Christian + Atheist: A two month long conversation of questions and clarifications.
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15-11-2013, 06:16 PM
Christian + Atheist: A two month long conversation of questions and clarifications.
Hi all. For those of you who like reading interactions between theists and atheists. I took the time to abridge the 2 month long conversation I had with a semi open minded Christian (Sarah). Actually I just abridged everybody elses comments aside from mine and Sarah's. If you want the original, 25 page long thread, you can find it here: http://www.atheistparents.org/hate-mail-hell-wishing/

The tone of our conversation is pretty mellow, no hate or anger, just a conversation, so people who appreciate that may enjoy this.

My most recent response to her was 2/20/2013. Sarah was pretty cool for the most part. She is definitely Christian, but she has a somewhat open mind.

The following is the 10 page version focusing mainly on me and Sarah's conversation. Please note that I don't enter the conversation until 1/3/2013. I hope you all find it entertaining, insightful, or interesting. Although given that this is pretty long, I don't know who will take the time to read it!

I apologize for the formatting, this size of an entry is not meant for the forum editor on this site and it is nearly impossible to go through and bold and underline everything that should. I added "-------------------------------------" lines to separate posts.

Enjoy!


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Sarah (Sunday, 29 July 2012 08:37)

I am a woman of faith myself raised in a Godless family. I found Christ as my savior late in my 20's. My intention is not to send a message of hate instead I would like to say, as a Christian, I'm sorry. I'm sorry if you have even been offended by a Christian, Muslim, or any other person of faith. I'm sorry if you are or ever were judged by another person of this earth for your lifestyle, parenting or anything else. However one thing I found surprising is the intolerance you have been embracing on your page, as well as the ability to label all people of faith as the same. Yes, there are extremists in any faith but there are also people of faith who genuinely care about the well being of EVERY man woman and child just as the people on your site do. I understand it is easy to get defensive when you are in the minority among society, but if religious tolerance were to be embraced on your behalf I think your reputation as a whole would be a lot more positive. Im speaking this through personal experience. For a long time my family shunned me after I started following Christ, and only saw me as a naive, uneducated, nut, ... To put it nicely. They would become very angry if I even said the words " church " or " God" around them, which of course was very hard to manage. It is only now after 4 years that they are seeing my joy in faith and in humanity as a whole that they are starting to be okay with my life choices. I guess that is just the message I would like to send out to anyone who wants to hear it. I know not all atheists are bad people, but could any of you stand up to accept that not all Christians or " theist" are hell raising nut cases?

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Jason (Sunday, 29 July 2012 15:17)

[abridged by Adrian: @Sarah, Why did you come here? Christian myths are ridiculous.]

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Sarah (Sunday, 29 July 2012 20:28)

I'm a curious person, my brother is having a child and I was wondering what morals atheists raise there children with. I do not expect you to believe my beliefs anymore than you should expect me to believe yours. Just offering up a challenge of tolerance ( something people are so desperately searching for in all aspects of life these days) and seeing if anyone could rise to the occasion. Which obviously is something you cannot, Jason. However I will be patient to be proven wrong.

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Keith (Monday, 30 July 2012 09:22)
[abridged by Adrian: @Sarah: What morals does Christianity have? Christian morals have many problems.]

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Sarah (Monday, 30 July 2012 20:48)

Well I wouldn't dare tell anyone they are going to hell. The thought doesn't cross my mind. As far as my morals I can assure you they are the same as yours, the only difference being I will allow my children to choose their own truth about God.


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Keith (Tuesday, 31 July 2012 15:56)

[abridged by Adrian: religion/god/bible are used as excuses to commit horrible things. Example: Hitler.]


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Sarah (Wednesday, 01 August 2012 07:51)

Well I am a little bit let down by how uneducated you all are about the Christian religion. The Old Testament was very brutal, which is where you are getting most of your information from (surprising considering none of you "believe" in the teachings of the bible). The New Testament is the most important for the Christian faith .. Because .. Well Christ is born. There are many people that kill, rape and steal in the name of their Lord. There are also people that do these things , because they do not think there are consequences for them after death Or, just because. This is MANS downfall ... Not Gods.

Nevertheless I come back to my original posting. Extreme Christians can be intolerant of other religions, it has caused wars and hate spread across the world. HOWEVER I don't believe adding another "ism" on top of all the others to spread the message of " your wrong and I'm right" is really going to help our world evolve into the peaceful happy planet we all want. I can see already I'm not going to get the proof I want here. This is a small site with few opinions, I will be taking my search for a single tolerant atheist elsewhere. I really hope you all find peace in your lives. Have a really good day!


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Keith (Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:30)

[abridged by Adrian: First of all I am incredibly educated about your cult and the teaching of your cult leader….examples to follow.]


