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hollyvangogh's Avatar hollyvangogh 09:58 PM 05-27-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
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.
I was going to say that, but was feeling lazy and hoping someone else would. So thanks!

~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 10:15 PM 05-27-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
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.
I suppose I wasn't all that clear in my post. I know the definition of atheism and agnosticism, as I've researched quite a bit on this topic. When I wrote... 'there is nothing'... I was abridging my thoughts. Nothing, no gods/goddesses/etc. I do not believe there are, but I don't know there are or are not. There are those that believe in something (god/goddess/etc.) There are those that believe there is nothing (god/goddess).

This is why I identify as agnostic. Because I acknowledge (using your words) that it is impossible to know either way. That's all I was saying. You simply worded it better than I.
Contrariety's Avatar Contrariety 11:27 PM 05-27-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post
Theoretica:
How long have you all been atheist?
I can't truthfully say that I ever actually believed in god. I can say that I knew for certain that I did not by the time I was about 13 or 14. So... 13 years? I was in the god closet for a long time, though. Only my close friends knew at first, eventually I became more open about it. I still don't talk frankly about it with my family. If having their delusions helps them sleep better at night, so be it... so long as they leave me alone, I don't care what hopes they have for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bella_stranger View Post

how do you all handle the prayer thing? in your home? with guests? at other peoples homes?:
In my home, no one prays.

In the homes of my relatives, I stand quietly and respectfully. I do not bow my head, close my eyes, or fold my arms. It is not my prayer, not my god. It's tricky to teach DS to be quiet, though.

One time DH's fam was having some big spiritual to-do and asked the entire family to kneel and pray together. I didn't say a word, but I also didn't pretend for one second that I was going to pray with them. DH did, which cheesed me off, leaving me so vulnerable and lonely.
pixiekisses's Avatar pixiekisses 08:43 AM 05-28-2009
In my home, no one prays. Or, if they do, it's inside them unnoticeable.
And I don't have relatives or friends who pray before dinner etc. either, so it's never a problem. If someone wanted to pray in their home and I was there I would just stand quietly and tell the kids to be quiet too while they did it, I would not fold my hands, close my eyes, bow my head, kneel or anything else, or tell my kids too.
boatrat's Avatar boatrat 09:46 AM 05-28-2009
I've been a self-described atheist for about the past four years, since reading books by Richard Dawkins and watching his documentary "The Root of All Evil." Prior to that, I was a self-described agnostic, but his work provoked me to really take a hard look at my beliefs.

I was raised in the deeeeeep south, and I attended church as a child. My father didn't and was an agnostic, although he rarely discussed his beliefs. I remember throughout my childhood being fearful that my dad (who I loved more than anything or anyone) was going to die and go to hell. I would actually wake up at night crying over this fear. Fortunately, at least by the time I was 15 or 16 I no longer believed in a jealous, vengeful god, or any kind of god.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 11:27 AM 05-28-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity‚ô•Lake~ View Post
When I wrote... 'there is nothing'... I was abridging my thoughts. Nothing, no gods/goddesses/etc. I do not believe there are, but I don't know there are or are not. There are those that believe in something (god/goddess/etc.) There are those that believe there is nothing (god/goddess).

This is why I identify as agnostic. Because I acknowledge (using your words) that it is impossible to know either way. That's all I was saying. You simply worded it better than I.
If you do not believe gods exist, then you are, by definition, an atheist.

One can be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time. But however you choose to label yourself is your own choice, of course.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 11:30 AM 05-28-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiekisses View Post
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.
Well, in some situations that's just not feasible.

And on some forums.
teale's Avatar teale 12:01 PM 05-28-2009
Thanks ladies for the kind words. I used to feel rather beat up over my history with religion, but now I've let it be the motivating factor in learning more. I never want to be tangled in that sort of web again, and I always want my children to understand that they deserve the ability to have the freedom to be a thinker and always be curious.

I've heard a few more stories like mine, some worse since leaving the church. What I find the most appalling is the relationship that occurs with family after one leaves the church. I didn't speak to my parents for over a year because they refused to stop with the mud slinging, so to speak. I know I'm lucky because most family relationships don't come back from that...


