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Author explains why she became atheist

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Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:44 am, Sat Sep 1, 2012.

AmyJo Mattheis grew up in church. Her father, the late Bob Mattheis, was a long-time pastor at Lodi's St. Paul Lutheran Church. She loved God and Jesus Christ.

"I was born into the belief system," said Mattheis, now 46. "My entire social network was in the church."

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17 comments:

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:57 pm on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    David stated...I invite you and anyone else who wants to join us to please do so. You'll find out we're really not that bad after all.

    David... as I have said before, I do not practice religion, pray or go to church. There are atheists in my family and I have associated with atheists over the years.

    My problem with Atheists in general is that they tend to have a superiority complex and think people who talk religion is an insult to their intelligence. Most I have met come off as arrogant and intolerant of others who are not atheist.

    In my view, it is not a pleasant thing to spend time with people who perceive they are intellectually superior topeople who are not atheists.

    In contrast, when I have a conversation with someone of faith and religious, rarely do they treat me with less respect and do not have a superiority complex.

     
  • Ben Sanacore posted at 8:27 pm on Mon, Sep 3, 2012.

    Ben Sanacore Posts: 104

    Master Yoda is just a character in a movie, but what do those words really mean? Fear may result in anger, but it is much more likely to result in paralysis.

    Anger is much more than just the realization of fear. Anger occurs when one focuses his thoughts and deeds on the self, and he or she perceives that he or she is wronged. Then this anger results in hatred.

    Religious people attempt to engage in virtuous living that directs energy away from the self and prevents behavior that leads to anger. By a pursuit of virtue, there will be less wrong doing that leads to hate and all the destruction it may cause. Unfortunately as people often do, religious people fail to always succeed in these goals, but they try and many succeed and provide a great example for all of us to follow.

    Someone who has discovered spiritual reality doesn't need to show up at a meeting with atheists to hear them tell him he is wrong and less reasoned and enlightened. Relgious people aren't any less free thinking than atheists or anyone else; their thinking and analysis has just resulted in different conclusions that are beneficial to society.

     
  • David Diskin posted at 1:15 pm on Mon, Sep 3, 2012.

    David Diskin Posts: 184

    Kevin, I have to give you credit for taking "every attempt to correct errors of logic" into "take you into a back room and verbally assault you".

    That, my friend, is an impressive twist of words.

    If you want proof that we don't do such a thing, why don't you come join us? Atheists have been to plenty of churches -- when was the last time a believer came to an atheist meeting?

    I invite you and anyone else who wants to join us to please do so. You'll find out we're really not that bad after all.

    The Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers meet on a regular basis, about 4 times a month, and all of our information is on our website at www.StocktonAAF.org. Our next meeting is in Lodi this Friday, followed by brunch in Stockton on Saturday. I hope you'll consider learning more about us.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:41 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2081

    Yoda needs to look deeper within then because absolute conviction is not fear or anger, it is conviction. The rock is not angry withstanding the constant tide, it is sure-footed, resolute in holding to truths. Just because the ocean wants the rock to be moved doen't mean the rock HAS to move.

    Conviction is a choice and I have long argued that choice is what brings us closer,or farther from, to GOD. Either by accepting or rejecting.

     
  • Ross Farrow posted at 10:23 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2012.

    Ross Farrow Posts: 104

    Richard Glassus: I may have misused the word "admit." AmyJo Mattheis doesn't regret or feel guilty about her atheism. If you read her website and blog, that will be very clear.

     
  • Richard Glassus posted at 7:56 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2012.

    Richard Z Glassus Posts: 3

    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering" - Master Yoda. We should not fear looking deep inside ourselves and reconciling our own long held, sometimes indoctrinated beliefs with what we can reason and observe in this world. We should not fear that we certainly don't have all the answers...and by now, in 2012, we should not fear the existence of this void to the point of needing to fill it with ancient beliefs born thousands of years ago. Yoda sees a fear in the comments here. And Yoda sees anger too. Yoda says anger leads to hate, and hate to suffering. Let us not fear each others beliefs, let us not be angry. Let us discuss without angry CAPS, let us not take our words out of context. Let us not mock, let us not accuse. Ummmm, yesss, wise, Yoda is.

    A little humor this morning.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:38 pm on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2081

    Useing the evidence of YOUR own words, I will not retract anything.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:37 pm on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2081

    David: Challenge accepted:

    Your own words: "Anyone is welcome to join the Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers, and our website and events are publicly accessible. We will not eject anyone for having ideas different than ours -- but you can bet we will make every attempt to correct errors of logic, reason, and science. Especially when the outcome is something as important as life or death."

    Notice the "every attempt". Kind of conjures images of singling out a Christian amongst you and focusing a non stop verbal assault on their beliefs.

    Or there is your comments on this: "Religion is the number one cause of intolerance on this planet."

