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Is Atheism Irrational? NYTimes Opinion Piece


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Ok...I'll take your word for it. I know nothing about the Book of Mormon. Thanks for the input :lol:

It's not about the Book of Mormon. It was about probability. The entire discourse was trying to help you understand my statement below. Remember? You don't have to know anything about the truth of the example I provided. You just have to be able to conceptualize how it illustrates my statement.

Probability percentage is calculated from the known. I was talking about what you bolded, something we know a lot about, not the entire universe. That probability doesn't change by saying the universe is really really big.

ok thanks

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Ok...I'll take your word for it. I know nothing about the Book of Mormon. Thanks for the input :lol:

It's not about the Book of Mormon. It was about probability. The entire discourse was trying to help you understand my statement below. Remember? You don't have to know anything about the truth of the example I provided. You just have to be able to conceptualize how it illustrates my statement.

Probability percentage is calculated from the known. I was talking about what you bolded, something we know a lot about, not the entire universe. That probability doesn't change by saying the universe is really really big.

But we don't know what force caused the inflationary period of the early universe, so how could we possibly know there are no wild elephants in Missouri?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some may find this worthwhile: common-sense atheism. Nothing revolutionary; just something I came across and figured I'd post it.

Exactly how I got here.

The whole point of my website is this: If a believer applies his special thinking to any other area of his life, it becomes clear how irrational special thinking is. And if he applies common sense to his religion, it becomes clear how irrational religion is.

.

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Some may find this worthwhile: common-sense atheism. Nothing revolutionary; just something I came across and figured I'd post it.

Exactly how I got here.

The whole point of my website is this: If a believer applies his special thinking to any other area of his life, it becomes clear how irrational special thinking is. And if he applies common sense to his religion, it becomes clear how irrational religion is.

.

agree completely with the first sentence, but not the second, only because "common sense" doesn't really mean anything to me. "Common sense" is wrong as much as it is right.
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Some may find this worthwhile: common-sense atheism. Nothing revolutionary; just something I came across and figured I'd post it.

Exactly how I got here.

The whole point of my website is this: If a believer applies his special thinking to any other area of his life, it becomes clear how irrational special thinking is. And if he applies common sense to his religion, it becomes clear how irrational religion is.

.

agree completely with the first sentence, but not the second, only because "common sense" doesn't really mean anything to me. "Common sense" is wrong as much as it is right.

I put it a little differently.

I approach religion the same way I do anything else, hold it to the same standards I do anything else. In order for a person to accept religion, they have to approach it in a manner specifically devoid of these standards they would hold anything else to.

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There is no logical or sensible explanation for existence.

But there's plenty of evidence for it.
There is evidence of the mechanisms. Unless, I am wrong (which I often am), I don't know of the explanation for how all energy and matter came into existence prior to the explosion that expanded and formed the universe.
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There is no logical or sensible explanation for existence.

But there's plenty of evidence for it.
There is evidence of the mechanisms. Unless, I am wrong (which I often am), I don't know of the explanation for how all energy and matter came into existence prior to the explosion that expanded and formed the universe.

I won't speak for MT.. but I think you missed his point.

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There is no logical or sensible explanation for existence.

But there's plenty of evidence for it.
There is evidence of the mechanisms. Unless, I am wrong (which I often am), I don't know of the explanation for how all energy and matter came into existence prior to the explosion that expanded and formed the universe.

I won't speak for MT.. but I think you missed his point.

Very possible. I'm not sure what his point was. I'm not at all religious so if it was something meant to negate a religious point of view, then I was never even looking for that.
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http://www.religionnews.com/2014/12/30/living-without-god-year-former-pastor-ryan-bell-no-longer-believes/

(RNS) Ryan Bell — the former Seventh-day Adventist pastor who spent 2014 living as an atheist — is ready for his big reveal.

After chronicling the last 12 months on his blog Year Without God, Bell — who now works as director of community engagement at People Assisting the Homeless in Southern California — announced in an interview with NPR that he no longer believes in God.

