Believing We Don’t Believe

How unbelief is the ultimate test of integrity

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Isn’t it strange that testimony is to be taken at faith value, while lack of faith requires an explanation?

I do not believe there are any god(s) or a God or GOD (somehow the spelling matters) in any dimension in or outside time and space. Yonder heavens? Nope. The evidence is not compelling, the story too bizarre, nonsensical, and violent. And the promises…no signs follow anyone that believes.

I would offer this though, “if” there was a god, if this were a test, the ultimate test to prove your worthiness is this; do you have the integrity to not believe against overwhelming majority, in spite of being naturally superstitious, human herd instinct, and massive indoctrination to follow the crowd—to call out the immoral morality of the Bible for what it is, and to separate yourself from a doctrine that espoused suffering of any kind?

Do you have the decency to call the genocides of god or his people what they are without excuse, despite repercussions of mistrust, labels, constant pressures and fears? Simply the word atheist conjures a myriad of falsehoods aimed relentlessly at the person who simply won’t align himself nor suck up to a god/belief system that is the lifeblood of contradiction and conjecture, division and hate.

“Straight is the gate and narrow is the path, and few there be that find it”. Are we the few? This is the test. This is the sacrifice. Many of us have lost all our friends and family by distrusting a system that calls god good, while all along we see the the exact opposite and refuse to adopt the mantra and blatant contradictions.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs escaping the faith trap.

103 thoughts on “Believing We Don’t Believe”

  1. I liked this part, “…testimony is to be taken at faith value, while lack of faith requires an explanation…” People who keep grandchildren from grandparents due to religion are members of a cult. That is exactly how cults behave. That explained a lot for me.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. If God were God, they wouldn’t mind people challenging and questioning their existence, and they wouldn’t feel the need to threaten others with eternal damnation. But alas, this is not what we have in Christianity…

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    1. Frightening the littles is ok. Essentially damaging their freewill is ok because it’s so important they know jesus. Don’t want them to make any missteps like mommy and daddy did. Like Ben said, his kid wanted to be a preacher at 4. Little early to decide to canker civilization at that age. Maybe learn the alphabet first! (Sorry Ben, I could use my own story too) as my older kids were well schooled in the gospel from birth. Three of them swam out of it, but one is still hard core.

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        1. Odd. He still talks like I’m in the group. Tells me his thoughts and what not. It’s ok, but he avoids deep philosophical topics. We used to have long talks into the night. Don’t have that anymore. His wife has disowned me and the grandkids are kept away. This is what it’s like to leave faith. I haven’t seen them in 5 years. She friggin hates me. It’s a godly hate though, so I deserve it.

          Liked by 6 people

            1. Because now, the decision isn’t being based solely on evidence; it’s being heavily swayed by social pressures. All this really does is make it more difficult to tell others that you’re struggling with doubt“. Great read. It is a bit very heartbreaking to see this when it’s so unnecessary. Very similar to my situation but different manipulations in play. Thanks Ark

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      1. It’s okay with me to use my story. My older son who wanted to be a pastor back then has no clue why he felt that way. Who he is now knows that who he was then was a product of his environment. He still has questions about our existence and about where we came from as people, but he has no desire to go back to believing as we once did. He’s 13 and can and does think for himself. I don’t tell him what he can and cannot think….just what he can and cannot do. 🙂

        He believed because Mommy and Daddy believed. That’s it. There was no other reason and he would be the first to admit that.

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        1. Weird how some grow out of it and some grow in …
          My godson ( yes , yes I know , all right? ) was baptized Catholic and I was nominated as the Godfather ( I made the parents an offer they couldn’t refuse)

          Anyhow …. the parents eventually got divorced and the dad ( who we seldom see any more) is now seeing a woman who, from the ocasional tale I have heard, is somewhat of a Happy Clapper . Definitely NOT a Catholic, and the dad is now going to church. *Sigh*.
          Sounds somewhat familiar does it not? Chasing after a bit of skirt who is a church goer. (Senor Wally anyone?)
          Anyhow … my Godson, who was dragged from church to church by Mum after the divorce while trying to ”find herself”, is now hanging out at church with Dad and his new Fluffy and the other day (Sunday evening in fact) he popped by for a late supper and some cake.
          Out of the blue he says: ”Ark, you’re an atheist aren’t you?” ( at this stage I had not discovered his recent church-going antics).
          ”Yeah, to the bone ,” says I.
          ” Well, did you know that evolution is mathematically impossible? I’ll send you a video.”

          Oh … f**k me, thinks I.

