// Bad Behavior Start $txt['permissionname_badbehavior_goodgroup'] = 'Bad Behavior Whitelist Group'; $txt['permissionhelp_badbehavior_goodgroup'] = 'This option will make a member group exempt from all Bad Behavior tests.'; // Bad Behavior End // Begin Auto Embed Media Pro Text Strings $txt['mediapro_admin'] = 'Simple Audio Video Embedder'; $txt['mediapro_settings'] = 'Settings'; $txt['mediapro_save_settings'] = 'Save Settings'; $txt['mediapro_err_cache'] = 'Cache folder not writable must fix for performance!'; // END Auto Embed Media Pro Text Strings $txt['botscout_mail_subject'] = 'Bot Attempt Stopped'; $txt['botscout_mail_body'] = 'A bot tried to register, but was stopped from doing so.' . "\n\n" . 'Bot Name: %s' . "\n" . 'Bot Email: %s' . "\n" . 'IP Address: %s'; New Member Introduction

Author Topic: New Member Introduction  (Read 3132 times)

Dweezil

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New Member Introduction
« on: June 28, 2007, 11:46:17 AM »
I just wanted to say a quick "hello" to introduce myself.  My name is Roger, I'm a middle-aged guy who lives in St. Louis.  I lost my religion a handful of years ago after being raised Southern Baptist, then "converting" to ELCA Lutheran when I got married about 19 years ago.  My story is somewhat lengthy, so I'll post it at a later time. 

For now, I just wanted to say hello and thanks for putting together what promises to be a great site!
Consider for a moment, any beauty in the name Ralph.
Frank Zappa

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Re: New Member Introduction
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2007, 01:41:19 PM »
Hi Dweezil! I'm Walt. I hope yo enjoy your stay, and steal all the towels you like!  :-D

It occurs to me that given the ability to change religions due to social factors,  how can anyone know if they've got the "right" faith, or sect?

I was raised Southern Baptist, too. But though I was "on fire for God" for a period in my teens, it didn't hold my attention for long, and I branched out into a study of the supernatural in general. I could see that the existence of a supernatural realm or dimension was a necessary condition before the question of a [G]od inhabiting that realm could be broached.

But, I'd been interested in science since I was fairly young. When I was ten, I could rattle off all kinds of cool facts about the solar system. I loved rock collecting, and looking at pond water through a microscope. So it didn't take me too long to realize I was on my own in managing to survive, since I'd figured out by then that God never answers prayers, if he did there wouldn't be nearly as much misery in the world as there is. Every second of evey day things are dying all over the Earth, and much of the planet that isn't dying is in misery to one degree or another, many in extreme agony.

In my late twenties I got a job that allowed me to read, during the night shift. Played a lot of chess, too. In all I was having a grand ol' time. My reading materials were books such as, e.g., Timescale, by Nigel Calder, a logorythmic graph of the events since the big bang, starting at t=0; Powers of 10, that shows the universe from a man's hand out to 10 billion light years, in stages of, you guessed it, powers of ten. Then it went the other direction, focusing smaller and smaller into the man's hand, down to the quark level, which was a little fuzzy, since it pushes the envelope of what scientists know. I've been after "the big picture", as I call it, trying to keep in mind that what I know isn't necessarily true. It's hard to tell the difference between thinking I know something and that something being true, in correspondence with the "real" world, whatever that turns out to be.

All kinds of books, mainly about theories of the large scale structure of the universe, but a lot about things like the brain, particle physics, philosphy, stuff like that. I can think mathematically when I need to, usually, but I'm not a mathematician by any means. I mostly read books for laymen, but good ones like those of Carl Sagan or Bertrand Russell, et al. I think I've had the most fun with Frank Tipler, who wrote The Anthropic Cosmological Principle with John Barrow. Then Tipler wrote The Physics of Immortality (without Barrow) which certainly had an interesting worldview. I thought it would be superb to be able to be resurrected at the end of time, to do what I don't know. But I pictured it something like Baron von Munchausein, just galavanting around the realm of all possibility, having adventures. Or like the end of one of those Heinlein books, where the protagonists are in a world where all possible fictions can play out, riding their intelligent (and bossy, sometimes) "vehicle".
 

