"Why is the gospel of love dividing America?"
Because it is now, and always has been, politicized.
One explanation I have heard is that atheism makes your time here on earth more precious because it is all you have. To me that seems a little based on fear, you better enjoy your life because there is nothing after this
I fail to see fear involved at all. You should just not waste your time and make the most of every opportunity.
I also fail to see how this would motivate me to do good.
It doesn't. it's just a fact. The fact that Uranium has an atomic number of 92 won't motivate you to do good, either.
I definitely see how it would make me avoid suffering at any cost.
And I don't. What if you wanted something that involved some suffering in order to get it? Then it would depend on what you value, wouldn't it? But then I fail to see how believing in god should draw anyone to suffer. Nor is suffering ever a good thing.
Here's an example. If you have cancer, you will suffer a great deal of pain, discomfort, nausea, and other effects from treatment. but only if you want to keep on living. Since your continued life is undeniably a desirable value, then undergoing such suffering in order to get better is obviously logical.
Based solely on the ideas of atheism what would stop me from cheating if I knew I could get away with it?
You should stop implying there are ideas inherent to atheism. But if you want a non-theological reason to avoid "sin," there are many. For example, if you cheat at, say, a race, do you actually accomplish anything useful for your self-esteem, for your pride, for your sense of self-worth? You can fool other people, but it's hard to fool yourself.
This idea also seems to make every second extraordinarily weighed down with meaning; if I really thought this I would hate to sleep and I would never watch TV, every commercial would take 30 precious never to have again seconds away from my one shot of life.
You're being obsessive. I dare say on purpose, drawing on a reductio ad absurdum kind of argument. Sleeping is both necessary and pleasurable. TV commercials allow you to enjoy nearly free entertainment (money-free; you pay in time what you don't pay in money). If you go through life worrying you're missing out on something and resenting every little setback, you won't enjoy a minute of it.
An example of how mine helps is believing I am my own man. There is no higher power that will save me or give me mercy should I just believe hard enough or happen to earn his favor. If I want a job, I must put all my eggs in the hard work basket, since there is no divinity that will see to me getting it. That mindset pervades throughout much of what I do. I can't expect to win my hockey playoffs because I pray about it, I have to work my tail off. I can't expect divine protection for my son from the ills of the world because I ask for it, I must be vigilant in his upbringing. In other words, it doesn't allow me to leave much to chance, other than that which exists naturally in the world. These traits - hardworking, vigilant, protective, I see in part as a result of my beliefs.
I also feel it's allowed me to be more open minded. Some things are, without question, frowned upon by the church. I was kind of a country jock, if you had to pigeon hole me. In college, a few of my closest friends were gay. I spent many a night with them singing acapella (Glee didn't have s#%@ on us ;)), going to musicals, listening to Ani DiFranco, what have you. It opened my eyes to different cultures and lifestyles and was truely a precious memory I carry to this day. That breakdown of preconceived notions taught me a valuable lesson, one about prejudice, acceptance, and appreciation, that I feel I wouldn't have if I was religious, since I probably couldn't have befriended them. In and of itself, that time was a very small part of my history, but it marked a beginning, an awareness of the world outside of my little village I grew up in, and shaped the person I became.
This "cold, hard truth of eternal death and nothingness" is a tough concept. I have 1) chosen a way to look at it, and 2) defined an afterlife for myself. For #1, I have a life. I exist. From the dawn of time until 1980, I was already in eternal nothingness. I don't remember caring. From, oh I dunno, 2050 until the end of time, I will again be in eternal nothingness. Since I didn't care before, I've no reason to suspect I'll care again. In other words, I don't worry much about it. It's not sad, it's not scary, it just IS. All I can/should care about is the time in between, the 1980-2050ish, because it is but an eyeblink in eternity that I am existing, and should make the most of it. That may sound kind of flat, so comes #2 and the afterlife. I believe that "I am what I repeatedly do". I also believe that "I am my parents", and as such, so will my child be me. I must live a life of good to be good (we are what we repeatedly do) and to instill these habits into my son. If I am so lucky, he will grow up to be good and instill these habits into his children. Sometime after that I should die, and his children will have children and hopefully instill the same habits into theirs. In part, these habits, this SPIRIT, will be me, and as such, I will live on after death. I do feel that if I were a scoundrel and a skallywag, that I would be damning my family not just in the present, but in the after.
