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Advice for a newly enlightened soldier - Comments

CarlaTrumper's Avatar Comment 1 by CarlaTrumper

May I just say kudos to you!

It will be a difficult conversation to have (in depth) with your friends and loved ones, many (some) will honestly just not understand or want to hear most of what you are saying and will attribute your nonbelief to "you're just confused about god".

My personal advice would be; as long as you stay honest with yourself, continue to read books of interest/learning and become a bit more comfortable when it comes down to "question time" with them. This way, you can try and keep the dialouge open for those who may feel as you, but fear asking.

It can be a rough ride, but as long as you know you are not alone, you'll be fantastic!

Good luck:)

Carla

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 20:11:57 UTC | #865288

John_Geeshu's Avatar Comment 2 by John_Geeshu

Congratulations on your awakening.

I have no real advice for you except to suggest that you are honest with your friends about how it makes you feel to be told you are having a crisis of faith. Good friends will understand and respect your feelings. Best of luck.

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 22:58:38 UTC | #865346

TheronSax's Avatar Comment 3 by TheronSax

The best answer that I have come up with when talking to family and friends is that " I can't make myself believe something that I know to be false". You are off to a good start by reading "The God Delusion" and here are some sources that have given me some great insight into religion and god. Youtube is a great source especially for religious debates and lectures. The best amongst these is with Christopher Hitchens. A close second would be Sam Harris. Each of these men have some great books as well. My favorite of Hitchens is God is not Great. I would suggest you get it on CD because Hitchens is such a great speaker to listen to. I haven't read Harris' knewest book "The Moral Landscape" but the lectures on this book have been great (on youtube). I would suggest you read his books "Letter to a Christain Nation" and "The End of Faith". Another great book is "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ayaan was a Somalian Muslim that escaped an arranged marriage and Islam to become .... I won't give it away, you will have to read the book. It is powerful. The book that has had the greatest impact on my life and ability to think for myself was George Orwell's 1984. When I read this book at 16 I felt like my mind's potential had been doubled. Never has a book since or before had such an effect on me. I'll sign off with a quote from 1984. "Being a minority, even a minority of one did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad."

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 23:52:03 UTC | #865362

Jay G's Avatar Comment 4 by Jay G

I find it ironic that Christianity bills itself as a religion of "love" and yet it is the you, the atheist, who is looking for a "loving" way to tell the christians to leave you alone.

I don't know your comrades, but I think you have to consider to what extent you will be able to count on your comrades when you need to if you tell them to leave you alone about going to mass. If you think the bond between soldiers in the field is strong no matter what, then perhaps it's time to be not so loving and tell them to keep their mass to themselves.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 00:16:04 UTC | #865369

Net's Avatar Comment 5 by Net

Comment 4 by Jay G :

I find it ironic that Christianity bills itself as a religion of "love" and yet it is the you, the atheist, who is looking for a "loving" way to tell the christians to leave you alone.

Yes, here! here! Well put.

Good luck, newly enlightened soldier!

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 00:27:52 UTC | #865373

skiles1's Avatar Comment 6 by skiles1

I would just tell them you don't get anything out of church, you don't consider anyone to be of appropriate authority to speak on "God", afterlife, Heaven or Hell; tell them you have a copy of the Bible and if you want you can read it just fine - you don't need anyone else to read it for you. Tell them you are not religious. Chances are, the only reason they even go to mass, is because they're bored, anyway.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 00:36:39 UTC | #865374

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 7 by Stephen of Wimbledon

You don't say whether the friends who call your self realisation a "crisis" are fellow soldiers?

This one question is fundamental to your approach. Soldiers and civilians inhabit different worlds. That said, here is a single approach that is worth considering in either case.

It seems to me that you have dug a hole for yourself, and you can't stop digging. Every time you say something conciliatory - something nice to put them off - you're avoiding the issue, and throwing out another shovel-load from your hole. This appears to be the reason that your friends translate your new understanding as a crisis. They see a friend who has flirted with change before - you even converted to Catholicism at one stage - so they may see you as confused or lacking in some specific religious knowledge.

This means that every time you are less than open and honest, you feed their prejudice - they can't see the bigger picture, with where you are in it.

