Moderator note: This thread was split from another discussion, in which an off-topic matter was introduced. The original thread is here: Why do people believe in God? A copy of this post, with the off-topic part removed, remains in the original thread. Some matters raised in this thread are more than six months old. See the following thread for a little more context: Moderator makes ad hominem attacks on another moderator ---------------- It's like you're not even paying attention: Like the part where I said: I recently had occasion to recall an old formulation about "the point where their unsupported beliefs start having detrimental impacts on other people". And that was 1578. In 2023— —the bigger problem might be a thing called Christian nationalism, you know, the problem that's going on right now, instead of once upon a time in 1578. Just for instance. Meanwhile: Yeah, but I'm not beefing with the Quakers down the street because of Joseph Kony in Uganda, or the Christian nationalists in ... oh, right. That's because you only allow religion to be defined in such a preclusive manner. And, let's face it, at some point that becomes bigotry. The reality is that most religious people just aren't as evil as your sixteenth-century nightmares require. And this is you continuing to insist on your own preclusive definition. The actual fact is that inasmuch as atheism is supposed to be some opposite or counterpoint to religion, your version is inadequate to actually fulfill such a role. The thing is that there are certain behaviors and circumstances that humans seem to need. That some of these occur in a religious context is what it is, but insofar as they can occur outside a religious context, no, atheism simply does not address those, and thus cannot replace them. This is not a new idea around here. Still, in our moment you seem to have missed some stuff: There is a reasonable question of what atheism offers, as such, and the answer is either a lot or not much; what makes that growth and sustainability precarious is the prospect that none of that other stuff has anything to do with atheism; left in the void, like that, atheism offers little existential comfort or fundamental socialization; it's not just the sociality or regularity of church culture. And compare that last to your huffing: "I see no benefits in religion. You can believe anything you want. Just don't come knocking on my door and tell me that I need religion." It's not necessarily a matter of whether you see any benefit; nor is it simply a question of belief. Like sociality; maybe you missed the part about strength in numbers, comfort in familiarity, and empowerment in solidarity, and that religious people are human in the same way. In fact, that last seems to be what you're trying so hard to deny. Do you feel better for having said that? Sure. Whatever. Same goes for Schwann's, Omaha Steaks, Ziply, real estate agents, and homeless folks pitching magazine subscriptions in exchange for shelter. Again, this is a matter of your peculiar definitions. No, one is not necessarily, as such, "atheist to 2999 gods"; that's just you making it up. Not only is your argument dependent on your own definition of an atheist or being atheist, it also depends on your own definition of God and gods. This is not an unusual problem. Let me see if I can give you a comparable example. There was a time I was talking to this guy I know about talking to God, and reminded that there was more than one version of talking to God. This point kind of confused him, so I offered a few different examples from different religious outlooks, including one that involves walking down the street to talk to God at His house. And compared to the question of how we know we have the right house, he never did bother asking which God; it didn't matter because he didn't care. His questions didn't reflect the God out there that a believer might be talking about, but his own God, one he carries around, so there wasn't any reason for him to ask which God I was talking about. Do you understand? He imposed a meaning, and anything that did not fit within its boundaries apparently didn't count, or compute, or register, or something. That is, when you talk to that particular atheist about God, there is only one "God" he is capable of discussing; in that way, he's just not so different from the religious people he is so critical of. Similarly, your critique against religion doesn't really care what religion actually is; you find no benefit in religion because that's how you define it. And once you go down that path, it's not so much disagreement between believers and nonbelievers as disputing between religious zealots. Whatever it is about believers you're afraid of, just don't pretend you're helping.