School Retreat
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13-03-2013, 06:29 AM
School Retreat
Hello guys.

I suppose that the topic of this thread would be a bit outdated, but I should expound.

A little over two weeks ago, my school required us to attend a retreat. My school's a Catholic school, so the focus of the retreat would be on the Catholic god. Because it was some school requirement, I just went along with it. I didn't want to spend a lot of energy over something so petty.

I just braved through it. It was not the time or place to discuss about how flawed the religion was. However, some things just irked me.

First was that we were supposed to create a timeline of our lives. We also had to reflect as to how god helped us in it. We were then grouped, and we were to discuss our experiences in our groups. We were then going to "report" on our experiences to the entire retreat group as a whole afterward. I already knew that the god of the bible is a god that is unworthy of worship if he were to even exist.

One of my closest friends went with me (he's a Catholic; he already knows that I've lost my faith). He joked around at the irony of the situation. He told me that I could make something up. I just went along and said that god helped me with the trials in my life. I did not expound, considering that that's what god normally does. He actually does nothing except claim credit afterwards.

I had some pretty rough times in my life that I did not want to share with my small group for personal reasons, so I just said that writing a thesis was one of the lows of my life. I did not want to share that I struggled with acute sadness (I'd say I even suffered depression) for a few months. I'm glad that I'm still alive today. The sadness affected me before I had to write my thesis and even during. I managed to pull through because of my awesome teammate. It's odd that because of the sadness, I found it difficult to focus on schoolwork that I had to delegate a lot of the responsibility to my teammates (I normally took on big tasks since I did not quite fully trust my teammates' ability), especially for any group project.

Anyway, going back to the retreat, I recorded down my little group's experiences and how god helped them make it through. Essentially, I summarized their statements by saying that god was the means how they were able to cope. For example, to the person who wanted to be strong, god gave independence (well, I did compile these statements from their actual words).

During the group report, the representative of one of the first few groups said that atheism was not for him. Bringing up atheism was quite a sudden topic, actually. I did not speak to him about atheism, and in fact, he still thinks I'm a Christian. Anyway, he claimed about the placement of the organs in the human body (he didn't really use an exact phrase; he simply said something about the organs in the human body; I inferred that he meant that the human body was perfect). I think he meant that there was an intelligent creator. Unfortunately, he is grossly mistaken. The human body has a lot of imperfections, such as the blind spot in the eyes. As I said earlier, it was a retreat, so it was not really the place for me to argue against his statement and cause a big commotion.

When I reported, I tried to just pass off the struggles as god helping me or something. My group didn't really have anyone who wanted to report. I did say in front of the group that the saddest thing I've heard is not having the capability to understand the situation that my groupmates were in. My groupmates had some form of trauma as kids, and they did not realize what to do or how to deal with it. For example, some of them had to go through their parents separating or one parent dying (though these experiences are not mutually exclusive; at least one experienced both). It was truly sad, especially considering that they were only kids who knew no better, who were powerless to do anything. God suddenly comes in and makes life better for them, though it's understandable that inside someone like me, it's just horrible that a god like the Christian god just watches on, allowing all these sorrows to happen. I just quickly breezed through on the matter of god's involvement in my life.

From what you may have already inferred, I have not quite announced to all of my friends yet that I lost my faith. It's only to a few trusted friends that I've revealed the information to. Considering that the Philippines is mostly Catholic, I have this expectation in my mind that my friends would reject me on grounds that I no longer believe in god, that I see their faith as delusion. Harmful delusion, at that. So far, my friends have not really committed crimes against other people, but given the Catholic church's stand on contraceptives, at the very least, I expect them to get defensive and ostracize me from their company.

I do not want to be cast away by my friends. I've already gone through that experience many times in the past (though for reasons unrelated to atheism; I hadn't even been an atheist for a year yet). One measure I even implemented was not to introduce one group of friends to another. This way, the two groups of friends would not simply forget me. It's probably an unfounded fear, but I just feel that it's better this way.

Anyway, going back, when we had afternoon snacks, another Christian friend talked about atheism and spiritual stuff. I don't remember what he said, but I remember that he said something about how atheists reject the spiritual side of life. His tone implied that there really is a spiritual side to life, where there is supposed to be a relationship with the Christian god. I do not think that the Christian god really listens, if he even exists at all. I think he also mentioned something about agnostics. I think he said that agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. I forgot how he said so, but I know that agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

Later on in the event, we had more activities. We also had dinner. Our moderator talked about the Catholic church. He mentioned about abortion, and well, he was pretty graphic with it. He said about crushing the fetus's head inside the womb. This was immoral because it takes the life of a defenseless human being. I have yet to look more into abortion, but abortion is not an absolute wrong. When there is a conflict between the mother's life and the child's life, saving one life is better than losing both. If we take the life of the fetus when it is already conscious of pain, that would be tantamount to murder. From what I've read regarding abortion, it is not immoral to end the life of a fetus which has not yet developed the capacity to feel pain.

