Why I became atheist & related thots/questions.

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Dinosaur, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    My path to atheism started when I was 7-8 years old. When I was about 13, I was an atheist, but called myself an agnostic. I realized I was an atheist when I read a remark in some magazine.
    In Sunday school, I objected to the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac & later objected to the story of Job.

    My father & I had a strong bond of love & respect. It seemed incredible to me that any god would ask for such a sacrrifice & that any father would consider obeying. This resulted in the teacher trying to convince me that Jehovah had his reasons & also noted that it was a test of faith rather than an intention to accept the sacrifice. My view was that a loving father would consider such a request to be evil & not would consider the requestor worthy of respect, admiration, obediance. The end of the discussion came when the teacher said I was too young to understand god's mysterious ways.

    Later, the story of Job seemed to indicate that Jehovah was unfair. It seemed terrible to me that he caused Job to suffer loss of wealth, loss of health, loss of family, & caused him to endure scorn from his peers. Again, the discussion ended with my being told I was too young to understand.

    My mind continued to dwell on those two Biblical stories, causing me to be skeptical about various other Biblical stories & resulting in my no longer accepting theistic notions.

    Are there atheists here who remember how they developed their POV?

    Are there theists here who have thought about the above two Biblical stories?

    BTW: One story which seemed plausible to me was David & Goliath. Teenagers tend to be reckless & not likely to worry about consequences of their actions.
     
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  3. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    the question has lack of faith in God made you happy.
     
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  5. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    You don't believe in gods?

    I would have wish if gods exist.

    Faith & wish, do you know what those two mean? If you could fly, and control elements like a god, you would certainly wish to be. Maybe you are saying the Catholic church, or church of Islam is impending that wish to be. What up
     
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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Santa is good training for a young atheist. I always thought of him as a fictional character, my parents read me lots of fiction. But then I found out some of my neighbors still believed in Santa. When I asked their parents about it, they revealed that they knew it was a myth, but that it was a good thing to be fooling their kids about it. Leaving aside that this was a very weird way to enjoy the holiday, I realized that God was the same sort of phenomenon, only people never outgrow it.
     
  8. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    YourEyes: You asked:
    While my life could be better now & could have been better in the past, I consider myself to be more content with my life than most people. I do not think that my being an atheist made me happy with my life, but it did not make me sad. My best guess is that being a theist is likely to have made me less happy with my life.

    When I was a teenager, my father told me that I would spend a lot of time at whatever I did to make a living. I should find something I enjoyed doing that they would pay me for. For 40 out of 50 years before retiring I enjoyed my profession. I had a bad marriage, but for the last 30 years, I have been very happy with my life partner, Gloria. I have hobbies I enjoy & some good friends. I have a lot of interests & am never bored for more than a few hours per week.
     
  9. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    Hi Dinosaur,

    ...can you provide a list of things you actually believe in, and explain why you believe.

    The list can have anything in it.

    jan.
     
  10. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    I would object to the term "agnostic is a cowardly athiest", as I feel the organized religions that exist today are idiotic and have it ass-backwards. I do however believe in an afterlife, and that we live in some sort of holographic universe where even our past can be fuzzy (I believe past can change). I carry these beliefs based on a lifetime of experimenting with things such as telepathy and clairvoyance. For the sake of argument it is not important for me to clarify that other than to point out that Religion is one thing, and being a believer in god is another.

    I believe I have seen convincing evidence that Law of Attraction, and Telepathy exist, so I believe there is a framework where our thoughts are tangible.

    I would describe "God" as "all that is, plus maybe a bit more". God sees every sparrow that falls i the forest because god is every sparrow that falls in the forest.

    Abraham, Job, Alice, The rabbit, and every other character in "Through the Looking Glass" is just horrid fiction deemed correct by the horrid Catholics. That would drive anyone away from whatever religion that was.

    I watched Davey and Goliath every Sunday on tv, and it made me want to puke.

    However,

    Most religions have common themes that deal with "The law of Attraction" and new age type stuff . Even witchcraft.

    They all ask the universe/god for things to create intention.
    They all ask you to believe it has come to you/ faith
    They all ask that you have an attitude of gratitude, after all if you attract more of what you think then what better thing to attract then more reasons to be thankful.

