Atheist thinking fail

atheist thinking fail

Let me begin by saying up front that I get the point: if you hold exclusive religious beliefs you, in essence, condemn those outside your group to hell.  But the atheist world view doesn’t hold that non-Atheists receive any eternal punishment, so why not hold to atheism so you don’t have to believe so many people go to hell.  Unfortunately, when the logic fails so profoundly, the point fails as well.

Here’s the problem: whether the Islamic or Christian doctrines of eternal punishment are true or false, are so regardless whether you, I, or anyone believes it.  If Islam is correct and infidels are hell-bound, my refusal to believe it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.  Does the creator of this graphic really believe that their mind has the power to control what happens to humanity in the here-after just by changing your mind?

If you’re an Atheist, is it important to you that atheism is true? Or put another way, does it matter to you, personally, whether God really exists or not, or is it the social benefit or consequences that flow from your world view that’s most important?

Comments

  1. The last sentence on the demotivator should read “But if I believe in neither, 7.1 people will perish for all eternity.”

  2. Logic doesn’t seem to be a typical atheist’s strong point. Of the ones I’ve debated, most just quote Dawkins (even if they don’t recognise where their talking point is from – I’ve had atheists who claim to not like Dawkins repeating the Dawkins script ad nauseum), Neil DeWhateverhisnameis, Bill Nye, Zeitgeist (without ever having heard of it before), etc. Very populist. They don’t handle it well when the faulty logic or poor argumenation is pointed out and debated. Of all the atheists I’ve debated, only *one* responds with any sort of intellectual rigor, and her reasons for becoming an atheist are firmly rooted in childhood trauma. She fully recognises that her atheism is based on an emotional, not logical, foundation.

    • Recognizing that their rejection is emotional is half the battle. When it is for emotional reasons but believe it’s intellectual, those are the most difficult to talk to.

  3. If you’re an Atheist, is it important to you that atheism is true?

    No, not at all. My conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to support the claims of both Christianity and Islam are not swayed by emotion either.

    Conversely, Christians want Christianity to be true just like followers of Islam want Islam to be true and these conclusions are very often influenced by the emotional desire for them to be true.

    From the graphic, the notion that “nobody has to perish at all” is absurd, since the atheist doesn’t believe in the afterlife in the first place. This poster was obviously not created by an atheist, but rather a theist making a straw-man argument.

    • Why is it obvious a non atheist made it? Atheists make all kinds of statements that are logically incoherent.

      But I do tuink youre right that a good number of any religious persuasion get emotional satisfaction from their belief.

      You say youre not attached to atheism, but youve been fighting theism for so long mocking it as silly and nonsensical. I have a hard time believing you could allow yourself to move from atheism.

      On a tangent, I didnt get the idea for my ‘atheists know…’ post from 500 Qs.

  4. I don’t see my criticisms against theism as fighting it, John – I just point to the fallacies and illogical arguments people make to defend their religious beliefs.

    As soon as you really recognize why you dismiss all the other possible gods and religions people follow you may begin to understand why I dismiss yours.

    I would readily accept a different position as soon as there is sufficient evidence to support it.

    Repeating what I said about the graphic, it was obviously not created by an atheist since the atheist doesn’t believe in the concept of an afterlife. “Nobody has to perish at all” is quite the opposite from believing that when you die, you’re gone.

    • You assume all religious claims and religion’s evidences for their gods are equal both in quality and quantity and thats simply not true. So my rejecting other claims is not at all analogous to yours.

      I dont think your criticisms against theism are necessarily fighting it. But you have spent so much time fighting it and mocking it that I doubt youd allow yourself to become the person you ridicule.

  5. No, I don’t make that assumption. Maybe you reject other claims that way, but I base conclusions on each claim separately.

    Again, I don’t “fight it” as you keep saying, but I do enjoy pointing out the inconsistencies of religious thinking and the mechanisms people employ to defend their positions.

