Bored at work, Ask an Atheist


“The Song of Bernadette” -

“For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible”.


This comes across as 'blind faith" no explanation is necessary. That’s fine for you take as long as your endeavors are not in anyway required to advance human understanding of reality or if the endeavors are not part of educating people about how to think.

Those who do not believe are not convinced of the arguments for why we should be convinced. Just because you haven’t convinced someone of an idea does not negate that you may be true. It may be that your approach was not enough for them to be convinced. If there is a supernatural being that wants people to know about it and its using people with these methods, it’s not the best way to convince people it would seem. Science works regardless of your personal belief system. We all believe in gravity, so why can’t this supernatural being present itself in this fashion as well. I am telling you how to convince me. Why can’t you accept that for what I am telling you is true to do?


I simply take your word for your self identification. You and many others identify as “atheist”. Why should “Christians”, or “theists”, be subject to grouping, but not “a-theists”? Atheists have a common belief, so :shrug: . In fact atheism is more lockstep in it’s minimalist beliefs than the widely divergent hodgepodge of theism. Why shouldn’t people claiming a common belief be a group like any other?

Atheism is a response to a single question. Do you believe that the supernatural exist? No, no I don’t.

If your “no” is all there is to your life, why are you even here worrying about it? The fact that this all makes enough difference to you that you spend time on a Catholic message board should inform you that your “no” is not enough. Or you wouldn’t be here. Let’s be honest.
This statement bears further examination:

Atheism is a response to a single question.

A common definition of faith is: God’s active grace to which I** respond**.
Every human being responds to the world around him with belief, consent, trust, whether it be organized religion, personal religion, or a-religion.

Its only a response to a single proposition. That’s all.

I get that, but the word “only” does not fit.
When a person comes to Christian faith, there are varying degrees of response, just like you are observing with yourself and other atheists.
One can have a minimal response, a “that’s all” response, or one can have a relationship response. A relationship response involves the whole of the person. The person is oriented to something outside one’s self and gives the self to the other.
The problem with atheism is it turns inward to rationalism, using the self and the senses and individual reason in place of God. (which is not reason at all)


Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

John 20:29


In reverse order:
I was referencing nutrition for the betterment of humanity. So yes poison is objectively bad in the subjective point of reference of Nutrition. Once you subjectively pick your point of reference you can have objectively bad ideas. Another analogy: Chess - there are numerous good moves, even some that seem terrible, like losing your queen. But it is objectively bad to deliberately place your king into a checkmate position.

When you address my point of “Poison”, you seem to point to the betterment of humanity as a reference point while I was using nutrition. So yes that has a wider application of how to determine if poisoning people is subjectively bad. I would argue that poisoning a group of people over limited resources to ease the burden is objectively bad because your group could be targeted next.

But how does appealing to a reference point of a deity clear up this argument. It’s just an appeal to the biggest bully in the room that makes the rules. We are the ones directly affected by the application of the conclusion of these arguments.

Yes we have problems with over population in the world as well as many other issues that are part of the psyche of the human condition. We are tribal orientated and guard access to women too much and many other ridiculous qualities that sustained us through the savanna of the past. The empowerment of women, education, and proper use of birth control seems a better option than these constant wars over limited resources and the frailness of the male ego. Just because someone comes up with a quick solution does not make it correct in any since.

“life is intrinsically good” - this appears to be the argument for “life is preferable to death” but not in all circumstances. Once there is a line crossed where someone believes they can not go back to a life they want to continue, then death is preferred. Where that line is may be different for each of us, but we can find lots of overlap and very little extreme examples.

“where one day we will get it right” - well by every measure of the human condition, we are improving. What is the point where you think that would be reached? It’s like asking when is good, good enough? Looking for perfection is a ridiculous standard to attempt to reach.

People always have the ability to be good because each new generation is a blank slate for who they are to become. I believe the idea we mostly hate about bad people is that our society created the conditions that nurtured that person to grow into that terrible person. We are responsible for the world that person was brought into and its still producing people like that. They still need to be held accountable but we hate it when people attempt to turn the light on us or our favorite groups and point out where we are fostering that environment.


Then why perform the miracles? Why not just let his message stand on its own as a proper way to live life? It seems he came with a message of what to think and what to do instead of teaching people how to think and live the ethical life. His followers came across as wanting access to a divine power that their peers couldn’t gain access to. Appeasing the dear leader for favors of power over the people they were competing with. Plato could have existed or not, it doesn’t matter to me, but it matters that his approach to teaching people how to think and question as well as the Socratic method has made the world a much better place than what Jesus attempted.


Do you think Christians are appeasing God (dear leader) so as to have power over others ?


Some but not all. Everyone has their reasons for following a path. Just that this one comes across as any other reason to follow a message along with the access to channel powers. To be a conduit for the supernatural to work through. Except every time we attempt to justify that these people can do this, it comes across as no difference than random chance.


Atheist are grouped in one identity, the disbelief that the supernatural exists. That’s the only grouping they fit in. What an atheist does believe is up to the individual, they just don’t believe this. How can you get from knowing what someone wasn’t convinced of to knowing what they are convinced of? You can’t unless you ask them.