Hopefully that helps with explaining in how my beliefs, my athieist beliefs, motivate me to do good, or why I may not swipe an unattended purse or what have you. And of course, it's hard to put down an entire belief system in a few paragraphs, so I imagine this may have caused more questions that provided answers. But I will admit something... I AM incredibly anal with my time. I've never thought of it as a direct result of my athieism, but I recognize that I have some of these habits. I hate the thought of time wasted sleeping and eating. I'm not a "daily chores" type of person, I'm more of a "wait until it piles up and knock it out in one fell swoop" person. I don't go shopping when I need something, I go when I need a lot of somethings and can get em all at once. I even tried to get out of my free, paid trip to Vegas because it fell during hockey playoffs and I thought "it may just be a game, but it's a game that I'll never get back and I only have so many left".
I'm not sure if it's an athieist thing, or just a guy that prefers fun over chores ;)
...you have no proof of anything....If it was as clear as turing on
a light bulb, what would be the point of having the religion
at all. There's nobody going around trying to make people
believe in electricity, we can all plainly see it exists.
Actually you don't see electricity but you see the results of it, much like God. I have seen what happens when people plug into the divine. This unseen power in their lives turns on lights and activiates powers in us as human beings that go beyond ourselves and our limitations. There is no need to go around telling these people to believe in God, we can all plainly see He exists.
Actually you don't see electricity
Ever see lightening?
There is no need to go around telling these people to believe in God, we can all plainly see He exists.
But you wear those special 'god glasses' that only you and other
members of your cult are allowed to wear.
Let me go back to something you said earlier:
I tend to agree. Having no beacon, no shining light to lead me, in the pursuit of my own self was difficult. IS difficult. And in the course I became lost, got beat up, felt defeat, experienced despair. At times I STILL do. Sometimes I take pride in the thought that I did it alone, without a "crutch", without a benevolent Father cheering me on from the above. But I also realize those feelings are subjective and biased.
FrGamble, before these last few weeks of discussion, might well have thought athieism is easy. Just do what you want, whenever you feel like it. Kind of sounds like heaven, but we know it to be different. As a result of seeing his error in thinking, I don't feel it's fair to label religion as "taking the easy way out", especially when I have a hard time understanding it and therefore cannot empathize, cannot judge it fairly. I could be making the error I just saw him make. I imagine they, too, must struggle within their own beliefs, to find meaning, to connect the dots.
I actually admire how difficult it must be to arrive at these truths you have discovered without a beacon or shining light to guide you. At the same time I feel a little sorry for you. The analogy, and I hope it is not offensive, is of a guy who is limping along and obviously needs a crutch but he simply will not take it. I don't know why he won't accept the help and again you kind of admire the strength to say I want to do this on my own. However, since we arrive at the same place eventually and because not everyone is as determined and gifted as you, I really wish we as humans could be a little more humble and recognize that we need help, the help of each other, and divine assistance.
Anyway we seem to have arrived at similar places and I am very happy for that. It makes me think that ultimately we are all trying to live the best way we know how and to be good and moral people. I believe God and specifically Christianity is the best way to get there and you are advocating for a non-theist way. I thank you again for your attempt to show me how you use those atheist ideas to help you.
One last quick story. A friend took me to see "Tuesdays with Morrie" a while ago. It is a moving story where Morrie through many hard experiences in life learns some profound truths which he passes on to us in the movie. My friend was saying how profound and wise these thoughts arrived at by Morrie at the very end of his life through much pain and suffering were and I have to agree, they are very beautiful and moving. However, I came out of the movie thinking poor Morrie could have learned all these truths by attending my Cathechism class. Now I don't know if that would be less suffering but the point is that if we are going to the same place of goodness and morality why crawl through the brambles and mud when Christ offers you a crutch to help you stand tall and more surely and safely arrive at the same safe harbor.
Christ offers you a crutch to help you stand tall
Some people love and need crutches, you do get it after all.
Look forward to the day when you can walk tall without one..
I gotta say, I've blocked you, but after this one maybe you should be unblocked ... kapow!!!Quote: EvenBob
Look forward to the day when you can walk tall without one ...
Some people love and need crutches, you do get it after all.
Look forward to the day when you can walk tall without one.
Jesus said to them in reply, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners." (Luke 5:31-32)
I look forward to the day you get it.
I feel a little sorry for you. The analogy, and I hope it is not offensive, is of a guy who is limping along and obviously needs a crutch but he simply will not take it. I don't know why he won't accept the help and again you kind of admire the strength to say I want to do this on my own. However, since we arrive at the same place eventually and because not everyone is as determined and gifted as you, I really wish we as humans could be a little more humble and recognize that we need help, the help of each other, and divine assistance.
Sadly, history is full of powerful men who felt so sorry for the limping guy that they offered him the choice between taking the crutch and being put out of his misery -- denying him the option to keep on limping.