What brought you here?

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Justme

Huntington, IN

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#1
Nov 29, 2012
 
Hello,

Are you an atheist? Have you always been? I would be interested to hear what led you to this stance.

I am not an atheist, but I am also not a troll.:)

I am, however, interested in hearing your story.
Thanks for considering my request.

“Citizen_Patriot_ Voter_Atheist!”

Since: May 09

Earth,TX

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#2
Nov 29, 2012
 
I read the bible. That was more than enough to make be a non believer, until then I was Christain.
Adam

Stoke-on-trent, UK

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#3
Nov 30, 2012
 
I am an Agnostic. I deconverted from Christianity over the past year. The reason I lost faith was when I realised that my beliefs were not rationally justified, and not based on good evidence. It took me years to figure that out!!! I am here to discuss Atheism, Skepticism, and other topics of interest to me. I didnt come here to disrespect Theists but sometimes get dragged into silly conversations. Stick around.
Amused

Lowell, MA

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#4
Nov 30, 2012
 
I was raised catholic. I was even an altar boy for many years growing up. By the 8th grade, I started having doubts about some of the things I was taught, and could not reconcile things I knew to be true with some of the things being taught in CCD classes.

I read the bible from cover to cover multiple times, thinking it would answer the questions I had. It had the opposite effect. It just multiplied the questions I had and the contradictions I saw.

I went to catholic high schools. None of the teachers had any credible answers for me. Most of the time, they just insisted that I had to accept the doctrine because they said so. More and more, I got the sense that they were trying to block their own minds from considering questions out of fear that the emperor had no clothes.

By the time I graduated from high school, I had completely rejected religion in all its form.
Justme

Huntington, IN

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#5
Nov 30, 2012
 
Reason Personified wrote:
I read the bible. That was more than enough to make be a non believer, until then I was Christain.
Oh, I see. How did you originally come to Christianity? Did you believe in God strongly for a long time or was it kind of a back and forth thing for you?
Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Justme

Huntington, IN

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#6
Nov 30, 2012
 
Adam wrote:
I am an Agnostic. I deconverted from Christianity over the past year. The reason I lost faith was when I realised that my beliefs were not rationally justified, and not based on good evidence. It took me years to figure that out!!! I am here to discuss Atheism, Skepticism, and other topics of interest to me. I didnt come here to disrespect Theists but sometimes get dragged into silly conversations. Stick around.
Adam, that's pretty recent that you made the decision. I certainly didn't mean to drag you into any silly conversation! I know that forums can get pretty weird. Feel free to not respond if you're looking for something else!! You mentioned it taking years to come to your conclusion...was there something specific that incited it? Or concluded it for you?
Justme

Huntington, IN

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#7
Nov 30, 2012
 
Amused wrote:
I was raised catholic. I was even an altar boy for many years growing up. By the 8th grade, I started having doubts about some of the things I was taught, and could not reconcile things I knew to be true with some of the things being taught in CCD classes.
I read the bible from cover to cover multiple times, thinking it would answer the questions I had. It had the opposite effect. It just multiplied the questions I had and the contradictions I saw.
I went to catholic high schools. None of the teachers had any credible answers for me. Most of the time, they just insisted that I had to accept the doctrine because they said so. More and more, I got the sense that they were trying to block their own minds from considering questions out of fear that the emperor had no clothes.
By the time I graduated from high school, I had completely rejected religion in all its form.
Amused,

Thank you for sharing your story. I am not Catholic, so I don't have much experiential knowledge of that world, but I do know that "because we said so" is not a helpful response to any person genuinely trying to learn more about anything in the world. What sorts of things do they teach in CCD classes? I went to a Lutheran school (also not Lutheran).
Also, you mentioned rejecting religion in all its form. Do you think that this led to atheism or did you come to your conclusion about the existence of God and then reject religion as a byproduct?

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#8
Nov 30, 2012
 
I was raised Southern Baptist (dad) and Church of God (mom) and attended Vacation Bible School every Summer. By the time I was 9, I could name all the books of both Testaments, in order. Began college majoring in theology with the intent to become a minister.