Bell talked with Religion News Service about his decision and what it will mean to him and his loved ones. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: This weekend you told NPR: “I don’t think that God exists.” Can you elaborate?

A: I think the best way I can explain the conclusion I’ve come to — and conclusion is too strong a word for the provisional place I now stand and work from — is that the intellectual and emotional energy it takes to figure out how God fits into everything is far greater than dealing with reality as it presents itself to us.

That probably sounds very nonrational, and I want people to know that I have read several dozen books and understand a good many of the arguments. I’d just say that the existence of God seems like an extra layer of complexity that isn’t necessary. The world makes more sense to me as it is, without postulating a divine being who is somehow in charge of things.

Q: You also said that you’re “still the same person deep down that I was before.” What was valuable about the past year? Would you do it again?

A: I would definitely do it again! And I’ll go a step further: I think others should do it, too. Anytime you can step outside your comfort zone, you will learn important things about yourself and the world. I’ve learned that atheists are not the miserable nihilists that many Christians think they are.

I’ve also had a few remarkable moments of irony. Once I was in a gathering of atheists and the speaker referred to “seeing the light” and “finding freedom at last.” It struck me then that most people really are searching for the same thing.

Q: Do you still plan to write about, speak and work in the atheist community?

A: I do, in some capacity. I don’t think I’ll be joining a crusade to destroy all religion anytime soon, though some days I’m tempted. I just know too many good people of faith to see religion as any kind of universal evil. But I do think that there is much work to be done with and among atheists.

I have a special interest in post-theists — people who are in the in-between phase that I’ve been inhabiting for the past year. There are thousands and thousands of people who are betwixt and between, and there is next to nothing for them in the world of religion. I’d like to be a part of that conversation.

Q: After a year, what do you think about the priorities and actions of the atheist movement in the U.S.?

A: On the whole, I love the no-holds-barred search for truth. I love the honesty and clarity of speech that is so often lacking in religious circles, where everything is couched in metaphor and innuendo.

On the other hand, I recoil from a one-track-minded scientism that I sometimes encounter — as though science has all the answers for every question that a person has ever asked. There is also a kind of smug condescension that is hard for me. I still have scores of Christian friends who are not dumb. Their faith is not like believing in Santa Claus. The more the atheist movement behaves like the traveling evangelists I encountered as a conservative Christian, the more I cringe — and for the same reasons.

Q: Your significant other is a Christian. How are you navigating that?

A: It’s challenging sometimes, but she is an open-minded, thoughtful person. I’d call her a Christian Humanist, or a Humanist in the way of Jesus, if that makes any sense. I still share a love for the stories of the radical Jesus preferring the poor and downtrodden, so we’re not as different as it may seem on the surface. Besides, our relationship is about more than debates about God’s existence.

Q: What would you like to say to people who question your motives or sincerity?

A: There’s not much I can say. I don’t feel like I need to defend myself. I’ve only lost money and earning potential this year, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I guess I can’t prove I’m not being dishonest any more than I can prove that God doesn’t exist. People will just have to evaluate the evidence and decide for themselves.

Q: You’ve lived as a Christian and an atheist. What’s one thing you wish more Christians knew about atheists? One thing you wish more atheists knew about Christians?

A: I wish more Christians knew that atheists are not nihilists who have no meaning to their lives or people with no moral compass. They’re not stubbornly rejecting God. All the atheists I have met have seriously hit a brick wall while trying to know God.

I wish more atheists knew that Christians care very deeply about knowledge and truth. They are not stupid. In every group there is a percentage that are ignorant — but if you take a wider view, Christian intellectuals have contributed a great deal to the body of human knowledge through history.

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There is no logical or sensible explanation for existence.

But there's plenty of evidence for it.
There is evidence of the mechanisms. Unless, I am wrong (which I often am), I don't know of the explanation for how all energy and matter came into existence prior to the explosion that expanded and formed the universe.

