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Offline earthfreak

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hey there
« on: August 29, 2012, 01:34:26 PM »
Hey

My name is Pam and I'm checking it out here, as Traveller suggested it when I expressed frustration with "Is God Imaginary?" - I hung out there for a few weeks, but found that topics seemed to either die, get too mean, or get too silly rather than ever going somewhere interesting in a civil, intelligent manner.  That might just be the nature of the internet though, who knows?

I'm an atheist quaker, baptized episcopalian by spiritually apathetic parents (my dad later became a quaker as well, separately from me though) went to a liberal catholic montessori school as a young kid, and later a quaker school (which is how I found them) - always been atheist to the extent I thought about it, but as a kid sort of accepted cultural christianity (and still do, in some contexts)

so, yeah, hi  :D

Offline Traveler

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Re: hey there
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 01:38:29 PM »
Hello and welcome!!! I hope you'll enjoy it here.  ;D
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: hey there
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 01:42:29 PM »
I'm an atheist quaker

That's interesting.  I've mentioned here in the past that Quakerism is one of the very few religions that I have respect for, and in fact I respect it so much that I've occasionally wondered whether it would be possible to be an "atheist Quaker", which would allow me to be a part of it.  I'll probably have a lot to ask you about your experiences and so forth.
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Online Boots

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Re: hey there
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 01:44:27 PM »
Welcome, Pam the earth freak!  I hope you find the conversations here to your liking--but be forewarned, there are endless pits/silliness aplenty 'round these parts, as well as the golden ingots of conversation!!
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline HAL

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Re: hey there
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 01:45:40 PM »
My name is Pam and I'm checking it out here, as Traveller suggested it when I expressed frustration with "Is God Imaginary?" - I hung out there for a few weeks, but found that topics seemed to either die, get too mean, or get too silly rather than ever going somewhere interesting in a civil, intelligent manner.  That might just be the nature of the internet though, who knows?

Don't worry - you'll like it better here or Amb. Pony will refund your membership fee in full.

Offline earthfreak

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Re: hey there
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2012, 03:19:50 PM »
ha! thanks, HAL, nice to have a guarantee.

thanks to everyone for warm wishes, and Boots for the warning (yeah, I'm not surprised)

and pianodwarf, I'd love to talk about being an atheist quaker, we're not all that uncommon, but certainly not the majority and not always warmly accepted (though I feel myself so at my own meeting)

Offline Zankuu

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Re: hey there
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2012, 03:51:50 PM »
Hi earthfreak, welcome aboard. I'm curious by nature, so I went over to IGI and checked your post history. You should enjoy yourself here. Our unofficial catchphrase is:

[WWGHA is proud to offer you a Maggie-free environment]
Leave nothing to chance. Overlook nothing. Combine contradictory observations. Allow yourself enough time. -Hippocrates of Cos

Offline Quesi

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Re: hey there
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2012, 04:08:50 PM »
Welcome!  I've got a lot of respect for Quakers, and have done a lot of work with them.  You might find that this forum has a little more bite than your typical Friends community meetings, but there are a lot of smart, funny people here.

I look forward to learning more about you!

Offline Brakeman

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Re: hey there
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2012, 05:58:13 PM »
Quakers have a funny distinction here in the US.  Thy were the first abolitionists of slavery and sparked a great idea, so they get a +1, but then they went and ruined it by reversing course for many years, basically until the civil war. -1
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Offline earthfreak

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Re: hey there
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 06:09:11 PM »
Quakers have a funny distinction here in the US.  Thy were the first abolitionists of slavery and sparked a great idea, so they get a +1, but then they went and ruined it by reversing course for many years, basically until the civil war. -1

reversing course?  I hadn't heard that.  I know we have failed to live up to our ideals more often than not, but are you saying that quakers organized to promote and protect slavery? that's a new one on me

Offline Kimberly

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Re: hey there
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 06:25:34 PM »
Hi earthfreak, welcome to WWGHA. I hope you enjoy your stay here.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline jetson

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Re: hey there
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 06:34:16 PM »
Welcome!

We are an odd bunch.  Enough said.   ;D

Jet

Offline Seppuku

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Re: hey there
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 06:51:47 PM »
Quote
[WWGHA is proud to offer you a Maggie-free environment ™]


It's our guarantee!

Anyway, welcome to the forum! I am sure you'll enjoy it here, we do outnumber theists a bit, but we do still get a decent theist presence, which can be varied, though given the premise of the website, we do seem to sometimes attract the more defensive/hostile kind, but we do still get down-to-earth, honest theists. I say this is a place for people with thick skin because we give nobody's beliefs any kind of special treatment, but probably to some peoples' suprise, we're actually a friendly bunch, or so I'd like to think. Regardless of how much we like to scrutinise, we tend not to be mean. Should anybody step out of line, we do have a 'Report to Moderator' button and should mods agree it's out of line, then they're likely to intervene.

However, it sounds like you'll find in. Atheist Quaker sounds interesting, it's not one I've heard of before, so it'll be interesting to hear more. :)
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Offline HAL

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Re: hey there
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 07:11:53 PM »
Welcome!

