1. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    23 Nov '14 05:55
    "Why Do Men Reject God?" (By Wayne Jackson, M.A.)

    "Most people in the world, throughout the ages of history, have believed in some concept of a Supreme Being. They may have had a perverted sense of Who that Being is, but they were convinced that there is a Personal Power greater than man. Given the evidence available, faith is reasonable. That is why the psalmist declared: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). The Hebrew word for “fool” suggests one who is not thinking rationally.

    Since unbelief is neither reasonable nor the norm, one cannot but wonder why some people become atheists. I am convinced, after reflecting upon the matter for many years, that religious disbelief does not result from logical conclusions based on well-researched data. Rather, generally speaking, emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor.

    Consider the following case. In 1996, Judith Hayes, a senior writer for The American Rationalist, authored a caustic, atheistic tirade titled: In God We Trust: But Which One? In this treatise, Mrs. Hayes revealed two clues as to why she left the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) and became an atheist.

    As a youngster, she had a friend who was a Buddhist. Judith was very close to “Susan,” and she simply could not tolerate the idea that her friend, who did not accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God, might be lost apart from the biblical redemptive system. So, rather than carefully examining the evidence to determine whether or not the claims of the Lord (as set forth in the New Testament record—see John 14:6; Acts 4:12) are true, she simply decided, on an emotional and reactionary basis, that Christianity could not be genuine.

    Eventually Judith married, but the relationship degenerated. Mrs. Hayes claims her husband was verbally abusive. Again, though, instead of considering the possibility that she might have been responsible for having made a bad choice in her marital selection, or that her husband decided on his own volition to be abusive (in direct violation of divine teaching—Ephesians 5:25ff.), she blamed God for her disappointment. “[H]ow could I possibly have wound up married to a tyrant? Why had God forsaken me?,” she wrote (1996, p. 15). God did not forsake her. He honored her freedom of choice, and that of her husband as well. Human abuse of that freedom is not the Lord’s responsibility.

    The infidel William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) was known principally for his skeptical poem, Invictus. As a youngster, Henley contracted tuberculosis, and had to have one foot amputated. He suffered much across the years and became quite bitter. He wrote:

    In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced or cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed.

    His disbelief, however, was emotional, not intellectual.

    The late Isaac Asimov once wrote: “Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time” (1982, emp. added).

    In one of his books, Aldous Huxley acknowledged that he had reasons for “not wanting the world to have a meaning.” He contended that the “philosophy of meaningless” was liberating. He confessed that the morality of theism interfered “with our sexual freedom” (1966, p. 19). This is hardly a valid argument for rejecting the vast array of evidence that testifies to the existence of a Supreme Being!

    Here is an important point. When men have motives for resisting faith in God, and when—out of personal prejudice—they are predisposed to reject the Creator, they become “ripe” for philosophical skepticism."

    References: 1) Asimov, Isaac (1982), “Interview with Isaac Asimov on Science and the Bible,” Paul Kurtz, interviewer, Free Inquiry, pp. 6-10, Spring. See also Hallman, Steve (1991), “Christianity and Humanism: A Study in Contrasts,” AFA Journal, p. 11, March. 2) Hayes, Judith (1996), In God We Trust: But Which One? (Madison: WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation). 3) Huxley, Aldous (1966), “Confessions of a Professed Atheist,” Report: Perspectives on the News, Vol. 3, June. 4)
    https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=224

    Your thoughts on the author's premise that "emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor." of atheism?
  2. SubscriberFMF
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    23 Nov '14 07:01
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Your thoughts on the author's premise that "emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor." of atheism?
    I think an "emotional motivation of some sort" could well be "a primary causative factor" behind all manner of beliefs in some people ~ and it would vary from person to person ~ including both theist beliefs and a lack of theist beliefs (atheism).

    I think the "emotional motivation" behind religiosity is far more plain to see and that atheism often stems from an absence of the "emotional motivations" that result in people subscribing to God figures.

    Many Christians I have known have owed their religious beliefs to some degree to "emotional motivations of some sort", prominent amongst which was a sense of loyalty to their parents, their family and the emotional/spiritual/religious landscape laid out during their upbringing.

    Another related "emotional motivation" behind theism ~ or particular brands of theism such as specific religions ~ can be a need for fellowship and a sense of membership that comes with sharing a doctrine.

    This mixture of fellowship and dogma can sometimes create structure and purpose in a person's life even if it was not part of their upbringing, and can offer a great deal of emotional stability to someone navigating their way through life. I have seen this in Christian friends (and a few converted-to-Islam friends too) several times.

    Another prominent "emotional motivation of some sort" behind subscription to Christian beliefs (among others), according to my observations, is the difficulty of coming to terms with the inevitability of death.

    "Why Do Men Reject God?" Well, in my experience, if we are talking about the rejection of a religionist package of dogma and doctrine and folklore, as offered by mass movements like Christianity and Islam, then the overwhelmingly prevalent reason has been that the claims made about God by Christians and Muslims (and whoever else) are not convincing.