However, what irked me even more was our moderator's claim that the biggest concern of the Catholic church was to convert people and keep them from losing their faith. Why I was irked was that I remembered that the Catholic church has a lot of money, and yet, its biggest concern is not helping starving people all around the world or any related cause.

The retreat ended the following day, but we had to endure some more talking by a priest. We were told that the best thing we could do for the church was to become a missionary. We were also given envelopes to put contributions to missionaries. In my mind, I already knew that missionaries are doing a job that is against the best interests of everyone involved. Preaching to others regarding god to save them from hell would be ridiculous. If god sends those who haven't heard of him to hell, then he is an unjust god. If god sends those who haven't heard of him to heaven, then the work of missionaries is redundant and even carries risk of people's salvation. If god still sends those who reject him to hell, then why even let them know? From all this, why should I even become a missionary?

Later on, we were told to attend the mass. Sure, we're not required, but they seemed to push us to attending. It's as if they didn't understand us the first time around. So, I went into the chapel. During the mass, the priest talked about service, and how being the servant leads to a happy life. He talked on about how his own father had a weird way of disciplining his family: his father would ask for one of the kids to prepare a dipper with water and another to prepare a towel. This was to be done every meal time. The father would then wash his hands and wipe them with the towel. The priest said that being served may feel like a grand privilege, but service is better. I partially agree with him. Constantly placing the self under others seems like there's some bad self-image issues, so I think that it's better to be self-sufficient and then help out others as well. Being able to help others stand on their own would be a nice thing. We do not have to put ourselves down for the sake of everyone involved, especially if all of us can be happy standing tall and proud and not on our knees.

To be honest, if I could avoid the retreat, I would have. There would be other issues, however, such as my friends going but I'm the only one who didn't. That would be another story. I doubt that I would have to attend another retreat like this.

Anyway, for other atheists like me, what kind of advice would you suggest? Considering that the population is vastly Catholic, there's always that fear of being ostracized. For those who will come after me, do you have any advice?

And oh, if you like, you can comment regarding my retreat experience as well.

Thank you for reading, by the way.
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13-03-2013, 09:30 AM
 
RE: School Retreat
"A little over two weeks ago, my school required us to attend a retreat. My school's a Catholic school, so the focus of the retreat would be on the Catholic god. Because it was some school requirement, I just went along with it. I didn't want to spend a lot of energy over something so petty.

I just braved through it. It was not the time or place to discuss about how flawed the religion was. However, some things just irked me."



Same here dude. Catholic private school for me as well. And personally i hate retreats to the point of blowing the whole center up. When they ask each individual if you are in the "right disposition to recieve the body of christ", when the fat middle aged guy who you can tell was homeschooled in a catholic house come up and speaks about how good the middle ages were. That time when no body could be non christian and the church controlled everything. And they almost force you to go to confession and everyone shushes you when you sneeze.

absoloutly the worst. Weeping
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13-03-2013, 06:33 PM
RE: School Retreat
When dealing with the religious, you can literally get away with anything and give the excuse that god doesn't want me to do that. I prayed to him and asked him and this was his response. "You asking me to do this goes against god's wishes and I won't do that. Why would you want to go against god's wishes ?
Tell god right this instant why you are going against his wishes. I demand that you pray with me. On your knees NOW."

You can pull this bullshit any time you want. Use it to your advantage when you feel pressured to do something religious.
Then if the person doesn't agree with you, you can accuse them of not having enough faith in god.
You can ask them when they lost their way. You can make all kinds of accusations that will make them doubt their faith.

The religious are gullible and don't use sound reasoning. Use that against them.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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13-03-2013, 07:33 PM
RE: School Retreat
Hello Icelandic and Rahn.

Sometimes, I wish that there wasn't any stigma attached to being an atheist. I know that there was a lot of stigma attached to it while listening to people talk about atheism during the retreat. I wish that it would be soon that my country will finally see the value in freedom of religion (or better: freedom from the cruelties of religion).

