Just wanted to shoot you a comment to say thank you for the site and well done! The more I read here, the more I feel that this place is a wonderful refuge from the illogical incomprehensible nonsense so typical of internet forums…
I’ve found a peculiar trait in myself. At one level, I enjoy reading arguments for the existence of a god. I strive to consider all sides of any argument, and completely fail to understand how some people can be satisfied in not doing so.
However, I’ve also recently found that I really have to limit my exposure to religious and spiritual writing. An example is a guitarist forum I read regularly. I’m amazed at the things some people come out with. Apparently, a desire to help people is the voice of God inside you , and education is God’s presence in the world . I’m not a confrontational type, so I tend to let people have their notions and just quietly leave, but I just can’t get my head around these ideas. I suppose the best way to sum up my feelings was wonderfully expressed by the rather brilliant Douglas Adams:
Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
…I find the repetitive invocation of a god into already wonderful things always gets me feeling annoyed, embittered and a little depressed, which makes me completely unproductive. I think this stems from my feeling frustration at the illogical.
I wonder if this is normal. Or should I ideally reach a level of tolerance where I have no problem with it?
In any case, when reading just about anything you write, I feel calm, peaceful and proud to be connected (via beliefs) with someone cool, positive and logical. Also, I don’t talk to strangers much online, but I must say this internet thing really is fantastic for reaching someone far far away…
I have a few things I’d love to hear you comment on, but I should do so over a few comments, or else this one will be the length of a small book…
The recent responses (on the blog) from the concerned Christian mother are horrific. I’m aware that such people exist, but seeing it real and current is shocking.
Is there any way to reason with someone who professes to know that even *thinking* about her beliefs will send her to hell? It is amazing to me that it’s even *possible* to be indoctrinated into thinking this.
What an awesome wall of revulsion religion has constructed for itself!
I wonder if this woman, along with so many others, has passed a point of no return and no amount of reason could possibly get through. On the other hand, as people become more controlled by their beliefs, they become more desperate to have them unquestioned, and I wonder if this is because of a deep-seated doubt; the intelligent human buried under the rubbish.
Perhaps not. Perhaps the fear of eternal damnation is enough…
I also get tired of hearing people attribute all good things to God. It particularly bugs me when I hear, for example, that “it’s a miracle” that one individual survived some horrible disaster, as the statement seems to imply that all the others who died were somehow less deserving of divine intervention.
How to reason with someone who refuses to even think about their beliefs — that’s a difficult one. I’d say that the method would depend on the context and the individual. In general, I would either let such a person be or see if I can get them to admit that their beliefs are completely based on faith and therefore not compelling to others. Some people are surprised that you would even think of questioning these beliefs, and sometimes your skepticism will (usually at a later date) lead them to some introspection.
But I have to admit that I generally take a “hands off” position on people who are this thoroughly indoctrinated into unreason (unless they are inviting discussion). I also include in this statement believers in other supernatural claims, conspiracy theorists, and radical atheists — anyone who already “knows” the answers to the point that they will not entertain discussion. Such people don’t need to be convinced, they need to be deprogrammed, and I’m not qualified to do such a thing.