Hi, I'm an atheist - am i welcome?

Hi all of you

I just came across this site and thought i would introduce myself as i am sure you are open to everyone on here. So i am atheist, and have reading a few of your threads…
With regard to the sinful nature of today’s world, firstly throughout history, there has always been evil and sin, even in the bible, its just in our faces a whole lot more these days with this age of information.
Secondly i don’t believe that goodness is heavenly, i think it is natural and engrained in every one of us, so i don’t follow any rule book (commandments) to tell me how to be a good person. I do the best i can, i don’t claim to have the truth which is something that every single religion does do, which allows for prejudice and intolerance as everybody fights for whose ‘book’ or ‘god’ is the right ‘book’ or ‘god’. It really is a human need (and a great human flaw) to need to be right, to have comfort that there is life after death…maybe they need to focus more on the life we have down here …
And lastly, if there is a God up there,i really don’t think he is the ego-centric guy that man has made him out to be…demanding constant gratification and worship…so i think that he would look at a christian, or a muslim or an atheist like me as just people, subject to our social surroundings and what is normal in their culture.
This is my thoughts anyway…unfortunately a book written by us flawed humans a long time ago ‘the bible’ is not enough for me to believe in something so huge…there are LOTS of these books around, and everyone fighting for whose is right…is ridiculous to me.
So thats a few things off my chest!!!

and also, i have found this quotation from the bible a bit bizarre

“Thus saith the LORD of
hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him
in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly
destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman,
… infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ***.”
(I
Samuel 15:2-3)

‘No matter how one can justify
possible crimes from adults, suckling infants have no means of
acting out crimes. And what evil against God could the animals
have possibly performed? Only an evil entity could kill innocent
infants and animals, no matter what their parents and owners may
have done.’

Sure, there are atheists on these forums. Welcome :smiley:

As far as I know everybody of good will is welcome. So welcome aboard.

Here’s a rule to live by in your evaluation of what the Bible says and means: “A verse out of context is a pretext.”. First go back to Exodus and see who (what) Amalek is and what Amalek (a people, not a person) did to the Hebrews on their journey out of slavery in Egypt to the promised land.

I’m going to bet that somebody showed you this verse, not that you were doing a Scripture study and just got stuck in 1 Sam. If you were doing a true study, you would have encountered the concept in an earlier book (Exodus). So give that a shot and see how it works… (Hint: start in Exodus 17, read that and then go back and read what led up to it. Remember, you are dealing with a primitive nomadic, warlike people here.)

The problem the modern athiest gets into is s/he generally doesn’t have any concept of the difference between a Semitic desert nomad of 3,500 years ago and the folks they meet at Panera for coffee.

A little proper evaluation of facts will bring you out of the Hitchens Dawkins malaise of Biblical illiteracy.

Welcome aboard.

Hello and welcome to the forum!

I’m afraid I haven’t studied religion, so cannot comment on your opinions. I can tell you that Catholics are taught that you can’t get to Heaven through faith alone, that being closer the the truth makes you more responsible for you soul and that “There is neither Jew nor Greek” Therefore, we believe that the Church has the full truth, but God is the Just Judge and Merciful Saviour. No religion or holy book guarantees your salvation.

Hi there Pepper, & welcome:

It’s funny how you quote 1 Samuel 15 - muslims have a habit of quoting the same passage.

Anyway, look at the chain of events starting with the 5 Books of Moses.

Exodus 17

**8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. **

9Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

Numbers 24

20 And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, But his end shall be destruction."

Deuteronomy 25

17 "Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt,

… and now we come to your 1 Samuel 15

2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt.

Hope you understand now…

Heck, there are even Anglicans.

GKC

Anglicanus-Catholicus

Welcome, Pepper. Of course you are allowed to come here.

I had a bible study that covered the Amaleks…they were the most destructive and barbaric people and threat to the land of Israel God was preparing for the Jewish people.

