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Can't you try to believe?

I'm not quiet about my atheism, not in your face about it either. So, in general conversation it may come up and one of the most common responses is "If you would believe then..." Like belief is somehow the first step and not a result.

There's various ways it's presented. "Just accept Gawd", "Let Jesus into your heart", "Ask the holly spirit to... do whatever the holly spirit does" or "Try to believe/have faith in"

All of them use belief as a start point and not an end result and that I think is where a lot of friction between believers and non believers comes from. To them we're being stubborn because somehow we've chosen not to believe, to us (me anyway) we can't choose to believe anything. We simply believe what seems to be the most likely given the information at hand.

Leatherwing 4 July 28

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24 comments

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4

That's about when I tell them, "Accept Harry Potter into your heart. Ask him to teach you the power of magic, and how to defend yourself against the dark arts."

Yes, I often view religious people like crazed fans at a Star Wars convention. It's not real, people! They're just old stories!

I heard actor John de Lancie, who played "Q" on Star Trek, relate a story about an autograph signing where a fan asked how it felt to be transported. He explained that he's just an actor on a TV show, and they do the special effects in post so he never sees them, but he just couldn't convince the fan that it wasn't real.

I bet that if someone invented a time machine and retrieved a historical Jesus who personally told people that he was just a preacher and there never were any miracles that most people would continue to believe.

4

Sounds like time to change your circle of acquaintances. Big difference between belief and faith. Belief is an external projection of a preferred outcome. Faith is an internal conviction which needs no external authorisation or endorsement

3

I've had lengthy and frustrating debates with theists concerning whether belief is voluntary. They're really invested in this, when in fact, in every area of life that doesn't involve god, they are unable to hold beliefs they don't ... well, believe in. I ask them, "just believe in Odin and trust that he will usher you in to Valhalla" but to them that's somehow a completely different thing.

Special pleading is a madness to which I have not found the cure, I'm afraid.

3

I was exposed briefly - after years away from the odd evangelical neurosis - to a friend's wife who is a cheerful, white-bread, Daddy religion Christian. During a conversation when I told her that I didn't believe in "Christianity", she cried.

Which really pissed me off. It's passive aggressive bullshit. "Your lack of belief HURTS me." It's a kind of social blackmail.

So I avoid these people. We don't have anything in common anyway. At the point when this woman gave up her free will to follow a set of rules, then we became functionally incompatible.

Lol ... yeah unless it's honestly the very first time she ever heard a discouraging word about her god-belief, causing her world to unexpectedly fall apart, and maybe not even then, that was passive-aggressive as hell.

3

My mom will still tell me to just fake it until you believe. How can she encourage such dishonesty? !

Deinan Level 4 July 28, 2018

Ya can't fake what you really feel inside you

Dishonesty is the name of the organized church's game. When I was four years old, and being sexually abused by a family member, I remembered hearing in church the parable about praying in private - in a closet was what I remembered about the passage - so I thought that if I went to church myself, I could find Jesus in a closet there, and he would help me get away from the searing pain of the abuse. I walked the whole way on my own (the church was on the corner of our block), and when I told the pastor what I needed, and why I was running away, he called that very family member to come get me.

Later in life, when I decided to give the church a second chance, I encountered another sexual abuser who would stand and "greet" church members as they entered the sanctuary. He put his hands all over every woman who entered. When an older woman in the church ratted him out to the church leadership, they told her she must be "imagining things," that Chuck was just "friendly," and ignored the situation.

Hypocrisy, dishonesty, protection and solidarity for sex abusers. No need for you to fake anything, all due respect to your mother. The church does enough faking without adding yours to the mix.

@skye724 I'm so sorry that you had to go through those horrible experiences. You are right. Dishonesty is the very foundation of their religion.

3

Faith isn't the first step, though. They forgot the real first step: their fear. You have to be afraid of death, afraid of the unknown, afraid of justice... fear has to be present and then you have to be unwilling to address the fear. Once those two things happen then the next step is the suspension of reason in order to numb the fear.

