For Atheists, and Agnostics - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 48 Old 07-14-2009, 04:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In a previous section, I asked if some of the parents on this board wouldn't mind sharing how, and why they became atheists or agnostics. I was redirected to post my question in this section, the "Religious Studies" section (which is odd and amusing, but I'll give it a whirl).

So, how or why did you become an atheist or agnostic?

DISCLAIMER: All backgrounds and perspectives welcome.

Thank you,
Christopher
Christopher is offline  
#2 of 48 Old 07-14-2009, 05:19 AM
 
Kirsten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Washington state
Posts: 5,463
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, I didn't exactly "become" one - as I never was anything else. My parents were each raised in very different religions, both of which were abandoned when they married at 18 and the families each insisted the other convert. We were raised with much morality but no religion. My parents passed away when I was in junior high, but I'm pretty sure my mom believed in god but my dad - I'd guess no but not sure.

As I grew up and learned a bit about religion from friends and the media, I just didn't buy it. Nice if it works for you, but I just didn't believe. There is a song called "Dear God" by XTC that sums it all up pretty nicely.
Kirsten is offline  
#3 of 48 Old 07-14-2009, 12:10 PM
 
doubledutch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,600
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i heard a rumor that i was agnostic. i know there's *something* but i don't know what, exactly, and i can't believe anyone who claims to know what, exactly, god (or whatever you want to call it) is. i suppose i "became" agnostic over a long period of time, when i gradually realized that i didn't agree with the specific religion i was raised in, and then realized i didn't really believe in the narrowness of christianity at all, because i think god/goodness reveals itself to all people and can't believe that only a few (relative to all the people who have ever lived) people are "right" in their idea of what the "higher power" is.

i'm not an atheist, because i experience a spiritual world all around me. i happen to use the word 'god' because i'm comfortable with that word, but i suppose i don't think of that concept the way i used to. otoh, i think it's okay to connect with god/goodness however people go about it, if it's working for them, so i don't take issue with christianity. i just wouldn't choose it for my kids/family because i personally found it limiting.

i would love for our family to be jewish because i love the deep studying (including questioning and debating), the family-centeredness and the traditions and sense of identity/history, as well as several specific beliefs, but the fact is, we're not jewish, so i'm not sure where that leaves us. we do have a uu congregation here, and i've called about r.e. and i've google mapped it and i've driven past it, but it doesn't appeal to me like judaism, so we just drift along for now.

sigh.
doubledutch is offline  
#4 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 12:49 PM
 
Valkyrie9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Idaho
Posts: 2,171
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, I was raised in a very fundamentalist-type of Christian sect. Up until I was about 18-19, I just accepted what I was told and believed it was true. But then my eyes started opening, particularly regarding the terrible things that happen to humankind. Children starve, are abused and murdered, killed in wars, etc. I could not reconcile that reality with what I had been taught about God, namely that he was (1) all-powerful, (2) all-knowing, and (3) loving.

I cannot see a loving parent allowing their child to be hurt or killed if they both knew something was about to happen to them, and had the power to stop it. I have been told that the Biblical view of human suffering is because Satan challenged God and said that humans with free will would sin. God then effectively said, "I think you're wrong, but I'll give you a chance to prove it."

Ultimately, that casts humanity into the role of pawns in a universal game of Truth or Dare. If that is the case, I refuse to worship a being who could be so callous.

That's where my faith broke/shattered. Once that happened, I started looking objectively at the arguments for God's existence. (Or the devil's, for that matter.) I believe the arguments are weak, and I can see far more logic in a lack of a god all together.

Since you asked.
koopabrat likes this.
Valkyrie9 is offline  
#5 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 02:33 PM
 
darien's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,154
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was raised Catholic, went to parochial school. The teachers got tired of my constant questioning early on. When I was in 5th grade, Sr. Mary gave a very heartfelt talk about how lucky we were to have faith, because some unfortunate people didn't, even if they wanted to believe.

I knew I was one of those poor unfortunates even though I wouldn't learn the word "agnostic" for several more years.

As an adult, after feeling extreme disappointment that my agnostic bff had admitted to himself that he does believe in God, I decided to just admit it to myself-- I'm an atheist!

