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posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 12:25 PM
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I'm setting this thread up specifically for other non-theists to have somewhere to discuss our non-belief and aspects of what that means in our modern world.

This is not intended to insult or mock the believers -- I just think we non-theists need our own space to talk about our worldview just like you do.

So if any theist comes in here and doesn't like what they see, keep in mind that this isn't about you. Thanks.

*****

So, my first topic of discussion is: Does residual brainwashing still crop up in your head now and then?



For me, I'd say that superstition does rear its ugly head in my life from time to time. I'm wondering if it's always going to be there or if it will continue to fade as I stop giving in to it. For instance, the compulsion that I sometimes feel when I have to stop myself from "knocking on wood" when I don't want to "jinx" something.

Does anyone think that this has biological roots, this urge to give in to superstition? Or that it is more a matter of cultural conditioning and leftover childhood programming?




posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 02:25 PM
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yes, residual brainwashing still pops up... in the form of me exclaiming "g-dammit" and "oh my god" and that type of stuff. i'm transitioning by saying things like "science h logic" or "fsm dammit" and "oh my fsm" instead. sometimes i'll even say "teapot dammit"

that's the biggest one. and i still look to the sky in desperation... which actually helps if i'm outside because i'll calm down because something like a cloud, the sun, or some stars will distract me.



posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 02:31 PM
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It's a weird phenomenon, MIMS, in my opinion. I know rationally that there is no such thing as the supernatural, and yet I still ask for parking spaces when driving downtown out loud, as if I'm praying, though I don't know who I'm supposed to be praying to.

What this reminds me of, though, is like when I quit cigarettes. I smoked on and off (mostly on) for about 15 years and tried to quit over the last 10 years of that period. I haven't touched tobacco in nearly 6 years, but under periods of great stress, sometimes I still crave that evil weed -- even though logically I know it will make me nauseated and ill to the point where I can feel those sensations in my body as I think about the first drag on a Camel.

This unconscious urge towards speaking of the supernatural (including the goddammit I also tend to use) feels in many ways to me like recovery from cigarette addiction.



posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 07:16 PM
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it actually quite reminds me of the year i spent as a vegetarian. i kept thinking "i could really go for a burger" and things of that sort... but at a certain point i lost track of the fact that i had ever even eaten meat. i ended up going back to meat because i felt like it... but then i kept having feelings that i shouldn't be eating meat. i'd still order from the vegetarian menu for two or three months when i went out.



posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 07:53 PM
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Here's another question:

Other than internet conversations such as those we have here, have you "come out" as an atheist in public, and in real life?

It feels weird telling people this, I sort of expect them to judge me. I had my son at the ER last Saturday for an ear infection and the registrar asked me what religious preference I had. I said I was an atheist. She didn't bat an eye, but it was difficult in some ways to do. I have an easier time disclosing my HIV status, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it has to do with the expectation of the sort of reception I've got from people here -- "Atheism is the Worst Sin," for example.

I'm sure the more I say it out loud the easier it will be, but I find it odd that there is a guilt reaction of any kind for stating my opinion.

This brainwashing has deeper roots than I suspected.



posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 11:55 PM
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Well I don't stand on an street corner scream the fact I am atheist but I don't keep it an secret either my Christian friends know that I am an atheist. I do use expressions like "god save us " and so on and I guess those kind of sayings may have more meaning to the person that I'm talking to rather then myself.



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 02:05 AM
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the first time i publicly stated i was an atheist was at my first highschool... a jesuit run institution. i was in father harrison's office, hanging out with my friends (we went in there because he was the cool hippy priest and he had a couch and other seats so we could fit like 8-9 people in there) like i normally do and i just said it "i'm an atheist now and i don't really think i ever bought into the whole 'god' thing that much to begin with"

father harrison just said something along the lines of "you've made a choice to be honest to yourself, good for you"

edit: accidentally posted this too soon

my parents know i'm an atheist, my friends do, but my grandparents kind of don't. they just think i don't go to church... but i try not to upset them

[edit on 7/9/07 by madnessinmysoul]



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 03:05 AM
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Does residual brainwashing still crop up in your head now and then?


