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Atheists Anonymous

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posted on Feb, 8 2014 @ 10:32 PM
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Atheists Anonymous

 


"Does your atheism control you?"



If you must, please speak about your experiences, your relapses, your near misses, your successes and failures. We can get through this together.

I’ll start.

Hello my name is Aphorism, and I am a recovering atheist.

1.

The other evening I was approached by a pack of Mormon missionaries as I walked down the street during the dark hours of an early evening. Being approached by a group of three men emerging from the shadows might have been alarming to most, except that the gentlemen were wearing the exact same suits and the exact same sh#t-eating grins—almost like little caricatures or cartoons—it is impossible to fear something that makes me laugh. Nonetheless, on viewing their matching attire, I was certain to accept a far worse fate that evening.

After emerging from the shadows like a gang of tuffs on an unsuspecting victim, they stopped directly in front of me, impeding my movement, standing in between me and my destination. I almost expected them to break into West Side Story, but they were wanting to talk about God. Having stopped directly in front of me, face to face, I had to stop as well, no doubt curious as to the inconvenience. One of them zoomed in on me like a trout on a worm, and he spoke, and I fell into thought—

2.

In my days as a staunch atheist, I would’ve relished the opportunity to engage in debate with these fellows, and I would’ve openly and publicly and shamelessly trampled all over their beliefs, their gods, their book and their moralities with my proverbial boots, not taking any care to wipe my feet before doing so. I would have met their confrontation with an equal yet opposing force, pitting dogma versus dogma, opinion versus opinion, conviction versus conviction, packaged in a petty display of hypocrisy for everyone to see, kindling a fire rather than putting it out.

But if I were to step back and look at myself engage in this irrational behaviour, I would be watching a group of men arguing over virtually nothing; I would see a group of men acting in a dogmatic faction, in the dark no less, guilty as charged—all rhetoric with no practical uses, the same babble that kept me away from religion in the first place. As someone who rejects belief in deities, it would be almost comical to watch myself argue over them; and it would have been just as absurd to give my new Mormon friends the satisfaction of watching me fall into the typical role of the unbeliever, embodying it as their book explains exactly how we must, and justifying its claims of who we are to them—the enemy, the forsaken, the cursed, the heathen, the blasphemer, the atheist. We love our roles once we adopt such a narrative. But to what end?

3.


Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.


Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah. except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them.


Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

Their laws declare us as devils, as people who need to be saved, or at least shunned and killed. We’re dirty to them, bad company, lawless. So why, after thousands of years, have we not yet proved them wrong? How do we prove them wrong?

4.

I’ve grown to love nature and everything in it, and it is a natural and brute fact that people have been, are, and forever will be religious, meaning that they adhere to a strict set of social customs, principles, and metaphysical assumptions from which they base their conduct. It is the culture they are raised in. It is also a fact that people of all creeds, religions, cultures and communities are capable of both good and evil. I have religious friends and family that I would gladly give my life for, and I can only hope that many can say the same. Likewise, there are religious people that might rather show me harm, or at least a mild inconvenience. But then again, so too do non-religious people.

Religious people are capable of good and evil because so are all people. It isn’t their religion that is the cause of good or evil, it is that their culture has taught them otherwise, or that they are too stupid to know the difference. Stupidity is a trait found everywhere.

To hate religion is to hate culture and language. Overtime, yes the prevailing narratives will blend as they always have, prompting new religions, new movements, new "consciousnesses", new ways of thinking, new languages. But they are so bound up with one another that to hate one is to hate this very process, one which has followed us all these millennia like our shadow. Who am I to want to end that expression?

5.

I am of the firm belief that actions speak louder than words. Because the missionaries have stopped me in my tracks by standing in my way, impeding my movement, being overly forward rather than gracious, I was observant of the respect they were willing to show towards my existence and freedom. By their actions, I can find out who they truly are. No discussion of God, morals, and promises of salvation would undo that action and prove me otherwise. As an atheist I would’ve called them on it, on their hypocrisy, and I would’ve argued with them, challenged them, and they might feel shame or embarrassment, and they might resent me for it. What for? In the process, I would’ve been arguing against what I myself was doing at that moment, and in a twist of irony, a hypocrite calling another a hypocrite. A case of words speaking louder than actions.

Rather, I asked the missionary his name, about his church, where he was from, why he was standing in the shadows (he told me he had a quota, and that he worked too often—unsure if he was joking). I told him he should stand under the light for effect. He asked me about my religion. I told him I practice the religion of silence, the religion I never speak of. He respected that. I talked to him. I said I wasn’t interested. He said “thank you for your time” and we left respectfully and in good cheer. It was a better outcome than would have been expected, and hopefully for the missionaries as well.

Did I justify his mission in any way? or by action did I prove that his mission wasn’t even necessary? Maybe time will tell.

6.

I was able to overcome this recent hurdle, not relapsing to my old ways, and in the process dispelled any stigma towards what I did or didn’t believe in. I didn’t draw a line in the sand. I didn’t try to fit myself into any label. I saw them as individuals before I saw them as Mormons. I greeted them as they greeted me, ourselves before our pre-conceived notions about each other.

Who am I to spit on their security blankets, their lullabies? Who besides them have rights to the content of their thought? They, like us, can only be judged on action.

