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Posted by: fidget ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 02:50PM

I consider myself to be a diest. But lately I lean towards atheism off and on. What is wierd is how the term atheism scares me. I'm sure it's from my Mormon upbringing. Does anyone else get scared when unsure of what you really believe?

P.S. I don't need convincing in either direction. When I'm ready I will decide on my own. Also being scared of the term atheism does not mean I am scared of atheists. My husband is an athiest and I think he is a better person because of it.

Edit for title typo.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 03:41PM by fidget.

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Posted by: goldarn ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 02:54PM

Speaking as an atheist, yeah, it can be weird to admit it after a lifetime of "atheists are evil" indoctrination. Don't let it throw you. What you call yourself isn't as important as what you are. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." When you're an atheist, what you are is all you have, so be true to it as best as you can manage.

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Posted by: flyboy21 ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 02:54PM

It's not weird in the least. We're all socialized, and just because we want to resocialize ourselves when our beliefs and mores change, doesn't mean you can't undo decades of socialization in minutes or even a few years without some interesting psychological processes running in your brain.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 02:58PM by flyboy21.

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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 02:58PM

I leaned toward deism too for a while. The most frightening thing to me about following the rational conclusion that there most probably is no God is the fear that there's no afterlife.

Think about it though.. If there's not, so what. If you just blink out into oblivion, you literally won't have a care in the world! And if that's what happens, it happens to everybody and is the natural state of things. Why fight nature?

Atheism is a label that has a bad connotation. I just call myself a rational skeptic. I actually can't say there's no God because you can't prove it. The likelihood is about the same as believing in fairies or leprechauns, though.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 03:01PM by rationalguy.

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Posted by: FormerLatterClimber ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 04:14PM

rationalguy, thank you for your calm reassurance that **it's OK if there's nothing else after this life** I have a feeling I'm gonna need to year you say that a couple more times before I'm OK with it.

And fidget, I feel the exact same way you do. The word atheist freaks me out, but I tend to get along best with atheists anyway. I like to think of myself as a 'glass half full agnostic.'

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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 08:22PM

I'mstill not exactly ok with it, really. It's a very different outlook from what I was indoctrinated to think.

"Not Knowing" is a condition we all have to embrace, because once you realize you've been fed nothing but fantasies, that's where you're at. Richard Feynman, one of the smartest guys who ever breathed, was fond of talking about the wonder of not knowing, and how that begins everything when it comes to the strive to discover.

I love this interview:

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Posted by: xyz ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 02:59PM

you don't have to let the definitions of others define you.

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Posted by: fidget ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:02PM

That's true. My math brain likes to over process sometimes, so I end up over analyzing a lot of situations and definitions.

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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:11PM

Over-analyzing is what humans do! That's actually a big reason that religion exists in the first place.

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Posted by: fidget ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:13PM

It's even more true with mathematician, because when you are proving any type of theorem, you have to approach it from multiple directions.

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Posted by: CTRringturnsmyfingergreen ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:09PM

I have found it hard to call myself an atheist, although I'm sure that's what I am.

I've liked to say I'm agnostic, but I'm really pretty sure I'm atheist, it's just that there seems to be a stigma attached to the word.

If you admit you're an atheist in a social situation you suddenly become the "freak", although the burden of proof should be on those propagating the fairy tale.

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Posted by: flo, the nevermo ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 08:44PM

CTRringturnsmyfingergreen Wrote:
> If you admit you're an atheist in a social
> situation you suddenly become the "freak",

Oh, my, let me reassure you that this ain't always so!
It's completely dependent on the crowd you run with.
You just need to get out more - and I mean that in a good way! :)

(As a corollary here, it sounds to me like BYU robs students of that very normal, open-minded, questioning student, ATHEIST atmosphere. If that's true, it's sad to me! I suppose the faithful will say that students create that atmosphere out of rebellion, but that's not it. It's the CRITICAL THINKING of university level study that does it! Any way, just saying that on MOST campuses you would not be a freak.)

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Posted by: judyblue ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:13PM

I can relate. It took me a while to admit to myself that I was atheist after leaving TSCC.

