Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

User avatar
Jae Baeli
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:58 am
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Bella Vista
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Jae Baeli » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:24 pm

Thanks so much for the info on the books. I'll have to add that to my buy list for the next batch. Doug: The Case against God is one of my all time favorites, so I'm sure yours will be right up my alley.

I'm afraid most of my own current books are not in the humanist genre--though two are mainstream novels, and I have several anthologies, aside from my "women's" books. However, Supernatural Hypocrisy will be done soon. I was thinking of pitching it to Prometheus. Any suggestions, Doug?

I'll keep any of you posted when it's available, if you're interested.

thanks again.

User avatar
RobertMadewell
Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:00 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby RobertMadewell » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:28 pm

I became a freethinker when I realized that I hate God and like to sin. I really do believe in God, I'm just saying that I don't to get back at my parents and the people in church that hurt my feelings.

Just kidding.

I was rasied in Southen Missouri. My Dad is a fundamentalist minister. I was indoctrinated and was a believer much of my life. Some time in my young aldulthood, I had an interest in astronomy. I could no longer hold on to a young earth creationist veiwpoint when faced with the evidence available just by looking up. I'm not too sure that I bought all that "flintstones" stuff anyways.

Also, I've always been put off by the offense that my family took to any criticism of their beliefs. If your beliefs are correct, shouldn't they stand up to honest criticism? I'd think so. I was punished severely at the age of 11 because I asked my sunday school teacher "What is God?" and wouldn't accept the stock answers. I was scolded for doubting about God. Really, at that time, I believed 100% in God. There was no doubt in my mind that God was real. I just wanted some speculation as to what kind of creature he might be. I didn't know that I was going to lose a week of priveledges and be shamed relentlessly for asking such a simple question. The fact that they took offense to the question proved that their claims about God were questionable.

During my adult life I have swung back and forth between "agnosticism" and theism several times. I eventually realized that I really don't believe anymore. I didn't want to be an atheist. Atheists were always "those people." I realized that I don't believe in God and that's what I'm calling it. Besides, being an atheist turns out not to be that bad.

User avatar
Tamara
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:42 am

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Tamara » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:05 pm

I never "became" a Freethinker as I was always allowed to be one by my very open minded father. The reason I belong to the Fayetteville Freethinkers is because I met and married Darrel as my exceedingly brief previous post in this category noted.

I was raised by a man who explained to me from a very young age that he did not believe in any specific religion. He had read about many different ones and found that although he thought they all had some kernels of truth, none of them offered a complete package that he liked. So, he told me that if I were interested in attending any type of church that I would have to go alone. He might drop me off and pick me up (I actually walked) but he definitely had no interest in attending services of any sort.

When I was eight I somehow ended up going to Sunday school. I don't remember how exactly. I vaguely recall going to the house of some older woman a few times where there were sometimes other young children and for some reason I think that she was my link to that church. Anyhow, I have no idea what type of church it was besides that it was Christian. Maybe I'll check out it's name this summer when I'm visiting and report back.

Sunday school was pretty cool. We grew bean sprouts and colored pictures of people and animals. I was new to the area and didn't have any friends so it was something to do and everyone seemed nice enough.

After a few weeks of this new hobby I was invited to a grown-up church service followed by an afternoon bar-be-que. (Canadian spelling since this happened in Canada) I would wager that I got the invite because they were thinking my dad would show up since it was a mainly adult event. Nope, just me.

The church service was awful, slow and as dull as sticking thousands of little 1 inch by 3 inch labels to slightly larger pieces of plastic all day long for a week. Geesh, at least I was paid to stick the damn labels! But I digress, after the services we went outside and it was a lovely summer day. The sun was shining. There was a slight cool breeze and ample food to be had. It really should have been quite lovely and it could have been were it not for the adults. Those tall, demented-looking creatures kept coming up to me with their freakish grins. I could hardly decipher their words, but the feelings I had from them was unmistakable. They scared the crap out of me. It was like I was in a horror movie. I seriously felt like I was about to be captured by evil zombies. I sensed they were just chatting me up in an attempt to suck the brains right out of my head. (Hey! I guess I was right about that.) I high-tailed it out of there and never went back, not even for Sunday school. Buh-bye!

