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#1 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

I know there are Atheist threads already, but this is more for Theists of all kinds or people on the fence than it is for Atheists.

Feel free to ask anything you'd like about Atheism, Agnosticism, how we view other religions/beliefs, our own beliefs/goals, or any related issues and I'll post back in a timely manner with my opinions and maybe some source material depending on the questions. Please no hate messages, flaming, trolling, try not to make it personal, and ABSOLUTELY NO THREATS, I'm willing to have a reasonable discussion/debate and I'll make every effort to keep my responses logical and reasonable, but I will absolutely flag you if I see any of the bold, even if you're arguing from my point of view.

The following is what I consider to be my "religious" background, feel free to skip and start asking questions if you're not a big reader, but I'll refer you back here if you're asking something about me.

Like all of you I was born an atheist, but my parents did me the service of not undoing that by filling my head with nonsense and wishful thinking. I was raised agnostic, by which I mean religion never entered the picture as either a positive or negative. My parents took one of the absolute best parenting positions possible and decided not to throw that stuff at me until I was ready to understand it, and I mean really ready to understand it, not when I was old enough to read the same stuff with a for kids spin on it. I learned all about the different religions of the world around the time when a few of my friends started having Barmitzvahs, but this was also a critical time for the entire country (if not the world) to look at religion, because I happened to be that age around 2001 when the World Trade Center attacks occurred.

So for me there was an additional terrifying concept in the mix: all of a sudden people that I didn't even know were all that different from each other were hating each other because of something some entirely different people did. This is were my perverse fascination with religion first sparked, and I say perverse because religion is something that fascinates me, but also disgusts me near every time I encounter it. For years after I kept the label agnostic while I studied various religions. I read through my Bible, Old Testament, parts of the Koran, and The Book of Mormon, Taoist and Buddhist literature, Hindu scripture (probably the coolest to read up on) and the myths and belief systems of civilizations which no longer exist including Theogony and Works and Days by Hesoid, which explains the ancient Greek deities and creation story. But a funny thing happens when you read through all this conflicting ideology: you start to realize how silly it is that people take it so seriously. For a while after that I even actively sought my "spiritual" side through less conventional ways. I experimented with drugs, music, nature, letting go of social concerns, escaping the burden of possession, vows of silence and chastity, meditation (which I still do, though not in a "spiritual" way), worshiping my own mind and body, and just worshiping the nature of creation for its intensity and scope.

That's about when I decided to do away with Agnosticism and start calling it what it is: Atheism. Atheism, of course NOT meaning that I am of the opinion that no deities have ever or do currently exist, but meaning that I do no see any compelling reason to believe any of deities posited to have existed. And if you think about it, every religious person who's ever existed takes a stance of Atheism with regards to every religion they do not subscribe to; you see no compelling reason to believe in Scientology, Mormonism, 7th Day Adventism, and I just take it one step further by including your particular brand in that list.

Alright go ahead. Ask away.

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#2 Edited by Chaos Prime (10857 posts) - - Show Bio

why are atheist so obsessed with religion?

#3 Posted by JwwProd (10324 posts) - - Show Bio

Do you play video games?

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#4 Edited by MaccyD (4972 posts) - - Show Bio

What do you think of Apatheism?

Personally I believe it affects the believed number of Atheists in the world. It makes it seem there is more Atheists than there actually, as Atheism is more well-known than Apatheism.

#5 Posted by MaccyD (4972 posts) - - Show Bio
#6 Edited by ImagineMan16 (466 posts) - - Show Bio

Do you consider yourself hostile toward religion/religious people, or generally apathetic/unconcerned? That's more of a question to you personally, rather than about atheism as a whole, because there are so many atheists who go so many different ways on the subject.

#7 Posted by Chaos Prime (10857 posts) - - Show Bio
#8 Posted by MaccyD (4972 posts) - - Show Bio

@chaos_prime: I don't understand the question. Apatheists are people who are indifferent or who don't care about religion, many people confuse Atheism with this.

#9 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29510 posts) - - Show Bio

why are atheist so obsessed with religion?

So it begins.

#10 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (20428 posts) - - Show Bio

You haven't payed your monthly fee for the CV Atheist Club yet. Time to cough up the cash my friend.

*sticks out hand*

#11 Posted by TheAcidSkull (18363 posts) - - Show Bio

may i have a moment of your time to talk about our lord and Savior?

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#12 Edited by Chaos Prime (10857 posts) - - Show Bio

@maccyd said:

@chaos_prime: I don't understand the question. Apatheists are people who are indifferent or who don't care about religion, many people confuse Atheism with this.

Sorry my fault.I ment it as indifference a form of Atheism.

