PDA

View Full Version : Let's start over from scratch...



Cathy C
01-09-2007, 06:02 AM
The initial couple of threads on this forum got a little out of hand, possibly because the room is still too new to have an "identity." So, how about we give it one? A couple of things I'd like to achieve in this room are:

1. Give writers who approach topics from a secular, freethinker, atheistic, agnostic, etc. viewpoint a place to discuss ways to achieve a non-biased sound to their writing.

2. Offer a list of potential markets to sell articles, stories and books.

3. Discuss aspects of NT existence and how it colors your vision of the world.

I'd love to know who is lurking here, hoping to find . . . something. What something are you seeking in this forum? Who are you and what sort of things would you like to see this room become?

I'll start, to get the ball rolling. Presently, I'm agnostic (I think.) To me, that means I don't know that evolution has any more merit than creationism. I'm skeptical about both sides--and I do mean "skeptical" in the truest sense. I have no firm opinion either way. Now, I've seem some really weird things that make me believe that there's more beyond what our eyes can presently see. Whether that's a product of parts of the mind we (or at least, most people) can't currently access and use, or whether there's a different plane of existence that guides our motions, I don't know. I've jetted all over the board of various religions in my middle aged life, and none of them seem to encompass the WHOLE of what I believe is "the truth." Bits and pieces of various religions, and non-religions, resonate for me. It's sort of like a deep gong in my head. I'll read something, or see something and think, "Yes! :idea: There, that little bit in that text . . . that's part of the truth!"

When I write articles or stories, I tend to incorporate that. But creating characters who are NT can feel dull to readers. So, I try to mix things up--make one catholic, and one lutheran, or muslim or buddist. That necessitates my reading a great deal from various holy documents. Yet, I still don't have a clear opinion of what lies beyond. If there's a hell, I've sold my soul--long ago. I'm hoping when my eyes close at the end and there's a fiery pit, that I can suck up to the management and run the reservation desk... :ROFL:

So, in a way, I'm also a secular humanist who lives a christian existance. IF this is it, and the world we live in is the whole enchilada, then I want to enjoy my time here. I want to be healthy and happy and do nice things for people. Even if they don't appreciate it. Even if they don't care. That's just to make ME happy. I don't care about a hereafter. But if there is one, and the scales are weighed, I'm likely to wind up with more checkmarks in the "Did Good" boxes than the "Did Evil."

But that's not to say I don't completely relish my evil side. I do. I seldom give into it, but I do relish the heineous thoughts of taking a crowbar to the windshield and the occupant of the car that cut me off in traffic this morning . . . or blowing the kneecaps off the old men who cut in front of me in line just because they felt like it.

So what am I? Dunno.

How about you?

nancy02664
01-10-2007, 03:37 AM
I like the objectives you came up with--they encompass pretty much everything I was hoping to see here (mostly writing stuff, with room to talk about bigger issues).

As far as my own beliefs go, I'm just a run-of-the-mill atheist. If there's no evidence that a certain thing exists, then I see no reason to believe in it.

I can understand why people are drawn to religion. I've even read that the 'need' for religion may be neurologically based. To me, though, gods and prophets are the same as easter bunnies and tooth fairies... and it's all just silliness, in my book.

So that's me, in a nutshell. :)

Meerkat
01-10-2007, 07:33 PM
Thanks for your effort to put us on track here, Cathy! I like your idea of mixing things up so much among the characters...it gives the readers more of a far shake and more opportunity for dialogue. Characters too alike can assume so much there is no such opening.

William Haskins
01-11-2007, 10:46 PM
I'd love to know who is lurking here

just a note to let you know i lurk.

i really feel no particularly cultural or social identity as an atheist, but best wishes with the forum.

Cathy C
01-11-2007, 10:54 PM
just a note to let you know i lurk.

i really feel no particularly cultural or social identity as an atheist, but best wishes with the forum.

Nice to have you here, William! I really don't feel my belief system (or lack of it, rather) is an "identity" either. But there are lots of people who do, so I'd like to find out more about the concept.

(notice no smileys...just for you.)

