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    Thread: Any Atheists Here..?

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      Any Atheists Here..?

      What I would like to do here is give a platform for people to tell their stories about how they lost faith and came to be whatever they want to call themselves – skeptics, agnostics, agnostic atheists, just atheists, anti-theists, people who think, to call themselves atheists would give too much credit to a silly idea – just as you don’t define yourself as an a-unicornist – or whatever else takes your fancy.

      Or to share material – articles, pictures, videos – have you listened to a fascinating debate lately? Or just simply watched a science-video, which you think, would fit nicely?

      But I also want to invite religious people warmly to tell their stories and explain what and why they believe. I hope we might come to create a space to exchange ideas, debate topics and openly disagree with each other, too. But please – everything in a respectful manner – I would find it exceedingly sad, if this thread went down an unsavoury road. I promise not to bite, and I guess we will generally manage to stay out of trouble in here.

      Maybe we even come to change one or the other mind in the process, broaden each others horizons - but at the least we can hang out together, whatever that might come to mean.

      I have a lot, really a lot I could post – like my own story, which is on here in parts already elsewhere, so I will eventually copy-paste-edit that over. I have some material and ideas, which didn't come to their moments in another thread, for example my arguments against Deism. Ha – and even one for the possibility of us actually being in a created universe – but not created by a “supernatural” being. And it’s nothing to escape the problem of infinite regress either.
      Then I have a beautiful interpretation aid to John 3.16 and my home-made Flying Spaghetti Monster and, and, and...

      But I guess I just start out with this lovely leaflet for children on what to do if they find an atheist and then just give on over to you!


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      That is my favorite flyer ever praise God amen. Sorry I know this thread is meant for atheists I just was saying as a Non-Atheist, that's an awesome flyer. Praise Jesus. Alright well, so long then.
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      Me? (how flattering)

      I've always been an atheist/agnostic. It's been a purely common sense thing.

      While most religious people will speak with conviction as to how sure they are about there god's purpose and existence, it's clearly evident based on most monotheistic religion's teachings that god is not something we can fully understand. This is sometimes used in an intensely hypocritical fashion to prove gods power and existence, yet it does the exact opposite.

      We've got a supposed supernatural being in the sky, who has the power to easily allude an entire planet of people....And yet people choose to believe in a religious scripture written by a man who can just as easily succumb to said power.
      Christians will speak of making a leap of faith. Yet logically nothing you do can put you over the power of the god, meaning that the gods intentions are never clear.

      On top of this, supernatural events have never taken place in my life. Mankind's history is merely an irrelevant portion of the universes lifespan and lastly, there is neither a surplus of good or evil on this planet by our moral standards to attribute to a benevolent or evil god.
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      The Creator is not "in the sky" he's in your heart, but you can only hear him through a book.
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      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I'm an athiest, what pulls me away from the idea of god even if something like that were to exist is about the bible. The rules place upon someone to me is unacceptable as I find them to be illogical. I do not accept that Reality is spiritually and truthfully judge as good and bad, I think that is the mindset of a human being and animals. Reality doesn't seem to care what we do and how we do it. It doesn't matter if you do right or wrong it's not like you'll get any special treatment. I also do not agree with hell as I see that as a way for control to place fear on others in order for them to obey. I see all of this as a way to limit one self and so they won't be the best they can be. No one truly knows if god is real or not but it wouldn't matter to me because if god exist I wouldn't care to know god. I also think people should be prepare to debate if they disagree with the thread if they comment explaining their belief they should show how much trust they have in their belief and knowledge to back it up.
      Last edited by ViIe; 07-07-2014 at 02:28 AM.
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      Long ago I had a painful Facebook discussion with one of my little half-brothers who believes god exists. He's even in the way of becoming a minister (pastor, preacher?) in one of those international very known christian groups. Perhaps that was why when I was talking to him, I preferred to say 'God' trying to show some respect to his thoughts (or was I being sarcastic?). At the end I was pointed (by one of our older half brothers) as having sort of an agnostic-open-minded point of view and he as being a very obstinate person. Anyway, there was a moment when we were immerse in the discussion that I remembered him as he was 5 y.o. (almost one of my kid's age at the time of the discussion) when his mother got separated with our father and I didn't see my little brother but from time to very long time, that I realized I was arguing with him in stead to some unknown die hard christian, and it was him who was defending to death his weak but strong point of view (if you know what I mean). I couldn't feel nothing but regret for life and all I learned was that we must respect other peoples thoughts whatever they think and try when possible to teach them how things work already in the most simple way. I mean, I cannot pretend to teach partial differential equations to somebody who knows constants but doesn't understand variables.

