T Nation

Religious Questions from the Faithful and the Believers

I enjoy the thread started by SexMachine. In it, it was suggested to start the opposite thread, a place where Christians/Jews(can I say that?)/Muslims/whatever(no offense) can openly question those like me that so frequently question their religion. So here it is, let’s do this.

I do not have faith. I do not believe in God, or a higher power, a creator. I have given it plenty of chances, and continue to do so. It feels like banging my head against a wall.

I have a belief system, that is constantly reaffirmed in my daily existence. It is malleable, constantly growing, and always striving for improvement. I am eclectic in this regard. I like to see the commonality among the major faiths, rather than the differences.

Do not kill, rape, hurt, steal, lie, and cheat. Treat others with kindness, respect, dignity, and compassion. These are the tenets by which I live my life. Sounds familiar?

I’m open for anything, historical, current, family, whatever floats your boat.

[quote]AceRock wrote:
I enjoy the thread started by SexMachine. In it, it was suggested to start the opposite thread, a place where Christians/Jews(can I say that?)/Muslims/whatever(no offense) can openly question those like me that so frequently question their religion. So here it is, let’s do this.

I do not have faith. I do not believe in God, or a higher power, a creator. I have given it plenty of chances, and continue to do so. It feels like banging my head against a wall.

I have a belief system, that is constantly reaffirmed in my daily existence. It is malleable, constantly growing, and always striving for improvement. I am eclectic in this regard. I like to see the commonality among the major faiths, rather than the differences.

Do not kill, rape, hurt, steal, lie, and cheat. Treat others with kindness, respect, dignity, and compassion. These are the tenets by which I live my life. Sounds familiar?

I’m open for anything, historical, current, family, whatever floats your boat.[/quote]

I’m in my 30’s and I’ve been a lifelong atheist. Even one who thought I was a clever dick and the believers were braindead zombies. I have known a lot of religious people and they seem to have found religion as a way to cope with traumatic things and belong to a welcoming community.

Without trying to brag nothing gets me down. My mother died 14 months ago and although it was a very difficult time I pulled through on my own without support and improved my life. After about 12 months the grief subsided and by chance I decided to learn the history of the Israelites. I’d been studying Greek and Roman history for twenty years.

Soom after I had a nasty accident with multiple fractures. Right now I don’t know if I’ll be crippled for life but I don’t ask or expect to be healed as Mephibosheth was. That was for the sake of Saul anyhow. I don’t blame anyone else for my own mistakes and I try to curtail my excesses. I have done things in ignorance that would cause the Lord to turn his back on me. I deserve no better but seek the chance to bring joy into others’ lives, bless the Lord and have a family. Well that’s about it. Sorry for getting too personal there.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]AceRock wrote:
I enjoy the thread started by SexMachine. In it, it was suggested to start the opposite thread, a place where Christians/Jews(can I say that?)/Muslims/whatever(no offense) can openly question those like me that so frequently question their religion. So here it is, let’s do this.

I do not have faith. I do not believe in God, or a higher power, a creator. I have given it plenty of chances, and continue to do so. It feels like banging my head against a wall.

I have a belief system, that is constantly reaffirmed in my daily existence. It is malleable, constantly growing, and always striving for improvement. I am eclectic in this regard. I like to see the commonality among the major faiths, rather than the differences.

Do not kill, rape, hurt, steal, lie, and cheat. Treat others with kindness, respect, dignity, and compassion. These are the tenets by which I live my life. Sounds familiar?

I’m open for anything, historical, current, family, whatever floats your boat.[/quote]

I’m in my 30’s and I’ve been a lifelong atheist. Even one who thought I was a clever dick and the believers were braindead zombies. I have known a lot of religious people and they seem to have found religion as a way to cope with traumatic things and belong to a welcoming community.

Without trying to brag nothing gets me down. My mother died 14 months ago and although it was a very difficult time I pulled through on my own without support and improved my life. After about 12 months the grief subsided and by chance I decided to learn the history of the Israelites. I’d been studying Greek and Roman history for twenty years.

