xodarap replied 11 years ago (Dec 20th 2012, 7:30:56 pm)
"God" is a meme, that is to say it is a type of human behaviour pattern.
Strictly speaking it is better to say that the word "God" is manifest and entailed in patterns of human behaviour which, generally speaking, fall into either one, but not both, of two rather different types of behaviour pattern. I say types of behaviour pattern because, us people being what we are, variability is normal.
As an ex Christian I have real experience of both sides of the divide.
True believers take the word God, or some particular name of their favoured deity, to be the real name of a person-like entity which really does exist. An atheist such as myself is more or less bound to describe the beliefs of true believers as a set of behaviours many of which are private mental behaviours of a particular kind.
It is too hard and probably not worth the effort for me to try and pin down the most crucial aspects of true belief, but I think it is fair to say that naive realism is involved and, necessarily, a set of algorithms which are memes which the believer has taken in at some stage either consciously or not as the case may be.
Atheists on the other hand do not take the word God, or some ...blah blah .. as real; it is just a concept that is taken far too seriously by the true believers. What atheists believe about the universe in general is not prescribed by any law, and almost none of it is irrefutably provable, except the logical necessity of _not_ engaging in the same kind of true beliefs as the true believers do.
It is arguable that an atheist has access to more opportunities to be truly free. I base this assertion on my own assessment of what is critically involved in being human; the summary includes the following: The human universe is always potentially infinite, so long as it exists and we believe it to be so. I think that is possibly the most liberating thought a person can have. It works for me anyway. It is paradoxical however to the extent that our freedom, the very freedom I think is at issue, depends on our individual courage and willingness to stand by what we believe in.
The true believer is likely to say at this point: "Ha ha! You see! You have to believe in something! " which is true enough but the true believers then seem unable to refrain from inferring that just because it is _possible_ to believe in a divine being therefore it is _better_ to do so. That proposition is pure guesswork however. I would say it is more reasonable not to fetter one's imagination with allegiance to unprovable yet unfalsifiable projections of someone else's power concept.