Bible Discussion: No Society Is Naturally Atheist

No Society Is Naturally Atheist
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Gactimus
2004-09-02 11:34:54 EST
When we are born, we discover there is some one or some ones who provides
our needs and comfort us when we cry out. We discover later that these are
our caregivers, usually our parents. It is from this that we develop our
first concept of God. I have noticed that many atheists had poor parenting
during their childhood. That is why the concept of God as a Heavenly
Father is so popular. Elroy, we gain our first understanding of who God is
from our caretakers during our infancy and childhood. Man is not naturally
atheist.

The fact alone that religion is universal in human society does not prove
any particular religion, but it does give strong support to the existence
of a higher power. Atheists make silly claims that religion is unnatural
and that people are naturally atheist. But if that's true than why does
every human society in human history have a religion at the heart of its
culture?

Gianna Stefani
2004-09-02 12:20:52 EST
"Gactimus" <gactimus@xrs.net> wrote in message
news:Xns955876760BE48IX@alaska.local...

> When we are born, we discover there is some one or some ones who provides
> our needs and comfort us when we cry out. We discover later that these are
> our caregivers, usually our parents. It is from this that we develop our
> first concept of God.

Would you care to illustrate exactly how we develop our first concept of a
deity from that ?

> I have noticed that many atheists had poor parenting
> during their childhood. That is why the concept of God as a Heavenly
> Father is so popular.

That appears to be contradictory .... surely the poorly-parented atheists
would be the ones most likely to yearn for a heavenly parent to replace or
supplement their 'flawed' parents.

> Elroy, we gain our first understanding of who God is
> from our caretakers during our infancy and childhood. Man is not naturally
> atheist.

I am reading this in alt.pagan and 'Elroy' means nothing ... is it the name
of a poster in another group ?
I agree that humans are not naturally atheist ..... if they were, they would
be (by now anyway).

> The fact alone that religion is universal in human society does not prove
> any particular religion, but it does give strong support to the existence
> of a higher power. Atheists make silly claims that religion is unnatural
> and that people are naturally atheist. But if that's true than why does
> every human society in human history have a religion at the heart of its
> culture?

I agree with the substance of your post, which is why I have queried some of
the points which seem (to me) to weaken your otherwise logical argument.

Best wishes,

Gianna Stefani




Martin Willett
2004-09-02 12:46:47 EST
Gactimus wrote:
> When we are born, we discover there is some one or some ones who
> provides our needs and comfort us when we cry out. We discover later
> that these are our caregivers, usually our parents. It is from this
> that we develop our first concept of God. I have noticed that many
> atheists had poor parenting during their childhood. That is why the
> concept of God as a Heavenly Father is so popular. Elroy, we gain
our
> first understanding of who God is from our caretakers during our
> infancy and childhood. Man is not naturally atheist.
>
> The fact alone that religion is universal in human society does not
> prove any particular religion, but it does give strong support to
the
> existence of a higher power. Atheists make silly claims that
religion
> is unnatural and that people are naturally atheist. But if that's
> true than why does every human society in human history have a
> religion at the heart of its culture?

My own experience of atheists, which is probably much greater than
yours as I live in a country that tolerates atheism and I have been
running an atheist website for five years, is that there is no obvious
pattern to who becomes an atheist. I had a very loving and caring home
and most of the atheists I know can tell similar stories.

Everybody is born atheist. Nobody is born into belief. Beliefs are
absorbed by children easily. There are some things that children learn
spectacularly easily, too easily to be explained away. Language is the
obvious and best example. An ability to learn language is built in, we
do not just absorb it passively, we seek it out. Religion is not the
same. I do not believe we seek out religion, it is pushed upon us. If
you never talk about religion with children they are as curious about
it as they are about sex, that is, they are mildly interested but not
anything like as much as adults are or think that children are. If you
gave a child an ice cream every time he asked about something to do
with religion (as distraction, not reward!) you could keep him in as
much ignorance about matters of religious belief as the typical 1950s
pre-teen had about oral sex.

