I think I can finally admit, I'm an atheist. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-26-2013, 10:10 PM
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It's been a while since we've had an old fashioned VB religion debate.

But something has happened since the last one! For years I have called myself agnostic, claiming one can never really know if there is or isn't a deity. This made me feel smug. I felt clever thinking I was beyond knowing and not knowingin my seat of uncertainty.

I disagree. You can know. And i know there is no such thing as a god, there was never and will never be a god, and no one will ever prove there is a magical being who is omnipotent and omnipresent.

Have any other agnostics come out of the closet as atheists? Do any strongly spiritual or religious folks want to counter?

This is nice. I can stop faking it. The door Jared Dimond opened in my consiousness many moons ago has finally been walked through.

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#2 Old 11-27-2013, 01:58 AM
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I think I'm 99.9% atheist, probably the same as Richard Dawkins. That 0.1% of doubt never really causes me any problems. Most of my faith started drifting away many years ago when I lived by the Sea of Galilee.

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#3 Old 11-27-2013, 03:15 AM
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First, congrats! It's always a good thing to acknowledge who we are. If you saying "I'm an athiest because I know there's not a God" means you're giving a voice to a part of yourself you previously hadn't, awesome.

 

It's not like you're hurting anyone by labelling yourself an athiest.

As a 'spiritual type', I agree completely with you that there is no proof that there is a higher power out there. Mainly because faith is not about proof, it's about how you feel within yourself. If you have faith in the existence of a higher power, then you don't need proof, that's the whole point of having faith.

All I would ask, in your new found happiness at finally admitting you're an atheist, is that you tread gently. I have no doubt you'll be kind to people, no matter what they believe. But in my experience, even some of the kindest people can be cruel when it comes to matters of belief. It's like they forget they're talking to a person. There's something particularly cutting when someone says to you-

 

"How can you believe in God? I thought you were smart!"

Aside from all of that, I'm very happy that you've decided to admit what you believe. It's a good thing!

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#4 Old 11-27-2013, 03:45 AM
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Atheist here. I used to consider myself fairly spiritual, using 'God' as a convenient label to represent my very unorthodox beliefs. These beliefs concerned the entirety of simultaneous human experience and collective altruism and justice. Such as we are really all the same person, we are each other, which is why it is so important to 'do unto others.' At one point I even called myself a Christian because I thought many things Jesus was accredited to having said were admirable, but solely based upon a secular but spiritual adoption of his morality and rejection of his supernatural claims.

This all became problematic when trying to reconcile these abstract concepts with any organized religion. Although I would benefit socially from adopting a Christian face, it would truly be disingenuous. I tried to appease the Christians with using my rather nonsensical idea of God in place of Elohim, and Jesus moral code in place of a Messiah, but it was a failure. If you do not accept that Jesus is the son of God and he died for your sins and was resurrected, most Christians will sentence you to hell. It was when my family told me I was going to hell I decided I couldn't try to placate these insane religions.

Atheism to me is simply the lack of belief in gods. I do not identify with atheism as a group, it is simply the refusal to believe something which doesn't make sense. Speak to me in metaphors, but it doesn't make your words divine.
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#5 Old 11-27-2013, 05:17 AM
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I have felt for most of my life that the concept of a supernatural deity was impossible but I've always been interested in pagan beliefs, spiritual energies and the forces of Nature. It was all the gods/goddesses that didn't make sense to me - unless they were purely analogies - and in that case why worship them!

 

About a year ago my boyfriend was reading The God Delusion and I picked it up and read the first 40ish pages. I didn't finish reading the book because the rest of it looked as if it was going to go on about proof that there wasn't a god and I didn't need that proof. Also it sounded as if he was going veer into the religious people are stupid territory and as there's a good deal of evidence that strong religious beliefs are tied up with having a differently wired brain it's pretty unfair to discriminate against people that can't help their differences.

