ForumTouchy Subjects ► Atheism
Why is it the First Commandment, then?
  
First commandment is to not worship any other gods, not that you must worship god. It's more of "You can only worship me, if you choose to worship"
  
From Mark 12:

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”


Here's an interesting point to discuss: religion is often a heavily cultural thing. A good number of holidays around the world are based on days of religious significance. How does one participate in cultural events, yet not the religion, when they are so often closely intertwined? Where do people draw that line?
  
The correlation between Christmas and Santa has already made it easy to untangle it from religion. If you don't want to make it religious, make it about getting presents or enjoying family time rather than religion.
  
If your family goes to a church then listen on Christmas or Easter and interpret whatever the priest/pastor is saying with an open mind and enjoy singing the songs because they’re pretty. Religiosity of the holidays eliminated for you. Frankly I find any kind of disdain for Christmas or any holiday to be ridiculous. At risk of putting my foot in my mouth, I think it comes from things like family issues and loneliness (spending holidays alone sucks) like everyone has. Or just pessimism or cynicism. I get really pessimistic around Christmas and start hating money and video games and cellphones and useless little trinkets and when people tell warn you they’re getting you a gift and the fact I can’t just get everyone some booze and food ‘cause people like to be impressed around holidays. And some of that may just be just relevant to my family and it’s not really going anywhere, again see what I said about why any kind of disdain is ridiculous.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 goes through my head every Christmas. Especially considering the end of the year plus a big holiday is crazy stressful and really soon after there’s more work to do. “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

If you’re not a normal kid living with your family or you’re not connected to your family or have otherwise no need or reason to take part in it then just don’t though.

Idk. Old farts, say something.
  
Coldfrost said:
Here's an interesting point to discuss: religion is often a heavily cultural thing. A good number of holidays around the world are based on days of religious significance. How does one participate in cultural events, yet not the religion, when they are so often closely intertwined? Where do people draw that line?


Lots of holidays are appropriated to some degree from earlier holidays and traditions. Christmas isn't when Christ was born, it is the appropriation of Saturnalia, a Pagan tradition which coincides with winter solstice to celebrate when days begin to get longer. Christians appropriated the holiday and its traditions in order to help normalize Christianity and practice as a religious minority. Easter was similarly adopted in large part from Pagan traditions.

If Christians can celebrate their holidays by taking from another cultural tradition and updating the meaning of it, I see no reason Atheists (or anyone for that matter) should not. So it really is not very difficult to apply new, Christ-less celebrations for December 25, and celebrate the coming of new hope, togetherness, warmth in darkness and the spirit of human kinship. Celebrating or treasuring those ideas is basically universal, and doing it around Christmas is a tradition in the Northern hemisphere that far predates Christianity.
  
Kylljoy said:
First commandment is to not worship any other gods, not that you must worship god. It's more of "You can only worship me, if you choose to worship"

That's the first of the Ten Commandments. The first and greatest commandment is to love thy God with all the heart, mind, might, and strength. The second is like unto it: love thy neighbor as thyself. All the proceeding commandments stem from these basic two.
  
Kylljoy said:
First commandment is to not worship any other gods, not that you must worship god. It's more of "You can only worship me, if you choose to worship"
If we want to be precise, the First Commandment is "no other gods before me". (Exodus 20:2, my emphasis)

So yeah I agree with your point that it doesn't specifically instruct followers to worship Yahweh at all. But it doesn't actually forbid the worship of other gods. Followers can worship other gods, as long as that god (Yahweh) is first.
  
I mean, if we want to be pedantic, the first commandment recorded is "let there be light".


Is this thread sufficiently derailed?
  
i think the commandments they’re referring to is of the Ten Commandments, rather than any sort of command in general. no one likes a pedant.
  
What is the first commandment is actually dependent on who you are and when you live. Some have interpreted "I am the Lord thy God" as the first commandment, which would inherently imply that atheism is breaking the first commandment, recognizing the existence of God.

In this interpretation, it would be:

1) Acknowledge God
2) Have no other Gods before God
3) Don't pray to or idolize other things
4) Don't talk shit about me
5) Celebrate God on the sabbath
6) Honor your parents
7) Don't take lives that ain't yours
8) Don't take people that ain't yours
9) Don't take shit that ain't yours
10) Don't lie
11) Don't even think about taking shit or people that ain't yours

And that'd mean atheists are breaking the commandments at the very start.
  
Coldfrost said:
You can be a good person and be Atheist, you can be a bad person and be Christian. As long as your beliefs make you happy and fulfilled and don't negatively impact other people, do whatever you want. Go worship the Spaghetti Monster for all I care.

