Calling All Atheists/Agnostics

Johnny - posted on 11/20/2010 ( 66 moms have responded )

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I frequently see statements and comments in threads, either about religion or where religious issues are being discussed as a side issue, where atheists or agnostics are stating that the behavior, beliefs, actions, or dogma of religious people or a religion itself has caused them to reject or move further from god.

I am really interested in understanding this sentiment and how the actions of humans lead you to reject the idea of god. I am an agnostic, but my reasoning for my beliefs has nothing at all to do with the actions or ideals of the faithful or the dogma of a specific religion. For me, questioning god's existence is related to my feelings that it is illogical, irrational and simply does not add up. The actions of religious people could be perfect, and their dogma could completely match my views on how to live, and that would make me no more likely to believe that god exists.

I've seen people state that they became atheists because some Christians are opposed to homosexuality and may act badly towards homosexuals. I've seen people state that reading the bible has lead them to become atheists. We acknowledge that these are the acts of humans, so I am curious to understand how those acts cause a rejection of god?

I realize this question is a tad obscure, it's been sort of fermenting in my mind for months. Please ask for clarification if it's not making sense, it's coming out of the mathematical side of my brain that doesn't function all to well.

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Jenny - posted on 11/25/2010

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Me too Loureen. Energy doesn't require belief unless you anthropomorphize it.

Johnny - posted on 11/20/2010

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It does make sense to me Loureen. I find it challenging to support religion, being that I deeply believe that it has lead us as far as it can, and we are now ready to take our next steps without the need of a higher power to call to. At the same time, I support the freedom of all to make these choices for themselves, will defend their right to do so, and I can see ample evidence that while I may think that we are beyond this need, many people still feel it is vital and true. Am I on the same page at all?

Cat - posted on 11/26/2010

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"I am really interested in understanding this sentiment and how the actions of humans lead you to reject the idea of god." Carol, interesting question. I think people reject "god" on the actions of humans because basically the "idea" of god comes directly FROM other humans. Unless there is someone out there who has REALLY, HONESTLY heard the physical voice of god, then the idea of god and or religion has come from another human being (priest, parent, teacher etc.) But when religion is compromised by other humans, then people lose faith because they feel they've been lied to. I was born and raised as a Catholic but as I got older I read a lot of history books and did research and learned that the Catholic church has a very sordid past. They've persecuted innocent people in the name of god to steal their lands and dominate other religions. Then in most recent times, the Catholic Church has covered up for numerous priests who have molested boys and have chosen to keep silent about it. So if you've been raised to trust in priests and believe in them and the god they believe in, and then learn that they've turned a blind eye to the molestation of innocent children, you have to wonder if everything you've been taught by them is a lie. As for me, I don't know where I am. I'm caught between what I was brought up with, yet I can honestly say, I don't know. I want to believe there is a god, but I don't know what to believe. Is that considered Agnostic???

Johnny - posted on 11/23/2010

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I personally would have to wager that if people didn't use God as an excuse for their poor behavior, they'd just find another one. "The alcohol made me do it." "I'm a sex addict and can't stop cheating." Etc. Stalin and Mao certainly didn't need a divine excuse for mass murder and genocide. I think that statistically there are less atheists per capita in prisons because atheists spend more time actively thinking about morality of their own accord, and don't rely on something else to provide it. But regardless of whether that something else is divine or not, I think the majority of people like to follow and not lead. Religion is helpful in getting someone else to tell you what you should be doing and thinking. If they don't have religion doing that, they'll just find something else to fill that role.

People do bad things because they aren't willing to make the effort to do the right thing. Deep down, we all know what the right thing is. Most of us, atheist, agnostic, spiritual or religious follow a good path. Some choose not to and whether religion exists to provide an excuse or not, they will continue to do so.

I'm starting to wonder if people get confused between atheism and the rejection of organized religion. They are not the same thing at all.

Gina - posted on 11/23/2010

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I just wanted to add that poeple who do evil things are just that, evil .Why do we allow them to hide behind God?? They do things like kill, and rape because they are evil,stupid people, not because a God told them to.

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Cat - posted on 11/26/2010

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@Carol, LOL, I understand what you're saying. LOL I guess in a sense I could be the opposite of some here. I like the idea of a god, but NOT organized religion. I think many people act blindly in the name of religion and I find it annoying. Like on another thread, a mom said she spanks her children because the bible says so. Really? That's why you choose to hit your kids? It's mind boggling to me.

