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Non-Religious Sanctuary Thread

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darkside_Spirit, Feb 1, 2002.

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  1. Darkside_Spirit

    Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 9, 2001
    Welcome to the Non-Religious Sanctuary Thread. This is intended to be a place where agnostics, atheists, deists, unitarians and others who have rejected mainstream organized religion can gather and discuss with like-minded JCers.

    Please note: this is not intended to be a closed, bigoted enclave where we can bash religion without opposition. Rather, it is a place for nonbelievers to debate and discuss issues relevant to them. Opinions/essays/articles directly criticizing religion may sometimes be posted, but the author is asked to be willing to debate any points made in a separate thread, should religious people object.

    Have fun posting!

    Perm lock - see last post.
  2. Iwakura

    Iwakura Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 2, 2001
    First off, I'm agnostic. I'm not entirely sure when I began considering myself that. I grew up Catholic and I suppose I never really thought about whether or not I truely believed when I was younger. I don't think there was ever a point where I miraculously stopped believing, for a large chunk of my teenage years I considered myself an atheist, but a few years ago I figured there's no proof either atheist wasn't exactly the most appropriate label.
    I don't really consider myself to have any sort of contempt for any religion...just a passionate disagreeance with some of their positions. Overall, I guess I just can't agree with the doctrine of any religion I've read about.
    Oddly enough, I find myself defending Christianity in school sometimes...I must be in the minority here because at school I come across A LOT of atheists, and find that Christians tend to get ridiculed by them.
  3. 1stAD

    1stAD Jedi Youngling star 5

    May 10, 2001

    Translation: Don't Sanctuaries/Defense Forces belong in the [link=]Role Playing Forum[/link]?
  4. Lord Bane

    Lord Bane Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 26, 1999
    No, this is more of a "Why are you an atheist or agnostic" thread.

    Despite the fact that the two are very dissimilar.
  5. Gonzonaut

    Gonzonaut Jedi Youngling star 3

    Apr 28, 2000
    I agree with why my older brother remarked once: "I don't think there's ever been any good '-isms.'" I think of myself as personally being a secular humanist, and I espouse the existence of liberal ethics to facilitate more harmonious social funtioning. I am by no means an antitheist; on the contrary, I believe that religions, if they promote harmonious ethical and altruistic ideas, are beneficial and are essential to the formation of sociological and cultural associations.
  6. sleazo

    sleazo Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 13, 2001
    i grew up with parents of two dif backgrounds, and whenever i asked what religion i was, they replied nothing you ll decide when you are older, so when i was older i studied various religions and came to the conclusion that it is folly for mankind to try and understand what "god" is, so i became an agnostic,

    im not an athiest b/c they are just as foolish as religous people if you ask me, they cant know that there is no god,
  7. Humble extra

    Humble extra Jedi Youngling star 5

    Jun 12, 1999
    I was raised catholic, and went through all the ceremonies and such, probably with enthuisiasm too......although my first doubts arose out of selfishness, when i did first communion we did not get a fancy blue embossed silk ribbon, like my brother and sister had.....

    I think my atheism has several distinct origins: One being my initial dislike of ritual and ceremony that seemed both pointless and timewasting.

    Second being my close proximity while growing up to a large congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, several of my uncles belonged to it, and by and large they seemed to do alsorts of things i didnt approve of, such as doorknocking, and abuse of the welfare system to further their religous beliefs.

    Thirdly i attended state primary and secondary schools, so I didn't have to endure the indoctrination that goes on at religious schools. Additionally this meant i didn't get too involved with the catholic community at a young age, and instead beacme friendly with people who were not religious.

    Fourthly I started reading alot from an early age, and as I learnt more about the history of the world i realised that religion had both manipulated, and had been manipulated alot of the time. I began to realise that it wasn't Gods or spirits or faith that mattered, it was people, and their actions that dictated how and why events occur.

    Fifthly there was a certain amount of rebellion, which sorta ties in with point one. Ging to church every week was a hassle,a real bore, and since we lived about 30km from the nearest church it was a drawn out hassle. So we always used to complain heaps about going, so my father, would force us to go with our mother to the Catholic church. THis was very hypocritical of my father,as he was a lapsed anglican, going to church only once a year, or to funerals or weddings. Defying the both of them is something that as a teenager i was very keen on doing.

