Sophie

Atheism and atheists: how do religious people view them?

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This might be (okay, it is,) a very controversial topic. But I have always wondered what religious people think about atheism and atheists. I'm an atheist, and I've heard the whole "you'll go to hell" spiel that I never pay any attention to (atheist or not, by coincidence I am probably following the bible better than most - at least in the WTM area,) and the only thing that has ever offended me is "atheists don't have good morals."

What do you think about atheism and atheists? How does the religious community in general view them and that theism?

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Honestly, I believe alot would have some resentment against them. Same for the other way around. Beliefs is a very sensitive topic. Just saying the word God can bring about a debate of the century. I dont know many atheist for the fact that there are not many of them. I know about 3, and two of them have told me that I am stupid for believing in what I believe in lol. The other one is my friend's father and he is really cool. Only atheist I have ever came accross was the ones on the internet. They usually come off very arrogant and bring the whole ''Im a logical thinker and anyone who is religous is dumb''. Ofcourse, you have people fom the opposite end who are self righteous and put themselves in a position where they condemn people to hell (which is wrong, because no mortal can decide the destiny of another).

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I've got no problem with atheists, l have a huge problem with militant atheists, as i have a problem with religious people who shove their religion down your throat!

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My attitude to atheists is that they are people that need to be saved. My beliefs are that unless you are living by God's commandments and living a righteous life by God's standard you will not attain salvation and eternal life when Jesus returns (I can provide scriptures to back this up if required).

If this is my belief, it is my responsibility to do everything I can to show them the way to salvation.

And for the record, I have the same opinion and attitude towards those who claim to be Christian (or any other religion) but haven't fulfilled His commandments.

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I have an atheist friend and I asked her if she believes in resurrection/life after death. She told me, no she just thinks that she is just living life and then she'll be dead and nothing else will happen anymore.

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Generally I don't have a problem with atheist/agnostic; they have morals just different from mine. I'm actually friends with some and it is all about respect. I just have a problem when they think they are smarter than me or think that I am simply following a doctrine mindlessly. Personally, while I was raised in the church I have a strong relationship with God and I don't follow blindly. I know my faith, I know my reasons and I know my bible. A person's belief in the existence or non-existence of a God does not make them better or smarter than anyone; they just have an opinion. Since I go to a school full of mostly atheist/agnostics I get condemned all the time. All the "Humanist", "Rationalist" and "logical" students show there true colors when around a religious person. Many basically will say to your face how they have lost all respect for you when it is acknowledged that you follow a religion.

As a researcher I get to look at the beauty and the complexity of the human body everyday. As a neuroscience major I am always amazed at the formation of the brain and also how limited man is in understanding the body. I realize how limited man is in everything in the field of medicine including logic and especially faith. We still don't even understand how we develop memories. Even if I wasn't raise in the church I would probably still become religious since I don't think just pure random evolution made something so complex and awesome. With this in mind many atheist/agnostics really grind my gears mostly because the majority I have met are rather arrogant and close minded( the atheist are worse but the agnostics can do the same). I really get bothered when they say that I am blind to logic and that my religion is BS especially since I'm in a field/major where you have to be logical and be neutral on morality in the public sphere. It is as if their own logic is universal. It doesn't help to be an illogical, close-minded doctor/researcher. You can still follow faith and be humble and open-minded. It is all about respect. For those who I am not friends with I have a deep sense of pity because all I see is anger, arrogance and great confusion.

I have met some "bible-thumpers" but they generally leave me alone; just the atheists/agnostics crowd get to me.

Overall I respect there decision and I don't mess with them (unless they mess with me) but for my friends who are atheists/agnostics I do wish they would change their stance and try God. It does sadden me sometimes because they are the few truly respectful people but they will never receive salvation. For my home there are few atheists, my church does not condemn but they encourage prayer, hope and patience.

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Honestly, I don't have a problem with people who are atheist or agnostic, as long as they're not intolerant of my beliefs. I'm also not happy when atheists/agnostics accuse religious people of being ignorant or stupid. I've been fairly lucky in that I've not experienced

that much anti-Catholicism in my life, at least not directly, but an atheist guy I knew once told me to my face that I was "f***ing stupid", because I believed in God.

