I usually try not to spend a lot of time online during the weekend so unfortunately I haven’t been able to follow up what with what has been happening on their page. I’m not surprised really because many of those comments would be legitimate grounds for investigation. Not to mention the fact that they are just plain vile and disgusting, sadly somewhat what we’ve come to expect from Fox news. I am definitely glad though that my post is making its way around so that this can’t simply be covered up and forgotten about.
In the long run, there easily could be depending on the person. Lots of people of different views still have successful relationships. It’s just a matter of how big of an issue it is and if there becomes certain points of contention you’re not able to over come. If you two get along well though and neither one gets too upset about a few differences of opinion it has as much chance as any other relationship to work out. If the views are too conflicting and held to too strongly then most likely there will be some conflict at some point.
I have had a few people ask me about my thoughts on the topic. I have talked quite a lot about it on twitter with random people who mostly oppose the American Atheist group bringing about the law suit. It seems a fairly large number of Atheists are upset about them bringing about the suit as well and feel they shouldn’t touch the topic. For anyone that may be unfamiliar with it (even though it’s been all over the news) you can check out this article: Atheists Sue to Block Display of Cross-Shaped Beam in 9/11 Museum To sum it up simply they want to move a “cross” that was found at ground zero to that National September 11th Memorial and Museum.
There are a few ways that people can look at this topic but generally I oppose this being placed into the museum and am glad that American Atheists are standing up against it. If you look it and accept it to be a symbol of Christianity it is a clear cut case of religion encroaching in to where it doesn’t belong. The symbol was previously displayed at a Catholic church. It has been “blessed” by several holy men. It has been adopted by Christianity and used as a symbol for their purposes.
There was one estimate I saw saying that over 1,000 of the victims of that day were not Christian. That is an extremely large portion of the victims and it would be an insult to them to display a symbol of a particular faith that is not theirs. It it not about “discriminating against Christians” it’s about not allowing them unequaled representation. It’s about not recognizing one faith over any others or giving one faith special prominence. It is about making sure it is fair to everyone and the only way to do that is to entirely leave the subject of religion out of it.
There are a lot of people looking at it from the view point that it was just another piece of rubble and that’s why it should be in the museum. If that is the case it is a more realistic view point but why chose this one particular piece? There are thousands and thousands of pieces of rubble and debris from the building why would we want to chose this one particular piece that has been hijacked by the religious factions of our country? Take a piece that does not have the ties that it does and that will not polarize people in the way that “blessed cross” would.
There are also many people that take completely unrealistic views to the whole thing that aren’t worth responding to. “Not having a cross there is offensive to Christians.” “If Atheists don’t even believe in God why do they even care.” (Because we want to maintain a secular society, obviously, not surprising that subtle yet important point would be lost on people.) “Atheists just hate America.” Many other ridiculously stupid statements that aren’t worth responding to.
The point comes down to this, it has been used as a Christian symbol. As a Christian symbol it should not be put into a national monument that is meant to be enjoyed by all people of all faiths and no faith. There are many other pieces that could be entered in its place so if you just want a piece of rubble from the aftermath there are thousands of alternative options. The only reason someone would insist it being this piece is because of the fact that it is a cross. The fact that they see it in that way is specifically the reason it should not be put in a public place. Feel free to bless it, keep it at church, hang Christmas lights from it, nail a little plastic Jesus to it, whatever you want in the religious setting, just keep your religious garbage out of the public square.
Religion is one of the leading factors in why the attacks took place on Sept. 11th. Atheists are one of the only groups in America right now willing to put themselves out there and force the country to remain secular the way it should be. If we allow religion to start encroaching once again into areas it doesn’t belong who knows how long it will be before we start hearing “holy war” thrown around again in realistic conversations. This just isn’t the right place for it, this isn’t the right piece, however you look at it, just keep it out.
Thankfully I have been pretty lucky and didn’t even have anyone bring it up to me. My side of the family knows my feeling so there wasn’t even a discussion but my girlfriend’s side of the family is very religious. They have respected us enough though to know we are responsible and good parents and have never really pressured us about anything related to our son. I’m honestly a little surprised that they’ve never commented on anything related to it but even though they are religious they realize we aren’t, even though they don’t know exactly to what extent.
For your situation you could probably get away with it for a very long time by just pushing it back, avoiding the subject, and trying not to talk about it. If they press the issue though you should try and find some polite way to say it’s simply not for you and not something you want your child to go through. It is just a silly religious ritual but it is permanent and if for some reason your child decides they want to do it later in life they are always welcome to but you can’t take away it already being done.
