I've been an atheist for most of my life. Even as a child of 10 deep down I knew that the stories in the Bible were too fastasical to really be believed. My mother and father sent me and my siblings to church for a while, and my dad, not being too good at reading used to have me read the Bible to him, so I had an early start on learning plenty about the Bible. In my teens I attended church for a while, and even fancied myself called by God to preach, but I became disillusioned with it after about 10 years. In that time, however, I studied the Bible for at least 8 hours every day, so I think it safe to say that I have a good knowledge of the Bible. After my stent as a Christian I tried Wicca, but found that unsatisfactory. From there I tried Zen Buddhism, but just couldn't buy the reincarnation and ultimate Nirvana bit. Then I tried philosophical Taoism, which I still find interesting, but untenable. My last stent with religion was clockwork Deism, but I saw the idea of a God who wound up the universe and then went away as superfluous. Now I have returned to my core atheism, and I am a confirmed and convinced atheist. It makes the most sense. I prefer calling myself an atheist rather than nontheist, but that's just me. And I'm proud to be an atheist. I belong to an atheism group on facebook, and I have an atheism blog on google blogs, on which so far I have posted 50 entries since August 5th 2012. I'm 50 years old, soon to be 51.
Nice intro. My own roundabout path was similar to yours. I even got into study of tantrism and occult matters, gnosticism and the mystics. Always, just as you note, there is a fly in the ointment, a metaphysical event or rite or belief that demands extraordinary proof when there is none. Buddhism has a wonderful system of ethics, but, like you, I can no longer believe in karma and reincarnation. These presuppose error (whereas the Christian concept is sin): "That guy is such a creep he's sure to be reborn as a scorpion or snake." In all fairness, Theravada has the purest and most belief-free attitude. They make fewer claims beyond the necessity of meditating. I liked the Taoist concept of the superior man, which is what initially endeared me to Obama: you cannot flutter his feathers. The monotheisms are the worst, of course, and I pretty much got rid of them when I left home for college; it was a church-supported university and I took 12 hours of religion instead of the required six: familiarity breeds contempt. This allowed me to come to the inescapable conclusion: all religions are the same. They are bullshit. They are all designed to perpetuate a bunch of social spongers, The Priesthood, in effect, a Ponzi scheme. That Nazi cardinal is eating the finest caviar and drinking Chateau d'Yquiem for dessert every night.
Yeah James, I kind of think the new Pope might be a little bit Nazi (maybe a Nazi father and sympathizer mother) myself. After all, a lot of Nazis did flee to Argentina after the fall of the Third Reich. And I agree with everything you posted here.
Hi, Anthony. Nice to meet you! I, too, feel like I've ran the gambit before coming to atheism, though I consider myself a naturalistic pantheist as well. Sometimes we just take the long and winding road before we determine things, and that's fine and good. I think it helps us keep perspective when dealing with people who don't always see eye to eye. Glad to have you here!
Thank you Nerdlass. Cool name, by the way. I like it. I also like being a member of Atheist Nexus, glad I found it doing a web search.
Welcome and well met! I'm a newbie here myself, and have found the Nexus to be warm and welcoming. I hope you do as well!
I fondly remember the Theological Dressing Room. My personal favourite was a sorta-Wiccan, neo-Celtic paganism. I enjoyed the candle-lighting and crystals and stuff. I can't say I ever believed in the many-gods thing, but the ceremony was fun, and appealed to me in a "Wow, I'm just like my D&D characters!" sense. Too bad I enjoy truth and science too much to keep it up.
Alyson, thanks for the welcome. Atheist Nexus rocks. I wish I knew about it before now, I would have joined a long time ago. And yeah, truth and science trumps superstition any day.