If you think that being honest with your friends is hard, how much do you really love them? You probably hold back because you think that telling them will hurt them. That's why you must act now.

At some point - if you are true to yourself - you will tell them you no longer believe. There is no escaping this fact. Sooner or later you will blurt this out and, if you didn't prepare, anything can - and probably will - happen.

It's time to take control of your life. Its time to tell those you love what has happened to you - while you still have some control over how you present it.

It seems to me that this is the crux of the matter. Presentation is key.

To make it simpler, try doing it one by one. Easier said than done in the field, but don't be put off.

Think it through beforehand, but be ready for the conversation to take an unexpected turn. We think we know our friends, but actually predicting how another person will react is very hard.

How you present your new ideals, your new understanding of truth, is up to you - only you really know what this means. However, it is important that you get across the message that you haven't changed as a person - that inside you're still the same guy and that you still feel the same great friendship and warmth towards them. You want to remain friends - this doesn't change 'us'. We'll still do all those things together. Just not the Mass part, that's all.

When the time comes I'll still be there for you - and I hope you'll still be there for me.

Some friends will accept the change more easily than others. But I'm not going to sugar-coat this part: If you are unlucky, a friend or two might disown you. Remember; friendship is a two-way street - it's their decision as much as yours. If you can, through a mutual friend, say - make it clear that the door is still open for them to renew the friendship.

The bottom line is if that friend was going to step away - they'll do it however you tell them.

Good luck my friend.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 01:04:11 UTC | #865384

Steve Hanson's Avatar Comment 8 by Steve Hanson

Having been in the Army myself, I doubt they will "get it" or support you in any way once they realize you came to your position rationally. If they don't start leaving you alone, you may have to do more to point out that you're not going to mass. Hell, tell them you've realized how stupid it is for adults to have imaginary friends. Bring up points from The God Delusion if need be. Just never, under any circumstances, give up on your integrity. Integrity is a huge part (or is supposed to be, anyway) of being a soldier. LDRSHIP. Stand tall, be proud, and don't be afraid to disagree with the herd or to show it. They need to respect YOU for the person you are.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 04:36:48 UTC | #865431

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 9 by Rosbif

Welcome to reality. Although serving in Afganistan, one could well question what that is.

These people are important to you. And like all relationships, there's give and take. Maybe, if you're prepared to do stuff with them you're not happy about, would they do the same for you? Would you go to a mass everytime one of them finished reading the God Delusion?

If you sit through a sermon without falling off you chair laughing or barraking the priest, would your friends listen to a Richard Dawkins lecture on Evolution without interrupting?

Your friendships are obviously important to you, but you may need to consider that your friends may not feel the same way when they realise you are lost to non-belief, reason and other satanic vices like evidence.

You could try asking them; if there is a god, how are they sure he's not the one that the guys in the turbans are praying to? Better that neither side has an invisible friend as a secret weapon?

Good luck

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 12:39:59 UTC | #865532

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 10 by Dr. monster

don't tell them untill you have a few non-believeing friends. you don't want to be billy no-mates if it all goes wrong.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 15:49:49 UTC | #865584

Ranting Socrates's Avatar Comment 11 by Ranting Socrates

Good job on the first step, now on to step two: drop the belief that you have any right in Afghanistan. Thank you.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 22:46:46 UTC | #865694

Dave H's Avatar Comment 12 by Dave H

How about telling them that you've got two problems with Christianity, and asking your friends if they perhaps could help you out or explain it to you. 1) The idea that it's okay to punish someone else (ie. the crucifixion) for something I did wrong, and 2) that I supposedly did this wrong thing (and the punishment was issued) before I was born (ie. guilt being passed on to the children)

I have problem with the morality (and shirking responsibility) of the first premise, and with the logic and morality of the second.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 22:56:03 UTC | #865697

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 13 by Mrkimbo

This is a great chance to open their minds too. Tell them you'll go to mass if they'll read The God Delusion first...

Sincere admiration by the way!

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 07:17:33 UTC | #865791

Sample's Avatar Comment 14 by Sample

Well, if I can help, it might be to add the following word to your rational munitions belt: conscience. And, that you are following yours. Case closed.

