Please help me deprogram

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Please help me deprogram

After years of starting out my day reading Scripture and brainwashing it into me I need a way to combat it. 

 

I still have a nostalgia for getting up in the morning and doing something positive for myself (what I thought was positive anyway).  I don't even know how to get a normal thought-process back.  Its been very difficult. 

 

I am trying to compose something to read to myself every morning.  Something to the affect of:

 

No one is watching you when there are no people there.  You really are alone (and its not so bad).

You don't have to think "what is God's will" before you decide whether or not to do something.

If someone broke into the house and held your family hostage at gunpoint its okay to hit him over the head with the lamp (or whatever is handy), instead of "resist not evil" and "turn the other cheek" "love your enemies" etc...

 

These are just examples.  I'd love to have people add to the list.  I haven't put much thought into this - probably b/c I can't.  It's very hard to think clearly when you've been brainwashed for so long.  Please help me to see reality!

 

Thanks

 

 

 

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


Hambydammit
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It's not easy.  A lot of us

It's not easy.  A lot of us have been there and done that, though, so you can do it.  Here are my best suggestions:

1) Take it one baby step at a time, and realize that it's going to take a long time.

2) Try to pick one thing to work on at a time.  Don't try to do it all at once.  For instance, right now, maybe you want to just stick with the mantra -- "There is no 'God's Will.'  Things just are, or are not, and I have to play the cards I've been dealt based on the information I have."

3) I highly recommend reading some textbooks on critical thinking and logic.  Try "The Logic of Real Arguments" by Fisher.

Are you still plagued by issues of hell and heaven, reward and punishment?  Here's an article I wrote specifically designed to help people in your position get over the fear of eternal damnation:

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/the-morality-of-hell/

Here's one on why Christian morality is bankrupt, and the only way to think about what's good and bad is natural:

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2009/01/17/where-do-christians-get-their-morality/

Here's one on why humans are so bad at being moderate:

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/conspicuous-consumption/

Finally, here's the first of a three-part article designed to help rid you of all the sexual bullshit the church teaches:

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/myth-sexuality-and-culture/

 

Please, feel free to ask any questions you have about any of this.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Excellent! Thanks, Hamby. 

Excellent! Thanks, Hamby.  That all looks like good food for thought.  Can't wait to dig in.

 

 

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


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Ok, read a few of

Ok, read a few of these.

 

Hamby,

Having just read your moderation article, I am curious what your thoughts are on this. 

 

Do you think religion/faith is part of evolution?  Perhaps it helps us as a species?  I mean, most non-religious believe that things would be better without religion, but what if there are benefits derived from faith that are benefitting our race?  I know I've read studies in the past about people who live longest and healthiest have some religious belief.  Just common-sense-wise, if someone believes in God and believes everyting that happens to them is part of a better plan (even though it isn't true), they will most likely live with less stress and probably live longer.  I don't know about all religions, but Christianity and maybe Buddhism (?) teach against gluttony and greed which ( I believe ) are detrimental to society at large.  If everyone would live in moderation (don't ask me how we'd measure what is moderate...) we could end starvation, alleviate suffering and save lives.  Of course, the planet is also over-populated.  Hmmm..... 

 

No doubt I would prefer to live in the truth regardless of whether or not a false belief is better for me, but when I consider the religious community in general (those who really do believe) perhaps it is better for them that they do?

 

Editting to add:

 

Nevermind. 

I realize that there are far too many different relious beliefs to categorize religion as beneficial.  Maybe I was thinking in context of my own previous beliefs.  I didn't believe in forcing my "morality" on society which, clearly, many other religious people do which, obviously is not beneficial.  Perhaps if I had stayed ignorant and continued to hold my religious beliefs it would have benefitted me.  It definately seems to have been a survival mechanism.   

 

 

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


Answers in Gene...
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Well, allow me to

Well, allow me to suggest that you try reading some of Michael Shermer's books. I find them to be well written and accessible to people on different levels. A couple of titles to look for:

 

“Why People Believe Weird Things”. Each chapter is basically a different essay on one thing that people have been suckered into and covers some of the reasons why they are almost certainly bunk.

 

“How We Believe”. The whole book looks at the concept of religion without going into any specific belief system in any detail. Pretty much, he is speculating on just where the religious impulse comes from and how it took hold in a fairly broad sense.

 

The second of those is more directly concerned with the value of religion in the context of evolution. One example from that that I will paraphrase for you:

 

Let's consider primitive man living as a hunter/gatherer. Now a certain loud noise out in the world could possibly be a lion out on the hunt. If so, it would be pretty dangerous to go out hunting yourself. So given the question of what you should do, there are for possibilities.

 

First, there is no lion and you do not try to hunt yourself. You miss a meal and you are safe. You would have been safe had you hunted but you could not have known that.

 

Second, there is no lion and you go hunt. Dinner time for you and your family. Again, you were safe but had no way of knowing that.

 

Third, there is a lion and you do not hunt. As with case one, you miss a meal but you live to try again tomorrow. You miss a meal but you stay safe.

 

Fourth, there is a lion and you go hunting anyway. The lion has you for dinner.

 

Now the thing is that which ever of the four outcomes actually happens is a guess on your part. However, there are three guesses that leave you alive to try again and one guess that kills you. Of the three safe guesses, one gets you fed and two leave you hungry but you still get to guess again tomorrow regardless.

 

So you should see how guessing can have an outcome that affects your long term survivability. Now which way you go also depends on experience which primitive humans transfer by telling stories. Except that lion food does not pass on learned experience.

 

Only the people who live can pass on stories. Let those stories accumulate over centuries and millenia and they become legends and eventually develop into primitive proto-religions. Except that the simplistic analysis above shows how all the false positive guesses become part of the social fabric along with the occasional true positive guesses.

 

Now perhaps ten thousand years ago, we were carrying all of this intellectual baggage when we developed farming and masonry and could start working on primitive cities. All of the wrong stuff is not so easy to get rid of.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well, allow me to suggest that you try reading some of Michael Shermer's books. I find them to be well written and accessible to people on different levels. A couple of titles to look for:

 

“Why People Believe Weird Things”. Each chapter is basically a different essay on one thing that people have been suckered into and covers some of the reasons why they are almost certainly bunk.

