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We're born to live, we live to survive, we survive by using our ingenuity, and our ingenuity leads us to our immortality. Not immortality of the self but immortality of our species.

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator To me, god is the place where we put things we don't understand. This starts when we're just young children opening our eyes to the wonders of the world around us. As we get older and attain knowledge, we whittle away at the figure of god that we've created. Eventually, there comes a time when we either anthropomorphize our figure of god by wrapping it up with religion or we overcome this far easier tendency and accept that there are things that we just don't know but believe have a non-superstitious answer to them. 1 person liked this

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I no longer believe there is a deity of any sort. I believe in humanity. We've been more or less in our current position on this planet for tens of thousands of years and we somehow resisted the urge to destroy each other. This to me is enough to trust that humans innately know right from wrong overall. As cliche as it sounds these days, I really do believe that religion is the way to make human beings violate their innate sense of what is right and do everything that is wrong. 1 person liked this
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My most powerful moment of believe was my moment of unbelief. I attribute this eye opening experience to Thomas Paine's essay, The Age of Reason. While Paine was a deist, he spoke to me in a way nobody ever had and when I viewed religion from his perspective, I realized it was my own perspective the whole time and I had never knew it. Deism was my first step towards atheism and it was the most important step I've ever taken.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My greatest moment of doubt was my greatest moment of self respect. I joined a church, a large church full of people with smiles and courtesy. I decided that I was going to join this church and become baptized. I started to go through the motions and attended a class on what it meant to be baptized. I was forced to take a good hard look at myself and what I really believed instead of what I thought I should believe. That moment of doubt was the first time I'd been honest to myself. It put me into a grey area where I pretty much turned off religion for a few years until I read Thomas Paine.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator What does spiritual mean to me? To me it means state of mind and state of emotional health. I'm honest with myself, I don't delude myself. I'm a realist and that terrible honesty is a hundred times worse than the masochistic monks who lash themselves. I can look at myself in the mirror and still smile at my place in the world because I respect my mind and refuse to allow my emotions control me beyond what is reasonable.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The biggest misconception about atheism is the assumption that first, we don't know right from wrong or that we have no source for knowing what is right and wrong. Such a claim is beyond reproach and a violation of common sense. The second biggest misconception is that since I don't believe in a god then I must feel that my life is worth nothing. The exact opposite is the truth, I have far more respect for my own and life overall than I ever had while I was studying religion and being faithful to a deity. I cherish life as the most important gift that my parents gave to me and I'll forever love them for it.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My spiritual role model? Goodness, I guess the closest thing I have to a spiritual role model would be Carl Sagan and my dad. Never had a strong relationship with my dad but the little bit that I did have was recognizing the wonders of nature. He bought me my first telescope before I even knew I'd want it. When he explained to me what infinity was, I was forever hooked on looking up into the sky as a source of peace, wonder, and awe. Carl Sagan's enthusiasm for the natural world, mainly the cosmos, enhanced the love that my dad introduced to me of the natural world.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The recognition of Humanism, the fight for equality, and expressions of generosity through charity. 1 person liked this

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator As a child I did exactly as I stated in my original post above about how I imagine god to be. I attributed what I didn't know to a deity that made everything happen. At first I was more of a deist because I really didn't know anything about religion except from the bigoted kids up the street that would constantly tell me and my sisters that we were going to burn in hell because we didn't go to church or believed as they did. I rejected their attitude and their judgment as wrong. I was around 8 years old when I came to that conclusion.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I've studied various religions. I started with Judaism and Kabbalah, I studied Christianity, I've studied Islam. I learned a lot from Wiccans and Pagan type beliefs as well. I considered Buddhism and Hinduism, Jainism as well. I spent a lot of time on BeliefNet trying to find out what I believed. Through that time there were two constants that followed me. First was that I believed in god and second was that it was necessary to have a religion. Both constants turned out to be incorrect for me.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My parents had a picture of jesus hanging on the cross that hung in the living room. That was the only religious exposure that I had from my parents. They never told me or even tried to shape me into believing anything but instead told me that it was something that I would have to figure out on my own. My mom believes in god but my dad, I think he's indifferent to the idea.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, my mom is a believer and it makes her happy. My dad, I'm pretty sure if anything is a deist if not completely indifferent about god. I'm certain he's not religious.
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I have no children and religion played a large part in this, unfortunately.

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't really go places to practice atheism. I do enjoy getting together with the local atheist meetup groups but I also very much enjoy getting together with the science based meetups. I usually blog online and communicate with people on Facebook.
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My little sister is indifferent about god and definitely not religious. I don't know what her motivations were to go that route. My other, older sister claims to be christian and goes through the motions and maybe even believes the whole jesus story but her actions are nothing at all based on her religion. That's my opinion through observation.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator It's very easy. The only demands I have are those I make of myself. The only difficulty I have is when other beliefs clash with my own or when I'm expected to follow along in the steps of everyone else. That violates my self respect and has brought trouble at times.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The passing on of knowledge and wisdom based on my own experiences and thoughts to my nieces and nephews.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The book Cosmos was very inspirational to me in my youth.

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Published October 11, 2010

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