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My bio: Hello, Reddit! I am Sarah Jane Wood, Director of the Hotline Project, a one-of-a-kind peer-support phone and live chat line for those struggling with the negative effects of religion. Our goal is to provide neutral ground for those who have doubts, concerns, or difficulties related to religion. Our clients are extremely diverse and represent both atheists and theists around the world. Since we launched in February 2015, we have helped over 1000 unique clients and trained over 100 agents. Our entire staff is 100% volunteer, and our funding comes entirely from donations to our parent non-profit organization, Recovering from Religion. AMA!!
Are you struggling with doubts, concerns, or difficulties related to religion? Is someone you care about struggling? We are here to help!
1-84-I-DOUBT-IT (1-844-368-2848) - Open from 4 PM - 10 PM central time, 7 days a week
Chat line: http://www.hotlineproject.org/chat-hotline/ - Open from 8 AM - 10 PM central time, weekends only
Apply to be a volunteer or hotline agent: http://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/volunteer/
Donate to the cause: http://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/donate/
Please note: Religion is a deeply personal and often controversial topic. Please be civil to one another. Thanks! :)
Edit: I'm stepping away from my computer to grab some snacks, but I'm going to do my best to answer every question on this thread. Keep posting! I'll be back shortly.
Edit 2: I'm back!
Edit 3: Since the discussion seems to be winding down, I'm going to sign off, but I'll keep checking back for as long as I keep getting question. If you respond, so will I! Thank you for being such awesome Redditors! I was braced for trolling and proselytizing, but it turns out everyone was just lovely. :)
Do you ever recommend for people to join reddit and post their stories in ex-religion subreddits?
Also, shout out to /r/thegreatproject in which ex-theists post their deconversion stories.
Also, do you ever visit /r/DebateReligion, /r/DebateAnAtheist etc?
Yes! I recommend the various exreligious subreddits quite often to callers, especially callers who are unable to attend local meetups. When people are closeted and living in situations where it is unsafe to go to secular events and gatherings, online communities can be an excellent alternative.
I hadn't heard of The Great Project, but I'm going to share my own story there now that I know about it. What an awesome idea!
I have lurked in the various debate subs off and on, but I haven't really engaged. I think it's great that they exist though. When I was in the midst of my own deconversion, I watched a ton of debate videos on YouTube. It was really helpful to hear people rationally debate religious ideas.
One of the last things that kept me believing in religion was the fear of hell. I still think about it from time to time. Will that ever go away?
Fear of hell is a common concern for both theists and atheists, especially recent deconverts. One of the best ways to combat lingering fear or anxiety stemming from religion is information. For example, this is a great YouTube video about the history of the devil. When you know about the origins of a given idea, it often helps to demystify it. If you continue to struggle with the idea of hell, something that can of course cause a lot of anxiety, therapy can also be very helpful. Check out the Secular Therapist Project for help finding a therapist who will not offer religious advice.
edit: link formatting
I'm 62. Last year, I had no one for about a year that I thought I could talk to about the information I researched about my religion (Mormonism). It was agony and I think I aged 5 years that one year. This Hotline would have been perfect for me.
I'm so sorry to hear that you went through that. Deconversion is hard even in the best of circumstances. Going through it alone is terrible. I wish you had known about the Hotline Project earlier, but I'm glad you know about it now! Even now, if you ever feel you need to talk or vent or get resources, give us a call or chat. Let your peers know we're here as well. We still have very low visibility, even though we've been around almost two years.
Since Mormons, Jehowah's Witnesses and Muslims believe in very different things then the difficulty is not based on what they believe specifically. It could be anything. The problem would be more about the extent to which their doctrine is intertwined with their family/social life.
Absolutely. Well said.
How can I volunteer? And if I do volunteer, is there training? The idea of fielding calls kinda scares me.
We would love to have you as a volunteer! The training that you would receive is a total of 4-6 hours (broken up into chunks) of online training with a live trainer. Training covers how to handle certain types of calls, how to be an active listener, what resources are appropriate for what situations, and how to use our hotline software. Following training, you'll also complete a minimum of 4 hours of mentored shifts with an experienced agent. The mentoring process isn't intended to nitpick your call technique. Instead, it's meant to help facilitate your transition into working as a solo agent. While you're on a call (or chat), your mentor can listen in and offer guidance, suggest resources, and suggest questions to ask the caller. Everybody's a little nervous at first, but after a couple of calls you'll build confidence. It's very rewarding.