Before going to that church, probably while attending and definitely afterward, I did not believe in god. Since I lived on the west coast of Canada this was not much of an issue. Now and again kids would ask what I thought about god and I would tell them that I believed in me. I never thought of myself as an atheist. I just thought I had better things to concern myself with. Others could believe as they wished and as long as they didn't bother me with it, I didn't care.

Living there is about the complete opposite of living here in terms of religion. I remember one Sunday in Vancouver when a few of us were going out for brunch I invited a co-worker to join us. She bowed her head and said in a barely audible voice that she couldn't because she had to go to church. She was so embarrassed that she even turned a little red and quickly scurried off. Different world.

A number of years ago Darrel said to me that if we ever decided to live in Vancouver that he could start a Freethinker group there and I said, "What for? No one would care." This was demonstrated when we were in L.A. 2 years ago and went to the Center for Inquiry. The fellows there told us that they only get about half as many people as we do at their meetings and they have millions of people to draw from.

In this strange bible belt area I can see the point of the Freethinkers and proudly associate myself with them because I think it is important to do this here, but I am still a "don't carist" at heart and will probably always be.

User avatar
SherryH
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:39 am

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby SherryH » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:14 am

Hey, Sherry (wife of JamesH) here.

I didn't become an atheist - I was born one. :D I'm not sure, but I don't think I was even baptized (thank God!) My family wasn't religious, we didn't observe any religious rituals. Nothing. I padiddled around with friend's churches a bit when I was young, but never "felt" whatever it was they were obviously feeling. I usually left feeling kind of stupid and that I'd just wasted my time. I hated that "turn to your neighbor and give them a hug or handshake" feature of so many services. Ugh. It seemed so fake. Frankly, church services almost always gave me a headache that lasted for hours afterward. I suppose that's what listening to a couple hours of utter bullshit will do for you.

The only good memories I associate with church were attending Christmas Vespers with my best friend when we were growing up. Mary and her entire family were - and are to this day - hardcore Polish Catholics (her full name is "Mary Angelica Orleskie." Get it?) For a few years running as teenagers, Mary and I would go to the Christmas Eve Vespers service at St. Mary's Catholic Church, then skip out to her current bad-boy boyfriend's party, get drunk, then stop at the big cemetery on the way home and pee on some unfortunate's grave. That was our Christmas Eve ritual, and we loved it! I actually enjoyed those Vespers services for a couple of reasons: 1. I couldn't understand half of what was being said, and 2. the candles were SO PRETTY.

My family, however, isn't above hedging their bets: when my maternal grandmother died in the late '80s, an Episcopalian dude showed up at her memorial to say a few words. I remember sitting there, looking at him, and thinking, "Who the hell are YOU? I've never seen you before, and you have no idea who my grandmother was!" Someone in the family, however, arranged for him to be there. So like I said, they hedge their bets. My reviled aunt died up in Michigan a few days ago. She was an awful, cruel, nasty woman whose passing I do not mourn. And since my younger sister and I lived under their roof for a few years, I can say that I knew her better than a lot of people. My aunt's funeral is today and some cleric is officiating. It figures. Bunch of hypocrites. Well, that won't happen with me. Burn me, sweep up the scraps, and toss the whole mess into the Atlantic. Then my survivors can have a party and celebrate my life if they happened to like me or celebrate my death if they didn't! Fine with me either way. I won't be around to care.

*** A couple of church-goers just came to my door to pass out literature! How serendipitous was that??? Hah! I'm sitting here typing away on the forum about my atheism and here come the religionists! I'm still in my jammies and my hair is an utter filthy disaster, but I answered the door anyway. Pleasant, middle-aged people. I told them my husband and I were atheists and so we weren't interested, thank you. The woman then asked if I had "suffered" something that made me an atheist and was there anything she could help me with? No, I told her. I was born an atheist and I'm sure I'll die one - but thank you anyway. Have a nice weekend. Yes, you too. Thank you. Bye. Thunk (door shutting.) Ah, that felt good. ***

Sorry, I've been all over the map on this "how I became an atheist" thing. Well, that's my story. Not much to it, huh? Thanks to everyone who's posted here. I'm glad my hubby started this thread. It makes for interesting reading.

