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Theme Changer

 Topic: Hey everyone!

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  • Hey everyone!
     OP - July 14, 2013, 09:27 PM

    Hello to everyone on the CEMB! Just joined today. I stumbled across this site quite by chance some time ago and have been reading so much of what's on here and I just really wanted to join. I'm neither a Muslim nor an ex-Muslim, but having seen a number of posters that also fall into this category and it not seeming to be a problem decided to join. Reason for joining, I was just so incredibly moved by the things I read here.

    So a bit about me. I suppose you could say I come from a Catholic family but that isn't strictly true. My mother became an atheist a little before she got pregnant with me, which wasn't the best news for my grandparents but only one of their five children actually claimed belief in God by teens/adulthood, and with my mother being the youngest by then they'd come to accept they couldn't change her mind.

    I remember religion being indoctrinated into me from a very young age. Sitting in assembly while I was at nursery school having no choice but to sing hymns in assembly every day before class, teachers al saying there's a God, grandparents telling me there's a God, ect. My mother was the only one to challenge this.

    The biggest religious memory I have, I'm not sure how old I was, six or seven. Dad hadn't lived with us since I was five, Mum was finding it tough being a young single parent with no idea where the next meal was coming from and needed a break, so my grandparents babysat me.

    I know it was a Saturday and I heard mum telling grandma and granddad under no circumstances did she want me being taken to Church, but my grandparents, who had never missed a Sunday in their lives as far as I know were both going so they didn't really have a choice other than to take me. I always remember that first experience. the Church itself was beautiful. Wonderful architecture, shining stained glass windows with all these pictures. There weren't that many people there but I distinctly remember the Priest and the blonde woman with the child. The Priest began his sermon, and it was one of the most horrible things I'd heard. Sin and Hellfire and unworthiness, concepts he said with an incredible devotion. The woman had a young baby cradled in her arms and as the Priest's voice was echoing louder and louder in the Church the baby began to cry. The Priest became louder clearly to be heard over the baby, and the louder he got the more terrified the baby got. I remember being baffled as to why the Priest didn't lower his voice as he was obviously the source of the terror, and when he continued getting louder why the woman didn't just take the baby outside. I think eventually she did. Hearing my first sermon and that sermon being as degrading to human beings as it was at such a young age and the obvious conviction of the Priest standing up there I remember all I could think was "Why are people coming here and listening to this idiot?"

    I've had a number of experiences with religion in my life, few of them good. I never had much contact with my aunts, uncles or cousins growing up including the one who kept the faith and passed it on to his children  So it was something of a constant bombardment from all sides except my mother who never really spoke about it other than saying "There is no God" when I asked. The thing is I never really believed. I actually liked the songs I sung in assembly and occasionally walking home I'd sing "All creatures great and small" and "Jesus gives us the water of life" without really understanding what it was about. I regarded it the same way I regarded Jack and the Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, etc. I enjoyed the songs.

    I think the real problems began when I was seven, not because anything was different, just that I was maturing a little and beginning to absorb and understand more. I had a horrific childhood, the details I really don't want to go into here and having a bunch of nutjobs telling me it was basically my fault and I deserved it had a serious impact on my mental health, but what coping methods does a seven year old have? You don't automatically believe adults are sprouting superstitious nonsense, you believe adults are telling the truth, plus my basic understanding of God grilled into me honestly made me believe I was born evil. In my early teens I came to the conclusion that religion was fine if you had a good comfortable safe life, but it will screw with you if you had the life I had.

    Fortunately my adult life in different as night and day to my childhood. I'm actually very fond of religious buildings. I love the old Churches, and I absolutely adore the Cathedrals. In fact visiting the York or Lincoln Cathedral, or any of the Abbeys scattered around is something that I don't do often but when I do I highly enjoy it. There's not a single part of me which believes in the Christian God or any other God, but the buildings really are magnificent.

    Religion is a huge part of life for so many, and for a while I was no different in my own way. There are certain things you ask yourself, one of which is "If it all just ends in nothingness, if I just cease to exist what's the point in anything?" Though fortunately I got past that by the time I was fifteen, maybe sixteen. I'm not sure if it helped or hindered that a number of people I knew, family and otherwise had died by the time I was that age and having them just gone forever without any believe in an afterlife. I'm a very philosophical person, I by no means have all the answers, and I'm happy there's always more to explore. And I'm content. I have no God, nor have I ever really, apart from daily assaults on something I didn't understand or even acknowledge the implications of until I was at an age I had the ability.

    I know the difference between right and wrong. and I know full well you can live a decent moral life without God. I know love and heartache, joy, sorrow, and every day I am in awe of how beautiful this world is and how lucky I am to be here.

