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Happiness, hope and delusions

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Compassionist
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Happiness, hope and delusions

#1 Post by Compassionist » February 18th, 2014, 5:14 pm

I was having a discussion with a Christian. He claimed that Christians are much happier than secular people and even people practising other religions because only Christianity offers a guaranteed entry into an eternity in heaven thanks to the 'perfect redemption through Jesus Christ'. He asked me to consider my death and funeral. He asked me if my wife and son would not prefer me to go to an eternity in heaven as a Christian rather than to an eternity in hell as a humanist. I told him that while my wife is a Christian, our son is undecided regarding his beliefs and life stance. He said that his faith gives him infinite comfort because he believes that he, his family and friends will all spend eternity together with God in heaven because they are all Christians. He said that humanism has nothing to offer in comparison. I said that their faith and hope may be comforting to believers but that didn't make the beliefs to be proven truths about reality. He said that I was wrong and referred me to Hebrews 11, The Bible. I then referred him to Hebrews 11, The Skeptics Annotated Bible. He said that the Skeptics Annotated Bible was wrong but failed to say how it could be wrong given the clear contradictions, inaccuracies and cruelties of God in the Bible. He then said that he will pray for my immortal soul and ended the dialogue. Later on, I came across this article busting the myth that religious people are happier. What do you think about all that? What else could I say if the dialogue were to resume or if I were to have the same conversation with another Christian?

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Dave B
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#2 Post by Dave B » February 18th, 2014, 5:33 pm

If one of the measures of happiness is a lack of the feelings of guilt then I am guessing that atheists score somewhat better.

I have met those who seem to have the creed, "It does not matter if I sin, God will love me anyway because I am a Christian." They often seem happy in their delusion, but that is just what it is.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#3 Post by Alan H » February 18th, 2014, 5:38 pm

Being happy in a delusion is not for me, but why aren't xtian funerals joyous occasions?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#4 Post by Nick » February 18th, 2014, 7:07 pm

Christians may or may not be happier, but that doesn't make Christianity true. With that in mind, I would be very wary of the "guarantee" being offered.

As for whether a christian is necessarily happier, well that all depends, I can't see how repressing ones sexuality makes one happy, for example, and Calvin's mother apparently believed she was pre-destined to damnation. And if one's faith goes (like Mother Teresa's did) even if one wants to believe, how happy would that make you?

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animist
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#5 Post by animist » February 18th, 2014, 7:44 pm

Compassionist wrote: Later on, I came across this article busting the myth that religious people are happier. What do you think about all that? What else could I say if the dialogue were to resume or if I were to have the same conversation with another Christian?
this article make a good point I think, one I had not thought of before, that it is easier to be a Xian or some sort of a believer in a secular/atheistic society than vice versa, and that this might explain any perceived "felicific" lead of believers over the rest. But I imagine that there is more to it than this: believers have cosy churches or mosques to go to and get reinforcement for their faiths (along with a lot of general human warmth and companionship), but atheists don't (apart from here of course :D ). And I don't think the article is at all right to take the rather crudely Darwinian approach that it does to why particular religions have survived and others not. I am not even sure that biological evolution, as now studied, goes much on "fitness" as some quasi-objective quality; applied to something as messy and squidgy as religion, memes make little sense IMO, and I wish Richard Dawkins had not popularised this concept TBH - human history, and the grotesque and innumerable beliefs of all kinds which have accompanied it, is just much too complicated to impose some idea of "fitness" on it.

The other thing to bear in mind and use in a future conversation is that atheists seem to be more intelligent than theists - I think that this fact has come up in a recent thread on this forum. It may be that believers tend to be people who are easily satisfied with dogmas which they absorb from an early age, and that they thus lack an inquisitive approach to life - so that comfortable happiness may come at the expense of something which makes human life worth living: an openness to new ideas and an ability to question previously accepted ones

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Cam
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#6 Post by Cam » February 18th, 2014, 8:42 pm

Compassionist wrote:only Christianity offers a guaranteed entry into an eternity in heaven thanks to the 'perfect redemption through Jesus Christ'.
Nope, they pretty much all have their versions of going to heaven. How does he know that christianity is the right version? What about if he had been born in Pakistan and brought up as a muslim? Would he still be going to heaven?
He asked me to consider my death and funeral. He asked me if my wife and son would not prefer me to go to an eternity in heaven as a Christian rather than to an eternity in hell as a humanist.


