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Agnostic/Atheist Support Group

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sisoon posted 4/15/2014 16:36 PM

T/J - in 2.5 hours, I'm going to a seder to celebrate Pesach and the Exodus, the story of which is largely contradicted by the archeological record.

Of course, a holiday dedicated to freedom and treating foreigners/strangers well is not to be sneered at....

End T/J

outside4me posted 4/15/2014 17:37 PM

I've attended several seders. The entire meal is to remind you of the Jews suffering, and boy they don't mess around. Gefiltefish especially (fish spam!). That said, there was a lot of wine drinking (we cheated and stayed away from the Maneshevitz and Mogen David... that stuff is like KoolAid) and I've always had a pretty good time. Plenty of drinking for the adults, and a game for the kids as part of the ceremony. I admired the combination of those intermingled with the telling of the story.

Hope they have something tasty to eat after the ceremony, Sisson. My BIL would always cook up a yummy beef brisket to reward me for enduring all the yucky food during the ceremony.

Jrazz posted 4/15/2014 18:21 PM

Have a fantastic seder, sisoon!

I love the rich cultural traditions that is interwoven in the Jewish faith. Well, many faiths for that matter. That's part of why I still try to keep up with peripheral participation when I don't feel like a raging hypocrite.

My art teacher in high school always invited me to Passover, and I felt so lucky to share that meal with everyone. They didn't judge the fact that I didn't share their faith.

[This message edited by Jrazz at 6:25 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]

h0peless posted 4/15/2014 21:01 PM

I was always jealous of my Jewish friends growing up. Their religious experience seemed to have a lot to do with joy and having fun. Mine involved healthy amounts of judgment, hypocrisy, pretension and what I'm finally coming to grips with as a sexual assault when I was 5 that my Mom swept under the rug. So not so joyous there.

Ascendant posted 4/15/2014 21:56 PM

I've always appreciated the positive sense of history and familial closeness that some people have experienced through their religion. That sort of experience is a good thing, no matter how it arrives at your door step.

One thing I've noticed is that the infidelity seems to tend to push people a little more in whatever direction they were already leaning. There are plenty of people (BS/WS alike) who turn to their faith in a more substantive way than they did prior to the affairs, and the people who were perhaps on the fence about their lack of belief seem to concretize that disbelief. It's almost as if our more religious brethren need a reason for all this madness(i.e. god's plan), and us non-believers trend towards believing that there was no 'reason' for this, it was just dumb randomness of the worst kind. That's not a criticism of the religious mode of thinking, it's just a completely different approach to the same common issue. Those are my observations, anyway. You guys might disagree.

ETA: I just wanted to say that I'm really happy this thread is chugging along.

[This message edited by Ascendant at 9:57 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]

outside4me posted 4/15/2014 23:17 PM

and what I'm finally coming to grips with as a sexual assault when I was 5 that my Mom swept under the rug. So not so joyous there.
Oh man, that's horrible! My condolences, h0peless.

Frontline did a Secrets of the Vatican piece recently that addressed both the financial and pederast scandals: I totally agree with Razor's comment that anything involving humans gets corrupted eventually!

h0peless posted 4/15/2014 23:35 PM

It wasn't an adult in my case. It was an older boy who held me down in the bathroom, hit my face with his penis and peed all over me. I don't remember if there was any sort of penetration, but I was 5. It was during a Wednesday Night youth group and my Mom wouldn't take me home because she didn't want to bother the pastor who lived in the rectory right next door.

I love my Mom but 28 or so years later, I'm still pretty pissed at her for that one. She still won't have a conversation with me about it.

ETA: I have never told anybody about this and only person I have ever tried to talk to about it is my Mom. I was just a little kid. There was nothing I could do about it but for some reason, I still, as an almost 33 year old man, feel shame about it. I don't know why I finally feel like processing it now but for some reason, this thread feels like the safest place to do it without someone trying to slip in a religious platitude or two.

