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7 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2007 - 12:04PM #1
darkmoonman
Posts: 15
Being someone who considers himself moral & ethical, but who has arrived at being an atheist after spending 50 years of looking for a god that simply isn't there, I'm curious to know how others have shaped their lives.

For as far back as I can remember, the driving force for my life has been compassion. Thus, I find myself doing a lot of volunteer work for charities, not because it gains me brownie points, but because I can't deny the ubiquitous nature of suffering. This has persisted through by decades of searching and through my acceptance of there being no god.

Thanks.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2007 - 12:37PM #2
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,036

darkmoonman wrote:

Being someone who considers himself moral & ethical, but who has arrived at being an atheist after spending 50 years of looking for a god that simply isn't there, I'm curious to know how others have shaped their lives...

It is a canard that God(s) are necessary for moral and ethical behavior. It seems to be that atheists are better citizens in their communities in part because they have to think about and take responsibility for their own behavior.

J'Carlin

Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2007 - 1:33PM #3
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,036
[QUOTE=darkmoonman;691]who has arrived [/QUOTE] Yes, you have arrived!

You have arrived to the exciting and challenging adult human world of being fully responsible for yourself, your family and your community.  Your community can be as large as you wish to make it, unlimited by the tiny circles drawn by believers in the one and only true god.

Welcome home to reality!


J'Carlin
Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 16, 2007 - 5:06AM #4
Druac
Posts: 11,529
I just recently started examining my morals in detail and attempting to realize just where my moral compass was developed. After expressing my views to an acquaintance, I was asked where I thought I got my morals if it wasn
Jesus Is My Savior...He Saves Me From REALITY!
---------------------------------------------
We created god in our own image and likeness!
[George Carlin]
---------------------------------------------
"Reason & Logic" - A Damn Good Slogan!
---------------------------------------------
"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg, an American physicist
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 16, 2007 - 5:12AM #5
Druac
Posts: 11,529
hmmm...this thing keeps truncating my text for some reason...only the first few sentences are getting through. Let me try this again...

I just recently started examining my morals in detail and attempting to realize just where my moral compass was developed. After expressing my views to an acquaintance, I was asked where I thought I got my morals if it wasn’t from religion or God.

While I went to church on occasion as a child, it never felt right to me. I always felt something was missing in my life…as if I was struggling with myself, especially as a young teenager. While I wasn’t forced to go to church, I was being told from most external sources that I should surrender to a God and put my life in his hands, that all things are determined and controlled by this magical being that nobody seemed to ever be able to directly communicate with or realize.

And at the same time, my parents and close friends mostly encouraged me to make up my own mind about these things. But I was only more confused when I realized that they too seemed to be struggling with belief, continually experimenting with religions and philosophies and never really able to commit to a theistic belief system or a truly religious lifestyle, but always seeming to go back to it in some shape or form, never being able to admit that they didn’t really believe or were not convinced...never able to commit one way or another, always taking the middle ground, just in case.

This seemed to actually make things worse for a while in my life. As a young teenager, while struggling with my beliefs, I was always in trouble, getting in fights and doing things I knew I shouldn’t do. I now know I was acting out and rebelling. But it wasn’t the typical rebellion against ones parents or even authority figures in general, I was rebelling against myself and against those beliefs that were indoctrinated in me. I was trying to let go and face reality, as if teenage life wasn’t hard enough!

I never stopped searching, reading, gathering knowledge and thinking critical about these things. I remember being locked up in Juvenile Hall at the age of 16, reading incessantly, including the Bible and other religious text. As most people due under stress, they gravitate to what is most comfortable and reassuring. What is more reassuring than the promise of an all-powerful God that will make your life better if you just surrender to him? What could be more promising than a God that will forgive just about anything you due, if you only surrender to him and ask for it? But rather than simply surrender to that, and I saw many peers doing just that every Sunday at service, I began to see the truth of it. It was at this time, though I didn’t realize it until just recently, that I surrendered to my rational thought process and began to see religion for what it truly was.

Not until I came to the conviction that I did not believe in a God or religious dogma in general, was I able to settle into my own life and level out. It was this revelation that straightened me out and made me realize just how precious and short my life is. That I couldn’t hide in the belief that when I died there was something better out there for me. From that time on (around 17 years of age) I became more passionate, more compassionate and more in-tune with those around me. Every day that went by only strengthened my convictions that God is not our savior, that reality is truly the only thing God ‘protects’ us from and that this very fact was holding us back as a ‘human race’. Only when we can face the truth and use it to guide our evolution, will we then be able to obtain the lofty goals that humans seem to have, but never seem to be able to achieve.

My life’s passion is to expose and to help make the truth a guiding force that will set us free as a ‘human race’. Even if facing reality is scary, truth and enlightenment will be our saving grace, not the false hope of eternal life in a fairytale heaven. I know it set me free. Free to be a productive and good person. It was scary at first, thinking I might be giving up the one thing that has been instilled in us for hundreds if not thousands of years, eternal salvation. Until I realized it wasn’t real, only a lie.

The reality is that God and Religion are man-made beliefs. If you can only come to realize that, then you can realize that morals are also man-made for the most basic of reasons…survival. Without moral structure there would be chaos and the survival of a civilized society would be impossible. A civilized society allows for more to survive and flourish, thus morals are born of natural human needs. A structured society allows for a better life for a larger number of people.

These things are my moral compass…that and the love, compassion, support and understanding that I get in return for being a good ‘moral’ person. Trust me, I know first-hand what you get in return for not being a good moral person, thus I found life to be easier to survive doing the opposite.

uggg...sorry for being long-winded...got a little carried away there. :)
Jesus Is My Savior...He Saves Me From REALITY!
---------------------------------------------
We created god in our own image and likeness!
[George Carlin]
---------------------------------------------
"Reason & Logic" - A Damn Good Slogan!
---------------------------------------------
"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg, an American physicist
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 20, 2007 - 10:33PM #6
Nightowl35
Posts: 50
I appreciate you being long-winded, Druac. I can relate to so much of what you've said.  Especially this part: " Not until I came to the conviction that I did not believe in a God or religious dogma in general, was I able to settle into my own life and level out." --That's where I am right now .... I'm trying to stop fighting myself (about whether or not I'm an Atheist), so I can just settle into my life and move on. Reading things like this really help. Thanks.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 02, 2007 - 10:33AM #7
rbchaddy2000
Posts: 1,277
I deeply respect your high moral and ethical integrity. I have arrived at a mix of humanism/an undefined concept of God or Ultimate Reality. I am informally Unitarian, but formally a nominal Anglican. Spong is a person of real guts to make a great case for the death of supernatural theism. When it comes to supernatural theism,  I join you in atheism. Richard
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 03, 2007 - 3:00PM #8
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Unfortunately, Spong has been pretty uniformly dismissed by Christians outside his denomination (if they've ever read anything by him to start with, that is!) Can't speak for those within, although I understand that there was a fairly small but intense movement for a while to have him "de-bishoped" and excommunicated shortly after his book, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, was released.

You might appreciate Tom Harpur's, For Christ's Sake, Richard, if you haven't already happened onto it. Harpur is an ex-Anglican priest who writes somewhat directly about why belief in the supernatural qualities of Jesus is misplaced. In fact, I recall having discovered his book at about the time I read The Jefferson Bible, both of which transformed my thinking about the significance of Jesus and Christianity.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 20, 2007 - 8:39PM #9
mooricle
Posts: 2
rbchaddy2000  Have you heard of the Church of Humanity?
www.churchofhumanity.org
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