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What most atheists don't understand

 
 
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2015 08:45 am
Many atheists ask the question of how an afterlife is supposed to make this life any more valuable and how just the idea of living on in an afterlife of eternal joy is supposed to make your life more happy and make you more motivated. I will tell you how. If someone came up to you and told you that you are going to go on some amazing vacation to some other part of the world in which you are free from your problems and are able to live a happy life there, then it would be very likely that you would feel very happy and motivated. You would be very happy and motivated in this life and would excitedly do things in preparation to go to that part of the world. As a matter of fact, that happiness, motivation, and excitement would be very likely to motivate and encourage you to do more of the things that you normally do in your daily life and would encourage and motivate you to strive towards those said things even more. For example, if you had a career in life such as being a composer, then you might be motivated and encouraged to pursue that said dream even more in the meantime before going to that vacation since just you knowing that you will go on that amazing vacation has encouraged and motivated you to do more of the things you like to do. Especially if I told you that the only way you can go on that vacation is if you made the best of life in the meantime and that if you do wrong deeds, then you would not go to that vacation (just like how some religious people would be more encouraged to make the best of this life if they were told that they would go to heaven only providing that they made the best of this life in the meantime).

But if someone then came up to you and told you the truth which is that there is no such vacation and that you are just going to have to live with and deal with your life of problems, then it would be likely that you would feel discouraged and would do less of the things you like to do in life. Or, at least, you would do these things less intensively than you did before when you did believe that you were going to go on that vacation. However, even though over time you might develop a sense of acceptance towards your life of problems and that feeling of discouragement might disappear, it would be irrational for you to develop a sense of greater motivation, happiness, and value towards this life rather than having the greater value through believing that you would go on that vacation. The only way it would be rational is if there was something bad and/or horrible that could happen living a blissful life. But in the event that such bad/horrendous events would never happen and/or that they should not happen, then if that person then somehow came back up to you and told you that you actually will go on that vacation despite your values towards living this life you have instead, then you might say to that person "Who needs that dumb vacation when I have this amazing life to live?"

However, that mindset is irrational. It would be no different than if you were in some hospital bed with cancer. Even though you might very well have developed a sense of immense value in life despite your cancer, it would be irrational if someone came up to you, told you that there is a cure for cancer in which you would be able to live a happy life free of such suffering, and then for you to refuse to be cured of that cancer and for you to want to remain in that hospital bed. This is because we are evolved to be reward-seeking animals. The greater sense of reward comes not only from us developing a sense of immense value towards this life despite all its suffering and also in living for others, but also when this said sense of reward is combined with another sense of reward which would be living a happy life of very little suffering.

So in my example with that vacation, then knowing that you would go on that vacation combined with the value you have towards your life of suffering should combine to create the greatest sense of value in your life. Even if it is a life in which you have the greater sense of value living for others rather than yourself, you should still have the greater sense of value in life if that said life also had happiness and very little suffering offered to you. We are of just as much value to ourselves as we are to each other and we have every right to have value/live for ourselves as much as we would for others. We have every right to do this as long as we are not harming/demeaning those innocent good people. Therefore, the rational thing for this cancer patient to say to that person in return would be something like "Even though I have developed a sense of immense value despite all my suffering in this hospital bed and I have used that life to make others happy, a life in which I am personally free of this suffering would be the greatest life for me as well. I can also use that life free of cancer to do even more and greater things in this life than I ever did before. Even if you are somehow lying to me and that there really is no cure, then just me believing that I would be cured of this cancer one day makes my life even more valuable and makes my life that much more worth living for."

So as you can see here, it would be irrational of atheists to not have value towards an afterlife of eternal joy in which they are free of their problems and suffering and for them to actually find no value in living such a life if such a life did exist. It would be irrational of them to have no value towards believing in such an afterlife even though such a life does not exist. Therefore, religious people are not the only ones with irrational mindsets here. Some atheists might have less value or no value towards the idea of an afterlife of eternal joy. Maybe it is because such a life does not exist or it could be that they feel that they would not be able to do the great things in life that they wanted to do if they lived such a boring blissful life. First off, just because something doesn't exist doesn't mean that it doesn't matter. To say that it doesn't matter would be no different than saying that anime (Japanese cartoons) or videogames do not matter and should not be watched/played and that people should have no value towards those said things simply because they depict worlds and characters that do not exist in reality. Even our own perceptions of reality do not exist. What I mean by that is that everything we see in this life is not what it actually is when we look at it all from a quantum level. And yet, people still find value towards those said things in life anyway. They find value in the perception of those things despite that perception not actually existing in reality. So, in other words, we value our ideals of reality which would be our ideal perceptions of reality that actually do not exist in reality.

