Hi everybody :)

I'm Katrina and I'm an atheist.

My experience with religion is from my Christian elementary school as well as my family. I found being a part of both institutions was quite distasteful, and my belief in god wavered as soon as I entered high school, when I labeled myself "agnostic". Honestly, I don't want to be an atheist or an agnostic or a believer, but everyone is one of those things, right? I will say I love the study of religions. I find them fascinating, the most epic stories ever told in History. I am only strongly opposed to how much harm and hate they create...I have no problem with people believing in fairytales, because I don't want to take the magic out of anyone's life. If a little ignorance saves someone from the dark depressive states I have seen when facing the truth of the triviality of the universe, I will let them have it. Regardless, I am not here to argue for or against religions, as there is, I believe, no answer to whether they create more harm than good, there is no way to know. 

I joined this website in order to talk to other atheists, as I only know one and he is not very sensitive to my struggles with being a non-believer. I want to understand the world views of other atheists....what perspectives on life a hopeful atheist has. 

I'm an awful atheist.......I know I'm exactly what every religious person wants an atheist to be and I'm on a mission to change it. XD

Thank you :)

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I can certainly relate as far as labeling and acceptance goes. I still cringe a little when I refer to myself as atheist. I`m slowly outgrowing this bizarre tendency, but I think I react that way from conditioning (Catholic upbringing...lots of guilt involved, lol). Atheism seems so harsh, so final, whereas agnosticism seems like a gentler way to refer to one`s self. I think we label ourselves for the sake of simplicity. Without a label, it would be difficult to refer to others. At least...those are my thoughts. I`m quite happy being part of this global community of atheists.

I love studying religions as well, but more of the mythological aspect than anything. I`m not a fan of organized religion, because I notice there`s a lack of curiosity and proper critical thinking within these organizations. They rely on authorities, authoritative texts, etc. Some religious authorities have agendas and create a toxic environment for followers--but I digress. This could turn into a huge discussion quite easily.

I wouldn`t want to take people`s fantasies away from them either. I think certain people need delusions to stay happy and sane. If those delusions keep them happy, sane, and they don`t harm others, I`m all for that. Saying that, if those delusions lead people to cause hard (even self harm), I`m very much against it.

I myself have a dreadful mood disorder and sometimes I wish I could believe that something was out there to care for me and take the pain away, but I know better. I`m a `hopeful atheist` in the sense that I hope for tolerance and understanding. I hope that non-believers and believers alike can one day agree to disagree and we can strip away the stigma from the word `atheist`.

That was a VERY long winded way of saying... welcome. :)
Thank you for putting in the time to write such a thorough response!

I'll agree with you in saying I'm not much of a fan of organized religions, or really organized anything, but that is a different discussion.

I like your idea of being hopeful as an atheist, but what I mean is being hopeful as a human being, an individual creature working to carve out an existence in the vastness of the universe. What is there to hope for? Chemical reactions in my brain that will create feelings of joy and accomplishment until I stop consuming the planet and die? Sorry...it all sounds so dire. Perhaps I'm going beyond the realm of religion, but I don't know what else to label the pursuit of human importance. I feel like religion exists to create importance or meaning. I know atheists "get to make meaning for themselves", but honestly I just don't understand the concept or how to begin to do that. It's what I meant by coming here, talking to other atheists who have done that for themselves, in order to try to be more hopeful.
Oh my....I apologize. Your response did not really warrant all of this dribble. I'm just a bit of a mental mess at the moment. XD

Thanks again for the welcome :)
Hello Katrina! Feel free to check out the groups section and sign up for any you might find interesting, the community is quite diverse.

>..the truth of the triviality of the universe

Promises of a great life after death is a de-motivator for life, that only serves to cause you to miss out on life experiences. Don't you think?

Also, I am often wrong and this may be one of those cases but leaving religion is something you have to take in stages much like leaving any cult or grieving for a loved one. Based on this premise and my perceived notion of your tone, may I suggest this series by Julia Sweeny.

In any case I'm very interested in what you think "an awful atheist... that every religious person wants an atheist to be", means exactly.
Hello there! Thanks for the suggestion :)

What I mean by the triviality of the universe is not that the lack of life after death makes life meaningless, that is just a Christian construct to create meaning. Every religion has different views on what creates meaning in life, and not all of them involve an afterlife.
Anyway, I do agree that it can be a de-motivator for life. Not necessarily for everyone but that is certainly a logical conclusion.

I mean the triviality in the universe as in....it is a trivial thing. Being a human on this planet is trivial. Life is trivial. Planet earth, the stars, galaxies, none of it has any importance. At least from my perspective, without there being something greater than what we can see, as i believe there is not, there is no real importance to anything. What I mean by "magic" is the unexplainable, the amazing. And I honestly feel as if anything is explainable, even though humans do not have the capacity to do so. It makes me feel like being human and going through the motions of life is trivial, or simply boring.
I'm sorry, I feel like I am not really getting across what I am thinking very well. It's all so......abstract, I suppose.

