My journey into atheism and theories on life


SNESFAN

Retro game fanatic
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Let me start off by saying, I have no real outlet for this because I live in the bible belt of america (very christian mindset) so all my friends and work colleagues are not at the same intellectual level as I am or so devoted in their theism that I would be shunned as a heretic for my questioning of a deity. Let me also say this isn't to stir up attention or be a outcast or anything of that nature, not to prove anyone is right or wrong, just my own personal exploration of the workings of the world. Feel free to comment or post your own ideals, this isn't meant to start a flamewar and if you have opposing viewpoints please be respectful to my own beliefs and others and I will do the same for you. I already plan for this to also be a very long writing and my writing style is stream of consciousness which I hear may be very difficult to follow from someone other than the writer to read, I will proof read and put edits in before posting but just be forewarned this is just a jumbling of thoughts over the past couple years.

I was raised a roman catholic and went to church regularly until my mid teens, I never had religion forced upon me, but I was only raised in the same manner in which my parents were raised. We were taught to believe in god and jesus as a savior and respect all things sacred and holy. I attended a expensive catholic school until about 3rd grade at which time financial reasons and differences in ideas saw to it that I attend public school. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and was put on medication until puberty at which point the symptoms faded away. I would get up and walk out of class, rock in my chair during lectures and do other attention based things. I was so obviously unlike my peer group at the time that there was indeed a problem. I have no problem with all that now and this isn't about the validity of the diagnosis of ADHD but the church at the time said that I was, and I quote "possessed by demons" this was in the early 80's before the widespread knowledge of ADHD apparently. But whatever, parents called shenanigans and I went to public school, although still attending the same church regularly, but only during normal services, not daily as before. What I take from it is a deep understanding of how catholicism "works" and how it differs from other christian denominations. Later in life, around adulthood, I was encouraged to find my own path. My parents beliefs are only a template to make the best decision possible for myself. Religion, as be definition, are one's own beliefs, effecting none other than yourself. That's a background on my religious upbringings and the start of my quest to the truth.

So I began my journey as a non-practicing, non-denominational christian. Believing only what I was taught, but at the presentation of how insanely large amount of denominations there are out there it quickly became a issue of "if this way is right, is every other way wrong?" There are literally 40,000 recorded christian derivatives, each with their own minor all the way up to major variances. Each believing their way is correct, and other ways are wrong. So surely a blending of all of them must be the correct answer, "it's the point that matters" right? The differences are just people's interpretations on the same thing... ya know... basically. That went on for several years then I joined the US army. During my time served one of my best buddies was a chaplain's assistant. This was a huge eye opener for me, before this time I knew lightly of different parts of the world had different religious views. Hindus and buddists, in the east, muslims and jews in the middle east, I know I'm leaving out other major groups, but the those are the ones I was most interested in. He having to assist a man of faith was well versed in all the different types of religions out there. He himself was actually a wiccan which I found to be insanely interesting as well.

So my eyes were open to the possibility of different forms of religion other than a christian based one. All the billions of people on this planet all currently... and wait...the past. So that's another thing that entered my mind. All the different forms of religion predating "current" religions. Mayans, and aztecs, egyptians and greeks, native americans and all the rest. Every single person who has ever lived has at one time or another thought about the existence of a deity of some sort. Their beliefs range from atheists believing in no religion all the way up to believing so strongly in their god that they are willing to kill thousands if not millions to protect their beliefs or convert the non-believers or wipe them off the planet because of their beliefs. So this raises the next inevitable question, if you're right, how can so so so so many people be wrong. And how do you know you're right? And what's the cost if you're wrong? That's the day I became an agnostic. (believing in the existence of a deity, but not quite sure which one)

So my journey branched off into a newer more "correct" way of gathering as much information as I could about all possibilities. Just trying to find out which one is the right path to choose. What I was looking for was in no uncertain terms, impossible to find; Proof. Being a tangle and  calculating person, I want things you can quantify, identify, observe, deduce, etc. Largely, other than things that have scientific reasoning behind them, have been unable to find even the slightest bit of evidence to point in the right direction. Miracles are only in books with no science showing they are true supernatural occurrences. The correlation behind when the majority of when the miracles happened seems to be in direct disproportion to time as it passed and when technology advanced. Also considering the ability to actually record a miracle happening with easy access to video recorders and the sheer exponential growth of people on the planet in the last couple decades compared to when they were happening quite often paints a entirely different picture of the existence of such a supernatural force.

So unable to find any "real" evidence to which to believe in, I was directed to the definition of faith. Faith being belief without proof. That is an extremely hard pill to swallow. I didn't like it, but eventually I did swallow it, faith it is. Maybe the deity whomever he/she it/they may be, may have created everything but may not either by choice or design have any direct influence on the individual lives of it's followers or non-believers. More like an executive of a company, rarely seen or heard, but guides everything from behind the scenes. Ok, easier pill to swallow, lets go with that one then. That seems to be the most plausible answer. But that raises the next question... if no proof, and only by faith, then how did the religion come to be?