 

“How We Believe”. The whole book looks at the concept of religion without going into any specific belief system in any detail. Pretty much, he is speculating on just where the religious impulse comes from and how it took hold in a fairly broad sense.

 

The second of those is more directly concerned with the value of religion in the context of evolution.

Those sound interesting.  Thanks for the recommendations. 

 

Quote:
  One example from that that I will paraphrase for you:

 

Let's consider primitive man living as a hunter/gatherer. Now a certain loud noise out in the world could possibly be a lion out on the hunt. If so, it would be pretty dangerous to go out hunting yourself. So given the question of what you should do, there are for possibilities.

 

First, there is no lion and you do not try to hunt yourself. You miss a meal and you are safe. You would have been safe had you hunted but you could not have known that.

 

Second, there is no lion and you go hunt. Dinner time for you and your family. Again, you were safe but had no way of knowing that.

 

Third, there is a lion and you do not hunt. As with case one, you miss a meal but you live to try again tomorrow. You miss a meal but you stay safe.

 

Fourth, there is a lion and you go hunting anyway. The lion has you for dinner.

 

Now the thing is that which ever of the four outcomes actually happens is a guess on your part. However, there are three guesses that leave you alive to try again and one guess that kills you. Of the three safe guesses, one gets you fed and two leave you hungry but you still get to guess again tomorrow regardless.

 

So you should see how guessing can have an outcome that affects your long term survivability. Now which way you go also depends on experience which primitive humans transfer by telling stories. Except that lion food does not pass on learned experience.

 

Only the people who live can pass on stories. Let those stories accumulate over centuries and millenia and they become legends and eventually develop into primitive proto-religions. Except that the simplistic analysis above shows how all the false positive guesses become part of the social fabric along with the occasional true positive guesses.

 

Now perhaps ten thousand years ago, we were carrying all of this intellectual baggage when we developed farming and masonry and could start working on primitive cities. All of the wrong stuff is not so easy to get rid of.

 

Interesting.  Yes, the wrong stuff is indeed difficult to get rid of.  Every morning I wake up and have to talk myself into not praying, into not feeling condemned, into how I should evaluate the world around me and make decisions for myself.  It's truly a monumental task; so completely immersed in religious belief for so many years...

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


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POed Ex-Theist wrote: I

POed Ex-Theist wrote:

 

I still have a nostalgia for getting up in the morning and doing something positive for myself (what I thought was positive anyway).  I don't even know how to get a normal thought-process back.  Its been very difficult. 

 

 

Aaaaah... devotionals, one of the many 'wonderful' things I used to have to do. While I cannot give any better advice than Hamby, I can make some suggestions of what you can do that is positive for yourself.

I have found that either excercise, yoga, or non-religious meditation has a positive impact on me. I tend to do the excercise/yoga early in the morning (replacing my old devotionals) and I meditate before I head to bed. And before I get attacked, there are ways to do yoga and meditate without all the woo woo... so don't think I encourage any woo woo! 

I would caution you from making atheist 'devotionals.' While I think it is great to try and reprogram yourself... reading and learning will do much better than creating mantras to repeat in the morning.

Good luck!


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lokipro wrote:POed Ex-Theist

lokipro wrote:

POed Ex-Theist wrote:

 

I still have a nostalgia for getting up in the morning and doing something positive for myself (what I thought was positive anyway).  I don't even know how to get a normal thought-process back.  Its been very difficult. 

 

 

Aaaaah... devotionals, one of the many 'wonderful' things I used to have to do. While I cannot give any better advice than Hamby, I can make some suggestions of what you can do that is positive for yourself.

I have found that either excercise, yoga, or non-religious meditation has a positive impact on me. I tend to do the excercise/yoga early in the morning (replacing my old devotionals) and I meditate before I head to bed. And before I get attacked, there are ways to do yoga and meditate without all the woo woo... so don't think I encourage any woo woo! 

I would caution you from making atheist 'devotionals.' While I think it is great to try and reprogram yourself... reading and learning will do much better than creating mantras to repeat in the morning.

Good luck!

HaHA!  Atheist devotionals...  Now that you put it that way, it is sort of funny.

It wouldn't be something I do forever (hopefully), but I really need some way of getting my brain out of the fog in the morning and help set my tone for the rest of the day.  Otherwise I go about the day trance-like and depressed; questioning how I can ever know what is real anymore.  I need to learn how to think.  It's so pathetic.

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


Hambydammit
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 Quote:Do you think

 

Quote:
Do you think religion/faith is part of evolution?

Everything that we are as humans is part of evolution, so yes.  I believe the human tendency towards god-belief and religion comes from a convergence of adaptations:

1) Attribution of agency.  From a game perspective point of view (which is exactly what Evolution is... game theory), it is better to attribute agency and be wrong than to assume no agency and be wrong.  Put simply, if a rock hits us in the head, better to assume someone through it than to assume it was random chance.   If we assume random chance, and it's a mad warrior from another tribe, we will likely be taken by surprise and die.  If we assume agency and it's just random chance, we might lose a little sleep, or spend a little extra energy looking for something that's not there, but we will not likely die.  For this reason, humans are predisposed by evolution to look for an intellect behind actions.

2) Pattern recognition.  There are two kinds of patterns -- meaningful and meaningless.  A meaningful pattern would be the stripes on a tiger.  When we see the stripes, we know there's a tiger around.  A meaningless pattern would be one that resembles something else, but has no actual significance.  Perhaps a recent fire left a pattern of burn marks on a wall that look surprisingly like a tiger's stripes.  Again, animals in general do better when they assume meaning in patterns.  We are preprogrammed by evolution to look for and find patterns, and sometimes we find patterns we believe to be meaningful, even though they are actually meaningless.  For instance, perhaps an ancient tribe noticed that three times in a row, when they came back from a hunt a day earlier than planned, it rained the next day.  Who knows what kind of intent they might ascribe to that pattern, and what religious beliefs they might form!  But the pattern itself had no real meaning.

3) Group-think.  Humans are social animals, and as such, we are highly reliant on other humans for our survival.  Often, it's a split second thing.  If our tribe-mate yells, "DUCK!" we should react very quickly indeed, or we will be hit in the chest with a spear.  If we take too long to think, we will die.  Evolution has programmed us to be particularly susceptible to doing what everyone else in the group is doing, as well.  After all, if everyone is doing it, and they are still alive, it's got a good chance of being a reasonable action.

