My problem is

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Passover
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:34 am

My problem is

Post by Passover » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:32 pm

That I've so much to say on the topic of religion that I don't know where to begin. So, as a way of introduction, I'd like to share the following with you. This is an e-mail I sent to a friend, a catholic by convenience and convention, to outline my position regarding religion/faith. Hopefully it may also work as a kind of Passover manifesto

First of all I am an Atheists and Atheists do not believe in the existence of god. No surprise there, however, it goes way deeper than that. True atheism rejects all gods, whether they be Judaeo-Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Sikh, Ancient Roman, Greek or Egyptian. I disbelieve in god(s) in the same way as I disbelieve in the existence of Zeus, Thor, Odin, Santa Claus, the tooth-fairy and the possibility that a tiny pink polar bear called Bertha is peeking over my shoulder as I write. Faith is the negation of reason, Believe in god(s) is stone age superstition underpinned by barbaric bronze aged books, and religion is the most divisive institution yet devised by mankind. Atheists do not need celestial comfort blankets, myths, promises of eternal life, fear of eternal damnation prayers, incantations, statues (moving or otherwise), beads, churches, mosques, wailing walls or meaningless and time consuming rituals. Atheists reject that we are born by the grace of god, we live to serve god and we die to be with god. Atheists accept that life has no intrinsic meaning. Atheists embrace the liberating notion that we are free to give our own lives their own meaning independent of the fear of divine retribution or the hope of divine reward. When I do something wrong, which I do with alarming regularity, I do so not because I am a sinner (a sin is doing something that a particular religion/faith disapproves of, gathering sticks on a Sunday, eating a ham sandwich, cutting your hair, not cutting your hair etc) or because I am scarred by the stain of original sin. No, I do wrong because I'm a fallible human being. Death, for me, is nothing but a state of non-existence, a state I was in for billions of years before my birth and to which I will return after my death. Heaven, the after life, call it what you will, is emotionally appealing but an intellectual absurdity. Of course I wish that I didn't have to die, of course I wish that there was a heaven in which I could exist eternity. But I also wish that I was a 25 year old, 6 foot tall Brazilian international with villas in France and Italy. No matter how hard I wish, it ain't gonna make it so.
Let me make it clear to you that I didn't wake up last Tuesday week and say to myself: "oh my god, there is no god". The road that led me to atheism was long, arduous and filled with difficulties and d-tours. When I was 18 I ceased to believe in the Roman Catholic church that I was brought up to believe in. When I was 23 I ceased to believe in Christianity, at 25 I ceased to believe in any form of faith/religion and, at the age of 30, I ceased to believe in god. Therefore, my atheism is the result of years of study, thought, self-analysis and struggle against the power of childhood indoctrination. In the intervening 15 years my convictions have never waned and, if anything, have become stronger and are strengthening day by day. The reasons why I rejected all the above are way too myriad to go into now but, if you'll indulge me, I'll take the case of Christianity and explain to you some reasons why I do not, and can not, call myself a Christian. First of all, did Jesus Christ exist? This is an ongoing debate within Atheism. The Atheists who argue against his existence do so mainly on the premise that he left no historical records and no written documents. However, neither did Socrates (died circa BC 399) whose philosophy is solely contained in the works of Plato. Now Socrates is one of my heroes, so if were to deny that Jesus existed then I'd have to the same thing to poor, old, ugly, misunderstood Socrates. So my argument is that, in all probability, a man named Jesus Christ lived about 2000 years ago and, like Socrates, was a philosopher but, unlike Socrates, he was also a preacher. I think even the most militant of atheists would find it impossible to disagree with everything that Jesus was purported to have said. However, it is theoretically possible for me to agree with everything that Jesus was alleged to have said, but that would still not make me a Christian. Why? Simply put, I deny the divinity of Jesus and I believe that if he existed he had a biological father and a mother who was not virgo intacto, he didn't walk on water or change water into wine, feed thousands of people with a basket of food, make a blind man see or a lame man walk, raise a dead man and when he died he stayed dead. He didn't ascend into heaven and he is not seated to the right of his father, who also happens to be himself. Jesus was not the son of god, because god does not exist. One of the problems facing non-Christians like myself are rooted in the misappropriation of the term Christian. In our culture it has come to mean anything that is good, for example if I give money to a penniless man my act is invariably described as "Christian" : "now wasn't that a lovely, Christian thing to do". No it was not, it was a humane, altruistic gesture. What do you think the reaction would be if I spat on the penniless man? Yes, you've guessed it: "what an "unchristian" thing to do". So I know what you mean when you say that some atheists live more a more Christian life that some Christians, but you might as well say that some atheists lead a more Buddhists life than some Buddhists or, for that matter, a more Muslim life than some Muslims. The point is that you don't need to proscribe to any particular religion/faith in order to lead a decent life, and that the multifarious religions/faiths, each one claiming to have sole access to the "truth", actually impede investigations into ethics, social problems and, most importantly, the fundamental question of how we can live our lives in a spirit of mutual tolerance (but we can never tolerate the intolerant) and respect when, of course, respect is deserved.

