1. Graceland.
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    10 Mar '05 23:062 edits
    Read an article in N. Scientist and in a flurry of social experiments, seems when confronted with the thought of mortality, on avergage, people's level of anxiety rose quite substantially. In one study, people tended to become more insular when reminded of their mortality. They tended to group together where they shared common bonds. In another study, a group of judges showed a substantial increase in duration of sentences passed down to convicted criminals just after being show images of death.

    I guess that would explain the behaviour of so many athiests at RHP. Christians truely are a thorn in their sides. The concept of Hell only perpetuates the problem for athiests. Not only are they going to die, but a horrible future awaits them. In that respect I do feel empathy for a athiests at RHP. Unfortunitely they are constantly reminded of their mortality, the essential insignificance of their existance. For that reason I think creating a new forum specifically to discuss this topic is good, but still I try to understand why someone who has no interest or belief in God would need to post in this forum. I can only come to the conclusion that the "athiest" is not an athiest, but a person desperately trying to prove their view to themselves, so that atleast they can feel at ease. For it would be impossible to live a life believing eternal damnation awaits you in the afterlife and for that reason attacking views that paint you in this light is essential. Granted there are indeed those that truely do not believe in God, and they will indeed live a happier life, for they truely believe death will be the end for them. I guess these athiests would be the equivalent of a Christian not believing in Budha. They would truely not care about what another person sais primarily because they don't believe any of it holds any truth.

    Another article I read a few months ago in N.Scientist regarding happyness was that the very religious and the very athiest were (when regarding theology) the happier, whist those in the middle (who were uncertain of their stance) the most unhappy. This I would guess also compliments my point above. Why is it that the same posters always need to attack Christians ? Is it the element of truth that scares them, are they truely concerned about Christians ruining the world, or do they simply despise someone reminding them of their lack of salvation. For them I suppose Christianity truely seems a curse.

    I've little doubt this post will anger many. I've little doubt many will reply in anger, or sarcasm. Truthfully I have empathy for those of you that consider yourselves athiests. I can imagine it must feel very crap when someone tells you such news. It is like someone telling you the world will end in 5 years time and there is nothing that can be done to save you. You may ask "Why did you tell me in the first place!". Now if I tell you that you have a 30% chance of surviving, IF you dedicate the next 4 years and 11 months to building a spacecraft, would you ? Would you not think "What is the point, I'd rather live the next 5 years to its fullest capacity!". Well that is a fair point, for you are weighing the opportunity cost of dedicating your life to building this spaceship that you don't even know will save your life, afterall the next 5 years are extremely precious to you, they're all you have left !

    This is the dilemma, for most athiest (heck for most Christians) you have family members, grandparents, parents, loved one's that were not Christians, so, when a Christian claims you need to know Jesus to be saved, what they are really saying is that your loved one's were not saved. And if that is the case then God must be bad, because your parents or loved ones were good people. The problem with this analogy is that every person needs to make a choice. The Christian God is not a God that wants vengeance, indeed He is a God that so much loved the world that He had His only son killed by the very thing that wants His salvation. It is similar to a type of cancer that kills your child and then begs for your mercy. How can this God then create a concept of Hell, but have enough love to offer mankind a chance at salvation and eternal paradise ?

    An interesting dilema. I thus ask those that do not consider themselves saved, should there by any, to openly discuss their views regarding the concept of the Christian God (not the reality, the concept) and what problem they have with this concept. Should any of you wish to discuss this by PM, that would be fine with me, otherwise could be reserve this thread for only those that honestly care to debate the issue. Again, I ask only for the input of those that either reject the notion of a Christian God, or do not believe in God at all.

    thanks

    PC
  2. Joined
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    10 Mar '05 23:523 edits
    Originally posted by pcaspian
    Read an article in N. Scientist and in a flurry of social experiments, seems when confronted with the thought of mortality, on avergage, people's level of anxiety rose quite substantially. In one study, people tended to become more insular when reminded of their mortality. They tended to group together where they shared common bonds. In another study, a group of judges showed a substantial increase in duration of sentences passed down to convicted criminals just after being show images of death.

    I can believe this would happen.

    I guess that would explain the behaviour of so many athiests at RHP. Christians truely are a thorn in their sides. The concept of Hell only perpetuates the problem for athiests. Not only are they going to die, but a horrible future awaits them. In that respect I do feel empathy for a athiests at RHP

    As an atheist I do not believe in the concept of hell and as such have absolutely no problem regarding life after death. For me, there is nothing else.

