3 of 5
3
Top-down study of beliefs
Posted: 17 June 2013 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  714
Joined  2012-04-25
George - 17 June 2013 04:27 AM
ufo-buff - 16 June 2013 01:08 PM
George - 16 June 2013 12:07 PM
ufo-buff - 16 June 2013 05:19 AM

Here is an example: Atheists believe that death is the end.

No, atheists believe that God doesn’t exist. I know many atheists think that life goes on after death.

Well that’s a new one.  I think they are being a little bit inconsistent to reject a belief in God due to lack of evidence and continue to believe in some sort of life after death.

Captain Picard appears to be an atheist who thinks life goes on after death.  grin  You’ll find people with similar beliefs all over Europe. May be new to you, but it’s pretty common.

Interesting, what exactly do these folks believe? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m genuinely interested. I’m assuming they mean something more than “I live on in the memories of my children”, that kind of thing.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 June 2013 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

You know, it’s the “you can never distroy energy, only convert it into something else,” and other similar new-age kinda stuff.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 June 2013 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6011
Joined  2009-02-26

author=“CuthbertJ” I’m assuming they mean something more than “I live on in the memories of my children”, that kind of thing.

A little aside, “living on in memory” is actually a remarkable thing and IMO is the single phenomenon that might be classified as metaphysical (spiritual) in nature.

And this is also based on a person’s deeds in life, not his religious beliefs.

[ Edited: 18 June 2013 07:11 PM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 June 2013 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  81
Joined  2013-06-01
CuthbertJ - 17 June 2013 02:29 PM

I think I get what you’re saying and it’s basically, the old You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Each of us is a book, and we present ourselves to the world with our covers, i.e. the labels we apply to ourselves.  The study you’re thinking of would be accurate if we let each person tell US, the researchers, what THEY define as the ideal X. Then study them to see if they actually behave in a way consistent with their own definitions.  So an extreme example might be, Joe says he’s an atheist, hates the bible and faith. Fine, that’s his definitions of an atheist. Now we follow him and every Sunday he goes to church and prays. Boom, bad atheist.  Now if we do that over and over with say 1000 atheist, and for the most part they all have “hate faith” as part of their definition AND at the same time are observed to pray, then we might be able to draw some conclusions about atheism in general.

Same goes with Christians, and I think your anecdotal evidence suggests, as does mine, that most Christians define themselves as following Jesus, help thy neighbor, etc. but in their daily lives do the exact opposite. Gandhi felt as much: “I like your Jesus, but your Christians, not so much”. And when I see the chief arbiters of the Catholic religion for example, priests, doing what they’ve done, and then others in their religious executive ranks covering it up, that to me tells me the religion itself, which defines itself as a means to be moral, is an objective failure.

Anywho… that would be a good study, and would take it out of the realm of personal opinion and anecdotal evidence.  I gotta believe some sociologist has done this though.

That’s the basic goal.  I was fuzzy on the details of how to do this, but I think your idea sounds practical.  Most of the comparative religion articles that I’ve found are only concerned with theological features.  It would be interesting to compare non-theological features.  Maybe we can demonstrate that certain religions are beneficial or harmful to society, mental health, whatever.

And of course I would love to be able to say something like “I see you marked that you are a Baptist, but according to our numbers you are actually a ...”

[ Edited: 17 June 2013 04:24 PM by ufo-buff ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 June 2013 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  553
Joined  2013-06-01

I think the best atheists are ex-Christians.

Once the test is done and the label is placed upon the atheist, she’ll never be able to run for the office.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 June 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  147
Joined  2011-11-06
ufo-buff - 17 June 2013 04:15 AM
FinallyDecided - 16 June 2013 05:17 PM

I am active in my local Unitarian Universalist congregation. We are a group of free-thinkers. Most do not believe in any “supernatural” aspects of religion; we do however, draw inspiration from many faiths. For example, we might focus on the concept that Jesus was possibly a real man who walked the earth preaching love and helping people, while we reject the supernatural aspects or any negative old testament or even negative new testament teachings. I believe you can still be an atheist, as I am, and still draw meaning and lessons from these ancient texts, regardless of their origins. I can pick up the Bible and read it with the approach I read any book—I can extrapolate from it what I want, viewing it as tales or folklore.

I’ve been curious about what motivates people to participate in UU and similar churches.  The local UU church in my town seems to be trying to encourage Wiccans to come but I think Wiccans tend to believe in supernatural phenomena and would not be comfortable in a church that does not?

Personally, I would never attend church unless I thought it was a requirement of my religion, so it’s hard for me to understand atheists/agnostics that seem to go voluntarily.  But I am an introvert.

UU congregations tend to be full of free-thinkers and atheists. There maybe some people who adhere to some form of religion, such as Christianity or Wicca, but in a very liberal manner. Also, depending on the congregation, there is really no “preaching” and definitely no dogma taught from the pulpit, if you want to consider it a pulpit. All the UU congregations I’ve been to tend to teach universal messages that are applicable to anyone, even to me as an atheist; for example, we might learn about a myriad of social justice topics, respect for the environment and earth, the importance of science, equality etc. So, a Wiccan could definitely attend and draw meaning from the messages; however, it would be highly unlikely that there would ever be a message that would promote the adherence to any specific religion.

Personally, I enjoy learning social justice topics and the community that the UU congregation offers me. Many say, atheists or free-thinkers lack community, but it is not true. For me, I need community, so I found one that respects my athiesm. Atheism does not have to mean a lack of community as traditional churches are thought to provide.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 June 2013 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  81
Joined  2013-06-01
FinallyDecided - 18 June 2013 07:47 AM

UU congregations tend to be full of free-thinkers and atheists. There maybe some people who adhere to some form of religion, such as Christianity or Wicca, but in a very liberal manner. Also, depending on the congregation, there is really no “preaching” and definitely no dogma taught from the pulpit, if you want to consider it a pulpit. All the UU congregations I’ve been to tend to teach universal messages that are applicable to anyone, even to me as an atheist; for example, we might learn about a myriad of social justice topics, respect for the environment and earth, the importance of science, equality etc. So, a Wiccan could definitely attend and draw meaning from the messages; however, it would be highly unlikely that there would ever be a message that would promote the adherence to any specific religion.

Personally, I enjoy learning social justice topics and the community that the UU congregation offers me. Many say, atheists or free-thinkers lack community, but it is not true. For me, I need community, so I found one that respects my athiesm. Atheism does not have to mean a lack of community as traditional churches are thought to provide.

Thanks, I’ve been curious about what draws people to this type of church.  For me the best part of being a non-believer is skipping church. smile

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 June 2013 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  11
Joined  2013-06-12
ufo-buff - 17 June 2013 08:54 AM

This is precisely why we need a study like this - otherwise we can’t know for sure if clergy practice what they preach. smile  I suspect the vast majority do not practice what they preach, but this is based on my personal experience and chatting informally with family and friends about their personal experiences.

Basically, you don’t have any good evidence to support your claim.

Write4U - 17 June 2013 01:25 PM

I thought that my example clearly illustrates that belief has nothing to do with behavior. I was not singling out a single person (pope), I mentioned him as the very representative of god who allows thousands of cases where clergy (teachers of morality) engagedin a specific immoral behavior and instead of addressing the real problem, deflecting the conversation by condemning a natural phenomena (homosexuality), which has nothing to do with morality.

The child abuse was covered up because these people believed that it was more important to protect the Church than it was to protect children. This belief determined their course of action.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 June 2013 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
George - 16 June 2013 12:07 PM
ufo-buff - 16 June 2013 05:19 AM

Here is an example: Atheists believe that death is the end.

No, atheists believe that God doesn’t exist. I know many atheists think that life goes on after death.

Atheists dont think god doesnt exist.  They simply have not seen any evidence that one (or many) exist.  There is a big difference between having no belief in a concept and believing the concept doesn’t exist.

Many atheists may hope that life goes on after death.  I doubt that many believe it. Such an idea is too wrapped up with a deity or at least in belief in the supernatural, which most atheists reject on evidentiary grounds, the same reason they reject any kind of god belief.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 June 2013 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

You may doubt it but you’re wrong. Have you ever lived in Europe?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 June 2013 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4455
Joined  2007-08-31

George is right. Many atheists are still inspired by forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, or by theosophy and anthroposophy. All these believe in reincarnation (or at least some of their schools). Not embracing the idea of a single (Christian) God, does not necessarily mean not believing in an afterlife or some other non-naturalistic ideas.

PS And yes, I live in Europe…

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 June 2013 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6011
Joined  2009-02-26
daedroth - 18 June 2013 06:00 PM
ufo-buff - 17 June 2013 08:54 AM

This is precisely why we need a study like this - otherwise we can’t know for sure if clergy practice what they preach. smile  I suspect the vast majority do not practice what they preach, but this is based on my personal experience and chatting informally with family and friends about their personal experiences.

Basically, you don’t have any good evidence to support your claim.

Write4U - 17 June 2013 01:25 PM

I thought that my example clearly illustrates that belief has nothing to do with behavior. I was not singling out a single person (pope), I mentioned him as the very representative of god who allows thousands of cases where clergy (teachers of morality) engagedin a specific immoral behavior and instead of addressing the real problem, deflecting the conversation by condemning a natural phenomena (homosexuality), which has nothing to do with morality.

The child abuse was covered up because these people believed that it was more important to protect the Church than it was to protect children. This belief determined their course of action.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”.  Scripture leaves no room for choice. Your example of acting on a belief is actually the corruption of belief in scripture.

[ Edited: 19 June 2013 05:15 AM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 June 2013 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  147
Joined  2011-11-06
ufo-buff - 18 June 2013 05:49 PM
FinallyDecided - 18 June 2013 07:47 AM

UU congregations tend to be full of free-thinkers and atheists. There maybe some people who adhere to some form of religion, such as Christianity or Wicca, but in a very liberal manner. Also, depending on the congregation, there is really no “preaching” and definitely no dogma taught from the pulpit, if you want to consider it a pulpit. All the UU congregations I’ve been to tend to teach universal messages that are applicable to anyone, even to me as an atheist; for example, we might learn about a myriad of social justice topics, respect for the environment and earth, the importance of science, equality etc. So, a Wiccan could definitely attend and draw meaning from the messages; however, it would be highly unlikely that there would ever be a message that would promote the adherence to any specific religion.

Personally, I enjoy learning social justice topics and the community that the UU congregation offers me. Many say, atheists or free-thinkers lack community, but it is not true. For me, I need community, so I found one that respects my athiesm. Atheism does not have to mean a lack of community as traditional churches are thought to provide.

Thanks, I’ve been curious about what draws people to this type of church.  For me the best part of being a non-believer is skipping church. smile

As an ex-Christian, looking back, I hated going to church too (who wants to get up early, dress up and go study mythology on a weekend?); but I don’t view this as the same. So, if you’re curious about UU, you should try!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 June 2013 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
FinallyDecided - 19 June 2013 10:14 AM
ufo-buff - 18 June 2013 05:49 PM
FinallyDecided - 18 June 2013 07:47 AM

UU congregations tend to be full of free-thinkers and atheists. There maybe some people who adhere to some form of religion, such as Christianity or Wicca, but in a very liberal manner. Also, depending on the congregation, there is really no “preaching” and definitely no dogma taught from the pulpit, if you want to consider it a pulpit. All the UU congregations I’ve been to tend to teach universal messages that are applicable to anyone, even to me as an atheist; for example, we might learn about a myriad of social justice topics, respect for the environment and earth, the importance of science, equality etc. So, a Wiccan could definitely attend and draw meaning from the messages; however, it would be highly unlikely that there would ever be a message that would promote the adherence to any specific religion.

Personally, I enjoy learning social justice topics and the community that the UU congregation offers me. Many say, atheists or free-thinkers lack community, but it is not true. For me, I need community, so I found one that respects my athiesm. Atheism does not have to mean a lack of community as traditional churches are thought to provide.

Thanks, I’ve been curious about what draws people to this type of church.  For me the best part of being a non-believer is skipping church. smile

As an ex-Christian, looking back, I hated going to church too (who wants to get up early, dress up and go study mythology on a weekend?); but I don’t view this as the same. So, if you’re curious about UU, you should try!

You don’t have to get dressed up to go to a Unitarian meeting—at least not in Southern California. And they often start at 11 AM.  Some meetings are even later. But Unitarian churches are a little too church-like for my taste. Some even have pews and hymn books. I prefer a Humanist or atheist meeting.  They usually go out of their way to avoid everything churchy, which suits me better.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 June 2013 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2380
Joined  2007-07-05
GdB - 19 June 2013 04:44 AM

George is right. Many atheists are still inspired by forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, or by theosophy and anthroposophy. All these believe in reincarnation (or at least some of their schools). Not embracing the idea of a single (Christian) God, does not necessarily mean not believing in an afterlife or some other non-naturalistic ideas.

PS And yes, I live in Europe…

So is most atheism really anti-Christianism?

Westerners being reactionaries against their cultural upbringing?

psik

 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 5
3