Happy Atheist Forum

Getting To Know You => Introductions => Topic started by: Michael Reilly on March 25, 2012, 08:24:38 PM

Title: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 25, 2012, 08:24:38 PM
Hello! My name is Michael. I am a Christian Humanist (I think). I attend a Catholic church with my family, but it's much more cultural than it is theological. My children attend a Catholic school, and we (my wife and I) love the community part of both the school and the church. The religious part, though? Not so much. Lest you think I am committing some sort of spiritual abuse, the faith component of my daughter's education is very, very mellow at her school, so far ("Jesus wants us to be nice to each other. Let's have a food drive!" sort of things). What I want to pass on to my children is a belief in compassion, and I admit I find it much easier to illustrate using Christianity as a vehicle.

I think it's okay for children to believe in God, so long as that belief in God results in things like empathy, reverence, gratitude, tolerance, wonder, and a sense of justice. Compassion is number one. When my girls are older...I think it will be easier to explain what I really think. Ultimately, it's my job to instill those values. The Jesus I know is very, very helpful in this regard.

I recently read The God Delusion and found it thought-provoking and challenging in some parts, quite laughable in others. I am hoping to get some more recommendations about good books to read from all of you.

I do have some philosophical questions about atheism, and the fruits of atheism, but I suppose I'll save those for other parts of the forum.

In any event...nice to meet you all. I hope everyone will be polite and kind.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Tank on March 25, 2012, 08:32:17 PM
Hello Michael

Thank you for the detailed introduction. I hope this place meets your expectations.

Thanks for making the effort to sign up and join in.

Welcome to HAF. (http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/2922/cheersi.gif)

Regards
Chris

Notes for new members.
The Rules. (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=1522.0)

Users who comply with forum rules will graduate to full membership after 10 posts.
Till that time your ability to post is limited to the "Getting to Know You" (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php#2) section of the forum.
It is our hope that this small restriction improves the overall atmosphere of HAF.

Some threads you might find interesting.
Where did you get your username from? (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=5133.0)
10 Things About Yourself  (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=4940.0)
Tell us A Bit About Where You're From (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=8215.0)
Photography (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=7607.0)
Non-religious pet peeves  (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=6917.0)
Pets...what do you have? (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=7.0)
Favorite Song, with video (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=8830.0)
How to tell your family you are an atheist. (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=5111.0)*
"Rules for Conducting a Discussion" by Dr. Mortimer J. Adler (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=5631.0)*

*You will need 10 posts before you can add a post to this thread, but you can read it at any time.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Reprobate on March 25, 2012, 08:41:03 PM
As for the "The God Delusion," I am curious as to the parts you found laughable. Obviously, many of the statements Dawkins makes about Christian beliefs don't apply to every denomination, if those are what you are referring to. To be honest, I find catholics to be much more accepting of science than most other christians, but not every catholic.

Books?
"Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists' - Dan Barker
"God Is Not Great" - Christopher Hitchins
"How I Became an Athiest" - John Loftus
"The Blind Watchmaker" - Richard Dawkins

Welcome. I hope you enjoy your visits here.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 25, 2012, 08:42:40 PM
Hello!
I considered myself a Christian Humanist once upon a time. I hope you like it here. :)
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 25, 2012, 08:46:05 PM
Hi, Reprobate. In the Dawkin's book, he points to a sort of global moral sense that's arisen over the past decades: an end to slavery, women's rights, anti-poverty initiatives, etc. as proof that we no longer need religion to be 'good.' What he leaves out (shock!) is how many of these movements are grounded both faith and religion. Any honest atheist has to acknowledge, for example, that abolition began because of the religious sentiments of men like William Wilberforce in the UK. The anti-poverty movement today (take the ONE campaign) are rooted in religion and religious beliefs about human dignity. I found it very amusing that Mr. Dawkins sort of...skipped that part.

I don't have the book in front of me, but I can dig it out if you need chapter and verse.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Tank on March 25, 2012, 08:51:10 PM
I understand the desire of people to 'get stuck in', but please keep your powder dry until after 10 posts and existing members need to refrain from drawing new members into controversial discussion in the 'Getting to know you' area.

Thanks
Tank
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 25, 2012, 09:00:17 PM
Michael, a warm welcome to you!

I'm a secular humanist myself, so we certainly have the humanism in common! Anyhow, greetings! Glad you're here, looking forward to talking more with you!
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 25, 2012, 09:16:00 PM
Thank you, all, for the warm greetings. I will hold back on the arguing until I explore and learn a bit more. Sorry, Tank.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Tank on March 25, 2012, 09:22:27 PM
Thank you, all, for the warm greetings. I will hold back on the arguing until I explore and learn a bit more. Sorry, Tank.
No problem at all  :)
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 25, 2012, 09:59:54 PM
Welcome.  Not to get "deep" too early in the game, but I've never cared much for Dawkins or Hitchens myself.  I usually agree with what they say, it's just how they say it can put even my atheist back up.

But anyway, if you haven't already read it I'd suggest Carl Sagan's Demon-Haunted World
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 25, 2012, 10:13:03 PM
Hello Michael

I like that you mention tolerance, I feel it is key to people cohabiting peacefully, intolerance leads to oppression and conflict.

I am weary that you state "a sense of justice" as a desirable, I am also weary about Christian morals and anyone's morals for that matter, for I feel that personal values can remain within the realm of tolerance however morality unfortunately leads to intolerance (IMHO).

I'd be very keen to hear your views (or questions) of atheism, and the fruits of atheism. I don't think Atheism is promoted very well, and hence people generally misunderstand it.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 25, 2012, 10:17:53 PM
I have read Demon Haunted World. Very good book, but I read it quite some time ago, so I don't remember much.

Quote
I am weary that you state "a sense of justice" as a desirable, I am also weary about Christian morals and anyone's morals for that matter, for I feel that personal values can remain within the realm of tolerance however morality unfortunately leads to intolerance (IMHO).

@Stevil, I think I'd like to hear your definition of morals. What makes you weary? For me, morality is a sense of right and wrong. I can't believe that's something you'd see as a negative. Unless you are an anarchist or something. ?
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 25, 2012, 10:20:03 PM
I have read Demon Haunted World. Very good book, but I read it quite some time ago, so I don't remember much.

Quote
I am weary that you state "a sense of justice" as a desirable, I am also weary about Christian morals and anyone's morals for that matter, for I feel that personal values can remain within the realm of tolerance however morality unfortunately leads to intolerance (IMHO).

@Stevil, I think I'd like to hear your definition of morals. What makes you weary? For me, morality is a sense of right and wrong. I can't believe that's something you'd see as a negative. Unless you are an anarchist or something. ?

I know you can't jump in just yet, but here's one of the recent threads about this :)
http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=9143.0 (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=9143.0)
If you'd like to take a perusal.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: xSilverPhinx on March 25, 2012, 10:28:13 PM
Welcome!

What exactly is it about atheism you want to know? I think you're doing a good thing by coming to a forum made up of predominantly atheists, btw. I'm already sick and tired of christians who think they know all about people who don't share their beliefs without ever really listening to other people (talking about a few hopefully long gone trolls and religious media nutcases). So far you don't seem to be one of them, though ;D

Quote
I think it's okay for children to believe in God, so long as that belief in God results in things like empathy, reverence, gratitude, tolerance, wonder, and a sense of justice. Compassion is number one. When my girls are older...I think it will be easier to explain what I really think. Ultimately, it's my job to instill those values. The Jesus I know is very, very helpful in this regard.

