Tell me about your spiritual path to Agnosticism/Atheism - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 03-15-2010, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If I had to quickly summarize my beliefs, I'd say this; I don't believe any religion has it right. I don't necessarily believe in God. I believe in a sort of "higher power" in that I think all humans are connected, and I really believe in karma in the wishy-washy sense of "do good, get good, do bad, get bad." I don't think there is divine intervention, I believe whole-heartedly in the scientific thoughts of how we came to be. I also realize that I have absolutely no idea, and there probably isn't a human on earth that has all those "important questions" answered. If I had to label it (to steal from another poster here on MDC), I'd call myself an Atheist Agnostic. The more I'm around religious people, the closer I get to the "atheist" end.

I feel like there's so much discrimination towards Atheists here in America, and it sucks. My mom makes cracks about going to church because it really upsets her I'm not Christian. My two Catholic cousins deleted me from Facebook last night and won't return any of my messages, all because of my beliefs. It sucks. Outside of my best friend, I don't know a single person who is an atheist/agnostic. So many people I've talked to seem to think it's a way to be different and special, but really...that's one area I'd prefer to be like everyone else If any speck of me believed in organized religion, I'd jump on it so fast, just to get people off my back.

So...please tell me I'm not alone? Anybody else struggle with this?

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#2 of 25 Old 03-15-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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If I had to quickly summarize my beliefs, I'd say this; I don't believe any religion has it right. I don't necessarily believe in God. I believe in a sort of "higher power" in that I think all humans are connected, and I really believe in karma in the wishy-washy sense of "do good, get good, do bad, get bad." I don't think there is divine intervention, I believe whole-heartedly in the scientific thoughts of how we came to be. I also realize that I have absolutely no idea, and there probably isn't a human on earth that has all those "important questions" answered. If I had to label it (to steal from another poster here on MDC), I'd call myself an Atheist Agnostic. The more I'm around religious people, the closer I get to the "atheist" end.

I feel like there's so much discrimination towards Atheists here in America, and it sucks. My mom makes cracks about going to church because it really upsets her I'm not Christian. My two Catholic cousins deleted me from Facebook last night and won't return any of my messages, all because of my beliefs. It sucks. Outside of my best friend, I don't know a single person who is an atheist/agnostic. So many people I've talked to seem to think it's a way to be different and special, but really...that's one area I'd prefer to be like everyone else If any speck of me believed in organized religion, I'd jump on it so fast, just to get people off my back.

So...please tell me I'm not alone? Anybody else struggle with this?
Everything you just said, my dearest BFF, is like a direct quote from my mouth! Haha. Although, I guess I'm lucky because I do know more people with similar beliefs as me. But it really does suck coming from an all Catholic/ Christian family and being looked at/ treated differently because my beliefs aren't the same as everyone else in the family's.

Religion is a belief! And I hate that people don't understand that. People can be so discriminatory against other beliefs/ religions that aren't their own, and that is not okay! Especially when people push and force their beliefs on me, that's just unacceptable. And that's how I am with every issue! If you ask me, then yes, I will give you my opinion and tell you what I think. But if you don't ask, I won't express my opinion because I don't want to risk someone treating me differently just because of a belief I have. I wish more people would do the same.

Religion is just a very touchy subject. I, personally, am always interested in learning about other people's religions though! If you're gonna say something about someone else's religion, at least try to learn their ways/ beliefs so you're not being completely ignorant to it, ya know? That's how I feel at least.

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#3 of 25 Old 03-15-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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I have to be brief. I have been a 'born again christian' and i have been a 'sinner' (wild as hell teenager) i have studied buddhism, taoism, and other isms. They are all the same thing, though there is much misinterpretation and some only have it in part. There is a higher power, i call it source, but it is a collective of everything. we are all one. there is no hell, lest the ones we create for ourselves. we never die, we only change form. the things called 'sins' are not called 'wrong' by source. There is a book, well actually a lot of books that helped me tremendously. Do not let the title fool you. The writer came from a catholic background (hence his title). It is called, "Conversations with God" it should be called the answer to everything or something like that. There are three books in the series, then he has many others. They are written by channeling actually. He asked a lot of questions, then the answers came ot him. It explains how time works, birth/ death/ whyy there is no such thing as judgment by god, the universe, other civilizations.... I was so surprised in many ways. there is no shame in sex as religion would have you believe, which I always knew but now i understand what i knew... anyway, it is at the library, as is the audio book version. it is narrated by ed asner and ellen burstyn. i highly recommend reading it, but if time is a factor, listening to it first may be helpful. Religion is a lie IMO and was/is a tool used by the top 1% to create ppl to do as they want them to.

