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Old 02-01-2011, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,129,269 times
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After researching religion extensively over the past several months, through reading books, watching debates and documentaries, I am convinced that all religion is manmade, and so I came to the realization that I am an atheist. However, I am also coming to the realization that religious belief (or lack of) is not a choice. There is a difference between what we actually believe and what we say we believe. Right?

Well, I have to admit that, although I lean toward atheism, there is still a "push comes to shove" belief deep inside my mind that believes that there is a strong possibility that there is something supernatural (or even natural) that somehow architected the universe. Even if I were to call myself an atheist and live an atheist life, I concede that when I'm on my death bed, I will probably get God into my mind and at least try to repent or something. If it costs nothing, why not? Better to be safe than sorry, you know? It's a "just in case" mentality.

Anyway, I am wondering if this is something that other atheists go through? I am only 26 years old right now, so who knows how my beliefs will shape over the years to come.
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,374,932 times
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Default Starting at the beginning....

A few quick questions, nep:

How old are you?

What subject(s) do you teach, and in what sort of institution? A university? Community college? Church?

How old are your students? Are they personally involved in class, or do they sit quietly?

What are your own personal level(s) of post-high-school education, if that applies?

These can all have a strong bearing on your thoughts and conclusions. I'd be interested, if you can answer the above.
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,143 posts, read 19,201,834 times
Reputation: 14007
I see life as an ongoing process of learning; I consider my personal beliefs to be fluid and honestly don't imagine it is truly possible to come to any firm and final conclusions on the subject.

I'm 32 and I'm basically agnostic with a strong atheist streak; but that "what if" is always there, and keeps me asking questions (which keeps me learning too )

Anyways, no one says you have to pick sides on spirituality. If you aren't comfortable being an atheist, don't be. Your opinion is your own and you shouldn't alter it one bit just to fit a predetermined mold. There are no absolutes in agnostic limbo, after all.
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:27 AM
 
3,509 posts, read 5,177,173 times
Reputation: 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
A few quick questions, nep:

How old are you?

What subject(s) do you teach, and in what sort of institution? A university? Community college? Church?

How old are your students? Are they personally involved in class, or do they sit quietly?

What are your own personal level(s) of post-high-school education, if that applies?

These can all have a strong bearing on your thoughts and conclusions. I'd be interested, if you can answer the above.
OP stated age as 26.

Nowhere did he/she indicate that they were a teacher. And what does the age and demeanor of his (non-existent) students have to do with anything?
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Katonah, NY
21,188 posts, read 21,012,724 times
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My beliefs and ideas change all the time - within a certain area, so to speak. What I mean is - I'm somewhat of an atheist/agnostic/deist - depending on the day. It's not like I go back and forth between being a fundamentalist Christian and a Muslim or anything. I don't think that you have to have carefully defined beliefs. There is so much that is unknown in the world - why do you need to decide everything that you believe if we are never going to be working with all the facts.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,669,417 times
Reputation: 7720
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
After researching religion extensively over the past several months, through reading books, watching debates and documentaries, I am convinced that all religion is manmade, and so I came to the realization that I am an atheist. However, I am also coming to the realization that religious belief (or lack of) is not a choice. There is a difference between what we actually believe and what we say we believe. Right?

Well, I have to admit that, although I lean toward atheism, there is still a "push comes to shove" belief deep inside my mind that believes that there is a strong possibility that there is something supernatural (or even natural) that somehow architected the universe. Even if I were to call myself an atheist and live an atheist life, I concede that when I'm on my death bed, I will probably get God into my mind and at least try to repent or something. If it costs nothing, why not? Better to be safe than sorry, you know? It's a "just in case" mentality.

Anyway, I am wondering if this is something that other atheists go through? I am only 26 years old right now, so who knows how my beliefs will shape over the years to come.

You seem to be stuggling with explaining your faith by religious institutions.

Remember, religion IS man-made, but faith comes from somewhere else.

Where, or what, the somewhere else is seems to be your question.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
180 posts, read 188,990 times
Reputation: 65
Labels dont really matter , atheist is just what I tell those who seem to think I need one. "Atheism" doesnt fit in a box , its quite diverse. Whatever you feel makes you a better person , do it and believe in it. If the gods want to burn me in a fire for eternity because im being the best person I know how to be , then by all means cast me into a lake of fire.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:37 PM
 
Location: NC, USA
7,088 posts, read 13,047,275 times
Reputation: 3984
Interesting, I became an active Atheist at 17 (somewhere around 1965) and haven't had second thoughts since. People tried to convince me I really was not an atheist, "you're going through a phase" for several years. I graduated from U. of N.C. @ Greensboro with a major in Philosophy and Atheism is the only thing that is intellectually apt for the way I perceive the world. I started seriously doubting religion at 15. To the best of my understanding, the only thing I have missed by being atheistic is a whole lot of really boring sermons.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,303 posts, read 1,855,116 times
Reputation: 714
I believe I touched on this yesterday in a post here. We all go through phases in life, and personal beliefs are definitely one of those things that can change with time.

The good thing about putting religion to rest is being able to move on to other ideas about god and life. Whatever those may be, it's up to you.

Really, I wouldn't sweat it. You don't have to pick a label for yourself if you don't want to.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma
6,868 posts, read 6,197,101 times
Reputation: 6164
You are free to believe whatever you like. You are free to change your mind. You are free to be held in bondage concerning an "afterlife" or you are free to shed any and all ideas associated with that point of view.

Just be true to yourself. If you are convicted to be a believer then be a believer. If you are convicted to be an athiest then be an athiest. If you are convicted to be something in between then be whatever that is. ............and of course you can always change your mind.
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