Hell, sorry to talk you ear off, just getting aquainted! I'll be here all week.  :wink:




 



« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 11:17:24 AM by Unbeliever »
"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods....I don't believe in God. I believe in man - his strength, his possibilities, his reason."
Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, in The Seattle Daily Ti

Dweezil

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Re: New Member Introduction
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2007, 02:22:36 PM »
So, I'm getting the distinct feeling that it has been a might lonesome in here?  :-D  This site will catch on...just give it a little time.  Before you know it, you'll have hundreds of rational thinkers discussing all kinds of things.

My story is this...As I mentioned I was raised in a Southern Baptist household.  I went to church twice every Sunday, once every Wednesday, and was in the boys choir.  I was a good, well-churched young man.  I believed, and any questions that I had about the whole God/Jesus/Ghost thing I put at bay.  In other words, I told myself to "just have faith". 

I remember that I almost felt MORE guilty leaving church every Sunday than filled with God's love.  Hair too long?  You're going to hell.  Listen to Pink Floyd?  You're going to hell.  Drink a beer?  You're going to hell.  Have "impure" thoughts?  You're going to hell.  Basically, just the act of being alive bought you a first class ticket to eternal southbound train of torture.  But, I still believed and did the best I could.

I grew up, met a woman, got married, then convereted to ELCA Lutheran.  While it was MUCH more laid back than being a S. Baptist, they still believed the same basic thing...and as I got older, I began to question it more and more.  My mother became ill with cancer, and when she was nearing the end of her life and was under the care of a hospice nurse, I started having a LOT of doubts.  My mother had always been a good xtian.  She had an artificial leg (from the time I was born).  This made it difficult for her to get around...so she rarely went to church.  However, she made up for that by watching xtian TV programs, and reading xtian material all the time.  While she was doped up on morphine, I remember that she would have hallucinations.  One would think that after being loyal to God one's whole life, that perhaps He would ease one's suffering when the end was near.  Such was not the case.  My mother saw demons.  She was terrified during her final days.  She thought that she was going to hell because she had worn lipstick, and pants (instead of a proper dress).  If there were a God, my guess would be that he would've taken much better care of one of his children.

But still, I made myself keep the faith.  A few years went by...I was very much a part of my church...I was on the council, played guitar every Sunday, ran the sound board...I was at the church ALL the time.  I started having some serious doubts that any of the God story was real.  It bothered me so much that I called the pastor to come to my home one night so we could talk about my waivering faith.  I told him that I didn't feel comfortable sitting in church any longer, but that I still felt close to "god" when I was alone in the woods, or on the water.  He understood and told me not to worry...that church was only a building.  That helped a little bit, but it didn't really answer some of my deeper doubts.

Finally, one day I just came to the conclusion that it (religion) was a waste of time.  It was unhealthy, counterproductive, and a lie.  I started reading books by Dawkins, Harris, Sagan, etc. and began to really become fascinated with our earth and the endless universe in which it floats.  The thought of a god or of any religion soon became a very silly concept to me.  So, here I am.  Fascinated with our world, our universe, people, and life.  I am trying to enjoy THIS life as much as I can, trying to touch as many people as I can because this is IT and I figure that I have spent a large portion of my life thinking that there was going to be something better...something more after I kick.  But that just simply isn't going to happen.  When I kick, the lights will go out and I'll be no more...just as I was before I was born.  Nothing to be afraid of...but it encourages me to love my neighbor with a little more gusto than I may have been doing before.  I dunno.  I'm just glad that I no longer worry about going to hell or heaven or doing what's right in "god's eyes".  I do what's right according to what I feel in my heart and my mind.  I hope that more people come to this conclusion before we annihilate one another in the name of our gods.  Why can't people dispose of their stupid man-written holy books and replace them with the simple words "love one another"?  It should be that simple.  Oh well...we bipeds are a curious lot.  Now, if I could just get my wife to come around...  :wink:
Consider for a moment, any beauty in the name Ralph.
Frank Zappa

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Re: New Member Introduction
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2007, 04:10:13 PM »
So, I'm getting the distinct feeling that it has been a might lonesome in here?  :-D  This site will catch on...just give it a little time.  Before you know it, you'll have hundreds of rational thinkers discussing all kinds of things.

