A. Noni Moose, I read a lot of pain in your post and wonder if there is a way to reframe your experience so that you enjoy and value your belief that there is no evidence of god or gods. If you are happy in your own understanding, perhaps your loved ones will feel less conflict.
Things that caused me fear when I left my religion was that a bolt of lightning would come down and smite me, that I would be burned for eternity, and that I would be alone on Earth. Leaving religion, I find great satisfaction in just seeing natural order of things. What appears to be chaos is really natural order. Nature didn't have a "planner" but there are forces of nature that impact every part of our lives: gravity, electricity, magnetism, for just a start. Look up in the sky at night and see the stars and if you look at them over a year's time, you will see there is a pattern to the constellations. There are patterns to the movement of the planets. The stuff that makes up stars makes up all living things. No planner, no designer, no architect, no builder ... just natural laws of nature at work.
Here are two snips of videos that may bring you not only joy but enthusiasm about not seeing evidence of god. The shear wonder of all the universe and you have everything you need to experience it: you have sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, feelings of your skin and feelings of your heart. They all exist in you, not because of a creator but because of natural processes. You fathered your children for the same reason.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson - Greatest Sermon Ever
The Erosion of Progress by Religions
I am sending you a collection of photos of "Fractals in Nature". I hope you enjoy them.
In my experiences, remaining silent didn't help. I felt as if I were wearing a mask and couldn't be real with people I cared about. Strange things happened. Those who were most aggressive in their rejection of my atheism at later times asked me questions or made statements based on fallacies:
Q, "How do you pray if there is no god?" A. "Answers and guidance I seek can be found within me or I can discuss problems with a trusted friend or counselor."
Q, "You can't have morals or ethics without god!" A. "My moral and ethical thoughts and actions are within me and it is up to me to behave in ways that are worthy of respect."
Q, "How can your sins be forgiven without god?" A. "The only one who can forgive me is myself."
Q, "What is your purpose and meaning in life if you don't have god?" A. "I am created to participate in life.I have everything I need to do that."
Q, "What will prevent you from committing sin?" A. "To me, sin means causing someone or something harm. I have no interest in harming others, only to encourage flourishing. For those who intrude on me, I cause them no harm if I set limits or prevent them from harming me."
Q, "How can I trust you?" "I am either worthy of trust or not. It is up to me to think and act in trustworthy ways."
Dallas Gaytheist wrote:
It depends on the situation. I don't get asked out much, so when some fairly deeply religious friends ask me to barbeques and holiday meals, I endure the holding of hands and saying of a prayer without objection: what does it hurt me to put up with their simple, naive beliefs? If I am in the company of better educated folk, I will take every opportunity to voice my atheist views. And when I post atheistic observations on the comments pages of our local daily paper online, they appear under my real name. (All, or almost all, others are pseudonyms.)
Je sais, quand il le faut, quitter la peau du lion pour prendre celle du renard.
My family is fairly religious (some members more than others) and when I was younger, I believed, because it's just what I was taught.
For a while, I was pretty into it and I loved going to Sunday school; I asked for a Bible for Christmas one year. But as I got older, I started questioning it, and I guess I stopped believing sometime between middle and high school.
My immediate family all know that I'm an atheist, although my grandmother still insists that I need to believe and I need to pray and read the Bible and all that good stuff. It doesn't cause any problems and none of them judge me for my lack of belief. Most of my friends know as well. If any of my family members or friends don't know, it's only because the conversation hasn't come up.
The only time I'm really hesitant to assert my views is when I'm around my boyfriend's family. He knows that I don't believe, but his family is religious, although not extremely so. I know that it doesn't matter to him, but I'm not sure how his family would feel about it, and his parents and I are not at a point in our relationship where I feel comfortable finding out. I've only met them a few times, so I'm still trying to impress them. =)
Ive always considered myself secular humanist on the one hand and naturalist on the other. Thanks for your input TNT666 I see an adjustment and more accurate focus on the horizon for me.
Yep, nurses are certainly an amazing group of empathetic people! I once had to spend two weeks in hospital after a crash and this one nurse said my accident it was a message from god... I placed a complaint with the hospital admin and my doctor and asked that she never enter my room again. She didn't!
I feel the weakest point in your argument is the "focus on our own survival". The human race have taken survival to an extreme, to the exclusion of all other aspects of living... as if we were on the verge of extinction!!! As if ever more humans on the planet is the only proper objective for this race. I see that as an poor objective. As soon as humanity went past the .5 billion mark, (the number estimated by BIOLOGISTS to be the carrying capacity for Homo sapiens on this planet, given the present state of the ecosystem) "survival of the human race" became the least of our concerns. I'm not interested in "survival", which is what we have traded our quality of life for. Homo sapiens now spends 1/3 of its life in old age and medicated... with our focus on outliving our natural lifespans... soon we'll be spending half of of life expectancy in old age and medicated. We were better off living a shorter but more intense life.
This is a problem I see with many in this atheist virtual community. Atheists get all excited about space exploration, but leave the science of biology aside. We accuse bible thumpers of picking and choosing which passages they like, yet so many atheists choose to ignore the most important science relevant to our own lives... biology. To me that is cherry picking science, which is little better than cherry picking the bible... Atheists who declare that they "believe in science" should not be cherry picking... Then again, there are plenty of atheists who aren't too concerned with science, that's a different topic.
I hope you two don't mind, but I figured since this topic was getting so much attention, and became such a continuing tangent in this topic that it deserved it's own thread. That way this one can stay on the issue of being open about being out of the closet.
I particuarly have enjoyed the discussion, just didn't want to be inconsiderate to the OP any longer by flooding the thread. =)
That is why I like listening or reading Lawrence Krauss, Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Suzuki, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Galileo, Copernicus, and other scientists.
They discuss natural forces: gravity, magnetism, electricity, strong force and weak force, time and matter, chemistry, astronomy, physics, quantum physics, biology, geology, DNA, natural selection, evolution, etc.
They make more sense than god created earth in seven days, or whatever; that the universe is 6 thousand years old, or whatever; that Jesus walked on water, or whatever; that there is a heaven and hell and someone lets us pass through the gates, or whatever; that we are doomed to burn for eternity in hell if we don't obey, or whatever; that we must be born again, or whatever; that we will meet our loved ones in paradise, or whatever.