Author: Sorting Last Post on Top ↓ Message:
SASSISPRING's Photo SASSISPRING Posts: 11,067
11/6/13 2:25 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Hello everyone. I’m new to the team but I’ve been in SP for a good long time. I’m not a true atheist – at least what I’ve come to see as atheism. I’ve more come to the point in my life where I refuse to believe there is a man in a spirit form, who moves us around like puppets on a string and if we believe in him, then he will grant us a good life. If we don’t believe in him, then he’ll torture us until we do believe in him. It really came out strong after I left an abusive relationship. I questioned how I could believe in an all-powerful controlling male god when I refused to be the good little woman and obey the (human) man in my life. I also have been surrounded by abuse and racism created by the major churches, and if that’s the power of God, then I want nothing to do with that God. I also live in an area known far and wide as “the Bible Belt”. I see so much hypocrisy from the churches and those who party Saturday/pray on Sunday that it has totally turned me away from organized Christian religion.

Stating all that, I do believe that there is much we do not understand or control in our world and universe. I believe that there are spiritual “things” (for lack of better word) that we cannot explain but I don’t believe that a spiritual being created his own little playhouse. Although growing up I used to say that I believed we were simply either one big lab experiment or viruses. There are still many times as an adult that I truly believe we are viruses – where our “job” and “purpose” in our lives is to multiply even if it means that we destroy ourselves in the end.

I’m quite confused on it all, to be honest. I don’t let it bother me though, as my questions simply have no answers and I’m okay with that. I do hold true that this isn’t our final destination that our energy continues to flow even when our physical self is gone. I’ve gone through experiences that have shown me that this theory is true. I read “The Shack” years back and much of what was written lined up with my own beliefs; there were areas that I definitely questioned, but much of it rang true.

I look forward to reading conversations and getting to know all of you.




 Pounds lost: 7.0 
 
0
28.25
56.5
84.75
113
METALNIKI's Photo METALNIKI SparkPoints: (1,362)
Fitness Minutes: (88)
Posts: 9
8/6/13 12:45 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the posts! I personally can't remember a time when I ever believed in any god. As a child, church was an occasional thing that we had to endure to appease my great-grandparents. When I was about 15 years old, I started going to a Baptist church on Wednesday evenings to meet with my very gothic boyfriend. Around that time, my mother got sucked in by the Pentecostal church run by the offspring of said great-grandparents (minus my grandfather, as he thinks it's all ridiculous) and began forcing my brothers and I to attend church services at her church 3 times a week. To this day, she swears it was to get me away from my boyfriend at the time. Though I declared vehemently that I had no faith in anything that couldn't be proven to me, she forced me to get baptized the month that I turned 16 claiming that it would be a great embarrassment to her to have all the other girls in my youth group baptized while I sat watching. When I emerged from the miraculous, sin-absolving water, my pastor asked me how I felt. I shocked the entire church when I responded, "Wet, cold, and a little silly. Other than that, absolutely no different than I felt before you tried to drown me." I was a bit rude, I suppose. My mother stopped forcing me to go to church that very day. Of the 4 children she had in that church, 3 of us are atheists. My youngest sister is only 12 and loves the Baptist church they now attend. She's very into religion and we all accept that and don't try to tell her what we believe. She gives us the same respect. Very cool kid.

One thing I learned in that church stuck with me. I was told that you cannot have a successful relationship with someone who has a belief system that is much different from yours. I met a boy before the Pentecostal church who told me he was an atheist and we agreed on every bit of our lack of blind faith. He was my best friend. 5 years ago, we started dating. We are now engaged and have a little boy. He's almost 3. While we feel that religion isn't something he needs to be bothered with right now, my mother strongly disagrees. However, she respects our wishes and does not try to indoctrinate him. She prays for him daily. She is a good woman whose ignorance leads her to believe that he will be a drug addict or other type of delinquent because we intend to raise him to be a free-thinker. She cringes at the thought of him never going to church or learning about Jesus and his miraculous workings. I don't know how to communicate with her effectively on this subject.

Our group of friends has decided that we are all "good without god." We have no blind faith in anything, but strongly believe in treating our fellow man well. We help everyone we can (yes, even Christians and other religious people) at every opportunity. When people find out that we're atheists, we get comments such as, "But you're so sweet!" or, "But you're such a good person!" These comments are hurtful, as I don't know many Christians or otherwise religious people who are sweet or good. I don't understand why we are assumed to be anything but positive, helpful people.

Anywho, I feel I'm rambling now, so I think it's time to stop. Have a great day, everyone! Be good, with or without a god.

 current weight: 226.0 
 
227
207.75
188.5
169.25
150
MYAKAYAH's Photo MYAKAYAH Posts: 4,790
7/3/13 4:14 A

Community Team Member

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I think in my experience, even though I grew up catholic, I never agreed with any of it. I thought the guilt and the grief over "religion" was not something I wanted to be a part of. My mother (bless her little heart) believes in that stuff and so does my fundamentalist sister.

I mean the "church" will let perverted beings stay in the church and harm more children. How sick is that? I left way before that happened because I felt the repetitive nature of church was a little more than I could tolerate. I think after being in catholic school and going to religion classes I had the dogma down pat. So when I turned 21 I said no more and quit attending services. Of course the church says if you don't attend church services on Sundays or holy days you are going to hell. I'm Satan's bride anyhow I always joke. Besides in the bible its alright to be a doubting Thomas according to Jesus. The bible seemed like mythology and really it doesn't make too much sense when you think about it logically.

I would say its possible that there is a higher power at work out there but I'm not going to live my life with guilt, fear and shame. Life is hard enough and I'm done apologizing for being human and being born. Being born with sin really now!

Yeah, I'm an atheist~

Edited by: MYAKAYAH at: 7/3/2013 (04:22)
"If a person wants to be a part of your life, they will make an obvious effort to do so. Think twice before reserving a space in your heart for people who do not make an effort to stay."

"Your happiness is up to you. Whatever happened in your life to make you who you are up until this point is irrelevant. It is your responsibility now to take control and change your life to be what you want it to be. Energy and persistence conquer all things. Make time, not excuses."


 current weight: 127.0 
 
142
137.75
133.5
129.25
125
JXNCHICORY's Photo JXNCHICORY Posts: 2,810
5/4/13 3:23 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Great thoughts expressed here on this thread. Lots to consider! So good to see the ideas shared!
emoticon emoticon

If we are to go on living together on this Earth, we must all be responsible for it.
~ Kofi Annan

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
~ Wendell Barry

Nancy in Michigan


 Pounds lost: 61.0 
 
0
25
50
75
100
BOPPY_'s Photo BOPPY_ SparkPoints: (87,844)
Fitness Minutes: (72,257)
Posts: 3,630
4/28/13 1:10 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I am not an atheist.

You're not?

No!

Why not?

Well, I'm not an atoothfairiest because I don't believe in the tooth fairy.
And, I'm not an asantaist, just because I don't believe in Santa.
And, I'm not an aeasterbunniest, just because I don't believe in the Easter bunny.
And, I'm not an aghostest, just because I don't believe in ghosts

Just because a well-organized group of the metaphorically challenged wants to label you something doesn't mean you have to play that game.

Lee emoticon


Lee

May the fork (and tracker) be with you!


 current weight: 3.0  over
 
5
2.5
0
-2.5
-5
JXNCHICORY's Photo JXNCHICORY Posts: 2,810
1/16/13 3:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Science tells us that an organism has a limited lifespan; but then, each type of organism has a method of reproduction that passes on some of its genetic traits. And as each individual interacts with its environment and other organisms, it has an effect. Perhaps that can be termed, "spiritual?"

If we are to go on living together on this Earth, we must all be responsible for it.
~ Kofi Annan

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
~ Wendell Barry

Nancy in Michigan


 Pounds lost: 61.0 
 
0
25
50
75
100
JXNCHICORY's Photo JXNCHICORY Posts: 2,810
1/10/13 3:48 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Humanism: Because we have evolved and learned to understand the most known so far about scientific principles, humans have to take responsibility for all the stuff we've screwed up. And praying to the sky isn't going to fix it. WE have to do our best to fix things.

I do not believe that there's a brain somewhere out in space that reaches down and changes things around if we pray to it.

Personally, I do believe that through communication and working together, which church organization often promotes, people can accomplish much. However, many have been, and still are being, horribly harmed by judgmental religious tenets. If it helps you be a better and more loving person, then that's a force for good.
emoticon

If we are to go on living together on this Earth, we must all be responsible for it.
~ Kofi Annan

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
~ Wendell Barry

Nancy in Michigan


 Pounds lost: 61.0 
 
0
25
50
75
100
JXNCHICORY's Photo JXNCHICORY Posts: 2,810
1/7/13 9:57 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
For me, it means that the real power in the universe lies in love (as in god really IS love) and caring, to bring about peace. And WE must take care of our little green planet, Earth, for the generations to come.
emoticon

Edited by: JXNCHICORY at: 1/7/2013 (21:58)
If we are to go on living together on this Earth, we must all be responsible for it.
~ Kofi Annan

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
~ Wendell Barry

Nancy in Michigan


 Pounds lost: 61.0 
 
0
25
50
75
100
SPKRAUSE's Photo SPKRAUSE Posts: 543
1/2/13 9:49 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I'm new to this group, though I've been on SP for a year. I tend to read PZ Myers over at Pharyngula on a daily basis (and suffer withdrawal when updates aren't frequent enough); my politics, positions on gender, and views on science align relatively well with his.

As for the atheist vs. agnostic debate, while a bit flippant I tend to contextualize my views as follows. From a 'strictly' 'logical' point of view (air-scare quotes intended, as I'm not being rigorous here), one has to maintain a certain non-dogmatic, skeptical agnosticism. There's a lot we don't know, we don't even know all the things we don't know (those (in)famous unknown unknowns), and to remain intellectually and epistemoligcally honest we must answer the deity question with 'I don't know.' But on the other hand, I maintain about the same level of not-knowing for (a) Santa, (b) the Easter Bunny, (c) Russell's teapot, (d) Odin & Thor, (e) Zeus ... (f) insert-supernatural-thing-of-choice. If I get to be an 'atheist' ("do not believe in" or "does not exist" vs "do not know") regarding Zeus, I get to be an atheist vis-a-vis 2000 yr old zombie carpenters and the like.

This ignores the social and political aspects of belief and religion in US vs. western European, South African, Canadian, etc. cultures. That we have debates and conflicts at the school board level that are simply non-issues in, say, Sweden.

Anyway, hardly a treatise ... just an aside.

"Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, Juristerei und Medizin, Und leider auch Theologie Durchaus studiert ..." (Goethe, "Faust")


 current weight: 218.0 
 
287
262.75
238.5
214.25
190
LIBBYL1 Posts: 5,923
1/1/13 12:38 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
i am new to this group...and have really enjoyed reading this thread - and the careful evaluation and thinking behind everyone's posts. I certainly don't hate "religion" as a concept - most "religions" have a core set of values that supposedly guide their followers. As someone noted here as well, there have been some wonderful things done by humane and principled followers of religion - the liberation theologists in Latin America and elsewhere who fought dictators, some of the Buddhists in challenging the brutality of China in Tibet, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Nehru....

In South Africa where I come from, some religious leaders actively fought against apartheid and continue to speak truth to power (Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one). But equally, apartheid itself, and the brutal dehumanisation of people based on the colour of their skin was justified by its architects and advocates using the Bible. Many many other atrocities in our world have been committed in the name of a religion. But while I do not hate religion, I do loathe the self-righteousness and intolerance of some of the followers of religions and actively fight against this - on teh basis of the values I believe in which supposedly form the basis of some of these religions. It is not only religion though, but all beliefs that are not tolerant of others views and the right of people to hold these as long as they do not impose them on others. I am finding nowadays that a number of friends who have like me rejected the religion they were born into are replacing this with a new dogma which they also want to impose on others - or judge them for not following. This includes things like self-realisation, the miracle workshops, etc etc...
I have a 17 year old daughter and have encouraged her to learn about all religions - Christianity and its roots in paganism, Islam (and the wonderful philosophy behind Ramadaan and Eid), Judaism - and the great tradition of friday night supper, Hinduism and the festival of lights, Buddhism, Jainism etc .... Her odd-mother (seems wrong to call her a 'god-mother' seeing as I don't want her to ensure she gets religious instruction but love the notion of recognising collective parenting so we have adopted odd-mother) is an astro-physicist so has taught her to ask the questions about science and our universe. I have though also always said to my daughter that I have made my choices of non-belief based on values and would always respect her choices as long as she has carefully thought through them and does not then use them to either condemn others or "pray" for them.
I do love the rituals associated with religion.... and we have our own non-religious versions. On Christmas Eve some friends and I have always got together from when our children were small and light candles to remind ourselves of the values that we hold dear - respect for others, empathy, compassion etc etc ...Cooking special meals on occasions for friends, family and people we love is also a wonderful celebration of them and us and we make sure we still do this on Xmas, solstices etc ... I also love having a weekly time that is special (like Sunday lunch or Friday night supper) when we do gather and make time to speak to each other...We do it for Sunday brunch with friends and family that are here.