Charlie - posted on 11/26/2010

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Julianne said : i also believe in reincarnation to a sense, which im guessing you do too. Since you say energy is infinite. When we die, our energy goes back into the subconscious and is "recycled" back into life.

Yes absolutely , I agree .

Johnny - posted on 11/26/2010

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Thank you Cat, that's sort of what I was looking for and it does make a lot of sense. You see, I was not raised in a church, my dad is a strong atheist and my mom is spiritual. So, I didn't start out life with the assumption of God existing based on what people told me, so I find it perplexing that people relate human action to God's existence. Like I said, rejection of religion and atheism are two totally different issues. But if I try to imagine it from the point of view of someone who has grown up being taught a religion, then I can sort of see that the actions of others and rejection of dogma can be more connected to becoming an atheist. Perhaps it is sort of a continuum.... (this might not make sense but...) when people begin to question what their "leaders/teachers" are doing or saying, it leads them to question the rules of their religion, and then leads them to question the existence of god. When they feel that it can all be thrown away, then they link that rejection of religion to the rejection of god, even though in a way, they are two separate processes, but linked. Now I'm confusing myself.

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loureen

That's something along the lines of what i meant actually. This energy people have inside the physical body, is connected to ever other strand of energy in the universe, its proven that it is all the same energy. People put a name on this energy and associate it with a god or gods, when its just the subconscious of the universe. I dont believe that their is a man in the clouds with a trident ready to smite us. But i do believe the subconscious does "think" but in ways we can never truly understand in this lifetime. i also believe in reincarnation to a sense, which im guessing you do too. Since you say energy is infinite. When we die, our energy goes back into the subconscious and is "recycled" back into life.

Charlie - posted on 11/25/2010

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Julianne , I am Athiest in a sense that i do not believe in a god , gods or deities , I do believe in energy but that is scientific , everything contains energy or is created with energy and energy is infinate .

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i am a spiritual person, i dont agree with organized religion, i believe in energy. thats it.. i dont know what i am...maybe a new thing that doesnt have a name yet...

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I'm definitely an Atheist. Came to that conclusion when I was very young (7ish) so I can't really say exactly what started me on that path. But I know a few things that cemented it along the way, like learning about evolution, having an Anthropology/History degree, knowing and hearing about religious people and their antics etc etc My parents aren't atheist, though they're not exactly religious either. I'm also extremely anti organised religion. It makes my blood boil to think about it, so I generally don't LOL.

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I think a lot of people get confused between atheism and the rejection of organized religion.

I just had to throw in my two cents because I want to follow this debate. I find all this interesting and don't know much about religion so I'ma just read.

Rosie - posted on 11/24/2010

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i would have to agree with the part about organized religion carol. i'm definitely turned off by it.i even thought i could just believe in god and not follow normal religion, after a while though i finally started feeling none of it made sense.

Gina - posted on 11/24/2010

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After reading a lot of posts, I think I do understand the difference between atheism and organized religion.I can see your point about people finding something else to hide behind,that's a very good point,but so far that is what many are saying,maybe they need a new line? Lets face it , it's very old! LOL

Gina - posted on 11/23/2010

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Thanks for posting this Carol, I've been thinking about it since I joined COM, and discovered not everyone believes in God.This is really interesting for me, because while I believe in my faith strongly now, there was a time I would yell if someone mentions God.Look at all the priests who abuse the kids they were meant to help, look at all the sick young kids,and look at all the judgemental religious people who think they are better than everyone else,it made me pissed off and I turned my back on it all.So I think for some, other people actions would at least make you ask questions.As I said I do have strong faith now but I feel organized religion is crap. I'm sorry if I shouldn't have posted but I wanted to, and this is only IMO.

Rosie - posted on 11/23/2010

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i honestly do think there would be less evil in the world becky. i agree that some would find something else to do bad things in the name of, but i don't believe anything gets under peoples skin like alot of religion does. it's a way of life, and indoctrinated so far into peoples souls that they feel they are losing their life and betraying the one who made them if they don't do what they feel is right by their god.
if people are just taught to be good people and let other people be who they are (which religion does not) then alot of needless killings would NOT happen.

and i want you to realize i'm not only talking about christianity, but other religions as well. and i certainly don't think everybody that believes in a god is like that.