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Jon (Wednesday, 29 August 2012 23:33)

[abridged by Adrian: Sorry people treat you this way Sarah, I am an agnostic theist, I dislike these hateful attitudes]


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Sarah (Saturday, 08 September 2012 22:28)

Thank you Jon, I really appreciate your acknowledgment. I also understand your "humanly instincts", I can't exactly say I do not have them but I am trying to change them through God. Of course I come back to check on these people, and pray for them (I hesitate saying that because I know most of you will take it as an offense but it really truly isn't, and I apologize if you take it that way). As for William, Insanity was once quoted as "Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." by Albert Einstein. As a follower of Christs' ideals I have learned through not only the Bible but through history books that religious intolerance has lead to nothing but hate mongering and disaster in the past. That being said, when asked if an Atheist would change their perception of a believer to not hate but to tolerate, wouldn't it be rather...logical that an Atheist could defer from this path more easily than a person of faith, seeing as how they stand for the belief in absolutely nothing? Or are they just as doomed to repeat history like the rest of the religious sectors they preach against.


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Graham S. (Saturday, 22 September 2012 03:12)

[abridged by Adrian: Sarah, I am curious to know how you mean to achieve this: "I will allow my children to choose their own truth about God."]


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Sarah (Wednesday, 26 September 2012 09:20)

Graham: Yes I suppose I am among the minority. There is a small group of Christians who believe more than following a religion, church, or pastor etc. it's more important to persue an intimate relationship with The Trinity.
As everyone knows you can't make someone love some body. Just as no one has converted to Christianity over losing an argument. The best thing we can do is lead by example. I did make a promise to teach my children about Jesus Christ, and of course they come to church with us 3x a week. However if they ever come to me and tell me they don't want to go, of course I won't make them. If my child ever wants to learn about a different religion, I will be happy to take them to a library to learn about the different kinds.
I will admit I will be disappointed but I think God reveals himself to everyone in time. I just pray my children will have the ability to keep an open mind. No, not so they will keep believing in Santa but so they can maybe believe in more than coincidences, so they can listen to that gut instinct that's guiding them, so they can feel someone's presence in an empty room and know its not always just their body responding to some environmental phenomenon.
Children that are uneducated about God may be natural born atheists but I guarantee they are willing to admit there is more to the world around us then what meets the eye or even more than what science tells us.



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Sara (Saturday, 22 December 2012 07:14)

[abridged by Adrian: Are you implying you had no morals before you were 30? ]


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Adrian (Thursday, 03 January 2013 21:21)

@Sarah

I have read the majority of your comments and I would like to send some thoughts your way (not everything I say is negative btw so try to read it all).

1. You came to an atheist website (which that alone will get people ranting at you) and you made a couple propositions that point out some of the things we atheists hate most. You said, "I was wondering what morals atheists raise there(sic) children with." This stance, whether intended or not, paints you as a person who believes morals come from religion, not from instinct and society. I've never ever believed in a deity, and I've always been kind and compassionate. The other thing that you said that stood out to me was, "I know not all atheists are bad people." Again, whether you intended to or not, you are taking a negative stance. You are implying that a "good" atheist is rare. If you wanted to look at us as equals you would have said, "I know atheists are not bad people." So yes, you are going to get hated on because a) people get defensive in general and you are obviously approaching us with the belief that your way of living is better than ours.

2. Yes, getting prayed for pisses us off a bit. Would you like it if some lava worshipper pitied you and your confused existence so at night they pressed their naked ear against the cold dirt and whispered to the all knowing lava about you? Praying for people because they don't follow your religion is a condescending action.

3. I try to be sympathetic and empathetic when I can. So I do understand where you are coming from. I understand in your belief system you are told that people who do not accept christ go to hell. I understand that from your perspective you are trying to be kind with your desire to "save" others. I get it. I am sad that you have been tricked into this belief, but I get why you do what you do.

4. I also understand your desire for there to be a god. I know it must be very comforting "knowing" what you know. I would love to "know" that as well. I really would. Humans almost universally do 2 things: Stem a belief to thwart their fear of death. And try to understand as much as possible about existence/nature, even if it means making shi* up.

5. While I understand the deitys born from 4. I do not understand actually being truly religious to a modern religion. If you do not see the contradictions and the obvious underlying quest for power, then you have not learned all there is to know about your religion. I think it's perfectly human to want there to be god(s). I however, think following today's theistic religions is a bit silly. I understand people want to be part of a community and such, but if you would allow yourself to think critically instead of blindly following, you could at least maintain your reasoning.

6. I am very tolerant of religion people. I've been raised around religion, most of my friends are religious. People are people. Religion is just another character quirk or flaw in my opinion. But you can't control others. So you accept them. That being said, having religious debates is another story, because for an atheist to be honest, that means critically ripping apart religion. This is honesty, not hate. If you don't want this honesty, don't bring up religion with an atheist.


