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(Washington Post)   Meet Sigfried Gold, an atheist who credits losing 110 pounds and saving his family with praying three times a day to a "spiritual being" he created that he named "God." "That's a big hole in atheist life. Some atheists are saying, 'Let's fill it.'"   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 216
    More: Interesting, gold, complex question, flavors, appeal  
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5644 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Jun 2013 at 8:59 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-25 08:28:37 AM
Makes sense. As an atheist myself, I still molest little boys so I don't lose touch with my heritage.
 
2013-06-25 08:32:53 AM
What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.
 
2013-06-25 08:34:47 AM
I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.
 
2013-06-25 08:39:03 AM
Meh.  Whatever works for him, I guess.  Glad he lost weight.
 
2013-06-25 08:39:20 AM
Yeah, I'm sure it had nothing to do with changing his diet and/or exercise habits. It was definitely the prayers to an imaginary goddess that did it for him.
 
2013-06-25 08:41:11 AM
i.imgur.com
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-06-25 08:44:53 AM
very vivid goddess he created

I like to create very vivid goddesses and "pray" to them myself.
 
2013-06-25 08:50:17 AM
Also known as meditation, which also does not require faith in the supernatural.
 
2013-06-25 08:52:44 AM
No, he credits it to an undertaking that has helped provide him with the structure, routine, daily affirmation and self-reflection necessary to permanently modify deeply-ingrained behaviors.
 
2013-06-25 08:56:30 AM
How about.... no
 
2013-06-25 08:56:51 AM
So.. I'm fat because of god? That's good. I was blaming laziness and beer.
 
2013-06-25 08:57:32 AM
Praise the Sun!
 
2013-06-25 09:02:37 AM
Prayer has never helped me with any of my hangovers.
 
2013-06-25 09:03:04 AM

Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.


Psalm: 26
 
2013-06-25 09:04:09 AM
Um... okay...
 
2013-06-25 09:04:25 AM
I don't care who you are or what type of person you are or what you believe in, prayer works.  And I can prove it.
 
2013-06-25 09:04:32 AM
That's what she said?
 
2013-06-25 09:05:43 AM
What the fark is this crap
 
2013-06-25 09:06:00 AM

jfivealive: I don't care who you are or what type of person you are or what you believe in, prayer works.  And I can prove it.


1/10
 
2013-06-25 09:06:16 AM
Atheism is the worst religion ever.
 
2013-06-25 09:06:20 AM
So, basically, some atheists are as confused and stupid as some believers.
 
2013-06-25 09:07:04 AM

Opus Croakus: Prayer has never helped me with any of my hangovers.


I spent my teens and early twenties bargaining with God that if he'd cure my hangover I'd never drink again.  He never came through so that's why I still drink.

It was a simple deal.  I guess he wanted me to keep up the drinking.
 
2013-06-25 09:07:44 AM
Whatever gets you through the night, is alright.

/polytheist
 
2013-06-25 09:07:45 AM

Babwa Wawa: Also known as meditation, which also does not require faith in the supernatural.


He framed his meditation as 'prayer' because that is what his 12 step program required.

Seems pretty stupid but I guess it worked for him.
 
2013-06-25 09:07:53 AM
No "irony" tag?

Come on.
 
2013-06-25 09:08:38 AM

untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.


Anvils are the worst boats ever.
 
2013-06-25 09:08:54 AM

SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.


It makes perfect sense if you accept that the only reason people do anything is because it makes them feel better.  There doesn't have to be logic or consistency to it.
 
2013-06-25 09:09:23 AM
I like the statistics in the article that some atheists believe in god or a spiritual blame. Doesn't that make you exactly the opposite of atheist?
 
2013-06-25 09:09:58 AM
I don't understand what's "missing". I suppose if you were forced into that ritual bullshiat as a child you'd find comfort in recreating a childhood memory, but otherwise I just don't get it.
 
2013-06-25 09:10:04 AM
I mostly just pray to that waffle that's stuck to the ceiling.

25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-06-25 09:11:15 AM

mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26


Psalm 11:16 for me.  Until I read that verse, I had no idea how many pleasures were at my right hand.  The weight loss is just a side benefit.
 
2013-06-25 09:12:04 AM
Eighteen percent of atheists say religion has some importance in their life, 26 percent say they are spiritual or religious and 14 percent believe in "God or a universal spirit." Of all Americans who say they don't believe in God - not all call themselves "atheists" - 12 percent say they pray.

Very interesting.
 
2013-06-25 09:12:33 AM

Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.


Science damn you!
 
2013-06-25 09:12:47 AM
And the media continues to try and puzzle out what an atheist is.  Keep going you guys, you should have a good handle on the various species of atheism in another few decades.
 
2013-06-25 09:13:24 AM
Atheism. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
 
2013-06-25 09:15:23 AM

Babwa Wawa: Also known as meditation, which also does not require faith in the supernatural.


Meditation's goal is to cease creating thoughts. Prayer's goal is to amplify the power of thoughts.
 
2013-06-25 09:16:40 AM
"I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The 'Life Force' . . . may here prove useful.

If once we can produce our perfect work-the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls 'Forces' while denying the existence of spirits-then the end of our war will be in sight."

                                                                             - C.S. Lewis
 
2013-06-25 09:16:43 AM
Well I know SOMEONE who's not going to be eaten first.
 
2013-06-25 09:17:34 AM
Joe Pesci could have helped him loose 100 pounds. It would probably involve getting his jaw broken with a baseball bat and having to feed by drinking fluids for a while. Sure it may seem a little extreme, but we shouldn't question Pesci's ways.
 
2013-06-25 09:18:12 AM
As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.
 
2013-06-25 09:18:12 AM
Honestly I think the people in this thread are painting an unfair portrait of this guy. Sounds more to me like the washpo didnt really get that a fairly clever guy got around a stupid requirement that most self help programs require (forced religion) and lipserviced a fake god he made up. I dont think that he's an atheist who needs the divine in his life.. I think the washpo doesnt understand the idiocy of labels.
 
2013-06-25 09:18:23 AM
Also, FTFA:

Atheists deny religion's claim of a supernatural god but are starting to look more closely at the "very real effect" that practices such as going to church, prayer and observance of a Sabbath have on the lives of the religious, said Paul Fidalgo, a spokesman for the secular advocacy group the Center for Inquiry. "That's a big hole in atheist life," he said. "Some atheists are saying, 'Let's fill it.' Others are saying, 'Let's not.' "

That's an interesting claim.  I'm an atheist and have been since about grade 3.  I wonder if the "hole" this guy (who I guess is an "expert" on atheists?) talks about is easily filled by volunteering your time to a cause and/or belonging to some kind of social organization.  I really don't know any fellow non-believers who say, "You know what we need?  Social interaction bound together by pointless ritual!"
 
2013-06-25 09:18:26 AM

Raug the Dwarf: No "irony" tag?


No irony here.  Assuming this guy exists in the first place, it wouldn't be a stretch if this guy's story was either twisted or simply made up to push a sort of narrative that atheists are sad people with a gaping hole in their lives.  It's something Christians have been obsessing over for years -- they are incapable of comprehending that people can be functional and happy without Invisible Sky Fairy.  Their feeble brains would sooner break than accept that fact.

Mind you, even if every word of the article was true, it'd still warrant a big fat "meh".  The more troubling undertone is that the Washington Post saw fit to make a story out of some atheists half-hearted conversion, to be viewed as either a positive first step or proof that atheists are really just Christians in denial.  The only atheists that make the news are carefully selected to either enrage or vindicate the Christian base.  It's not a conspiracy so much as the media being mindful of its target audience.
 
2013-06-25 09:18:32 AM

untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.


Especially when agnostics think they are atheists.
 
2013-06-25 09:18:41 AM

Jack's Smirking Revenge: mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26

Psalm 11:16 for me.  Until I read that verse, I had no idea how many pleasures were at my right hand.  The weight loss is just a side benefit.


If you're going to make (mildly) sacrilegious jokes, at least get your citations right; you're looking at Psalm 16:11, not 11:16.
 
2013-06-25 09:18:42 AM
I'm not an atheist, but I believe most people who pray are really praying to themselves. They, supported by modern religious communities that eschew mysticism, mistake sitting down and being alone with yourself and hearing your inner-voice for hearing divinity. It's why when people pray and afterwards say "I think God wants me to do X," X is almost always what they wanted to do in the first place.

There's a lot of value in quieting your mind and meditating on something, but mistaking it for the voice of God leads to lots of crap, like opposition to gay marriage because they think it's what "God wants." No, your homophobic self just gets strangely aroused and grossed out by the thought of gay sex so you want it outlawed.
 
2013-06-25 09:19:49 AM

hailin: I like the statistics in the article that some atheists believe in god or a spiritual blame. Doesn't that make you exactly the opposite of atheist?


Yes. By definition atheists don't believe in god. I guess you could still believe in supernatural forces which could be spiritual. If you believe in god you are not an atheist though.
 
2013-06-25 09:20:26 AM
I don't think he's really an atheist. He's a self hating theist?
 
2013-06-25 09:21:02 AM
Whenever someone asks me if I believe in a higher power I tell them, "Yes, the planet Jupiter is a higher power that I can believe in. There's nothing magical or supernatural about it. It's just higher and more powerful than me."
 
2013-06-25 09:22:30 AM

GilRuiz1: Very interesting.


You never stop, do you?

I am an atheist.  Religion is very important in my life.

Wanna make something of it?

It is important because:

1) Religions are having an enormous impact on politics, nationally and globally, and that affects my daily life.  I'd have to be a farking imbecile not to acknowledge its "importance".

2) I'm a professional musician.  Churches write checks to me.  At varying points in my life, church pay has been 25-100% of my income.  You're damn straight religion is "important" to me.

I'm sure I am not alone in wishing that you'd get over this crusade/act of yours.  It's positively wearying.
 
2013-06-25 09:23:53 AM
The Lord knows I am not a cruel man.

/meow
 
2013-06-25 09:23:58 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Prayer's goal is to amplify the power of thoughts.


Right.... So that's what pointless discussions with imaginary friends do... "amplify the power of thoughts"...
 
2013-06-25 09:26:31 AM

RedT: Especially when agnostics think they are atheists.


I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me.  Its like a common ground they both find with each other.  "Psh.. thats just intellectually lazy".

.....wut?  Really??!?!
 
