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Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
01-14-2010, 09:21 PM
Post: #1
Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
This thread is dedicated to psychoanalyzing atheists in the comfort of their homes, as they rest on their own couches.

Anyone, whose nature has not been buried under external influences, often hears the voice that he has a Creator. Even those who have buried their nature under the veils of darkness and ignorance sometimes have experiences which awaken their true nature and they hear its voice beckoning them to their Creator. At the time of sudden and extreme distress many a time even an atheist exclaims 'O God! O Allah!' Someone may object that this is merely the result of habit, but I say habits are themselves a result of circumstances. The person who has been denying God’s existence for years and whose speech and writings are full of vitriolic propaganda against the believers cannot call out to God just by habit. His habit is to defile and abuse God, not to call Him for help. Therefore, these utterances from the tongue of a hardened atheist cannot result from anything other than the voice of human nature.
Sometimes hardships come upon man and turn his world upside down. These sudden shocks also reveal man’s innate nature and enable him to hear its voice.
Similarly we find that as one gets older, the voice of human nature becomes clearer. This also happens because thousands of veils of darkness beset a man in his youth. There is an abundance of worldly occupations and the intensity of youthful emotions often exceed the limits of modesty. But as one gets older, consuming passions cool down
and one experiences relief from worldly affairs.
Under these conditions, human nature once again finds an opportunity to bring its voice to our ears. Remember! Most atheists are young, and their views are transformed as they grow older. There are many atheists who become convinced of the existence of God in old age. The voice of nature reaches them and forces them to stop denying His existence. Although there may be exceptions, this is the general pattern that comes before us. If someone is still confronted in his old age with
circumstances that keep his human nature subdued, then he is likely to remain an atheist even in that age. But as the tendency to stray is often found only among the youth, it is they who mostly fall prey to atheism.
Someone could argue that this change in belief in old age has nothing to do with human nature, it is rather the fear of death that inclines one to God. But this argument too goes in our favour and not against us. The fact is that the fear of death is also a voice of human nature. Otherwise, why should an atheist be afraid of death? To one who believes that life started by accident, death should not mean anything. What started by accident would end by accident and there should be nothing of which one should be afraid! Actually the fear of death is a result of an internal change in man and this is what we call the voice of nature. When, due to old age or some other extraordinary circumstance, the veils of ignorance and darkness are removed from one’s mind and human nature again takes hold of our heart, we are irresistibly drawn towards God.

I have borrowed these words, but I will try to make this thread a practical demonstration, as long as we can keep it a friednly discussion.
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01-14-2010, 09:32 PM
Post: #2
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
(01-14-2010 09:21 PM)Ahmadi Wrote:  This thread is dedicated to psychoanalyzing atheists in the comfort of their homes, as they rest on their own couches.

Anyone, whose nature has not been buried under external influences, often hears the voice that he has a Creator. Even those who have buried their nature under the veils of darkness and ignorance sometimes have experiences which awaken their true nature and they hear its voice beckoning them to their Creator. At the time of sudden and extreme distress many a time even an atheist exclaims 'O God! O Allah!' Someone may object that this is merely the result of habit, but I say habits are themselves a result of circumstances. The person who has been denying God’s existence for years and whose speech and writings are full of vitriolic propaganda against the believers cannot call out to God just by habit. His habit is to defile and abuse God, not to call Him for help. Therefore, these utterances from the tongue of a hardened atheist cannot result from anything other than the voice of human nature.
Sometimes hardships come upon man and turn his world upside down. These sudden shocks also reveal man’s innate nature and enable him to hear its voice.
Similarly we find that as one gets older, the voice of human nature becomes clearer. This also happens because thousands of veils of darkness beset a man in his youth. There is an abundance of worldly occupations and the intensity of youthful emotions often exceed the limits of modesty. But as one gets older, consuming passions cool down
and one experiences relief from worldly affairs.
Under these conditions, human nature once again finds an opportunity to bring its voice to our ears. Remember! Most atheists are young, and their views are transformed as they grow older. There are many atheists who become convinced of the existence of God in old age. The voice of nature reaches them and forces them to stop denying His existence. Although there may be exceptions, this is the general pattern that comes before us. If someone is still confronted in his old age with
circumstances that keep his human nature subdued, then he is likely to remain an atheist even in that age. But as the tendency to stray is often found only among the youth, it is they who mostly fall prey to atheism.
Someone could argue that this change in belief in old age has nothing to do with human nature, it is rather the fear of death that inclines one to God. But this argument too goes in our favour and not against us. The fact is that the fear of death is also a voice of human nature. Otherwise, why should an atheist be afraid of death? To one who believes that life started by accident, death should not mean anything. What started by accident would end by accident and there should be nothing of which one should be afraid! Actually the fear of death is a result of an internal change in man and this is what we call the voice of nature. When, due to old age or some other extraordinary circumstance, the veils of ignorance and darkness are removed from one’s mind and human nature again takes hold of our heart, we are irresistibly drawn towards God.

