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My Story
08-26-2011, 03:09 AM (This post was last modified: 08-30-2011 10:18 AM by Garrett Fogerlie.)
Post: #1
My Story
I remember when I was 15 or so and I met a person that not only wasn't Christian but was an Atheist! I was shocked, I said, "Shouldn’t you just accept Jesus into your heart so that in case your wrong you may go to heaven?" It is only later that I realized that certainly if God is God he would notice that someone who believes in him for that reason is just hedging their bets and God would certainly not except that person into heaven.

I grew up in a Christian home, members of my family were missionaries and the majority of those who weren’t were at least heavily involved in the church.

I went to a private Christian school from kindergarten to my freshman year in high school. My school had a ‘bible class’ that was just as important as any other class if not more, and you could be held back if you did not pass it. Its science class was mostly misinformation, the main points were mostly how to mock evolutionists with phrases like, “how do you know, where you there?” and how impossible it is that the earth is more than 8,000 years old. Even at that age, I thought that phrase was a bit useless since I wasn’t there for any of the stories in the bible, and I couldn't grasp the logic behind how the earth could be so young. I quickly started to dislike that school, for numerous reasons, one of which is that they had a lack of classes and teachers on subjects that could actually be helpful, as an example, I had to retake the intermediate math class I had taken a year before and aced because the algebra class was full. But because I was so immersed in Christianity, it gave me a view that I think few people get. I started to notice how every person twisted and manipulated the bible to conform to what they want, things like:

“Did you have a child that died before he believed in God? No problem God understands that he was a child and would certainly save him from Hell.”

Then the next teacher would state:

“Unfortionatly only people that accept God into their harts will get into heaven, however because God doesn't want you to be sad, when you get to heaven you will not remember your previous life.”

Or one of my personal favorites,

“The Old Testament is no longer valid because Jesus changed everything in the New Testament so we don’t need to follow the Old.”

Even though we spent the entire previous year studying and memorizing the Old Testament. These are views that seemed to flip-flop every year with each new bible teacher. Not to mention that they use this to exclude all the atrocities in the Old Testament, but I haven’t heard anyone say that the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) is null and void.

I though process was that surely if God is real and the bible is his spoken word than it should be precise, cut and dry exact! He wouldn’t want you to go to Hell over a minor misunderstanding, especially if you lived a good life. Right?

The main reason I am a militant Atheist now is because I see that religion does do harm! If it didn't I'd have less of a problem with it. The harm that religion causes goes far beyond all the wars, genocide and murders made in its name. It causes ‘hidden’ harm. Harm that is embedded into common society. Like the Pope going to Africa, a continent most ravaged by AIDS and telling them they cannot use condoms! Or the suppression/disbelief of vetted scientific theories. Even the idea that you are able to confess your sins and they will be wiped from your slate, can cause people to be immoral.

Butt all in all, I feel that religion removes the amazing-ness of the universe and life, it strips them of their complexity by saying that a God snapped everything into existence and we can never understand how so don’t bother to try. Religion makes life un-special, takes away its uniqueness and leaves it far less important.

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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08-26-2011, 04:09 AM
Post: #2
RE: My Story
I don't understand what you do want to see instead. A nihilistic world where everybody has different opinions about what's right, so there are no ideals left that religion can poison?
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08-30-2011, 10:42 AM
Post: #3
RE: My Story
First off, I'm sorry if that came on a bit (or more) militant. I just copied and pasted it from something I wrote a while back. I have now edited it a bit.

To answer your question; Although I will never see this day in my lifetime, ultimately I would like to see a world that is united. One country, no war, technology advances to the level where we can feed everyone, and where all life is respected because life is so amazing.

Obviously this does not realistically answer you question. I guess in the short term I would like people to support science over religion. Most Americans tend suppress or berate science that may step on the toes of religion. An example of which is that president Bush banned stem cell research, not the harvesting of stem cells which are usually gathered from fetuses, but the research on already aborted fetuses (perhaps the though process was that women will have an abortion just so scientist have more research material.)

