Poll: Were you once religious?
Yes, I used to believe once.
No, I never did.
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Were you once a believer?
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31-03-2012, 12:51 PM
RE: Were you once a believer?
(31-03-2012 08:00 AM)Grassy Knoll Wrote:  "When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion." —Abraham Lincoln

I was born and raised in the Mormon church. That was the best thing to be when the JW's came knocking at the door! I guess it was like telling them that I was already a member of a cult and they'd quickly realize that working on me would have extra hurdles so they always gave quick exit. Now I tell the Mormons I'm an atheist with the same effect. But I still tell the JW's I'm a Mormon... gets them every time Rolleyes
It's incredible just how defensive blind people are of their canes. My cane is called Christianity and your cane is called Mormonism. Your cane is less powerful than mine. Yada, yada, yada, yada.
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31-03-2012, 12:57 PM
RE: Were you once a believer?
(22-03-2012 06:44 AM)Kaji Wrote:  Hi all, I am new here. Just two days ago I subscribed to the Thinking Atheist Podcast and the topics are just amazing. I live in Indonesia and was a muslim for forty years (statistics say I'm still one, but it doesn't matter). I used to lead prayers and whatnot in my campus and gradually grew out of it. I have had so many questions and the answer I received just stock answers ("don't question") that just got more and more stale with time.

I stopped praying, nothing happened. I stopped trying to read the quran (I sucked at Arabic and I am glad I was), nothing happened. I basically dropped all religious rituals from my life and obviously nothing happened. No lightning strikes, no wrath of allah. I simply tell people that I am a "bad and lazy muslim, don't follow me, I am going to hell". But the point is, I simply stopped believing. The teachings grew more and more ridiculous to me, the screaming, frothing at the mouth ulamas are getting more and more irritating. The funny thing is, almost everything is declared "haram" and yet everybody does it. I just went one step further: I declared religion is "haram" to me.

I started reading Dawkins' "God Delusion" and I couldn't get enough after that. I devoured Hitchens', Hawking's, Harris' books, electronic and printed, doesn't matter. I downloaded videos of Hitchens' debates and absolutely admire his stance and courage. I am also a big fan of Matt Dillahunty and Godless Bitches ("Is truth important to you?".

I am still in the closet. Being an atheist in Indonesia, the threat is not only verbal abuse or being ostracized. It's life-threatening and the law will never be on your side (it is geared to appease the majority). I live in a country where abusing religion is punishable to five years imprisonment. You don't believe me, go google about "Alexander Aan" and you'll know. So for now I stay quiet in my closet.

Thanks for having me here. I just want to know how it feels like being in the midst of like minded people.
Hiya,
I'm based in Singapore but do some training once or twice a year in Jakarta.
I have to allow for prayer-time (in Malaysia too) which I don't have to do in the much more secular Singapore.
Only about 50% of the delegates go to pray and most do it out of habit not because they are committed so I think perhaps you can take solice that you are not the only one who has lapsed but I do understand what you mean.
Do you have an opinion on how long it would be and what it would take for the zeitgeist to change towards secularism? Other than a revolution, I mean.
I see tiny but encouraging evidence that the cathoic church in the Philippines is losing its authority (loosening its stranglehold) e.g. the RH Bill. and as with Singapore, it is probably down to the need for increased foreign investment and therefore the exposure to alternative cultures.
Thoughts?

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02-04-2012, 10:03 PM
RE: Were you once a believer?
Hi DLJ.

Sorry for late reply, gotta earn my plate of rice and everything.

Secularism here in Indonesia? Frankly, we already live in secularism. You've been here, right? Logically, if Indonesia is truly a muslim country filled with devout muslims, the existing mosques in Jakarta cannot accommodate millions of muslims praying at the same time on Fridays. Fact is, it's business as usual on Fridays in Jakarta. Bit different, but nothing major. You can get alcohol easily, if prostitution is your vice of choice, it is available as well, openly. Islamic party has never win an election.

Problem is, no one would admit that we are practically living in secularism. It's a question that people avoid answering. Everyone here wants to be seen as "devout", "religious", "pious", "clean", etc. We are heavy on maintaining self-image, although one will have trouble reconcile that with the fact that Indonesia is one of the most corrupt countries in the planet. I call it political cowardness.