Quote:
Truth doesn't require faith.
Aaaamazing. :
beansmama's Avatar beansmama 03:42 AM 05-30-2009
So...i just got my "raising freethinkers" book yesterday (and parenting beyond belief - but i'm starting with the "raising" one...) and I'm LOVING it! Really...it's great! I can't wait until DH gets home so he can start reading them too. I'm on chapter 3 and am already getting so many ideas on how to promote free thought in my 5yo and son (once he is born...and then, you know, old enough, lol).

Anyway - i highly recommend this book
frontierpsych's Avatar frontierpsych 09:37 PM 05-31-2009
I suppose I identify as agnostic. I don't hold any specific beliefs on the subject, because all I know is that I DON'T KNOW and I'm okay with that. We all die sometime, and if there is an afterlife, I'll know then. If not, I'll be too dead to care. I certainly do not believe that we have to believe some certain thing or profess our faith in some way to get to heaven or whatever equivalent if it exists. That is just a theory that seems wrong to me on many levels. I live my life by my own basic morality and believe that we have a sense of right and wrong for a reason, and no book of rules could be truer than what is in your heart.
~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 04:07 PM 06-01-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontierpsych View Post
I suppose I identify as agnostic. I don't hold any specific beliefs on the subject, because all I know is that I DON'T KNOW and I'm okay with that. We all die sometime, and if there is an afterlife, I'll know then. If not, I'll be too dead to care. I certainly do not believe that we have to believe some certain thing or profess our faith in some way to get to heaven or whatever equivalent if it exists. That is just a theory that seems wrong to me on many levels. I live my life by my own basic morality and believe that we have a sense of right and wrong for a reason, and no book of rules could be truer than what is in your heart.

DoingDoing:Julie's Avatar DoingDoing:Julie 03:48 PM 06-02-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by teale View Post
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.

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.
My heart literally STOPPED to read this. This is my first visit to the agnostic/athiest forum. I've only recently been able to call myself this, and it has been along road for me from Mormonism to "agnosticism". 2 1/2 years ago I moved from vt to ut, and questioned the church for the first time. (I knew you were talking about mormonism when you said "the church") Everything you said up above is like words out of my brain and out of my mouth. My heart is lieterally THROBBING to know that someone else has had these feelings, these questions, these concerns. That it took so long to question it because 1) god secretly has all the answers and doesn't need you to know 2) if you question it than Satan has his hold on you. And now that I've left I have to deal with my family, who doesn't understand and views me like a fallen star, and friends and co-workers who challenge me whenever they can, telling me I need to pray and seak answers, that they don't understand why someone would believe something their whole lives then suddenly not, and bears their testimonys to me every chance they get. And through all of this I have no voice. My sister will casually mention her beliefs, but once i mention hers she clams up. My co-worker will blah blah blah about her beleifs in christ and the plan of salvation, and the minute I say I don't believe in christ she knits her eyebrows, crosses her arms, and says, "why?" How do I learn to stand up for myself. At what point do I stand up formyself without shaking with rage, and feeling/looking stupid, spluttering over my own scentences? And because of this I feel defensive, and angry! How is it you were able to fight back, and defend yourself so sensibly?
2xy's Avatar 2xy 07:55 PM 06-02-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoingDoing:Julie View Post
My co-worker will blah blah blah about her beleifs in christ and the plan of salvation, and the minute I say I don't believe in christ she knits her eyebrows, crosses her arms, and says, "why?"
Easy answer:

"I don't believe in things for which there are no evidence."

Then, if you like, ask her to explain why she believes what she does, and why you should believe the same.

People who want to tell you about their beliefs almost never want to hear about yours.
hollyvangogh's Avatar hollyvangogh 08:21 PM 06-02-2009
DoingDoing:Julie

Have you ever been to a forum for recovering from Mormonism? Sounds like you could benefit from hearing from people who have been through what you have been through.
teale's Avatar teale 10:45 PM 06-02-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post
DoingDoing:Julie

Have you ever been to a forum for recovering from Mormonism? Sounds like you could benefit from hearing from people who have been through what you have been through.
I agree. I joined a couple of communities through my blog, and did some google searches. I found that some of the info out there was a little hardcore, and exaggerated, but I did find some people who had some genuine stories that resonated with me.