      I think imaginary things do exist in our brains as part of the complexity of nature and we are constantly reflecting those thoughts to the outside whenever something strange (bad or good) happens in an effort to explain it. Unfortunately for me, I always find a logic, scientific and not-controversial explanation for whatever strange happens to me. And if I don't, I simply consider that I don't have enough information. A lot of times I find people claiming, when similar things happen in their life, that it's a prove of the existence of deities. Sometimes it's hard to see somebody claiming truths from things we consider to be false, specially when it's a person who we love, but I think that as one of the first steps towards understanding of our fellow brothers and sisters. At the end, perhaps we are all related in terms of evolution!

      It's curious to see people claiming to be tolerant and acting exactly the opposite, not allowing others to express their ideas and trying to change other people's mind by forcing them into thinking against their own convictions, scientific or not.

      Hope it makes sense.
      Last edited by Box77; 07-07-2014 at 10:36 AM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      That is my favorite flyer ever praise God amen. Sorry I know this thread is meant for atheists I just was saying as a Non-Atheist, that's an awesome flyer. Praise Jesus. Alright well, so long then.
      When I found this, I couldn't take my eyes off it for quite a while and then I went about sending it to a bunch of also very amused people!


      Quote Originally Posted by dutchraptor View Post
      Me? (how flattering)

      I've always been an atheist/agnostic. It's been a purely common sense thing.

      While most religious people will speak with conviction as to how sure they are about there god's purpose and existence, it's clearly evident based on most monotheistic religion's teachings that god is not something we can fully understand. This is sometimes used in an intensely hypocritical fashion to prove gods power and existence, yet it does the exact opposite.

      We've got a supposed supernatural being in the sky, who has the power to easily allude an entire planet of people....And yet people choose to believe in a religious scripture written by a man who can just as easily succumb to said power.
      Christians will speak of making a leap of faith. Yet logically nothing you do can put you over the power of the god, meaning that the gods intentions are never clear.

      On top of this, supernatural events have never taken place in my life. Mankind's history is merely an irrelevant portion of the universes lifespan and lastly, there is neither a surplus of good or evil on this planet by our moral standards to attribute to a benevolent or evil god.
      Ah - so you are one of those, I sort of missed out on in my invitation to tell stories - somebody, who never ever believed! Congratulation!
      Did you grow up completely secularly or was it that you decided this as a child and stuck with it?
      I did that, I decided to be an agnostic as a child, but I had my several further big helpings of the irrational in my life until it stuck properly.

      And this is so right, what you say - if a god wanted to finally reveal himself to his people, after at least 100.000 years of looking on in disinterest - why on earth send somebody into bronze age Palestine as a means of communication with humanity. Why not speak from the sky or from elsewhere to all people at the same time, do some miracles, tell people to wash their hands while assisting childbirth, instead of telling them in Leviticus for pages and pages what sort of preparations needed to be done in order for him to be happy with a food-sacrifice.
      In general - revelations - why not something actually useful from an omniscient and loving god? Tell them to make experiments with mould against certain diseases to find penicillin - anything practical. And when you say such a thing, you get to hear - weeell - but this is a spiritual text, not a manual for the menial.
      Weell - so what is Leviticus then? Deuteronomy?


