Atheism

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Atheism Tract - Side 1

Side 1: Atheism – Definition

a-the-ism
[ey-thee-iz-uhm]

a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods

That is the entire meaning of atheism.

Atheism is not a religion, it is not a belief system.
Atheism is nothing sinister, and nothing to fear.
When it comes to Zeus, we are all atheists.

Side 2: But aren’t atheists bad people?

But aren’t atheists bad people?

Not any more than religious people are. Many people use "holy books" as moral guides, but as much as Christians want us to believe that the Bible is the world’s best guide to morality, it is clearly not.

We are actually programmed with a moral code by our genes and by the societies we live in. Adherence to the Bible is not an indicator of increased morality. In fact the US, the most religious developed country in the world, is far from being the most moral. For example, it has a murder rate over 10 times that of largely atheist Japan, and 2-10 times that of irreligious countries in Europe, with 8 of the 10 most murderous states in the US being in the more religious south, which also boasts the highest divorce rates.

Texas, one of the most religious states in the nation, has the largest percentage of its population in prison, despite having the highest execution rate. Higher than the next 6 states combined. The US, just 5% of the world’s population, has 25% of all prisoners. It has high rates of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, partly caused by religiously based "abstinence only" education.

Is this what we should expect from the last bastion of widespread fundimentalist Christianity in the developed world?

About:

So far this has been one of our most popular tracts. Atheists and even many agnostics like it because it delivers one of our most important messages: Religious people do not have a monopoly on morality. We non-believers are as likely as anyone to be good people.

The content is also very quickly clear to people taking it, and although some will immediately drop it when they read the word "atheism", more reasonable people will usually read at least the front and hopefully see the truth about us if they didn’t already know.

This entry was posted in Atheist Tracts by Kazz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

86 thoughts on “Atheism

  1. Uhm ok than Madame Webroot Antivirus i dont mean to yell but..MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!! (i think your onto something with the evil headcrab zombie stuff.) anyways im a mislead person my family is religous and i dont know if i am i want to believe but…i dont know enlighten me in your non beliefs please, amaze me. maybe in words that an average person can relate with please.

  2. Look Max, I haven’t responded for two reasons, first and foremost because I’ve been to busy with work, school and club activities. Secondly I didn’t respond because you haven’t brought up any good counter points. The fact of the matter is that EVERY modern text book I’ve ever read on statistical physics which encompass thermodynamics as a derived sub-discipline list entropy as being defined by the multiplicity of states. That’s what the Omega variable was in Amarest linked article. I have two text in front of me right now (“Thermal Physics”, by Kittle, and “Statistical and Thermal Physics” by Sturge) which list the same definition for entropy.

    I know you’ve claimed to have read a lot on the subject but what exactly have you read? What text books are you using? They must be ether very old or of questionable reputability.

  3. Atheism’s definition has nothing to do with anything resembling or related in any way to theism, it is not against theism, it is not the denying of the concept of god. Atheism is the absolute belief that there is only one reality, the Physical Reality, the reality build by three fundamental elements: Space, Energy and Information or Physical Laws. Time isn’t a fundamental element of the Reality since it is just the mere distance between two events.

    The metaphysical reality stated by Plato 25 centuries ago isn’t what he thought and defined it was as the true and perfect reality and the source of the Physical Reality. Today we deny him the privileged position the Vatican gave to him when the Church had the power to decide what humans must think, say and do, position that western culture has kept for no rational, logical reason since he knew so little that all he could ever known can be stored in a hard disc of an Atari computer of the early 1980s. Mr Plato is a dead cow no more a sacred cow of the philosophy, theology and Christianity.

    We are now free from all those sacred cows whose way of thinking have slaved our minds into the so called concept of a supreme entity creator of the universe and stated by Plato as: “the necessary being” to explain the universe. The Universe doesn’t need a creator, god needs one, and we know it: We, are the creator of god and so we can at will vanish, kill, annihilate, destroy whatever it and never again even think about that. IT IS TIME TO DO SO MY FRIENDS TO EXTRICATE, TO FORBID, TO ERADICATE, TO VANISH THAT PERNICIOUS CONCEPT FROM HUMAN MIND.

    What we need is an atheism for the masses not a socialism, not a capitalism but an atheism to change the structure of the society we live in into a free society where we can build our future as species. The concept of god is a fundamental enemy of Science, Science and religion can’t exist together because the object of Science is to build a model of the Physical Reality while religion’s object is to subject humans to the model of metaphysical reality priests have invented to slave the human mind. Religions put humans in a fake reality whose ultimate goal is to live in function of a metaphysical reality that only exists in the believers brain.

