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Old 11-29-2013, 09:51 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Very well written post, Big City.

So how did it feel to become an Atheist? I seems like it would be a shock to adopt an entirely new set of beliefs.

I assume Theists see themselves being protected and guided my an all-powerful force that is always looking out for them, and they may believe that force has a plan for them in the great scheme of things. To have all of that disappear must be traumatic.

On the other hand, some people have said they felt a great sense of relief when they became Atheists, kind of like our daughter said she felt when we told her there was no big Easter Bunny coming into her room at night.

At least I don't think there is an Easter Bunny.
For me, the experience was much more like your daughter's experience. Religion was an all-encompassing illusion - a kind of bubble that I lived in. My whole concept about life and the universe was based on them being "sustained" by God. Becoming an atheist was like gradually having that illusion disappear from my life.

I compare the feeling to discovering the secret to a big magic trick. Try as you might, you can never seem to figure out how it works and so it remains an inscrutable mystery - a real illusion. But once you have it explained to you, you smack yourself thinking how simple it all was and you wonder why you couldn't think of that on your own.

Actually, I was rather scientifically-minded from a young age. I always liked to discover the factual evidence about things. And like I said, I was under the impression that religion and science WORKED together. In fact, I believed that religion was a different kind of science. (If you read the works of Thomas Aquinas, for example, they seem very rational and almost scientific in the way they're presented.)

In spite of that, for most of my life it did not occur to me to investigate religion further from a specifically empirical point of view. But when I finally did so, it astonished me just how devastating empirical science was to religion - And not just to certain aspects of religion, but to ALL of religion in its most crucual aspects. Religion and science were not working together at all. In fact, they were at war with each other continuously and one side was crushing the other to smithereens.

The interesting thing is that I don't feel like I've "lost" anything by becoming an atheist. In fact, I have gained immeasurably because I now know that life and the universe are much more profound, fascinating and wonderful without a God than they are with one. To think that blind naturalistic forces are responsible for everything we know is just incredible. It is spiritual and transcendent to think this.

Last edited by BigCityDreamer; 11-29-2013 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:21 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggienut View Post
What in your life has brought you to being Atheist & Agnostic~? Did you have a religious upbringing in a faith that caused you to leave what you once believed in~? Or you came from a strict family of religion~? I'm curious. I do have a friend who is one of these, I forgot which. He's an animal activist and vegetarian of which when he came into being both his faith no longer seem to click, or it sounded like to me. Plus, he told me that faith fight wars and always fighting over something which bothered him. I kind of agree on this since many countries fight due to faith. Also, he didn't have such a religious upbringing either.
Agnostic - don't really care about God and religion, at the same time don't have proof that God isn't real.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I now know that life and the universe are much more profound, fascinating and wonderful without a God than they are with one. To think that blind naturalistic forces are responsible for everything we know is just incredible. It is spiritual and transcendent to think this.
That is a very good way to put it, BigCity.

The late Colin Fletcher would take long backpacking trips by himself. Being an intelligent Atheist, he would think about the natural world around him. He thought the world he saw was amazing and he was very pleased to just be a part of it. Yeah, you and I may be very small parts, but we definitely play a part, and I like that.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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I was brought up in an evangelical Christian church (Baptist). My mother even sent me to school there beginning in the seventh grade. Given my age, I was in the process of transitioning from a child to an adult. This means that make-believe and feel-good notions were starting to be replaced by rational and logical thought.

One day a two year old boy went missing. He was the son of a prominent young couple in the church I attended. Later that evening, his body was found hanging from a tree by The Mississippi River. He had been tortured with cigarette burns and sexually molested prior to his murder. My church had a special ceremony in which the standard "he's in a better place now" mantra was repeated.

For my part, I developed a thought that no omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being could allow such an atrocity to happen to an innocent child. Even though I didn't have a name for it at the time (this is of course, the argument from evil), I knew that I had been fed a line of B.S. I've been an agnostic ever since.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:55 AM
 
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Or perhaps agnostic deist? 'I don't know whether there is a god or not, but if there is, he isn't around to help us, that's for sure.'
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Or perhaps agnostic deist? 'I don't know whether there is a god or not, but if there is, he isn't around to help us, that's for sure.'
If your'e addressing me, definitely not an agnostic deist. I don't have any way of knowing whether or not there are any gods, and I don't even ask the question. If such a being makes itself known to me in a manner verifiable through my sensory perception, I'll form an opinion.