I can certainly understand wanting to get along with her family but chances are there will be times that they disagree with you about something. It is better to establish some boundaries now well your child is young than to give in to their silly little ritual. As I said definitely be polite about it but if push comes to shove let them know your stance clearly. I think if you let her family know you want your child to make their own choices in life and not set them up with a religion before they can comprehend it, they should hopefully respect that.
They might but specifically on the Atheist tag he comes up a lot. A lot of people saying “Fuck him because he’s Atheist” and other people saying “People are thinking it’s cool to become Atheist because of him”. I never really tried to search his name otherwise but considering he has over 350,000 followers I’m sure they talk about him. I have listened to him a bit myself and he seems pretty good but I just couldn’t stand how often he uses the word “fagot”. It just got to the point that it grated on my ears because it isn’t just a few times and it got to the point where it detracted from the rest of his lyrics for me.
- People are way too amused by the idea of an Atheist named Christian.
- People don’t understand that Atheists are not devil worshippers/Satan/demons.
- People like to talk about Tyler the Creator a lot (rapper) simply because he’s Atheist.
- People often have to express shock and disbelief at those that say they are Atheist, “Are you really an Atheist?” “How can you be an Atheist?”
- People are really upset at American Atheist for their suit about the 9/11 cross (for the record, I do support them although it appears many Atheists do not)
- People like to bait Atheists into responding, quote the bible yell about God and then block people or end the conversation.
- Trying to discuss Atheism on twitter rarely goes well and can degrade much more quickly because of it, it is making me be more aggressive at times than I normally like to be.
- I have to take a break off of Twitter for a while because the ridiculous things people say seem to not phase them, and they won’t even listen to a counter point before presenting the same illogical argument forward again and again and again.
- I think too much time on Twitter could make me a meaner, angrier, shorter tempered Atheist, and I don’t really like that.
At this point if I kept a list of all the books that have ever been recommended to me or that I have been asked about it would be an extremely long list. I simply don’t have enough time to indulge something so silly and ignorant. There is no reason to give a book a chance when it makes a clear statement from the get go that it is not going to be based on fact and reason but fantasy and arguments from ignorance.
If this book was earth shattering and providing new insights unique to this book I almost certainly would of heard of it before now but I haven’t. With the fact that the book goes more or less unnoticed by just about everyone in society, even a google search provides few results, shows that it isn’t worth investing my time in. I’ve heard the arguments for creation before and yes I do reject them because they are worth rejecting. It’s not a matter of outright rejecting something because it disagrees with my view but prioritizing things that are worth looking at and paying attention to and stuff that would simply be a waste of time. I honestly read things more often lately that disagree with my views more than things that agree with it.
Hey, thank you for the message. Always appreciate hearing good things from people. It can definitely be frustrating at times. On here it seems to be a little easier than in some other places at least. Twitter can be a bit crazy at times especially. It is something that does take a little practice though and a little bit of forethought to be prepared for the kind of crazy things people will throw out there.
When having a face to face or back and forth discussion with someone on religion it can often get wild quickly. It is usually best to try and get them to focus on one topic or one issue at a time. There is a tendency for a discussion on religion to jump around a lot. One point will bring up another “what about this?” question or topic and can end up dragged into many directions. In order to make a good point or to discuss a topic effectively you have to try and make sure it doesn’t jump around too much.
Try your best also to avoid derogatory comments directed at the person you’re talking with, especially if it is a friend or family. If it some random stranger on the internet there isn’t as much reason for the strict civility but usually things will go down hill quickly. As soon as conversations start going into “Well you’re just too dumb to realize…” or “READ A BOOK!#@!” it is very hard to recover into a productive conversation. There are ways though to bring up the same type of thing in a more polite manner, just have to find a polite way to let someone know their view may be based out of not knowing instead of knowing differently.
Make sure to try and answer their questions to the best of your ability. I often get a lot of ridiculous questions but outside of the trolls even the ridiculous questions are often legitimate. Many people seem like they honestly don’t realize the first thing when it comes to Atheists. I’ve had to explain to people many times why Atheists don’t believe in the devil and don’t worship Satan. Why we don’t “believe in nothing”, how we can have morality, and the stances that Atheists often take. People honestly just don’t know sometimes and being able to answer most or all points someone throws out will let them know you’re educated on the topic and have taken your time to really research it.
With close friends and family one bit of advice I think is really important too is to know when to bow out. I’m not saying to admit defeat but if things get too heated to the point where productive conversation isn’t happening just try and find a peaceful way to end it. Maybe it is something that you can come back to later but it is much better to just say “Look we’ll just talk about this some other time” than have it turn into a screaming match. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point but just be aware of it because things can go from 0 to 10 with religious conversations in very short time. Hope this helps, thanks again for the message.
