Struggles or Plain Sailing?
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11-06-2016, 06:25 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 11:32 AM)Reducetarian Wrote:  The only time I ever felt any kind of anxiousness was when, at one point, my daughter seemed to hint that she didn't believe in God (sometime right before her confirmation, at age 12 or so?)
I remember thinking in distress: "but that means you won't go to heaven and I will be separated from you!!"
That mother-instinct moment of panic kicked in at the thought of being completely cut off from my child. Quite scary, actually.
Then I realized that I would rather be with her in hell than without her in heaven.
Which got me thinking ...

It's a funny old thing and can be a mindf**k. I've never had a problem with life after death or whether I have been here before, or going to heaven or hell, but had a problem with being punished for not believing, or being led astray, 'going to the other side', etc. Realising this fear, led me to the conclusion, that the religious fear and guilt trip, is there to put the fear into people who may be a threat to their own organisations, institutions, etc. Somebody who thinks and questions a current authority, is a danger in there eyes - in my opinion.
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11-06-2016, 06:33 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 11:35 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(07-06-2016 06:54 AM)Dramamask Wrote:  I'm sure this question has been put forward on this forum before, so please excuse me, if it has.

Were you a theist as a child and made the transition to atheism, or were you atheist from the onset? Also, if you were a theist as a child and discarded those beliefs, was it an easy mental transition, or did you struggle with any kind of internal conflict? Or, was it 'plain sailing' making that mental transition?

On top of that, are there any atheists here, who were atheist from the onset, who may have had doubts and maybe had the idea there was a God, gods, supernatural, afterall, due to maybe an experience, which may have been comparable to what some record as a 'religious' experience.

Hope that makes sense. Smile

I was raised in the Methodist Church, although we stopped attending regularly in my teens. I'm not sure but I think my dad was an atheist. He never talked about God or talked to us about it. He stopped going to church with us when I was 8 or 9. In my late teens and early 20's I was really searching and wanting to believe but I can remember having serious doubts about the truth of what I was taught in Sunday school at age 7. It was a long process of questioning what I had been taught, learning what logic was, learning how to think rationally and applying that to Christianity. I'd say it took me about 5 years to abandon Christianity all together. It was frightening but I had to be honest with myself. I eventually became a deist for a few years. Then I stumbled upon the philosophy of reason, Objectivism, and I'd say it took another 5 years or so to reject the idea of gods altogether. Now I am certain there are no gods such as that claimed by Christianity and I can demonstrate why such a thing is impossible in principle. But it took a good 15 years of hard work to get to this point and yes it was very tempting at times to go back to the fold. It took a long time to even consider stating to myself that I didn't believe and that it was all false.

Nothing worthwhile comes for free in this life. That's what I have learned. But, I'm far more happy and enjoy life so much more now than I ever did, I wish I had got started earlier in life on discovering the philosophy of reason. I wish my parents had been Objectivists and had taught that to me from an early age. I am teaching my children Objectivism, but in the end it will be up to them as to what philosophy they adopt. I am certain beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that gods do not exist. I can say that now without any fear and it feels so good to know why I can say it because it goes far beyond the question of gods to everything and every situation.

What you say here, pretty much mirrors my own experience. I have an envy with people who were brought up to cherish their innate function and capacity for reason and logic. I can relay so many experiences of this capacity inside of myself, which from time to time came out, only to be condemned by unwavering believers in unproven belief systems. As a child, I think it can be very damaging, causing self-doubt, etc. I think Richard Dawkins said, in The God Delusion, that enforced religious ideas on a child, is a form of child abuse. I would agree with that to a point, when these ideas affect the self-esteem and individuality of the child.
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11-06-2016, 06:39 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 12:06 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  I was raised religious, my parents are Catholic but they never made that big a deal out of it. It was more of a general religious tone and if we did something wrong we'd be threatened with Hell or for making the Virgin Mary cry. Even a little argument over who get's the last slice of pizza was blamed for making a Virgin statue cry actual tears in some far off country somewhere.

I discovered my atheism in my pre-teens and it was an easy transition at first, my parents took it hard and I read the Bible and I don't know why but later on, more towards my early twenties I started to develop a deep fear of death, of actually going to Hell, the devil etc., I guess in all my years of study I never really faced my mortality so I had to embrace the concept of eternal oblivion and realize I will die someday and so will everyone I know and even people I don't know, just everyone and that's ok.

