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New Member Intro: jeffazi

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jeffazi

New Member Intro: jeffazi

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Greetings all,Just joined the forum. I'm an attorney living in St. Louis, Missouri. Married, 2 kids (one of each). I'm a former theist. I became an atheist about 4 years ago. Interested in all kinds of books - 20th century literature, philosophy, science, and more. My main hobbies are reading, playing guitar, and listening to music.Regards, Jeff
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Re: New Member Intro: jeffazi

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Welcome Jeff!Glad to have you here. Hopefully you will enlighten us on your conversion from theism. I like to hear the different stories people have for transcending the need for a god.What kind of music do you like? Play? I played when I was younger in heavy rock bands (Cro-Mags, Metallica...etc). I have 4 kids (2 of each).Anyway. Glad to have you aboard and hope to see you on the forums!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: New Member Intro: jeffazi

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JeffNice to meet you! I'm also interested in hearing the reasons why you became an atheist. Share a little with us please. Chris
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Re: New Member Intro: jeffazi

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I hope that you enjoy booktalk! I think that you will find many people here who share your interests.
jeffazi

Re: New Member Intro: jeffazi

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Hey all,Thanks for the warm welcome. Sorry I was song long following up with a post but it's been hectic at work.I was born and raised in a fairly liberal protestant tradition - the Episcopal Church - and never really had religion crammed down my throat. The churches I attended didn't preach hellfire and damnation. As I moved into my teenage years, I lost interest in church (as did my parents). My father was a pharmacist by profession but also served as a deacon in the church. He became disallusioned with the church when we moved to a diocese that didn't allow deacons to give homilies and perform other liturgical functions (I can't recall what they are). So, by the time I was 13 or 14 I no longer attended church. From that point until about 10 years ago I was non-religious and I never gave much, if any, thought to it.About ten years ago, I was watching a Frontline series on PBS called "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians". It was an exploration of the beginnings and development of Christianity and most of the commentators in the series were moderate to liberal Christian scholars like John Dominic Crossan, Paula Fredrickson, etc. For some reason the topic sparked my interest and one day I was driving by the local Episcopal Church and I dropped in to check things out. I met an Episcopal priest (I'll call him Steve), who has since become one of my best friends, and we sat and talked about various religious, spiritual, and other issues for what seemed like hours. Steve was educated in the liberal Episcopal tradition at Yale Divinity School. He also had advanced degrees in psychology and an extensive knowledge of Jungian psychology and post-modernism. Steve invited me to come to church on Sunday and so I started attending on a regular basis. Note that my wife and kids are Roman Catholics and they were attending Mass on Sundays without me. Something about being back in an Episcopal Church was comforting - I was familiar with the liturgy from my childhood experience in the church, I knew all the songs, etc. The best part of going was listening to Steve's homilies. He is a gifted homilist and always spoke in timely, relevant topics. As time went on, I became more active in my parish. I began reading extensively in the area of theology, church history, and historical-critical exegesis. I became fairly knowlegeable quickly and Steve asked me to assist in Sunday adult education class - the Episcopal version of Bible Study. I was elected to the vestry - the church's lay administration. Church activities started taking up almost all of my Sundays and a couple nights every month. My family, while understanding that this was important to me, was sad that I was spending more time away from them. My wife never once asked me to stop going or to go with her to Mass. She never suggested that I convert to Catholicism, but ultimately I did. I did so for all the wrong reasons. I rationalized that the differences between the Episcopal and Catholic Church were minimal and certainly not large enough to justify spending every Sunday away from my wife and kids. I approached my wife's parish priest two weeks from the day when new members were admitted to the Church. I sat with him for over an hour and told him about all the studying I had been doing. One of the scholars I read extensively was Raymond E. Brown. The priest was impressed with my knowledge of Catholicism. I told him I had decided to convert but was disappointed that I would have to wait an entire year and begin in the next year's RCIA class (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). He told me that I knew more than most Catholics and that he wouldn't require me to go through RCIA and that I could be received into the Church with that year's class. So, in essence, I tested out of RCIA.I never really accepted all the teachings of the Catholic Church. Claims of papal infallibility, the assumption of Mary, the immaculate conception, etc. all seemed pretty outlandish. In retrospect, these claims are no less absurd than the general claims of all Christian denomination
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Re: New Member Intro: jeffazi

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Don't be sorry for the length! It is a well written summary of things that contribute to one of life's most encompassing choices. I don't think it's odd at all that you miss the rituals. They are soothing even without belief in the actions. Welcome to the board!
marti1900

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I was raised in a Presbyterian church, and I immediately knew what you meant about the comfort of the liturgy, the service. About a year ago I attended church again with some of my family...one of the grands was performing with a group for some special day. The minute I entered the church, that feeling enveloped me. I think we associate that comfort not with god, or even with religion, but as a nostalgia for our childhood...at least I'm sure that's what it was for me.Anyway, nice to meet you and I look forward to hearing more from you.Marti in Mexico
jeffazi

Re: New Member Intro: jeffazi

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I don't think it's odd at all that you miss the rituals. They are soothing even without belief in the actions. Welcome to the board!Thanks for the welcome. It's nice to hear that others understand some of the things that I'm experiencing. Jeff
jeffazi

Re: Hello

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I think we associate that comfort not with god, or even with religion, but as a nostalgia for our childhood...at least I'm sure that's what it was for me.Thanks for the nice welcome Marti.I think you're right about nostalgia for childhood. For me it's also just the familiarity. Somehow, an hour at the Ethical Society doesn't invoke the same feelings, although it is not without benefits. Regards, Jeff
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