Do you also find it important to teach your kids to be skeptical, including against authority? If so, how do you counter-balance that with the naturally occuring questions about religious belief?
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 25, 2012, 11:25:14 PM
@xSilverPhinx, believe me, I already know what Christians think!
Largely speaking, my questions about atheism revolve around morality. In the absence of an objective belief in right and wrong...how does one determine what the correct course of action is? For me, Judeo-Christian values (or, at least, my interpretation of them) serve as a moral touchstone. If I didn't believe that there was a moral law in the universe (Catholics call it 'Natural Moral Law'), well...why be good? Or, why not define good on my own?
Stuff like that.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 25, 2012, 11:31:32 PM
Work on getting to that 10th post, there are several active threads right now that'll interest you.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: xSilverPhinx on March 25, 2012, 11:40:45 PM
@xSilverPhinx, believe me, I already know what Christians think!
Largely speaking, my questions about atheism revolve around morality. In the absence of an objective belief in right and wrong...how does one determine what the correct course of action is? For me, Judeo-Christian values (or, at least, my interpretation of them) serve as a moral touchstone. If I didn't believe that there was a moral law in the universe (Catholics call it 'Natural Moral Law'), well...why be good? Or, why not define good on my own?
Stuff like that.

Well one thing for sure is that I doubt you'd find two atheists who both agree on one entire moral system. :) Most atheists are humanistic, because well, we're human so it makes sense and secondly it's the natural conclusion for anyone who doesn't believe in a competing moral system based on gods and religions. From my point of view, theistic moral systems are purely authoritarian systems that have culturally objectified, but are not actual objective laws. When you've contributed 10 posts it's be easier to discuss on the many threads on morality.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 25, 2012, 11:51:16 PM
I'm pretty much at the point in my thinking where I don't care what people believe, I care what people do. If you are an ardent atheist, and I'm a Christian, we would probably find much to disagree about with regard to how the universe works. With that said, if we are both working to make the world a better place, helping those in need, being realistic about the problems our species and our planet are facing, and trying as best we can to live our lives with integrity...that's enough for me.

Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Traveler on March 25, 2012, 11:59:46 PM
Hello and welcome. I'm looking forward to your 10th post so we can dig into these topics further.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 26, 2012, 12:09:33 AM
I'm pretty much at the point in my thinking where I don't care what people believe, I care what people do. If you are an ardent atheist, and I'm a Christian, we would probably find much to disagree about with regard to how the universe works. With that said, if we are both working to make the world a better place, helping those in need, being realistic about the problems our species and our planet are facing, and trying as best we can to live our lives with integrity...that's enough for me.
In Christianity, the belief is that the unbeliever goes to hell or eternal damnation for the crime of unbelief. This perspective makes us (atheists) "immoral" regardless of our actions. Some people look to outlaw immoral behaviour and punish people whom are immoral. Dangerous huh?

I'm glad you don't judge us based on belief or unbelief, I like tolerant Christians.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 26, 2012, 12:12:03 AM
Quote
Some people look to outlaw immoral behaviour and punish people whom are immoral. Dangerous huh?

Depends on what that immoral behavior is. Stealing, rape, murder...all immoral, wouldn't you agree? We punish and imprison those who commit these crimes. In a world without moral absolutes, how do we determine what crimes we will punish, and what behaviors are not criminal? That, to me, is much more dangerous.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: xSilverPhinx on March 26, 2012, 12:41:58 AM
I'm pretty much at the point in my thinking where I don't care what people believe, I care what people do.

Makes perfect sense, we share that in common. You're the kind of Christian that I could live with. ;D

We're actually a nice and mostly polite bunch here, especially when compared to other forums of the same inclination. One thing you probably expect is your beliefs will be challenged. One thing you most certainly do not expect is our resident grumpy grey lump gnawing at your ankles at first. I can't really guarantee anything, he has his own evil mind bent on world domination, you see ;)

Just letting you know ;D 
 
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Too Few Lions on March 26, 2012, 12:48:02 AM
hi Michael, welcome to the forum. I think you and Stevil may have some interesting debates on morality. I'll look forward to seeing what questions you ask, suffice to say you don't have to believe in the existence of gods to behave well towards others. I think morality is as much in the realm of philosophy as it is religion.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 26, 2012, 12:50:46 AM
Thank you again, everyone, for being so nice. I like nice. Nice is good.
Atheists have a bad reputation, unfortunately, which I'm sure is unfair to a great many of you.
Christians have a bad reputation, too, which is also unfortunate (although admittedly well deserved in a great many instances).
I'm looking forward to learning more.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 26, 2012, 01:17:42 AM
Depends on what that immoral behavior is. Stealing, rape, murder...all immoral, wouldn't you agree?
Most likely a surprise to you, my answer to your question is no. My philosophical stance is that of an amoralist, I have no belief in morality, be it absolute morality or subjective morality.

We punish and imprison those who commit these crimes. In a world without moral absolutes, how do we determine what crimes we will punish, and what behaviors are not criminal?
We look to protect ourselves and our society.
If actions such as stealing, rape, murder put ourselves (and by extension our society) in danger then we must protect ourselves by outlawing them, providing deterants and consequences.

If there is no danger, of what concern is it to us whether others are perceived to act morally or immorally. We aren't god, it is not our obligation to judge each other.


BTW, you are still within 10 posts, so we ought to be getting to know you better.
What are your hobbies? Any sports, How do you pass time?
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 26, 2012, 01:26:45 AM
I think you and Stevil may have some interesting debates on morality.

I'm thinking there'll be even more interesting debates with ThinkAnarchy.

BTW, thought of another book if you haven't read it yet, Stephen Jay Gould's Rocks of Ages.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Tank on March 26, 2012, 08:31:35 AM
Thank you again, everyone, for being so nice. I like nice. Nice is good.
Atheists have a bad reputation, unfortunately, which I'm sure is unfair to a great many of you.
Christians have a bad reputation, too, which is also unfortunate (although admittedly well deserved in a great many instances).
I'm looking forward to learning more.

Atheists have suffered from bad publicity because of their habit of pointing at theists (the majority of people, in the majority of societies) and 'laughing' at their 'stupidity'. And as Douglas Adams pointed out 'Nobody likes a smart arse'  ;D
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Guardian85 on March 26, 2012, 08:53:10 AM
Thank you again, everyone, for being so nice. I like nice. Nice is good.
Atheists have a bad reputation, unfortunately, which I'm sure is unfair to a great many of you.
Christians have a bad reputation, too, which is also unfortunate (although admittedly well deserved in a great many instances).
I'm looking forward to learning more.

Atheists have suffered from bad publicity because of their habit of pointing at theists (the majority of people, in the majority of societies) and 'laughing' at their 'stupidity'. And as Douglas Adams pointed out 'Nobody likes a smart arse'  ;D

But sometimes something is so ridiculus that smart assery is the only reply available in sufficient quantity.