      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      The Creator is not "in the sky" he's in your heart, but you can only hear him through a book.
      While this is certainly in scripture as you say it - it is also in scripture that he is in the sky. He was there exclusively before Jesus, if I am not mistaken. Moses after all received his messages not from within himself but from a burning bush, etc.
      It's a bit difficult now that we know, what the sky actually is - so here is one more example of a retreating god, a "god of the gaps". Now since we have closed the gap of not knowing what is "in the skies" - now we reduce him to something only, and not also in our hearts. Some graze a bit on the lawn of pantheism and pose a Christian god everywhere and in all things. But this is not what is written. God resides in heaven, and until not so long ago this was generally understood literally.
      What one wonders, too, is - when Jesus rose to the heavens, he did that straight up - so - how far did he rise?
      Once you leave the planet - up looses meaning anyway.
      What do they believe now?
      Jesus sped up to light-speed and beyond, and sailed to the edge of the universe and then beyond to meet up with daddy? Now wait - with himself? Hm.


      Quote Originally Posted by ViIe View Post
      I'm an athiest, what pulls me away from the idea of god even if something like that were to exist is about the bible. The rules place upon someone to me is unacceptable as I find them to be illogical. I do not accept that Reality is spiritually and truthfully judge as good and bad, I think that is the mindset of a human being and animals. Reality doesn't seem to care what we do and how we do it. It doesn't matter if you do right or wrong it's not like you'll get any special treatment. I also do not agree with hell as I see that as a way for control to place fear on others in order for them to obey. I see all of this as a way to limit one self and so they won't be the best they can be. No one truly knows if god is real or not but it wouldn't matter to me because if god exist I wouldn't care to know god. I also think people should be prepare to debate if they disagree with the thread if they comment explaining their belief they should show how much trust they have in their belief and knowledge to back it up.
      I fully agree - if there was a god, and it was this god of the desert-religions, that would be nothing less than a horror-scenario. And no - I don't refer only to the OT here. The concept of hell is from the NT - and all you have to do in order to be subject to eternal torture is not believing in something for which there is no good evidence whatsoever. Wow - worse than mass murder and anything else - because that can be put on the scales opposite Jesus infinite goodness, and since you let him into yourself - you are saved, no matter what you did. Even if you just do that on your deathbed - all is good.
      But somebody making use of rationality and logic - supposedly divine gifts - nope - that's the worst you can possibly do.

      Oh - and in order for you to enjoy this salvation, god had no better way than impregnate a virgin teenager, so that she gives birth to himself and then let himself be slaughtered. By the way: "he gave his only son" - he is god, he can make as many sons or spiritual clones or whatever as he wishes, or not?
      And - he didn't give him to us, he didn't sacrifice himself - he only lent him to us and had him suffer badly for some days. So what? He is god after all.
      If Jesus would have gone to hell eternally for our sins - well that would be something a bit more convincing as a sacrifice.
      But man - a scape-goat human sacrifice - are we not over and done with this sort of thinking?
      Sacrificing any goats for good weather or whatever else...

      In the old Testament, the punishments came in the form of smiting in real life, so you were at least free from them after your death. Now nobody can escape celestial dictatorship ever. Heaven doesn't sound good to me either by the way. What with all my friends - or some of them - roasting in hell, and I know it?
      How could I be happy then?
      And if I were to come to not care - well - that wouldn't be me then, let alone a better me.

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      I was a Christian until I was 16. When I was 15, my dad and my best friend started telling me how crazy the idea of God is. At 16, another good friend started saying the same stuff to me, and we debated the issue on a regular basis. I finally agreed with them when my dad got me to understand that my only reason for believing in God was not logical. I had the, "This couldn't have all just happened by itself," perspective. My dad responded to it by asking me where God came from, and I replied with the usual, "He's always been." So my dad said, "Maybe the universe has always been." Modern physics has made that issue much more complicated, but I got the point. God does not resolve the issue. He is just an extra level of question. My dad made his comment, and I was an agnostic immediately. My mind was blown. I remember walking to the car from the restaurant and really tripping out over the fact that I had just stopped believing in God.

