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Thread: Coming out as an atheist

  1. #31
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    I was raised Catholic in a <very> Catholic family. Relaxed family but my mother was an ESFP (who tend towards religion) and has a religious experience when young, so was determined on the subject. I hated church and tried to get out of it when younger but always failed, went to the minimum Sunday school they want you to do, otherwise did not confirm at 17. She wanted to force me to but the priest told her it wasn't up to her; it was my choice. The idea of confirming made no sense, I couldn't imagine even going through the motions. Later when we got married the old inculcation crept in, plus parental pressure, and it was at a church. We both hated it and I think it showed, but anyhow. Part of it was to go to a 'engaged encounter' for a weekend with other couples. It was at a monastery and was really stupid. There was some game on and the guys clubbed together to find a way to watch.

    Anyhow then began the pressure. My mother was getting generally angry at the world (I think it was hormonal imbalance) and would call me randomly on Sunday - to check up obviously. And send 'gifts' of religious dreck. With the birth of our son I again caved to pressure and baptized. But, as it was, he turned out to be an INTP and refused to go to church which provided support to my nature, and at midlife I found I couldn't be disingenuous anymore. Went through a bunch of deep introspective work to start the unwinding (a childhood of hearing religion is hard to erase). But I finally succeeded, and by now I view it as my nature dictates; as a bronze age philosophy, like so many others.

    Before she died I'm happy that I found the opportunity to face her and say that I'm not capable of belief. I don't say I'm an atheist - I'm just incapable of belief. Nobody has a response to that, it works well in all circumstances it comes up (just used it the other day when somebody told me I need belief). Stopped her short, she didn't know what to say, and later seemed to have finally given up, anyhow passed away not too long afterwards. Glad I was able to make it clear, even if she was equally incapable of understanding.

  2. #32
    Faster. Than. Ever. Sloth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    I think there is a probably a gray zone where some people can change their minds even if they inherently lean slightly one way or another. Ultimately I think if something is too counter to our inner nature, we will just reject it.
    I agree with you here actually.

    That's the thing about atheism, and perhaps rationalism more broadly. Do you really want to take that stuff to its logical conclusions? I don't think so. The universe is meaningless, period. That means anything you find meaningful in life is just illusory. The pleasure you derive from these things might just as well be gotten from a wire implanted in your brain that delivers it raw, a million times purer. You and everyone you know might as well be dead, though. Not like anyone would be around to care.

    Believe me, these are the implications of atheism.
    First off, I find it interesting that you've assumed I've never thought about atheism, or questioned my own beliefs.

    Also I think the 'implications' you've described aren't mutually exclusive to anything that I've stated about my personal beliefs in how God operates. I think you've imagined my image of God to be more religious than it actually is, and you seem like you're projecting past conversations with religious people on to this one.

    Nothing you've described has even touched on why there can't some force behind everything in the universe keeping it moving. Explain to me how something came from nothing, for instance.

    Well, there is no such thing as God,
    I have no interest in turning this conversation into "Yeah huh!" "Nah uh!". The only thing that we can prove exists to ourselves is our own consciousness (you know, that whole "I think therefore I am" thing), so let's be clear, we hold different beliefs on this matter.

    so basically they are just enhancing their own navel gazing. At least when there is a community with rituals and stuff, something fills their lives and indirectly gives them meaning. God without all the extra stuff would be like founding a club, let's call it the Alrighty Then Club, and just leaving it at that. Sure, you could sit around and reflect on how great it is to belong to the Alrighty Then Club. It could give your day a little boost to remember you are in it. Beyond that... ??????
    The point I was trying to make was that people need to be free to find their own spiritual regime, I'm saying there shouldn't be any club, "Alrighty Then", or otherwise. Past generations didn't have the cognitive or cultural ability to explore their spirituality in the way that we do (very generally speaking of course).

    Also I used the phrase in an earlier post "fill the gap" because I acknowledge that organized religion has served a useful function in our society in the past, but we're evolving out of needing it.

    Besides, what is the point that you're trying to make? Is it 'there's no God but you should blindly follow a religion anyway'?

