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atheist/agnostic tribe - Page 18

post #341 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngeliqueW View Post
Yeah! Super Mamabug! and EFmom! Great Plan!!!
Contrariety & co: My mom was the "question authority" type and while I appreciate it in many ways, I must admit that I chafed many teachers and bosses over the years. I was beyond socially awkward! I worry about the balance between free thinker and social misfit. It can be hard to navigate in a culture where the herd mentality rules. Does this make any sense?
post #342 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngeliqueW View Post
Yeah! Super Mamabug! and EFmom! Great Plan!!!
Contrariety & co: My mom was the "question authority" type and while I appreciate it in many ways, I must admit that I chafed many teachers and bosses over the years. I was beyond socially awkward! I worry about the balance between free thinker and social misfit. It can be hard to navigate in a culture where the herd mentality rules. Does this make any sense?
Totally makes sense.
post #343 of 698
Quote:
1) Get them excited about science. We all have a need for awe and wonder in our lives. Teach them about biology, evolution, ecosystems and astronomy. Teach them to wonder at their small place in the universe.

2) Teach them the history and mythology of our species. The great hero stories of Greece and India. Teach them these stories along side biblical ones. Put them in their context. Show genesis along with other creation myths. Show Jesus with Horus, Mithras, and Krishna. They will live in a religious world and I do not want them being ignorant of that.

3) Teach them to question authority, and yes this includes me. This is a big one. It is difficult to buy into religion when you have been taught to question. Most religions do not welcome true questioning. One is expected to believe and have faith. If you are accustomed to questioning everything, it is difficult to 'fall in line' in order to have religion.

4) Be honest about my thoughts on god and how I arrived at them. Answer their questions as they come up. I will not preach atheism, but I won't hide it and I will answer questions fully.

5) Be prepared for the big questions. They will ask them. If you don't provide the answers someone else will.
I couldn't agree with you more. That is exactly how I plan to teach my DS about the big issues/atheism/religion, although I hadn't really taken the time to break it down so succinctly.

I really agree with the part about teaching science. DH and I are both PhD scientists, I really believe that once you understand how life on earth has evolved, there is simply no need for a creation myth. As Richard Dawkins (my hero) said, "Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

I also recommend Parenting Beyond Belief. It was a great read, and I plan to read it again as DS grows up. I especially liked Pen Gillette's essay, and I also enjoy his BS show on Showtime. They have done a couple of great shows on religion.
post #344 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngeliqueW View Post
Yeah! Super Mamabug! and EFmom! Great Plan!!!
Contrariety & co: My mom was the "question authority" type and while I appreciate it in many ways, I must admit that I chafed many teachers and bosses over the years. I was beyond socially awkward! I worry about the balance between free thinker and social misfit. It can be hard to navigate in a culture where the herd mentality rules. Does this make any sense?
I don't think that questioning authority necessarily has to lead to social isolation. You can question things and find answers for yourself without ruffling too many feathers. If my kid goes beyond that, sure, it could cause him to be on the social fringe, but so long as he has made that decision for himself... he's made it for himself... which is the goal.

I questioned everything growing up. I still do. Often my findings are embraced, though some have made me feel like I'm a complete outsider. But I'm very comforted to *know* what I know for myself, and not because someone else said so.
post #345 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrariety View Post
I don't think that questioning authority necessarily has to lead to social isolation. You can question things and find answers for yourself without ruffling too many feathers. If my kid goes beyond that, sure, it could cause him to be on the social fringe, but so long as he has made that decision for himself... he's made it for himself... which is the goal.

I questioned everything growing up. I still do. Often my findings are embraced, though some have made me feel like I'm a complete outsider. But I'm very comforted to *know* what I know for myself, and not because someone else said so.
I agree with you.
I think I wasn't graceful or tactful in my questioning of authority...
How do you question in a respectful way? especially when the subject is sensitive? or when you honestly think that the authority figure is a moron?
That's what got me into trouble.
post #346 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrariety View Post
I don't think that questioning authority necessarily has to lead to social isolation. You can question things and find answers for yourself without ruffling too many feathers. If my kid goes beyond that, sure, it could cause him to be on the social fringe, but so long as he has made that decision for himself... he's made it for himself... which is the goal.

