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Topic: Got a question for the agnostics and athiests

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Subject: Got a question for the agnostics and athiests
Date Posted: 11/15/2007 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Last Edited on: 8/11/10 4:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/15/2007 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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Actually, I don't tell many people that I don't believe in God.   There are a few people here at work who know it - some of them are fellow unbelievers.  But when it does come up, inevitably, someone will say, "Well, you know there are no atheists in foxholes."  I tell them um, yes, there are atheists in foxholes.  There's even an atheists in foxholes website!  http://www.atheistfoxholes.org/

My husband is a definite, hard core atheist.  I  consider myself an agnostic.  He's English and we live in the Bible Belt - Kansas City.  When we moved here he was an agnostic but he said that due to all "the God botherers" here - he has become a full-blown atheist. 

It is frustrating when believers just can't seem to let go of the fact that you must believe in something!  Just go about your own business and be religious and leave me alone.  I certainly don't go around telling people they shouldn't believe in God. 

 

 

Date Posted: 11/15/2007 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Im pretty open with it. I dont go up to people and say "Hey Im agnostic and you cant prove god exsists." But if it comes up I admit it freely. I look at it this way if a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist can be open about their belief I can be just as open about my lack of it.

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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I pretty much keep it to myself too.  People seem to think that if you don't believe in God, you must be evil or something.  As if you can't be a good moral person without fear of afterlife repurcussions.  If someone did ask me what do I believe in, my answer would be pretty simple....I believe we are born and then we die.  It's called the circle of life, and it's scientifically sound.  When I first realized in my heart that that was truly all there was, it did kind of unnerve me.  But over time, I've really come to peace with my place in nature.  My life cycle is not really that different than those of the trees and the birds and all the other living things in the world.  If someone asks me how the world came to be, I'll tell the truth.  I don't know.  But I certainly don't believe that some all powerful God created all of us and left us here for no good reason.  That's just silly IMO.  I know science has it's own conclusions about how the cosmos came to be, but I don't forsee mankind ever really knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt, and I'm okay with that.  I'm okay with the life I have......i don't need to fantasize about an afterlife to make this life worthwhile.  I think that it bothers a lot of religious people that non-believers can actually be happy knowing that once we die, that's it.  That is why they like to label us as sad or lost or clueless or empty.  I will admit it's no fun being part of a minority group, but I'm not going to pretend to believe in a religion just so I can fit in.  Those days are far behind me.  I really believe that there are many more non-believers in the world than the statistics show, but societal pressures keep people from talking about it.

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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I completely agree about there being many more non-believers out there - but they don't admit it.  Society pressure and pressure from family/friends sometimes just doesn't make it worth it.  I also believe that some don't admit it out of fear.  It took me YEARS to be able to admit to myself that I am a non-believer, due to the fact that I had been indoctrinated all my life with Southern Baptist fire and brimstone religion.  The day I could admit it to myself - that was a day of freedom. 

 

Date Posted: 11/17/2007 1:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I sorta have the belief that if more honest good people would openly admit to being a nonbeliever that we would have a better chance at breaking stereotypes. If no one sees the good ones they can only make assumptions based on the bad ones. Thats why Im very open with it. Like I said I dont force it on people but if it arises in normal conversation I have no hesitation to admitting it. I understand the fear we are sort of the pariahs of the religous world but if we are "out" about it then more people will see we arent so bad. We arent evil immoral people we are just like everyone else different but the same.

Date Posted: 11/17/2007 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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It is very difficult to admit to being a non-believer, especially when you know you have a stereotype against you from the beginning.  Some married friends of my husbands are non-believers and they were shocked when they met me and found out I was too.   We live in the south and they hadn't met anybody who wasn't a Christian.  Plus, being a parent of small children, I worry about how it will affect them.  I have heard parents say that they won't let their children play with other children unless they go to church.  Well, that automatically cancels us out, but can you imagine how they would treat my kids if they knew I was a non-believer?  Forget the fact that I am always at the school volunteering, going on field trips, donating supplies, etc.  They would probably literally try to stop me from being in contact with their children.  It's very sad that they think that belief in a religion is what determines a person's value system and how they behave.  I have known plenty of Christians who cheat, lie, steal, and sadly, molest children.  Isn't that a red flag that it's not your belief system, but your choices that define you?  It's frustrating.  Not to mention that I do not want to hear the "you need to be saved" schpiel from a million people....

