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 GeneralizingNow
Joined: 10/10/2007
Msg: 40
psychological explanation for atheismPage 2 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)

... however, "primitive" peoples, in the absence of outside religious influences, tend to independently develop their own naturalistic belief systems, superstitions and taboos. Perhaps there is an inherent human need to believe in a greater purpose in life.

Which doesn't really prove anything as far as the existence of God or the legitimacy of religion.

I agree. I'm pretty sure that MOST societies have had religion. It's amazing, though, if this god thing were an absolute fact, you'd think that ALL religions would be the same, and they're not. Makes me think that someone is just making stuff up.

I do not ever begrudge or mock other people's religions, because I DO think it's a [semi] universal concept. I don't like the "holier than thou" (ha) approach to some people's arguments, however: there is no one religion that is morally superior to any other. And I don't like the political atheists, either: you do not have a right to country WITHOUT religion, that wasn't what was said in the Constitution. It doesn't hurt me one whit if there is a crucifix in Arlington. It's just another piece of art to me.
 Gangster Kitten
Joined: 4/3/2008
Msg: 49
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 12/30/2008 7:01:42 AM
I was raised Roman Catholic. By the age of six, after memorizing hymns and prayers, and studying verses and listening to sermons... I concluded that it was all *expletive deleted*. Yes, I had a father, yes he's a strong figure in my life, and he's still catholic.

I still haven't told him I don't believe in God yet, I think it would break his heart.
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 50
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 12/30/2008 7:19:05 AM
I have to say that I've noticed a number of closet atheists seem to be working in the clergy. Many seem to have successful careers as child molesters and other sociopathic endeavors. Now, there's an interesting subject for study...
 10of6
Joined: 8/27/2008
Msg: 52
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 12/30/2008 4:39:55 PM
Whitehouse thinks we are naturally programmed to have this heightened sense of belief in a higher power, or agent, as he put it....He's just not sure why.
Well...I can think of one reason: Why not consider God a scapegoat? I've heard plenty of people say "God is punishing us for disobedience/straying/sin/whatever."

To me, this is a form of psychological projection wherein we recognize where we went wrong, and knew we were doing wrong, but did nothing to prevent the consequences of travelling the Road to Perdition (loved that movie). So, God fulfills the role of "consequence-enforcer" by proxy. We're passing along the responsibility to discipline ourselves to a higher power, but only after it's too late.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 53
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 12/31/2008 9:21:39 PM

This is a generalization, but I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around what he's getting at. What is the claim?
No claim. Merely an observation that many famous atheists, such as Dawkins, Nietzsche, and Sartre, all appear to have either lost their father in their very early years, or their father was absent during much of those years.

Any thoughts on this argument presented by Vitz? On the surface, it seems quite weak and probably inaccurate as well.
It's actually based on psychology. Many psychologists first seemed to be very interested in understanding why people believed in G-d, and Dr Tanya Byron even went on national TV, and stated openly that in psychology, psychologists are taught to view atheism as the norm, and belief in G-d as a delusion. Vitz is a professor of psychology, who became an atheist at 18, and then only came to believe in G-d, some 20 years later, at 38. So he has taken to trying to understand the idea so prevalent in psychology, and in society as a whole, that atheism is the only rational way to be, without 100% proof of G-d, and no-one has 100% proof of G-d.

So he's looked to his subject, psychology.

In that, he traced the views of belief in G-d back to William James and Sigmund Freud. James' seems to believe that "overbelief", belief in things we have no solid proof for, are good things to believe in, but only as long as they help us to lead fuller and better lives. In other words, there is everything right with being a good Christian, even if you have no proof for G-d, or Christianity. What matters is only if it is good for you.

Sigmund Freud seems to have believed that one's belief in G-d is directly tied into one's belief in his father:
Psychoanalysis, which has taught us the intimate connection between the father complex and belief in God, has shown us that the personal God is logically nothing but an exalted father, and daily demonstrates to us how youthful persons lose their religious belief as soon as the authority of the father breaks down
(Leonardo da Vinci, 1910, 1947 p. 98).
Although psychologists certainly don't follow Freud implicitly anymore when it comes to his ideas on sex, certainly in this one regard, that of regarding atheism as the natural state, they seem to still follow Freud, rather than James, and that one should automatically adopt atheism as the rational man's belief. However, Vitz realised that according to standard doctrine, that the belief in G-d comes from an exalted father figure, and that if the authority of the father is broken, then atheism is the result, then it only follows that ALL ways that the authority of the father can be broken, would result in atheism, and not just because of the normal disappointments that youth have when they find out their father is not all-powerful and all-knowing:
There are, of course, many ways that a father can lose his authority and seriously disappoint a child. Some of these ways-for which clinical evidence is given below-are:

1. He can be present but obviously weak, cowardly, and unworthy of respect- even if otherwise pleasant or "nice."
2. He can be present but physically, sexually, or psychologically abusive.
3. He can be absent through death or by abandoning or leaving the family.
Any one of these characteristics would necessarily lead to a loss of respect and authority in the parent. Vitz is therefore pointing out that Freud HIMSELF would argue, that any person whose father was abusive, cowardly, absent, or dead, would be inclined to atheism, only because of his father's lack of presence and good action, not because it was rational.

He then goes on to give examples to support his view:
1) Sigmund Freud himself, who saw his own father as a great disappointment, according to Freud's own biographers.
2) Karl Marx, who also made it clear that he didn't respect his father.
3) Ludwig Feuerbach, a famous German philosopher, anthropologist, and atheist, of the 19th Century, whose father left his mother for another woman across the other side of town.
4) Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the founder of American Atheists, who, according to her son's book, hated her father so much, that she tried to kill him with a 10-inch butcher knife, screaming "I'll see you dead. I'll get you yet. I'll walk on your grave!"
5) Baron d'Holbach, the famous French rationalist, and probably the first public Atheist, was an orphan by age 13, and living with his uncle.
6) Bertrand Russell, whose father died when Russell was 4.
7) Nietzsche, whose father died when Nietzsche was 4.
8) Sartre, whose father died before Sartre was born.

An example is given by a quote from Russell Baker's autobiography, who writes for the New York Times, and won a Pulitzer Prize:
Some of this psychology is captured in Russell Baker's recent autobiography. (Baker, 1982) Russell Baker is the well-known journalist and humorous writer for the New York Times. His father was taken to the hospital and died there suddenly when young Russell was five. Baker wept and sorrowed and spoke to the family housekeeper, Bessie:

. . . For the first time I thought seriously about God. Between sobs I told Bessie that if God could do things like this to people, then God was hateful and I had no more use for Him.

