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Why even bother? September 26, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, friends, issues, rants.
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Somehow, the conversation between myself and Tyler* turned to religion, even though it was a topic I really wanted to avoid when talking with him.

“Why are you still an atheist?” he asked in a chiding, somewhat condescending tone, as though he were asking something like, Why haven’t you given up drugs yet?

It took me a while to finally say something. The obvious answer, i.e. there is no evidence that a god exists, popped in my mind immediately, but I realized: You [an atheist] cannot explain logic to a religious person and expect them to understand it, the same way that you probably wouldn’t understand a religious person trying to explain faith to you. The best that you can do is tolerate and try to understand (or in my case…pretend?).

I gave Tyler a half-hearted reply and immediately changed the subject.

*not his real name

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1. Sassu - September 26, 2007

I can sympathize.

How strange it is to have someone ask why you’re “still an atheist,” though. As if one can so easily change what they think and what they believe.

Maybe it would have been sharp of you to ask why he’s still a Christian.

2. Teen Atheist - September 26, 2007

Yeah, I didn’t want to ruffle his feathers. πŸ˜€ I’m pretty passive when it comes to discussing religion, especially with a guy like Tyler.

I think he asked me that because of my previous entry, “The extent of my truthiness” — he thinks the atheism thing is just a phase. (And I haven’t exactly done much to debunk that assumption. πŸ˜› )

3. overcaffein8d - September 26, 2007

I can’t give you much advice here, because, depending on who I’m talking with, I am usually pretty upfront with things… Though, when I’m talking with someone who isn’t a close friend, or a believer (in SC there’s loads of Southern Baptists… think Jerry Falwell) I usually try to lay it on them easy.

I usually just make stuff up as I go along. I find religious debates rather fun, but not making scenes.

4. Sassu - September 26, 2007

There’s really no point in making any scenes, you’re both absolutely right.

But doesn’t it ever just irk you to no end when someone takes a Holier-Than-Thou attitude and pretty much poos all over your lack of belief?

I am always left stunned. “Where do you get your morals from if you’re an atheist?”
“Aren’t you afraid of going to hell?”
“How can you be a good person if you’re an atheist?”

It’s really discouraging, and when I see someone preaching to someone who is confused about their spirituality, I get plain-out angry with their attempts are recruitment.

5. Teen Atheist - September 26, 2007

overcaffein8d: Absolutely right, as Sassu said.

Sassu: True. I hate it when people are preachy. Hell, my parents ask me those kinds of asinine questions, and it annoys the shit out of me. But I think that an atheist who tells religious people “There is NO evidence, what is WRONG with you people?” is just as bad as a preachy fundamentalist. Those attempts at recruitment are annoying, regardless of which side they’re coming from.

6. Rasputin - September 26, 2007

Do you really want to be friends with someone you feel you have to lie to all the time? I’d suggest you pick a time when it’s appropriate and explain how you came to believe what you believe so he has at least heard where you’re coming from. If he doesn’t understand it well, we don’t always understand the things our friends do.

7. Teen Atheist - September 26, 2007

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Rasputin, Tyler is indispensable to me in times when I need support the most (i.e. after particularly acrimonious fights with the parental units). I figure I’ll just keep skirting the issue — I don’t discuss religion with people that often, anyway.

8. dianarn - September 26, 2007

Have you seen the movie Zeitgeist? The first part deals all about the roots of Christianity, and the roots of other religions as well. I think it would help you give people some clear answers about religion. It’s awesome. Religion is nothing but a control mechanism.

9. spiritualtravelman - September 27, 2007

Have you ever read Conversations with God. The title prevented me from reading it, but it is about all the problems with organized religion and how religion has reeked havoc on our society. I’m just 70 pages into it, but it’s been quite an interesting read.

10. Martin - September 27, 2007

I have an effective way of ending such a scenario. Just pop the question right back at the asker. “Why are you still a theist?”

