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Community => Life As An Atheist => Topic started by: pagan1 on January 03, 2008, 06:06:05 AM

Title: Why are you an Atheist?
Post by: pagan1 on January 03, 2008, 06:06:05 AM
Why are you an Atheist?I would like to know how other people came to the conclusion that there is no god.Sometimes on some very superficial level I start to doubt the validity of making any absolute statement,because I am unable to know everything or even see around corners for that matter,but I feel totally and absolutely certain that there is no such thing as god...
How about you?
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Post by: tacoma_kyle on January 03, 2008, 08:48:47 AM
It was transitional---but basically cause I see no way of it making any sense.

So many religions, so many 'answers' (not the ' '), so much conflict, so little verifiable claims that couldn't be explained by the physical world.

What does science give us? Some answers--but surely not all. It says when something is not proven and when it is/isnt, under what circumstances.


Religion flourishes on bullshit no less than flys do.
Title: Re: Why are you an Atheist?
Post by: tomday on January 03, 2008, 09:55:18 AM
Quote from: "pagan1"
Why are you an Atheist?I would like to know how other people came to the conclusion that there is no god.Sometimes on some very superficial level I start to doubt the validity of making any absolute statement,because I am unable to know everything or even see around corners for that matter,but I feel totally and absolutely certain that there is no such thing as god...
How about you?


Like all other human beings, I came into this world knowing nothing about anything; as I grew and started to understand what was going on around me, I never did suddenly 'believe' in a god, or fairies, or leprechauns or any other such supernatural entity.  Literally speaking, I was an atheist at birth just as are all children who do not believe in anything other than the comfort and sustainance of their mothers' breasts!
Sure, as I grew I would have had suspicions that what I was hearing about god and co. might be based on reality because grown-ups said so, but I  just went along with it as I did the Santa and tooth fairy thing to ensure that I did not lose out on freebies.  At no time did I start to believe in god because I was lucky enough not to have family pressures that might have convinced me to do so.  I do know that as a 4 year old, I refused to take part in the nativity play because (so I am told) I thought that it was silly!

I think that it is somewhat naive to assume that someone has had to cease to be a theist to become an atheist - it might appear that way in the US bible belt, but it is not the case in countries like the UK where the vast majority of the population is uninterested in religion (even if they do get counted as 'Church of England' by default in demographic surveys)

In answer to your question, I have never ceased to be an atheist because I have never been taken in by religious nonsense to believe in any all-powerful deity, I also have never become a believer in fairies, goblins, leprechauns etc.

I have therefore never made any transition out of theism into a state of atheism  where I will remain until, maybe, the day that senility takes over and I am persuaded to go along to the local church day centre for the old and infirm and find myself enjoying the company of religious old ladies!.
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Post by: Mister Joy on January 03, 2008, 11:44:30 AM
I've never believed in God and was raised as an atheist. I consider myself lucky, therefore, because I've never had to break out of the 'bubble', so to speak, and I've always been able to view it objectively from the outside. I considered trying out Christianity once because it seemed appealing but then I realised that this would merely be conscious, wilful self-delusion (went half way there - felt very unpleasant and difficult to describe) to alter my own way of thinking.
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Post by: Will on January 03, 2008, 04:49:00 PM
Why am I an atheist? Groupthink and I don't get along well at all, basically.
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Post by: MommaSquid on January 03, 2008, 05:35:30 PM
As a child, being raised in the Roman Catholic faith, I had doubts and questions that simply would not be silenced by answers from the faithful.

As I searched for my own answers, I realized I was an atheist.
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Post by: rlrose328 on January 03, 2008, 06:50:21 PM
I'm an atheist because there is no god.  I have no evidence that such a being exists and those who DO believe are, for the most part, terrible people who rely on their faith as a crutch for their own inability to deal with the world.  

I tried to believe for years.  Now I'm left with an ultra religious mother who just last week said, "The word 'atheist' is so awful... can't you just call yourself 'agnostic' instead?"  No, I can't.

