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BookOfMicah

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About BookOfMicah

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    Questioner
  • Birthday 04/19/1988

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  • Website URL
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7suYYWxjqgZu3_vPLZfuEw

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Virginia, USA
  • Interests
    Writing, primarily. I write short stories, mostly horror and comedy.
  • More About Me
    I spent the first 24 years of my life as a devout conservative Mormon, and was thoroughly brainwashed to believing all the ideals that went along with that faith. Between 24 and 26 I started to have doubts and began looking at other options before ultimately leaving the religion at around age 26. After that I spent a year looking into other religions which mostly took the form of reading several religious texts: The Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, even The Satanic Bible. I read through the Dhammapada and found Buddhism to be a fairly comfortable moral code, though I was not impressed by the more theistic / spiritual elements of it. I have until recently described myself as Agnostic Buddhist (or as I put it "Agnostic with a rich creamy Buddhist filling"). But on consideration of a number of atheist sources, and accepting the definition of Atheist as "one who rejects theistic claims", I think it might be more fair to identify as an Agnostic Atheist, who just happens to borrow elements of Buddhism. Still parsing out the labels though.

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    I will never know what, if any, gods are true.

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  1. Funny story. My old man was so over the bend about using the "Lord's name in vain" until this exchange when I was 10 and my sister was 8. Sister: Sweet Jesus! (Mocking a character from the musical 1776 we just watched) Dad: Don't say that! Sister: I'm just acting like (that character). Dad: I don't care! Don't use the God damn Lord's- ... At this point to his eternal credit, my old man stopped, grinned a bit at himself and we all ended up laughing. Fun senior moments lol.
  2. It is the same ideological imposition we place when we sensibly ban harmful pseudoscience, which we don't do nearly enough of for my way of thinking. All other things being equal, I am okay with preventing access to "personal liberties" which exclusively bring harm to self or others. But you bring up a valid counter argument of informed consent. To be honest, as repulsive as I find conversion therapy, there could be an argument made for your way of thinking. After all I am against suicide but am okay with euthanasia (which admittedly is not a perfect comparison, but it's the best I could come up with). I'm honestly torn about this. Makes me mildly sick to my stomach but I can't maintain intellectual honesty and ignore a reasonable counterargument outright. Because if a person (with or without good reason) wants to get this therapy, do we do them a greater disservice by denying them this freedom on the assumption (again with or without good reason) that we are helping them. Road to hell, good intentions, etc etc. What I will say is that overall I believe the societal benefit is greater to completely remove this scourge from existence and in all forms on nonconsensual / therapy aimed at children should be outlawed in any civilized country, full stop. But as to whether or not that is worth curtailing individual liberty is basically the key issue as I see it. Thanks for making me challenge my own viewpoints today, Myr. I'll shake your hand after I am done racking my brain.
  3. Hey score one for the good guys! I am disgusted by the continuation of these atrocious practices and would love to see them outlawed in my own country but that probably won't happen for a while.
  4. Wow, I missed quite a discussion here. Couple of things to toss in: 1. Atheist as defined by those who lack a belief in god is not mutually exclusive with agnosticism as has already been mentioned by folks probably a lot more informed on the subject than I. I consider myself "Agnostic Atheist" based on my understanding that Agnostic = I don't know / no positive claim and Atheist = Lack of belief in God / lack of belief in theistic claims. Whereas Gnostic = I do know / I make a positive claim and Theist = I believe in a God / higher power. 2. I mentioned this in my original post many pages ago but basically I think fear, which can often be irrational, is not a good indicator of personal belief. I know I won't fall out of the Apollo's Chariot roller coaster, I still don't want to get on one. I'll also bring up the argument about religious trauma, which in defense of those who have argued you can't fear hell and be atheist is perhaps meant as a way to get people to face up / get help for their trauma. 3. In general, I try to avoid No True Scotsman arguments because everybody has an opinion on the subject and blanket exlusionary statements are rarely, if ever, accurate or useful. "Only a Sith deals in absolutes" is a hilarious line because it is a self-damning paradox. 4. And finally in relation to the current topic of conversation, I am a Gnostic Fucker because I make the positive claim that I like to fuck. Also I'll toss my hat in with the "I'm not really offended or upset" crowd. This is a discussion forum, and the only way we get anywhere is by actually discussing these things, even if we don't fully understand somebody else's point of view. In fact I would say these work better when there is an abundance of unusual / unpopular views because otherwise it is just a bunch of preaching to the choir which, while sometimes fun, doesn't really accomplish much. As long as the air is respectful and productive, keep 'em coming, I say.
  5. Hilariously I just read that book for the first time this month. It was my personal Book of the Month for February. In particular the concept of doublespeak and doublethink remind me greatly of the idea that it's okay to not use logic when discussing God. In particular the idea that "the Party can make 2+2=5" is very "God says so, therefore it must be." And then theres the whole Goldstein book being comparable to the Bible but yeah I 100% second this assertion. It is also an amazing book because Orwell is a brilliant writer too.
  6. Thank you for the welcome! Yeah, the subtle lies about contributing to the church are some of my favorites. Worse than tithing, I think, is how the church goes about doing charity. Particularly the LDS. There is always a horrible string attached that doesn't exist in other well-meaning non-profit charities. My folks had a rough time recently and they had to get grocery and bill help from the church. To the church's credit, they pulled my parents fat out of the proverbial fire, but only after making my Army Veteran and "never been unemployed a day in his life" take "Self-Reliance Classes". In theory the idea could actually work. Giving a fishing pole rather than a fish, so to speak. But my father is one of the most responsible men I know and a man with a back-breaking work ethic and yet because he got screwed over by capitalism when he was unceremoniously laid off the church seems to think he has done something wrong. And worse yet? They have my dad believing it. I tried to tell him that he has done an amazing job and he's all "no I should have done this or that" and it's garbage. It's subtle guilt-tripping and mind-control and in so many words is basically a way to get people to think they need the church and they need God to be happy and successful. And when my folks are back on their feet? 10% of their income, before taxes, goes straight back to the church. This. Is. Not. Charity. It is an investment. When I was going through my own rough patch (which has been basically my entire adult life in financial terms buts let's just focus on the last two years, lol) they tried to get me to do the same, knowing that I was no longer a member. I adamantly refused because I knew what it would entail. Frankly, I'd rather be living out of my car eating ramen packets than getting help from the church and I, like my father, have never been unemployed except for a brief five-week window when I was laid of from my tech support job (the entire business went under). That rant went places I wasn't expecting, lol. Back to your last paragraph, I really appreciate the kindness you have shown. I consider myself reasonably intelligent, but that mostly manifests in being able to admit when I'm too uninformed about a particular topic. As far as life experience, well I have my own batch of experiences as everybody does and we all process this world of ours in different ways. Makes us special in a way. But enough platitudes, lol. Thank you!
  7. BookOfMicah

