You are here

Veg*n Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinkers Chat

Starting this since it came up in another thread that we'd like to chat. (Even if it's just me and JessaCita professing our love for Julia Sweeny!;))

I probably don't have to say this because of how cool everyone on VegWeb is but...
Let's please not get into heavy debate in this thread.

Let's just chat about veg*n Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinkers issues...
For example, books that we're reading or would like to recommend, how we/if we celebrate holidays etc. that kind of thing. Or whatever else takes your fancy.  :D

Atheist here too.  Not much more to say about it other than I've always had a scientific/logical mind. No evidence for God=no "belief" in God.  I don't believe in God in the same way I don't believe in unicorns, Santa Claus, Zeus, or, as Richard Dawkins would say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I don't say I'm agnostic about any of those things, so why would I be agnostic about the Christian God or any other God or gods? (just my reason for labeling myself atheist rather than agnostic--I understand the agnostic position and respect anyone who chooses to label themselves as such--I think it's really just playing with semantics. Richard Dawkins discusses this rather well in The God Delusion).

My husband is also an atheist. My parents really didn't talk about religion or god one way or the other until we were old enough to form our own opinions---that's the plan for my kids too. We plan to raise our children with curious, inquiring, skeptical minds. I see no reason to even mention supernatural beings except in the telling of stories or when my child brings it up because of the “what religion are you?” discussion on the playground.  I've read the God Delusion, God is not Great, Atheist Universe, Infidel (the autobiography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali), and I plan to read Parenting Beyond Belief (it's been on my wishlist since before it came out, but I don't have kids yet and cookbooks seem to be a higher priority for now :) ). I also like reading scientifically oriented, but not overtly atheistic nonfiction (my college degree is in evolutionary biology).

Holidays are tricky for me.  My husband was raised Mormon and loves his family.  I love them too. Christmas is such a joyful, happy time for his mother. We enjoy it with her in a purely secular, family-together-time sense. It would crush her if we told her we wouldn't celebrate Christmas anymore. I'd like to move to solstice celebration instead, but I don't think that would go over well--my husband doesn't want to hurt his mother and neither do I. Religious reasons aside, I also don’t like Christmas because of how it encourages materialistic consumerism. I’m trying to wean my family off store-bought gifts, even my mother-in-law—the jury is still out on how well I’ll have succeeded by the time we have a child.

Something I've been thinking about for several months is that it seems to me that veg*ns have a proportion of atheists and agnostics larger than you would see in the general population.  Granted, this is just my own observation from perusing profiles here at vegweb...but it seems fairly true (I know, real scientific conclusion there :) ).  I was thinking if it were the case that veg*ns were more likely to be atheists why this would be? Are we more likely to move away from societal norms or to think outside the box? What do you think?

0 likes

Sorry, I don't like organized religion at all. I'm nothing; not even atheist and I like it that way.

I struggled for a word for a very long time to describe this exact "belief".  One day I was reading a collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens and the word he used was "antitheism".  I wish I could find exactly where I read it, but I have referred to myself as an antitheist ever since then!

Antitheism implies opposition to the existence of God. I have no problem with the existence of God. What I meant is I don't like to personally participate in organized religion.
Atheism is a belief system that there is no God. For one to be an atheist you would have to take a position on a super natural being.
Agnostics believe our minds can't know. I don't think an individual can't know.
See no position, no label. :)

Works for me!

Me too!!

Actually, I'm interested in what you guys think about not simply being able to know the existence/nature of God, but also not being able to have a sustained belief about the existence/nature of God.  I don't think I am capable of belief either way, or at least not sincere belief that I can maintain for any length of time. 

I've done (more than) my fair share of researching other religions, going to services, speaking with committed believers/unbelievers, and yet I always go back to my agnosticism(?) even if I initially feel like I've found an answer.  It was extremely frustrating, but I'm beginning to become more comfortable about it.  It's just who I am, I guess.  Some people can't sing, dance or do a cartwheel, I can't believe.

Anyone else feel this way?

