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Blog about atheism

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This is a blog I will be writing to describe atheism as I know it and I will do my best to provide a narrative and share my views as well as share my personal experiences. I will provide links to sources and literature. This blog will most likely be under construction for a while so please feel free to ask questions in comments or if you need me to clarify statements you may ask those as well.



Atheism by definition :
Atheism by definition the absence of a belief in deities or god(s). One does not have to be scientific or educated or have a personal held belief to meet the criteria for atheism.  

A broader definition could be stated as the rejection of the supernatural or hold a world view based on observable facts and rationalism. Atheism itself is not a religion but the lack of having a religion much like how not smoking could be described as having a habit.

My short story on becoming an atheist :
How did I become an atheist? Well you could say I became an atheist through the scientific approach. I was born and raised in a Southern Baptist family. While we ourselves were not a part of the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) we were active members in our church. I went to Sunday school every Sunday and was quite a good student. My teacher in my Sunday school class was the same teacher as in regular school (my community was small of maybe 2,000 residents so that is not to be unexpected) My community is small and religion was a part of life. I had no reason to think otherwise, I was a true believer.

I got older, I wouldn't say I got smarter but I did learn more about the world around me. I didn't think about religion much other then that there had to be a god that put everything into place. For a long time I held the notion that evolution was just a "theory" or the big bang was just a "theory" I was entitled to having my opinions unchallenged because I held them as deeply personal and those were special. I just shelved the whole notion in the back of my mind and simply did not think about it.

My "crisis" would have started when I discovered the internet. The whole word of information became available to me. I got exposed to different and opposing world views. I got exposed to different methods on how to approach thinking how to be a critical thinker, how to determine what a fact was and what scientific theory actually was. The function of reason and rationality and critical thinking were (and still are) are just incredible to me.

I then did what I would have thought I could never do, I asked questions, questions about religion, questioned spirituality, I asked these questions of myself. When I could not answer them I sought them out. I could not reconcile holding my own personal beliefs with the facts presented to me. I could not place my own spirituality above criticism. I had to let my religious beliefs go, I would be lying to myself if I did not. I had to live in the truth of the world around me. My religious beliefs were just wrong. It didn't mean that they were bad, they were just incorrect for explaining the world.  


Philosophical stuff:

I still find wonder and amazement in the world while lacking a religious belief. Watching stars in the sky and understanding how they function does not reduce the beauty of viewing them. Knowing how the world works does not remove the feelings of mystery of the world. I feel happy to know that we have the capacity to understand the world around us and have tools for learning. Our existence is wonderful and beautiful and our lives are no less filling or important without religion. Our universe is grand and mysterious and full of learning and information without a need for a deity to place it there.  

I do not look down on or take a condescending attitude toward religious persons, people are people and deserve my respect. I however do not need to respect a person's religion. A fantastic claim will require fantastic evidence to support it. If a person is to make a claim that is supported by proof then I will respect that. A person who lies or ignores the facts and truths about the world around them and places their personal beliefs as above criticism or inquiry is not deserving of a respectful attitude. However, a person who is honest and truthful about their beliefs and why they have them will have my respect even when I do not respect the belief itself.

Now that will only cover beliefs that can't be proven or dis-proven using direct evidence or lack of evidence. If a person hold their belief because it fills a need in their life or gives sense of purpose or comfort. I will not deprive a person's right to have that.

If a person is to have a deeply help personal belief that makes a factual statement about the world. That statement I will freely challenge. Deeply held personal beliefs can be very wrong when stated as facts. Those are extreme examples yes but it just shows how to the extremes people can get. Having a personal beliefs is not in itself is not wrong, its the beliefs themselves that can be incorrect.

Do I think there is a use for religion or spirituality? Well sure I do. Church and Religion are very good at helping building community between people. Individuals can help find a sense of purpose or have an activity they can be apart of and feel important.


Science and education vs politics and religion:



Humans have compartmentalized brains, we are capable of holding paradoxical views in our own minds, even hypocritical views. I for one along with others would like to have a "live and let live" position. Unfourtanitly that is not the the world we live in. Science, politics, education and religion are going to constantly come into contact with with each other. Like I said before, facts are facts and the truths of the world are just what they are regardless of how we feel about it. You cannot have an opinion on things like gravity, or evolution, or the electromagnetic force. They are just facts and will stay that way. Religion makes claims to knowing an underlying mechanic for the universe and has no evidence to support it. That in itself is a non issue until it is imposed on other people. Science will not force itself or ask you to believe in it. If you so desire you can fact check any and all claims and perform you own experiment. Proving a scientific point wrong will win you acclaim and praise for your efforts. Religion does not offer much more then conjecture. Claims based on conjecture are dangerous when used as foundation on teaching children, making foreign policy or setting local laws. They are simply not compatible with each other when society on a whole is concerned.


Readable and vieable stuff:


These are things I like to read or listen to. Some of them helped me along my path to atheism and others are just interesting.

http://www.christianitydisproved.com/

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcavPAFiG14&list=TLl1P3g4hID38

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjD0e1d6GgQ&feature=share&list=UUljE1ODdSF7LS9xx9eWq0GQ

potholer54's channel is very interesting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQMQxJKKjcU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtAICrOOqfk

http://www.vanityfair.com/contributors/christopher-hitchens

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheThinkingAtheist


I will add more to the conversation when I have a chance and feel free to ask questions if you like. I hope you enjoyed reading

Q&A:


Gorgro asked; "How did people react to it when you told them?"


Well thet reacted kinda surprising on the whole. I am still "In the closet" with certain people because it wold not be fitting to bring up the issue with them. My last living grandmother for example would be placed under unneeded stress in the twilight of her life for me to drag this up and out. I also have family where religion isn't a part of their life but rather is their life. It would simply not serve any purpose for me to just "come out" then stir family issues.

Getting back to the question, I have had both positive and negative reactions. I have religious friends whom I am able to speak to and enjoy conversations with and even attend services with on invitation. I saw nothing hypocritical about either of us since we were sharing views. On the other hand, I have family that is non religious who just don't speak to me anymore. Its kinda a crap shoot really. I guess I illicit the same thoughts in people I had myself when I was confronted with an atheistic world view.



Last edited by Samiam on Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:36 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : adding more content)

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Post on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:33 am by Gorgro

Thanks for writing this, Sam. It's interesting to see how you came to change your views coming from a religious background. How did people react to it when you told them?

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Post on Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:01 pm by Katls

Removed by it's author. Look in the religion thread.



Last edited by Katls on Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post on Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:51 pm by Katls

Hey, what did I even say several times in that bit? I'm not using this to attack anything. Seriously, how much of that did you even read? There were two disclaimers on this.
It's not atheism v religion. When the heck did I say anything aggressive towards the subject? I was simply clarifying something. I'd rather not have everyone think that every dang religion was anti-science, which was what the "philosophical stuff" bit suggested. I'm not trying to argue my religion, I'd just not how my beliefs be demeaned.
If you want me to move it, I will. I just wanted to clarify.
EDIT: Ok, I can see the welcome for minuses part. That was unnecessary and opened up this blog to be atheism v religion. I apologize for that. I'll just move it and probably never touch it again because I abhor the religion thread.

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Post on Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:04 pm by Samiam

I would appreciate if you just asked questions katls. I didn't want to make this into a religion debate. I just wanted to explain atheism as I see it and maybe get the ball rolling on discussion about it and share my personal experiences.

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