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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • Any Atheists around? I've been one forever. I can remember back in primary school finding Christianity a bit contradictory. As I got older I discovered I was a Marxist/Socialist by nature so thats when I understood why I don't believe in the existence of any god. None of that 'mystical' nonsense has made any sense to me. I doubt seriously whether its possible to be a Free thinker' and religious.

  • Oh I quite agree.:) Religion and Spirituality are different. I think it was clear that I was referring to Religion in terms of worshiping a 'supernatural' power. Infact I would say that I am spiritual myself. I have been attuned to Reiki. Its important to remember that you can be spiritual and not religious.

  • I would say i'm an atheist. but i am spiritual too, i just dont believe in the old fluffy white bearded guy. i celebrate in a pagan kinda way, but i dont believe there is any higher power that affects our lives. might be some intelligent aliens out there i suppose, but i dont believe praying to a higher power helps in the slightest, i believe in positivity, and in i think there are things that go on in the world i dont understand, including things that seem supernatural, but i dont think there is a controller directing it all. i wish i did in a way, but mostly i see the wonder in the world just as it is and get what i need from that. to me 'god' is all the best things about the universe, that inspire us and keep us going.

    Turned on, tuned in, loved up, trippin out, freaky on the outside, shiny in the middle.

  • I used to have a phobia of religions, Christianity in particular, religious ceremonies and places of worship. I think that this is because I went to a Christian primary school but felt in my heart that I didn't believe and didn't fit in, that I was being forced to sing hymns and say prayers I didn't have faith in and go to church against my will. I remember being very jealous of a good friend of mine who was Buddhist and therefore was allowed to sit out of Christian assemblies, and feeling injustice that I couldn't have the same allowance because of Atheism. This made me bear a grudge against religion for some time and led me not only to become terrified to witness any ceremony but also to be terrified of being in churches. It also meant that I was quite rude about the religion to its believers and I am ashamed of that now. I was forced to face my phobia and prejudice when I started seeing Stealth as he used to be a Christian missionary and resented my rudeness about that. He is no longer Christian but he has helped me to overcome my nastiness about his past and towards others and to be more accepting.


    I still find the idea of a God difficult but now that I am more relaxed I definitely have spiritual thoughts and occasionally send thoughts out into the air in a prayer like fashion. I sometimes think I hear answers but as they are always what I expect to hear, I don't know if I am answering myself.


    I don't feel the need to search for a God and I believe that if this was really important for me to do, I would feel the need. Therefore I believe that if there is a God, it condones my non-belief and doesn't require my worship or obedience.


    Does any of that make any sense?

  • All fascinating stuff. Thanks for your thoughts and comments. Just wondering has anyone read Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion? I think it puts the case against there being any 'fluffy beared fellow' to bed quite succesfully. I would like to point out that I don't have a problem with Christians, indeed I have several friends who wear it on there sleeve.


    What really fascinates me is the fact that most people who would describe themselves as religious find it difficult to substantiate what it is that they get out of being a 'believer'

  • Seeing that none of us really know for sure 100%; doesn't being an atheist have more in common with religion and faith than most atheists would actually let on?

    A bit like love and hate being similar, and indifference being the opposite.


    i can see where you are coming from, but this assertation annoys me to be honest. nothing personal buit i've had this said to me before, when talking to a born again christian who had run out of arguments. in what i say below, im talking about organised religion rather than general spirituality.


    There are certain aspects of atheism which parallel religion, i can see where the idea comes from. it is a firmly held belief, certainly. atheists who dislike the way certain elements of religious belief are forced apon non-believers would probably quite like to 'preach' their beliefs, have the world shaped according to their values and thier beliefs accomodated in the way islam has been, for example. However, atheism is fundimentally different from all 'faiths' in that it denys the existance of all gods as a fundimental principal. one thing all religious belief systems share.


    Atheism is based on the facts as best we can discern them, we have figured out how life could begin without god, looked at the point a fraction of a second after the universe began and have to the best of our abilities so far shown god is not neccesary or likely. however, i'm sure most atheists would be open to any new evidence that might come about. evidence that could be found over and over again, experiments that could show the same results, some kind of proof, in fact anything plausible, would change the minds of many atheists. but its not been found so far.