It's funny, because I try to raise my dc without religion, but to be respectful of religion, and they have (so far!) turned out opposites. Ds1 declared himself an atheist at 6 (without even knowing I was, as well), and ds2, at 4.5, likes to go around telling people that he believes in Yahweh!
darien is offline  
#6 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 02:35 PM
 
Contrariety's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: The UC
Posts: 2,327
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I simply never believed the religious propaganda being fed to me. Even as a young child, something seemed very off to me, and it just didn't add up.
Contrariety is offline  
#7 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 03:12 PM
 
KMK_Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Arizona
Posts: 2,270
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrariety View Post
I simply never believed the religious propaganda being fed to me. Even as a young child, something seemed very off to me, and it just didn't add up.
:

I was raised Catholic and went to catechism from kindergarten through high school. I remember being read bible stories at very young age (maybe 5 or 6) and thinking "that doesn't make sense." I dropped out of catechism a few weeks before I was supposed to be confirmed. I had tried dropping out quite a few times but my mom wouldn't let me. The concept of "God" just never registered for me.

: Robyn : Increasingly crunchy Mama to Kya (8) , Makena (7) , and Keegan (4) :
KMK_Mama is offline  
#8 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 03:58 PM
 
Adele_Mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,624
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was raised to be an atheist and to be rather scornful of religion, actually. As an adult I encountered atheists whose manner of thinking and attitudes struck me as very similar to fundamentalist religious people in that they seemed so positive they were right, they knew all the answers and everyone who disagreed with them or even speculated on the possibility that there might be something out there we don't know about was not just wrong, but stupid as well. I definitely did not want to associate myself with that group of people! Please note that I am not saying all or even most atheists are like that.

After reading and conversations with many people and just growing in experience I have decided that we don't know whether there is a god or not, we have no idea about the nature of whatever god there is, if anything. I am confident that there is no personal god - no superman or all-powerful, all-knowing father figure. No religion actually has any real answers - they are all just metaphors or ways of thinking about or envisioning the unknowable. I now self-identify as an agnostic Unitarian Universalist.

Adele geek.gif, Mommy to Adelia hearts.gif7/31/2000, wife to Rod fuzmalesling.gif, and co-owner of Max dog2.gif
 
 
Adele_Mommy is offline  
#9 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 04:30 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was raised by extremely Catholic parents, and knew from a very early age that Catholicism wasn't for me. I was another one who caused the nuns a great deal of indigestion by always asking hard questions that they couldn't answer in any meaningful way.

I tried hard to be Christian for many years, attending a variety of churches in various flavors. But deep down, I never felt that any of it added up. The mental gymnastics required to explain all the contradictions of the various denominations struck me as ridiculous.

I'm a believer in science and data. Over time, it just became obvious to me that there is exactly zero evidence that there is a god. Nothing that holds water at all. It is something that mankind invents largely to keep from accepting the finality of death. So, I started being honest with myself for a change. I would describe myself as agnostic, because if there ever were any data to support the supernatural, I'd be open to examining it.
EFmom is offline  
#10 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 04:37 PM
 
no5no5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,635
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was raised atheist, and I still am. My dad is much more of a religion-is-stupid, religion-is-evil sort of atheist. I'm just an atheist because it makes sense to me, and I see no reason to think otherwise (despite having studied religion pretty extensively).
no5no5 is offline  
#11 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 04:38 PM
 
Ospreymaven's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I also did not come to become atheist. I always was.
Ospreymaven is offline  
#12 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 04:44 PM
 
Drummer's Wife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Enchantment
Posts: 11,823
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
pretty sure I was born an atheist. I mean, how can you possibly be born any other way?

ribboncesarean.gif cesareans happen.
Drummer's Wife is offline  
#13 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 04:51 PM
 
~PurityLake~'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, US
Posts: 6,153
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
pretty sure I was born an atheist. I mean, how can you possibly be born any other way?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrariety View Post
I simply never believed the religious propaganda being fed to me. Even as a young child, something seemed very off to me, and it just didn't add up.
:

When I doubted their teachings, I developed a greater desire to learn the truth, then I researched, asked questions and was given more to , even though I desperately wanted to have that blind faith, that sense of security, that 'thing' to lean on in hard times, in the end, my brain could not be washed.

Katreena, peace.gif 39 year old Alaskan treehugger.gif Mama to 1 hearts.gif and 1 lady.gif gd.gif
 
 
 
 

~PurityLake~ is offline  
#14 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 05:05 PM
 
Valkyrie9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Idaho
Posts: 2,171
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
pretty sure I was born an atheist. I mean, how can you possibly be born any other way?
I like the way you say that--it makes sense to me. But for the sake of argument, how do you believe religion came to be a nearly universal condition of mankind?
Valkyrie9 is offline  
#15 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 05:09 PM
 
Ospreymaven's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
I like the way you say that--it makes sense to me. But for the sake of argument, how do you believe religion came to be a nearly universal condition of mankind?
Nearly universal? It's not.
Ospreymaven is offline  
#16 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 06:23 PM
 
Valkyrie9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Idaho
Posts: 2,171
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ospreymaven View Post
Nearly universal? It's not.
What I mean is that (to my knowledge, which is certainly incomplete) you can look at any populated area of the planet and find that some form of religion exists there. There is some lore pertaining to how the world came to be, and it generally involves a creator(s).

