Any atheists here who were once believers?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by wegs, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. jayleew Who Cares Valued Senior Member

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    Wegs,

    Thanks for starting this thread. I think I started your walk about a few years ago based on what you are saying. I wanted to let you know that you are not alone and not to feel guilty. Keep an open mind and embrace your beliefs wherever they may lead, tempered by reason. That is where honesty exists and where you are a better off than you were before, a slave to religion.

    I turned from faith for the same reasons as you've said, things happened in my life where when I stopped the praying and started the doing, my life got better. When I found that I was better off awakening, and nothing I thought I knew about God was real, the control shifted. I took it control of my life and now I treat others better because I recognize my faults and accept others more. I can come to terms with life without trying to be Jesus in a more meaningful, almost spiritual, way. It didn't make sense for life to improve without God, so I was further encouraged, but had the guilt you were describing.

    I can say the guilt eventually disappears entirely, but the struggles do not. We cannot completely abandon who we were and are better to stay connected rather than resist who we were as believers just because we don't believe anymore. Continue the journey, and be willing to take it wherever it leads, so that if there is a God you will truly believe for a reason.
     
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Oh my, how wonderful to know I'm not alone in my feelings (and yes, at times, guilt). Your post touched me so much and I'm grateful you shared a bit of your own "story." Thank you so much!

    Especially the part I chose to bold from your post...you are right. Wherever the road leads, we should follow it with open hearts and minds.
    You understand.

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  5. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I have already so will just briefly note one strange point - My strong faith helped me lose it as I was deeply concerned that my best friend, the rabbi's son, was doomed to burn in Hell.
    He was such a smart and good person - how could that be - Burn in Hell, forever, just because he was being raised as a devout Jew? What sort of God would do that?

    As Marx said about capitalism (and current US Congress seems intent on proving him correct) I can paraphrase that as: Christianity has the seeds of its own destruction within it.
     
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    This is ironically how I felt, as well, after a very good friend died and she was an atheist. I speak about this too, earlier in the thread. I appreciate you sharing as you have throughout this thread, it is the very reason I created it. To hear about others' struggles and to see that there is a light at the end of the long, winding tunnel.

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    Thanks, Billy.
     
  8. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I was spared the religious belief struggle by an academic struggle. My faith was somewhat shaken, but still my belief when I went off to an experimental 5-year program at Cornell called "engineering physics" very inadequately prepared by the public high schools of West Virginia. That program met all the requirement of the liberal arts school AND of the engineering college with credit hour loads in the low to mid 20s, instead of 18 to 20 as was typical. Several courses were shared with graduate students. More than half my entering class mates transferred out to easier 4 year programs like electrical, mechanical or chemical engineering. So Cornell soon cut it down to only a four year engineering college program, but even many years later it still ranks at the top or near the top in nation wide in US news and world report college survey for programs that combine engineering and physic. In their recent review, it fell from #1 to #2 in the nation.

    I often say I was too stubborn to drop out so I worked "like two dogs" to keep my full scholarship and did not have time to concern my self with religious matters - I just notice that five years later when I graduated, I was an agnostic. That program made one question everything, even your professor's statements for proof, and that became a habit.
     
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    This reminds me of some advice that someone once gave me, not about this subject but in general: "The light is not at the end of the tunnel, it is all around. So simply choose not to be in the tunnel, and take the mountain path instead."
    It sounded good at the time, and helped me realise that there is perspective to most things, but I'm not sure it was always ever quite as simple as she suggested.

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  10. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Billy T,

    I suppose that's one way of looking at it.


    So these conscious beings evolved from the ground up, knowing nothing but what they learned from the ground up. The driving force is pure survival. We construct beautiful buildings, we make beautiful works of art, advance in science and tech, sport music, etc.. all for the reason to survive? I hear you.

    So consciousness emerges on to the scene. and nature is evolving. It is becoming conscious through it's creation (evolution) of living beings. Are we purely expressions of nature?


    Where in nature (aside from human culture) do you find the idea of ''tax''?
    Why did we evolve to a point where we can violate the laws of nature if we are expressions of nature? What is the point of our evolution if all it leads to is such violation? Why does this violation occur only in human culture (specific ones at that)?

    Cause and effect. Right?
    So if we do the right thing, we will create good effects. Right?
    Nature operates on that law, so why don't we? If we are merely expressions of nature (as opposed to a grandeur operating system).

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    jan.
     
  11. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    I don't do bad things because in reality people don't like bad things done and I get along better in reality that way. This goes alongside that fact I like good things done.

    Does that sound neurotic?


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  12. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Not at all.
    I think it's a sign of good human intelligence.

    jan.
     