Anyway, welcome Michael. 
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 26, 2012, 10:20:17 AM
@Stevil, I think you and I will have some good discussions!
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: The Magic Pudding on March 26, 2012, 01:02:02 PM
Atheists have suffered from bad publicity because of their habit of pointing at theists (the majority of people, in the majority of societies) and 'laughing' at their 'stupidity'. And as Douglas Adams pointed out 'Nobody likes a smart arse'  ;D

DA has scientific establishment characters punish the inventor of the improbability drive, his threatening brilliance is dismissed as smart arsery. 
If you are going to quote the prophet, (may he never misplace his towel) you should do so in context.  ;)
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 27, 2012, 12:19:52 PM
Whoo-wooo! 10 posts!
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Guardian85 on March 27, 2012, 01:42:21 PM
Whoo-wooo! 10 posts!

I am not impressed. 8)
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 27, 2012, 04:07:36 PM
Whoo-wooo! 10 posts!

I am not impressed. 8)

Eh, he registered almost 2 days ago. 10 posts in nearly 2 days isn't so bad. Of course, I was a total geek and probably did double that, but I went post-on-HAF happy when I joined, lol.  :D
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Tank on March 27, 2012, 06:44:04 PM
Whoo-wooo! 10 posts!
:D
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Buddy on March 27, 2012, 06:47:06 PM

Whoo-wooo! 10 posts!



Now you get to look forward to 100, 1000, 2000, etc. Heck, I can’t even remember when I made my first ten!  :D
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Anti-antidisestablishmentarianism on March 27, 2012, 06:49:21 PM
Hello! My name is Michael. I am a Christian Humanist (I think). I attend a Catholic church with my family, but it's much more cultural than it is theological. My children attend a Catholic school, and we (my wife and I) love the community part of both the school and the church. The religious part, though? Not so much. Lest you think I am committing some sort of spiritual abuse, the faith component of my daughter's education is very, very mellow at her school, so far ("Jesus wants us to be nice to each other. Let's have a food drive!" sort of things). What I want to pass on to my children is a belief in compassion, and I admit I find it much easier to illustrate using Christianity as a vehicle.

I think it's okay for children to believe in God, so long as that belief in God results in things like empathy, reverence, gratitude, tolerance, wonder, and a sense of justice. Compassion is number one. When my girls are older...I think it will be easier to explain what I really think. Ultimately, it's my job to instill those values. The Jesus I know is very, very helpful in this regard.

I recently read The God Delusion and found it thought-provoking and challenging in some parts, quite laughable in others. I am hoping to get some more recommendations about good books to read from all of you.

I do have some philosophical questions about atheism, and the fruits of atheism, but I suppose I'll save those for other parts of the forum.

In any event...nice to meet you all. I hope everyone will be polite and kind.
Having no children myself I can't comment too much, but I think the only important thing is that children have some breathing room to come up with their own opinions as they grow into adulthood.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Ali on March 27, 2012, 07:48:18 PM
Quote
I think it's okay for children to believe in God, so long as that belief in God results in things like empathy, reverence, gratitude, tolerance, wonder, and a sense of justice. Compassion is number one. When my girls are older...I think it will be easier to explain what I really think. Ultimately, it's my job to instill those values. The Jesus I know is very, very helpful in this regard.]I think it's okay for children to believe in God, so long as that belief in God results in things like empathy, reverence, gratitude, tolerance, wonder, and a sense of justice. Compassion is number one. When my girls are older...I think it will be easier to explain what I really think. Ultimately, it's my job to instill those values. The Jesus I know is very, very helpful in this regard.
 

As an atheist, I agree with the beliefs that you are trying to instill, I just don't find that a belief in god is necessary (or even all that helpful) in instilling them.  The way I was brought up in a Christian home, you were supposed to be a good person because god and jesus say so.  That's an external control - it's like teaching a kid not to break the law simply because they will go to jail.  IMO, it's far more useful to help children develop internal motivations to "be good."  We help others not because someone else says so, but because it's the right thing to do, and because it makes our hearts happy.  We wonder at the beauty of nature not because god made it, but because nature is intrisically beautiful and amazing.  And so on.  

I just felt the need to commment, because I read that you were wondering about the atheistic source of morals and whatnot.  My sense of morals are probably not so different from yours, they are simply stripped of the need for a supernatural source.

Anyway, welcome, and I hope that you enjoy your time here.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 27, 2012, 08:06:35 PM
10 posts, fantastic.
You can start asking questions now, if you want to learn more about the atheistic viewpoint. Just start a thread somewhere.
You will find that we aren't all aligned. We have no scripture or atheist school of guide so we use our own reasoning.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sweetdeath on March 27, 2012, 08:26:46 PM
I agree with ali's points.

Btw, welcome to HAF. I see the great Asmo hasn't posted here yet. Hehe. Congrats on 10 posts.


Children dont need to.believe in a god(s) to act kind or do selfless things. I find it better to just teach them why something isnt okay, rather then going "cuz a god says so".
That seems like lazy parentng...
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 12:03:48 AM
I am in full agreement that the 'do it because God is watching' thing, or the "because Jesus said so thing' is counterproductive and silly. Off topic, we don't do much Santa Claus in my house, either. The whole "He sees you when you are being bad" sounds like some sort of holiday myth created by George Orwell. We DO have an elf on the shelf, and he ONLY sees the good things you do. He is quite blind to bad things. The more nice things you do, the more the elf notices, the less likely he is to go on a killing rampage.

Anyhow: I tell the kiddos that, to me, God is three things: light, life, and love. Where you find those three things, you find God. My own definition of God is much more complex and nuanced (holons! synergies! 1+1+1 =s 4!) but for purposes of explaining why we need to be good, I find the three Ls to be quite useful.

I'm sure that many atheist parents impart the same lessons, just in a different way.

You are probably sensing: I'm not a real orthodox Christian. Still: I am a Christian. In my own way. :)
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 28, 2012, 12:18:08 AM
What doe you mean when you say "light"?
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 12:20:27 AM
I just go to bust out of the newbie forum! Bring it over to Philosophy, mi amigo.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: MadBomr101 on March 28, 2012, 12:41:24 AM
I think it's okay for children to believe in God, so long as that belief in God results in things like empathy, reverence, gratitude, tolerance, wonder, and a sense of justice. Compassion is number one. When my girls are older...I think it will be easier to explain what I really think. Ultimately, it's my job to instill those values. The Jesus I know is very, very helpful in this regard.

Hi and Welcome, Mike.

The above is all fine but why don't you instill these virtues into your girls without shoehorning the magical space jockey into the mix?  Jesus is useful in this regard in much the same way Humpty Dumpty is useful when discussing various recipes that call for breaking some eggs.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 12:51:45 AM
Humpty Dumpty was actually a cannon, FYI.
I find it easier to use God as an reason for being good whilst dealing with a 6 and 4 year old, quite frankly. When they are older, I'll tell them what I really think. It's too hard for them. Hell, it's hard for me.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: MadBomr101 on March 28, 2012, 01:34:55 AM
Humpty Dumpty was actually a cannon, FYI.
I find it easier to use God as an reason for being good whilst dealing with a 6 and 4 year old, quite frankly. When they are older, I'll tell them what I really think. It's too hard for them. Hell, it's hard for me.

