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"What happened to make you stop believing?"

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#46    Beany


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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:31 PM

I am a theist, pantheist being the closest, so I don't believe in the Christian concept of a single God who watches our every move, nor in the concepts of heaven & hell. I came to this  by studying the belief systems of other cultures, by not being so ethnocentric, and by careful & long thought. Every spiritual tradition has a creation myth, has their dogma, their core belief system. Almost all of them require suspension of critical thinking and acceptance on faith, have their religious heirarchy, and for most of them women are not nearly as important in their stories as the men are.

So I looked for a tradition or philosophy that spoke to me, as a woman, that I could speak with my daughter & grandaughters about, that would encourage them to be proactive, that would honor and value the feminine as being just as important as the masculine, that would empower them. I do not hold with nor believe any dogma from any tradition that holds women as less than.

#47    blind pew

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:16 AM

View PostMagicjax, on 03 April 2012 - 05:13 PM, said:

Have any of you atheist been asked this question when someone finds out you don't believe in god?

I don't generally talk about my religious views with people. Mainly only here in this section of UM and with friends that are also atheist. But on occasions it does come up and it's very common for people to ask me something along the lines of, "What happened to make you stop believing in god?"

There seems to be this misconception that a traumatic event has to take place for someone to stop believing in god. As if the act of no longer believing is the result of anger or fear. Some seem to think that something had to cause them to not like god and as a result disown god. Like a parent might disown a child that turned into a murderer or something. So in a way they think that atheist still believe in god but something happened to them and they blame god and say they stopped believing as a way of expressing their anger.

This strikes me as silly because it's more common for a person to "start believing in god" from a traumatic event. We hear about it all the time. The drug addict "finding god" or "being born again". The loose of a loved one causing someone to turn to god as a way of coping with their loss because of the idea they're in heaven now instead of gone.

In this line of thinking we should be asking any Christian "what happened to make you start believing in god?"

For me and I'm sure there are many that have a similar experience as I did. I really never believed. Oh, I tried to believe in god. I tried to believe because the society I live in taught me that god makes you a good person. You have to believe in god to be happy, be loved and avoid eternal hell. I tried with all my heart to believe this because I was suppose to. No, I HAD TO BELIEVE IN GOD!!!  This is what the world told me. But inside I always battled myself with this. I never really believed in god. I just tried very hard to and kept my doubts to myself. When I stopped trying to believe and just realized I really have no reason to believe in god other then what others seem to feel is a necessity to be happy. So I just stopped trying and the result is that burden being lifted from my life.

I have a friend that I found out also doesn't believe in god and his feelings about it are pretty close to mind. And he feels the same way as I just mentioned above about never really believing in god but use to try to. Well about 4 years ago his father died. About six months later his mother died. Then another six months after that his brother passed away. A family of 5 went down to a family of two in just a year and a half. You can't get much more of a traumatic time then that in a life.

I consider him one of my best friends but he lives a few hours away so we only hang out in person 4 or 5 times a year. The last time we hung out a few weeks ago we talked about religion. It started as a recollection of the time thus total stranger came up to me after I did a magic show and told me that I should join her church to rid myself of the evil spirits that allow me to perform my magic. But that opened the topic of religion. I thought about all he's been through in recent years so I asked him if all those losses made him change his mind about religion.

He said that a part of him wishes it was true because it would mean he'd see his parents and brother again. But he still doesn't believe in god. This lead to him telling me some stories about the people he lost. Most if which where very funny stories and he laughed a lot.

He had just seen them again. He relived those moments with them and in a way he just spent time with them again. In a way this is more profound then the thought that we'll see those lost loved ones after we die. Because we don't have to wait, don't have to die and don't have to wonder if we will see then again.

Trauma doesn't cause people to stop believing in god. It's often what makes people start believing in god. Because its an easy patch to fill that void of the unknown and unanswerable. I know this isn't always the case. But I'm sure trauma had turned more people toward religion then against it.
Our civilization needs to grow up and stop believing in non existent deities and start relying on each other

#48    Sherapy


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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:11 PM

View Postwillowdreams, on 07 April 2012 - 11:14 AM, said:

I think my answer always confuses people.

See, they think because I grew up in a religious area of the country and my family is deeply involved in their religious beliefs, I grew up drowning in the faith, since the age of 8ish, bible studies, theocracy group meetings, out in service door to door et et that I would automatically believe in god.

SImple truth is, i never really did, not really. i went through the motions because as a child that is what you do. you do what your parents tell you or face punishment or 'upsetting' them.

