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Fun: Study explores whether atheism is rooted in reason or emotion

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Closing our religion coverage a bit late today: From The Poached Egg:

A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and the lead author of this recent study, has examined other data on this subject with identical results. Exline explains that her interest was first piqued when an early study of anger toward God revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.

So it is a sign of good mental health to be really mad at someone you think doesn’t exist?

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG The fun part is that these kinds of studies are now being done on atheists and agnostics, rather than just inflicted on the rest of us. It’s great, knowing that if you say you’re a Catholic, and mean it, you can’t get roped into one of them. – O’Leary for News

58 Replies to “Fun: Study explores whether atheism is rooted in reason or emotion

  1. 1
    Andre says:

    I’ve always said people are atheists because they are angry with God, firstly speaking of my own experience when I was an atheist, secondly atheists, emotions are a dead give away, thirdly its really cool to know my observations are correct.
    🙂

    Science says atheists don’t exist, wonder how they deal with the fact that their materialism is opposed by that which they are trying to use for their argument.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    News

    So it is a sign of good mental health to be really mad at someone you think doesn’t exist?

    That’s the more difficult question.

    From the article:

    At first glance, this finding seemed to reflect an error. How could people be angry with God if they did not believe in God? Reanalyses of a second dataset revealed similar patterns: Those who endorsed their religious beliefs as “atheist/agnostic” or “none/unsure” reported more anger toward God than those who reported a religious affiliation.

    The findings about anger against God and atheism are fascinating, but it’s just the first step.

    I would hope research would follow-up to figure out how atheists and agnostics can reconcile their anger against God with belief that God does not exist.

    Would any atheists here admit this conflict and explain how they reconcile it?

    They could say something like: “I am angry with God and I am in the process of proving to myself that God really doesn’t exist.”

    Or perhaps: “I am angry with God and I choose to act as if God does not exist.”

  3. 3
    Box says:

    “I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about human life, including everything about the human mind …. This is a somewhat ridiculous situation …. [I]t is just as irrational to be influenced in one’s beliefs by the hope that God does not exist as by the hope that God does exist.”

    [Thomas Nagel]

  4. 4

    Romans chapter 1, anyone?

    The truth and knowledge of God’s existence is suppressed in unrighteousness. But it comes out.

  5. 5
    velikovskys says:

    sa:

    The findings about anger against God and atheism are fascinating, but it’s just the first step.

    I would hope research would follow-up to figure out how atheists and agnostics can reconcile their anger against God with belief that God does not exist.
    it?

    Some atheists might point to this”


    A closer look at the second dataset (Kampani & Exline, 2002) suggested
    that there were two different groups
    of unbelievers. One group was labeled simple unbelievers. These individuals reported that they had never believed
    in God, and they seemed to have little or no emotion around the issue. They typi- cally skipped questions that asked about emotions and attitudes toward God— presumably because they had never be- lieved in God.

    There was also a second group of people whose pattern of re- sponses indicated a past belief in God, followed by a decrease in belief over time. In contrast to the simple unbelievers, these participants usually did answer ques- tions that asked about emotions and atti- tudes toward God. Even though many of them currently labeled themselves as athe- ist/agnostic, they had some past history of believing in God. Many also reported some current belief in God when beliefs were tapped using a 10-point scale (as opposed to a dichotomous category). We labeled this group conflicted unbelievers.

    In subsequent analyses we compared both unbeliever groups with a group labeled believers. When compared to believers, conflicted unbelievers reported more negative feelings toward God, more negative attributions about God’s inten- tions, fewer approach behaviors toward God, less sense of having been repaid by God, and less satisfaction with the out- come of the incident. (Note that we could not make comparisons with simple unbe- lievers because they did not answer the questions about feelings toward God.) Relative to believers, conflicted unbeliev- ers reported more anxious/ambivalent and avoidant attachment. Conflicted unbeliev- ers also reported lower self-esteem than believers or simple unbelievers. Although preliminary, these findings suggest that it is meaningful to assess feelings of anger toward God even among people who are not certain that they believe in God. They are also consistent with the notion that certain people may be psychologically predisposed to experience crises of faith (see also Altemeyer & Hunsberger, 1997).

    PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION NEWSLETTER — APA DIVISION 36

    The group surveyed consisted of undergraduate students

    It seems that many of the ” atheists” who are angry have a current belief in God. Generally atheists might point out ,atheists by definition don’t believe in God and this group, conflicted unbelievers, whose beliefs you have generalized to all or most atheists, would be therefore more accurately designated as conflicted believers.