So, sort of like Santa is to the Xmas spirit, Jesus is the fictional embodiment of the virtues you'd like your girls to have?  Okay.  I see what you're doing and I get it.  The only problem is that many children raised on Jesus tend to cling to the fallacy as reality their entire lives and it can really do some damage.  Case in point:  One of my neighbors has a daughter who tried to "Save" me when she was seven years old.

Seven!

I've watched her grow to adulthood (she's 20 now) and she is so messed up on God that she is incapable of having a thought that isn't motivated by her religious beliefs.  She has no life outside of Xianity and associates only with other Xians.  She's a very enthusiastic Xian activist who champions her causes with all the energy of her youth, and, if she had her way, would plunge this country back into the Dark Ages with her ridiculous beliefs.  If this sounds just fine to you, then, whatever, if not, then that's something for the atheists of the world to be hopeful about because this world needs fewer people like this complately brainwashed young woman.

Responsible parenting and Xianity are frequently mutually exclusive.  Fortunately, you seem much more reasonable than the Xian nutjob this young woman's mother is so that relaxes me. 

Just my $0.02.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 01:44:36 AM
The world is full of crazy people.

One of my professors in college had a daughter who, at about age 9, was taking the SATs. (Seriously).

I said, "Man, your little girl is smart!"
She said, "I know she's smart. I want her to be nice."

My daughters are smart. I want them to be nice. God is love/let's help the helpless like Jesus did/we are blessed let's share is not a bad message for kids to absorb, in my opinion.

It's not bad for adults, either, but you are right about how it can turn toxic.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sweetdeath on March 28, 2012, 04:32:28 AM
Humpty Dumpty was actually a cannon, FYI.
I find it easier to use God as an reason for being good whilst dealing with a 6 and 4 year old, quite frankly. When they are older, I'll tell them what I really think. It's too hard for them. Hell, it's hard for me.

So, sort of like Santa is to the Xmas spirit, Jesus is the fictional embodiment of the virtues you'd like your girls to have?  Okay.  I see what you're doing and I get it.  The only problem is that many children raised on Jesus tend to cling to the fallacy as reality their entire lives and it can really do some damage.  Case in point:  One of my neighbors has a daughter who tried to "Save" me when she was seven years old.

Seven!

I've watched her grow to adulthood (she's 20 now) and she is so messed up on God that she is incapable of having a thought that isn't motivated by her religious beliefs.  She has no life outside of Xianity and associates only with other Xians.  She's a very enthusiastic Xian activist who champions her causes with all the energy of her youth, and, if she had her way, would plunge this country back into the Dark Ages with her ridiculous beliefs.  If this sounds just fine to you, then, whatever, if not, then that's something for the atheists of the world to be hopeful about because this world needs fewer people like this complately brainwashed young woman.

Responsible parenting and Xianity are frequently mutually exclusive.  Fortunately, you seem much more reasonable than the Xian nutjob this young woman's mother is so that relaxes me. 

Just my $0.02.

Seven years old?? That is really depressing!
When I was 7, I was playing sega genesis and sonic the hedgehog. Sheesh...

I think nothing good can come out of introducing  god and religion to a poor child. Let them be children.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 28, 2012, 04:47:51 AM
People need to do what's best for their kids, and I get that there are positive messages in a lot of organized religion.

But I gotta say, I was raised Catholic and I do feel like it screwed me up a little bit.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: MadBomr101 on March 28, 2012, 04:51:25 AM
Seven years old?? That is really depressing!
When I was 7, I was playing sega genesis and sonic the hedgehog. Sheesh...

I think nothing good can come out of introducing  god and religion to a poor child. Let them be children.

It's true, SD.  She handed me a piece of paper written in her little, seven year old scrawl that read "Jesus loves you." I asked her what this for and she asked me if I loved Jesus and how he loves all of us.  I was stunned.  I was listening to all the brainwashed crapola of the adults around her, particularly her lunatic mother, being parroted out of this little seven year old.  It was heartbreaking.  I knew this kid was probably already lost to Xian ignorance even at her delicate age. 

Sadly, I was right. 

She's a beautiful girl too but she's a kook now...just like mom.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: MadBomr101 on March 28, 2012, 04:54:26 AM
People need to do what's best for their kids, and I get that there are positive messages in a lot of organized religion.

But I gotta say, I was raised Catholic and I do feel like it screwed me up a little bit.

I was also raised Catholic from the time I was a small child.  Fortunately, I managed to shake off the effects of the kool-aid by the time I was in my early twenties.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sweetdeath on March 28, 2012, 05:59:26 AM
Seven years old?? That is really depressing!
When I was 7, I was playing sega genesis and sonic the hedgehog. Sheesh...

I think nothing good can come out of introducing  god and religion to a poor child. Let them be children.

It's true, SD.  She handed me a piece of paper written in her little, seven year old scrawl that read "Jesus loves you." I asked her what this for and she asked me if I loved Jesus and how he loves all of us.  I was stunned.  I was listening to all the brainwashed crapola of the adults around her, particularly her lunatic mother, being parroted out of this little seven year old.  It was heartbreaking.  I knew this kid was probably already lost to Xian ignorance even at her delicate age. 

Sadly, I was right. 

She's a beautiful girl too but she's a kook now...just like mom.


That truly breaks my heart.  The worst part of this is; it isn't considered child abuse...

Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Guardian85 on March 28, 2012, 07:28:49 AM
My daughters are smart. I want them to be nice. God is love/let's help the helpless like Jesus did/we are blessed let's share is not a bad message for kids to absorb, in my opinion.
It's not a bad message, but why use God/Jesus as an example? Religion and impressionable young kids can be like kerosene and fire if you are not careful.
Why not teach them to be good and helpful because it is the right thing to do? Teach by example not by the authority given by the great surveilance camera in the sky.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 28, 2012, 07:45:28 AM
The golden rule could be useful when teaching kids social behaviour.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: history_geek on March 28, 2012, 09:25:49 AM
The golden rule could be useful when teaching kids social behaviour.

That was perhaps the most emphasized piece of scripture that we were ever taught in religion classes. In between the journeys of the apostles...

P.S Oh, and welcome to the forum Michael Reilly ;D
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 10:29:55 AM
I have no problem teaching my kiddos to believe in God as I define God. I keep the crazy stuff very far away from them. When they are older, and more capable of reasoning, I'll introduce them to my thinking on this issue, and--most critically--encourage them to think on their own. There are many, many good things about both belief and religious practice. In my experience, most atheists tend to generalize from the most extreme and worst types of religion/religious believers. That there are a lot--A LOT--of nutjobs out there is true. But that's not all that's true.

The Catholic thing can be a head trip, no doubt.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: MadBomr101 on March 28, 2012, 03:00:00 PM
Seven years old?? That is really depressing!
When I was 7, I was playing sega genesis and sonic the hedgehog. Sheesh...

I think nothing good can come out of introducing  god and religion to a poor child. Let them be children.

It's true, SD.  She handed me a piece of paper written in her little, seven year old scrawl that read "Jesus loves you." I asked her what this for and she asked me if I loved Jesus and how he loves all of us.  I was stunned.  I was listening to all the brainwashed crapola of the adults around her, particularly her lunatic mother, being parroted out of this little seven year old.  It was heartbreaking.  I knew this kid was probably already lost to Xian ignorance even at her delicate age. 

