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Fear Of Atheism


Seabiscuit
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Yes, I'm asking this in hopes I don't offend anyone!

 

I have feared athesim my whole thinking life. I'm not sure why--fear of no after life, fear of no god, fear of losing self control (becoming a murderous bitch). I have no rational answer and I feel pretty small for being fearful of something I don't understand. I'm agnostic because I like asking questions and I'm not xian any more. (And I feel naked without a label right now. :dumbo: )

 

The reading and meeting of different folks here has me really interested. Not in knowing the bible from cover to cover, but to understand more about something I may have not looked at closely enough because of my fears.

 

I've done some Internet reading and would like to find out more information. I have some questions and wondered if there were some answers that would help me find a direction to learn more.

 

1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

 

Well, I'll be good and not ask too many questions. Thanks!

 

s

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SB,

 

I can understand your concern about "Atheism". As a christian I was taught that it was equivalent to satan worship and was the complete lack of morals. As it turns out, it's none of that. Very simply, when I call myself an atheist it simply means that I don't believe in any gods. Some atheists say there cannot be gods, others, like me, say I haven't seen any evidence for gods, so therefore it makes sense to not believe. (However, I don't think the christian gods exists for several reasons). As with any label, there are many flavors of atheists.

 

You asked for book recommendations, and there are several good ones out there. One that I think is the most complete and easy to read is Sense And Goodness Without God by Richard Carrier. This book covers everything from why it is rational to withhold belief in gods to the problems with morals based on religion and advantages of secular-based morals. I highly recommend it - it will give you a lot to think about.

 

Good luck on your journey - I'm never too worried about the labels I'm given as long as I'm truly open-minded and searching for truth.

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Atheism Teaches That...

 

There is no heavenly father.

Humankind must protect the orphans and foundlings, or they will not be protected.

 

There is no god to answer prayer.

Man must hear and help man.

 

There is no hell.

We have no vindictive god or devil to fear or imitate.

 

There is no atonement or salvation by faith.

We must face the consequences of our acts.

 

There is no beneficent or malevolent intent in nature.

Life is a struggle against preventable and unpreventable evils. The cooperation of humankind is the only hope of the world.

 

There is no chance after death to "do our bit."

We must do it now or never.

 

There is no divine guardian of truth, goodness, beauty, and liberty.

These are attributes of humankind. We must defend them or they will perish from the earth.

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Yes, I'm asking this in hopes I don't offend anyone!

 

I have feared athesim my whole thinking life. I'm not sure why--fear of no after life, fear of no god, fear of losing self control (becoming a murderous bitch). I have no rational answer and I feel pretty small for being fearful of something I don't understand. I'm agnostic because I like asking questions and I'm not xian any more. (And I feel naked without a label right now. :dumbo: )

 

The reading and meeting of different folks here has me really interested. Not in knowing the bible from cover to cover, but to understand more about something I may have not looked at closely enough because of my fears.

 

I've done some Internet reading and would like to find out more information. I have some questions and wondered if there were some answers that would help me find a direction to learn more.

 

Seabiscuit,

 

There is a defening tone to your inquiry, and it is fear. And specifically, it is the fear of what is unknown to you.

 

Although reading the bible aided my deconversion, I am an atheist specifically because I cannot find an answer to my question: "What necessitates me believing in anything?"

 

The reason I haven't found an answer is because any answer I have found, I can deduce or infer the opposite (ex, "believe in god or go to hell") as being rooted in fear.

 

I have found no reason to fear, because everything I have previously feared was rooted in the unknown. I simply do not know why I should fear something that is unknown. Once I investigate what I previously did not know, the fear left me.

 

I admit this; many never even think of this.

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1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

 

None...although I guess some books by Richard Carrier would be interesting to read, I've never read any of them though.

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

Nothing, I've always been an atheist.

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

 

Because it's the most sensible position.

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

 

I don't have any fear of that...that would be like fearing God.

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1. n/a, I've just read websites and blogs on the subject.

 

2. There could be a God, but when I hear about the gods of major religions they seem made up to me. What's the chance of something that a human just made up is actually real? To me the chance of a god being real is, to steal a cliche idea, the same as the Toothfairy existing: possible, but silly to believe without proof.

