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Bravo. Very simply but eloquently put.


I wholeheartedly agree with you. The only thing I add is that for all the talk of faith being more virtuous than belief based on evidence, believers themselves don't buy it.

Every time a shroud of Turin, or weeping statue, or bleeding host, or Bible Code, or Jesus on a cheese sandwich, or whatever shows up, believers jump on it. These are exactly the sorts of things that, if they panned out, would constitute evidence for God. But it seems that people never say "Oh, I heard something about a nun performing miracles in India, but please don't tell me about it, since I'd prefer to believe by faith alone."

When the possibility of evidence for God presents itself, believers eagerly seize it. Then, when it fails to pan out, they go back to resorting to faith.

In everyday life, of course, people recognize that faith just doesn't cut it. The customer who believes on faith that the smooth-talking salesman is telling the truth usually winds up poorer than the customer who demands evidence and warranties.

Greta Christina

That's a really good point, arensb. And it definitely backs up my point about faith being a last resort. When believers think they have evidence, they jump all over it. It's like they know that faith is a weak argument, and are trying to shore it up.


Don't forget the real main reason for faith in She-He-It in the sky. Abject FEAR. Fear of thinking about morals, fear at facing constant change (main reason people fear science), fear of being left out of local group. When I was having a discussion with other believers I realized the big difference between them and me was their fear of change. As an agora-phobe can bury his head under the pillow and ignore the reality of the outside world, the religious can bury their heads up the minister's butt and deny the world or science and change. Studing anthropology shows that most of the job of society is to stop or slow down change. the faster the world of KNOWLEDGE, not gagets, changes the stronger the fundie type religions grow. So it will become harder to not only change mind sets but they will activily see skeptics are the bringers of evil. You can see it going on now and it will get worse.
Any typing errrorss is the fault of the keyboard.

Alexis Kauffmann

I've been reading your posts for quite a long time now and only recently I reached a conclusion.

I know you will hate me for this but, here it is:

(1) Science is skeptical, not atheist. Anyone who seeks in Science a justification or a foundation for their atheist ideology should learn more about Science,

(2) Atheism is, thus, a religion just like any other, filled with irrational certainties and emptied from any other foundation aside the atheists' will NOT to believe in God.

I said you would hate me for this, but these arguments of yours are getting repetitive and misinformed.

The best things Science can do about God are skeptical statements like "there is nothing we can affirm about this issue", "this God thing is not subject to scientific studies", and so on.

Even if a scientist, or many scientists, or even EVERY scientist, state publicly their atheist worldviews, this is not enough to state that Science itself is atheist.

Science, very differently from religions (including atheism) does not pretend to know every possible thing in the Universe. It is moved by the simple (and outstanding) ambition to learn, in the long range, every thing that is knowledgeable in the Universe.

Science does not exclude the hypothesis that maybe there are things that exist but unfortunately, are not likely to be known, from any possible method or instrument ever to be invented.

So, scientifically speaking, one must accept that there could always be something like "God" in this hypothetical set of unknowledgeable existing things.

Before anyone screams: no I am not defending religion. If God is in the realm of not knowledgeable things, then every religion is a counterfeit, for pretending to know intimately something they couldn't possibly know at all!


Great post as always Greta. I cannot tell you much you motivate me after reading your posts. Thank you.

@CybrgnX - You have hit te nail squarely upon its head! FEAR is the primary motivator of religions. It was Fear of the unknown which created a perceived need for religions to begin with. And it is FEAR that keeps 'em coming back. Otherwise they would never need to advance the concept of hell, as a heaven would be more than sufficient.

@ Alexis Kaufman - I don't know which post you were reading, but I don't recall seeing where Greta said that Science = Atheism. maybe you are oversimplifying her comments. Or, maybe you should just reread the post. As many times as needed. On the other hand, science and atheism are similar in that they are both disciplines which demand evidence to confirm a position or statement.

As to your last point: "If God is in the realm of not knowledgeable things, then every religion is a counterfeit, for pretending to know intimately something they couldn't possibly know at all!"

This is precisely the case. Every religion IS counterfeit with respect to any idea that it KNOWS anything concerning the existence of any god. And with respect to the god concept in-general. Its all made-up. Period. Religion is to science, as alchemy/magic is to chemistry/physics.