 Pounds lost: 44.0 
 
0
11.5
23
34.5
46
ADAGIO_CON_BRIO's Photo ADAGIO_CON_BRIO Posts: 12,175
12/9/12 8:47 P

Send Private Message
Reply
I do not believe that I have posted here. My feelings have been developed over the years so that I can articulate them. I was first (as a teenager) struck by the Victorian novelist George Eliot's statement that "God, Immortality, Duty...how inconceivable the first, how unbelievable the second, and yet how peremptory and absolute the third."

I do believe in a "duty" to others in general and secular humanism would define my feelings the best.

I believe that religion was once a great inspiration to art and architecture. I love the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe and the great poetry that was inspired by religious devotion. It's difficult for many people to believe that old religious art, poetry, prayer are things of beauty. But for me they remain frozen in time as artifacts of some remarkable human impulses. John Donne's holy sonnets are no less beautiful to me because I am not a believer. I can "believe" in his images, his rhythms, his words, his striking metaphors.

Religion has inspired great art and I appreciate that. I think that the suburban A-line 1950's churches of the suburban USA are a blight on the landscape but I find Chartres or Westminster Abbey breath-taking.

I suspect that I would find religious rituals stifling and meaningless but how intellectually stimulating and beautiful are the words of poets, the music of composers who have been spiritually inspired!



Columbus, Ohio
**********
Leader: Spark People Eclectic Readers
***********

*´¨)•*¨) -:¦:- •*´¨)•*´)
•*´) ♥ NATALIE ♥ =^..^= *´)
•*´¨)•*¨) -:¦:- •*´¨)•*¨)






 Pounds lost: 49.0 
 
0
23.75
47.5
71.25
95
BABYSTEPS84's Photo BABYSTEPS84 SparkPoints: (16,336)
Fitness Minutes: (18,356)
Posts: 1,458
8/23/12 7:30 P

Send Private Message
Reply
I always call myself a 'lazy atheist'. I don't really believe in god, but I don't care enough to actually worry about non-belief or proving there is no god. I don't really know what else I want to say. I relate to a lot of the posts. But in the end, if you believe something, it makes you happy, you aren't hurting anyone, and you are leaving me alone - I'm good with it :)

Someday is TODAY!


 current weight: -2.7  under
 
5
2.5
0
-2.5
-5
DPOWERS18's Photo DPOWERS18 SparkPoints: (24,319)
Fitness Minutes: (4,960)
Posts: 1,244
8/21/12 1:13 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I had a very negative experience with religion. I was LDS/Mormon. You know, like Mitt Romney. I'm not sure if you all know about Temple practices in Mormonism, but the Temple is used for marrying church members and is used for a ritual called the endowment. My husband was never a church member, so we couldn't be sealed in the Temple. I was told by numerous church members that I really needed to pray and think about this. Some people even said I should consider divorcing him because marriage outside of the Temple is pointless. They pushed the endowment on me, even though I told them numerous times that I didn't want to do it. It freaked me out. After that I started researching the church, and I was really shocked at what I found out. The church also contributed to my eating disorder. I finally stopped going to church, but I searched out other churches, and I actually found a pretty decent Methodist church. I continued doing research because it fascinated me, and eventually that research led me to the logical conclusion that this God figure isn't real. It was a slow process, but after tons of research I knew that I was an atheist. I couldn't believe in God anymore after the things I saw and read, especially the Bible. As shocking as that is to believers, the Bible is what really pushed me over the edge. That was when I realized that if God did exist he is a pretty horrible being, kind of like a kid laughing while burning ants with a magnifying glass. I could no longer take any of the Christian teachings seriously especially when so much of what they preach is not aligned with what the Bible says.

121 Maintenance Weeks
 
0
35
70
105
140
HENRYSC's Photo HENRYSC SparkPoints: (36,360)
Fitness Minutes: (37,082)
Posts: 2,769
2/6/12 11:21 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Chris:

Loved your post your post sound very much like what I understand (except I didn't have any religion to throw off)

The stuff about not being near a church when it lets out has been my rule for over thirty years (I am an avid jogger).

No apology is need for providing us with your views or simply using us as a sounding broad.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.

PS my wife who calls herself a recovering catholic and I have had the issue with what happens when we die (she wants to spend forever with me --- and I am shocked but so happy that she does). I tell her that how we live now is so much more important that any possible future that all we need to do is focus on now and get it right and the future will take care of itself. We both know that when we die it ends but it still doesn't stop our desire to be with each other as long as possible....I spend a dollar a week on the lottery(early retirement plan) so a little false hope in ones life doesn't have to be crippling...(I also put in 15% into my 401K)



"I can feel the wind go by when I run. It feels good. It feels fast."


 current weight: 218.8 
 
275
250
225
200
175
CHRISTYLC's Photo CHRISTYLC Posts: 17
1/28/12 12:10 P

Reply
Wow...that was a long post! Sorry about that. Guess I was using it as therapy for dealing with my irritation over that comment, and with having to squelch what I'd really like to say to the insensitive people around me who feel that it's OK to ram their beliefs down your throat, but it's not OK to have a different set of (or lack of) beliefs altogether.

Couldn't agree with you more regarding the two issues you brought up...have one of those churches right down the road from me, and they've actually had to bring in police officers to direct traffic when they get out of church on Sundays! Forget walking past...you're lucky to survive just driving past. :)

 current weight: 219.6 
 
230
207.5
185
162.5
140
TRISH579's Photo TRISH579 Posts: 1,129
1/26/12 5:42 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
A long post, but well written and well worth the time.
I also get the strange looks when I announce my non-belief, I'm so nice, volunteer, blah blah blah.
When I take my walks daily, the trickiest part on Sunday is if I'm by the Catholic Church when the lemmings let out. Those Xtians will run me over, horns blasting.
I know we could all do the googling to find how just how many millions of people were murdered during the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the "civilizing" of the North and South American indigenous peoples - all in the effort to save their souls.

"Goodness" from belief in a god? I think not.

It's OK to just say no.


 current weight: 195.6 
 
198
188.5
179
169.5
160
CHRISTYLC's Photo CHRISTYLC Posts: 17
1/26/12 12:31 A

Reply
I've enjoyed reading the other posts in this thread, so I thought I'd share with you all, in case you're interested or just bored enough that you have nothing better to do than read my post. :) On top of that, I had a rough day at work, and I had someone there say to me that other people would have a hard time believing I am an atheist because I am otherwise such a nice person, and I'm still a little angry about it.

My spiritual journey began early in childhood. The most influential person in my life was my grandmother, who was the most selfless individual I've ever known. We lived with my grandparents for several years when I was a baby and toddler, then again when I was in elementary school, and while living there we attended Lutheran church on a regular basis. My grandmother used to stay up and read the Bible to me every night past midnight (I've been a night owl my entire life), when Grandpa would finally lose his patience and yell that it was time for us to go to sleep. I owe any of my positive attributes to my grandmother who taught me the difference between right and wrong, but not because of religious teachings; it was the way she lived her life, with honesty, sincerity, empathy, charity, and integrity, that stuck.

For several years I considered myself agnostic. Couldn't make up my mind whether I believed or not. I once joined the Mormon church just because I wanted to see what it was like to belong to their organization...to get a first-hand glimpse into their belief system. They're really not so weird...at least not any stranger than good old-fashioned Lutherans, or Baptists, or Catholics (or any other religious group, at least in my opinion). I remember asking them on numerous occasions where the proof of the existence of a god was, and was told over and over that you find the proof in your heart, and in your testimony of how this god has touched, and made positive changes in, your life. Essentially, the same answer I got from any religious leader. Read the Bible and you'll find your answers. You'll feel the same way we do.

I met (not at church, but through work) and married my husband over ten years ago. At the time, I still considered myself agnostic. We were married by a non-denominational pastor, and I tried attending that church with him regularly, but I found that I was the one taking the initiative to get up and go every Sunday. I was also the one suggesting we make donations when we went (not exactly tithes...there's no way I'm going to put 10% of my income into anything but savings or my 401-k). Being an all-or-nothing type of person, and still a night owl who HATES getting up before 8 a.m., I eventually stopped pushing the issue, and we haven't been to church since.

It wasn't until I went back to college and learned more about history, philosophy, and astronomy that I began to seriously question the veracity of the Bible. Until then, I didn't even know that atheism was an option. My first exposure to an "out of the closet" atheist was in a world religions class. The instructor was very open about his being an atheist, and I was just about as shocked by his admission to atheism (not his actual atheism...I was fascinated by that) as I was by the first person who ever spoke openly to me about her "partner" (I was so sheltered that I thought she was a police officer at first). I can't believe how horribly naive I was! While attending classes, I met others who not only questioned, but were either able to move beyond the belief system they grew up with, or who were never indoctrinated into any religion at all.

The first person I ever admitted my lack of belief to outside of college, and this was only about two years ago, was one of my co-workers. To my surprise, she didn't attack me or accuse me of being some sort of evil, conniving demon...she actually held a very similar perspective. That co-worker, and eventually close friend, has since moved to D.C., but I have since shared the same information with several other people that I am close to. When I shared my views with my husband, he actually told me that he was sad because he wouldn't be spending eternity with me in heaven. So basically, he'll be in heaven, and I'll be going to "that other place." Whatever. The way I see it, if there is a hell, plenty of my friends will be there with me, so it can't be all that bad. The worst part is that we are in total disagreement over this issue, and we have two kids. Fortunately, I'm the more outspoken one of the two of us, so guess what my kids will hear more of. :)

I can freely say that I am, without a doubt and unequivocally, an atheist. Or a non-theist. Or a non-believer. Call me what you will. I do not believe that there is some old dude with a white beard cloud-hopping through the skies, watching everything we do, reading our every thought, listening to our prayer requests, and predetermining or deciding our eventual fate. I do not believe that Jesus was the son of a virgin (I mean come on...how would we react to a story like that today...seriously?!), nor the son of the white-bearded dude who supposedly floats above. Any all-knowing and all-powerful being who had the capability to create an entire world in seven days should also be capable of correcting all wrongs and creating a Utopian society for people on Earth. Benevolent god? I think not. Ever read the Bible? He's a jealous, vindictive, misogynist. And the Bible itself? Written by mankind, transcribed over and over again from one language to another, over centuries. The majority of religions that exist today evolved over millennia out of extraordinary effort to explain unusual phenomena observed in the world around us. Each new generation of religion claims to be "the true" religion and adopts existing mythology from the previous generation as their own in order to appeal to the widest audience possible, especially to potential converts from the religion that they broke away from. I think it would make more sense to ask people why they believe that a god exists. Where is there any proof, other than religious texts (which I've already stated I don't believe to be the inspired word of any god), and this giddy feeling that they have that there just must be a god watching over them, constantly hanging out next to them, like an imaginary friend that they just can't rid themselves of...even after they've grown up? I thought that was called delusion, not religion.

Many claim that evolution is a theory, and yet all we have to do is trek off to a natural history museum and observe fossils on display, or learn a tiny bit about geology and how each of those types of fossils is found in different layers of earth that correspond to the time of their formation over billions of years, or even just watch how species of animals and plants have changed just in the last hundred or so years to see that evolution and natural selection are observable events. The theory of evolution is also NOT a religion, as some claim, for that very fact...it is observable! And let's not forget about the religious claim that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Have the individuals who believe that never heard of carbon dating? Have they isolated themselves from the myriad discoveries made by astronomers in recent years? The Bible got that fact absolutely wrong!

I am much more comfortable living in a world where I don't have some strange being watching, listening, and judging my every move. I don't want to get down on my hands and knees and beg for forgiveness from anyone at all, much less an imaginary someone. I believe that we evolved to live on our planet with its inherent conditions, not that our planet was formed around our needs. If it were developed around our needs by a special being, I don't suppose we would have earthquakes, tsunamis, and droughts. And if he is sending those as punishment for our sins, then I agree with the previous post...that being is "kind of a dick and doesn't deserve my worship anyways."

I wish I could respond as I'd like to those who act as though it's a surprise when they learn that I am an atheist because "I seem like such a nice person otherwise." I'd like to ask what they believe an atheist would be like? Do they think that atheists eat babies for breakfast? Why must I share their religious beliefs in order to have morals and be an ethical individual? I know plenty of Christians whose church-going hasn't helped them to be any nicer toward their fellow man. Is their fear of hell honestly the only thing keeping them from stabbing the person next to them? I treat people around me with the same respect, empathy, and integrity that I expect in return. That's not a religious value...that is common sense.


 current weight: 219.6 
 
230
207.5
185
162.5
140
NORIGREY's Photo NORIGREY SparkPoints: (2,505)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 344
1/8/12 12:26 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I don't think I've ever been able to believe in any god, the same way I've never been able to believe in imaginary friends. My parents raised me in a fairly secular home. I was taught about religions, but they never told me they believed one way or the other, it was more a matter of learning that lots of people have different beliefs. I attended church a handful of times with friends who asked if I wanted to come. Of course, since they were my friends, I was completely willing. I think I tried to understand what they were saying at the services, but I could never quite apply it to real life.

