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Atheist Chat

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posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 03:26 AM
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Originally posted by discomfit
Kids have no problems dispelling the myths of santa clause, the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and lots of other mythical creatures, why should god be any different ? Did you have an extra-ordinarily hard time getting over god ? I didn't.

From your arguments, it seems to me that you are very far from having 'got over' God. However that may be, I have, and believe me it was very hard to do. I suffered guilt, pangs of remorse and a sense of having made a pariah of myself. I pined for the security of the Christian community and the acceptance of 'normal' people. I was plagued by doubts and fears of eternal damnation. I took a twenty-year detour through mysticism, other religions, Jungian psychoanalysis, drugs and 'spiritual disciplines' of various kinds before I finally concluded there was no ghost in the universal machine.

So yes, I did have a hard time getting over God. Whether it was extraordinarily hard or not I cannot say. Some of the people on this thread seem to have had about as much trouble as me. Some seem to have had less.




posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 03:29 AM
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Originally posted by discomfit
Kids have no problems dispelling the myths of santa clause, the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and lots of other mythical creatures, why should god be any different ? Did you have an extra-ordinarily hard time getting over god ? I didn't.

From your arguments, it seems to me that you are very far from having 'got over' God. However that may be, I have, and believe me it was very hard to do. I suffered guilt, pangs of remorse and a sense of having made a pariah of myself. I pined for the security of the Christian community and the acceptance of 'normal' people. I was plagued by doubts and fears of eternal damnation. I took a twenty-year detour through mysticism, other religions, Jungian psychoanalysis, drugs and 'spiritual disciplines' of various kinds before I finally concluded there was no ghost in the universal machine.

So yes, I did have a hard time getting over God. Whether it was extraordinarily hard or not I cannot say. Some of the people on this thread seem to have had about as much trouble as me. Some seem to have had less.



posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 04:29 AM
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'Christian' 'values'


Originally posted by discomfit
This list is hardly what you describe.

No other gods...

...Don't be envious of other people things.

As I'm sure you'll agree there is a wide gap between "Christian values" and how that plays out in real life.

These are not Christian values. They are the Ten Commandments in nursery language. The Commandments are not values. They embody values.

Let's see what values they embody, shall we? For this purpose we shall use, not your innocuous little rephrasal of the Top Ten, but the actual commandments as quoted in my favourite Bible edition, the King James.

Here's Commandment Number One, from Exodus 34:14-16


Thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

Values expressed:

    - Do as I tell you (bear in mind that the 'me' here is not some mythical being named Yahweh, but Moses and the Hebrew patriacharcy) or it will go the worse for you.
    - Jealousy is a fine, noble thing.
    - Religious dissent is prostitution.
    - Racial mixing is forbidden. Xenophobia is the way forward.

Here's Number Two, as quoted in Deuteronomy 5:8-10


Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing... Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

Values expressed:
    -Trust in me, just in me, or it will go the worse, not only for you but for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, even though I am well aware, being omnipontent and all, that it's no fault of theirs.
    -Jealously and anger are good.
    - Fawn on me and do as you're told and I'll treat you well. Turn away from me, or try to do things for yourself, and I'll crush you.

Number Four (Deuteronomy 5.11-14)


Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work... And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

Values expressed:
    - Don't enjoy yourself too much just because I gave you a day off. Remember who made you what you are. I can bust you right back to Egyptian slave any time I please. Fear me.

Five (Deuteronomy 5:16)


Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Values expressed:
    - Bow down before the patriarchy or lose your right to live among us.

This is the meaning of the clause that begins 'that it may go well with thee...'

Commandments Six to Ten embody social rules of the most basic type (Exodus 20:13-17). The values they express are common to most functional societies and are not specifically Christian. Indeed, we share most of them with other social species.

So you see, a close look at the Ten Commandments shows that the values they embody are for the most part the common values of humanity. The other values they express, however, are authoritarian, unfair, arbitrary and thoroughly repellent.

And the Commandments are merely the primitive foundation of the edifice of Christian values. If you want to read the really nasty stuff, try the Church Fathers, from Paul onwards. Or the revolting I'm-all-right-jack philosophy known as Calvinism, which lies at the root of most American Christianity.

Chill out on Sunday and be nice to Mom and Pop. If only.



posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 09:17 AM
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Astyanax, your posts are always thoroughly enlightening. It took me years of looking through alternate practices from generalized occult, to drug taking, to shamanism to get over the god thing.

And, discomfit, some kids don't "get over" Santa Claus, et al., that easily. I figured it out myself about six months before I started going to Christian churches. I was DEVASTATED. More for the fact that my parents had lied to me all those years than anything else. That's why I refuse to teach my kids that those mythological beings are real.