  4. Is there a god? Of course NOT, NO body has ever proved beyond reasonable doubt that there is a god or something similar. The closer prove is the Plato’s who wrote: “god is the necessary being,” as the only option for the Universe to exist. But who has proved that the universe was created to start with? Those that think that to prove that the universe was created is enough to create a creator are out of mind ignoring that there is no need to have a creator of the universe since the same way that there is a creator there is an universe too so, forget about a creator whose creation is a lot harder that just state that the Universe has always existed, as the so called creator would be, and is eternal and infinite. NO body can logically deny this. The religions rely in the assertion that the universe MUST be created because in the priests imagination the universe isn’t a earthy living creature like animals (we are humanimals) or plants that breath, eat, move, reproduce and so on. But this way of thinking is just that, a way of thinking, with no authority to claim posses the absolute true; in their frame of reference they can sort, like magicians in their show, all kind of rabbits out of their hat but not in the real world. To establish that there is a god isn’t as easy as to say that Jesus is the son of god that was raised in flesh and soul to the heavens and the same was for his mother plus a big lot of similar absurdities that only Christians dare to believe because the terror to be send to the hell after death. If you are a Christian you live in fear and terror all your life and no dares to do anything that could put you at risk of eternal condemnation and if you do so the terror is even worse when you are closer to death because your age and illnesses. I have known cowards so called themselves atheists who were laud atheists while were healthy but after the first heat attack they back off from their atheism, what a despicable shame.

  5. something fun to think about…saw it on the history channel. they have found carvings in rocks in South America, China, Europe, North America, all from around the same time period, all resembling aliens, and aliens in flying “sun disks”. At this time, the world was not connected. But maybe aliens put us here, or are watching us. Prometheus, greek god of fire, apparently brought us fire against the will of the gods…maybe he was an alien. Maybe Mary was a virgin, and the aliens abducted and impregnated her, Jesus was half aliens which explains the powers. The burning bush Moses called God, was an alien ship on a mountain. Moses turned grey from radiation. Beyond this, look at the Mayan civillization and their time keeping abilities, and apocalyptic prophecies. Who built the pyramids? Aliens…maybe. They started showing up after WWII a lot more…maybe they saw the atom bombs go off. Also, with the 2012 prophecy coming soon…alien/ufo sightings have been doubling over the last few years. Why else was “heaven” in the sky? hahaha, not to say I believe all of this, because there is no way of knowing. But there are lots of fun things to think about when you no longer believe in God. The funny thing is, a religious person might see this and think its absolutely unreasonable. More unreasonable than a being who created us all…but nobody knows how he was created? If God created the Earth, he created Swine Flu…which means he only wants to kill babies and old people. Science gave us a vaccine for the Swine Flu. If god was here right now, I’d punch him in the face

  6. I’m not an Atheist. I do believe in God, but I find atheistism very interesting and compelling. Now i have something to argue with my christian friends. I will no longer look at a atheist as something odd, but now show respect

  7. I cant explain how the world was made, no body can, and also no body can prove God is real, along with mirmaids, unicorns and big foot, because there has been no physical evidence. Only speculation of what people belive!

  8. And what people belive are what they belive, and i dont think people need to try to convert people into what they belive or spread there biast opinon!

  9. I see. You might want to calm down a bit Sara. It doesn’t do you or anyone any good when you get upset. Believe me I know from my own experience with this kind of thing.

    As for your comments, we can know whit a high degree of certainty how the earth was made and when. All along it’s geological colloum and with in the material of our star system is the evidence we need. By examining it and understanding the physical process they go through we can deduce that the earth was formed some 4.5 billion years ago by a larger collapsing stellar debris field.

    As for proving that things are real, that’s kind of the point with out the ability to prove something is real why believe in it? If you can’t prove it’s real and you can’t show evidence of it’s existence then it has no visible effect on the world around us. By choosing to believe in something with no evidence of it’s existences you have to ask your self why this one thing and not others? How can you justifiably believe in leprechauns but not unicorns and still remain logically consistent?

    You also say it’s not right to ‘convert’ people, but what if their beliefs are fundamentally harming them, or the world? What if they are causeing suffering because of their beliefs, are we just suppose to stand by and do nothing?

  10. I’ve read with joy the comments here,but I really feelI would add something to this whole 2nd law thing. Whether or not you define entropy in terms of multiplicity or “physical disorder” whatever that means, it’s a moot discussion anyway because the second law applies only in situations where there is no energy being added from outside (a closed system). The universe as a whole is subject to the second law, but there is nothing prohibiting local drops in entropy. In fact, such drops happen all the time. A steam engine is an entropy-dropping device: it converts heat (high entropy) into kinetic energy (low entropy). Now, of course a steam engine with no energy being added won’t work – we wouldn’t expect it to – but as soon as we pour on the energy, it is no longer a closed system, and lo and behold, it works! Entropy dropping locally and the second law is fine with that.

