Author Topic: Long time listener, first time caller . . .  (Read 802 times)

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Offline El Guapo

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Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« on: July 18, 2013, 10:32:02 AM »
Greetings WWGHA members!

I found the WWGHA site last week, this forum a short while later and signed up as a member immediately.  It seems like a wonderful and collaborative community of free-thinkers and theists, full of healthy discourse/discussion.  Exited to now be a part of it!  Now onto my story . . . .

I was raised in a typical, middle income US household by two loving parents.  We worked during the week, played on Saturday and went to church (Protestant) on Sunday.  I even said prayers before going to bed at night.  As far back as I remember, I always had questions regarding the legitimacy of my religious instruction.  An all knowing/powerful God who creating everything, would listen to my prayers and watch over me (and everyone else) and who (if I was good, moral person) would grant me eternal life in Heaven just never seemed right to me.  The more I learned and experienced, the more my disbelief grew.

By the time I was 8 or 9 years old, my parents attempts to indoctrinate me had become half-hearted at best.  We were often now too busy to go to church, I was old enough to put myself to bed (no more prayers) and religious holidays had always been simply old traditions providing us an excuse to over-eat and buy things for each other.  I was involved in either the Cub or Boy Scouts at the time and for some project/badge (I don’t remember precisely) one of the requirements was to meet with a pastor and discuss belief/spirituality.  It was during that meeting that I voiced my religious skepticism aloud for first time with an adult.  I remember crying to the pastor (I felt like I was letting him and my parents down).  He tried to console me, provide me assurances that there were no clear answers and encourage me to continue to come to church and seek answers.  I left got in the car with Mom and told her what had happened.  I don’t remember exactly what we said, but again I felt her disappointment .  I assume she must have told my father as he mentioned it off-handedly at intermittent points during the subsequent years.  The remarks he made were always negative and revealed his displeasure with my rejection of thier system of beliefs.   

Fast forward to present day and I’m now a father and have complete confidence in the scientific understanding of how the world/universe works and am resolute in my disbelief of spirituality/supreme beings/magic or of the need for humanity to adopt/perpetuate formalized religion and dogma to enforce our intrinsic system of morals. 

My parents love me and we have a good (distant) relationship.  They still worry though that I will bring up my own children as atheist and that they will not understand that ” how Jesus died for our sins and all he wants in return is for us to follow him and obey the commands of the bible.”  I replied to them that I couldn’t imagine a worse thing to teach a child, but rather that I would encourage my children to question, to seek answers, to explore everything, and finally to arrive at their own educated conclusions.  I just can’t imagine placing any limits on their potential . . .

Offline neopagan

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2013, 10:42:20 AM »
Welcome, El Guapo - glad to have you here and that's a terrific intro.  You should enjoy your stay here. 
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2013, 10:52:54 AM »
Greetings.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that most of what's written in the New Testament is based on rumors, at best, which were spread by people who weren't there and grew after each retelling.  So claiming that Jesus "died for our sins" is questionable, at best.  Not to mention the ridiculousness of putting what amounts to a price tag on this so-called salvation.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 11:37:50 AM »
Hey Guapo-

Welcome!  Great intro.  Really look forward to learning more about you and your beliefs. I'm also always interested in topics related to atheist parenting, so I look forward to hearing your insights.  How old are your kids?  Mine is 6 1/2. 

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 11:43:59 AM »
Welcome El Guapo. And thanks for not laying a heavy guilt trip on your kids. They'll thank you later when they hear about how they could have been raised.

Enjoy your stay. We spend a lot of time having so called "discussions' with theists. They don't do their part most of the time, so very few actually qualify as quality talks. We first have to spend about eight pages of any given thread trying to figure out where exactly the theist is coming from (they have so many places!) and then the last day or so pouncing on them for their highly customized beliefs that they insist are ancient, then they go away and we start anew with the next batch of theists. But it's fun. You'll enjoy it. As long as neither of your parents shows  up to argue with us  ;D

And Quesi, how can your little one be 6 1/2? Didn't she used to be only like, you know, four or something?  :)

Oh yea, and El Guaop, don't over use the smileys!  ;) ;) ;) ;)
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline El Guapo

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 11:51:42 AM »
Quesi - Thanks for the welcome!

My Guapitos are both under 3.  Their mother (my wife) is an Antiochian Orthodox.   We are struggling to find balance and common ground in their up bringing.  They are young now and not asking too many "deep" questions but it's only a matter of time. 

Similar to you I'm very interested in learning more about Atheist parenting.  Is there a particular thread or area here that you know of?

Offline El Guapo

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 11:58:27 AM »
Thanks for the warm welcome PP and Neopagan!

From the brief threads/materials I have read, I can't imagine how the theists can tolerate the constant challenges from the larger WWGHA community. 

Faith must really be a powerful motivator.  Alternatively . . . perhaps they just love to suffer . . .  :)

Online One Above All

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 12:01:24 PM »
Welcome to the forum.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 12:15:12 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome PP and Neopagan!

From the brief threads/materials I have read, I can't imagine how the theists can tolerate the constant challenges from the larger WWGHA community. 

Faith must really be a powerful motivator.  Alternatively . . . perhaps they just love to suffer . . .  :)

that hat gives me a smile every time...
they are suffering for the cause of christ... it gets them more bonus points and softer pillows in heaven and if they convert an atheist along they way they get a new toaster too
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Traveler

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 12:38:32 PM »
Hello and welcome! And now I'm off to do an internet search to find out what the heck an "Antiochian Orthodox" is. Never heard of it.  :)
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.

Offline Nick

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 12:42:59 PM »
Hello and welcome! And now I'm off to do an internet search to find out what the heck an "Antiochian Orthodox" is. Never heard of it.  :)
I think it is a religious group that is against wearing chinchilla coats. ;)
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Traveler

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2013, 12:45:46 PM »
Hello and welcome! And now I'm off to do an internet search to find out what the heck an "Antiochian Orthodox" is. Never heard of it.  :)
I think it is a religious group that is against wearing chinchilla coats. ;)

LOL!

It sounds very conservative ... El Guapo, I wish you luck with that. I can't even begin to imagine living with someone from a faith like that, much less facing the challenges of raising children which such a widely differing world view.
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.

Offline El Guapo

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 12:50:53 PM »
Traveller/Nick -

HA!  Prior to meeting Mrs. Guapo, I'd never heard of it either.  Turns out, it just another the Christian Orthodox religions (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Antiochian).  It's interesting (to me at least) because it's middle eastern.  Lots of Lebanese and Syrians and half of the service is in Arabic! 

Obviously, I don't share their beliefs and don't intend on indoctrinating my children.  But the church members are nice and the food is fantastic (Spinanch/Meat Pies, Arabic Pastries, strong coffee).  Almost makes me want to attend . . . . almost . . . .  :o

Offline neopagan

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 12:58:47 PM »
there's one near me - always have a big food festival in the Fall - I better plan on stopping by for some grub.  The name always scared me, like a tongue twister

They do have a lovely building
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline wright

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 04:08:58 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Guapo. Kudos for your honesty in dealing with your family. Look forward to seeing you around.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline viocjit

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2013, 04:12:34 PM »
I liked your story. How an Atheist can have children with a Christian woman ? I find that weird because I can't imagine a father and a mother with different system of thinking live together.

Offline wright

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2013, 07:12:32 PM »
I liked your story. How an Atheist can have children with a Christian woman ? I find that weird because I can't imagine a father and a mother with different system of thinking live together.

viocjit, you might want to check out this thread started by neopagan for another example of that:http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25194.0.html

Hope you and your spouse can resolve things more smoothly, Guapo.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline Quesi

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 09:11:15 PM »
Quesi - Thanks for the welcome!

My Guapitos are both under 3.  Their mother (my wife) is an Antiochian Orthodox.   We are struggling to find balance and common ground in their up bringing.  They are young now and not asking too many "deep" questions but it's only a matter of time. 

Similar to you I'm very interested in learning more about Atheist parenting.  Is there a particular thread or area here that you know of?

You know, the topic comes up sometimes, but rarely survives.  I think that there are a lot of older folks here, with adult kids, and a lot of younger folks here who don't have kids, and those of us with little ones are in the minority.  I'm a middle aged, single, first time mom, and parenting is very central to my existence. 

Raising kids in a mixed family will be a challenge.  I was raised in a secular household, with a very religious grandmother, who I loved very much, as well as a variety of religious aunts and uncles and cousins.  I learned to move comfortably within religious environments, because they were familiar.  My parents actually let me go to Sunday school for a while.  I begged, because my best friends were going.  But it was boring.  And silly.  It was really just silly. 

In terms of threads about raising kids in atheist households, they come up from time to time.  Usually around holiday issues, or reading lists.  Let's see if we can get more discussions going!

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 10:15:53 PM »
Hello - I was the resident crazy theist until my life fell apart and I gave up on praying to someone who never answered.  Now I'm just plain crazy.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline William

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Re: Long time listener, first time caller . . .
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2013, 11:30:42 PM »
But the church members are nice and the food is fantastic (Spinanch/Meat Pies, Arabic Pastries, strong coffee).  Almost makes me want to attend . . . . almost . . . .  :o

Ha!  I think it's perfectly safe to go in that case ;)  I don't think it can hurt in the slightest to keep your wife company. Just let them know why you are really there, so there are no misconceptions.

I've been through a somewhat similar situation - and it has worked out rather well.

I married into a Greek Orthodox family and I'll NEVER to this day miss the Easter feast with the family - the lamb on the spit is too awesome.
Weddings, baptisms, funerals ... all good food and opportunities to socialise.

I've never had any pressure from the Orthodox side to convert or believe - not even from my wife, who, interestingly, has gradually come round to my way of thinking anyway.

When my daughter was young I consented to her being baptised and also to attend some services with her grandmother - it meant a lot to grandma and I couldn't see too much harm being done to the child's mind at that stage.  In exchange for this latitude I asked for the opportunity to bring my daughter up as a free thinker - exposed to many ideas - so that one day she could make her own decisions. 

My wife (and her family) agreed with this approach.  I think the key was that I've never rejected her culture, which includes these traditional religious family-oriented events.  I'm sure at the time she was thinking the "truth" will win in the long run - and probably her ideas about the "truth" then were not the same as now, 12 years later.  But that didn't matter then or now because it was agreed that I could expose my daughter to other ideas. That is the big prize!

Over the years I've worked constantly to keep my daughters mind wide open - and I make sure ALL the discussions occur in a family context, meal times, traveling in the car, etc - which has been good for all of us.  My daughter is now 13 and we have healthy discussions about any and every topic around the dinner table most nights.  No subjects are closed or taboo - including religious absurdities. 

Your wife might be less flexible, I don't know, but the concept of nurturing open-minded little "free thinkers" might be sufficiently attractive to her as well - enough for both of you to enjoy the process of letting your children's minds blossom to full potential.

Hope that is helpful, or at least a way to get some food for thought  ;)
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