former Mormon Atheists
The following was a discussion from Eric's ex-Mormon mailing list.

someone wrote:
I am of the opinion that it is easy for a former mormon to stop believing in anything. To throw out all in their mind which is "godly" and just go the way of the wind.
to which I responded:
"When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything" is a wonderful quote that comes to mind. Perhaps trying to be "godly" or finding a god is in fact "just the way of the wind", and there is much to be had in things that aren't so "windy".
(In other words, a philosophy grounded on reality may be far more illuminating and may allow one to become interested in "everything" rather than rely on some sort of personal god to run the show.)
several responses followed including this one:
When I left the church I did throw out everything regarding "god". I did that because I needed to have a clean slate in order to rewrite my beliefs on everything, not just the judeo-christian formula for successful spirituality.

Do I believe in anything in a pre-defined religious sense? Not at the moment. I'm still working on it. I think the world and universe and humanity are all so broad and limitless that to box these concepts in with an omnipresent/potent/scient leader and it's accompanying omnibus of an instruction manual(s) is unimaginable.

Do I want to believe in something? I think to do so would be leaving myself open for disappointment. By this I'm refer to My Life As A Mormon, when I prayed and prayed and fasted and fasted and sacrificed and sacrificed and paid and paid and nothing happened because I wasn't good enough, dedicated enough, spiritual enough. Never again will I allow myself to be in that situation.

Do I need to believe in anything? Yes. I need to believe in myself and my inherent goodness; my humanity, if you will. I need to see this in others as well. Even though society, east/west/north/south, has been shaped and moulded, legally and morally, by beliefs in an omnipresent being, I choose to think that this is a result of our inherent good qualities that operate independent of a host of one or many sitting on a cloud in the cosmos, directing our lives as they see fit.

I am happy where I am right now, without claiming a god or saviour. I don't mind working out this stuff. If I'm wrong, and there is someone out there, weighing my motives and movements then I'll deal with them at the appropriate time, should we meet. I have no shame in denying their existence until I can, with complete honesty, say "I believe". My lack of belief in a god does not preclude me from being a good, caring, productive person.

to which someone else responded:
This sums up EXACTLY how I feel too! Why do religious people feel like it takes the label of "Christian" or "Mormon" to be a good person, to have integrity, and to care about their fellow human beings? Quite honestly, I feel like I care even more now. Am I alone in that feeling folks?
to which I concluded:
Nope. I think I've become a much better person since becoming an atheist.

It's easier (and far more enjoyable) to be good when you don't have repentance to fall back on. ;)

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