It's about time...
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19-03-2015, 01:10 PM
It's about time...
Hello everyone,

It's about time I introduced myself. I've been inactive lately, but, I've been on the forum a while now and have never done so.
I've also decided to be more public about my atheism and I thought this would be a good first step.
My name is Phillip. I am married (to a Wiccan), a father of two girls, a former Buddhist, and will be 41 next week.
I was born into a liberal christian home, baptized Catholic as an infant, and raised in a fairly secular environment. In my early teenage years, my family attended a series of non-denominational Christian churches, which gave my a good look at how irrational Christianity could be. One group was actually planning an exorcism on our family.
(they weren't all that bad). I'm certain others have had much worse experiences than mine.
By seventeen I thought I was an atheist. However, I soon discovered eastern philosophy which led me to Buddhism. Most of the Buddhist writings I encountered were things put out by the Dalai Lama for public consumption. Because Buddhists largely consider themselves to be atheists, and because I still held some spiritual and metaphysical beliefs, primarily the continuation of consciousness beyond death, I found Buddhism very appealing and soon considered myself to be one, but, only engaged in casual reading and self directed practice. I was about twenty.

Fast forward fifteen years...

In my mid thirties I was married with two kids and attending a Lutheran church (Missouri Synod). My oldest daughter needed more structure than public school provided, so we had enrolled her in a private school associated with the church and I attended for the community involvement and to receive a healthy tuition discount. After a while I became frustrated with an increasingly closed-minded environment. The rational people there seemed to be leaving post haste. I decided to cope by taking my true faith more seriously (in private of course). I wanted to get to know the deep foundations of my religion and not just be a casual observer (sound familiar?). I'd had a few blows to my faith, news reports of sectarian Buddhist fighting over control of a monastery (WTF?), Hitchens revealing to me the complicity of Japanese Buddhists in WWII, but, I was able to over look them. Then, in my new found search for "the path to enlightenment", I found a passage about a forest of wish granting trees (ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS??!!Angry) and I had to call BULLSHIT!
It was immediately clear to me that the only religion I had regarded as having any rational foothold was just as dogmatic and superstitious as any other.

There is a teaching attributed to the Buddha:
"O monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me. ".
I put them to the test. I am no longer a Buddhist.
I am now an atheist, a humanist, and learning to be a skeptic.

You can lead a theist to reason, but, you cannot make him think.
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