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What is the root cause of atheist's disbelief and are they qualified to debate theism?

User Thread
 64yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Brother Bob is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
What is the root cause of atheist's disbelief and are they qualified to debate theism?
I was raised in a Christian family and lived my entire 53 years as a Christian, so it is safe to say I have much Christian knowledge and know Christians. I have many atheist friends and some relatives and very few were Christians or theists before and experienced apostasy (abandonment of one's religious faith). There are many atheists on this site. On what basis (other than freedom of speech) do atheists base their debates i.e. research, collective opinion, logic or observation.

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"What keeps man far from God, also keeps man far from man."
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that allimar is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
There isn't a basis for atheists/agnostics. They just realize that all Religions are taught. Anything taught with no basis of fact or proof is called brainwashing. Once they realize this they move on with their life.
I don't know about you, but a religion (agnostic/atheism) spawning consistently (occurs with every religion out there) is far more believable then someone who was raised in one way or another.

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"The more you learn, the less you know."
 64yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Brother Bob is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I was taught; to: walk, speak, play an instrument, all academics, drive and learned because I trusted my teacher. Have I been brainwashed to believe I need to love my neighbor as myself, and be kind, be generous, be humble, be reliable, be faithful, care for the poor, be loving, be free of guile, be free of guilt, and to treat others as I wish to be treated?

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"What keeps man far from God, also keeps man far from man."
 32yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
I was taught; to: walk, speak, play an instrument, all academics, drive and learned because I trusted my teacher. Have I been brainwashed to believe I need to love my neighbor as myself, and be kind, be generous, be humble, be reliable, be faithful, care for the poor, be loving, be free of guile, be free of guilt, and to treat others as I wish to be treated?


Good point Brother!

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 32yrs • F
A CTL of 1 means that vigil is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
There isn't a basis for atheists/agnostics. They just realize that all Religions are taught. Anything taught with no basis of fact or proof is called brainwashing.


You know something, atheists always get to me. I think I've known more atheists in my life than theists, so perhaps my perception of them is a little askew, but it always seems to me that they somehow think they have the right of it and in their own way, they take to "preaching" about how there is no God because there isn't any proof.

It always seems rather hypocritical to me, because while they think they are basing themselves in all of this logic - is it truly logical to dismiss something so unknown and say that it doesn't exist at all when we do not even have the science or power to divine that possibility?

[edit]

Here's my take on the root of atheism.

I tend to view atheism as a reaction partly based in fear or anger, and the need to know the truth. Or be right. Atheists do seem to feel anger towards the bible because of the claims that it asserts. To them it is full of wrongful judgment and tries to scare its readers into believing in God. I think this is one of the main things when it comes to why they feel the need to verbally try and shred the bible apart in conversations and go about demonizing religion. But they do want the truth.

They are the types of people who need to know straight facts to make their minds up about anything. They are not comfortable with simply admitting that they do not know how the universe came into existence, so they subscribe to belief that if they can't sense it, it's simply not there and they treat that belief factually.

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[  Edited by vigil at   ]
 32yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that awakendwraith is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
To start I would say that you are asking an invalid question. There is no root to disbelief. Disbelief is merely the absence of belief and belief must be learned from observation. Observations such as the bible and religion.

I was born this way. I am a natural occurrence. Perhaps Religion is a natural occurrence as well. Perhaps we need each other to challange each other for the greater good.

From an old member of this site, welcome Brother. I look forward to talking to you in the future.

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"Why cry for those that often cry? Instead, help them smile, and smile for those that smile."
 32yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that awakendwraith is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"Have I been brainwashed to believe I need to love my neighbor as myself, and be kind, be generous, be humble, be reliable, be faithful, care for the poor, be loving, be free of guile, be free of guilt, and to treat others as I wish to be treated?"

Yes. It was less profitable in the old days to do such things. Which is why in the old testament people were instructed to kill the nieghboring towns if they displeased the lord. They could use that you unite a country and prosper through war, instead of diplomacy, because diplomacy was often too dificult to even attempt.

I am not saying that YOU have been brainwashed, or that being a nice guy is unimportant, im just saying, you can't use obvious good things to support an irrational claim. Thats like me saying that centering ones soul is the only way to reach nirvana, and that it is my duty as a human to live as a hermit in order to meditate my entire life.

See where I'm coming from?

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"Why cry for those that often cry? Instead, help them smile, and smile for those that smile."
 64yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Brother Bob is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
To start I would say that you are asking an invalid question. There is no root to disbelief. Disbelief is merely the absence of belief and belief must be learned from observation. Observations such as the bible and religion.

