A new email conversation I'm having with a YouTube acquaintance...

(If you want to suggest things maybe I should say to this girl after reading the whole long conversation so far, let me know. I'd be grateful for any suggestions.)

 

The girl (I'm assuming a girl, because she found me through this new video of mine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwPriEMP_1Y and vidding: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vidding and watching said fanvideos is something that is mainly a female hobby from what I've seen) I only know on YouTube. I'll refrain from using her username here in order to protect her privacy. I was sending her links so that she could watch the show American Dream, which she wanted to see after seeing my fanvid. 

 

I sent her a few of the links.

 

She thanked me and said God Bless.

 

I decided to not keep my atheism quiet. I think it's important for people to realize that not everyone shares the same beliefs as their own. A lot of people don't know too many atheists.

 

This is what I said in reply:

Okay well here are all the rest of the links... I hope these work for you:

(a bunch of links which I see no point in re-pasting here)

And you're welcome. :D I'm glad I could help!

I don't believe in God though lol. :P Just sayin'.

~Emily


She replied:

sorry, im a christian so i say that alot....but i hope you are blessed with happiness and peace is all im sayin :) if you ever think about giving him a try though you should it changed my life.

take care :)
and remember if you need anything let me know and ill try
to help you find it

 

Then I said:

Well I definitely considered religion lol but considering atheism is what changed my life for the better... :P

This isn't complete nor the best worded, and I wrote it almost 2 years ago...

but if you want to read it, it explains part of how I got to where I am, it's not really explaining my philosophical views on why exactly I don't accept Christianity or anything though, it's more personal and less about the facts of religion vs. atheism... more about realizing I was an atheist and that that was okay, it's not too long, you could take a look if you want:

http://www.thinkatheist.com/profiles/blogs/how-i-turned-my-family-o...

I like how much religion there is in "American Dreams", they're a realistic and believable Catholic family. And I like how in 1x16 "Act of Contrition", Patty is doubting, and how her father kinda sorta is okay with that at the end of the episode. However... they don't delve deep enough... Patty's asking the wrong questions really. The question isn't as much "how could Jesus or God have done all those things" but rather "what makes you think it's true" lol... :P

To me, my life is full and complete and I'm more sure about all my moral and philosophical views because I am a skeptic and a secular humanist who does not believe any of the many many religions are correct and who does not believe in God. :P I am very confident in my views and happy as I am. ;) But thank you. I know most people are religious, and I'm not trying to change you nor any of them- however more people are non-religious than you may think. And I just want you to realize that and understand it perhaps a bit better than you might already have understood it. ;)

~Emily

 


I am enjoying sharing my exact views with this girl. And I am truly finding her responses interesting...I brought up American Dreams season 1 because I know she already (very recently) has seen it.

 

here is what she said next to me:

yes,i totally respect your beliefs, i was the same way as far as being skeptical, i would say how do you know god made this or that and i thought it was to exausting to try and spend so much time believing and being involved with something i couldnt even tell was really true or not. what i have come to think is that its sooo crazy and amazing that we even exist and scientist always say we evolved from different organisms and rare once in a lifetime type explosions and i come to believe that is possible ....but the question i have is who is to say that god didnt put that together or exists! either belief is very far fetched...but the fact is we are amazingly somehow here and i just choose to believe god was the "big bang" that put mankind and the world together lol!

also i was at home one day and i was watching a christian program that had came on tv and i asked god to heal me from a digestive disorder i had....it was something like spastic colon but i had crazy symptoms and it caused me alot of pain on my left side! i couldnt eat much of anything. when nothing happened i was sooo disappointed, i lost alot of faith because i was thinking what is god good for if he doesnt help u with the things you need help with lol! well about thirty minutes later there was all kinds of moving and hotness in my stomach and i thought it was just my symptoms acting up but a tingle went to my left side and the pain went away and on the tv the preacher said somebody has just been healed of a terrible stomach condition and i all my problems and pain left,

of course i am no fool lol.....i went to the doctor to make sure things were okay and they couldnt find anything wrong anymore and told me to resume my normal eating habits :) i was so amazed but not yet convinced. alot of other stuff went on and i ended up getting baptized and then thats when stuff really started to change for me and i started to actually feel god instead of not feeling anything and trying to believe anyway!

i use to think people that claimed they felt god were delusional or just were fooled by their own emotions running away from them!

