Believing in various religious gods causes that with time a person becomes more and more afraid of whether his religion and his God is real. Atheist does not have this problem, he does not give himself false hopes and agrees to whatever ends up for everything. Don’t you think religion causes fear of religion’s truth rather than happiness?
Love is the bait, fear is the hook.
For many, they buy into the grand concept of a loving and caring god. That is what attracts followers. But the fear of hell or retaliation by an angry god is what keeps them in line and reluctant to leave.
I have heard stories from ex-theists who admit that getting past the fear of hell was a major obstacle in clear thinking.
Loads of assertion, Nothing of any content a sane person would care to argue.
When my brother and hsi wife had their two children he suddenly got fearful for them both. He expressed concerns for their physical safety and dreaded how he would handle their transisiton to teenagers and then adults. He simply did not believe he could provide the example for them to live by (an expression of his low self esteem) and he lacked any confidence in their developing characters and a morbid fear they might not have any morals. His fear was they might end up drug addicts or criminals or just victims and he felt powerless to ‘save’ them.
So he turned to the religion of his father-in-law, who himself, a long-time-lapsed Catholic, had desperately turned to Christadelphianism after the death of his wife from cancer just a few years earlier. So essentially it wasn’t my brother’s own desire for eternal life or even love of Jesus, it was the desire to have a social safety net for his two children growing up to preserve him from the responsibility for them. The Christadelphians had a ready-made social net that included a comprehensive spiritual development and an education system from kindergarten to high school in their private schools.
I am certain my brother initially had no idea who the Christadelphians were or how they manipulated their brethren cells. His wife and father-in-law did not seem to care. He just thought, Christians, my kids will be fine. Essentially they describe themselves as “a lay community patterned after first-century Christianity”, which should have set off alarms and red flags alone. And like most exclusivist 19th century evangelical religions, membership to their congregation involves a gradual process leading to the total surrender of your life and your family. They do not permit marriage outside the church with unbaptized people, do not join the armed forces or the police, and nor do they vote in elections of any sort. They are outside normal society and eagerly await Jesus’ imminent return. The last prediction was in 2001 from memory. I got a stiffly worded phone call from him to prepare for oblivion…I’ve been waiting ever since.
Proof of the fact that he had not initially felt any spiritual epiphany was that it took nearly seven years for him to finally commit himself to the brethren by getting baptised. That was apparently something of a record in Christadelphian circles. But the brethren tolerated his tardiness because the wife and kids were already hooked. By that time his children were already teenagers heading to adulthood and they had managed to avoid drugs, gambling, and sex outside marriage (one assumes), and they were fully steeped in the belief of total Bible inerrancy and the deplorable sinfulness of everyone who did not commit to Jesus, which is to say their version of Jesus. And the brethren merged his family with another similar family to replace his ‘earthly’ family (me and our sister), a practice that also serves to keep everyone under surveillance to ensure no backsliding.
And like exclusive brethren groups, apostasy is a psychologically devastating experience that divides families and involves cruel discriminations and ostracising. There are many support groups available for those who leave such organisations.
I don’t think my brother actually converted to the spiritual demands as much as he just gave up resisting for the sake of the social advantages.
In the end, his kids grew up, reasonably ‘normal’, married, of course, to fellow brethren. I have been so thoroughly sidelined as the hellbound sinful uncle, I have no idea if I have grand nieces or nephews. His wife was always delighted to be part of a large protective exclusive community. But my socially awkward brother still shows no happy-clappy born again joyfulness, just a moribund hope of avoiding eternal punishments. The way he talked about the Christadelphian dogma in discussions with me seemed as if he was forcing the words out of his mouth while not really believing them.
To my mind, he moved from existing social fears to melancholy spiritual submission.
Religion moves in many ways its intimidation to perform.
added…the only thing I agree with the Christadephians is that there is no eternal punishment beyond not being in ‘God’s’ presence forever. Non-believers will be annihilated. I cant wait.
Can’t say I’ve come across that. There’s plenty of fear mongering, especially it seems among Christians. Some sects focus on what they consider the imminent apocalypse. Though I think some are more gleeful than fearful, but it does keep them in line. Then there’s the ultimate in fearful mind control, the christian emphasizing of hell. I’ve always thought it strange that christians consider the label “god fearing” as a compliment. It’s like boasting that you love your spouse, but you’re afraid of them.
Same here. I’ve mostly talk to Gnostic Christians that will swear up and down that “God” is real or Agnostic non practicing Christians that seem unsure about their beliefs.