When we put these three things together, it's pretty easy to understand how people invented gods and decided what the gods wanted.  Something made it rain, and it was obviously a reward for killing the chief of our neighboring tribe, right?

Quote:
Perhaps it helps us as a species?

I think it's probably likely that the earliest religious beliefs were helpful in some ways.  I think it probably helped tribes bond more firmly to one another.  Since the discovery of the scientific method, however, I don't see religion as providing any benefit that can't be conferred by non-religious groups.  I also see it as having very dangerous possibilities for causing large numbers of people to act in very stupid ways.

Quote:
 I know I've read studies in the past about people who live longest and healthiest have some religious belief.

Most of the studies I've seen were riddled with data problems and methodological flaws.  To be honest, I think we're just getting to a point where we might know enough to do studies that provide meaningful data.

Quote:
  Just common-sense-wise, if someone believes in God and believes everyting that happens to them is part of a better plan (even though it isn't true), they will most likely live with less stress and probably live longer.  

That's only one side of the coin.  The other side is a sense of futility or inevitability which causes people to take less responsibility for their own lives.  I have a LOT less stress since becoming an atheist.  It's easier to figure out a universe without a capricious god who can change the rules at any time.  It's a lot easier to figure out what's my fault, and what I should be worried about, and what's not my problem, and therefore, what I don't need to worry about.

I suppose there's some of both.  My gut (and a lot of years of talking to a lot of people) is that most people are about the same, stress-wise, with or without religion.

Quote:
I realize that there are far too many different relious beliefs to categorize religion as beneficial.  Maybe I was thinking in context of my own previous beliefs.  I didn't believe in forcing my "morality" on society which, clearly, many other religious people do which, obviously is not beneficial.  Perhaps if I had stayed ignorant and continued to hold my religious beliefs it would have benefitted me.  It definately seems to have been a survival mechanism.  

Everybody's different.  I wouldn't go back if you paid me a hundred million dollars.  There's a lot of material on my blog.  I'd recommend reading as much as you can.  Check the "Articles" page for the best ones.  Personally, I believe that most people, once they get rid of the religious baggage, discover that life's a lot more vibrant and dynamic when it's natural, predictable, and doesn't have the aura of "God's special little creation" hanging over it.  

I guess all I'm really saying is that I think you should give this side of the fence a fair shake.  How long did you spend on the other side?  Such a drastic shift can't be accomplished overnight.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I'll have to second

I'll have to second lokipro's suggestions. Find something that is positive. I like to write; it's one of the things I do to help me clear my head. Others like to play instruments, or (as lokipro suggested) meditate.

I would suggest doing things that help explore who you are now. You have just let go what was probably a very important part of yourself. The "you" that is here now may be different than the one before. You are at a point where you can help decide and shape who you will be next.

Good luck.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:Do

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
Do you think religion/faith is part of evolution?

Everything that we are as humans is part of evolution, so yes.  I believe the human tendency towards god-belief and religion comes from a convergence of adaptations:

1) Attribution of agency....

2) Pattern recognition.... 

3) Group-think...... 

 

 When we put these three things together, it's pretty easy to understand how people invented gods and decided what the gods wanted.  Something made it rain, and it was obviously a reward for killing the chief of our neighboring tribe, right?

Quote:
Perhaps it helps us as a species?

I think it's probably likely that the earliest religious beliefs were helpful in some ways.  I think it probably helped tribes bond more firmly to one another.  Since the discovery of the scientific method, however, I don't see religion as providing any benefit that can't be conferred by non-religious groups.  I also see it as having very dangerous possibilities for causing large numbers of people to act in very stupid ways.

Quote:
 I know I've read studies in the past about people who live longest and healthiest have some religious belief.

Most of the studies I've seen were riddled with data problems and methodological flaws.  To be honest, I think we're just getting to a point where we might know enough to do studies that provide meaningful data.

Quote:
  Just common-sense-wise, if someone believes in God and believes everyting that happens to them is part of a better plan (even though it isn't true), they will most likely live with less stress and probably live longer.  

That's only one side of the coin.  The other side is a sense of futility or inevitability which causes people to take less responsibility for their own lives.  I have a LOT less stress since becoming an atheist.  It's easier to figure out a universe without a capricious god who can change the rules at any time.  It's a lot easier to figure out what's my fault, and what I should be worried about, and what's not my problem, and therefore, what I don't need to worry about.

Well, obviously I've decided that belief, for me, is no longer beneficial.  I got to a point where indecision about which church, which morality, etc.. led me to conclude that there is no way flawed man can determine a supposed higher, perfect truth.  How can fallibility determine infallibility?  Its ridiculous.

Quote:

I suppose there's some of both.  My gut (and a lot of years of talking to a lot of people) is that most people are about the same, stress-wise, with or without religion.

Ah, but I would have said that that is due to laxity/lukewarmness on the part of the professing believer; that true faith would = total reliance on God and therefore total rest (no stress).  "Come to me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest".  I would have said that total submission to God = perfect rest/Heaven on Earth.  And I never believed (nor did Christ teach) that many people would get to this point.  "Straight is the way and narrow the way that leads to life and few there be that find it".

Quote:
I realize that there are far too many different relious beliefs to categorize religion as beneficial.  Maybe I was thinking in context of my own previous beliefs.  I didn't believe in forcing my "morality" on society which, clearly, many other religious people do which, obviously is not beneficial.  Perhaps if I had stayed ignorant and continued to hold my religious beliefs it would have benefitted me.  It definately seems to have been a survival mechanism.  

Quote:
Everybody's different.  I wouldn't go back if you paid me a hundred million dollars.  There's a lot of material on my blog.  I'd recommend reading as much as you can.  Check the "Articles" page for the best ones.  Personally, I believe that most people, once they get rid of the religious baggage, discover that life's a lot more vibrant and dynamic when it's natural, predictable, and doesn't have the aura of "God's special little creation" hanging over it.  

I guess all I'm really saying is that I think you should give this side of the fence a fair shake.  How long did you spend on the other side?  Such a drastic shift can't be accomplished overnight.