I'm okay with being wrong about that--would like to hear your POV.
Valkyrie9 is offline  
#17 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 09:36 PM
 
Panoramic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My general perspective on religion: (raised Catholic, now agnostic?)

-Most organized religion makes me uncomfortable or angry
-I don't believe in the traditional character of God as I was taught in Catholic School (male, on a throne, reward and punishment, judgement day)
-I feel uncomfortable when people quote scripture or pray publicly or praise God for things when it was really a fellow human who deserved the credit.
-I take a scientific approach to the world and like proof for things
-I am open to the idea of a supernatural world of spirits but really just don't know for sure but don't deny or accept its existence either way
-I like divination and some magic but don't consider myself Wiccan
-I like Jesus (the real Jesus, rebel, street person, wise sage, highly intelligent, hater of those who take advantage, lover of the simple person) but I don't consider myself Christian or Catholic
I like many taoist , Hindu and Buddhist perspectives though don't agree with them all.
-I believe my little baby who died at birth is an angel and is with me on some level still, though I don't necessarily believe Angels exist (in the traditional sense of the word, with names and wings and in armies fighting bad angels)
-I believe in the here and now not pining for some afterlife reward.
-I find the most peace and spirituality in nature and with art and music and kind hearted people who are non judgemental and smile.

I guess this makes me agnostic but for the last 12 years or so I just considered myself non-religious. I left the Catholic church around then after 12 years of Catholic school, a religous upbringing and marriage in the Catholic Church. Me and my husband currently do not practice anything but are considering a UU church to have something for our son (now 3) to identify with. But still undecided. I guess I always questioned things, found church boring and meaningless, found I was always pretending to be religious to please the adults, thought a lot of things didn't make sense, and had a sensitivity to hypocrisy at an early age. I have felt liberated since being away from religion, though early on had a lot of "Catholic guilt" due to family pressure. But that is now long gone.
Panoramic is offline  
#18 of 48 Old 07-15-2009, 11:54 PM
 
marimara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Florida coast
Posts: 1,519
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was raised Christian, but not the 'go to church, be a good girl' kind. It was there, my mom was hard core Jesus lover. I believed till I became an adult. At some point, I questioned my beliefs and came to the conclusion that I had been delusional all my life. I studied the hard and the soft sciences. I majored in world religions and myth. I now see that religion is a social construct and nothing more. I don't feel a deity tugging at my soul. I am down with nature in a sacrosanct way, like pantheism. I feel that most major religions are about social control or answering a question we aren't willing to see the true answer to.
koopabrat likes this.

Living Simply and Enjoying Life
marimara is offline  
#19 of 48 Old 07-16-2009, 11:29 AM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
I like the way you say that--it makes sense to me. But for the sake of argument, how do you believe religion came to be a nearly universal condition of mankind?

Well, mankind is sentient and is aware of mortality. I think it is natural that people look for an explanation of how the world came to be. It's also part of the human condition that the finality of death is difficult to handle. Religion fills in the blanks--if we don't understand it, it must be magic (god). It takes away the fear of death by promising an afterlife. I look at god in the same way that many children have imaginary friends.

As science has developed, many people have started to take a hard look at the evidence for god and found it wanting. There are a lot of things science still can't explain, but we're getting there, and I think it has a lot more answers than looking to an imaginary deity.

People overwelmingly take on the religion of their society. If god were some genuine, universal entity, and not a social construct, we'd see much more universal religious beliefs and practices.
EFmom is offline  
#20 of 48 Old 07-16-2009, 03:11 PM
 
inkslinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 506
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panoramic View Post
My general perspective on religion: (raised Catholic, now agnostic?)