[This message edited by h0peless at 11:44 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]

Ascendant posted 4/15/2014 23:41 PM

Yeah, man, that's pretty fucked up. Awful stuff. You ever spoken to a therapist about it?

h0peless posted 4/15/2014 23:43 PM

I actually edited my post above. I have never spoken to a soul other than my mother about it. Just finally trying to work through some of MY issues. I might get back into therapy this summer.

Want2help posted 4/16/2014 00:01 AM

hopeless, I'm sorry. It is those moments when our power is stolen that stay with us the most. I hope you work through it.

It's almost as if our more religious brethren need a reason for all this madness(i.e. god's plan), and us non-believers trend towards believing that there was no 'reason' for this, it was just dumb randomness of the worst kind.

This is the case for me. On good days, I could still consider myself agnostic… then my father's death (raising me to raise my young sibling), which snowballed into my FWH's infidelity, which resulted in an OC with a "Catholic" girl who named OC a word whose synonym is "fate" because OW said having FWH's baby was her "destiny"… throw in an education in science, and >BOOM<, an atheist was born.

Jrazz posted 4/16/2014 00:19 AM

Damn, h0peless... I'm so sorry. People can be pretty fucked up, regardless of age. The way your mom handled it sounds like the way my mom handled a lot of things... it hurts and makes you feel pretty alone.

Well, you're not alone here. I'm glad you felt comfortable sharing. We're all here for you.


sisoon posted 4/16/2014 10:28 AM

On a clarifying and, I guess, defensive note, the seders I've attended (last night included) emphasize the slavery/freedom aspect of the exodus much more than the oppression of Jews aspect. Also we reflect some on the conditions we live today in with significant gratitude. We also discussed Biblical slavery vs. US slavery. (Not flattering to the US.)

Oppression certainly plays a part, especially last night, in light of the guy in Overland who killed 2 people.

25 years ago, the leader (same host as last night) asked us which plague we'd be most willing to endure ourselves. His 11 year old stepson had an answer immediately - death of the firstborn son. It turned out he was the only non-first born at the table, and he was fighting with his older brother....

Passover always reminds me that we always have to be vigilant in defense of freedom.

I've moved back and forth in relation to my religion since 12/10, but the knowledge that vigilance is essential has just grown stronger.

[This message edited by sisoon at 10:56 AM, April 16th (Wednesday)]

Razor posted 4/16/2014 11:44 AM

I have noticed that a life event such as we all have endured as BS oftimes drives people into religion or some other similar belief structure.

For example. Back in the 70's my best friend had his fiance cheat on him. It was a really horrible situation where he came home and caught her with 2 guys in bed with her. It really messed up his mind.

He became reclusive. Attempted suicide. And eventually got very heavily involved in a group called EST.

It took maybe 5 or 6 years but he finally was able to move on and get his life back.

Still though I think allot of people try and find some kind of comfort in groups like EST or with religious orders. Maybe even cults. Its as if they are looking for a reason this thing happened to them. Looking to make sense of the nonsense that happened to them.

Im not sure I have a point in bringing this up. Just an observation of what Ive seen people do.

Maxiom posted 4/16/2014 12:09 PM

We also discussed Biblical slavery vs. US slavery. (Not flattering to the US.)

Kind of a t/j but Torah/Bible apologetics on this issue are obscene. I am sure slaves in biblical times were treated with the same level of brutality if not worse. US christian slave owners used the same blueprint as many in the early common era for the owning of slaves. That being the books of Exodus and Leviticus.

Exodus gives carte blanche on beating your slaves.. as long as they don't die within a couple of days.. you're golden. You don't think Hebrews of antiquity wouldn't have followed that to the letter?

Both the bible and Torah have seen revisions over the years. Changing the name of the slave to servant, doesn't make the described any less of a slave.

Jrazz posted 4/16/2014 12:18 PM

***Posting as a member***

The purpose of this thread is to support each other through non-religious means, it's not to pick apart other people's doctrines/beliefs.