Rahn, it seems that the solution you propose makes me an insufferable prick. Hahaha. I don't think that my friends are that gullible, and I hope that they aren't. Sure, they believe in religion, but I don't want them to be too stupid. I think that there is a better way to get them thinking. I think that a gentle discussion with them is better than being bigoted, considering that they do not really know the reality of things.
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13-03-2013, 07:48 PM
 
RE: School Retreat
(13-03-2013 07:33 PM)Chujutsu Wrote:  Hello Icelandic and Rahn.

Sometimes, I wish that there wasn't any stigma attached to being an atheist. I know that there was a lot of stigma attached to it while listening to people talk about atheism during the retreat. I wish that it would be soon that my country will finally see the value in freedom of religion (or better: freedom from the cruelties of religion).

Rahn, it seems that the solution you propose makes me an insufferable prick. Hahaha. I don't think that my friends are that gullible, and I hope that they aren't. Sure, they believe in religion, but I don't want them to be too stupid. I think that there is a better way to get them thinking. I think that a gentle discussion with them is better than being bigoted, considering that they do not really know the reality of things.
In all actuality, an atheist can't really have a very good sit down talk with a religion teacher or ...ehem... middle aged homeschooled guy, at least not in my experience. that always gets ugly when the religious don't realize that their being totally unreasonable and really lay it thick with "You just don't have the grace of Jesus in you... maybe you should recieve the Erucharist." Response = "@!#$%$#@!!!!!!"
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02-04-2013, 04:21 PM
RE: School Retreat
(13-03-2013 06:29 AM)Chujutsu Wrote:  Hello guys.

I suppose that the topic of this thread would be a bit outdated, but I should expound.

A little over two weeks ago, my school required us to attend a retreat. My school's a Catholic school, so the focus of the retreat would be on the Catholic god. Because it was some school requirement, I just went along with it. I didn't want to spend a lot of energy over something so petty.

I just braved through it. It was not the time or place to discuss about how flawed the religion was. However, some things just irked me.

First was that we were supposed to create a timeline of our lives. We also had to reflect as to how god helped us in it. We were then grouped, and we were to discuss our experiences in our groups. We were then going to "report" on our experiences to the entire retreat group as a whole afterward. I already knew that the god of the bible is a god that is unworthy of worship if he were to even exist.

One of my closest friends went with me (he's a Catholic; he already knows that I've lost my faith). He joked around at the irony of the situation. He told me that I could make something up. I just went along and said that god helped me with the trials in my life. I did not expound, considering that that's what god normally does. He actually does nothing except claim credit afterwards.

I had some pretty rough times in my life that I did not want to share with my small group for personal reasons, so I just said that writing a thesis was one of the lows of my life. I did not want to share that I struggled with acute sadness (I'd say I even suffered depression) for a few months. I'm glad that I'm still alive today. The sadness affected me before I had to write my thesis and even during. I managed to pull through because of my awesome teammate. It's odd that because of the sadness, I found it difficult to focus on schoolwork that I had to delegate a lot of the responsibility to my teammates (I normally took on big tasks since I did not quite fully trust my teammates' ability), especially for any group project.

Anyway, going back to the retreat, I recorded down my little group's experiences and how god helped them make it through. Essentially, I summarized their statements by saying that god was the means how they were able to cope. For example, to the person who wanted to be strong, god gave independence (well, I did compile these statements from their actual words).

During the group report, the representative of one of the first few groups said that atheism was not for him. Bringing up atheism was quite a sudden topic, actually. I did not speak to him about atheism, and in fact, he still thinks I'm a Christian. Anyway, he claimed about the placement of the organs in the human body (he didn't really use an exact phrase; he simply said something about the organs in the human body; I inferred that he meant that the human body was perfect). I think he meant that there was an intelligent creator. Unfortunately, he is grossly mistaken. The human body has a lot of imperfections, such as the blind spot in the eyes. As I said earlier, it was a retreat, so it was not really the place for me to argue against his statement and cause a big commotion.

When I reported, I tried to just pass off the struggles as god helping me or something. My group didn't really have anyone who wanted to report. I did say in front of the group that the saddest thing I've heard is not having the capability to understand the situation that my groupmates were in. My groupmates had some form of trauma as kids, and they did not realize what to do or how to deal with it. For example, some of them had to go through their parents separating or one parent dying (though these experiences are not mutually exclusive; at least one experienced both). It was truly sad, especially considering that they were only kids who knew no better, who were powerless to do anything. God suddenly comes in and makes life better for them, though it's understandable that inside someone like me, it's just horrible that a god like the Christian god just watches on, allowing all these sorrows to happen. I just quickly breezed through on the matter of god's involvement in my life.