Until then, I'm just going to celebrate the creativity of human beings by listening to some Beethoven and eating great pasta!
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:46 AM
 
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Ok, yes it was to you. And if you don't know whether there is a god or not (nor do I) and will not 'form an opinion' until there is, but you do not believe there is one that created everything and then left, let alone one still here, (nor do I) then if that isn't agnostic atheist (which is what I am), then I'd hate to live on the difference.

Just offering this for consideration, rather than telling you what. I agree with the Beethoven and pasta, though with me its more Bruckner and Pad Thai or Shan KhaoSwei.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:13 PM
 
Location: TX
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What brought me back to being an agnostic atheist (we are presumably both of these things at birth) is the simple lack of proof and lack of concern to believe without it. I mean, you have to believe that a god cares for you or will at least reward you/not punish you in some way to make the question an important one at all. And I've not personally seen any evidence that an almighty being is looking out for any one of us. Anything perceived as evidence requires faith first, which of course means there is no evidence.

I do not presume to know "There is no God!", nor do I believe "There is no God". I simply don't see any reason to think there is one.
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:13 AM
 
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Yes. I am aware that the basis of theism is being accustomed to the idea of 'God' and the feeling that reality is 'God'. This feeling that everything you look at at and admire and feel amazed by is an advertisement for God.

I can understand that, when one feels like that, the unanswered questions can indeed look like the failure of science to come up with a rival theory of why anything and everything is, because it falls far short of the all - embracing 'God'. It doesn't need to have a mechanism. It just needs to Be and the rationale is more or less ID-ish since, for anything so complex, there has to be a Mind behind it. It is incomprehensible that it all came about by chance.

The inherent and huge flaw in this is one that is not generally perceived; that just belief in a Mind that dunnit is not enough. There has to be worship, thanks, devotion, input and help. This god has to be hands on. And too often the hands look unfriendly or indifferent, and the theist PR dept has to work the weekend.

This is where that flaw becomes apparent in the most generally perceived of the doubt - factors: the problem of evil in its many forms and ramifications. 'God knows what he is doing' or 'we deserve it' doesn't convince. The problem of heaven/hell stick and carrot doesn't sit well and removal of it removes many of the no morals without God arguments.

The first to go is Bible- god, or at least hand -on God. and that's why the idea of deist god (no -hands on driving) or God as nature is not a problem for atheists because it does have an element of 'so what?' without lifestyle guidelines or afterlife rewards.

Since this kind of god (sortagod) is an intellectual belief it is constantly needing to be validated by evidence. These intellectual positions can be powerful (see flat earth, Crop circles, Bigfoot, Chariots of the gods, Atlantean sea- empires) but they need constantly to be propped up by supportive evidence, and consideration for evidence has the danger that it will point the other way.

Of course, there is the more obvious Bible- is true God and the debate is of a different kind: is it reliable? Which means, if not actually inerrant, reliable enough not to be regarded as myth. Pointing up true history content can look convincing, but the 'Spiderman' gambit is valid. When you make up a tale, you set it in a world you know and history you know of. Makes it more convincing and saves brainwork. Then there is the search for hidden evidence of truth. Science, prophecy and messages in the text that the writers could not have known if they were merely mortals. The debate has long shown up these claims to be without foundation.

We then get into trying to save the case by courtroom craft. But let's leave it there. Sorry for rambling on..it's that or Altzheimers..
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:25 AM
 
212 posts, read 204,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggienut View Post
What in your life has brought you to being Atheist & Agnostic~? Did you have a religious upbringing in a faith that caused you to leave what you once believed in~? Or you came from a strict family of religion~? I'm curious. I do have a friend who is one of these, I forgot which. He's an animal activist and vegetarian of which when he came into being both his faith no longer seem to click, or it sounded like to me. Plus, he told me that faith fight wars and always fighting over something which bothered him. I kind of agree on this since many countries fight due to faith. Also, he didn't have such a religious upbringing either.

Does it count if one had doubts about the religious teachings of today, and became an virtual Agnostic, or person in a state of awe about the mystery of the whole Life experience,... as he learned about the facts of life as presented in the 20Th century college of Arts and Sciences???

I mean, in the end, I came to believe our god is this ever unfolding Reality (or the forces of the spirit of the Natural Laws behind that unfolding moment by moment).

And it follows that Truth is the son sired in the wake of Reality as each next frame presents itself to us.

So, what my Agnosticism became is a belief that Truth is our messiah which can save our species from Extinction, a second death awaiting every creature that will not bend and adapt to the almighty eternal and everlasting Reality I awoke to at birth.

This seems more a Science than a religion, except for the idea of belief, believing in what I said, which is more appropriate to being religious.
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