    There are many more similarities, however if Jesus was alive today I'd say he sounds an awful lot like A Law of attraction guru. He didn't just cure people he told people to believe and they could do it themselves. If you said to this mountain move and you had a little faith it would move etc. blah blah.


    So I am an Agnostic (do not practice any religion), but I do have faith there is a god. Perhaps it could be argued my faith is a religion on its own. However I still mark agnostic on forms.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  11. elte Valued Senior Member

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    Skepticism and agnosticism are very similar. That is a reason why "An agnostic is a cowardly atheist" isn't right.
     
  12. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Jan Ardena: I believe the following among other notions.

    Most people are worthwhile, caring, & cooperative. These good traits are the reason we are the only primates who evolved to create a technological culture, although a few others cooperate with each other to some extent.

    It is not a sin to be ambitious.

    It is a sin to lie, cheat, steal, or murder.

    There is such an act as justifiable homicide.

    My father told me that some people make the world a worse place for having lived; Some have a neutral effect; Some make the world a better place for having lived. You will make me proud if you are in the latter group, even if you do not win a Nobel prize, become a fabulous doctor, a great philanthropist, or the inventor of some wonderful device.

    My father also told me that making a living takes up a lot of a person’s time. You should find something you enjoy doing that they will pay you for. I became a computer geek, mathematician, & problem solver

    In circa 5000 years of recorded history, religious organizations did not denounce slavery. It took the industrial revolution to do away with it. An agricultural economy can be run with slave labor. The man with the whip knows when the worker is not doing a good job. A man with a whip cannot know when an engineer is thinking, planning, et cetera.

    Complementing a woman costs nothing & sometimes it buys a lot.

    A geek should develop athletic skills. I enjoyed track, swimming, skiing, wrestling, & tennis.

    Many atheists claim to be agnostics because they are afraid of opinions & adverse reactions of their friends, relatives, bosses, et cetera.​

    I could add a few more items to the list, but am in a hurry to get to a duplicate bridge game.
     
  13. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    Dinosaur,

    Can you list the reasons why you believe what you believe?

    Were you a theist up until that point?

    Would it seem less incredible if the people involved KNEW that the body was covering, or suit, to house the soul, and the soul was immortal, indestructible, and opposite to the material existence, and being aware of this they knew that this essential aspect never dies, or feel pain, that this existence is temporary and full of sufferation due to separation from God, the source and spiritual home of the living entity? And they knew that God was Absolute and without any material contamination and always situated in perfection, and to serve Him is the actual duty of all realised souls?


    Would it have made any difference to you if Job also knew what Abraham knew? Knowing that, why would he feel anyway other than curiosity as to why God chose him to inflict this life.
    Funnily enough, the Satan, whom God played out the experiment, did just that.
    I'm not asking you to believe, or even accept what I say is true, I'm merely asking if it would have made any difference to the incredibleness of the story.

    Yes.

    Much like the majority of us, from God's perspective?

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    jan.
     
  14. rodereve Registered Member

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    Ignorance is bliss. does not matter what makes you happy, if you must ignore what is true. If you're happy while ignoring that your father is actually dead, should you entertain that fantasy? If I kept my childhood beliefs of guardian angels, tooth fairies and santa, I'd probably be happy, just like a child would. When a child first learns about things like murder and death, that doesn't make them happier, but it is still a true thing that exists in the world. Just like the first steps of atheism, where an individual must accept there is no God overlooking and protecting him, and some divine spirit he can call on for help, or that he has no ordained actions that are right in the universe but he must form his own construct of morality....these are all steps a child, and a theist, must make. Religion provides an idea of divine security and comfort, of course it will make you feel happier, but is it real?

    Don't worry, I've made all these steps before, you must struggle to crawl before you can walk upright.
     
  15. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    Haven't we learned by now that all things in life are illusions? In order to fall in love one must create an illusion of love and than slowly realize that it is indeed real love. If God and divine makes us feel secure and contempt and happy, than why not? I see atheists as people who deny and disprove and thus are always at war with themselves, has that really made their lives the rich experience we all asked for...
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    If that's all it did, I would be fine with it, but it's not. Please don't make me list all the atrocities due to religion, I just had lunch.

