Why I am an atheist and reject religion

Atheism

When you’re an atheist you get a lot of assumptions and questions from theists when they meet you. A lot of those assumptions are made by theists because I get the impression some of them (especially theists raised as theists from a young age) can’t see a functioning world outside the bible.

The most common questions I’ve gotten are:

1) Where do you get your morals from?
From life experience, from how I’ve been treated by others and from how I would like others to treat me. It’s all very simple, I say to myself “Would I like this done to me?” and from my ability to feel empathy.

Personally I can’t see how anyone can get their morals from the bible (or any holy book) considering the amount of murder, rape and incest within its pages. Some theists tell me “I get my morals from god”, the god character who suppousedly flooded an entire planet because he was pissed off? The god character who killed all the first born children in Egypt? It scares me when theists say “I get my morals from god” because they are basically saying “I follow the morals of someone else, I can’t decide what’s an acceptable way to treat someone so I refer to a book. I need direction on how to treat others”, from a mass murderer I might add. They are basically saying they can’t think for themselves and they lack empathy.

Some theists can get quite offended at the thought that atheists can be nice people without god. That we can treat people fairly and nicely without being told to or it doesn’t take belief for us to be good. Which can be a kick in the sides for a theist because we don’t need what they need to be good.

2) Why are you so unhappy?
This one annoys me. Why assume I’m unhappy? Would the theists who says this be unhappy without a belief in god so they assume everyone who lacks belief is? I’m by no means unhappy. I have had a great education, I love learning, I have interests and friends. I have a great family and support network. Are theists lives so miserable that the only way they’ll be happy is following “god’s will” so happiness to them equals being a servant to another? Or does having their lives dictated to them by a book make them happy? Or does the thought of someone even a supervisory controlling parental figure make them feel special? So many questions.

3) If there’s no god, how do you get out of bed in the morning?
Well I use my arms to prop myself up and swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand up. Again not believing in the god character does not make me miserable.

4) Why do you hate god?
This assumption is based on their belief that a god exists. I don’t believe that a god or gods exists so how can I hate something that isn’t there?

5) If you don’t believe in god, why do you talk about it so much?
Because religious fantanics in various religions are attempting to gain dominance over the government, education and how societies operate based purely on the assumptions that their religion is the correct one and that their beliefs should be the beliefs of everyone around them.

6) Deep down you really want to believe.
This annoys me because I don’t like when someone tries to tell me what I need or want based on their subjective perception of what I should do. Your opinions don’t apply to my life.

Religion has successfully:

  1. Stunted or stopped the basic education of millions by either prohibiting education or homeschooling them with misinformation.
  2. Assisted in the spread of AIDs and STDs by way of misinformation about condoms and promoting abstinence only education.
  3. Placed in poverty, danger or killed countless women by banning access to safe abortions and killed abortion doctors.
  4. Placed in danger or killed women and/or blamed them for occurrences of rape especially in Middle Eastern countries where women are blamed and made to effectively cover their entire bodies, due to men not “being able to control themselves” and committing rape.
  5. Attempted to change government policy to marginalise, discriminate and take away the rights of those communities they feel “not worthy” (For example: The LGBTI community).
  6. Knowingly enabled child abuse by priests.
  7. Religious moderates/apologists who don’t speak up against the atrocities that are perpetrated in the name of religion, directly contribute to them. By not speaking up and attempting to stop them, they are allowing it to happen.
  8. Religions stunts scientific and medical advancement in favour of a book written thousands of years ago by sheep herders who all died before 30 from disease and didn’t speak English (so how do you know it’s been translated correctly?).
  9. Religion abuses children by using emotional abuse to control them. Terrifying a child with a place of fire and torture if they don’t obey is no less than abuse.
  10. Religion is used as a scapegoat for committing murder (See: The Salem Witch Trials, 9/11, countless killings in the bible, the Crusades etc).
  11. Religion disempowers women and young girls. By treating them as nothing more than breeding machines or slaves to men (See the Quiverfall movement and child marriage in Islam).
  12. Religion shames and disempowers women for being women and for having a sexuality.