Well, that's the $10,000 question right there. By the way, questioning only seems to lead to more questions until this point, but I think this one takes the cake. How did religions form? Well, the root of christians, jews, and muslims all spawn from the same "root" religion. Different profits, yet different versions of the same "god". Also Different holy books written by man with knowledge given to them from god. Well, that's the thing, most people in the times of the inception of those religions weren't able to read or write. Materials to do so were also extremely cost prohibitive and hard to come by. The distribution of wealth and along with it education, was also way more lopsided to the extremely few with the knowledge or ability to do so. Clergymen and men of faith were the ones who wrote and maintained those books. Cities, towns, and villages were also ran with these people in close relation to the royalties and kings of their times. Those holy books appear from the outside looking in, as a way to explain questions the uneducated may have, or rule set in which to live by. Seems to fall in line with the agenda of a ruling body to keep the hearts and minds of their people on the straight and narrow. They all basically have the same message on how to conduct yourself as an individual to help keep social order. Very intelligent people wrote these books, I will give them that. And the answers to most people's core fundamental questions have answers that still hold some truth thousands of years later, there is something to be said by that.

So holy books are guidelines and laws it seems, each with their own consequences in the physical and spiritual realms with interesting stories interweaved to help validate those rules and give answers to more of life's biggest questions. Honestly its' a great way to run a society, occasionally someone from the outside might present a different theology that conflicts with your own, and the answer originally was to get rid of the thing that would shake the fabric of what was making your society thrive. The answer (from a lord or king's perspective) is to eliminate the threat, thus, holy wars. There are extreme cases where manual death is even written into the ruleset for non-believers, and weaker instances where one's soul will simply pay the price for believing in one god over another. This isn't isolated to just christians, muslims or jews, almost every other religion in history (maybe buddhists is excluded from this, it's my weaker known religion) have similar policies to handle these sorts of situations. So point 1, religion is invented to keep social order and a guideline on how to win the game of life, written by kings of old, with spiritual leaders by their side, all very wise, wealthy, and intelligent people. "cream of the crop" of humanity if you will. Not a waist of time by any means.

Alright, so found a nick in the armor, this is also where things start to go south very quickly for theism in general for me, and where I ramp up my questions even more than before. Things are getting more confusing than ever for me, even thought I think I have found my first actual solid piece of the puzzle which we call life. That's only where the fun begins I find out. I start questioning the stories of christian upbringing, and the roots shared between all the religions. Start comparing explanations of how the world works before the age of science and answers with those "failed" religions of times before a basic understanding of how the world works. Greeks, egyptians, mayans, native americans their their polytheism and their conjured answers for how the sun worked had a god in charge of taking it across the sky, epic battles between the gods explains the chaos that is weather, diseases, birth and death. All of it explained in epic and entertaining stories. That is until it has been proven inaccurate to how things work. Now just entertaining, not to be taken seriously. Monotheism, believing one god controls everything from a executive standpoint, is much harder to disprove with science and gives more vague "1,000 ft view" unprovable explanations to the same questions. These are probably why they are still around to this day, innocent until proven guilty.

My biggest question, is where did we come from. This is the funnest answer and the people that explain it and stick to word of god is quite a difficult one to get an answer for. Mainly, it happened so long ago, there's literally no way to prove or disprove anything. Neither science or religion has any substantial evidence as to "where it all began". The big bang theory is a really good one, but the idea of literally nothing existed, not even time before it all started is a hard one to wrap your mind around. It is also the point most theists will point to when explaining the inexplicable. I've looked extremely deeply into this point to find out some rather intense ideas, I'll do my best to explain.

Time and matter have a direct relation to one another and time and space are also effected by gravity. Time moves faster out in orbit and deep space than it does on earth because gravity slows down time. A point of denser mass would have extremely slow and if not stopped time for the bodies closest to it. Perception of time is what is most important, for you would not feel as if you are moving slower, it's the bodies further away would just perceive you as moving slower the more gravity you had effecting you. You would observe them as move very fast. Speed also has a relation to time as well, the faster you're moving the slower everything else will appear, and the faster you would appear to them. With the speeds obtainable in man made vehicles the difference is insignificant. It's only when getting close to the speed of light where it starts to become noticeable. The same rule applies for perception there as well but in reverse to a higher density of matter. Just remember dense slow, speed fast.

