Introductions:

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Hello to all!

Post  Pegasus on Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:05 pm

I am Pegasus.

I live in West Europe and am from catholic background. I am a naturalist and humanist. I am for democracy, rationality and openness. I don't believe in fairy tales, but I do believe in people. I believe in debate and confrontation with raw rational arguments as a means of personal growth. I don't believe in hate. I believe in the strength of independent thinking. I don't believe we're being monitored in everything we do and think by some cosmic entity who benchmarks us to an absolute heavenly standard.

I think moral is a cultural dependent concept and that our mental capacities oblige us to make fair rational choices and to base moral constructs on rationality and fairness. I believe in cooperation. I think every life has meaning just because it's finite. I think the scientific method is our next best thing to truth, an insurance policy against superstition and dogma. I think we know a lot more than some 2000 years ago.

I think religions are myths scrambled, corrupted, reshuffled and reinterpreted many times. I think there is not an idea more perverted than the idea of eternal damnation. In the face of utter lack of evidence I decline all supernatural claims on the principle of parsimony. I believe strong claims need strong evidence. I believe this universe is a good place to be in but rather indifferent to our needs. And that it is not some passage to a more real world were everything is perfectly arranged to fit even our petty needs. I believe meaning is a human concept that only individuals can shape and that we ourselves are responsible to fulfill.

I look forward to the discussion here with you all.

Pegasus

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Re: Introductions:

Post  5thApe on Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:16 am

Hi all,
My name is Dave, I'm a married carpenter born and bred in the UK. I was raised as a happy-clappy baptist and have often wondered why the brainwashing nonsense didn't stick. A combination of reasons I suppose, a fascination of how things work and why things are the way they are.

I used to watch StarTrek in my youth and I guess the thought that we may not be alone in the cosmos, the thought that we are all humans, separation, race and religion all irrelevant, we are just all humans. Just another animal lucky enough not to yet be extinct on this beautiful planet. The sooner we realise that and come together as one race, celebrate our differences, stop killing and hating. start feeding and housing the whole of our race. The sooner we can plough our knowledge and resources into exploring the immenseness of our beautiful universe.

Getting a bit carried away there sorry, but I guess we've all got to do our bit. I'm really glad to have found the Reasonable Doubts podcast. and I'm really glad the 3 RD dudes are doing what they do, because if we have any chance at that future, religion has to go.

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Re: Introductions:

Post  infinitemonkey on Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:41 pm

Hi, my name is Jeff, but you can call me yours. Cool

I'm 28, and will be for the rest of my life, and gay (same rule applies) Razz . I was raised Southern Baptist Shocked in the Little Rock area, but after I realized I was gay No , I realized that if gayness was a choice, then I was never given one. I realized that I was made this way. It didn't make sense that I was going to hell for being a gay, even though I was a christian affraid . And I was a pretty hardcore one also. I always felt like I wasn't doing enough to be a "good" christian. So, now I live in the Shenandoah Valley in VA.

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Hello

Post  DALwrites on Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:50 pm

Hello, Reasonable Doubters (doubtees?),

My name is Derek, and have been listening to the podcast since 2008. The People's Choice award is well-earned (congrats fellas!).

Anyway, enough ass kissing. Very Happy I'm 32, married, with a 1 1/2 year old daughter. My passions are reading and writing, specifically about "skeptical" topics. My blog can be found here, and my Houston Freethought Examiner page can be found here.

I eagerly look forward to the discussions!

Edit: I almost forgot; I purchased a shirt this morning. Zazzle me!

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Re: Introductions:

Post  Jared on Sun May 23, 2010 6:41 pm

Hi, this is Jared from just a bit South of Houston, Texas, USA. My wife and I are newish athiests and looking to get involved in Houston groups or start our own. We live about an hour out of the city; so it may be more economical and practical to kickstart our own faith-impaired support group. We have two beautiful 10 month olds and two cats in the backyard. We're interested in religion and how it effects society at large. My in-laws are recent rededicates {I think I just coined that word (re-ded-i-cut) Definition rededicate: an individual who has recently taken up a religion or spiritual belief to which they formerly subscribed but have neglected for a significant period} to Church of Christ and the rest of my family and acquaintances are various protestants. We feel like tiny islands in a vast sea of make-believe. Every time I think about it I renew my determination to start our own local group. Would anyone offer advice or share stories of starting your own group?