I find that some religious people are very content and happy believing in god and don’t fear. That being said those that are I find have a religion that is just about to collapse. they’ve just not arrived there yet for whatever reason. I feel it varies person to person. And then there are religious people who are believing in their religion strongly and refuse to let go and those types of people are the ones I think are afraid of what comes after if they give it away. I wonder if the key to a lot of it is to brake the fear of hell because if you can brake the fear of hell then I think people are more willing to let go of the concept of god when they don’t feel they’re going to burn for their opinion anymore.
Side thought: A friend and me where talking about how this “God” may have just been a philosophy during midevil times. Then dumb people in the modern age thought it was a good idea to apply it to life today.
Religion poisons the well when it comes to death. Religion teaches that once dead, you either go to a wonderful place, or a nasty one. The fear of hell is hung over their heads, countless theists truly believe in a hell and act on that fear. They may compensate by truly believing they pass the test and will go to heaven, but that fear is still working very hard in the background.
There is a topic in this forum about fearing death. By my observations I sense that most atheist believe that the state you achieve after death is the same as before life. You are not aware of anything. For many, it is the fear of a painful death or abandoning one’s loved ones.
I don’t disagree with the majority of them I find that to be true.
Gee, I don’t know. Personally, I don’t see what the big problem is. In a nutshell, my upbringing was a typical, “Fear god (of the bible) for what he will do to you if you do not live your life according to EXACTLY what he wants you to do. And your punishment will be an eternity of agonizing pain as you burn in a lake of fire. Oh, but god loves you UNCONDITIONALLY, and he will forgive you for anything and everything… EXCEPT (the list varied according to who you asked).” Needless to say, this led to a lifetime of constant apprehension and serious self-doubt on many levels. Oh, and then there was the circuit-blowing circular-looped lesson of how god knows EVERYTHING (past, present, and future) and has a PERFECT PLAN that can never be altered by anyone in any manner because he knows EXACTLY what any given person will feel/think/do during their entire life, and he KNEW these things LONG BEFORE that person ever existed. BUT… you have “Free Will” to make whatever decisions you choose. Aw, crap, almost forgot this part… AND god is PERFECT and made YOU perfect in HIS IMAGE. And remember, this means god NEVER makes mistakes. Therefore, whatever you do… whatever you think… whatever decisions you make… it is ALL part of god’s PERFECT plan. HOWEVER, if you fuck up and make the wrong decision(s) along the way, that is YOUR fault for not listening to god and not doing what he told you to do. See? Perfectly logical, right? Shouldn’t cause any mental problems at all, should it? I mean, heck, it took me only 40+ years to finally shed the psychological handicap of my indoctrination. So, really, how bad could it possibly be? (For those who might have missed it, that last line is called “sarcasm”.)
Isn’t it more likely that people who are afraid are more attracted to religions than those who are not?
When some religious type says something like this to me I ask them to explain the point of prayer if their god will never alter his pre-ordained plan. I usually get either complete silence or mumbled excuses in response.
Yep. Even when I was a little kid, that was something that always puzzled me. If god already knows everything about me and always knows what is best for me, then why do we need to pray. Shouldn’t he already know what I’m thinking? And when I asked about it, the adults could never give me a good answer. Now (on the rare occasions somebody might have such discussions with me), when I bring up that point, I generally get the same reaction you said. It is interesting to me, though, how many folks actually get upset/angry when they cannot counter that… (chuckle)…
The “best” answer I’ve run across to “explain” this quandary of a question was from a Catholic priest - god has not only preordained events that will happen but also the means by which they will happen.
IOW, of course the event you prayed for wouldn’t happen unless you prayed for it, silly; the Almighty One wrote your prayers into his plan, too. Obviously.
Any hope of this looking like decent logic is dashed after a few moments of critical thought are applied, I think.
I love it when a theist proclaims the power of prayer. I point out that their god has ordained everything and praying interferes with god’s plan, thus they are in opposition to their god and probably going to hell for praying.
I love planting the seeds of doubt.
…(stumbling around unbalanced and bumping into walls and furniture)… Somebody please stop the merry-go-round! I’m getting dizzy and nauseous ! … (grabbing hold of door frame for support)… Oh, lordy! That ranks right up there with, “The bible is the Word of God because it says in the bible that the bible is the Word of God, therefore the bible MUST BE the Word of God.”
Yes. I poo because I eat because I poo out all the ex-food previously eaten, therefore the reason I eat MUST BE that I poo.
Watch out for those goal posts; they’ll bang everyone’s heads when they’re positively afloat.
This is what I wanted to do when I was a teenager and having “The Word of God” forced down my throat. I couldn’t stand it.