          I told him I wouldn’t be having this conversation and he was to finish his cake and we could talk about football as we usually do when he visits.
          He shrugged in a good humoured way but kept having little digs between mouthfuls, so I asked if he had read the bible?
          ”Yes”, he says.
          ”All of it? ” I asked.
          ”Well, I’ve read some of the gospels. Why should that make any difference to the math, and how is that relevant?”
          *sigh*
          ‘If you don’t accept evolution then I’ll take a flyer that you believe in Creation, yes?”
          ”Yes.”
          ”And this creator is …”
          ”Jesus.”

          At this stage my wife is trying to hide behind a dishcloth as she has noticed smoke coming out of my ears!
          I held my tongue, but insisted he go away and read the entire bible, and study it. Only then would I discuss anything of this nature with him, and we left it at that.
          He said , okay, he would, so time will tell …

          Liked by 5 people

            1. It just makes the stomach turn. I have a little situation brewing with the grandson that lives with us. He’s seven now and has been visiting his mother a little more often than ever before. (We’ve had him 5 years) this past week he came home spouting bible stories. My fn radar went to high alert!! I have my own 7 year old too, and she’s hearing this crap, and eventually he starts to argue a little cause god says so. I like the fact that his mother isn’t fit to raise him, but fit to choose a religion. Quirky how dumb people can be. I’ll have to post about this while I’m not still mad, but we did some lessons about thinking things through. Seems to have worked for now. The kids is a genious math whiz already. I’d hate to see him waste that talent counting Bible versus.

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            2. It does make one spit feathers. My godson is also a whizz at math (hence the video he wanted me to watch, I guess?) …. but he is 20, so although he might be losing his mind it is his own mind and it seems to be made up for the time being.

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            3. My kids have godparents in reverse, if that makes sense. My Panamanian cousin insisted my daughter have them. This happened before my deconverting, so I went along with it (didn’t matter since Catholics had no authority for salvation anyhow) They are great people. Catholicism in Latin America is a whole nother animal. Everyone’s catholic but nobody is religious. They were handed the church in the 16th century (or else)!! They all say it, but very few mean it. Death threats to your family can make the simple subservient.

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            4. My wife is in the same boat -a ”Catholic ’til she dies”, but not religious AT ALL!
              It makes me laugh, and she threatens to go ballistic if I tease her about it!

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          1. @Ark — He said , okay, he would, so time will tell … — I wouldn’t hold my breath. But then, I’m sure you already know that. So sad what religion does to people.

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            1. He is quite a conscientious young man so maybe he will take the time to read it?
              He knows me well enough to take me on my word that there will be no further discussion unless he assures me he has read it.

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          2. Reading the Bible (the entire thing) is not something most believers actually do. I have read it a couple of times all the way through and have read other parts of it hundreds of times. The reason why I kept looking in there was because of my doubts, so I kept looking to see if I had missed something.

            It’s funny that you mentioned how you were told that evolution was mathematically impossible because I have read a couple of books that discussed just that. About 8 or 10 years ago, I was very much involved in the church and was committed to being the best Christian I could be. What did that mean? Well, part of it was to try to disprove the scientific claims that countered the Christian claim of creation. I came across a book at my local Christian bookstore that caught my eye. Now, if it is in a Christian bookstore, you know it’s gotta be true. So I bought it. (I just checked and sure enough I still have it here in my house) It’s called “Reclaiming Science From Darwinism” by Kenneth Poppe. It was written in 2006 and he had a follow-up in 2008 called “Exposing Darwinism’s Weakest Link” (I still have that one too for some reason) I haven’t read these since leaving the faith, but when I read them I was blown away at how rock-solid the evidence was against evolution and how true the Bible therefore must be. The author uses a lot of math (especially in the second book) to show how improbable evolution is. I’m no math wiz but with so many zeroes attached to his improbability statistics, I was sure he must be right.

            I may go back and give them a read (possibly even give a review on them) and see what I think now. I suspect that what I found plausible then I will find laughable now, like so many other things I have revisited in the last couple of years. I think that if the guy’s math was right and his evidence was compelling, it would make headline news instead of being relegated to a small shelf in a small bookstore in a small city in a small state in this country.

            It is funny how some people grow out of things and some grow in, as you said. I know that my oldest son grew out of it almost the instant we walked away from church. I never once told him to stop believing in anything, but explained why my wife and I no longer do. He admits that he’s had doubts but went along with it because we, as his parents, were convinced it was true and he trusted us. I give him information when I come across it and let him process it. I don’t push or pull him in either direction but let him decide for himself. The younger kids don’t know about the Bible, God or any of the stories at all because we just don’t discuss it here. I will talk about it with them if it comes up in the future but I won’t choose for my kids what they believe or disbelieve. I will just be honest, share what I know and let them ask the questions. If they believe in something I don’t believe in, I will say my piece and let them figure it out. Without a religious foundation, I don’t see a big issue with it. Most children raised in a non-religious household tend to stay that way as they grow up. Time will tell.

