report

Why I'm No Longer Religious

Reader's Poll

Do you believe in God?

See results

Thank You

If you are religious I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and consider the mindset of an atheist. As a Christian I found it very difficult to respect the thoughts or ideas of non-believers, so I empathize with your natural resistance to opposition. In this article I pour my heart out and share my genuine experience of life as a Christian in rural Canada, I hope you enjoy.

School in The Middle of Nowhere
School in The Middle of Nowhere

My Background

My earliest memories consist of my dad sitting my brothers and I down in the living room, opening the word of God, and reading for hours. Then we would shut our eyes and my dad would say a lengthy prayer. I was always tempted to open my eyes, and sometimes I would. I went to Sunday school and service on Sundays, went to bible studies and youth group during the week, then christian camps and vacation bible school in the summer. Starting in grade one I began going to the small Christian school in Brant, Alberta. There were maybe a hundred kids from kindergarten through grade twelve. In this tightly enclosed religious life it was difficult to be skeptical of religion, everyone around me believed in the trinity and that everything in the bible was the ultimate truth from the creator of the universe. However, even as a child I had questions which the pastors, youth leaders, camp counselors, teachers, and my parents couldn't or wouldn't answer.

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. -Luke 13:28
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. -Luke 13:28

If God loves everyone, why is there hell?

One question that racked my brain from my earliest years on was why a loving God would send people to hell for eternity. I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that someone or something could be evil enough to deserve excruciating pain for an infinite amount of time. It was a simple contradiction, but it always left me very uneasy and frightened at the idea of God. My respect for God was more of a fear, a sort of Stockholm syndrome. I didn't know that I could love someone who would torture innocent non-believers until the end of time, but I did my best. In the bible it says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and I really tried my hardest.

Why would God send someone like Gandhi to hell, or the children who've never heard of Jesus? It just didn't make any sense, and nobody seemed to be able to give me a straight answer. I realized that every religious person has some form of uncertainty over the variations of this question, and that gave me some sense of comfort. When I died and went to heaven, I could ask God myself, and it would all make sense.

And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

— Mathew 13:50

Why is there evil?

To examine this idea I would use a thought experiment. I would empathize with God, zoom out of space and time, and look at the big picture, the entire plan. First there is God, he creates angels, then create light, darkness, earth, humans, life, and the stars. Lucifer becomes Satan, Satan deceives woman, woman deceives man, Christ sacrifices himself to save humanity, Christians are brought into heaven, non-believers go to hell, and everyone lives happily, and miserably, ever after. Even as a child I would step back and look at this big picture and be completely dumbstruck. I was thoroughly confused by the idea of an all-powerful, omnipresent, perfect God, who could do precisely anything, and chooses to create this horrifying game in which billions suffer and die on earth, evil is rampant, and at the end of it all, billions of sentient beings suffer for all of eternity, while a small minority enjoys paradise.

God knew that humans and Lucifer would rebel before he made them. God knew in advance that he would have to curse the earth and flood it once, and then have it consumed by fire. God knew all of this, and still moved forward with the plan. It seems sort of sadistic, as if he gains pleasure from this immensity of madness. After all, he is God, he can create a perfect existence where people have free will, and have no incentive to be evil, in fact, evil doesn't even need to exist. God could create anything, just think about that for a moment, God could create anything, and he chose to have this game of disease, famine, war, hunger, rape, and then eternal prizes and damnation at the end of it all. For what? It makes no sense to me that an omniscient, omnipresent, all benevolent super being would actively chose to create this horror show.

Epicurus and The Problem of Evil

Epicurus nearly 2000 years ago was thinking the same thoughts.
Epicurus nearly 2000 years ago was thinking the same thoughts.
When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

You Are an Atheist

The thought many religious people don't have, is that they are atheists about thousands of Gods, just like me. However, I chose to go one God further in my lack of belief. Consider this for a moment, that there are thousands of religions, and tens of thousands of denominations, and each sect believes their particular belief is the absolute truth, and that all others are misled. Why would a perfect God allow billions of people to be so easily deceived? Doesn't make too much sense.