Jared

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Re: Introductions:

Post  Revolution on Tue May 25, 2010 1:47 am

Hi everybody,

My name is Christian Rolling Eyes and i'm from Sydney, Australia.

I attended a Catholic school but i don't remember ever doing any religious stuff with my folks. I think they sent me there because it was cheap.

I'm in my early 40's and have a couple of teenage kids. I head a finance dept. in an Ad agency.

I'm a regular on SGU website and came across a thread that mentions the podcast in a very positive light. I've been working my way through the episodes and came across the episode that intorduced this forum today. So i'm about 9 month behind but i'm enjoying it every day, to and from work.

i'm looking forward to reading more...
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Re: Introductions:

Post  Lausten on Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:48 pm

I guess I have never really introduced myself, although I have been a listener since episode 50. I found RD via the Julia Sweeney forum, which is now part of skepticforum.com. Thanks to Brad for that BTW. I was completely heathen until my 30’s when I was introduced to Walker United Methodist in South Minneapolis, a church that didn’t mention Jesus too much. They don’t use the official hymnal, they do a Native American smudge at the beginning of each service and read from the Tao. They introduced me to Marcus Borg and other authors and new approaches to religion. I won’t bore you with more details of that.

I have since moved to a small town in Northern MN with fewer choices of spiritual communities. This has caused me to re-examine things, but I have always taken an intellectual approach, so I now call myself a religious atheist. My blog is listed in my profile, I define that in the first couple posts.

I have caused a certain amount of hand wringing lately as people try to figure out why I still go to church. Some of that is personal, such as the two boys whose father is mostly absent who started attending last year. I teach the Sunday School, so leaving church would include abandoning them. Enough about that. You can read all sorts of stories about people losing their religion, it just happens that I am in the middle of that story, not at the end. I don’t know what the end will be.

I appreciate everyone’s engagement, feedback, links and jokes.
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Re: Introductions:

Post  Sblast on Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:01 pm

Greetings,

I'm G from Israel, currently a weak agnostic.
Was a yeshiva boy tell age 16, from then I decided I need a proper approach to the big questions, which I never found in a religious school.
I manage a blog in Hebrew concerning religion & society, philosophical & theological issues and culture.
The Atheist/Secular/none religious community in Israel is growing and it would be great to connect to the global trend too.
I love this podcast, obviously this is why I', here.

Would love to share information on the Hebrew bible which I have studied as a religious kid & secular.
Many books concerning biblical studies & academic papers come out here concerning biblical studies, would love to share them here.

G
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Re: Introductions:

Post  whanztastic on Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:04 pm

Hello,

My name is William. I'm 22 in Glenview, IL just north of Chicago (Mark Kirk's district if anybody knows who he is Rolling Eyes).

I graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in December with a Philosophy degree/Religion minor. I feel that I really lucky because although it is a small school with a moderately Conservative campus, the Philosophy government was a highly gifted bunch of people. The Department head is in fact William (Ted) Morris, a previous President of The Hume Society and author the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's David Hume entry. Although I considered myself a non-religious person before attending IWU, my degree gave me the intellectual tools and rigor to defend myself. I was raised very liberal Episcopalian but even when I was 13 I realized the obvious inconsistencies of faith. Today I consider myself nonsupernaturalist, a term I developed during my studies which has an obvious definition, I think.

Starting tomorrow I start work (finally) as a Teach Assistant at a Special Ed school and will hopefully get hired again in the Fall. Hoping to go back to school next year for my Masters in Library Science.

Excited to be here!
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Re: Introductions:

Post  Matthew on Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:39 am

Hello all,

My name is Matthew. I currently live in Washington, DC but am originally from Louisiana. I was a Jehovah's Witness until 2005.

My deconversion story is not all that theological in nature. Within the Jehovah's Witness organization there is a high level of social control and enforced ignorance. To quote me dad, who is still a member, I thought my way into apostasy. And yet for a long time I didn't have any problem with religion. It wasn't until Hurricane Katrina ruined my childhood home that I gave up on faith and turned to science.

