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Introduce Yourself Please introduce yourself and share what makes you faithless or faithful.

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  #21  
Old 14th June 2013, 01:41 PM
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Hi Confused, as with the others, I share concern for your safety and unfortunately that makes the process even more difficult for you. Like you, I was very religious and truly believed, but my religion was Christianity rather than Islam. In my teenage years and early twenties, I took a serious look at Islam, read the Koran, learned about what Muslims believe and gave genuine consideration to its claims. That helped me understand Islam; however, I remained a Christian.

Even here in a free country like Australia, even considering the possibility that your beliefs are wrong is extraordinarily destabilising. My husband went through it, I went through it and we have seen several friends go through it, some of whom are now atheists also, some remain troubled believers. A glimpse of the difficult time I went through is evident in something I wrote during it all: "it is with extraordinary difficulty and anguish that I write these things, but I am only looking for the truth and finding I have no answers and nobody else seems to either. I am sleepless and in turmoil, yet I care about what is true." It was a time of great upheaval.

Right now, you still believe, you are just asking good questions and the quest for truth is noble. I suppose I will differ from most other forum members here in this advice: hold on to your faith while you question it, hold onto it until such time as you are convinced that it is false. This was what I did and is the advice I give to my friends when they find themselves doubting. I would say especially so given the dangerous environment you are in. The main reason I recommend this is because, if you go on to decide that your faith is false, you will be convinced about the matter and not always looking back wondering if you made a mistake and gave it up too easily. If it is safe for you to do so, access information from both points of view that will help you learn and make an informed decision, but be mindful that even using the internet entails risk. Don't be in a rush about it all, and take some time to calmly think through your own views on questions like:

How do I know this book is from God? Could it just be written by people? How might I know? Is there anything in the book that seems at odds with an all-good God?

What evidence do I have that God answers prayers? How do I know that the times prayer seems to "work", the thing I asked for wasn't going to happen anyway? Why would an all-knowing God answer prayers if he already knew the best thing to do?

Why does there seem to be such pointless suffering? Why do terrible things happen to good people? Does it really always turn out for good?

Does hell seem just? Is infinite suffering warranted for any finite life, even a completely evil finite life? Would I be happy in heaven if anyone I knew was in hell?

It must be incredibly difficult feeling so alone and vulnerable, and I really feel for you in the situation you are in.

Sending you friendship across the miles.
FTO
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"If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather than by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you." - Bertrand Russell
  #22  
Old 15th June 2013, 12:48 PM
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I can't believe how kind the unbelievers are! I'm not totally joking, I have always been very spiritual and never understood how someone could not believe in God. I always thought they must be not evil people, but people who were cold and uncaring. I heard Hutchins brother say he returned to Christianity because he saw how cold people became without religion. This forum has shown me this is very far from the truth. You all have really helped me, I was totally lost and really felt that I would loose my mind. But you helped me try to cope and guided me on steps I can take. Telling me your stories really touched me. I knew there are others who this was a difficult journey to undertake but you got through it and so will I. I have hope where I only had despair and it is because of your comments and kind words. A special thanks to blue lightning and freethinkeroz. It helps to hear how people who had faith struggled like me. When freethinkeroz said :
"it is with extraordinary difficulty and anguish that I write these things, but I am only looking for the truth and finding I have no answers and nobody else seems to either. I am sleepless and in turmoil, yet I care about what is true." OMG! It sounded just like what I felt, I could Not describe it any better! I'm sorry that others have gone through the anguish I feel, but it helps to know that I can speak to them and they can help me because they really understand.
So thank you all for your help
  #23  
Old 15th June 2013, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Confused

I think a lot of theists think atheists must be uncaring and some do actually think we are evil and without morals.

The fact is that morality and humanity comes from humans themselves and not from belief in a supernatural being. Chimps care and protect one another. So do bonobos, whales, dogs etc etc etc
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  #24  
Old 15th June 2013, 02:13 PM
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prudie said View Post
I think a lot of theists think atheists must be uncaring and some do actually think we are evil and without morals.
You think?!

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prudie said View Post
The fact is that morality and humanity comes from humans themselves and not from belief in a supernatural being. Chimps care and protect one another. So do bonobos, whales, dogs etc etc etc
We should collect the data here and get it out there on the AFA website. We could make it easier with sound clips and embed some YouTube videos on the site.

There is enough information that animals not of our species do not have this "world view" or religion that religious people like to talk about to base their sense of good on.