 

I think that God is just an anthropomorphization of nature. When most people look at two dots above a line on a piece of paper they see a face. When we hear thunder we sometimes associate it with anger, and we sometimes associate rain with tears. I think that in the same way when early humans looked at the world they saw humanity in everything- the rocks, trees, sky, sun. But because a river, or the sun, or whatever were such powerful elements in their lives they saw these things not as mere humans, but as super humans- the first Gods (just read the Illiad or even the Bible and see that these gods are unmistakably human in nature, just more powerful). Those who saw every part of nature as having its own spirit were the first polytheists, those who combined all of the power of nature into an all-powerful God were the first monotheists.

Example: The Early Egyptians saw the Nile as a benevolent and trustworthy god because the Nile flooded in predictable annual periods allowing them to survive. Their neighbors in Mesopotamia had less regular rainy seasons and more droughts, and they viewed the Gods as tyrants who would hurt them at a whim. Both parties were anthropomorphizing nature, seeing random chance as the will of a superhuman. Modern Christians often do the same thing- they get a raise and thank God, they get fired and blam God or worry that they have angered God.

 

3. I am an atheist by defenition, a) I do not believe in the existence of a god or gods and B) I strongly doubt the beliefs of those who do.

 

4. I don't really have this fear anymore- I think this fear is probably a religious construction to keep people under control rather than a natural human fear.

 

Here's a good quote by Epicurus on the subject:

"Grow accustomed to the belief that death is nothing to us, since every good and evil lie in sensation. However, death is the deprivation of sensation. Therefore, correct understanding that death is nothing to us makes a mortal life enjoyable, not by adding an endless span of time but by taking away the longing for immortality. For there is nothing dreadful in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. Therefore, foolish is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will cause pain when it arrives but because anticipation of it is painful. What is no trouble when it arrives is an idle worry in anticipation. Death, therefore -- the most dreadful of evils -- is nothing to us, since while we exist, death is not present, and whenever death is present, we do not exist. It is nothing either to the living or the dead, since it does not exist for the living, and the dead no longer are."

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1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

Don't know. I haven't really read any books about atheism.

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

I have to combine these two, since I'm not a "strong" but a "weak" atheist.

 

I don't say there is no-god-period, I don't believer there is a god, but I can't be sure. I'm fairly convinced there is none, but still if one would show up and present himself and it was evident s/he/it was, I would change my opinion.

 

I don't believe there is a God, which makes me an Atheist.

 

But do I think I can prove that God does not exist?

No, I don't think there's any proof for that God exists nor that he doesn't exists.

 

So this makes me an Agnostic.

 

Hence, I'm an Agnostic Atheist.

 

Agnostic in the sense of what I can prove or not, while Atheist in what I personally and presently believe or not.

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

Eh. Actually I made me appreciate life more. I'm trying to learn not to waste it as much as I did before. As Christian I didn't care as much, since this life soon would be over, and the next one would come (which were more important). But now, this life is very important. So I don't fear that this life is the only life, we're all in the same boat. Fearing death is very self-centered, since it's only something that harms you personally, while the rest of the world will go on, and the atoms that make up your body will disintegrate and will eventually become part of everything else.

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Greetings!

 

1) Books... well, I think it's better to start with small chunks. I really liked the collection of short essays here:

Atheist Alliance Library

I would especially recommend the "pamphlets" written by Jon Nelson; good common sense stuff there.

 

2) I searched for God for about 40 years and finally realized there is absolutely no need for such a thing. What really convinced me is that the universe just makes sense once you take that selfish little fantasy out of the equation.

 

3) I call myself an atheist, but from a purely logical point of view I cannot say with certainty that there is no god -- but, as pointed out earlier, I cannot say with certainty that there is no tooth fairy. And since the available evidence for either of them is the same, it would be equally silly to believe in either.

 

4) Sorry I can't help on that one... I completely missed the whole "death is scary" thing. Must've zipped right past me somewhere. Nothing in the universe is permanent; it all seems perfectly equitable to me.

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2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

easy to link to the long version: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?s=&s...ndpost&p=136900

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

Speaking from how I see things, atheism is the default position of all human beings. We are born atheist. All the evidences presented to teach of a God are unconvincing to persuade otherwise. I do not accept the "evidence" of God, so I am an atheist. I am not agnostic about it because that would in my opinion be saying the evidence could go either way and I am uncommitted. I am not uncommitted. The evidence is as unpersuasive as that for Leprechauns and Unicorns. I am not agnostic about them, so why be that way about a god?

