Losing motivation
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04-03-2013, 01:04 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2013 01:16 AM by Ironwall.)
Losing motivation
Hello all this is my first day on this forum and it really has impressed me which I will go on about in further detail later on. Getting to the point of this post would be that I am losing hope in many of those around me. When I graduated high school I finally got the guts to question my pastor on this religion that I never believed in. I was very interest at the time in Buddhism so I told my mother I don't believe in God and would like to practice Buddhism. She did not like this at all and told me to talk to my pastor which as I said before I was going to do before I made any decisions. After a long talk I told him that I can not follow something I don't believe in and it would be better that I be a 90 year old man and finally truely believe in God than to blindly follow him now. He agreed with me and supported me questioning and going on my own religious journey.

I went to a buddhist temple and bought many books on Buddhism which I read over and over. Even though I learned much from Buddhism and still believe that meditation can be great for the mind I did not believe that it was a proper explanation of what I was looking for. My search continued and I took a beginner philosophy class at my college which opened my eyes to even more knowledge. After becoming obsessed with it I read many books again on the subject and while this answered a lot of moral question it did not answer it the way science does. At this point I was about to graduate with a degree in computer science but I couldn't go on wondering about the universe so I changed my major to physics. Now as a physics major I have learned how many things thought to be unexplainable can be explained.

My parents however are a diffrent story. My father was never allowed to go to school so he is illiterate and can not understand basic math. To him God existing is as true as 1+1= 2. My mother has used religion as her anchor her entire life to the point trying to force us to be just like her. After talk with many including my pastor we agreed that they will forever believe in God because they need to in order to keep living. However we have agreed I should continue my journey even if I turn out to be atheist. Which after many years of sleepless nights pondering religion and existence I have become an atheist. So I have cone to accept that my parents will live and die never knowing the truth about the bible. However my girlfriend is smart and understands much of the.physics and logic I explain to her but yet she has grown up in a Christian house and still believes in God because she needs him. She says there are certains things she couldn't have done without Gods help. In which I try to explain that it was not God who helped her but her ownself. It is not God who does surgery on you it is the Dr. I fear that she will be like my mother and use God as an anchor her entire life and because I love and deeply care about her I do not want her to end up like my mother. For once she get her mind out of that Prision she can be like many of us who are now able to deeply appreciate the universe and our lives.

Now I am by no means an expert on anything but I feel like I have spend a long time (comparing it to my age now) thinking and researching this subject that when someone says that "they just believe in him and they can't help it" I want to say bs. It is it opposite you haven't questioned him or even been open to other religions or text. You have just believed so because someone else told you he exist. So I am losing hope that I can help my gf see the truth and I am a bit of a dreamer but I do think that for us as humans to move on intellectually religion needs to go the way that Zeus did but that is another discussion for another day.

As for this forum impressing me. The last time I posted it was on the atheists section of reddit and it just turned out to be a bunch of people bashing religion and anyone who follows it with barely any proof. To me it was no different than a religious person saying an atheist is the devils worker.
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04-03-2013, 02:55 AM
RE: Losing motivation
(04-03-2013 01:04 AM)Ironwall Wrote:  Hello all this is my first day on this forum and it really has impressed me which I will go on about in further detail later on. Getting to the point of this post would be that I am losing hope in many of those around me. When I graduated high school I finally got the guts to question my pastor on this religion that I never believed in.

I want to first stop here and go over this. Just as an observation here, keep in mind that your family was likely raised this way and you didn't happen to believe it. For whatever reason, indoctrination slipped from you while others around you remained indoctrinated. Now, you may feel this is of little consequence and it may be very very easy to look at them and wonder, "How can they be so blind? What's going on here? Are they really that daft that they can't see what's right in front of them?"

Some people such as yourself are lucky enough to start with no indoctrination. I rather envy what it must be like to live your entire life without wondering what it's like to be a theist, or to always have had the feeling that it's just bullshit. Unfortunately it was not till later in my life after I moved out and got out on my own did I actually bother start asking questions.

My point here is to keep in mind the following: Those who are indoctrinated heavily tend to believe as fast just as much as solidly as you tend to breathe oxygen. I know it may be a difficult concept.. but try to imagine for a moment being raised into something, believing it as truth, not knowing anything different at all. Add in that most the people around you believe the same thing (confirmation bias, support in numbers, group mentality) and when people oppose it, the opposition is greatly criticized. Even the most rational argument could be potentially like speaking to a wall.

I still have times where talking to a theist makes me want to beat my face into a brick wall out of frustration but I have to sometimes stop myself and know when to just say enough is enough, stop talking and realize that indoctrination is far too strong for them at the time and to continue the conversation later. After all, I was there once and sometimes forget how crazy it is.

(04-03-2013 01:04 AM)Ironwall Wrote:  I was very interest at the time in Buddhism so I told my mother I don't believe in God and would like to practice Buddhism. She did not like this at all and told me to talk to my pastor which as I said before I was going to do before I made any decisions. After a long talk I told him that I can not follow something I don't believe in and it would be better that I be a 90 year old man and finally truely believe in God than to blindly follow him now. He agreed with me and supported me questioning and going on my own religious journey.

I went to a buddhist temple and bought many books on Buddhism which I read over and over. Even though I learned much from Buddhism and still believe that meditation can be great for the mind I did not believe that it was a proper explanation of what I was looking for. My search continued and I took a beginner philosophy class at my college which opened my eyes to even more knowledge. After becoming obsessed with it I read many books again on the subject and while this answered a lot of moral question it did not answer it the way science does. At this point I was about to graduate with a degree in computer science but I couldn't go on wondering about the universe so I changed my major to physics. Now as a physics major I have learned how many things thought to be unexplainable can be explained.