We are an odd bunch.  Enough said.   ;D

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Offline Brakeman

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Re: hey there
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2012, 07:25:15 PM »
reversing course?  I hadn't heard that.  I know we have failed to live up to our ideals more often than not, but are you saying that quakers organized to promote and protect slavery? that's a new one on me
I don't know about "promoting slavery" but the early abolitionist leaders were basically told to "sit down and shut up!" You ought to google it and read about it. I've forgotten all the juicy parts or I'd tell you more..
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline earthfreak

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Re: hey there
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2012, 07:28:56 PM »

I don't know about "promoting slavery" but the early abolitionist leaders were basically told to "sit down and shut up!" You ought to google it and read about it. I've forgotten all the juicy parts or I'd tell you more..

Oh, yeah, I'm slooooowly working my way through this book: http://www.quakerbooks.org/fit_for_freedom_not_for_friendship_paperback.php

Quakers do very little as a monolithic group.  My meeting, for example, has been marrying same sex couples for more than 25 years, while many are just getting there.  Quaker abolitionists were mostly working on their own, and initially found little support from their Quaker communities.

Offline Quesi

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Re: hey there
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2012, 07:48:09 PM »

Quakers do very little as a monolithic group.  My meeting, for example, has been marrying same sex couples for more than 25 years, while many are just getting there.  Quaker abolitionists were mostly working on their own, and initially found little support from their Quaker communities.


Yeah.  Quakers make decisions by consensus.  They are no hierarchical authorities that tell meetings what to do or what to think.  (Correct me if I am wrong here Earthfreak.)  So each meeting makes its own decisions on actions they are going to pursue.

Most of my experience has been working with Quakers on refugee issues.  I have seen nice little grey haired ladies, in nicely pressed pant suits, talking down Latin American milita members with automatic rifles, and convincing them to release people who were breaking local laws in an effort to flee for their lives. 

My mom spent the last couple of years of her life in a Quaker retirement community.  She was not a Quaker, but like me, she admired them.  Shortly before moving into the community, (wow, I guess that would be 8 years ago this month) my mom was taken into police custody for removing Bush/Cheney signs from the grounds outside of a public high school.  The police first said it was private property, and my elderly mother argued that it was a public school, paid for by her tax dollars, and that it had no right to display partisan signs.  After a bit of a scuffle, the confused police officers released my mom.  So she arrived at the Quaker retirement community a minor celebrity.  :)

Offline earthfreak

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Re: hey there
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2012, 08:06:43 PM »
So she arrived at the Quaker retirement community a minor celebrity.  :)

love it!

Offline shnozzola

Re: hey there
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2012, 08:28:46 PM »
Welcome-
We have Mennonite relatives (my grandfather left the church)  As children, we sang the song

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaker_Meeting_(child%27s_game)

but changed it a bit, never knowing it was just another way people label each other to put each other into boxes.  We have a Friends church close, and I told my wife if I would go anywhere it would be there.

I went to Quaker church all through college - George Fox - a little of god in everyone. :)

I'm interested in your move to atheism.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 08:32:52 PM by shnozzola »
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Offline earthfreak

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Re: hey there
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2012, 09:12:13 PM »
Thanks!

I don't know much about Mennonites, though I've had a few friends.  went to (quaker) high school with three sisters who all wore little nets on their heads.  was friends with the one who was enough of a rebel to wear pants all the time instead of skirts.

I don't know that game :) though friends of mine who are parents or work with kids play "little red schoolhouse" which is much the same and miraculously keeps kids quiet for a while (when it works) which cracks me up.

never been to quaker church.  I'm from the liberal branch, and we call it meeting :)  Not entirely clear if all the "churches" have pastors, but we most definitely do not.




I'm interested in your move to atheism.

Well, as I said, it wasn't so much of a move, more just part of growing into myself.   There was never a time when I believed, or when I prayed without feeling like I was play-acting (or, actually, prayed much at all, though I experimented with it a few times - I suppose I do something like praying now, but not really *to* anything)

So, when I was little, I guess I accepted what stories I was handed, but neither of my parents was too invested.  My dad wouldn't let me go to first holy communion class at my catholic school (which meant sitting in the classroom alone and feeling like an outcast for some amount of time every day/week?) because he didnt' want me indoctrinated.  His parents picked the episcopal church in their small town in michigan because you had to belong to some church in order to be part of the community (seriously, like get a job) and I think the story is my ten year old dad got into a heated debate with the sunday school teacher at the methodist church.  those were the two choices, so I was born episcopal. 

I mean I *do* remember moments of basically moving away from faith, but I don't remember the moments of having any before that, does that make sense?   

Like, at some point I was learning about ancient greek myths and gods, and I thought something like, "my, weren't they just silly, good thing we now know that ..." (whatever, i dont' remember - that Jesus died for our sins? I don't know if I even got that far before I was like, oh, wait, that doesn't make *any* more sense than believing in Zeus)

And at some point I thought about the fact that all my catholic friends had catholic parents, and all my jewish friends had jewish parents, whatever methodists and episcopals I knew had matching parents, and I thought, wow, if any of this was convincing, wouldn't people change their minds more often?  or something?