It has been years since I left the religion I was forced to be as a child. I am happy I no longer identify myself as such. What I am struggling with is losing what can be referred to as a "sacred". Not a god or even an entity. Just something that is.....beyond. I suppose it is hard to explain because that is part of the definition...it cannot be explained. I keep facing the question of whether or not that is really even atheism, defined as the lack of gods. Is it the lack of anything sacred as well? Or am I in the wrong place? Regardless, I did listen to part of Sweeny's series and it was extremely enjoyable, so thank you for that :)

Well, let me clarify that I meant religious people that don't like atheists and are against atheism. I know there are religious people who are perfectly accepting of atheists and wouldn't wish this on them. An awful atheist is defined, to me, as a self-loathing, hopeless individual because of said atheism. I'm sure some of the more despicable religious folk would want an atheist to be a criminal or drug addict just to prove that atheists are "bad", and I am neither of those things. That's just what I get from my exposure to religious people, I may be wrong. But, that is what I meant, I hope I made myself more clear.

Thanks again for the response!
I'm sure nearly everyone can empathize with what you are saying here Katrina but religion does not solve the meaning of life issues if you actually follow them to their logical conclusions. The afterlife according to religion is not clearly defined and is vague because to some extent there is happiness in ignorance and community. If they said that heaven was fluffy clouds with people just sitting around playing harps then I'll stay on earth thanks!

Personally I have addressed many of the concerns you bring up for myself through personal relationships, learning, creative activities, political activism, philanthropy/humanism, travel, exercise...etc.

I imagine you will have to do the same, but don't get bogged down with things like (entropy) the life and death of the universe, the size of the universe, etc. unless those things bring you happiness and they can... Personally I find the universe amazing and beautiful: The Secret Life Of Chaos, or on a bigger scale I love looking at stellar nurseries
Welcome, Katrina! You will find all sorts of discussions here on Atheist Nexus. It's good to know one is not alone as an atheist.
I think as you get more used to not believing you will not miss it. Many people miss the community feeling of religion, and see out secular groups and other non religious organisations and activities.

Another source of atheist discussion I enjoy are the podcasts of the atheist experience.

I think religions does do more harm than good. It keeps people ignorant, leads people to believe things that are not true and suppress' people who would otherwise be free in society and free in their minds. Not to mention all the religious persecution and wars that happened all down the centuries.

Look at the huge gap in scientific advancement that Christianity created. Imagine if that gap wasn't there. Imagine reaching our stage of progress some centuries ago, with a population of 2-3 billion, plenty of resources, plenty of room and time to consider how to avoid the mistakes of the past. That was stolen from us.

Good people will do good things and bad people will to bad things, but for good people to do bad things it takes religion.
Thanks for the welcome :)
Seeing as I never really connected to a religious community, I don't miss it much, but for some reason being an atheist does make me feel alienated. I am glad to have found what so far seems like a very welcoming community. I actually heard of Atheist Nexus on an atheist podcast, so thank you for referring me to another one, I do enjoy them :)

As far as whether a religion does more harm than good, I am aware of all the points you made, and I do agree that those things are extremely harmful. I just believe it is impossible for humans to quantify the amount of good and the amount of bad of every religion ever to exist, not just Christianity, which is why I do not hold my opinion on either side. I am not here to argue this point, I only included it in my introduction to help people better understand my perspective as an atheist.

When I read your final comment, I was very confused. Do you mean to say that there is a line and that on one side there are good people and on the other there are bad people and religion causes that line to be crossed? That people are inherently bad or good? Does that not reek of religious undertones? You may have just said that to make a point, but think critically about it, there is no line. A good person to one individual is a bad person to somebody else, and it is all wrought in ignorance. If one is allowed to subscribe to that ignorance to make sense of the world why can't somebody subscribe to the ignorance religions uphold in order to make sense of their world?

I'm sorry, I will say I saw that statement as just...crude and unnecessary. I am sure you made that statement in order to add to your argument, which I will say is one I stated in my introduction I did not want to have. I am just a little annoyed at your inconsideration of that. I do not mean to offend you in any way.

Regardless, thank you again for welcoming me :)
One quick thing about your scientific advancement graph. The "Christian Dark Ages" is more or less limited to Europe, during this time Asia or other areas could have advanced outside of the influence of Christianity. I think this graph ignores that western society has been the pre-eminent technological leader following the Renaissance and establishing trade around the world despite Christianity (as you argue). This also ignores the issues leading to the fall of Rome and the actual fall, political failures and of course the plague...

I am not trying to defend unscientific practices or Christianity but making such a weak argument is counter productive.




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