Atheists - is there anything about faith that appeals to you, would you like to believe?

(411 Posts)

Hi, I've been reading a few threads and I've heard atheists say stuff in the past about belief in God. Stuff like they don't believe in God but they would like to or they can see why it would maybe give peace or would be nice etc. I am just curious how atheists feel a bout this and if they want to talk about it?

I am a Christian, I hope I am an open and tolerant person and I would not want to cause offence. I am just curious, as we come into Easter if anyone wants to chat about this.

If not, may I wish you a peaceful and happy Easter, even if all it means to you is some chocolate eggs.

PigletJohn Thu 04-Apr-13 03:23:06

Power of prayer?

If ten million people are rounded up into concentration camps, and exterminated, is that because they didn't pray?

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 08:15:33

"Seeker in answer to your question, I am afraid I don’t know. I mean that I have heard of miracles and I am sure some people have been convinced by them, but I don’t know why you have not seen any. If this answer doesn’t satisfy you I am sorry but I don’t have all the answers. And I expect some would say I don't have any answers."

It's not just me that's never seen a miracle. It's nobody. Ever.

Does this really not make you stop and think? Even for a second?

EllieArroway Thu 04-Apr-13 11:27:26

Backonbriefly That is really, really well said. I've tried to make the same point before - that Christians don't ever actually ask for or expect miracles to happen either, but nowhere near as coherently as you've done.

Italian

So, when all is said and done, your "evidence" amounts to "I feel Jesus loves me" and "I can't personally see how the universe can exist without a creator".

I know you've acknowledged that it's not "proof" - but it's not actually evidence either, I'm afraid. Not by a long, long shot.

For a start, is there no part of you that finds it curious that the top level physicists & cosmologists in the world, the ones best able to explain the origins of the universe, don't share your doubts? Even the few who are Christians?

So your personal incredulity is not evidence of anything whatsoever.

There's not much I can say about you feeling Jesus' love. I wonder what you would say to a Hindu who "feels" that Brahman or Shiva love them? Who have personal experience of this love? If you are right and Jesus is the only game in town, then they are mistaken. You can be as respectful as you like about their religion - you must still think they are wrong.

So, how exactly do you square that circle? That ALL religious people feel the love of their God and spend their lives worshipping because of it. You can't all be right, that's not possible - but you can all be wrong.

I also think you've misunderstood just what an important question "Why doesn't God heal amputees?" is.

God appears to never do anything which would unambiguously demonstrate his existence - there's ALWAYS another natural, and therefore more plausible explanation. Is this coincidence?

Is he doing that on purpose? If so - why? According to you, he wants us to know him....and the best way to achieve that is to hide? Really?

Oh but - he wants us to know him through faith and not evidence. If he proved himself it would violate our free will......it goes something like that, doesn't it?

Well, first of all this assumes that to know God is to love him. If I knew him, I would automatically love him - and he wants me to find my own way there, yes?

But it doesn't work like that, does it? Satan and his minions are in no doubt of God's existence, but still manage not to love him. (And if you have dispensed with the idea of Satan & Hell like most other liberal Christians, then how do you explain the unbearable horrors that happen in our world? Evil is everywhere and your God must bear full responsibility for it).

And if this "free will" issue is such a big deal - big enough that our creator is hiding himself deliberately so he doesn't violate it, then why didn't he create genuine free will in the first place? If "to know him is to love him" then this alone violates free will because it seems we have no choice in the matter. He must have set things up that way.

If your God wants us to know him, he's going about it in the oddest possible way.

The only thing that separates us from the animal kingdom is our intelligence. We are amazingly intelligent - and intelligence is the ability to reason. If this is a gift from God, then it's the greatest one (the only one) he gave us. Look what we've done with it. Look at the world around you - look what science (the greatest expression of our intelligence) has given the world.

There's a thread running on Chat at the moment - "Without modern medicine would you still be alive?" - a great question. The answer, for most of us, is no. I, for one, would have died of an ectopic pregnancy at 21 - if I survived the serious bouts of tonsillitis in my childhood, that is. I am very grateful to science - God wanted me dead wink.

Now, I'm assuming that you think our ability to do all this is the reason God gave us such intelligence, yes?

Well OK - so our intelligence & ability to reason is a good thing. And yet, with the most important question of all, with our immortal souls resting on the answer, we have to abandon our reason completely? Ignore the lack of evidence and close our ears to any evidence that strongly suggests God doesn't exist?