The above comes from his article, found at: http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth12.html

My view:

Vitz doesn't really seem to explain Freud's view in enough clarity. I have seen other sources discussing this issue:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/nineconv/father.html

I will attempt to explain how I see Freud's own views. Freud was bothered by a big problem. He was an atheist. He found it natural to be an atheist. He simply could not understand why anyone would believe in G-d. Freud already had concluded that fathers held some very important roles in the life of all children, that they provided for the family, that they protected the family, that they were generally considered the source of knowledge for the family, and that they were the authoritarian figures for the family. Freud also knew that how your parents treated you, generally marked out your personality, and that you would copy this behaviour with others, and would accept the authority of other authority figures, in the same ways that you associated with your father. We mimic what we saw as a child.

So if you saw your father as all-knowing, all-powerful, and punishing you for things you did wrong, then you would associate this with other authority figures, and would naturally accept G-d as an authority over you. However, if you eventually came to lose respect in your father, then you would no longer associate him as an authority figure, and would naturally lose all respect for all authorities, except for authority figures who you respect out of rational needs, such as the need to recognise the authority of policmen, or soldiers, and of doctors. As you would lose respect for all authority figures that were not borne of rational needs, that would include G-d.

So, to Freud, the belief in G-d was a childlike delusion, borne of the childlike need to feel that someone else is looking after him, and making his decisions for him, and was an imaginary authority figure, made up by children to have someone to believe in. Once the child becomes an adult, and realises that you have to look after yourself, and you don't need anyone telling you what to do, you don't need G-d anymore, so your mind can now accept that G-d is just an imaginary being, who was formed by your own imagination, and nowhere else. Those who continued to believe in G-d, would, according to Freud, have become atheists, the minute they became adults, and so, they were still trapped in this childlike delusion, still needing to believe that someone was looking after them, and still having to need someone to tell them what to do. According to this, Freud would have called all religious people delusional, and suffering from a stunted emotional growth.

To sum up, according to Freud, G-d was nothing more than an exalted father figure, and when we grow up to be adults, we don't daddy anymore, to look after us, and tell us what to do, and in the same way, when we grow up to be adults, we don't need G-d either.

However, what Vitz realised, was that Freud's logic was the following: "I am an atheist. I am right. Everyone who doesn't think like me, is wrong. So why do some people believe in G-d? They're children, pining for a daddy figure."

Now, as a result of this simple logic, psychologists and many people in society seem to have accepted this logic as unquestionably right.

But, what if Freud wasn't right? What if Freud merely assumed that atheism was the rational state? Does Freud have any proof that atheism is the rational state? No.
So, what if we started from the other end? What if we assumed that belief in G-d was the rational state? Well, then we'd find that people who didn't like their fathers, who didn't like authority figures, would reject them, and would reject G-d as well, as another authority figure to be despised, and rejected. So, people who didn't like their fathers, would prefer atheism, as a rejection of G-d.

Then, he goes on, to show how, in many cases, many different famous rational atheists, all have the same thing in common, which is, that they all have bad relationships with their fathers, and don't like them.

Freud, and all the other famous atheists, who only believed that atheism was rational, and belief in G-d was irrational, only believed this, because they had daddy issues, that compelled them to reject all authority figures, and so to believe that there was no such authority figure as G-d.

The shorthand version:

The idea that primitve cultures believed in G-d, because they needed someone to believe in, came from Freud, who only believed this, because he himself didn't get on with his father, and rejected all beliefs in authority figures, especially G-d.

So, in reality, it is perfectly rational to believe in G-d.
 rockondon
Joined: 2/21/2007
Msg: 54
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/1/2009 1:13:14 PM
I would guess that two more common attributes of atheism are curiosity and objectivity.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 56
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History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/1/2009 3:59:07 PM
RE msg 56 by rockondon:
I would guess that two more common attributes of atheism are curiosity and objectivity.
I don't know about atheists, but I DO know lots of religious people who are incredibly curious about everything, and incredibly objective. I guess for them, everything is done by G-d, so studying anything is like studying G-d, and so even the oddest question is worth asking. Moreover, because everything is done by G-d, it's not fair to be subjective, because then you are judging G-d, and telling G-d what to do, and that's really making you more important than G-d, kind of the opposite of religion, in my opinion.

RE msg 57 by novascotialass:
Scorpio: I could probably put together a longer list of atheists who have strong father figures that believe in God just from the posts on this thread than the list you provided; that is, without a proper statistical analysis of a large sample population, observations mean nothing.
I'm sure that you can. Vitz assumed that you COULD. But what Vitz pointed out, was that all of those atheists formed their ideas AFTER Freud's argument became accepted as truth, without anyone ever questioning if Freud could have been biased. It's the same as Thalidomide. No-one ever questioned if the results on Thalidomide were faked, until every many pregnant women started taking Thalidomide and producing severely deformed children.

Questioning what you were taught is GOOD. Not questioning what you were taught is BAD. Question what you were taught, in every way. Only then can your opinion not be based on believing someone else's bias.

I'm not a large fan of Freud anyway, but I do think that our species has a natural tendency to believe in spirits or a God, and that doing so has afforded our species with enough benefits that it's been self-propagating. I agree that theism is our default state and that atheism is something that is starting to evolve in more people as we lose our need to have a God. Our society is obviously still going through the pain of trying to reconcile the differences in views and it will probably take many years to resolve that.
It was Freud who believed that people only believed in G-d because they needed a father figure, and that when we became developed, and didn't need to believe in G-d, that atheism would become more popular. Because Freud was accepted so well, for so long, many of his ideas have become part of our values, and people have forgotten that they came from Freud, because that is what happens when you know something for a long time and take it for granted. You forget even that you learned it, and who taught it to you. The trouble is, that when this happens, even once we rejected some of his more common principles, those values that we've taken for granted so much, that we have forgotten they came from Freud, are no longer associated with Freud, and so we keep those values, even though we have proved that those values are wrong, and should be discarded.

As I said, questioning things is good. Ask yourself: who told you that atheism is something that will increase as people lose their "need" to have a G-d? What is your logic? Do you believe that people will stop believing in the existence of nuclear power, as we move to renewable energy sources, and we lose our need for nuclear power? If we destroy all the atom bombs in the world, and don't make any more, do you really believe that in 10 years, that everyone will claim that Atoms Bombs are just a fairy tale? No? Then why do you assume the same of G-d?

Moreover, the more I watch of science, the more I think we NEED G-d, not less. We are overdue for an ice age that will freeze the whole of North America. We are overdue for an eruption of a super-volcano, that could wipe out a billion people, and if it was in Yellowstone, because one of the biggest super-volcanoes is right under Yellowstone, and is responsible for all those geysers there, we could end up with the whole of North America being destroyed in a super-eruption. We are overdue for another asteroid that could wipe out a city the size of London, 10 million people. We are expecting massive climate change on top of all this. If anything, we are living in the most precarious time in history, and all our technology will only work in the near-perfect conditions that we live in, and if any of these catastrophes hit, then our technology and civilisation will cease to exist. We will be unable to keep 90% of our knowledge, because it's in books and in CDs, which won't survive any of these catastrophes. So we are really facing complete destruction of our society and way of life, at almost any moment.