    So, in order to use the second law as argument against evolution, you’d have to pretend that there was no energy being added to Earth – in other words, that the Sun didn’t exist. This is a pretty big assumption, and if the sun really didn’t exist, I would agree with you that evolution was a pretty tall order. But it does exist, so the Earth is not a closed system, and the second law can not be applied here.

  11. I stumbled upon this chain of posts and am very intrigued by most of the intelligent discussions. My question is: I am a realtor working in a very warm, friendly office with about 80% (mostly born-again) Christians and a few quiet non-religious types. I am so tired of hearing how every time I am having a tough time and then something good happens someone comments “I’ve been praying for you”. Like their personal realtionship with JC caused the universe to line up in my favor,not because I worked hard to make a bad situation turn out well. I am having a hard time not coming out of the atheistic/agnostic closet as it were but also don’t want to jeapordize my business career.

  12. I want to bear you my testimony that there is a God, a very good God, a very smart God, a very powerful God. I hope you choose to do good. Those who do good find happiness and will live for ever in happiness. Those who won’t repent find missery and will live for ever in missery. There is life after death.
    When I was 14 I questioned the exsistance of God. I reasoned they lied to us about santa claus, maybe they are lying to us about God. I didn’t know whether what I had been taught by my parents and in church (that there is a God) was true or whether what they taught us in school (that there is no God) was true. I wanted to know so I prayed with faith. This was my faith: that if there was a God he would let me know if I asked him. I said God are you there? God didn’t appear to me. I didn’t hear an audible voice. Infact nothing happened just then. I don’t know why but I didn’t stop praying. I still didn’t know if there was a God but I still believed that if there was a God he would let me know if I asked him. So I kept thinking and asking God are you there? After several months of Praying this is what happened. One night as I was going to bed I got a stomach pain. I got into bed but I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I tossed and turned. I got up. I got back into bed. The pain just kept getting worse. I didn’t know what to do. I got up and walked. I got back into bed. The pain just kept getting worse. After a couple of hours the pain got so bad I thought I was going to die. As I thought “I’m going to die” (I didn’t know if ther was life after death or nothing)I prayed “God are you there?” All of a sudden the pain was gone and a sweet feeling came over me and I knew God was there.
    I don’t know any one else who has had an experience like this, but I do know it happened to me. I do know there is a very good God and he is the creator of all things. It just isn’t reasonable to me to think that life and exsistance came about by itself. Explosions don’t create things they destroy things. Read the Book of Mormon and repent and you shall receive the richs of eternel life. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ.

  13. I had what you might call an anti expirince comparable to yours. When I was a child I use to be deathly afraid of being alone by my self anywhere in the 2nd story of my home. There was no real logical or thought out reason for it, it was just this insatiable fear and dark dreaded feeling of evil that seemed to permeate the entire upstairs of my house. I knew in my head there was nothing up there, that the shadows I saw were not out to get me, yet in my ‘heart’ I couldn’t help but feel it.

    One night I set out to find out what if anything was up there. I was alone in the house and I went up to my room, where upon I sat down and hooked up a camera with a microphone and my SNES waiting to feel this presences again. After a few minutes of video game playing my mind began to wonder and as it turned to the previous experiences I’ve faced when alone up stairs I began to feel nervous. I had this rather sudden on set of fear and I almost let myself go, I almost got up and ran down stairs and outside, but I didn’t. I dropped the controller on the ground and stared at the TV for a minute. The fear grew more and more intense. Eventually I started to sweat and my heart was racing. There was nothing there, I kept telling my self. I ended up closing my eyes very tightly as I scrunched my legs up to my chest. At this point I was out right terrified as I could feel something behind me, breathing down my neck. I could feel it reach for me and right as it touched me right as I could feel it’s dark claws sink into my flesh, I force my eyes open to see my attacker and then! Nothing. There was nothing there. My fear had cascaded, rushed over me, and quickly abide. Once I saw that there was nothing I found that all the fear and terror, all the dread in the room disappeared. It was just me sitting in an empty room. No monsters, no demons.

    I had turned my SNES off and hooked the camera up to my TV to replay the past minutes. I saw my self shake and quiver I saw my self fear, but I didn’t see anything that could have caused that fear. I didn’t hear any noise in the video, didn’t hear any of the words or sounds which where spoken. There was nothing there. The frames where I felt something touch me showed nothing, I saw no hand or movement of cloths. Everything was merely in my head.

