Atheism

kesavaross

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The question that I can not resolve is if there is a God, why do bad things happen to truly good people ?

Also, religious wars have destroyed civilizations, example The Crusades or Spanish Inquisition, etc.)

I am still trying to figure the religious “ thing “ out.
I'll be brief as I don't want to de rail the thread.

There are answers to those questions. If the question is in just the mind, then probably you won't find an answer. If it comes from the heart you probably will find the answer.
 

escargot

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I don't believe in gods so I'm an atheist by definition but I don't feel I belong in a group or anything.
That's one of the many good things about atheism: there's no pressure to conform or belong. :cool:

Another is the pleasure of closing down questions about it (say, from someone who's trying to trick you into admitting some form of belief) with 'I don't need to justify myself to you.'
I love saying that. :chuckle:
 

escargot

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Had the opportunity to examine my own religious/spiritual/superstitious beliefs last year when a relation of a close friend died, an intestate recluse, and I was asked to help clear the house for sale afterwards.

There was some frantic rifling of the place for personal papers, valuables, heirlooms etc in which I assisted.
At some point it turned into 'Take whatever you want as it's all going to the tip!' so I stocked up on free expensive kitchen implements and power tools.

Have slept well since, with no sign of an aggrieved ghost at the foot of the bed asking for his Black and Decker back. :chuckle:
 

Tunn11

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Had the opportunity to examine my own religious/spiritual/superstitious beliefs last year when a relation of a close friend died, an intestate recluse, and I was asked to help clear the house for sale afterwards.

There was some frantic rifling of the place for personal papers, valuables, heirlooms etc in which I assisted.
At some point it turned into 'Take whatever you want as it's all going to the tip!' so I stocked up on free expensive kitchen implements and power tools.

Have slept well since, with no sign of an aggrieved ghost at the foot of the bed asking for his Black and Decker back. :chuckle:
Just means that they are in some sort of afterlife that doesn't require D.I.Y. :)
 

escargot

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Just means that they are in some sort of afterlife that doesn't require D.I.Y. :)
As we don't know what comes next we make it up, consciously or otherwise.

My late father was known for spending most of the day in his shed-complex, often known by family as the Shanty Town.
After his death we've all dreamed of visiting him in his new Celestial Shed or seeing him up a ladder installing a roof on a sparkling new one. :chuckle:

Yup, you're right. There are shiny new tools in Heaven. Keith has no need of his old ones. :cool:
 

Tunn11

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As we don't know what comes next we make it up, consciously or otherwise.

My late father was known for spending most of the day in his shed-complex, often known by family as the Shanty Town.
After his death we've all dreamed of visiting him in his new Celestial Shed or seeing him up a ladder installing a roof on a sparkling new one. :chuckle:

Yup, you're right. There are shiny new tools in Heaven. Keith has no need of his old ones. :cool:
Yes, the batteries are never flat, the attachments always fit and you never catch your bits in the tool's bits.

IIRC Terry Pratchett's DEATH always told people that whatever came next depended on what they believed.

Edited as my 'phone doesn't meet the above criteria!
 
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eburacum

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Some of the flavours of irreligion, extracted from Wikipedia.
  • Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.[7]
  • Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable.[8]
  • Antireligion is opposition or rejection of religion of any kind.[9]
  • Apatheism is the attitude of apathy or indifference towards the existence or non-existence of god(s).[9]
  • Atheism is the lack of belief that any deities exist or, in a narrower sense, positive atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. There are ranges from Negative and positive atheism.[10]
  • Antitheism is the opposition to theism.[11][12] The term has had a range of applications. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the belief in any deity.
  • Deism is the philosophical position and rationalistic theology[13] that rejects revelation as a source of divine knowledge, and asserts that empirical reason and observation of the natural world are exclusively logical, reliable, and sufficient to determine the existence of a Supreme Being as the creator of the universe.[13][14][15][16][17]
  • Freethought holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma.[9]
  • Naturalism is the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the universe.[18]
  • Secular humanism is a system of thought that prioritizes human rather than divine matters.[19] It is also viewed as a humanistic philosophy viewed as a nontheistic religion antagonistic to traditional religion.[20]
  • Secularism is overwhelmingly used to describe a political conviction in favour of minimizing religion in the public sphere, that may be advocated regardless of personal religiosity. Yet it is sometimes, especially in the United States, also a synonym for naturalism or atheism.[21]
  • "Spiritual but not religious" is a designation coined by Robert C. Fuller for people who reject traditional or organized religion but have strong metaphysical beliefs. The SBNR may be included under the definition of nonreligion,[22] but are sometimes classified as a wholly distinct group.[23]
  • Theological noncognitivism is the argument that religious language – specifically, words such as God – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered as synonymous with ignosticism.
  • Ignosticism, also known as igtheism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless because the word "God" has no coherent and unambiguous definition.
My opinion is probably somewhere near naturalism, which presumes that everything in the universe/multiverse is natural, even the process or processes that created the various cosmoi. But that presumption has no real explaining power.