It sounded like you may have been mock-doubting the existence of the universe since there's no sensible explanation for it. I was just pointing out that you don't need a sensible explanation when there's overwhelming evidence. We can be quite certain that the universe exists even if we can't think of a good reason why it should.

Plenty of stuff exists, by the way, that is not at all sensible -- quantum mechanics, for instance. The human mind evolved to make sense of medium-sized, slow-moving objects like rocks, wildebeests, and acorns. It did not evolve to make sense of, and has a great deal of trouble making sense of, very small or very large or very fast-moving objects like quarks or black holes or photons. Those things exist nonetheless. We know this not because they make sense, but because we have accumulated strong evidence for them.

If you were not doubting the existence of the universe, but only wondering how it might have come to exist, you may enjoy this lecture by Lawrence Krauss.

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There is no logical or sensible explanation for existence.

But there's plenty of evidence for it.
There is evidence of the mechanisms. Unless, I am wrong (which I often am), I don't know of the explanation for how all energy and matter came into existence prior to the explosion that expanded and formed the universe.

It sounded like you may have been mock-doubting the existence of the universe since there's no sensible explanation for it. I was just pointing out that you don't need a sensible explanation when there's overwhelming evidence. We can be quite certain that the universe exists even if we can't think of a good reason why it should.

Plenty of stuff exists, by the way, that is not at all sensible -- quantum mechanics, for instance. The human mind evolved to make sense of medium-sized, slow-moving objects like rocks, wildebeests, and acorns. It did not evolve to make sense of, and has a great deal of trouble making sense of, very small or very large or very fast-moving objects like quarks or black holes or photons. Those things exist nonetheless. We know this not because they make sense, but because we have accumulated strong evidence for them.

If you were not doubting the existence of the universe, but only wondering how it might have come to exist, you may enjoy

by Lawrence Krauss.
Thanks. I will check it out. My comment was more for that the existence of particles and energy (why it exists or how it could have been created vs always existed) is something that defies human rationality. No matter how far back we study and trace matters of existance, we are always left with new questions.

ETA: Very interesting. The parts on the shape of the universe, future of the universe, and theory of hownothing can bring something was well explained and mostly newer to me. He did lose me a bit when he described nothing as actually being something, but that nothing (which is actually sonething) could, when in equilibrium create something if there was a flux. I understood what he said, it seems like a bit of semantical play on the word "nothing". It doesn't seem to answer the philosophical point that some argued. We know he thinks philosophy is stupid so he never addressed that, but he did say there are more questions than answers. I suppose that is some concession.

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http://youtu.be/-suvkwNYSQo

Stephen Fry. Just because I love the guy's reaction

Stephen Fry doesn't seem to understand God very well.

And you do?

Yes

Excellent. Maybe you can answer a question that's always bothered me. Why did he create the foreskin?

You find someone who understands God, and THAT'S your question??
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http://youtu.be/-suvkwNYSQo

Stephen Fry. Just because I love the guy's reaction

Stephen Fry doesn't seem to understand God very well.

And you do?

Yes

Excellent. Maybe you can answer a question that's always bothered me. Why did he create the foreskin?

You find someone who understands God, and THAT'S your question??

Tell me all your thoughts on God.

Cause I would really like to meet her

And ask her why mine looks like an anteater.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

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Why does it matter? As an atheist, honestly, why do you care why?

Why do you care whether or not Maurile finds God again?

Because I believe in God and the Bible and I desire that all people know God for who he is. Basically because I care about him as a fellow human being and especially since I have had interaction with him on the forum so I kind of "know" him and I'd rather meet him in heaven someday than not.

And I don't believe in God or the Bible and I desire that all people come to the realization that it's all a big fantasy. Basically because I care about my fellow human beings and want them to live in reality, not fantasy.