It will take a long time until we reach a point where we can call Indonesia a secular country (I can't see it in my life time; perhaps my grand children will lucky enough to see it happen), free from pseudo-religious shackles. The Internet definitely will play a big part in the liberation. All one need is a seed of idea, a fraction of doubt and the crack will spread. Speed does not matter.
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04-04-2012, 06:16 AM
RE: Were you once a believer?
My story is similar to everyone else. I was born into a Catholic family, raised Catholic, made all the sacraments, was married Catholic (well pretty much forced to marry in the Catholic church) My mom said my Grandparents would not attend if I had the ceremony outside by the lake like I wanted to. About a year into our marriage I can say I was "going through the motions" I was upset at the Catholic church for allowing priests to rape little boys and I completely cut myself off from the church. I thought it was Catholicism so my husband and I went to various churches, various denominations as we traveled around the country due to the Military. Nothing "fit", all the churches seemed to contradict each other. After getting my degree with a focus in Science I began to really question and doubt. My husband and I had a "crisis" of faith. Being the good christian girl I was I thought maybe it was me and I needed to pray harder, go to church more often, read the Bible. It wasn't until very recently, with lots of research and after watching lots of documentaries by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins that I recognized this stuff doesnt make sense! From a Scientific point of view, humanistic, and logical. I stopped believing and started seeking answers and low- and behold I didnt get struck by lightening or hurt in a freak accident. Since then I am an Atheist and I'm not looking back. I feel wonderfully liberated and "free"!!! I havent told anyone in my family yet except my gay brother, who hasnt told anyone yet except me. So for now I'm happy with that and we are seeking to find like minded individuals. I'm very pleased to meet all of you and appreciate each unique yet similar story of De-conversion!!!
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04-04-2012, 09:14 AM
RE: Were you once a believer?
my folks were christians but were not very active. I remember in Sunday school the leader telling me heaven was up in the sky. I was probably 5 or 6 and It was one of those moments where I thought to my self she can't possibly believe that crap? Turns out she did and she expected me to as well. After that I made a lot of excuses on why I didn't want to go to Sunday school. I guess even at that age I had a highly developed bullshit meter! I was the third of 3 boys and my folks were getting tired of arguing about going to church. None of us wanted to go so they lamented and I got out of the whole church attendance early on.
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09-04-2012, 12:30 PM
RE: Were you once a believer?
I was a catholic I was baptize into it but as the years went by I was never strongly into it. I would pray for stupid selfish things like a girlfriend blah blah blah you get the picture. I find it funny how man uses god for his own needs and forces god to fit whatever he needs at the time. My mom died just about two years ago to begin with I used God has plan for everything thing and praying but when this didn't fill me up I began to question everything at first I was Agnostic then I was Agnostic Atheist and now I am a Atheist. I find it very freeing to able to think without having the thought at the end life of a eternal reward or of a punishment of eternal damnation. I look at it this way why would "God" love a kiss ass more than someone who questions him challenges his way of thinking. After all if he did make us isn't that what he gave us brains for? But then again I guess the whole Adam and Eve fairytale disproves my theory lol
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10-04-2012, 10:01 AM
RE: Were you once a believer?
I suppose I shall give these so called "important threads" a go.

Was I once a believer? Nope. Born atheist, baby, and still am.
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12-04-2012, 09:22 AM
RE: Were you once a believer?
I believed when my parents told me to. Although, they were never really devout christians themselves. I'd go to church with friends or family and try to pay attention. But, I had always questioned things. I don't really know what I believe, but I know I don't believe the things people have always tried to teach me about religion. So, maybe I never really believed, after all.. Hm.
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16-04-2012, 11:14 AM
RE: Were you once a believer?
I never believed. It just... never made sense. I went to a Catholic school for a few years, but that was more because the public schools were terrible where we lived. My family is Catholic although I don't know what my brother believes and my mom seems to have a Deist belief system. I never knew my dad, but I did ask my mom once what religion he is and apparently he is also an atheist.
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16-04-2012, 07:17 PM
RE: Were you once a believer?
I am still a believer, it's just that most of my life I believed in God but now I believe in myself Smile
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