-Most organized religion makes me uncomfortable or angry
-I don't believe in the traditional character of God as I was taught in Catholic School (male, on a throne, reward and punishment, judgement day)
-I feel uncomfortable when people quote scripture or pray publicly or praise God for things when it was really a fellow human who deserved the credit.
-I take a scientific approach to the world and like proof for things
-I am open to the idea of a supernatural world of spirits but really just don't know for sure but don't deny or accept its existence either way
-I like divination and some magic but don't consider myself Wiccan
-I like Jesus (the real Jesus, rebel, street person, wise sage, highly intelligent, hater of those who take advantage, lover of the simple person) but I don't consider myself Christian or Catholic
I like many taoist , Hindu and Buddhist perspectives though don't agree with them all.
-I believe my little baby who died at birth is an angel and is with me on some level still, though I don't necessarily believe Angels exist (in the traditional sense of the word, with names and wings and in armies fighting bad angels)
-I believe in the here and now not pining for some afterlife reward.
-I find the most peace and spirituality in nature and with art and music and kind hearted people who are non judgemental and smile.

I guess this makes me agnostic but for the last 12 years or so I just considered myself non-religious. I left the Catholic church around then after 12 years of Catholic school, a religous upbringing and marriage in the Catholic Church. Me and my husband currently do not practice anything but are considering a UU church to have something for our son (now 3) to identify with. But still undecided. I guess I always questioned things, found church boring and meaningless, found I was always pretending to be religious to please the adults, thought a lot of things didn't make sense, and had a sensitivity to hypocrisy at an early age. I have felt liberated since being away from religion, though early on had a lot of "Catholic guilt" due to family pressure. But that is now long gone.
I could have written a lot of this.

I was raised in the Lutheran church for most of my life. My parents began attending when I was 3-4. I went to Lutheran school from K-8th grade. Went to church every Sunday, youth group every Wednesday, vacation bible school and Lutheran summer camp every summer. It was our life, but I was always, ALWAYS skeptical. From a very young age I asked *too many* questions in Sunday school & youth group. I had a lot of guilt, I felt like a bad person for questioning any of it. I've just always kind of felt that organized religion was created to placate the masses. Sure, there could be a god/goddes/creator, I don't refute that. I just don't know. I've been going through a personal religious crisis for a few years now. I still feel insane amounts of guilt because I don't know what I believe. We attend my husband's Baptist church, which I really have a huge problem with.

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
K (6): C (8): B (1/13/12) homeschool.gifbfinfant.giffemalesling.GIFfamilybed2.gif

inkslinger is offline  
#21 of 48 Old 07-16-2009, 07:04 PM
 
greenmamato2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 613
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
Well, I was raised in a very fundamentalist-type of Christian sect. Up until I was about 18-19, I just accepted what I was told and believed it was true. But then my eyes started opening, particularly regarding the terrible things that happen to humankind. Children starve, are abused and murdered, killed in wars, etc. I could not reconcile that reality with what I had been taught about God, namely that he was (1) all-powerful, (2) all-knowing, and (3) loving.

I cannot see a loving parent allowing their child to be hurt or killed if they both knew something was about to happen to them, and had the power to stop it. I have been told that the Biblical view of human suffering is because Satan challenged God and said that humans with free will would sin. God then effectively said, "I think you're wrong, but I'll give you a chance to prove it."

Ultimately, that casts humanity into the role of pawns in a universal game of Truth or Dare. If that is the case, I refuse to worship a being who could be so callous.

That's where my faith broke/shattered. Once that happened, I started looking objectively at the arguments for God's existence. (Or the devil's, for that matter.) I believe the arguments are weak, and I can see far more logic in a lack of a god all together.

Since you asked.
EVERY SINGLE THING IN THIS POST. I don't know that I'm agnostic... I suppose that's where I am at this point, but I do think that there is something out there... I just don't feel that I have a handle on it / have found it yet.
greenmamato2 is offline  
#22 of 48 Old 07-16-2009, 11:28 PM
 
Panoramic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by inkslinger View Post
I could have written a lot of this.