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    You are confusing individuals with the species as a whole.
    What drives our species is survival. But once you get to a society that considers itself safe, the individual components become free to explore other avenues of their person, such as music, science, architecture etc, some of which speak to survival of their name, to their thoughts of an afterlife etc. And even sport can be seen as a necessary distraction so that people don't get overworked, have an outlet for frustrations etc, which in turn help make them more productive, which into turn aids survival.
    So I find your stance naive.
    How is nature evolving? The laws of the universe remain the same (or at least throughout recorded history). You seem to want to equivocate nature (aka the universe) with individual elements therein, and in doing so you reach confused conclusions about what people say.
    So how is nature itself evolving?
    How is nature itself becoming conscious?
    The animal kingdom is rife with examples of ensuring the minimum needs of the group are met. Which is the fundamental principle of tax: redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have-nots.
    http://www.sciencebuzz.org/blog/every-day-tax-day-animal-kingdom
    Before you ask questions on which to hang your arguments, perhaps a bit of research would be in order.
    Where have we violated the laws of nature?
    How are you even defining the laws of nature? Something which happens outside of human culture as well as within?
    Are you defining violations as something which only happens within human nature??
    There are no violations.
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Excellent distinctions and post!
     
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    His posts always have that special shine to them.

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  16. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Aqueous is a top-notch poster. One of my faves, for sure.
     
  17. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Sarkus,


    I'm not confusing anything. Consciousness is about individuals, every single one, and so is society.
    No individuals would mean no consciousness, and no societies.

    These other attributes, art/music and so on, where do they come from?

    My stance is not important at the moment, I'm finding out how you guys think, where you're coming from, that sort of thing.

    We are expressions of nature, we have evolved from simpler, less conscoious forms to this vast array of conscious expression to the point where we can improve (or so we think) upon nature. Isn't that a form of evolution?

    If nature is all there is (until otherwise indicated), then individual elements are also part and parcel of nature. How can they not be? Everything, including expression is nothing but nature.

    Nature is conscious because living beings are conscious, and living beings are nothing but an expression of nature. In the begining there was no consciousness/life untill a few billion or so years ago. So life emerged after some time as did consciousness.

    So you believe what that magazine says? Okay.

    I'm not looking to ''hang my arguments'' on anything.

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    Okay, so we haven't violated the laws of nature. Everything we do is in accordance with nature, and it's characteristics?

    jan.
     
  18. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Aqueous Id,

    So it's ''counter-intuitive'' if we say the universe popped out of absolutely nothing, and ''absurd'' if say God created the universe? I see.

    I think ''absolutely nothing'' gives a better picture.
    Nothing comes from nothing. How could a whole universe have come from nothing?

    Apart from the little fact that we have never observed something popping into being from nothing. For that you would have to go back before it's beginging to know that there was no prior cause.

    I suppose once you've convinced yourself that the universe created itself, then the rest is easy.

    Why not?

    I doubt it would exist without the ''religious mind'' (if we're talking about God consciousness).
    I think science is best understood by a God conscious mind, but that's just my opinion.

    IOW, let's leave it to these people that way we can watch sport, and get pissed at the weekend.

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    Or, the ''religious minds'' are the one's who can smell the bs?

    What is necessary to ''intuit the BBT''?

    IOW, you cannot allow a divine foot in the door because materialism IS ABSOLUTE.

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    jan.
     
  19. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know what you mean by "pure" but yes life is an expression or development of nature. The particular forms now present were not fore ordained - could have been very different (as they were in the past) and no doubt will be in the distant future. Evolution evolves by chance changes not design and then the "luckier chances" (for the current environment) become more numerous and are the foundation from which more evolution proceeds. I think you believe otherwise. This is why you ask:

    "What is the point of our evolution if all it leads to is such violation?"

    Which reflects two misunderstandings.
    (1) there is no "purpose" to nature - it is a chance process but the variations that come to exist are consistent with the "natural laws."
    (2) There are no "violations" of nature (of the natural laws) known. Some do believe, with zero proof that they do occur - call them "miracles"

    But (2) doesn't mean we understand all that we have observed. We do, however, understand much more now than we did even only 100 years ago. If you go back 1000 or more years so much could not be explained, that it appeared as if there were miracles. We don't for example know why all electron have exactly the same negative, but don't call that a miracle.