This comes from scientists, and you think we DON'T need G-d anymore?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 62
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History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 7:39:11 AM
RE msg 60 by novascotialass:
Perhaps I wasn't clear...I'm not normally a subscriber to Freud's theories, but in this case, I partially agree: that our natural state is to believe in a deity and our soul is separate from our bodies.
I guess I was trying to be clear as well. I'm personally not sure. But I am glad that we can agree that atheism is not the default state for sure.

However, I don't agree with the link of belief in a deity to a humanly father figure as a society or on the individual level.
If what you mean is an old man on a hill, shooting thunderbolts, or giving out presents, then neither do I. As romanticoptimist pointed out, which I really enjoyed reading, even Greek gods were more complex than that.

I'm not saying that individuals don't need spirituality; in fact, I think innately we are programmed to be spiritual and that a lot of people (like me) struggle with our built-in need to believe in a higher self and higher being when increasingly religious beliefs are being questioned and torn apart.
From what I see, it doesn't seem to be built-in to believe in something, but rather something that arises out of our natural curiosity and our attempt to grasp not just what the natural world seems to do, but the overall complex matrix of the entire scope of existence. Belief in G-d seems less the answer to "What made the world?", and more the answer to "Well, if something made the world, and something made that, and something made that, then something had to start it off, or something had to make the process in the first place." It's less about First Cause, and more about Ultimate Cause.

What I am saying is that our SOCIETY doesn't have as much of a need for organized religion.
But our courts, even democracy, comes from societies that DID. It's pretty obvious that if our society didn't need any level of organised religion anymore, then we should be able to replace all those parts that did, with new parts, that fit the new zeitgeist better. But no-one even seems to want to attempt this, except for the Russians in the former U.S.S.R., and that was a disaster.

I'm more inclined to state that our society doesn't FEEL a need for organised religion, because things are still pretty good. Certainly they are far better than what life was like only 50 years ago. It's natural to ignore everything else, when you don't have a problem. It's only when you start to have some real problems, that people start to look outside themselves.

I think we can safely say that atheists are just as morale or amorale as religious people
I am not going to claim that atheists are any more or less moral than theists, because I believe that morality is expressed in what you do, and so, it is simply down to personal choice.

and that we live in a society of such a patchwork of beliefs that organized religion no longer unifies entire societies, as it used to.
Religious Jews have an entire range of beliefs, and yet they are unified by their religion. Each organised religion can and often does carry an extremely large banner of beliefs, and yet still unite them all, under a common thread. The Bishop of Durham went so far as to say that you can be an atheist, and still be a good Christian, and he was still part of the Anglican Church.

But there is no necessity to divide societies purely by religion, as many multi-cultural societies are found in history, such as the Parthian Empire, or to the Ottoman Empire, that reigned from about 1299-1923. We have seen multicultural empires, for a very long time, in the Middle East, and in Iran, just not in Europe.

And in some areas of the world it has been divisive to the point that people are losing their lives.
To some extent, religion probably increased conflict. But it is very apparent to me, that in many wars, people who have been divided over religion, have been divided more over an issue of land, or resources, or money, and religion has been used to fuel the conflict.


Do you believe that people will stop believing in the existence of nuclear power, as we move to renewable energy sources, and we lose our need for nuclear power? If we destroy all the atom bombs in the world, and don't make any more, do you really believe that in 10 years, that everyone will claim that Atoms Bombs are just a fairy tale? No? Then why do you assume the same of G-d?
You're comparing apples and oranges here. People believe in God, but can't provide proof He exists; atom bombs are visible and measurable by our senses. People don't worship them, but they know they exist by their mere physical presence.
I thought I'd start with something simple. We also believe in the existence of imaginary numbers, multiples of the square root of -1, even though by their very definition, they cannot exist in the physical plane, and must exist in a purely imaginary plane.

I was merely trying to illustrate that just because we don't feel we need something, does not mean that we lose our understanding that that thing exists.

And, personally, knowing that some sort of global devastation might or might not befall us during my lifetime does not enter into my need for a belief in God.
That is true. However, if we take the view that belief in G-d is because we NEED to, because we WERE worried about some great calamities in the past, well, they aren't over, and more are coming. Whatever reasons people had in the past to believe in G-d, are as valid as ever.

The only thing that's changed, is that right now, things are very good for us, and it's perfectly normal to ignore everyone around you, when things are good, and you don't need them.

RE msg 61 by imp78:
Now, being someone who doesn't feel the need to believe, I may have an imperfect understanding of why other people do ... but I have to say that I find this statement incredibly puzzling.
It's not puzzling. It's puzzling why your belief in dark matter, black holes, or G-d, should have anything to do with need at all. Either you believe, or you don't. If you need to believe, then that points at a much deeper reason why you feel you need to believe in the first place, and that reason, is almost certainly true, whether you need to believe or not.

So why would potential for great physical misfortune increase the *need* for God?
It doesn't. But like people who've recovered from cancer say, it puts everything in perspective. When your life is on the life, you stop worrying about how long it takes to get to work, or if that guy likes you, or your favourite show is on. You focus on what's important. If belief in G-d is increased by physical misfortune, it's because belief in G-d is important, and that is only clarified when you are forced to pick what is really important.

RE msg 62 by romanticoptimist:

As always, really great post.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 66
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 10:24:14 AM
RE msg 66 by novascotialass:
I was using a much-cited (although perhaps incorrect) belief that as scientific knowledge became stronger in the human society that we stopped believing in multiple Gods as we no longer needed them to explain natural occurrences.
My understanding of that belief, is that I've seen it quoted many times on POF, that it was because primitive cultures needed something to believe in, that explained the world, but we don't, 'cause we've got science. But, why should it be that primitive cultures only believe in G-d, because they need something to explain natural occurrences? Sure, it is true, that if you already believe that G-d did everything, including natural occurrences, that you might explain those natural occurrences via G-d. But, why is there an automatic assumption, that we would not believe in G-d, if we didn't need to explain those natural occurrences? Also, why is there an automatic assumption, that we need to create something to explain the unexplained? There are LOTS of things I don't understand. I don't put them all down to G-d. I don't invent a magic reason for them I don't invent a scientific reason for them. I just accept that there are some things I don't yet understand.

Do you believe that people without fathers are more likely to be atheists?
If I can add my answer, then I really never heard this idea before. I'm not that sure it's true. I just wanted to answer the question, and to give a rational explanation for the theory you posted.

But it does seem to me that a lot of people who seem to have a lot of faith in science's ability to answer every question, and solve every problem, seem to be atheists, and those who are a little less sure, seem to be agnostics, and those with even less sureness, seem to be spiritualists. While I am not saying that this is definitely sure, it is just what I noticed seems to be happening a lot, at least from posts on POF.
 compleat_man
Joined: 10/3/2008
Msg: 67
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 10:47:44 AM
I also found this site, which provides stats on atheists/agnostics by country. You could probably read a lot into these stats, too, but, somehow, I don't think it has anything to do with fathers and their role in these different societies: of note, the US has a relatively low % of atheists in their population (3-9%), but the Scandinavian countries have a really high % (46-85%). Canada is somewhere in between (19-30%)


my postulate is that in some societies it is just more "acceptable" to publicly admit that you are an atheist..

