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Sticky: Welcome Thread!
6 years ago  ::  Nov 28, 2008 - 2:48PM #21
artboyz
Posts: 293
Hi all,

I was born without faith. The Reformed Jewish family I was raised in saw religion as culture and embraced it without following much of it. My obligatory Bar Mitzvah was the last time I visited a temple save for weddings and funerals. As a child I was fascinated by other faiths. Unbeknownst to my family, I went to catholic mass with a friend of mine on Sundays for a while. That these seemingly similar religions didn't approve of each other made them both seem really silly to me. As I learned more about these and other religions I couldn't shake the silliness of it. It formed in me a profound distrust in the whole of society, as it seemed obsessed with these silly and contradictory ideas. I found a haven in science fiction in general, and Star Trek in particular. For me Science fiction took what we "knew" and tried to imagine universes in which logic, critical thought and science might lead to a profound existence.

I'm all grown up, now. I'm a successful business owner, parent and flaming homosexual. I live a wonderful and rewarding life outside any semblance of religion. However, being surrounded by believers in my small Pennsylvania hamlet, I thirst for dialog with others of like mind. I'm not particularly interested in debating the existence of god. It's such a silly topic. Living in defiance of small mindedness and ignorance is not always easy, and it brings comfort to read the ravings of other atheists.

Logic is not the answer. It's the air I breathe.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2008 - 12:51PM #22
NWFrank
Posts: 3
Hi,
I'm brand new to this site, and I think a sticky welcome thread would be quite helpful to newcomers.

One problem: this particular forum is really hard to find. I think God is blocking it. I stumbled onto it by accident using a link on another website. Trying to find my way back was a bear! Sure, it's easy once you know how, but if I hadn't found you by accident, I would have never suspected the forum  existed.  In the BeliefNet home page, I tried searching on  "Humanism",  "Atheism", and even the exact name of the forum. I also  looked at the lists of topics and lists of religions (Good Grief! There are lots!). Nothing came up. I almost prayed (that's a joke, son)! Knowing the site was there, I persisted. Perhaps one could get BeliefNet to upgrade their search engine.

Best wishes
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2008 - 1:04PM #23
NWFrank
Posts: 3
I wonder why we bother with terms like "agnostic"? It defines us all and therefore has no ability to differentiate.  Were we to think about it, are not every one of us "agnostics". No one has any evidence whatsoever as to the existence of a God or any of the other metaphysical stuff floating around. So, the honest response is: "despite my belief, I really don't know". Trouble is, some people seem unable to differentiate between strong belief and knowledge.

If your are a bible loving person, be careful here. Recall how much emphasis the New Testament  places on "faith". If you have knowledge, you don't need faith. So, if you want to stick fast to the Bible, you may not want to become too knowledgeable.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 11, 2008 - 6:27AM #24
ThirtyThreeAs
Posts: 4
Hello everyone, I'm 33As. I've know about Bnet for a while, and I've been lurking on some of the forums here. However, I've decided to finally make an account here. I'm currently an undergrad finishing up my last term at a community college before transferring to a university to finish up my degree in computer engineering. Despite focusing on engineering, I'm well versed in most of the mechanics of modern day evolution (and just a tad on some of the proposed theories on abiogenesis).

I'm a strong atheist and have been for a good 6 years now. Decided religion wasn't for me at about 12, and made up my mind around 13 (cause all the cool kids are atheists ya know?) Despite being a strong atheist, I've never really had to defend myself. As I've seen here already, it looks like this'll be a great test of "faith."
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 11, 2008 - 2:23PM #25
Agnosticspirit
Posts: 9,244

NWFrank wrote:

I wonder why we bother with terms like "agnostic"? It defines us all and therefore has no ability to differentiate.  Were we to think about it, are not every one of us "agnostics". No one has any evidence whatsoever as to the existence of a God or any of the other metaphysical stuff floating around. So, the honest response is: "despite my belief, I really don't know". Trouble is, some people seem unable to differentiate between strong belief and knowledge.

Welcome to Bnet, NWFrank! Go ahead, start a thread about "agnosticism" vs. "atheism" to see what kind of responses you get! :)

As for me, generally refer to myself as an atheist. Or an agnostic if I think that'll be more acceptable somehow, but when I fully explain my take on theology, I'm actually an agnostic atheist. Agnostic in the sense that I don't know whether or not god(dess) exists (there are Christian agnostics, Jewish agnostics too!) and atheist in the sense that I don't believe a god(dess) exists. If I really wanted to refine my position even further, I suppose I could throw  IGNOSTIC into the mix because first one has to define what god(dess) really is before we can express a lack of knowledge and/or believe in her, don't you think? :rolleyes:

Either way, welcome to the fray!

--- AS

ThirtyThreeAs]

Hello everyone, I'm 33As. I've know about Bnet for a while, and I've been lurking on some of the forums here. However, I've decided to finally make an account here. I'm currently an undergrad finishing up my last term at a community college before transferring to a university to finish up my degree in computer engineering. Despite focusing on engineering, I'm well versed in most of the mechanics of modern day evolution (and just a tad on some of the proposed theories on abiogenesis).

I'm a strong atheist and have been for a good 6 years now. Decided religion wasn't for me at about 12, and made up my mind around 13 (cause all the cool kids are atheists ya know?) Despite being a strong atheist, I've never really had to defend myself. As I've seen here already, it looks like this'll be a great test of "faith."



Hi 33As, welcome to Beliefnet! 'Bout time you "delurked" and introduced yourself!  wrote:



Hello everyone, I'm 33As. I've know about Bnet for a while, and I've been lurking on some of the forums here. However, I've decided to finally make an account here. I'm currently an undergrad finishing up my last term at a community college before transferring to a university to finish up my degree in computer engineering. Despite focusing on engineering, I'm well versed in most of the mechanics of modern day evolution (and just a tad on some of the proposed theories on abiogenesis).

