Greetings (Sequel to Introduction)
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01-11-2010, 10:23 AM
 
Greetings (Sequel to Introduction)
I introduced myself in the appropriate section, but due to time constraints, I could not type everything I wanted to. Even now, I'm running against the clock a little bit.

Anyway, my name is Tyler. I am a 27 year-old non-believer from Kansas. Trust me, it's not easy to come out as a non-believer in Kansas. Especially, in my little town. Luckily, I don't care enough about what people think of me to let it bother me. This isn't even my hometown.

I grew up in a very secular home raised by parent who were both raised Lutheran. They never once pushed religion on my brother or myself, so I am very grateful to them. I started attending church when I was ten years old our of my own curiosity. It was a very small church in Wichita. Just a bunch of old folks getting together in a non-hostile environment to worship and sing. Good times.

Later, I discovered girls and sin became my new past time. Thankfully, I don't believe in sin, so all is well in my world. I simply live life in a way that asking forgiveness is unnecessary.

When I joined the Army in 2002, I was again given the opportunity to save my soul. I attended a southern Baptist church while stationed in Kentucky. I also made friends with a guy who is now a Chaplain. Yes, he is aware of my non-beliefs and is still a very good friend.

While in Iraq in 2003 just after the invasion, I had, what I considered to be, a nervous breakdown. (Yes, suicide became an issue.) I sought guidance from the only person I knew I could count on; the Chaplain. Luckily for me, he was first and foremost a listener, not a preacher. His approach was not religious, although he promoted services if people wished.

Anyway, I spent the next few months in Iraq and the next few years at home re-evaluating what it meant to be human. I had read the bible completely and re-read most of it. I discovered much of what ALL religions had to offer was basically, crowd control. I was reminded of an ancient Chinese proverb that is sometimes attributed to Mark Twain that says, "Laws control the lesser man. Integrity controls the greater one." I quickly realized that this applies to religion more than anything. If you need someone or something to scare you into leading a moral life, you're doing it wrong.

I wouldn't consider myself an atheist as much as I do a serious non-believer. To say there is no God, to me, requires absolute certainty. Since there are no absolutes in life, I feel comfortable with non-believer.

Not everyone knows my stance. Mostly because I don't flaunt it. If it comes up in conversation, I address it. I'll make waves only when necessary.

My family, except my mom, are all atheists. My mom might as well be, but I think she still holds out hope. She's very open minded though.

Our daughter was born in September, and my wife's mother asked when we were going to have her Christened? My wife looked at me as if to say, "You handle this one. She's not YOUR mom." So, I politely explained to her that I considered religion to be completely silly and would not have my daughter participate in it unless she expressed interest at an older age. I explained that I didn't want someone's doctrine influencing my child before she was old enough to make up her own mind. She took it.......okay.

Her family are all Shiite Catholics, so family gatherings are a lot of fun.

Anyway, I'm running out of stuff to type and I feel another beer coming on. Feel free to ask me anything you want. I look forward to gathering insight from you fine folks.


Tyler J.
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01-11-2010, 01:04 PM
RE: Greetings (Sequel to Introduction)
Welcome Tyler.
Something struck me about your post. How did you come to define "atheist" as one having absolute certainty that god does not exist? I ask because there has, as of late, been a great deal of discussion on this forum with regard to the definition of atheist. (I'm sure you'll read much about it as you browse the forums. Lots to read, and some really interesting ideas).
What really caught my eye was that you referred to atheism as "the "A" word" in another post. I feel that treating the word atheist like a swear is harmful. It encourages people who don't really know what it is to be an atheist to view it negatively. And don't we already have enough "bad press" without implying that it's a bad thing ourselves?
You are, - according to the vast majority of people here anyways - an atheist. What if you told people that, and then explained to them what it means, instead of treating it like a naughty word? Perhaps educating people, by telling them that you think morality should come from within, instead of it being scared into you? That atheists love, care, feel, believe in living good lives and being kind to others, just as much as theists? That there are bad, immoral, dishonest atheists, just like there are bad, immoral, dishonest christians/muslims/jews/pastafarians etc.?
Your thoughts?

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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01-11-2010, 01:37 PM
RE: Greetings (Sequel to Introduction)
(01-11-2010 10:23 AM)tjenkins_1983 Wrote:  I wouldn't consider myself an atheist as much as I do a serious non-believer. To say there is no God, to me, requires absolute certainty. Since there are no absolutes in life, I feel comfortable with non-believer.

As Stark has already mentioned, you've got the definition of "atheist" wrong. "Atheist" doesn't mean "someone who says that God does not exist". "Atheist" means "someone who doesn't believe in God".

"I don't believe in God" is not the same as "God does not exist". The latter position is called strong atheism, and there are actually very few strong atheists.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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01-11-2010, 05:27 PM
 
RE: Greetings (Sequel to Introduction)
I appreciate you guys catching this. Thinking about it, you are right. In no way did I mean to trash the word atheist. After reading a reply on another post, it makes complete sense. I am an atheist and should address it so.

I guess my definition of atheist/non-believer comes from somewhere I had heard it put from another atheist friend of mine a while back.

The way you guys put it, it makes total sense.
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02-11-2010, 01:14 AM
RE: Greetings (Sequel to Introduction)
(01-11-2010 10:23 AM)tjenkins_1983 Wrote:  I discovered much of what ALL religions had to offer was basically, crowd control. I was reminded of an ancient Chinese proverb that is sometimes attributed to Mark Twain that says, "Laws control the lesser man. Integrity controls the greater one." I quickly realized that this applies to religion more than anything. If you need someone or something to scare you into leading a moral life, you're doing it wrong.

This is true and well stated.
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