what the issue with christianity is...god seems to require you to believe first before you see the evidence of him existing in your life. i would give up all the time and not trust him because i was thinking...its like putting trust in air lol i cant see you or hear you but you want me to put all my hopes, belief and faith in you??? it all changed after i was baptized, i would ask for things and they would be done, Not that god is some kind of genie lol...because u cant get everything you want from him because if he did that, everyone would be living forever, be rich and beautiful LOL! but when i need him he is there and providing for me when i know there is no possible way for situation i ask for help with to happen logically..he always comes through for me :) and god really does speak to you but its not always the way everybody believes it to be or wants it to be. christian extremists really make stuff sound crazy and leave alot of stuff un-exlpained and just push god down peoples throats with all their condeming people and what not....that helps no one and is not how god is! thats their warped reality.

anywho dont mean to talk your ear off, or should i say burn your eyes out with a long message lol but i just wanted to say i soooo respect you and your beliefs and i wouldnt want to push mind on to you....dont you hate when people do that?

 

So I said:

Thanks for the message, it's an interesting story, but the thing is you always believed somewhat. You were torn between being a very specific type of Christian it seems or maybe not being it, then a few coincidences and the power of suggestion and stuff like confirmation bias made you back to fully convinced your exact form of the Christian God existed. But there are so many religions out there to choose from, even more if you look back in history. Every Native American and Australian Aboriginal and African tribe had their own religion and various beliefs in magic. The truth is you do have to believe in order to see "proof" of his existence. Because it's all in your head, and I firmly do believe that. I believe it's human nature and natural to want to believe in a god or gods and some type of religion, and I respect that plenty of other people believe in their religions and gods and won't be swayed. But think about why you dismiss the ancient Greek tales of creation and those gods as being real. Think about why you dismiss Islam as the right religion. Why isn't Buddhism for you? That's the same reason all religions, including yours, is not nor will ever be right for me. That's the best way I can explain it.

When I was younger, I was Catholic. I sorta believed, sorta prayed, stuff like that. I was baptized as a baby. I assumed that God created the process of evolution. But now I realize that using Ockham's razor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor
that there was no need for any god to exist. The world can be explained naturally.

People in primitive times had no science. They had no clue why there would be weather that was seemingly unpredictable - a sudden thunderstorm, or a draught when you need rain... and natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes and floods are still some of the scariest and most uncontrollable things imaginable. They had no sense of germ theory and had no clue why people suddenly came down with illnesses. When people slept with prostitutes they got sexually transmitted diseases and often would die from them without medicine and would assume god was saying that sex outside of marriage was immoral. It's a natural human tendency to want the world to be fair. When things aren't fair, it's easy to try to justify and come up with some explanation or compromise in your head. Maybe in the afterlife we will all be happy even if we're sad now, or the person who killed tons of people then killed himself will have to suffer in hell instead of "Getting away with it" and now merely being dead, with no afterlife. That's the idea of Karma and reincarnation too.

But it doesn't mean it's true. When you're asleep, you experience what it's like to be dead - nothingness, no experience. It's not that unreasonable to assume death is the same way, in fact euthanizing animals is called "putting them to sleep" as a euphemism.

Same with the soul. There's no reason to think your personality, your "you", isn't all in your brain. In fact, the changes in people's personalities and stuff when they have a stroke or brain tumor or surgery or whatnot is more fairly clear evidence to imply that a soul doesn't exist.

Same with free will. Things always influence your decisions, ranging from slightly to significantly. People can take drugs (prescription, over the counter, alcohol or tobacco, or recreational/illegal) and it can alter not only their perception of the world but also their actions - their decisions. People can have psychological problems and some of those people don't have "free will" by most people's standards. Your genes, environment, experiences, etc all effect every decision you make. It is pretty much impossible, however, to not live your life as if you and everyone else has free will. You blame people for their decisions, and consider yourself responsible for things, even when it's not their fault or even if you couldn't control it. There may be levels of free will, and things like volition come into play, and I might believe in only soft determinism or compatiblism, because it makes sense to say certain things are controllable "enough" or free "enough" to me. These are complicated Philosophical terms - I loved my intro to Philosophy college class lol. Sorry. But still. Even before I took that class I'd given up believing in Free Will. Not all atheists agree with me, btw!! Some atheists do believe in Free Will. But I don't believe that people have mini "gods" in their heads that are immaterial and able to make decisions completely freely. To me, it's clearly our bodies and brains and material things doing all the work.