    How's this, prove to me you are NOT completely intolerant of religion. Be hard since every chance you get you make a comment about religion being the cause of horrible things in this world. That is is folly to believe. And even openly mock religious beliefs. IF someone does these to you you call them intolerant, why is it ok for you to do it then?

    Ben said it well, the ills of this world are caused by people, religious AND atheists alike.

     
  • David Diskin posted at 4:23 pm on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    David Diskin Posts: 184

    "Funny how David continually talks about how religion causes intolerance while he freely admits that his group is COMPLETELY intolerant of religion. So much they take you in a back room and verbally assault your belief systems."

    Kevin, this is an accusation that I absolutely will not stand for. Justify what you've said or retract it.

     
  • Richard Glassus posted at 4:03 pm on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    Richard Z Glassus Posts: 3

    In fact, Ms. Mattheis should be commended. It must take a lot of courage to share her story, given her religious family roots and the taboo nature of publicly challenging religious dogma. One question for Staff Writer Farrow: Interesting choice of words around paragraph 7: "she admits becoming an atheist". Curious to know if that is your word choice or hers. "admit" implies reluctance, or guilt. It reads negatively, as if she's ashamed of her choice. Or maybe I'm too picky? Regardless, Ms. Mattheis seems rather happy and confident with her choice to drop dogmatic faith in favor of reason and critical thought about our world. That said, thank you for the article. It's great to see an article in religion section of LNS that shares stories on atheism.

     
  • Richard Glassus posted at 3:28 pm on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    Richard Z Glassus Posts: 3

    Interesting article. Thank you for sharing your story.

     
  • Ben Sanacore posted at 1:04 pm on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    Ben Sanacore Posts: 104

    Also David, the article said the following about being fat, "The book's title comes from Mattheis' freshman year at Lodi High, when she actually gained weight to offset the pressures of becoming a young woman and her attraction to boys." What's great about America is that we're free to believe anything we want, even if it's the wrong thing. This is the first time I've ever heard someone blame weight gain on religion, but people often try to find something to explain away their problems.

     
  • Ben Sanacore posted at 10:43 am on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    Ben Sanacore Posts: 104

    I was just about to make the point you made Kevin, and then I saw your post. You have hit it on the head of the nail about Soviet style atheism, and I would add that we all know what happened to Soviet style communism.

    Religion doesn't cause the ills of the world. The ills of the world are caused by people who don't follow their religion and don't embrace peace and freedom. This is a people thing not a religion thing.

    I always find it interesting when atheists tout science as some kind of more realistic answer than religion. I have studied science in great detail and at its most difficult levels. It poses many more questions than it answers, and it's constantly changing. We're always one discovery away from some new theory, the perpetual quest to understand. This is what is meant by limited human minds trying to understand things beyond their understanding. Who has faith in what?

    Understand that some things exist and we will never know why. Spiritual reality exists as a result of the benfits it provides. Religion may be used for good and it may be used for evil just as technology may be used for good and evil; it is how we choose to use them that makes the difference, but we can't live without them, because all things must be balanced.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 9:57 am on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2081

    "You cannot look at countries that are nearly 100% atheistic, and tell me that "Humanity loses when spiritual reality is discounted". "

    Those that remember Communist Russia would disagree. In this atheistic country expressions of religion would get you killed. I guess it is easier NOT to acknowledge that.

    Funny how David continually talks about how religion causes intolerance while he freely admits that his group is COMPLETELY intolerant of religion. So much they take you in a back room and verbally assault your belief systems.

     
  • David Diskin posted at 9:27 am on Sun, Sep 2, 2012.

    David Diskin Posts: 184

    Darrell, science does not prove anything. It provides a method for finding the most likely answers. Faith is a belief that runs contrary to evidence.

    Ben, her use of "fat" is a metaphor. But how can you say religion "holds society together"?! If, by "society" you mean people who all think the same thing -- then sure. But look around you. Religion is the number one cause of intolerance on this planet.

    You cannot look at countries that are nearly 100% atheistic, and tell me that "Humanity loses when spiritual reality is discounted".

    I am happy for those who have found contentment through their religion. And you should be happy for those who have found the same without it.

    I hope you and others will listen to AmyJo's presentation next month. You may disagree with her, but I have a hunch she'll be able to provide an insight into her feelings and worldview to those who are genuinely seeking to learn.

     
  • Ben Sanacore posted at 11:26 pm on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Ben Sanacore Posts: 104

    Religion doesn't make a person fat. It holds society together. What we knew thousands of years ago is different than what we know today. What we will know many years from now is different than what we know today. Our finite human minds cannot understand the infinite. They can only glimpse one part of a spiritual reality we will never completely understand. Humanity truly loses when spiritual reality is discounted. Many people have faith in God and Jesus Christ, and their faith gives them strength and positive energy. As Shakespeare said, "There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy".

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:00 pm on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ms. Mattheis stated... Jesus was not the Son of God. Nor could he rise from the dead, walk on water or convert water to wine, as stated in the Bible.

    Since this perspective cannot be proven by science, she is a woman of faith.

     

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