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#4 of 25 Old 03-15-2010, 06:15 PM
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hmm. this is interesting.

i believe in a divine presence, and i believe that all beings are connected to it, receive wisdom from it. i believe in and utilize science, logic, etc. i believe and effectively utilize the law of attraction.

i also believe in spiritual disciplines--of which going to church is one. i, personally, do not go to church. i prefer meditation and contemplative prayer. also fasting. i also work within the mytho-poetic movement and buddhism.

it's easy for me to be atheist--buddhists generally are--because i see the divine presence as the no-thing-ness, or in the tradition--emptiness is form and form is emptiness. very simple.

but for ease, i also use the word god for many of my experiences or in conversations with others.

is there prejudice against me? perhaps. i honestly don't even think about it. i just do and believe as i do. i've had my mother fuss a fair bit about my "loss of faith" and so on, but i don't believe i have at all. i feel as connected--if not more so--to the divine as i did growing up, but i dont feel any need to practice a given religion.

there are times where i seek or desire an extended community of families with whom to practice, but i find that it's not so intense that i have to go looking for a community for it. i just gather people together for our celebrations anyway.
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#5 of 25 Old 03-15-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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hmm. this is interesting.

i believe in a divine presence, and i believe that all beings are connected to it, receive wisdom from it. i believe in and utilize science, logic, etc. i believe and effectively utilize the law of attraction.

i also believe in spiritual disciplines--of which going to church is one. i, personally, do not go to church. i prefer meditation and contemplative prayer. also fasting. i also work within the mytho-poetic movement and buddhism.

it's easy for me to be atheist--buddhists generally are--because i see the divine presence as the no-thing-ness, or in the tradition--emptiness is form and form is emptiness. very simple.

but for ease, i also use the word god for many of my experiences or in conversations with others.

is there prejudice against me? perhaps. i honestly don't even think about it. i just do and believe as i do. i've had my mother fuss a fair bit about my "loss of faith" and so on, but i don't believe i have at all. i feel as connected--if not more so--to the divine as i did growing up, but i dont feel any need to practice a given religion.

there are times where i seek or desire an extended community of families with whom to practice, but i find that it's not so intense that i have to go looking for a community for it. i just gather people together for our celebrations anyway.
^^ I am the same about the church/ self meditation, etc! I really believe a person shouldn't feel like he/ she has to go to church to show how they feel about a god or whatever. I very firmly think you can meditate, contemplate, and pray in your own time or home, or wherever you choose! I also love that we are all connected and one! Great thoughts!

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I have to be brief. I have been a 'born again christian' and i have been a 'sinner' (wild as hell teenager) i have studied buddhism, taoism, and other isms. They are all the same thing, though there is much misinterpretation and some only have it in part. There is a higher power, i call it source, but it is a collective of everything. we are all one. there is no hell, lest the ones we create for ourselves. we never die, we only change form. the things called 'sins' are not called 'wrong' by source. There is a book, well actually a lot of books that helped me tremendously. Do not let the title fool you. The writer came from a catholic background (hence his title). It is called, "Conversations with God" it should be called the answer to everything or something like that. There are three books in the series, then he has many others. They are written by channeling actually. He asked a lot of questions, then the answers came ot him. It explains how time works, birth/ death/ whyy there is no such thing as judgment by god, the universe, other civilizations.... I was so surprised in many ways. there is no shame in sex as religion would have you believe, which I always knew but now i understand what i knew... anyway, it is at the library, as is the audio book version. it is narrated by ed asner and ellen burstyn. i highly recommend reading it, but if time is a factor, listening to it first may be helpful. Religion is a lie IMO and was/is a tool used by the top 1% to create ppl to do as they want them to.
^^ Okay, yes!!! I definitely agree with this too!! Completely. That book does sound very interesting! And everything you said about hell, and afterlife, and such-- love it! I concur-- religion is a lie that was/ is used by the people... etc. (IMO) Wonderful beliefs. Definitely like them. I'll have to look into that book! Thanks for sharing.

