Freethought

Ingersoll: The Foundations of Faith — The Old Testament

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

ONE of the foundation stones of our faith is the Old Testament. If that book is not true, if its authors were unaided men, if it contains blunders and falsehoods, then that stone crumbles to dust.

The geologists demonstrated that the author of Genesis was mistaken as to the age of the world, and that the story of the universe having been created in six days, about six thousand years ago could not be true.

The theologians then took the ground that the “days” spoken of in Genesis were periods of time, epochs, six “long whiles,” and that the work of creation might have been commenced millions of years ago.

The change of days into epochs was considered by the believers of the Bible as a great triumph over the hosts of infidelity. The fact that Jehovah had ordered the Jews to keep the Sabbath, giving as a reason that he had made the world in six days and rested on the seventh, did not interfere with the acceptance of the “epoch” theory.

But there is still another question. How long has man been upon the earth?

According to the Bible, Adam was certainly the first man, and in his case the epoch theory cannot change the account. The Bible gives the age at which Adam died, and gives the generations to the flood—then to Abraham and so on, and shows that from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ it was about four thousand and four years.

According to the sacred Scriptures man has been on this earth five thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine years and no more.

Is this true?

Freethinker: H.G. Wells…

 

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From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper’s apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an “usher,” or student teacher.

Wells earned a government scholarship in 1884, to study biology under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science. Wells earned his bachelor of science and doctor of science degrees at the University of London. After marrying his cousin, Isabel, Wells began to supplement his teaching salary with short stories and freelance articles, then books, including The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).

Wells created a mild scandal when he divorced his cousin to marry one of his best students, Amy Catherine Robbins. Although his second marriage was lasting and produced two sons, Wells was an unabashed advocate of free (as opposed to “indiscriminate”) love. He continued to openly have extra-marital liaisons, most famously with Margaret Sanger, and a ten-year relationship with the author Rebecca West, who had one of his two out-of-wedlock children.

A one-time member of the Fabian Society, Wells sought active change. His 100 books included many novels, as well as nonfiction, such as A Modern Utopia (1905), The Outline of History (1920), A Short History of the World (1922), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1932). One of his booklets was Crux Ansata, An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Wells toyed briefly with the idea of a “divine will” in his book, God the Invisible King (1917), it was a temporary aberration.

Wells used his international fame to promote his favorite causes, including the prevention of war, and was received by government officials around the world. He is best-remembered as an early writer of science fiction and futurism. D. 1946.

“Indeed Christianity passes. Passes—it has gone! It has littered the beaches of life with churches, cathedrals, shrines and crucifixes, prejudices and intolerances, like the sea urchin and starfish and empty shells and lumps of stinging jelly upon the sands here after a tide. A tidal wave out of Egypt. And it has left a multitude of little wriggling theologians and confessors and apologists hopping and burrowing in the warm nutritious sand. But in the hearts of living men, what remains of it now? Doubtful scraps of Arianism. Phrases. Sentiments. Habits.”

—H.G. Wells, Experiment in Autobiography, 1934, cited by Ira D. Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, 1945

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Americans have long been suspicious of Atheists. Misogyny, nativism, and racism have often been tied up in their fear…

 

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From The Atlantic

In general, Americans do not like atheists. In studies, they say they feel coldly toward nonbelievers; it’s estimated that more than half of the population say they’d be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who didn’t believe in God.

This kind of deep-seated suspicion is a long-standing tradition in the U.S. In his new book, Village Atheists, the Washington University in St. Louis professor Leigh Eric Schmidt writes about the country’s early “infidels”—one of many fraught terms nonbelievers have used to describe themselves in history—and the conflicts they went through. While the history of atheists is often told as a grand tale of battling ideas, Schmidt set out to tell stories of “mundane materiality,” chronicling the lived experiences of atheists and freethinkers in 19th- and 20th-century America.

His findings both confirm and challenge stereotypes around atheists today. While it’s true that the number of nonbelievers is the United States is growing, it’s still small—roughly 3 percent of U.S. adults self-identify as atheists. And while more and more Americans say they’re not part of any particular religion, they’ve historically been in good company: At the end of the 19th century, Schmidt estimated, around a tenth of Americans may have been unaffiliated from any church or religious institution.