Can’t say I’ve ever heard of it before. After doing a quick google search it seems to be Muslim Creationist garbage mostly. Anything that says “evolution can not be true because it denies the existence of the creator Allah” is not going to be worth the time to read.
Hey thank you for the message. This topic seems to be coming up more and more all the time. I imagine the debate has been happening for a while but due to people wanting to rewrite history in their own image it is showing up more often. It seems to be put out there by Christians as a case for why Christianity must be an established part of the United States, because it is the foundation right? No, not really, but they like to imagine a lot of things that aren’t really true.
I’ve started to shy away from arguing over whether a particular founding father was or was not an Atheist/deist/theist. The majority of them did not have a fondness for religion but many still remained at least deists. There wasn’t as much scientific information available at that time and to confess complete unbelief would leave a lot of unanswered questions for them.
The Treaty of Tripoli was much more important in establishing publicly and directly that we are not a Christian nation. Not only was it presented by president John Adams but it was ratified unanimously by the US Senate. It was only the third time at that point that the US Senate had voted unanimously on anything meaning that no one saw any reasons to dispute that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. It seems like such a strong refutation especially with the added “in any sense” emphasis.
The most important document in the foundation of the United States is certainly the constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Seems fairly straight forward, black and white. The United Stated will neither prohibit nor facilitate any religious institution or group in any way. This is not just for the good of the non-religious but the religious as well.
The founding fathers looked at England and did not want to end up in a similar situation. They did not want a national church that they had to pay taxes to. They did not want an established institute that would look to oppress all other religions and the non-religious. They did want all people to be free and to be who they are regardless of their personal beliefs.
Really though, the easiest way to counter act it I’ve found is this. If they really did found it on Christian values, and wanted this to be a Christian country, how come they never told anyone, ever? How come they never wrote anything like that? How come there is not one single mention of Christianity, Jesus, or “God” in the entire constitution or any of the amendments? If this was supposed to be a Christian nation, someone should of let the founding fathers in on that little secret.
(This may be a bit long but I think it is a good answer to a common and more sophisticated question often posed to anti-theists.)
Thank you for the question because it is well thought out. I’ve been asked in the past about the culture vs. religion aspect of things and have taken quite a bit of time to consider it. What it comes down to for me is that the two are inseparable. As one molds and changes, so does the other sides. It used to be even more so than today that religion would shape and influence culture, and as the culture changes the religion will shape itself and mold to meet the new state of the culture. You no longer hear Christian ministers calling for a return to slavery (much), but it was much more common when it had been an accepted part of our culture. The longer removed we are from the times of slavery the less you hear from the religious calling us to return to it.
As a result of this we really can not separate the two. Obviously a Muslim in remote areas of Afghanistan will have some different views than a Muslim in a more progressive area. They both share common ground in their religious book at the very least. From there it will come down to interpretation, to the Imams of their particular area, and their culture. They may be vastly different in many areas but if they are both “true” (as can be) Muslims they will both look to the Quran.
It’s like the age old debate of nature vs. nurture. In this case culture vs. religion. Which is more of a influencing factor in how someone develops their views of religion? I think that both play a strong role and with that underlying commonality of the Quran it is able to influence, in some ways, Muslims wherever they are in the world. The Quran itself is a disgusting, vile, and disturbing book, even more so than the bible in my opinion. It honestly made me feel ashamed of humanity when I read parts of it. With that the Quran, to the religion of Islam as a whole, plays at least some factor in the way a religious person develops their views.
So I do certainly admit that culture plays a very large factor in it as well. When people look to unite though they look for the things that bind them together and not what separates them. When Muslims hear there are over a billion of them in the world they don’t care what views they disagree on, they care that they are all Muslim. They buy into the popular equals right type mentality and regardless of where they are often feel more secure about their personal beliefs because of this random and pointless number. At that point their personal interpretation becomes even stronger, rarely will a terrorist stop to think of which Muslims disagree with their views, instead they will feel they are doing it for the glory of Allah and Islam as a whole that so many others also believe in. It’s part of the case of the moderate religious enabling the religious extremists.
So basically, I do acknowledge your point but to say that Christianity or Islam does NOT play a factor would be equally as presumptuous as saying culture does not play a factor. Saying that religion does not play a factor completely discounts the factors and influences that lead whatever particular person to commit their heinous acts. It is not always simply out of mental disorder but many times out of honest conditioning. Religion prays on those already disposed to this mental weakness as well, the more easily influence and credulous an individual the more likely they are to easily get swept up in religious fervor.
