Hafnof, myself
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13-06-2012, 09:52 PM (This post was last modified: 13-06-2012 09:56 PM by Hafnof.)
Hafnof, myself
I'm not much for introductions, as you can probably tell by my post count which sits at 202 as I start my introduction thread. I guess I prefer to dive into the heavy stuff, let an impression of myself come across and then work my way towards the little things like pleasantries and friendship from a basis of hopefully some degree of respect. I just asked S.T. Ranger to tell us what he believes and why he believes it so I feel that now is the right time to say something about myself.

I'm an Australian not-out atheist. I'll be 35 this year and used the word atheist to describe myself for the first time less than a year ago. I'm married with two children, Miss 6 and Mr 3. My wife is a Christian, although through apathy is not a frequent church-goer. I work in software for railways and have worked for a single employer for my adult life, though I have participated in projects worldwide and have always had a number of side projects. I'm currently in the closing stages of involvement with a book on software architecture for a prominent publishing house, and am getting ready to change up my career a little.

My family is protestant and religious. I have attended Baptist, Church of Christ, and Christian and Missionary Alliance churches. My mother was always the cornerstone of my family's religious education. I met my wife through church circles, and we "founded our marriage on Jesus". Coming out to her has been more of a process than a revelation, and although she knows my position I feel that she is still a year or two away from really accepting it. I don't know if she will ever open up her mind to the question of why I lost my faith, lest she lose hers as well. She thinks of me as a strong debater, and doesn't want to ask difficult questions lest she be locked into a debate she feels she can't win.

I'm not "out" with my children. We say grace at the dinner table each night, and when my daughter asks me about religious topics I give her direct, honest, but narrowly focused answers. We talk about science a lot, and I tell her what science says about evolution and how the world works. When she says things like "god is making a baby in Aunty (redacted)'s tummy", I say "and, that baby's DNA is making that baby by telling its cells what to do". She hears both sides of this story, and I don't tell her that I think one is false. I get the feeling that questions are hitting closer to the bone when she asks questions like "Do you like to do things God's way or our way?", and I answer "I always wonder if what I'm being told is God's way might actually just be man's way. I wonder if the person telling me about God's way actually knows what God's way is."

What do I believe, and why?

* I believe that science is an effective way of learning about our reality, and any other reality that might interact with our reality. I tend to think that science is the only effective way of learning about these realities, but I have an open mind. I think that the process of constructing a model for reality from observations of reality combined with creativity, then filtering alternative models by testing their predictions back against reality is the correct basic working definition of science. I think that the set of models that make accurate predictions, or perhaps more precisely the discarded set of models known not to make accurate predictions constitute the best approximation we have for the term "knowledge".

* I believe that big bang cosmology and evolution are well supported theories that are both interesting and provide a sound rational foundation for not believing in gods and their related creation myths. I believe relativity and quantum mechanics are incredibly interesting topics. I believe that it is unlikely we understand gravity properly at this time in our history. I believe that it is unlikely we understand the large-scale mechanisms we describe as "dark matter" and "dark energy" properly at this time in our history. I believe that is unlikely we understand the reason there was so much energy and so little entropy in the early universe at this time in our history.

* I believe that the God of the bible, the god I was raised with is not what he is claimed to be. He is not love, nor moral, nor good. My love, my morality, and my goodness all seem to exceed his. Therefore he is either not those things nor is he the source of these things or he does not exist. My money is on the latter, but you know: I like to keep an open mind about these things. Perhaps this simple proof of the nonexistence of the biblical god is not completely watertight, but it seems to hold water to me.

* I believe that for the most part, how the universe seems to work is how it works. When we die, we die. When things happen they do so for natural reasons. I'm sure I could be convinced in another way of thinking if the evidence stacked up, but the evidence that has been stacking up for millennia all seems to support this naturalistic world view.

These things seem to make me happier, and more relaxed about the universe than I was before I started to seriously question my faith... but that may just be my memory playing tricks on me. I guess I'm probably no different than I ever was in reality.

