October 16th, 2013
03:20 PM ET
What Oprah gets wrong about atheism
(CNN) - To some, Oprah Winfrey appears to have an almost godlike status. Her talents are well recognized, and her endorsement can turn almost any product into an overnight bestseller.
This godlike perception is fitting, since in recent years Winfrey’s work has increasingly emphasized spirituality, including programs like her own "Super Soul Sunday."
But what happens when an atheist enters the mix?
A few days ago Winfrey interviewed long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad on Super Soul Sunday. Nyad identified herself as an atheist who experiences awe and wonder at the natural world and humanity.
Nyad, 64, who swam from Cuba to Key West last month, said “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity — all the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt.”
Winfrey responded, “Well I don’t call you an atheist then.”
Winfrey went on, “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery then that is what God is… It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”
Nyad clarified that she doesn’t use the word God because it implies a “presence… a creator or an overseer.”
Winfrey’s response may have been well intended, but it erased Nyad’s atheist identity and suggested something entirely untrue and, to many atheists like me, offensive: that atheists don’t experience awe and wonder.
MORE ON CNN: Diana Nyad completes historic Cuba-to-Florida swim
The exchange between Winfrey and Nyad reminds me of a conversation I once had with a Catholic scholar.
The professor once asked me: “When I talk about God, I mean love and justice and reconciliation, not a man in the sky. You talk about love and justice and reconciliation. Why can’t you just call that God?”
I replied: “Why must you call that God? Why not just call it what it is: love and justice and reconciliation?”
Though we started off with this disagreement, we came to better understand one another’s points of view through patient, honest dialogue.
Conversations like that are greatly needed today, as atheists are broadly misunderstood.
MORE ON CNN: Behold, the six types of atheists
When I visit college and university campuses around the United States, I frequently ask students what words are commonly associated with atheists. Their responses nearly always include words like “negative,” “selfish,” “nihilistic” and “closed-minded.”
When I ask how many of them actually have a relationship with an atheist, few raise their hands.
Relationships can be transformative. The Pew Research Center found that among the 14% of Americans who changed their mind from opposing same-sex marriage to supporting it in the last decade, the top reason given was having “friends, family, acquaintances who are gay/lesbian.”
Knowing someone of a different identity can increase understanding. This has been true for me as a queer person and as an atheist. I have met people who initially think I can’t actually be an atheist when they learn that I experience awe and am committed to service and social justice.
But when I explain that atheism is central to my worldview — that I am in awe of the natural world and that I believe it is up to human beings, instead of a divine force, to strive to address our problems — they often better understand my views, even if we don’t agree.
While theists can learn by listening to atheists more, atheists themselves can foster greater understanding by not just emphasizing the “no” of atheism — our disagreement over the existence of any gods — but also the “yes” of atheism and secular humanism, which recognizes the amazing potential within human beings.
Carl Sagan, the agnostic astronomer and author, would have agreed with Nyad’s claim that you can be an atheist, agnostic or nonreligious person and consider yourself “spiritual.”
As Sagan wrote in "The Demon-Haunted World,":
"When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.”
Nyad told Winfrey that she feels a similar sense of awe:
“I think you can be an atheist who doesn’t believe in an overarching being who created all of this and sees over it,” she said. “But there’s spirituality because we human beings, and we animals, and maybe even we plants, but certainly the ocean and the moon and the stars, we all live with something that is cherished and we feel the treasure of it.”
MORE ON CNN: 'Atheist' isn’t a dirty word, congresswoman
I experience that same awe when I see people of different beliefs coming together across lines of religious difference to recognize that we are all human — that we all love and hurt.
Perhaps Winfrey, who could use her influence to shatter stereotypes about atheists rather than reinforce them, would have benefited from listening to Nyad just a bit more closely and from talking to more atheists about awe and wonder.
I know many who would be up to the task.
Chris Stedman is the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard University, coordinator of humanist life for the Yale Humanist Community and author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Off topic, but I'm thinking the Belief Blog probably made a good editorial choice by not also running this story here on the Belief Blog as well as the Political Ticker.