When the World Trade Centers were attacked, a Jewish rabbi said here in America that it was recognized as the ‘spirit of Amalek’ that accomplished 9/11, and the only way to respond to this spirit was to drive it back out.

Sometimes the differences are miniscule (Here’s looking at you, Spong) :smiley:

But yes, Pepper…you’re definitely welcome. We have some good times here. :thumbsup:

You are very welcome here.
To address your concerns:

You claim “goodness is not heavenly and is ingrained in humanity.” If this were true, would not all humans be equally “good.” But this is self evidently not the case. On one end of the spectrum we have the saintly soul of Mother Theresa, and on the other end we have monsters like Stalin or Caligula. Goodness, therefore exists is degrees. GOddnes is not an empirical quality, but many empirical qualities also exist in degrees (heat is an example). Everything is more or less cold, but everything has some amount of heat within it. (Granted, those things that are at “absolute zero” are an exception, but we can agree that this is not a naturally occurring phenomenon in our experience). Why is it that everything has an amount to heat to it? Because heat has a source. Also, heat can be added to an thing by applying a “more perfect” source of heat, that is something that is hotter. Though theoretically, heat is open ended, in reality, nuclear fusion is the most perfect expression of heat, as this is the temperature at which matter is actually converted to energy. (caveat: I am not a physicist, so please feel free to correct my physics if I am wrong). But at any rate there as a “perfection of heat”–nuclear fusion (St. Thomas Aquinas identified this perfection as fire, but that, I think, is acceptable for one who was writing in the 13th century). Why this discussion about heat? Because, goodness and heat both exist in degrees. Even if one were to say that human goodness toes originate from within, we can see that if one surrounds themselves with virtuous people, these virtues can, and often do, spread to others within the group. Is it not then reasonable to conclude that there is some perfection of goodness, some ultimate source of goodness that is so pure, and so good, that there exists within it no possibility for evil? This ultimate source, this perfection of goodness, is God. This explanation is essentially one of St. Thomas Aquinas’s proofs for the existence of God.

You also claim that a good being could not demand the slaughter of innocent children and animals. On the surface this sounds like a reasonable statement, but only if you accept a couple of assumptions (which I do not).
Assumption #1: All of existence is contained in the material world
Assumption #2: Animals are of equal dignity as humans, that is animals are persons rather than things.
Catholics place a very high value on life. Euthanasia and abortion are condemned as being intrinsically evil, meaning that the very acts are manifestations of evil, and the death penalty and war are treated as gravely serious actions which must be considered carefully. This, in particularly seems to be at odds with the commands of God which you cite. But as God is the author of life, God, and God alone, has the authority to take it away. This is why God may declare people be killed, but no human may take it upon himself to do the same. Looking at your assumptions, I will address the first one at length. Since Catholics do believe in an afterlife, we can see death, in some dimension, as an act of mercy, but this act of mercy is not our decision to make. Even for innocent infants, if God takes them, he has saved them from the suffering and sin inherent to this world. It is an act of mercy to the sinner, as the sinner will not continue sinning and causing suffering for himself and others. Something to remember is that in the Old Testament, punishments were death. They were temporal punishments. In the New Testament, punishments are eternal. Seen in this light, the punishments of the New Covenant are much more severe. I know that this is somewhat incomplete, but I will try to explain things more fully as this conversation continues.

Yes Pepper , you are welcome.
Catholic Answers is here for exactly that, to answer your questions about our Christian faith and why it is the full Truth of Christian revelation.

May I just point out one statement you made.You don’t believe in religion and yet it could be said, that you do follow such in your own way. No disrespect, It could be called Pepper’s religion.:shrug:
Peace, Carlan

Welcome Pepper! This is the non-Catholic religion forum so by all means you should be welcome along with all Catholics and nons. You might even be more welcomed than some baptized and confirmed and properly informed catechized Catholics who nevertheless have consciences which require some dissent. Consciences which Catholic teaching (CCC 1790) even requires to be obeyed to avoid condemnation. In any case again indeed welcome Pepper! And peace to you always.

