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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:35 pm 
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Another lifelong atheist here. I grew up in a traditional Jewish family with a father who seemed to believe in God and a mother who seemed to just go along with it for my dad's sake. I was a little scientist and skeptic from the get-go, though, and the whole deity thing never made much sense to me. It all felt made up to me.

As for fear of dying, I have no fear of the nothingness that will probably greet me after death. I suspect it will feel much like the nothingness before I was born. My consciousness won't be around to experience it. What does scare me is dying before I feel like I'm done living, but that has nothing to do with religion.

CandyBeans wrote:
I'm one as well.

This is timely for me (only tangentially related, but I figure this is the thread to complain in). An atheist friend railed against vegetarians the other day, using that infographic of a cow that lists the different products that various parts are used for (it's the one that says blood is in pasta and cake mix). He says that vegetarians are hippies that don't think. This just clashed so much for me, since the way I think - as critically as possible - is what led me to both conclusions.


Your friend should check out this video:



He's not a vegan (yet) but his argument for vegetarianism from the atheist perspective is compelling. Actually, all his vlogs are worth a looksee!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:40 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:57 pm 
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Yep, count me in. I was raised strict conservative Church of Christ in the south. That seem to do the trick around the age of 13 or so.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:00 pm 
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IsaChandra wrote:
Honey is not vegan!

Oh, sorry, wrong thread.

Ugh, you and all your rules.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:05 pm 
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I halfheartedly semi-subscribe to the un-church of 'meh'

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:59 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
Lately I've been waking up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe (sleep apnea?) and in my sleepy stupor it gets me to thinking about dying. I don't know how you other atheists deal with it, but it scares me to think that there's nothing after all this. Silver lining -- I appreciate and treasure my days more than I ever have in the past, even when something cruddy happens.


I was convinced I was experiencing sleep apnea. I'd wake up in the middle of the night choking on air and it was horrifying! I think it's more than a coincidence that when I quit having a diet carbonated beverage at night, the scary vanished. I'm prone to acid reflux, but I drink so much water now that it keeps it quelled. I dunno if you drink anything fizzy before bed or eat spicy food or anything, but it might be an acid/GERD type thing for you as well. Sleeping on your side will help, too.

As for your other worry...life eternal seems like torture to me. The only thing that gets me down is thinking that loved ones will be gone eventually. I haven't had to deal with that yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:46 pm 
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Chris F wrote:
Looks like im not alone then :)So now i am not only one of the only vegans i know but also not the only atheist :).This board is ace :)

Hey, is that Wolverhampton in England? I always think of Britain as being, overall, fairly non-religious in daily life. Am I plain wrong, or are you in a more religious pocket, or is it just the networks you know? Don't mean to pry into personal details, but I'm just curious as to what it's like "on the ground" there. Also, I've got some statistics to look up! :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:41 am 
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Wow you guys are braver than me. Plus I totally want to be around to see what sweet technology and science we come up with in 200 yrs. Maybe I'll cryo freeze my head!

I'll try eliminating fizzy drinks and see if that helps, thanks. I should probably see my doctor!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:32 am 
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Drossie wrote:
Chris F wrote:
Looks like im not alone then :)So now i am not only one of the only vegans i know but also not the only atheist :).This <a class="inlineAdmedialink" href="#">board</a> is ace :)

Hey, is that Wolverhampton in England? I always think of Britain as being, overall, fairly non-religious in daily life. Am I plain wrong, or are you in a more religious pocket, or is it just the networks you know? Don't mean to pry into personal details, but I'm just curious as to what it's like "on the ground" there. Also, I've got some statistics to look up! :-)


Well where i live it is mainly Islam,Hindu,sikh in the centre of england, and as you can probably gather by news events, the majority of these religions take it pretty seriously if not to extremes,there are always big religious festivals round by us and a lot of demands for respect made from local councils etc. the christians are kind of in the background somewhere too. mainly in friends and family,the people who mainly think i am nuts for being atheist are the islamic friends i have and they are good friends untill we get onto a religious discussion then they get all wide eyed and wierdly preachy a bit like that manic look that tom cruise had on his face on that scientology video.Its very much a smug"i know something you dont" kind of vibe.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:09 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
I don't know how you other atheists deal with it, but it scares me to think that there's nothing after all this.