It hasn't been long enough.  I am plagued with doubt, but I don't feel like I have any logical reason to accept my religious belief.  8+years as a devout Catholic.  4 years as an ultra-conservative Mennonite.  And only this very serious doubt for about a year now. 

There is one very slim thing that keeps some small spark of faith alive, and that is experience.  Prior to my 12-13 years of faith I lived a very secular, atheistic life, and I was certainly not fulfilled.  Does that prove faith was good?  No.  Just coincidence likely.  Or more likely, what I perceive to be better since faith isn't neccessarily better.  What measure am I using to determine better?  I think I was using alleviation of suffering to be the rule of measure.  I reasoned that if I could eliminate suffering (at least from myself, and then teach others to do so) that I could do more good for others.  Religion was a motivator in stopping some addictions as well.  I was a very selfish person, heavily addicted to several things, and religion helped me overcome these addictions.  (The irony being that religion became my new addiction...)  Anyway, I thought I had mystical experiences also, and unexplainable things that seemed impossible in the natural realm, like having a strong impression about something happening in the near future and then having it happen in reality.  (and attributing it to the supernatural while dispelling the numerous times the same impression came and nothing occured to validate it).  Otoh, I can see very clearly the ways in which faith has been a real problem for me and those around me.  I have been so troubled about choosing whether to remain Catholic or join the Mennonite church (neither of which could I prove to be more correct than the other - finally realizing that I also couldn't prove the existence of God to be true either....) that my oldest daughter has a lot of "spiritual"/mental issues to deal with now.  She loves one church only to be taught that it is wrong and we must go to the other only to find out that it is wrong and we must leave that one and return to the other.  Doing that once or twice was ok...  it's all a learning process, right?   But we went back and forth over and over and over b/c just when I'd thought I understood what was wrong with one, I'd find something wrong with the other.  Then think, 'well, maybe the other church wasn't wrong afterall' and switch again.  Sometimes I'd conclude that maybe they both were right in the most important ways and the ways in which they were wrong  wouldn't affect ones salvation.  But how would I determine which teachings were important and which weren't?  So many of them contradicted the other.  They simply couldn't both be right.  It is far more likely that both are wrong.  And in the midst of trying to determine all of this, Christianity is no simple thing to live out if you really want to follow the teachings of Christ.  Seeing the reality that I cannot possibly determine the infallible truth of God with my fallible little human mind gives me little motivation to live such a rigid and conservative life.  So my morality would change.  This affects my whole family.  Sometimes it's okay to go to Disney or the zoo or watch a movie and other times you may not so much as say "jeez" without fear of God's wrath, can't play in organized sports, and all musical instruments are from Satan.  If someone were to break into my home and hold us at gunpoint, I wouldn't have lifted a finger to defend us.  Wouldn't vote, wouldn't serve on a jury, didn't even like to be around other people for fear of bringing back out the "old man"; that sinful, proud heathen...  

My situation is an extreme one, but I truly believed all these things were teachings in the Bible and/or teachings by the Catholic Church (or at least, implied to be more perfect by example of their canonized "saints" and "doctors of the church).  Maybe some people don't take religion this far, but I did.  I saw no other choice.  I wanted perfection (whatever that is....); the highest heights of sanctity possible in this life.  Now I've got confused family and a very distraught 13 year old daughter.  I'm so angry with what I've done!  How could I have been so stupid???

The best thing we can do as a society is teach our children critical thinking skills.  If they can think for themselves in a logical way they will not fall for this religious bull in the first place. 

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


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nigelTheBold wrote:I'll have

nigelTheBold wrote:

I'll have to second lokipro's suggestions. Find something that is positive. I like to write; it's one of the things I do to help me clear my head. Others like to play instruments, or (as lokipro suggested) meditate.

I would suggest doing things that help explore who you are now. You have just let go what was probably a very important part of yourself. The "you" that is here now may be different than the one before. You are at a point where you can help decide and shape who you will be next.

Good luck.

Thank you both.  Those are good suggestions.  Maybe a morning walk or something like that.  Just sitting quietly and trying to rediscover who I REALLY am. 

 

Thanks so much.

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


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POed Ex-Theist wrote:There

POed Ex-Theist wrote:

There is one very slim thing that keeps some small spark of faith alive, and that is experience.  Prior to my 12-13 years of faith I lived a very secular, atheistic life, and I was certainly not fulfilled.  Does that prove faith was good?  No.  Just coincidence likely.  Or more likely, what I perceive to be better since faith isn't neccessarily better.  What measure am I using to determine better?  I think I was using alleviation of suffering to be the rule of measure.  I reasoned that if I could eliminate suffering (at least from myself, and then teach others to do so) that I could do more good for others.  Religion was a motivator in stopping some addictions as well.  I was a very selfish person, heavily addicted to several things, and religion helped me overcome these addictions.  (The irony being that religion became my new addiction...)  Anyway, I thought I had mystical experiences also, and unexplainable things that seemed impossible in the natural realm, like having a strong impression about something happening in the near future and then having it happen in reality.  (and attributing it to the supernatural while dispelling the numerous times the same impression came and nothing occured to validate it).  Otoh, I can see very clearly the ways in which faith has been a real problem for me and those around me.  I have been so troubled about choosing whether to remain Catholic or join the Mennonite church (neither of which could I prove to be more correct than the other - finally realizing that I also couldn't prove the existence of God to be true either....) that my oldest daughter has a lot of "spiritual"/mental issues to deal with now.  She loves one church only to be taught that it is wrong and we must go to the other only to find out that it is wrong and we must leave that one and return to the other.  Doing that once or twice was ok...  it's all a learning process, right?   But we went back and forth over and over and over b/c just when I'd thought I understood what was wrong with one, I'd find something wrong with the other.  Then think, 'well, maybe the other church wasn't wrong afterall' and switch again.  Sometimes I'd conclude that maybe they both were right in the most important ways and the ways in which they were wrong  wouldn't affect ones salvation.  But how would I determine which teachings were important and which weren't?  So many of them contradicted the other.  They simply couldn't both be right.  It is far more likely that both are wrong.  And in the midst of trying to determine all of this, Christianity is no simple thing to live out if you really want to follow the teachings of Christ.  Seeing the reality that I cannot possibly determine the infallible truth of God with my fallible little human mind gives me little motivation to live such a rigid and conservative life.  So my morality would change.  This affects my whole family.  Sometimes it's okay to go to Disney or the zoo or watch a movie and other times you may not so much as say "jeez" without fear of God's wrath, can't play in organized sports, and all musical instruments are from Satan.  If someone were to break into my home and hold us at gunpoint, I wouldn't have lifted a finger to defend us.  Wouldn't vote, wouldn't serve on a jury, didn't even like to be around other people for fear of bringing back out the "old man"; that sinful, proud heathen...  