I think i'm totally superstition-free by now, at least I hope so


Does anyone think that this has biological roots, this urge to give in to superstition? Or that it is more a matter of cultural conditioning and leftover childhood programming?


In my opinion, it's cultural. Children are "programmed" to respect and learn from the elder, this is how they survived in ancient tribal times. They would learn the dangers of their natural environment. Today we live in a more or less safe society but the ancient instincts are still there. So when a child is told they'll go to hell if they're bad, they take it all in. If people stopped teaching religion to children, by the time they would grow up to be adults they would be reasonable enough to consider the fairytale to be nonsense and reject it.


Other than internet conversations such as those we have here, have you "come out" as an atheist in public, and in real life?


Not at all, I don't hide it but I don't advertise it either. I live in Europe so it isn't a big deal at all in fact someone that claims to be a christian is a bit more surprising to me.



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 03:53 AM
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This all reminds me that there is no f in Jesus Christ.

My mother very calmly pointed this out to me after I stubbed my toe on a doorframe.

And how right she is!




posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 08:16 AM
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So, MIMS, out of curiosity, is Malta a highly religious country, and do you foresee any kind of friction there because of your non-belief?



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 08:45 AM
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Hey MM!

I didn't know MIMS is a Malteser! *Can't stop myself*

How do you make a Maltese Cross?

Poke him in the eye!

My Grandpa was born in Malta and was very religious, went to church at least 3 times a week. I still have a lot of extended family out there. I would love to go.

So yes I think Malta is a fairly religious country.



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 09:09 AM
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ChiKey, that joke is so wrong (and funny!).

I was thinking more last night about the "coming out" thing, and I realized that a lot of my reluctance has to do with what I have put up with from a few people in my life when I told them. They're churchy types and kept telling me to pray to resolve my custody issues. I'd tell them, no thanks, I don't believe in that stuff, but they wouldn't let it drop. On one occasion I showed up at the park with my son and one of the women (who I don't see often) was there, and immediately started praising god and saying stuff like, "Of all the days to come to THIS park, I pick a day you're here. He is great! Yadda yadda yadda."

Another time a woman who is in my support group started talking to me about her beliefs before the meeting started, and how her church was making things better and she had just felt the spirit of the lord when the pastor and his wife prayed for her over the weekend. She asked me what I believed, and I told her that she didn't want to hear what I thought of religion and I asked if we could drop it. But she wouldn't let it go, kept going on and on and on about how if I just tried it I'd find comfort. Then, during our group she started testifying and set off a bunch of the other church going people. They went on and on about it, taking up time we were supposed to be discussing domestic violence. It made me really uncomfortable. Finally one of the facilitators noticed I was getting impatient and cut off the mini-prayer-revival going on.

I actually find it really embarrassing when people start to do this in public. I squirm when they're getting emotional and crying about something I find to be completely imaginary.

What I don't get, and that I'm trying to figure out, is why it's OK for these Christians to bother me with their belief when I say I don't want to hear it, but the double standard of my talking about non-belief is not welcome.

Keep the church in the church, I say, and leave the rest of us alone. I would go sit in on a Sunday if I wanted to hear this stuff. I don't, so I don't go. Having it shoved down my throat at a public, non-religious meeting is a bit much, disrespectful, and annoying, IMO.



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 09:18 AM
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I don't actually consider myself an atheist, but more agnostic, as I just don't know what might be going on "out there", but that doesn't mean I'm going to latch on to what I consider a "story of explanation" in the face of ignorance. In other words, I'd rather be ignorant to what might be beyond, than to accept a fantasy story someone made up to explain it all and use as a mechanism of control.

So I hope it's ok if I join this VERY interesting conversation.