Child Abuse
The number one reason why I am an atheist apart from there is no credible proof that god or gods exist is also because I don’t need religion.

There are too many contradictions and logical flaws in the various holy texts for me to take them seriously and since a percentage of theists don’t read their holy texts nor agree with it or follow it literally – I doubt they take them seriously either. Don’t even get me started on the Book of Mormon.

Reasons that some theists have told me they believe:

1) God of the gaps. The god of the gaps argument is basically “I don’t understand, therefore god”, not only am I content with not having all the answers – god is a quick inaccurate answer for those who need answers without research or evidence. I don’t need god to provide answers.

2) I’d be lost without god. Seriously? You have so little direction or ambition in your life that you need to follow a book full of contradictions written by illiterate sheep herders in the desert to survive? When theists say this, all I hear is “I can’t be bothered thinking for myself so god can do it for me”. Take some responsibility.

3) If you believe in god and pray, your life will turn around. See my “prayer makes you lazy” post for my response. Change requires action not palming responsibility off to another person/entity.

More articulate reasons to not be religious:

Top 10 Reasons Not To Respect Religion
Top 10 People The Bible Tells You To Kill
God Is A Terrorist
The Bibles Contradictions
Horror Stories In The Bible
What The Bible Says About Rape
Islamic Child Brides

The list goes on.

Books to check out:

Ali Ayaan Hirsi – Infidel
Arthur Goldwag- The New Hate: A History Of Fear And Loathing On The Populist Right
Christopher Hitchens – God Is Not Great
Darrel Ray – Sex & God: How
Religion Distorts Sexuality
David G McAfree – Disproving Christianity
David G McAfree – Mum, Dad, I’m an atheist: The Guide To Coming Out As A Non-Believer
Greta Christina – Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That…
Kathryn Joyce – Quiverfull ~ Inside The Christian Patriarchy Movement
Phil Zuckerman – Society Without God: What The Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment
Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion
Sam Harris – The End Of Faith
Sam Harris – The Moral Landscape

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11 Comments

  1. Well put,. It was easy to read and I loved the point you made. Also, thanks for including three separate links to my blog! :)

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    • Because your blog is awesome. :-)

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  2. I began to question the existence of God when I learned about biology and then the next morning was taught about the story of Genesis, at the time I couldn’t express the fact that I questioned God’s existence because my Mormon father wouldn’t allow it. Of course as I learned more about science my doubts grew and I eventually realized there was no god.

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  3. Nice post. Those common questions are annoying, aren’t they..

    I just wrote my case for disbelief: http://amrestorative.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/part-iii-on-why-i-remain-an-atheist-2/