I also agree with you that if religious was abolished there would still be violence. Eliminating religion will not make a perfect world but I do think it will provide us with a huge step in the right direction. Religion is an excuse to separate and divide people based on their differences, not bring them together, unless of course they share the same religion. Eliminate religion would eliminate that as an excuse and motivating factor to commit atrocious acts for those that do. Sure, they may find other reasons to commit similar acts, but isn’t taking away an excuse generally for the good?
I don’t advocate a complete ban on religion but I do advocate an end of religion. I look for the day that people will not want to or feel the need to be religious. That our quality of life for all of humanity is well enough that people do not need to turn to fantasy and fairy tales. I am not advocating forcing people to give up their religion but once reality and human kind becomes more important than wish thinking it will become a natural progression. I’m just looking to force that progression along as much as I possibly can. I know it won’t be much, but I feel like it’s important.
It’s surprising that you would chose such an odd point to call me out on. Obviously Christianity would be my second choices for religions that I’d like to see gone but the fact that I think Islam is more dangerous makes you assume that I am completely disregarding what the other religions are doing? Listing the few examples of atrocities that you did shows that you may be falling too much into a Western world centered view. There are many things that happen outside of the Western world as well.
To assume a few individuals flying planes into buildings was the first act of terrorism tied to Islam would be ridiculous. There are “terrorist” attacks in heavily Islamic countries far too often. Suicide bombings, car bombings, kidnapping and strapping bombs to innocent individuals, random shootings and street violence are often prevalent in many heavily Islamic countries. Islam has its hold most strongly in a lot of undeveloped and suffering counties. Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and many other countries have such a horrible standard of living and quality of life and are run and controlled by religious zealots.
Islam is working more and more into the light of the Western world. People are becoming more and more aware of what many Islamic schools teach and spread to their children. It is vile and disgusting. It is brain washing of the absolute worst kind. They often embrace violence and encourage it. They push for dominance and control, they push for a Muslim controlled world. Obviously this is not all Muslims but there is a very large following of these ideas.
Both religions are extremely dangerous but Islam is much more tied to its bloody and violent past. Islam has not gone through a reformation. It does not have a central ruling power so any idiot who can convince other Muslims to fall in line with their beliefs are welcome to use the religion as a tool. Islam is absolutely hideous and vile and although I am certainly not a fan of Christianity I do believe Islam is far more likely to lead to a greater number of deaths, suffering, and pain on a global scale, not just the Western world.
That is something that is fairly common with religious individuals. The ones that almost seem almost apologetic about their religious belief as if they simply wouldn’t be able to function or make it through the day without it. I have been convinced that there are some people out there that honestly feel that way, people that would not be able to grasp their life currently if somehow they woke up one morning and all of their “faith” was gone. This certainly isn’t a good thing though and certainly not something in favor of religion, quite the opposite, just another example of how religion is able to infect people so fully.
For someone who is in that position, on an individual basis, they may be very hard to reach. They would probably be very difficult to reason with but it is possible that with time and effort they could be weened of off faith and on to reality. What is more important and the way to really bring about a great change is to focus on the future and people that are not so deeply brain washed with religious indoctrination.
If we can change the way society views religion and the way that we treat it in society we stand a far better chance of reaching a greater number of people. If we force people to focus on the world, people, this life, the things that are actually important gradually more and more people will distance themselves from faith and focus more on what is real. It may take many generations, it may take a lot of time and effort but I see that a much more realistic and reachable goal than simple extermination of religion.
Obviously I’d personally quite enjoy if the idea of religion was struck down from humanity and only something we read about in history books. I think there is almost no chance of that happening within mine or anyone living’s life time, although I would certainly be happy if it did. We can more easily achieve a secular society, we can change the things that society value, we can change the way society treats religion. These things are much more attainable and will be beneficial for the greater good of humanity. I feel like this is what I, and hopefully other Atheists, should focus on even more so than trying to convince individual religious people of their delusion, although both are important. Once it is the way of society it will follow naturally that these people will fade out or be pushed to the fringes of society where they can continue their own self centered delusions. The rest of us can enjoy a better quality life.
It is difficult to say on something like that. If it is for the better of the friendship, I can understand holding your tongue a bit, but if you two are really good friends shouldn’t you be able to be honest with her? It can often be tricky but perhaps you could even open up conversation a bit more and try to figure out her stance on her particular version of religion. She may be able to get more insight into your views as well.