    Unfortunitely they are constantly reminded of their mortality, the essential insignificance of their existance.

    This is true, but why should I have a problem with this? It is christians that believe there is something more, since I do not, I have no fear of what needs to be done in the meantime. In the words of Monty Python in the Life of Brian: "You come from nothing, you end up as nothing, what have you lost? Nothing."

    For that reason I think creating a new forum specifically to discuss this topic is good, but still I try to understand why someone who has no interest or belief in God would need to post in this forum. I can only come to the conclusion that the "athiest" is not an athiest, but a person desperately trying to prove their view to themselves, so that atleast they can feel at ease.

    I may have no belief, but I have a very great interest. Do not misunderstand me when I say this, I am not seeking answers about the supernatural, or trying to fill a gap in my soul. I am greatly interested in the reasoning of thesits to explain their beliefs, I find it fascinating, infuriating, amusing, awesome and various other adjectives, I seek to know more about their thougts, not my own.

    For it would be impossible to live a life believing eternal damnation awaits you in the afterlife and for that reason attacking views that paint you in this light is essential.

    As I have mentioned above, you seem to be suggesting that someone can claim not to believe in god, and yet still believe in hell/life after death. I do not see how these two contradictory stances are possible.

    Granted there are indeed those that truely do not believe in God, and they will indeed live a happier life, for they truely believe death will be the end for them. I guess these athiests would be the equivalent of a Christian not believing in Budha.

    I'm not sure I agree with your analogy, but you are correct in your assumption that they exist and are happy.

    They would truely not care about what another person sais primarily because they don't believe any of it holds any truth.

    This is not true at all, you are making a leap of reason here. Although I may disagree with a view you put forth, this does not mean I do not care about your putting it forth.

    Another article I read a few months ago in N.Scientist regarding happyness was that the very religious and the very athiest were (when regarding theology) the happier, whist those in the middle (who were uncertain of their stance) the most unhappy.

    I agree this would seem to make sense. A strong self belief/knowledge is a secure place to build a personality and life upon.

    This I would guess also compliments my point above.

    Partly, although I have expressed my disagreement with parts of your post thus far.

    Why is it that the same posters always need to attack Christians ? Is it the element of truth that scares them, are they truely concerned about Christians ruining the world, or do they simply despise someone reminding them of their lack of salvation. For them I suppose Christianity truely seems a curse.

    Let me clarify between these various types of poster.
    1) If you mean those who insult and ridicule theists withut offering a rational debate, I would be equally disappointed with these people.
    2) If you mean criticism through debate, which may at times lead to heated and confrontational posting, then you misunderstand the reasons for their posts. It is not so much that they are attacking christians, but that they are attacking the abandonment of reason. There is (IMO) nothing more infuriating than the abandonment of reason. It can be witnessed all the time from theists; tangentalisation, changing of the subject, or choosing small parts of a larger point and attempting to shift these into a different area to support an otherwise failing arguement. These things are like waving a red flag to a bull.

    I've little doubt this post will anger many. I've little doubt many will reply in anger, or sarcasm.

    Actually I was not angered in the slightest, I thought it was provocative, but sensible.

    Truthfully I have empathy for those of you that consider yourselves athiests. I can imagine it must feel very crap when someone tells you such news.

    I'm not sure where you're going with this, what news do you mean exactly?

    It is like someone telling you the world will end in 5 years time and there is nothing that can be done to save you. You may ask "Why did you tell me in the first place!". Now if I tell you that you have a 30% chance of surviving, IF you dedicate the next 4 years and 11 months to building a spacecraft, would you ? Would you not think "What is the point, I'd rather live the next 5 years to its fullest capacity!". Well that is a fair point, for you are weighing the opportunity cost of dedicating your life to building this spaceship that you don't even know will save your life, afterall the next 5 years are extremely precious to you, they're all you have left !

    I agree life is the only important thing we really have, how we choose to live it is what defines us, but I am still somewhat unclear about the analogy.

    This is the dilemma, for most athiest (heck for most Christians) you have family members, grandparents, parents, loved one's that were not Christians, so, when a Christian claims you need to know Jesus to be saved, what they are really saying is that your loved one's were not saved. And if that is the case then God must be bad, because your parents or loved ones were good people.