You believe what you want, I'll believe what I want. I only jumped in because you started to proselytize to Maurile. So, I returned the favor. :)

don't want to speak for jayrod, but I think if you believe there is a life after this and you care about someone, why wouldn't you want to express to them that you care about them?

if it is done in a truly loving and caring manner, (which sadly I know isn't always the case) why would you be offended?

I have a really close friend who I love dearly and we are on opposite sides of the discussion and he with all sincerity said he appreciates my concerns for him when I say I am praying for him and love him. it doesn't change the fact that he doesn't believe in God, but because the fact I do and care about him means a lot to him.

not sure if this was posted in this thread but sure most of us have heard of penn jillette of penn and teller. penn is an atheist and had posted this on 1 of his podcasts a while ago.

I think he does a far better job putting into words than I did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6md638smQd8

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Excellent. Maybe you can answer a question that's always bothered me. Why did he create the foreskin?

I imagine for much the same reason that Seth Macfarlane created Stewie with a football shaped head. Part of the perfect vision of his creation.

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Why does it matter? As an atheist, honestly, why do you care why?

Why do you care whether or not Maurile finds God again?

Because I believe in God and the Bible and I desire that all people know God for who he is. Basically because I care about him as a fellow human being and especially since I have had interaction with him on the forum so I kind of "know" him and I'd rather meet him in heaven someday than not.

And I don't believe in God or the Bible and I desire that all people come to the realization that it's all a big fantasy. Basically because I care about my fellow human beings and want them to live in reality, not fantasy.

You believe what you want, I'll believe what I want. I only jumped in because you started to proselytize to Maurile. So, I returned the favor. :)

don't want to speak for jayrod, but I think if you believe there is a life after this and you care about someone, why wouldn't you want to express to them that you care about them?

if it is done in a truly loving and caring manner, (which sadly I know isn't always the case) why would you be offended?

I have a really close friend who I love dearly and we are on opposite sides of the discussion and he with all sincerity said he appreciates my concerns for him when I say I am praying for him and love him. it doesn't change the fact that he doesn't believe in God, but because the fact I do and care about him means a lot to him.

not sure if this was posted in this thread but sure most of us have heard of penn jillette of penn and teller. penn is an atheist and had posted this on 1 of his podcasts a while ago.

I think he does a far better job putting into words than I did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6md638smQd8

Why do you need a god to tell a friend you care for and love him? I just say it flat out. I'd appreciate it more if it comes from you directly, instead of you communicating those feeling to a wall in the corner of your bedroom.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

I'm with you. I'm #openlysecular on this message board, but not so much in real life. It's just not acceptable yet in our society. Heck, you get killed for it in a lot of other countries.

And yet, there are Christians in this country that feel like they are the ones being persecuted by those nasty atheists...

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

I'm with you. I'm #openlysecular on this message board, but not so much in real life. It's just not acceptable yet in our society. Heck, you get killed for it in a lot of other countries.

And yet, there are Christians in this country that feel like they are the ones being persecuted by those nasty atheists...

My Christian mother in law freaked out when I liked something on facebook that had to do with there not being a god. She hasn't confronted me about it but I heard her freaking out when my wife was on the phone with her right next to me. She was much happier when she thought I was Jewish.

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Why does it matter? As an atheist, honestly, why do you care why?

Why do you care whether or not Maurile finds God again?

Because I believe in God and the Bible and I desire that all people know God for who he is. Basically because I care about him as a fellow human being and especially since I have had interaction with him on the forum so I kind of "know" him and I'd rather meet him in heaven someday than not.

And I don't believe in God or the Bible and I desire that all people come to the realization that it's all a big fantasy. Basically because I care about my fellow human beings and want them to live in reality, not fantasy.

You believe what you want, I'll believe what I want. I only jumped in because you started to proselytize to Maurile. So, I returned the favor. :)

don't want to speak for jayrod, but I think if you believe there is a life after this and you care about someone, why wouldn't you want to express to them that you care about them?

if it is done in a truly loving and caring manner, (which sadly I know isn't always the case) why would you be offended?

