This is a response to woman named Erica, who contacted me with series of questions.
It has been edited to only include the questions I found interesting for the public, it is used with permission from Erica.
Are you often on TWL Live? I like Mr. Silverman (his logic, his personality generally, from what I’ve seen of him in American media); good guest to have on.
I am not a regular panelist on TWL Live, but I do help out now and then, and I like David Silverman too, and he was great.
The episode with David Silverman can be seen underneath
People that I know who are self-proclaimed Atheists are not evil or mean or arrogant – as they’re labelled here before being quickly dismissed – but rather, very sensitive people; very intelligent, curious and upset at an unfair, corrupt system – and religion IS a system. They, like me, didn’t just DECIDE to turn their backs on their "religion"; their "religion" turned its back on THEM FIRST in some way & failed THEM. Maybe it was the hate their religious leaders preached, the intolerance, the perversion, the corruption, or even something like the Vatican’s choice (Pope John Paul II) to uphold the "law" to refuse Communion to any women using birth control for any reason – NO MATTER THE REASON, dude. My church – my religion – refused ME, rejected ME – why? I was unworthy of "God" because some MAN DECIDED I was somehow unworthy; a sinner, going against the "natural way" of things? Fuck that noise.
I think you are forgetting the massive amount of people who leave religion and faith all together, not because they felt their personal integrity, ethics, or morals were not in line with their religion. Rather they left religion and faith because on further investigation the claims that religions, and various other faiths could not survive scrutiny for proper evidence.
I myself have never been a believer, and I probably never will, since there have been no evidence presented to me that can be empirically verified, to show that their claims are true.
Many get angry at the churches after they left, because after their investigation they feel like they have been lied to, manipulated with, and for the sole reason to further a worldview that is not in line with reality.
As it is with many other extraordinary supernatural claims, it is hard to figure out if someone is a fraud or actually believe the bullshit they are trying to sell to the public.
On the internet there is a thing called Poe’s Law, which states: “You cannot do satire of extreme views without someone will mistake you for the real thing.” Which holds true for creationisme, anti-vaccers, climate-denialist, and many other conspiracy and anti-science groups.
I was already away from Christianity anyway, truth be told, when that decision was made, seeking some sort of Universal Truth in other ideologies such as Buddhism, only to see the corruption & flaws in THAT, TOO, which was disappointing. My degree in Anthropology & my own research & curiosity exposed me to many ideologies (religions), all flawed, all corrupted, all contradictory.
Anything that human beings control can be corrupted by greed, by selfishness… religion & the concept of God (or Gods) is no exception.
Which should not come as a surprise, but for many believers it does, there have been millions of schisms within hundred of thousands of religions, since all religion and supernatural things, by my opinion are manmade, and whenever a major disagreement appears within a group, it has a tendency to split into two or more subgroups.
Errare Humanum Est – Which also holds true for all religions, especially the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), they have all had many and major schisms, which also goes to show, if there was a god, it is an incompetent god.
I meditate, I do Yoga, I am humble and I believe that we are all interconnected. I do pray. I pray to "the source," "the light," that THING that connects all living things & all matter; the energy that flows through everything that IS. I pray to honor the Continuum, which, to me, includes positive energy & goodwill that somehow exists but also I respect nature (without worshiping it). Is this my innate, human NEED to believe in something bigger than myself? Maybe.
I do neither meditation or Yoga, however I also believe, or more precisely know that we are all interconnected. Not in the in my opinion meaningless “spiritual” sense, but in a more real sense, that we are all cells, that are made of molecules, which are made of atoms, atoms which we can trace back to the death of suns. As Carl Sagan said, we are star stuff. In that sense we are all interconnected.
Praying for me seems like a rather useless, but for some perhaps a good psychological mechanism to cope with hardship. However there is also many disagreements in various circles on how prayers are suppose to work or are answered. Most popular I have heard, is that the higher power mostly answer with Yes/Maybe/No, and when it involves a tradegy it is scuffed off with “X works in mysterious ways.”