How a new form of atheism can combat jihadists who wish to end the world…

 

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From Time

The world isn’t ending, but we face a tremendous problem from people who believe it is. The beliefs of many radicals have become increasingly apocalyptic over the past decade. They’re convinced the end of the world is imminent and that they have a special role in bringing it about. Whether or not you’re interested in the apocalypse, terrorists who believe it’s coming are interested in you.

Solutions are hard to come by. But there is a way to counter extremism that’s potentially as effective as it is unpopular. It’s a social and intellectual strategy that aims to undermine the religious beliefs that motivate jihadists—and one of the most controversial set of ideas to emerge in the West in the last quarter century: New Atheism.

New Atheism emerged in direct response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks executed by al-Qaeda, which demonstrated that acting upon certain religious beliefs could lead to catastrophe. The movement offered a heretofore unwelcomed perspective: That every religion has negative consequences, and that even religious moderates contribute to the problem because, by affirming that faith is a legitimate reason to hold beliefs, they enable religious extremists.

Happy Birthday to Avijit Roy, the Bangladeshi Freethinker Slaughtered for His Atheism…

 

 

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From Adi Chowdhury
The Bangladeshi Humanist 

“Our aim is to build a society which will not be bound by the dictates of arbitrary authority, comfortable superstition, stifling tradition, or suffocating orthodoxy but would rather be based on reason, compassion, humanity, equality and science.”

— Avijit Roy

Tomorrow [Sept 12] marks the 45th birthday of Avijit Roy, an icon of freethinking and secular humanism, as well as a victim of the toxic atmosphere of religious fundamentalism suffusing Bangladesh.

Avijit Roy was not simply a prolific writer. He was not simply the man behind the renowned book The Virus of Faith. He was not simply a prolific activist. He was not simply a coordinator of international protests. He was not simply an atheist, not simply a science enthusiast, not simply a humanist, not simply a blogger.

Avijit Roy was a fighter. He was a fighter, relentless against the oppressive forces of superstition and dogma closing in around him, suffocating society, poisoning minds, mangling thoughts. He was a fighter against those maligning the most valuable of human virtues–reason, science, and compassion. He was a fighter against those peddling pseudoscience. He was a fighter against those suppressing skepticism and promoting the vice of blind faith. He was a fighter against those promulgating baseless myths and bronze-age ethical values.

He was a martyr as well. He was slaughtered outside a bookstore by Islamic fundamentalists on the charge of blasphemy and criticism of Islam. His wife Rafida Ahmed, also injured and traumatized during the attack (but who fortunately survived), lamented that “criticizing Islam is becoming a very big crime — a sin — in Bangladesh.”

Indeed, a sin that can get you killed–criticizing religion.

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Roy stood tall in a world plagued by superstition and religious dogma. He perpetrated himself as a looming tower of advocacy and activism for reason. He proved himself to be a formidable adversary of myths and pseudoscience. He refused to submit to the authoritarian figure of religion, shrouded in darkness and silencing those daring to speak out. His knees did not buckle even as he found himself entwined in the poisonous social atmosphere that fearfully upholds superstitious religious tradition and lends reverence to unreason.

My thoughts on this great, iconic man can be found in my writing published on Roy’s own blog, Mukto-Mona. Here is my article from the blog:  The Legacy of a Martyred Freethinker.

The following excerpts have been taken from my writing mentioned above:

Freethinker: Some Reasons Why…

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

I. RELIGION makes enemies instead of friends. That one word, “religion,” covers all the horizon of memory with visions of war, of outrage, of persecution, of tyranny, and death. That one word brings to the mind every instrument with which man has tortured man. In that one word are all the fagots and flames and dungeons of the past, and in that word is the infinite and eternal hell of the future.

In the name of universal benevolence Christians have hated their fellow-men. Although they have been preaching universal love, the Christian nations are the warlike nations of the world. The most destructive weapons of war have been invented by Christians. The musket, the revolver, the rifled canon, the bombshell, the torpedo, the explosive bullet, have been invented by Christian brains.

