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  #31  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:14 PM
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Nobody I've ever met thinks that all Catholics are child molesters, regardless of their belief system. The problem that they have is that the Catholic church (not Catholics, but the Catholic church and its administrators) is that they seem to just brush this stuff under the rug and ignore it. Plus, there were little to no consequences.


Yes, it could happen in any job, and I can't say that it is or isn't more prevalent in the Catholic church because the church is more in the spotlight than, say, a daycare job. The reason it gets so much flack is because the Catholic church claims to be a source of morality and a direct connection to god. They claim to be THE moral compass, the highest role model, and pedophilia is about as far away from morality as you can get. And again, when people association Catholicism with child molesters, we're not thinking that every Catholic is a child molester, but that we're disgusted that the higher-ups in the church could stand to just turn the other cheek while this stuff happens. Not to mention with your school example, those people are prosecuted by the law, but that doesn't happen with the church.


Do you realize how many "in your face atheists" there are compared to in your face Christians? Do you realize the level of in-your-face Christianity versus in-your-face atheists? There's a comic somewhere that compares militants in various belief/non-belief systems: militant Muslims and Christians resort to anywhere from violence and killing to going door-to-door, picking you out, and telling you you're going to hell, you're a horrible person, you're a-moral, you're not trust-worthy. A militant atheist sits around drinking beer talking with other atheists about the state of religion and morality. Have you ever had an atheist approach you (without prompt) and tell you that you're a horrible person or you deserve to be tortured for eternity? Or that you're not a worthy human because you don't have a relationship with an invisible man in the sky? Some atheists are becoming more vocal, and we're coming out about the corruption and hate that religion spews. We're coming out against bigotry and hatred, dismissing science, blocking progress, and such things. We're coming out against blind faith and the hatred against and distrust that comes with not accepting such blind faith.

If you think there's a "war on Christianity", take a step back and look at how completely engulfed in Christianity this country is. Despite having a separation of church and state, we still have a National Day of Prayer, and a National Prayer Breakfast. We still have the addendum in the Pledge of Allegiance that says "under god", even though it wasn't added until the 1950s in response to the communism scare. Everything around is religious.

Atheists are the most distrusted group of people in America (http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releas..._MIG_2816.html). Why? We haven't done anything. We haven't bombed women's clinics or murdered gynecologists, we haven't done any kind of terrorist act in the name of atheism. No, not every religious person is a bigot or a terrorist. Most are perfectly good people. If you don't want us to judge you because of your beliefs, why are you going to judge us on our lack of belief?

If you get aggravated or annoyed with someone challenging your beliefs, maybe you should take another look at your beliefs. Beliefs should be challenged: either you'll come to a new realization or your beliefs with be further strengthened. Either way, it's win-win, right?


Popular media and peers are very pro-religion. They largely support these "bedtime stories" as you called them.


As the one study I linked to showed (there are many more like it, all with the same conclusion), religion is the right and cool thing. Being a bad person isn't, though.

DISCLAIMER: A lot of the things that I said in there - especially in my big huge rant - are not directed at you or anyone here in general. They are general rants about being an atheist that I commonly run into, similar to your rants about being a Christian/Catholic. Just wanted to give some input from the perspective on the other side of the fence! I am a staunch atheist and VP of the largest grassroots Atheist community in NC, so I'm pretty passionate about defending atheism, equality for all, and separation of church and state, hence my ranting about lots of that stuff.
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  #32  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:22 PM
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This is actually pretty true for me too. In my day to day life it doesn't come up a whole lot other than faith based activities that we do

Every once in a while it may come up but not really debates or anything, just passing comments.
Yeah, most of the religious discussions I've had have been online. I have to know someone VERY well to discuss my faith to them in anything other than passing, unless asked. It has been brought up on my moms side of the family, but literally NO topic is off limits there, so religion is probably one if the more tame things brought up-lol.