    Afterward I still had the feelings of dread, and fear but they where much weaker. As I kept ignoring them, as I began to truly realize what was causing them were my own feelings and head, they fully disappeared. Now every time I feel uneasy I ask my self why and I look around. Once I realize it’s nothing the feeling goes away. The human mind is capable of making us feel and see things that aren’t real. I know this well.

    While I do appreciate your story, the fact is other people have had similar experiences and believe in a different god, or gods, and sometimes (like myself) no god.

  14. I believe in God, and I also believe that God has given us the choice to believe in Him. He created us to not only believe in Him, but to love Him and
    worship Him.
    If somone chooses not to belive in Him, I have to respect that because its a God given right to choose.

    For Christians, its much deeper than just believing, even the devil believes in God, its about love and worship. The moral compass that guides even the self proclaimed athiest, does come from God.

    We, as Christians, are required by our faith to share the the Gospel of Christ.I do personally feel that a dogmatic approach is less effective. I will share it and leave the rest up to you and the Lord, I am not required to make you decision for, no one can possible do that. it is your God given right to choose, just remember all choices made on this side of enternity are final.

  15. @Mike
    I have this nagging burning question that no Christian has ever been able to reconcile, how can we be said to truly have a choice (i.e. freewill) when our future is determined and our choices made before birth? Let me elaborate, you believe that god knows everything, the past, present, and future. Yet if the future is known and determined how can we ever be said to have a choice in the matter? Sure you could try to say it appears you have a choice but in the end that’s all it is, an appearance. At most it’s all virtual, i.e. not real. Perhaps more to the point, given the nature of your god and his supposed creation, it would be possible for him/it to choose any set path or destiny it wished for you, and you would have no say. So in the end all decision all will would have to flow from your god, leaving no room for any freewill. All we would be, all we could be if your god was real is in the end dolls, or actors on a screen. We can move and smile, laugh and cry, but in the end it would all be part of a script which wasn’t written by us, with out even any input from us.

    As for morals, we know where morals come from, how they form and the parts of the brain responsible for their function. It’s completely natural, and biochemical and no appeal to the supernatural (or god) is need to explain it. Oddly enough, we aren’t even the only animals to have such feelings and sensations. All mammals feel emotions, similar to our own. Again this is documented and can not be argued against with out throwing out both logic and science.

    As for it being my choices to choose, such a possibility could only exist in the absence of such an infinite entity as your god, not with it, and fundamentally all actions are final in this life, however with a bit of education, logic, and work we can make the outcome of our actions for the best possible life we can have, and the only one we truly know exists!

  16. It is interesting that most organized faiths do require belief and compliance with their teacings and rules by threat and intimidation. If you do, or don’t do, such and such you will face eternal damnation and torment. They say the god of the old testiment was more vengful and mean than the god of the new testiment. How many gods are there? Did he have multiple personalities? It is obvious that the concept of god was created by man to deal with fears of the unknown. Our biggest fear is death. What happens then? Is it just all over and there is nothing? That is scary. We evolved to survive and developed some very strong devices to enable us to prevail against all threats and obstacles. Of course death is the ultimate obstacle to our happines and peace of mind, so we had to develop some means of coping with that concept. Just as we developed the god of thunder and the god of war and the god of fertility to deal with our fears in those departments, we had to make something up to deal with our fear of death. We made up a belief in an afterlife to help us deal with the loss of our loved ones and the eventual loss of our own lives. We needed this to maintain our own sense of happyness and calm. As we developed our intelligence, knowledge and sophistication, we grew to need it less. We began to doubt the stories we had been told. Daniel Boone was a real man, but do you believe he really killed a full grown bear with his bare hands? Some do. Don’t even get me started on Paul Bunyan. The bible is a collection of stories, in book form, (gospels), the first of which, the gospel of Paul, was written more than thirty years after the death of Christ. The Roman emperor Constantine, a pagan recently converted to Christianity, conviened a counsel and decided which of many gospels would be included in the book we now know as the bible. So, the bible was written by men, from their memories of a man named Jesus, and produced by a former pagan, and published under severe political circumtances. Most Christians have never read much of the bible, let alone the gospels left out of it, such as those of the Nostics. If you can’t believe in the story of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe, how can you bleieve in the stories of the bible? They are all legends, made up by men to serve a purpose.
    Earl.

