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Can atheists be happy?
Posted: 17 April 2012 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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psikeyhackr - 17 April 2012 08:08 AM
FreeInKy - 17 April 2012 06:31 AM
psikeyhackr - 16 April 2012 09:12 PM

Has anyone ever seen a happy 5 year old?

Does anyone really believe that a 5 year old has any understanding about God, one way or the other?

The question only makes sense from the perspective of religion delusion.

psik

I’m guessing you meant to say “Has anyone ever seen an unhappy 5 year old?”.

No, that is not what I meant to say.

I was simply trying to demonstrate that since 5-year olds can be happy without having any definite ideas about God one way or the other then it certainly should be possible for atheists to be happy for all sorts of reasons even if they think there is no God.  It is just that the religiously fixated can’t comprehend people who do not share their world view.

psik

That’s a communication problem. When someone says, “Has anyone ever seen a happy 5 year old?” the implication often is that there is no such thing. Psik does not intend that implication here.

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Posted: 17 April 2012 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I think the example would be that as a five year old I was happy or unhappy dependent only on the physical world, ot on any metaphysics.  When the dog tethered in my neighbor’s front yard bit me when I tried to pet it, I was unhappy.  When my mother gave me a glass of milk and a piece of her blueberry pie, I was happy.  No thought of god, non-god, spirit, sin, prayer, heaven, hell, etc. ever entered my mind and I would have ignored them if an adult had mentioned them.

Occam

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Posted: 17 April 2012 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Occam. - 17 April 2012 09:53 AM

I think the example would be that as a five year old I was happy or unhappy dependent only on the physical world, ot on any metaphysics.  When the dog tethered in my neighbor’s front yard bit me when I tried to pet it, I was unhappy.  When my mother gave me a glass of milk and a piece of her blueberry pie, I was happy.  No thought of god, non-god, spirit, sin, prayer, heaven, hell, etc. ever entered my mind and I would have ignored them if an adult had mentioned them.

This made me think of how confusing it must be for children to keep up with all the adult-sanctioned and non-sanctioned invisible entities:

Santa Claus: Yes
Monster under the bed: No
Easter Bunny: Yes
Invisible Friend: No
Sky Daddy: Yes
Bogyman: No

No wonder they get confused!  cheese

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Posted: 17 April 2012 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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The only one I had to deal with was the Santa Claus concept, and after seeing a variety of them in department stores and on the sidewalk, I decided they were make-believe but that adults were too dumb to realize it (always had a decent ego.  smile  ) so I went along with it to make sure I got the gifts.

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Posted: 17 April 2012 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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It was a warm day yesterday in Toronto so I decided to leave the windows open throughout the night in our house. When putting my youngest one to sleep (he’s three) he asked me to close the window because he was afraid a “nightmare” might come in; he calls monsters “nightmares,” which he got from Mercer Mayer’s “There’s a Nightmare in My Closet.”

When I told him that “nightmares” only exist in stories and not in real life, he got upset. We went back and forth for a couple of minutes on the existence of monsters until I spoke to him very slowly, looking directly into his eyes and asked him if he really believed that nightmares existed. He looked down and said no. I then closed the window anyway.

My point is that children are probably capable of believing and not believing at the same time. Maybe it’s like me when I fly and I am aware of all the facts regarding the safety of airplane travel but still feel absolutely terrified despite of what I know on the statistics of flying. I imagine rationality evolved much later than all these types of beliefs and there will be a time during our life (sometime during our childhood) with both of them being active. Others, like fear of flying or many types of phobias, or, indeed, the belief in God or the supernatural, can linger in our mind for much longer even though the rational part of our brain is already telling us it’s probably just our imagination.

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Posted: 17 April 2012 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Occam. - 17 April 2012 10:24 AM

The only one I had to deal with was the Santa Claus concept, and after seeing a variety of them in department stores and on the sidewalk, I decided they were make-believe but that adults were too dumb to realize it (always had a decent ego.  smile  ) so I went along with it to make sure I got the gifts.