Hi, Pepper -

I’m not in charge of this forum, but as a participant I say WELCOME!

I was an atheist for several years, but was unexpectedly overcome by GRACE. :smiley: Careful, it could happen to you.

Jim Dandy
Ex-Southern Baptist, ex-agnostic, ex-atheist, ecstatic to be Catholic!

Firstly, welcome.

As for your points, I believe CWBetts did a laudible job addressing them, but bear in mind he is only addressing them, not truly debating them as if to arrive at a final result or truth (in the spirit of being friendly and welcoming). So, if you read his address, and others like them, bear in mind their author does not necessarily intend it to be the final say or word or authority on any given issue.

In the Old Testament and early (“primitive” we sometimes say) Church, we find many statements that are “heavy-handed” against peoples or societies. We forget, as has been noted earlier, that we do not know what these people were like. Now, imagine if in 500 years, our great-grandchildren were taught that, “America and Canada wrongly invaded Europe in 1941, causing death to hundreds of thousands, and if not millions of people, many of whom were innocent ; therefore, America and Canada must have then been evil and imperialistic.” Today, we would absolutely condemn such an interpretation of the Second World War, and justly say that far from conquering foreign nations, we were liberating them, and far from being the doers of evil, we were the vanquishers there of. We would, of course, admit that innocent people certainly did die, owing to the sad nature of war, but that ultimately, it would have been more unjust to permit the evil then ravaging Europe to continue, than it was to intervene to stop it.

As “recent” (in terms of Biblical time) as the Roman Empire, we today look only at the good, and rarely at the evil, (and often scholars and secularists praise that empire for the selective things it did or accomplished) of that empire. We forget the mass slavery, barbarous and cruel tortures - not even done in the name of justice, but for entertainment ; the rampant injustice and corruption, and perverted religion and gods they foisted on their subjects. We forget that their emperors proclaimed themselves like gods, and expected obedience to that effect, etc. This culture was condemned by Christianity, and for that Christianity was persecuted, until such a time as so many Roman subjects had become Christian by their own choice, that it could no longer be viewed as some fringe sect or cult, but had likely become by the time of the empire’s conversion the single largest “cult” in the whole of the empire. Christianity infused into the empire a value for life that was absolutely non-existant beforehand, and which value is still part of the Western world’s patrimony ; that is, our belief that life is intrinsically good, and ought to be protected. Now I could go on about the extreme differences between the pagan religions then, which made rape and passionate murders out to be divine actions of the “gods”, and glorified the crimes of so-called gods, and how the Christians systematically, largely by argument and philosophical proofs, destroyed the pagan religions and showed them to be frauds, which the Christians did so effectively that today no one worships Zeus or Jupiter, owing to the fact (demonstrated by early Christians) that these “gods” are in no way worthy of even human respect, let alone worship. I could also show how many of the Church’s Fathers and Doctors were themselves converts from the secularism of their day ; namely, the philosophic schools, who embraced and defended Christianity as not only the true religion, but the truest and best light for man’s welfare. Hence traditional Christians have always valued education and learning, reading and writing, stemming from the Church’s very early and effective use of it.

What I have submitted above for your consideration are some simple facts that I found (I was myself a militant, secular atheist) to be credits of Christianity. The love for men of good will, and esteem for learning, the absolute belief in the existence of good and truth, etc., and the absolute right of man to pursue that Truth, and hold fast to it as he finds and knows it, are among the more obvious benefits that the Christian religion has given to mankind, and all of this done in keeping with that self-same God who commanded the Amaleks to be erased from the earth.

Pax,
And take care,
Tim

Hey, pepper! Welcome!

Just a reminder, so no one gets into trouble with the moderators, atheism is a banned topic.
So everyone tread lightly! :stuck_out_tongue:

Welcome again, Pepper! I hope you have a good experience here at CAF!

In Christ,
Never

Pepper, I hope you feel welcome. However, I suppose as a non-catholic it’s not my place to welcome you.