  17. To the atheists, some questions:
    #1. I understand you do not believe God exists. What do you believe in then, spiritually speaking?
    #2. Do you feel there is merit to a divine presence whatsoever?
    #3. What do you think of the whole “everything is energy” “law of attraction”, “law of abundance” thing that is so popular now?
    #4. How do you explain all of the ghost/spirit experiences that people have?
    #5. Do you believe there is an afterlife? If so, what does it consist of, if not, what happens after death?
    #6. The soul. What does that mean to you?
    #7. If you do not believe in God, do you believe in evil/the devil?
    #8. Was there a certain event in your life that led you to “push away” from belief in a God?
    #9. was your family religious/nonreligious when you were growing up?
    #10. did you ever believe there was a God but changed your mind? (and if you changed your mind–why?)
    #11. Even though you currently believe there is no God–is there any need in you for spiritual answers? If so, what?
    #12. Do you believe there is merit to performing rituals/spells, Witches and the Pagan beliefs? If so, why? If not, why not?
    #13. Do you believe in psychics? As in–do you believe in the ABILITIES of true psychics. Where do you think it comes from, if you believe. If you do NOT believe, why not and how do you explain away true psychic’s abilities?
    #14. Do you believe in “the power of the mind” to create what is not already in one’s life? Expand on answer further than yes/no, pls. (this Q. is similar to other questions but not the same)

    And I preface what I’m about to say by saying: I do not wish to offend any of the younger atheists, but I’d like to hear from older, adult atheists, please. The reason being: when I was in my teens, I held atheistic beliefs as well but later changed my views. I believed there was no God because of my experiences and circumstances in life. It was not a “true belief” but a belief based upon emotion rather than logic/belief, if that makes sense?
    So no offense to the youngers, but I’m hoping for responses with age/experience.
    Thanks for your time,
    K.

  18. oh, one more question (of course! lol).
    If you, as an atheist, could form a religion, what would it be, what would it consist of–doctrine, beliefs, etc.
    Thanks!

  19. IAMGOD: I was going to ask that as well: it really coulda just been gas.

    I found this site when I goggled “define atheism” because, although I consider myself a Christian who believes in God, I am also intelligent. :) I think I support my claim of intelligence through my curiosity and open-mindedness.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed [most] of the posts I read although I cringed when I read posts where a “believer” tried to force their beliefs on “non-believers”.

    Earl: I found your post the most intriguing. Although I believe in God, a God, my God, someone’s God, but not necessarily anyone else’s God, I have zero faith in the Bible. The reason: well, reread Earl’s post. :) I have always said the Bible was written by man and revised by man many times over. Therefore, even if the Bible WAS originated by God, it was tainted, in my opinion, by the personal beliefs of the MEN writing and rewriting it. Devout Christians I know back away and say things such as “Get away from me; I don’t want to be near you when God strikes you!” But, how the hell do they know that God wouldn’t smile down with praise that I was intelligent and inquisitive enough to question such things. In any regard, was anyone that could post here actually around to see the absolute original? As Earl said, legends.

    Now, what really made me chuckle was the “multiple personality” comment. Just today, as I read about religion online I came across a reference to Francis of Assisi. I was raised a Catholic but don’t currently practice Catholicism, and I couldn’t remember what he was the patron Saint of, so of course I goggled. :) As I read, my mind boggled: in the Book of ———, so and so was referred to as ———-, but in the Book of ——–, that same person was referred to as ———-. Utterly confusing.

    Personally, I believe in a higher power; and for me that is God. I choose to believe through my experiences; divine intervention that I really truly believe was my God guiding me to places that I needed to be at, even when I wouldn’t be there under normal circumstances.

    However, it is sometimes hard to believe in an entity that I’ve never had CONCRETE AND ABSOLUTE proof of, and I find myself questioning my beliefs from time to time. Ultimately I belive in God because I choose to; but if someone else chooses not to, who am I to pass judgement? The funny thing about Christianty is that a basic premise is that only God can judge, yet so many Christians take it upon themselves to do so.

    Someone posted a question about the potential for positive friendships between atheists and non-atheists and here is what i think: it’s very possible for this friendship to exist where two people respect one another and accept one another and their respective beliefs.

  20. I’m a black male who just happens to be an Atheist. Being a black non believer has become somewhat isolating. Most of the women (black) I meet like me until the subject of religion comes up. The guys I encounter want to argue, and debate me. Then they get upset when they realize I’ve done my research, and make them look bad. Just wondering are there many other black Atheist that can relate?

  21. I know there is a label for those who do not believe in God. Atheist. I know there is a label for those who do… Religious. Is there a label for those who believe in God yet does not believe in religion? I’d like to find those blogs.

  22. I’m not sure why everyone is arguing about their religion. Let them believe in what they want, it’s honestly none of your business.

  23. @IAMGOD

    The voice of God is allegedly thunderous, so it all ties in.

    Fartin’ for jebus!

