The psychology of atheists and theists

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    The purpose of this thread is to try to identify particular psychological traits and attitudes, if any, that are likely to be more prevalent in atheists than theists, and vice versa.

    What attitudes of mind, or psychological needs, if any, might push a person to adopt an atheist belief system rather than a theistic one, or vice versa?

    What psychological traits are apparent or reflected in the ways that atheists and theists discuss God/gods and religion?

    I start this thread at the invitation of Jan Ardena, who says he is studying the psychology of atheists and has insights to share. Jan himself is a theist.

    I ask that all members contributing to this thread post respectfully, and provide arguments to back up any claims you might make. Empty insults like "Atheists share the trait of being stupid" will not be tolerated. If you think atheists are likely to be less intelligent than theists, for example, you probably need to make an argument as to why you think that is the case, preferably backed up by appropriate evidence.

    Another request: this thread is not intended as a discussion of the relative merits or deficiencies of the atheist or theist position. That is, I do not want a debate here about the evidences for or against the existence of God/gods. There's a separate thread where we can discuss evidence for God here:

    I will leave it up to somebody else to start a thread to discuss any evidence there might be tending to refute the existence of God, if you want to do that.

    For now, I'm posting this thread in the Religion subforum, but depending on how the discussion goes, it might move to Human Science at some point.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I am an atheist for purely practical (scientific) purposes.

    I can conceive of an ultimate Universal Wholeness with certain specific attributes, which we have identified as universal constants. Natural laws which transcend volition (the faculty or power of using one's will.).

    But the mainstream religions assign several unprovable attributes to the concept of the Wholeness, including volition, and then named it God.
    One of the attributes of God is intentional motivation. (God saw that it was good).

    And of course in scripture God has been credited with the power of breaking natural law (creating miracles) for purpose of communication with human initiates (special people).

    I fail to see how a spiritual being can have the ability for thought and purpose and be able to willfully supercede certain physical laws of nature (constants).

    IMO, these are prima facie reasons to reject the common conceptual tenets of the three Abrahamic religions and any religion which ascribes supernatural powers to the natural functions allowed and expressed by the scientifically identified universal constants.
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  5. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I am an atheist primarily because I believe the claim of a God is entirely unsupported.

    As a speculation I could probaly fit a God into the picture but really there are few places left for a God...but first to consider there could be a God I need more than unsupported claims originating from the bronze age.

    Our cosmology via science although perhaps not offering all the answers certainly gets us to a position where there is evidence to support the model. There is no evidence to suppprt any God story model...none zip nothing.

    Theists could claim the big bang brings us close to a point of creation but they must reject science and so they dont get near to the only posible point of creation that science can hint at...forget science we have something made up thousands of years ago with no suppprting evidence that appeals and on no other basis than it feels good lets pretend its real.

    Thats it..they like playing "lets pretend" ...thats all of it...lets pretend there is a God and lets pretend that God wants what we want so we can make what we want his command...yes lets pretend.

    I dont like the big bang as to the inflation aspect but that aspect is able to be changed if I can provide a better model...but the big bang has evidence and evidence is something religions consistently fail to offer.

    I would need facts to support my notion and that is where theists and atheists diverge..atheist like facts whereas theist fear facts given they tell us the good book is just made up stuff.
    .no more no less...but it temains made up.

    The account of creation, the flood, the stars falling on the ground, God being born into a human family, the feath and resurrection...all made up and remains so...a mere unsupported claim.

    How can anyone not be atheist?
    Read your all good book and atheism will embrace you.

    The religions dont change easily and still harbour silly stuff and indeed nasty stuff in their good books.

    It would seem that the only choice is atheism given the God stories have never moved past offerring a mere unsupported claim.

    My atheism is driven by a desire to work only with the truths we can identify.

    Making up stuff is just wrong in my view and amyone following these God stories is no more than indulging in superstition.

    The difference between the atheist and the theist would seem most evident in how each present their ideas.

    A theist seems to have no ethic that prevents them from being tricky or indeed just plain dishonest.

    Jan denies he has been dishonest but I would think most here can point to various examples of Jan not being what I would call honest.

    When I look on utube to hear what, predominately christians say, I find they can be most dishonest.. .indeed mostly dishonest... that is not good...I can see they are just so involved in make believe they cant even understand they rely heavily on lies.

    To claim that evolution has failed is a lie, to claim that the majority of scientists support intelligent design is a lie...yet you have many vids where the theist presenter will say these sort of things.

    Far too many lieing not to be able to call them liars.

    Clearly they are ignorant of the science of evolution and reject it and lie about how scientists regard it...if their case is so strong in their view why do they turn to lies...lieing makes you less credible and being tricky makes you less credible...Most of Jans lack of credibilty comes from his tricky style, his determination to take things out of context and present them as supporting his position...further if asked a direct question is it not reasonable to expect a direct reply rather than be met with a massive side step.
    Jan the master of side step...unfortunately he is proud of that fact.... Even a used car salesman is somewhat more direct...and we all know that evasive answers point to is that simple..

    Jan enjoys being tricky but tricky is dishonest.