(oh ps- karika, i just LOVE your signature!! i haven't ever seen that little smiley you have written first, with the sunglasses and such! ha, so cute! )

~Lisha
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#6 of 25 Old 03-16-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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I have to be brief. I have been a 'born again christian' and i have been a 'sinner' (wild as hell teenager) i have studied buddhism, taoism, and other isms. They are all the same thing, though there is much misinterpretation and some only have it in part. There is a higher power, i call it source, but it is a collective of everything. we are all one. there is no hell, lest the ones we create for ourselves. we never die, we only change form. the things called 'sins' are not called 'wrong' by source. There is a book, well actually a lot of books that helped me tremendously. Do not let the title fool you. The writer came from a catholic background (hence his title). It is called, "Conversations with God" it should be called the answer to everything or something like that. There are three books in the series, then he has many others. They are written by channeling actually. He asked a lot of questions, then the answers came ot him. It explains how time works, birth/ death/ whyy there is no such thing as judgment by god, the universe, other civilizations.... I was so surprised in many ways. there is no shame in sex as religion would have you believe, which I always knew but now i understand what i knew... anyway, it is at the library, as is the audio book version. it is narrated by ed asner and ellen burstyn. i highly recommend reading it, but if time is a factor, listening to it first may be helpful. Religion is a lie IMO and was/is a tool used by the top 1% to create ppl to do as they want them to.
I second this rec, CWG is my all-time favorite book.

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#7 of 25 Old 03-16-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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Not really sure what i would label myself, but I was raised Catholic, then as my parents moved over to the Evangelical world when I was in college, I tried that out every so often because let's face it, their services are more "fun" than catholic services. I didn't go to evangelical services much, but I felt like I was missing something as everyone else seemed to have all this talk of "feeling Jesus in their life" and I just didn't feel anything even though at the time I believed it. We were pushed over the edge when my husband and I took membership classes at an evangelical church and they gave some of their statements about trying hard to keep women out of leadership roles (it somehow felt less wrong coming from an old church like the catholic church). Then when we went to their large facility for service and they spoke of building an enire new building and they had put in flat screen tvs and all that, but had an entire sermon about how you are cursed if you don't give your 10% TO THE CHURCH and volunteering time doesn't count. um,no. So we went to a liberal catholic church for a while and had our daughter baptised when she was 1.

We moved twice since then and we checked out UU churches a couple times, but we didn't keep up. My husband and I have both really been challenging our thoughts that we grew up with and so much of it just doesn't make any sense... And we are both sick of some of the negativity that can come from religion (like hatred of certain groups). I realize this is NOT every religious person, but it makes me sick when I see the bible used an an excuse to hate.

I'm at a place right now where I really don't have any idea what is beyond any of this (the presence of any spiritual level within us or outside of us) and I'm comfortable in realizing that no one really knows for sure. The hardest part so far has been not having answers for my daughters' questions when my parents have told her that God is watching her and her dead fish went to fish heaven. I try to just explain that different people have different views/ideas, but no one knows for sure.
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#8 of 25 Old 03-17-2010, 03:25 AM
 
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I was also raised catholic. My family was never strict catholic, we went to church mostly christmas and easter and I went to religious education classes from kindergarten-high school. I remember not believing from a very early age...my mom would read me bible stories and I remember thinking it was make believe and didn't buy into any of it. Around the time I was supposed to be confirmed into catholicism (10th grade) my mom finally let me quit religious education. My mom and one of my brothers now recently switched and became christians. I get comments thrown at me all the time from my mom mostly and I've lost quite a few friends because of my beliefs....but oh well. I am me and my beliefs are me and if they don't like it, eh...whatever. I'm lucky that my husband has the same beliefs and my 2 closest friends have similar beliefs as well. I guess I struggle a little, but I would say it's mostly the people around me struggling with it and me just wishing they could get past it and accept me for me. It still sucks though.