(I <3 this thread by the way)

0 likes

I'm not religious, or even very spiritual, but I really want to be.  When I'm calm and in a really good place I feel so much energy radiate from my body that when I walk my steps feel spongy.  (It's not a new-age or blood sugar issue.)  I figure there's a spiritual explanation for it and I wish I were more spiritual so I could understand it.

0 likes

Something I've been thinking about for several months is that it seems to me that veg*ns have a proportion of atheists and agnostics larger than you would see in the general population.  Granted, this is just my own observation from perusing profiles here at vegweb...but it seems fairly true (I know, real scientific conclusion there :) ).  I was thinking if it were the case that veg*ns were more likely to be atheists why this would be? Are we more likely to move away from societal norms or to think outside the box? What do you think?

Yes.  I'm not sure, but I'm guessing most people were not raised vegetarian or atheist/agnostic - I'm sure some of you guys were, but most....?
If a person is of a certain religion for no other reason than they grew up with it and are uncomfortable moving outside it, why wouldn't they  also continue other things they were raised with just because....(i.e., meat). 

I'm not including religious people who have stepped out of the way they were raised, took a good, hard look at it, and have a real, passionate reason for believing as they do - I'm just talking about people who go through the motions of their religion. 

0 likes

I don't understand what makes someone an atheist or an agnostic or a theist -- I don't even know which of those categories I fall into -- simply because I don't know what the term "God" is supposed to mean.  It's not like "Santa Claus."  I know what that term means.  I know exactly what kind of creature I'd have to meet to decide that it's true that Santa Claus exists.  But God?  "God" gets used in SO many ways that I don't know what it means to deny that God exists.  It's like saying "I don't think that totally radical stuff exists."  Well, that's a really vague statement, and its meaning depends on what you mean by "totally radical stuff" -- which could be pretty much anything.  Same with "God".  I don't think the term has a determinate meaning.  But that's not just a mark against religion, on the side of atheism or agnosticism.  If it's a mark against anything at all, then It's equally a mark against atheism and agnosticism, since those schools of thought define themselves in terms of "God" just as much as religions do.

0 likes

I remember vaguely a quote on "House" about this subject and it pretty much summed up my thoughts...
"Humans trying to understand a higher power is like trying to teach penguins physics."  I've googled around trying to find the exact quote with no luck (it was Jennifer Morrison's character who said it.) 

Anyway...It's pointless to think about.  Try not to f**k people over, if they don't suck.  That's my belief system.

Cool topic, JH.  Nice to have someone other than DH to discuss this with.

0 likes

I was raised in a holiness church, (the Nazarene church to be specific), I too was made to go everytime the doors were open. All I ever learned there was how many boards were across the front of the church on the paneling. Don't ask, I made myself forget. I despised that church and as an adult I still cannot stand organized religion.
I'm not an atheist, I believe there must be a creator,(there is so much diversity in life and the universe, it's hard for me to believe it is all just random) so I guess I fit in more with the agnostic viewpoint. I kind of wish life was more like the John Lennon song, Imagine. I wish we didn't have all of the worlds religions each convinced that they held the key. I wish we could just accept and love people because we love people and not have to categorize everyone.
How innocent it must have been in the beginning when a guy walked out of his cave, looked at the night sky and felt close to some creator without knowing a thing about him or her, only close.
OK, I'm rambling, 46 years old and I still know nothing when it comes to god. *sigh* :)

0 likes

I've been a life long atheist. I just never could believe what I could not see and my choice was science over what I believed to be fiction. The greatest STORY ever told....I do believe that organized religion has caused much more harm then good. Way too many people have died because of wars started by religion and in the name of a so-called "god" ....one that some believe to be the "only god" or the "true" god. I remember being young and thinking that if I happened to be born in the middle east....most likely I would have been born a Muslim....or if I was born in India....perhaps a Hindu. What makes people think that the god their parents worship is the "correct" one? If someone in Africa worships an idol carved from a tree or stone...why are they wrong? Why is their god not just as important as any other?