I questioned everything growing up. I still do. Often my findings are embraced, though some have made me feel like I'm a complete outsider. But I'm very comforted to *know* what I know for myself, and not because someone else said so.
I think questioning things is part of human nature- it's part of being curious, or at least that's the category/definition it falls into for me.

Growing up questioning meant that "satan/the devil/evil" was trying to convince me of wrong doing. Especially if I was questioning the very foundation that my parents lived their lives. I spent a lot of time being very afraid of questioning myself, authority and any adults until I got into my teens, and I just went for it.

Constantly having a relationship with the world where you are questioning, and wanting to learn more, in my opinion is healthy. I think you can instill a healthy understanding of questioning into your children, and have it follow them into adulthood, without it being rebellious, or awkward for them.
post #347 of 698
Yes to this ^^^^^^

I grew up with the same message. I was taught at home and at church that questioning anything about christianity was the result of satan's influence on my soul.

Ugh.
post #348 of 698
Theoretica:

I love the line in your siggy. DH thinks it's funny too.

Back OT:

How long have you all been atheist?
post #349 of 698
I've been an atheist all my life. Well, as soon as I was big enough to decide and make up my own opinion about it. I've never believed, and always thought that it was a lot of bull whenever I had to attend something at a church (weddings etc.).
My dear is the same way. And our kids seem to be going the same path too.
post #350 of 698
I'm so tired of having to bite my tongue when people talk about their religious beliefs as though they were facts.

Ever notice that if you talk about your own beliefs in return, they take offense? It gets old. Don't freakin' go there if you don't want to hear anyone else's POV.

/vent
post #351 of 698
I hear you! so frustrating...

my mom is staying with us for a few weeks, and today she was playing "eating" with my daughter. she said a pretend prayer, and said "Amen", and then my daughter repeated it. It was really weird to hear my little innocent girl at 2 yrs old say "Amen"....

anyway, we had a tactful and calm discussion about it, and I asked her if she could maybe not do that. she was fine with it, and we talked a little about my beliefs a bit more. anyway.... that was a rare experience. she expressed how it was a bit weird for her to hear us NOT praying, but she was respectful about it.

how do you all handle the prayer thing? in your home? with guests? at other peoples homes?:
post #352 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I'm so tired of having to bite my tongue when people talk about their religious beliefs as though they were facts.
I don't. I always specify something like "that's what you believe" or "we don't believe that, we believe this or that".
I never just listen to it like it's facts.
post #353 of 698
I've been an atheist for almost a year now...well, no, probably since around last August. Mid-July was when i really started questioning christainity. Well, i've been raised a christian all my life - so it wasn't the FIRST time i questioned it, just the first time in my adult life, and it actually stuck.

I guess having someone mature, smart, and also an ex-religious nut (mormon, lol) helped a lot. Before i met him (now my dh - woot!) the only "not christains" i had ever met were when i was a teen - and they were satanists, wiccans, or just "badasses" hahahaha....ahhhhh.

It took me awhile to feel normal, and i still, yet seldomly, have my moments. BUT i will say this - i have never felt this free. This is the first time in my life i haven't been scared to death of demons out to get me, lurking behind me, watching me...UGH. Isn't it sad, that at 24 years old i actually felt that way? I never want my daughter to feel that!

My parents are (obviously) christains. And my dad likes to try to debate me sometimes...i honestly think it's sad. I love my parents, but hearing them talk about things that are so childish and ridiculous is sad. It makes me feel embarrassed for them a little, although i'm not sure why - since MOST people do believe. It's just hard to see smart people so clearly blinded...

Prayer? My DD still "believes"...she knows i don't and she asks me about it sometimes. She occassionally wants to pray and i say mommy doesn't do that (she'll ask why and i'll tell her) but that SHE can pray if she wants to. I don't want to encourage her (or have anyone else encourage her)...but i'm also not about to tell her she CAN'T pray, if that's what she wants to do.