Above all other arts, the Christian world has placed the art of war.

A Christian nation has never had the slightest respect for the rights of barbarians; neither has any Christian sect any respect for the rights of other sects. Anciently, the sects discussed with fire and sword, and even now, something happens almost every day to show that the old spirit that was in the Inquisition still slumbers in the Christian breast.

Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God, holds other people in contempt.

Monty Python: Every Sperm Is Sacred

 

Thanks to Bruce

There are Jews in the world there are Buddhists
There are Hindus and Mormons, and then
There are those that follow Mohammed, but
I’ve never been one of them

I’m a Roman Catholic
And have been since before I was born
And the one thing they say about Catholics is
They’ll take you as soon as you’re warm

You don’t have to be a six-footer
You don’t have to have a great brain
You don’t have to have any clothes on you’re
A Catholic the moment Dad came

Because every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate

Let the heathen spill theirs
On the dusty ground
God shall make them pay for
Each sperm that can’t be found

Every sperm is wanted
Every sperm is good
Every sperm is needed
In your neighborhood

Hindu, Taoist, Mormon
Spill theirs just anywhere
But God loves those who treat their
Semen with more care

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is good
Every sperm is needed
In your neighborhood

Every sperm is useful
Every sperm is fine
God needs everybody’s
Mine and mine and mine

Let the pagan spill theirs
Over mountain, hill, and plain
God shall strike them down for
Each sperm that’s spilt in vain

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is good
Every sperm is needed
In your neighborhood

Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God gets quite irate

~~

 

Prayer?

 

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A Review of “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist” (2016)

 

“The Faith of Christopher Hitchens,” by Larry Alex Taunton. Photo courtesy of Fixed Point Foundation

From The Bangladeshi Humanist

I have yet to select an appropriate term for the amalgamation of feelings I experienced upon being first presented this book and rummaged curiously through its pages.

A book about the iconic atheist Christopher Hitchens, by a Christian evangelist Larry Taunton? Bearing the cryptic title “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens”? What’s the author playing at here? Claiming that Hitchens, the ruthless debater-activist who planted himself with unwavering resolution in his anti-theism, was an undercover Christian? Is that what Taunton was insinuating? If so, I was prepared to laugh in the face of such tomfoolery.

(It would later turn out that my hasty conclusion was just that: hasty and naive. Taunton does not, actually, claim that Hitchens was a secret Christian. But at the same time, other misplaced, misleading, and plain baseless claims litter the pages of the book, as I shall argue. )

My sister had brought this book for me from the United States to Bangladesh, and I recall with clarity that the first aspect of the book that struck me was the cover. My eyes met with those of Christopher Hitchens , and I felt moved  by the daunting erudition reflected in his narrowed, dynamic eyes, chiseling his gaunt expression. His gaze appeared lowered slightly, darkened by profound troubles wrenching at him from the inside. A light blond stubble, flecked by strands of white, embellished his wrinkled, hard-set jaw. His dark crimson lips remained tightly clasped shut in an almost disapproving manner. He donned his usual attire of a black suit over a light blue shirt, unbuttoned near his neck, resembling (in the words of the author Taunton himself) “a gigolo past his prime.”

Punishing Doubt…

 


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Genesis: Jesus He Knows Me…

 

Thanks to Bruce

You see the face on the TV screen
coming at you every Sunday
see that face on the billboard
that man is me

On the cover of the magazine
there’s no question why I’m smiling
you buy a piece of paradise
you buy a piece of me

I’ll get you everything you wanted
I’ll get you everything you need
don’t need to believe in hereafter
just believe in me

Cos Jesus he knows me
and he knows I’m right
I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
oh yes he knows me
and he knows I’m right
and he’s been telling me
everything is alright

I believe in the family
with my ever loving wife beside me
but she don’t know about my girlfriend
or the man I met last night

Do you believe in God
cos that’s what I’m selling
and if you wanna get to heaven
I’ll see you right

You won’t even have to leave your house
or get outta your chair
you don’t even have to touch that dial
cos I’m everywhere

And Jesus he knows me
and he knows I’m right
I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
oh yes he knows me
and he knows I’m right
well he’s been telling me
everything’s gonna be alright