Pray Without Ceasing
Pray Without Ceasing

Prayer

As a christian, prayer was a daily habit for me. However, I never had a clear answer. I would wonder whether the voice responding was my own mind, or the creator of the universe, and usually it sounded strikingly familiar to my level of vocabulary, knowledge of the bible, and overall understanding of reality. I never felt that I was connecting to an omniscient super being. I would ask people older and wiser than me why I could never hear God. They would tell me that God answers prayer in three ways; yes, no, or wait. This was a bothersome notion to me, because it would be the same three answers if I prayed to my toaster. I desperately wanted a real connection with God, I wanted to hear his voice and know him, I wanted to have the personal relationship that everyone else seemed so happy to have.

I was envious of my friends and family who claimed to speak with God, I wanted to speak with him so much that at one point in my life, I was ready to kill myself. Dark, I know, but going by the premises of Christianity, it would be reasonable to die out of a passion for God, after all, my family and friends would have all of eternity to see me in heaven. It was a hard time for me, I was depressed for more reasons than just a lack of connection with the only entity who could answer the questions I had. After half a year or so of being in this disconnected, semi-skeptical state of belief, I decided that If God existed, he didn't care about humanity, earth, or the life it contains, he just wanted something to look at, to observe, and something to praise and worship him. In this state of mind I felt sick, betrayed, angry, frustrated, horrified, but slowly I began to become nihilistic. For a while I believed that even with God, there was no meaning to life, Gods plan was perfect, I couldn't question it, change it, or speak with him, life felt completely meaningless.

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

— Psalms 55:22

My response to the video above

-Where do atheists get their morality?

As an atheist I don't get my morality from anywhere but myself, provided that I'm not a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath. I'm sure my own empathy works just fine. I have mirror neurons which allow me to feel the sensations of others, to vividly relate to mental or physical states. I'm comfortable saying that my morality comes from my own realization that other people experience suffering the same as I do. If I don't enjoy suffering, why would I cause others to suffer? Besides, compassion, empathy, kindness, generosity, and all that good stuff feels great and builds meaningful and long lasting connections.

-Science requires faith.

Actually the scientific method is used to completely remove any kind of faith. Let's imagine that I have faith in the earth being flat. Then I've made a hypothesis, I must then use observation and experimentation to find out whether or not my hypothesis is correct. In this case, my faith would be destroyed, and my hypothesis would be proven incorrect. This is why science is useful, it's a method of discarding incorrect ideas.

-There is a lot of evidence for Christianity.

Well like he said, there is a lot of evidence for all religions. The evidence for Islam, is actually evidence that people have believed in Islamism for a long time. It's not direct evidence that Allah exists, or that I will gain access to an everlasting paradise for believing in and obeying this Allah.


What if you were born here?

Uncertainty

Comments 47 comments

Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 3 weeks ago from Michigan, USA

Welcome to HubPages, young man! I always enjoy reading stories of atheist awakenings, and I see some similarities between your story and my own -- especially the part about the worst time being one's final days as a believer, struggling to resolve one's humanity, morality and sense of self with the indoctrinated belief that becomes more and more incomprehensible and unsustainable.

It sounds like you did have one advantage over most of us, however. It took some of us decades before we were courageous enough -- or desperate enough -- to fully recognize all those inconsistencies and troubling questions. Most of us simply tuck them away in a corner of our mind and forget them, or seek out some apologetic argument to explain them away. Even as a kid, it sounds like you properly recognized BS when you saw it.

Incidentally, I think I inadvertently (and accidentally) voted twice in your poll. I came here and voted before I signed in, then I signed in to comment, noticed the poll was still empty, and (thinking my vote hadn't registered) voted again. Either that, or someone else voted in the interim. If they're both my votes, my apologies.

I look forward to hearing more from you on this topic. Again, welcome!


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, I was really trying to share the genuine experience of that mind shaking transition. I'm glad you relate to it. I was hoping somebody would be able to connect with their own thoughts on religion and understand that they're not alone in their thought process. I know there are tons of atheists out there, but I've found that a humble and empathetic approach is the only way to share the experience of thinking outside the box of orthodox thought.

I've thought about what's given me the advantage, because I realize I'm too young for this shit. But I would read Calvin and Hobbes and a lot of science books as a kid, I believe that simply expanding my knowledge, even if it was impractical at the time, gave me transformed perspective of our world. At least in comparison to the people I grew up with and was raised by. Then came the internet, I was living in the prairies without wifi for 6 years, so I had reading skills, and with the internet I could do research on whatever I was curious about and find an answer in less than 60 seconds. So the advantages were boredom, so I read books, and then the internet, and with the reading so much Its a breeze to skim through a study.