Princeton dictionary definition of disbelief
incredulity: doubt about the truth of something
Atheists do not believe in something specific and that is God, I was eluding to disbelief in God.

quote:
I was born this way. I am a natural occurrence. Perhaps Religion is a natural occurrence as well. Perhaps we need each other to challange each other for the greater good.


Like a gay gene (I meant that as self-deprecating humour) Humour is part of the greater good, too.

quote:
From an old member of this site, welcome Brother. I look forward to talking to you in the future.


Thank you and may ______ bless you

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"What keeps man far from God, also keeps man far from man."
 64yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Brother Bob is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
I am not saying that YOU have been brainwashed, or that being a nice guy is unimportant, im just saying, you can't use obvious good things to support an irrational claim. Thats like me saying that centering ones soul is the only way to reach nirvana, and that it is my duty as a human to live as a hermit in order to meditate my entire life.


I do see where you are coming from and did not offer it as proof. I don't try to coerce or convince only inform. You are what you are and that is respected. I was responding to the statement that all religion is taught and was brainwashing. Those words are not just "obvious good things" those are the teachings. In the Bible these are taught as the nature and charcteristics of Christian dicipleship. There are two parts to discipleship; faith and works. The faith part is belief based, the works part is actionable being that Christ-like person.

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"What keeps man far from God, also keeps man far from man."
 32yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that awakendwraith is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"Princeton dictionary definition of disbelief
incredulity: doubt about the truth of something
Atheists do not believe in something specific and that is God, I was eluding to disbelief in God."

I feel that there is a misunderstanding between you and I Brother.

Its seems as if you are telling me that my dis-belief grows from something, because dis-belief is the doubt about truth, meaning that it must happen ABOUT something, therefor that something exists. The word truth in that definition is very strong. It seems as if you are saying that your God IS truth.

What I am saying, and what you have yet to address, is that religion must be learned, therefor it is not a natural occurrence. Therefor it is less likely, less probable, to be truth. Spirituality and theology are natural i believe, but the Improbability of any Religion being Truth, which is what it seems you are basing your statement off of, is irrational, and therefor I cannot respect an argument coming from there.

"Those words are not just "obvious good things" those are the teachings. In the Bible these are taught as the nature and charcteristics of Christian dicipleship. "

I believe that these things are THE teaching because they are the OBVIOUS good things in man kind and that they could use those things to unite a people under one cause. When raising children, I have three nieces that I live with, there are certain things that you MUST brainwash your children into believing or they will hurt themselves. Things like, don't touch the oven. These things are not tought to them through a serious of deductive reasoning, because 18 month old babies can't understand English. They are brainwashed into thinking that it is bad and then they listen. Now, its not as if we are hurting them in anyway by getting them to leave the oven alone, but it is brainwashing.

This is where I am coming from when I tell you that Christian teachings are brainwashing. They are using obvious good things, like don't touch the oven, to make themselves seem more credible to be the ultimate truth. When a persons sees all the obvious truths in Christianity, like be a good person, don't kill it isn't nice, they then give it credibility and tenor in things that it doesn't deserve, such as the after life.

I'll stop there.

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"Why cry for those that often cry? Instead, help them smile, and smile for those that smile."
 64yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Brother Bob is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
When raising children, I have three nieces that I live with, there are certain things that you MUST brainwash your children into believing or they will hurt themselves. Things like, don't touch the oven. These things are not tought to them through a serious of deductive reasoning, because 18 month old babies can't understand English. They are brainwashed into thinking that it is bad and then they listen. Now, its not as if we are hurting them in anyway by getting them to leave the oven alone, but it is brainwashing.


I have raised two daughters and taught them things to keep them from harm because I love them and I care for them because they can't care for themselves. It was voluntary and free of manipulation and sometimes it wasn't enough and they injured themselves anyway. Children are quite rebellious and emotionally under developed so they are ones who use the manipulation e.g. 'I hate you daddy/mommy' to get their way, again against loving guidance. I contend it is quite impossible to "brainwash" a 2 year old as they are completely and entirely contrary.