If you’re friends for a great deal of time chances are your views will eventually come up at some time as it is. Wouldn’t you rather just be able to be open and be yourself around your friend? I’d never encourage you to do something that would drive away a friend but I can say for certain it would be difficult to be someone you’re really not well around someone you regard as a friend. Friends often have differences of opinion in some areas, just need to make sure your friendship is strong enough to handle that.
Oh anon, your harsh stingy word. So sharp and pointed, I’m sure you’ll make me think deeply about myself and the choices I’ve made in my life by calling me a “fucking high school a(A)theist”. I’m sure you’ll make me go into deep introspection over the fact that I must be a “fucking snob” for saying we shouldn’t respect every idiot’s right to be an idiot when they drape it in religion. Oh anon, your powerful insight into my true nature will always be remembered.
Wait, actually, no that’s a lot of bull shit. Do you seriously think these acts do not happen in “advanced countries”? Do you think that right now there are not parents out there refusing to take their children in for medical care due to their religious convictions? Are there not several stories in the news every single week of a child murdered or deprived of basic needs because of their religious wacko parents? In this country, in other “advanced countries”, and in nearly every country in the world.
The message you’re referring to was not saying for me to not be a “fucking snob” but stated that I need to respect people’s right to practice religious however they see. I need to respect that? Personally I’ve never given someone or something respect simply because it has been demanded of me with no just reason. Just because you do not realize that it happens everywhere does not mean that it does not happen. It simply means you’re unaware of current events and politics of the world.
The less extreme religious are what enabled the extreme religious to be the extremists that they are. If the moderately religious didn’t help lay the road of all this bullshit so many people have bought into about “respect religion” and “let people practice religion however they want regardless of it’s logical or beneficial” we would be able to call out these extremists as the maniacs and lunatics that they are. Instead they so often get to mask their own issues in a covering of piety and religious devotion until a young child pays the price for it. There are some religious people that are worse than others, obviously, but I’m not going to respect any of them simply because society tells you that I have to. I will only respect individuals and ideas that have done or shown something that indicates they deserve respect.
I’m most familiar with this idea from C. S. Lewis who basically said he was “Lord, liar, or lunatic”. Meaning that if Jesus was real he was either who he said he was, he was lying, or he was mentally ill and honestly mistaken. These seem like potential possibilities but the other option I prefer (to stick with the alteration) is legend. A composition of stories and ideas thrown together into one man that if he ever did exist in any form was most likely very little like his stories. The first three options assume that he was real as the bible describes, the last option leaves things a little more open to speculation.
Part of the explanation Lewis uses with his idea I’ve always found interesting. It’s his way of preventing people from saying that Jesus was a good moral teacher but not the son of God. He states someone who said these things but was not the son of God would not be a moral teacher but more along the lines of a lunatic, “on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg”. “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.” I think personally I’d have to go with “something worse”. Fictitious legend aside the violence and ignorance he has inspired makes him far worse than any other figure imagined.
One quote I’ve heard (possibly Sam Harris) that sums it up well is along the lines of, “The moral teachings of Jesus were not original, and his original teachings were not moral.” Nearly everything that Jesus talked about with regards to morality was already knowledge that had been around for hundreds or thousands of years. Confucius, for example, who lived around 500 years spoke at great length on morality and many of his teachings are strikingly similar to Jesus. Confucius is usually credited with being the first to teach “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The teachings of Jesus seem so similar to many of the Eastern teachings that already existed that there are many that speculate during the lost years of Jesus’ life (from 12 to 30) that he traveled East to India or Tibet to learn from the holy men of that area. There is a great deal of research done on the topic and may books written on the topic. Even if he did exist at all in some form, and did travel East, it is really of little consequence once we realize all of these teachings have been around for a very long time.
The idea of personal sacrifice had also been around for quite a long time and was part of nearly every religious long before Christianity. The idea of personal sacrifice and distance from worldly possessions and glory was around in Buddhism for hundreds of years. Many aspects of Jesus himself may of been borrowed from earlier stories, Mithra and Krishna being two of the most prominent and easiest to draw parallels. (Before anyone mentions Zeitgeist though much of the information presented in that movie about stories similar to Jesus was completely incorrect.)
To sum it up there was really nothing new or special about Christianity. Christians like to claim they have special moral grounds, like to claim they came up with marriage and spirituality, they like to claim many things. It is simply not true when you look at the historic facts. Of course that doesn’t prevent it from seeping into the self centered ego that seems to invade most Christians.
Eusebius of Caesarea (283-371 CE) - “The religion of Jesus Christ is neither new nor strange.”
Personally I am 100% totally pro-choice and the vast majority of Atheists I’ve talked to are pro-choice. I think I’ve actually only come across a handful that consider themselves “pro-life” in the past. Atheists often look at morality more from a consequential view point. The consequences of outlawing abortion are detrimental in almost every aspect.