    DISCLAIMER: If this comment seems disrespectful, well, that’s because it is. I find it hard to respect a person who will base his entire life on something like the story THE PROPHET tells. Even if the story is 100% true, it proves exactly nothing about the existence of God, just as little as thinking about Vishnu when a bus finally shows up proves that Vishnu delivered it.
    As a further analysis of this story, it is quite likely that this is not the first time The Prophet has told his testimony to people. it is a well-known fact that stories, through repetition, get embellished, in particular if they are told in order to prove a point. The reality could easily have been that the stomach ache had been going for some time and The Prophet had been beseeching God to stop it for several minutes before the pain passed naturally. I am skeptical of the “instantaneous” recovery, which is the kind of thing that would get embellished.
    Another explanation could be that The Prophet rolled onto his back or kneeled in bed to face/pray to God. This change in body pose could easily rearrange the intestines and release painful trapped gas, causing the pain to subside almost instantly.

    In any case, what kind of omnipotent God reveals his existence through causing, and then relieving, gut pain? That is a deeply unimpressive miracle.

    I am not impressed with this story. Nor am I impressed by people who are impressed with this story.

  24. If atheism is true, then there are no winners only losers. Christians would find out that nothingness is the result, of course they wouldn’t know that because they would be a part of the nothingness that all the other dead atheists are also a part of. But the Christian would not have wasted his/her life since they followed a person (Jesus Christ) who teaches them to care for others in compassionate ways all their life. So if the Christian is wrong, (and there really no heaven or hell) no real harm done, the world was a better place because they were ‘nice’ people. However, if the atheist is wrong, whether he/she was a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person, (what ever good or bad means) hell is an awful place. The atheist better be sure he is right!

  25. In response to Catherine’s question about atheists having very religious friends, I am one who has religious friends and family. I, too, was once a Christian, BUT…I was a Jehovah’s Witness, which is NOT mainstream Christianity and was despised by many people for my “wierd” beliefs. People were mainly upset because as a Witness, I did not celebrate Christmas, Easter, or other religious holidays. The reason being…those holidays had NOTHING to do with Christ. Anyway,you can learn all that on the History Channel. How do I get along with friends and family with their “weird” beliefs? It’s a truce. We don’t discuss it. We each respect the other’s right to be wrong. Interestingly, my family members are far more approving of my atheism than they were of my being a Witness. Interesting, verrry interesting….

  26. Pascal’s wager has never been convincing, Jerry. The false dichotomy of Christianity vs. atheism may seem compelling at first glance, until the person realizes that it’s not Christianity vs. atheism—it’s Christianity vs. every other religion vs. atheism. This is the essence of a false dichotomy: pretend that there’s only two outcomes and claim it’s one or the other. You do an excellent job of ignoring the possible truth of religions such as Shinto or Islam.

    How about it, thought about what it’s going to be like going to Yomi or Jahannam when you die? According to your logic, both of these beliefs is therefore an adequate argument for Shinto and Islam and you’d better not be wrong about them, now should you? If the Christian is wrong no real harm done? Christian wrong about Yomi ends up in Yomi instead of Heaven; Christian wrong about Jahannam ends up there instead of Heaven. Not very convincing on the “no harm” front.

    Perhaps in the future you will properly include these two places (and the thousands of others ever dreamed of through human history) when talking about what might happen to your yet nebulously understood afterlife.

  27. I will try and answer these, if I may:

    To the atheists, some questions:
    #1. I understand you do not believe God exists. What do you believe in then, spiritually speaking?

    I can’t really define a spiritual belief within myself at all. I find beauty and joy and awe at the world and all those kinds, but I would not call these experiences spiritual. My strongest emotional responses to nature have been during my two viewings of total solar eclipses, and at no point during those monumentally beautiful, spine-tingling and awestriking moments did I feel any sort of presence of, or gratitude to, a higher being.

    #2. Do you feel there is merit to a divine presence whatsoever?

    Since I don’t believe that such a presence exists, it’s hard to answer this. We can’t choose whether or not a god exists based on merit. I would find it rather stifling to live in a universe overseen by the jealous god of the bible, though, with his demand for acceptance as saviour (from the concept of original sin he himself invented) lest we are burned in hell for ever.

    #3. What do you think of the whole “everything is energy” “law of attraction”, “law of abundance” thing that is so popular now?

    A decline in the power of organized religion leaves a void in people who need narrative structure to delineate and understand their existence. Pseudoscience like the abovementioned flourish in such an environment.

    #4. How do you explain all of the ghost/spirit experiences that people have?

    I’d turn it around: how do you explain that there has never been any unambigous evidence that a single one of these experiences happened outside those people’s own minds?

    #5. Do you believe there is an afterlife? If so, what does it consist of, if not, what happens after death?

    No, I do not believe there is an afterlife.

    #6. The soul. What does that mean to you?

    Nothing.

    #7. If you do not believe in God, do you believe in evil/the devil?