This rant by the stenographer is as good as anything we see here.
"Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand," ... "He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked, (don't touch me) He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been... it would not have been... No. it would not have been... the Consti.tution would not have been written by Free Masons... and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ."
Bit sad really. The poor woman has had to put up with congressional shenanigans for a long time now. It seems to have worn her down.
I'm just glad it didn't degenerate to the point where she would try to spread garlic around to ward off the vampires.
By my defniition of the term, I don't think I have ever met a true atheist. When I hear anyone search for meaning, experience wonder and awe, feel moved and inspired by love, and admit there are things that are unknown and not understood, I feel they are expressing the same curiosity and feelings that religionists experience when they talk about "God." Atheists may not like using the term, maybe because religionists express to much certainty in the meaning of "God" and frequently overuse the term to the point where they mistakenly convince themselves they know what "God" is. Even so, I think it is the same thing.
What's a "true atheist"?
Did you consider, given what you wrote, that you might not be a theist?
Not true at all. Those things in no way imply a being must exist. Actually, being sure you know the answer with zero evidence, ie. god did it, means that you are in fact less curious than an atheist. Curiosity and wonder are great things that are in many ways hurt by religion.
I disagree totally. I've been an antheist since I was four ... I experience awe and amazement at the world and universe I am part of. Not because of any diety or supernatural being but due entirely to checmical reactions within my brain. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't need a religion to understand the evolving universe, galaxy, solar system and planet. I much prefer that which is quantifiable over the "if you just had faith" arguement. The truth will set you free if you only open your mind to it.
Honestly I have no clue how someone can live so many years and still not have some idea there is much more to life than this world we live in. The 60s are supposedly life review wake up.
The most AMUSING thing about Christianity is that its entire foundation rests on the existence of a TALKING SNAKE!
1) No talking snake, then no bimbo Eve eats the fruit (she must have been a blonde)
2) Eve no eats the fruit, then NO ORIGINAL SIN
3) No original sin, then NO NEED FOR JESUS!
Can you imagine how the missionaries must have struggled to get native people to follow THIS NUTTY STUFF!
The amusing thing about you is that you take the creation story literally-IMO if any Christian takes the Genesis creation story literally they are extremely uneducated. It's Hebrew poetry. The Bible never claims to tell how the world works. It doesn't have all the answers. To quote one of my favorite professors ever, "When you read a book about John Adams, you learn about him. You learn about his parents, you learn about his life. At the end of the book, you feel like you know John Adams just a little more. The same is true of the Bible. The Bible is written so that people come to know Jesus Christ."
The old testament is gross whether its meant literally or as a metaphor.
Hi Jake – Well, the Southern Baptists, Pentacostals, and all the other Evangelical/Fundies will tell you that, by gollee, there sure was a TALKING SNAKE because the Bible is inerrant and God's Perfect Word and does not need any human interpretation!
Oh I know. Many people out there believe that the creation story is true. I'm here to tell you that if you meet an educated Christian, they will tell you it's not. Science has pretty much proven without a doubt that the big bang actually happened. It doesn't keep me from believing that God had a hand in the big bang.
I hate to tell you, but many of the Christians I've met (and I live on the west coast), think it is literal. And not just Genesis.
if any Christian takes the Genesis creation story literally they are extremely uneducated
Have you been around here long enough to interact with Topher? You'll never need sitcoms again.
See here is the problem.
IF the Genisis story is a story ... then there is no Original Sin, no need for baptism ( tell that to the catholics and baptists ), no need for Jesus to 'save' us from original sin ( there goes the rest of Xtianity ).
All of Xtianity falls like a house of cards
I find it amusing that it is only Bible thumpers and atheists who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.
46% of Americans believe that God created humans in our present form less than 10,000 years ago.
That's an awful lot of Bible literalists there.
