Myself in prose:

My whole life I have been affected differently by hope, faith, and belief. I grew
up being indoctrinated with the values of Christianity and Catholicism. My
parents divorced when I was around 4 years old. My dad got weekend custody of
my sister and I. My dad was a Christian and my mom was a Catholic (I have no
idea what religious beliefs they hold now), neither of them would explain the
differences in their religions to me. Most Sundays spent with my dad were at
church being taught what my fundamentals and moral's should be. My mom
didn't take me to church often, but took me to Catholic education classes once
a week instead. When I was 12 years old, my dads alcoholic behavior had peaked.
He forced my sister and I into his car and then crashed us into a tree at
60mph--I have not heard from him or his family since the crash. During our
recovery from the accident, my mom was forced to work constantly so we didn't
lose our house as a result of the crippling debt caused from the crash. She
works 2 jobs (one being full time) till today. 6 years have passed and we are
still on the brink of losing our home. Since the car crash, my mom has become
apathetic in her beliefs and has become distant to me. I have never accepted
the belief that Jesus and God exist, although I have unknowingly taken things
from the bible. I didn't know it at the time, but many of my beliefs were based
on biblical teachings when I became an agnostic at the age of 13. I believed
things like abortion and homosexuality were wrong, but didn't have firm reasons
why I thought that. Over the last 6 years I have been shaping myself into who I
am today, and have rejected almost every non-secular teaching from my past. Now
I pride myself on advocating Atheism and Secular Humanist. My values are far
left (Democratic Socialist) and I support egalitarianism among many
other progressive concepts. I have false hope regarding our existence
that seems to stem from the bible. I hope there is a reason for existence and
hope that there is life beyond death. There aren't any specific fantasies--all
vague and usually not the cliché ideas from theistic thinking. I think
logically, since there is no evidence of any deity's or afterlife, the chances
of either existing are slim-none. I don't expect either of these things, making
my hope false, but I still use this feeling as a driving force to motivate me
into doing what I know is right. A couple of my friends think this feeling
stems from theism and is detrimental to me in someways, I don't agree. Any
questions or comments are welcomed. I will add more blogs soon that go into
detail about my experiences.

Views: 40

Comment by Allegra on July 13, 2010 at 4:32pm
Maybe because I have been brought up entirely without religion, I do not feel the same way about hope as you do. I do indeed 'believe' in hope for humanity, for our cultural and scientific advancement; hope for all Earthlings and our magnificent planet as well. I do not, however, have hope for an afterlife or a grand purpose.

For some reason, I find it enough to look up at the sky, to watch a flock of birds skirt across blue water, that I do not need anything else. I am more than satisfied with all that is known, and all that will become known, with all that is given to us. We are so lucky to be here, safe and sound under a blanket of warm oxygen and ozone.

To me, it is even selfish of us to wish for more. To wish for an almighty Father that listens to our sad little stories of woe and strife. We are nothing, really. Merely specks on a little blue planet, far away from much of anything else in this great cosmos. A dot on one spiral arm of one galaxy when there are so many more. Peons wishing for greatness, when really we should step back in awe of what's around us. I believe in reverence for the Universe, not for ourselves.
Comment by Sydni Moser on July 13, 2010 at 7:14pm
"I have false hope regarding our existence that seems to stem from the bible. I hope there is a reason for existence and hope that there is life beyond death. There aren't any specific fantasies--all vague and usually not the cliché ideas from theistic thinking"

AND

"I don't expect either of these things, making my hope false, but I still use this feeling as a driving force to motivate me into doing what I know is right."

Hope for an afterlife and hope that there is a meaning to our existence, are two of the main reasons that most theists give to explain why they cling to religion regardless of there being no evidence for either. You say these are false hopes to you, but still you feel as though you need to hang on to them in some remote and vague way, to help 'motivate' you to be ethical. If you have acknowledged that they are 'false hopes,' that in all probability there is no reason set out for our existence other than the meaning we give to our lives, then why have any hope there is a greater meaning that will guide you? Why do you still need to have that as your 'driving force' to do good? You are a moral and ethical person because you choose to be, and because it is hardwired into our species.

As far as the hope that there is some sense of a life after death, It just doesn't seem to have any validity for one to hang on to this misconceived concept in any way, shape or form... Why bother to dwell upon it? Do you believe if you do good things, are an ethical person, that despite your physical body dying you will somehow have another type of conscious existence? In order to avoid the loss of our loved ones when they die, or feel the anguish of facing the end of our lives, most people turn to the HOPE that the bible provides for them, that we will somehow, somewhere, go on living in paradise reunited with our loved ones. Comforting perhaps, but a losing proposition. Wouldn't you rather face facts as they really are, than hold even a kernel of hope in this fantasy?
Comment by James on July 13, 2010 at 10:44pm
I also have no need or wish for there to be a grand purpose or afterlife. I feel that this life is so very unlikely and special that it would be selfish for me to ask for another. A grand purpose? No. My life already has all the meaning I need. A wife I love, a wonderful family, great friends and experiences I wouldn't trade for anything. I'm still moral, but not out of hope for a reward... Rather, simply because it feels like the right thing to do.