Sometimes, when people say, "There's no God", and you ask them to prove there's no God, and they'll say, "Oh, it's not up to me to prove that's there's no God; the burden of proof is with you to prove there is one." But the fact is, the burden of proof is on both of them. If I said, "There's life on Mars", but couldn't give you any proof, then you couldn't say, "Well, that means there's definitely no life on Mars, then." You'd have to give me proof that there wasn't life on Mars, and if you couldn't, then we'd have to agree with, "Well, perhaps there's life, perhaps there isn't."

Now, I'm not going to try and convert you, or anything ;) but here's something to think about: Everything in the world exists because it was caused by something else. For example, humans and animals exist because they were created by their parents, who in turn only exist through their parents. Every cause was an effect of a previous cause. So logically, going backwards, there must have been a "first cause", which didn't need anything to create or cause it, and caused everything else to exist. Even the Big Band theory (first proposed by Georges Lemaitre, Catholic priest) doesn't explain how the world began, because something else was needed to cause the Big Bang. God is sometimes called "The Alpha and the Omega", or the "first cause and final end".

xxx

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Sometimes, when people say, "There's no God", and you ask them to prove there's no God, and they'll say, "Oh, it's not up to me to prove that's there's no God; the burden of proof is with you to prove there is one." But the fact is, the burden of proof is on both of them. If I said, "There's life on Mars", but couldn't give you any proof, then you couldn't say, "Well, that means there's definitely no life on Mars, then." You'd have to give me proof that there wasn't life on Mars, and if you couldn't, then we'd have to agree with, "Well, perhaps there's life, perhaps there isn't."

I've seen people arguing about whether or not God exists, but it's really rather pointless. The atheist is thinking purely in terms of what can be conclusively proved, whereas the theist is thinking in terms of blind faith. When dealing with things rationally the burden of proof is on the person saying that something does exist. For example if I said that unicorns exist, it's rational not to believe me until I show you one. However faith is not evidence based; it's not really something that you decide whether or not to have. It's just something that you believe without proof.

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I've seen people arguing about whether or not God exists, but it's really rather pointless. The atheist is thinking purely in terms of what can be conclusively proved, whereas the theist is thinking in terms of blind faith. When dealing with things rationally the burden of proof is on the person saying that something does exist. For example if I said that unicorns exist, it's rational not to believe me until I show you one. However faith is not evidence based; it's not really something that you decide whether or not to have. It's just something that you believe without proof.

That's a little harsh, calling religion "blind faith". Faith is not something you believe without any proof. Faith is realising that whilst we can know some things about the world, we can't know everything, because human intellect can only tell you so much about the world.

If you took every dog in the world and put them together, their combined intellect would still not be enough to get them a physics degree. Likewise, the universe is so complex that there must be certain things that are beyond human understanding. Faith is about recognising that we can't know everything about the world, and so we rely on truths revealed to us by God, but that doesn't mean we ignore what we can know through reason alone. (And as I've said already, I think we can prove God's existence through reason alone, anyway). Other truths (There's only one God, God is a Trinity of Persons, there's a Heaven and Hell, etc.) can be known through what God's revealed, and it's for those things that we have faith.

xxx

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I didn't mean to be harsh, I just meant that faith is based on something that can't be proved. There are many things that we don't understand through reason, and faith is relying on things revealed by God without factual evidence to back it up.

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I have never known an atheist personally. The first thing that came to mind after reading this question was a special I saw on TV about religion. An atheist was asked what they believed happened when you died and she said nothing, there is nothing. I just thought how scary that must be and it made me sad for her.

I also have to say, my faith isn't blind. I have physically felt the power of God before and seen him work in my life and others. I also went through a period of questioning about everything and came out believing just as much as before, if not more.

I guess I just hope that one day, something will happen to help them to believe.

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I've got no problem with atheists, l have a huge problem with militant atheists, as i have a problem with religious people who shove their religion down your throat!

I'm like that too. I couldn't care less about whether someone believes in God or a purple, winged mouse...they just have to keep their beliefs to themselves entirely.

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I am a Christian; I have been ever since I was a very young child. I am best friends with an atheist and an agnostic. I actually didn't even have any Christian best friends until this year.