Spent a number of years reading the Bible via interlinear translations (Hebrew & Greek); dissecting the arguments of Aquinas, Anselm. Pascal, et.al.; and studying apologetic positions.

It became amazing clear that all religion is a very powerful tool for controlling large masses of people, especially the poor and disenfranchised who would rebel if not continually reminded that they are so very blessed.

So I changed my major.

That was almost 40 years ago. I look back today and wonder how I could have ever been so naive.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#9
Nov 30, 2012
 

Judged:

1

Justme wrote:
<quoted text>
... I went to a Lutheran school ...
You studied Lex Luthor?
Justme wrote:
<quoted text>
Also, you mentioned rejecting religion in all its form. Do you think that this led to atheism or did you come to your conclusion about the existence of God and then reject religion as a byproduct?
You comment reflect a common misunderstanding about atheism. Literally a-theism is "without theism". More accurately it is "without belief". It is most definitely NOT a substitution of one belief for another.

You claim that there is a god. As an atheist, I simply doubt YOUR claim made without evidence. And that's really no different than what you do with anybody else's "god" claim. When a Hindu person claims that Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma exist, you doubt their claim and ask for evidence ... real, independently verifiable evidence.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#10
Nov 30, 2012
 
Adam wrote:
I am an Agnostic. I deconverted from Christianity over the past year. The reason I lost faith was when I realised that my beliefs were not rationally justified, and not based on good evidence. It took me years to figure that out!!! I am here to discuss Atheism, Skepticism, and other topics of interest to me. I didnt come here to disrespect Theists but sometimes get dragged into silly conversations. Stick around.
Good luck having meaningful dialog! We've tried, but invariably we get slammed by theists (mainly Christians, some Catholics and a few Muslims) who do apparently come here to vent.

Sometimes it's obvious blind hate, but other times it seems like it's more fear that they might be wrong in their beliefs.

There are some excellent non-theist voices on here who never react emotionally or devolve to ad hominem and who have amazing depths of knowledge: Polymath (physics and mathematics); HidingFromYou (anthropology); ItAintNecessarilySo (medical knowledge); etc. All are excellent at cutting through the BS and laying it on the line.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#11
Nov 30, 2012
 
Let me apologize for this before I even post it ---
Amused wrote:
I was raised catholic. I was even an altar boy for many years growing up.....
Did you hear about the altar boy who ran away from the church because he didn't like the way the Father reared him?

He came back though ... he couldn't stand to leave the other altar boys' behind.
Justme

Huntington, IN

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#12
Nov 30, 2012
 
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
You studied Lex Luthor?
<quoted text>
You comment reflect a common misunderstanding about atheism. Literally a-theism is "without theism". More accurately it is "without belief". It is most definitely NOT a substitution of one belief for another.
You claim that there is a god. As an atheist, I simply doubt YOUR claim made without evidence. And that's really no different than what you do with anybody else's "god" claim. When a Hindu person claims that Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma exist, you doubt their claim and ask for evidence ... real, independently verifiable evidence.
Hedonist,

Ha, no we did not study Lex Luthor although, that would have been entertaining!
Fair point about atheism. I think we're on the same page. I'm tracking with you on the etymology and I understand the "without belief." I probably meant more of the vernacular usage of "the belief (read: active not passive) that no deity exists." I could have articulated that better. Since Amused had mentioned rejecting religion, my question was related. Your nuanced description is helpful, though. I'll try to keep it in mind.
Justme

Huntington, IN

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#13
Nov 30, 2012
 
Hedonist wrote:
It became amazing clear that all religion is a very powerful tool for controlling large masses of people, especially the poor and disenfranchised who would rebel if not continually reminded that they are so very blessed.
So I changed my major.
Could you tell me more about this? Was that something that you observed or experienced or were those thoughts related to other studies?

“Reason's Greetings!”