April - posted on 11/23/2010

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i don't understand that bit about accepting jesus as your savior. why would he/God send you to Hell because you didn't say "I accept you as my savior"? That seems very unGodly and a little bit self-absorbing (there's a better word but I can't think of it).

Becky - posted on 11/22/2010

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But Kati, if the idea of a god did not exist, do you really think there would be less evil in this world? Wouldn't bad people still do bad things? They would just do it in the name of something else - like politics! Or just because they were bad.
I agree that a lot of horrible things have been done in the name of religion/god. I'm just not sure it would be any different if there were no religion or idea of god. The awful things would still happen, just for different reasons - race, politics, etc.

April - posted on 11/22/2010

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I recently discovered I'm pagan. i believe that the sky and the water and the trees (you get the idea) are God. I didn't know that that's what Pagans believe. It was just something that I always felt in my heart. I really shouldn't even use the word God...I should use the word power or spiritual. I guess by definition that makes me agnostic too. I learned all this about myself from COM...I always thought pagan and agnostic and athesists were something bad...but upon learning their defintions, i know who i am now.

Rosie - posted on 11/22/2010

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i think what i'm trying to say is that the IDEA of god, and what us humans do in his name turns me off of it. if the idea of god never existed people wouldn't do what they do in his name. so technically you're right it's not god, it's the humans involved that do all the nasty stuff in the name of god, that irritate me.

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Obviously I can't speak for myself because I am Christian.



My husband is an athiest, but the bad actions of movements and individual Christians never turned him off. He was raised as a Christian and attended church as a child and he decided for himself that he doesn't believe in God. He still believes in Christianity though. I know it sounds strange, but he still thinks it's a good thing for people who do believe. He still calls himself a Christian because he likes certain aspects of the faith, but he desn't believe in God. He is honest about his atheism with members of my church and anyone else who asks and we respect him for that.

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Amie T. - I haven't studied Buddhism and all it's sects (there's like 300 or so), but I do know a bit about my parents sect of Buddhism (that is, until I ruined them - my parents). It's actually a very empowering religion, more philosophical than a "pray to this person" type thing. Being one with the earth, and the saying that most people have heard about "Do no harm and leaving only footprints" (the exact saying is escaping me). We all have the power within ourselves to do harm, or do good. To me, the very base of the religion is about being a good person... a godly person if you like.

I don't ascribe to any specific religion though. I've always enjoyed learning about different faiths and Buddhism seems to be the one that I feel most comfortable with overall if I had to pick one.

@Carol, no I wasn't being facetious. And I do get what you're saying. If you don't believe in god, you can't blame him for the bad stuff that happens. That's true, but those who don't believe in god usually say stuff like "shit happens".

@Jackie Rae - EXACTLY! Heck, by their definition the Dalai Lama is going to hell! How f*@ked up is that?! If anything he's more like god than anything else.

@Amanda - it does happen to some. When you see pastors cheating on their wives and then on Sunday espouse the virtues of chastity, it's hard not to starting seriously questioning. That happened to a friend of mine. Also, I wonder how many people starting questioning after the whole PTL scandal? People who had sent in their hard earned money in good faith. You had to send $2,000 for a spot in the PTL organisation to help build the university and whatever else they were building on that property - and what were you given for your 2 grand? The POSSIBILITY of being able to go to the theme park/hotel and church that was going into the PTL compound. My step mother and her sister sent money to them.

But you are right... to each their own. As long as they don't shove it onto me, I don't care what they believe (or don't believe) in.

Stifler's - posted on 11/22/2010

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I grew up going to church being friends with pastor's kids, having sunday lunch with the pastor and other churchies etc, a surefire way to turn anyone against organised religion.

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I think I turned away from being Catholic when my dad left at age 13. So many things went wrong in my life from then and tbh I didn't have the time to believe in a God who was so unhelpful.

Amanda - posted on 11/22/2010

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I didn't realize people were deciding to be atheist or agnostic based on the actions of other humans. I'm atheist but it's because of my education...I learned about evolution and how the earth was created. I have an anthropology degree and also learned about when religion and even Christianity was "made". I have nothing against religion at all. Everyone has their own choice and their own faith and can believe in what they want to believe in. Anyhoo - good question :)

Jackie - posted on 11/22/2010

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oooh boy is the perfect thread for me or what?! (If you read my latest input on the other thread)



The reason I believe the way I do is simply because it's not logical and doesn't make sense to me in my head. This could be drawn out so be patient...



