I get the impression that 9/11 kicked off the atheist movement. Suddenly atheists acquired a moral authority: "See what faith can do - no atheist would do a thing like that!" and it was embarassing on some level to religious people in general.
I joined this site because I heard about the Innocence of Muslims movie, and I was delighted that someone was doing what needs to be done: saying what they think in spite of Muslim violence. I asked myself "Happy, even though it has incited people to murder?" and the answer is yes. I looked online to see if other people felt the same way, and this site was one where there were people who did.
Feeling that way seems to be an atheist reaction, like a lot of people tend to think it's bad to disrespect a religion. Especially if they're religious themselves.
I wasn't brought up religiously, so I don't have the antipathy to religion that a lot of atheists do who had to reject religious indoctrination they got as a child, or deconvert from a religion. Religion doesn't carry much emotional voltage for me. It would be a bizarre thing to do, for me to go and believe in some religion - without anybody showing me a reason to believe those things.
But I DO care about intimidation by violence, a lot.
The people who were religious and deconverted are rather rare birds, I think. The Christians I knew in college are still Christians. There is courage and honesty involved in questioning and discarding that powerful childhood religious indoctrination.
But there are a lot of people who don't believe in a religion, and religious violence tends to align those people with people who do identify themselves as atheists.
Welcome, Luara. Most Atheists care about intimidation by violence, and many of us have experienced it. As I welcome new members, deconverted folks don't seem rare to me at all. I think most of us are just isolated, disconnected from any community.
I don't mean rare among atheists of course - many people who identify themselves as atheists are ex-religious people.
But it seems to be uncommon for a religious person to lose their religion. Especially when they're very into it.
I haven't known any religious people who entirely stopped believing in God.
Luara: I haven't known any religious people who entirely stopped believing in God.
Do you realise that using language like this implies that there is a god, and its name is "God", and that somehow, some of us don't believe in it.
How about: "Atheists just don't believe that there are any gods".
Some people believe in ghosts, or believe in fairies, or believe in telepathy, or believe in the Devil. Saying that doesn't imply that those things really exist.
So no, I don't think that talking about "believing in God" implies any assumption.
I was religious growing up, then became spiritual, and now? I don't particularly like the term "spiritual." I still get those feelings but I recognize them as feelings. And that's okay. It's a feeling of connection, something I think is rooted in our instincts as a social animal. I just apply it differently than I used to. So yes, even a religious person can lose faith but keep a sense of connectivity. I just try not to label it anymore. Seems to ruin the raw nature of it, then.
I had for a long time and I still have sometimes, a sense of the presence of God. If I had grown up in a religious family, I'm sure that would have felt like proof that there is something objectively real (whatever that means in this context) that the perception is about.
But since I didn't, I never jumped from that perception to metaphysical conclusions about the universe. I never expected the God that I sensed to do anything for me, or to be doing anything particular in the world.
That's a huge jump to make, but people make it all the time in the context of their culture.
That perception of presence is common for people, and I remember reading about a particular part of the brain that causes a sense of presence when stimulated.
For me, a lot of that sense of presence of God turned out to be a kind of abuse memory. Very early childhood experiences can be manifested in this kind of global nonspecific experience. Sometimes the sense of presence was of something demonic actually, which was when it turned out to be about abuse. When I have those kinds of feelings recently they are less concrete, because I explored the concrete part that was about abuse.
I've asked myself, what would it take to say that this common human experience of presence of God, actually refers to some entity? What would one mean by that? Something like, evidence that this sense of presence results in something happening on in our concrete physical world, outside of what is done by the people who experience it.
I guess "spirituality" can have bad associations for people, of ghost-believers and New Agers with crystals and pyramids and paranormal beliefs. I spent time with people at a Zen Buddhist center and the spirituality that they experienced and showed was wonderful sometimes (and sometimes not wonderful).
From what I've heard, that evolution out of religion is very difficult and a big change and it takes courage. Especially since religion is hedged around with dire threats about what happens if you leave it, and one would be in the company of people who really believe in those dire threats.
People get very stuck in their orientation generally and it's a big problem ... so it's great to hear about people who HAVE gone through big changes. It gives me some reassurance about humanity :)
"But I DO care about intimidation by violence, a lot. " so you're a part of your local Occupy movement or what? ; )
don't pay to be a slaaaave!
If you mean "Occupy Wall Street", I have only the vaguest idea of what that's all about ...
indeed.. a little movie called ethosthemovie.com is quite a brain opener down to the psychology of it all..
amazing times.. this information age
f minus to the phobia pushin pimps and the bs they cause
"""The people who were religious and deconverted are rather rare birds, I think. The Christians I knew in college are still Christians.
ha, not so in FLASH group / meetups etc.. american atheists whaaaat!?
rare my ass! ; )
I replied to that same observation above
'spiritual' identities are second always to being a citizen a mutherfunkin' taxpayin' American...
all the foreign folks even here..in the states.. starting their bizes.. I hear them from time to time
"amerrykyani's' so funny how they call Americans in the many forms of speech
take care n peace folks! long live hardcore hiphop punk rock rap and rocknroll w/some metalheadz UK whaaat!?