What sort of god would create humans 'in his own image' only to allow them to be eternally tortured for thinking rationally using the brain that he gave them? Answer? none. There is no god. it's all nonsense.
He said that his faith gives him infinite comfort because he believes that he, his family and friends will all spend eternity together with God in heaven because they are all Christians.


That is a wonderful idea. Very comforting indeed. Doesn't he think that Atheists/Humanists would prefer that to be a reality rather than just dying? Surely he knows we use rational thought and christians don't, so logically we have thought it through and come to a conclusion that is not really what we would like to hear, but makes a lot more sense than some supernatural events of which there has NEVER been even a shred of evidence ever?
He said that humanism has nothing to offer in comparison.


He seems to be viewing Humanism as a religion. It can't offer anything in comparison as it's not like for like. He really does not understand what Humanism is. Sounds like he's never imagined the world through a Humanist's eyes. He should!
I said that their faith and hope may be comforting to believers but that didn't make the beliefs to be proven truths about reality. He said that I was wrong and referred me to Hebrews 11, The Bible.
ok, how does he know that those words are accurate? what makes him think that they are something other than various books written in the middle east by people after the supposed events who had no first hand experience of the supposed events? Historically there are no reports of any of these so called events happening even by the 'reporters' of the day who were working in those areas at the supposed time. If you REALLY want to take him to task, then ask him if he believes the noah's ark story. He probably does. Then point out that not only is is logistically impossible to take a pair of each animal on earth onto the ark, but if you used VERY conservative estimates (that are unrealistic but christians agree on) and gave them 1 square foot each to stand in, it would have to be the size of 3/4 of a football pitch. Which noah built on his own using very basic tools and materials and of course it would have to float and not sink with all that weight on it. The animals would also have to be perfectly still and not try to eat each other! I believe it was around a year before the animals were let out back onto the earth, so the ark would have to contain enough food to sustain everyone for a year. In those days the only way to get that amount of food prepared in a short time is to keep the food alive so that's a LOT more animals which themselves would need food (more animals etc), as would the herbivores, so that's lot of plants too! Even if you could prepare a year's worth of food for each animal, imagine the space needed and the weight? and just think of the daily cleanup operation for manure and urine.

Either all that physical impossibility happened OR it's just a made up story like the rest in the book.
He then said that he will pray for my immortal soul and ended the dialogue.
That's just a passive-aggressive way of saying F*** you.
What else could I say if the dialogue were to resume or if I were to have the same conversation with another Christian?
Personally I would rush out and buy peter boghossian's book: A Manual for Creating Atheists. Read it cover to cover and you should have plenty of tools available to meet them on their own grounds!

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Altfish
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#7 Post by Altfish » February 18th, 2014, 9:04 pm

Compassionist wrote: He asked me if my wife and son would not prefer me to go to an eternity in heaven as a Christian rather than to an eternity in hell as a humanist.
Why do Christians have to use threats to get their message across?

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Cam
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#8 Post by Cam » February 19th, 2014, 12:56 pm

Because they are on very dodgy ground and I suspect deep down that a lot of them know that. They might not admit it to themselves and certainly not others, but I think it's there.

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Dave B
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#9 Post by Dave B » February 19th, 2014, 1:09 pm

And, apart from that, threats of some kind have always been a weapon of those who wish to maintain their power over others, e.g. the SS, NKVD, Stasi . . .

The tactics of (most) religions are not quite so extreme as those organisations listed above but, perhaps, the intention is the same when it comes down to basics.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Compassionist
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#10 Post by Compassionist » February 19th, 2014, 5:37 pm

Altfish wrote:
Compassionist wrote: He asked me if my wife and son would not prefer me to go to an eternity in heaven as a Christian rather than to an eternity in hell as a humanist.
Why do Christians have to use threats to get their message across?
Because the Bible preaches eternal hell for non-Christians.

Compassionist
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#11 Post by Compassionist » February 19th, 2014, 5:40 pm

Cam wrote:
Compassionist wrote:only Christianity offers a guaranteed entry into an eternity in heaven thanks to the 'perfect redemption through Jesus Christ'.
Nope, they pretty much all have their versions of going to heaven. How does he know that christianity is the right version? What about if he had been born in Pakistan and brought up as a muslim? Would he still be going to heaven?
He asked me to consider my death and funeral. He asked me if my wife and son would not prefer me to go to an eternity in heaven as a Christian rather than to an eternity in hell as a humanist.


