People of Atheism. (non-judgemental)

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] there! There was another post about religion so I though I would make one about atheists. I am an atheist. I respect everyones beliefs but I do not agree with it being taught as science fact, when there is overwhelming evidence that we were created from billions of years of fine tuning to make the amazing people we are today. I believe is is wrong to teach kids religion.

What are your beliefs? :slight_smile:

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I’d also like to add that I believe it is wrong to teach kids religion.

I feel similarly - I think it’s okay for parents to share their religion/faith with their children but it shouldn’t be presented as an absolute truth/something we can know for certain. I think it’s important for children to understand that there is a difference between belief and knowledge. Otherwise, they are less likely to grow up to be critical thinkers & will easily fall victim to magical thinking, cults, alternative medicine scams, etc.

What I absolutely don’t agree with is schools teaching religious classes & there shouldn’t be religious assemblies in schools. School is the place where we are supposed to learn things that we know to be true, and ideally it should be an objective, scientific environment.

Individual students being able to practice their religion in school is important I think (religious freedom), but the school itself shouldn’t be allowed enforce any religion on its students (also religious freedom). For example, some Universities in the UK have dedicated, non-faith specific spaces for worship on campus, and strikes the right balance, in my opinion.

(I’m also an atheist!)

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Also, if people feel comfortable with sharing, I’m always interested in other people’s journeys with their beliefs and how they landed on atheism!

I was never particularly religious - my parents were vaguely Lutheran but so vaguely that they actually never baptised me or introduced Christianity to me. [name_f]My[/name_f] environment was culturally [name_u]Christian[/name_u] though, so I soaked up some of it by just being around it. Through my grandma, I was exposed to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and I was fascinated by the rituals of it. [name_f]My[/name_f] grandma used to have an icon (small, religious gilded paintings) in every bedroom, and tbh I wouldn’t mind having one in my own home now just to honour her heritage.

I had this vague idea of “yeah, there’s probably a God” until I was a teen, when I started to examine that idea more. I came to realise I actually had no personal belief in God (or anything else supernatural) but rather had just accepted it as the cultural norm until then. When I examined my beliefs I came to realise that I strongly align myself with humanism, and that is now the philosophical basis of my life and how I decide what’s right or wrong.

In terms of my atheism, I think calling it agnostic atheism would be appropriate. I don’t know if there’s a God (or any other higher power) but I lack a belief in God.

The agnostic part mainly comes from the fact that, in my opinion, whether or not any Gods exist is unknowable (since it’s so difficult to prove a negative - it’s almost impossible to determine the difference between lack of evidence and an actual absence of evidence). However, I do think it’s highly unlikely, and I am comfortable living out my life based on the belief that there is no God. I also support religious freedom and people’s right to choose how they want to believe.

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Hi all! I find this to be a very interesting topic. I am not an atheist. I am actually a [name_u]Christian[/name_u], but I find it very interesting to know why others do not share the same faith I do. I am not judging anyone on this strand- in fact, as a [name_u]Christian[/name_u], we love everyone. We love the sinner, hate the sin.

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Hello, there!

I am a [name_u]Christian[/name_u]. However, I believe in evolution and I would want my children to know that some of the things written in the Bible are not necessarily true, like the story of [name_m]Adam[/name_m] and [name_f]Eve[/name_f]. However, I do want to raise my children in the Church, but as soon as they were old enough to understand what was being said, I would make it clear that this is something Mom believes, but not everyone believes it, and they can believe whatever they want. I also want to expose my children to all kinds of faiths as they grow, and if they become adults and decide to convert to another religion or practice non at all, then I would support them with all my heart.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with telling my sons and daughters: “this is what I believe. I want you to listen and think and decide for yourself what you believe.” I also don’t think there is anything wrong with taking kids to church, reading them the Bible, and that sort of thing, so as long as the child knows that the beliefs of the church aren’t the ones that they have to follow, and that there are many different ideas about spirituality and what is real or not real.

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Thank you for your kindness and coming to this with an open mind - I (and I’m sure many others) appreciate it. Because of your kindness, I want to be completely honest with you: “love the sinner, hate sin” is an extremely hurtful thing to say, even if I completely understand you mean no harm by it - it’s a really common phrase and not many people are aware of how it affects others with different beliefs.

When someone says that to me (as an atheist and a member of the LGBTQ+ community), the message behind it is “I hate what makes you who you are” (because what some religions perceive as my “sin” is who I am).

This is by no means meant as a personal attack towards you - I just wanted to explain how that saying affects many people. I’m also not saying you have to change the way you believe in anyway (I have no right to demand that you do that, and no one has the right to demand that from anyone) - I’m saying that since you’re coming from a place of kindness and not beind judgemental, using that phrase does not get the kindness across.