User avatar
kwlyon
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:59 pm

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby kwlyon » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:52 pm

One day, while on a school field trip to a bioengineering lab, I was trying to work up the nerve to ask out this beautiful redhead girl that I had such a terrible crush on. Wow...she was just my daily obsession. But alas, I was just a nerdy little scrawny kid who worked for the school newspaper. Ever since my parents died I had lived with my grandparents. I guess growing up without normal parental guidance softened me up a bit. It seemed I would never be able to work up the nerve to ask out the young lady that so infiltrated my every waking dream. At any rate, I was supposed to be getting photos of the field trip for the paper however I was preoccupied that day. There was a new comic book I was reading and the story line kept creeping into my head only I was the hero and somehow would use my super powers awe and astound that pretty redhead girl. Then there she was, across the room looking into one of the insect display cases...she was so beautiful...her hair was blowing in the breeze provided by an air conditioning duck to her left side. Her face was perfectly framed, partially refracted through the display case glass. I framed up my camera to take a picture. No doubt a copy of this picture would find it's way under my mattress....well...maybe two copies seeing as what happened to the last one. I was just about to squeeze the shutter release when...OWCH!!! Something bit me! It was a little spider...there was an inscription on its underbelly...it read, "I am a radioactive spider. I bring the gift of free thought." From that time on...I was a free thinker. How long did it take you to read this? One minute, two...maybe even five. Wouldn't you like to have that portion of your life back? Send this to Ben Stien...I want him to know how I felt after watching his movie.

User avatar
Doug
Posts: 3388
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:05 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Doug » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:13 pm

kwlyon wrote:I was just about to squeeze the shutter release when...OWCH!!! Something bit me! It was a little spider...there was an inscription on its underbelly...it read, "I am a radioactive spider. I bring the gift of free thought." From that time on...I was a free thinker. How long did it take you to read this? One minute, two...maybe even five. Wouldn't you like to have that portion of your life back? Send this to Ben Stien...I want him to know how I felt after watching his movie.


DOUG
On the other hand, I became an atheist after an overdose of gamma radiation...

Image

User avatar
RobertMadewell
Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:00 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby RobertMadewell » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:04 pm

I'm going to revise my story.

I became a freethinker when a alien gave me a green ring with a lantern shaped insignia on it.
Image

JamesH
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:41 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Springfield, MO

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby JamesH » Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:58 am

DOUG
On the other hand, I became an atheist after an overdose of gamma radiation...



Alright Doug, I and maybe the rest of the forum would like to know how you got to be a freethinker. Darrel has told his story at the meetings but I do not believe I have ever heard your story. Come on share with the group. It will be good for you. Besides if the "overdose of gamma radiation" is for real I know a couple of religious nut jobs I would like to expose to its "magical powers".
JamesH
"Knowledge will set you free, but freedom comes with responsibilities." I know that someone had to say that before me.

User avatar
Doug
Posts: 3388
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:05 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Doug » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:08 pm

JamesH wrote:Alright Doug, I and maybe the rest of the forum would like to know how you got to be a freethinker.


DOUG writes:
OK. My story:

I was the seventh son of a seventh son. There was a star over my house when I was born. Some wise guys showed up on camels and tried to give my parents some gifts...

Just kidding.

I was a theist until my late teens. I even taught Sunday school at my Presbyterian church. I was into it, but I was not a fundamentalist type of Christian. My father is a United Church of Christ minister, but his ministry is social work and community organizing, so he didn't have his own church during my teen years. (He does now.) But our household was unquestionably religious.

I became an atheist because of Leonard Nimoy. I liked Mr. Spock on Star Trek because he was always talking about logic. So when I was in Jr. High School I checked out library books on logic because it sounded like a way to know things correctly instead of just guessing. I didn't understand much about logic back then, but I found out that it was a sub-field of philosophy, so I wanted to go into philosophy. I was still a theist at that time. (Years later, I told Leonard Nimoy that I went into philosophy because of him. He said, "Really?" I added that I now teach philosophy, and that I love doing so. He said, "Good for you!")

Years later, I went to college, and in my first semester I took a logic course. The next semester I took a philosophy course. I found out that to support your views, you need to provide arguments. Evidence. One of my most important beliefs about the way the universe exists was my belief in God. I looked for support for that belief. Nothing seemed to come anywhere close to supporting this belief. I was fiercely honest with myself that if these arguments were used to support any other belief that I wasn't already convinced of, not only would I not be convinced by the average theistic argument, but I would laugh at them for being so pathetic. I couldn't even take any of them seriously. The same is true today.