Sadly, I was right. 

She's a beautiful girl too but she's a kook now...just like mom.


That truly breaks my heart.  The worst part of this is; it isn't considered child abuse...



Not only is it not considered child abuse, most of the people in this goofy Xian nation would consider good, responsible parenting.  Ironic, ain't it?   ??? 
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Ali on March 28, 2012, 03:49:26 PM
I have no problem teaching my kiddos to believe in God as I define God.

This is fair.  We teach our kids our belief systems which some might consider "wrong" (remember my "confrontation" with the lady at daycare that was "appalled" that I would tell my 3 year old that I don't believe in god?) but I believe that it's every parent's right to talk to their kids honestly about what they believe.

I think calling teaching kids about god "child abuse" is pretty heavy handed and kind of minimizes actual child abuse.  Certainly there are nutjobs that take it into the realm of child abuse, but I think that calling something as relatively benign as teaching your kids "Let's be like Jesus and help others" child abuse is kind of ridiculous, tbh. 
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 28, 2012, 04:54:21 PM
I have no problem teaching my kiddos to believe in God as I define God.

This is fair.  We teach our kids our belief systems which some might consider "wrong" (remember my "confrontation" with the lady at daycare that was "appalled" that I would tell my 3 year old that I don't believe in god?) but I believe that it's every parent's right to talk to their kids honestly about what they believe.

I think calling teaching kids about god "child abuse" is pretty heavy handed and kind of minimizes actual child abuse.  Certainly there are nutjobs that take it into the realm of child abuse, but I think that calling something as relatively benign as teaching your kids "Let's be like Jesus and help others" child abuse is kind of ridiculous, tbh. 

Right on, Ali. I think it's harmless for children to learn some general, neutral concepts, ie, the "let's be like Jesus and help others" if that's what a parent wants to teach their child. One thing I'm starting with mine and a friend's child who I babysit from time to time is, every now and again, we'll read a story about a hero who helped people, was kind to others, etc. I'm picking characters from all over history and mythology, and then we have a little chat about which people might be real, and which are pretend, and why the story is a good story anyway. The character of Jesus can definitely be one of those "heroes". I have no problem with that. :)

I don't think teaching kids the general precepts of compassion, kindness, awe, etc in the name of religion is child abuse. Westboro Baptist is child abuse. Jesus Camp is child abuse, at least mentally/emotionally. It's a form of mental/emotional abuse to threaten children with hell, threaten them with supernatural punishments for not doing or thinking as you'd want them to -- but just teaching a child "let's be like Jesus and help others" certainly is NOT abuse, not by a long shot.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 06:47:54 PM
Unfortunately, many people do fall into the "Jesus Camp" school of religious instruction, which is unfortunate and very damaging. I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly don't do that, nor does anyone I know (but I live in New England, where sanity reigns).
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sweetdeath on March 28, 2012, 06:51:30 PM
Unfortunately, many people do fall into the "Jesus Camp" school of religious instruction, which is unfortunate and very damaging. I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly don't do that, nor does anyone I know (but I live in New England, where sanity reigns).

Yeah, that's scary stuff.


But do you teach your kids jesus is a myth like santa or Odin , or a fact?
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 28, 2012, 06:52:37 PM
I always thought New England seemed like a lovely place.

My husband and I have a theory that Atlantic Canada and New England should get together and create their own country. It'd be a nice place, I think.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 06:54:05 PM
It's a fact that he existed; there are records independent of the Gospels (Josephus, Tacitus). The philosophy of Jesus is where I hang out. The whole coming back from the dead thing is a metaphor, in my opinion. Trouble is, six year olds don't do metaphors. We talk a lot about seasons, cycles, etc. Renewal, second chances. Things like that.

Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 06:55:00 PM
 
Quote
always thought New England seemed like a lovely place.

My husband and I have a theory that Atlantic Canada and New England should get together and create their own country. It'd be a nice place, I think.


It's very nice here. You should come and visit! Especially in the fall.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 28, 2012, 07:02:21 PM
Quote
always thought New England seemed like a lovely place.

My husband and I have a theory that Atlantic Canada and New England should get together and create their own country. It'd be a nice place, I think.


It's very nice here. You should come and visit! Especially in the fall.

I've been to Maine and Massachusetts, but that's about it. Twas very pretty when I was through, though it was the middle of summer and it was bloody hot.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 07:07:04 PM
Go and see Vermont, if you can. Lovely. You live in Canada? One of my best buddies is from Nova Scotia.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 28, 2012, 07:08:15 PM
Go and see Vermont, if you can. Lovely. You live in Canada? One of my best buddies is from Nova Scotia.

I was born in Nova Scotia and lived there until I was 13!  ;D Then Newfoundland. Now Ontario. I'm a bit of a nomad.
Vermont, eh? I'll have to add it to the list.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 28, 2012, 07:09:39 PM
I was there this past weekend. I saw a tee-shirt: What Happens in Vermont Stays in Vermont. But Nothing Happens in Vermont. 

Sounds good to me!  ;D
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 28, 2012, 07:16:32 PM
I always thought New England seemed like a lovely place.

My husband and I have a theory that Atlantic Canada and New England should get together and create their own country. It'd be a nice place, I think.

If this happened, I'd be moving there pronto. I've loved the east coast for as long as I can remember. The culture, the scenery, the weather (yes, even the insane storms), the water/boats/beaches... everything.  ;D

The people here seem really nice
But the winter's way too long
Her new friends don't understand
They just tell her to be strong
She made some decent money
Yeah, but nothing comes for free
The busy streets just don't compete
With the sky, the rocks and sea...

- Seagulls by Great Big Sea
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: philosoraptor on March 28, 2012, 08:32:37 PM
Late to the party, but welcome Michael.  I'm looking forward to hearing your POV on the various topics we typically discuss here at HAF.  You sound like a stand-up kind of Christian, which are seemingly in short supply lately.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Too Few Lions on March 29, 2012, 09:55:32 AM
It's a fact that he existed; there are records independent of the Gospels (Josephus, Tacitus). The philosophy of Jesus is where I hang out. The whole coming back from the dead thing is a metaphor, in my opinion. Trouble is, six year olds don't do metaphors. We talk a lot about seasons, cycles, etc. Renewal, second chances. Things like that.
The passage in Josephus is first mentioned in the fourth century and is generally considered to be a later Christian interpolation and the Tacitus passage may be similar, it's first mentioned in 400 CE, but even if it's original it dates to 116 CE, sometime after Jesus' possible historical existence. Tacitus' passage is more about Christians than Jesus, he just says their name derives from Christus, who was put to death in the reign of Tiberius. Tacitus could have learned that little bit of knowledge from any Christian, I don't think it proves for a fact that Jesus existed. Personally, I think the whole story's allegory and metaphor, but that doesn't detract from the philosophy, even if Plato did say it all better and earlier.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 29, 2012, 03:44:16 PM
Tacitus could have learned that little bit of knowledge from any Christian, I don't think it proves for a fact that Jesus existed. Personally, I think the whole story's allegory and metaphor, but that doesn't detract from the philosophy, even if Plato did say it all better and earlier.