I always asked questions of the religious leaders and got "you must have faith" as the answer.  That wasn't good enough for me, so I read the bible over and over, read other religious texts (much to my mother's dismay) and I researched mythologies, all of which bore tremendous resemblance to Christianity.  I determined that god was created by man to deal with a life he didn't understand back before there was science to answer the questions.  Now, we have science... and I don't need god to help me survive.  I have myself.

I'm an atheist because... I just am.
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Post by: jcm on January 03, 2008, 07:16:11 PM
I am an atheist because I don’t live in a universe where planet earth was created before the sun.
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Post by: tacoma_kyle on January 03, 2008, 08:23:17 PM
Heh, Kerri, my mom basically says somethin similar. She says say 'I am not religious.' I say, uhhh no.

Heh.
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Post by: Tricky_Niki on January 03, 2008, 09:01:37 PM
I am an athiest mostly because it's the only thing that ever made sense to me.

I was raised divided between Southern Baptist Dad, Roman Catholic Mom and Crazy Pentecostal Grandparents. Maybe it was the different teachings between the 3 that got me thinking, but it was my summer of punishment at the age of 13 where I had to read the entire bible that really made me realise it was all a load of crap.
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Post by: pagan1 on January 03, 2008, 09:18:06 PM
tomday,you make an excellent point!So why aren't most children just left alone to come to their own conclusions?What is the advantage in turning an innocent child into some unquestioning born again soldier of god?what is it about human beings that makes some of them want to dream up such convoluted fantasies anyway?

rlrose328,this and other posts you have made make me realise just how strong an atheist needs to be,because religion is like some not so secret society,that uses not so secret handshakes etc. to validate each others existance.do you think it is possible for Atheism and rational thinking to ever over come religion?after all we have known that the earth spins around the sun for quite a while now...
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Post by: SteveS on January 03, 2008, 09:47:45 PM
I'll probably just echo the previously posted sentiments, but I was raised without religion - not specifically as an atheist, and every time a religious explanation for something was given to me I found myself doubting it.  As I aged, I didn't think about it too much, but I was sure that religion was either false or simply unjustified.  When the Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on my door, I realized I was an atheist.  I first said I was agnostic, but the more I thought about, and the more I learned about atheism, I realized there was no longer any sense dancing around the issue and just declared myself an atheist.  I don't believe in any gods - therefore I am an atheist.
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Post by: Whitney on January 04, 2008, 03:30:35 AM
I'm an atheist because once I figured out why the Christian god wasn't real the same reasons not to believe in it more or less apply to all other god concepts....there simply is no evidence on which to base a belief in any certain type of god or even a general idea of god.

I have to honestly say that some sort of deist god being could potentially exist...but I don't expect one to exist nor would it matter to humanity since it would be non-involved.   At one point I wondered if the universe itself might be god...then I decided that "god" wouldn't be an appropriate description since it would simply be a means of personifying all that exists.  I guess it all depends on what we understand the word god to mean....and it tends to get defined differently depending on who you ask and the context.
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Post by: Gibson on January 04, 2008, 04:15:21 PM
I was "saved" (after a life-altering event) when I was 15 (parents were/are non-practicing Catholics), went to protestant churches until I was 19.  At that point, I got confirmed, etc, in the Catholic church because my fiance wanted us to be Catholic.  That was probably the beginning of my faith difficulties.  After 12 years of struggling to be good enough to merit God's love, I finally just crawled out of Plato's cave several months ago (after a different life-altering event).  I'm happier in general, but it is difficult because my husband is still devout Catholic.  Right now, we're agreeing to disagree, but I know he thinks I'll move out of this "phase."  (In the past, there were many brief periods of doubt and reading about other religions, etc, for a few days.  Then I'd feel too guilty and come back to religion.)  Soon, he'll have to face that this is not a phase.  Aside from all the changes I've made, it's been three or more months.

So, I'm an atheist because I finally let go of the shackles that were holding my mind a prisoner.  It was gradual because there was so much fear and guilt ingrained in me from Christianity, but those emotions fade more every day that I think for myself.
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Post by: flo1989 on January 05, 2008, 12:39:50 AM
I am an atheist because of several things.

