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Thread: Am I becoming a complete asshole?

  1. #1
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    Default Am I becoming a complete asshole?

    So the Mormon thread got me to thinking about something that I have been struggling with for about the last year or so, and I'm really not sure how well I'm going to verbalise this, so please bear with me.

    A personal belief of mine, as is that of most people, is that in any debate, religious, musical, political, whatever, all views should be listened to, respected, critisized, and evaluated equally.

    Now, my opinion on errr ..opinions, has always been the same respectful stance. I believe/think what I believe/think and I will argue to defend it, but I have always made a point to respect other peoples views and opinions, and try to see it from thier side, always. I genuinely take a dislike to people blindly refusing to see the other side of the argument, and this is where my problem with myself is starting.

    To digress for a second (yes this is going to be a thread about Religion), I have always been an Atheist, from as far back as I learned to become a critical thinker (13/14?). Obviously like every other child in my country (Ireland) I was brought up in a Christian (in my case Catholic) school system, and naturally as a child took these beliefs as un-questionably as I did language or maths. So as an Atheist as we all know, I didn't/don't believe in any God, Religion, Deity, Fairytale, etc, but that was the extent of it, I don't believe it, everyone else I leave to their own devices to believe what they want.

    Now in the last year, thinking more and more on the subject, I have found myself taking a more extreme view than that of an Atheist, and in fact becoming an Anti-theist. Moving away from my previous rather lathargic and passive views of Religion, to a much less respectful one. That is to say, I truely now believe that Religion in all of its forms are positively harmful to society as a whole, and I simply cannot find it within myself any longer to respect the belief system of people who buy into Religion, a view which to my eyes is just becoming more and more so completely, utterly, and incomprehensibly *incorrect*.

    Honest to goodness, I would rather debate the views of a right wing National Socialist thinker and try to respect his ideals, than do the same with a Christian or Muslim. Simply based on the fact that at least Nazism (as completely wrong as it is) has it's basis in fucking reality, rather than fiction.

    Now therein lies my conundrum. I have *always* had time to hear the other side, and genuinely hate when views cannot be held, shown, and respected, but now, I myself, can't even entertain the possibilty of respecting someones views who believes in a false deity, and as much as I think I'm right to think that...completely shutting out an opinion and having no respect for someone goes against every fibre of my being. Fuck.

    Oh well, at least I'm not as much of an asshole as Andy.

    Disclaimer: Not trying to get into a Religious debate, and I completely understand any Religious people being offended by this post, but I don't care, I am *not* going to engage in a Religious debate in this thread, and you should be in an insane asylum, and the more I say things like that, the less guilty I feel about it.

    I dont know what point this thread is trying to make, I'm sure it's interesting enough for people to post though.
    Last edited by mrconeman; 07-31-2010 at 01:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    I don't think I'm like this anymore, though many on this forum might think otherwise.
    As I've grown up some. back in the day. I even use myself as an example. reflected on things that happened in the past. I have a better understanding of things now. At least I can admit it now. I have somehow caused this situation by mentioning how I used to act on here. how I've changed. I'm a relatively normal poster now

  2. #2
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    I'm sorry in advance because I'm not going to really add anything to this conversation, but I've observed that of the five or six times I've heard someone with your viewpoint lately, they've always been Catholic and attended Catholic school. I don't want to read into it, as I don't know what it means, but I'm hoping someone else noticed this or can shed a bit of light on it.
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    I grew up super Christian (but not Catholic), and though I'm not atheist (I'm agnostic), over time, I become less and less tolerant of religion. I have a lot of religious friends, and sometimes I think I'm dishonest to them because I don't want to offend them... I respect them as people and as friends, but I can't respect their religious beliefs. I really think they're nuts. So yeah, I pretty much understand you, coneman. I don't know if it's something I should change or not... what I should do differently.
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    I'm exactly the same. My understanding is that I've developed a blind hatred of religion and a stubborn refusal to listen religious people because they [in my experience, as limited as that may be] have not employed logic in an argument or discussion with myself. The main problem I run into is the desperate counter-argument they largely employ of "because it's written in the Bible". You can't argue with that, because their God wouldn't lie to them(!). They (by and large) will not accept that that argument does not hold up if either God is evil and thus lies about being good, or that someone other than God (the ancient clergy, maybe?) dictated their holy book instead.

    I used to try to argue or talk with them. Using logic and rational though. I had one friend in school who was a Christadelphian and an extremely intelligent and nice guy; I had lots of interesting conversations with him about theology, but he was the only one I've ever come across.

    If someone won't even give logic a chance because they're so sure of their blind belief then what position have they placed you in, really? One where your only options are to either not bother, argue anyway until you want to shoot both them and yourself in the face just to make it stop or to be as stubborn as they are in the hopes that maybe they'll see it's not nice to have a conversation with someone who doesn't even give your 'logic' a chance.