Soom after I had a nasty accident with multiple fractures. Right now I don’t know if I’ll be crippled for life but I don’t ask or expect to be healed as Mephibosheth was. That was for the sake of Saul anyhow. I don’t blame anyone else for my own mistakes and I try to curtail my excesses. I have done things in ignorance that would cause the Lord to turn his back on me. I deserve no better but seek the chance to bring joy into others’ lives, bless the Lord and have a family. Well that’s about it. Sorry for getting too personal there.[/quote]

Wow, sorry to hear about all this happening to you in such a short period of time. I hope that with some physical therapy and patience you’ll mend up just fine.

Posted this in the other thread, but it is my basis for non belief if anyone wants to ask me about it. I don’t mind talking about it and I don’t feel threatened by questions on it because I honestly can’t help it:

I’m the exact same. I was raised Methodist and would love nothing more than to have faith because having faith is better than not having faith. It just is. I would MUCH rather be religious, believe in a higher power and plan, and imagine that the dead people I love so much are in heaven waiting on me to come see them.

That when my best friends mom died when she was 40 that it was because God needed an angel right then. That my grandparents are in the most perfect existence imaginable. That a woman raped and murdered and treated awfully in this life is now in eternal bliss.

This is FAR FAR FAR better than what I actually believe. My brain will not allow me to do these things. I’ve TRIED many times. I cannot force myself to believe in a higher power unless I walk around all day pretending. I cannot read a story like beans and think anything other than pure chance. Or that if God can do everything then why allow so much shit here to occur.

My brain won’t let me have faith. I would prefer it to happen. I cannot make it happen no matter how hard I try. At least not with the Christian faiths I have been “trained” in for the first 18 years of my life. Maybe I would have more luck attempting Buddhism or Islam or Mormonism, but I doubt it.

If I burn in hell for all eternity because of this then I guess I burn in hell. I just honestly feel like if God exists then he made my brain work in a way that can’t find rational reasons for believing in him. If he (can’t God be a she ;)) feels I need to be tortured in a lake of fire I guess I’ll be tortured in a lake of fire. Right now I absolutely have no choice. I would believe if I could. It is far easier to believe than to not believe in my opinion.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

I’m in my 30’s and I’ve been a lifelong atheist.

I deserve no better but seek the chance to bring joy into others’ lives, bless the Lord and have a family.[/quote]

That is unfortunate, to put it mildly. I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

My question, then, is the quoted parts above. Are you trying to find faith, is that it? I’ve given it my best, several times, and come back to it every now and then, so that I understand. Just want to make sure I’m following you.

[quote]H factor wrote:
Posted this in the other thread, but it is my basis for non belief if anyone wants to ask me about it. I don’t mind talking about it and I don’t feel threatened by questions on it because I honestly can’t help it:

I’m the exact same. I was raised Methodist and would love nothing more than to have faith because having faith is better than not having faith. It just is. I would MUCH rather be religious, believe in a higher power and plan, and imagine that the dead people I love so much are in heaven waiting on me to come see them.

That when my best friends mom died when she was 40 that it was because God needed an angel right then. That my grandparents are in the most perfect existence imaginable. That a woman raped and murdered and treated awfully in this life is now in eternal bliss.

This is FAR FAR FAR better than what I actually believe. My brain will not allow me to do these things. I’ve TRIED many times. I cannot force myself to believe in a higher power unless I walk around all day pretending. I cannot read a story like beans and think anything other than pure chance. Or that if God can do everything then why allow so much shit here to occur.

My brain won’t let me have faith. I would prefer it to happen. I cannot make it happen no matter how hard I try. At least not with the Christian faiths I have been “trained” in for the first 18 years of my life. Maybe I would have more luck attempting Buddhism or Islam or Mormonism, but I doubt it.

If I burn in hell for all eternity because of this then I guess I burn in hell. I just honestly feel like if God exists then he made my brain work in a way that can’t find rational reasons for believing in him. If he (can’t God be a she ;)) feels I need to be tortured in a lake of fire I guess I’ll be tortured in a lake of fire. Right now I absolutely have no choice. I would believe if I could. It is far easier to believe than to not believe in my opinion. [/quote]

It does sound so nice, doesn’t it? Like a warm blanket and a hot cup of cocoa on a rainy day. Soothing, comforting, secure. I long for that security.