1. I was brought up with complete free will of if/what religion I wanted, and after looking at them all I got awed when I was still younger but then realised that that is how religion works, by awing and deceiving people of their free will.

2. Einstein was/still is my idol

3. I read several things from physics all the way to philosophy and I asked myself little questions in philosophy. eg. what makes certain people tick, or  was it really god that gave us food on the table?, and ofcourse the favorite, if there is a god why does he cause so much grief.


In summary, I guess it's because it makes sense and can explain things to me that could never be explained correctly through religion, eg. the Earth came out of the Sun
Oh and because I see it as pure mind control and propaganda^^
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Post by: Kylyssa on January 05, 2008, 01:16:50 AM
This may sound like a throw-away answer but I am an atheist because I don't believe in God.  As simply as that, it says it all.  I do not have thoughts wherein any godlike entity is part of reality.  It's just the same as if I were to say I am an aunicornist because I don't believe in unicorns.  Neither concept is filed under reality in my brain.

I was born an atheist just like everyone is and my parents never lied to me or made up stories.  They kept their opinions on the matter to themselves until I ran into some thorny religious problems, none of which suggested that the God story was anything but wishful thinking.
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Post by: McQ on January 05, 2008, 01:30:59 AM
Why am I an atheist? Hmmmm..... Because we're ALL atheists. Yep. You, me, my wife, the lamppost over there. All of us...atheists.

That's because NONE of us believe in god. gods. a god. some gods. certain gods. all gods. no gods.

My wife, a Roman Catholic (cue the choir of angels) eucharistic minister...she doesn't believe in god. Well, not THAT god (you know, of Abraham, Isaac, and Kevin Federline). She believes in THAT one, of course. But not Vishnu, Baal, Rael, or Elvis (wait, he was just a king, not a god).

Get my drift?

You and I are atheists, it's just that I believe in one less god than you, mister christian.
Title: Why an athiest.....
Post by: Kona on January 10, 2008, 08:03:30 AM
I think ultimately my faith was done in by a heavy science education coupled with personal observations of human behavior.  When you spend most of your day diagnosing patients and having to justify your treatment recommendations, this also begins to slowly creep into one's personal life.  It was by this constant assault of logic and reason that led me to conclude god is an illusion....a fantasy....a tool to aid people in coping with their fears and uncertainty.  The problem is though that these are the tools religion uses to gain control of people and enslave their minds to magical thinking and twisted logic.  It's nice to know that I have many years of continued freedom from this trap.
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Post by: Smarmy Of One on January 10, 2008, 01:32:07 PM
I just don't believe in God. When I look back at my life, I guess I never did. Religion was never a big part of my life. Church was something I was always trying to get out of by faking sick on Sunday mornings or whatever.

It's not because science can explain things better. For the most part, I don't care if science can explain everything. I don't mind some mystery in the universe.

I also am not embittered because bad things happen to good people. I think that this is kind of like rejecting santa because he didn't bring me the G.I. Joes I wanted for christmas.

For me, the existence of god is pretty much like the existence of unicorns or elves - a fairy tale. Frankly, I think there is more chance that bigfoot exists than any god.
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Post by: Kona on January 11, 2008, 03:05:40 AM
Quote from: "Gibson"
So, I'm an atheist because I finally let go of the shackles that were holding my mind a prisoner.  It was gradual because there was so much fear and guilt ingrained in me from Christianity, but those emotions fade more every day that I think for myself.