FIRST AND FOREMOST - What didn't make sense to me is that fact that if "God" gave humans the ability to use reason and logical thinking why would the pure existence of Him be so illogical and sooo freaking hard believe?



Second (just like Carol mentioned in the OP) - According to Christianity, I could live my life as a good person. I don't cheat, lie, steal, commit adultery, kill... ect (kinda what the 10 commandments are all about) I have good morals and values and I do unto others as I would have done to me.... but I don't worship Him and give all of my thanks to Him for my life accomplishments and not to mention 10% of my hard earned money, then I'm destined to HELL. Now does that make any sense? I thought he was supposed to be forgiving?



According to some (or most) Christians - if I died today (knock on wood) and I strolled up on the pearly gates, I would go to hell even though I was a good person because I didn't accept him as my savior. That's BS in my opinion.



Thanks for listening :)

Petra - posted on 11/22/2010

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I think where a lot of people state that other's actions in the name of God have caused them to move further from, or reject, a certain faith has more to do with the fact that they are seeing actual people do something shitty and then attribute it to their faith (or lack thereof). The actions of others, despite their proclaimed faith, are still the actions of humans and have nothing to do with following the strictures of any one faith. Regardless of faith, and justifications for one's actions being attributed to faith, we are seeing human behaviours and for me, this commonality renders particular religious faiths a moot point. People choose to act the way they do, and you see an extremely broad interpretation of religion within any one sect, so it is hard to say that behaviours are bound by God when they are so clearly bound by individual choice.

I said the same thing about 5 ways, hope it somehow made sense!

It seems that a lot of people were raised within a particular religion and through exposure to poor representatives of that religion or good representatives of others, have moved away from or completely rejected their original faith. In my case, God was treated much like Santa or the Easter Bunny - my parents very lightly let us believe and then as we got older and questioned it, they encouraged us to decide for ourselves. I originally assumed there was a God, as everyone in my life seemed to as well, but as I got older (four, five years old) and my little brain became more logical and cause-effect driven, God and religion quickly ceased to make any sense for me. So I rejected God as my Father and opted not to get baptized at a very young age and my parents were fine with letting me. As I got older, my view that God is a fictional character became more and more cemented with my understanding of human nature, history, biology and physics. I am a hard-line atheist and 100% do not believe in the possibility of a God, just as I 100% do not believe in fairies or unicorns or Santa Clause. We are on our own and I do not find this scary or unsettling or disappointing at all.

Stifler's - posted on 11/22/2010

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I believe in God but I am against organised religion. Organised religions are just a moneymaking scheme and a way to make supposed Christians feel better than other people.

Johnny - posted on 11/21/2010

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Oh, I know Donna. But if we reject the idea that the truth is that which is written in the bible and translated by any of the various Christian sects, then we wouldn't believe that the bible is written by God (or the Torah or the Koran) and thus couldn't blame god for it... am I making sense? Or am I just taking you seriously when you were actually being facetious?

Amie - posted on 11/21/2010

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Carol, to -ma- to, to-mah-to..



It's the same thing. I just choose to use the word God. The few times I have talked to people face to face ti seems to make them at ease more. I'm not sure why.



Donna, that may well be. I'll have to see if I can find her book. I do like buddhism, I have a giant picture on my wall of quotes by Siddartha Guatama (the founder of Buddhism). In all honesty, I haven't looked far enough into it to know if it is something I would want to study farther than the quotes on my wall. Which really are beautiful. =)

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but Carol, the bible is supposed to be "god's word" and written by humans with god's direction. So he would be to blame for the inhumanity it fuels.



Same with the Torah and Koran.

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Carol, yeah, I'm good with that! Well, maybe not the pastel basket.. I'd rather have a red or black one. Solid gold wouldn't hurt either. :-)

Johnny - posted on 11/21/2010

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But Kati, can we really blame god for the way that humans have written his "holy word" for themselves and then used it to justify their own terrible behaviors? If there actually is a god, I certainly would not hold any higher power to task for the stupidity & cruelty of humanity.