You know what's strange? I think there's something kinda comforting about the idea of eternal nothingness. I'm down with ending forever. I'm more down with that than the idea of "Paradise."

That said, I don't self-define as an atheist, but as an agnostic. I wish I could be an atheist. I'm very factually driven in everything else, but I can't turn off the part of my brain that has had "God" banged into it since childhood, even though I have no affinity for religious institutions or any desire for faith. I also can't believe, because then I have to accept the existence of magic and ignore all the ways that religions clearly stem from culture and politics (or just say that all religions have it wrong – but who the Hell am I to *know* the universe more than anyone else?). So, basically, I'm left going, "I'm don't really believe in God, but I kinda believe that there's a Hell and that's where I'm going." Which is a very strange and contradictory state of mind, and one that I can't quite shake.

Functionally, I'm more of a secular humanist than anything else.

But anyway. Woot, eternal nothingness!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:27 pm 
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Chris F wrote:
linanil wrote:
Dinosaurs made you an atheist?

yeah :) well more to the point my grandads response that they were "put there by god to test us" :) i kind of saw straight through that at seven years old.


Wait. So you mean Satan didn't bury those bones???!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:13 pm 
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From A.C. Grayling's The Good Book, his masterful atheist-type "bible":

Consolations, Chapter 24:

17. Most people are jostled in wretchedness between the fear of death and the hardships of life; they are unwilling to live, and yet they do not know how to die.
18. For this reason, make life as a whole agreeable to yourself by banishing all worry about death;
19. It will come, and so long as the process of dying is itself easy, it has no more terror than dreamless sleep.
20. No good thing renders its possessor happy, unless his mind is reconciled to the possibility of its loss;

24. So I declare to you: he is Lard of your life that scorns his own. Be the Lard of your own life therefore, by not fearing to lose it.
25. Since the day we were born we are being led towards the day we die: in the interim let us be courageous, and do good things.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:50 am 
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I realized that I'm an atheist last year in August after having been a Christian since childhood. This came after a couple of years of struggling to feel God's presence and crying my eyes out thinking that I was going to be sent to hell because of it. I couldn't keep clinging to my faith anymore, so I just had to learn to accept that I'm not a believer. Christianity just didn't make sense to me anymore, especially when I started college that month and realized in my "intro to women, gender, and religion" class that other people believe in their religions just as deeply as I believed in mine.

Becoming an atheist is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I'm still devastated by the community I lost. I was involved with a Christian summer camp as a camper, a volunteer, and then an employee for eleven years. It's the most important place to me in the world, and I probably won't ever be there again. I cry about it nearly every day. Also, my relationship with my mom has completely changed. I know it's horrible, but I pretty frequently think about how grateful I am to be heterosexual, because being a lesbian is the only thing that could make her dislike me more. She still loves me, but I don't think she likes me. It makes me sad.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:15 am 
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I currently identify as agnostic atheist because religion is based on the fact that it is not provable, but I am absolutely atheist and stopped believing in high school. My family is Christian, except my sister (agnostic theist). My husband is a Catholic who doesn't attend church. All the in-laws are Christian.

I think atheism has made me most content in my life. No worries about where my soul is going when I die. No forking guilt to be a good person. I truly have free will and try to be the best person I can be.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:33 am 
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Agnostic theist would probably be what best describe me.

Jigglypuff - what you are going through is normal and I think religions tend to give many people that sense of community. I'm not sure if you'd be interested in summer camps in general as there other opportunities out there. I struggled quite a bit in college when I realized I couldn't be Catholic or couldn't follow any religion in general. I just don't believe any religion can capture all the pieces of the spiritual world and many don't even seem to try. I also think it is possible that there is nothing else but i don't have explanations for my own spiritual experiences which is why I couldn't make the athiest leap myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:50 am 
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I've been atheist (essentially) since I was about 7. I think what did it for me ultimately was every sect insisting that theirs is the right one and anyone who didn't subscribe to it was going to hell. Like it doesn't actually matter what you do in life - you can be a complete crasshole, cause or allow death and destruction, ruin everything/everyone around you - as long as you believe in this doctrine, you'll be OK in the afterlife and everyone else is doomed (religions based on a doctrine of predestination are my absolute most hated). I'd like to think that, if I'm wrong about the no god thing, Ze'd be down with me because I at least went through life as a good person doing (or at least trying to do) good things, and that's what really counts.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:50 am 
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Jigglypuff, that sounds hard, and I'm sorry you're going through it. Maybe it would be helpful to you to try and think about it as just a part of growing up that is hard at first but gets easier as you go.* Everyone leaves behind stuff from their youth, and while some things are more difficult to leave or more entrenched in our lives, it's normal, and soon other things will fill in the space your Christianity has left. That is, you probably have more feelings in common than you might think with the non-religious people around you.