Here's something I'd like to share that I once stumbled upon:
http://ffrf.org/timely/abcsbible.php

It comes in handy when accosted by someone that thinks every word in the bible is true and all rules and laws written about in the bible need to be followed. Seems to me that modern society only picks and chooses which laws they want to follow.

If you are a good person with a good heart and strong morals....that is really all that matters. I've met some very very evil people that were very religious. Those whose morals where close minded, racist, and bigoted.

It's all just my opinion anyway. My last thoughts on the topic:
Believe what you want...don't force your views on others, don't try to convert others.....
Knowing the difference between right and wrong has nothing to do with religion....
Helping others in need is more important then converting them....
Be good on this world.....it's the only one that matters....don't worry about the "next life"....there is no proof that one exists....

0 likes

i'm raised roman catholic and i do not follow. i'm agnostic and am fascinated by hinduism, wicca, and buddhism. i don't know if i will ever "follow" a religion but i like religion as a philosophy. it's interesting to learn about all of the different cultures and rituals. i honestly dislike christianity and don't agree with it at all. some of the values such as "thou shalt not kill" make sense but the other things i really don't agree with. i think that organized religion is cult like. it kind of freaks me out when i have to go to church with my mum. "sit, stand kneel, talk like robots in a monotone voice, eat "the body of christ?". it's just weird.

i love reading the responses to this post!  ;)

0 likes

Quote:
As children, we were shown movies of people rising to heaven while driving down the road. The people left on earth were on the run, hiding from the people who were forcing them to get 666 tattooed on their foreheads. If the people left on earth refused to get the "mark of the beast" imprinted on their foreheads, then they were strapped to a guillotine and beheaded. I am a bit scarred.

We had to watch those too!  Ugh.  In youth group, we also learned that Islam was a cult and Catholics worship Mary instead of God.  Ugh. 

0 likes

i'm raised roman catholic and i do not follow. i'm agnostic and am fascinated by hinduism, wicca, and buddhism. i don't know if i will ever "follow" a religion but i like religion as a philosophy. it's interesting to learn about all of the different cultures and rituals. i honestly dislike christianity and don't agree with it at all. some of the values such as "thou shalt not kill" make sense but the other things i really don't agree with. i think that organized religion is cult like. it kind of freaks me out when i have to go to church with my mum. "sit, stand kneel, talk like robots in a monotone voice, eat "the body of christ?". it's just weird.

i love reading the responses to this post!  ;)

This is exactly me too p-i-p. I was raised roman catholic too, I am fascinated by it's history and rituals, but organized Christian religion (especially the protestant churches I've gone to in the south.. they are literally screaming out random things at the preachers like they are possessed or something) gives me the creeps and my Catholic school was all about the money. And I've found that hindiusm, wicca and buddhism speak to me most clearly also.  :}  I find it hard to see a difference between one "God" and many gods or no god at all. 

0 likes

Quote:
As children, we were shown movies of people rising to heaven while driving down the road. The people left on earth were on the run, hiding from the people who were forcing them to get 666 tattooed on their foreheads. If the people left on earth refused to get the "mark of the beast" imprinted on their foreheads, then they were strapped to a guillotine and beheaded. I am a bit scarred.

We had to watch those too!  Ugh.  In youth group, we also learned that Islam was a cult and Catholics worship Mary instead of God.  Ugh. 

I had nightmares often that I was rising up through the clouds and one of the deacons in my church would be pulling me back down and not letting me go. Still gives me shivers to think about it. 
And yes, every other thought process or belief system was wrong, cultish, the work of satan, etc. I was raised in Georgia and have attended quite a few different churches: independent babtist, southern babtist, catholic,presbyterian, church of christ, methodist.... all interesting.

0 likes

I've thought about going to a Unitarian Universalist church, but I haven't gotten around to doing it (The thought of being in a social situation like that terrifies me). The idea just sounds interesting.

I was raised by my father, who was the "I believe in God (Christian) but I don't go to church" type. We didn't go to church. My mother took me sometimes - she would alternate between the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Don't ask why; that's a whole different conversation.