    But you were correct about the divine making you feel contempt, it does do that.
     
  17. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Jan Ardena: I was never a theist.
    When initially being taught about religious concepts, I was paying attention just as I did in regular school courses & did not think about whether I believed what was being taught.

    My atheist point of view is due to the following.

    Atheistic beliefs are more consistent with science & reality than theist beliefs. Theological myths are no more believable than various fairy tales & superstitions.

    Religion has done very little that benefits human beings compared to medical technology, science, engineering, & other human activities. To some extent the best they do is provide solace for turmoil they create. Atheists are not the ones who ran the Spanish Inquisition, burnt alleged witches at the stake, held an Aztec ruler for ransom & then killed hom after the ransom was paid.

    While I consider the typical priest, minister, rabbi, et cetera to be sincere (with some exceptions), it seems obvious to me that those higher up & those preaching via radio & TV are motivated by money, power, prestige, et cetera. At least the robber barons were not hypocrites. BTW: I believe that the robber barons did more to improve the life of the average man than they did to hurt him.


    There is no way that either the Abraham or the Job story can be justified to me as being due to a benevolent or fair minded entity. In particular, the request for the sacrifice of a son is heinous & no father should comply with such a request, deeming the requestor to be evil.

    Rodereve: I often think about my late father. Sometimes my mood is sadness; More often it is a fond nostalgia. One should be happy that good times happened, not sad because they are over.
    Ignoring reality is a form of neurosis or psychosis.
     
  18. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    Dinosaur,

    That's an excellent point regarding ''belief'', what it actually is, how it manifests, and how it differs from what we think we believe.
    Do you think that maybe the concepts that you were being taught didn't connect with you, hence it had no effect on you?



    I'm glad you admit to atheists having beliefs, because they will never admit it out in the open (what's the betting you and/or the atheist overlords are going to make an amendment) (or the action may not be carried out in a bid to prove my prediction wrong).

    Atheistic beliefs, when actually scrutinised are the opposite to theistic beliefs, and both only operate in the intellectual world. IOW, the concept of both ideas are a waste of time because they are nothing more than subtitles.

    I don't even know what a ''theological myth'' is, let alone believe in them.

    Can you elaborate on that?
    For example, what is religion, why you feel it that as a genre, it should contribute to these other specialised genres?
    When you say ''religion'' are you referring to Christianity, or any form of spiritual practice?

    But a few atheists, in a very short space of time, killed more people than all the religions put together, and the people who survived their depravity, a living hell, (probably because the time ran out before they got round to them). And regardless of what spin you might want to put on it, they were atheists who, in their manifestos, planned to irradicate all traces of God and religion from the minds of the people.

    The thing is, normally I would never attribute such acts to genres, I would attribute it to the people who commit them. But since this atheism v theism thing reared it's head, it's all about that now.

    Why do you consider someone to be sincere because of their societal position?

    Was Jesus motivated by money, power and such from what you've read about him?
    Was Jesus okay with people who were motivated in this way?
    What did he say regarding these types of people?

    After seriously answering these questions, ask yourself if these people are following in his path.

    You're entitled to think what you like, but why waste time on this genre related nonsense, atheism v theism?
    Death metal heads, may think The Carpenters music is a barrel of shite, but is it really a barrrel of shite?

    You didn't address my point. Given the scenario that I gave, would the story have seemed as incredible to you as it did?

    If you and I are in a interactive game, would you consider the sacrifice of some avatars that you have, as heinous, even if they were children?

    Is ''reality'' what a group of powerful people say it is, or does it incorporate that powerful group of people and all the ideas they ever had?
    Is ''reality'' a complete thing with boundaries in all directions?

    jan.
     
  19. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From previous posts.
    You consider fathers & sons to be analogous to inanimate objects in a board game played by a god.

    I consider them to be entities with emotions, ambitions, & intellect.

    There is no way that we can communicate with each other. It is analogous to a Swahili speaking to a Greek.

    BTW: Calling the atheist view a belief seems weird to me. A child is an atheist until introduced to religious education. With respect to theology, atheism is a null belief.