Sean D. Schaffer
02-22-2007, 09:23 PM
First Cathy, thank you for trying to set the forum in the proper direction. It can be hard to do where religion and/or the lack thereof are concerned. I just want you to know I'm glad this forum is here, and that you're keeping good tabs on the whole place. I think you're doing an outstanding job, considering some of the arguments that have occured here already. The fact you're maintaining so calm a composure in the face of repeated disrespect on certain threads, is an admirable quality in any moderator.

Second, I noticed you asked what we posters are so far as beliefs go. I do believe in a deity, but I'm not here to win anyone to my faith. My reason for being here is solely to help me understand how others believe, and if I am able to lend to the discussion without being overly religious in nature, to help the discussion along in a manner that is respectful of my fellow posters.

Thirdly, I am overjoyed to see this sub-forum brought to fruition. I enjoy the Non-Theistic discussions immensely, as they show me a side to Humanity that I never really knew or understood.


Again, I thank you for continuing to moderate this forum, and I just want you to know your work here is highly appreciated. I wish you all the best, as I also do everyone here on this forum.

:)

veinglory
02-22-2007, 09:44 PM
Can we please not have any more threads that discuss organized religion? I know I started one myself but it was a mistake. It is basically like whsipering loudly about someone while they stand just outside the window. Pretty soon either users not in the secular niche are coming in the window or the thread is heading off topic.

Sean D. Schaffer
02-22-2007, 09:55 PM
Can we please not have any more threads that discuss organized religion? I know I started one myself but it was a mistake. It is basically like whsipering loudly about someone while they stand just outside the window. Pretty soon either users not in the secular niche are coming in the window or the thread is heading off topic.


I didn't mean anything OT by what I said, Veinglory. Cathy asked the question 'What are you?' and I answered, honestly. I pointed out twice that I did not intend to convert anyone to any faith, and I meant it.

I personally think the stress of what happened in the 'I need to understand something' thread has gotten to everyone here. But I really see no need to bite my head off when all I did was answer the OP's question in an honest fashion.

My post, as written out originally, was quite on-topic. If you expect me to be tolerant of your beliefs, I would expect the same consideration from you... although I do understand how it could be difficult to do what with some of the less-than-tasteful arguments that seem to have permeated this forum.

Still, if the mods here find my post objectionable, I'll be happy to change it in such a way that it is not.

veinglory
02-22-2007, 10:00 PM
I wasn't biting, I was making a suggestion that applies to me as much as -- or more than -- anyone else. If it was in response to anything it was coming into this subforum to find replies touching on my hell-bound ways and blindness to the"truth". I am very averse to that sort of thing in general but in an atheist writing forum particularly. The easiest way to avoid it in my humble and non-modly opinion, is to talk about religion in religion forums.

aruna
02-22-2007, 10:03 PM
I've never posted in this forum but lurked a couple of times.
I was rasied as a secular humanist; my parents were atheists.

I don't believe in a God or gods and goddesses sitting up in heaven, looking down.

Even as a child, I knew that if there is indeed a God then he/She/It has to be right here, now, immediatealy before me, my very nearest and dearest. I must be able to experience Him/Her/It directly.

I believe - believe is far too weak a word, but I'll use it for the present - that God (also the wrong word!) lives in my heart, and is ever there; to be able to see, experience God, I must align my mind to THAt. I believe that God is pure spirit, and that pure spirit is the substratum of my, and everyone's, consciousness. I believe that to "see" God is to remove thought.

I believe that we all have glimpses of God when we experience pure, exquisite joy, or love; the delight we experience at the perfume of a rose, or at the sight of a sunset, or when we hear beautiful muisc, or a wonderful poem, and when we are moved to tears by such experiences, it's a little bit of God within peeping through. I believe that the aim of life is to live in unity with that inner spirit; and that anyone who even attempts that cannot help but be good, and happy.

My spiritual practice is to turn within, whenever I can and as often as I can.

Sean D. Schaffer
02-22-2007, 10:16 PM
I wasn't biting, I was making a suggestion that applies to me as much as -- or more than -- anyone else. If it was in response to anything it was coming into this subforum to find replies touching on my hell-bound ways and blindness to the"truth". I am very averse to that sort of thing in general but in an atheist writing forum particularly. The easiest way to avoid it in my humble and non-modly opinion, is to talk about religion in religion forums.