I just never really believe. To me it was just a bunch of old stories from long ages ago and turned into a religion. the words 'god was looking out for you' when i would childishly make wrong choices that could have come out horribly bad, made zero sense to me. why would i be more special then those kids starving in other countries or those kids killed on the turnpike in a horrible semi accident a week or so previous? i wasnt any better then them.

some people of different faiths then what i grew up in (Jehovahs Witnesses do not believe you go to heaven when you die) who believed in heaven sometimes made comments 'Oh that person was so wonderful that god wanted him with him!'

well that certainly did not make sense either. i was a darn tootin good kid. so were many of my friends, guess we wernt wanted in heaven so we had to stay in our homes.

others would say things like 'you are going through your horrible times because it will make you stronger', ummmmmmmmmmmm no?

it never made sense,no matter what faith it was. it all sounded like fairy tales set in real cities, like loads of books today. I mean, harry potter is set in england, which really does exist! doesnt mean there is an alternate magical world within our own where there is school for magic! the 'stories' of the bible, majority cannot be proven to be true, one is told to 'take it on faith'. well, if i am going to take something not proven on faith, then how about i choose another story i like better and is funner to read. i like harry potter and the magical world within our own, so i think that would be more enjoyable to 'take on faith'.

or even better, maybe i can take on faith that i will get all i want if i do one of those 'work at home deals' if i just send $29.99 for the paperwork! or amway!

people can scream 'prove to me there is no god', and i will laugh at their silly jest, because  really. you cannot prove 'without faith', that their is a god. i do not see god, i do not smell him or feel him physically or any other way. i do not breath him, i do not drink him. he has not manifested himself in such a way to show proof he exists. for someone who seemingly talked a lot to his people way back when, he sure has shut up as people advanced in inventions and industry. perhaps if he did exist, he decided he would rather be someplace else and left?

in my heart he exists? hrmm, i feel the love i have for my family and i can see and feel their warmth of love. i do not feel any other being tugging at my heart strings. and really seriously, if he is the great father of all, he would know how to tug at them, because people, we parents are wonderful beings and we PUT those heartstrings on our kids so we can tug em and get their attention.

no one is tugging at mine.

so i spose the answer of

i never really believed in god any more then i seriously believed in santa clause or the easter bunny (though in reality i would not have as JW's do not teach their children to believe in such things), and in my heart, i never believed in god.

but i do believe in people!!!!

Same for me, and it wasn't for a lack of my trying to beleive in g-d or my parents lack of exposing me to the idea.
Catholic school, included. I just knew deep down I would be walking a different path.

I have had mystical  experiences as an adult that didn't do it either.

The idea of g-d just doesn't work  for me.

I really think that for some the g-d gig works for them, I'm just not one of 'em.LOL.

Edited by Sherapy, 10 April 2012 - 11:18 PM.

#49    Flight


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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:44 PM

I read the Life of Pi, looked up the word 'agnostic' and the rest is history. Still not sure if I'm really agnostic or just plain atheist

#50    Meiliken


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:56 AM

I hit the age of reason, and instead of covering my eyes, looked it full in the face and said "give me your best shot."   ;)

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself
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There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.
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Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:14 PM

T he hypocrisy, the constant bible thumping, the intolerance, the corruption, and arrogance.

#52    Ealdwita


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:29 PM

What happened to make me stop believing? Fifteen years as a soldier. (Gott Mit Uns? - I don't think so!)

"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnáwan þín gefá!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".
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#53    Mr Walker

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:43 AM

View Postblind pew, on 10 April 2012 - 02:16 AM, said:

Our civilization needs to grow up and stop believing in non existent deities and start relying on each other
That might work IF the deities actually were non existent. But human deities do exist. Certainly as psychological archetypes which influence all aspects of individual and social behaviiour, and more uncertainly, to many they exist as independent physical entities.

I agree with the bit about growing up, but growing up means facing actual physical realities. One of these is that humans and god(s) coexist; at least on one level, and possibly on another. A grown up person use all the abiities and skills at their command, including intellectual, emotional and spiritual resources. But they use them wisely. A grown up person doesn't deny that which is real to them, but uses that knowledge/understanding with wisdom, constructively, and creatively.
LAstly, humans are limited in their ability to cooperate. While we are social creatures we are, from birht independent, ego driven, and identifying self as the prime important thing in the universe. This is natural, given the individuality  and separation of both our body/sensory organs, and our mind, from all other human beings.

We have to teach everyone that no individaul is more important than another, and that no individual is as important as the society in which they live. Unfortunately modern humans seem to be going in entirely the opposite direction to this,

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

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