PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
NuttyZA
 
Comments: 32
Article views: 538
 
 
Latest Badges:



 
View all NuttyZA's badges.
 

Of Atheists and Foxholes

07 January 2013, 11:05

“There are no atheists in foxholes”…

This little gem is often trotted out by Christians during heated arguments with atheists as if it is some silver bullet which ends all debate.

 However, what does this statement actually imply?

I am afraid of dying, therefore, to believe in a god, will ensure my continued survival in the face of impending death.

Now, I am not naïve enough to think that this is the sole basis to anyone’s belief in god/s but I do believe that this fear of mortality, is a strong motivator for many believers. This need for eternal life.

But why do we have this fear/need?

The human is the only creature in the animal kingdom that is intellectually aware of its own mortality. This is in direct conflict with our ingrained survival instinct. We are “programmed” to survive at any cost. On one hand, we know we are going to die, on the other we have an overwhelming urge to survive. In psychological terms, this creates what is called cognitive dissonance in our minds.

Cognitive dissonance theory posits that people seek consonance between their expectations of what is real (e.g. we live forever) and reality (e.g. we all die).  Cognitive dissonance creates the feeling of imbalance, anxiety, dread, guilt, frustration etc. within the human mind. Thus the human mind needs to reduce this dissonance and achieves this by either reducing the importance of one of the dissonant elements OR by altering existing cognitions (e.g. we do not die after all).

The only possible way we can intellectually accept that we do not die, is to hold the belief that when we do pass away, a part of us will live forever. This concept is the only commonality held by all religions which have existed since the beginning of recorded history… from the African and North American Indian belief in ancestral spirits watching over us, the Buddhist belief in reincarnation, to the Abrahamic religions’ belief in a heaven and eternal bliss. Belief in an afterlife is an essential element for any persons’ religious beliefs. Without an afterlife, there would be no purpose in worshipping any god i.e. even if a god did exist, to worship it would be a futile exercise if there is no reward in it for us.

So as a Christian, the next time you feel the urge to quote “There are no atheists in foxholes”, bear in mind that what you are actually doing, is confirming the atheists’ belief that the only reason you are religious, is because you are afraid of death.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
32 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Terry Hardwick
Re Bambi

 Read more...

0 comments 477 views
Submitted by
Sello Mokoka
Edward Zuma's rant about Thuli is...

I am not surprised by Edward Zuma's rant on Thuli Madonsela. What does he mean that she must either become a politician or to shut her trap? Read more...

0 comments 917 views
Submitted by
Leon Isaacson
South Africa is still an attracti...

Despite the turbulent international economic situation both political and economic, South Africa offers many short and long term opportunities for those who want to study, work, invest or retire here. Read more...

0 comments 227 views
Submitted by
Caro Smit
2017 road crash stats: Equivalent...

The 1 714 people who died on our roads this year is the equivalent of 5 airplanes crashing over the holiday period.  Read more...

0 comments 158 views
Submitted by
Peter Hollander
Zuma and his funny statements

How is it possible that Zuma, with almost 800 charges of corruption against him, sell out minister positions to the Guptas can talk about we do so much to fight corruption? Read more...

0 comments 453 views
Submitted by
Michael Mondli Hlophe
Has Jacob Zuma been saved by muti...

Many African observers in the rural areas believe that Msholozi has very powerful herbalists and traditional healers that he is able to utilize whenever the need arises. Read more...

0 comments 520 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2017 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.