Thank you for allowing me to speak tonight.




posted on Feb, 8 2014 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


I always tell people I'm an atheist and dated a woman who was one as well but she wouldn't stop screamin' God every night so I broke up with her.



posted on Feb, 8 2014 @ 10:47 PM
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today i had run into some mormon missionaries as well. i invited them into my home, fed them lunch, talked a bit with them on my religious background and theirs as well. these young men were very respectful and i could see they were a little defeated. so i took pity on them and asked them to leave me one of their books, then return monday afternoon so i could ask questions on what i've read. do i believe it? no, not at all. am i curious of whats in the book? yes, i've never read the book of mormon.

They know im not a believer but they were more than willing to return and answer me as best they can (which i told them to do homework because i dont accept "because god said so" or "its in the bible" as answers. maybe i can help them become more confident in their beliefs.



posted on Feb, 8 2014 @ 11:14 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


Good on you religion of silence is an adequate answer. I usually say no thanks I am not interested then if pushed I tell them I am a Pastafarian. Some get it while others do not, but it usually ends there. It is kind of amusing when they don't get it, and the glance at each other wondering why they have never heard of that religion. I don't feel the need to crush their beliefs I just want to be left alone, and I have not needed to be rude about it.

For the ones who do not get it I imagine they have a laugh once they find out about his noodley goodness.
edit on 8-2-2014 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2014 @ 11:58 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 

I like to have the missionaries over for dinner with my family. Generally we talk about their experiences on their mission and their lives outside of the mission. Each group has respected that we don't want to hear their message and they just appreciate friendly people and my wife's incredible cooking. In a non-confrontational way I ask them questions during the evening about their religion with the intention of planting the seeds of doubt. Sometimes I can tell that I'm getting through and their mind has started to open, which is a great feeling! It's usually the junior missionaries that are more receptive in my experience. I feel bad for people born into such an oppressive religion that have never been taught anything different and it feels good to know that maybe I've helped a couple of them break free of their bonds.

The Mormon church is taking a beating right now and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out. Their position on traditional marriage has been pretty damaging on the whole. I just read today that they got themselves legally involved in the marriage equality lawsuit, which could do a lot more damage to their reputation. Plus this new fraud lawsuit in the UK might actually have some teeth. Right now, based on what I've read, it's seems like a 50/50 chance that the case will survive. If it does - the LDS church worldwide will have a very difficult time recruiting beyond that point and it would shake its existing members to their core.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 09:09 AM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


I am AfterInfinity, and I am a staunch atheist with no interest in recovery. I have no god, believe in no god, and have no wish to acquire one. This is as far as the term ''atheist'' applies to me.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 09:10 AM
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reply to post by EyesOpenMouthShut
 


A beautiful approach to such a conflict. I commend your strategy.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 09:46 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 

Would I be correct to assume you've had a religious upbringing? Religiosity is an addiction that is hard to shake, especially for those always in the thick of it.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 


Anything to do with lasagne is godlike in my opinion.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 09:56 AM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


You would not be correct in assuming that. I am not religious, nor was I brought up to be.
edit on 9-2-2014 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 10:02 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Interesting. Maybe you call yourself atheist because it is hip?



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 10:15 AM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


Do I seem like someone who subscribes to philosophies because they seem hip? You know why I consider myself an atheist. There's no need to mock it.
edit on 9-2-2014 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Do I look like someone who can read minds? I do not know why you call yourself an atheist, or why you might feel the need to defend atheism for that matter.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 10:40 AM
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Aphorism
reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Do I look like someone who can read minds? I do not know why you call yourself an atheist, or why you might feel the need to defend atheism for that matter.


This link should explain everything.

Linky

Sorry for the coding mishap. My phone is being more difficult than usual today.

edit on 9-2-2014 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 10:58 AM
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AfterInfinity
reply to post by Aphorism
 


I am AfterInfinity, and I am a staunch atheist with no interest in recovery. I have no god, believe in no god, and have no wish to acquire one. This is as far as the term ''atheist'' applies to me.


so you have faith that God doesnt exist
You cant prove there is no God or there is a God but by faith you say
NO

How very religious of you



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 11:08 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


I'm not sure if the link didn't work, or what, but all I saw in that thread was people arguing over nothing.

I'm I'm the middle of the ocean on a boat using a cellphone, so the link may not have jumped to the correct post.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 11:25 AM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


It's fixed now. Check 'er out. I think it should clear some things up for you.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by borntowatch
 



so you have faith that God doesnt exist
You cant prove there is no God or there is a God but by faith you say
NO

How very religious of you


If I can burn a Bible and curse God's name and legacy while standing over the pile of smoldering pages and walk away from it without having received so much as a whispered word of reproach for my insolence, God either does not exist or is the biggest coward in the universe. Considering all the power he has, it's a trice for him to pop up and offer to buy me a coffee. But if going so far as to spit in his face doesn't get a reaction from him, then those are my only two options.

When, and only when, science has concretely and irrevocably nailed God's sorry posterior to the wall like a dead butterfly, then I'll believe. And that's when I'll have a chance to tell him what I think of him to his face. But until that point, it's just as practical and logical to conclude that he doesn't exist.
edit on 9-2-2014 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 11:47 AM
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Aphorism
 


"Does your atheism control you?"


I think that is an extremely powerful question. I hope that some will read it and ponder it for a while.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 11:48 AM
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Serdgiam

Aphorism
 


"Does your atheism control you?"


I think that is an extremely powerful question. I hope that some will read it and ponder it for a while.


I thought at least part of the point of atheism was that there IS no controlling factor other than exactly that which we want to have in control: ourselves.



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