Second, if there was such a blissful life in which you would always be innocent and you would never do harm to anyone else despite such a life not having any suffering, then you can still do great things in that life anyway even better than you could before and you could easily find a greater sense of value in that life. It's just as with my example with the vacation and the cancer patient. Even though such lives free of problems are blissful, you could easily find greater value in such a life and should be encouraged to do more great things in that life. For example, with a vacation, you could actually go and live there and choose to pursue your dreams and such there anyway despite the fact that such a life is blissful. As a matter of fact, you should be more encouraged to pursue your dreams and such even more intensively than you did before when you did live a life of major problems. Same thing with the cancer patient in that he/she should find the greater sense of value living a life free of his/her cancer. Otherwise, his/her life will have less value if he/she was not free of that cancer and/or did not believe that he/she would be free of it one day. Also, there is no need whatsoever to be bored and/or go insane from such a blissful life based on everything I've said here. You couldn't go bored and/or insane anyway since being bored and/or going insane is a form of suffering. Since there would be no suffering in that blissful life, then you should never go bored, insane, and/or find less value in that life.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 1,263 • Replies: 21

 
edgarblythe
 
  5  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2015 09:29 am
Most atheists likely understand wishful thinking and logic. I don't think you have uncovered any "truth" here.
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2015 11:20 am
@MozartLink,
Link you're to be congratulated for use of car-ret between paras

You might get better response however if you were to 1) Start with a brief summary explaining your major contention; 2) delete anything superficial (one can always supply detail in succeeding posting); then 3) wherever feasible, split the longest paras
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2015 11:31 am
@MozartLink,
MozartLink wrote:

Many atheists ask the question of how an afterlife is supposed to make this life any more valuable


really? I've never heard an atheist ask that question. Not ever.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2015 11:38 am
@ehBeth,
Quote:
Not ever
Actually Beth, as a quondam disbeliever it had occurred to me, tho I have never breached it

I had supposed it heavenly though hoping there might be sex, beer, popcorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2015 04:40 pm
The tub thumpers for god and Jeebus always start with straw man assertions about what atheists think and say. I've never known them to be right yet. Without their idiotic straw men, they have nothing to talk about.
0 Replies
 
layman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2015 04:52 pm
@MozartLink,
Mozart, I really don't know what all you're trying to say here, because...well....because I didn't read it.

But here's the problem:

"In heaven all the interesting people are missing." (Friedrich Nietzsche)
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2015 11:38 am
@MozartLink,
Quote:
....because I didn't read it.
You see there Moz, I didn't either, and for much the same reason
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2015 11:45 am
@MozartLink,
From non-member Cowart Sky, a very smart and articulate buddy, after reading Moz comments by chance:

Me thinks MozartLinks is pretty much full of ****. As an atheist for the past 40 years I feel exactly the opposite. This life is the only one I have, so I'm going to make the best of it now. And since memories of me live on long after I'm dead and cremated, I want people who knew me to remember me as a genuinely nice guy willing to do good for others for the sake of doing good, not for some nebulous reward in some even more nebulous afterlife
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Mar, 2015 09:18 pm
@MozartLink,
There are a lot of problems with your concept here.

For one the "vacation" is a permanent thing if you are attempting to compare it with death. So it is a one way ticket. So of course people would be motivated to do things now. But realistically people just WANT an afterlife to be true but they are not certain that one does so this could be the motivational influence of why they do the things they do now rather than just become complacent.

But also on that note, not all religious people become good people preparing for their vacation, some actually take huge shits on other people especially non-believers and think by blowing themselves up and killing others it will grant them a quicker route to get to this vacation.

So belief in an after life is not always a positive one. Many believers care nothing for the planet leading with the statement that they don't care how they treat the planet because the afterlife is the only thing that is worth caring about.

