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26-02-2014, 06:27 AM (This post was last modified: 26-02-2014 07:17 AM by Johnny.)
Hello :)
Hi there,

Just registered and just saying 'Hello' and introducing myself. My name is Johnny (thus the user name). I found the thethinkingatheist.com through my research of the 'Church of Satan', where I came across Seth's podcast interview on Youtube with High Priest Peter H. Gilmore. I'm not sure how to label myself just yet, but I know I am greatly enjoying the podcast and it has really helped me as of late.

My wife, Kim, and I have been together for about 13 years, and currently we live in the bible belt of America. When we first got together, her devout parents (Christians) understandably would question my religious views, and initially we both proclaimed our religious views as "Whatever relationship we have with whatever greater power exists is between ourselves and that power solely (and no one else's business)". This technically satisfied both our actual beliefs while not really admitting a damn thing to those around us. This answer, while getting to know me, accept me, and eventually love me satisfied her parents, since it left the possibility that we might have some form of relationship with God. Our home's gothic decor includes crucifixes and this also has helped.

I am not from the bible belt initially, but this is where my wife's family lives and she would prefer to be close to them, so I have never before in my life felt the daily bashing of Christianity until now. In the past, religion has had its space and I've had mine, and honestly I never really paid attention to it.

Kim has a son from a previous marriage named Seth. I have raised Seth since he was 5 years old, I have grown to love him very much, and as far as I am concerned I am his father. Seth has cerebral palsy and it affects him mildly both mentally and physically. When I first came to Kim and Seth, and we were just starting our family together, it was not really my place to question how we raised him. It was really just 'go with the flow', after all I was new to fatherhood and she had been doing this for 5 years without me. As we have grown as a family, he has just naturally adopted his mother and my beliefs, even though his maternal grand-parents are devout. We have never restricted Seth and even allowed him to attend church with his Nana. We've always encouraged him to think for himself, and he has turned out well, I could not be prouder of him. To use the term I heard during one of the podcasts, he is a critical freethinker Smile

Last year, Kim gave me a beautiful baby daughter, my first biological child. This has made our family complete, and she is our perfect addition. We named her Salem, as being somewhat gothic/horror fans, my wife and I honeymooned in Salem, Mass. I later found out the name was of Hebrew origin, and means 'Perfect Peace'. This is truly perfect, since she really has brought Daddy's mind peace, after craving so long to experience fatherhood from the moment of birth, whereas, I had to grow as a father with Seth.

I think the 'big bang' (multiple puns here intentional) of biological paternity has changed me lately however. The 'go with the flow' fathering mentality I have always treated Seth with, changed to an overwhelming need to protect and guide my little girl. It could also be the traditional thinking that a father should be more over-protective of his daughter vs. that of a son. Maybe I've just grown to this point of parenting, I honestly don't know. Whatever the cause, I've begun seeing the world around us differently, I've seen myself differently. I am constantly questioning my own, as well as others, influences on our growing addition (not so much Seth as he is almost a man himself). This is what I believe sparked my need to solidify my beliefs and values, as I could no longer just accept world views as they currently are. It ignited my search to find myself in the greater scheme of the universe, after all, how can I guide her unless I know where it is I am going?

I began to see all religions as a poison, and I'm not coining that from the podcast, that's the term I was using before I found my way here. It had been eating at me more and more, living here on the 'bible belt', and daily I found myself growing darker, bitter and cynical to the outside world, and family was starting to notice. I started noticing crosses everywhere, Ichthys 'Jesus-fish' on every bumper. Every 'God bless you' when someone sneezed felt like a knife in my ear. I refused to say 'Christmas'. My wife and I argued over telling Salem about Santa. I didn't want her in girl scouts and explored secular options. I would immediately and literally close the door in the face of all religious doorbell 'ding-dongers' as soon as they mentioned their affiliation. When my father-in-law passed, my Facebook flooded with people's prayers, and it made me sick. I cringed when my mother-in-law, the sweetest woman, told the kids in front of me that Papa went to live with the angels. My wife cried because, according to me, her 'Dad had no where to go'. She claims no religion either, but she 'wants' to believe in an afterlife, at least for her father.

