Hello, I'm an atheist


#1

I just want to start out by saying that I’m not here to start trouble or be rude, so please don’t take offense to anything I say. The main thing I want to express right away is that even if I completely disagree with you on an issue, I still remain tollerant.

I think it’s important to not only respect others’ veiws/opinions/beliefs, but put yourself in their shoes and try to see what exactly it is that compels them to beleive what they do. In other words, perhaps, what is their ultimate goal in life, and in turn, what are they really, truely looking for.

I believe here, perhaps, is the main difference between atheists and theists. As heated as these debates may get, I think we can agree that there are good people on each side, and inevitebly, some bad. So let me illustrate what I believe this difference is:

Theists: Goal in life is to seek happiness. They want to have something to strive for, but they want someone, something always there watching over them to give them help, to give them peace, or even just someone to talk to when times get rough.

Athiests: Goal in life is to seek truth/fact. They want to be happy, but believe the most effective and honest way to achieve this is to seek out and except the facts of the situation. They simply do not accept made up answers to the things we do not know, accepting that we haven’t yet discovered the truth, or perhaps never will.

There, I’ve laid it out VERY ROUGHLY, as I see it, and I am simply wondering what your view is toward the difference between our two sides. Do you agree or disagree with my position, and why or why not?

BTW, I joined a Catholic forum because I attended a Catholic parochial should for nine years, going to mass many times during that duration. So, I did once believe in god, my best friends believe in god, and therefore I do have some idea of where the other side is coming from.

I look forward to your responses, and thank you in advance!


#2

[quote=predator CA]I just want to start out by saying that I’m not here to start trouble or be rude, so please don’t take offense to anything I say. The main thing I want to express right away is that even if I completely disagree with you on an issue, I still remain tollerant.

Theists: Goal in life is to seek happiness. They want to have something to strive for, but they want someone, something always there watching over them to give them help, to give them peace, or even just someone to talk to when times get rough.

Athiests: Goal in life is to seek truth/fact. They want to be happy, but believe the most effective and honest way to achieve this is to seek out and except the facts of the situation. They simply do not accept made up answers to the things we do not know, accepting that we haven’t yet discovered the truth, or perhaps never will.

There, I’ve laid it out VERY ROUGHLY, as I see it, and I am simply wondering what your view is toward the difference between our two sides. Do you agree or disagree with my position, and why or why not?

[/quote]

Hello Predator,
Welcome to our forums. I’ll have to say that I am a bit insulted by your synopsis of our viewpoints. My background, as you were kind enough to share yours, is that I started out an athiest / agnostic (back and forth). I was, am still am something of a cynic, especially when it comes to authority. You write that my goal in life as a “theist” is to seek happiness, as opposed to truth. Actually, I spent years reading philosophy and, after beginning to date a Catholic girl, reading anti-Catholic material in order to have some “truth” to challenge her with. You write that we “want” someone/something watching over us. Rather, I was and am so independent in my mindset, that I resented the idea, but my study of the “truth” led me to a series of logical connections that led me - against my will - to the faith I embrace today. I could easily stereotype athiests by saying they are the ones that “want happiness” and are afraid to embrace the moral truths that might infringe upon a no-holds-barred lifestyle, but I won’t insult you by doing so. Nor will I insult you by implying that your religion of ignorance is a “made up answer”, as you so easily dismissed mine. We will welcome you here with mutual respect, but perhaps you should avoid stereotyping us and actually find out why Catholics believe what they do. I think you will find it a refreshing improvement over what you had in your parochial years. God (or random occurance) Bless.


#3

Hey predator CA,

I think it’s gonna be tough to find too many who won’t disagree with you here…but I suppose you know that. This is a good place to test your ideas, to see how they hold up.

For starters, I’m curious what grades did you attend Catholic school? Were you baptised, did you go to ‘first confession’, first communion or confirmation? I only ask to establish a rough idea of your knowlege of the one, true Church. It will make it easier to choose a ‘level’ at which things can be discussed.

Thanx.


#4

Incidentally, by calling your beliefs a “religion of ignorance”, please don’t take insult, I was referring to your own summary, which states that you are “accepting that we haven’t yet discovered the truth, or perhaps never will.” This, by the way, is called agnosticism, not atheism. An atheist claims to have the truth, which is that there is no God. You don’t seem be making that claim, but rather stating you don’t know and probably won’t ever.


