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Goodness gracious it's been awhile everyone! Hi!

So my friend goes to a private christian college (bleh, but i respect her she has never tried to convert me or press her religion on me) and she asked me for help with her religious philosophy homework.

The question: why do you think atheism is such an attractive option for so many in our day?

I went on a kinda irrelevant rant about how I do not believe atheism to be attractive at all, and that religion actually is more attractive for the comfort and peace of mind of not being attacked for your beliefs and having the comfort of believing your loved ones are in a better place when they die, that every terrible horrifying thing happens for a reason, that some great deity loves you and has great plans for you yadda yadda and that atheism, with its cold reality and lack of wonder and spiritualism is actually less desirable before I actually answered her question with my own thoughts.

I answered: Religion, at it's base was a way to answer questions that humans had no way to answer. When drought came, ancient humans believed gods were angry, when plague game, they believed gods were angry. When we flourished, gods were happy. As time progressed most humans converted from many gods to one god, but the idea remained the same: god was the reason for what we couldnt explain.

As science progresses we learn explanations for these things. Droughts are caused by weather patterns, lightning by electricity in the sky...etc. we have begun answering all of these questions we used to just explain was "because god".

The more science progresses and explains the unknown, the more humans lose the need to have a god to explain it.

This is why, I believe, we as humans are losing faith in God. Science continues to progress, and with it, our reliance on a diety to explain unknown things.*

What would you have answered with????

LadyAlyxandrea 8 Aug 29

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47 comments

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9

“I don't want to believe. I want to know.”

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

― Carl Sagan

8

Part of the reason I rejected religion and especially the Xian church is the treatment of women. I am female (stating the obvious I hope) and I have daughters. When they were teens I read the buybull three times cover to cover. One of the stories that kept bothering me was the story of Tamar, daughter of King David. She is raped by her brother and her life is ruined, and yet she is the daughter of the King and it definitely wasn't her fault. Looking at my own daughters I thought WT(not so holy)F! So I started looking with more feminist eyes and I thought this is absolutely BS. Then my critical thinking skills came back to life, it did take a few years, but when you start really questioning stuff you won't like the answers. Then look at all the world religions and it is so much of the same BS over and over again. The movies of the Zeitgeist series were about the final nails in the coffin. So, why am I an atheist... because my eyes are open and I am a thinker. God calls for rape, pillage, and plunder. He created us in his image, gave us sharp minds, planted that damn tree; and then he wants us to be sheep. He loves us so much that he will burn us forever in hell if we don't love him. Yeah, that is just messed up. Thanks but no.

Beyond “messed up”. You nailed it.

Beautifully stated HippieChick! Thank you.

Yes I was surprised more people didn’t mention the ability to follow higher moral standards without the cognitive dissonance of religion

I've stated frequently that if God was replaced with "husband" he'd be in prison for domestic abuse. The whole "I hurt you because I love you, and if you don't love me you'll burn in hell because I love you" rhetoric is very abusive

8

Mine is even shorter... (But I really like the way you did it also.)

Religion is for those that are taught what to think.

Atheism is for those that are taught to think.

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I definitely think the God of the Gaps and the rise in rationality is party of it. Science produces miracles that religion can't even dream of.
I think another important factor is social change. People are much more mobile in their lifestyle now, less dependant on the fixed social structure of work/family/church than they used to be.

6

To be really blunt and hard, I would have been tempted to tell her that there is no such thing as Religious Philosophy its an oxymoron anyway, but I think you did a very good job of being kind, gentle and patient. Well done.

It would perhaps have been good however to have added that science is not the only reason why religion is in decline, especially I would have pointed out that religion is by its very nature trying to sell an exclusive access to the supernatural, its the only thing it has to sell. With traditional religions preaching the message that only their own members can receive the benefits, such as salvation. Meaning therefore that in a multicultural world, a religion such as christianity would ask her to believe that ever person she knows and values from a different background, plus millions of others she has never met, are doomed while she is saved. While if it is not offering that, what is it offering, that secular philosophy does not ?

6

Seems you did a fine job!

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The more science progresses and explains the unknown, the more humans lose the need to have a god to explain it.

Using your own words here explains it very well. God and the bible are static and never changing. Science is progressive and ever changing. That works for me because a flat earth and weird ideas about a firmament, worldwide floods, and talking snakes are a bit much. The biblical god is much like Zeus and about as credible.

