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Agnostic/Atheist Support Group

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Inchoate posted 7/12/2007 08:10 AM

Quite frankly, it would be nice to think I have no responsibility for anything--a bigger something out there is at fault.

Word to that!! Yes, it would be very nice if I could blame Satan, or something. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at handing off my responsibility in general, and certainly not to supernatural agents.

In a more serious vein, it gives me fits and mental pain to see people suffering in non-obligatory ways, and attributing it to "God's plan for me." Is God's plan that you be a doormat? I also have a very difficult time reconciling a God deserving of my/any reverence with one who deliberately metes some of the horror I see in the world (and yes, I know all the arguments...I just don't like them).

Skye posted 7/12/2007 09:23 AM

I think I became an atheist when god wasn't what I thought she should be! I couldn't see the point of believing in a god that didn't do anything right!

As I just reread those words,it made me realize why I'm not reconciling with my husband. He's not what I thought he should be either! I stopped believing in man when he didn't do right!

No, I don't believe my husband was a god in any way shape or form. But I do had certain beliefs/expectations about people like others have about god. And "my" person failed.

Inchoate posted 7/12/2007 12:02 PM

I know! Too bad it's not an elected position. Oh, wait...

Ya mother has had, historically, two reactions when people disappoint her. She usually tries to "spin" it (or puts her head in the sand outright)--to make it somehow okay, or not their fault, or something. If she can't do that--if she really was unignorably mistaken about the person's capacity or if it was too big a wrong done, she writes them off. Totally and without mercy.

In recent years, in part as the result of her own (narcissistic, angry) mother moving in with her for the last two years of her life, she's begun to understand this dichotomous response as a defensive mechanism, born out of a need to control that was probably itself born of having to be too self-sufficient at too young an age (neglectful, self-centered mother, father who worked long hours for 4 kids during the Depression).

I'm not trying to be intrusive (feel free to blithely ignore me
) but do you think anything like this could be going on with you? Not the roots, necessarily, but the kind of mechanism? (this is not a prelude to a religious conversion attempt, btw! )

Skye posted 7/12/2007 13:01 PM

I've never thought of myself as a control freak. Actually, I'm lazy and love for others to take charge and control. However, I do generally write off people who disappoint me. And haven't been able to do that with husband since I need/want his bucks!

It is hard to write off the world which is what I've done since his affair. No longer trust anybody. I came to the conclusion that if MY husband who was a really good guy would betray me, why not friends and acquaintances. Shitty way to live.

I'm also a very black and white, good and evil, etc., type of person. The only grey in my life gets touched up every month. Unfortunately, haven't had many expectations not met in my life before husband's affair. So I don't have many coping skills.

Inchoate posted 7/12/2007 15:40 PM

It's interesting that you mention being black and white. One of my problems with religion (actually, I guess I should say, "One of the reasons I don't feel that religion would be a comfortable fit for me") is that *I* see a lot more grey in the world than religion seems to account for.

I mean, I acknowledge right and wrong as potential absolutes, but always in context, and it's much, much harder for me to see *people* as simply "good" or "bad."

I just think it's interesting that we're in similar places regarding religion, for completely different reasons.

About control...I never really thought of my mom as a control freak (well, except for that business on how the towels Must Be Folded, but I've inherited that, so... ), but she kind of is. Not on everything, but I now realize that much of how she governs her relationships is all about trying to manage the outcomes of those relationships. And, sadly, I think that because she's so anxious to prevent any disappointment or (what she considers) betrayal, she generates a lot of the disappointment herself. Kind of like self-fulfilling prophecies, in a way.

For example, she will take umbrage at some fairly innocuous things, or things that have about a zillion *other* explanations, not just limited to "indifference" or "disprespect." Sometimes people are tired, forgetful, or just plain dumb, but she takes it personally most of the time. She doesn't get *upset*, but she never speaks to them again. It's kind of extreme, and I know it's not making her happier. Or safer, for that matter.

I'm thinking "out loud" here...don't mind me.

I'm noodling something here...something begets faith? Whether it's religious faith or regular old faith in one's fellow man? Something akin to being the change we want to see in the world?

I dunno. I'll get back to you when I'm making sense.

edited because "explanation" and "expectation" are VERY different words.

[This message edited by Inchoate at 3:42 PM, July 12th (Thursday)]

rizzo posted 7/12/2007 16:18 PM

Faith is complete trust. I think that faith in general can be blind faith (having no reason for complete trust but having it anyway), and faith based on knowledge.

I have faith in my H based on knowlege, but used to have blind faith. I think what I have is better now.

I never had faith in the religious sense. Believing in something or someone I couldn't hear or see was/is beyond my comprehension. I guess that's why I'm agnostic.

Faith in my fellow man.....not so much as I used to have. Too many hours working at the animal shelter for that.

My H has faith in God based on what he says is knowlege. That is FAR beyond my comprehension, but who knows.

So what type of faith begets faith? Or are different types or reasons for faith?

Interesting thought, Inchy.

25wimsey posted 7/12/2007 19:20 PM

I too find it interesting mentioning "black and white"--before the A, I'd pretty much always seen the grey as well--always considered the "other side of the story", not to excuse but to understand.
Since the A, I've become totally black and white, especially when talking about FOW--which is tough since we have to have some contact cuz of OC. Now, I too write off most of the world, extend my black and white view to everyone--

I hope this will wear off in time, cuz I think most idealogues in religion see the world in absolutes and black and white, and that's how we get into trouble at times.

Skye posted 7/12/2007 19:40 PM

Interesting, but I see religion as grey. You can put ten people in a room and they will all ten interpret a religious question differently. I doubt I would believe even if everyone saw things the same. It probably wouldn't be like I see them.

