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Topic: Is it easier to believe or to NOT believe?

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Subject: Is it easier to believe or to NOT believe?
Date Posted: 10/15/2008 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
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Is it easier to be theist or atheist in today's America? 

Being an Atheist I can only tell someone how I feel, but I would say that society, at least the area I live in, is pretty secular.  I don't run into too many instances where I am openly discriminated against.  However, I don't openly advertise my non-religion.

 

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I would say it's easier to believe. People can get VERY mean when they find out you don't believe in their "god."

You know what drives me nuts? Those people running door to door to advertise their religion. If Atheists did that, we would be chewed a new one! I actually had little kids come to my door to preach to me. I slammed the door in their faces. Kids or not, I'm not listening to you preach to me.

 

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I've never been discriminated against, but I do always seem to get a barrage of questions everytime I identify as a agnostic/apatheist/I'm not sure what.  People who believe in an organized religion seem to feel that I have to explain and justify every thing I do or don't believe in. 

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
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Edited due to the fact that the general public can now read these posts



Last Edited on: 10/30/08 11:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/16/2008 1:43 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
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I think it probably depends on where you live.  Here in the Bay Area, the topic of religion literally never comes up unless you bring it up, and when it does I have not seen a strong negative reaction to any religious belief, though it is possible that a conservative Christian might feel differently.  On the other hand, my parents moved from California to Oklahoma and said that the first question that everyone asked them was "Where do you go to church?"  so I would imagine that not believing would be very hard there.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 7:08 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
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around here, it's just assumed you "believe", christiainity is taught in the public schools and churches are given preference over all other local news in the newspapers... so yes, it's "easier" to believe...

T. -
Date Posted: 10/16/2008 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
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If you aren't a believer here, you might as well be a leper.  Heck, certain denominations of Christianity are despised.  The school district has been chastised and lawsuits filed over teaching the Bible in the schools.  Bible Belt Buckle.

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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http://www.tanenbaum.org/christian_privilege.pdf

The above link is to an article about Christian Privilege.  It's 8 pages long, but on the 4th page, there is an actual list of privileges Christians have in this society.  It is much easier, in many areas of the country, to be a believer.  I don't have any problems but I work at a college and live in a city.  So it isn't as much of an issue.   If someone asks me where I go to church, I just say I am not religious.  And that's it.  

I think the stigma of being a non-believer is getting less however.   There are many more nonbelievers than people think, but because we aren't organized, it's not easy to spot us.  A lot of people are afraid to say they don't believe because they were brought up as believers and it is so ingrained in them that they don't want to admit it.   And others just go with the flow and say they are believers when deep down - they really aren't.

 

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 10:29 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
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A lot of people are afraid to say they don't believe because they were brought up as believers and it is so ingrained in them that they don't want to admit it. 

I think this is true in my case.  When I am asked... even though I've been a non-believer for at least 16 years of my life, I'm afraid of the rejection that I'll receive when I tell someone I don't believe.  How cowardly, but sometimes in the back of my mind I see a witch getting dunked into a lake.  It's very vivid... I sometimes wonder if I haven't been reincarnated... LOL.

Heloise... I too have been touched by his noodley appendage... Ramen.

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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I think being a (true) believer would be more difficult.  Living a life, by following the laws of God, the 10 commandments, would not be an easy thing to do in our society. 

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
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I think being a (true) believer would be more difficult.  Living a life, by following the laws of God, the 10 commandments, would not be an easy thing to do in our society.

Yeah, stoning people who sin would be hard to do what with all the laws and stuff agains assault and what not.  :)  That whole turning into a pillar of salt when looking back would also suck a lot.  How... briney.  LOL

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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The sixth commandment is " You shall not murder."

The tenth commandment is " Love your neighbor as yourself."

Many people call themselves Christians and/or believers, but few (including myself) actually follow all the Laws of God.

Amen to Kelly's remarks.  I rest my case.



Last Edited on: 10/17/08 11:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 10/20/2008 2:12 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
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It's much easier to be a believer.  Just try avoiding Christmas, and you'll understand what I mean!

 

Date Posted: 10/20/2008 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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EASY to believe???   EASY to disbelieve???     I find it not just difficult to lie to myself about believing, but IMPOSSIBLE.  Theists need to offer some convincing PROOF of "God" (supernatural being), and/or atheists need to offer some convincing PROOF of the NON-existence of "God" (supernatural being) and of course, neither camp can do that.  Which leaves a human being where?   In the realm of speculation, friends . . . .

However, I believe in using our minds to ponder History and our eyes to observe the Cosmos, and our powers (such as they are) to strive to understand  more and more as the human race endures.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 10/20/2008 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Bonnie, I took the question to mean "easier" on the individual within society.