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  4. To Have Faith in Faith
    An overwhelming 85% of the world’s population conforms to some type of religion, so although you, Rayne, fall in the minority that dismisses faith, it might be the obvious assumption that religions have something right going for them. But faith in the unbelievable seems like such an illogical answer, for it bridges scientific reasoning with the unexplainable. Psychologists, like Beth Azar, and theorists argue that humans created this idea of religion to give meaning and order to the chaos that is our lives. You argue this as an unwillingness to think for themselves, but many see religion as a guide, not a captor. Psychologists also argue that humans are neurologically primed to associate ourselves with an organized group to ease our societal relations. Rayne, you argue that religion is filled with “brainwashing and indoctrination,” and perhaps that is true in a sense; people conform to a religion to be accepted. Many argue that we all search for meaning, all search to be accepted, and thus I believe that the benefits of faith outweigh the detrimental effects you propose it possess.
    Faith should not be disrespected. Never will the world agree on one belief system, and never will we be able to stop quarreling as to who is “right,” but even if we are all wrong in who we believe in, the act of believing should be protected. Faith should be appreciated, not condemned.
    To be transparent, I have faith. I was raised in it from my youth, and I consider it a large portion of how I define myself, but I admit to being curious as to what exactly defines faith, and in many aspects I am curious as to why I have it. On a whim I posted to Facebook asking “why do you have faith” and simply waited. The responses varied from people saying it was all they knew, to a sense of hope, from a want to feel protected, and a sense that there was something greater than themselves that helped them along in their lives. I quickly realized that faith means something a little different to every person you ask, for it manifests itself in each person’s life differently.
    What surprised me, however, was the fact that I didn’t know what faith really meant. Miriam Webster’s Dictionary gives the simple definition of faith as “firm belief in something for which there is no proof,” especially in a religious context. Yet according to Robert Audi, there is much more to understanding the concept of faith. In his article “Belief, Faith, and Acceptance,” he shows how belief and faith are very much different things. A religious “belief in” does not explicitly constitute faith, but requires a positive attitude toward the matter, for Audi argues that “a person could believe this but be sorry that is it so and regard it as a bad thing;” for example, take the government. We can believe that the government is real, existent, but still not have faith in the institution. Faith is holding specific attitudes or positive beliefs, but does not have to define every aspect of a person’s life. It can play a large part, as it does in my own, or simply be a guide and give direction to people in how they live their lives.
    It is just as important to understand how both religion and faith differ from spirituality, which I believe you, Rayne, are more apt to encourage. Spirituality, then, focuses on a belief in, or a relationship with, a higher power; it is the aspect of life that “gives purpose, meaning, and direction, and which may encompass religion” according to David C Baker in his piece “Studies of the Inner Life: The Impact of Spirituality on Quality of Life.” Baker, head of Chaplaincy Services at Passavant Retirement and Health Center in Pennsylvania, offers scientific research as to why spirituality influences us, for it calms us, gives motivation, and gives time for us to reflect on our inner selves. In my life, spirituality void of religion is taking walks above my beautiful college campus and watching Disney movies with my best friends, while faith is volunteering at my church’s children’s department and praying every morning. But faith and spirituality are defined in each person’s life in a differently.

