To Do or not To Do
The big red atheist button
July 20, 2015 at 11:14 pm #1091
A big red button in front of you. You know with certainty that if you pushed it…people would stop believing in Gods … (though some would still believe in woo of all sorts). Are you tempted … to say “yeah…let’s push it”? Would you? What would keep you from pushing it? What would the world be like if someone did push it?
Dawkins gives it a try…not a very profound explanation…but it’s hard to disagree with what he say’s.
But what about you?July 21, 2015 at 4:23 am #1104
I don’t think so. The ability to erase someone’s belief system without them wrestling with it themselves and coming to their own conclusions could have serious ramifications that I’m not prepared to be responsible for.July 21, 2015 at 4:37 am #1105
I understand where @bellerose is coming from because that was my exact first reaction too. It seems better that someone works through stuff than it is magically removed.
However, given the button is magical and therefore could not only remove belief in God but any memory of that belief I would do it. Everyone would then be free to re-form that belief if it made sense to them.
My reasoning is two-fold. The first is that many adults believe in God without question because that’s what they were taught when they were children. They should re-evaluate this belief when they become adult (as we all should with our beliefs) and most religious institutions do not encourage this.
The second is that if people wish to believe in Gods (and they usually do) perhaps in this day and age they might come up with something less silly and more socially relevant than the doctrines of, e.g., Christianity or Islam that were written thousands of years ago.
Human nature has not changed much in all that time (evolution doesn’t move at that pace) but thank goodness that societal mores have moved on. I think the Gods and rules that would be forthcoming this time would be more admirable.
One thing I absolutely wouldn’t want to do is, following the button push (a bit like a system restart) prevent people from being able to believe in God’s. That’s a bit 1984 for me.July 21, 2015 at 4:55 am #1110
Anything that is handed to you on a silver platter is worth nothing. Anything that is pressed upon you without a choice is a violation. Anything that is forced upon you with out your knowledge that manipulates your mind is a breech of human rights.
Anything that is given to you that you don’t have to work for is meaningless.July 21, 2015 at 11:44 pm #1144
I understand hesitating both ways Simon and Belle. Let’s ask the inverse. Would you appreciate anyone removing any beliefs (rational or not), personal tastes, memories or now defunct/discredited ideas/knowledge from your mind? Would the fact that it wasn’t personally tailored for you but done en masse by a dictator with his finger on a button make it more or less acceptable?
July 22, 2015 at 12:01 am #1146
- This reply was modified 4 years ago by Davis.
Or worse, someone pushing a big red button to make all atheists born-again Christians. Keep your damn buttons!
I think the effect of pressing your button, @davis, would be instant madness and mayhem, maybe decades later settling in to some kind of improvement, but at what cost? You can’t throw away the crutches before you heal the patient.
Societies are structured on interdependent supporting factors, of which religion is one. Cut religion out in a flash, and many structures would collapse. I can’t see a way it could work instantaneously.
Now a red button that graduated the process across 20 years might be more of a temptation! But no. I don’t want that kind of power to exist at all, let alone to wield it myself.July 22, 2015 at 1:34 am #1149
Re: Would you appreciate anyone removing any beliefs (rational or not), personal tastes, memories or now defunct/discredited ideas/knowledge from your mind?
That’s a hard question. There are a LOT of memories I wish I could forget. But I don’t wish away the lessons and wisdom I’ve learned from them. I do wish away the pain and anguish it has caused me and has still caused me. But I also believe that with that anguish it has formed me into who I am today. If I had someone push a button and remove that I would no longer be “me.” I would be an altered version of me. Watered down and not..the same. So even though there are a lot of things I wish I could forget, I’m glad I know the things that I know. Sometimes. I for example could do without the flashbacks. I could do without the triggers and feelings of depression triggered by so many bad memories…I don’t know. I guess in order to truly answer that I would have to see the kind of person I would be without those memories. If it made me a better person I would say “yes.” If it made me NOT a better person I would say “no.”
RE: Would the fact that it wasn’t personally tailored for you but done en masse by a dictator with his finger on a button make it more or less acceptable?
I don’t think it’s acceptable period. That doesn’t contradict what I just wrote above. I still don’t think it’s right. I entertain the idea of not having certain horrible memories but what YOU are asking is about changing my belief system. No, there isn’t a circumstance that that would ever be OK. Belief systems are earned and fought for. Not handed to you on a silver platter. That becomes just like brainwashing.July 22, 2015 at 10:40 am #1164
Impressive answers @all of you. ??July 22, 2015 at 11:27 am #1166
So all it removes is the belief in god? What about the memory of belief in god? For many that belief is the glue that holds their fragile psyche together.
It would be very tempting to rid the world of it and let the chips fall where they may. But I agree with Strega, “madness and mayhem”, so no.July 31, 2015 at 8:10 pm #1874
So the consensus is that pushing the big red atheist button would be a bad idea. I’ve decided not to build my time machine…go to the future…steal brain control technology…go back into the past…get Einstein and Turing to work out the details and create a mock up…and then come back into our relative time frame…and push the big red atheist button.
CASE CLOSED 😉July 31, 2015 at 8:20 pm #1877
I used to have a wonderful cartoon of Arnie as Terminator, running from the crosses with Jesus slung over his shoulder and the caption, “We’re not putting up with your shit for the next 2,000 years”.August 1, 2015 at 1:52 am #1889
Agreed, cased closed, unless perhaps God Himself has a Free Will on/off switch that still works. (Please don’t elaborate on the implied paradoxes… I’ve said too much already.)
I think we all think we think we all want Free Will, without the red buttons.August 4, 2015 at 10:54 pm #2196
That would be something incredible. Imagine suddenly losing free will (or per some…the illusion of free will). If we had memory of free will…then I suppose our lives would become similar to passively watching some kind of film while still experience the emotions and sensations. Creepy thought.June 8, 2017 at 8:25 pm #3012
Davyd R OndrejkoParticipant
I know this thread has been dead for nearly two years, but I can’t help but wonder why nobody brought up the obvious (to Me) question: If the button removes belief in God, and the memory of belief in God … how do you think that people would explain all the Bibles and Qurans and churches and temples and such? And what would the paid clergy think that they had been doing all that time, and what would they do for a living now?June 8, 2017 at 9:42 pm #3014
how do you think that people would explain all the Bibles and Qurans and churches and temples and such?
People would look at the holy books in the same way they look at Shakespeares play or the Illiad or Zoroastrian books.
People would look at sacred buildings and percieve them just as we do now with Roman and Greek Ruins or the Pyramids or Mayan temples. Stuff we just keep around to remind us our totally bonkers and bananas history and the beautiful buildings and art that are worth preserving.
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