My situation is an extreme one, but I truly believed all these things were teachings in the Bible and/or teachings by the Catholic Church (or at least, implied to be more perfect by example of their canonized "saints" and "doctors of the church).  Maybe some people don't take religion this far, but I did.  I saw no other choice.  I wanted perfection (whatever that is....); the highest heights of sanctity possible in this life.  Now I've got confused family and a very distraught 13 year old daughter.  I'm so angry with what I've done!  How could I have been so stupid???

The best thing we can do as a society is teach our children critical thinking skills.  If they can think for themselves in a logical way they will not fall for this religious bull in the first place. 

First, you are not alone here... many of the people on this thread have had similar experiences. I personally was raised evangelical and was sent to a baptist school (talk about f*cked up!).

I don't think that you do not give yourself enough credit for a lot of things. Kicking the addiction was self-discovery and you... you stopped, not some foo foo fairy in the sky! Being proud of your accomplishments is nothing to be ashamed of (as long as you're not arrogant).

I also had similar issues with fullfillment... and it took me from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, insert religion here, agnosticism and finally atheism. What I found is that once I removed the crutch of a god's plan for my life, I was no longer happy. I can only tell you that I learned that only I  could give my life meaning/fulfillment. It is important for you to figure out what you want in life, and make your own plan... set goals to work towards and challenge yourself daily. I can't promise that you'll be as fulfilled as when you were at the church (it's much easier when the sky fairy is responsible for everything), but I can only tell you what has helped me.

I'm a bit of an existentialist.


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lokipro wrote:POed Ex-Theist

lokipro wrote:

POed Ex-Theist wrote:

There is one very slim thing that keeps some small spark of faith alive, and that is experience.  Prior to my 12-13 years of faith I lived a very secular, atheistic life, and I was certainly not fulfilled.  Does that prove faith was good?  No.  Just coincidence likely.  Or more likely, what I perceive to be better since faith isn't neccessarily better.  What measure am I using to determine better?  I think I was using alleviation of suffering to be the rule of measure.  I reasoned that if I could eliminate suffering (at least from myself, and then teach others to do so) that I could do more good for others.  Religion was a motivator in stopping some addictions as well.  I was a very selfish person, heavily addicted to several things, and religion helped me overcome these addictions.  (The irony being that religion became my new addiction...)  Anyway, I thought I had mystical experiences also, and unexplainable things that seemed impossible in the natural realm, like having a strong impression about something happening in the near future and then having it happen in reality.  (and attributing it to the supernatural while dispelling the numerous times the same impression came and nothing occured to validate it).  Otoh, I can see very clearly the ways in which faith has been a real problem for me and those around me.  I have been so troubled about choosing whether to remain Catholic or join the Mennonite church (neither of which could I prove to be more correct than the other - finally realizing that I also couldn't prove the existence of God to be true either....) that my oldest daughter has a lot of "spiritual"/mental issues to deal with now.  She loves one church only to be taught that it is wrong and we must go to the other only to find out that it is wrong and we must leave that one and return to the other.  Doing that once or twice was ok...  it's all a learning process, right?   But we went back and forth over and over and over b/c just when I'd thought I understood what was wrong with one, I'd find something wrong with the other.  Then think, 'well, maybe the other church wasn't wrong afterall' and switch again.  Sometimes I'd conclude that maybe they both were right in the most important ways and the ways in which they were wrong  wouldn't affect ones salvation.  But how would I determine which teachings were important and which weren't?  So many of them contradicted the other.  They simply couldn't both be right.  It is far more likely that both are wrong.  And in the midst of trying to determine all of this, Christianity is no simple thing to live out if you really want to follow the teachings of Christ.  Seeing the reality that I cannot possibly determine the infallible truth of God with my fallible little human mind gives me little motivation to live such a rigid and conservative life.  So my morality would change.  This affects my whole family.  Sometimes it's okay to go to Disney or the zoo or watch a movie and other times you may not so much as say "jeez" without fear of God's wrath, can't play in organized sports, and all musical instruments are from Satan.  If someone were to break into my home and hold us at gunpoint, I wouldn't have lifted a finger to defend us.  Wouldn't vote, wouldn't serve on a jury, didn't even like to be around other people for fear of bringing back out the "old man"; that sinful, proud heathen...  

My situation is an extreme one, but I truly believed all these things were teachings in the Bible and/or teachings by the Catholic Church (or at least, implied to be more perfect by example of their canonized "saints" and "doctors of the church).  Maybe some people don't take religion this far, but I did.  I saw no other choice.  I wanted perfection (whatever that is....); the highest heights of sanctity possible in this life.  Now I've got confused family and a very distraught 13 year old daughter.  I'm so angry with what I've done!  How could I have been so stupid???

The best thing we can do as a society is teach our children critical thinking skills.  If they can think for themselves in a logical way they will not fall for this religious bull in the first place. 

First, you are not alone here... many of the people on this thread have had similar experiences. I personally was raised evangelical and was sent to a baptist school (talk about f*cked up!).

I don't think that you do not give yourself enough credit for a lot of things. Kicking the addiction was self-discovery and you... you stopped, not some foo foo fairy in the sky! Being proud of your accomplishments is nothing to be ashamed of (as long as you're not arrogant).

I've been realizing this slowly.  I think of that little voice I hear within that I used to call "God" and know that I helped myself.  It is mind-boggling how free I feel myself becoming.  I never realized how bound I was before.  Maybe every religious person doesn't experience this kind of release, but I really was (and still am to a great extent) obsessed with my beliefs.  They shaped so much of my life. 