  6. 6
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    It doesn’t explain why they consider themselves atheists or why they are conflicted.

    Some percentage of the group self-described as atheist are “conflicted unbelievers” in the term used by the researchers.

    Some of those both claim to have no belief in God but somehow also do believe in God (enough to be angry at God).

    It may also be true that there’s no real conflict. The term ‘atheist’ may correctly refer to all individuals who use the term to self-identify. Atheism could include a conflicted mentality as part of its group-definition.

  7. 7
    ForJah says:

    As an atheist, this really is silly. My reasoning lead me away from God only AFTER that did I start to appeal to emotional reasons, as the study is clearly biased or at least unclear in that sense. I harbor anger at the concept of God, and I do so reasonably. Certainly we all are justified in being “a-nazists” because we are angry at what Hitler was doing, so the Christian concept of God is essentially the same kind of person that Hitler is, thus anger is significantly justified with reason. The emotion is the product of an atheists reason, not the other way around. As for the believer, I would say it’s the same way as well, except for the believer…I think that there are MANY MANY moments when you have to suppress moments of cognitive dissonance between the monstrous character the bible describes God as being with your own 21st morals.

  8. 8
    hrun0815 says:

    this is also a bit ridiculous for the increasingly large number who grew up in a surrounding where God and religion were just a curious cultural phenomena in others. I find it difficult to see any way how you could tie their atheism to any type of ‘anger against God’.

    And ForJah is exactly right that one very carefully has to distinguish ‘anger at God’ from ‘anger against the belief in God’ and even from ‘anger against God if there was such an entity’.

  9. 9

    I think it may be more accurate to refer to those atheists as being angry at the thought of God, not “angry at God”.

    Logically, the only thing an atheist can be hating is their conception of god, and I think their conception of god is for the most part worthy of the hate, derision and ridicule they pile upon it.

    One wonders, though, why they cling so desperately to that particular conception of god? It’s almost like they want to hate the beliefs of theists and want to see theism in a way worthy of ridicule and derision, when it would certainly be beneficial to them to find a more tolerant perspective than one that puts them at bitter odds with most of the people in the world.

  10. 10

    As I argued with what I think was my first original thread here two years ago, there is no form of atheism that is rationally justifiable.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....stifiable/

  11. 11
    velikovskys says:

    Sa,
    It doesn’t explain why they consider themselves atheists or why they are conflicted.

    Just be clear, we are now talking about a sub group of atheists, most who actually when measured beyond self reporting have a belief in God.

    For the first, the researchers provided no data, maybe the respondents are confused, they think that not believing in one interpretation of God means you don’t believe in God.

    Second, there are lots of theists who have issues with their God. The problem of evil is a response as is the concept of original sin.

    Some percentage of the group self-described as atheist are “conflicted unbelievers” in the term used by the researchers.

    True, but many are non unbelievers, go figure

    Some of those both claim to have no belief in God but somehow also do believe in God (enough to be angry at God).

    True but it answers the question how you can be angry at God who you don’t believe exists, you believe he exists.

    But for simple unbelievers, no anger. So it is incorrect to say atheists are atheists because they are anger with God.

  12. 12
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    It may also be true that there’s no real conflict. The term ‘atheist’ may correctly refer to all individuals who use the term to self-identify

    Depends on how you define atheism, just as there is a range of those who believe in God

    . Atheism could include a conflicted mentality as part of its group-definition.

    True, just as theism can.

  13. 13
    velikovskys says:

    wjm:
    One wonders, though, why they cling so desperately to that particular conception of god?

    Maybe religious indoctrination is hard to shake, after all the prospect of spending eternity in hell is a good motivation to toe the line

    It’s almost like they want to hate the beliefs of theists and want to see theism in a way worthy of ridicule and derision,

    Since theists engage in the same behavior you may have to broaden your search from atheism alone

    when it would certainly be beneficial to them to find a more tolerant perspective than one that puts them at bitter odds with most of the people in the world.

    In other words they should follow the example of tolerance that religion has shown for opposing views over history.

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    So it is incorrect to say atheists are atheists because they are anger with God.

    Depending on how one defines atheism and following the research – it would be correct to say that ‘some atheists are atheists because they are angry with God’.

    True, just as theism can.

    I don’t know of studies that show a parallel result – a significant number of theists who claim that God does not exist.