    Are the religious prepared to accept evidence contrary to their beliefs...quite obviously not. the glaring inaccuracies in the scriptures are ignored, the downright evil committed in the bible is glossed over and no matter how many people on this earth suffer horribly at the hands of others in the name of god...its still not enough.


    if you want to liken scientific methodology with scriptural dictation...then something has been missed. scriptures are not challenged, refuted, disproved and changed, updated as we become better at understanding the universe as scientific knowledge is, they are immutable, despite being quite ridiculous at times. atheists generally state...i do not believe there is a god, christian, muslim and jewish people state there is a god, ...no questions...he exists because my holy book says so and its his true word.


    If someone is utterly convinced that science has it down, then they too are decieving themselves. science has its limitations, most scientists know this. but its the best we have, and to liken a belief system based on hundreds of years of constant revision, discovery, experimentation and damn hard work, to one which follows unquestioningly the words of men, writing thousands of years ago which blatently shows the limits in knowledge of the people writing it, is very strange in my opinion. it is fundimentally different from the basis of all organised religion.


    If people want to liken atheism to a religion, i guess its not so bad. it has one thing over all the others, it doesnt require any forgivness for original sins from god, it doesnt require you to be ashamed of who you are if you dont fit the scriptural vision of perfection, it doesnt base its morality on outdated principles designed to control the people en masse and it allows you to think for yourself and decide based on what is in front of your face without worrying about what god will think if you do.


    i guess one thing i have in commen with the religious is that i'm quite evangelical about it. i feel freed from the sugar coated opression i personally experienced under the christian religion, and i'd like to be able to do the same, not just for those trapped by it as i was ( i didnt know i was trapped until i got free...or started trying too at least) but for those who dont believe, and yet must suffer the rules laid down apon them by someone elses big man in the sky. for the apostates murdered for their free minds, for the children terrified of being tortured in hell, for the gay or lesbian people blamed for hurricane katrina, or made to feel dirty and broken and unwanted by a god they have put their trust in all their lives, for the women stoned for 'witchcraft', the list goes on and on. atheists have commited atrocities, no doubt, but at least they didnt blame their actions on god.


    ok rant over now:o

    Turned on, tuned in, loved up, trippin out, freaky on the outside, shiny in the middle.

  • At this point I have to hold my up. What I'd really like to know is this. Who invented God? I don't mind if people believe in this stuff, it's better than opium I'm sure and if it gets them through the night then blessed be, religion does indeed provide peace of mind for millions of people and I wouldn't ever want to take that away from them by reasoning their god out of existance (even if I could), but I personally don't believe a word of it. Not because I don't want to, or am against it, but because I simply am unable to and can't see why I ought to. I do resent though that I am in many quarters regarded as odd, blasphemous, a sinner etc and generally have to keep my trap shut for fear of upsetting them. I was recently accused of "christian bashing", actually quite deservedly at the time. The comments I made however were directed at someone who is quite proud of his (to my mind unfathomable) beliefs, but posted about bashing people's faces in. I found that quite offensive, and I guess I just get cross that these people use their religion to blather on about peace etc., demand tolerance and don't consider for a minute that their beliefs might just be highly offensive to those of us who don't share them. I don't like having anyone's religion rammed down my throat, though as I've posted elsewhere I do have several close christian friends, as well as a few muslims, budhists and hindus. I'll never understand why they believe what they do, but it's not my problem. Religious types who decide that god has told them to declare war on Iraq on the other hand most decidedly are, and whatever it takes to stop them then so be it. Incidentally "when you talk to god, it's called prayer, when god talks to you it's called schizoprenia".