 

Right now, my problem is pent-up energy.  I must have put so much focus and energy into my beliefs that I feel like a bomb about to explode pretty much all of the time.  Now that I am not channelling that energy into my faith-filled life, I feel an over-abundance of energy that I don't know what to do with.  .

Quote:

I also had similar issues with fullfillment... and it took me from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, insert religion here, agnosticism and finally atheism. What I found is that once I removed the crutch of a god's plan for my life, I was no longer happy. I can only tell you that I learned that only I  could give my life meaning/fulfillment. It is important for you to figure out what you want in life, and make your own plan... set goals to work towards and challenge yourself daily. I can't promise that you'll be as fulfilled as when you were at the church (it's much easier when the sky fairy is responsible for everything), but I can only tell you what has helped me.

I'm a bit of an existentialist.

Thank's for your encouragement.  I am an optimist though.  I don't feel much different.  If anything, I'm just angry with having let myself be so vulnerable.  I'm an aggressive person and I feel like I've wasted a lot of time.  I promise I'm not going to sit back now that I am liberated - far from it... 

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


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Enjoy the fiction

 POed- Sounds to me like you are trying to hard.  If reading scripture every morning made you feel good then why stop?  Robert Price continues to read, and pray for that matter, yet knowing it is mostly made up, my words not his, it certainly has not taken away from his rational thought or his enjoyment of “Christianity”.  Think of it as you would with any other kind of fiction.  As long as you realize that Moses didn’t REALLY split the Red Sea enjoying “Prince of Egypt” should hardly be a problem.  You can still enjoy all the “fake” feelings that come from mythology worship, just as with "Wedding Crashers" or "Old Yeller",  without actually believing it!   As for me I’m not much for mythology worship, now this may be blasphemy, but then I'm not for watching “Lost” either. 

 

"Those who have stepped into the arena shall forever cherish a feeling the protected will never know."


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i can certainly relate to

i can certainly relate to the idea of deprogramming. after abandoning my guilt-devotion i had a terrible time builing any intellectual self-esteem and had to learn to feel good about myself without the help of any 'god'. the ritual is also provided the structure of intellectual stimulus that has been very sucessful for those of faith and those without.

one thing that i find not only clever, but also very helpful is the Intellectual Devotional series. it is literally just like it sounds, a secularized version of the tid-bit reading that helps so many christians. bite sized chunks of information on everything from american history to astronomy. it's a neat transitional tool for those who see the value in daily devotion, just not daily devotion to an uninteresting fiction series.


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Following Michael's

Following Michael's suggestion to continue reading scripture, I am wondering if you have read ALL of the scripture such as the pseudepigrapha, apocrypha, and deuterocanonical apocrypha.

Nothing like The book of Enoch to put bullshit in its respective place. lol. Great toilet reading unless you can't laugh whilst you excrete.

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Have you considered reading

Have you considered reading something positive, that is non theistic?  Poetry, for example? I read a poem every night before I go to bed,

and it helps me feel peaceful. You might also consider attending a Unitarian Universalist church. The one I attended was about 40%

atheist, and many of the readings and practices promote a positive, spiritual feeling without theism.

"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense."


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Thanks all for

Thanks all for replies/advice.  And yes, I think I am trying very hard, perhaps too hard. 

 

Santa was hard to get over.  This is monumentally difficult.  Sometimes I feel really ridiculous that I have to do this - that's why I compare it to Santa.

 

Some days I just know I need to try to deprogram - I don't want to raise my children with a lie - but other days I have doubts about my doubts.  Tired of the rollercoaster....

 

 

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.


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Faith is part of evolution?

"Do you think religion/faith is part of evolution? "

I think we as intelligent beings are scared of death and the finality of it, so we've created gods and an afterlife to explain the things we (formerly) couldn't explain.


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"Santa was hard to get

"Santa was hard to get over. "

It was? You poor thing. My second and third children never believed in him because we just told him the Santa myth was a game we played on Christmas. My kids know that there is no Santa, and we give to charity every Christmas to those in need. How arrogant of people to teach their kids a man in a red suit brings them presents, while other kids are in need of food, shelter, and clothing. When I realized this, I felt so stupid.


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EdwardNortonFan wrote:"Santa

EdwardNortonFan wrote:

"Santa was hard to get over. "

It was? You poor thing. My second and third children never believed in him because we just told him the Santa myth was a game we played on Christmas. My kids know that there is no Santa, and we give to charity every Christmas to those in need. How arrogant of people to teach their kids a man in a red suit brings them presents, while other kids are in need of food, shelter, and clothing. When I realized this, I felt so stupid.

 

Hey,I really like your handle- I am in love with the man Smiling

"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense."


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i was raised jehovahs

i was raised jehovahs witness, and although i was never a true believer, i still to this day (12 years later) have small brain farts from the past.  When  i left i had to leave my family and friends behind except for my sister who had already left.  So not only did i have the fear that i was wrong running through my head for the first few years, i had lost everyone who was important to me.  So i know how it feels to wake up everymorning and despite the fact you know your right, its hard to believe it with all the cow manuer used to fertilize the developement of our brains in these religious periods. 

   Like i said, i still to this day have random thoughts that god is watching me, although they are irrelevant now, they still exist infrequantly.  The guys here on the site has said most of what i would say to help you, most of which is that it is going to be you that helps you over time.  The best thing to do is keep reading, keep discussing, keep your mind active, and surround yourself with asmany likeminded goodhearted folk as you can.  Besides that only thing you can really do is wait, like being drunk, the only thing that really makes it go away is time.  Everyday the thought of god waitching your everymove will become weaker and weaker, every day you will stronger as a person.  Believe it, we've all been their, and congrats to you on your new found freedom.  Dont for a second think its a sin to persue your own desires in life, be who you want to be, live the dream!!!

 

"ONE MIND AT ATIME"


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Jump onto Amazon

And buy yourself a copy of the Atheist's Bible...it's well worth having.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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EdwardNortonFan wrote:"Do

EdwardNortonFan wrote:

"Do you think religion/faith is part of evolution? "

I think we as intelligent beings are scared of death and the finality of it, so we've created gods and an afterlife to explain the things we (formerly) couldn't explain.