Obviously you're completely ignorant about the subject but flapping your mouth anyway.
it is very understandable for someone to be an atheist...if one does not take the time to explore the history and understand the words that are in the Holy Bible one would have all kinds of ideas including that of atheism...there was a reason martin luther posted the 95 theses so we could individually be able to decipher and learn God's word....there was a reason God sent His son Jesus to dwell among humans and die on a wooden cross...they used to include Jesus in history books...just as the author of this article says that people become more accepting and tolerant of issues if they have a friend or family member experiencing it, then one would come to accept God if it were still taught in history books....organized religion is such a disgrace to what God intended...the two largest world religions both believe in God but have such a different approach to practicing...
if one does not believe in the relevance or validity of the Bible as Gods word then there is no need to discuss...the conclusion is what if God does come one day?? what if all one had to do is believe in God instead of trying all kinds of different ways to avoid disprove or nullify his existence and creation? bottom line i rather have faith and encourage others to have faith in a God that loves His creation and can not wait to be reunited with US...
"a God that loves His creation and can not wait to be reunited with US"
...Hence the Tsumamis
there is a war unseen that is occurring that will end one day....the devil vs God...death love hate natural disasters compassion cancer birth etc are all part of the war...look at it like this, its all in the name devil take out the d and you get evil, add a o to God and you get good
When one takes the time to study history and the Bible most atheists find their disbelief reinforced.
depends on how one would read the Bible....if one reads it as a love story between a supernatural Father and His creation then one who has had any kind of relationship would have a better understanding of where love came from
Have you read the Iliad or the Odyssey? All sorts of things being done by all sorts of gods, but did you find it believable? Likewise, plenty of people have read about the activities of the god of the Bible and have not found it believable. It is not difficult to understand.
i guess it depends on perspective...what i have learned from my studies is to read each verse in context of the chapter, then in context of the book, then in context of the Bible....i lot of times people misquote the scripture and throw it out at others in a judgmental condescending manner...it blow my mind how everything i need to know about all i want to know is found in the bible...how to treat others, how to love my mate, how to raise my children, how the world began and how the world's future and political debates etc all in the Bible...
It seems like you are implying that atheist does not believe in God because they did not take the time and do the research on the subject. This just does not fit reality; most atheist I know have spent countless hours researching the subject and usually have a better grasp on the subject than religious people. In a matter of fact, there have been research that support me on this issue. The research show that atheist have more knowledge on religion than believers. (Don't take my word for it; look it up yourself). Now, since you make the claim that you have done your research on the subject,. I have a challenge for you. I want you to show me any historical evidence that support that Jesus actually exist. I am willing to bet that you will not find any outside of the bible.
visit isreal brother...islam even discusses the existence of Jesus...Jesus was a part of history just like noah or gladiators or dinosaurs...think about this what does AD and BC stand for??? annoi domini or after death and bc is before christ(jesus)...its all around us we just choose to reject
The fact of the matter is I once believed the bible was the true word of god. Then I started studying it. I wanted to know all that could be known about it.
As I studied, I learned. As I learned, I began to realize that what I had once believed to be true was untrue, that all I thought I had known was false and the person I had become because of that belief was a vile excuse for a human being.
Since then I have worked very, very hard at changing that person into someone I could love. As a result, all I can say to your silly "what if" question is: If it all turns out that I'm wrong and your God is real, I stand by the life I've lived. And if that isn't enough for him, he isn't a god I want to be with anyway.
its not my God, God is God of all whether we accept it or not....do u still believe the Bible is Gods word???
No, I don't. I believe it is the collected faith stories of a specific people at a specific time.
It has some good stuff in it, and some not so good stuff. But it is no more divinely inspired than any other book of mythology and history.
And whether you accept it or not your God is not my god. And in all probability, the god you believe in is not the same as the god another Christian believes in. Not completely anyway.
Only for the eyes of Oprah who I hear reads this blog everyday:
The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(references used are available upon request
Prove to me that you have a great-great-great-great-grandmother? Oh wait you can't? Oh you mean you can only because you've been told she existed and since you're here it's obviously proof that she existed some time right? Oh there's a book that she was in–your family tree? Someone told your great-great grandfather a story about her once and he told your dad who told you? Hmmmmmm..... interesting.
Actually, no. I have birth records and marriage records. Official government documents and the like.