Can I join your gang now :?:
adamd164
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Post by adamd164 » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:40 pm

I think that the beauty of atheism is independence of thought: I'd like to think that most/all of the people here have that, and so there are many issues where atheists do not see eye to eye. There are also many issues on which many of us share a common ground (probably because atheists tend to be those who wish to objectively analyse the world using critical thought and rationality), and that is why sites such as this one prosper.

Anyway, welcome to the forum, Passover.
micfur
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Post by micfur » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:46 pm

Passover, I dont think you need to ask to join. Just create an account and start posting. It is possible to get asked to leave alright, but you need to make a superhuman (supernatural?) effort for that to happen.

Your posts are welcome but dont be afraid to break them up a bit with line spaces to make them easier read.
Passover
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:34 am

Post by Passover » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:02 pm

micfur wrote: It is possible to get asked to leave alright, but you need to make a superhuman (supernatural?) effort for that to happen.

I wouldn't bet on it :wink:

Your posts are welcome but dont be afraid to break them up a bit with line spaces to make them easier read.
Sorry :oops:
CitizenPaine
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Re: My problem is

Post by CitizenPaine » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:09 pm

Welcome passover. Your piece echoes much of what most of the posters here both believe and have experienced. One part caught my eye:
Passover wrote: ...he is not seated to the right of his father...
This idea of the right hand of God being the correct place to be has been a particularly insidious source of irrational prejudice throughout the years. Many stories have been told of people with left hand dominance being forced to use the right hand on the basis that left-handedness was somehow deviant. Many European languages have "sinister" as the etymology for the word for "left". Even the French word "gauche" is a pejorative term in English, signifying awkwardness and a lack of sophistication.

This subject is, of course, only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Religiously based superstitions have caused massive, unnecessary suffering and injustice throughout history.

CitizenPaine
The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (FitzGerald version)
Passover
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:34 am

Post by Passover » Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:37 pm

Left-wing, left-field now it all makes sense :shock:

His red right hand, Nick Cave and John Milton knew which side thier passover bread was buttered :P
mkaobrih
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Post by mkaobrih » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:47 am

Hi Passover for someone whom is looking over the hedge you seem to be quite clued in. I hardly ever mention the big A to any of my family or friends.
Welcome.
Passover
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:34 am

Post by Passover » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:08 pm

mkaobrih wrote:Hi Passover for someone whom is looking over the hedge you seem to be quite clued in. I hardly ever mention the big A to any of my family or friends.
Welcome.
Thanks for that. However, I think you should mention the A word whenever you get the opportunity. I, and too many other Atheists kept too silent for too long. Now, whenever the subject of religions is raised, I confront it and challenge it.
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