Author Topic: Hello  (Read 1907 times)

Anne D.

  • Was God's Anointed But Took a Shower
  • *
  • Posts: 208
  • Gender: Female
Hello
« on: January 12, 2012, 03:49:50 AM »
New to this forum. I'll try to keep the intro brief. I've known I'm an atheist for the last several years. Am "out" in that I'd feel free to share my beliefs w/ anyone who asked, but I've found that it just doesn't come up that much in everyday life.

I was raised in another part of the country (from where I am now) going to a fairly liberal Protestant denomination church (Presbyterian, whatever the synod is that's on the more liberal end of the spectrum). My parents never saw a problem with God and science or evolution coexisting, and I never got a sense that anyone in my community saw them as mutually exclusive either. All that just to say that I grew up with no sense of belief in God and "belief" in science being at odds with each other and also with vague ideas of some benevolent force as a god and there being some form of an afterlife and something apart from our brains and physical bodies that was a "soul."

My realization that I'm an atheist came about gradually. Some college science classes about how a sense of morality could have developed evolutionarily contributed. Reading the book Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer did, too. That book pretty much did away with my belief in anything supernatural (ghosts, reincarnation, telepathy, etc.--all the good woo-woo stuff). Other things that contributed were just giving more thought to evolution (if we all share a common ancestor, then at what point did certain lucky creatures get a soul and a shot at the afterlife?); reading about brain chemistry/chemicals and their relationship to the perception/feeling that a person is at one with the universe; and, to a lesser degree, reading about the history of the bible (who wrote/translated the books, how certain books came to be included/excluded, etc.).

I hope this doesn't come across as too self-important, just wanted to give a sense of where I'm coming from. Something I'm curious about is how others here have come to define the "meaning" or "purpose" in their lives. That's something I really struggle with, figuring out what it means to me to live a meaningful life, given that I'm the one responsible for assigning meaning, and what it means to be a "good" person. I think helping with those questions is one important role religion plays and is separate and apart from belief in god. How have others addressed this? Or do you see it as a nonissue?

The Magic Pudding

  • The black swan of trespass
  • Blessing Her Holy Hooves
  • *****
  • Posts: 4913
Re: Hello
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 04:18:06 AM »
I hope this doesn't come across as too self-important, just wanted to give a sense of where I'm coming from.

No not too self important, just about right I'd say.  


Something I'm curious about is how others here have come to define the "meaning" or "purpose" in their lives.

Accumulating excellent hats does it for me, it just seems natural.

Welcome Anne

Wessik

  • Made of Star Stuff
  • *
  • Posts: 74
  • Die Tuhrte
    • Red Karp
Re: Hello
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 06:25:32 AM »
Not at all! Fun, fun, I think you'll be a blast to be around. Welcome. :D
I have my own blog! redkarp.blogspot.com!

Recusant

  • Miscreant Erendrake
  • Administrator
  • Wears a Colander Hat for Special Occasions
  • *****
  • Posts: 6254
  • Gender: Male
  • infidel barbarian
Re: Hello
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 09:35:35 AM »
Hello and welcome to HAF, Anne D. I liked your introduction; it was clear and covered the ground you intended to cover very well. I don't blame you for being a little self-conscious (when you mentioned that you hoped people didn't find your intro self-important  ;)), it can be daunting to join a new group; one wonders how one's tone will be taken. Not to worry!

Quote
Notes for new members from Tank:

The Rules.

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" 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?
10 Things About Yourself
Tell us A Bit About Where You're From
Photography
Non-religious pet peeves
Pets...what do you have?
How to tell your family you are an atheist.*

*You will need 10 posts before you can add a post to this thread, but you can read it at any time.

In addition, you may find the following of interest: "Rules for Conducting a Discussion" by Dr. Mortimer J. Adler.

I hope you enjoy your time reading and posting here!
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Drake23

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hello
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 10:35:01 AM »
I truly believe that the meaning to life is to become the best possible version of yourself, and the beauty is that you have one shot at it. I also believe that, although your soul does not go on after death, the way you affect other's live will help you live on forever in the world... Even past your death. Leave every place better than you found it and you've done something to help the world progress. You have a chance to make real differences in the world, no matter how big or small. I love to take charge and do something when everyone else is praying. Small acts can change the course of history (I was a history major in college).
And that's my thought on that. :)
Welcome! (I am also new, just joined yesterday...)

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
-John Wooden

Tank

  • Administrator
  • Excellent and Indefatigable Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 31745
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hello
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 12:53:51 PM »
Hi Anne.

Defining meaning and purpose is a common question. I think theists have issues with their self worth and feel they have to be validated by some outside force. I do not require validation for what I do. I do what I need to and like. I have 3 adult kids, a grandson, a wife, 2 dogs and friends IRL and online. I try to do the best for them I can as needed. Anthing else is a bonus. For me I like to learn and support learning (which is why I help run this place). That's good enough to keep me going.

Welcome to HAF :)

Regards
Chris
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Anne D.

  • Was God's Anointed But Took a Shower
  • *
  • Posts: 208
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hello
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 01:27:56 PM »
Thanks for the welcomes and the thoughts (I'll have to give hat collecting a try : ) ). Look forward to hanging out here and learning more about others.