    I recall a study reported on a few months ago where it was concluded that humans are the only animal on the planet who have religion, based on the findings that they are the only animal with the mental capability to believe in something that is not real.
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    Am I becoming a complete asshole?
    (wide open . . . )

    somehow, i think the 'complete' part was accomplished a long time ago . . .
    The g Factor is to be God-smacked...

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    Right, but you're only saying that because you're religious, aren't you?

    I don't know where to begin. This, like most of my writing on this forum, is probably going to be muddled and confusing.

    I am an adamant atheist. There is no doubt in my mind that the Catholic church is one of the most corrupt and anti-Christlike organizations in the world. Disregard the crusades, misogyny, 2000 years of persecution and ignoring science. If Jesus came to earth today, he would crush Vatican City. Westboro represent everything Christianity should not be. Mormons, who may not be quite as bigoted as the other two, have their own prejudices. Now, before anyone jumps on me for not mentioning Muslims or any other non-Christian religion, it has nothing to do with some vendetta or attention seeking related to my childhood. I do have my qualms with other religions, they just aren't as well represented, as destructive, and growing up in Arizona for 19 years, I am much more familiar with Christianity. I am currently reading the bible, and I plan to read the Qur'an at some point soon.

    So anyway, I can argue about the churches and how they disgust me for hours.

    Now, if I disregard the churches using their influence to corrupt and destroy. I still have issues with individual spiritualism. Its fucking preposterous to believe in something like that. Not only is it ridiculous to completely disregard everything science has to tell you because it is 'constantly changing' or 'but this has been around for thousands of years!', but also the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of religions. What makes you think yours is right? On top of that, what makes you think your religion gives you the right to dictate others lives or pass judgment? No, religion is not required to have morality. Even if it was required at some point, are we not past that now?

    This was said on the forum about 2 years ago, I only noticed it maybe a year ago, so I didn't want to bump the thread. But I feel like it is kind of relevant to what I have to say, and I am curious what others think.

    Why the fuck do atheists need to impose their beliefs on others? Because they believe that some poor kid in rural Kansas is The Chosen One for curing cancer, only he'll never be able to accomplish that unless all the religious dogma he'll be taught throughout his life is stopped before it reaches him? Fuck that. Christians impose their beliefs on others because there is a destiny involved in their religion, because evangelism consistent with their beliefs. Atheists' "beliefs," as a group, are limited to "God Ain't." The only logical reason for them to impose this belief on others is simple bigotry and intolerance. Annoyed by those who believe in God(s)? Cry moar.
    Is this out of line? I really haven't any idea if this is something that shouldn't be done or not. If so, just message me and I'll edit it out.

    Anyway, despite all my problems with religion, not only in practice, but the thought of blind ignorance for the sake of happiness, I'm still not bothered by people being religious. As long as they keep it too themselves. Don't be a narrow minded bigot, don't pass judgment, don't dictate others lives based solely on your religious belief, and we shouldn't have a problem.

    It all boils down to this, I judge people from a person to person basis. Atheists can be just as much of a fucking ass as a theist can.

    To be completely honest, I think the only reason I feel this way, is because I have a lot of religious friends who are good people. If all the people I met were like some of the kids I have gone to school with, I'd be in the exact same position you are, and I wouldn't doubt if I got to that point in a few years anyway.

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    So you don't want to debate religion, but you do want to talk about your intolerance of religion?

    I think people are always quick to justify their dislike or religions or atheism based on 'I grew up here' or 'This is what I've experienced'. Which of course is fair enough, it's just you'd think that if you grew up in a heavily religious society, that you'd be able to discern some positive things from religion.

    The fact that you view it entirely as harmful to society, I would suggest means that your view is heavily prejudiced or dogmatic. Because of course there are benefits to religion, and not being able to see them is..well prejudice.

    Now I'm not saying all religions are good, or that there are no bad religions. In fact I'm not a fan of the Catholic church at all. However living in a society where religion hasn't been mixed into the political debate, I have a much easier time seeing the positive aspects of religion (as the negative ones are not so common here.)
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    Asshole? No, you're a hypocrite. You just don't do what you preach. But that's okay, we're all hypocrites at some point.
    Do you think you‘d sell your soul
    To just have one thing to turn out right?

  9. #9
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    I was raised a Catholic Christian. But i consider myself an atheist. I don't care about other people's faith/religion, as long as they don't start forcing it upon other people. Or me.

    That said, i disagree with most stances of Catholic Church. I won't get into a deeper debate about those stances, i'm not in the mood for it right now.

    I'll rather share my thoughts about the belief of creationists and existance of God. It might be interesting to somebody.