  6. Z,

    I was struck by this premise of yours: “Christians want Christianity to be true” (emphasis mine). What makes you think this is the least bit true. I won’t speak for all Christians, but in my case, there is plenty about the faith that I “want” to be different. For example, when I hear someone denigrate Christians, I “want” to be able to smack the crap out of him. But because I believe in Jesus being Lord and Savior, I deny this want for His sake.

    Here’s another way to look at it:

    I absolutely believe that not every woman I’d like to bed down feels the same about me. I would say this is likely an absolute truth. I want it to be otherwise, but I live my life according to the truth I believe exists.

    My faith in God is not entirely dissimilar. I believe and live according to my belief because I can’t see the alternative as being possible or true. What I want has nothing to do with it.

    More importantly, this notion of what one “wants” to be true seems very much to be the world in which YOU live. You WANT there to be no God. But this only makes sense if one desires to live life according to the notion that there is nothing after death. Living life under self imposed “morals” under such conditions is illogical if not outright goofy. Indeed, it’s really cowardly. A life with no Supreme Being gives no meaning to a life that isn’t anything but selfish. Doing for others makes no sense in such a world. Doing anything that does not return some profit is a massive waste of what limited time one might have. Why anyone would “WANT” life without God is illogical by itself. The alternative is pointless. But to live as if “good deeds” matter in such a life is insane.

  7. Thanks for your response, marshalart – it’s a perfect example of a belief based on emotion.

    It seems clear that without your religious beliefs, you would find it difficult to control your actions and immoral impulses.

    You said it yourself perfectly, though – you cannot see any other alternative to what you believe to be true. It’s just a shame you have such hostility towards anyone who thinks otherwise.

  8. Z

    Heres a few Atheist sites praising the graphic:

    http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/Thread-Favourite-pictures-for-a-laugh-at-religion?pid=109775#pid109775

    Read some of the comments on this facebook page… brilliance: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=509042515842607&set=a.224912787588916.54270.221597424587119&type=1&theater

    http://www.lipstickalley.com/showpost.php?p=10427365&postcount=14

    http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/3585793/Benevolence…+you+re+doing+it+wrong/

    So lets just assume an Atheist didnt create it (even though one did), there’s lots of atheists out there fawning over it like only a bunch of mental midgets can.

  9. z,

    If there’s any emotion-based reasoning, it is clearly in your knee-jerk response to my comment. Nothing I said indicates any difficulty in controlling actions or impulses. I simply wonder what the point would be without God at the end of it all? I know many atheists like to regard themselves as “moral” without God, but the reality is that it is self-preservation and nothing more.

    I also didn’t say that I can’t see an alternative to my beliefs. My point was that the alternative is bleak and should compel the atheist to want God to be true, rather than the other way around. Again, my point was based on the “Christians want it to be true” argument you made. It’s a false premise and far more true regarding atheists in my opinion.

    • Marshall

      I think it is a fact that many religious adherents want their religious convictions to be true. But it’s irrelevant to anything except how the person feels.

  10. paynehollow says:

    Just as a point of clarification, where John said…

    if you hold exclusive religious beliefs you, in essence, condemn those outside your group to hell.

    Not every Christian or Jew (and I’m sure that it’s true for other faith traditions, too – although I couldn’t say about Islam) believes in the concept of eternal damnation. The case can be biblically and rationally made. fyi.

    ~Dan Trabue

  11. paynehollow says:

    Actually, the case for hell is not as biblical as modernists might think. Our concepts of hell in the modern church are typically framed more from Dante than from the Bible. Jewish scholars didn’t/don’t treat hell/sheol the same way that modern Christians do, for instance.

    For instance.

    Myself, I believe in both heaven and hell, but not necessarily the way many mainline modern evangelicals do. I believe if we have a free will, then that includes the freedom to choose to NOT be with God (ie, hell). But that’s an aside.

    Just pointing out that not every religious tradition believes in a condemnation “to hell” of those who disagree with that religion.

  12. paynehollow says:

    You’re not agreeing with me. You’re stating something different, implying (falsely) a motivation.

    The people I’m speaking of don’t NOT believe in hell for the reason of “ignoring the distasteful parts of their writ…” they do so because they don’t believe the writ teaches that. Did you know that the Jewish OT does not contain the word “hell,” or a notion of an ongoing place of torment? That many Jewish scholars of good faith believe the best translation for “sheol” is simply “the grave.” Death. The end of it all.

