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An Atheist View

Updated on October 7, 2016
Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa is an American atheist with high-functioning autism trying to navigate a mostly religious world with no well-beaten path to follow

On Being an Atheist in America

According to a study performed by the University of Minnesota no other race, religion, ethnic group or affiliation is more hated by the American people than atheists. Their findings confirmed what many American nonbelievers already suspected, that atheists are the most distrusted minority in America.

In American politics, calling someone an atheist, or even calling someone a person who associates with atheists is such a slur that it is considered slander. In fact, many Americans Would Rather Vote For A Philandering, Pot-Smoking President Than An Atheist.

In this day and age people in America are still afraid to be identified as nonreligious. They have good reasons to be afraid.In some areas atheists and their families still suffer job discrimination, harassment, and other social difficulties. Six state's constitutions actually still forbid an atheist to hold public office or testify in court.

Some people have a puzzling hatred of those who don't share their particular belief in God and they feel it is fine to express that hatred, no matter who is hurt. I don't think there are all that many of them but they sure are mighty loud and active. I believe their hatred comes from a misunderstanding of who and what atheists actually are.

I think if all people (who don't already) came see that people who don't think God is real are thinking, feeling human beings, they wouldn't feel so free to make bigoted remarks about them or act in ways harmful to them without regard to their rights.

This page is meant to bring understanding about atheists and perhaps, through understanding, acceptance of them by those of faith. Please join me in exploring my views as a non-believing person living in America.

original image created by Iva Villi and generously shared on freeimages.com

Interesting Reading for Non-Believers

The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods
The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods

This is not the atheist's Bible but it does explain how people can live well without believing in the supernatural.

 
photo of a beautiful sunset by Kylyssa Shay
photo of a beautiful sunset by Kylyssa Shay

I Don't Believe in Life After Death - I Believe in Life Before Death

For a Limited Time Only - Life!



I am an atheist. I don't believe in God or an afterlife. I may not believe in life after death but I wholeheartedly believe in life before death.

Life is truly amazing. Making it a good life is all the reward I need. It's a shame so many people think that this life is just some kind of dress rehearsal or test for what comes next. But I do understand why people want to believe in life after death.

I understand how the yearning for justice can make people desire an afterlife. So many people live good lives, full of kindness and compassion, full of giving and love but they suffer, often worse than those who lead lives of cruelty. So many people lead cruel lives, preying on others and reap rich rewards in this life, never seeing worldly punishment for their evils.

It seems like it would be fair that those who do good and avoid harming others would ultimately be rewarded. It seems like it would be fair that those who do harm and prey on others would ultimately be punished.

Sadly, life just isn't fair. Good people suffer and bad people get ahead in the world. A lot of that is our fault.

Much of this problem comes about because our society as a whole believes that justice will be meted out by a higher power so we spend far too little time righting wrongs and making life good for good people. We also spend far too little time intervening in the lives of people to save them from taking cruel roads and turning to evil means.

Poverty, suffering, and ignorance create a breeding ground for more of the same. Most people turn to good when treated with kindness and when their needs, physical and emotional are met. We can apply kindness and compassion to the problem of evil and achieve goodness and a modicum of justice in this life.

We can't make all life good. Chance is capricious. Bad things happen. All we can do is make the best of what we have, especially when we believe that it is all that we have.

I can understand how living in conditions that seem to hold no real world chance of hope could make a person desire something more. But there is hope in this world, and there is help in this world we just need to turn to each other to find it.

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

The Portable Atheist gives a marvelous overview of the evolution of atheism and provides interesting insight through a very diverse collection of quotes and ideas.

 
image of the Crab Nebula by NASA and ESA
image of the Crab Nebula by NASA and ESA

If You Can't Explain the Origin of Life and the Universe Then Why Don't You Just Believe in God?

Science Doesn't Explain Everything So The Answer to All Questions Must Be God, Right?

A question thrown out often in debate between Christians and atheists is "If you can't explain the origin of the universe and the origin of life then why don't you just believe in God?" It is often followed up with, "Doesn't it make more sense to believe in God because all those questions are answered in the Bible. All science has is theories but the Bible has the Truth."

I have answered this question so frequently that I decided to write an article about why the lack of complete and perfect explanations of the origin of life and the universe do not make it seem logical for me to just believe in God instead of seeking answers.

I accept the fact that I don't know the answers to the questions of how exactly the universe came about and how exactly, life came to be. There are many good, scientific theories supported by tangible evidence. It seems likely that eventually, scientists will come closer to answering such big questions as the origin of life and the universe with a great degree of accuracy and certainty.

Demanding an absolute answer right now is much like asking a child to explain exactly how a rocket flies to the moon with complete technical details. The child does not know the answer but it doesn't mean he never will or never can. Nor does it mean that if the child said, "God makes the rocket go to the moon" he'd be correct. As a race, we are still children; your question is just a little too far beyond us as yet. So my answer is that I accept that I am not all-knowing.

Only through reason will we find the beautiful truth. Imagination is great but it doesn't compare to reality.

The wonder and power of reality is so great I am a little saddened by those who think they already have the explanations for everything in a tidy package called God. Life isn't tidy and easily understood. It's messy and strange and mysterious. One tiny shred at a time we're figuring it out; tiny bits of reality are stacking up.

I don't think you need to know what caused the universe to exist to say "I don't believe the universe was created by magic." Historically, everything people have claimed to be caused by magic has turned out to have a logical explanation. People used to think that maggots just came out of raw meat and turned into flies by magic. Later we learned that flies laid eggs in the meat which hatched into maggots that turned into flies; no magic involved, just flies laying eggs. People once believed that illness came from demons inhabiting the body or as punishment from God for their sins. We learned that illnesses are caused by germs, exposure to harmful elements, parasites, genetic problems and various other things unrelated to demons or gods. People used to think that lightning and thunder had something to do with Gods throwing temper tantrums; they blamed them on magic. We now know that there are rational explanations (involving no angry Gods) that explain thunder and lightning.

We have yet to reach the pinnacle of knowledge and I doubt there even is such a thing. We don't know everything, we probably won't ever know everything but we are learning. Just because we don't have all the answers it doesn't mean we have to accept an illogical answer like "it's magic" or "God did it." Just because there is a question there is not always a ready answer and even if there is an answer it may never be found in our lifetimes. It's OK to admit ignorance, especially when every human that ever lived shares that ignorance.

Most folks require something more than, "I can't answer all the questions in the universe" to convince them God is real. Of course we can't answer all the questions in the universe, we're only human.

Atheist Teen Ostracized by Community, Threatened with Death and Violence, and Kicked Out by Christian Parents

What did Damon Fowler do to deserve all of this? The young nontheist objected to an unconstitutional prayer at his public school's graduation ceremony.

A Young Atheist Girl's Experiences With Discrimination

Nicole Smalkowski was kicked off the local school's girl's basketball team after refusing to pray with teammates. That is only the beginning of the abuse and discrimination she and her family experienced in one small town in Oklahoma once she and they were outed as non-religious.

cast of Rodin's Thinker, Cleveland Museum of Art, photo by Daderot
cast of Rodin's Thinker, Cleveland Museum of Art, photo by Daderot

Does The Life of an Atheist Have Meaning?

Does Life Have Meaning Without God and an Afterlife?

I believe that life has meaning even if it doesn't last forever and did not come a gift or burden from a God or Goddess. I believe we decide what meaning our lives have and that it's rather odd to think that something must last forever and have a specific maker to have any value or meaning. Everything in our personal experiences has a beginning and an end but there is so much of value, so many wonderful things to experience and to do that it seems petty to consider absolutely everything meaningless if it doesn't come from God.

I wrote rather more about the issue in the editorial linked below.

Read more about what gives an atheist's life meaning.

photo by Jhon Casso, freeimages.com
photo by Jhon Casso, freeimages.com

Aren't Humans Born Believing in God? An Atheist's Response

Some Believe that Everyone Believes in God, Even People Who Don't Think He Is Real


Is belief in God automatic? Or is it something you achieve once you've discovered it and examined and decided that you want it?

There seems to be a disturbing yet strangely common belief. It seems some people believe that everyone is born believing in God, in particular, the Christian God.

At first I thought I was mistaken until someone asked this bizarre question yet again - "When did you stop believing in God and become an atheist?"

Huh? Did he mean to imply I was born believing in God and at some point decided to stop? I never recall believing in God. I mean it's a nice story but I've never thought of it as reality.

Human beings are born believing in the almighty milky teat and the glory of body heat, beyond that everything else it taught to us or learned in the course of our lives. Surely, we have some inborn instincts and desires such as hunger, thirst, and the need for comfort. As far as religious beliefs go I think it's tabula rasa - blank slate. Until someone writes God on it the slate doesn't have a religion printed on it. There's no stamp on a baby's bottom proclaiming "product of Heaven" or "made by God tm". There's no pre-programmed belief in God that falls out of the womb with each baby.

Maybe people believe this because they were fed Jesus with their baby cereal and strained peas? Perhaps they were indoctrinated so young they have no memory of first exposure? They can't really be blamed for thinking they were born with the belief if it was instilled in them before the age of reason and before the dawn of memory.

It seems to me that a belief held simply because your parents told you it was so does not represent an exercise of free will. It is not a choice if you've never known anything else.

I don't think I heard, or more accurately, paid attention to the word "God" until I was four and required an clarification of something I'd read in a book. After listening to my Mom's explanation, I recall asking her, "They don't really think that, right? It's just make-believe like story books, isn't it?" She diplomatically told me that some people thought God was real and some people didn't. She was allowing me to develop my own beliefs without imprinting hers on my psyche before I was capable of such a judgment.

Why do people feel the need to mix up God in babies' formula instead of waiting to teach them about it when they are old enough to remember? More importantly why not wait until children are mentally developed enough to examine a belief?

There's no pre-programmed belief in God that falls out of the womb with each baby.

Illinois Representative Monique Davis Yells About Atheists - "It's dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!"

On 2 April 2008, Illinois Representative Monique Davis lit into atheists because a donation of a million dollars of public funding to be used in the renovation of a Baptist church was being questioned as an appropriate use of tax dollars.

Fill in the word "Jew" or "Muslim" or any other religious designation for her words on atheism and ask yourself if she would have kept her job.

Is It OK to Make Discriminatory Remarks Toward Atheists?

Because atheism is not a religion it is OK for politicians in office to make bigoted remarks against atheists in the execution of their duties.

See results
image created by vsbooklady for the Out Campaign
image created by vsbooklady for the Out Campaign

Some State's Constitutions Forbid Atheists to Hold Public Office

This may sound like an outdated law that no one enforces anymore because it is unconstitutional but it is still relevant. Atheists applying for government offices or accepted into public office can go through years of legal battles just to be able to fulfill the duty they were either elected or appointed to.

One such case in 2009 involved a North Carolina man, Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell. Area conservatives threatened to sue the city because they swore in an atheist as a councilman.

A similar action taken against atheist notary Herb Silverman of South Carolina took eight years of legal battles to finally be settled.

Should Atheists Be Allowed to Hold Public Office or Testify in Court?

Do you think atheists should be allowed to hold public office or to testify in court?

See results

Pope Francis Claims The Blood of Christ Has Redeemed Everyone, Including Atheists, Vatican Backpedals

In May of 2013, Pope Francis made a speech in which he claimed that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ redeemed all of humanity, even the atheists. He went on to imply that if a person does good works, he (the Pope) will meet up with him in Heaven.

Shortly thereafter, Thomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Vatican released a statement backpedaling on the Pope's earlier words.

Vatican: Whatever Pope Francis meant, atheists still burn in hell.

image created by the Out Campaign
image created by the Out Campaign

Doesn't it Take a Lot of Faith to Be an Atheist?

An Atheist View on Atheism

People often say, "It takes a lot of faith to be an atheist." This is usually followed with a statement like, "After all, you can't be 100% certain there is no God."

As an atheist, I can say that it has never taken me any faith at all to be one. Saying that being an atheist requires faith requires one to accept the idea that everyone thinks God is real, when in fact many people (called atheists) do not. It is the very definition of atheism. Atheists are people who don't think God is real.

The average person doesn't think the Chupacabra is real. How much faith does that take? It's an unlikely creature which can't be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched by those who look for it. It hasn't been caught on film. All information about it comes from legend; all reports of its doings come from speculation and lack of real explanations. The things people attribute to its actions can generally be traced to natural phenomena. The modern-day accounts of it come second hand from people who deeply wish or fear that it exists.

Does that indicate something that you need to have faith to not believe in?

That is how I, as an atheist, see God. To me, it's not 100% impossible that some kind of superior being or universe creator exists, it's just extremely unlikely. In my opinion, it is even less likely that God exists than that the Chupacabra does. After all, we've actually seen an amazing variety of life forms, speculating that another might exist isn't going quite out as far out on a limb as speculating that a being, the likes of which we've never seen anything even remotely similar, may exist.

So, no, I'm not one hundred percent certain that God doesn't exist or one hundred percent certain that the Chupacabra doesn't exist but I'm not going to take that lack of certainty to mean that either God or the Chupacabra must exist.

To me, both concepts are just colorful stories from ancient cultures which persist today; thousands of years after the original storytellers have turned to dust. Simply because these myths have lasted so long and because so many believe in them it does not indicate that they are realities. It only means that humans are similar to each other in thought as well as in form. Myths and legends are fascinating insights into the human mind, to those things we have in common. They don't represent literal reality but the nearly boundless creativity and sense of wonder shared by members of the human race.

So while I recognize that the concept of God is part of our rich cultural heritage, I don't think that God is something real, and that takes no faith at all.

Things You Might Not Have Known About Atheists

There are a lot of strange misconceptions out there about what atheists are and what they believe and don't believe. Facts are almost always a good antidote to myths and confusion.

Statue entitled Darwin's Ape, photo by Okedem
Statue entitled Darwin's Ape, photo by Okedem

Without Heavenly Decree, Threat of Hell or Promise of Heaven - Where Might Morality Come From?

An Atheist View of Where Morality Comes From

I believe that morality in its most basic sense, empathy, is not just a social construct but a product of evolution as well. In extended families or tribal clusters as our ancestors must have lived co-operation would have been paramount to survival. Feeling a desire for your tribal members' survival and well-being was a survival trait in and of itself.

Millions of years ago our ancestors started walking upright at first moving a bit more slowly than other primates until the Achilles tendon came into the picture. Imagine you are a slow-moving, four foot tall person with very little defensive equipment in the way of sharp teeth, strong jaws or razor sharp claws. You aren't even strong enough to kneecap a lion even if you were large enough to pick up a big enough club. Your children are born quite helpless, unable to cling to their mothers' upright backs. While standing tall allows you to see predators from great distances away you really aren't as great at climbing trees as your distant ancestors may have been. You could probably yank loose a prickly branch from a thorn bush and wave it in a big cat's face but she or her family could easily circle behind you and your mama's contribution to the gene pool would end up as a light meal.

So how did something this frail and dare I say paw lickin' good survive or even evolve in the first place? Team work. The little fellows learned to look out for each other both from a budding advancement in empathy and blatant self-interest. A lone pre-human ( even a sturdy and healthy male massing perhaps as much as a young German shepherd dog ) would not do so well on the African plains amidst large predators. Every man for himself just doesn't work when every man is three feet tall and delicious.

Those little mothers also had to be very delicate with their large-headed, weak infants. Big brains made early hominids feeble, floppy fetuses even after birth. Those proto-human women had to coddle and cuddle their immature infants or they would have lost them soon after giving birth.

Everybody knows dead babies don't pass on their genes. Even early hominids likely had a long childhood requiring extra protection and help acquiring food long after most animals would have been self-sufficient. Thus empathy and even love were survival traits. As we evolved, so did our society. Survival, enlightened self interest, and love of family - even distant family - these are the roots of morality, conscience and civilization. They are part of our evolutionary makeup both from a social and biological sense (as empathy appears to be inborn). I believe evolutionary psychology explains the origin of morality quite well.

Love really is all you need.

Every man for himself just doesn't work when every man is three feet tall and delicious.

Call for a National Atheist Registry

Some conservative Christians hate nonbelievers so much that they are calling for a National Atheist Registry to register every atheist in America the same way convicted pedophiles are registered. One blogger calling for such a registry list asks why atheists would object to such a registry but limits comments to members of his blog.

Well, clearly, nonreligious people don't want to be treated like criminals but there's more to it than that. The United States claims to have freedom of religion and such a registry would be an infringement on that liberty. Also, such a list of non-theists would make us prey for deranged individuals, exactly as the national sex offender registry makes convicted sex offenders prey for vigilantes. Although most bloggers supporting the idea claim it's only to be used to find people to evangelize to or businesses to boycott or atheists to discriminate against in the workplace there's no guarantee that such a list would stay out of the hands of sociopaths, schizophrenics, or others with mental illness and a hatred of people who don't believe in God.

Elizabeth Dole Called Opponent an Atheist, Kay Hagan Responded

Elizabeth Dole ran a smear ad in the Senate election by accusing her opponent, Kay Hagan of being an atheist. Kay Hagan came out with a response to the ad, not condemning Dole for discriminatory behavior towards atheists but denying the allegation that Hagan is a non-believer. She is also suing the Dole campaign for defamation of character.

This situation sends the clear message - it's OK to be horrified about someone being an atheist, in fact, it's a slur to suggest that a person is one. Not only that, it sends the message that no non-religious person could ever be fit to hold office.

photo by Bhutti
photo by Bhutti

My religious or spiritual background

I Was Given The Gift of Freedom to Choose


My parents raised me free to choose my own beliefs. I was allowed to investigate whatever religious options I chose. My non-religious parents (mom was an agnostic theist and dad an atheist) assisted me in getting to Bible school and in finding religion and philosophy texts to read. They also set up opportunities for me to speak with pastors and ministers when I wanted to know more about what religious people actually believed, in one case after I was freaked out by reading the Bible. The pastor explained that most Christians don't follow the Bible literally so there is no danger of them stoning their children to death for being disrespectful, burning their children as offerings, or sacrificing them in exchange for victories in war.

However, repeated religion based attacks both physical and emotional by peers, teachers, and other adults in my community gave me a cynical view of religion early on. The irony is that if they had displayed basic human decency I might have come to my conclusion that religious people can be decent people a whole lot sooner. Something about getting beaten up, emotionally abused, harassed, and discriminated against is a big turn off for most people, no matter what lofty purpose or faith inspires that behavior.

As an adult I am aware that religion can inspire great works of good as well as the everyday abuse and bigotry it fosters. I am also aware that the majority of religious people are kind and decent, just as the majority of all humans are.

drawing by Hans Weiditz
drawing by Hans Weiditz

Do People Become Atheists so They Can Act Immorally?

Atheism in No Way Precludes Moral Behavior

Many Christians and other theists will insist that atheists are immoral people who have decided to become nonbelievers so they can behave immorally without guilt. I don't believe this to be true but I have a few ideas as to why some Christians and other theists believe it to be so.

First, there seems to be some confusion about what atheists are. Atheists don't believe in God but more than that, they don't think that God is real. So being a nonbeliever really isn't a choice, once you don't think something is real you can't really believe in it.

Until or unless something occurs to change your mind such as evidence or a personal epiphany you simply can't believe in things you do not think are real.

You may think that an atheist can just decide to believe in God because it wouldn't hurt anything if they just believe in God and it turns out that belief is wrong. Belief just doesn't work that way. Some atheists want to believe in God at some point in their lives. God is such a lovely concept, what with the afterlife and unconditional love, so who wouldn't want to believe in God? The problem with that is that for most atheists, belief is not about what they want but about what they think is true and not true. Most nonbelievers are people who only believe what they think is true and real.

Since atheism really isn't about what an atheist wants but what he or she believes is true it's not really likely that a person who thinks God is real could just decide to be one. If a person thought God were real, they would still worry about the consequences of disobeying God. A believer cannot decide to stop believing in God unless they first stop thinking of God as real or suspect that God is not real.

Some Christians and other theists will argue that atheists don't need to behave with compassion or ethics because they have no fear of burning in Hell forever. I really don't think that religious people behave morally and compassionately because they believe in God. I think they behave morally and compassionately because they have emotions like empathy and they have the power to reason. Atheists also have emotions like empathy to guide them to do what is kind and the power to reason to guide them away from that which is harmful.

Both atheists and theists are products of a society which has thousands of rules, spoken and unspoken, which they are trained to obey from the time they are children. These rules embody a structure created through thousands of years of trial and error. If morality were immutable and all who followed God were moral, society would not have changed so drastically and become so much more humane over the centuries. For instance, slavery and witch hunts might still be widely accepted if religious people didn't also change with the times.

Christians and other theists may consider atheists immoral because some of them may indulge in activities not prohibited by law but proscribed by their interpretation of their own religion. Even by this measure, atheists are no less moral than theists. Religions and religious beliefs are so incredibly varied that the range of behavior atheists indulge in which some Christians and other theists consider amoral are considered perfectly harmless or moral by other theists' and other interpretations of religious beliefs. These religious beliefs vary so greatly that even in the Christian religion alone there are intense disagreements between denominations as to what is moral, what is a sin.

Atheists can't help but seem immoral to some people. There are so many religious rules that any given person, religious or not, is breaking one or more at any given moment. Rules such as believing in a certain God or tithing a certain amount of one's income to a particular church are automatically going to be 'broken' by atheists and other people not of that particular religion. Just try to remember, that right now, you are immoral by someone's standards.

For me, belief isn't about what I want to be real but about what I think is real. Believers think God is real; atheists don't. Maybe atheists are just people unable to trick themselves into believing in things they don't think are real?

image created by the Out Campaign
image created by the Out Campaign

Atheists Don't Believe in God

They Aren't Denying God, They Don't Think God Is Real

I've heard it far too many times, I think, the assertion that to be an atheist a person must first think God is real and then hate, or deny God.

By the logic that a person must first believe in something to think it isn't real every fundamentalist Christian believed evolution occurred before they denied it. That's not very likely; the fundamentalist Christian never believed evolution happened in the first place. People walk around every day not believing in things they've never believed in. I'd say it's far rarer to find someone who once believed in unicorns than to find someone who has never believed in unicorns.

Perhaps this misunderstanding comes in because some religious people think they were born believing in God. Rather, I think they were taught that God was real before the age of memory and reason and simply don't recall their instruction in the matter. Most people can't recall being taught to use the toilet, but it's a well known fact that no one is born with that skill. I've never thought God was real.

Another possibility is that believers in God can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to believe as they do. The idea of a loving God is sweet. The idea that a person will never truly die and will someday be reunited with every soul of everyone he's ever held dear is incredibly desirable. The idea of never being alone, always having someone who loves you is enchanting. As you can see, I don't hate the idea at all. Who wouldn't want that? I know I would. But the problem is this - wanting something, no matter how much, doesn't make it real. Nor is wanting something enough to make everyone believe in something or to think that it is true.

Believers may say that belief in God comes from faith but I don't think so. I think that belief in God comes from thinking that God is real. Otherwise, if believers didn't think God were real, why would they have faith in something they thought was make-believe?

photo by Skander, Wikimedia Commons
photo by Skander, Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes God Is Just A Literary Device for an Atheist

Fiction Writers Don't Believe Everything They Write

On several sites I am well known as an atheist writer though I write stories and articles about a wide variety of topics. I write how-to articles about fish care, floral design, cooking, and sex. I write editorials and memoirs. I also write fiction, poetry, and erotica.

You'll see where this becomes relevant soon, I promise.

I have been repeatedly messaged and occasionally emailed by readers for (what seems to me) a very odd reason.

In my fiction, poetry, and erotica I sometimes use the words God, Jesus, demon, devil, Jihad, soul, spirit, ghost or other words which refer to supernatural concepts either as literary devices or in dialog. I have been told by a number of readers that the use of such words means that I can't possibly be an atheist, that it means I must believe in God. I even got one such email regarding an erotic story in which a character moans, "Oh, God, yes, (bleep) it!" After I stopped laughing uncontrollably, I paused to ponder what thought processes are behind such reasoning.

To me, the use of words relating to belief and supernatural concepts is just part of fiction writing and their use falls under the umbrella of poetic license. These words evoke strong and complicated emotions in readers. It would be a waste to not play with them in creative writing sometimes. I find the idea that the use of such words in fiction implies belief to be strange. One does not need to believe in something to include references to it in fiction, otherwise fantasy novels would be nearly non-existent.

Our culture is saturated with supernatural words and references, to cut them out completely would affect the natural flow or feeling of normal conversational English. Also, 90 some odd percent of Americans believe in God - spiritual references are bound to come up in dialog unless, for some reason, I decided to only write stories about atheists, specifically atheists who are not spiritual.

I've written faux Native American myths and fantasy stories with mythological beasts as characters. Obviously, I don't believe in mythological beasts or aboriginal magic and no one has suggested that I do. However, I'm not sure why that would lead people to believe that I believe in God.

Any thoughts on why people would come to the conclusion that anyone who includes words pertaining to the supernatural in their writing must believe in God?

Ape Skeletons, image uploaded by Tim Vickers
Ape Skeletons, image uploaded by Tim Vickers

Evolution is Not a Philosophy, Not a Belief System, nor a Moral Code: Evolution is Just a Natural Process

Though Many Will Call Evolution the Religion of Atheists It's Not

Evolution is just a process by which change occurs in nature. The process of evolution was deduced by interpretation of evidence that holds up to empirical scrutiny. Evolution is like many other natural processes which are deduced by interpretation of evidence. A couple of other processes we have deduced from evidence found in the natural world are erosion and eutrophication.

Read more about What Evolution Isn't.

image created by vsbooklady for the Out Campaign
image created by vsbooklady for the Out Campaign

That Atheist (Censored)

Thanks for Giving My Blog a Name!

A few years back I got a message from a reader who was upset by one of my atheist articles. In it he said, "Are you that atheist (censored) from TIBU*?"

At first, I was a little upset. But then, I decided that at least it meant my writing had been memorable. That was when I decided to name my atheist blog That Atheist (Censored).

*A now defunct writing website on which I had previously posted atheist relevant articles.

If you disagree with me, think I'm stupid, or think I'm evil or misguided, please feel free to say so. However, this web page is rated G and your comment will be deleted if you use swear words.

I also respectfully request that commenters refrain from evangelizing or proselytizing. The purpose of this page is not evangelistic - it is merely an attempt to explain what an atheist actually is to spread tolerance. It was created with the hope that people might read it and learn to see atheists as normal human beings with the same right to freedom of religion as anyone else.

So please, if you are trying to convert people to your religion, this is not the place. I respect your right to have your religion, please respect my right to not share your beliefs. Any comments attempting to convert people or argue them out of their beliefs or lack thereof will be deleted along with all their replies. This is the place to say what you think about atheists, not a place to convert them in.

Quoting more than a line or two from the Bible or content found on other webpages will also result in an unpublished comment because it is duplicate content and may cause this web page to be unpublished by its host. Feel free to direct us to the Bible passage you wish to quote or to the website you wish to quote instead.

What Do You Think? Do Atheists Deserve the Same Treatment as Religious People? - Please, no evangelism, just thoughts and opinions. Family friendly comments onl

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    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Without reading all the answers, my own observations of atheists reveals their passion for constantly and gleefully trying to prove believers wrong. In my own experiences, no one proselytizes like an atheist, which I suspect is the main reason they irritate so many people.

      There are two atheists in a forum I belong to, and both constantly post threads attacking religions...except for Islam. For some reason, Islam is taboo for attack.

      Every Christmas, atheists post billboards attacking Christians, God, and Christmas, so I not at all surprised that some folks don't like them at all.

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      claborde05 2 years ago

      well i would say that being an atheist on first perspective would be hard for some people because of the facts to be Atheist when you start you will see what harshness it took to get there and with most religions it's a experience to remember when looked at in history points. So i say always keep reading Books and reading material and when said be materialistic on government or small business purchase for the exchange of money for object. NO sail for the lack of reading books. i wish i could not see the change in the creatively of the mind when against something.

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      Lynn Klobuchar 2 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      There is simply never a reason to treat people differently because of what they believe. Religious intolerance, including intolerance toward atheists, has never made any sense to me. Let every person believe what they will. I am certain that regardless of another's convictions it can never be kind, caring or remotely appropriate to be dismissive, cruel or hostile to another person because of what they believe. Or do not believe.Save censure for actions that are unkind and hurtful.I have quite enough to do in this world. Spending energy trying to convert others to my ways of thinking or believing is not constructive.Regardless of why I believe the following, I try to live my life treating others as I would to be treated.Period.

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      Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @jen09 writes: I'm sorry atheists harassed and threatened you with assault. Did the teachers/professors do it, too? I live in Michigan and the opposite still seems true. Although none of my friends with children is atheist, their kids still get harassed for not being the right type of Christian and they have to deal with being bullied for being Lutherans, Catholics, and a Methodist. They get called Pagans and atheists and the youngest gets in fights over it. I got "outed" as a child of non-Christians in grade school and, while my parents insisted I was not an atheist because I was too young to decide if I thought Gods were real, I spent the rest of my schooling experience teased, harassed, and sometimes physically assaulted by schoolmates and adult staff. I don't get the point of bullying people about religion. I write about it but I don't consider writing to be bullying. It's passive and people have to decide to find it and then read it. I also write as a push-back. If atheists stop getting threats of death and rape for just writing about atheism as I have then I'll stop writing about it. Squidoo had to take down the account of a lensmaster for creating a hate lens directed specifically at me for being, in his words, a "militant atheist" about three years ago and I still get threats from people. So I think it's not time to stop yet.Believe it or not, since I started saving abusive comments to my articles and abusive emails and private messages, I've gotten over a thousand instances of them. I say 'instances' because most Christians who send me abusive messages don't just send one and it would ridiculously inflate the number if I counted each message. One individual claiming to be a pastor, sent me around forty. (I also did not count any from Dennis Markuze or his alias David Mabus because he systematically sent them to literally thousands of others and has only physically stalked famous atheists. Police already know about him and took him for a psych evaluation.) I further separate them by type into folders with the death threats and other such threats most visible. After my first cyber-stalker who took it into real life and started vandalizing my property (and my neighbor's) I was advised to keep them in case something happens to me. Most of them are just abusive rather than threatening and they say things like they can't wait until I die and go to Hell or that I deserved much worse than getting raped when I was homeless, often set in between Bible quotes and almost always full of profanity. That's why so many of my lenses have a warning about profanity on the guestbook. Four different times someone found other places I have the same byline and contacted some of my clients to tell them I'm an atheist. Luckily, I've only lost one client over it and the others just contacted me to tell me I had a stalker. One sent the state police to my apartment to make sure I was OK because I wasn't answering my phone when he called me. The client who sent me a nasty email and dumped me never paid on time anyway.

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      jen09 writes 2 years ago

      Thanks for an interesting article. I was raised in a (kind of) Christian home but was given the opportunity to study things out and I chose to be a very conservative Christian. That being said, I often get angry at those (yes even in my church) who speak so rudely toward others who believe differently. Do I think you are wrong for not believing in God? Yes. Does that mean I hate you or have a right to be mean to you? No! People have different opinions and different beliefs on everything. Maybe I think blue is the best color ever and you think pink is... is it really worth belittling or fighting over? No. Every human being must make a choice and if I am right (which I believe I am) we will all face the consequence of that choice after death. While I do not wish anyone to go to Hell, I absolutely will not fight and argue with them over their belief.

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      jen09 writes 2 years ago

      I would like to add something to my last comment... While I did say it is wrong for Christians to treat atheists badly, the reverse is also true. Atheism (and Agnosticsm) is quite popular especially among teenagers in my city. Therefore, as a Christian in a public high school and university I have been taunted, bullied, and even physically threatened by multiple atheists who have asked, "Are you a Christian?" to which I answered, "Yes." and attempted to drop the subject. Bullying over difference of opinion is wrong regardless of whether you are the majority or the minority.

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      Colin323 3 years ago

      I find it hard to believe, but not totally reject, the concept of God as an external deity. God, as a universal shorthand or symbol for 'good': doing good in this world is the way I choose to interpret this issue. Nobody knows if there is an external deity:God. How can they? Belief is a matter of faith - and hope.

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      Amend1Friend 3 years ago

      I am a Christian believer and also an attorney that has spent a significant amount of time researching and writing in the area of religious freedom and church-state relations.While I respectfully disagree with some of your characterizations, I am also well aware of the inexcusable behavior of many professing Christians.It is not ever acceptable or appropriate to resort to physical violence or truly abusive language over a difference of opinion of any nature. Conversely, in a free society, it is not acceptable for individuals to play "victim" simply because another person strenuously disagrees with that individual's personal beliefs. We all have to be grown up enough to "agree to disagree" on many issues including religion. For the record, there have been plenty of violations on both fronts by all parties involved throughout history, so my comments are not targeted at any particular party to this discussion.With respect to the Kentucky statute, you should note that AlterNet has revised the headline of their article to more accurately report the story. The only individuals who need worry about a misdemeanor offense are certain employees of the state office in question that might refuse to post the required plaque. I find the statute puzzling and objectionable based on Establishment Clause jurisprudence since 1947, but it does not threaten to jail or fine any atheist on the basis of their atheism.One final note...Atheists are in a curious spot with respect to religious freedom. Since atheism by its very nature is not a "religion" per se, it is not afforded any special protection in the law. On the other hand, the Establishment Clause prevents the government from favoring religion just as it prevents it from persecuting religion. Therefore, atheists are (to a degree) protected by the prohibition to favor religion. Also, Free Speech protections fully protect an atheist's freedom to express beliefs, and Title VII and other employment laws protect atheists from discrimination in employment "on the basis of religion." In the employment law context, the "basis" that protects them would consist of an allegation that an employer refused to hire them or terminated them because the employer favored religion over non-religion.I appreciate your willingness to facilitate this public discussion. The freedom to openly discuss, debate and even disagree is one of the freedoms that make the United States a great nation.

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      Delia 3 years ago

      Powerful & Interesting read. You said,*"For me, belief isn't about what I want to be real but about what I 'think' is real. Believers think God is real; atheists don't. (Actually it should be Believers don't "think" God is real, they know and Believe in their hearts)**there are intense disagreements between denominations as to what is moral, what is a sin.(anytime you have humans in a denomination make rules and regulations "in a church" and not adhere to scripture it's man made...our moral rules and laws come from scripture, like the Ten Commandments)**Some people have a puzzling hatred of those who don't share their belief in God and they feel it is fine to express that hatred, no matter who is hurt. I believe their hatred comes from a misunderstanding of who and what atheists actually are. (I'm glad you said, SOME...not all Christians should be lumped together, neither should any believer be lumped...if a Christian HATES someone outside of their belief they are not a true Christians...you might hate the deed, such as murder, discrimination etc...on both sides if one misunderstands or does not allow and respect a person to make their own 'choices in Beliefs' is wrong)(Religions are Denominations that are organized collections of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence....And this is the very reason I don't belong to any organized denominations, I am a Christian, a follower of Christ...This is my choice!)(We are born with an innate feeling of someone or something more powerful then us in the universe...you can see this in many cultures...I chose it to be God!If neither of us can prove or disapprove the existence of God or after life, why can't we just believe what we choose to believe...nothing should ever be forced on us, it should be a desire of completing your way of living.)----------I respect your choice of being an Atheist...and I'm not Evangelizing, I'm just giving you my opinion of what I have read.

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      stormy1990 3 years ago

      First of all, I am a christian. Secondly, I must say that atheists should not be discriminated by a so-called "christian." Anybody who believes in the Christian God and persecutes people for not believing in God is not in my book a true sincere christian. Why do I say this? Well, the Bible says...Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32and...Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:38-48In fact, I'd say that the man who persecutes the atheist for not believing is worst off than the atheist! I personally am shocked and ashamed when I hear of "christians" persecuting atheists and agnostics. It sends the wrong message to unbelievers. I'd like to show them this Bible verse:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.from Matthew chapter 7

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      amal-jose-37 3 years ago

      GREAT lens

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      BDYelm 3 years ago

      @DeepBeepWastedY: As an atheist and a skeptic, please don't watch that horrible conspiracy theorist propaganda. :-(

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      DeepBeepWastedY 3 years ago

      @mommysue lm: If you are a Christian, I want you to watch a video by The Zeitgeist Movement explaining where Christianity came from. Zeitgeist: History of Religion on YouTube

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      DeepBeepWastedY 3 years ago

      Isn't it rather ironic? That the very people who believe in "kindness" and "love", are the people have so much hatred for a perfectly respectable group of people. So now you want to discriminate atheists. Another example of how religion is a disease causing parasite.

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      SBPI Inc 3 years ago

      I believe that, as a Human Being, you have the free choice to believe whatever you believe, While some may believe that you do not they are breaking their own "laws of God" by judging another Human being. We all are one in that we share in Living and we have the freedom to construct our reality in accordance with our beliefs. There is no right or wrong other that the judgements which may be made on the basis of a personal or group constructed reality. Love is the complete answer for all and that kind of Love can only be given or received unconditionally. Love of self, life itself, others and if a believer God. For those who choose God will always come first and for those who choose otherwise I make no judgements but trust in them to do what is Loving for all. Simply, treat each other as though they were you. Jonathan

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      mommysue lm 3 years ago

      I am a Christian, but I believe God calls Christians to love everyone. If I truly love God then that demonstration will be to love others. I have to question people who say they love God and then treat their fellow man in a way that is harmful or disrespectful. Though I do not share your faith of Atheism, I do agree we are all created equal, and therefore, entitled to live in peace.

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      Well, I respect you on this belief. It was such a great explanation about being an atheist. Discrimination based on religion is simply a disobedience in the law. No man deserves to be discriminated according to his/her religion especially in the workplace. There is a so-called religious discrimination in employment law here in Los Angeles, just so you know.

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      Bellezza-Decor 3 years ago from Canada

      It's pretty clear to me that beliefs have been co-opted by the Church and State in order to control people for their nefarious benefits and not for the benefit of the people. Do I think there is a Creator, or Darwin's theory of evolution and survival of the fittest, or alien manipulation of the species into what we are today, or that what we are in a biological computer animation leveling up or down to the next realm? I don't know. I do think that there is something divine and evil in each of us and we choose what role we play and what path we take. Those that sit on the fence essentially are cowards or simply comatose. What I do believe in is the pursuit of Truth and this is what will set us free from this matrix of evil and the pursuit of Truth will lead to a new Renaissance only if enough can awaken from their mind control and hypnosis. Alas, many trust tptb and many are unaware that they are sleepwalking in a highly controlled slave matrix.In the final analysis, I do believe there is something beyond this realm and there is a much bigger picture, but then, this might just be my delusion.

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      fennirose 3 years ago

      Do good with or without god/religion. That's the main point.

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      Ruthi 3 years ago

      It is a given that all people deserve the same treatment. It is, unfortunately, also a given that in the ways of the world it will probably never happen. Thank you for a frank, yet friendly, portrayal of your beliefs. If more would have the same attitude there might, at least, be more of us getting along - without labels.

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      Meganhere 3 years ago

      Excellent lens! As a lifelong non-believer (my choice, nothing to do with how I was raised), I totally agree with all of the above.

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      JoleneBelmain 3 years ago

      I think that it is absolutely disgusting that people are shunned for their non belief in a God. Why must there always be so much hatred and fighting over religion and non religion? It just doesn't make any sense to me. Look at a person, and what do you see? It shouldn't be their beliefs, or how they choose to view the world. It should based on them and their personality and human nature. Whether they are a caring person and loving person, funny or bright, fun or lighthearted. I totally agree with Otto's comment below me, there is so much war surrounded around religion (and politics). There will always be so many different views on religion. Just because we don't agree with all of the beliefs out there, doesn't mean we need to fight over them.

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      Otto Phillips 3 years ago

      Absolutely fantastic Lens! If you look at all the wars and all the fighting in the Middle East what is the main root cause of it all? Religion.

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      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @wjlambert lm: You can use the same word you'd use to describe a person who doesn't believe in Zeus or you can call him or her a person. I think the only reason there is a word for people who don't think Gods are real is because most people are required to believe in a God to be accepted by society. If there weren't this sort of unspoken requirement and if religions didn't tend to have members who want to make religious rules into laws, there probably wouldn't even be a word for atheists.

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      Yoursanity 3 years ago

      This page is interesting, especially about the girl in school. Here in Australia there is virtually no discrimination in either direction - I choose not to believe in god but I also live in a Christian college to attend Uni and my best friend is a salvation arm soldier in the Melbourne staff band and I've never had a problem. I often have lengthy discussions with my friend though about it all and it is truly amazing that people think that you need god in order to be a good person. I find it hard to believe that people don't realize internally without god not to kill someone or steal - like really you need to have these things written down to realize its a bad thing?Where you said that your not born branded by god is so true for me too, I have often said that to have faith in a religion you must first have faith in the person telling the story and the person who told them and so on. Given the nature of humanity I'm not sure I have faith in humanity itself let alone a story produced by it. Sometimes I wonder If religion was just created by people who were unhappy with the nature of humanity and simply invented an excuse - a justification of sorts to explain how we as a species can possess such cruelty and greed and make it seem less offensive to ones own sense of being.Its always interesting to read on the subject, thank you for the lens.

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      wjlambert lm 3 years ago

      I am often unaware of the belief systems of my friends be they Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or something else because I do not ask. But as the term draws to my thought, the perspective of contradiction. Per the definition of "Atheism" via Merriam-Webster: the belief that God does "not" exist, would it not be reasonable to expect some level of controversy? Is there a name for an Atheist that does not include "not God" or "sans God"? What is the non-negative word or phrase that a person who does not acknowledge "God" or any god, can be identified by?

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @camoguard: It's also not like words showing up in a single drop of scrabble tiles, either. The analogy would be better if billions and billions of Scrabble tiles were dropped billions and billions of times for a few billion years and a few landed to form words.

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Extending on Peter's reply which I agree with, the Scrabble analogy has been used to describe evolution. However, the analogy I remember is different than the one you described. If you saw a gene that mapped to "HI PETER", then you'd probably find a gene that mapped to "HX PETER" or one that mapped to "HI PSTER" or something like that. That would help you identify which letters needed to be locked in first for survival advantages. The system of evolution would never intentionally spell a target phrase. Similarly, People aren't optimal via evolution. We aren't a well formed genetic sentence. We have lots of weaknesses and health problems.

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      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Dear Peggy, the comparison between throwing Scrabble letters which form a sentence and how life came into being is sadly enough a completely wrong comparison. It make you believe that life just happened. Like a magic trick.EVOLUTION is a step by step process. Things become more complicated during time. Atoms come together and form molecules. molecules come together and form complicated molecules. Complicated molecules formed self replicating molecules. And these self replicating molecules started to copy themselves. And so evolution started, where the humans are a product of.Richard Dawkins wrote a wonderful book about it in 1976, called "The Selfish Gene" It describes wonderfully how evolution works.And, yes an amoeba is pretty neat indeed ;-)

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I fail to see how this comment relates to whether or not atheists (people who don't think Gods or Goddesses are real) deserve the same treatment as religious people. While the comment is unrelated to the topic of the guestbook (and indicates the page above was probably not read by the comment's author) I've opted to leave it to illustrate that many people are incapable of not evangelizing at great length, usually with a lot of uppercase letters, when they see the word atheist even if they are asked not to.On a further note, women's magazines are generally not a good source of either philosophical or scientific deep thoughts.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @PeterStip: i remember reading something once in a Ladies magazine, can't remember which, but it was about people who claim to Not believe in God, that God Created the Earth and everything in it. It went on to use the word INTELLIGENT DESIGNER. People will say---Or i have heard some say that things JUST HAPPENED, Like a Chemical Reaction. it then used the comparison, saying these people who Don't believe in Intelligent Design---If you, or whoever had a Game Room, with a Game Table, and you had a Scrabble Board with The Letter Tiles all over the table, supposedly they fell in a Randon, seemingly random order. You come to the Game Table, you see letters forming words, maybe saying 'HI PETER HOW ARE YOU, HOW IS YOUR WIFE LOIS AND THE KIDS---Whatever their names are---Are you going to say, "Oh, this JUST HAAPENED, JUST FELL BY CHANCE INTO THOSE ,MESSAGES----??? You are probably going to KNOW someone was there and did it, in other words you are going to know there ewas an INTELLIGENT DESIGNER that did it. Why not say, Oh this just happened? i don't know if this makes sense, but compare it to a person who does NOT believe in an intelligent Designer, God who created everything. If you say that the Worls JUST HAPPENED why can't you say those Scrabble Letter Tiles JUST HAPPENED? Make sense? It did to me, I found it real interesting. If we JUST HAPPENED, we would be like AMEBAS, But even an AMEBA is pretty neat.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I take it you didn't read any of the page above or click any of the links? Like many, you seem unaware that you are a member of the powerful majority, assuming you live in the United States. Catholics and moderate Christians are not atheists although many evangelical Christians label them as such. I assume that's why some conservative American Christians think Christians are a minority, because they refuse to acknowledge Christians of different denominations.Gays fighting for equal marriage rights or people protesting the tendency of conservative Christian parents to discard their lgbt children are not mocking your faith. There is mocking and derision directed at people who discriminate against gays, women, people of other races and religions, and people less fortunate. The ability to discriminate against people based on your religious beliefs is not a right and it isn't persecution when those people object to it.When was the last time you got a death threat or a threat of violence or had graffiti sprayed onto your car for being Christian? I got my last death threat from a Christian about three weeks ago. Not long before that, a Christian sent me an email describing what he hopes will happen to me after I die, claiming I'll get raped to death and experience it forever. How often do you get that kind of email?When someone vandalized my car a few years back the gouges in my car didn't read "Die Christian C%$&" they read "Die Atheist C%$$&."I've been literally spat on, threatened, harassed, stalked, had my property vandalized, and I've been physically assaulted after getting outed as an atheist. When was the last time you had to wipe a glob of spittle off your face when someone found out you were a Christian?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      You have to be kidding. There is no anathema directed toward atheists. There is mocking and derision toward people of faith, especially Christians.

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      Bartukas 4 years ago

      interesting lens thanks

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      PeterStip 4 years ago

      Religion is nothing more then superstition to me. It is lack of knowledge. A 1000 years ago God was the reason for why many things happened, sickness, earthquakes, floods etc. Now we know what is is the cause of an earthquake, a volcano eruption. But people who do not know, still use God as an answer.Nowadays we do not need a God anymore to explain to us how the world works. People who still believe in a God are often not very well educated, or they do not think deeply about there believes.They believe in there Gods, because there parents did so too. But why should I believe the same thing as my parents ? We would never have progress if we still believed the same things as our parents. Columbus would never have discovered the new world because we would still believe the earth to be flat.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: That's current enough for me. As far as I'm concerned: There's no excuse for hatred and it's even worst to use hate as a justification for cruelty.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: The study mentioned is from 2006 and was performed through the University of Minnesota.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Atheists are the most hated, despised, and distrusted minority in America? Seriously? That has got to be the most best kept secret ever! I did not know that! Was this a recent study?

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @SouthernSailor: We have to have confrontation because atheists are already prohibited from office and disenfranchised by patriotic slogans already. Nonbelievers can't simply be tolerant until we are recognized and tolerated ourselves. It would be nice to get to a place where we could be a little less vigilant.

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      SouthernSailor 4 years ago

      This is absolutely one of the most thought provoking lenses I have ever read.....I think that the real problem is the extremists on both sides of the issue who provoke confrontation. We should be a nation of tolerance and respect for all ideas...not one in which we draw distinct battle lines in the sand and dare anyone to cross them. The battle over religion and the absence of a belief in an organized form of it is perhaps the greatest stumbling block we face as nation. For all of our greatness in other areas, we are sadly lacking in this one.

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @Pat Goltz: Yeah, I don't like answering to absentee rulers. I would think that would be a real popular sentiment with post British rule colonials. But to me, I think atheism stems just as often from the misinformation that Christians bring. The Bible is inconsistent. The denominations pick and choose which articles are still held faithfully. This is demonstrable. That's not a really good situation for recruiting intellectuals. We like facts. And when someone uses faith, I use the phrase "I don't know." But it's not an on the fence kind of lack of knowledge. I've been operating as if there's no need for a god for a long time and loving it.

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @BeyondRoses: That's cool as long as we don't get evangelized as well. The fact is we do get evangelized and God is already in the pledge. So we've got to fight to get to neutral secular sorts of places which it sounds like you'd before. Saying the Lord's Prayer would be a big deal if you weren't in a Catholic school even today, so we're getting to where we should be on some aspects. Basically, if we only discuss country and family, I'm good too.

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      BeyondRoses 4 years ago

      As long as atheists don't attempt to change people that have faith, I feel, let them believe or non-believe as they wish. I'm past the point in life, to bother any different. I came up within a foundation that was God, Country and Family. It was a good time, and I like to believe I have the same foundation now. When I was in school, we still said the Lord's Prayer, and pledge to the American Flag. There may have been a couple of kids that didn't say the prayer, and I guess I never knew why, but no one was *forced* to say prayer, even back then.

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      BrandonCase 4 years ago

      Wow.So.. guess I'm never going to Kentucky.I had no idea there were state laws discriminating against atheists.Truly horrifying, thanks for the heads up :).

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      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Am totally stunned that Atheists are unable to hold office, or can be so discriminated against in your country. That doesn't happen here in Australia; Our Prime Minister has openly stated that she is an Atheist. Excellent lens, which I would have blessed but you've already reached your limit!

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      JayRockins 4 years ago

      As a mainly Christian oriented nation, I really wish more of the US population were better informed of Christianity's history and inception. The more I learn about The Council of Nicaea, Constantine the Great, and some of the political reasoning behind the formation of the Bible, the sadder I get for those who follow so blindly :(

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      Peter Badham 4 years ago from England

      Wow I never knew Atheists were discriminated against in the States. Never heard of this happening in England or Spain. A great and interesting page.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @jennysue19: Thank you. The Squidoo team is currently hard at work trying to fix the thin content problem and they have been removing such lenses literally by the thousands over the past few days. I'm excited by what those measures will mean for writers of articles, editorials, stories, and reviews on Squidoo.

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      jennysue19 4 years ago

      Hy Kylyssa, something odd going on here. According to the lens, I have previously Squidliked and also taken all the polls which I am sure I haven't. Just wanted to say, good lens. I was looking at other lenses in this topic as I have just published one myself, and interested to see what else is here. Some very good stuff like yours, but a whole lot of advert-filled thin-content stuff. Hopefully Squidoo will start to kick this out. what do I think about atheists? People have a right not to believe just as they do to believe whatever they wish, but it seems that the US constitution doesn't defend those rights any more!

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      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I am absolutely amazed by some of the things in this lens as things are so different in the UK. I think it's shocking that atheists cannot hold a public office in some states and that a voter would rank religion above the political beliefs and policies that a candidate might have.

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      rosiembanks 4 years ago

      Hi! I hope you don't think I'm just shamelessly plugging or anything, but I'm a fellow atheist and I was inspired by your lens to make one about my own beliefs, and responding to some of the shocking examples of discrimination against atheists you've mentioned here. I really hope that's OK with you! My lens is here: https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/why-i-don . Your lens is such a great exploration of what it means to be an atheist and it's fascinating to see the discussion it has provoked.

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      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      Everyone is entitled to their own belief. I am a Christian, and I feel that Christians have no right to show hatred to non Christians - if they do behave like this they need to examine their beliefs more carefully. You are perfectly entitled to believe what you believe - as am I. That is the point of religion, that we are free to choose. For a Christian to kill someone who doesn't believe in God kind of defeats the object of their faith.

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @RetroMom: That's probably the best way I've seen that thought phrased. I agree.

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      RetroMom 4 years ago

      we all have our own beliefs. the important thing is let it lead you to the doorstep of self improvement.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @Pat Goltz: I would have to agree with you as most atheists believe thought and self-awareness comes from the brain which isn't yet developed enough when legal abortions occur for that to be the case while conservative believers generally think the mind is separate from the brain and that self-awareness occurs at conception. Since I think intelligence is a function of a brain developed to a certain extent, I think that until the unborn can think and feel it isn't murder to abort. I can understand that you think it's murder if something is done even a second after conception because you likely think the mind is some kind of energy thing separate from the body as my mother did. Many Christians also think the mind is a function of the brain rather a function of a soul that exists from the moment of conception so many belief systems allow for people to believe the brain is where thinking happens. My belief that thinking happens in the brain was strongly reinforced after suffering a brain injury and going through rehab with people much more severely brain damaged than I. They weren't faking, their thought processes really came from their brains and they were limited by the brain damage they suffered.What are your thoughts on abortions for the life of the mother? My mother was extremely pro-life yet she had an abortion (which turned into a complete hysterectomy because she refused until she was in agony and my father was on his knees crying) to save her life when a tubal pregnancy ruptured her fallopian tube. My mother was willing to die but my also very pro-life father begged her not to as he couldn't stand to be widowed with three children and still grieving the loss of my eldest brother. Was she right? Was my father an awful selfish person for choosing my mother's life over something that had no developed brain and was going to die with my mother anyway?Personally, I think abortions should be as a last resort or when birth will be life-destroying such as when a raped nine-year-old gets pregnant and will be savagely traumatized by childbirth as well as permanently physically damaged. I think that adoption is a much better option but I also don't think I have the right to command another woman to keep a baby before its brain is developed enough to have emotions or thoughts or even to process pain or other sensations.

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      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      Error in my message. If an atheist believes that abortion should be legal, I have a hard time NOT believing his atheism contributed to that belief.

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      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      Thank you for letting us inside your mind. Some specific comments: You said, "What did Damon Fowler do to deserve all of this? The young atheist objected to an unconstitutional prayer at his public school's graduation ceremony." Actually, this is incorrect. The First Amendment protects the right of a person to pray at a public school graduation ceremony. That said, the person who doesn't believe in God is not obligated to do anything more than to be respectful as one would for any point of view he doesn't agree with.I think some people are atheists because they don't want to answer to God and His rules. Obviously, this doesn't apply to everyone. You have stated clearly it doesn't apply to you. I accept that. I have at least one close friend who is an atheist, whom I greatly respect. Would I vote for an atheist for President? I have a hard time imagining the atheist would agree more with my views than a Christian, so I'm not sure the premises you set up would be helpful. I think if a person doesn't think God exists, it might be a bit better to speak of being an agnostic. The word "atheist" implies to me a certainty that God doesn't exist.I think one reason a lot of people condemn atheists is because of the tens of millions of people killed by atheist tyrants. It does seem that atheists are perhaps more likely to reject some moral values I hold very dear. One of your links goes to a blog where the person justifies legal abortion because she is an atheist. My very close respected friend rejects abortion. If it's the only life you have, robbing the unborn baby becomes even more egregious. To see some good secular arguments (suitable for an atheist perspective) opposing abortion, see the web site of Libertarians for Life. If an atheist thinks legal abortion is acceptable, I have a hard time thinking that his atheism contributed to this belief, even though I know plenty of people who believe in God who think legal abortion is acceptable as well. In the final analysis, my personal reasons are that BOTH the mother and baby deserve legal protection from abortionists. I work primarily with mothers.I find the theory of evolution would require far more faith to accept than my Christian faith. The evidence doesn't support it. I do think that evolution leads a lot of people into atheism, though. I don't think children are necessarily born with a belief in God. Some probably are not. One of my children was clinically dead at birth, but when he came back, it became obvious he had seen Jesus. He described Him. I think the children of Christian parents may receive grace from God to believe. Children who are baptized receive the Holy Spirit. But obviously, an unbaptized child doesn't necessarily have any supernatural help to believe. In a recent study, young children were asked if they believe in God. The vast majority did. But as you say, that's not everyone.This lens is well written. Again, I thank you for sharing.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @binwaayeel: Yep, atheists don't believe Gods and Goddesses are real. Disbelief is somewhat different from denial. One could probably assume you disbelieve in Zeus. If thinking your God isn't real is horrible, is it also horrible to think other peoples' Gods and Goddesses aren't real? Then again, maybe you think Zeus is real and you deny Him? Are you a Zeus denier? If that sounds odd, it's almost exactly how claiming atheists deny God sounds to an atheist. You don't believe in thousands of Gods and Goddesses, I don't believe in just one more. I think all supernatural beings are make-believe, you think at least one isn't. Atheists believe one fewer story than you do.Now imagine those Zeus worshipers had a whole lot of money behind them and a whole lot of people behind them who think people like you and I should just convert to their religion or move out of the country just as many conservative Evangelical Christians in America seem to feel about atheists, moderate Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus... well, how they seem to feel about everyone but conservative Evangelical Christians of their own denomination. So these Zeus worshipers get a lot of money and power and they don't believe in the same human rights you believe in. Would you just leave or convert to Zeus worship or would you work within the laws of your country to prevent those Zeus worshipers from requiring you to follow their religious laws?As to why atheists talk about belief, if you read the page above this comment section, you might get some idea of it. It has at least a bit to do with some of those Zeus worshipers, wait, no some of those Yahweh worshipers fighting to make religious laws that everyone must obey. Some of those religious laws don't fit well with being ethical, respectful, or kind. Most of those religious laws violate human rights. Before you bring up the old saw about the laws against murder and theft coming from the Bible, you may note that the laws against those things predate the Bible by a long shot. They were probably lifted from the Code or Ur-Nammu which was made by an ancient legislator to serve as a uniform code of law in ancient Sumeria.If people in your country decided to make laws that followed what Zeus commanded them to do, wouldn't you feel a little funny about it? What if those laws affected you or people you care about?

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      binwaayeel 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: according to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheist, atheist is a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @binwaayeel: Since most atheists do neither I don't even understand how this relates to the articles.To deny something you have to think it is real. Atheists don't think God is real, just like you don't think other peoples' Gods and Goddesses are real and just like you don't think Yetis are real. Are you a Yeti-denier or do you just not think Yetis are real? Do you think Zeus is real yet you are denying Him? Me neither. You could deny God because you think God is real; I don't think God is real so I'm not deny anything, I'm just not accepting what you believe as real. Think about it. You don't accept what anyone else thinks is real so what is so evil about not believing absolutely everything everyone around you believes? I believe you think God is real. Isn't that enough to get along?If thinking it is our duty to help other human beings in need is worshiping humans then I think you have a very odd idea of your own faith. Most mainstream Christians, Jews, and Muslims see nothing wrong with respecting their fellow human beings and helping them out, at least in my experience. There are entire religious orders dedicated to helping their fellow humans! If you are going to feel negatively about atheists because we don't hate humanity then you may want to think about your fellow believers who don't hate humanity, either.

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      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      As an ordained minister, you have the right to believe any way you want to. I respect your decisions. Who are we as mortals to really know what is the right or wrong belief system. I have my beliefs and you have yours. It's all opinion. Great lens.

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      binwaayeel 4 years ago

      i am confused about which is worse to deny god, or to worship fellow human.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @ShariBerry: While I do not agree with your belief that America was founded on Christian principles rather than on principles of freedom and tolerance, I respect your right to hold that belief.Since the people who have abused me for being an atheist did not abuse me for being a Christian, gay, or Jew, I have no true voice to speak to those issues with. It's probably a lot like how when celebrities develop an illness they suddenly sink funds and attention to research on that particular illness. Writers tend to need a focus and they tend to feel the most passionately about things that affect them personally. Readers also tend to require a focus of some kind or they won't be attracted to the page to read it.I've also written about discrimination against lgbtq kids because I've taken in more than a few lgbtq kids discarded by their religious parents. No one can write something about everything.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @Dressage Husband: I find it hard to believe you read the entire lens because your comment suggests you have no clue as to why it was written. Atheists experience discrimination. Plenty of people, religious or not would prefer that not to happen. Familiarity with other people tends to breed tolerance and to greatly reduce discrimination. Familiarizing people with atheism is an attempt to reduce discrimination.I would not come to your pages on your religion and tell you you must not believe what you say because you talk about it. And if you asked me not to evangelize in the heading of the guestbook, I'm sure I wouldn't. If talking about your belief means you don't believe what you say, you may note you sought someone out who disagrees with your stated belief so you could talk about yours as if telling someone else about your belief will confirm it. I don't care if you agree with what I don't believe or not; all I care about is if you can leave people alone who don't share your beliefs.

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      thegreenninja 4 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks for writing this!

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      Sharon Berry 4 years ago from Michigan

      I am a Christian. As a Christian I am taught to love all people, as Jesus loves us, no matter what their religion, color or sexual orientation. I respect your right to be an atheist but also ask that you respect my right to be a Christian. Don't take my prayer away, just walk away. America was founded on Christian principles and our Founding Fathers believed that our freedom comes from God. However, as Americans, we are free to pursue our own happiness. You have cited many horrible incidents against atheists but we could also cite many horrible incidents against Christians, gays and Jews. Intoleration of any people or belief should not be tolerated. Thank you for sharing your beliefs.

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      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Having read your lens in detail I find it hard to believe that you really hold the beliefs proclaimed. This lens reads to me as if you are uncertain and need affirmation. That is exactly the problem with religion in general. We do not know so why be so positive? Scientifically evolution may exist, but we still need an initial creation to start the process.The big bang theory may be correct, bur where did the energy to start it come from. It would have required an infinite energy source. Neither side has the answers, none of us were there at the time. It is misplaced dogma that creates the issues.The problem is humanity and our experience, we think of everything having a beginning and an end. What if there is no beginning or end? It would not be possible to destroy the whole universe (It is infinite). It may therefore be quite possible that it has existed forever. We do not know, however its make up is so mathematically perfect in design that it seems again statistically unlikely that it is an accident. There is about as much chance of that as getting your clothes out of the dryer and finding them all neatly pressed and folded.That said it seems to me more likely that there is a creative energy (Infinite power source) religions call this God, However neither I nor anybody else can define it with any certainty. I just wish we would all come together to analyse the information dispationately to arrive at the truth.Fighting over who is right and wrong is against Gods rules and should be illogical to the true atheist and agnostic. Just my view, we would all be better off cooperating.

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      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Having read your lens in detail I am finding it difficult to believe you

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      Liz Mackay 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I'm from Britain and it would seem that we have a much more tolerant attitude to all types of people. It sounds as if atheists have it tough in the States

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      SmokeybonesJr 4 years ago

      Excellent Lens, I'm ignostic. A big part of my job is teaching our troop deploying oversea about Islam, biy you should here so of those discussions LOL. Anyway, nice lens and thank you. Smokeybones...

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @MAbdulsater: The problem atheists I know have is they've already come to their conclusions. Also, I am one.

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I agree with Kylyssa. Natural Selection and the Common Ancestor Theory have withstood years of challenges. What we want out of evolution and its presence as a force of nature are two separate things.

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      MissKeenReviewer 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes, you are right. Mankind is not perfect and attitude is not goverened by evolution.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: That would be Intelligent Design you are talking about. Christians who believe in Intelligent Design believe that God (Yahweh) used small, elegant changes over millions of years to reach a goal of making things better with humanity being the pinnacle of Intelligent Design. I don't believe in Intelligent Design.Evolution doesn't have a mind or a goal, it just happens, like erosion or eutrophication. Things that survive produce offspring and, over time, many generations later their descendants are different from those ancestors. That's all it is. Are you the exact same person with the same appearance, thoughts, and feelings as your great great great great great grandfather or are you a different person? Will your five hundred times great grandson be exactly like you in every aspect?There's no guiding force changing things toward some goal of perfection in evolution. I don't know why so many conservative Christians think that people who think evolution happens believe evolution has a goal. You can be a Christian and not think science is evil. Science is just people investigating the universe. I also don't know why conservatives always bring up evolution in connection with atheism. Most Christians in developed countries other than the US think evolution happened and happens. Their beliefs don't include a God so weak and small His creation cannot be examined without breaking their faith.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Can I just point that evolution is "non-sense"If we are actually evoluting how comes the world is getting worst???

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @MissKeenReviewer: Every Catholic I know personally believes evolution happened/happens and a good number of them learned about it in Catholic schools. My father is in his late seventies and he learned about evolution in Catholic school. I wish all religious bodies would take the same practical, real-world view of the sciences. It hasn't hurt the Catholic church to do it. Thank you for your comment.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very interesting, I liked it, I am not against any atheist, I think everyone has a right to decide what they believe, wether they are right or wrong it is not up to us humans to judge anyone, an atheist might not believe in God but still have a good heart, so i say who am I to judge, only God knows this person and I truly hope for any atheist that has a good heart, to be in the "good books" of God, wether one believes it or not.

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      MissKeenReviewer 4 years ago

      I am a Catholic and I respect different views and see nothing wrong with it as long as other people respect different religions also. AND I 100% believe in EVOLUTION like most modern priests and nuns. It is now being thuogh in Catholic schools here but sad to say old folks are very hesitant to the realization of this belief. Nice lens thans for sharing.

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      bobgunn 4 years ago

      Awesome lens. I've struggled with religion for many years. I believe there is someone, or something that HAD to create us, and I call it God. But, I don't believe anything in the bible. In fact, I think it's a big fairy tale.

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      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      God loves atheists too .. perhaps they prefer to view that love as coming from without vs within. I can't really say, because while I am not religious and agree that much harm has been done in the name of religion, I know that God is.

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      winter aconite 4 years ago

      Great article!

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      techstorm2 4 years ago

      HiIm from the UK and have been an atheist since in my teens, im now 49 and have not changed my view, it has only strengthened.I find it amazing that Americans can be so fundamentalist when it comes to religion, also when it comes to guns but that's another story.There are so many religions in the world, all claiming to have the one truth, how can they all have the one truth?There are 100 million galaxies, each having 100 million stars in each, this will probably increase as our telescopes get bigger, the more we look, the more we see, even if a tiny proportion of these stars have earthlike worlds around them its nonsensical to assume we're the only life in the universe, what does that say about religion and our place in it if there are many other worlds with life.My view of religion is its indoctrination, if you bring children up and teach them fairy tales then a proportion will go on into adulthood and continue to believe the fairy tales, others will see it for what's is, Atheists see the world for what it is.IMHO

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      TonfaGuy 4 years ago

      There should be an eleventh commandment - keep thine religion to thine self.Believing in one of the many gods that tout for your soul is up to the individual completely and if you believe in one of them and their version of what is right and wrong, then so be it.Just don't label me or discriminate against me because I choose to find the already disagreeing versions of the many religions simply non plausible, probably made up and blown out of proportion by the 'writers' of their day. Very good and interesting article.

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      Wakerra LM 4 years ago

      Religion placed aside, I would say any discrimination against any person, religion, faith, or race is just wrong. People are people, it shouldn't matter what they choose to believe, behave, or act that gives us an excuse to look down or treat them poorly. While we may disagree, its not worth fighting/arguing over. Being a huge debater myself, I've only recently come to find how pointless, and destructive negative comments/influence/argumentative behavior is, not to mention the fact that it doesn't ever solve the problem.If a person doesn't want to believe in God, so be it. We can't change a person's mind or choices, but we can influence them either for better or worse. the point of the matter is, we control ourselves, and best should be watching our own actions, rather than worrying about the actions of others

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @DesignSpace: I'm from the UK too and dated an American. He was distressed and said there was something he needed to express. The way he was acting I thought it was something terrible. He eventually blurted out that he didn't believe there was a god. He couldn't even say the word atheist. We were in America at the time and I said, "Is that it? It's no big deal. I'm an atheist too". He looked horrified and said shhh!!!, looking round to make sure no one had heard me. He said, "you can't say that here. Even if you are, you can't say it." I felt really sorry for him.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @MAbdulsater: Why would you want an atheist to read your arguments for the existence of something you believe in? What do you thin will happen? Will atheists read it and think 'I never considered that, I must join this religion forthwith!'? I don't understand why it's so important to you. It makes no difference to me what you believe in, so why is it so important to you that atheists share your beliefs? I don't understand what you are trying to achieve. You have five reasons/arguments why you believe it. Good on you. It's not proof. If you told me you were going to be beamed up to your mother planet and had five arguments to why that was true, what difference would it make to me? I'm not an atheist because I know nothing about religion and all you have to do is enlighten me. I have studied it in depth and rejected it. So what do you think your 5 arguments will achieve?

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      MAbdulsater 4 years ago

      Whilst i do not agree with everything you said, i certainly do respect your thoughts and views and i hold great respect for you because of that. It is a shame that atheists, being an obvious minority, have to suffer under the hostility and discrimination of a vast majority of believers in America, for if they were true believers i don't think they would be doing what they're doing because that would only be hypocritical. I agree and disagree with many things you have written and i would like to take the opportunity here to invite you to read my latest lens on the 5 arguments for the existence of God. Thank you and bless you!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @maryseena: Your right. Whether they are right or wrong they are intitled.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @DesignSpace: Hi my name is Nelly from the USA and i am grateful you don't not have to experience such wrong doing. I am a christian myself and i believe that many people are killed because of what they believe in. I believe that doing wrong to someone because of what they believe in is wrong. If you ever want to get to know me(i am a 16 year-old girl) i would love to get to know you. Thank you for being honest to yourself. Whether what you believe in is right or wrong, being yourself is a good thing. :) Thank You

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm with some of the other comments here, no-one should be pigeon holed somewhere the don't wanna be!

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      DesignSpace 4 years ago

      This is a great lens on a really important issue. Being an atheist from the UK, I really can't imagine what it must be like over there.

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      maryseena 4 years ago

      Everyone has a right to one's own beliefs.

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      BrendanSanlatte 4 years ago

      When I went to a private Christian high school, the teachers said we had an edge over the public schools because they didn't have a prayer. :)

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      Joy Lynskey 4 years ago from Moneta, Va

      Great lens!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Kylyssa - As I read my reply to TheWharfMaster, I realized that I didn't comment on this lens. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I do not condemn anyone whose opinions are different than mine. We all have to learn to live together even though our lifestyles and beliefs may be miles apart. No one side should have to "prove" anything to the other. Live your life the best you know how and maybe someday there will be answers.When you write about people condemning atheists, I think it works both ways as I have read many articles where people were not allowed to pray or even speak of God. There are tons of stories out there pertaining to infringing on the rights of people because of their belief systems. There was a little boy sent home from school because he put "Jesus loves you" on his Valentine's Day cards. Do we not have freedom of speech or is it just allowed on one side? You have written from your heart here but rest assured that believers do to!

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @TheWharfMaster: I disagree that most people believe in God just because everyone else does. I think they believe in God because they think God is real.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @TheWharfMaster: I take great exception to a couple of your theories. First, people do not just believe in the existence of God because "everyone else does". Second, being a believer in God does not mean that a person is not down to earth or is uneducated. The generalization that people who believe in God are giving up their personal power is bogus. Look around you in these times - it takes a person with strong convictions and character to believe that God is real. Maybe the energy that created the universe is God - you call it energy, another calls it God. One of the definitions of faith is - a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, complete trust. There are many things that people believe in on this earth that have never been proven; yet they believe. I would rather have faith in God than in the universe or mankind. In these times, the latter seems hellbent on destruction.

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      whats4dinner 4 years ago

      this is one intriguing lens! i believe that people who are atheist primarily believes in the science of logic. they don't need scientific explanation, all they need is a simple explanation. sine religion is pretty much faith-based, that's when the tend to face the other direction.

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      TheWharfMaster 4 years ago

      I agree completely, most people nowadays believe in god just because everyone else does. What god is, is a symbolic figure upon which people give all their personal power away in exchange for artificial security, but they call it faith. One thing to have faith in? The universe. Anyone who wouldn't entertain the idea that maybe, everything in this natural world is so complex and intricate, that theres a great possibility of an intelligence being behind it. What I see is that everyones really worshipping and following the same thing, just tagging a different word to it and saying its different. What is god? Well hes ever eternal, can't be created or destroyed and is within each one of us. That's what a Christian will tell you, now ask someone whos a little more down to earth and educated, what is eternal, makes up everything and can't be created or destroyed? Energy is what they'll tell you. Energy is what we have in common with everything else, energy is the universe and the universe is something to have faith in. Nuff said.

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      jooniper 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for putting this out there. I don't think I've ever come across writing from another person who was *never* a theist. We're rare in this country.

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      ravendreamwalker 4 years ago

      This is a brave and interesting contribution to the debate on faith versus reason. I salute your courage!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Atheists are human beings with souls just like every body on this planet. We are all of flesh and blood and bones. What really should be of concern is educating those who remain closed in a bubble of ignorance and stereotypes to stop any sort of discrimination towards any particular belief so long as that belief is peaceful, and causes no harm to any other human being. We are all brothers and sisters in humanity. I am of muslim faith, and nowhere am I taught to be unjust to anyone according to their belief. The matter of focus should concern should be towards awareness of good and bad natured people rather than using religion as an excuse towards discrimination. For we have lived amongst Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhism, atheist, you name it. We live in peace with respect to our fellow human creations.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am a Muslim. But my religion is of my business. We are taught to treat others regardless of their religion or atheism with respect and dignity for they are souls and human beings too. I and my family respect and have friends who are of all sorts of faith and some of no faith, but never has that made us look down on them, nor treat them with inequality. It goes against Islamic morals and our own humanistic values. I just wish people could respect each other regardless of their beliefs. I know of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, atheists, ect who hold the same ideology, where they respect each other, live amongst each other, share food and drink with each. We are all human of the same flesh and blood. I worry about the purposeful of ignorance people, who lack empathy and respect towards others, whose hearts are hardened and minds are closed.

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      davidangel 4 years ago

      If you want to know the truth about atheism or any other topic for that matter then simply learn to muscle testhttp://www.squidoo.com/how-to-tell-truthIn my experience with muscle testing I learned that God is, in fact Ultimate Joy, and that the atheist is moving away from this Joy of their own volition. An analogy could be that the sun is shining on us all. Some simply choose to live underground and never see the sun. It does not mean the sun has stopped shining. Heaven is a choice, not a place, and is not limited to any single belief system, or lack thereof.Have a nice day.

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      Iain84 4 years ago

      great lens - lots of thoughtful and carefully written information. thanks for sharing

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Every living being, sentient or otherwise, deserves to be treaed with a modicum of kindness and respect. (Yes, even the ones we eat and wear.) Whether or not you believe in a Supreme Flying Spaghetti Monster, Harbinger of the Gooey Death, or Penguin God, you are still a living creature with thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires. Some of my best friends are devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims, whereas I'm a member of the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent. We may disagree on our beliefs, but we're still friends. I really don't see why people have to obsess over their differences, instead of celebrating and embracing their commonalities. Atheists, whether you like them or not, are still human, and their beliefs (or lack thereof) ought to command the same respect as anyone else's. It just makes sense.

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      karen-stephens 4 years ago

      Is this a real discussion? Most (intelligent) people ARE a form of atheism..

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      HuggsX3 LM 4 years ago

      I'm not an atheist, but I tried to be. I just can't help it. But I can't stand when people say, "everything happens for a reason" or "God wanted it this way". Oh, so God makes rape and murder happen because he had a "reason" and "wanted it this way"? Kids die for some "holy, special reason" and not because of the fact that they had cancer or got hit by a bus? That's like what some of them think and it pisses me off. They use God as an excuse for peoples actions and the worlds tragedies. Yet they want you to love him? Idk. But nice lens. And I don't think that atheists should be discriminated against because no one should be discriminated against and it's just an opinion and a personal choice. I hate people. Some Christians think they are better than everyone just because of their religion, and to me, a person isn't "good" based on their religion. They are "good" based on their morals and how they treat people.

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      abraxo 4 years ago

      Amazing lens! I was also raised with the freedom to choose. My exposure to god was through a grandmother who who thought her religion was the only right one. I realized my freedom when I was around 14 and began having questions and subscribed to nothing. At 17 I declared agnostic leaning towards atheism. At 20 I declared souly atheism and soon found out that both of my parents were atheists.I never knew they were atheists until I got on the subject of bible quoting with my father. He was raised in the southern baptist church and the grandmother I spoke of is his mother, so he could quote the bible. He just didn't quote it in the same way christians do. He was not allowed to have religious freedom and, when he married my mother who was raised neutrally by a wiccan, agreed to raise us kids as neutrally as possible. I think they did a great job considering I didn't even know about their true views until I was an adult and had developed my own.My brother explored religion more than I did and even went to a baptist church for a while. Though, not as extreme as my grandmother. He later developed the same atheist views after he tried to major in religion. We are not bad people. We are compassionate, caring, and help those in need more than most. We are accepting of everyone and discriminate against no one. We do receive criticism, even from other atheists because we do not partake in religion bashing like some. But that does not sway what we believe and we never try to sway the views of others.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such an insightful and profound lens with us!And yes: Of course do they (the atheists) deserve the same treatment as religious people.It's puzzling me that we even have to think about these kind of questions since we're living in the 21st century... but alas, some people didn't arrive yet :-)

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      MimayManalo 4 years ago

      Most religions have very few similarities. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is highly recommended book to read about the atheist perspective on the origins of world religion.

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      Robert Zimmerman 4 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      All people should have the freedom to worship or not worship they way they choose. In America you have that freedom but often ignorant folks (especially in the media) fan flames of ignorance for their own purposes, BTW, I'm a Christian. My faith does not give me the right or authority to judge someone else. In the Church I belong to everyone is loved even if they do not believe as we.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Kylyssa, nice Lens, you make some valid points. Personally, I subscribe to no religion & whether or not I believe in a Creator is not up for debate (not that you or anyone asked). I mention this for a reason. Whether a person identifies with Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, doesn't matter because they are ALL divisive labels. Our historical bickering about religion, whether or not God exist, heaven or hell, is keeping our attention away from the real enemy. The reason why about 300 men control 7.5 billion people is because we cannot unite for a common cause. I'm asking you, and all your readers of this fantastic Lens, to do some research on the "Vatican," "Roman Catholic Church," "Federal Reserve," Congressman Louis McFadden, and the "13 Bloodlines of the Illuminati."The more you delve into these particular entities you'll see that 95% of the world's population is playing right into the hands of those 300 men, such as the Rockefeller's (9/11 tragedy has their hand prints all over it), the Rothschild Banking Dynasty, Bundy's, DuPont's, Freeman's, VanDunn's, and a few other furtive families, and "men behind the curtain." As long as we continue to bicker over trivial issues such as religion, belief in God, black vs white, straight vs gay, democrat vs republican, we're playing into their hands. The manufactured wars will continue, along with the money laundering of billions of dollars through the Church, controlling armies, governments, presidents, and the flow of all money. All of the religious stories spawned from the Roman Catholic Church. They love it when people debate about whose God is real; about Jesus vs Allah, Atheist vs Christian; they LOVE IT because it keeps us divided.United we STAND, divided we FALL ....

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      ideashine 4 years ago

      Interesting thought.. You've made a lot of effort writing this lens, so detailed, so "frequently asked questions" :) Good job..

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      AstroGremlin 4 years ago

      I feel that the American people should take a greater interest in understanding religions. I'm convinced that when they begin to see the details, atheists will no longer be the most despised group.

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      petelovestoread 4 years ago

      great lens. My father in law is an atheist living in the Bible belt and he has decided to pretend to be a christian instead of putting up with discrimination. Its a shame that people who follow religions that preach tolerance can't accept other's views. Thanks for the hard work and dedication.

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      maryLuu 4 years ago

      Of course they do! Believing or not believing in God, Buddha or any other deity it's a matter of choice. It has nothing to do with the right as a citizen. We all choose to believe in something, but this something is not the same for all.

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      FreddieHanger 4 years ago

      I don't think you're misguided at all... judging by what you've written here you seem more "guided" than most :)

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      theallin1writer 4 years ago

      Very well written and informative lens. You have clearly put a lot of work into this, great job!

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      Heidi 4 years ago from Benson, IL

      I think atheists deserve the same chance as everybody else to succeed in life. I don't think that people's religious beliefs or lack of them is an excuse for amoral or evil behavior. You'll find both the saints and the devils in any religion or organized atheist group, so I try not to judge people by what they say they believe.

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      LawrenceArriano 4 years ago

      Wow... just wow. I don't even know what to say other than what an AMAZING lens you've made here. So much confusion with people think Atheists are evil and stuff like this... it's sad. I wish more people could see this!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Am just shocked.. Never knew this facet till now.. I dunno what to say.. As for lens.. I would just say, if you were in front of me, I would have given you a standing ovation.. Excellent work.. :)

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      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I learned a great deal in this lens and found it very helpful in understanding atheism. I am a Christian, and was grieved to read the references to hatred and bigotry. I'm sorry that has been part of your experience.

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      randomthings lm 4 years ago

      Great great article. Good educationfor people whomay notunderstsnd atheists.

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      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      I am so shocked that there is such discrimination and in America--Angel Blessed

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      Jeff Johnston 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      I am not an atheist, but I get called one all the time. I am an agnostic, which both religious and atheists alike love to hate. I get called fence sitter, or atheist light. I enjoyed your lens.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @camoguard: I've also found myself siding with minority faiths a lot, particularly in my offline life. In my area, 'minority faiths' also includes Catholics because Grand Rapids is predominantly Calvinist with a lot of CRC. They don't recognize Catholics as Christians. My decision to remain a closeted atheist when I was working outside my home was reinforced daily by seeing how my co-workers acted towards people of non-Christian faiths. It isn't as if I needed any reinforcement after hearing repeated conversations between co-workers saying atheists are worse than terrorists and need to be rounded up and either killed, deported, or forced to live in labor camps though.I'm not anti-religion, myself. I'm actually pro-religion in some ways. I'm pro-religion because people get comfort and even sometimes joy from their religion. As long as people aren't hurting other people in the practice of their religion, I am pro-religion. I admit I sometimes get so frustrated with people hurting other people in the practice of their religion that I sometimes say or feel I hate religion. The bit you said about being pro-mosque is something I can really relate to. I am deeply disturbed by American communities refusing to allow people to build celebration halls, community centers, and mosques. Just a few years ago a mosque and a celebration hall went up across the street from the apartment complex I live in and I spent half my time speaking with non-friend locals defending the peoples' right to build them for about a year. I don't have the inside story or anything but from all the stops and starts in construction and due to the fact that the opening date kept getting pushed further into the future after the buildings were completely finished, a number of us in the complex speculated that people were interfering with the assorted building permits. The buildings are gorgeous and tasteful and add to the community and, as far as I know, provide the first Muslim wedding and reception venue in the area. All the Muslim weddings I worked in prior years were held in hotel banquet rooms. I always wished there were some other venue available that was as pretty inside as the area churches. I'm pro-mosque, pro Hindu, Wiccan friendly and so forth because the people involved aren't messing with anyone and deserve to live their lives how they want.

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      camoguard 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I definitely feel like Muslims in America get a lot of the same reaction atheists get and so forth with the list of religions you used. But you forgot Scientology and I'm glad you did. Some minor religions are in fact extremely ludicrous. I do think science is capable of answering religious relevant questions but that many religious questions come preloaded with assumptions we only make because we've become culturally accustomed to thinking in terms of gods, their values, and afterlives. Politically, though, I do ally myself with minority faiths a lot. And I tend to do it because I think being othered is such big interference that in many cases, we shouldn't have religious debates yet. I'm anti religion personally. But I understand the rights of people to pass on their tradition. So, I'm pro-mosque, pro Hindu, wiccan friendly and so forth publicly because it's a friendly thing to do.So first, we can work together to protect the simple rights of those religious groups. Then later we can argue about how sensible those practices are in NPR broadcast booths.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Yes sadly, sometimes people of my own religion other me, mainly Shi'a and Salafi Muslims. It's extremely complicated, but it's like an Evangelical or a Mormon calling a Methodist a "fake Christian".I have a tendency to read stuff as absolutes when they're not always, so maybe I did misread a bit. I don't know.It just ruffled my feathers the wrong way, mainly because the Evangelical Atheists try to blame everything on religion, when in reality the problem with people is not religious-centered but mainly ego-centered. "Oh I'm the only one doing the right thing and everyone else is wrong" is not a real religious belief but instead is the ego winning, when the point of most religious traditions is to control the ego. You can see this kind of arrogance in politics, religion, ethnicity, language groups, etc.Anyway, I'm glad we are able to discuss this without resorting to attacks or slurs. I really have no issue with Atheists, as we both have the same goal usually: to be left alone to our own beliefs.And I'm glad I inspired you to write a new page, even though that was quite unintentional. :)

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Your comments have inspired me to write a page about the times and ways in which atheists practice othering on each other using non-religious differences to justify it. Thank you.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Since the page is about the othering of atheists, you might note that the othering of atheists does not come from atheists. If this were a page about people othering religious people, atheists would be in there. I direct you to the words 'some' and 'sometimes' that I try to put in all of those statements. If you admit that sometimes, religious people other atheists for not having the same beliefs you aren't actually disagreeing with me. I admit that some atheists sometimes practice othering of religious people and if I were qualified to write a page about it, I would not flinch from saying so. You, however, sound qualified to write a page about it. This editorial pins all of the othering of ATHEISTS on SOME religious people; it does not pin ALL othering on ALL religious people. It doesn't even pin ALL of the othering of atheists on ALL religious people, which is how you appear to be reading it.If you have known religious discrimination; if you, like me, bear physical and emotional scars from it, why on earth is it wrong to talk about specific aspects of it? Why on earth shouldn't I be able to write about it from my perspective? Why should I have to say atheists are also responsible for othering atheists when they are not? Do people of your own religion other you? Would you say they did if they didn't in writing about your experience being othered by people of other religions or none?

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I apologize for assuming you were a Christian. I've had thousands of comments on blogs and articles stating that religion has nothing to do with discrimination against non-Christians and you wrote the absolute first one I've seen to not come from an evangelical Christian in my, admittedly limited, experience. I put the parts about the Bible in there because the Bible is the religious text currently being most used to justify homophobia and sentiments against non-Christians.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: And yes, I know what religious discrimination feels like, since I literally wear my beliefs on my head. I've been told I'm going to hell, that I should leave the country, called horrible names, been told I hate Jesus, been threatened with physical violence and rape.What you're dealing with is loss of religious privilege. Millions of non-Christians in America experience what you're going through, whether they're Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Wiccans, followers of Native religions, Buddhists, and, yes Atheists.The way you're being treated has nothing to do with your disbelief in a higher power. It has everything to do with not believing in the "right" higher power.And as someone who has had hate speech said against me by ATHEISTS, I find your article to be offensive in that it pins all the Othering onto the shoulders of religious people.I get waaaaaaaaay more comments about skydaddys, probably because I actively comment all over the internet and I can guarantee you, there is not a single moderator I have found out there who will remove hate speech from an Atheist as long as there are no death threats, because "well they're scientifically correct".No, they're not. Science is not capable of answering religious questions at all. It was not built for that. The "scientific" position when it comes to religion is agnosticism. Anything else (whether used as religious or non-religious "proof") falls into the realm of belief.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: I'm not a Christian, so I don't know why you're throwing the Bible at me. And for the record, I've never tried to convert ANYONE.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Also wanted to add: HATE is bred by exclusion of others for their differences... we're all guilty of it. Every person, whether atheist, christian or whatever, is responsible for their thoughts and actions in this world... ethics and morals are not exclusive to those who believe in a god or gods.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Another wonderful lens! I'm actually very proud to call myself an atheist! Sure, I feel a bit like the "black sheep" at times but my family is full of a variety of religious backgrounds (mostly Christian-based) and they all have issues with eachother's differences... so in that way, I do fit in.Though I don't believe in the existence of any supreme deity, I do have beliefs, which often baffles people. I do think there may be a connective force throughout the universe... I'm very interested in Quantum Theory and have seen enormous similarities in some of the world's oldest philosophies such as Theravada Buddhism. I actually received my B.A. in Religious Studies and this is an area that I love exploring!

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Stalin and Mao also practiced othering and it was wrong. I am not Stalin or Mao, I'm just a regular person who would like to be able to live without having to hide that I don't share Christian beliefs just to be physically safe and able to get or keep jobs. If you recognize that othering was wrong when Stalin and Mao practiced othering, why is it you can't recognize that using religion to other people is wrong? Admittedly, Christians aren't killing us off in droves but does othering have to go so far to be wrong? I doubt you've had millions of people tell you to stop having delusions or abandon your belief in a sky daddy. I probably haven't even had a million abusive comments from Christians in my whole life and I get an average of about one a day (they tend to come in clusters for some reason) of late and used to get dozens in a single day when my editorials were more popular. I also haven't had an abusive comment from a Christian face-to-face in over two weeks.Also, I haven't told you to abandon your beliefs, have I? I've only asked to be allowed to have equal treatment and to avoid abuse. I would be genuinely sad if you lost your belief because many people get comfort believing their loved ones aren't actually dead and I wouldn't wish to take that away from anyone. And from the nature of the nasty notes I get, religion is the only thing just barely keeping a lot of folks from going on torture/rape/killing sprees so they'd better NOT stop believing or we're all in trouble.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I direct you to the word 'sometimes' in the title you have quoted. How can you deny that sometimes, religion is responsible for othering people? If people decide to make laws against gay people having the same rights as everyone else because the Bible tells them being gay is an abomination isn't the religious text and religion stating being gay is an abomination at least somewhat responsible for the people who take the words of the Bible and the teachings of their religion and act upon them to other gay people? Homophobia among atheists is extremely rare, in the single digit percentages but it is extremely high in religious Americans it is in the double-digit numbers with extremely religious people exhibiting the highest rates. One in four American gay kids can expect to get 'othered' right out of their homes. All of the lgbtq teens and young adults I took in were discarded for sinning or beat into leaving for sinning. The answer is not to get angry at me for exposing that people in your religion practice othering against atheists, gays, and non-Christians of most types it is for you to recognize the othering and to question the othering your co-religionists do in the public spotlight while claiming to be the perfect representatives of your religion. I'll practice telling other non-Christians that intolerance of Christians is unacceptable. I have gone to pages right here on Squidoo and told other atheists I disagree with their approach to Christians. But I don't believe that trying to get equality and equal medical coverage for all or failing to teach Biblical literalism in public schools equals intolerance against Christians.You may have had some rude words from an atheist when you've tried to convert them or maybe atheists are even approaching you in your home like Christians do now (if so, please let me know, I'd be fascinated to interview atheists who evangelize Christians door-to-door and I'd do my best to talk them out of it). But have you ever known you couldn't ever admit your religion at work because you know you'd be fired? Has an atheist actually spat on you, hit you, kicked you, or scratched the words "Die Christian **** into your car? Has an entire community of atheists ever systematically hounded you to become an atheist? Did you get beat up repeatedly in school after a teacher purposely outed you as a Christian and told the other kids you were a Christian because you hate atheists (actually, the teacher told my classmates I was an atheist and that meant I hate God; it equaled beatings and years of harassment I could only escape by moving) and then did your classmates beat you? Did you even have to sit an hour a day in elementary school with your head down (just like the punishment for being not quite naughty enough to get paddled was at the time) during atheist education while the other kids in your public school class were off making macaroni pictures and singing, only to come back and spend the first ten minutes of the next period telling you you are going to, well, the Christian kids delighted in telling me what was going to happen to me in Hell, I don't know what an atheist equivalent would be? But on top of the list, have you ever had to take death threats, threats of rape, and threats of other violence to the authorities because some atheist threatened to cut you up, rape you, and then kill you so you could go to (well, again there's no equivalent to torture forever by an inventive and loving God in atheism) someplace even worse to the authorities, either the police or the FBI? I have. I get about one death threat per month and about one semi-credible threat of any kind every three or four months. Christians tell me I'm going to Hell several times per week. Christians threaten to rape me about every month or so. Christians write me with fantasies about shooting or stabbing me to death (I've been stabbed before, not as a hate crime against atheists, but it still makes me extra sensitive to stabbing threats) about once a month. One fellow was more inventive and went on and on about strangling me until just before I died and repeatedly resuscitating me so he could be sure I saw Hell before he killed me permanently. Death threats and threats of violence are a typical type of experience among atheist bloggers in America. Other atheists in America have had it much worse than I have. Why should we have to shut up about it? Doesn't hiding it just allow it to continue to go on? You presumably read this page. Did anything I said make you literally fantasize about hurting me in some real way or want to hunt me down in the real world and frighten me with vandalism? Isn't it at all disturbing to you that people do? Isn't it wrong? If I were a Christian getting those kinds of terrifying threats just for blogging, wouldn't you feel it was wrong? Is it some huge co-incidence that I've only ever gotten threats from religious people, mostly people who self-identified as Christian? Why should I be silent about it?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Regarding your section subtitled "Faith Can Sometimes Be What Allows People To Mistreat Those Not Like Them". Well, then how do you explain Atheists mistreating those who don't share their (dis)belief? If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I needed to stop "having delusions" or abandon my beliefs in a "sky daddy", I'd be able to buy Squidoo.Othering is something that doesn't require religion, and it's absolutely silly to blame Othering on religion. I mean, how do you explain Stalin or Mao? Neither of them were religious, and yet their regimes have killed and oppressed millions of people, mainly because those people held "illegal" religious beliefs.The truth is, people don't need a religion in order to be hateful. To misrepresent faith as the reason for hatred against the other is just irresponsible.

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      ChristianDatingHelp 4 years ago

      Hi and thanks for sharing this great Lens.

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      Fay 4 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      Interesting lens. People of any religion or non religion exhibiting such behaviour against someone are not behaving in line with their religion or any higher values. Everyone should be entitled to their beliefs as long as they aren't hurting anyone. My immediate family have a mix of several religions and and atheist (he's now agnostic). Everyone needs to come to believe what is right for them at this stage of their lives. Live and let live.

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      Terry Lomax 4 years ago from Rep. of Ireland

      @anonymous: I'm more of an infidel than anything, since atheists don't believe in god, I acknowledge others peoples gods, I wouldn't minister to my children about Jesus, I would advise them to learn enough about the various religions to be able to make an informed choice, religious or otherwise, as stated before.

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      JustOneGuy 4 years ago

      @DMVAgent: Good point. So then, it would make sense to find out what makes people mean, hateful and unproductive; i.e. predatory. That would be a good thing, right?I assume that productive people are honest people. When they tell you something, they mean it. They are focused on being productive and they know that being dishonest is not part of that identity.If, for instance, we could prove that all predatory people (mean, hateful and unproductive people) had a penchant for lying, were in fact masters at lying and had, in fact learned when they were very young that lying was an acceptable practice... would it stand to reason that perhaps we should look at that practice as a causal factor?If so, look at one of the fundamental differences between an atheist and a theist. An atheist's objection to being a theist is solidly based upon the idea that it is wrong to knowingly accept a falsehood as a basic premise. That's because the conclusions one draws which have that premise as a basis are very suspect, to say the least. A premise acts like a gun. If it is based upon verifiable truth, one knows where the bullet will strike. If it isn't, well, when it's fired it could hit anything. Let's look at where some of the bullets have struck.Consider which people want to attack Syria and Iran and for what reasons. I suppose there are atheists who would like to do that but I KNOW there are christians who would. Lots of them. I don't know many that aren't like that.Attacking another country that has not attacked us is a very questionable idea. In my mind, it is insane. It is a psychopathic act. How anyone could buy into such a thing is beyond me. It is not in any way, shape or form a loving act. The carrion crows will enjoy the outcome, however.It is, in fact, not good, not loving and not productive. Perhaps a poll is in order? I want to know what the statistics say about us good, loving and productive people. Let's see how the mop flops. Let's see who has become good, loving and productive ... and who hasn't. And let's include the age range of the pollee. I think some Premises have a cumulative effect over time.

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      DMVAgent 4 years ago

      Whatever makes people kind and loving and productive is good.

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      OMENA777 4 years ago

      Everyone deserves the same treatment regardless of their belief system. Even atheists have a belief system and they know what that is.

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      fincasquindio lm 4 years ago

      You are not alone! Thanks for sharing. Good luck =)

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      foxymulder 4 years ago

      Lengthy, detailed article on a great topic. I often get myself into trouble both online and off for engaging in topics such as this. I have always found the attitudes to atheists in the United States astonishing and interesting at the same time. I have always believed that those who cannot stand atheists or talk about atheists are simply using a self defence mechanism. As in they know their faith is easily shaken, so aggressively fight anything that might do so as a first strike.I have always believed if a god did exist then they would naturally value intellectual integrity over blind faith which could be easily manipulated. If they didn't I'm not sure I'd value their opinion in the first place. Thank you for having the guts to talk about a controversial topic in a world where so many people dare not talk for fear of offending someone.

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      steph-naylor 4 years ago

      This Lens was just what I was looking for! Thanks for the useful info!

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      dream1983 4 years ago

      Very nice lens and interesting topic, well done!

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      Charlotte Green 4 years ago

      There may be a God, there may not be, but i'd rather live this life believingthere's a Desert at the end! Equal rights all the way.

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      TerrenceYoung LM 4 years ago

      Great lens I really appreciate this. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel C. Dennett are some of the greatest thinkers and writers of our modern time. It's saddens me that people can be generally kind to one another regardless of ones beliefs. Thanks for sharing your view point.

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      hanztutan 4 years ago

      As a kid, I've been blinded to believe that there is a Santa and there is a Boogey Man. I did not question my parents. Now, they question my disbelief of God. They look at me as if I am a spawn of Satan, This is why I look at Catholics as hypocrites.

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @anonymous: So let me get this straight... You insist that everyone must be one thing or t'other when it comes to believing in a god - yet scorn any such black/white dichotomy when it comes to politics?My guess as to your political leanings was, I confess, a rather uncivil stab in the dark, prompted by your behaviour on this discussion thread which is highly reminiscent of the behaviour of people of a certain political outlook, especially in the US.I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, am in fact not even registered to vote, and come from a country where there are several, rather than just two, major political parties.I am also not religious.While I was apparently wrong about your politics (or lack of), I'm now confident that you are not as good a reader of character as you think you are.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @IanMayfield: Lol, oh yes now we are getting to the root of the problem,,,you assume that you understand me based on which political charlatan I claim to be in support of...well I don't vote, nor am I stupid enough to believe in democracy...so tell me Einstein about your guess now? I am sure that because you made a reference to voting that you believe your particular choice of republican/democratic mantra to be the one true political correctness, just as you believe your religion (whichever that me may) to be the one true religion, lol...now it all becomes clear thank you for helping to better define what I am dealing with here, lol.If you read my profile you would know I am not stupid enough to vote, nor do I believe in your Dumbocracy...read my lens, 'Friends Don't Let Friends Vote' for my views on the idiocy of voting and other acts of stupidity.

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @anonymous: No: YOU are discussing that. You are the one who took exception to a commenter describing himself as an agnostic. It's fine to argue that one can be either a theist or a nontheist, but to extrapolate from there that there can be no such thing as an agnostic is illogical. You've created your own narrow reality, and what you can't seem to get your head around is that it is not the WHOLE reality.

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Of course you are, GodlessHeathen. (And I bet I can guess how you vote too.)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @IanMayfield: This makes no sense at all...What is an'American?' Someone that was born in a geographical area located in North America? Yes I was born in that area, but an 'American' that does not make me or anyone else (as you might guess I have my views on this subject as well) but like I said this makes no sense at all. Using my same logic I will say that I am human....this does not make any other claims other than that. By saying I am human I have not made any claims about whether I am male or female, what race I am or any other distinguishing features, just that I am human. So this means I am not 'a'human (something that is not human) So when discussing if something is human or not there are only two possibilities, either it is or it is not. It does not matter what other species it is because we are only talking about whether it is human or not. Same holds true for theism...are you or are you not? It does not matter what other thing you may call yourself because we are only discussing whether you are theist or not.Think much?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Well if that works for you good luck...me I am sticking with what I said because I know I am right...

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Sometimes you just need to accept that people will use words to mean what the majority believes them to mean. Word meanings shift over time. I get what you are saying and it is technically correct but does not match the common usage of the word agnostic. Language changes and shifts can be upsetting, especially when one sees the majority going with something previously considered incorrect. The "impersonal you" and the use of "they" as a singular pronoun have driven me bonkers at times but they're here to stay now that they have been accepted by society at large. An atheist has an opinion regarding God. A theist has an opinion regarding God. A straight up agnostic would have no opinion one way or the other. I doubt that the state of straight up agnosticism (an opinion that the existence or non-existence of god are exactly equally likely or unlikely) exists for more than a brief period of time in any individual. It is far more likely he or she would slide back and forth on a scale between agnostic atheist and agnostic theist. Regardless of what point along the way he or she is at, he or she remains an agnostic (either an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist) as long as he or she makes no positive knowledge claim one way or the other.

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Who said anything about "believing"? I'm just pointing out definitions. Agnosticism is a philosophical position, just as theism is, just as atheism is. Yes, in certain instances it's not possible to be more than one thing and you have to be either one thing or the other. This is not one of those instances. I assume you, GodlessHeathen, are an American. I assume further (big assumptions, I know) that you are at least in part not a native American. If we are to use your logic, then if you are, say, a Belgian-American then it is not possible for you also to be an Irish-American even if your mother's maiden name was O'Reilly and she was born in Dublin, nor any other kind of American, even though one of your grandparents was Poilish and another came from Timbuktu.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @IanMayfield: Some people just are not capable of thinking things like this through...i understand I deal with them on a daily basis...maybe one day it will come to you...good luck...

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Well you of course can believe that, but it's wrong. You can't be in the middle on this it's just not possible. I think I know the problem here, it's because we are discussing religion and that always clouds peoples minds. Let's do this, let's use my earlier explanation. Do you agree that something is either symmetrical or it is asymmetrical? Unless you disagree with this statement there is nothing more to say. I am not making a judgement here on what the other object is, I am just saying if it is not symmetrical then it is asymmetrical. Now it could be a square, rectangle, octagon, triangle, etc...but that does not matter, it's still asymmetrical. Do you agree so far? If you do then the same would hold true in regards to theism would it not? Or do the laws of physics somehow change because we are not talking about religion? If there are only two possibilities on what an object can be and you agree with this, why does this logic change when we replace 'object' with 'belief'?Now if you disagree that there are other options other than symmetrical or asymmetrical please by all means let me know what those are? If you agree there are no other options then the same holds true on theism...period.

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Thank you, Kylyssa. Nice summing-up. Insisting on being either one thing or the other is fine for binary computing, but the real universe isn't nice and neat like that and the human mind most CERTAINLY isn't!

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @IanMayfield: "Sadly, the world really isn't nice and tidy like that and there are people who think that there probably is a god but aren't 100% sure" = agnostic theists."people who think it's unlikely but are open to the possibility" = agnostic atheists.

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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: There are agnostic atheists, agnostic theists, gnostic atheists, gnostic theists, and, yes, agnostics. A gnostic theist (seems to be the most common type of theist) is one who claims absolute knowledge of God's existence. A gnostic atheist (seems to be the rarest type of atheist) is one who claims absolute knowledge of God's non-existence. An agnostic atheist (what most atheists appear to be) is one who does not make a positive knowledge claim that God does not exist but, in the complete absence of evidence for God does not worship or believe in God. An agnostic theist (seems to be pretty common but not the most common among theists) is one who does not make a positive knowledge claim that God exists but, in the complete absence of evidence believes in God. An agnostic is one who makes no knowledge claim in either direction and who holds no opinion or belief as to the existence or non-existence of God. I think I've only met one actual "don't know, don't care" agnostic in my life. An actual agnostic would find it exactly equally likely that God exists or does not. Most agnostics are either theists or atheists to some degree or another. If you think God is likely to be real even one smidgeon more than you think God is unlikely to exist then you are an agnostic theist. If you think God is more unlikely to exist than to exist you are an agnostic atheist.

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You're the one who seems to be hung up, in your case on the meanings of words. Agnosticism and atheism - or theism - are not mutually exclusive. Once again, an agnostic is simply one who takes the position that he has insufficient data to determine whether or not there is a god. In its strictest sense, it has very little to do with belief. So the agnostic is not precluded from also being an atheist, or a theist.As far as Santa Claus is concerned, to be honest I don't think it was ever a question of "believing" in him. I was simply informed, as a small child, that this was how my Christmas presents arrived. It was, as far as my young mind was concerned, as factual a thing as that I had to go to school every day.On a side note, if you refer back to my previous comments you will note that I have said nothing as to my own self-identification. Still, as many of the comments on this lens demonstrate, it's not atypical of dogmatists of whatever stripe to jump to conclusions about what's inside other people's heads.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @IanMayfield: Bzzzt wrong. An atheist says there is no proof for the existence of a god or gods therefore based on that proof we reject it. We make no other claims. You keep missing the point. There is no middle ground, you are either a theist or you are an atheist. Once again you are hung up on the reason for a belief or non-belief, that does not matter. A person that claims to be an agnostic is saying they don't know, great so is the atheist. We are saying there is no proof, so therefore based on the lack of proof we are rejecting it, but if some proof can be produced we are willing to examine it again...therefore we have the philosophy of the person claiming to be 'agnostic' we just don't like to try and cover ourselves by saying we don't know.How do you feel about Santa Claus, are you equally agnostic on this idea as well? I mean we can't know for sure right? But I am willing to bet you are equally atheistic on the Santa story as I am on the god one.You are an aSanta Clausist, just like me...There is no such thing as agnostic...

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I will reply politely once and once only. Most people tend to simplify things into a spectrum of belief/nonbelief with theism (firm belief in God) on one end, atheism (firm belief that there is no god) on the other and agnosticism in the middle. Sadly, the world really isn't nice and tidy like that and there are people who think that there probably is a god but aren't 100% sure, people who think it's unlikely but are open to the possibility, people who think god isn't some supernatural being but just some guy who (probably accidentally) happened to create a universe one day, and so on. Agnosticism CAN mean the same thing as atheism, but really it's a quite different term.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @IanMayfield: I will walk you through it slowly. Putting an 'a' in front of a word means 'not' so as I stated already something is either symmetrical or it is asymmetrical there are no other options. If it's not symmetrical, then it is asymmetrical, but this does not say what it is, but what it is not. So by saying you are 'not' a theist it could only mean that you are an atheist. I know that agnostic word seems warm and fuzzy, but you are still an atheist by default of 'not' being a theist.If you can't do this simple math you should go back to school.

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      IanMayfield 4 years ago

      @anonymous: No, "agnostic" simply means you don't know whether there is a God or not. "Gnosis" is the Greek word for "knowledge": so an agnostic is simply "one without knowledge" - as it's generally understood, of a supreme being.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @DanielNibler: There is no such thing as an agnostic, you are either a theist or you are an atheist, that's the only two options. When an 'a' is placed in front of a word it means 'not' it does not mean the opposite. So if you are not a theist, it means you are an atheist. As stated above, a thing is either symmetrical or it isn't. If it isn't, then we say it's asymmetrical. Adding the 'a' simply means 'not', which in turn means either you are a theist or you are not a theist, or said another way... you are an atheist.You may have different reasons why you are not a theist, but this does not matter, the fact is you are an atheist. You are free to be anything else, it just means you are not a theist.Those people that KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that there is a god are delusional...

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      DanielNibler 4 years ago

      When I was 18 I set out on a quest to find the truth no matter what. I was an agnostic or possibly athiest. But I didnt feel like I had any cinclusive answers I could base the rest of my lifes decisions upon. I began reading metaphysical texts such as Time,Space and Knowledge by Tarthang Tulku. And books on esatern philosopy like Mans Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda and I quickly came to realize that there are some incredibly brilliant and strong people in this world who do not just "believe" in God but have direct contact with him. They KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that God is far more real than anything that you or I can perceive with our grossly limited senses. So now I know. But its not an easy place to get to.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Now that's a dumb question...air (and gravity and all other things you will come up with like this) can be measured and proven. How about this, can your god be proven? And only ignorant Christians believe atheists are immoral...in most cases we have more morals than those that claim to...like Christians..

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @catmaxx: A must disagree. If your a christian and you want your children to be. You minister to them about Jesus. But if your child becomes catholic or atheist, it was their choice.Don't pressure them either

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      As a christian i believe that some atheists are atheist for immoral reason. Others believe are atheist because either they were pressured to believe in God, Or events or tragic moment when they began to question if God is real. He is real. Just because you can't see Him does not mean he isn't there. Can you see air?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You bet! As long as you never say anything I or anyone on Fox "news" can construe as negative or even neutral about my cult's shared delusions. Yea, Yea, USA!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You bet! As long as you never say anything I or anyone on Fox "news" can construe as negative or even neutral about my cult's shared delusions. Yea, Yea, USA!

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      Terry Lomax 4 years ago from Rep. of Ireland

      fascinating lens, didn't know that there was such strong feeling over atheists. religion is a personal choice for every individual. when I first married (many years ago) my intention was to encourage my kids to learn as much about various religions as they could, then make their own individual choice of religion, or choose to be non-religious. Their human right to individual personal choice.

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      tripler5064 lm 4 years ago

      Everybody deserves the same treatment. Everybody does not have to agree. The difference between you and me is that you think it will end, I do not!

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      adammarshall lm 4 years ago

      Great lens! I look forward to reading more of your writing on Squidoo.

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      JustOneGuy 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I agree, but how? Our ideas mutate the human species. If we share an idea and that idea is germain to our survival and "heaven-forbid" teaches us the meaning of freedom, and we create a society that protects freedom, i.e. our ability to perform our foundation virtues, then yes, we could group together in a very real sense. But, we cannot do that if we allow predators to prey upon us. To date, throughout history, we have elevated the sociopaths and psychopaths to positions of authority. It is absolutely no wonder that every society eventually becomes predatorial to its members. We have no measure of predatory activity. We call liars "spin doctors" and allow it. We elect them to create the laws we live by and then wonder why the chickens are all dead. We pretend that 51% of the people determine right and wrong. How do you bring sanity to the "system"? With an idea, that's how. We must agree on the foundations of virtue because if we wish to survive, then there are certain actions that must be performed and these actions are the virtues. Predators of all stripe attack our ability to perform our virtues. And we have never in history looked at the problem from this direction. We have never defined freedom in this manner and unless we do we will simply continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

    • Kylyssa profile image
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      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: People use it to describe me both because I'm autistic and because I'm an atheist. Why shouldn't I be able to say so? It's a very nasty word but one generally considered G rated. If people want to call me nasty names, I'm directing them to the nasty names they are allowed to use on Squidoo.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I understand this is "g" rated, but seriously? Who invents words you can't use? Its just a word. Get over it.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very interesting though....just that "tard" word at the end that I "don't believe in " lol

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Please refrain from using the word "Re****ed

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      Heather B 4 years ago

      I must admit I am shocked. Having lived in Canada and Europe most of my life, I have never encountered hate or discrimination because of my views about religion. It is hard to believe that a country as advanced as America remains so backwards as to deny atheists their basic rights.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @theenchantedlan: I hear this a lot from people that I know that live in Europe and other areas of the world that can't believe people in the US actually still believe in gods....it's embarrassing to say the least....

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      theenchantedlan 4 years ago

      I am an inhabitant of Europe, of Belgium to be exact, and when I read this I almost can't believe this! I am shocked by the fact that in America atheism is hated so much. I can safely say that where I live it is almost the reverse: to identify as a christian is considered being quite stupid. The biggest part of the youth isn't religious or traditionnaly religious anymore (not including the imigrant moslims of course) and there is a feeling of hate for the dominant, oppressive and autocratic position the church has played in the past concerning ethics. I personally just finished my last year of highschool at a catholic school and I must say the catholic part is quite gone: like I said before youth doesn't believe anymore, religion is seen as the cours to watch some videos and do homework for the other courses...and the teachers we had...well let's say that the teachers that were interesting didn't identify as religious themselves and the teachers that did...if they tried to learn us something they only convinced us of their inferior level of life wisdom. There is for instance this anecdote of my fifth years: the teacher said to us that every body was equal, but that christians ( as he saw us like that) where more advantaged because they had the drive to do good for their religion; they would do more good things because they had their religion to tell them to do so. When he asked us what we thought about this, I said: But when someone that doesn't believe does something good, isn't that than worth more, because of the fact that this person really does it to do good and not because of a religion that says he has to? I will never remember his face, when he looked at me. It was obvious that he had never thought of it in that way.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Everyone can believe or not believe whatever they want, that's what makes the USA great

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      Stephen Bush 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you! SquidAngel blessings.

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      ChenB 4 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this lens and how it looks at the world through the scope of atheism. Thank you for writing this!

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      surfer1969 lm 4 years ago

      A interesting lens,my religion Is Wicca a earth base type religion.I get frowned upon too.So I know how hard It can be at times.

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      ilike2create 4 years ago

      I am not an atheist but I find it terrible and unacceptable for people to discriminate against those they disagree with. It hurts when I see people talking good but doing the absolute opposite. I am sorry for the people on both sides of the conflict.

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      jballs6 5 years ago

      I'm glad I came across your lens, My son and I were having a discussion about religion I am a non believer and I could not answer some of his questions. Your lens has helped me greatly. Thanks

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      Dana Marie 5 years ago from St. Peters, MO

      My only comment is this....it is not Christian at all to act out as these so called Christian have...it's your choice not to believe...just as it mine to believe.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Atheism is not a belief...

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I don't live in America (thank God :<) but in Australia where religion is treated with skepticism by much of the population. So I'm sorry to hear that atheists are discriminated against for their beliefs over there. Mind you, most of the atheists I know are just as 'religious' as the Christians about their beliefs, and just as intolerant of other peoples perspectives.

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      fayenoman 5 years ago

      Believing without seeing: is it a great mistake? or a great demonstration of faith?

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @Fcuk Hub: For you it is just God. For me, it's just nothing.

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      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      It is God, but not Christian or Muslim or whatever. It is JUST God :)

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      akataRadu 5 years ago

      Extraordinary lens!

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      savagebeauty 5 years ago

      This is so true. I conducted a micro study for an MA International Relations class and found that people in the US feared atheists more so than Muslims; the media tends to fixate on Muslim/Christian relations since September 11, 2001. A rather high percentage of Americans also linked natural disasters with godly retribution, but this is not as surprising given the puritanical remnants that still linger. Excellent work, as usual:)

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      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Whatever gets you through the night/day; one thing is for certain "In The End, We're All Dead". Great Lens. Kudos!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: 'zoomworm' was the security word I got when I clicked to get the reply text-box. I like that word. Zoomworm. I totally agree that belief/non-belief is quite individual. I've been noticing that more and more. I think it's wonderful that there is such variety in people. I was brought up in the mainline modern Baptist tradition, which stressed sameness even while it payed lip service to uniqueness. It stressed sameness by being mean, confrontational, and otherwise unfriendly to anyone who did not at least assent to the 'program'. Just like being in a hell of a bootcamp, only this bootcamp was about assent, never mind actually fitting the bill. Some of the most mean and, or, debauched people are those who're preoccupied to with getting others to assent to what they themselves assent to---especially if their own assenting to it is accompanied by worldly blessings like being understood and, or, having plenty of health and a good-paying job.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Very beautifully written, Kylyssa. You have a gentle, loving soul. I wish the Christians who claim to have found Jesus were as gentle as you. But most aren't. They act out of fear of the God they pretend to love. They believe that by persecuting, tormenting and even destroying "non-believers" they will somehow get a front row seat or get to sit at the big people table in heaven.If that truly is their idea of the heavenly horde, why would they want anything to do with it? Wouldn't you think it would get tiring having to bow down and try to second guess what the big guy expected of you all the time and if you don't guess right, you'll burn in hell? It would make the whole thing totally pointless, wouldn't it? And imagine having to "live" with knowing you had caused the death and pain of other living creatures because they didn't believe as you did. But maybe they don't feel guilt, Kylyssa.I reject any idea that says the world is inherently malevolent or benevolent. It's neither. It just is. We are the creatures that create the feeling of benevolence or malevolence around us and impart that to our world. That is heaven or hell. And from what I've seen, I'd much rather live in a world where people believe as you do.

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      KennyKT 5 years ago

      @KennyKT: aw crap if you could delete the last comment about 2008 posting I am dumb and didn't notice I was replying to the beginning of the thread instead of the end.and also this one :)

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      KennyKT 5 years ago

      @KennyKT: also just noticed the last comment seems to be from 2008 hope some people still read this lens.

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      KennyKT 5 years ago

      @KennyKT: Also for the record I am an atheist. I don't care if someone who is religious try's to tell me about their religion just understand when I say not interested that should be the end of it. I do not go around telling everyone I meet that I am an atheist unless specifically asked my belief. If anyone reading this cares to take notice not all atheists are angry people who feel the need to topple and destroy all religion or whatever the fear might be. Just as not all religious people are out to stamp there beliefs onto everyone else and make their religion THE ONE RELIGION. In fact I would like to believe that most people are pretty decent folk and would like to coexist in relative* peace. *notice the relative as I am not naive enough to think we as a species have come far enough and possibly never will to ever live in total peace.Also it's pretty late here so if this is a bit of a ramble I apologize.

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      KennyKT 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Like your site/lens/blog just found it at random on google. I am not from the states so to me all the hoopla over what each other believes seems like such a weird thing. I work in a place that has Christian/Hindu/Muslim/Sikh/Atheism and possibly more that I don't know about. The one thing I have learned for fact is that it doesn't matter a person religion or color or sex whatever there is people that you will like and people you will dislike and it crosses over all boundaries. It's a shame that people focus on such a limited thing as someones personal beliefs.

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      LordNefarious 5 years ago

      This was an excellent read and so far my favorite Lens I have come across. Admitting that you do not believe in God still seems so taboo in this society and it baffles me that trusting in empirical evidence and being able to admit that we do not have all the answers and probably never will within our lifetime is often times looked down upon. I was also fortunate in that my parents never told me what to believe in when I was too young to understand such things and let me decide and question things for myself. I also found it very amusing that some people seem to take your works of fiction literally as a way to prove you are wrong or hypocritical. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @JimDickens: You are wrong in that agnostic is a knowledge position which does not conflict with atheism or theism. To be gnostic is to make a positive knowledge claim as you claim all atheists do about God. Would you agree that a person who worships God yet sometimes does not feel 100% certain God is real is still a theist? They are agnostic theists because they don't make the 100% knowledge claim about the existence of God. Theists who never have any doubts about the reality of God who are 100% certain of God's existence are gnostic theists.I've never met a gnostic atheist but I've met plenty of agnostic theists and gnostic theists.I use the label atheist because I don't think God is real. If some verifiable evidence of God's existence came up, I'd probably have to believe in God so I wouldn't be an atheist. It's just like if some evidence came to light that proved Ganesha were real, you'd change to believing in Ganesha instead of Yahweh.

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      JimDickens 5 years ago

      One of your statements makes be believe that you are an agnostic rather than an atheist. "To me, it's not 100% impossible that some kind of superior being or universe creator exists, it's just extremely unlikely." My understanding is that an atheist believes that there is no god Period. end of story. The agnostic believes that they are without knowledge (a-gnostic) of god and therefore are not willing to believe one way or another. I believe that the faith of an atheist in "no god" has to be as strong as the faith of an evangelistic Christian in "a personal god". Without the faith of "no god" (a-theism), then you are more agnostic. How am I wrong?

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @anonymous: GH, the big issue is how do we deal with the rock in the middle of the field which contradicts the theory we "believe" in? Do we have the "right" to ignore it? Is it morally correct to ignore the truth? (you used the term, "right", so you brought morality into it.:) )

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Any belief is quite individual, no two absolutely alike if you really think about it. (The way you taste an apple is not the way I taste an apple)...... Unless you are a lemming.....

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @JustOneGuy: And this my fellow Atheists, is why we must group together instead of being a spotty mass that can't look out for each other.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @Elyn MacInnis: Peace to you too - but I have to take exception to the idea that most religions have kindness and compassion at the top of their list. I related, in a previous post, how three people who are dear to me and ultra religious are anything but kind and compassionate to people who follow islam. Consider all of the raving lunatics who wish to pick a fight with Iran and Syria, for starters. There is enormous support from "christians" on behalf of their "one true God" to rid the world of islam. These "christians" are anything but kind and compassionate. I would qualify them as sociopaths. Such is the path from neurosis to psychosis. They honestly believe they are doing "God's work".

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @LadyDeath: But if we don't have reason and cannot expect other people to be reasonable, society will not work. I guess what I mean is that it is not wrong to tell someone else that there are limits to what they can do. I can tell them what they need to do as a human being in order to survive: they need "to choose", "to seek the truth in all things" and create a survival identity. But I cannot tell them how to do it.I can also tell them that they must allow me to do those things because that is the definition of freedom. And with respect to these four things, I do wish all people would believe as I do. I think that were we all to hold those four ideas as sacred, the world would be a happier place for mankind. I don't believe in God, but I do believe in having a rational morality and that if the laws that limit our actions were judged based upon how well they protected our primary virtues, i.e. "choice", "to seek the truth in all things", and creating a survival identity, we would change society from being a place where one becomes enslaved to the state - to a place that gave us the freedom to be human.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @wcjohnston: It's Richard Dawkins. Not "Dorkins". What? Couldn't actually by his real novel so you bought a boot-legged version? Did you even read the book? BTW I honestly don't give a crap in what you believe in, as long as you're not trying to shove it down my throat. Live and let live. And yes, what you did say was a broad generalization; what's even more sad is that you seem to believe it. Good day!

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      jeffersonline 5 years ago

      I was a career soldier for over thirty years. The things I saw convinced me that if there is a God, he or she is a flawed one - please see my comments above. The Cathars argument against God?'If you came across a man torturing a child, would you walk by and do nothing? If you answer no to my question you are more of a God than God is - as he has made this the way of the world.'And the Cathars of the early middle ages?Gone.Persecuted out of existence by the Church of the day.We seem to be going the same way, but with atheists as the target now.This is a very thoughtful lens. Thanks for putting it together.

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      LadyDeath 5 years ago

      @JustOneGuy: I understand what you mean. Its sad to think that in a time of need many of our close friends and relatives would turn their back because our beliefs do not match their own. I know a few like that, no matter what you say or do they will not even try to see it from your side. I mean I don't want people to believe as I do if they don't want to, but I cannot stand when they are hypocritical and tell others how to live and believe. Each person knows in their heart what the truth is, it's just a master of listening to it. One of my favorite arguments from christians is, Evolution is a lie. They always quote the bible, give other christian evidence that doesn't make sense. I go by science and I've actually been told that the devil wants me to believe in science, and I am weak so I do. It made me laugh. I was baptized when I was young, I was taught all the stories. I just could not make sense of it. Once I was older I could read and research different things science always won, with me. Now I am NOT saying I dislike all christians. I am saying I dislike hypocrites regardless of religion. I love people, no matter what, I don't care about ones religion or beliefs unless imposed on me or my children. I give my children the freedom to decide when they are older. When they ask questions about god, I give them the answer but I also give the alternatives. No religious beliefs should be instilled in their heads without proper knowledge of all.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @LadyDeath: Ranting is all most of us can do, really. I have three very close relatives who are ultra religious. I've never really objected to this because their choices are their choices and none of my business, BUT, now I see that what I expected to happen HAS happened. At the end of a conversation where they told me about how they "found jesus" I asked them if they thought all people should follow their one true God, they said, "yup". Actually, one nodded, another said, "yup", and the third said nothing - but did not object. So, I asked a follow up question. "Do you agree with the insane plan to go to war with Iran and Syria?". They said absolutely nothing. "Do you realize how many people, children included, and other innocents would die?" They still said nothing. Long pause. Then, one responded, "do you know what Islam thinks of women?!". At this point I had tears in my eyes and my jaw was in my lap. I told this person that I did. And I pointed out that Mohammed gave women the right to vote and own property 1400 years before this country did. They acted as though I was a child and didn't know what I was talking about. Here's a link to share with Christian fanatics who would have us all become "Christian soldiers": http://www.islamswomen.com/articles/women_in_islam... asked them If I could prove to them that their ideas about Islam were totally wrong headed, would they look at the proof? I got no definitive answer from them.I changed the subject. I asked them if they knew that the Bush family, going back three generations, have all made a fortune on war and that I suspect their involvement in triggering our so-called "war on terror". (see the book, "Family of secrets: The Bush Dynasty")The only response I got was, "I believe VERY strongly that that could not be true!". If I can show you the proof, I said, would you look at it? No response other than the repeating of their strong belief that it could not be true.And THAT is the danger of a belief in God. When one's emotional attachment to a belief is so strong that it creates blindspots, well, pain and suffering are not far away. They have translated the emotional attachment to "finding Jesus" into other areas of their worldview with disastrous results. To become blind to the course of action their "belief system" will trigger or allow, is the poster child of neurotic behavior. It leads to pain and misery for all of us as well as the innocents ones behind the blindspots in their worldview. And to the man who said we should have tolerance for each other, well, does that include tolerance for beliefs that lead to death and destruction, pain and misery? Seeking the truth in all things means that we MUST doubt our belief systems at all times because we all have the capacity to be wrong. And by that I mean that we must be open to evidence that contradicts what we believe to be true. I do not mean that you must be paralyzed with the fear of being wrong and so you can never act on your beliefs. Put another way, if you find yourself avoiding evidence that contradicts your beliefs and you do not stop and question your beliefs, you are violating one of your primary virtues and cannot consider yourself to be a good person. (what a concept, eh?)Sorry to go on so much about this. But the betrayal of three people who I have loved my entire life is just very painful. I have layers of sadness associated with this experience.

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      LadyDeath 5 years ago

      I loved this lens. I am not Atheist, I am Agnostic. Not too far off but still get a bit of the same treatment. The part I find most disturbing is the part about a National Registry. I mean what the eff? Are we starting the Holocaust all over again only this time with "non believers"? It's quite sad that as much as people say they accept others' points of views, many do not. I am as open minded as they get and I truly do accept anyone's beliefs, as long as they do not shove their beliefs down my throat. I don't do that to others so I expect the same in return. When someone asks me what I believe in, I explain and if they try to start a religious debate I stand my ground and explain why. If they keep going and INSIST I believe or I will go to h***, I just say "If that's true, then I accept my fate." They don't like that. The promise of a paradise if I am good and an endless "life" of torture and fire if I am bad does not bode well with me. It is no one's place to tell me if I don't believe what they do then I am a bad person. Ranted...sorry. Again awesome lens!

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      wcjohnston 5 years ago

      OK, I know what I am about to say is a broad generalization, but I believe it holds true. Why do Religious People not tolerate Atheists? For the same reason Atheists don't tolerate Religious people. Intolerance is part of the human condition that can only be changed when a society as a whole chooses to accept the beliefs of everyone as valid. The problem is that we become polarized by our cultural view points. Atheists believe that religious people are deluded and naive not able to expanded their minds to encompass truth; while the religious see the atheists as deluded and naive not able to expanded their minds to encompass truth. I hear those of faith say they respect the right of those who choose not believe to have no belief in God. I also hear those who say they have no belief in God say they respect those who do to believe what they wish. Neither is true. Those who have faith are compelled by that faith to share it with those who do not have the same faith.At the same time they often get upset when people argue against them.Atheists get upset when those of faith try to share there faith while at the same time trying to convince those who are religious of the delusion they are under.There is little respect on either side. I have read Richard Dorkins' The God Delusion. But I am still told by Atheists that if only I Christians would read it they would realize that Religion (especially Christianity) is all false. Yet at the same time Christians, who have never read anything by Dorkins tell me his books should be band under the 'incitement to religious hatred laws'. Nether is a valid point of view. I have read 'The God Delusion' I don't think it should be band, but as Christian it has not changed my beliefs. Moreover I think it should be compulsory reading at Theological Collages. The author of this Lens says in the closing remarks "The purpose of this page is not evangelistic - it is merely an attempt to explain what an atheist actually is to spread tolerance. It was created with the hope that people might read it and learn to see atheists as normal human beings with the same right to freedom of religion as anyone else" and it is in that hope that we have both the problem and the solution. The solution is TOLERANCE the problem is religious freedom for both Atheist and Religious groups requires the freedom to spread the truth as they see it. Sadly each group and even individual see the truth through a social and cultural that is formed through experiential parameters. Perhaps that is why in Eastern Philosophy opposites can be understood to be true at the same time, but in the 'western post modern scientific mind' there can only be an empirical truth that excludes all other possibilities. Rev. WC Johnston BA Hons Biblical Theology. M.TH Applied Theology

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      cameras14 5 years ago

      I'm think you cool!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Cool lenks, like himBehold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.Revelation 3:20

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @mycalculadora: Oh yeah, wherever Reason rears its head, it's hammered. Probably the big reason we've been forced to send our children to public school. Clip their wings and that way they won't question the status quo or get the foolish idea that they can fly too.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @Tamara14: Would you consider the act of choosing to be a virtue?

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      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      This is so lovely. I'm tempted to get the URL for this lens printed on small cards, to be held ready for the next time an earnest person, full of good intentions, sets his or her sights on herding me down the road to belief and salvation. When I'm too weary for the conversation, I can just hand out a card :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: My response was to illustrate what your response sounds like to myself and other atheists. Your response if I sum it up is this, "I don't know how all these things happened, therefore it could only be a God." Am I wrong in what I am reading? So I responded with the same equally simplistic reply and all I did was swap "God" for "The Flying Spaghetti Monster". So if you found this offensive, I guess you now understand why we do as well...because it sounds ridiculous...

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for your response GodlessHeathen. You're right. I can't prove a higher power caused this world to exist any more than I can disprove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster wasn't responsible. That wasn't the point of my post. I was stating it as my personal belief. The point of my post was to say that I appreciated reading and learning what others had to say so that I could come to terms with my own beliefs. I'm happy that you feel so confident in yours, but think your remark was flippant and not productive to the lens as a whole. The paragraph at the top of this page states that the purpose of this lens is to "explain what an atheist actually is to spread tolerance. It was created with the hope that people might read it and learn to see atheists as normal human beings with the same right to freedom of religion as anyone else". Your comment doesn't show tolerance toward me, only rudeness and intolerance for anyone that has an opinion different than yours.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for your response GodlessHeathen. You're right. I can't prove a higher power caused this world to exist any more than I can disprove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster wasn't responsible. That wasn't the point of my post. I was stating it as my personal belief. The point of my post was to say that I appreciated reading and learning what others had to say so that I could come to terms with my own beliefs. I'm happy that you feel so confident in yours, but think your remark was flippant and not productive to the lens as a whole. The paragraph at the top of this page states that the purpose of this lens is to "explain what an atheist actually is to spread tolerance. It was created with the hope that people might read it and learn to see atheists as normal human beings with the same right to freedom of religion as anyone else". Your comment doesn't show tolerance toward me, only rudeness and intolerance for anyone that has an opinion different than yours.

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I was raised Christian and experience led me to atheism. Plus if you really didn't want to shove your faith anywhere, you could have saved yourself a few paragraphs of the sales pitch.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hello. I am a Christian, and no I am not going to shove my religious input down your throat and expect you to give the tiniest bit of sympathy for me. Honestly, I think your blog is excellent, well thought out, and was very interesting. I am looking to become a Theologian and a Psychologist with both studies tied together. In one of your articles, you mentioned that most people were probably taught that God existed at a very young age and grew up with that mentality. You mentioned that they did not remember when or how they were implanted with the idea that God really did exist. First, I find this theory to be very interesting because as a student, a lot of my friends are Catholic. As you may probably know, Catholicism and Christianity are very simliar. However there are a few distinctive beliefs that separate us. Anyways, I decided to ask some of my friends why they were in fact Catholic. I asked why they prayed to the Saints, why they do this, why they do that. And the answer I got?"I was raised Catholic!"This statement is not very surprising to me as much as it did in the past. You were obviously raised to think on your own and to explore your options. My parents were raised Catholic, grew up Catholic, and then converted to Christianity. But before I continue, I think you are a very strong-minded person. You are very logical, and I think that more people should begin to think like you. Life is not a fairy-tale, life isn't fair, and bad things happen to good people.Anyways I realize that listing my whole life-story is pointless, but before I go, I would like to say that the reason I chose to become a Christian wasn't because I was "raised that way" or because I find it comforting that there is an afterlife or a loving God who loves me even though I continually make mistakes. Because you see, these lovely options are sweet, right? My point is that it was an experience that led me to Christ. It was a very scary life-changing moment and has been stuck in my mind that very day. And I know that you probably think that it was some "psyologicial problem" that emerged into my brain because I was terrified, so close to death, or etc. God allows things to happen because He has tremendous plans in store. I hope that you know that I will pray for you because times are near. Don't wait until later to find out that God did exist, and please don't wait to find out that Hell did also.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Kylyssa, thanks for this lens. I am an atheist living in the heart of America's Bible Belt (Alabama). This lens is so comprehensive - I know it took a lot of work to create it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: "I believe in a higher power, for me -- GOD, because there are way too many complex anomalies out there to be mere evolution. The design of the human eye, gravity's cause and affect, the beautiful spectrum of colors intricately worn by many birds and fish, and the mind-blowing discoveries of quantum theory to name a few."Well this only proved that it was the Flying Spaghetti Monster that was responsible for all this...anyone knows that..it's obvious, just go outside and look at a tree.If you need "proof" all one has to do is look for themselves:http://www.venganza.org/category/sightings/

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I believe in a higher power, for me -- GOD, because there are way too many complex anomalies out there to be mere evolution. The design of the human eye, gravity's cause and affect, the beautiful spectrum of colors intricately worn by many birds and fish, and the mind-blowing discoveries of quantum theory to name a few. These examples seem too well thought out and constructed to occur by sheer happenstance. But I don't see a God standing mighty in the heavens keeping track of my sins on a chalkboard. I think that's man-made doctrine. I also feel that organized religions were created to keep the people in line in order to control power over them and take their money. I really enjoyed reading this lens. I think it's everyone's right to choose their own way, and, by the way, yes, I would vote for an atheist. I don't believe their morality is an issue in the least. We all know many God-fearing "Christians" that bash their fellow man, steal from work, lie to their spouses, etc., yet still claim to be more righteous than the non-believer, so don't know why they think they are better suited to be in public office. They haven't even taken the time to question what's told to them by their spiritual leaders. They follow blindly. Millions don't know that over 14 books have been removed from their holy bible. They don't know anything about the reformation and the self serving revisions made to their doctrine. It's amazing to me that people can be so educated in some areas, and totally lose all perspective and common sense in others, and fail to take the time to research what it is that they believe in. This lens is a great tool to help anyone gain perspective. Thank you for your viewpoints.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I believe in a higher power, for me -- GOD, because there are way too many complex anomalies out there to be mere evolution. The design of the human eye, gravity's cause and affect, the beautiful spectrum of colors intricately worn by many birds and fish, and the mind-blowing discoveries of quantum theory to name a few. These examples seem too well thought out and constructed to occur by sheer happenstance. But I don't see a God standing mighty in the heavens keeping track of my sins on a chalkboard. I think that's man-made doctrine. I also feel that organized religions were created to keep the people in line in order to control power over them and take their money. I really enjoyed reading this lens. I think it's everyone's right to choose their own way, and, by the way, yes, I would vote for an atheist. I don't believe their morality is an issue in the least. We all know many God-fearing "Christians" that bash their fellow man, steal from work, lie to their spouses, etc., yet still claim to be more righteous than the non-believer, so don't know why they think they are better suited to be in public office. They haven't even taken the time to question what's told to them by their spiritual leaders. They follow blindly. Millions don't know that over 14 books have been removed from their holy bible. They don't know anything about the reformation and the self serving revisions made to their doctrine. It's amazing to me that people can be so educated in some areas, and totally lose all perspective and common sense in others, and fail to take the time to research what it is that they believe in. This lens is a great tool to help anyone gain perspective. Thank you for your viewpoints.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @ElBat: One other thing, forgive me for being lame. The difference between an ideal human which we measure ourselves against and a god which measures us from a standard that cannot, by definition, be understood, is the difference between a one and a zero. On the one hand you have something that you yourself use to judge your own actions/identity and on the other you are at the mercy of being judged by one who speaks to phantoms. That's a little closer to what I was getting at.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      @ElBat: I hear ya. Interesting how religion has screwed up all of these concepts though, isn't it? And that's my real point. Tell me that the person you fall madly in love with doesn't receive some worship from you. :) Of course they do. it's a natural feeling. It's a thing that is uplifting. Religions have stolen those feelings from us in the name of god/gods and that is what I object to. We need to take them back, else, what's the point of being an atheist? to deny everything worth living for? Who wins that battle? Religion or reason? So, let's change the rules to fit our way of looking at life. I hate losing any battle but that's what happens when we try to beat them using their rules. Unless, of course, you think that god made the rules...and that we can't change them. But I hear what you're saying and I do agree with the jist of it and the spirit with which it was written.

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      Eleni Bat 5 years ago from Greece

      @JustOneGuy: In the name of discussion, I disagree. Maybe it is just me, but I don't want to worship anyone. To worship morality reminds me the numerous gods ancient Greeks had, each for any value e.g the morning light, guilt, destiny etc. Its is like saying, I don't like any god I heard of, why don't I make one my self?

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      Perhaps a better way to describe an atheist would be to say that we believe that an ideal human is something we should reach for and try to achieve. And by that I mean an idealized vision of what man (gender neutral) can become. In place of god, we put this image. We identify what makes a perfect human, and lift that up for all to see - and yes, to worship. Worship simply means to hold something up as so precious it must be protected at all costs, like our lives. This is a natural feeling and response to the purest and best within all of us. So, why not create a rational substitute for an irrational god? Throwing out religion because we don't believe in god might be just like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Morality is real, god isn't.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      So, how about a religion for atheists? You didn't look at my lens for that. :) No faith based stuff, nothing like that. And no gods.

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      Eleni Bat 5 years ago from Greece

      At last someone says it as it is. It's one thing saying you don' believe in Christian God and a whole other to say you don't believe in any god. I think that after 100-200 years it will become clear that religion was made so there could be some handle in immoralities. There are still so many things we don't know but I deny to believe to any religious story ( from budhism to judaism) just because of the fear of damnation. I was raised by a religious mother and I realise that religion has a purpose. It gives patience and strength to those who can't aquire it them selves. Those who find a shelter there. That is just fine with me. I totally understand it.

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      greenmind 5 years ago

      Right there with you. Never feel that discriminated against, but careful to keep my religious thoughts to myself -- because, after all, religion should be a personal, and not a public, matter.

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      waldenthreenet 5 years ago

      Spiritual Freedom is a rock of civil rights in America. But "tolerance" comes from culture of wisdom and knowledge. On that we have far to go but the rest of the world also. Congrads on your suqidoo trophy. Am going for my next. Thanks.

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      Joy Lynskey 5 years ago from Moneta, Va

      This is an incredible lens! Thanks so much for sharing all of this and I am so proud to see it at ranked so highly on Squidoo! Thanks Kylyssa for sharing some great insight!

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      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Understanding people, looking deeply into what they think and why, is the beginning of deep peace. Kindness and compassion are what most religions have at the top of their list, but our cultures and religious organizations betray our small minds. A wave of peace to you.

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      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Back to give an angel blessing - which is pretty funny actually. But I truly value your articulate way of expressing yourself, and your courage.

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      kevingomes13 lm 5 years ago

      Im raised catholic, non practicing so I don't know if i consider myself atheist. I really don't believe in a higher being on most days. But I can see the good in religion as long as it isnt used with negativity.

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      kevingomes13 lm 5 years ago

      Im raised catholic, non practicing so I don't know if i consider myself atheist. I really don't believe in a higher being on most days. But I can see the good in religion as long as it isnt used with negativity.

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      perrybenard 5 years ago

      I am a believer! Great lens i will be back to comment more

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @PatrioticTees: Thank you for the valuable suggestions! I'm adding links to both.

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @anonymous: There's definitely a balance to be had here. I welcome people to their beliefs. You're entitled to think for yourself this way. But let's say you had a belief that math was delusional. With that belief, you can say it. You can defend it. But you cannot be protected from all of the consequences of refusing to accept calculated sums. You'd still be liable for getting taxes right and so forth.The same goes for beliefs for (or for the absence of) god(s). You can have whatever opinion you want. But you can't use that to support yourself if you still commit a crime or earn a penalty that comes as a consequence of you ignoring reality.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I believe people should have the right to believe in anything they want to...no matter how silly or implausible others may believe those things to be. With that being said, I would like to point out that having a right to your belief, does not void someone Else's equal right to have an opinion opposite yours and be vocal about it. You do not have a right to not be offended.

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      sarahrk lm 5 years ago

      Everyone is allowed to have their own beliefs. We live in a free society. No one should be judged by their beliefs.

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      laporter79 lm 5 years ago

      Wow this is great! So very well explained, so very well thought out. Thanks so much for this lens, I will show my husband when he wakes up.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @PatrioticTees: It is silly really that most people just repeat mantra's they have heard all their life like "I believe in God" and most of them have never even looked into what it is that they are claiming to believe in. I wrote a Lens and tried to put as much as I could into it, as to help other atheists when confronted with the lunacy of a believer.http://www.squidoo.com/god-is-just-pretend If theists were just to read this with an open mind, they would feel pretty silly for believing in this thing they call "God".

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      PatrioticTees 5 years ago

      You should post links about the "Reason Rally" and American Atheist Convention that are both coming up in and around DC in March. Information can be found on RichardDawkins.net, if you scroll down the page. It is nice not to feel isolated, My husband and I do not know ANY other atheists... and we live in a Blue state. Here, it's like most people have never really thought it through before.... And even though in theory, I know people that live similar lives to mine... they are unwilling to let go of that final final thread... that "I don't believe in God"... thread... Like saying it would change them into something else. If people REALLY thought things through, and really examined what they REALLY think about the world, and if society didn't demonize atheists... there'd be more. Even here in the US.

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      LoKackl 5 years ago

      Respectfully rendered, not to mention very attractive presentation of atheist issues. Blessed!

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      ifuturz 5 years ago

      Nice Lens

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      ourdailytrain 5 years ago

      Nice lens, especially the post about atheists not denying God but not believing in him. Two different matters. I've also heard believers claim that "we" are cold hearted and have not been receptive to the "word," thus are in denial. No, actually we don't think there is a being in the first place. You have to believe first before you can deny it.

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      Tamara Kajari 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Regardless of the fact I'm an atheist myself, I must admit I wasn't aware of the issues in the American society you're describing here and it's quite a shock for me. In fact it all comes down to the sad fact that many "believers" are lacking tolerance these days, to say the least. On the other hand I don't go to church but respect those who do simply because it's their choice. Sad to see the freedom of choice is being "on trial" in a country such as USA. Excellent lens!

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      SmartyGirlRenee 5 years ago

      I'm not an atheist but I really appreciate your eloquent lens. I look forward to reading your future lenses.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I can't be sure, that's why I am an atheist. You see what you do not understand (and most likely never will) is that an atheist simply means we reject your version (the theist) of how the universe was created. But that is the only thing we reject, we leave open the possibilities of many other things. The difference is YOU claim to know, and you do not. I simply showed you how I could replace your word "God" with any other word and your statements would sound just as ridiculous. YOU are claiming to know, and you have no proof for your claims.I am glad I could be of service to you, come back anytime!

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      mycalculadora 5 years ago

      love this lens! i didn't realise atheists (i'm an atheist too) were discriminated against in the states, unbelievable!

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      myamya 5 years ago

      Great lens! squidlikes!

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      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Very nice lens! thumbs up

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I should thank you...for confirming my conclusion that atheists are arrogant elitists who mock and ridicule anyone who doesn't believe just as you do. How can you be so sure that the God of the Bible isn't real? You don't and can't know for sure he doesn't exist. I suppose it doesn't matter if you agree with me or not because no amount of arguing can convince someone of something he doesn't want to believe. You have provided a valuable service to me by showing me that what I've believed about atheists is true. So once again, thank you.

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      Edutopia 5 years ago

      Great lens. This should be a LOTD for sure. There is nothing that separates a Christian from an Atheist as far as their grounding of being moral or capable of living productive lives.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I am neither crazy nor closed minded..if something is true I will believe it and if it isn't true then I won't believe it. My parents and peers have no part in my believing..I believe because it's the truth. Of course the things of The Flying Spaghetti Monster sound silly to those who are of the world (you just confirm what Scripture says) and no I wouldn't be making the same claims about a different religion no matter what time period I was born in. Humans could never, by scientific means, come up with any rational explaintion for the universe coming into being because in the beginning The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the heavens and the earth. What is sad is that atheists are so arrogant to think they know things (like that there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster) when they don't. It's laughable that an atheist could lecture a theist like me on being humble when humility is something atheists don't possess. I do know that The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe and everything in it. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Ignorance is seeing the world around us and thinking that it could possibly have come about except by creation by an omnipotent Flying Spaghetti Monster.Yawn...this is too easy...

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Theists have not replaced one unknown for another. We have replaced the unknown with what is known. The universe could not have come into being without someone causing it and the universe could not be eternal. Those are the only possible explainations. How have I trapped myself? Of course The Flying Spaghetti Monster always existed..nothing physical can exist without a cause or within time. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is not limited by time or space thus The Flying Spaghetti Monster does not require physical location as we do. Theists are not the ones backed into a corner..atheists are. An omnipotent being can create from something out of nothing but his own will..we cannot. You certainly do think the universe came from nothing because that is what you get if you take The Flying Spaghetti Monster out of the equation. The Flying Spaghetti Monster didn't come from nothing..as The Flying Spaghetti Monster never had a beginning. Believing The Flying Spaghetti Monster has always been does not mean that nothing created something. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is something..not nothing. So once again it is YOU who has trapped yourself. The possibilities for how the universe came to be is not limitless..there are only three: The Flying Spaghetti Monster created it, the Universe came about on it's own with no outside intervention or the Universe is eternal.The only thing I changed in your gibberish was I replaced the word "God" with "The Flying Spaghetti Monster". Of course you are too stupid to see the point I just made, but others will.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Theists have not replaced one unknown for another. We have replaced the unknown with what is known. The universe could not have come into being without someone causing it and the universe could not be eternal. Those are the only possible explainations. How have I trapped myself? Of course God always existed..nothing physical can exist without a cause or within time. God is not limited by time or space thus God does not require physical location as we do. Theists are not the ones backed into a corner..atheists are. An omnipotent being can create from something out of nothing but his own will..we cannot. You certainly do think the universe came from nothing because that is what you get if you take God out of the equation. God didn't come from nothing..as God never had a beginning. Believing God has always been does not mean that nothing created something. God is something..not nothing. So once again it is YOU who has trapped yourself. The possibilities for how the universe came to be is not limitless..there are only three: God created it, the Universe came about on it's own with no outside intervention or the Universe is eternal.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I am neither crazy nor closed minded..if something is true I will believe it and if it isn't true then I won't believe it. My parents and peers have no part in my believing..I believe because it's the truth. Of course the things of God sound silly to those who are of the world (you just confirm what Scripture says) and no I wouldn't be making the same claims about a different religion no matter what time period I was born in. Humans could never, by scientific means, come up with any rational explaintion for the universe coming into being because in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. What is sad is that atheists are so arrogant to think they know things (like that there is no God) when they don't. It's laughable that an atheist could lecture a theist like me on being humble when humility is something atheists don't possess. I do know that God created the universe and everything in it. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Ignorance is seeing the world around us and thinking that it could possibly have come about except by creation by an omnipotent God.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You crazy religious people are just that... crazy and close minded. If your parents and peers had not spoon fed you this story of "God", you'd see how silly you sound. If you were born a few thousand years ago, you'd be making the same claim about a different religion. Just because we as humans have not the technology and knowledge yet, does not mean that your "story of God" is true. It's sad that people are so arrogant to think they know things, that clearly they do not. Be humble and just admit we do not know, but to claim the bible and "God" is truth, is just plain ignorance.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Bzzzzt wrong! You just keep getting in deeper and deeper. The things you say prove your God do no such thing. I might sat the Flying Spaghetti Monster did all that, can you prove I am wrong? All you have done (as all theists do) is replace one unknown for another, you have not proven a thing. You are saying something did all this, so that something must be a God. Nice caveman logic you have there!Once again you have trapped yourself. He always existed? How? How can something exist before time...what or where did he exist? Theists are always backed into a corner, just as you did again and I am sure will continue doing...problem is theists are just too stupid to realize it.I am not the one that thinks the universe came from nothing, that would be you. You are the one claiming that this thing that came from nothing, created something. I know that it happened over many millions of years of evolution. Funny how theists try to claim atheists believe something came from nothing when in fact it is theists that believe that. If your God came from nothing, then you think nothing created something...once again you have trapped yourself.Really God is the only rational explanation? There could be no others? You have examined every possible explanation known and unknown to man and made this conclusion? Well Einstein you really suck at this. The possibilities are limitless..unlike your intellect.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Bzzzzt wrong! You just keep getting in deeper and deeper. The things you say prove your God do no such thing. I might sat the Flying Spaghetti Monster did all that, can you prove I am wrong? All you have done (as all theists do) is replace one unknown for another, you have not proven a thing. You are saying something did all this, so that something must be a God. Nice caveman logic you have there!Once again you have trapped yourself. He always existed? How? How can something exist before time...what or where did he exist? Theists are always backed into a corner, just as you did again and I am sure will continue doing...problem is theists are just too stupid to realize it.I am not the one that thinks the universe came from nothing, that would be you. You are the one claiming that this thing that came from nothing, created something. I know that it happened over many millions of years of evolution. Funny how theists try to claim atheists believe something came from nothing when in fact it is theists that believe that. If your God came from nothing, then you think nothing created something...once again you have trapped yourself.Really God is the only rational explanation? There could be no others? You have examined every possible explanation known and unknown to man and made this conclusion? Well Einstein you really suck at this. The possibilities are limitless..unlike your intellect.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: The evidence to support God creating the universe is all around us. The fact that the earth is in the perfect position to support life..not too hot and not too cold is simply too unbelieveable without God being involved. Though for me Genesis 1:1 works for me "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". God is self-existant..has always existed and will always exist. He doesn't need a Creator because there was never a time when he didn't exist. No beginning thus requires no Creator. Theists are never backed into a corner..so your "gotcha" tactic is terminally flawed. So tell me..do you think the universe just came about on it's own? The 2nd Law of thermodynamics proves the universe could not be eternal..would have run out of useable energy long ago. So God is the only rational explaination for how the universe came to be in the same way that only Picaso is the only rational explaination for how a Picaso painting came to be.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: And what evidence do you have to support your "god" theory?Nothing begets nothing? Then what created your "God"? In other words, your God, need a a bigger god.You see this is how you theists always get yourself backed into a corner. You say everything must have a creator, then say god did not need one. You need to think ahead better, you always trap yourself.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: "There might be the possibility that fairies orbit Jupiter." What evidence is there to support the accusation? Are there fairy feces with no rhyme nor reason? Life, on the other hand, does exist. To what cause does the Atheist argue for cause? Evolution...certainly a nice theory presuming life exists. However, evolution only offers effect, not cause. How about the Big Bang? Again, perhaps a nice affect, but what caused the Big Bang? Nothing begets nothing! In other words, the Big Bang needs a Big Banger. The burden of proof does not lie on the Christian, or any religious person in so far as a God-Created universe is still the only theory available for life. The burden of proof falls on determining which Deity, not that a Deity exists; that is quite apparent!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @davidangel: There might be the possibility that fairies orbit Jupiter. We can't prove that fairies don't orbit Jupiter because perhaps the fairies are invisible or perhaps the fairies are too small for us to observe with the naked eye or telescopes. We really have no other choice but to be agnostic toward these fairies because we lack the technology to investigate too much into the proposition.If I told you that I had a little man under my bed that I talked to and that only I could see, can you prove I don't? Saying that a God is responsible for creating the Universe and then asking someone to prove it's not so is asking someone to prove a negative.These are stupid things theists use to try and support their claim. The burden of proof though lies on them, not the atheist. They try so hard to come up with something that sounds rational to support their irrational claims...it's quite funny really.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @MissionBoundCre: What atheist community are you referring to? As far as I know, there is no monolithic atheist community. What you are doing by pretending there is is the same as if I pretended there were one monolithic Christian community, making all Christians responsible for things like the Christian white supremacist groups like the KKK or the Christian Pastors in Nigeria who torture so-called child witches. I'm well aware that there is no one monolithic Christian community. Please extend the same courtesy.

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      davidangel 5 years ago

      Those who know God, know God."Love really is all you need." This is a truthful statement - but can you prove that love is real? Love, like God, can not be quantified, only qualified. If a person does not believe in love there is no book you can give them that when read will guarantee a conversion, there is no mathematical formula you can show them where they say "aha - so that is love" and you can't bottle and sell love potions that when drunk turn terrorists into saints. I have a lens titled "Who Is God" for anyone interested in a more detailed explanation.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @MissionBoundCre: I have a lens entitled: Is God Just Pretend? I tried to write it as non-offending as possible, but I am an atheist so it's hard to write about all the absurdities of the Bible and not sound attacking....after all you are asking me to give credence to virgin births, talking snakes and resurrections...as a rational person I can only be just so sympathetic to nonsense....sorry

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      MissionBoundCre 5 years ago

      As a Christian who was once an agnostic and can somewhat relate to both , I want to appeal to the Atheist community not to look down on us when trying to explain your world view. Too often the message is laced with insult. As if only those lacking in intellect can accept the idea of intelligent design. Personally, I often hold back from commenting on any venue where this topic is brought up for fear of backlash and insult. So much can be said on both sides of this argument about painful experiences brought on by those that do not share your beliefs. My God, who is soooo very precious to me should not be rediculed in order to make a point nor should my intellect because when that happens I am then in defense mode and you are now perceived as an enemy instead of a massager. My remarks are not in response to this lens specifically but instead to my experience with the Atheist community. To the lens master I say thank you sharing your views and I hope you can appreciate what I am trying to convey.

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      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      I'm not particularly religious but not an outright atheist either. I do think it's ironic that atheists are almost virtually distrusted for a lack of belief, when those with beliefs have done far more horrible things (if we're playing that game). It's ridiculous that atheists should be discriminated against when freedom from being persecuted for religious beliefs just includes as much freedom of religious beliefs.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You have to be the most backwards thinking person I have ever encountered. You DO have the right of freedom of religion, but I have an equal right of freedom from it. When you push your religion on me, you are trespassing on my rights to be free from it.You speak of freedom, but you don't have a clue what freedom is. Freedom is not the right for you to force your nonense on me or others. You can practice this nonsense in your church, your home, with friends at other locations that also accept your nonsense, but you do not have a right to force it on me.You're right I also don't have the right to not be offended, but I never claimed that I did either. What you don't see is it's you and your band of crazy cohorts that have been pushing your will on us, not the other way around.If you people just had your little cult meetings and kept your mental disorder contained to your group I would have no problem with this at all, but that is not good enough for you. It's not enough that you believe this fairy tale, but others must as well.As far as Muslims go, no I realize they are just as crazy as Christians, so no I would not want to be around them either, but don't forget Christians have done just as much killing over time for non-belief as Muslims...do a little research on something called the Inquisition for more on this.Like I said I support your right to believe in fairy tales, just keep it to yourself or share it with others that also have your mental disorder. I reject your nonsense and should not have to have it shoved down my throat.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: You seem to have that backward. Some theists try to force all people to obey their religious laws by making them into laws of the land despite what Jesus had to say about "rendering unto Caesar" in the Bible. I support your freedom of religion, too, despite your hatred of non-Christians. I do not want to see your freedom abridged by forcing you to hide your beliefs. However, your freedom of religion does not extend to infringing on the rights of others. For instance, if you were a Muslim, your freedom of religion would not extend to teaching Muslim prayers in public schools so it logically follows that it's the same if you are Christian. You have probably never met an openly atheist person because no one would feel safe admitting their lack of Christian faith around someone like you. Over 90% of my friends and family are Christians. I do not discriminate against them in any way. I also made the effort to take the homeless Christian teens and adults who lived with me to the churches of their choice and never objected or discourage it when they prayed or worshiped or studied the Bible in my home. I would have objected if they had demanded I lived my life the same way, but, being decent people, none of them ever did. There's a difference between "the public square" and the law. You won't be able to see the analogy here because of your clear hatred of all non-Christians but please try. If Muslims tried to make their religion law in America just like Christians try to by forcing their creation story to be taught in public schools exclusively for example or perhaps by forcing women to wear head coverings in public, wouldn't you object? That would be very close to what conservative Christians believe to be their right. You believe that your sect's particular creation story should be forced on all public school students whether their parents want it or not. The only solution to preserve religious freedom, and not just for your particular sect of conservative Christianity, is to leave religion out of law and out of public schools. Children aren't going to lose their religion by going six or seven hours a day without a led prayer. Your children can even pray aloud in public school- it's a myth they aren't allowed to, staff just can't get involved in leading prayer and prayer can't be required. A Christian friend of mine likes to say, "As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school." Act according to your religious beliefs, even vote according to your religious beliefs. Pray in public places or on television or wherever. Your religion is not being forced inside the four walls of your church and home. You said, "I doubt you would like how muslims would treat you..whereas Christians won't kill you for not believing..Muslims are perfectly willing to kill you for your lack of belief." And you can't see how horrible it is! You honestly seem to believe that because other religions are more vicious than yours, yours is just peachy as long as the discrimination stops short of murder. In Uganda, Nigeria, and in some other third-world countries, Christianity does not stop short of murder. In the Congo and Nigeria, Christian pastors torture children they believe are witches or possessed by demons, sometimes killing them. Even in the UK, a few Christians have tortured children and called it exorcism. So your example of Muslims in third world countries being worse than Christians starts to fall apart. And wouldn't you rather be able to say your religion doesn't foster abuse and discrimination and runs on love rather than feeling the best you can come up with is that fundamentalist Christians are not as savage as fundamentalist Muslims can be? The good news is that, although a small percentage of Christians are against human rights in America and worldwide, I think the percentage is shrinking. I cherish my Christian friends and loved ones and I hope that one day they won't have to feel ashamed of or embarrassed by the bigots who share their religion.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Why should my right to the free exercise of religion be confined to the four walls of a church or in my own home? Doesn't sound like you want to afford me or any other religious person the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution. So what about my rights? Do I not have the right to freely exercise my religion wherever I go? Sounds like you want to limit my liberty and that is simply unamerican. No one can force religious belief on anyone against their will anymore than someone can force a particular political belief on anyone against their will. Sounds like you think freedom is only for the non-religious but religious people have to no rights whatsoever if they dare live it out wherever they go. If I do not, as you say, have the right to not be offended then I would counter that atheists do not have the right to "not be offended" either. Your rights end when they infringe on my rights. If I must keep my beliefs to myself then you must keep your lack of belief to yourself as well. I will obey what the Bible tells me to do and it tells me to preach the gospel to all people but I cannot make them believe. So until a Christian tells you to believe or die..no one has pushed their religion on you. I doubt you would like how muslims would treat you..whereas Christians won't kill you for not believing..Muslims are perfectly willing to kill you for your lack of belief.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @GGGMarketing: But they are certainly dumb enough to be a theist....

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Jonathan, you started your response correctly when you said "I fail to see" or better still you should have just left it at "I fail" because you do....and very badly I might add.As an atheist we are not making a claim of freedom of religion, but rather freedom from it. What you don't understand in your humble opinion or anyone else's is that you can't have freedom of religion without freedom from it as well."It seems like atheists are fine with people having religious beliefs so long as they keep it within the four walls of a church or their home but anywhere else is for non-religious people only."Yes, as it should be, I think you get this part congratulations! If religion is a private matter, how about you keep it that way? Religion should stay confined within the four walls of a church. You should have the right as an individual to practice whatever you like in any private setting you wish, but you don't have the right to push your religion on others.I defend your right to be crazy, just keep it to yourself please. Oh and by the way, you do not have a right to "not be offended" that's a right you do not have....sorry.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I fail to see how atheists can claim the right to freedom of religion if they lack any religious beliefs. Freedom of religion as I understand it is limited to those who are theistic but not atheistic. My humble opinion is that atheists are kind of like cancer in the healthy body of any nation who constantly try to push all religious expression or anything else religious out of the public square. It seems like atheists are fine with people having religious beliefs so long as they keep it within the four walls of a church or their home but anywhere else is for non-religious people only.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I thank you for making this lens. I feel it is a good representation of atheists. We are not to be pitied, which is almost as bad as the blatant discrimination. And we are not to be judged as one big group, for all atheists believe a little differently. And although some may prefer a world without religion (myself included), that doesn't mean that all or even many atheists hate God. I thank you for this respectful, insightful lens.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning to bless your atheist view.....

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      Jessica 5 years ago from Southern Indiana

      Thank you for this fantastic lens! I haven't read all the way through yet but I bookmarked it for later.It's a sad fact that many so-called "Christians" think that Atheists are bad people. I am a Christian and probably have more Atheist friends than Christian friends. They are good people with good hearts and that's why I'm friends with them.Even I get persecuted by "Christians" because I believe that God loves everyone, including gay people, atheists, nudists, polygamists, women who have abortions and all the other people that society has determined to be "immoral". I don't believe these people are immoral, just that they live in a different way than others. Thank you for having the courage to write this. I'm sure there are many people who could benefit from reading this lens.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Type "immoral atheists" into any search engine and start reading down the results and you will find a few good examples. Or go to the Christian books section on Amazon and type in "immoral atheists." I honestly don't remember who the first person to tell me that atheists are immoral people who decide to become atheists so they can behave immorally without guilt. After the first few dozen times I lost track. In my direct experience of this phenomenon it has been said to me mostly by Conservative Evangelical Christians. It's been phrased many different ways by many different people. Some of them tie in some comment about the support of lgbt rights by many atheists serving as evidence. A tiny but creepy minority go into lurid descriptions of atheist sexual practices. What I do know is that if I point out that their religion holds that all human beings are sinners after someone makes the "atheists choose atheism so they can be immoral" comment it tends to really anger them. Then I can expect personal insults or other abusive language to follow from some of them. So I tend not to bring it up anymore; I just accept the fact that I can't explain in any way they will listen to that atheism is a belief position rather than a desire position.I've noticed that moderate and liberal Christians tend not to believe that atheists choose to become atheists so they can be immoral without guilt.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Who told you this"Many Christians and other theists will insist that atheists are immoral people who have decided to become atheists so they can behave immorally without guilt. "Do you know all have sinned and fall short glory of God.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Kylyssa: The girl is stubborn like you. He He He He

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: The school the child attended was a public school. In America, public schools are not allowed to practice discrimination against people based on race, religion, gender, disability, etc. because they are "owned" by the whole population, not just the Christians. Religious schools, owned by private interests are allowed to require prayer of students but public schools are not. In America, requiring children to pray to participate in a public school sponsored program is actually illegal. Just a question, but would you feel the same way if the girl in question belonged to another religion such as perhaps Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Judaism? Would you still feel that expressing a difference of religion makes her deserve to be discriminated against? Most Americans would raise a storm of trouble and the coach would likely have been fired if the girl had been Jewish, Hindu, etc.America was once called "The Great Melting Pot" which meant that people of all different types and cultures were accepted and joined together as a united whole despite differences. Freedom of religion is also guaranteed by our form of government as many early Americans immigrated to America seeking freedom from religious persecution. I don't agree that people should have to pretend to be what they aren't just to stay safe, employed, or in school. People should just be safe and treated as equals no matter what they believe.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      It depends, first of all, I want to say that I am not a believer nor an atheist. So, it is impossible for me to convert anybody, just a joke :)I think in small towns, it is quite dangerous for people to accept different ideas. Think about this way you live in an atheist group for 50-60 years without encounter any believer. And, some day just a person pop up and say different things about what you believe in and talk about some divine power. Of course, many people will be scare to death about it. So, unity of this community is more important. For me you shouldnt say every truth on every occasion. And every people have some intimate secret about their lives. And, if you expose yourself about details, so you deserve to be rejected. About the young girl on the video, I think she could also join others when team members praying. She can hold hands and meditate and try to relax and recover her body. So, by not joining them, she discriminates herself. I think nobody is guilty. She just expresses herself and also others express their selves. However, at the end, the only person feel bad about it is the girl herself. The point is if you dont care, do whatever you want to. But, if you care, you should behave in that way. I really want to mention this, I really feel sorry for her and this is a lesson for me.Of course, this is my point of view. I am just expressing myself. Hopefully, this would not offend you.

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      veganmaster 5 years ago

      Cool lens! Almost everyone is atheist, not believing in 999 out of 1000 belief systems (you don't believe in Roman or Greek gods do you)? Atheism is just taking the extra step and saying you don't believe in any deities. I personally am a student of the cosmos, and find the hard physics and cosmolgy so fascinating and mind-blowing that it dwarfs religious ideas. But to each his own, for we are all stuck to the surface of this beautiful, mystifying blue marble, spinning and whirling around a yellow sun, in the Milky Way galaxy - believers and non-believers alike! ;)

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @Vallygems1: Atheism isn't nearly as homogenous of a group to call it a political system. So you're dead wrong there. Try marketing to atheists as a consumer group and you'll see how subdivided that aggregate group really is.You think Atheism is a result of minor faiths being persecuted? So like I'm an atheist because there are Wiccans? I could buy that argument in part actually. One reason I think it's so important to be a loud atheist is to protect people who aren't a combination of white-American-Christian. Non whites and non Christians in American get swept aside frequently. Non Americans do to when discussing immigration. And I'd rather all those groups grow in clout if it would weaken the white Christian political groups.

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      Vallygems1 5 years ago

      Atheism is as much a faith as is any of the other organized religions. I think that Atheism is more a reaction to dogma and persecution of those who do not subscribe to the major corporate religions. These are political systems that have evolved into belief systems. I do not know what God is or looks like. What I do no is that we live in a magnificent and well planned Universe. By who or whom we will never know till the time comes for us to find out or not.I do congratulate you on your courage and am nominate your lens as the lens of the day. Warm RegardsChris

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      A very interesting lens. I've always believed there is a higher power, a God if you will, and though I consider myself Christian since that's the way I was raised, I don't believe any one religion has all the answers. I eagerly went to a Buddhist wedding and took a college class in "World Religions". We all have something to share is how I see it. I maintain a Christian identity because it gives me access to some wonderful opportunities to share my talents with those who need them and to get actively involved in some things I might otherwise struggle to do alone.By the way, your opening paragraph about a study confirming atheists as the most hated, despised and distrusted Americans has also been said about Americans like me...gay Americans. Guess we're in the same boat there too!

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      girlfriendfactory 5 years ago

      The only time I call myself an Atheist is to give a general explanation to someone quickly, otherwise I don't give myself any theist term because I don't like them. I simply don't believe and I've been exposed to many different religions (with zero bad experiences ~ something you might address because Christians often think people turn away from god if you've had a bad experience). Personally, I'd rather know and live by non-believers with morals than religious folks with morals because at least I know the non-believers have their morals by choice and not a promise to get into heaven or the threat of hell ~ because if they stop believing then what happens to their morals??? Thus why so many non-moral religious people if you ask me. Great lens!

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      IanMayfield 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Pascal's Wager is fallacious because there is more than one possible God, and many of those are claimed to be jealous. What this means that if you choose to believe in the Christian God on a no-gain, no-pain basis, and God turns out to be the Muslim version, you're going to hell anyway. Even if he turns out to be the Christian God after all, you're still not out of the woods. What if you're a Baptist and Catholicism turns out to be the true faith? Or Lutheranism? Or Methodism? Or Mormonism?

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @GGGMarketing: I am. What you might call straw atheism, the kind where I'd ignore a god right in front of my face, doesn't exist. Real atheism is the opinion I have (that there is no god) since there really isn't evidence to the contrary.

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      Titia Geertman 5 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      My father was a non believer, but he was more 'Christian' than most Christians I've known.I know intolerance have been an issue of all times and I don't think it will ever go away, but I didn't know it was this bad in some of the the USA states. I'm really amazed and to tell the truth, I find it quite scary too. My mom (she's 100 years now) has been religious her whole life, my dad was not and they left us kids free to make our own choices. I'm an atheist, but that has never been an issue between my mom and me. We love and respect each other.

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      Paul 5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      My only regret on reading a page like this is that he people who most need to understand it won't even attempt to. Angel Blessed.

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      IanMayfield 5 years ago

      @clifRad: "No atheists in foxholes" is just an empty slogan. Unless you have some statistics on deathbed (or battlefront) conversions.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @clifRad: What's exaggerated? I've gotten dozens of online death threats and other threats of violence. I had to live in fear for months as someone stalked me and scratched death threats into my car, vandalized my home, and made threatening phone calls. Someone threatened to blow up my friend Mark's home with his family in it because of his Atheist blog. When I was a child, I was beaten severely when my parents were outed as non-Christian. My girlfriend has had CPS called on her by nosy neighbors for failure to take her kids to church... and CPS came out and grilled the whole family. I've worked in places where I had to stay in the closet to keep my job. I've taken in teens for getting thrown out for being gay. 20% to 40% of homeless teens and young adults are lgbt due to the fact that one in four sets of parents of lgbt kids in America discard their gay or perceived-to-be-gay children. I've seen a co-worker let go after being outed as non-Christian. Christians in Uganda want the death penalty for being gay. Powerful American Christian groups support them. And haven't you seen the recent attempts at legislation to make birth control illegal? Google the "Personhood Amendment," a tricky bit of legislation they thought the average Mississipian was too stupid to realize would also make birth control pills illegal. Fortunately, people in Mississippi aren't stupid and voted it down. Then Google "forcible rape" plus the word "abortion" and get ready to feel sick. Yes, you can vote. Voting and even voting in line with your beliefs is not the same as legislating religion. No, I don't want people to stop being Christian or any other religion. I just want the loud minority of Christians who would do away with every other religion and non-religion other than theirs to just behave like decent human beings and live and let live. Atheistic countries failed and were brutal just as theocracies generally are. They actually prove my point- legislating religion and forcing a religion or a lack of it on all citizens is counter to freedom and counter to humane civilization.

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      wend_c 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed the content on this lens. Well written, thank you.

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      clifRad 5 years ago

      @Kylyssa: I like this but it isn't well thought out and exaggerated. This is America and we religious get to vote. We have convictions like you do. Vote away and so will we.And by the way the constitution rocks and a theocracy would turn into totalitarianism...total might makes right is dangerous...we both can see the problem, but it would be the same if we were an atheistic country...remember the horrors of the communist, atheistic countries...

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      clifRad 5 years ago

      Atheists in fox holes, not many...it trims the real from the fake atheists...I mean imminent death.And morality and atheism, is a funny subject because much of morality is subjective and that is the real point an atheist doesn't want to abide by some one else's rules of morality, which I understand.Huxley was asked why the idea of evolution was so readily received and he said it was the sexual desires of men. They could use this as a basis for recklessness in their sexual activity. It was his opinion GL

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @Pachomius: That's simple:*No one tries to make laws based on their belief in Dracula. *No one harasses their neighbors or co-workers if they find out they don't believe in Dracula. *No parent will get custodial preference for believing strongly in Dracula and regularly attending Dracula worship services.*No one will slash my tires or scratch graffiti into my car because I don't believe in Dracula. *No one writes death threats to writers who admit they don't believe in Dracula. *Two hundred thousand to four hundred thousand lgbtq teens aren't discarded by American parents each year for failure to follow the Holy Word of Dracula.*No one in Uganda is fighting to slaughter gays legally because their belief in Dracula tells them being gay is wrong.*I've never had to file a report with the FBI due to a believer in Dracula cyber-stalking and threatening to rape and kill me due to my lack of belief in Dracula.I could keep going on. Some religious folks have made it an issue. They bring religion into the public arena when they try to make their religion into the law for everyone. They also make religion a public issue when they use it to get away with illegal activities like child abuse, child abandonment, harassment, vandalism, and job discrimination. If that very small, but very loud minority of religious folks who want a theocracy would just behave themselves, you'd almost never hear the word atheist.

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      Pachomius 5 years ago

      I really like to know why atheists who regard God as like Santa take time to tell people that they don't have any belief in God and also not in gods, goddesses, deities, divinities, etc.Tell me why, because I am very curious, it is different from your lack of belief in Dracula if you indeed don't believe in Dracula either which I presume you don't.There is a good psychology to examine in you why you take up so much time and bandwidth to tell anyone who cares to give you an ear what atheists are all about in lacking any belief in God, etc., when it should be no different from your lack of belief in Dracula, and you don't take up any time, labor, and don't use up bandwidth to talk about your lack of belief in Dracula.

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      PropheticBlogge1 5 years ago

      What a very thought provoking lens. I'm not an athiest but neither am I religious. I'd like to believe there is something after this life as it would seem very sad if people just ceased to exist.

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      Henry 5 years ago from Magnificent Garden

      Honestly I don't know why its such a big deal, its not like you'll hate your friend just because he supports a different football team. I don't really believe in god nor do I deny HIS existence, but if HE really does exist, HE sure gave us a heck lot of freedom, cause look what we've done to HIS planet...

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      veldickson 5 years ago

      Very interesting Lens! I would like to give an insight on the knowledge given to me by universal source (Dreams,an open mind,meditation, etc.).All the 5 comments before me that I read,have very interesting points about God,atheism and etc.So first I'm going to start by saying that I recently found out that I am an atheist also.Really.You should study the definition of the word!!!You will better understand.The concept of an atheist fits better with me because, I dont believe in religion.I truly believe in spirituality.I do alot of studying, and what the bible says compared to whats being taught in churchs and religious groups are extremly minipulative.Dont want to offend any readers so I will explain!In the Bible it says that jesus said that you cannot look ta him for savior,you have to go to the creator!But they still teach that you need to call upon jesus to be saved!!!Another thing is, why are churches speaking of jesus like he's God when it say's clearly that he said you have to go to the creator.So how is he be spoken of as God.Another thing is that in the bible it say's that God is within us.But still we dont realize that we need to study ourselves, instead of letting them do it for us.You will have a clear understanding of what powers we are really about(God is in us),were do you think telekenetics,hypnosis and these thing originate.Every thing they call a myth,you would be suprised about how true these thing are.But I Could'nt share 4% of the knowledge that I have come across, like I said earlier they come in dreams and in the everyday times in my life.If you are a person who likes to gain knowledge, You should really study about ancient civilizations, some which that are still existing underground.But it empowers your soul and your pineal gland(literally). This is the type of power that we humans are really about.If you havn't heard of the 3rd eye or your chakra,you should get into that too.Sorry I talked so much. Hope its understood.If you have any questions my email is laveldickson@yahoo.com.It tends to make demons mad when somebody delivers the truth to the body they subside in.So I understand if you fill the urge to attack me.I'm comfortorble with myself, so Im ready.Just try your best to grasp control instead of the demon grasping control of you.Thanks.I have love for all human and animals.

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      ernieplotter 5 years ago

      First of all, thanks for your work, I really enjoyed reading your lens. Second: Atheist deserve the same tratment as religious people because THEY ARE PEOPLE. No matter what you believe in... in the first place you are a person, equal to everybody else. Even God & the Bible says that we are all the same.

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      BlueStarling 5 years ago

      Yes, atheists deserve the same fair treatment as anyone else. Our constitution allows for religious freedom, and this inherently means (I think) the freedom not to believe in a god or religion. As an atheist, I "judge" people by their actions: are they kind and giving or cruel and selfish? Are they fair minded or judgemental? Religious beliefs, or lack of, don't matter to me personally. I would wish to be judged and treated according to my actions, not according to my lack of religious belief.

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      Rakhi_Dalal 5 years ago

      Interesting lens! Liked it for the intensity of thoughts as expressed by you :) I don't know whether I believe in GOD or not, and frankly I don't care if he is there or not. But what does captivate my mind is the relevance of human life, that is the reason we have this life. Still trying to find the answer.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Your name doesn't offend me, it just indicates you aren't willing to put your own name to your comment and that's OK. I have no hatred of Christians. I have a deep sadness regarding Christians who cannot allow non-Christians to live in peace. I've gotten death threats, threats of violence and I've faced job discrimination. I've had clients decide I could no longer write anonymous ad copy text for them after they found out I'm not a Christian. I've been physically attacked, literally spat on, and had my home and vehicle vandalized. I know of one family whose children's pet was killed and mutilated and a woman whose hand was slammed in a car door. I've held in my arms more than one teenager beaten bloody by a Christian parent for the "sin" of being gay. My name and contact information is on a National Atheist Registry created by a pastor with the intent of helping all Christians in America to discriminate against me and everyone else on the list and to be able to shun us in our communities. Why shouldn't I speak out against that kind of thing? Why shouldn't you? Ninety-five percent of the people I know and love are Christians. Most of the homeless teens and young adults I took into my home over the years were Christians. I even took them to church and bible study. How can you claim I hate Christians? I hate the actions of about twenty to thirty percent of American Christians. Don't you, too, hate the actions of Christians who stand behind Christianity and use the Biblical verses that support their actions to attack others?If you didn't post the quote from Pascal to try to evangelize, what was its purpose? If you didn't want someone to comment on your quote's lack of logic when applied to an atheist, why post it at all?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Ive no intention to convert you and to evangelize. If the username has God Loves You have offended you Im sorry for that. And it was just a quote by Pascal. I read your article. And it seems you have hatred towards Christianity and theists. And the issues from the article only make me conclude you have come across so called ignorant Christians. And, so, called casual Christians who never read the Bible and for their fame, will bring such baseless issues against an atheist. Did you know according to Bible, Nobody has the right to judge only God. And also according to the Bible, All have signed and fall short of the glory of God. And also according to the Bible, If any one confesses their sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. And many such sayings.Even if Christian wholeheartedly confesses their sin then keep on doing sin they are not Christians. Only believing in God can not lead a person to God one has to overcome the sin.What is sin?According to bible acts of the flesh is sin sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.One of the sin of flesh is hatred. And if hatred is a sin how come he becomes a Christian. God cannot be mocked.I have come to a conclusion, its an article written by an atheist who is aware of an ignorant Christian but not a true Christian. Its not my intention to offend you.Bye and take Care

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: But, if God exists, won't He know if I'm faking belief and pretending to believe? I think real belief requires one to think of the thing she believes in to be real. Belief, for most atheists, is not about what they want to think is real but about what they actually think is real. Pascal's Wager would only work on people who already think God is real and since they already think God is real, there's no point at all to it. Your comment indicates you haven't read the articles and editorials above it nor the text of the comment box which asks you not to evangelize.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      According to Pascal, there are two propositions: God exists, and God does not exist. Pascal proposed that before placing your bet, you should consider the four possibilities:1. If you choose to believe in God, and if God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.2. If you choose to believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your loss is finite and therefore negligible.3. If you choose not to believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your gain is finite and therefore negligible.4. If you choose not to believe in God, and if God exists, you will go to hell: your loss is infinite.

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      plf515 5 years ago

      Very well done.I've been an atheist since I was 5.

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      seo_optimisation 5 years ago

      As a Christian I agree that there needs to be more tolerance of all other religions, and thus also of those who aren't religious at all (for whatever reason). One's religion (or lack thereof) should never be a case of determining whether or not a person could or should be allowed to do something. We should spend more time looking at people's ability.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Brilliant lens, in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing your story. Personally, I still find it bewildering people get so upset about religious views (or lack thereof). Humans, eh? When will we ever learn?

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      miaponzo 5 years ago

      I have blessed this lens.. even though you don't believe in God or blessings or stuff like that.. I am personally a fairly religious person..I believe in God and follow a scripture... but I appreciate your view and your courage to share it... and people can certainly agree to disagree.. right? :)

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      sidther lm 5 years ago

      I love your analogies! I have never really given it much thought (the way society treats atheists) but now we are living in a very conservative, Christian area where I am called "a witch" and they say I "embrace the devil" and children are not allowed to play with my son because of our religious views (actually, our lack of religious views). I live my life to help others- for free- God did not tell me to do it, I do it because I know right from wrong without being told. I will make mistakes along the way but so will everyone else and what matters is how you work to fix them. We have a "normal" happy life, my son is the most giving and well behaved boys you could imagine. He too lives to ensure the health, safety and happiness of his fellow human beings.Thank you so much for writing this- it was amazing!

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      Lisa Marie Gabriel 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      A great lens Kylissa. Nobody has the right to force beliefs onto someone else. Everyone is unique and should be respected and celebrated for their uniqueness.

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      KingLobster LM 5 years ago

      I recall this Hagan/Dole battle. Such a low blow. It is really disturbing. Thank you for the lens though.

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      CreativeExpress 5 years ago

      There are those who give any and every religion--or atheist or agnostic--a bad impression of that set of beliefs is about. People are passionate--and sometimes nutty when it comes to religion;)! From a died in the wool Christian...thank you for sharing your views. You've created a well executed lens. We don't always have to agree on content to appreciate someone else's talents and creative expression.

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      PTurner56 5 years ago

      What a lens! Great job! I think this topic is becoming more acceptable, but don't tell my brother! Only the most open-minded people can tolerate any discussion of this subject. I DO feel like I can't come out of the closet yet, especially with my family who are all heavily involved in their churches. But it's OK, I am comfortable with my beliefs and they are comfortable with theirs.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was born into a non-strict Catholic family (as in i was baptised but we don't go to church except for christmas and easter) but I'm not sure yet what I believe in. I went to a catholic elementary school, and one of my best friends came from a VERY religious family. As in religion class she new every answer without hesitation. It wasn't until years later that she admitted she didn't believe in God, but didn't want to say anything because she was scared of what her family would think of her and say about her.Personally, I believe that the concept of God is nice, and what the belief in God has done is good (charities, brought communities together) but in religion class i find the bible itself terribly discriminating against everyone who isn't specifically a certain way, and I don't think it's fair to try and push everyone to be exactly alike. In a religious education, i was told things like I wasn't allowed to read a book written by an athiest author in school, or speak up in the defense of gays, or even use Harry Potter in my novel study in one class. But that was from a few strict teachers. Many of my teachers were exceptionally kind, and religion class for grade eight was incredably insightful, when we looked at things like abortion and even atheism from as many different angles as we could think of. My grade eight teacher even told me that many of the things that were taught to us as sins when we were little probably came from coruption in the church a long time ago, and really weren't bad.I think that religion is a touchy subject. People are easily offended, get defensive, and even violent. If it wasn't any of those things, I may be a little more interested in it.

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      sarahjcar 5 years ago

      Thank God, a lens I like!! As an Irish person, God comes into my everyday speech constantly, which is funny cos Im an Atheist! I find it interesting that, living in Ireland, we seem to be a lot more liberated from the influence of the church than Americans are (I find it interesting because only 50 years ago the Church had huge power in our state). Granted, the Irish Atheist society are trying to fight against issues such as mandatory religion classes in school etc, but this is a throw-back to the times when the church held all the aces. Nowadays people are so removed from the church that, even if they still maintain a belief in the supernatural, there is very little prejudice against those that dont believe, and oftentimes we can debate these issues together without hostility on either side. After seeing documentaries such as Jesus Camp I wonder, as Americans, do you think there is a trend towards polarisation? ie people becoming either fundamentalists or atheists?Oh - and it was the morals argument that defined my atheism for me - I worked for five years in Tanzania with many projects, some of them childrens centres. It was when I was accused of doing the 'work of God' - ie, that I couldnt possibly have rationalised that this was a good thing to do on my own, it must be God that told me to - that I realised I didnt believe any of that. How come the bad things people do are the work of the devil or human failure, the good though, thats always because of God? If God sent me to help the centre I worked with, who sent the pastor who was sexually assaulting the children??

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      sarahjcar 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Do you mean by that thay you cant believe, in this day and age, that it is still necessary for Athiests to have to demand their basic rights, or do you think there is no discrimination against Athiests?

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      ananimoss2 5 years ago

      This was a very well thought, well written lens, and I have to tell you that I agree very much with you, but I am not sure if I am an atheist...not that it matters to appreciate a writing piece like this.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm not an atheist, but I respect atheism as a reasonable point of view. Some of my greatest heroes such as Carl Sagan and Richard Stallman are/where atheists. Atheists should not be discriminated against because of their beliefs.Even if there is a true spiritual journey that we are all meant to take, atheism may be and essential step along the way for some people. Who knows? Perhaps, if there is a God, some atheists are closer to spiritual Truth than some religious people?

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      cocomoonbeams 5 years ago

      Great lens! I feel everyone has a right to believe, or not believe, whatever they choose. It does not make them less of a person and they should be treated with respect even if you don't agree with them.While I am not an atheist I do consider myself a "recovering Christian". I rejected all organized religion after I began to read religious texts and interpret them myself instead of listening to a pastor/priest tell me the church's interpretation of those words. I do believe in some higher power, but I can't be sure what that higher power is, regardless it is my own personal journey and no one else's business.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      "To further understanding and to build tolerance toward atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians living in the United States, she shares her experiences and insights."I can't believe this is necessary.

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      CalamariFritti 5 years ago

      Very thorough lens, a great read! I think any belief that makes you live a good life and help others is fine. Whatever floats your boat. If someone doesn't believe exactly what I do, so what? It doesn't hurt me. I don't try to make them see things my way, just like I don't want them to do with me. Personally I think there is something up above... aliens laughing their butts off at our churches. ;) Here's a question to ponder: who is more moral, someone who does good because they are afraid they will get punished in the afterlife if they do what they really want, or someone who does goes because they believe it is the right thing to do? Hmm...

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You should take logic classes. Many people do believe in higher powers but proving the supernatural does not exist is a fool's errand. Every place we can't see, you might presume a god is hiding there. But that presumption isn't one you should make as a good existential detective. Go on thinking there is a god. But don't ask us to do the logically impossible. That's unfair.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      All I want to say is that I cannot comprehend in my mind how anyone can say that there is no God when we have all of his marvelous handy work surrounding us every day. I am not going to cuss because true christians don't talk like that and in my heart I truly feel sorry for you and all those that refuse to believe in God and just because people refuse to believe in him doesn't change the true fact that he does exist whether they believe in him or not. One comment that is made by atheist is "Prove to me there is a God" but my comment to you all is "Prove to me there isn't"

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      mufke1 5 years ago

      Like your lens very much

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      najem lm 5 years ago

      nice lens! It point out all the atheist issues!

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      BrassFittings 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing!

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      sue826 lm 5 years ago

      Good lens - I believe tolerance is the key to peace.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Matter being repurposed into biomaterial just means that that when we eat protein, that protein doesn't disappear from existence, it is taken apart and restructured into our flesh.Bacteria evolve visibly in days, exchanging plasmids to give them resistance against antibiotics. The ones that have the right plasmids survive, the rest don't, natural selection; evolution.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: atheist = does not believe in God(s)theist = does believe in God(s)agnostic = neither believes nor does not believe in God(s)/open to either concept.I don't mean to be rude, but if you are not any of these, what are you?

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      Paul Turner 5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      Well designed lens.

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Your position is moronic. We've heard the fear mongering a thousand times but:1. There is no evidence God or judgement or hell is coming.2. My position is not a faith position. It's faith free like Coke Zero is calorie free.3. You go forward saying what would we tell good. Screw God man. What would you tell Grover from Sesame Street? You probably don't spend too much time wondering how you're going to speak to imaginary things. Don't expect me to spend more time on that same subject.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I direct you to the part of the comment box that asked you not to evangelize. Evangelizing when asked not to is not respectful. I'd never dream of coming onto your religious page and trying to convince people God doesn't exist. The Internet is not censored by Christians and Muslims but I do get death threats and other threats of violence from Christians regularly. I've personally suffered physical violence and vandalism from Christians upset by my absence of belief. Why shouldn't I complain about that and the culture that supports it?You are complaining simply because I exist. No one forced you to this page or forced you to read it. You just came here to evangelize and spread intolerance. Just because religious people would kill atheists in other countries (just like Christians in Uganda want to kill gays) it doesn't make the intolerance that still exists in America acceptable. If God exists, I'd ask Him why He hid if He wanted to be loved and also what kind of parent is absent a child's entire life yet will torture him or her forever if he or she doesn't love Him? That sounds irresponsible and evil to me. On the other hand, what if you are wrong? What if some other God or Goddess is the real God or Goddess and you haven't worshiped the right one? What would you say to that God or Goddess? And why does it matter to you what happens to me after I die? I could drop dead tomorrow and you wouldn't feel a thing. Why not try to "save" people by setting an example of goodness rather than setting an example of intolerance? By being rude (evangelizing when asked not to) you hurt your case rather than helping it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Your personal beliefs are yours. There is nobody taking away your rights to think or do what you want within the laws of the United States. (but you are a great complainer) If that was true Christians, muslims, or others might censor the net and not allow you to speak your religion to others. If you lived in some countries you would be put to death for your personal beliefs. However, you have no proof that there is no God. You only have faith that there is no God. All that you say here on this lens is personal thoughts and quotes. What will you do when you stand before God and he judges you for your sins? Are you gonna tell him that He doesn't exist? Creation speaks for itself. I say this in a respectful way that you educate yourself to the max. Perhaps a good start may be the The Institute of Creation Research at ICR.org or answersincreation.org Sometimes the truth offends but view it like this. Your standing in the middle of the road and a big truck is coming

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      cheech1981 5 years ago

      @TravelingRae: I liked your comment here. I'm an agnostic leaning towards atheism, but one point I often make to believers who question me is that our ideals mostly overlap. I try to be a good person, treat people well, not lie or cheat or steal, etc. I've spent the better part of the last 10 years volunteering, helping, working for lower salaries to help people, and as much as I can treating people well. If I suddenly started believing, I think I would mostly be the same person doing the same things. If there is a God out there I would imagine he or she or it is smart enough to realize who the good people are (and most likely that God would be good enough to force people to believe in its existence). If God is that demanding or pushy for a self-centered purpose, one wonders what "heaven" he might be running. ;)

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      rockinatheist 5 years ago

      Onya Kylyssa (means 'good on you' in Australian). I've just joined Squidoo and it'll take me a while to get the hang of it but I've started my lens and I've mentioned my book, The Little Red Bible Book which I've just published. I'm a radical, militant atheist and I'm here to convince other atheists that we need to take more of a stand for atheism. Check out Cristina Rad and Pat Condell on Youtube and you'll get where I'm coming from. Keep on Rockin' in the Free World!

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I'm only accusing Christians of interfering with the rights of others to believe or not believe as they choose. How is asking for equal treatment the same as bashing Christians?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      It seems to me that you are accusing Christians of not having any proof for their belief or any proof that God exists. But you have no proof of what you are saying. All you are posting is your opinions and assumptions. If I, being a Christian, choose to believe in God and His principles and live a moral and decent life because of that, and I die and find out there is no God, I lose nothing. It cost me nothing. If you die not believing in God, and find out He is real, it cost you everything. I respect your right to believe as you choose, but don't bash all Christians in an attempt to justify your own beliefs.

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      TravelingRae 5 years ago

      Faith does not make you a moral person. I am a former atheist who opened herself up to the wonders of the universe, but I am no better a person now than when I was certain there was no deity.

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      PaxLamprey 5 years ago

      SquidLiked and Facebooked... thank you so much. I see many of the things of which you wrote in my own experiences.

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      seeker2011 lm 5 years ago

      Great lense. each to there own. be free and happy and allow each other there freedom of choice. simple respect.

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      christydeena 5 years ago

      Thanks for so openly sharing. I grew up a preacher's kid but reached a point in my teens when I started questioning my faith and no one had answers to satisfy me. I don't consider myself an atheist now, but neither do I assume there to be a God external to me. What I've learned is never to expect someone else to be the messenger of Truth.The best way to see if there is such a thing as Truth is to go within yourself and see what you find.Only trust your own findings.

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      Iismeandme 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for this lens. You explain a lot of things very well. I consider myself agnostic. I prefer to believe that there is more than this. I just don't know what it is. If there is a god, I believe that he would be somewhat different that what I was raised (in the Christian church) to believe, because it is not all nice and pretty. I do not believe that we have the right to judge anyone for what they choose to believe (or not believe). I strive to be the best person that I can be, and find comfort and love in my home with my husband, and daughter. That's enough for me.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      IMO, Atheists are the most harmless people in the world! It is a thin line between theists and thieves! I am neither a theist nor an atheist nor an agnostic... Wish you the best in your quest! PS: Lucky are those who die very young (at infancy)! They need not worry about cognizance or conformity!

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      RuthCoffee 5 years ago

      Atheists definitely face a hostile majority it seems. Personally, I believe God is POSSIBLE, although not exactly as most religions would describe Him. I believe strongly in science but don't feel that science necessarily rules out a divine being (although the Bible seems ridiculous to me). I believe in some form of existence beyond this life, but this came to me more as a middle aged adult after some personal experiences. However, judging others based on their beliefs or non-beliefs in regards to this is just wrong. Most of us share GENERAL concepts of good and bad, right and wrong. How well we live that is what matters. Hating on others and discriminating for such differences shouldn't fit with anyone's ideas of what is acceptable. It seems to me many people hide behind their religion, they excuse their bad behavior with it, seek to control others with it, etc. In no way, do I believe that any God who MAY exist, would have wanted that.

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      fireblazzer 5 years ago

      i never considerd how much of a problem it could be for some atheists.i consider my self agonstic... in other words.. im not sure what to beleave 100%.. but i think there is most likley a god.now that i think about it... i can see how religious people may see athesis as distrstful... however, what if that person is just another relgion thats not athtiest.... then what happens?.. im not sure... it may just be a numbers game..this toopic should not be comming up in america..... a persons religion should have no true effect on if a person should be treated fairlyon run for office...... if i recall correctly.. John F Kendidy had this problem during the cuban missle crissi era... becuase people didnt trust his loyaltys due to his religion.i think its sad so many people still are so concerned with religions beleaves.. what matters me is if a person can put there belifies on hold for the greater good,, if they choose to take a role that serves the greater good... like president.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I agree that you can't ever judge somebody no matter their belief or lack of belief. If a religious member is being judgmental or treating somebody with contempt they are going against their own religion. I personally am Christian, but I have many faults. Being judgmental isn't one of them. I hope that nobody will judge me for my beliefs either.

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      elhuntley lm 5 years ago

      First off let me say I am a Christian. Having said that everyone should be treated with respect regardless of their beliefs. I don't try to force Christianity on anyone. You have the right to accept or reject God that is why He gave us free will. God wants you to come to Him He will not force Himself upon you.Even if their was no such thing as religion I still would not be an atheist I would still believe in a Being higher than myself and here is why: the human body is incredible and to complex to believe we just happen by chance or through evolution. Evolution cannot explain the multiple of species that exist. If we came from an omeba then there should be one species not countless and all differing in their makeup. Also the universe it self is a mathematical marvel. The Big Theory could not have created a universe that is so precise. I have never seen where order comes from an explosion only chaos. The earth has seasons. The sun rises and sets every day. The ocean know its place; the tide goes out but comes back in. And what about the wind? It comes and goes we cannot see it but we know it is there. God does not have to be seen to be believed.But as a Christian I have had my own encounters with God that is why I never could deny Him. I have felt presence as surely as I have felt the wind. I have heard His voice as surely as I have when talking to someone face to face. An audible voice not intuition. What about the people that experienced the Azusa Street Revival which lasted for months where people were getting healed and even lost limbs were restored?This thing of debating whether there is a God or not will go on and on. This we know there is a natural realm and there is a spiritual realm. God says He is a Spirit. But I guess the question won't truly be answered until we die.

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I must say, I think we share a very similar view but I have to lodge a slight complaint in your long winded style. I think it gets in the way of understanding you.The answers to your questions are:1. The nuances you don't grasp that I think are important is the understanding of agnostic atheism. I think that's a good way to explain that atheists do not claim the level of certainty that believers claim to have. In short, atheism doesn't use a lot of faith, it uses parsimony.2. That bizarre logic sounds like you understand me perfectly. I am saying unicorns don't exist and I'm simultaneously saying I don't know everything there is to know about unicorns. It makes sense because my claim is based on the lack of data about unicorns as well as the lack of quality of the data that is about unicorns. Therefore, I am unconvinced that unicorns exist and being honest about my level of commitment to my platform. One unicorn in front of me will change my stance in a heartbeat and I'll be better for knowing.3. Agnostic Atheism is atheism to me. Furthermore, you don't get to define what makes me atheist. I do. You claimed agnostic and then claimed Kylyssa was agnostic. She is agnostic. She is also an atheist if I'm understanding her right. I share that position. There maybe other kinds of modern atheists and you should talk to them to find out what distinguishes them.5. You identified as a skeptic by pointing out how you have an agnostic position and you don't trust science to be accurate. That was my take on your response about peer reviewed science. My problem with your statement will be that you are also not very knowledgeable about science and I can tell that by how you answered. I'm also not very knowledgeable about science, but I have an interesting relationship with a bunch of nice scientists. I feel like I've made good associations to compensate for my weakness there.Skipping to the end of your post (I read it, but hopefully I've answered the meat of your questions already), I want to reiterate that I think referring to me as an agnostic, an atheist, or an agnostic atheist are all accurate. I think the keyword "atheist" is particularly meaningful because I think entertaining the possibility of belief in gods is a waste of time. As in, I don't really know what's out there but I think it's a stupid question. I'm not on a fence really. Not knowing meant I had to find something else to do and I've used it to poop on religion when it is used to stand in the way of social progress. There's no god or Gods that are described in holy books. I don't think there's a soul. I don't care what happens after I die. I do care about other things. Does that mean I know everything about the universe and can't be surprised by something more supernatural than I would expect? No. The universe is something to be explored. I could learn something that surprises me even though it's not likely because I spend my time doing other things.So I'm telling you, I'm an atheist who is quite practical about whether I can sufficiently prove a negative. You shouldn't bother telling me who I am. But if I can tell you more about me, I will. Apparently, agnostic atheists are new to you.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: - OK, accusing me of proselytizing and evangelizing is the final straw (I'm not even going to ask you to define these concepts);- I am no longer willing or able to accept your assaults against my person; This will be my final communication to you and yours;- I've since sustained other assaults from you including: attacking my viewpoints without sufficient cause, attacking my questions without cause or substantiation, and making assertions about me and mine without substantiation; CONGRATULATIONS Kylyssa! You were successful in marginalizing my person via your assaults against my person;Final note: I'd like for you to think about how some assault (marginalize, bully, ignore, etc) the homeless, the LGBT, and the minorities. Do you see any correlation at all between your behaviors and those assaulting entities?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: @camoguard"In my opinion, atheism is the stance that gods don't exist like you said.- ok, we're in agreement with the primary(?) source(s) regarding one of the major descriptions of what 'atheism' is, and so, why then are we still talking about this?; the original lens is about 'atheism' and I responded in relation to 'atheism' and qualified it as such; my discussion was a simple one from the start: to better understand if you are or aren't an 'atheist' (given that lensmaster has begun the discussion by labeling herself as such)?; the lens never mentioned anything about an 'agnostic atheist' or a 'strong atheist' or whatever, and as such, I have purposefully excluded those concepts from the discussion for the purposes of maintaining a respectful discussion; if you identify yourself as a 'strong atheist' or whatever, then it is your obligation to state that from the beginning, or, quickly qualify your position sometime shortly thereafter; what am I missing here?!?But I agree with Kylyssa and disagree with you on some of the nuances.- what nuances are we disagreeing about?; what nuances did I implicitly or explicitly state?;The point is that while that's how an atheist acts we don't tend to have a belief that we know everything there is to know about godlike characters or the state of the universe.- to me, this sounds like: '...while that's how an a-unicornist (one who denies the existence of a unicorn) acts (denying the existence of a unicorn) we don't have a belief that we know everything there is to know about unicorn-like characters (an implicit admission that unicorns could or may exist) or the state of this universe; bizarre logic to me; (note: I am not in any manner implying that '[Gg]od' is a '[Uu]nicorn')So there could be a god and I'm still thinking atheism is for me.- that's like saying: 'So there could be a unicorn (admission that a unicorn could exist) and I'm thinking a-unicornism (the belief system that no unicorns exist) is for me; again, bizarre logic for me;As for agnostic atheists, that's a new fangled way to sum all that up.- (statement/concept ignored for now given that the discussion was explicitly limited to 'atheism')I am an atheist who doesn't claim full knowledge and yet I think I'm acting coherently with my level of knowledge and my use of skepticism.- this is like saying: I am an a-unicornist (one who denies the existence of a unicorn) who doesn't claim full knowledge (an implicit admission that a unicorn could or may exist) and yet I think I'm acting coherently (in asserting my a-unicornist belief that unicorns do not exist)'; bizarre, absolutely bizarre logic to me; but I promise to think about this logic further maybe my logic is so very fallacious;A lot of what you said suggests to me that you're a skeptic more than you identify with being an atheist and honestly, I understand that position pretty well.- could you show me how you've concluded that I'm (suggesting I'm) a 'skeptic'?- could you please show me how you believe I (even at all) identify as an atheist?I think it's a good place to be.- I think you're saying it's good for you to be in some place as a skeptic; if that's incorrect, please let me know exactly what you were attempting to communicateBut it's a place from which you have obviously forgotten that people who define as atheists are hoping to advance more from their position than simply the argument that information is flawed.- forgotten? That implies that I knew something at some point in the past but now have 'lost' the memory of that something; amazing, how you were able to retrieve from my memory something I once knew; of course I can't argue with you on this one b/c YOU know that I'VE forgotten that SOMETHING and if I'VE forgotten it, how could I ever argue the contrary with SOMEONE who knows what I'VE forgotten?- nonetheless, I don't think I sufficiently understand your statement; I think you're saying something like, yeah, we (atheists?) are flawed, but we just really want to make things better (more moral, less violent, less flawed, more peaceful, more tolerant, etc), is that correct?You're right about that part.- I think 'that part' refers to the '...information being flawed...', correct?But there's a resolution that follows when grabbing the label of atheist.- resolution essentially meaning resolution to 'flawed information atheists may unnecessarily behold...'?For me, and I imagine for a lot of the other my generation atheists, it's the argument that no gods existing is the simplest honest approach to viewing that particular human question.- I think we're in agreement here at least with respect to being the 'simplest' approach (or definition or belief); this is precisely how I qualified my initial response; again, what exactly is the problem?!?Does it mean I think I'm a 100% right? No, it means I feel about 70% right and I'm sticking with it."- given this statement you've just made and given our agreed upon basic definition, you are unequivocally not an 'atheist'; but I still must be missing something here b/c you have implicitly agreed with me that you are not an 'atheist' as defined, but then you explicitly argue that you are an 'atheist'; (sure, you might be an 'agnostic atheist' but a) this discussion was limited to 'atheism' as initially qualified by the original lens, and b) I do not claim to yet have a sufficient understanding of 'agnostic atheism')

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I will refer you to the part at the top of this guestbook to the part that said, "I also respectfully request that commenters refrain from evangelizing or proselytizing. The purpose of this page is not evangelistic - it is merely an attempt to explain what an atheist actually is to spread tolerance. It was created with the hope that people might read it and learn to see atheists as normal human beings with the same right to freedom of religion as anyone else."I read your comment to mean that you are suggesting that because I don't know 100% that God isn't real I should be open to the possibility that He is or possibly that I should just believe; I wasn't terribly clear on exactly what you were saying. I am open to evidence but that doesn't mean I'm not an atheist. Even Richard Dawkins, the boogeyman to many Christians, is an agnostic atheist. I used the term agnostic atheist because most Christians take the term atheist (wrongly) to mean absolute certainty of God's nonexistence. In practice, it simply doesn't. This is the strawman created by religious folks to say things like atheists think they know everything. I don't need to say I'm an agnostic atheist in the title because, just like Christians can say they are Christians without having to label which flavor, I choose not to because most people are confused by the meaning of the word agnostic when placed with the word atheist. They think agnostic means sitting on the fence exactly between atheism and religion or one who could be tipped either way or a person lacking the courage to commit to one direction or the other. You know that's not the definition but it's how most people I have encountered define agnosticism.Agnostic is a knowledge position. Agnostic doesn't mean sitting on the fence between belief and disbelief as many take it to. Agnostics are people who do not make a positive knowledge claim about the existence of God. Agnostics can be agnostic atheists, agnostic theists, or simply agnostics. If you talk to some atheists I would be willing to bet that nine out of ten of them will not make a positive knowledge assertion about the nonexistence of God. Gnosticism is a positive knowledge claim. I can't give you statistics because there's no study I know of but, my anecdotal evidence is that I've met a whole lot of atheists but never a single gnostic atheist in person. I think there's maybe one gnostic atheist on the Happy Atheist Forum, if he still even posts there.I directed you to my other lens because I don't feel I should have to explain what an agnostic atheist is over and over and over when I've already clearly explained it on its own page. If a person doesn't seem to know what an agnostic or an agnostic atheist is (as your post seemed to indicate) I generally direct them to it.I think we are more alike than you think. I am a person who simply finds all myths equally highly unlikely yet makes no positive knowledge claim that they are not true. I live my life as if no Gods, Goddesses, or other supernatural beings exist but I'd be highly unlikely to state definitively that they don't. But I don't have to definitively state that I know those things don't exist to not believe in them. Proving a negative is something I find impossible. But why should I have to? Why should I have to prove something's nonexistence to not believe in it. Do you need to prove 100% the non-existence of the chupacabra to not believe it exists?And here's the part where you'll think I'm flakier than you already do. My reply to you was very poorly worded and wandering but I'm leaving it up and there's a reason for it. I'm leaving it up because it could be taken the wrong way if I took it down and it would make our conversation impossible to follow. I apologize for how confused and confusing it is. And ditto on this reply if it's equally confusing. The reason it is confusing is because I was replying when I ought not to have been (like now) with a fever over 103 degrees. I suffer from a fever disorder and most of what I write goes in circles and other weird places when I start to get delirious. But I promise I'll come back once it goes back down again and try to make more sense of both your first comment and what I wrote in response. I honestly can't make heads or tails of your first comment at the moment and my own reply is even more confusing.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Kylyssa - I totally understood your point but as I said before I never saw those types of things in California so its hard for me to comment, although in my last paragraph I agreed with you how wrong it is to treat people differently because of their beliefs. Anyway I felt enough people here were addressing the point of your lens so I decided to take a different track and bring up some new and seldom considered points concerning man and his need to be part of a religion or a non-religion. I was not trying to downplay the importance of what you were saying at all. I just like to get people thinking.

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      camoguard 5 years ago

      @anonymous: In my opinion, atheism is the stance that gods don't exist like you said. But I agree with Kylyssa and disagree with you on some of the nuances. The point is that while that's how an atheist acts we don't tend to have a belief that we know everything there is to know about godlike characters or the state of the universe. So there could be a god and I'm still thinking atheism is for me.As for agnostic atheists, that's a new fangled way to sum all that up. I am an atheist who doesn't claim full knowledge and yet I think I'm acting coherently with my level of knowledge and my use of skepticism.A lot of what you said suggests to me that you're a skeptic more than you identify with being an atheist and honestly, I understand that position pretty well. I think it's a good place to be. But it's a place from which you have obviously forgotten that people who define as atheists are hoping to advance more from their position than simply the argument that information is flawed. You're right about that part. But there's a resolution that follows when grabbing the label of atheist. For me, and I imagine for a lot of the other my generation atheists, it's the argument that no gods existing is the simplest honest approach to viewing that particular human question. Does it mean I think I'm a 100% right? No, it means I feel about 70% right and I'm sticking with it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: @kylyssaI'm an agnostic atheist as most atheists are.- I don't have the data to show your assertion of 'most atheists are (agnostic atheist)' to be the case and at the moment I don't see a need to research it b/c a) your lens seems to be about 'atheism' not 'agnostic atheism', and b) my use of the concept of atheism was clearly and respectfully qualified as meaning 'there is no god' (given that all complicated concepts I've studied seem to have different meanings for different folks which seem to cause unnecessary confusion if not sufficiently qualified); could you please point out to me where exactly in this lens you qualify yourself as an 'AGNOSTIC atheist'? I can't seem to find it; is this lens about atheism or about agnostic atheism?; one could discuss both, or even the many other forms of atheism, but to me that would be too wide of a discussion in which I would strongly suggest the discussion be limited to one (sub)topic at a time;It's a common misconception that atheists believe they know 100% that God and all other Gods and Goddesses don't exist.- according to my research (again, complicated concepts have complicated and diverse meanings for different folks), one description for 'atheism' proclaimed by Answers.com is 'The doctrine that there is no God or gods' and second description also by Answers.com is 'Unlike agnosticism, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial'; of course, there certainly exist other varied and personal meanings for 'atheism' as well as sub-concepts, eg, 'agnostic atheism', 'weak atheism', etc; as having already known that there exist such varied meanings for 'atheism', I had no choice but to qualify or settle on one meaning of 'atheism' such that we could have an as meaningful and as civil discussion as possible with respect to this lens as titled 'An Atheist View' (it doesn't say 'An Agnostic Atheist View'); I firmly believe such a practice of qualifying and/or defining terms aids in promoting peaceful discussions still, I too fail at sufficiently qualifying terms and concepts;In real life, the vast majority of atheists are agnostic atheists.- (that's your assertion and you're free to substantiate it with your perspective)Most theists are gnostic theists.- this discussion is about 'atheism' not 'theism' I ask that you please stay on topic;You can read the full explanation on my lens,"What is an Agnostic Atheist?"- (this particular lens, this one right here, is about 'Atheism' not 'agnostic atheism'; why are you telling me to read that other lens?)Your argument seems to be that if there's no evidence for something one should just believe it because it is only as unbelievable as anything else there's no evidence for.- I don't understand your statement; could you please substantiate/re-formulate your assertion? Or, is there something you would like for me to re-word/re-formulate/re-address/substantiate? (your assertion about what you think I'm saying sounds something like this: 'if no evidence, then believe' b/c 'if not believable, then there's no evidence'; there are so many things wrong/confusing with those statements that I honestly do not know where to begin to try to help us resolve this dilemma; maybe I unintentionally communicated such a fallacious assertion/thought, if so, re-try to point that out)I am not moved to believe everything and just not believe only those things proven not to exist.- that's your choice; but, correct me if I'm wrong, are you implying that there are some things you DO believe in WITHOUT proof?; maybe your definition and my definition of 'belief' are different; when I say 'belief', I mean to indicate, in some significant way, that I accept some assertion as true even though there does not exist unequivocal proof or such proof is not readily available for my inspection, eg, 'I believe the moon is not made out of provolone cheese' or 'I believe the taking of a human life is immoral'; what does 'belief' mean to you?There's no evidence that Thor and the chupacabra don't exist, so, by your logic they should be believed to exist.- please do show me where I said or implied such a logicWhy do you feel there's an obligation to choose a myth to believe in?- please do show me where I said or implied such an obligationPop out your peer-reviewed scientific evidence for God and I'd consider the possibility of His existence.- you're asking (demanding) me to provide 'peer-reviewed' evidence; what is your position regarding 'peer-reviewed' evidence? How faithfully do you believe in it?; you're asking (demanding from) the wrong person to prove God for you I am agnostic (ie, I don't have any viable evidence for or against the existence of a God or Gods); further, I know, rather, I believe, science can be faulty (eg, we once and incorrectly thought the atom was the smallest indivisible particle); still, I respect science as a sincere behavior/study to arrive at truth though not always successful at it; I believe man is relatively clueless as to what this Universe is or has to offer and as such, I believe man and science are unable to have all the answers for us at this time; that's ok, man and science should continue in their quest and maybe one day we will know everything and just maybe we might find that there does or doesn't exist a God(s);

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      gregoryolney lm 5 years ago

      Having taken part in your polls on this and your other lens, I must say I am appalled and amazed that these questions should even arise. How dare people even consider not allowing someone to teach or serve on a jury because of their religion or lack of it ! It is quite disgraceful and makes me extremely angry.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I'm an agnostic atheist as most atheists are. It's a common misconception that atheists believe they know 100% that God and all other Gods and Goddesses don't exist. In real life, the vast majority of atheists are agnostic atheists. Most theists are gnostic theists. You can read the full explanation on my lens,"What is an Agnostic Atheist?"Your argument seems to be that if there's no evidence for something one should just believe it because it is only as unbelievable as anything else there's no evidence for. I am not moved to believe everything and just not believe only those things proven not to exist. There's no evidence that Thor and the chupacabra don't exist, so, by your logic they should be believed to exist. Why do you feel there's an obligation to choose a myth to believe in? Why isn't it just OK to believe in none until there's some evidence? Pop out your peer-reviewed scientific evidence for God and I'd consider the possibility of His existence.

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      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: If you read the lens, you'll see what the point of it is. There's no reason a person should have to be pretend to be Christian just to keep a job or to just sit back and watch the religious right drafting laws. The point of identifying as atheist is to show that the world isn't all Christian and to express that everyone, including non-Christians has the right to live without anyone else imposing their religious beliefs upon them.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Interesting post. I have to admit though the only reason I clicked on your lens is because Im thinking of joining this site and I figured by reading the responses to your article I could gauge how many members are from the religious right. If there were too many religious fanatics then I figured I would not join. As for myself I have never been and never will be a religious person but I have to say I find Atheist just as perplexing as religious fanatics. After all why does one find the need to label a negative, or in other words, to call himself an Atheist? After all, if one does not believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials he does not join a group of other non-believers and then label that group. I suspect the reason Atheist do this is because human beings in general seem to have this insatiable need to belong to a group. They need to have a team to root for. We must join a political party, we must root for a sports team, and for most of us we must be part of a religion. Of course if a person does not believe in God and therefore cannot join this largest of groups then he must associate himself with a group of non-believers. As for me I do not feel the need to root for sports teams, I dont believe in partisan politics, and I have no religious beliefs. Yet neither do I need to label myself as being part of a movement of non-believers. When someone questions me about my religious beliefs I simply tell them Im not religious. In fact I neither believe nor disbelieve anything. I simply know what a preponderance of scientific evidence suggests and I act accordingly. And to tell the truth, although there is no evidence of there being a God there is a huge amount of scientific evidence to support the fact that we are much more than just our bodies. In fact a body is simply a conduit through which we experience the physical universe. This is not religion though, its pure physics. Most people who feel the need to label themselves as Atheist however I find are sternly opposed to accepting any truths that dont involve man being anything beyond an animated piece of meat. So in effect many of them are just as closed minded and fanatical as the religious nuts. Some will even become extremely agitated at the prospect of life after body death. In short both sides can be fairly irrational. As for the mistreatment of Atheist all I can say is I never experienced such things in my home state of California but I would not doubt that its common place in the Bible Belt and other parts of the world which is a shame. Nobody should be looked down upon for their religious beliefs or lack thereof. In fact it was all the religious hypocrisy and intolerance I saw as a child that turned me off to organized religion in the first place. And although I no longer harbor any ill will for anyone of any religious beliefs I have definitely outgrown the need for religion or other belief groups.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @KylyssaI think you made a grave error in your thought process with respect to your atheistic belief(s). Or, of course, I could just be logically fallacious in some manner - if so, just point that out to me.My assertion: I think you're more agnostic (ie, no proof for existence or non-existence of a God) than atheistic (ie, there is no God). Here's why:- you say, 'I accept the fact that I don't know the answers to the questions of how exactly the universe came about and how exactly, life came to be....'- if anything, it is my understanding that (at least the Christian) God is perceived to essentially be above and beyond, and the creator of this Universe (I'm hoping we don't have to intertwine panentheistic and pantheistic beliefs or other non-Christian deity beliefs here b/c it'll just make my non-formal proof more complicated)- I say, if you accept you 'don't (have) the answers' about the universe as stated in this lens, then what is so hard for you to accept that you 'don't (have) the answers' for the existence or non-existence of a God? Could you potentially have such a proof someday? Maybe. Could there someday be a scientific proof that would prove or disprove a God? Maybe.(There is so much more in this lens I'd like to respond to, but I'll have to come back to it.)Djupiter2011 at gmail dot com

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am kinda an athiest. My belief in the afterlife is confusing, because I was not human. Though I can say everything is a possibility. Maybe god is real...? Maybe 'he' created the universe, and the big bang and the big bang. But that caused evolution to spring. :)

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      OccultPriestess1 5 years ago

      Simply beautiful lens- great design. Thank you for sharing what for most would be a very personal issue. I had never thought about discrimination against an atheist. Great polls :)

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      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Thanks for sharing this sad story. There is a lot of frustrated people out there and finding culprit among some kind of minority is always the easy way. Maybe you should add to your reading list another atheistic book: Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins? All the best from Slovenia where we have some verys imilar issues...

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      lawpost 5 years ago

      Very though provoking. I was surprised to hear in the John Stossel video that 92% of Americans believe in God. I knew that the vast majority of Americans were "God-fearing people," but the way that the Christian Right complain of attacks from secular humanists (they are coming for Christmas, O'Reilly) you would think that atheists had more numbers on their side.

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      TIRMassageStone1 5 years ago

      People should just focus on being a good person, no matter what religion they believe in (or lack thereof). There are many paths to being a good person, and being religious is not the only one. It is OKAY to be different.

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      phoenix arizona f 5 years ago

      Just because someone thinks differently from society, doesn't mean that they should be treated differently.

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      nolinel lm 5 years ago

      Great lens, thank you for sharing. I really liked your comment about Atheists not denying God, but thinking or is it really knowing, that he is not real. It is an important distinction as the theory that Atheists are denialists is quite arrogant.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow, As a Kiwi (New Zealander), I am reminded how free this little nation is in it's views. I am an athiest and no one cares, there is no stigma associated with my views on religion. I can't understand how there is so much crime, hate, oppression and seperation in the USA if religion was actually that good for you... I don't wish to be seen as "Anti-American" - certainly not my intention, but I do question how free America actually is....Rule of the chruch seems to be foremost despite the founding fathers(?) attempts otherwise...same as the Vatican by the looks of it. I think if America is to be truely free then Yes, Athiests should receive the same treatment as the religious.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome lens!

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      jder 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens!

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      gaytheist555 6 years ago

      Atheism is the salvation oh humanity... nothing else can save us!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      love the site and the information. I was educated in R.E. Lately I have been looking into history and it has started changing my opinion about a lot of things. I found out about Horus, 3000BC Born on the 25th of december to a virgin called Mary. Three kings adorned Horus. He had 12 disciples, he walked on water and did miracles. Horus was crucified and resurrected after 3 days. Does this sound familiar. What is going off. You can watch this video at The truth blog DECEPTION PROJECT pt16 zeitgeist one world religion scam (they are misleading you) & jesus.

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      Puckwudgie 6 years ago

      Would I vote for an atheist? Possibly. As with any other candidate, it would depend on how s/he stood on issues that affect me. Provided I'm not going to be legislated into doing something I don't believe in, and given the assumption that the atheist is at least as qualified as any other candidate, then yes, I do believe in separation of church and state.

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      meisgood132 6 years ago

      This is an excellent Squiddo lens. All I can say about atheist as a whole. Is I'm glad I live in England. Where it makes no difference if you believe or not.

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      NYThroughTheLens 6 years ago

      Phenomenal lens. Really. Very happy to have come across it as a long-time atheist. I find that you covered so many different angles in a relatively open way.

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      Earlystart 6 years ago

      Interesting perspective. Also a mix of religions and God. Also what people, who subscribe to a certain religion, say and do in the name of a religion and the actual teaching of that religion - two very different things! Lastly, before lumping all religions into one box, I would highy recommend you check out the Qur'an http://www.squidoo.com/quran-readEnjoy reading/listening.

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      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      This is a phenomenal lens. Although I have learned to accept some sentiments (such as "you are in my prayers") graciously as a metaphor for caring and support (if sincere) and based on intent, there are still others that are so culturally ingrained that it is harder to deal with. Hence, with those things in mind, this agnostic-at-best (or -at-worst) is bestowing a squid angel blessing on this lens. It will be added to our "Wing-ing It" lensography of bless-worthy lenses. You can see it at http://www.squidoo.com/lenses-blessed-by-this-squi...

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      The Gutter Monkey 6 years ago

      I grew up in a very small southern town named Hazard (yes, that's where the show got it's name from) and I've only met a handful of other atheists in my life (in person, I mean). Most appear to equate atheism with satanism, it seems. I thank god (heh) that there's the internet so I don't have to be alone in my beliefs (or lack there of) though. It's because of the internet and its vast amount of information that we are growing more and more everyday.Just like every other progressive movement throughout history, from anti-slavery to gay rights, we'll get there in the end.

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      Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @Health-Gal: Some areas are better than others. The bigger the city, the better, as far as atheists (and lgbt folks, too) go. I live in what is considered a "blue state" or slightly liberal state but the small town I came from was outright dangerous for anyone different. I moved to a much bigger city (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and I'd say that it is probably physically safe to be out as an atheist here though not safe to employment at all workplaces. I have experienced some atheist related vandalism since moving here ("Die Atheist ****!" scratched into my car and slashed tires in a single incident), a woman spat on me, and I worked a few places where it was clear that anyone obviously not a conservative Christian would be gone in an instant. A friend was let go from one place I worked, supposedly for being late when the last tardy (of less than ten minutes) on her time cards was about a year previous. However, she'd been accidentally outed as non-Christian (somewhere between agnostic and Pagan) by a friend picking her up for lunch just a day or two before. I've had people ask what church I attend at interviews! I'd like to get to one of the even more liberal states to live (Michigan is a blue state but it's Detroit that tips it) but I don't foresee it happening soon. So, in the meantime, I'm trying to get more people to see that, well, we're people, too! If you want to experience more shivers, check out the results on my page of atheism related polls. The numbers come out better than a purely US poll probably would and a bunch of my online atheist and liberal Christian friends have also promoted it so it's even further skewed but 5-20% of respondents have still voted for the bigoted answers, depending on the question.

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      Health-Gal 6 years ago

      Just the question alone makes me shiver. As if atheists are not people, while it has always been religious people killing and slaughtering others in the name of their faith. Incredible. I am atheist and prefer not to be treated the same as religious people if you ask me, because of the way the question is asked. It almost sounds that religious people deserve to be treated right. ALL people deserve to be treated with respect, that should stand free from whether or not they believe in god or buddha or zen or no god. It should stand free from their race, the color of their skin. A year or so ago, I helped somebody online with their website, sorted out a tech problem they could not seem to resolve. and when finished the guy asked me how much I wanted for it. I said I did not need him to pay anything, that I was glad I could helped and his immediate response was "then you must be a good christian". I was shocked to be honest and answered that I was atheist, to which he replied that was impossible. wow... Am I glad not to live in the States, if this is really how atheists are being "treated"...

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      We atheists should be just as respected as everyone else. In 2008, 15% of all American adults were atheists. Would your God deny 15% of the population respect? I didn't think so...

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      Lady-in-Window 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Excellently said. That is just how I believe as well.

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      Lady-in-Window 6 years ago

      Thank you for writing this lens. You covered all the important points and issues and hopefully educated a few people in the process. I too am an atheist, but only a handful of people know. The prejudice is just rediculous. Why do all theists ASSUME we all believe the same as they do? That is what really annoys me. No, dear theist, not everyone believes in God, period.

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      Duke 6 years ago

      They 100% deserve the same respect. I have always been put down, given dirty looks, etc., when I am asked if I am "Catholic or Christian", and I reply "neither". People are people. If you make positive changes in the word and live for the better, you deserve to be honored and respected just as someone with faith in god would be.

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      jackieb99 6 years ago

      Of course they deserve the same treatment! A viewpoint is a viewpoint.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: sorry about the misspelling of "Atheist" in previous post...

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      You should check out a book called "The Christian Delusion" "Why Faith Fails" edited by John W. Loftus. It's a fantastic book that breaks down the dangers of fundamentalist Christians and Muslims. Personally, we're all made of energy. Energy can never be destroyed, always has been and will be. Energy moves in and out of form. Like water moves in and out of form but can never be destroyed. The myriad labels that we have only serve to divide us, and "Aethist" is simply another label, like "Christian," "Muslim," "Catholic," "Democrat," "Republican," "Black," "White." They're all labels and descriptions that keep us apart, that keep us fighting, but in the big picture, mean absolutely nothing.

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      kabraxisx 6 years ago

      A lot of information here, found your page by it being linked on the right of my page, I think I may feature your page on minehttp://www.squidoo.com/Apostasy

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      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      It's always good to revisit this page. My view is that deities are "real" on a symbolic, metaphorical level; this makes them very important to people who engage with those symbols, but completely irrelevant to people who don't. As for public policy, that should be made as much as possible on the grounds of reason and tested facts.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! You have made many valid points without resorting to insults toward those who do believe. As a non-believer myself, all I want, as I believe most atheists/non-believers want is simply what you said: respect for our right to not share others' beliefs. As for that foxhole thing--as a non-believer, I've always felt that being in a foxhole would only reinforce my non-belief; and I can't believe that there would be anything BUT atheists in foxholes. Thanks for an intelligent, unbiased lens on a misunderstood topic!

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      yourgoldenfuture 6 years ago

      I believe in GOD...and I dont have a problem with people who dont...as long as they dont make me mad... in theory in germany you have the right to believe what you want...as long as its a free decision... with the ability to change that later... so i am against all destructive cults / religions...my rights are the same as the others rights

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      XBlade 6 years ago

      Im not an Atheist but I do understand the hate and misunderstanding because im Agnostic and when ever you tell someone that they atomaticly asume your Atheist and if your lucky after a few hours of people telling you that your an atheist and devil worshipper like those are the worst things a person can be they understand im not atheist and keep on with the devil worship nonsense. Personaly I envy the religiouse and Atheist community's because the Atheist community at least knows what they believe and the Religiouse community has faith and i believe that is a beautiful thing when not used to manipulate and control the wills of others but me im in a limbo or sorts.

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      GoldenChile 6 years ago

      I hope many young men and women, skeptical kids with prodding doubts, find this page. I think its wonderfully supportive and enlightening and thouroughly enjoyed reading it.

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      joanv334 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing!

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      best-intentions 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your very well deserved purple star! I had heard about the U of M study on Minnesota Public Radio. I was shocked! You made me giggle with the "life before death" part. I've said that many times, myself. Thanks for all the time and effort that you put into creating this. :) Kate

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      TeacherSerenia 6 years ago

      I think all people need to be treated with respect and their beleifs should not even be part of the equation. Its not like the little old lady at the traffic lights gets told by a boy scout - I need to know what your religion is before I will help you across the street. That doesn't happen, does it? I surely hope not. If someone cannot swear on a bible - they should be allowed to affirm with no fuss or shock. When I did jury duty the chosen jurors were asked - hands up those who would prefer to affirm rather than swear - and several hands went up including mine. That was fine with the court and there was no problems with having 2 short ceremonies - one to swear and one to affirm. Then the lawyers began their court case. Sprinkling angel blessings on a great lens.

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      Jereme Causing 6 years ago from Philippines

      Anyway,.. Nice lens.. I like it .. and I respect your idea.. I now have a clear idea on that :D

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      Jereme Causing 6 years ago from Philippines

      You would notice that in rural places, they tend to worship different deities including forces of nature even though they haven't heard of God yet. This is because man was born with the ability to seek for something superior

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      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ragardless of what my religious affiliation is, I still enjoyed reading your lens and understanding why people choose to be atheists. We have some in our family and we respect each other in whatever beliefs engage us. Your lens truly deserve the purple star.

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      carny 6 years ago

      This is a really well written lens on some widespread misconceptions about atheism. I agree with pretty much everything you've written here. I found the following two points especially interesting.1. "Humans are born religious" - indeed, that is a really strange and disturbing belief. Do parents really think their kids would grow up to be Christians if they weren't indoctrinated at young age? When you realize that Christians believe every person is born a Christian, while Muslims for example believe every person is born a Muslim (and same is probably true for other religions as well) you can see how ridiculous this notion is. 2. "Morality comes from religion" - you've made an excellent point about how our ancestors had to cooperate in order to survive. Humans are social creatures, after all. We wouldn't have gotten to where we are now if we were all maniac killers who are only stopped by fear of divine punishment.I've always wondered how people who say atheists are immoral think. "Atheists are immoral because they don't fear god. They aren't afraid of going to hell for their sins". Is that it? So am I to understand that the only thing stopping a Christian from stealing and murdering is fear of divine retribution? And they only do nice things because Jesus told them to, and they hope to go to heaven for it? That just seems so fake and dishonest to me. Aren't atheists more moral than believers then? After all, they do nice things without hoping to get rewarded for it in the afterlife :) I'd be grateful if someone could explain this part to me...P.S. "religion = morality" myth can be easily debunked. Just compare US (16.1% atheists) with Sweden (46% or more atheists). Now compare the homicide rates: 5.0 per 100,000 in US, 1.25 per 100,000 in Sweden. (Info can be found in Wikipedia). How would a Christian who believes morality comes from religion explain this?

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      Blonde Blythe 6 years ago

      I'm a christian, and I respect your point of view. No one has the right to force their religious beliefs on someone else. If this is a free country, it makes one wonder why there is so much discrimination against athiests. Your lens is well written and logical. Great job!

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @Quirina: You're overlooking the obvious here. Sure, each animal is the offspring or clone or such of a parent creature so when you're zoomed in to look at a nuclear family of animals they appear to be the same species. But when you zoom out and see the ancestor species and the modern variations you'll find a lot of changes have happened. Natural selection and genetic drift are two components of evolution. And they do happen. And you're also right that each small step doesn't seem like a big deal by itself. But you're wrong that the small steps invalidate evolution.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @Quirina: You're overlooking the obvious here. Sure, each animal is the offspring or clone or such of a parent creature so when you're zoomed in to look at a nuclear family of animals they appear to be the same species. But when you zoom out and see the ancestor species and the modern variations you'll find a lot of changes have happened. Natural selection and genetic drift are two components of evolution. And they do happen. And you're also right that each small step doesn't seem like a big deal by itself. But you're wrong that the small steps invalidate evolution.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Kylyssa, you are a dear and valued member of the Squidoo community and I hope you know that. My heart hurts that you have been injured in any way by discrimination of any kind in this world and I would like to take this opportunity to say I am sorry about that. May we build bridges to one another rather than walls of fear and distrust. My sister was just telling me that they spent much of Christmas Day with a delightful gentleman who is atheist at the home of my brother and sister in law. The gentleman and his wife were a welcome addition to the family gathering and left with an invitation to attend my brother's retirement party this week and promised they would be there. Interestingly this couple is at peace with his being atheist and her proclaiming to be a person of faith. He stays home in peace and joy while she goes and attends her services in peace and joy. Maybe, it is a help to them that they are originally from the Ukraine and haven't been subject to American issues. I don't know, but I wish it could be that easy between us all always and forever. The thing is that on December 25th, in this one house, differences didn't make a difference that were hurtful. No one tried to convert any one in either direction and no one will try to do so. There may be further discussions but no issues.

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      Quirina 6 years ago

      @anonymous: 'There is no mechanism of evolution---and don't use natural selection--this can preserve a species, but NEVER change it into a new one; go re-study. Also, mutations result in a loss of information and an inability to survive in a normal environment. 'WRONG - natural selection CAN drive the transition of a species into a new one. Because mutations CAN result in a qualitatively different information. And an environment does not necessarily stay 'normal' - rather, most natural environments are prone to change over time. Changes in genetic information can thus make a species adapt to environmental changes.

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      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @LizMac60: Well said!

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      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I had to return to give this lens a Squid Angel recognition.

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      Quirina 6 years ago

      @anonymous: The 10 commandments are some very useful rules to live by. However, I think it does not even take a rocket scientist, let alone a supreme being, to work them out. Overage human common sense can do that all on its own.

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      Quirina 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Replying to 'Here's something interesting: Atheism needs evolution because that is the best way to escape the possibility of a God; It does not have to be true. However, theism does not need creationism, or evolution--it doesn't matter.'What about this: Theism needs a god because that is the only way to escape evolution. Replying to 'Have these similarities ever given a species the ability to mate with a different species? No.'Well, you are wrong here. Tigers and lions occasionally mate in zoos. They do not do so in the wild because their habitats are distinct, but when kept in zoos together in one cage they may produce so-called Ligers (father lion, mother tiger) or tiglons (parents other way round). Female ligers are fertile, while male ligers are infertile, so they will not go on forming a species of their own. Similar hybrids with other large cats exist, you can look it up at Wikipedia. A more common example of the same phenomenon are mules and hinnies.Another bit to think about: Congenital Hypertrichiosis. This is the medical term for a very rare condition where humans have strong thick hair all over their body, and notably over the whole face. Wikipedia says less than 100 people with this condition have been recorded over the past centuries. (Calling it a 'condition', though is probably not even correct because these people are hairy but perfectly healthy.) Science based on evolution theory can easily explain this phenomenon: Humans lost their fur during their evolution from animals to humans, but continue to have hair follicles producing finer, thinner hair all over the body. So humans acquired a genetic repression mechanism for thick-hair-everywhere, that in very rare cases fails to act, by the repressing gene losing its function and thus the evolutionarily older genetic program coming through. Result: Humans who end up with animal nicknames. Grotesque, but true. And easily explained using evolution.

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      kwj 6 years ago

      A really well presented point of view. I would distinguish between an interest in a creative life force and religious bureaucracy that is man made.

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      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I'm a christian in Britain. Obviously I don't share your beliefs but I defend your right to hold them and to live unmolested. Blessed by a squid angel.

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      KeenanSteel 6 years ago

      Well stated. Perhaps the reality turns the classic idea of being "persecuted for one's beliefs" on its head for most Americans. We all have the tendency to see ourselves as victims, but I believe you made the case for atheists being persecuted very well.

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      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Very challenging and thought-provoking - I've not seen the discrimination in the UK, as far as I know.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      If you are basically a good person nothing else should really matter.

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      C A Chancellor 6 years ago from US/TN

      I think understanding each other and accepting our differences is one of the most important things we can do as individuals.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Your lens is very thought-provoking and well-organized. St Francis of Asisi once said "Preach always, and sometimes use words." As a Christian, I really regret the gulf of misunderstanding between religious folks like myself and non-religious folks. We don't need to feel threatened by one another, and I prefer that we show what we are about through our actions rather than coarse words.

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      pumpnut lm 6 years ago

      This is a very intriguing and thought provoking lens. I happen to be a (censored) so I must be careful for fear of retribution from the (censored). Please feel free to make a huge list and insert two items into the bracketed spaces. Kinda sad.

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      TheRedstar 6 years ago

      I was born from a mother who was Pentecostal and because of her belief I'm alive today. I myself believed in Jesus and God but something in me did not feel as if this was real. I was surrounded by Hippocrates and money hungry leaders whom fed their families off of others hope and faith. I was raised into this kind of life style and felt deprived of knowing so much more. Now as an adult can honestly say I am an Athiest. I dont believe in a supreme being.I believe that we have the power to make our lives what we want. The reason why I think religion was created was because humans needed something to rely and end chaos so all around the world they created these religions to have something to give them hope, and moral order. I'm very glad that you placed this lens to show the religious that we are not trying to put down what they have but just prove a point on why we think this way. Thanx and I think you should be rewarded for such a well put lense.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @Nerdy_Girl: I recently got in an exchange with a college student who is taking a law class of some sort on this issue. She argued that atheists don't get the constitutional protection of religions because atheism is not a belief. While I agree that atheism is a lack of belief and not a belief at all, I would argue that the conviction with which being an atheism directs our consciences is similar. In 1970, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Welsh when Welsh declared himself a conscientious objector."In his exemption application, petitioner stated that he could not affirm or deny belief in a "Supreme Being," and struck the words "my religious training and" from the form. He affirmed that he held deep conscientious scruples against participating in wars where people were killed. The Court of Appeals, while noting that petitioner's "beliefs are held with the strength of more traditional religious convictions," concluded that those beliefs were not sufficiently "religious" to meet the terms of 6(j), and affirmed the conviction. Petitioner contends that the Act violates the First Amendment prohibition of establishment of religion, and that his conviction should be set aside on the basis of United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, which held that the test of religious belief under 6(j) is whether it is a sincere and meaningful belief occupying in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those admittedly qualified for the exemption." (from Cornell's website http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/US... it's my opinion that a self-identified atheist has convictions equivalent to the convictions of any other person and that my opinion would pass muster at the Supreme Court level were I ever challenged on it.

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      Nerdy_Girl 6 years ago

      You're officially my new favorite lensmaster! OK-- on the question of public officials making bigoted comments about atheism-- I'm not sure the word "bigotry" applies because atheism is not a belief. But dictionary.com defines "bigotry" as "stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own" -- is atheism an "opinion" do you think??

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      ericdeeter 6 years ago

      Kylyssa,My heart broke over the video of the young girl persecuted out of school. Jesus said that his followers would be known by our love. I've always known we were a long way from that standard, but you have held up a mirror that shows our blemishes. I wish there was a way that one lone voice saying "i'm sorry" could make up for the pain so many have inflicted on you. I want to say thanks for being so open and straightforward with your story. Your tone isn't bitter or vindictive. Your story convicted me more than a lot of the sermons I've heard. I am a follower of Jesus. I wish I could disavow responsibility for the actions of those who call themselves "Christian". But I have to own that the family I'm part of has a lot of dysfunctional and mean people in it. I hope you realize that we are not all that way. I look forward to reading through the rest of your pages here. Perhaps if you come through Kansas City you will have time for a cup of coffee and a chat. (no proselytizing)Thanks again,Eric Deeter

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: It's fine, sam. Sometimes, you just have to agree to disagree. You and I clearly do disagree.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I've been thinking about how i'm responding. God's Holy Spirit in me has helped me to see that, while these arguments are fine, the way i'm coming across is a little rude at times. Forgive me camogaurd, this doesn't represent God very well. I got caught up in trying to prove a point; i let my human nature out and forgot about God's love toward people. I apologize if i was rude or disrespectful in anyway while trying to argue a point. God love's you, and sometimes his kids don't represent him well. God bless, and thank you for the debate.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: Look at the time stamp dude....my last 3 comments were together....i just kept re-reading your "Nov 3 @ 12:.4" and separately responding to them. And....you still don't answer my evolution questions (Show me a mutation that advances evolution. Show me the fossil record that proves evolution. Show me something). I will continue to conclude that people like you have great faith in this non-existent occurrence. Good luck to ya.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I hope this isn't the way you argue with your mother. I'm pretty sure it's clear that I do dispute just about everything you've said. I dispute your use of the laws of thermodynamics. I dispute your education. I dispute your conclusions. So I took some time to verbalize the points I thought we could talk about. Sue me.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Weirdly, the theory of evolution doesn't postulate how it all began. I think that's called abiogenesis? Anyway, that's different. The theory of evolution happens after life began. Also, you'd get more of your posts answered if you wrote more concisely. When I have to respond to a long post, I do pick and choose what to respond to in the interests of keeping my response efficient.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Now you're just being antisocial.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: I just can't help it--you're responses are nonsense:You said "...Matter is simply being repurposed into biomaterial." --How's that now?? can you prove this??

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: wait, there's more! So, you don't dispute my findings on vestigial organs, yes? You don't understand the way the first or second laws of thermodynamics works--take your quote to a scientists they'll explain it to youYou said, "scientists get things wrong..." and ."..not ever scientist counts.."--except for the ones that agree with you faith?? Social science, why did you bring that up? You're avoiding the facts i've given and skirting around them with ridiculous subjects.After all the evidence i've given, this is what you come up with? Can you please, just once, admit you have faith in this unproven theory?

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: Again, i respectfully say you're absolutely wrong. You didn't prove anything with the first law---how does this start evolution?? Matter cannot create itself. What started it?? What is the driving force of evolution?? It is simply impossible to have occurred.Again, you didn't prove evolution by the second law. There is an increase in disorder, not order...How can a simple organism go to more complex with this law??--You're not thinking about it. This law actually proves the bible again--God started with Adam and Eve and through generations there is a deteriorating of gene pool.Why would a whale develop hind legs for no reason?? You need to re-read what I said--this bone, that you suppose is a vestigial organ is actually a purposeful created part of the whale used for reproduction.Ha ha, you make me laugh! I certainly look at the evidence and it completely disproves evolution. But, hey lets all go to PBS since camogaurd cannot dispute this. Nice try.You haven't even attempted to answer my questions. Look at my last paragraph again from the last post. I suspect you can't answer so you're avoiding it.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: This is a response to http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... . Damn you for asking a reasonable question in the middle of all that.On this question: "Disprove this: The first law of thermodynamics states matter cannot create itself--how does evolution happen? And, the second law states that over time there is an increase in disorder, not the opposite for evolution--how does this happen?"This one's an easy one. First of all the increasing complexity of organisms doesn't mean that more matter is being created. Matter is simply being repurposed into biomaterial.As for the second, there is an increase in the disorder. You have more complexity and more problems between each of the systems as animals adapt. We've got arms and carpal tunnel syndrome. We depend on bacteria in our gut and intestines. We rely on maintaining a certain range of pH balances or all of that goes out the window. The rest of your comment is nonsense. Nobody said whales walked. Whales inherited hind legs without a need for legs, that's what I said. Scientists get things wrong but it's still scientists telling us scientists got it wrong. Not every scientist counts by the way. Social science isn't a science that has a need to study evolution so it's possible that someone with a degree there doesn't have the best information.Sure, looking at the evidence is the best way to go. But you sir, have not. PBS has a site on evolution. Public funded television believes in evolution. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/ . The resources that provide a person with legitimate science information only point in one direction. We can disagree with which direction the wind is blowing because we do.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: While i respect your initiative in emailing one place, I'm certainly not going to agree with your conclusion that most scientists believe in evolution. What about all the one's who don't? What about the fact that only 15% of Americans believe in evolution without God? And over half reject the theory all together. If you want to look at polls, you'd loose! As I mentioned, there are just as many, if not more, mainstream "popular" anti-evolutionists. Also, I don't need to prove an intelligent designer for this argument; I proudly say I have faith in God. The issue is that I, along with millions of tax paying Americans, including highly intelligent scientists, reject evolution all together. If you're going to argue, as i've heard many atheistic evolutionists do, that the public is ignorant and the authority lies on the Universities, regardless of university scientists who reject the theory, then you need to remember what happened that made America--a healthy disrespect for forced authority. Just because a scientist can send us to the moon doesn't mean we are obligated to agree with all of his/her theories; we certainly shouldn't be forced to pay for those idea's with our tax dollars.When you get to the actual science, which is what i've tried to do, you can't prove evolution. All you do is throw archaeopteryx at me without science. Then you argue that about intelligent design--that's not going to prove evolution. You said "science isn't a proving grounds it is a testing ground" --Yeah, nope you're wrong again. You're using statements that are convenient for your evolution to sound good. Has not science tested and PROVED: laws of thermodynamics, gravity, speed of sound/light...etc. What you're doing is actual having faith that someday somehow evolution will provide the facts it needs--thats faith!! You said "..is NOT because it lays out all the information in a solved manner..." "It stands because all the data we find fits nicely within the model.." --without proof!! It is a belief system that, as you say can't be solved. But perhaps someday it will??? With all of the advancement and technology we have today, I don't think so.I want to comment on your vestigial organ theory and link: flightless birds--they use their wings for thermoregulation, stability while running and darting, courtship display, balance while mating, warning signals, protecting/shading young, etc--this is useless/leftover?? Whale bone's supposed "hind legs"--used for reproduction, proven. This requires an assumption that a whales once walked--where? Where is the proof. Its a huge leap of faith.The Coccyx--is an anchor point that holds the anus in place and form the entire pelvic diaphragm. useless?Wisdom teeth--I have all of mine and I use them!! This is not a useless function. Even if it was, how does that prove that I came from a different species? --this shows more of natural selection, not mutation to create new information.Appendix: The Grolier Encyclopedia admitted, "Long regarded as a vestigial organ with no function in the human body, the appendix is now thought to be one of the sites where immune responses are initiated." Authors Van De Graff and Fox state, "The appendix contains masses of lymphoid tissue that may serve to resist infection." Kenneth Saladin states, "The appendix is densely populated with lymphocytes [a type of white blood cell] and is a significant source of immune cells." Anatomist Fred Martini describes the appendix as saying, "The mucosa and submucosa of the appendix are dominated by lymphoid nodules, and the appendix's primary function is as an organ of the lymphatic system." --Do scientists ever get it wrong??You mentioned cancer and so forth. This is the genetic mutation that you rely so heavily on for evolution to occur?? Nonsense. Disprove this: The first law of thermodynamics states matter cannot create itself--how does evolution happen? And, the second law states that over time there is an increase in disorder, not the opposite for evolution--how does this happen?Show me a mutation that advances evolution. Show me the fossil record that proves evolution. Show me something.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @CKRivers: In response to CKRiver's comment "Today in 2010, where evolution is taught and God's word has been eradicated from the schools, the issues include, rape, gun possession,drug possession, and everything in between." I feel pretty sure that I can find cases of proclaimed Christians acting that way. But let's rephrase what you said a different way. You're claiming that atheists represent a higher proportion of criminals. The reverse is actually true. Atheists are underrepresented in prisons.

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      natnickeep lm 6 years ago

      I agree with much said here. Great and well thought lens. Lots of work involved to I am sure. "To me, it's not 100% impossible that some kind of superior being or universe creator exists, it's just extremely unlikely." This is my belief exactly.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: This is a response to http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... . I've got a lot of disagreement to channel into constructive points. I disagree with just about everything you just said.I first start disagreeing with your relationship between evolution and atheism. Atheism doesn't need evolution and evolution doesn't mean there is no supernatural. There are many reasons to deny the existence of gods. I'm probably going to regret saying this but just because someone denies theisms doesn't make them rational or scientifically informed. There are many many different faiths and for each one of those there are people who became disenchanted and left their original belief system and chose no belief.I'm not jumping from microevolution to macroevolution falsely. I'm jumping because of the way macroevolution is defined. It's hardly a choice. What you're having trouble with at this point, in my opinion, is the fact that science isn't a proving grounds. Science is a testing ground. The current theory is one of common ancestry. The reason it stands is NOT because it lays out all the information in a solved manner. It stands because all the data we find fits nicely within the model. Plus I gave you an example transitional animal that we did find. Evolution is not based in some sort of conspiracy to overthrow the old testament which is what I think some folks actually think. Common ancestry appears to make sense. Intelligent design does not because even though we've got reusable parts, they are poorly designed. Our replicators have all sorts of problems. We get cancer and old age. We have birth defects and chemical imbalances. We have vestigial and useless organs. To explain against evolution you need to find a reason why having a common ancestor fails to explain some real phenomenon. To support intelligent design, you need to find solid physical evidence of a specific designer. We can guess at what fills in the gaps of our knowledge all we want but the theory of evolution is grounded in physical evidence. And the evidence we have certainly rules out an intelligence that had the power to design different species with unique mechanisms and the ability to replicate flawlessly. The designer was not a good coder. Information hosted on the internet replicates more faithfully than DNA does. Software mutates less and has less common code between applications than DNA does when comparing animals. Half of all scientists do not disagree with evolution. That proposition you gave is exactly why I emailed the folks at the University of Wisconsin. I'm not from Wisconsin. I wanted to check in with the industry and see how life was from their perspective. You cannot convince me that this is a dispute among scientists because I personally took the time to randomly email people and I checked.The only good reason not to buy into the theory of evolution right now is not knowing enough about science. That happens to good people who have jobs outside of the science industry all the time. There is no other good reason.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: So we can both agree that there perhaps is a creator or intelligent designer and that the big bang or whatever it may have been is a guess because we don't know. Since information cannot create itself, the evidence seems to support a creator or intelligent designer and not random natural processes. Either way we both have faith in something. From here we will greatly differ on the facts.I agree that there are many more scientists who believe in evolution than those who don't. But there are still those who don't and they are in the 10 thousands. In this area of polling I don't think that majority nor minority should be the resolve. Think about this: two scientists who have the same degrees in the same field can agree on all the facts but yet one can believe evolution and the other will not. Who is right? This happens all of the time; there are debates all over the world with extremely intelligent scientists on both sides of the debate.I used to believe in evolution but the i started thinking hard about it and it wasn't adding up. My faith in God doesn't have to be in the equation--there are God believing evolutionists as well; and, as you mentioned, we can just talk about the theory itself. This theory of evolution really is a huge deal in the world and we can't seem to agree. I'd like to add that many pivotal scientists in our past believed in God and not in evolution: Kepler, Boyle, Newton, Joule, Pasteur, Werner van Braun (being one of the notable newest since Darwin's theory). As mentioned there are many, many more today that have credentials to back them up. In fact there are just as many, if not more, "popular" scientists who don't believe in evolution (Morris, Gish, Parker,...etc.) as there are "popular" scientists who do (Dawkins, Gould, Hawking...etc.) They've all written books and spoken on such topics.Here's something interesting: Atheism needs evolution because that is the best way to escape the possibility of a God; It does not have to be true. However, theism does not need creationism, or evolution--it doesn't matter.Now to the facts. You make a jump from microevolution to macro without any facts at all...you need to prove this. This would be like mixing different clays together, through different parts of the world, with lots of time and saying it becomes a modern house with plumbing and electricity. The clay would have to add information many different times through many trials and errors. Microevolution doesn't mean small scale darwinian evolution into different species. If you mate dogs together they will have different offspring...and depending on climate and other factors some will survive to reproduce more of their type...but these dogs remain dogs, even over millions of years. It would be a miracle to change them into a new species. This example is natural selection--it survives species, never transforms them. Also, in these situations, you end up with pure breeds and a loss of genetic material--not a gain anywhere. This is the same with genetic drift. You're taking ideas and postulating that these might become new species--this absolutely cannot be proven--it is a made up guess. With genetic drift, you again loose genetic material, not gain any new for a new species to arise.The only thing left would be a mutation or a miracle. When scientists test mutations or observe them in nature they find that only .01 percent are beneficial--and when there is a benefit the organism losses the ability to function in a normal environment. mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation, but useful genetic variation is a relatively rare event.... (Francisco Ayala). the mutants which arise are, with rare exceptions, deleterious to their carriers, at least in the environments which the species normally encounters (Dobzhansky). Furthermore, there is no one single mutation that scientists have found to increase genetic material for evolution to actual occur. So, what are we left with? Nothing. I'm not in this debate to prove someone wrong, i'm in this to say something louder: There is absolutely no mechanism that has been found to drive evolution; evolution simply has never occurred. With regard to DNA similarities this just backs up the idea of design again: There are similarities from one master builder. Is it okay for a chimp to have hands and feet to climb and us to have hands and feet used of other purposes? Sure. Have these similar DNA patterns ever been found to "bleed into" a transitional species? No. Have these similarities ever given a species the ability to mate with a different species? No. Have all of the species we see today remained the same species with variation? Yes. Has there ever been a proven scientific evidence of vertical variation towards another species or higher form? No. Did you realize that these similarities in DNA are with protein regions--They serve the same functions for us and other species; we are similar, not related. Humans are related to Humans and chimps to chimps etc. We cannot reproduce with other species, even if we seem similar. The fossil record, as you know, actually debunks evolution. There are no transitional fossils. "Well it takes millions of years," some say--good guess, where's the evidence or scientific backing? The fossils actually show up abruptly and in full species (like the bible says). Archaeopteryx is an extinct species of bird. Even birds today, like the ostrich, have fingers on their wings--but does that prove that they've evolved or are they in the bird category with variation and can only reproduce with their own kind. Vestigial organs aren't even used anymore for evolution proof...look at everyone now days and there is purpose...we can get into them more if you'd like. But i'll shorten this for time sake.If you can't explain what actually started this whole process, and can't explain evolution through factual science, and have faith in something you can't prove, and the bible backs up science and history, Why can't you believe that God did it? Why can't there be an intelligent designer? Or are you closed of to this possibility because evolution is a way to back up your atheism?Science is science and scientists are scientists. Beyond this are theories. If we're gonna look at polls, we should also realize that most evolutionists are also atheists. The facts don't allow for evolution; but do some scientists allow it in their mind because it helps them with atheism? Can scientists be blinded or closed minded because of their faith in evolution/atheism? Can it be persuaded by grants, power, prestige, money?

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: This is a response to Sam's post http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... . Ok. From what I understand, how it all began is still a mystery. I haven't kept up with what's happened to the Big Bang theory but that's not evolution. Next, I argue that evolution doesn't eliminate the possibility for something like a God to be out there. I only see it as a naturalistic way to view the data we can see. What we don't know, naturally we'll leave out of naturalistic explanations.Evolution is the mechanism for genetic change via genetic drift, natural selection and that kind of stuff. Macroevolution is commonly looked at as lots of microevolution. Microevolution is hardly even debatable because it can be demonstrated using artificial selection such as with dog breeding.Fossils are snapshots of some animals. But the fossil record is not guaranteed to be complete nor should it be. There's no covenant that one of every animal will be preserved for future generations. The importance of a fossil is based on what animal it is and what are the relevant details that date the fossil because then you can say "it appears between this time period and that time period somebody had developed four legs" or something like that. Fossils are fascinating because they are physical data points that require no microscope (well for the large ones that we tend to think about).The theory of evolution is the theory of common ancestry. We now have DNA evidence that paints a sufficient picture supporting the theory. Speculatively, if life didn't result from a common ancestor, we wouldn't expect to see such re-use in nature. When you get down to DNA, we have remarkably similar sequences to rats (http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002095.html) . As for species evolving into other species, species are arbitrary designations between animals that people invented to help sort the animal kingdom. There are a few transitional animals that were found fossilized. The Archaeopteryx fits the definition of a transitional form for a lot of people. The other clue besides transitional forms is going to be vestigial features, any body part that is useless or designed in a confusing way such as the panda's thumb. The panda has 5 fingers and a thumb, but it turns out the thumb is an adapted wrist bone. Sightless fish with eyes that live in cave water have vestigial eyes. There's the laryngeal nerve which is pretty optimal for fish but crap design for mammals, the giraffe's is just absurd from a design perspective. Here's a link to 10 vestigial traits http://www.livescience.com/animals/top10_vestigial... . I guess it's possible god is a hack writer of DNA and copy and pasted a whole bunch like a kid with a project due the next morning. But that's really a stretch for naturalists and for Christians because we don't have a lot of history of looking a god as someone who would Ctrl-V his creation away. The current theory that folks are working on is the idea that we have the wasteful elements because of random mutation and non-random selection over a long time. Whales have hind feet bones, but whatever a whale might have been that needed hind feet, that would have been a different species for sure.

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      Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @CKRivers: The "please, no evangelism" part above is a request for people not to evangelize, but I've found that people can't seem to help but evangelize. It looks to me like a basic disrespect for other people's right to not share your religion. If you read this page and not just sit blinded by the word atheist, you may see that it isn't evangelizing, it's just explaining what I, as an atheist, think. It's a plea to be accepted as equals in a country that finds most non-Christians to be not equal.Since you have no respect for my lack of belief and my right to not follow your religion, why are you so upset that Dawkins has no respect for your religion? I've also found that most Christians who evangelize to me tend make the same assumption you did - that I have not examined religions. Many agnostics and atheists lose their Abrahamic religion by studying it. The seminary turns out a fair number of agnostics and atheists.I suggest you read the Bible before suggesting that civilized societies can follow the morality of the Bible. It approves of slavery, it tells a woman to marry her rapist, it calls for parents to murder their children if the children are disobedient, it calls for the murder of homosexuals, it portrays a God with no regard for human beings. Evolution has not stopped, you are simply unlikely to see much progress in a lifetime. As to Social Darwinism, please read about the movement - it was begun by Christian folks. Originally, it fed from the idea of Creation's Ladder - that every person has a place, that the poor were born to be poor and the rich are better people. Look at the people who practice Social Darwinism the most in America - Conservative Christians. You may notice that Conservative Christians in America support a free market economy, abhor programs to help the poor, and tend to believe that people who are doing poorly are being punished for being bad people. Your Bible says nothing bad about slavery, in fact, it gives the rules for keeping slaves. The Bible was used to justify slave holding.I suggest you look at the polls on this page and on my other atheist pages. You will see that a small but significant percentage of people don't believe that atheists don't deserve equal protection under the law. They believe it's OK to discriminate against atheists in the workplace, to bar them from teaching, testifying in court, and holding political offices. Some would even deny them the right to raise children!You speak of the evils of not dictating Christianity in schools but there's no proof that religious schooling prevents those problems. American women who attend religious schools are more likely to have abortions than women who attend or attended public school. Christians are more likely than the non-religious to approve of torture, to go to prison, to be racist, or to get an abortion. If Christianity makes Christians morally superior to all other human beings, why are they more apt to do those things?

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      CKRivers 6 years ago

      HelloInteresting lens here along with all the great comments. I would first just like to say that I'm a Christian and the way people treat atheist is not the way our Lord taught us how to treat people. In defense of some, the atheistic religion not only ridicules other people's belief system but sometimes calls the people within those religions physiologically imbalanced for believing in God. Yes atheism is a religion/world-view, here is a definition for world-view "A comprehensive world view (or worldview) is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing natural philosophy, fundamental existential and normative postulates or themes, values, emotions, and ethics"Secondly, back in the 1950's the teachings of the bible were taught in schools, (i.e. mainly the Ten Commandments). The pressing issues in school those days in regards to students were, running the hallways, chewing gum, improper dress among other minute issues. Today in 2010, where evolution is taught and God's word has been eradicated from the schools, the issues include, rape, gun possession,drug possession, and everything in between.To help your argument, the bible being removed from the schools certainly wasn't the only factor but it definitely has been contributed to it being removed. Let me ask you a question, how does a religious document that talks against such things so easily be removed from a school system and the obvious results have been nothing short of deadly?You mentioned something about how do we know which God is real but if your not familiar with the study of other religious gods I would ask that you get more background. Not to say that your question is invalid because many people ask the same question but the answer is found when you find the characteristics of those other gods aren't consistent with the moral framework we have (the population in general) that us Christians find in the Judeo-Christian God.Science explains how something works but it doesn't explain WHY. This is where most atheist say "well we don't need to know WHY so long as we know how." Isn't that faith?I'm a Christian as I mentioned in the opening and one of the classes I'm taking this semester is about evolution and there is one question I've yet to receive an answer for, there are actually two. Why has evolution stopped? Secondly, did you know that evolution was used to justify slavery with Darwin's theory of Natural Selection? The subtitle of his book reads "The Preservation of Favored Species." Also, Dawkins book, The God Delusion is the most biased and cruel book I've ever seen. No respect for people's other belief system at all..So you see, people may or may not have a fear for atheist and they may or may not have a good reason.God Bless(I seriously mean this)

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: Ok here we go. Since believing in God takes faith and His word is the bible-- both of which you don't believe or give weight to, and since it isn't taught in schools, why don't we stick to evolution talk. We can talk about the bible and God, which i may still bring up on valid points, but I feel like you're pretty unchanged in this regard. Evolution is taught in the public school and on through college. I assume both of us have studied it whether we agree with it or not. Your claim of belief in evolution, from what i've gotten so far, is "the scientists say so." First off, I agree with factual science and enjoy studying it. Science has kept sickness at bay, sent us to the moon, given us faster travel etc. All of this i agree with. I also agree with every proven area of science. Theories are fine, and i understand why there are theories. The problem i have is that some of these same scientists, while having tremendous backgrounds and so forth, cross an imaginary forensic bridge without using reality to back up their claims when it comes to the theory of evolution. They can make pills that help us feel better, but they cannot prove that species ever evolved nor that it started with a simple form or from a big bang. I asked you earlier to personally give me proof of why you think this has happened and you've given me nothing. First its fossils proves it, and then when there are no proving fossils its "fossils don't matter for evolution." I really want to know this: What is the mechanism of evolution? Where is the proof that species have evolved into other species? What started this whole thing, and how do we know? Can you answer these?

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: Okay, give me a little bit...in between work and other stuff. Just wanted to check on your reply. I'll get back.

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      Unholyghost 6 years ago

      First of all "Hi!" Secondly, my security word was "lickworm" Thirdly, your squidoo is quite nicely put together and I see that you are a fellow freethinking Zazzler and that's awesome!

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: This is a reply to http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... by Sam.Well, hmm. If you had a blog or something, these kinds of dialogs could be summed up under relevant posts. I can be emailed, but you should be aware, I'm a blogger and your opinions might go public. But that shouldn't be a big deal, we started public. I just want you to know. Kylyssa doesn't really mind the conversations. If you're wondering why Tim got shortchanged, it was mostly my error because initially I posted a letter from Dr. Mara McDonald but I tried to keep her name and contact out of it. I messed up in one place and requested a delete. By the time Kylyssa deleted the post, I had permission but it was a honest confusion. So we can post here if you want.I've got a lens, so you should be able to click on my name to email me. I'm immune to evangelism but one of my top values is coexisting with dissenters. But you have your work cut out for you. I've got an entire community of scientists telling me evolution is solid and that evolution introduction is hosted by the University of California. I don't believe in God which includes I don't feel his presence and I wasn't swept away the two times I read the Bible cover to cover. And lastly, somehow I missed that "chariots of iron" bit in the beginning of Judges. For posterity, I'd like to get educated enough to put that phrase in its proper context.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: This is a reply to http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... by Sam.Well, hmm. If you had a blog or something, these kinds of dialogs could be summed up under relevant posts. I can be emailed, but you should be aware, I'm a blogger and your opinions might go public. But that shouldn't be a big deal, we started public. I just want you to know. Kylyssa doesn't really mind the conversations. If you're wondering why Tim got shortchanged, it was mostly my error because initially I posted a letter from Dr. Mara McDonald but I tried to keep her name and contact out of it. I messed up in one place and requested a delete. By the time Kylyssa deleted the post, I had permission but it was a honest confusion. So we can post here if you want.I've got a lens, so you should be able to click on my name to email me. I'm immune to evangelism but one of my top values is coexisting with dissenters. But you have your work cut out for you. I've got an entire community of scientists telling me evolution is solid and that evolution introduction is hosted by the University of California. I don't believe in God which includes I don't feel his presence and I wasn't swept away the two times I read the Bible cover to cover. And lastly, somehow I missed that "chariots of iron" bit in the beginning of Judges. For posterity, I'd like to get educated enough to put that phrase in its proper context.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hey camoguard: is there anywhere else we can discuss this? I'm very interested in replying to all of our conversations, but its getting confusing scrolling down through everything. Not to mention possibly becoming more than this lens creator had in mind? I think i noticed you might have a blog somewhere. If appropriate let me know, or we can email or something.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Dear Sam http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... ,While there is nothing wrong with any person learning about science, there are people who know more about science and people who know less about it. Generally speaking, people who go through college and then get to working in labs and publish and review journal articles know more than the rest of us about their area of expertise within the scientific community. This isn't exclusive to science. Lawyers tend to know more about law. Theologists tend to know more about theology. Rocket scientists tend to have expertise in rocket building technology. When you're sick you go to a medical doctor because they tend to be educated in medicine and health. I would not make the point that an individual can't think for themselves. I would make the point that when thinking for yourself, you should take into consideration what experts on the subject think. There is a greater burden of proof to thinking you know better than the folks who study this as a career. It's possible a layperson can know something that isn't yet accepted in the scientific community but if that's the case, I would hope the layperson also knows that divulging that knowledge in the comments section of atheist pages isn't the standard for accumulating knowledge.If it's science, you need to be aware of the theories your debunking. You need to debunk them carefully. And you need to show the falsifiability of your own reasoning. "I think this. But if X happens, then I will have been shown to be mistaken." I don't think science is in the business of guessing what is actually out there. I think science is in the business of telling us what the best guesses currently are and supporting that with good reasoning and good data.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: This is a reply to Sam http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... . So you're saying that the amount to which our laws are based on the Bible (the tool of God) exceeds the amount to which our laws are based on principles from other sources? If you don't like that summary, sum it up in your own words. I'm about to get historical on you and I want to make sure we know what argument we're having. BTW, it's cute of you to use the word "evolve" but I'm not an atheist because of evolution. I'm an atheist for other reasons.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: Thats absurd! Scientists aren't in charge of science! That is a very wrong and kind of scary statement. Science involves truth, its not something to rule with or be in charge of. I'm scared if that's where the "majority" is heading

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: Yeah, you're not understanding at all. The 10 commandments is what gave us rules to live by in the first place. We didn't "develop" love. I'm not saying that we'd all become murderers, i'm saying its ridiculous to rely on you're own self for what seems right. You pay taxes because you'll get in trouble--thats a law. You treat others well because God set it up that way and then told us to in the 10 commandments--that is a law that came from God and is in practice at least here in America still. I'm saying if everyone did what was right in his own eyes there would be chaos--and i used murderers that think they're right as an example. You think that you just "evolved" into a nice, trusting fellow but this came from God--you have to abide by laws today that ultimately came from God in the first place. Our own country was founded on good morals--Where did this come from?--God! Look at History--everytime a society or country gets away from God it starts going down the drain and eventually comes to ruin.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Ok, this is a reply to Sam's comment http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... . Yep, I believe the stuff because all the experts agree on this stuff. Yeah sure, you can call the common ancestor Adam and Eve if you want, but they weren't humans. Let me tell you something about fossils. Fossils aren't a requirement for evolution but they are a fortunate source of confirmation. Which fossils do you want to know about? I've got three Ph.Ds who I didn't know before I talked to Tim on this comment thread who have been kind enough to answer questions so far, I'll be happy to investigate honest questions about what evidence we have. Who knows, maybe I'll end up with more friends in the scientific community as a result of your questions.In my words, the Theory of Evolution started as a naturalistic observation that there was a lot of genetic variety within species and that there was a lot of observable similarities across different species. There was such variation and similarity that Darwin hazarded a guess at common ancestors.The thing that works so well is Darwin made a good guess. As in, right or wrong, his logic was sound and his data was good so his theory was worthy of consideration as we moved forward.In terms of fossils, finding the fossils doesn't exactly matter for purposes of confirming evolution. Finding a fossilized rabbit in the Precambrian would seriously call into question Darwin's theory because it would appear to be out of order and science folks would have to rethink how they date events.There is actually support for macroevolution here (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.h... You need to look at the theory in the right order. You're saying how does the theory of evolution know this to be true? Which is a reasonable question in some regards. But the real question is how can the theory of evolution be falsified and why hasn't that happened. That's the scientific way to go about it.Just so you know, we have DNA these days which does a fine job of confirming a lot of Darwin's "speculations". We don't even need fossils anymore.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: These discussions can be two different things; but sometimes they are interesting to look at. I went to your quoted site: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/home.php and clicked on the first link "what is evolution and how does it work," then i clicked on "evolution 101," just to get an idea of what this link is teaching. Under "the explanation"-- "The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor"---Oh, like the bible said thousands of years ago!--yep Adam and Eve.This site also says that small changes occur throughout generations like hair color, eyes, etc--okay thats fine, i agree. But then comes the amazing, non-scientific, faith-filled statement: Over many years these small changes, through random chance, and unproven harmful mutations became all the different species we see today; and the fossil record shows it. WHAT?! WHERE?! SHOW ME! This is the problem. Scientists can work with proven stuff and then say "oh, and i think evolution happened too."I ask you camoguard, to personally show me a fossil record evidence that proves evolution occurred or happens today. Show me a mutation that can turn into, with time and chance, a new species. Show me personally. Why do you believe this stuff?

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: First up, I'd like to say that the way this comment list orders the comments is a bit confusing, so I'm going to start providing a link to the comment I'm replying to. I'm replying to Sam's post http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha... . I'm aware of the downside of cherry picking. However, the verse I gave you was from the beginning of Judges. There's no context for why God avoids driving out the inhabitants and bases this on the chariots being made of iron. Help me out here. Where does god say something along the lines of "because you have done X, I will not act against your enemies that have chariots of iron?"

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: This verse speaks of Judah's lack of faith. If you look at Exodus 14:7-29, Joshua 11:1-8, and 1Kings 20:21 you'll find that chariots or any other obstacle during battle was no problem for God. It only becomes a problem when His people aren't trusting in Him. It takes faith and when we don't have any God uses different means to show us where we're at with Him. This same type of situation happened when the Israelites were about to go into the promised land and sent spies to find out what its all about. When some came back they said they saw giants in the land and were scared and so persuaded the multitude to stay back and not go in. Only two were excited and had faith in God to go into the land--Joshua and Caleb; but they were overruled by majority (remember that :) ). Even though God had shown Himself true during the escape from Egypt and throughout the wilderness, the majority still lacked faith. So God kept them from going in until that generation died out, save Joshua and Caleb. They should have the mindset of Psalm 20:7.You need to believe to understand. You also need to keep things in context and realize there is a lot more to understanding than just pulling a verse out and making something of it.God has made things simple; we humans complicate it. This is reality and those who choose not to see God allows to remain blind. But He's always there waiting for you to seek Him. He's full of love.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Feel how you want to feel. I don't see any reason to believe in the Bible. Also, the University of California has a really nice site up for introducing evolution (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/home.php)... I still maintain that the discussion of evolution and the discussion of the Bible are two separate things. In other words, I'm not an atheist because of evolution.Stopping here works just fine. We've established our perspectives.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I forgot to comment on Thom Stark. There is no errancy of God's word; there is errancy in translation--which is very minimal i might add. If God is who He says He is and commands that His word is truth and without error then how can Stark say he's a "believer" and not trust this? I doubt what he says already. You can discuss the translators method of why he/she chose the words "them" instead of "you" but that doesn't nullify Gods word. The message stays the same. When you look at the Hebrew and Greek and cross reference it with the translators of the king James you'll find the same message.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: I too, agree with "benaidoo" (the top comment on this lens currently)--that is very logical and biblical too:"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" John 4:24. And-- "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6.As for your bible understanding--you simply don't understand (I say that with respect). God doesn't like slavery, nor murder, nor treating women as less, nor stoning to death. It takes faith first and a belief in Him to even start comprehending what He is saying in His entire bible. Taking things out of context won't do you any good; nor will trying to understand without believing in God. I suppose we can stop there because we will agree to disagree on, i assume, almost anything biblical.I still completely disagree on your look and logic with regard to science and evolutionary theory. Thermodynamics is proven, evolution is not. Thermodynamics, among many other facts, doesn't allow evolution to even occur. We may have to stop there too, because we won't see eye to eye on this either. I'll continue if you wish, though i still like the discussion.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @Ben Aidoo: I am satisfied with your conclusion.

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      Ben Aidoo 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      I will always, by my comment, bring the discussion back to the theme of this lens, and it is that "does God exist". It's clear by now that evolution and thermodynamics cannot explain the existence or nonexistence of God because God is not a physical entity to be observed, measured or evaluated by science. God is a Spirit, and as we can explain the physical universe with scientific knowledge, to explain the existence of God we need spiritual knowledge. By its nature science cannot help us obtain spiritual knowledge; only religion can. Now if you reject religion, as it is your choice to do, you will search to no end for the truth about the existence of God; and in not being able to find God, it will not be the case that God does not exist, rather it will be that you are using the wrong tool.

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      Rita-K 6 years ago

      You are a woman of great heart, the subjects that you write about are on the edge in our society, and you are fearless in bringing them to light. I only wish that we didn't need to put labels on ourselves and others, it only causes suffering and a false sense of ego. We are here only for such a short time, we should enjoy the moment for that's all we have.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      The prolific commenter comment was aimed at Sam. (http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Issues/12501371-wha...

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Your a prolific commenter. What do you think about Judges Chapter 1 verse 19? I need a believer's opinion because the verse reads kind of crazy to me."And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. "I just ran across that verse. What is it about chariots of iron that matters?

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I never said I was my own god. You are saying that without god the world would degenerate. That's nonsense of the highest order. First of all, it's testable because I'm an atheist and I'm not a murderer. But secondly, I think it's silly to think that if you had every possible action to choose from that the action that provides the most benefit to you as an individual is murdering. Think of all the dating sites out in the world for a second. Some of those people might be serial killers, sure. But most of them are people who want to meet close intimate friends and lovers. I think it's very counter productive to go killing them. Before you get all crazy and jump to rape, I'll point out that I also think you can get a better sexual experience out of someone who wants to be there with you.If we ignore the ten commandments as the source of morality, you'll fine that many values continue because we're not barely suppressed killers and rapists, at least not in high proportion. I'm arguing for atheism, but never once would I suggest that murdering is acceptable.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Your scientific fact isn't being used properly. Both the laws of thermodynamics and the theory of evolution are currently standing. Therefor, you must not know your science. None of those principles are in dispute by scientists.Here's a quote from Dr. David Baum Ph.D in Biology working at the University of Wisconsin. He was writing to me because I was investigating the dispute in evolution."Honestly I have never met a single biological scientist who disputes evolution. And needless to say I have met tens of thousands of biological scientists when traveling to give talks and attend conferences. There are rumours that there is or was recently a faculty member here in Animal Sciences who is/was anti-evolution, but I don;t know who that is nor if they are still around. I also cannot be sure that there are not closet creationists among the biomedical researchers - though I doubt there are many. Still, with about 700 biological science faculty at UW and only one reputedly, openly anti-evolution person, you get a sense of the level of "dispute." "I don't even have an idea of what your credentials are. But I know Dave's and you can look up him or any other faculty member at the UW website. Here's Dr. Baum's bio http://www.botany.wisc.edu/baum/While scientists aren't disputing evolution, I'm not going to be disputing it either. I'll talk about it if you want. But I'm going to always stand with scientists when they stand together in such high proportions on the subject of evolution.So we can talk about evolution if you want a distraction but whether evolution is true or not doesn't affect the question of whether or not the Bible is true. However, it certainly does cast a cloud over how literal Genesis is.As for Leviticus, my point with that is this. There are many values espoused in the Bible and many of them aren't in play anymore. For whatever reasons, humanity has grown up and developed more human rights than we see. I'll find the passage, but for now I'm going to simply suggest that there are passages explaining how it is okay to make slaves out of other tribes. That's a really good example of something God okayed and we don't. Ultimately, it's my opinion that most people bring in values from outside of the Bible to even review the values in the Bible. This is confusing because the Bible is sort of the testament to God's divinity and laws such as those or even the penalty of stoning to death are so far beneath us as a culture.As for the Massacre of Innocents, I thought I had read something more concrete than it being in dispute as to whether it even happened. But at the moment I'm not seeing good sources for citation, so I withdraw that for now. I just got Thom Stark's "Human Faces of God" in the mail though (signed!!), so prepare yourself. :) (http://humanfacesofgod.com/)He's a believer, but he doesn't think the Bible is inerrant.In summary, I don't think evolution is relevant nor do I think you can use thermodynamics to explain away evolution since they are both accepted in modern science. I need to come up with a better example or better sources for my suggestion that the Bible is not consistent. And, I've suggested it's laws are hit or miss so we use external sources of morality to determine which parts of the Bible's moral message we accept.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: Uh,wrong there...not sure where you're getting your info. Herod slaughtered many times (more than the one centered around Jesus' birth). Some are recorded and some aren't depending on which reference you use. If you put all of the facts together you'll find that this particular massacre, although not particularly a great one, did in fact happen. We can talk about this stuff, but make sure you know your facts.You're ignoring my scientific facts and instead pointing at the bible saying "its wrong." I have faith in it, true. You have faith too, and not much to stand on from what i'm getting (evolution).Sure, lets talk about Leviticus; you start since you brought it up.

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      MagpieNest 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens, very well written. I really must write more about atheism. Future generations are going to be fascinated (bemused?) by how long widespread religious belief lasted.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: That god is not self consistent in that book. If you'd like we can review Leviticus together. There are many values that I do not share with that god. The question I have is "is there a God". The Bible has its own problems that you are ignoring. It is inconsistent. I'll give you one specific example to get you started. The massacre of the firstborns by Herod in Matthew did not happen. FACT. That's the sort of thing that is young enough for us to determine. An fallible Bible means we have to find an external means of validating which points in the Bible correspond to facts and which correspond to things we should consider highly suspect as we would reading any other book. Your god needs to stand on his own feet. I have noticed no god nor felt the need to notice a god even after being in the church for many years. If I fail to detect a god, I'm going to act as if there isn't one because that is the sensible way to behave.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: The first and second laws of thermodynamics disproves evolution, science has never proved species evolved into other species or that we came from simple to more complex, we can't see that happen today, you weren't there, and you still believe it. That's fine your entitled to that. But after all this you want to box in the theory of evolution to say we can't think outside of nature as to what the starting point or what even started information or evolution. Ever heard of another ridiculous theory called the big bang? You're beyond logic. You might as well say aliens pooped us out. I reaffirm "exactly" because i'm using you're own logic to prove a point. I actually think you're the one with the most faith here.The bible is an accurate history book, its prophesies keep coming true, science proves that there is purposeful created information, science proves that there are invisible things in existence--what's not true about believing in God?

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Evolution is a separate question. Regardless of what I think about that, the idea of a God or lack of a God needs to stand on its own. So no, not "Exactly." Secondly, the first law of thermodynamics came about through the same system of scientists using the scientific method and journaling their results to their peers that currently endorses the theory of evolution. So let's not pretend science is the way to dispute god. Science should be left to describe nature. A being such as a creator god can easily be acknowledged to be outside of the realm of nature. Let's talk about God.It is possible God chooses to remain invisible. She is succeeding magnificently. Since I do not see Her, I'm not making any claims for Her. You're the one making the claims for her.Nature neither affirms or denies God. The reason for this is we only have one nature. Is it possible for nature / reality to exist without God? We don't know because we can't run an experiment. We know there is a reality because we're sharing space in it. We don't know if there is this god of your bible. and we don't know the details of creation either way. God did it is a cop out. We want to find out how much of the mechanism of what happened we can see. What we can't know will just have to remain unknown.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: (couldn't help myself) So, then you are your own god. Lets follow camoguard's philosophy because he is right in his own mind. If everyone did that you know how screwed up this world would be. Think about it, some murderers think that what they do is the right thing. We actually need God to regulate us--and He has--10 commandments--ever think that doing the 10 commandments will harm anyone? No, never has. This came from God. Its ok to have a God over you.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: You should re-read the bible then...i'm not stretching the bible at all. This is happening. In fact everything that the bible has said has come true! Also, you're of the mind set that you have to see to believe. Ever see gravity? Wind? Is it possible that God chooses to remain invisible? You can see the effects of such things just like you can see the effects of God---this whole universe has design and purpose.--that cannot come about by itself--its impossible (first law of thermodynamics). So, we have all around us created information that scientists say is impossible to have created itself. We have the bible that is a perfect history book and prophecies that keep coming true. By the way you believe in evolution (i've read). Were you there at the beginning? Do you see creature's evolving into other creatures? Can you prove that species in the past evolved into other species? No you can't--but you still believe it right? Exactly What i find most of the time is that people don't want to be responsible for a God that might judge their actions. You're only delaying the inevitable.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @redpillpuppet: The Bible definitely deserves a place in history for both being an ancient source of stories and for having done so well to survive in any form to the modern day. I might not call it scientific, but despite being a nonbeliever, I have no quarrel with a book of such historical significance.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: You're really stretching the Bible to suit your tastes there. I've read it. The Israelites got special treatment because their book is part of the Christian New Testament and the Jewish people experienced a horrible holocaust. Conveniently, the Germans kind of owned the land where Israel was occupied. Putting the Jews there was a mistake because nation building is a mistake. Their government is absolute shit and their treatment of Palestine is abysmal. If your god is backing Israel, the government, I don't even care if his prophecies are true. I back more human rights than that.But that's a tangent. A prediction in a book isn't a slam dunk for the case that there is a god that fits the specifics that you believe. To jump to that conclusion I would have to observe something that might be a god and get a shot at ruling out more simple explanations.Let's be clear, I'm not in a position to say that I understand everything that happened in the universe. I am in a position to say I work very hard to make sure the information I retain is well supported. God is a popular myth. What is really out there is unknown. Maybe it's sentient, maybe it's not. But it's not my job to hunt supernatural bits since it seems kind of obvious that Mr. God has more tools in his toolkit than I do and he doesn't want to be seen as clearly as I can see physical objects like trees and golf clubs. And you certainly can't go basing your belief in a deity on a book. So I'm not saying what isn't out there. I'm saying I have seen no such thing of which you speak and your reasoning not based on sound logic. Quit trying to make everything you don't understand into a specific kind of god. What if there's an actual deity out their getting frustrated at your attempts to pigeon hole it.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: No more crazy than accidentally forming from already created information, that has no purpose and no direction. I, too used to think as you do. Something can't come from nothing--logically there had to have been a creator with all of this information and design. Why rule out God? His history book dates back before any religion. He was God of the Israelites, and God of the gentiles (all of us who aren't Jewish) and He plans on bringing the Jews back together again for redemption after the time of the gentiles (church age). This is all written about. Israel became a nation again in 1948 and the future events are going to be centered around that little piece of land--oh, wait that's already happening. This was prophesied thousands of years ago.Not to mention do you know what an impossible conspiracy it would have been to have the authors and writings of the bible all come together throughout thousands of years, all talking about the same things and getting them exactly right down to the day?I have more faith in this than anything.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes, there are other issues, and to each our own. You're suggesting that she should shut up and deal when expression is a highly regarded thing in my country. Discrimination likely has a common component of intolerance. And we're talking about the systemic kind not the "I don't agree with your opinion" kind. Grow up, Mike.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Who's in charge of science? Scientists are. The rest of us have to spend extra time rationally working through why we might be skeptical about a scientific theory.Why do you think evolution never happened when it appears to me that a large majority of the scientific community just accepts the theory of evolution as a given?Also, evolution doesn't equate to math. Lastly, yes, I think it's likely that something with mass or whatnot was around indefinitely. I'm an atheist because I don't jump to the conclusion that the stuff that was around is sentient or is something to be worshiped.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I'll go ahead and say that's not fair. It isn't. I wouldn't support a government that acted like that. I wouldn't support parents if they acted like that. I wouldn't obey a direct order (I was a soldier) if it was "believe in me or go to hell". I know how to think for myself and sure, I might end up with some consequences, but that's what I think being grown up is all about. I'm not doing anything for a heaven or to avoid a hell. I'm doing what I think to be right.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: So why don't you and your friend come over for a coffee sometime, then I too will have seen him and I can exchange cellphone numbers or something?You see him because you want to see him. I claim that the neutral position is we don't know what "him" is. Since we don't know what "him" is, we shouldn't just go asking random supernatural beings if they exist. That seems a bit like being crazy.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @camoguard: You ask Him--be honest though, He already knows you and your intent. If you really want to know God, ask Him to show Himself to you. Its like taking a blind fold off for the first time in your life and realizing that this is reality. It's amazing. This is how God created things. You can run and struggle with it or you can honestly ask for His help.I know because i've done this and it is a personal relationship i have with Him. Until you do, you won't understand. God didn't make things complicated but we tend to overthink it. Anyone who doesn't know God personally isn't running on "all cylinders." He created us for relationship with Him. But its up to you.

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      camoguard 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Ok. I'll assume there is a reason to wonder if there is a God out there. How do you know with such certainty that your God is there?

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