      I stayed an agnostic for about the next nine months, and then I got into Taoism. That eventually led to Zen-Buddhism and then to Hinduism. I was starting to believe in the existence of the Hindu gods, but that only lasted a few weeks. At this point, I was 21. Right after I became pretty much a Hindu, my uncle died. He died of a rare and mysterious disease. At the funeral, the priest said that God was in that hospital room with him when he was dying. My thought was that if an infinitely powerful and totally good being had been in the hospital room, my uncle would not have died. I have never come across a way around that. That comment stuck in my head and pushed me all the way to being an atheist. I have been one ever since, and I am 42 now.
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      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Im agnostic, and no i dont want to start any debate or anything, im simply just stating my belief. But I will tell you why I am agnostic. First off I am currently 16 and I was raised up in a die hard christian family, I guess you could say I am still being raised up. I was a die hard christian as well until this year. This year has been the wierdest year of my life, because of all of the changes I have been through. Anyways, to get back on point I am agnostic because of some of the things I came to realize. One of these things I realized is that (In My Opinion) I feel that it is completely unfair that in christianity- if you're not a christian you go to hell. I see no absolute reason why ANYONE should be punished for an infinite amount of time for their own finite actions and the way they lived their own finite life. It simply doesnt match up. I feel that one shouldnt be punished for eternity for things they did in their short life of no more than 120 years. But anyways thats what made me agnostic. Stay Chill guys, peace.
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      i was a Catholic until i realized i was blindly following my parents beliefs, who were blindly following their parents beliefs. i began to question god's existence and which religion was based on truth. around that time i use to by books on religion and spirituality then began to question whether those books were based on truth or not. i got more involved with meditation as i found that more beneficial than going to church. all this took place about 6 or 7yrs ago. i still meditate but not as intensely as i did when i was younger, i even find myself praying sometimes. i lean more towards the agnostic side. i don't know whether there is some "higher power" or not. and perhaps its better that way, i kinda enjoy the mystery.
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      Quote Originally Posted by tropicalbreeze View Post
      i was blindly following my parents beliefs, who were blindly following their parents beliefs...


      And thus it goes…

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      ^^ Little did we know that Heather L. was not just doing adwork, but gently screaming from the metaphysical mountaintop that "This is how shit gets important" ....
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      I was raised in a catholic household; however no one in my immediate family is super involved with the church. From my earliest memories I would go to church on most Sundays with my father and brother, and went to religion class once per week until I was confirmed at age 13. In the very beginning of it all, I believed that this god existed, and I would occasionally pray. There wasn't a specific moment where I stopped believing, but it happened early, probably when I was 8 or 9. Church and religion class were just chores, something I was doing because everyone else was. I never even felt the need to speak up about it, I was under the impression that no one actually took that stuff literally. Eventually I realized other people believed and I kept my disbelief a secret because I had never known anyone that didn't believe. Probably around age 13 I became comfortable with telling people I was agnostic/atheist. My family never had any major qualms about it, but they don't understand how I could possibly "not believe that there is something greater."

      Now, at age 17, I consider myself an agnostic atheist. I do not believe there is a god, but I could certainly be wrong. There is still so much we don't know about reality and why the universe even exists, therefore I believe no one can be sure said higher powers exist (or don't, I suppose). My (non)beliefs are supported by the fact that there are countless religions practiced by humans, all claiming to be the truth. Not to mention that it is the perfect scheme, order needed to be kept in early societies, what better way to do it than making a set of rules and saying if citizens break the rules, they will burn forever; if they do as their told, they get into heaven. On the topic of heaven, Do dogs go to heaven? What about plants? Or microorganisms? Even most theists would probably say no. But the fact is, humans are no different than everything else living on earth, we're not special. The whole concept just doesn't make sense to me.. I respect everyone's beliefs, but it just seems like a no brainer...
      Last edited by hassman789; 07-08-2014 at 02:58 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by hassman789 View Post
      I Do dogs go to heaven?
      Yes. All Dogs Go to Heaven.
      Last edited by Sageous; 07-08-2014 at 02:59 AM.

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      Without being perceived as pretentious; I find it somewhat amusing reading the anecdotes of antecedent theists. Though, I do not feel obligated to elucidate my adventure on the religious spectrum ("belief to non-belief") I feel compelled to do so. It would feel incongruous if I didn't, but then again it isn't exigent in StephL's introductory comment.

