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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I figured I'd start one of these threads for this section (since I don't think there is one).

Obviously, this entire section can be a bit of a problem because we do have different types of people on the forum and there are obviously some religious people on this forum. So try and keep that in mind when you're posting here. I'm as guilty of it as anyone else but if you say anything that's too toxic, it might have to be removed.
 

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I like to think I'm agnostic since I do share the view that we cannot provide empirical evidence of a deity (or deities) nor does it seem to impact our lives in terms of intervening in order to prove if there is one or not. But I feel like if one is at least raised to believe or follow a religion then it stays in some ways even well after no longer believing. It's a bit conflicting knowing you simply cannot believe in religion, nor any god, yet seem to keep aspects of it that preserves some form of an identity.
 

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Nice idea for a thread.

I'm currently listening to Tim Pool's April 23rd podcast with Michael Knowles of The Daily Wire. They are on a rant about how Judeo-Christian values shape even an atheist's morals and how an atheist's idea of god is quite simplistic.

Politically, I'm probably close to a center-left libertarian although I don't like labeling myself. I find myself agreeing with conservatives on certain social issues but whenever I listen to conservatives like Michael Knowles and a center-left individual like Tim Pool discuss God, I get quite annoyed. They basically described society as crumbling because of a lack of god. Here I am, an atheist, and I'm not some crazy far-left or far-right identitarian. I get miffed by wrong doing on both sides.

TL;DR - It's annoying when conservatives blame societal decay on a lack of god.
 

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I live in a tiny village in a Catholic country. All of my neighbors over 40 go to church every Sunday. I didn't do my confirmation as a teen. I never go to church. And no one gives me any **** for it. I don't know how it is in the States, but my complete indifference towards religion has not affected me in any way whatsoever.
 

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(I almost started one of these in this section several times but figured nobody would post in it; good to see one is finally here.)

I was so relieved that my dad never said anything to me about religion before he died. I thought that perhaps he understood me well enough to know that I'd never go back even if he asked me to on his deathbed. Fast-forward to today, almost two months after his death, when my mom plays a video she captured on her phone of her asking him a bunch of different questions about what he enjoyed in his life and messages for people he would leave behind, like a legacy video or something. And sure enough, at one point he said that he "knows what I read" that caused me to leave their church and begged me to "reconsider."

I'm so devastated. I respected my dad probably more than anyone else, and he seemed so much more understanding than my mom when I left. But I guess he didn't respect me or my decisions as much as I thought he did. He thought something specific I read led to my resignation -- but he was wrong. There was no one thing; it was a snowball of a great many little things over the course of more than 20 years, mostly my own experiences, thoughts and feelings. Certainly not some book or article, although I'm pretty sure I know exactly what he's referring to.

It shouldn't matter because he's gone now and I'm fairly certain that I'll never see or talk to him again. But it disturbs me greatly on a deep level and I can't seem to shake it. After everything I did to break away and live my own life, free of the hypocrisy and toxic perfectionism, after all of the blood and sweat and tears and outright ostracization by so many people I used to know including parts of my extended family... I'm still nothing but the "prodigal son" just waiting to be "saved" to them.

I ****ing hate religion.
 

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As a child I was frequently taught that I could never be good enough on my own -- that I needed 'God' and 'Jesus' to "save" me. It's such an insidious tactic to use these toxic ideas on young children because they become a core part of your very identity. Even though it's been more than 10 years since I attended church, and despite all the efforts I've made to repair and rebuild myself on my own terms, I can never shake these deeply-ingrained feelings of worthlessness. How could I ever believe in myself when I was told from toddlerhood that I was an unworthy, filthy sinner?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As a child I was frequently taught that I could never be good enough on my own -- that I needed 'God' and 'Jesus' to "save" me. It's such an insidious tactic to use these toxic ideas on young children because they become a core part of your very identity.
I agree but in my case, it didn't work on me because I was fiercely independent as far as what I thought and believed even at that young age. I think they do try to get at young children as soon as they can in order to get to them before they get set in their ways and start thinking for themselves.

I think that is probably the only thing I ever had to do "wrong" to turn my mother against me. I rejected the whole religious thing instantaneously and she has never gotten over it. From then on out, every single argument or disagreement we have ever had could be traced to the fundamental differences we have always had about the whole religious thing. I have tried to just respect her religion and keep my thoughts to myself but it isn't mutual and never has been. Sometimes she was more diplomatic than others but she was always trying to push it on me even if it was subtle.
 