So this 4th demention thing is kind of a weird thing to wrap your mind around. Your perception is different than an insect's time, and your dog or cat's, my perception is different from yours, me as a child's perception is different than me as an adult and so on. Measurable time is variable as well depending on your speed and gravity effecting you. It's important to remember that. Anyway, so back to the big bang. Every single ounce of universe, planets, stars, matter, sound, light, energy and time (perception or measure) and just freaking everything in the entire universe was at one point condensed to the inconceivably small spec of basically nothing existing at a point much smaller than an atom where time had literally stopped. Time didn't exist, therefore there was no "before" the big bang. Then all of a sudden, explosively burst further and further away from it's self, spreading mass, and energy, and just shit everywhere. and as the point became less dense that time began to expand from that single point. There was no before, no time had passed until it came from the big bang as there wasn't anything for there to be time in. To think of it in geometry, we measure from just the point of origin on a ray, not a line. A line would imply there was a "before" the big bang. Ok pretty confusing, but if I think about it quite a bit (years) it eventually made perfect sense. But it doesn't answer what initiated that, so, where did "it" come from?

That is the most solid argument a theist has, explain where everything (the big bang) came from. For which there is not a defined answer. However if you look at the subatomic level, in the fabric that makes up an atom there is the theory of quarks and also string theory. String theory is what converts energy to mass and is still being worked out all the specifics to how that works, it's very interesting stuff there if this kind of stuff interests you you should read up. So sub atomic particles, things we can actually observe (or at least observe the reaction on other things) have some very some strange properties. One of which is directly in line with where the question of "where did the first it come from?" Well, these quarks, believe it or not, "pop" in and out of existence. Yes, you've read that right. They go somewhere else, then come back. Maybe the same ones, "disappear" from our observation, then "reappear" either where they went from, or come back somewhere else. They do not obey the laws of physics. Protons also have a non physics restricted property where they can be in multiple places at the same instant, choosing the "path of least resistance" I know you've heard that term before. Well, that's how that's possible. They try both paths simultaneously and end up at the point that is least restrictive, passing through other matter and whatnot. Mind=blown. Ok so, back to quarks, they just disappear and reappear right? Well where the F do they go? That's the question. That might be where the answer to where everything came from. Probably the same place.

Follow-on question would then be... "ok, well what created this other non-observable place" This kind of question could go on and on and theists believe this the the irrefutable evidence that god exists. Well, I fell that actual measurable answer is better answer than some "an entity that may or may not be totally fictional will'd it into existence" Like I said, vague answer to this question that is impossible to disprove. It is intriguing even after all this time it's still hold ground as being a possibility though, but as more and more is discovered, the "true" answer seems closer and closer. And less and less "unknown therefore god" answers will be answered with it's (not even theory, not enough evidence) claim that just because you don't have all the answers you don't have any. The only problem being, there's no way to say that the universe it's self doesn't have the same properties as a god and just "always was" like god is susposed to be. The big bang we're in right now may just be one of many consecutive big bangs ever condensing, blowing apart and condensing once more, multiple universes, multiple dimensions, just lots of possible answers that couldn't even been fathomed in the time those holy books were written. But is so brilliantly summed up in that little 3 letter word... yea...

I'm not going to get into the mathematical impossibilities of stories of noah's arch and question some of the more "figurative and meaningful" stories were god tells people to kill their children, burning bushes, talking snakes, parting of seas, resurrection from the dead and whatnot. There are some that try to defend those stories as gospel, but other even devoted theists that use the additional stories as a guidelines as which to live their life and to entertain as it would be a rather boring book where it was just a list of what to do and the consequences of what happens if you don't. Literal meaning of some of those stories may be completely non-relevant or true for that matter in today's society.

Ok, so back to a fundamental question, the world and universe and everything inside it appears so magically surgically placed, it can't possibly just be by accident. "were we placed here with divine intervention" A fundamental view shared by basically all religions with different explanations on how it actually happened. Ok, so the specifics on how we were created differ greatly depending on which religion you follow, but the idea is always the same. But the real answer... evolution, plain and simple, and at all levels. That's a nasty subject to bring up at my family's dinner table. My grandfather actually thinks dinosaur fossils are hoax's placed there by those that would mean to dispel christianity... that's not a lie, an idea he's sadly going to take to his grave I'm afraid.  If he read this I'm pretty sure that might just be the straw that broke the camel's back too. My father at least believes in dinosaurs and premitive life but he feels something had to make that first single cell organism, that first DNA strand. It couldn't possibly be done by accident, some thing had to be involved.

I've read this thing where they said you take an infinite number of monkeys and give them an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time and they'll eventually create shakespear. My father thinks this is nonsense. I don't feel he quite understands the full quantity of infinite.... poor pops, not you too... Anyway, so while I can appreciate the fact the universe isn't in fact infinite, it might as well be. There is said to be 10 to the 24th power of stars in the universe... right now... and thats one hundred thousand million stars in our galaxy, and our galaxy is only one of the estimated one hundred thousand million galaxies. Each star having it's own solar system and planets not much dissimilar to our solar system. And the universe is estimated to be 13 billion years old. stars being formed and dieing and born agian in a constantly ever changin cycle. Also consider that time is expanding as well so that number may be way off or our biased to our own perception and measurement, and doesn't figure in things like original gravity of the big bang and speed effecting the perception of time on other faster/slower objects as well. That number might be off by an insanely large number, could easily be doubled, (remember slower when more dense matter) but they figure it's at least that old.