Johnny - posted on 11/21/2010

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Amie, that makes a lot of sense to me. The way you describe all of our spirits together and individually. Although for me, I don't consider it being god, I just see it as the greater energy that we are still working towards understanding. And hopefully always will be, since I tend to believe that the truly wise never assume that they have all the answers.

And Donna, if god is actually a giant pink bunny, I'm pretty sure he would just bring us chocolate eggs in pastel baskets.

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Amie T. - You sound pretty Buddhist to me. :-) And didn't Shirley Maclaine say something similar (about everyone being god) in a book years ago and got laughed at?

Rosie - posted on 11/21/2010

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i agree with that as well. i just think that someone using their belief in god as their reason to think gay people are sinners has completely made my view on "him" to be someone i don't want to be associated with. if it weren't for all of "his" bullshit, millions of people would still be alive, and people would be treated fairly. the idea of him just makes ALOT of people act like lunatics. i really feel the world would be a better place if people would just think for themselves instead of using the idea of him as an excuse for their bad behavior. sure they were the ones that chose that behavior, but you can't tell me that most of them would act that way if "god" and his holy word hadn't been indoctrinated into them all of their lives. i dont' know, i feel like i keep on saying the same thing over again, hopefully i'm making myself clearer.

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Another thing about our church was we (the teens) were taught how other faiths were cults! Mormons, BUDDHISTS, Jonestown people, Jehovah's Witnesses.... Catholics! They were all thrown into the same box, which made no sense then, and makes even less sense now. I mean, who is to say that one religion is "right" over another?! How Christian-like is it to call another person a devil worshipper for believing differently to you?!

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Kati, you make perfect sense to me.

My sense of religion and spirituality has been my journey alone, not one that was forced on me by outsiders.

Unlike others, I was born into a Buddhist household. My father was actually born Lutheran, but converted after he'd married my mother. Maybe he had the same disillusion in his religion? I was never forced into any religion, not even the faith of my parents. They let me choose to be whatever I wanted. When I was around 8 I started going to churches with friends. I tried them all.. Methodist, Baptist, Nazarene, Latter Day Saints, etc. It was a small town, but there were heaps of churches. I thought vacation bible school was fun, but didn't actually get into any one of them until I was around 11. At that time my best friend's family went to the Nazarene church and I started going with them. Then, after a while I converted my parents into the church.

The following year, at the height of our faith, our pastor moved to another church in the city. About 6 months after that my mother got her diagnosis of leukemia and was told she had about 6 weeks to live. We had both congregations (ours and the one our old pastor had moved to) praying for my mother and I totally believed that all those people praying would make god hear and heal her. Through her own stubbornness, she lived 18 months. When she died, we had about 100 people praying for her and always telling me that god wouldn't take my mother away from her little girl (I was 14).

The day she died, we were in the hospital room. I saw her spirit leave the room moments before my father told me she was dead. (Ghosts are demons according to our church) That was the straw. I could not believe that god existed if he could ignore that many people's prayers and could be cruel enough to kill my mother off.

That 14 yo was filled with rage at being lied to. Going to church 3 times a week, converting her parents, trying to "help" her non-believing friends, not listening to the "devil's" music, not going to dances (dancing isn't allowed in that church)... none of it helped.

As I got older I realised that maybe I was a bit harsh to just slam the door shut. Maybe there is a god... doubt it, but maybe. If I see him/her/it then I'll believe it. I can now live and let live, and would probably classify myself as spiritual with a touch of agnostic. I've got friends of many faiths, some religious and some not so much, as well as friends who aren't any of the above.

I do remember asking questions that had no sufficient answers for me. Why weren't we allowed to dance? One time my father wanted the family to go to this Scandinavian night that had folk dancing. He had to ask our pastor if that was okay! It seemed weird to me. Did the pastor have a phone line direct to god? I knew all the "names" of rock bands. KISS = Kids in Search of Satan and we won't even go into what you heard if you played Queen's "We will Rock you" backward! I didn't hear anything, but the others in the teen group did.... or did they? Why were certain books banned? Why was god/Jesus/Holy spirit always shown as a white male?... especially given that Jesus was middle eastern! I had all these questions before my mother died, so I think the accumulation of everything just tipped the scales for me.

Hey, what if god is actually a giant pink bunny????

Amie - posted on 11/21/2010

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I'm a spiritualist, sort of, I guess. I honestly don't know what to call myself. I don't think I've ever met anyone who believes the way I do.