I've always thought it odd that the Romans, who made notes about everything, don't seem to have mentioned him at all, even in passing.  If something were found dating from Christ's supposed lifetime, written by a Roman in the right area, we'd have some real evidence and I think that would be even more exciting than evidence for the existence of a god.  I'm with you on Christ's questionable reality not detracting from the philosophy.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 29, 2012, 04:08:14 PM
Tacitus could have learned that little bit of knowledge from any Christian, I don't think it proves for a fact that Jesus existed. Personally, I think the whole story's allegory and metaphor, but that doesn't detract from the philosophy, even if Plato did say it all better and earlier.

I've always thought it odd that the Romans, who made notes about everything, don't seem to have mentioned him at all, even in passing.  If something were found dating from Christ's supposed lifetime, written by a Roman in the right area, we'd have some real evidence and I think that would be even more exciting than evidence for the existence of a god.  I'm with you on Christ's questionable reality not detracting from the philosophy.

I believe that he was probably a historical figure. Probably a rabbi who began an offshoot sect of Judaism, and he was only one of several doing that. He probably BELIEVED he had a message from God. There were a LOT of Jewish 'prophets', people who believed themselves to be a messiah figure. The Romans would have probably seen him as just one more of those, as a nuisance at best, as a criminal at worst, if they saw massive crowds of people converting to a new religion on the say-so of one man. Even if he wasn't a historical figure, then that leaves the question "why did Christianity start up when it did?" Who started it? Who organized it? Why? If Jesus was just the archetype of the movement, who or what got it actually rolling if he didn't? Interesting questions, but perhaps we should take them into a new thread about why non-theists think Jesus was...

Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 29, 2012, 08:33:50 PM
Wasn't it Constantine who promoted it to be the "official" religion of Rome?
Presumably so he could more easily control the people
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 29, 2012, 09:02:25 PM
Wasn't it Constantine who promoted it to be the "official" religion of Rome?
Presumably so he could more easily control the people

His mother introduced it to him, although it's more likely he accepted it or found it useful in adulthood (early 40s), rather than being raised a Christian as some think he was. He didn't ask for baptism until shortly before he died, for instance. He saw that there was so much interest in Christianity and that it would be a useful tool for getting people on his side that first he made Christian worship legal, which gained him favour. He became a patron of the church, pouring money and resources as well as political support into it, but he didn't promote it to an official religion for a good while. The edicts of Milan and Toleration basically made Christianity acceptable in a wider way, but it wasn't until the edict of Thessalonica that Christianity became the state religion, and that was in the late 300's - 370 or 380, I think.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sweetdeath on March 29, 2012, 09:27:27 PM
Wasn't it Constantine who promoted it to be the "official" religion of Rome?
Presumably so he could more easily control the people

His mother introduced it to him, although it's more likely he accepted it or found it useful in adulthood (early 40s), rather than being raised a Christian as some think he was. He didn't ask for baptism until shortly before he died, for instance. He saw that there was so much interest in Christianity and that it would be a useful tool for getting people on his side that first he made Christian worship legal, which gained him favour. He became a patron of the church, pouring money and resources as well as political support into it, but he didn't promote it to an official religion for a good while. The edicts of Milan and Toleration basically made Christianity acceptable in a wider way, but it wasn't until the edict of Thessalonica that Christianity became the state religion, and that was in the late 300's - 370 or 380, I think.

What a smart fellow. This really is the easiest way to control the masses. It still is.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 29, 2012, 10:19:55 PM
But am I right in saying

When Jesus was around, there was no great following.
Christianity grew through political power and might, through colonisation and conquering of other nations.

Christians are driven to spread the disease of the Christian faith, so they smuggle bibles into China, they go to third world countries under the guise of charity and they pass out bibles, they preach and they spread fear and guilt until people submit (especially the poor and the uneducated)
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sweetdeath on March 29, 2012, 11:22:05 PM
But am I right in saying

When Jesus was around, there was no great following.
Christianity grew through political power and might, through colonisation and conquering of other nations.

Christians are driven to spread the disease of the Christian faith, so they smuggle bibles into China, they go to third world countries under the guise of charity and they pass out bibles, they preach and they spread fear and guilt until people submit (especially the poor and the uneducated)

Yeah, instead of actually helping educate people of these poor areas, they throw a bible at them and say jesus loves them.  :(


Nothing creepier to me when  i was watching a japanese drama and there was a church and japanese preists. Like...ugggh, so creepy. Catholics and christian stuff in Japan freaks me out.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 29, 2012, 11:44:12 PM
But am I right in saying

When Jesus was around, there was no great following.
Christianity grew through political power and might, through colonisation and conquering of other nations.

Christians are driven to spread the disease of the Christian faith, so they smuggle bibles into China, they go to third world countries under the guise of charity and they pass out bibles, they preach and they spread fear and guilt until people submit (especially the poor and the uneducated)

Yeah, instead of actually helping educate people of these poor areas, they throw a bible at them and say jesus loves them.  :(


Eh... in all fairness, I don't think that's ALL they do. A lot of Christian services set up schools (which, true, are religious based, but they still do teach literacy, etc). They also give people the resources to grow crops, or put in wells for clean drinking water. Sometimes they help build houses or schools or sometimes they bring doctors down to give out some free health care. Sure, they're doing it in the name of Jesus. And sure, they may be giving out bibles printed in the local languages.

But I know that some good DOES get done, and after the missionary work is done, I'm not entirely sure the people who were preached to are WORSE off than they were before. I can't think of a particular charity (Compassion? World Vision?) who deliberately spread fear and guilt until people submit. The message at least THOSE two charities give people does NOT focus on hell, or at least did not focus on it when I volunteered for them. It's more a watered down, farm fuzzy, Jesus loves you message.

For what it's worth.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Stevil on March 29, 2012, 11:54:11 PM
I can't think of a particular charity (Compassion? World Vision?) who deliberately spread fear and guilt until people submit. The message at least THOSE two charities give people does NOT focus on hell, or at least did not focus on it when I volunteered for them. It's more a watered down, farm fuzzy, Jesus loves you message.

For what it's worth.
But isn't Christianity about the death of Jesus, payment for our sins (guilt) and salvation from death or hell (fear), and hence providing eternal life (fear).
Do they teach that sex out of marriage is a sin (guilt/fear) or that masturbation is a sin (guilt/fear) or that homosexuality is a sin (guilt/fear) that non belief is a sin (guilt/fear).

I understand that they might deliver the message in a nice and friendly way and that they offer several benefits, leaving the people better off, but they can't, they simply flat out refuse to offer help without evangalising. It is the Christian way, is it not. This is how Christianity spreads, it is not because it is the Truth or that there is some divine influence causing it to be growing and spreading.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Too Few Lions on March 30, 2012, 01:12:49 AM
I believe that he was probably a historical figure. Probably a rabbi who began an offshoot sect of Judaism, and he was only one of several doing that. He probably BELIEVED he had a message from God. There were a LOT of Jewish 'prophets', people who believed themselves to be a messiah figure. The Romans would have probably seen him as just one more of those, as a nuisance at best, as a criminal at worst, if they saw massive crowds of people converting to a new religion on the say-so of one man. Even if he wasn't a historical figure, then that leaves the question "why did Christianity start up when it did?" Who started it? Who organized it? Why? If Jesus was just the archetype of the movement, who or what got it actually rolling if he didn't? Interesting questions, but perhaps we should take them into a new thread about why non-theists think Jesus was...
There may have been a historical character upon which lots of mythology was heaped at a later date, but Jesus may also have been a mythological figure who the Church later tried to historicise. I think there are plenty of other likely explanations for why Christianity might have started. Many of its central ideas and teachings are more similar to classical and Hellenistic Greek philosophy and religion and philosophy than to second temple Judaism, plus all the earliest Christian writings are in Greek.

