Athiests - Why is rejection better than acceptance? Why is No Hope Better than Hope?

Having read and posting on various threads where athiests have expressed their views. The Following questions seem appropriate. This thread grows out of another thread HERE but I felt sthe subject needed it’s own thread.

When a Christian asks you to believe in God and preaches the Gospel etc to you, they are offering you a hope in Eternal Life.
The questions for you are are these.

[LIST=1]
*]What is it you are offering to us when you ask us NOT to believe?

*]What advantage(s) does belief in NO God offer?

*]Why is Rejection of God better than Acceptance of God?

*]Why is Hoplessness (No afterlife) better than Hopefullness (glorious afterlife)?
[/LIST]

Let it be know right now that I am no philosopher, nor am I a theologen.
I am a simple believer in God, because it makes no sense to me NOT to believe in God.
I am a Christian because Christianity, built upon Love, makes more sense than any other faith that I have looked at.

I recognize that there are numerous examples of people of faith acting badly, even horrifically, yet I cannot see that as some sort of proof against Gods existance.

So tell me - What does the “faith of Atheism” offer that is not found in a “faith of theism”.
Most forms of belief in God, particularly Judeo/Christian belief, whether right or wrong, offers the Hope of salvation and an eternal life of happiness. What can Atheism offer me except the grave?

Peace
James

I’m no atheist, but I can already tell you how atheists would respond. (Note I do NOT agree with this stuff!)

  1. The truth, and the realization that you don’t need god to be happy and do good things.
  2. It offers you reality instead of believing in some bronze-age fairy-tale thought up by societies in which science was non-existent.
  3. Because belief in God causes one to do irrational things and deny basic rights to historically disenfranchised groups like gays and women. God serves to make the believer feel good about doing bad things, because they think their god makes it okay to do so.
  4. Because belief in an afterlife causes people to ignore the evils in this one, and in some cases commit evils like Muslim suicide bombers who believe by killing people they are being rewarded in the afterlife. Also, one can still be hopeful yet accept that when they die, they just rot in the ground. It’s about enjoying life as much as possible for the short time we have it, and helping others to do the same.

I disagree with this reasoning, but just letting you know.

You may be correct Luke, but I do not want to hear from others about this. I do not want us putting words into the mouths of athiests any more I want them doing it to us.

Lets’ just wait and let the atheists speak for themselves.

Then we can hopefully discuss this with them charitably.

Peace
James

I have come to the conclusion that atheists are angry, miserable people, and they want everyone around them to be miserable, too. In yesterday’s edition of my newspaper, there was an article about the increasing number of atheist groups on college campuses. They gave an example of some students (I don’t remember the school) who set up an “atheist booth” and they stand there and try to talk other people into their views. Why? Why would you want to convince other people to not believe in anything? :confused:

Ad nauseam - atheism is no faith, hence there’s nothing similar to offer.

Most forms of belief in God, particularly Judeo/Christian belief, whether right or wrong, offers the Hope of salvation and an eternal life of happiness. What can Atheism offer me except the grave?

I think the question whether “God” exists or an afterlife exists are actually two separate questions. An afterlife might very well be a natural phenomenon and it may exist without any god having created it. Also, some creator god may exist without having created an afterlife.
So, what atheists usually do with answers to questions like those, they ask, what evidence is there to support the answers. And the evidence is not very convincing to us.

But, to be honest and I am not joking now, I would very much like an afterlife, wander Landwidi’s Green Halls, see the twelve palaces of Asgard, spend more time with beloved ones, meet my ancestors of old - but faith in the Christian god, God, doesn’t get me there anyway. So, Christianity has nothing to offer in that regard too.

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I do think that often times, indeed most times, we find ourselves arguing semantics, history and other things that are related to faith in God rather than the issue itself.

The main reason that I posed the questions as I did, was because it seems that atheists will come here and basically try to change our views to theirs.
Now, if I felt I had something better to offer someone then I would certainly want to share same with other others. However, if as you say above Atheism has “nothing similar to offer” in regards to salvation, I have to wonder why an atheist would feel the need to convince me that my belief is wrong.
After all we all know the old saw about If you’re right and there isn’t anything then I lose nothing, but if I’m right and there is something then…

A Christian wishes to convince an atheist of “Something” of benefit - a continuing life in happiness. The Atheist want to convince the Christian of —What benefit exactly.

Peace
James

If there was religious freedom, and where I live the separation of church and state is widely a joke (we even bring forth popes nowadays), then there was no need to convince anyone of anything (religious). As long as some churches have vast political power, there is still work to be done.
Before you ask, why I show up here - I like a decent philosophical debate, and I am interested in religions from an anthropological point of view.

After all we all know the old saw about If you’re right and there isn’t anything then I lose nothing, but if I’m right and there is something then…

And if the muslims are right, we both lose… :shrug:

I don’t think that a belief in gods has anything to do with how angry or miserable someone happens to be. I personally know of a few Catholics who seem to enjoy spreading the anger and misery around. Even so, I don’t consider that to be a Catholic attribute. :shrug:

I agree. I think the main attribute of an atheist is that they think they are alone in this life except for what they can see or are told to them is true by the educational system, the media and the government. They think they are totally responsible for their own existence, (well except for blaming their parents). They have false pride. They live for today. They go into depression. They believe science and government havethe answers. It’s an empty life as far as I can see.:shrug:

Reality.

What advantage(s) does belief in NO God offer?

Accepting reality is its own advantage. You confront life on its own terms, rather than the terms you dream up.

Why is Rejection of God better than Acceptance of God?

It’s “better” in the sense that that is where the evidence points. Facing reality is better than facing a comfort blanket – that’s my value judgment of the situation, anyway.

Why is Hoplessness (No afterlife) better than Hopefullness (glorious afterlife)?