It was consuming me and my wife seen it, and while she doesn't have religion either it was upsetting her that I was changing. So I started seeking answers and it lead me here, eventually. The podcast with Dale McGowan on secular parenting hit me in the face like a unexpected door. It reminded me that I had it right with my son Seth, 'go with the flow', show them everything and trust that they choose whats right for themselves. After all, I would love them should they be gay, in interracial relationships, or in opposing political viewpoints, so why should care what religion they are? Whether they choose religion or not, that's not my decision to make. I don't want to be 'that' Dad. I don't want to be as bad as that which sickened me, forcing my beliefs on my kids. I don't want sheep. My parents trusted me and let me choose, and I think I turned out ok. I'm happy with who I am, whether that be a LaVeyan Satanist, a 'calmer' Anti-theist, an atheist, or whatever the hell I am. Ultimately, my goal is I want them happy and living lives that satisfy themselves, for themselves. This realization has really helped me be more accepting of what is, what I can and can not change, and be the Dad I want to be. So my family and I thank you Seth and Dale for helping remind me of 'who' I am.

That was a really long introduction. It felt really good to write about it though. So um, yea, I'm Johnny and I'm happy to be here.
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26-02-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: Hello :)
Welcome Johnny, hope this place can help you in finding what your looking for.

Theres some good folks in here.

If bullshit were music some people would be a brass band.
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26-02-2014, 08:01 AM
RE: Hello :)
Heeeeerrre's Johnny!!

sorry…couldn't resist Smile

welcome! As I was reading your post, I kept thinking to myself '' he needs to watch the Dale McGowan podcast!!!' then I got to the last paragraph. And I'm glad you did.

I've got 2 girls 8 & 10 that I'm raising in the bible belt….its tough, just wait till school starts and you realize 2/3rds of the class goes to one church, and the other ⅓ goes to the other church and you are the only one standing there saying 'um…we don't go to church' Unsure And you know that your childs classmates are being taught horrible things about atheists. No

I will say-that at an organization level--the Girl Scouts aren't too bad….much better than boy scouts. I am an archery instructor for Girl Scouts and my girls were in a few years. They got bored with it. They allow girls to substitute what they want in the oath, are more global in their thinking-not Christian in their thinking. My hyper religious in laws actually won't buy Girl Scout cookies because they somehow think that the Girl Scouts support abortion. Dodgy Locally-they tend to be held in churches-and the troop leader can get overly religious. Girl Scouts also offers a way to do the program on your own without a troop.

anyway….welcome!!


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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26-02-2014, 11:00 AM
RE: Hello :)
Welcome Johnny


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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26-02-2014, 11:37 AM
RE: Hello :)
Be sure to barbecue kittens, record the NFL without their permission, and rip the tags off of your mattress.

Oh and no parent should disown a child over a change of position.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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28-02-2014, 03:16 AM
RE: Hello :)
It's comforting to hear the Girl Scouts are adopting a holistic approach to religious/non-religious groups. I think it was one of the podcasts that I had heard someone could not attain certain involvement unless they were of certain religious faith, and that's why the thought crossed my mind. Our son was a boy scout way back when, but he didn't really stick with it either. It was held at a local elementary school. I used to attend some Girl Scout functions with my niece as well... dances, fund raising, etc,... and I think they have their own 'club house' or something. I don't remember religion being a part of it, however back then these things were easily overlooked.

Thank you for the kind salutations.
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02-03-2014, 08:27 PM
RE: Hello :)
I know im late but welcome brother. Good to have ya Thumbsup

[Image: Guilmon-41189.gif] ♪僕は恐怖の一定した状態に住んで、不幸、逃すもう?僕は、それはもう痛いときも気づかないと
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02-03-2014, 08:35 PM
RE: Hello :)
Welcome! Hope you hang around a while, you, your wife, and family sound like our kind of people.

And I can relate to being a newcomer to the bible belt...culture shock, that's for sure.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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02-03-2014, 11:26 PM
RE: Hello :)
Welcome, Johnny Smile
Seems like you have a good handle on things and life in general Thumbsup

Humankind Dodgy (a total misnomer)
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05-03-2014, 08:39 PM
RE: Hello :)
Welcome aboard Smile

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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