#5

Welcome to the forum

[quote=predator CA] So let me illustrate what I believe this difference is:
Theists: Goal in life is to seek happiness. They want to have something to strive for, but they want someone, something always there watching over them to give them help, to give them peace, or even just someone to talk to when times get rough.
[/quote]

I absolutely disagree. One who believes in God is not seeking “happiness”. We seek a close relationship with God, at times this is very far from “happy”. I doubt those who were killed for their beliefs were “happy” about it. Their happiness comes in the after life. I certainly could live a “happier” life without the rules of God getting in the way, no we aren’t seeking “happiness” not on this earth at least.

[quote=predator CA] Athiests: Goal in life is to seek truth/fact. They want to be happy, but believe the most effective and honest way to achieve this is to seek out and except the facts of the situation. They simply do not accept made up answers to the things we do not know, accepting that we haven’t yet discovered the truth, or perhaps never will.
[/quote]

Hmmm… from a “theist” point of view an atheist is avoiding the truth to obtain their temporary “happiness”. Easy to be “happy” today if I have no rules.

[quote=predator CA] There, I’ve laid it out VERY ROUGHLY, as I see it, and I am simply wondering what your view is toward the difference between our two sides. Do you agree or disagree with my position, and why or why not?
[/quote]

I don’t really know what a “(anything)” feels, , I can only tell you what I believe.


#6

I think you are on to something. I’m sure from your perspective, it seems as though theists believe only because they wish it were true. This would be self-deception, though, I think no one could sustain and certainly no one would die for. However, you are partly right…I would say this: that athiests include in their worldview only that which logic can prove, while thiests take into account both logic and intuition, combining both into a synthesis. It would be incorrect to say that theists reject or ignore logic; most do not, though there are some fundamentalists who do. We combine what logic and intuition can tell us and come to a conclusion that encompasses both, while you see intuition as a deception and rely on logic alone.


#7

Goal in life is to seek truth/fact. They want to be happy, but believe the most effective and honest way to achieve this is to seek out and except the facts of the situation. They simply do not accept made up answers to the things we do not know, accepting that we haven’t yet discovered the truth, or perhaps never will.

Hmmmmm…:hmmm: This sounds like me. Which is why I’m Catholic.:tiphat:

One exception may be due to my science background… I do accept hypotheses as convincing that are well-founded, although not strictly proven. I worked as a spacecraft engineer for years and if I didn’t decide based upon incomplete evidence, then I would not have gotten very far. “Beyond reasonable doubt” is ok for moral certainty, even if unable to absolutely prove something. It’s how business works. It’s how law works. It how everyday decisions are made. So, some things in science and theology are convincing to me because of many converging clues, although no strict proof exists in the scientific sense.

Yet I do reject relativist theories of “truth.” Instead, I believe truth is objective, and it is defined as “that which corresponds to reality.” Given that humans share the same reality, then it must follow that humans share the same truth, whether they believe it, or understand it, or sense it, or experience that truth or not.


#8

[quote=predator CA]I just want to start out by saying that I’m not here to start trouble or be rude, so please don’t take offense to anything I say. The main thing I want to express right away is that even if I completely disagree with you on an issue, I still remain tollerant.

I think it’s important to not only respect others’ veiws/opinions/beliefs, but put yourself in their shoes and try to see what exactly it is that compels them to beleive what they do. In other words, perhaps, what is their ultimate goal in life, and in turn, what are they really, truely looking for.

I believe here, perhaps, is the main difference between atheists and theists. As heated as these debates may get, I think we can agree that there are good people on each side, and inevitebly, some bad. So let me illustrate what I believe this difference is:

Theists: Goal in life is to seek happiness. They want to have something to strive for, but they want someone, something always there watching over them to give them help, to give them peace, or even just someone to talk to when times get rough.

Athiests: Goal in life is to seek truth/fact. They want to be happy, but believe the most effective and honest way to achieve this is to seek out and except the facts of the situation. They simply do not accept made up answers to the things we do not know, accepting that we haven’t yet discovered the truth, or perhaps never will.

There, I’ve laid it out VERY ROUGHLY, as I see it, and I am simply wondering what your view is toward the difference between our two sides. Do you agree or disagree with my position, and why or why not?

BTW, I joined a Catholic forum because I attended a Catholic parochial should for nine years, going to mass many times during that duration. So, I did once believe in god, my best friends believe in god, and therefore I do have some idea of where the other side is coming from.

I look forward to your responses, and thank you in advance!
[/quote]

Hello There :wave: and welcome to the forum,

I of course would strongly disagree with what your conclusion of a Theists is, but I am very sure you knew that. :wink: So I am not going to comment on your stereotyping for now.

