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November 29, 2012
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:icondemopro:
DemoPro Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist
I'm an atheist, but almost every person I know follows some denomination of Christianity. I can't seem to figure out why people who seem to be, for the most part, rational people could allow themselves to continue to have the Christian beliefs. Any of you other non-believers find yourselves thinking about this way too much, like I do?
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:iconkaikaku:
kaikaku Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I honestly think it makes a lot of sense. It would take time to explain why, since there are quite a few different reasons people believe. I guess I used to give it some thought, but not so much anymore. I suspect if I'd been raised differently, I might very well have Christian beliefs, too. Actually, in a sense I think I do have some Christian beliefs as a side-effect of being born into a mostly-Christian society. I've really been influenced by cultures that are not entirely my own in various ways that are difficult to account for.

This is a bit of a tangent, but, I don't think that people--any people, atheists and agnostics included--are all that rational. And I'm not saying that's even a bad thing. I just think one needs to be careful about surmising that the differences in belief boil down to rationality.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Yes, the believer and non-believer tend to be equally baffled by each other's "irrationality" or "ignorance" etc. the temptation is to simplify what we don't understand about the other.

The believer says, "the non-believer is angry at God, or else is blinded to the truth by their own sin. Or they are not trying hard enough."

The non-believer says, "the Christian is a Christian because they are brainwashed, or raised to believe such things. It makes them comfortable, and the church propagates the beliefs to control others - at best it makes them "feel better" about their lives. They need God as a crutch to continue on."

Both of these approaches make us feel "safe" , but they do not resonate with the other party, and the oversimplification is almost certainly wrong.
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:iconkaikaku:
kaikaku Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very well-stated, I agree.

Only thing I would add is that it's very hard, if not impossible, to fully understand all the inner dimensions of a worldview outside of one's own. This is partially because of the simplifications/generalizations you mentioned, but even beyond that, people are going to always view other worldviews through the lens of their own worldview. Hypothetical peeks into the way other people see things can help us gain perspective, but I'm not sure it's ever enough.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
*nod*
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:iconsagethethird:
sagethethird Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
I've come to realize humans are like bees. I find myself being part of the "hive-mind" mentality as well sometimes so I personally have witnessed this "oh he's doing it I might as well too!" phenomenon, especially on the internet and more prominently on reddit than anywhere else.

so my hypothesis is that people just follow what either their parents or their friends follow, and even if they get into said following by themselves they probably did so because they felt a sense of community. So to me it comes as no surprise that Christianity with it's pews and the practice of turning to everyone and saying "peace be with you" is comforting to people, especially living in a community where bells ring every hour on the hour and you can "be sure" everyone will be at church at a specific time at a specific day...basically it's the regimented nature of not only Christianity but Islam, Judaism, and a lot of smaller religions as well.

basically it's just a bandwagon, and everyone is currently on that bandwagon, maybe one day everyone will be on the atheist bandwagon, the problem with that is that you can be atheist and stupid about science so it means nothing for the perpetuation of civilization.
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:icondragonsnapalm:
DragonsNapalm Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
From where I'm sitting, the very nature of religion relies not upon things that are actually true, but things that people want to be true, even though there's no basis for any such assertions. It's a definite leap of faith in any situation, one that inevitably separates you from reality and causes you to live in delusion, which I find wrong.

So, yeah. I find it strange too.
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:iconweaselnewt:
Weaselnewt Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A majority of my friends are Christian/religious. I also can't see why so many still cling to these beliefs since some of them a fairly bright. But I still respect their beliefs and them.
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:iconel-and-noxi:
El-and-Noxi Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist
As long as you're not nagged by those Christians count yourself lucky. But if you're on the unlucky side (welcome to the club)... sarcasm can be a powerful weapon. ^_^
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:iconstoneman123:
stoneman123 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Define "way too much." I'm sure you've noticed all the problems religion causes for society, so it's only natural you would speculate on its source and, perhaps, how it might be remedied. Whole books have been written on the subject. I recommend God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens.