So the candidate planets for sustaining life such as our own is mathematically guaranteed several times over, probably millions of times over if not more. The distance, rotation, temperature, mass, composition etc etc are all ideal for life as we know it. Our form of life it's the only possible combination of what could be life either, there's plenty of other base combinations out there besides carbon. My dad's a smart guy, despite the beef I give him, he's one of the smartest I know, so he agrees that this is also a certainty. But it doesn't explain where life really came from, and that's where my father has a hard time grasping the whole monkey typewriter thing. He doesn't think we came from a pool of muck with just the building blocks floating around in it. There hasn't been any recorded events of creating life from inanimate objects or material. They have created organic material yes, nucleotides out of inorganic material, but getting them to bond just wasn't happening. That's where the breakdown is at. It's in the scale of the study. The parts are all there but putting them together doesn't happen in a "perfect storm". Well they didn't try for that long, (comparitivey) at the most we've had the science to even try this sort of thing for the past... say 100 years maybe less? Lets be unrealistically generous and say 1000 years they didn't even have science back then but whatever... They were also testing in a vat of at the very most several gallons of quantity over the course of their testing... lets be generous agian and say they had enough material to fill an olympic sized swimming pool. And they were electrocuting this material to get it to bond maybe a thousand of times? Lets be generous once more and say a million experiments and observations were done.

So that's pretty good odds to say if it were to happen it would have right? You're soooo insanely incorrect my good sir. They were only successful in creating the building blocks of life, yes. But the numbers are incredibly off in what actually happened to create actual life originally. Instead of a 1000 years of theoretical testing lets do millions of years, (1 billion years if you go from when the earth formed) that's several thousand thousands (or thousand millions). Lightning strikes the earth currently 44 times a second, times that by millions of years and that's an insanely large amount of lighting and everything on earth was much more active back then. And that olympic sized swimming pool? Not even a single drop in the ocean (literally) to the amount of this muck that was suggested to be around back then. DNA only need be created once in a self replicating patern and the actual size and scale of the real world scenario in which it happened is beyond comprehension.

So if all the parts are there and life were to actually be able to form on it's own, how did we eventually be able to see all the intricacies that make things the way they are today. If you look at the eyeball it's such a magical working system. Thinking it being able to just "randomly" be able to form by accident is impossible right? That's just one part on the body, let alone all the different species of animals and stuff that exists, and each having to come up with that by accident on their own. Well the "survival of the fittest" thing comes into play big time. The "game of life simulator/game" is a good show, but doesn't exactly show how something evolves into something else and thrive better than other forms, things act differently, yes, but none are able to continue to thrive in that same pattern. In early life on earth, generations were more than likely happening several times a day if not quicker. The lifespan of a cell isn't that long and it's ability to reproduce and how many times were key to it's superiority. Then the space in which it is able to reproduce in, and the time are also astronomical when you think of the size of a single cell in a big ass planet like this. The versions that adapted and multiplied faster outproduced and out survived less adapted cells and through normal mutation eventually made a multi-cell organism. Maybe only a few cells at first and it just went on from there. Lots of generations and failed mutations died off. Who knows the number of species that never made it to today. But to the benefit of all life as we know it now, everything we see is what made it as the most successful. Evolution is a an ever going occurrence,  it's happening right now and there's new species being formed right now that we might not be aware of yet.

I saw a video of this evangelical professor dispute evolution as a non-thing. Saying things like, "I've never seen a dog make a non-dog"..... how F'ing dumb is that guy really? You can't watch evolution happen, it's a gradual thing. If a change is too drastic in one generation it won't be able to reproduce with another of the same species and mix genes. If you mix a donkey and a horse it makes a sterile offspring named a mule because the change is too drastic. And that's not even a unpredictable mutation. If by some freak mutation it's able to reproduce with another mule... then that's evolution where you can see it. Will it ever happen? Probably not, but the point is you are the end result of survival of the fittest and being the most adapted for your environment and conditions. So is everything around you. The multi-cell organism that had the first a primitive eye thing mutation (maybe a mutated feeling arm or something) had a leg up on all the rest and was able to reproduce to make more like it. The rest is history.

