I am proud to be an Atheist and I enjoy  discussing various  topics  on A/N......I may  not believe in God  or all the  fables  in the  Old or New testament, but some of us do believe in traditions from our culture  unrelated  to any Theistic  belief.....Maybe  being  Jewish  is unique, because it is a rich culture with  a very long history as well as being a religious faith......I may  have  rejected the religious  part but  certain traditions are important to me  because  they define  who I am and  where  I came from....People  who have  roots in various  countries  of the world may  no longer  believe in their ancestral  religion  but  still are proud  of the culture  from which  they came......It defines  us.......Some traditions of a certain culture, many  may not agree with,  but it is important  to respect  them none the less....

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Comment by Joan Denoo on August 23, 2014 at 11:25pm

Freethinker31, I appreciate that you are relatively new here and have not learned my story, or the stories of many other women, here and elsewhere. The problems have to do with religious beliefs that put women in a subordinate role and children viewed as property. Not all religious believe these senseless things, but have you noticed how silent the middle of the road christians are when these issues are brought up to them. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it most profoundly, 

I am not a victim, nor are the women with whom I have worked. We stepped over the garbage created by misinformed men and women and religion and know that we are better than our history might imply. Silence is not the answer for violence, nor is the answer when confronted with misinformed men and women who fail to understand the etiology of Abrahamic religions, and in fact, the religions of the world that do not speak out against violence, in the home and in society. 

The great violence right now is the squandering our nation's wealth in human capital and monetary capital on wars. But that is a topic for another time. 

Sorry you were the target of my bark and my bite, I have a short fuse. 

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 23, 2014 at 10:53pm

No one can ever say that Joan Denoo can't explain her way  out  of things.....I appreciate your reply and maybe  I did  misunderstand you at first, but your eloquent  explanation  has made it all clear to me now...I am so sorry that you suffered  such abuse in your marriage,and can see that you have worked  hard so others  won't  have to go through the same.....Please  do not take offense for some of the things  I say, I am mostly  referring to the more  vulnerable  people in society...who are easily  influenced......

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 23, 2014 at 10:32pm

Freethinker, you wrote, "to condemn all Theists who maybe don't care what the truth is because they love  their  faith is so harsh and unfair.....

Again, I didn't make myself clear. I have absolutely no interest in whether someone believes in god or not. That is a non-issue for me. What is an issue is when the church interferes with a woman's right to conduct her personal affairs, including family planning and the right to an abortion. No man has the right to intervene in that decision. Even the father has no rights when it comes to a woman's right to choose. A man can find a woman who wants to bear his child; a woman does not have the obligation to do so. 

Furthermore, when the religious community attempts to interfere with education of children, to teach lies, superstitions, myths, fables and religious poppycock to the young, it is just outrageous. I will not remain silent in that event. Teaching children the universe is 6,000 years old is so insanely out of order, there should be no question that they have to leave the school room. Their science education is so messed up, and I, as a teacher had to devise means to help a child learn the difference between science and traditions. 

Adults have the right to believe what they want. I have no obligation to respect their beliefs. My great-grandchildren are in elementary school now and no one has the right to teach them beliefs in public schools. Take them home and get them out of the public classroom. 

You wrote, "As long  as one group doesn't push their beliefs on the other......" Oh! Come on! you don't think I am stupid enough to not know the difference between believing what they believe, and imposing themselves on me or my kin? I take that statement as an insult.  

Comment by Loren Miller on August 23, 2014 at 10:20pm

Beliefs that don't respect the rights of the individual ... beliefs like what Joan lived with, and others like her ... don't remotely deserve respect.  They deserve not just derision but active opposition.  They deserve to be kicked in their collective cojones, hard enough to feel it ... hard enough that those involved can understand that something is wrong ... and maybe, just maybe, wake up in time.

Yeah, I know it won't happen ... but a guy has to have SOME dreams, doesn't he?

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 23, 2014 at 10:13pm

AH!  Freethinker31, I did not make myself clear. I was born an atheist ... so is everyone else. No baby is born with a notion of superhuman powers, they are taught. 

Yes, I was a devoted christian and a well respected one as well. I believed, with my whole heart that I was created to serve, even serve as I was wounded by the tyranny of family violence. I prayed, worked, taught, organized, and did a lot of things in my efforts to be worthy of god's love. 

Whoa! my prayers for the end of family violence were not answered! My children were not free of abuse even as I prayed and worked very hard!

On day I said, "god damn you god, to hell with you jesus, I am leaving my marriage. I did, the beatings stopped, the abuse stopped, the echoes of ministers telling me that I was blessed because I imitated the crucified christ was just pure shit! 

Well, it has been 40 years, July 1, that I left and it was the wisest, healthiest, most fulfilling choice I could have made. I listen to the cries of battered women and children and sometimes men, and I know of which they speak. Forty years ago the church didn't hear, the police didn't hear, nor did the family or the courts. It wasn't until I left and started creating opportunities to challenge family violence that I began to be heard. 