If you're nervous about taking calls (I know I was!!), you might also consider volunteering as a chat agent instead. Our chat line is entirely text-based. It's often a little easier for particularly introverted agents (like me!).
Finally, if you get through training and you feel like being an agent isn't a good fit for you, you can always volunteer in another capacity. We are always looking for trainers, supervisors, tech support reps, database managers, etc.
Go to http://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/volunteer/ to apply.
Based on the work you are doing, what are the top 3 factors do you see as key in triggering doubt in believers? My exposure to Matt Dillahunty and The Atheist Experience show started me down a rabbit hole of doubt.
Off the top of my head...
Which can really be summarized as: information.
What if anything is your group doing in regards to lawmakers wanting to allow gay conversion therapy when it has been proven to be a bunch of BS as well as damaging to the individual going through the process? Does your group field questions from people going through this? Lastly what advice do you give people wanting to tell their parents but are afraid of being kicked out but are having a hard time concealing their atheism?
> What if anything is your group doing in regards to lawmakers wanting to allow gay conversion therapy when it has been proven to be a bunch of BS as well as damaging to the individual going through the process?
Gay conversion therapy is a topic that really weighs on me. I'm glad to see that it's being fought against in the courts lately. However, to best serve our clients, the Hotline Project doesn't play an active role in influencing lawmakers (though I strongly support people who do).
>Does your group field questions from people going through this?
Absolutely. Many of our callers are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and we hear a lot of stories about families and churches denying, disapproving, and/or condemning individuals' sexual identities, including some families who have forced their children into conversion therapy. A big part of what we offer these callers/chatters is peer-counseling and support. It can be really freeing to be able to speak openly with someone who truly values and respects the caller. We also have resources in our database that can help people struggling in those situations, such as Secular Safe House and the Secular Therapist Project.
>Lastly what advice do you give people wanting to tell their parents but are afraid of being kicked out but are having a hard time concealing their atheism?
If you think it's going to be more trouble than it's worth then it's okay to delay coming out. If you have decided to come out, remember it's a process. The first conversation may not go very well, but hopefully there'll be other conversations. Don't try to downplay your decision to them, and don't try to convert/debate. You have changed your mind about one thing, but you're still the great person you've always been.
> It's ok though your answers have told me enough about you
Does that help you dismiss her as a person?
Haha, probably. It's okay. I was actually sitting over here all day feeling a little disappointed that no one even tried to troll (not that I mind having such an awesomely civil AMA on such a controversial topic, of course). Thanks for stepping up and saying that nonetheless. Have an internet hug from me. /HUG
Wow, that was fast! Thank you soooooo much for what you are doing! I really appreciate your incredibly thoughtful answer and for the encouraging words regarding having a happy, healthy, loving mixed faith marriage. And thank you for the links, I will definitely check those out. I will let my wife know you're there and will keep my fingers crossed that she calls.
Good luck! You're already off to a good start just by being proactive. :)
Hey Sarah! I'm very happy that something like this exists. I think as time goes on it'll get more and more calls.
Anyway, I just wanted you to about Mormon Spectrum. It's a website that put together a list of all the in person exmormon groups that people can join for support/social interaction. Would you consider creating something similar for other ex-religions?
That's an amazing resource! Thank you so much for sharing that with me! I'm going to contact our Resources Coordinator right now and get it added to our resource database for callers. As far as creating something similar for other religions. I think that's an excellent idea! That's something I'll float out to our resources team as well. Chances are that's a project that would be best handled by someone else, simply because it would likely be quite time consuming. However, we actually categorize a lot of our resources by religious denomination (e.g. ex-Muslims, ex-JWs, etc.), and we do our best to have diverse resources available to serve specific religious groups.
I live in Dubai :3, Can I still Volunteer?
It certainly is possible for you to volunteer from Dubai. We have volunteers from all over the world. Just go to http://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/volunteer/. We look forward to working with you!