I also knew a couple of people who left the church, so it's been nice to have that sort of support. Julie, if you do need to talk, definitely PM me. I'd love to share my journey with you, and help you through this leg of the process. It's tough to rid yourself of everything that can be associated with mormonism.
teale's Avatar teale 10:49 PM 06-02-2009
Quote:
I don't believe in things for which there are no evidence."
Sorry for the double post, but I actually said this the other day to someone. I was saying how I'm generally reserved when it comes to displaying my views as long as the company I'm in respects me the same. I don't question them, they don't question me. The minute I get the "Why" question, I shake my head, and say, "Do you really want me to answer or do want to take that back?"

This time I said something like,

"Can you prove to me that there is a god? Can you give me physical evidence, other then your "feelings" because my "feelings" tell me he's not real, and that anyone who believes in him is believing in an adult version of a fairy tale."

The look on her face was priceless, and she said, "That actually makes perfect sense", and I laughed and said, "Yeah, it does. Which is why I am atheist."

It's hard though with people who aren't receptive, because they usually want to fight, and they generally want to win.
AuntieLiz's Avatar AuntieLiz 02:40 PM 06-03-2009
DoingDoing:Julie

There are a lot of us post-Mormons/ex-Mormons/former-Mormons/disaffected-Mormons/recovering-Mormons (take your pick) in this tribe, and there are some very supportive online and even local community groups that can help you through this. PM me if you want details. I've been there and I know how tough it is, and DH and I have made some good friends and have grown leaps and bounds through the process of leaving the LDS church, all thanks to a nice group that we found. It's very hard to explain how deep that wound is to someone who's never been Mormon, and at the risk of sounding cliche, it was like a light shining down from the heavens when we stumbled upon the right group of like-minded, supportive people. Everyone has their own journey, and you don't have to go it alone. Hang in there.
beansmama's Avatar beansmama 02:51 PM 06-03-2009
I don't really know how to respond to my dad bringing up past "experiences" i had.

I was definitely one of those christians who believed demons and spirits were lurking everywhere...watching me, trying to deceive me, etc. I could "feel" them...even thought i saw them (hard to explain, but pretty much in my head - like i would feel a presence -aka get a creepy feeling- and "see" it in my *mind*. He keeps bringing this up. He asks me how i can disbelieve in all things supernatural when he knows i've had experiences.

What the hell do i say?

I don't think i was every "crazy"...i just think the mind is a powerful thing, and due to the fact i was raised believing in all things creepy (and fake), i grew up being OBSESSED with them...thinking something is real can often times make it real for YOU, kwim?

I don't know...am i making sense? Any tips on how to deal with these questions?
AuntieLiz's Avatar AuntieLiz 04:37 PM 06-03-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post
i just think the mind is a powerful thing, and due to the fact i was raised believing in all things creepy (and fake), i grew up being OBSESSED with them...thinking something is real can often times make it real for YOU, kwim?
I think you answered your own question, because this would be a great response. Just tell him how you feel about it and that your understanding of those things has changed.

I've had similar experiences, and one of the hardest parts of recovering from my belief system was shaking this conviction that those things were "real."
teale's Avatar teale 05:17 PM 06-03-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post
I don't really know how to respond to my dad bringing up past "experiences" i had.

I was definitely one of those christians who believed demons and spirits were lurking everywhere...watching me, trying to deceive me, etc. I could "feel" them...even thought i saw them (hard to explain, but pretty much in my head - like i would feel a presence -aka get a creepy feeling- and "see" it in my *mind*. He keeps bringing this up. He asks me how i can disbelieve in all things supernatural when he knows i've had experiences.

What the hell do i say?

I don't think i was every "crazy"...i just think the mind is a powerful thing, and due to the fact i was raised believing in all things creepy (and fake), i grew up being OBSESSED with them...thinking something is real can often times make it real for YOU, kwim?

I don't know...am i making sense? Any tips on how to deal with these questions?
Anyone who knows the brain, will also tell you that you can make it see what you want it to see. I think when you have something beaten into you, it's hard to see anything other then what you think you should be seeing.

