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Mon May 3, 2021, 10:27 AM

My simple steps to atheism

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by Omaha Steve (a host of the The DU Lounge forum).

- born into a Catholic family
- growing up saw all the evil in the world. So, at a young age I could reconcile the existence of human-perpetrated evil, believing that a loving and just god would ultimately punish the wicked, even when I didn't really consider why he would allow such acts in the first place.
- the step that REALLY started my turn away from a "loving god": all the cruelties in nature, where humans are not even involved. Why does it have to be that an alligator crushes the skull of a goose to eat? My young eyes could clearly see that the goose, the rabbit, the antelope... all the prey in the world... felt enormous pain, preceded by fear. I allowed myself the audacity to ask "if I created the world and every creature within it would I construct such a system? Is there an absolute need for it? ". And I then concluded that any rational person would answer NO to both.
- So, then, the next step at that point was to realize that there were only two possible states of god's existence: he either existed as a monster, or he didn't exist at all. And, inasmuch as I saw no benefit, whatsoever, to himself for an almighty entity to conduct a world full of cruelty and suffering my conclusion was that he didn't exist at all. (And, yes, I never ever considered that the almighty would be a "she". heh)
- Once I came to that belief (and, yes, I still admit that it's a belief rather than established fact), I am so certain of it that I can't imagine a more atheistic person in the entire world. And once here, the world's religions and all their rituals appeared silly, ridiculous, clownish, and their adherents uncritical and gullible. Call me arrogant, but I simply can not see how any objective person could conclude anything other than what I've concluded. Sir Isaac Newton? Undoubtedly a brilliant man... but objective on the matter? No.

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply My simple steps to atheism (Original post)
Goodheart May 3 OP
mopinko May 3 #1
Goodheart May 3 #10
mopinko May 3 #13
Walleye May 3 #2
Cartoonist May 3 #3
Goodheart May 3 #6
localroger May 3 #14
Major Nikon May 3 #17
localroger May 3 #18
Goodheart May 3 #4
lapucelle May 3 #5
Goodheart May 3 #7
lapucelle May 3 #8
Goodheart May 3 #9
MarcA May 3 #11
Bayard May 3 #12
OriginalGeek May 3 #16
lucca18 May 3 #15
demigoddess May 3 #19
Archae May 3 #20
SCantiGOP May 3 #21
Goodheart May 3 #22
Omaha Steve May 3 #23

Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 10:43 AM

1. my path- evolutionary psychology

religion is a vestige of following that big silverback male. (yes, i know that's gorillas, not chimps. poetic license.)

but the start was comparative religion in hs.
i saw that in every culture, man created a god in his own image.
set norms, form an army, settle disputes, divvy up the wimins.

he was looking for something that didnt exist any more. we invented politics to do the same job.
and hierarchies of all sorts.

what pains me is what it costs.
in my case, the thing that most pisses me off as an irish kid who went to catholic school-
i am 67, and it's only in the couple years that i have learned the full history if my people.
you know what i knew about my heritage until now? the irish saints.

you know how i ended up being raised in this country? religion.
it was also in the last few years that i have learned how my grandparents ended up as refugees. from a genocide, disguised as a freak of nature.

we need to be enlightened or we all die.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #1)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:02 PM

10. I certainly agree

and the psychological need for some people to be led by that silverback male is manifested in the role of "worship" so much a part of most religions.

Not that this has much to do with the actuality of god's existence, but on the matter of worship do we worship a rock for being a rock? Of course not... the rock had no choice in the matter. Do we worship a wolf? Nope, he could be nothing other than a wolf. So why would we /should we worship some almighty deity for simply being himself?

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #10)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:51 PM

13. um.

many people revere wolves and mountain.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:05 AM

2. I think Darwin became an atheist after his research into evolution.

He couldnít reconcile the cruelty with the God Concept either. I think he split with his wife over it. As a staffer for a newspaper I covered many different kinds of religious services. My observation is they all have two things in common: theyíre all pretty sure that God is a guy. And they all passed the plate, sometimes twice. I never understood why God squandered all his money and needed more all the time. I was raised in the Methodist Church and got a good background and ethics and tolerance. Unfortunately the elders didnít practice what they preached. But I couldnít go along with the belief in Immortality etc. The problem with religion is, turning against your belief, itís basically going against your mother.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:19 AM

3. Don't be too hard on Isaac

He lived in a time when heretics were put to death.

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Response to Cartoonist (Reply #3)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:26 AM

6. That's a distinct possibility....

that he kept his true beliefs hidden.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #6)

Mon May 3, 2021, 01:36 PM

14. It's well documented that Sir Isaac Newton was a devout believer

The idea was not yet widespread that there was wide disagreement between the observations of science and the teachings of the Church, and like a lot of people of his era Newton thought that exploring the nature of God's creation was a way of honoring it.