    There is no evidence that they believe this for reasons of disliking an eternal tormented hell, they just don’t agree with the teaching as a rational or biblically sound tenet.

    People CAN disagree with the Popular Religion and do so with no evil intent, you know?

    ~Dan

    • If it is rather clear and only a new way of interpreting will yield the desired result then yes, they are ignoring the text. Especially if it has always been a part of the faith tradition.

  13. paynehollow says:

    Fairly NEW way of interpreting? This has been Jewish mainstream for thousands of years prior to Jesus’ existence, or so I’m told…

  14. paynehollow says:

    Jesus’ HUMAN existence, of course…

  15. John,

    My concern with Z’s premise is that it suggests the “want” dictates the belief. If he didn’t mean that, then I stand down. Assuming he did mean it that way, I must beg to differ. Most Christians, I would think, believe as a result of study and reasoning, not merely for wanting it to be true. Having established for themselves that it is the case, I could see the “want” to follow. I certainly want it to be true, but then, I already believe it is. It makes the wanting superfluous and quite unnecessary.

    I think it is far more accurate, however, to say that Z wants God to be UNtrue, or non-existent. It makes far more sense to imagine that any atheist feels this way as the possibility of God’s existence would cramp the style of most, if not all of them.

  16. To answer your question ‘Is it important to me that atheism is true?’ – If atheism were a knowledge claim, then it would be important to me. However, that’s not what my atheism is. I’m an agnostic atheist. I don’t claim to have knowledge about the existence of god. Based on the available evidence, I reject the notion there is one.

    If there is a god, I’d like to know why the evidence is so unconvincing to me. If there isn’t a god, I won’t be around to gloat. So, to me, atheism and ‘truth’ are just unrelated.

  17. No. It’s a belief claim. I don’t know whether we live in a godless universe. I maintain my disbelief based on a lack of evidence. There is no way of proving that god (or anything else) doesn’t exist and I don’t assert that as fact.

    I don’t have any special knowledge that you don’t have.

  18. “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen F. Roberts

    We are all born atheists. We are born with instincts; the beating of our heart, breathing, holding our breath under water, suckling, defalcating… We are born with a conscience that gives us awareness. We are born with a bank of emotions; we know this because babies cry and laugh. Those emotions give us a moral compass; feeling good when we do right, feeling bad when we do wrong… Everything else is learned through our five senses; hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching. Through those senses we discover some things on our own, others we are taught by someone else. At the time of our birth we know nothing more about gods and angels than we do about language and logic.

    Then our parents haul us off to their church, mosque, tabernacle, temple…to teach us about their god(s) and indoctrinate us into their religion, because none of them truly believe in free will, although most of them claim that they do. The vast majority of religious people were brought into their religion when they were young and most impressionable. Others find religion through times of great stress when they are most vulnerable. Most religious witnesses describe some traumatic instance when they testify that they felt their god’s presence in their life. It is no secret that through great stress and emotions, like fear, our minds tend to play tricks on us. Someone who is afraid of the dark might believe they saw a ghost, try telling them that ghosts aren’t real.

    “In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.” -Mark Twain

    Think about it; how did you learn about Christ? Did Jesus show up at your door, wash your feet, turn your water into wine, take a box of fishstix and turn it into a salmon feast, and teach you about him? No, you learned Christianity from Christians who learned Christianity from Christians who learned Christianity from…men who thought the earth is flat; that is the gist of the world view of the men who gave us their gods and religions. Isaiah 40:20 “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…” If God created the earth, wouldn’t God know that the earth is not a circle? If the Bible is the word of God, and God created the earth, shouldn’t that say “sphere”? A standard dinner plate is a circle. A standard dinner plate is flat. This verse is found in the Old Testament, which is read and believed by Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    The Old Testament also tells us not to behave like heathens and cut down evergreen trees, bring them into our homes and decorate them with god and silver like an idol (Jeremiah 10). Yet every December most Christians go on and do that exact thing, and even lay gifts beneath their pagan idols. October is a good time of year to look around and see just how pagan America has become, with all the Halloween decorations and costumes. I even went to a Catholic high school football game in October and saw all the Catholic kids in the stands wearing Halloween costumes. If I had made a public joke about that, no one would have gotten it.