2013-06-25 09:27:38 AM
I've found vigorous exercise burns more calories than vigorous prayer, but maybe I'm just not lifting enough spiritual weight or giving my faith enough recovery time.
 
2013-06-25 09:29:36 AM
the whole is love
 
2013-06-25 09:29:59 AM
I know you lord are a jealous lord
I know the tablet is your competition
And I need for you to be reasonable

/how much?
 
2013-06-25 09:31:22 AM

Alonjar: I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me


Pro-tip. Next time claim to be Wiccan. That way the theists can throw apoplectic fits of rage/attempt to save you and the atheists will avoid you for fear of what you may do in retaliation...

I would have gone with intellectually dishonest... but lazy might work in the right context...
 
2013-06-25 09:33:26 AM

TheOriginalEd: Honestly I think the people in this thread are painting an unfair portrait of this guy. Sounds more to me like the washpo didnt really get that a fairly clever guy got around a stupid requirement that most self help programs require (forced religion) and lipserviced a fake god he made up. I dont think that he's an atheist who needs the divine in his life.. I think the washpo doesnt understand the idiocy of labels.


I don't think the 12-steppers followed him home to make sure he drew portraits of his female "God" and prayed with his family three times a day.   He tried prayer, found that it made him feel better, and pursued even better feelings.  Perfectly normal and healthy human behavior.

The health effects are easily explained.  When you feel better, you can do more of what you have to do but don't want to do, like exercise and mind your diet.  This also explains corporate masseurs, free lunches, and ping pong tables.
 
2013-06-25 09:33:45 AM
I had a being come to me yesterday who said, "come on, let's go to the gym" after a few weeks of procrastination.  So I got in my brother's car and went.  It's pretty amazing what even a small outside influence can do, if this guy had to create his own to get going I see no problem with that.

The story does help fuel my idea that 12 step programs are borderline cults, though.
 
2013-06-25 09:35:02 AM
I worship at the altar of Jenny Craig.
 
2013-06-25 09:35:16 AM

NoGods: Whenever someone asks me if I believe in a higher power I tell them, "Yes, the planet Jupiter is a higher power that I can believe in. There's nothing magical or supernatural about it. It's just higher and more powerful than me."


Oh man, the places you could go with that if they had the capacity to comprehend.  There are forces of nature that make the very image of a giant sitting on a cloud destroying cities with a mere thought laughably pathetic.
 
2013-06-25 09:36:03 AM
Atheists ain't got a prayer.
 
2013-06-25 09:36:46 AM
Of course he lost weight. He just didn't eat till he got an answer to his prayers.
www.oldmagazinearticles.com
 
2013-06-25 09:37:55 AM

Alonjar: RedT: Especially when agnostics think they are atheists.

I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me.  Its like a common ground they both find with each other.  "Psh.. thats just intellectually lazy".

.....wut?  Really??!?!


Totally agree with you my agnostic friend.  I find it emotionally lazy and intellectually dishonest to be an atheist, since one cannot posit a certainty (there is no G-d) of a metaphysical concept.

It's like people saying that only Newtonian physics is the way the world works and there is no need to explore subatomic physics of particles which behave much differently.

As a human, I know my senses are limited to the five given to me and even those are weaker than a dog for smell or a reindeer for sight (they can see ultraviolet).
It would be an emotional argument to anger believers to say that I know for sure that there is 'No G-d', since I cannot possibly know the universe.  Therefore, I say what I do know, that 'I'm not certain if there is a G-d', which IS THE DEFINITION of being an agnostic.
 
2013-06-25 09:39:46 AM

Mercutio74: Also, FTFA:

Atheists deny religion's claim of a supernatural god but are starting to look more closely at the "very real effect" that practices such as going to church, prayer and observance of a Sabbath have on the lives of the religious, said Paul Fidalgo, a spokesman for the secular advocacy group the Center for Inquiry. "That's a big hole in atheist life," he said. "Some atheists are saying, 'Let's fill it.' Others are saying, 'Let's not.' "

That's an interesting claim.  I'm an atheist and have been since about grade 3.  I wonder if the "hole" this guy (who I guess is an "expert" on atheists?) talks about is easily filled by volunteering your time to a cause and/or belonging to some kind of social organization.  I really don't know any fellow non-believers who say, "You know what we need?  Social interaction bound together by pointless ritual!"


You don't know any non-believers who play golf, video games, or beer pong?  None who get together to watch The Game on TV?  None who attend concerts together?  Everyone eats alone?
 
2013-06-25 09:43:37 AM
I believe in an ineffable, mysterious force. It holds the universe together, penetrates through all matter. It sets the stars alight and holds the planets in their spheres.

It's called Gravity.
 
2013-06-25 09:44:14 AM

nulluspixiusdemonica: BarkingUnicorn: Prayer's goal is to amplify the power of thoughts.

Right.... So that's what pointless discussions with imaginary friends do... "amplify the power of thoughts"...


The discussions are not pointless, or ineffective. It might make more sense if you researched the relationship between mind and body.  Therein lies the power of thoughts.
 
2013-06-25 09:46:35 AM

mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26


I've always been partial to Psalm: 69
 
2013-06-25 09:46:43 AM
If some people need an imaginary friend to love them and make them feel cherished in order to cope with life, then okay.

As long as he's not pushing his idea of 'god' as 'the god', coming up with punishments in an 'afterlife' for not believing in his version of god, and not disparaging others for not believing as he does, then he's all good in my eyes.

Spiritual people are okay.  Religion sucks.
 
2013-06-25 09:46:51 AM

NostroZ: Alonjar: RedT: Especially when agnostics think they are atheists.

I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me.  Its like a common ground they both find with each other.  "Psh.. thats just intellectually lazy".

.....wut?  Really??!?!

Totally agree with you my agnostic friend.  I find it emotionally lazy and intellectually dishonest to be an atheist, since one cannot posit a certainty (there is no G-d) of a metaphysical concept.

It's like people saying that only Newtonian physics is the way the world works and there is no need to explore subatomic physics of particles which behave much differently.

As a human, I know my senses are limited to the five given to me and even those are weaker than a dog for smell or a reindeer for sight (they can see ultraviolet).
It would be an emotional argument to anger believers to say that I know for sure that there is 'No G-d', since I cannot possibly know the universe.  Therefore, I say what I do know, that 'I'm not certain if there is a G-d', which IS THE DEFINITION of being an agnostic.


Nobody says they can prove there is no god. The argument is that believers can't prove there is one, extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence and all that. It's not intellectually lazy or dishonest to assume something doesn't exist until sufficiently proven otherwise, or else it would be equally intellectually lazy to assume that a race of angry, tiny hobbits don't live inside everyone's lower i
intestines and cause gas.

Your worldview would accept gas-causing, gut hobbits as a likely possibility, correct? It must be equally as likely as a god, eh? Would be foolish to dismiss the idea out of hand.
 
2013-06-25 09:48:11 AM

jfivealive: I don't care who you are or what type of person you are or what you believe in, prayer works.  And I can prove it.


God hates amputees.
 
2013-06-25 09:49:31 AM
Praying works for essentially the reason meditation works and why addiction is considered a disease.  Different neural circuitry is involved and can help shift neuroplasticity away from bad habits (or in the case of addiction, toward bad habits).  Given that my expertise is in addiciton, I'll use that as an example and just link a study that utilized brain imaging during prayer.  There's a huge difference between being given a drug and actively seeking a drug (one is out of your control and one isn't).  In drug studies, you see this as amphetamine-induced hypersensitization (or in other words, they become more prone to the motor activating effects of the drug, while animals that are trained to self-administer the compound become tolerant to the motor activating effects.

Interesting study

From the link:

Truth is, the verbal part of the prayer activates parts of the brain, but dr. Newberg found out that "it activates the area of attention in the brain, and reduced the activity of the one responsible for the sense of place."
 
2013-06-25 09:53:55 AM
This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.
 
2013-06-25 09:54:22 AM

Unoriginal_Username: mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26

I've always been partial to Psalm: 69


a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com

Stop it, you are depressing God with those miserable things.
 
2013-06-25 09:55:33 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Meditation's goal is to cease creating thoughts.


That is neither the goal nor the process of meditation. Meditation comprises a vast number of practices and subjects but I can't say I've ever heard anyone who practices meditation claim that its goal is to cease creating thoughts. It's almost as if you have no idea what you're talking about and are parroting the words of someone else who is equally ignorant but that can't be since this is Fark.
 
2013-06-25 09:55:45 AM

BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.


I'm a secular humanist, thank you.
 
2013-06-25 09:56:18 AM

Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.


I totally agree. Atheism - The common, shared belief that there is no God - is the worst belief system ever. (or is that system of disbelief?)

Yes, Atheism is a Religion. An Exceptionally spare one, but certainly a belief system with at least one big article of faith : There is no God. Other articles of faith (depending on your personal creed) are : Theists are stupid, The Universe is like __________, and Atheism isn't a religion.

Be well, Adherents of Atheism.
 
2013-06-25 09:56:25 AM
There is actually research that shows that certain areas of the brain "light up" when praying or during other spiritual behavior. The human mind is basically hard wired for religion; finding meaning in the meaningless. So it makes sense that without religion some people would feel something was "missing".
 
2013-06-25 09:58:45 AM

t3knomanser: I believe in an ineffable, mysterious force. It holds the universe together, penetrates through all matter. It sets the stars alight and holds the planets in their spheres.

It's called Gravity.


You don't know the power of the dark energy.
 
2013-06-25 09:59:37 AM

big pig peaches: There is actually research that shows that certain areas of the brain "light up" when praying or during other spiritual behavior. The human mind is basically hard wired for religion; finding meaning in the meaningless. So it makes sense that without religion some people would feel something was "missing".


I'm agnostic myself, but I feel that by praying, people are sidestepping a lot of the motivational circuit to effect change in behavior.  From a neurological standpoint it's fascinating.
 
2013-06-25 10:00:25 AM

RedPhoenix122: Praise the Sun!


I'm afraid you have it all wrong, RedPhoenix122, all of you. I've been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion. But he couldn't. Don't you understand? It's not the sun up in the sky. It's the Son of God!
 
2013-06-25 10:01:02 AM

rubi_con_man: Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.

I totally agree. Atheism - The common, shared belief that there is no God - is the worst belief system ever. (or is that system of disbelief?)

