What’s in a Name … June 3, 2013

A label, let’s add a label to it. Everythingatheism inside needs a label. Without religion there would be no need for the label ‘atheist’. Without religion there would be no label ‘christian’. Without religion christian-soldierthere would be no ‘belief’.

When an individual does the adequate research and declares he or she does not believe, he or she assumes the label ‘atheist’. This label changes nothing. The person is the same after the label is applied as before.  If they were good people they will still be good people. If they were bad people they will still be bad people.

When an individual falls for the monumental hoax of all time and declares he or she is a christian, he or she assumes the label ‘christian’. This label changes nothing. The person is the same after the label is applied as before. If they were good people they will still be good good peoplepeople. If they were bad people they will still be badbad people people.

No miraculous transformation occurs. The only changes that do seem to occur is that the atheist seems more relaxed than when an internal battle was being waged and the christian seems more frantic as they must live up to impossible ideals.Signature:baed3687aecc9fc02b05e033f52ab04b5ac34144c6f0702c4e0cfe36f9d34041

The pressures to live up to the impossible ideals presented by the pastor’s interpretation of the bible mustrelaxed atheist be horrendous. Relaxation must be a task in itself. They dare not relax their guard and violate some small edict of the lord knowing they will feel so guilty for days afterward. Unknown to them, guilt is what the pastor wants them to experience. Guilt, mixed with fear, is what keeps the faithful faithful. Gee, perhaps the people who are bad and assume the label ‘christian’ become the pastors, preachers, ministers, and priests?

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20 Responses to What’s in a Name … June 3, 2013

  1. dpmonahan says:

    What changes with a belief system isn’t an individual’s personality, but his criteria for action and the meaning he gives to his life. This has a trickle-down effect on his behavior.
    The assertion that religiosity causes stress and irreligiosity brings peace is true in specific cases (I have seen the phenomena you describe in a couple of small religious groups, Christian or New Age, and the spiritual bun-out that results), but it is a false generalization. What do you make, for example, of converts to Christianity who speak of feelings of peace as opposed to earlier anxiety. Are they lying?

  2. john zande says:

    I’d wouldn’t call it lying, not directly, but i would call any emotional outbursts borne after a conversion the byproduct of an embraced delusion.

  3. drenn1077 says:

    The adoption of Christianity brings with it standards with which you are to guide your life. If you do not cherry pick and take the Bible as is, even your thoughts must be carefully measured lest you violate some small standard.
    As far as lying about the in welling of peace upon acceptance of religiosity it would depend on the audience at the time. In support of Christianity the Christian may lie to give the appearance of such an effect or may lie to offer encouragement to those who are possible prospects. In the presence of their closest confidant they are more likely to admit the truth.

  4. Michael says:

    No, they are not lying, but the perception of change from anxiety to peace is exactly that – a perception, brought about by a significant departure from an honest, objective appraisal of reality. Assumption of a label alone does not bring inner peace. It may, however, share a common origin with beliefs that change their cognitive appraisals of stressful situations. Converts may feel at peace with the mundane challenges of life that formerly worried them, for rather than see them for what they are (the random occurrences of an uncaring world), they diminish them by imagining that an all-knowing, benevolent being is teaching them a life lesson through experience. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to believe this, but subscribing to Christianity does make one more likely to appraise a situation in this manner. No doubt, this can be an effective form of stress management in the short term; an appropriate question to ask is whether or not this behavior is adaptive in the long-term. Regardless, it really is a beautiful delusion.

  5. drenn1077 says:

    Yes, it is all a self-delusion. However, as far as the entirety, the whole of Christianity, there could be quite a number who lie simply because they believe Christianity is a positive influence on people and that they should believe. They may or may not believe themselves. As far as determining whether they are lying or not, no one I know has mental telepathy and can determine that.

  6. Michael says:

    If they believe that Christianity is a positive influence on people and that this is a sufficient reason to give false testimony of the mental and spiritual benefits of the religion, benefits that they themselves secretly doubt are real, then they truly are deluded.

  7. drenn1077 says:

    Yes, that is true. My mother-in-law was such a person. Rarely ever attending the church herself, she made sure her children went. Many have this strange idea that religion instills morality. With a book such as the Bible as its base, I doubt that very much.

  8. dpmonahan says:

    To sum up: it is wrong to say claim absolutely that religion causes stress. Rather, religion may or may not cause stress, simply because it stress out some people, but not others.
    If you claim the believer is lying about his inner state, you are ignoring the main empirical evidence available, people’s testimony of how religion makes them feel. The believer can just say unbelievers lie about their feelings.
    If you claim the believer has found peace only through a delusion, you are still taking a stalemate position; a believer can just argue the inverse: the unbeliever finds his ‘peace’ through a delusional narrative that will not last.
    My personal take on the issue of “peace” is that coverts from belief to unbelief often feel relieved that there is no divine taskmaster nit-picking their every act. Converts from unbelief to belief feel relieved that their lives are not ultimately meaningless, or that there is a God who loves them for who they are, etc. The the desire to be appreciated runs deep. It is too easy to stand on one side and just call the other weak-willed.