  3. #33
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    Hanson explains that the more structured forms of religion are associated with farming societies, but we are adopting more hunter-gatherer-like norms due to our accumulated wealth and apparent lack of need for rigid norms. He makes it very clear that he thinks this is unsustainable and temporary. I believe he calls this "the dreamtime".
    Dude. I just read some of that. Did you once say you were a teacher? What's your level of schooling? Just curious. (And by the way, the question is more about the US educational system than about you.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

  4. #34
    Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloth View Post
    I agree with you here actually.

    First off, I find it interesting that you've assumed I've never thought about atheism, or questioned my own beliefs.

    Also I think the 'implications' you've described aren't mutually exclusive to anything that I've stated about my personal beliefs in how God operates. I think you've imagined my image of God to be more religious than it actually is, and you seem like you're projecting past conversations with religious people on to this one.

    Nothing you've described has even touched on why there can't some force behind everything in the universe keeping it moving. Explain to me how something came from nothing, for instance.

    I have no interest in turning this conversation into "Yeah huh!" "Nah uh!". The only thing that we can prove exists to ourselves is our own consciousness (you know, that whole "I think therefore I am" thing), so let's be clear, we hold different beliefs on this matter.

    The point I was trying to make was that people need to be free to find their own spiritual regime, I'm saying there shouldn't be any club, "Alrighty Then", or otherwise. Past generations didn't have the cognitive or cultural ability to explore their spirituality in the way that we do (very generally speaking of course).

    Also I used the phrase in an earlier post "fill the gap" because I acknowledge that organized religion has served a useful function in our society in the past, but we're evolving out of needing it.

    Besides, what is the point that you're trying to make? Is it 'there's no God but you should blindly follow a religion anyway'?
    I actually didn't really know you believed in God until this post. I just assume the default here is atheist. If you mentioned belief in God before I thought it was hypothetical or something.

    I think people who believe should be allowed to believe, basically. I think atheists should just let religious people believe. Maybe not if it's a total scam like those ones who tell people to throw away their walkers and stuff. None of these people would be any better if they were atheists. Most would be a lot worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Dude. I just read some of that. Did you once say you were a teacher? What's your level of schooling? Just curious. (And by the way, the question is more about the US educational system than about you.)
    Yes, was, no longer / I'm now in grad school.

  5. #35
    your cheapest wine Johnny's Avatar
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    Because this is an INTP forum, which has at its roots MBTI and more deeply analytical psychology, I think it's completely reasonable to expect members here to at least entertain a more humanistic view where it comes to gods and religion (if not be encouraged).

    And since the roots of analytical psychology are in Immanuel Kant's philosophical work, where a case for atheism can be made, seeing any and all MBTI-themed forums both accepting and even supporting an atheist view makes a lot of sense to me. So seeing members come here to rant about their religious upbringing and their personal difficulties with a particular religious way of life is something that can be expected...if only to explore their personality preference more deeply.

    Hence, the appropriate banning of members who come to peddle their religious views and demand total compliance from others whether it be Christianity or Islam or whatever. It's just the wrong fucking forum for that sort of shit.

    **********************

    Well damn, maybe I'm now not considering atheism a religion after all. It is short for anti-theism after all, right?
    What's the difference? It's just soda, bro.

  6. #36
    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    I think atheists should just let religious people believe.
    I'd be happy to, I'd be even happier to if they would just let non-believers not believe.

    It would also be nice if they didn't try to influence public policy based on the tenants of their mythology, but one can't expect miracles.

  7. #37
    Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senseye View Post
    I'd be happy to, I'd be even happier to if they would just let non-believers not believe.

    It would also be nice if they didn't try to influence public policy based on the tenants of their mythology, but one can't expect miracles.
    I dunno. On one hand I'd rather this country be a theocracy than be run by atheists as I've seen them in my life. On the other hand, I found Moldbug's "How Dawkins Got Pwned" to be a pretty compelling case that we do live in a theocracy, namely one run by what he calls nontheistic Christianity. He makes an analogy to flight in birds - that is, a person can be as religious as ever without believing in God, as a bird can be a bird without being able to fly. The belief in God part is viewed as sort of a technicality.

    I guess he implies that some atheists aren't nontheistic Christians, which is maybe better. But there don't seem to be many of them.