I think that is a very simplistic way of looking at the issue, at the very least ignoring thousands of years of sound philosophical history and development by people much more intelligent, perceptive and involved than we care to admit and find out. Maybe the because-we-were-dumb explanation works for you, but you should remember that you are a single impressionable mind of 30- or 40-something, just a very new dot in an old book that easily fits all combined works of humanity on a single page. Just like the people you mention, you too cling to a "certainty" of your own time, stepping lightly over a higher responsibility to actual, rather than certain truth.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


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Hambydammit wrote: Here's

Hambydammit wrote:
 Here's an article I wrote specifically designed to help people i

 

Oh God, how many times are you going to plug in your pathetically written blog?

Give it a rest. 


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Gumby, EdNortonFan is right

 

When she suggests religion may be a development that acts as a safety valve to de-pressure our terror.

Often I read comments in which the smart people of the past are gifted with some sort of vast cleverness we should bow down to

despite the fact they operated in the absence of factual proofs and discounting their lack of understanding.

It's beyond doubt that humans existed before organised religion. It's beyond doubt there are religions far older than the current crop.

It's a fact that all religions do no more than trademark fundamental human qualities, qualities that globally transcend faith.

The idea that once upon a time before jesus a mother would not die for her children, that there was no brotherly love, no empathy, generosity, kindness and no integrity is farcical.

In the course of history men and women have invented hundreds of religions, nearly all or which are now extinct. You are contending that

all religions but the one you believe were in fact invented by humans to explain life's mysteries, yet you are telling EdNortonFan she is wrong to suggest your religion might have been

invented to explain life's mysteries.

Anytime you can offer prove your god exists in this particular reality I'll be pleased to believe in him. Until then, EdNortonFan's honest thoughts seem braver to me than anything I've read

in the bible.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:
 despite the fact they operated in the absence of factual proofs and discounting their lack of understanding.

And what would they have done with such factual proofs about the natural sciences? Probably as much as I could do with a television on a deserted island.

They didn't operate without factual proofs, they knew how to develop effective weaponry, how to organize their armies, how to conquer varying regions of the world, how to farm, and cultivate the land, clearly they operated by factual proofs.

What you and EdwardNorton Fan don't seem to understand is that factual proofs, don't come with a direction attached, but rather they inform a direction. We can know all the facts about global warming, but yet care little to do anything about it, with our concern only being for the here and now, and our short individual life. If you think a scientific or even rational argument is what's needed to save the indifferent, you're quite naive. 

Factual proofs don't come with a magic notion of how we are to engage with the world around us, what our concerns should be. They're not their to foster community, to create common cause, they can only serve to inform these views. If a communities goal is to foster solidarity with it's members, to foster hope, and empowerment in circumstances that required these emotional dependencies, factual proofs have little to provide them. 


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theTwelve

theTwelve wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:
 despite the fact they operated in the absence of factual proofs and discounting their lack of understanding.

And what would they have done with such factual proofs about the natural sciences? Probably as much as I could do with a television on a deserted island.

They didn't operate without factual proofs, they knew how to develop effective weaponry, how to organize their armies, how to conquer varying regions of the world, how to farm, and cultivate the land, clearly they operated by factual proofs.

What you and EdwardNorton Fan don't seem to understand is that factual proofs, don't come with a direction attached, but rather they inform a direction. We can know all the facts about global warming, but yet care little to do anything about it, with our concern only being for the here and now, and our short individual life. If you think a scientific or even rational argument is what's needed to save the indifferent, you're quite naive. 

Factual proofs don't come with a magic notion of how we are to engage with the world around us, what our concerns should be. They're not their to foster community, to create common cause, they can only serve to inform these views. If a communities goal is to foster solidarity with it's members, to foster hope, and empowerment in circumstances that required these emotional dependencies, factual proofs have little to provide them. 

 

It's fascinating to me that theists continue to insist that somehow the great human qualities exist outside the realms of reason and practical explanation. Instead christians believe only they are in possesion of core human qualities though it's obvious their doctrine shows a decided lack of empathy. Most christians I know are content to assume that the world is meant to be falling apart and that god will make a new one afterwards.

Your suggestion I have no understanding of the notion of facts or the basic truth that facts offer information for our application is your own invention and I can't help wondering why ENF's suggestion religion may have evolved is a problem for you.

It is true that in the past thinkers arrived at conclusions while not in possession of the truth and there is no point in us rushing to embrace their flawed assumptions. Your comments about old timers ability to make war and grow maize are irrelevant. These were people who had no idea of solar flares, seismic events, plate tectonics and vulcanism - no to mention their lack of knowledge in relation to the microscopic. People with mental health issues were considered to be possessed by demons, natural events were sent by god.

Getting back to the point, anytime you want to give me some facts and proofs about the bible story disciple boy, feel free to move away from the bollocks. For a start you can show me the fossil deposit in which multiple

modern complex life forms suddenly appear all together with no transition from simple to complex over time as indicated by the varying depths of sedimentary deposits.  If you don't intend to make that effort don't bother replying.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:
 Getting back to the point, anytime you want to give me some facts and proofs about the bible story disciple boy, feel free to move away from the bollocks. For a start you can show me the fossil deposit in which multiple

Well, first of all moron i'm not a theist. I'm just not a member of the dimwitted atheist club, who are no less deluded than theist they deride. Unlike most individuals here, I spend a great deal of time studying the history of thought, the transition to modernity, the arrival of the secular age, the events and perspectives that led to it, while idiots such as yourself settle for naivety because its gives you a hard-on. 

Quote:
It's fascinating to me that theists continue to insist that somehow the great human qualities exist outside the realms of reason and practical explanation.....Your suggestion I have no understanding of the notion of facts or the basic truth that facts offer information for our application is your own invention and I can't help wondering why ENF's suggestion religion may have evolved is a problem for you.

Uhm...I do believe religion "evolved" that the phenomenon and development can be explained naturally, I just disagree with what ENF's unlearned assumptions about why it evolved. 

And again, let's try to break this down for you as I would for a child. Let's say you encounter an individuals who knows the science behind global warming quite well, yet he's rather indifferent to do anything about it, because he's concerns are only for his immediate existence, the well being of his children, but not towards the later generations of them. Do you think you can compel him not to be indifferent by resorting to scientific arguments, by presenting to him facts?