 

Anyway, somewhere in those 40 pages I came across a brief mention of Pantheism which seemed to echo many of my thoughts. Went off and googled and it turns out I'm a Pantheist! Mad that I could have believed something for so long without ever coming across the word that describes it. If you've never heard of it have a brief look here

http://www.pantheism.net/

(I'm taking the easy way out because I tried to explain it to a Jehovah's Witness on my doorstep a few months ago and I had to end up telling her to google it lol)

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#6 Old 11-27-2013, 06:23 AM
 
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I remain agnostic. I feel like atheism connotes a kind of simplicity that isn't there. Like, there's no proof, religious people don't know what they're talking about, end of story. I also find that many atheists try to be unrealistically calm about death. Honestly, death is super terrifying. I can't wrap my head around the idea of sleeping for an eternity, never to wake up again. Whenever I try to philosophise about it, I always stop because I'm too terrified to continue. Of course, a huge theme in literature is being able to find the strength to face death courageously, but I don't think that this kind of strength can be obtained by simply being an atheist. It requires so much more. I'm quite a spiritual person I think, and I also don't like the idea of trying to use logic to answer every single little thing. It feels, I dunno, cold.

 

I get what you mean that agnosticism comes with a certain smugness though. It's basically the middle ground fallacy. You think you're being more open-minded than both atheists and theists, but that is not necessarily the case.

 

Either way, both of these are oversimplifications of the agnostic and atheist positions. I don't think that one is superior to the other.

 

Right now I feel like I'm closer to agnosticism though. Perhaps it's because I derive a lot of inspiration from anime, where god (or Kami-sama) tends to be referenced very often, but also very unreligiously. Call it god, mother nature, the universe, the order of the world or whatever you want, it's a useful concept to grasp things that are much bigger than us, things that refuse to be rationalised, and see where humans stand in relation to everything else. I don't think that god necessarily needs to be a sentient being, or a conscious one.

 

There's one thing I absolutely don't believe in, however, and that's the 3 Os god (omnipresent, omniscient, omnibenevolent). I don't know how vegetarians and vegans could possibly believe in the 3 Os god, haha. This world is much too cruel to be the product of an admirable being...

 

So far, you don't seem to have provided any real reason why you went from agnostic to atheist, except that you've changed your mind. I am interested in hearing more.

 

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I have felt for most of my life that the concept of a supernatural deity was impossible but I've always been interested in pagan beliefs, spiritual energies and the forces of Nature. It was all the gods/goddesses that didn't make sense to me - unless they were purely analogies - and in that case why worship them!

 

About a year ago my boyfriend was reading The God Delusion and I picked it up and read the first 40ish pages. I didn't finish reading the book because the rest of it looked as if it was going to go on about proof that there wasn't a god and I didn't need that proof. Also it sounded as if he was going veer into the religious people are stupid territory and as there's a good deal of evidence that strong religious beliefs are tied up with having a differently wired brain it's pretty unfair to discriminate against people that can't help their differences.

 

Anyway, somewhere in those 40 pages I came across a brief mention of Pantheism which seemed to echo many of my thoughts. Went off and googled and it turns out I'm a Pantheist! Mad that I could have believed something for so long without ever coming across the word that describes it. If you've never heard of it have a brief look here

http://www.pantheism.net/

(I'm taking the easy way out because I tried to explain it to a Jehovah's Witness on my doorstep a few months ago and I had to end up telling her to google it lol)

 

Lawl, I suppose I might just be a pantheist too. Although I don't really like how the word sounds, and I don't like the design of that website >.>

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#7 Old 11-27-2013, 10:04 AM
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Have any other agnostics come out of the closet as atheists?

 

I did, like 7 years ago. Still view agnosticism as a stage (no offense to those who say they are agnostic) or a bridge if you will to the letting go of theism. Agnosticism attempts to create an artificial parity between belief in God and non-belief that simply doesn't exist. They are not flip sides of a coin, and agnosticism gives theism unwarranted legitimacy. Theistic beliefs have no more inherent legitimacy than belief in the tooth fairy and we have to let go of the cultural conditioning that leads us to believe otherwise.