Originally posted by MajorMalfunction
Does residual brainwashing still crop up in your head now and then?


Absolutely! I was programmed from a very young age with strict religious dogma, so I think it's only natural that it is still with me in a way into my adult life. It's not as strong as it used to be, so it is fading, but it's still there. I have a foul mouth and some of the combinations of words I come up with that include "taking the Lord's name in vain" and regular old swearing make me cringe...



Originally posted by ChiKeyMonKey
there is no f in Jesus Christ.


There is when I say it!


And then, of course, being agnostic, I do believe in the possibility of a higher power, but if it exists, it's so far from what the modern religions portray as a "god", that I'm not worried about it. I mean, you cannot convince me that (if it exists) a powerful, loving being cares about the words that come from my mouth or whether or not I was legally married when I first had sex or whether or not I "worship" it. That, I just cannot conceive.

IF there is a higher power, it's made of pure love. That's it. That's all we need to know.


Originally posted by MajorMalfunction
Other than internet conversations such as those we have here, have you "come out" as an atheist in public, and in real life?


Anyone who knows me knows my beliefs. In a Dr.'s office, I'd just say, "I don't have a religion". I don't claim any labels. Even atheist or agnostic. It's just that agnostic is the closest to what I am. Just as Libertarian is the closest to my political beliefs, but I don't belong to any party.

My parents are dead, but they didn't know my religious beliefs while they were alive. I didn't even know at that time. But I probably wouldn't have told them because they were so invested in me being religious like them. Of course, I think they know now. And I think they don't care.
Like DarkSide said, I don't advertise it, but if someone asks, I try to explain.



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I don't actually consider myself an atheist, but more agnostic, as I just don't know what might be going on "out there", but that doesn't mean I'm going to latch on to what I consider a "story of explanation" in the face of ignorance. In other words, I'd rather be ignorant to what might be beyond, than to accept a fantasy story someone made up to explain it all and use as a mechanism of control.

So I hope it's ok if I join this VERY interesting conversation.




You are more than welcome, BH. Agnostics are close enough for government work, as they say.

Thanks for joining us.



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 09:41 AM
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Originally posted by MajorMalfunction
What I don't get, and that I'm trying to figure out, is why it's OK for these Christians to bother me with their belief when I say I don't want to hear it, but the double standard of my talking about non-belief is not welcome.


I don't think either is welcome, but belief in God is so prevalent that most people assume at the very least you believe in God, even if you don't go to church or aren't particularly religious. Most people have had the programming and swallowed it whole and think that if you don't believe in God, you're some kind of evil person! A Heretic!


I know what you mean, though. I'm uncomfortable when someone talks to me about religion as if it's a known fact. But I usually just say, "I'm not religious." And if they persist, I smile and say, "I'm_not_religious."


You know how some vegetarians or non-smokers are? They want you to join their ranks. Now that they have made these decisions for their lives and they're so happy with them, they want you to be happy, too! They think you'll be happier. They want to help. I really do think that's the impetus behind religious proselytizing. But it's hard to get them to stop without becoming offensive. And I hate to do that, but I will if it bothers me.

My brother-in-law once met the neighborhood Jehovah's Witnesses (2 females) at his door completely and unashamedly nude. That seemed to get the message across. They've never been back.


Edn

posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

You know how some vegetarians or non-smokers are? They want you to join their ranks. Now that they have made these decisions for their lives and they're so happy with them, they want you to be happy, too! They think you'll be happier. They want to help. I really do think that's the impetus behind religious proselytizing. But it's hard to get them to stop without becoming offensive. And I hate to do that, but I will if it bothers me.
I always tell people I know that they should stop smoking, fortunately I don't go on about it and they usually agree I know some people who have said there just to addicted to give it up. I try not to go on about it mind you I just cant help my self sometimes I don't want them to die like my uncle did because its really not a nice way to go.

Thanks though because I'm going to keep that little paragraph in mind next time, I never though of the link between be telling people they should consider stopping smoking and someone telling me i should believe in god(s).