I think one of the great lies that many religious communities tell their members is that the ONLY way to have a caring, strong community is through religion. That is, of course, rubbish. As you go through your life, and especially as you move more into your adult life, you'll see that community can come from all sorts of places, many of them totally unexpected. Something that gives me a tremendous sense of community is doing activist work. If that's something you're interested in, I suggest getting involved with a group on your campus or in your town.

Finally, good for you for having the courage to question things! That takes guts, and while I'm sorry it's making your life more difficult now, I think that in the long run, you'll be happier for it.

*I feel like you're somewhere around the 18-20 year old range, so I wrote the above post accordingly. If I'm way off, then I do apologize!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:49 pm 
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My mom isn't religious, but she's way-super not Atheist either. The other day she called me to tell me about how her psychic medium 'connected to her mother'... anyhow, I listen, as I always do. And she asks me, for about the one thousand bazillionth time, if I believe in spirits. Jeez mom! How many times do I have to explain. And then she says "well you believe in aliens, so therefor you should believe in spirits too!". I had to face-palm. And I had to explain to her, again for bazillionth time, that it's not about 'believing' in aliens, because it's just science, and obviously there is at least one type of alien in the universe, you know, humans. Anyhow. Not much point to my rant but it sure does get annoying sometimes!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:12 pm 
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I'm Atheist. I have reasons, too, but I don't feel like typing it all out right now. Basically, for as long as I can remember I have never believed in anything. I tried, man did I try, but I just couldn't. I became agnostic when I was about 10 and remained agnostic until my junior year of highschool. I was then apatheist, I guess. I didn't identify as atheist until college, so about 4 years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:21 pm 
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I love this Sagan quote:

"Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature." —Carl Sagan

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:14 pm 
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Sagan <3

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Jigglypuff, I basically want to say "what Jordanpattern said". I have been where you are, and it is hard. But it does get better. It is very painful to abandon a world view that you grew up with and that gave you good memories. But it will be worth it in the end - you will find a new community.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:45 pm 
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Yikes. My post was super emo because I was feeling bummed about that stuff yesterday. I try to keep a positive, rational outlook on it all. Sometimes I forget the good things that have happened because I'm now an atheist - I don't have any more religious shame, I've made new friendships with smarter people, and I have a whole new way of looking at the world. I've been getting into some activism (clinic escorting, women take back the night, etc.) and making more of an effort to make new friends. Jordan's age estimate was right (I'm nineteen), so religion really does feel like something I had to shed when I became an adult.

Thanks, PPK!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:07 am 
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100% agnostic here. I have no idea what happens when we die, how we got here or why we're here, don't really want to know, and don't think about it very often. I am very afraid of dying, though. The thought of nothingness scares me a whole lot, as does that moment referred to upthread where you realize it's over. It's kind of a constant worry of mine. I love life and going to prison and dying, yep, those are my only real fears.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:13 pm 
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I love this thread. I'm not athiest, but I am definitely anti-religion. I loved loved Religulous.

When my brother became engaged, his fiancee told my super-catholic mother "I'm Jewish, but don't worry because I'm an Athiest!" The fact that my mom could see the humor in that made it even better. :) She loves and accepts her, and knows full well that she won't ever change her mind on her athiesm.

Bad bad things happened in the church I grew up going to, to my brother's friends. Three priests were busted. I can't even go into that church, and going into other churches (even when I was in Europe) I just couldn't appreciate their beauty. They just feel so oppressive.


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