Once I got over it after a year or so I became a better, stronger atheist...wow that sounds like I was granted some kind of super power or something. I did develop a strong sense of sarcasm around this time, I used to be a lot more respectful towards religion but I guess I realized how much it robs people of enjoyment of their lives, it's not right but the second someone says "I'm gonna pray for you." I have to say "And I'll write a letter to the North Pole for you." They might look at me like "Jeez, I'm trying to be nice." but seriously even if this psychopathic God you think you can communicate with was real I'd rather he not know about me...I mean he's supposed to know everything right? But if being atheist gives me some kind of shield and he can't see me than that's even better.

It's quite strange isn't it. I know that with myself, when I rejected the ideas 'consciously', there were still 'programs' in my mind conflicting with my new ideas. I think it takes sometime to have those old 'programs' to lose their power with some of us. It happened with me, but the more I listened and read with information based upon facts, logic and reason, the easier it became, but even so, was essentially a retraining of the mind and felt freer and better for it. Smile
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11-06-2016, 06:48 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 08:59 PM)TheInquisition Wrote:  I was raised in a devoutly fundamentalist Pentecostal household. My mom made us go to church, it was something we never questioned.

I learned and loved science in my teens, I realized there were some things I just couldn't accept, such as young-Earth creationism.

As a teenager, I had scoliosis which required surgery, of course my fundamentalist background made it clear that god could miraculously heal me if I had enough faith. I had numerous people in church praying for me, along with my family and I didn't get an answer.

God simply failed, it was such an undeniable failure that it caused me to seriously question my faith and how people lived in a world of rationalization for the failure of prayer.

That put me on the path to eventually question everything, I had a long period of agnosticism where I pulled myself out church and refused to go. I observed from a distance other people not getting answers to prayer, but always rationalizing it away with the standard apologetics. Instead of accepting these excuses, I questioned and eventually dismissed the idea of prayer or a personal god.

I remained an agnostic deist for many years until I realized that it was time to resolve the question and go beyond an "I don't know". Being able to live outside the envelope of confirmation bias allowed me to see clearly what all of these supposed miracles in fundamentalist circles were all about - confirmation bias. A cheap mental trick that we play on ourselves, a counterfeit way of looking at the world that lies to us in everything we see.

I left Christianity when I finally decided to be honest with myself about what all of this god stuff was really about. It was simply a biased and deeply flawed way of skewing reality to fit fantasy, it was total intellectual dishonesty.

It was liberating to rid myself of psuedo-science, though I did lose a life long friend, his mind is totally enslaved to the Christian fantasy world, up to and including young-Earth creationism.

Luckily for myself also, I had an interest in science when I was a kid, which I am glad to say helped later on, with shedding the old religious beliefs.

I like what you say, when you mention about being honest with yourself. I don't think any religious person with religious beliefs are honest with themselves, unless they are essentially robots who do not have the capacity to question things or themselves. Ironically, that's what Jesus (or the proverbial Jesus) did, when he went out for 40 days and 40 nights.

I don't like the word atheism, as I have heard from many an atheist - oxymoron, I know. The word atheism, in my view, still links to theism. I like football and follow Southampton F.C., but I don't label myself as aMan Utd, or aArsenal. Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. Haha!! Big Grin
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11-06-2016, 06:51 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(09-06-2016 10:50 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(07-06-2016 06:54 AM)Dramamask Wrote:  Were you a theist as a child and made the transition to atheism, or were you atheist from the onset? Also, if you were a theist as a child and discarded those beliefs, was it an easy mental transition, or did you struggle with any kind of internal conflict? Or, was it 'plain sailing' making that mental transition?

I was Christian for nearly 30 years. It took about two years for me to go from doubts to accepting that I didn't believe. A good chunk of that time was difficult for me. There was about a six month period where I was pretty sure I didn't believe, but I wasn't sure if I was failing some test and dooming myself to hell. It's very weird to not believe in hell, but to be worried about it.


(07-06-2016 07:07 AM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  when i was a child i just assumed that everything adults said was true, especially my old and wise grandparents that dragged me to church a few times.. then i quickly realized that adults could be wrong. those early years of assumption were the only reasons that i swallowed the god shit.