    Anyway, you surely know the theory that the universe and everything in it was created by God. It got me thinking - why would this person, named God or whatever you may call him, even create the universe in the first place? For his own amusement? Or was it some sort of an expeiment of epic proportions? Or he has a master plan?

    First of all, let's say he wanted to have fun. I haven't heard any Catholic say that, but it could be one of the reasons, couldn't it? Imagine yourself as a eternal being, that eternity would seem pretty long and boring if there was nothing for you to do. But here's a cathch - the universe breathes at a much, much slower pace than we can even imagine. Evolution (the more sane Christians accept the evolution theory as a fact, even the pope does) took billions of years. It could be pretty interesting for God to create the first living organisms and watch them develop into more and more complex life forms over time. But since it would all take so long, it wouldn't be really that fun. So let's say the time flies faster for God. In that case, he would just miss so many of his creations. Some life forms only existed for a short period of time, and if the entire history of the universe was shortened into 24 hours for example, he wouldn't even be able to see most of them, as they would only last on Earth for fractions of a second that would hardly be noticable. So what's the point of creating something you can't really observe?

    Secondly (this actually reffers to my previous point also), there are bazillions of stars and planetary systems in the universe. It is very unlikely that of all those planets, our planet is the only planet populated with living creatures. So imagine God trying to observe (wether for fun or as an experiment, the same logic applies) everything he created (suppose he created not only life on Earth, but also on other planets). The sheer size of the universe is immense. Could God really focuse on every single planet with life, all the time? Sounds like too much work to be really worth it, and taking in consideration what i said in the previous paragraph, it seems like God would miss a whole lot of action.

    And finally, the Master Plan that Christians seem to love so much. That's just as unlikely as creating the universe for fun or as an experiment. Perhaps it's even more unlikely. If there was a master plan, why so? What would an eternal being earn from it? If you look at evolutionary history, it's the same old story every time. Some species die out, and other species take their place. Humans evolved, causing even more species to die out. In the future, our planet will die, even before our Sun dies, forcing humans (if our race would even exist that far into the future) to expand, to populate other planets, and (likely) getting into war with other planets' inhabitants, in order to take over their living space. Even more of God's precious species would die out that way. So i'm asking, what would God gain with this master plan? Where does this all lead? Or are there perhaps more Gods, and this is all just a big inter-galactical MMORPG Universe of Warcraft game, where all the Gods compete against eachother, and whoever creates the most powerfull races earns the most points and wins the game? Which again brings us to the point of creating everything for fun. It's not fun, it takes too damn long. And if there is a master plan, i applaud God(s) for being so patient with it. I just don't see where this master plan leads, and what gain would God have from it. It seems more logical to believe there is no such thing as God. I believe it was all created by chance, a chain of lucky coincidences.


    It's TL;DR, so if you took time to read it all i owe you a beer.

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    Amen, my brothers. I love this thread. My massive reply is really just for Conedude and Pilz. You're the only two I think will read this whole thing.

    Coney, I get exactly where you are coming from. I mean exactly. I grew up attending a Church of England primary school. When you learn your religion side by side with real things of course you accept it all, just like you said. And I started to disregard it about the same age as you. And I got really, really angry.

    The fact that I had to deprogram myself infuriated me. It is outrageous to me that I was brainwashed with this crap while learning my times tables and alphabet. I blamed the system at the time. Later I realized my parents deserved blame too. They are not religious people and in fact it's hard to even get them to talk about religion. But I guess they just didn't think it was a big deal if I went to a religious school. And it might have been exceptionally difficult to find a non-religious one close enough for me to attend. But still.

    My parents let me be brainwashed. I have brought this up with my mum since then. Quite recently actually, because I'm concerned my 4 year old niece and nephew will have the same problem. My mum's opinion apparently is that it's ok for them to go to a C of E school because they can make up their own minds when they're older, just like I did. I explained that it was incredibly hard for me and has repercussions that last to this day. I tried to explain the it's extremely difficult to unlearn something you learned as a child. I even admitted that I used to beat myself when I thought I had been bad because I wanted to show God I was sorry. How fucked up is that? An eight year old self-flagellant. That's what my state education gave me.

    So anyway, I went through a really angry period. And I still get pretty heated about religion. I can pretend to be respectful of the insane crap people believe, but in reality I cannot respect it at all. If they just kept it to themselves it would be better. But no, almost everybody thinks it's fine to talk about their religion. Talk about it like it's real and they can't understand anyone who doesn't see the simple truth of it. If I bother to tell them I'm a non-believer they often seem offended. Let me really make this point stick. Merely telling them I do not believe in any deity seems offensive to them. Some won't even believe me. I worked with a guy who seriously thought I was lying, either to him or myself. He really believed that deep down everyone believes in his Christian God. He also believes that deep down all faggots know they are going to hell. Seriously.