I really doubt that there is that much of a difference in "belief" between the USA and Canada or Scandinavia, IN REALITY.


just that it's more likely that in the USA it is in many cases social and career suicide to admit that you are an atheist publicly & openly..

for example,I seriously doubt that a person would ever be elected as President (and would have a diffciult time being elected to the Senate or Congress as well).

if they didn't make the obligatory visits to church and state that they are 'people of faith'..in some cases that 'faith' seesm to be more important to voters than how suited they really are for the job.

you just know you have to say it to be elected..just as in perhaps, Haiti, etc. , you would have to have a professed belief in Voodoo to be taken seriously..
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 69
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History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 12:06:03 PM
RE msg 70 by novascotialass:
It isn't a theory cited only on POF; Dawkins briefly mentions it in his book The God Delusion, that some believe we are moving from having plural Gods, to one God, and eventually we might get rid of that one, too. I notice he doesn't actually come out and say he personally believes that.
As to Dawkins, I've noticed that a lot of people seem to quote Dawkins a lot. But even though I wanted to discuss these issues over 10 years ago, I found people avoided these issues, or else admitted that they didn't have a rational explanation. So it seems to me that many people didn't have any rational explanation of their own, yet continued in their beliefs, and when Dawkins came along, just started saying that, without really questioning if Dawkins was right at all, and that if they were right, that maybe it was for entirely different reasons than Dawkins came up with.

I'd be very keen to hear people's idea that differ from Dawkins, and that were the result of their own creative thought. Probably why I like this thread so much.

But, Scorpio, I think you're right about the perception; for example, I think westerners, at least, have this idea that whiteman brought Christianity to native Americans, whose belief systems were entrenched in the natural world. It almost sounds like the myth of moving from several gods to one might have started there.
As romanticoptimist pointed out, Zoroastrians are monotheistic, and yet Zoroastrianism seems to be as much as 3000 years old. The religion of Atenism dates back to the 14th Century BC, even older.

Him: Why does there need to be a God?
Me: Well, there's the bible and so many people believe in it.
Him: The bible (new testament) was written hundreds of years after Jesus died. Back then, there would have been no means to record the facts and so what is written is probably riddled with errors and embellishments in addition to having been translated and edited to suit the agenda of the times. It's not a true historical account.
Me: Well, then who created all of this then (ie. heaven and earth)?
Him: No one. It simply always existed; maybe in a different state, but it always existed. That's what people have a really hard time getting their minds around; infinity
I had come across people who had similar discussions with me. But I just wasn't able to let the issue go. Maybe it was OCD. I had to get the answer. I had to understand it. If G-d existed, then I had to figure out why G-d existed, even if the Bible was false. If G-d didn't exist, then I needed to get my head around infinity, and why the universe would always have existed.

So I did. For 4 years. In the end, I realised that I needed some logical reason to explain why the universe existed at all. Even if I had a scientific reason, I needed a reason why that scientific reason existed, and wasn't something else. Ultimately, I couldn't find one, because whenever I did find a reason, it needed a reason behind it.

So I failed to find sufficient reasoning to suppose that the scientific reasoning that the universe always existed.

I started to question things from the other end, of why G-d would exist, and came up with reasons. But I see no reason to post them, as that might lead to people thinking that I'm trying to get them to convert, and I'm not. I'm happy for everyone to get along. I just found logical reasons for my POV.

Moreover, I did a fair amount of research and came to the realisation that only the New Testament was found to have lots of discrepancies. But this is pretty clear to anyone, that because the gospels discuss the same events with different accounts. However, the New Testament is more concerned with Jesus, and his role as the Messiah. The Old Testament has much more support, because there are very accurate accounts of any errors regarding the text, and none of these are substantial. What is more, the Dead Sea Scrolls were very surprising, because they are almost identical to the Hebrew Old Testament that we have today.

You see what happened there? Someone questioned my source of knowledge and so I moved directly toward the real reason I believed in God.
Someone came up with a rebuttal to your opinion, you simply didn't have a rebuttal to his rebuttal, accepted it, and then accepted his reason for things being the way they are. But where was your research to confirm his rebuttal independently of him? Where was your research to confirm his theory, independently of him? Maybe he was wrong. How do you know he wasnt'?

I had a heck of a problem dealing with people, and used to find myself caught in almost the same knots all the time. But unlike you, I have Aspergers, and a bit of OCD, and my head just wouldn't accept someone else's argument, unless I reasoned it out for myself, and until I did, I'd have a headache. So I had a massive incentive to find answers to those questions, long after the argument was over.

I agree that some things are ok without an explanation, but I think most people try to fit each mystery with an answer, and when they can't find a rational answer, they go with an irrational one.
I'm not so sure. What I see, is that we don't ask the questions of mystery, until someone else puts us on the spot, or we find that something really bad happens to us, and we try and understand how that bad thing happens. Invariably, the answer is far more difficult to find than can be answered in a day or two. So we pick the best answer we have, the one that makes most sense to us. Sometimes, that's based on our rationality. Sometimes, that's based on our emotions. Sometimes, that's based on how rational others see it. But once done, we usually look for support for our view, and rarely ever question it again, until we get another equally moving upheaval, that forces us to seek more answers.

And the reason was that I could not answer how such an intricate and perfect universe could have been created without the existence of a great creator. That's my reason for thinking that people need God to explain why we're here and therefore if we have all the answers to the universe, then we'll either discover there is a God or we'll know that he doesn't need to exist to explain why we're here.
That makes sense to me. But I don't believe it's possible for us to get all the answers to the universe, because however many answers we get, we get far more questions.
 compleat_man
Joined: 10/3/2008
Msg: 70
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 12:17:03 PM

So I did. For 4 years. In the end, I realised that I needed some logical reason to explain why the universe existed at all. Even if I had a scientific reason, I needed a reason why that scientific reason existed, and wasn't something else. Ultimately, I couldn't find one, because whenever I did find a reason, it needed a reason behind it.

So I failed to find sufficient reasoning to suppose that the scientific reasoning that the universe always existed.


but..if theUniverse wasn't 'always there' and 'had to be created by someone" (let's say, "God").

then who created God? or was God "just always there" ? and how do you explain that?

where did he come from? did someone or something else create "Him"?

If the Universe can't be infinite, why can God be infinite?

reminds me of George Carlin's poser:

" If God is all-powerful, can he create a rock so huge that even he couldn't lift it"?

there still had to be a "beginning" SOMEWHERE didn't there?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 71
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 12:50:05 PM


Neither is provable except through rhetoric. Both require faith, faith that things are as they are claimed to be.

