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Old 01-25-2009, 04:33 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by maycocksean View Post

The sterotype implied by the song lyrics quoted by OP that the believers are sitting around dreaming about heaven while the earth burns, while the atheists are out there soaking up all the joy of life and nobly going about making the world a better place just doesn't line up with reality.

My feeling is that most people, whether believer or not, are pretty much the same, and want pretty much the same things out of life.
It's interesting that you got that implication about believers from the song, whereas I didn't draw anything about believers from it. I just look at it as a statement that non-believers are very capable of perceiving wonder from the material world. It's all around us, all the time.

Perhaps we are all the same, but very often, non-believers are accused of amorality and having a bleak outlook, and that's simply not the case. People have actually said to me "if you don't believe in an afterlife, what's the point?" Very frustrating. Made me want to scream "This! This is the point! The world. Life. Our relationships. That's the point!" Isn't that enough reason to be grateful, and to want to live a good life? It is for me.

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Well, now that Iron Horse is putting out the Sunday Dispatches and and VP has got the Friday Night Dispatches, I guess I'll have to start putting out the Sabbath Dispatches on Saturday, and we'll have the whole weekend covered!


I'm glad it's at least generated some discussion!

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Originally Posted by AchtungBono View Post
Whether or not you're a believer (like me), this is one BEAUTIFUL song.
I've never heard it before but the lyrics are gorgeous!
It really is.

YouTube - David Gilmour - This Heaven (Live In Gdansk)

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Atheists are people too!
I was listening to it the other night, and it occurred to me that it's not very often you see or hear statements of atheism represented in the arts, especially ones that use religious metaphors to make their point.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:20 PM   #17
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Perhaps we are all the same, but very often, non-believers are accused of amorality and having a bleak outlook, and that's simply not the case. People have actually said to me "if you don't believe in an afterlife, what's the point?" Very frustrating. Made me want to scream "This! This is the point! The world. Life. Our relationships. That's the point!" Isn't that enough reason to be grateful, and to want to live a good life? It is for me.
Question for atheists: do you think believers are wasting their time and are not enjoying their day to day life simply because they believe in an afterlife?
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:38 PM   #18
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Question for atheists: do you think believers are wasting their time and are not enjoying their day to day life simply because they believe in an afterlife?
The group of believers is to large and diverse to make such a definite statement. I have met people who are so focussed on an afterlife that they don't take the time to enjoy the things this life has to offer. Then again, you can also say that about people who only seem to focus on their career or something like that.

My personal belief is that there's no God and that, if there is an afterlife, there's no way to tell what it would be like so there's little use focussing on it. Having said that, people should just live their lives the way they seem fit and a religious belief seems to play a positive role in the lives of a lot of people. It's not my place to judge whether or not someone else is wasting their life.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:43 PM   #19
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The group of believers is to large and diverse to make such a definite statement. I have met people who are so focussed on an afterlife that they don't take the time to enjoy the things this life has to offer. Then again, you can also say that about people who only seem to focus on their career or something like that.

My personal belief is that there's no God and that, if there is an afterlife, there's no way to tell what it would be like so there's little use focussing on it. Having said that, people should just live their lives the way they seem fit and a religious belief seems to play a positive role in the lives of a lot of people. It's not my place to judge whether or not someone else is wasting their life.
I like the last sentence you made.

The reason why I asked is because I've been watching atheists on YouTube and quite a lot of them seem to have a lot of anger towards believers, and seem to think that we're fools and we are wasting our time. I've even personally known atheists who felt this way.

I know it sounds like I am generalizing atheists, but I have had a lot of negative encounters with them that it is hard not to separate those experiences from all atheists.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:52 PM   #20
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Question for atheists: do you think believers are wasting their time and are not enjoying their day to day life simply because they believe in an afterlife?
Interesting questions, and I don't think you'd get one answer from all agnostics/atheists. I can only tell you what I believe.

Are believers wasting their time? Well, to me, that's sort of a relative thing. Some people might think I waste my time by listening to U2, watching their dvds, discussing them online, and attending shows. If you're getting something out of it, and it's enriching your life somehow, what does it matter what others think? Is it for me, is it how I'd choose to spend my time? No. But then, some people who aren't U2 fans wouldn't get my desire to spend time on them, either.

Are believers not enjoying their day to day lives simply because they believe in an afterlife? Again, this depends. I don't think one could give a firm answer that applies to all believers. I'm sure that some do enjoy day to day life as much as I do, maybe even more. But then there are some others who probably live their lives in such a way that "heaven" becomes the ultimate goal, the crux of everything in their existence, and so they probably do not experience as much appreciation for the here and now as they should.

For me, it's not a black and white issue.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:54 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by DrTeeth View Post
The group of believers is to large and diverse to make such a definite statement. I have met people who are so focussed on an afterlife that they don't take the time to enjoy the things this life has to offer. Then again, you can also say that about people who only seem to focus on their career or something like that.