    It is after all, not possible to somehow believe something one simply does not believe.

    This inability to believe something that is unbelievable is perhaps intellectual, instinctive, spiritual... but not really "emotional". On the other hand, believing something ~ in a God figure ~ can be "emotional", as well as intellectual, instinctive and spiritual.
  3. Cape Town
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    23 Nov '14 07:01
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Since unbelief is neither reasonable nor the norm, one cannot but wonder why some people become atheists. I am convinced, after reflecting upon the matter for many years, that religious disbelief does not result from logical conclusions based on well-researched data. Rather, generally speaking, emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor.
    Funny how the writer whilst arguing for rational thinking displays a remarkable lack of rationality.

    Your thoughts on the author's premise that "emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor." of atheism?
    In my own case, it was an entirely rational thing based on a realization that the claims about Gods existence simply did not match reality. I have at times emotionally wished there was a God, but failed to find rational reasons for believing in one.

    I must also note that when it comes to rationality, the atheists on this forum generally display significantly more rationality than the theists (on average). In any discussion, even ones not questioning the existence of God, the theists seem more prone to using logical fallacies.
  4. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    23 Nov '14 08:45
    Originally posted by FMF
    I think an "emotional motivation of some sort" could well be "a primary causative factor" behind all manner of beliefs in some people ~ and it would vary from person to person ~ including both theist beliefs and a lack of theist beliefs (atheism).

    I think the "emotional motivation" behind religiosity is far more plain to see and that atheism often stems from ...[text shortened]... hing ~ in a God figure ~ can be "emotional", as well as intellectual, instinctive and spiritual.
    You have been given the answer many, many times.

    Men reject god for the same reason you reject Allah or
    Thor or Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy or the FSM.

    You have the answer already.
  5. SubscriberFMF
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    23 Nov '14 09:00
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    You have been given the answer many, many times.

    Men reject god for the same reason you reject Allah or
    Thor or Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy or the FSM.

    You have the answer already.
    Grampy Bobby's actual aim ~ as has been the case umpteen times in the past ~ is surely to cast those who have different beliefs from him as being "emotional" and their dissent as being rooted not in their intellect or rationality, but in their emotionalism.

    Despite raising it countless times, Grampy Bobby has never demonstrated any genuine interest in this topic and I can't remember him ever discussing it sincerely or seriously with anyone who has responded to him or shown interest. Wait and see how it pans out this time.
  6. Cape Town
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    23 Nov '14 09:29
    Originally posted by FMF
    Despite raising it countless times, Grampy Bobby has never demonstrated any genuine interest in this topic and I can't remember him ever discussing it sincerely or seriously with anyone who has responded to him or shown interest. Wait and see how it pans out this time.
    Grampy has, as far as I know, never discussed anything sincerely or even not sincerely. His total inability to communicate like a normal human being seems to preclude discussion.
  7. Germany
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    23 Nov '14 10:11
    I don't find it likely that newborn infants (all atheists, of course) reject God out of "emotional" reasons.

    Why do I, personally, reject God? Probably because of similar reasons as people who follow religion X reject the God of religion Y. They are not convinced by the claims made by religion Y, whether for "emotional" reasons or otherwise. I don't feel particularly "emotional" about religion; I was never raised with any organized religion and grew up in a predominantly non-religious society, although my mother does accept some superstitious beliefs that I reject.
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    23 Nov '14 10:15
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I don't find it likely that newborn infants (all atheists, of course) reject God out of "emotional" reasons.

    Why do I, personally, reject God? Probably because of similar reasons as people who follow religion X reject the God of religion Y. They are not convinced by the claims made by religion Y, whether for "emotional" reasons or otherwise. I don't ...[text shortened]... non-religious society, although my mother does accept some superstitious beliefs that I reject.
    Upbringing is a critical factor; being brought up in a positive religious family environment can create a powerful positive openness to religious belief. A negative religious family experience can do the opposite of course.
  9. Germany
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    23 Nov '14 11:36
    Originally posted by divegeester
    Upbringing is a critical factor; being brought up in a positive religious family environment can create a powerful positive openness to religious belief. A negative religious family experience can do the opposite of course.
    Evidently the religion of children and their parents tends to be strongly correlated. But also of importance is the societal attitude to a religion. In the US, people might feel disinclined to discuss their atheist views openly because of a fear of social rejection, whereas I grew up in a society where both Christianity and atheism were socially acceptable.
  10. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    23 Nov '14 20:28
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Funny how the writer whilst arguing for rational thinking displays a remarkable lack of rationality.

    Your thoughts on the author's premise that "emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor." of atheism?
    In my own case, it was an entirely rational thing based on a realization that the claims about Gods existence simply did not m ...[text shortened]... es not questioning the existence of God, the theists seem more prone to using logical fallacies.[/b]
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    "Funny how the writer whilst arguing for rational thinking displays a remarkable lack of rationality..." twhitehead, have you considered the fact that the lion's share of the article's text quotes the statements of three published atheists?