There is no such thing as my truth or your truth and only one truth. My path, my view and my objectives differ as do yours. Your belief is my disbelief. My belief is your disbelief. We are opposite, we are contrary concerning one thing. You may ask say the same question of me: What is the root cause of my disbelief in atheism? My answer will have nothing to do with atheism because no one has ever volunteered any atheist philosophy only rhetoric, argument and contradictions. Am I qualified to debate atheism? Absolutely not, I don't know the first thing about it and view it from what I know to be true.
What is the truth about God? No proof is necessary because it serves no purpose, even if you were presented undeniable truth and proof, you are still free to reject it. Belief in God must be voluntarily and sincerely accepted and can not be based in fear or manipulation. It also carries with it a committment and responsibility.
No one will ever prove the existence of God to everyone, however I contend it is easier than proving His non-existence

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"What keeps man far from God, also keeps man far from man."
 64yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Brother Bob is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
Brother, I would love to discuss this with you.
Do you subscribe to, and understand the concept of probability and deduction?

Decius, as I would love to discuss it with you. You have a beautiful mind. I do disagree with you profoundly, however I admire they way you reason and appreciate your easy grace. Yes, probability and deduction are absolutely tools I have used in diagnosis, troubleshooting, operational analysis, process auditing, engineering, mathematical theorem, software design and Boolean logic are all in my academic history.

quote:
For example:

1) The sky is blue
2) My shirt is blue
=) My shirt and the sky are the same color
... suggests a probable truth about reality.

Do you agree to everything above

The definitions I have outlined?

Not necessarily, I may arrive at a different conclusion unless you include assumptions like:
I am not blind and see as you do.
I own the same blue shirt.
The same conditions are present i.e. similar weather not overcast
In the same moment in time i.e. not at night, sunrise or sunset.
The deduction is arrived at by some acquired knowledge or wisdom and skill. Flawed deduction would result in statements like: 'The shirt and the sky were the same' or 'The sky is made of shirt'

So, would you agree that the point of view and assumptions are important to arriving at the same conclusion?

quote:
If so, would you say that you subscribe to probability and logical deduction on a daily basis to conduct your life? For example, do you deduce that leaving the stove on is probably dangerous, hence turn it off?

It is a one of the tools one uses, but not pure logic and deductions, is not always a suitable tool, decisions could result from reluctance, memory of an event, observation of an event, practical teaching or common sense. Have you made mistakes and how was that possible? Do you always have sufficient information to allow for adequate reasoning?


quote:
If so, then it is safe to say that you subscribe to probability to govern your day to day activities, from safety to eating, sleeping, etc. That certain actions have certain potential consequences, and these consequences each have a different probability of happening.

Probabilities control circumstances beyond my control, consequence is a teacher in itself, and the desire to not suffer consequence a choice not based on probability simply avoidance i.e. something bad might happen. Sometimes logic and probability denies an experience because of improper reasoning or unwillingness to take risk. Sometimes suspension of belief and risk are required and the only way to find truth.

quote:
If you conduct your life in this manner, trusting and investing in probability, then doesn't it form a psychological abnormality for you to subscribe to something improbable in the one case regarding Christianity?

One cannot trust entirely on probability if seeking truth or reward, (see above). You make another assumption, I must have a psychological abnormality if I do not entirely trust in probability (I prefer to call it passion, zeal and zest for life). If passion is an abnormality it would have to be proven by someone qualified using proven clinical testing. So I perceive your argument as an insult, nothing more.

For an atheist to understand root cause from a Christian point of view a leap of faith is required. For a Christian to understand root cause from an atheist point of view they must suspend their belief. Neither is likely. Absence of proof is not an argument nor is testimony to a Godly experience. Logic is not truth is it a methodology. Probability is not truth it is best guess. Miracles are undeniable and unexplainable.

1) There is no God because there is no proof vs. Proof requires an investment of time, study, experience and relationship.
2) There is no God because it is not logical vs. Logic is only useful if it is pure without assumptions and depends entirely on skill, method and process.
3) Probability vs. Faith
4) God exists because He has communicated vs. person suffering from delusion.
5) God exists because of miracles experienced vs. Random chance and unexplainable phenomenon.
6) Scientific theories as a result of deduction and probability cannot be proved vs. Eye witness events are factual in first person but hearsay to second or third parties
7) Intelligent design vs. Evolution

quote:
Do you argue that it is probable that Christianity is the one true way?

No, it would be wrong of me to suggest that or to convince you of anything through any trickery. When asked I only speak the Truth. By the way, it is also hogwash for people to say you will 'burn in hell' if you are not a Christian, because it is simply not their decision. As a disciple I have no guarantee, grace is a free gift to everyone and we are free to reject it.
I have accepted Christ voluntarily, willingly and lovingly. At one point in my life I turned my back on God (yes, bad things do happen to Christians), He pursued me. I have no psychological abnormality and I am happy, healthy and well adjusted.
I have not been brainwashed, I define brainwashing as forced indoctrination for purpose of manipulation, but I do submit this is a method that has been used by the unscrupulous in the past.