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#9 of 25 Old 03-17-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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I'm not atheist and only partly an agnostic (if that makes any sense), but I can definitely relate to the idea of not fitting in with family/friends.
I was raised in a very devout Catholic Family. Was a "good Catholic girl." In college I left the church and declared myself agnostic/atheist for a while. Then I felt the need for a community. I tried out a Buddhist temple in my area, but it felt too foreign to me... even though I really LOVE a lot of Buddhist philosophy, the practice didn't make sense in my body (if that makes sense). So I found myself in an Episcopl church, where the practice felt right, and there was much more freedom of though. When I was pregnant, I started feeling this EXTREMELY strong sense of connection to creation and the divine feminine. I had images in my head (NOT visions) of who I now know to be Gaia. As I explored more and more the experience I was having, I came to understand something about myself. I have NEVER been comfortable talking about Jesus, even using the name makes me squirm a little. My whole life (minus the year or so that I identified agnostic/atheist) I have always thought that Jesus talk made me uncomfortable b/c I wasn't strong enough in my faith... because I needed to work harder at it. What I came to understand is that Jesus talk has always made me uncomfortable because I don't believe in it. Period. And that's okay. I believe that the stories about Jesus teach good and important lessons. But I don't believe that he was the son of god, that he was god, or that he died and was resurrected 3 days later, I don't believe in the atonement b/c I don't believe in the need for it.
I believe in Mother Earth. I also believe that we are connected to the Earth because everything Mother Earth brings forth is part of her and she is part of it... and that includes us--I guess you could call it divine interconnectedness. I believe that when we die our spirit goes back to her again and may or may not take another form again (which is where my agnositcism comes in). Kind of a loose reincarnation.
Anyway, my beliefs are currently leading me on a spiritual search that is on a very different path from the one I was raised and from the one that most of the people in my region follow. So I feel very uncomfortable talking about religion and spirituality with most people IRL--including my family, friends, and co-workers. I have been actively looking for a group of people that are more open minded to alternative spirituality b/c I feel like I need that kind of community. I have gone to a pagan meetup (although I didn't feel comfortable--the Magick thing doesn't really resonate with me). And for the past month or so, I have been going to a UU church, which I really like so far. But I'm always worried that my someone in my family is going to ask me about church. I'm not really at a place where I feel ready to talk about my beliefs/spirituality with someone who a) will think that I've fallen off the deep end, b) will think that my soul is immortal danger, c) will ostracize me, and/or d) will try to proselytize me back to "the flock." So I very much understand the feeling you are talking about. And the anger/frustration that comes with being around people who are close-minded.

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#10 of 25 Old 03-17-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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I'm not atheist and only partly an agnostic (if that makes any sense), but I can definitely relate to the idea of not fitting in with family/friends.
I was raised in a very devout Catholic Family. Was a "good Catholic girl." In college I left the church and declared myself agnostic/atheist for a while. Then I felt the need for a community. I tried out a Buddhist temple in my area, but it felt too foreign to me... even though I really LOVE a lot of Buddhist philosophy, the practice didn't make sense in my body (if that makes sense). So I found myself in an Episcopl church, where the practice felt right, and there was much more freedom of though. When I was pregnant, I started feeling this EXTREMELY strong sense of connection to creation and the divine feminine. I had images in my head (NOT visions) of who I now know to be Gaia. As I explored more and more the experience I was having, I came to understand something about myself. I have NEVER been comfortable talking about Jesus, even using the name makes me squirm a little. My whole life (minus the year or so that I identified agnostic/atheist) I have always thought that Jesus talk made me uncomfortable b/c I wasn't strong enough in my faith... because I needed to work harder at it. What I came to understand is that Jesus talk has always made me uncomfortable because I don't believe in it. Period. And that's okay. I believe that the stories about Jesus teach good and important lessons. But I don't believe that he was the son of god, that he was god, or that he died and was resurrected 3 days later, I don't believe in the atonement b/c I don't believe in the need for it.
I believe in Mother Earth. I also believe that we are connected to the Earth because everything Mother Earth brings forth is part of her and she is part of it... and that includes us--I guess you could call it divine interconnectedness. I believe that when we die our spirit goes back to her again and may or may not take another form again (which is where my agnositcism comes in). Kind of a loose reincarnation.
Anyway, my beliefs are currently leading me on a spiritual search that is on a very different path from the one I was raised and from the one that most of the people in my region follow. So I feel very uncomfortable talking about religion and spirituality with most people IRL--including my family, friends, and co-workers. I have been actively looking for a group of people that are more open minded to alternative spirituality b/c I feel like I need that kind of community. I have gone to a pagan meetup (although I didn't feel comfortable--the Magick thing doesn't really resonate with me). And for the past month or so, I have been going to a UU church, which I really like so far. But I'm always worried that my someone in my family is going to ask me about church. I'm not really at a place where I feel ready to talk about my beliefs/spirituality with someone who a) will think that I've fallen off the deep end, b) will think that my soul is immortal danger, c) will ostracize me, and/or d) will try to proselytize me back to "the flock." So I very much understand the feeling you are talking about. And the anger/frustration that comes with being around people who are close-minded.
^^ I am so with you on the Jesus part! I hope the UU church turns out well for you too, by the way! I have never felt that sense of strong spirit or "fitting in" either, but I did feel it more at the UU church. I think it's great you've gone out and explored/ experimented with various religions/ churches too to help yourself know what you do/ don't like! But yes, I am in a strong agreement with you on basically everything you've stated! So don't worry, you're not alone!!!