The experiment with "Nim Chimpsky" was a linguistic one, but they pointed out Nim was given every opportunity to communicate on how he saw the world and whether he had any philosophy or not, and if I recall correctly, his longest sentence was just repeating that he wanted an orange or something. This would show very well that animals are godless but can be caring of others in their groups. It seems a lot of primates bury their dead and mourn them, and have been observed consoling each other at what we would call a funeral service. And the Bonobos seem to make a lot more love than war. It has been suggested the quick fucks before meal times have a real function, and that is to ease tensions among the hungry to prevent fights and violence at meal times.

We can make a compelling and correct case that you don't need god for anything basically good or moral in nature. Other species have no concept of god or anything nutty that we dream up, but they care for each other anyway.
  #25  
Old 16th June 2013, 02:43 PM
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I can't believe how kind the unbelievers are! I'm not totally joking, I have always been very spiritual and never understood how someone could not believe in God. I always thought they must be not evil people, but people who were cold and uncaring. I heard Hutchins brother say he returned to Christianity because he saw how cold people became without religion. This forum has shown me this is very far from the truth. You all have really helped me, I was totally lost and really felt that I would loose my mind. But you helped me try to cope and guided me on steps I can take. Telling me your stories really touched me. I knew there are others who this was a difficult journey to undertake but you got through it and so will I. I have hope where I only had despair and it is because of your comments and kind words. A special thanks to blue lightning and freethinkeroz. It helps to hear how people who had faith struggled like me. When freethinkeroz said :
"it is with extraordinary difficulty and anguish that I write these things, but I am only looking for the truth and finding I have no answers and nobody else seems to either. I am sleepless and in turmoil, yet I care about what is true." OMG! It sounded just like what I felt, I could Not describe it any better! I'm sorry that others have gone through the anguish I feel, but it helps to know that I can speak to them and they can help me because they really understand.
So thank you all for your help
Glad to hear that we can be of some encouragement, though I guess we feel unable to do more even though we'd love to. I thought you would relate to that quote, I came across it the other day looking through some old things.

For someone like you or I or others here on the forum who have been brought up in religious belief, it has coloured and filtered the way we perceive everything in the world. To question these beliefs is to shake the foundation of everything you thought you knew, and opens up gaping questions of personal identity and purpose - and for you, safety. I think just recognising this is helpful, because it helps provide insight into why you feel so "cut loose" and lost at sea, and hopefully helps you feel more at peace with the process of questioning. You are not lost at sea, you are a capable mind daring to truly think, and that's like setting out on an adventure and not knowing where you will land, with the quest for truth your only compass. It's courageous.

My conclusions were to reject Christianity and soon afterwards to reject belief in God. I became an "agnostic atheist", a person who does not hold a belief in a god or gods, but who does not claim to know there is no god - I don't think anyone can truly claim to know such a thing. If there were a god, I have reason to think it would be nothing like the religious conceptions of God anyway, so I have no reason to live as though I thought such a being existed. Not everyone will conclude as I have, but life as an atheist is not filled with despair as some fear.

After deconverting, I thought through questions about life and meaning and all of that. I saw that we have been conditioned to see life as needing eternity to have meaning and that this in fact devalues the life that we do have. What happens to my life matters to me now and to those around me, and this is enough. What happens in my life is not irrelevant to me just because it will come to an end. We do not think that going on a holiday is pointless because it will come to an end, or that enjoying a meal is pointless because it will be finished. As an atheist, I have even more of a sense of wonder at life and of value in what I do than I did as a believer, because I now think this life is all I've got.