Still, Veinglory, if what I said is overly offensive, I will be more than happy to change it. Like you, I don't much care for people telling me I'm hellbound, either, as was the case in some PM's I recently received.

You make an excellent point; I think it might be wise, indeed, to keep from discussing religion and what we all believe in this particular forum, simply because of the nature of some of the arguments we've had to deal with here.

As far as your 'non-modly' status goes, I apologize for implying that you weren't a mod. I know fully well you're a moderator; I was more referring to the moderator of this particular subforum than anything else. I hope you'll forgive me for being overbearing in some of my wordings, as I did not intend to make you feel somehow less-than by any stretch of the imagination.

I hope you have a good day, and whatever happens here, I think it will eventually work out. It's getting people to stop proselytizing that really is the difficult issue anymore. I understand to quite an extent where you're coming from.

veinglory
02-22-2007, 10:20 PM
Oh quite so... and I was saying 'unmodly' just to make clear I am in this forum only as a member, it's Cathy's domain. Which is just as well as I am not sufficiently impartial on this topic.

Cathy C
02-22-2007, 10:49 PM
Oooo . . . Cathy's domain. I like the sound of that. It sounds very deity-ish, don't you think? ;)

Okay, I did specifically ask what beliefs people had here. The goal was to ask what particular brands of non-theistic people we had frequenting the room so I could figure out how to create topics that would appeal to them. It's akin to asking in the Christian forum whether a person is Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, etc. So, let me rephrase the question:

IF you're a lurker here and are ALREADY of the non-theistic persuasion, what brand are you? As I said in the guidelines I originally posted:


In addition to atheism, this forum also includes agnostic, critical skepticism, postmodern cynicism, rationalism and materialism.

Since I don't know the belief structure of several of these, I was inviting people WITHIN those beliefs to discuss how the belief structure works.

Now, if you're Christian, just say, "I'm Christian." Likewise, Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, Hindu, or any of the commonly accepted organized religions. Most all of us know what those are, so a lengthy discussion of the belief structure and how you apply it to your life isn't required.

As for discussions about organized religion, I think it's a good idea to keep to NT topics but please remember that this also isn't a forum for religion bashing (as I ALSO stated in the guidelines.) If a topic starts out NT and it strays into discussions about god, goddess, devils, demons or the various texts related to those entities (as they seem to be doing,) you'll be nicely asked to edit or remove the post in very short order. If you don't, I will. I probably should have stopped the last two topics faster than I did, frankly. Naturally, my goal isn't to stomp on free speech---it's to stay on topic and the topic here is Writing about Non-Theistic Views. Please, though, if you notice something "going south" on a topic, it's hard to be everywhere all the time. Please bring it to my attention.

Thanks!

Anything else you guys want to see/don't want to see in here?

aruna
02-22-2007, 11:05 PM
In addition to atheism, this forum also includes agnostic, critical skepticism, postmodern cynicism, rationalism and materialism.

Now you've got me wondering - I am none of these. I'm fine with "non-theistic spirituality" though. Should I slink away?

benbradley
02-22-2007, 11:44 PM
I'm a hardcore atheist and consider myself "secular humanist" but how I got here is a very long story (I suppose I'll write a memoir), but I'll try to write a few sentences here.

I grew up in the Baptist church but for some reason never believed, yet had some vague fear about "what if God really existed?" I was (and still am) a fan of Asimov, Sagan, and other scientific writers (didn't quite become a scientist, but have had a career as an engineer), and was impressed with Asimov's argument regarding God that "The burden of proof is on the positive" in the sense that if someone claims 47 angels can dance on the head of a pin, the claimer has to demonstrate an objective way of identifying and counting angels (as well as pointing out the head of a pin).

At age 30 I fell into a group where everyone believes in God, and amazingly, afte a short time around them, I found my own belief in God (never mind that my belief just happened to be just like everyone else's around me - I discovered that later). I spent a couple years with some strong belief, yet with a few nagging questions in my mind (amd I learned quickly not to ask such questions out loud), but after those two years they became more nagging. I finally started reading things other than the books they gave/sold me: about cults, how they operate, the nature of belief, and over several more years found my belief in all those spiritual things to be fading, and my belief in God went away like a vaporizing cloud. I was relieved at this, that my doubts were validated, but was also enraged that I was lied to (not consciously, these people BELIEVED what they were saying, and certainly not just about God) and misled to spend so much of my life with them.