Does that mean I know her life story? Nope. Just that she once was born in Germany and got married and had kids of her own.
What is the point?
Having a great-great-great-great-grandmother is not only plausible, it would be impossible for me not to have one.
Your god story has neither of those attributes.
Not interesting at all. Do you actually believe this is some kind of logical argument.? I have yet to meet a Christian who had any interesting argument; it is always mindless babble. I should not waste my time on this non-sense but since I already started, I will continue. Of course, I have a great-great-great-great grandmom or I would not be here. It is self-evident, one just have to look at reality. There is no evidence that their needs to be a God for me to exist at all. Nothing in reality dictates that their needs to be God.
First off, Oprah is wrong about a lot of things about a lot of things.
Secondly, once Athiests stop making jokes and trying to force religious people to find a way to prove themselves, THEN they can start trying to have logical and intelligent conversations.
Athiests have become the most annoying group of people in this country. I don't belong to any religion but I'd rather have the Jehovahs Witnesses come to my door every Sunday than have to listen to Athiests try to make sure everyone knows how wrong they are about everything.
Except for the Oprah part, I agree with your comment. Atheists are annoying because they are so obsessed about being an atheist, that they end up being evangelical with it, just like extreme christians.
The reason Atheists are getting more and more aggressive is because its now become a matter of life and death. Religious people are putting the future of the human race in serious jeopardy. Their denial of climate change among other things puts my son's future in danger. Religious people are very dangerous! As Voltaire said "when we believe in absurdities, we commit atrocities."
Atheists are annoying because they are so obsessed about being an atheist, that they end up being evangelical with it
Generalize much. You apply this to *all* atheists, but only *extreme* Christians. Bit of a double standard there I'd say.
I love how you assume all atheists are unreasonable and try to prove all christians wrong, but then also assume only "extreme" christians are unreasonable. Sorry to tell you, most atheists are just like most christians. There are annoying "I'm right, you're wrong" people in either category. You've got Christians all over the place that will tell me I'm going to h3ll because I don't have faith. And there are atheists all over the place that will tell you you're nuts for talking to and believing in a non-existent being.
There are also people in both faiths that just accept everyone for who they are as people instead of caring about beliefs (I'd say this makes up the majority of people, just not here on the boards obviously).
Athesists don't come to your door. You choose to read here.
"trying to force religious people to find a way to prove themselves"
Except places like the Belief Blog, who exactly is doing that in your daily life?
Perhaps it is your own doubt that causes this question?
Wow, "I'm not a goper" I sure did hit a soft spot didn't I? Look, if you're being this aggressive, this insecure, or possibly just a provoker (you are ALL over these boards ALL the time) then you obviously have doubts about your own atheist beliefs.
Good luck with that.
You must spend a lot of time on the internet, because that is really the only place I find really militant Atheists.
I've never had an Atheist come to my door in an effort to convert me. I have had Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and a whole lot of Christians (of various denominations) do so.
I have never gone to a funeral or a wedding where the officiant and the celebrants were Atheist and gotten preached to. It has happened at several funerals and weddings where the officiant was Christian, especially when said officiant knew that the celebrants and/or assembled guests were not Christian.
If you saw someone selling another "miracle cure", and noticed that your loved ones were really getting invested into it, wouldn't you want some proof that they weren't getting cheated? You know what they say, "if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn't". Well, Christianity sounds way too good to be true.
You like tree's
God made tree's
You must believe in God
And much like the author of this article, instead of being strong in his atheism, you attack Oprah, out of fear and doubt that YOU might be wrong about your beliefs.
Other than you doubting your beliefs, nothing could be worse.
Even if there were a god, the arrogance in Oprah's assumptions deserve attacking.
And if you believe that ANYTHING needs to be attacked, you AGAIN show me what atheists are really made of. Not something that a lot of people want to hang out with – do you see why the author of the article is a lonely man?
"do you see why the author of the article is a lonely man?" – Ahhh, you're a troll. Now it makes sense. Have fun!
I point out the flaw in Oprah's logic and it's framed as doubt in my own beliefs. Of course that is a typical fundy response. You can't comprehend how anyone rejects your delusion so you're convinced they are either mad at your god or doubt their own beliefs.
