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Topic: Is anyone else an atheist with BC besides me?

Forum: Life After Breast Cancer —

Managing life after a breast cancer diagnosis, including rediscovering intimacy, coping with fear of recurrence, reconnecting relationships, sharing hobbies and interests, and finding inspiration in daily life.

Posted on: Jan 18, 2008 06:39PM

thedudess wrote:

Hi I am newly diagnosed and I know alot of people rely on their faith for support and find great peace with that, however I am a atheist and was wondering if anyone else here was also.

thanks

Dx 1/7/2008, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/11 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 21, 2008 06:10PM iodine wrote:

Hi Diane, lovely explaination.  I do believe that those who don't follow our path do appreciate our kind thoughts, even in the manner of prayer. LOL

I used to know people who would actually get upset that I lit a candle for them.  On the other hand, in nursing school, I actually had another student stand over my bed and pray for my soul because I was becomming a Catholic---and it was a Catholic nursing school!

(shaking head in confusion)

All kind thoughts and yes, even prayers, are appreciated.  No matter to whom we pray or send positive thoughts.  IMO

Dotti---BE NOT AFRAID, Pope John Paul
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Jan 21, 2008 06:12PM kate101 wrote:

I'm an atheist if you're talking about believing in a God who intervenes in human affairs.  (There are many definitions of God that I can accept, but in general not the fundamentalist Christian definition.)

That being said, I accept good wishes from others in whatever form they are given.  If somebody says they are praying for me, I thank them, and I am not at all offended. 

I pray.  I pray for people I care about.  I just don't think there is some guy listening--I believe it is more of a focus of my own energy. 

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Jan 21, 2008 09:40PM - edited Mar 28, 2008 09:59PM by badboob67

This Post was deleted by badboob67.
When you're down to nothing, GOD is up to something! bb67.wikispaces.com/ Dx 2/15/2006, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 24/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 21, 2008 09:50PM SpunkyGirl wrote:

Diane,

How beautifully said....You can pray for me anytime!

Bobbie

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul."
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Jan 21, 2008 10:56PM Diana_B wrote:

This is an interesting thread.

Someone said to me recently that old line "There are no atheists in foxholes". However, I never believed in God and still don't, in spite of this experience.

I'm uncomfortabe with the word "atheist". I used it to describe myself when the oncology resident asked me about my "faith", but it didn't feel right. "Atheist" suggests you think about it and have some kind of opinion or philosophy - almost like you're actively rejecting something. I don't: I just don't connect with or understand the belief in God and have never felt like I had to think about it or come up with reasons or an argument. It's not a concern of mine and it's not natural to me to think about or be troubled by it. I guess I feel the onus of argument is on the believers lol.

When someone says they'll pray for me it depends on the way it's said. I usually just take it to mean that they're thinking about me and care and are wishing me well.

Darya

www.mybrilliantcareer.ca Originally diagnosed Feb. 06. Recurrence Nov. 2007 Dx 11/22/2007, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/20 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 21, 2008 11:01PM otter wrote:

Hey, badboob67, that's fine with me, too. Anything you think might help would be greatly appreciated. I may not be a believer myself, but who's to say you aren't right in the end?  :)

This is a really deep, personal topic that often causes people to be offended.  (You know what they say about talking politics or religion.)  Please let's everybody call a truce.  I don't think anybody meant to offend or insult anybody.  I'm pretty thin-skinned, and I was not offended by anything said in this particular thread.  Then again, I wasn't the person who tentatively asked the very first question.

Hey, we are all fighting on the same side in this other war--the one against BC.  Let's try to work together against that and not against each other.  Please?

otter

Dx 2008, IDC, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 12:25PM - edited Jan 22, 2008 12:46PM by Believer0711

Hi ladies,

I have very strong convictions about my faith in Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I feel very sad that people "seem" to be offended by loving support and prayers. I speak from my heart when I pray for someone. When I was diagnosed, no words from family and friends, not even church community, can calm me down. I guess I only wanted to hear what I want to hear. I cried endlessly, so scared that death is imminent. God's words comforted me, and I wanted to share that comfort to anyone who are going through the same turmoil. During this journey, heartfelt prayers lifted me up and allowed me to cope. And that's the best way I know to show my support and care.

