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I Think It's About Time


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Well I'm new here, though I've been lurking for a while, so I figured it's about time to post my story. I was raised Methodist, which as far as I could tell, was a really mild form of Baptist (particularly when compared to the real fire and brimstone Baptist that is so prevalent here in Texas). It had the mildness of Catholic services without the customary CCD and confessions. My family wasn't too terribly religious, so I never put much stock into religion...it was just something we did Sunday mornings, and that was pretty much it. Once the minister that we liked at our church retired, my family pretty much stopped going. Which was fine with my brothers and I, as we could finally sleep in on Sundays.

 

In middle school, I made friends with a group of kids at my school who were pretty religious, which attended the roudy southern Baptist churches. Naturally, they wanted me to go to church with them and be a part of their youth group, as they were all "saved" and looking for fresh meat. So I went, if only because I got to be with my friends on school nights. Well, as many of you know, either I get saved, or I go to hell...and the thought of torture and suffering for all eternity scared the crap out of me. So I opted for the route that led to eternal bliss. I finally got saved after about a year after meeting my friends, and I was a good little christian for about...a month. I just sorta' fell out of it/lost interest in it/whatever. I stopped the newly picked up praying thing; it just felt odd talking to someone I couldn't see or feel. I stopped going to my friends' church, because it still made me feel unconfortable with all the accusations toward everyone who wasn't part of their particular religion, and pretty much everyone who wasn't "saved".

 

As the years went by and I was going through high school, I thought a lot about it and decided that organized religion wasn't for me. I pretty much felt that I didn't have to go to a place with a bunch of other people once a week to have a relationship with God. And besides, there are so many religions in the world, how could any single one be the "right" one? I felt that religions had no right to claim that their rules were the one and only path to heaven. Fuck religion.

 

And that's how it was from then on.

 

Well, then I got into college, and I became even more open-minded about things. I really learned about evolution and how it worked. I'd always believed in evolution, I enjoyed science class in school, and my parents never sheltered me to anything (but that doesn't mean that they were overly-permissive or anything). But I never knew much about it, and never really gave it much thought. Once I really learned about it though, I really started to question things. I'm now 21, and after about a year of thinking, deliberating, laying awake in bed countless nights going back and fourth in my mind, reading, researching, and educating myself, I've finally come to some conclusions about all this.

 

On Religion:

--I feel religion in general leads to close-mindedness, bigotry, hatred and intolerance...usually under the selfish assumption that their way is the right way, and everyone else is wrong.

--I feel religion is just a way to exert control over others, usually using scare tactics and promoting the fear of hell to ensure mass cooperation.

--In Christianity its credibility for me is especially reduced as many customs were taken from earlier belief systems; for example, Christmas. Jesus most definately is not the reason for the season.

--I see modern religion as no different than any other form of mythology. It is merely a conglomeration of stories to explain the then-unexplainable and give man guidelines on how to live.

--I feel the only reason religion is still around is because of the fear of the consequences of change. The notion that one could be wrong in the beliefs they've held their entire life is just too much for some to bear. That, and many people aren't self-reliant enough to be able to not have the crutch of religion to support themselves in trying times.

 

On the Bible:

--First, I'm going to admit that I've never really studied the Bible. But I've flipped through it, heard and read about it, and checked different claims about it by referring to it. Nevertheless, I still have a few thoughts about it.

--The Bible is bull shit, though it (well, some parts) can be a good reference on how to live a moral and decent life. But, it was written by man, and therefore not the inerrant word of God, so the Bible holds no water with me as to any sort of divine proof.

--Some may say that although the Bible was written by man, it is divinely inspired. For me, claiming divine inspiration is an invalid argument, and as far as I'm concerned, is not an argument one would want to make in order to show something in a favorable light. People were divinely inspired to have the Spanish Inquisition, and people are divinely inspired to strap explosives to themselves and destroy city buses and killing hundreds.

 

On Souls:

--I believe "souls" are a combination of our personalities, conscience, and consciousness...our mind, which is a product of our complex human brain...nothing more.

--When we die, the mind cannot exist without the brain, and therefore our "souls" die with us, and thats it. Our only means of immortality lie within the memories we pass on to others.

 

On God:

--I believe the notion of God was invented to explain the unknown...more specifically, originally the question of how we got here. As modern science offers more credible explanations, the notion of a god holds less and less ground.