I'm a strong atheist and have been for a good 6 years now. Decided religion wasn't for me at about 12, and made up my mind around 13 (cause all the cool kids are atheists ya know?) Despite being a strong atheist, I've never really had to defend myself. As I've seen here already, it looks like this'll be a great test of "faith."[/quote]

Hi 33As, welcome to Beliefnet! 'Bout time you "delurked" and introduced yourself!  Hmmm, if you're up on the evolution, origin of life and all, the Science and Religion forums are for you! You can go head to head with all the young earth creationists, but being armed with reason and knowledge you'll be so much better equipped! :D

Your journey is similar to mine.... I questioned what I was being raised with (Mormons) when I was 12 years old and stopped when I found out that because I'm a woman, I'd never be able to lead the church. This was the age when I thought I wanted to be a preacher when I grew up. :rolleyes: ?Then I found the Catholics pretty much believed the same thing, spent the next couple years attending Sunday school at the Nazarene Christian Church before I gave it all up at 14 for the BS it was. Didn't find the words for what I was until I was 18, when I realized I've probably always BEEN an atheist. Even though I attended services and such when I was a child, I never really believed in it all.

Good luck and have fun!

--- AS

Tribalism, ethnocentricism, racism, nationalism, and FEAR is the Mind Killer... >:(

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6 years ago  ::  Dec 11, 2008 - 10:22PM #26
KARD9000
Posts: 1,712
Hi NWFrank and ThirtyThreeAs.  Nice to meet you.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2008 - 10:00PM #27
cloudlogic
Posts: 4
Hi, I am new to bnet .  I am a married male, in my early thirties, and a parent of two preschoolers.  I was raised in the Mennonite church, but spent much of my schooling in fundamentalist Baptist schools (strange story).  After a long process (starting when I was about 20) I now consider myself a weak atheist.  I wished for the opportunity to share in a community of atheists, but, until now, had not made a serious effort to locate one. 

The turning point on my road to atheism, was when I realized, with the help of some books, that I did not need god to act ethically.  I had been told as a child "Without God, People will have no reason not to lie, cheat, steal, and murder because life will have no purpose."  It sounds silly to me now, but as a child that reasoning had a powerful control over me.  It became clear to me that I had never really believed that godless people were more unethical than religious people or that religious people had a monopoly on a life of purpose.  Evidence was all around me.  Very often, some of the kindest, most content people I met were not religious and some of the most unfriendly, neurotic people I knew were devout.   After overcoming the faulty belief that I would become a liar, thief, or murderer without belief in god, there was not much in my way of fully abandoning Christianity, at least intellectually.  I say "at least intellectually" because I still am struggling with admitting to others that I am an atheist because my parents, sister, grandparents, and most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins are Christians who very much believe in a personal Jesus who walks and talks with them and that nonbelievers will burn in eternal hellfire.  Because to be an atheist is not simply an intellectual or philosophical position for me, but also a rejection of a profound part of my family's life going back generations (the Mennonite church is not just a Christian sect, but also, in its own way, an ethnic group), to admit my status feels like I am rejecting my people and walking out into thin air.  However, I can't pretend I believe in unbelievable things, simply in order to hold on to my heritage.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2008 - 2:19PM #28
Agnosticspirit
Posts: 9,244
Welcome to Beliefnet, cloudlogic! Wow, from a Mennonite to a Baptist (southern by any chance?) to non-belief, that IS quite an amazing trip! And, depending upon where you live, you may have to remain quiet about your lack of faith as well.

Do you live in the US or near a well-populated urban area? If so, you MAY find local free-thinkers near you by clicking on this link and looking for people within your zipcode that share your propensity for freethought, humanism, atheism or agnosticism. I only tried this recently and joined a local free thinkers group. Wish I'd thought of it years ago! :)

Kind regards,

--- agnosticspirit
Tribalism, ethnocentricism, racism, nationalism, and FEAR is the Mind Killer... >:(

For user to user support and to look up the latest glitch reports, check the Beliefnet Knowledgebase by clicking on the link below!

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6 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2008 - 10:02AM #29
cloudlogic
Posts: 4
Agnosticspirit, I live in the Northeastern US, not the South, but the area I live in is quite conservative.  Although I don't live in a large urban area, there's a Unitarian Universalist church in the area which we've visited a few times.  Thanks for the link. :)
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2009 - 8:02PM #30
Mugly_Wumple
Posts: 5
I am familiar with Huxley's coinage of the word Agnostic and the situation that prompted it. I, however, prefer the following definition as it is both broader and more consistent with my own philosophy.

Agnostic - One who professes ignorance, or denies that we have any knowledge, save of phenomena.

In other words, it is a rejection of faith in all its forms.

Now, this may be a suitable sentiment for philosophical debate, but I've got a life to live in the this workaday, playaday word. Mundane faith has practical use. Without it I would become immobile, unable to make decisions on less than complete knowledge and observable phenomena. At least I try to be aware of those instances of faith and treat them as malleable.

Playful faith can be fun, I doubt that tree, rock, river and bridge spirits exist, but when I walk in the woods it amuses me to imagine that they do. It helps me to feel a sense of the holy. This is made possible by my Agnosticism. Since I do not know for certain, the possibility can be entertained.

I'm a functional atheist. I live my daily life as if there is no god. I don't pray, go to church or worry about retribution. I suspect it is the same for many that profess belief in one religion or another.

I frequented these forums a couple of years ago and recognize several names. I'm glad to see that conversations are still civil and well reasoned.

mw
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