  8. #38
    your cheapest wine Johnny's Avatar
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    Religion defined:

    1) belief system (e.g., there is a squirrel on the other side of this tree)
    2) way of life (e.g., one must chase that squirrel around that tree)

    ***********

    The hard part is avoiding belief systems of any kind. For example, a soldier is ordered to enter a door through which it is believed an enemy combatant resides. He readies his weapon, mentally and physically prepares through his training and experiences for what might occur, and enters. Belief and way of life are both evidenced here.

    Neither a theist nor atheist would find himself out of place in this scenario.

    God (belief in god) is love (the way of life being to love others) is, I think, an extremely valuable tool for bringing veterans who have seen extensive combat back towards general civilian life. It's not at all a stretch from the systems employed to set him up for success in his military job.

    I'm ultimately pointing to the instinct for survival in this thought train. Belief that bad things can happen is an advantage we have to construct behavioral strategies to overcome them when and if they occur.

    ******††******

    Idiot Priest: There is no God!
    Atheist: Of course there isn't. Why are you still wearing those vestments?
    Idiot Priest: Oh, the Dunkin Donuts at the corner gives me free coffee.
    Atheist: That doesn't seem fair for me.
    Idiot Priest: What the hell are you talking about?

    **************

    Buddhism is famous for not having a belief in some god, but only to prescribe a way of life. Still, someone's going to ask why...and then why give a fuck about enlightenment and so on. The debate as to it being a religion continues.
    What's the difference? It's just soda, bro.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    On one hand I'd rather this country be a theocracy than be run by atheists as I've seen them in my life.
    I'm curious about these outlandish atheists you've met. The ones I know are pretty normal. Per your reference, I can't distinguish them from the seemingly non-theistic Christians. Although I would use the term non-practicing Christians, or better yet, hypocrites.

    Because when you think of it, simple belief in a deity is kind of neither here nor there. God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Gaia, Thor - what do I care if you simply believe in some supernatural being prancing about on some other plane of existence? It's all the dogmatic claptrap that accompanies said belief that can cause issues (doesn't have to though, only if said believers try to govern other lives than their own with it). So a Christian leading a secular life I can't distinguish from an atheist outside of some religious lip service and maybe an occasional church visit.

  10. #40
    Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senseye View Post
    I'm curious about these outlandish atheists you've met. The ones I know are pretty normal. Per your reference, I can't distinguish them from the seemingly non-theistic Christians. Although I would use the term non-practicing Christians, or better yet, hypocrites.

    Because when you think of it, simple belief in a deity is kind of neither here nor there. God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Gaia, Thor - what do I care if you simply believe in some supernatural being prancing about on some other plane of existence? It's all the dogmatic claptrap that accompanies said belief that can cause issues (doesn't have to though, only if said believers try to govern other lives than their own with it). So a Christian leading a secular life I can't distinguish from an atheist outside of some religious lip service and maybe an occasional church visit.
    If the dogmatic claptrap were simply random, then it would be pretty fucked up and bad. It's not random though, and I think that's where a lot of atheists get religion wrong. A lot of these seemingly random beliefs and rituals have purposes that not everyone can articulate very well, if at all. Or, if they did, it would seem too direct and people would reject it. A lot of it in fact has to do with signalling which can't by its very nature be direct. It's like when you buy your fiance a ring. Idiots say "omg why do I have to buy this shiny expensive rock, it makes no sense". But it's actually a costly signal. You hurting yourself by buying it shows what lengths you'll go to for this person.

    Religion contains a lot of this sort of thing. None of it can really be taken at face value. Somehow it all works, probably because it has evolved over a long period of time. Sticking to the traditions tends to work, which is why they survived to become traditions.

    Atheism, as the Chesterton (I think, maybe Lewis) quote goes, "tears down fences" without understanding why they were put up. Atheists really just ignore everything like this and try to remake the world according to their basic principles. A big one, I've noticed, is that they hate how restrictive religion is with regards to sex. They see it as arbitrary and pointlessly oppressive without thinking at all really about why things might have developed that way. So they decide to throw it all in the trash and say people should do whatever they feel like, because why not? THERE'S NO GOD WHO'S GOING TO THROW US IN HELL FOR THIS LOL!!

    Stuff like that. I think "normal" in the present theocracy is to believe in the theocracy and see no alternative. So yeah, they will all appear "normal". But they do react to my ideas in a manner indistinguishable from how fundamentalist Christians react to, say, Islam.

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