I want them to not have to spend 3/4 of their lives trying to understand that the sky fairy isn't real too. I'd rather they knew from the beginning, and used their energies for something else when they grow up.

Anyway, kiddies, I'm off to my dad's. Be back Monday evening ...



posted on Aug, 12 2007 @ 05:03 PM
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When I spoke about evolution and "monkeys", I didn't mean monkeys, but apes. To me, same difference, fur and sharp teeth, monkey, ape.. blah..

I don't think we were apes, (monkey
) But I believe that we were something lesser than just a human being.
I like spam and cheese



posted on Aug, 13 2007 @ 02:03 AM
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I'm an ape, man


Originally posted by MadSeason313
When I spoke about evolution and "monkeys", I didn't mean monkeys, but apes...

I don't think we were apes, (monkey
) But I believe that we were something lesser than just a human being.

What makes you believe this, against all evidence to the contrary?

Does the thought of being descended from an ape upset you?

Why?

You are an ape. That's what humans are, a species of ape.

Chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and humans are all descended from the same common ancestor. They're our cousins. Our cousins, the apes. Not much use denying it.



posted on Aug, 13 2007 @ 05:41 AM
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wow, we've gone really far without anyone of faith trying to derail the thread. i feel very proud of our rivals for not doing so... hell, one even made a constructive contribution.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 03:03 AM
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Just curious, Astyanax, but what is the picture in your avatar, and where is it from?



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 03:59 PM
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Greeeeeetings! I'm back. I'm exhausted and my back is in spasm from the long drive with the steering wheel in the wrong position. I figured it out in time for the drive home, but youch!

Today is a busy day for me, so I'll not be catching up on the board until I get some more rest, but wanted to check in and relate an amusing thing that happened while I was away.

We were at the dinner table with my 85 year old grandmother and I was talking about how I didn't like it that my daughter had been exposed to the concepts of heaven and hell by her father. My grandmother, who's never set foot in a church or prayed in her whole life in my presence, asked me what was wrong with heaven?

I said it didn't exist. She asked how I knew. I said because there's no evidence for it. She looked really sad and said did that mean she wouldn't see me in heaven again after she died. And I said that's right. Let's enjoy each other here and now.

She looked really hurt by my statements. It is interesting to me how pervasive this concept of heaven is even amongst almost wholly secular people in our country. No wonder it's so difficult for people to shake free of it. No wonder it took years for me to finally accept what I knew all along, that there is no supernatural, and no "eternal reward."

And no wonder other people refuse to even consider it and think that to suggest it is being a bully or attacking them.

Be back later in the week ...



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 06:28 PM
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Hello everyone, another Atheist dropping by to say hello



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 06:33 PM
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It wasn't hard for me to get over the "no god" mindset, though nowadays my own ideas are similar to the ones expressed by Terry Pratchett in his books: that humans create pockets of belief that are expressed as deities. They exist only as long as they have believers.

The idea of heaven terrified me as a child. It meant an unending church service where you had to sit at the foot of a throne and stare adoringly and worship this vast cosmic thing (or walk around singing and talking about how good God/Jesus was (back in those days, Jesus was the son and not the same thing as God.)) And you couldn't EVER get away from it. And the conversations went like (as I later found out) the Betas in "Brave New World": "Oh, how nice to see you! Isn't God good!" "I just love my new wings!" "Everybody gets new wings!" "Isn't God a great god?" (etc, etc.)

I would wake up screaming from nightmares where I was trapped in this "heaven," locked into eternally worshipping this huge thing and never able to break away from worshipping and praising.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 09:46 PM
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Hello Lecter! Welcome to the thread!

Byrd, that is hilarious! And quite scary! I always used to ask my mom if we could talk to the animals in heaven... She said we could. That became my goal
I guess I would ignore the worshiping and just hang out with the animals.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 11:03 PM
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Byrd, Lecter, welcome aboard. Nice to see you.

I have to agree with BH, that was a truly hilarious story, Byrd. I'm surprised I didn't have god nightmares come to think of it. You make it sound so very Lovecraftian. In a way, it is. Worshipping a sun god with cannibalistic rites, and wearing the symbol of the instrument of torture he supposedly died on. Ia! Ia! Yog-Jesoth.


Anyway ...

Topic of the here-and-now:

What was the hardest superstition for you to give up? Was it Christianity? Yoruba? The I-Ching? Feng Shui? Numerology? The Great Pumpkin?

For me, it's astrology. My whole life my mother ascribed to it, and had lots of books, with Linda Goodman being the star of the show. I found it fascinating, and it seemed to explain people's personalties well (I never believed it could predict anyone's future), if you looked at the entire chart, and not just the sun sign. Throw in a little Year of the Dragon (Wood) and enough of it fit to make it seem right.