But, alas, like you I do not find it. I don’t fear Hell, any more than I fear Heaven… hmm… I may fear Heaven more, honestly.

I have found solace elsewhere, but I cannot call myself religious, nor content.

Organized religion isn’t for everybody.

Any of you ever read “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck?

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
Organized religion isn’t for everybody.

Any of you ever read “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck?
[/quote]

I have not, but will find it and check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

I definitely feel like the outsider, in most things. Just don’t see things the way most everyone else seems to, and I don’t really want to. Faith seems nice, though.

[quote]AceRock wrote:

[quote]H factor wrote:
Posted this in the other thread, but it is my basis for non belief if anyone wants to ask me about it. I don’t mind talking about it and I don’t feel threatened by questions on it because I honestly can’t help it:

I’m the exact same. I was raised Methodist and would love nothing more than to have faith because having faith is better than not having faith. It just is. I would MUCH rather be religious, believe in a higher power and plan, and imagine that the dead people I love so much are in heaven waiting on me to come see them.

That when my best friends mom died when she was 40 that it was because God needed an angel right then. That my grandparents are in the most perfect existence imaginable. That a woman raped and murdered and treated awfully in this life is now in eternal bliss.

This is FAR FAR FAR better than what I actually believe. My brain will not allow me to do these things. I’ve TRIED many times. I cannot force myself to believe in a higher power unless I walk around all day pretending. I cannot read a story like beans and think anything other than pure chance. Or that if God can do everything then why allow so much shit here to occur.

My brain won’t let me have faith. I would prefer it to happen. I cannot make it happen no matter how hard I try. At least not with the Christian faiths I have been “trained” in for the first 18 years of my life. Maybe I would have more luck attempting Buddhism or Islam or Mormonism, but I doubt it.

If I burn in hell for all eternity because of this then I guess I burn in hell. I just honestly feel like if God exists then he made my brain work in a way that can’t find rational reasons for believing in him. If he (can’t God be a she ;)) feels I need to be tortured in a lake of fire I guess I’ll be tortured in a lake of fire. Right now I absolutely have no choice. I would believe if I could. It is far easier to believe than to not believe in my opinion. [/quote]

It does sound so nice, doesn’t it? Like a warm blanket and a hot cup of cocoa on a rainy day. Soothing, comforting, secure. I long for that security.

But, alas, like you I do not find it. I don’t fear Hell, any more than I fear Heaven… hmm… I may fear Heaven more, honestly.

I have found solace elsewhere, but I cannot call myself religious, nor content.[/quote]

I am perfectly content being not religious. I “wish” I believed in heaven, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I believe I will never see the people I love on Earth again. It does make me tend to thank them and tell them I love them a bit more. I don’t have this idea that one day we will spend eternity together in utopia. Like I said I would absolutely love to believe that if I could.

[quote]H factor wrote:

I am perfectly content being not religious. I “wish” I believed in heaven, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I believe I will never see the people I love on Earth again. It does make me tend to thank them and tell them I love them a bit more. I don’t have this idea that one day we will spend eternity together in utopia. Like I said I would absolutely love to believe that if I could. [/quote]

Agreed on all counts. I “know” I won’t see my dead loved ones again in the form I knew them. I’m fine without religion, but I still search for true happiness/peace/contentment.

[quote]H factor wrote:
Posted this in the other thread, but it is my basis for non belief if anyone wants to ask me about it. I don’t mind talking about it and I don’t feel threatened by questions on it because I honestly can’t help it:

I’m the exact same. I was raised Methodist and would love nothing more than to have faith because having faith is better than not having faith. It just is. I would MUCH rather be religious, believe in a higher power and plan, and imagine that the dead people I love so much are in heaven waiting on me to come see them.

That when my best friends mom died when she was 40 that it was because God needed an angel right then. That my grandparents are in the most perfect existence imaginable. That a woman raped and murdered and treated awfully in this life is now in eternal bliss.

