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"How on earth can religious people believe in so much arbitrary, clearly invented balderdash?....The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to fight loneliness. Any time I see a person fleeing from reason and into religion, I think to myself, There goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore."

~ Kurt Vonnegut

WilliamCharles 8 Jan 21

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"go outside the camp" is in There for anyone who can stand it i guess 🙂


It's that blindness to how blatantly made up those stories are that baffles me the most. Or is it willingness to disregard the obvious. Even the very premise of an immortal sacrificing his life is so clearly made up. Jesus died for our sins, they say. Is Jesus dead? ? Then he didn't die. He appeared to be dead for several days. If I were to trust that what is written in that book of myths really happened. Which I don't.

I find this summary amusing -

"Jesus had a bad three day weekend for your sins."

@WilliamCharles There are very few things that are binary in this world. Death is one of them.You are eitger dead or you are not. I oftengive this exaple so I apologize if I talked about it already. My father died when I was sixteen. And he is still dead. Had he appeared be dead for three days and then came back life I would not be saying today that he died. The finality of it is kind of an important aspect of death.
Jesus died for our sins.
Is Jesus dead?

How does that work? I know they have all kinds of apologetics they try to explain the obvious paradox with but if you are going to use thevword "dead" to solicit guilt and gratitude in your myth, you don't leave yoursel much wiggle room. It's just bullshit.


It is not a defense of that narrative, just a distillation of it. It agrees with you in not being impressed with the "sacrifice" of a supposedly eternal being claimed to have enacted some sort of magical reality via said illusory "death."


It’s not just religion. Anything which gives a ‘solution’ or ‘shelter’ will do the trick. Including! doesn't promise eternal life. Just some comradery for us, a discriminated minority, and maybe a veiled promise of getting laid the young members.


"There goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore."
Too bad they ran to a community substitute instead of finding a real community.
White supremacists use the same scam. "Are you lonely? We'll be your friend; you just have to hate our enemies and you'll never be alone again."

There's certainly some horror stories here.


"The following list represents just a small portion of the religions (past and present) that have been identified as encouraging practices that are destructive psychologically, emotionally, and physically. These are the memoirs and stories about people who feel they were forced to escape oppressive religious sects."



Kind of why we are on, eh? Sense of community.


I think it also has to do with fear, indoctrination, and pride (not being able to say "I don't know" ) and needing everything to have an answer)

mhyyc Level 2 Jan 22, 2019

So what is the fuss about?
Given that loneliness is bad (even bad for your health, as many studies confirm), and given that being a respected member of a group, be it religious or not, what should be wrong in becoming a religious person in order to have some nice company, if this is the main motivation?
In the end we will all die, whether we are (enlightened?) grumpy old men like Kurt V. or gullible people who believe in some religious balderdash. If this balderdash makes you happy - so be it

I think of Vonnegut as anything but grumpy (maybe grumpy where it mattered).

"Vonnegut found another “echo of the Sermon on the Mount” in the work of Mark Twain. In a talk he gave on the hundredth anniversary of the completion of Mark Twain’s “fanciful house in Hartford, Connecticut,” Vonnegut declared himself “a skeptic of the divinity of Christ…confirmed of my skepticism by Mark Twain in my formative years.” He then cited these words of the author as “a profoundly Christian statement, an echo of the Beatitudes:”

When I find a well-drawn character in fiction or biography, I generally take a warm personal interest in him, for the reason that I have known him before—met him on the river….

“The river, of course, is life,” Vonnegut said. “Mark Twain is saying what Christ said in so many ways: that he could not help loving anyone in the midst of life.”"

From: []

@Matias You can use the same argument for membership of the KKK or the BNP.
If people joined religion just for friendship you might have a point, but they don't, they join and then immediately start to foist their shit on other people both by nuisance and legislation and if all else fails by violence and claim a "god given right" to do so.

You call yourself an atheist and a secularist? I would seriously rethink the way you describe yourself based on the nonsense you posted "if it makes you happy, so be it"? So if I'm a Nazi because it makes me happy to be with "nice" company, then so be it? If I and a group of like minded friends stick a knife in your gut because it makes us happy, then so be it? Please.

@LenHazell53 That’s not a good comparison. Most churches are based on benevolent principles. And not all religious groups are the same.

