Giving a Voice to Our Non-Religious Members
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« on: September 20, 2017, 10:40:43 pm »

Well, there's a lot that could fly under this banner.  At what age did you distance yourself from organized religion?  In what faith were you raised (if you care to share)?  Do you consider yourself today an atheist, agnostic, freethinker, secular humanist, several of these, or something different?
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 06:54:17 am »

Well, there's a lot that could fly under this banner.  At what age did you distance yourself from organized religion?  In what faith were you raised (if you care to share)?  Do you consider yourself today an atheist, agnostic, freethinker, secular humanist, several of these, or something different?

Well, since everyone seems quiet here, I'll go.

I was born into a Southern Baptist church in Los Angeles. My dad was Catholic, but I was baptized Protestant. I never truly got to understand all the ritual in mass but I appreciated it growing up -- it was almost magical, the images of the bleeding Christ touched you the way the words of the preacher did in my other church.

Looking back, I never really believed.

James Baldwin wrote in one of his many books about going up for baptism not because he heard a calling but because it was expected and time was ticking. Church was like that for me, I did what was expected rather than act from belief.

As I grew older I read. I don't exactly know when I knew for sure there was no god, no afterlife but I ran with it. I accepted full responsibility for my life and my choices and I couldn't have born again more free.

Over the years I've wandered into churches. I was in Laos when I got news that my father passed away. It was the first time I experienced death, so I sought out a church and found no solace. I was in India for an extended time and went to a church to pray (I had long been an atheist by this point); I was looking for a connection to something familiar. I found nothing.

Truly, I'm not really an athest. I don't espouse any belief, there simply is no god. Period.

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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2017, 07:16:28 pm »

Thanks for responding, cteavin.  Like you, I can't give an exact "moment of clarity" when I first moved at least as far as agnosticism, but perhaps in my late 20s.

These days, I sometimes consider my self an "agnethiest" -- a bit of a nonsense term, or at best, an amalgam of agnostic and atheist, lol.

However, when I'm in a mixed group -- good friends and perhaps some I am meeting for the first time -- I generally use the term "secular humanist" if the occasion arises.  SH seems to cause less consternation and knee-jerk fear than "atheist," most likely because half of them can't define it!

After 15 years of parochial (Lutheran and Presbyterian) kindergarten, elementary and high school indoctrination, I realized, a decade later, that I would benefit from reading books and essays to strengthen my critical thinking, though I won't leave a long list here -- perhaps that's another thread!

For anyone curious about the central non-religious voices of an era, the two-hour, 2007 roundtable by The Four Horsemen of Atheism -- Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet and Harris -- will, at least, stir one's thoughts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNP4MUWWSVw

Recently, I joined the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which could be of interest to people of belief and non-belief, as long as they value (here in U.S.) the constitutional separation between religion and government.  One of their best-known members is former SNL regular Julia Sweeney, who has performed plays, written articles and made appearances that help show we are not a bunch of dour, self-defeating nay-sayers, and actually doing a lot of "good without god."

In a bit of foreshadowing, in 2012 she rallied against allowing employers to deny health coverage based solely on their own moral and religious beliefs...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIp2M_tMXzk

...which are exactly the protections President Trump rescinded (along with LGBT protections) only a few days ago...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-religious-rules-birth-control-lgbt-20171006-story.html

While the Tribune article is focused on birth control, a logical extension would be, if you worked for a Christian Scientist, they could conceivably rescind all your health coverage, as they don't "believe in doctors."

That's my novella for today, but again, welcoming anyone else with a related story to tell, real-life experiences and anecdotes, etc. ...!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 01:20:24 am by (Hidden) » Logged


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