So the infinite monkey theory isn't quite by chance in this model, it's like someone giving a banana to the monkey that spells a complete word and maybe clones him and on the other hand, shooting the monkeys that never create a word. It does seem a bit like divine intervention, but survival of the fittest and evolution have the exact same effect and you can show where it happens. I also want to add luck plays a big deal in this whole equation as well. Say you are trying to brute force crack a password that has 3 gigabytes worth of characters (a single dna strand) and lets say you had every computer on earth trying to crack this password, trying every combination of letters and numbers at random and not working together to do it. The password isn't a specific password, but just a set of compatible characters like a hash, any one would do though as long as it matches the hash. How long do you think it would take? Trillions of years? You're probably correct, but does every computer have to go though every combination of everything before it gets a correct one? Nope, that model looks closer to how things sort of were back then.... obviously without computers =)

You ever hear about people winning the lottery after only buying one ticket? chances are stacked largely against your favor 1:280,000,000 or something crazy like that. But for that winner, their chances of winning are 1:1 that's my point. Lots of failure rolling the dice till you get snake eyes times trillions, but it only takes once to be a winner. My guess it was the 100 millionth lighting bolt that did it.

So those are some good ideas to how everything works out. But if it's all true and all of this religion stuff is made up, where does that leave you? Well... enjoy your life. The thought of an afterlife is the obvious answer to the scary question of what happens to "you" after you're gone. Although all roads point to the big nothing sadly. It's kinda obvious why they invented heaven and the good place to reward people that did good in the world instead of just going out with guns blazing shitting on everyone around them. There would be no motivation to just be an asshole and destroy everything around you.

It's a depressing thought when you really think about it, I actually got extremely panicky at first and couldn't sleep right for months until it fully sunk in. It was a bad time in my life that's for sure, and sort of makes me wish I never really started down this journey to begin with. Not life, that's more than meaningful, I'm talking about the road to answer the question to "what does it all mean?" The answer and how I live my life as things started making more sense. One... have children, it's the reason you're here. Honestly, if you can do any one thing for the benefit of mankind outside of creating a new widget or making some huge discovery that will impact humanity, it is to expand the longevity of mankind as a species, your children's children's children will thank you for it. They might just be the one to create something that will impact humanity as a whole, cure some crazy disease, genetically engineer more food producing crops, or alternative to fossil fuels etc etc. So where does that leave you after you had children as that may be "your only purpose" well... don't be a dick to people. Make your existence on this planet in the short time you're here as enjoyable for others as possible. Even if it's not going out of your way to help the less fortunate, don't ride people's ass on the highway, or be rude to the waitress at a restaurant that is doing their own 9 to 5 just like the rest of us and want to go home and enjoy their families as much as everyone else. Everyone's just like you, we all share the same bloodline in reality, we're all just trying to make it in this crazy world, don't make it hard on them. Keep living by the bible or kuran or whatever you like, there's some great knowledge to be passed down from many generations in there, but just know what you're reading is fictional and entertaining. Just a guideline. Keep going to church, it's not a waist of time, it's a good social meeting where people care about each other and you get to go out to brunch afterwords which is great, they usually have cantaloupe and that stuff is like crack.

That age old adage of "live life to it's fullest" well, it's the only one you got. Hope you make the most of it.

-SNESFAN
 
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Løra (Lolla)

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Wow. That's a powerful piece of writing right there. I think it's very brave of you to share your thoughts and ideas on such a deep topic like that :).


I would actually like to respond properly to this, but alas, I have no access to my laptop. So using my phone and not taking enough time to reply how I wish to, wouldn't do my post or your topic any justice. But I will get back to you on this :p.


Just had to say that I was muchly impressed and enjoyed reading what you wrote.
 

Garrett

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An interesting read, thanks for taking the time to share..

Don't know if you're aware of Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great, The Portable Atheist etc) but there's some fascinating debates with some pretty eminent Christian intellectuals (and Al Sharpton) to be found on YouTube, that you may find interesting.
 

xiongxioi

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That's an entensive and interesting read. I would just put my two cents here. Neither to agree nor disagree. 

1. People are awful and stupid. We never learn anything until it has gone terribly wrong. Only the extremes can teach us.

2. There's nothing wrong as either being selfish or selfless. We adore selfless because that's what's classified as good citizen in our sociaties. However, accepting selfless as an excuse of not doing and trying anything is stupidity. People are so afraid of their death that they lose their meaning of being alive. So they would put themselves into hobbits, foods, gambling, drinking, and religions. Only few can accept the fact and live freely.

3. Freedom is not free, in fact, it is the most expensive thing. It only takes 10,000 hours for someone to become a true master at something. Most people would not even think about it even though they throw away their life as if they don't care. People are afraid of freedom, afraid of choices, afraid of changes and a life free of guilt. Sometimes, paying the debt is the only reason people're getting up in the morning.

4. There might be a god, but it would not be the same entity as depicted by its belivers. Us humans are constantly redefining ourselves as a whole, and the standard of good is changing all the time. Even the believers don't have the same personal philosophy, let along people who are living in different part of the world. If there is one god, and it is open to everyone, then its view, its wisdom are far beyond us, and none of us can be any more correct than the person next to him. It's like a theory of everything (ToE), it is hypothesized that we need to understand 10 dimensions before we can even scratch the surface of the world. Most of us only know 4. What we are seeing, we are observing, we are thinking can not possibly be even close to the truth.