Coldfrost, you've made my quote wall.
Edit: sometimes you just sorta forget you've already read through a thread, so when you read it through again you find another golden nugget. :)
  
Speaking for myself, I became atheist when I realized that the church I was raised on had set up religion to basically say "believe or else" Since the whole set up is basically threatening you with burning in hell if you don't just shut up and go along, I decided its probably bullshit.
Besides, if you weren't indoctrinated in this from the get go and just discovered that jesus rose from the dead and was the son of some omnipotent sky dude and jonah got swallowed by a whale, and noah fit 2 of every animal in a boat and so and so forth at say age 20, you'd be like: "What the fuck are you smoking?!?" My approach to life is I believe the world would be an infinitely better place without organized religion, but its not my place to tell anyone what to believe or not. Just extend me the same courtesy and stop letting your preacher tell you to vote for Trump even though he's a human shit stain.
  
I honestly repeatedly waiver on this topic, sometimes I'm a theistic agnostic (As in, I believe in a higher power but not commited to a form of worship or scripture due to them all claiming to be correct) and sometimes I'm just agnostic (regular definition). The issue with this is that there is no clear proof of either side.
People can always claim that the laws of science leave no room for god, but my issue is, well, what if science is wrong? If there was really an intelligent creator of our universe, the laws we see could simply be methodical rules that said creator choose to employ at a given time. If there's no evidence of souls, that could be simply the imprint of something we can't directly observe (similar to dark matter). For all we know, heaven and hell could exist. Or maybe not. Maybe there's no higher power. Maybe it's just a duck that fell asleep on a giant computer capable of simulating a full universe. Who knows?
My issue is that, when religion is involved, a higher power could slot into a bigger picture in so many ways, there's always a way to incorporate a god. There's always a way that the bible could simply be metaphorical or actually be true, just as a god could have created the universe or not, or lead evolution with a guiding hand or let the rules dictate how things turn out, or could be a hands-off observer and religion developed completely independently of them, or could have been an alien race, or a million other ways to do this.
So I usually avoid talks about religion. In my view, Atheism and Christianity require the same leap of faith. Atheism is a faith, it's a faith in being correct on the knowledge of no god, just as Christianity requires faith in Christ and God. I'm not a man who can take that leap of faith. Sometimes I turn to religion when I'm unsure of my life or feel existential dread and decide that yes, god does exist but that I'm just not going to chose a religion. Sometimes I decide that god probably doesn't exist. I'm not going to preach indifference or agnosticism, I'm just saying that people should be able to believe what they want to believe. There's always room for a god or not a god, and we'll either find out who's correct or we'll never find out at all. Whatever.


In other news, I'm deathly afraid of Pascal's wager. I just hope if there is an afterlife, that god is fair and doesn't have the first box of the pearly gates application be "Believed in me"


EDIT : By the way, I'm not saying definitively that souls exist or that god exists or that Bruce the Duck rules our universe. I was just saying those as rhetorical arguments.
  
If you asked me what I believe about God, I'd say I'm agnostic. It's entirely possible that some God exists, but we just can't prove it. However, I don't think it's very likely that there is a God. To me, the Problem of Evil is my biggest problem with belief in a God. Why is there so much suffering? There are ways to explain how an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God would allow as much suffering as there is, but I've never heard one that really convinces me, so I think the more likely case is that if there is a God, it is not omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

Pascal's Wager, to me, is a horribly flawed argument. I like it for the sole reason that it led to the development of decision theory and game theory, but in all other regards, I really don't care for it. I disagree with just about all of its premises. There's the Many Gods Objection. There's the question of whether infinite utility can even exist. There's the problem of using infinites in your calculations in the same way you'd use any other number. And even disregarding all those objections, the same argument can be applied to basically anything. There's a positive, non-infinitesimal chance that eating my own fecal matter will lead to eternal happiness. Therefore, I should eat my own fecal matter. It's not a good argument.

Ultimately, I choose to live my life non-religiously. As fascinating as it is to think about things like the possibility of an afterlife, what matters to me is the here and now.
  
In what possible sense is atheism faith? It's abstinence from belief until there's proof. As for "what if science is wrong," whatever replaces it is going to have to explain the current models, and is likely to leave less room for God than science does.

Not sure science v god is the best route to take since if that is the dichotomy, one is proveably valid in the current limit of observation.
  
Scientific facts are provable within a scientific framework, but science itself is not. Every basic system of thought relies on some axioms.
  
Sure, it's still a terrible dichotomy.
  
Back to the original question...

I don't like to say I'm an atheist for two reasons. First, there is a social stigma that I've encountered from both religious people and agnostics. Second, it's not entirely representative of my worldview. I am an agnostic atheist because I am first and foremost a skeptic. I have been making an effort to connect with more people I encounter in life and it's usually best to try and find common ground without being disingenuous.

So, if you're like me and you believe that whether divinity exists or not is unknowable, (even though I'm 99.99% sure there is no god), then for the sake of social cohesion when asked if you believe in God, just say "I don't know." It's the most humble answer.