It is nonsensical and an insult to humanity.
You talk about The Continuum, which I have no idea what entails, seems like a placeholder tag for any sort of vague spiritual definition of a higher power.
The positive energy not sure if you are refering to that as an allegory for human actions, or if it is an actual energy source.
My main objection to what you believe in, is that they have no evidence that can be verified empirically.
Have you ever had to face your mortality, Christian? Or perhaps the very real chance that someone very close to you could die? Or, have you ever watched someone die?
I ask these things because until you REALLY HAVE… it’s all theoretical. Something happens in our brains when we watch someone die, or watch someone as they lay in a hospital bed near death, or – and this one wasn’t as bad for me, but it shook me a bit, the 3rd time (as I never learn the first time around) – when they face the possibility of death themselves. Have you ever almost died, Christian? I have. And I’ve watched people close to me die.
Yes to both, but it never has made me spiritual or made me want to believe in a higher power.
So my beliefs, my meditating, as it were, my prayers to the energy that flows.. is to honor LIFE itself; the beginning of it, the end, the continuation of it always – long after Earth disappears or we’re all ancient history. I believe that it IS possible for human consciousness to live on somewhere else, or perhaps even being replayed on this plane of existence, recorded on the fabric of Time. Is that weak? I don’t think so, especially when one considers how much we DON’T KNOW about how certain energy REALLY works. I don’t mean like psychic shit either.. I mean all of the forms of energy and all of the layers/levels (sub-atomic, etc.).
The keyword in that sentence is, “I believe…”
You will have to elaborate, “we DON’T KNOW about how certain energy REALLY works.” I am pretty sure I can get you in touch with a scientist or two that would help to explain how energy REALLY works. I am looking forward to possible future elaboration of this.
People like you, I would imagine, would laugh at someone like me and call me a weak-minded hippie or something. But I could be wrong because I have Atheist friends who, as I said, would never judge another human being harshly; compassion is their religion.
I wouldn’t say that I would never judge another human harshly, I am of the “school”, that respect is not automatically gained, but it has to be earned. However I wouldn’t call you weak-minded, especially when I do not know why you believe as you do.
So, you see, by modern conventional definition, there’s no place for people like me; we’re not completely Atheists, because we don’t completely rule out the possibility of some deity – MAYBE – but we’re not Christians. We fit into no particular mold or definition. That’s why many people may feel the same way you do about many things, but they don’t want to associate themselves with the IDEA of Atheism, because it’s a dirty word and *it tends to be defined in its narrowest sense.*
What I have read so far, you fit rather nicely into a pantheistic group. With your comment about spiritual energy and that we are all interconnected.
Also atheists do not rule out that there may be a god, that is a common misconception, I have done many posts and videos to try and help people understand, atheism is a question regarding belief, with the a- prefix it shows it is a lack of belief in god[s]. The question of knowing if there are any god[s] is what is called gnosticism <> agnosticism (Greek work for knowledge, the Latin is Scientia) with the a- prefix again shows that agnosticism is a lack of knowledge. And agnosticism is not tied to a god question, but to all questions.
So you can be an agnostic atheist, as I am myself, I do NOT KNOW if there are any gods, but I do NOT BELIEVE there are any gods. Not knowing and not believing are two seperate things, and are also not mutually exclusive.
MY POINT IS, Christian… that many, many, MANY people all around the world agree with many of your sentiments & those of other active Atheists, BUT the WORD & the negative connotations it implies is what makes people turn away or tune out the message. Maybe Atheism needs a re-branding? Or better still – a different NAME? Think about it. Haha.
Atheism does not need a rebranding in my opinion, however many have tried, Richard Dawkings tried with the term “Brights”, and most recently is the Atheism+ movement .