The theist then proceeds to think for a few seconds until you change the topic. πŸ˜€

11. Teen Atheist - September 27, 2007

Hee, you KNOW they’d go on some long-winded tirade about “God is my mission/savior/Father/Alpha and Omega” or whatever. I have little patience for long-winded tirades about things I don’t care about (and things that are non-existent, natch). I just do a mental rolling of the eyes and move on. πŸ˜›

12. dovelove - September 27, 2007

I like these…

“Maybe it would have been sharp of you to ask why he’s still a Christian.” (that’s what I would have shot back)

“Do you really want to be friends with someone you feel you have to lie to all the time?” (good point, but we so often gotta work/live/school with ’em — even so, I don’t think it’s healthy to spend bunches of time with those who are strongly adverse to our beliefs…or lack thereof)

“parental units” (lol)

“Religion is nothing but a control mechanism.” (Yep, without question…))

“Conversations with God…about all the problems with organized religion and how religion has reeked havoc on our society…quite an interesting read.” (Yep, there’s some good stuff there, a worthy read)

Dove

13. Teen Atheist - September 27, 2007

Dove and spiritualtravelman: I checked the Wikipedia article, and the book sounds interesting. It is written from a theist standpoint, though, right?

14. dovelove - September 27, 2007

Here’s a blog with some interesting and informative comments on it.

http://www.opticalparadox.co.uk/wordpress/?p=22

My take on it is that “God” is not only “within us,” it is what we actually are at our core. Spiritual energy, soul, whatever — taking from Einstein’s “everything is energy…and energy cannot be destroyed.”

The author of this book seems to have accessed his own god within (and I think we all can do this…and we will all eventually learn how). And via my own experience in this realm, this information will come through in our own words/personality… His “God” cracks jokes, lol…and I love that πŸ™‚ If there were a brilliantly wise creator, he sure as hell wouldn’t take himself seriously — our sense of humor is one of our best things πŸ™‚

An excerpt for the above-mentioned blog:

“The question to be asked is β€œis this really God?” and indeed Walsch asks it and is replied: β€œWhat difference does it make? Even if everything I’ve said is β€˜wrong’, can you think of a better way to live?” β€œNo” replies Walsch and if you are searching for spiritual answers and have not found your traditional distant God helpful, then this book could be for you.” –Peter Lloyd”

Dove

15. Shard J - September 27, 2007

Dude, next time it comes up, just lay this fatty quote down:

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
~ Stephen Roberts

16. Sassu - September 27, 2007

Do you really live in a place where god is the topic of conversation almost perpetually? I’ll be honest – I’d leave immediately. ^_^ (I know you’re not in that position, though)

I live in a place that has plenty of religious tolerance. No one talks about religion, as we see it as a personal, internal thing.

If you talk about god publically around here, you get strange looks.

I am grateful for the attitude of the residents of New England. I could never survive in a Bible belt.

Do your parents actively shun you for your lack of belief? How strange.

I hope you find strength to believe in what you CHOSE to believe in at this point. Don’t be afraid to be an atheist – it’s great to know someone out there is thinking critically!

17. Teen Atheist - September 27, 2007

Shard J: Brilliant! I’m so keeping that.

18. Teen Atheist - September 27, 2007

Sassu: Lucky you! It’s not like we talk about religion all the time, but people do bring it up often, like, “God is my main motivator in life” blah blah blah.

My parents haven’t kicked me out or anything for being atheist, but they do think that I feel free to spread my evil around since I don’t follow God’s moral standards anymore. (Assholes. If that were the case, I’d steal their money and get the hell out of here in a New York minute.) Oh, and they’re taking Christmas away from me, too.

“I hope you find strength to believe in what you CHOSE to believe in at this point. Don’t be afraid to be an atheist – it’s great to know someone out there is thinking critically!”

Yup! I’m glad I came to this decision at an early age, and it’s been great learning more about it online. I’m not afraid of being an atheist…now, admitting to it might be just a little bit tougher. πŸ˜€

19. Gab - September 27, 2007

Burden’s on his side. Ask him, “Why should I be (a theist)?”

I wonder, though, what exactly did you said in reply? πŸ˜›

I envy your site traffic. πŸ˜„

20. Teen Atheist - September 27, 2007

Heh, he again would most likely have a long-winded answer for that. “God is the path to salvation” and so on. You know the type πŸ˜›

I just mumbled something along the lines of “Oh, well, there’s no evidence,” and left it at that.

“I envy your site traffic. XD”

LOL, really? I just started this blog two weeks ago, and my traffic is nothing compared to that of some people I know. πŸ˜€

21. lagim214 - September 27, 2007

See? You’ve started about as early as I have. 😦

Anyway. You don’t mind if I link you, do you? πŸ˜›

22. lagim214 - September 27, 2007

I’m Gab, btw. I should’ve logged in earlier. πŸ˜€

23. Teen Atheist - September 28, 2007

Sure, I’d be honored. πŸ™‚ I’ll link you too! Would you rather be listed as “Gab” or “Spoliarium?”