Buddy

  • The queen of bad ideas.
  • Wears a Colander Hat for Special Occasions
  • *****
  • Posts: 6068
  • Gender: Female
  • Useless Lesbian
Re: Hello
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 01:29:49 PM »
Welcome to the forum Annie D! I'll have to warn you that hat collecting is a very dangerous hobby. There are times you have to fight off an entire army of clay lumps for your prize.  :D
Strange but not a stranger

I love my car more than I love most people.

Crocoduck

  • Not Sure About That Kool-Aid
  • **
  • Posts: 316
  • in recovery
Re: Hello
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 01:36:15 PM »
Hello Anne, welcome to HAF
As we all know, the miracle of fishes and loaves is only scientifically explainable through the medium of casseroles
Dobermonster
However some of the jumped up jackasses do need a damn good kicking. Not that they will respond to the kicking but just to show they can be kicked
Some dude in a Tank

xSilverPhinx

  • Non Dvcor
  • Global Moderator
  • Luxembourg Trembles!
  • *****
  • Posts: 16847
  • Gender: Female
  • I Spy With My Googly Eyes...
Re: Hello
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 02:49:11 PM »
Welcome!

You needn't feel too self conscious, your intro was good to read, and it's always nice to have some background info on people to contextualise what they say (at least for me).

As for meaning, I think that theists find more comfort in believing that they have a purpose rather than knowing what it is. At least that's my impression.

However, if you dig deep enough, you'll find that they also like to think that they have free will, and a god-given purpose sort of conflicts with that.

I personally feel that whatever meaning I give my life is more meaningful than any religion or society says I should have.
Give no mercy to your fear.



Firebird

  • Taste's like chicken
  • Touched by His Noodly Appendage
  • *****
  • Posts: 2813
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hello
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2012, 01:46:39 AM »
Welcome Anne! Also a new user as of 2 weeks ago.

In terms of life having meaning or being a "good" person, I think that the fact that you question that means you have a sense of morality inside of you already. Personally, I  make sure that I am taking care of the people I care about (family, friends, etc), that I am charitable whenever possible, and that I consider the needs of others ahead of mine where possible. That's a bit simplistic, I admit, but it's how I've felt at peace with my moral standing thus far. I'm not trying to prove I'm worthy of some god's heavenly gates, as if it's some sort of prize to be won. Rather, I feel we should hold ourselves to high moral standards because we, as the human race, need each other to survive in this world and universe. Because let's face it; in the grand scheme of things, we're rather insignificant :)

I found ethical humanism to be particularly appealing in trying to answer this question for non-believers. Not sure if you've looked into them, but it might be one place to start.
"Great, replace one book about an abusive, needy asshole with another." - Will (moderator) on replacing hotel Bibles with "Fifty Shades of Grey"

Ali

  • Knows where her towel is.
  • Wears a Colander Hat for Special Occasions
  • *****
  • Posts: 6500
  • Gender: Female
  • An Equal Opportunity Mr. Hyde
Re: Hello
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2012, 02:08:02 AM »
Hi Anne!
Your user name made me smile - my dad has called me Anne D ever since I was a little girl (long story). Anyway, welcome!

I find that atheism has actually made my life more meaningful.  What I mean is that realizing that we all only get this one, very short go round has made me realize that it's so important to find all of the love and joy and beauty and truth that I can, now, because I don't have an eternity.  I have another 50 or so years if I'm lucky, and judging by how fast the first 31 have gone by, I know that I can't count on that time dragging its feet, so I have to live my life right, right now.  I have to try to be the best me that I can be, and live the best life that I can, because I don't believe I'll get a second chance or that someone is magically going to absolve me of my sins in the end.

Anne D.

  • Was God's Anointed But Took a Shower
  • *
  • Posts: 208
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hello
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 02:49:48 AM »
Very much appreciate the thoughtful posts. Ali, re:
I find that atheism has actually made my life more meaningful.  What I mean is that realizing that we all only get this one, very short go round has made me realize that it's so important to find all of the love and joy and beauty and truth that I can, now, because I don't have an eternity.
 
I very much agree. As an atheist, I've definitely become much more thankful and appreciative for this gift from the universe that is life.

It's this:
I have another 50 or so years if I'm lucky, and judging by how fast the first 31 have gone by, I know that I can't count on that time dragging its feet, so I have to live my life right, right now.  I have to try to be the best me that I can be, and live the best life that I can, because I don't believe I'll get a second chance or that someone is magically going to absolve me of my sins in the end.
that's the hard part--that is, being at peace with how you're living your life and not feeling that you're wasting precious time. I guess that's something everyone deals with at times, though, atheist or otherwise.

Man, I guess I should be posting in the Angsty Atheist Forum  ;)

happyhappa

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Hello
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 05:49:30 PM »
Hi, Anne!
What an insightful post!
I feel as if leading a good life means contributing to the lives of others.
I am currently pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a lot of my work is with kids under the age of 6 who have experienced MAJOR trauma.
I never feel like my life is more worth living than after I finish a session.
I look forward to getting to know more people on this forum and their views.
:)

Anne D.

  • Was God's Anointed But Took a Shower
  • *
  • Posts: 208
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hello
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2012, 01:41:48 AM »
Appreciate the thoughts, Happyhappa. The work you do sounds amazing.