It’s something that I personally feel very strongly about. Most often instead of “pro-life” I refer to it as the “anti-choice” outlook. There are many valid reasons for a woman to need access to a safe and secure abortion. I would never want to be the one to try and take away that choice from someone else and I would never want the guilt of many dead women from back alley abortions on my conscience. Forcing restrictions upon women in this way is attempting to remove their right to make a decision on their own, we need less of that, not more.
I have never found the anti-choice view point convincing in any way. There are always going to be circumstances where some women require abortions, usually for their own personal health whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally. As long as we know there are reasons we need to trust women enough to allow them to make decisions about their own body. They don’t need to be harassed and tormented for their choices. The decision and process is usually emotionally disturbing enough without added trauma and torment from other harassing and looking down upon them.
Wow this is extremely scary, the man in Norway turns out to be a “conservative” Christian. Scoff if you will, but I am honestly glad that the FBI in this country does investigate many radical Christian groups. If the Tea Party in this country has shown us anything it is that they are rallying around their insanity and it has already boiled over to smaller acts of violence in many different areas and instances. This is entirely random commentary, but I felt the need to comment because I was a little shocked, but even slightly more so, worried.
The Daily What has a very good compilation of information currently available here.
I would tell them that their pity and sadness is severely misguided considering the people they are sad for are the ones who are able to hold their heads high and walk through the world without guilt for being human. We have no need to be afraid that some shadowy imaginary figures is looming over our shoulder looking to judge every action and though. I’d tell them that Atheists are able to grasp the brevity of life and the pure beauty of the natural world for what it is without having to look beyond it to a false promise of something more wonderful. Atheists truly appreciate the gift of life, well theists are just waiting for it to be over. The saddest thing someone can do is fully waste the life they are given in fear and ignorance. Don’t feel sad for Atheists, they’re too busy to need the sympathy, they’re out there learning and enjoying life. They should take the time they’d spend being sad and read a book, go for a walk, talk to a friend, learn something, it’s what the Atheist would rather have them do anyways.
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: “Stop. Don’t do it.”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he asked.
“Well, there’s so much to live for!”
“Are you religious?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?”
“Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
“Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”
“Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”
“Baptist Church of God.”
“Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
“Reformed Baptist Church of God.”
“Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?”
He said: “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.”
I said: “Die, heretic scum,” and pushed him off.
Yes I definitely had a very long transition. Quite a long time ago I posted a fairly lengthy personal story about what really started me into doubting. It mostly revolved around the death of my father but there was a bit more to it. I was always a thinker, even at a young age.
I certainly won’t push you on the topic but I often push agnostics a bit. Agnosticism is still a matter of speculation on available knowledge, everyone is agnostic. No one can say they know for certain one way or another, some attempt to but are usually ridiculed, the ability to “know” should not really be a factor because we’re all on common ground when it comes to actual knowledge. When someone asks you what you believe though, they’re not asking what you know. No matter how convoluted or how many qualifiers you’d have to throw in, there is a part of you that would have to say yes or no as for what you actually believe. Thanks for the message.
My mistake. Totally skipped over the second part of the question. Thankfully I didn’t really have much issue with family. The biggest religious influence in my life was my devout grandmother and by the time I was secure in my Atheism she was too far gone because of Alzheimer’s disease to understand what was going on. My mother honestly didn’t seem to care. My friends generally weren’t overly religious in my teen years and before that I moved around a lot and didn’t have much time to make real friends.
For Satanism I have read just about everything from Anton LaVey I can find. I find a lot of it very interesting and actually think his books of random ideas and items like “The Devil’s Notebook” and “Satan Speaks” are better reads than things like “The Satanic Rituals”. I have always been a huge fan of Demonism and Demonology too but never attempted to practice any of it, for obvious reasons. I do enjoy reading Aleister Crowley and others from the most recent occult revival as well. No problem on the questions though, always enjoy getting message. :)
Odd that you would send me this message now considering two posts ago I commented about how I don’t seek to force anyone into Atheism. Atheism is something that has to be accepted by someone. Something that someone has to come to usually after knowledge, understanding, and lots of thinking. Respect though? Certainly not. Why do I need to respect someone’s right to do anything simply because it is their religion?
It is illogical. We don’t do it with anything else. We shouldn’t allow parent to deny their children child care because it is their “religion”. We should not allow parent to prevent children from learning science and teach them lies because it is part of their “religion”. We shouldn’t allow someone to seek to deny rights to others because it is their “religion”. You believe these things are harmless and completely acceptable?