I'm sure as she gets older she'll grow out of it, once she does her own research, etc.

My parents don't pray around us anymore, really. Although they do talk about God a bit and do pray FOR us (lol).
post #354 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I'm so tired of having to bite my tongue when people talk about their religious beliefs as though they were facts.

Ever notice that if you talk about your own beliefs in return, they take offense? It gets old. Don't freakin' go there if you don't want to hear anyone else's POV.

/vent
I hear you there. I was out with some girlfriends, and somehow we got onto the topic of religion; I tried to make it a vague unimportant part of the conversation. Most of the girls I hang out with know that I don't want to hear them talk about it, so we keep religion out of our friendship. This new girl was there, so she started badgering me about my religious past.

She wouldn't back down, and I finally had to start throwing heavy doctrine at her (She's a mormon convert). She kept coming at me like I had no idea what she was talking about, and for every point she had that was "good", I came back and told her some FACTUAL about her point. She looked rather shell-shocked, but I didn't want to discuss it, she refused to end the discussion, so I just laid it on.

Most of my friends know that I'm tolerant to a point, meaning, don't bring it up, I won't question you. But they'd never seen me lay into someone like that before. I won't stand for someone trying to tell me I'm wrong when I know, without a doubt that they are wrong.


I left the mormon church when I was 14, went back and forth for years, until I married my first husband, who was mormon. He was abusive, and used the priesthood as an excuse to beat me senseless. I struggled hard with the religion during this time, but somehow managed to make it to the temple with him despite all my issues doctrinally. I went to the temple every day for a month straight because I was told I would "get used to it". The day I finally walked out the temple and out of the church, I almost had a mental breakdown in the room with the prayer circle. Everything felt so wrong, and I promised myself, I'd never go back.

A week later, my husband and I separated. 4 months later we filed for divorce when I found out that he'd been cheating on me for over 8 months. I went to our then bishop to let him know I wanted out, where I told bluntly that if my husband had cheated on me and was beating me, I must be doing something very wrong.

I'm not sure I'm allowed to type the words I said to him that day, but needless to say, I've never been contacted, other then random house visits from the missionaries (though one was not random- someone sent them to us directly- I gave all my mormon friends a piece of my mind about this, and it's not happened again).

My journey to agnosticism/atheism has taken place over the last 5 years. It's interesting because I feel the most confident and secure in my decision and life then I have in years. I think this will be an ongoing journey for me for many years. The first part of my "journey" has been ridding myself of the backward belief system that was pounded into my brain for years. That's been the toughest part so far.
post #355 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by bella_stranger View Post
I hear you! so frustrating...

my mom is staying with us for a few weeks, and today she was playing "eating" with my daughter. she said a pretend prayer, and said "Amen", and then my daughter repeated it. It was really weird to hear my little innocent girl at 2 yrs old say "Amen"....

anyway, we had a tactful and calm discussion about it, and I asked her if she could maybe not do that. she was fine with it, and we talked a little about my beliefs a bit more. anyway.... that was a rare experience. she expressed how it was a bit weird for her to hear us NOT praying, but she was respectful about it.

how do you all handle the prayer thing? in your home? with guests? at other peoples homes?:

I don't? If it's not in my home, we don't say anything. I can't force someone to not do something in their own home. If it's at my house, I can do something.

I think it will open up a good line of communication with DS to see it, so we can explain to him why people think prayer is helpful, and what it means to people, and why we don't do it.
post #356 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by teale View Post
I left the mormon church when I was 14, went back and forth for years, until I married my first husband, who was mormon. He was abusive, and used the priesthood as an excuse to beat me senseless. I struggled hard with the religion during this time, but somehow managed to make it to the temple with him despite all my issues doctrinally. I went to the temple every day for a month straight because I was told I would "get used to it". The day I finally walked out the temple and out of the church, I almost had a mental breakdown in the room with the prayer circle. Everything felt so wrong, and I promised myself, I'd never go back.

A week later, my husband and I separated. 4 months later we filed for divorce when I found out that he'd been cheating on me for over 8 months. I went to our then bishop to let him know I wanted out, where I told bluntly that if my husband had cheated on me and was beating me, I must be doing something very wrong.