I took care of the poll thing there, go ahead and vote again.

Thanks for welcoming me, and I'm glad you found the post relatable and cogent!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 weeks ago from Tasmania

Sam, congratulations on writing a very clear, well-written, lively and intelligent hub here. I really enjoyed reading it, not simply because I agree with most of it, but because my early life was not dissimilar to yours.

Would you believe I was once regarded as a "Born Again?" Like you, I was really only going along with the crowd..... I was saying the things people wanted to hear, acting out the good Christian fellow, without letting on that I was gay because that would have made them bully me or even push me away.... but it has led to a pretty lonely life until I at last got the courage to ask the questions.

I am atheist in regard to the idea of a judgmental god that looks down on me and slams the door in my face if I have not met up to his standards.

And yet, with all my interest in scientific and technical things, I can still look on in awe at the complexity of biological process. There are some aspects of reality that we will never find the answers to. I'm happy with that.

I hope you get some more positive discussion here, you deserve it. And that does not mean we must have everyone agreeing with you. Each to their own understanding.

Again, well done. Voted up.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Thanks so much! I'm glad to have this article really relating to people, because it was from the heart, my real experience.

You're right that social conformity drives religion. People don't want to be ostracized, so they go along with the status quo. And yes I can relate to the loneliness of being one of the few people who goes to the paradoxical lengths in their thoughts. It can be a pain, but I think its worth it.

You say that there are some aspects of reality that we will never find the answers to, and you're okay with that. It's good to be okay with not knowing, but recognize that humanity, if we survive oyur current process, we will go on to become an interstellar civilization. Eventually, and this may sound a bit out there, we will have computers which harness the energy of a star. Computers which can simulate reality to such a degree that we will be able to answer almost any question, and solve almost any problem. So you're right about certain things we may never know, but I still have a nagging feeling that at the rate we are advancing technologically, we could overturn countless scientific barriers in a very short span of time ahead of us. Our whole technological revolution has occurred in the last few seconds of humanity's 'day'.

I had planned to make this the best article I've written, and its there, so thank you for your feedback, and encouragement! :)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 weeks ago from Tasmania

Technology, the application of scientific knowledge into the practicalities of our lives, is really at the fundamentals of our humanity, in my opinion. From the chimpanzee's simple twig to hook out grubs, as first observed by Jane Goodall, to extremely complex internal workings of this Samsung that I am using, together with the World Wide Web that allows us to communicate, we primates are really clever.

However, for the final years of my life I am chosing to concentrate on what some might consider backward technology. For me it's an exciting innovative adventure...looking at basic needs, observing what resources are around me, finding ways of using those resources in a sustainable, minimal-waste fashion and sharing the journey with as many others as possible.

It's all with the presumption that sophisticated technology could suddenly have "the wind taken out of its sails," and we would have to revert to using old rope.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

The premise makes sense. We could reach peak oil, or have any number of disasters that could take the wind out of our sails. I'm also very interested in sustainability and finding ways to survive which don't require all this technology we've become dependent on.

Our wastefulness is actually a very serious problem and I'm glad you care about it. I might do an article on the wastefulness of our culture, from food, to clothing, to disposable razors and everything in between. We've got a lot of shit piling up and unlike Sweden, we're not using it for any good purposes.


just helen profile image

just helen 3 weeks ago from Dartmoor UK

Have you read The Self Aware Universe? It makes for a good read! I couldn't respond to your survey, as I now, after 35 years in the evangelical church, do not believe in God the Father or Jesus the Son. I left 15 years ago.

I have come to the conclusion the whole of life is imbued with intelligence. Some might call that intelligence 'God'. But God is not an individual. God is everything that exists and ever has existed. Furthermore, the story of Jesus is a pagan myth. Do read The Jesus Mysteries by Freke and Gandy. What an eye opener. I felt so guilty reading that stuff and thinking these heretical thoughts, but now I am free! The Truth Shall Set You Free, LOL! But not in the way Christians believe. I repect them for their faith, but feel they are trapped in an immature way of looking at the world and God.