I will never believe in god. When I was little, I thought everyone believed in basically the Christian or Jewish-ish god, which is basically the same "guy", and *everyone* couldn't be wrong. But the thing is that they can, and also, not everyone believes I found out. It's becoming more and more popular to be non-religious or even an atheist. And most of us are really nice and smart people. We believe in freedom to believe whatever you want and say whatever you want. ;)

We're truth seekers, just like most people who have thought about religion, like it sounds like you are. Some people don't care and never think about it. But to me, it matters whether god exists or not. My life is going to be lived differently if I think he exists. Realizing that there is an insanely low chance of any afterlife existing means that I will mourn and grieve them in a probably significantly different way. If someone I love dies, they will live on in my memories of them and if my parents die, then literally in my genes they will live on. Etc.

I suggest watching this if you have some time:
Why Do Atheists "Witness"?
(I love the message in it. I explains my point of view and perspective very very well.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-EKFcoAxrE

Sorry for the really long message. I hope I don't seem rude or pushy or anything. I completely understand that you are happy with your religion and beliefs and I don't want to change you. I just wanted to further explain why I don't and will never be where you are in terms of beliefs. ;)

~Emily

 

And she replied:

i use to think exactly what you think....and yeah i thought it was the power of suggestion, because to me it looked as if the people in church were shouting and screaming like crazies lol and me.... i felt nothing....i thought it was complete non-sense and a bit over-exaggerated! i am black and im not sure about what race/nationality you are but im sure you know that in a black church things get very loud and people are jumping around alot most of the time lol ....so you can imagine me standing still staring at people as they jump about frantically screaming PRAISE JESUS!!! and crying lol i was confused and highly doubtful that god was making them do that!

its just something you have to experience i guess.....when i experienced what i believed to be (god moving on me) it was quite and experience and im sure i wasnt imagining it or under any type of power of suggestion! you can feel and you know its not your mind or an illusion

when i didnt believe i felt as if i was being really open minded and logical, as ive always been raised to think! but i found that really i was being close minded to the fact that it is very possible that a being does and could exist that could in fact have started the universe or rather the human race. i figured we exist so how come god couldnt be real and exist!

also a battle for me was giving up control, i did not like the idea of something i couldnt see or feel (yet) dictating and controlling the way i lived my life, that was just to much for me lol
but when i gave it a chance i came to see that it is not about rules and regulations at all.....however i have noticed that it is more of that with the catholics...they do the confession stuff and they have more of a "religion" aspect of how you are suppose to talk to god and how to run your life! christianity is alot different from being catholic, in my opinion, they also believe in worshiping mary which is something a christian doesnt and finds un-necessary to do! they consider that idol worship also they follow the pope as if he is more that just a simple human being! it has been my experience that many people do leave the faith after being catholic or jehovah's witnesses! it is simply to much dictating and to much energy involved in following those faiths in my opinion! between the things you can and cannot eat and the things you can and cannot celebrate it leaves very little time for you to actually live your life lol!

i love some of the points you made in the last message...any smart person should totally think for themselves and give it serious thought before jumping into a faith just because everyone says its true! ive just come to believe that it is true. i can understand if you never do believe in anything....which i can understand alot more than you might think

first christianity was just a measure i took to assure myself that i wouldnt go to hell when i died because i was scared lol! but when you get passed that and really get to know god (as crazy as that must sound to you im sure lol) you find that its not about that at all, its about depending on him for things you cant control and building a relationship with him through prayer and attempting to follow his wishs, your not suppose to be perfect and when you mess up (sin) you just repent and try your hardess not to do the things you use to do anymore! i figure if he is that nice its no problem for me to believe in him because he is not expecting me not to be what he made me (a human) im sure you believe in karma am i correct? i feel that god is that karma and if you dont ask for forgiveness for the things you do down here i believe you pay in the after life, after all it is a rule here on earth. we answer to police and judges that are over us (so to speak) makes sense that someone could be over the world as well that you should answer to for deeds you've done

i noticed with other religions its very black and white or there are things that just seem very inconsistent with the writings and teachings! also there is alot of crazy tasks that have to be performed in order to do them correctly and be a true follower

i really love your conversation btw! im getting to use my brain while talking to you lol

 

Then me this morning:

Aw hey I'm enjoying talking to you too. It is a very interesting conversation. Um... not to be rude or anything, but don't say Caltholics aren't Christians, that's just rude to them and incorrect. There are a million different forms of Christians and Catholics are one of them. Yes you are different than Catholics and different than many forms of fundamentalist Christians. But that doesn't mean Catholics aren't Christian. That's a common logical fallacy - "No true scotsman":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/No_True_Scotsman
etc.

