How does one justify to themselves belief in a supernatural being with literally no hard evidence? This is something I just don't understand. Without the assumption of a god or gods, we are able to explain pretty much everything in the Universe and even those yet-to-be-answered questions are being gradually chipped away at without any need for a deity.
So what makes people believe in a god? Is it fear, conditioning, laziness? Theories of the supernatural were our first attempts at understanding the world (big yellow disc moves across the sky, don't know what it is, maybe a god carries it around up there). You could say they were humankind's first attempt at scientific reasoning. But we've moved on from these archaic theories now and we can explain all these things we couldn't before, yet for some reason, religions live on and people continue to think that some guy lives upstairs and watches over us even though there's no rational way to argue his existence.
Do Christians think Muslims are insane for their differing beliefs? Does anyone still believe in the Greek or Roman gods anymore? Do the religious find Scientology to be just another religion or does anyone else see the the words 'cult' and 'religion' are pretty much interchangable?
SGB - I feel you must have had a bad experience with a Christian at some point, or live in some sort of strange Bible Bashing Belt. I have asked every one of my atheist friends- of which I have many- and not a single one of them has a problem with anyone of any faith. They have never been "bothered" by a Christian, certainly don t feel their lives are affected in any way by people with faith, and in fact agree that the vast majority of Christians are great people whom they love to be around. Just as I enjoy being around them. I, and none of my Christian friends, have ever "waved it about in public or expect other people to love it the way they do." Nor do we have any intention of doing so. Yes, we talk about how much our faith means to us when we are out at Christian social get togethers, but otherwise it is kept pretty much private.
Cote, thanks for this conversation, before this I was unaware that there were still clever people who were unaware of the unconscious dynamic in decision making and maintained such a stance after considered thought. This discovery rocked my world has really given me food for thought.
Look, the main problem with the superstitious (not necessarily any individuals posting in this discussion) is the privilege they demand for their bullshit. Like being entitled to discriminate against women, and gay men and lesbians, because their imaginary friend doesn't like the idea of gay people having sex or women having bodily autonomy. Your right to believe whatever bullshit you choose is worthy of respect in the same way that your right to shave your head, call yourself Hairy Butterfly, eat fish with strawberry jam on it and sleep in the bath is worthy of respect ie no one should stop you doing it. However, the bronze age mythology, misogynist bullshit and sheer pointlessness of religion - well, it's not worth of respect. There is no reason anyone else is obliged to take any of it seriously, and it should have no place in public space or policy making. That's why rational people argue against it and feel obliged to keep pointing out that it's bullshit and irrelevant to non-enthusiasts.
I LIKE Bronze Age mythology. Why is Bronze Age a term of disapprobation? The Bronze Age invented science and astronomy and decent agriculture. Smacks of white supremacism.
Of course it's all pointless if you don't believe in God - except for all the charities, and the moral code, and the intellectual inheritance (yes, that's what I said).
SGB, are you really saying that a few harmless quirks should disqualify you from a role in public policymaking?
Or are you saying that anyone who is - say - strongly homophobic should have no role in government? In my experience, not everyone with religious beliefs is homophobic, and not everyone without religious beliefs is tolerant. I get your point that a few people think religion insists they act homophobically, but since not everyone with religious views thinks this, religion may not be the decider here.
IME, homophobia is very irrational. People suffering from it should be made to reads the excellent Biological Exuberance. David Attenborough, self-professed atheist, still refuses to show gay and lesbian animals in his programmes. You don't find much about them in the Dawkins oeuvre, either.
Agree v strongly btw that the c of e should be disestablished, but in part because it's only ONE religion, despite its ridiculous pretenses.
headinhands - I can only speak for myself and my church community, but not at all is our whole thrust in converting . We tend to walk the walk rather than talk the talk ie visit the old, sick, homeless and help the police in our street pastor roles. But we do not talk about our religion unless specifically asked to.
SGB - Just as many of my atheist friends are homophobic as are my Christian friends. I, by the way am not, and do not have a problem with gay people getting married.
sieglinde - I did not realise that David Attenborough was such a homophobe, that is worrying as he holds such authority.
tuffie, it's that his wildlife programmes uphold the entirely wrong idea that animals are het by cutting out scenes of gay animals. A good part of the ridiculous argument against gayness is that it's not natural - but it IS - for many species - dolphins, penguins, bonobos, giraffes - yes, there are queer giraffes...
Dione - Nobody is disputing that there are factors that affect perception. These are inputs into the decision-making process. What we are talking about is the rationality of the decision-making process itself - i.e. what exactly our brain does with those inputs. Does it use logic to come up with an answer, or emotion & chance?
It is fine if you don't understand this distinction or even consider yourself to be irrational. Just please refrain from broadening that unfortunate judgement to the human race in general and myself in particular.