Won’t find me practicing what I’m preaching
won’t find me making no sacrifice
but I can get you a pocketful of miracles
if you promise to be good, try to be nice
God will take good care of you
just do as I say, don’t do as I do

I’m counting my blessings,
I’ve found true happiness
cos I’m getting richer, day by day
you can find me in the phone book,
just call my toll free number
you can do it anyway you want
just do it right away

There’ll be no doubt in your mind
you’ll believe everything I’m saying
if you wanna get closer to him
get on your knees and start paying

Cos Jesus he knows me
and he knows I’m right
I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
oh yes he knows me
and he knows I’m right
well he’s been telling me
everything’s gonna be alright, alright

Jesus he knows me
Jesus he knows me, you know…
~~

Freethinkers: Staged on this day in 1889, a mass rally against Sweden’s Lutheran Church…

 

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From FFRF

STAGED ON THIS DAY: A MASS RALLY AGAINST SWEDEN’S LUTHERAN CHURCHON September 3, 1889, 5,000 freethinkers gathered in Lill-Jans to protest the tyranny of the Lutheran Church in Sweden.

The rally was organised by Swedish freethinker Viktor E. Lennstrand whose first public freethought lecture, “Is Christianity a Religion for our Time?”, was raided at Uppsala University by police authorities on September 25, 1886.

Lennstrand, a former evangelical Christian, was forced to resign his post at the university. Moving to Stockholm, he proceeded to give weekly freethought lectures, critical of Christianity, throughout 1887 and the spring of 1888.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has caused a religious club to be disbanded at a California elementary school…

 

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From Freedom From Religion

Club Monarch, an afterschool bible club, was run in part by teachers and routinely given preferential treatment at Mariposa Elementary School in Brea, Calif. The club was mentioned in the weekly newsletter and listed in the school calendar. The newsletter announcements asked students to “Stop by the office to sign up.” There were posters around the school exclusively advertising the club. At a back-to-school night, the principal effusively praised and recommended the club. And the club was allowed to begin its meetings a mere five minutes after the school day ended.

FFRF reminded the school that this sort of collaboration was unconstitutional.

“It is a well-settled principle of Establishment Clause jurisprudence that public schools may not advance, prefer or promote religion,” FFRF Legal Fellow Madeline Ziegler wrote to Brea Olinda Unified School District Superintendent Brad Mason back in March. “If a school chooses to allow outside groups to host afterschool programs on its property and an outside group decides to create a religious program, there must be no school involvement in the organization or promotion of that religious program. That means that the district cannot promote Club Monarch on its website, its school walls, to parents at back-to-school night, and cannot coordinate sign-ups for the club in the school office.”

Freethinkers: Edgar Rice Burroughs Born Today in 1875…

 

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From Freedom From Religion

[Lamenting those still stuck in the Iron Age…]

On this date in 1875, Edgar Rice Burroughs was born in Chicago, Ill. He graduated from the Michigan Military Academy in 1895 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1896, but was discharged after only a year due to a heart condition. He became a full-time writer of pulp fiction in 1912, the year he published his story Tarzan of the Apes in The All-Story Magazine. Tarzan of the Apes was an overwhelming success, and Burroughs went on to publish 26 Tarzan novels, which became famous worldwide. The novels detail the life of Tarzan, an Englishman who was raised by apes in the African jungle. The books have been made into over 50 different movies, beginning with the silent film “Tarzan of the Apes” in 1918, which was one of the first films to make over a million dollars. Tarzan novels have also been adapted into a 1932 radio drama, the Broadway play “Tarzan of the Apes” (1921) and Broadway musical “Tarzan” (2006), the Disney animated movie “Tarzan” (1999) and five television series.

Burroughs wrote 50 other books, many which were science fiction, including A Princess of Mars (1912), At the Earth’s Core (1914) and The Cave Girl (1925). He married Emma Hulbert in 1900 and had three children: Joan, John and Hulbert. They lived in Tarzana, Calif., which Burroughs founded in 1928.