I don’t think that the fact that everything alive is going to die is “hopeless” in the least. I think your conclusion is the warped product of religious thinking, and it’s that kind of thinking that you can at least begin getting rid of once you face reality as it actually is (and not as you’d prefer it to be).

Christine77:

I think the main attribute of an atheist is that they think they are alone in this life except for what they can see or are told to them is true by the educational system, the media and the government.

Well, I can only speak for myself, but I’m not alone in this life (I have a nice support group of friends and family), I don’t believe only in things that I can see (I know that there are things like electrons and blackholes that are impossible to directly perceive and that there’s a lot we don’t know yet about the world), and I advocate being skeptical of most forms of authority and questioning received wisdom.

Yes but if you were without those support people, you would feel very alone. With God, you never feel alone. Without God, you are very dependent on other people for both your happiness and unhappiness.

Why is it that people with faith are accused of not having a grip on reality? Yes, some do not. However, it is not fair to say that none of us do, any more than it is fair to say all atheists are depressed and without happiness.

Until I see valid reasons that my faith in God limits anything about my life, short of my own ability to invent new ways to harm myself and others through selfish acts, I can see no down side to having my faith in God.

I too am curious why “Reality” is something that you seem to think that we are missing by our belief.

lol…someone needs to make a top ten list of “duh” moments for this website. “If you didn’t have friends and family, you’d feel alone.” Gee, what a mind-blowing insight. You must have been at the top of your class.

With God, you never feel alone.

And kids never feel alone when they’re with their imaginary friends. Some of us grow up.

JRHK:

I too am curious why “Reality” is something that you seem to think that we are missing by our belief.

Well, for starters, let’s take the assertion made by someone earlier in this thread that life is “hopeless” without the belief in an afterlife.

The reality of the situation is that there is absolutely zero evidence that life continues after death. Everything that we have discovered about consciousness tells us that it depends upon brain activity and that when brain activity changes or ceases, consciousness also changes or ceases. We have never observed a consciousness without a brain, etc., etc.

Here’s reality: things are alive for a while and then they die.

When you start rebelling against reality, when you look at reality and want it to be different – rather than accepting it on its own terms – you start living in a world of fantasies that consist of how you’d like reality to be. You start thinking that you’re going to exist forever, and then your whole thought process gets out of whack: you think, for example, that injustice in this world may not be so bad since you’re anticipating a cosmic justice after life is over; you think that happiness in this world is not all that important since you anticipate being happy forever after life is over; you think it’s not as bad as it could be if you weren’t as nice to some family members as you could be since you’re anticipating spending all of eternity with them and making it up to them again, etc., etc.

Your whole perception of reality is warped from that one belief – I could go on and on about that belief and about other supernatural beliefs, but I think you get the point.

Meanwhile, when you accept reality for what it is, you tend to be more motivated to do something about injustice and unhappiness here and now; you tend to cherish the time you spend with friends and family because you’re aware that it won’t last forever; you realize that you only have one chance to get it right, so you do your best and appreciate everything more because it’s so temporary. You revel in every day that you have the privilege to be alive in this amazing universe because you’re aware that it didn’t have to be and that it could end – permanently – at any given moment. Each second is special and will never come again; each moment is precious.

It’s not hopeless – just the opposite.

But you never give thanks to your Creator. how sad.:rolleyes:

Question: if your position is accurate, why have so many high profile atheists been depressed and nihilistic?

Actually, this is another good example of screwed up fantasies taking over reality.

Here’s reality: sometimes people are lonely.

When you rebel against reality – when you refuse to accept it on its own terms – you start living in a fantasy world, where you’re always in the company of your imaginary friend. It warps your whole way of thinking. You tell yourself that you’re not really lonely. Suddenly, it’s not so bad if you don’t have any friends or if you’re not a very sociable person. There’s no motivation to improve yourself in any way. Why bother becoming a better conversationalist or losing ten pounds or learning to stop being self-righteous and judgmental in public or whatever your particular social problems are? Who needs friends? You’ve got your god!

Now hey, I’m not saying that everyone’s got to be the life of the party or conform to the social expectations of others – far from it. I’m fine with people who tend to be “lone wolves” or who are comfortable in their own skins. But I am saying that this kind of “I’m never lonely” thinking can be dangerous if you use it to talk yourself into believing that there’s no problems when there are.

Someone who accepts reality can actually look at the situation and conclude, “I’m lonely. I have a desire to meet people and acquire friends. This means I have to stop thinking about just myself and think socially for a change. What sorts of things will help me acquire more friends? Maybe I shouldn’t be so X, Y, or Z if I want people to like me.”

In other words, telling yourself that you’re not lonely when you really are seems to me to be extremely counterproductive at the very best.

Excuse me - God is not my imaginary friend. He is my creator and savior.

I have friends, but I am not dependent on them for my happiness. My true peace and happiness comes from worshipping and thanking our living God.

Well, I was talking about tendencies, not specific individuals. You can’t sensibly refute my points by bringing up a handful of people who don’t have the same disposition as a lot of other atheists.

Also keep in mind that I’m talking about looking at reality, which atheism is certainly a part of, but it’s not the entirety of the process. You can give up the delusional belief in god and still suffer other kinds of delusions – persecution complexes, weird conspiracy theories, and depressive tendencies (which include inherited tendencies towards depression that lots of people battle, religious or not). There are certainly atheists who are not fully accepting reality.

And more to the point, there are plenty of very positive atheists, and my guess is that the vast majority of the millions upon millions of atheists in the world are more positive and reality-based on the whole.

And what ways do you have of knowing this that distinguish the relationship from that of a child to his imaginary friend? (Besides the fact that other people share the belief, just as lots of people have shared other false beliefs, like Scientology, Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Norse paganism, etc.)

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