Gospel of Doubt:

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Gospel of Doubt:

Post  Admin on Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:49 pm

Share your Gospel of Doubt with us here --
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WTF happened to all the posts???

Post  jgrow2 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:49 pm

There were a substantial amount of posts in this forum alone. What happened to them?
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  snafu on Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:29 pm

Yep all gone for me too. What gives? Surely the rapture hasn't happened?
snafu Laughing Laughing
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  Farfromfaith on Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:34 pm

I'm sure if the rapture was to happen, our gospels would have stayed put.

It must of been the devil!
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  snafu on Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:09 pm

Found out what happened.
Navigate out to home & take a look.
There are now sub-forums.
Glad is wasn't the rapture, or the devil.
Cheers
snafu
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Oops.

Post  Momma Heathen on Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:55 pm

There is an "oops" post in the "announcements" section roughly explaining what happened. You have our sincerest apologies.
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  snafu on Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:05 pm

No problems. Without wanting to be inappropriate, is that a tatoo of the flying spaghetti monster? Wow, that's commitment to the cause. cheers cheers
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:)

Post  Momma Heathen on Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:10 pm

It's not the FSM. Yet. That's my skull-fly Priscilla. Smile
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  snafu on Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:20 pm

Oh well. Maybe I will get the fsm making out with a teapot. Very Happy
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Gospel of Doot Redux

Post  jgrow2 on Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:48 pm

I had this posted before the great shift blew it away. Since i wrote it in the wonderful XPad, it was saved automatically. So here 'tis.

By the way, I call it the Gospel of Doot because the way Dave in particular pronounces the word it sounds to me like "doot," not "doubt."

------------------------

I keep saying I'm going to do this, but find another thing to do. Dreadful motivation, or lack thereof.

I was born and raised Catholic. Or American Catholic. Meaning, we went to church on Sundays (or Saturdays, depending on what was going on), ate fish on Fridays during Lent, and had pictures of Jesus and Mary hanging around the house. Not to mention the crucifixes.

Indeed, it was a pretty rote sort of existence. Prayers were recited and not spoken, if you catch the distinction. Nevertheless, many times I considered the priesthood or the monastic life, but was always reminded why that was a bad idea by the line from Stripes ("Did you ever see a monk get wildly f**ked by a bunch of teenage girls? So much for the monastery.") That, and that as appealing as the contemplative life might be, it's not *real.* It runs away from the problems, whatever they are.

Anyway, the church of my upbringing seemed like a game that lost its appeal, so I stopped going pretty much as soon as I was out on my own. It still seemed to me that I needed *something* in my life, whatever that was. I did a lot of reading on various religions and found Taoism and Buddhism to be the most appealing. Not Tibetan Buddhism of course--I'd just gotten rid of one earthly representative of a god and didn't need another. Plus, the buddha was most assuredly not a supernatural figure, just some guy really.

Zen made sense, as it was about finding enlightenment in *this* life, and not some nebulous other because there really *was* nothing else but NOW. And I was happy rooting around in old Indian, Chinese and Japanese mystical texts searching for meaning in meaninglessness. But there came a point where the incense really was just smelly smoke, the Buddha just another hunk of rock and the various sutras really just so much paper. It took a while to get to that level of meaningless meaning, but I got there. I took the raft to another shore and finally, reluctantly, discarded the raft as unnecessary.

At the same time I looked to Zen I also looked into Christian mysticism and particularly found Meister Eckhart fascinating, especially from a Buddhist perspective. In general, the notion of god in everything and everyone seemed satisfactory, and not at all contradictory. The symbolism of Christ and the metaphors of the Bible were almost workable, if properly interpreted (cherry-picked).

But really it was another crutch, albeit a more elaborate one as it served to try and legitimize what I grew up with with what I'd learned throughout life. It was necessary--vital--to remove this crutch, as all any of it did was keep me away from life itself. From the real, everyday wonder of NOW. even if NOW consists of sitting on the couch tapping on a keyboard.

There were other episodes, other experiences, that helped me form the viewpoint I have now. No past because all that really exists of the past is what you choose to carry forward into the present. No future except what you wish for and work toward, even if it comes to nothing (which it all does in the end, as it should). No soul because *you* do not exist in the first place. *I* do not exist either, for what am I to you but a series of impressions? What is any of this but electrochemical data into some complicated hardware?

And what is the Bible, Jesus, Buddha, the various sutras except a lot of various stories that some people take WAY too seriously?

Since this life is a narrative in progress, I should end this by saying, "to be continued."
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Gospel of Doubt

Post  Stanley on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:43 am

Here goes it:

Born in a "refuse to answer religion questions" type of family, I found my "own" way to God through the indictrination in the British school system. I then found a church to attend. I had lots of questions and a church seemed the best place to get them answered.

Questions like, "Why doesn't god talk to anyone anymore. He used to do it all the time in the Bible" and "Will I remember my family when I am in heaven and they are in hell? They're lovely but I don't know if they believe in god." were not answered.