My personal belief is that there's no God and that, if there is an afterlife, there's no way to tell what it would be like so there's little use focussing on it. Having said that, people should just live their lives the way they seem fit and a religious belief seems to play a positive role in the lives of a lot of people. It's not my place to judge whether or not someone else is wasting their life.
You must have been posting while I was typing mine. We essentially gave the same answers.


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The reason why I asked is because I've been watching atheists on YouTube and quite a lot of them seem to have a lot of anger towards believers, and seem to think that we're fools and we are wasting our time. I've even personally known atheists who felt this way.

I know it sounds like I am generalizing atheists, but I have had a lot of negative encounters with them that it is hard not to separate those experiences from all atheists.
Not all agnostics/atheists (I keep adding the word agnostic, because I consider myself more agnostic than atheistic) are of the militant, angry sort. Just like not all Christians are of the shouty, pushy, obnoxious tele-Evangelist type.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
I like the last sentence you made.

The reason why I asked is because I've been watching atheists on YouTube and quite a lot of them seem to have a lot of anger towards believers, and seem to think that we're fools and we are wasting our time. I've even personally known atheists who felt this way.

I know it sounds like I am generalizing atheists, but I have had a lot of negative encounters with them that it is hard not to separate those experiences from all atheists.
Youtube is an intellectual wasteland so I would avoid getting my opinions from that place.

I have to be honest though, at times it can be frustrating to be an atheist who's just trying to live his life minding his own business. I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain to people that I still have a reason to get out of bed, that I do have values and that I don't plan on banning God out of the public eye. And this is the Netherlands we're talking about, I can't imagine what it must be like to be an atheist in the US where I'd be a member of the least trusted minority.

Not for one minute I'd let this get to me in a way that I'd develop a negative attitude towards all believers, but I can see why it angers people.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:27 PM   #23
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I'm not a believer, but I've rarely gotten the sense from many of the believers I know that they spend much more time thinking about an afterlife than I do. It's a comfort, I think, for many, not a substitution. And not an obscession. I've met a few on the obscessive end of the bell curve, but not that many. Most people just go about their lives.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:42 PM   #24
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I'm not a believer, but I've rarely gotten the sense from many of the believers I know that they spend much more time thinking about an afterlife than I do. It's a comfort, I think, for many, not a substitution.
In the context of this discussion, I'm equating the concept of heaven with making moral choices or decisions that are based on religious teachings, with the ultimate goal of heaven/an afterlife as a reward.

It's been my experience that most active Christians (not those who are Christian in name only) do purport to live their lives around religious teachings.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:46 PM   #25
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Point taken. The discussion veered a little.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:50 PM   #26
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It's such a uniquely individual topic that I'm sure everyone has their own ways of defining the terms. It's bound to get a little confusing without clarification.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:52 PM   #27
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:14 PM   #28
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More atheistic persecution of Christians
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With that one line, the president “seems to be trying to redefine American culture, which is distinctively Christian,” said Bishop E.W. Jackson of the Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Va. “The overwhelming majority of Americans identify as Christians, and what disturbs me is that he seems to be trying to redefine who we are.”

Earlier this week, Jackson was a guest on the popular conservative Christian radio show ‘Janet Parshall’s America,’ where a succession of callers, many of whom identified themselves as African-American, said they shared the concern, and were perplexed and put off by the president’s shout-out to nonbelievers.

Jackson said he and others have no problem acknowledging that “this country is one in which everybody has the freedom to think what they want.” Yet Obama crossed the line, in his view, in suggesting that all faiths (and none) were different roads to the same destination: “He made similar remarks in the campaign, and said, ‘We are no longer a Christian nation, if we ever were. We are a Jewish, Hindu and non-believing nation.’”

Not so, Jackson says: “Obviously, Jewish heritage is very much a part of Christianity; the Jewish Bible is part of our Bible. But Hindu, Muslim, and nonbelievers? I don’t think so. We are not a Muslim nation or a nonbelieving nation.” ...

The Rev. Cecil Blye, pastor of More Grace Ministries Church in Louisville, Ky., said the president’s reference to nonbelievers also set off major alarm bells for him. “It’s important to understand the heritage of our country, and it’s a Judeo-Christian tradition,” period.
Obama's Nonbeliever Nod Unsettles Some
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:06 PM   #29
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Would give Obama some credit for this, the politically easier route is to spout some nice sounding gibberish about approving of freedom of speech, but also re-affirming the power of Jebus in his life and Christianity in the US, or whatever.
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:59 PM   #30
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I would love to know of any authors who have written about the horror of eternity, I've definitely heard similar ideas so these thoughts are not pulled from the ether.
Do you like Borges? He has what I think is a wonderful short story called 'The Immortal' (El Inmortal). Like most of his stories it's difficult to describe concisely, but the basic premise is that immortality and individuality are mutually exclusive; that forfeiting your mortality necessarily means forfeiting your 'self-ness'.
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