So after a couple of years of searching for support for theism, I became a deist. But even that I could not support. And I asked myself what use I could get out of a belief that I could not support and which basically did nothing for me. Why should I want to believe in a being that just sort of existed but didn't get involved? That's like clinging to the belief that there is a Santa Clause who never leaves the North Pole.

So I abandoned belief in God entirely and became an atheist. I have never regretted that decision except that I didn't do it sooner. I can be much more honest with myself now that I don't have to pretend that there is a ghost in the universe. The universe is not haunted. It doesn't have to be in order to be interesting or worthwhile.

That's it. Not much to it. I became an atheist because I thought about arguments for supporting theism and they all failed miserably. None was even a close call.

By the way, my father once told me something when I was about 14 or 15 that has stayed with me ever since. I thought it was very important and it helped guide me through all of this to the point where I am now. One time, back when I still believed in God, I was talking to my father about some point of theology (I don't recall what it was), and he responded in a way that I thought might be theologically heretical, or at least unpalatable. I said something like, "I don't think God would like people thinking that," or some such thing. My father said, "Son, don't ever be afraid of the truth." I thought about that for a long time. I decided it was perhaps the best advice I'd ever heard, and I still think so to this day. That advice has made me absolute fearless, and it did for me what a gamma bomb did for Bruce Banner. I'll believe anything that's true. Just show me the evidence. Show me that the belief is true or at least most likely true and I'll believe it. I'm an atheist because atheism is true. It's that simple. The truth hit me like a gamma bomb, gave me strength, and now I can use that strength to defeat the greatest theists who ever walked the Earth. Without even breaking a sweat.

And I don't have to wear ripped up purple pants.

graybear
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 9:43 am
antispam: human non-spammer
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 50

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby graybear » Mon May 11, 2009 3:40 pm

Hi all,

I was born and raised in Florida by Baptist parents who very seldom went to church. I saw the hypocracy of church goers at an early age.

I am a theist. I believe that it is logical to believe that God exists even though the theory is not provable at this point in time. The wrong headed dogma of the churches has caused a lot of suffering in the world but that is no reason to reject the notion of God. Atheists seem to want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I remember, as a child, always being fascinated by vortexes (tornadoes) and gravity. I don't know why.

I was very good at math in high school and my first year of college. When I couldn't afford a calculus book and fell behind in that class I wasn't able to catch up so I threw my hands up and walked away from school. That was 1969. I guess I had my head up my a#@, to bad, so sad. woulda,coulda shoulda.

My wife, Sue, and I had our first child in 1971 and I began a career in land surveying.

I think it was 1984, Sue and I and the kids were living in Tennessee when I got layed off at work and I had to travel to Atlanta Georgia to work, home on the week ends. It was a very stressing time. I remember being home one week end and having an epiphany (a comprehension of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization) about gravity and a way to overcome it. Since then I have been working on a gravity machine in my spare time, a hobby of mine. Sue and the kids have played along but I'm sure they think I'm a little bit crazy. I may never get it to work but I believe in it.

I have tremendous respect for academia. My daughter has a double masters degree and her husband has a PHD. My oldest son is a PS(professional surveyor) like dad and my youngest son (18) still lives at home with me and Sue.

I look forward to joining the discussion. I'm mostly interested in science and religion.

Best regards,

Graybear :D
Graybear

User avatar
Doug
Posts: 3388
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:05 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Doug » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:47 pm

Not a local, but we might derive some inspiration from the famous African-American author Langston Hughes (1902-1967), who explains how he became a freethinker in the essay "Salvation." It's not very long.

Read it here.