Also, statistically religious people are more likely to commit crimes. I don't mean that most crimes are committed religious people, this would seem obvious since there are more religious people than non-religious. I mean that approximately 84% of people are religious, and approximately 16% of people are not. But the population of people in prison who are religious are about 98%, leaving about 2% atheists. If criminal vs. non criminal were equal you would expect to see that about 16% of the prison population are atheists.

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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08-31-2011, 10:39 PM
Post: #4
RE: My Story
(08-26-2011 04:09 AM)Piranhapoodle Wrote:  I don't understand what you do want to see instead. A nihilistic world where everybody has different opinions about what's right, so there are no ideals left that religion can poison?

Piranha,

You ask what we would rather see in the world than societies mostly controlled and manipulated to their own detriment by religious dogma. Here are my thoughts.

a) I know that there is always going to be a predominant mentality in the world; right now I would call it religious democracy. (Even in countries which are dictatorial, most of them at least put up a democratic facade).
b) My problem is that Abrahamic faiths, which the majority of people on this planet follow; are woefully deficient in well thought out and applicable principles for action in a modern global society. As Sam Harris put it; they were written by people who would consider the wheelbarrow a technological innovation.
c) Hopefully, by pointing out religion's fallacies and fairy tales, we can lead societies to adopt more realistic and beneficial concepts for dealing with our problems. America's Founding Fathers actively tried to steer the country away from religious dogmatic approaches to its problems when they designed the Constitution. Before that, the Enlightenment broke many of the religious dogmas that kept Europe in the grip of the Dark Ages. That spirit must survive.

I accept the fact that their will still be differences of opinion and probably be bureaucratic gridlock. But at least we can discuss the merits of ideas rather than whether God would endorse certain activities.

Suicide bombers are blowing themselves up over this stuff. We have hunger and housing problems. And, we have leadership calling for 'Days of Prayer' to deal with them. As Garrett mentioned elsewhere, telling the people who are being decimated by AIDS not to use condoms is tantamount to genocide.

Maybe that's more the type of answer you were looking for. If not, it was cathartic for me to work it all out in print.
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09-01-2011, 12:25 PM (This post was last modified: 09-01-2011 11:33 PM by Piranhapoodle.)
Post: #5
RE: My Story
@Garrett
My problem was mainly with the formulation. I often hear atheists argue that religion is evil, but in a secular world where good and evil don't really exist, that argument has little value on it's own. You are making sense to me when you state what your vision of the future is, and why religion is an obstacle for reaching that.
But if you believe it will make people happier when they are not religious, and based thereon you argue that all people abandon it, then I think you'll run into problems. It would probably make many people happier, but it would also probably make many people less happy. I mean, you wouldn't argue atheism to a person who's terminally ill and who's only hope is their faith, right?

I do know that religious people are on average less intelligent, which is related to belonging to a low social class, which is related to crime. Also, the other way around, belonging to a lower social class probably makes you experience more problems and insecurities, giving you more need for religion.

NotSoMightyGod Wrote:You ask what we would rather see in the world than societies mostly controlled and manipulated to their own detriment by religious dogma. Here are my thoughts.
You're creating a false dilemma here.

On b): Some principles in Abrahamic faiths indeed make more sense in a world deprived of order and safety (however, many parts of the world are in that state right now). Others I think, are very well applicable to our western society.

On c): Mostly in France did the Enlightenment target the church, which was quite oppressive there. It's also in France that the Enlightenment led to the guillotine, the Reign of Terror followed by the dictatorship of Napoleon. In northern Europe the church wasn't really a target of the Enlightenment, probably due to the Reformation which already took place there. In the enlightened northern Europe, church, state and science could peacefully co-exist. And I guess your Founding Fathers took their enlightened ideas mostly from northern Europe, but I don't know that much about American history.
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09-02-2011, 07:55 AM
Post: #6
RE: My Story
I agree that religion can and does provide happiness. And of course there are good and bad thinks that come from and/or are caused by both atheism and religion.