Anyway, I think the reason otherwise rational people cling to religion is through a weakness of character. They are too cowardly to face reality, so they construct a delusional view of the universe where there is an ultimate purpose to their lives, and there is universal justice, and there is something to look forward to after death. Those concepts are all so tempting, to some people, that they just can't cope without them.
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:iconreesewhyte:
reesewhyte Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012   Digital Artist
I can completely relate. Every time I sign into facebook (instagram too), I get bombarded with a news feed full of Christian passages and life advice that inevitably ends up referring to "God" as the solution.

I think a lot of the widespread belief is based on how the theist was brought up (mostly in an environment where the people around them believed in a god), intellectual lethargy and ultimately...fear.

People don't like to admit the fact that we as human beings DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING about the world we live in. Adversely, theists always boast about how certain they are of their God's existence, oftentimes ignoring the many fundamental arguments that deflate those beliefs in any truly rational person's mind. Many like feeling the false comfort that "God" is "watching over them" or that "God" is the cause of any beautiful or presently unexplainable thing they witness. Their beliefs also seem to free them of accountability in many aspects. The most common instances I've seen pertain to when a theist has a goal in mind, or a difficult situation they need to get through. I often hear the expression "Let go and let God." Basically meaning to leave everything in "God's" hands, rather than examining the situation and being proactive in finding a solution.

From my experience, many people feel that life will be devoid of meaning and purpose if they lose their belief in their God (which any non-religious person I'm sure will disagree with). That and it's very hard to de-program a lifetime of indoctrination, especially if their beliefs were somewhat strong. Finally, I think the underlying feeling is fear. Devoutly religious people seem to regard anything that challenges their beliefs as the "Devil" trying to work against them, or "God" testing them (which makes no sense if they believe their God is omniscient, he'd be fully aware of their intentions if that was the case). Fear and false hope is what has kept religion alive for as long as it's been around. Playing up on people's emotions and creating "answers" to life's questions are what ultimately contribute to the stranglehold religion has. And yet, I wouldn't even mind if people kept their personal beliefs personal. The problems arise when it permeates into absolutely everything and ignorance takes over. Luckily, it seems like more and more people are letting go of the whole "God" thing and giving logic a fair chance. Good to see.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Professional General Artist
Depends on where you live and who you know. I was raised without a church in an environment where nearly everybody went to church. Sometimes that made me feel like an outsider, but having family open to different beliefs helped. Since high school, most of my friends have not been Christian, or if they are Christian of a very liberal bent. At the same time, there are at least 5 churches in a 1 mile radius of my house, if not more.

As far as why otherwise rational beings would be Christian...well, we're not fully rational beings, and there are numerous reasons why some might remain or choose to convert.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Just being curious. Are you implying that believing in things like God and resurrection from the dead are illogical beliefs?
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
The universe being created in six days, man being created from dirt, women being created from said man's rib, the stopping of the earth's rotation [link], a global flood, the world needing to be repopulated through incest TWICE, talking snakes and donkeys, talking burning plants, being condemned to eternal torment for thought crimes, transubstantiation (crackers turning into human flesh and wine or grape juice turning into human blood), all of which people are to take on face value and expected to never be questioned. This is just Christianity.
Is religion an illogical position?
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
okay, well the question really wasn't for you, but I'll bite.

I'll bypass six day creation, because both jewish and christian belief transcend this idea - there are different beliefs and views about it, including whether it is figurative or literal.
I'll bypass a lot of others too, for similar reasons.

Since I am believer, I will pick the criteria that I believe is crucial for Christian belief, such as the "resurrection of Jesus". Why would you propose this might an illogical belief?
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Ooh! Just remembered virgin birth.

Back to the question of the resurrection. Excusing the miracle/magic explanation (magic can explain anything), people don't usually come back from the dead. The ones that did were alive but improperly determined to be dead and hasn't happened since the onset of modern medicine.

Not only that but how exactly does a few parlor tricks and somehow coming back from the dead make you the incarnation of a deity that allegedly created the universe?
Especially since he wasn't the only one who came back, Lazarus, various prophets and eventually a bunch of people after the crucifixion: Matthew 27:52-53

Then there is the fact that there are no contemporary extra-biblical records that corroborate the claim.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Am I understanding that this is what you are saying:

believing in the resurrection of "true" death after three days (not improperly determined) is illogical, because 1) miracles are involved and/or 2) people don't usually come back from the dead.