But really, I don't think I had any adults in my life who actively believed in God.    I mean, I got the stories, I celebrated xmas and easter (but with trees and presents and candy and bunnies - we did have a creche under the tree?  but easter bore absolutely no connection to jesus in my mind for a long time) but no one brought god up in times of crisis as actually relevant to anything, you know? 

I even went through an tortured period of agonizing about the fact that I would someday die, when I was five or six?  My parents tried to comfort me by talking about heaven, right after trying "it wont' be for a long time" and somewhat before trying, "you will be ready by then" (which, for whatever reason, worked) but I didnt' get any sense that they really believed in heaven, just something to say to calm your kid down when they're worried about dying.

I still talk about the world, and about god, in a way that causes people around me to say "wait, I thought you were an atheist?"   and I am, but I still don't have a better word for some of the stuff I used to use god for, so I haven't switched over, I guess.

Offline jetson

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Re: hey there
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2012, 10:15:38 PM »
Our unofficial catchphrase is:

[WWGHA is proud to offer you a Maggie-free environment]

Dear God in Heaven, ain't that the truth!  Did I just say that?

Anyway, I can't believe I got myself in the middle of another pointless attempt at asking Maggie to chill out over there.  As you can probably guess, I was quickly and swiftly brushed aside by her majesty.  She has to be a closet atheist, she has to be!

Offline Traveler

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Re: hey there
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2012, 10:24:54 PM »
Interesting theory jet.

My first (only?) up close encounter with quakers was with a family where I used to live. Two women, each bore a son, married when marriage equality was voted into their state. One woman had been VERY evangelical growing up. To the point of riding a bus around the country evangelizing. The other woman was pagan. When they decided to have children they decided to join the local Quaker meeting. There were several reasons. One was their pacifist nature, and since they both bore boys, they wanted them to have the option of conscientious objector if we should go to war. Secondly, it was a sort of neutral ground for their differing beliefs.

They have since broken up, but I believe the former evangelical still goes to Quaker meeting. The other woman does not. I'm not sure about their boys, who are now grown.

I went to meeting once, for their wedding. I liked the casual, heart-felt way of meeting. No one standing up front bossing people around or telling them what to think. Whenever anyone felt the "call" to speak, they simply spoke. It was quite lovely, and I spoke as well. Very moving, very personal, and I can easily see that if I ever felt a need for a spiritual community, that a liberal Quaker meeting would at least make the list. Other groups on the list would be liberal/atheist Buddhist and Unitarian.
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Offline earthfreak

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Re: hey there
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2012, 10:37:05 PM »
She has to be a closet atheist, she has to be!

wait, why? 

I'm certainly not eager to claim her.

I didnt' mean to turn this into a Maggie bashing session   :-\

Offline Traveler

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Re: hey there
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2012, 11:06:32 PM »
I think, but am not certain, that jet is making comparison to the stereotype of the homophobe who's actually a deeply closeted gay.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: hey there
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2012, 11:19:58 PM »
greetings fellow earthling  :)
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Offline jetson

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Re: hey there
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2012, 07:31:24 AM »
She has to be a closet atheist, she has to be!

wait, why? 

I'm certainly not eager to claim her.

I didnt' mean to turn this into a Maggie bashing session   :-\

Indeed, I was joking, mostly.   ;D

Carry on!

Offline writerstephen

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Re: hey there
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2012, 04:13:38 PM »
Hi Pam!

I'm new to the board too and was about to make my own intro when i stumbled upon yours. I, too identify as being sort of "atheist-Quaker," as my father and paternal grandparents were members of a liberal Quaker meeting in Pennsylvania. I've always rather liked the simple homespun elegance of the Quaker proceedings ... and while i haven't been to a meeting in ages (I now live in Houston), i would certainly go to one before ANY other type of church.

Interestingly, my mother was Episcopal, and I was technically born into the Episcopal church. Small world!

Anyway, welcome from a fellow newbie, and i hope to encounter you again on the board.

Offline Emily

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Re: hey there
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2012, 04:24:09 PM »
Welcome to the both of you. Enjoy your stay here!

Pam, you mentioned IGI. FWIW: WWGHA is far better than IGI.

-Em
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Offline shnozzola

Re: hey there
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2012, 04:32:07 PM »
never been to quaker church.  I'm from the liberal branch, and we call it meeting :) 

I apologize for that.  No one ever corrected me but I can understand now (especially these days) exactly why the word church is frowned upon.  I'm thinking all Quaker's call it meeting, except probably some guy in Albuqurque starting a new branch of the Quakers because he has had it up to here with the word "meeting" and "knows" god wants it to be Quaker church.  :)   Somehow I don't mind capitalizing the word Quaker while intentionally not capitalizing the word christian - hmmm.
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