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I, Atheist
07-03-2011, 02:33 PM
Post: #1
I, Atheist
I don’t remember religion being a big family thing and don’t have any recollection of attending services. My Mother did go back to a small town centre chapel, the Ragged School, but our links were to Old Whittington’s St Bartholomew’s which was Church of England.

My three brothers and I were dressed up every Sunday morning and sent to Sunday school. This was not at the main church but at the “Mission” a small linked church on a nearby estate. This was more like a community hall than a religious building and was only a few hundred yards from home.

I remember the feeling that this attendance was an obligation rather than anything to look forward to even if I clearly was a believer. The activities at this “school” were not engrossing; in fact all I remember is that the Rector had to walk down from the main church to perform a prayer as part of our weekly activity. There were never more than a handful of children present anyway.

The point when I came to challenge the existence of a deity came in the autumn of 1976 when I was thirteen. It was the broadcast of the seminal dramatization I, Claudius. The eponymous character was a sympathetic intellectual who became the Emperor of Rome, ironically in early Christian times.

This character worshipped the myriad of gods that formed part of the roman culture. For someone who only understood the monotheistic Christian way this was odd. How could this hero with his academic background believe in such a stupid idea?

I questioned this with my mother who always encouraged free-thinking notwithstanding her religious stand-point. She tried to put his views and beliefs into an historical context but this just allowed the genie out of the bottle. You didn’t have to believe in my one god. In fact my god might be as ridiculous as Claudius with his maladjusted relatives becoming divine.

Shortly after this I stopped going to Sunday school. I think the scheme at the Mission ended soon after and my siblings moved to the local Methodist church. I went to the Youth Club there and was on the fringes of the religious activity but was never one for the services. In time I even stopped going to the social services like Christmas Eve. My mother however became more involved, took bible classes and became a Worship Leader.

I just ignored religion for many years considering it a benign inconvenience; I still attended family events as convention required. However I then refused a request to be a god-parent and also missed a christening because I saw no justification for a religious based naming ceremony.

More than this I realised by considering the role of Islam in a modern Britain that faiths were not neutral or a useful moral framework. It was not just the alien ones that were dangerous but rather all religions and theist based ideas were malevolent.

To western eyes the unfamiliar Muslim can be easily portrayed, quite rightly, as a threat both to world peace and those individuals unlucky enough to live under its restrictions. However the position of the Christian fundamentalists and their links to far right American politics are also a real concern.
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07-03-2011, 04:22 PM
Post: #2
RE: I, Atheist
Thanks dalekpete for your story! I always enjoy hearing people's stories about how their religious views matured.

Since you were fairly young when this happens, what did/do your parents think about this? Whenever I mention something about my disbelief in any god to my mother, she usually shrugs it off with phrases like, "your still on this kick." As if to imply that this is just some fad that I will grow out of. Perhaps I will, I don't think so however the possibility does exist. The older I get the more knowledgeable I become while at the same time my reasoning and logic skills seem to be in a constant state of degradation. So it may not be unreasonable to think that when (and if) I'm in my 70's I may not be capable of rational thought. Or perhaps I could go through some horrible life changing event that seems to make people 'believe' because if they didn't they couldn't deal with the devastation.

Granted believing doesn't create a god, but it does seem to delegate some responsibility form the people who have the belief. And this is one of the ways that religion does do harm, it gives ordinary people the mindset that they are "just following orders" and allows otherwise 'good' people to hate mistreat and possibly murder people for being a different sex, race, or having a particular sexual preference or just different views on religion, etc.

How do/will you raise your children with regards to religion? When I was younger I thought I would gently guide them in the Christian religion because I was (not gently, but never the less) and I thought this would help equip them to eventually become an Atheist. However the other day someone asked me this question and I thought about it, I think I would explain to them what religion is and possibly make comparisons to Santa Clause etc. because I don't want them to have no religious knowledge and join the first cult the come across when they're 18. But I also wouldn't want them to be discriminated against in school for not believing, this is a real issue, especially in America where the majority of people would consider you an idiot for agreeing with evolution.

On a completely unrelated note, dalekpete are you a fan of Doctor Who? I'm guessing that's the dalek part of your username. I really like that show, even though it's really goofy and I don't know anyone else who has even seen it. If you do, one of the movie channels, HBO or Showtime or something is coming out with a Tourchwood movie I think sometime this month.