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Are we really just cosmic accidents, without purpose or significance? I don't know whether to be saddened or comforted by that thought. On the one hand, all the things I feel terrible and powerless about: my low status/achievement, my many reprehensible qualities, the certainty of losing loved ones - all of it means nothing outside of my short span of life. But on the other hand it also renders meaningless the things I do treasure: mainly my family's love and the conviction that their lives have significance. I know that our brains are sophisticated enough to choose or create various purposes, but none of these are enduring. Even the few in history who create things that outlive them often have their creations perverted or rendered unrecognizable within a few years or decades after they die. I wish I could peek behind the veil of death and then come back and decide what my life means.
 

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I remember growing up and going to a private high school were I was the only open atheist/agnostic in about 800 or so people.

But honestly I had fun with it. I never had a lot of things to feel proud of but I like the satisfaction when I was questioned and I asked back with some basic logic or argumentative question and just watched them stare blankly as if the mere concept of somebody questioning anything had never crossed their minds.

Strange creatures these people are.
 

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I was explaining the lore of "Wheel of Time" to my mom today as we were watching the new series on Amazon Prime. I think I was describing the importance of 'reincarnation' in the books when she asked completely out of the blue why I don't believe in God.

She hasn't brought up this stuff in months so I was surprised. I thought about actually getting into it with her until I realized that she could still not understand. I don't think she could ever understand because her belief is strong and blind. I briefly told her it was mainly because of personal experience, because magical things just don't happen in the real world, then changed the topic back to the show.

Now I'm really nervous that my disbelief is on her mind again. I really hope she doesn't try to reconvert or "save" me. I totally cannot handle that right now.
 

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I know this section of the forum doesn't get a lot of traffic anymore or at all really but I felt the need to briefly say this.

I watch a lot of political videos on YouTube and something that I've noticed over the last few years, even from people I politically/ socially "agree" with on certain issues, is that there is a distinct lack of understanding of what atheism is.

Atheism is merely the lack of belief in a god/gods yet I often see people I otherwise enjoy, attribute our societal decay to atheists and the growing lack of belief in god. "It's the atheists fault society is crumbling." <--- Is actually their mentality.

Another growing sentiment amongst these folks is that atheists are just too dumb to understand god.

Tim Pool, whom I've been following for 11 years, recently stated that atheists just think that god is some man in the sky but whatever process out there that created the universe is above human comprehension and is therefore god.

He isn't the only one though. A lot of internet personalities I follow have stated something similar to "I was a hardcore atheist and atheists just don't understand."

Highly annoying.

EDIT: I realize now that I've already posted something similar in this thread but how telling is it that this perception about atheists is growing?
 

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Between COVID and the thing with Russia drastically increasing gas prices around here, my mother is convinced that we are living in the "End Times:" that Jesus will be coming back soon to start The Millennium, where he'll rule the whole world in person for 1000 years while everyone converts to Mormonism to be saved. Worse, before he died my dad made this 'prophecy' to my mom that Christ will return in 2024. And she completely believes it.

I realized (again) today that people like my mom, who believe without a doubt that 'God' will never let anything bad happen to the planet or humanity as a whole, are perhaps the single most pervasive and serious threat to our continued existence. We're literally headed straight for mass extinctions due to overpopulation, pollution, climate change, etc... while a majority of our species truly believes that none of those things matter because god(s) must save us from ourselves.

I just can't anymore. Bad enough that my mother is so blinded by her faith, but she even urged me again to "look only at the positives" and return to Mormonism so I can be "saved" too. There's just no arguing with blind faith... And people wonder that I'm so hostile toward religion! Bah!
 

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As I was tossing and turning in bed this morning and thinking again about just how strongly I hate religion, a really uncomfortable thought occurred to me: it's almost like "hatred of religion" has become my religion, at least in the really broad sense of "something one feels very strongly about."

I'm always reminded of that saying, that the opposite of love isn't hate but apathy. Love and hate are actually very close together because either one is a "strong feeling" about something. It bothers me greatly that I still feel so strongly about religion more than a decade after having left it behind; sometimes I really wish I could achieve apathy towards religion. But I still get nightmares about it. I still get random uncomfortable reminders that the majority of people around me not only believe in fairy tales, but use those beliefs in ways that directly affect me, like legislation. So it's like... how could I ever NOT feel strongly about this???