Yes, Atheism is a Religion. An Exceptionally spare one, but certainly a belief system with at least one big article of faith : There is no God. Other articles of faith (depending on your personal creed) are : Theists are stupid, The Universe is like __________, and Atheism isn't a religion.

Be well, Adherents of Atheism.


What are the religious tenets of Atheism?  The central figure(s) of Atheism?  To whom do you pray?  Whom do you honor and revere?

Bear in mind that believing in something because it can be proven is not faith, Faith is believing in something absent of evidence.

Believing in something that can be proven is not faith.  We call that sanity.
 
2013-06-25 10:01:04 AM

WI241TH: I had a being come to me yesterday who said, "come on, let's go to the gym" after a few weeks of procrastination.  So I got in my brother's car and went.  It's pretty amazing what even a small outside influence can do, if this guy had to create his own to get going I see no problem with that.

The story does help fuel my idea that 12 step programs are borderline cults, though.


The most important step in the 12 steps is number 3, where you give you life and will over to your "higher power." The other steps reinforce and justify that abdication through a systematic cycle of self-criticism and self-hatred.


And that's what makes those things cults, or cult-like enough.
 
2013-06-25 10:01:25 AM

BarkingUnicorn: You don't know any non-believers who play golf, video games, or beer pong? None who get together to watch The Game on TV? None who attend concerts together? Everyone eats alone?


Each of those activities has a point.  And none are really ritualistic... though you could make an argument that golf tradition has some ritualistic elements.
 
2013-06-25 10:01:27 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: BarkingUnicorn: Meditation's goal is to cease creating thoughts.

That is neither the goal nor the process of meditation. Meditation comprises a vast number of practices and subjects but I can't say I've ever heard anyone who practices meditation claim that its goal is to cease creating thoughts. It's almost as if you have no idea what you're talking about and are parroting the words of someone else who is equally ignorant but that can't be since this is Fark.


"No thought,no reflection,no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself."  Tilopa.

Your education is sorely lacking.  Meditation with the goal of emptying the mind of thoughts is an ancient technique practiced by hundreds of millions.
 
2013-06-25 10:03:27 AM
Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.
 
2013-06-25 10:04:35 AM

MayoSlather: Makes sense. As an atheist myself, I still molest little boys so I don't lose touch with my heritage.


Coffee does nothing for keyboards, you know.

I'm wondering how this tactic of "prayer to an entity in which one does not believe" differs in any tangible sense from this:

unleashthegoddess.files.wordpress.com

/older than dirt but like dirt, you can grow stuff with it.
 
2013-06-25 10:05:12 AM
"New research on atheists by the Pew Research Center shows a range of beliefs. Eighteen percent of atheists say religion has some importance in their life, 26 percent say they are spiritual or religious and 14 percent believe in "God or a universal spirit." Of all Americans who say they don't believe in God - not all call themselves "atheists" - 12 percent say they pray. "


So... 26 percent of Atheists say they're religious?

Is this the same type of "Atheist" as the "Scientists" referred to in their other stories?
 
2013-06-25 10:05:26 AM

Infernalist: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I'm a secular humanist, thank you.


No, thank you!  I collect non sequiturs.
 
2013-06-25 10:05:38 AM

BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.


I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated.  It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.
 
2013-06-25 10:05:58 AM

big pig peaches: There is actually research that shows that certain areas of the brain "light up" when praying or during other spiritual behavior. The human mind is basically hard wired for religion; finding meaning in the meaningless. So it makes sense that without religion some people would feel something was "missing".


I personally believe that a  huge part of that is a sense of community.  Religious people are all part of a super awesome club that tons of other people are in... you get together and talk, have BBQs, faires and other fun social activities.  The networking that goes on in a church is massive... business deals, etc all end up very closely tied to the church.  I've found myself at a disadvantage in business a number of times because someone else can throw up a christian, jewish, muslim or hindi flag/secret handshake and get themselves through a door or into a meeting that is closed to me as an agnostic atheist.

Modern society has broken traditional community bonds that existed for millions of years... most people dont even know their neighbors aside from the occasional awkward wave on trash day or whatever.

Purpose is also invaluable.. people really  need purpose.  Some people find that in a child, some in a job, but a lot find it through religion.  I floundered for a long time when I was younger because I lacked purpose... I came very close to enlisting as an infantryman because I was so desperate for it.  I've since found myself and my own path, but man it was pretty horrible back when I was just lost in the world.

But yeah..  community and purpose, two things religion does well.
 
2013-06-25 10:07:11 AM

oryx: I don't think he's really an atheist. He's a self hating theist?


Comedy Gold, Jerry.
 
2013-06-25 10:07:33 AM

Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.


You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.
 
2013-06-25 10:07:35 AM

reaperducer: Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.


No we haven't.
 
2013-06-25 10:09:50 AM
CheekyMonkey:

So, basically, some atheists are as confused and stupid as some believers.

He's not really an atheist. Atheists don't pray, not even to something they made up.

Fantasizing about some "supernatural something" and calling it (a) god is how most religions started. Moses did it; you can too.

As for me, I hereby announce that I'm The One True TheGod. "When I pray I find I am talking to myself." You are too. But you farkers oughta pray harder to blast your prayers past the music of the spheres that's ringing in my ears.

It's a dirty job but somebody's gotta do it.
 
2013-06-25 10:10:06 AM

bluefox3681: Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.

You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.


I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.
 
2013-06-25 10:10:30 AM

reaperducer: Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.


So a few people who call themselves atheists do some whacky stuff and suddenly all atheists can be judged by their actions??

I guess that makes all christians abortion doctor murderers then. I'm sure you'll agree ... you would want to be a hypocrite now would you??
 
2013-06-25 10:10:39 AM

FarkinHostile: RedPhoenix122: Praise the Sun!

I'm afraid you have it all wrong, RedPhoenix122, all of you. I've been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion. But he couldn't. Don't you understand? It's not the sun up in the sky. It's the Son of God!


I liked her better when she stuck to "Hailing frequencies open, Captain".
 
2013-06-25 10:12:21 AM

Alonjar: Religious people are all part of a super awesome club that tons of other people are in... you get together and talk, have BBQs, faires and other fun social activities.


Or talk very seriously about the species and the asteroid of Death.

Alonjar: traditional community bonds that existed for millions of years.


????
 
2013-06-25 10:13:23 AM

Infernalist: Faith is believing in something absent of evidence.


Not quite.

There are three different kinds of "Faith",derived from the amount (or total lack) of evidence drawn upon to support it.


Type I Faith
Kurtz defines the first kind as 'intransigent faith.' By this is meant faith that will not be affected by any sort of contrary evidence, no matter how strong.  Fundamental born again Christians exhibit Type 1 faith.


Type II faith was called by philosopher William James 'the will to believe.' As defined by Professor Kurtz it is "willful belief where there is insufficient or no evidence either way to make a rational choice." It really involves making a decision to believe, even though the reasons for doing so are not compelling. However, there may be reasons for believing that have nothing to do with the logic of the matter; it may be more comforting, more socially advantageous, or simply easier to choose to believe. Lax Christians exhibit Type 2 faith.


Type III faith is described as 'hypotheses based upon evidence.'
 As I step off a curb to cross with a traffic light that has just turned green, I may safely assume that the light will stay green long enough for me to reach the other side. That assumption is based upon my long experience with traffic lights and the knowledge of the general intent of those who designed, manufactured, installed, and maintain the device. I have exhibited Type III faith.

Science creates a hypothesis based upon observations, then sets out to examine the validity of that hypothesis. After enough observations have been gathered and the idea has been tested thoroughly with positive results, the hypothesis becomes a theory. The beauty of that theory is that it is subject to revision and/or retraction upon the presentation of contrary evidence.


Thus Scientists can be said to exhibit Type 3 faith. Faith in the scientific/critical method is still faith.
 
2013-06-25 10:14:13 AM

BarkingUnicorn: "No thought,no reflection,no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself."  Tilopa.

Your education is sorely lacking.  Meditation with the goal of emptying the mind of thoughts is an ancient technique practiced by hundreds of millions.


I'm familiar with Hindu meditation although Buddhist traditions are more my forte. You're reading a poor translation and compounding that problem by misinterpreting it. What Tilopa is aspiring to is not a lack of thought but rather absorption in a single thought. In the traditions of Vedanta this is usually absorption in contemplation of the unity of Atman and Brahman i.e. the soul and the divine ground of the universe.

Saying that this is not thought is like saying that a flute player is not playing while he blows a single, long, note.
 
2013-06-25 10:14:23 AM

untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.


It's not a religion. It's the opinion that the set of True Gods is a null quantity without qualities. How do you pray to [  ] anyway?
 
2013-06-25 10:14:49 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: "I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The 'Life Force' . . . may here prove useful.

If once we can produce our perfect work-the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls 'Forces' while denying the existence of spirits-then the end of our war will be in sight."

                                                                             - C.S. Lewis


Put the context in you Ninny.
Context of this quote, this is an agent of hell writing to his nephew. The enemy in this case would be heaven. Just for other people to figure out what the hell they're reading.
 
2013-06-25 10:15:34 AM

bluefox3681: You see, that's the rub. Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."? Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.


That's why most atheists only bring out the arguments against religion when someone attempts to proselytize us.  Yes, some atheists are dicks... but then a subset of most demographics are dicks.

I've been the subject of an attempted bus-stop conversion...  you can't expect me NOT to argue with the silly old lady.  However, if I were just standing at the bus stop and that same lady was just there waiting for a bus...  and I sneezed and she said "God bless you," I wouldn't turn on her demand to know why the writings of Paul are often valued over the what Jesus is recorded as saying in the gospels.
 
2013-06-25 10:17:02 AM

reaperducer: Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.


I'm sticking with paganism. There is a lot less guilt involved
 
2013-06-25 10:21:36 AM

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: I've found vigorous exercise burns more calories than vigorous prayer, but maybe I'm just not lifting enough spiritual weight or giving my faith enough recovery time.


Try short prayers, in reps of 5-10. Take a ten minute confessional between sets. It's what my priest recommended and now the pounds are flying off!
 
2013-06-25 10:22:14 AM

Weaver95: I'm sticking with paganism. There is a lot less guilt involved


Pagans are the hipsters of religion.

25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-06-25 10:23:35 AM

Infernalist: bluefox3681: Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.

You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.

I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.


The ironic thing is that they don't realize that by mocking and tearing people down, they're being just as bad as the hardcore Christians they claim to be nothing like. It's the opposite of saying "God loves me and not you, you're going to hell!"