Like me, you may well have been taught that to ask questions is wrong, to question God is disrespectful and shows a lack of faith, but I never agreed with that. I always thought that if God was real and was a God of truth, then he wasn't afraid of the truth. Surely truth would stand up to scrutiny! Wasn't it, rather, those who were afraid to question who showed a lack of faith, as though they did not believe there were answers? If there weren't answers, why would they think they have the truth?
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  #26  
Old 16th June 2013, 07:02 PM
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Totally true freethinker, yes you are not allowed to question. They would label you as working for the devil if you questioned! I am coping much better thanks to all of you. I never thought I would be able to. I like you freethinker, right now label myself as an agnostic / athiest. While I see there is no sign from God that He exists, in truth I just do not want to give up hope. I was reading about the beginning of the universe and then on the same page it began talking about someone's near death experience. I read it, it was so beautiful flying through the universe a sense of peace. This man wrote a book and I could not help but wish it was true! I read about the experiments of putting images near the ceiling in ER rooms and no one has identified these images. So it is most likely these NDE are just dreams. What I'm trying to say is I know now there is no evidence for God but I still am not willing to give up hope of His existence. This is purely a selfish hope, because I have not given up on immortality. Yes it is arrogant to think our species deserves immortality among the other animals, but I do! I am so ##*#* when I think these amazing humans do not live on. On the good side my loosing my religouse belief has given me amazing freedom. Islam is a very demanding faith everything is a sin! So now I do not feel guilty for listening to music or reading books for fun, it is not a waste of my time. I also do not have to believe anything I am not convinced is right anymore! That is liberating, especially as a Muslim woman. I do agree I now see the word differently, it's really strange. It's like I landed on an alien planet, everything is so new to me. It feels sometimes to make me dizzy. I think we might have never evolved, we might have never come to be. That is so strange. As before I thought it was God's plan. I do try to help people around me by trying to make them moderate, that is as far as I can go. I always felt that I did not belong in my country, I never clicked. Even when I was religouse I just think in a different way then people around me. I really enjoy this forum, because I find people here who I enjoy talking to and listening to what they have to say. I guess because you all question and discuss things logically. But where I am from you are supposed just take the laws and accept them without getting any explanation. Ramdhan is coming up, I wonder what shall I do? Will I fast? It's funny though, because it is a very holy month in Islam, when I thought I might not fast I kind of was worried that God would get angry! It is hard to let go of ideas that have been with me since the day I was born. When your born as a Muslim they say the call to prayer in the babies ears so that it is the first thing a child hears. So this connection to God starts very early. By the way the story of Abraham killing his son, worries me now. Before I thought we'll God never was going to make him go through with it. But I can see now that he should not even been asked to do such a thing! We are taught to love God more than anything or anyone. In truth though we are also told that God loves us more than anyone. But I agree there seems to be a God who is forgiving on one side and then very angry on the other. I used to think well He punished those people because they just would not listen, but now I am reevaluating everything I used to think. I realized yesterday, there are no daemons! Great so now I only have to fear really things like diseases and criminals! I also do not have to worry about the antichrist! It's no joke we actually are really freaked out by this guy. That he is so evil and would lead us astray. But I still hope that we will continue in some spiritual realm, there is no evidence but it is a desire a wish I at this time can not let go of. I look at religouse people now not in an angry way, the majority have there heart in the right place. But I feel a sadness because there is a lot they can not do because they believe it is a sin. But again if they knew what I now know they would loose the belief of immortality, I'm not sure they would be happy about that. I was thinking how religion evolved over time. Since the pharaohs we wanted immortality and then people had sun Gods, then idols, then to the more sophisticated one God creator of all. Like God was evolving with our minds and now we are realizing that He is not real ( maybe, do NOT want to insult Him if He is listening ). That makes me reflect strange how our concept of God changed like that from the very primitive to a more plausible idea. They pray here when there is an eclipse, Ofcoarse we know it is a natural event, but what are you to do, this is what your religion tells you to do. The Islamic scholars are now discussing what to do for fasting Muslims who live in places where sunset is like at 10 pm. You have to fast from sunrise to sunset in the Middle East that is fine, but in other parts of the world that is not possible. It seems strange that God did not factor that into the guidelines, maybe because the writer of the Quran was not God. These are the things that made me realize, woke me up. But I have to give it up to Prophet Muhammad. The Quran is an excellent book! Sure it has mistakes but if you read it there is a lot of good within its teachings. I know all religions teach good but they were specific. Like eating with your right hand and using your left for dirty things, wash your hands 5 times a day, knock 3 times before entering a home, do not speak loudly, stop burying your daughters alive, women should inherit( only half of what men get but it is better then nothing). Now I am amazed at this man how much he must of reflected, I wonder if he really thought God was putting this verses in his mind. I do not doubt that Islam brought good to the people of that time as I think Christianity did. It brought with it the idea of equality. I think now though religion is stopping us from moving forward, it has helped is as much as it can. Sorry, I write to much but I so enjoy being able to discuss these ideas, it makes me feel alive!
  #27  
Old 16th June 2013, 11:34 PM
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I very much enjoy discussing ideas, too, just be safe, that's all. The internet is not the safe and private place it can feel, and additionally this is a public forum; post nothing in regards to where you are or who you are. I remember well wanting so much to talk over my thoughts with people, but though I wish that it were not so, the less you say, the less risk you put yourself at From your descriptions, I would not call you an "agnostic atheist", perhaps I have not explained well what I mean by that, but at any rate, you do not need to label yourself, all the more so when some labels could threaten your safety. It is perfectly fine to take your time to think things through, and nobody here is assuming you will necessarily agree with them - you should draw your own conclusions regardless of whether you agree or disagree with any of us I have a friend who went through a crisis of faith but eventually decided to simply stop reading and have faith. In a country where it is not safe to stop believing, this would be more understandable.

I don't think it is selfish to hope that God exists, though hoping that other people go to hell is another matter. If it turned out there was an amazing God and wonderful things happen after this life, I don't think anyone would be disappointed! But personally, I just don't expect that to happen.