I have a really close friend who I love dearly and we are on opposite sides of the discussion and he with all sincerity said he appreciates my concerns for him when I say I am praying for him and love him. it doesn't change the fact that he doesn't believe in God, but because the fact I do and care about him means a lot to him.

not sure if this was posted in this thread but sure most of us have heard of penn jillette of penn and teller. penn is an atheist and had posted this on 1 of his podcasts a while ago.

I think he does a far better job putting into words than I did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6md638smQd8

Why do you need a god to tell a friend you care for and love him? I just say it flat out. I'd appreciate it more if it comes from you directly, instead of you communicating those feeling to a wall in the corner of your bedroom.

hi mat, guess I didn't explain myself clearly which happens most of the time.

I do just flat out tell my friend(s) I love them, miss them, etc., finding it more so now the older I/we get. the brevity we get here has become more real for me. I meant that even though some friends and I are not in agreement on some things, when they know where i stand and express with genuine care and sincerity that you will be praying for them and doing everything i can to help them when they are having problems, they take that in a caring way, even if they think it's hogwash.

if someone posts a thread in fbg saying thoughts and prayers appreciated, when someone replies whether that person believes in the same thing or not I think they realize the person is showing concern for that person and they don't take it in a negative way.

sorry I'm not very clear.

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Why does it matter? As an atheist, honestly, why do you care why?

Why do you care whether or not Maurile finds God again?

Because I believe in God and the Bible and I desire that all people know God for who he is. Basically because I care about him as a fellow human being and especially since I have had interaction with him on the forum so I kind of "know" him and I'd rather meet him in heaven someday than not.

And I don't believe in God or the Bible and I desire that all people come to the realization that it's all a big fantasy. Basically because I care about my fellow human beings and want them to live in reality, not fantasy.

You believe what you want, I'll believe what I want. I only jumped in because you started to proselytize to Maurile. So, I returned the favor. :)

don't want to speak for jayrod, but I think if you believe there is a life after this and you care about someone, why wouldn't you want to express to them that you care about them?

if it is done in a truly loving and caring manner, (which sadly I know isn't always the case) why would you be offended?

I have a really close friend who I love dearly and we are on opposite sides of the discussion and he with all sincerity said he appreciates my concerns for him when I say I am praying for him and love him. it doesn't change the fact that he doesn't believe in God, but because the fact I do and care about him means a lot to him.

not sure if this was posted in this thread but sure most of us have heard of penn jillette of penn and teller. penn is an atheist and had posted this on 1 of his podcasts a while ago.

I think he does a far better job putting into words than I did.

Why do you need a god to tell a friend you care for and love him? I just say it flat out. I'd appreciate it more if it comes from you directly, instead of you communicating those feeling to a wall in the corner of your bedroom.

hi mat, guess I didn't explain myself clearly which happens most of the time.

I do just flat out tell my friend(s) I love them, miss them, etc., finding it more so now the older I/we get. the brevity we get here has become more real for me. I meant that even though some friends and I are not in agreement on some things, when they know where i stand and express with genuine care and sincerity that you will be praying for them and doing everything i can to help them when they are having problems, they take that in a caring way, even if they think it's hogwash.

if someone posts a thread in fbg saying thoughts and prayers appreciated, when someone replies whether that person believes in the same thing or not I think they realize the person is showing concern for that person and they don't take it in a negative way.

sorry I'm not very clear.

If it works for you and you think it helps, great, go nuts.. But I don't need to know about it and it kinda waters down the message imo.

While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So rather than praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So instead of praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

Oh come on, Maurile, you are smarter than this.

You know full well your analogy doesn't even come close to the belief system of the Christian. While you may think or wish that were the case it just isn't. Christians believe that Jesus is THE way and that no one can come to God the Father except through Him. To the Christian, there are no other "treatments", there is no other way to find eternal happiness. You can disagree, but to ignore that truth is to misunderstand the gesture of praying for your salvation.