As for hits, I’d recommend joining the Atheist Blogroll (though I notice it’s already on your site — are you listed?) and Planet Atheism. And sign up for a lot of blog listings. And write a lot! I think part of the reason why my blog catches on is because I’m young, whiny and self-centered. Hehe! πŸ˜€

24. lagim214 - October 1, 2007

“Gab Madrid” nalang. πŸ™‚

I’m no sure if I’m listed yet, although I have already sent a request to join. Aand .I’m not sure what happened to it. :-?? Hmm.. *goes on to check with Mojoey*

25. lagim214 - October 1, 2007

Ikaw, what name will I list you with? (–did I say that right?)

Anong ilalagay kong pangalan mo sa list? πŸ˜„

26. Teen Atheist - October 1, 2007

Mojoey usually responds via email when you’re added to the list.

Anyway, just list me as Teen Atheist. πŸ˜€

27. This Christmas, part 2 « Diary of a Teenage Atheist - October 20, 2007

[…] just dropped the subject. There’s really no point in arguing with these people. Like I said, you can’t explain logic to a believer. (Is Mother Dearest considered a fundamentalist even if she doesn’t go to Church anymore, and […]

28. DaFatalGigabyte - October 31, 2007

Actually when you say that faithful people don’t understand logic, that doesn’t mean logical people don’t understand faith. In fact, like how the Pagans know more about Christianity than Christians do, logical people know more about faith than faithful people do.

That hot girl I know from church told me last service “I wish you actually wanted to come to church.” This was more sad than the “holier than thou” comments, but it did irk me. I can’t penetrate her thoughts with objectivity anymore. She actually said “I don’t know how anyone can believe in evolution.”!!!! ANyways, I do want to go to church…if only to see her πŸ˜‰ because she’s an hour away. 😦

OMGZ the last ex of that hot girl was named Tyler. A work of Christ! And they went together because they wanted to grow in spirituality. But they failed and then she failed in religion, but she came back. This must be an evil site according to god-logic. >_<

29. reynor - November 8, 2007

I can understand the defense of your belief on the basis of your assmumption on the evidence of the existence of God because it is an opinion of yours and a choice that you made on your own…by all means you are entitled to it. But logic is applied more on the affirmative. Because not until everything there is to know about everything we do not know and have confirmed that there is no God only then it would be logical to believe that there is no God…until there is still a place in the universe that we havent been, an idea that we havent thought about, all the knowledge in its entirety that we havent learned, to conclude that there is no evidence is but an arrogant claim based on unsubstantial and incomplete facts.

On your idea that “…[an atheist] cannot explain logic to a religious person and expect them to understand it’ i must say that while this you share with a lot of people as a general notion about what it means to be religious, it may be true to some but not to all. Because every religion is different. I am a Catholic and the tenets of our faith do not rely on ignorance. Quoting John Paul II from his encylical Fides et Ratio, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truthβ€”in a word, to know himselfβ€”so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” Your observation may be accurate but again it only applies to those who share the same misconception and have failed to address what religion, in my case Catholicism, is all about.

At any rate, you have an inquisitive mind and your genuine thirst for the defense of what you believe in is commendable, you are a seeker of truth and the only thing i can hope that you will possess is an open mind. There is a much sturdier ground for any belief when grounded on accurate facts and the integral truth of things.

30. Teen Atheist - November 8, 2007

Reynor, thank you for taking the time to write out a good, coherent response without resorting to name-calling or guilt-tripping. I still think that faith and logic are mutually exclusive, but I never said that one is necessarily better than the other, and I still respect people of all religions provided they do not promote hatred or bigotry.

31. reynor - November 9, 2007

My apologies, i thought that since you believe faith and logic are exclusive and you choosing logic over the other you are implying that one is necessarily better.

You are right and I strongly agree with you that there is no place for hatred and bigotry anywhere on our world society. I cannot speak for other religion but Christ’s summary of all the commandments which is the center of his ministry speaks of nothing but love. He went so far as to saying that even the enemies we have to extend our love…I still wonder how other people who are supposedly Catholics and the other Christians who are non-Catholics could come up with such bigoted remarks and commit acts of haterd toward the unbelievers and of those who do not share their beliefs. To that I can only pray to the God that I believe in and make sure that I do not do the same to any of my neighbors whom Christ said I am to love, regardless of anything that others might consider a hindrance or a reason for hatred.