On July 6, 1925, Burroughs published an article supporting evolution in the New York America. He wrote, “If we are not religious, then we must accept evolution as an obvious fact. If we are religious, then we must either accept the theory of evolution or admit that there is a power greater than that of God” (via http://www.hillmanweb.com). Burroughs’ novel The Gods of Mars (1918) contained freethought themes, describing a deeply religious society where the religion was a myth perpetuated as a way to cover up murder. D. 1950

“Men who had not progressed as far as we have tried to interpret [evolution] some two thousand years ago. It is not strange that they made mistakes. They were ignorant and superstitious.”

—Edgar Rice Burroughs, New York America, July 6, 1925 (quoted in Tarzan Forever by John Taliaferro, 1999).

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The Unexamined Life: How Dogmatic Religion Undermines Critical Thinking and Analytical Skepticism…

 

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STEPPING OUT IN FAITH

From The Bangladshi Humanist

The following brief essay was composed by our most frequent contributor and author, Adi Chowdhury.

It was with a welling emergence of fear and self-loathing that she reluctantly came to grips with the bitter realization that she was harboring doubts towards the beliefs that had molded and shaped her entire life, family, and childhood.

Doubts. The word stung her mouth like searing poison as it rolled off her tongue. Doubts. Her teacher’s voice echoed listlessly in the nooks of her mind: Questioning God is a trap, a sin, a crime perpetrated by the faithless and the godless, those who pay no heed to God’s grace and beauty. Was she a criminal? Yes, she was; in God’s eyes, she was amid a perpetration of a crime, and she knew it. She was a criminal, a degenerate, godless, faithless.

She was a traitor to her religion, her values, parents, community, and, above all–her throat closed up in a painful knot, an icy stab of guilt wrenched through her heart as she realized it–God.

She was a traitor, an apostate, an agent of the devil.

Here’s Your Future…

 

God reached his hand down from the sky
He flooded the land then he set it on fire
He said, “Fear me again. Know I’m your father.
Remember that no one can breathe underwater”

So bend your knees and bow your heads
Save your babies, here’s your future
Yeah, here’s your future

God reached his hand down from the sky
God asked Noah if he wanted to die
He said “No sir
Oh, no, sir”
God said “Here’s your future
It’s gonna rain”
So we’re packing our things
We’re building a boat
We’re gonna create the new master race
Cause we’re so pure
Oh, Lord, we’re so pure
So here’s your future

God told his son, “It’s time to come home
I promise you won’t have to die all alone
I need you to pay for the sins I create”
His son said, “I will, but Dad, I’m afraid”
Yeah, so here’s your future
Here’s your future

Yeah, here’s your future
So here’s your future
So here’s your future
So here’s your future
~~

Penn Jillette on Atheism and Islamaphobia…

 

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My quest for truth began with Bible Stories for Children…

 

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From The Freethinker, UK

It’s one of the few childhood memories I have that isn’t about Star Wars or Spider-Man.  I’m seven, and my mother is bringing me a large hardback book called Bible Stories for Children.  It does not have Doctor Octopus on the cover, and as such I am automatically and immediately uninterested, but then she starts talking.

This is a book filled with one group of people’s ideas about how the world works.  Many people believe these stories are true, so you should read it to be able to understand them and their perspective.

That’s it, just a child left with a book and the task of sussing things out. Other books would follow, about Greek and Roman religion, about world history and literature, offered with the same basic preamble:

Here are some things that some other people believe. 

Up to that point in life, I had no religious thoughts whatsoever.  I took it for granted that when people died, you never saw them again, and that when you were dead you were simply gone.  Growing up on a farm, where things died all the time and were treated as crude matter for consumption the instant that death occurred, It didn’t occur to me that other people thought, or could think, otherwise about themselves.

Freethinker: Stephen Fry Born On This Day in 1957…

 

fryFrom Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1957, Stephen Fry was born in London, England. He grew up in Norfolk. At age 17, after leaving school, he was convicted of credit card fraud. After serving time in prison, Fry studied at City College Norfolk with the intention of sitting entrance exams for Cambridge, where he received a scholarship. At Cambridge, he performed in the Cambridge Footlights Review with Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie. Fry and Laurie continued their comedic collaboration outside of school, including the sketch comedy show “A Bit of Fry and Laurie,” for the BBC, which had six seasons between 1986 and 1995. From 1990 to 1993, Fry and Laurie also starred in “Jeeves and Wooster” (Fry played Jeeves). Fry has had a wide-ranging career in acting, comedy and writing.