    Mankind and even most social animals do violate the morality they have created. That is NO violation of nature. Nature did not create morality. Man(or all the other social animals) did. In the link I gave I told a case where and old monkey lied to others of his group for persona gain. I admire how well honey bees keep to their morality - all do their duty for the good of the hive until it kills them; however they will steal. I had only one hive so never saw that. I may have seen an attempted thief once when a hive guard bee seemed to chase another bee away* - but I am not sure. If you have 5 or more hives, and one is weak, it may not be able to keep some of its gathered honey from being stolen by bees from the stronger hives. That weak hive may not make it thru the winter - can be murdered by the others.

    Really the best POV is that bees are cell of one body - one unit the hive. Each like cells of your body has specialized jobs to do for the benefit of that one body. It is strange, at first to think this way, but even in your body the cells move wrt other cells. There is no reason not to consider the hive one unit one body, one individual, just because its cells can be widely separated. Most experts on honey bees think this way, as I do too.

    * You can see some specific bees "greet" other bees returning to the hive, if they bring no pollen (and presumably, I can't tell, no nectar) to the hive. I call them guard bees as that seems to be their duty.
     
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yet you are still missing the point: evolution is about species - not individuals within that species - i.e. an individual can not evolve.
    Our desire to express emotion coupled with our intelligence to be able to use tools, which we have developed over time. We derive personal benefit from expressing in this way, which in turn can benefit society, which in turn can help improve the survivability of the society, and thus the species as a whole.
    But what do these have to do with the price of eggs?
    Your stance is important because it fuels the tone of your questions.
    We can not improve upon nature - we are part of nature and all we do is part of nature. Nature itself does not evolve, only elements within can evolve as they change from one form to another, with "evolution" being a word to describe the mechanism of change of the species, of the idea, or whatever it is that is evolving. But nature itself does not evolve.
    But is what you describe a form of evolution: yes, an evolution - or at least a growth - of our intelligence, of our ability to express emotion - with underlying survival benefits wrapped up in the same as a general improvement in intelligence.
    "Part of" but not nature itself which is ALL individual elements. In other words you are only considering part, not the whole, and expecting the part to act like the whole: fallacy of composition.
    Then we work from different notions of what nature is: I do not think that nature is conscious merely because elements within nature are conscious, or because nature allows for consciousness.
    Nature allows for extreme heat and extreme cold... but nature itself is neither.
    That magazine was offered as just a simple example of the wealth of research material available on the matter. Had you bothered to look into it you would quickly see that there is a wealth of corroborating evidence to support the notion, such that it is rational to accept it as true.
    So do you not accept what that magazine says?
    On what basis do you reject it?
    Your tone suggests otherwise.
    Do you think we have violated the laws of nature?
    If so, care to give any examples?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  21. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    There's one way to do it. Study one's ass off and religion will just drop by the wayside.

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    jk

    I think agnostic just 'feels' right, for lack of a better phrase. I can't say there are no god/gods, how do I know? I can't say there IS a god/gods, how do I know?
    Logically and morally, it seems to just be a position I'm comfortable with. Have you ever looked into Buddhism?


    Hey now, I like that.

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    It still does...

    Take this for what it's worth Sarkus, but YOU seem serene. At least that is how you come across in your postings, here. I've never seen you 'zing' people here, or reply in a condescending manner. It's refreshing, and doesn't go unnoticed. (at least by me) Whatever you are doing, it ...is...working, my friend.

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  22. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Not very much. I am certainly an agnostic about the cycles of life, re-incarnation etc. but it makes more sense to me than postulating a Heaven as nothing not known to exists needs to be postulated. In some ways I sort of think I have reached Nirvana in my old age. I am quite calm, content, happy, well informed or "enlightened." I have accumulated a great deal of understanding about the world I live in, at least in not too mathematical physic, economics and the mechanisms of perception, especially visual perception.

    Probably my summer leading the finally effort to open all public places, especially restaurants, in Baltimore to all coupled with empathy with poor, as I was one very poor until graduation for Cornell have both earned me a good measure of "karma." I have no fear of death, but don't want it to be painful or soon as I still enjoy life very much. My main pleasures in life are learning and then helping others to learn. From the little I know about Buddhism, I am a follower of that faith / life style.
     
  23. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Billy T,

    By ''pure'' I mean ''matter is absolute''.

    Survival is a purpose, is it not?
    If we are expressions of nature, and we express ''desire'', and ''survival'', then nature itself is the root of such practices, is it not?

    So anything humans do that causes harm to the planet, themselves, or others is perfectly in line with the laws of nature?

    Are you talking about western society, or the world population in general?

    Nature is ''absolute''. There is nothing but nature, and everything is born out of nature (from your perspective).
    Morality is found withing human nature, and humans are nothing but expressions of nature, therefore morality is borne out of (created by) nature.

    Do you believe their ''morality'' is a choice?

    This is nothing new.

    jan.
     

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