Thanks for shareing this, it was brave of you. And continue in your journey as it's always going to be full of surprises...


Misfit Chick profile image

Misfit Chick 3 weeks ago from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD

Ditto - it took me 20ish years to squirm my way out of Christianity & religion; and I even took a pit stop among Atheists for a couple of years. But, there is a 'middle ground' for 'self aware' folks who don't like the complete spiritual vacuum that atheism offers (not that there is anything wrong with that if you like it there). I have a spotlight hub that goes into the details. Congratulations! Its almost harder to become 'unsaved' than saved. :)


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Helen, I'd say that when everything is God, then nothing is God. God should be a super being, similar to humans. At least going by what humanity has referred to as God for all of history. I wouldn't be content with calling everything God, or some vague term like intelligence. I'd rather delve into quantum mechanics, string theory, cosmology, and astrophysics to understand the nature of matter and energy.

Misfit Chick, I think it's a lot harder to get out of religion when you don't have the internet community of simple memes and paradoxes pointing out the backwards nature of God, so I can understand that it took 20 years. I'll check out your hub. Thanks for reading! (:


Doug Webber 3 weeks ago

There are several misconceptions here:

1. God does not condemn anyone to hell. One's own evil condemns one to hell, and those who commit evil actually choose their own hell over heaven.

2. You do not have to belong to a particular religion to go to heaven, and even Jesus says this. He is more interested in those who live according to His will.

3. Evil exists due to free will, and man's abuse of it.

4. The Bible, in the literal sense, does contain errors. But the literal sense contains a deeper hidden spiritual sense, and in this spiritual sense the literal "errors" disappear. For example, there is no such thing as an "angry" and "vengeful" God, but the evil see God that way as they are in the punishment of their own evil.

A lot of this is spelled out by Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, who discusses in detail why there are apparent errors in scripture and explains how it hides within it a deeper spiritual sense. Lookup " dream prophecy blogspot" for more info.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

1.God does not condemn anyone to hell. One's own evil condemns one to hell, and those who commit evil actually choose their own hell over heaven.

-

God created the set of all things. Hell and evil, and my choices are in the set of all things. God is ultimately responsible for all things. Was Gandhi evil, he wasn't a christian and he'll be relentlessly tortured for all of eternity. Is it free will to choose between absolute horror, or robotic blissful paradise? Imagine if you were shot if you didnt vote for a certain president, and if you did, you would get free welfare your whole life.

-

-

2. You do not have to belong to a particular religion to go to heaven, and even Jesus says this. He is more interested in those who live according to His will.

-

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:16 You have to be a christian to get into heaven, you have to be a god fearing man, and you have to follow all the laws and commandments. "For verily I say unto you, Till. heaven and earth pass, one jot or one. tittle shall in no wise pass from. the law, till all be fulfilled." Mathew 5:18

-

-

3. Evil exists due to free will, and man's abuse of it.

-

Evil exists because God created everything, including free will, and mans abuse of it. God created evil in the same way he created galaxies and stars. God is omniscient, he knows what you do before you do it. "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." proverbs 16:4

-

-

4. The Bible, in the literal sense, does contain errors. But the literal sense contains a deeper hidden spiritual sense, and in this spiritual sense the literal "errors" disappear. For example, there is no such thing as an "angry" and "vengeful" God, but the evil see God that way as they are in the punishment of their own evil.

-

"(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth." Deut 6:15

"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open." Hosea 13:16

-

God is indeed vengeful, jealous, angry, and full of wrath. The bible stresses that a lot. But you can pick and choose your verses, translations, and personal interpretations, you can get out of any bible based anxiety by doing that.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 3 weeks ago from Australia

Sam,

Do you mean you are no longer “a Christian”? I looked at your profile and see that you promote meditation. Meditation is firmly rooted in the history of religion and in God beliefs.

Many online atheists here on HP actively support Buddhism which is also a recognized religion with God consciousness etc. Of course these same people try to divorce history and fact from the debate and label such things as purely scientific (without reference to encyclopedias or current knowledge).

Many modern eminent scientists now suddenly support the possibility of God and Intelligent design due to the new supercomputer maths and multi-universe theories and M Theory.

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/answer/272...

String Theories are now supporting the idea of “intent” in the Universe ie God.