Catholics have specific teachings about the conscience, most recently (ha) from Aquinas. It is impossible for a Catholic to ignore the term conscience. It makes them perk up their ears when they hear it. You simply are not obligated to act contrary to your conscience. I suspect most, if not many Catholics, would be struck dumb at that response. You should be able to get them off your backs until you get home and they can, oh I don't know, go about lighting a votive for you while you "wander in the desert."

Hopefully, your friends aren't too devout, as they could suck you into the answer to a conscience clause: their tautology. Clever Catholics believe that regularly examining one's conscience in the light of Church Teaching is how one forms a proper conscience (gasp).

The truth is, they are likely a bit scared of you, because of what they think you are playing with (fire). Be yourself. The Catholics I know care more about actions than words. If they remain your friends it's because they've written you off as a mystery, or a "test." Unlike other cults, I doubt they'll abandon you. Lucky you. ;)

Mike

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 09:17:00 UTC | #865807

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 15 by justinesaracen

I have a couple of devoutly Christian friends who were horrified when I identified myself using the "A" word, but I softened it by simply saying that I had no agenda (I do now, but that's irrelevant) and that, seeing no evidence for a benevolent god in the world, I simply led my life on the assumption there was none. No big deal. If I came across any evidence, I'd be back in the fold in a second.

That seemed to placate them, at least the ones who view atheists as baby eaters and torturers of kittens.

In other words, make it clear to them that dropping the fantasy of a divine father has not changed you.

Although, you might also ask your Christian friends (as Rosbif suggested) how they know that Allah is nonexistent. If you can show them that they are atheist about all the other religions in the world, they might have a better understanding for the reasons you are an atheist about theirs.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 11:43:36 UTC | #865839

Haizum74's Avatar Comment 16 by Haizum74

Just let them know. You can always quote this well known chap whose name I forget ;-)

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.!"

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 12:59:55 UTC | #865861

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 17 by Alex, adv. diab.

@ATHEISTSOLDAT

Hi, First of all congrats, when you look back on your life later, this will probably stand out as one of the most important personal developments for you, and you won't regret it. As far as the going to mass goes, you could adopt the Richard Dawkins approach of course, namely going to church every once in a while, singing the hymns, and just taking it as a cultural experience. If it is somehow an important part of the communal experience with your comrades (?), it is thinkable.

That being said, I have two problems with that though, first that we are talking about the catholic church, which is an evil organization, and secondly, I have been to services a few times lately on occasions like baptisms and weddings, and in all of them I had to urge myself not to stand up and shout pointed questions decorated with profanities at the pastor during sermons.

Comment 15 by esuther :

I have a couple of devoutly Christian friends who were horrified when I identified myself using the "A" word

Afghanistan really can be scary, can't it...

Comment 11 by Ranting Socrates :

Good job on the first step, now on to step two: drop the belief that you have any right in Afghanistan. Thank you.

Telling a soldier to desert, nice touch for a conversation starter.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 16:11:38 UTC | #865929

Jayhennem's Avatar Comment 18 by Jayhennem

@ATHEISTSOLDAT

First things first, welcome to reality ;)

Now to the more important part, I do understand your devotion and loyalty to your friends, but consider one very important thing, do you want to stay true to yourself or rather please other people?

Also, if you agree to go with them to the mass once, will they keep bugging you with that? If they keep bugging you, will they get annoyed if you still don't "find back to Jesus"? I think it is better to cut it off right away and try to maintain the relationship on a personal level, what imaginary friend you believe in, shouldn't have much to do with friendship and trust. The way i understood, you openly admit that you don't share their blind faith and that they are not glad to see you "join the dark side" what most atheists and especially the ones who were theists before sure can understand, but you should try to make them understand that you can not do them a favor by going to the mass and pretending to be in God's fan club just like they won't do you the favor to stop going there altogether and giving their money away to some institutions made to brainwash people and spread intolerance.

There is no point in feeling guilty about that, in fact based on what you think now, you probably have the desire to try to "convert them to reality", it is much better to be free and every true atheist will say that. I am not saying that you should jump in their face and rub it in their nose that they are living a lie, but instead of letting them drag you to the mass and fill your head with religious mumbo jumbo, you should be the one pulling the smelly thin air out of their heads and filling them with reason, but of course i understand that is something you can't really do.. at least not directly.. that requires a lot of patience and finesse, if you ever manage to break through their "god shield" at all. But if they start getting on your nerves with arguments and questions, return the favor, you are armed with reality, they only have their imagination and indoctrination to offer, ask of them to rationally think about your arguments, as they sure will expect from you.