    This site and others like it are so incredibly important and I'm pleased to have a place among you. I know there are many who doubt their faith or even the existence of an all powerful being guiding you and having the struggle of this security and comfort slip away, if you were lucky enough to have that as your experience. I've spoken many times to people in this situation and according to them I help. Anyone perhaps struggling on coming to grips on living a life without God, you are not alone, and it really does not make your life have any less value. I would argue it gives it more. We are so lucky to be alive, and while we live we matter. We are here. We exist. And that's fantastic.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #1 - July 15, 2013, 07:14 AM

    Welcome to the forum Quod Sum Eris.  Nice intro.   Afro

    I'm not really a huge fan of churches to be honest, not as a sightseeing day out.

    Everytime I have found myself touring around one, I always linger on thoughts of the costs to build them, and where the money could have better been served, and also about the suffering no doubt inflicted on millions through the ages by the church and it's crazy beliefs.  I can't really enjoy the sights because my mind is so preoccupied on thoughts like that.

    I feel that way about many places of worship though.  They all feel so hollow because of the opulence they coat themselves with.

    I prefer seeing broken down ruins, pagan shrines, signs of religions long faded from man.  Maybe because they are harmless now, whereas the church and other religions, still have so much power. 

    Inhale the good shit, exhale the bullshit.
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #2 - July 16, 2013, 12:02 AM

    Hey BerberElla, thanks for the welcome.

    I agree with you to an extent, I suppose I see the power of the Church waning though. I also can't remember the last time I heard of a new Church being built anywhere in Europe. If I saw Christianity as being a growing political power rather than a fading one and more Churches being built I don't think I could be quite so lenient.

    I was in America for three months, went in October, came back to England January this year. The thing that got me was in a way I tended to look at a number of American Christians the same way I look at a number of British Muslims. A new Church being built every other month, being loud about their superstitions, trying in some way or another to give power to their religions. One of the creepiest things was going past a Church in rural Pennsylvania and seeing a sign out front saying, and I quote, "Calling all able bodied men to arms". Also, tell someone over their you don't believe in god, watch the reaction. They look at you like you sprouted a second head with horns.

    Here in the UK it tends to be a different matter. Most Christians are fine with people not being a member of their faith, or even having a faith. It's different in Ireland, but that's what happens when religion has more power than it should. The thing that gets me is that I see that sort of thing becoming the norm over here as well.

    One of the things that got me curious about the lives of ex-Muslims here in the UK was my experiences in how Atheists and people leaving the faith are perceived over there and the times I've spoken to Muslims here in the UK about religion and their views on things. Seriously, the difference between a US Christian and UK Muslim mind-set is name only for the most part. And going to such a religious country just drove in the point that I do NOT want to live in a place like that.

    I don't think UK Muslims for the most part actually want that, I think the most extreme voice is always the loudest. But the chilling thing is I see it heading in that direction. What people have to realise is that I am under no obligation whatsoever to respect someone's beliefs. I have to respect their right to have an opinion, and I fully do, 100% respect that right, but I don't have to respect the opinion itself.

    When I see enough people to get what they want in a group campaigning for blasphemy laws in my home, when I see laws brought in to make it illegal to hurt someone's feelings, when I see growing amounts of people saying proven scientific facts being taught in school, colleges and universities are wrong because the "insert religious text written in the Bronze Age here" says something different and these groups are being perceived as valid speakers we should take into account and that we shouldn't tackle such views and claims in the name of sensitivity, which I saw often when I was in college, I am afraid. In fact I'm terrified.

    Britain worked for centuries to make fundamental religion a thing of the past. I don't want us going backwards. If that happens, where will it end? Who's to say sites like CEMB won't be shut down and members dragged to court? Pakistanis I've known who are old enough to remember have told me they never thought it would happen there. It did. That's not a place I want to live. One of the many reasons I wanted to join you all here.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #3 - July 16, 2013, 01:50 AM

    Welcome Quod Sum Eris. I think it's interesting the analogy between UK Muslims and US Christians. I do think there are too many similarities, at least socio-politically, to ignore.

    I also enjoy religious buildings... well I used to a lot more when I was younger. Since I've studied the history of Christianity, Islam, and other religions, as well as Anthropology, I do enjoy them less, as I too see the blood and tears that have gone into their building and their ongoing hold over people's minds.

    Glad to see you on here. That was quite an articulate and interesting intro Smiley

    "Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused."
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #4 - July 16, 2013, 03:35 AM

    I prefer seeing broken down ruins

    Take a trip to Strata Florida abbey.