Personally I think it's fine to discuss as long as people are respectful. I've spoken at length with my Wiccan friend about her faith-while it's not something I would participate in I find it fascinating and never put her down for following it.
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  #33  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:44 PM
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I've been told by atheists that I'm stupid, delusional, illogical and uneducated, and yet not ONCE in my life have I told someone they are going to hell. Never.
Yup. I think this is a case where you often do not see the other side. I am not sitting here saying 'christians are being persecuted' but we do get preached at and quite often too. Or at least I do. Most people I know that are extremely vocal and condescending about their religion/lack thereof... are atheists. Some of them I like very much as people, but they will go off at the drop of a hat about how stupid religious people are to believe what they believe. It happens probably more often than most non-religious folks realize.

One person I know has one of those 'Coexist' stickers on the back of his car... along with 4 stickers that are very anti-christian. And I have gotten into one conversation with him about religion. Not very respectful to say the least. I always see his car and wonder why even bother putting up the coexist sticker? He's obviously not wanting to coexist.

I just don't get it at all. I have never said anything condescending towards anyone for what they believe/don't believe. I do not understand why people cannot be respectful of each other.

That said my uncle is an evangelical preacher and he has his moments too. I just think you're (general you) probably a lot more likely to see the things said against your particular belief than what goes on the other way.
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  #34  
Old 02-13-2013, 08:18 PM
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I identified as Catholic for a long time...and heard the whole "Catholics arent real Christians" and other stuff. Yes, people always poke fun at, put down, etc others....BUT, it was NOWHERE near the amount of just everyday stuff one gets as lesser known faith..or one that is considered "evil" or an atheist.

Very simple things like holidays....they are important to many faiths...being with family. Christians are usually able to get their holidays (In general) off as a norm of society, sundays, Christmas, heck even Easter often coincides with spring break. I dont think its an individual thing as much as when you are a part of the "norm" its just totally different from when you are not.

The general assumption is MANY areas (especially once you get a bit older, have kids, etc) is that you are Christian. Mention getting married, its what church. Your kids are constantly asked whats going on for Christmas, if the Easter bunny is coming, etc. Now of course, I realize these are not actual parts of the Christian faith either...but they are part of the christian culture that is prevalent in this country. It can be very hard and lonely to separate from it.

And goodness, homeschooling as a non-christian...geez...so thankful for all the secular homeschoolers in my area.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:20 PM
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I've been told by atheists that I'm stupid, delusional, illogical and uneducated, and yet not ONCE in my life have I told someone they are going to hell. Never. I'm going to Ash Wednesday service tonight and the plan afterward does not include going from door to door in the neighborhood and telling them they're damned. I think that any Christian that would tell anyone that is forgetting that humans don't decide what happens after death.
I am sorry that atheists have told you those things. Not all of us do that.

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The VAST majority if Christians are not running door to door either. There tend to be pretty specific sets of Christian that do this, and frankly I don't like people coming to my door anymore than most people. If they don't see me I don't answer it, and if they do I'll tell them politely that I'm not interested.
Like I said in my original post, not every religious person does this, and most don't. At least in my experience (and I spent most of my life as a devout Christian) with both religious people and atheists, religious people moreso than atheists.

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I'm friends with atheists, agnostics, and very good friends with a Wiccan. DHs family are pretty devout Lutherans and one of his brothers is seriously dating an atheist, and nobody in the family is rude to her and she has discussed her atheism without criticism.
That's fantastic! It unfortunately doesn't happen often enough. I've had SOs whose parents were absolutely fine with my atheism - we didn't discuss it at length, but they knew. None of them were very religious, though. My parents, on the other hand, are bothered by my atheism.

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Frankly, other than the occasional mention of God (and even then generally used as a curse), there is very little in popular media that espouses Christian values. Premarital sex with multiple partners, divorce, porn, rampent violence, the glorification of lying and cheating--all of these is EXTREMELY common in the media, from sitcoms to reality shows. Sure, some politicians bring it up, but I think that most of us know that they are full of it.
If you read the Bible, it's full of those things, too. Especially the multiple partners part (http://www.religiondispatches.org/ar...s,_some_slaves) and violence part (how many genocides - ordered by god - were there? And rapes, child beatings, slave beatings/rapes?). It also has a lot of misogyny.