So that brings me to the present. This group didn't claim to be Christian, but it originated from an earlier Christian group. I was definitely a "Believer" if not an outright Christian, so I feel I have some insight into belief that many other atheists don't.

Just to be a tease, the group is mentioned on this site:
http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/
Just click on the "Religious Group Profiles" link on the right, and scroll down to it. :)

Here's my shot at the points in the OP:

1. Give writers who approach topics from a secular, freethinker, atheistic, agnostic, etc. viewpoint a place to discuss ways to achieve a non-biased sound to their writing.
I'm not sure "non-biased" is achievable, any more than Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh could be considered non-biased, but I think less biased is an achievable goal.

2. Offer a list of potential markets to sell articles, stories and books.
We had a thread on that a month or two ago, with a good but probably too-short (doe more to the topic than to lack of people offering names) list. For book publishers, Prometheus is an obvious choice, and mainstream publishers who have published Asimov and similar writers might be good choices. I think we can write off Thomas Nelson.

3. Discuss aspects of NT existence and how it colors your vision of the world.
Living in the USA, it's in contrast to how the majority here see things.

Cathy C
02-23-2007, 01:21 AM
Now you've got me wondering - I am none of these. I'm fine with "non-theistic spirituality" though. Should I slink away?

:eek: Gracious no! There's LOTS of things I didn't include. I even forgot secular humanism, which is a pretty common one. Oops! I should probably add an "et al" or "and others."

Do you have a "name" of your particular belief system or is "non-theistic spirituality" the best you can define it ?

aruna
02-23-2007, 11:21 AM
:eek: Gracious no! There's LOTS of things I didn't include. I even forgot secular humanism, which is a pretty common one. Oops! I should probably add an "et al" or "and others."

Do you have a "name" of your particular belief system or is "non-theistic spirituality" the best you can define it ?

Well, I guess you can call me an Advaitist - Advaita being a Sanskrit term meaning Non-Dualism, a philosophical term based in Vedanta, whihc in turn is the non-theistic philosophical branch of Hinduism.

TrickyFiction
03-20-2007, 11:38 AM
Hey, all! This is an interesting idea. I like it. It reminds me of the day I heard that someone had made a summer camp specifically for atheist and agnostic kids. They figured that summer camps were beneficial for kids, but most of them were alienating for those who had no belief in God. I don't define myself by my beliefs or lack thereof, but it's still nice to meet like-minded people sometimes. :)

Well, I'd classify myself as agnostic. I was raised Christian but broke away from it when I found I just didn't believe it anymore. Still, I'm addicted to religious/mythical stories. I write all about gods, devils and angels in my fiction. I particularly like the idea of pantheism, just because it levels the playing field.

I think it's important to have some mysteries in life, even if we have to make them for ourselves.

Lyxdeslic
03-20-2007, 11:56 AM
1. Give writers who approach topics from a secular, freethinker, atheistic, agnostic, etc. viewpoint a place to discuss ways to achieve a non-biased sound to their writing.

How about you?

Interesting topic. First, I'd love some feedback on this: Wondering how this comes across (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58295). Sorry for the blatant "self promotion/bump" -- I simply figured this tied in to the above quoted category. The writing itself, I now see, is leaning heavily toward the "biased writer's rant".

The content might give you some type of idea as to my religous stance. As to a particular label for my faith, or lack there of...I can't say. I'm certain that there is a method to the madness of this misguided world; I just don't claim to know what it is. I've experience things, though, that solidify my notion that there is "a point to it all".

I'm not the academic type; so I apologize for my simplistic words. I just felt the need to chime in.

Thanks

Meerkat
03-20-2007, 05:53 PM
Simplistic words are great, don't change that! If I could recommend any change, it would be that the focus of your writing seems to be too negative, insulting uneccessarily. What if your focus was more on what it is you believe to actually be occurring, your version of objective reality? There is no chance whatsoever that any of us have it all exactly right, this early in our evolution. So there is no reason to attack each other; there is only room and time to explore different ideas, peacefully.