For those who don't believe in God, prayers may mean nothing to you. But it doesn't bother me...you're still in my prayers...

God bless,

Aurora

Deut 7:15 and Psalm 91:16 "The Lord has taken sickness away from the midst of me and given me a full life span." Dx 11/12/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 12:37PM thedudess wrote:

Sealed
Dx 1/7/2008, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/11 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 01:39PM Iza wrote:

Just wondering... to those of you who are devout Christians: how would you feel if someone told you they would throw a witch spell in your honor tonight? Or that they would hold a Satanic ceremony in your honor? I have a feeling you would feel uncomfortable, to put it mildly.

Iza O.
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Jan 22, 2008 01:54PM siona wrote:

Agnostistic, but think that equal opportunity terrorist analogy is brilliant.Got a message from a religious  Jewish friend who said that G-d had a strange sense of humour by telling me through bc  I needed bigger breasts.I held onto that thought right through a very tough day today.

Dx 1/21/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 02:25PM anneshirley wrote:

In the past I subscribed to another breast cancer form.  A woman who had just learned her mets were advancing and she had a short time to live, wrote a post literally begging members for information on new chemo treatments, new combinations, new trials.  At the end, and very politely, she asked if only those who could provide medical assistance would reply to her post.  She added that she appreciated posts that say "I can't help but I'm praying for you," but she preferred just to get medical information.

The first reply to her post said almost exactly that:  "I can't help on chemo treatments, but I'm praying for you."  And quite a number of similar "praying" posts arrived after that and one or two that actually tried to help with chemo information.  I left the site shortly after that, as I use these forums mainly for medical information and occasionally for emotional support, and hope that I can give back the same.  The praying and new age stuff is unproductive for me and I stay away from such threads. Let me emphasize, "unproductive for me!" 

I am no longer a believer and I find it peculiar, and offensive, when people impose their views on me when they already know my views. I don't impose mine on them.  If you want to pray for someone that doesn't want your prayers, can't you do it quietly?  If God is all knowing, then surely he can read your thoughts. If you impose your beliefs on a person when you know they are not wanted, you are being provocative and unkind.  Why would anyone want to be unkind to someone who is suffering? I had sixteen years of a rigorous Christian education, and I know that to cause suffering to another is not part of the Christian ethic!  If Christ suffered in silence, why can't you offer up your prayers in silence.     

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 02:26PM Little-G wrote:

This is a very interesting thread.  I am not a Christian and do not believe in the big god in the sky either.  However, I have many friends that are.  When I was first dx with bc, it use to bother me when they said "I am praying for you."  I'm not sure why it bothered me.  I guess I must have taken some offense to it.  But now, I understand that it is their way of connecting.  If I feel they are in need of help, I have my own "ceremony" to pass along to them.  I don't tell them that, but I still consider them when doing rituals.  I do not go for people forcing their religion or beliefs on anyone.  But..I do understand that we all have different thoughts on life, and spirituality.  And if someone gives you good thoughts, and they are truly good thoughts and not something meant as sarcasm, I think we should accept those and return the favor, in what ever manor works for you.  It has been said that prayer can be powerful, my thoughts are more scientific for it, as it is a mass of positive energy being passed along.  But whatever you think, if given in a positive way, it can be a good thing.  Whatever your belief, I wish us all well!!!

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 02:29PM Little-G wrote:

This is a very interesting thread.  I am not a Christian and do not believe in the big god in the sky either.  However, I have many friends that are.  When I was first dx with bc, it use to bother me when they said "I am praying for you."  I'm not sure why it bothered me.  I guess I must have taken some offense to it.  But now, I understand that it is their way of connecting.  If I feel they are in need of help, I have my own "ceremony" to pass along to them.  I don't tell them that, but I still consider them when doing rituals.  I do not go for people forcing their religion or beliefs on anyone.  But..I do understand that we all have different thoughts on life, and spirituality.  And if someone gives you good thoughts, and they are truly good thoughts and not something meant as sarcasm, I think we should accept those and return the favor, in what ever manor works for you.  It has been said that prayer can be powerful, my thoughts are more scientific for it, as it is a mass of positive energy being passed along.  But whatever you think, if given in a positive way, it can be a good thing.  Whatever your belief, I wish us all well!!!