Thanks, that is a really excellent point that I had not considered before.

It's possible, though, to fear death and still not seek the fairy tale ending. Though, I believe most of us fear the dying, not the death, I imagine a few still fear death, maybe as a holdover from a time when they were involved with religion.

@GinaMaria I completely agree.

2

I could try to believe my belt buckle is solid gold.
The fact is that it is brass.
I've tried to believe it is solid gold for a long time.
I've tried to believe it is solid gold really hard.
The fact remains it is brass.

It seems the facts don't give a sh!t what I believe.

2

My favorite atheist says it best...

2

I'm not quiet about my atheism either. I tell them I'm about as interested in believing as they are about converting to Islam or becoming satanic.

1

I actually did. I was a "seeker" for over 20 years. Asked God to talk to me. Prayed for something, a message, a small still voice. The deafening silence clued me in that possibly nobody was there.

1

I choose to believe in scientific proof and not fairy tales. I'm glad to be an atheist. The last 5 mouths have been better than the decades of brain washing.

1

They don’t understand confirmation bias or how much the church community affects how they phrase the question. I am making my mission to not just say I don’t believe, but I also actively believe it’s bad fiction and remnants of mythology. I can’t pray to Skywalker forinsights on the Force...

1

Last paragraph. For me I did not choose this way of thinking. believing, despite everyone around me seemed to be believing just did not resonate with me. Early on I was going along with the crowd even as far as driving that cute girl down the street to church even tho I usually just took dad's car for a ride Sunday mornings.

1

I posted an hour ago in response to Religuous (Will) that I didn't think people get to choose their beliefs. At least I think I don't--I think I am passive in belief formation, and I think honesty demands this if the face of evidence even if I could choose to the contrary. (Maybe I could hire a hypnotist to make me believe something... Think so?)

Well ... it is clearly possible to embrace a belief without evidence, it is just intellectual hari-kari and it's very fragile in that it's constantly threatened with actual information and reasoning, and keeps barking its shins on all sorts of cognitive dissonance. It's the people who are successful in disassociating from anything contrary to their presuppositionalist ideology, who cling to the constant reinforcement of their chosen group, who eventually accept this imposed alternate reality in at least a sort of religious "compartment" of their life.

Unfortunately for them, sometimes, pesky ol' reality still intrudes, and, as Hitchens famously said, when that breaches these flimsy walls made of faith, their faith "disappears in a puff of logic". That was definitely what happened to me.

0

Why believe, and believe in what? If you haven't noticed, what ever happens, happens, no matter what the belief is in the population. Always has, always will. For example, when the german pilot crashed the plane into the french mountain side killing all aboard, there were about 150 people of all ages and from different countries and probably had an assortment of religious beliefs. These facts had no effect on the outcome. In other words, the prevailing beliefs of the population has no effect on the outcome of what happens. The sun goes down. The sun comes up. The tide comes in. The tide goes out., whether you believe in jesus, zeus, angels, leprecauns or zombies.

0

It's not a choice as you say. My non-belief is based solely on a lack of verifiable and repeatable evidence. And until that changes there's nothing for me to believe in.

0

Yes!!

Carin Level 8 Aug 1, 2018
0

I just love the condescension...like they look you up and down and are like "you don't believe in gawd...that explains it. I can't be part of the delusional club just to feel like I belong.

0

I have been in relationships more than once where the guy knew upfront my beliefs and left me for a "good Christian woman.".

0

Belief is evil. It gets in the way of knowledge.

0

Religious people have to send so much time going to church; praying; in a nutshell, evaluating what to do with their lives because they believe, that they don't have as much time to decide why they believe, or how to convince others of why they believe or make a sound argument. In that way, atheists almost have an unfair advantage.

0

The problem is that some people who are religious don't really know how to argue a point. They have never been an atheist, so they don't know what it takes to convince an atheist to believe in God. They know very well how they should live their lives because they believe in God, but they don't know very well why they believe in God.

0

In other words, ya just gotta feel it one way or the other.

0

In other words, ya just gotta feel it one way or the other.

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