However you can make yourself some elbow room by asking them to at least try to respect your own world view, like you do with theirs, by reminding them that what they believe and the position they were in is nothing unfamiliar to you, you were there before you scrutinized not only what you believe, but also why you believe it (well that is probably a wild guess but i am willing to bet on it, asking oneself why the heck am i putting so much weight and trust on something i have no personal reason to believe at all, is why most people apostatize). What i am trying to say is.. instead of feeling guilty and that you are betraying them, you should feel annoyed (note: i said feel annoyed, not necessarily show that you are annoyed) by their approach and explain them that they are not being fair to you, you are not doing them any harm, you are not rejecting them as people at all, you are not worshipping Satan and reserving them a place in hell but just staying true to yourself, staying true to your (dis)belief. What they are asking of you is to give up your persona and they have to think about how it would be if you would do that with them.

If somebody can't accept you for who you are (unless you are an associal a**hole), they don't deserve you as a friend anyway, nobody should bend over for Jesus (or Muhammed or whatever) just because their families or friends or whoever else would like to see them do it.. and if they can't accept you anymore only because you don't believe in the invisible hand guilding you through life and telling you what to do, they are not good friends and you shouldn't "cry over them" too much anyway.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 02:13:55 UTC | #866167

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 19 by aquilacane

Welcome to reality.

I think if you just be yourself and act as open with your lack of belief as they are with their acceptance of it, you should be fine. If not, they probably aren't as good a bunch of friends as you thought. If you demonstrate that you are a perfectly kind, honest, ethical and approachable person as an atheist, they may warm to the idea of you being different from them.

I've always found the best way to be accepted as an atheist, when I actually gave a damn about being accepted, was to behave exactly how I know I should behave to have the best social calm and comfort available. Be nice.

EDIT: One of the problems I see popping up is the idea that to become atheist one almost always claims to have been shown the truth of the matter (not unlike other religions). However, atheists are not talking about the truth of a god, they are talking about truth, pure and simple. Accepting knowledge and intelligent argument (reason, logic) as guides to ultimate knowledge is in a way telling the religious that they are stupid and incapable of reason. I have decided to be smarter than you, may put people off.

Fri, 02 Sep 2011 13:01:57 UTC | #866616

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 20 by Helga Vieirch

These are not "friends" they are comrades in arms.

Their lives depend on one another's trust and mutual loyalty. Many a soldier has given his life to save a comrade in arms. Many a soldier has gone through extreme pain and hardship rather than let a buddy down. Extreme fear and often gut-wrenching revulsion at what a person sees and does under conditions of combat can often be overcome by the support of one's comrades, although for many, the psychological damage may persist a lifetime. I think the importance of group solidarity and mutual loyalty in this instance trumps indulgence in contentious and probably unresolvable debate.

I think this young man should simply say he does not feel comfortable going to mass (he could quote Gospel of Matthew 6:5 and 6:6 and say he will prefer private prayers if he feels his faith return), than drop the subject and see that it stays dropped.

These are not people enjoying a spirited intellectual debate in an Oxford pub. These are soldiers doing a very hazardous duty in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

The solidarity of this little group of comrades (brothers, really, for the duration) is paramount to their functioning and survival. Under situations of extreme danger and uncertainty, many human beings often rely on magical thinking. This is still a normal way of coping taught to children in many if not all cultures. Carrying good luck talismans - like four leaf clovers or crosses -, personal little rituals (of shaving, dressing, or care of their personal kit), public displays of solidarity (marching in unison, sharing cigarettes or treats, in-jokes and clowning that lighten mood and make them feel life is almost "normal"), and above all, in certain pubic rituals that affirm that they are being looked after by someone "UP There" - whether this be a great military authority, political leader, or a deity… all of these things make the horror of being at war more bearable.

Seeing people through tough times is, in fact, one of the main functions of religion and other forms of magical thinking. It does work. It may not be rational, but then, the human mind is not entirely rational. And some minds are far more rational than others.