      Quote Originally Posted by StephL View Post
      What I would like to do here is give a platform for people to tell their stories about how they lost faith and came to be whatever they want to call themselves – skeptics, agnostics, agnostic atheists, just atheists, anti-theists, people who think, to call themselves atheists would give too much credit to a silly idea – just as you don’t define yourself as an a-unicornist – or whatever else takes your fancy.
      To eschew from rambling I'll simply state that I am an atheist. Also excuse the above "quote" I'm new to the site is all.
      Last edited by Aristocles; 07-08-2014 at 03:35 AM. Reason: Made a boo boo
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      Quote Originally Posted by StephL View Post
      I fully agree - if there was a god, and it was this god of the desert-religions, that would be nothing less than a horror-scenario. And no - I don't refer only to the OT here. The concept of hell is from the NT - and all you have to do in order to be subject to eternal torture is not believing in something for which there is no good evidence whatsoever. Wow - worse than mass murder and anything else - because that can be put on the scales opposite Jesus infinite goodness, and since you let him into yourself - you are saved, no matter what you did. Even if you just do that on your deathbed - all is good.
      But somebody making use of rationality and logic - supposedly divine gifts - nope - that's the worst you can possibly do.

      Oh - and in order for you to enjoy this salvation, god had no better way than impregnate a virgin teenager, so that she gives birth to himself and then let himself be slaughtered. By the way: "he gave his only son" - he is god, he can make as many sons or spiritual clones or whatever as he wishes, or not?
      And - he didn't give him to us, he didn't sacrifice himself - he only lent him to us and had him suffer badly for some days. So what? He is god after all.
      If Jesus would have gone to hell eternally for our sins - well that would be something a bit more convincing as a sacrifice.
      But man - a scape-goat human sacrifice - are we not over and done with this sort of thinking?
      Sacrificing any goats for good weather or whatever else...

      In the old Testament, the punishments came in the form of smiting in real life, so you were at least free from them after your death. Now nobody can escape celestial dictatorship ever. Heaven doesn't sound good to me either by the way. What with all my friends - or some of them - roasting in hell, and I know it?
      How could I be happy then?
      And if I were to come to not care - well - that wouldn't be me then, let alone a better me.
      Very true StephL, I honestly think the idea of heaven was created long ago about how many people grieve over the deaths of close ones and how they were not able to understand why a thing like death exist nor did they know how to stop the emotional pain. Though I can not say this is true as it's only an assumption. Back then you can't really blame them because there was so many questions and no one had any scientific answers. In times like those having a lot of positive energy was great as it really help others come out of that stress. But now in our time all that was is positive thinking now we have actual things to prove what the sky truly is , what the sun truly is. The idea of heaven to me seems too selfish to be real, if you believe you'll live forever in paradise but you have to worship someone in order to get that. To me I can live in paradise right now just by enjoying the little things like reading to learn new things or taking a nap. I don't need to live forever to feel better about the way things are, I accept that I won't exist forever but I do know that I spent my time doing what I wanted. That would be enough for me.
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    17. #17
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      I really don't give a crap, the only reason I pretend to be a Muslim is because most of the people around me seem to be Muslim. I believe in the power and the beauty of the idea of an all mighty, all knowing god and the positive effect the idea has on people, but I don't believe in the thing itself, whatever in is. I only believe in humanity, you know, that feeling we all share, everybody has it although it takes on many different forms. I believe in kindness, honesty and integrity.
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      Wow - thank you!
      I'll take a bit of time to answer more in depth and say some things of my own - but this just made me smile:

      Quote Originally Posted by Aristocles View Post
      Without being perceived as pretentious; I find it somewhat amusing reading the anecdotes of antecedent theists. Though, I do not feel obligated to elucidate my adventure on the religious spectrum ("belief to non-belief") I feel compelled to do so. It would feel incongruous if I didn't, but then again it isn't exigent in StephL's introductory comment.