Whether its a minimalist belief or not is a point I don’t that is relevant. Fine if you want another label to box this idea up for you. But I’m just espousing this side of the conversation. I’ll make it as fluid as I see it.

I believe you are overlapping two ideas of the word group here. Using grouping of atheists in the common identity of what I just stated and the grouping of what christians and other religious groups identify as. These latter groups have more to their groups than just a belief in the supernatural. They have tenants, books, leaders, commandments, etc. You know this and I know you know this, so move on from this point and stop this tom foolery here.

“No is all that there is in your life” - I’ll appeal to the fair mindedness of the readers. Did I imply this ever in this conversation. Stop projecting you’re own bias and assumptions on to someone when you haven’t either asked them, accepted their response to the question, etc. I have a full life. I just don’t see it as less full because I am not convinced yet of the supernatural.

I am on the catholic message board as a response to christianity’s affect on people outside of and within their traditions. This is soo blatantly obvious as a response that I’ll just leave it as this. Please address points that are not this absurd.

I understand your version of the word faith. Faith as I see it is the belief in something without a good reason. If you had a good reason, it would be a belief. Like I believe I will not fall out of my chair in the next 10 seconds. I believe that if I cross the street without looking, during rush hour, I’ll be hit by a car. I can’t have a belief that the supernatural exists if it does not manifest in reality in any detectable way. That to me is no different than just not being there at all. That is an example of faith.

Sorry you didn’t approve of my use of only, but I used it as I understand the situation. That has not changed. I am describing my understanding of the conversation, not yours.


Not everyone, by every measure. It is impossible for humans to reach perfection on their own, so yes, I agree that attempting to achieve perfection alone is a worthy effort, but unattainable. People are by and large, indifferent. Bad stuff happens to “other people”. But we’re ok by every measure.

Nature vs nurture. I agree people are born destined for good. While also having a nature that is attracted away from good. The nurturing one receives in family and society plays a part, but nature cannot be discounted.


Doesn’t it all come down to wanting to believe and not wanting to believe ?


I don’t believe that belief is a choice. I use belief as the result once sufficient evidence is presented to someone. It’s a conclusion to data, once data is presented. I don’t have a choice to believe that I am sitting in a chair. I may tell people that I am not sitting in a chair, but I’d be lying to them and I’d know it. I see people applying the use of faith as close to the idea of hope. They hope that this will be the case. That’s fine. I hope people will do right by each other, but that hope is grounded in that I have seen people do this. Just sometimes maybe not enough for reasons that they alone justify to themselves. What ever people’s reason’s are for picking the better choice in a difficult situation, then that’s fine for me. It’s your actions that I care about more than the reason’s behind them. If someone treats me with genuine respect because they want to or are told to, but I can’t tell a difference, then it doesn’t matter to me their reasons.


Perfection is a subjective term because it’s a comparative description. Perfect compared to what? Your perfection for society would be different from mine and the person sitting next to you in the pew. That’s why I believe have to settle on good enough and attempt to maintain that. Just every sacred idea must be open to questioning and not assumed to be left out of that conversation for the idea of “good enough” as well as taking into account how we actually behave instead of how we wish we would. Someone may have a good idea for the betterment of society, but if they don’t take into account factors of human nature, we will not apply that idea correctly and equally.

We have to be ok with compartmentalizing our emotional currency otherwise we wouldn’t be able to function. We trust that other people can take care of their tribe while they trust us to take care of our own. If our tribe is ok, then we can reach out to others. You can’t help someone unless you’re in a safe place yourself first.

I believe that people are born to be people and since we are social creatures that require each other for our psychological well-being, then yes I would say we tend towards the good. The people that did not have that gene died out long ago. That’s why it’s so rare to find these types of people, where their excuse for bad behavior is genetic. But as for the bad behavior of an entire group, that’s nurture to me. They were taught and encouraged and trained towards that as a response.


I’m your supervisor, get back to work.


Ha! Pretty much done for the day, just waiting on some email replies and wrapping up.


What if when you die and find out you were wrong, and there was a God and a hereafter.


My comparison would be to God and most sitting next to me in the pew believe the same. You could say we are of the same tribe. :smiley:

You think the tendency of humans away from good has died out? I think it is self evident this is a delusion.


I can only live my life in response to the evidence and the arguments that have convinced me. All that is subject to my education and understand of thought and reality. That is an honest approach. If credulity and hypocrisy is needed for me to “fake it till I die” in this case, then it’s a deity not worth respecting. And if it’s as powerful as it is, there’s not much I can do to stop what it wants to do. But at least I can respect myself at the end of the day for living an honest life.


I believe we are genetically predisposed to be social creatures and rely upon each other for our psychological well being. That is the blank slate starting point. Look at children. They will inherently help people who have dropped an item and are struggling to pick it up without being told to do this. They have to be taught to fear and mistrust people to not do this. That is the conditioning. The nature of them is to be a part of the group and integrate into it. That’ is the good. This is so self-evident that I’ll leave this point at that.


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