I believe in God, in a way. I think we are all god. (I'll explain further down)

I was raised in the Lutheran faith. We attended church every Sunday. I was baptized, I was confirmed to the church. I did it all, up until I turned 16 and went.. wtf?

I always knew what "they" were teaching from the bible did not add up in my heart and soul. Which is where you should feel your faith, whatever faith it may be. As I got older I noticed, more than ever, the judgment, the hatred, the utter crap they were teaching us (the congregation). On an individual level I liked the people but I turned away from religion. I did not turn away from God but my faith became (and still is becoming) more solid as the years pass because I stopped letting others tell me what God's will is for me.

Among my travels I looked into different sects of Christianity. I've even looked into a few other religions, though not too deeply, as by this time I was well onto my own path.

I've come to understand, in my own way, we are all god because we are all spiritual beings. We all have a soul, whether we choose to recognize it or not. We make our life's choices and if some turn away, that's fine. That is there lesson for this lifetime.

We are all god because there is no "one" almighty being judging all of us. We are simply here to experience what we need to for our spirits to be ready for the next journey we need to take. We all are striving to, at one point, become one of the all knowing spirits. To be wise beyond measure. (I say beyond measure because it is very rare to actually meet a truly wise person)

I'm not entirely sure when it all clicked together, I can't name a date or even an age. It's just been a collection of my own experiences, both in this world and the next. (ei: spirit encounters)

I think I'll stop here. I had more written but it went into a really long tangent on other aspects of my belief that really have nothing to do with why I believe the way I do. They are just what I believe.

I do now, and always will, reject religion. I have not rejected my belief in god. Even though my way of belief is hard for a lot of people to understand. It's why I don't talk about it often. People have questions and I can't answer the way they want to.

Johnny - posted on 11/21/2010

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"all of the great people within religion are great because of themselves, not because of some higher power. "

Absolutely agreed Kati. And I'd also say that the reverse is true. All the terrible people are terrible because of themselves, not some higher power making it so. Which is why I have such a hard time understanding the idea that "having a bad priest" or "knowing mean Christians" makes someone reject god. I do so for the same reasons as you, it just doesn't make any sense to me that there is a god. I am not absolutely certain of it, by any means, but I find it highly unlikely.

And for the record, I have seen a hot pink bunny.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flashesofpa...

Rosie - posted on 11/21/2010

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the same way i'm certain that if my neighbor had told me he'd seen hot pink bunnies and they told him that he needed to dig up my yard cause there was treasure there. there's no logic, theres no president (sp?), there's no sign of him anywhere around me.in all my years of begging for him to show himself to me, he hasn't. why so elusive? to me the only logical answer is that he doesn't exist. just as if i were to beg those hot pink bunnies to show themselves to me so i can find that treasure i'm positive they wouldn't show because they aren't there. i find it incredibly illogical that people would automatically believe in the possibility of god, but dispute the posibility of those pink bunnies.



all of the great people within religion are great because of themselves, not because of some higher power.

i wouldn't say i'm 100% sure there's no god, but i do know i would bet everything i had on the side that there isn't. i don't know, am i making sense, lol??

Johnny - posted on 11/21/2010

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I am seeing a lot of responses here about why people choose not to go to church, or choose not to follow certain tenets of the Christian faith, or choose not to follow the word of the bible at all, or choose not to participate in Christianity. And it all makes sense. There are some of you who have explained why it is that the actions of Christians or the Christian bible etc. has been a trigger that leads you to question your belief system and then eventually come to the conclusion that complete faith in a higher power does not fit in to your logic. But still, there is this idea that the actions of humans can separate us from a belief in a higher power.

I can honestly say that some of the most wonderful acts, deeds, and behaviors I've ever seen have come from people of faith. Those I used to work with at the church mission, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Tutu, etc. And some of the most despicable acts, deeds, and behaviours have also come from other people of faith. So I've never been able to understand this connection people make between losing their belief in man-made religion to losing their faith in god(desse)s. I can understand that it is hard for many to believe in much of man-made religion given that the stories and dogma are often illogical. But how did you become certain that there was no god at all?