To be honest though I do see a little difference in it, smokers (to pick on them a little more, sorry) is some thing you know exists, and in general all smokers know its bad for them and could potentially kill them, god(s) are pretty much non existent there no physical proof so i do see a difference in someone saying i should believe in god(s) and someone saying i should quite/start smoking.

hope that wasn't to off topic.



So, my first topic of discussion is: Does residual brainwashing still crop up in your head now and then?


Yes, but oddly enough it was public school while in RE (Religious Education) watching the x files with one RE teacher and learning about Hinduism the next week with the other RE teacher that the brainwashing (from primary school mainly) was broken for the first time Its actually why I think all schools should have religious education (as they don't in the US as far as im aware). In fact it was probably the best class in school, one teacher believed in aliens the other was (i think) Buddhist. That was when I knew that the likelihood of god(s) existing was almost zero, I say almost because we can never really know for sure like how everything in science almost always stays a theory though there no doubt its true there is always that new bit of evidence that may or may not support the proven theory in the future.

I do occasionally say things like 'for the love of god' or 'oh god' etc, etc. but it rarely happens now, it just doesn't make sense, the word has no meaning to me, I prefer saying 'for the love of monkeys'


edit for spelling.. more spelling..

[edit on 9-7-2007 by Edn]

[edit on 9-7-2007 by Edn]

[edit on 9-7-2007 by Edn]



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 10:27 AM
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Originally posted by Edn
... in general all smokers know its bad for them and could potentially kill them,


Yeah, so why do they need to be told?
I'm an ex-smoker, by the way.


And I don't think it's off topic because the idea of trying to convince someone else to believe or behave the way I do is really disrespectful, isn't it? Does anyone else see it that way? It's like saying, "I have found the Truth and you are too stupid to recognize it, so I'm going to have to force it on you. I know better than you do and my beliefs are valid and yours are wrong."

Do others feel that?

And it's the same when atheists or agnostics tell religious people that they're wrong. I totally understand and agree with stating one's beliefs, but the moment we start saying, "you're wrong" about beliefs, we're as bad as the worst religious proselytizer.

I don't mean to piss anyone off here. But I do think it's something to think about, considering the recent discussions here in the theology forum.


(Please don't kick me out.)



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 10:39 AM
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By Edn
I do occasionally say things like 'for the love of god' or 'oh god' etc, etc. but it rarely happens now, it just doesn't make sense, the word has no meaning to me, I prefer saying 'for the love of monkeys'




You my friend are a 100% bonified Monkey lover!

In the UK (when I was at school) we had RE lessons, and I don't know how it happened, but at the end of the third year I scored highest in the RE exam and got a prize and cert!

I even remember being my normal self when answering one question:

What is a kippah?

A very tasty fish that we have for breakfast on a sunday.

I still to this day think my RE teacher rigged my reasult to teach me a lesson, although I'm not to sure what the lesson is.

Anyone?




posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

And I don't think it's off topic because the idea of trying to convince someone else to believe or behave the way I do is really disrespectful, isn't it? Does anyone else see it that way? It's like saying, "I have found the Truth and you are too stupid to recognize it, so I'm going to have to force it on you. I know better than you do and my beliefs are valid and yours are wrong."

Do others feel that?


Oh heck yeah! I get this: "Why don't you try to pray? What could it hurt?"

Me: "Because I don't believe, I think it's a waste of time, and doing that would make me feel like a hypocrite."

Them: "What does it matter if you feel like a hypocrite? If you try it and keep trying it, maybe you'll believe it."

Me: "I was under the impression that your god hates hypocrites."

Them: ...



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by MajorMalfunction
So, MIMS, out of curiosity, is Malta a highly religious country, and do you foresee any kind of friction there because of your non-belief?


we have more per capita catholic priests than ireland... that should put it nicely. oh, and catholicism is in the constitution... but secularism is on the march





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