Anyone who has left a deeply organized religion can tell you that it takes years to dig out the roots it leaves within you.
NoliMum's Avatar NoliMum 01:59 AM 06-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post
I don't really know how to respond to my dad bringing up past "experiences" i had.

I was definitely one of those christians who believed demons and spirits were lurking everywhere...watching me, trying to deceive me, etc. I could "feel" them...even thought i saw them (hard to explain, but pretty much in my head - like i would feel a presence -aka get a creepy feeling- and "see" it in my *mind*. He keeps bringing this up. He asks me how i can disbelieve in all things supernatural when he knows i've had experiences.

What the hell do i say?

I don't think i was every "crazy"...i just think the mind is a powerful thing, and due to the fact i was raised believing in all things creepy (and fake), i grew up being OBSESSED with them...thinking something is real can often times make it real for YOU, kwim?

I don't know...am i making sense? Any tips on how to deal with these questions?
I just stumbled upon this tribe and wanted to chime in. I am an ex-fundamentalist youth churchgoer, and I had a hard time with the, "were my experiences real?" question. I am talking about speaking in tongues, feeling knocked out by "the movement of the spirit," hopping up and down with "joy for the Lord," etc.

Ultimately it came down to self-examination and really coming to terms with the fact that it was all in my head; that I'd convinced myself to feel and experience those things because if I didn't, I wouldn't be completely faithful, and I would be holding a part of myself back from God-- and therefore not fully cleansed of sin. I think they hold this ultimatum over you: Believe, or convince yourself that you believe, or else: rot in hell for eternity. Not much choice there.

I am so glad I got out of that terrible relationship with the church. It was like emotional abuse.
hollyvangogh's Avatar hollyvangogh 02:11 AM 06-05-2009
First, go to this link. Then highlight and read the rest of my post.


teale said: "I think when you have something beaten into you, it's hard to see anything other then what you think you should be seeing."

It's called "confirmation bias." When you're told what to look for, what to pay attention to and what to see that is exactly what you will see. And it is amazing what the brain will not notice. But it's normal. It's human. And we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves for it. wiki entry more info

super mamabug's Avatar super mamabug 01:07 PM 06-05-2009
I think the trick to experiences is why did you experience that and not me? I went to church regularly and I was never moved to speak in tongues or jump up and down. I did have 'visions' of Swami Sri Yukteswar! Did you? I saw the spiritual eye when meditating? Did you? Others have 'seen' the black pearl, or had fits etc. Muslims don't 'see' Jesus in toast. We see what we want to see/have been conditioned to see. I would be much more convinced if these experiences were universal, but they're not. They vary depending on the cultural expectations of the person.
beansmama's Avatar beansmama 01:47 PM 06-05-2009
Thank you all so much for the responses (and video...that was crazy...).

I guess i had the answer all along...if you believe anything strongly enough, you can see/feel it. The mind is a powerful thing. Unfortunetly, my dad isn't going to accept that - but he doesn't have to. If he brings it up again I'm just going to tell him exactly why i feel i had those experiences and that I really don't want to talk about it again. Hopefully it'll end at that.

Although, it's doubtful. He knows i'm not christian, and don't believe in God/Jesus...but he keeps bringing up SPIRITS - angels, demons, spirits in general. Stating our world is a spiritual world like it is some kind of FACT that everyone accepts. When i told him I don't believe in spirits of any kind (i assumed he KNEW that...) it totally blew his mind. He was just so taken aback, like, how could someone NOT believe in spirits running amuck everywhere?

I think it's sad...

It seems like such a silly thing for an adult to be concerned with. But, nothing i can do about it, so anyway...
teale's Avatar teale 06:18 PM 06-06-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post
Thank you all so much for the responses (and video...that was crazy...).

I guess i had the answer all along...if you believe anything strongly enough, you can see/feel it. The mind is a powerful thing. Unfortunetly, my dad isn't going to accept that - but he doesn't have to. If he brings it up again I'm just going to tell him exactly why i feel i had those experiences and that I really don't want to talk about it again. Hopefully it'll end at that.