Would you accept someone else telling you what you "actually" believe about God, like Oprah has in this case?
You like tree's
God made tree's
You don't realize you believe in God
Amazing level of arrogance to assume she knows what Nyad believes better than Nyad.
My wife's response:
I thank God daily for making me an Atheist
I thank daily the God that my wife does not believe in
for having her.
Here is what true atheist must do. Go buy a gun and shoot yourselves. Because, in the absence of meaning, value, and choice, there is absolutely no purpose to existence. And, as you pull the trigger, you will be certain that you were predestined to do exactly what you are doing. End of story. Otherwise, you are a theist of some kind and you are just having silly semantical arguments with your more enlightened friends.
Taking it a bit far there tonto....
Therein lies the flaw in your logic and religion........ you don't need to worship a god to have purpose and meaning.
Yeah law...I wouldn't call myself enlightened if I were telling people to go shoot themselves. I would, however be looking for some serious medication or electric shock therapy...
Think about it.
There is no "in the absence of meaning, value, and choice" in being atheist. In apocalyptic religions, like Christianity, that may be the case. At least there is no meaningful choice other than subservience or punishment. Some people can't live with the personal responsibility to make ethical choices that comes with atheism and feel more comfortable without real choice.
Ummmm, 'No'. Life has meaning. We just don't think it's governed by a 'sky daddy'. That's all. What's the meaning of life? I don't know, you tell me.
Atheism = belief that there is no god.
Atheism does NOT equal a lack of meaning or purpose in life.
Perhaps the meaning and purpose of YOUR life is your religion/faith/God, whatever. That doesn't mean that it is the only meaning or purpose to life on earth.
You go first, since you're sure you're gonna land in "god"s arms. Freak.
I should end it all because I haven't been tricked into thinking that it has a purpose, based on your invented dogma?
I happen to enjoy my life. I have no incentive to leave it just because I haven't bought into Christianity. Thanks anyway.
You are way off base there. Atheists can absolutely feel awe and wonder. And actually, since we know this is all there is, we make the most of it. While with religion, your belief is that life on Earth is but a mere blip in your eternal life.
Like everyone else, we make our own meaning to life. If you think about it carefully, Christians actually make God the meaning of their lives, not the other way round.
This type of comment has no place in any kind of theist vs. atheist discussion.
Besides that you are advocating suicide, which by definition in any Christian denomination, is a cardinal sin, you imply that atheist have no morals, respect or dignity.
Provide evidence that supports your claims.
I do not need to have meaning, value and choice assigned to me by an imaginary deity. I was born with choice. I assign meaning to my own life, and choose my own values and purpose. I, as an Atheist, have the courage to see the world as it really is. I don't need a religious security blanket to face the wonder, tragedy and uncertainty of the universe.
So, all you rebellious repliers missed the point. Oprah was correct with her response. Aetheists' definition of the word "atheist" is illogical. An actual aetheist would act exactly as I described. Pseudo-aethiest who incorrectly apply the term to themselves and don't act in accordance with it may call themselves anything they wish - but their actions are called "theist." That's all I and Oprah are saying. End of story.
That word you keep using... I don't think it means what you think it means...
I don't need a metaphor to feel comfortable with the complexity of the universe.
Bravo, well said. I get so tired of being told I can't have morals or live a meaningful life if I don't believe in a supernatural being guiding my every move. Nonsense.
I'm Catholic and I found this to be a thoughtful essay. I'm in agreement with the author's claims. Why can't atheists still experience awe, wonder, and mystery at the universe. Also, I agree that belief in God obviously implies a concious presence overseeing the universe. I just don't agree with Oprah and that Catholic professor's definitions of God.
I also appreciate the writer's call for respectful dialogue to foster greater understanding. I don't understand why a belief in God has to be such a polerizing thing. As human beings, don't we have more in common than that? That's what Pope Francis has been talking about. In my experience, I've never ever established a relationship based on religion or the lack thereof. I've never understood why it's such a huge deal to others. The only place it enters into debate is wrt abortion and gay marriage and the like and those are more moral and ethical issues that ostensibly should be independent of a religion, since morals and ethics should be universal.