Date Posted: 11/17/2007 8:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
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Amanda.. you bring up a great point about the kids... we're in the Bible Belt of the North... so much so there are religion classes in the PUBLIC SCHOOLS run by the local churches (yes it's legal because it's not required... and students have the "option" of not attending)  BUT I'm really worried about DS when he gets to public school for the fact that we don't attend a local church (we go to wone 30 minutes away that is very very progressive, even accepts agnostics!)  and while DH is Christian, I am questioning, and we are raising our son to learn, respect and celebrate all faiths (inluding *gasp* paganism).  I do worry about him being ostracized and picked on (by staff as well as students).  It hurts to see people of "faith" not respect all humans, no matter what they believe about various spiritual things :)

Date Posted: 11/17/2007 8:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I totally get that its hard and scary and I dont mean to say that all agnostics and aithiests should be as open as me. For one thing I  dont have any children to worry about for another Im already weird this just makes me a little weirder in the eyes of believers). But I sort of think of it in terms of any other minority group gaining acceptance. Once the general population sees that we arent all immoral god haters then it will become easier for the rest of the group to be accepted.

Date Posted: 11/17/2007 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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No Chris, you are totally right.  I think all minority groups have had to face this type of adversity, whether it be the gay and lesbian group, the women who wanted the right to vote, people who wanted to end segregation, etc.  For these things to happen SOMEONE has to speak up and be the voice.  It's easy to see why it is so difficult to be that voice but why it is so important to do it.

Date Posted: 11/17/2007 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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I feel very much the same way Amanda does and I admire the way she articulated it.  That said, if you really don't believe in more than nature and being part of it, there's not so much to talk about.  You just go on with your life in much the same way we don't spend a lot of time discussing or professing oxygen or dirt. 

So far as being in a minority group goes, we are all in any number of manufactured "groups" — English-speakers, omnivores/vegetarians, college graduates, drivers, office workers, professionals, voters, self-employed, tall/short people, ethnic/non-ethnic, gardeners, foodies, baseball card collectors, parents, skiers, pet owners, and so on and so on — so why fixate on any one of them and agree to be treated as any less than a whole person?  I am in the majority in some respects and the minority in respect to other things.  Neither being in the majority or the minority lessens or enhances the validity of my thought, my opinions or my spirituality which I see as the search for the universal that connects us to the person next to us, the person on the other side of the world and the people who have gone before and will come for generations in every circumstance of life. 

I believe at least a significant part of the nature of character is to be true to your beliefs regardless of whether it's easy or reinforced by others.  In order to be the best people we can be we need to be more than a bit fearless.  And being true to what you believe you've observed without the need to be patted on the head is part of being a mature, disciplined person.  So I don't need to talk about it unless it comes up and I won't be trying to convince anyone else.  Working their way through the practical and spiritual aspects of life is their job. 

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/19/2007 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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I do a heckuva lot more explaining than I want to.  I find myself fighting an uphill battle in regard to trying to educate people that no, not everyone celebrates CHRISTMAS, for example.

I recently had to clarify with J's teacher that they do NOT formally recognize Christmas, because one of the helper-Moms was talking about "Santa bringing presents" during circle time, and I just happened to be in the room.  As you can imagine, I cringed.  The LAST thing I want is for my kid to come home from school wondering where Santa is with all  of his presents. :/  Oy!

If I tell someone I'm Unitarian-Universalist, they usually just look at me with a blank stare.  It's better now that we live here in Portland, but when we lived in NC it was pure hell.  No, we are not the Moonies, people.

Thinking about it gives me a headache.

My rote answer is "I believe religion is a highly personal and private matter."  And then I smile. ;)

 



Last Edited on: 11/20/07 5:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/20/2007 9:06 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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LOL, L!  When I worked at the Christian preschool people got bent out of shape over Santa coming to visit the kids, because he might upstage Jesus.  Looks like nobody wants to claim poor old Santa anymore!