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Sarah (Thursday, 10 January 2013 09:46)

Oh my loved ones where to begin? I guess I'll just start off with some questions I've been avoiding, for no particular reason other than I haven't had time.
This is just me speaking on behalf of my ideals, keep in mind I know not everyone thinks as I do, but nevertheless these questions are directed at me, so here goes:

I do intend to teach my children all parts of the bible as they are all relevant in the history of God. I do fear God as I feared my fathers punishment the first time I brought home a B on my report card, no more no less.
Romans 10:9, yes I do believe this verse holds the key to the kingdom of heaven. But what is so unbelievable? It seems pretty reasonable to me? If God had said you have to climb the tallest mountain in the world in order to be saved, would that have been more acceptable? And who is to say that we don't get to answer that question in our final hour our perhaps even after our final hour. The thief that got crucified with Jesus was promised into heaven, though he had only come to that realization on his death bed. Also to Lance, since announcing that Christ is Lord is the only necessity to our salvation doesn't that imply that our good deeds carry the same motive as yours?
Sara- I apologize if my brevity in explaining my situation brought any doubts to your mind about my testimony. I was raised Godless maybe not exactly Atheist because that term was not really all that popular back in my day. But rather if God was brought up or asked about my parents pretty much avoided the conversation like the plague. And yes my question was redundant I guess. I was raised with one basic rule, if you wouldn't want it to happen to you, don't do it to anyone else ( funny because thats in the bible as well, although I didn't know that at the time) other than that I don't really remember to my knowledge. But I didn't have a problem questioning my morals until I was a teenager, wherein my parents only dealt with me on a case-by-case basis. And if you were to ask any Christian previously from a non Christian family I can almost guarantee it is the people closest to them that were the most offended by their new found spirituality, I don't know why but thats the way it is, so much so that I was "warned" beforehand to "ease" my family into my new found salvation.
@Adrian I really appreciate the tone of your post, lets just say its quite a bit of fresh air.
1. I have already answered the first part a bit however I see your point in my phrasing of not all Atheists being "bad". I suppose it was a bit of a generalization I really didn't mean it that way so I apologize of course.
2. Also, I am sorry for offending you. I guess I just don't understand how I could offend someone who doesn't believe in the said offense. Atheism is just a group of people standing together to say "hey, I believe in...absolutely nothing."...right? So why would my words of well wishes, that I speak to God (who in your mind doesn't exist), offend you?
3. Honestly I despise that about Christianity as well. Even the whole " love the sinner hate the sin" line really only goes so far. But as I said I chose to think of people as more than just men and women with halos or horns around their head. Were all the same flesh and blood here on this earth, anything beyond that is not I'm my control or interest. I didn't come here offering people salvation I came here offering peace and love.
4. I don't know if I agree, I think people are just as comfortable if not more comfortable knowing that they will never see their family again in a vast and empty nothingness after death than knowing they will have to face a judgment and an eternity without their loved ones in heaven, imo. And really the bible only talks about our creation in a very few specific verses in Genesis, other than that it doesn't really give a lot of answers to How?
5. I agree, religion stinks. God and seeking a relationship with God doesn't.
6. Yes, people have a right to their Honest opinion, and I know I can't change anyone myself. But it doesn't mean that said people should rally together and try to oppress others with their beliefs in any negative instance, Christianity, Kkk, or atheist. The only message that should be oppressing is one that triumphs over the bad with good. Thats all I'm trying to spread, one seed at a time. Again I will check back periodically, from the bottom of my heart I love every one of you and I wish you a happy prosperous life.


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Adrian (Thursday, 10 January 2013 21:13)

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for the response, I'm glad you had a chance to read what I wrote. I'll try and keep this short.

RE 4: I think the majority of people like the idea of eternal life. Which is why many religions preach it. Mortality is a scary thing. The end is scary. But it's real. But if it wasn't? Well that'd pretty great. So I see why the desire for eternal life is so popular.

RE 2: It's not as offensive as it is saddening for me honestly. If you really think about it, it can be offensive because it's basically somebody feeling sorry for you. But I'm pretty easy-going. The reason it is saddening for me is probably similar to the same reason you are doing it. You are sad that the person you are praying for is living life the wrong way, thinking the wrong things, not accepting the truth. To me, when somebody prays for me it just emphasizes that they are stick in delusion where they believe in magic and all-powerful beings that can help this world. It bums me out, really. I wish people would just see the world for what it is. I wish you would see it for what it is, instead of what you want it to be. Your everyday experiences aren't lies. The world you see is the world we live in. There isn't some grand magical story behind our existence. We are here. Live life. Love life.

I'm a bit lazy so if you already answered this I apologize. But Sarah, why do you believe in a god? What has convinced you that a being like this exists without any evidence (that can't actually be attributed to something else)? If the bible didn't exist, would you be able to believe in god? Why does the bible's existence prove anything more than the odyssey or the illiad?

Just some food for thought.