That is exactly the kind of thing I was speaking about in the way society views religion. Why do I have to respect that? What if someone says their religions gives them the right to beat their child/wife? Or to marry a child bride? That is part of Islam, so it’s part of their religion, and I’m supposed to respect that? I say fuck that, I’m not that foolish. No one has the right to do something immoral or unethical simply because they say it is their religion and anyone who believes they should be able to is incredibly foolish in my opinion. It’s one of those things religion has forced into society over the years, and it serves them well, even if it is illogical.
For me it started fairly early, I started questioning and doubting things when I was around 6 years old. I actually started to doubt the idea of God before I even doubted the idea of Santa Claus. I spent many years up in to my teens searching through a few different religions, Wicca, Satanism, and Buddhism mostly. For quite a while I actually called myself a Satanic Buddhist, that’s even harder to explain to someone than being an Atheist. At that point I was already Atheistic but didn’t really recognize it as that. The more I learned about each religion though the more I was turned off by them. As a result I do have a little part of each that still are with me but as an actual “system” of religion, there is no point.
Hey, thank you for the message. Don’t worry I definitely understand what you’re trying to ask. This is something that I often get asked about and sometimes have a bit of a personal conflict with myself. There is the accepting and liberal part of me that is open to anyone believing whatever they would like. Obviously I’m not looking to force anyone to believe anything. I usually look at it then from more of what we can do to change society overall and the way that society looks at and treats religion.
There are many people that look to religion for comfort and to many of us it is false and delusional comfort. Those people that chose to hold on to it privately and keep a personal belief personal will likely not be getting involved in a religious debate. There are a great many people though that want to have their views challenged, that want to be provoked to think. Those are the people that will get into discussions, ask questions, and hopefully be enlightened to some facts they may have never realized before.
If someone wants to discuss the topic that is the time to not hold back on honestly. If someone is looking to engage in the conversation there is no reason to treat it with kid gloves. You can be completely honest about your opinion, views, and the facts. Usually whoever you engage in that way will be open to at least discussing the topic in some way. It may not last long, religious people do have a tendency to want to run away from a conversation or get defensive if they don’t feel they’re performing well, but it will at least give you an opportunity.
In that way you may be able to enlighten a few people to Atheism. In the current climate Atheism still has a negative view by society but we can work to change that. The more accepting people become of it the more you will start to see the “closet Atheists” coming out. We can continue to keep religion out of public places and from proselytizing to unwilling individuals. The number of new recruits to the church each year is dwindling and there may come the point that Atheism takes hold in the majority of people, but it is going to take a while.
If we can strip religion of it’s undo respect, it’s special venerated place, this untouchable and unchallengeable position it has held on to forever, it will topple. Religion will not survive on it’s own merit, if it could, there would be no need for the tactics the religious constantly employ. The way we help this process is to continue to push society in the right direction and to seek progress. We need to encourage free thinking, humanism, secularism, intelligence, and personal responsibility. If we as a society can deem these things to be more important than deluded wish thinking, we have won the battle.
September 13, 1862
Lincoln, just one of our Atheist presidents.
Thanks for the message. I must be doing awesome because I have several bibles, a few of them are so old that they are falling apart pretty bad. I don’t think that is what they necessarily mean though.
It’s one of those little things where groups of people like to remind themselves of how awesome they think they are. It happens with everything, sports teams, people that follow particular politicians, even completely pointless things. “Woo, class of 2001, best class ever!” It’s just ego stroking, it’s funny to anyone on the outside looking in but they sometimes genuinely get all happy and giddy over it.
I did like Religulous quite a bit. I am definitely a fan of Bill Maher but sometimes there are a few things he could be better informed on. Whenever he makes an incorrect or less than informed statement I cringe because he is one of the few Atheist spokes people we have out there. I want to hold him to a high standards, probably higher than I should. :)
Thank you for the message. It definitely seems like the most common question I get from other Atheists is advice about coming out to other people about non-belief. It honestly is a little bit sad to me that it comes up so often. It is entirely valid to be worried about it and afraid of the reaction people may have. It is another struggle to be recognized and gain validity.
I have answered the question a few times so if you dig through a bit chances are you will find an answer but I always keep my advice fairly simple. Try to open up communication. Work to bring up the topic, maybe ask questions, let your family know the things you doubt or can’t reconcile with yourself. It will give you a chance to try and see how they react, if things go well, continue to push it more.