I have borrowed these words, but I will try to make this thread a practical demonstration, as long as we can keep it a friednly discussion.

I've seen my atheist fiance afraid for his life more than once, and definitely in turbulence, but I've never seen him pray. Ever. Including, when planes hit turbulence. So...some don't.
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01-14-2010, 09:45 PM (This post was last modified: 01-14-2010 09:47 PM by Ahmadi.)
Post: #3
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
Please do not take it too literally. It is a metaphor, may be the turbulence was not real enough.

There is a popular saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”
Dr Armand M Nicholi Jr writes in 'the Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God Love Sex and the Meaning of Life,' “Some of my students dogmatically deny the existence of God — but at the same time acknowledge that whenever their plane hits turbulence, they find themselves praying. Many facets of Freud’s life likewise appear to be in contradiction to his atheism.”

There are studies in medical literature to show that most serious patients pray for example before cardiac bypass surgery. The figure for cardiac bypass surgery that comes to mind is 94-96%. If atheists will push me hard, I will be able to pull the reference.

The material that I put in the first opening post is from the book:

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/OurGod.pdf

I have seen in my life that as my relatives have gotten older they become more religious and more regular in their prayers. A famous atheism advocate Antony Flew has become a believer in his old age. I recently read one of his books.
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01-14-2010, 09:53 PM (This post was last modified: 01-14-2010 09:53 PM by Parousia.)
Post: #4
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
(01-14-2010 09:45 PM)Ahmadi Wrote:  Please do not take it too literally. It is a metaphor, may be the turbulence was not real enough.

There is a popular saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”
Dr Armand M Nicholi Jr writes in 'the Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God Love Sex and the Meaning of Life,' “Some of my
students dogmatically deny the existence of God — but at the same time acknowledge that whenever their plane hits turbulence, they find
themselves praying. Many facets of Freud’s life likewise appear to be in contradiction to his atheism.”

There are studies in medical literature to show that most serious patients pray for example before cardiac bypass surgery. The figure for cardiac bypass surgery that comes to mind is 94-96%. If atheists will push me hard, I will be able to pull the refernce.

The material that I put in the first opening post is from the book:

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/OurGod.pdf

I have seen in my life that as my relatives have gotten older they become more religious and more regular in their prayers. A famous atheist advocate Antony Flew has become a believer in his old age.

I have been in 'foxholes' under fire and have undergone serious surgery more than once. I did not pray. It did not occur to me to do so.

Concerning Flew:

Quote:Flew states that he has left his long-standing espousal of atheism by endorsing a deism of the sort that Thomas Jefferson advocated ("While reason, mainly in the form of arguments to design, assures us that there is a God, there is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or for any transactions between that God and individual human beings.").
...
Flew is particularly hostile to Islam, and says it is "best described in a Marxian way as the uniting and justifying ideology of Arab imperialism." In a December 2004 interview he said: "I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Flew...om_atheism

Flew believes in a kind of God, but not in religion. Sort of like me.
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01-14-2010, 10:02 PM (This post was last modified: 01-14-2010 10:04 PM by Venedi Sporoi.)
Post: #5
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
I think there are many atheists who would not deny that religion and innate human nature are closely linked to one another- but only that neither one is very definitely linked to reality or reason. In the face of death, I think even people who don't believe might invest in some slim chance of a hereafter, or at least go through the motions in desperation, much like a drowning man in a submarine keeping his head above water even though it's filling up. Even a drowning animal would do that much, and we're not so different. I think sometimes certain people can just barely hope even when they don't really expect to have their hopes fulfilled.

I'm not so pessimistic though, I'm just nitpicking at the argument. Just today I was getting nervous on a plane, and during a couple of moments I wasn't sure if we were going down or not, since my head was spinning with disorientation from flight-sickness and could see only fog out of the window. I really couldn't trust my senses to tell me what was going to happen, and I think this analogy is more apt than the submarine one in regards to facing death. As it was, I made it safe and sound.
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01-14-2010, 10:07 PM
Post: #6
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
First, I'd say that many, even most atheists do not pray under pressure. Including myself.

For those who do, fear and emotional stress makes a man do many things that are unwise. Not because he actually believes, but because he is struggling and willing to grasp at anything. There's a great line from the movie "Finding Forrester," where Sean Connery's character says, "It's like praying. What do you risk?" And the truth is the only thing you risk is your reputation. If I were to pray it wouldn't cost me anything except the admission that I was willing to pray. It's not like there's actually a god up there. It doesn't change the nature of reality. It shows that my mind is weak enough to cling to superstition when things get rough, that's all.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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01-14-2010, 10:11 PM (This post was last modified: 01-14-2010 10:26 PM by Ahmadi.)
Post: #7
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
I respect and trust the individual experience but in medicine they say 'one mouse is no mouse,' highlighting the importance of groups and population studies.