    I hate being surrounded by religion. I live in Topeka, Kansas. Home of Fred Phelps. I see those people standing by the side of the road with their hateful signs all the time. But you know what? They don't annoy me much more than the dozens of churches I drive past every day. I hate all of it. I hate "in God we trust" and I hate "one nation under God". I hate going to funerals and hearing how they're in a better place now. I hate people telling me I'll see my loved ones again one day in Heaven. I hate all of it. I can't just not think about it because it's everywhere I look. I can't escape it. And it makes me angrier.

    Then there's just the fact that I don't understand how any intelligent human being can believe the insane bullshit present in all religions. Being told to "just have faith" is like being told to "just be irrational and crazy". Belief without proof is stupid. People know this. Except when it comes to religion. I find that I cannot really trust any religious people because I know they're crazy. I know they make poor decisions. I know they will act irrationally.

    I don't identify myself as an atheist though. Too much seems to go along with it. Like, a smug arrogance that atheists know all the answers. I don't know all the answers and neither do you. That's the point. None of us really know anything. I can say that there is no evidence of the existence of deities, and I can say that most likely when I die I simply cease to be. But I don't like anyone to act like something is completely certain when it's not. We don't know where we came from. We don't know how the universe came into existence. Atheists will say "I don't know how the universe came to be but I know it wasn't done by God". This bothers me. It could have been done by some kind of intelligent entity. It could have. We are not in a position to rule it out. We can disprove any particular religion because they are kind enough to give us so many crazy details that are easy to debunk. But we cannot disprove the possibility that some kind of intelligent entity more powerful than ourselves might exist or have once existed. Do I personally believe in one? No. There's no evidence. Do I believe it's impossible? No, there's no evidence.

    I expect that we will eventually find alien life somewhere in the universe. Like Stephen Hawking, I believe the universe is most likely teeming with life. Once we find even a microbe it will then be entirely rational to speculate that advanced lifeforms are out there. As advanced as us, or more so. And wildly different to us. With technologies that seem magical. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C Clarke said that and I agree wholeheartedly. So, once we find even the tiniest speck of alien life the possibility of "Gods" gains much more credibility. Oh, it takes some redefining of the concept of course. But I believe it is perfectly rational to say Gods may exist but they are actually aliens. Do I believe this is true? Do I have faith? Of course not. I merely believe it's entirely possible, perhaps even likely.

    So I basically identify myself as an agnostic. I doubt everything and claim to be certain of nothing. I despise religion because they claim to be certain of everything when they have no more genuine evidence than I do. And some atheists can be almost as annoying at times. I just can't stand it when people claim to know the answers to unknowable problems. But of course atheists aren't responsible for most of the death and cruelty inflicted through human history and don't try to impede scientific discovery. There are so many practical reasons to hate religion yet I find myself more and more stuck on the intellectual reasons as I grow older. But whichever reason I am currently thinking about, I know that my hatred of religion is justified. I never feel bad about it anymore. I don't need to hear them out or respect their opinions when I know they are completely irrational and entirely without logic.

    Sorry for the long post. But not really. This is one of only two subjects that I'm deeply passionate about. I could easily write a whole book about it so be glad I've only posted a sample.

    I'm going to finish with a question. As much as I hate religion, I still wonder if it might be necessary. I'd like to say it isn't, obviously. But it does give people hope and gets them through the worst shit life has to offer. I find many things more difficult than most people seem to. Like dealing with death. I find it hard not to get depressed when the only certainties I see in life are suffering and death. And I can't even console myself in something better coming after. This has been and still is a big problem for me. I find it hard to motivate myself for anything or care about anything when everything seems so temporary and inconsequential. I look up at the stars and can't really make myself feel that anything matters. I envy faith. I understand why people seem to crave it, perhaps even need it. Now, my question is, do I just feel this way because I was indoctrinated at a young age? I was given the promise of immortality and then lost it. If religion was eradicated would millions of people feel suicidally depressed at the lack of meaning in the universe? Would it help if they never thought there was any to begin with?

    I've had many good conversations with some very intelligent Christians. I still find it hard to reconcile that they can be highly intelligent and religious, but I can't deny it is possible to be both. I've told them to imagine for a moment that everything they believe is simply wrong. There is nothing more going on than being born, living until you're old (if you're "lucky") and your body starts falling apart and everyone you love is dead or dying, and then you die. Nothing more. I've had people tell me they could not live like that and don't understand how I can. As if believing in something crazy is simply a choice I could make and then be happy like them. But I can't do that, and I'll admit that without anything greater than myself to believe in I'm pretty damn miserable. That's the only reason I don't actively try to fuck with anyone's faith. So yeah, I can't decide if religion is necessary or not. I wouldn't want everyone to feel like I do. But maybe they wouldn't. Maybe it's just me.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.” – Bill Hicks

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