My personal #1 reason that I don't like religion is because I like knowledge! And Religion suppresses knowledge; not just the knowledge unfortunately, but it suppresses the entire drive to understand.
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07-04-2011, 12:37 AM
Post: #3
RE: I, Atheist
Many people I meet seem reluctant to let go of all their superstition when it comes to the supernatural .
My wife hates religion ,doesnt believe in god , but does believe in ghosts or spirit ?? Doesnt figure really . My sons however differ , one is atheist , the other Church of England.
I think we need to accept that people will hold on to aspects of faith during our generation , until the scales tip towards logic , which hopefully will happen sooner than later.

Wink
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07-04-2011, 06:55 AM
Post: #4
RE: I, Atheist
(07-03-2011 04:22 PM)Garrett Fogerlie Wrote:  On a completely unrelated note, dalekpete are you a fan of Doctor Who? I'm guessing that's the dalek part of your username. I really like that show, even though it's really goofy and I don't know anyone else who has even seen it. If you do, one of the movie channels, HBO or Showtime or something is coming out with a Tourchwood movie I think sometime this month.

Yes I am some thing of a Doctor Who nut. I really want a “What would the Doctor do?” t-shirt. (A “What would Doctor Who do?” one just isn’t correct!)

A ten part Torchwood season begins on Starz on Friday and on BBC1 the following Thursday.

It is interesting to see how much of science-fiction is anti-theist; certainly some in religious authority have issues with this sort of fiction and those who write it.

There seems to be a long tradition of atheists involved in the genre from Sagan, Asimov and Clarke to Roddenberry with Star Trek and now RTD and Moffat with the new Who. Certainly Star Trek had a strong humanist bent and I feel both classic and new Who has the same feel.
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07-04-2011, 08:14 PM
Post: #5
RE: I, Atheist
(07-04-2011 12:37 AM)Martinuk Wrote:  Many people I meet seem reluctant to let go of all their superstition when it comes to the supernatural .
My wife hates religion, doesn't believe in god , but does believe in ghosts or spirit ??

LOL, I know people who are convinced that ghosts exist and are haunting their house! They blame things like, something fell over or is misplaced, on ghosts, seriously! Even though they have kids and pets who are vastly more likely to be the culprit.

Were yourself and your wife non-believers before you guys had children? If so did religion/atheism factor into how you raised them? Or was it a non-issue?

(07-04-2011 06:55 AM)dalekpete Wrote:  A ten part Torchwood season begins on Starz on Friday and on BBC1 the following Thursday.

It is interesting to see how much of science-fiction is anti-theist; certainly some in religious authority have issues with this sort of fiction and those who write it.

There seems to be a long tradition of atheists involved in the genre from Sagan, Asimov and Clarke to Roddenberry with Star Trek and now RTD and Moffat with the new Who. Certainly Star Trek had a strong humanist bent and I feel both classic and new Who has the same feel.

Ten part! Awesome, I thought it was a 1 or 2 episode miniseries. Can't wait! I'm also pissed that Doctor Who won't be back for a couple months; especially because how it ended.

As far as Sci-Fi goes, once you think about the existence of extra terrestrials, it's hard to make a case for a 'God that made humans in his image.'

And when it comes to scientists (with a PhD), as opposed to people who call them selves scientists like Ken Hovind and other Creationists, over 90% are Atheists, and the percentage of physicists and biologists is even higher.

My personal #1 reason that I don't like religion is because I like knowledge! And Religion suppresses knowledge; not just the knowledge unfortunately, but it suppresses the entire drive to understand.
http://www.EvilTheists.com
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07-05-2011, 11:01 AM
Post: #6
RE: I, Atheist
(07-04-2011 08:14 PM)Garrett Fogerlie Wrote:  Were yourself and your wife non-believers before you guys had children? If so did religion/atheism factor into how you raised them? Or was it a non-issue?

Neither of us are religious in any way and we always let nature take its course while our kids were young and only told them about our thoughts when they were old enough to understand for themselves . I honestly think none of them believe in the supernatural and my eldest only goes to church to please the grandparents , he appears a little embarrassed about it at times. I don't think it wise to spoil a childs innocence by dogma or shatter their love of fairies and Santa when very young , leave it till they ask questions .
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