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Is Atheism Irrational? NYTimes Opinion Piece


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I don't think you should bother trying to hard to make someone recognize that atheists are easily the most misunderstood and feared (and therefore the least accepted) minority out there.

Obviously certain Christians like to argue their awful plight in this country, but it is easy enough to see it for what it is.

Yeah, that's why my response was based on facts I recalled seeing, and I didn't spend the time to go do the research and include links, etc. The info is out there for anyone that questions this.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

I'm with you. I'm #openlysecular on this message board, but not so much in real life. It's just not acceptable yet in our society. Heck, you get killed for it in a lot of other countries.

And yet, there are Christians in this country that feel like they are the ones being persecuted by those nasty atheists...

Pretty much anywhere in the world that you would be killed for being atheist, you would also be killed for being Christian.

In this country it's a lot like politics. Both sides have nasty elements, but only see it come from 'the other side'.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Take Islam, for example. It's my understanding that Sharia law has provisions to live peacefully with Christians (maybe even Jews). However, atheists should be killed.

I'd also be willing to bet that there are some "Christian" countries in Africa that will kill you for being an atheist.

Yeah that's what Islam says, but in practice it's 'convert or die'.

The second part I have not seen or heard any evidence of that. Are there even any "Christian" countries in Africa?

Lots.

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Thanks for sharing this joffer. He was extremely well-spoken. I find many of these explanations that I agree with (like the common sense link MT posted) but fear that, if and when confronted in the future (see OPM's post about me being in Texas) I will struggle to explain why I lack belief. I wish I could just pull up some Dawkins/Harris/Hitch youtubes and say here watch this. Or have MT on speed dial.

Along those lines, I hope to see the Openly Secular movement grow. I am still in the closet as it were.

I only get into it with people I trust explicitly, and I keep it absolutely simple. In the closet is the only safe place to be with it if you value things like your career.... or how your children are treated in parts of this country.

I'm with you. I'm #openlysecular on this message board, but not so much in real life. It's just not acceptable yet in our society. Heck, you get killed for it in a lot of other countries.

And yet, there are Christians in this country that feel like they are the ones being persecuted by those nasty atheists...

Pretty much anywhere in the world that you would be killed for being atheist, you would also be killed for being Christian.

In this country it's a lot like politics. Both sides have nasty elements, but only see it come from 'the other side'.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Take Islam, for example. It's my understanding that Sharia law has provisions to live peacefully with Christians (maybe even Jews). However, atheists should be killed.

I'd also be willing to bet that there are some "Christian" countries in Africa that will kill you for being an atheist.

Yeah that's what Islam says, but in practice it's 'convert or die'.

The second part I have not seen or heard any evidence of that. Are there even any "Christian" countries in Africa?

Ok, maybe I need to recant that second statement. However, this research illustrates that while maybe it's not a death sentence in the non-Muslim world, there is definitely a lot of discrimination, including imprisonment, etc. even in the West.

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I don't think you should bother trying to hard to make someone recognize that atheists are easily the most misunderstood and feared (and therefore the least accepted) minority out there.

Obviously certain Christians like to argue their awful plight in this country, but it is easy enough to see it for what it is.

Point - CQ

I feel your pain.

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Ok, maybe I need to recant that second statement. However, this research illustrates that while maybe it's not a death sentence in the non-Muslim world, there is definitely a lot of discrimination, including imprisonment, etc. even in the West.

That doesn't really contradict anything I've said. And is there a lot of enforcement of blasphemy laws 'in the West'?

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I don't think you should bother trying to hard to make someone recognize that atheists are easily the most misunderstood and feared (and therefore the least accepted) minority out there.

Obviously certain Christians like to argue their awful plight in this country, but it is easy enough to see it for what it is.

Point - CQ

I feel your pain.

Don't project your complex onto me.

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Ok, maybe I need to recant that second statement. However, this research illustrates that while maybe it's not a death sentence in the non-Muslim world, there is definitely a lot of discrimination, including imprisonment, etc. even in the West.

That doesn't really contradict anything I've said. And is there a lot of enforcement of blasphemy laws 'in the West'?

Yeah, but this does.

According to scholars[15][190][191] of traditional Islamic law, the applicable rules for religious conversion under Sharia are as follows:

  • If a person converts to Islam, or is born and raised as a Muslim, then he or she will have full rights of citizenship in an Islamic state.[192]
  • Leaving Islam is a sin and a religious crime. Once any man or woman is officially classified as Muslim, because of birth or religious conversion, he or she will be subject to the death penalty if he or she becomes an apostate, that is, abandons his or her faith in Islam in order to become an atheist, agnostic or to convert to another religion. Before executing the death penalty, Sharia demands that the individual be offered one chance to return to Islam.[192]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is not a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), he or she can live in an Islamic state by accepting to be a dhimmi, or under a special permission called aman. As a dhimmi or under aman, he or she will suffer certain limitations of rights as a subject of an Islamic state, and will not enjoy complete legal equality with Muslims.[192]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), Sharia demands that he or she should be offered the choice to convert to Islam and become a Muslim; if they reject the offer, he or she may either be killed, enslaved, or ransomed if captured.[192]
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I don't think you should bother trying to hard to make someone recognize that atheists are easily the most misunderstood and feared (and therefore the least accepted) minority out there.

Obviously certain Christians like to argue their awful plight in this country, but it is easy enough to see it for what it is.

Point - CQ

I feel your pain.