Do I have that right?
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Well first of all the term "miracles" is usually attributed to as yet to be understood phenomena usually positive in nature. The term "miracle" has been attached to damn near anything that positively effects the believer weather it has a naturally explained origin or not. Suggestive that it is a subjective term.

And yes, people coming back from the grave is an occurrence that though "common" within the era it supposedly took place in it, is only in mythology.

But really it's the lack of extra-biblical documentation that should have corroborated from that time that at least corroborates the story that damns it.
There is next to nothing that suggests the events that took place in the bible were anymore real than the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Trials of Herakles, the story of Beowulf.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Seems like there are 2-3 subjects here we could tackle together. But I'd like to stay on the topic of "Is believing in the resurrection of Jesus illogical?"

What makes a belief illogical is if it violates laws of logic - for example, the law of non-contradiction...

While two may argue on the veracity of Jesus' resurrection, and whether or not a belief is well-founded or not (did it actually happen), I don't yet see any evidence that suggests that a conclusion: "resurrection from death" is an illogical conclusion (be it true or false), based on the biblical evidence.

I will explain in an example. For this example, let us assume we both know that Bob is "smart", and we observe two other people having an argument about whether or not Bob is smart.

Person 1 - Logical, Incorrect Conclusion:
1) All college students are not smart
2) Bob is a college student
3) Bob is not smart


Person 2 - Illogical, Correct Conclusion:
1) All college students are not smart
2) Bob is a college student
3) Bob is smart


As you can see, logic can be (and very often is) divorced from correct conclusions. Conclusions can be logical if they remain consistent in the person's thought (and premises), yet they may still be wrong (and vise versa).

It is not illogical for people to believe in resurrection of the dead. It often comes down to metaphysical presuppositions, world views, and life experience that can and will shape such views.
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
But there is no documented testimonies of posthumous resurrection that has not been falsified to come to the conclusion that it is possible.

You are saying that because people believe in delusions they should be allowed to because they believe in them.

The event either took place or it didn't to ignore the conclusion would leave one party or another believing in a falsehood.

This guy spells it out better than I [link]
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(1 Reply)
:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
might be*
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:iconincandescentinsanity:
IncandescentInsanity Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Student General Artist
It's a widely practiced indoctrination. It will take humanity a while to shake it off
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:iconhsherran:
hsherran Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
The trouble is that children are brainwashed at a young age. By the time they've grown, those responsible for their upbringing have wired them for ignorance, and then the cycle begins once again.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
That story doesn't work for all believers. It may be true for a good amount of America... My wife's conversion story definitely doesn't follow your description...
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:iconhsherran:
hsherran Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
The majority of believers of any religion are either brainwashed from birth or are forced into it by their society and thus are forced to brainwash their children to protect their and their childrens' lives.
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Late converts are taken in by an appeal to emotions, the sense of purpose, and the freedom from accountability.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
ouch. I want encourage you to see it flipped around. If I simplified all athiest worldview as "because they are secretly angry at God" or any other fill in the blank, I'm sure you'd take issue or offense. You don't know everyone's story.
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Atheism isn't a worldview. Humanism, secularism, rationalism those are irreligious worldviews. I merely stated the psychological mechanisms that religions use and what works on those who convert later in life.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
I'm not gonna argue about whether athiesm is a worldview, because its not my point - so let's assume you're right. Let's call it "the reason people don't believe God exists is _________"

It simplifies it too much, in almost any sort of case. Athiest, thiest. It's like saying, Dancers choose to dance because they can't get jobs elsewhere. Your statement can come across as condescending and not open to the many facets that happen inside of our minds and hearts and why we make decisions about anything, let alone God.
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
It's those various complexities of the human mind that explained by psychology and neuropsychology enough to understand not only why individuals believe but why people believe in general.
I believe it's explained in the book the Believing Brain?
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:icondarkcrypt:
DarkCrypt Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
I think it's because most of them are indoctrinated when they're young, and then surround themselves mainly with people who share and reinforce their beliefs. It is kind of mind boggling to me, how some otherwise intelligent and highly educated people can rationalize holding theistic beliefs.

But to answer the question, I don't think about it too much...but I'm also not surrounded by religious people constantly like you are. I imagine if I were in your shoes, I'd think about it plenty.