I tried paganism for a while, but that didn't stick either. I couldn't even believe in one god, much less a whole pantheon. So I stuck with agnosticism for a very long time, because it was so much work to try to believe in something I just didn't want to bother with it.

It wasn't until I met my current boyfriend that I realized I might as well just consider myself an atheist. He said the only reason I was agnostic is because I just hadn't thought about how silly it is. And he was right. I read "The God Delusion" by Dawkins, and so much of it made sense. It got me really thinking, and there was just no going back.

If there is a god watching over us, then it's kind of a dick and doesn't deserve my worship anyways.

 current weight: 146.4 
 
177
166.5
156
145.5
135
TINAJANE76's Photo TINAJANE76 SparkPoints: (65,282)
Fitness Minutes: (45,429)
Posts: 4,288
1/6/12 8:07 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
My journey away from religious belief was rather slow, but started at a very early age. I was raised Catholic and by the time I was seven or eight, I had already begun to question the absurdity of it. I remember fighting with my mom every week about having to go to church and as I got older and began delving deeper into my faith, I began pointing out the things that just didn't make sense to me. 'This is what YOU believe, not what I believe,' 'Doesn't the fact that we're Catholic have more to do with our geography than our beliefs?,' 'How can a thinking person believe much of what our church teaches?,' and 'How can you follow a church that would have you excommunicated for some of your beliefs?' were some of my common refrains.

I didn't have a traumatizing experience in my church-going and some of the people I knew (including much of my own Catholic family) are very nice, decent and compassionate people. My own religious upbringing was actually pretty secular in a lot of ways and my mother always placed much more emphasis on charity and helping other people than she did on Jesus or the Bible. I think she wanted to live her life the way crunchy granola Jesus did and just ignored the darker and conflicting messages in the Bible and teachings of the church, as well as those that didn't match with her personal beliefs. As a Catholic committed to charity, I learned a lot of admirable lessons about human compassion and helping people who are less fortunate, but as I got older, I realized that I could still do all of those things and not be tied to a church whose teachings didn't make logical sense to me, had a horrible and violent history and, like all other organized religions, was built around the idea of controlling its own believers and marginalizing, persecuting or, in extreme cases, eliminating non-believers.

Probably the biggest 'mistake' my mom made in my upbringing which really solidified my nonbelief was emphasizing education. As I began to pursue my intellectual curiosity and think and examine issues more critically, my religion began to make less and less sense. So many contradictions can be found in the Bible and so much pure evil has been carried out in the name of religion that it became impossible for me to continue to believe. I'm still dumbfounded by the idea that an intelligent person can also be a deeply religious person. How can someone who will critically and thoroughly examine and question every other aspect of the world, simply sum up their reasons for religious belief with the statement, 'You just have to have faith.'? Obviously religion is not simply just a matter of faith. Otherwise people would not dedicate their lives to studying its texts and organized churches would not exist. Faith alone would be enough and I don't think there's a religion in the world that really preaches that message. I just don't understand how a thinking person misses that.

I understand the idea of religion as a crutch. I know lots of people who turned to faith because they lost loved ones or have dealt with extreme hardships in their lives. I get that. The idea of never being reunited with the ones you loved is very sad but, unfortunately in my opinion based on all of the evidence (or lack thereof) I've seen, very true. And for all the times some people believe that a divine spiritual force intervened to help them out of a difficult situation, what about all of the times there was no intervention? How can you say that prayer is worthwhile if your god rolls the dice, then decides if he/she wants to help you or let you suffer and learn a 'lesson' from the situation. That's certainly not a god I'd want to spend eternity with.

I know lots of Catholics have left the church because of the exposure of the child sexual abuse scandals. While the details of them are absolutely horrifying, I think they were just emblematic of what a diseased institution the Catholic Church is. Any organization that places such little value on human life by traumatizing and continuing to menace true innocent victims while simultaneously and hypocritically claiming that all life is sacred is truly rotten to the core. I think you could insert similarly disgusting stories about other religions as well. In the end, they're all really the same and, in my opinion people who believe in aliens being attached to your bodies are no more insane than people who believe that dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time.

I am happy to be an atheist and to try to live my life in a way that makes me and the people I love happy and doesn't hurt other people. The good things I do are for their own sake and not because I believe I'll rot in hell if I don't. We humans should be beyond that by this point in our history.

My name's Tina. I lost more than 90 pounds between March 2010 and March 2012 and have been keeping if off ever since.

Central European Time (CET), Venice, Italy


 current weight: -2.0  under
 
5
2.5
0
-2.5
-5
ANN5497's Photo ANN5497 Posts: 1,557
12/9/11 11:23 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
that is damn funny

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin


 current weight: 146.0 
 
184
174.5
165
155.5
146
TRISH579's Photo TRISH579 Posts: 1,129
12/8/11 9:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
A wonderful response to Rick Perry's ad to get this country "more on track"
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/12/08/
godless-heathen-responds-to-rick-perry
-ad-video/

It's OK to just say no.


 current weight: 195.6 
 
198
188.5
179
169.5
160
STORMY724's Photo STORMY724 Posts: 4,925
11/20/11 7:23 A

Reply
I've enjoyed reading these interesting stories ---everyone seems to have taken a different path, but all ended up being religious skeptics to one degree or other.

In the book "Atheists, A Groundbreaking Study of America's Nonbelievers" (by Bruce Hunsberger and Bob Altemeyer, 2006) the study of atheists in America confirms that most atheists, like most religious people, form their beliefs from their upbringing. About 30% of the atheists taking part in the study had at least one agnostic or atheist parent and most of the rest had parents who may have belonged to a particular religion, but didn’t emphasize religion in their homes.

Yet a quarter of the participants had come from homes that emphasized religion to a “moderate extent” and more than 10% to an “appreciable extent.” The members of this latter group were dubbed, in the study, as “Amazing Atheists” because despite coming from very religious homes, they rejected their religious training. When asked for specific reasons, reading the Bible was #1.

Everyone has heard someone say, “I believe what I see,” but actually the reverse is true: we see what we believe. If one believes the Bible is full of inspiration, one will see and believe those passages that support that belief and ignore the rest. Instead of finding the Bible beautiful and uplifting, I found much of it rather appalling.

As George Bernard Shaw said: “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.”

For as long as I can remember, my family read a chapter of the Bible before dinner each night. At first, my parents took turns reading a verse at a time. As we became old enough, the children helped with the reading. I joined in when I was about 8. We didn’t pick a chapter at random, but rather started at Chapter One of Genesis and continued to the end of Revelation, then started over. Even taking into consideration an occasional dinner elsewhere, I read the entire Bible at least 3 times, maybe 4 before I left for college.

Reading that children who disobey their parents should be stoned was scary. People who work on the Sabbath should also be stoned. (I wondered if that included ministers.) I was horrified that God wiped out populations of entire cities because one or a few individuals displeased him and that dashing babies heads was perfectly okay.

Around the age of 12, when we were reading Judges, two stories, in particular, hit me like bolts of lightning: Judges 11: 30-40 and Judges 19: 22-29. I first read these passages long before the women’s movement, but as a teenaged girl, I was horrified that the women in these Biblical stories were expendable.

I learned that women who are not virgins when they marry should be stoned. Women should be silent in church, that a woman was worth half a male, that if a virgin is raped, her rapist must marry her and never divorce her, that 32 virgins were given to a priest as “the Lord’s tribute” when the Israelites conquered the Midianites.

Thus, I developed serious doubts about the veracity of the Bible. And if I doubted the foundation of my religion, I also had to doubt Christianity. I probably hadn't heard of atheism at that time, but I started on the path to become a nonbeliever.

Of course, I continued to attend church, Sunday school, choir practice, etc. I had no choice. I read along with my parents as we plowed through the Bible, but instead of blind acceptance, I looked at everything with the eye of a skeptic. I could not believe stories that defied the laws of nature (walking on water, living in the belly of a whale, talking donkeys) but even if they were allegories, many of them made no sense to me.

When my mother (a devout Christian) died a few years ago I mentioned my lack of belief to the minister of her church. He said, "You'll be back." (Why do religious people insist on making such assumptions?)

I'm 66 and started to doubt my family's religion more than half a century ago. And once there was a small crack in that religious egg, it kept spreading until the egg fell apart. Like Humpty-Dumpty, once it is broken, it can't be put back together again.

Edited by: STORMY724 at: 11/20/2011 (07:32)
'I still have an insane drive to create and express myself and it'll never stop because I don't know how to stop it.' ---Graham Nash

(Photo: Parque das Aves, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil 8/24/11)


 Pounds lost: 72.6 
 
0
22.5
45
67.5
90
GIANT-STEPS SparkPoints: (65,379)
Fitness Minutes: (439)
Posts: 3,641
10/20/11 1:37 P

Send Private Message
Reply
I definitely had some anger with believers who treated me shabbily growing up. The thing is that anger with believers isn't what caused me to stop believing; my anger came from the way they treated me after I stopped believing. A lot of believers have a stereotype of angry atheists so I try to dispel that stereotype.
For me it comes down to respect. A lot of believers demand that I respect their worldview when they hold mine in utter contempt. Respect is a two way street. I try to show at least as much respect for other people's worldviews as they do for mine but often they do not respect mine at all.

OO1987's Photo OO1987 SparkPoints: (780)
Fitness Minutes: (522)
Posts: 17
10/17/11 12:14 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Funny enough, I was speaking about this a couple of weeks ago with a Born Again Christian. I was raised Born Again myself, in a very charismatic setting, He asked me if my Atheism was born of resentment toward the people who I went to church with. Which it isn't...truly.

Christians can be some of the nicest people I know. So are Mormons. And Muslims. And Jews. And Pagans. I don't think resentment factors into my decision at all, nor does bitterness with the Religious Right.

Actually, my own at Atheism comes from one thing: laziness.

I honestly mean that, I am way too lazy to be religious. In my experience, believing in anything based on faith is a hell of a lot of work. You have to search for it, worship, pray, develop arguments, create a personal relationship with your deity of choice and follow by the tenants of the religion. While some rules are just common sense, others are a little more focused.

Over the child - teen years I tried to do all of this. I went to church and youth group. I read the bible and tried to live more-or-less accordingly. I prayed and sang songs and did all the "God is so awesome, m'kay!" rhetoric of day to day life. I even witnessed.

When this didn't cut it, I went in search of other beliefs. I read the Quran and studied the differences between Judaism and Christianity. I delved into Paganism, and then more structured Occultism. I tried out a form of natural witchcraft.

Guess what? All of it was too much work for what I considered very little payoff. I didn't feel fulfilled with any of it, and I had to force myself to believe any of it. Which is why I finally decided one day to admit what I had known all along: I didn't believe in anything.

It was freeing.

So, there it is. I doubt it is the same with most, but my own Atheism is defined one way: I am too lazy to be anything else.

 Pounds lost: 4.0 
 
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
GIANT-STEPS SparkPoints: (65,379)
Fitness Minutes: (439)
Posts: 3,641
10/11/11 12:36 P

Send Private Message
Reply
People mean a lot of different things by "religion" and "spiritual." In the strictest sense nothing is "spiritual" to me because I don't believe in spirits. A lot of people use "spiritual" to indicate things that are sublime, inspired, creative, or part of something wonderfully human. I find that putting things under the spiritual umbrella just clouds the water. I've been humbled and inspired by Bach's B Minor Mass, John Coletrane's A Love Supreme, and the awesome gospel music of Take Six. To me these things come from the depth of our humanity rather than from an incorporeal being.
There are religions I admire more than others. The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) were early opponents of slavery and supporters of women's equality. The Baha'i teach that all mankind are brothers and everything that divides us is wrong (religion, gender, nationality, political parties, etc). Neither of these groups are perfect though. The RSOF trying to devise more humane treatment of prisoners came up with solitary confinement to give prisoners time to contemplate their crimes but we now know that isolating prisoners this way is cruel and drives them crazy. Baha'i still have a blind spot about homosexuality and consider homosexuality wrong and homosexuals as immoral; in spite of their ideals they still let sexual preference divide people.

SOPHIASOJOURNER's Photo SOPHIASOJOURNER Posts: 17
9/4/11 12:06 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I took a sociology of religion class at our local community college, with the bonus of taking it with my daughter. Both of us being spiritual rather than religious, we found it a fascinating sampling of religions. We were sent out into the community to observe. Our first assignment was to go to something familiar. Of course, not being religious, we didn't have anything truly familiar, but we chose the local Lutheran Church, since I had attended some Lutheran services with friends as a child, and I knew it would be rather benign.