Stories like this break my heart. Telling 14 year old boys they have "the priesthood" and therefore the power of god is a recipe for disaster. Obviously not all of them turn out badly, but it's so easy in those circumstances for them to become arrogant, controlling, and even dangerous. And don't even get me started on what they teach the girls about themselves and how they relate to boys.

I'm so glad I got out when I did (about a month after DD was born). I cringe when I think about the damage I almost did to her. And I'm so lucky DH left with me.

Oh, and that bishop is a
post #357 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by teale View Post
I left the mormon church when I was 14, went back and forth for years, until I married my first husband, who was mormon. He was abusive, and used the priesthood as an excuse to beat me senseless. I struggled hard with the religion during this time, but somehow managed to make it to the temple with him despite all my issues doctrinally. I went to the temple every day for a month straight because I was told I would "get used to it". The day I finally walked out the temple and out of the church, I almost had a mental breakdown in the room with the prayer circle. Everything felt so wrong, and I promised myself, I'd never go back.

A week later, my husband and I separated. 4 months later we filed for divorce when I found out that he'd been cheating on me for over 8 months. I went to our then bishop to let him know I wanted out, where I told bluntly that if my husband had cheated on me and was beating me, I must be doing something very wrong.

I'm not sure I'm allowed to type the words I said to him that day, but needless to say, I've never been contacted, other then random house visits from the missionaries (though one was not random- someone sent them to us directly- I gave all my mormon friends a piece of my mind about this, and it's not happened again).

My journey to agnosticism/atheism has taken place over the last 5 years. It's interesting because I feel the most confident and secure in my decision and life then I have in years. I think this will be an ongoing journey for me for many years. The first part of my "journey" has been ridding myself of the backward belief system that was pounded into my brain for years. That's been the toughest part so far.
The story of how a powerful intelligent woman overcame and transformed herself and her life.
I'm sorry you had to experience all of this and proud of you for getting out.
post #358 of 698
teale
your story is heartbreaking but all too common in Post-Mormon circles. It feels like I hear a new story like yours every day.

Can't say here what I wish I could say, just...

Life is so much better for me since I left religion. (DH too!) We're still figuring out how to work this with our families; we each have relatives in varying degrees of religious devotion to that church (although I've discovered in the last few months that we are not alone). Some of our family members know we have left it (or at the very least "taken a break"), but if they knew we'd become full-blown atheists... I shudder to think. I don't think I'll even be able to fully resign until after my parents die. The fallout would be severe.

I think we all know what it says about a religious organization when you CANNOT LEAVE IT without suffering dire and painful consequences.

(I'm really trying to bite my tongue here, but probably not succeeding.)
post #359 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post

How long have you all been atheist?
I do not identify myself as atheist. I identify myself as agnostic.

As a young child in sunday school (aged 4-6) I didn't question. At least I don't remember doing so. When I had my first communion, and the months leading up to it, when I was 11 I had lots of doubt and questions and no faith. But I went through with the process because I was supposed to and good little girls do what they're told :. When I went to churches throughout middle school and high school, while my mom searched for a church that fit her needs, I teetered on the edge of being an atheist and wishing I wasn't so I could fit in. This was a time when I really struggled with my spirituality. After an experience with a fundamentalist southern baptist church in California, when I was 19, I became a confirmed agnostic, but still wasn't and am not comfortable saying 'I know there is nothing'. Because I don't know. I've been unable to believe unquestioningly for 25 years now. I've had no faith for 15 years.
post #360 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
I became a confirmed agnostic, but still wasn't and am not comfortable saying 'I know there is nothing'. Because I don't know.
I guess it all depends on how you define atheism.

I am a strong atheist. I don't believe that "there is nothing." I believe that everything is natural, rather than supernatural.

The literal definition of an atheist is someone who believes that gods don't exist. That's me.

One can be an atheist and also be agnostic. An agnostic acknowledges that it's impossible to know, either way. Knowledge and belief are two different things. If you knew, you wouldn't need to believe. Truth doesn't require faith.
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