Don't project your complex onto me.

I understand. I'm here for you when you are ready to talk about it.

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So rather than praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

This is well said MT. We should generally be appreciative when someone offers their thoughts and prayers as support.

A thought that may come to mind from the atheist's standpoint is that if we feel that prayer "does nothing", whereas a Christian may see prayer as helpful. I suck at this. Try this..

Atheist: Can't believe we lost our home in a fire.

Christian: I am praying for you (feels good about self).

Atheist: Well, I mean thanks, but can you offer a donation or help us clean up or prepare some meals...something tangible?

TL;DR Prayer is intangible and doesn't absolve you from "actually" helping.

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So instead of praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

Oh come on, Maurile, you are smarter than this.

You know full well your analogy doesn't even come close to the belief system of the Christian. While you may think or wish that were the case it just isn't. Christians believe that Jesus is THE way and that no one can come to God the Father except through Him. To the Christian, there are no other "treatments", there is no other way to find eternal happiness. You can disagree, but to ignore that truth is to misunderstand the gesture of praying for your salvation.

Yeah, that's a pretty good example of what I was talking about. Thanks.

It's like a parody of what people think gluten-free dieters are like.

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Yeah that's what Islam says, but in practice it's 'convert or die'.

does it?

So, we agree that what Islam says is different for Christians than it is for atheists. And, that there are blasphemy laws on the books in Western nations.

But, you're arguing that, in practice, Christians have it just as bad as atheists in those 13 countries that execute non-believers? That they are discriminated against at the same rate in the West?

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So rather than praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

This is well said MT. We should generally be appreciative when someone offers their thoughts and prayers as support.

A thought that may come to mind from the atheist's standpoint is that if we feel that prayer "does nothing", whereas a Christian may see prayer as helpful. I suck at this. Try this..

Atheist: Can't believe we lost our home in a fire.

Christian: I am praying for you (feels good about self).

Atheist: Well, I mean thanks, but can you offer a donation or help us clean up or prepare some meals...something tangible?

TL;DR Prayer is intangible and doesn't absolve you from "actually" helping.

They may not be offering tangible help, just trying to "be there".

There is no good response.

You look like an ungrateful dooshbag, they get insulted.

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Q: Your significant other is a Christian. How are you navigating that?

A: It’s challenging sometimes, but she is an open-minded, thoughtful person. I’d call her a Christian Humanist, or a Humanist in the way of Jesus, if that makes any sense. I still share a love for the stories of the radical Jesus preferring the poor and downtrodden, so we’re not as different as it may seem on the surface. Besides, our relationship is about more than debates about God’s existence.

This part has always been tough for me. I attend church with my wife and she knows some of the issues I have with it all, but we don't discuss any of it. No, that doesn't go very well. :topcat:

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Q: Your significant other is a Christian. How are you navigating that?

A: It’s challenging sometimes, but she is an open-minded, thoughtful person. I’d call her a Christian Humanist, or a Humanist in the way of Jesus, if that makes any sense. I still share a love for the stories of the radical Jesus preferring the poor and downtrodden, so we’re not as different as it may seem on the surface. Besides, our relationship is about more than debates about God’s existence.

This part has always been tough for me. I attend church with my wife and she knows some of the issues I have with it all, but we don't discuss any of it. No, that doesn't go very well. :topcat:

Same here fwiw Jayrok. Add in kids as well. I was a Christian such as it were when we got married. Complicated.

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Q: Your significant other is a Christian. How are you navigating that?

A: It’s challenging sometimes, but she is an open-minded, thoughtful person. I’d call her a Christian Humanist, or a Humanist in the way of Jesus, if that makes any sense. I still share a love for the stories of the radical Jesus preferring the poor and downtrodden, so we’re not as different as it may seem on the surface. Besides, our relationship is about more than debates about God’s existence.

This part has always been tough for me. I attend church with my wife and she knows some of the issues I have with it all, but we don't discuss any of it. No, that doesn't go very well. :topcat:

Same here fwiw Jayrok. Add in kids as well. I was a Christian such as it were when we got married. Complicated.

It's not as bad as it was about 10 yrs ago when I went through the gauntlet of emotions. I enjoy our pastor's sermons but not as much when an associate pastor preaches when he's not there. Wife doesn't want me in the Sunday school class so we only go for the sermon these days.

My pastor and some of the newer men at church just started a new men's bible study group but I haven't been. I did talk with him in the last month for about 2 hours and the more I talk to him the more I realize he doesn't really fully believe some of the details he preaches on Sunday mornings. But it is a southern baptist church so he has to tow the company line to some extent.

My kids are grown and married now but grew up in the church. My son actually married an atheist last year, which has caused some concern as you can imagine.

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Q: Your significant other is a Christian. How are you navigating that?

A: It’s challenging sometimes, but she is an open-minded, thoughtful person. I’d call her a Christian Humanist, or a Humanist in the way of Jesus, if that makes any sense. I still share a love for the stories of the radical Jesus preferring the poor and downtrodden, so we’re not as different as it may seem on the surface. Besides, our relationship is about more than debates about God’s existence.

This part has always been tough for me. I attend church with my wife and she knows some of the issues I have with it all, but we don't discuss any of it. No, that doesn't go very well. :topcat:

Same here fwiw Jayrok. Add in kids as well. I was a Christian such as it were when we got married. Complicated.