The only person I can talk openly to about atheism is my brother. I don't think it would be helpful if my mother knew. I don't want to inflict that on her. She's the only person in the world I would stay in the closet for, and want to stay in the closet to. She's a perfectly rational and reasonable person, but is so deeply invested in her faith and so full of hope of an eternity with the family she loves. I struggle with not being honest about this, but to take any of that away from her would just seem to me a churlish act. I know she would continue to accept me as I am, and that makes it all the more difficult to contemplate taking me out of her view of heaven.

I watch a lot of videos on youtube, which is part of the negativity about how my wife views my condition. She saw her mother fall into a sea of religiously-inspired conspiracy theories not so long ago that sent her to the local asylum for a while. I think she fears that I am on the same trajectory. As time progresses she seems less concerned about that, which is a good thing. She's not threatening to leave me, which is a good thing. We'll see how things go from there.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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24-10-2013, 07:05 AM
RE: Hafnof, myself
Well, now my mother knows. I guess I'm an out atheist.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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24-10-2013, 07:08 AM
RE: Hafnof, myself
Welcome to the forum, Hafnof! Tongue

How does it feel?

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24-10-2013, 07:33 AM (This post was last modified: 24-10-2013 07:43 AM by Hafnof.)
RE: Hafnof, myself
I think things will be a little complicated for a while, but I'm confident it will all work out. I knew it was only a matter of time when my daughter told me she had let slip to her other grandmother. I'm gearing up for the official "talk" with my mother.

The biggest immediate challenges are whether or not I talk to her about how she really set me down this path, and how that information will affect her and my relationship with my father. She presented me with some literature from Answers in Genesis some years ago that I treated sceptically and really opened my eyes to the shallowness of creationist arguments and ultimately to the shallowness of Christian scholarship in general.

Since then my father who is an avowed believer has come to accept evolution albeit within a theistic framework. She has refused to accept it or to deeply investigate the evidence out of fear that challenging biblical in-errancy is a path out of the faith and ultimately a path to hell. I think she's concerned that Dad will end up down that path and I'm living proof that path exists.

Overall I feel good, and I'm pondering whether or not to post to facebook immediately on the subject. I think I might as well do... although I might wait until my best craziest theist friend[1] is offline.

[1] http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ist-friend

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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24-10-2013, 07:40 AM
RE: Hafnof, myself
A little word of advice - if you haven't already, your facebook has a high chance of becoming flooded with family and friends posts of messages of those who will want to "save you". It will be a horse beaten to death. I have known personally that family think fb allows them a more open place to share their views, such as "You're Satan", "I will unfriend you until you come to the light" and so on and so forth. It sucks.

Glad you're doing ok.

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24-10-2013, 07:47 AM
RE: Hafnof, myself
(24-10-2013 07:40 AM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  "I will unfriend you until you come to the light"

Ohmy

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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24-10-2013, 08:39 AM
RE: Hafnof, myself
You're a cool guy, Hafnof. Best of luck with your familial difficulties.

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24-10-2013, 09:44 AM
RE: Hafnof, myself
Hi Hafnof,
Interesting story - thanks.
Funnily enough, I recently posted on my FB page asking who would unfriend me if I said I was an atheist.
I will report back on the results if anyone is interested.
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24-10-2013, 09:48 AM
RE: Hafnof, myself
(24-10-2013 07:47 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(24-10-2013 07:40 AM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  "I will unfriend you until you come to the light"

Ohmy

I meant "come to see the light". Then again, I'm being shunned; might as well be... Ohmy Ohmy

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24-10-2013, 01:37 PM
RE: Hafnof, myself
(24-10-2013 09:48 AM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  
(24-10-2013 07:47 AM)morondog Wrote:  Ohmy

I meant "come to see the light". Then again, I'm being shunned; might as well be... Ohmy Ohmy

Sorry to hear your still being shunned Sad

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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