Why All the Atheists?

Why All the Atheists?

There are 80 comments on the Psychology Today story from Apr 27, 2012, titled Why All the Atheists?. In it, Psychology Today reports that:

I am in the process of writing a book tentatively titled, How God Inspires Us: Religion , Personality , and the Contradictions of Human Nature.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Psychology Today.

yon

Miami Beach, FL

#42 May 4, 2012
Brilliant. What authoritarian source do you like to quote from?
yon

Miami Beach, FL

#43 May 4, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
The other thing that cracks me up more then you quoting from a book that warns of things that have been happening for thousands, and thousands of years, is that you call yourself a christian, and than don't quote christ, but rather a guy who only "claimed" to be talking for christ. Why don't you call yourself a Paulian?
Your source of inspiration?

Mein Kamph?
yon

Miami Beach, FL

#44 May 4, 2012
1Cor 3

18 "Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with ELOHIM."
Amused

Lowell, MA

#45 May 4, 2012
yon wrote:
1Cor 3
18 "Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with ELOHIM."
"Parsons was Winston's fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms-one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended."

It is in the book. If I believe it hard enough, then Winston Smith was a real person.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#46 May 4, 2012
NightSerf wrote:
I remember my first thoughts as I finished reading Frankl's seminal work, "Man's Search for Meaning": what is this obsession with meaning? Why is our need so intense that we will fabricate meaning rather than live without it? Before reading Frankl's book, it never seriously occurred to me that there was any intrinsic meaning to life.
Steven Reiss writes, "In this book I will advance a new, comprehensive theory of religion. I will suggest that religion's sacred role in society is to help people experience their life as meaningful." He may be right about that. If there is no inherent meaning in life, most people's need for it may still be too intense to bear: false meaning for such is preferable to no meaning at all.
But for the few who prefer to live with an authenticity that requires us to face the full glare of reality no matter how uncomfortable that may be, no search for meaning can incorporate fabrication of any sort. Real meaning, if there is any, may assert itself as we live our lives, but I suspect that all such meanings are human creations.
I don't think that purpose and meaning are the same things: we choose our purposes in life, and they become real. Our marriages, parenthood, careers, and avocations or purposeful, and many build meaning in their lives on those foundations. Religion can fill that role, too--Reiss is right about that. But I think that another interesting project for some bright researcher would be to study the few who live happily and comfortably without any need for meaning. We do exist.
For me, most purpose is transitory, and when one purpose runs its course, I always find another. Instead of meaning, I look for value in my life. Not that parenthood and marriage are behind me, the one purpose that has been the "background noise" through those phases has come front and center, and my purpose is to create beauty, first for myself and ultimately to share with others, through the medium of music. That purpose does not feel transitory, and I suspect that many have lifelong avocations that form their core purposes as long as their abilities to pursue them remain. I will die sometime around the middle of this century. My music may die with me. Knowing that, I am still content.
In the article, Reiss mentions atheism only in passing, refuting idea that intuitive thinking requires less intelligence than analytical thinking. I agree. Both are parts of well developed minds, each compliments the other, and integrating the two can help people to reach heights that could never be attained in any other way.
Many of our atheist readers will be tempted to denigrate Reiss's project. I do not. A quick look at Reiss's career shows him to be a brilliant psychologist who loves to explore new territory and is never afraid to share conclusions that are likely to be controversial. Note this article in which he asserts that intrinsic motivation probably does not exist:
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/inmotiv.h...
an assessment with which I agree, and I intend to read his new book when it is published.
wonderful comment. worth reading carefully. I prefer your summary and comment to reading his book, however. The one book on religion I did like to some degree was Marin Buber's book I and Thou - but that was because of its emphasis on the respect for the self- of onesself and others. I did not accept the reality of his notion of a Thou God, but it seemed like a nicer notion than most. and that itself is progress.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#47 May 4, 2012
NightSerf wrote:
<quoted text>
That's fine. I'm me, you're you, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Topix provides a place for ideas that can't be fully expressed in the "real" world, and that means that the finer points of opinions and feelings will be diverse even among people who are in agreement on more basic points.
You write the truth as you see it. Good for you!
another interesting difference among and between skeptics, atheists, and agnostics on here. I agree entirely with the emphasis you put on diversity of opinion on finer points. It is interesting to see them and discuss them. Some points are basic, and even there we may disagree - between the socalled hard atheists who claim to know there is no god, God,gods of any kind, and the socalled soft atheists (I prefer the term agnostic atheist, as I describe myself) who do not know and also do not believe. Skeptic seems to be a hard atheist.
However, there is an important difference in style sometimes, that seems to reveal a big difference in the amounts of tolerance for other views. I am very put off by the insulting style. I can understand comments in retaliation - it is difficult to take provocations forever without striking back. But to be the first to be nasty seems improper to me - except in the case of an absolutely brilliant attack of some sort - a Colbert at his best style mockery, or equivalent. Then if it is really funny, or brilliant, or especially if it is both, then I am tolerant of a strong strike against a particularly ignorant assertion. I always like your style and substance - and even in comparison with others of our fundamental view, I find you most agreeable to converse with, both for myself, and in how you respond to others. That is high praise, since I find many others who seem to be agnostic-atheists whom I like a lot. including even folks who disagree on the nuances, including aint necessarily so.(Obviously I am disgusted with Skeptic from London, and do not regard him as a skeptic at all - but as a "true-believing hard atheist").
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#48 May 4, 2012
yon wrote:
Brilliant. What authoritarian source do you like to quote from?
you need to hit the reply button so we know with whom you are in disagreement. was it Skeptic, by any chance? As an agnostic atheist, who does not claim to know or have proof, I am not in accord with him - and I think an argument between you and him is useful.
we have been having a discussion with hedonist - do you know him- about who has the burden of proof, and what is the implication if someone cannot prove something.
It is my point of view that someone who makes an assertion that he knows or can prove, has the burden of proof. Thus either a believer or a non-believer can make such an assertion and take on the burden of proof. I do not assert that I know or can prove, and thus I do not assume the burden of proof.