    I don’t believe in the devil, of course. I will accept the concept of “evil” as the kind of behaviour culturally agreed upon to be unacceptable. With regard to absolute evil, I will go as far as the social programming handed down from us from our apelike ancestors’ flocking interactions, which can account for the certain level of universality of certain “evils” although all these universal evils have been set aside in certain cultures in certain times, of course.

    #8. Was there a certain event in your life that led you to “push away” from belief in a God?

    No particular event. Learning about religions and science naturally moved me to godlessness.

    #9. was your family religious/nonreligious when you were growing up?

    They were religious.

    #10. did you ever believe there was a God but changed your mind? (and if you changed your mind–why?)

    I believed there was a God for as long as I was young enough to believe everything my parents told me. I then found myself in a pseudoscience phase for several years, believing in ghosts and mysterious phenomena of all stripes. Then, I finally broke through that wall and started scaling my credulity with the evidence.

    #11. Even though you currently believe there is no God–is there any need in you for spiritual answers? If so, what?

    No.

    #12. Do you believe there is merit to performing rituals/spells, Witches and the Pagan beliefs? If so, why? If not, why not?

    No. It’s a waste of time, effort and energy, and it makes no difference if you do these rituals or not (barring any social interaction and personal feeling of unjustified accomplishment)

    #13. Do you believe in psychics? As in–do you believe in the ABILITIES of true psychics. Where do you think it comes from, if you believe. If you do NOT believe, why not and how do you explain away true psychic’s abilities?

    What’s a “true psychic”? Show me a single person who is unambigiously able to see events that cannot be known otherwise under controlled conditions. James Randi is interested in this person, too.

    #14. Do you believe in “the power of the mind” to create what is not already in one’s life? Expand on answer further than yes/no, pls. (this Q. is similar to other questions but not the same)

    No, I do not. I have no evidence that the mind’s power extends any further than to the body the mind inhabits.

  28. Dear Openminded, Thank you. I appreciated your post as well. I believe you said that you believe in God because you choose to. I respect that. I once asked a doctor friend for his opinion on certain vitamins and supplements. He said that athough he knew of no scientific or medical evidence to support their claimed benefits, he also knew of no harm to be done if taken as directed. So, he said, if you think you feel better, by all means take the supplements. I feel the same way about you and your God, whatever you decide the diety is, and as long as it does you no harm, then by all means continue to believe. I have many friends who are devout Christians and some who I suspect may be atheists. I also suspect that most of them know my position and beliefs, but I choose to discuss this with very few of them. Your post has caused me to pause and think about this. Why do Christians seem to be so comfortable discussing their beliefs with others while atheists and those of some unusal or obscure religions groups do not? The media recently reported a statement by renowned genius Stephen Hawkings indicating that he believed there were, or might be, subjects or beings from another galaxie that could make themselves known or might even be looking for a suitable planet to colonize, as they had destroyed their own. My point is that one may believe anything. I am certainly not going to argue or ricicule a person like Stephen Hawkings. I may not agree with him, but he may have reasons for his beliefs or he may have been kidding someone. I really don’t care. I do believe certain emotions like love and hate can create phisological conditions in the human body. This can be proven. I think hating someone or something can take actual energy and cause negative chemical reactions within the mind and body that may do us harm. This too can be proven. Unfortunately some people can actually hate other people for no reason other than the fact that they do, or do not, believe in something. This is sad and tragic. Openminded, you just go on believing in some sort of God if that is what you choose to do. I will never join you in your belief, but if you don’t hurt me or mine, I will never try to change or stop you either. I agree that Christians and atheists can be friends with respect. Christians should just stop trying to convert or to force their beliefs on others. No one respects a bully. From your post I think you are not a bully and I think I could respect you

  29. #1. I understand you do not believe God exists. What do you believe in then, spiritually speaking?
    I do not believe in what most define as “spiritual.” Some people don’t believe in god, but believe in “putting it out to the universe.” Whatever the heck that means. I believe in the strength of self. I believe people are responsible for their own actions and should celebrate or suffer the consequences of those actions accordingly. And I believe that stuff just happens, even to good people. I do not give god credit for the birth of a perfect, beautiful baby, but on the other hand, I do not blame him if the baby is deformed or dies. Stuff just happens.

    #2. Do you feel there is merit to a divine presence whatsoever? Since no divine prescence exists, how can there be merit or lack of merit?

    #3. What do you think of the whole “everything is energy” “law of attraction”, “law of abundance” thing that is so popular now? If it helps ya get through the night, go for it.