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 02:41PM anneshirley wrote:

But if someone has informed you in no uncertain terms that saying "you are praying for her," is offensive, why would you continue to do so, if not to annoy, or hurt, or offend that person.  I suggest that if someone really believes in God and the power of prayer, then doing it quietly would have the same effect, while not offending the other person.  My mother was a fully committed Christian and knew I no longer believed.  I know she prayed for me but she didn't push it on me, and I knew my non-beliefs were uncomfortable for her, and I didn't push them on her.  And when she had difficulty walking I would take her to church.  You need to have a huge ego to think that whatever you believe is good for the rest of the world, and I have a horror of folks with huge egos. 

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 03:09PM Little-G wrote:

Anne,

I wouldn't do that.  And that's what I meant by sarcasm.  Then I think that person is forcing it, and I don't go for that either.  I understand where you're coming from.  There are really very far and few people in between that are really sincere in their beliefs.  Some use it as a tool.  And huge egos, I agree.  Its one of the reasons I stopped believing.  Most seem very hypocritical.  But that's another topic.  I guess my point is, if someone is sincere in their belief and they say that they are praying for you, I think it comes from their heart.  If you tell them to stop saying it and they still do, then it seems like they are pushing it on you.  So..just my thoughts. 

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:25PM anneshirley wrote:

I agree, with both:  G and Madalyn.  It would be nice to have a place where we can discuss our problems, medical and otherwise, without having folks praying over us.  Makes me think of "Elmer Gantry."

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 03:26PM Analemma wrote:

This is a great conversation, and I'm so glad to see so many women finally "come out" in a forum where it seems ok to talk about faith and prayer, and taboo to mention a lack of faith or non-belief.  I am an atheist, also, and I am uncomfortable with too much "god-speak" but I know that many folks find great comfort from their belief.

I have a little funny story.  My dil was raised Catholic, and her mother is devout.  My son, like me, is atheist, and they did not marry in the Church, but had a civil ceremony with handfasting.  So, my DIL told mea couple of weeks ago, laughingly, that her mom had put me on the prayer list at church, but told DIL not to tell me because I'd be mad.  DIL knows that it wouldn't make me mad!  So her mother sent me flowers with a card "thinking of you" or something non-religious.  I wrote her a thank you and told her I appreciated her good wishes, whether or not they were in the form of prayer.  Yesterday I got a get well card, with a note "We are praying and/or thinking of you."  Everybody can laugh, kind sentiments and healing thoughts are expressed, and I'm grateful to know that people care about me.

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. --John W. Whitehead Dx 12/10/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 5/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:27PM Little-G wrote:

Madalyn,

Good enough for me!  Then I will share mine.  I like to go outside and be among the trees.  Listen to the wind.  I live on acreage in the middle of no where.  Its very quiet.  It gives me a sense of peace and lets me re-charge.  Being inside dosn't do it.  And being around people dosn't do it.  I need to be by myself and in a natural element.  Last night the moon was huge, and the sky was so clear I had a shadow!  It was awesome.  I strolled around for a while, and then sat quietly.  All bundled up.  It was beatiful and gave me a chance to re-charge.

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:34PM Analemma wrote:

Wow, this is active.  I started my comment, then took a phone call and two other posts were up.

I also wanted to mention that I had started attending the loca Unitarian Church (atheists welcome!) a couple of months before my mets dx, and was going to a women's group that meets twice a month.  I have had wonderful, kind emotional support from those great ladies, and no one has mentioned prayer even once!  Instead, I get emails saying "just thinking of you" or sometimes someone will send a sweet or funny poem, lunch invitations, just all the things you'd want and no talk of anything religious at all.  Just normal stuff, enough to know that I have a support group.