But yes, I see what you're saying. If you discount the Old Testament and look only at Jesus, then yes (even though Jesus does permit divorce, with some consequences and stipulations). In entertainment, yes, there is a lot of that stuff. Everywhere else, religion is rampant. I've even had a biology professor at a state-supported university answer questions she didn't know the answer to as, "That's just the way god made it."

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Most Christians are not out there hating and blowing things up and harassing people-they just aren't. That's like claiming pit bulls are baby killers because of high profile news stories.
Again, I never said most are. I, like you, said that most are not.

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You rant about the negatives of faith, but fail to see the positives. Charity, involvement in community, support, etc. DH lost had a brother die suddenly at age 24, and their church was an incredible support to the family. My grandmother's church was a ln incredible support ti her through her illness at the end of her life. Many people feel they have literally had their lives saved by their faith-and that's many religions, not just Christian.
Those are all great! But why does it have to be tied with religion? In my atheist group, we're always looking for more charity events. We hold blood drives periodically, we're about to run a food drive, we have a constant "Send an Atheist to Church" drive where if you donate $10 to the Red Cross, one of us will go to your church. We've adopted a street and clean it up 4x/year. My atheist group has become my best friends. They've been a fantastic support system for me, from coming out of the closet as an atheist to my parents to bad break ups to my mother getting cancer. I've never met a greater group of people.

Obviously, churches can be a great support system. Since my mom has had cancer, both of my parents' churches have stepped up and really taken care of them. They've been an invaluable help, and not just in this case, but in the past. You also gave a great example.

But what about those churches (again, not all) who cast out teens and children when they come out as gay? Or the case of the church in CO (I think?) when an elder of the church raped a 14 year old (not sure on the age, but young), and when she became pregnant they made her stand in front of the church and confess her sin, then banned her from the church and ran her out of town, while the rapist barely got a slap on the wrist? What about the times when a teen has come out to his or her parents as an atheist and they disowned him/her, and the church didn't do anything? Again, no, it doesn't happen all the time. Many churches - and even more Christians - are very welcoming of all creeds, orientations, and belief systems, and aren't so misogynistic when it comes to rape. But to say it's not a problem is putting your head in the sand, just like with the molestation. What's worse is a lot of these problems are stemmed from theological beliefs, not just one person being awful.

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It hurts my heart when I do see Christians acting completely contrary to the faith they hide behind, but I can't control their actions, I can only control my own.
It may be contrary to your faith, but not theirs. The thing with religion and Christianity is it's not set in stone. There's a reason there are hundreds of denominations. Not everyone is going to agree on the same interpretation of the Bible. It was written many generations after these things happened and were passed on orally then was edited and re-edited and translated and re-translated and re-edited and cut and pasted and re-translated and... well, you get the picture. Nobody agrees what it means, and you have to cherry pick what you believe from it.

I wish more people would look at good in the Bible and follow the good, but in reality that's just not going to happen. The Bible is too flexible.

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Violence and hate is a human problem, not a God problem. Someone who would hate and kill in the name of God would hate and kill for some other reason were religion taken out if the equation.
But violence and hate is a human problem and a god problem. God is a very violent and hateful being. Like I told my dad when he brought it up, if god is real (which I don't think he is), then I think he's a jerk who doesn't deserve to be worshiped. In the OT he demanded blood sacrifices to let us save ourselves from him. Then he killed his own son, who was himself, to save us... from himself. My dad and I discussed it recently, and I think it (and a quote from a man who calls himself The Thinker [pretentious, I know]) sum up my feelings the best. My dad told me that he thought the devil drags us to hell rather than god sending us there. He asked me, "If I'm your father and I'm supporting you financially 100% then you completely disown me as your father, is it reasonable for me to continue supporting you?" "No, it's not, but god isn't constantly supporting my way of living. He's leaving me alone. Take the exact same scenario, then imagine that you see an obvious serial killer, completely with a scythe and hatchet, grab me and drag me into the basement of a building, obviously intent to carve me and torture me slowly. Would you just stand there and watch him do it because I said you weren't my dad, or would you step in and at least try to do something because you love me and I'm your daughter?"