And if we disagree on those issues, so what? It'll be hashed out democratically or in the courts. We don't have to hate each other over them, do we?
You presnet the only good argument for believing in God. It may not be true, but it sounds good, like the ending of "The Life of Pi."
It's polarizing because it's entered politics, with secular America on one side and Christian America on the other. People generally don't care whether the other guy believes in astrology, for example, but if all astrology believers, and that's about 30% of the population, got organized against something like people getting married to someone whose sign was compatible, people would start caring about what they believe.
Dismiss reality and replace it with Warm fuzzies is what religion is all about.
False. Many religions believe the exact opposite. Many believe that pain is the only way to encounter God (or Buddha or Allah or whatever)
Sounds like those folk would believe capital punishment builds character. 😉
Wait a minute that's Medieval Catholicism – Burning at the stake to fix the body, but save the soul!
Start with warm fuzzies, accept reality that doesn't conflict with warm fuzzies, reject and fight reality that conflicts with warm fuzzies.
I can't help but note your last name is Stedman. Well played.
Oprah said nothing of substance, just a few simple words that have no meaning.
You can say she was both ignorant and arrogant by claiming to know something that does not know and can not know.
But it's all "feel good" talk. You can become wealthy by telling people what they want to hear.
People say things without thinking, and repeat slogans just to be socially accepted and because certain phrases are habitual in language.
In a casual conversation about traveling through the city at lunch, someone said to me "That's why god make taxis".
This statement is literally meaningless but it's a habitual misuse of language. Of course, I said "No, General Motors makes taxis".
Hey, at least Oprah was on the on the right track for one sentence....."It’s not a bearded guy in the sky."
Shhhhhh...... Don't the people who made "Pastor" Osteen wealthy!!!!
Common sense is actually often wrong.
I've been reading this blog for quite some time now. The people who believe in god and are certain what god is have described why they believe it and what god is, wants, etc. The problem is, even within Christians alone, the absolute certain descriptions are very different. When that is pointed out, the people who are certain explain in detail why the others are wrong, and often tell atheists they need to find god for themselves. Again, the problem will be that even if an atheist "finds" god, it will be different than the others (as evidenced by all the different god experiences).
Conclusion: The human brain as complex, powerful, and beautiful as it is, has many design compromises (illusions, magic tricks, etc). One is the ability to envision things that don't exist. This provides humans with an amazing ability to see future possibilities and plan to make them happen. On the flip side, that same capability allows us to believe imaginary things with strong conviction.
Oprah is SO deceived. On her show; she started out as a Christian. Now all this new agey CRAP-GARBAGE. SAD!!!
New agey CRAP-GARBAGE is no more sad than Christian CRAP-GARBAGE.
RIGHT! In the 'good old day' she would be dragged down into the Bishop's dungeons and tortured until she repented her heretic ways. I get the feeling a lot of Fundie Christians miss the power that the used to have to punish people who don't agree with them.
A duck setting down on water in a storm has a better sense of "god" than all the christians, jews or moslems pact together.
No, it has a better sense of "safety". A feeling of "safety" is easily explained by evolution and something that I have no problem believing in. "Safety" is not some super being that created the universe.
I'm not sure they do, but the whatever they do, is the result of their evolution.
Anyone who bothers to say they are an atheist is overthinking it. I mean, so what? Is it supposed to be some kind of special knowledge that god is a made up thing? It's obvious – no big deal.
it will be. Heaven or hell? Let's think about that choice. I picked Heaven, and I am in love with Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Patty, google Pascal's Wager and read, to learn why your comment is stupid.
Whatever works for you. I choose Rational Thinking and a simple rule, Do No Harm and expect nothing in return.
Your statement has no meaning to anyone but you, and to those who believe as you do.
You forgot Valhalla, the Happy Hunting Grounds, and all the other proposed afterlives. Some other god might treat you far worse for your choice to support a god who turned out to be false than someone like myself who didn't support any of her rivals. Neutral states have a better chance of not getting attacked.