The last paragraph is especially interesting.
"We could have done something important Max. We could have fought child abuse or Republicans!" --Oona Hart (played by Victoria Foyt), in the 1995 movie "Last Summer in the Hamptons."

ignosticmorgan
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:26 pm
antispam: human non-spammer
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 50

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby ignosticmorgan » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:35 pm

Oh, foks Doug's book is excellent! And he has others yet to be born. He could eviscerate those sophists Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Alister Earl McGrath, John Haught and Keith Ward!
Ayn Rand made me an atheist. Fotrunately, rationalism made me outgrow her merely intuitive beliefs. I doubt that she had deep knowldge of naturalism.
The following blogs present arguments for the consideration of serious inquirers. Co-authors are encouraged. Viewers just might post there whether in a sentence or at length and yea or nay in part or in full.
carneades.aimoo.com
democritus.posterous.com
hume of the south.posterous
strato of ga.blogger.com
thales.blogger.com
skeptic griggsy.blogger.com
ignostic morgan's blog.blogger.com
[i] God is in a worse shape than the Scarecrow who had a body to which a body could enter whiilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder He is ineffab
"[color=#BF0040]" Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning."

JamesH
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:41 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Springfield, MO

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby JamesH » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:29 pm

ignosticmorgan wrote:Oh, foks Doug's book is excellent! And he has others yet to be born.


When I really started to read about freethought, Doug's book was one of the first that I read. Darrel also has a good book that I believe large parts are available on the home page.
JamesH

"Knowledge will set you free, but freedom comes with responsibilities." I know that someone had to say that before me.

Donna Jean
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:25 am
antispam: human non-spammer
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 50

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Donna Jean » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:18 pm

I now describe myself as a freethinker. Until earlier this year, I considered myself an agnostic.

I grew up with a father who was a fundamentalist Baptist. He took his children (all eight of us) to church twice every Sunday and again on Wednesday evenings. I had perfect attendance at church for years on end. However, my mother was not from the "Bible Belt" and did not have a strong religious upbringing. Her own father had been raised Catholic, but one day while sitting in church he decided religion was not making any sense to him, so he walked out and never went back. Her mother was equally noncommittal towards religion.

After my mother married my father, she tried to embrace his religion, but she just couldn't stomach it after a while, so she quit going to church. It didn't help that the ladies of the church (in southwest Arkansas) considered my mother a "yankee," an outsider. I remember once hearing my parents argue during the night (thinking the kids were all asleep). I heard my father say, "You are going to Hell and you are going to cause all our kids to go to Hell!" My mother responded emphatically, "If all our kids are going to Hell, that's where I want to go!" That made a strong impression on me!

When I was 9, I figured I had "reached the age of accountability." In the Baptist church, that means you realize you are a lost sinner and if you are not "saved" by that age, you will go to Hell. I struck an awesome fear in my heart to contemplate that I would be doomed to go to an eternal Hell if I died before I was "saved. I was a very shy child, so the idea of going up in front of the whole entire church congregation also struck fear in my heart. What if the "Rapture" came before I screwed up the courage? Just one day could make a difference! Finally, during a week-long terrifying revival that was entirely devoted to the scariest Bible Chapter of all, the Book of Revelations, I mustered up the courage to make the move, and the relief of being "saved" was immediate and immense. What a heavy weight was lifted off my young little shoulders!

The preacher at the church was a hellfire and brimstone preacher who bellowed out, red-faced and spitting, about an angry, jealous, wrathful God, a God with seemingly no pity. He described Hell, the lake of fire, in very graphic terms, all very terrifying.

I began to question. My Sunday school teacher told us that Baptist was the only true religion and only Baptists (with few exceptions) would go to Heaven. I wondered what about people who never had a chance to be Baptist, such as native Americans. What about people who lived before there were Baptists? What about people who lived before Jesus? Were cave men all in Hell? In any case, wouldn't Heaven be very boring? We were told that we should have no friends who weren't Baptist, but that we should "preach the gospel to the four corners of the earth." I wondered how we were to do that if we couldn't be friends with those people. None of it was making any sense.

I remember once in high school I mentioned to some classmates that I believed in the theory of evolution, whereupon they immediately took me privately into an empty classroom and gave me a stern talking-to. Why, that was blasphemy!

One day when I was about 16, as I was playing the piano in church, there was a very noticeable faux pas that happened, and even though it was not my fault, it APPEARED to be my fault, and I just about died of embarrassment. (Without warning, the organist transposed; I did not. Twice). While that was not the reason I refused to go to church any longer, I'd say it was the trigger. It was a good "out." Much to my father's disappointment (he'd been proud of me that I played the piano), I began to stay home with my mom on Sundays. We had what I now would call little "freethinker meetings" of our own. It is interesting that all but one of my seven siblings turned out to be of like mind to our mother. One brother became a Baptist minister. Another became the science supervisor in the Little Rock School District and had to testify in the "creation science" hearings. I think the church itself was our major influence against religion; our mother certainly never tried to sway us. We were very thankful, though, that we had her!