Just last week my seven-year-old fairly well reasoned out that there is a very good chance that Santa is not real, and that adults are just buying the presents. She even came out with a relatively good way to test this hypothesis. It's not bullet proof, but I like how she's thinking. She did this all with no prompts from me.

...I wonder if she will do the same thing with religion, and how old she'll be if she does.

I can certainly identify with what you say on the first bit. I put it down to conscious conflicts with old programmed belief systems, although it doesn't take away the emotional turmoil, some may go through.
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11-06-2016, 06:57 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(09-06-2016 11:52 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Grew up GAC (generic American Christian), pretty much never believed any of that stuff. Perfectly fine being all Aggie (agnostic) until god showed up on the job site with the line I have need of a prophet. Which of course lead to level seven kinda atheism. I'm actually kinda simultaneously 1 and 7, but both me and god prefer marketing the atheism. Wink

You have reminded me of something, which scares the shit out of me, which is this: what if we are part of some kind of virtual reality program, which was created by a theist? And what would happen if during that program and our lives, Jesus, Mohammed, or whoever, came back and we suddenly find ourselves in this world where it was all true, according to the virtual reality program and we're all going to burn in oblivion because of it. So, in a sense, we could be part of a computer program, or game, where a snotty nosed sadistic teenager has designed the program, only for us to be doomed by his/her game design. That horrible teenager could be our god, creator and ultimately sadistic destroyer. I hate that thought! Haha!! Big Grin
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11-06-2016, 06:58 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(09-06-2016 09:09 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(09-06-2016 09:05 PM)carusmm Wrote:  To me, Nietzsche is the most moral of philosophers. He never quite gives up the pursuit of truth.

Nietzsche would disagree with you. The √úbermensch is beyond good and evil.

He had a few nervous breakdowns too, didn't he? :o
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11-06-2016, 07:02 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
I was raised Catholic. But it was more going through the motions than anything else. I wasn't ever really a believer in the fantastical stories and concepts. Mass on Sunday, no meat on Friday, Catechism classes till my Catholic school days, first communion, confirmation...it was all just going through the motions.

There was never really any talk about religion in the home when I was growing up. I think mom was raised Methodist but was really more atheist or agnostic and dad was raising us Catholic for business reasons - all his clients were Catholic and he didn't want to buck their beliefs.

I had minor struggles in that in my early 20s I really thought you had to believe in some sort of god story. I did some reading and researching until I realized that I didn't have to follow or buy into any of it, of any flavor.

Since I have, in all the decades that have followed, not seen or heard anything to convince me differently...I do not struggle with my non-belief.

I hate to hear the stories about people who lose family and friends when they leave a life of faith or about those who feel the need to live a lie to not have that happen.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

We're all mad here. The Cheshire Cat
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11-06-2016, 07:06 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(11-06-2016 06:58 AM)Dramamask Wrote:  
(09-06-2016 09:09 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Nietzsche would disagree with you. The √úbermensch is beyond good and evil.

He had a few nervous breakdowns too, didn't he? :o

He died of the clap, poor bastard.
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11-06-2016, 07:06 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(11-06-2016 07:02 AM)Anjele Wrote:  I was raised Catholic. But it was more going through the motions than anything else. I wasn't ever really a believer in the fantastical stories and concepts. Mass on Sunday, no meat on Friday, Catechism classes till my Catholic school days, first communion, confirmation...it was all just going through the motions.

There was never really any talk about religion in the home when I was growing up. I think mom was raised Methodist but was really more atheist or agnostic and dad was raising us Catholic for business reasons - all his clients were Catholic and he didn't want to buck their beliefs.

I had minor struggles in that in my early 20s I really thought you had to believe in some sort of god story. I did some reading and researching until I realized that I didn't have to follow or buy into any of it, of any flavor.

Since I have, in all the decades that have followed, not seen or heard anything to convince me differently...I do not struggle with my non-belief.

I hate to hear the stories about people who lose family and friends when they leave a life of faith or about those who feel the need to live a lie to not have that happen.

I think I have been surrounded by weird people in my family. My mother said she didn't believe in God, when I was a kid and so I thought she was an atheist, as opposed to my father, who was/is a believer. Just recently, I found out that my mother is a believer now and defends Christianity, although I think it has more to do with 'keeping up appearances'. Big Grin
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