It's why the believers and the atheists denigrate each other so. They're trying to occupy the same philosophical space.


It takes no faith to not believe in something for which there is no evidence and is only vaguely defined.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 72
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 1:08:18 PM
Isn't all religion just SPAG (Self-Projection As God) anyway?

Let's take Ted Haggard as an example. He is a minister who is virulently anti-gay. However, he had a dark secret. He was in fact a homosexual. After this secret was exposed he came out and said that this homosexuality was the result of his father's sexual abuse. Haggard had projected his loathing for his own homosexuality onto God.

How many Theists have differences of opinion with their Gods?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 74
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 2:27:20 PM
RE msg 72 by compleat_man:
If the Universe can't be infinite, why can God be infinite?
The idea of G-d is formed from logic, and logic can be infinite.

reminds me of George Carlin's poser:

" If God is all-powerful, can he create a rock so huge that even he couldn't lift it"?
George is a comedian. He makes jokes. Not wise to take them too seriously. It's a good question, but ultimately, what is a rock so huge that G-d canot lift it? Or, How much can G-d lift? If G-d is infinitely powerful, then he can lift anything, including the entire universe, and 1000 universes the same size, all at the same time. Moreover, how much effort does it take? Well, if G-d is infinitely powerful, then he exerts infinite force, per unit of energy. So however large the rock is, if it is finite, then he exerts zero energy, and zero effort to lift it.

So, really, we're just saying that the concept of lifting, and mass are both finite concepts, and G-d is far beyond that.

there still had to be a "beginning" SOMEWHERE didn't there?
Beginning, is a finite, or transfinite concept, and G-d is an epsilon-type transfinite concept.

Remember, I'm not expecting you to be a theist. Just that it is rational to be one.

RE msg 75 by oldsoul:
Hmm...no. Perhaps that was your experience, but it wasn't mine. And since you seem fond of saying we, I assume you're speaking for me too or surely you would use the word **I** instead of we...no? As in...**I** didn't start to ask questions until someone put **me** on the spot...no?
I mean, most people I've observed, and that although I think about thousands of questions, I don't think of all of the ones I have, until someone put some of them to me, and others, I've thought of without prompting.

Again...no. Perhaps that was YOUR experience, but like I've said many, many times before, some of us, like ME for example, have always been thinking/asking/questioning/resisting the brainwashing. I'm not bragging by the way and I'm not trying to make myself look better or worse than anyone esle. I'm simply stating a fact and talking about my own experience.
Again, all I am saying is that SOME of the questions I've thought of, I've only taken more interest in, because of prompting by situations. Many things, I've thought of, for myself.

I am merely suggesting reasons that explain why so few people think of the questions I have asked.


"...and we try and understand how that bad thing happens."
Well yes and no on that one. But it's not just the bad things that have perplexed me since I've been old enough to be perplexed by all this. It's every thing, good, bad and indifferent.
Me too. I'm just amazed at the # of things that don't perplex most people. I think up 3 new questions every day, that I think would make a good thread. Every time I look at this forum, I wonder why this forum isn't full of 10 times the questions that are on forums on dating.


Invariably, the answer is far more difficult to find than can be answered in a day or two. So we pick the best answer we have, the one that makes most sense to us.
Yes, I can agree with you there. But unlike some people, **I** am perfectly able to NOT fill the gaps (yes that is indeed taken directly from Dawkins) with the god of the gaps or with goddiit. And **I** am also perfectly fine with NOT knowing everything there is to know (or not know).
I am glad you are. Me too. I only answer questions with "G-d did it", when it really makes sense to me, to say so. Personally, I much prefer to find a scientific explanation.

Not to pick on you or your posts scorpio since I do respect what you have to say and I bow to your knowledge. But...I would appreciate if you didn't speak for me. "We" is all inclusive...it includes me too, and I'm sorry but you can't do that.
Well, then, don't expect that "we" includes every last possibility. I'm sure that some "we"'s I've used, did apply to you, and some didn't, and some did apply to me, and some didn't, and the same for everyone. I use "we" to indicate a large part of the population, when we can relate to having those feelings and questions, even if I don't feel that way or think that way at all.

And if I seem a bit (or a lot) anal about people speaking/thinking/assuming things about and for me, it's because that is exactly what has made me an independent thinker in the first place. So please take no offense if I continue to defend my right (and ability) to think and speak for myself. I would do (and did) the same thing if it was my own parents assuming to speak for me:).
I won't, as long as you understand that I don't assume I always speak for you. You are an individual. Not everyone has exactly the same ideas and thoughts.


As to Dawkins, I've noticed that a lot of people seem to quote Dawkins a lot.
And you're right about that too. And I agree that one could question the credibility of someone who quotes from one source only, or who take all their information from just one book or one author.
I'm glad that we can agree on this.

But again and as I've said on many other threads before, I was a true and blue atheist LONG before I ever heard of Dawkins and long before I ever heard of the word atheist or atheism.
As I said, I am all in favour of someone who puts their own ideas forwards, or merely says that they always thought this way, but Dawkins said it so much better, and you seem to put your own ideas forwards, rather than just answer with what Dawkins said.

And I was an atheist long before it was even acceptable to be one, let alone before it was considered "cool" or a "fad" or a "statement" or something to "shock your parents" with. And all those catchy phrases or buzz words such as "goddidit" and "the god of the gaps" are only words to express what **I** already knew and felt a long time ago.
Then I have far more respect for you, than you might imagine, and I would expect that if I bumped into you in Montreal, and didn't recognise you, or you me, that we would share a coffee, discuss such issues, completely disagree, and yet, as Obama said, would disagree in an argreeable fashion, and would gain from the exchange, on both sides.

This whole article makes me laugh and shake my head at the sheer lunacy of it all to be quite honest.
Hey, I didn't start the thread. Nor do I assume that everyone who is an atheist has "daddy issues". But, I similarly get incensed when people assume that I must need someone to believe in, just because I believe in G-d.

Like, how far will "some" people go to try and discredit and SHAME me (general me) for NOT believing in something for which there is NOT ONE SINGLE shred of evidence??
Not me.

Not to mention that the bible has been proven to be mis-translated/tampered with and that it doesn't even make sense IMO. And YES...I DO understand English AND French perfectly well.
I read the Bible in the original, in Hebrew, not English, not French. I know not to trust English translations. The Bible makes sense to me in Hebrew. But not in English.

And the next person who tells me (general me) that the "spirit" needs to guide you or that you have to "let him in" to understand a book or the written word, I will simply dismiss altogether.
You're not going to get that fro me.

To tell me (general me) that you weren't good enough, or humble enough, or pure enough or whatever enough to let the spirit give you faith/understand the "word of god" is EXACTLY what made me an anti-theist and not just a "simple" atheist.
Far as I am concerned, it's your FREE WILL to believe in G-d or not. If I interfere with that, then I am taking away your free will to believe, and that just invalidates the point of it.

