Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Interview with Secular Student Alliance


Here are the transcript of the interview with the members of Interview of Secular Student Alliance.

FIRST PERSON:

QUESTION: Is there a particular belief you believe before you become an atheist?
ANSWER: No, since I was young I never believe in gods or any religion. And I did not join any religion groups. You can say that I was born an atheist.

QUESTION: Is your family atheist?
ANSWER: My grandparents are Christian. But my Mom, Dad and our family don't believe in any religion and we never go to Church. So you could say that our family is atheist. Even though, my family doesn’t join any atheist group, they are still an atheist.
QUESTION: Does your family support you being an atheist? Why?
ANSWER: My family doesn’t care much about religions and faith. So, they don’t oppose me being atheist, but they also don’t support me or join the atheist group.

QUESTION: Why do you want to be an atheist?
ANSWER: I believe that there are no gods, if there is a god then I won’t be an atheist, but there are no gods. What can I do except accept the fact that there are no gods.

QUESTION: What make you become an atheist? Are there any particular events that happen to you?
ANSWER: Since I was young I never believe in gods and heaven and hell, and the truth is there are no gods or heaven or hell, so I just accept the truth that there are no gods or heaven or hell, and this make me become an atheist. Although, I used to have a doubt that maybe there are gods, but then I can proof that there are no gods.

QUESTION: Do you know any stereotypes people have about atheists?
ANSWER: Yes, many people think atheists are people that don't care about moral and just do whatever we want. But I'm like all people that just trying to make this world better. Other stereotype people have is that people always get atheist mixed up with the anti-Christian or Satanist, but this is not true, atheists don’t believe in God or Satan, so we are not Satanist. Also, just because we are not Christian, it doesn't mean we have to be anti-Christian and go kill all the Christian.

QUESTION: Have anyone ever offended you from being an atheist? How do you feel? 
ANSWER: People always tell me that I am wrong and they always try to tell me that I’m going to hell. But I don’t feel anything because I know that they are wrong and there is no hell.
QUESTION: Have you ever argue with people that don’t believe like you?
ANSWER: I don’t like arguing with people but sometime I’m just trying to tell other people what I believe and I just try to explain to them. If they don’t listen then that’s fine with me.
QUESTION: Do you want other people to become an atheist?
ANSWER: Not really, if they are happy with what they believe then that’s good. But sometime I just feel like all those people is just wasting their time doing all those religious ceremony and I just want those people to realize that.
QUESTION: Why do you want other people to become an atheist?
ANSWER: Sometime, I feel like if everyone is atheists then we won’t have all those religious conflict and religious war, this world might be better if we are all atheist.
QUESTION: Do you have any opinions about people who are theist? Do you think they are reasonable?
ANSWER: I know that a lot of them just grow up in the theist family and cultures, so it’s not their fault that they believe what they believe. But I feel said for them and fell like they are wasting their time believing in all those non-sense religious. They should live their life and have fun instead.
QUESTION: Do you think your idea is reasonable?
ANSWER: Yes, atheism is the most reasonable thing to believe. And there are no false in the atheism philosophies. Not like many religions that we could find many false in their philosophies.
QUESTION: Why don’t you believe an afterlife? Then what is the purpose of living for you?
ANSWER: I would believe in heaven and hell if it exists. But it doesn’t exist so there are no points of believing in things that don’t exist. I think the point of living is just to be happy and have fun with our life, and we all should be happy.
QUESTION: Do you think you should do good things then?  Why do thing you should do good things?
ANSWER: I feel like I should do good thing because when I do good things it make me feel good and happy. So I do good things so I could feel be happy and live a good life.


SECOND PERSON

QUESTION: Is there a particular belief you believe before you become an atheist?
ANSWER: Yes.  I was raised Christian--Southern Baptist, in particular.  Around age twelve (though it was slightly present at earlier ages) I began to seriously question my faith, and called myself agnostic for several years.  I then learned the definition of "atheist," which basically means "having no particular belief in a god or gods," while a true agnostic believes it is impossible to know either way.  I do not believe anything is impossible, therefore I am an atheist.  Between ages eighteen and twenty I also dabbled in Buddhism, and that had a very strong impact on me.

QUESTION: Is your family atheist? 
ANSWER: No.  My mother is Baptist and my father is non-denominational, though everyone in my family comes from a Baptist background.  My younger brother (he is sixteen) holds views similar to mine, and at present calls himself agnostic.

QUESTION: Does your family support you? Why?
ANSWER: It was very tense when I "came out" about my non-belief.  I had posted something on facebook saying essentially that I did not appreciate people calling me a devil-worshiper behind my back simply because I do not believe in what they do.  My mother saw this post and said that she was ashamed of me.  This led to a ridiculous public argument over facebook instigated by my aunt and uncle.  I no longer have most of my family on facebook for this reason, and I have not spoken to much of my family since this happened over a year ago.  Fortunately, I am back on speaking terms with my mother though we never discuss our separate beliefs.