Many children don't care very much about the issues and others,
surprisingly, are thoroughly satisfied with "we don't know" as an
explanation, no, really, their brains do not fall out and they don't
lose all trust in adults if we tell them we don't know.

Religions are cultural. The interesting thing about religions is the
way they spread. Despite the tales of Christians telling stories of
simple shepherds bringing the good news and kings following on later
it never happens that way in reality. Religions never travel uphill,
against the cultural tide. There has not been a single example of a
religion of a simple hunter-gatherer people taking hold amongst a
tribe of herders. Not a single example of a peasant farmer's religion
taking over an advanced industrial society. And not a single example
of one advanced monotheistic religion supplanting another entrenched
advanced monotheistic religion, with the possible exception of the
move from Catholicism to Islam in the wake of the genocide in Rwanda.

British Protestants went to India, a handful converted to Islam, an
even smaller number converted to Hinduism. Most stayed Protestant. Now
the tide has turned and the populations have flowed in the other
direction, but the result is the same: mature religions that have
experience bumping up against other mature religions do not collapse,
people do not convert between mature religions in large numbers. To
cause an old religion to collapse you need a powerful steamroller of
changing material culture. Christianity poured into the Americas, the
indigenous religions curled up and died as fast in response to the
stronger strain of religious ideas as the people did in response to
the more virulent germs the invaders carried with them.

Christianity has followed the path of expanding material culture which
started in the Middle East with the invention of farming and has
pushed westward, with the centre of gravity moving west and north as
the lands behind were laid bare by the environmental impact of
intensive agriculture and resource depletion (sometimes relatively
impoverished, sometimes totally devastated). By the time of Columbus
Christianity had passed its zenith, had run out of new lands to infect
and was about to be overtaken by Islam. Only the opening up of the
Americas turned the tide of history. It was a close run thing.

People have religions for the same reason they have culture. There are
certain things that can be done, so they get done. All people decorate
their bodies or wear clothes, these ways of decorating or dressing
form a culture, in societies that are big enough these cultures can
develop fashions. Is man naturally fashion conscious? Does the
question even make sense? All peoples develop ways of making music,
telling stories and interacting with other people. Is this because
these things are intrinsically human or is it because we have a
culture of a particular size that enables, or even demands that we
have such aspects to our culture?

My hunch is that culture, including the propensity for religion, is
inherent in the relationships that must exist within communities of
intelligent communicating entities. I suggest human societies have all
evolved religion for the same sort of reason that all forms of liquid
make puddles. There is no inherent tendency in two hydrogen ions and
one oxygen ion to form puddles, to be wet or to go well with a drop of
whisky, it is down to the way they behave in groups, religions come
out of groups of people like rainbows come out of particular patterns
of water.

The way to test this hypothesis is to meet some intelligent aliens,
and hope they are not missionaries, or witch-burners.

http://www.mwillett.org/atheism/wager1.htm


--
Martin Willett

http://mwillett.org/





Dan Holzman
2004-09-02 12:54:08 EST
In article <Xns955876760BE48IX@alaska.local>,
Gactimus <gactimus@xrs.net> wrote:
>
>The fact alone that religion is universal in human society does not prove
>any particular religion, but it does give strong support to the existence
>of a higher power.

No, it doesn't.

Gianna Stefani
2004-09-02 13:33:33 EST
"Martin Willett" <ignoredmailbox@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:2pp13mFngsoqU1@uni-berlin.de...

> Everybody is born atheist.

I am afraid that is not true - everybody is born agnostic.

> Nobody is born into belief.

Indeed not - nor are they born into disbelief - hence they are agnostic.

This helps nicely to explain my agreement with Gactimus that people are not
naturally atheist.


