Is there a moral/existencial chasm between atheists who've never known religion and those who converted?

Forgive me this is a bit of  a rant... but I would like to know if any of you here have experienced similar sentiments. I have googled a little and havn't really found any writings about this topic.

I suffered through catechism in school til age 14, but it never was even a consideration for me to believe in that crap. I confess to having a 1-2 yr period around that age where the idea of supernatural 'powers' was alluring to me such as telepathy, clairvoyance, or ghosts, but never seriously. School has always been a favorite space for me, and I fared well in all classes, especially math/physics/chemistry. I always looked for natural mechanisms to all of life's experiences.

I was an opinionated child, and teen, and adult, and this came from an insatiable drive for knowledge, I read several books every week on all topics in addition to required readings. My mother encouraged much reading in both languages from the earliest age and my bookcase had more reference materials than fiction, and occupied as much space in my room as my meager toy collection. In addition, for my last 2 years of high school I had to take 'morality classes', which I remember to be a total questioning of all morals, their place and role in society, and the motivations behind the morals. From that point on, I've been a moral relativist.

I find this is where the largest chasm exists with converts, it seems that converts subscribe to the same set of moral values as abrahamic religions under the guise of that they're basic rules for all the history of humanity. Yet, different cultures have had very different value systems, so I completely disagree with morals being "absolute".

Then there's the issue of battling religious stupidity on the religious' playfield, rather than simply living by our own rules, defining our own paradigms. I get bored with atheists who constantly quote the bible in order to battle with believers. To me the bible is a big lie and a sheer waste of time. As Amy Goodman on Link TV has stated when discussing USA politics: one of the biggest failures of Dems is allowing the GOPs to set the agenda, the Dems are always on the defensive reacting to GOP paradigms. I see this for atheists, converts constantly defining themselves through the eyes of the church, "we are good too" kind of talk, "we have the same morality as you"

I think another area where there is a chasm with converts is in the level of respect for religions and attitudes of tolerance. To me, tolerating any growth industry is accepting defeat from the outset. I have near zero respect for anyone plodding along obediently through life and feel that 'freedom of religion' is an oxymoron, no more sensible than freedom of slavery, freedom of dictatorship, freedom of torture, freedom of emprisonment. The term freedom of religion is 100% non-sensical!

Do any of you feel similar experiences?

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Replies to This Discussion

Anne Nicole Gaylor got it right when she named the Freedom From Religion Foundation
"Yet, different cultures have had very different value systems, so I completely disagree with morals being 'absolute'".

Congratulations - you have made a bold step forward in realising this for yourself, so how might we comport ourselves towards others, in the present and the future, responsibly without recourse to silly superstitions and gods?

Try looking up the Euthyphro Dilemma ( substituting Socrates concern for 'piety' with 'moral actions' and you can see how a god-authored morality is a dead duck for the same reason of contradiction.

If sorting for yourself a non-religious ethical perspective is something you are interested in, I think you might try looking into humanism (in the UK where I'm from the BHA has some good resources, I'm not sure about America.)

You might appreciate listening to someone like A C Grayling on the ethics of Atheism and Humanism who is very good at discussing exactly this area: what can atheists likes us have to say about moral questions - and the answer as it turns out, is quiet a lot thank you!
Wow, those readings you suggest are pretty much exactly the attitude I'm working against...

Every humanist I've ever met has argued that the right/wrong of religions existed before religion and they are basically the same right/wrong for all humanity and religions simply stole morality. I reiterate, I completely disagree with that perspective. I don't think in terms of right/wrong no matter who says it, IMO there are only objectives and means to achieve them. As societies we assemble/congregate into like minded philosophical groupings and create whatever rule/morality structure is necessary to accomplish the desired end. Today's right/wrong morality code (bible) was not written by god but by a group of power hungry sick individuals, so I cannot condone anything of their ilk. IMO theists are wrong both in authorship and innocent intent. Humanists are right about authorship, but wrong about intent.

As for sorting myself out a non-religious perspective... That's exactly what I've been doing since the earliest age! and is how i've come to completely disagree with most of the "morality" proposed by humanism...

But I digress, I've already hashed out my disagreements with humanism in public before, this discussion was only meant to consider the differences between eternally godless atheists and converts.
I've never been religious. No ghosts or magic from the start. I was, however, still influenced by my culture and biology. The formerly religious I've known seem to carry more baggage but at least, intellectually, most know better.
I tend to use the term morality for faith-based judgments, and ethics for secular judgments. Not that there is any intrinsic right or wrong but we do need structure, arbitrary though it might be.




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