(Chirstian scholars have explained the problems with that phrase much better than I ever could, and I found these two sources really useful for understanding that perspective - https://medium.com/@joe.forrest1/love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin-why-christians-should-retire-their-favorite-phrase-fe669ccca9b6 & https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/04/kim-burrell-hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner/96158416/ - again, not saying that you aren’t allowed to think that certain things are sin, but phrasing it that way comes across as unkind, which I am 100% certain you did not intend to do. It’s just a matter of a poor choice of words that have unfortunately become really commonly used.)

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@penelope_lynson - thank you for sharing! Your parents sound very kind and wise.

@jonquils I absolutely agree with you on this - it is normal and natural for parents to want to share with their children how they see the world, and I think that’s genuinely beautiful. As parents, I feel like our job is to show our children what we believe to be right and wrong, and why, and that provides the child a fertile ground to grow their own beliefs from. The only thing I see was wrong is being dogmatic about it & not giving your child the freedom to develop their own beliefs. Your approach to parenting sounds absolutely wonderful to me.

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I 100% agree with you. I’ve struggled with whether sin is actually real or not, but even if it was, I don’t believe in that adage. Especially when it has been used over and over again to invalidate the lives, experiences, and truths of the LGBTQ+ community. [name_u]Love[/name_u] is not a sin, tattoos are not a sin, science is not a sin, living out your true gender identity is not a sin, being gay is not a sin, it is not a sin to not follow the word of the Bible to the letter, and it is not a sin to not believe that [name_m]Jesus[/name_m] [name_m]Christ[/name_m] is your savior.

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I was brought up atheist since my parents refuse to believe that there is any such possibility as God. But I consider myself to be more agnostic as my best friend in childhood was [name_u]Christian[/name_u] and most of my friends in high school were Muslim. So I’ve been exposed to various different faiths all my life but was still mostly on the atheist side until I studied philosophy in my final year of high school. [name_m]Philosophy[/name_m] is very interesting and I’m now firmly agnostic as I consider the events of the bible to be mostly true at the time of when they were recorded as there would have been limited knowledge of the world at that time. Also in philosophy, one standpoint I learned about what those who believe that God is real and that science just proves how God made everything possible, which is a pretty interesting viewpoint

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I share this idea as well, and I like how you phrased it - it was true at the time. (I’m a historical researcher, and many people approach the history of science from this same perspective - some things were true in the past that aren’t true now, given the internal logic of the communities at the time & how they made sense of the world.)

I find this viewpoint cool too (the God of the Gaps idea, kind of) and if I was religious, this is how I would see myself approaching it. I just also think that at some point it becomes impossible to know for certain whether or not Go exists and that’s the point at which you have to choose to either believe or not believe (or choose neither and remain agnostic). I fall in the not believing side of that divide but can’t claim I can prove that my position is right - is just that I choose to believe there is no God. It’s a matter of faith, not knowledge.

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I don’t have much to add, but I just wanted to agree with you on the “love the sinner, hate the sin” phrase.
As a member of the lgbtq+ community especially, I’ve seen it used it really harmful, hurtful ways. I agree that @namesleuth23 was coming from a place of kindness, so I’m glad you took the time to post some educational links!

as to the main topic, I’m not sure I’m an athiest as I do believe in something.
I went through a phase of my life where I was atheist, and found that believing in something helped me personally so that’s where I’m at now.
I’ve seen people use religion in awful ways, so I think right now I’m okay with sticking to no labels and staying away from certain aspects of religion.

I absolutely agree with other posters though about teaching your children multiple beliefs and letting them choose what they want to believe in, if anything!

also, @jonquils I just wanted to say that you seem like such a wonderful person. your posts about religion have made me feel safe and warm, and I wish other people felt the same way you do about it.

I also want to make it clear, in case I didn’t get my point across clearly, that I respect all people’s beliefs, so long as they aren’t hateful of course.

This is a fascinating thread, thank you for making it @CaveIron27!

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This seems to be, sadly, really common in our community - I know some people end up finding affirming and safe spaces within religion, but others are so traumatised by their experiences it just isn’t possible to ever feel truly safe in a religious community again. I’ve met other people who have identified as atheists at first to distance themselves from the pain religion has caused them, only to realise later on they have faith. It is complex and people’s journeys in this can be so unexpected. (After all, trying to answer the question why we exist and what we are supposed to do with our time here is never going to be easy!)