He is very active in social media, preferring to speak directly to his fans whenever he can, such as through Twitter and on his personal website. In 2003, Fry began hosting the BBC television panel comedy game show “QI.” The ninth season broadcasts in fall of 2011. Fry has been openly gay for his entire active professional life, and at times advocates for various causes, including gay rights. He grew up in an atheist home, but according to his website, http://www.stephenfry.com, he had a brief flirtation with Christianity as a teenager after reading C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters and was also influenced by G.K. Chesterton. However, as an adult, Fry returned to atheism and is very open about his nonbelief, describing the Christian God as “utterly evil, capricious and monstrous,” in an interview with the Gaurdian in Feb., 2015.  In 2011, he was awarded the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard’s Lifetime Award in Cultural Humanism.

“I love how when people watch I don’t know, David Attenborough or Discovery Planet type thing you know where you see the absolute phenomenal majesty and complexity and bewildering beauty of nature and you stare at it and then … somebody next to you goes, ‘And how can you say there is no God? Look at that.’ And then five minutes later you’re looking at the lifecycle of a parasitic worm whose job is to bury itself in the eyeball of a little lamb and eat the eyeball from inside while the lamb dies in horrible agony and then you turn to them and say, ‘Yeah, where is your God now?’ ”

—Stephen Fry in an interview by bigthink.com, Dec. 17, 2009

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Dealing With Depression And Loneliness After Abandoning Religion…

 

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From Atheist Republic

Gina1 shared on our public forums her experience of dealing with depression and loneliness after abandoning her faith. Gina1 wrote that after leaving her religion she initially felt liberated. However during a crisis or tragedy, she no longer has her faith to comfort her. Furthermore, she deals with crippling anxiety when thinking about death, uncertainty, and the fear of “what if” she is wrong about her unbelief. Although religion was a major part of her life, she cannot see herself going back, even with the comforts that it formerly provided.

Here are some of the most interesting responses to Gina1’s post:
Ellie Harris, although admitting to never being religious, sympathized with Gina1. He reassured Gina1 that it is a fundamental human need, and one that is not exclusive to religions, to desire camaraderie and moral support that is typically provided by religious communities.

Pitar shared his experience in becoming an atheist as a child and learning early on not to rely on faith as an emotional crutch, in spite of the isolation he felt due to his unbelief. He conceded that it must be more challenging for adults who abandon their faith and the comfort it provides at a later age than he did, as they typically enter “reality” without a warm welcome or support group. He insightfully pointed out how a religious belief system actually stifles individuality, suppresses one’s true identity, and forces people to be part of a false structure that is not true to the nature of the human heart. He concluded by hoping that Gina1 will appreciate the way in which she is being true to her nature with her atheism and not just view herself as someone who has gone by the wayside.

Mitch made a distinction between one who is clinically depressed and one who is grieving since abandoning faith. He stated that if one were clinically depressed, the depression would not dissipate regardless of one’s personal beliefs.

Jeff Vella Leone offered encouragement by suggesting that Gina1 should feel proud that she now understands something better than others, rather than feeling like someone who has lost something. He thinks that once Gina1 has arrived at this point, the depression she feels will go away.

The Pragmatic acknowledged that anyone who is isolated, ostracized, or shunned for their beliefs could easily become depressed. He offered a link from a secular website that helps atheists find an empathetic therapist.

Gina1 felt encouraged and comforted by the responses of the forum and suggested she may seek out a Unitarian church to regain her sense of community…
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Purpose: An Atheist Perspective…

 

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From Atheist Republic

I am sure that all of you reading this have at some point or another witnessed, heard of, or perhaps even been, a religious person attempting to convey how empty a life without God is. For the faithful, God is the centre of their universe. Belief in God is their most important value, their most primary function, and the seed from which their perspective on the world grows. And so it’s no surprise that whether or not you believe in God is likely what the religious consider to be your most important value, too. It’s how they look at the world, and it’s inevitably how they wish to frame you.