Our professor also gave us some mandatory assignments which he arranged (otherwise they would not be possible). So we attended a Polish Mass (yes, the Mass was in Polish), which took the familiar Catholic ritual (we all attended a Catholic Mass as a baseline) and totally mystified it - wonderful experience. We attended services at a mosque, and actually attended the service that marked the end of Ramadan. We attended a Bat Mitzvah service.

The most compelling service we attended was the one at the Quaker Mission House. You really cannot call it a service, since no one preaches. The group simply sits, and whoever is compelled speak. Only three people spoke (OK, actually two people spoke and one sang), and there was little talk of "God", but there was talk of things spiritual and deep within the people who spoke. It was very moving, and very personal, and it blew me away. Very peaceful, very touching, and very non-religious, in my opinion.

I despise religion. I think it oppresses, I think it controls people, I think it can squash people's true spirit. I think that a person's spirit is important, and that it should be celebrated however that person sees fit (within the confines of common sense and decency - I really do not need to see some old guy who decides he wants to get spiritual in the nude on Main Street! His fenced backyard, by all means, but not on Main Street!).

I am seeking my spiritual path. It winds, it has hills and valleys. I have a guide - a Raven named Izmir (a left over from hypnotherapy). I do not need a person preaching to me from a book of fairy tales. I do not need a building or a pew. My spiritual path is followed much better in a park, sitting on a rock overlooking the St. Croix River. Or tending my tomatoes and beans in the garden.

Nontheist, no. Pantheist, maybe. Pro-spiritual, yes. Anti-religious, most definitely. Open to all views that do not condemn mine - yes. Angry at those who compartmentalize all people of one religion for the radicals of others (particularly Islam) - yes.

Religion is tearing this country and this world apart. The next presidential election will most definitely be decided on religious lines wrapped up in politico speak planks. It does not matter that we are atheists or agnostics or non-mainstream believers. Politics has been taken over by religious radicals and it is frightening.



 current weight: 228.0 
 
230
212.5
195
177.5
160
NIKAME's Photo NIKAME SparkPoints: (717)
Fitness Minutes: (675)
Posts: 18
6/16/11 6:04 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Hmm when asking me that i have to confess that i`m for myself more of an agnostic than an atheist.
in the true sense of the word agnostic means `not knowing` and for me that`s the case i don`t know if there`s god as well as i don`t know if jesus is the son of the flying spaghetti monster.

When i say don`t know i mean i can`t prove, which yeah i can`t, but just because i can`t doesn`t mean that i have to believe in something some random person tells me without proof.

So to get out of arguments of `but you don`t really know` i just say i`m an atheist because well people then think i can`t be convinced anymore which is fundamentally true=)

At the same time i get really annoyed with how religious people think it`s on me to disprove god. if someone makes an outrageous clame and let`s face it, the idea that an all knowing super-natural mystical being, that controls all and everything, cares what a little overzealous race of primates on a little blue planet, they themselves call earth, does is just that=)

In Europe I never had this problem and as an European it seems strange and also scary how 71% of the population of a country that is a self-claimed world police can `believe`,cause it`s nothing more than that, that creationism makes sense...

Growing up i`ve always been surrounded by the knowledge that it`s just better to think for yourself instead of blindly believing others and yes this is what agnosticism is for me thinking for yourself.
It`s freedom and it`s a denial to anyone who wants to control you through fear which is fundamentally why religious people feel so threatened by it.



 current weight: 139.0 
 
150
143.25
136.5
129.75
123
RACINGSLUG's Photo RACINGSLUG Posts: 305
6/7/11 3:35 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
If any visitors are reading this thread, I hope they would take note of how many different perspectives we all have on religion (and the lack thereof.) It's not like there' s a single unifying philosophy that makes one an atheist.

I believed in God from a very young age, as my grandmother was quite religious. I became a born-again Christian when I was 11, completely independent of my agnostic parents... I guess it was my way of trying to survive a very difficult situation. I started out in a fundamentalist Pentecostal church, speaking in tongues and beating on tambourines and such, and dragged my Bible to school every day in Junior High (yep, I was that kid.) I believed with all my heart and soul. Eventually my wise mother pulled me out of the weird church and found me a nice Baptist one, which was a little less crazy but no less judgmental. I really didn't buy the conservative ideology, particularly the homophobia and sex-negativity, and when I fell in with a bunch of gay friends in high school, I really started to feel the conflict between reality and religion.

When I was 17, my already hard life got a lot worse, so I ran away from home, legally emancipated, and moved in with my (agnostic) Aunt, and it was right around then that my faith took a nosedive. I'd been nothing but faithful and long-suffering, honoring my father and mother and committing myself to God, and for what? Betrayal, heartbreak, abuse, abandonment, terror, sadness, depression, mayhem. Somehow when Job went through it, and God told him to suck it up, this strengthened Job's faith. When I went through it, and God told me to suck it up, I went, ''Hey - you don't actually exist, do you? Because the arbitrary cruelty of the world makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.'' I'm sorry, but the proper response to a powerful entity killing your entire family, destroying your property and afflicting you with boils (Job, not me) is NOT to strengthen your faith in that entity - it's to say, ''Dude, WTF is wrong with you?'' and get as far away as possible. How anyone in their right mind can call that ''LOVE'' is beyond my ability to comprehend - it's more like Stockholm Syndrome.

So I escaped my abusive relationship with God, and that was the beginning. I discovered Nietzsche my freshman year of college, and it blew my mind that there were alternatives to Christianity. I later found Buddhism. I still don't believe in any deity. I sometimes wish I did. I miss feeling that sense of reassurance, that if I didn't know what to do, I could look in the Bible or go to my church and they would just tell me. Being an atheist is a lot more scary. You have to accept that sometimes, when you do the right thing, it doesn't turn out okay at all, and we all suffer and die alone, and all kinds of things that are easier to face if you have religion.

As for who I am ethically, it hasn't changed a bit since the day I was born. Even as an annoying Christian I was a liberal hippie who wanted to plant flowers and end war. I have a penchant for trying to fix injustice in the world... I'm a social worker, and I find human suffering unbearable, and will work til the end of my days to try to do something to alleviate the pain of others. That holds true regardless of who is suffering - rich, poor, black, white, atheist, Christian, gay, straight - it all gets under my skin, it drives me, and no matter what label you apply to me, that's not going to change, ever.

Edited by: RACINGSLUG at: 6/7/2011 (15:39)
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
TINA21701's Photo TINA21701 Posts: 57
5/22/11 11:30 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I was raised Catholic, but my father didn't attend church because he was agnostic and my mother didn't attend church because she had undefined "issues" with the church. So we kids went each week with our live-in Grandmother. When I figured out there was no Santa (aged 4-5), I assumed the whole god thing was just a nice myth, like Santa. I went on like that for two or three years, winking and nodding like I was in on the joke and wouldn't let on to the younger kids. I asked my mother why we had to keep up the pretense and I never saw her so angry. She told me it was not a myth, it was REAL. WHOA! that kinda blew my mind. At 16 I mentioned I was an atheist. My mother freaked out. My father corrected me and to sooth my mother and said I was an agnostic. I smiled and nodded, for peace sake.

I told my best friend, who's father had died. She freaked out - didn't speak to me for days. She said if there were no god there would be no chance she'd see her father again and she couldn't live that way. I felt bad.

So I kept it all quiet. Only recently did I tell my siblings (Mom and Dad are both gone now). My kids knew, but I never ACTUALLY said it. At my husbands request, they were all baptised and recieved communion, but they were left to decide for themselves if they would be confirmed. All three of them are atheists now.

It's been a long journey, but I'm finally an open atheist. I don't care if you call it atheism or non-thism. Makes no difference to me. Just so long as we're clear -- I don't believe in ANY gods. I don't know how the universe was created, and I don't believe the myths of any religion.

 current weight: 168.0 
 
242
221.5
201
180.5
160
RATFINKROB's Photo RATFINKROB SparkPoints: (21,751)
Fitness Minutes: (19,313)
Posts: 1,334
5/20/11 10:08 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I was raised in a lock you in a room until you speak in tongues, poison can't kill you, women can't wear makeup, everyone but us is going to hell, kind of church. I started thinking this is some crazy @#*& at a very early age. I ran off and joined the Army as soon as I could. In the Army my dog tags said "No religious preference" and I just stayed away from religion. I finally got over the religious phobia and tried out many different religions. After much searching I realised I didn't believe in any of it and started calling myself an agnostic. Many happy years went by, I got married and have two wonderful kids, and one day it just dawned on me; I don't believe in any religion or their writings, I don't believe that there is a super invisible being in the sky controlling our lives, I am an atheist!

So for me that is what an atheist is. I don't mind the horrified looks people give me when they find out, I long ago quit caring what people think about my beliefs.

Rob

I've found without question that the best way to lead others to a more plant-based diet is by example - to lead with your fork, not your mouth. ~Bernie Wilke
CANDT5's Photo CANDT5 Posts: 26
4/18/11 1:17 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I posted this in another topic but then I found this one and thought it would fit here ^^;

I have never believed in God. I was forced into going to church since the age of 3, basically because my parents wanted a free babysitter. The first day of sunday school, they asked us "What can't we live without?" I said "Dirt?" "WRONG" ... "Air?" I then was yelled at, then another girl raised her hand and said "God and Jesus" which was apparently the right answer.. I dropped out in 5th grade. I still can't be open about being an atheist though, because around here I would probably get killed -_-. At college someone asked me if I went to church and I said no and they told me that I should because it will make me "more open minded". Last time I checked hating gay people, denying womens rights, among other things was the opposite of being "open minded". I go to a community college and they keep having prayer events in the middle of campus, and hanging posters advertising christianity and such... I finally posted under another account on their facebook my opinion, and the only people that responded were people that were threatening me. Good thing I didn't post on my real facebook -_-. I'm happy I found a group on here though ^_^

 current weight: 125.0 
 
155
146.25
137.5
128.75
120
GEMINIAN1's Photo GEMINIAN1 Posts: 5,119
3/28/11 8:51 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I couldn't agree with you more about the atheist definition; I have said exactly what you're saying. Lets use the thing that we don't believe in, to say that we don't believe in it; brilliance.

Yes, religion is, frighteningly, powerful.

I'm going to Google ... Non-Theist ...

Edited by: GEMINIAN1 at: 4/18/2011 (08:45)

HENRYSC's Photo HENRYSC SparkPoints: (36,360)
Fitness Minutes: (37,082)
Posts: 2,769
3/27/11 9:45 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I am a non-theist. I think the term atheist is silly. I feel since there is no god/gods why would I dis-believe in them or need to deny existence (Webster definition). (Feels like a double negative).

I have absolutely no need for gods to make this universe an incredibly wondrous place.

The first time I am aware of the fact that I had no use for gods was when I was in sixth grade. We had to attend a church school every Thursday from our public school. We all had to walk to our family church and the church would have class for us. We would leave right after lunch and return before the buses left. (Yes I said public school - early 1960s) One week the minister (I went to Methodist church) asked us to write a paper on something we read in the bible. I titled my paper "How to disprove the bible using the bible". The minister got angry (I don't think he read my paper) He said that I didn't read the bible. Being an overly smart snot nosed kid I told him I did and that I knew it better than he did. After two minutes of me quoting the bible from memory he kicked me out and told me never to come back. I actually said "Thank you very much".

Don't get me wrong I totally believe in religion and the power it has, not because of some god but because of its ability to control the masses for political advantage. As I say "the only good religion is a dead religion" Dead religions no longer kill people.

Edited by: HENRYSC at: 3/27/2011 (21:49)
"I can feel the wind go by when I run. It feels good. It feels fast."


 current weight: 218.8 
 
275
250
225
200
175
GEMINIAN1's Photo GEMINIAN1 Posts: 5,119
3/27/11 2:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
JGARYP's Photo JGARYP Posts: 270
2/24/11 2:10 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
He's a neuroscientist, so probably not getting as much press as some so-called "religious experts."
I loved the info on the Deep Field experiment.

 current weight: 193.0 
 
224
210.5
197
183.5
170
DEELYNNE1's Photo DEELYNNE1 Posts: 1,024
2/24/11 1:56 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
"Hey, I think I may be a possibilian too!" JGARYP, thank you for posting that web address. That 20 minute speech felt like about 5 minutes at most. David Eagleman made so much sense, I can't believe I never heard about him before.

 current weight: 193.1 
 
242
216.5
191
165.5
140
JGARYP's Photo JGARYP Posts: 270
2/24/11 12:12 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I felt this is an appropriate forum to post this link:

http://vimeo.com/16177455
(if this link doesn't work, just google possibilianism or david eagleman)
Please forgive me if you've already watched this clip and/or heard of David Eagleman and Possibilianism. (aka Possibilitarianism)
I just watched the clip yesterday and I think the guy is brilliant. His take on atheism and agnosticism, not to mention religion, really matched my own to a tee.
If you haven't seen this clip, I feel it is well worth the 20 minutes it takes to watch.

 current weight: 193.0 
 
224
210.5
197
183.5
170
ALEXANDRA64's Photo ALEXANDRA64 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (14,870)
Posts: 1,494
2/24/11 6:37 A

Send Private Message
Reply
Okay, I'll bite...

