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Posted: 27 January 2013 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi.  I’m new to the site and found out about it by listening to Reasonable Doubts on my ipod.  I was raised Catholic, was a Scientologist for a short time, and have attempted to practice other Christian faiths but am having a hard time with the whole thing.  I love the RD podcast and have been reading Hitchens “god is not Great” (which isn’t the easiest read, dictionary to hand the whole time) and just have a lot of unanswered questions and am basically seeking some peace of mind, as well as freeing mine up, and working to be a free/critical thinker.  Would love some advice as to other quality references or podcasts to explore to help me arrive where I need to be with it all.  Just don’t know what to “believe” anymore and am searching for the age-old answers as to why we’re here, how we got here, and is this all there is.  Looking for a way to get happy and carefree again.  This is a big first step for me towards all of this and would appreciate any help.  Glad you all are here.

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Posted: 27 January 2013 03:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I just read “History of Earth” by Robert Hazen.  Gives a real good history of our world and its place in the universe. 
Chris

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Posted: 28 January 2013 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Read Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World or watch his Cosmos series (available free on the web). Both are great places to start.

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Posted: 28 January 2013 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks to you both for the responses.  Will definitely check these out.  The main question in my mind right now is about the human spirit.  Are there atheists that believe in a spiritual nature of man, or do most believe that we’re just here and gone with no hereafter?  Thanks again.

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Posted: 28 January 2013 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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NeedHelp - 28 January 2013 06:55 AM

Thanks to you both for the responses.  Will definitely check these out.  The main question in my mind right now is about the human spirit.  Are there atheists that believe in a spiritual nature of man, or do most believe that we’re just here and gone with no hereafter?  Thanks again.

Depends what you mean by “spirit”, I guess. If you mean a soul or consciousness that survives the death of the physical body, then no. There is no good evidence at all for an afterlife, and indeed an ever-growing pile of evidence that all mental processes are due to neural interactions in the brain. No brain, no mind.

If you mean something else by “spirit”, say a sense of oneness with nature, or a sense of wonder about the size and grandeur of the universe, then yes, you will find that in a lot of us. You’ll find it beautifully stated by Carl Sagan.

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Posted: 28 January 2013 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I completely agree with what Doug said above.  I often take nature walks, partly for the exercise but mostly just to refresh my mind.  Once or twice while looking at a beautiful scene (or just at the star at night) I’ve had what I would call a “spiritual experience”.  But does that mean I have some kind of “immortal soul”?  Nah, I don’t think so.  It’s all in the mind.

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Posted: 28 January 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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NeedHelp - 28 January 2013 06:55 AM

Thanks to you both for the responses.  Will definitely check these out.  The main question in my mind right now is about the human spirit.  Are there atheists that believe in a spiritual nature of man, or do most believe that we’re just here and gone with no hereafter?  Thanks again.

What you mean by “spiritual?” None of us here believes that we have a soul or that we’ll go on living after our death. We do differ somehow in how we interpret what it means (or should mean) to be human, where some us believe in some form of free will, in moral relativism/realism, etc. Many of our members call themselves humanists—but you will have to ask them what that’s all about since I am not one.

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Posted: 28 January 2013 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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As you can see, there are many definitions of spiritualism, depending on what that term means to you. As an atheist I have no belief in the supernatural and derived my conclusion after many years of careful study and observation. Learning to become a skeptic after a youth spent as as a believer wasn’t easy. It tends to alienate you from a former comfort zone of group acceptance. I haven’t lost my sense of wonder though and still feel a connection with nature, just now I know why. All things are biologically connected and learning about that has been spiritual in itself. I suggest, when you want to delve into this in immense detail, The Ancestor’s Tale” by Dawkins. Also, ” The God Delusion” may help answer questions on religion but as Doug aptly pointed out, Sagan is a great start.


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Posted: 29 January 2013 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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You may read some novels, along with Hitchens, Dennett et co., that can just make your world wider(Joyce Carol Oates and Alice Walker are both quite huge experiences), or at least i hope so.

And speaking about spiritual… Well, i would hardly use that term but some experiences can give you a huge joy, what you can call spiritual.

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Posted: 02 February 2013 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I guess what I mean by “spiritual” is equivalent to the “awareness of awareness” unit of humankind, or the “mind’s eye” as I’ve seen it referenced, that we all have and that allows contemplation, memory, and reflection.  Though there may be no “God” in the traditional sense, is there any evidence of man having an immortal attribute that survives the physical and carries on through, or has carried on through, many different physical forms, times, and experiences in not only this world but other places in the universe where life has (or still does) exist?  Not necessarily reincarnation, but spiritual beings taking part in physical existence through various life forms.  A lot of this is Scientological and am just wondering if it has been evidenced elsewhere.  I’m really enjoying “Cosmos” with Carl Sagan and am more than half way through “god is not Great”.  Thanks again for your responses.

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Posted: 02 February 2013 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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NeedHelp - 02 February 2013 06:45 PM

I guess what I mean by “spiritual” is equivalent to the “awareness of awareness” unit of humankind, or the “mind’s eye” as I’ve seen it referenced, that we all have and that allows contemplation, memory, and reflection.  Though there may be no “God” in the traditional sense, is there any evidence of man having an immortal attribute that survives the physical and carries on through, or has carried on through, many different physical forms, times, and experiences in not only this world but other places in the universe where life has (or still does) exist?  Not necessarily reincarnation, but spiritual beings taking part in physical existence through various life forms.  A lot of this is Scientological and am just wondering if it has been evidenced elsewhere.  I’m really enjoying “Cosmos” with Carl Sagan and am more than half way through “god is not Great”.  Thanks again for your responses.

Scientology is garbage, sorry to say; it’s basically bad Science Fiction written by a hack novelist. There’s no evidence for it whatever, and no evidence for any immortal part of us that survives death.

Stick to Carl Sagan, who noted in one of his books that L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology on a bar bet that he could found a religion.

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Posted: 04 February 2013 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Haha I know the feeling! I have to re read chapters of Hitchens book god is not great, he was uncanny at elaborating on points of his argument. By the sounds of it you take your thinking for yourself serious enough to see for your self. good on ya mate!

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“Judge a man by his questions, rather than his answers.”- voltaire

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