Religion was the old science before the facts were known, or even knowable....


@Alexis: Atheism is a religion? Really? That old trope is all you could come up with after all that time?

Here, have some standard replies:
If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.
If atheism is a religion, then baldness is a hair color.

Atheism is literally the absence of theism, i.e. the absence of a belief in god(s). Atheism is not the rejection of the possibility that gods could exist.

Science can't prove or disprove the existence of god(s) in general, as you pointed out, so by your own admission, theism is not part of science. To say that science is therefore atheistic in nature is not unreasonable; again, atheism is merely the absence of theism.

(Note that some specific gods can be shown to not exist, using simple logic. For instance, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god is inconsistent with the existence of evil)

So, scientifically speaking, one must accept that there could always be something like "God" in this hypothetical set of unknowledgeable existing things.
While this is true, this doesn't mean that you therefore should believe in "something like 'God'", nor that you are in any way wrong if you decide not to believe in it, or suspend your belief until evidence is presented. There are infinitely many hypothetical unknowable things that could exist, but that doesn't mean there's any reason to believe in any of them. Two famous examples are a pink invisible unicorn, or a teapot orbiting the sun somewhere in the asteroid belt: science can't prove they don't exist, but are you wrong if you don't believe they exist?

Nobody will hate you for saying these things, but by offering the tired old "atheism is a religion" claim, you have clearly shown how little you understand about atheism. Therefore, be prepared for a little mockery coming your way.

Roger Rains

I personally became an atheist when I came to the conclusion that faith is not, in fact, a virtue and without it there is literally no reason to believe. Having said that, however, I don't think your historical perspective holds water.

Faith was the cornerstone of Christianity long before anyone understood what made lightning or how species form. Nothing that could credibly be called science existed before the 15th or 16th century. So how does your hypothesis explain the writings of Paul?



My faith as a Christian is stronger than anything else that is why I always make it my first not my last.


Alexis: You have severely misinterpreted what Greta has said about the relationship between atheism and science. You need to read the post "What Does Science Have To Do With Atheism?"

Job: So if faith is your "first resort," does that mean that when you get sick, the FIRST thing you do is pray for it to go away instead of going to a doctor? Your little axiom makes no sense. I doubt that you actually thought about the meaning; I suspect that you wrote it because it sounded good and made you feel superior to everyone else. I see no evidence that you even read the post. Let me know if any of my theories are incorrect.

Tachyon Feathertail

I dunno, a lot of people have faith in stuff they have evidence for but have trouble believing in. As an abuse survivor, it's a daily struggle for me to believe I have innate self-worth. I don't think I should try to argue myself out of that.

I agree, though, that such skepticism is necessary for love, spirituality, and other times when you're acting on strong feelings and need to review the evidence before acting. I hit it off with my girlfriend almost immediately, so well we both thought it was Twilight Zone level uncanny, which made me terrified that I'd find out this person I loved ate kittens for breakfast or something. I spent a long time finding out more about her before I confessed my feelings to her.

Likewise, I've lived a charmed life in many ways. So many doors conveniently opened to get me out of my past life; uncanny coincidences and serendipities that were hard to dismiss, to the point where Inari (my personal deity) practically signed her name on my blessings. Which, of course, made me terrified that it was all going to be taken away from me.

In this case, my faith in her is more like rocking back and forth in the corner telling myself "It's going to be okay, it's going to be okay," after being pulled out of a war zone. And seeing the material reasons for why I have what I need now -- the way society's organized for my benefit -- helps reinforce my sense of security, instead of making me doubt that Inari loves me.

I understand it seems silly to some. But I don't see any reason why I can't hold materialist and magical views at the same time, or regard the one as the "how" and the other as the "why," even while remaining aware that it's based on my subjective experience. Because everyone else's worldviews are formed by theirs, the lenses through which they see evidence, and I don't feel it's inherently wrong to reverence the forces that shape your world. Or their anthropomorphizations.

An atheist might not need to, but I've found that atheism just doesn't work for me. I'd rather not guilt myself into trying to do it again.

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