    When explaining atheist views, it causes awkward verbal constructions to avoid the use of the word belief.
     
  20. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    Dinosaur,

    Not a problem.

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    jan.
     
  21. jayleew Who Cares Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you ask? What do you hope to learn?

    The History Channel had its premiere last night and it depicted the story of Abraham and Isaac. I thought it depicted a believable scene (although numerous liberties were taken). The boy was crying to not be killed, the father was sad but compliant. He believed so much in his God that he would kill for it. This is the danger of religion.

    I agree with you, it is an evil act to request a killing of an innocent. I suggest that perhaps Abraham was confused by the request. Moses wrote of Abraham. Did he know what was going on in his mind? Perhaps Abraham was confused and God stepped in before the mistake and Moses simply wrote it down how he knew it happened? Maybe Abraham was supposed to go and make a sacrifice and that a sacrifice would be given and he assumed it was his son since his son and him were the only ones on the sacrificial site. Yes, the verse says that God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, but that is how Abraham saw it, as there was no other sacrifice there.
     
  22. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    Dinosaur,

    Isn't that what physical things are? Objects?

    Seems we both agree on this, the difference being you believe the body being all in all, and me believing there is more to us than meat.

    You said: ''Atheistic beliefs are more consistent with science & reality than theist beliefs. Theological myths are no more believable than various fairy tales & superstitions.''

    If a child is an atheist, then how is it that you have started a thread entitled ''why I became atheist''?
    IOW, how is it possible to become an atheist if you are already one?

    Now if this means that atheists have no beliefs, but people are prone to ''atheistic beliefs'', meaning people regardless of status act in such a way that serves their selfish desires and in doing so their actions are devoid of belief, then again, I agree with you. It seems that you cannot help but agree with my points. Interesting.

    Especially when acting as though no beliefs are involved. Everyone has beliefs, and faith, you cannot get around that. Common sense tells you that the only way to get around that is be omniscient, which none of us are. So don't worry about having beliefs, just be yourself.

    jan.
     
  23. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Jan ardena: Atheism is essentially a null belief. It there were no theist beliefs, the word atheist would not exist.
    From birth to the first introduction to religious concepts, a child is an atheist by default without having any words to describe his POV.

    When theological concepts are taught (formally or informally), the child/teenager obtains a new vocabulary & realizes that religious concepts are a new type of knowledge. In most cases, including myself, the views of teachers & relatives are accepted as valid.

    Due to Catholic aunts & uncles as well as pressure from the social context of my youth, I accepted theist beliefs, replacing the default atheist POV I was born with. When I was circa 7-8, the story of Abraham & Isaac seemed incredible to me. There was a strong bond of love & respect between my father & me. How could anyone ask a father to kill his son? How could any father obey? This was the start of my resistance to theological brain washing. Later the Story of Job made Jehovah seem to be unfair.

    By the time I was circa 13, I had an atheist POV & called myself an agnostic. Circa 17-19, I realized that I was a cowardly atheist rather than an agnostic. In that era, an atheist could easily become a social outcast with both family & peers. I decided to admit to being an atheist if theology/religion became a topic of conversation.

    My attitude is due to a line from the movie Gentleman’s Agreement, which was about anti-Semitism.
    I decided that certain religious remarks/attitudes should not go unchallenged: Silence would suggest agreement with the theist POV. I am not an evangelistic atheist. I do not start conversations advocating atheism, but will defend the POV.
    I am sorry to have used the term atheist belief. Atheism is an absence of belief in any deity. I will try to use the term atheist POV.

    BTW: I have a better knowledge of theology & religion than most Theists.

    I went to Quaker schools from first grade though college. In grade school & high school, attendance was mandatory at a weekly Quaker meeting. During grades 1 through 8, there were Bible classes which resulted in reading the entire Bible.

    I took a course in comparative religion in college.

    For 10-12 years I attended a weekly Torah discussion group while having lunch. A fellow programmer was an observant Jew & asked me to accompany him on the round trip of about 12 miles.​

    There are thousands of gods who are no longer worshiped as deities. A modern atheist merely adds one more name to the list.
     

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