    One of the most common responses to my Facebook post was that faith, in a sense, does define one’s life in terms giving it a meaning and direction. I would like to think that life has some measure of order in this universe dictated by chaos, and I find some peace in the fact that there is something greater than myself. This peace is because, with something bigger than me deciding the future and making my plans, I am not responsible for making sure everything goes right. It doesn’t mean I have an excuse to be lazy, but rather it gives me something to strive for. I want to strive for this model of a great, moral citizen that my faith lays out: one that takes care of the widows and orphans, that treats others with respect, and that works to live life humbly and centered on helping others. It is easier for me to help when guided by faith. My faith is my guide in the everyday aspects of how I live my life; I don’t need it there, but it gives me direction when I feel lost and a sense that I am not alone.
    This sense of belonging and peace that I feel daily is not strictly my own. In 2010, Beth Azar wrote “A Reason to Believe” for the American Psychologists Association’s Monitor on Psychology. Her article summarizes several psychological studies that show we are possibly evolutionarily primed to believe in the unbelievable, to believe in the things that GM Woerlee in his article “Why do people believe in religion” says we cannot “see, touch, smell, or detect.” According to studies by Justin Barrett, PhD, director of the cognition, religion and theology project in the Centre for Anthropology and Mind at Oxford University, Azar explains that our cognitions “lead us to see the world as a place with an intentional design, created by something or someone.” We want to see the world as created for a purpose, no matter how trivial or unbelievable. In a similar study by Boston University psychologist Deborah Keleman, PhD, young children were asked why rocks are pointy, which elicited responses like “it’s so that animals won’t sit on them and break them”. Thus even when we are young and don’t know why something is the way it is, we will try to determine a reasoning, like the stars being the souls of our ancestors.
    We come up with explanations for the unexplainable, whether they are found to be true or not later on. Although believers are unable to hold what they believe in as a concrete object, modern psychologists like Azar and Barrett say that it is normal to do so due to how humans have adapted. However, religion itself is not adaptive, rather it stems from our adaptive “animistic bias.” This bias is rooted in Error Management Theory’s sense of wanting false positives; in a sense, we would rather be extra-cautious and believe in the “personal, animate, and intentional” forces of the extraordinary and be paranoid than be ignorant, dismiss the extraordinary as impossible, and be hurt due to it. We would rather be safe, have faith in a deity that may or may not exist and have the opportunity for a spiritual reward, rather than take the chance that we were wrong and angered that deity, if it does so exist. Thus Satoshi Kanazawa, a Reader in Management at the London School of economics that uses evolutionary psychology to analyze social issues, claims that faith is a byproduct of this adaptive animistic bias, and “humans did not evolve to be religious; they evolved to be paranoid.” Religion became the mode in which this paranoia manifested, a defense mechanism for safety, an explanation for the unexplainable.
    If you, Rayne, are against the concept of religion solely because of it being organized, which I think may be the case considering you wrote in your February 2013 article “Why I am an atheist and reject religion,” that “I don’t like the indoctrination and brainwashing ANY faith promotes,” I bring up an argument from Ellen Idler’s “The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Spiritual/Religious Benefits.” Here, Idler analyzes a wide range of benefits and includes a large portion on the benefits on one’s well-being due to one’s involvement in a congregation. Taking evidence from a landmark study by Berkman and Syme, Idler shows that those members of tight-knit religious communities are often healthier due to their interactions with other. The Berkman and Syme study found that “the most socially isolated people with the fewest social ties to others were at the highest risk of mortality,” but due to “a stronger feeling of support from all of the members of their social circles,” those with regular religious attendance, in general, lived longer and healthier. Being a part of such congregations aids its members by providing a tight knit of people that nurture, care for, and support one another (Idler). Support ranges from taking meals to sick families, helping members find jobs, or simply providing a person for them to confide in and talk to. In a sense, religions provide the framework for social interactions that cross normal age, race, and gender boundaries, for religious institutions are amongst the few that cater to every demographic of people. Members all have their faults, but this spurs everyone to be accepted as they are, and the group as a whole aims to treat each member with communal respect. It is this sense of community and appreciation that I think should be strived for.
    If we strive for this acceptance, and allow ourselves go past judging one another’s ideas, there are many benefits to having faith. Now, Rayne, I concede that these benefits may not seem as important to you as they do to many, but I ask that you try to gain an insight into why religion appeals to so many, and how it can have a positive effect. Baker’s article “Studies of the Inner Life: The Impact of Spirituality on Quality of Life” explains that spirituality, which can include non-religious actions, “is an avenue for people to empower themselves, to make sense of their current situations, and to rise above them.” Spirituality gives meaning to our lives, gives intrinsic motivation to succeed, and allows us to feel joy, enhance, and enjoy our lives. In your article “Why I am an atheist and reject religion,” you argue that you, personally, don’t need any divine intervention to help you enjoy your life, but this is not so for many. Personally, I am not strong enough to live life without something to look forward to later on. Knowing that my actions have something to give means I feel worthy.
    In a sense, spirituality and religion are like running and swimming. Both workouts will help build your cardio, increase your strength, and lead to a better lifestyle, but they do so in very different manners. But if I love to swim, and you are an avid runner, why would you tell me that the route I am taking is inferior? In reality, it isn’t; it is a personal choice. Thus if this sense of hope and worthiness is found in the realm of religion, instead of secular spirituality, I don’t see why my personal belief should be attacked. In the same way, no person should be attacked due to their personal beliefs or ideas.
    Thus far, my argument has been that faith is beneficial for people, and thus instead of being judgmental, we should work on being accepting to the various faiths that are evident in our society. Yet, Rayne, I admit that many share your view that religion is not a great thing. One such person is Matthew Chatterton, a blogger that you linked in one of your article “Why I am an atheist and reject religion.”
    Matthew Chatterton explained very clearly why he chooses to denounce religion. In his article “Top Ten Reasons Why I Don’t Respect Religion,” Chatterton claims that religions are the main source of war and violence, that it rejects medicine, slows and/or retards scientific progress and education, suppresses rights, and oppresses people groups, among other things. However, many of Chatterton’s examples are very much extremist actions of religions. For example, let’s take the war and violence section, which Chatterton posts as Reason #10. Here Chatterton says that religion caused the “9/11 attack, the blowing up of abortion clinics, or the women’s health clinic which was recently burned to the ground,” and this is true; those people used their religion to try and justify their actions. Yet no group as a whole should be judged by the extreme actions of a few. There are millions of peaceful, practicing Muslims that do not portray hatred to Americans. In addition, not every faith takes the drastic action to, say, bomb an abortion clinic; in fact, the group of believers I associate with are greatly involved with our local Pregnancy Health Center, which gives aid to women no matter their decision.
