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Old 04-26-2015, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Between the Alps and the North Sea
309 posts, read 206,108 times
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Heathen Atheist here. I do not believe in the literal existence of the Gods - Wotan, Thor, Freya and others, but I do believe in the values they stand for. The only thing I really worship is nature - the mountains, the forests, the sea, and the circle of living and dying of all living things.
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Dublin, Ireland
576 posts, read 317,242 times
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I just call myself an atheist

To clarify, I dont believe we were engineered by some god, I dont believe in an afterlife, I believe we just evolved and as such I dont believe in organised religion.

To be honest I dont care if other people are religous, I have friends of various religions, to each their own, I do think some people gain benefit from their religous beliefs
eg I think there alot of people who would be very distressed if they taught there is nothing after our life on this earth.

I generally dont talk about my beliefs or lack there of to other people. I dont want to upset anyone about my view on the afterlife (if they have loved ones who have died for example) I also dont like being preached to myself so I dont preach to other people.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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We already have enough arguing around here about atheism vs agnosticism and the nature of (un)belief without trying to explain how atheists could be "religious". First we'd have to define what you mean by "religion" and "religious". Conventionally what people mean by that is that they believe in god and are associated with some sort of house of worship, so in that sense I'm not sure I care what you mean; it will get lost in everyone else's cognitive dissonance anyway. Atheists don't believe in god and don't engage in worship.

If you want to work with the symbolism of deities and religious sentiment without actually believing in it, it wouldn't particularly be my "thing" but I can understand it. I just wouldn't term that religious. It is more like how Jungians deal with archetypes and the collective unconscious or how some kinds of meditators use guided imagery. Basically, trying to get at the practical use of subjective thinking modes to be more mindful and present and avoid the tendency to overthink and fret and encourage what our President Lincoln referred to as "the better angels of our nature".

Maybe this is more a question of atheist "spirituality" for lack of a better term. It is entirely possible for an atheist to have subjective notions about life and meaning and purpose and even to talk about "the divine" in the metaphorical transcendent sense. It goes by other names too -- presence, being, acceptance, etc. For atheists it tends to take secular forms and avoid religious or quasi-religious terminology though. Because it is just Jedi mind tricks -- attempting not to over-focus on doing at the expense of being, or thinking at the expense of feeling. Ultimately it's just about balance.

Then there is the whole range of belonging to groups -- humanist groups, or de facto humanist societies like the Unitarian / Universalist societies, or the so-called "atheist churches" (a name that I consider terribly ill-advised and unfortunate). There is nothing to prevent unbelievers coming together for purposes of community / social reciprocity and cooperative doing of charitable works. The reality is that some portion of what churches do are "good works" and it's their fantasy that those are prompted by god and that the world would be devoid of them if it weren't for religion. Any human can act with love towards their fellow humans if they so choose. I'd like to see unbelievers overcome their distaste for banding together to impact the world AS unbelievers, just because inevitably some lug-nut will come along and claim that it proves we use faith and are just another religion.

But a lot of us don't see a particular need there, because there are all sorts of causes and charities and activities and politics and on and on that you can leverage. You can even cooperate with religious charities (many food pantries are operated by some amalgam of religious and secular institutions for instance). Many atheists, not being joiners by nature, are content with that. Volunteerism is enough of a religion for them.

Personally I am thinking more about a "churchier" approach to these things because I am getting old and want to build up relationships that will help support me and give me opportunity to support others. So I am currently experimenting with attending a Unitarian / Universalist "church" for those social reciprocity and community purposes. But I would argue that this does not make me religious except in a very superficial sense that I'm going into a building with a steeple on it but where the people long since quit worshipping god and have moved on.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:17 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,804,364 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
Atheism and agnosticism tell me nothing about the religious beliefs of a person other than the fact that the person does not believe in deities or is uncertain about the existence of deities. In that respect, do you identify yourself as religious atheist/agnostic or irreligious atheist/agnostic?

Religious atheists and agnostics do exist, such as non-theist Quakers (Friends), Unitarian Universalists, or Christians-in-traditional-Christian-groups-who-maintain-atheism-or-agnosticism-as-a-theological-stance (aka "Christian Atheist" or "Christian Agnostic"), whatever that means.
In other words, anybody who doesn't conform broadly to your beliefs has to be an atheist. Right.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:28 AM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,753,906 times
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Originally Posted by midwest61021 View Post
I'm atheist all the way with no belief in any religion and only faithful to myself!
What does your significant partner think of that! Just Joking, I'm smart enough to understand hyperbole in prose.
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:30 AM
 
13,493 posts, read 5,028,654 times
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To answer we need to understand if we are answering emotionally or logically.
Then decide if we are using strictly definition.

for me,

athiest, pantheist, humanist, rationalist, Christian, Buddhist, pluralist with a touch of monist American Pennsylvanian agnostic thats likes pi.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:25 PM
 
Location: USA
3,443 posts, read 1,265,615 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
No, you're conflating the supernatural with god. "All religions have in common some belief in or appeal to the supernatural" is a fair statement of fact, or close enough (I would prefer the world "unseen" to "supernatural" as it better covers a handful of edge cases). But atheism is lack of belief in gods, not of all the supernatural.

It is common, even typical, to disbelieve in the supernatural or other anti-skeptical thought constructs for the same reasons one disbelieves in deities. But it is entirely possible to believe in the unseen or supernatural while disbelieving in deities.