--As a firm believer in evolution and abiogenesis, I ask: "if God didn't create us, what is even the logical foundation for even having the idea of a god in the first place?" There are no miracles occurring, only natural phenomenon. There is nothing here that is without some sort of logical, scientific explanation (and if there is, just give it time). I guess what I'm getting at is, it's just ridiculous to have a god around that had no part in our beginnings. There'd be no point.

 

On Science:

--I believe science to be the greatest of man's inventions, and the only way to gain ultimate knowledge and truth.

--Science is always correctable and dynamic...only the most resiliant of theories and notions are kept, while studies are done in order to refute and weed out all but the most reliable information.

--Therefore, by use of logic and reason, put my ultimate confidence in science rather than faith, as to me, science is about challenging your beliefs and expectations, not existing in blind stagnation.

--I would personally rather put my confidence in something that corrects itself and becomes more true over time, than in something old, worn-out, and constant that tries to incorporate contradictory evidence into itself. Science makes a hypothesis, and through testing and the gathering of evidence, tries to prove the hypothesis false, whereupon the new evidence will either do away with or modify the hypothesis. Religious faith starts with making a hypothesis upon inspection of a first set of phenomena, with the hypothesis then dictating how new evidence will be incorporated (or ignored, for that matter) into that pre-existing assumption. Religious faith tries to force evidence into its hypothesis.

 

There's probably things I'll think about in a few minutes that I could have put on here, but as for this very minute, this is my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

All that aside, it's nice to finally be here everyone.

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Rah!

 

Welcome and well done for braving your rejection of Christianity. Do stick around on these forums for interesting debates and useful advice - you may be surprised how similar you are to the rest of us ex-Christians!

 

I totally agree with your view on science being the route to knowledge and its dynamic nature! I mean, if you don't look at the evidence as you suggest, what have you got to go on? Really?

 

Again, welcome!

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Welcome! Funny how college often changes Christians like this. (That's why some of the Fundies hate higher education LOL) As a religion major, I get to observe some Christians who are also religion majors at my university. One kid in particular is obviously very troubled now... he used to speak a lot in class and now he is silent and has a very concerned look on his face. I think he's deconvertitng.

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....On Religion:

....--I feel the only reason religion is still around is because of the fear of the consequences of change. The notion that one could be wrong in the beliefs they've held their entire life is just too much for some to bear. That, and many people aren't self-reliant enough to be able to not have the crutch of religion to support themselves in trying times.....

 

On Souls:

--I believe "souls" are a combination of our personalities, conscience, and consciousness...our mind, which is a product of our complex human brain...nothing more.....

 

On God:

--I believe the notion of God was invented to explain the unknown...more specifically, originally the question of how we got here. As modern science offers more credible explanations, the notion of a god holds less and less ground.....

 

There's probably things I'll think about in a few minutes that I could have put on here, but as for this very minute, this is my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

All that aside, it's nice to finally be here everyone.

 

Welcome Entgegen. :wave:

 

You've made some pretty cool observations - the ones that resonated w/ me I noted above. I particularly like your explanation of humans inventing the idea of god to explain the unknown. Good historical analysis, particularly as we've been able to explain better the origin of our species with evolution, the need to have a supernatural explanation is no longer needed.

 

Also your ideas on souls are right on the money. Pure speculation on our part that there is an ethereal soul at all.

 

Great observations on why people stay in religion...a topic that is very well discussed here.

 

Hope you continue to enjoy the site! And consider yourself wise and forward thinking to get off of the religion boat early in your adult life. You've really avoided a lot of heartache, believe me.

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Welcome Entgegen.

 

I think your obviously good mind will serve us well and will be well-served here.

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There's probably things I'll think about in a few minutes that I could have put on here, but as for this very minute, this is my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

Welcome! I enjoyed reading your post very much. You write very well, and make great points. Everything that you said stands on it's own.

I've been coming around here regularly for a little over a month now, and I can tell you that taking the time to join in or originate posts, and enter into the discussions, does wonders for you and you will feel it touch every aspect of your life. I should say that has been true for me and it will be true for you if you also feel stfled from expressing these thoughts and feelings anywhere else. Our views are a big part of who we are and when we can exercise that part of us here we become stronger. So, let yourself go, and get ready to be disagreed with too! Apparently that's not going to happen today, but that is one of the most valuable things about this community is that debate. That's because there are many very sharp people here who can keep you on your toes, and see things that you may have overlooked. So, again welcome and I'll see you around.

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