Unless one can chose one's companions so that they are all as rational (or irrational) as oneself, it is unhelpful to begin a debate over such things under conditions of hazard and mutual dependancy.

No one's integrity is going to be damaged by silence on contentious issues under circumstances where the group should be focussing instead on keeping each other alive and getting a very dangerous job done.

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 03:13:18 UTC | #866799

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 21 by Bobwundaye

Firstly, congratulations.

Secondly, I am really disappointed in the type of advice given here. Save for a few comments, the general idea is that one can only be friends with other atheists. Getting snarky with your friends, no matter what their beliefs, is not a great idea. So all this advice of trying to one-up them is ridiculous. Atheist or not, any person that treats another in such a way is not a friend in the first place. And in light of many comments (not necessarily on this thread) I'm not at all surprised to hear atheists mutter that their Christians friends fled when they heard they had become atheists - perhaps it wasn't the friends fleeing as much as it was the atheist being a complete arse and pushing them away.

I think straight forward honesty is the best. Tell them that you just don't believe and you cannot go against your conscience (Comment 14 by Sample is a great post).

Comment 15 by esuther is also really useful in that you want to assure them you don't have an agenda. You're not all of a sudden a completely new alien species wishing to convert them (even though you may want to do that later).

Comment 20 by Helga Vierich is a good anchor for how to approach this problem too.

Remember, your friendship has been forged in battle, and there is a lot more to it that what beliefs you shared.

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 08:08:05 UTC | #866816

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 22 by Bobwundaye

Comment 16 by Haizum74

Just let them know. You can always quote this well known chap whose name I forget ;-)

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.!"

Don't do this because, apart from all the things I mentioned above, the wit in this saying nicely hides the fact that it is quite wrong. There is not a logical progression from many gods to one god to no god. I wish more people would get called on this little witticism that passes as an argument.

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 08:18:58 UTC | #866817

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 23 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 22 by SpirituallyAtheist

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.!"

There is not a logical progression from many gods to one god to no god. I wish more people would get called on this little witticism that passes as an argument.

Sometimes I wonder about some of the things you post. You will need to explain these two sentences if you wish them to make any sense, because at the moment it is just an assertion with no basis.

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 10:48:37 UTC | #866834

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 24 by Bobwundaye

Comment 23 by Ignorant Amos

I'll gladly explain them.

The idea behind the witticism is that there is a logical progression from many gods to one god and eventually the same steps that got you from many gods to one god will finally remove that god. However, this overlooks the fact that when it comes to theism, you're not just fighting the idea of a god(s), you are arguing against the whole paradigm that there is something supernatural. Going from many gods to one god is just shuffling your ideas on how to explain the natural in supernatural terms. However, to get rid of that last god, requires a complete denial of the supernatural. I.e. it requires a complete change in how you view the world.

Viewing the world as being at the mercy of a pantheon of gods is not all that different to viewing the world as being under the guidance of one god. They both invoke the idea of the supernatural- that there is this beyondness. However, removing that one god, means that you have to give up the idea of the supernatural, so that one god makes all the difference.

Why do you think so many people that refuse to commit to atheism, or even agnosticism, will say they don't believe in god, "per se" (I'm reminded of a great Billy Connolly bit about the "God Percy")but believe there is something out there... a force of some sort.

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 15:32:31 UTC | #866927

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 25 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 24 by SpirituallyAtheist

The idea behind the witticism is that there is a logical progression from many gods to one god and eventually the same steps that got you from many gods to one god will finally remove that god.

Well it does for many folk. The point of the quote is that if you can disregard all the nonsense of the plethora of gods that have been, and are proposed, then it is just one more that's left, your own that you need to consider, the rest you have already dispatched with.

However, this overlooks the fact that when it comes to theism, you're not just fighting the idea of a god(s), you are arguing against the whole paradigm that there is something supernatural. Going from many gods to one god is just shuffling your ideas on how to explain the natural in supernatural terms. However, to get rid of that last god, requires a complete denial of the supernatural. I.e. it requires a complete change in how you view the world.

It does not, it is great if that is the outcome, but it is not necessary. On this very site we have had members that don't believe in deities but have an affiliation with all sorts of other supernatural or irrational woo. Katt33 on homoeopathy and ScientistX on alien visits spring immediately to mind.