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. --John W. Whitehead Dx 12/10/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 5/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:54PM anneshirley wrote:

G--I get the same feeling when sitting on a beach looking at the sea or even when sitting in front of a fire just looking at the flames.  I lose awareness of myself at those times and become part of a larger whole. This is why I'm an atheist.  I know that I am no more important than a seashell on the beach or, with my cat sitting near the fire, that I am no more important than he is, or less important for that matter, just part of the whole. Like the seashell or my cat I will die and recycle.

I have moments of recidivism though.  When I was setting in the examing room waiting for the results of my FNB (they gave me the result almost immediately), I found myself praying that it wasn't cancer.  Old habits die hard, but in the end I stop praying and actually laughed at myself. It's tough being an atheist in a foxhole but there are lots of us out there.

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 04:06PM Sige wrote:

I've been following this thread since my last comments and even though I said I would "leave you to your thread" I am changing my mind!

First of all, I didn't mean to offend anyone...I think I took badboob's post in a different light and was surprised when it was so insulting to dudess. I was trying to understand what was so insulting about it.

Of course, I was only looking at it from my point of view, which is that even though I am not a christian I accept people's good wishes in any way they want to give them to me.  I believe that prayer is just another form of magick and if prayer is their power, then so be it.  Anyone who's known me for awhile on here knows that I am pagan (no worries though...would never do magick for you without your permission).

I  embrace diversity and honor everyone's right to believe and worship in their own way.

I'm never sure what to say to christians...I don't pray to their God so "praying for you" wouldn't work.  I do send "healing energy and positive thoughts" for people who have asked for support which I think (hope) is safe...?!?

I guess I just wanted to say that I could have made my comment sound a little nicer and I apologize if I hurt anyone before.

Blessed be,

Peggy 

"Religion is about creation, and for that reason religion should be about the earth." - Laurie Cabot Surgery 3/25/2006 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Dx 4/3/2006, DCIS, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 8/1/2006 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 9/22/2006
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Jan 22, 2008 04:14PM paige-allyson wrote:

Madalyn, little-g, anneshirly, sunflowers, DudessSealed it was a joy reading your last round of responses and I so glad to be able to connect with you all. It's silent and snowing here too. Last night we shut out the living room light to see the shadows of the trees falling across the snow. Allyson
Dx 5/18/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 04:28PM MarieKelly wrote:

Yes, I'm an athiest too. Was raised catholic and spent 9 very long years in a catholic grade school. Somewhere around 3rd grade I stopped believing what I was being taught about religion and have never since had any doubt about feeling there is no god. I spent nearly 14 years as a hospital oncology nurse and during that time, saw many people die and a whole lot of prayers being offered in many different religions. Never once did I ever see god respond to any of those prayers...not once in all that time.  Like many of you have said, I have no problem with anyone offering up prayers to myself or anyone else ...they just simply have no meaning for me beyond knowing the person offering them is intending their best wishes and goodwill. 

Ki-67 5%. Wide margin lumpectomy and biopsy track removal. Refused radiation and hormonal therapy. Dx 2/22/2004, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 04:30PM - edited Jan 22, 2008 04:33PM by anneshirley

Hi Peggy,

Nice to see you're back.   

Marie,

You had lots more courage than I did.  I started having doubts at about same time you did (also attended Catholic schools) but repressed them for years.  It took me another fifteen years to accept my doubts.   

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 04:34PM paige-allyson wrote:

Sunflowers- B. Yes I did. W. Farms is about an hour and 15 from here about as far as Amherst. I'm in the NE corner right near the MA border so Worcester is actually closer than Htfd. Very nice with the makeup trip. Gotta go- do not want to hijack the thread. (Please disregard this brief interruption). Glad the discussion is back on track. WHEW!

Dx 5/18/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 05:27PM Isabella4 wrote:

Hi girls, another atheist here.

I just have no time at all for religion, to me its no better than mumbo jumbo, all this bowing and scraping, and praying, WHERE does it get them all??? It certainly does not cure them. It most certainly does not make them a better person than those of us who have no belief.