Many of the teachings you have talked about in Islam are in common with Christianity. I agree that there is much that is good and even beautiful in the Qur'an, as with the Bible, but I think that our morality and our knowledge have progressed since those times. And actually, I do quite like the Adhan, I agree with Sam Harris in what he recently wrote, that it sounds beautiful. Even as an atheist, the first song I sang my baby was a Hindi religious song, just because it sounds beautiful!

The sunset thing made me laugh

Please take care of yourself.
FTO
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"If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather than by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you." - Bertrand Russell
  #28  
Old 17th June 2013, 09:57 AM
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Freethinkeroz said View Post

The sunset thing made me laugh

Please take care of yourself.
FTO
The sunset thing made me laugh also FTO. I think it is a good indicator Confused that God is not the author of The Quran. Be a good weight reducer if you happened to be inside the Arctic circle if Ramadan was in June/July or if you were inside the Antactic circle and Ramadan fell on December/January.

Reading this thread I is great to see how you FTO, as an ex Christian, can be of such comfort to Confused, who is struggling with her Muslim faith, in a way that I, and others like me that have never had to go through this, cannot.
  #29  
Old 17th June 2013, 12:13 PM
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PS Confused, I like you too, very much! People like you amaze us. In truth, I wish I could talk with you for hours! I have found some of your other posts on other threads, and read that you have even purchased a Dawkins book! You are incredibly brave, but please be careful. We hear about people like you and we cheer for you and we fear for you. I am only too mindful of cases close to home for us such as Alexander Aan in Indonesia being imprisoned for online activity, in a country where it is not at all as dangerous as yours appears to be.

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The sunset thing made me laugh also FTO. I think it is a good indicator Confused that God is not the author of The Quran. Be a good weight reducer if you happened to be inside the Arctic circle if Ramadan was in June/July or if you were inside the Antactic circle and Ramadan fell on December/January.
haha so true! I love things like this, little hints for those who are paying attention....

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Reading this thread I is great to see how you FTO, as an ex Christian, can be of such comfort to Confused, who is struggling with her Muslim faith, in a way that I, and others like me that have never had to go through this, cannot.
Sten funny you say that: I might have already told you that as a Christian, I believed that God was likely to send me to a country like Confused's to share the "gospel of Jesus". I knew that would be incredibly dangerous and I may lose my life, but that's the ultimate test for a believer - how much are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of God? I'm sure you're familiar with this kind of thinking, Confused. As mentioned, I read the Qur'an while at university and began to learn a bit about Islam. I'd also begun to learn to speak and read Arabic in my mid-late teens (which you may or may not speak, don't even say for your privacy), with the same end in mind. How funny that here I am talking to you not as a Christian but as an atheist!

As for fasting, it is of course a personal decision and choosing to do so while you are thinking things through is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, in a country like yours, I would have imagined it would be necessary to continue to participate in religious activities regardless of personal convictions.

It is amazing hearing reason's voice even from within such a culture as yours. I hope for a day when everyone has freedom of conscience. I just could never understand why anyone would fear open discussion if they were sure they had the truth. Unfortunately, not everyone sees things that way.
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Last edited by Freethinkeroz; 17th June 2013 at 12:26 PM.
  #30  
Old 18th June 2013, 09:14 AM
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I'm glad I could make you laugh How funny FTO I think we are twins born into different faiths. How ironic for us to see eye to eye in atheism! How funny FTO I to have debated online for Islam and opened chat rooms to teach Islam! I really believed it was the way to God. How strange this world is. I still can not let go totally that there might be a Creator. I do still think our intelligence sets us a part from other animals. I still read and try to understand. I downloaded a Dawkins book. You can not buy one here. I hope I am not in danger by coming to this website. It really helps me talking to everyone here. I was going to loose my mind before finding this site. In my country a young man was also imprisoned, but he wrote on a blog. I do not plan to make a statement, I am just trying to find my way to sanity. I will always keep this to myself. I do not plan to ever tell my child. To be honest I don't want him to loose faith. I want him to be a very moderate Muslim, but it gives one so much hope and peace to believe in heaven. I do not wish to take that dream away from anyone. I know people will go crazy to hear this, but right now this is how I feel. I even thought if I had the power to make people become atheists, I wouldn't. Belief in God does help in things you can't control, like loosing a child or having an awful disease. I would wish people followed a moderate faith, like follow the golden rule and there is a heaven for all the good people of the world. Maybe we can start our own religion! Hey so many before us have! Why not us? The prophets were always men, I think it's time for a woman prophet!

Last edited by Annie; 25th August 2013 at 08:37 PM.
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