I was raised in the Lutheran church for most of my life. My parents began attending when I was 3-4. I went to Lutheran school from K-8th grade. Went to church every Sunday, youth group every Wednesday, vacation bible school and Lutheran summer camp every summer. It was our life, but I was always, ALWAYS skeptical. From a very young age I asked *too many* questions in Sunday school & youth group. I had a lot of guilt, I felt like a bad person for questioning any of it. I've just always kind of felt that organized religion was created to placate the masses. Sure, there could be a god/goddes/creator, I don't refute that. I just don't know. I've been going through a personal religious crisis for a few years now. I still feel insane amounts of guilt because I don't know what I believe. We attend my husband's Baptist church, which I really have a huge problem with.
When you are immersed in religon your whole life and it is a way of life with the family it is difficult to pull away from that. I am lucky in that my husband feels the same. We don't agree on everything but this issue we do. I just took a philosophy class for school this summer and it really edged me closer to the agnostic/atheist perspective than ever! (though probably not what the professor was intending!) My eyes were opened at how far I have come when we all had to debate each other about the existence of God and many people would get so defensive and upset. Some literally said it never occured to them to think any differently than their religion. In your case it is tough because of having to go to your husband's church. It can be painful and cause loss in our life to pull away from religion. I ended up moving away from my family (across the country) and that helped a lot in keeping them at bay with the religious stufff. However we did get grilled about the baptism thing, which we did not do. In your case, you may feel like you have to go along with the family thing for now, but there is nothing saying you can't explore your own beliefs on your own, whether through reading or discussion or whatever. And you are always FREE to THINK whatever thoughts you wish, no one can take your freedom to think and question away.
Panoramic is offline  
#23 of 48 Old 07-18-2009, 01:47 PM
 
Galatea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 7,014
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
I am an agnostic and have always been. I used to say atheist before I understood the difference. I think agnosticism is the only honest way to be. I actually call myself a militant agnostic: I don't know, and neither do you. There is no way to know, and it is not important anyway. Religions are made up to make people feel better about death. What is important is that life is short and to make the most of it. Period. Not spend up time concocting ridiculous fantasies of a life beyond death in order to avoid acting in the present. And then to use your fantasies to control other people. There very well may be a life beyond this one but I'll worry about that when I get there!

DS1 2004 ~ DS2 2005 ~ DD1 2008 ~ DS3 2010 ~ DD2 due Dec. 2014
Galatea is online now  
#24 of 48 Old 07-18-2009, 03:12 PM
 
Daffodil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,606
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
pretty sure I was born an atheist. I mean, how can you possibly be born any other way?
:

I think my father believes in God, without ever really having thought about it, and I think my mother believed in some sort of higher power or energy but was skeptical about traditional religion. But they pretty much never talked about it. We didn't go to church, and I assumed people who did were kind of weird. There were times when I was young when I thought I believed in God, but I mostly never took the idea too seriously.

As a junior in high school, I decided I was an agnostic, because it seemed clear that there was no way for anyone to know for sure whether or not God existed. Eventually, I realized "atheist" was a better word for me, because even though I might not be able to know for sure there isn't a God, I don't see any good reason at all to think there might be. If I had been raised on some lonely island far from the rest of the world, among a group of people who never mentioned the concept of God, I'm pretty sure the idea of God would never have occurred to me.
Daffodil is online now  
#25 of 48 Old 07-21-2009, 02:23 AM
 
jennica's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,792
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was raised in a very strict fundamentalist sect where they believed in an armageddon scenario where only they would survive, and where they practiced shunning of people who turned away from the religion. I went through a very hard time in my life and when I would pray to god for help, I didn't get any. After leaving that religion, I still prayed. I asked for guidance in choosing the right path to take, and I still didn't feel god, nor did I get any help or direction whatsoever from him. It was like I was just talking to myself. When I asked people why god wouldn't help me, they would inevitably blame it on something I was doing wrong (e.g. you are aren't praying right, you don't have enough faith, etc.). So I would then ask how I could remedy the thing I was doing wrong, and they would be stumped and not know what to say. Someone here once who told me that once someone taught her how to pray right, she was then heard by god. I PM'ed her and asked her to please tell me what she had learned. She told me she would get back to me on it and never did. All of my inquiries ended up that way - with people just not answering my quesitons. In the end I was told that I just had to believe and then I would believe. I just didn't understand that, and so, I gave up on god. I don't exactly identify myself as an atheist, or an agnostic, but I basically feel that god either does not exist, or does not care about me. I would prefer to think that god does not exist, because I can't imagine why he would not care for me after putting in years of hard religious work for him. I think it is possible that some sort of "god" exists, but not in the way that he would have anything to do with our lives at this point - but I find that to be pretty unlikely.
jennica is offline  
#26 of 48 Old 07-21-2009, 11:05 AM
 
Valkyrie9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Idaho
Posts: 2,171
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
People overwelmingly take on the religion of their society. If god were some genuine, universal entity, and not a social construct, we'd see much more universal religious beliefs and practices.
Very well said. Thanks.
Valkyrie9 is offline  
#27 of 48 Old 07-21-2009, 02:56 PM
 
chaoticzenmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4,962
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I used to say I was Christian because I just thought that everyone was. In truth, I've never been a believer. I've tried many churches and none felt right. I kind of felt like that was something bigger than me, but not a concious something making decisions and what-not, but just something. So, I couldn't say I was an athiest. When I learned what agnostic is, I grabbed onto that. But really, I'm an athiest. I have no part of me that believes in God. I think that there are great things in each religion, but I want no part of an organized one. I do attend a UU church though just to be surrounded by likemindedness.