I just wanted to tell you although I never attended Parochial school, but did send my youngest to one for three years and just pulled her out, I can tell you from my experience that MOST parochial schools don’t teach the fullness of the Church, as sad as that is. So I would hold off on making wide sweeping judgement on something that you may not have gotten the chance to really learn.

Just a thought :).

Again welcome and I hope you get the answers you are looking for. I do hope to contribute some more in this subject.

Monica


#9

Hi Predator :wave:

I disagree with your definitions, although perhaps if you were to change it to this I might agree:

Atheists: Goal in life is to seek happiness. They want to have something to strive for without someone, something always there watching over them to give them help, to give them peace, or even just someone to talk to when times get rough. Certainly not someone to judge them, afterall, everyone must be tollerant.

Thiests: Goal in life is to seek truth/fact. They want to be happy, but believe the most effective and honest way to achieve this is to seek out and except the facts of the situation. They will accept miraculous answers to the things we do not know, since we haven’t yet discovered the fullness of truth, or perhaps never will.

Either way, spend some time here and see what you think. I hope you will spend some time putting yourself in our shoes (so to speak) and God bless on your search :thumbsup:


#10

Hey Predator,

I thought it might be fun to slip back into my old “agnostic” mindset for a while. I have an experiment for you. I have created a new thread called, “Challenge to an Athiest”. In it, I have made an interesting statement, which will allow the Catholics to be the agnostics for a while and for you to be the faithful one. I hope it will illustrate just how shaky your “challenges” to Christianity (and Catholicism) are in particular. From there we can open later threads to examine some of your “problems” with religious beliefs.

All best,
Spencer Allen

ps. My “awfulthings9” screen name is a hang-over from my agnostic days, when I was a crude and faithless horror short story writer (you can still google me to an extent), so I’m not so far removed as you might think.


#11

To the OP:

I am an atheist, and, to be honest, I have to say that your definitions were insulting and uninformed.


#12

I was trying to be as polite as I could, and typed in caps that I ROUGHLY laid out each side’s position.

I was originally going to type that both sides seek truth, but that, perhaps, theists have an underlaying tendancy to seek happiness through this truth. This was brought up, boldly, by “awfulthings,” who found it offensive that I narrowed Catholics’ beliefs to only what will make them happy.

I will clarify what I meant by saying this: when speaking with Catholics that I know in my neck of the woods, they have expressed to me that whatever brings you happiness in life, then that is what you should seek, and Catholicism has brought this to them.

Listen, I’m here because I’m curious. Bottom line is, I very much see the universe in a different way from you, the correct way. I will refrain from using the pre-tense “and in may oppinion,” because I think that is implied when I make a statement (also, I would like to note that I realize you truly believe with your heart that you are right, I do too. That is what a belief is all about. I am simply trying to find out why we disagree, perhaps get us to understand eachother.

In addition, to the question of what my past experience is, here you go. I have gone to church, probably over a thousand times, in grades K-8, and a few since of course. I have received all of the sacraments up to this point: Baptism, First Communion, Reconcilliation, and Confirmation. I am current enrolled in a Catholic University, although mostly by coincidence.

Hope all of this helps.


#13

[quote=predator CA]I was trying to be as polite as I could, and typed in caps that I ROUGHLY laid out each side’s position.

I was originally going to type that both sides seek truth, but that, perhaps, theists have an underlaying tendancy to seek happiness through this truth. This was brought up, boldly, by “awfulthings,” who found it offensive that I narrowed Catholics’ beliefs to only what will make them happy.

I will clarify what I meant by saying this: when speaking with Catholics that I know in my neck of the woods, they have expressed to me that whatever brings you happiness in life, then that is what you should seek, and Catholicism has brought this to them.

Listen, I’m here because I’m curious. Bottom line is, I very much see the universe in a different way from you, the correct way. I will refrain from using the pre-tense “and in may oppinion,” because I think that is implied when I make a statement (also, I would like to note that I realize you truly believe with your heart that you are right, I do too. That is what a belief is all about. I am simply trying to find out why we disagree, perhaps get us to understand eachother.

In addition, to the question of what my past experience is, here you go. I have gone to church, probably over a thousand times, in grades K-8, and a few since of course. I have received all of the sacraments up to this point: Baptism, First Communion, Reconcilliation, and Confirmation. I am current enrolled in a Catholic University, although mostly by coincidence.