It's not as bad as it was about 10 yrs ago when I went through the gauntlet of emotions. I enjoy our pastor's sermons but not as much when an associate pastor preaches when he's not there. Wife doesn't want me in the Sunday school class so we only go for the sermon these days.

My pastor and some of the newer men at church just started a new men's bible study group but I haven't been. I did talk with him in the last month for about 2 hours and the more I talk to him the more I realize he doesn't really fully believe some of the details he preaches on Sunday mornings. But it is a southern baptist church so he has to tow the company line to some extent.

My kids are grown and married now but grew up in the church. My son actually married an atheist last year, which has caused some concern as you can imagine.

I guess I don't follow completely.. are you Christian?

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Q: Your significant other is a Christian. How are you navigating that?

A: It’s challenging sometimes, but she is an open-minded, thoughtful person. I’d call her a Christian Humanist, or a Humanist in the way of Jesus, if that makes any sense. I still share a love for the stories of the radical Jesus preferring the poor and downtrodden, so we’re not as different as it may seem on the surface. Besides, our relationship is about more than debates about God’s existence.

This part has always been tough for me. I attend church with my wife and she knows some of the issues I have with it all, but we don't discuss any of it. No, that doesn't go very well. :topcat:

Same here fwiw Jayrok. Add in kids as well. I was a Christian such as it were when we got married. Complicated.

It's not as bad as it was about 10 yrs ago when I went through the gauntlet of emotions. I enjoy our pastor's sermons but not as much when an associate pastor preaches when he's not there. Wife doesn't want me in the Sunday school class so we only go for the sermon these days.

My pastor and some of the newer men at church just started a new men's bible study group but I haven't been. I did talk with him in the last month for about 2 hours and the more I talk to him the more I realize he doesn't really fully believe some of the details he preaches on Sunday mornings. But it is a southern baptist church so he has to tow the company line to some extent.

My kids are grown and married now but grew up in the church. My son actually married an atheist last year, which has caused some concern as you can imagine.

I guess I don't follow completely.. are you Christian?

I was an evangelical Christian for over 30 years. Had a crisis of faith about 11 years ago. Tried being a more liberal Christian, in that I didn't have to believe every detail of the bible as being God's word... questions led to questions. I went through the "betwixed/between" the pastor in the article talked about.

The answer is complicated. I don't consider the Bible to be 100% God's word. More of a creation of human beings. I am not an atheist, more agnostic. Is there a God? I don't know. Sometimes I'd like to think there is, but I'm fairly certain he/she is not the one described in the Bible or the Quran.

One thing, though... As a child and teen, I had a faith that a child would have. I knew the Bible stories but had no real depth of knowledge of the Bible. I just believed. Simple, effective. And I lived my life and treated others as I wanted to be treated. At least I tried. I prayed and believed Jesus had saved me.

That faith, I guess, has always been there as sort of a spark deep down. I often think how I'd like to just have that type of faith now. The whole Bible/Jesus/miracles/supernatural stuff always gets in the way it seems. But that childlike faith, I don't think is a bad thing to have. If it gives comfort where comfort is needed, then that is good. My wife has that type of faith.

So I enjoy listening to sermons and talking about the Bible. I enjoy the fellowship you find in church, even though I don't believe most of it. What I don't like is when someone or group tries to influence decisions based on their beliefs... and when someone or group tries to push their beliefs down your throat.

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Q: Your significant other is a Christian. How are you navigating that?

A: It’s challenging sometimes, but she is an open-minded, thoughtful person. I’d call her a Christian Humanist, or a Humanist in the way of Jesus, if that makes any sense. I still share a love for the stories of the radical Jesus preferring the poor and downtrodden, so we’re not as different as it may seem on the surface. Besides, our relationship is about more than debates about God’s existence.

This part has always been tough for me. I attend church with my wife and she knows some of the issues I have with it all, but we don't discuss any of it. No, that doesn't go very well. :topcat:

Same here fwiw Jayrok. Add in kids as well. I was a Christian such as it were when we got married. Complicated.

It's not as bad as it was about 10 yrs ago when I went through the gauntlet of emotions. I enjoy our pastor's sermons but not as much when an associate pastor preaches when he's not there. Wife doesn't want me in the Sunday school class so we only go for the sermon these days.

My pastor and some of the newer men at church just started a new men's bible study group but I haven't been. I did talk with him in the last month for about 2 hours and the more I talk to him the more I realize he doesn't really fully believe some of the details he preaches on Sunday mornings. But it is a southern baptist church so he has to tow the company line to some extent.

My kids are grown and married now but grew up in the church. My son actually married an atheist last year, which has caused some concern as you can imagine.

I guess I don't follow completely.. are you Christian?

I was an evangelical Christian for over 30 years. Had a crisis of faith about 11 years ago. Tried being a more liberal Christian, in that I didn't have to believe every detail of the bible as being God's word... questions led to questions. I went through the "betwixed/between" the pastor in the article talked about.

The answer is complicated. I don't consider the Bible to be 100% God's word. More of a creation of human beings. I am not an atheist, more agnostic. Is there a God? I don't know. Sometimes I'd like to think there is, but I'm fairly certain he/she is not the one described in the Bible or the Quran.

One thing, though... As a child and teen, I had a faith that a child would have. I knew the Bible stories but had no real depth of knowledge of the Bible. I just believed. Simple, effective. And I lived my life and treated others as I wanted to be treated. At least I tried. I prayed and believed Jesus had saved me.

