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Old 11-06-2011, 10:33 AM   #76
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:21 PM   #77
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I was raised in an big Irish Catholic family. My mother was a Protestant (Methodist) and had to convert to Catholicism when she married my dad back in the 50's. I am grateful for my upbringing with parents that are believers and I count myself as one to this day. Let me say that I have learned more about being a "Christian" from my mother than from any church homily or sermon. She is a person of deep faith that walks the walk and lives her life as an example of what I believe Jesus was sent here to teach us. The woman is the very definition of grace. She has lived in severe pain most of her adult life and has been left physically challenge and disabled ( I never see her like that) because of severe Rhumetoid Arthritis. She has been disabled my entire life but it never occured to me that she was challenged in any way becasue she never ever complained. Not once. She has always taught me that it's what you do how you live your life by example not how your neighbors see you dressed up at church every Sunday that impresses God. She adopted several families that were street beggars where we lived in Panama when I was growing up. Whenever they came to our house knocking on the door she never turned them away. She fed them and gave them bags and bags of clothes. I learned so much from that. She just loves people and has the most humble forgiving heart. She is unlike any "religious" person I have ever known. My Dad is the same way. Live and live is the philosophy. They are the most wonderful people and I wish everyone had parents like mine! They are very full of faith, but not preachy. They are politically more on the liberal side and not ashamed of it. Jesus was a Liberal after all! He was the original rebel with a cause!
I do not go to church because I have major issues with religion and the doctrine that sometimes is so far away from what Jesus taught it makes me want to scream "shame on you" for turning Christianity in to a political party platform!
I had a period of searching outside the Catholic system for the right place of worship, from mega-Evangelical churches ( what was I thinking?) to local community churches. I have visited several grand Cathedrals in the world, a synagogue, a few Mosques while in Istanbul and 2 Buddhist temples in Korea and China.
Did I feel the spirit there? Sometime yes but mostly the buildings were incredible works of art. I fully respect others beliefs and do not push my views on anyone.

I have come to the believe now that there are many paths to God. It's a giant wheel and He is in the middle. No one will ever convice me that there is no God, I have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in my living room while praying, meditating and even a few times watching U2 perform! That's what drew me to them from being a casual fan to a serious follower of U2 and their music/message. In fact the music of U2 has connected with me spiritually like no preacher's sermon ever could. Once you feel that presence you won't doubt, you just know.
Sorry for the ramble. Put me in the more spiritual than religious category.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:16 PM   #78
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I am a strict materialist atheist.

I was moved by Jeannieco's post, and have no doubt that everything she testified to is absolutely true, but I would respectfully point out that atheists are also capable of all the attributes of human charity and generosity of spirit which Jeannieco described.

Someone mentioned Dawkins. I recently attended a lecture of his, here in Ireland, and he made the point, that in the Catholic faith, we are baptised at a age of under one year, and then made Catholics. Perhaps we baptised Roman Catholics should be grateful that our initiation ceremony only involves the splashing of some water on our heads, as I understand the Jewish faith has a procedure, albeit at an older age, involving the mutilation of the male genital organs. In either case, one can become a Catholic child or a Jewish child in a manner decreed by our parents, before we are old enough to decide for ourselves.

But who speaks of a neo-liberal child, or a post-modernist child, or a Marxist child? And is it not a mild form of child abuse, that Catholics, for example, are baptised into the faith, and at an age way to early to decide for themselves, and with no getout clause?

Even if everything else Dawkins is rubbish, that speech got me thinking, yet again, of the soft fascism of Roman Catholicism, Judaism, and Mohammedism.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:29 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
I am a strict materialist atheist.