That is what harmed **me** as a child. And no one will tell me that telling a child (a small child at that too!!!) that she's not pure enough or good enough or that she's not trying hard enough is NOT evil. It is!!
Whether you believe or not, I was taught that making people feel miserable is a sin, because it's just not right.

Also, I was born and raised in a very strong and traditional practicing catholic family (obviously), with a mother and a father in the most traditional roles possible. And I was loved and cherished by both my mother and father (hard to imagine I know;).
Lucky you.

So that article does not speak for me, and as far as I'm concerned, it's nothing but religious propaganda - nothing more, nothing less. In my opinion.
I really don't think that the article is enough to state that one SHOULD believe in G-d. But I think it is enough to suggest that it is equally rational to be a theist, and for non-theists, to stop calling theists delusional.

You want to call people delusional? I know lots of people who say things that just aren't rational. But I see no reason to count G-d amongst them, not unless they are saying that you are going to hell if you don't, and then, that is their delusion, not mine.
 pappy009
Joined: 2/3/2008
Msg: 75
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/2/2009 2:32:29 PM
Pyschology...in a religious site...so why are there so many Athiest on this site. Indeed its not for you, but you are here.....Why?...because you want everyone to believe as you do....to set the people free from oppression of there faith. Or the opposite....are you waiting for someone to simply say in one easy going sentence that there is a G-d and that sentence could change your life.....really why are you hear? I will say this...even thou you have your understanding............your looking for more.....lets use the big bang and science....Bang...it begins....I don't believe in the big Bang.......I believe in the big HUM....but we are small creatures in the universe and to us...its the bang effect....thats what science is...Mans Mind... A Medicine Man once stated to me that Science explains spirit....is there an arguement for that? How does he know and what does science know....Science only deals with what we can percieve or attempt to understand......Science has made some terrible mistakes! Science theory is based on assumptions of what little we know...so is science valid when trying to understand a creator....were still scratching the surface.


Regardless of their differences, the new atheists share certain tenets, according to John Haught, a widely recognized scholar in the field of theology and science.
First, they all claim there is no transcendent reality beyond the "natural" world; that is to say, there is no God, no immaterial soul and no "life" after death.
Second, the natural universe is self-originating, not the creation of a divine being.
Third, humans, like the universe itself, have no ultimate purpose or meaning beyond that which they create for themselves.
Fourth, science does a better job of explaining nature, including human nature, than religion.
Fifth -- and here's where the atheists apply their theories to politics and morality -- belief in God is the source of much of the world's violence and disorder, and mankind would be better off dispensing with religion.

The Fitth reason is the most appropriate...its the last reasoning in this that supports the other 4. And I agree with them....even thou I am a spiritaul person. Not Religous. The problem is with this for me is that...religion has always been used against us. Name one war that was religious in concept and I wll show you that behind that war it was based on Power and money....Even the crusades...were fighting a crusade in Iraq and Afganistan at this moment....and it is not over religion....even thou many people in religion believe this. Its a resource war based on Oil....bottom line.... Profit!! Nothing more....religion was used against the believers and the Athiest see it that way too...and I agree with them. Sometimes its what you don't believe in... that is truth. We do not live in a perfect world because we are not perfect. And I think that this is what the Athiest miss....The reasoning is that... the spiritual people who religions are based on....realize this... such as Jesus, Bhudda, Krishna, Mohammad, Zoraster etc....none of these people created a religion...we did. And because we are not perfect, the understanding of these prophets is imperfect.

How many of us have an Imagination....you may think all of us....I disagree. Very few of us have an active imagination. Because without this...how can one understand a scientific theology....how about string theory...trust me don't try to give some idea at a party..... You see various people acting out there lives based on what they have been taught in the Public Fool System.....and thats the end to there beginning. Money...property...power...authority...more power...more authority. Well others tend to add the plus element...art...and artist has the imagination to think out of the box....they create. There is no imagination that creates an extra 2% on to profit. What I am getting at is this...without that imagination how can we percieve anything other than what we are.....is evolution the imagination....does a dog or lion have an imagination....you may dream but is a dream imagination...because if they had one...they could build a car...

My question to the Athiest is....How do you explain and out of body experience without death being involved.....Just because you never experienced it...does it make you an authority on it?

Its not about Religion...its about self realization...and the connection of G-d the inner you and G-d the outer You...I used G-d in both these descriptions.....Like Yin and Yang...not the G-d that lives behind a cloud with a bubbled head or one floating on a cloud....but the G-d that is You...because no matter how you see it...its all about ..You...right!!... Life does not work without.. you...right!! Isn't that what Christ, Krishna, Bhudda, Mohammad and Zostrianos stated. Did they not give you the understanding that what they are talking about is you ...in the Here and Now....like the idea of Issness, Hereness and Nowness....as a concept that is actually happening. Are we to base our ideas or beliefs on a world that is not perfect because we have not treated like the perfect thing it is....with death. Do or would you want to live in this world forever....I don't think so...You want to live forever and this is the best you know....but what Spirituality means is this....this world is only part of it.

No I don't agree with the article...my Dad was there...and Catholic....and hated it...the problem as I see it is that we expect to see a G-d...or prove that one exist....we exist and thats proof enough for me. To Exist! And if you think that lightning hit a puddle or we evolved out of some germs in a cave than I can't agree. Unless in that beginning...the cell...we would be there eventually....thats science....understanding what "will" evolve...
 compleat_man
Joined: 10/3/2008
Msg: 78
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/3/2009 11:28:23 AM

Remember, I'm not expecting you to be a theist. Just that it is rational to be one.


I think maybe I missed that part..when/where did you explain why it is 'rational' to be a theist?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 81
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/3/2009 1:28:20 PM
RE msg 79 by novascotialass:
I also confirmed during my search that academics have a higher rate of atheists among them than the general population
That has been true for centuries, since the Renaissance, in Europe. But, prior to that, and in many other countries around the world, academics have been very religious. It seems that there has been shown an attitude in academia, to believe that science would somehow solve all our problems, and that G-d would hinder that, going all the way back at least, to 1834, when a French Academic, Jean Antoine Letronne, claimed that Christians used to believe in a Flat Earth, based on a novel by Washington Irving, he of Sleepy Hollow fame. Sadly, many academics believed Letronne, even though his ideas were based on pure fiction.

biologists have the highest rates among the academics.
That is odd, considering that the most rigorous of subjects, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathmatics, would be the ones to clarify the most truth about the world. Could it be because one cannot be a biologist in our times and still reject evolution, like the recent court case, when a biologist who didn't believe in evolution was sacked, purely because of his beliefs?

RE msg 80 by compleat_man:

Remember, I'm not expecting you to be a theist. Just that it is rational to be one.
I think maybe I missed that part..when/where did you explain why it is 'rational' to be a theist?
If your reasoning for it to irrational to believe in G-d, is invalid, then it is not irrational to believe in G-d, and, I believe it would be true to say that most people believe most people to be rational, unless proved otherwise, just like we assume one is innocent, until proved guilty, and sane, until proved insane.

