Wow maybe atheism is a religion. I have been an atheist ever since I was a child in rejection of religion. When my mom brought me to church I found nothing taught there made sense or felt right. I was reading about mythology since I was 11 maybe before. The stories told to me like Noah's Arc seemed nonsensical. The more I studied mythology the more I found things in it that had things in common with religion like the virgin birth. I was told by everyone I knew that I was going to go to hell for not believing this tripe. I denied having a soul that could go to hell. In fact I denied anything supernatural. To me once you proved one supernatural phenomena you proved them all.
I looked to anthropology to explain to me why man as a whole tended to need religion. What I found was as science advanced religion became less necessary because things that people didn't understand became more understandable and easier to explain. I had experiences that science couldn't directly answer but I denied my own experiences knowing
1. That accepting theses experiences as real would bring me into accepting the supernatural and 2. That if I wanted to continue to live free of the sickness of religion it would be best if I had support by other atheist.
In other words I joined the atheist religion in order to avoid all the others. So I to clung to "THE KNOWN" that is what can science answer? What has science studied or tested and found to be true. The fact that I was attacked by demons in my sleep had to be ignored because demons are supernatural and I would have to accept the christian devil therefor all Christianity.
Then I began to question this. If I could question religion because of my experience why couldn't question my experience outside the context of the accepted religions? Science would just laugh at the question. So I looked into the older religions. And sure enough I found descriptions of the soul that had nothing to do with God or salvation. In fact my research into the devil found that Christians made him up borrowing from The Persians. Later they borrowed from the Greeks god pan.
So for a while I experimented with paganism. But again although paganism seemed more balanced with both God and Goddess it made me feel that I belonged to another religion based on various mythologies. Worse than that it gave me no answers to psychic attacks beyond magic.
In fact when I met pagans most of them seemed to belong to Wicca. They were witches and believed that Christians revised all that Wicca taught in order to created a new religion. These wiccans had no interest in anything accept accumulating power. They did this by casting spells. Again I have no interest in accepting supernatural especially people obsessed with power. This why I turned away from Christianity from the beginning. From here I learned that pagans were simply people that made a religion out of mythological gods and got all their teachings from Shamans.
So I started studying shamanism. I needed some explanation for whether I had a soul independent of worshiping gods or casting spells. I do not believe gods are real or that magic is real.
But I realized that I am psychic in some ways and science like religion again let me down when I tried to figure out what to do about this. So although I am still very enthusiastic about science and even agree with what most atheist and scientist say ( I agree with most of their beliefs and reasoning.) I still had to accept eventually that I was having experiences that were neither understood or accepted by either.
For instance when I was 16 I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance that caused depression and suicidal tendencies. Religion would have me pray and fight demons. Science would have me physically addicted to pharmaceuticals for the rest of my life. I knew in my soul that neither would work. In shamanism I found that all illness was caused by imbalances in the soul. Now science would say this is ridiculous and biology proves this otherwise medicine wouldn't work. But medicine isn't a discipline invented by science. Shamans were first called medicine men and for good reason. The herbal medicine that shamans used to treat illness is the basis of scientific medicine.
"For thousands of years, healers have used plants to cure illness. Aspirin, the world's most widely used drug, is based on compounds originally extracted from the bark of a willow tree, and more than a quarter of medicines found on pharmacy shelves contain plant compounds. Now Western medicine, faced with health crises such as AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, has begun to look to the healing plants used by indigenous peoples to develop powerful new medicines"
From Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Rain Forest
Anyway to make a long story short using shamanism methods of rescuing pieces of the soul in dream work vision quest etc I was able to completely cure this imbalance in myself. I also found out that these so called demons that attacked me in my sleep were simply what shamans called http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R815x4BIsjU
Through Shamanism I was able to shut out fliers in dreams shield myself from my empathic abilities so that they didn't overwhelm me and cure my chemical imbalance by recovering my soul energies. And I did all this without casting spells or calling on God(s) .
What does science have to say about this? Well science says that either I never had a chemical imbalance in the first place or I am still chemically imbalanced and I am in denial of this. Now I can not prove my soul directly. But I can prove science wrong on both counts. I indeed had a chemical balance and it was diagnosed and treated. The pharmaceuticals applied had effects both beneficial and harmful.
Since my body and mind resisted the synthetic or inorganic pharmaceuticals of man I quit taking them. Instead of making things better for my state of mind they made them worse. True I wasn't depressed all the time but they created a whole new set of problems. As the effective dose was raised my ability to think clearly and quickly diminished and my dreams were more open to attacks.