I was moved by Jeannieco's post, and have no doubt that everything she testified to is absolutely true, but I would respectfully point out that atheists are also capable of all the attributes of human charity and generosity of spirit which Jeannieco described.
Awww, thank you FG
I agree that anyone is capable of displaying compassion and charity, you don't have to believe in God to be moved to help your fellow man.
It's all about intension. To be moved or inspired literally means to be "in spirit". Why does one feel inspired to help someone in the first place? Where does that initial feeling come from?
I know how I answer that for myself and I guess those are questions everyone has to figure out for themselves.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:38 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Jeannieco View Post
Awww, thank you FG
I agree that anyone is capable of displaying compassion and charity, you don't have to believe in God to be moved to help your fellow man.
It's all about intension. To be moved or inspired literally means to be "in spirit". Why does one feel inspired to help someone in the first place? Where does that initial feeling come from?
I know how I answer that for myself and I guess those are questions everyone has to figure out for themselves.
As an atheist, I would say it is because this is all there is, and we should strive to make this experience...life...as pleasant for all as we possibly can.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:46 PM   #81
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I just read the additional part of your post....

Speaking for myself and my experience, I don't hold my parents or my Irish ancestors in contempt at all for becoming Catholics and "passing" it down the generational line. Part of the Catholic faith is to teach fear and guilt and passing it down the lineage is part of that. Right? I guess that can be said of most major religions. I am the fruit of religious parents yet I felt free to seek my own way later in as a young adult. I don't practice the religion now but I will consider myself Catholic because it is so in my bones, like a cultural trait. For what it's worth, I think it gave me a strong foundation to base my beliefs on today.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:49 PM   #82
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As an atheist, I would say it is because this is all there is, and we should strive to make this experience...life...as pleasant for all as we possibly can.
Since that's how you see it then that makes perfect sense!
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:10 PM   #83
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Here's an interesting article on the Dutch clergy becoming atheist or agnostic.

BBC News - Dutch rethink Christianity for a doubtful world

Quote:
An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.
It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord's Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse's sermon seems bleak - "Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get".
"Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death," Mr Hendrikse says. "No, for me our life, our task, is before death."
Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.
Continue reading the main story “Start Quote
God is not a being at all... it's a word for experience, or human experience”
Rev Klaas Hendrikse
"When it happens, it happens down to earth, between you and me, between people, that's where it can happen. God is not a being at all... it's a word for experience, or human experience."
Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible's account of Jesus's life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.
His book Believing in a Non-Existent God led to calls from more traditionalist Christians for him to be removed. However, a special church meeting decided his views were too widely shared among church thinkers for him to be singled out.
Would anyone say we're evolving in the way we see God? I think so. I think God is too broad and too complex of a being to be understood, so its best not to put Him in a box.

And if God is nothing but an experience, a peculiar function in the brain, should we not aim to concentrate on that experience in our day to day lives?

BTW, I find it hard to believe God is just a function in the brain, coming from evolution. I really think there's an energy force that surrounds us, but its very complex.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:28 PM   #84
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Would anyone say we're evolving in the way we see God? I think so. I think God is too broad and too complex of a being to be understood, so its best not to put Him in a box.
Good question! I think so. I think all of human life right now on the planet is in a state of evolution and change, and I think that how we see God or source or whatever you want to call it is changing too. Has anyone here read Thom Hartman's "The Prophets Way" ? That book blew my mind. It's very enlightening coming from a man who was a total skeptic and grew up in the hippie age of drugs and free love in the 60's. Thom is a "liberal" radio talk show host now as well as an author ,some of you guys may know who he is. I have such respect for him and that book offers facinating true stories, I highly recommend it.
“Thom Hartmann exposes many of the ugly truths hiding beneath the surface of contemporary ‘civilization.’ Hartmann’s book masterfully combines autobiography, science, and Christian spirituality and shows us how to rehabilitate our world with acts of compassion rooted in spiritual humility and faith in the Creator of all creatures and cultures. Easy to read, hard to practice.”
(Jay Fikes, Ph.D., )
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:57 PM   #85
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I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, became a member of a Methodist congregation about six years ago, but find myself at odds with both denominations & haven't attended any church regularly in about four years. I do believe in a higher power than ourselves, one that I call "God" and pray to on a regular basis. I offer up thanks for what I feel are the blessings in my lives, I ask for guidance with the tribulations I face; I ask for healing for those I know to be sick or suffering and I pray for the safety of those I know to be at risk of some kind. It comforts me & if nothing else, creates positive energy that certainly can't hurt anyone. I have volunteered my time, money & skills to the benefits of strangers & friends because I believe it's the right thing to do. Not only because we should help to support each other, but because I have been & could possibly in the future be in need of assistance myself. I believe the Bible is a wonderful life tool, but I don't think every single word of it is infallible because Man has too often proven that he cannot be trusted to put forth a truth that doesn't support his own opinions.