For goodness sake - why? Have you ever truly contemplated this?

It just doesn't work, I'm afraid, no matter how much you try to pretend it does. If your God existed, atheism would be impossible. His existence would be blindingly obvious to everyone. The fact is that it is not and this is contradictory to your assertion that he wants us to know him.

Oh - and the God as a parent analogy is another bad one. Of course I want my child to love me - but not blindly. And if he didn't, I'd be sad - but I sure as heck wouldn't threaten to lock him in the basement and torture him for eternity. My son doesn't exist merely to make me feel good about myself with him worshipping at my feet (which is apparently all your God cares about) - and if he did I'd have faced care proceedings a long time ago.

I am a better parent than your God. I am a more moral being than your God. And so are you.

Hi Ellie thank you for your long reply. I am typing on my iPhone and heading off for a week away. I will try and answer a few of your points to the best of my ability. If I miss off any points please do not assume I am being evasive. There are many things I simply cannot answer so if I do not answer them you can assume my answer is I don't know. I am not pretending to be any kind if expert and as so have repeated said I do not expect my answers to convince you or others. In some ways thus feels like an exercise in futility! But I have sensed in you in particular a respect which I feels deserves the best answers which O can offer. Im a funny way I may have literally misread the respect since you not believe in God and may therefore think I am some sort of nut! I am not a liberal. I guess I am making sense of my Christian faith. I'm trying to work out how my Christian faith impacts my life. My passion is for human rights and justice. I raise money for charity and write protest letters. I try and be the best person. I can be and for me my Christian faith feeds these good desires. If a situation arises were the church in general does not seem ti be doing the right thing I want tjp be.on the side of good. So I can't defend the church for all the many mistakes in the past or present. I cannot speak for God or why he acts the way he does. For me worship of God is not simply for God's benefit. I experience joy on worshipping God. The evil on the world, I can't explain, I 'm sorry if that sounds like a cop out. My phone is not letting me click on mistakes to remove so odd garbled words appear! t. tpit. I do not see my 'role' as a poster on mumsnet To convince. Typing whiley husband drives is making me freely sick mainframe me so I will stop

EllieArroway Thu 04-Apr-13 14:11:11

But I have sensed in you in particular a respect which I feels deserves the best answers which O can offer. Im a funny way I may have literally misread the respect since you not believe in God and may therefore think I am some sort of nut! I am not a liberal

I respect you, Italian but not the beliefs you hold. I think I've been very clear about that.

I don't think you're a "nutter" - I've treated you as an intellectual equal and haven't patronised you by patting your head and saying "There, there, dear...it's true for you and that's all that matters". (And that goes for all the atheists on this board, not just me).

You and I both know this hasn't been about changing each other's minds but I still think there's value in debate. Important subjects should be talked about - even when it might be personally difficult.

Thank you for not shouting at me and going off in a huff! It's much appreciated.

Enjoy your day out - and I'm glad that we were able to change your mind a little about the atheist position, and that we don't hate all Christians!

smile

Thanks Ellie I am away at a 6 day Christian festival. All best wishes and thank you. (Wink)

tuffie Thu 04-Apr-13 21:35:41

Italiangreyhound - Just want to say I have been reading some of your posts and admire your honesty and humility. You sound like a lovely person. Enjoy the Festival !

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 04-Apr-13 22:52:07

I wish I could suspend disbelief and sense, and believe. Having spent this afternoon at the funeral of one of the nicest men I knew, at the church he devoted time and money to, with his wife and four children and a church full of crying people at his sudden and tragic death. I wish I could believe he's in the next room and will be reunited with those children, even though he won't be there at their weddings and graduations. I wish I could think that if there is a god who decided it was his time to go and that was for the best, then that god isn't utterly malign. But it's bullshit, really,isn't it?

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 08:27:14

Sadly, yessad.

So sorry to hear that, TOSN.

Tuffle thank you, that's a very kind thing thing to say.

TOSN I am so sorry for your loss and the loss of a family of the husband and dad. I do believe in God but I do not believe he makes people die at a certain time. I know dome people, including some Christians, will get comfort from feeling that there is a set time for death etc but I do not. Death is terrible and sad. I am not trying to convince you or take advantage of your sadness but just to show that believing in God does not necessarily mean we believe he is personally responsible for each person's death.

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