    That has never been a concern of mine, and upon reading your post it remains without weight. I do not believe they needed saving, you are presupposing the truth of your stance on those poeple and how that will affeect me. Since I do not have a belief in god, I have no doubt that my grandparents were not saved, as there is nothing to be saved by or from.

    The problem with this analogy is that every person needs to make a choice. The Christian God is not a God that wants vengeance, indeed He is a God that so much loved the world that He had His only son killed by the very thing that wants His salvation. It is similar to a type of cancer that kills your child and then begs for your mercy. How can this God then create a concept of Hell, but have enough love to offer mankind a chance at salvation and eternal paradise ?

    I'm not sure everyone does need to make a choice, I am still undecided about a "Normative State" for humans. However, I can tell you that once I embarked on trying to understand reason more fully, god was eliminated as a choice, I did not opt for one and not the other, one choice was taken away. Atheism is the only possibility if reason is followed properly. I would remind you of the difference between a 'lack of belief' and 'belief there is no god'. I have a lack of belief.

    An interesting dilema. I thus ask those that do not consider themselves saved, should there by any, to openly discuss their views regarding the concept of the Christian God (not the reality, the concept) and what problem they have with this concept. Should any of you wish to discuss this by PM, that would be fine with me, otherwise could be reserve this thread for only those that honestly care to debate the issue. Again, I ask only for the input of those that either reject the notion of a Christian God, or do not believe in God at all.

    thanks

    PC


    On the subject of hell, I think it is strange to say that christianity is a religion of peace and forgiveness, when there is always the threat of violence. Hell is a threat and no subject concerned with peace and forgiveness would consist of threats. I will add more to the debate when it gets going.
  3. R.I.P.
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    10 Mar '05 23:58
    Spirituality covers a large subject area, its not just about Jesus (e.g. tao, zen, buddhism.... ) We post because we have an opinion, lets face it things would be pretty boring otherwise! We attack what we think are the weakness in Christian doctrine because we believe it to be wrong, and we want to pursuade Christains that it so. Just the same as Christains attack our views and try to pursuade us that their views are right.
    I'm not close to death so I can't really comment, but I expect that my body will be tried and ache from a life time of living. I hope that I'll just be happy that I had a good innings, and be thankful that my current physical pain will soon be over. I'll be content with the knowledge that my body will be recycled and nurish further life on this planet. Plus I'll be looking forward to finding out the truth about what happens after death.
  4. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    11 Mar '05 00:08
    Hell is the ultimate mind control trick. It preys on our natural fear of the unknown. It is the ultimate 'worst-case' scenario that anyone can think of about what happens to us when we die.

    I fear more making a commitment to a faith that I find to be logically flawed, and wasting my life living by the standards of a false ideology. It is possible that these few years on earth are all that we have.

    It does not follow logically that god should make a race of sinners (100% failure rate), condemn them because of his own personal hangup with sin, sentence his own son to death over said hangup, then allow a handful of the billions of people to enter heaven, where they will no longer sin anymore (what happened to their free will?), and they will spend eternity worshipping god (bleah!). A god of perfection would not be guilty of such bad logic. A god of omniscience would have gotten it right the first time.
  5. Standard membershavixmir
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    11 Mar '05 00:12
    Originally posted by pcaspian
    Read an article in N. Scientist and in a flurry of social experiments, seems when confronted with the thought of mortality, on avergage, people's level of anxiety rose quite substantially. In one study, people tended to become more insular when reminded of their mortality. They tended to group together where they shared common bonds. In another study, a gr ...[text shortened]... at either reject the notion of a Christian God, or do not believe in God at all.

    thanks

    PC
    To be perfectly honest:

    Yes. I do worry about death. There is nearly nothing as frightening, because I know that there is nothing there-after. Maybe having to live the rest of my life unable to do what I can do now, that's even more frightening, but basically...being 33, I reckon I've got 30 years left to live and that after that...there's nothing.

    So, yes. I am jealous of religious people who believe that after this life there is another life. I wish I could believe in God and heaven and everything, but like a child of 9 who's been forced to see the truth, I no longer believe in Santa Claus...or God.
    I wish I did though. Hell, I FFing wish I did! (and me using an abreviation of the what you know I mean, should be proof enough of my conviction).