From what I have been taught as well as my own understanding, there are two types of people in the world, the "I and that" crowd and the "self directed" crowd. Those that follow the "I and that" model believe that there is something outside themselves, whatever that something may be. The others do not. I am one of the others. Even when I was trying to fit in to the pagan community, where most of my friends are, I would explain that the "gods and goddesses" were simply archetypes of those aspects within ourselves and by honoring them we were honoring that aspect of ourselves. After awhile they just looked at me with pity because I evidently never had a "spiritual experience" so just didn't understand that "they" were real. (feel free to roll your eyes here, I know I did, lol)

So then I tried to explain Persinger's work in his book, "The Neuropsychological Bases of the God Belief" where he shows that spiritual experiences are actually TLTs (temporal lobe transients) or mini seizures in the temporal lobe part of the brain and can easily be replicated in the lab. Imagine that! Great book by the way if you haven't read it. Kind of expensive, kindle version is less, but worth it. After hearing some people come up with elaborate explanations of why the science is false and their belief is real, I quit discussing it. I figure, people need their beliefs so who am I to change their minds?

So I guess, returning to the original question, I think an Atheist is someone who is self directed and understands that everything comes from within. Religions, in the pure sense, can probably be a positive influence, if they are understood to be mythical and therefore more educational in how to live rather than what they actually are which is controlling, repressing, dogmatic, organizations. I'm thinking Joseph Campbell here. He understood "god' to be a metaphor for the improvement of ones life, not an actual being.

I personally don't buy into any religion. I think they are simply crutches for people who cannot face the reality that life is right now, a constant living present moment. It doesn't matter about anything else, what matters is living life to the fullest, taking responsibility, and living "happy, joyous and free", for me, is what it is really all about.

My "belief" is an on going educational experience, especially as I delve further into quantum physics. The word belief is ever changing. We are simply atoms yet atoms are dependent on observation (according to quantum experiments) so what really is reality? I love this stuff!

Having philosophical conversations about it all though is tedious at best with someone who continually sums up everything with the conclusion that god made it that way, god was the creator of everything, all good things (ideas included) come from god.

One of my favorite videos is "God or Nothing":

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovg0eYjM64w

So anyway, I need coffee so off I go.

Cheers...

emoticon

~Alex~
A&I May "Blue Skies" BSG

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
— Joseph Campbell
DALAI_LALA's Photo DALAI_LALA Posts: 2,716
1/25/11 9:04 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Hi all! Since there has been an influx of new people, I'm reposting the original starter post here to let peeps know what this thread is all about. Enjoy!

---------

This thread is strictly voluntary for LAH members.

If you are a visitor, a curious passerby, maybe someone thinking about joining our little team, here is a place to find out what we're all about. I think that you'll find that we're fun and funny, a little snarky, can argue a bit and still love one another, and are quite good people. We aren't all atheists, we aren't all liberals, and we aren't even all hippies - but we are friends with some common ground to walk upon!

If you are an LAH member, and if you want to, please post here about yourself. There's no particular format. You can talk about what you DO believe in, why you don't believe in a god, the good that you do anyway, issues, your "de-conversion" or whatever you'd like. Feel free to make 'em LONG if you want.

We just want to share with the curious and help them understand what kind of people non-believers can be, and how varied are our experiences...

"Being defeated is often temporary, giving up makes it permanent." - Marilyn vos Savant

"We expect these things to change by waking up, and suddenly there they are." - Toad


 December Minutes: 0
 
0
64.75
129.5
194.25
259
TOTHEFUTURE1's Photo TOTHEFUTURE1 Posts: 5,054
1/9/11 7:41 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I think many of the basic rules in religious organizations are good but the fine print like all fine print is sometimes unreasonable.

To my Sp friends
"How can life be true without friends" Enius
Thanks for extending your friendship to me
ANNIE.BEAN's Photo ANNIE.BEAN SparkPoints: (11,969)
Fitness Minutes: (5,553)
Posts: 325
1/7/11 9:34 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I was raised Episcopalian, but have come to atheism in the last three years or so. I even minored in Religious Studies in college because I was always searching. I've looked into pretty much everything, and am now satisfied that there is no reason to believe in any gods. I am a happy atheist; I'm not sorry that there isn't any god. I don't think my life would be better or easier with god; on the contrary, I think I'd be a lot more confused and miserable. When bad things happen, I know this is due to either things I did directly or indirectly, or do to a random and chaotic universe. In other words, sometimes things are just sh!tty.

I'm lucky to be married to an awesome skeptical atheist man, and we plan to raise our kids this way. No lying to the kids for us! :)



 Pounds lost: 4.2 
 
0
39.75
79.5
119.25
159
TOTHEFUTURE1's Photo TOTHEFUTURE1 Posts: 5,054
11/19/10 4:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
You both had the opportunity to embrace religion but didn't you were never pushed into religion but made a good decision with your own knowledge.

To my Sp friends
"How can life be true without friends" Enius
Thanks for extending your friendship to me
MERFISMERFI1's Photo MERFISMERFI1 Posts: 45
11/14/10 5:39 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I've been an atheist for as long as I can remember- my dad and grandparents are Methodist, so I was taken to their church as a kid, but it never made any sense to me.

From ages 10-17 I went to a non-denominational Christian school (though not because it was a Christian school, I went because it is one of the strongest schools for academics and music in the country) and I still felt that it was irrational to hold religioius beliefs. Thankfully, the only times you'd realise that the school was Christian at all was in our once-every-six-weeks chapel services and having a hymn, prayer and reading in assembly. Otherwise, it was great- we didn't even have RE available after Year 9 (about age 13/14), and evolution was covered very thoroughly in science classes.

From the perspective of an atheist, perhaps I'm lucky to be a Kiwi- I believe we have a much higher proportion of atheists here than in many other countries. I'm tolerant of religious people, of course it's absolutely up to them what they want to believe, but I won't shy away from sharing my beliefs if people are interested.



 Pounds lost: 0.0 
 
0
15.5
31
46.5
62
KIRAUK's Photo KIRAUK SparkPoints: (1,274)
Fitness Minutes: (735)
Posts: 118
11/11/10 7:46 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I'm glad to have found this place!! I've been described by my DH as being as anti-religion as some extremists are pro. I can't help it, religion makes my blood boil! Especially when it's forced onto people, or I hear someone make a sweeping statement such as 'this is a Christian country'. Er, no. There are some Christians that live here, that's it.

The other thing that REALLY grates on me is this moral highground religious people have. Like atheists can't possibly have morals, why because we don't have the threat of hell? What kind of people does that make them that the only reason they behave in a decent manner is because they're scared if they don't they'll be punished. Nice!! emoticon

I don't think children should be brought up to believe a certain way is fact, let them decide when they're old enough to look at the evidence.

There has been so much war and conflict in the name of religion over the centuries, how can it possibly be a good thing? The only religions that I can see have any merit are Paganism and Buddhism and I consider those to be more a way of life than a religion.

Why would you even worship someone or thing that will punish you if you don't. What kind of ego does this being have?!!? I mean seriously, worhsip me or else, bit pathetic if you ask me.

Religion scares me, that otherwise seemingly intelligent people can believe in a God, to me it's like trying to get your head around infinity, totally mind boggling and incomprehensible!!

Incidentally I have never been religious, nor have my parents or siblings. My grandad was a Methodist minister but as a child I only ever thought what he did was silly and boring and as an adult I can't help but feel he was cheated, wasting his life in the hopes of an afterlife. The older I get the more baffled I am by the amount of people that believe in a God. I sometimes feel like I'm at the end of the Body Snatchers, the only sane person left and Donald Sutherland is going to point his finger at me and alert all these religious people I'm not one of them!! emoticon

Edited by: KIRAUK at: 11/11/2010 (07:56)
A year from now you may wish you'd started today.


 Pounds lost: 6.5 
 
0
14.875
29.75
44.625
59.5
TOTHEFUTURE1's Photo TOTHEFUTURE1 Posts: 5,054
11/10/10 8:45 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I call myself an Agnostic because I doubt the existence of GOD. I find too much in the BIBLE unbelievable starting with original SIN and immaculate conception.
I DO NOT like the cruel vengeful GOD.
However some things are hard to explain too much of a coincidence.

To my Sp friends
"How can life be true without friends" Enius
Thanks for extending your friendship to me
JGARYP's Photo JGARYP Posts: 270
10/5/10 11:42 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
My wife and I were discussing this just last night. Sometime in the past 50-75 years, a new "Gospel of Prosperity" was written and published. In it, rich republicans started appealing to christians' hatred of gays and abortion while at the same time telling them that Jesus really wanted them to be rich. Since these pseudo-christians were appealing to the natural hesitance to pay taxes (who likes to? not me) the ideas spread like wildfire. Now, the folks who were once taught to lend a hand are taught that god wants you to be rich. No more hand-outs. If you're poor, you must have screwed up.
At least that's my theory.

 current weight: 193.0 
 
224
210.5
197
183.5
170
ELSIE_BEE's Photo ELSIE_BEE Posts: 3,924
9/25/10 9:23 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Perhaps you can explain the phenomenon of right-wing Republican Christians because quite frankly, I don't get it.

It seems to me that people who follow the teachings of Jesus and who call themselves "Christians" would be more into helping the poor and downtrodden and less about lower taxes and gun rights.

I'm obviously missing something in all this.

Bee

Embrace The Suck.

JGARYP's Photo JGARYP Posts: 270
9/23/10 12:04 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
It's been a while since the last post but this is such an interesting thread, I wanted to add my "story" to it.
I should say up front that I'm not a true atheist. I'm an agnostic. My doubts regarding the existence of God extend to my doubts about the non-existence of God. I am not sure of anything. I see the logic behind people saying there is no god, but I have had experiences in life that have left me with questions and uncertainties. Some of these experiences could be explained away as coincidence or serendipity, but others are not as easy to explain. Hence, I'm agnostic.
I was raised a Methodist and went to Sunday school until high school. While in high school, I started dating a catholic girl, Julie, and joined her in the catholic church choir. I stayed in the choir even after we broke up but never had any sort of confirmation.
Between high school and college, I stayed away from any sort of religious gatherings unless absolutely necessary, more out of boredom than anything else. (I like sleeping on Sundays)
In the Army, I met someone from the Way International. This ministry is often called a cult but, for the life of me, I can see very little difference between it and any other church group, other than size and doctrine. The doctrine of the Way did differ immensely from most mainstream christian churches but it made a certain sense to me. I stayed heavily involved in the Way from 1983 to about 1989, when there was a great schism within the Way ministry itself. Many, many people left, and I left with them. After that, I fellowshipped with various groups of people who formerly belonged to the Way. That remained my status until around 2006 or so. I started working a Sunday-Thursday schedule and couldn't make it to fellowships and didn't make any major effort to keep in touch with the folks the rest of the time.
Then I started thinking.
I can't say when, exactly, I started calling myself agnostic but listening to discussion about religion (on Real Time with Bill Maher of all places) and doing some really deep thinking, I started doubting things I had believed in previously. I have always had a scientific bent to my beliefs. I even latched onto a Creation theory that allowed for the age of the Earth and the dinosaurs. (known as the Gap theory or Ruin-Restoration creationism)
My slow evolution (pardon the pun) into agnosticism paralleled my transformation from a Conservative Republican to a Liberal Progressive. When I was a die-hard christian, I was quite conservative politically. Then I slid towards liberal progressive during the late Clinton administration. GW Bush put the final nail in the coffin of my conservatism.
One of the only things I will miss from my christianity is the friends I had while fellowshipping. Some of them were intolerable bigots and republicans(redundant?) but some of them were apolitical and very sweet, loving people. Sadly, most of those sweet, loving people cut off all contact when I told them that I no longer self-identified as a christian. Ironically, it was mostly the actions and attitudes of other christians that first led me to stop identifying myself as christian.
So, that's where I stand now. I'm still not out of the agnostic closet with some people. My brother is a very devout christian and, even back when I was a christian, he didn't consider me a christian because I wasn't in his church. Funny that. I guess he was prescient.
The only major question remaining to my wife and me is how we handle raising our daughter. I plan on instilling in her, if possible, a curiosity and desire to learn and question, but what happens if she decides she wants to go to church? I guess we'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

 current weight: 193.0 
 
224
210.5
197
183.5
170
QUADRASHOCKER's Photo QUADRASHOCKER SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (13,624)
Posts: 74
8/18/10 2:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I'm right there with you CALGOLDENGREEK!

emoticon

 current weight: 293.0 
 
350
307.5
265
222.5
180
CALGOLDENGREEK's Photo CALGOLDENGREEK SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (5,393)
Posts: 29
7/5/10 12:16 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I believe in the Penn version of atheist. A person who does good things because they are good, not because they will be punished if they don't.
There is a show called through the wormhole with Morgan Freeman. It is on the science channel and it talks about the physiological manifestations that create a belief in god. Here is the link if you are interested. http://science.discovery.com/tv/through-th
e-wormhole/

It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not.


 current weight: 327.0 
 
368
325.75
283.5
241.25
199
ONEBAGONLY's Photo ONEBAGONLY Posts: 88
6/17/10 9:47 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
This was first posted (only one short day ago!)as a blog entry so some of you may have already read it. It was originally intended for this thread and at Char's suggestion I have reposted it here.