QUESTION: Why do you want to be an atheist? 
ANSWER: I don't believe that this question is worded appropriately.  I don't "want" to be an atheist.  It is simply the conclusion I came to after many painful years of researching, thinking, discussing, and reading The Bible and various other holy books.  I did not just decide to be an atheist; it is just the label that makes the most sense to me.

QUESTION: What make you become an atheist? Are there any particular events that happen to you?
ANSWER: I have always been a rational person for as long as I can remember.  I don't recall ever believing in Santa Claus, and told my mother at age six all the reasons someone like Santa could not exist.  I suppose my ability to find holes in the existence of a bearded man living at the north pole was warm-up for my ability to find holes in the existence of a bearded man living in the heavens.

QUESTION: Have you ever argue with people that don’t believe like you?
ANSWER: When I was younger, but I realized for the most part that it is a moot point.  I can say that there is no evidence for a higher power; I could point out that The Bible and other texts like it have hundreds of contradictions and mistranslations and as such are clearly not the word of a divine being--but, the argument will always end in some version of me saying "these are the facts" and the religious person saying "I have faith."  It is all very circular.  Debate can be interesting, informative, and even fun, but it is no longer for me.  However, if a person wants to "argue" their case to me for their religion, I am happy to argue my "side" as well.

QUESTION: Do you want other people to become an atheist?
ANSWER: No.  I very much believe that a person should be free to believe what they want to believe, or to not believe in anything at all.  If you want to believe in Santa Claus, go ahead; if you want to believe that you are Napoleon, feel free; if you want to believe that there is someone in charge of your life apart from yourself or another tangible entity, be my guest.  It is not my place to decide these things for people.

QUESTION: Do you have any opinions about people who are theist? Do you think they are reasonable? 
ANSWER: My opinions vary from person to person, same as anything else.  This is, to me, like asking if I have an opinion of bank tellers.  It is a very broad group of people.  Very, very broad.  Being from a small, extremely religious town in southeastern Kentucky, most of my friends and family are religious.  I try not to offend any of them.  But, if we are being honest, I suppose that I have been known to say that religious people are typically religious for four reasons (in my experience). One, they were raised that way and never try to step outside their comfort zone.  Two, they are afraid of the consequences of not believing in whatever religion is popular in the area they are from.  Three, it is a crutch--a way to feel safe and protected and loved at all times; a way to put the responsibility off on someone else (God, in most cases) when things become too stressful.  And four, they have something to gain, like politicians.

QUESTION: Do you think your idea is reasonable?
ANSWER: Of course.  Doesn't everyone want to think that their ideas are reasonable?

QUESTION: Why don’t you believe an afterlife? Then what is the purpose of living for you?
ANSWER: I don't believe in an afterlife for the same reasons I don't believe in Santa Claus, unicorns, leprechauns, or vampires: I've never seen any reason to.

QUESTION: Do you think you should do good things then? 
ANSWER: Of course I do.  Treat others how you would like them to treat you.

QUESTION: Why do thing you should do good things?
ANSWER: It is common sense.  Do you think that if a religious person found out for sure one day that The Bible was false and God was not real, that they would just start killing and raping people?  I would hope that they would not.  Doing good things is good for society; it keeps it functioning.  It keeps me and the people I care about safe.  Doing good things, the right thing, ensures that if I forget to lock my door at night that my neighbor won't just walk into my house and steal my television and vice versa, even if he does not believe that some external force is in charge of the world and its inhabitants.

QUESTION: If you believe one day you’ll become soil, fall into the cycle of life, then what is the meaning of love for you?
ANSWER: I don't completely understand what love has to do with death, nor do I think everything has to have a meaning.  As a scientist, I am comfortable admitting that I do not have all of the answers.  But that doesn't mean that I should cut and paste my own made-up answers into the gaps of life that I can't explain.  But to answer the question more directly, love for me means probably about the same thing it means to most people.  It's simple things like playing a board game with my family over the most recent break; going out to dinner with my fiancĂ©; find the free time to snuggle up in bed with a good movie and my dog; protecting my little brother from anything that might cause him pain or suffering.... Love is love.  We all know it, and it has nothing to do the fact that our bodies decompose and become part of the "circle of life."  To me, thinking that humanity is somehow exempt from this circle is a bit deluded.  We are all here on this planet together right now, so let's cherish the limited time we have; do our best to be happy, productive, and fulfilled--instead of squabbling over what happens after our hearts stop beating.


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