The atheists I know are every bit as sanctimonious and condescending as evangelical Christians.
 
2013-06-25 10:25:26 AM

Kinek: Put the context in you Ninny.
Context of this quote, this is an agent of hell writing to his nephew. The enemy in this case would be heaven. Just for other people to figure out what the hell they're reading.


There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels
 
2013-06-25 10:26:32 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: Kinek: Put the context in you Ninny.
Context of this quote, this is an agent of hell writing to his nephew. The enemy in this case would be heaven. Just for other people to figure out what the hell they're reading.

There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels


Contemplate this upon the tree of woe.
 
2013-06-25 10:28:42 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels


Yes! You know what it is, don't you, boy? Shall I tell you? It's the least I can do. Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger!
 
2013-06-25 10:30:56 AM

UrukHaiGuyz: Try short prayers, in reps of 5-10. Take a ten minute confessional between sets. It's what my priest recommended and now the pounds are flying off!


You're never going to get anywhere with that. What you need is HIIP (High Impact Interval Prayer). You need to pray has hard and as fast as you can for thirty seconds followed by a two minute interval of more relaxed contemplation. Repeat this for between five and ten repetitions. More experienced prayers can increase the prayer density by shortening the period of contemplation or increasing the length of hard prayer.
 
2013-06-25 10:32:14 AM

SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.


This has to be fake
 
2013-06-25 10:32:53 AM

BarkingUnicorn: SphericalTime:

What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.

It makes perfect sense if you accept that the only reason people do anything is because it makes them feel better.  There doesn't have to be logic or consistency to it.


If you know it's a placebo aren't you wasting your time? People who believe in God do it because they believe it works, at least sometime. But then most people believe in God because they're told they do, not because they've seen their own burning bush.

'Of course there is a TheDavidTM! If there's no TheDavidTM then who created God?'

It's too bad I can't convince myself there's Everclear in my coffee. But then I have a dental appointment today and they hate when you puke on them.
 
2013-06-25 10:33:35 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Weaver95: I'm sticking with paganism. There is a lot less guilt involved

Pagans are the hipsters of religion.

[25.media.tumblr.com image 400x496]


And agnostics are the undecided voters.

i.qkme.me
 
2013-06-25 10:35:19 AM
i44.tinypic.com

If there's a big hole in your life as an atheist ... maybe you're not an atheist?
 
2013-06-25 10:35:43 AM

Jack's Smirking Revenge: mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26

Psalm 11:16 for me.  Until I read that verse, I had no idea how many pleasures were at my right hand.  The weight loss is just a side benefit.


I see what you did there.

I'd just learn to eat with my left hand during "prayer."
 
2013-06-25 10:36:23 AM

Voiceofreason01: SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.

This has to be fake


Atheism has a distinct lack of spontaneous expressions of disbelief and incredulity. Christians have "Jesus Christ", Jews have "Oy vey", punk rock Jews have "Oi vey", Muslims have something that probably translates to "where is my bomb/vest". Atheists open their mouths and have nothing. It can be very frustrating.

I've taken to exclaiming "Knights of Columbus!" and "Great Odin's beard!"
 
2013-06-25 10:37:39 AM
Alonjar:

As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Not me. I'd just "realize" that God hates me too.
 
2013-06-25 10:40:09 AM

Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated.  It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.


There's a lot in your reply that I didn't  mean and don't  agree  with (the Golden Rule is often wrong, for instance).  But let's take "empathy."  What purpose does it serve?

Empathy is the ability to imagine how another is feeling.
Compassion is the urge to do something about another's suffering once empathy brings it to your attention.
Kindness is action taken in response to compassion.

Kindness creates social capital. One who helps others is valuable to others and will be helped in return when he needs it.  Kind behavior enhances the individual's survival prospects.

There are other behaviors that are effective at enhancing one's survival prospects, of course.  Sociopathic behavior is one.  In between lies a spectrum of behaviors mingling kindness and sociopathy.  Kindness taken too far leaves the individual without sufficient resources to survive.  Sociopathy taken too far leaves the individual without outside aid when it is  needed.

My observation about strict materialists is based on the fact that they refuse to use or even acknowledge all of the available means for feeling better. They are shallow because they will not delve into anything that isn't matter or energy.  They are closed-minded because they refuse to consider the possibility that  anything exists besides matter and energy.  They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that are not matter or energy.  They  are miserable  because they don't employ all the means to feel better.

And it shows in every thread like this one.
 
2013-06-25 10:43:57 AM

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: I've found vigorous exercise burns more calories than vigorous prayer, but maybe I'm just not lifting enough spiritual weight or giving my faith enough recovery time.


i21.photobucket.com
 
2013-06-25 10:44:34 AM

Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated. It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.



How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?
 
2013-06-25 10:44:47 AM
Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist:Nobody says they can prove there is no god. The argument is that believers can't prove there is one, extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence and all that. It's not intellectually lazy or dishonest to assume something doesn't exist until sufficiently proven otherwise, or else it would be equally intellectually lazy to assume that a race of angry, tiny hobbits don't live inside everyone's lower intestines and cause gas.

Your worldview would accept gas-causing, gut hobbits as a likely possibility, correct? It must be equally as likely as a god, eh? Would be foolish to dismiss the idea out of hand.


The tiny hobbit example is pretty neat, and I'll run with it for a bit as a hypothetical.  Before people understood what caused gas, it's not much of a stretch that someone could've thought it was due to tiny hobbits living in your gut, burning food for fuel.  I'm sure a lot of people would think that was dumb.  And as you said, who could prove it?  Certainly when people were cut open, no hobbits were found.  But then as people gained more scientific knowledge, the hobbit theory is proven to not be quite as farcical as everyone thought.  It's not "tiny hobbits" but bacteria that live in your intestines, and through chemical digestion processes, gas is produced.  The idea, in essence, was correct.  The "tiny hobbits" just turned out to be different than expected.  Who's to say God isn't like that?  And who's to say as our understanding of the universe grows, we won't move further from belief in God, but closer to belief in God?  I personally don't think God and science have to be at odds.  I think it's silly and unnecessary that they are often portrayed as being at odds.

We're all in kind of a Let's Make A Deal situation.  The believer thinks God is behind door number 1.  The non-believer thinks there is nothing behind door number 1.  Nobody is going to know for sure until it's revealed, and even then, what's there may not be what either person expected.  The thing is, we're not likely going to have our proof one way or the other until the game is over.  You say that nobody says they can prove there is no God.  Likewise nobody says they can prove there is a God either.  At least not now.  A believer takes it as much on faith that there is a God as a non-believer takes it on faith that there isn't.  Both sides are taking it on faith until there is proof of their position.  A believer may not be able to prove that there is a God, but they all believe it's going to be proven when your frame of reference is shifted from life in this body to spiritual life.  What is proven may turn out to be very different from what is expected.

If we're looking for evidence to support our positions in the meantime, why not take into consideration the evidence provided by all those through history who have had near-death experiences (i.e. have played the Let's Make A Deal game and claim to know what's behind door number 1)?  They include the experiences of people who have spent their lives vehemently protesting there is no such thing as God, doctors, scientists, as well as believers and people who were just too young to have thought about it one way or the other.  With that group, they all claim the same things despite truly diverse backgrounds.
 
2013-06-25 10:45:26 AM

punkhippie: The most important step in the 12 steps is number 3, where you give you life and will over to your "higher power." The other steps reinforce and justify that abdication through a systematic cycle of self-criticism and self-hatred.


And that's what makes those things cults, or cult-like enough.


The planet Jupiter does not want my life and will devoted to it. It can't want anything. It's a planet.
 
2013-06-25 10:47:05 AM

BarkingUnicorn: They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that are not matter or energy.


Describe one.
 
2013-06-25 10:47:55 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Voiceofreason01: SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.

This has to be fake

Atheism has a distinct lack of spontaneous expressions of disbelief and incredulity. Christians have "Jesus Christ", Jews have "Oy vey", punk rock Jews have "Oi vey", Muslims have something that probably translates to "where is my bomb/vest". Atheists open their mouths and have nothing. It can be very frustrating.

I've taken to exclaiming "Knights of Columbus!" and "Great Odin's beard!"


Uhh.. "Great Scott"? Or possibly "This is heavy, Doc."
 
2013-06-25 10:48:50 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated.  It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.

There's a lot in your reply that I didn't  mean and don't  agree  with (the Golden Rule is often wrong, for instance).  But let's take "empathy."  What purpose does it serve?

Empathy is the ability to imagine how another is feeling.
Compassion is the urge to do something about another's suffering once empathy brings it to your attention.
Kindness is action taken in response to compassion.

Kindness creates social capital. One who helps others is valuable to others and will be helped in return when he needs it.  Kind behavior enhances the individual's survival prospects.

There are other behaviors that are effective at enhancing one's survival prospects, of course.  Sociopathic behavior is one.  In between lies a spectrum of behaviors mingling kindness and sociopathy.  Kindness taken too far leaves the individual without sufficient resources to survive.  Sociopathy taken too far leaves the individual without outside aid when it is  needed.

My observation about strict materialists is based on the fact that they refuse to use or even acknowledge all of the available means for feeling better. They are shallow because they will not delve into anything that isn't matter or energy.  They are closed-minded because they refuse to consider the possibility that  anything exists besides matter and energy.  They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that ...


Cool.

Wanna hear my thoughts on what makes a person an sanctimonious asshole?
 
2013-06-25 10:49:22 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Atheism has a distinct lack of spontaneous expressions of disbelief and incredulity. Christians have "Jesus Christ", Jews have "Oy vey", punk rock Jews have "Oi vey", Muslims have something that probably translates to "where is my bomb/vest". Atheists open their mouths and have nothing. It can be very frustrating.

I've taken to exclaiming "Knights of Columbus!" and "Great Odin's beard!"


I like to exclaim, "Cheese and Rice!"
 
2013-06-25 10:50:42 AM

BarkingUnicorn: My observation about strict materialists is based on the fact that they refuse to use or even acknowledge all of the available means for feeling better. They are shallow because they will not delve into anything that isn't matter or energy.  They are closed-minded because they refuse to consider the possibility that  anything exists besides matter and energy.  They are unaware of ubiquitous means to feel better that are not matter or energy.  They  are miserable  because they don't employ all the means to feel better.


