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Why do many atheists tell Christians to "think for themselves" but...

#1Hypergamer55Posted 7/16/2011 7:49:12 PM
....many of these atheists let their favorite big name athiests, philosophers, musicians, politicans, celeberties, poets, books, movies, tv shows and other icons influence their life, how to act and how to think.

Thinking for yourself really sounds like you don't let anything whatsoever tell you how to think and run your life, that you do whatever you want, let no one's experiences and advice guide you and that you learn from your own experiences and mistakes.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it just seems like we all let someone or something influence how we see the world and how to live.
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#2NsM ComatosisPosted 7/16/2011 8:05:50 PM
I have my own opinions about virtually everything, but it still doesn't change the fact that someone like Sam Harris and a number of other people have expressed the same opinions more clearly than I ever could.

There's a big difference between citing the work of others to strengthen your argument and outright plagiarizing the work of others and passing it off as your own. I have good reason to think that religious beliefs are more often than not the latter, as there really is no reason why you'd come to these conclusions on your own accord.

Just think of it this way (quoting Sam Harris here, not verbatim): Imagine that every single human being woke up tomorrow and didn't remember anything we've learned so far. We would still have computers and the internet and everything else, but we would have no idea what they are and how to use them. How should we prioritize what we need to re-learn in order to survive? Things like communication and agriculture would probably be important, otherwise we'd have no way to talk to each other or figure out how to produce enough food to sustain everyone. At what point would we consider it essential to learn about the resurrection of Jesus or Muhammad's conversations with God? How would we be able to tell that the Bible was in any way more real than, say, the Odyssey or any other book of mythology we've written so far? We wouldn't be able to.

The only reason we think the Bible is a relevant book nowadays is because people in the past considered it a relevant book. On its own, the Bible offers no more insight about anything than any other random book of mythology or fairy tale that we've devised.
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#3avsfan33Posted 7/17/2011 7:55:21 AM

From: Hypergamer55 | #001
Thinking for yourself really sounds like you don't let anything whatsoever tell you how to think and run your life, that you do whatever you want, let no one's experiences and advice guide you and that you learn from your own experiences and mistakes.


No, that's not what it means at all.

One can look at others words/opinions/actions and think that its a good position/deed/view and incorporate into their own worldview and it is still thinking for themselves as long as they then understand that view, the basis for it, can defend it etc. This latter part is "thinking for themselves".

Not thinking for one's self is simply accepting the position or statement of some source without question and incorporating it into their own world view. For example, somebody who is a creationist but cannot justify it in any way other than "but the Bible says so" or thinks homosexuality is wrong simply because "the Bible says so" and, in turn, cannot really justify why we should listen to the Bible. And it's not restricted to theists... many atheists simply echo Dawkins et al.

Basically, when an atheist says "think for yourself" it moreso means question things that you have been told (in this context, about religion) and ensure that you are simply not accepting it just because you've been told its true.
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