The Thinker's quote: "Let's say, you had a father who wrote a book and left before you were born. And in this book, he instructs you on how he wants you to behave. Also, in this book, he tells you he wants to have a relationship with you, and mandates you write letters to him daily, which he doesn't reply to. Also if you read the book, he tells you he wants you to sing songs about how great he is, gives you an unreasonable, unattainable standard he wants you to live up to, says you are unworthy of his love, tries to convince you are evil just because you were born,had another one of his children tortured to death, and claimed the reason he did it was how bad you were. He also in the book tries to convince you that you deserve to be tortured to death in the way he had his other child killed. In addition to this, the child he had tortured to death, he conceived with a woman who had no say in the matter, while she was engaged to another man. At some point, you would probably stop writing letters to this father, conclude he is a lunatic and highly obsessed with himself, and if a case study was done of your father by a license psychologist, to be conservative about the situation, he would conclude your father is highly irrational, possibly a sociopath, and the relationships he has with everyone involved are abusive and highly dysfunctional."

I know I'm probably going to ruffle more than a few feathers with saying all of this, but this is what I truly believe. I have religious friends, and my boyfriend is largely Christian (with Buddhist and Taoist influences). My parents are very Christian, and I periodically go play violin at my mom's church. I love everyone at her church. I have no problem with religious people, but I do get my feathers ruffled when bad things start to happen with a base in religion. It's all in how it's approached and used.
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  #36  
Old 02-13-2013, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
Yup. I think this is a case where you often do not see the other side. I am not sitting here saying 'christians are being persecuted' but we do get preached at and quite often too. Or at least I do. Most people I know that are extremely vocal and condescending about their religion/lack thereof... are atheists. Some of them I like very much as people, but they will go off at the drop of a hat about how stupid religious people are to believe what they believe. It happens probably more often than most non-religious folks realize.

One person I know has one of those 'Coexist' stickers on the back of his car... along with 4 stickers that are very anti-christian. And I have gotten into one conversation with him about religion. Not very respectful to say the least. I always see his car and wonder why even bother putting up the coexist sticker? He's obviously not wanting to coexist.

I just don't get it at all. I have never said anything condescending towards anyone for what they believe/don't believe. I do not understand why people cannot be respectful of each other.

That said my uncle is an evangelical preacher and he has his moments too. I just think you're (general you) probably a lot more likely to see the things said against your particular belief than what goes on the other way.
^This.

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Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
Personally I think it's fine to discuss as long as people are respectful. I've spoken at length with my Wiccan friend about her faith-while it's not something I would participate in I find it fascinating and never put her down for following it.
^This.

I wish there were like buttons on here. lol

There are rude and disrespectful people of all types. It's sad that it is still an issue even today.

Last edited by MinPinOwner; 02-13-2013 at 08:50 PM.
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  #37  
Old 02-13-2013, 08:35 PM
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Fellow athiests & agnostics?! You mean they do exist?!

I live in a socially conservative part of my state, and my take on a higher power is very unusual here. And unacceptable, to many people.

(I will contribute more to this thread when I'm done studying for my anatomy & physiology exam.)
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:38 PM
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Well for one thing God never completely washes his hands of you just because you do wrong. He never just leaves you alone. Things might not go the way you THINK they should but that doesn't mean he has just abandoned you. He is never truly gone bit if you don't want his help he will follow your wishes.

When you "write letters to him" or pray as it were he doesn't NOT ever respond, it just may not be how you see fit in our humanistic "what I want is what should happen" view. He always answers

I was not brought up in Christianity and still my dad calls me a bible thumper and teases me about church but then was hurt because I didn't tell him
About my recent baptism. I told him that I just didn't think he would be interested in that so I didn't figure he wanted to know. I came to God later in life (in my 20's) on my own, alone after terminating a pregnancy. Even after that, he didn't just leave me alone, he just waited for me to reach out to him in the right time. If he wanted to force himself into my life he could have... But he didn't
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tzigane View Post
I am sorry that atheists have told you those things. Not all of us do that.


Like I said in my original post, not every religious person does this, and most don't. At least in my experience (and I spent most of my life as a devout Christian) with both religious people and atheists, religious people moreso than atheists.