My stepson is a case in point that I've mentioned many times here. He's as atheistic as they come, but gives significant credence to the notion of ghosts and spirits and therefore of a sort of non-theistic, naturalistic afterlife. I think it's just an artifact of how he handles his mortality and renders it manageable / comprehensible to himself. It probably helps him that "ghost hunters" use quasi-scientific instruments to "measure" ghosts. It allows him to classify ghosts as potentially something we just don't know how to clearly measure or detect yet, but will in the future. Or something like that. Despite this I have zero problem considering him an "athiest's athiest". He really gives no credence to deities. At all. And yet ... his idea of fun is to go on an actual ghost hunt. [shrug] I would say that my stepson believes, not even in the supernatural, but in the unseen. For him it is not god of the gaps, but just a willingness to speculate more than I about some things that, while part of the natural world, might as yet be unseen / undetected / not understood.

Besides ... his training is in philosophy and this kind of thing permits him a way to escape rigorous (over)thought once in awhile. I almost think his need to deconstruct everything into a postmodern miasma of useless factoids needs an escape valve.
If your step son truly believes in ghosts, then he believes in the existence of the soul, i.e., some supernatural essence that is an extension of a person's physical body. Belief that things possess a spiritual essence is known as animism, and animism is certainly a type of religious belief, albeit a very rudimentary one. When I was young I loved to play spooky ghost games too, even though I didn't exactly believe in ghosts myself. Not exactly. But the games were fun and exciting. Hopefully your step son will grow out of this sort of make believe, and leave it behind.

I know numerous grown adults that believe in ghosts so implicitly that they are terrified to live in their own homes. They are constantly plagued with ghosts. No matter how many brand new houses them move into, ghosts quickly find them and take up residence. I on the other hand live in a great big old two story creaky 100 year old wooden house, complete with a multi-room basement and a classic attic. The father of the previous family passed away in the very room that I have slept in for the past 30 years. And I sleep like a baby in there. But then I don't believe in ghosts or the existence of the supernatural. One apparent consequence of not believing in ghosts, is that ghosts never seem to plague me. The same may be said for demonic possession, which, oddly enough, only seems to plague those who believe in demonic possession. As an atheist with no religious beliefs to protect me, one would think that demons would be all over me. Demons it seems only go after the intensely religious.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,198 posts, read 9,109,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired of the Nonsense View Post
If your step son truly believes in ghosts, then he believes in the existence of the soul, i.e., some supernatural essence that is an extension of a person's physical body.
People who believe in ghosts believe that consciousness is not necessarily dependent on or bound to a physical body. How they explain that to themselves differs. The existence of a soul is one way. Considering consciousness an independent field phenomenon that we don't fully understand or know how to measure is another. The latter is an example of a way in which one can believe that ghosts are simply poorly understood natural phenomena. One could hold to an afterlife of some sort that's explicable naturalistically, too. Multiverses, extra dimensions, and other hypotheticals could come into play. Personally I'm not buying it, but I can see why some people would -- and how they could do so while not believing in the supernatural.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired of the Nonsense View Post
I know numerous grown adults that believe in ghosts so implicitly that they are terrified to live in their own homes. They are constantly plagued with ghosts. No matter how many brand new houses them move into, ghosts quickly find them and take up residence. I on the other hand live in a great big old two story creaky 100 year old wooden house, complete with a multi-room basement and a classic attic. The father of the previous family passed away in the very room that I have slept in for the past 30 years. And I sleep like a baby in there.
Yes ... my unbelieving wife was leery of moving into old homes because at a low level she doesn't feel safe in them, and I'm sure she'd be uneasy with your sleep scenario. It is not rational and no one is saying that people don't compartmentalize. That is how some Christian fundamentalists can work in science fields (though probably not in paleontology!) and it's how some atheists can be very rational about god and very irrational about ghosts or any number of other things. Humans are not entirely self-consistent and many have not brought enough awareness to bear on every area of their life to make it consistent. Nor do they necessarily have to in order to live their lives effectively.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:57 AM
 
13,493 posts, read 5,028,654 times
Reputation: 1368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired of the Nonsense View Post
If your step son truly believes in ghosts, then he believes in the existence of the soul, i.e., some supernatural essence that is an extension of a person's physical body. Belief that things possess a spiritual essence is known as animism, and animism is certainly a type of religious belief, albeit a very rudimentary one. When I was young I loved to play spooky ghost games too, even though I didn't exactly believe in ghosts myself. Not exactly. But the games were fun and exciting. Hopefully your step son will grow out of this sort of make believe, and leave it behind.

I know numerous grown adults that believe in ghosts so implicitly that they are terrified to live in their own homes. They are constantly plagued with ghosts. No matter how many brand new houses them move into, ghosts quickly find them and take up residence. I on the other hand live in a great big old two story creaky 100 year old wooden house, complete with a multi-room basement and a classic attic. The father of the previous family passed away in the very room that I have slept in for the past 30 years. And I sleep like a baby in there. But then I don't believe in ghosts or the existence of the supernatural. One apparent consequence of not believing in ghosts, is that ghosts never seem to plague me. The same may be said for demonic possession, which, oddly enough, only seems to plague those who believe in demonic possession. As an atheist with no religious beliefs to protect me, one would think that demons would be all over me. Demons it seems only go after the intensely religious.
The other mistake we make is assuming "older" means "mature". Or that a "smart person should know better' with things like addiction or ghosts. The calendar may say something different, but the brain is still an emotional adolescent.

Also, most brains "lock" onto something irrational during a person life. I hear many people say "intellectually I know "this", but I can't stop doing/thinking "that". The lucky onez have the irrational habit settle on something like work or cleaning their homes and lawnz
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:04 AM
 
39,293 posts, read 10,937,819 times
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One is never too old to stop learning; one is never to young to think they know it all. I should know, I've done both.
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