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#8 Old 11-27-2013, 11:47 AM
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I did, like 7 years ago. Still view agnosticism as a stage (no offense to those who say they are agnostic) or a bridge if you will to the letting go of theism. Agnosticism attempts to create an artificial parity between belief in God and non-belief that simply doesn't exist. They are not flip sides of a coin, and agnosticism gives theism unwarranted legitimacy. Theistic beliefs have no more inherent legitimacy than belief in the tooth fairy and we have to let go of the cultural conditioning that leads us to believe otherwise.

 

I used to think I was a strong atheist but as Richard Dawkins says of the probability of the existence of God in The God Delusion:

 
Very low probability but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there'. 

 

According to Dawkins, you are a strong atheist, broccolichick , who is saying

 

[zero probability] "I know there is no god". 

 

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#9 Old 11-27-2013, 12:16 PM
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I've read The God Delusion and several of Dawkins' works and I really think it is forcing a quibble where there really is none. In reality there is no functional distinction in saying there is an extremely low probability of God existing and being a strong atheist. Theoretically I can only really be 99.99% percent sure Santa Claus doesn't exist and there's no contradiction in practice with me operating under the premise that he does not or me saying in effect he does not exist.

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#10 Old 11-27-2013, 02:58 PM
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I've read The God Delusion and several of Dawkins' works and I really think it is forcing a quibble where there really is none. In reality there is no functional distinction in saying there is an extremely low probability of God existing and being a strong atheist. Theoretically I can only really be 99.99% percent sure Santa Claus doesn't exist and there's no contradiction in practice with me operating under the premise that he does not or me saying in effect he does not exist.


....Wh...what do you mean Santa doesn't exist? What are you trying to say?

She's just joking, right you guys? She....she's just making that bit up.....right?

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#11 Old 11-27-2013, 10:46 PM
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She's just joking, right you guys? She....she's just making that bit up.....right?

 

Erm...yes.

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#12 Old 11-27-2013, 10:51 PM
 
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I am going away tonight…, I love you Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.

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#13 Old 11-28-2013, 12:00 AM
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"I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man."




I am here to tell you that words are illusions. I do not need a label to define such belief(s). The definition of God has many meanings beyond our understanding.
I like Alan Watts, and the video suggestion in the upper left corner after this video finishes is also relevant to this discussion. Words are much more than illusions, although at times they cannot convey the true breadth of our thoughts and feelings. Yes, to many people words are inadequate to describe their concept of God or Love. An often heard phrase is 'God is Love'. The two words can represent such complex resonance within ourselves, and mean different things to different people.

I could say my version of God is a pantheistic bewilderment at the incomprehensible beauty and power of this Universe, but there is no need. We can be just as awestruck at the tinyness of our existence without giving credit to a mythical figure.

Edit: "The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever."
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#14 Old 11-28-2013, 02:54 PM
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Have any other agnostics come out of the closet as atheists?

Yes I did too.  I've noticed it is a step on the path toward atheism for a lot of people.

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Most of my faith started drifting away many years ago when I lived by the Sea of Galilee.

Interesting.  Did the locale affect your faith, and how?

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As a 'spiritual type'

I used to think i was a spiritual type too.  I realized it is really just a sense of wonderment and interest in sci fi/fantasy type stuff, not faith.  I wish my parents took me to Comicon instead of church.  Would have saved me a lot of pain.

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#15 Old 11-28-2013, 04:16 PM
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 Did the locale affect your faith, and how?

 

I think it was living amongst Holocaust survivors that made me gradually change my views on Christianity, the faith in which I'd been brought up as youngster. 

 

Lv

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#16 Old 11-28-2013, 08:39 PM
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I think it was living amongst Holocaust survivors that made me gradually change my views on Christianity, the faith in which I'd been brought up as youngster. 

 

Lv


Wow, I don't think I could do that, living near people who'd been through so much. I think I'd break under the emotion of it. I had a lady come into work, who told me how she'd been a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and I almost burst into tears at her story.