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          3. Mathematically impossible? As someone who studied math at uni for a few years, I’m baffled by such an unusual statement. I don’t know what mathematical equations are used to explain evolution, does he think you have to divide by zero to prove natural selection or something? I’d watch that video for some entertainment value, but then again you don’t wanna keep encouraging him so…

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I think , Jim, some of us are making a mistake when we fall for the line, lack of faith needs an explanation, or however you put that. There is no acceptable explanation for lack of faith, and it is a waste of time and energy to look for something that is not there. Let those who have faith wonder, we have no reason to explain. At least I for one do not.

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    1. I do have quite a few Christian blog followers. It is good for those in faith crisis to have some supporting words and differing viewpoints as they try to make sense of this. It certainly helped me. But good points as always rg. Your right, but the dialog is not really just between him and me imo.

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      1. Different experiences, different methods, I guess. When I gave up believing, I did it all on my own. I did not look to others for help, or reason. I had no idea what the word atheist even meant. That came later. Maybe that is why I was able to become a spiritual atheist, I didn’t know atheists were supposed to believe in nothing. I just went on my merry way, finding my truths inside of me.
        Meanwhile, some labels I like. I am proud to be an atheist, just like I am proud to be a hippie long after the death of the hippie generation. These labels have special meaning to me, setting me apart from others, letting them know I am not like them–all the while modelling the kind of person they only wish they could be. I guess it could be taken as contemptuous, or arrogance, normally I don’t even think of the labels, but when I do, I want to show people they aren’t stuck in their ruts. They don’t have to be unhappy all the time. Even when they are suffering, they do not have to suffer.
        And even though I bitch and complain, I really do not want to stop people from being themselves. I just want them to be sure why they are doing whatever it is they are doing…

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        1. I didn’t actually have any help either. I came to my own conclusions a different way. It was a comment though that made me stop and think. I put away everything I could and started observing what I’d learned and compared it to what we see in reality. Christianity is at odds in that regard. Virtually every phrase of god is good, merciful, love, kind, patient, had nothing to do with scripture or the churches. Divisive and judgmental to all that aren’t like them. I put it all together and had my own, unparroted thoughts for the first time. I found myself. It was pretty cool. This awesome light went off and I could finally live and love without guile or guidance. I think we all have that ability if we let it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m sure we do have that ability, but it is a choice. Religious teachers just don’t teach that, they like to tell you what is and what isn’t. Maybe if they gave their “students” some credit for being able to think on their own, things might be different. But “thinking” is not something they teach. They rightfully fear thinking people.
            But as you say, 2000 years is a long time. Thinking was not allowed. Without atheism, another 1000 years and no one would know how to think. It would have been brainwashed out of us.

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  4. Easy is the path where you believe what you are told.

    More difficult, and enormously more rewarding, is learning what is and isn’t so.

    Science, showing us what isn’t so for the last 150 years. 🤓

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  5. Unfortunately when people hear the word “atheist”, they automatically think of the angry, hateful and fear-mongering militant atheists who represent a small minority of those who do not believe. Atheists are viewed as monsters instead of just people who can see through the ruse of religion. To most of the religious, atheists aren’t just confused and lost individuals that need to be saved…they are the enemy. They are anti-God and therefore work for Satan himself. I’m fairly certain that atheists don’t have horns, but they do have eyes, ears and brains that guide them towards truth and away from the lies.

    I personally don’t like labels. I don’t think they should exist, but since there is religion and those who do and don’t believe in it, they do still serve a purpose. Maybe someday that will change and the word “atheist” will sound as silly as “a-Bigfoot, a-fairy, and a-Loch Ness Monster”. Maybe someday it will just be common knowledge that things that are not real (or cannot be proven to be real) are just man-made fiction and we can focus on more important things rather than calling attention to products of our imagination.

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    1. I’m all for labels—food labels! You’re right, and as long as there is enough religion there will be division from the top down. Not just little pockets of weirdos here and there, but widespread and scriptural. Right from the mouth of god. There’s a reason we naturally avoid religion and politics when speaking with friends. Life is good til you inject those, and inherently we all know better than to fall for what everyone is falling for.

