Author Topic: Salutations, Godless Ones  (Read 2519 times)

Michael Reilly

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Salutations, Godless Ones
« 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.

Tank

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #1 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.

Regards
Chris

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Some threads you might find interesting.
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Reprobate

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #2 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.

DeterminedJuliet

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #3 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. :)
"We’ve thought of life by analogy with a journey, with pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end, and the THING was to get to that end; success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But, we missed the point the whole way along; It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.

Michael Reilly

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #4 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.

Tank

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #5 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
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.

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #6 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!


"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. By every crime and act of kindness we birth our future." - Cloud Atlas

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die." -Carl Sagan

Michael Reilly

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #7 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.

Tank

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #8 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  :)
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.

Sandra Craft

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #9 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
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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #10 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.

Michael Reilly

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #11 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. ?

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #12 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
If you'd like to take a perusal.
"We’ve thought of life by analogy with a journey, with pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end, and the THING was to get to that end; success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But, we missed the point the whole way along; It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #13 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?
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


Michael Reilly

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Re: Salutations, Godless Ones
« Reply #14 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.