Even the name 'Jesus' is a Greek version of the Hebrew name for 'Yahweh saves', which would be the perfect name for a made-up saviour of Yahweh. It's also a deliberately contrived magical name, if you add up the numbers of the Greek letters in the name Ἰησοῦς/Jesus (all Greek letters were also numbers), they equal 888, a magical number like 666. We know that plenty of Jews of the period were very Hellenised and spoke Greek as a first language, and read Plato and other philosophers. Christianity could have been started by Hellenised Jews who wanted to update Judaism and free it of the restrictive old laws and create a new form of Judaism closer to Greek philosophy and the mystery religions, which would be more appealing to both Hellenised Jews and potential new converts in the Roman world.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Sweetdeath on March 30, 2012, 04:58:59 AM
But am I right in saying

When Jesus was around, there was no great following.
Christianity grew through political power and might, through colonisation and conquering of other nations.

Christians are driven to spread the disease of the Christian faith, so they smuggle bibles into China, they go to third world countries under the guise of charity and they pass out bibles, they preach and they spread fear and guilt until people submit (especially the poor and the uneducated)

Yeah, instead of actually helping educate people of these poor areas, they throw a bible at them and say jesus loves them.  :(


Eh... in all fairness, I don't think that's ALL they do. A lot of Christian services set up schools (which, true, are religious based, but they still do teach literacy, etc). They also give people the resources to grow crops, or put in wells for clean drinking water. Sometimes they help build houses or schools or sometimes they bring doctors down to give out some free health care. Sure, they're doing it in the name of Jesus. And sure, they may be giving out bibles printed in the local languages.

But I know that some good DOES get done, and after the missionary work is done, I'm not entirely sure the people who were preached to are WORSE off than they were before. I can't think of a particular charity (Compassion? World Vision?) who deliberately spread fear and guilt until people submit. The message at least THOSE two charities give people does NOT focus on hell, or at least did not focus on it when I volunteered for them. It's more a watered down, farm fuzzy, Jesus loves you message.

For what it's worth.


What Stevil said. I actually know someone who is friends with a Japanese missionary. His world views are seriously skewered!!


And no, they arent helping these places. All they do is spread "the word of christ". No real education; unless it is about magical sky daddy.   No  sex ed; even though these people really need it.
Shouldnt the people in Africa be informed more about condom use ?

These people just wave their shiny roseries and plop down a translated bible.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Amicale on March 30, 2012, 06:15:57 AM
What Stevil said. I actually know someone who is friends with a Japanese missionary. His world views are seriously skewered!!


And no, they arent helping these places. All they do is spread "the word of christ". No real education; unless it is about magical sky daddy.   No  sex ed; even though these people really need it.
Shouldnt the people in Africa be informed more about condom use ?

These people just wave their shiny roseries and plop down a translated bible.


Sigh. SD, I hope you know how much I like ya girl, but ease up on the over-generalizing, would ya?  :P

It would be a problem if people were being forced into religion through fear, brainwashed into believing in Christ, refused food/help/education if they didn't believe. And yes, I absolutely agree that it's a huge CRISIS that condoms and chemical birth control isn't wide spread where it needs to be.

That being said, here's where I think things are being over-generalized: Compassion's a decent organization. I volunteered with them for the better part of a year. I know World Vision even better, having had a long multi-year background with them, including volunteering for a good long while. When I volunteered, here's what I did (with a group, when we went over):
- helped with a well project so people could drink clean, safe water near a school area that was being built
- helped get a school built there
- donated school supplies to the students
- played games with the kids and gave them LOTS of hugs, which they loved
- made crafts with them, met their families
- Started to teach a few of them some common English words - hello, goodbye, love, sun, rain, etc.
- Reviewed a copy of their school curriculum in English, which included math, agriculture, English language, geography (their own), physical education, and oddly enough, NOT a mandatory religion class. It looked pretty solid to me, given the place, the age/grade, and their background. Let it be noted that it's World Vision's stance that children live in a specific culture and generally have their own religious background, which should be respected.

What I'm trying to say here is that a lot of good was done. It wasn't about waving shiny rosaries or plopping down translated bibles, although bibles were available for the kids who wanted one. Very few took one. Hugs, food, water, games and laughter meant more to them, and to me.




Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: applesauce on April 01, 2012, 05:14:39 PM
I've only read the first post and didn't have time to read all the replies, but I can definitely relate to feeling Catholic culturally.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: SweetLaura286 on April 03, 2012, 01:55:27 PM
Interesting intro, thank you for sharing about yourself with us!
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 05, 2018, 06:25:10 PM
Hello again. I introduced myself six years ago (hard to freaking believe). I was just reading back through the very pleasant comments people made welcoming me to this forum, which I have visited from time to time over the years.

It has taken me this long to rid myself of religion. It has been a struggle. It's like Al Pacinco says in Godfather III: "Every time I think I'm out, they suck me back in." I believe it was Richard Dawkins who first wrote about memes, and how some ideas are like a virus in the human mind. I can attest to that first hand. Once this shit is in your head, it's hard to dislodge.

I have been experiencing tremendous cognitive dissonance over the past five or six years. I would have long periods of belief, and religious practice, followed by brief bursts of atheism.  Over time, that ratio has flipped: now I keep my head screwed on straight most of time, but occasionally find myself in the God place again. Less and less.

Someone once described grief like a series of giant black waves crashing on top of you over and over again. As time goes by, the waves are still tall, but their frequency diminishes. Eventually, the waves get smaller, too. I think that's how I've felt about losing my belief in God: it's like grief.

I am posting here today because of an experience I had yesterday which reminded me of this forum (for reasons that will not be in the least bit apparent!) I live in the greater Boston (Massachusetts) area. My wife and I took our little girls--now ages 12 and 9--to the https://www.mos.org/Museum of Science (https://www.mos.org/Museum of Science), a fantastic place. We've been there before, but for whatever reason, this time it really, really engaged my girls...and us!  Afterwards, we went into Boston to see an art show highlighting the work of local students, where my older daughter's drawing was on full display. I then went home and watched the Oscars on the television.

In the middle of all this, we drove by a small but loud rally in front of Beacon Hill (the capital building for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) in support of our President, Donald "Cheeto-Jesus" Trump.

All of this swirled together in my head last night. Science, art, film, and ignorance. I think I finally realized that what we do has human beings--our study of the universe, our creativity, our art and expression, is what truly matters. And: to see the forces of intolerance, bigotry, violence, and ignorance on full display, marching around and yelling...it all just clicked. There is no God. There is just us.

And it was like, a loud click. Maybe you heard it? I know a lot of you are in England, but if you heard a sudden click!, that was me!

