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Old 01-19-2016, 12:32 PM
 
Location: NC Piedmont
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kgryfon View Post
Atheist here, as well. I've never believed in any particular religion. I considered myself agnostic for a number of years but am atheist now. Who knows? No one. What does it matter? Not a whit. Just try to be a good person and do good while you are here. Not because you will get in trouble when you die if you don't, but because it's the right thing to do. That's the extent of my belief system. I don't need to invent a cosmic parent to keep me in line.


When I was very young (7-8?) I became intrigued by Greek mythology and read pretty much everything about the subject that I could get my hands on. Young as I was, I knew/learned that these stories, which were believed as fervently in their day as the bible and other religious texts are today, were 1) made up by common people in order to explain the world around them because they lacked the knowledge for any higher level of understanding, and 2) used by the upper class to keep the lower classes in line and compliant through fear of divine retribution. When I was exposed to Christianity (also around this same time), it was obvious to me that the same dynamic was in play. I couldn't see how the religious people around me didn't make the same connection. Stories about miracles, burning bushes, etc., were no more or less fantastic than the stories from Greek mythology.


I was a bit confused about Mt. Olympus, Washington and Mt. Olympus, Greece, though. I remember being disappointed when I realized that I didn't actually live close to the one in the mythology books...


That being said, I do believe there is some kernel of truth to many of the bible stories. For example, there probably was a good man named Jesus who gathered a group of followers. That's probably the extent of that, and the rest are stories that were made up (parables), taken from other, already existing fables, and/or outright stolen from other religions with the express purpose of subsuming those religions into Christianity.


Just my thoughts. YMMV.
Actually, the Greeks and Romans did not have wide spread fervent belief in the mythology except among the common people. Some philosophers and scientists were punished for being a bit too open about their lack of belief. All through history, religions were established and used to help keep regimes in power and rally people to the cause.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:48 PM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
11,888 posts, read 8,672,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drift Away View Post
I'm not really a religious person, but I'm not an atheist. It would seem somewhat disingenuous to read scripture and sing hymns that I didn't practice while alive. So I'm curious as to what an agnostic funeral is like.
Most of our members would say that they're not atheists (though some would). For almost all of our members, reading Jewish or Christian scripture would definitely be out of the question. So our churches face essentially the same challenge as you have expressed.

Our funerals are wonderful celebrations of the decedent's life. The link below shows a pretty typical outline. Note how they're designed to be flexible with regard to how "traditional" a service is desired (though, it seems to me that what Daniel really means is "Christian", not "traditional").

https://www.danielharper.org/misc1.htm

I'm getting an idea for an interesting, albeit somewhat morbid, workshop... Design your own funeral service. If anything will bring to the surface what people find of the most ultimate value, it would be the songs and readings that they choose for their own funeral, don't you think? And we could spend hours digging into what folks hope family members and friends will share as remembrances of their life.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Living rent free in your head
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This sums it up for me:

“The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there's any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson


And as an atheist I harbor no ill will toward the religious as long as they don't offer to pray for me.
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Old 01-20-2016, 10:05 AM
Status: "0-0-2 Game On!" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,312 posts, read 15,368,793 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sleepy View Post
And as an atheist I harbor no ill will toward the religious as long as they don't offer to pray for me.
And keep religion out of science classes and government.

Actually, I don't mind religious friends saying they will pray for me (except for prayers that I will "renounce my atheist ways," a phrase I have heard before). It is a comfort to them, even if I don't think it has any benefit for them or me. There is a certain mindfulness in prayer that I respect the basis of, if not the efficacy - thinking about the comfort, health and safety of people and the world around you.

The only thing about prayer that annoys me is when I see it used for trivial things like praying over touchdown and sports scores.
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Old 01-20-2016, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
14,698 posts, read 8,507,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sleepy View Post
This sums it up for me:

“The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there's any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson


And as an atheist I harbor no ill will toward the religious as long as they don't offer to pray for me.
They can pray for me, but it wouldn't do them or me any good.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:36 AM
 
Location: NC Piedmont
3,911 posts, read 2,883,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby Snacks View Post
They can pray for me, but it wouldn't do them or me any good.
Actually, I think it does them some good in that they feel better about things. The really weird thing about prayer is that even the very religious seem to know that; one of the more common themes in sermons is explaining why few prayers are answered.
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Old 01-20-2016, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Living rent free in your head
31,116 posts, read 13,636,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReachTheBeach View Post
Actually, I think it does them some good in that they feel better about things. The really weird thing about prayer is that even the very religious seem to know that; one of the more common themes in sermons is explaining why few prayers are answered.
I guess I should clarify..they can pray for me because I don't have as much money as I would like to have, or because my knee is screwed up, but I take umbrage to being prayed for because I am an atheist
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:50 AM
 
5,431 posts, read 3,458,283 times
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Annoys me a lot when public or governmental officials or most anyone in the public eye says 'you are in our prayers and thoughts', as if everyone on earth agrees that prayer is an accepted practice among everyone, and that prayer affects any outcome whatsoever.

It's gotten so ridiculous that even newscasters and CNN anchors/broadcasters say 'you are in our prayers and thoughts'. I find it distasteful and offensive to assume that everyone prays and that prayer has any effect whatsoever on any outcome or event, and that it is assumed that everyone on earth agrees with the sentiment of 'you are in our prayers'.
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Old 01-21-2016, 05:51 AM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
11,888 posts, read 8,672,640 times
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The word "namaste" is derived from Sanskrit and roughly translates to “the divine in me honors the divine in you”. It is a way a human being can express positive regard for another human being. This expressing of positive human regard like that, the reaching out human to human, is critically appropriate in difficult circumstances. Many public officials in the United States don't have the spiritual maturity to understand how to express positive human regard, in the manner implied by "namaste", so resort to the closest analog accessible to them from their own experience, i.e., "you are in our prayers". I believe that in most cases, the person saying that is truly trying to express what "namaste" expresses, rather than trying to patronize the person they're speaking to by trying to afflict them with their religion.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Central NY
4,685 posts, read 3,256,586 times
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I have found the phrase "you are in my prayers" somewhat confusing.

What does prayer mean if the person you are praying for has a terminal illness? Are you hoping for a cure? That the person will get up from their sick/death bed and be well? Or for someone who experiences great loss (from tornado, accident, war).

Before my sister died, I did pray that my sister not suffer. I knew she was dying. I just wanted it to be as pain-free as possible for her.

People in sports who pray for a "win"...... is the other side of your prayer that the other team loses?

While I am still considering I may be agnostic, I still find myself talking to God. I usually thank him for my life, what I have, etc. Or that a medical test comes back negative.

I've never in my memory prayed for "things."
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