I am an atheist, but that tells you little. I am a naturalist in my worldview with a strong ethical stand in humanism and consequentialism. And to raise my favorite recurring discussion from the show, I am a determinist.

I am looking for any recommendations on books to read. And I love the show.

Matthew

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Re: Introductions:

Post  2buckchuck on Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:33 am

I'm Chuck from Oklahoma. I'm a semi-retired scientist who's never been convinced about the religion I was born into and have been an atheist most of my life, once I understood what atheism was. I'm looking forward to discussing things and generally learning from the RD program, as well.
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Re: Introductions:

Post  embiearts on Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:49 am

Greetings from Brisbane, Australia! Yes, I do have kangaroos in my backyard. No, we don't ride them (yet).

What to say... I'm 25, an artist, and have been listening to RD for a while now (playing catchup with all the episodes, just finished 65 so I'm almost there!). I was raised primarily by my very christian mother. In recent years my mother has become far more fundamentalist - she's a fan of Benny Hin, Oral Roberts, Lee Strobel etc, and most recently revealed herself to be a staunch young earth creationist and zionist. Suffice to say peaceable conversation on that front is often difficult, especially now that she knows I am an atheist.

I also had the pleasure of going to a Lutheran school, where (for example) we were told by my 6th grade teacher that any injuries, illnesses and deaths in the family were caused by demons that WE (the kids) allowed into the house. How? By letting our parents buy Persian rugs or dream catchers or Buddha statues - basically anything that wasn't made by a white Christian Australian, because filthy non-Christians put demons into these items. So if your dad got mashed by a train while you were at school, it's ALL your fault. Even at that age I was a little repulsed by it all.

I guess I was "saved" by my own interest in reading, science and history. I spent most of highschool with my nose stuck in a book, and was lucky enough to have a few good teachers who encouraged critical thinking in their classes, which (no doubt to their dismay, had they known) I transferred across to the Bible, which started to make less and less sense. Now I have a passion for science, history, philosophy and politics, and read/listen to as much info as I can, though I'm rarely afforded the opportunity to talk to people about them.

I figure as an illustrator/author I can probably do at least a little bit to get people's brains going, and would like to work on books that encourage critical/"science and learning is fun" style thinking for kids and young people - speaking of which, anyone feel like collaborating? Very Happy
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Underground blog!

Post  ugskeptic on Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:20 pm

Hey everybody! I'm relatively new listener of the show and just recently admitted my irreligiousity to myself. I suppose you guys could count this as another deconversion. However, notice I said "myself." I'm living with three Evangelical Christians this year at college so I've had to go with the flow with all this Christian stuff because I don't want them baptizing me in my sleep. For the next year I'll be blogging about my experiences as a Skeptic living amongst Christians at:

http://undergroundskeptic.tumblr.com/

I encourage you all to check it out and please follow me and start up some discussions about what I post! It's going to be an interesting social experiment and I'm looking forward to it. Keep up the good work Doubtcasters!

ugskeptic

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Morgan county, Tn........

Post  corynski on Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:56 pm

Hello All

I tell you, Morgan county, Tennessee, is where elephants go to die. It's downhome poor in this county, cows and grass is what's happening. And that's why I came here when I retired from Lake Worth, Fl, the arm-pit of the western world, when I hit that magic 65 years young. I said 'git me out of this city' of wall to wall automobiles and helicopters overhead, this sea of white-headed seniors crowding into doctor's waiting rooms. Everybody wondering when the next hurricane would arrive.......

I've been an atheist since I was about 17, but no gods or goddesses would show up, and they still haven't shown up yet. No matter .......

And the world really is too preposterous to consider seriously when you look at it. For example, the Christian 'God', as Christopher Hitchens has observed, after watching homo sapiens for thousands and thousands of years, finally decides to go introduce 'Himself', and to help them get adjusted. So he takes Abram and his family from Ur of the Chaldeans, where they were living, and moves them to another area, a crowded area where people are living and working the land. 'God' instructs Abram that after a delay of 400 years of Egyptian exile, He would give them the land of the Hittites and Canaanites and such, only they would have to commit genocide to have it, but that after killing all the population they could save the virgin girls for their young men. And they did....