Hope all of this helps.
[/quote]

It sounded polite to me, although very biased, but then we politely disagreed with you and presented our biased views :smiley: . You’ll find this exchange happens a lot, but you’ll also find a fair amount of truth here. I hope you find the understanding you are looking for :thumbsup:


#14

[quote=predator CA]I will clarify what I meant by saying this: when speaking with Catholics that I know in my neck of the woods, they have expressed to me that whatever brings you happiness in life, then that is what you should seek, and Catholicism has brought this to them.

[/quote]

Hey Predator,
I would like to start by saying that I appriciate your level of tolerance and effort to be kind. But the Catholics you talked to probobly aren’t the greatest Catholics if they say to do whatever brings you happiness in life. A Catholic who is faithful to Church teaching knows that they should do things that they don’t always feel like doing, and we shoud avoid certain things that we want to do. I believe that true happiness lies with God, but I also believe that you can find a superficial form of happiness through drugs, extramarital sex, and other immoral things. But I believe that even though these things may bring my some enjoyment, they are bad for my soul, so I shoud not do them. I avoid these things because I believe Catholocism is the truth, not becase I believe I should just be seeking happiness.

Peace,
Andrew


#15

Atheist, as defined by Websters Dictionary: one who believes there is no deity.

Nothing more, nothing less. This is the real definition, whether you will except it or not, and it is the definition I am refering to.

When I say that I am an atheist I am stating the above: I believe there is no god.

It’s that simple. There are many, many, many things I do not know, as with all of us. None of us will ever know everything.

BTW, an agnostic deals with epistimology, or in other words, knowledge. An agnostic believes we cannot know either either way whether or not a god exists. It is ultimatly UNKNOWABLE, however, an agnostic can be an atheist or a theist, they have a position on the issue, but simply admit that we will never KNOW for sure.

These are the true definitions, thanks. I hope you will accept this.


#16

[quote=predator CA]I was trying to be as polite as I could, and typed in caps that I ROUGHLY laid out each side’s position.

I was originally going to type that both sides seek truth, but that, perhaps, theists have an underlaying tendancy to seek happiness through this truth. This was brought up, boldly, by “awfulthings,” who found it offensive that I narrowed Catholics’ beliefs to only what will make them happy.

I will clarify what I meant by saying this: when speaking with Catholics that I know in my neck of the woods, they have expressed to me that whatever brings you happiness in life, then that is what you should seek, and Catholicism has brought this to them.

Listen, I’m here because I’m curious. Bottom line is, I very much see the universe in a different way from you, the correct way. I will refrain from using the pre-tense “and in may oppinion,” because I think that is implied when I make a statement (also, I would like to note that I realize you truly believe with your heart that you are right, I do too. That is what a belief is all about. I am simply trying to find out why we disagree, perhaps get us to understand eachother.

In addition, to the question of what my past experience is, here you go. I have gone to church, probably over a thousand times, in grades K-8, and a few since of course. I have received all of the sacraments up to this point: Baptism, First Communion, Reconcilliation, and Confirmation. I am current enrolled in a Catholic University, although mostly by coincidence.

Hope all of this helps.
[/quote]

Hello again,

I am glad to see that you returned. I again highlighted some of your text. Again I just wanted to let you know that not all catholics know their faith, even if they mean well. This reminds me of something I had heard once, "Going to Church doesn’t make one a Catholic anymore than standing in a garage makes one a car."
To be a true Catholic you most do your reseacher, read, read and read. That is the only way you will come to a better understanding of what it is you are professing. I know this from experience, I grew up in a very devote Catholic home, I knew what we were soppose to do but I really didn’t know why, a couple of years ago I was challenged and so I decide I better start educating myself. I am now learning more and more everyday. I am pretty sure I will never learn everything but I do love studying.

I just wanted to invite you look at awfulthings thread it is very interesting.:thumbsup:

God Bless you,

Monica


#17

[quote=Lady Cygnus]Hi Predator :wave:

I disagree with your definitions, although perhaps if you were to change it to this I might agree:

Either way, spend some time here and see what you think. I hope you will spend some time putting yourself in our shoes (so to speak) and God bless on your search :thumbsup:
[/quote]

Lady Cygnus, I appreciate your input, and your willingness to give atheists credit.

Perhaps your definitions are more correct. I will admit I am still learning knew things and I appreciate possitive input.

I respect people like you, because althought we disagree so much on religion, you can see my point of view.


#18

(predator) I think it’s important to not only respect others’ views/opinions/beliefs, but put yourself in their shoes and try to see what exactly it is that compels them to believe what they do. In other words, perhaps, what is their ultimate goal in life, and in turn, what are they really, truly looking for.