    True but it answers the question how you can be angry at God who you don’t believe exists, you believe he exists.

    This is the contradiction that remains unanswered.

    You don’t believe he exists and you believe he exists.

    We might conclude better that “you don’t admit that you believe he exists”.

    If true, then it would be appropriate to question self-described atheists to see if they have a subconscious, unknown to themselves, unadmitted belief in God.

    Beyond that, if one can determine that a self-described atheist has anger towards God, one could be justified in concluding that the person is conflicted or actually is not an atheist, in spite of the label.

  15. 15
    lpadron says:

    They’re angry at him for not existing.

  16. 16

    velikovskys said:

    Since theists engage in the same behavior you may have to broaden your search from atheism alone

    Broaden my search … of what? The thread is about atheism. Deflecting doesn’t address the issues of atheists being discussed.

    In other words they should follow the example of tolerance that religion has shown for opposing views over history.

    One would think that without a dedicated belief in what an actual god is like, an atheist would be more capable of developing a conceptualization of god – at least, the kind of god they conceptualize that theists believe in – in order to better interact with believers.

    I mean, what’s the purpose of carrying around an idea of god that keeps you angry, condescending and derisive – unless, of course, you just enjoy feeling that way?

    However, most of the atheists I’ve argued with on the internet are every bit as committed to a particular conceptualization of god as any religious zealot; I’ve often told the same person several times that I don’t believe in the kind of god they were arguing against and they kept bringing up that same concept of god as if I was trying to make a case for it – as if they hadn’t even heard me.

  17. 17
    mahuna says:

    As an Agnostic, I don’t think there was a time when I was even seriously angry at the Catholic Church. They just became less and less convincing as I read more.

    I now accept that there is a God, but he’s not Jehovah and never was. The belief in a single Supreme Being and the immortally of the human soul are the fundamental pieces of Shamanism, and as I have just read, Egyptian “sun worship”. Only 1 God, lots of different names, and every soul goes to where it can be with God when the body dies. This is the oldest, most universal piece of human culture on the planet. It’s the details selected by individual religions that cause all the problems.

    I know a number of what I call “active Atheists”, people who denounce all religion at every opportunity. They do seem to be angry, unhappy people who take some joy in NOT being Believers. But as demonstrated by the Darwinists, I don’t know any Atheists who have any deep or broad understanding of what they’re AGAINST. That is, I don’t think people become Atheists, rather than just Agnostics (people waiting to believe), after reading the works of philosophers and theologians. As near as I can tell, they’ve simply heard denunciations of the Catholic Church or Baptists or perhaps Shintoism, and have concluded that the 5 minute version of those religions doesn’t make any sense. But of course the 5 minute version of almost ANYTHING doesn’t make much sense.

    It really is a Journey. Each person needs to learn and understand WHAT they believe and don’t believe, and WHY they believe and don’t believe things. Peace & Joy.

  18. 18
    velikovskys says:

    Sa:

    Depending on how one defines atheism and following the research – it would be correct to say that ‘some atheists are atheists because they are angry with God’.

    Yes that seems correct, as far as undergraduates go. And many of those atheists believe in God.

    This is the contradiction that remains unanswered.

    True, it would be helpful to see exactly how they self identified as atheists, I could not find that info. but it seems some are confused that you can believe in God and still be an atheist. But people often confuse atheism with agnosticism.

    You don’t believe he exists and you believe he exists.

    Deists are atheistic when it comes to a particular God, perhaps the wording of the questionnaire was ambiguous.

    We might conclude better that “you don’t admit that you believe he exists”.

    Yes or they are engaged in a form of Pascal’s Wager. But for some percentage of atheists ,God is irrelevant.

    If true, then it would be appropriate to question self-described atheists to see if they have a subconscious, unknown to themselves, unadmitted belief in God.

    Maybe,it sounds a bit rude but it would be false to assume that is the only option. Even of those who had a belief in God ,it was described as ” some”. That leaves a lot of room.

    I wonder how that compares to theists who actually don’t believe in God, but for other reasons engage in religious practice

    Beyond that, if one can determine that a self-described atheist has anger towards God, one could be justified in concluding that the person is conflicted or actually is not an atheist, in spite of the label.

    Certainly any atheist that believes in God is not an atheist.

    Conflicted seems just a term used by the researcher to designate past belief in God, one should be careful not to assume being a member of the group means one is presently ” conflicted ” about one’s beliefs.