I got strange looks, a mixture of fear, anger and worry...followed by a book placed into my hand some hours later. The book each time was barely relevant to the question and on a weekend away I found myself singled out as a doubter. I didn't think I was a doubter. I thought I was finding my way to know God's truth. Badgered all weekend, with the whole thing seeming like a "Let's convert the doubter" fest, I decided to never return to the church.

(here's my favourite part: they were not keen on my leaving and so tried to persuade me in lots of different ways. In the end, they accepted my resignation -so to speak- with the proviso that I "keep playing football [soccer] for the church team". This was largely due to me being very good at football back then and my debut brought about their first ever win, followed by every game I played for them ending in a win.)

But I digress. Anyway, my thoughts still lingered on the whole god question and I went on to study religion formerly at school and university (my doubt growing all the time). My own personal god was all but dead when a bereavement forced me to question life a little deeper and POP the bubble was burst.

I left it there until Tom Cruise's Scientology video alerted me to the looniness of Scientology. Intrigued, I read up on L Ron Hubbard's control techniques and lies. The parallels with Christianity were all to obvious and my fascination with the nonsense of religion was awoken once more.

My bike rides to and from work now find my ears filled with podcasts like Reasonable Doubts. For me, religion is an endlessly fascinating delve into the workings (or otherwise) of the human psyche.
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  Sosa on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:23 pm

I was born into the Seventh-day Adventist church and was raised to believe that Ellen G. White was the last prophet. There is a long history of ministers on my fathers side spanning three generations, so it was expected of me to study theology and become a pastor. My mother especially was extremely conservative during my childhood, she would not permit any secular music in her home. Eventually during my late teens I grew to be more progressive with the teachings of the church, distancing myself from the teachings and writings of Ellen G. White. My family, on the other hand, grew more conservative and more "cultish" with the teachings and so called prophecies of Ellen G. White. During my early college years I began to study other religions and began to understand the philosophy of religions and began to accept a more pluralistic view, maybe no ONE religion had the absolute truth, but all contained some truth. Judaism began to attract me, mostly because of it's emphasis on questioning and that was something that in my religion was forbidden. An adventist who asks too many questions is suspected of not being faithful enough. And what Judaism offered me was the opportunity to ask questions and be challenged and still hold on to my beliefs. I started to study under a rabbi, and after almost a year I was not satisfied with the answers that it offered. I did not want to NOT believe in god, I grew up my whole life assured that there was a god. After leaving my studies for conversion I felt lost, I didn't know what to believe, I did not want to be an atheist, I felt that I HAD to believe in something. Eventually I began to critically examine these truths that I took at face value and began to read The God Delusion, books by Barth Ehrman, debates with Christopher Hitchens, and I realized that I was an atheist all along, I was just in denial and afraid to lose the false comfort of a supreme being.

These last couple of years though my mother has actually moved from "ultra" conservative side to the more liberal/progressive side of the religion. She is the only one in my family, besides my wife, who knows that I am an agnostic/atheist, and although she respectfully disagrees with my decision, she is surprisingly supportive of my decision. My wife is incredibly supportive as well. My in-laws on the other, would probably flip if they found out, as they are conservative adventists. I have a great relationship with them, but they would feel as if I actually betrayed them, as I married their daughter as a christian just last year. In fact, they felt betrayed when they found out I was converting to Judaism. I am trying to slowly ease them to the prospect of having an atheist son-in-law though.


Last edited by Sosa on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  jgrow2 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:32 pm

Sosa wrote:These last couple of years though my mother has actually moved from "ultra" conservative side to the more liberal/progressive side of the religion. She is the only one in my family, besides my wife, who knows that I am an agnostic/atheist, and although she respectfully disagrees with my decision, she is surprisingly supportive of my decision. My wife is incredibly supportive as well. My in-laws on the other, would probably flip if they found out, as they are conservative adventists. I have a great relationship with them, but they would feel as if I actually betrayed them, as I married their daughter as a christian just last year. In fact, they felt betrayed when they found out I was converting to Judaism. I am trying to slowly ease them to the prospect of having an atheist son-in-law though.

Good luck to you sir. I hope you can make that move, and it sounds like you have some close support there.
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  Sosa on Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:36 pm

jgrow2 wrote:
Sosa wrote:These last couple of years though my mother has actually moved from "ultra" conservative side to the more liberal/progressive side of the religion. She is the only one in my family, besides my wife, who knows that I am an agnostic/atheist, and although she respectfully disagrees with my decision, she is surprisingly supportive of my decision. My wife is incredibly supportive as well. My in-laws on the other, would probably flip if they found out, as they are conservative adventists. I have a great relationship with them, but they would feel as if I actually betrayed them, as I married their daughter as a christian just last year. In fact, they felt betrayed when they found out I was converting to Judaism. I am trying to slowly ease them to the prospect of having an atheist son-in-law though.

Good luck to you sir. I hope you can make that move, and it sounds like you have some close support there.

