I wonder just how many are pretending for their own sakes and for the sakes of their families/friends. Sadly, I think that due to the nature of the beast, the vast majority buy into it and returning to my disbelief in free will; the chances are that if you or I were born and bred in that world, we too would be joining in in the madness.
The area you live in sounds really claustrophobic*. I spent a while in Toowoomba, just West of Brisbane. I imagine that is akin to your town. Apparently if you want your children to go to a half decent school there, it has to be a Catholic one.
*Why do we say that when we really mean that we feel trapped and not that the particular environment feels trapped which of course would make not a shred of sense. :S
I'm not entirely sure what a Mormon is. Are they the ones that think Jesus came to America?
None of my immediate family are religious thankfully but I know what it's like to be unaccepted by ones family. My father is an overbearing homophobic bigot. I get on with him better than my siblings because I put up with shit quite well. My sister disowned him and hasn't been in contact with either of my parents for years.
I digress, it's a shame you don't feel able to talk to your brother without treading on egg shells. Everybody loses.
I wonder, is he as careful not to speak ill of atheism?
Oni and I watched Alice in Wonderland last night (well, the remake at least which isn't strictly Alice in Wonderland but a kind of seqel).
I don't know that it is so fortunate that your beliefs rarely get an airing. Sometimes I wonder if I talk about it too much. With me it often slips into the conversation. Of course it's really important but it's all a matter of how best to tackle the issue. Frank often walks into a wall.
I have to say (I don't but I will) regarding the church organist comment that I don't think that is an interesting question. Further more, why would an atheist want to be an organist for a church? Screw that. I used to be a choirboy for a local church (we're talking some time ago now). I got out for precicely that reason. I wasn't part of it. The more I thought about it, the less sense it made so one day I asked my mother what she thought and she did one of the best things she's ever done for me as a mother; she advised me to make my own mind up about it. So I did and here I am.
I'm interested to know how you came to your percentages, albeit approximate ones. I can trawl through all the evidence supporting evolution/theism and try to compile a list of all the evidence to suggest there is no god (as far as I know there's nothing to the contrary) but I'd have to be some mathematician to work out the probability that any mythology or fairy tale is inherrently true. How does one come to anything better than a very approximate percentage?
Only a fool is 100% sure of anything of course but if all evidence weighs against a divine creator, what percentage can we estimate in favour of the possibility?
What do you mean by a soul? What is its function? What evidence is there for its existence and how did you come to the 3%?
Until a couple of years ago I still kinda believed in an afterlife and that I had a soul - an etherial conciousness that would continue into it but then I always wanted to escape this existence to a richer, more forfilling one. Wishfull thinking, special pleading... Maybe there is a better than laughable possibility that we are in a simulation or something to that effect and that after life we will go on to or return to some other form of existence but there is still not the slightest piece of evidence to support it.
It seems that if we want heaven to exist and for life everlasting, we have to make it happen in this existence and we can't do that with our heads buried in our own asses.
...well that's why I called myself Utopian.
PS. I couldn't be bothered to proof read that so please don't feel any obligation to give it more than a skim and I appologise for any typos.