I figure "if I build it, they will come". In the meantime, I'll just keep building it until it's the most comprehensive atheism/freethought message board on the web. I mostly do it for myself, though, since I like to have quick access to information when I need it. It also eases my ability to navigate around the various forums to which I've signed on, and contributing information to where it seems appropriate. It's definitely a work in progress, and I'll keep adding to it daily, and I hope the other members will get off their asses and contribute too, so we can be an active community.  :-D

Quote
My story is this...As I mentioned I was raised in a Southern Baptist household.  I went to church twice every Sunday, once every Wednesday, and was in the boys choir.  I was a good, well-churched young man.  I believed, and any questions that I had about the whole God/Jesus/Ghost thing I put at bay.  In other words, I told myself to "just have faith".

Yeah, when I developed questions and asked the people who should've been able to answer them, I always got some kind of run around, with never a straight, definite answer, and different answers from different people. Even after I gave up Christianity, (reading the Bible was a main cause of that) I still thought there might be some kind of a universal guiding spirit. So, though in my day to day life I delved into the world, thinking that the truth wouldn't be found without living life, and damn the torpedos, the big picture was never far from my mind. I studied, for example, astral projection, uh, religiously, devouring everything I could find on the subject, and performing the methods that were supposed to be conducive to separating the astral body from the physical. I did this for years, and nary a once did I manage the trick, and eventually I lost the hope that it was, indeed, possible. As near as I can tell, physical brains are necessary for the conditions that allow minds to be. Without brains, minds don't exist, and since my brain will be irrevocably ruined, my mind will cease to exist, as though it never existed at all.

Quote
I remember that I almost felt MORE guilty leaving church every Sunday than filled with God's love.  Hair too long?  You're going to hell.  Listen to Pink Floyd?  You're going to hell.  Drink a beer?  You're going to hell.  Have "impure" thoughts?  You're going to hell.

And they accuse us atheists of being negative!

 
Quote
Basically, just the act of being alive bought you a first class ticket to eternal southbound train of torture.  But, I still believed and did the best I could.

Well, I know some other sects believe that their proponents can sin, and just be forgiven, say by saying a few Hail Mary's, or whatever. As I recall my Sunday lessons from the day, they said there was only one unforgivable sin, and that any others could be forgiven by God's Grace.

Quote
I grew up, met a woman, got married, then convereted to ELCA Lutheran.  While it was MUCH more laid back than being a S. Baptist, they still believed the same basic thing...and as I got older, I began to question it more and more.  My mother became ill with cancer, and when she was nearing the end of her life and was under the care of a hospice nurse, I started having a LOT of doubts.  My mother had always been a good xtian.  She had an artificial leg (from the time I was born).  This made it difficult for her to get around...so she rarely went to church.  However, she made up for that by watching xtian TV programs, and reading xtian material all the time.  While she was doped up on morphine, I remember that she would have hallucinations.  One would think that after being loyal to God one's whole life, that perhaps He would ease one's suffering when the end was near.  Such was not the case.  My mother saw demons.  She was terrified during her final days.  She thought that she was going to hell because she had worn lipstick, and pants (instead of a proper dress).  If there were a God, my guess would be that he would've taken much better care of one of his children.

I think religions of every stripe have contributed much more of this emotional agony than all the physical torture they've carried out through the millenia. There's really no way to measure such a thing, so we can only conjecture at the psychological abuse that's been passed from parents to offspring, from shephard to flock, from the first time someone twisted religion into a tool of tyranny.