5. Responsibility is something that you should choose, not accept. The society, the people around you, and the things you have been taught are all trying to take away your freedom of choice, but the trigger is next to your finger. No one can say you have to be this, or you have to think that way. You can learn and become whatever you want. It is funny how children treat unknown with curiosity, whereas adults treat unknown with fear.
 
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vcoleiro1

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Well, speaking as a person from a christian background who has a degree in Physics. I'm afraid no matter which way you look -> Religion or Science . there never will be an answer to life. For as many never ending questions that are raised in religion there are for science.  

I remember in one of the quantum physics classes at uni asking the lecturer the never ending question you envitabely ask. Why does  this occur - because of this was the answer. Again you would ask how the answer given would occur and so on for about 3-4 questions until they couldn't answer you. That's science - a question that has an answer that begs another question and so on - there will never be a complete and satisfactory answer because every answer springs a new question.

Looking at religion it's sort of a similar situation.  

In the end you will believe what your heart guides you to.  
 

Fzero

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Nice read. Do any religions agree with an evolution model, or do they all think their respective deity/god made humans as they are today from day one?

More blown minds can be found here

http://vimeo.com/34884787

A very interesting 'What is reality' docu, which goes into very high mathematics at the end, covers hologram theory and lots of other interesting things.

It's a mad world, universe, multiverse, and I don't understand it really but I'm ok with that. I just do my own little insignificant thing and when it's over it's over. I'm not expecting any 'insert coin to continue' option
 

ekianjo

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Do any religions agree with an evolution model, or do they all think their respective deity/god made humans as they are today from day one?
Sorry I didn't read the first post at all (TLDR excuse). But I thought this question is interesting. 

Many of the stories told in religion are not made to be taken "As is" (while some people do), and are rather demonstrations of concepts through story-telling. Even when the Bible was written, their writers were probably very aware that they were putting legends in writing among actual facts they reported. And you can see differences in treatment regarding the life of Jesus through the different gospels so that tells you that there was both a mix of facts and fiction/purposeful intent in the events they reported. 

Other than that, most religions are ancient in History, or derived from older religions and the evolution concept is extremely recent, so it's fairly understandable that the evolution concept is not part of the religion's writings. 

This being said, I think many christians (at least in Europe) believe in evolution and have no problem being christian nonetheless. Again, it's about what you take out of religion in the end. 
 

ElPoco

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My personal experience is very similar to yours: born and raised in a very religious family (Catholic). Went to private Catholic schools and started questioning all of this as I became adult, and I came to the same conclusions as yours.

What's interesting to consider is that religion is something that humans have a predisposition to, because we are born dualists: we see a difference between matter and life. When you see a rock moving, you instinctively know that someone or something had made it move. This is important because it allows you to understand that, for example, there's a predator lurking nearby. But this leads to a side-effect: we have to put someone or something behind everything that happens. The rock moved because someone pushed it, the volcano errupted because... someone made it do so? 

As we discover the reasons why things happen, we can explain more and more things without having to rely on some god. But when we have no other explanation, putting an omnipresent and all-powerful entity there is a great way to keep our brain happy with a logical explanation. Hence religions. 

I've recently discovered Ignosticism and I kinda like it, especially as an answer to religious people.

And personally, I'm okay with my life having no meaning and no other reason to be than "because it just happened that I exist". As long as I can live it happily and make it as nice as possible to others, I'm fine.
 

DaMummy

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holy mother of god, im not reading this thread, as much as im interested in its content. how about a tl;dr?
 

Klumpen

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Although English is not my first language, I actually have read the whole text and do not think, that it is hard to read, so your try to be understandable worked.

I am raised christian (protestant) too and had quite a journey, although I never really was into monotheism and quickly turned towards entirely different concepts.

Taoism is my favourite, because it originally has no real conflicts with modern science and is proven right more and more.

Existence and Nonexistence are one, Matter and Energy is one, all is one, etc... All these diversions you find in theistic, especcially monotheistic religions

are just a simple way to deal with complicated matters with an easy dualistic way of thinking.

Keep living by the bible or kuran or whatever you like, there's some great knowledge to be passed down from many generations in there, but just know what you're reading is fictional and entertaining. Just a guideline. Keep going to church, it's not a waist of time, it's a good social meeting where people care about each other and you get to go out to brunch afterwords which is great, they usually have cantaloupe and that stuff is like crack.
Maybe you have not really read them, but you cannot live exactly by these books and be nice to every other person.

They divert your group from "the others". That is a problem: The pack.

In order to keep your family alive, there were many times in the past, where you had to stop feeling empathy for other creatures, even from your own species.