I think that if someone states that he knows there is no god, God, or gods, and that he can prove it, or that it has been proven, that person takes on the burden of proof. If he cannot prove it, it only means that he is a silly braggart, not that there is a God. Similarly, if someone states that he knows there is a God of some sort, and that he can prove it, or that it has been proven, that person takes on the burden of proof. If he cannot prove it, it does not prove that there is no God, only that he is a sily braggart.
Please if you are a believer and think you know, argue with Skeptic from London. You would both be on the same footing, so to speak, with regard to your knowledge claims.
If you do not claim to know, but still believe, then explain this to us please. I am not unfriendly to people who have religious beliefs of some sort - it depends on the content of the belief - if they are not arrogant and do not claim to know.
I can even tolerate those who claim to know, if they go on to have a very decent theology and ethic, compared to most true believers.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#49 May 4, 2012
Amused wrote:
<quoted text>
"Parsons was Winston's fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms-one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended."
It is in the book. If I believe it hard enough, then Winston Smith was a real person.
I like your name and think I like your comments before, but I have no idea about what you are discussing. It is helpful if you refer back a bit to the original raising of a topic. Sometimes people - like me - come on in the midst of something, and like one particular commenter, and want to know what is going on, and cannot easily find the origins of the discussion. I realize I am guilty of the same thing. This complaint to you is because I think I have liked you before, and thus am interested. Sounds like an anti-utopian book, but I do not recognize which one. too long since I have readthem.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#50 May 4, 2012
yon wrote:
<quoted text>
So what is your hope beyond your miserable meaningless existence beyond making others as miserable?
number 21. please state whether you think you can prove what you believe, or not. and carry on with the argument with Skeptic by asking him to prove what he claims he knows. that reply above was to skeptic.
I want to know whether your accusation was specific to him, or whether you think this is true of anyone who does not believe as you do.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#51 May 4, 2012
-Skeptic- wrote:
<quoted text>
If you think god is real, you need to stop lying to everyone around you and actually prove it.
People like you make the world a miserable place to live.
If you believe that you know that there is no God, god, or gods, and you claim to know this, you need to actually prove it. You might help your case if you settle on a specific version of God to disprove, and define it as the Biblical God of both OT and NT, if that is what you refer to. Or if you include any god listed on any list of historical or cultural gods that folks have believed in, please refer us to the specific list, and debunk them all with proof. It would be interesting.
I do not believe in any of them, but do not wish to claim I can prove they don't exist, since I have a real life, and could not spend all that time on topix.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#52 May 4, 2012
yon wrote:
<quoted text>
Does being turned into a cockroach better than oblivion? Is that your hope?
please hit reply button to the person you were replying to - you were adding a ps to your earlier comment here, I assume. but sometimes there are impersonators, taking your name and arguing with you. we do not always check the town name, or remember it, of the original person using the moniker on topix.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#53 May 4, 2012
yon wrote:
<quoted text>
And what about your deviant friends? Termites?
that was to skeptic. even your insults need clarification and are not helpful discussions on the substance of your disagreement. please do not be afraid to post intelligently on the substance.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#54 May 4, 2012
Nontheist wrote:
<quoted text>There is a huge difference in understanding and supporting that people will have a different opinion.
That doesn't mean I have to SUPPORT the opinion held.
Racism is an opinion opposed to mine. I don't agree with racism. I won't support the opinion of racism.
It's my opinion that most religion, and, in specific, Christianity, creates a type or variation of racism (some might say bigotry but I won't) of the worse kind.
are you acquainted with wolverine from other posts of his? his name discredits wolverines. I liked your comment, and only disagree with your thinking that that horrid person deserves any reply whatsoever. However, sometimes horrid persons with horrid comments provoke us to write really fine replies, so we can find each other. I am very impressed with your comment and glad to be acquainted with you.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#55 May 4, 2012
The serpent was right wrote:
<quoted text>
I find it pathetic that you think you only can find meaning in life by believeing in an invisible sky-pixie that you can't even prove is real. Does it got more pathetic then that?
excuse me,it is not a sky-pixie! any more than the Bible is a fairy tale. you folks need to stop insulting pixies and fairy tales! The God of the Bible has some horrid aspects that I would not accuse any pixie of. Nor are many fairy tales as complex and full of interwoven horrid scenarios and appalling philosophical points of view as is the Bible. None are,that I know of.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#56 May 4, 2012
god is IMAGINARY wrote:
Why All the Atheists?
Full story: Psychology Today
I am in the process of writing a book tentatively titled, How God Inspires Us: Religion, Personality, and the Contradictions of Human Nature. In this book I will advance a new, comprehensive theory of religion. I will suggest that religion's sacred role in society is to help people experience their life as meaningful..
The theist holds that life has meaning, and that science, based as it is on cause and effect, cannot explain meaning. Theism is the belief that meaning isn't a natural phenomena.The atheist holds that meaning is just an experience science someday will explain.
Is the meaning of life real or an illusion? Does your life have meaning? If you say "yes," you are a believer. If you say "no," you are a true atheist.
/QUOTE
youre lying
thats the EVIL of xianity
www.evilbible.com
your religion is dying
I assume your last part is your opinion of the first part. I do not think I would want to use the term lying, since this person may mean well and just be mistaken. I think his definition of atheism is nuts, and self-serving to make his point. He defines it in such a way that it merely restates his accusation - not in the classical sense of what atheism means - which is not with a god. Not believing in a God, god, or gods, at least.
I think the religion is not dying, and wish it were, if it could be replaced by a sensible ethic and by a sanguine agnosticism about cosmic questions. I think it is the "calling" (self-called) of agnostic atheists to state the type of ethic (I call it "informed kindness") that should replace religious morality of various sorts, and to explain the benefits of being a happy agnostic, rather than a striver after a truth that I suspect is unfindable and unknowable.
Read NightSerf's comment. He is more tolerant than I and less than you, and interesting.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#57 May 4, 2012
I mean more tolerant of the book attempt, and I should have written that I think I am less tolerant than he is and a bit more tolerant than you are,of certain types of believers. Sometimes one has to give believers enough rope...so to speak... so that they finally saw awful things that hang themselves. Some believers say much worse things than others do. I have friends who are believers, and I am more interested in their ethical views and how they live, and candidly, how they vote - than in exposing the nonsense of their theology.
havent forgotten