I have always been an atheist. I was raised Catholic in the Deep South so religion was omnipresent in my early life but nonetheless I have always been an atheist.
When I received my First Communion I marveled at the absurdity of it all. Yes, I became consciously aware of the absurdity at age six. At age six I also became consciously aware that I was not like other people, at least not like any I knew then.

I don't believe in any god. I am convinced that all the gods that I have ever heard of do not and have never existed outside of people's imaginations.

Atheist, like liberal, is one of those terms that is frequently not allowed to be defined. That is, no matter what the dictionary reads, no matter how carefully I explain my understanding of the term, a significant number of folks will insist that I am however they define the term, i.e. amoral or communist or even evil. Unless they like me in which case they may insist that I've simply lost my faith or I haven't found god yet and I must not lose hope and give up searching.

I have looked. I never expected to find anything but when so many people insist gods exist you have to at least have a look. I have found lots of evidence of other people's belief in gods but no evidence of the gods themselves. Others have also looked and it turns out that a lot of people seem to agree with me. About Thor anyway.

I still don't believe in any god. I'm satisfied that all the gods I have ever heard of do not and have never existed outside of people's imaginations.

There is a pervasive notion that having faith is a good thing, something virtuous and valuable and I spent some time worried about what I was missing. And there is lots of literature on the subject to guide me. In fact there is so much written about finding one's faith, losing one's faith, struggling with one's faith that I've become convinced that a lot more people are unsure about this god thing than are letting on.

I've also become convinced that there is nothing inherently valuable about a belief in gods, and certainly nothing virtuous. We all have to figure out, sometimes through prolonged struggle, how to relate to one another and the world around us and how to cope with loss, fear, disappointment. Inasmuch as churches are communities of people coming together for help and support with these struggles they have undeniable value but value derived from community exists independent of a belief in gods. Inasmuch as a belief in gods leads one to abandon the struggle and adopt a predefined interpretation of the best way to live ones life a belief in gods becomes an abdication of a sort. Of possibilities certainly, maybe of responsibility. It may be useful but it's not virtuous.

I don't believe in any god. I am convinced that all the gods I have ever heard of do not and have never existed outside of people's imaginations. I don't think I am missing anything valuable by failing to adopt a belief in a god.

I think it's a pretty straightforward statement of my belief regarding gods. It's not meant to be a challenge to anyone's theism and I don't take anyone's expression of their theism as a challenge to me. Unless, of course, they choose to make it so but that's another topic altogether.


LOSINGCATHY's Photo LOSINGCATHY Posts: 24
5/20/10 11:33 A

Send Private Message
Reply
I'm so glad i found this group!
I attended Catholic school from K-12. i questioned everything every step of the way. Even being the only student that didn't attend the senior religious retreat.
After HS i got married young and had my first son. i really looked to the church for guidance. I wasn't happy in my marriage or my life. After 12 years i left my husband, and in one short month, i met my new husband! i completely turned my back on religion when i was studying a religions of the world class in college.
I found that religion is simply mans weakness and fear. If we don't understand something there must be a higher power. Many people need the comfort, because some things we can not understand.
I really enjoy watching and reading things on debunking religion, like bill Mahers Relidulgious...it's so funny and totally confirms my thoughts on the blind faith people have simply for a "feeling" of well being.

"I denounce the holy spirit" ((supposedly the unforgivable sin)) I've never looked back and my life has never been better. I control my destiny!



 current weight: 227.0 
 
249
236.5
224
211.5
199
SCHWINNER!'s Photo SCHWINNER! Posts: 3,335
5/17/10 8:02 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
emoticon Well said, KASAMU!

It doesn't matter how slowly you go, only that you don't stop.

If today were perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow.

Bliss cannot be disturbed by loss or gain.
KASAMU's Photo KASAMU Posts: 90
5/16/10 11:17 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
An atheist is someone who enjoys a good story as much as anyone however they are too logically minded to allow themselves to believe such fantastical stories could be true.

CAROLYNR79 Posts: 43
5/8/10 10:42 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
My parents were southern baptists. We went to church all the time. I seriously began to doubt the afterlife in 2nd grade and worried a lot about my own mortality. I still remember this girl in my class telling me I still had a lot of time to live. It didn't seem that way to me at the time since I had been promised eternity by my parents. I'm not exactly an atheist. I am more of an agnostic. Sometimes I think there may be a God and sometimes I think that everyone is God. I'm usually pretty sure about the lack of afterlife though.

 current weight: 180.0 
 
220
192.5
165
137.5
110
PELAGIC's Photo PELAGIC Posts: 473
5/8/10 5:12 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I was a very devout Catholic as a child - took a great interest in the history and theological reasoning behind the religion, so I wasn't exactly a blind follower, although my education and experience was skewed to priviledge the idea of Catholicism as correct. But fortunately, my folks believed in exposing me to other ideas. I was taken to other houses of worship, from Buddhist temples to Mennanite churches. We even attended some Anglican services with friends. They believe very strongly in and are active in the cause of social justice, and have an aversion to the doctrinal policies of the church, particularly on issues like the role of women in the church, homosexuality, birthcontrol etc. (I suppose they'd be called Cafeteria Catholics).

It was comparative religion and study of history that first raised the flags of questioning - I remember that lightbulb moment when I was about 12 or 13 years old, when it occured to me that the Ancient Egyptians had a faith just as strong as us in Aten, Amen, Sekhmet etc as those around me did in their monotheistic God. From there, it was a steady unravelling, a process of logic and consideration, that finally lead to the default "no god/s" position. In the absence of proof positive to the contrary, I regard this as the most logical position to take.

We lived in Singapore at the time, and it was a bit lonely to be the only atheist I knew. I tried my parents' usual loving patience by refusing to kneel or stand when I was dragged to mass (one of the few real major conflicts I've ever had with them).

I don't have any personal gripe with the RC church (my problems with them are more centered around the abuses and the doctrinal positions that cause so much suffering). I have very fond, affectionate memories of most of the priests and nuns I knew as a child - like the dear, gentle old local priest who used to spread a message to his local parishioners about social justice that was *not* popular with such an affluent, complacent group of people. My mother's church social justice group is proactive on behalf of unpopular causes, like housing and helping refugees. And when I used to turn in essays in my high school religious classes from an atheist perspective, my teachers never marked me down - quite the opposite. As I had argued my position logically, they often gave me full marks (I graduated from HS with 3rd place in Relgious Studies...something of a minor miracle, as I didn't bother to turn in one of my assessment pieces!).

Whenever anyone asks why atheists feel the need to proclaim themselves, to be out and proud, I remember what it was like to be the *only* one...or so I thought. I'm convinced now that others shared my thoughts as well, but were surrounded by believers. I am convinced we need to give a voice so that those who share our lack of belief in god/s know they are *not* alone - they need and deserve that support.

Since coming out as a young teen, much has changed. I'd say I now have more atheists in my personal circle than otherwise. My two siblings are atheists. My best friend called me up one night, told me she'd read Dawkins, and said "I realise I've been in denial for years - I'm an atheist, and the seeds of that disbelief were sewn in what I saw in evangelical circles in childhood" (I'd been discussing it with her for years - realise now I should have been stronger, but I was trying so ard to be respectful of her beliefs!). My boss, a senior figure in the arts community both here and internationally in her field, is an atheist. Many of my colleagues are as well.

So I do see things gradually changing, in spite of the frothing-at-the-mouth backlash we sometimes see. A lot of it is just exposing what was already there, but more people are unafraid to explore the idea of non-belief now, and I do credit the burst of recent publishing for this. I wish I'd had access to those books years ago! (although nothing makes me roll my eyes harder than those who assert that it's a "fad" and I'm following it...I've been an atheist the majority of my life, and I've been through the deaths of loved ones and deeply traumatic events. Nothing has caused me to reignite my belief.

"Ideas may contend, but men need not" - Tim Pat Coogan
BOOKSCATSTEA's Photo BOOKSCATSTEA Posts: 344
4/26/10 9:33 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I was a "born-again hard-line fundamentalist independent Baptist" for 25 years (since the age of 18). However the more I began to open my eyes to life and reality, the more I realized that the stuff I believed DIDN'T line up with life, reality, or truth. I began to think for myself (for a change) and ask honest questions of myself and others. I finally realized that I had to throw out all of the brainwashing and begin to really THINK for myself instead of just parroting the things that had been drilled into my head. It was painful, and I lost a LOT when I walked away from religion (but nothing that I regret losing). It's been a long hard road in some ways, but I love being free of the fear, guilt, and bondage. I am now able to truly be myself and open myself up to life and living!

TAYGRL's Photo TAYGRL SparkPoints: (76,873)
Fitness Minutes: (34,674)
Posts: 2,554
4/26/10 2:04 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
well, i was born in the south and my mom was raised so. baptist. my dad was raised as a very strict pentecostal, yeah, with the whole speaking in tongues thing as well. he was in church so much as a kid he completely turned his back on ALL organized religion as soon as he left for the military at age 17. not that he stopped believing in god per se--just that he would rather spend his sundays watching the lakers is all. LOL!

i went to catholic school grades 3-12 cuz my mom's first teaching job in louisiana was at a boarding school for pregnant teens. (the kind they had back in the 50's & 60's so the young girl in question wouldn't embarrass the family). and in 5th grade told my mom i wanted to be catholic so i could participate fully in the mass. i LOVED being in the choir and ministering to senior citizens and i HATED not receiving the eucharist so i asked to be baptized which meant my mom would have to convert because my dad certainly wasn't go to.

i LEFT the church my freshman year in college. i went away to college (UC Santa Cruz) and it was hard getting to mass every sunday. taking 2 buses to an unfamiliar neighbor, getting lost. it would sometimes take 6 hours out of my entire day.

so while home for turkey day, i went to confession with my mom and apparently made the mistake of telling our VERY ol' school, irish priest fr. o'connor that i missed going to mass. he told me that clearly i needed to drop out of school and move back home so my religious needs could be met which were more important than my educational needs or the fact that i was trying to grow as a person. suffice it to say--things got VERY loud and in the end he told me that he wasn't sure what he could do for me. i told him that i had come there to get my sins absolved but that it was very clear that he could not help me. (are you serious--of all the things i could have been guilty of let alone the things i admitted to like the under-aged drinking and drugs--and YOU'RE gonna hammer me on missing MASSSS!? really?! you have GOT to be kidding me!)

i walked out of the confessional in tears, like i had just lost my best friend. my mom didn't believe me when i told her about the row father o'connor and i had just had but i know the people in the pews right outside the confessional heard. i told her i was never setting foot in the catholic church again and i haven't. i decided a long time ago that i wasn't interested in ANY organization or group of individuals that was more concerned about rituals than the type of person i was inside or how i treated others or how i treated the planet. i also began to realize that before i was baptized, i was a pretty cool 10 year old who looked out for the people around her and that at age 18, even after missing mass, i was still the same generous, giving, loving, truth and justice seeking person i had always been and not because i feared going to hell either.

so here i am, 22 years later having never set foot in a church again save the occasional wedding. and from what i can tell, i'm not missing much. religion hasn't changed a whole lot even though society has changed in HUGE ways. if anything, the situation gotten uglier, bleaker, lacking reason AND compassion--signs of devolution--and its occurring across major all religions. this DOESN'T bode well for civilization.

on a personal level, i mourned the loss of the relationship as one might do an ex-partner. however, i've never looked back and i'm far happier and healthier--emotionally, mentally, physically AND spiritually, YES spiritually, for it. emoticon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Sh@untay*

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. -- John Burroughs, essayist and naturalist

Don't postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson. -- Alan Cohen, American businessman

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact. --Don Williams, Jr., American novelist and poet


 December Minutes: 325
 
0
187.5
375
562.5
750
CRIMSONSKY's Photo CRIMSONSKY Posts: 666
4/24/10 3:30 P

Send Private Message
Reply
I ceased believing in God, having thought about it carefully at the age of 7/8 and decided that the whole Catholicism thing made no sense to me. Having a parent who was an Atheist helped, but I was always told that I should decide myself what I believed in and going to a Catholic school meant that I was hearing the other side's views too - nothing was hidden from me. Reading the Greek and Egyptian myths at this young age convinced me that Christianity was a copy of what had gone on before. Why should I believe in Jesus and reject Zeus or Ra? Weren't they there first? I also made the connection between believing in fairy tales and believing the Bible. Both contain some wisdom (Love Thy Neighbour etc.) but neither is a solid basis for belief in a Higher Power. I wouldn't worship Hansel and Gretel, but I understand the moral point that no human should kidnap another human and kill them to eat them.