Since: Feb 11

Pale Blue Dot

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#14
Nov 30, 2012
 
Justme wrote:
Hello,
Are you an atheist?
Agnostic Atheist, Skeptic, Non-believer, Free-thinker, or somewhere in between.
Justme wrote:
Have you always been?
Nope, I was indoctrinated shortly after birth into the cult of catholicism by my parents and grandparents.
Justme wrote:
I would be interested to hear what led you to this stance.
I am not an atheist, but I am also not a troll.:)
I am, however, interested in hearing your story.
Thanks for considering my request.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#15
Nov 30, 2012
 
Justme wrote:
<quoted text>
Could you tell me more about this? Was that something that you observed or experienced or were those thoughts related to other studies?
How long have you got. It's a pervasive attitude that is plain to see from the "outside". Look at the very words that are used to describe the congregation - flock, sheep, lambs ... people attend mass ... you are taught from birth that humans are worthless sinners who will never amount to anything without the church for guidance .... etc., etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Christianity is not a religion; it's an industry. And they want 10% of your money just so they can tell you that money is the root of all evil. And the people buy it.

----------

"Religion is always in the control business and that's something people don't really understand. It's in the guilt-producing, control business.... and so they create this fiery place which has quite literally scared the hell out of a lot of people throughout christian history. And it's part of a control tactic" ... "The church doesn't like for people to grow up, because you can't control grown-ups. That's why we talk about being born again. When you're 'born again' you're still a child. People don't need to be born again, they need to grow up." ~ John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop

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“I should not believe in the Gospel if I had not the authority of the Church for so doing.”(St. Augustine, against the epistle entitled”“Of the Foundation”[ed. Vives, vol xxv, p. 435]:“Ego vero Evangelio non crederem, nisi me catholicae ecclesiae commoveret auetoritas ... Ego me ad eos teneam, quibus praecipientibus Evangelio credidi.”)

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“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”~ Seneca the Younger

"How can you have order in a state without religion? For, when one man is dying of hunger near another who is ill of surfeit, he cannot resign himself to this difference unless there is an authority which declares 'God wills it thus.' Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”~ Mahatma Gandhi

“So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”~ Bertrand Russell

“As people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers.”~ Robert G. Ingersoll

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#16
Nov 30, 2012
 
Justme wrote:
Hello,
Are you an atheist? Have you always been? I would be interested to hear what led you to this stance.
I am not an atheist, but I am also not a troll.:)
I am, however, interested in hearing your story.
Thanks for considering my request.
Oh ... and to complete the answer to your question -- I don't really label myself as a atheist / agnostic / etc. no more than I label myself as a a-astrologist, altnough I don't believe in astrology either ... or an a-faierist, but I don't believe in faeries.

I think of myself in terms of what I do believe in -- I am a Humanist. I believe in the potential of the human species.

And I am a theological noncognitivist, aka, ignostic (yes, it's spelled right).
Justme

Huntington, IN

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#17
Nov 30, 2012
 
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
How long have you got. It's a pervasive attitude that is plain to see from the "outside". Look at the very words that are used to describe the congregation - flock, sheep, lambs ... people attend mass ... you are taught from birth that humans are worthless sinners who will never amount to anything without the church for guidance .... etc., etc. etc. ad nauseum.
Christianity is not a religion; it's an industry. And they want 10% of your money just so they can tell you that money is the root of all evil. And the people buy it.
----------
"Religion is always in the control business and that's something people don't really understand. It's in the guilt-producing, control business.... and so they create this fiery place which has quite literally scared the hell out of a lot of people throughout christian history. And it's part of a control tactic" ... "The church doesn't like for people to grow up, because you can't control grown-ups. That's why we talk about being born again. When you're 'born again' you're still a child. People don't need to be born again, they need to grow up." ~ John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop
I would note that control can be a terrible, motivating force on this earth. Specifics and varying interpretations of what should and shouldn't be labeled control aside, when people who are professing to represent certain beliefs, don't, it is disappointing at best, and tragic and horribly destructive at worse.(From my understanding of the teachings of Christ, they emphasize a model of service and love, not lording over others in leadership, although history is fraught with examples of corruption where human beings have seized at control, both within and outside of institutions of organized religion.
Maybe that's not what you meant, but let me say that I am really sorry if you have experienced that.