This thinking lives on in these old religions and should be changed.

What is important in this topic is the definition of life and of chance.

For me, life is not simply everything with DNA, but the way things go in general.

Gravitiy is a part of life already, because it causes things to grow, create and seperate. Life is change.

If everything is possible, it is also possible, that these selfreplicating acids (DNA) with all their fancy extensions/tools

just got into existence by chance/luck and there is no plan, only causality, but causality may be the plan, with all the physical laws,

that do not even apply to every form of particle/energy.

Referring to "life is change":

That is also my answer to all this afterlife stuff.

Of course there is afterlife, but not how people imagine it.

Your conception and everything else about you is changing your entire life and when your body and actual brain decays,

it's atoms will be used in other forms of life and that already is afterlife, people should just not fear the loss of their current awareness,

because it is always changing and limited. You should not fear the inevitable.

What's interesting to consider is that religion is something that humans have a predisposition to, because we are born dualists: we see a difference between matter and life. When you see a rock moving, you instinctively know that someone or something had made it move. This is important because it allows you to understand that, for example, there's a predator lurking nearby. But this leads to a side-effect: we have to put someone or something behind everything that happens. The rock moved because someone pushed it, the volcano errupted because... someone made it do so? 

As we discover the reasons why things happen, we can explain more and more things without having to rely on some god. But when we have no other explanation, putting an omnipresent and all-powerful entity there is a great way to keep our brain happy with a logical explanation. Hence religions.
Exactly. When asking the question "why?", you first have to consider what you are and we are mammals ascending from creatures, that had enough paranoia to notice natural enemys fast enough,

even if 9 out of 10 times the rock just moved because of a slight tectonic movement or an harmless insect, the one time it saved your life is the important one for evolution.

Evolution exists not only between generations, but in yourself all the time.

Your genes change and adapt even while you still live.

I wanted to explain the same way, why god/s exist in peoples mind at all.

Of course there are roots and powers beyond our comprehension, but to think of them as some kind of humanlike will,

a kind of human without body and boundaries like the highest hierarch, is a very easy way and people always try to explain things in the easiest way to themselves to go to other,

at the moment seemingly more important matters.

If you people are interested in truth and religion in general, I can recommend to think without pregiven forms and read old books from cultures as different as possible.

My favourites are "Lao-Tse = Tao-Te-King/Dao-De-Ging", "Siddharta Gautama/Buddha = Dhammapada", "Mark Aurel - Meditations", "K'ung-fu-tzu - Lun Yu", Kant and Schopenhauer are nice too

and as an antihumanistic example "Mohammed - Quran" or the old testament if you can endure the immense boredom.

Yes, I have read all this.

My absolute favourite is "Jiddu Krishnamurti", you should really know this one!

He was raised as the new messiah and just ended his own religion to tell people, that no messiah can give them peace of mind and knowledge,

everyone has to achieve this by himself. He has not written books, because he did not want, that people use this for some cult again,

but he traveled through the world and talked with people and many of it was documented.

What he said is awesome.

I do not distinguish between religion and science, because one is just an older version of the other.

What we call science today is an update.

It's all philosophy, the love for wisdom and truth.
 
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_wb_

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holy mother of god, im not reading this thread, as much as im interested in its content. how about a tl;dr?
SNESFAN became an atheist, despite his deeply christian environment.

Congratulations, SNESFAN! Welcome to the world of reason and secular humanistic morality!

I'm an atheist myself too, although occasionally I'll claim to be a Pastafarian or a member of the Church of Emacs (even though I rarely actually use Emacs).
 

ekianjo

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Church of Emacs (even though I rarely actually use Emacs).
Using a free version of vi is not a sin but a penance :)

Congratulations, SNESFAN! Welcome to the world of reason and secular humanistic morality!
Let's not exaggerate. Newton was a fervent christian and still one of the most brilliant scientific geniuses of history. Religion has nothing to do with lack of reason.
 

_wb_

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Congratulations, SNESFAN! Welcome to the world of reason and secular humanistic morality!
Let's not exaggerate. Newton was a fervent christian and still one of the most brilliant scientific geniuses of history. Religion has nothing to do with lack of reason.
Well yes but at that time nearly everybody was religious, and it was quite dangerous not to be. And I wouldn't consider all of Newton's work to be brilliant science - consider all of his efforts in alchemy.

Religion, by definition, means you have to believe things irrationally or at least without evidence - as soon as there are rational reasons to believe something, it becomes science. So yes, the very essence of religion is lack of reason. That doesn't mean that there are no people who can combine reason/science and religion - but they typically do that by keeping science out of their religion and religion out of their science. Sure, you can have a brilliant mathematician who also happens to be religious, but if he tries to mathematically prove the existence of God, or if he needs to invoke God to make the proof of some theorem work, then something is wrong. You can combine reason and religion only if you maintain a certain distance between them, schizophrenically.
 