    #4. How do you explain all of the ghost/spirit experiences that people have? The fact that people lay down their lives, or take others’ lives in the name of their religion and their beliefs, tells me people can be fooled into believing anything. Explain this then, some religions teach that ghosts are angels of loved ones that are here to protect them. Some believe ghosts are demonic and even if they appear helpful or loving, they are from Satan and should be expelled. Some people believe there are no such things as ghosts. All three of those beliefs (and no doubt many others) are from Christians I know. How can this be?

    #5. Do you believe there is an afterlife? If so, what does it consist of, if not, what happens after death?
    Nope. You rot in the ground or disappear in ashes.

    #6. The soul. What does that mean to you? Nothing

    #7. If you do not believe in God, do you believe in evil/the devil? According to the bible, the devil was a child of god that got too big for his britches. Therefore, if I don’t believe in god, it goes without saying I don’t believe in the devil. However, I do believe in evil in the sense that people can do terrible things to one another for a variety of reasons, including mental illness. The church used to burn epileptics at the stake, believing the were controlled by demons. Some people would still do it if their church said it was the thing to do.

    8. Was there a certain event in your life that led you to “push away” from belief in a God? No, there was no single event. It came about through studying religions and their histories. It came about by just plain thinking and asking questions.

    #9. was your family religious/nonreligious when you were growing up? Some members were very religious, some not so much, but they all claimed to believe in god.

    #10. did you ever believe there was a God but changed your mind? (and if you changed your mind–why?)
    Yes, when I was a child I believed VERY strongly in god and also in my 20′s. The more I learned, the less I believed.

    #11. Even though you currently believe there is no God–is there any need in you for spiritual answers? If so, what? No

    #12. Do you believe there is merit to performing rituals/spells, Witches and the Pagan beliefs? If so, why? If not, why not?

    I believe rituals/spells/prayers/etc. may have merit to believers. Since I don’t believe in any of that, no there’s no merit for me.

    #13. Do you believe in psychics? Believe IN them? As if they were some kind of messiahs or holy folks? No, certainly not.

    #14. Do you believe in “the power of the mind” to create what is not already in one’s life? Expand on answer further than yes/no. Yes, I do. An addict can change their behavior and bring peace, love, happiness, etc., into their life and the lives of their loved ones. People who are very ill can often prolong their lives or lessen their pain by the power of their minds. I do not believe that by using “the power of the mind,” anyone can create a BMW in their driveway or a million dollars in their bank account.

  30. This definition is fairly offensive. Atheism is NOT a “lack” (i.e. “deficiency”, “need”) of anything. Atheism simply means that your beliefs do not include gods.

  31. Has anyone noted that fundamentalist is misspelled? I’d love to print these, but not with that typo. Please correct. Thanks.

  32. Update – It’s fixed, and I hope I’ll get a chance to make a new and improved version sometime soon. :)

    Ah! >_< I’m sorry, no one’s pointed that out before. I did fix it a long time ago in my own copies, but the version that’s up here needs to be updated. I’ll post here again when it’s fixed, and if you can edit the PDF to fix your copy, feel free.

    Please let me know if you do use this or any of the few other tracts I’ve put up. I have more, and I’ve always intended to update some of these and make some more new ones, but I’m not sure how many other people are actually using them.

    If anyone has suggestions that would make these better or more usable for you, I’d like to hear them. For example, I’ve been using a little smaller size that is easier to cut and fits 8 to a page for most newer tracts.

  33. Both theist and atheist are not wrong but incomplete. The Theist speaks about the “invisible thing” as absolute truth by “believing” the “visible thing” as a manifestation of invisible thing, while the atheist speaks about the “visible thing” as absolute evidence by knowing and seeing with and/ or without feeling at all that comes naturally without questions mentally, emotionally…
    -Word is only a word but with feeling/emotion is not only a word…?
    -Danger to Human Virtue:
    WEALTH without WORK
    PLEASURE without CONSCIENCE
    KNOWLEDGE without CHARACTER
    BUSINESS without ETHICS
    SCIENCE without HUMANITY
    RELIGION without SACRIFICE
    POLITICS without POLICY
    LOVE without GIVING
    . . .
    -NOTHINGNESS DOESN’T MEAN NOTHING…(Believing is a must) thus
    INVISIBLE DOESN’T MEAN VISIBLE – unless CO-EQUAL with INVINCIBLE
    FULLNESS of BI-A-BLE
    -VISIBLE point of view is to SEE & ACCEPT with any question, may be…
    -MAN is incapable of SEEING the NOTHINGNESS from which HE emerges
    the INFINITY in which He is ENGULFED…
    -i do believed that believing GOD is the most personal secret point of view and
    what is existed from nothing we need to enjoy it and be happy with gratitude from
    where it came from…
    -i do believed in THEORY of DUALITY that moves uncontrolled force: LIGHT exist, SHADOW arise not much to the LIGHT.
    / School of Thoughts

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