That's fantastic! It unfortunately doesn't happen often enough. I've had SOs whose parents were absolutely fine with my atheism - we didn't discuss it at length, but they knew. None of them were very religious, though. My parents, on the other hand, are bothered by my atheism.


If you read the Bible, it's full of those things, too. Especially the multiple partners part (http://www.religiondispatches.org/ar...s,_some_slaves) and violence part (how many genocides - ordered by god - were there? And rapes, child beatings, slave beatings/rapes?). It also has a lot of misogyny.

But yes, I see what you're saying. If you discount the Old Testament and look only at Jesus, then yes (even though Jesus does permit divorce, with some consequences and stipulations). In entertainment, yes, there is a lot of that stuff. Everywhere else, religion is rampant. I've even had a biology professor at a state-supported university answer questions she didn't know the answer to as, "That's just the way god made it."


Again, I never said most are. I, like you, said that most are not.


Those are all great! But why does it have to be tied with religion? In my atheist group, we're always looking for more charity events. We hold blood drives periodically, we're about to run a food drive, we have a constant "Send an Atheist to Church" drive where if you donate $10 to the Red Cross, one of us will go to your church. We've adopted a street and clean it up 4x/year. My atheist group has become my best friends. They've been a fantastic support system for me, from coming out of the closet as an atheist to my parents to bad break ups to my mother getting cancer. I've never met a greater group of people.

Obviously, churches can be a great support system. Since my mom has had cancer, both of my parents' churches have stepped up and really taken care of them. They've been an invaluable help, and not just in this case, but in the past. You also gave a great example.


But what about those churches (again, not all) who cast out teens and children when they come out as gay? Or the case of the church in CO (I think?) when an elder of the church raped a 14 year old (not sure on the age, but young), and when she became pregnant they made her stand in front of the church and confess her sin, then banned her from the church and ran her out of town, while the rapist barely got a slap on the wrist? What about the times when a teen has come out to his or her parents as an atheist and they disowned him/her, and the church didn't do anything? Again, no, it doesn't happen all the time. Many churches - and even more Christians - are very welcoming of all creeds, orientations, and belief systems, and aren't so misogynistic when it comes to rape. But to say it's not a problem is putting your head in the sand, just like with the molestation. What's worse is a lot of these problems are stemmed from theological beliefs, not just one person being awful.


It may be contrary to your faith, but not theirs. The thing with religion and Christianity is it's not set in stone. There's a reason there are hundreds of denominations. Not everyone is going to agree on the same interpretation of the Bible. It was written many generations after these things happened and were passed on orally then was edited and re-edited and translated and re-translated and re-edited and cut and pasted and re-translated and... well, you get the picture. Nobody agrees what it means, and you have to cherry pick what you believe from it.

I wish more people would look at good in the Bible and follow the good, but in reality that's just not going to happen. The Bible is too flexible.


But violence and hate is a human problem and a god problem. God is a very violent and hateful being. Like I told my dad when he brought it up, if god is real (which I don't think he is), then I think he's a jerk who doesn't deserve to be worshiped. In the OT he demanded blood sacrifices to let us save ourselves from him. Then he killed his own son, who was himself, to save us... from himself. My dad and I discussed it recently, and I think it (and a quote from a man who calls himself The Thinker [pretentious, I know]) sum up my feelings the best. My dad told me that he thought the devil drags us to hell rather than god sending us there. He asked me, "If I'm your father and I'm supporting you financially 100% then you completely disown me as your father, is it reasonable for me to continue supporting you?" "No, it's not, but god isn't constantly supporting my way of living. He's leaving me alone. Take the exact same scenario, then imagine that you see an obvious serial killer, completely with a scythe and hatchet, grab me and drag me into the basement of a building, obviously intent to carve me and torture me slowly. Would you just stand there and watch him do it because I said you weren't my dad, or would you step in and at least try to do something because you love me and I'm your daughter?"