I think at this point in my life, I'm jaded with religion but not spirituality. I don't begrudge anyone else their beliefs and I don't beat people over the head with what I think. My feeling is that religion shouldn't be about score-keeping, pointing fingers, or controlling some section of the population. It should be about striving to be the best humans we can be, understanding we all have short comings, & learning that when we lift up others we lift up ourselves.

I have friends who are Wiccan, Catholic, Muslim, Baptist, Methodist, atheist, agnostic, Lutheran and Jehovah's Witness, to name just a few. Is it my place to tell them what they think is wrong? No. Just as it's not their place to tell me I'm doomed for eternal suffering if I don't convert to what they think. In the end, we'll all have to answer for ourselves and no one else. Or not.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:13 AM   #86
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I am a strict materialist atheist......

in the Catholic faith, we
I find this interesting. I tend to do that as well, though substituting protestant for catholic. I don't believe in organized religion and more or less hold it in contempt, but for some strange reason, still identify with my pseudo religious background (we were never overtly religious. I've only ever stepped foot in a church for weddings and funerals). Interesting, the imprint religion leaves on us despite our adult leanings
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:03 AM   #87
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And is it not a mild form of child abuse, that Catholics, for example, are baptised into the faith, and at an age way to early to decide for themselves, and with no getout clause?

Even if everything else Dawkins is rubbish, that speech got me thinking, yet again, of the soft fascism of Roman Catholicism, Judaism, and Mohammedism.
I can imagine how my parents might have responded to the idea that the way they raised their children was a form of "fascism," and it probably wouldn't be very sympathetic.

What do you mean by "no getout clause?" Get out of what, your family?
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:24 AM   #88
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Despite the harsh wording, Dawkins makes a valid point. Religion is, at it's core, a world view. How can a baby be said to hold a world view before it can even hold a long term memory? I remember a few years back some redneck family wanted to name their newborn Hitler (or Adolph. I can't remember) and raise it as a white supremacist and people were rightfully outraged, calling it a form of child abuse. How is that really any different than declaring a baby a certain religion?

I believe by 'getout clause', he means to not go ahead with the baptism. To get out of not being inducted into whatever religion it is. Perhaps in certain religions it's not a big deal to denounce it later in life, but apostasy can mean execution in others
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:23 AM   #89
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It's been a while since mandatory Catechism class in Catholic high school, but I don't recall the understanding of baptism involving wholesale implantation of a 'Catholic worldview' in the infant's brain (which for starters would make having to attend Catholic school, a far more obvious thing to bitch about I'd think, quite superfluous).

I don't remember the news story you're describing. In a society where white supremacism (Nazism?) was a normative 'worldview,' most likely no one would consider that child abuse, rather a common and unremarkable approach to parenting. In our society, that child would be instant social anathema to anyone other than its parents and, perhaps, a small handful of their associates; hence the reaction I assume. While that doesn't prove the bias against the ideology itself is justified, I find it hard to believe you actually require convincing that the threat to society posed by Nazism becoming normative would be rivaled by the threat (already) posed by Catholicism being normative.

I didn't get the impression financeguy had execution in mind (been a while since the Catholic Church had jurisdiction to carry those out), but I'll wait and see what he says.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:28 AM   #90
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That was this family that wanted a birthday cake (for the second time) saying "Happy Birthday Adolph (sic!) Hitler XXX", XXX being the last name. They called their kid Adolph Hitler, and their daughter was named Aryan Nation I believe. If I recall it correctly, it was a family from New Jersey. They made a fuss over the bakery declining the order once again.
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