Interesting article on religious doubts

Algor

Well-known member
Atheists don't have doubt regarding religion; rather we lack belief and reject the claims of religion. This is different than have doubts with regard to one's faith.
We don't have faith and we don't have unbelief.
Do you have doubts about your rejection of religious claims?
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
Do you have doubts about your rejection of religious claims?
I do, every now and then. I think to myself that most of the world's population - could they all be wrong? They all think some kind of god(s) exist - could they all be wrong?

In the end I realise that yes, they could all be wrong. Regarding gods and the fine details, we know that most of them are wrong. If Christians are right, Muslims are wrong. And if Jews are right, Christians are wrong. And so forth. So there's no reason they all can't be wrong about the most basic belief, the one they all share - that there is some deity out there.

But, of course, they all could be right. Maybe there is some divine being or beings and all is part of some ineffable plan. I know of nothing logically impossible in that idea. And maybe that being is the Christian one - perhaps even the conservative 'Christian' one, and gay people really are all hellbound and trans people are a violation of God's will. Again, I know of nothing logically impossible in that idea.

But in the end I have to come back to the one thing I absolutely know. Like Descartes, cogito, ergo sum. And given that I exist, all I can do is rely on my best perception of what is and my evaluation of that as evidence - for everything. Nobody, I believe, can do less. If I perceive rain outside, I take that as evidence that if I go out, I'll get wet. Nobody sane takes it as evidence that if they go out they'll stay dry. Everybody works to the best of their ability to evaluate the evidence that they perceive.

And when it comes to the existence of gods, the best of my ability to evaluate the evidence that I perceive tells me that there is insufficient evidence to believe in any gods. There may be some evidence - you might say that every holy book is some evidence for that god's existence - but it is not sufficient to warrant belief.

And if, when I die, I find that there is some god or other there, staring me in the face, I'll be able to say truthfully that I did the best with the evidence I perceived and the evaluation of that evidence using the brain that it gave me. If that sends me to Hell, or Hades or Tartarus or Gehenna or Gre'thor, then I'll go.

But given the mind I have - the mind that, if there's a god, it gave me - how can I do other?
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Do any atheists here have any religious doubt?
I have zero.
It'd be easier to believe this if you weren't actually here.
The fact that you are here, and are posting, I think you have a serious collection of doubts, as demonstrated in all your posts.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
Do you have doubts about your rejection of religious claims?
I think there are fundamental differences. The first is that a lot of atheists are not dogmatic; that is, they say there is likely no God, and so doubt is kind of built in. That is certainly true of me.

The second is that atheists do not build their lives around atheism. To me, atheism is something I argue about at CARM and not much more than that. To a Christian, Christianity is a way of life. If they give it up, it will likely have a major impact on their social life; how many of their friends will abandon them? Where will they go on a Sunday? What strain will it put on their marriage?

We frequently get Christians telling us it is only God keeping them moral, and atheists are depraved. Thus, they presumably think that their doubts could lead to them to a rampage of rape and murder.

And what if their doubts are wrong? Suppose they give up Christianity, but it then turns out it was true, and they go to hell!
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Wrong yet again.

Merriam-Webster
Skepticism:
doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation)
You have a very myopic sense of self-righteousness, which doesn't help you.

Skepticism is the profound sense of doubt that leaves you with the belief that you will not believe the truth no matter what!
As has been evidenced by the past several years of your ongoing argumentation.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
You have a very myopic sense of self-righteousness, which doesn't help you.

Skepticism is the profound sense of doubt that leaves you with the belief that you will not believe the truth no matter what!
Wrong. Sceptics will believe things that can be demonstrated as so. For example, that the Earth orbits the Sun will be accepted as true by scdeptics.
As has been evidenced by the past several years of your ongoing argumentation.
You assume you are right without you showing you are.
 

Algor

Well-known member
I think there are fundamental differences. The first is that a lot of atheists are not dogmatic; that is, they say there is likely no God, and so doubt is kind of built in. That is certainly true of me.
Well, sorta. I think you could call my skepticism dogmatic in a sense. I can't shake it: I'm reluctant to believe in much. It isn't that I think skepticism is best, it's just that I don't work in any other way: I'm not very flexible about that. Not a deliberate thing, a temperamental thing. So doubt about everything, including doubt: a sort of dogma that subverts itself. Is that what you mean?

The second is that atheists do not build their lives around atheism. To me, atheism is something I argue about at CARM and not much more than that. To a Christian, Christianity is a way of life. If they give it up, it will likely have a major impact on their social life; how many of their friends will abandon them? Where will they go on a Sunday? What strain will it put on their marriage?
Most don't, I agree. There are some I've run across where I wonder, TBH.
We frequently get Christians telling us it is only God keeping them moral, and atheists are depraved. Thus, they presumably think that their doubts could lead to them to a rampage of rape and murder.
I try to be careful with contrafactual suppositions: they are thought experiments where the person is supposed to hold everything else being equal, but I have found that's a more slippery ill defined task than it sometimes seems when communicating with people who have very different worldviews. So I'm not sure of the last sentence: I mean, let's grant that people frequently DO think that, Well, they could also lack insight into themselves. That isn't uncommon.
And what if their doubts are wrong? Suppose they give up Christianity, but it then turns out it was true, and they go to hell!
A rational concern, given where they are starting from.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Do you think that you are going to win any converts to Christianity with your insulting attitude?
Well, considering that several previous parties have complained that talking about the judgment due sin, the externality of the lake of fire, the consequences of sin, the foolishness of preaching the cross of Jesus, and other biblical ideas were insulting, you're going to have to elaborate on what you think insulting is.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
I'm working through my doubts now. I think they are having to do with my lack of assertiveness in general (as an aside, I'm talking about my real life, I may come across differently through my online persona).