I was enjoying conversing about how to cope with social themes and existence without religion. I am losing my taste for posting here as the "Here's what's wrong with religion in general" posts are ramping up. It's one thing if it's anecdotal to something we're experiencing, but we're not here to argue the validity of a faith in general.

Can we please keep it positive and supportive of our own beliefs?

Deeply Scared posted 4/16/2014 12:22 PM

Maxiom and others...

Please follow the general theme of this thread. It's not here to debate religious ideas or lecture about the bible.

If you can't post within the theme of this thread than please stay off it.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 12:23 PM, April 16th (Wednesday)]

Razor posted 4/16/2014 12:48 PM

Yeah. Its not about bashing the beliefs of others. Whatever works for any person out there should be encouraged. *what ever gets you through the night* as the song goes... Being a agnostic/atheist can be difficult because we lack the support structure that religion (etc) offer. We are left to our own devices.

My friend coped with what happened to him by joining EST. And while I dont agree with the views of EST it helped my friend. Having that structure helped him and so its all good in my view.

This whole subject can be like *dancing on the edge of a sword* (borrowed from the Zoroastrian religion). Its dangerous.

Its not just western religions although they are the most common here. Pretty much all religions offer a support structure to help people get through tragedy and pain. And were pretty much left with *lifes a bitch and then you die*. We lack that support structure.

I feel this is a really good thread for us. BUT it would be so easy for it all to fly off the rails. So maybe we should try and talk more about our coping with this pain and less about the beliefs of others.

Has anyone read Platos Republic? Its all about why bad people are rewarded in life and good people are punished. I dont really feel that Plato argued effectively. His whole view boiled down to. *People usually start out with good intentions. But in time everything turns to shit.* And the reason we should always try to do good is that in the afterlife we are punished for our evil deeds. Maybe he borrowed that POV from the Egyptian religions. I dont know.

The thing is that shit happens. And there just doesnt seem to be any reason or justification for it. Maybe were all incarnations of Job. Who knows. Maybe its all some big joke.

Personally I have adopted the belief that we are here on this earth and in this life to learn / experience something. Through being betrayed we are learning something about trust and courage and commitment.

Thats about all I can come up with.

Tred posted 4/16/2014 12:53 PM

Being a agnostic/atheist can be difficult

Reminds me of an old joke...

What's the worst part about being an atheist? There's no one to talk to when you are having an orgasm.

Abbondad posted 4/16/2014 12:59 PM

Good thread. I am a lifelong atheist. Grew up in an atheistic family. I went through my stages of incredulity at otherwise rational adults believing in an anthropomorphic god, followed by hostility toward believers (part of my adolescent hostility toward everything :-), and now in middle age I am largely just mildly intrigued at the phenomenon of organized belief in what to me is clear myth and superstition.

I have never been of the "I wish I could believe" sort. I don't believe, I can't, and I never will. If doing so makes you happy, that's nice. I believe life is short, unpredictable, and then we are nonexistent for eternity. Meanwhile, let's do what we can to find happiness and try to be nice to other people.

But don't tell me I need religion or faith in the supernatural to accomplish either of these.


Razor posted 4/16/2014 13:12 PM

I was raised in a religious family. Irish Catholic. My mother was a firm believer. And you know what they say about the *hand that rocks the cradle*.

Its funny how the beliefs were raised with stick with us. For me. Even though I dont follow the faith I was raised with anymore. I maintain allot of the ethic of it.

Chief among these is the rule that D is not allowed. If you choose your spouse badly. Well. Your screwed. And that morality or whatever you want to call it is what kept me in the M after WWs LTA.

D was just morally wrong in my heart. Even though in my mind I could rationalize it. I just could not do it because of that moral teaching from my youth.

If WW acts out again I feel I will HAVE TO D. She will be forcing me into it. I swallowed my pride and my pain once. But I cant do it again.

For me its a struggle against the morals I was raised with as a child vs what I believe now. Its kinda a schizophrenic thing. And a bitch to deal with.

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