Sometimes I really just want it all to go away. But then, the problem is clearly me, so maybe I should just go away...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
As I was tossing and turning in bed this morning and thinking again about just how strongly I hate religion, a really uncomfortable thought occurred to me: it's almost like "hatred of religion" has become my religion, at least in the really broad sense of "something one feels very strongly about."

I'm always reminded of that saying, that the opposite of love isn't hate but apathy. Love and hate are actually very close together because either one is a "strong feeling" about something. It bothers me greatly that I still feel so strongly about religion more than a decade after having left it behind; sometimes I really wish I could achieve apathy towards religion. But I still get nightmares about it. I still get random uncomfortable reminders that the majority of people around me not only believe in fairy tales, but use those beliefs in ways that directly affect me, like legislation. So it's like... how could I ever NOT feel strongly about this???

Sometimes I really just want it all to go away. But then, the problem is clearly me, so maybe I should just go away...
I think there's a difference between lack of religious belief and a militant opposition to it. I pretty much agree that hardcore atheism is just another form of religion. I guess I would describe it as "evangelical atheism". IMHO, it's the same problem as the main problem with religions such as Christianity is the aggressive evangelical nature of their core beliefs (not all of them but many believe that it is their duty to convert everyone whether they want it or not). Many atheists feel the same way.

At this point, I have become pretty much apathetic to religion. I know they won't ever agree with live and let live but at least we live in a world where (for the time being) it is possible to just be your own person and not waste your time and energy worrying about things you can't change.

And believe me, I have plenty of reason to be an evangelical atheist of I so chose. I think the good thing is we can choose not to be.
 

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I'm always reminded of that saying, that the opposite of love isn't hate but apathy. Love and hate are actually very close together because either one is a "strong feeling" about something. It bothers me greatly that I still feel so strongly about religion more than a decade after having left it behind; sometimes I really wish I could achieve apathy towards religion. But I still get nightmares about it. I still get random uncomfortable reminders that the majority of people around me not only believe in fairy tales, but use those beliefs in ways that directly affect me, like legislation. So it's like... how could I ever NOT feel strongly about this???
Religion itself isn't the problem. The problem is the process of natural selection acting on religions: the ones that gain converts by enslaving continents or preaching door to door or legislating obedience to their ideology naturally out-compete the harmless religions and become predominant.

I'd suggest confining your hate to particular religions/sects, while developing better feelings toward others. It's also more practical to wish for religious people to convert to something less harmful than to expect them to stop needing/wanting religion, not that either is likely.
 

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I feel like my last post was somewhat misunderstood. My bad.

I'm far from "evangelical" about atheism... and certainly not militant or even violent about it! I stopped arguing entirely because it's pointless. I don't even consider myself a "strong" atheist. I prefer to think of myself as an "apatheist" or simply irreligious; I don't even want to bother with religion at all because anything even remotely related to it brings up tremendous anxiety and depression in me. I truly wish that religion simply didn't exist. But it's like trying to escape the air you breathe, especially here in Utah -- people who haven't lived or visited here can't understand. Mormonism suffuses EVERYTHING here, from the culture to the news and the laws. It's suffocating.

I suppose it's fair to point out that I don't really hate all religions. Mainly just the Abrahamic ones, and especially Christianity because it destroyed me. When we lived overseas there were a lot of Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists and even Shintoists, and I never had an issue with those belief systems. I mean I still think they're ridiculous, but at least they don't try so hard to control people who aren't even part of their organizations. I really do hate religion itself though, or perhaps the core concept of religion -- not necessarily the practitioners. Or at least not most of them. What's that quote...? "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion" -- Steven Weinberg. It's the insane dogma and tribalism unique to religion that makes perfectly good people do terrible things... It was religion itself that made me literally fear for my safety throughout high school and university, when I was afraid that my parents could disown me if they learned of my disbelief.

I know I'm in a tiny minority. Most people believe that religion is "benign" at worst, that it can't possibly traumatize anyone. So everything I've been through and everything I've done is just dismissed by people who can't understand it. Recently there was a post about Religious Trauma Syndrome by someone on another board I frequent, and so many people just made fun of it or dismissed it as "hyperbole." I was surprised at how hurtful that was. I'm really going to miss this section and especially this thread.
 

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It's pretty funny that J. K. Rowling is tweeting about Joseph Smith. One fantasy author having a go at another fantasy author.
 
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