    Some of us who weren’t fortunate enough to be raised by atheist parents are lucky enough to develop an intellectual curiosity that causes us to step back and ask questions about the things we’ve been taught; like, “Why am I coloring these eggs? What does this have to do with the resurrection of Christ?” When we start asking those questions, we inevitably begin to look for their answers. When we discover answers like; Easter is named for the pagan goddess of fertility, then we start to examine our faith. To see the farm is to leave the farm.

    Atheists don’t believe that atheism needs to be true; atheists don’t “believe” anything. Look up the word “belief”: confidence in the truth or existence of something not susceptible to proof; faith; religion. That does not describe atheism. Atheists adhere to science. “Science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact.” – Nikola Tesla. When a person dreams up a theory (Creation), and makes no effort to prove that theory, but tries to sell that theory at face value (witnessing; preaching), that person is not a scientist, they are a theologian. When a person dreams up a theory (Evolution), and then sets out to prove that theory through a series of hypothesis, experiments and controls, and exploration (archaeology), then they are a scientist.

    Over the past 2000 years theists have made no attempt to prove their theories, they just keep regurgitating the same old stories written 2000 years ago by simpletons. In the meantime science has ever been searching for the answers to the questions that gave birth to our gods and religions in the first place, and has just in the last year had its first space probe launched thirty years ago leave our galaxy to explore the universe. Fortunately science is not our only stock option, or we’d still be beating each other over the heads with clubs. But even when scientific theories (Evolution) are proven, which serve to disprove theological theories (Creation), religions will find ways to discredit the scientific facts or ignore them and hide them from their congregations, because religion is too big to fail.

    Men created gods to answer the questions that science has yet to be about to answer; the origins: where did we come from, how did we get here? When we are born, we are born with a void of knowledge that is hungry to be fed, and we feed it through the collection of information from our five senses, but when we get to that question about our origins, there is no answer, and that hunger becomes painful. So we create gods to explain away those questions, in order to quench that hunger and fill the void. When we can’t find the answer, we make something up; gods are mental placebos.

    Then people discovered that they could control other people through those systems of beliefs in their made up gods, and they found that they got better results by saying, “Do this because God said so”, rather than saying, “Do this because I said so”, and religion was born of those gods. It is not different than telling children to behave because Santa Claus is watching them. No different at all.

    Atheists don’t need to believe in atheism to be atheists, that’s an oxymoron. All you need to be an atheist is an understanding of the truth about religion. Atheists tend to question everything and never settle for simplistic answers. You can’t really boil atheists down anymore than that. Unlike religious people who can be identified by their religions; Muslims, Christians…and even further than that; Catholics, Baptists…trying to round up atheists into any ideological pasture other than their lack of belief in theology would be like trying to herd cats. Atheists are all free thinkers who have left the farms of religion. Many atheists have accepted the Big Bang Theory as fact, in order to fill the void of our origin. I have not, and won’t until it is proven. Not unlike agnostics, I have learned to live with the void and have come to terms with the understanding that I do not, and may never know our origin. The only difference between myself and an agnostic is that they don’t dismiss a deity, and I do.

    Many religious people will try to claim that atheists have no morals because we don’t believe that we are accountable to a god(s). That is beyond false, that’s a flat out lie. As an atheist I take moral stands on many issues; I happen to be pro life, and know many religious people who are pro choice and have even had abortions. I’m against wars of aggression, and Christian nations have been fighting wars with Islam for centuries. I know many atheists who would run into a burning building to rescue someone quicker than most Christians I know.

    • That we are born atheists is a speculation.

      I was never hauled to church.

      I was never indoctrinated.

      I never had a traumatic incident that led me to God.

      I dont believe my feelings and experiences are relevant to whether God exists.

      You’ll have to do better.

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