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Conversation with an Atheist 
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Post Conversation with an Atheist
So one of my things currently around Plymouth is an effort to start a scripture discussion group, which at its heart is a similar set up to Quaker meetings were as a group we talk about how literal we should all take scriptures of all religions and the idea has gotten some traction but what occurred the other morning is perhaps my favorite discussion.

So this Gentleman comes up to me and quite sternly begins to lecture me and why I should be preaching about a non existent sky God and how it was just a scape goat to commit evil acts and confess be forgiven and sleep at night my response was as follows:

"Can I stop you right there, who am I to declare you must do this or that to save your soul? I have no power to save or condemn you or your soul to any sort of fate I'm just a man plain and simple. I'm not declaring the end or that you shall be damned that isn't what I believe religion to be about just what some have made it to be."

He looks at me and goes
"Well then what"

"I simply wish to discuss with others of various beliefs including Atheists like your self how literal one should take scripture that perhaps literal interpretation is were we fall into various traps and that if we took the positive message of various religions then perhaps the world might be a better place. Take Christianity it is the religion I was brought up in but today when people ask me I quote a well known liberal theologian and state I am a follower of Christ and I am not sure how compatible that is with Christianity, I think if we take the core message of love and forgiveness expressed by Christ in those passages then the world and mankind as a whole is much better for it"

He says
"Well that seems more open minded, but don't you have problem with me not believing in God?"

"No why should I, you have your own idea and relationship with the spiritual and at the end of the day if you live your life the best you can and are a good person why would any deity damn you? For me they wouldn't it's all about the person and how we as people can make the living world a better place now. What comes after well there could be nothing you my friend could be right or there could be something else only one way to find out and no one comes back from that. So I don't focus on that and what you or I think comes after this life but rather on this life and what we can all do to make it better, scriptures of different religions all have there extreme parts but they also contain messages of beauty of hope and how love and forgiveness just might be the way forward. I take that but one doesnt have to look to scriptures to know that message for many it can be a starting point. I am a Universal Life Church Minister and for me this is what I seek to preach unity love peace and forgiveness and how being human isn't solely black and white it matters not what you may or may not believe but if you think what I have said may help people or is message worth hearing you may wish to join me for a more involved discussion."

He looks at me smiles and says:
"I rarely have never a religious person so palatable I think I just might I look forward to it."

He gave me his contact info and I can say I walked away with smile on my face having really felt the discussion had gone well.

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I think the new spirituality will be a spirituality that's not based on a particular dogma. And that steps away from the old spiritual paradigm that we have created on this planet, which comes from a thought that there is such a thing as being better.


Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:52 pm
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
One of the things I find is that fundamentalism is often seen as the spokes persons for the whole faith and this is not the case for many people.
I remember turning up at group of pagan religions for an interesting talk with them and they just did not understand at first that I was not against them. They had been told that there meeting was going to be picked by the local evangelical church. When I pointed out that I would stand shoulder to shoulder with them to defend their faith it came as a shock to them. I explained that there were many types of Christian. I told them about liberals and Gnostics and Unitarians and Quakers. It was interesting but one wiccan lady still viewed me with mistrust. I find this attacking other faiths far from helps Christianity but builds walls between people. I find that odd because I do not believe Jesus was like that and tried to break down walls.


Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:04 am
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
I couldn't agree with you more Pete, I have said it before looking at we know and looking at the Bible as book that was very much crafted by Human hands one of the things that really come through is Jesus the revolutionary. The Gospels describe a man who is very much offering a view totally different to the main stream Judaism at the time.