I get phone calls now, long retired, for help in getting a family out of the chains of violence in the home. My passion is to have an end to such events, but I doubt seriously if I will see that day. I worked hard in Spokane to develop training programs for people who were leaving abusive families, I set up workshops for parent training and support groups for children who had suffered abuse. I met with police, lawyers and judges describing the problems and raising awareness of the judicial system of the needs of each family member. Judges began treating it as a symptom to be treated and used the power of the courts to get compliance. I set up meetings with ministers to inform them of the terrible damage they do when they preach and teach submission for women and domination for men, and how grotesquely harmful it is for a child to see a parent beaten or being beaten themselves. I had the statistics to prove every single word I said. The process of training myself meant I earned a master's degree and a doctoral degree, all but dissertation. I wasn't given a PhD because the priests at Gonzaga University said my research was biased. I told the truth about the role of the church in maintaining and perpetuating family violence and they didn't want to hear it and would not support my effort. My statistical analysis was impeccable. My writing was weak! Well, it didn't take me long to change that! 

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 23, 2014 at 7:57pm

It now looks like  all religions are based on Myth, everything poignant is false, so all the theists are basically  idolizing  fairy tales...At this point   many  don't want to know the truth, for the truth will turn their lives  over on a dime... Religion served  a purpose back in the day but is so well entrenched  in people that it will be  difficult  to  extricate themselves  from it....Similar  to any cult.

Comment by Michael Pianko on August 23, 2014 at 7:40pm
I suspect that Jesus never existed but I don't know how to really prove it. I might come back here sometime and tell you if I read Bart Herman's book. How do you know that the idea of a historical Jesus isn't just a myth people invented because they can't accept that that there really just was no Jesus? Any historical man named Jesus would be a separate man from the son of god imaginary Jesus. This means the last vestiges of Christianity you want to hold onto are actually imaginary too.
Comment by Luara on August 23, 2014 at 12:59pm

Here's a review of Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist that makes a lot of good points:

I am not pretending to be an expert on this subject, but it does interest me and I do know something about it. I have an undergraduate degree in history and Latin and I read a a little Greek. I have also read numerous books on the subject of the historical Jesus. That includes both sides of the issue. After reading some of these reviews, I am astounded and how little the naysayers understand about historical method, not to mention how historians determine what really happened in the past. Jesus lived 2000 years ago, he was a peasant who was of little interest to anyone of importance at the time.He did not become famous until after his death. Yet people are so surprised that he did not write anything or that the historians of the time did not take notice of him. Come on, he was one of many apocalyptic teacher of the time and it is not surprising that he did not attract attention outside of the immediate area. In short, he was not the type of person that writers of the time cared about.Add to this that he and his followers were likely illiterate or semi literate and it is to be expected that they didn't write anything.

Dr. Ehrman explains this very well. He gives the sources which mention Jesus and there are many. He discusses the Josephus passages and gives both sides. He discussed the errors, misinterpretations and outright falsehoods of the mythicists and quite correctly says almost no one with degrees in relevant subjects doubts the existence of an historical Jesus. Of course experts can be wrong, but when it comes down to it would you rather listen to an historian who specializes in the ancient world on this subject or a geologist, a German professor or a self published author who can't even get basic myths straight? When virtually all of the experts agree, the issue is pretty much decided. This is the case in other fields. Why is history an exception?

Another point that I have noticed is that some posters seem to think that if Jesus existed, it is necessary to believe he was divine or whatever. That is ridiculous. Dr. Ehrman is an agnostic. So are many other scholars in the field and they do not believe in a divine Jesus. I would challenge the naysayers to actually read this book and then check out Dr. Ehrman's claims. Also check out the claims of the mythicists. Look up the so called dying and risng gods such as Osiris and Mithras and you will see that many of the claims made about them are false. Yes, I have actually taken mythology classes. I kind of doubt Achyra S has. If she did, she wasn't paying much attention. In short, check things out.

Comment by k.h. ky on August 23, 2014 at 12:09pm
Freethinker. I believe Joan means we are all born atheist. We must be taught to believe in a god.
And I'm equally sure Joan can, and will, respond for herself. As she so eloquently does.
Comment by Michael Pianko on August 23, 2014 at 11:46am

By default I would assume that any character described in any ancient writing did not really exist, or is mythical, unless there is evidence that the character really existed. For example, there is a very hi amount of agreement about various people in Ancient Greece and Rome, or a uniform amount of disagreement about the lack of information about certain people like Homer who wrote the Iliad and odyssey... The more agreement between various sources about a person, the more likely it is that the person existed...

I have read very little about the so called historical Jesus, but from what I have read, there certainly is a lot of evidence in favor of a man named Jesus existing... except that none of the various sources or accounts about Jesus agree, every source gives different information, and historians can't even agree on basic information, like who Jesus' parents were, when he was born and when he died, what he looked like, what he did... History is a vast topic and most historians do not study Jesus...

The Grim brothers collected German tales, La Fountain collected French fables and tales, Hands Christian Andersen collected Danish tales, Oscar Wilde Irish or English tales... and before these authors collected their tales, multiple versions of each tale had existed... and multiple versions are still written and told... same sort of thing with the books of the bible or all the evidence about Jesus.. lack of agreement among various sources is just another clue that Jesus is more likely to be a myth than a real person... the difference between the Grim's tales and the bible, for example is that you were not taught that one of Grim's characters is the son of your god...

Superman would be just Clark Kent without his superpowers, Batman would be merely Bruce Wayne or Adam West without his superpowers, and Jesus is just a myth without his superpowers... this may seem like a silly or asinine comparison, but I was not raised christian, and all religions start looking rather silly when you go outside the bubble of your own culture or what you were taught...

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