Owner of our company is very religious…

Brian says:

At times it makes me a little uncomfortable, for instance if we have a lunch meeting, he says “grace” before we eat. Not that I’m not offended by his beliefs, rather I’m perplexed by him. He is a very intelligent, well educated person. In my own life, I have found that most of the very intelligent, well educated people I have met are atheist, or at least non-religious.

I don’t understand how seemingly intelligent people can become so brainwashed that they believe the Christian dogma.


8 Responses to Owner of our company is very religious…

  1. The Atheist says:

    I personally don’t mind being around people who pray before a meal. I’ve prayed a few times for the meal myself when asked to. However, the fact that it doesn’t bother personally me doesn’t make it appropriate. I think it is inappropriate to push one’s religious view on those who depend on you for their job.

    Presuming that believers aren’t intelligent is a mistake I see too often. I know many people who are quite intelligent and learned, yet still believe. For some of those believers, they’ve never really had the motivation to question their beliefs – they are comfortable with them emotionally and socially and they are not interested in rocking the boat. For others, there is such a strong emotional attachment to their beliefs that they aren’t able to seriously consider alternative beliefs. They sabotage their own intellect by fallacious reasoning or by selectively ignoring evidence. We’ve all seen the intelligent believer refuse to give direct answers to answer direct questions about their beliefs. The evasions can be quite cunning and are an indication of a strong intellect, yet they are also symptomatic of the reluctance to reflect on conflicting beliefs. Finally, we would be amiss to presume a priori that we are right and the intelligent believer is wrong! Instead, we should decide that based on our attempt to understand exactly what and why the believer believes.

    • PhoenixGray says:

      Ironically, this is exactly how I feel about most atheists I speak to. If you take your second paragraph and merely switch the nouns, I’d say that’s a pretty good description of most conversations I’ve had with atheists.

    • The Atheist says:

      I suppose your mileage may vary. If I look at the second paragraph and swap the roles of atheists and believers, the first thing I notice that sounds wrong is that “For some of those [atheists], they’ve never really had the motivation to question their [skepticism]”. While it may well be true for a very small percentage of atheists, I’d be hard pressed to think of any atheists I know who haven’t thought there beliefs through. Most all atheists I know have come from some sort of religious background.

      The statements, “They sabotage their own intellect by fallacious reasoning or by selectively ignoring evidence.” I don’t see atheists ignoring evidence very often. However I think everyone, regardless of beliefs about religion, falls prey to fallacious reasoning from time to time. That’s one of the things I find valuable in discussions like we have on this blog – it helps me recognize when I’m the one who has fallen prey. It also helps me avoid falling prey in the first place as I become better at recognizing fallacious reasoning by others.

      And finally: “we [believers] would be amiss to presume a priori that we [believers] are right and the intelligent [atheist] is wrong! Instead, we [believers] should decide that based on our attempt to understand exactly what and why the [atheist doubts].” While I do know a precious few believers that this describes, I can count them on one hand.

  2. Brian says:

    I appreciate the dialog, thank you. I guess I just find it so “obvious” that there isn’t a god, it is very difficult to understand why people believe. I figured out there was no santa clause at a very young age. We had no chimney! There was no obvious way into our house, as my parents always locked the doors.

    My wife will not usually discuss her beliefs with me because she feels that I’m attacking her belief. I don’t feel like I’m attacking her, just trying to learn more about her, and how she thinks. When I suggest she watch something like the jug of milk video, she’s not interested. I think it is because it makes her uncomfortable. I am interested in what she believes, and why she believes it. I think I would be greatful if I believed in something, and someone informed me of a truth. On the times where we did engage in discussion, she admitted that she is scared to believe that when you die, that’s it, everything for you just stops. I wonder how many others “believe” for the same reason?

  3. The Atheist says:

    I think you’re right. The fear of death is a powerful motivator. It is a significant reason that many people are drawn to faith, and then subsequently are held in its grip. The Christian discourse for example, spends an inordinate amount of time threatening skeptics with eternal damnation, and wooing believers with eternal bliss. If one is terrorized enough to fear the very act of doubting (i.e., honest thought, or free thought), the only remaining alternative is unquestioning belief.

  4. humanitarikim says:

    I have found that some believe so intently that even attempting to think about the world being different than created by God is sinning in their eyes, so they refuse to even entertain the idea of the search. It’s a shame that they have been indoctrinated so severely that fear keeps them from looking outside of the box.

  5. The Atheist says:

    I think that’s true. Not only is there fear, but there is also a strong sense of guilt and taboo.

  6. VA_Atheist says:

    We’re very good at cubby-holing our different realms of belief. A believing Christian can be very intelligent and even espouse a very rational argument (outside of his religion), but he won’t see how the same arguments apply to his own faith. For example, ask a Christian what’s wrong with Islam, and you’ll get answers akin to what an atheist might think. Psychologists call this phenomena “compartmentalizing.”

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