Klumpen

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Religion, by definition, means you have to believe things irrationally or at least without evidence - as soon as there are rational reasons to believe something, it becomes science. So yes, the very essence of religion is lack of reason. That doesn't mean that there are no people who can combine reason/science and religion - but they typically do that by keeping science out of their religion and religion out of their science. Sure, you can have a brilliant mathematician who also happens to be religious, but if he tries to mathematically prove the existence of God, or if he needs to invoke God to make the proof of some theorem work, then something is wrong. You can combine reason and religion only if you maintain a certain distance between them, schizophrenically.
No, "religere" is latin for "to remember (sth. back then)" or "to see it like before".

It's "by definition" the remembrance of past wisdom.

If logic is so important to you, you should gather information about the roots of words.
 
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I also didn't have time to read the opening post... Really sorry - my lunch break is ending! XD

But from gist reading the thread I've been through a simlar process.

I was always dragged to church which I just went along with... Then when I grew older I found religion giving me more questions than answer and I saw that all the different religions seemed to want to disagree instead of find common ground.

I eventually came to realising that I don't care that life is essentially meaningless after learning that we are "biologically wired" to search out meaning in everything. When ever there is something that I need to ask "Why did that happen?" and I can't find a reasonable explanation, I just remind myself that I'm probably trying to assign meaning where there is none and boom - brain accepts this.

I can't really invest heavily in anything that either causes more questions than answers or invokes more conflict (either of self or in others)
 

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Well yes but at that time nearly everybody was religious, and it was quite dangerous not to be. And I wouldn't consider all of Newton's work to be brilliant science - consider all of his efforts in alchemy.
Mouhaha. Your argument is null and void.

First, you do not appear to know the guy or you have never read his writings, apparently. Newton was a fervent christian, as I mentioned, in his social life. He really believed in it and was often referring to God in his writing and we know from his life as well he was a very pious man. Feel free to check.

Second, it's not because his alchemy experiments were unsuccessful that it discredits all the rest of his work. He was a genius at the same level of Einstein, like the ones you only get once a few centuries.He's the kind of person who would tackle a century od problem and solve it in a fortnight and invent a new theory of mathematics in the same time (the derivatives, for example).

If you pretend the contrary, you seriously have not studied much math or physics in your life. His is founder of modern science in many aspects.

It's your right to be an atheist, but let's not pretend Newton was a christian-by-force and a not-so-much-of-a-genius just because it does not fit your ideals.
 
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sebt3

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Hi,

I'll start with 2 things :

1) Thanks for sharing your though

2) I'm atheist (from the very beggining)

... but I respect belivers of all religions.

There is one aspect you did not look at : What is the religion usefullness to believers ? IMHO, religion offer replies to great question that can twist your mind. Like "Why am I here ?", "What's after/before life ?", etc. For theist, the religion offer a pillar to their mind so they can focus on more "usefull" things like "Where will I find something to eat ?" and alike.

Actually, trying to convince a theist that his belief are wrong is like removing the chair under their butt : It will hurt and serve no real purpose.

If your grand-father doesnt believe in evolution and requiere the existance of god to have a sense in his life, why would you try to convince he is wrong ? For him dinosorus are prank ? Fine by me. That's his reality. Is my reality better than his ? Unsure. But for sure his is easier to live with than mine : I dont know why I'm here...

You seems to confront science and religions. But I beg to differ. For me science have nothing against religion. Many great scientists are(were) theists. And while science offer different reply to many question religion reply, science doesnt reply to all the question. Here is a short list science does not yet reply :

What's before the big-bang ? (if a before existed as you spotted)

What created that single point of near infinite energy the big bang used as a start point ?

Where/when the life started ? What started it ? (some scientist have proven that the initial point of life could have been created naturally, yet the probabilities that this event was on earth is near 0... at least so far)

The list goes on. And here is a short list of question science will never reply :

- Why am I here ?

- What should I do ?

And many more.

Becoming atheist, mean accepting to have no reply to these questions. And that's rather challanging. Some minds just cannot accept this. And reading you had many nights without sleep, just mean (for me) that you had an hard time going throw all this. I find it unsurprising from where your started your journey. Congrats on getting on the other side of the fence.

I do have a question for you : Was it worth the troubles ? Do you feel any better than if you had accepted the religion you're born in ? Couldn't you just find a religion that float your boat any better and call it a day ?

One of my friend (born catholic) just cant cross the atheist line. That's too hard for her mind. She had a realy tough life so far, and her belief helped her on so many occasion that now that her life is easier she just cant give up her beliefs, or she'll become mad. Now, she is unhappy with catholics and she is looking for a better line of christanity. A one that will float her boat.

I'll close my post like I started it : thanks for sharing yours thoughs and a bit of your journey.
 
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