RE msg 82 by novascotialass:
It is not clear why the change from polytheism to monotheism should be assumed to be a self-evidently progressive improvement. But it widely is - an assumption that provoked Ibn Warraq (author of Why I'm not a Muslim) wittily to conjecture that monotheism is in its turn doomed to subtract one more god and become atheism.
Since Dawkins himself doubts this assumption, then surely he would logically come to the conclusion that Ibn Warraq's conjecture is not supportable and so cannot be taken to be true, and surely he would logically conclude that a change monotheism from atheism is equally not definitely a positive progression? If Dawkins really doubts this assertion, why would he propose atheism is better than monotheism?
 compleat_man
Joined: 10/3/2008
Msg: 83
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/6/2009 9:43:32 AM

If your reasoning for it to irrational to believe in G-d, is invalid, then it is not irrational to believe in G-d, and, I believe it would be true to say that most people believe most people to be rational, unless proved otherwise, just like we assume one is innocent, until proved guilty, and sane, until proved insane.


so the argument is that because a fair number of people 'believe in God' , it must therefore be rational to do so?

I don't really buy that..

(1) "which" God? if you mean the Judeo-Christian one, I don't think that the majority of humans on earth believe in THAT God.should we go with the majority? Hindu..? Buddhist?

or do we keep an ethno-centric bias here? (meaning the European/N. American 'God') ?

(2) humans do irrational things all the time..millions of people smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol and drugs, over-eat, under-exercise, get obese, and otherwise abuse or neglect heir health..does that imply that prima facie, it is "rational' to do so?

(3)- many of the people who claim publicly to 'believe in god' are full of shite.. or their beliefs are contradictory..they seem very hypocritical..attend church and mouth platitudes, yet secretly lie, cheat, steal, have cheating sexual affairs, commit adultery, fornication, etc., etc..-all of which are supposedly against God' wishes..

do they REALLY 'believe in God'? or do they say so because it is more acceptable in their social circles? if they DO believe in God, and that he punishes sin, they behavior is quite irrational..

(4) the "god" that I have been told exists (all-powerful, and all-loving) does not make rational sense.

how would such a 'god' allow Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Stalin, and other mass murderers, to satisfy their blood-lusts? either he is NOT 'all-loving", or not all-powerful..or both.

my thoughts, anyway..of course those who wish to believe will do so, and those who don't will not.
 compleat_man
Joined: 10/3/2008
Msg: 84
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/6/2009 9:53:59 AM

If your reasoning for it to irrational to believe in G-d, is invalid, then it is not irrational to believe in G-d, and, I believe it would be true to say that most people believe most people to be rational, unless proved otherwise, just like we assume one is innocent, until proved guilty, and sane, until proved insane.


so the argument is that because a fair number of people 'believe in God' , it must therefore be rational to do so?

I don't really buy that..

(1) "which" God? if you mean the Judeo-Christian one, I don't think that the majority of humans on earth believe in THAT God.should we go with the majority? Hindu..? Buddhist?

or do we keep an ethno-centric bias here? (meaning the European/N. American 'God') ?

(2) humans do irrational things all the time..millions of people smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol and drugs, over-eat, under-exercise, get obese, and otherwise abuse or neglect heir health..does that imply that prima facie, it is "rational' to do so?

(3)- many of the people who claim publicly to 'believe in god' are full of shite.. or their beliefs are contradictory..they seem very hypocritical..attend church and mouth platitudes, yet secretly lie, cheat, steal, have cheating sexual affairs, commit adultery, fornication, etc., etc..-all of which are supposedly against God' wishes..

do they REALLY 'believe in God'? or do they say so because it is more acceptable in their social circles? if they DO believe in God, and that he punishes sin, they behavior is quite irrational..

(4) the "god" that I have been told exists (all-powerful, and all-loving) does not make rational sense.

how would such a 'god' allow Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Stalin, and other mass murderers, to satisfy their blood-lusts? either he is NOT 'all-loving", or not all-powerful..or both.

(5) "innocent until proven guilty" -actually not in all 'justice systems' -only in those based on the British..and even there it is often more of a platitude..it is now a system, a game where prosecutors are bound & determined to 'win', ge their 'winning ratio up. to h*ll with actual questions of guilt or innocence. "guilty until proven innocent -people are incarcerated sometimes for years before a trial-thus have never been 'found guilty' but are in jail..e.g. accused terrorists, G-mo bay. etc.

(6) sane unless proved insane? welll...not sure of that either..in any case 'sanity' usually means being like the majority..conforming to societal expectations or 'norms'..is there any possibility that the majority -or us all- are actually insane in some ways?

my thoughts, anyway..of course those who wish to believe will do so, and those who don't will not.
 compleat_man
Joined: 10/3/2008
Msg: 87
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/7/2009 8:10:24 AM

That is, people are generally assumed to be rational, innocent, and sane unless proven otherwise.


assumed..by you? the term "is assumed to be " seems quite passive. in any event, in many cases there is plenty of evidence that a large percentage of people are NOT sane, rational, or 'innocent'..

really? that statement is contradictory to Christian doctrine then..which I thought assumed all humans to be GUILTY of "SIN" ....and thus in the need of Christ's salvation?

"let he who is without sin..cast the first stone" implies that all those in hearing range ARE "guilty" of "sin"?

the majority of Earth's inhabitants do NOT believe in the Christian monotheistic' God'.

so is the majority then rational?

by the way, if God is so self-evident, why are the 33% or so of Earth's inhabitants who claim to believe in Christianity, splintered into so many hundreds of divisions, sects, etc. that seem to disagree and argue so much over how to view "god" ? l

there is the "Christian" god,' Jewish God', 'Muslim Allah', and many other 'gods'..

did you explain how rational people can believe in an "All-powerful' loving god who would allow Hitler to destroy millions of lives? and Stalin to destroy millions more?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 92
view profile
History
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 1/7/2009 8:12:51 PM
RE msg 83 by compleat_man:

If your reasoning for it to irrational to believe in G-d, is invalid, then it is not irrational to believe in G-d, and, I believe it would be true to say that most people believe most people to be rational, unless proved otherwise, just like we assume one is innocent, until proved guilty, and sane, until proved insane.
so the argument is that because a fair number of people 'believe in God' , it must therefore be rational to do so?
At least you attempted to understand what I said. But your conclusion was not even close.

What YOU said, was that if a LOT of people believe in something, like that you don't exist, then you don't exist.
What I said, was that if the reasoning of those people, to believe that you don't exist, was irrational, then it is rational for you to believe that you exist, and for others to believe that you exist. That doesn't mean you DO exist. It just means you cannot call them irrational for doing so, as they are entitled to their opinion, and you do NOT have the right to start telling people what to think, because we live in a Free Society.