Regards

Gianna Stefani



Gianna Stefani
2004-09-02 13:34:53 EST
"Dan Holzman" <holzman@panix.com> wrote in message
news:ch7j7g$415$1@panix1.panix.com...
> In article <Xns955876760BE48IX@alaska.local>,
> Gactimus <gactimus@xrs.net> wrote:
> >
> >The fact alone that religion is universal in human society does not prove
> >any particular religion, but it does give strong support to the existence
> >of a higher power.
>
> No, it doesn't.

It gives strong support to the existence of belief in a higher power.

Gianna Stefani




ZenIsWhen
2004-09-02 13:41:04 EST
"Gactimus" <gactimus@xrs.net> wrote in message
news:Xns955876760BE48IX@alaska.local...
> When we are born, we discover there is some one or some ones who provides
> our needs and comfort us when we cry out. We discover later that these are
> our caregivers, usually our parents. It is from this that we develop our
> first concept of God.

It is ridiculous, and fraudulent, to assume what newborns think aand
believe.
While they MAY see their "caregivers" as "perfect" or "all powerful" has
nothing to do with the concept of a god!


I have noticed that many atheists had poor parenting
> during their childhood.

And I have noticed - with ample evidence - that many zealous (so called)
christians make outrageously insane and ignorant statements like you just
did!



That is why the concept of God as a Heavenly
> Father is so popular.

Popular has nothing to do with factual, valid, real or anything else.


Elroy, we gain our first understanding of who God is
> from our caretakers during our infancy and childhood. Man is not naturally
> atheist.

Merely a bellowed claim based on ignorance ....equivalent, and as
meaningless, as "there are no atheists in foxholes".

BTW ... Archaeologists have found a timeline when humans (homo sapiens)
started believing in something other than "this world". Therefore, EVERYONE
was an atheist before that time.

Also .. .while children may mistakenly understand the realaity of their
parents, while they are very young, they soon find out that they are just
people.
Children are NON- God believers (AKA atheists) until they are TAUGHT what to
believe!





>
> The fact alone that religion is universal in human society does not prove
> any particular religion, but it does give strong support to the existence
> of a higher power.

Religion may or may not be universal, but by the FACT that there are so many
diverse beliefs - there is no reason to assume anyhone of them true ... or
even to assume religioius beliefs, themselves, are true!

The ONLY thing that gives support for a higher power is EVIDENCE ... You
Have None!
The fact that people believe, whether one - or millions - MEANS NOTHING!!!!


Atheists make silly claims that religion is unnatural
> and that people are naturally atheist. But if that's true than why does
> every human society in human history have a religion at the heart of its
> culture?

People are born atheists, and then they LEARN about the religion of their
family and culture.
All you are saying is that religion is popular; again , that does NOT make
it (what they believe) real, factual or even evident or natural.

Your arguments are filled with nothing but biased fraud!








Gianna Stefani
2004-09-02 14:00:55 EST
"ZenIsWhen" <ZenIsWhen@anywhere.com> wrote in message
news:10jempb8sad90b4@corp.supernews.com...

> BTW ... Archaeologists have found a timeline when humans (homo sapiens)
> started believing in something other than "this world". Therefore,
EVERYONE
> was an atheist before that time.

You were doing fine until then.
Atheism is an active disbelief in deities, therefore prior to humans having
a view on deities (for or against) they were agnostic.

> Children are NON- God believers (AKA atheists) until they are TAUGHT what
to
> believe!

And taught what NOT to believe ..... agnostic then, NOT atheist.

> The ONLY thing that gives support for a higher power is EVIDENCE ... You
> Have None!

If he had evidence, then his beliefs would become facts, and he would have
no beliefs. By demanding that this believer PROVE his beliefs, you are
requiring him to become an atheist.
That is not only unfair, it is illogical. Instead of demanding that he
prove his god exists, you prove it doesn't

> People are born atheists, and then they LEARN about the religion of their
> family and culture.