#13 Posted by Chaos Prime (10857 posts) - - Show Bio

@chaos_prime said:

why are atheist so obsessed with religion?

So it begins.

No it ends here LOL well from me anyway ;)

#14 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@jwwprod: I for one feel that religion does a lot of harm to scientific progress. Especially here in America where we have things like The Creationism Museum and people still trying to force Creationism (or ID doesn't matter what you call it) into science classes across the country.

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#15 Edited by MaccyD (4972 posts) - - Show Bio
#16 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@imagineman16: I consider myself a bit offput by religious people in general, but I wouldn't consider myself hostile towards them. I am definitely hostile towards Evangelical preachers who cash in on belief, but the believers themselves aren't really to blame. I have friends who are Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and some who do the whole "Mother Earth Gaia" thing, but as long as they're not trying to push their beliefs on me or harming others with those beliefs, I don't particularly care.

@theacidskull: Cthulhu?

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek: Can I pay you by just saying "Respect"?

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#17 Posted by TheAcidSkull (18363 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: i was going to say batman but M'kay.

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#18 Posted by Saint_Wildcard (11757 posts) - - Show Bio
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#19 Edited by hyiena (1925 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't understand why if your religious why you would belong to a religion that is only more than a couple of thousand years old. Did the God of that religion not care about all the people that came before that?

#20 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@jwwprod: Of course. Love video games.

@maccyd: Sorry my first post responded to you but it didn't go through :/ I think Apatheism can definitely lead to Atheism, and of course could be skewing estimated numbers and what not. But I really don't like to think about it in terms of numbers because I'm American and we're so outnumbered and hated in some places here. We're not yet at a point where a candidate for president can be taken seriously if he's not at least somewhat religious, but hopefully we're getting there, and if Apatheism is a step towards that I'm all for it.

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#21 Posted by JwwProd (10324 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: Have you ever play any of the Command and Conquer games?

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#22 Edited by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@hyiena: Well If you're Christian, your God certainly does care about previous religions, and he demands you crush or convert them. He also burns all of those guys for eternity in Hell, but it's because he cares.

@jwwprod: Yeah used to love those. You thinking Brotherhood of Nod?

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#23 Posted by Marionettegeist (1912 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate said:

@hyiena: Well If you're Christian, your God certainly does care about previous religions, and he demands you crush or convert them. He also burns all of those guys for eternity in Hell, but it's because he cares.

He also created the Devil and forced him to betray him, so that you can burn in hell for all eternity if you so choose, or don't take a stance at all. Isn't he a swell guy?

#24 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@dctv3363: Indeed. He is surely a God of love and peace.

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#25 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (20428 posts) - - Show Bio
#26 Posted by Bierschneeman (4161 posts) - - Show Bio

You haven't payed your monthly fee for the CV Atheist Club yet. Time to cough up the cash my friend.

*sticks out hand*

A UNION>>>>>> I KNEW IT.....

*pulls out a baseball bat.*

#27 Posted by henrik (562 posts) - - Show Bio

Do you like metal?

#28 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (20428 posts) - - Show Bio

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

You haven't payed your monthly fee for the CV Atheist Club yet. Time to cough up the cash my friend.

*sticks out hand*

A UNION>>>>>> I KNEW IT.....

*pulls out a baseball bat.*

*pulls out a Science textbook.....with a gun in it*

#29 Edited by Marionettegeist (1912 posts) - - Show Bio

@bierschneeman said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

You haven't payed your monthly fee for the CV Atheist Club yet. Time to cough up the cash my friend.

*sticks out hand*

A UNION>>>>>> I KNEW IT.....

*pulls out a baseball bat.*

*pulls out a Science textbook.....with a gun in it*

*pulls up chair, and turns on camera*

#30 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (20428 posts) - - Show Bio

@dctv3363 said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

@bierschneeman said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

You haven't payed your monthly fee for the CV Atheist Club yet. Time to cough up the cash my friend.

*sticks out hand*

A UNION>>>>>> I KNEW IT.....

*pulls out a baseball bat.*

*pulls out a Science textbook.....with a gun in it*

*pulls up chair, and turns on camera*

*flips over chair and throws camera at DCTV*

#31 Posted by SithLantern93 (2189 posts) - - Show Bio

Are you an agnostic atheist like most of the atheists are?

#32 Edited by Marionettegeist (1912 posts) - - Show Bio

@dctv3363 said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

@bierschneeman said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

You haven't payed your monthly fee for the CV Atheist Club yet. Time to cough up the cash my friend.

*sticks out hand*

A UNION>>>>>> I KNEW IT.....