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Response to localroger (Reply #14)

Mon May 3, 2021, 02:35 PM

17. Hard to say exactly what his beliefs were

He rejected pretty much everything metaphysical about religion which would have put him at odds with the religious establishment. Publicly declaring any support for atheism wouldn't have worked out well for him. As it was his stated beliefs were much closer to deism which is what many intellectuals did rather than publicly declare absolute atheism, which would have been disastrous for their careers and might have possibly gotten them banished or executed.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #17)

Mon May 3, 2021, 03:43 PM

18. Newton devoted significant energy to study of the Bible

He did not accept the orthodox teachings of either the Catholic or Anglican church, but he believed that it was necessary to study the gospels in their earliest and purest available forms. Using this method he came to the conclusion that 1 John 5 which is not found in any of the early manuscripts, and thus rejected the concept of the Trinity. He did however write a number of times that the diversity and intricacy of form present in the world seemed to make the existence of God inevitable, and he believed the Bible (as it had been originally inspired) was the best way to know God's intentions.

He also believed that there was a "general apostasy" which had corrupted the teachings of the churches, and that this would be corrected by God in the future as it had periodically been in the past. He opined that by the second century A.D. the Latin churches had begun to add articles to the original text supporting their position in opposition to those they considered heretics, and thus polluted the actual teaching of God with their own self-serving ideas, some of which were completely nonsensical.

Newton came to these conclusions which were dangerously counter to the orthodoxy not because he doubted the existence of God, but because he took it so very seriously. On his deathbed he rejected the last rites of the Anglican church because his studies had convinced him of its apostasy.

(Personal note: I was raised Southern Baptist but have been an atheist since I was about 15, largely due to observations like that of the OP.)

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:26 AM

4. There are many people today who deny that animals feel pain...

for religious reasons, of course. Whether they believe such nonsense is a different matter, but I view their proposition as a case of having to adopt an absurdity in defense of their emotions.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:26 AM

5. A logical person might point out that the thinking in one of the steps you outlined

demonstrates flawed reasoning in the form of the fallacy of bifurcation.

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Response to lapucelle (Reply #5)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:29 AM

7. Which step did I illogically bifurcate?

Nothing I posted was illogical. Furthermore, I explicitly stated that my conclusions were beliefs rather than absolute facts.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #7)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:40 AM

8. Your "either/or" premise assumes

that alternative explanations or possiblities do not exist.

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Response to lapucelle (Reply #8)

Mon May 3, 2021, 11:56 AM

9. I shortened my language when I said there were "only two possible states of god's existence"

The alternative would have been "there are only two states of possible god existence worth considering as valid". I chose the shorter version for purposes of brevity and clarity.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:08 PM

11. Life must evolve past cruelty or it will destroy itself. n/t

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 12:12 PM

12. I believe there's a time in every atheist's life,

When they finally say--wait a minute. This stuff is totally ridiculous about a Great and Powerful Wizard in the Sky.

I was raised Southern Baptist. Church on Sunday morning, church on Sunday and Wednesday night. Independent thinking is not encouraged. By the time I was in high school, I think my Mom was ready to have me exorcised.

Like politics, religion is mostly habit and indoctrination.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #12)

Mon May 3, 2021, 02:17 PM

16. the funny part is that "independent thinking"

was absolutely discouraged in our Independent Baptist church. I guess the only thing they were independent from was paying dues to the SBC.

On a side note, we thought you southrons were backsliders. Y'all let your women wear pants for gosh sake! (But at least your weren't idol-worshipping catholics)


I was 12 or 13 when I had that moment when it seemed ridiculous and it hurt my feelings that my mother was so deep into it. I had known her all my life and up until she found religion she was warm and funny and kind and smart. When I left religion it broke us and we only just started repairing the damage when cancer got her and we never had a chance to finish. We did have a few good christmases in the end though.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 01:45 PM

15. I agree. I think I "out-grew" my religion.

Going to church and Sunday school, was the thing to do every Sunday.

My father encouraged it, but, my mother didnít care.
She was a non practicing Catholic, and my father Lutheran.

I eventually moved away, and grew up.
I am an atheist.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 04:26 PM

19. for me, it is the massacres that happened in Europe, where Catholics killed Protestants,

and Protestants killed Catholics. If they believed in God saying Thou shalt not kill, why did they feel entitled to kill hundreds, thousands over small details. And once I heard church goer saying he wanted to "beat up, maybe kill, an old lady" for being an atheist, obviously ignoring Do unto others..... Atheists are more kind that church goers in my opinion.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 04:30 PM

20. For me it's simply the lack of evidence.

Every time I asked for evidence, like what was so crowed about in the Bible, I got excuses.

Especially this dandy: "The Lord is not to be tested."

Why the hell not?

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 04:31 PM

21. Actually, your first step should have been

to follow the forum guidelines and post this in the Religion or the Atheists and Agnostics forum.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #21)

Mon May 3, 2021, 04:34 PM

22. Sure, whatever.

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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 04:34 PM

23. After a review by forum hosts....LOCKING

Religion in the Lounge.

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