    My argument is simple; there are two extremes, but as a society we should be neither. One extreme houses crazy radical believers that oppose any belief that is not their own, the other, atheists that oppose any religion period. Instead, I call for a middle ground, which requires both sides to release their judgments and respect one another, which allows religion to flourish peacefully and atheists and other non-believers of a specific religion to not feel oppressed.
    Perhaps the greatest difficulty people have with accepting that religion can give any positives is the fact that it is completely unbounded by scientific reasoning. I say this as a general societal viewpoint, as there are many scholars (and whole universities) that would argue otherwise. Woerlee, in his article “Why do people believe in religions,” says that the “proof” that makes religions viable to its followers is based upon the paranormal. This proof are paranormal because it takes place in a realm that science cannot yet explain, and includes things like visions, near-death experiences, and out-of-body experiences. Woerlee explains that believers fail victim of misinterpretation of statistics, where “divine interventions” are seen in times of coincidental positives, while unanswered prayers get easily forgotten. If I am fearful of failing a test and pray to my god that he gives me wisdom, and then I pass, I will attribute that success to my god, not my personal abilities. Yet if that prayer was to go unanswered, my faith in my deity would not be tarnished, portraying a sense of confirmation bias. Sometimes, we see only what we want to see.
    In “Why do people believe in religions,” Woerlee also declares that believers’ proof is invalid because they base it upon a subjective reality, which “has no relation to the reality about you,” and that is simply a falsely-interpreted sensation, or what he views as “ancient socio-cultural delusions.” They are delusions because they do not match what everyone else views as reality. He gives an example of a man jumping off the roof to feel that he is flying; to that man, he is soaring through the air, but those who see him from the street, he is a man falling, condemned to death by his actions. Subjectively, in that man’s own little world, flying is true, but abjectly, to everyone else, it is very much different. These, Woerlee claims, are delusions, not reality; yet according to Vincent Brummer’s piece “Spirituality and the Hermeneutics of Faith” these experiences “should not be viewed as an extraordinary kind of extra-sensory perception, but rather as ordinary experience […] looked upon with the eyes of faith.” Hermeneutics, the art of interpretation, is how “we interpret our experience of the world and of our own lives in order to understand what they mean.” Everyone has a filter in which they interpret the world around them, and they are all very different; your experiences, Rayne, color your reality a little differently than my own lenses. If I die and see a light at the end of the tunnel, I am going to attribute that to my god welcoming me home, but if you, Rayne, see it, you will attribute it to what neurologist Jimo Borjigin describes as a rise in alpha-gamma electric waves coupling to feature “visual activation or visual awareness, which includes internal visualization (imagination).” I will see it through a filter of faith, you through a filter of science, and we will both believe it to be reality.
    Yet who is Woerlee to determine reality, especially my reality? My roommate gave an excellent point to this. If a woman is running down the street screaming that a man is chasing her, but those on the street, see nothing, is it reality that the man is chasing her? To a person watching, a passerby, it isn’t; yet to the woman that is her reality. The only “absolute truth,” or real reality, in this world is that we do not know everything, and thus the fact that there is no scientific proof supporting religion does not mean that a deity does not exist. Brummer, the author of “Spirituality and the Hermeneutics of Faith,” argues that “we interpret our experience of the world and of our own lives in order to understand what they mean,” and for many, faith is their form of interpretation. Hence, this is why my light at the end of the tunnel is my god; I explain my experiences with what I know and believe in. The reality of a believer is that there is something, someone, greater than themselves. Instead of rejecting their reality, perhaps it is time we accept that realities differ for each person, and it may very well be true that none of us is “right.”
    And in reality, faith does not require facts. Audi, who wrote “Belief, Faith, and Acceptance,” declares that “a person who believes on faith need not have any view about relevant evidence,” rather their faith only means they believe in that thing’s existence. Faith that my best friend will overcome his cancer, Audi explains, does not require a doctor telling me he will live through it, rather it depends on what I choose to believe. As a person with faith in my deity, I can admit that this is the most difficult part of staying faithful. It requires a lot of personal strength to keep one’s opinion when it is attacked on all sides and by science, a feeling I am sure you, Rayne, have experienced from the opposite viewpoint. Yet this is my definition of faith: to have a complete acceptance of a belief in spite of the unknowns, in spite of the criticism against you, and in spite of what seems like the easy answer, or one that society tells you is the truth. But since truth is not absolute, we must be careful not to condemn what truth others chose to believe in.
    Judgment and condemnation of faith is counterproductive to helping people grow personally. Instead, I believe that our society would flourish if each person can demonstrate a mutual respect for the beliefs and faith of everyone around them. Religion will never disappear no matter how hard Beth Azar and many modern psychologists push for it, for religion is integrated into the minds and lives of billions of people. I do not agree with Woerlee when he declares “the only path forward is a world in which humans live in full knowledge of the reality of their being, and a world in which people strive to make the best of their lives and this world.” No, the only path forward is acceptance, for by taking away the very thing those people hold most dear, it becomes just as hurtful as what you, Rayne, feel they are being towards a person without faith when you say religion promote “discrimination and bigotry” (Rayne). To strip people of their lifestyle and “replace religion with secular communities built on a moral foundation,” as Norenzayan calls for, would be stripping away a piece of their culture, and a piece of what makes each person unique.
    Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, declares in his article “Faith Matters” that in order for globalization to be successful, in order for each unique individual to cooperate with one another, we must create a sense of spiritual capital, which “requires not only tolerance of respect, but also for people of other faiths.” This does not we should strive for a world without religion or even attempt to mesh the world’s faith into one simplified, moral lifestyle. Blair calls for the world to educate itself regarding ideas that are not their own and strive to live peacefully amongst one another. We should accept each person’s decision to have faith as a personal judgment as to what benefits them. Blair shows how this needs to be implemented:

    The key to respect is understanding and hence the need to learn and to educate ourselves about each other’s faith and traditions. Organized religion should be supporting this process and allowing through it the evolution of faith so that faith can be a positive, constructive and progressive force. (Blair)

    As a society, we will never agree upon one belief system, and will never be able to live as one big harmonious group that sings Kumbayah together; but if we respect one another’s beliefs, we would get along so much better. We should not condemn them and dishonor one another’s lifestyle choices, regardless of whether we share the same belief, but rather agree to live in respect and admiration for one another. To quote a t-shirt I saw last week, we need to “be curious, not judgmental.” Simply, we need to have faith in each other’s decisions on faith.

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    • Hello LaMar,

      Your extended comment fails to address the issue of people using their own personal insecurities as a “justification” for their religious bullying others.

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  5. [quote]To Have Faith in Faith[/quote]
    To Bite My Shiny Metal Arse

    An overwhelming 85% of the world’s population conforms to some type of religion, so although you, Rayne, fall in the minority that dismisses faith, it might be the obvious assumption that religions have something right going for them.

    Let’s start this off right, with a straight up appeal to popularity, one of the standards relied on when it comes to any sort of dogma. Gotta lave the classics. Apparently.

    But faith in the unbelievable seems like such an illogical answer, for it bridges scientific reasoning with the unexplainable.

    Forgive me for fisking, but it seems appropriate. Faith in the unbelievable? I think you just shat in my breakfast and told me it was a sausage.

    Psychologists, like Beth Azar, and theorists argue that humans created this idea of religion to give meaning and order to the chaos that is our lives.

