I was recently asked to comment on Religion for a Univ. Texas research study. Here is what I had to share.

 

UT-Tyler Heather;

When conducting a written survey on a grey area topic, you will get more precise answers when including YOUR intended definition of any terms used with multiple (dictionary.com) accepted definitions. When such an example occurs in your questions below, I start my reply with the definition I have in mind while composing an answer.

 

Background info on your subject is also critical in understanding the depth of their written words. Orally I am able to represent my tone etc. for clarification but with written answers the scale of potential misunderstanding is vast.

 

That said, my background… ie. summary of my “religious beliefs”; includes a split family upbringing. My parents separated when I was one so I was bounced around multiple grandparent homes. One family was active lutheran and I attended church activities most Sundays May-Sept up to Sept. 1996. From Oct.-April 1989-93 I attended random bible classes to expand my denomination experiences and begin my independent thinking.

 

Another branch of the family; the great grandparent/elder in my life, reminded me about my traditional and native heritage. My direct ancestors range from Native Sioux, homesteading Germans via Virginia/Minnesota (Willa Cather group), Revolutionary War heroes (Sible Luddington/Paul Revere) and Pilgrims (Mayo Clinic/Mayflower). These stories helped mold me to grow with an open mind on religion.

That known, here are my direct answers for your project.

 

*Your first question should have addressed the subject’s actual beliefs without assuming they will be 100% atheistic.

ex: What fundamental set of beliefs do you agree upon?

For me, I organize gatherings of free thinkers and get invited to speak at formal conferences to inspire others to improve the world. My beliefs are un-titled. They can best be classified as “other” in that I am open to a combination of all beliefs.

I have attended gatherings for ALL known religious sects in the countries I have traveled. None, except extremists like the KuKK, support evil such as genocide. Only the violent should not be accepted, but no one religion need to be declared as “THE ONE and ONLY”. They all respect life and treat their neighbors as they want to be treated.

When declaring ones faith and allowing a title to be placed over them, they need to prioritize the key points of their faith.

For me that is:

A. treat thy neighbor as we encourage they treat us

1. respect nature as thyself (Shall Not kill/murder)

1. respect my body and temple as one (Honor your father/mother – creator)

1. Respect all cultures interpretations of the divine. Love all, Respect All. (You Shall have no gods before me?)

1. Do not steal (thou shall not steal)

1. Do not deceive (shall not bear false witness against)

3. Share All, Own Nothing to channel your Negative Energy for Good (You shall not covet your neighbors belongings?)

1. Every day is Holy (Keep the Sabbath Holy?)

2. Open to faith, listen to science (I am the Lord, your God?)

2. Every being is Equal (You shall not make for yourself an idol?)

2. Respect the peaceful and protect the innocent. (Do not take the name of the Lord in vain?)

3. Do not settle for less than Eternal True Love while experiencing true bliss. (You shall not commit adultery / covet your neighbors spouse?)

 

 

My faith approves the 4 key commandments mentioned above but alters the following 6:

I am The Lord, YOUR god? – The terms “Lord/God/Father/Creator” represent the spiritual energy around us that humans like to argue over naming. It is just a “title”. The quoting use of “I” is the problem. The energy of faith is not a single being, rather it be addressed openly like the following.

2. Open to faith, listen to science

 

You Shall have no gods before me? – Faith is open and bears no special identification. Names are used in regions of cultures for ease of identification in conversation. Buddha, the Christian GOD, Mother Nature, Father Time; all just a molecule in the cell of spiritual energy. Respect all as equals.

1. Respect all cultures interpretations of the divine. Love all, Respect All.

 

You shall not make for yourself an idol? – Do not force others by means of convincement or otherwise, that ONE single way is the only and true way. Beings are free to follow but encouraged to aid as equals.

2. Every being is equal

 

Do not take the name of the Lord in vain? – Do not ridicule various peaceful beliefs, ignore the violent, and protect the innocent.

2. Respect the peaceful and protect the innocent.

 

Keep the Sabbath Holy? Every day should be a reminder to your faith. Meditate (focus) while you eat, be in the now, stay aware and take time for healthy activities like exercise and yoga etc.

2. Every day is Holy

 

You shall not commit adultery / covet your neighbors spouse? If a spouse walks with emptiness, it should be their quest to search for fulfillment. One may settle for the current best spouse but find more fulfillment down the road. Do not commit if you are not full or be prepared to separate prior to committing adultery.

3. Do not settle for less than Eternal True Love while experiencing true bliss.

 

You shall not covet your neighbors belongings? One should remain free to serve the greater good. This can best be accomplished by sharing all and “owning” nothing. War causing Evils such as Greed, materialism, capitalism etc. can all be conquered.

3. Share All, Own Nothing to channel your Negative Energy for Good

 

Belief Atheism / Agnostic Survey:

Do you consider it a religion?

“a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.”

Atheism – “disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.”

Atheism thus connects a set of beliefs agreed upon by a sect and is “religion”.

 

How were u raised: Parents beliefs?

Define Belief and Faith specifically for your research please. My definition is:

Belief: “confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.”

Faith: “confidence or trust in a person or thing.”

See background info above.

 

What convinced you to change to atheism?

I remain open and un-classified but being a free thinker, I recognize the energy around me and stay mutual as to whether the energy or the science came first. My consciousness was not present during the creation to witness. I have not experienced a supreme being but I have experienced science. To decide to be on only one side of the fence would mean to place more weight on science or faith.

 

Does anyone in your family share your beliefs? If not, do they understand it?

Yes. I surround myself with family of the open minded. My direct family members vary largely in faith. Some lean towards native elders and nature while others are caught in the materialistic USA with to many financial pressures to free them for religion any longer. The great elders have all left the physical being and the current elders born 1920-40s remain set mostly on Christian praise.

 

Do you know others outside this group?

I am a leader and search for free thinkers daily to hold conversations of high intellect.

 

Do you consider yourself close to the people in this group?

Just met everyone for the first time.

 

Do you require support outside the group meetings from eachother?

Everyone at one time or another, needs “support”. Those who are ignored are the most likely to become lost and institutionalized. I founded a Helping Hands Charity to limit this from happening and publish writings to aid the efforts.

 

Are you a member of other social groups that share your beliefs? Which?

Please view my facebook profile page and follow the “like” links and also my blog at: http://freeHelpingHands.wordpress.org for a very long list.

 

Is it hard for you to explain to others who do not share the same faith? Do you feel judged by your beliefs?

I am highly educated and well experienced in debate so I enjoy the opportunity to enlighten others. I host creative arts gatherings and talks for hours at a time. My friends/readers etc. are encouraged to judge me until they find their answers. As long as they bring me no physical harm my love for them remains unscathed.

 

Does your belief play an important part of your every day life or influence your decisions?

I return to my faith within every hour excluding NREM sleep stages for the most part. Nearly all my major decisions are related to my beliefs.

 

Given the chance would you learn other beliefs? What do you feel of the other beliefs?

By “beliefs” you actually mean “RELIGION” in this question.

See background. I have participated in most all religions. A main problem of most world religions is that they encourage followers instead of equals out of fear of chaos. They pressure others to accept one true and only way of thinking, when the holly-est of religion focuses equally on improving physical life through love and peace. Faith and spiritual understanding are parallel and not to be more important. Balance is the key to life as we know it. Yin and Yang. Dark and Light.

 

Are you compelled to share your belief with others? Why or why not?

To better life around my being is my mission and sharing these beliefs help others find their way to participate.

 

Is there any other comment key to others understanding your belief?

See above.

 

 

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