This is FAR FAR FAR better than what I actually believe. My brain will not allow me to do these things. I’ve TRIED many times. I cannot force myself to believe in a higher power unless I walk around all day pretending. I cannot read a story like beans and think anything other than pure chance. Or that if God can do everything then why allow so much shit here to occur.

My brain won’t let me have faith. I would prefer it to happen. I cannot make it happen no matter how hard I try. At least not with the Christian faiths I have been “trained” in for the first 18 years of my life. Maybe I would have more luck attempting Buddhism or Islam or Mormonism, but I doubt it.

If I burn in hell for all eternity because of this then I guess I burn in hell. I just honestly feel like if God exists then he made my brain work in a way that can’t find rational reasons for believing in him. If he (can’t God be a she ;)) feels I need to be tortured in a lake of fire I guess I’ll be tortured in a lake of fire. Right now I absolutely have no choice. I would believe if I could. It is far easier to believe than to not believe in my opinion. [/quote]

You certainly wouldn’t be convinced in a forum, that’s for sure.
I do find it interesting that while ‘your brain won’t let you believe’ you are very curious about it nonetheless.
This curiosity of your’s may be the unidentified spiritual nag laying deep with in you.

I get it though. If I were looking at a lot of Christians from the outside, I would see a bunch of people in their hands in the air in some sort of suspended reality. And the problem only increases when you talk to them and they sound clueless.
But not everybody is clueless, not everybody is in it for some self-serving purpose of avoiding hell.

I am not religious to avoid hell. I am religious because I love God. He answers my prayers. He communicates to me, sometimes in very bizarre ways that when I realize, make me laugh. He has a good sense of humor.
It’s not an easy life, it’s not happy-go-lucky ‘I am saved!’ kind of existence.
I wouldn’t do it just to avoid hell. I wouldn’t do it if it were not a reciprocal relationship.

I look at my life, and all the multitudes of blessing in it, and I know I didn’t do it alone. There has always been someone or something there that has gotten me through each stage, each phase. I am not the product of the work of my own two hands, though I did that as well. The crosses, the sufferings in my life were too much to bear. And I feel like I have had more than my fair share. I am threadbare and worn out from them, but I am still standing. And yes, I will spare you the details as I am still going through a lot. But I am the product of being on the good side of grace. It’s no accident. I have learned a lot from my crosses, most of all how lucky I am, and how blessed I am. Through them, I have always gotten support where none seemed to exist. I have clung to faith when I could have easily said “Screw this!” I will never give up, though I don’t understand suffering. Why God, with all His power good not have made life exist without it, I don’t know.
I know, that I wouldn’t know what I know and feel the humility I feel without it.
In the end I know I will be great, never better, that’s just a matter of time.
A Christian life isn’t a charmed life, it’s a tough life, but a life worth living. There is a joy to it that cannot be expressed or understood, it can only be experienced. And once you do, you could only be a liar to deny it. When you experience it, it’s undeniable.

I think that’s what Christian’s cannot ultimately understand. How do you not see ‘it’? And for non-religious, how do you see anything?

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]AceRock wrote:
I enjoy the thread started by SexMachine. In it, it was suggested to start the opposite thread, a place where Christians/Jews(can I say that?)/Muslims/whatever(no offense) can openly question those like me that so frequently question their religion. So here it is, let’s do this.

I do not have faith. I do not believe in God, or a higher power, a creator. I have given it plenty of chances, and continue to do so. It feels like banging my head against a wall.

I have a belief system, that is constantly reaffirmed in my daily existence. It is malleable, constantly growing, and always striving for improvement. I am eclectic in this regard. I like to see the commonality among the major faiths, rather than the differences.

Do not kill, rape, hurt, steal, lie, and cheat. Treat others with kindness, respect, dignity, and compassion. These are the tenets by which I live my life. Sounds familiar?

I’m open for anything, historical, current, family, whatever floats your boat.[/quote]

I’m in my 30’s and I’ve been a lifelong atheist. Even one who thought I was a clever dick and the believers were braindead zombies. I have known a lot of religious people and they seem to have found religion as a way to cope with traumatic things and belong to a welcoming community.