That faith, I guess, has always been there as sort of a spark deep down. I often think how I'd like to just have that type of faith now. The whole Bible/Jesus/miracles/supernatural stuff always gets in the way it seems. But that childlike faith, I don't think is a bad thing to have. If it gives comfort where comfort is needed, then that is good. My wife has that type of faith.

So I enjoy listening to sermons and talking about the Bible. I enjoy the fellowship you find in church, even though I don't believe most of it. What I don't like is when someone or group tries to influence decisions based on their beliefs... and when someone or group tries to push their beliefs down your throat.

I like you Betty.

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While we all understand your heart is in the right place, I still cringe on the inside when people say they are praying for me.

If someone told me they were praying for me to convert to their religion, I would think it was a little creepy and weird. I might certainly think that their heart was in the right place, but there's still something a little off-putting about it.

When someone tells me that they're praying for me or a loved one to recover from an illness or whatever, that's totally different, and I appreciate it very much.

I think the difference is that, in the second case, they're praying for a goal that is shared. In the first case, they may think they're praying for a goal, but they're really praying for a means rather than a goal, and it's a means whose efficacy is in dispute. (I understand that they may want eternal happiness for me; and in their mind, the only way to achieve eternal happiness is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So they mistakenly conflate the means with the goal even though they are really separate. If they were praying for the goal, the prayer would not be that I find Jesus; the prayer, rather, would be that I find eternal happiness by whatever path exists, even if it's not the particular path they have in mind. It's like if my mom were sick, and there were numerous possible treatments that a doctor might prescribe, it would be a bit weird if somebody told me that they were praying for the doctors to choose Treatment C over Treatments A, B, D, and E when they have no controlled clinical trials showing that Treatment C is best. While they might personally prefer Treatment C based on faith, they know that as much as they like Treatment C, other people feel just as strongly about the other treatments, and for similar reasons. So rather than praying that the doctors choose Treatment C [the means], I think it would make a lot more sense if they prayed instead for my mom to recover her health [the goal] without regard to which treatment is prescribed. That's a bit of a ramble, but to me, praying that I convert to their religion is like praying that the doctors choose Treatment C. It focuses on the means rather than the goal in a way that smacks of intellectual carelessness -- which defeats the purpose of telling me their prayer if the point was to show that they care.)

This is well said MT. We should generally be appreciative when someone offers their thoughts and prayers as support.

A thought that may come to mind from the atheist's standpoint is that if we feel that prayer "does nothing", whereas a Christian may see prayer as helpful. I suck at this. Try this..

Atheist: Can't believe we lost our home in a fire.

Christian: I am praying for you (feels good about self).

Atheist: Well, I mean thanks, but can you offer a donation or help us clean up or prepare some meals...something tangible?

TL;DR Prayer is intangible and doesn't absolve you from "actually" helping.

When I was 20 my dad, who was Jewish, died (slowly and painfully) of cancer.

I remember that rabbi taking me aside and telling me that god was testing my faith but that he would be there for me as long as I stuck to my faith. I about punched that ####er right in the jaw. I know he was just trying to help, but JFC is the idea really that god decided I had to take a little pop quiz so he was going to painfully murder my completely innocent and faithful father as part of the exam? And what happens if I pass the test, does that mean my dad gets to come back to life or is murder just an acceptable casualty of faith tests in his warped little mind?

Talk about irrational.

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When I was 20 my dad, who was Jewish, died (slowly and painfully) of cancer.

I remember that rabbi taking me aside and telling me that god was testing my faith but that he would be there for me as long as I stuck to my faith. I about punched that ####er right in the jaw. I know he was just trying to help, but JFC is the idea really that god decided I had to take a little pop quiz so he was going to painfully murder my completely innocent and faithful father as part of the exam? And what happens if I pass the test, does that mean my dad gets to come back to life or is murder just an acceptable casualty of faith tests in his warped little mind?

Talk about irrational.

See my sig.

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Thanks for the response Jayrok.

The son that married an atheist..is he Christian? Does he/she know your story/path/mindset? The fact that she is atheist stresses who(m)..your wife? Your son?

Not trying to grill.. my FIL is a deacon in the Catholic church. I go to church with my fam most every weekend and roll my eyes the majority of the time (and check out the hots in the communion line :bag: ).

I haven't had the conversation or dialog IRL that have gone on in many a thread on this board..but I anticipate the need for these conversations will increase over time.

I think that would make for an interesting spinoff thread (and maybe its been done). For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

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For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

I almost started a thread like this as a result of this discussion. Seems like a decent topic.

My wife knows. My parents and brother (and his wife and daughter) know. It hasn't come up with his son. My friends know. I've had co-workers who have known but its not something that comes up very often. My wife's Mom is a very devout Catholic and she was a bit distressed when she thought I was "not-religious" but flipped a gasket when I first used the word atheist around her. She tries to bring it up now and again, but I'd say she's mostly over it.

EDIT: I suspect my mother-in-law is anticipating a big fight over baptizing the kid. I've told my wife that I don't give a #### either way.

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http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0115-zuckerman-secular-parenting-20150115-story.html#page=1

Lengthy article "How Secular Familiy Values Stack Up. Interesting.

More children are “growing up godless” than at any other time in our nation's history. They are the offspring of an expanding secular population that includes a relatively new and burgeoning category of Americans called the “Nones,” so nicknamed because they identified themselves as believing in “nothing in particular” in a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center.