Sometimes I'm tempted by deism, since the process that created the universe(s) may have some sort of distinct characteristics and be some kind of discrete entity; but I really wouldn't like to guess what those characteristics are.
 

Mikefule

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I don't believe in gods so I'm an atheist by definition but I don't feel I belong in a group or anything.

Perhaps you're a humanist.
@Rappinghood Try thinking of "atheist" as an adjective: I am atheist, my opinions are atheist.

If you use atheist as a noun ("I am an atheist") then there is a risk that it will become a "definition" of what you are — at least in the minds of some other people. Then they will make judgements about you as a person rather than about your beliefs (or lack of beliefs).

It's a bit like the word "vegetarian". If you have a vegetarian diet or say that you prefer vegetarian food (vegetarian as an adjective) it does not define you.

However, if you call yourself a vegetarian (vegetarian as a noun) then people immediately start telling you what you "can" and "can't" eat, and they delight in pointing out what they perceive as inconsistencies. You are expected to behave in a certain way, and are challenged if you don't. (I was vegetarian for about 18 years, although I am no longer.)

A lot of prejudice and preconception is maintained in society by the phenomenon of adjectives morphing into nouns that then define and constrain an individual. He is "a gay", she is "a lesbian", he is "a black", he is "an Indian". They gay/lesbian/black/Indian/etc. person is then expected to behave like a gay/lesbian/black/Indian/etc., and is often treated in a certain way. There is a similar situation when someone is described as "a sales manager" or "a shop worker" rather than someone who happens to be in that line of work.

@Herr Cloaca . I have been a member of the British Humanist Association and an occasional contributor to the Free Thinker and other magazines. I left all that behind me a few years ago because "Humanism" seemed quite prescriptive. "Humanists believe... (list of generally worthy values)" At that time, the BHA felt to me rather like a "church for atheists." Even now on humanists dot uk, there is a quiz, "How Humanist are you?" with the caption:
How humanist are you? Find out by taking our quick quiz.
Many people are humanists without even knowing it. If you are non-religious and look to science, reason, empathy, and compassion in order to live an ethical and meaningful life...


I do not believe in god(s). That does not mean that I automatically buy into one complete set of Humanist philosophical beliefs or ethics.
 

escargot

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However, if you call yourself a vegetarian (vegetarian as a noun) then people immediately start telling you what you "can" and "can't" eat, and they delight in pointing out what they perceive as inconsistencies. You are expected to behave in a certain way, and are challenged if you don't.
I just say 'Fuck off with your shite.'
 

Jim

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Is there an elemental dilemma with athiesm?

Either a God exists, or it doesn't.

You are a believer, or an atheist.

Die and as a believer and if there's no God, will never know you were wrong.

Die and as a believer and if there is a God, then happy days.

It's a win-win situation.

Die and as an atheist and if there's no God, you will never have the satisfaction of knowing you were right.

Die and as an atheist and if there is a God, then 'up sh*t creek without a paddle'.

It's a lose-lose situation.

:popc:
No there's us agnostic's whom take neither position (I hold to no single deity). I'm an observer on the fence and really don't care what the masses or individuals believe so long as they are not harming anyone. Plenty of religious and atheistic murders, pograms, and exterminations on both sides. Extremism is the real treat. Just look the atheistic communist: killed 10's of millions, the Arap jahads killed millions and so on crusaders, inquisition, Mid-East wars, Nazis (who temporarily allowed most religions in order not to demoralize the army, they considered it completely unnecessary in the top party level and eventually planned to do away with it ).
 

