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To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. - Isaac Asimov

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 I don't imagine god. I have read about gods and they are powerful dramatic characters but I don't think they are any more real that Professor Dumbledore (though I really wish the latter would have sent me mail on my 11th birthday). 2 people liked this

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I believe that knowledge is an evolving state of being and should be shared and explored at every opportunity. I believe that our personal experience and evolution comes down to what we added to the lives of those we leave behind.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I assume this was meant in relation to a "belief" in something one can not see (a god for example). I have never had any sort of belief.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I had always wondered if when faced with death would my desire for more be so great that I would give-in and believe and that maybe I really was just "resisting" some truth that everyone else got but I didn't. Two weeks ago I was given a preliminary diagnosis of ALS. I thought of my children and how I may have to tell them and how I was glad I had purchased that extra life insurance. I thought of how I don't want to die, how I don't want to loose my mobility, how I want to see my children with children of their own and how I want to watch myself grow old and get a plot of land and a pet cow named Bessy. I wondered, will I have enough time to find a cure or at least what can I do to slow it down, what do I need to learn, where can I find answers. I called practically every neurologist in the state and had gotten in touch with a support group within 24 hours. What I did not think, even in passing, was "Dear God". It wasn't until my ex-husband said "I know you don't want to hear it but I'll pray for you" that I was reminded that "Dear God" is the first response of most people. I laughed and told him "I'd rather you do something productive like learn about the syndrome but I appreciate his kindness". Now I know, even faced with death, I am Atheist.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I enjoy the arts and am passionate about the theater I think those are fairly spiritual.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The first and biggest misconception is that atheism is a belief system. That it is some how the same as a religion. I don't wake up each day thinking "I'm atheist", it's more of a default position of existence. Also people think that Atheist are more likely to kill puppies and rape children because apparently with out following "God's" laws we wouldn't be able to figure out how to live in a society. 1 person liked this
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I am not sure I would say I have any real role models, spiritual or otherwise, but I do admire traits in other people and try to emulate them. I admire people with patience, logic, reason and humor.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There is no tenet/practice/teaching for me. I enjoy the luxury and burden of thinking for myself. 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 so hope there were fairies at the bottom of the garden and elves in the woods. I think I was probably well into my 20's before I had to admit to myself while, it was a fun game, it wasn't real. I was pleased to discover that the garden didn't loose any of it's beauty by my not attributing it to made up beings.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I was raised by Atheists or at least Agnostics and so religion was never a subject and therefore was something I was able to explore on my own. I researched many faiths and talked with people of differing opinions. I spent a time trying to cast spells but found I was mentally keeping track of success rates. I found some that seemed to work so I immediately sat down and analyzed what exactly had caused the success and was it possibly caused by other factors. I tried saying prayers at bed time but found the same reality as with witches spells. I really liked astrology for a while and still consider that there may be something to it, just nothing mystical. (ie children born in similar climates, similar seasons, similar locations may share some characteristics. Maybe children born in the north during winter learn to walk the following fall when they will be inside more and with more people closer by to catch them as they toddle, does this influence their personality. I think it's worth examining as a matter of interest) I tried sitting in my back yard with my back against a tree trying to "feel" the energy around me. As expected even when I did feel a jolt I was immediately curious what natural sequence in the tree/myself/the air had caused the sensation. I tried to believe in an afterlife, and this was the one I wanted to be true most of all, but I kept asking myself "Why?". I still hold I can't disprove that some form of Consciousness exists but really there is no reason besides vanity that I wish it to be so. I wanted to believe in things but couldn't get past the logic.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I will pull from Richard Dawkins and restate an objection to the idea that one is raised "as" something. A child is raised "IN" a Christian home or Jewish home. I, however, was raised IN a loving home AS girl (though to be fair my parents didn't even push the girl part too hard)
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 My grand parents were all with the Church of England so my parents were raised in Christian households. They carry some of the traditions and have a Christmas tree and exchange gifts, my mother loves a good sing along and will join anyone who is caroling and at my grand mothers funeral this summer my father read a religious poem. I think I have less ties to these traditions.
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 2 beautiful daughters, aged 19 and 11. Their father is Lutheran but joined the Assembly of God when we divorced. He and I had spoken to a pastor when my eldest was born to learn about baptism. When it was explained to us that it meant we were swearing to indoctrinate her into the church I put my foot down. To his credit he agree'd that we would let the children decide for them selves no earlier than 13. If anything becoming a mother put faith in the spotlight more because I had to be more social. I have had parents stop letting their child come to my house because I am atheist. I suspect there was some fear I would either kill puppies in front of them or teach them to dance naked by the moonlight. I do not tell my children what to believe and have every faith that they will find their own path in life.

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. I know it's a difficult concept for those of faith but I manage to get up every day, work, care for my family, try to give back a little and maybe learn something new and none of it has anything to do with any made-up anthropomorphic personification.
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 I actually have a full blend in my family. We have 2 Muslims, a Buddhist, a handful of Catholics, some Jews and a pile of Protestants. The Jew's join us for Christmas dinner and I sit quietly at their Sadders. The Muslims are fairly hard to track down as they both travel a lot but they spend Christmas with their mother as does their Buddhist sister.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I live with an absence of faith, we all do. I am fairly confident that I would find you, the reader, without faith in Thor. Is it easy or difficult to live with an absence of faith in Thor?
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My library most represents my interest in life and that is about as close to faith as I get. 1 person liked this

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Religion and politics are the worst two things to put together, worse than mustard and cheesecake! If you put your religion into politics then you run the risk of someone else's taking over If you put your religion into politics then you loose the ability to reason with the government If you put your religion into politics then you hand over control of your faith, even if you trust the guy in office now, will you trust the next one? 1 person liked this
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Should courses about how to follow specific religions be taught in public schools? NO, which religions do you pick, which practices should you teach. I don't want to hear "We'd teach atheist beliefs too". You can't, Atheism is, by definition, an absence of belief. One can't teach that Atheists "believe" in evolution because we don't. At least not in the same way that the faithful believe in a god. The term belief is one of those words (like "theory") that can mean two different things based on it's context. In religious terms belief is faith in something there is no proof of. In layman terms belief is a reasonable assumption based on observation. "I believe the sky is blue" is not the same as "I believe there is a leprechaun on top of that cloud". As with "belief" the term "theory" to science is a hypothesis that has been researched, tested and subjected to review. To laymen it is an idea, a concept that hasn't been fully fleshed out. This leads to confusion about "Evolutionary theory" and the "Big Bang theory". Religion has it's place in history, literature and art. 1 person liked this
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Of course, we teach about the Greek religion/myth. Religion has a place in literature, history and art. 1 person liked this
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I feel strongly that interfaith dialogue is essential. Once people of faith see how ridiculous other faiths are and how strongly their followers believe them, they will have no option but to question their own.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I am quite comfortable discussing my Atheism with others.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Absolutely, face it almost everything is compromised by engaging in politics.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I was, like many American's, curious what sort of belief would cause such anger and passion. I read as much on Islamic history and theology as I could find. I guess the answers I found there go to an earlier question about putting religion with politics.

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Published October 11, 2010

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