The number of American children raised without religion has grown significantly since the 1950s, when fewer than 4% of Americans reported growing up in a nonreligious household, according to several recent national studies. That figure entered the double digits when a 2012 study showed that 11% of people born after 1970 said they had been raised in secular homes. This may help explain why 23% of adults in the U.S. claim to have no religion, and more than 30% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say the same.

So how does the raising of upstanding, moral children work without prayers at mealtimes and morality lessons at Sunday school? Quite well, it seems.

Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology.

For nearly 40 years, Bengston has overseen the Longitudinal Study of Generations, which has become the largest study of religion and family life conducted across several generational cohorts in the United States. When Bengston noticed the growth of nonreligious Americans becoming increasingly pronounced, he decided in 2013 to add secular families to his study in an attempt to understand how family life and intergenerational influences play out among the religionless.

He was surprised by what he found: High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.

“Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious' parents in our study,” Bengston told me. “The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”

My own ongoing research among secular Americans — as well as that of a handful of other social scientists who have only recently turned their gaze on secular culture — confirms that nonreligious family life is replete with its own sustaining moral values and enriching ethical precepts. Chief among those: rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy.

For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative. And it requires no supernatural beliefs. As one atheist mom who wanted to be identified only as Debbie told me: “The way we teach them what is right and what is wrong is by trying to instill a sense of empathy ... how other people feel. You know, just trying to give them that sense of what it's like to be on the other end of their actions. And I don't see any need for God in that. ...

“If your morality is all tied in with God,” she continued, “what if you at some point start to question the existence of God? Does that mean your moral sense suddenly crumbles? The way we are teaching our children … no matter what they choose to believe later in life, even if they become religious or whatever, they are still going to have that system.”

The results of such secular child-rearing are encouraging. Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.

Recent research also has shown that children raised without religion tend to remain irreligious as they grow older — and are perhaps more accepting. Secular adults are more likely to understand and accept the science concerning global warming, and to support women's equality and gay rights. One telling fact from the criminology field: Atheists were almost absent from our prison population as of the late 1990s, comprising less than half of 1% of those behind bars, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics. This echoes what the criminology field has documented for more than a century — the unaffiliated and the nonreligious engage in far fewer crimes.

Another meaningful related fact: Democratic countries with the lowest levels of religious faith and participation today — such as Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Belgium and New Zealand — have among the lowest violent crime rates in the world and enjoy remarkably high levels of societal well-being. If secular people couldn't raise well-functioning, moral children, then a preponderance of them in a given society would spell societal disaster. Yet quite the opposite is the case.

Being a secular parent and something of an expert on secular culture, I know well the angst many secular Americans experience when they can't help but wonder: Could I possibly be making a mistake by raising my children without religion? The unequivocal answer is no. Children raised without religion have no shortage of positive traits and virtues, and they ought to be warmly welcomed as a growing American demographic.
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Thanks for the response Jayrok.

The son that married an atheist..is he Christian? Does he/she know your story/path/mindset? The fact that she is atheist stresses who(m)..your wife? Your son?

Not trying to grill.. my FIL is a deacon in the Catholic church. I go to church with my fam most every weekend and roll my eyes the majority of the time (and check out the hots in the communion line :bag: ).

I haven't had the conversation or dialog IRL that have gone on in many a thread on this board..but I anticipate the need for these conversations will increase over time.

I think that would make for an interesting spinoff thread (and maybe its been done). For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

My son is a Christian, though not an evangelical type, or Bible thumper. I've talked with him over the years and he knows where I stand (although my views change here and there from time to time) and he agrees on much himself.

He isn't bothered by his wife's point of view. This brings my wife (his mom) grief and stress sometimes. But she loves her daughter in law so it doesn't cause any issues when they visit or we visit them. She just wishes he would have met a girl in the church. He lives out of state due to job relocation now but he used to play keyboard in the praise band at our church.

For me, my wife and my kids know. One of my two brothers knows and he is close to where I am now. But I would never ever tell my father. He is 80 and I am not interested in breaking his heart.

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For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

Pretty much my entire family knows.

Wife and kids are atheist.

Mom is Catholic, sister claims to be but never goes to church (oddly enough my atheism seems to really bother her) , one brother is a holy roller, other brother love jeebus because it keeps him sober.

I'm sure all of my friends know but...not my coworkers. :shrug:

If you polled all of the students I've had in the last 18 years (about 3300 of them) and asked them "What religion is Mr. Malloy?" And then gave them 10 choices (Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Atheist) I would bet that very few of them would actually "know". Most correct answers I would chalk up to guessing.

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http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0115-zuckerman-secular-parenting-20150115-story.html#page=1

Lengthy article "How Secular Familiy Values Stack Up. Interesting.

More children are “growing up godless” than at any other time in our nation's history. They are the offspring of an expanding secular population that includes a relatively new and burgeoning category of Americans called the “Nones,” so nicknamed because they identified themselves as believing in “nothing in particular” in a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center.

The number of American children raised without religion has grown significantly since the 1950s, when fewer than 4% of Americans reported growing up in a nonreligious household, according to several recent national studies. That figure entered the double digits when a 2012 study showed that 11% of people born after 1970 said they had been raised in secular homes. This may help explain why 23% of adults in the U.S. claim to have no religion, and more than 30% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say the same.

So how does the raising of upstanding, moral children work without prayers at mealtimes and morality lessons at Sunday school? Quite well, it seems.

Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology.

For nearly 40 years, Bengston has overseen the Longitudinal Study of Generations, which has become the largest study of religion and family life conducted across several generational cohorts in the United States. When Bengston noticed the growth of nonreligious Americans becoming increasingly pronounced, he decided in 2013 to add secular families to his study in an attempt to understand how family life and intergenerational influences play out among the religionless.

He was surprised by what he found: High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.

“Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious' parents in our study,” Bengston told me. “The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”

My own ongoing research among secular Americans — as well as that of a handful of other social scientists who have only recently turned their gaze on secular culture — confirms that nonreligious family life is replete with its own sustaining moral values and enriching ethical precepts. Chief among those: rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy.

For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative. And it requires no supernatural beliefs. As one atheist mom who wanted to be identified only as Debbie told me: “The way we teach them what is right and what is wrong is by trying to instill a sense of empathy ... how other people feel. You know, just trying to give them that sense of what it's like to be on the other end of their actions. And I don't see any need for God in that. ...

“If your morality is all tied in with God,” she continued, “what if you at some point start to question the existence of God? Does that mean your moral sense suddenly crumbles? The way we are teaching our children … no matter what they choose to believe later in life, even if they become religious or whatever, they are still going to have that system.”

The results of such secular child-rearing are encouraging. Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.

Recent research also has shown that children raised without religion tend to remain irreligious as they grow older — and are perhaps more accepting. Secular adults are more likely to understand and accept the science concerning global warming, and to support women's equality and gay rights. One telling fact from the criminology field: Atheists were almost absent from our prison population as of the late 1990s, comprising less than half of 1% of those behind bars, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics. This echoes what the criminology field has documented for more than a century — the unaffiliated and the nonreligious engage in far fewer crimes.

Another meaningful related fact: Democratic countries with the lowest levels of religious faith and participation today — such as Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Belgium and New Zealand — have among the lowest violent crime rates in the world and enjoy remarkably high levels of societal well-being. If secular people couldn't raise well-functioning, moral children, then a preponderance of them in a given society would spell societal disaster. Yet quite the opposite is the case.

Being a secular parent and something of an expert on secular culture, I know well the angst many secular Americans experience when they can't help but wonder: Could I possibly be making a mistake by raising my children without religion? The unequivocal answer is no. Children raised without religion have no shortage of positive traits and virtues, and they ought to be warmly welcomed as a growing American demographic.

Great article Tanner thank you. :thumbup:

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Thanks for the response Jayrok.

The son that married an atheist..is he Christian? Does he/she know your story/path/mindset? The fact that she is atheist stresses who(m)..your wife? Your son?

Not trying to grill.. my FIL is a deacon in the Catholic church. I go to church with my fam most every weekend and roll my eyes the majority of the time (and check out the hots in the communion line :bag: ).

I haven't had the conversation or dialog IRL that have gone on in many a thread on this board..but I anticipate the need for these conversations will increase over time.

I think that would make for an interesting spinoff thread (and maybe its been done). For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

My son is a Christian, though not an evangelical type, or Bible thumper. I've talked with him over the years and he knows where I stand (although my views change here and there from time to time) and he agrees on much himself.

He isn't bothered by his wife's point of view. This brings my wife (his mom) grief and stress sometimes. But she loves her daughter in law so it doesn't cause any issues when they visit or we visit them. She just wishes he would have met a girl in the church. He lives out of state due to job relocation now but he used to play keyboard in the praise band at our church.

For me, my wife and my kids know. One of my two brothers knows and he is close to where I am now. But I would never ever tell my father. He is 80 and I am not interested in breaking his heart.

Makes sense. :thumbup:

I tend to choose path of least resistance so I attend church with my family..for now. I think its because my kids are young? IDK. I just feel like I know my wife will always be Catholic and I will always be atheist.

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For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

Pretty much my entire family knows.

Wife and kids are atheist.

Mom is Catholic, sister claims to be but never goes to church (oddly enough my atheism seems to really bother her) , one brother is a holy roller, other brother love jeebus because it keeps him sober.

I'm sure all of my friends know but...not my coworkers. :shrug:

If you polled all of the students I've had in the last 18 years (about 3300 of them) and asked them "What religion is Mr. Malloy?" And then gave them 10 choices (Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Atheist) I would bet that very few of them would actually "know". Most correct answers I would chalk up to guessing.

Makes sense. I think one of the poll questions for a FBG thread would also be something along the lines of "when did you become an atheist"? I realize that's not some hard and fast date or anything, but I was a late bloomer so to speak..had I gravitated this direction in college rather than after I got married, probably 99% chance my wife and I would not have gotten married.

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Thanks for the response Jayrok.

The son that married an atheist..is he Christian? Does he/she know your story/path/mindset? The fact that she is atheist stresses who(m)..your wife? Your son?

Not trying to grill.. my FIL is a deacon in the Catholic church. I go to church with my fam most every weekend and roll my eyes the majority of the time (and check out the hots in the communion line :bag: ).

I haven't had the conversation or dialog IRL that have gone on in many a thread on this board..but I anticipate the need for these conversations will increase over time.

I think that would make for an interesting spinoff thread (and maybe its been done). For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

My son is a Christian, though not an evangelical type, or Bible thumper. I've talked with him over the years and he knows where I stand (although my views change here and there from time to time) and he agrees on much himself.