AmStramGram

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  • Apatheism is the attitude of apathy or indifference towards the existence or non-existence of god(s).[9]

For those who are interested (and who can read French), French philosopher and sinologist François Jullien wrote a book about the divergence between the West and China about religion (title of the book : Moise ou la Chine ["Moses or China]) which gives an interesting (and sometimes boring) illustration of apatheism.

Even if he does not use the word "Apatheism", his theory is that China evolved toward a kind of apatheism through considering our world through the lens of "processess" (what the Chinese came to call Dao, "The Way") rather than "essences".

When our Greek forefathers worked hard to define "ideas", classify the "same" and "the other", the causes and the consequences, the Chinese forsake any notion of a personal God (the "Shangdi" of the early dynasties) to focus almost excusively on the way the natural environment endures through perpetual change.

In Ancient China, the ancient gods therefore gave way to the impersonal concept of "Heaven", and then to the even more impersonal "Dao"/ "Way". Of course, in nowadays' China, you can still find plenty of "gods" and "demons" (and mediums to impersonate them). But somehow, they are on par with humans, as we are all following the heavenly processes of the Dao, which is not a god, but rather the way nature follows its laws ... It has no shape, no will. It is not "outside" as it is present everywhere. And if it gives a basis to moral concepts, it is not because it wants you to do this or avoid that. It is because what follows the "Way" is supposedly good, and what diverges from it, is naturally doomed. If you don't follow the laws of nature, you cannot endure. It's a bit darwinian ...

François Jullien sees this as a major divergence with the West, with massive consequences on our respective cultures. When our Western philosophy was stimulated by the endless arguing between atheists and religious thinkers, the Chinese essentially did not care ... They preferred focusing on how we should behave to closely follow "the Way" of nature and live (and rule) harmoniously, embrassing the cycle of growth and recess of nature.

Politically, that probably contributed to a different way to express dissent within society. When the ruler of the empire was a bad one, the wise man was the one who retreated to his ermitage in the countryside, not the rebellious hero who appealed to a greater authority (Justice, God or whatever) for there wasn't such an overwhelming figure in the pantheon (as there was no pantheon at all). Like the mythical "King Wen", if you suffered under a ruthless overlord, all you could do was "cultivating" your virtue as, naturally, someday, you or your descendants would be rewarded for that by the natural evolution of the situation : the evil would at some point reach unsustainable levels, and this would spontaneously favour the virtuous, as people would crowd to his benevolent court.


When the Jesuists came to China in hope to convert the population to the Christian faith, they were originally met by a tremendous resistance with the locals, not because they would negate the idea of God, but because the Chinese simply did not care and actually did not see the point with this foreign religion. Earlier on, Buddhism had encountered a much greater success, but because of its holistic doctrines of "essential emptiness", who were reminiscent of the Chinese Dao.

On the other side of the globe, the 18th century thinkers of the "Enlightenment" era, who were craving for more emancipation toward religious authorities, were logically fascinated by the discovery of the Chinese culture.


Of course, all this stuff contains some oversimplification, but the analysis remains grossly valid, and illustrate what "apatheism" could look like in real life, and it helps understand why and how topics which fuel heated debates in the West, may leave some people completely indifferent. François Jullien even suggests that such an indifference is a much greater challenge to religion than "atheism", as you cannot hope to debate with someone who just doesn't care.
 

Cochise

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I do not believe in god(s). That does not mean that I automatically buy into one complete set of Humanist philosophical beliefs or ethics.
Quite.

We get on to the difference between faith in a God (or gods) and religion. Humanism is a religion with a fairly fixed set of beliefs / principles /
guidelines - call them what you will.

Buddhism is similar in a way - at least in my limited understanding thereof.

Anyway, there are three possible states, theism, agnosticism, and atheism. Strangely this has a direct link to relational database theory, where results of querys can be true, false or unknown.
 

Mikefule

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That is interesting: apatheism rather than atheism.