    I Am Free

    Welcome welcome! Very new myself, but always happy to see a new face. I'm sorry to hear that you have been through the wringer because of your decision! I hope things are better off for you now, or at least are getting better. It is always preferable to be living true to yourself than conforming to somebody else's prescribed identity for you. It might be painful, but never let somebody else dictate the parameters of your life. Hope you enjoy your time here!
  8. This might be slightly off topic, but a resource I found very helpful when first discovering my own Atheism and one that I still like today is the atheist youtuber community. In particular, I like Steve Shive's old "An Atheist Reads" series where he reads Christian apologetics books and gives full blown lectures (with an admittedly snarky and humorous edge). His series on The Screwtape Letters was particularly good (and frankly even as an agnostic I rather like that book because Lewis can be a wonderful writer when he wants to be).
  9. Hell is basically a form of religious trauma. Imagine being taught from a young age to be afraid of going to literally the worst place imaginable for minor mistakes and being routinely told that if you ever lose your faith you will definitely go there. And with it being something that we won't know with 100% certainty until after we die, it remains untestable. I consider fear of Hell to be an irrational phobia that comes from this trauma. It's not something we can control. You could liken it to otherwise rational people who have a mild fear of ghosts or the supernatural but I would argue it's actually closer to people who get out of abusive relationships and still have night terrors about their abuse. Anybody who says "you can't be an atheist if you still fear hell" might not be operating with that same level of psychological abuse that religion brings. While the intent is probably not malicious, I would say the statement smacks of telling somebody they should be ashamed of their emotions. I sometimes have the fear of Hell, but the truth is for me it is just the fear of nonbeing and the unknown of what, if anything, comes beyond death masquerading as the boogeyman of Hell. Even coming from a religion that doesn't teach a fire and brimstone hell, and one that is very hard to get into properly (Mormons believe in a tier-Heaven and then "Outer Darkness" which is only for the absolute worst of the worst) I still have the occasional flare up. As far as general advice for anybody who still suffers from this, you can present all the usual arguments of the literally thousands of flavors of Hell that are preached about by various world religions and the impossibility of safeguarding against all of them. But logical arguments don't fare so well against emotions. That's why I think the statement is both foolish and somewhat irrelevant.
  10. Thank you for the welcome! I definitely mean to! Interesting comparison, and one I hadn't considered. I hesitate to weigh in on arguments if what is or is not heretical to the "one true faith" because even the idea I find kind of foolish in an age where every major religion has hundreds if sects and as many interpretations of that sect as there are people who believe it. If anything can be said, I'd argue Islam is less obviously false than Mormonism because I mean... seer stones? I can't believe I professed this nonsense in my youth lol. Pleasure to meet you! Thanks for the interesting take!
  11. Yeah I have heard this, but it's absurdly easy to turn on it's head. Let's say we have somebody who is full-blown religious and believes in everything: God, Ghosts, Demons, Angels, etc. Even if they believe in all of that, they cannot remain intellectually honest without admitting that their belief comes from one worldview - i.e. their religion. They reject all other of the hundreds if not thousands of faiths in the world. I like the line from, I think it was Matt Dillahunty: "Atheists just believe in one less god than you." And if you have somebody who does believe in God but doesn't believe in other supernatural elements, I'd seriously like to ask them why. For starters, we have just as much, if not more "evidence" of hauntings (I'd stop just short of calling internet creepypasta "scripture" though). Secondly unlike most deities, we know that the people who supposedly have died and become ghosts did at least exist (for the most part). It's just frustrating that people turn off their critical thinking when god enters into it. As a recent bitter Facebook status of mine went: Person A: "I will make this thing magically happen..." Person B: "Hmmm.... I wonder what the trick is..." Person A: "In the name of JESUS!" Person B: "HALLEJULAH! MIRACLES ARE REAL!"
