Growing Up Atheist
First and foremost, I am apologizing for the length of my post. I have a lot to say.
I’ve lurked for awhile on this forum with the best intentions of posting, but, until now, not doing so. My girlfriend is considerably more active here, frequently reading out the posts to me as I sprawl on the sofa reading, watching television, or tinkering with a writing project. She has been after me for sometime to get off of my apathetic butt and post. She can be pretty convincing.
There has been some discussion concerning raising children as atheists. I have a fair amount to say on this subject since, not only am I an atheist, but I was raised an atheist. I am a third generation atheist on my mother’s side. My great grandmother was Irish (admittedly a guess, since she was an orphan, and family legend has it that she was found in a lifeboat adrift in the Irish Sea). She was an atheist. Her son, my grandfather, born in Wales, raised in Canada, now living in New Zealand, is an atheist. My grandmother, raised in the Christian environment of central Alberta, is an agnostic. And my mom is, of course, an atheist. Though I don’t remember much about my great great grandmother, (I’m 35 and she died when I was 13), her atheism was not a knee-jerk reaction, but the reasoned decision of a highly intelligent and strong willed woman. My grandfather and mother are very pragmatic about their atheism. Oh yes, I have two uncles, both of whom are atheists, Canadian born, currently living in New Zealand. My father’s story is a little different. While my mother is Canadian, my father is American (he naturalized only two years ago). My grandmother has belonged to numerous Christian cults, cults with what I like to call ‘prayer police’ who routinely go from one parishioners home to the next, ensuring that all is well and that they are practicing their faith properly. Her and my grandfather were brought together in an arranged marriage. My grandfather was a Baptist who abused his wife and two sons. He beat them with boards. Fortunately, he died from a heart attack before I was born, so I never had a chance to meet the bastard. His father, also Baptist, also cruel, committed suicide. Now, my uncle, a good Christian boy, beat my father (who is ten years younger) and enjoyed torturing and killing my fathers pets (of which he had many). My wonderful uncle abused his wife, murdered POWs in the Viet Nam war (he was stationed on American soil) and embezzled a considerable amount of money from the bank he worked at, and is currently wanted by the FBI. I have never met my uncle. Never want to. Now, my mother is an atheist brought up in a relatively stable environment where choice and freedom of thought was encouraged. My father is more of a reactionary atheist, experiencing first hand the hypocrisy, intolerance, and cruelty of true believers.
"I'm writing for the kind of person who would rather the doctor told them the truth."
This quote from Richard Dawkins rang true to me. I was in a similar situation a few years back. I was hospitalized. At the time no one was sure exactly what was wrong with me. We had narrowed it down to either a tapeworm ova or a neurological condition. I had done some research, and was pretty sure it was a neurological. My doctor was hoping for the tapwworm (Honestly, because if it was, it was curable - in my opinion). While I was lying in the bed, the priest was wandering around, doing communion. When he came to me and asked me if I wanted his assistance, I just smiled. 'Sir, I thank you for wanting to help. But if you really want to help, go find me a doctor. I have some questions for him.'
Why do you have the belief something must have designed us. This is not how it happened or why would call such a thing god, but why you belief any kind of god like figure, including aliens, must exist in order for us to exist.
After an hour of trying to figure out why someone believed in ID I finally got to a question he didn't appear to not understand. Yes I used a double negative there but that describes it better. When I asked him why he believed in ID he said he didn't know how it happened. After about 5 time of me trying to re-state the question and clarifying I started narrowing the question and adding things like "including aliens". Yeah that one was new to me... one of his answers was god could have been alien.
There was a minor incident at a local grocery store here recently.
As the Hallows Eve holiday approaches, people are beginning to hold costume parties and wear their costumes around town. As he was returning from one such affair, one consumer stopped off to pick up a few groceries. Instead he was forced to submit to the illiberality of a store employee.
He was told to leave because of his costume, which the employee did not like.
Now, mind you, I learned of this from second-hand sources, so I can only roughly imagine how events transpired. However, were such a thing to happen to me, I know that I would have demanded an audience with the management.
