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  #21  
Old 9th May 2017, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

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rayne said View Post
Atheism for me is just a conclusion that I have arrived at. I did choose to accept the premise there is a lack of evidence for a god or gods or supernatural beings.

In regards to theism, if I were to convert (especially to something such as Creationism) - I would need to choose to ignore all scientific data that we have to date.

That's not a choice I would want to make.
But can you really choose such a thing even if you wanted to? Can you choose to believe 2 + 2 = 5?
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  #22  
Old 10th May 2017, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

I think I chose to not believe. Parents, school, church, friends, all seemed focused to reinforce belief. But when basic questions were always answered with "You'll understand when you're older" , I decided it's a load of crap. Took me way into my 20's though, before realisation struck that I am in fact atheist. Same thing happened with the White alternative history taught in South African schools in the 60's and 70's. I was 30 or so before I saw it as a scam. As a kid, you trust your elders to watch out for you, it's really hard to shake off, but very liberating.
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  #23  
Old 10th May 2017, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

I have a stock response to this:

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  #24  
Old 10th May 2017, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

Thanks all

The underlying theme appears to be that many posters have been indoctrinated with a faith (belief without proof) - but not told it was a only a faith (belief without proof).

So when they sought "proof" and could not find any they have lost their faith.

It begs the question

If you thought all the God stuff was real then you did not have faith, so were you just believing a host of lies. If this is so, then you had no faith in the first place.
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Old 10th May 2017, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

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rayne said View Post
Atheism for me is just a conclusion that I have arrived at. I did choose to accept the premise there is a lack of evidence for a god or gods or supernatural beings.

In regards to theism, if I were to convert (especially to something such as Creationism) - I would need to choose to ignore all scientific data that we have to date.

That's not a choice I would want to make.
An animal that ignores good environmental data is mentally dysfunctional IMHO. Someone says, hey, there's a hungry lion, let's get the fuck out of Dodge, and the deluded says I am staying the fuck here, my invisible friend will protect me.

It is a choice I suppose, an urge to get the Darwin award.
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  #26  
Old 10th May 2017, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

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Madame Tarot said View Post
Thanks all

The underlying theme appears to be that many posters have been indoctrinated with a faith (belief without proof) - but not told it was a only a faith (belief without proof).

So when they sought "proof" and could not find any they have lost their faith.

It begs the question

If you thought all the God stuff was real then you did not have faith, so were you just believing a host of lies. If this is so, then you had no faith in the first place.
As I remarked earlier, one can transpose 'belief' and 'believing' for 'accept' and 'accepting' such that one might accept that, to all intents and purposes, 2+2=5 without having to delve into the truth status of the equation. Iterating a case that one must make a considered choice about 'believing' a god-claim on the basis of the demonstrable veracity of the proposition alone only gets us some of the way to understanding why the religious endorse the articles of their particular Faith and tradition.

Religious observance isn't based on truth, but on accepting the authority of others. First and foremost the the 'believer' does not qualify their status as a member of this-or-that religion by proving the existence of their nominated deity (even to themselves), but by demonstrating obedience to those with [self-declared] authority in religious matters. Once one has accepted the authority of the church belief is unnecessary.
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  #27  
Old 10th May 2017, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

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THWOTH said View Post
As I remarked earlier, one can transpose 'belief' and 'believing' for 'accept' and 'accepting' such that one might accept that, to all intents and purposes, 2+2=5 without having to delve into the truth status of the equation. Iterating a case that one must make a considered choice about 'believing' a god-claim on the basis of the demonstrable veracity of the proposition alone only gets us some of the way to understanding why the religious endorse the articles of their particular Faith and tradition.

Religious observance isn't based on truth, but on accepting the authority of others. First and foremost the the 'believer' does not qualify their status as a member of this-or-that religion by proving the existence of their nominated deity (even to themselves), but by demonstrating obedience to those with [self-declared] authority in religious matters. Once one has accepted the authority of the church belief is unnecessary.

It is strange how people react though. In Ireland, for example, a nominally very religious country, composed of many adherents of the two big Christian sects [Catholics and Protestants], reacted angrily to institutional child abuse by those churches. And perhaps related, caused many to question the authority of the churches on the gay marriage question, and voted by sizeable majority to support marriage freedoms.

Yet is does not appear to have had much more of a ripple effect. One would expect, with so many holes in the tapestry of belief, that the tapestry would fall to the ground, rejected. And although this has indeed happened in some cases, most people don't recognise the problem as systemic. That it was actually faith-based thinking, rather than evidence and reason, that is the root of all the problems they might wish to address.

For example, in Australia the Royal Commission on Child Abuse, while doing good work, thinks that child abuse is more about institutional problems. But this is only partly true. For example, there was also child abuse in non-religious or state schools.

But I believe this is something of a red herring, because although some child abuse occurred outside church authority, it was nevertheless part of a general cultural blindness caused by religion.

This is because state schools have never been strictly secular. A strictly secular attitude would never grand special privileged to any group. In other words, a person should not be automatically deemed fit to work with children on the basis of their beliefs or their position in a church. But that was exactly what happened.

In some ways it was probably a general nativity-people just didn't imagine "normal" people would abuse children. They might suspect an atheist or homosexual, but most of that suspicion seems to be religious in origin also. "Unnatural gays" or 'evil atheists" are not rare memes circulating in churches and synod meetings, at least in my personal experience. Not all religious people are bigoted of course, but there are enough to make it a good rule of thumb.
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  #28  
Old 10th May 2017, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

Maybe the answer to the question is "no".

Some people acquiesce in being bullshitted to, innately.

We need to keep exposing the bullshit, keep it from proliferating. Bad memes. Promote memes for liberating and clear thinking. The battle is for the mind, particularly in countries where religion is traditionally embedded, in law and tied to nationalism.

Other people, perhaps a minority have an innate revulsion for bullshit. Even if they were susceptible to religious influence, as falling among the number of those who become directly exposed and subjected to it, they will inevitably throw off the intellectual straight jacket.

Because it is not a real straight-jacket. It is only an illusion, a delusion upon the mind. Peer pressure is very real.
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  #29  
Old 11th May 2017, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

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pipbarber said View Post
But can you really choose such a thing even if you wanted to? Can you choose to believe 2 + 2 = 5?
With some theists I have engaged with - they have actively chosen to dismiss all scientific evidence presented to them. It would take a hell of a lot of cognitive dissonance and ignorance but I'm pretty sure there are theists out there who will choose to believe 2+2=5. And they will convince themselves of that.
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  #30  
Old 11th May 2017, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Can We Choose to be an Atheist or a Theist

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Madame Tarot said View Post
If you thought all the God stuff was real then you did not have faith, so were you just believing a host of lies. If this is so, then you had no faith in the first place.
This paragraph doesn't parse.

Define "faith".
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