Although, it's doubtful. He knows i'm not christian, and don't believe in God/Jesus...but he keeps bringing up SPIRITS - angels, demons, spirits in general. Stating our world is a spiritual world like it is some kind of FACT that everyone accepts. When i told him I don't believe in spirits of any kind (i assumed he KNEW that...) it totally blew his mind. He was just so taken aback, like, how could someone NOT believe in spirits running amuck everywhere?

I think it's sad...

It seems like such a silly thing for an adult to be concerned with. But, nothing i can do about it, so anyway...
My FIL said something similar to me, and I just smiled, and rolled my eyes. This world can absolutely exist without the idea of spirits or presences, or whatever. And it does, everyday.
teale's Avatar teale 08:55 PM 06-10-2009
Bumpity BUMP!

We're getting lost all the way on page two!

How is everyone?

Religion has been a huge topic of discussion lately around these parts, but it's been nice to educate people about agnosticism and atheism.
NoliMum's Avatar NoliMum 02:11 PM 06-11-2009
I'd like to know what you do when you encounter a child who is being raised with the typical Christian teaching, and talks about it around your child.

I babysit this little girl who is so sweet, but every now and then, she will pray before a meal (God is good, God is great...), or speak the propaganda that is taught to young children, "Jesus loves me!" or "God knows when you're lying." Yikes!!!!! I don't want my kiddo picking that up but I also don't want to freak this little girl out (and possibly lose my job) by telling her to keep her beliefs to herself.

Advice?
hollyvangogh's Avatar hollyvangogh 03:58 PM 06-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by teale View Post
How is everyone?
Great! DH and I went to an ex-Mormon mini-conference a little bit ago. (The talks can be found online here and here). We got to meet a bunch of great people including Lyndon Lamborn. And this weekend we're getting a visit from the one convert DH got on his mission who has also left the church. DH keeps having stressful dreams about leaving, but I think he's moving on and healing.

As for other aspects of our life, we are doing well! I finally got landed immigrant status so now I'll be able to take DD to visit her Grandma for the first time! : Just need to get her and her daddy passports!

NoliMum: Yikes! No advice unfortunately. What a situation to be in!
AuntieLiz's Avatar AuntieLiz 04:15 PM 06-11-2009
hollyvangogh, sounds like fun! I can't look at youtube from my office but I do know that Lyndon Lamborn is a fun speaker; DH and I watched his "Lying for the Lord" presentation on youtube a few months back and really enjoyed it. DH and I would love to attend an exmo conference, but we're expecting our baby right around the time of the next local one so we'll have to catch up with whatever we find online in the meantime.
And congrats on your DD's first visit with Grandma! How fun!!! I hope you all have a safe trip.

NoliMum, I wish I had some advice for you. Sounds like a rough situation to be in. Perhaps talking to your own child about this little girl's words and helping him to understand why she says those things and how to respond respectfully and appropriately might be a good place to start. I don't know how old your LO is or how this girl's behavior might be influencing him but IMO, she isn't doing any harm, just living the way she was taught, and your child will live the way you teach him to in return, so opening that dialogue and using it as a teaching/learning experience may be in order. Sorry if that's not helpful; I hope some other mamas here have more advice. hang in there.
teale's Avatar teale 04:38 PM 06-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post
Great! DH and I went to an ex-Mormon mini-conference a little bit ago. (The talks can be found online here and here). We got to meet a bunch of great people including Lyndon Lamborn. And this weekend we're getting a visit from the one convert DH got on his mission who has also left the church. DH keeps having stressful dreams about leaving, but I think he's moving on and healing.

As for other aspects of our life, we are doing well! I finally got landed immigrant status so now I'll be able to take DD to visit her Grandma for the first time! : Just need to get her and her daddy passports!

NoliMum: Yikes! No advice unfortunately. What a situation to be in!

Holly, thanks for posting those! I can't wait to have a look at them later.

I used to have pretty scary dreams about leaving the church too. It definitely takes some years to get to that "normal" feeling of being okay.

Noli, no advice! Could you talk to her mom and ask her if she could talk to her kid? Just a simple, "we respect your beliefs, but we don't share the same beliefs, so what do you suggest we do to make sure we are all happy?" It might open up a great opportunity for discussion.
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