I completely understand how you feel in this regard....a prisoner of fear and/or guilt.   It can be overwhelming at times.  I think one of my biggest fears and the one that produced the most guilt was the concept of Judgement Day.  In evangelical circles this was described as the instant replay of your life (kind of like the movie "The Truman Show" with a twist of "1984") in which your sins are laid bare for all to see in their unedited glory.  How fun would that be?? :oops:    

I think the one book that I read,  "How We Believe" by Michael Schermer, is credited with helping me get beyond the veil and confirmed the psychointellectual roots of my developing unbelief.  One of the most frequent thoughts I had while I was reading through it was "How could I ever believe such crap?!".   It's easy when a lot of other people do, too!
Title: Re: Why are you an Atheist?
Post by: moosegoose on January 17, 2008, 12:03:03 PM
Quote from: "pagan1"
Why are you an Atheist?I would like to know how other people came to the conclusion that there is no god.Sometimes on some very superficial level I start to doubt the validity of making any absolute statement,because I am unable to know everything or even see around corners for that matter,but I feel totally and absolutely certain that there is no such thing as god...
How about you?


Why there should be any god! Just because it has been a tradition to believe so?
I guess much of it, comes as built-in with you. My mind has always been such a debugger, so when priest in school or elsewhere talked, I spotted holes in logic. But I was so kind and nice child (ask my mom) that I trusted when someone was so sure about it. When I grew up and got more character and will, it was natural think logically to final end and make my own conclusions.

I have studied anthropology so I know something of history of religion.
Also studied basics of theology, so I know that priests are lying even about that (theologically atheism is a fact!).

Of course being openly atheist in small country place gave me good experience of bad effects of religion in practise.
Title: Re: Why are you an Atheist?
Post by: pagan1 on January 17, 2008, 09:42:52 PM
(quote="moosegoose")I have studied anthropology so I know something of history of religion.
Also studied basics of theology, so I know that priests are lying even about that (theologically atheism is a fact!).

Of course being openly atheist in small country place gave me good experience of bad effects of religion in practise.[/quote]

In Hinduism there seems to be a progression from earlier Upanishads with key statements such as "Tat tvam asi" (meaning Thou art that),to a later Upanishad coming up with "Aham Brahmasmi" (I am Brahman),to an even later Upanishad saying "Neti,Neti" (Not this,Not this) which means to say that any concept or idea of God will be incorrect.Then of course along came Buddhism,which has no need of God at all.In Islam I think that it only takes a very small step in thinking to go from "There is no God but God",to "There is no God..."In the Koran it says that God is closer than your jugular vein meaning that god is closer than life itself,so with such an intimate concept of god it would be easy to come to the conclusion that there is only one reality,and not some superficial division.So I can see the natural progression in thinking towards Atheism in the above mentioned faiths,with Buddhism needing no progression at all,but I am unable to see a similar evolution in christian theology,could you please clarify your statement,"theologically atheism is a fact!"?
From the flag near your name,I take it that you are from Finland,if so I was under the impression that Finland was a very tolerant country with a very high standard of education,so could you tell me what bad effects of religion in practise,you have experienced?
Title: Re: Why are you an Atheist?
Post by: moosegoose on January 18, 2008, 07:35:00 AM
Quote from: "pagan1"
*snip*Buddhism needing no progression at all,but I am unable to see a similar evolution in christian theology,could you please clarify your statement,"theologically atheism is a fact!"?

To clarify: I was not talking what is situation in christianity.

In theology "theism" is assumption and as an opposite ("atheism") is automatically a fact (only thing is that it is a fact with no need to be proved cause it is just not accepting assumption made in "theism" and no assumption is a fact itself).
I am talking about scientific theology of course, not theology theology :)

Quote from: "pagan1"
From the flag near your name,I take it that you are from Finland,if so I was under the impression that Finland was a very tolerant country with a very high standard of education,so could you tell me what bad effects of religion in practise, you have experienced?


It was (maybe less nowadays) so standard and obvious to be evanchelic-lutheran that many people simply were shocked to find out if you were not. So being an atheist means automatically that you are a communist and so on. For example when going in parish school to prepare for the first communion, my parents simply couldn't accept me quitting it. I can sure you that my parents are not religious persons.
Being member of ev.luth.church is so intensively part of idea of Finnish unity, that there's still a lot of persons who does not accept that you are a proper Finn if you are not church member.
From other countries Finalnd may look very progressive country, I agree that she is, but still there's a long way to go.
Church is still engaged with goverment, there's a law about blashemy, priests are considered as civil servants, evanchelic-lutheran classrooms are default option for everybody in school, and of course social pressure is very heavy.

