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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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urgbogdurgbog Offline
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From religious to non-religious - August 1st 2014, 01:33 PM

I was not sure what to call this, I wanted to put into words how I came to my beliefs. If anyone would like to comment or ask anything feel free.

I was raised as a Christian by my parents, I went to church twice a week for the first 18 years of my life. The youth group I went to had "small groups" which were basically people from my school/grade. (Not sure if other places use the same format) Our small group decided we would read the bible in a year and meet weekly to read and discuss it. During this process was when I realized how little I believed in the Bible. I kept my thoughts to myself. At the time I believed something was wrong with me. Everyone else around me believed in it but I could not.

Then I dated someone who was a very very religious. To put it mildly that did not go well. I stopped going to church while dating them which inevitably caused us to break up. I told my close friends about my uncertainty in it. Half or so of them never spoke to me again. For awhile I chose to just change the subject when anyone brought it up. Even with people who thought like I did I refused to have a discussion.

It hasnt been until fairly recently that I've started thinking hard about what I believe, the reasons why and what would cause me to change my mind. Listening Christopher Hitchens, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, and various religious speakers has helped me greatly.

First I need to define what I mean by athiest. I dont believe that you can be an agnostic without being an atheist. To me atheism answers the question 'Do you believe in god?' while agnoticism answers 'Is there a god?' If you dont know whether or not there is a god you don't actively belive in a god.

I do not believe in a god, however that is different from there IS no god. I cannot prove there is not one. However there is also no evidence to support there being a supernatural entity. As for what would convince me there is a god I have not yet come up with a good answer, I could not find the exact quote but "Hallucinations are real to the people experiencing them." I also belive that organized religion has been a detriment on the human race. I find awe and wonder in uncertainty, not knowing why something exists is a truly wonderful thing. Claiming to know the answer before the question is asked seems uninteresting.

I still have not talked with my family about what I believe, undecided if I ever will openly bring it up. I never finished reading the Bible, but plan on reading it cover to cover soon.

I did not go into many specifics because it would be longer than it already is, I'd be happy to have a discussion with anyone wanting to. My only goal is to challenge your beliefs and maybe you will challenge mine through this kind of exchange is how we learn.

"Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition that needs illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of the vale of woe, the halo of which is religion. Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers from the chain, not so that man will wear the chain without any fantasy or consolation but so he will shake off the chain and cull the living flower"

I respect you as a person too much to respect your ridiculous beliefs.
- Johann Hari
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Re: From religious to non-religious - August 3rd 2014, 09:04 AM

I believe that there is a God but I wouldn't classify myself as Christian. I am glad that you have come to a conclusion about what it is you believe. I think that sometimes it can be hard to figure this out when you are living with relatives that are really religious or are surrounded by a group of people that are really religious. The decision to tell your family about your feelings is a tough one because you don't know how they will respond. I think that if you do decide to tell them you should make sure you are financially independent because you don't want them to overreact and kick you out or anything like that.

I hope that you are able to continue exploring this topic!

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Re: From religious to non-religious - August 4th 2014, 03:53 PM

I'm an atheist but I believe there is "something" out there, it's just that I don't believe in any organized religion and since half of my university degree is religion/culture it isn't as if I haven't had plenty of opportunities to learn about various religions and relate to them. It's just not for me... I most closely relate to Anishinaabe beliefs (think Ojibwe, but Ojibwe is the white word for their people which lots of people adopted over the traditional word but I use the traditional word like they do as it is a respectful thing to do) any how, enough about semantics, I like their beliefs because it allows you to pray and stuff without feeling like you have to pray to an almighty judging God, you just pray to Grandmother moon, or the Creator or who ever else and they hear your thoughts, and it has the 7 Grandfather Teachings etc.... But I don't actually actively identify with or practice that either, it's just the closest I've gotten to identifying with an actual religion/spirituality.... I think the most accurate thing for me is to say I am a spiritual atheist lol

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Re: From religious to non-religious - August 6th 2014, 12:53 AM

Originally Posted by urgbogdurgbog View Post
I dont believe that you can be an agnostic without being an atheist. To me atheism answers the question 'Do you believe in god?' while agnoticism answers 'Is there a god?' If you dont know whether or not there is a god you don't actively belive in a god.
You can be agnostic without being an atheist. Agnosticism is purely withholding a belief or disbelief altogether because claiming to know the unknowable is fruitless. "I don't know" is a perfectly valid answer to the question of belief in a deity or religion and doesn't really reside in either camp.

That being said, I'm glad you are having this moment of self discovery, I always find delving into this particular topic very liberating, though at times somewhat depressing as I can never quite reconcile some of the beliefs people hold in the name of faith. I fully respect everyone's beliefs and opinions though ofcourse.

Self pity will not rescue you.
Sometimes we have to save our own lives,
not because no one else cares, but because no one else can.

Life for you has been less than kind
So take a number, stand in line
We've all been sorry, we've all been hurt
But how we survive is what makes us who we are.

Dreamed up the maps, give me the charcoal and the paper
We invent paths they cannot see, and they're too scared to walk

Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It's only after you've lost everything that you are free to do anything.
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