    So in summary, my atheist beliefs developed initially out of a dislike of childhood routine. It was only when i got to High School and University that i developed a solid philosophical underpinning for my lack of belief.
  8. cydonia

    cydonia Jedi Knight star 5

    Jun 6, 2001
    I'm not sure i fit in with this category, because i believe something weird is going on out there, but here i am anyway.

    When i was about 13 years old, both my sisters joined a charismatic fundamentalist youth oriented southern california church, and both became saved. What used to be a pretty fun relationship with my sisters turned into constant dogmatic abuse of little brother. I learned that every single thing i did, thought, and desired was evil. I learned that Satan was writing the lyrics to all my favorite Cure songs. I sort of wanted to be a film director then, i learned only satan would want me to do that, because i had no problem with R rated movies. When that turned into the desire of becoming a professional animator, disney- style, i was asked, "oh you mean like after the rapture you can do little cartoons to help the kids on earth learn about jesus?" This sort of thing. And my mother encouraged it. All the women in my family are fundies, and they all pray for my soul. But i still love them, and in fact i am now older and more wise than my sisters were when they became saved.

    But i also had a very active, sometimes obsessive, imagination. As i became an adolescent, i threw myself into music, and have been writing dark romantic songs ever since. Creative thoughts were usually accompanied by thoughts such as "You're going to hell. Satan is making you write music. Satan is writing your lyrics. Satan is tempting you. If you're not for jesus you're against him. You could die tomorrow and be in hell. Your family thinks like this, and they are older and "wiser", therefore they are right. What's wrong with you? Why can't you be like them and listen to contemporary christian music?"

    I'm 25 now, and these thoughts are still there. Religion is a very powerful way to drive yourself insane. Many christians would probably say, "God's trying to tell you something. You're on the road to eternal damnation." Anyway i just got so sick of the guilt and fear and self-judgement that i couldn't take it anymore. No one deserves to live like that. So prove it. If Satan owns my sould and i am hell bound, prove it. Give me some evidence. I believed it, that's why i am always trying to learn more about the bible. The more i learn the more free and "re-born" i feel because the holes in it come to light. The all too human nature bible is revealed for what it is, a political instrument used by the ancient world leaders to scare their populace into submission. Sure there are some legitimate spiritual things that must have gone into writing it, but there is so much cruelty and sickness in it that no kind spirit would have had anything to do with "inspiring" it. At least that's my opinion.

    I think i'm rambling, but i'll just say that i believe some one or something my have had a stake in creaing the universe. If it's the Bible God, then all the beauty and wonder i could hope for in life will never appear, and i will feel very cheated. Oh well.
  9. Zyphyr

    Zyphyr Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 13, 2001
    I think I'm the opposite of Humble Extra. One of the things I loved most (and still do) about religion is the ceremonies. That's the only thing I miss about being an agnostic-athiest (I can't even commit to one or the other of those belief systems! How sad is that!? :D )

    I was raised in a very moderate C of E home (which is like saying I drank wet water ;) My favourite saying about the Anglican Church is that it's more a set of table manners than a religion)

    I got quite fervently religious at the age of 14 when I was confirmed and continued that way until 18 (and actually had the priest try to talk me out of giving up stuff for Lent since I was vegetarian and needed all of my food for adequate nutrition! Not many religious leaders that will do that. I like the Anglican priesthood. Nice inoffensive blokes. Just don't happen to believe in their God any more.)

    When I left home I looked into many different religions seeking some ephemeral glimpse of 'truth'. I'd discovered too much hypocricy in the Bible and oodles more in every Church on the face of the Earth. So I wandered from spriritualism to Buddhism to wicca. But I'm still not convinced by any of them. So I guess I'm a non-commital agnostic-athiest.

    Personally I think no-one knows what goes on in the afterlife. But we're all going to find out soon enough, so why bother worrying about it ;)
  10. Sturm Antilles

    Sturm Antilles Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 22, 2000
    In a nutshell, religion has created rifts in my family, as well as the world.

    Around the age of 11 or so, I started to question whether a bearded man lived in the clouds. As I entered my teens I pretty much stopped believing in what the preconcieved notion of "God" was and just read about various religions and all kinds of spiritual outlooks on life. I basically mixed everything together in a boiling pot in my head and came to the conclusion that while every religion brings something to the table that is good, it shouldn't be pressed upon others, treated as fact, or be abused for your gain.