Being inclined to believe that you are observed at all times, even in the obvious absence of an observer, provides an evolutionary advantage. That doesn't mean that the observer exists, only that believing that an observer exists is adaptive.

What it comes down to is whether you value truth over feeling good. A person who values truth will eventually recognize that there is no demonstrable supernatural dimension and that there is no evidence for an omnipresent observer. A person who values feeling good will believe in the first supernatural entity they are introduced to that meets the need for an omnipresent observer.
 
2013-06-25 10:52:35 AM

cameroncrazy1984: Uhh.. "Great Scott"? Or possibly "This is heavy, Doc."


I can't ever say "Great Scott" without immediately following it up with "Brainiac is stealing the entire city"!
 
2013-06-25 10:53:15 AM

Infernalist: I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.


You are fortunate.  I suffered such an atheist for 12 years before our friendship ended.  His tedious proselytizing was the cause.  In many a social gathering, he wanted to know people's religions.  Then he would go off on what was wrong about those religions, and religion in general.  It was embarrassing and sometimes dangerous; I pulled him out of bars several times when he was about to get decked.  We had many a lively debate, drunk and sober, about my own beliefs (or what I pretended to believe for the sake of  argument).  I found them amusing; my redheaded friend turned the most hilarious shades of apoplexy and I delighted in amping him up.  But eventually, I just got tired of his shiat.
 
2013-06-25 10:53:23 AM

Infernalist: bluefox3681: Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.

You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.


Here's a comment I made just yesterday on this very topic: Yes, atheists may come off as douchebags, and there's a good reason for it. The TL;DR is this: atheists are a minority group, and need to advocate their cause in order to effect change, otherwise they will be ignored and nothing will happen.

I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.


That's probably because you've misinterpreted something.

If all the arguments for the existence of god or the supernatural are shown to be either false, irrational or unprovable (and no more likely to be true than any other given mythical explanation like a flying spaghetti monster), then you're at the same base state as atheists.  The expectation then is, as a rational being, you would NOT believe in it, and would need some scientifically valid proof or argument which necessitates the existence of or intercession by supernatural agencies.

In other words, if an atheist can get you to agree that your arguments are all flawed or unreasonable, you are now an atheist.  That, or an  idiot irrational.  The atheist advocate is ever optimistic that the people they speak to are eventually proven to be intelligent enough to understand that.
 
2013-06-25 10:57:07 AM
Ah, a 12-stepper. Worst plagiarised fan fiction since Joseph Smith.
 
2013-06-25 10:58:15 AM

BarkingUnicorn: You are fortunate.  I suffered such an atheist for 12 years before our friendship ended.  His tedious proselytizing was the cause.  In many a social gathering, he wanted to know people's religions.


Nobody likes a prosthelytizer. Did your friend go around on Saturday mornings, knock on people's doors, and tell them the good news that there is probably no such thing as a god and that they can stop worrying about going to hell?
 
2013-06-25 10:58:25 AM

give me doughnuts: How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?


I was taking materialism to the extreme that Barking Unicorn did... where literally there is nothing but matter and energy.

I'll definitely grant you that the vast, vast majority of materialists happen to care about stuff and what you bolded is consistent with materialism, but if you were to distill materialism down to the most basic description, what other people think or feel doesn't really matter.

Only sociopaths would follow this belief system.
 
2013-06-25 11:06:48 AM

rubi_con_man: Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.

I totally agree. Atheism - The common, shared belief that there is no God - is the worst belief system ever. (or is that system of disbelief?)

Yes, Atheism is a Religion. An Exceptionally spare one, but certainly a belief system with at least one big article of faith : There is no God. Other articles of faith (depending on your personal creed) are : Theists are stupid, The Universe is like __________, and Atheism isn't a religion.

Be well, Adherents of Atheism.


I don't believe the NY Jets are going to win the Super Bowl.  Am I now an NFL franchise?  Or have I just founded a new religion?
 
2013-06-25 11:09:24 AM
Wow, there's 2 of them in the world.

CSB
I went to college with someone who was born in an atheistic household and never had any inclination to be anything other than an atheist. He began "praying to no one" as an experiment in his freshman year and enjoyed it so much that he created a daily schedule of prayer times "to no one in particular" and found it to be the most fulfilling experience he had ever had in his life. He believed it was much better than when he had tried yoga for a year.
 
2013-06-25 11:11:36 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: BarkingUnicorn: "No thought,no reflection,no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself."  Tilopa.

Your education is sorely lacking.  Meditation with the goal of emptying the mind of thoughts is an ancient technique practiced by hundreds of millions.

I'm familiar with Hindu meditation although Buddhist traditions are more my forte. You're reading a poor translation and compounding that problem by misinterpreting it. What Tilopa is aspiring to is not a lack of thought but rather absorption in a single thought. In the traditions of Vedanta this is usually absorption in contemplation of the unity of Atman and Brahman i.e. the soul and the divine ground of the universe.

Saying that this is not thought is like saying that a flute player is not playing while he blows a single, long, note.


Well, I don't read Sanskriit so I won't challenge your interpretation of it. Holding a single thought in one's mind to the exclusion of others is a different practice; call it "meditation" if you wish.  It is prayer to me; the practice amplifies the selected thought's power.  But filling one's mind with one thought is little different from filling it with many thoughts.

I have learned to let thoughts arise and float away without thinking new thoughts about them.  When thought-bubbles cease to rise, the pond of the mind becomes still and clear. One can then perceive the bottom of the pond, where lies Enlightenment.

Or something.
 
2013-06-25 11:12:49 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Alonjar: traditional community bonds that existed for millions of years.

????


I'm speaking of the clan, and the village/tribe.
 
2013-06-25 11:14:38 AM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: "I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The 'Life Force' . . . may here prove useful.

If once we can produce our perfect work-the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls 'Forces' while denying the existence of spirits-then the end of our war will be in sight."

                                                                             - C.S. Lewis


Wait.  That's Lewis, but it's his character Screwtape, the demon from Screwtape Letters.  Let's be honest about context and things when quoting famous Christian philosophers/ theologians.
 
2013-06-25 11:15:46 AM

BarkingUnicorn: the practice amplifies the selected thought's power


Delusional obsession is a good thing, now?

Generally speaking if you're having trouble moving on to the next thought, you should seek professional help. If this is coupled with a deeply held belief in magical sky-beards, you should do the world a favour and get medicated ASAP... the voices are not our friends...
 
2013-06-25 11:18:41 AM

The One True TheDavid: CheekyMonkey:

So, basically, some atheists are as confused and stupid as some believers.

He's not really an atheist. Atheists don't pray, not even to something they made up.

Fantasizing about some "supernatural something" and calling it (a) god is how most religions started. Moses did it; you can too.

As for me, I hereby announce that I'm The One True TheGod. "When I pray I find I am talking to myself." You are too. But you farkers oughta pray harder to blast your prayers past the music of the spheres that's ringing in my ears.

It's a dirty job but somebody's gotta do it.


Yeah, that's what I meant.  In the same vein, there are plenty of "Christians" and "Muslims" who don't actually adhere to the teachings of Christ or Mohammed, and I would posit they they aren't really Christians or Muslims.

\I can call myself a tomato, but that doesn't make it true
 
2013-06-25 11:19:05 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: BarkingUnicorn: You are fortunate.  I suffered such an atheist for 12 years before our friendship ended.  His tedious proselytizing was the cause.  In many a social gathering, he wanted to know people's religions.

Nobody likes a prosthelytizer. Did your friend go around on Saturday mornings, knock on people's doors, and tell them the good news that there is probably no such thing as a god and that they can stop worrying about going to hell?


Nah, he was usually hung over past noon. :-)

He was a helluva pool player, though, and supported The Innocence Project, LGBT rights, and other things of which I heartily approve.  He also kicked bums off the stoop of the house we lived in, a big ol' mansion carved into several apartments. I told him to knock that shiat off, too; they weren't doing any harm.

People are complicated.  Yin contains Yang, and vice versa.
 
2013-06-25 11:22:46 AM

what_now: So.. I'm fat because of god? That's good. I was blaming laziness and beer.


No, you're fat because of the lack of god. Didn't you read the article? Or were you too lazy to even do that? That's ok. With the miracle diet you don't need to do anything but pray. Go ahead and sit on the couch all day eating fatty, salty foods, with the miracle diet you don't have to get up or stop eating those foods you love! Results may vary.
 
2013-06-25 11:24:46 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Well, I don't read Sanskriit so I won't challenge your interpretation of it. Holding a single thought in one's mind to the exclusion of others is a different practice; call it "meditation" if you wish.  It is prayer to me; the practice amplifies the selected thought's power.


In practice, there is little difference between contemplative prayer and some forms of bhakti yoga which is the yoga of devotion.

But filling one's mind with one thought is little different from filling it with many thoughts

Meister Eckhart would disagree.

I have learned to let thoughts arise and float away without thinking new thoughts about them.  When thought-bubbles cease to rise, the pond of the mind becomes still and clear. One can then perceive the bottom of the pond, where lies Enlightenment.

There is still the perception of the "bottom of the pond" as something distinct from the perceiver. Most mystic traditions, both east and west, would tell you that you have not experienced truth until you have erased the distinction between the perceiver and the perceived.

Other than that, what you've described is a basic zen meditation intended to clarify the impermanence of thoughts, emotions, and finally of self.
 
2013-06-25 11:25:09 AM

Mercutio74: give me doughnuts: How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?

I was taking materialism to the extreme that Barking Unicorn did... where literally there is nothing but matter and energy.

I'll definitely grant you that the vast, vast majority of materialists happen to care about stuff and what you bolded is consistent with materialism, but if you were to distill materialism down to the most basic description, what other people think or feel doesn't really matter.

Only sociopaths would follow this belief system.


At it's most basic description, materialism is the idea that nothing exists but matter, energy, and the interactions between them (at least, that's how I see it).
I really don't see how that could lead to the idea that other people's thoughts and feelings aren't of any importance. I'm missing something here.
 
2013-06-25 11:26:14 AM

nulluspixiusdemonica: BarkingUnicorn: the practice amplifies the selected thought's power

Delusional obsession is a good thing, now?

Generally speaking if you're having trouble moving on to the next thought, you should seek professional help. If this is coupled with a deeply held belief in magical sky-beards, you should do the world a favour and get medicated ASAP... the voices are not our friends...


You are an example of my original observation:  shallow, closed-minded, unaware, miserable and seeking company in misery.