 

A good friend of mine (who is in reality an atheist), calls himself an agnostic. When I ask him why, his answer was that because he believes that anything could be possible, so he can't call himself an atheist if he leaves the door open at all. My response was that I also accept and embrace the philosophical truism that "all things are possible". But just like Leprechauns, Unicorns, and ET are also possible, it is so unlikely that does not merit serious consideration. Is he agnostic about Leprechauns?

 

Agnosticism, IMHO, is largely uncommitted atheism, except in those cases where someone really, genuinely isn't sure. In those cases, you really are agnostic. A lot of things make compelling sense to you, but you really don't know and aren't committed either way. However, my friend as well as myself are strongly certain that there is more compelling for bigfoot, than Jehovah! That makes me an atheist.

 

BTW, atheism is not a belief, as is commonly misunderstood. Atheism is a lack of belief. I lack belief in ET, Leprechauns, or Jehovah, or Allah, or.... I am not agnostic about the fantastical. There are simply no reasons to consider it as credible. I return to what all humans are before they are taught about God - atheist.

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

Wow huge question. First of all I have no "fear" of it. I embrace it! When we realize all there is, is now and we alone are responsible for our own lives, it is incredibly empowering and liberating. I choose my destiny and I live all that I have - the only life I will have. Hard to explain in one short paragraph, but it's all about focusing your thoughts and energies to where life really happens - here.

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I have feared athesim my whole thinking life. --- I have some questions and wondered if there were some answers that would help me find a direction to learn more.

 

1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

 

Well, I'll be good and not ask too many questions. Thanks!

 

s

1. :shrug: im not sure what books to suggest i learned ill i needed to know from anything atheist i could find on the web... blogs, radioshows, websites, etc

2. When I was little and when i relized only good thins happen when you make it happen yourself.

3. I found it more comforting to not believe in anything then to think that i might go to hell because I was no longer sure if god existed.

4. I wake up every morning and think This is my one life and I will make something of it.

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Agnosticism, IMHO, is largely uncommitted atheism, except in those cases where someone really, genuinely isn't sure. In those cases, you really are agnostic. A lot of things make compelling sense to you, but you really don't know and aren't committed either way. However, my friend as well as myself are strongly certain that there is more compelling for bigfoot, than Jehovah! That makes me an atheist.

 

BTW, atheism is not a belief, as is commonly misunderstood. Atheism is a lack of belief. I lack belief in ET, Leprechauns, or Jehovah, or Allah, or.... I am not agnostic about the fantastical. There are simply no reasons to consider it as credible. I return to what all humans are before they are taught about God - atheist.

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

Wow huge question. First of all I have no "fear" of it. I embrace it! When we realize all there is, is now and we alone are responsible for our own lives, it is incredibly empowering and liberating. I choose my destiny and I live all that I have - the only life I will have. Hard to explain in one short paragraph, but it's all about focusing your thoughts and energies to where life really happens - here.

 

Ditto for me - thanx, Antlerman! Now I don't have to type a long post! :goodjob:

 

Nicely summarized!

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Yes, I'm asking this in hopes I don't offend anyone!

 

I have feared athesim my whole thinking life. I'm not sure why--fear of no after life, fear of no god, fear of losing self control (becoming a murderous bitch). I have no rational answer and I feel pretty small for being fearful of something I don't understand. I'm agnostic because I like asking questions and I'm not xian any more. (And I feel naked without a label right now. :dumbo: )

 

The reading and meeting of different folks here has me really interested. Not in knowing the bible from cover to cover, but to understand more about something I may have not looked at closely enough because of my fears.

 

I've done some Internet reading and would like to find out more information. I have some questions and wondered if there were some answers that would help me find a direction to learn more.

 

1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

 

Well, I'll be good and not ask too many questions. Thanks!

 

s

 

 

I didn't really read anything. For me, becoming an atheist

was an experiential sort of thing. At first, when I deconverted,

I concluded that even if there was a god, he/she/it was basically

irrelevant to me. There wasn't any such thing as a "personal"

relationship with a deity. The prayers that I made when I was

a believer were almost always answered negatively, bad things

happened to me whether or not I prayed, and it had become

apparent that if there was a god, he/she/it didn't care about me

or anyone else, for that matter. And the "thy will be done"

argument, where prayer was supposed to help us accept all the

bad things that life dishes out to us, didn't make any sense to

me. I didn't need prayer or a god to come to that sort of an

acceptance.