And of course you can be either Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox Catholic or Mexican Catholic and they're all different too. You really should watch this:
A House Divided
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfA6mTgl7tU

:P

They're *all* Christians - all types of religions that believe in Jesus and go to church and have some dogma.

You sound like a more liberal Christian. You probably don't live in the southern US or Bible Belt, I'm just gonna guess. Maybe. That's fine if that's true, I personally live in the northeast. You might not agree with all the rules your own form of Christianity technically has.

I'm curious to know what form of Christianity you belong to... and also if you have time, what your result is if you take this quiz:
http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx

(I'm taking it now - you skip the ad and then uncheck the boxes so that they won't spam you, then type in your email and name and keep going, this site is great I heard from someone I trust and so I trust it.You could put in a fake email if you want though.)

For me personally, my results got are:
Your Top 3 Faith Match Profiles Are:
1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (91%)
3. Liberal Quakers (76%)

And I'd find it interesting to see what your results are. :D

I want to reply to more of your message but I can't right now. I have to get ready for school - I'm taking a summer French class and commuting to the University of Maryland, College Park and it's the second-to-last day of class. During the normal school year I live in Massachusetts and go to Boston University.

~Emily

 

And then most recently she sent me this:

i didnt mean to offend you about what i said on the catholics and christians part of my message....i wasnt calling them non-christian, sorry about that

i was just saying that they did some things that the average christian who was not catholic would disagree on. i know they believe in god as well share many of the same point of views and beliefs as us

and i am not under any denomination for the most part, i go to a missionary baptist church and ive been to a pentecostal church as well. i think you should base what church you go to off of the name of it...its more about the feel of the place and if they are really preaching from the bible or making up stuff for there on benefits or to push people to be more conservative or liberal...niether is good in my opinion, i think you should just preach from the bible and let it do what its gonna do, dont try to force or push your own views on to people at your church services! thats a No No lol!

and yes i do live in the bible belt actually lol....Alabama to be exact lol, its actually really nice here.
its really not what you probably think its like here in the south....it really depends
on how you were raised for the most part. there are all types of relationships between all types of races and people are not really judged for having another belief other that christianity, at least not anymore than in any other state or side of the country. There is really no racism here like it was in the 1960's which btw ive heard horror stories from relatives about the things that went on in the south back then, but now thank god there is nothing like that going on...if it is its very (under the table) maybe a certain person at a job may be a racist and does something disrespectful to a person of a different race, (you know, stuff like that) very isolated incidents that no one hears about...i know for me my surroundings dont really control or effect my beliefs on race or religion...Nor would it if i lived in california or new york. thankfully my parents always taught me to make my own choices.

and thats awesome about taking french classes....i believe i have some french creole ancestors on my moms side of the family so ive always wanted to learn lol! speaking of that going back to the previous paragraph i wrote, they had a very hard time in the south during the 60's, some of them ranging from very light skin with curly hair to being very dark skin with curly hair they got alot of the hate that so many got back then. i myself being darkskin with long curly hair got a few stares growing up but nothing to be offended about in my opinion.... other blacks for the most part did the staring, but they just probably wondered what else was i mixed with that made my hair different lol

and yes i will check out all the things you posted :)

 

I want to say something to her about the faith healing and the feeling and how it can possibly be all in her head even though it truly does feel so real to her and I believe her. I don't want to offend her though. I could just stop the conversation... but I'm tempted to keep it going. I just don't know what to say nor how to say it. Can any of you help me?

Views: 85

Tags: agnostic, christian, christianity, discussion, how, religion, religious, say, skeptic, skeptical, More…talk, theist, to

Comment by Carlos A. Pérez on August 17, 2011 at 3:10pm

What am I doing?!? I'm a Catholic! But I feel it's kind of nice having that conversation and I don't think it's that bad.


You can pose it as a question.

Don't be too direct. Merely say: How do you know it isn't "x" (your reason) but truly God? That way, you show you don't want to be overly critical (which it seems to be true, from what I'm hearing fro you) and you are also just interested in the conversation.

Also, be very careful not keep pushing it if the debate is at a standstill. Then, it'll be two "faiths" trying to push each other down one's throat.



And by the way, we don't idolize Mary, saints, or the Pope!

There is a LOT of information in the Bible as to why Mary has that particular position, the Pope is still a man who can sin, like any other, except with a VERY seldom gift of papal infallibility (which needs more explanation and biblical reference, and... the saints also have a basis in the Bible!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjGYBbVYiYM&feature=player_embedded
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59Wb83_270I&feature=related

It's too slow at times. It's better to just pause it and run through it manually since it's more literature and visual than audio.