More smaller place you are living in, less progressive it seems. My cousins was having computer class a couple years ago and made his homepage as a part of it. So he added some atheist websites to his schoolmade homepages in school server and was kicked out. His parents raised a noise and later everything was ok for him, but no the authorities thought there's any problem before his parent's made an official complain.
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Post by: Maakuz on January 18, 2008, 07:13:34 PM
Hi  Moose, it´s cool to have other finns here! 8)

Why am I an atheist? Because of lack of proof about any gods. I´m a big fan of science, beause it attempts to explain the world around us logically and rationally, and I think science has done great job so far.

Now, religions don´t seem to realize what proving something means. They prove their god quoting bible or whatever their holy book is, as if it´s The All-knowing history book - most of these books were written hundreds or thousands years ago, mostly by people who thought that the earth was flat.

Well, i´m not impressed... But I think most of the religious peeps, if, for example, get ill, will turn to science... And when they get well, they tell people that the earth is 6000 years old or something similar nonsense.

It´s quite sad how diluted these people are, rejecting all the facts science has presented about the real world. :cry:
Title: How I came to call myself an atheist.
Post by: lacey_sawyer on January 26, 2008, 03:19:29 PM
My mom raised me to believe that I had psychic abilities and that there was a supernatural world behind what we see. Aside from these things she encouraged me to have my own beliefs.  

I did not really see the effects of her influence until I came to a point in my life where I got involved in drugs. This is not like me, but I became a drug addict for a short time.

During this time my life was ruined and all the time I thought that I was in tune with this world that had remained invisible to me until I started doing drugs. I thought that I could see the past and the future. I believed that I saw demons and God. I thought that I had literally seen heaven and hell.

Towards the end of this time in my life I fell into madness and I stayed cooped up by myself for months. Nothing made sense at all and I felt like I was lost in the dark.

I wanted to find my way out. I felt I had lost my sanity. I couldn't get out of the drug environment enough to quit, so I got in my car and drove away from everything. I drove a couple thousand miles and pitched a tent.

I decided to just worry about what was directly in front of me. After a few months I started to think about my beliefs. I looked for truth that I could see in the world around me.

I thought about what makes sense, not because I feel it, but because I can see the evidence. I thought and worked my way out of the darkness that had consumed me.
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Post by: maielle on January 26, 2008, 07:16:19 PM
When I was about 11-12 I still thought that nobody really believed id God or gods. I thought that they were playing. I thought it was some sort of game. I mean: How on earth can somebody believe in something obviously impossible when they know that other imaginary creatures (santa, tooth fairy etc..) don't exist? Then I realized that they really do believe...

I was 13 when I read about atheism. I knew the word but I hadn't thought about it. I had no opinion about God. I read one atheistic blog and I understood everything. I still remember that moment :)

It was so weird to understand that most people on this planet are strange and perhaps delusional since I had lived all my childhood like every child. I had no abilities to question things. I believed everything I was told... but not anymore.

So that's how i became an atheist.

It's nice to see I'm not the only Finn here. I just have to say that Finland is actually very open country. You're not going to get beaten or anything for being an atheist. Most people don't have much to do with the church except for marriage, confirmation, baptism, funerals and perhaps going to church at Christmas. Of course some people pray and go to church every Sunday but I think that for most Finns being a christian is just a habit.

Happily everyone here has the right to say their opinion and there's been open discussion about disestablishment (separating the state and the church) and the church's status. We've also got few openly atheistic politicians. ^^
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Post by: moosegoose on January 26, 2008, 08:05:10 PM
Hehee, so many Finns here...
We are taking over...
Start learning Finnish you Unitedstatians (and other)...

Seriously, hearing in school that Jesus is the issue - not Santa Claus, is always a shock.
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Post by: tomday on January 26, 2008, 09:54:28 PM
Quote from: "moosegoose"
Hehee, so many Finns here...
We are taking over...
Start learning Finnish you Unitedstatians (and other)...