He isn't bothered by his wife's point of view. This brings my wife (his mom) grief and stress sometimes. But she loves her daughter in law so it doesn't cause any issues when they visit or we visit them. She just wishes he would have met a girl in the church. He lives out of state due to job relocation now but he used to play keyboard in the praise band at our church.

For me, my wife and my kids know. One of my two brothers knows and he is close to where I am now. But I would never ever tell my father. He is 80 and I am not interested in breaking his heart.

Makes sense. :thumbup:

I tend to choose path of least resistance so I attend church with my family..for now. I think its because my kids are young? IDK. I just feel like I know my wife will always be Catholic and I will always be atheist.

Have you always been or did you deconvert at some point? If the latter, how long were you a Christian and how long ago did you lose your faith?

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Thanks for the response Jayrok.

The son that married an atheist..is he Christian? Does he/she know your story/path/mindset? The fact that she is atheist stresses who(m)..your wife? Your son?

Not trying to grill.. my FIL is a deacon in the Catholic church. I go to church with my fam most every weekend and roll my eyes the majority of the time (and check out the hots in the communion line :bag: ).

I haven't had the conversation or dialog IRL that have gone on in many a thread on this board..but I anticipate the need for these conversations will increase over time.

I think that would make for an interesting spinoff thread (and maybe its been done). For the atheists of FBGs..are you "open"? Does your spouse/SO know? (Probably). Kids? Other family? Friends?

My son is a Christian, though not an evangelical type, or Bible thumper. I've talked with him over the years and he knows where I stand (although my views change here and there from time to time) and he agrees on much himself.

He isn't bothered by his wife's point of view. This brings my wife (his mom) grief and stress sometimes. But she loves her daughter in law so it doesn't cause any issues when they visit or we visit them. She just wishes he would have met a girl in the church. He lives out of state due to job relocation now but he used to play keyboard in the praise band at our church.

For me, my wife and my kids know. One of my two brothers knows and he is close to where I am now. But I would never ever tell my father. He is 80 and I am not interested in breaking his heart.

Makes sense. :thumbup:

I tend to choose path of least resistance so I attend church with my family..for now. I think its because my kids are young? IDK. I just feel like I know my wife will always be Catholic and I will always be atheist.

That's one of the advantages of atheism. Nobody should care if you're out. I mean, maybe we should hope that society were more amenable to out atheists, but nobody thinks your decision to be out or to go with the flow has any meaningful moral relevance whatsoever (unless we're all categorical about all forms of lying, which I'm not)..

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Alluded to above I guess but raised Lutheran. Married in Catholic church and kids are "being raised Catholic". Started the doubts around age 30 when my kids were young. Told my wife where I am at and self-identified as atheist maybe 3 years ago. I'm 39.

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Not sure why I am laying down on the couch and laying it all out there with you guys today but thanks for the feedback.

I've always liked the FFA for these types of discussions because they're the types of discussions I don't really have in real life. Can be a little bit of catharsis, I suppose.

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Sorry this is wordy. Like I said, I like these topics.

I was raised and K-12 educated Catholic. I don't know that I ever really believed...it went from something that a kid just parrots ("I believe in Jesus") to something that I started to really question in high school ("why am I saying this if it doesn't make any sense to me?"). I informally decided I could no longer call myself a Catholic sometime during college. I don't really label myself as an atheist, and I say agnostic if anyone asks, but in reality my beliefs - or lack thereof - fit pretty well with most people who call themselves atheists.

My fiancée knows; she considers herself Catholic but she goes to church on Christmas only. She doesn't care. My immediate family knows. My mother has taken it pretty poorly ("are you a devil worshiper?") but she's gotten better over time. I think for a year-or-two there, she was embarrassed that her kids are the "weird ones", because everyone in her friend group is Catholic, or at least pretends to be. It was like my lack of religion made her look like a bad parent. My brother is very vocally atheistic, whereas I don't really talk about it, so it's taken the brunt off of me a little bit. A handful of my closest friends know.

I got engaged about 5 months ago, the topic immediately came up about getting married in a church, and I "pulled off the bandaid" and revealed to my fiancée's immediate family my lack of religion. Her mother is not taking it well. I've heard the rumblings that she called all of her sisters and her other 3 daughters and basically bared her soul about how sad she was that her oldest daughter won't be married in a church and is marrying someone who doesn't believe. She hasn't said a word of that to me, and I've never had a problem with her, but I can tell she's half-stunned, half-upset about it. Like RHE says, I think they're probably dreading the prospect of baptism and such going forward, should we ever have kids.

I remember when my grandmother (dad's mom, RIP) was getting older and more frail, we knew she didn't have a lot of time left. She would spend her weekends at my parents' house, and my brother and I were over for dinner. My mom got on the topic of religion again, and made a comment to my grandmother about how my brother and I are going to hell because we don't believe. My grandmother, this tiny woman, super super devout Catholic, turned to the two of us and said something to the effect of "as long as you're both good people, live good lives, and you're happy, who am I to judge or tell you what to believe?" And that was that. She still loved us and it didn't change a damn thing. I'll never forget that. I wish everyone could have her mindset, whether they're a believer or not.

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Sorry this is wordy. Like I said, I like these topics.

I was raised and K-12 educated Catholic. I don't know that I ever really believed...it went from something that a kid just parrots ("I believe in Jesus") to something that I started to really question in high school ("why am I saying this if it doesn't make any sense to me?"). I informally decided I could no longer call myself a Catholic sometime during college. I don't really label myself as an atheist, and I say agnostic if anyone asks, but in reality my beliefs - or lack thereof - fit pretty well with most people who call themselves atheists.