At the age of 13/14, I was told by a RE teacher (in a contemptuous tone in front of my fellow pupils as a way of making me look a fool) that I was the type of person who wouldn't like to be blindfolded, put in a taxi and brought to an unknown destination. To her annoyance, I agreed with her and told her politely that anyone who agreed to go along for the ride like that was a fool. The subtext of that conversation was clear to us both and from that moment on, her attitude of intense dislike towards me changed to abject loathing because she knew that I had an independent mind, wouldn't be controlled by her and didn't believe as she did.

In essence, that discussion sums up religion for me. A leap of faith. But I'm not prepared to base my life and beliefs on something as intangible and absurd as a Leap of Faith. I want facts, rational evidence, scientific proof - not rants and mass exhortations to 'just have Faith'. I wouldn't climb Mt Everest on Faith alone. I would train, prepare and plan before I went. It's the same with a belief in God. I like to ask questions and I want concrete answers. I'm an individual and a leader - I've never been one to follow the crowd blindly. I make up my own mind and try to live a good life as best I can. I respect others' beliefs, so long as they respect mine and we agree to differ. That's it really. There are many other reasons for not believing in God. But this is the most basic way I can explain it.

“The Vision of a Champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching.”
- Anson Dorrance in a note to Mia Hamm.


 current weight: 139.0 
 
179
167.5
156
144.5
133
DALAI_LALA's Photo DALAI_LALA Posts: 2,716
4/6/10 9:37 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I've really been meaning to post here, but oh, will this semester never end? LOL

"Being defeated is often temporary, giving up makes it permanent." - Marilyn vos Savant

"We expect these things to change by waking up, and suddenly there they are." - Toad


 December Minutes: 0
 
0
64.75
129.5
194.25
259
ELSIE_BEE's Photo ELSIE_BEE Posts: 3,924
3/24/10 8:09 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The term "non-deist" sounds classier somehow.

Bee

Embrace The Suck.

FREENSTRONG's Photo FREENSTRONG Posts: 89
3/24/10 7:14 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Doubledigit: I don't think Bush has much room to criticize. emoticon

This is my favorite blog site on the Internet. Check it out! http://www.escapefromdogma.blogspot.com/


 current weight: 204.0 
 
209
185.5
162
138.5
115
DOUBLEDIGIT's Photo DOUBLEDIGIT Posts: 29
3/24/10 11:01 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
We haven't seen our one fundy son in quite a few years as we don't live anywhere near them. He has been out of our home for 20 years and we only see him once in a great while. The other children don't see him much either although we all try to stay in contact over the internet and phone. He simply thinks we are liberal Christians and although in his book that probably means we're going to hell, its not as bad as being an atheist. Unfortunately the word "atheist" carries so much stigma to it that even people who are not really relgious don't like the term. People have been put to death in the past in some countries for declaring themselves atheist. Even George Bush, Sr. said that atheists should not be considered U. S. citizens. That's pretty darn harsh. Forunatley for us we are protected by the Constitution. So, no I will not be telling my son that his dad and I are now atheists and I have asked my other children not to tell him either for the sake of family harmony. There may be a time in the future that we tell him, but not now.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_j
ournal_individual.asp?blog_id=3024892


 current weight: 240.0 
 
245
220
195
170
145
FREENSTRONG's Photo FREENSTRONG Posts: 89
3/22/10 8:06 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Doubledigit: If you are afraid to tell your son the truth, then you can see the damage religion has already done to your family. Don't you think one of your other children has told the unknowing son by now? Perhaps if you start preparing now for the day you will have to face him with it, the end result will not be as bad as you might fear. Maybe you could start with suttle hints and questions about the family's unconditional love for each other...or something you feel will be appropriate.

This is my favorite blog site on the Internet. Check it out! http://www.escapefromdogma.blogspot.com/


 current weight: 204.0 
 
209
185.5
162
138.5
115
WINTERWINGS's Photo WINTERWINGS Posts: 2,024
3/22/10 4:14 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I guess all you can do is hope that your fundamentalist kids "see the light" in the same way you did.

I think I would be horrified if my kid was a fundamentalist anything. I lost my best friend to JWs and I am still very traumatized by that.

Good for you on the science front. One of my favourite "anthropology" books is a little racy but it is by Timothy Taylor and is called "The Prehistory of Sex". The reviews aren't great but I remember that I liked it. Perhaps I need to dig it out of the boxes downstairs and read it again.

I am also reading "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne. I already am from the camp that it is absolutely true but it is still a fun read and if you have a limited scientific background it might be quite astounding.

Welcome to LAH. : )

 Pounds lost: 30.6 
 
0
14.25
28.5
42.75
57
SCHWINNER!'s Photo SCHWINNER! Posts: 3,335
3/22/10 7:23 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Wow, what a life change!! We've had several stories of folks going against their parental upbringing, but this is the first revolt from one's children I've read ;) Fascinating journey. Welcome to the team!!

It doesn't matter how slowly you go, only that you don't stop.

If today were perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow.

Bliss cannot be disturbed by loss or gain.
DOUBLEDIGIT's Photo DOUBLEDIGIT Posts: 29
3/21/10 9:54 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
We left our fundamentalist church about 11 years ago. We tried to go to more liberal churches since then, but have realized that we don't even agree with them. We went from being fundamentalists, to liberal Christians, to atheists. Both my husband and I read and study science all the time and the more we've learned the more we know we can never go back to any type of church. Rationalism and religion are incompatible in my opinion.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_j
ournal_individual.asp?blog_id=3024892


 current weight: 240.0 
 
245
220
195
170
145
ELSIE_BEE's Photo ELSIE_BEE Posts: 3,924
3/21/10 7:24 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Welcome to our group.

What an incredible story! How long ago did you walk out of that church? (I really love that part of it.)

Bee

Embrace The Suck.

DOUBLEDIGIT's Photo DOUBLEDIGIT Posts: 29
3/21/10 7:10 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Hi everybody,

I'm new here (as of 3/20/2010).

One of the things my parents argued about before their divorce was that my dad wouldn't go to church.Later she married a really religious fundamentalist. They sent me to Bible college where I met my husband who was a PK (preacher's kid). He told me his dad expected him to follow in his footsteps and become a preacher. I think I first started to doubt in Bible college and dropped out after I got married and had a baby. My husband never could bring himself to become a preacher, so even though he got a theology degree, he decided to join the Air Force instead because he liked working on planes. We did remain Christians though and raised our 4 kids in a very fundamentalist church. However, over the years we became increasingly unhappy. I think what really did it though was when the church started mixing politics with religion and every Sunday we got a huge dose of conservative politics from the pulpit. I told my husband that if I heard one more sermon about how wonderful conservatives were I would get up and walk out. Well the very next Sunday, the preacher started in again about the evil, demonic liberals (aka Democrats) and we both walked out and never returned. We went back to college and got degrees from liberal arts colleges. We learned about science for the first time at college (the Bible College we attended didn't teach science, except for Creationist junk). My husband is into astro-physics and I am into antropology/evolution. We are now free-thinkers, but all the rest of our family, including 2 of our 4 grown children are very hard-nosed fundies. It's difficult to have our family split. We haven't told our one son who works for an evangelist that we are atheists. If we did he and his wife would never let us see our grandchildren again.

Edited by: DOUBLEDIGIT at: 3/21/2010 (19:11)
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_j
ournal_individual.asp?blog_id=3024892


 current weight: 240.0 
 
245
220
195
170
145
SCHWINNER!'s Photo SCHWINNER! Posts: 3,335
3/18/10 7:40 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
There you go with your "logic" again... ;)

It doesn't matter how slowly you go, only that you don't stop.

If today were perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow.

Bliss cannot be disturbed by loss or gain.
HARISHABAD's Photo HARISHABAD SparkPoints: (15,921)
Fitness Minutes: (17,885)
Posts: 692
3/16/10 10:10 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Good points here! I just try to be tolerant and do the right thing. That's my philosophy of life. Logic alone taught me that religions must be man-made, and it was a revelation that people came to the same conclusions as I did.

Blessings and Be Well, Peace, Love and Light to all beings!
Angelika (Hari Shabad)

"What you put in your mouth [today] is walking and talking tomorrow." -Jack LaLanne

"The entire journey to health is about power. The definition of power...is learning how to make your dream a reality" -Jillian Michaels


 current weight: 198.0 
 
203
191
179
167
155
SCHWINNER!'s Photo SCHWINNER! Posts: 3,335
3/5/10 8:05 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thanks for that, ACWYNN! Great quote. We have no idea what our "purpose" is, if there IS one, so to me that says the only thing we can do is do what we can to improve upon the lives of ourselves and those we come into contact with.

It doesn't matter how slowly you go, only that you don't stop.

If today were perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow.

Bliss cannot be disturbed by loss or gain.
GRYPHON55's Photo GRYPHON55 Posts: 640
3/4/10 7:13 P

Send Private Message
Reply
I loved this quotation from Roger Ebert's recent interview in Esquire, seems to capture how I feel about living a good life:

I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/roger-eber
t-0310-7#ixzz0hFwcXsQo


I'm located in Pacific Daylight Time.


 Pounds lost: 24.0 
 
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
SANDKARMA's Photo SANDKARMA Posts: 295
2/21/10 6:03 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I have been to three UU churches - St. Pete, FL, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. They were all great and all were comprised of "ex" Lutherans, Catholics, etc. Members were all well-educated and very diverse. For those who enjoy the sense of community they get from an organization, I highly recommend UU. For me it was a combination of a highly irregular schedule and not really feeling the need for the official Sunday morning thing which reminded me too much of the regular church thing I did when growing up.

I must confess I went for a walk by the ocean today for the first time in ages, since it's been so cold here in Florida, and I am awed and amazed by the power and beauty of nature. So I suppose I'm a pantheist.

 current weight: 159.0 
 
159
155.25
151.5
147.75
144
REMEMBER_MYSELF's Photo REMEMBER_MYSELF SparkPoints: (31,060)
Fitness Minutes: (22,035)
Posts: 1,629
2/21/10 4:02 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I was raised without religion. My father is an outspoken atheist (or agnostic, whatever he's calling himself this week) and hates organized religion. My mother, raised Catholic, has not attended church since before college and I think she probably calls herself agnostic now...I think.

I have never beleived in organized religion, and while I understand that my early atheism was probably just a reflection of my upbringing I know now that this is the conclusion that I have come to on my own and it is my belief.

I myself do not hate religion or those who are religious. There are many horrible things that have been done in the name of religion, but I think there are many wonderful things that have been done too. I think that some people need religion and it helps them lead more productive lives. Basically I think it's a wash, that the good and the bad pretty much balance themselves out as with most things.

When I was younger most of my friends were deeply religious. I went to a rural school and though they knew that I was an atheist they were always trying to "save" me. That didn't bother me then, I think that I was much more tolerant. It would bother me now. In the last few years my father has learned that many of the activities that I went to on the weekends with those friends (lock-ins, and stuff like that) were put on by churches my friends were members of. He was LIVID, which is hilarious because I didn't know that it was a secret and more importantly you can see how much affect they had on me.

I too have considered going to a UU church for the community. My parents have a friend who is an atheist who has attended a UU church for years.

I truly have to say that I think not having religion in my life has been wonderful. It allowed me to make moral choices about my life and what I believe in without someone or something telling me how I beleive. Also, when I came out of the closet when I was 24 my parents had no mandates on how they should behave dictated to them and it was a wonderful experience. My father said he felt bad for about a day and wondered what he did wrong but then decided that was dumb and was OK with it. My mother said she had felt worse when I told her I was quitting college for a year because she thought that I would never go back (which I did). I think that their positive reactions were due in huge part with not being religious.

I like being an atheist. I like not having my beleifs outlined for me. I like making my own decision about my life based on who I am, not who someone thinks I should be. I also respect those who are religious and live their lives the way they think is right....as long as they give me the same respect.


Thanks to everyone responding BTW. I love hearing about everyones backgrounds. Thanks Lala for the topic!