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http://youtu.be/-suvkwNYSQo

Stephen Fry. Just because I love the guy's reaction

Stephen Fry doesn't seem to understand God very well.

And you do?

Yes

Excellent. Maybe you can answer a question that's always bothered me. Why did he create the foreskin?

You find someone who understands God, and THAT'S your question??

Why did some dude who's supposed to be so awesome repeatedly murder innocent babies and kittens in the bible?

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So instead of praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

Oh come on, Maurile, you are smarter than this.

You know full well your analogy doesn't even come close to the belief system of the Christian. While you may think or wish that were the case it just isn't. Christians believe that Jesus is THE way and that no one can come to God the Father except through Him. To the Christian, there are no other "treatments", there is no other way to find eternal happiness. You can disagree, but to ignore that truth is to misunderstand the gesture of praying for your salvation.

Yeah, that's a pretty good example of what I was talking about. Thanks.

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So instead of praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

Oh come on, Maurile, you are smarter than this.

You know full well your analogy doesn't even come close to the belief system of the Christian. While you may think or wish that were the case it just isn't. Christians believe that Jesus is THE way and that no one can come to God the Father except through Him. To the Christian, there are no other "treatments", there is no other way to find eternal happiness. You can disagree, but to ignore that truth is to misunderstand the gesture of praying for your salvation.

Yeah, that's a pretty good example of what I was talking about. Thanks.

Sorry, I got defensive there and you are right, I'm basically re-hashing what you pointed out. I really have to stop getting worked up in these threads.

I do disagree with some of your assumptions, though. I don't just want you to find "eternal happiness" and the point of telling you my prayer isn't "to show that I care". Knowing Jesus is more than eternal happiness and my goal isn't for you to think well of me for caring. I want you to change who you are, because I believe it would be better for you in all things, now and for eternity. That is very likely an uncomfortable concept and I'm OK with you not liking it.

I just think your soul is too important to worry about what you think of me. I thought about using some lame analogy for this, but you know what I'm saying.

Long story short, I hear what you are saying, but I don't care. I'm still praying for your salvation because I think that is the best thing to pray for. You can think what you want of that, but I love you and want you to know Christ like I do. Its not just about happiness.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

I'm with you. I'm #openlysecular on this message board, but not so much in real life. It's just not acceptable yet in our society. Heck, you get killed for it in a lot of other countries.

And yet, there are Christians in this country that feel like they are the ones being persecuted by those nasty atheists...

Pretty much anywhere in the world that you would be killed for being atheist, you would also be killed for being Christian.

In this country it's a lot like politics. Both sides have nasty elements, but only see it come from 'the other side'.

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So instead of praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

Oh come on, Maurile, you are smarter than this.

You know full well your analogy doesn't even come close to the belief system of the Christian. While you may think or wish that were the case it just isn't. Christians believe that Jesus is THE way and that no one can come to God the Father except through Him. To the Christian, there are no other "treatments", there is no other way to find eternal happiness. You can disagree, but to ignore that truth is to misunderstand the gesture of praying for your salvation.

Yeah, that's a pretty good example of what I was talking about. Thanks.

Sorry, I got defensive there and you are right, I'm basically re-hashing what you pointed out. I really have to stop getting worked up in these threads.

I do disagree with some of your assumptions, though. I don't just want you to find "eternal happiness" and the point of telling you my prayer isn't "to show that I care". Knowing Jesus is more than eternal happiness and my goal isn't for you to think well of me for caring. I want you to change who you are, because I believe it would be better for you in all things, now and for eternity. That is very likely an uncomfortable concept and I'm OK with you not liking it.

I just think your soul is too important to worry about what you think of me. I thought about using some lame analogy for this, but you know what I'm saying.