Agnostic: technically, someone who believes that it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of god(s).
Agnostic: loosely, someone who has not formed an strong view on the existence or otherwise of god(s) but is willing to be convinced by evidence.
Atheist: someone who rejects the existence of god(s)
Apotheist: a word I have learned today: someone who honestly doesn't give a monkeys about whether or not gods exist.

Apotheism is a useful word. Thank you.

My dream is of a world full of apothexuals: people who just aren't interested in whether or not someone else is straight, gay, etc. Of course, the newspapers would be thinner.

We have a few apothecaries in our town, but that has a very different etymology! :)
 

Cochise

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That is interesting: apatheism rather than atheism.

Agnostic: technically, someone who believes that it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of god(s).
Agnostic: loosely, someone who has not formed an strong view on the existence or otherwise of god(s) but is willing to be convinced by evidence.
Atheist: someone who rejects the existence of god(s)
Apotheist: a word I have learned today: someone who honestly doesn't give a monkeys about whether or not gods exist.

Apotheism is a useful word. Thank you.

My dream is of a world full of apothexuals: people who just aren't interested in whether or not someone else is straight, gay, etc. Of course, the newspapers would be thinner.

We have a few apothecaries in our town, but that has a very different etymology! :)
Some database theorists attempt to further subdivide 'unknown' in a disturbingly similar way :thought:
 

JahaRa

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Is Atheism A Belief System... or Fact?

It just struck me - many people who are atheists seem to regard it as a fact, irrefutable. But isn't it a belief system, exactly the same as monotheism, polytheism, or agnosticism? Or is it scientific "fact"? I'm not sure how it's calssified, but it might be scientific fact to a believer in atheism, but just a belief to anybody else....
It is a lack of belief, is that a belief system? Many (most) religious people insist that the existence of a deity is a "fact", but it is only a belief.
 

Cochise

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It is a lack of belief, is that a belief system? Many (most) religious people insist that the existence of a deity is a "fact", but is is only a belief.
I'd say atheism, in itself, is a perfectly reasonable assertion, not a belief system. You don't have to 'believe' in the absence of something for which there is no observable or repeatable evidence. Otherwise you'd have to argue that insisting the moon is not populated by giant octopi is a belief system.

But couple it with 'rules', like Humanism, and then it does become a belief system, a religion if you prefer.

I say this as a theist but I try to be objective. I've no right to expect anyone else to believe what I believe.
 

Endlessly Amazed

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Quite.

We get on to the difference between faith in a God (or gods) and religion. Humanism is a religion with a fairly fixed set of beliefs / principles /
guidelines - call them what you will.

Buddhism is similar in a way - at least in my limited understanding thereof.

Anyway, there are three possible states, theism, agnosticism, and atheism. Strangely this has a direct link to relational database theory, where results of querys can be true, false or unknown.

"True, false, or unknown" - This is part of the basis of the different social construction of knowledge theories. A simple framework for analysis which I found useful in all sorts of applications, including religion, is a four cell in which the two columns are knowable and unknowable, and the two rows are known and unknown. In the US, IT stuff got pulled into knowledge management via the European field of informatics.
 

Patrick30

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I find the study of religions fascinating, so I guess I can’t claim I’m in the don’t give a rats ass camp, on an intellectual level at least. But on a personal human to human level, yea, as long as you do no harm other than to youself I don’t care. Well, if your someone I care about then yea sure I care For you well being.
On a rational level, I’m atheistic and naturalistic. On an emotional, metaphysical, or metaphorical level, I guess I could be described as agnostic. On a political level I am definitely secular.
 

Vardoger

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Generally speaking, I'm an atheist. The gods people are thought about to believe in are obviously human constructions going back to stone age/bronze age. Even Allah is a bronze age god which existed long before Mohammed's time.

When it comes to ghosts and other paranormal entities, I don't dismiss the existence, but they need to be proven. When it's proven, we will know it exists and will just be another part of the universe we know about and no longer paranormal. I don't put the belief in ghosts together beliefs in gods.
 

EnolaGaia

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That is interesting: apatheism rather than atheism.

