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Wow, Duane. Your story is amazing. I never had the oppressive religions upbringing that you do, but I definitely relate to some of your feelings about religious hypocrisy and to all your conclusions about the irrationality of religion.

Skeptic raises a good point, as well, about how some otherwise rational people manage to simply "turn off their brain" when it comes to religion. The way they somehow manage to accept all other conclusions arrived at via the scientific method, but not evolution, befuddles me.

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>Are you sure you aren't a long-lost sister of mine?

Mom never told me about you.... ;-)




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Wow, Duane. Your story is amazing. I never had the oppressive religions upbringing that you do, but I definitely relate to some of your feelings about religious hypocrisy and to all your conclusions about the irrationality of religion.

You should consider yourself lucky. I've never had a positive result/feeling from religion ever in my life. Others have had positive influences that turned negative for whatever reason. People have faith because they are taught that good things happen because of it. I saw none of it -- ultimately, why I feel the way I feel today, 33 years after my religious journey started.

Re: the hypocrites, I see their actions because I am not blinded by perceived beliefs or attitudes -- I see their actions in the mindset of "cause and effect", and make observations based on that. I did back then when I attended church, and do that now. Yes, I admit that there are good people who are Christians, but I've seen enough people that made the same claim that soiled my viewpoint. But that is just me.

Skeptic raises a good point, as well, about how some otherwise rational people manage to simply "turn off their brain" when it comes to religion. The way they somehow manage to accept all other conclusions arrived at via the scientific method, but not evolution, befuddles me.

Evolution vs "creationism"/"Intelligent design": My thoughts on this could fill a book, but here is my "Readers Digest" version:

The creation story reads like "Humpty Dumpty": Written for people with the mentality of a 5 year old -- yet this is story is taken literally by too many people, IMHO.

Evolution: Put a million monkeys in front of a million typewriters and let them type away at random and you'll get a lot of junk. What is junk gets discarded. What is successful survives the weeding out process. Given a few billion years, something will be produced that can reproduce, and change. Those that change for the good survive, those that change for the worse, don't. Yes, evolution is not perfect, but it makes more sense than what the creationists/ID people espouse. I don't believe in the "god in the gaps" argument -- where there is scientific logic to justify something, that is scientific. But where there is doubt, "God did it" -- god in the gaps. Things "in the gaps" are just times wherein we don't yet understand what is going on. There's no guarantee that we will know what is going on -- but we have the ability to investigate and try to figure it out.

Overall, people who as you say, "somehow manage to accept all other conclusions arrived at via the scientific method, but not evolution," seem to me as if they are giving up. The analogy I like to use is something that we're using right now -- world-wide communications. I type on this electronic thing called a computer, and in a blink of an eye, I can send a message, or voice, my own image, to someone half way around the world, without even THINKING as to the whys and wherefores -- IF I WANT TO. But, because IT is my career that I love, I can tell you, down to the littlest bits, every little path that this data travels, until it ends up at its destination. I have an understanding that others do not, because I choose to be more "advanced" than many other people in this area. If you were to show this thing called "The Internet" to someone who grew up in the mid 1800's, and they would say "God must have done it! I can't comprehend it, it seems like magic, so God must have done it!" Evolution has a similiar path. Those who want to take the simple, easy path say "God must have done it! I can't comprehend it, it seems like magic, so God must have done it!" Those who have the desire to learn more about how life came about and think about it, and exercise their logic muscles, well, get behind evolution and other scientific endeavors. I place myself in that last group.

A long rant, but that is how I believe.

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>Are you sure you aren't a long-lost sister of mine?

Mom never told me about you.... ;-)


Gee... same here. I sense a conspiracy smile


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Hmm...interesting question. Got to say when it comes to old omnipotent men in the sky that I am not a believer. But I do believe in the beauty of life and that energy as divinity. Sort of a "all life is a manifestation of the divine energy" type thing minus any supernatural beings...The power of belief is the contribution of your energy to your belief, not someone answering prayers up above. I label myself pagan for others because that tends to be a little bit easier for them to understand.

So I think what I am saying is that atheists and religious people hate me equally. :P

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I don't know what I am...I do have an idea of what I am NOT. I am NOT a Christian.

I have a hard time believing in things I can't see and touch. I don't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, Faireys in the garden or God. Its not that I KNOW they don't exist, its just that I have never met them or seen any REAL evidence that they do exist.

My belief is that man, over its history has felt the need to create these belief systems because he couldn't accept that this is all there is. They had to believe that someone unseen is guiding them AND going to give them another life when they die...

What a load of bollox ! Sounds more like a Disney Movie.

I was raised a Seventh Day Adventist, my Father was a retired minister at the time they adopted me. I went to church, they dragged me to bible studies as a child, I attended their schools, I was a skeptic the entire time. They would tell me things about their belief system and I would be thinking how insane it all sounded.

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Originally Posted By: Lisa_Orlando
I don't know what I am...


Well after reading the rest of your post I think I can safely say you are an atheist. Embrace it, it's rational.

smile

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Originally Posted By: Lisa_Orlando
I don't know what I am...I do have an idea of what I am NOT. I am NOT a Christian.

I have a hard time believing in things I can't see and touch. I don't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, Faireys in the garden or God. Its not that I KNOW they don't exist, its just that I have never met them or seen any REAL evidence that they do exist.

My belief is that man, over its history has felt the need to create these belief systems because he couldn't accept that this is all there is. They had to believe that someone unseen is guiding them AND going to give them another life when they die...

What a load of bollox ! Sounds more like a Disney Movie.

I was raised a Seventh Day Adventist, my Father was a retired minister at the time they adopted me. I went to church, they dragged me to bible studies as a child, I attended their schools, I was a skeptic the entire time. They would tell me things about their belief system and I would be thinking how insane it all sounded.


Lisa,

You are an atheist, just like I am. You require substantial proof before you are willing to believe extraordinary claims. You were forced to believe the unbelievable, and rebelled all the while. You take very little at face value. You came to your conclusions through observation and logic. I went through a very similar process (always a skeptic and a non-believer from the age of 7, until arriving at my final atheistic POV at the age of 13.

A term I like to use is the more "positive" term Rationalist or FreeThinker, sometimes, in place of the "negative" term Atheist. However, atheist is what most people know, so sometimes it is easier to use that term.

Welcome aboard! (again) smile


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Hi Duane,

I do know what you mean when you say "negative" term atheist. But it still hurts smile and I must defend it. The other terms rationalist and freethinker can apply to much more than a god. For example it is not likely that a rationalist believes in god, ghosts, big foot or psychics. But atheist covers pretty much just the god. So when discussing god I think atheist is the best word to use. None the less i am picking nits here.

As for you mention that you were a non-believer from the age of seven, let me also point out that you were a non-believer at some point prior to that also. You were born a non-believer as is everyone. We are all atheists at birth because atheism is simply the lack of a god belief, which none of us has until we are told to believe it. I agree with everything you said I think I am just making it my cause to correct people when they say things like "I became an atheist at age seven". Because it is more correct to say "I became a believer at age four and returned to atheism at seven". This puts the onus of the decision on the believer and establishes the atheism as the natural state.

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I think infants are the ultimate egoists. Obviously, they don't have the vocabulary to discuss atheism, etc., but -- perhaps they view themselves as "god/ess"? Certainly, they are the center of (their) universe! ;-)


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