I think there needs to be a list of this poor excuses for logic so I'm making one.
There needs to be a first cause (Big Bang)
God is (this thing/feeling)
My holy book says so
My religion is old
A lot of people believe
Banana = scary
Morals (godly do good/atheist do bad)
- Hippies (this one was a shocker to me)
Low Probability of Life means there is a creator
I had a feeling
Faith is enough
If I repeat it, If I repeat it, If I repeat it, If I (SLAP)
Fallacies (yes this is the catch all)
Theism has its place.
Theism has its place. Take the Mormon religion (I think it’s particularly kickass). Its people are happy and kind to others. They’re taught to be not fight, not to kill. They’re taught not to be selfish, not to be greedy. They’re taught to be loyal, they’re taught to be good mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. They are taught, in general, to be love everyone as much as they love themselves. They are taught to be clean, to work hard, and to be honest.
What is wrong with this? Morals given and a reason to follow them, sounds good to me even if I didn’t think the doctrine was true, even if I didn’t think God existed.
i would like to call the majority of you people one this site hypocrites, here u are denieing any all gods and religions saying that peop.le need to stop following religion and "think freely", but if none of these religions are true, then that means someone mustve taken the time to think for themselves and create them, and others decided to follow that free thinker, just as you people are trying others to follow your "free thinking" and get them to denie everything that isnt fitting your standards of "no god". Now i call you people hypocrites cause you are denieing and telling others to denie religion which if they are not true are the result of free thinking, so you are denieing the right of free thinking to others cause it doesnt fit your standards, thus you are telling otheres not to do wat you do cause you dont like how they do it.
I have been writing my two senators since for at least the last 6 years. My two senators from Virgina are Senator Warner and Senator Allen. Allen is up for re-election against democratic challenger Webb. So Warner is an old school republican from the more righteous classical middle of the road conservative thought. Allen is a neocon fuckhead, a mouth piece for george bush's dick. So..I've been writing to both senators constantly about a variety of issues.
Sen. Warner's office has always sent me a reply, agreeing or disagreeing with me, but giving at least some thought and care into his constituents.
I am an atheist. I used to be a Christian, and then I read the Bible, thought about it, and left Christianity. Soon after that, I examined the concept of “the supernatural” and became an atheist. Hearing my story would probably be interesting to some people, but apart from some minor variances, it’s no different from the stories of thousands of other “de-converts.” Most atheists are well versed in the logic necessary to rid the mind of religious delusions. What I want to discuss in this essay is the number of theists who fully comprehend the same logic, and yet remain theists. Clearly, this phenomenon should be of great concern to the freethinker who would like to see friends, family, and society in general rid themselves of the poison that religious thought injects into culture.
To: The Old Guard
From: The New Management
Subject: New Memo
Note to staff,
All theists will be responsible for this information in their next review by a non-theist.
In light of AIG's release of arguments we think creationists should NOT use, Management thinks that this is an appropriate time to draw your attention to three erroneous positions assumed by theists who are still using those ubiquitous old memos:
1. "Belief in evolution/science is analogous to faith in God."
Please refrain from further use of this non- comparison. Faith is not a type of knowledge. It neither requires evidence nor gives us any method for determining what is true or false. It is therefore, by definition, utterly distinguished from, and not analogous to, scientific knowledge. The old memo that encouraged you to equate faith with everyday beliefs that certain events will or will not happen is no longer valid, because even those types of beliefs are based upon empirically determined calculations (e.g. assumptions based on habitual recurrences), and not solely wishful thinking for unproven ideas or events that don't habitually recur (although wishful thinking may sometimes accompany an assumption that a common recurrence will again recur, it is not intrinsically tied to it, as it is to faith). Please be informed that even this second kind of (everyday) belief is less accurate than scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is tested in controlled settings with rigorous standards- and even then, is still only considered functional after substantial peer review. Last, faith is not a virtue. Compared to critical thought, it is the laziest option available. Think about it. The paper shredder is available until 6:00.