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    2. “Unfortunately when people hear the word “atheist”, they automatically think of the angry, hateful and fear-mongering militant atheists who represent a small minority of those who do not believe.” Exactly. This is why I stopped driving around in a tank blowing up empty churches. People were starting to get the wrong idea about me. 🙂 Actually, when I first admitted to myself I was an atheist, the stigma of the word made me feel I was doing or saying something bad or wrong. I’ve gotten over that and now eat infants with reckless abandon. 🙂

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    3. I certainly understand what you mean about people believing atheists are somehow amoral or immoral because we don’t believe in a diety. They have this ridiculous claim that morality requires a belief in god, and without the threat of eternal damnation we’d descend into chaos. The last time someone pulled that on me I said something like; “Excuse me? You have heard of the middle-east, right? The clergy sex abuse horror? Look at how well your god based morality seems to be working and then tell me again your belief in god makes you moral?”

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      1. Morality is nothing more than a formative sense of positive (good) behavior and a negative (bad) behavior and our ability to understand it. More neurons = more processing power and the organisms ability to understand it. Multiple studies across dozens of species bare this out. It’s anything but complicated. If you’ve noticed, it’s not the clergy that are putting a stop to the abuse but pressure from immoral peons.

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    4. @Ben — … they automatically think of the angry, hateful and fear-mongering militant atheists — As soon as I read that, I thought of Wild Mel. He constantly references and/or quotes the hardcore guys to prove his points (Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, etc.), yet they are simply individuals who stepped into the limelight about their non-belief. There are hundreds or thousands of other people who claim the title but who prefer to just live their lives without advertising their position.

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      1. I admit, I used to think that way as well. That’s what Christians are told to think. Being told that atheists are sin-loving, God-hating, Satan-worshipping monsters is a staple in the church. I don’t think I’ve found anyone like that in real life though. Especially here on WP. Weird.

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      2. There are some who come by their atheism or agnosticism honestly: They have broad knowledge of the whole spectrum of religious and spiritual experience, but for whatever reason they’re unable or unwilling to join the fun. Then there are those make absurd generalizations based on their own extremely narrow first-hand experience. Finally, there’s the majority who haven’t the foggiest idea what they’re babbling about.

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    1. The kind of god invented by men? It was a violent and oppressive time where spectral evidence was considered reality. The god they invented is a reflection of their ways and misunderstandings of the natural world. I suppose in evolutionary terms religion served its purpose, but now what may have strengthened our numbers is the very thing that is driving us toward the brink. Good to see you Ubi!

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    2. Indeed, it’s a principal absurdity of atheism to suppose that God would expect us not to use the brains he gave us.

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      1. How young were you when taught to believe in a god? We are all born atheists, nostalgia brings us home. God given brains means 80+% of the world lock-step with some sort of God or another? That’s using your brain?

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        1. “We are all born atheists”

          Absolutely. My 4 year old son has no clue who or what a god is. I haven’t taught him about God because I no longer subscribe to that way of thinking. I haven’t told him there isn’t a god either. That subject just isn’t discussed. When my oldest son was 4 however, he wanted to be a pastor. He was so involved in the church from a young age, his thoughts went immediately to “church stuff” when asked about his future. What we are taught shapes who we are. It’s best to stick to what we can observe and prove and leave out what we cannot. You could teach a young child anything you want and they will trust you. That doesn’t make it true.

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          1. Taking them through several processes of thinking things through is critical. One thing I love about our daily hikes, we find a nice place to sit, identify some plants, talk about geology and fossils and let them express their own ideas. They are fascinatingly intuitive if given the chance. Deconstructing Noah was incredibly eye opening for them when I asked a few simple questions. I never said it was true or false, but talking through the scenarios they figured it out on their own. Pretty cool.

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            1. It’s amazing what can be learned when having genuine conversations with children instead of telling them what they should or should not believe.

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        2. 80% of the world in lock step? Hmmm…. The usual complaint from armchair atheists is the opposite — i.e., that the sheer diversity of beliefs proves that they’re all wrong. Can’t have it both ways.

          Yes, an infant, a hamster, or a primitive human are all stone-cold atheists. Awareness of God correlates with the advent of reasoning and learning, and the rise of civilizations.

          (Sorry, moniker failure again on the previous post.)

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          1. Don’t skirt context again Loy. 80% believe in a god, although none agree on what that is. You can’t find even ten Christians to agree on ten random points of doctrine. But, everyone is duped to believe something in spite of their contradiction of faith. They all know they don’t know! It’s actually amusing if it weren’t stunting humanity.

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            1. Some forms of religion keep people from flourishing, as do most if not all forms of atheism.