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Sarah (Wednesday, 16 January 2013 09:56)

Well Adrian while I don't believe anyone has asked that question I'm going to have to neglect answering that on this site. If you would like to further discuss that kind of material I have set up an email for you or any one else that has questions to be asked at [censored by Adrian].
But I would also like to address something you mentioned in your first post. When you brought up my question about "how atheists raise their children" and said that I was implying morals come from religion, not instinct or society, well doesn't this site kind of contradict that statement?
For anyone else, do atheists think they are different from any other organized religion (keyword: organized)? If so, how different? Also, why is it so important to make sure your children are sheltered from religion? Are you afraid that as a parent your influence isn't as predominant as it should be? I know if the shoe was on the other foot (which it often is now days) I could care less. I hope I'm not being too aggressive with my questions here. These are just some trends I have been seeing on this site that I'm really taken back by. Thank you all

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Adrian (Wednesday, 16 January 2013 19:30)

Hola Sarah,

I cannot speak for others. And no atheist can speak for the rest, because we really don't have anything bonding us together. We don't have a set of rules, or morals, or ideals, or a philosophy. This site is an attempt to let people communicate their hardships and advice from the perspective as an atheist parent. It is nothing like a church. It is nothing like an organized religion. Imagine you lived when there was widespread slavery, and you were of the minority that thought slavery was incorrect. Wouldn't you like to have a place to meet with others like yourself? This site has a similar goal, but for atheist parents in a world where most think theism is correct. So no I don't believe this site contradicts that.

AND YES 99.99999% OF ATHEISTS WILL ASSERT THAT ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION AND NOTHING CLOSE TO AN ORGANIZED RELIGION. Because it is not. Atheism meaning without theism. That's like saying any negation is an assertion in the form of the thing that it is negating. So bald is a hair color, death is a type of life, walking is a type of motor transportation, and my favorite type of gun to use is a kick. I know you have heard this before, but calling atheism a religion or religious experience of any kind, to almost any atheist is like saying, "Oh, so you are part of that 'I don't believe unicorns exist' religion" or "You are one of the people in that 'Wizard non-believing' religion". Just because we don't believe in something (that has no evidence to support it) does not put us as anything close to the definition of religion. I have been an atheist all of my life. I never had other atheists to talk to grouping up, I never found groups, I never had atheist role models. Atheism is not my religion, it is my perspective on theism. It wasn't even until the past 2 or 3 years that I even have had the chance to talk to other atheists.

I don't think sheltering children from religion is the most intelligent course. That's similar to the religious sheltering their children from other viewpoints. I think what is important is not lying to your children, and providing your children with the knowledge of different religions and cultures. Tell your children "this is what Christians believe", "this is what muslims believe", "this is what hindus believe", "this is what mormons believe". Nothing is wrong with then asserting, "but there is no actual evidence that the supernatural exists, so this is what mom and dad think." The goal is not to indocrinate the kid. There is actually a period of time in a childs mental development (I think it is up until they are 5 or so?) when they will basically take anything their parents (or others) say as true. I personally think it's best to wait out that period and try to not talk extensively about religion, because honestly young kids don't have the mental capacity to distinguish reality and fantasy. I say wait until the kid is 9, 10, or 11. Slowly present them with the facts, and explain your viewpoint. The PROBLEM is that in many places kids will get bombarded with religion in public establishments, which leads kids to believe whatever anybody tells them. They bring that crap home, and it becomes an atheist parent's nightmare. Imagine a christian family whose child came home from school one day and started asserting that the greek gods were real because somebody at school has been telling them this. What if you couldn't change their mind because they simply believe the first thing that they heard? Just an UGH situation.

Anyways sorry for such a long response. And sorry, I'm not big on Email, so I won't be extending this conversation into Email. I hope others can answer your questions about children and religion as well, to give you more perspectives to think about.

Let me know if anything I said does not make sense.


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Lance Gregorchuk (Saturday, 19 January 2013 19:50)

[abridged by Adrian: Being an atheist means an imaginary friend doesn't forgive us for problems we caused.]


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Aleks (Wednesday, 23 January 2013 02:33)

[abridged by Adrian: I'm an atheist, but I think you are all being mean so Sarah.]

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Adrian (Wednesday, 23 January 2013 22:17)

Aleks, I reject your analysis of me and Sarah's conversation and suggest you re-read it. While many people have been very forward, I haven't read anything that has been out of line. And if you remember, she is the one who came to this site. We didn't seek her out.

Personally I'm trying to have a respectful conversation with her, and I think she and I have achieved that for the most part. If Sarah does not want to come back then she has the choice to do so. I personally have little desire to deconvert her, and I doubt others do either. I would however love for her to understand where I am coming from and why.


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Sarah (Sunday, 27 January 2013 20:52)

@Lance I think you are a little confused by the idea of forgiveness. If we offend someone, we apologize to them to their face. If we do something that is against our personal conviction (I.e drink, curse) we apologize to God. If someone wrongs us, we forgive them as Luke 17:4 says. Forgiveness to me (whether an apology is made or not)is for myself, not the other person. If i walk around with the offense that someone has made towards me weighing on my heart I am not fulfilled or truly happy and free. As Oprah has said forgiveness is not saying what the other person did is okay, it's accepting that the past can not be changed and moving on. That is what I believe and yes it does make being Christian a happier existence, but you don't have to be a Christian to follow that ideal.

