists react with that bus campaign, for example. Of course neither science nor religion can explain everything, but then neither are mutually exclusive, so it's not a problem.
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    ... even weak atheists believe that the probability of a god existing is equal to or less than 49.9%. :dontknow:
    Where on Earth did you hear that?
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    (Original post by C_B_C)
    Do you think that you're belief (atheism, islam, catholicism, The Spagetti monster, etc) is right?
    What do you think of my opinion?
    I think that blasphemous people who misspell the name of the Sublime Creator of the Universe, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, should be executed
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    (Original post by Pareidolia)
    Excellent question - but very difficult to answer.

    How can we quantify or validate open mindedness? What can serve as a litmus test to ascertain how broad minded someone is?

    Bottom line: everyone is prejudiced. It is not a matter of asking whether or not one is prejudiced, because that is a foregone conclusion. The appropriate question, if we are honest, is "what are my prejudices?"

    May I be candid? I am a little bit prejudiced towards atheists. I have preconceived notions about them. There is a stark sense of irony here. I am actually an erstwhile atheist, myself! But as I grow older, the myths are dispelled one by one. I used to think that atheists were amoral. I was as wrong as could be. And I normally consider myself to be a wise and intelligent individual - but even wise people are not above being dead wrong sometimes. It is a myth that all atheists are amoral. I know from personal experience, because I have a couple of good friends whom are atheists. Although God and faith can serve to anneal one's sense of morality, this does not mean that non-theists are devoid of morals. That is a myopic point of view, and one with no strong evidence to support it at all.

    Because of the nature of the beast, we are all prejudiced. The definition of 'prejudice' is 'an unfavourable opinion formed without accurate knowledge.' Prejudice is invariably negative. A bias is not so strong a word, and it can be neutral. A person can have a bias either towards or against a certain group, thing, or idea.

    When it comes to a majority of social and political issues, it is likely that atheists are more open minded.

    When it comes to considering spiritual matters, it is likely that theists are more open minded. So as others have above exclaimed, it depends on the issue at hand.

    I don't fall for the negative stereotype that all atheists are amoral. I exhort you to not fall for the negative stereotype that all Christians and theists are unintelligent. I do understand that some atheists become frustrated when Christians resort to employing circular logic, or when they are dogmatic. I can't go through life without questioning things. For some people, it may work for them to accept things at face value.
    good post

    as some sort of vague atheist/agnostic (actually, I don't even understand what people mean when they speak of a "God"), I consider that everyone should seek his/her happiness as best they prefer. I have more or less resigned myself to the fact that it is impossible for me to understand what "religious" people are talking about all the time : it is like they were discussing conditions of life on Alpha Centauri

    No, mine is essentially a defensive battle : when I see people who try to shape the entire society on their faith, when their religious values receive some sort of privilege, where public tax money is involved, where pressure is exerted, then my "benign neglect" for religion ends, and I will oppose it in a very determined way.

    I feel that a rigorous separation between State and religion is the only guarantee for not opening up a Pandora's box of endless disputes and conflicts, and that our secular values have to be strenuously defended

    So, my opposition to religion is a political one, not a philosophical one.

    Does it make me prejudiced ?

    God knows/Allahu alim
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    A highly defective and biased definition of "faith" if ever there was one. :lolwut:

    Every time you go to a new doctor you have faith that they will treat you properly, based on your faith that they have been educated properly and know what they are doing. Which is based on evidence that most doctors know what they are doing. :yep: Faith is not defined as belief in something without credible evidence to support it.
    that isn't really the same kind of faith. you trust or believe a doctor is properly educated because of experience with past doctors and societies ability to regulate the medical industry. those are two reasons on which you can place your belief. now i can't speak for everyone but when going to a new doctor i am actually a little bit wary. not much, but just enough to gauge their personality and position on treatment techniques, for instance if i came in with a cold and they wanted to give me a full body scan and copious amounts of drugs or if i came in with a cancer diagnosis and they were trying to give me homeopathic medicine i would be concerned. at the end of the day your trust in them is an ongoing evaluation of their behavior and practices.

    the definition of faith the other guy gave was probably a little bit oversimplified but it isn't really wrong concerning religious belief. religious faith does require a step of belief without evidence, it is what the phrase "a leap of faith" means. if it didn't more people would believe the same thing. when you miss a step in reasoned based evidence and jump over it then where you end up is probably going to be different from almost everyone else.
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    "Do you think that you're belief is right?"

    I am an atheist because there is no evidence for god. People often conflate this with claiming there is definitely no god. It is not the same thing at all. I belive in things for which there is evidence, and when there is no evidence for something I'll wait and consider it if and when the evidence DOES arrive. This is science, this is skepticism, this is openmindedness.

    If you think atheism is closeminded, you have it backwards. This video explains it:

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