    A second point is that one must differentiate between anger at God and anger at religion, religion is known to exist

  19. 19
    hrun0815 says:

    Logically, the only thing an atheist can be hating is their conception of god, and I think their conception of god is for the most part worthy of the hate, derision and ridicule they pile upon it.

    No. That is logically not the only thing an atheist can be hating. Atheists can also hate other’s conception of God. Unless you want to posit it impossible to convey their conception of God. In addition an atheist can hate the consequences of a belief in a God in general or in a specific conception of God.

  20. 20
    hrun0815 says:

    And I think it may be more accurate to refer to atheists being angry with people who justify their own behavior by claiming non-existent authority.

    Or it may be accurate to say that atheists (and likely everybody else) are angry at, or hate, or are bemused by people who attempt to read their minds instead of actually talking to them and taking them by their word.

    But I guess next WJM will tell us that logically atheists can in fact only be angry at their own conception of God (or they are sociopaths).

  21. 21
    KRock says:

    The funny thing is, atheism wouldn’t even exist without the concept of God… Go figure.

  22. 22
    Me_Think says:

    KRock @ 23,

    The funny thing is, atheism wouldn’t even exist without concept of God… Go figure.

    ..Neither will theism.

  23. 23
    KRock says:

    @Me_Think

    Go figure…

  24. 24
    Me_Think says:

    KRock @ 25
    Yeah, I forgot to add that !

  25. 25
    KRock says:

    @Me_Think

    It would appear you did…

  26. 26
    KRock says:

    “So it is a sign of good mental health to be really mad at someone you think doesn’t exist?”

    No! Which makes you wonder, maybe atheism really is a form of mental illness….

  27. 27
    rvb8 says:

    I’m an atheist and have never been angry at god. I have been angry at my old church, its leaders, their plain denial of heinous sexual hypocrisy, their cover ups, their use of vast power to cover their tracks and protect vile criminals.

    No! I’m not angry at god, just the benighted people whom believe their god is right and gives them the authority to dictate distorted morality; give me the humanist kind of morality every time.

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    I wonder how that compares to theists who actually don’t believe in God, but for other reasons engage in religious practice

    That would be helpful to know. I guessed that it’s a much smaller proportion of theists that don’t believe in God. Some might argue that there are theists who act as if there is no God.

    Certainly any atheist that believes in God is not an atheist.

    Unless we define atheist as those who don’t believe in God and those who are angry with God to the point that they claim not to believe he exists. In other words, the conflicted view could be included in the definition of atheist – at least sociologically.

    Conflicted seems just a term used by the researcher to designate past belief in God, one should be careful not to assume being a member of the group means one is presently ” conflicted ” about one’s beliefs.

    True. The researches claim those beliving-atheists are conflicted, but the atheists (self-defined) may not see a conflict at all. They could mean that they ‘don’t believe in the God they’re angry at’.

    As some atheistic critics point out, depending on how one defines ‘a god’, then atheists could unknowingly accept that ‘a god in their life’ exists. Atheists could give something like worship to a political leader – as is given to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. He is ‘a god’ for atheists.

    A second point is that one must differentiate between anger at God and anger at religion, religion is known to exist.

    True, but I’d think that would be clear in most cases – a person can be angry with religion and still believe in God.

  29. 29
    velikovskys says:

    Sa,
    Some might argue that there are theists who act as if there is no God.

    Some people aren’t cut out to make their own decisions.

    Unless we define atheist as those who don’t believe in God and those who are angry with God to the point that they claim not to believe he exists.

    That is a bit confusing,it could lead to the inadvertent assumption that atheists are just confused theists

    In other words, the conflicted view could be included in the definition of atheist

    It makes more sense to include that in the definition of theism rather than
    atheism to me.

    The researches claim those beliving-atheists are conflicted

    Nope, they give no reason why they designated the group as ” conflicted” just as we can’t assume that people in the ” simple” group are simple

    but the atheists (self-defined) may not see a conflict at all. They could mean that they ‘don’t believe in the God they’re angry at’.

    Or that they still have feeling of anger towards the God they believe existed at one time, we do not know from what they provided . Remember we are dealing with college undergrads, we have no evidence that they reflect the whole population

    As some atheistic critics point out, depending on how one defines ‘a god’,

    Critics of atheism or critics who are atheists?

    then atheists could unknowingly accept that ‘a god in their life’ exists.

    What would the definition of God be?

    Atheists could give something like worship to a political leader – as is given to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. He is ‘a god’ for atheists

    Theism is just a matter of appeasing a tyrant to you?