My fiancée knows; she considers herself Catholic but she goes to church on Christmas only. She doesn't care. My immediate family knows. My mother has taken it pretty poorly ("are you a devil worshiper?") but she's gotten better over time. I think for a year-or-two there, she was embarrassed that her kids are the "weird ones", because everyone in her friend group is Catholic, or at least pretends to be. It was like my lack of religion made her look like a bad parent. My brother is very vocally atheistic, whereas I don't really talk about it, so it's taken the brunt off of me a little bit. A handful of my closest friends know.

I got engaged about 5 months ago, the topic immediately came up about getting married in a church, and I "pulled off the bandaid" and revealed to my fiancée's immediate family my lack of religion. Her mother is not taking it well. I've heard the rumblings that she called all of her sisters and her other 3 daughters and basically bared her soul about how sad she was that her oldest daughter won't be married in a church and is marrying someone who doesn't believe. She hasn't said a word of that to me, and I've never had a problem with her, but I can tell she's half-stunned, half-upset about it. Like RHE says, I think they're probably dreading the prospect of baptism and such going forward, should we ever have kids.

I remember when my grandmother (dad's mom, RIP) was getting older and more frail, we knew she didn't have a lot of time left. She would spend her weekends at my parents' house, and my brother and I were over for dinner. My mom got on the topic of religion again, and made a comment to my grandmother about how my brother and I are going to hell because we don't believe. My grandmother, this tiny woman, super super devout Catholic, turned to the two of us and said something to the effect of "as long as you're both good people, live good lives, and you're happy, who am I to judge or tell you what to believe?" And that was that. She still loved us and it didn't change a damn thing. I'll never forget that. I wish everyone could have her mindset, whether they're a believer or not.

:goodposting:

Great stuff. I got chills on the part about your grandmother. That's what its all about, man. Good luck to you, and congratulations on the engagement. :thumbup:

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I was raised and K-12 educated Catholic. I don't know that I ever really believed...it went from something that a kid just parrots ("I believe in Jesus") to something that I started to really question in high school ("why am I saying this if it doesn't make any sense to me?"). I informally decided I could no longer call myself a Catholic sometime during college. I don't really label myself as an atheist, and I say agnostic if anyone asks, but in reality my beliefs - or lack thereof - fit pretty well with most people who call themselves atheists.

change Catholic to Lutheran and this is me. My mom was the only really devout one. I think she knows, but we never discuss it.

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I was raised and K-12 educated Catholic. I don't know that I ever really believed...it went from something that a kid just parrots ("I believe in Jesus") to something that I started to really question in high school ("why am I saying this if it doesn't make any sense to me?"). I informally decided I could no longer call myself a Catholic sometime during college. I don't really label myself as an atheist, and I say agnostic if anyone asks, but in reality my beliefs - or lack thereof - fit pretty well with most people who call themselves atheists.

This paragraph could have been written by me. This is my story exactly.

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Sorry this is wordy. Like I said, I like these topics.

Good story, ST. Kudos to your grandmother (RIP) for her understanding and love for you guys. My mom passed away when I was a teen and my dad didn't wait long before he was remarried. My step-mom would be the one to say "they'll burn in hell". Her and my dad are still married and into their 80s. I would never get into an argument with either of them. But I cringe when I am around them and they're talking about the Bible. My dad still teaches adult Sunday school at his church.

It is written that Jesus said to love one another. To forgive those who trespass against you; not condemn them to hell as if you are their judge.

My sister in law (oldest brother's wife) is one of those women who you cannot get a word in edge-wise, if you know what I mean. I started one (1) conversation with her several years ago. Good grief what a mistake that was. She put her fingers in her ears and said LA LA LA LA LA LA LA (well not really but may as well have). Like talking to a boom box with it in your face blaring out a weird Al rap.

But, she's a sweet gal... and a helluva good cook.

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I'll share. Sounds like Buck is struggling a bit with some of the stuff many of us have been through already, so hope it helps.

I was raised Catholic and never thought to question it until I got to college. I took an anthropology course that shocked the heck out of me and got me questioning everything. It was a slippery slope and pretty soon I cast off religion, and never looked back. It just doesn't make any sense when you look at it objectively. I've heard it referred to as the adult version of figuring out there's no Santa Claus.

My first wife knew about my beliefs before we were married, wasn't all that religious herself, but we decided to get married in the Catholic Church to appease our families. We were even living together before we were married and had to lie and hide that from the priest. When it came time to raise a family and choose schools, my wife convinced me to send them to Catholic schools, even though that meant a lot more hiding, lying, and faking. But I agreed it was the best for the kids.

Now that my kids are older and out of Catholic schools, I am slowly starting to reveal my true beliefs to them. I'm still not "out" to my parents, sisters, etc, though I'm at the point now that I wouldn't hide it if asked.

The only thing keeping me from being completely out at this point is my current wife is now a teacher at a Catholic high school. This pretty much means I still can't openly discuss in public, which is why this board is such a great release for me.

Bottom line is it's still not acceptable in some circles, maybe most circles, and you therefore have to weigh the risks involved with sharing too much. Sometimes it's best to hide it. The key is to find a few close friends, a spouse, a message board, or some circle you can trust and share thoughts and ideas with.

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