 

After a while, as the idea of a god became irrelevant to me, I

started looking at things without my god-colored glasses on,

and the Universe without a god made more and more sense to

me. I didn't have to warp my mind to explain why a supposedly

loving god would allow something like the Holocaust to happen,

because there was no loving god out there to prevent it. I

didn't have to rack my brain, trying to figure out why a god

would allow his creations to get sick and die, because there

was no god out there to permit such things to happen. So, I

didn't have any "aha!" moments, I didn't read anything really,

I just grew into atheism naturally.

 

As for the fear of dying thing, well, I certainly don't believe in

the different versions of the afterlife described by various

religions. By and large, I think they really are ways that the

different religions control people. If there is some sort of

afterlife out there, nobody knows what it is, and nobody can

do anything about it, anyway. I would rather focus my energy

on making this life as meaningful as possible, and let the

afterlife (if there is one) take care of itself.

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1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

 

Well, I'll be good and not ask too many questions. Thanks!

 

s

 

1. Check out Biblical Nonsense. I hope that helps a little.

 

2. Praying and realizing I wasn't getting anywhere with it, nor much less a response.

Plus, when I questioned the Sunday school teacher about loopholes in the Bibleeee, I couldn't get a decent explanation out of him. Xtians like to talk in circles. I am glad to not be a part of that anymore.

 

3. Atheism because I prefer not to acknowledge anything that could have followers who destroy and decimate all those who do not follow it or their ways. There are a select few religions I really can deal with, and just about every person I have ever met who follows those has been a decent individual. Examples being Wiccans and Buddhists.

 

4. I have NO FEAR of this life being it or all there is. I am simply doing what I can do best and that is living my life making the best possible decisions I can about where to go from the given point I am currently in. Karma and Fate not withstanding.

 

Hope that sums it up pretty well..... :thanks:

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1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

 

Well, I'll be good and not ask too many questions. Thanks!

 

 

1. Why Won't God Heal Amputees is what pulled me out which I guess answers 2 and 3.

 

4. I have become an immortalist, extropian and even possibly an transhumanist. Check out the forums at the Immortality Institute. Also check out Alcor Life Extension Foundation for more information about our near-term solution to death.

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1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

I read lots of books prior to my deconversion but it was only after that I read books like the Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan and Atheism: The Case against God by George Smith, both of which presented atheism in a more positive light than I had seen it as a christian. Karen Armstrong's "History of God" and "A Short history of Myth" also both give context to human understanding of god and allows one to see why the atheist position is not such a fearful unbelievable one to hold.

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

I cannot see any evidence that god is there that holds water. To go into detail would probably take days! I get into arguments about this with my friend, who says the atheist position is an impossible one, no one can be certain of anything therefore I must be an agnostic. I disagree. Dawkins, in one of his recent programmes on British TV brought up the Russell teapot argument which rebuts this well, which goes something like this.

Suppose there is a belief that there is a teapot orbiting the sun. It is so positioned that it is never visible and has such minimal effects on gravity that calcuclations cannot demonstrate this either. Now I may not be able to prove that teapot does not exist, but no one in their right mind would deny me the right to state I am "atheist" and not "agnostic" with regard to teapots circulating the earth.

In a similar fashion, I may not be able to prove god does not exist, but the weight of the evidence in enough for me to say I believe he/she doesn't, rather than it is something that is unknowable.

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

In the end, by analysing what that fear is of and facing it. The fear of ending may not go totally, but I face a choice of either living my remaining days in fear and trembling or accepting facts and deciding to live what I have left the best I can. I was not unhappy prior to being born, I will not be unhappy, in pain, in despair, in torment when I go.

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Thanks to everyone for your responses. I have some reading and research to do. For the individual who talked about my post having deafening fear tones--absolutely! That's how christianity held me for so long even by small strings.

 

Being fearful has reduced my personal power and my ability to make my own choices. All your responses are very helpful in my taking steps to overcoming my fears about xianity and embracing something new. What opportunities ahead! :grin:

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Atheism Teaches That...

 

There is no heavenly father.

Humankind must protect the orphans and foundlings, or they will not be protected.

 

There is no god to answer prayer.

Man must hear and help man.

 

There is no hell.

We have no vindictive god or devil to fear or imitate.

 

There is no atonement or salvation by faith.

We must face the consequences of our acts.

 

There is no beneficent or malevolent intent in nature.

Life is a struggle against preventable and unpreventable evils. The cooperation of humankind is the only hope of the world.