I spent a lot of time with relatives who were (and still are)...Christian fundamentalists. Not to the point that they're violent, or anything. But not remotely tolerant of others, against the separation of church and state, etc. They go to a moderate church, interestingly enough. Anyway, they took me to church a lot as a child, and at the age of 12, I officially joined their church. I'm not totally sure why I did. Because I remember always thinking, even as a child, that the idea of a literal heaven and a literal hell was a bit silly (As an adult, I would later find out that that is mostly likely a bad translation of the Bible, but anyway). And God of course - it wasn't just that I couldn't comprehend a creator-god, I just found the idea of something unnatural (inorganic, of an otherworldly substance) to be absurd. Even as a child.

As a teenager, I went "religion shopping." Taoism, Wicca, heretical forms of Christianity. I was something new every week. I think my friends found it annoying. I think sitting down and reading the Bible is what finally did it. And it isn't just the violence and the sex and the misogyny. I just didn't buy it.

I never did find a religion. And I'm not sure what you could call me now. I don't find god relevant. A nontheist maybe? 

0 likes

Here's a somewhat related question..

I'm not religious at all, and I don't know the definition of atheist or agnostic well enough to label myself as either.

I don't know what to tell my boys about death, without scaring them.  I tell myself that your spirit lives on in the memories of others and your body returns to the earth where it came from.  But I don't think that telling a three year old "you become compost when you die" is particularly reassuring?!?

It's come up a few times.  Like seeing an animal at the side of the road.  or "What happened to opa-pa" (great grandpa). Or silly me, when we see rainbows, the little rainbows created by crystal pendulums, we alway say that Aunty Heather (my hubby's infant sister)  is visiting. So I see a bunch of rainbows and I blurt out "Aunty Heather is here" and the boys ask "Where does Aunty Heather live?"  sooooo????  I tried not to make a big deal about it, but for now I've told them they live in heaven and that heaven is a wonderful place a far ways away, and once you go to heaven you can't come back, but its okay because you get to visit with all the people you loved and who loved you before they left for heaven.  No quite what I believe, but I couldn't and still can't think of anything better to tell them....

K^2

0 likes

Here's a question for yous. Do you think death is a part of life or is it a seperate issue?

0 likes

Here's a somewhat related question..

I'm not religious at all, and I don't know the definition of atheist or agnostic well enough to label myself as either.

I don't know what to tell my boys about death, without scaring them.  I tell myself that your spirit lives on in the memories of others and your body returns to the earth where it came from.  But I don't think that telling a three year old "you become compost when you die" is particularly reassuring?!?

It's come up a few times.  Like seeing an animal at the side of the road.  or "What happened to opa-pa" (great grandpa). Or silly me, when we see rainbows, the little rainbows created by crystal pendulums, we alway say that Aunty Heather (my hubby's infant sister)  is visiting. So I see a bunch of rainbows and I blurt out "Aunty Heather is here" and the boys ask "Where does Aunty Heather live?"  sooooo????  I tried not to make a big deal about it, but for now I've told them they live in heaven and that heaven is a wonderful place a far ways away, and once you go to heaven you can't come back, but its okay because you get to visit with all the people you loved and who loved you before they left for heaven.   No quite what I believe, but I couldn't and still can't think of anything better to tell them....

K^2

With my daughter I've never offered info or made up magically stories. I've waited for her to ask the questions, then answered her questions truthfully. I give her all the different viewpoints on the subject with age appropriate language, so she can make up her own mind. I think giving her the tools to critically think through and form her own beliefs is the best thing to do. She's not afraid, or confused. Teachers, etc. are often impressed by her and ask me about it.

0 likes

I remember vaguely a quote on "House" about this subject and it pretty much summed up my thoughts...
"Humans trying to understand a higher power is like trying to teach penguins physics."  I've googled around trying to find the exact quote with no luck (it was Jennifer Morrison's character who said it.) 

Good line....I heard one recently that I think you'll enjoy: "religion is to spirituality as technology is to science; it's just a tool."