    I don't mourn the money and power that it represented, but Henry VIII was also targeting the hub of British scholarship. A touch of the Taliban about him.
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #5 - July 16, 2013, 03:37 AM

    Britain worked for centuries to make fundamental religion a thing of the past. I don't want us going backwards.

     Not just worked, fought.

    That's why I'm here too, incidentally.
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #6 - July 20, 2013, 04:02 PM

    Your story was a fascinating read, Quod Sum Eris. I always enjoy hearing about the experiences other people have had with religion, and your experience in particular is interesting because your mother openly didn't believe in god while your grandparents did, and sometimes I think about what my future childrens' experience will be like (since I don't believe in god but my parents do, etc). Sounds like you had a difficult childhood, but from the way you write, it sounds like you're dealing with your past quite well.

    Was also really interesting to hear your impressions on the US, especially comparing US Christians to UK Muslims. I've been to London a couple times, and I definitely noticed the strong and vocal Muslim presence. I can see how you might liken them to the more zealous US Christians. But I also think it depends a lot on where in the US you travel. The South and the Midwest are full to the brim with evangelicals and Christian fundies and the ultra-religious. Generally speaking, the Northeast and the West tend to be much more liberal and nonreligious (unless you're in the more rural parts), particularly the big cities.
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #7 - July 20, 2013, 05:21 PM

    As a Hindu I feel safe among Christians, even the most narrowminded. Majority of Christians are open minded. I have lived in Canada for many years, I have never felt threatened. In my business dealings no one has ever asked me about my religion. But I had few funny experiences with Mulims. Twice I was asked if I am a Muslim. After I said no both guys walked away. The third time while I was walking in the downtown area, I heard some one say, "salam alaikum". I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to repy, "walaikum salam". But before I opened my mouth the man asked me if I was a Muslim. I smiled and raised my hands and said, "thank God I am not a Muslim, thank God I am not a Muslim." the expression on his face was priceless.

    वासुदैव कुटुम्बकम्
    Entire World is One Family
    سارا سنسار ايک پريوار ہے
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #8 - July 20, 2013, 08:39 PM

    Hey Ram. From what I understand about Hinduism, they have a god for everything. Once I was told that in Hinduism even atheists have a god. Which I found both interesting and paradoxical. It was really shitty that both of them just walked away when you said you're not a Muslim, but may I ask why another time you felt the need to smile and say thank god you're not? I mean, not every Muslim is a fanatic out to enslave and oppress.

    Iceman, it actually was the North I was in. I flew to JFK, spent a week in Manhattan, then got the train to Philadelphia, then down to Harrisburg, and from there a taxi to a place called (might spell this wrong) Cressona, which is part of Schuylkill Haven/Pottsville. Stayed there for a while, then got the bus through Ohio (ARMISH!!!!!!) and up into Michigan. Actually got off at Detroit (I don't recommend it) and then went to Ann Arbour. Stayed there for a week and a half, then got the train to Chicago, then a 48 hour train ride to Portland Oregon. Stayed there for a while, got a connecting flight to San Francisco, then, Newark,  then Manchester.

    The interesting thing is the reactions from people who don't wear their religions on their sleeves, even then their was either at times a short burst of hostility or a type of uncomfortability if that's a word. Fortunately I'm a nice lad, and people picked up on the fact I was friendly and easy going. Oh, though one night I was drinking at a bar and saw this man who looked like he'd lost his best friend. I invited him to sit with me and we had a chat, at one point he looked at me in amazement and said "Are you a Prophet?" I got a kick out of that.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #9 - July 21, 2013, 12:34 AM

    Quod Sum Eris, good question. I said that thank God I am not a Muslim because of the two previous experiences. When a Muslim wants to know about the religion of a total stranger, it is obvious that he is not really interested in you as a fellow human being. I am sure, like the other two, he would have walked away also.

    वासुदैव कुटुम्बकम्
    Entire World is One Family
    سارا سنسار ايک پريوار ہے
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #10 - July 21, 2013, 12:43 AM

    I can see your reasoning but I would point out statistics mean nothing to the individual. Do you not think that acting like that in general might just create a hostility, an us verse them mentality? Personally I'm polite to everyone I meet, I try not to make judgements about individuals.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #11 - July 23, 2013, 06:06 PM

    An interesting intro, Welcome to the forum. Smiley

    "I'm standing here like an asshole holding my Charles Dickens"

    "No theory,No ready made system,no book that has ever been written to save the world. i cleave to no system.."-Bakunin
  • Hey everyone!
     Reply #12 - July 23, 2013, 06:33 PM

    Welcome to the forum Quod Sum Eris. Have a rabbit!  bunny

    how fuck works without shit??

    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
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