I would like to have a god who actively cares for my well being, and protects me. I don't think there would be anyone who would truly disagree with that statement. But there is no evidence of an active god who protects people. At least nothing I would accept as evidence. Granted one could argue that there is, and this god has prevented tons of bad things that we don't know of because they were prevented, and the ones we do now of, like concentration camps, infant death, etc. are necessary.

In my opinion the god of Old Testament is not this kind of a god. He demands to be praised and is responsible for many many deaths. (As a side note, in the entire Bible, Satan only kills 11 people, while God wiped out city after city.)

I think that having idea that you 'get' another life, devalues this life. And I also think that is humans get another life, every life form should. Because we are so incredibly similar to other creatures. The few things that differ, are incredibly minor when view at a genetic level.

I would like to see an end to murder, discrimination, abuse, etc. I think that if religion had never been introduced, our history may have been a bit less violent. However I understand human nature, and I know that the majority of heinous acts would not disappear just because religion did.

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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09-03-2011, 07:02 AM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2011 07:14 AM by Piranhapoodle.)
Post: #7
RE: My Story
(09-02-2011 07:55 AM)Garrett Fogerlie Wrote:  I agree that religion can and does provide happiness. And of course there are good and bad thinks that come from and/or are caused by both atheism and religion.

I would like to have a god who actively cares for my well being, and protects me. I don't think there would be anyone who would truly disagree with that statement. But there is no evidence of an active god who protects people. At least nothing I would accept as evidence. Granted one could argue that there is, and this god has prevented tons of bad things that we don't know of because they were prevented, and the ones we do now of, like concentration camps, infant death, etc. are necessary.

In my opinion the god of Old Testament is not this kind of a god. He demands to be praised and is responsible for many many deaths. (As a side note, in the entire Bible, Satan only kills 11 people, while God wiped out city after city.)

I agree with you that God in the old, as well as in the new testament is not the kind of god that puts our personal well-being above all other things. And the people in biblical times must have felt the same way, because life was much harsher back then. But I don't believe personal well-being is the most important thing. Sacrificing personal well-being for the community is seen as a good thing everywhere. And living, with all its risks and miseries is preferred to not living by people all over the world who decide to put new children in the world.

Quote:I think that having idea that you 'get' another life, devalues this life. And I also think that is humans get another life, every life form should. Because we are so incredibly similar to other creatures. The few things that differ, are incredibly minor when view at a genetic level.

I agree that being focussed too much on a here-after devalues this life, and hinders people to improve this life.
I don't think something's importance can be reduced to genetics.

Quote:I would like to see an end to murder, discrimination, abuse, etc. I think that if religion had never been introduced, our history may have been a bit less violent. However I understand human nature, and I know that the majority of heinous acts would not disappear just because religion did.

I'm quite sure that as soon as humans became intelligent, they became religious in some or other way, and that it's not really a matter of introduction.
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09-20-2011, 04:24 AM
Post: #8
RE: My Story
(09-03-2011 07:02 AM)Piranhapoodle Wrote:  I'm quite sure that as soon as humans became intelligent, they became religious in some or other way, and that it's not really a matter of introduction.

Do you accept evolution? If so how do you justify God not revealing himself to people for so very long. Not sending himself as his son to cleanse them of sin, and not preparing a place in heaven for them?

Are they lost soles, or in heaven or hell, or perhaps never given an afterlife?

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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06-11-2012, 01:55 AM (This post was last modified: 06-11-2012 01:56 AM by dfdfd.)
Post: #9
RE: My Story
Butt all in all, I feel that religion removes the amazing-ness of the universe and life, it strips them of their complexity by saying that a God snapped everything into existence and we can never understand how so don’t bother to try. Religion makes life un-special, takes away its uniqueness and leaves it far less important.


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08-06-2012, 11:54 PM (This post was last modified: 08-06-2012 11:55 PM by Monty Edler.)
Post: #10
RE: My Story
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