  • Thanks Enigma, I really don't like talking about my beliefs, or lack of them very much, everyone seems to think that I must want an argument if I do, and I don't, really I don't. I just want to be left alone to make my way through the world without being challenged most of the time. I don't feel a gaping hole where god ought to be, I'm fine. Likewise I'm happy for other people to believe what they like, I just don't understand why, but even that doesn't upset me. I just wish that these people wouldn't involve me in their interminable wars, which seem to me to be largely sponsored by their various religions. I almost feel like an endangered species sometimes, in Indonesia it was illegal not to have a religion would you believe, on the grounds that if you didn't believe in God, you must be a communist. which I'd call a religion anyway. I posted here because I thought that it was time to be counted, given that this is a counter-culture forum and that the christians are counting heads. ffs, again, without being anti-christian, our head of state is the head of our national religion, our kids must be taught their faith in school, they have their churches in every tiny village, and often two, I couldn't count how many in our town, they must have countless internet forums and yet they behave like an oppressed minority. It makes me weep, but I'm heartened to know I'm not the only freak out there. Peace,
    Julian

  • Any Atheists around? I've been one forever. I can remember back in primary school finding Christianity a bit contradictory. As I got older I discovered I was a Marxist/Socialist by nature so thats when I understood why I don't believe in the existence of any god. None of that 'mystical' nonsense has made any sense to me. I doubt seriously whether its possible to be a Free thinker' and religious.




    I could have written that ~ my mum is CofE and I got baptised and all that, but never believed in the God thing.


    My dad died when I was a baby and I never knew much about his side of the family ... his mum was a Quaker and his dad left seminary college to be a travelling speaker for the Independant Labour Party ~ once I read my Socialist literature, I knew where I was

  • Any Atheists around? I've been one forever.


    I've been an atheist since I was about 12. I wasn't brought up either way, I went to church once a month as a child with cub scouts, but distinctly remember sitting there thinking ... "this is all rubbish, there's nobody sitting on the church roof watching over us and listening to our thoughts". This was confirmed when I read an extract from Origin of Species at about 16 and realised there was no need to invoke any of the childish fairy story explanations when we have a perfectly good and properly evidenced understanding.


    As I've got older this view has been refined and filled in with various reading and deep thinking. Now I'd regard myself as a "Bright", a rational sceptic, who sees no need to invoke supernatural or mystical forces to explain the natural. As for the things I don't know, like the origins of the universe, I'm happy to accept that I don't and possibly can't know them, but would dearly love to find out and can't wait to see what the Large Hadron Collider may tell us...


  • Atheism is based on the facts as best we can discern them, we have figured out how life could begin without god, looked at the point a fraction of a second after the universe began and have to the best of our abilities so far shown god is not neccesary or likely.

    I'd dispute that. We have yet to create life in a lab. Once that's done, I'll accept that it's a simple chemical process.


    And the "big bang" (which, I might add, is still only a theory)... there's still a huge gaping hole which needs filling here: why did the big bang occur, what caused it, and hey.... what is the reality of existence in the first place? To say "it just is" is just as much a leap of faith as any religion, IMHO.

  • Seeing that none of us really know for sure 100%; doesn't being an atheist have more in common with religion and faith than most atheists would actually let on?


    Atheism is the non-belief in god (atheism = without theism), not the positive belief in the non-existence of god. A subtle but pivotal point. Negative proof is a logical fallacy, you can't prove that something categorically does not exist. I can't prove that unicorns don't exist, but until I see evidence for them I don't feel the need to suppose that they do. They could, but I don't believe it. The door is always open should evidence come along.


    Technically atheism is not a belief, but the absence of one. A common misunderstanding:)

  • Now I'd regard myself as a "Bright", a rational sceptic, who sees no need to invoke supernatural or mystical forces to explain the natural.

    Hey, Showmet. Nice to see you around. :)


    I'm never really sure why there's so much stigma attached to the "supernatural". Surely if such a thing exists, it's simply another aspect of creation... simply one that we can't explain, or that doesn't fit within our scientific model? If you assume (and most physicists do) that we live in a multidimensional universe, then who's to say that the laws of physics as we understand them are even relevant outside of our own plane of existence? I think the problem is that the notion of the "supernatural" has been hijacked by religion and spiritual fascists who seek to explain it and attach their own rule-set to something that is, by definition, beyond their comprehension. I have far more time for spiritually inclined people who accept the limits of their own knowledge. :)

  • Negative proof is a logical fallacy, you can't prove that something categorically does not exist. I can't prove that unicorns don't exist, but until I see evidence for them I don't feel the need to suppose that they do. They could, but I don't believe it. The door is always open should evidence come along.