The reason why many have troubles with atheism as a word, and have negative connotations, are because they are often introduced to so-called strawmen of what atheism is, a cheap mockery, especially from preachers, or other non-atheists.
What we need to do as atheists is to educate the public, tell them that they only thing that it entails to be an atheist, is not to believe in a god, no more and no less.
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Time and time again, I hear from the religious that a life without belief in [a] god[s] is meaningless, or at least removes meaning from life.
I never had an issue with having [a] meaning[s] with my own life, as I see it, you make your own meanings and goals.
Now I wonder, what is/are this/these meaning[s] that believing in [a] god[s] give[s] these people, that a lack of belief in [a] god[s] cannot give you?
And are these meanings even worth it?
First I want to point out, you cannot force yourself to believe in something, I cannot turn on a “I believe in [a] god[s]” switch, by sheer willpower. So even if there are great meanings that would make belief in [a] god[s] worth it, you cannot force yourself to believe in the existence of these/this god[s].
I want to look at a typical Christian perspective and some of the arguments I hear from Christians about what they get from their belief (or relationship as they may call it too) in their god.
They want to serve their god, and share their belief with the people around them, in order for them to be “saved” too, but I ask you dear Christians who may read this, is that all?
Is the greater meaning of Christianity to be saved from sin, and to be a forever a child (never being allowed to be free and independent of the eternal parent)?
Servitude to this god of Christianity, how could that ever be considered a great or even a good meaning to adopt?
What is the point of having children, and of spreading Christianity then?
If the greatest meaning is to just serve and to be “saved”? If this is the meaning you want people to adopt?
You may excuse me, if I got it wrong, and I have somehow not seen what other great meaning there may be with Christianity.
But if I am right, and those are the great meanings of Christianity, why then have children? Why bring more “souls” to this world, and risk them not being “saved”, risk them not being Christians when growing up, not serving the god that may punish them?
Why even spreading Christianity, when you are asking people to volunteerily giving up their independency, their reason, their mental faculties, to be slaves of the Christian dogmas and doctrines, never being allowed to think outside the box, never to consider that there might be other options out there, than the theistic world view. Since that would be heretic, and would risk your immortal “soul”, as some believe.
Am I completely misrepresenting Christianity?
What is there to gain from Christianity, and other theistic beliefs that cannot be achieved by non-theistic beliefs and philosophies too?
Recently this idea about building an Atheist Temple in London has been circulating on the internet.
It originated from this article in the Guardian 26 January 2012, where philosopher and writer Alain de Botton said the temple would be a counter-weight to the more aggressive and destructive form of the new atheist movement, formed by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens attacks on religion.
When I first read the story my initial reaction was, “WTF are you on about Mr. de Botton?”
What would we be doing at these temples? Yes, I am aware that this is almost the same as when people ask me, “What do you do in the Danish Atheist Society when you meet?”
I would say there is a clear difference. First of all most atheist groups, that define themselves as atheist, are primarily nonpartisan secular activist groups.
Which means we work to get a more secular society, and equal rights for religious and non-religious. We do not meet and talk about how little we believe in gods.
Secondly, why do people assume that ATHEISM is one thing, that it holds certain values, thoughts, and ideals. It does not the definition that the new atheist movement goes by, is that it is a non-belief in any deities (also singular form for those Christians that like to play word games). Most of these atheists also define themselves as agnostic-atheists.
I cannot recall who first said that organizing atheists is like herding cats, but I think this is very true, besides the fact you can find secularists amongst atheists, and humanists, when it comes to values, political and philosophical opinions, it is as diverse as any random group in society.
Thirdly to be fair it seems Alain de Botton was also misrepresented in the media, and he actually had no plans for building a temple of Atheism.
Which I found on the r/atheism subreddit on Reddit.
I have heard from some that they like this idea of an Atheist Temple, I would very much appreciate if you are one of those people, or know someone, please I would know WHY they think it would be a great idea.
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