*pulls out a baseball bat.*

*pulls out a Science textbook.....with a gun in it*

*pulls up chair, and turns on camera*

*flips over chair and throws camera at DCTV*

*Crawls away while weeping softly... secretly reaching for an assault rifle out of hammer space*

#33 Posted by Bierschneeman (4161 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate said:

@imagineman16: I consider myself a bit offput by religious people in general, but I wouldn't consider myself hostile towards them. I am definitely hostile towards Evangelical preachers who cash in on belief, but the believers themselves aren't really to blame. I have friends who are Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and some who do the whole "Mother Earth Gaia" thing, but as long as they're not trying to push their beliefs on me or harming others with those beliefs, I don't particularly care.

@theacidskull: Cthulhu?

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek: Can I pay you by just saying "Respect"?

everyone hates evangelicals... (if uninterested in the rest of my post, feel free to stop. I am not offended, but I will now continue with my experiences with NOT evangelicalism, I do not wish to preach however)

even religious people....

my best friend is a diehard muslim... I am an Episcopalian (if your unfamiliar, we are the "middle Way" between anything christian , as well we are called the questioning christians...as we look at the stories as written by man...not ordained by god...therefore man may have slipped his own thoughts into the text. so a grain of salt, always) we have very long conversations on religion. where we dispell myths about eachothers cultures... neither of us have every deemed to think to switch, and neither of us have ever pushed...I have gone to mosque, and prayed during Eid , he has come to church and prayed....

#34 Posted by cameron83 (7630 posts) - - Show Bio

What do you think of people who try to enforce their own views as fact? Or ones that look down on others for their religions/non-religious views?

#35 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (20428 posts) - - Show Bio

@dctv3363 said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

@dctv3363 said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

@bierschneeman said:

@yourneighborhoodcomicgeek said:

You haven't payed your monthly fee for the CV Atheist Club yet. Time to cough up the cash my friend.

*sticks out hand*

A UNION>>>>>> I KNEW IT.....

*pulls out a baseball bat.*

*pulls out a Science textbook.....with a gun in it*

*pulls up chair, and turns on camera*

*flips over chair and throws camera at DCTV*

*Crawls away while weeping softly... secretly reaching for an assault rifle out of hammer space*

*stomps on DCTV's back, immobilizing him*

#36 Edited by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@cameron83

: That's a really tricky subject. Obviously no one's view or understanding of the world are set in stone, even gravity is just a theory and can be overturned if a different one comes along that seems to better fit what we observe, but at the end of the day we do have this thing called the scientific method which seems to be the best way we've come up with for understanding the world we live in, so I side with evolution, the big bang theory, etc. The difference between these things and teaching religious beliefs is that these are always subject to change, just like the world view of the solar system did from the Ptolemaic system to Solar System. If you're talking more of a North Korean style brainwashing or Middle Eastern enforcement of religion, I'm absolutely against the practice. Everyone should be able to come to their own decisions without threats of torture or death.

@henrik

: I do, it's one of my favorite types of music.

@sithlantern93

: No, I go with atheism. The way I see it you either believe or you don't, you're theist or atheist. Agnosticism says "I don't know" which is what any sane person theist or atheist should say. No one knows for sure, but as an atheist I say "I see no compelling reason to believe in anything outside beyond the realms of what we consider to be the observable universe nor any deities or supernatural phenomena." My personal position is one of skepticism in all matters, simply if there is no credible reason to believe in something, I don't. But of course, I don't claim that I know for sure there are no gods.

@bierschneeman

: That's great. It's always good to keep an open mind about other religions and cultures, never outright dismiss someone who thinks differently than you. Instead the best questions to ask when examining another's beliefs are "What exactly do you believe, and why do you believe that?" We have a tendency to stereotype and group people without even meeting them, many people assume all Mormons are nuts, Muslims are radical, etc. And it's great to take your own scripture with a grain of salt as you say. I can only imagine how different the world would be if all Christians were Biblical Literalists. And if you've come to your own terms with religion and are open-minded about people of other beliefs then I have no problem with you being religious, there are plenty of people out there like that. Unfortunately, like political moderates, your voices tend to be drowned out by the radicals from any particular side, so if atheist groups and religious people who look at it like you do could come together to try to dispel some of the hate and radicalism from both sides that would be the perfect next step towards us all being able to get get along together in society.

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#37 Edited by Bierschneeman (4161 posts) - - Show Bio

ok before there wasn't a question... now there is.

say you have (or will have) children....where do you show them a moral compass?

what I mean by that , is most religions have stories or lessons to instill into their youth of morality... and these are usually very in depth and all encompassing. sure you can correct them when wrong or you can have them read superman over and over until they get it... but that doesn't necessarily cover everything that you may want to instill. how would you convey, all the morality that you hold dear?

