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Dra_Mucd_Uha
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Hey, I know it's been awhile since I've last been online here. And even when I was online, I didn't say much. But I felt compelled to come back to the people here. I've recently grown a new appreciation for those who have left religion have have survived to tell the tale.

 

You may remember me, you may not. For those who do not know me, I am a 16-year old Agnostic who left Christianity back in March. It has been awhile since then, and alot has changed for me. I didn't know how incredibly hard it would be to adapt to life without religion. Back when I was a Christian, I was as deep as one could get. I was literally 100% for Christianity when it came to lifestyle. And now, all that has had to change and it's been quite a journey thusfar. I have been forced to change everything about my life - from my morality to my hobbies - just to adapt to my new religious veiws (well, lack thereof). I can't say it has been easy... far from it.

 

From contemplated suicide to self-mutilation, I've experienced my fair share of pain. I'm sure there is more to come. I do not, however, consider this an effect of "me leaving God" as I have been told. This is simply the natural consequences of my changing from one person into another. I think my biggest problem thusfar, however, has been that of morality. I realize this is a personal quest, but it's one I am at fault at. Before religion told me my moral veiws. Now I am having to discover them on my own. Again, it hasn't been easy.

 

I must confess my never-ending admiration of those who have left religion and have kept their sanity. I realize now, having experienced the "transformation" myself, that it is much harder than expected.

 

I suppose, to conclude, that I only want to stop by and say hello. I hope to continue staying here and remaining a long-term member of this forum. But my life is still taking various turns, so I can't promise anything. I also want your testimony, if you will, on how you developed your moral veiws after leaving religion. I have no intention of taking your veiws as my own. I only want to understand how other people have coped in hopes that I can somehow learn from you.

 

Any help will be greatly appreciated. :)

 

-Randall

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Hi, Randall,

 

Looks like in some ways your exit from christianity has been a bumpy ride. A lot of ex-christians go through a lot of turmoil in the early stages, but it looks like you're holding on, congratulations.

 

A number of discussions come up on these forums centering on morals and morality. For one, I've found my moral views didn't change appreciably for having been an ex-christian. I still believe in the rule of law, and I hold to it, even though I may not always like it. I believe firmly in doing "good" whenever you can, and if you can't at least do no harm. I try to treat others kindly, even though I may be pissed off. I believe in basic human rights, and equality of opportunity. Etc. and so forth.

 

And I'm an atheist. The way I see it, I'm about the same, if not better, than most people who call themselves devoted christians, I just don't have a god-belief, nor a need for one.

 

What about your views on morality has changed since you've left christianity?

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Well, I figured that since I'm hardly the first person to grapple with the question of morality, I should at least take a look at how great thinkers in the past have done it. I found that, outside of a monotheistic tradition, the most coherent system of morality is virtue ethics. The emphasis is not on acting a certain way, but being a certain way. The main question of virtue ethics is very different than that of Christian law-based ethics. The question is not about how to conform to a pre-determined standard, but of how we can be the kind of person that flourishes, and who makes it possible for others to flourish.

 

One seeks to exemplify the virtues. One seeks to be courageous--the middle ground between cowardice and rashness. One seeks to be liberal--the middle ground between being too stingy and being too free with one's resources. The focus is usually on finding a middle between extremes.

 

This, by the way, is a very Aristotelian conception of virtue. I find it convincing. Others might not.

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Hello mate,

 

I can understand where you're coming from. Also you're still young and probably developing in terms of establishing your morals. I would think that there are some moral values that you learnt from Christianity that you can still hold on to even now that you're not a Christian.

 

The one thing I would say is, don't beat yourself up over all this. Try to appreciate the good things in life eg. family, friends, hobbies, and don't try and live up to the standards you had when you were a Christian, because to be honest it's probably impossible.

 

Since I left Christianity, I swear a lot more, and have more anger issues and stuff. But I think that's a natural thing, and I now think that some of the morals that Christianity enforces eg. like forgiving people whatever they do to you, not swearing much, having to like people even if they are twats, not having sex before marriage etc, are just stupid and unnatural. I am glad now that I don't have to turn the other cheek and stuff, and if somebody snubs me I can snub them back.

 

I do still have some moral values though, like being kind to people when I can, and generally being a 'good' person (whatever that is)! I do value my interests like music, football (soccer) and travelling. I suppose for me there came a time when everything 'clicked' into place, and that I realised that I was not a worthless idiot and was capable of building and living my own life. I hope that you come to a place where you discover that life is okay without religion.

 

Are there any morals you are struggling with that you are comfortable telling us about?

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I suppose for me it's been more of a "why" question. Why have good morals? Why not steal from a store? Why should I be nice to people? I think I have been looking for reasoning behind practicing good morals apart from religion, apart from "God wants me to." So far the only motive I have discovered for wanting to have good morals is for myself and for my self-esteem, because having good morals makes me feel better about myself. But even then, I still have to ask myself, what do I define as being good or bad?

 

Sex before marriage, turning the other cheek, and other similiar practices do not seem to be acts of good morality at all. Why does it matter when you have sex in relation to marriage? And are you really going to let people walk all over you by turning the other cheek? It seems better and more beneficial for your life experience if you did not practice these "moral rules."

 

However, others like stealing, murdering, or lying do seem to be bad moral practices. I think the main reason for this is because I wouldn't want someone doing these things to me. Or perhaps doing these things will make me feel bad about myself. I'm not sure.

 

I suppose it's just a matter of figuring out which Christian morals I plan on keeping, and which ones I do not. Examples of those morals which I'm having trouble with are those of telling the truth vs. lying, helping other people in general when they could use the help, cussing (which I do), and various other things. For me, I think it's the transition from the black and white religious veiw of things to a more gray and varied perspective.

 

Thanks for the replies :)

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Hey Dra_Mucd_Ua:

 

It's been a while since I've been here too. (Married and new job. OORAH!).

 

As far as morality goes, I have adopted another religion and try to form my morals on that. That said, I believe that an Athiest can be an *extremely* moral person. Lack of belief does not mean lack of morals.

 

If you're looking for a foundation on which to build morals outside of a religious framework, may I suggest that those actions which promote social cohesion are moral. I will grant that basing one's morals on this framework means that to some extent these morals will be relative. (May be a problem if a person is looking for absolutes....)

 

What I mean is this: murder, rape, stealing and other crimes cause a breakdown in social cohesion. Humans tend to accomplish more when working together than against each other. To preserve that cohesion, we chose to behave in such a way to maximize enjoyment and minimize pain for the greater part of society.

 

As for sex before marriage, I have never viewed this as being immoral; with the provision that these relations are between consenting adults.

 

HadouKen24 also has what I consider to be a solid foundation for moral behavior - that of the golden mean.

 

I wish you the best in sorting things out for yourself. Please stop by when you have a chance and need a sounding board. We're here...

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