Aleks I appreciate your insight, at least someone understood what I was trying to say when I came here.

Adrian I believe research states that a child has developed the majority of its personality by the time he /she is 6. Seeing as how children usually don't enter school until around this time I think the worry and doubt is for nothing. Besides so what if they did? Btw raising the argument that unicorns are the same as Christ is a little insulting, no one has died for a unicorn, or lived for a unicorn. They have not been believed in by billions of people over thousands of years. Why? According to you they have just as much proof of existing as God does. You can blame culture and society but as I said I was not raised how I am now, and God still proved itself to me. Also, if you put together a group of water molecules together, you call it a lake, not a bunch of H2O clusters. I'm sorry but that's what everyone assumes, whether you want to call yourself that or not. If you asked anyone to make a list of every single religion to date, atheism would be on that list. That's just how it is.
It may be unfortunate but I myself have faced this for believing in Christ. I don't like calling myself a Christian any more than my parents do but I believe in Christ and the Bible and that makes me a Christian even though I have different views from most Christians, I can't deny my labeling is wrong even though my stereotype is. Anyway I guess it's time for me to ask a question. What kind of evidence are you looking for to prove God exists? Scientific / personal experience or otherwise. What is the one thing that would make you question your belief or lack there of ?


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Adrian (Monday, 28 January 2013 08:36)

Hello again Sarah,

Regarding children: Only because I am thinking in hypotheticals and imagining a scenario where a child of mine came to firmly (religiously) believe in a deity. The actual belief of a supernatural being isn't the worst part actually, that I could more or less accept without much worry. But if my kid actually bought into a religion and believed all the stories and rituals that went along with the religion. Gosh, I would just feel so sad that my kid is being tricked. It's something I don't want. If my kid grew up and became Muslim or Christian then so be it. Just not as a child. Let them grow up first, and make their own decision.

I am sorry that it offends you when I compare god to unicorns. But, this being an atheist site, it's something that you will probably hear often. I understand not as many (or maybe even any) people believe in unicorns. But that is because it isn't beneficial to believe in a unicorn. There is no reason to put aside your rational mind and whole heartedly believe unicorns exist, because there is no evidence AND no benefit. That is not the case with god(s). There is no evidence, but there is great benefit:

-Believing in god/jesus promises you a best friend and/or a loving father. (subsiding your fears of loneliness or insignificance)

-Believing promises you eternal life (and it's good too, if you follow the rules!). (subsiding your fear of your own mortality)

-Believing puts you with the majority of the world. It's the norm.

-Believing answers all of your [UNKNOWN] questions. God becomes the cookie cutter answer to any mystery or unknown in the universe. Why are we here? What is our purpose? How did the universe begin? Well, god becomes your answer to just about anything you can imagine. Unfortunately, what is not accepted in many cases is: Maybe there isn't a reason, or maybe we will just never know.

-Believing gives you a constant in your life. A rock, a totem. It gives you something that you will always have, that never changes. It comforts us to not have change.

And much more I'm sure. There isn't much to gain by believing in unicorns, but believing in a god or gods is another story. So I understand why people believe. Humans are selfish creatures. Of course if something came along and promised you eternal life, eternal love, etc. then people are going to eat that up.


Anyways, that was longer than I imagined, sorry about that. I am not sure what your water/lake thing was referring to, sorry. So I cannot respond to that.

I would agree that if a group of educated people were making a list of worldviews, where a religion would be considered a world view, they may include various religions, and also include atheism. But if a group of educated people was making a list of religions, then no they would not include atheism. To put atheism on would mean either redefining atheism, or redefining religion. So if this group of people was educated, and knew the definitions of both words, then I can't imagine them puting atheism on a list of religions.

So onto your question. What would make me think that there may be a god? Hmm, so many things. First, nothing that I could only experience internally (voices in my head/dreams/visions/un explainable sensations). And obviously nothing that anybody else can only experience internally. Our brains are amazing things, they can do alot. I guess the way to put it in the fewest words would be that I understand that humans have imaginations, and I understand that while most have an imagination that is more or less under their control. Some have an imagination that could control them. In other words, they don't realize that it is their imagination.

So first, what would make me think that there is supernatural phenomena? I would need to experience it first hand, or have a way of experiencing it first hand. So I would need a way to see a ghost or a demon or telekinesis or magic of some sort. And I would need to be able to verify that it is not a hoax. So that would get me to believe in the SUPERNATURAL.

To believe in an actual monotheism inspired omnipotent god? Well I would need to have this god manifest itself in the sky in a crowd, in a way only it could, and tell everybody that it was god. Or I would need to see overwhelming evidence that those who "went against god's will" were being punished in ways that could ONLY be explained by a god.

I guess those are just examples, but what I'm getting at is that I would need some objective evidence. I think it's one thing to believe in the supernatural and another thing to believe in a god. For me, believing in the supernatural would be more likely, as it would take less specific evidence than a god would need to present.