For a brief, but traumatic period of my childhood, mom became very involved with a "fire-and-brimstone-speaking-in-tongues-layin'-on-the-hands-YOU-are-all-goin'-ta-HAAEEELLL, AMEN!" type of fundamentalist Christian church.  I can say I am still somewhat scarred from the experience.  After I was told by a "bible teacher" that Hitler wasn't all that bad, he was just ahead of his time and mom was informed that because she'd been divorced that she'd forever be out of the graces of God, we just sort of moved on.  Funny, the god they kept talking about that was full of love was apparently petty and spiteful, too.

I considered myself an atheist for quite some time after that, but then I realized that the idea I was rejecting was not "god" persay, but more the concept of an all-knowing humanoid figure on a throne demanding to be worshiped or else.  The concept of Jesus as the son of god sent to save humanity from our sins is simply un-fathomable to me.  I believe in energy.  I believe you get out of life what you put into it.  I believe in the end...well, I just don't know that one.  My best friend recently became Quaker, which helped put to bed some demons that I had about Christianity, in general, but I don't think I'll ever "get it."

I've been struggling with death and dying issues lately and I've not really come to terms with what exactly it is that I believe regarding the end of life experience.

It bothers me that our current US administration is so wrapped up with defining our nations course with religious propaganda.  It concerns me that freedom of (from) religion is such a polarizing topic.  I can intellectually link it to my veg*nism; I don't bug you about your food and I don't bug you about where you were on Sunday morning....don't concern yourself with my business.

Thanks for the thread; I don't tend to talk about religion much, although there are aspects to the topic that I feel strongly about. 

0 likes

Good line....I heard one recently that I think you'll enjoy: "religion is to spirituality as technology is to science; it's just a tool."

 

OH I like that one...

Yeah there are some freaking weird experiences to be had when we think religion. What I find particularly irksome is the whole thing like nut dragon mentioned where they re preaching a God of love but showing nothing but hate and prejudice. I was told by a councilor at my Bible college that I was going to hell because I was a vain littel girl with an eating disorder...I took this "nugget of wisdom" that i was being offered in my most vulnerable state and considered it. Ultimately I rejected it. It didn't jive with the God I was reading about in my Bible so I decide to ignore it. I become very very angry with "Christians" who want to harp on God being the judge of our lives...Doesn't make sense to me that a Deity, Force, being whatever would make a world (and save a world) to spite them.

I try to keep my frustration with the church and with fallible humans separate from my concept of God.This includes separating what they tell me God is like from what I believe He is like.  Its hard to do sometimes but manageable. I realize that if  you go from the premise that there is NO GOD...there is no way to separate the two and your just kinda left with the hate that his "followers" are presenting...so that makes sense why one would reject all religion in that place...ick. I would reject that myself!

Also wondering, why not tell a three year old that humans become compost when they die? The idea of returning to the earth is kinda a sweet one, no? "Timmy when we die and go back into the ground our body nourishes the soil and things grow there...things like grass and trees and flowers, and then animals come and live there and its like we become part of it---part of nature and the earth."

0 likes

was told by a councilor at my Bible college that I was going to hell because I was a vain littel girl with an eating disorder...I took this "nugget of wisdom" that i was being offered in my most vulnerable state and considered it. Ultimately I rejected it.}

that is absolutely sick and unnecessary! why would anyone say something like that? having an eating disorder is anything but vain.

sorry about my random interjection :)

0 likes

I know people really look up to Gandhi as a religious leader. I did some reading on him and in my humble opinion can't understand his appeal.

I kept reading comments by people the praise Gandhi as a great peace activist, religious/civil rights leader. I didn't really know anything about him, so I researched him. I just can't understand the point-of-view that Gandhi was the great man people were making him out to be. He was just a man. In fact, he fought for blacks and Indians to be segregated. He has some out right racist quotes about blacks in India that are pretty hard to ignore.  He did fight for some civil rights for some groups but how is better than countless other civil rights activist? I don't understand the mass appeal of Gandhi at all. Maybe some else can fill me in? Anyone deeply studied him?

0 likes

Pages

Log in or register to post comments