In college, my roommate and I joined the Wesley Foundation, more for social reasons than anything else. Each Sunday a group of us went around to churches of different denominations. That was interesting! One Sunday at the Assembly of God church some people "spoke in tongues," although the language was strictly monosyllabic: "di-di-di-di-di-di....." was all they said). One fellow took up a guitar and miraculously played it with no prior lessons! Apparently God gave him the gift to strum but did not teach him any chords. :? That entire experience is part of the fabric of my religious background.

By age 20, I married my first husband, who was Presbyterian. I found the Presbyterians to be quite refreshing compared to the Baptists! They allowed women to be ministers and didn't hate Gays, and their God was benevolent and loving. Following in my mother's footsteps, I tried to embrace my husband's religion. When we divorced, I tried for a while to bring our son up in the Methodist faith, believing that "good" parent takes a child to church. The Methodists gave far more leeway to the individual with respect to doctrine, so that was a step in the right direction. I still felt like a hypocrite, though, because I wasn't really sure I believed in God at all! I went to that church for about two years before giving it up.

For about the next ten years I didn't go to church at all and was perfectly fine with it. During that time I was seeking answers, so I read as much as I could on matters pertaining to religion. I "tried on" all sorts of things, from New Age to Buddhism. I even read all the "Seth" books. I also read voraciously, favorite choices being books about about the human brain, like Julian Jaynes' book on the bicameral mind. I was like the feather in the movie, "Forrest Gump," floating from place to place, and I, too, was trying to sort out questions about God and destiny.

At the end of that ten years, I got a job as a music teacher and choral accompanist in a Methodist church, which caused me once again to be immersed in a steady diet of religion. I think it was conspicuous to some that I did not take communion when offered, but, agnostic that I was, just could not do it. However, I was polite and never made my true views known. The people in the church became my friends. They were mostly liberal democrats like me; they just also happened to believe in a loving God who could be petitioned for help with life's troubles. If only that were true! I was there for ten years, then moved to northwest Arkansas.

Two weeks after we moved, (January of 2008), my brother John, my closest sibling, went missing. I was and am heartbroken! He vanished under suspicious circumstances, and we know no more now than we did the day after he disappeared. Dozens of churches put us on their prayer lists. Literally thousands of prayers were sent up for my brother, for our family. I prayed for truth and justice. When you are in a situation like that, you desperately wish for a God who loves you, who will answer your prayers, or at least provide some comfort. However, in this case, nada. Zilch. Nothing.

Here I was in a town where I didn't know anyone, and I couldn't even start my job until several months later. On top of that, several other unfortunate things happened to me personally soon after that, and it seemed that things were just piling on me. I began to realize that no help was coming and began to realize that there was no one appointed to be "keeper of the truth." Truth can be very obscure. My beliefs about justice also underwent a shift. All the old adages about justice ring hollow. ("What goes around comes around" is a popular one). Just because they have been repeated so often doesn't make them true.

One of my religious friends that I confided in informed me God didn't answer my prayers because I didn't have enough faith. Metaphorically, God was putting the ball in my court, wanting me to play his game and determined to win. However, by then I was past the point of EVER returning to religion. I was no longer sitting on the fence and that was final! I garnered up the courage to tell my Catholic husband about my conclusion (I admit I was a little worried), and then I let some of my more freethinking siblings in on it. Fortunately, they were supportive--even my husband, to a degree. He knew what I had been through and why I felt the way I did. I "came out" and it felt good!

I finally felt free!! Any anger I had against "God" melted away. How can you be angry against something that doesn't exist? What a relief! I began to see life with new clarity. My sense of responsibility for the world and the people in it became even stronger, not weaker. What a marvel the world is, and how amazing that I am in it! I finally found the Freethinkers, too, and my husband doesn't seem to mind. I think I am going to make it. *whew*

User avatar
Doug
Posts: 3388
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:05 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Doug » Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:48 pm

Donna Jean wrote:What a marvel the world is, and how amazing that I am in it! I finally found the Freethinkers, too, and my husband doesn't seem to mind. I think I am going to make it. *whew*


DOUG
I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your sibling. You have sure been through a lot. That is a very moving story, Donna Jean.

