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About Hedge_Rat

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    Reading, writing, running, and roller derby
  • More About Me
    Hi, I grew up Christian and was baptized at age 23. I started having serious doubts around age 27-28, and completely gave up on the whole thing when I was 29. I am very interested in science, nature, humanity, and the future of nature and humanity.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    No gods. Atheopagan.

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  1. It's not your job to indulge her in a conversation that you don't want to have. If you want to have Buddhist statues or books or anything else and she wants to pick a "debate" about it (i.e. wants to browbeat you into conceding to her), tell her that your beliefs don't belong to her so she should stop trying to control what isn't hers. If she's pushy and won't go away, take out a rubber-bulb air horn and use it at her until she goes away. Then return to what you were doing. If she comes back, take it out again. Eventually, she'll stop. I'm only semi-joking about the air horn. More seriously, it sounds like you're worried about her emotional reaction rather than out-and-out threats. I sympathize; after getting a negative reaction from my dad about an ordinary non-Christian philosophy book I was reading, I hid the fact that I was reading those books from him. I got angry with myself over that though, and (admittedly years later), made it clear in a non-confrontational way that actually, I was still reading such things. I had to do this both so that I wouldn't be angry at myself AND wouldn't be resentful of my dad. Family arguments are no fun, and she sounds aggressive/confrontational about it whereas it sounds like you just want to be left alone. It's likely that the only way you're going to be left alone is to be assertive. I don't mean pick a fight about it, but you're not obligated to hide what you're doing just because she doesn't like it. When SHE tries to start an argument, er, debate about it, you don't have to get caught up in it just because she's decided that you should. Just tell her that no, she doesn't get to choose what you believe, and that you don't have to explain yourself to her because whether she realizes it or not, you don't answer to her. Stay FIRM about that. If you start making small concessions ("I'll respond to just this small thing here, I don't want to look like I can't verbally defend myself") she might take that to mean that you acknowledge her right to demand answers from you. The "conversation" will escalate. That's my advice at least, I hope it helps. If you do decide to put familial peace over your religious beliefs, as is also your right, please consider the possibility that it won't be good for your relationship with her in the long-run. I don't see how resentment wouldn't build up.
  2. I need to make more posts so I can give this a like. Yeah, that squibbly bit of tissue on the left is why rape victims shouldn't be allowed to have even the morning after pill and should be tortured and shamed with the fear of pregnancy... or actual pregnancy. Makes sense.
  3. Hm, so because Jesus is important to HER that means she should have carte blanche to talk to YOU about him as much as she wants, whenever she wants? Does that apply to everything and everyone, then? If someone is absolutely fascinated by, e.g., boating, does that mean it's not bad manners for them to bring boating up ALL THE TIME, talk about it at length, and then get offended when the other person really wishes they'd stop? Of course, she would probably argue that "a personal relationship with Jesus" is different. If she tries going the boyfriend!Jesus route, maybe it would help to point out that even in real-world romances where everyone agrees on the existence of both participants, it's accepted that once someone is past adolescence they not torture all those around them by talking about their SO constantly. I mean, when one of my former co-workers got engaged I was very happy for him, but despite the fact that this was a huge event in his life he somehow managed to have whole conversations without bringing up his fiancée once. …. Encourage your friend and let her know that normal human conversation IS possible, there is always hope!
  4. Sorry for the double-post, but this ^^. The expression `If you can`t go to a party, don`t give an excuse,` is true here... I used to have a bad habit of always explaining or defending myself, which gave others the impression that of course they had a right to challenge or lecture me (on things that weren`t actually their business). I`m getting better at not doing so. The very last time I had a believer challenge me on my beliefs it was comical, because you could tell he WANTED to argue with me but I just wasn`t giving him anything to DO it with. Snip of the conversation: Him: Why not? :::(i.e. Why don`t you believe in God? )::: Me: I don`t see any reason to. Him: Well, why don`t you? Me: I simply don`t see any reason to. You could practically see the cogs behind his eyes turn as he struggled to find some part of that to latch onto and argue with. It was a very unsatisfactory conversation for him. I found it hilarious. It WORKS.