Can people not recognize myth when they read it? And that 'God' somehow didn't think He had to tell the rest of the world's population of his Existence? Apparently not, and today a world of people believe this stuff. Anyway, I'm looking forward to some discussions with you all, it looks like you enjoy the same.

charley


Last edited by corynski on Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:14 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarification.....)
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Branching Out

Post  danquixote on Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:42 pm

Hi all,

I posted a couple of times on the blog, but I'm new to the forum. I deconverted from Mormonsim about a year ago. In the worst part of my crisis, an atheist friend of mine suggested the RD podcast as something to think about.

I've been an avid listener ever since. Over the past year, I've spent a lot of time reading and posting on a board specifically designed for recovering Mormons (don't ever let anyone tell you it's not a cult!), but I'm at a point where I need to move on.

Even though my wife and kids are still Mormon, and I still deal with the religion on a daily basis, I really want to shift my attention away from all that I hate about my previous religion and start focusing more on other, more productive things. So, as part of that process, I'm trying to be more involved in the broader skeptical movement - recognizing that for most people, being skeptical of Mormonism is about as hard as being skeptical of the Easter Bunny.

I guess what I'm saying, here, is that I want to have more interactions with people who think critically, because I want to learn to do it better than I do it now. So, here I am.

danquixote

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Re: Introductions:

Post  jared.lackey on Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:28 am

Welcome Dan, and congratulations.

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Re: Introductions:

Post  Chris Lindsay on Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:07 am

Greetings everyone. I've just started listening to the Reasonable Doubts podcast. And while I consider myself a science enthusiast, I've become somewhat interested in religious skepticism (specifically, related to the Christian orthodoxy). I've been listening to Bob Price's 'The Bible Geek' podcast for about a month now, and I've listened to a couple dozen episodes of 'Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot' ... but I must've had a colossal brain fart not to have realized that in my own neck of the woods was this great resource - Reasonable Doubts (especially, since I'm a fan of Ed Brayton - and didn't process the information that Jeremy was pulling double-duty on Declaring Independence and RD).

Anyways, just a quick intro. I'm a skeptic and am trying to grow a skeptic community in SE Michigan, and have been active in meet-ups of a variety of groups. There's a new podcast called the Drunken Skeptics of which I'm trying to make into a quality skeptical resource.

If anyone has any suggestions on good resources for new people to become familiar with resources that talk about Christian skepticism, countering the arguments from Apologists, and learning the history of the Bible stories and writers, the early church, and the nuances of how Christian dogma has developed over the past two thousand years. And if there are some good episodes of RD that might help me to get a good grasp of the popular arguments that occur between apologists and non-believers, please let me know so I can prioritize them.

I'm not much of a forums poster, but I do enjoy reading threads with good discussion and debate - anything that helps me to improve my critical thinking.

Chris Lindsay

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Re: Introductions:

Post  seaotter on Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:52 pm

I'm an agnostic atheist in that I don't believe and I ultimately don't know, although I have to say I'm pretty damn sure about all the deities I've ever heard somebody adequately define.

Love the show. I spend most of my online time at the SGU forums, but thought I'd branch-out a little.

Look forward to being way over my head around these parts.
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Re: Introductions:

Post  tbiggin on Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:57 pm

Hi everyone -
I've been listening to RD for a few years now I guess and really love the show. I listen to several atheist podcasts, but I particularly like you guys because you are educational, logical, and don't devolve into bouts of ad-hominem and cursing!

I'm out of Toronto, Canada and am just beginning to get more involved in the 'atheskeptichumanist' community. My blog is the Gospel of Joe (http://www.gospelofjoe.com), where I'm reading through the bible and summing it up into basic layman's English (they say one of the best ways to foster disbelief is to give people a good understanding of the Bible).

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Re: Introductions

Post  PrometheusWins on Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:55 pm

I am a Swedish sceptic and biologist who is a great fan of the show. As a Swede, I live in a secular society and never have to face the kind of religous atmosphere that seems to pervade American society, but I do note with fascination (and horror) what happens on the other side of the atlantic, and many other places in the world.