Also, your approach to your belief sounds really interesting to me - it seems very freeing and intellectually honest to be able to say you believe in something but, at least for now, don’t feel the need to define what that something is. Being okay with things being indefinable/unknowable takes a lot of courage, I think.

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My apologies for offending you and hurting your feelings. I can see how snobby and unkind it sounds. Maybe this will help me get my point across- “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, [name_m]Christ[/name_m] died for us.” Romans 5:8. [name_f]My[/name_f] apologies, again, if I have offended anyone. [name_f]My[/name_f] next statement is not meant to judge, boast, brag or offend anyone.
Because of my beliefs, what my savior says and how I was raised, I do support the LGBTQ+ community. I love each and every person who is apart of it, yet I do not agree with what they stand for. I mean no harm and hope I have not hurt any feelings or offended anyone.

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Thank you for responding - I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to my concerns and clarifying what you meant. It was quite clear from your first post also that you wanted to be kind, and it was simply the language you used that was unfortunate, rather than it coming across like you had any hateful or harmful intentions.

Of course I don’t speak for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community (no one could!) but when it comes to this issue, it’s not particularly important to me what beliefs people hold - instead, I care about how people treat others. What people believe and think deep down is their own business and can’t affect me but the actions they choose to take based on those beliefs absolutely can.

You genuinely come across here as someone who treats people with respect and kindness, regardless of differences, and in my opinion that is truly what matters. I believe we can all co-exist and be good neighbours to each other, as long as everyone agrees to be respectful and won’t try to harm others or stop them from living their truth, even if that looks very different from yours or mine.

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I think that played a big part in why I’ve struggled with my faith and beliefs for so long. I see in your other comment that you said the things other people believe deep down don’t affect you, which is so wonderful, but unfortunately I just can’t feel the same. Of course the way people treat others is most important, but I cannot ignore it if those same people deep down feel awful things about me and the people I care about. I’ve seen a lot of that in religious communities, which has absolutely affected how I feel towards religion. I think now though, I’m more okay with accepting my beliefs and where I stand on them. I realized that by not attaching myself to one religion or their beliefs, and instead believing in what I believe in, it has helped me not only believe in something again but also that belief has helped me tremendously in my personal life in regards to mental health.
Thank you so much, what you said about my beliefs is so sweet! It really means a lot, and I appreciate your kind words. :heart:

(I hope this made sense! I have a migraine right now, but wanted to take a moment to reply to you anyway!)

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Totally made sense! [name_f]Hope[/name_f] you feel better soon.

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Hello everyone! Thanks for all of your replies, I love nice and friendly conversations.

What, from a religious or atheist point of view do you think of this opinion of mine:

I believe that creationism and religion should not be taught in schools as a fact, since, as far as we know, it’s not. There is no evidence that there is a god. I’m open to the idea that there is, but until there is evidence, I am going to be an atheist.

Have a great day :)!

Right now I’m entirely undecided on religion- definitely agnostic, but whether theist or atheist, I do not know, However, I definitely agree that religion and especially creationism should not be taught in schools. I think that there should definitely be establishments where people can learn more about their religion of choice, but a child shouldn’t have to go to religion class every day at school before they’re even able to decide if they agree with that religion. [name_f]My[/name_f] biggest beef, however, is literal interpretations of the bible- I am being raised episcopalian and my family is definitely the type of christians that don’t actually believe that the bible is more believable than science. Especially as it has been translated so many times that different versions can be interpreted entirely differently, and many are used to justify misogyny, homophobia, and the like- my church is very clear that the ‘lessons’ should be used to base how we should act as humans- kindness and love and acceptance- not to take it as ‘we should never trim our beards’- that’s the only example I can think of right now :joy:. I’ll post more about my thought process when it comes to religion, but I wanted to answer your question! As for the second part of your opinion (“I’m open to the idea that there is, but until there is evidence, I am going to be an atheist.”), I’ll also add that in my future post :smile:.

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I’m atheist but will be teaching in a Church school from [name_f]September[/name_f]. There are parts of it that I ethically and morally disagree with (love the sinner, hate the sin is something I do particularly struggle with/dislike) but I’ve ultimately chosen a positive work environment over an institution that matches my beliefs. It was a difficult decision because I will have to teach some of Church doctrine that I don’t agree with, including on LGBTQ issues and on the role of women in society. There will be lessons on religion as well as Mass and religious assemblies. The school is State-funded too since we don’t have separation of Church and state.

I was raised in Church school and left the faith, though. So I have to believe that the children I teach will come to their own decisions anyway. I don’t necessarily think teaching children about your religious beliefs is wrong, whether from a theistic or non-theistic standpoint, as long as it’s clear that they really can choose an alternate path.

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