Agnostic: technically, someone who believes that it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of god(s).
Agnostic: loosely, someone who has not formed an strong view on the existence or otherwise of god(s) but is willing to be convinced by evidence.
Atheist: someone who rejects the existence of god(s)
Apotheist: a word I have learned today: someone who honestly doesn't give a monkeys about whether or not gods exist.

Apotheism is a useful word. Thank you.
My dream is of a world full of apothexuals: people who just aren't interested in whether or not someone else is straight, gay, etc. Of course, the newspapers would be thinner.
We have a few apothecaries in our town, but that has a very different etymology! :)

Just a note ... I'm not sure why you shifted spellings in midstream, but those two words aren't synonyms.

Apatheism is the formal term for an attitude of disinterest or dismissal toward the question of god(s).

Apotheism isn't a formally recognized theological position, but it appears (in various forms) here and there on the 'Net. In one place it seems to be used to label or characterize an orientation toward somehow seeking out god(s) so as to advance or re-establish deities' relevance to human affairs - an entirely distinct theme.
 

eburacum

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I've conceived a '-theism' of my own, based on various science fiction concepts and exobiology; if you google the word, the first example that comes up was written by me.

Subtheism. The possibility that a sufficiently advanced civilisation could have godlike characteristics and powers.

Such a civilisation, or an entity belonging to that civilisation, might have remarkable capabilities, up to and including the creation of planets, control over a wide range of material objects and processes such as weather control, control over tides and various celestial phenomena, the creation of life and ressurection of the apparently dead, and so on. Basically all the characteristics of a god from classical mythologies.

But such an entity would not be omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent, and would be infinitely less capable than the creator of the Universe. Indeed, a subgod (I'll call it a 'subtheon') of this kind might feel the urge to worship the true creator of the universe, despite having no true and justified knowledge about that entity.

I believe that it is possible that humans will eventually create subtheons of our own, whether they are artificially intelligent entities or vastly augmented humans. Such subtheons might well be worthy of some sort of worship by mortals such as ourselves, but they would still be far below any true deity in the cosmic heirarchy.

------------------------

Some people have speculated that humanity, or our eventual successor godlings, might even develop the capability to create new universes, by manipulating the forces present in the Big Bang, or by some other method. Would that make them true gods, with power of life and death over an entire cosmos? Or would there still be a heirarchy of godhood above and beyond them? Is there in fact no end to the levels of godhood above us?

(don't ask me - I don't know).
 
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Mikefule

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Just a note ... I'm not sure why you shifted spellings in midstream, but those two words aren't synonyms.

Apatheism is the formal term for an attitude of disinterest or dismissal toward the question of god(s).

Apotheism isn't a formally recognized theological position, but it appears (in various forms) here and there on the 'Net. In one place it seems to be used to label or characterize an orientation toward somehow seeking out god(s) so as to advance or re-establish deities' relevance to human affairs - an entirely distinct theme.
It was a typo on my part, but I stand corrected and have learned something additional. Thanks
 

AmStramGram

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I've conceived a '-theism' of my own, based on various science fiction concepts and exobiology; if you google the word, the first example that comes up was written by me.

Subtheism. The possibility that a sufficiently advanced civilisation could have godlike characteristics and powers.

Well, we are already the gods (and demons) of cats and dogs, aren't we ? Mine were admirative of my various superpowers : single handedly lifting up gigantic tables and chairs, opening or closing doors, taking my ailing little friends to the miraculous "medecine god" who magically alievates pain, and even more amazing : providing them with an inexhaustible source of food.

Actually, subtheism is quite similar to the traditional buddhist worldview, where "gods" are just classified as a kind of "superior" species (a species you can even be reborn in at some point).

One of the oldest sutras (buddhist sacred texts) humourously tells of Buddha a monk visiting the highest God of the Indian pantheon, the Great Brahma. The Buddha monk questions various gods about the origin of the universe, but they keep telling him "we don't know, please seek another higher god for an answer". So he ends up reaching the Great Brahma and asks him his question. Brahma answers, in a thunderous voice : "I am the Great Brahma ! The Almighty !". But the monk Buddha is not satisfied by the answer, so he asks again. And Brahma repeats : "I am the Great Brahma ! The Almighty !". So the Buddha monk says : "Well ! That doesn't answer my question ...". Brahma then tells him to approach, and with a soft voice, he says : "I am sorry. I don't know, but since I am the highest god, I cannot disapoint my followers. That's why I keep telling you I am the Almighty".