    True, but I’d think that would be clear in most cases – a person can be angry with religion and still believe in God.

    True, but then you are not an atheist.

  30. 30

    Aurelio Smith said:

    And I think it may be more accurate to refer to atheists being angry with people who justify their own behavior by claiming non-existent authority.

    Why’s that? How would you prefer they justify their behavior?

  31. 31

    hrun0815 said:

    But I guess next WJM will tell us that logically atheists can in fact only be angry at their own conception of God (or they are sociopaths).

    I’m afraid I have no inkling why anyone would be angry at someone else’s conception of god. I might consider someone else to have a logically flawed or counter-productive concept of god, but I certainly wouldn’t get angry about it.

  32. 32
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    That is a bit confusing,it could lead to the inadvertent assumption that atheists are just confused theists

    Again, I don’t see it as being confusing. It’s not an assumption but a matter of definition.
    If atheists is the set of all people who call themselves atheists (as the research suggested) then we include all of the ‘conflicted’ (their term) people who are angry with God.
    You might not like that definition, but that’s a different point.

    It makes more sense to include that in the definition of theism rather than
    atheism to me.

    Ok, but the challenge would be in convincing those self-described atheists that they’re really theists. Failing that, one could just accept that atheism includes a certain level of belief in the existence in God.
    At least it would be impossible to distinguish ‘true atheists’ from the ‘conflicted’ without a lot of questioning. Also, do we know that all anger against God is necessarily a form of belief in the existence of God?

    SA: The researches claim those beliving-atheists are conflicted

    V: Nope, they give no reason why they designated the group as ” conflicted” just as we can’t assume that people in the ” simple” group are simple

    I think they pointed to a reason why they used the term, but in any case, it may not be used correctly and that was my point.

    then atheists could unknowingly accept that ‘a god in their life’ exists.

    What would the definition of God be?

    One definition that would work in this case is “that which is given the highest or ultimate quality of worship or adoration”. As an example, “it was worshipped as a god”.

    So, a god in this case is that which is the focus of the greatest and highest love and value for the person.

    If it is true that only a god can be worshipped, then whatever a person worships is a god for that person.
    Thus, if an atheist gives maximum love (worship/adoration) to whatever thing, then that is a god for that atheist.

    Atheists could give something like worship to a political leader – as is given to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. He is ‘a god’ for atheists

    Theism is just a matter of appeasing a tyrant to you?

    Strange question. No, it’s not. Again, a tyrant can be worshipped like a god. Egyptian pharaohs were worshipped that way as were some Roman emperors. In North Korea, the supreme commander is considered to have god-like qualities and he receives something we’d call worship from the people.

  33. 33
    hrun0815 says:

    Why’s that? How would you prefer they justify their behavior?

    Empathy.

  34. 34
    KRock says:

    @hrun0815 @36

    Empathy? Says who? You? 🙂

  35. 35
    rvb8 says:

    It might be useful to mention just some of those human qualities, and beliefs based in emotion or reason that humans possess that do not require the existence of god, or rather the god that is dominant at this site. Let’s give his true literary emergence with the captive Jewish scribes of Babylon around 8th Century BC.

    So before this date and the arrival of Mosaic, and Christian morality what were some human qualities and was a god necessary to delineate them? First the qualities these pre-Judaeo/Christian peoples obviously had, and then those that required this new morality.

    Emotional or Reason based quality. Necessity of god.
    Love No
    Empathy No
    Sympathy No
    Charity No
    Curiosity No
    Reason Hell No
    Reconciliation No
    Forgiveness Hell No
    Justice Hell No

    Courage
    Hell NO

    Women’s Rights
    Hell NO

    Free Speech
    Hell No

    Environmental
    Protection
    NO etc etc etc.

    Fear, self loathing, intolerance, contempt for reason, slavery etc etc, sure go for it. The conflicted idea that the human body is the pinnacle of god’s creation and a source of great wonder and beauty, and at the same time damning one of its principle functions to fearful digust (with a particular emphasis on female impurity, which has relevant very negative implications today); sex. Sure!
    This appears entirely based on subjective emotion with a complete absence of reason. It has the added benefit of being historically accurate.

  36. 36
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    Posting again with formatting – forgot to edit.

    SA: then atheists could unknowingly accept that ‘a god in their life’ exists.

    V: What would the definition of God be?