.
 
2013-06-25 11:26:33 AM

give me doughnuts: Mercutio74: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated. It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.


How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?


This. Bottom line is they're both self-centered, the second just acknowledges cultivating good will with others to keep them as a resource. Religion is the perfect tool for sociopaths.
 
2013-06-25 11:28:56 AM

give me doughnuts: At it's most basic description, materialism is the idea that nothing exists but matter, energy, and the interactions between them (at least, that's how I see it).
I really don't see how that could lead to the idea that other people's thoughts and feelings aren't of any importance. I'm missing something here.


Like I say, I don't really believe in that definition, it just seemed to be what Barking Unicorn thought of it.  I think materialism as a basis for understanding of the universe is on good solid footing, but if you take it as all there is to know, it's lacking.

Luckily for us, it doesn't exist in a vaccuum we have philosophy, psychology, evolutionary theory etc, etc, to fill in the gaps and make a complete belief system.  I was just making a point that if Barking Unicorn finds materialists to be terrible people, he must be using a very, very basic definition of materialism... one that excludes how humanity actually behaves.
 
2013-06-25 11:32:53 AM
Man whatever. I am a former non-denominational minister. I was a die hard believer who led prayer meetings, led worship for groups of over 1000, put out Christian CD with my Christian bands - all of this for 25 years. Let me just tell you something: this guy is not an atheist. He's a Christian, who doesn't like tithing, or going to a church, but is too scared to take the full atheistic plunge and walk away from it all because he and his family might wind up in hell for all eternity if he doesn't acknowledge God in some fashion so he still prays. Jeez dude. Go get fat, drink some beer, and enjoy life. The evidence is in our favor.
 
2013-06-25 11:35:57 AM
Monkeyhouse Zendo:

what you've described is a basic zen meditation intended to clarify the impermanence of thoughts, emotions, and finally of self.

Exactly.  I like Zen because it is simple. Just sit long enough and you'll get there.

Every  honest, true thing is simple.  The more complex a thing is made,  the more difficult it is to find the truth in it and the more likely it becomes that its maker is reaching for your wallet.
 
2013-06-25 11:36:11 AM

Mercutio74: give me doughnuts: How does any of that contradict materialist philosophy?

I was taking materialism to the extreme that Barking Unicorn did... where literally there is nothing but matter and energy.

I'll definitely grant you that the vast, vast majority of materialists happen to care about stuff and what you bolded is consistent with materialism, but if you were to distill materialism down to the most basic description, what other people think or feel doesn't really matter.

Only sociopaths would follow this belief system.


It's good to know the classics never really die. American fundamentalists have been spouting that same tired bullshiat about evolutionists for over a century. Switch up the vocabulary if you like.

It's still "holy crap, do you have to wear a helmet when you go outside?"-level retarded...
 
2013-06-25 11:38:40 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Exactly.  I like Zen because it is simple. Just sit long enough and you'll get there.


Sit even longer and you realize there wasn't anywhere to go.
 
2013-06-25 11:39:46 AM
An "atheist" praying to spiritual being called god? Sorry, this man is a theist, NOT an atheist. He may not a Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. but he's still a theist i.e. believing in a higher, spiritual being in the complete absence of proof. That is not what an atheist is.

Personally, as an atheist, I don't care if believing in some imaginary figure made him feel better, that won't fly with me. I believe that you shouldn't believe in something just because it makes you feel better about yourself, you should believe in something if you honestly think it is true.

I don't believe in god because I haven't seen anything in this world that would convince me that he/she/it exists. The words of believers certainly doesn't persuade me, the Bible doesn't persuade me, and testimonials regarding miracles and being touched by the holy spirit don't persuade me. That's just how I feel. I don't care if a lie would make me feel better, I cannot deluded myself into believing something I know to be false, it won't fly no matter how much I may want it to. This is why I always thought Pacal's Wager was a BS argument - it only worked if you genuinely believe; if you didn't really believe and went through all the motions just to hedge your bets wouldn't god realize that your faith was completely self-serving and not in fact genuine?

I don't know where I heard this but this argument always resonated with me: Human beings have a great capacity of logical thought and reason. It has helped us understand our world and advance beyond groupings of nomadic tribes wandering the plains and jungles in search of food. Why would a god give us such a gift only to have us completely ignore these abilities when it comes to questioning his/her/its own existence? Why would he/she/it completely hide its existence? Why would we have to take something on faith where our minds tell us that this is not the case. In order words, why would god make us smart but want us to be dumb (i.e. by not questioning his existence, accepting something on faith completely uncritically)? It makes no sense.
 
2013-06-25 11:42:23 AM

Mercutio74: give me doughnuts: At it's most basic description, materialism is the idea that nothing exists but matter, energy, and the interactions between them (at least, that's how I see it).
I really don't see how that could lead to the idea that other people's thoughts and feelings aren't of any importance. I'm missing something here.

Like I say, I don't really believe in that definition, it just seemed to be what Barking Unicorn thought of it.  I think materialism as a basis for understanding of the universe is on good solid footing, but if you take it as all there is to know, it's lacking.

Luckily for us, it doesn't exist in a vaccuum we have philosophy, psychology, evolutionary theory etc, etc, to fill in the gaps and make a complete belief system.  I was just making a point that if Barking Unicorn finds materialists to be terrible people, he must be using a very, very basic definition of materialism... one that excludes how humanity actually behaves.


They're not terrible people; they're unskillful people.  They forego skills that could make them feel better.  It's pathetic, not terrible.
 
2013-06-25 11:43:36 AM

Potter82: An "atheist" praying to spiritual being called god? Sorry, this man is a theist, NOT an atheist. He may not a Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. but he's still a theist i.e. believing in a higher, spiritual being in the complete absence of proof. That is not what an atheist is.


My higher power is Elvis
 
2013-06-25 11:43:55 AM

Modified Wooden Paper Towel Holder: Man whatever. I am a former non-denominational minister. I was a die hard believer who led prayer meetings, led worship for groups of over 1000, put out Christian CD with my Christian bands - all of this for 25 years. Let me just tell you something: this guy is not an atheist. He's a Christian, who doesn't like tithing, or going to a church, but is too scared to take the full atheistic plunge and walk away from it all because he and his family might wind up in hell for all eternity if he doesn't acknowledge God in some fashion so he still prays. Jeez dude. Go get fat, drink some beer, and enjoy life. The evidence is in our favor.


Huh.  And I thought he was just trying to lose weight and feel better.
 
2013-06-25 11:44:20 AM
As an overweight atheist currently in a 12 step program, I'm getting a kick out of these replies.

/I miss drugs.
//I do not miss my life when I was on drugs.
 
2013-06-25 11:47:11 AM
numbquil:  By definition atheists don't believe in god. I guess you could still believe in supernatural forces which could be spiritual. If you believe in god you are not an atheist though.

By definition atheists don't believe in supernatural forces, whether you call them gods, fairies, or Late-For-Dinner.

It might be possible to be an atheist and believe in astrology, if you were misinformed about the extent of a planet's gravity well. I ain't buyin' it, but I accept that the moon's gravity influences the tides. However IMHO the alleged rough correlation between the menstrual cycle and the moon is just an example of "sometimes shiat happens."

E.g., I found a studly on lunar and menstrual phase locking that "proved" they're linked because out of 312 carefully chosen female college students 68 reported their menstrual cycles coincided with the moon's phases. Of those 68, 47 said they got their periods when the moon looked big.

In other words, 21.79487% of those participants said their periods came during the same two weeks of the lunar month, and 69.11764% of those (47 participants, i.e. 15.064102564102564 of the total) said their periods came in the two weeks when the moon looked bigger. So 21 participants, or 6.730769% of the total, reported their periods came when the moon looked smaller. And 244/312 of the participants, 78.2051282051282%, failed to find (or imagine) any definite correlation between their menstrual cycles and the lunar ones.

If only 21.794871795% (68) of the 312 participants supported the conclusion you're trumpeting, and they were divided 47-21 on which half of the lunar cycle that was, what have you proven? Besides that you've wasted the funders' money, I mean.

~22% looks pretty random to me, especially considering that that 22% itself fell into two categories.

Will somebody who at least graduated the 8th grade and/or studied statistics explain this to me? Is there something I'm missing or some math I've done wrong?

Or maybe the Onion must hacked PubMed?
 
2013-06-25 11:47:26 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: BarkingUnicorn: Exactly.  I like Zen because it is simple. Just sit long enough and you'll get there.

Sit even longer and you realize there wasn't anywhere to go.


Maybe next lifetime.  :-)

The big advantage of belief in reincarnation is the peace that comes with knowing you cannot fail.  Christians have only one shot at salvation; that creates the ultimate "test anxiety."
 
2013-06-25 11:49:24 AM

BarkingUnicorn: I like Zen because it is simple.


It's simple but hoo boy is it easy to misunderstand.  To most people it might as well be as complex as general relativity.

I liken Zen to walking across a frozen river having no idea how thick the ice is.  The destination is absurdly simple to comprehend, the ice could be three feet thick for all you know and most people get that getting there safely involves staying calm, but it's by no means easy and half the problem is your brain imagining what the ice is.
 
2013-06-25 11:51:47 AM

Bumblefark: It's good to know the classics never really die. American fundamentalists have been spouting that same tired bullshiat about evolutionists for over a century. Switch up the vocabulary if you like.

It's still "holy crap, do you have to wear a helmet when you go outside?"-level retarded...


Yeah, I've always found there's a level of surprise when you point out that basic morality existed before Christianity (unless you're talking to a young earth Creationist, then it's just useless) and that more or less the idea of murder and theft being bad was universal among early historic man.   Even more interesting when you show evidence of altruism among pre-historic man.
 
2013-06-25 11:55:08 AM

BarkingUnicorn: The big advantage of belief in reincarnation is the peace that comes with knowing you cannot fail.  Christians have only one shot at salvation; that creates the ultimate "test anxiety."


Rebirth isn't reincarnation.

The One True TheDavid: 15.064102564102564

Significant figures are your friend.
 
2013-06-25 11:55:48 AM

JRoo: [i21.photobucket.com image 250x250]


Gracious. I've found a new nightmare.
 
2013-06-25 11:58:20 AM

The One True TheDavid: By definition atheists don't believe in supernatural forces, whether you call them gods, fairies, or Late-For-Dinner.


No.