Unfortunately, I cannot remember the title of this ironic text but it is part of the Pali "Sutta pitaka". I forgot the indian title. Found it : it is the "Kevatta Sutta". Source : https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.11.0.than.html (Last part, starting at "conversation with the gods")
 
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Bad Bungle

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This is a Forteana Forum, the atheism thread is 78 pages long so I assume there are atheists here with Fortean interests. IMO religion arose in response to age-old questions such as 'why am I here' and 'what happens to me when I'm no longer here ?' (I heard the argument several times in my youth: 'If God didn't exist, we'd have to invent him). So I'm interested in atheists who believe in ghosts and the supernatural - whatever the definition of 'believe' and 'ghosts' is taken to be. Not interested enough to read all 78 pages mind, as it's a sunny Saturday in May outside.
Is religion without a Godhead simply a series of Minor strangeness and IHTM ie do the questions get an answer ?
 

PeteByrdie

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This is a Forteana Forum, the atheism thread is 78 pages long so I assume there are atheists here with Fortean interests. IMO religion arose in response to age-old questions such as 'why am I here' and 'what happens to me when I'm no longer here ?' (I heard the argument several times in my youth: 'If God didn't exist, we'd have to invent him). So I'm interested in atheists who believe in ghosts and the supernatural - whatever the definition of 'believe' and 'ghosts' is taken to be. Not interested enough to read all 78 pages mind, as it's a sunny Saturday in May outside.
Is religion without a Godhead simply a series of Minor strangeness and IHTM ie do the questions get an answer ?
Interesting questions. I suppose each individual has their own take. My own is that all the various, incompatible religions and beliefs in deity past and future contain utterly ridiculous claims and are outside the experiences of both the common person and the scientist. Clearly, the religious interpret strange phenomena in terms of their faiths, but taken on their own those phenomena rarely seem to suggest deity.

On the other hand, people consistently report ghosts, UFOs, cryptids and so on. I believe in these things as phenomena. Whether the question we arrive at is, 'In what form do we survive death,' or, 'Why do people invent ghost sightings and maintain the lie,' the fact that sparks the phenomena is, 'People frequently report seeing, feeling, hearing ghosts,' and that's worth examining. In between the two questions above there is a spectrum of other possible questions, such as, 'Are the things being experienced remnants of passed humans,' or, 'Do people embellish their experiences to make them seem stranger and impossible to explain away, and then believe their own embellishments,' and so on. Religion is a belief in things virtually never experienced in anything other than a feeling, but common but mysterious human experiences seem much more worthy of examination to me.

Right, it's Saturday, and time for beer.
 

EnolaGaia

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... IMO religion arose in response to age-old questions such as 'why am I here' and 'what happens to me when I'm no longer here ?' (I heard the argument several times in my youth: 'If God didn't exist, we'd have to invent him). ...

I tend to think animism and other early belief structures arose as a folkloric means for explain phenomena, create lore to pass on to newer generations, and attempt magical influence on the environment. The concept of other beings that influenced or controlled things dates all the way back to this phase. I'm not confident the sort of individual existential questions we associate with religion today (and you quoted) were significant motivators in this folkloric era.

I'm pretty sure what we know now as "organized religion" arose later as a power structure to codify and enforce social order as settled populations grew larger and the hierarchical levels of authority grew more prominent. The concept of only one or a few "Master God(s)" to whom one owed allegiance emerged during this later phase. "Atheism" arose as a pejorative concept formulated by stakeholders in organized religion that could be used to smear those who weren't "with the program".

In other words, I believe some measure of belief in supernatural or paranormal forces / entities / etc. pre-dated organized religion.
 

PeteByrdie

Privateer in the service of Princess Frideswide
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I tend to think animism and other early belief structures arose as a folkloric means for explain phenomena, create lore to pass on to newer generations, and attempt magical influence on the environment. The concept of other beings that influenced or controlled things dates all the way back to this phase. I'm not confident the sort of individual existential questions we associate with religion today (and you quoted) were significant motivators in this folkloric era.