What sort of god would create humans 'in his own image' only to allow them to be eternally tortured for thinking rationally using the brain that he gave them? Answer? none. There is no god. it's all nonsense.
He said that his faith gives him infinite comfort because he believes that he, his family and friends will all spend eternity together with God in heaven because they are all Christians.


That is a wonderful idea. Very comforting indeed. Doesn't he think that Atheists/Humanists would prefer that to be a reality rather than just dying? Surely he knows we use rational thought and christians don't, so logically we have thought it through and come to a conclusion that is not really what we would like to hear, but makes a lot more sense than some supernatural events of which there has NEVER been even a shred of evidence ever?
He said that humanism has nothing to offer in comparison.


He seems to be viewing Humanism as a religion. It can't offer anything in comparison as it's not like for like. He really does not understand what Humanism is. Sounds like he's never imagined the world through a Humanist's eyes. He should!
I said that their faith and hope may be comforting to believers but that didn't make the beliefs to be proven truths about reality. He said that I was wrong and referred me to Hebrews 11, The Bible.
ok, how does he know that those words are accurate? what makes him think that they are something other than various books written in the middle east by people after the supposed events who had no first hand experience of the supposed events? Historically there are no reports of any of these so called events happening even by the 'reporters' of the day who were working in those areas at the supposed time. If you REALLY want to take him to task, then ask him if he believes the noah's ark story. He probably does. Then point out that not only is is logistically impossible to take a pair of each animal on earth onto the ark, but if you used VERY conservative estimates (that are unrealistic but christians agree on) and gave them 1 square foot each to stand in, it would have to be the size of 3/4 of a football pitch. Which noah built on his own using very basic tools and materials and of course it would have to float and not sink with all that weight on it. The animals would also have to be perfectly still and not try to eat each other! I believe it was around a year before the animals were let out back onto the earth, so the ark would have to contain enough food to sustain everyone for a year. In those days the only way to get that amount of food prepared in a short time is to keep the food alive so that's a LOT more animals which themselves would need food (more animals etc), as would the herbivores, so that's lot of plants too! Even if you could prepare a year's worth of food for each animal, imagine the space needed and the weight? and just think of the daily cleanup operation for manure and urine.

Either all that physical impossibility happened OR it's just a made up story like the rest in the book.
He then said that he will pray for my immortal soul and ended the dialogue.
That's just a passive-aggressive way of saying F*** you.
What else could I say if the dialogue were to resume or if I were to have the same conversation with another Christian?
Personally I would rush out and buy peter boghossian's book: A Manual for Creating Atheists. Read it cover to cover and you should have plenty of tools available to meet them on their own grounds!
I got the book from Amazon as ebook. Thank you for the recommendation and all the relevant points and questions. If he wishes to resume the discussion, I will ask him the questions you have asked.

Compassionist
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#12 Post by Compassionist » February 19th, 2014, 5:42 pm

Nick wrote:Christians may or may not be happier, but that doesn't make Christianity true. With that in mind, I would be very wary of the "guarantee" being offered.

As for whether a christian is necessarily happier, well that all depends, I can't see how repressing ones sexuality makes one happy, for example, and Calvin's mother apparently believed she was pre-destined to damnation. And if one's faith goes (like Mother Teresa's did) even if one wants to believe, how happy would that make you?
The Bible does teach predetermination which is of course, extremely unjust.

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animist
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#13 Post by animist » February 19th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Compassionist wrote: The Bible does teach predetermination which is of course, extremely unjust.
unjust and insane. The longer I stay on this forum the more I am convinced that religion is evil, and, specifically, that anyone who believes in eternal punishment for anyone who happens to disagree with their own dogma deserves punishment themselves. Tell that to your wife and any fellow-criminals, Compo!

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Cam
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#14 Post by Cam » February 20th, 2014, 12:24 pm

Compassionist,
Glad to be of help! :D If you get the time, another good one with some interesting sections on biblical discrepancies is Dan Barker's Godless: How an evangelical preacher became one of America's leading Atheists. Lots of good stuff in there.

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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#15 Post by Compassionist » February 20th, 2014, 6:40 pm

animist wrote:
Compassionist wrote: The Bible does teach predetermination which is of course, extremely unjust.
unjust and insane. The longer I stay on this forum the more I am convinced that religion is evil, and, specifically, that anyone who believes in eternal punishment for anyone who happens to disagree with their own dogma deserves punishment themselves. Tell that to your wife and any fellow-criminals, Compo!
That would just provoke her so I won't do that. Although, I agree that it is unjust and insane. It makes no sense whatsoever. The craziest thing is that I used to be religious! I can't believe I spent all those wasted hours praying and worshiping this evil and imaginary God!