If everything else you've written is based on the above, then it was nice to read, but it just isn't relevant.

did you explain how rational people can believe in an "All-powerful' loving god who would allow Hitler to destroy millions of lives? and Stalin to destroy millions more?
See, that WOULD be an example of the argument that because a fair number of people believe in something, then it must therefore be rational to do so. For instance, many people in the West believe that if G-d did exist, then G-d would be like Santa, every day would be like Xmas, and everyone would live in perfect happiness, with no problems whatsoever, because that is what Hollywood films show, Santa doing the impossible, and Hollywood films doing the impossible, and always ending with a happy ending.

But who said that G-d is like Santa? Who said that Santa is even theoretically possible? After all, who gets the toys? According to Santa, only good little boys and girls. But what do you call a kid who does good things AND bad things? Is he/she a good kid, and gets toys? Is he/she a bad kid, and gets nothing? Moreover, when was there EVER a kid who did nothing but good, or a kid that did nothing but bad? Almost every kid does SOMETHING good, and SOMETHING bad, and most are about 50/50. So surely according to the rules of Santa, most kids should get toys and no toys?

Same with Hollywood films. What happens AFTER the happy ending? They get divorced. So they AREN'T in happy ending. YOU are. But the characters in the film are approaching misery.

All this tells me, is that those people who are thinking this way, are experiencing "wishful thinking", people who WISH they'd win the lottery, but who never actually WANT to be rich, because they do almost nothing to be rich, like making a proper business plan to start their own business. People who DO make a proper plan to start their own business don't spend their lives wishing to win the lottery. They GAVE life a shot, and now they know the difference between daydreams and reality. Daydreams don't have to be rational, and they can be completely impossible. Reality can't.

The question can be answered, but not before you accept that wishful thinking is just like Hollywood films, all fake, and nothing real. There are people who live the dream. Just NOT like in a Hollywood film. G-d isn't in conflict with bad things, only people who want to imagine that all their problems can be solved by someone else.

RE msg 91 by Yellow44:
At this point we no longer want or need parental influence or protection,
No-one of that can say that we no longer need parental influence or protection, until we have abandoned the extended parental protection afforded to us by our parents raising us in a completely protective society, and spent a few years living in the wilderness, with nothing at all to survive except our bodies and what we made for ourselves, like in a burning summer in a Vietnamese Jungle, or a freezing cold Arctic winter, surrounded by wild animals, and poisonous insects and plants.

Very few of us can say that. The rest of us, including me, have no IDEA what it is like to be without our "security blanket"s. So our ideas of what we believe in, are purely based on what we believe, when we are SAFE, and when it really doesn't affect our life very much at all, whatever we believe in.

This is the spiritual perspective of the wise elder, who looks on with joy at the experience of all those younger, not trying to change them, but accepting the perfection of who they are.
A wise elder, has come full circle. He knows that the entire universe is interconnected in one unified whole, with all its consciousnesses connected via one unified consciousness. This is the goal to which atheism seeks, to reach the enlightenment that the universe is just a part of one unified cosmic consciousness, that some people call G-d, and others call Alla-h.
 Rythmn
Joined: 1/21/2006
Msg: 93
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psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 3/12/2009 11:31:25 AM
most atheists i know are reacting to the politics of religion. for some, a "Higher Power" is their personal quest for science. for me, it's whatever it is. i "trust" it, have an intimate and personal "knowledge" of it and it "works" for me. our bodies are limited to only what our five (or six) senses can "manufacture".

i took a sabbatical from the heady stuff way back when i was working and studied holistic medicine and massage therapy work. the "woo woo" new age stuff, always irritated me and i found it rife with "ego"--same as the politics of organized religion. the findings, as i proceded to "work" and "learn", pretty much blew my mind-- in terms of what deep intuition or "seeing" will bring forth. i was on target with things i never would have thought up on my own. goes to show (me) that we are not as seperate as we may believe.

was that brain chemistry on my part? or was it a connection with something "higher". for me, it really doesn't matter. kind of like, do i want to be right or do i want to be effective? am i a believer or an atheist? because i can see/sort each religion, in the same way as i categorize different languages. the answer (opinion) depends upon who i am speaking with. personally, i don't care. what i watch for, is a person's actual actions and growth in how they perceive or grow into justice, to decide if i have a spiritual connection.

ps now for the scientists and curious people: i had a spec scan and an mri for lymes disease that blew a few people's minds. highly developed in the lower and higher brain functions, aka intuition and logic/cognitive processing. middle funtions of everyday sorting out, in my brian, are pushed to the side by an incidental arachnoid (supposedly harmless) cyst. apparently many people have these and where one's developed areas are, will affect their perceptions and knowledge gathering. usually they are found, when looking at other things, due to the cost of performing the test. i had always "assumed" that i was crossing from right to left brain areas when i attempted to "sort things out". fact is i just intuit very well and then need my logic/cognition to explain it to the rest of the world! when i am fatigued from the lymes aftermath, the brain becomes hypofused--lesser blood supply. it comes and it goes; i ride the waves and trust that which is "Higher". brain function to organize and communicate is typically in the middle areas of the brain. ha ha, it's all a secret. do not tell "anyone". there were times i could not walk in the past, but my brain could dance me down a path. just like some can't speak but they can sing. maybe it's the will to find whatever way to seek energy from the universe?
 susan_cd
Joined: 5/16/2007
Msg: 94
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 8/17/2010 8:11:18 PM
Not sure who said it, but I seem to recall psychology being called "collection of observations in search of a science".

Sounds about right.
 Inicia
Joined: 12/21/2007
Msg: 95
psychological explanation for atheism
Posted: 8/21/2010 12:21:45 AM
What is Monotheism?? Predominately.. A belief in one supreme male deity... A God a Father.. and then you have all the lessor patriarchs written about in the three Abrahamic religions. Now I am not claiming this to be a perception of the non abrahamic religions, or polytheism.
Do children in cultures that worship female deities or egaltarian polytheistic god/ess also have a similar atheistic belief system when they are raised by single mothers?
Some of us may be familiar with egaltarian or female deity worship however it is rare in the Industrialized world??

are there temples, and churches on every corner in the industrialized world worshipping the Supreme Mother? Some people may feel Catholocism honors the feminine; however, IMO it is severly lacking as Mary was strictly a human vessel not divine and this is stressed in written accounts. Inthe written accounts it is rare to note females and often females are utilized in derogatory and submissive roles.

So if we are to assume the factuality of the original contention in the opening post, curiously why would children who do not have patriarchy as the basis for the reality of their existence transfer it to their religious ideology???? IMO It is not about the children being lacking...And why would this aspect of their development be considered deviant?? why not accept this aspect as an evolvement of our changing society??? why does it have to be deviant and why is athiesm considered deviant???Does a large portion of the the world lack because it feels a need to worship a male deity and foist it on children, who may note the obvious spiritual poverty for their single mothers in (patriarchal)religion/???..
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