I pretty much always give this advice because every family is different but it is the most gentle way to approach the topic, slowly. Some families would be perfectly fine with you being blunt and just telling them, some may disown you, and I would certainly never want to give advice that could result in that kind of thing. You know your family best, if you think that they can be open, accepting, and listen to you start letting them know about how you feel. If it goes well hopefully everything will be smooth when you finally fully reveal who you are. Good luck. :)
Thank you for the message. I can tell in myself that I have become a bit harsher since I first started this page. I end up running into a lot of questions and feel like my arguments have become better developed. At some point I’ve run into just about every argument a religious person is able to throw out there and have yet to feel stumped or at a loss for what to say. I’ll try to keep my momentary arrogance in check though because it is certainly a process, I can always learn more.
Catholic school seems to be something that drives people away from religion as often as it succeeds it indoctrinating them. I actually ended up having a good conversation with my mother not long ago when I was out visiting. She had to go to Catholic school growing up, it was a fairly strict and traditional school. My mother had to go to church every single day at school as well as Saturday and Sunday with family. My grandmother was as religious as they come, she was entirely devoted. Her life was not blessed though and it became apparent to my mom the older she got that all the devotion and praying and religion didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Their life was no better or easier because of it.
Religion makes a lot of big bold promises. Often times they just hope you don’t live long enough to see through all the lies and garbage. “Give your life to Jesus and you will be saved, you’ll be a better person, you’ll be more enriched.” When it doesn’t happen though, where is the refund of all that time and effort you’ve wasted? Where is the apologies from these grifters that will take everything they can?
The system is all about indoctrination and getting people to fall in line. If you aren’t already indoctrinated they will often assume that you are because once it happens they will remain in the same system. It’s a tried a true method for them that’s provided centuries of success at the cost of humanity and progress. They’re losing their grip though slowly but surely and I feel as if the Catholic church more than any other is on it’s last leg. People no longer want to listen to a disgusting and vile old man in a funny hat tell them idiotic dark ages statements. The world will be a slightly better place when the Vatican finally closes it’s doors for the last time.
Lately I have been really trolling people on twitter. I know, it’s bad, but I don’t do it anonymously at least. I have actually had a few decent interactions because of it. I’ve also had some incredibly ridiculous statements thrown out there. It seems like a great way to interact in short message form which means a lot gets lost but if you can make a succinct point it seems effective. Plus it fills my boredom.
Can always use more Twitter followers though so figured I’d throw it out there again. Click the little Twitter thing on my page or go here!
Just another flavor of Kool-Aid.
It happens a lot and often times personal experience can be one of the strongest factors in someone’s belief. It can be very frustrating to talk with these type of individuals because it is hard to discredit personal experience and it’s even harder for someone to prove their personal experience is valid. The problem is that personal experience does not amount to truth and it does not amount to much of anything to anyone outside of the person who experienced it.
Religious experiences and feelings are not unique to a particular religion. They aren’t even necessarily unique to religious people. Which should make it clear that these things are not special in the sense that someone has the “right” religion or the “right” God and that a simpler explanation is available. Many people with diagnosed mental disorders honestly believe in the things they see and experience yet we give them no credit, the moment someone wraps it in religion it becomes “sacred”.
People have a tenancy to trumpet their success and rationalize their failures. If someone prays for enough things chances are some of it may come true just out of pure chance. Those that come true they will say it was the work of prayers and their dedication. Those that don’t come true they’ll justify as being “not part of God’s plan” or something they have to pray even harder for. No matter how things turn out they feel as if they win.
There have been many studies done throughout the years showing that pray does not have any positive effect. Religious and devout individuals do not have any special favor over non-religious, they do not live better lives. People simply like to draw connections where their are none. They eventually end up convincing themselves that these connections are strong and correlated. If they stopped praying not a single thing would change, except maybe more free time and mental clarity. Once someone works so hard to convince themselves though it is very hard for someone else to convince them otherwise.
I have answered it a few times at this point but fairly simply I do have a pretty open view about the possible options after death. I think that it seems likely nothing will happen and our physical bodies will return to the cycle of being broken down and grow into new things. As for as anything else that happens though I am somewhat open. The more radical and extreme the idea though the less likely I feel it could be. The idea that we are part of some advanced computer simulation is actually more likely of an idea to me than a heaven and hell type scenario. Reincarnation in some form or sense I consider slightly more possible than the two previous. A redistribution of both physical body and whatever power it is that animates us, probably not into any type of recognizable form, may be scattered into new things as they develop. Really with the possibilities being so beyond our current possible knowledge I try to remain as open to ideas as I possibly can. People that state extreme ideas with certainty (heaven/hell) absolutely bewilder me though. The fact that they’re able to state such things as if they know when they clearly do not is beyond me and only makes the whole scenario more far fetched.