I am neither threatened by others and their unique philosophy nor condemn them.
I love you as my brother regardless of your ideology; I would love you if you were my enemy.

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"What keeps man far from God, also keeps man far from man."
 39yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Squarepants is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I came from a very antireligous family both my parents are physicists and my best subject at school was physics.
As I get older I'm realizing every day how little I actually know. If the world we live in is just a set of random coincidences how can any thing actually happen, there would be no cause and effect.

I think if people are trying to find god by using their brain they won't, like cells on the body trying to find the body.
Some of my friends are christians and they have tried persuading me to christianity even by using the bible, which I found to be very wordy and boring.
So I thought if god is so great he must be able to get him self across in better ways, so instead I look at nature and just think how amazing there is anything at all and what a blissfull feeling I get by just realizing it.

I now believe god is so much greater than what words can describe and that god communicates it self through emotion.
I believe the disbelief in god is just the worded view of god, don't think of god, but feel god.

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"I hungry"
 32yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that awakendwraith is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"My belief is your disbelief. We are opposite, we are contrary concerning one thing. You may ask say the same question of me: What is the root cause of my disbelief in atheism?"

I am no longer confused as to what you mean. I'll try to give an answer.

I would say that when you observe the world, you see it differently than I, which is what I think you meant whit the statement about owning the same shirt but seeing it differently.

You say point of view and assumptions are important to coming to conclusions. I am happy to tell you that as an atheist I make it a little goal of mine ot learn of other peoples perspectives and points of view on the world to learn from them in order to know more "Truth" and that I try to keep in mind that I have a limited perspective myself. This helps me see the world in a humble.

Perhaps the root of my disbelief comes from the root of your belief, which is the chosen perspectives, and the unchosen assuptions on the world that we have taken.

If for the sake of argument, the reason why you believe and I disbelieve is assumption and perspective, does that not answer your question? Obviously I would like to discuss the different perspectives, I am just wondering if the conversation should even go that way.

I find this passage relevant.

"I understand more fully now that people's visions of reality are very much unique, in that their perspectives are all different, because of everyone's different environment. genetics also play a part in interpretation, as does past experiences, but that kinda goes along with environment.

Some things are felt sole because they are interpretations of perceived reality, and that reality should always be in question. The reason there should be constant question is because perception, as hard as we try, will never be 100 percent non-bias, we are human after all.

Some feelings, are very much unique, because they are largely simple understands sought through perception, seen through perspective.

All we are is a reference of the things we have experienced.

That's why we like communication so much as a species. It's validation of existence, through natural reference.

Is it natural? The English language would have us assume it is, what with the word hermit in it and all.

It seems natural, because so many people do it, but, that is not enough "evidence" for it to be true..

And this is a struggle we can not win. We can only refer to ourselves, and perceive through our own understanding of what the world actually is."

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"Why cry for those that often cry? Instead, help them smile, and smile for those that smile."
[  Edited by awakendwraith at   ]
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that allimar is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I missed out on earlier but here is my reply.

You were trained to speak and play an instrument. On your own you could figure these out as well as walking and running. Mathematics was discovered mind you around the world by people researching it. Driving was also taught by observation and trial and error. You don't have this in any religion. You can say you were taught a number of abilities growing up trusting your teachers when in reality they were showing you possibilities from there knowledge. After you understood you then picked up where they left off and either discovered more truths or taught what you know.

As for being kind every way of life teaches this because it helps us as a whole achieve greater things. Being that this is taught in every religion as well as those not religious I would say this is a way of life. So you can't really say it's religious because it's taught whether or not you are religious.

No one discovered the BIBLE or any other religion. No religion is discovered, it's made up. If you were to shoot our species to another planet with no knowledge whatsoever about earth or where they came from they will create a language, discover sciences and mathematics, and probably make up their own religion to kill each other with because they don't believe that the world was made in 13 days, or some people have a mole to suggest they are a witch or whatever paranoid made up self righteous thing they could come up with.

Scientists are curious about the world around them and pursue knowledge and understanding. Religious fanatics believe they understand everything and declare war over the most ignorant ideas. Scientists will spend time experimenting and discovering, religious followers will preach about how they are right about the unknown as if it mattered and damn those that disagree, regardless of proof or merit.

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"The more you learn, the less you know."
What is the root cause of atheist's disbelief and are they qualified to debate theism?
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