 

There is no chance after death to "do our bit."

We must do it now or never.

 

There is no divine guardian of truth, goodness, beauty, and liberty.

These are attributes of humankind. We must defend them or they will perish from the earth.

 

 

:58::58::58:

 

Well-said! And, as a Deist, I can say the same for my spiritual path in life, which is exactly the same. The only difference is a Deist believes there is a Creator of some kind, but that there isn't any involvement or whatnot in human affairs. Hence, we have to help each other and not wait for some Magic Sky Daddy to do it for us.

 

I was also taught all my life that Atheism was equivalent to demon-worship and an utter lack of morality. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, I often wonder anymore if Atheists, Deists, and Agnostics understand morality better than most Xians. After all, we are not brainwashing our children into living their entire lives for a cult that offers only the fear of a vindictive bastard of a god as the reason for living rightly. Teaching morality for it's own sake may not "scare" people in line, but it will encourage them to be good just because it's good to be good. Kind of a self-dependent morality, like a perpetual motion ethics machine. No need for fear of eternal torment to sustain it, it sustains itself.

 

Anyway, do not fear that there is no god to pick up after you - you are more than capable of doing it yourself. And you'll do it better, at that.

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Wolfheart, you made my day! Being an expert black/white thinker it was nice to hear of other labels out there--Deist. I'm probably more closely aligned with your way of thinking. I think there's gotta be some intelligence out there--just not bible god or any other parent god that I come up with.

 

The intelligence behind life! Well, there's more things to look into. And I enjoy thinking about taking care of myself and being fully in my life now. I never bought that idea of gold paved roads and never-ending ice cream sundays. Yuck--way a way to ruin your eyes and get sick!

 

Seriously, life seem more precious to me then ever. I'll have to look up Deist to see what I've been missing out on. I'll enjoy learning more about Atheism and Deist (ism?)

 

I just love this board! :grin:

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Deism and Atheism are great paths to explore to further your own spiritual development. If you have no time for the idea of any creator at all, go Atheist. If you still want to keep the notion of a Creator or a First Cause (no matter how way-out your definition of one may be), then go Deist. Either way, you're picking a freethinking path paved with common sense and adherence to the known truths of the world and not with fearful dogmas and blood-soaked scriptures.

 

I recommend www.deism.org and www.deism.com as good Deist starting places, if you haven't found them already. I found them very helpful in my deconversion as they are loaded with realistic outlooks and thoughts about the nature of the universe. Deism is never taught about much, and perhaps a conspiracy theory sort of explanation is behind it; Xians can tolerate people knowing the idea of No God At All (Atheism) exists because then they can scare people away from it by pointing to the fact there is no Magic Sky Daddy in Atheism to look out for your soul. Deism on the other hand leaves the door to God open, and opens it wider by encouraging people to dump dogmas and religions in favor of using their own good sense to make up their minds about the Creator(s) of the universe. Teachers of Xianity may fear Deism for that reason, because it offers an alternative to Xianity, a way to leave Jeezus and religion behind without leaving God behind, something else instead of the "if you don't worship Jesus you either worship the devil or no god at all like a mindless whacko" spiel they teach us in school.

 

I hope you find all this helpful. Good luck!

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Yes, I'm asking this in hopes I don't offend anyone!

 

Since your post is directed to atheists, most of us are quite used to being offended, but thanks for the concern nonetheless.

 

I have feared athesim my whole thinking life. I'm not sure why--fear of no after life, fear of no god, fear of losing self control (becoming a murderous bitch).

 

It's amazing how people tend to think of atheists as completely amoral, without ever having stopped to question from whence their own morals/ethics derive. We're only amoral in regard to sex and taxes (and the occasional baby we enjoy eating).

 

1. What books are out there that you'd suggest reading to find out more?

 

Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World", plus "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong.

 

2. What led you to the realization that there is no god--period?

 

The nonexistence of gods. Yes, the answer is vague, as is deserved by such a vague question.

 

3. Why atheism and not agnosticism or something else?

 

Classical agnosticism, "god is unknowable" is irrational, as it presumes knowledge about that which it claims can't be known (namely that it is unknowable). More generic "I don't know" agnosticism is atheism in disguise, as you can not libve your life that way. You will eventually have to make decisions regarding sex, taxes, and baby consumption.

 

4. How do you deal with the fear of this life being it?

 

How do you deal with the doubt that this life might be it? No difference, because doubt = nonbelief.

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