I agree that believing now is impossible as well - but I leave myself open to the fact that at another place in the space-time continuum (LOL) that I may have more evidence. ;)



Last Edited on: 10/21/08 1:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/21/2008 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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L.G., you make a good point about Christmas.  It seems to take over most of the month of December (sometimes earlier...with all the Christmas decoration in the stores) But don't you think that in many ways Christmas has become a secular holiday rather than a religious one?  Many people go around saying "happy holidays" instead of "Christ is born!" (and a believer would respond "Glorify Him!")  Many of my non-Christian friends put up trees and decorations as well as Santas and snowmen.  They have holiday parties and buy each other gifts.  They also openly admit that they are NOT celebrating the birth of Christ, but are celebrating the "joy of the season."  Some are even offended if someone says "Merry Christmas" to them.  "Happy Holidays" has become the politically correct greeting .  In many ways, Christ has been removed from this holiday.  Nativity sets have become forbidden in many public places.  How Christian is that?  The Grinch has not stolen Christmas,  the non-believers have.



Last Edited on: 10/21/08 12:09 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/21/2008 12:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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Bonnie, I think the definition of faith is to have a firm belief, even in the absence of proof.  I feel that having faith is what helps the human race endure, whether its faith in our self's, in each other or in a higher entity.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 10/21/2008 2:12 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Anna,

Many of the Christmas traditions were Pagan in origin, but that's not my point. 

My point is that we celebrate CHRISTmas - secularly as well as religiously.  There is Christian religious sympolism *everywhere* during Christmas - stars, nativities, Virgin Mary with her baby, Angels, bells, etc.  People say "Merry Christmas" to you 100 times during the season, whether or not you celebrate.  There are religious Christian-themed programs on TV for weeks, and religious services broadcast on the day  before and the day of.  Jesus' name and image is everywhere.  You get CHRISTMAS off from work and school, regardless of your holiday (or lack there of).  One simply cannot get away from it , nor avoid it. 

 

 

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 9:08 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
Posts: 2,461
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Nativity sets have become forbidden in many public places.

I don't see the problem with that.  Keep them in the church front yard where they belong.  Is that not good enough? 

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
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For me it's been a bit of both.  I've always lived in pretty liberal areas.  First was NYC, where I didn't attend church.  There it was easy not to believe, because my peers were the same way - Christian, Jewish, you name it.

Then I moved upstate to a very liberal city, and I returned to the church.  Outside of that small church community, my peers again are non-believers.  And I think they find me a bit of an oddity for being a church-goer.  Different sets of peers, but pretty much equal in their values.  The only thing that really changed was ME!  But because I keep my religion very private (my choice), it's not an issue whatseover.

Some are even offended if someone says "Merry Christmas" to them

Bonnie, IMO, they should be offended.  Saying "Merry Christmas" to them is basically short-hand for "I hope you have a Merry Christmas," which means you are telling them to be merry in celebrating Jesus' birth, which they are not choosing to do.

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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I have to agree on the Nativity Set thing.  Put them up in the church yard or private yards, but not on public space.  Trees are pagan symbols and tinsel and bells and all that are not religious - so I don't have a problem with it. 

I'm a definite agnostic/unbeliever but I don't mind people wishing me a Merry Christmas, since I just consider "Christmas" to be a general term for the holiday.  I try to say Happy Holidays but confess sometimes I forget.    It's a changing world and we have to change with it.  There are so many people of various beliefs/non beliefs and their feelings should be considered as well.

And I agree with L. - you can't get away from Christmas, even if you wanted to.  And yeah - the Christians incorporated most of the Christmas symbols/traditions from the pagans.  

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I've had people get pissed when I tell them Merry Christmas and others get pissed when I wish them Happy Holidays.  As far as I'm concerned, it's wishing someone well, and to get offended at that is just the stupidity of someone determined to be unhappy.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 10/22/2008 4:24 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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I don't get offended but I find it presumptuous (and possibly a little ignorant) on the part of the speaker.

Date Posted: 10/22/2008 8:06 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,928
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As far as wishing someone merry christmas etc, I'm wondering if the people who get offended by that also get offended by "god bless you" for sneezes and "good-bye" which is an abreviation of "God be by you" or something to that effect.  I'm not arguing, just musing.

L- what's up with those cats with the star & moon patterns?  They're so cool, where can I get one?

Date Posted: 10/22/2008 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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NATIVITY SETS HAVE BECOME FORBIDDEN IN MANY PUBLIC PLACES.

I also prefer that the nativity sets be placed in churches and not in public places.  That statement was made to point out how  the public has taken "Christ" out of Christmas.

 

SOME ARE EVEN OFFENDED IF SOMEONE SAYS "MERRY CHRISTMAS."

I see this happening at Christmas parties.  And, yes it has become "ignorant" to presume that if someone is celebrating Christmas, that they are Christian.

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