That one really annoys me because Christians who are familiar with the Bible should be aware that all humans are considered to be made in the Image of God—and thereby have innate moral capacity.
Just out of curiosity, why do atheists find this one insulting?
Perhaps they consider it insulting because it assumes that they would fall for something as weak as Pascal’s Wager?? I don’t know. I’m interest in seeing @Patrick et al address that one. (Patrick, am I right in my reasoning on this?)
Better yet in the immortal words of Homer Simpson:
" Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we’re just making him madder and madder!"
I find it insulting to my intelligence. Pascal’s wager? Seriously?
It is Pascal’s wager where there has to be one true religion. If an atheists believe that there has to be a God, they wouldn’t be atheists they would be pantheists and hedge all possibilities. But since all the major religions can’t be true as they are fundamentally conflicting - Can’t believe Jesus is God and be a Muslim who proclaims there is one God named God and Jesus is not God, Pantheism of Christianity and Islam doesn’t work. Since all religion can’t be true, a logical position is that they are all false. Plus the Pascal Wager doesn’t address that you have to give up freedoms in this life for the possibility of the next life. For example as Homer Simpson said “Do I get God madder and madder each week by coming to the wrong Church?” As the thought of heaven doesn’t sound that compelling to me mainly because I live a comfortable life in this life there doesn’t seem like it is worth doing anything in this life that improves the odds of an even better life in the afterlife.
So for an atheist who has thought this through and is happy and content with their life and their decision, it is insulting in that that isn’t accepted for them. I’ll take this life over any afterlife, in my present circumstances.
15 posts were split to a new topic: A Sympathetic View of Pascal’s Wager
No worries… I think we must like it or we wouldn’t be here
I’m not sure I quite find any of them insulting. I usually appreciate the opportunity to clear up misconceptions or at least show that things aren’t quite so straightforward. Things can possibly be pushed to that point however.
Whenever I’ve had those deep discussions, both of us cane away understanding one another better. Am I still agnostic? Yes. Did my views change? also yes.
I’ve sometimes felt that way, a couple of times I’m pretty sure I was right. No one in present company, thank you!
In that respect, these people might say you are worse than an atheist, because you “compromise belief”. You are a more credible threat to that form of belief than any atheist.
I find that one annoying rather than insulting, because it’s a flawed argument and crops up so often. If people frequently asked you if … No … On second thought, I won’t pose that question. It’s obviously rude, and @J.E.S doesn’t deserve that.
It can be a bit of a club for people who don’t play golf. People come to vent their feelings, to tell theirs story, to share concerns, and discuss their views. There is no single purpose, but whatever purpose people bring with them.
Funny, I’m also anti-natural theology and dislike arguments for the existence of God from science
Hmm, I have heard of this “club for people who don’t play golf” analogy. However, it seems to me that what unite people in atheist groups are their lack of something that is considered normative/typical in the wider society. In this sense, I wonder if a better metaphor for atheist groups are nudist resorts.
Is that kinda like when I was informed that I was a Christian secular humanist?
It stinks of hypocrisy which means it isn’t a serious question to begin with. The person asking that question would not be convinced using the same argument for other religions. For example, if I said that you should convert to Hinduism “just in case” I don’t think you would convert to Hinduism.
Why do atheists think hypocrisy is morally wrong?
I’m often amazed at how much difficulty some people have in understanding another person’s point of view. For example, for many people who grew up in a Christian family and church setting, they just can’t imagine a life lived without a daily consciousness of God and all things Biblical. So some of them will even convince themselves things like “All atheists are miserable and only wish they had what I have.” Yet this is a very common, very human reaction to differences. Thus, some people will say to a vegetarian “I could never manage to live day after day craving the taste of meat.” I’ve even had a young person say to me, “Your life must be incredibly socially isolated without a smartphone!” I can’t imagine life a full life without Twitter and Snapchat."
Meanwhile, so many Christians I’ve know who often make bombastic statements about what atheists allegedly believe and don’t believe have never personally met an atheist. I know this because I’ve asked them—and some of them were honest enough to reflect and say, “I guess not actually in person. But I’ve watched Richard Dawkins videos on Youtube. So I know that atheists are very angry and obsessed.”
A lot of people have very narrow spheres of experience. I think about that when I see lists like these “9 questions atheists find insulting.” (Of course, I could compile a “9 questions theists find insulting” list that would contain face-palm-worthy nonsense which can be found on lots of anti-theist websites. Indeed, many of Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion arguments are laughably recycled clunkers from long ago.)
I never said that hypocrisy is morally wrong. What I said is that it isn’t a serious question. Going further, the question is an attempt to appear intellectually superior instead of a serious question of why you should or shouldn’t believe in God. That is why I find the question to be insulting. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most insulting I would put it at a 2 or 3, so don’t think I am freaking out about it.
I didn’t notice @T_aquaticus saying anything about hypocrisy being “morally wrong”. He said it stinks. Don’t both theists and atheists believe that hypocrisy stinks? It is a logical inconsistency, a kind of intellectual and behavioral falsehood. And it is often accompanied by various offensive behaviors like condescension and rude dismissiveness. It jeopardizes community tranquility. Regardless of whether someone chooses to call hypocrisy a “moral wrong”, people generally agree that it is an unpleasant and often damaging behavior.
Maybe I’m not understanding your question—but it sounds like you are implying that it wouldn’t even make sense for an atheist to consider some behavior to be morally wrong. If that is your argument, I can’t agree. Atheists can identify and deplore moral wrongs just as theists can. (And Christians who believe the Bible assert that the Image of God in all humans demands that that be true.)
I would think that they have a bit of self awareness and self reflection. If they were asked why they haven’t converted to Mormonism just in case Joseph Smith was right I don’t think they would find such an argument very convincing. If they don’t find an argument convincing enough to convert to a religion they don’t believe in, then why would they think it would be convincing to others?
In my experience the answer is that such people tend to feel and not think. Indeed, consider how many people will typically say “I feel that …” instead of “I believe that…” or “It is my opinion that …” or even “I’ve considered the following evidence and have concluded that …” They react according to the feelings of immediate impressions. They don’t tend to think deeply. It is a very human trait which we all exhibit to varying degrees at various times.
The “feelers” often fail to think about the Law of Unintended Consequences. For example, a Sunday School conversation at my church went something like this:
Person 1: “I think all rapists and kidnappers, especially child molesters, should always be given the death penalty. Case closed. You’ll never convince me otherwise!”
Person 2 “But wouldn’t that mean that rapists and kidnappers wouldn’t take any chances by allowing their victims to live? Why wouldn’t they just go ahead and kill all witnesses, including their child victims, since the death penalty is at stake either way?”
Person 1: “Oh. Well. . . . It’s just how I feel about it.”
Keeping in mind that this rings in at a paltry 2.5 on the Atheist Insult-o-meter . . .
At least in the view of many atheists (this one included), being asked a question that has so little thought put into it is a bit insulting. It’s as if they were taught the question as the ultimate Atheist Gotcha moment, and never really put in any effort past that point. If there were serious questions based on emotion and personal experience then you wouldn’t expect a very poorly thought out and tired question.
Like you say, many christians have deep emotions tied to their beliefs. That’s fine, and entirely human. That is the type of conversation I am looking for, a conversation between two humans about who they really are. If a christian told me that they couldn’t imagine living without their beliefs and I would be encouraged that I was having a real conversation. If christians don’t want to be insulting towards atheist then just be honest. Don’t use canned questions or the latest “gotcha” that they learned in Sunday School. Just describe what you feel, and learn what the atheist is feeling. Be human.