    SA: One definition that would work in this case is “that which is given the highest or ultimate quality of worship or adoration”. As an example, “it was worshiped as a god”.

    So, a god in this case is that which is the focus of the greatest and highest love and value for the person.

    If it is true that only a god can be worshipped, then then whatever a person worships is a god for that person.

    Thus, if an atheist gives maximum love (worship/adoration) to whatever thing, then that is a god for that atheist.

    SA: Atheists could give something like worship to a political leader – as is given to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. He is ‘a god’ for atheists

    V: Theism is just a matter of appeasing a tyrant to you?

    Strange question. No, it’s not. Again, a tyrant can be worshipped like a god. Egyptian pharaohs were worshipped that way as were some Roman emperors. In North Korea, the supreme commander is considered to have god-like qualities and he receives something we’d call worship from the people.

  37. 37
    hrun0815 says:

    Re #37: Of course says me, KRock. That was specifically the question, no?

    And, by the way, remember that ‘sez who?’ is everybody’s answer if they don’t agree with your morals (no matter how you justify them). If somebody does agree with your morals they never care if God whispered the morals into your ear while you were napping or if you got them from a cereal box.

  38. 38
    KRock says:

    @hrun0815 #40

    Sorry, for a moment there, I thought you were suggesting a type of “universal empathy” amongst atheists. My mistake, I realize you were just offering your personal preference, that’s all. 🙂

    “If somebody does agree with your morals they never care if God whispered the morals into your ear while you were napping or if you got them from a cereal box.”

    True, they may not care when someones agrees with them, but I’ll be willing to bet my life they’ll care when they come across someone who doesn’t agree with them. 🙂

    Reminds me of a scenario, where a young couple finds themselves lost at night in dark alleyway of a foreign city. All of a sudden, out walk 6 heavily tattooed biker looking gang members from a near by door. They start walking towards the young married couple with a quickened pace. In that instance, the wife whispers to her husband, “I sure hope they’re just leaving a bible study.”

    Indeed, morals do matter, but how much more do they matter from whence they come? 🙂

  39. 39
    rvb8 says:

    Actually KRock, I would avoid religious people leaving a religious studies class in most places in the world; Buddhist Thailand, Orthodox Russia, the Muslim World, Israel, the Bible belt USA. It is clearly true that an atheist gathering and dispersal would be the safest place to aim for, as they have no wish to indoctrinate, they merely consider your ideas mildly, to totally, insane.

    Modern atheists really are the most moral people, everyone else is busy explaining why your beliefs are wrong. I don’t believe your faith is wrong, just wildly misguided, but, have at it, just leave me alone. Why is it that it is only the morally religious who simply (worldwide) can’t do that?

  40. 40
    Cross says:

    rvb8 @ 42

    “Modern atheists really are the most moral people”

    “Then I learned that all moral judgments are ‘value judgments,’ that all value judgments are subjective [it just depends on how you think about them], and that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’…I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable “value judgment that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others?’ Other human beings with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me – after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”
    Ted Bundy – Athiest and muderer of at least 30 people.

  41. 41

    Aurelio Smith said:

    Without reference to some non-existent authority that tells them they have the right to impose their standards or morals on others.

    Re-stating what prompted my questions in the first place does nothing to answer my questions.

    What would you prefer they refer to when imposing standards or morals on others? And, why would you prefer it that way?

    hrun0815 said:

    Empathy.

    So as long as I am fulfilling some kind of empathetic consideration, any act is justified as moral? If I feel empathy for the pain a drug addict is suffering, is whatever I do to help justified simply because it is born of empathy? If I give him drugs for money, that is moral? If a child is suffering and I wish to relieve it of its pain, is killing it moral, as long as it was empathy that directed my actions?

    If I feel empathy for the suffering world, would it be moral of me to start eliminating what I consdered to be the problem – humans?

    Tell me, how can empathy be a better guide than some presumed objective source, if empathy can justify virtually any behavior?

  42. 42
    velikovskys says:

    SA:

    Again, I don’t see it (Unless we define atheist as those who don’t believe in God and those who are angry with God to the point that they claim not to believe he exists) being confusing.

    Your addendum to the definition implies that an atheist could believe in God which contradicts the first definition ,an atheist does not believe in God

    It’s not an assumption but a matter of definition.
    They are not mutually exclusive

    If atheists is the set of all people who call themselves atheists (as the
    research suggested) then we include all of the ‘conflicted’ (their term)
    people who are angry with God.