And it is interesting that you see rights and wrongs as potential absolutes. I see very few absolute rights/wrongs. I believe murder can be justified. I belive robbery can be justified. I don't believe adultry can be justified. Actually, I can even justify adultry if someone is extremely ill, i.e., alzheimers and no harm will be done to them. And I definitely see people as bad or good.

Maybe I'm not so black and white as opinionated!

I also disagree that anything begets anything. I lived a very good, upright, blah, blah, blah life and expected all to be good and got shit on. When people say you get what you expect, etc., I think it is another excuse for faith/god, etc.

I think shit happens for no good reason. I also don't believe that being good pays! I'm not saying one shouldn't be good--just don't expect anything as a result!

[This message edited by Skye at 7:50 PM, July 12th (Thursday)]

25wimsey posted 7/12/2007 19:58 PM

"I think shit happens for no good reason. I also don't believe that being good pays! I'm not saying one shouldn't be good--just don't expect anything as a result!"

I'm with you there, skye!

I saw an article about a new parenting book for atheists--called "Parenting Beyong Belief". It's a collection of essays by famous and unknown nonbelievers about raising kids--sounds really interesting. My kids are grown, but maybe I'll get it for them when they have kids of their own!

Anyone heard of it or read it?

7yrsbetrayed posted 7/12/2007 22:31 PM

"Parenting Beyong Belief". It's a collection of essays by famous and unknown nonbelievers about raising kids--sounds really interesting. My kids are grown, but maybe I'll get it for them when they have kids of their own!

Anyone heard of it or read it?

My hubby just mentioned it to me yesterday saying we need to read it. We have a 3 yr old daughter.

Skye posted 7/13/2007 07:26 AM

25, my children are grown too, but they are believers so I won't be getting them that book!

[This message edited by Skye at 7:26 AM, July 13th (Friday)]

cantlivewithouth posted 7/31/2007 21:49 PM

I raised in a house where my mom is an atheist. She and my dad raised us to do right by others and be kind good people. The also raised us to find our own beliefs. My dad is a Methodist, but doesn't go to church. My one brother is also a Methodist and my other is athiest. I am Catholic. Even though the Church teaches we should convert athiests and agnostics, I have a hard time with that because of my upbringing. I would never push my beliefs on my mom or anyone else because I was raised to respect others beliefs. If someone asks me that's different. I've had people say that it must have been hard growing up with no spiritual direction. I look at them and said I turned out just fine. I'm a kind, loving, caring, compassionate human being so my parents did a damn fine job raising me.

I hope you don't mind me posthing here, but I had to get that out. i can really relate to what you all go through having seen it first hand. My mom still gets looks like she is evil when they find out she is an athiest. I can't stand that and stand up for her ever chance I get.

devastated07 posted 8/1/2007 09:48 AM

Am checking in here. I consider myself agnostic. I feel that God (not the power of God) but the concept of God is really irrelevant to my life. It doesn't matter to me whether or not it exists. There is no point in having blind faith.

I do consider myself very spirirtual..or at least connected to people and ethical behavior. And I *DO* believe being good pays. Its very important.

dreamlife posted 8/1/2007 10:05 AM

I was raised Roman Catholic, but I never had my 2 kids was going to be their choice.

I do believe in God...but not in ANY "organized religion", where does that leave me?

7yrsbetrayed posted 8/1/2007 16:00 PM

I do believe in God...but not in ANY "organized religion", where does that leave me?

That leaves you neither an agnostic nor an atheist.

dreamlife posted 8/1/2007 17:55 PM

Spiritual-- but not religious.

7yrsbetrayed posted 8/4/2007 03:51 AM

FWH found a fantastic take on the serenity prayer that is wonderful for all us heathens

"Accept with serentiy what you cannot change, have the courage to change what you can and develop the wisdom to know the difference"

I find that so much more empowering that asking an invisible man in the sky to grant those things.

Afraid2LoveAgain posted 8/29/2007 20:56 PM

I have a dear friend who always wants to pray with me, talks about believing in God and letting Him handle all of our troubles.

While I'm glad that she has that comfort, I'm just not in to it. Sometimes I just want to say, "Get over it." This is your life and that's all you have. But, I just can't be rude about it.

How do you handle this? I'm agnostic, not an atheist, but I really wish I didn't have to listen to this stuff.

25wimsey posted 8/30/2007 07:23 AM

Afraid, does your friend know how you feel about her asking you to pray with you? I don't have any friends who try that, though I do have friends who are real believers--don't really know what I would do. Usually I would say to at least talk to her about how you'd prefer not to talk about faith or god--agree to disagree and be friends around other topics! If that makes sense.

Today's a bad day, and I really wish I COULD just say to myself, give it over to god and carry on knowing that he/she is taking on my burdens. But even those who say they do that seem to have just as much difficulty dealing with WS's and A's as those of us who don't believe.

Gotta talk a hike outside or something--renew my spirit with the idea that "earth abides" and my problems will disappear after I'm gone, but this beautiful earth will still be here. Isn't that phrase from the Bible?--ironic, but that does comfort me!

hollywood_mjl posted 10/22/2007 13:25 PM

Since we don't care that God wants us to forgive, do you think it is necessary to forgive? I just don't think I should have to. I think it is a religious based idea and I don't want to forgive. I'm not going to hold it over his head for the rest of his life, but forgive? I don't think so.

canttakeanymore posted 10/22/2007 13:34 PM

[This message edited by canttakeanymore at 9:01 AM, October 23rd (Tuesday)]

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