Maybe it is too much to ask but I would love to hear your views on why you think faith and logic are mutually exclusive. I remain, looking forward to understanding more.

32. Teen Atheist - November 9, 2007

Faith is defined in the dictionary as “belief that is not based on proof.” You don’t need logic to support faith (in fact, they may sometimes contradict). And if you’re reliant on the existence of proof, which we atheists are, you will have to disregard or cast aside faith.

33. reynor - November 9, 2007

Thank you for that concise explanation. I will be sharing what we believe but please know that there is no intention of proselytizing because I myself as a believer of God know that there is no argument or any discussion that can lead one person to have the faith, insofar, I can also say that even when a person is in possession of all viable reasons and existence of proof necessary to believe, without the grace fo God his will will still lead him to choose not to believe…because only God changes hearts. My purpose is nothing more than just to clear what I perceive as a misconception on what we Catholics really believe.

Going back to the issue of faith and reason, while the dictionary is defining it as what you have posted, it failed to capture what it really means for Catholics, not for any reason other than the Catholic faith is just something that cannot be defined in a single sentence nor it can be found and understood by a dictionary definition.

There is a certain truth to how the dictionary defined it but it is not all. Our belief in God, which I know that you dont have and will not force you to, is the foundation of everything in regards to faith and reason. And this includes the consideration of evidences for the existence of God because simply it is just not possible, in our belief, without presupposing the existence of God. Having said that, that is the very same thing that leads to the point I am trying to offer as an enlightenment of the “weird Catholics” that we are. We dont choose between faith and reason, it is by faith that we come to understand rahter than any other faculties which seeks to understand before belief. This is not to say that one or the other is wrong but this is just a case of two different faculties in need of two different approach, of which both ends is about faith and reason working hand-in-hand for the ascent of intellect.

If God is who we believe to be the creator of all things then we Catholics are to believe that by putting our faith in Him we will understand the purpose of all things and this without the absence of proper exercise of human reasoning. For how else things will be intelligible without understanding their origin and without putting our faith on who is supposedly the originator.

The blind faith that you are referring to might be the word “mystery” that we religious people often throw around as if we are saying (there are many who actually say) that if this is miracle- no logic is needed. A mystery in the Catholic sense is not something that one cannot know about, it is something that one cannot know everything about. It is not a wall that one cannot look over to see what really is on the other side and therefore what is required of him is to believe without reason what he was told is there on the other side. Mystery in the Catholic sense, is like a never-ending wall in a museum bearing pictures of knowledge, to have faith is to know that it is worth looking at and that with the help of reason understand the place of everything in the vastness of its entire existence, increasing both faith and reason as one go through the pictures. it is not healthy to throw logic out of the window because it is only through reasoning, and the grace of God, that one can have a deeper faith.

This is a rather long comment, i apologize. but in closing I would like to open up this new question for you: isnt it that in order for one to be an aetheist one has to believe that there really is no God? and so until there is a proof that there really is no God, an aetheist relies on an unsaubstantial facts of which logic and right reasoning would deem unfit for an integral conclusion.

without the existence of reliable proof that there is no God, then an aetheist is not disregarding or cast asiding faith, it is just that aetheist are putting their faith on the assumption that there really is no God, nevertheless, faith.

34. Yesterday Tommorow - August 23, 2011

I like this part
( but I realized: You [an atheist] cannot explain logic to a religious person and expect them to understand it, the same way that you probably wouldn’t understand a religious person trying to explain faith to you. )
It feels good to know that there are other logical thinking humans in the world :P.
Now if only everyone thought like this they would be more understanding of each individual persons belief, once that belief doesn’t physically affect any other individual in society we should have Shangri-La.
NAHH that would be to easy, people are to stupid, selfish, illogical, self-centered, racist, ignorant and biased to there own groups.
We are all going to die in some nuclear explosion or something like that because of the majority of stupid people in the world.
We the logical, unbiased, selfless few are going to perish with the rest of these prks. FUTILE
Why do I even bother?

35. Yesterday Tommorow - August 23, 2011

I just looked at the date of these replies. o.O πŸ™‚
Is this guy even still alive?
Again why do I even bother?


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