Atheists do not believe in a god. That's it. They can, and many do, have irrational beliefs in things like ghosts, spirits, aliens, ect.

Materialists do not believe in anything supernatural. Atheist and Materialist are not synonymous but are somewhat related.
 
2013-06-25 12:02:49 PM

pkellmey: Wow, there's 2 of them in the world.

CSB
I went to college with someone who was born in an atheistic household and never had any inclination to be anything other than an atheist. He began "praying to no one" as an experiment in his freshman year and enjoyed it so much that he created a daily schedule of prayer times "to no one in particular" and found it to be the most fulfilling experience he had ever had in his life. He believed it was much better than when he had tried yoga for a year.


This makes perfect sense to me. There is a lump of neural matter which creates the illusion of a spiritual existence (just as other lumps of neural matter create the illusions of love, triangles, koalas, the necessity to poop...). Since this structure is there, one might as well use it for something. Typically, I find it handy to use it for taking a broad perspective of things, settling the mind, getting on with things despite apparent hardship etc.

I'm perfectly aware there's no divinity or divinities.
 
2013-06-25 12:06:55 PM

Potter82: I believe that you shouldn't believe in something just because it makes you feel better about yourself, you should believe in something if you honestly think it is true.


it's all about the feeling better.  Truth is unconcerned with you and you have no effect upon truth.
 
2013-06-25 12:08:11 PM

Modified Wooden Paper Towel Holder: Man whatever. I am a former non-denominational minister. I was a die hard believer who led prayer meetings, led worship for groups of over 1000, put out Christian CD with my Christian bands - all of this for 25 years. Let me just tell you something: this guy is not an atheist. He's a Christian, who doesn't like tithing, or going to a church, but is too scared to take the full atheistic plunge and walk away from it all because he and his family might wind up in hell for all eternity if he doesn't acknowledge God in some fashion so he still prays. Jeez dude. Go get fat, drink some beer, and enjoy life. The evidence is in our favor.


He is acknowledging that some religious practices can help him lose weight and achieve better mental health.  He is actively forsaking Jesus Christ and the mythology that accompanies Christianity, which is specifically forbidden in the Christian church.  If he were a "secret" Christion, he would know that is exactly your ticket to eternal hell.
 
2013-06-25 12:15:39 PM
Potter82: I don't know where I heard this but this argument always resonated with me: Human beings have a great capacity of logical thought and reason. It has helped us understand our world and advance beyond groupings of nomadic tribes wandering the plains and jungles in search of food.

Why would a god give us such a gift only to have us completely ignore these abilities when it comes to questioning his/her/its own existence?


Why do we have to ignore logic, thought, and science to claim belief in God?  Or should I say how does claiming belief translate into ignoring logic, thought, or science?  Not all things are currently understood or can be explained by our current level of knowledge.  Perhaps we're just not there yet to understand God.

Why would he/she/it completely hide its existence?

Maybe he's not.  Maybe we're ignoring his existence or not searching hard enough (or in the right ways).  Or maybe revealing himself to us while we were corporeal would negate the whole purpose of our existence in this state (i.e. screw up the experiment, if you will).

Why would we have to take something on faith where our minds tell us that this is not the case. In order words, why would god make us smart but want us to be dumb (i.e. by not questioning his existence, accepting something on faith completely uncritically)? It makes no sense.

I don't think it's God making us smart and expecting us to be dumb.  I think it's okay that we question things, but I wonder if we're actually questioning things with the right attitude.  We're expecting all the answers to work out our way on our schedules.  Perhaps taking things on faith is a part of what we are supposed to do until we mature, develop, evolve, etc. and can find the answers we seek.  As a child, I took it on faith that eating nasty vegetables was good for me because my parents said it was so.  I certainly disagreed and felt that was not the case.  But it's not like I had all the knowledge about health and nutrition to make that judgment.  If I had my way, it'd have been corn dogs and Reese's cups every meal.  In the end, they were right, and all my protests to the contrary didn't mean anything.

You ask a lot of good questions.  My responses are only some possible answers.  I could be wrong.  Keep thinking about those things, and maybe you'll come up with some answers which make sense to you.
 
2013-06-25 12:19:54 PM

dragonchild: BarkingUnicorn: I like Zen because it is simple.

It's simple but hoo boy is it easy to misunderstand.  To most people it might as well be as complex as general relativity.

I liken Zen to walking across a frozen river having no idea how thick the ice is.  The destination is absurdly simple to comprehend, the ice could be three feet thick for all you know and most people get that getting there safely involves staying calm, but it's by no means easy and half the problem is your brain imagining what the ice is.


The destination is  not Zen; it's Enlightenment.  Enlightenment is not understood; it is realized.  Why should the Path (Zen) be understood when the destination is not?

Just sit.  That is the Path.
 
2013-06-25 12:25:34 PM

Mercutio74: Bumblefark: It's good to know the classics never really die. American fundamentalists have been spouting that same tired bullshiat about evolutionists for over a century. Switch up the vocabulary if you like.

It's still "holy crap, do you have to wear a helmet when you go outside?"-level retarded...

Yeah, I've always found there's a level of surprise when you point out that basic morality existed before Christianity (unless you're talking to a young earth Creationist, then it's just useless) and that more or less the idea of murder and theft being bad was universal among early historic man.   Even more interesting when you show evidence of altruism among pre-historic man.


Well, yeah...they're going to be surprised. The only way a person can possibly achieve that level of self-fellating bigotry is to turn a blind eye to the world of observable events -- and then demonize any belief system that takes a central interest in said world, just for good measure. It's why sanctimonious assholes also tend to be some of the most insidiously anti-scientific and intellectually dishonest people you're going to stumble across. They have to be. There is simply nothing in objective reality that is going validate their worldview...so, they look elsewhere.

Usually, it begins with some tortured exercise in definitional reasoning, one that proceeds from violence to the plain meanings of everyday words. And, like every variety of sophistry since, well, the sophists, all you actually find when you untangle their hot mess of poor logic and hasty proclamations is one grand exercise in tautology and sleight-of-mouth.

/but, hey, I don't want to step on anybody's game, here...
 
2013-06-25 12:28:48 PM

BarkingUnicorn: dragonchild: BarkingUnicorn: I like Zen because it is simple.

It's simple but hoo boy is it easy to misunderstand.  To most people it might as well be as complex as general relativity.

I liken Zen to walking across a frozen river having no idea how thick the ice is.  The destination is absurdly simple to comprehend, the ice could be three feet thick for all you know and most people get that getting there safely involves staying calm, but it's by no means easy and half the problem is your brain imagining what the ice is.

The destination is  not Zen; it's Enlightenment.  Enlightenment is not understood; it is realized.  Why should the Path (Zen) be understood when the destination is not?

Just sit.  That is the Path.


Don't just do something, sit there.
 
2013-06-25 12:30:23 PM

BarkingUnicorn: The destination is not Zen; it's Enlightenment. Enlightenment is not understood; it is realized. Why should the Path (Zen) be understood when the destination is not? Just sit. That is the Path.


This is the Zen equivalent of putting a religious bumper sticker on your car and calling yourself a devout Christian.
 
2013-06-25 12:31:50 PM

GilRuiz1: Eighteen percent of atheists say religion has some importance in their life, 26 percent say they are spiritual or religious and 14 percent believe in "God or a universal spirit." Of all Americans who say they don't believe in God - not all call themselves "atheists" - 12 percent say they pray.

Very interesting.


if someone was a pacifist, but couldn't go outside without being swarmed by people beating them with nightsticks, that pacifist would still attribute some importance to nightsticks in their life. it doesn't mean they particularly like nightsticks, or are happy they exist; but when they are constantly surrounded by nightstick wielding assholes who will take any chance to deliver a beating, the nightsticks do have an impact.
 
2013-06-25 12:34:26 PM
Nope, no hole in my life.

/not any that I can't just fill right up with cock, anyway
 
2013-06-25 12:42:09 PM

BarkingUnicorn: Mercutio74: Also, FTFA:

Atheists deny religion's claim of a supernatural god but are starting to look more closely at the "very real effect" that practices such as going to church, prayer and observance of a Sabbath have on the lives of the religious, said Paul Fidalgo, a spokesman for the secular advocacy group the Center for Inquiry. "That's a big hole in atheist life," he said. "Some atheists are saying, 'Let's fill it.' Others are saying, 'Let's not.' "

That's an interesting claim.  I'm an atheist and have been since about grade 3.  I wonder if the "hole" this guy (who I guess is an "expert" on atheists?) talks about is easily filled by volunteering your time to a cause and/or belonging to some kind of social organization.  I really don't know any fellow non-believers who say, "You know what we need?  Social interaction bound together by pointless ritual!"

You don't know any non-believers who play golf, video games, or beer pong?  None who get together to watch The Game on TV?  None who attend concerts together?  Everyone eats alone?


He said pointless ritual.
 
2013-06-25 12:43:43 PM

BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.


What are you even talking about anymore?
 
2013-06-25 12:44:45 PM

FarkinHostile: The One True TheDavid:

By definition atheists don't believe in supernatural forces, whether you call them gods, fairies, or Late-For-Dinner.

No.

Atheists do not believe in a god. That's it. They can, and many do, have irrational beliefs in things like ghosts, spirits, aliens, ect.

Materialists do not believe in anything supernatural. Atheist and Materialist are not synonymous but are somewhat related.


Ah. Okay. Point taken. I humbly bow to your more arrant pederasty.

Can someone be a Materialist and a God-believer?
 
2013-06-25 12:45:52 PM

BarkingUnicorn: Infernalist: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I'm a secular humanist, thank you.

No, thank you!  I collect non sequiturs.


Ahh, talking about yourself. That makes sense now.
 
2013-06-25 12:47:14 PM

bluefox3681: Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.

You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists religionists come off as smug douche bags.

 
2013-06-25 12:50:48 PM

The One True TheDavid: FarkinHostile: The One True TheDavid:

By definition atheists don't believe in supernatural forces, whether you call them gods, fairies, or Late-For-Dinner.

No.

Atheists do not believe in a god. That's it. They can, and many do, have irrational beliefs in things like ghosts, spirits, aliens, ect.

Materialists do not believe in anything supernatural. Atheist and Materialist are not synonymous but are somewhat related.

Ah. Okay. Point taken. I humbly bow to your more arrant pederasty.

Can someone be a Materialist and a God-believer?


Nietzsche tried it, with mixed results.
 