Science would say this was all hallucination and call these hallucinations an unwanted side effect. So medical science would suggest that I change pharmaceuticals(Prescribe me different drugs) .And this is exactly what they did. My soul warned me of this. And now I believed in a soul. Because I accepted my soul as awareness independent of my mind based on thoughts I actually observed fliers at work. I was switched to a new drug Prozac. Fliers are inorganic beings and pharmaceuticals are synthetic. Therefor they work well together.
On Prozac I had very psychotic thoughts. But now I know I am not my thoughts but that I am my soul. So I was able to distance myself as a soul and see the psychotic thoughts for what they were..fliers. I quit Prozac started practicing shamanism and never had depression or psychotic thoughts again. Ok sometimes I still observe fliers but they have lost all power over me and stopped attacking me in my dreams.
Most atheist I met during this process and now after admitted to being agnostic about God. But now like in my past encounters atheist are continuing to claim that they can prove the soul doesn't exist. Or at least they are claiming that science doesn't presently support the existence of the soul. But before Einstein science couldn't prove the existence of the quantum nature of reality. Quantum Reality wasn't measurable or observable. So only Newtonian Physics were accepted. Even Einstein himself doubted quantum physics would ever have any real basis in science.
The same reasons he doubted that quantum physics described the nature of reality seems to me the same reason atheist doubt that there will ever be scientific evidence for the soul. Einstein said "God (Nature) doesn't play dice". In other words he rejected the new science of quantum physics because of nonlocality or spooky action at a distance and more importantly what QP would do to determinism. After reading some of the post on this board I realize he need not have worried.
The religion of determinism is alive and well in science just as it is in religion. Anything that would allow for freewill or the soul in quantum physics is explained away. And yet the problems that Einstein encountered in quantum physics are still with us today and not completely explained as the religion of determinism would have us believe.
These problems include
Quantum Probability & the Measurement Problem
Quantum physics is defined mathematically by the Schroedinger equation, which depicts the probability of a particle being found at a certain point. This probability is fundamental to the system, not merely a result of ignorance. Once a measurement is made, however, you have a definite result.
The measurement problem is that the theory doesn't completely explain how the act of measurement actually causes this change. Attempts to solve the problem have lead to some intriguing theories.
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
The physicist Werner Heisenberg developed the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which says that when measuring the physical state of a quantum system there's a fundamental limit to the amount of precision that can be achieved.
For example, the more precisely you measure the momentum of a particle the less precise your measurement of its position. Again, in Heisenberg's interpretation this wasn't just a measurement error or technological limitation, but an actual physical limit.
Quantum Entanglement & Nonlocality
In quantum theory, certain physical systems can become "entangled," meaning that their states are directly related to the state of another object somewhere else. When one object is measured, and the Schroedinger wavefunction collapses into a single state, the other object collapses into its corresponding state ... no matter how far away the objects are (i.e. nonlocality).
Einstein, who called these influences "spooky action at a distance," illuminated this concept with his EPR Paradox.
In attempts to solve the measurement problem in quantum physics (see above), physicists frequently run into the problem of consciousness. Though most physicists try to sidestep the issue, it seems that there is a link between the conscious choice of experiment and the outcome of the experiment.
Some physicists, most notably Roger Penrose, believe that current physics cannot explain consciousness, and that consciousness itself has a link to the strange quantum realm.
It is an irony the atheist on this board use measurement in science as a proof that the soul doesn't exist considering the measurement problem in quantum physics is about consciousness.
Again most atheist are I have met are agnostic on the question of whether God will ever be proven to be a reality. Not the Christian concept but something else that meets the definition of a creator or intelligent force behind creation. But when it comes to the soul they are certainit doesn't exist. Of course if you study theology like I did you will see that almost any accept understanding of God is compatible with determinism. If the soul were ever proven to exist it would have to be a completely free entity capable of influencing or even creating on some level the reality we live in. Quantum Physicist, Atheist , and Christians resist this for the existential nausea this creates in them where the words "condemned to be free" is more than just a life sentence but an eternal one.
If awareness has existed forever and always will then not only are we in Hell but we are in Hell of our own creation and are responsible for every piece of suffering in our world. No wonder man submits to the fliers or inorganic beings shamans say control him. No wonder the religions of man including atheism are based on in determinism. Compared to how reality might actually be I can see why most atheist find nihilism so seductive.