From what you may have already inferred, I have not quite announced to all of my friends yet that I lost my faith. It's only to a few trusted friends that I've revealed the information to. Considering that the Philippines is mostly Catholic, I have this expectation in my mind that my friends would reject me on grounds that I no longer believe in god, that I see their faith as delusion. Harmful delusion, at that. So far, my friends have not really committed crimes against other people, but given the Catholic church's stand on contraceptives, at the very least, I expect them to get defensive and ostracize me from their company.

I do not want to be cast away by my friends. I've already gone through that experience many times in the past (though for reasons unrelated to atheism; I hadn't even been an atheist for a year yet). One measure I even implemented was not to introduce one group of friends to another. This way, the two groups of friends would not simply forget me. It's probably an unfounded fear, but I just feel that it's better this way.

Anyway, going back, when we had afternoon snacks, another Christian friend talked about atheism and spiritual stuff. I don't remember what he said, but I remember that he said something about how atheists reject the spiritual side of life. His tone implied that there really is a spiritual side to life, where there is supposed to be a relationship with the Christian god. I do not think that the Christian god really listens, if he even exists at all. I think he also mentioned something about agnostics. I think he said that agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. I forgot how he said so, but I know that agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

Later on in the event, we had more activities. We also had dinner. Our moderator talked about the Catholic church. He mentioned about abortion, and well, he was pretty graphic with it. He said about crushing the fetus's head inside the womb. This was immoral because it takes the life of a defenseless human being. I have yet to look more into abortion, but abortion is not an absolute wrong. When there is a conflict between the mother's life and the child's life, saving one life is better than losing both. If we take the life of the fetus when it is already conscious of pain, that would be tantamount to murder. From what I've read regarding abortion, it is not immoral to end the life of a fetus which has not yet developed the capacity to feel pain.

However, what irked me even more was our moderator's claim that the biggest concern of the Catholic church was to convert people and keep them from losing their faith. Why I was irked was that I remembered that the Catholic church has a lot of money, and yet, its biggest concern is not helping starving people all around the world or any related cause.

The retreat ended the following day, but we had to endure some more talking by a priest. We were told that the best thing we could do for the church was to become a missionary. We were also given envelopes to put contributions to missionaries. In my mind, I already knew that missionaries are doing a job that is against the best interests of everyone involved. Preaching to others regarding god to save them from hell would be ridiculous. If god sends those who haven't heard of him to hell, then he is an unjust god. If god sends those who haven't heard of him to heaven, then the work of missionaries is redundant and even carries risk of people's salvation. If god still sends those who reject him to hell, then why even let them know? From all this, why should I even become a missionary?

Later on, we were told to attend the mass. Sure, we're not required, but they seemed to push us to attending. It's as if they didn't understand us the first time around. So, I went into the chapel. During the mass, the priest talked about service, and how being the servant leads to a happy life. He talked on about how his own father had a weird way of disciplining his family: his father would ask for one of the kids to prepare a dipper with water and another to prepare a towel. This was to be done every meal time. The father would then wash his hands and wipe them with the towel. The priest said that being served may feel like a grand privilege, but service is better. I partially agree with him. Constantly placing the self under others seems like there's some bad self-image issues, so I think that it's better to be self-sufficient and then help out others as well. Being able to help others stand on their own would be a nice thing. We do not have to put ourselves down for the sake of everyone involved, especially if all of us can be happy standing tall and proud and not on our knees.

To be honest, if I could avoid the retreat, I would have. There would be other issues, however, such as my friends going but I'm the only one who didn't. That would be another story. I doubt that I would have to attend another retreat like this.

Anyway, for other atheists like me, what kind of advice would you suggest? Considering that the population is vastly Catholic, there's always that fear of being ostracized. For those who will come after me, do you have any advice?

And oh, if you like, you can comment regarding my retreat experience as well.

Thank you for reading, by the way.

I like the way you have told us all the things this retreat involved, as I am always interested to hear what happens on these retreats and the methods of indoctrination used. Great to know that you remained an atheist still. When you say you would have avoided the retreat, it think you have gained something. It has allowed you to see the methods of indoctrination and has likely developed your critical thinking and reasoning skills by always critiquing what the people were telling you. I would keep quiet about your atheism. You could also troll them if you were clever by acting like a religious person by saying dumb stuff about God.

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