      To eschew from rambling I'll simply state that I am an atheist. Also excuse the above "quote" I'm new to the site is all.
      I was actually pondering to ask for a late edit in order to include those who didn't ever have to lose such a faith in the first place, when it came to my mind that I didn't and it was too late. But then I thought - don't be so perfectionist - let's see if somebody notices!

      Yes - personal stories are just something you could tell us. I'm aware it's asking quite a lot, so I'm happy about anything pertaining to the topic - personal or not! But I love reading a good rambling, too!
      And I learned a new word - exigent - thanks for that Aristocles, and a warm welcome to the site!

    19. #19
      Member StephL's Avatar
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      A general huuge thank you to all of you for showing up! Makes me very happy and hopeful! And I'll answer also like I said - just not now...



      So now it's later - and somehow I don't feel like collecting stuff together that I said elsewhere (except the FSM). Besides - I guess we heard it all before, basically, in terms of general arguments. But I do have something from Balban, a playlist of somebody, who was a true born again Christian, able to explain to me, what it was all about for him - and who has such a lucid way to explain how his super-construct of faith collapsed in the process of an internet dialogue. Thank you for this!
      I was rapt to watch it all in one go - it was something I had up to then not been allowed to witness.
      Must watch, I find - at least I was quite the wiser afterwards and it emotionally gripped me as well:



      Another, shorter video of a former Mormon and his story, also good:



      With me it was not (much) about Christianity, but about abandoning wishful superstitions of various kinds - including the hope and wish anything of that kind were true rather than "only reality". I had declared early that searching would be my life. And now I found to our wonderful beyond imagination - nature, the universe and everything.

      Lately I came upon the following essay on how "artilects" could come to the ability of physically creating universes as a part-time, which I enjoyed a lot:
      From cosmism to deism | KurzweilAI

      Spoiler for copy paste for the lazy of click:
      No solution for infinite regress of course - it will always be turtles with creators! And I have my cue for something cute - I hope you guys like it a bit as well...

      "Turtles all the way down" is a jocular expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology.
      The origins of the turtle story are uncertain. The most widely known version appears in Stephen Hawking's 1988 book A Brief History of Time, which starts:
      A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But its tortoises all the way down!"
      —Hawking, 1988


    20. #20
      ~Philomath Aristocles's Avatar
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      Your welcome - and thank you for the warm welcome I really do appreciate it. I must add I think it's wonderful you've given atheist a platform on DV and of course this isn't unprecedented; there are multiple pro-atheist threads on DV. There should be a distinction of yours and theirs, though if you were to enquire what that distinction may be; I could not answer you. Perhaps something of the thread title "Any Atheist Here..?" appeals to me... actually I believe I have somewhat an affinity for it. Subtly, yet fervently it screams the desire to associate or congregate with like minded people. I applaud you StephL and all among us who participate in this thread.
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    21. #21
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      Welcome to the board, Aristocles. Are you named for Plato? I must remark, and not condescendingly I hope, that I find your mixture of copious and incisive vocabulary with semi-regular grammatical deviations to be disarmingly charming.
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      ~Philomath Aristocles's Avatar
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      Thank you Xei,

      You are correct, the greek philosopher Plato's father was named Ariston (aka. "Aristocles") though I presume you were already cognizant of this. I have the propensity to reasonably rage against the normality or the perceived consensual normality of our culture/society; in other words this should vaguely elucidate my reasoning in choosing "Aristocles" rather than his astronomically more eminent son Plato. Without Aristocles there would be no Plato (or perhaps there would be a different Plato; one who possesses a foreign name in philosophy and of course I could not possibly enumerate the vast copious alterations to human history that would subsequently and consequently ensue because of that change) and obviously there would be no Aristotle, but I digress. <--- Rambling no or yes ?

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      I must remark, and not condescendingly I hope, that I find your mixture of copious and incisive vocabulary with semi-regular grammatical deviations to be disarmingly charming.
      Condescending, not at all - with this comment you've posted I believe without the utterance of the word "friend" we have become such. However I believe that's how it's done over the inter-webs these days.
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    23. #23
      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      Personally I thought he was new to using a thesaurus or just trying too hard to sound intelligent, but there is something of an old-world charm to that style of writing.