Einstein’s successor Kurt Godel actually has a provable “God Theorem”! One of Godel’s theorems was recently used to prove Time Travel exists. He was a very intelligent person. Currently Stephen Hawking promotes Godel’s work (his Incompleteness Theorem).


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 weeks ago from Tasmania

A religion is a human system of thought and actions that employs beliefs, superstitions, rules, practices, consequences, sometimes threats, sometimes promises, etc.

In my understanding, the teachings of The Buddha advocate some rules and some practices and possibly implied consequences. There is no outward existing God who stands in judgment with whip in hand. That is a task also taken on by humans. There are no superstitions involved with the Buddha's path, because it's sole focus is on personal in-searching for the truth of one's life. Subsequent to that searching can come enlightenment where the true nature of ourselves, our connections and relationships to every other aspect of our world can become clear. The ultimate quality of such enlightenment is that huge word, Love.

So you see that if you believe in the teachings of Jesus, or any other enlightened person throughout history, Love is the goal in each case.

No need to argue this. No need for me to try and convince you or anyone else the truth of what I have just said. You will come to it in your own time, at your own pace, if and when you want to and you are ready.

This also, if you read between the lines of your scriptures, is the essence of what Jesus is claimed to have taught.

We who are atheist do get a beating from theists. But we generally have thick skins and a tolerance of difference. Not to say we (I) will take nonsense lightly.


Misfit Chick profile image

Misfit Chick 3 weeks ago from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD

Believing in a 'god' and following a religion are slowly becoming two different things, Jonny. And those of us who have been able to read between the lines of both Buddha & Jesus' teaching can tell you that the foundation of their message WAS love; but their PURPOSE was to help humans tune the focus of their perceptions about the 2 different aspects of themselves so they could see themselves for who they really are: human beings, 'god in the flesh' just like them - along with the truth about the physical reality that we exist within.

Basically, most 'holy men' were normal people like us who figured out how to re-connect with 'all that they are'; REALIZED that humans DIDN'T NEED RELIGIONS - and then tried to teach everyone else how to do that, too.

Their stories became distorted & turned into divine dogma - and the rest is history.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 weeks ago from Atlanta, Georgia

This week in particular I'm having trouble understanding my fellow Christians in ways that have been increasing over the past 20 years. I'm a member of an evangelical church and have requested my letter of membership because I'm so disillusioned with evangelicals as a political group.

But my relationship with God through Jesus is made on more solid ground than politics. I feel like I am separating myself from the Pharisees of Jesus' day. And since that is what He did, I have confidence in doing the same.

All the best in your search and I pray you will wish me the same in mine. Welcome to HubPages.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Oztinato I am willing to entertain the idea of reality being a simulation created by a super intelligence perhaps beyond our universe. But there is no way of knowing with absolute certainty, at least for now. I use meditation for its known mental and physical health benefits, and to increase my self awareness for the purpose of lucid dreaming, which is great fun and practical for self knowledge, overcoming fears, finding inspiration, and solving complex problems.


Tranquilheart profile image

Tranquilheart 3 weeks ago from Canada

There is some power that gives order to the universe. I believe in a form of Spiritual Force. But it may not be what we expect.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

I'm not sure that all 'enlightened' persons throughout history were ultimately making love their goal, I see plenty of condoning of violence in holy books, and not in the case of self defense. But rather that many of these enlightened religious leaders have seen apostates and non believers as inferior and worthy of death. Buddha does seem more peaceful and although I haven't studied the way, I haven't seen any violence in his name, or holy literature by the Buddha condoning violence.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Misfit Chick, you have an interesting point. I would say that quite a bit of divine dogma had to be conjured up in order to manipulate their stories. I've noticed that religion, in its centralized form, is utilized mainly as a system of control. People don't need it, they need to realize their true selves. And if you genuinely need religion to behave compassionately, you're likely a narcissist or some shit


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Kathleen, It seems to me that the more you separate from the church the more you will need to examine your religious ideas. Why did you need a church in the first place? Most likely you want community, but you are tired of the high brow dogma. Thats why I like atheism, no dogma. But, not much in terms of communities. At least locally.


Jay C OBrien profile image

Jay C OBrien 3 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

I think the real question is, "Is there an afterlife?" After all, God is meaningless if we have no afterlife.

See:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Near-Death...

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/GOD-DOES-N...

So, we start over with Bahai:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Bahai-The-...


SAQIB6608 profile image

SAQIB6608 3 weeks ago from HYDERABAD PAKISTAN

Do you believe in God?

yes I do,

faith overcomes fear,

faith is the force of life

faith is in fact motivation.

Ultimate truth is GOD


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 3 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

So you believe in God because without that ideal you wouldn't have the motivation to live or to seek truth. I felt that nihilism when I realized God was no where to be found


BibiLuzarraga 3 weeks ago

Hi Sam, I truly enjoyed your on-line essay regarding being an aethist; I am, too, however, I do believe in karma and universal forces; I wish you the best :) BibiLuzarraga.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 3 weeks ago from Michigan, USA

Just to clear up a few inaccuracies offered by Oztinato, above:

First, I would like to hear who these "many modern eminent scientists" are who "support the possibility of God and intelligent design." While any scientist worth his degree would admit that God is a POSSIBILITY, I can't say I've heard that "many" of them actually support the notion.

Second, multi-verse theories support neither the idea of god nor any "intent" in the universe). Nor does "M" theory (which IS string theory, so I don't know why he mentioned it twice, other than to perhaps pad his argument).

Third, Kurd Gödel is NOT "Einstein's successor." This is a bald-faced lie. Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist. Gödel was a mathematician. Indeed, it would difficult to argue that ANYONE qualifies as Einstein's "successor," but if you must choose someone, it would necessarily be another theoretical physicist -- Stephen Hawking, for example.

Of course, Hawking is a self-proclaimed atheist, so I suppose that doesn't fit too conveniently into the apologetic narrative, does it? ;-)

As for Gödel's ontological theorem (his "god" theorem"), it proves NOTHING. It's the same old ontological nonsense that apologists have been pushing for millennia, and it's just as ludicrous. The only difference is that Gödel substitutes Anselm's being "greater than which can be conceived" with a being who possesses all existing qualities. I dismantle this rubbish in my hub, "Gödel's Ontological Failure:"

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Gdels-Onto...

As for atheist communities, there is an ongoing growth in such groups, and for those who are interested, I encourage you to seek them out in your area, or perhaps even start one of your own. And, of course, you're always welcome among our own atheist and agnostic community here at HubPages! :-)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 3 weeks ago from Australia

We can't rewrite every encyclopedia because we don't like facts. To do so is "post truth" or half baked Internet talk.

History shows Einstein mainly associated with Godel in the last year's of his life.

Multiunverse math is revealing intelligent design and top scientists are agreeing. Bhuddism is a religion. Hawking respects Godel's work and has a free online essay about it.

These are actual facts, not "post truths".


Misfit Chick profile image

Misfit Chick 3 weeks ago from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD

I'd also like to add that the 'agnostic' slant of things is seldom taken seriously by either side - moreso Christians. It is the reason for the deep divisions between religious peeps and non-religious ones.

There ARE reasons why religious folks believe the way they believe - whether anyone wants to knock them for being delusional dreamers, or whatever. People don't realize that there IS a great deal of peace & harmony between science & spirituality - even if religions were designed to keep society within a certain status quo.

As a world, we're starting to reject 'religion' more and more. However, kicking opposing sides to their respective curb doesn't help anyone when there is a middle ground that can be shared.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 3 weeks ago from Michigan, USA

Oz, Albert Einstein also had a dog he named "Chico Marx," and I'm certain he "associated" with the great physicist much more than Gödel, the mathematician. If time spent together is our matrix for determining Einstein's "successor," perhaps Chico is the front runner! ;-P

As for the claim that "multiverse math is revealing intelligent design," how do you know this? You admitted that you don't understand the math of Gödel's argument (though that never stopped you from blindly accepting his conclusions), yet you are somehow an authority on "multiverse math," whatever that may be. And who are these "top scientists" who agree with this gibberish? Please, do elaborate! :-D

To paraphrase your last comment, you can't rewrite the truth simply because you don't like the facts. Furthermore, simply repeating nonsense endlessly doesn't make any more true.

