You might be interested in this interview with the A/N admin, Brother Richard - talking about his history with religion and trying to create an atheist community.  Both he and the interviewer exude "Christian-ness" even though they are nontheists. It makes me wonder if people benefit by going through a religious stage.

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It makes you wonder if people benefit by going through a religious stage.

Most of us that do go through that religious stage have done so because of our parents and our backgrounds. Being raised into religion (or having it all around us) we thought this was the way to go. Then most of us studied theism to be a part of it (minister, pastor, etc.) only to find that religion was absurd in the end. We benefited by having all that bible knowledge. This makes us much more different than atheists that became so because "god would not let children suffer," or "my mother died," etc. I've found many atheists that simply did not want to listen to anything about god, so they became atheist. This is sort of like the person who can drive a car but knows nothing else about that car at all. An atheist who came out of theism can usually disprove god and the bible with logic, and can do the same with any other "holy book." When we say there is no evidence, that statement needs to be backed up in some way to make it valid.

This is the big benefit of a religous past.

Or people who did have that sense of community in a religious setting, who have learned some of the good lessons of religion, being charitable and helpful, etc., might be able to carry that into atheist surroundings.   Perhaps not though, because religions teach strongly that those benefits come from religion.

I'm non-religious mostly because I wasn't brought up religious.  I have experienced a sense of divine presence at times.  If I were brought up in religious, likely that would have made me an especially convinced religious person.  But I wasn't, and I don't like jumping to conclusions - so I never added onto that sense of divine presence what religions add to it - the belief that it implied the existence of a being with magical powers that might perhaps magically intervene in my life. 

What would you say, just out of curiosity, to someone who thinks God routinely answers their prayers - like my very Christian friend who thought God was arranging for his support checks to arrive just when he needed them most?

Good write Michael

The benefits of extensive religious experience don't end with the benefits of anti-poligetics.  I would venture to say the the brain and human relationships are so complicated that being experienced with something like religion, with so much relevance to society, has a very significant impact not only on ones worldview but also on their life-trajectory and even quality of life. 

The benefits of extensive religious experience don't end with the benefits of anti-poligetics.

I think so too. It might open people up in a good way and sometimes teach people how to be a good person. 

Many ex-religionists have had a bad experience with religion, but Brother Richard sounds like he was different in some ways, that it was his rationality that made him atheist, not the bad experience. 

I share much in common with Brother Richard.  Bible College Education, experience preaching/teaching in the Church, and likewise, no negative reason for leaving the church.  I merely could not avoid the problem of the teachings of Christianity and every other religion all but guaranteeing themselves to be false, even in their various interpretations.  For me the truth was inescapable, and reason enough to leave, albeit quietly.  

I know that guy. :)

For the record, in this interview I am not really commenting on the "community" of Atheist Nexus (which is made up of people from divergent backgrounds and cultures), but specifically the community aspects that many former evangelical Christians feel they are missing from the current atheist movement. 

Also, this was a few years ago. So things are changing.

I'm interested in reading other's comments.

specifically the community aspects that many former evangelical Christians feel they are missing from the current atheist movement.

Exactly, and this is something that nonbelievers tend to avoid talking about or deny.  Which is part of what I found interesting about the video. 

Also, it's interesting to see "Christian" non-Christians :)

I think you are doing a reasonably good job of keeping A/N civil and encouraging community.  One thing I appreciate is that the rules aren't heavy-handed.  I've been on forums where moderators did things that actually were counterproductive, e.g. once I shared a link to one of my website pages that had useful information, and it was chopped out because of their rule against "self-promotion" (even though it's not a commercial site).  AND I was prohibited from posting for two weeks.  If I had given the link and not mentioned that I had written it, it would have been OK - no rule against links in general.

This sort of thing is a massive turnoff, and I appreciate that the rules on A/N don't get in people's way. 

I benefited by going through religious stages and I have experienced loneliness and still do as an Atheist.

I think many of us do and will experience loneliness. This is aleviated somewhat by this site Atheist Nexus that Brother Richard has created for us. In this site we can have a sense of community.

I also very much miss the community I had in mormonism, even though it wasn't much.  I was a single guy almost all of my life, which is a no-no in mormonism.  If you're not married and have a lot of children, you are left out of a lot of mormon social life.  You are too different, and even dangerous according to the second leader of the church, Brigham Young.

I've benefited from the Atheist Nexus community, I think quite a bit.  However, sorry to say, without the physical contact and ability to communicate face to face, I find this community a poor substitute emotionally.  Even poorer than my poor mormon community.  As far as mental stimulation, this community is vastly superior, but I still miss the emotional aspect a great deal.

And, I have found no atheists in my town yet.

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