For the record, I'm not looking for any evidence. I fully accept and enjoy life. I went through all my angsty self-pitying stages as a teenager. That is when I would have benefited the most from a god, but even then I didn't come close to believing. I don't have a pushing desire to KNOW everything. I don't even know the specifics of evolution, but I really don't care either. I know I'm here now. I know I've experienced decades of life, and I have a pretty good idea of what life is. I know I'm successful. I know I'm happy. I know I make those around me happy. I know I've never given into any self destructive behaviors such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, or any other drugs. I have pride in my life, and I know what I want out of it. And that is what I am going to work towards. What I want out of it does not involve the unverifiable promises of religion. It involves happiness, and love.

I apologize for writing so much.


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Mat (Tuesday, 05 February 2013 23:01)

[abridged by Adrian: If it’s not rude to ask you Sarah, how you reconcile an omnipotent being writing through others and not directly from his own son?]


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Sarah (Saturday, 09 February 2013 09:12)

@Adrian I can see you are very passionate about all of this. I could go back and forth with you forever on every one of our differences of opinion but in the end I think we both know they would still be just that.
I do see what you are saying as far as benefits to believing in God compared to unicorns. But what it comes down to is, Jesus was a real man with real ideals, not a mythical creature, and he deserves more respect than that. The water thing, I'm not really sure what I was getting at either lol, I think just saying, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, its probably a duck- kind of metaphor. I was trying to say it with more tact. Anyway I can respect you have a successful happy life, and you do seem like a very genuine person. The world needs more logical minded people like you that bring passion to the everyday grind of life. But I think having said that you could understand why someone, maybe not you, maybe not anyone you know but someone could use God to get them through a tough situation in their life. Am I right?

As far as your proof, yeah that probably isn't going to happen. Now, I'm not claiming to have all the answers here but I don't think God is some white bearded man in the sky wiggling his fingers and messing with us, I think the idea of God is way beyond our comprehension right now, or maybe ever. I think that the bible was written that way to relate more to us in the physical world. But do you believe anything exists outside the physical realm we live in? I do and to me, logically,.. thinking otherwise is "crazy".

@Mat
That's a very good question, one I have thought about myself on numerous occasions. What I have found in my research is that the writing of the Bible did not happen by one person or one group of people. It was more of a collaboration over centuries by a group of Christians with one motive; to tell the accounts of Jesus Christ. Seeing as how it took centuries to write, that could be the reason why it took so long, but as far as why Jesus didn't write it? I don't have an answer other than maybe he just had better things to do? Most people were pretty skeptical of him back then, like most books people may not have realized the importance of the events happening in front of them until after the fact. As far as how they decided what to put in and what not to, I can't really remember all the processes these scriptures had to go through but I do know there were a series of steps and thousands of accounts to filter through to complete the series. For instance it had to be backed up by oral accounts or handwritten account then confirmed in relation to several other accounts, then backed up geographically etc. I believe there were up to 12 criteria that a book had to meet 100% before it was canonized in the bible. That being said its important to know the new testament states that no one should add or take away any scripture from it. So anything else that may have turned up since then was probably lacking in some crucial evidence for it to have not been put in the bible. I hope that helped, and I think its good to stay skeptical, I definitely don't think you should take anyone's word for it though, not even mine, go find out for yourself but try to find an unbiased pov. Otherwise the info you get may be corrupt.
I always laugh when I watch documentaries about religion because they are usually so extreme (example Bill Mahers Religulous vs. Ben Steins Expelled). It's hard to get a simple answer from anyone but follow your gut, do your research and pray on it, you will get an answer that suites you eventually.
And I am very interested in your accounts actually, I have yet to hear about any failed attempts at Christianity, you have my attention.


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Jessibellol (Monday, 11 February 2013 02:42)
[abridged by Adrian: We use common sense to help support our moral base. Religion isn't necessary]

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Adrian (Monday, 11 February 2013 17:31)

Hello again Sarah,

I wouldn't say I'm passionate about this. Maybe I am, I don't know. I totally understand the pull of religion (especially after laying down the groundwork of indoctrination, but even without that). And why people feel they need or want it. Especially those in a tough situation. Although, I also feel that wanting something doesn't make it so. Neither does hoping for something. although, it'd be pretty cool if it did! And regarding Jesus, I never compared Jesus to a Unicorn. If he did exist, then he was a man, so I have no reason to compare him to a mythological creature such as a god. Although even if he did live, that doesn't mean the things that were written about him weren't exagerrated.

As for your physical realm question. In a nutshell, yes I think everything exists in the physical realm. I think this because I've never had experience of anything that is not in the physical realm (although how could I given that I exist in the physical realm?) I've read fictional stories and seen movies and shows about such things. But I've not once experienced something that would make me consider another way of existing than just physically. Nor have I heard of any convincing cases that don't sound like hoaxes, paranoia, or delusion.

And regarding your comment: "I've yet to see any failed attempts at Christianity." Shortly after coming to this site, I found two other very interesting sites. One dedicated to the members of the clergy who have lost their faith. Most did so after thoroughly studying the bible. In losing theif faith they risk losing everything, their family, friends, community acceptance. I've read their stories and it is so sad.