His talk of forgiveness and Love being a massive part of his ministry, it is also why the New Testament contradicts itself when it comes to Jesus in the Gospels he very much comes across as the man with strange and beautiful ideas in later parts of the New Testaments the various authors have tried to reconcile Jesus to more traditional Jewish traditions (in fact the Gospels themselves do this a few times)

It also doesn't help that these contradictions are then used by those with a right wing agenda to persecute others and other Religions and it gives the whole of Christianity a bad name, Gandhi once was quoted as saying that He liked this Christ man but found a lot of self professed Christians rarely acted as Christ is described. I like you Pete believe more in that message of unity and brotherhood of love and forgiveness that was at the heart of Jesus ministry were an eye for eye is not the only choice but rather one can turn the other cheek.

You can imagine at the time how outrageous that must have been, a Jewish man proclaiming that a law of Moses wasn't necessarily the best option and sometimes it was better to be passive as oppose to aggressive. Never mind that in reality it is a good dose of common sense but the fact it went against tradition and dogma.

Jesus attitude to women was considerably different to what was generally accepted at the time (it is also something which the Bible constantly contradicts itself on when taking on the subject of Jesus and his view of the role of women) now these contradictions exists because the Bible has a whole host of authors all of whom you can argue may have felt divine inspiration but were also influenced by the practices and norms of the age they lived its unavoidable.

But the reason I feel Jesus was a revolutionary for his time is because even as skewed as Jesus may be in the Bible from a literary standpoint his main body of work his ministry preaching of understanding love and forgiveness still very much makes it through and it is that message that I take. So when I encounter Atheists like the gentleman I described, here or other people who simply find Christians tend to preach and want to enforce strict dogma, they always find me a surprise and even more so that there are many like me and many more parts to the Christian religion than just what they heard.

Wow ok this went a bit off the original topic as posted, but its always and I always enjoy discussing with you Pete and others on various things.

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I think the new spirituality will be a spirituality that's not based on a particular dogma. And that steps away from the old spiritual paradigm that we have created on this planet, which comes from a thought that there is such a thing as being better.


Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:31 am
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
Your story was really interesting!
And almost funny!
Poor guy!
He's probably run into the religious kind that shove their ideas down his throat and give the rest of us a bad name!

Did he ever come back to your group?

Where do you live? When I am in England I stay at Stowmarket.


Sat May 14, 2016 8:33 pm
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
Hello everyone!

Do any of you think of atheism as a "religion"?

I have some friends over here that are atheists, and feel that it is a "religion".

I do not agree!


Wed May 18, 2016 12:01 am
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
I am with you Lannah. The only connecting feature that connects all atheists is the fact they do not believe in a god. There is no universal desire to celebrate that or want to meet other atheists just because they are atheists. However there atheist Buddhists but even that does not connect all atheists. There is no universal practices that connect atheists. I just do not see how atheism is a religion. However, that said I do believe it should be respected as do people respect religions..


Wed May 18, 2016 9:24 am
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
Religion, IMO, is the non evidenced based belief in a statement of fact. ie a doctrine or dogma. Where as Atheism, which is a rejection of a proposed concept or idea, ie a deity, is more akin to Vegetarianism, rejection of consumption of animal products to varying degree or Naturism, the rejection of socially accepted standards of attire, also to varying degree dependent on the weather. So therefore, I don't think Atheism is a religion. As for the proposal that something must have caused everything or the counter query "Why"? Science is still pondering this one. Asimov, and I am probably going to misquote him a bit, said,"If a scientist says something is possible, he very probably right. If he says something is impossible, he is very probably wrong". Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

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Wed May 18, 2016 9:49 am
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
Apparently, there are 33,830 Christian denominations. Each of which considers all the others wrong. Which means that by the law of averages, there are more Atheists than Christians who are right.

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Wed May 18, 2016 5:43 pm
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
That's why one of the items on my list of responses to the door-to-door proselytizers is: "Why don't you get back to me AFTER you've convinced all the OTHER Christian sects that YOU'RE the ones who are right."

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Thu May 19, 2016 3:23 pm
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Post Re: Conversation with an Atheist
I get them in to do a bit of decorating first.

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Thu May 19, 2016 7:36 pm
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