My question about an after life is how does it actually work? I don't get how you can exist without needing to consume something for energy. How does the soul get energy to do things? In this life our bodies require energy to function. This whole universe is built upon energy consumption. So you mean to tell me that there is a "magical" dimension where no energy is required to do things? Seems rather silly that a god would create a universe based on energy and exist in another where no energy is needed.

The more realistic explanation is that there IS NO afterlife. We are a product of our brains and when our brains stop working so do we. Besides even if I was wrong, existing for eternity would become it's own hell. I can't imagine anything that would keep me entertained for an infinite amount of time. I would grow bored, complacent and uncaring if everything was ALWAYS great. In this life things don't always go according to how you would like and this fact is what gives value to the times when things are good. Without this balance, good would become meaningless and lose it's worth.

It is the struggle in life for happiness that gives life it's value. Without a struggle there is nothing to cherish or attempt to accomplish. Even the most pleasant of thought will eventually become it's own hell because it will never end.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 01:31 pm
@Krumple,
Quote:
My question about an after life is how does it actually work?
Afterlife or soul merely each and every effect of your life, even after you're gone, lasting 'til the Big Crunch. The dualist of course insists at death you quit thinking. But to the apodictical existential pantheist the Universe itself is her body and all the activity therein Her thinking
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 02:21 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

MozartLink wrote:

Many atheists ask the question of how an afterlife is supposed to make this life any more valuable


really? I've never heard an atheist ask that question. Not ever.


Great minds think alike. That was the first thing I thought after reading the first sentence.

I wish the OP would come back and explain where/how he came up with that.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 03:12 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
...apodictical existential pantheist


Good one, Dale. Not sure what that means, but it sure sounds good.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 03:14 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
Great minds think alike. That was the first thing I thought after reading the first sentence.


In this society (and virtually every other) one is already "told" what makes the "afterlife" valuable, long before he "becomes" an atheist. At that point, he doesn't have to "ask."
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 03:23 pm
@layman,
Quote:
but it sure sounds good.
Thanks Lay. I added the two modifiers to make it sound more impressive, see how many a2k'ers would q. Wasn't sure what it meant but one meaning of "apodictical" is obvious to the intuition and of "existential," rejecting the common belief for one more logical or less contradictory, no matter how depressing
layman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 03:27 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
...one meaning of "apodictical" is obvious to the intuition


I really wouldn't know. That's a word I am unfamiliar with, and I haven't looked it up.

Or are you saying that is the definition, i.e., "obvious to the intuition."
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 03:49 pm
@layman,
Quote:
Or are you saying that is the definition, i.e., "obvious to the intuition."
Yes Lay, but only to the superior intuition such as yours and mine
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 04:24 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:

Quote:
Great minds think alike. That was the first thing I thought after reading the first sentence.


In this society (and virtually every other) one is already "told" what makes the "afterlife" valuable, long before he "becomes" an atheist. At that point, he doesn't have to "ask."


So in other words, in your opinion, atheists don't ask, contrary to what the OP says.

I'm personally just leary of people who throw out statements that are just supposed to be accepted as true.

I'm not deep, just skeptical of others telling me what is so with no backup.
0 Replies
 
argome321
 
  2  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 04:39 pm
@MozartLink,
Don't you have to be undead to live eternally? What happens when you grow tired and bored to death of eternal life? I love sex, there would be no need for procreation. So how can I do the thing I like best in an after life? What about my favorite foods? I wouldn't need to eat? I don't have to create a reason for my existence, I was born and that has and been good enough for me.

It sure isn't your place to determine what others value in their life.

Where do you get such a misguided vision that atheist don't value life?
The only thing that your article shows is that you know nothing about theism. Thus, your conclusions about atheist are totally unfounded.

I see you mention a great deal about suffering? Perhaps it it would be best to ask your god about suffering since he is given credit for being the creator in your eyes.

Why would I want to live with a sadomasochistic overlord?

Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2015 04:57 pm
The entire thesis that atheists cannot have a moral compass, and that their lives have no purpose unless they believe in a set of fairy tales is so overworked, it just gets tedious. We've had that thrown at us for more than a decade here, and i suspect that we'll see it again, soon . . . and again, and again, and again . . .
 

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