Sorry to break it to you.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 3 weeks ago from Australia

Misfit Chick

There is a lot of truth in what you say. The problem with many atheist hubbers is the tendency to assume all religion as "right wing back woods fundamemtalism" but the truth is spirituality is far more diverse and open minded. Even Science has itself is becoming spiritual.

Paladin

You need to consult some actual books to get awat from "post truth".

http://hubpages.com/education/answer/272996/have-2...


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 3 weeks ago from Australia


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 weeks ago from Tasmania

@oztinato. If the suffix "-ism" denotes a religion then yes, Buddhism is a religion. I feel it would be more accurate to describe the way of Christ as a spiritual path, but Catholicism and Evangelism as religions.

As a matter of interest, three questions for you: do you follow or have you ever followed one particular religion? And are you religious these days?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 weeks ago from Michigan, USA

Oz, I literally have no idea what you're talking about with your "post truth" comments. But then, I never learned to speak gobbledygook.

I suppose repeating unsubstantiated nonsense and desperately trying to create your own nonsensical internet memes is easier than actually proving one's arguments (especially when those arguments are a lot of hogwash).


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Sam....Congratulations on an incredibly wonderful hub. You have made a valid, lucid point deserving of attention by your readers. Thank you.

Paladin....I haven't time to comment. I stopped by here just to brush with some brilliance and genius in an otherwise counterfeit, make-believe world.

I find I learn more on particular sites, yours, of course being on the top 10. Continuing education is an integral part of my daily life. What I have found is that I will never arrive at the end. There is always, ALWAYS, more, new, varied and better & worthwhile things to learn.

If you are interested is learning to speak goobledygook, (which I'm sure is not the case) you need only enroll in the School of Delusions, Fantasies, Fairy Tales, Scams, & Instruction of learning by Rote.

I'm sorry I don't know where you might find an application for this school. Perhaps someone around here would direct you.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom. One day I'll get there.

Best wishes to you Sam and Good Luck!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 weeks ago from Tasmania

Try Hogworts. There you even learn to play Kidditch and use a roomstick to duck under any difficult argument.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 2 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Thank you, that really makes me smile, I'm glad you enjoyed!


kbdressman profile image

kbdressman 2 weeks ago from Harlem, New York

Sam, have you ever looked into the Plan of Salvation? (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' beliefs on pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal life?) I think you would find their beliefs about "Hell" (or lack thereof) much more agreeable. It also explains the evil conundrum you've mentioned and handles the variety of religions in a much more just way than standard Christianity tends to. I'll have to write a hub detailing what I'm talking about if you're open to discussing these issues more.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 2 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

I recently had a conversation with a member of that religion. It's curiously light-hearted and seems to be more of a fan fiction spin off of Judeo-Christian religion. I don't really find it more agreeable, in fact I respect that religion even less. Why? Because its the very definition of holy book cherry picking, if you're going to be religious, be religious.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 weeks ago from Tasmania

I could not have come up with that answer, Sam. Brilliant.


kbdressman profile image

kbdressman 2 weeks ago from Harlem, New York

No, it's not, actually. How on earth did you come up with that misconception?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 weeks ago from Tasmania

It might depend on the.object of your discussion, Katie.

Is it to win Sam and others over to your way of worship and beliefs?

Is it to prove others "wrong" and yourself "right?"

Or is it just a non-judgmental discussion, willing to allow other opinions to stand?


kbdressman profile image

kbdressman 2 weeks ago from Harlem, New York

Jonny, Sam can keep his opinions and it's no skin off my back. But, if he wants to pass "its the very definition of holy book cherry picking" off as fact, he's going to have to be able to defend his argument with facts that are a little deeper than "I've talked to a Mormon once."

For clarity's sake, the tone of my last comment was surprise, not condescension, although I can see where confusion would have crept in. My mistake for not being careful to be clearer originally.


Jay C OBrien profile image

Jay C OBrien 2 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

Instead of reading religion or forming a belief system, study NDEs.

See, “NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES the rest of the story” 2011 by P.M.H. Atwater. Atwater studied some 3,000 adult cases and about 300 child cases. Starting in chapter seven are cases which have been “Verified.” By “Verified” it means the person obtained information outside his normal five senses was later were corroborated by investigation.