    The research did not suggest the classification system, the researchers did. You would have to ask them why they included non atheists in the atheist group. An atheist cannot believe that God exists.

    You might not like that definition, but that’s a different point.

    It is fine,it just is not the definition of an atheist. Can a person be a believer in God and not believe in God?

  43. 43
    Andre says:

    Actually velikoskys you are wrong there is two types of atheism…..

    Weak atheism and strong atheism….

    http://atheism.about.com/od/at.....g_weak.htm

    I’m probably a strong atheist and you are a weak atheist, so there is no contradiction, I hold that there are specific gods that don’t exist you hold that none do.
    Strong atheism usually denies a specific god…….

  44. 44
    velikovskys says:

    Wjm:
    If I feel empathy for the pain a drug addict is suffering, is whatever I do to help justified simply because it is born of empathy?

    It benefits you to help him , morality comes in in how you choose to do it

    If I give him drugs for money, that is moral?

    That would make you a drug dealer,and that would only make his pain worse.

    If a child is suffering and I wish to relieve it of its pain, is killing it moral,

    Would you want your child killed in the same circumstance? That is the morality of empathy, the golden rule.

  45. 45
    velikovskys says:

    Andre

    Actully velikoskys you are wrong there is two types of atheism

    Do either believe in God?

    Not an atheist of either persuasion.

  46. 46
    Andre says:

    Velikovskys

    You don’t seem to get it do you? I’m a strong atheist and because I deny particular gods, you are a weak atheist because you deny all gods, its not the same thing…..

  47. 47
    hrun0815 says:

    Indeed, morals do matter, but how much more do they matter from whence they come?

    Aeh, the answer is clear and obvious: not at all, of course.

    I couldn’t care less if you believe that God whispered your morals to you on your sleep or if you got them from a cereal box. If you disagree with me I’ll think you are wrong and oh you agree with me you are right.

    Which, by the way, is true for you, too. Or are you now arguing that somebody can be morally wrong for just getting their morals from the wrong source?

  48. 48
    hrun0815 says:

    So as long as I am fulfilling some kind of empathetic consideration, any act is justified as moral? If I feel empathy for the pain a drug addict is suffering, is whatever I do to help justified simply because it is born of empathy? If I give him drugs for money, that is moral? If a child is suffering and I wish to relieve it of its pain, is killing it moral, as long as it was empathy that directed my actions?

    If I feel empathy for the suffering world, would it be moral of me to start eliminating what I consdered to be the problem – humans?

    Tell me, how can empathy be a better guide than some presumed objective source, if empathy can justify virtually any behavior?

    It is really puzzling that an obviously functional person can hold such misconceptions after taking part and reading so many posts about moral subjectivists.

    To make it very simple for you, the answer only referred to what I prefer people ise to justify their behavior. In general if it was empathy rather than ‘whatever I believe my imaginary deity dictates as correct’ the world would be a better place.

    And, no, of course not. An action can still beorally wrong even if it is borne out of a consideration of empathy.

  49. 49
    velikovskys says:

    Andre:
    Velikovskys

    You don’t seem to get it do you? I’m a strong atheist and because I deny particular gods, you are a weak atheist because you deny all gods, its not the same thing…..

    Thanks for telling me what I believe

  50. 50
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    I think they pointed to a reason why they used the term, but in any case, it may not be used correctly and that was my point

    “There was also a second group of people whose pattern of re- sponses indicated a past belief in God, followed by a decrease in belief over time.”

    “In contrast to the simple unbelievers, these participants usually did answer ques- tions that asked about emotions and atti- tudes toward God.”

    Some ” conflicted ” acted the same as the simple, the difference is a past belief in God. Now among this group you might be correct that some were conflicted in whether they believed in God.

  51. 51
    velikovskys says:

    Andre:

    You don’t seem to get it do you? I’m a strong atheist and because I deny particular gods,

    How is that different than a theist who believes in one God, and denies the existence of particular Gods?

  52. 52
    KRock says:

    @rvb8 #42

    “Actually KRock, I would avoid religious people leaving a religious studies class in most places in the world; Buddhist Thailand, Orthodox Russia, the Muslim World, Israel, the Bible belt USA. It is clearly true that an atheist gathering and dispersal would be the safest place to aim for, as they have no wish to indoctrinate, they merely consider your ideas mildly, to totally, insane.”