    References: 1) Asimov, Isaac (1982), “Interview with Isaac Asimov on Science and the Bible,” Paul Kurtz, interviewer, Free Inquiry, pp. 6-10, Spring. See also Hallman, Steve (1991), “Christianity and Humanism: A Study in Contrasts,” AFA Journal, p. 11, March. 2) Hayes, Judith (1996), In God We Trust: But Which One? (Madison: WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation). 3) Huxley, Aldous (1966), “Confessions of a Professed Atheist,” Report: Perspectives on the News, Vol. 3, June. 4) https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=224
  11. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    23 Nov '14 20:38
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I don't find it likely that newborn infants (all atheists, of course) reject God out of "emotional" reasons.

    Why do I, personally, reject God? Probably because of similar reasons as people who follow religion X reject the God of religion Y. They are not convinced by the claims made by religion Y, whether for "emotional" reasons or otherwise. I don't ...[text shortened]... non-religious society, although my mother does accept some superstitious beliefs that I reject.
    "newborn infants": not the topic's focus; most children have a natural curiosity about their micro and macro worlds; at God consciousness curiosity continues or declines. At least your rejection of God is on the basis of rationalism not your emotions.
  12. Standard memberDasa
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    23 Nov '14 20:461 edit
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    [b]"Why Do Men Reject God?" (By Wayne Jackson, M.A.)

    "Most people in the world, throughout the ages of history, have believed in some concept of a Supreme Being. They may have had a perverted sense of Who that Being is, but they were convinced that there is a Personal Power greater than man. Given the evidence available, faith is reasonable. Tha ...[text shortened]... or's premise that "emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor." of atheism?[/b]
    In the total history of the human race - there has never been a person who has rejected God.

    To reject God .......first one has to know God in truth.

    If a person actually knew God in truth..........he/she would never reject God.

    Therefore people who have said ......... "I have rejected God" ..........have only rejected some mundane false idea of God.
  13. Cape Town
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    23 Nov '14 20:46
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    ... have you considered the fact that the lion's share of the article's text quotes the statements of three published atheists?
    That is not true as far as I can tell. Clear quotations do not constitute 'the lions share' so they must be in disguise? And I still say the writer (where I quoted him and elsewhere in the post) displays a remarkable lack of rationality. And the quotes don't support his case anyway.
  14. Standard memberDeepThought
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    23 Nov '14 21:56
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    [b]"Why Do Men Reject God?" (By Wayne Jackson, M.A.)

    "Most people in the world, throughout the ages of history, have believed in some concept of a Supreme Being. They may have had a perverted sense of Who that Being is, but they were convinced that there is a Personal Power greater than man. Given the evidence available, faith is reasonable. Tha ...[text shortened]... or's premise that "emotional motivation of some sort is a primary causative factor." of atheism?[/b]
    Jackson asserts that non-belief in a creator god is irrational. His argument starts:
    Most people in the world, throughout the ages of history, have believed in some concept of a Supreme Being.
    It may be true that most people throughout history lived in societies with religions which had supreme beings. Often those religions dominated their societies to the point where an expression of disbelief in the gods would result in death, but that is not the same statement as believed in. Further, that a society has a mythology does not imply that anyone actually believes in it, including the priests. Do you believe in Father Christmas?

    He then undermines his own claim with a quote from Psalms
    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God
    The fact that they bothered to write that implies that atheism was more widespread in the ancient world than Jackson would like us to think.

    In ancient times as far as I'm aware there was no convincing rationalist alternative to religious explanations for the existence of the universe. We now have such an alternative explanation, which he has failed to take into account in his argument. So his premises are faulty. He has not established that it is more rational to believe in God than it is to not believe in God.

    Jackson has not established that theists make their decisions about belief based on rationality. He has selected three writers who gave emotional reasons for their atheism. Had he picked, for example, Bertrand Russell he would have found someone who gave rational reasons for his atheism (technically an agnostic he described himself as atheist). So he is guilty of Cherry Picking.

    Therefore, I am making the following counter claims:

    1) Atheism is a perfectly rational position and no more based on emotion than theism.
    2) Atheists do not override their rationality to escape from God like naughty children.
    3) Theism is at least as likely to be the result of emotion overriding rationality.
    4) Some theists and some atheists come up with silly arguments to attempt to undermine the opposing ideologies belief system.
    5) Wayne Jackson M.A. has not produced a valid argument.
  15. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    23 Nov '14 22:17
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Jackson asserts that non-belief in a creator god is irrational. His argument starts:
    Most people in the world, throughout the ages of history, have believed in some concept of a Supreme Being.
    It may be true that most people throughout history lived in societies with religions which had supreme beings. Often those religions dominated their so ...[text shortened]... ine the opposing ideologies belief system.
    5) Wayne Jackson M.A. has not produced a valid argument.
    And what "counter claims" would a contemporary agnostic make? Thanks for your well considered reply.
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