I'm glad you found our freethinker group. That's one of the great things our group can do: bring people together who feel besieged in a world of theistic influences.
"We could have done something important Max. We could have fought child abuse or Republicans!" --Oona Hart (played by Victoria Foyt), in the 1995 movie "Last Summer in the Hamptons."

User avatar
Dardedar
Site Admin
Posts: 8168
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:18 pm
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 0
Location: Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Dardedar » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:21 pm

Wow, what a story Donna.

Donna Jean wrote:I now describe myself as a freethinker. Until earlier this year, I considered myself an agnostic.


You can be both. Some use the methods of freethought to arrive at being an agnostic.

I even read all the "Seth" books.


I read most of those too. It's amazing the stories people can make up. The human species has quite an imagination.
"I'm not a skeptic because I want to believe, I'm a skeptic because I want to know." --Michael Shermer

Donna Jean
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:25 am
antispam: human non-spammer
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 50

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Donna Jean » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:29 pm

Darrel wrote:You can be both. Some use the methods of freethought to arrive at being an agnostic.

Of course you are correct. I'm sure I was thinking of Dawkins' spectrum of belief that he outlined in The God Delusion where agnosticism was second to last and atheism was last. Of course, belief is not really linear that way.
I even read all the "Seth" books.

Darrel wrote:I read most of those too. It's amazing the stories people can make up. The human species has quite an imagination.

Indeed!!!

Donna Jean
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:25 am
antispam: human non-spammer
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 50

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Donna Jean » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Doug wrote:
Donna Jean wrote:What a marvel the world is, and how amazing that I am in it! I finally found the Freethinkers, too, and my husband doesn't seem to mind. I think I am going to make it. *whew*


DOUG
I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your sibling. You have sure been through a lot. That is a very moving story, Donna Jean.

I'm glad you found our freethinker group. That's one of the great things our group can do: bring people together who feel besieged in a world of theistic influences.


Thank you, Doug. I feel I am breathing oxygen again, at long last, and I feel encouraged that I will find friends in the group!

Every1sTale

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Every1sTale » Sat May 28, 2011 11:22 am

This is the tale of every person posting on here. See they found an article online that said something that scared them, global warming, doomsday, whatever it is. A bunch of pathetic conspiracy losers. They cling to this, refusing all evidence of how retarded they are, even denying the most basic of scientific principles to further their ignorance. Retardation fully sets in at this point and they become "active", as to say they don't actually try to accomplish anything more than bitching and crying about it online. This leads them to feel a sense of satisfaction, the craving of attention they needed is quelled by simple text. Real human interaction becomes irrelevant. Penis floods their mind, spewing it's idiot gravy all over what doctors struggle to call a brain. After months of this, their life becomes so devoid of thought and real insight that they simply cling to whatever idiotic nothing they've come up with. Global warming, regardless of the fact that the sun obviously has more of an effect on our weather/climate than ANYTHING humans will ever do. They throw out stupid studies on CO2 and act like volcanoes, decaying animals/plants and the oceans don't put out millions of times more than us percentage wise. Their life becomes so pathetically obsessed with trying to prove their bullshit that they don't even realize that 30-40 years ago people used the same "science" to say the world would be in another ice age before the 70s were over. Retardation has taken control of their life and they begin spamming internet forums with other retards and even posting pages and pages of text where they fail at trying to argue their stupidity even to small children.

User avatar
Savonarola
Mod@Large
Posts: 1474
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:11 pm
antispam: human non-spammer
Designate the number of cents in half a dollar: 50
Location: NW Arkansas

Re: Your Story: How I Became a Freethinker

Postby Savonarola » Sat May 28, 2011 11:49 am

Every1sTale wrote:This is the tale of every person posting on here...
This guy has now been banned, but I'll leave this bit as a reminder of the quality of argumentation coming from the other side.

For the record, the banning was for failing to follow forum rules, including:
1. personal attacks
2. trolling
3. sockpuppetry
4. derailment


Return to “Religion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest