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To the converted atheists: What do you miss from believing ?

  1. May 27, 2008 #1
    To the converted atheists: What do you miss from "believing"?

    I'm a converted atheists, have been for a long time. To cut it short, I could no longer re-conciliate the historical and natural claims that religion makes with my knowledge of science, and I'm certain I'm not the only one.

    Now, I know that many believe that science and religion are two distinct subjects whose fields of interests are disjoint sets, but personally I don't subscribe to idea. And more importantly, this is not the point of this thread. I know it's a competing view, but I'd rather not have this particular argument in this thread if possible.

    So anyway, what do you guys miss?

    I think what I miss the most was the comforting thought of an eternal afterlife. Which is why I don't argue with "non-fanatic" people over their faith: it does serve the purpose of effectively erasing one "big worry".

    Other than that, I do think it's slightly easier to get a girlfriend, make friends, and run for office. =P
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2008 #2
    When I was heavily into Buddhism I enjoyed the whole concept of multiple lives, but now I realize how wasteful it is. It truly hindered my appreciation for the life I already know.
  4. May 27, 2008 #3


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    One has to give up hope for justice.
    I wish I believe in a God who would punish evil people (for example people who torture animals). Unfortunately, I have to rely on the (very) imperfect justice of men and that offers very little comfort.

    What about people (including children) who have terrible diseases, those who die young, etc...with religion there is hope that they will have something to make up for their hardship.

    Not having religion makes life very very sad and unfair.
  5. May 27, 2008 #4


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    Not following a religion makes me very happy. I don't have to worry about upsetting some imaginary being and going to an imaginary hell.

    I don't believe in false hope and fantasies, but I won't deny them to someone that can't cope with life without them.
  6. May 27, 2008 #5
    What? You mean converted conservative Christians don't get our own thread?

    Oh well. If nothing else, the great part about being a fellow physicist is that I know how to get along with you guys anyway (the secret is beer).
  7. May 27, 2008 #6
    Only thing I miss is the promise that people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. will get punished for what they did whereas good people such as my grandparents, mother, friends, etc., will be rewarded for their lives.

    It's not easy watching the news and seeing something like the Myanmar disaster being used for political gain by the rulers of the country and knowing that they will live and die happy even though they caused so much pain.

    But it does tell me that it's up to PEOPLE to make sure justice is carried out. We can't stand by idly and hoping something from the sky just makes everything good again.
  8. May 27, 2008 #7


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    People with terrible diseases have been deliberately made to suffer if you are a believer.

    May I ask to those who were or are comforted by an eternal after-life concept, why is that so comforting?
  9. May 27, 2008 #8
    I used to miss the chance at an afterlife, but when I realized how crushingly boring immortality would be, I'm very happy the ride has an end.
  10. May 27, 2008 #9


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    I became an agnostic shortly after elementary school. I defy any of you atheists or theists want to make your case with me - you'd better prepare for an assault that that has defied centuries of effort. If you want to claim that XYZ is basis for your belief that god does exist, or that XYZ is a basis for your claim that god does not exist, you've got a bit of work on your plate.
  11. May 27, 2008 #10


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    What I don't like about atheism is knowing that when a person dear to me dies, I will never, ever see them again.
  12. May 27, 2008 #11
    I never converted. I never went to church a day in my life, so I dont miss anything. I simply am an atheist.

    I dont have any desires to see dead people, live an after life, or punish people for being bad. It all sounds like silly crap to my ears.
  13. May 27, 2008 #12
    First, I should say that if scientific facts interfere with your religion, it probably means your religious conceptions are a little naive. This is fine. In my opinion, personal opinion, none human are born completely virgin of any religious belief. We can choose to reject them altogether, or we can be interested in them, philosophically, scientifically, superficially, you pick your own prefered one. For instance, anybody participating in this discussion feels probably to some extent concerned in religious beliefs, there own or the one of others. Anyway, if you are anyhow interested in religious beliefs, you should question them at least from time to time.

    I was very young when I first asked myself : "Do I have religious beliefs because I am afraid to die ?". It did not take me long to question whereas any of my religious belief was related to some kind of intellectual confort. Any conforting aspect of religion, which you may miss if you turn completely atheist, seems childish to me (I'm sorry to use this word right now, with the recent Einstein's letter). There are other aspects of religion which are far more interesting.

    It might be appropriate to define what you call "atheist" to go any further.

    I should say I disagree. Let us say for instance that we figure out all the chemical mechanisms responsible for us falling in love. We also understand why it is favorable from natural selection to have human love feelings. But we would still do fall in love, despite the fact that we fully understand it rationally. That is pretty amazing and should fill us with joy.

    I have had this argument several times with some of my friends. Basically, they claim that if I understand a rainbow, I can not be fascinated with its beauty as much as if I do not have any clue why a rainbow comes about. This is plain wrong to me. On the contrary, the knowledge of how the rainbow comes about makes the rainbow even more beautiful to my eyes.

    Yet another example : despite the fact that I can analyze in full details all the structures of Mozart's operas down to any single note, I still feel an deep and intense pleasure listening to it.
  14. May 27, 2008 #13
    I'll take a crack at that.

    1) I don't see any evidence supporting the existence of God or a higher power.

    2) I'm done.
  15. May 27, 2008 #14
    That is a joke of course :rofl:

    Indeed, centuries speak in favor of turbo-1.
  16. May 27, 2008 #15
    Centuries can kiss my heathen ass. I don't see any evidence of a higher power. If you show me some, I'll convert. If not, then I have no reason to believe.

    I mean honestly, you call yourself a scientist? When's the last time you accepted inconclusive evidence?
  17. May 27, 2008 #16
    But once again, religion and science have nothing to do with each other. If you want to believe that there is a green monster undernearh your bed as long as nobody tries to see it, and that as soon as you try to see it it disapears, nobody can prove you wrong. Seriously.
  18. May 27, 2008 #17
    I take it this is addressed to me (and the other theists who may be hanging around).

    There are many religious beliefs I find comforting, but the concept of an eternal afterlife isn't really one of them per se. Closely related religious doctrines like justification, redemption from sin, etc., are highly comforting, but for whatever reason I don't always mentally connect this to the idea of an afterlife. That is to say, I tend not to regard belief in God as a "go to heaven for free" ticket.

    In the Christian religion specifically, the doctrine of an afterlife is essentially a fundamental dogma. But if one is seeking comfort from worldly afflictions, there are other doctrines that are more directly comforting than this.
  19. May 27, 2008 #18

    And that is a logical fallacy so F that.
  20. May 27, 2008 #19
    Thats completely false. Religions make scientific claims all the time. Seriously.
  21. May 27, 2008 #20
    Please forgive me, I am not native english speaker. However :
    There is no incorrect reasoning unfortunately.

    Look, do you seriously think that, after centuries and armies of philosophers, you come about and post on PF the answer to one of the most fundamental question humanity keeps asking itself ?
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