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I was also raised catholic. My family was never strict catholic, we went to church mostly christmas and easter and I went to religious education classes from kindergarten-high school. I remember not believing from a very early age...my mom would read me bible stories and I remember thinking it was make believe and didn't buy into any of it. Around the time I was supposed to be confirmed into catholicism (10th grade) my mom finally let me quit religious education. My mom and one of my brothers now recently switched and became christians. I get comments thrown at me all the time from my mom mostly and I've lost quite a few friends because of my beliefs....but oh well. I am me and my beliefs are me and if they don't like it, eh...whatever. I'm lucky that my husband has the same beliefs and my 2 closest friends have similar beliefs as well. I guess I struggle a little, but I would say it's mostly the people around me struggling with it and me just wishing they could get past it and accept me for me. It still sucks though.
^^ I wish my parents let me quit religious ed classes!!! They kept me in them because "it will be easier to marry a Catholic guy" then. Um... since when am I for sure marrying/ want to marry a Catholic guy?! They won't let me or my sisters "expose" our "non-Catholic-ness" until we're 18. (I'm 20 now, so I've been openly UU/ agnostic for a couple years now. But on of my sisters is questioning the religion a lot) Gah... I think it's mostly because my dad is very traditional and just wants us all to have that "church bond" or something.

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#11 of 25 Old 03-17-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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I was raised in a very Roman Catholic family and attended a RC elementary school, back in the days when they were staffed by nuns. I knew from the time I was seven that I was not cut out to be Catholic because of the sexist nature of the organization, among other things. I also, deep down, had serious questions and reservations about the existence of god. However, it was firmly shoved down my throat and attendance was never optional.

Once I was out of my parents house, I started church shopping. Over the years I've been a regular attender at Friends Meetings, a United Methodist Church and a couple of UU congregations. I still was doubtful of all of it, but went along because it sort of seemed to be thing to do.

Somebody close to me briefly joined a high demand church. This person was baptized by the church's missionaries after very little and very tightly controlled investigation. It didn't take long for serious doubt to creep in the more they knew. This person asked me to help with research as that's what I do for a living, and it didn't take long for them to be out once they started looking at the non-sanitized church history.

This high demand church is so patently man-made and so easily disprovable that I found it hard to believe that anybody could swallow it. But that realization made me start to apply the same critical thinking and research into the bible and in particularly to how and when it was written, and all religion fell apart for me.

I'm still on the books as a member of a UU congregation. Dh takes the kids, although he's agnostic, too. But I'm just done with religion of any sort.
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#12 of 25 Old 03-17-2010, 05:00 PM
 
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This high demand church is so patently man-made and so easily disprovable that I found it hard to believe that anybody could swallow it.
I'm not sure what this statement means... all churches were developed by human beings as institutions to practice and promote whatever form of spirituality they practice. Some of them I think the theology is pretty good (whether I believe in it or not) and some of them I wonder how anyone with any level of intelligence can buy into it. But ultimately, ALL churches are man-made... heck some of them could have even been woman-made.

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#13 of 25 Old 03-18-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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I actually never questioned my faith when I was younger because I was afraid to. i though questioning the validity of the bible would destine me to hell. Talk about being controlled by fear. Even that mere thought makes no sense... why would a loving god (the human-like trait God is generally given in Christianity) be angry for humans, who he created, to follow human nature, which he also created... and following a story extremely old and full of cracks would be the only thing keeping us from an eternity of torture...

I was able to start questioning religious beliefs in the past few years as I started questioning various other things seen as normal in our society
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#14 of 25 Old 03-21-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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Outside of my best friend, I don't know a single person who is an atheist/agnostic.
I doubt this is the case. There are lots of us out there, but as you know, it's usually much easier to stay in the closet about it.