The other site is called ex-christian.net and it is primarily filled with those who were Christian for decades, but eventually could no longer find it in themselves to believe any longer. These people too have gone through much, and risked divorce and good family relations. Many of them are still in hiding, scared of what people will do (like family members not talking to you any more, spouses divorcing you) when they find out they are no longer Christian. I wouldn't try to speak to them if I were you, because unlike me they have thorough knowledge of the bible and were devout Christians for likely much longer than you. Many of them are angry at Christianity in general (note, I'm not saying angry at god). Many of them are bitter. And I've seen them rip Christian arguments to pieces.

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bubbles (Monday, 18 February 2013 14:48)

@Sarah
[abridged by Adrian: what do you mean by "I know not all atheists are bad people"? just most of us?]



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Sarah (Monday, 18 February 2013 22:10)

@Jessibellol I think I finally understand where you are coming from, where most "atheists" are coming from. I get atheism isn't a religion, it's just a way of life. It's not a lesson you need to teach children about its a reason to teach your children a multitude of things (am I correct?, please let me know). And I applaud you.
@Adrian, I think you are correct, most paranormal things can be explained by mental illness or a hoax but I think just because science hasn't figured out the "why" to some great phenomena doesn't mean that these things don't exist, or are magical. If that makes sense?
As far ex Christians I think I will take your word for it ha. I'm really not looking for a fight, I don't doubt some of them have very compelling stories and I'm not looking to convert anyone, but Mat asked my opinion and asked if I wanted to know so I told him I did. I'm not saying these people don't exist I have just not met one that has stories about a lack of evidence, as opposed to the many bad church or bad Christian stories. I have a few of those myself, my parents have even more.
@bubbles It was brought to my attention that these statements were being viewed as hateful but that's not what I intended, nonetheless if you are offended I apologize. I'm not trying to present myself as "holier than thou", I know it was stereotypical, I am sorry.

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Adrian (Wednesday, 20 February 2013)

Yes, Bubbles, I already addressed that.

Sarah, I appreciate the talk we have had so far. As far as magical explanations for things we don't understand....I can't do it. I can't assume something that makes no sense to me (something I've never observed, experienced, or heard of) just because I don't know the answer to something. The thing is, I'm fine not knowing the answer. It doesn't bother me. I don't need to make a guess, or a hope at how it all really works. Knowing it works is good enough.

I apologize, but I do have to contest your categorization of atheism again though. It is not a way of life, nor is it a philosophy. Teaching your children right and wrong, and how to be moral, civil, decent, compassionate, and proud have nothing to do with atheism. It has to do with being good parents in today's world. Atheism is just a stance on theism. A stance saying either, "I don't believe in gods" or, "I believe there are no gods" (two different phrases with slightly different meanings).

You are correct in that it is not necessarilly a lesson to teach your children (though it can be, but it's better to let the kids figure it out one their own IMO). But, it isn't very much a reason to teach kids much of anything aside from skepticism, logic, and reasoning.

Now this will offend you (I apologize in advance), but as an atheist, I look at religion almost exactly how I look at drugs. *Note that while I think gods are not real, I acknowledge that religion is very real*. Take cigarettes for instance. My stance on cigarettes is that I don't think they are a good or correct way to live your life. I realize that they comfort people, and people in social circles who smoke are very accepting of others who smoke, and they have their other uses. But I don't think it's right. I think they are unhealthy for individuals and society as a whole, regardless of the limited benefits that they offer. Now just because I do not like cigarettes or believe in their use does not mean that my way of life or philosophy is "non-cigarettist". Nor does it mean that it will influence how I live, or how I raise my children. It does mean that I will teach my children the economic, social, and health risks associated with smoking. But it hardly counts as the foundation of my parenting. Similarly, atheism does not offer a foundation for parenting. It is just one stance on one subject. Not a philosophy or ideology.

The challenge of being an atheist parent, is similar to the challenge of raising a kid that doesn't grow up to be a smoker IMO.

Hopefully I communicated that well.
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15-11-2013, 09:48 PM
RE: Christian + Atheist: A two month long conversation of questions and clarifications.
" I did make a promise to teach my children about Jesus Christ, and of course they come to church with us 3x a week. However if they ever come to me and tell me they don't want to go, of course I won't make them. If my child ever wants to learn about a different religion, I will be happy to take them to a library to learn about the different kinds."

wow, that's not sign she would be tolerant to other religions, 3x a Week ? , the most pious friend I have goes once.

i like the smoking analogy.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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19-11-2013, 04:31 PM
RE: Christian + Atheist: A two month long conversation of questions and clarifications.
By the way, thanks for reading Sporehux. Glad you found it entertaining, even if only in part haha.
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22-11-2013, 06:22 PM
RE: Christian + Atheist: A two month long conversation of questions and clarifications.
Thanks for posting your discussion Adrian.

I was looking for debates between an atheist and religious type person and happened to find this website and your thread here was the first I happened to click on.