I grew up in a very authoritarian home, without having good relationship with my dad. Even my friends were afraid of him and he came across as all business, no bull (crap) kind of a guy. Now that I'm in my 40s, I think he was overwhelmed, perhaps a bit depressed. But to a kid like myself, he came across as a figure to be feared. In a strange way, I was proud of him being my dad, but I dreaded most times he'd call me for a talk, as that would mean a beating for something that felt outside my control.

I grew up in the USSR, in a Christian home. Which meant I had to be a good example. But my family dynamic resulted in me being afraid of my father, and also being afraid of God. I was worried that God too would treat me the same way, a worry that would be reinforced by some passages in the Bible that warn against doubt, fear, etc.. As I was trying to process these things (or ruminate, probably more correct term), I'd miss some important lesson in school which would result in a beating at home.

Long story short, I'm at a point now where I'm 99% an agnostic atheist. However, that 1% causes me much doubt and suffering as I can imagine a being who hides from people and will then judge everyone by purely arbitrary rules (similar to how it felt being a kid in my father's house).

Anyways, this is my experience for why I doubt. I envy those of you (atheists) who don't have doubts and live peaceful lives, free from superstitions.
Wow...
Here in the United states, we heard a lot about the struggles of people who grew up in the USSR.

Based on the stories I heard, your dad being an orthodox Christian in a country dedicated entirely to atheism, his sense of being depressed makes perfect sense.

As for atheists who are free from their doubts, etc...
I don't buy that for a single heartbeat.
I'd be ready to believe it if they weren't on this forum arguing about it.
I do however think that they're looking to give themselves permission to disbelieve. It's the idea that if you tell yourself a lie long enough you can talk yourself into believing it.
According to Jeremiah 24:7, YHVH says that he will give you a heart to know him.

I.e., he will make it possible for you to know he is real and knowable.

You however have to decide for yourself if you want to.

You don't have to measure up. Jesus measured up and imparts his rightness with YHVH to us when we believe him.

Jesus said,

Mat 11:28-30 WEB 28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
 

SteveB

Well-known member
See, you could have been pen about that from the start. You said in the OP "Saw this article and thought it interesting." Was that true?
I saw the Wallace blog, and while reading it I saw the reference to the article, so I located, and then read it.
So, yes. It is true.


Apparently not.
Only because that's what you need to be the case.

Apparently you saw Wallace's blog post, and it was seeing that that prompted you to post.
It must really suck to not be able to focus, and be so desperate to find fault.

And now I am wondering how much of the rest of your post is true.
You're entitled to believe whatever you want. By the sounds of it, you've already decided to ignore the article and just complain about my having posted it.


Did you not read the article? I guess not.
Just as long as you believe that you're right, the truth is obviously immaterial.
Pity. I was hoping you'd actually read the article and discuss it.

There is nothing in it about whether Christianity is true or not. It is about the psychology of how Christians deal with doubt. At best the article would help atheists understand the coping mechanisms Christians use when they have doubt - like you on the Paul changing his name thread.
And?
You make it sound like we are not humans.

The Wallace blog post is the the same.

Look at myth 2:

Myth #2: “Doubt shouldn’t be admitted or discussed since it is basically a character flaw.”

No atheist thinks doubt is a character flaw - quite the reverse, we think blind faith is a character flaw.
Which means that you don't actually know what we're doing.
Blind faith is the purview of the atheist.
Biblical faith requires doing what Jesus said, and being doers of the biblical teachings, testing all things, abhoring the evil, and clinging to the good.

The atheist mindset is-- I don't actually have to do anything to know whether or not it's true. I can just work through it intellectually and plainly see that it's false, because there's no way that history actually happened like that.

I.e., blind faith.
And you're clearly so good at it.



So you say you read Wallace's blog post, but is that really true? You say you checked the NLM source, but is that really true?

It all sounds a bit, well, doubtful.
I'd say that you don't actually want to know the truth and prefer pussyfooting around your own disbelief because taking responsibility for yourself is too great a burden to bear.
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
You have a very myopic sense of self-righteousness, which doesn't help you.
Not interested in your childish insults.
Skepticism is the profound sense of doubt that leaves you with the belief that you will not believe the truth no matter what!
As has been evidenced by the past several years of your ongoing argumentation.
I gave you the dictionary definition of skepticism. You are wrong.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Atheists don't have doubt regarding religion; rather we lack belief and reject the claims of religion. This is different than have doubts with regard to one's faith.
We don't have faith and we don't have unbelief.
So, you use doubt to justify outright rejection, and "throw the baby out with the bathwater" entirely.

Ok.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Still not interested in your falsehoods and ad hominem.

And yet you continue to engage in discussion.
Ignoring the dictionary because you don't like what it says isn't helping you.
I haven't ignored the dictionary definition. I've used it to emphasize my point.


You were given the definition of 'skepticism'; you have been proven wrong.
This is exactly what your problem is.
You're not interested in understanding. Only in being right and winning.
 
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