In conversation I sometimes still fall into using it as shorthand to describe someone. My daughter, for instance, is very dramatic, very sunny, but when she's angry she's implacable. She happens to be a Leo, and those are traits that are ascribed to Leos. But that doesn't mean astrology is right, just that I am seeing what I've been led to see by this lifelong belief system, and I'm sure there are even more distinctly Leonine traits that do not suit her at all, but I shut out because they don't fit the picture.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to rid myself of it completely. It is seemingly bedrock in my mind the way religion can be to others.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 12:48 AM
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Originally posted by MajorMalfunction. You make it sound so very Lovecraftian. In a way, it is.


I was quite the little intellectual. Instead of listening to the preaches and chaplains, I read the Bible throughout the service... and by the age of 12 had some serious doubts about the whole thing.



What was the hardest superstition for you to give up? Was it Christianity? Yoruba? The I-Ching? Feng Shui? Numerology? The Great Pumpkin?


None, really. I dabbled in various things and was at various times a professional astrologer, palm reader, and tarot reader but in the back of my mind I always knew that the client wanted advice and someone to listen to them and most of this was just good advice dressed up with a lot of hooey.

But probably the hardest thing to give up is a knee-jerk skepticism. I have to remind myself to look at all sides.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 12:49 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
From your arguments, it seems to me that you are very far from having 'got over' God.


I stopped drinking the kool-aid years ago.


Originally posted by Astyanax
These are not Christian values. They are the Ten Commandments in nursery language. The Commandments are not values. They embody values.


These are Christian values. These Ten Commandments are clearly put forth in the bible. To say they embody values does not change the fact that they are indeed put forth as values to live by.

Most Christians I've meet have been pretty harmless people. I know that the bible says a lot of whacked out stuff but guess what ? A lot of Christians don't care. Some Christians don't bother much with the bible at all. A lot of Christians are armchair Christians anyhow.


Originally posted by Astyanax
Let's see what values they embody, shall we? For this purpose we shall use, not your innocuous little rephrasal of the Top Ten, but the actual commandments as quoted in my favourite Bible edition, the King James......


Very few people (if any) actually follow what the bible says. Most people steer clear of the specifics and try to get with the bigger message. Most Christians I've met are very disinterested in the bible. Having read much of it I can't say I blame them either.

[edit on 15-8-2007 by discomfit]



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 01:13 AM
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Scamandrius


Originally posted by TheB1ueSoldier
Just curious, Astyanax, but what is the picture in your avatar, and where is it from?

It's a picture of my namesake, from an eighteenth-century engraving. The woman reaching for him is his mother Andromache.


More here



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 01:29 AM
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And gaze and gaze on Thee


Originally posted by Byrd
The idea of heaven terrified me as a child. It meant an unending church service where you had to sit at the foot of a throne and stare adoringly and worship this vast cosmic thing...

You know, I had exactly the same experience. Before my voice broke I sang second treble in the choir at the Anglican (Episcopalian) school I attended. And my very first religious doubts were provoked by the last verse of a hymn we sang sometimes, My God, How Wonderful Thou Art:


Father of Jesus, love's reward,
What rapture it will be
Prostrate before Thy throne to lie
And gaze and gaze on Thee!

Cripes, I thought, is that Heaven? Flat on my face for eternity, staring at a light? Boring...

The rest is history.

[edit on 15-8-2007 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 01:30 AM
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thank you Astyanax, its a very beautiful engraving.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 03:18 AM
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The hangovers from that potion can be rough


Originally posted by discomfit
I stopped drinking the kool-aid years ago.

Nevertheless, there seems to be some lingering effect.

So far in your posts on this thread, you've proposed that we tell our children fantasy lies about Jesus to make them more obedient and stop them asking difficult questions. You've championed 'Christian values', which you describe as those of the Ten Commandments, and when the vicious, paranoid, bullying nature of those values is pointed out, you respond by saying that most Christians don't obey the Commandments to the letter anyway, so it's okay, theyre nice people really. All very confusing.

So what exactly is your position? What are your moral values? What do you believe or not believe in?

[edit on 15-8-2007 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 03:57 AM
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Tossing the coins


Originally posted by MajorMalfunction
What was the hardest superstition for you to give up?

The I Ching. In fact, I haven't given it up. I consult it once every couple of months or so.

I ask it for advice, the way you consult an oracle, which is what it purpotes to be. I do not ask it to predict the future, nor do I believe that it can.

Often the answers I receive are confusing and meaningless. At other times they seem almost uncannily apposite. This is exactly what you would expect from a random process. I am under no illusions about what is going on.

Nevertheless, I find that process of consulting the book and contemplating the answers often produces unexpected insights into a situation or helps reveal to me my own true feelings. I end up seeing the situation (and my responses to it) in a different light -- often a more helpful one.

I also find the process calming and comforting in precisely the same way some people find comfort in prayer or private rituals.



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