  5. My guess for questions D, E, and F is that they're hoping you'll say something that will either discredit you (in their eyes) or give them an excuse to be condescending towards you. They're probably hoping that you'll reveal that you're an evil furriner, a lazy layabout, or that you're younger than they are and therefore your experiences don't count because they obviously have more than you. I actually had to deal with that condescension more when I was a Christian than now. Now, they might be somewhat annoying (like assuming the reason I don't believe is because I can't physically see God, or informing me that I'm actually an agnostic and not an atheist at all), but the condescension was much more pronounced (and relentless... although that was my fault because I kept actually going to places like Bible study) when I was a believer. Regarding the age one, there was one guy in particular who tried to make it sound as though I only popped into existence when he met me, and that (despite the fact that I was 24 when we met) I couldn't possibly have learned or done anything prior to that time. Therefore, only his opinion counted if we disagreed on ANYTHING because I couldn't possibly hope to understand the world as he did, not when he'd seen so much more. He hadn't. Also, he was only 26. But he tried to make two decades of condescension fit into two year's worth. One nice thing about not being a believer is that I don't feel obligated to let people run roughshod over me anymore... I'd deal with him better nowadays, I'm sure. Anyway, that's my take on why they probably ask those questions.
  6. Aside from the fact that I no longer attend church or Bible studies, my life hasn't changed at all. I s'pose not attending church-stuff could be considered hedonistic. After all, sometimes I spend that time eating ice cream or doing other enjoyable activities. But since church potlucks (at which there are always a plethora of desserts) aren't considered hedonistic, I don't think my penchant for reading while drinking hot chocolate should be either.
  7. I left church first. Not exactly sure when I hit the point of no return on my disbelief, but leaving the church definitely came first. I had some bad experiences with a Bible study group, and when I moved away I was leery of joining another church and/or group where the experience might be repeated. It was a little like getting food poisoning.... Let's say someone loves salmon, but then it gives them a really bad case of food poisoning. They probably won't be able to make themselves eat it again for awhile, no matter how much they enjoy it. And that's where the analogy falls apart, because probably the person who got food poisoning will eventually go back to eating salmon if they used to love it, whereas in this case I never went back to church. Away from the groupthink and the criticism I always got for expressing any doubts or disagreement, I felt freer to question and think things through.
  8. Had a similar conversation with a Christian today, only the argument was that because god created everything then he gets to decide what things are against his rules, and what the punishment should be. Thus, it is perfectly fair that telling a lie--even a white lie, such as "You look good in that dress"--should result in eternal torture. Eh, if there was an omnipotent god then it would be pointless to argue whether what it does is fair or unfair, I'll grant them that. No one would be able to stop such a being, so it would be like arguing that it's "not fair" that the volcano went off when it did. But if I could create tiny little beings over whom I held complete dominion, then I know I could come up with a better justice system.
  9. So, today I learned that the reason that the Bible god ordered the extermination of Canaanites, Amalekites, etc. was because they were bad people and the Bible's god knew they were going to cause problems for the Israelites in the future, so it was necessary that they be done away with. In fact, because these orders were not completely carried out is why we have ISIS and all the problems in the Middle East today! Just look at what their descendants are doing! I've heard it argued that the reason God couldn't just make them all leave was because it would interfere with free will.... But why couldn't he give them a warning in their dreams and make it extremely vivid or something? If everyone has the exact same dream warning then even if you don't follow that god you're probably going to pack up and leave anyway... I would, and I don't even believe in any gods! I don't see how a dream warning would interfere with free will, either.... they could still choose to disregard it, after all. At least they'd get fair warning. But that's not the super easy solution I thought of. Here it is: Why didn't God just make them all infertile? Nobody has to be murdered, nobody has to murder anyone else, nobody has to watch their friends and family be murdered in front of them, and (for those Israelites who couldn't bring themselves to participate) nobody has to watch their comrades kill anyone in front of them either. Win-win-win. They live out their lives, they die, and when they die the Israelites can move into the extra room and be fruitful and multiply as much as they want. For someone so omniscient and all-powerful, God sure doesn't think outside the box much....
  10. It's a break with the tradition of posting humorous stuff in this thread, but I like these so much I have to share them anyway.
  11. I once listened to a taped talk that a Christian gave on different religions/worldviews, basically just to satirize/make fun of them, and when he got to one of the meditation-practicing ones (forget which one, might have been Buddhism), he imitated the instructions for it by saying, "Clear your mind! Become stupid!" I feel those two verses you quoted would be similarly mocked by Christians if they were told those verses came from another religion. If they were told that a small religion by the name of Paradeum had a holy book that said, "If you believe our Leader over your own thought processes and do everything he tells you to do, he'll make sure that everything works out for ya in the end," they'd immediately label the religion Paradeum as being very cult-like. And they'd be right. One of those things that is easy to recognize when it's not your own group. Which is also why I agree with the above ^^ , in that you have to do your own thinking, but at the same time recognize that we are all fallible to such things as biases, preconceptions, and other cognitive problems. Problems that can be minimized by actively trying to counter them.