The choice only exists in your imagination.
The fact that you don't consider a third option is very telling. Why would anyone want to follow you down the path of narrow mindedness?
And there are over a thousand other religions on the planet that would consider your choice the wrong one. So the odds that you are correct are extremely low. Huh-oh!
Except that the vast majority of people who believe in God or gods don't actively recognize that it is made up and build their entire lives around the idea that such things are delivered from on high.
Most Christians have a completely muddled concept of their God. For example,
1) What does God look like? A big white guy with a beard who lives in the sky? A cosmic 'love' field?
2) God loves you? So that's why He gave your 5 year old kid leukemia and killed 6 million Jews?
3) God only does good things? So Satan must do the bad things? Problem is, in the Bible, Satan is subordinate to God, so God must give His OK for all of Satan's evil doings.
4) God controls the motion of every atom in the Universe? So this means He is working on regulating your digestion right now?
5) God is watching you? So this means God watches all those billions of people in bed every night doing embarrassing things?!
Like I say, ask the average Christian to try to explain and define and describe God, and you'll not be disappointed by their ignorance and folly!
Asking an average atheist why they dont believe in a God will get you answers that are just as stupid!
1. God the father has never claimed to have a physical figure.
2. God does love me. I've been blessed with so much. And yes, there have been bad things that have happened to me, but God never says that bad things wont happen. It's what you do with bad things.
3. Read the Old Testament and tell me that God doesn't do "bad" things....
4. God does not control the motion of every atom. The argument of free will is one that the most ardent Christians argue about.
5. God is watching. You're right. And God has a great sense of humor/
These are average Christian answers.
Bullcr@p, Jake. Your "loving" god also lets billions of innocent kids die horrid deaths. Get past your wacky supersti.tions already.
And I can't say that I understand why those things happen. What I know is that when those horrible things happen, people cling to things. They cling to family, alcohol, whatever it may be. I cling to the hope that something good will come of it–cling to the hope that Christ had already paid the price for those lives and if they believe that they are spending eternity with God. That's what I cling to.
You are free to have your security blanket - just please don't try to smother everyone else with the drool-soaked thing.
Why don't you try asking? Instead of just assuming.
Free will is the opposite situation from having a god and his "plan"
Really? How many genuine average atheists have you asked? People you actually know?
I'm waiting for all the stereotypical answers given by people who have never talked to atheists. It's pretty obvious, you know, when you give those.
I don't believe in god, because I've seen no evidence, and I have looked, that there is any god that resembles the christian, muslim, jewish, norse, or hindu gods. Simple as that. It's the same reason you don't believe in the Loch Ness monster or martians or Odin or fairies, even when many other people do.
Everything given as evidence from Christians (and like most American atheists, I was raised Christian, so I do know the religion), is stuff that is easily explained by science, or a god of the gaps scenario, or simply untrue.
(1) God looks like God. If something else looks like God, it is looking like Him. Saying that God looks like something is indication that you don't understand the English language or the nature of God.
(2) What makes your child having cancer evil? You would have to prove that death is evil then – and that is not Christian doctrine. Death is good – it brings life, opens the way for life, and allows an end for suffering, disease, or other hardships. As for the Jews, ask if they would have fought a war with 6 million casualties to regain the holy land and they would say yes (as a people). You forget that hardship and suffering is what builds strength and creates character – no man has enough of it.
(3) God does good. Good is defined as what God does. Yes, it is circular, but also, it points out that you are far to small and limited to see the big picture. Your hubris to believe you can know what is or is not good is far more ridiculous than any belief in God.
(4) Would that bother you? To know that God knows your bowels as well as your mind or your heart? Why are you so repulsed by the necessary functions of your body?
(5) Yes, God sees. Our children do embarrassing things all the time – and normally we are amused, not shamed. Again, your perspective of what is embarrassing is what is embarrassing here. The bedroom? Not so much.
On the other hand, what happens in your bedroom might be worthy of embarrassment. If so, we now understand why you are so angry with God and the universe.
And that "idea" is just that. A human's idea.