A while ago I was explaining to some Christian acquaintances what being an atheist really meant. The way I approached it was to tell them that the biggest difference between believers and atheists isn't their views on whether or not god exists. It's the fact that believers see "faith" (belief in things which cannot be seen or proven) as a virtue, and atheists do not.

I think this is what's scary. It's what scared me. It's not that you think all atheists are out doing evil things because they don't believe their actions have cosmic consequences. It's that atheists appear to be lacking in a core virtue, something that makes humans HUMAN. It's like belief is a piece of you, and if you embrace atheism there's a hole where that piece used to be. The thought of being an incomplete person is frightening.

But, having made that transition myself, I can tell you that once you're on the other side it doesn't feel that way. It doesn't feel like belief is something other people have that I am missing.

Best of luck to you in figuring out what's best for you. Don't let yourself feel pressured one way or the other! Being "undeclared" is a perfectly viable option.

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Posted by: flo, the nevermo ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 09:16PM

Can't let this go by . . .

". . . belief is a piece of you and if you embrace atheism there's a hole where that piece used to be."

Atheists believe plenty of things. Those things just have a lot of evidence supporting them. So . . . No, no hole in your average run of the mill atheist.

Did you mean, perhaps, that "faith" is a piece of you?
If so, I think the standard atheist response to that is gonna be, "Now what would make you think that?" Right?

(Don't mean to be argumentative. Just want to present this perspective for some.)

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Posted by: jaredsotherbrother ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 09:24PM

Very apt distinction.

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Posted by: quebec ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:13PM

No it's not weird. It just that a certain signification of the word has been drilled into us for quite a long period of time. Actually one thing that got me over the feeling of the term being scary for me were conversations on this board. I especially liked some answers about it by a guy called kolobian who unfortunatly doesn't post anymore.

There was also another word that used to scare me too...the dreaded F word... but after using it in the right context a few times, it doesn't scare me anymore ;-) Of course I don't particularly like it when someone seems to be incapable of not using it for every other words in their conversation, but that's another story ;)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 04:13PM by quebec.

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Posted by: jpt ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:24PM

is difficult.

People raised without the God/salvation concept never go through this "oh my not-god" stage that we've had to go through.

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Posted by: mindlight ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 03:40PM

Great discussion. I don't know yet. I like that rational theist... oh wait he said rational skeptic. Beats me.

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Posted by: turnonthelights ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 04:01PM

No it scares the sh*i out of me and keeps me up at night. The thought that I will never see my daughter and family after I die is awful.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:20PM

I agree that the idea that we only have our loved ones for this life is a hard pill to swallow.

The idea of living and existing for eternity scares me even more.

The movie groundhog day captures this a little I think. You really do feel for the guy when he starts trying to commit suicide and can't...

If I could live 1,000 years that would be great, even 1,000,000 years I'd probably go for.

However, having lived already forever and still having forever to go sounds awful. Eventually you've got to get board. Then once you are board you've still got forever to go.

That's what scares me!

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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 08:45PM

If it's oblivion for us, you won't know you are missing them.

What our goal should be is to enjoy each other right now.

Just popping out of existence is a very hard concept to grasp, because our conscious mind can't imagine itself not existing.

We can't help thinking we'll be there and it'll be something like being in the dark forever with no sound or sensation. It won't be like that.

If you want to know my mind's defense, false or not, it's "All time will pass instantaneously. The infinite possibility of a rare event is one, given infinite time, or near one in a large stretch of time. Physics tells us information is not destroyed. The imprint of our being will be part of the universe, so given enough time, our consciousness may be restored at some point, simply by the law of probability." A total speculation, but somehow, my brain had to come up with a theology in spite of itself!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 08:50PM by rationalguy.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 04:04PM

You are just realizing that there is no point in believing in something that you cannot see, touch, smell, hear, or taste.

That makes sense. It's a good thing, not a bad one. All religion is hear-say. It's that simple.

Conditioning doesn't automatically go away once reason has been found. Stick with reason.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:04PM

Perhaps it's the extreme commitment of belief that comes with the term "atheist"? It's in a way as extreme as say "I know the church is true" as a Mormon.