Without trying to brag nothing gets me down. My mother died 14 months ago and although it was a very difficult time I pulled through on my own without support and improved my life. After about 12 months the grief subsided and by chance I decided to learn the history of the Israelites. I’d been studying Greek and Roman history for twenty years.

Soom after I had a nasty accident with multiple fractures. Right now I don’t know if I’ll be crippled for life but I don’t ask or expect to be healed as Mephibosheth was. That was for the sake of Saul anyhow. I don’t blame anyone else for my own mistakes and I try to curtail my excesses. I have done things in ignorance that would cause the Lord to turn his back on me. I deserve no better but seek the chance to bring joy into others’ lives, bless the Lord and have a family. Well that’s about it. Sorry for getting too personal there.[/quote]

I can relate SM… We were called to ‘Carry our crosses’ and follow Jesus. That’s what your doing, that’s what I am doing. I know what it’s like to live as a part cripple and in constant pain… Never give up, even when you feel like it. I felt like it and I didn’t and now I have great hope for the future, because now I have hope for relief.
And the way I was led to it was down right providential, because every doctor prior had given up… I had little reason to hope when every doctor said, 'I don’t know, there’s nothing that can be done.'
I also know what it’s like to lose a parent, in the most awful way…I too didn’t have support, I was the support. I was the one who had to be strong for everybody else.

[quote]AceRock wrote:

[quote]H factor wrote:

I am perfectly content being not religious. I “wish” I believed in heaven, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I believe I will never see the people I love on Earth again. It does make me tend to thank them and tell them I love them a bit more. I don’t have this idea that one day we will spend eternity together in utopia. Like I said I would absolutely love to believe that if I could. [/quote]

Agreed on all counts. I “know” I won’t see my dead loved ones again in the form I knew them. I’m fine without religion, but I still search for true happiness/peace/contentment.[/quote]

It’s an interesting statement how you said your ‘fine without religion’ but still search for true happiness.
I agree, the sun will come up tomorrow, it will rain and be sunny, your family will still love you, your car will still start, etc.
Faith isn’t really about all that other shit people tend to associate with it, it’s about relationships and love.
I am religious, but I cannot say I am content. But I know why I am not. Mostly, and I can say this with all honesty, it’s shit that’s happened to me through no fault of my own. I mean zero fault, it happened to me, not because of me. But there is an element that is my fault, and that’s the stuff I can improve. Hopefully, when all the stuff that happened to me finally passes, I can just be left only with the stuff I need to fix.
Bad stuff is better when it’s your fault, because you can fix it. When it ‘happens’ to you, there’s nothing you can do about it and I can assure you it does not hurt less just because you are not responsible for it.

I am the most insignificant person in the world, and yet, I am all I can think about…<- And that is what I need to change the most about me…

I think that one of the reasons that there seems to be a smaller market for answers from atheists is that intelligent Christians tend to understand atheism* as well as, and even better than, many atheists.

To take an example from here, Sloth, Pat, and Push have a better grasp of what Dostoevsky referred to as “permissibility” than do most of the atheists I know, among whom are a few people who are very celebrated and successful academics.

*Philosophically, I mean. The evidential and scientific aspects of non-belief are another story.

[quote]pat wrote:
You certainly wouldn’t be convinced in a forum, that’s for sure.
I do find it interesting that while ‘your brain won’t let you believe’ you are very curious about it nonetheless.
This curiosity of your’s may be the unidentified spiritual nag laying deep with in you.

I get it though. If I were looking at a lot of Christians from the outside, I would see a bunch of people in their hands in the air in some sort of suspended reality. And the problem only increases when you talk to them and they sound clueless.
But not everybody is clueless, not everybody is in it for some self-serving purpose of avoiding hell.

I am not religious to avoid hell. I am religious because I love God. He answers my prayers. He communicates to me, sometimes in very bizarre ways that when I realize, make me laugh. He has a good sense of humor.
It’s not an easy life, it’s not happy-go-lucky ‘I am saved!’ kind of existence.
I wouldn’t do it just to avoid hell. I wouldn’t do it if it were not a reciprocal relationship.