Quote
But still, I made myself keep the faith.  A few years went by...I was very much a part of my church...I was on the council, played guitar every Sunday, ran the sound board...I was at the church ALL the time.  I started having some serious doubts that any of the God story was real.  It bothered me so much that I called the pastor to come to my home one night so we could talk about my waivering faith.  I told him that I didn't feel comfortable sitting in church any longer, but that I still felt close to "god" when I was alone in the woods, or on the water.  He understood and told me not to worry...that church was only a building.  That helped a little bit, but it didn't really answer some of my deeper doubts.

This is usually when the definition of "God" undergoes a convenient metamorphosis. Whatever your question, some conception of God is bound to meet it, with sufficient wiggle room to meet objections.

Quote
Finally, one day I just came to the conclusion that it (religion) was a waste of time.  It was unhealthy, counterproductive, and a lie.  I started reading books by Dawkins, Harris, Sagan, etc. and began to really become fascinated with our earth and the endless universe in which it floats.  The thought of a god or of any religion soon became a very silly concept to me.  So, here I am.  Fascinated with our world, our universe, people, and life.  I am trying to enjoy THIS life as much as I can, trying to touch as many people as I can because this is IT and I figure that I have spent a large portion of my life thinking that there was going to be something better...something more after I kick.  But that just simply isn't going to happen.  When I kick, the lights will go out and I'll be no more...just as I was before I was born.

I like Twain's way of putting it, which is very like your own: "I was dead for millions of years before I was born, and it didn't inconvenience me a bit."

 
Quote
Nothing to be afraid of...but it encourages me to love my neighbor with a little more gusto than I may have been doing before.  I dunno.  I'm just glad that I no longer worry about going to hell or heaven or doing what's right in "god's eyes".  I do what's right according to what I feel in my heart and my mind.  I hope that more people come to this conclusion before we annihilate one another in the name of our gods.  Why can't people dispose of their stupid man-written holy books and replace them with the simple words "love one another"?  It should be that simple.  Oh well...we bipeds are a curious lot.  Now, if I could just get my wife to come around...  :wink:

I was fortunate enough to see, a while ago, a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Al Sharpton. I think Sharpton got PWNed, as they say.



Be excellent, dude!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 11:18:37 AM by Unbeliever »
"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods....I don't believe in God. I believe in man - his strength, his possibilities, his reason."
Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, in The Seattle Daily Ti

Dweezil

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Re: New Member Introduction
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2007, 07:35:31 PM »
Yes, I saw that debate.  I don't know that I would ever want to go up against Hitchens in a debate.  I think I would just wind up saying "you win, can I buy you a drink?" before we even got started!  Did you see the interview with him just after Falwell died?  He certainly didn't hold anything back! 

I don't know precisely what you're looking for in the way of contributions...other than stating/joining in topics.  But, I'll do what I can!
Consider for a moment, any beauty in the name Ralph.
Frank Zappa

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Re: New Member Introduction
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2007, 01:16:30 PM »
Hey, I mostly just want people to be able to find what they need here, in terms of the atheist/theist debate. Or to post things here that I haven't yet run across. Other than that, just have fun!

I think Hitchens won the debate with Sharpton where it concerned religion, I think he did much less well when the debate turned to politics. Hitchens looked like he was having the time of his life, though, and he didn't let Sharpton get away with trying to bully him. When the moderator asked the atheists in the audience whether they agreed with Chris on his position on the war, and they didn't, Hitch should've mentioned that atheists don't walk in lock-step, that they're each free to do their own thinking on whatever interests them. Christians, on the other hand, can be excommunicated (or worse) whenever they disagree with their "leaders."
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 04:12:03 PM by Unbeliever »
"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods....I don't believe in God. I believe in man - his strength, his possibilities, his reason."
Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, in The Seattle Daily Ti

Luci

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Re: New Member Introduction
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 02:53:01 PM »
Hi Guys

I am new here. I live in Charlotte, NC after living in NYC for 9 years; prior to that I lived in South Africa.

:)

Unbeliever

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Re: New Member Introduction
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2007, 10:12:18 AM »
Hi Luci, welcome!  8-)
"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods....I don't believe in God. I believe in man - his strength, his possibilities, his reason."
Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, in The Seattle Daily Ti