My friends and I have spent a lot of time discussing religion, but it never has led to major fights. After the first several years of saying everything that could be said, we basically have agreed to disagree. I personally hope and pray that they may one day come to know of God's love for them, but for the time being I am content in the knowledge that I have said all that I can, and that if God wants me to help them know him, the best way for me to do so will be to just be the best friend and best example of a Christ-follower that I can be. There are plenty of so-called Christians out there who are doing nothing but polluting the message of Christ with their hatred; I don't want to be one of them.

Being best friends with an atheist and an agnostic, I have a very high opinion of people's ability to be moral with or without religion; my friends have an excellent concept of ethics. The only atheists that bother me are the ones who act like I am an idiot because of my faith; I am a very logical person, and my faith is a carefully considered choice. But most atheists and agnostics that I know treat me very respectfully.

I love my friends, and I depend on them! I wouldn't trade them for the world.

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Growing up my family was a Christian family, but now my two sisters are atheists. We aren't really close, and part of that comes from their contempt of my beliefs and their attitude that they've got it "all figured out." But I also have some really good atheist and agnostic friends as well so it's not just part of being an agnostic/atheist person to be rude!

This is a touchy subject, because while I may have great friendships with atheist/agnostic people, my faith also compels me to pray for them bring them back to salvation - as aussiestig mentioned...

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''I think those that choose to be atheist/agnostic may be the smartest among us, because they're able to cut through the BS and focus on the facts presented to them. ''

Prime example right there. Just because I believe in God, Im not rational? Im not intelligent? Mind you I only been to church a handful of times in my life and wasnt even raised christian. In fact questioning is what brings me closer to my faith. I bet for every intelligent atheist/agnostic there are just as smart, or even smarter, believers. Look up C.S. Lewis for example.

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btw fable dr, atheism is also not much evidence based.There is not hardcore solid proof that God does not exist either.

http://www.blogos.org/compellingtruth/evidence-for-christianity.html

Take a look at this. Just know that atheism also requires extraordinary evidence. So you're on the same faith boat. Only diffrence is that its going in another direction.

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btw fable dr, atheism is also not much evidence based.There is not hardcore solid proof that God does not exist either.

http://www.blogos.or...ristianity.html

Take a look at this. Just know that atheism also requires extraordinary evidence. So you're on the same faith boat. Only diffrence is that its going in another direction.

There isn't hardcore solid proof that magic unicorns don't exist either.

I read that article and disagree with the bit where it said that atheists are making a negative existential position. Atheists are simply rejecting the religious existential position due to lack of evidence. I suppose I don't speak for all atheists, maybe some of them believe other stuff.

My default position is that something does not exist until there's evidence indicating that it does (or at least might) exist.

incidentally, I didn't believe in narwhals until I was 15 and saw a video. Before then I thought they were a myth lol :P I was so shocked.

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Atheists are simply rejecting the religious existential position due to lack of evidence. I suppose I don't speak for all atheists, maybe some of them believe other stuff.

This is definitely one of the reasons, so you're not at all wrong. But I've never met an atheist who believed in fairies, or leprechauns...I dunno, maybe some atheists out there believe in mermaids or something. But from what I've seen (and personally experience) atheists in general reject everything that has no evidence/no substantial evidence. That can include scientific theories that don't have solid evidence (like string theory, or whatever.)

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btw fable dr, atheism is also not much evidence based.There is not hardcore solid proof that God does not exist either.

http://www.blogos.or...ristianity.html

"If questions of morality (e.g. “were the Nazi’s evil?â€) and concepts like justice cannot be empirically tested and validated, perhaps neither can God."

I'm one of those atheist that does understand that atheism needs to be proved in order to be believed, but as far as I'm concerned, the only people who doubt the evil of the Nazi's are either a) insane, or B ) neo-nazis, or c) in denial. I don't know why that was in the article. It can totally be validated. There may be no pictures of God to prove his existence, or no pictures of the bible being written by imaginative humans to prove atheism, but there are hundreds of pictures of the Holocaust and survivors and witnesses.

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About the Nazis, I think that was an extension of the good and evil point. That to say something is evil requires there to be a moral law (and therefore a moral law giver) to differentiate it from good. I don't think that there is an absolute moral scale; morals are just the prevailing attitude of a community. The Nazis are evil because the vast majority of people in society say so.