  9. drenn1077 says:

    Where do I begin.
    Religion provides a false sense of relief from stress as the responsibility for one’s life is surrendered to an imaginary father figure who will look over and care for you. However, the price for this false security is that you must emanate an image which (ultimately you) you feel is in line with your particular image of god. (Everyone has a different image, each assumed to be perfection) The stress you thought was gone returns as a result of the effort to maintain the “image”. Atheists, on the other hand, have no imaginary image to maintain and can be themselves.

    The lie of the believer may be hidden to the believer. The power of the virus which they are infected with has built in protections to perpetuate itself. Testimony is poor evidence. People have lied for millennia for Christ. A believer is apt to say anything that contradicts the unbeliever.

    I think a non-theist atheist person’s life is based in reality. Reality being defined as that which you can discern with your senses and your reason. Beyond that reality, people are living in an imaginary world, one of self-delusion. There have been many unbelievers whose “peace” has lasted a lifetime.

    Your personal take is true. There is no taskmaster, no sky-daddy, nit-picking your life. You must take responsibility for your life, which though stressful in itself, is less so than trying to live up to some imaginary god’s perfection image.

    I have never really understood why people dwell on meaning in their lives. Before I knew what religion was, as a child, I cared not for meaning in my life. As I grew older and was introduced to religion and heard the assertion that it gave meaning to your life I had doubts. How in tarnation can being a whim of a god be a meaningful thing. I felt from the start that it was a false logic. It certainly was not as meaningful as a life created by the powers of evolution to be willed into existence for the purpose of worshiping, serving, some entity. That is slave mentality.

    Weak-willed… Standing on one’s own without parents to support you has always been considered mature. The Christian adopts a mental replacement for his/her parents and never has to give them up, never has to grow up. Such an individual, claiming to have surrendered to the will of god, never has to assume responsibility for his/her actions. An atheist is under no such delusion.

  10. dpmonahan says:

    This is fun, but we might be approaching that point in the discussion where things just go in circles.
    Your entire interpretation of religion (as a false narrative, infantilism, self-delusion, weakness of will, etc) presupposes atheism. If you use that interpretation to reinforce your position, (or worse, as a proof) you are running in circles.
    Atheism’s claim to objectivity is based on standards of “senses and reason” that are as historically conditioned as Plato’s, Thomas Aquinas’ or Kant’s.
    When you have competing narratives, neither of them has the right to appeal to itself in order to debunk the other. Though I have my preferences, I think it is better to not suppose one narrative when trying to understand another.

  11. drenn1077 says:

    Objectivity, there’s that word again. Total objectivity is only possible if you are not in any way associated with what you are being objective about. I suppose that is why two parties that have been at war for long periods sometimes ask a disinterested party to come in and help mediate a settlement. That is the base of it, you must be disinterested (not uninterested) in something to be truly objective about it.
    If something is based on fiction, and religion has many fictitious elements, then it is irrational to believe in it as if it were true. It is a known fact that Noah, the ark, Moses, and most likely even a character such as Jesus, are fictitious. There is more information substantiating Mohammad than Jesus, yet, since Islam is an outcropping of Christianity, it too is an irrational belief.
    Religion has had its purposes. Religion is no longer needed to fill those purposes as science does the job quite nicely now. So… what need now is there for religion? Perhaps as a mental prosthesis for those who cannot withstand the rigors of living in the real world.
    Atheism is not a philosophy. A lot of people try to make something more out of it than it is. Take one Christian, hold him/her securely, scrape off the irrational religious belief, and you end up with an atheist. It’s that simplistic. Atheism in its truest sense is simply a lack of belief in god or the supernatural.
    Last summer we had an individual who was running around at our picnic proclaiming that all atheists should recycle, be vegans, and she could not accept that any atheist would ever smoke. In her mind she had created her ideal of what an atheist should be and if you didn’t live up to her concept, you weren’t an atheist(almost invented an atheist religion). Yes, atheists have morals. There are good and there are bad atheists. The very same can be truthfully said about Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
    I subjectively think that when atheists do good deeds, their good deeds are better than Christian good deeds because atheists are not expecting a reward and neither do they fear ending up in hell. This does not mean Christians are not capable of doing great good, only that they do it for selfish reasons. Fear of punishment and expectation of reward keeps religion going and is ultimately a source of great stress for the average Christian.

  12. The human mind is very clever by itself. No man can understand his own thoughts as of how he is thinking in such a manner. The mind is a servant of our inmost invisible desires, and craftily guides us into them without our very control without judging whether those desires are beneficial or detrimental for the very self.
    A smart selfish few who know the trade of pushing their idea into others’ minds, would influence others to believe in their idea, and soon create a crowd to follow them. Social/peer pressure, power, knowledge, talent or money may influence and sell idea effectively.
    People with similar interests/needs always group together making their foundation stronger in the idea focused upon. Hence we have many religions and cult groups, products and services, governments and economies that create a few popular/rich, while the rest of the mass population become scape-goats only learning to follow helplessly.
    Religions are but a failure – a wise snare. Truth has become nearly impossible to be found, since religions have become the visible truth that are happily embraced with contentment and little analysis.
    Generations after generations, there may be a handful few who may have learnt the secret truth. They wouldn’t disclose it – for truth is not easily attained and can’t be taught through mere preaching or teaching as of the modern methodologies. They would certainly not shout to a congregation or write “how to” books – for they have enough wisdom and know for sure that those ways simply don’t work.
    Truth can be discovered through committed searching and by daring to live for it. Would you dare?