Or here. If you dropped your wallet, and I come across it, I'm going to take all the money out and keep it, and discard the useless shit. Do you think you're going to persuade me otherwise by resorting to scientific arguments, and providing him with facts?

If you can grasp this much, I suggest you picture a world, a period, where these sort of questions and necessities where the dominant and pervading contemplations, and these were the real concerns of society, what would "factual knowledge", knowledge about plate tectonics, vulcanism, solar flares, do for them? 

 

 

 

 


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Deprogramming

It takes a long time to deprogram. Two years ago I walked away from the supernatural and any gods. A few months ago, to help people who are just learning how to think logically, I started a blog called Fledgeling Skeptic. There are posts I think you might find helpful (http://www.fledgelingskeptic.wordpress.com)

This is a rough time but you'll get through it.


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theTwelve

theTwelve wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:
 Getting back to the point, anytime you want to give me some facts and proofs about the bible story disciple boy, feel free to move away from the bollocks. For a start you can show me the fossil deposit in which multiple

Well, first of all moron i'm not a theist. I'm just not a member of the dimwitted atheist club, who are no less deluded than theist they deride. Unlike most individuals here, I spend a great deal of time studying the history of thought, the transition to modernity, the arrival of the secular age, the events and perspectives that led to it, while idiots such as yourself settle for naivety because its gives you a hard-on. 

Quote:
It's fascinating to me that theists continue to insist that somehow the great human qualities exist outside the realms of reason and practical explanation.....Your suggestion I have no understanding of the notion of facts or the basic truth that facts offer information for our application is your own invention and I can't help wondering why ENF's suggestion religion may have evolved is a problem for you.

Uhm...I do believe religion "evolved" that the phenomenon and development can be explained naturally, I just disagree with what ENF's unlearned assumptions about why it evolved. 

And again, let's try to break this down for you as I would for a child. Let's say you encounter an individuals who knows the science behind global warming quite well, yet he's rather indifferent to do anything about it, because he's concerns are only for his immediate existence, the well being of his children, but not towards the later generations of them. Do you think you can compel him not to be indifferent by resorting to scientific arguments, by presenting to him facts?

Or here. If you dropped your wallet, and I come across it, I'm going to take all the money out and keep it, and discard the useless shit. Do you think you're going to persuade me otherwise by resorting to scientific arguments, and providing him with facts?

If you can grasp this much, I suggest you picture a world, a period, where these sort of questions and necessities where the dominant and pervading contemplations, and these were the real concerns of society, what would "factual knowledge", knowledge about plate tectonics, vulcanism, solar flares, do for them? 

 

You really are a lovely person, twelve, and it's a pleasure talking to you. Reading your posts it's clear what a rational clear head you are - you're right to aggrandize yourself as the only non-halfwit here.

And you absolutely never argue with emotion.

Now that you've decided to sideline facts, use your mighty brain to explain to me how it's possible to undelude the godly whose every thought is bent on the contents of god's celestial wallet

using some means other than an application of what we can establish as being true.

While I appreciate what you are saying in relation to looking after immediate needs - what are you suggesting? That in the presence of such needs you can/must/should believe what's irrational to survive?

And how far are we away from this past time where people needed to take the contents of the wallet on the basis of need and discounting the presentation of facts? Nothing much seems to have changed

and if anything, things are worse. There's a strong case that before urbanisation group homogeny was far greater and collective morality far more pervasive than it is today and with good reason.

From memory ENF simply suggested religion may have evolved from fears of mortality - while this is a thread of an argument there's no doubt that the christian god's core role is the provision of eternal life in order

to save people from death. The point is correct regardless of whatever other arguments exist. Any christian will tell you that the core of their faith is calvary and we both know what was happening there, don't we?

 

 P.S. Sorry for mistaking you for a theist.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


POed Ex-Theist
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Interesting - I though I

Interesting - I though I posted here last week but it's not here.  Maybe I never finished composing it.....

 

Anyway, thanks, everyone, for your insight and encouragment.  Things are a LOT better.  I'm even talking about my new position with my children and former church-"family".  But I have to admit that I am very hesitant to say anything to believers right now as the subject really actually makes me angry.  I just want to shake some sense into these people!  My husband is coming to the same conclusions I have as we discuss these things at length.  Reading a lot is helping immensely.  I was pleased with "The God Delusion" by Dawkins and waiting for "The Greatest Show On Earth" to arrive in the mail so I can be more knowlegable in discussing evolution with my old "creationist" aquaintences.  A not-so-great friend of mine started to discuss religion with me the other day (we've never even agreed on religious things when I was a Christian.....) and I told her it would be best if we didn't discuss these things, but she was pushy about it so I started ripping apart her arguments.  After about 5 minutes of that we BOTH agreed that we shouldnt discuss it.  The pastor of the Fundamentalist church I was visiting on a off for that past 4 years called the other day to see if they could pay me a visit.  It's the week of their "revivals" (evangelistic meetings) and the bishop gives the messages (sermons) and they travel to the famililes of people who have visited (aren't members) throughout the past year to discuss spiritual things.  I told the pastor that this wouldn't be a good time for us to discuss those  things and he said "well, it could just be a friendly visit" (yeah right.....).  I told him these things are on my mind almost continually and even if they weren't I wouldn't be able to sit with a travelling evangelist and the pastor of a church and NOT discuss "spiritual things".  And I wouldn't have anything constructive to say about their faith, or any faith.  He said "Do you have peace?  B/c the Bible says if we have the truth it will set us free".  I basically told him that I question whether there is an absolute truth and if there is one if we as mere humans could ever assume to know what that absolute truth is.  I also reminded him that every other religion out there assumes to possess the truth and they are all content and at peace with what they believe.  So having peace is not a good indication of the truthfulness of ones beliefs.  It's really only an indication of the sincerity with which one holds their beliefs.  Of course, getting over all the brainwashing isn't always peaceful, but I do have more days where I am at peace with having no faith than I ever had before, so I know I'm overcoming this. 

 

Again, thanks!

My username suggest I am anti-theist.... I am not. I am anti-theism. and I'm really pissed at what faith in god did to my life and the battle I am going through to take back control of my mind.