Edited by: REMEMBER_MYSELF at: 2/21/2010 (16:05)
SCHWINNER!'s Photo SCHWINNER! Posts: 3,335
2/21/10 11:40 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
My family is historically Mennonite (and Amish in some places!) on both sides. So my family went to a Mennonite church in our little town. But it was pretty laid back - just plain, no stained glass or fancy things. Everyone was dressed "normal"; no bonnets or long, plain dresses. The sermons were sort of generic Christian; nothing extreme or literal. The pastor was really cool, we had lots of other families that were good friends and we'd camp and have get-togethers with, and kids who I grew up with and were my best friends. So I enjoyed it, but it was more about the social aspect of it.

I started to question it when I was in 5th grade (I think?), and my sister was in 9th. She would refuse to go to church, saying "why should I have to go sit in a church and listen to some guy tell me how I should live my life and what I should believe?" and of course, I said "yeah, me too!" They finally relented and gave up making us go to church, and I was just glad I got to sleep in on Sundays. But eventually I did think about that a little harder, and decided I didn't really care for it all.

From then on I lived my life pretty secularly, and rejected any type of organized religion. I've sort of ignored the whole belief system for so many years, but in the past 11 at least (I'm 28) I've realized I'm somewhat of an agnostic humanist, and quite apathetic at that. I feel like maybe there’s some type of “force” in the world, be it karma or the pull of the universe (or whatever)…but I have a lot more problem accepting a higher power in a humanistic form – that to me seems arrogant.

Obviously I don’t know the truth, so I’m in the agnostic “idunno” side, but then I also don’t believe in certain types of gods (like the Christian ideal). I don’t know about afterlife matters either; I don’t really think there is a judgment, so if anything, we all go to the same place or do, uh, something… but likely not.

I do like the social, community aspect of churches, and have considered going to a UU church to check it out, but at the same time, I have a nice circle of friends that I see regularly and make up a bit of a family here (a few hours from my blood family). I feel somewhat spiritual and at least connected to the Earth and nature in many ways as well. I just think people have the capacity and likelihood to be good, and should be good to each other, because I believe that is how we should live our lives - as kindly and as charitably and responsibly as we can. Our rights end where they infringe upon someone else's, so we have to use our abilities and resources for good - the world is getting smaller and it requires us to get along as best we can, with love and patience and consideration (hence why I'm such a durn hippie!) ;)

So I have no idea really what this all categorizes me as, but I don’t really need a name – stuff like this is highly individualized, so this was a cool opportunity for us to share! I REALLY hope some "outsiders" visit and read this thread, because it's pretty darn awesome. Now let’s all join hands and sing Kumbayah… ;)


It doesn't matter how slowly you go, only that you don't stop.

If today were perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow.

Bliss cannot be disturbed by loss or gain.
MABONES's Photo MABONES Posts: 169
2/20/10 9:27 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
What a lovely thing to say CHINCHIN. Thank you.

 current weight: 224.0 
 
234
217.5
201
184.5
168
CHINCHIN's Photo CHINCHIN Posts: 653
2/19/10 6:28 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I want each of you to know how beautiful and intelligent and articulate you are! I know the sytax doesn't match, but hey........even when I have nothing to add, as now, I love the hell out of reading the posts!

Liberty Belle

"The first Liberty Belle was Libby Lawrence. Her powers of enhanced speed, strength, and stamina were linked to the ringing of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Early in her mystery-woman career she had an arrangement with Tom Revere, a guard at the Liberty Bell. When she signaled him, he would ring the bell for her and trigger her powers."

The palest ink is better than the best memory. - Chinese Proverb


 Pounds lost: 8.0 
 
0
3
6
9
12
SANDKARMA's Photo SANDKARMA Posts: 295
2/19/10 11:07 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I want to qualify the words in my previous post. I probably shouldn't have used the word "hate". It's very negative and I try to stay away from negative emotions. It's not that I hate religions, but what those institutions do to individuals that bothers me. They grow terrorists who willingly die and kill others for some misguided cause, they inspire men to murder doctors performing abortions. They get people so riled up about the most innocuous things, like same-sex marriage, or allowing gays to openly serve in the military. So while I'm all about "live and let live", "they" most certainly aren't.

And Michaela, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who waffles with my (non)belief system!

 current weight: 159.0 
 
159
155.25
151.5
147.75
144
MABONES's Photo MABONES Posts: 169
2/19/10 7:47 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Great response, Ann.

Yes, atheism is not a belief system. One thing though--"atheism" doesn't mean absence of belief. As you point out, it means absence of belief in god, any god. I would agree that that necessarily includes an absence of faith (unquestioning belief without evidence), but faith and belief aren't the same. I, too, use "believers" as a short-hand for the religious but, come to think of it, I should find another term.

Ann hit it right on the head when she said that she doesn't "despise or denigrate religious people." And I think we probably all agree that religion needs to be kept out of public institutions and social policy. In this country, unfortunately, that separation is far from total and what there is is constantly under threat. That's why I agree with Dawkins. It isn't enough to "live and let live" where religion is concerned. Religious dogma is juvenile and, ultimately, destructive. We need to be active. That doesn't mean confronting people on a daily basis or wearing our atheism on our sleeves, but it does mean not remaining silent when someone should speak up and taking action when necessary--keeping creationism out of textbooks, getting "under god" back out of the pledge to allegiance....

I can't wait to see where this discussion goes, but now it is time to get ready for work.


 current weight: 224.0 
 
234
217.5
201
184.5
168
ELSIE_BEE's Photo ELSIE_BEE Posts: 3,924
2/18/10 11:27 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Well put, Ann!

emoticon

Bee

Embrace The Suck.

ANN5497's Photo ANN5497 Posts: 1,557
2/18/10 10:57 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I was raised in a small Protestant Christian sect called the Church of the Brethren. My mother was (and still is) religious, my deceased father, not so much. I was very religious and involved in the church in my high school and early college years because I loved its emphasis on social justice and I craved answers to the "big questions" - why are we here, what does it all mean, yadda, yadda, yadda. I also found the idea of God to be a comforting balm for my less than happy early years.
The older I got, the more self-confident I became and the less I needed religion to make me feel good about my life. And I began to embrace the concept that the reason "we are here" is largely explained by evolutionary biology, anthropology, physics, etc. As Joni Mitchell put it, we are stardust.
My growing comfort with the lack of a grand plan was accompanied by a growing disenchantment with the misogyny and irrationality of Christian beliefs. Eventually, I rejected organized religion. Then I rejected the Christian mythology. It was only a matter of time until I rejected the whole notion that there is any supernatural entity.
To me, an atheist is not a person who "believes" there is no God. Atheism is not a belief system - it is the absence of belief. It is a rejection of belief in favor of knowledge, investigation, empirical evidence, and logic.
Many years ago I had a dear friend Nancy who was an out and proud lesbian in a backward Midwestern city. Nancy once told me that she didn't hate men - she just had no use for them. That is much the way I feel about religion. I don't hate it; I simply no longer have use for it. And I don't despise or denigrate religious people, as long as they keep their religion out of my life, out of our public schools, and out of our social policy.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin


 current weight: 146.0 
 
184
174.5
165
155.5
146
MICHAELA2780's Photo MICHAELA2780 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (22,595)
Posts: 2,860
2/18/10 8:40 P

Send Private Message
Reply
SANDKARMA, I am 100% with you on that!!!! I'll have a day where I figure there's nothing out there...and then something will happen that damn well just shouldn't have and all I can do is sort of look around and say, "I don't know who or what just helped me out, but thanks!"

The principles that Christianity (and most religions) supposedly teach are admirable. But I can never forget for even one second that their "holy" books were written by men...men with political agendas.

A Few Rules of Running from Mark Remy:

1. You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip.

2. Not everyone who looks fast really is, and not everyone who looks slow really is.

3. Running any given route in the rain makes you feel 50 percent more hard-core than covering the same route on a sunny day.

4. If you care even a little about being called a jogger versus a runner, you're a runner.


 Pounds lost: 25.6 
 
0
12.25
24.5
36.75
49
SANDKARMA's Photo SANDKARMA Posts: 295
2/18/10 11:11 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Another great thread! This is interesting; my sister, who is also a member of this group, and I were talking about how this is our favorite place in SP and I mentioned that I'm a little bit of a poser. I'm not so much an atheist as I am a non-believer in religion. And I'm not prejudiced - I hate Christianity, Islam, etc. equally! Actually, I don't know what I believe. Some days I'm dead sure there's nothing but this and then some weird synchronistic thing happens in my life and I'm sure that the universe just had to throw that thing in my path. So I may be more of a pantheist than an atheist. And a pastafarian, of course.

 current weight: 159.0 
 
159
155.25
151.5
147.75
144
WINTERWINGS's Photo WINTERWINGS Posts: 2,024
2/18/10 12:59 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
I went to Sunday school as a kid until they didn't let me put the candles out and then I got miffed at the whole thing and refused to go anymore. Religion never took much of a role in our home so I was lucky that I wasn't indoctrinated from a young age. Formative to me were 1) Brownies and 2) having The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe read to us in Grade Four. Interestingly, neither of those things are supposed to promote anti-Christian sensitivities. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is supposed to be a whole ode to Christianity. I didn't get that. Once the faun showed up I fell hopelessly in love with Greek mythology. With Brownies it was "Wise Owl" and "Brown Owl" and playing with little coloured "rocks" and feathers, I was more into that than religious iconography.

As it turned out, our school division sent us to an inner city Catholic high school because they didn't have the capacity to accommodate us in their own high schools. Going to a Catholic school was quite an eye opener and it sort of drove home that religion wasn't something I was into. I mostly ignored religion until my best friend got recruited by Jehovah's Witnesses. It was like this big wall came down right in front of where her capacity for critical thought existed. I am still very traumatized by her loss. She tried to gently convert me for a while but once she figured out it wasn't going to happen she basically cut her ties to me. I know she now lives here in the city again and she even came to the baby shower our school friends had for me and the kidlet but she just won't "expose" herself to the rest of us. Oddly enough we also lost another friend to the JWs.

Once I lost her I decided to arm myself with information to "defeat" all the misinformation I know she'd been fed. They courted her by giving her fuzzy logic answers to various questions she asked them and she just didn't have the information to combat their crap. I also got very angry at all the built-in misogyny in organized religions. How did we go from one belief system, that made a wee bit of sense (a feminine earth mother giving birth to things) to some sort of violent, patriarchal create-everything-out-of-nothing hate-filled jerk. How did one thought system get conquered? Why do women perpetuate their own defeat and become party to the misogyny? It makes no sense. Why are we party to our own oppression?

I have decided, particularly after learning about neuro-theology and various euphoria-inducing behaviours that seem to crop up in "holy" practices, that human beings like ritual. I don't begrudge anyone the desire to have rituals that make them feel part of a community or securely bound in a relationship. My issue is with the business of religion and the horrible hatred that seems to go along with the whole "them vs us" philosophy that religions seem to trade in.

Oh yea, and I also read Revelations and thought that it made no sense to have this "peace, love and crunchy granola" figurehead and then suddenly everything is about hate, destruction, eternal damnation and horrible torture and then everything gets destroyed. What's up with that? Besides, how badly would heaven suck. Ever see the Star Trek movie when Kirk (and Picard) ends up in the Nexus and realizes that it is incredibly boring and meaningless? Same, same.

The more you think about it the more and more ridiculous the whole thing becomes. I just can't wrap my head around how anyone with a rational mind can remotely believe all that ca-ca. It makes me angry and sad - sad that I lost my best friend to organized brainwashing.

Edited by: WINTERWINGS at: 2/20/2010 (18:04)
 Pounds lost: 30.6 
 
0
14.25
28.5
42.75
57
DALAI_LALA's Photo DALAI_LALA Posts: 2,716
2/16/10 9:38 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
This thread is strictly voluntary for LAH members.

If you are a visitor, a curious passerby, maybe someone thinking about joining our little team, here is a place to find out what we're all about. I think that you'll find that we're fun and funny, a little snarky, can argue a bit and still love one another, and are quite good people. We aren't all atheists, we aren't all liberals, and we aren't even all hippies - but we are friends with some common ground to walk upon!

If you are an LAH member, and if you want to, please post here about yourself. There's no particular format. You can talk about what you DO believe in, why you don't believe in a god, the good that you do anyway, issues, your "de-conversion" or whatever you'd like. Feel free to make 'em LONG if you want.

We just want to share with the curious and help them understand what kind of people non-believers can be, and how varied are our experiences...




"Being defeated is often temporary, giving up makes it permanent." - Marilyn vos Savant

"We expect these things to change by waking up, and suddenly there they are." - Toad


 December Minutes: 0
 
0
64.75
129.5
194.25
259
Page: 1 of (1)   1

Report Innappropriate Post

Other Liberal Atheist Hippies The Happy Place Posts

Topics: Last Post:
Joke for Today 11/26/2014 5:55:11 AM
Funny meme.... 1/15/2014 4:35:02 PM
Purpose of life 6/19/2014 7:55:41 AM
The Devil in Dover 1/18/2014 6:03:02 PM

Thread URL: http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_messageboard_thread.asp?board=14563x4645x32015195

Review our Community Guidelines