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INTRODUCTION

Post  Shannon on Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:55 pm

Hello Everyone,
Like many people on this site, I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home. Church was a big part of our lives, but I always felt like an outsider. I asked difficult questions from the time I was about 5 years old, which usually resulted in slaps and spankings from my parents.At home I heard how bad I was and at church I heard the same thing. I grew up with no self-esteem whatsoever!

As I moved through my life, I kept trying to find a church group where I belonged, and got more and more depressed. Not only was I bad, but even the Christians didn't like me. This pattern continued well into my 30's. The turning point was having children and taking them to Sunday School. I was finally able to say to myself, "The premise of this religion, that we are sinners and deserving of eternal punishment, is just not psychologically healthy, and I will not allow this for my children."

Around the same time I was earning a Ph.D. in education. I ended up taking and eventually teaching graduate research classes, and realized that the scientific method, i.e. "critical thinking" is really the only tool we have for discerning truth. I began to read books by Christian apologists, philosophers, and atheists, among other things. I studied rhetoric and logical fallacies and textual criticism and history. I remember thinking that if Christianity was actually the truth, that it would stand up against the most difficult scrutiny. It didn't.

If you haven't grown up this way, it's hard to understand how stressful the deconversion process can be. If I was wrong, I would burn forever and so would my kids! That may sound silly, but when it's been pounded into your head all your life, and you are told about all the "good people who will go to hell" it is hard to get past this psychological damage and brainwashing- even as an adult with a Ph.D! The thing that saved me was encountering this quote from Tristan (of Tristan and Isolde): "My truth is my God, and I will burn in hell for it."

I am now able to say, that, in the slim possibility that there is a hell for non-theists and atheists, I will hold my head high and know that I've lived a life and raised kids to question everything, think for themselves, respect life in all its variations, and follow their inner truth.

Shannon

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Deconversion Stories?

Post  Shannon on Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:59 pm

I would love to hear how other people were able to escape the brainwashing of a fundamentalist (or any) religion.

Shannon

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hey i'm scott

Post  Scott Pittman on Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:37 pm

Hey everyone,

Well i just found this podcast recently (about 2 weeks ago), and thought i would stop by the site and and check things out and introduce myself. To the guys who put on this wonderful podcast i have the utmost respect and gratitude to you guys. I listen to you guys pretty constant these days (currently deployed to Afghanistan so down time can get pretty boring.. you guys keep me sane). Any how i just wanted to compliment you guys and introduce myself at the same time. Again thanks for the great podcast and keep up the great work.


Scott Pittman

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I'm Ryan

Post  anotherday on Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:24 am

I'm an 18-year-old transsexual man (having been born female but now living as male) from white suburban Canada. I feel very oppressed by the Christians around me (and there are many) so I have come here to meet people who are unlike them and share my experiences. Seriously, the other day one of them suggested I work at Focus on the Family. Laughing

I was raised in and still live with a Christian family, attended a Christian school until the 10th grade when I dropped out and went to church (by force) twice a week until age 16. My parents are currently trying to kick me out because I stopped.

I listen to RD at work on my iPod.

What a Face
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From the tip of Africa...

Post  Kelso on Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:52 am

Hi doubt casters the name's Keletso, and I'm a closet atheist from down in South Africa (cue the awkward triple A meeting Hi responses). I've only really accepted my atheism recently but the signs were always there. What irked me the most about my former Christianity, bar the obvious lack of logic (due to arbitrary emotions and whims of the "spirit" - i.e. psychological dumbing, supernatural = not bullcrap), was its sort of hush-hush way of trying to keep you from the truth, its sort of like a franchised cult on steroids. It gets worse on the African continent, where which craft and leprechaun-type creatures aren't strangers to some of our newspaper headlines. Anyway, I'm the classic case of - guy loves God, guy needs God but he's hung a do not disturb sign on door, guy peeps over "forbidden" fence, guy meets logic and reason, guy makes sense of it all [END]. Browsing the web, I stumbled upon RD. The podcasts truly are gold. Kudos.

Kelso

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Re: Introductions:

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