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            2. To Loy: Atheism keeps the world from flourishing? To what misbelief do you attribute such a statement? Atheism is humane to all, religion is only humane to fellow believers, and even then only certain fellow believers. Or to people you think you can make believers.
              I have a question (or four) for you? Why is it you spend so much time on atheist websites? It isn’t to understand atheists. So is it to try and win back some atheists into being believers again? Or is it because your own faith is starting to falter, and you figure by haunting atheist sites you will get your faith back again? Are you borderline agnostic?
              I think, Loy, your faith is not as strong as you would lead us to believe. I think you are fighting with yourself, and afraid to admit it, even to yourself. Believers are used to fighting. Why not try a new tactic, and give in to yourself. Accept that you are in a crisis of conscience, and be open about it. Just maybe you will find peace in being honest with yourself, and more open to comparing belief to non-belief. We atheists have all been there, and so have a lot of believers. You will either find a stronger faith, or no faith at all. Which one does not matter as much as you being faithful to yourself. You live with yourself every day of your life, from birth to death. Honesty to self is a necessary part of sanity. Love yourself, Loy. Self-questioning or self-hatred, those things lead to a very sad life.

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            3. Could you give us your definition of flourishing. This seems important to you, because I am sure you shall define flourishing in a way that makes you right.

              Personally, my flourishing is unknowable, and only describable in metaphors, because nobody can grasp the amount of flourishing I experience. This is how I know my flourishing is real. My flourishing is a fundamental concept of my atheism. The fact that I am atheist proves that I’m flourishing.

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            4. Forms? There are forms? We have no forms that I know of. Flourishing? I flourish fine. Atheism neither promotes nor prevents my flourishment. If anything, it ignores me. Only religion attempts to interfere in my life.

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            5. @Covert: I don’t spend all that much time… I’m a speedy typist, a totally awesome multitasker, and just supernaturally productive. I do it all as a labor of love… providing alternative views as a public service to my fellow pilgrims.

              And yeah, let’s not make assumptions, or patronize each other.

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          2. I don’t see how atheism keeps people from flourishing, it’s the non-belief in a God, nothing more or less. I’m guessing you have some issues with your own religious beliefs? Why else are you spending so much time on atheist blogs? You criticise everything we post, then side step when we respond back to you – even the most simplest of questions. I’m not going to assume, but if you did have deep seated doubts of your own, that’s OK, I’ve been there before. As rawgod said: accept you are in a crisis of conscience, and be open about it. I’m not asking you to become an atheist, but to be honest with yourself (and others) about what you truly believe, because it sure seems like you aren’t. It’s not easy to do but you will be much better off for it.

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          3. Awareness of a flat, stationary earth correlates with the advent of reasoning and learning, and the rise of civilizations.

            That did not mean the earth was actually flat or stationary

            Awareness of stars being smaller than the earth correlates with the advent of reasoning and learning, and the rise of civilizations.

            That doesn’t mean the stars are actually smaller than the earth

            Awareness of the sun moving round the earth correlates with the advent of reasoning and learning, and the rise of civilizations.

            That doesn’t mean the sun actually moves round the earth

            You cannot reason a being into existence

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            1. Perceiving the earth as flat requires no reasoning or learning ability, let alone civilization. Ask a hamster.

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            2. Perceiving the earth as flat requires no reasoning or learning ability, let alone civilization. Ask a hamster.

              This is rubbish.
              The model of a flat, stationary earth was arrived at through reasoning, observation and learning/education
              Do yourself and everyone a favor and study the history of the science regarding the cosmos and astronomy

              Whereas remaining oblivious to God requires no cognitive function whatever.

              If by cognitive function you mean gullibility to archaic imagination of a divine being then you are correct

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            3. Awareness of a geocentric universe correlates with the advent of reasoning and learning, and the rise of civilizations.

              That doesn’t mean the stars are actually smaller than the earth

              @Loy, if you study the history and development of religions and the concept of god.
              You would see that the concept of god was and is nothing more than just a place holder for what we do not know.

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            4. @jonathan – You say, “the concept of god was and is nothing more than just a place holder for what we do not know.”

              Quite the opposite, actually. The concept of God is a placeholder for everything that could conceivably be known by an infinite intelligence.

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            5. Quite the opposite, actually. The concept of God is a placeholder for everything that could conceivably be known by an infinite intelligence.

              @Loy, go and carry out an indepth study on the history and evolution of religion, anthropology and the history of science and stop talking gibberish

              “the concept of god was and is nothing more than just a place holder for what we do not know.”
              If you carry out the study I recommended you would know that this statement is a fact of reality

              Again, an infant, a hamster, the most primitive human, or an earthworm are all oblivious to God, because being oblivious to God requires no intelligence whatever.