My first post stated, "Even those who have buried their nature under the veils of darkness and ignorance sometimes have experiences which awaken their true nature and they hear its voice beckoning them to their Creator. At the time of sudden and extreme distress many a time even an atheist exclaims 'O God! O Allah!' Someone may object that this is merely the result of habit, but I say habits are themselves a result of circumstances. The person who has been denying God’s existence for years and whose speech and writings are full of vitriolic propaganda against the believers cannot call out to God just by habit. His habit is to defile and abuse God, not to call Him for help. Therefore, these utterances from the tongue of a hardened atheist cannot result from anything other than the voice of human nature."

We see an almost obsession with God or god in the life of Freud and Einstein. I have a little tit bit about Bertrand Russell also, but that can wait. Let me give you some excerpts about Freud now:

In analyzing life histories of different legendary figures, we do well to keep in mind that human beings do not always live what they profess and preach and nor profess what they live.

In his scholarly works, his autobiography, and his letters written throughout his life, Freud refers to himself as ‘a materialist,’ ‘an atheist,’ ‘a godless medical man,’ ‘an infidel,’ and ‘an unbeliever.’ When eighty-two, a year before his death, he wrote a letter to Charles Singer, the historian, stating, ‘Neither in my private life or in my writing have I ever made a secret of being an out-and-out unbeliever.’

Freud's arguments were at times militantly hostile to God's existence. As with much of Freud's teachings, the great psychiatrist offers a partial truth that supports his philosophy but omits crucial aspects that question his conclusions. In short, his logic predicted ambivalence. Reflecting this ambivalence, he himself remained preoccupied throughout his life with the question of God's existence. He was indeed preoccupied with the "infantile" "fairy tale" of God's existence. This may come as a surprise to some readers of Freud, but it is true. The evidence lies in his letters. Freud's daughter Anna, the only child to carry on his work, once said to Armand M Nicholi Jr., "If you want to know my father, don't read his biographers, read his letters."

In the words of Armand M Nicholi Jr., “A careful reading of his letters reveals some rather surprising-if not perplexing-material. First, Freud frequently quoted from the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. In his autobiography Freud writes: ‘My early familiarity with the Bible story. . . had, as I recognized much later, an enduring effect upon the direction of my interest.’ Second, letters written throughout his life are replete with words and phrases such as ‘I passed my examinations with God's help;’ ‘if God so wills;’ ‘the good Lord;’ ‘taking the Lord to task;’ ‘into the keeping of the Lord;’ ‘until after the Resurrection;’ ‘science seems to demand the existence of God;’ ‘God's judgment;’ ‘God's will;’ ‘God's grace;’ ‘God above;’ ‘if someday we meet above;’ ‘in the next world;’ ‘my secret prayer.’ In a letter to Oskar Pfister, Freud writes that Pfister was ‘a true servant of God’ and was ‘in the fortunate position to lead (others) to God.’ What does this mean? Can we not dismiss all this as merely figures of speech-common in English as well as in German? Yes, if it were anyone but Freud. But Freud insisted even a slip of the tongue had meaning.

This preoccupation continues until his last book, Moses and Monotheism, written over a half century later, when he was in his eighties. Why? Why could not he put the question to rest?”

In his philosophical writings Freud divides all people not into psychiatric categories, but into ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers.’ Under unbelievers he includes all those who call themselves materialists, seekers, skeptics, agnostics, and atheists; under believers he includes a spectrum from all those who merely give intellectual assent to some kind of Supernatural Being to those who describe a transforming spiritual experience that revolutionizes their lives.
Within a few minutes we have seen 4 responses, two came while I was writing my second response. None of my other threads had such a reception. Is it an obesession with god? Is it a revealing Freudian slip?
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01-14-2010, 10:29 PM
Post: #8
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
Maybe it's the fact that your post is a no-brainer. Why do atheists cry out to god in times of stress? Most don't. The rest do it because they're so frightened they're not thinking straight. Question answered, and I barely had to think about it, which means quick response.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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01-14-2010, 10:40 PM
Post: #9
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
The writer of my first quote Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad calls this argument for God, 'Argument from Human nature.' I am expecting some heavy hitting from the other side, so just brushing up my information and doing some reading; I was struck again by the quote from Immanuel Kant, “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”
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01-14-2010, 10:50 PM
Post: #10
RE: Why atheists pray when a plane hits turbulence?
Like I said, I've seen my fiance in lots of could-be-killed situations and he's never once prayed. Not even when he had a wolf hanging on to his arm like a piece of meat.

Some do, I've seen atheists pray in bad situations -- all cradle Catholics -- all because it was indoctrinated. You can't tell indoctrination from instinct.
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