Whenever I come out Atheist .. they assume I must have no ethics or morals whatsoever and that I am willing to do just about anything --- like lie, cheat and steal.

Anyone else have this happen to them?

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Jonathan, working with visually impaired kids must have provided you with some very interesting experiences. Did you learn anything about yourself, or your life experiences by working with them? Perhaps how they used their other senses that inspired you to experiment.  I have never worked with such sensual deprivation, but I imagine I would start by trying to live for a while, an hour or a day,  with a blindfold. Were you challenged in finding ways to facilitate their participation? 

I once tried to help a blind man through a door and I ran him right into a door frame. I felt so badly and he very gently said it happened to him all the time. He told me did better without "help". 

I have not a clue how a palm reader works, but I use what is called "neurolinguistic programming" and "cold reading" which means nothing more than listening carefully to how people choose words and string them together. These techniques help communicate with more than statements or opinions. For example, some say, "I have to go back to the salt mines;" Others say "I work at a great job." When I read your words, I see optimism. 

Yeah you have it made now Jonathan!

Jonathan! I had no idea! How do you get your messages, and how do you answer? Oh my goodness, I can't even imagine how you get around Atheist Nexus. Good for you! Oh! what spirit you have! Have you ever had sight? Can you see light or color? Can you describe how you "see" spring? I promise you, if I ever have an opportunity to walk you through a door, you won't hit a door frame! 

Jonathan, thank you for helping me understand a tiny bit of what your challenges are and how you overcome them. Because you are blind, does that give opportunity and time to think about things, to ponder, imagine, and figure out complex ideas? 

I used to have a recurring dream: I fell off a large ship in the middle of the ocean and I was alone at sea, no one to help me, nothing to hang on too. My dream, night after night, included being nibbled away by sharks until there was nothing left of me but my head. Then one night, in my dream I imagined I was fine because I could still think, even if the rest of my body was gone. Sounds gruesome, doesn't it! After I dreamed that last dream, I never had any part of the dream again. 

I don't know why I wanted to tell you about that old dream of mine, but it just occurred to me that you, much like Stephen Hawking, have abilities and potential to develop other aspects of yourself. Can you imagine a world of peace and justice and compassion? What will it take to create such a world? 

There was a man, Ed Lindaman, who was president of the college where I earned my master's degree. I was in deep trouble on my research paper; I had 18,000 3 by 5 inch cards of research data and was utterly overwhelmed. I didn't know how to bring it all together into a thesis. He spent an hour and a half with me and said I had to stop thinking as I had learned to think, and "start thinking in the future tense"; gather all the information I could find on the subject, imagine what I wanted to communicate with my thesis and then write in the details. It worked! Three months later I presented my thesis to my committee, "Toward a Theory of Family Violence: its Antecedents, Treatment and Prevention". I received my master's degree: Joan Denoo, Master of Applied Behavioral Science. 

I wonder if the same thing can be done about leaving a better world? Gather all the information one can, imagine a preferred future, and fill in the details? 

Sorry I took up so much of your time; I just felt I wanted to tell you about me. Thank you for sharing your life with me. I am richer for having you as a friend. 

Oh I don't mind Jonathan ... I would love to hear what you have to say on the matter .. you could email me as well about that topic Joan asked you about.

Steph and Jonathan, I was puzzled when Jonathan responded as he did, and I surely honor his request. On the other hand, "Morally Depraved because I came out Atheist" is relevant to the subject, but then I am known to go far afield in making connections. The connection I made here is why anyone would use the word, "depraved" associated with atheism, especially when compared to challenges some people face.

I was caught by surprise, Jonathan, when you responded and am curious to understand what your thoughts or ideas helped you face your particular challenge. 

I faced the realization religion not only harmed me and my family, it prohibited me from developing healthy principles. Life, with its bumps, requires critical thinking. When I stopped hoping, praying, submitting, my life got better. 

Reading about Steven Hawking over the years helped me enormously in finding both reason and justification for meeting my challenges. Here is a video I hope will convey the idea I am trying to pass on. I hope audio tells the story. My old eyes get tired reading, so I resort to videos, even if I don't watch, but listen. 

Yes I also wonder why the association with the word depraved and atheist. It's horrible that they think that about us.

Its because they think that morality comes from god.  So in their minds, one who doesn't believe in god is one who doesn't believe in morality.  Sadly, the media often ignores us so we don't get that many chances to prove them wrong.

Often, when I'm told that I'm not a good person because I don't believe in god, I just tell them "The symbol of your religion is an object that was used in one of the most horrific forms of execution in history, and you have the nerve to call me immoral?"

Sure I don't make any friends in those arguments, but if they're gonna be dicks to me, I'm gonna be an even bigger to them.

Try this one instead: "So without the fear of god's punishments or the expectation of the rewards of infinite bliss, you would just be a raving homicidal maniac? No? Then I guess you don't need god to be moral, do you?"

Thanks Phoenix-Wanderer I will try that one.

That's a brilliant response, Pheonix-Wanderer. Thanks.

Thanks Ruth. It's just what I do. :-D


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