              An infant, a hamster, the most primitive human, or an earthworm are all oblivious to God, because the is nothing to be oblivious to and because the don’t have the ability to conjure up an imaginary being called god

              The concept of God is a placeholder for everything that could conceivably be known by an infinite intelligence.

              Let me get this straight, what you are saying here is that “god” is an abstract entity/concept just like freedom, democracy etc and not a conscious being. Because what you stated here is in no way a conscious being
              Again, you are repeating what I said “god is just a placeholder for what we don’t know”

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            6. @jonathan – The history and evolution of religion, anthropology and the history of science make for some wonderful and important learning, but if I want to learn something about God, I would look to those who have made a serious and intelligent effort themselves to learn something about God.

              One thing we might say about God is that he is not “a being”, or “an” anything. To make and sustain reality, he would have to be the most abstract thought that could be thought, not just by a mere human mind, but by any mind.

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            7. One thing we might say about God is that he is not “a being”, or “an” anything. To make and sustain reality, he would have to be the most abstract thought that could be thought, not just by a mere human mind, but by any mind.

              It seems we have an agreement, that god does not exist but is a product of man’s imagination nothing more than that
              PS: If god is not a being but an abstract thought why are you using words like “he” that is used to describe beings and why are you attributing actions to god when only beings can carry out actions.

              @jonathan – The history and evolution of religion, anthropology and the history of science make for some wonderful and important learning, but if I want to learn something about God, I would look to those who have made a serious and intelligent effort themselves to learn something about God.

              Sure if you want to learn anything about the concept of god then study the history and evolution of religion, anthropology and the history of science
              Then, you would see that there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of god and that god is a product of man’s imagination to account for what he or she does not yet know or/and to seek consolation in hard times or the uncertainties of life( including death )

              I would look to those who have made a serious and intelligent effort themselves to learn something about God

              I advice you to study the history and evolution of religion, anthropology and the history of science, you would find this everywhere

              But, if there is no evidence that god exists and it hasn’t been shown that god exists then all those have made a serious and intelligent effort themselves to learn something about god will either end up with no result or conjure up some descriptions about god that the imagine
              For any description of god available both past & present ( and future probably), all the descriptions from all cultures that existed implies that the people who created them gave a serious and intelligent effort themselves to learn something about god
              Certainly every civilizations that had the concept of god had people gave a serious and intelligent effort themselves to learn something about god, that’s why if you history and evolution of religion, a bit of sociology and anthropology you would see that most of the gods had likes and dislikes and you could know the nature of the gods. Any culture that had this had to have people who gave a serious and intelligent effort to learn something about god
              If you are honest about learning anything about god you would study the history and evolution of religion, anthropology, a bit of sociology and the history of science.
              That is if you are not afraid to learn something that is not in accordance with your views but is known to most of the people in those field of study

              And not be so narrow minded to wave them as not a serious and intelligent effort to learn something about god

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            1. Whereas remaining oblivious to God requires no cognitive function whatever.

              If god did exist and there was evidence to support god’s existence, it would actually require cognitive functions to be in denial,
              Since according to you no cognitive function is required to be oblivious to god, it’s simply because there is no god or/and there is no evidence for the existence of god

              God is a product of man’s imagination

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Again, an infant, a hamster, the most primitive human, or an earthworm are all oblivious to God, because being oblivious to God requires no intelligence whatever.

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      2. I see no evidence that our brains came from any god. If it had, I would expect them to function better. As it is, they’re affected by age, by fatigue, by disease, by physical damage, by chemicals, and by cognitive biases. Any “Intelligent designer” could have done a better job on human brains.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. @Jim, I’m curious why you’re so firmly convinced that if someone happens not to share your views, the only possible explanations are brainwashing, indoctrination, gullibility, peer pressure, herd instinct, hard-wired instincts, etc. etc. etc.?

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          1. I could be firmly unconvinced by some evidence of some kind. Interestingly though, each story of faith has a reasonable, real explanation that can be duplicated by manipulating emotions and brain chemistry. Maybe that’s the path to seeing god, who knows. The Egyptians certainly thought so. LSD has certainly worked as well as other mind altering experiences such as trauma, a man or woman, addiction, recovery, all viable events that make one vulnerable. Timing is everything. Then there is the pure indoctrination from birth (in my case) which took years to swim out. Of course the staged, professionally orchestrated group spirituality is a herd animals dream conversion. You don’t want to answer the question? I see. Did I miss one?