The Thinker's quote: "Let's say, you had a father who wrote a book and left before you were born. And in this book, he instructs you on how he wants you to behave. Also, in this book, he tells you he wants to have a relationship with you, and mandates you write letters to him daily, which he doesn't reply to. Also if you read the book, he tells you he wants you to sing songs about how great he is, gives you an unreasonable, unattainable standard he wants you to live up to, says you are unworthy of his love, tries to convince you are evil just because you were born,had another one of his children tortured to death, and claimed the reason he did it was how bad you were. He also in the book tries to convince you that you deserve to be tortured to death in the way he had his other child killed. In addition to this, the child he had tortured to death, he conceived with a woman who had no say in the matter, while she was engaged to another man. At some point, you would probably stop writing letters to this father, conclude he is a lunatic and highly obsessed with himself, and if a case study was done of your father by a license psychologist, to be conservative about the situation, he would conclude your father is highly irrational, possibly a sociopath, and the relationships he has with everyone involved are abusive and highly dysfunctional."

I know I'm probably going to ruffle more than a few feathers with saying all of this, but this is what I truly believe. I have religious friends, and my boyfriend is largely Christian (with Buddhist and Taoist influences). My parents are very Christian, and I periodically go play violin at my mom's church. I love everyone at her church. I have no problem with religious people, but I do get my feathers ruffled when bad things start to happen with a base in religion. It's all in how it's approached and used.
I agree, especially with the bolded part. I think too many people try to be 'good' for the sake of their religion. You should be good because it's the right thing. Not because your god tells you too.

My family and I discuss religion frequently. My family is Christian, my mom became more so when she found out I wasn't.

I don't have a problem with most other belief systems. If you want to worship the Christian god, worship him. If you want to worship Buddha, Jedi's, your mail man, I don't care. But it doesn't belong in schools or govt. or anything in between.

I live in a very conservative area and Christianity is the majority. I don't mind most of the people, but some are infuriating. I didn't go to my graduation because the speaker was a preacher and had a lot of Biblical sayings and messages. Not my thing, so I didn't go.

I'm agnostic so I'm more of the "Meh who cares?" type. Live and let live. Your belief in some invisible being (or lack of) should not dominate your life. You want to be a good person? Just be a good person.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:56 PM
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Well for one thing God never completely washes his hands of you just because you do wrong. He never just leaves you alone. Things might not go the way you THINK they should but that doesn't mean he has just abandoned you. He is never truly gone bit if you don't want his help he will follow your wishes.

When you "write letters to him" or pray as it were he doesn't NOT ever respond, it just may not be how you see fit in our humanistic "what I want is what should happen" view. He always answers

I was not brought up in Christianity and still my dad calls me a bible thumper and teases me about church but then was hurt because I didn't tell him
About my recent baptism. I told him that I just didn't think he would be interested in that so I didn't figure he wanted to know. I came to God later in life (in my 20's) on my own, alone after terminating a pregnancy. Even after that, he didn't just leave me alone, he just waited for me to reach out to him in the right time. If he wanted to force himself into my life he could have... But he didn't
I am very glad that you're happy in your faith, and I'm even more glad that your dad supports you in it. One thing that's always bothered me, though, is if he's going to allow you (or send you, depending on your view) to go to hell for not having a relationship with him, why doesn't he make himself known to you? Why does he wait for you to reach out to him? What about those who never hear about him? I know you can't know, but everything that religion and the Bible says supports the whole relationship hypothesis. So if you've never heard of god but otherwise lead a most upstanding life, it should follow that you're going to hell... at least based on Biblical teachings.

I was a staunch Christian my whole life, until (officially) I was 22. Since I've become an atheist, my life has gotten so much better. If his hand was a guiding force in my life, and he was never truly gone, why was I so miserable? I spent all of my teenage years trying to figure out what he wanted me to do, and I could never figure it out. When bad things happened, there was no comfort other than my fellow humans (and dogs and horses). When good things happened, it was because of my (or another human's) actions. But still, I was miserable. Always miserable. Clinically depressed, lost and confused, the works. Once I tossed all of that out of my life, though, my life turned around and I've never been happier or more successful in everything I do. I don't understand how an eternally loving god could have had a hand in my life before.
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