    I look around me and see poverty, misleading politics and brainwashing sequences (like racism, terrorism, communism, etc.) which lead to hatred, fuelling on fear and ultimately leading to few people earning great loads of money.
    And I feel helpless. I really think to myself: Am I paranoid?
    I watch sci-fi films which state: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hatred and hatred leads to suffering
    And at the same time I see this very sequence being proven true. And I wonder if I'm right or if I'm wrong.

    And so I look at this Christian God. I can't believe in him, nobody adheres to what he says and his message is used to force people to obey, not his will, but the will of the rich and powerful and I really ponder and worry.

    And to be sure:
    If there is a god, it's not a god which will reward the rich.
    If there is a god, you don't need a church to talk to him.
    If there is a god, you certainly won't have to kill in his name.

    It seems so obvious. Three basic principles, not contradicted in the 10 commandments, yet so blatantly flaunted by our leaders.

    Surely one should not follow a misleading leader?
    Why would you die for a faith a leader proclains upon you, which another leader decrys?

    And so to answer your questions:
    I don't have a soul to be saved. You might think so, I just don't.
    I may be proven wrong, but...I won't kill someone because my religion or my government tells me to do so.

    Do you reckon your God will be kind on me?

  6. Hmmm . . .
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    11 Mar '05 00:281 edit
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    To be perfectly honest:

    Yes. I do worry about death. There is nearly nothing as frightening, because I know that there is nothing there-after. Maybe having to live the rest of my life unable to do what I can do now, that's even more ...[text shortened]... ls me to do so.

    Do you reckon your God will be kind on me?

    If there's a God (and that's my leap of faith), I am unafraid of death; if there is no God, I am unafraid of death (what's there to fear). And who try to draw people to their religion by frightening them ought to be ashamed (not saying you did that here pcaspian, just saying).

    Ooops, sorry, forgot your request for limited participation. 😕 I let my post stand anyway, but will respect your request as I try to do for others.
  7. Standard memberJoe Fist
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    11 Mar '05 00:44
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    To be perfectly honest:

    Yes. I do worry about death. There is nearly nothing as frightening, because I know that there is nothing there-after. Maybe having to live the rest of my life unable to do what I can do now, that's even more frightening, but basically...being 33, I reckon I've got 30 years left to live and that after that...there's nothing. ...[text shortened]... religion or my government tells me to do so.

    Do you reckon your God will be kind on me?

    Probably the most eloquent statement I have read so far since the Spirituality forum has existed.

    Very well written. Not enough recs to give you.

    I know this is a question for atheists but I have to hope there is some form of existence after this one. I agree about Shav's statement about God. Maybe I am delusional but I guess I believe that much.
  8. Donationkirksey957
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    11 Mar '05 00:53
    I'm going to respond to this thread not because I am an atheist, but because I have had the honor of talking to and pastoring tens of thousands of individuals in the latter stages of death (6 months or less), so I feel I can speak with some authority about the role of faith in addressing anxiety in the face of looming death. I have talked to people with a vast spectrum of beliefs.

    Anxiety is a universal feeling when we face something we have never come to terms with before. Most of us die only once. Christian feel anxiety and fear like anyone else, if they're honest. In fact, some of the most fearful individuals I have ministered to have been clergy. I don't think it has to do with being phony, but rather they have been completely honest. I have encountered many who found their spiritual strength in other areas other than traditional faith systems who seem to find great solace in this. I think we must acknowledge that this journey is very individual. Each life is unique and we must all come to terms with the specialness of how we want to die. I find many who have been in church and professed salvation through Jesus who die in emotional and spiritual turmoil. I find others who are able to draw strength and hope from their faith.

    I think the key is that the "words of faith" must transcend mere words and become "the experience of life." Again, this is very individual, so it is hard for me to say "do this and you will die at peace."
  9. Standard memberDarfius
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    11 Mar '05 01:11
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    Hell is the ultimate mind control trick. It preys on our natural fear of the unknown. It is the ultimate 'worst-case' scenario that anyone can think of about what happens to us when we die.

    I fear more making a commitment to a faith that I find to be logically flawed, and wasting my life living by the standards of a false ideology. It is possible ...[text shortened]... t be guilty of such bad logic. A god of omniscience would have gotten it right the first time.
    Create your own universe for us. This isn't a challnge to do it physically. But present your own version of a universe. Then you can have a leg to stand on when you condemn God. How do you know this isn't perfect? The perfect balance between free will, love and justice?