Viewing the world as being at the mercy of a pantheon of gods is not all that different to viewing the world as being under the guidance of one god. They both invoke the idea of the supernatural- that there is this beyondness. However, removing that one god, means that you have to give up the idea of the supernatural, so that one god makes all the difference.

That is the point of the quote...very few view the world at the mercy of a pantheon of gods, just one, one that they have a difficulty describing, one that no one can agree the attributes on fully, a subjective god to the individuals tailoring and none of this seems to bother the believer. But, regardless of any of this, the observation in the quote is justified....go one god further is all that is required, there is no alluring to how hard or easy that might be, just that it is all that is required to become an atheist and all that makes the difference between a believer and an unbeliever.

Why do you think so many people that refuse to commit to atheism, or even agnosticism, will say they don't believe in god, "per se" (I'm reminded of a great Billy Connolly bit about the "God Percy")but believe there is something out there... a force of some sort.

I don't think it is because of a hang up on the particular flavour of woo to which they were born, more about tradition, culture, laziness or a bit of all three. Supernatural belief, it's all the same bollocks whether it be religion, psychic readings, crystal energy medicine, water dowsing or what ever other pish.

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 16:09:35 UTC | #866933

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 26 by Bobwundaye

The point of the quote is that if you can disregard all the nonsense of the plethora of gods that have been, and are proposed, then it is just one more that's left, your own that you need to consider, the rest you have already dispatched with.

My point is that they are dismissing the nonsense of the plethora of gods and replacing it with a better idea of how the supernatural works. They are not becoming tremendously less supernatural in their thinking. That last god, is one giant leap.

It does not, it is great if that is the outcome, but it is not necessary. On this very site we have had members that don't believe in deities but have an affiliation with all sorts of other supernatural or irrational woo. Katt33 on homoeopathy and ScientistX on alien visits spring immediately to mind.

(Let us separate supernatural from irrational, for though supernatural is irrational, it cannot be said that all irrational ideas are supernatural in character). In any case, hanging onto any idea of the supernatural, I'm not sure is any better than theism. Surely we're not just beating our fists against the idea of god but against the idea that there is this supernatural realm. Because if the supernatural exists, surely it is not unreasonable to think god does too.

Supernatural belief, it's all the same bollocks whether it be religion, psychic readings, crystal energy medicine, water dowsing or what ever other pish.

Agreed.

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 17:46:57 UTC | #866949

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 27 by Steve Zara

Comment 26 by SpirituallyAtheist

My point is that they are dismissing the nonsense of the plethora of gods and replacing it with a better idea of how the supernatural works.

I would love to hear any idea at all of how the supernatural works!

Sat, 03 Sep 2011 19:21:15 UTC | #866966

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 28 by Bobwundaye

Comment 27 by Steve Zara

I would love to hear any idea at all of how the supernatural works!

You have heard all the ideas, and reject them just like I do. Perhaps I was a bit loose with the word "better" and should just have used "different." Nonetheless, the point is believing in the supernatural, whether it is one god or many gods, is the problem. And getting rid of that last god is a lot different from from just shuffling your ideas about how the supernatural works.

Sun, 04 Sep 2011 03:32:18 UTC | #867068

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 29 by Helga Vieirch

Commentary had veered badly off topic and no longer addresses anything of help to the young man in question. Where are the moderators?

Sun, 04 Sep 2011 05:12:06 UTC | #867075

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 30 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 29 by Helga Vierich

Commentary had veered badly off topic and no longer addresses anything of help to the young man in question. Where are the moderators?

The nature of these things I'm afraid...veer off topic or die.

It is now on impossible to advise this lad on the best approach, there are just too many variables I'm afraid. As an ex serviceman and Atheist, I can empathise somewhat with his position, but his circumstances will be unique. For example, his troop Sargent only has to be a fundamental crazy to make his Atheist position a living hell. The same can be said if a number of his peers are of an evangelical ilk, they may appear to be amiable while believing this chap is a believer himself, attitudes may cool if he came out. But I will wish him all the best and well done for his realisation to critical thought world.

Sun, 04 Sep 2011 14:13:57 UTC | #867168