    Being an atheist is all about calling the God story a mere claim and asking for reasonable support if that claim is to be treated seriously if at all.

    My impression of a theist, specifically a christian, is they fear death and want a get out of goal pass...and they fear hell as if it were real. Motivated by fear and desire for personal gain is not anything to be proud of...
    And dont you love it when they realise they are not winning..."you will go to hell I am only trying to save you"

    Hell that place where a loving God sends folk to be tortured for ever and ever...

    Wait do they still have hell...who would know but clearly the fear of hell is a big motivator for so many.

    Being atheist enables one to realise that morality is something you work out for yourself...the good book has some nice ideas but we find these nice ideas sitting with dispicable morality...but being atheist demands one accept a high degree of personal responsibilty such that one can realise one has control on your actions and it has not all been laid out by a God.

    Interestingly believers believe in free will but put credibilty in prophesy...if any prophesy is real then by that one thing it means there is no free will...and if no free will so the reliance upon God who is powerless to help humans is nonsense.
    Would it not be reasonable to expect this creator God could be hands on...of course most reasonable if indeed there was a God...given the lack of intervention it does not matter if God exists as he does nothing to manage the world it seems.

    Theists are incapable of thinking and bound by superstition.

    Theist can only make claims without suppport.

    Atheists in my view are generally more honest and hold a higher level of ethics than theists.

    And they theists seem pron to hypocracy...example...I played a trick on Jan taking his words that he was atheist to point out the error of his ways...which I thought I did rather well...Jan did not get it and comes back ignoring that my taking something out of context was the very problem he needs to address...I have been wrong on this forum and admit I am wrong and seek forgiveness whereas Jan retains the approach of taking matters out of context to suppprt one of his preconceived but unsupported notions and never days he could be wrong.

    Why be involved with something that demands not questioning unsupported claims from the bronze age and accepting claims without evidence and resort to dishonest tactics to trick folk.

    Anyways I am wasting too much time here pointing out the obvious ... other than here atheism takes so little of your theists have hobbies? Do they read anything other than religious they actually have a life.

    How do they manage the continual errosion of their made up world.

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    To be a theist requires "belief", "belief" implies lack of evidence or "belief" wouldn't be required.

    Theists tend to be more traditional and less embracing of change. Theists seem to feel more comfortable having an "answer" even where there is no known answer currently.
  8. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    evangelical and conservative christians percieve Psychologists as devils advocates. triffling with things in the realm of demons and beyond their control.

    maybe well meaning on occasion but mostly playing with things they have no business playing with.
  9. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    i think the moment God is proven to be real, the state will be forced to file a law suit of willful neglect.
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  10. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    What is the claim of a God?
    That's like saying I could probably fit a green sofa into my decor, but green sofas aren't as popular as they used to be. I'll go with the current trend.
    What would be classed as evidence for God, in your mind?
    Yes they like facts, especially if they conform to their world. Theists accept facts, whether they conform to their world, or not.
    Which theists tell you the bible (I assume that's what you meant) is just made up stuff?
    Just grow up, and get real.
    IOW the truths you accept, as opposed to the truths you don't like.
    What is truth from your perspective?
    Most here are atheist, and seem to have trouble getting passed that.
    Why don't you stop beating your wife?
    If you did, I'm guessing that would make her happy. Why don't you want her to be happy?
    Being an atheist seems to be about anything you want it to be. How about just plain old not believing in God? Is that too old-fashioned for you? Need to spice it up with interesting stuff?
    You do realise that's what is, and that all it wii ever be, despite you becoming bored of it. Don't you?
    No it's not. That would mean we can create our own morals. That would be nightmare. That is the stuff of sociopaths, psychopaths, and folk devoid of good human intelligence. It's a good thing your atheism, isn't real, otherwise I would be inclined to think you mean what you say.
    How can you do that?
    Your position is merely one of denial and rejection. You have given up the opportunity to accept God, and have become wilfully forgetful.
    No. This quote is nonsense. Your whole concept is nonsense. Do you have a reset button. If yes press it.... now!
    You poor thing.
    I'm beginning to feel sorry for you
    Watch your head folks!
    Very low ceiling.
    You're time-wasting is the result of needing to convince yourself that there is no God. You can't.

  11. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    I wonder if you're trolling Jan, actually.

    There's no evidence for either position that I've ever found. I'm sick, but I'm not going to turn to a god because of it, neither will I become a god because of it.

    Easy. Maybe I've answered you by the tone of my post? I hope so. You're right in saying there's no point in pointing at one another in abject hatred or in denial of belief. It just isn't practical.

    My soul is easy, if I have one.
  12. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Now here you go again being willfully tricky.

    Nevertheless I must take into account that you have genuinely not understood my meaning so I will set aside my suspicions as to your trickyness and represent things such that you may have a better opportunity to understand what I am saying.

    I think it is fair to generalise in saying theists make the unsupported claim that there is a God and I think that general claim is unsupported.

    You are a theist and it would not occur to you that folk like me expect a claim to be backed up with some sort of evidence.