    Even now, I don't like being labeled an "atheist", but it is what I am if someone were to indentify my outlook on religion.

    Basically, I think everyone should keep to themselves with what they think guides the planets, and get some common sense. I have plenty of it, and it shows in everything I do. Especially my relationship with my girlfriend.
  11. Darkside_Spirit

    Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 9, 2001
    I'm glad that this thread has survived the twelve hours or so sinced I posted it! I was worried it would be dead by morning. The Christian majority that permeates the JC seems to have dramatically increased with its growing popularity.

    I probably became agnostic a couple of years ago when I caught myself thinking "I don't really believe Christianity, but it's good as a way of life". At that point I came to realise that I was deceiving myself: I had, from some source or another, got the idea that I ought to be a Christian, and I finally realised the pointlessness of forcing Christianity on myself when I had come not to believe in its teachings.

    Then, I read further and became more and more convinced. Interestingly enough, the Internet has been my prime source of information. I have learned about atheism and agnosticism, and the meaning and value it can offer over religious superstition. I've also uncovered the fact that the "modern" Christian morality we have today is really an updated, humanised mutation of the repugnant Christianity-incited events that have gone on for two millennia. I came to the knowledge that humanist morality was an excellent path, and that Christianity was by no means a pinnacle of righteousness.

    Two years ago I didn't believe Christianity, but I bore no criticism of it, and I think I still believed in a universal God.

    However, by about sixteen months ago, I had converted to atheism and was beginning to see the problems with Christianity. Religion didn't really concern me much at that point, and I didn't really think much about it. I was entirely assured and certain in my atheism.

    It was about four months ago, a year on, that I started to really deeply think about religion and Christianity; to care much more about religious matters, and to be less sure that religion was wrong. That lead me to look much further into matters (again using online resources) but in the end my atheism has survived, and come out strengthened.

    Oh, and to answer the question a few posts up: we are not just roleplaying here!
  12. IAmTheDarkSide

    IAmTheDarkSide Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jan 9, 2002
    I'm an atheist. I was raised as a reform Jew, sent to Jewish school. I went to shul[/u] Friday nights and Saturday morning. However, if you know much about Judaism, you'll learn that as hostile as some other people are towards Jews, it's nothing compared to how other Jews are. If you're Reform, the Orthodox and many conservative Jews make no secret about the fact that you're not even Jewish. To make it worse, my mom was a convert -- she converted when she married my dad, and since it was a reform conversion, and Jewish lineage was traced through the mother, according to the authorities I wasn't, technically, even Jewish. Even though I was raised a Jew, with a Jewish education, observing Jewish laws and customs, I was somehow less a Jew than others.

    This alone didn't make me an atheist, this just got me looking funny at the whole religion thing. Then, I realized that I got nothing out of prayer. Most prayers, whatever language they were in, whether I understood them or not, whether they were personal or run-of-the-mill, didn't do anything for me. I got nothing out of going to shul, nothing out of praying. I felt no connection to God, and started questioning whether there was a God.

    In the years since, due to various circumstances, both personal and newsworthy, I have decided that there is no God. Maybe someday I'll live through some trauma or see some inexplicable miracle, and this will change. Who knows? But I just don't believe there's a God; I, unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately in this day and age, don't have the faith.
  13. Darkside_Spirit

    Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 9, 2001
    [blockquote]...Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.[/blockquote]

    --Thomas Paine

    Interesting post there. It comes as a surprise to learn that modern-day Jews are so sectarian.
  14. cydonia

    cydonia Jedi Knight star 5

    Jun 6, 2001
    I haven't finished it yet, but Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason has really helped me. Someone who is considered a Founding Father had the same questions i did. Actually, many founding fathers doubted the bible's divine origin, and it's nice to know that we're in such good company.
  15. Darkside_Spirit

    Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 9, 2001
    Yes, I must consider reading that book. By all accounts, it's still a good read, many years on from when it was written.
  16. Darth Dradus

    Darth Dradus Jedi Youngling star 3

    Apr 9, 2000
    ahhh ::relaxes and puts feet up on table::
    good to be home
  17. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 26, 2001
    Ummm....are Deists welcome here? I'm basically a deist.

  18. Ender

    Ender Jedi Knight star 6

    Aug 12, 1998
    Ummm....are Deists welcome here? I'm basically a deist.