    Lol… What a misguided answer. You clearly missed the point of it. I also like how you lumped other religious faiths into your reply, as if to show they all fall on equal footing. That just shows me HOW little you know and understand about religions in general. You seem to think that ALL atheists share in your personal sentiment, but Modern atheists come in all sizes, shapes and forms. I would argue, many more could care less about your own personal moral “merry go round,” you’re espousing and more about self gain. Atheists don’t gather around the camp fire and sing about their long held awaited dream of a utopian society. No, they sit around and talk about the very thing they don’t believe in, God, and spend countless hours of their precious time, bullying those that do. Insane? Well, I only need to ask you; how’s the view from your glasshouse?

    No wish to indoctrinate? Lol… Okay… Ummm, sorry, exactly why are you posting on these threads again? Wait, you are consciously aware of your own worldview right?

    “Modern atheists really are the most moral people, everyone else is busy explaining why your beliefs are wrong. I don’t believe your faith is wrong, just wildly misguided, but, have at it, just leave me alone. Why is it that it is only the morally religious who simply (worldwide) can’t do t”

    Lets remove our civil laws and see how many modern atheists maintain your self proclaimed “moral high ground.” Explaining and proving something to be wrong, are two different things. I’ll just add, theists spend a lot of their own time explaining how wrong and incoherent your own worldview is, the difference being, time is a lot more precious to atheist such as yourself.

    Leave you alone? Well than don’t waist your time posting on sites such as these. I don’t know, maybe you’re just a sucker for punishment.

  53. 53
    KRock says:

    @hrun0815 #50

    “Or are you now arguing that somebody can be morally wrong for just getting their morals from the wrong source?”

    No, not at all, I just like hearing the moral subjectivist try and explain their moral standard as if its supposed to mean something to me or anyone else 🙂 … hrun0815, you’re talking in a foreign language that only you can understand, remember? In other words, why even bother explaining yourself, nobody understands. 🙂

  54. 54
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    It is fine,it just is not the definition of an atheist. Can a person be a believer in God and not believe in God?

    The term atheist can refer to ‘a person among the set of all people who call themselves atheist’.

    The reason that is important is because when a person says “I am an atheist” they’re saying something about atheists in general.

    Is it possible for a person to believe in God and not believe in God at the same time? Strictly speaking, no. But how do we know that any atheist really does not believe that God exists?

    The only evidence we have is what they say. A person says: “I don’t believe God exists”. That’s the same as saying, “I am an atheist”. Right?

    But then later, we discover, the person who said “I don’t believe God exists” also said “I am angry with God”.

    How is that possible? One of those statements must be false.

    That’s the problem. You’ve decided that the angry-with-God people are theists. But you don’t know they actually believe God exists, any more than you know they don’t believe in God.

    We have to take their word for something — some part is true the other false.

    Since we don’t know – then the term atheist has to include all of that ambiguity – at least in the sociological sense.

    In the strict sense, we could say that “only people who don’t believe God exists should use the word atheist to describe themselves”.

    But nobody owns that sociological group or terminology. There’s no official atheist leader who says you can’t use the term to describe yourself if you are angry with God.

    There’s no way to get kicked out of the group called “atheists”. How do we know that there is any single person on earth who doesn’t believe God exists?

    We can’t know that for certain. If anger with God means ‘theism’, then what if ‘intellecual conceptualization of God’ also equals belief that the person thinks God exists?

  55. 55
    Me_Think says:

    ‘Angry with God’ atheist are ‘ex-theist’ who thought God existed but are convinced now that there is no God.IMO there are more atheist than ‘ex-theist’.

  56. 56
    anthropic says:

    Silver Asiatic 30

    “A second point is that one must differentiate between anger at God and anger at religion, religion is known to exist.”

    True, but I’d think that would be clear in most cases – a person can be angry with religion and still believe in God.
    ——————————————————-

    Like, for instance, Jesus.

  57. 57
    velikovskys says:

    SA,
    The term atheist can refer to ‘a person among the set of all people who call themselves atheist’.

    Could refer, then what you are saying is there is no objective truth? If someone claims to be a doctor, he is a doctor?

  58. 58
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    Strange question. No, it’s not. Again, a tyrant can be worshipped like a god. Egyptian pharaohs were worshipped that way as were some Roman emperors. In North Korea, the supreme commander is considered to have god-like qualities and he receives something we’d call worship from the people.

    Some might quibble with ” god-like ”

    But definition:

    A theist believes in God and theists historically even up the present day claim to be able worship a tyrannical and cruel God..

    Any objections?

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