(jmt) I can agree with this…I tend to think that everyone’s “ultimate goal in life” is personal happiness or (as in the case of suicides) at least the avoidance of meaningless suffering…how one approaches the obtainment of happiness and meaningfulness will definitely be affected by one’s faith or lack thereof in “God”…

(predator) **I believe here, perhaps, is the main difference between atheists and theists…

Theists: Goal in life is to seek happiness. They want to have something to strive for, but they want someone, something always there watching over them to give them help, to give them peace, or even just someone to talk to when times get rough.**

(jmt) well…no offense but this characterization of a theist (which I am) is simply way off mark as far as relating to me personally…I’m a very introverted and independent fellow so I really don’t want someone watching over me or otherwise helping me…in my spiritual walk I actually have to work at overcoming my desire to do things my way and at allowing God to have control in my life… and I’m pretty darn lazy when left to my own inclinations so I can’t say that I’m “wanting something to strive for”…as far as “wanting someone to talk to when times get rough” (and I take it you’ve got “the theist talking to God” in mind) I would think that even the atheist would show a strong propensity for “self talk” in times of trouble so I don’t see how a difference in “to whom” the “self talk” is directed towards amounts to any great difference between the theist vs. atheist on psychological grounds…I think the need to engage in mental processing in times of trouble arises in both theist and atheist as natural to the human condition…we each want to make sense of our worlds.

(predator) Athiests: Goal in life is to seek truth/fact. They want to be happy, but believe the most effective and honest way to achieve this is to seek out and accept the facts of the situation. They simply do not accept made up answers to the things we do not know, accepting that we haven’t yet discovered the truth, or perhaps never will.

(jmt) …dang, you and I are a lot alike except I fully believe that there is truth that is “knowable” through faith in “God Revealing”…I don’t accept “made up answers” either…if something is proposed as being “revealed of God” then there has to be some strong evidence for such (ie., miracles) to vouchsafe that such a truth is indeed “revealed of God” - but that’s a long argument which probably won’t be very fruitful for us to engage in as our respective default assumptions would determine our willingness to even consider such evidence…but I do like BlindSheep’s perspective on this:

I would say this: that atheists include in their worldview only that which logic can prove, while theists take into account both logic and intuition, combining both into a synthesis. It would be incorrect to say that theists reject or ignore logic; most do not, though there are some fundamentalists who do. We combine what logic and intuition can tell us and come to a conclusion that encompasses both, while you see intuition as a deception and rely on logic alone.

I hope this gets addressed further as I think it’s the fundamental difference between a theist and a strict “rationalist”.

in any event, I hope your visit with us will prove enlightening.

Keep the Faith
jmt


#19

By happiness, I was not speaking of the trivial things that we do in any given day. Sure, there are bad things we have to go though in life, some horrible, even.

But, if we do things for the right reason, and in your case, because it will bring you closer to God, then we will achieve a level of overall happiness when reflecting upon our lives.

Taking drugs and having sex with prostitutes and things of that sort may feel awesome at the time, but will not necessarily add TRUE happiness to your life.

This is what I meant.


#20

Predator, I have not ever met a true athiest.

Remember all our morality and rules etc are based ultimatley on right and wrong. However there is no objective right and wrong if their is no God or some other type being who will judge us for our actions.

If for somereason I became an athiest tomoorow then I would change so many things inmy life it wold not be funny, I would teach my kids to to be very cunning and street wise and to steal cheat etc and only place the guidlines (my own) that we don’t cheat steal from family.

It is only GUILT/REMORSE that prevents us from doing many such things, yet guilt and remorse are strictly attached to the concept of right and wrong and if there is no objective right and wrong then there should be no guilt attached to such actions. If we remove or decrease the feelings of guilt and remorse then we are better able to do more things.

An example, if I was an athiest I would play up on my wife no end, I reaise that there are problmes in that if my wife finds out then maybe the family goes, if I don’t want that then I have to be more discreet so that the family does not find out. So take away my feeling of guilt for such actions then it is simply a matter of me being smart enough to avoid be overtly caught. As there is no objective right and wrong then what anyone thinks of such actions is irrelevent and I should play out my life free from guilt.

We might say that it is ultimatley only survival of the fittest that counts in a world devoid of God, therefor anything that detracts from you being a top dog is irrelevent, why, becasue to place anythng in the path of such achievement is simply an attachment to feelings that are ultimately conditioned on a base that is illusionary.


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