Seriously, hearing in school that Jesus is the issue - not Santa Claus, is always a shock.
Although off the theme of this thread, I would like to say that I admire the way that our Finnish members are able to communicate so eloquently in the English language - good on yer!
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Post by: User192021 on January 27, 2008, 05:54:49 AM
It's the only way I know how to be.
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Post by: Enigma on January 29, 2008, 12:54:13 AM
I was raised as a Mormon.  Although when I got old enough to read the book I found it ridiculous and full of things I knew, even at such a young age, to be false.  But I still thought there was a god.  So I was a Deist up until the age of 10.  But at that age I came to the reasoning that believing in something, anything, without proper reasoning and evidence was inane.  Also I realized the ridiculousness of explaining away a complex system with something infinitely more complex.
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Post by: Edizzle on February 19, 2008, 08:49:51 AM
I'm Atheist because going to church on Sundays pissed me off.

Haha, jk. As  long as I can remember, I've had doubts. I like to think about life a lot, and religion always got mixed up in that thinking, and religion+philosophy did not add up. So I had to axe one to balance the equation. Most of the questions you had, I had (just in simper terms) since I was oh, probably 8. The first I can remember were "If God sens non-believers to hell, what about":

Babies?
People born on remote islands who have no knowledge of god?
etc.
And that led to even bigger questions.
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Post by: Kona on February 20, 2008, 03:28:35 AM
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Babies?
People born on remote islands who have no knowledge of god?
etc.
And that led to even bigger questions.
   



I think the breaking point for me came from my brief experience with an extraordinary colleague.  As a physician, he had done some amazing things.  He spent a lot of time in the Mekong River basin doing a tremendous amount of humanitarian work....setting up hospitals, training assistants, and treating hundreds if not thousands of people.  He did this under the extreme conditions of the Vietnam War and had to spend sometime running from the NVC due to his popularity amongst the locals.  He also spent time serving Uganda whilst Idi Amin was in power doing much of the same type of work, survived black water fever, and escaped to freedom.  He is one of the most incredible persons I have ever come across in my life and to think someone who loved  and served humanity at a great personal price would end up in eternal damnation was just intolerable to me.  He was not a religious man at all.   He shunned it.

I have no doubt that evangelicals would say that if he is not 'saved' and a follower of Christ then he is doomed for Hell no matter how many he helped or what good he did in the world.  Such deluded thinking in retrospect.
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Post by: Janga on February 20, 2008, 04:14:08 PM
I started doubting when nobody could answer questions I had about certain things in the bible. Even preists couldn't provide answers for me.
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Post by: LARA on February 20, 2008, 05:21:48 PM
I was pretty much raised without much church and religious influence.  I did try church out in high school, of the Southern Baptist variety (why try anything just a little bit, right?), and that was a big damaging mistake.  I recovered from the initial parasitic meme infection with a dose of Wicca (crazy stuff, that, but with an appeal to nature), then Buddhism and now I finally believe myself to be free of the nasty stuff.  I'm so much happier now (real happiness, not Prozac happiness).  Without the fuzz of religion in your sight, you are free to interpret reality scientifically with repeatable results and logic.  You can believe however you want, for example have a real true natural morality that involves compassion towards all types of living things instead of just the ones who kowtow to the same imaginary man as you.    I believe only atheism allows for clear sight into the true nature of reality.  Imaginary possibilities of God and life after death only serve to cloud the truth of what is happening right now.  While imagination is always fun, I prefer it to stay imaginary.
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Post by: Lindsey_Mcfarren on March 26, 2008, 12:17:04 PM
I was raised in a religious family.  From a very young age I found their claims hard to believe and as I have gotten older, I have finally admitted to myself and friends, I can't buy it.  I see no evidence to support the extra-ordinary claims they make.

As I have said, when one of them actually meets Jesus, bring him over, get him to do a few tricks and then maybe I will change my mind but until I see some irrefutable proof that such a being exists, then I can't BELEIVE in it.  It all seems like flights of fancy to me.