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

chaoticzenmom is offline  
#28 of 48 Old 07-26-2009, 11:53 PM
 
siobhang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Annandale, VA
Posts: 2,507
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(warning, LOOONG)

First off, I'll repeat that I dislike the term atheist, and I don’t use it when discussing my personal beliefs. My beliefs are much greater than a “lack of belief “in something such as a God; I am no more an atheist than I am an a-unicornist. I refuse to buy into a term that defines me as my rejection of someone else’s belief system.

I was raised a Christmas and Easter Christian – my dad was/is Anglican (church of Ireland) and my mother mainstream Methodist. Neither had strong ties to faith or religion; church was something you did out of obligation, not interest, so as soon as the obligation ended, so did their attendance. I did attend Sunday school now and again when my mom felt it would be “good for me” but often she would object to something I was learning so pulled me out again.

On the other hand, my grandmother, who lived with us was a fire and brimstone Methodist (yes they have those), who saw God as the ultimate disciplinarian. “God hates you when you don’t listen to me!”, “you need to wear shoes, or God will strike you down!”, “ When you are mean to me, God is watching!”. Yeah, not exactly the sort of religious up bringing to encourage an active relationship with a deity…

So I considered religion one of those things “good people” did when they felt like it or something to get children to behave, but not something I felt particularly called to.

I went to a catholic university, where I found students my age were actually interested in pursuing their faith, going to mass or other religious celebrations because they wanted to, not because they had to. We had “res Jez”s – resident Jesuits, who were available at all hours for really interesting conversations about theology, philosophy, ethics. Every student was required to take two semesters of theology and two of philosophy – I took a class called “the Problem of God” which I loved – it was an open discussion from a variety of religious experiences about religion. But being an atheist was still seen as "anti-religion".

I renewed my interest in religion by attending an Episcopalian church. I found in my attendance a place of calm and peace that allowed me the space to contemplate spirituality and faith, ethics and morality. However, there was one major problem. I found myself censoring the thoughts in my head when it came to statements of faith.
It first started with the power of prayer and belief in miracles. Then the divinity of Christ and the trinity. And then in the end, belief in a supernatural God.

I found this self censorship to interfere with my ability to think clearly about faith and spirituality. It made me feel like a liar surrounded by good, trusting people. So I thought, I guess religion is just not for me.

Fast forward over 10 years. I met my husband, a devout atheist. With him, we were able to discuss the ethics of belief – what things in life are worthy of faith and what are worthy of requiring evidence, and the definition of evidence. I realized that my weak belief in a deity was more a belief of convention and avoidance of social stigma rather than true belief, and that something as all important as a deity required more than that. I didn’t want to believe because it was the path of least resistance, but rather because I actively and firmly believed. Hence my "atheism" vs agnosticism - after all, you can't prove a negative, right?

However, this newfound understanding of my beliefs made me even more clear that I could not have any relationship with religion. After all, isn’t atheism the anti-religion?

I found the UU church about 5 years ago, and absolutely love it. I struggle with the non-creedal elements at times, but I love the fact that I can be religious AND be true to my beliefs.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
siobhang is offline  
#29 of 48 Old 07-26-2009, 11:56 PM
 
Sharlla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Springfield Mo
Posts: 12,042
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've just never believed in "god" or any other deity. Seems absolutely ridiculous to me.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

Sharlla is offline  
#30 of 48 Old 07-27-2009, 05:10 PM
 
~PurityLake~'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, US
Posts: 6,153
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
(warning, LOOONG)

First off, I'll repeat that I dislike the term atheist, and I don’t use it when discussing my personal beliefs. My beliefs are much greater than a “lack of belief “in something such as a God; I am no more an atheist than I am an a-unicornist. I refuse to buy into a term that defines me as my rejection of someone else’s belief system.
Thank you, yes, this is what I was trying to say up thread as to why I identify as agnostic, not atheist.

Katreena, peace.gif 39 year old Alaskan treehugger.gif Mama to 1 hearts.gif and 1 lady.gif gd.gif
 
 
 
 

~PurityLake~ is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off