    Sure, why not?

    It all started in mime school. I wanted to be the greatest mime in the world and study with Marcel Marceau. There was one problem. There was this talented student mime called Phillip. He was better than me and I knew it. So I prayed to god and asked for special mime powers on the day of the test.

    Anyway, to make a long story short Phillip is off with Marcel and I got to study with Chuck the mime.


    I've always doubted, and was brought up by nonreligious parents. I was exposed to religion though as my mother never really stopped me from experiencing it.

    When you're a kid you really never have to deal with your lack of belief. Only as you become an adult does it seem to become an issue.

    My grandfather was a devout Catholic but never forced his beliefs on me.

    I was pretty lucky I see compared to some.
  19. Darkside_Spirit

    Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 9, 2001
    Deists are certainly welcome here, yes (an impersonal, non-interfering God is only one step away from atheism anyway). Even universal-God people like cydonia can join in this thread if they want to. It's intended as a sanctuary against popular, mainstream religion.

    As it happens, I'm still in my early teenage years and religion does concern me a great deal at this point (as anyone will see if they look at my recent post list), although I've got past the stage of being scared by baseless threats of eternal damnation. I probably went through the stage described by Ender... When you're a kid you really never have to deal with your lack of belief ...about sixteen months ago, finishing about four months ago. For that period I was certain there was no God, and I didn't really give religion much thought at all.
  20. Humble extra

    Humble extra Jedi Youngling star 5

    Jun 12, 1999
    heh, my mother's family are the worst kind of cahtolics.....socts pressies that converted to RC....the worst of both worlds:(
  21. Jorus_Kando

    Jorus_Kando Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 9, 2001
    Just wanted to drop a line of support to you guys... While I'm still very much a Christian, I've been questioning what THAT means. Far too many people around me place more importance on obeying Church dogma than in actually being a "follower of Christ" which is what the name "Christian" would imply.

    So no, I'm not an atheist, but I'm definitely unhappy with organized religion.
  22. Darkside_Spirit

    Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 9, 2001
    Interesting - could you give us a summary of your actual beliefs?
  23. Yodave27

    Yodave27 Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2001
    I'm a Catholic, so probably not gonna participate in this one, but I'm kind of happy to see that there haven't been any bashers, yet. Maybe there is hope for this place.

    Oh and I hope this doesn't degrade into a religion-bashing thread.........

  24. Force of Nature

    Force of Nature Jedi Youngling star 3

    Nov 12, 1999
    According to an on-line quiz I did a while ago, I'm a secular humanist; I don't know whether or not that's true. The secular bit sounds right, but I'm not sure if I'm a humanist. Whatever I am, I didn't 'come to it'; I was never anything else.

    Until I was about 5 or 6, I assumed religion (specifically Christianity) was a children's story like Santa Klaus or the Tooth Fairy. It was a considerable shock to discover that (a) some adults actually believed it and (b), even worse, it was being taught as the truth; but I soon got over it. IMO, it's pointless, and probably wrong, to try to force any kind of belief (or unbelief) on anyone.

    If people's beliefs lead them to do harm to others, then I guess there's an argument for trying to stop them from acting on those beliefs. I don't see how beliefs, in themselves, can be harmful if they make the people concerned any happier than they otherwise might be.

    Oh, btw, my background is that I was baptised Methodist (I don't know what anyone else in the family was, but it wasn't that!) - which I didn't find out until I was in my 20s. Guess that's why they used to invite me to their Sunday school Christmas party! ;) - and I spent 6 years at a Catholic school. Maybe that's one reason why I can't get too concerned about religious 'indoctrination'; it certainly didn't affect me, except perhaps to make me a little more tolerant of others.
  25. Darkside_Spirit

    Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 9, 2001
    I hope that, if this thread survives the current low Senate Floor post count, it won't degenerate into pointless "religion bashing", yes. However, by this topic's very nature, we're not exactly going to tiptoe around religious sensitivies. We will certainly criticise religion if such criticism becomes topical.

    Forces of Nature, it's interesting to meet someone who assumed Christianity was a fairy tale right from the very start. The reason it's much scarier - and much easier to believe - than other fairy tales is that many intelligent, articulate adults take it seriously (the reason being that no amount of intelligence can take away the natural, idealistic longing for a benevolent higher power who will save you from death).
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