An argument that most religious people are actually skeptics

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Joined  20-04-2011
30 April 2011 05:33

Heaven is said to be the place of absolute beauty beyond our comprehension where every suffering will be replaced with joy. 

Why then do religious people mourn the death of loved ones?  If an Uncle, for instance, came to you and said I am going to move to a town that is more beautiful than anyone can imagine.  In this place my back will no longer hurt, I will feel like I did when I was 16, my deceased wife will be alive and waiting for me, I will spend all day in splendor, the weather is always perfect, and all the people there are honest and kind, and the best part is someday you will be able to join me there.  Would you say, “No please don’t go”?  Of course not.  You would say “Wow, you are so lucky.  Go as soon as you can because that place sounds amazing”.

My point is that most people of religion are sad when someone dies because they in fact do not believe 100% that heaven exists.  Why else would they go to long lengths to extend their lives through medical intervention instead of rejoicing that they are on their way to this magical place.  Because they actual think like an atheist.  Once you’re dead you’re dead and that’s that.  That is the only logical reason to fear and mourn death.

What are your thoughts on this argument?

Total Posts:  13912
Joined  24-12-2004
30 April 2011 08:36
free2011 - 30 April 2011 09:33 AM

What are your thoughts on this argument?

I’ve long held this as one of the many “tells” that believers don’t really believe what they think they do, but it’s not because they’re skeptics, it’s just because they’re dogmatists when it comes to their “beliefs”, and some of that dogma is just so clearly fabricated and fantastical that even most believers who desperately want to buy it can’t quite pull it off—they can’t quite overcome their sense of incredulity given the dogma they have to work with.

It may just be a semantic thing. “Skeptic” means something fairly specific to self-identified skeptics, and it’s certainly not “those who can’t quite fool themselves into believing utterly baseless bullshit”. I may agree with the sentiment though. I think this inability to “achieve” this level of self-deception demonstrates most believers can’t really pull off much in the way of faith, because genuine religious faith is all about self-deception, and relatively few believers are sufficiently short on intellectual integrity to manage the levels of self-deception and selective credulity required in order to believe a lot of their religious dogma. Much of religious practice seems to be about mitigating the dissonance this creates.

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Joined  05-08-2009
26 May 2011 11:02

This is true in almost all cases.  Religion is as popular as it is because of the fear of death and the individual’s inability to accept it’s inevitability.  The “promise” of paradise is the control mechanism exploited by religious leaders and governments throughout history.  But below it all is the common denominator of most life form’s instinct for survival.  Even the deluded can’t often overcome ingrained natural instinct with a misinformed counter-intuitive lie.