I'm pretty sure what we know now as "organized religion" arose later as a power structure to codify and enforce social order as settled populations grew larger and the hierarchical levels of authority grew more prominent. The concept of only one or a few "Master God(s)" to whom one owed allegiance emerged during this later phase. "Atheism" arose as a pejorative concept formulated by stakeholders in organized religion that could be used to smear those who weren't "with the program".

In other words, I believe some measure of belief in supernatural or paranormal forces / entities / etc. pre-dated organized religion.
Aye, which is why early families of pantheistic gods mirrored ruling families. The former justified the latter. In conclusion, fairies are real but God's are oppressive nonsense.

Beer number four.
 

Coal

The Ultimate Skepticus
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This is a Forteana Forum, the atheism thread is 78 pages long so I assume there are atheists here with Fortean interests. IMO religion arose in response to age-old questions such as 'why am I here' and 'what happens to me when I'm no longer here ?' (I heard the argument several times in my youth: 'If God didn't exist, we'd have to invent him). So I'm interested in atheists who believe in ghosts and the supernatural - whatever the definition of 'believe' and 'ghosts' is taken to be. Not interested enough to read all 78 pages mind, as it's a sunny Saturday in May outside.
Is religion without a Godhead simply a series of Minor strangeness and IHTM ie do the questions get an answer ?
I like to solve the mystery :)

For example: I don't deny people see ghosts, I believe in the phenomenon. I'd like to know what's going on there. But I don't think ghosts are some kind of independent thing.
I tend to think animism and other early belief structures arose as a folkloric means for explain phenomena, create lore to pass on to newer generations, and attempt magical influence on the environment. The concept of other beings that influenced or controlled things dates all the way back to this phase. I'm not confident the sort of individual existential questions we associate with religion today (and you quoted) were significant motivators in this folkloric era.

I'm pretty sure what we know now as "organized religion" arose later as a power structure to codify and enforce social order as settled populations grew larger and the hierarchical levels of authority grew more prominent. The concept of only one or a few "Master God(s)" to whom one owed allegiance emerged during this later phase. "Atheism" arose as a pejorative concept formulated by stakeholders in organized religion that could be used to smear those who weren't "with the program".

In other words, I believe some measure of belief in supernatural or paranormal forces / entities / etc. pre-dated organized religion.
Yes, this.

I believe that our brains are so conditioned/evolved to seek faces and hominids amongst the background and interpret their pre-language communications, that we have a 'circuit' in the brain that detects a faint 'persona' signal whatever we look at. So we see faces in toast and 'see' naiads and dryads and great beings in the sky.

I can easily feel as if a dark deep pond is watching me (been there) but I know it's an echo and enjoy the feeling anyway.

Beer number four.
Whisky number two.
 

PeteByrdie

Privateer in the service of Princess Frideswide
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
2,771
I like to solve the mystery :)

For example: I don't deny people see ghosts, I believe in the phenomenon. I'd like to know what's going on there. But I don't think ghosts are some kind of independent thing.

Yes, this.

I believe that our brains are so conditioned/evolved to seek faces and hominids amongst the background and interpret their pre-language communications, that we have a 'circuit' in the brain that detects a faint 'persona' signal whatever we look at. So we see faces in toast and 'see' naiads and dryads and great beings in the sky.

I can easily feel as if a dark deep pond is watching me (been there) but I know it's an echo and enjoy the feeling anyway.


Whisky number two.
Scotch?

I've often considered that cosmic deity based religions seem to be about instilling social compliance while most supernatural experiences belong very much to the people who actually experience them. Perhaps that explains why there are many atheistic forteans. It returns to us our own right to develop our supernatural or spiritual beliefs. Certainly the medieval church hated folk doing that.

I've seen first hand someone seeing a running figure in a random moving image, and I'm convinced our brains are programmed to see that, perhaps from our time competing with other hominids. That might explain much of our instinct for seeing beings in nature outside of our own, familiar environment. Combined with animism, which is perhaps a 'theory of mind' transfered to animate and inanimate things, we could soon see a world peopled with supernatural beings.

Yet, people still see the oddest things...
 
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