Very cool degree and it sounds like you've got some great things to contribute. I enjoy philosophy and I think you'll find an awful lot of the rest of us here do as well Smile We also have quite a few science buffs.

(04-03-2013 01:04 AM)Ironwall Wrote:  My parents however are a diffrent story. My father was never allowed to go to school so he is illiterate and can not understand basic math. To him God existing is as true as 1+1= 2. My mother has used religion as her anchor her entire life to the point trying to force us to be just like her. After talk with many including my pastor we agreed that they will forever believe in God because they need to in order to keep living. However we have agreed I should continue my journey even if I turn out to be atheist. Which after many years of sleepless nights pondering religion and existence I have become an atheist. So I have cone to accept that my parents will live and die never knowing the truth about the bible. However my girlfriend is smart and understands much of the.physics and logic I explain to her but yet she has grown up in a Christian house and still believes in God because she needs him. She says there are certains things she couldn't have done without Gods help. In which I try to explain that it was not God who helped her but her ownself. It is not God who does surgery on you it is the Dr. I fear that she will be like my mother and use God as an anchor her entire life and because I love and deeply care about her I do not want her to end up like my mother. For once she get her mind out of that Prision she can be like many of us who are now able to deeply appreciate the universe and our lives.

It sounds like you care an awful lot about your girlfriend. Remember not to become impatient and patience can sometimes be key in this stuff. If it seems like she is following good points of logic, if she has rational thinking and the capability to really think about stuff critically then she may come around sooner or later. Remember that the journey for what is true is what is important, and not whether or not someone sides with your viewpoints. It took me a while to feel this way about that stuff. I often times worry more now about talking to my family and friends about the truth of the matter of a subject, than whether or not a god or gods exist. After all, atheism is just one stance on one subject.

(04-03-2013 01:04 AM)Ironwall Wrote:  Now I am by no means an expert on anything but I feel like I have spend a long time (comparing it to my age now) thinking and researching this subject that when someone says that "they just believe in him and they can't help it" I want to say bs. It is it opposite you haven't questioned him or even been open to other religions or text. You have just believed so because someone else told you he exist. So I am losing hope that I can help my gf see the truth and I am a bit of a dreamer but I do think that for us as humans to move on intellectually religion needs to go the way that Zeus did but that is another discussion for another day.

As for this forum impressing me. The last time I posted it was on the atheists section of reddit and it just turned out to be a bunch of people bashing religion and anyone who follows it with barely any proof. To me it was no different than a religious person saying an atheist is the devils worker.

Don't lose hope my friend. It can be extremely frustrating. Reddit is great for purposes of humor, but rarely do I see a full on intelligent conversation on there where people talk in a manner without throwing out, "you're a fucking idiot!" and 500 downvotes or a circlejerk type comment with a bunch of useless upvotes. You'll find here that you get what you give. If you bring intelligent, rational, logical, good and well founded conversation? You'll get just that back at you. We have a fantastic bunch of people here.

I was at my wits end trying to find a group of people I could talk to on the internet because I'm vastly surrounded by fundamentalist YEC types where I live. Not everywhere, but more than I'd like. Although now that I am comfortable with who I am, and since I have met others like myself.... I've been fine with being open about it, and slowly, but surely, people have been far more accepting of it than I'd ever have accepted. The only way to gain some ground and get a little hope going is to make sure others know that it is ok to be who you are, it's ok not to follow the rest of the sheeple and it's absolutely just fucking fine to think for yourself.

There may be some that you may never be able to reconcile with. But you may be very surprised at who can be. Sometimes the least likely end up being people who sit down with you one day and ask you legitimate questions about your viewpoint. Don't lose hope in the people you love, but don't go jehovatheist witness on them either. Instead, as I've said, sometimes concentrating on one thing at a time can help. Not sure if you've gone through and heard any stories from other atheists, and I don't like to "argument ad youtubeum" on people, but there is a very very good series on the deconversion of a fellow that has a great way of putting faith and believe in god as not just ONE argument... but actually many things that hold a person's belief in a god together.

Specifically, this video:




Here is the entire playlist. If you get bored, if you're really interested to hear from an atheist who went full hardcore christian to a fully deconverted atheist (and a very intellectual, well spoken one at that) it is a very good watch:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A

Welcome to The Thinking Atheist. You're not alone Smile
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04-03-2013, 07:07 AM
RE: Losing motivation
Welcome to TTA.

Read what Logisch had to say, it is very worthwhile.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-03-2013, 08:48 AM
Re: Losing motivation
Thanks guys I have read what was said and I thank you all for your support. I can't reply back in length yet, but later today I will.
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04-03-2013, 08:56 PM
Re: Losing motivation
So I have had another talk with her and it seemed as if she wanted to agree with me but something was too troubling to get over and kept pulling her back. I can relate it to the allegory of the cave however in this case I am showing her the outside and she is curious but the pain from the real world is too much for her right now. I think I will slow things down for a bit. This is all for now I will update again later.
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09-03-2013, 03:20 PM
RE: Losing motivation
Religion, whichever, after one feels one receives mental strength, or feels that one is not alone and has someone to always confide in---basically any kind of a comforting feeling resulting from belief, will create a feeling of affection towards one's religion. And even if all the proof in the world says otherwise, this person will not necessarily want to abandon the 'friend' they have in god/gods. I think it could be a way for the mind to spread responsibility away from one's own shoulders?
I personally believe religions were formed for both explaining the things that people did not understand but also to make the universe itself more personal, and hence they are so prominent.

Might be your girlfriend is only feeling insecure thinking of stepping into a world without this so called comforting shoulder. She will get braver with time, or then she will fall more into her beliefs, but there's absolutely nothing you can do to make her turn towards atheism outside of offering her your own mental support.

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