@Melvinotis posed a great question that I would like to second. "How do you have the conversations that help you truly explore new ways of thinking, rather than fight the forces of deism" (theism)? http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/the-connectedness-of-relig...

I, for one, have been having a hard time finding outlets for this kind of conversation and thought out here in the real world. There are few friends and/or family who are willing to indulge in this kind of conversation, despite the fact that few of my close associates are particularly religious or spiritual. It seems that people, in my experience, who claim to be non-religious or non-believers will not, or cannot, cross over into that taboo of all taboos and admit, or at least explore with an open mind, what it means to be atheist/non-theist/humanist, etc.

Not being able to constructively explore these ideas with like minds, I believe I have turned more frequently to a, rather useless, attempt at self validation. Despite being very secure in my beliefs (or lack thereof) and education on science and philosophy, I still find myself combing through religious friends and family members facebook profiles, browsing the same ol' debates between YouTube rivals, and ultimately regurgitating the same arguments and counter arguments time and again. After a short while, there is no value to be found in these interactions, yet it becomes habit. Familiarity breeds contempt, and I have certainly found a rising feeling of disdain for anyone of a religious belief or mindset. I don't like this feeling, I don't like the fact that I keeping slipping into judgement and presupposition of folks who I would normally consider to be perfectly pleasant, mindful, and good people, just because they happen to be theists. Isn't this exactly what annoys me about the bible-thumpers?I know I will not share beliefs with them, but must this mean I need to consider them an enemy? I don't think so, but I struggle with staying grounded in this principle.

So, like @Melvinotis, I would like the opportunity to explore new thought and perspectives with like minds. I'm tired of theist rhetoric and bored with my own. I dont need self-validation, I need challenging thought. Hence joining this community. And regarding my mini shrink-session above, I would like to know how others in this community positively and constructively exist with the theistic majority? Do any of you struggle with the constant checking of your own feelings of judgement towards the "dark side"?

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Comment by Wesley on October 26, 2012 at 11:53pm

I comfort myself with the thought that we have barely scratched the surface of the mystery that is our existence.   I read stuff by V.S. Ramachandran and other neuroscientists.  I look at consciousness studies and the debate about the 'hard problem'.

I know that most people heart of hearts want to be comforted.  They want to raise their family to be healthy and happy. They want to find purpose and peace.   So do I.   I try to keep that in mind when accosted by all the fallout from the different memesets these people have taken on or that have taken them on.

Comment by James Cox on October 27, 2012 at 9:33am

I try to have a nice day. I look for educational materials that engage and enlarge my perspective. I have a long term study in  Microbial Fuelcells that is very interesting, forces me to understand biochem, and allows me to experiment with designs. I try to stay away from 'nutty' generally, a little peace is greatly under appreciated.

Comment by Melvinotis on October 27, 2012 at 8:28pm
Thanks Brian, one of my finds over the last couple of years is www.ted.com which was a fascination for me but probably now qualifies as an obsession. It is a collection of the worlds top minds giving short presentaions on whatever research they are working on. The are about 1000 "TED Talks" I think I've seen over 400 of them now.

However, just like books they are one way (although the comments sections there can be thought provoking as well).

Like you, I am always searching for new knowledge, but I would love to go to go to the magic coffee shop where intense discussions always happen and all the children are above average

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