As for my own path to atheism, I think it also started with my discomfort with the inherent sexism of the bible and organized religion in general, as a PP said. I was forced to go to church and Sunday school every week, and got the sense from my parents and church community that this was good for me, and we were somehow better than people that didn't go to church or practiced other religions. I was of course never encouraged to ask critical questions. Most of the time I was too bored out of my skull to even care what was being said. As soon as I went off to college, I decided my apathy toward religion was more in line with agnosticism and tried that on for a while. I stopped going to church altogether, and despite feeling a little guilty, I loved my new found freedom. It wasn't until several years later that I finally turned a hard, critical eye on religion and Christianity in particular, and suddenly I felt like I'd figured it all out. This was all garbage! All those beautiful Sunday mornings when I could have been outside playing, wasted! I asked hard questions, which made my religious friends uncomfortable, but I just kept finding more and more reasons to not believe in anything supernatural, and not one religious person was able to say anything that turned me away from my new "beliefs" or lack thereof (and believe me, I listened to everything and was very respectful). Mostly they didn't even try.

I've been atheist for over five years now and am happy to talk about it with anyone who wants too. However, most of my family still has no idea. I've decided for the sake of peaceful family relationships to not "come out" to everyone. My parents know and are fine with it. I know most of my relatives would not be fine with it. Luckily they seem to know better than to bring it up around me or ask me any direct questions. If they ever do, I'll be honest. Until then, if I'm visiting them and they want me to go to church with them, I will. I won't pray or sing along or donate any money, but I'll go out of respect to them. DH's family is very religious, and his parents in particular are pretty upset with the fact that we don't go to church. The funny thing is they think we're Christian and are just being lazy about it. I don't know how they would react if they knew, and because of that they're the only ones from whom I would ever actively hide my atheism.

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#15 of 25 Old 03-21-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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Whoa, sorry about the long post!

I wanted to add, OP, if you want to read hundreds of stories written by people about their paths to atheism/agnosticism, you can find them here on Richard Dawkins's site.

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#16 of 25 Old 03-21-2010, 06:30 PM
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i don't really think that we are necessarily "in the closet" about it--i'm perfectly open with my beliefs.

but, i have very little opportunity to talk about them. no one asks, and those who do are usually trying to sell me jesus. so, you know, i don't get to talk about it all that often.
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#17 of 25 Old 03-21-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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i don't really think that we are necessarily "in the closet" about it--i'm perfectly open with my beliefs.

but, i have very little opportunity to talk about them. no one asks, and those who do are usually trying to sell me jesus. so, you know, i don't get to talk about it all that often.


completely agree!

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Does anyone feel like agnosticism is just a step on the way to atheism? Sort of like how for many people, it's easier to come out as being bisexual before coming out as gay? I ask because logically, there's no more reason to believe in God than there is to believe in Santa Claus. I just can't shake that fear though, that I was raised with, that you have to believe in God or you go to hell. What if it turned out that I was wrong, there is god/heaven/hell, and I suffer as a result of not believing in it? Then again, it's not like if there was a God, believing out of fear would win me any points, but still. It's so complicated, grr!

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#19 of 25 Old 03-21-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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Certainly not, I understand your feelings as a former Catholic.

Currently I identify as agnostic and feel very comfortable with that, I have no problem contemplating whether a higher power exists but no human being out there can tell me without a shadow of a doubt that one exists. As a kid I was raised Roman Catholic and attended services weekly and was involved in lots of church activities. As a pre-teen and teenager I attended services for several different faiths just to see what was out there.

As I got older I felt really disillusioned with organized religion as I witnessed a lot of people interpret their biblical scripture in a way that pushes their own agenda onto those around them, in addition to lots of sexism and discrimination. I was turned off by the abuse of power and money, and the level of indoctrination that goes on. I guess I kind of just feel like organized religion has become a big scam and I am disgusted at the behavior of people who preach one thing and do another in the name of their religion. For a while I called myself an Atheist but as I've gotten older I feel like I fall under Agnosticism.

As far as family goes, nobody really talks about it to me anymore. My husband and I both identify as Agnostic and my IL's aren't pleased with it but they don't bother us about it.

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#20 of 25 Old 03-22-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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Religion is a belief! And I hate that people don't understand that. ...
Religion is just a very touchy subject. I, personally, am always interested in learning about other people's religions though!

This is so true. I grew up in an agnostic secular household with little (good) exposure to Christianity. Most of my friends to this day are atheist or agnostic. I'm actually now in the believing in God camp so I have little to contribute to this thread.