While clinically dead, George arose and went to the newborn section of the hospital near where his body lay. George noticed a baby with a broken hip. Upon reviving, George told the doctors about the baby’s broken hip and added, the hip is broken because the nurse dropped her. X-rays showed the break. When the nurse was confronted, she admitted to dropping the baby. At page 59.

While having a hernia operation, Mark found himself above the operating table looking down at his body. Mark ‘flew’ out of the operating room to a waiting room where his parents were. He sat next to his mother and later recounted the conversation of his parents. Mom turned white when Mark repeated almost verbatim what they were talking about. At page 65.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 2 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Katie I'm calling it the very definition of holy book cherry picking because there are two verses in the article specifically pointing out that God creates hell for those who do not believe or who turn against him and so on. You can choose not to read those passages, and there are many more in the bible, but you're essentially engaging in a confirmation bias. And thanks Jonny (:


kbdressman profile image

kbdressman 2 weeks ago from Harlem, New York

Just because I interpret them differently than you do doesn't mean that I ignore them. Have you ever regretted missing out on an opportunity? Or gone through an experience that was hellacious and felt everlasting or eternal in the moment? That is how we see hell. Being separated from God and not living up to one's potential. We believe in a period of time between death and judgment day where people can learn about Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to accept the gospel. Those who are at peace with their life here, who have accepted Christ and participated in requisite ordinances will be in what we call "Spirit Paradise." Those who haven't will be in "Spirit Prison" where they will have the opportunity to learn the gospel and accept the covenants (promises with God) related to vicarious ordinances performed on their behalf by the living in temples around the world. We believe that on judgment day we will stand before God to defend our lives and who we have become and Christ will be there as our mediator. Those who have repented of their sins via the atonement of Christ and have become a being that would be comfortable in God's presence and in Celestial glory will be able to live in His presence for eternity, with his/her family and create their own worlds where their own spirit children can learn and grow, just like we, as God's spirit children are learning and growing. Those who have not become someone that would be comfortable with that kind of glory will be given the appropriate level of glory, all of which, besides outer darkness, will be marvelous beyond our current comprehension. The select few who have a perfect knowledge of Christ and deny Him while He stands in front of them anyway, will be sent to what we refer to as "Outer Darkness," where they won't have communication with God. Those who have "repented," truly changed, will have their sins covered by the atonement. Those who haven't will have to suffer for those sins to meet the law of justice. So, in some aspects, Outer Darkness, Spirit Prison and this suffering are the Hell that the bible talks about. However, it is our choice as to where we will end up and everyone will be given a fair chance. God loves His children and wants the best for them like any parent, but He can't force someone to become what they don't want to be (which would be a great segway into the "Why is there evil" question, but that's a topic for another comment/hub/discussion).

Those verses aren't ignored. They're just understood differently than the Catholic church and their break off groups understand them.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 weeks ago from Tasmania

Katie, you have truely swallowed the bait, hook-line-and-sinker! I feel sorry for you, it's going to be hell for you trying to get off that hook.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Jonny....Most of the time, I simply cannot believe what I'm reading. Other times, I convince myself that someone is joking or writing fantastic fiction. Still there have been times when I realize there are computers in every Game & Hobby room of our mental health facilities. Perhaps this can explain some of it.

At the end of the day however, I must try to shake off the insanity and get on with life in the real world, in search of people who do not babble & drool. Literal brainwashing is rampant and only very slowly becoming an issue that will one day be eradicated.

I cannot even bring myself to comment 90% of the time. I am bilingual in Spanish & Italian, but not jibberish. So, maybe I should just apologize as I run away.

I embrace my own spiritual essence in my own personal (private) manner~as I believe our inner selves must remain precisely this~ personal & private. I'm literally unable to make the huge leap to convincing you ( or anyone) to be ME! WHO does this? & WHY?

I have another headache.


Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam Wickstrom 2 weeks ago from Nelson, BC, Canada Author

Damn Katie, Jonny's right lol. You really just proved my point. You've explained the plot of the Judeo-Christian fan fiction spin off called mormonism. :/ Below are some verses you are now going to have to re-interpet as it were.

-

Revelation 21:8 - But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death

-

Revelation 20:15 - And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

-

2 Thessalonians 1:9 - Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

-

Matthew 13:50 - And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

-

I gotta say tho, I really did laugh my ass of seeing your comment Jonny :'D

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article