For me it wasn't like I started wondering if I am an atheist. I just thought about the concepts -things like what's more likely did god create man or did man create god?

I went back and forth many times over years. Eventually I quit going back and forth. Then it became more and more clear to me that the answer is that all evidence as I interpret it point to man creating god.

So here's what I'm trying to say, I think. For me I didn't think about whether I was an atheist or not. However, eventually I became firm and definite enough in my beliefs about deity that "atheist" was clearly the accurate term to describe what I believed. It wasn't a term to be afraid of, it was just a description of my conclusions after much thought.

I will also say that for me the clarity in belief has personally been much much more comfortable than all the wondering, and worrying, and thinking. It's much more comfortable to have it settled. (Not to say I took a shortcut because I wanted to be comfortable - just that once I landed solidly it was comfortable.)

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Posted by: MexMom ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:10PM

It took awhile for the conditioning I was subjected to in our culture, to dissipate with reading about atheism and what it REALLY is. Also reading Carl Sagan and his reasoning and his absolute love of the universe helped.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:13PM

Atheism is kind of like being gay. You don't decide to be an atheist, you just realize you are one day.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:15PM

How come you can say it better in one line than I can say it in multiple paragraphs?

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:17PM

I will read your multiple paragraphs any time. Keep'em coming.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:21PM

I'm just going to tell myself that my paragraphs were the inspiration for you awesome one liner...

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Posted by: Itzpapalotl ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 08:40PM

I realized I was an atheist about three years ago. After I left TSCC, I was a goddess worshipping pagan celebrating and getting in touch with the feminine divine.

Then I went through a few very painful, difficult, tramautic years. No god or goddess helped me through it. *I* HELPED MYSELF through it. *I* decided that *I* needed to change my life....No divine being suddenly pulled me up by my thong straps and yelled, "Itz! WAKE UP!"

After a couple of years of clinging to paganism and having it seep through like sand from my hand, I turned my hand over... And I finally admitted it out loud... And I was accepted and still loved. :)

It's a process and one that should not be hurried IMNSHO.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 08:41PM by Itzpapalotl.

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Posted by: missguided ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 05:31PM

Before accepting myself as an atheist, the thought of there being no 'divine plan'/'god'/'heaven' made me sick. I couldnt think about it. But as i put aside my fears and allowed myself to really consider it and think about it, I couldnt deny how right it was and how it made so much more sense than any religion.

Its not a question, but a fact and atleast i Know im not living in a lie or trying to lie to myself to feel better. I cant believe in something that i know is a fairy tale. True, i dont KNOW wat happens to a soul after someone dies, if anything, but lets be logical. Science is the only answer that has a backbone of Facts rather than feelings.

What comforts me is accepting that watever happens has been happening since the 'begining' of time. No one can change it, why should/would they?. The life that we have NOW is what we Know of, so we should live it to the fullest, not hide behind fears and dreams of a fairyland where people live happily ever after. Those are lies parents tell their children to make them feel better. But were adults and we should be brave and logical enough to face our fears.

Of course this is a belief, but its based largly and strongly on facts, which is much more than many religions can say

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Posted by: fidget ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 07:06PM

Thank you everyone for your input. I still am unsure what I believe, but at least I know I am not alone in this process.. :)

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Posted by: Doubting Thomas ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 08:21PM

I consider myself a Diest...

Before joining TSCC I was raised in the Lutheran Church and always felt it enriched me as an individual.

For a period of time I feel the TSCC enriched my life too.

There are just too many experiences in my life where I have appealed to deity not to believe there is a God out there. I don't know everything, may no nothing, but I believe there is a creator.

One thing I know for sure is that I am suspect of any man, women or organization that claims they know for certain who God is and what his plan is for me.


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Posted by: Mormoney ( )
Date: July 12, 2012 08:28PM

Same boat here. Struggling to grasp a new belief system for myself. Heading towards atheism naturally but still kind in denial about it. Certainly gives me an uneasiness about it but then I just remind myself that after death will be like before birth. Zilch. Been there done that. Doesn't matter, others will be born and life will go on. No matter what life will always exist in one form or another. Just not this life, not my life. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. All the more reason to live this life to the fullest and no regrets.

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