But I just had to thank you GFREELISHY for expressing your thoughts. To this day I don't "get" why people of various denominations (or not) seem to think what they "believe" is right and what everyone else believes is wrong.

It seems like people are in these tiny boxes and can't see out of their own personal box to realize it's only their own viewpoint of the world.
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#21 of 25 Old 03-22-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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But I just had to thank you GFREELISHY for expressing your thoughts. To this day I don't "get" why people of various denominations (or not) seem to think what they "believe" is right and what everyone else believes is wrong.

It seems like people are in these tiny boxes and can't see out of their own personal box to realize it's only their own viewpoint of the world.
Glad you agree! Yeah, it's quite frustrating at times. One of my cousins and I got into a huge argument about this. He said because I strayed off the "right" path (which is obviously Catholicism ) that I'm headed straight to hell, my life is "clouded with sin", etc. I was like umm, pretty sure you're not the one to tell one what religion I can or can't believe... Gahh it was annoying. We're fine now but he kept repeating over and over how I left THE religion. I tried telling him it's just a belief. But he said it's the truth. So I digress...

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#22 of 25 Old 03-23-2010, 07:09 PM
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i don't really see agnosticism as a step toward atheism per se, but it is for some people.

agnosticism is really it's own thing. it says 'I don't know whether or not god exists." it rests comfortably in uncertainty.

atheism is more assured. it says "there is no god" just as theism says that there is. both are certain of their position.

for me, i'm not exactly comfortable with either title.

first, i am not uncertain about what i believe in. to give a more accurate but not precise definition, it would be theism. but, it's not precise because of my buddhist studies/practices.

in the school of buddhism in which i practice, the idea is that there is Nothingness. This has attributes of divinity, creative potential, etc, but is not worshipped as a God. it is simply the place from which everything arises and returns. It is the ultimate consciousness, and when we achieve enlightenment, we are existing from this place of NoThingNess. there are no divisions between I and You for example. because I and You are really NoThingNess.

So this is understood to be Atheist.

To me, this NoThingNess is atheist. but it has divine attributes, so it looks a lot like God. in a way, it is.

To me, it's just an issue of language. Atheistic buddhists would say that it is nothingness. A theist of nearly any sort would say that it is God.

so for me, I am comfortable saying it is not god or nothing and i am comfortable calling it god. either way, i am fine.

thus, it's not really agnostic either. agnostic says "i don't know what exists." i believe that nothingness/god exists, and that it is a nothing-something. it is a something-nothing. so i do have a belief.

and that belief--depending upon how someone else frames it--is either theist or atheist. and i don't know what to call it myself, or even care to call it anything really, and so that is "sort of" agnostic.

so, atheist, theist, and agnostic are not precise, but they can be accurate depending upon context.
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#23 of 25 Old 04-11-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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Sociologically speaking, the US is one of the most religious countries. So, perhaps this is a reason that you find that you don't know of any others with your own beliefs.

I come from a fairly strict old-fashioned European roman catholic household. After my dad died, we all left this faith. We just did, because we were not interested. In fact, our congregation doesn't even exist anymore due to lack of members.

I myself have journeyed through various religions to atheism, nihilism, and back and must say that my beliefs are now 'West Coast' eclectic, leaning towards hinduism. I am not an agnostic anymore, after I experienced something totally awesome which I can only attribute to being divine. I see divinity everywhere, all the time. I believe in karma, not harming people, respect and wonder. It makes for pretty good days.
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#24 of 25 Old 04-14-2010, 12:01 AM
 
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I'm not exactly sure what to say except, no - you aren't alone. I know what you mean about EVERYBODY being a Christian and feeling like your thoughts and beliefs are so different.

I don't know if I'm agnostic, probably, but I know I'm not Christian. I just can't swallow any of the organized religion dogma. To me it seems so man-made and so needed by man vs. an actual "truth", if that makes any sense. It's a way to explain all of the things we don't understand.

There are other reasons, but a main reason is what's called an anthropogenic God. They say we're created in His image, but I believe we created HIm in ours.
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#25 of 25 Old 04-17-2010, 05:58 AM
 
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I remember reading somewhere that religion is mostly an emotional experience, to fill emotional needs. I'm not an emotional person, neither are most people in my family. I think I might be incapable of understanding religious beliefs, especially since I wasn't raised with any.

What I'm saying is lack of religious belief can be a totally natural thing. Many people I know have absolutely no interest in things like souls or afterlife.

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