Comment by Carlos A. Pérez on August 17, 2011 at 3:19pm

By the by, I took a religious studies class with a Harvard scholar atheist who specialized in explaining false miracles.

Do as much research as you want to - he could never explain Padre Pio!! :)

http://www.padrepio.catholicwebservices.com/ENGLISH/Miracles.htm

It's only one site. Feel free to do as much research as you want on him.

Comment by Carlos A. Pérez on August 17, 2011 at 3:21pm

By the by, that site is horrible - it's just introductory. You'll have to Google him, btw.

Comment by Carlos A. Pérez on August 17, 2011 at 3:44pm

No no. I think either I might have misrepresented myself or you slightly misunderstood.

Occam's razor, to the best of my undestanding, is the idea that the simplest explanation be given priority - nevetheless, that idea seems a bit impractical, at times, considering that there can verily be exception that are yet to be discovered.

When a person has stigmata that were researched by doctors and found to have no scientific reason or beyond the realm of probability.

When that person afterwards dies and "after" his death the wounds are shown to disappear completely without scarring.

When that person is later exhumed fifty years later and found to not undergo the slightest bit of corpse degradation (and he was immediately buried, without the special processes they use for keeping the body well), something beyond what any form of current science is capable of and, also, to have the "odor of sanctity".

When that person is known to not have eaten more than 900 calories per day and sleeping no more than three hours every night.

And you have too many miracles, even more than hundreds, to be beyond of what the mere power of suggestion might bring and converting, on the spots, atheists, agnostics, and all sorts of pagans.

I'm merely saying that one should not so easily dismiss them as the casual effect of the power of suggestion

Anyways, I'm actually kind of sad about what I said. This thread isn't exactly about debating miracles and such. It's about the conversation he's been having with the youtube girl (I presume)

I know I kind of started this, but I don't want to get off topic here. Let's call this a voluntary withdrawal from my part.

Comment by Carlos A. Pérez on August 17, 2011 at 3:45pm

I also have to stop being in the internet and finish my work by the way.

I truly need to stop getting in here until I finish.

Comment by Carlos A. Pérez on August 17, 2011 at 3:46pm

** no more than 900 calories

Comment by luvtheheaven on August 17, 2011 at 8:56pm

Anyone else want to reply to my post and not to Carlos'? Please?

 

I don't think I'm being overly critical. I think she's wrong and am trying to be respectful yet quite critical - but when it comes to being critical of religion, there is no such thing as being too critical.

 

Why are you sure Catholicism is right? I just... *sigh*... I come on here for advice from fellow atheists, not to be sent links on what Catholics *actually* believe, which btw isn't true, there are SO many different forms of Catholicism and they're all "truly" Catholic. :P Each individual person who considers themselves a Catholic might believe slightly different things. But they're all true Catholics I think. :P Like I already said in my message to this girl on YouTube. I don't like the "No True Scotsman" fallacy being used when it comes to defending your religion.

Comment by Carlos A. Pérez on August 17, 2011 at 9:05pm

I know I did a mistake.

Sorry about that. That's partly why I said I was going to remove myself from it.

Really, I'm profoundly sorry.


As I said before, maybe you should consider expressing yourself in a form of a question. Take it from a believer. Oftentimes, having atheists merely pop up with a thousand reasons without a calm pose and attitude and without a good and lengthy description just makes people think you are full of hollow cynisism.

In my opinion, you've been answering her perfectly. You can just, as I said, ask her in a more passive way - like in questions.

Don't, however, start attacking her with the idea that it is merely falling into the power of suggestion.

It's not because it is or it is not. I'm saying it because she seems to have a "gut" feeling and has had time to brood things over. You going "all out" will just make it seem you have a lack of understanding over what she has felt.

Again, sorry for what I did. I'm outing myself off this conversation for my mistake.


NOBODY REPLY TO ME.

Comment by Katrin Schwarz on August 20, 2011 at 11:52pm

I think that you have done exceptionally well with this conversation.  You have introduced her to another way of thinking in a friendly and non-threatening way.  It shows atheists in a good light. Bravo.  

Comment by luvtheheaven on August 21, 2011 at 10:03pm

Thanks so much Katerin. And thanks Carlos too, you're right about the question stuff. ;) Sorry if I was dismissing you too harshly or rudely before. I think asking it in the form of a question probably is the best way to go. ;)

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