Anyhow, sorry to go on so long. Happy to be back. Peace.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Recusant on March 05, 2018, 06:46:53 PM
Happy to see you here again! It sounds like a great day, and I expect the contrast between the earlier parts and the later observation of Trump supporters was informative for your daughters in its own way.  :sidesmile:
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Tank on March 05, 2018, 06:47:04 PM
Wow, just wow. So glad you made it back.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Harmonie on March 05, 2018, 07:02:26 PM
Oh, wow, I joined like just a couple of weeks after you!

An actual rally for Trump? That would have made me sick to my stomach. Sorry you had to see that.

Glad things have "clicked" for you. I'm embarrassed to mention this... I've identified myself as an atheist for just over six years now, but I oftentimes feel the indoctrination wanting to tell me otherwise. It's odd because I was never a deep believer, I pretty much only got this "belief" in my head because my family and community had it and I trusted that they must have some reason for believing that I didn't. Despite wanting to believe, I never felt any spiritual experiences for myself, and never felt anything at church.

Yet, here, I, well over a decade since regularly having attended church, having consciously recognized what my "belief" was based on, and the indoctrination still gets to me sometimes. I know it's not rational, and I am so disgusted by the idea of the Christian God, so I am able to fight it off... But I definitely understand Atheists who are still afraid of Hell. Indoctrination is strong and hard to fight off, even once we've seen the light so-to-speak.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Dave on March 05, 2018, 08:32:10 PM
Hi, Michael, you were before my discovery and joining of this ungodly mob - of great people!

Sounds like you suffered a sort of reverse-Damascene moment there - a reality rush. Happy that you made the connections, I like your writing style!
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Dragonia on March 05, 2018, 10:28:30 PM
Hi Michael, I'm glad you came back! I can relate a little to your life. I was a deeply committed Christian for many years and I felt a panic as my faith was crumbling, and when the last straw hit me, and I could no longer believe from that moment, it was truly a grief reaction. I haven't been tempted to go back, not even once, that I can remember, but man, I understand the sadness.

May I ask how your wife feels about God?

And I wonder if you've read through the website, "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" It's a dorky title, but a fantastic website that really helped me put God behind me forever. 
Maybe you totally don't need that, but I still love the way it's laid out.

Anyway, welcome back  :grin:
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Michael Reilly on March 06, 2018, 12:06:52 PM
Hi, Dragonia (and all!) My wife believes in God, but not enough to go to church, if that makes sense. She likes the progressive aspects of Catholicism (social justice, community, things like that) but doesn't care about attending church, so that's all good. My two little girls, though...I do fear that I introduced the mind-virus early, and that as they get older, they will struggle with, and against, the idea of God. I haven't explicitly sat them down and told them about my...journey, I guess, but I will. They are very bright!

This is one of those things that, when I look back at being a parent, I am going to shake my head at myself and say, "I did what I thought was right." As everyone who is a parent knows, it doesn't come with an instruction manual.  I did the best I could at the time. My family really did benefit from the community aspect of belonging to a church. I wish that atheists, or humanists, or secular people, had something similar. We are social beings, and we benefit mightily from community. I do miss that aspect of church, very much.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Tank on March 06, 2018, 12:34:25 PM
I'm the result of a 'mixed marriage', my mum was a CoE Christian and my dad an atheist, although I never recall him saying so. My mum took (later dragged) me to church up to about 14 when science and rationalism trounced religion and faith. Just keep your kids pumped up on rationalism and science and I'm sure they'll cope.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Dave on March 06, 2018, 12:42:12 PM
With you on the community aspect, Michael, it is one of the very few things I envy about some religious traditions. But atheists tend to be independently minded which sort of conflicts in some ways. Hunanists are more "clubby" but, as declared humanists, fairly few and far between.

There was a group about 7 miles away, in Cheltenham, but it met once a month, had to have a formal agenda to get things done in one evening and had a couple of "social" meetings a year (often in venues pricey enough to exclude all but those on a decent income, top hotels or locations out in the country rather than the local pizza place or Chinese/Indian/Greek... restaurant.) It was run by one very opinionated man and attracted me not.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Dragonia on March 06, 2018, 12:44:25 PM
I absolutely hear you on this. I have 3 kids and started them out from their first Sundays, where they belonged: in church. I had a huge extended church family to support us and babysit and check on me and help out while my husband was deployed, twice. It was a beautiful community, functioning how it was "meant to be". I felt loved and valued and a part of something bigger.
It's a tough thing to lose.
My oldest was about 7 at the time that I moved and lost my faith completely, the other two vaguely remember church, but not enough to be confused by my changes.
Now we live in the heart of the Bible belt, and they are older, so conversations happen a lot. They get invited to church, and I allow them to go to the big ones, because it's really just a social event, but I always ask and talk with them about what they heard or learned. They know where I'm coming from, although it was a pretty gradual process of really being explicit about it, and it's very rewarding to have good open conversations with my kids, as they get older and can really grasp some of the nonsense.

We have actually touched on the idea of secular community around here, it's just that being part of a community like that takes commitment, and I love not having church group obligations any more. I did it out of love, but also out of responsibility, and without that feeling of obligation, I don't think I would really follow through on attendance or anything. I suspect that's why there aren't more secular/humanist groups.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: xSilverPhinx on March 06, 2018, 02:09:11 PM
Hello again, Michael! :welcomeback:

I think I might have heard a 'click' down here in Brazil, but it sounded a little more like:


Was that you? :grin:


My family really did benefit from the community aspect of belonging to a church. I wish that atheists, or humanists, or secular people, had something similar. We are social beings, and we benefit mightily from community. I do miss that aspect of church, very much.

I was never a theist, and my parents were not overly religious while I was growing up (though my mother did become a born-again Christian after her divorce from my father), so I didn't have that growing up, but while many people feel it is an important aspect of religion, close-knit communities can be found elsewhere. 

I think it is a lot of what keeps people going to churches -- the community it offers. The worst part is, I'd imagine if you live in a small community somewhere in the Bible Belt, for instance, then the alternative for apostates can be scary: ostracism. Some people are so close-minded and afraid of what is different that they avoid that whenever they can.
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Magdalena on March 06, 2018, 07:20:22 PM
Hello again, Michael! :welcomeback:

I think I might have heard a 'click' down here in Brazil, but it sounded a little more like:


Was that you? :grin:
...
:snicker:


Welcome back, Michael Reilly.    :computerwave:
Title: Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
Post by: Icarus on March 07, 2018, 01:22:00 AM
Welcome back Michael. 

Depending on where you live, apostasy or even modest questions about theology can be problematic, even seriously risky as a socially viable point of view. 

As recently as this afternoon I had some recurring annoyance about the ignorant espousals of people like Mike Pence and his many acolytes.  The reason for the current annoyance is that I happened to be reading two different issues of National Geographic.....no not at the same time but consecutively.  Those magazines, and  another favorite, Scientific American are just crawling with perfectly good evidence that our world is actually more than 6000 years old...that some mysterious entity in the sky had not a damned thing to do with our happening to become humans on this Goldilocks chunk of space rock. 

One must wonder why we must put our intelligence aside and be compelled to believe in some divine force or some mysterious thing that has given us absolutely no evidence that we can examine.... Or as the bible has presumed to have recorded: Lord forgive them for they know not what the fuck they do.

I have other mini-rants with which to regale you.