Thanks for that Freethinker31. I still do believe that there is an inbuilt genetic code, which stops rational thought on discussions about God and his existence or non existence. I have some good friends, intelligent people, who are blind to the science, and believe in God unconditionally. When I was only a small child, I found I had sceptical thoughts about religion, and felt a complete fraud when saying my daily and evening prayers. I met my future wife when I was 18, and I discovered Catholicism. I actually converted when I was just 19. I guess I was looking for some meaning to my existence, and the traditions of the Catholic faith sort of grabbed at me. We raised our 3 sons as Catholics, although their church attendance, like my own, dwindled as they grew into adolescents. Through time my old doubts returned, and now as I approach middle age, I find my faith to have totally evaporated. I watch TV shows like "The God Delusion" with Richard Dawkings, and find he sums it all up for me. When the facts are portrayed so clearly, one just cannot take religion seriously at all. The personal guilt I sometimes feel is towards my sons. They are now adults, and are non believers, and I blame myself for that. My thinking being that I may have influenced their thoughts on the subject. I don't feel proud at all to be an atheist, on the contrary I feel a bit embarrassed about it. When I attend funerals and weddings, I chant the prayers and bless myself as expected by my fellows, I just don't take it seriously. Its the easy way out I suppose.
Why in the world would you be embarrassed by being an atheist?!?
Your embarrassment comes from the fact that you live in a deeply religious country, where in addition to that, having a lifestyle outside of the social norms can be viewed just as badly as being a criminal. Our societies that we live in are increasingly more superficial and quick to judge people based on idealistic standards, rather than real individualistic qualities, or personal virtues.
Your feelings comes from a natural human response of feeling disconnected from the group. (or from societal norms in your case)
Our minds have been wired through millions of years of evolution to belong to a group for reasons of survival, so much so that we have developed a physiological reflex when we feel the possibility of being rejected. Embarrassment is the feeling of discomfort experienced when some aspects of ourselves are or are threatened to be exposed or witnessed, revealed on to others. We think ( think is a relative term because we experience this on a subconscious level also ) that this revelation is likely to undermine the image of ourselves within that group. For whatever reason we try to project an image onto others, that we think might make us for accepted.
It is a psychological paradigm with which we all have to live with, unfortunately.
Guilt is a response to something that is morally wrong or dishonorable, and I sincerely doubt you are guilty of teaching your sons a good healthy "critical thinking".
What I am trying to say, is that you shouldn't feel like that for being yourself, on the contrary. You should consider yourself insightful, intelligent, unconventional.
On the other hand, perhaps it would be a good idea to keep that aspect secret from the people that you know are going to be extremely judgmental.
Freedom of conscience is the most basic of all freedoms. Everyone should feel free to make up his/her mind on every subject based on the evidence available. One of the worst things religions do is to instill fear of disbelief, yet supposing they were true, what deity would want the kind of insincere worship imposed by fear.
John Stuart Mill aptly pointed out the difference in Christians between belief and action:
All Christians believe that the blessed are the poor and humble, and those who are ill-used by the world; that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven; that they should judge not, lest they be judged; that they should swear not at all; that they should love their neighbor as themselves; that if one take their cloak, they should give him their coat also; that they should take not thought for the morrow; that if they would be perfect, they should sell all that they have and give it to the poor. They are not insincere when they say that they believe these things. They do believe them, as people believe what they have always heard lauded and never discussed. But in the sense of that living belief which regulates conduct, they believe these doctrines just up to the point to which it is usual to act upon them.
"I was brought up to be religious. I feel eternally guilty about my lack of belief."
This be the verse ~ by Philip Larikin
Same for me. But I feel eternally happy about my escape.
leon, i agree
Depends how you define God..... LOL
I live without one as there is no benefit in having one in my life.
There could be a God like element in our Universe - but no-one knows about it as yet from a science based perspective. Religion is man made and it has filled in some knowledge gaps for a while. But we've got science now. Move on people..... :)
alice, i agree
from my hospital bed in newport, wa.
an interesting development: several of my caregivers gather in my room after things quiet down to discuss atheism.
Did the things quiet down and discuss atheism after a religious discussion?
Glad to hear it Joan.
That the probability of some sort of god is non zero lends nothing to its likelihood. The odds of some milkmaid floating around the Cosmos milking a cow is similarly non zero, there's a zillion possibilities never yet thought of that would have a positive probability: they too would be wisely ignored.