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About the Nazis, I think that was an extension of the good and evil point. That to say something is evil requires there to be a moral law (and therefore a moral law giver) to differentiate it from good. I don't think that there is an absolute moral scale; morals are just the prevailing attitude of a community. The Nazis are evil because the vast majority of people in society say so.

So... if the vast majority of people in society say something is good or evil, that's what makes it so? So if the vast majority of a society say it's good (or at least morally neutral) to kill people, for example, then that makes it okay? I know that many societies in the past killed newborn babies if they were in any way disabled, and this was socially accepted, but it doesn't follow that we can say, "Well, it'd be evil to do that nowadays, but back then, it was fine, because most people agreed it was okay". I don't see how the concept of morality being decided by the majority could possibly work...

xxx

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So... if the vast majority of people in society say something is good or evil, that's what makes it so? So if the vast majority of a society say it's good (or at least morally neutral) to kill people, for example, then that makes it okay? I know that many societies in the past killed newborn babies if they were in any way disabled, and this was socially accepted, but it doesn't follow that we can say, "Well, it'd be evil to do that nowadays, but back then, it was fine, because most people agreed it was okay". I don't see how the concept of morality being decided by the majority could possibly work...

xxx

I agree with this. Nazis don't become "good" just because we may one day accept mass murder as perfectly okay. It'd still evil, but we'd just be too stupid to see that.

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So... if the vast majority of people in society say something is good or evil, that's what makes it so? So if the vast majority of a society say it's good (or at least morally neutral) to kill people, for example, then that makes it okay? I know that many societies in the past killed newborn babies if they were in any way disabled, and this was socially accepted, but it doesn't follow that we can say, "Well, it'd be evil to do that nowadays, but back then, it was fine, because most people agreed it was okay". I don't see how the concept of morality being decided by the majority could possibly work...

xxx

If everyone in a community condemns someone for doing something, it becomes morally wrong. So as the attitudes of the majority change, so does what is considered morally wrong. For example nowadays we say that having sex with a 13 year old is wrong. If you did it you would be condemned and sent to prison. However hundreds of years ago most girls got married at 12-14 and it was considered perfectly acceptable to have sex at that age. It also used to be considered morally right to stone a woman to death if she committed adultery. Social attitudes have changed though, and now if you did that you would be cast out as a morally bankrupt murderer.

A more recent example is racism. Only half a century ago racism was considered acceptable. In the US morally upright people routinely discriminated against non-whites through segregation. In colonial Africa the prevailing attitude was 'the Africans are like children, they can't do it themselves we must rule over them and do it for them'. Today however most people in the West would consider racism as morally wrong.

Who knows how attitudes are going to change over the next 50 or 100 years and what is going to be morally right and wrong then? I think one of the big issues is going to be to do with genetically modifying babies.

I agree with this. Nazis don't become "good" just because we may one day accept mass murder as perfectly okay. It'd still evil, but we'd just be too stupid to see that.

Then who is it that defines what is good and what is evil? What is the absolute moral code?

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Then who is it that defines what is good and what is evil? What is the absolute moral code?

Humans aren't animals like lions or wolves. Sure, we have the psychopaths and the crazies, but we also have empathy and sympathy built into us. As a child I hated stepping on ants, snails, slugs...I didn't like that some kids stepped on ants for fun. I always asked them "would you step on a kitten on purpose?" My parents didn't teach me that, they don't give a damn about ants. I just felt really bad about it. Throughout history, our ideas on what is good and bad have changed drastically, but murder, rape, child molestation...even when those things weren't acknowledged, they were always bad. Anything that causes emotional or physical pain to someone is bad. We didn't create the definition, it just took us a disgustingly long amount of time to realize that non-whites had feelings too, or that maybe women don't want to be forced into marriage, or that homosexuals aren't monsters, etc. Of course some countries are still way behind on stuff. Humans are slow to learn.

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Anything that causes emotional or physical pain to someone is bad.

That's a very broad and absolute definition of bad. Locking a criminal in prison causes them emotional pain (being separated from loved ones etc) but that doesn't make locking them up bad.

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