  12. That used to be me. In a Brio magazine (a magazine Focus on the Family makes for girls) I read that not only was it entirely possible for Jonah to have been "in the belly of a whale," but that there had been confirmed cases of this happening to other people.** No names or sources or anything, of course. But I believed it, even got in an argument with someone in school about it. In highschool. I feel that's excusable... not that highschoolers are stupid, it's just that you're a lot more likely to believe the authority figures in your life (not obey them, just believe them).... But I still believed it in college. And after... probably only gave it up after I gave up believing all of it. What's interesting, to me anyway, is that if Focus on the Family had said, "Well, it doesn't happen in ordinary circumstances, that's why this was a miracle, because God had to change nature to make it happen," I (and probably everyone else who credulously read the magazine) would have had no problem with it. Just a miracle that was no stranger than anything else in the Bible. But they felt that giving fake historical evidence was necessary, somehow. Why? **Where they survived and were able to tell other people about it, I mean. It makes a difference.
  13. I agree... I have met some very sincere Christians who, even though they were leaders, were not on a power trip and did not have the goal to become wealthy. (As far as getting any money at all goes, my next career field that I am working on getting into is health care, and I want a paycheck for it but I do not think that means I won't care about the patients, so therefore I cannot begrudge anyone else the fact that they get paid.) However, being sincere does not mean that they are correct... it would be impossible for every sincere person to be correct about their sincerely held beliefs, when Sincere Person A's beliefs contradict Sincere Person B's whose beliefs contradict Sincere Person C's, and so on. Another point: everyone had to be persuaded by someone at some point, even if it happened when you were such a small child that you don't remember it. Which means that someone persuaded the person/people who persuaded you... and so on and so forth back into the first century. Somewhere along the line, probably at multiple points, there WAS someone in there who was doing it either for pure material gain and/or because they liked the power. Even if the person talking to you about does not, in any obvious way, stand to gain something, there is a huge amount of privilege (and comfort) in having YOUR religion be the default. It shows up in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it's something similar to nostalgia, a sort of "This is how it was for me growing up so this is how it should always be," attitude. I remember a conversation I had about Adventures in Odyssey (if you're not familiar, a Christian radio program for kids) with a then-fellow Christian... there was a third Christian there, who was a new convert, and I remember guiltily wondering if he felt left out because many of us in the Bible study group we were in would bring up memories/events relating to Christianity from our pasts (especially childhood). If you want your offspring to have those experiences where they can randomly bring something up and have everyone immediately understand, to feel "part of a group" over something as inconsequential as a radio show, then it's helpful if everyone around your child has the same general belief-system with associated practices. Also, the larger the group you're in, the more you can look down on all those other people for not understanding as well as you do. When your beliefs are based on a 2000+ year-old book with hundreds if not thousands of interpretations, you need all the bolstering of your belief system that you can get, and the best way is to hear other people say stuff you already agree with.
  14. Or one of the believers, either. Whenever I said something along the lines of, "That doesn't seem very fair, that guys' children didn't do anything wrong, they were just his children," or, "Why did EVERYONE in that area get punished when not everyone did anything?" I would get a scornful look and the response, "Well, why don't you take it up with God, then?" Yeah, why don't I....
  15. Thanks for all the welcomes! I look forward to looking around and posting here! Sure, it's definitely not in common usage. The first part of atheopaganism is the idea that the natural world is all there is, and it is amazing. However, the pagan myths are important, both because they can tell us about our ancient ancestors, and because the deities and spirits and symbolism strike a chord and give an understanding of the world that's different from a textbook. So a lot of atheopagans study the Celtic, Norse, Aborignial, etc. myths, but as a way to view the world rather than literal fact. (Also a convenient excuse to get out of performing human sacrifice!) But it’s different from simply liking old stories in that there is also a component of environmentalism, and different from being a bibliophilic environmentalist in that we also do Earth-based rituals to add meaning to knowledge. An example might be moon water, which I’ll use because Wiccans also do this, so I can use it to contrast.... Someone practicing witchcraft might set out a bottle of water on the night of a full moon because they believe it will make their spells more effective. I do the same, but for symbolic reasons. After all, water is necessary for life, and some evolutionary biologists believe that the moon’s effect on the tides helped give rise to life (and even if it didn’t, without the moon’s stabilizing effect on our climate and axial tilt, the life we have now wouldn’t exist, because it would have started at some later time). So by setting the water out under the full moon, I remind myself of how amazing it is that life was able to begin. Before the following full moon I’ll give the water to a tree so the cycle can repeat. Sometimes it’s called humanistic paganism or naturalistic paganism (although the last one sounds redundant if you don’t know it’s supposed to be contrasted with supernatural, so I don’t use it, and sometimes I just feel too grumpy with the world to in any way consider myself a humanist, although I think that’s an awesome way to be). But if someone does, they can just say it doesn't really conflict, because it's in-errant!
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