I look at my life, and all the multitudes of blessing in it, and I know I didn’t do it alone. There has always been someone or something there that has gotten me through each stage, each phase. I am not the product of the work of my own two hands, though I did that as well. The crosses, the sufferings in my life were too much to bear. And I feel like I have had more than my fair share. I am threadbare and worn out from them, but I am still standing. And yes, I will spare you the details as I am still going through a lot. But I am the product of being on the good side of grace. It’s no accident. I have learned a lot from my crosses, most of all how lucky I am, and how blessed I am. Through them, I have always gotten support where none seemed to exist. I have clung to faith when I could have easily said “Screw this!” I will never give up, though I don’t understand suffering. Why God, with all His power good not have made life exist without it, I don’t know.
I know, that I wouldn’t know what I know and feel the humility I feel without it.
In the end I know I will be great, never better, that’s just a matter of time.
A Christian life isn’t a charmed life, it’s a tough life, but a life worth living. There is a joy to it that cannot be expressed or understood, it can only be experienced. And once you do, you could only be a liar to deny it. When you experience it, it’s undeniable.

I think that’s what Christian’s cannot ultimately understand. How do you not see ‘it’? And for non-religious, how do you see anything?
[/quote]

Honestly I see this as one giant contradiction. If I couldn’t see it in a forum then why are you constantly trying to convince non believers they are wrong on here? Why are you constantly trying to prove your point of view correct on here?

Of course I’m curious about people who believe something so vastly different than me, but CLEARLY you are as well. You are a frequent contributor to discussions based around people like me. We are very similar in that regard? Is that the atheist spirit in you? Frankly I think coming to that conclusion is ridiculous.

The personal stories are fantastic, but the religious and the non religious share them from these threads. I have had many things happen in my life as well, but I give a lot of the thanks to my family, friends, and mentors for creating what I am today. None of us did anything fully alone and I give a lot of credit to the PEOPLE in my life who helped me. If you feel as if that was the holy spirit guiding them then again that isn’t really a conclusion I’m going to agree with.

I can see with my eyeballs. I don’t particularly like when the religious try and act as if the non religious are suffering from some type of disability. When they come out and say stuff like “well you don’t believe in anything. How can you be moral? How can you live without a higher purpose?” I dunno, how can the people who claim to be loving Christians hate gay people if they believe they are God’s creations. Hate Muslims is they are God’s creations? Doesn’t seem to stop them much.

Is it really that impossible for someone to believe the problems with proving the existence of something they have never seen nor heard? “You gotta be crazy if you can’t see/feel/hear him!”

Well, I can’t do those things and I’ve tried. Maybe God needs to turn up the volume? Some of these threads have a tendency to have believers talk to non believers as if the problem must completely lie in them.

[quote]smh_23 wrote:
I think that one of the reasons that there seems to be a smaller market for answers from atheists is that intelligent Christians tend to understand atheism* as well as, and even better than, many atheists.

To take an example from here, Sloth, Pat, and Push have a better grasp of what Dostoevsky referred to as “permissibility” than do most of the atheists I know, among whom are a few people who are very celebrated and successful academics.

*Philosophically, I mean. The evidential and scientific aspects of non-belief are another story.[/quote]

I think its simply because there is something everyone doesn’t believe. Santa Clause, global warming, other religious beliefs that conflict with their own, What Obama says, aliens, etc.

[quote]sufiandy wrote:

[quote]smh_23 wrote:
I think that one of the reasons that there seems to be a smaller market for answers from atheists is that intelligent Christians tend to understand atheism* as well as, and even better than, many atheists.

To take an example from here, Sloth, Pat, and Push have a better grasp of what Dostoevsky referred to as “permissibility” than do most of the atheists I know, among whom are a few people who are very celebrated and successful academics.

*Philosophically, I mean. The evidential and scientific aspects of non-belief are another story.[/quote]

I think its simply because there is something everyone doesn’t believe. Santa Clause, global warming, other religious beliefs that conflict with their own, What Obama says, aliens, etc.[/quote]

Well for me there really isn’t anything to ask about atheism.