    Good try but it really is not the same.
    Firstly a sofa is real and God exists as a mere claim by folk who want a God.
    Secondly...well what does it matter...
    My point is simply that God has so few places left to be relevant in terms of explaining the world.

    We no longer need reference ancient texts to work out where the Sun goes at night and hasty analysis of the good book shows it is most unlikely to be notes on what God said.

    I certainly dont believe a God would want to stone gay people, or stone unruley kids or really demand folk kill workers on the sabath...but the good book is presented as the word of God which only suggests the book is made up with no input from a mythical God.
    Who knows.
    We have nothing to point out the truth which initself must cause concern...well it does for folk who think about it but no doubt a theist will not notice or object to the various flaws.
    Like evolution?
    I stuffed up.
    No theist told me its made up nor would they because they for the most part cant see that its made up.

    But it is rather easy to show what is made up...creation itself...made up and you get that just from page one.

    You have never addressed that observation.
    Not your usual well thought out reply Jan.
    Would it not be easier just to answer my question.
    An objective reality.
    Or simply the facts.
    Yes but I dont see how your valid observation is relevant.
    What are you talking about Jan.
    Are you making the point that one cant reject a non event?
    Well I think when you say folk reject God I think well how can you reject something that has not been established.

    In any event you must know that I wont harm a fly, that I am kind and I would not beat anyone.

    Did you get this wife beating idea from the good book? You know you cant use a stick of greater diameter than your finger...
    What a terrible thing a recognition and overall acceptance of wife beating...more bronze age crap.
    Yes very nice but you failed to address my post...try again.
    Yes it is.
    Well that is what we do.
    You go thru the good book and sellect what you want and disregard what you dont like.
    You could not adopt the morality in the bible and stay out of gaol.
    You dont stone gays or unruly kids so why not because your good book says thats what you should do.
    Morals are built up from a selection process and you can not deny such...

    Sure and that is why some folk can use their religion as justification to kill others...
    Your morals may depend somewhat on the good book but you cant reject the proposition you indeed selected and rejected ... you cant get away from the fact that ones morality is a construct.
    You think what you like Jan I dont care if you fail to listen.
    By being honest with myself and others.
    Taking personal responsibilty means you have no need to lie to yourself or others...
    So you miss the point.
    With your help I can.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    And that is proving to be a threat to our democracy, I hate to say. I love science fiction also. But I know that science fiction is in fact fiction.
  14. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    That's very strange, from both of you.

    I just don't know what to think of Jan and Qeite4U's posts, but I'd love to be educated on this...

    Edit: You know what's really freaky? (This is for "ignored member", just in case somebody doesn't get the joke.)

    Listening to Pink Floyd and seeing trigger assemblies, and how to modify them. Legally, of course!

    Good night, all.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The fact that atheists exist has proven unacceptable to several theists here. And the reason given for rejecting it - the explicit, posted, typed and repeated and defended reason - is that it does not conform to their world.
    (In their world, see, God Is - naturally apparent to everyone - and atheism is therefore impossible.)

    So we see - repeatedly and continually - that the overt Abrahamic theists who post on science forums not only reject facts presented to them, but go further: they post falsehoods and misrepresentations and counterfactual claims on their own initiative.
  16. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    No one is disputing there are those who profess a lack of belief in God. You've had that explained to you quote a few times now. The article simply examines the validity of those professed claims in actuality, not just the mind of the claimants.
    You see what you want to see, that's how denial works.

  17. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    Wow. I'm so glad that there are people like Jan to explain things to me.
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Is the second name supposed to identify me? Seems you typed one space over for the first two letters......

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    If so I'd be glad to explain my prior comment.
    Just think I posited a metaphor, where the bible belongs in the same literary category as science fiction, not factual history.

    When I read the bible I am reading science fiction, and I know it is fiction, just as I do when reading declared science fiction.

    As to anyone else, I'm sure they can speak for themselves....

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    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  19. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    Very sorry for the typo. I never learned to type without looking at the keyboard, but sometimes I try. That's what happens...

    You're good, it was my misunderstanding.
    Write4U likes this.
  20. river

    You are reading , Science fiction ?
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Lots of it. Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Ellison, Le Guin, and many more.

    The bible reads just like it. A good plot, and several hundred years of various literary contributors to the two volume story, named OT and NT. Kinda like the literary evolution of the story of God.

    Of course, no matter how you edit it, it's still fiction. The premise is not factual, never was..

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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  22. river

    So the bible is science fiction then ?

    Interesting .

    Where is the science fiction in the bible ?
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Now this kind of dishonesty and bad faith is not necessarily characteristic of theists in general. The overt Abrahamic monotheists who post crap in science forums do not represent or exemplify theists in general (for starters, most of those have multiple deities, including female ones and evil ones and so forth). And since similar considerations apply even more significantly to atheists - there are more fundamentally different kinds - the notion of a "psychology of atheists" that would contrast with a "psychology of theists" is probably a wrongfooting step.

    In many places not long ago, a scientist - a good one, one that modern science would respect - was normally a clergyman or priest of the local religion of an agricultural and military power, which was likely theistic. Just saying.

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