    I have no idea who Beth Azar is, and I’m not going to do your homework for you, so currently this sentence is meaningless. I have no reason to give a shit what Beth and “theorists” say, until you provide some support for this blather. But even if it could or can be shown that “humans created this idea of religion to give meaning and order to the chaos that is our lives”, that would not render it in any way of lasting value. We also created the Walkman, and how many of those do you see any more?

    You argue this as an unwillingness to think for themselves, but many see religion as a guide, not a captor.

    Many see slavery as a mutually beneficial loving relationship, too. Doesn’t stop some of us from pointing out how fucking ridiculous and abhorrent such a position is.

    Psychologists also argue that humans are neurologically primed to associate ourselves with an organized group to ease our societal relations. Rayne, you argue that religion is filled with “brainwashing and indoctrination,” and perhaps that is true in a sense; people conform to a religion to be accepted. Many argue that we all search for meaning, all search to be accepted, and thus I believe that the benefits of faith outweigh the detrimental effects you propose it possess.

    Holy shit.

    Literally. The above is holy shit. Many argue? I argue in opposition. The benefits of being on the inside pissing out outweigh the detrimental effects of being on the outside? Herd mentality, and outright deplorable, though understandable when one considers that it may well take some fucking backbone to stand apart from the crowd and face the goddamn lions. Then again, seems some folk aren’t willing to take the example of Daniel and run with it.

    Faith should not be disrespected.

    What the fuck is “faith”? And why should it not be disrespected? I absolutely disagree with this statement on the face of it, assuming you are using normal definitions, as it seems you probably are. Faith absolutely should be disrespected, since it is the act of making claims either without or in opposition to evidence. It is the essence of assuming that everything is make-believe, something most people stopped doing around their early twenties, or 1988, whichever came earlier.

    Never will the world agree on one belief system, and never will we be able to stop quarreling as to who is “right,” but even if we are all wrong in who we believe in, the act of believing should be protected. Faith should be appreciated, not condemned.

    Wait, what?
    “We’re all wrong, but we should all be appreciated in our wrongitude”?
    Faith, as you describe it, should not be appreciated. It should be condemned, because it is a path to closing down inquiry. Belief systems are shit, faith is ridiculous, and I’ll be willing to bet that the rest of this screed is utterly free of value to anyone who can think.

    To be transparent, I have faith.

    Well, there’s a fucking surprise and no mistake. Here I was thinking you were attempting to argue for the value of faith despite having none! I don’t often use exclamation marks, but I thought the above was so fucking stupid it was either a standard mark, or shitting on your dinner plate. Since I have no idea where the latter is, I opted for the former.

    I was raised in it from my youth, and I consider it a large portion of how I define myself, but I admit to being curious as to what exactly defines faith, and in many aspects I am curious as to why I have it. On a whim I posted to Facebook asking “why do you have faith” and simply waited. The responses varied from people saying it was all they knew, to a sense of hope, from a want to feel protected, and a sense that there was something greater than themselves that helped them along in their lives. I quickly realized that faith means something a little different to every person you ask, for it manifests itself in each person’s life differently.

    What surprised me, however, was the fact that I didn’t know what faith really meant. Miriam Webster’s Dictionary gives the simple definition of faith as “firm belief in something for which there is no proof,” especially in a religious context. Yet according to Robert Audi, there is much more to understanding the concept of faith. In his article “Belief, Faith, and Acceptance,” he shows how belief and faith are very much different things. A religious “belief in” does not explicitly constitute faith, but requires a positive attitude toward the matter, for Audi argues that “a person could believe this but be sorry that is it so and regard it as a bad thing;” for example, take the government. We can believe that the government is real, existent, but still not have faith in the institution. Faith is holding specific attitudes or positive beliefs, but does not have to define every aspect of a person’s life. It can play a large part, as it does in my own, or simply be a guide and give direction to people in how they live their lives.

    Congratulations. You’ve discovered that a term you had thought was concrete is, in point of fact, utterly fluid. The next step is working out that it is also worthless.

    I was going to continue, but everything from this point really just seems a search for justification for not accepting what the above leads you to conclude. Simply, it is an exercise in classic motivated reasoning.

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