Lamoni, IA

#58 May 4, 2012
say, not saw...
Amused

Lowell, MA

#59 May 4, 2012
havent forgotten wrote:
<quoted text> I like your name and think I like your comments before, but I have no idea about what you are discussing. It is helpful if you refer back a bit to the original raising of a topic. Sometimes people - like me - come on in the midst of something, and like one particular commenter, and want to know what is going on, and cannot easily find the origins of the discussion. I realize I am guilty of the same thing. This complaint to you is because I think I have liked you before, and thus am interested. Sounds like an anti-utopian book, but I do not recognize which one. too long since I have readthem.
The book (Orwell's 1984) was chosen at random. It is fiction, although it seems to be ominously becoming a more and more accurate description of reality. It was merely a response to posters who quote the bible as proof of the validity of the bible. Hence the quoted text referred to, in which a previous theist poster had merely cut and pasted a bible verse. I just did the same thing with an acknowledged work of fiction, to make the point that using a book to prove that the book is true is an exercise in circular thinking. Any book would have sufficed, from Beowulf to Tom Sawyer to Winnie the Pooh. The particular passage was chosen because it mentioned Winston Smith by name. The actual content of the passage was not a factor in the choice, apart from the name mention.

The name comes from an Elvis Costello lyric "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused."
yon

Miami Beach, FL

#60 May 4, 2012
havent forgotten wrote:
<quoted text> number 21. please state whether you think you can prove what you believe, or not. and carry on with the argument with Skeptic by asking him to prove what he claims he knows. that reply above was to skeptic.
I want to know whether your accusation was specific to him, or whether you think this is true of anyone who does not believe as you do.
My response was
"The serpent was right wrote:"

The truth is in Scripture, although badly translated in places due to Greek and Latin and European antisemitism that also does not have semantic understanding of the Hebrew language, which is not the Hebrew language of today. Intellectuals cannot grasp this because they do not have the Holy Spirit, but are as bodies without souls who do not seek truth, but rather have an agenda connected with their skepticisms. And thus I do not care to debate them and their willful ignorance. I will state truth and they can rant.

yon

Miami Beach, FL

#61 May 4, 2012
Didn't mean to offend any die-hard atheists by suggesting that their only hope is to be turned into a cockroach. The reality is that their lives are already as meaningless as a cockroach. And they aren't going to be turned into anything but dust.

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