Occam

Does that make sense, Occam? If you thought that Santa was fake and the dumb adults didn’t realize he was fake, who, then, did you think was bringing you the presents? It couldn’t have been the adults since they thought Santa was real and therefore would have no need to buy the presents themselves.

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Posted: 17 April 2012 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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And I have already mentioned Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” several times elsewhere, but since it seems relevant here as well I’ll mention it again. I strongly recommend to everyone who hasn’t yet read to give it a try. It’s a fascinating description of the two parts of our mind coming to often very different conclusions; at most times, though, they work together. Kahneman refers to them as System 1 and System 2. System 1 would be what people in general call “subconsciousness,” and System 2 as “consciousness.” The first one is fast and inaccurate, and probably requiring a lot less energy to operate. The second system is slower and more precise, but often “too lazy” to help us out. Yes, the second system is also the rational one.

This is probably what I was thinking (subconsciously wink ) when I wrote the above post trying to explain why my son can believe in monsters and at the same time begin to suspect that they are not real: his rational system is slowly starting to kick in.

[ Edited: 17 April 2012 11:58 AM by George ]
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Posted: 17 April 2012 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Does that make sense, Occam? If you thought that Santa was fake and the dumb adults didn’t realize he was fake, who, then, did you think was bringing you the presents? It couldn’t have been the adults since they thought Santa was real and therefore would have no need to buy the presents themselves

Another example of compartmentalizing. We do it every day and so do the kids. That’s what makes beliving in the unbelievable easy for us. Ex. scientists who are aware that no evidence for god exists yet still attend churches to worship… whom or what?  Kids at an early age (say 3-12) want to please their parents so they go along with the ruse even though they know through observation or their peers (damn those kids of atheist parents!) that santa or fill in the blank isn’t real. Just wait until the hormones kick in then they won’t be so eager to please you. Then they’ll be wanting to please their girlfriends!


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Posted: 17 April 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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George, since I knew he wasn’t real, but I got presents wrapped in the paper my mother and my aunt had bought, I pretty well figured that they gave the presents.

Occam

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Posted: 17 April 2012 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Occam. - 17 April 2012 12:23 PM

George, since I knew he wasn’t real, but I got presents wrapped in the paper my mother and my aunt had bought, I pretty well figured that they gave the presents.

Occam

Okay, but why would they do that since THEY thought Santa was real?

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Posted: 17 April 2012 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Occam. - 17 April 2012 12:23 PM

George, since I knew he wasn’t real, but I got presents wrapped in the paper my mother and my aunt had bought, I pretty well figured that they gave the presents.

Just like the many clergy members and teachers of theology (especially) who know that god isn’t real but also know that their livelihood depends on keeping up the pretense.

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Posted: 17 April 2012 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Perhaps there are other explanations for this. 

The following is an article on social status and health from the Economist:  http://www.economist.com/node/21552539

In many socities the non-religous are held in low esteem, perhaps this is why the “unhappiness” exisits in much the same way as this article points out in relation to health.

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Posted: 17 April 2012 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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George - 17 April 2012 12:42 PM

Okay, but why would they do that since THEY thought Santa was real?

I already said I figured they were dumb.  LOL

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Posted: 17 April 2012 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Can anyone be happy?
Atheists are no different than anyone else. How do we know happiness? And how do we know unhappiness?

“We weep for that which was once our delight”  , Gibran.

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Posted: 17 April 2012 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Can anyone be happy?
Atheists are no different than anyone else. How do we know happiness? And how do we know unhappiness?

“We weep for that which was once our delight”  , Gibran.

I confess that I’m happy, well adjusted, well fed, still eager to learn, relatively healthy and have a bucket list yet to be fulfilled. And I owe it all to, um chance? If I read Gabran will I experience angst and channel my depression by becoming a tortured artist? Can atheists still be wide eyed optimists? Is there a gene for optimism?


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