I am Atheist myself. I don't try to tell people not to believe in a god or gods. I am against organized religion, however.
I believe organized religion is a dangerous thing.
There is not many things more personal than faith. It is what you believe as a person. Organized religion mars that by effectively trying to tell you what you believe. There are so many people that only believe bits and pieces of what their organization tells them, but still call themselves part of that religion. A lot of people I know are effected by their religion in a very negative way.
I'll just tell you first about my old room-mate. We will call him Nick. Nick was born into a mormon family. As a child of course, he was raised as a mormon. Like every teen-age kid though, he had a streak of unruliness. He decided in that time that he did not want to be mormon anymore. His family disowned him and kicked him out of the house. A teenager, not old enough to get a job or housing for himself, was kicked out of the house. Did I mention he lived in Alaska? That is pretty important. Anyway, his experiance was not a positive one of course, so cold, scared and desperate he went back home and claimed he had learned "the error of his ways".
Now in that time, Nick had slept with a woman once. One of the ultimate goals of mormonism is to meet your "soul mate" and be married in the temple of moronai. But because of that one "indiscretion" he is now unworthy of the temple. Of course this brings him a great deal of turmoil, knowing that he will never reach one of the highest religious goals, no matter how hard he tries.
Of course, Nick's story is a bit extreme, but there are lots of people that are pressured into being religious for fear of being cast out from their community. It's not a type of stress that someone should have to worry about.
Now I think religion is a dangerous thing for several reasons. The most basic is stress and peer pressure on the youth. Telling them they will go to hell if they won't believe this, or that god will smite them, or telling them that they must be willing lay down their life for this or that religion. It's disgusting. Not only are you taking the child's right to choose, but you are giving them unneeded stress and anxiety.
Also, organized religion has resulted in millions of lost lives over holy wars and other various religious endeavors. But everyone knows that, This violent behavior continues on today with general mistreatment of anyone of a different faith, Atheists, gays, women(less nowadays, but still happens), people of different cultures, etc. Creating hostile environments for people at work, school and at even at home. Not to mention the fact that Atheists such as myself are unable to run for public office for no reason other than the fact that we don't believe in the same things they do.
So there are a lot of reasons why I would try to convince someone to renounce their religion, but I would never ask them to renounce their faith or what they truly believe in because that is separate.
but I would never ask them to renounce their faith or what they truly believe in because that is separate.
faith, what they truly beleive in, ect. is not serperate from religion, organized or not. They are one and the same. The issues caused by one are issues caused by all. Not saying that you cant have one or the other, but those that are truly religious have faith and truly beleive what they claim to beleive.
To attempt to serperate one from the other is to attempt to serparate an American from being a human being. Most people would not sooner denouce thier heritage than they would their race/nationality.
Just last year we discussed this in Philosophy class. What is the "Self"? My teacher claimed the self as some seperate enitity that has nothing to do at all with our experience. But one student challanged if he was born in 4000BC China, would he be the same as he would be today? The answer is no. The teacher was stumped. Our envioroments, peers, culture, religion,family race, political beleifs, country, shape who we are and what we believe. Without them we would be different.
Despite the issues cause by any of the above, it is who we are. Changing that is like an individual trying smashing together two atoms at such a force that they break into peices. Not saying it can't be done, but the more imbedded it is, the harder it is to serperate, assuming it was ever imbedded at all. peace over war
Religion takes away the power of your free will, it makes your life meaningless. The big religions makes human's life about serving God. Why should we live our lives just to serve someone else? Whether God exist or not, that is not important, but even if he does, I would not follow him. Besides, it generally the religious people who are always pushy about their God. Even worse, is that they would justify their actions, regardless of good or bad, based merely on their God's words.
Religions gives people a sense of acceptance of their current conditions rather than seeking to change it with their own power, they seek to wait for some kind of divine help. When someone ask for advice when they are in hard times, saying: "God is always watching" or "God have a plan" doesn't solve anything. Stop making God an excuse for inaction.
Why Atheists are important? Because in Atheism there is no grand plan; in other words, you have control of your destiny. There is no plan made by some all-powerful being. How hopeless would the world be if your life is already a plan made by someone else? That basically means that your free-will will have no effect on your progression because it is already planned. That is why I think it is better to live as an Atheists, because it is nice to know that I do not have a pre-set destiny which I cannot change.
thats very philosophical, but has little to do with either athiesm or religion. Not every god has a "grand plan" and not every atheists believes in no destiny at all.
but what i would like to argue is if free will even exists at all. How do u know your will is free?free of what? How do u know it just isnt influenced by some other person's belief? It could be influenced by your friends, family, enviornment, lover, ect. How do u know if you are even making the decision yourself? You could be making it based on some preconcived belief of some other person, place, thing, or idea. and how is free will any different than the self? How can you be sure it exists either?
I would also like to add the same thing about "destiny". If it does exists, you have about as much control over it as anyone else does. You cant choose who you are born to, you cant choose what country you grow up in, and often times you cant even choose what type of education you have. Honestly speaking, the government controls much of what you claim to have control over. Including what you believe, what jobs are available, where you go to college, what you do in your free time,ect.
We understand as much about free will and destiny as we do about gravity. We might as well claim none even exists. peace over war