  13. drenn1077 says:

    Truth requires evidence. Stopping short of evidence begs the question: Is this real? Experience teaches skepticism.

  14. Many have tried very hard to follow their religion sincerely, and when it doesn’t work, they lose trust in that religion. These are people who take religion very seriously and live for it. They may try another and lose hope and finally come to a conclusion that the true identity named God is either not alive or is a hoax. Their decisions are certainly sane, for their efforts and hard work has not lead them to the ultimate reward. They consider their deeds and efforts but a total failure. Yes their Gods were not real. Religions are but a failure.
    Nothing changes from what was before, probably its even more comforting not to believe in a God. Yet they forget, that they have learnt so much that no one else may have learnt. They have failed to understand that they have learnt that the God that these religions indoctrinate are not true.
    The question arises then, how & where to seek the true God? Your thirst to know the truth never quenches however, in fact it has grown even more. Denunciation of many rituals, ceremonies, social gatherings are all considered but a waste of time. What then remains is but the true self. A spiritual seeker grows tremendously within which cannot be explained in words. Some secrets cannot be shared, for know that the only way to attain heavenly wisdom is through living a worthy life.
    God is not foolish to reveal Himself to all, or a few who seek their Gods for their own reasons. He searches the indepth of hearts much beyond what a man can comprehend. He knows when & whom to reveal Himself to. He gives them wisdom, knowledge, truth and mysteries of the seen & unseen world. They are certainly not braggers, for His elected are worthy of His election.

  15. drenn1077 says:

    Many think they have heard the word of God. Everyone has their individual concept of God. No two peoples’ Gods are alike. Seekers emanate from disillusionment. This or that God has proven impotent, so they move on. Many a new religion is born out of disappointment with an old religion. Wisdom and knowledge accrued from a newly imagined God are as empty as any acquired through previous Gods. In the end after much delving, seeking, it is most often found that the worthy life is possible without any God concept at all. Seeking answers, it seems, outside the realm of reality, does not serve humankind. Indeed, most often it seems, seeking answers in the supernatural is anti-human.
    In reality God has not spoken to any human. It is always the human intellect and imagination at work. The message revealed always mirrors the purposes of the receiver. Knowingly or unknowingly, the message is simply a means to motivate others to do his/her bidding.

  16. What is your proof? “God has not spoken to any human. It is always the human intellect and imagination at work” Would you trust someone if they said God communicates with him/her? Do you believe there exists alive entities in the unseen world? Do you believe in good & evil?

  17. drenn1077 says:

    Trust? I would not trust anyone using their religion in commerce. On the other hand, in many areas of endeavor people who claim God has spoken to them are trustworthy. Has God spoken to them? No, of course not, though many in the numerous sanitariums throughout the world claim God has. If they say instead that they think they speak to God, but he has not spoken to them, I believe it is so.
    Examine the worlds religions, their origins, without a doubt you will find they are of human origin. Explanations were needed to explain the unexplained or to explain why someone was hit with disaster, despite belief. My proof is myself. Over my many years of existence I too have invented means with which to control events. None of them actually related to actual causes and effects. I remember sitting watching approaching formidable storms while still living at home. I would hold my hand in certain positions to either lessen or intensify the storm. Occasionally it seemed to work. That substantiated my invented belief. When it did not work I invented reasons. Perhaps I didn’t hold my hand correctly, or was not sincere, or simply not concentrating hard enough. Inventing religions to explain the unexplained or control the uncontrollable are, it seems, are part of the human psyche.

    Entities in the unseen world? If you mean so tiny the eye cannot see, such as bacteria, atoms, etc., I fully accept their existence. With a microscope I have seen bacteria myself. If you mean a parallel world as conjectured by many scientists, I accept them only as conjecture. If you mean the supernatural, ghosts, unseen spirits, etc., I do not think these exist.

    Good and Evil exists only in the minds of humans. Humans were the initiators of those concepts. Though there may be creatures elsewhere in the universe that also have the concept of good and evil, their concepts would no doubt be different than ours. Does a lion bringing down some antelope hold evil thoughts? No, of course not, to that lion the antelope is merely dinner. Does a hurricane punish people because they have not followed the precepts of some God? No, of course not, though some religious people may claim so. Nature does not hate anyone, nature does not like anyone, nature is merely indifferent.

  18. I would love to have a personal conversation? If you would prefer to, may I ask for your contact information(skype perferably) please.

  19. drenn1077 says:

    I presently do not have Skype. I can get it and then get back to you.

  20. drenn1077 says:

    DW is my Skype name. Is that all you need?

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