Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Religion and I.

As a very young child as best I can remember, we had no overt religion. In the mid 60's, I was 7, my parents started to go to Mt Lawley Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Perth West Australia). I went along trusting my parents and the church. When I was 14 we moved to Port Moresby ( Papua New Guinea ) I attended the SDA church there. I got baptized , left school , went to Sydney ( Adventist hospital) and did a nursing certificate. Had a great time, lovely people.

After completion of nursing certificate I moved to Warburton ( hospital) Victoria Australia. I became even more religious than before. After a few years the Des Ford stuff happened,  I left the Ellen as literal prophet, sanctuary/ investigative judgment dogmas but otherwise held the rest of the SDA views.Hearing these three things repeatedly in church I decided ( for biblical reasons ) to stop going , it felt wrong to me. I Moved the Sydney, again . I remained a Christian, attended a few church things but not SDA .

I stayed with those views until 2008. As a ( still ) young earth creationist Christian I started to read the so called new atheists with a view to debunking them. The next year I desperately, frantically read about 100 books on all I could think of to get to the bottom of this. By 2009 ( 1030 am August 12th) I realized I was an atheist now- oops. After a year of painful readjustment to this I moved towards being an "evangelical" atheist - bordering on anti theist. I became very active in atheist forums, joined various atheist groups etc.

After a while I realized more fully, that there are awful atheists and nice ones. My next step was issues based, ie work with those that would help make the world a better place whether or not they are religious. Basically my current stance is "the people who are good to other people- I'm with them". Maybe I am mellowing? Dunno, my most recent position is to worry about those who might need a religious view as comfort etc. I'm seeing the usual "arguments" approach as generally not going anywhere (in the short term at least?) Sometimes I think it's scarily easy to introduce doubt. Is it a good thing? Yes and no I think, depends. Where am I now? The question of whether or not the gods are real holds no interest for me anymore. The question of whether or not people believe there are gods matters not to me. How people behave matters very much to me . Are they good towards others? How people convert to a religious view or leave that view interests me a lot. Should we actively try to sway people? Sometimes I'm not sure.

Perhaps paradoxically, religion still holds my attention a lot, I still read rather a lot on religion related topics, and yet I am finding it increasingly difficult to discuss this. What I mean is that my mode of questioning religious views automatically finds its way into conversations on religion and I worry that some people really really don't want their religion questioned. Perhaps it gives them comfort? Perhaps they need it? Perhaps they are right? These days I am starting to get reluctant to discuss religion in person unless somebody else brings it up. I am fine online but in a face to face scenario it feels more and more like playing with fire. I had the rug of belief pulled out from under my feet, against my will (via philosophy books, atheist books and religious books. I don't buy the idea that atheists are happier than believers ( in general). My feeling is a tad like Nietzsche's "If you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.”

What if we can't choose?