No, people are born agnostic .... they learn to become atheists (or
religious).

IMHO a serious study of christianity does lean one toward atheism, but a
serious study of religion in general should not be confused with that.

Gianna Stefani



Tom
2004-09-02 14:03:05 EST

"Gactimus" <gactimus@xrs.net> wrote in message
news:Xns955876760BE48IX@alaska.local...
> When we are born, we discover there is some one or some ones who provides
> our needs and comfort us when we cry out. We discover later that these are
> our caregivers, usually our parents. It is from this that we develop our
> first concept of God.

It is???? What if it isn't a Christian family, moron?



>I have noticed that many atheists had poor parenting
> during their childhood.

What a crock. You haven't noticed jack shit, you are only making an
assertion, which is based on nothing.


> That is why the concept of God as a Heavenly
> Father is so popular.

Please explain other religions.



> Elroy, we gain our first understanding of who God is
> from our caretakers during our infancy and childhood. Man is not naturally
> atheist.

No, man isn't naturally atheist nor is he naturally religious.

> The fact alone that religion is universal in human society does not prove
> any particular religion, but it does give strong support to the existence
> of a higher power.

No, it gives support that the need for a supreme being as an ignorant cave
dweller thousands of years ago still carries over into this age.

> Atheists make silly claims that religion is unnatural
> and that people are naturally atheist. But if that's true than why does
> every human society in human history have a religion at the heart of its
> culture?

A lot of superstition perhaps, that is taught from generation to generation.
As I explained earlier, the entire world is becoming more secular everyday,
thanks in part to scientific discoveries. Fifty years from now the only ones
attending some form of worship will be the children of today's truly
ignorant fundamentalist.



Martin Willett
2004-09-02 14:19:21 EST
Gianna Stefani wrote:
> "Martin Willett" <ignoredmailbox@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
> news:2pp13mFngsoqU1@uni-berlin.de...
>
>> Everybody is born atheist.
>
> I am afraid that is not true - everybody is born agnostic.
>
>> Nobody is born into belief.
>
> Indeed not - nor are they born into disbelief - hence they are
> agnostic.

That does rather depend on how you define the words.

agnostic n. & adj.

n.

1 a person who believes that nothing is known, or can be known, of the
existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena.

or

2 a person who is uncertain or non-committal about a certain thing.
adj. of or relating to agnostics or agnosticism.

(Concise Oxford Dictionary)

It might be more precise to say that people are born as weak atheists,
and weak atheist through ignorance at that, that is people who do not
believe in god(s) because they have not experienced god(s) and have
not been told about him/her/them either. They can't have an opinion or
an answer because they can't understand the question.

Agnosticism is in some ways a belief position about the nature of
belief, believing that the question of the existence of god is
meaningless and/or unknowable.

I see myself as a weak atheist, and an agnostic, although don't for
one moment think that makes me either ignorant or apathetic. I'm
probably the most opinionated person you are ever likely to meet, it's
just that I don't know anything about gods. I have a lot of opinions,
much wisdom but a lack of knowledge, and certainly a lack of gnosis. I
have never experienced gods, I don't believe in gods but I know that I
cannot know there are no gods. It's not faith, it's opinion.

Babies are born without any experience of gods and without any
understanding of what gods might be, or why they might care about the
matter. They also lack any way of believing whether or not they can
know gods, so in that sense they are too ignorant to be agnostic. At
least in one (and the most correct) sense of that word, which was,
after all, only invented 135 years ago. Perhaps we haven't thoroughly
thrashed out what it actually means yet. ;)

>
> This helps nicely to explain my agreement with Gactimus that people
> are not naturally atheist.
>

In contrast my explanation wasn't nice and probably hasn't helped
anybody else to understand anything, but I'm standing by it.

For now.

Until a better idea comes along.

If it does.

http://www.mwillett.org/atheism/agnostic.htm

--
Martin Willett

http://mwillett.org/


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