Minnie - posted on 11/21/2010

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I am a Christian, but I thought that this might help- I copied and saved a post over a year ago that really stuck with me:

Quoting tracy:

why is it that religious people seem to be in favor of hitting kids, do you really think god wants you to hurt your child and if thats what the bible says then thankgod lm not into all that,hitting children is wrong, the reason teenagers are out of control is because they are copying there parents, hitting other instead of talking


I agree with Tracy. I think it's a riot that all these holy roller, God loving people are quoting the bible as a rationale for hitting their kids. You're all taking it a little too concretely...I don't think that hitting is what they had in mind when they wrote the passage.


When we were attending church I noticed how deluded everyone was. Our pastor was always going on about how "when they see you not acting Christian, not dressing 'godly', not consistently going to church, they don't want to be a Christian, because they see there is no change."

No. People don't want to be Christian because of the judgemental hatred that so many put forth.

Rosie - posted on 11/21/2010

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i was raised in a christian house, believed but had some questions about the whole thing, but still continued to have faith. i married an atheist, and while he didn't push his beliefs on me, we had ONE (and only one) discussion about religion where he stated how it has never made sense to him, and he just never believed. he asked me logical quesitons that i had always tried to avoid like, adam and eve and incest, and how did noah get all those animals on the arc? so i started to doubt it a bit more.
it wasn't until we got married in his families church that i started to REALLY doubt, yet i still thought it couldn't hurt to believe, what did i have to lose, i f didn't believe i could be risking eternal damnation? i half assed it for a long time.
oddly enough the church that i grew up in had not mentioned homosexuals while i was growing up. i didn't know that the church was against it. i had gone to a service with my mother at her new church and the sermon for the day was homosexuality and how horrible it was. by this time in my life i had already become friends with a gay man and his partner, i was also questioning my own sexuality. why did i get turned on by women?? and god thinks that it's wrong? but i can't help it, i know my friend can't help it. what are they teaching these people? are they seriously telling them that it's wrong and against god? none of it made sense to me. i just couldn't believe in a god anymore that thought that way. i didn't want to be associated with him anymore.
i still sometimes think that he may exist, and i could just believe in him the way i want to believe no organized religion involved, but then logic rolls around and i just can't do it. none of it makes any sense to me anymore.

so it wasn't the actions of a christian that just turned me, it was the accumulation of doubt, topped with the actions that just made the nice little package for me to not believe. i don't even want to anymore. THAT is because of some of the christians that i have come across.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 11/21/2010

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Growing up I went to church regularly….every Sunday and every other week day….looking back I felt that it was being shoved down my throat….

And I could not understand why God…would give you the choice to believe in him, but then send you to hell if you didn’t?

I had a friend who was catholic …and she prayed to Mary, who would then give the message to Jesus…that at the time made no sense to me…we had an argument…and I told her she was wrong and would more then likely go to hell..Because you should pray to no one but Jesus…

That is how I was taught in church…and so at 11 that is what I believed to be true…


But as I got older things didn’t add up…and then I found out that there was more to Jesus life…then was in the Bible (why leave parts out…tell the whole story, who are they to say what’s more important…if it’s the word of God..tell it ALL) …there was more about the gospel of Mary of magdala..then in the bible…she was made to look so bad, and had a short part…but in the missing books she had more of a life story…

Anyway to make a VERY long story short…in the last 7years I have become more spiritual, I do believe in a Higher power, but I also believe that I am a Divine being, that was put her to contribute to man kind, then just some lowly “Servant” in the negative aspect like a King or Queen has servants. (I could go on…but who wants to listen to me blab on and on…Not me)

I did change my belief because of the way some people around me acted, and because things didn’t add up…..(it didn’t feel right anymore….to think gays were wrong, and that you could go to hell for various reasons like disobeying the Ten /commandments..)

JuLeah - posted on 11/21/2010

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How can the behavior of others cause you to doubt what is true in your heart? It can't really, but it is a good excuse.
There might someday be a well known serial killer who is also a Jew. I won't give up my pracitce because of that. Part of being Jewish is asking hard questions and searching for answers. We are called upon to challenge the status quo. There are folks I know who behave in such a way that leaves me wishing to distance myself, but reject God becuase my neighbor acts like the back side of a mule? Never

Jodi - posted on 11/21/2010

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Here's my story: I grew up in a strict roman catholic household and attended a private Catholic school from kindergarten to 8th grade. Looking back, I now know I was always Agnostic (that being that I believe in *a* God, just not any one God that I've found in any religions or following any one religion.) I used to get in trouble ALL the time at Catholic school for asking questions that the other kids just didn't ask, I used to get in trouble ALL the time at home for questioning WHY God cared if I prayed in Church or in the backyard where I felt closer to Him. Reading the Bible reinforced for me WHY I believe what I do, and learning about other religions has only reinforced the same thing. I wouldn't say it's human action that has caused me to feel the way I do, it's just how I came to understand and feel about the issue. To me, all that matters is that you have a faith in God (or not if you're athiest) and that you conduct yourself as a moral, good human being. There are good and bad people in EVERY religion.