That said, I do appreciate you sharing your story, and it could be that those may be the last vestigial traits of your past faith. I too was brought up in a Catholic home and had to go to CCD school one a week. I understand how it can difficult shaking it all out of you system. Especially if you ever believed any of it. I did when I was pretty little. But as I grew, I started seeing the problems with it all.

Thanks again for sharing. Cheers!
Comment by CJoe on July 14, 2010 at 10:38pm
I was raised in a religious home, too... probably more so than you since what my family believed is clearly defined and pretty much all they ever talk about.

I still want there to be an afterlife, and I suppose I hope there is, too... although I definitely don't believe there is. I don't think it's selfish to want that; I think it's a natural instinct to want to survive. That's how we're hardwired. But are you sure that this "hope" is really a driving force for you? I know it's not a driving force for me... mostly a passing thought. That desire is not what gets me out of bed in the morning. What gets me up is the desire to make the most of this life. I don't focus on my inevitable death; I focus on living. Like Allegra said, I try to enjoy what's right in front of me and appreciate how amazing it is I exist at all; that I'm healthy and wasn't born while our ancestors were still running around the forest. I think it's awesome that I have the privilege of observing this world from this comfortable, educated stand-point. What other critter can sit back and take it all in and understand a lot of what's happening around it?

Your life can have as much or as little purpose as you want to assign to it. Being free of religion means you get to choose the meaning of your life instead of letting some random desert-dweller from thousands of years ago choose. You don't need someone to tell you what your purpose is! Find out what you're passionate about and make that your purpose. It's sooo much more exciting/thrilling when the choice is yours! :)
Comment by Drew Shaw on July 14, 2010 at 10:41pm
@ Allegra,
Could you honestly say that you could live the rest of your life knowing, without a doubt, that the reason for existence is pointless?--that everything you do is without purpose or meaning? I agree with everything you said, and believe there is much for us to be thankful for. I didn't mean to imply that the world isn't enough for me, I am happy with the world as it is, and don't feel the need to have anything not apparent in the world to help me find meaning in my own life.

@ Sydni,
I am moral and ethical on my own without guidance from anything. I do not change the way I act based on me needing to be accepted by some imaginary divine power. I don't dwell upon what comes after death, I am not god-fearing at all. If there's some sort of existence for me after death, that's great!--I don't expect it though, or need it to live my life. I don't even mourn death that much, I have no reason to be upset by someone I care abouts passing, other than them not being in my life anymore. It's comforting for me to know that one day, I will find out if there's anything more to life, or not.

@ James,
I have no need to wish for a grand purpose, just a purpose. I am moral, but for the right reasons. I don't feel the need to act ethically because I want to be accepted by something supernatural, I act that way because it makes me feel good. I don't see how something like hope for a better future, is a bad thing. It's still helping me get by in this bleak world of ours; knowing things could get better.

Thanks everyone for the comments, i'll gladly answer any more questions.
Comment by Drew Shaw on July 14, 2010 at 10:50pm
@ Cara,
Thanks! You've better expressed my feelings towards things than I could :P
I still suppose that my hope for survival is what allows me to truly appreciate the world around me. If that's a bad thing or makes me less of an Atheist, i'm alright with that.
Comment by Sydni Moser on July 14, 2010 at 11:20pm
"It's comforting for me to know that one day, I will find out if there's anything more to life, or not."

So, you are hoping that after death there is more life to live somewhere, somehow? I lose you there... Nothing in my rational mind leads me to think that once my physical body dies, I somehow continue living in some other form and place. No magical thinking, no wishful thinking, no hoping, no pretending, no nothing... I will live on in the hearts and minds of people I've loved and have loved me. Perhaps my genes will live on in future generations, but any conscious me will no longer exist once my body fails, my heart stops, and my brain ceases to function. Dead is dead.
Comment by James on July 14, 2010 at 11:40pm
Thanks for clarifying, Drew. I'm glad you found the site and hope you will find it as useful and enjoyable as I have.
Comment by Drew Shaw on July 14, 2010 at 11:44pm
@ Sydni,
You seem to have more faith than I do then. You believe there's nothing after death and nothing intelligent created us, and are strong in your convictions. I myself remain skeptical, there could very well be something to explain our purpose in life, I just don't put much thought into it because i'll find out one day anyway, or not. Either way is fine, i'll live my life being the best person I can be, and if i'm gone; i'm gone, it doesn't bother me. I don't think many people could say they wouldn't want to live longer than their lifespans in some way or another--that they don't want a grand purpose for existence. Me hoping isn't going to make it any more likely to happen, if there's a .0001% chance that humanity has a greater purpose, and I can help to fulfill that by existing, i'll stay alive and be happy. Chances are there's nothing after death, and that our existence is based on the big bang theory. I just think it's naive to rule out the impossible when humanity is always changing the definition of what is possible as our comprehension of reality increases. I really have hope that one day, human beings will be so evolved that they can conquer death, and won't have to worry about these things, but it's just a fantasy. The way the universe is right now, is beyond our knowing and comprehension. I will use my hope to help me, without having delusions holding me back. I don't expect the impossible, but I hope it's possible--if any of that makes sense :P
Comment by Sydni Moser on July 15, 2010 at 12:00am
Since there is no proof of life continuing after a living organism is dead, I am very convinced that once I cease to exist, my life will have ended. By-the-way, is it only humans that might somehow live on after death? Only us??? What makes us so special?

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