Compassionist
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#16 Post by Compassionist » February 20th, 2014, 6:51 pm

Cam wrote:Compassionist,
Glad to be of help! :D If you get the time, another good one with some interesting sections on biblical discrepancies is Dan Barker's Godless: How an evangelical preacher became one of America's leading Atheists. Lots of good stuff in there.
Sure, I will have a look at that book, too. Thank you.

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Sel
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#17 Post by Sel » February 21st, 2014, 2:04 pm

Compassionist wrote:
Cam wrote:Compassionist,
Glad to be of help! :D If you get the time, another good one with some interesting sections on biblical discrepancies is Dan Barker's Godless: How an evangelical preacher became one of America's leading Atheists. Lots of good stuff in there.
Sure, I will have a look at that book, too. Thank you.
I totally agree with this recommendation. Dan Barker's book is a good read. He is a gentle, joyful, loving and talented (Dan is an accomplished musician) person. CFI had Dan here to speak a couple of years back. We got to know him a bit better after the talk - at the local pub!
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

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Cam
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#18 Post by Cam » February 21st, 2014, 5:02 pm

Compassionist wrote:The craziest thing is that I used to be religious! I can't believe I spent all those wasted hours praying and worshipping this evil and imaginary God!
Don't worry, a lot of us have been there. I was christened CofE but brought up as a catholic. Constant praying, bowing of the head every time you said 'jesus'. Real 'cultish' stuff. I really do cringe at the thought now. :redface:

What started the cracks forming for me at about 14 or 15 was the concept of someone wanting to be worshipped. Seemed an unpleasant thought. Also, the concept of being rewarded for helping others. I did not want a reward, just to help them as I empathised with them.

I think Penn Jillette summed it up beautifully: If you read the bible cover to cover you will become an Atheist. Hard work, but very good advice.

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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#19 Post by Compassionist » February 21st, 2014, 5:09 pm

Cam wrote:
Compassionist wrote:The craziest thing is that I used to be religious! I can't believe I spent all those wasted hours praying and worshipping this evil and imaginary God!
Don't worry, a lot of us have been there. I was christened CofE but brought up as a catholic. Constant praying, bowing of the head every time you said 'jesus'. Real 'cultish' stuff. I really do cringe at the thought now. :redface:

What started the cracks forming for me at about 14 or 15 was the concept of someone wanting to be worshipped. Seemed an unpleasant thought. Also, the concept of being rewarded for helping others. I did not want a reward, just to help them as I empathised with them.

I think Penn Jillette summed it up beautifully: If you read the bible cover to cover you will become an Atheist. Hard work, but very good advice.
It is great that you can empathise with me. For me, Skeptics Annotated Bible was the eye opener. It really pointed out the terrible cruelties of God, the absurd contradictions in the Bible and all the inaccuracies. I most highly recommend it.

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Cam
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Re: Happiness, hope and delusions

#20 Post by Cam » February 21st, 2014, 9:44 pm

Compassionist wrote:It is great that you can empathise with me. For me, Skeptics Annotated Bible was the eye opener. It really pointed out the terrible cruelties of God, the absurd contradictions in the Bible and all the inaccuracies. I most highly recommend it.
That looks like an excellent resource. Thanks for the link. I'd like it in book form but Amazon seem to be out of stock. :sad:

The reviews are excellent, especially the one I have listed below from a religious adherent. If it makes the religious that angry then it's obviously touched a nerve and well worth a read. :thumbsup:
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous rubbish 10 Dec 2013
By Joe 90
Format:Hardcover
Psalms 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

Which about sums up this infantile treatise. Childish, immature comments, with little icons to pander to the lowest intellect (just so you can be sure what the 'objection' is really about). The writer addresses the Bible with an anal as opposed to analytical frame of mind and his lack of appreciation of Biblical nuance, context and phraseology just cries out in every 'objection.'

Yes, buy this rubbish if you really want to show off your stupidity. (I got my bellyful from the online version) Wow your friends with your new-found refutations to the Book of books. I don't think God will mind if you poison your mind with nonsense. Anyone who finds this stuff stimulating is of no use to God.

But the author and those who suck up this drivel will have to answer for their temerity.

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