Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
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12-01-2017, 09:07 AM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
Omitting the "so help me God" part came up again while I was at USAFA (2006 - 2014). They actually tried to say that it wouldn't count if the cadets didn't say it "correctly", but that didn't go over very well.

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Less than a year later, I was taking the Oaths-- and deliberately omitting the "so help me God" part was one of my first major steps toward admitting to myself that I was an atheist.

Welcome to TTA! Smile
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“There is perhaps nothing worse than reaching the top of the ladder
and discovering that you’re on the wrong wall.” ― Joseph Campbell
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12-01-2017, 09:44 AM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
Howdy

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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12-01-2017, 10:06 AM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
(11-01-2017 10:13 PM)rblongcrier Wrote:  Hello,

My name is Brandon and I was raised Christian (Southern Baptist and Church of Christ) from the time I was born in 1977 and stayed that way until I converted to Paganism back in 2006. I was the one who brought Paganism to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you know anything about the US Air Force Academy, then you'll know that being a Pagan there, as well as teaching cadets about Paganism wasn't always easy. I did make headlines once when a cross was left at the Pagan worship site as a sign of intimidation.

It would be while serving in Afghanistan in 2011 with a lot of time on my hands to think without the distractions of the "real world" that I would finally cut the cord to all things supernatural and religious.

Now I'm retired from the US Air Force and currently reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado (the evangelical capital of the world), where I'm doing my best to learn as much as possible about the world of Atheism and where I fit in that world.

I can't wait to join in the conversation!

Brandon -

Deployed with a pagan and I've been atheist for as long as I can remember. Sure, we all gave each other shit about our beliefs and/or lack thereof, but we would have found something to give each other shit about either way. That's just how it's done in the military. It didn't seem like anyone really, truly cared one way or another. His knowledge of guns and gunfight tactics was insane, and that's what really mattered Big Grin

'Murican Canadian
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12-01-2017, 12:02 PM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
(12-01-2017 09:07 AM)rblongcrier Wrote:  Omitting the "so help me God" part came up again while I was at USAFA (2006 - 2014). They actually tried to say that it wouldn't count if the cadets didn't say it "correctly", but that didn't go over very well.

They were a shade more subtle, back when I was there. They said that we could leave out the "so help me God", and I found myself a bit surprised that I felt compelled to do so. That's why I consider it a watershed moment for my atheism, even though I wouldn't openly admit it to myself until I was 22.

Lots of other pro-theism/anti-atheist propaganda and pressures went on, but not with regard to the Oaths. For instance, I found that if I stayed in my room and tried to study during the hours allotted for church services, the cadet duty officer would make up tasks for me to do. So I started leaving with the group as if I was going to church, then I'd walk right past the chapel and climb up onto the mountain behind it. I'd sit at the highest point I could reach and watch the clouds fly past me. It was something I considered rather spiritual, ironically, in a secular sense.

But the reason I felt compelled to omit the "so help me God" at the Oath ceremony was that I took the oaths very seriously. I was giving my word of honor, and I realized that my honor compelled me to withhold saying a part of it I did not believe any longer... that I wished for the help of a sky-wizard to aid me in upholding them.

For the rest of you reading them, the Oaths go as follows:

"I solemnly swear that I will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably." [So help me God.]

and

"I, ________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter." [So help me God.]

To me, standing there in that moment, came the realization that I would be violating the first Oath--by lying--if I said that I wished for divine help in completing my solemn oath to the Cadet Code of Honor. I couldn't do it. So I held my tongue while everyone else said the final phrase. I didn't know if anyone would notice, though I knew it could have gone badly for me if someone had.

To this day, I still consider it a moment of personal honor and integrity in the face of pressure to do otherwise.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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12-01-2017, 12:07 PM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
Welcome!


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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12-01-2017, 02:00 PM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
Welcome!
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12-01-2017, 03:45 PM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone



There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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12-01-2017, 05:22 PM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
Welcome to the forum

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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13-01-2017, 03:37 PM
RE: Christian to Pagan to Atheist - Hello Everyone
(12-01-2017 12:02 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  So I started leaving with the group as if I was going to church, then I'd walk right past the chapel and climb up onto the mountain behind it. I'd sit at the highest point I could reach and watch the clouds fly past me. It was something I considered rather spiritual, ironically, in a secular sense.

I know the place you mentioned well. While I was the Pagan Lay Leader there (2006 to 2011), I ended up having this constructed at the top of the hill for the Pagan cadets to use as a worship site. Anyone was allowed to use it, but the Pagans had priority during scheduled worship time. I still found myself going up there, even after I left Paganism and became an Atheist. I love that place.
[Image: mainceremony1.jpg]

“There is perhaps nothing worse than reaching the top of the ladder
and discovering that you’re on the wrong wall.” ― Joseph Campbell
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