  12. Thanks for digging out the scripture. I'm more of a dirty limerick / parody haiku guy myself. God is not at home, leave a message at the beep, Voicemail box is full. Thanks for the welcome! One of my video projects from my old vlog, which I have cleared out, was a rather detailed explanation of why Mormons did fall under the subset of Christianity. Even though I took it down because I'm not Mormon anymore I'm kind of proud of the effort that went into it, digging out the Nicene Creed and doing some historical study. I don't do things by half measures lol. But yeah it was and remains a constant journey, but that's the story of life isn't it? While the religious concept of atonement isn't one that I feel has any particular merit, a "lowercase a" version that is secular in nature is something I think is worth working towards. And it's not a "five Hail Mary's and a dab of holy water" affair, but something that requires true effort. I won't give anybody any grief for dealing with their own struggles because I know too well what I'm going through - or at least I try not to. Thank you for the welcome! It's ultimately a solid guide, so long as its gnostic elements aren't taken too seriously. But the Four Noble truths and Eightfold path seem pretty clear to me. Maybe it's a bit pessimistic to say "Life is suffering" just makes perfect sense to me, but everything else that follows was on good footing, lol. And I'm not especially into the self-abnegation of Buddhism (albeit the "middle path" is still less strict than the pure asceticism of some Hindu practices). I am too... loud a person to accept that and as much as my life has had some hardships, I'm having too much fun. Thanks for the welcome! I have been browsing, rest assured!
  13. Thank you very much! I can spin a yarn as well as anybody But I've also had some wonderful teachers too! Appreciate the welcome! Thank you kindly!
  14. After the initial state of panic and mental grappling with a sudden shift in my worldview (even one that had been declining over time), I can say that this does sort of apply to me, but in a different way. It didn't help that my religious awakening immediately preceeded my marriage's decline (they weren't related, just poor timing) so I can't say with any certainty that my emotional state was improved any. In fact my initial feelings, and ones that I still grapple with to this day, were feelings of bitterness. I basically felt as though I'd been cheated out of 24 years of a healthy upbringing (ex-Mormon here, with all the emotional shunting that goes with that). I was frustrated that my otherwise very intelligent parents could still believe such nonsense and that they used this nonsense to brainwash my siblings and me (there is some specific instances of emotional abuse that come to mind, but I'll set them aside for now to as not get too off-topic). Having had time to sort of piece it together and settle (mostly) on what I believe, I would say I feel more balanced than anything else. Contrary to the popular Christian line of "without God, life has no meaning" I actually feel that my life has more meaning now than it did. I feel like I'm alive for more reasons than just the whim of some supreme being and that my life can be whatever I choose to make it. I no longer deal with the crippling guilt of being a horrible sinner. I openly embrace myself the way I am, while still acknowledging the areas I need to improve on. Moreover, I feel I no longer waste any energy feeling obligatory gratitude to a God. The gratitude I feel for the change in my life is for those around me who have helped make it a reality. I take a little pride in my achievements, while still recognizing that I have had a lot of help. So I guess in that way I feel more genuinely connected to "my people" for lack of a better word.
  15. Well this is my first post outside the introduction forum, and I certainly chose a hot button issue to jump in on. If the couple were rejected from having kids simply because of their Christian worldview, even if that worldview included anti-LGBT ideals, I would argue that - while I certainly disagree with their worldview - it could be seen as a form of religious discrimination. That isn't what happened here. Saying they would send a gay child to conversion therapy is why they were rejected and I 100% agree with the decision for a number of reasons. Gay Conversion Therapy is child torture, plain and simple. It doesn't even work and even if it did the ends don't justify the means, especially when the ends themselves are horrible. They said "we'd be happy to foster a straight kid", as if that child may not discover more about themselves as they grow up. Maybe they will realize when they hit puberty that they fall somewhere on the GRSM spectrum. And then what would happen? By the parents own admission they would send the kid off to gay conversion therapy. Assuming an "ideal" scenario for these parents where they just so happen to have a straight child who remains straight their entire life. I question the mental state and parental capabilities of somebody who would still support this practice even if it never applied to them. It's akin to somebody saying "I'd beat my kid if he was autistic, but I'm perfectly happy to raise a non-autistic kid". The anti-LGBT nature of many religions isn't going to go away anytime soon, unfortunately. Nor do I think such ideals should be outlawed in and of themselves because every attempt to criminalize ideology in history has ultimately failed. But we have to draw the line at putting that backwards ideology into practice in such a cruel and objectively harmful way.
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