    This is a bit of a double-edged sword though. If we lack the capacity to observe or measure something with the tools that we have immediately to hand, then we could potentially be discounting something simply on the basis of our own limitations.

  • I'm an atheist. The idea of a God just doesn't seem feasible to me.


    Plus, I don't see how people can take religious texts like the Bible, Koran, Torah etc as factual accounts of God's commands and how God wants us to live, when they were written by human beings. I see them more as accounts of the values and ways of life that different societies held at the time, like circumcision, not eating certain 'unclean' foods, etc.


    I think that by and large, religions function as agents of social control. Sometimes with what I consider to be good results, sometimes bad. But not 'right' or 'true' in themselves.


    I do feel very strongly that it is wrong for Christianity to be presented as fact in schools, during prayers in assembly etc, rather than presented as simply the opinion or belief of some people. I think the French system of the separation of church and state is better - I think there is a similar principle in America too?


    I also feel that I would much rather consider questions of what is right and what is wrong on my own, and come to my own conclusions, and then attempt to live by those, rather than follow a pre-existing set of rules written by someone else. It just seems more meaningful to me.

  • Wow! Quite a response. I have to say I really do agree very strongly with the comment about it being wrong for Religion to be taught in schools as fact. People find life 'easier' when they have some kind of A , B. C guide. It often allows them to cope with all the negative aspects of day to day living. Its rather bizarre that people allow themselves to be conned like that. I have a friend who finds it comforting that he has a set of moral absolutes to cling to in times of upset. Hmmmm. . .

  • I'd dispute that. We have yet to create life in a lab. Once that's done, I'll accept that it's a simple chemical process.


    And the "big bang" (which, I might add, is still only a theory)... there's still a huge gaping hole which needs filling here: why did the big bang occur, what caused it, and hey.... what is the reality of existence in the first place? To say "it just is" is just as much a leap of faith as any religion, IMHO.


    i said we had figured out how it could be done, not that we had done it:p. :)


    i also said science doesnt have all the answers i believe.:)


    there is still a lot to be discovered, but what we do know is a damn sight more convincing to me personally that any 'scripture' will ever be, because the things we call facts can be found when experiments are repeated independantly, we may not have it exactly right yet...but that doesnt mean god fills in the gaps.

    Turned on, tuned in, loved up, trippin out, freaky on the outside, shiny in the middle.

  • Hey, Showmet. Nice to see you around. :)


    I'm never really sure why there's so much stigma attached to the "supernatural". Surely if such a thing exists, it's simply another aspect of creation... simply one that we can't explain, or that doesn't fit within our scientific model?


    Well put. :)

    Turned on, tuned in, loved up, trippin out, freaky on the outside, shiny in the middle.

  • there is still a lot to be discovered, but what we do know is a damn sight more convincing to me personally that any 'scripture' will ever be, because the things we call facts can be found when experiments are repeated independantly, we may not have it exactly right yet...but that doesnt mean god fills in the gaps.


    Very well put! :thumbup:


    I am also a atheist... being raised by Marxists does that to you! :D But I also seem to be more 'scientifically' minded... Which leads me to my own thoughts on why we have religious groups in the first place... Humans like to be able to explain the world around us.. explain our existence... It is why we developed scientific methodology... I personally feel that religion was an early attempt at humans doing exactly that... It was an attempt at explaining why we are here... how our world was created... Unfortunately like science can be at times... early religions were perverted in order to gain power for certain social groups and used as a form of social control...


    Unlike many religious types I have never seen a atheist demonstrate against a gay pride march... or outside of an abortion clinic... i know of no wars started in the name of science... most atheists I know do have a moral code that is similar to the moral codes that were dictated to us by a 'god'... but unlike many people who are religious... they follow their moral code as a choice not for fear for their immortal soul...


    These are the reasons that I continue to be an atheist and I can't see that changing. :D


  • i also said science doesnt have all the answers i believe.:)

    Which means that there is still an aspect that is based on faith. Religious people put faith in their creator and Atheists put their faith in what the scientists present them with. The balance of probabilities is still somewhat reliant on a degree of faith and not the same as absolute proof.

    I'm deliberately not mentioning Christianity though, I'm talking about all belief in a higher "thing" whether it's God, the spirit of the universe or the great green arkleseizure.