There’s only two versions that I seem to encounter.

  1. The atheist who simply has no faith in God.

They tend to gel with theists. The reason being is that while they have no faith in God, they often admit to putting faith in certain things/thoughts being in reality evil or good (example). So, while they don’t have faith in God, faith itself isn’t necessarily silly, backwards, foreign, or whatever.

  1. The atheist who has no faith in anything he can’t potentially measure. God, things/thought actually being inherently good or evil, inherent rights, real moral obligations (being charitable a real good, instead of a personal character flavor).

The actual atheist part of the whole deal is just a lack of faith in God specifically. It isn’t necessarily a lack of faith in all things that can’t be counted.

So, there really isn’t much to ask of atheism specifically. There aren’t doctrines, moral codes, or ceremonial practices to ask about.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
So, there really isn’t much to ask of atheism specifically. There aren’t doctrines, moral codes, or ceremonial practices to ask about.
[/quote]

Weirdly enough I feel the same way about faith EXCEPT for religions I am not familiar with.

I basically get the gist of what goes on in most “mainstream” Christian faiths. While differences exist in my area I’ve been to Catholic, Baptist, Methodist churches and much of what they believe is similar enough for me not to really care about the differences.

I am far more interested in learning about Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, other faiths that I’m not nearly as well versed in. Although I don’t take the time to actively study these faiths I’m much more interested in learning about them as they are quite different in many areas from how I was raised Methodist.

I think the faithful and the non-faithful aren’t that interested in each other often because I can’t understand how you can buy the stuff and you can’t understand how I can’t. Or something to that effect.

I used to really enjoy religious debates on the internet, but I’ve found them to be a waste of time once you’ve gone round the circle a few times. Still may be enjoyable to read, but trying to convince anyone to believe something completely opposite from what they do is fairly fruitless in my experience.

If we had a big population of Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims, etc I would be far more curios about the religious threads to be honest.

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]sufiandy wrote:

[quote]smh_23 wrote:
I think that one of the reasons that there seems to be a smaller market for answers from atheists is that intelligent Christians tend to understand atheism* as well as, and even better than, many atheists.

To take an example from here, Sloth, Pat, and Push have a better grasp of what Dostoevsky referred to as “permissibility” than do most of the atheists I know, among whom are a few people who are very celebrated and successful academics.

*Philosophically, I mean. The evidential and scientific aspects of non-belief are another story.[/quote]

I think its simply because there is something everyone doesn’t believe. Santa Clause, global warming, other religious beliefs that conflict with their own, What Obama says, aliens, etc.[/quote]

Well for me there really isn’t anything to ask about atheism.

There’s only two versions that I seem to encounter.

  1. The atheist who simply has no faith in God.

They tend to gel with theists. The reason being is that while they have no faith in God, they often admit to putting faith in certain things/thoughts being in reality evil or good (example). So, while they don’t have faith in God, faith itself isn’t necessarily silly, backwards, foreign, or whatever.

  1. The atheist who has no faith in anything he can’t potentially measure. God, things/thought actually being inherently good or evil, inherent rights, real moral obligations (being charitable a real good, instead of a personal character flavor).

The actual atheist part of the whole deal is just a lack of faith in God specifically. It isn’t necessarily a lack of faith in all things that can’t be counted.

So, there really isn’t much to ask of atheism specifically. There aren’t doctrines, moral codes, or ceremonial practices to ask about.
[/quote]

So do you disagree with those who say atheism is a religion?

[quote]
That is unfortunate, to put it mildly. I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

My question, then, is the quoted parts above. Are you trying to find faith, is that it? I’ve given it my best, several times, and come back to it every now and then, so that I understand. Just want to make sure I’m following you.[/quote]

To be honest I don’t understand faith fully. I have a Maronite friend who grew up in a little village in the north of Lebanon . He’s going back in two years to see his family and wants me to come stay with them. The best way I understood faith was when he said to me it’s like God’s country; you feel closer to God there. That’s the only way I can explain it right now .