Long story short, I hear what you are saying, but I don't care. I'm still praying for your salvation because I think that is the best thing to pray for. You can think what you want of that, but I love you and want you to know Christ like I do. Its not just about happiness.

"Live and let live" is a motto that might help your blood pressure. Not sure if/how you can reconcile that with your beliefs, and the passion you have for them? Perhaps there's some middle ground.

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So rather than praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

I get it.

I know they see it as a nice thing (maybe they see it as the nicest thing) to say to me... I just feel weird about it. They usually don't specify why they are praying specifically, just praying "for me" or for whomever..

Instead of a truly heartfelt "thank you!", it evokes more of a "thanks..?"

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So instead of praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

Oh come on, Maurile, you are smarter than this.

You know full well your analogy doesn't even come close to the belief system of the Christian. While you may think or wish that were the case it just isn't. Christians believe that Jesus is THE way and that no one can come to God the Father except through Him. To the Christian, there are no other "treatments", there is no other way to find eternal happiness. You can disagree, but to ignore that truth is to misunderstand the gesture of praying for your salvation.

Yeah, that's a pretty good example of what I was talking about. Thanks.

Sorry, I got defensive there and you are right, I'm basically re-hashing what you pointed out. I really have to stop getting worked up in these threads.

I do disagree with some of your assumptions, though. I don't just want you to find "eternal happiness" and the point of telling you my prayer isn't "to show that I care". Knowing Jesus is more than eternal happiness and my goal isn't for you to think well of me for caring. I want you to change who you are, because I believe it would be better for you in all things, now and for eternity. That is very likely an uncomfortable concept and I'm OK with you not liking it.

I just think your soul is too important to worry about what you think of me. I thought about using some lame analogy for this, but you know what I'm saying.

Long story short, I hear what you are saying, but I don't care. I'm still praying for your salvation because I think that is the best thing to pray for. You can think what you want of that, but I love you and want you to know Christ like I do. Its not just about happiness.

Yea, this is just creepy. Really creepy.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

I'm with you. I'm #openlysecular on this message board, but not so much in real life. It's just not acceptable yet in our society. Heck, you get killed for it in a lot of other countries.

And yet, there are Christians in this country that feel like they are the ones being persecuted by those nasty atheists...

Pretty much anywhere in the world that you would be killed for being atheist, you would also be killed for being Christian.

In this country it's a lot like politics. Both sides have nasty elements, but only see it come from 'the other side'.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Take Islam, for example. It's my understanding that Sharia law has provisions to live peacefully with Christians (maybe even Jews). However, atheists should be killed. I'd also be willing to bet that there are some "Christian" countries in Africa that will kill you for being an atheist.

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I don't think you should bother trying to hard to make someone recognize that atheists are easily the most misunderstood and feared (and therefore the least accepted) minority out there.

Obviously certain Christians like to argue their awful plight in this country, but it is easy enough to see it for what it is.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

I'm with you. I'm #openlysecular on this message board, but not so much in real life. It's just not acceptable yet in our society. Heck, you get killed for it in a lot of other countries.

And yet, there are Christians in this country that feel like they are the ones being persecuted by those nasty atheists...

Pretty much anywhere in the world that you would be killed for being atheist, you would also be killed for being Christian.

In this country it's a lot like politics. Both sides have nasty elements, but only see it come from 'the other side'.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Take Islam, for example. It's my understanding that Sharia law has provisions to live peacefully with Christians (maybe even Jews). However, atheists should be killed.

I'd also be willing to bet that there are some "Christian" countries in Africa that will kill you for being an atheist.

Yeah that's what Islam says, but in practice it's 'convert or die'.

The second part I have not seen or heard any evidence of that. Are there even any "Christian" countries in Africa?

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I don't think you should bother trying to hard to make someone recognize that atheists are easily the most misunderstood and feared (and therefore the least accepted) minority out there.

Obviously certain Christians like to argue their awful plight in this country, but it is easy enough to see it for what it is.

Point - CQ

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