  10. Standard memberDarfius
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    11 Mar '05 01:14
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    To be perfectly honest:

    Yes. I do worry about death. There is nearly nothing as frightening, because I know that there is nothing there-after. Maybe having to live the rest of my life unable to do what I can do now, that's even more frightening, but basically...being 33, I reckon I've got 30 years left to live and that after that...there's nothing. ...[text shortened]... religion or my government tells me to do so.

    Do you reckon your God will be kind on me?

    All of those who commanded to kill in the name of God...I can find a verse in the Bible that condemns them. The Bible is the Word of God. When you knowingly contradict it, you are no Christian. You are a joke with a label.

    I do not appreciate being compared to a 9 year old who believes in Santa Claus. It is unfounded rudeness.
  11. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    11 Mar '05 02:05
    Originally posted by Darfius
    Create your own universe for us. This isn't a challnge to do it physically. But present your own version of a universe. Then you can have a leg to stand on when you condemn God. How do you know this isn't perfect? The perfect balance between free will, love and justice?

    I'm glad you think I have the power to create a physical universe. It's flattering, really.

    I have no idea what happens to us after we die. None at all. I also do not think it is possible to prove, or disprove, the existence of god or other supernatural power.

    Humanity's limits are painfully obvious. Our vision is limited. I find it somewhat amusing when we claim that we know not only everything that happened in the past to create this world, but also what will happen in the future to end it. The only real truth is that we acquire knowledge slowly and painfully over the course of many generations, after many wrong turns along the way.

    I can't accept that the biblical account is a perfect model of free will, love and justice. It illustrates neither lover nor justice when the innocent are expected to die for the guilty. And the guilty do not all deserve eternal torment. The bible would have me believe that a child who disobeys his mother deserves eternal torment. The bible would have me believe anyone who does so much as lie deserves eternal torment. I can only describe this as a total perversion of justice.

  12. Standard memberDarfius
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    11 Mar '05 02:57
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    I'm glad you think I have the power to create a physical universe. It's flattering, really.

    I have no idea what happens to us after we die. None at all. I also do not think it is possible to prove, or disprove, the existence of god or other supernatural power.

    Humanity's limits are painfully obvious. Our vision is limited. I find it somewhat ...[text shortened]... as lie deserves eternal torment. I can only describe this as a total perversion of justice.

    Do you think Martin Luther King deserves eternal life or nothingness?

    And I asked for your version (stressing I didn't mean physical, but hypothetical). You failed to provide it. Should I do anything but conclude that you're condemning God for doing something better than anything you can think of?

    What sort of sense does that make?
  13. Donationkirksey957
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    11 Mar '05 03:00
    Originally posted by Darfius
    Do you think Martin Luther King deserves eternal life or nothingness?

    And I asked for your version (stressing I didn't mean physical, but hypothetical). You failed to provide it. Should I do anything but conclude that you're condemning God for doing something better than anything you can think of?

    What sort of sense does that make?
    The Bible says adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom so I guess he deserves nothingness.
  14. Hmmm . . .
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    11 Mar '05 03:071 edit
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I'm going to respond to this thread not because I am an atheist, but because I have had the honor of talking to and pastoring tens of thousands of individuals in the latter stages of death (6 months or less), so I feel I can speak with ...[text shortened]... so it is hard for me to say "do this and you will die at peace."
    Well spoken.
  15. Standard memberMaustrauser
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    11 Mar '05 03:242 edits
    Originally posted by pcaspian
    [b]
    For that reason I think creating a new forum specifically to discuss this topic is good, but still I try to understand why someone who has no interest or belief in God would need to post in this forum. I can only come to the conclusion ...[text shortened]... that reason attacking views that paint you in this light is essential.
    [/b] Atheists do not live a life believing in eternal damnation.

    What a damn silly thing to say!

    I post here because I believe that fundamentalist christians are a hazard to humanity. Their belief that death simply frees one for the afterlife (read all of Darfius' quotes where he says that it doesn't matter that Midianite kids were slaughtered cos they went to heaven) means that they don't work very hard to make peace on earth. [NOTE I am talking about fundamentalist christians, who are the same as fundamentalist moslems -life means nothing to them because they can't wait to be in their god's arms].

    If I can turn one person from fundamentalist christianity [not christianity - simply fundamentalist christianity] by pointing out the hypocrisy of the Bible, then I have achieved something. The world will be a better place.

    Henry
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