I agree there’s ‘natural’ goodness engrained in all of us. That speaks volumes to the idea that God put within us all a moral ‘compass’ so we have NO excuse that we did not know right from wrong.

It really is a human need (and a great human flaw) to need to be right, to have comfort that there is life after death…maybe they need to focus more on the life we have down here …

I’d agree that many religious people don’t take right now seriously enough. However, those who think nothing about the possibility of a ‘hereafter’ may make wrong decisions that hurt themselves and those around them. A healthy balance of both is what’s needed, IMO. In fact, I don’t think one can understand the right now without a correct understanding of the ‘after’ life.

And lastly, if there is a God up there,i really don’t think he is the ego-centric guy that man has made him out to be…demanding constant gratification and worship…

Maybe you’re not understanding worship. God doesn’t need anything from us. However, we ‘work’ better when we do what we do out of worship to our Creator. God’s commands are for us. As a good parent knows what’s best for children, God knows how He made us to ‘work’ best.

so i think that he would look at a christian, or a muslim or an atheist like me as just people, subject to our social surroundings and what is normal in their culture.
This is my thoughts anyway…unfortunately a book written by us flawed humans a long time ago ‘the bible’ is not enough for me to believe in something so huge…there are LOTS of these books around, and everyone fighting for whose is right…is ridiculous to me.
So thats a few things off my chest!!!

My understanding is either correct or it isn’t. The Bible is correct or it isn’t. No amount of fighting will make a truth not true or something false true.

Many, many humans have been killed at the pleasure of an atheist leader. Us ‘religious’ people don’t have a corner on selfish behavior or unkindness.

and also, i have found this quotation from the bible a bit bizarre

“Thus saith the LORD of
hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him
in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly
destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman,
… infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ***.”
(I
Samuel 15:2-3)

‘No matter how one can justify
possible crimes from adults, suckling infants have no means of
acting out crimes. And what evil against God could the animals
have possibly performed? Only an evil entity could kill innocent
infants and animals, no matter what their parents and owners may
have done.’

How foolish would God be to have all the wicked one killed leaving the infants to feed themselves.

If Heaven is as the Bible describes it is true AND God’s mercy extends to the infants, the dead infants will experience the WONDERS of God’s presence rather than the pains of this life. Not a bad deal from a different perspective.

You are the reason we are here.:slight_smile: Something Good led you here. Enjoy your journey, believe it or not we all end up before the same Person:eek: You are in my prayers

youre welcom here, as long as you are respectful and follow the CAF rules.

Hi Pepper, I know of a few sets of “Books”. :stuck_out_tongue:

-the Old Testament, believed by Jews
-the Old + New Testaments, believed by Christians
-the Quran and Hadiths, believed by Muslims
-the Book of Mormon and some other related Books, believed by Mormons
-the Upanishads and Vedas, believed by Hindus
-the Books of Richard Dawkins, believed by proponents of Darwinian evolution
-the journals Watchtower and Awake!, published by Jehowah’s Witnesses

There are probably much more. So many books, so little time. :smiley:

Anyway, don’t get discouraged so easily, and don’t jump to the conclusion that all of them are false, just because SOME of them are demonstrably false. Stay awhile, learn before you judge…

Welcome to CAF! :slight_smile: :smiley:

Hi Pepper, and thank you for your honesty. But I was wondering if you had ever tried going to a Catholic church to observe? I have visited many different churches of different faiths but I can tell you that until I joined the Catholic church I never felt so at peace with myself or so fulfilled. And some people that have "no idea"what they are talking about try to explain the Catholic Faith. If anyone really is interested there are classes, Rites of Christian Initation for Adults or R.C.I.A. classes that start soon at a church near you,if you are interested. I personally have always believed in God or The Trinity and always will. I believe you are correct in saying some people choose to live the way a civilized society requires of us, and they don’t "use"the ten commandments. In Genesis the guidelines for our government are laid down for us as an example, as are the commandments. And I believe God answers and guides those who seek him.
Bless You…Mary Virginia

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