2013-06-25 12:52:25 PM

The One True TheDavid: FarkinHostile: The One True TheDavid:

By definition atheists don't believe in supernatural forces, whether you call them gods, fairies, or Late-For-Dinner.

No.

Atheists do not believe in a god. That's it. They can, and many do, have irrational beliefs in things like ghosts, spirits, aliens, ect.

Materialists do not believe in anything supernatural. Atheist and Materialist are not synonymous but are somewhat related.

Ah. Okay. Point taken. I humbly bow to your more arrant pederasty.

Can someone be a Materialist and a God-believer?


I thought that was the norm. Anybody got a figure on the net value of the Vatican these days?
 
2013-06-25 12:52:26 PM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Weaver95: I'm sticking with paganism. There is a lot less guilt involved

Pagans are the hipsters of religion.

[25.media.tumblr.com image 400x496]


if i could do half of what i said.  i would sleep safe in your bed.  -Mesh
 
2013-06-25 12:55:32 PM
dragonchild:

I liken Zen to walking across a frozen river having no idea how thick the ice is.  The destination is absurdly simple to comprehend, the ice could be three feet thick for all you know and most people get that getting there safely involves staying calm

If the ice is too thin to support your calm weight you better hope it's a shallow calm river you calmly fall into.

If I had to cross I'd scurry over as lightly and quickly as I could, but walking gingerly instead of running because running makes your foot land more forcefully.
  It'd be more like me to wait till it thawed though. "Nothing matters very much..."
 
2013-06-25 12:59:07 PM
PartTimeBuddha:

There is a lump of neural matter which creates the illusion of a spiritual existence (just as other lumps of neural matter create the illusions of love, triangles, koalas, the necessity to poop...).

Needing to poop is an illusion for you? Not "pressure that turns out to be gas," but needing to poop?

I'd like to find the lump of matter that would convince me I'm healthy, happy, gorgeous and brilliant. And it'd be greart to be able to convince at least $15 of this town's hot coeds of the latter two somehow.
 
2013-06-25 01:00:51 PM
Atheism is a Religion.
 
2013-06-25 01:04:03 PM
As a former christian and now atheist, I can see this guy as continuing a cultural tradition.  He acknowledges his "being" is fake, but it provides him with a focus; though he does keep his mind open if the facts are to change.  This type of "spiritual" behavior ,as has been previously pointed out, can have positive influences.  It can also provide a sense of connection to the greater society that looks down upon Atheists as lower than anyone who believes in a god.  This connection to the culture was given in the book, "Little Book of Atheist Spirituality". An interesting book, especially for the non-introverted and isolated in the atheist community.
ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2013-06-25 01:15:56 PM
Maybe he spent all his time praying instead of eating.
 
2013-06-25 01:19:27 PM

letrole: Atheism is a Religion.


i1324.photobucket.com
 
2013-06-25 01:22:15 PM

Babwa Wawa: Also known as meditation, which also does not require faith in the supernatural.


I think this is more visualization than meditation.

When I'm swimming, I like to visualize that there's a shark in the water coming after me and I need to make every stroke and kick count or I won't make it in time. It's given me some fantastic mile times (for a crappy swimmer), and sometimes it's real enough that I catch myself wanting to look back.
 
2013-06-25 01:25:14 PM

The One True TheDavid: Ah. Okay. Point taken. I humbly bow to your more arrant pederasty.


I never touched that boy.

But seriously, it is a very common misconception that atheists are total rationalist/materialistic when many have irrational beliefs like luck, karma, ect. One can be an atheist and be a complete nutjob in other ways than religious belief.
 
2013-06-25 01:39:17 PM

letrole: Atheism is a Religion.


0/10.  I award you no points, and may the imaginary weight loss goddess have mercy on your soul.
 
2013-06-25 01:49:43 PM

FTFA: Eighteen percent of atheists say religion has some importance in their life, 26 percent say they are spiritual or religious and 14 percent believe in "God or a universal spirit."

14% percent of atheists believe in god or a universal spirit?!?!?

i218.photobucket.com
 
2013-06-25 01:53:56 PM
You non-believers can scoff all you want but he does exist!
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-06-25 01:57:55 PM

Alonjar: I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me.


The only reason for an atheist to get in your face about claiming to be agnostic is to correct you if you think that agnosticism has anything to do with belief in gods.  "Agnostic" is not a "middle position" between theist and atheist.  Most atheists just don't bother with self-applying the term agnostic, because it's assumed.

NostroZ: I find it emotionally lazy and intellectually dishonest to be an atheist, since one cannot posit a certainty (there is no G-d) of a metaphysical concept.


If any more than some tiny obscure fraction of atheists actually made that claim, you might have a point.  I find it intellectually dishonest to purposely misstate your opponent's position, myself.

Mystery Vortex: The ironic thing is that they don't realize that by mocking and tearing people down, they're being just as bad as the hardcore Christians they claim to be nothing like.


Right.

"I believe the Earth is flat, and I just passed a law making it illegal for anyone to teach children otherwise!"
"Actually, there's considerable evidence that it's round.  Here are some pictures from space, and a circumnavigation record."
"Why are you mocking me and tearing me down?!"
 
2013-06-25 02:26:08 PM

Mercutio74: I actually agree with this. If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.


Not that Materialism isn't a pretty flawed view of the universe (overly specific in its claims of categorization in the light of ), but that's a pretty enormous question you're begging there.  Philosophical naturalism, utilitarianism, and secular humanism (and many other secular moral philosophies) do not require the existence of anything but matter and energy.  The idea that morality is irrational or can only be derived from supernatural sources is one of the more insidious lies pushed by the religious.
 
2013-06-25 02:28:33 PM
oops, that was supposed to be "in the light of things like modern physics"
 
2013-06-25 02:34:53 PM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: God hates amputees.


Seeing that the word wasn't even coined until the early 20th century, it's kind of silly to look for references to it in The Bible. Don't let that stop you though....
 
2013-06-25 02:47:29 PM
so in other words he believe in 'God'.
OK.
 
2013-06-25 02:50:25 PM

Bumblefark: Cool.

Wanna hear my thoughts on what makes a person an sanctimonious asshole?


Again?  I just read it, twice, man.

The My Little Pony Killer: What are you even talking about anymore?


Ooh, Pick me!

Umm...  His Staggering Superiority Complex?

Did I win?
 
2013-06-25 02:59:05 PM
In related news, the placebo effect is a real thing.
 
2013-06-25 03:24:38 PM
He is an Atheist heretic!

The streets will flow with the blood of the non-believers of non-believing...I mean those who believe that non-believers should believe something...you shouldn't be a non-believer who b...you know what, could you just make your non-believing be a little less believ-ey?
 
2013-06-25 03:39:11 PM
I remember listening to Camille Paglia on the radio a few years ago and getting very upset at her suggestion that humans need some form of spirituality in their life in order to be happy. I still don't agree with her, but within my own life I've recognized that there might be some benefit from pursuing something akin to spiritualism. I've begun meditating, and I've learned to seek and cherish experiences that other people might describe as spiritual as part of an effort to bring joy and peace into my life. I don't believe in anything that might be described as supernatural, but I wouldn't assert that all human experiences that have been traditionally associated with religion or spirituality are useless.
 
2013-06-25 04:33:23 PM
We're not laughing with you, we're laughing at you.
 
2013-06-25 05:30:35 PM
If you "need" to worship and pray to something, why not just do like George Carlin and worship the sun and pray to Joe Pesci? At least they both exist!
 
2013-06-25 05:49:19 PM

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: I've found vigorous exercise burns more calories than vigorous prayer, but maybe I'm just not lifting enough spiritual weight or giving my faith enough recovery time.


Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, that's a lot of calories burned.
 
2013-06-25 07:12:57 PM

nocturnal001: In related news, the placebo effect is a real thing.


Yep, a real thing with a neurological basis that been shown repeatedly in neuroimaging papers.  Just because God may not be real doesn't mean you can't trick your brain into believing it.  I've already explained this earlier in the thread, but people like flinging poo more
 
2013-06-25 07:17:48 PM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Voiceofreason01: SphericalTime: What in the 72 hells? My gods that makes no sense to me.

This has to be fake

Atheism has a distinct lack of spontaneous expressions of disbelief and incredulity. Christians have "Jesus Christ", Jews have "Oy vey", punk rock Jews have "Oi vey", Muslims have something that probably translates to "where is my bomb/vest". Atheists open their mouths and have nothing. It can be very frustrating.

I've taken to exclaiming "Knights of Columbus!" and "Great Odin's beard!"


I used to use "My God!" But I've traded up to "My gods!" just to make it more clear that I don't believe in the gods that I'm exclaiming on. The 72 hells thing was a joke though.
 
2013-06-25 07:59:52 PM

RobSeace: If you "need" to worship and pray to something, why not just do like George Carlin and worship the sun and pray to Joe Pesci? At least they both exist!


Because there's that one in a million chance that Pesci might overhear my prayers and take it as an invitation to start hanging around my house. To get the guy out, I'll have to start praying to DeNiro, and to get rid of DeNiro, I'll have to pray to Pacino, and I'm not sure what happens after that but I think it involves the old lady swallowing a horse to catch the fly and then she explodes and everyone's dead. That's a pretty drastic outcome just for making my usual prayer for a decent parking spot outside the Five Guys.
 
2013-06-25 08:43:35 PM
Wow.  I know this guy but haven't seen him in years...
 
2013-06-25 10:01:35 PM

Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.


Yes, which is why people who are ACTUALLY rational don't try making anvils into boats. Because it's stupid. Like atheism.
 
2013-06-25 10:48:18 PM

untaken_name: Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.

Yes, which is why people who are ACTUALLY rational don't try making anvils into boats. Because it's stupid. Like atheism.


Woosh
 
2013-06-26 12:19:03 AM
How interesting.
 
2013-06-26 01:22:03 AM
*sigh*

OK, miracle proven.

We shall now all obey the nonsensical arbitrary edicts of any pudgy middle-aged man who claims to speak for the Creator of the Universe.

Can I send you some money?

You know, to help out our Lord the Eternal Omniscient All-Powerful God, the poor financially-naive creature?
 
2013-06-26 02:27:38 AM

Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.


Really? I've known so many people who seemed to genuinely believe that, yet were still nasty, envious, bitter wastes of breath.
 
2013-06-26 11:21:42 AM

letrole: Atheism is a Religion.


God evolved.
 
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