      My own story to atheism isn't exciting. I was raised as a Catholic to two socially liberal parents, one of which is almost certainly an atheist in principle at this point while the other is content in not examining her beliefs at all. I lost interest in investing myself in religion in my early teen years, and by my mid-teen years I was starting to foster a vitriolic dislike for the Catholic church and organized religion in general. I'd say by the time I was confirmed into the church - about 16 years old - I was very nearly an atheist. The only reason I actually went through with being confirmed was due to parental force. Even if I didn't buy into what they were selling, I had to do it because of...tradition?

      All the worse for my parents, however. They know I won't be baptizing my future children or sending them to CCD/Sunday school. They can do that on their own, if they choose. My mother isn't happy.

      I didn't start identifying with the atheist "movement" until my later teen years when I started becoming aware of more serious arguments against theism in general. So, my atheism didn't evolve out a process of critical self-questioning, which seems to be a common thing among people reciting their own deconversion stories. It's also a practice I find to be rather tired and snobbish. I think of people like Bill Maher who will tout themselves as logical, free-thinking humans, but then go and proudly do something illogical like Maher did and speak out against vaccines. In short, just because you've left theism doesn't mean you've maxed out your critical thinking skills. In fact I find that a lot of self-proclaimed atheists grant themselves a very shaky foundation when arguing against theists.

      Instead, my atheism evolved out of being bored with what the church was offering and finding most of what they said to be incredibly unlikely given how I viewed life anyway. But that didn't stop the tween me from being able to live day-to-day without even thinking about God, and then suddenly, at the age of 13 when I for whatever reason thought reading the Bible was a good idea after seeing a History Channel episode on Jesus, silently pledged myself to Jesus at about midnight. The pledge was obviously short lived and very one sided; I never heard back from him.

      That experience has allowed me to appreciate what people feel when they say they have a religious experience, like they feel a sense of happiness or maybe a presence in the room. After muttering some words about believing in God and Jesus, I got goosebumps and shivered a little. And now that I've grown out of faith wholesale, I also have an appreciation for what is actually happening in those kinds of experiences. You, this little, powerless human being, are telling the creator of the universe that you are essentially his right-hand-man. In your mind, you've built up this relationship between yourself and another being who happens to be incredibly powerful and apparently incredibly loving. Humans are social creatures; doing that just plays into our most basic sensibilities. It's a shame that religions like Christianity view this relationship as one of unending devotion to the point where it mirrors spousal abuse and Stockholm Syndrome.

      That latter appreciation has also formed into a worldview that I find trumps the worldview religions provide in nearly every single way. There is no need to place oneself in abject servitude to a creator you've never met and, if we have any appreciation for biology, likely never will. Accepting your tiny role in the machinations of the universe has a counterintuitive effect. Instead of wallowing in despair about how we're insignificant, I take pride in our loneliness (ignoring alien life). Yes, we are primitive compared to what we could be. But despite these shortcomings, we still know so much and have discovered so much, and have conquered so many things that could have wiped us out as a species. Even if an asteroid were to come and destroy all life on Earth tomorrow, nobody could ever say we didn't try to both survive and make things better for ourselves in general. And this beats the religious worldview because we did it ourselves, without help.
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      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

    24. #24
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      I was raised catholic and I hated it. There were so many kindergarten teachers telling about bad folks who are going to a lake of fire and fry. This stories gave me nights of nightmares. But this kind of education left its traces and I felt somehow religious and believed into an eternal soul but I found the concept of reincarnation more reasonable.

      The more I knew about the history of religion, the laws of physics, neuroscience and stochastics, the more atheist I became. Studying probability calculus finally killed my believes in parapsychology. So I am something like a materialistic atheist.
      I consider myself as a happy person and I really enjoy my Sundays at home.

      I consider some folks of the atheist movement as too arrogant. E.g. Penn & Teller or the CSICON.
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    25. #25
      contemporary stardust... Achievements:
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      After struggling with the belief in god for most of my life(so far) I came to the conclusion that the best thing to do is be agnostic, so i'm agnostic
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