Thanks, I'm lucky to have the support of my wife, that makes it so much easier.
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Re: Gospel of Doubt:

Post  Lausten on Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:36 pm


There were only a few years where I really believed, most of my life I have acted more like an anthropologists in the field, studying believers. My mother broke from a strong Baptist tradition and wasn’t sure what to do with her kids. She sent us off to church a few times but at the same we played with mind reading games at home and watched TV specials about aliens building the pyramids. Later I read a little on Eastern religions and made up my own Native American rituals involving hallucinogens. I also explored the spirituality of quantum physics and the lessons of Yoda.

When I grew out of that and started thinking about building healthy communities, I found that even the secular organizations looked to and partnered with churches. The more contact I had with liberal Christians the more intrigued I became. I stumbled upon an Easter service that was singing “Let It Be” and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and the preacher pointed out that someone saying they love you so much that they will die for you is usually the type of relation he avoids. He changed that story into one of a man living by his ideals, and not fighting, even when threatened with death, loving his enemy to the last.

The first adult Bible study I did at that church was to read a book by Marcus Borg that pointed out the discrepancies in the four gospels. I was not told I would burn in hell for non-belief, in fact the name of Christ was rarely evoked by most of the congregation. This was great, until I started looking into moving into higher positions of the church such as lay speaker. This brought me into contact with congregations who didn’t necessarily share our liberal views.

Meanwhile, I also moved from the city where I had found this church to a small town. In small towns, it is more difficult to avoid other cultures and other views. Also, this small town church was aging, so when some kids showed up for the first time in years, I got recruited for Sunday School teacher. I now had to really consider what my beliefs were and I had to get more serious about studying the actual Bible.

As I perused the Internet for ideas, I kept coming across discussion about how understanding the Bible challenges faith. I didn’t believe it at first, but it eventually proved true. The kids I worked with were at the age when they were starting to doubt everything, so in some ways they led me into skepticism with their questions. I wanted to respond to their doubts, but I didn’t want to do the mental gymnastics that I saw apologetics doing. I found they trusted me much more when I said I don’t really believe this stuff either. I held on to the idea that the narratives still have value, and I still believe that, but not nearly as much value as I once thought. I continued to teach about Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr and loving your neighbor for a while, but I eventually had to call it quits.

I visited my Men’s group from the liberal church in the city recently and told them I no longer call myself Christian. I got a good response, especially from the new pastor. Closer to home it is not going as well, so I am not pushing the issue, but I am not hiding it either. I try to encourage my friends to read Spong and McLaren and discourage them when they have supernatural explanations of things.

The most interesting phenomenon has been a change in my appreciation for nature. I have always loved the outdoors, but as long as I saw it as a creation that came from something supernatural, even with 14.7 billion years of non-intervention, it still lacked something. Now when I look at a Maple leaf streaked with reds and oranges that are taking over its summertime green, knowing that it took billions of years to work out the details of how to accomplish that, my breath seems to leave the confines of my chest and become part of the creation that of course I am a part of. The only word I have for it is “miracle”, which unfortunately associates it with wrinkley old men and magic incantations. It is that sense of wonder that probably led to the idea of gods. Hopefully we can shed the gods and get back to the wondering.
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Hey, ever notice that the acronym for Gospel of Doubt is GOD? ;)

Post  zrice03 on Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:58 am

Unlike most atheists I know, I wasn't raised to be a Christian, or in any religion to begin with. My mother, whom I lived with solely, was an atheist as well, but not someone you'd consider a skeptic. She believed in lots of strange ideas about perspective and consciousness that I still don't fully understand. She is to New Age like liberal Christians are to fundamentalism. Sort of believing in it, but not basing her life on it.

Growing up, the focus in my home was on ethics: what was right, what was wrong, and why that was so. When I was about 7 we started going to the local Ethical Culture Society in Brooklyn, NY. I never really had much interest in it, and we stopped going once we moved to California. Then, when I was 12, I started going out with a girl who was a member of the Methodist Church. Again though, my girlfriend herself wasn't a devout Christian. She, along with her friends, just went because her family told her to. I eventually wound up confirmed in the church but still wasn't a real believer. I think I was serious about it for maybe two weeks before deciding there's nothing behind it and no point to continue.

Unfortunately, my mother, in her wisdom, continued to make me go. Even though we were both atheists, and she knew it, she said I had made a commitment to them and that therefore I should go. I went for about two more years before convincing her I didn't believe any of it, and was miserably bored every Sunday. I would typically sit in the back row, silently mocking god saying things like "well, if you're real, give me a racecar!". It never happened, not that I expected it to, and it amused me somewhat.

Once I was able to stop going, I started reading about science and skepticism. I had always been interested in science, but it was here that I really started learning critical thinking and how to be a skeptic. A few years later, a friend of mine invited me to his church, which happened to be Catholic. I decided to go, and again became part of a church community, though this time I was fully committed to atheism, and only went out of an academic interest of Catholicism. It was a fun experience and I learned a lot.

But eventually, I left that too and since then I have simply been honing and practicing my skepticism skills. I now feel far more intellectually robust than I could have every imagined when I was a kid.
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