Do you think if you'd been brought up as anything other than Christian, that you would be an atheist now?

The only reason I ask, is that all the atheists I know associate religion with Christianity. Do you think a lot of the bad stuff that's been/is still being done in it's name makes people who have been exposed to it, more predisposed to becoming an atheist?



 

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#17 Old 11-29-2013, 01:16 PM
 
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Religion is holding our species back from evolving.

You should all watch Religilous by Bill Maher on YouTube.

Religions are ALL crazy.
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#18 Old 11-29-2013, 01:51 PM
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Wow, I don't think I could do that, living near people who'd been through so much. I think I'd break under the emotion of it. I had a lady come into work, who told me how she'd been a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and I almost burst into tears at her story.

 

You probably DO live near people who have been through severe traumas in their lives, many people who have undergone severe trauma just don't feel comfortable freely discussing it with others who may not understand or feel uncomfortable with the details.


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#19 Old 11-29-2013, 02:29 PM
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Religion is holding our species back from evolving.

You should all watch Religilous by Bill Maher on YouTube.

Religions are ALL crazy.

I LOVE that movie.

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#20 Old 11-29-2013, 02:39 PM
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#21 Old 11-29-2013, 03:56 PM
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Wow, I don't think I could do that, living near people who'd been through so much. I think I'd break under the emotion of it. I had a lady come into work, who told me how she'd been a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and I almost burst into tears at her story.

Do you think if you'd been brought up as anything other than Christian, that you would be an atheist now?

The only reason I ask, is that all the atheists I know associate religion with Christianity. Do you think a lot of the bad stuff that's been/is still being done in it's name makes people who have been exposed to it, more predisposed to becoming an atheist?

Hi TL

 

I don't think I can know how I would feel if I'd been brought up in a faith other than Christianity. Once I'd stepped out of Christianity, all the supernatural elements tied in with it, the virgin birth, bringing somebody back from the dead, curing the blind etc now seemed just as bizarre as the supernatural elements in other religions. It's just that I'd previously never questioned them.

 

I think that when bad things are done in the name of religion, it's good that people ask questions about the religion. "God told me to do it" no longer seems an acceptable response to serious crimes such as genocide. Of course if you are put under sentence of death for either querying, or wanting to leave, your religion, then I have to question how firm the foundation of that religion really is. 

 

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#22 Old 11-29-2013, 09:19 PM
 
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Religion is holding our species back from evolving.

You should all watch Religilous by Bill Maher on YouTube.

Religions are ALL crazy.

 

 

This was listed as one of the related videos. While I disagree with the video title that anyone won or loss this debate, I think that Bill Maher's arguments are symptomatic of a kind of atheistic desire to oversimplify religion, and the kind of 'coldness' I dislike about it. No doubt, there are the fanatics, but we shouldn't use them as a basis to qualify religion as a whole.

 

Towards the end, Bill Maher tries to argue that religion is required to get normal people to commit atrocious acts. He argues against the counterexample of the USSR by claiming that it is a 'secular religion'. I would've liked to hear more about his opinions on that, but I think he's said enough. Would he then consider carnism a secular religion too? It's not fair for him to define religion as a particular grievous trend in human behaviour that happens to manifest in traditional religions, but which manifests in secular people as well.

 

Don't read the YouTube comments though. Within 30 seconds they exceeded my daily quota of stupid.


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#23 Old 11-29-2013, 09:33 PM
 
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I am going away tonight…, I love you Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.

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#24 Old 11-29-2013, 10:59 PM
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I've still trying to figure out what people mean when they say "god". Sorta hard to deny the existence of something....when you don't know what it is.
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#26 Old 11-30-2013, 01:03 AM
 
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#29 Old 11-30-2013, 01:06 AM
 
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They are ALL crazy.
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#30 Old 11-30-2013, 01:06 AM
 
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In the words of Bill Maher name something else from the Bronze Age that people today still adhere to?
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