LaCi - posted on 11/21/2010

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I rejected the idea of God as a child. It never had anything to do with the behavior of humans. half my family is southern baptist, half is catholic, the presence of religion was always there. I can honestly say I just don't ever remember buying it. I never had faith. The behavior of religious people and the texts they claim they abide by reaffirm my lack of belief. It certainly didn't cause it.

Jessica - posted on 11/21/2010

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I don't know where to classify myself religiously. I guess agnostic-ish? Lol. I do believe there is *something* out there but I never get much further beyond that because I over analyze everything.

To sort of relate to your question, I have been contemplating for a while now going to church. Or maybe joining a kind of adult discussion group or bible study. Just to explore my desire to develop myself spiritually, maybe kick around some new ideas, etc. But honestly the main thing that stops me is not being able to relate to, and in many cases disagreeing with, religious people. On one hand, I desire the community aspect of religion but on the other, well, I went to church growing up, in high school and was active in youth group, mission trips etc and I know how "they" can be. The thought of having to deal with the kind of intolerance, narrow mindedness, possible bigotry is enough to turn me off to the idea. I know for a fact I would not be able to handle interacting with people who believe homosexuality is wrong, or similar things such as that. I know its probably not fair to pre-judge an entire group of people like that and I KNOW that not all Christians are like that. But I also know I would encounter those kinds of individuals and I know it would turn me off to the whole thing, and so its kept me from taking that step.

Other than that, the biggest philosophical issue keeping me from exploring more substantial religious beliefs is the problem of evil. When I think of all the fucked up shit that goes on all over the world, people living through atrocities and misery that we can't even begin to imagine, I have to question where God is in all that.

[deleted account]

"If I was god, I'd be pissed at all the human suffering that had been performed over the centuries in my name."

I agree.

[deleted account]

Actually Sara, you bring up a good point for me. When I was 15 I was very involved in my youth group at church. My youth pastor ended up getting arrested for sexual assault on one of the boys in my group. To add salt to the wound, it was a boy that I had been dating. I honestly can say that my youth pastor's actions did "help me out" with my doubt. I had always doubted a little, but when that happened, I think in a way it gave me an easy out for a long time. I didn't think about God. I thought about boys and drugs and work and my car and all kinds of crazy stuff. Then, when my head stopped spinning in my mid 20's, I realized that somewhere along the way I had lost sight of my faith so I tried to find it again. But I was faking it. I was trying to be what I was raised to be: a good Christian woman. Once I realized that, I started asking questions that no one could answer. I read. I read the Bible from cover to cover. I sat with pastor friends of mine and had "sessions". I watched documentaries. I read books. And although my seed of doubt was watered by a man of God, someone I did have on a pedestal, that seed was always there. Before. During. After. And once I got far away enough from the cloud of that horrible act, I decided for myself.

[deleted account]

I also think there's a big difference in "religion" and "spirituality". I think religion and I think business. I think spirituality and I think faith. I have no problem with someone having faith, even if it's in something or someone I don't believe in myself. My aunt is one of the most faithful Christians out there. She is non-judgemental, open minded, loving, kind, the works. I don't believe in her God, but I know that she does and that that faith is what makes her such a loving and lovable person. To me, religion is unnecessary, and the cause of far too many wars. If I was god, I'd be pissed at all the human suffering that had been performed over the centuries in my name.

[deleted account]

I grew up in the Christian faith (a Southern Baptist) and I am agnostic. I came to this conclusion on my own, based on what I believe is more realistic and scientific. Things either make sense or they don't and the whole idea of "god" just never did sit well with me. Documentaries have swayed me much, where people really haven't.

What it boils down to for me is: I was raised one way, grew up, doubted for a long time, read and researched on my own and then one day not long ago I finally said "uh uh nope". The only person that swayed that decision was me.

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