#38 Posted by IndieComicsFTW (3253 posts) - - Show Bio

may i have a moment of your time to talk about our lord and Savior?

:) lol

#39 Posted by King Saturn (224811 posts) - - Show Bio

may i have a moment of your time to talk about our lord and Savior?

Darkseid ?

#40 Posted by IndieComicsFTW (3253 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: I have a quick question. What if your views were wrong? Isnt Religion like Insurance? You have no proof you will ever need it, but be nice to have it if ya did :)

#41 Posted by Assman (1874 posts) - - Show Bio

Just youtube Christoper Hitchens and any vs debate to get a run down on religion. Love and miss the Hitchslaps he use to dish out :-)

#42 Posted by King Saturn (224811 posts) - - Show Bio

I remember when they had Christopher Hitchens on a News Channel and they asked him about Jerry Falwell and his passing... Classic Stuff.

#43 Edited by cameron83 (7630 posts) - - Show Bio

@assman: Christopher Hitchens?

@hecktate: I have a quick question. What if your views were wrong? Isnt Religion like Insurance? You have no proof you will ever need it, but be nice to have it if ya did :)

while I am not the OP,I don't think anyone should join a religion "just in case". Because even if you did,it would still kinda mean that you don't believe in the religion or the god. It would mainly mean that you're doing it for ones own personal gain or to cover their a$$,which,obviously the deity of that religion may not like it.

#44 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@bierschneeman: You teach children a moral compass through the values of empathy, allowing them to picture themselves in the place of others. There are also tons of stories for kids that teach the same types of values you would find in the more pleasant parts of religious teachings but without the religious aspects. Also consider that religious teachings aren't always kid friendly and sometimes the values they teach are just to have faith beyond reason. The story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac (spoiler) teaches that blind faith is good, and even Noah's Ark which is generally told to children starts with "God was real angry and about to kill everyone..."

@indiecomicsftw That's called Pascal's Wager, basically it says "No loss in believing but if it's true and you didn't believe you're screwed." But maybe you die and you don't get into Valhalla because you believed in Christianity, or you don't get the sweet Egyptian afterlife because you didn't get buried right. The truth is no one knows what happens when you die, I'd rather live my life here than be worried about the details of what comes next.

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#45 Edited by russellmania77 (15758 posts) - - Show Bio

Are you a belieber?

#46 Edited by mrdecepticonleader (18625 posts) - - Show Bio

Are there any you tubers who you like watching who are atheist and voice their views about religious related subjects?

(I am an atheist by the way, just thought Id mention it since alot of religious people have asked you questions)

#47 Posted by Squares (8024 posts) - - Show Bio

Why do you think some atheists are so obnoxious about being atheists?

#48 Edited by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@russellmania77: I do believe that a creature named Justin Beiber walks this planet, but I do not have much faith in him.

@mrdecepticonleader Matt Dillahunty from The Atheist Experience public access show is always great, but they run a free to call in to TV show so sometimes they have to deal with some of the super crazies. Aside from him, I'm sure you know Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Penn Jillette, Bill Nye, (I actually don't know that he's atheist but he does a lot of talks about how bad creationism is for developing minds and a lot about searching for life outside our planet) James Randi, Stephen Pinker, (though he doesn't really discuss atheism so much as look back on the terrible things society has done in the name of religion and how we can move forward) Sam Harris (talks a lot about morality w/o god @bierschneeman I know you were asking about that yesterday) and Stephen Fry. I don't watch a lot of youtubers but I have a deep respect for people like this who are are (mostly) experts in a particular field of science or social sciences and they apply what they know to the field of religion and how religion functions in the world in order to show that it is not correct or not the best path for humanity to keep following.

@squares Unfortunately the world is full of obnoxious people of all kinds. People are obnoxious with politics, economic policy, music, movies, literature, comics, religion, atheism, and anything else you could name. If something exists that people are passionate about, there's always going to be some people who take it too far or don't know when to just walk away from an argument. People tend to think that walking away means you're giving up, when realistically not everyone in the world is open to the debate in the first place.

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#49 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@mrdecepticonleader: Oh yeah, and if you're interested in watching/listening to lectures on atheism and religion and how they effect education, science and technology, society, morality, etc check out Ted.com, RSA.org/events/rsaAnimate, and BigThink.com. These are all done by experts in their fields and the presentations for Ted and RSA especially are very well done (Big Think is mostly interviews).

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#50 Posted by mrdecepticonleader (18625 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: I see. Yeah some of those are great speakers and experts at what they do. It is nice that we have people out there, that help to show that you don't need to live in fear with religion but that you can live free of it just fine.