Thanks for being willing to chat, by the way.
Amused

Lowell, MA

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#18
Dec 1, 2012
 
Justme wrote:
<quoted text>
Amused,
Thank you for sharing your story. I am not Catholic, so I don't have much experiential knowledge of that world, but I do know that "because we said so" is not a helpful response to any person genuinely trying to learn more about anything in the world. What sorts of things do they teach in CCD classes? I went to a Lutheran school (also not Lutheran).
Also, you mentioned rejecting religion in all its form. Do you think that this led to atheism or did you come to your conclusion about the existence of God and then reject religion as a byproduct?
I rejected religion because I just did not see any evidence for the basic propositions of religion, i.e. existence of god, an after life or re-incarnation, etc.
EdSed

Wishaw, UK

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#19
Dec 1, 2012
 
Hedonist wrote:
<quoted text>
Oh ... and to complete the answer to your question -- I don't really label myself as a atheist / agnostic / etc. no more than I label myself as a a-astrologist, altnough I don't believe in astrology either ... or an a-faierist, but I don't believe in faeries.
I think of myself in terms of what I do believe in -- I am a Humanist. I believe in the potential of the human species.
And I am a theological noncognitivist, aka, ignostic (yes, it's spelled right).
This goes for me too. I couldn't say it better.

I try to support charity work done by my local humanist group. I think religion is declining and we don't want to lose the sense of community or the charity work that are often positive consequences of religious groups and orgs.

I try to voice reasonable criticisms of the negative consequences of religion, such as creationism/ID (in science & education), sharia/halakha law (instead of one law for all), bias against homosexuals or misunderstanding of homosexuality (gay rights), oppression of women (women's rights), segregation of children that sometimes occurs due to religiously denominated schools and so-on. Then there are the apartheid and divisive nature of zionism and islamism.

Atheists don't fly planes into buildings because they believe it is 'the will of Allah'. It is not desirable for any state to have an 80% majority of any particular religion. Some religious beliefs are clearly dangerous.

Separation of church and state is important too. Anyone can have any religion they like as long as they keep it out of politics, morality, law, science and especially education. We are all equally human and shouldn't be divided by our religion or lack of any.

This sort of bigotry needs to be challenged..
http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.h...

What happens in the USA has special importance for the whole world. It isn't that I wish to interfere. It is that I'm not sure I can afford the USA to be hijacked by some right-wing religious agenda or suedo-ideology.(I'm in the UK).

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#20
Dec 1, 2012
 

Judged:

2

1

Justme wrote:
<quoted text>
I would note that control can be a terrible, motivating force on this earth. Specifics and varying interpretations of what should and shouldn't be labeled control aside, when people who are professing to represent certain beliefs, don't, it is disappointing at best, and tragic and horribly destructive at worse.(From my understanding of the teachings of Christ, they emphasize a model of service and love, not lording over others in leadership, although history is fraught with examples of corruption where human beings have seized at control, both within and outside of institutions of organized religion.
Maybe that's not what you meant, but let me say that I am really sorry if you have experienced that.
Thanks for being willing to chat, by the way.
The Christ myth has it's own set of problems and the supposed "teachings" are the more subtle aspects of religious control ---**blessed** are the poor ... it is better to be poor ... etc.

Mother Teresa never lifted one finger to try and alleviate any suffering or help people out of poverty - no, there poor status made them more **blessed**. That's delusional. The most opulent private residence in the world is the Vatican, but **blessed** are the poor.

Religion is killing people in THIS day and age, and I don't just mean flying people into buildings or blowing up abortion clinics. There's also killing children as witches in Africa ... Catholics not allowing life saving abortions in Ireland ... Catholics teaching that condom use in a sin while AIDS remains at epidemic proportions ... Christian Scientists children dying of treatable ailments because of their religion.

It is the most religious that support capital punishment, not the Humanists. It is the religious Bible Belt that still allows their schools to practice corporal punishment. You will never convince me for one second that these "love of god" Christians wouldn't burn me at the stake in a heartbeat if it wasn't against the law.

There's the 900+ years of Muslim-Jewish-Christian fighting in the Mid-East, there's Catholic-Protestant fighting in Northern Ireland.

Religion is a sickness that will destroy all of humanity if we don't grow up and stop believing in invisible friends.

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