This is my first post on this forums, so as a short introduction, I might desctibe myself as an athiest, perhaps a weak or middle athiest (but that is a different discussion). I'm a thinker, I love to think about anything and everything. Growing up I remember reading theoretical physics book after theoretical physics book. Today I'm a software developer. I'd say I was brought up Christian (Protestant) but my parents never went to church really (I remember going to Sunday school a couple times) but I can't say for sure if I ever really believed, but I know my parents did/do.

Sorry if this post is long, but maybe this is payback for me reading your post! HA! Then again you didn't force me to read your post so I can't force you to read this (but I hope you do).

Now to the reason I registered and am posting. I wanted to share a thought on your discussion.

Regarding your discussion on comparing Jesus or God with unicorns, I think Sarah and perhaps even you missed the point (since you didn't bring it up).

Sarah obviously didn't believe in unicorns, which neither do you (I assume Smile heh neither do I), and Sarah described them as a mythical creatures. The point is atheists see Jesus and God in the same way Sarah views unicorns. The comparison isn't meant to denigrate Jesus or God, but to instead help a Theist understand an atheist.

What if Sarah met someone who believed in unicorns but not Jesus or God. Would that person then feel offended that Sarah was denigrating unicorns by comparing them to Jesus or God? Perhaps.

Also, an interesting thought occured to me regarding the false claim that atheism is a religion. If Sarah, yourself and I don't believe in unicorns, does that mean our lack of belief in unicorns is a religion.

I agreed with everything you said Adrian, well done.

Thanks again and take care.
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23-11-2013, 09:28 AM
RE: Christian + Atheist: A two month long conversation of questions and clarifications.
(22-11-2013 06:22 PM)SevenPatch Wrote:  Thanks for posting your discussion Adrian.

I was looking for debates between an atheist and religious type person and happened to find this website and your thread here was the first I happened to click on.

This is my first post on this forums, so as a short introduction, I might desctibe myself as an athiest, perhaps a weak or middle athiest (but that is a different discussion). I'm a thinker, I love to think about anything and everything. Growing up I remember reading theoretical physics book after theoretical physics book. Today I'm a software developer. I'd say I was brought up Christian (Protestant) but my parents never went to church really (I remember going to Sunday school a couple times) but I can't say for sure if I ever really believed, but I know my parents did/do.

Sorry if this post is long, but maybe this is payback for me reading your post! HA! Then again you didn't force me to read your post so I can't force you to read this (but I hope you do).

Now to the reason I registered and am posting. I wanted to share a thought on your discussion.

Regarding your discussion on comparing Jesus or God with unicorns, I think Sarah and perhaps even you missed the point (since you didn't bring it up).

Sarah obviously didn't believe in unicorns, which neither do you (I assume Smile heh neither do I), and Sarah described them as a mythical creatures. The point is atheists see Jesus and God in the same way Sarah views unicorns. The comparison isn't meant to denigrate Jesus or God, but to instead help a Theist understand an atheist.

What if Sarah met someone who believed in unicorns but not Jesus or God. Would that person then feel offended that Sarah was denigrating unicorns by comparing them to Jesus or God? Perhaps.

Also, an interesting thought occured to me regarding the false claim that atheism is a religion. If Sarah, yourself and I don't believe in unicorns, does that mean our lack of belief in unicorns is a religion.

I agreed with everything you said Adrian, well done.

Thanks again and take care.
Hi SevenPatch,

Welcome here! I've actually only been at this site about a week myself. Thanks for taking the time to read this (and for the nice things you said), I appreciate it.

I would hope that the unicorns "Argument" implies the point you made without it being said explicitly. I assumed it did, hope Sarah understood that. When I was younger I used "Zeus" but then I got some annoying responses, so I don't do that with theists any more, haha.

BTW I'm a Software Engineer also. Thumbsup
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28-11-2013, 03:32 AM
RE: Christian + Atheist: A two month long conversation of questions and clarifications.
(23-11-2013 09:28 AM)Adrianime Wrote:  I would hope that the unicorns "Argument" implies the point you made without it being said explicitly. I assumed it did, hope Sarah understood that. When I was younger I used "Zeus" but then I got some annoying responses, so I don't do that with theists any more, haha.

BTW I'm a Software Engineer also. Thumbsup

I don't think Sarah understood that it was a comparison meant to help her understand an atheist. She seemed to take offense, from what I read. This would be understandable if she didn't think about it thoroughly enough.

When I was a kid I used to draw art based on comic book characters. I was decent and actually had people claim I copied my art from someone else. I took offense to this of course, but a teacher wisely noted that these claims were a compliment. That was something I hadn't thought of or considered.

I got the same vibe from Sarah, that she didn't consider what you thought was obvious.

Personally, if I believed in God, I wouldn't be offended by anything anyone said about my beliefs or God. Ironically, taking offense shows insecurity. That insecurity led Sarah to seek a dicussion with atheists which she may have hopeded perhaps would remove her insecurity.
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