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            1. @Jim: If you tell me I’m dead wrong, fair enough. C’est la vie. Differences of opinion make the world go round. But if you tell me that the only reason for our disagreement is that I’m brainwashed — I’m sorry, that’s not a serious argument.

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            2. Whatever terms you want to use. It’s a neurological, explainable phenomenon that you have decided to run with in spite of evidence to the contrary. Still no answer? Tell me when you were first schooled in religion and how, and I’ll share with you scientific opinions to what happened. You. Can take it or leave it from there, but at least give us some insight to the religious mind.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. What is a “religious mind”? How would one know if she or he has one? (Just a guess, but is it because they happen to disagree with you?)

              Let me put it this way: Is it conceivable that there is anyone anywhere in the universe who disagrees with you but is not brainwashed?

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            4. There are varying degrees of religious minds. Eric Hoffer studied this in the 50’s. The True believer is one that always will look to something outside of themselves for fulfillment. About 35% of the population. Others go with the flow, and others use it as a means to feel important. But all of us have a predisposition to trust what we are told. Especially children. They’ll believe all kinds of Hocus pocus. Place these elements together and the world can be flat, or believe in a political party, or a religion. Any religion will do when their behavior is played by manipulating human psychology with superstition and division. It’s quite clear now, but as a believer I was always taught to have faith. Then more faith. Even in the face of the most obvious contradiction there was an explanation. A long explanation. The truth rarely needs an addendum. Religion is all addendum with no substance.
              So when were you indoctrinated? As a child?

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            5. Let’s stipulate that I’m a lost cause, hopelessly brainwashed. But is it conceivable that there is anyone anywhere in the universe who disagrees with you and yet is not brainwashed?

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            6. No one is hopelessly brainwashed. In my own case I was in total allegiance to faith. Then, by chance or just good fortune I had three weeks alone in the jungle. Unplugged and time to think, a light went on. It was a severing of the neuron imo, that ridiculous wanton ability to hand wave off the contradictions and never ending philosophical quandaries that has engulfed good minds. I saw the discrepancy between what we are told things mean, and what we see Day to Day. Yes Loy, you have been duped. Not because you want to, but because you have to. It is physiology that can only be broken by special circumstances. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, say, flat earth for instance. People do just wave it off because it conflicts with their wrong interpretations and eloquent arguments from fools. And yes, it can happen to everyone. Here’s a comment from today’s post. “One thing that’s pretty amazing… even the most ridiculous assertions can be passed on for hundreds of years. Superstition of this type are in the hundreds, and carry on for generations. Religion has perfected this technique by adding threats and judgement. You can see by the man’s nature that a hoax, such as Christianity could endure the way it has”.
              Even the most absurd superstitions live on hundreds, thousands of years by societal and family influence.

              Liked by 1 person

            7. And so… Is it possible for someone, anyone, to disagree with you freely and rationally, without their being subject to the phenomenon you’re describing (whether you want to call it brainwashing, indoctrination, or whatever)? Or is that simply not possible?

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            8. What rationality have you presented? You wouldn’t even answer Taboos direct question. Believe me Loy, this isn’t the easy road to go completely against the grain of society, judged as immoral for following my conscience. I have personal responsibility of my own integrity, and that carries more weight for me than fitting in. Most of us here would jump ship over one thing, we just couldn’t find one. You act as though you have special information you’re just withholding, but you have nothing too. There either is a god or there isn’t. There is a reasonable neurological explanation for every single supernatural or conversion story. You just don’t seem to want to know. Psychologist carefully phrase differential diagnosis to mitigate the level of delusion, but it’s all delusion. Functioning delusion, or non functioning? That is where religion holds its place in the professional world. I am not alone in this.

              Liked by 1 person

            9. Jim, I have the utmost regard for your sense of integrity, and for your right to follow your conscience and convictions. The thing is, everybody has the same right, and the same claim on our respect — even, or especially, when we respectfully disagree with their views. When you disagree with someone by devaluing the person, by claiming that someone you’ve never met suffers from some kind of physical or psychological pathology that invalidates their ideas, then you are disrespecting a basic human right. Plus you’re just deceiving yourself. Let’s discuss ideas, not mental status.