For atheists, of course, it should be relatively easy to recognize that a person’s perspective on God may be utterly irrelevant to his or her daily life; for people are composed of more than just their religious or nonreligious beliefs. But by maintaining that a person’s perspective on God is the most important aspect of their being, the religious are not only failing to see people outside of their own narrow scope of vision, they are also making an attempt to force upon atheists the idea that atheism is the dearth of purpose and meaning — that atheism ultimately leads to degeneration, to decay, to nihilism and moral abandon and a life of pointless pursuits — for if you don’t believe that God exists, then what are you worth to those who do? To them, you’re lost, you’re deluded, and you’re going to burn.

Ingersoll: An Honest God is the Noblest Work of Man…

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

THE GODS 

EACH nation has created a god, and the god has always resembled his creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved, and he was invariably found on the side of those in power. Each god was intensely patriotic, and detested all nations but his own. All these gods demanded praise, flattery, and worship. Most of them were pleased with sacrifice, and the smell of innocent blood has ever been considered a divine perfume. All these gods have insisted upon having a vast number of priests, and the priests have always insisted upon being supported by the people, and the principal business of these priests has been to boast about their god, and to insist that he could easily vanquish all the other gods put together.

These gods have been manufactured after numberless models, and according to the most grotesque fashions. Some have a thousand arms, some a hundred heads, some are adorned with necklaces of living snakes, some are armed with clubs, some with sword and shield, some with bucklers, and some have wings as a cherub; some were invisible, some would show themselves entire, and some would only show their backs; some were jealous, some were foolish, some turned themselves into men, some into swans, some into bulls, some into doves, and some into Holy Ghosts, and made love to the beautiful daughters of men. Some were married—all ought to have been—and some were considered as old bachelors from all eternity. Some had children, and the children were turned into gods and worshiped as their fathers had been. Most of these gods were revengeful, savage, lustful, and ignorant. As they generally depended upon their priests for information, their ignorance can hardly excite our astonishment.

These gods did not even know the shape of the worlds they had created, but supposed them perfectly flat Some thought the day could be lengthened by stopping the sun, that the blowing of horns could throw down the walls of a city, and all knew so little of the real nature of the people they had created, that they commanded the people to love them. Some were so ignorant as to suppose that man could believe just as he might desire, or as they might command, and that to be governed by observation, reason, and experience was a most foul and damning sin. None of these gods could give a true account of the creation of this little earth. All were wofully deficient in geology and astronomy. As a rule, they were most miserable legislators, and as executives, they were far inferior to the average of American presidents.

What God Said…

 

 

Thanks to Bruce

You know Christie
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti
And the people don’t wanna talk about it
They were under the heel of the French
And they got together and they swore a pact to the devil
They said we’ll serve you
If you’ll get us free from the French
True story
And so the devil said okay it’s a deal
And ever since then they have been cursed

Shake the hand of my imaginary friend
See the trouble he gets in
Can’t be traced back to me
He can’t pretend at the slightest of his when
He has the power to suspend our rules of morality
And when he gets angry he can make the lion cry
He can help me win the fight with his power
Yes he speaks to me and it’s always positive
Cause I can just ask for forgiveness and it’s over

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
Don’t you put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said

So you’re praying for the death of the president of the united states
Do you think it’s appropriate to say something like that or…
I’m not saying anything what I’m doing is repeating what God is saying
In the name of the one who made us all
I will hide behind these walls from my enemy
By the power bestowed from up above
I will conquer you because it is my destiny
And with the righteous hand
I will bring you to your knees
I will strip you of your freedom without mercy
And when the earth quakes and the blood runs in the sand
There will be no final stand for the unworthy

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
Don’t you put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said

I stand on a mountain top on a solid rock
I stand on abundance truth and I won’t be moved
And when I come to claim my victory
I’ll repeat what was told to me

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
And he speaks to only me I know what God said
What God said, what God said
~~