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/20/2007 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
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Yeah, poor Santa, LOL....I always think of the SNL Church Lady skit where Mike Myers rearranges the letters in "Santa" to make "Satan"..."Could it be Satan?" ;D

I actually like the story of St. Nicholas because he was a real person.  It would be much more palatable to me for us to celebrate St. Nicholas day, than it is the mythical Santa.  The whole lying to your kids thing squicks me out!

 

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I never believed in Santa. Its not like I had never heard of Santa I just never believed. It got me into trouble once. When I was working at wally world I asked a kid "What did you ask mommy and daddy for christmas?" His mother flipped out and sent him somewhere else and then blessed me out cause the kid still believed in Santa. I was like sorry I didnt think about it I never believed. She sorta looked at me like I had sprouted broccoli out of my head.

Date Posted: 12/22/2007 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/8/2007
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Last Edited on: 1/18/09 11:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/23/2007 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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As I've said previously, I don't really connect to anything, though I don't profess to know one way or the other.  I was raised Catholic and after having people tell me Catholic isn't Christian or "you mean, you're one of those wacko Catholics", I've felt it best to not discuss religion.  I've always felt spirituality was a deeply personal thing. I sort of get bothered when people press me on what I belief or don't believe when it's done in that probing way like "what do you mean you don't..."

I think I learned really young not to talk about it.  I can remember one day at dinner the subject of God came up.  I was about 10.  I asked my Mom something like "what if we don't believe in God?"  the answer was "you better believe in God".  And, my Mom wasn't religious at all.  It was a learning lesson.  Some things are better kept private.  My Mom and I do discuss religious matters now without problem.

I am also careful around my nieces and nephew.  I try to allow them to talk about their beliefs without ruining what they believe or making them feel they have to believe what I believe.  I don't interfere.  They need to come to their own conclusions and I don't feel I should ruin things for them.

Date Posted: 12/26/2007 11:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Doesn't the freedom to believe NECESSARILY include the freedom to DISbelieve?

Proselytizers will just have to get used to being told that they have  overstepped where their  'rights'  end when they try to intrude into where YOUR rights begin.

Date Posted: 12/27/2007 12:28 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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Yes, freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion.  Freedom means you can believe or not believe.  As an unbeliever, I don't try to push my "non belief" onto others who believe.  If someone wants to believe in God and follow a certain religion, it's no skin off my nose.  The problem comes when religious people want everyone to live according to their own beliefs. 

Date Posted: 12/27/2007 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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I also have a big problem with religious people who feel that it's perfectly acceptable to spend their time trying to convert you.  It's disgusting.

Date Posted: 12/27/2007 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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I'm not bothered by it.  To me, it's just the insecurity of needing everyone to confirm your belief in action.  That takes any possible power out of it. 

Date Posted: 12/27/2007 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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I think I may be bothered by it more than some people because I was brought up in a southern Baptist church and was beaten over the head with the Bible (figuratively) on a regular basis.  My mother used to tell me I "had the devil in me" and  was going to hell.  It was a fire and brimstone church and not a pleasant place.  So when someone tries to tell me what I should believe, I get really angry.

 

Date Posted: 12/28/2007 12:55 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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To those people, I quote: "Saying atheism is a belief is like saying bald is a hair color."  Not sure who said it first, but I say it often.

Date Posted: 12/28/2007 9:05 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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That's great Vanessa!  I'll have to remember that one....

Date Posted: 1/7/2008 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2006
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My cousin told me she was going to pray for me because "My God doesnt want you to live this way." Now I dunno what god she talks to but when I talk to God, and I talk to God every day (surprising isnt it?) he never tells me Im living a bad life.

I dont know how much more I can dumb down I dont believe in god)

I dont go up to people and say "Hey Im agnostic and you cant prove god exsists.

Ok, so just out of curiosity, when you "talk to God everyday" who are you talking to if you don't believe in God or that he exists? By all of your posts, I am kind of confused about that.

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