5

I thought both your responses were great. You really laid it out in a logical, straight-forward manner that provides reasoning that would be hard to argue with. Well done!

4

Looks like you pretty much covered it. I agree, it's harder not being part of the crowd. It's not really "attractive" to go against the crowd, is it? But the more we know, the less we need fairy tales to explain. It's like once you know it's your parents, and there's no Santa, there's no reason to keep believing it. But it was fun while it lasted to believe such fantasy stories.

4

Agree it was also a way to control groups of people. Some for the good of society and sometimes it was abused. We have since invited other dogmas. Thus the need for religion has diminished

4

Good answer. I'll bet the more highly educated a population is, the less religious they are. This would explain why the USA is the most religious of industrialized countries.

'merca is awash in ignorance and apathy.

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The one thing I like most about the god of the gaps, is that it has kept on getting smaller and smaller all the time, till it perhaps fades away.

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Eh...don't be so quick to judge a private Christian college unless you do actually know it to be a rather conservative one. I went to a Christian liberal arts college once upon a time and though I dropped out, I was there for a time and really, during that time, only took one religion class and classes for the most part didn't get heavily Christian handed.

That said, I agree, atheism in and of itself doesn't have much to attract people compared to religion but religion has a lot of issues that I think is causing the current generation to balk: current sexual abuse scandals, lack of inclusiveness, inability to really answer the questions that science is more able to answer, and so on. And unless that atheist finds a group, he or she is pretty alone but there can be a certain freedom in not being trapped by religious dogma too.

4

I think you're exactly right and said it very well -- 'humans lose the need to have a god to explain it'.

One of my favorite sources is a blogger/author named Greta Christina. She goes into more depth but says essentially the same thing.


When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller. Why the Sun rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life came into being. I could go on and on.

All these things were once explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and learned to observe it more carefully, the explanations based on religion were replaced by ones based on physical cause and effect. Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that a supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

Now. The number of times that a natural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a supernatural one? The number of times humankind has said, “We used to think ( X ) was caused by physical cause and effect, but now we understand that it’s caused by God, or spirits, or demons, or the soul”?

Exactly zero.

3

Welcome back, glad you are back, you were missed! I loved your explanation and it lines up with my own way of thinking! I hope she heard you...at that level of understanding!

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I think the question itself is wanting, because it suggests that people choose atheism or religion consciously. I'd be happier with the question if it asked what is convincing about atheism. I realize the school has a particular perspective and this question fits into a biased narrative about the allure of the secular world, but it won't spark critical thinking on this issue because it's framed in a way that keeps students on guard against nonbelief. Despite that, I agree with your response. Religion provides answers without explanation, so belief is easy. By contrast, nonbelief requires being comfortable not having all of the answers, and for many of us that's hard — but the desire to discover the deeper explanation has to be stronger than the desire for a shallow answer. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to be so uncomfortable with having no definitive answer that they're happy to insert magic and divine mystery to quell that feeling of uncertainty. And, of course, trying to find meaning in tragedy and to come to terms with mortality are powerful motivators for belief; emotion, especially fear, overpowers rationality. "I don't know" and "I see no evidence to support that claim" are perfectly reasonable stances, but they're not as comforting as "We have the answer, and that answer is 'God.' Amen!"

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The more we know, the more science advances, the less dependent we become for quick answers to unknowns.

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Welcome back!!!

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Well, for practical reasons, people do not see a benefit in giving up another 10% in household income.
People could have faith without church membership, but that is a part of it.

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I support your argument. With the scientific progress, it’s easier to become an atheist nowadays than it used to be.

Sonya Level 4 Aug 29, 2019
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Agreed and welcome back!

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  1. Science - it is all in the facts or lack there of

  2. Hypocrisy- if you are going to espouse some philosophy of love and acceptance (based on a physical manifestation named Jesus), then you should try to have some

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Welcome back LadyA!

Great answer and VERY similar to how I would reply.

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I think you explained it well to your religious friend. Maybe, you got her to question the bs and some day might leave bs of religion.

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You can be just as grateful for the blind luck that put you here as you can if a fickle deity allowed you some fuck-up room to slip out of favor. Gratefuller, actually. Party on!

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