Robert Ingersoll Born This Day 1833…

 
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From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1833, Robert Green Ingersoll, who became the best known advocate of freethought in 19th-century United States, was born in Dresden, N.Y. The son of an impoverished itinerant pastor, he later recalled his formative church experiences: “The minister asked us if we knew that we all deserved to go to hell, and we all answered ‘yes.’ Then we were asked if we would be willing to go to hell if it was God’s will, and every little liar shouted ‘Yes!’ ” He became an attorney by apprenticeship, and a colonel in the Civil War, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Ingersoll was appointed Illinois’ first Attorney General. His political career was cut short by his refusal to halt his controversial lectures, but he achieved national political fame for his thrilling nomination speech for James G. Blaine for president at the national convention of the Republican Party in 1876. Ingersoll was good friends with three U.S. presidents. The distinguished attorney was known and admired by most of the leading progressives and thinkers of his day. “Who can over estimate the progress of the world if all the money wasted in superstition could be used to enlighten, elevate and civilize mankind?” (Some Mistakes of Moses)

Ingersoll traveled the continent for 30 years, speaking to capacity audiences, once attracting 50,000 people to a lecture in Chicago—40,000 too many for the Exposition Center. His repertoire included 3 to 4-hour lectures on Shakespeare, Voltaire and Burns, but the largest crowds turned out to hear him denounce the bible and religion. Ingersoll’s speaking fees ranged as high as $7,000, in an era of low wages and no income tax. He married Eva Parker Ingersoll, a rationalist whom he deemed a “Woman Without Superstition,” in dedicating his first freethought book to her. He initially settled in Peoria, Illinois, then in Washington, D.C., where he successfully defended falsely accused men in the “Star Route” scandal, the most famous political trial of the 19th century. The family later relocated to New York. A devoted family man, he lived with his extended family, and the Ingersoll “at homes” were celebrated, both in Washington D.C., and in New York. Religious rumors against Ingersoll abounded. One had it that Ingersoll’s son was a drunkard who more than once had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll wrote: “It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!” The 12-volume Dresden Edition of his lectures, poetry and interviews was collected after his death and has been reprinted many times. D. 1899.

“All religions are inconsistent with mental freedom. Shakespeare is my bible, Burns my hymn-book.”

“I do not borrow ideas. I have a factory of my own.”

“I do not believe in putting out the sun to keep weeds from growing.”

“With soap, baptism is a good thing.”

“[Of William Jennings Bryan] He talks, but he does not think.”

~~

Anyone else feel more comfortable with death now that you don’t have religion?

 


From Atheism Reddit
Selected and Edited Comments

This of course doesn’t count for people who never believed in anything their whole lives, but now that I’m no longer a Christian, I no longer fear dying. I don’t worry about where I’m going, I don’t even worry about missing my family, because I know that I won’t have to worry about anything once I die. And with that thought, I can live in peace, because the one thing we all have in common, is that we all die. What do you guys think?
~

My experience was similar. I was terrified of death as a Christian, convinced I wasn’t good enough or saved enough and that I’d burn for eternity. Now I feel mostly a sense of peace about death. Now it’s a natural course of life, not the prelude to an eternity of either torture by fire or fawning over a egomaniacal deity, which would be torturous in a completely different way.

~

This exactly. Although I will add indoctrination is a bitch. Every now and then a flash of dread will wash over me about “what if I’m wrong”. Edit: I will add that this knowledge of this being it makes me appreciate every moment. The good and the bad.
~

Yeah, I’ll get that flash every once in a while as well. When you were indoctrinated for the first 18 years of your life, I think that’s to be expected.
~

I hated the idea of heaven as a kid. All day every day just eternal church with healthier bodies? Praying day in day out? I didn’t want to go up heaven lol
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Ditto with me. Though there was a period where I had to come to terms with my mortality and non-existence after I die after I lost religion. But yeah…. am way better for it now.
~

Well I’m not completely over it. I’m not sure it is possible to be completely over it. But thinking clearly about life and death is how I came to terms with it. One phrase that helps me think clearly about death and fear of death is from Epicurus- “Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”
~

Not so much death, but infinity beyond scared the crap out of me. I changed every year, I grew up each birthday, I could deal with 100 birthdays, but 100 billion birthdays gave me the willies!
~