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            10. I do think there is a difference between delusion and faith, where in this case semantics do matter. We have one that is deliberate while the other unintentional. A choice to believe in magic—like a Chris Angel fan. You know he films in segmented, edited, faked crowds, mannequins, time lapses using camera angles and green screens —carefully interviewed fans who are in in the hoax…But a real fan wants to continue believing it, are still big fans because of the idea of it, and are still fans no matter what. I understand. I remember telling myself years ago that if it’s not true, it’s the best religion out there and a good way for me to live, so my hats in the ring. Many even lose the faith and continue in it for the kids. Weird, I know, but that’s the magic of promises, the desire, the hope that maybe you’re wrong on just one point. But alas…reality is much, much better in my own. I asked you to consider explanations for belief. Appears you don’t like the idea. Fear? Perhaps.

              Liked by 2 people

            11. When you disagree with someone (whom you’ve never met) by claiming that the root of your disagreement is their fear (but not your own), or some kind of physical or psychological pathology (on their part but not yours), then not only are you disrespecting them but you’re tacitly admitting the weakness of your position.

              Anytime you want to go head to head, mano a mano, on a full psych workup for each of us and compare results, let’s go (loser pays). Meanwhile, leave the amateur psychology out of it and discuss the idea, not the personality.

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            12. I have an idea to explain your belief. When were you introduced to religion Loy? You can disagree with the position all you want as nobody is denying you anything at all. I have no fears. I’ve told my story many times here. I’ve given you ample time to participate and you keep revolving around hard data. If you don’t like my position, give me some data to prove me wrong. Been wrong many times before. Not one person here knows who you are. You’ve hidden behind anonymity and deflection the entire time. Your faith has not made you whole, it’s made you a coward who’s afraid to go toe to toe, but holding back everything that suits your fears to lose faith.

              Liked by 1 person

            13. In addition, no one has a CLUE what you really believe. You wander all over the place “defending” yourself but to what end? You have convinced no one. Perhaps that’s not your intent, but intelligent debates/discussions among people who have different opinions/beliefs usually carry some sort of substance.

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            14. @jim – I offered to undergo a full psych eval if you do, so it’s a bit rich to persist in pretending that our disagreement is due to any apprehension on my part, or that I’m avoiding “hard data.” Evidently you want to persist in pathologizing a difference of opinion. Very well; not an impressive tactic, but it’s your prerogative.

              In any event, it doesn’t matter whether or not I’m brainwashed, because it doesn’t matter what I personally believe. Ideas have to stand or fall on their own merit. Personality and biography have nothing to do with it. If you really find nothing of value in my contributions, then I will have to live with that failure. I try my best. However I have to reiterate that the real difficulty is that we’re speaking incompatible languages and comparing apples and oranges.

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            15. biography has nothing to do with it” Your smarter than that, Loy. Why do people usually list credentials on their white papers, biographies, research? You just mention the opposite to Jonathan. Who do you ask if you want to learn about cycling? Do you go down to the airport for that, or the cycle shop? You want to learn about science from the preacher, or scripture? That’s a joke. You’re smarter than that.
              Ok on the psych evals. I can tell by your pathological writing that you’ve probably fooled a few shrinks in your day. Your sole credential here is belief!

              Liked by 1 person

            16. It would be fair to ask for my credentials if I presented myself as some kind of expert. Did I? In any case, even if credentials were relevant, they generally are based on objective standards of knowledge and experience, and not on personal identity, beliefs, background or characteristics.

              As for duping shrinks, if I could do that I wouldn’t be trapped here in this godforsaken asylum.

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  6. I think it’s certainly true that it is harder to not believe in magic. This is why physics is so hard for many to comprehend, because very few people want to know how magic tricks are done, they just want to be entertained. Our brain is wired to believe first and critically think later. It is also much easier to default to authority, to have some book or some person just tell you what is right and wrong all the time than to believe that the universe is static, that things don’t change, and that what you believe now is true for all time.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I remember the first time I told a coworker I was an atheist. We were chatting one day and she said “you’re a believer aren’t you?” I said no, I don’t believe in god at all. She raised her eyebrows and said wow, you just seemed so nice. That’s how it began. She still thinks I’ll believe someday, but in my mind I have a perfect explanation for her belief (came at a time of helpless trauma) and evidence is baring that out pretty convincingly.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Her reaction to your announcing your atheism is also telling as well, just how prevalent the idea that atheism equates to some sort of moral deficiency. As if niceness correlated to believing in God. I have not found any such correlation and if anything have found the opposite to be true, at least in terms of overall inclusiveness and empathy.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. I know. We are still good friends, but every time we talk there is some type of underlying conversion tactic going on. We’re very open with each other so that helps. She’s the type that has a good core no material what. She was saved from death one day. She had given up hope when Jesus pulled her out of a snow bank, right after she had given up. Meanwhile in the Sudan and Burundi…a hundred children starved to death.

          Liked by 2 people

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