As a child I had religion rammed down my throat, my mother was religion mad. We were made to trip off to church twice on a Sunday, plus Sunday school, then when she changed her ideas we had to start taking Catholic instruction. That didn't last long, we were hot foot to the Methodists next, my poor sister being made to stay on at a Catholic school. Then along came the Jehovas Witness'  with my mother having bible study at home regularly, This was followed by a spell at the Baptist chapel, the good old Salvation Army, and the Quakers (I have to admit I was at peace with the Quaker take on things) I lost it when the Mormons moved into town...I was old enough to stop the madness. Each and every one of these groups of people were hell bent on drawing us all into their ways, so creepy I thought, WHY foist religion down peoples throats.

Way to go for me is the scientific route, mixed with Buddhist principles. I am a pacifist, and I firmly believe all conflict in this world has religion in its roots.

I feel at peace with nature, I don't need religion to make me a decent person, I don't need a directive from god for me to help out any of my fellow beings if I can. I can tap on someones door and offer help just as well as the do gooders from the local church can, and I most certainly do not want anyone praying for me and mine.

Thats just my take on things, I think more and more people are shifting their ideas over here in UK, only 3% of people go to church regularly,the bishops and archbishops are spinning round in their dresses wondering where all the money is going to come from to keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed to...great big palaces and country houses... while people are living on the streets. So much for christian charity and prayer. 

Ooooooo, I shall get run out of town now !!!!!!!

Isabella.

Dx 5/14/2003, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/26 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 05:35PM - edited Jan 22, 2008 05:35PM by anneshirley

Isabella, Not I hope before I get a chance to tell you how much I laughed at the vision of the bishops spinning around in their dresses.  Oh, those country houses!  I'd probably pretend just to live in one of them!

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 06:13PM mke wrote:

Count me in the atheists camp.  I spent too many years in a Catholic school too.

One good thing about being an atheist is that you don't have to wonder why God let this happen to you.

I accept prayers with thanks, and I send good vibes, I reckon they are the same things.  I was however, quite touched by my little 8 year old great-nephew making me his "intention" which I think is a sort of prayer object.  His grandmother sent me the note he made to announce this in catechism class.   It's very cute.

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Jan 22, 2008 06:29PM Sige wrote:

Well said Isabella!

"Religion is about creation, and for that reason religion should be about the earth." - Laurie Cabot Surgery 3/25/2006 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Dx 4/3/2006, DCIS, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 8/1/2006 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 9/22/2006
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Jan 22, 2008 08:26PM - edited Jan 22, 2008 08:27PM by badboob67

Because thedudess said this

"I have had many people say they will pray for me and I am fine with that" I was therefore mystified as to why she is insulted that I said I will pray for her.

My initial post was an attempt to beg your forgiveness in advance if, in the future, I inadvertantly offer my support to you and say, "I am praying for you." I was trying to explain that I do not say it with the intent to offend, but with true and heartfelt care for what you are experiencing. Her follow-up to my post indicated that she felt it to be borderline insulting. 

I am not sure where Madalyn gets the idea that I was lecturing on the "goodness of prayer". I was, however, trying to clarify the intent of someone who offers prayer as by way of emotional support. As for "scolding" "proper appreciativeness"?  Well,  I don't really know what to say. I was talking about how I feel if someone offers support to me in a way that differs from my own beliefs. I DO appreciate the THOUGHT behind it whether or not I appreciate the method.

If someone wants to spin around thrice and click their ruby-shoed heels together for me, I am truly grateful. And Iza, if that was a sincere offer I would thank you for expressing your care from where you are "coming from".  I am befuddled that my honest attempt at having a respectful dialog has stirred up so much ire. I respect your choices; please respect mine.

I don't see where I was trying to shove ANYTHING down anyone's throat--unless having a heart and caring what another human being is enduring can be considered so. 

As I am obviously being viewed as an inconsiderate, condescending thread-stealer, I will post no further on this thread.  I am sorry for being the impetus for turning the tide of the conversation away from a respectful interchange of thoughts and ideas. 

When you're down to nothing, GOD is up to something! bb67.wikispaces.com/ Dx 2/15/2006, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 24/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-

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