But since I'm not, I'm free to think about Batman and aliens all day.
:ufo:
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:icondemopro:
DemoPro Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist
My uncle is a preacher. Every time he sees me he tries to "save" me. Imagine how awesome that is.
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
That's a sucky feeling. Sorry :/
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:icondarkcrypt:
DarkCrypt Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Yeah, that would get old pretty quick.
I have a pretty religious Aunt and Cousin myself, but after telling them I'm an atheist they gave up pretty quickly. And luckily I don't see them much anymore. I've always had empathy for people in situations like the one you're in. Though I've never really been there myself, it would obviously suck just a little.
:salute:
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Most delusions are safe, most.
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:iconmattyohh:
Mattyohh Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
Safety in the flock
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:iconrejectthepast:
RejectThePast Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Student Filmographer
Well, I'm not sure if this is just me, but I am both a man of faith and reason. I don't see how science and religion can't coexist, to be honest. Most (if not all) atheists believe that science overrules religion, and most Christians believe that religion overrules science. I believe in both evolution and creationism, simple as that.

Christianity promotes charity and loving your neighbor as yourself. While a lot of its followers don't reflect on these standards, I, for one, do. I could really drop my religion any time I want to. But do I? No.

Honestly, what is there to lose? If someone is a true Christian, they'll fill their life with charity, humility, love, compassion, and understanding, which all eventually leads to true happiness and satisfaction with life. Is there anything irrational about that?

Unfortunately, however, many Christians don't act this way. Instead, they use their religion as an excuse to spread hate and prejudice & reject backed-up scientific theories all while cramming it down other people's throats.

I don't know what kind of Christians the people you know are, but just because someone is Christian doesn't make them irrational. It could even possibly make them even more rational. :)

(Sorry for the really long response. xD)
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:iconlyteside:
lyteside Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Well said.
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:iconkausawolf:
kausawolf Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I know a lot of people who believe God is the reason for the big bang, and let things happen as they happened after that.
It's completely reasonable to believe in evolution and God.
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:icontimlavey:
TimLavey Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
They very much treat their belief in God different than other beliefs they hold. You hear them say that it's virtuous to have faith in God. It's something they've often been brought up to accept by their family or community and it's rarely seriously questioned by them. Questioning matters of faith or faith itself is on top of it all discouraged, so it's not all that surprising to me why they hold to such irrational beliefs while otherwise being rather reasonable people.
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:icondemopro:
DemoPro Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist
Thanks for giving a serious answer.
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:icontimlavey:
TimLavey Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Any time. :-)
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:iconsiantjudas:
siantjudas Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012   Digital Artist
Nope, you care too much about the beliefs of others. Which means that you don't have enough conviction on your own beliefs. Time to question yourself.
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:icontimlavey:
TimLavey Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Or he's just curious.
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:iconsiantjudas:
siantjudas Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012   Digital Artist
Or more likely he's a troll looking to start an argument you La Vayen piece of trash.
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:icondemopro:
DemoPro Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist
I don't know how you perceive what I posted as trolling... I honestly was just curious. I don't know any other atheists besides me, so I came here seeking the opinions of other atheists. What's wrong with that?
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:iconsiantjudas:
siantjudas Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012   Digital Artist
One, majority of post like yours are atheists trolling people who have beliefs.
Two, if you believe what you believe, why the fuck do you care what other people believe?
Three, If you aren't sure the same holds true, you have no conviction and are looking for a reason to disprove your atheism.
So which is it? And I don't fucking accept cop outs as an answer.
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:icondemopro:
DemoPro Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist
I don't think it's either of those options to be honest. I was raised as a Southern Baptist and went to church every Sunday during my childhood, but even then I never really bought into it. So, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I'm not trying to disprove my own atheism. I'm just curious about religion, not just Christianity, in general I guess and other people's opinions on it. I feel like you're putting to much thought into my motives, but I hope this gives you the answer you're looking for.
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:iconsiantjudas:
siantjudas Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012   Digital Artist
I'm not looking for answers, you are.

So are you doubting atheism, or spiritualism?
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:icondemopro:
DemoPro Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist
You asked me a question, so I assumed you were seeking an answer.
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(1 Reply)
:iconsiantjudas:
siantjudas Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012   Digital Artist
Or he doesn't have enough conviction WHITE KNIGHT.
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