I am quite certain the KKK and the BNP from their own warped point of view see themselves as compassionate and forces for the greater good, and so called common Christian principles of Brotherhood, pacifism and compassion as being bad for a strong society and a danger to their "Chosen Race"

@Mofo1953 well said

@Mofo1953 Why so aggressive? I've done you no wrong.
Yes, I am an atheist and a secularist, but I am not of the aggressive and militant variety, those guys who have the nasty mental knee-jerk reaction that forces them to liken "religion" as such (!) to the KKK or the Nazis.
There are lots of people, in the present and the past, who where motivated by their religion to fight against injustice and for human rights. Just take Albert Schweitzer or Martin Luther King Jr. or the abolititionists in the 19. century - - Now can you name me a Nazi or Clansman who fought or fights for Human Rights? Here in Germany it is the chruches who are leading in the "Refugees Welcome"- Movement, fighting against all the right-wing extremists.

@Matias aggressive? By asking you to rethink? I can name many more examples how religions cause damage to people, there is nothing aggressive or militant in recognizing facts. Hundreds of thousands of people are currently dying due to religion and its negative impact on humanity, you must be the type of German whose naivete allowed Hitler to become what he became, by looking only at the rosy stuff and turning a blind eye to the obvious, yes some religions do good things, just like Mussolini had the trains running on time and Hitler improving Germany's economy and overall patriotic feel good sentiment. Well, how did that work for you guys? For one good deed they may do, there are tremendous crimes that cannot and should not be condoned. And there is nothing aggressive or militant on these facts.

@Mofo1953, @Matias I think some people here are confusing political history with social activism and conflating Nazism with being German. The contemporary idea would be to suggest that Americans are Trumpians because he happens to hold power!

@Geoffrey51 and who would these "people" be?

@Mofo1953 Thank you for pointing that out. Far too generalised


Community is one of the things that the skeptics have yet to build to any great extent. When there is a church on every street and a church coffee shop as well, plus a meeting hall, and a bookshop in every major town, it is a hard uphill battle to equal that. And I do not even think that you can build a community on a negative, "do not" ideal, it would be a hard ask. Perhaps the best way is to invest time and effort in secular charitable institutions, set a good example of living well and for the larger community and hope that something grows. Still we have a start here.

I basically agree. Atheism is a very narrow position on a single belief. Even to the extent there's a shared "atheist experience" it's dependent on theism.

For this reason I do not agree with the Sunday Assemblies movement or similar notions.

Community just requires shared purpose and experience with others. My community comes largely from playing no-stakes 500 Rummy with friends on Saturdays and professional interactions with colleagues and interactions with my wife and stepson, and a little bit with my neighbors. It is sufficient. Part of the problem, I think, is that people have overdetermined notions of what community should be like and provide them. They care too much and try too hard. They seek cosmic significance and world-changing activities ... if you simply enjoy people AS people and quit trying to make something of community that it's not, you can get by on a lot less than the church makes us think we need.

@mordant Brilliant. The churches of course exaggerate everything, which they can do so easily because they work in a world where proof is not needed. They are thereby able to plant an exaggerated fear of death so that they can appear to abollish not only mere death but an even more frightening death, and not only loneliness but super exclusion.

@mordant I have a very narrow view of belief. As in, there shouldn't be any. I don't care what I want to believe. What counts is what's out there. I have senses snd they sense. I know I don't experience what's out there with my senses but with my brain but that is what the scientific method is for. Two monkey brains are better than one. If I ask a random man where is the man's room is, follow his directions and you find the bathroom, that is reality. He didn't believe where the bathroom was, he knew it from his experience. And I was able to confirm it by being able to relieve myself. That is reality. It's not that easy in science but thst is the basic idea of it. If the issue was as complicated as some scientific observations and he explained it to me in scientific terms, probabilities, that he is right, I would be peeing on the wall just off a couple of iches.


They don't know better. Since childhood they have been thought and conditioned to think a certain way. They are addicted


The same can be said of all the MAGA people I've ever met, when religion looses its hold it is most often replaced with political views as close to the tenants of the failed religion as possible, hence the problem with Republicans, were we not in a Christian tainted culture the Republicans would have as much of a chance to exist here as it has in Norway.


I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

  • Groucho Marx

I could dance with you till the cows come home
On second thoughts I rather dance with the cows and wait for you to come home.


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