Have you ever offered support to a believing spouse of someone who has lost their faith? As a non believing Mormon, I feel like I have an incredible amount of support from the exmormon community. However, I feel like my wife is in a place of almost complete isolation and is being severely neglected by her church in this regard. I feel like the information they do give her is not healthy and is meant to undermine my credibility.
Yes! While many of our callers are atheists or are headed that way, we are very welcoming to theists as well. We are always happy to offer support and resources to those who are struggling with a loved one's deconversion. Please let her know that we're here. Also, here are a couple of resources you might want to check out and share with your wife.
In Faith and In Doubt (book)
Til Death Do Us Part (article)
Good on you for being mindful of your spouse's needs. It's easy to feel resentful/frustrated in an interfaith relationship, but it's very possible to have a happy, healthy, loving mixed-faith marriage.
What is a typical phone call like when someone calls the hotline?
Call content varies a lot so I'll provide a couple of common examples. Our most common calls tend to be from a) closeted non-believers who are contemplating coming out or b) callers who have lost social connections and a sense of community since leaving the church and are looking for new connections.
For people considering coming out, we usually spend quite awhile just chatting about the person's situation. We can also help create an action plan, a step-by-step plan and timeline for coming out. We also emphasize that coming out is a very personal decision that ultimately rests with the individual. Under no circumstance do we ever advise a caller to come out if they haven't already made the decision to do so.
In the second scenario, again, we usually spend some time talking about the caller's situation to get an idea of how we can best help. We also try to figure out what type of group would best suit the caller. For example, would they rather join a group that practices street epistemology and counter-apologetics or a group that organizes humanist community service projects? Based on the info we gather, we have a wide variety of resources through which callers can find local groups, meetups, or support groups.
edit: link formatting
In the experience of your group, from which religion or denomination do people have the most difficulty recovering?
Among Christians, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses have an extremely hard time extricating themselves from religion, especially because leaving often comes with substantial personal costs (e.g., being disfellowshipped, losing family relationships, divorce).
Muslims also have a very hard time leaving religion. From the conversations I've had with ex-Muslims, one's family is a big factor. Like any religion, Muslims fall on a broad spectrum. It's presumably much easier for a mainstream Muslim from a relatively liberal family to deconvert than a Muslim from a deeply devout and conservative family.
In all cases, location is a big factor as well. Leaving religion in the South is a different animal than leaving religion in Seattle. Obviously, I'm generalizing here, but those are the trends I've seen.
Your bio mentions that you support people around the world. What kind of percentage of your calls are outside the US?
Since our organization is based in the US, most of our advertising, podcast appearances, etc. reaches those in the US. However, we're really starting to get traction in other countries. Off the top of my head, we've had callers and chatters from the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco. We also have agents in six countries, including the US, Canada, Sweden, the UK, Australia, and South Africa. As far as the percentage of calls goes, I don't know off the top of my head, but somewhere around 5% probably. We just launched our live chat line in February 2016, and it made it much easier for international clients to reach us (it's internet-based). The phone line gets far few calls from abroad since international calling often overrides the toll-free thing, though we get a lot of calls from Canada.
How do you like being a part of the hotline project?
From me: I love it!! I've been with the hotline since it launched, and I wore pretty much every hat available (agent, mentor, supervisor, trainer, tech support) before becoming the director. Being able to help a person in a difficult situation is incredibly rewarding and intrinsically motivating.
From my fellow agents who are helping me answer questions: "Being a member of the hotline is awesome! It's so uplifiting to be able to provide support and care to those who feel like they can't go elsewhere. Hearing callers say 'thank you' is what it's all about!"
"Knowing that I've been where they are and can help them get through it is very rewarding."
How do feel about openly confrontational atheists?
I think there's a time and place for everything, including confronting/debating religious folks regarding their beliefs. Shows like the Atheist Experience and Dogma Debate are essential and provide space to challenge ideas. Likewise, people like Dave Silverman are making great strides for the secular community by being outspoken "firebrand" atheists. That being said, providing safe spaces like our hotline is also essential. Having religious doubts, much less actually deconverting, can be stressful and scary. Many people face very significant personal consequences if they deconvert or come out as atheists. I think it's imperative that we give people who are struggling a place to speak openly with someone who is empathetic and non-judgmental.
Fantastic! I usually carry bricks around with me to eat during breaks. Also I typed this while servicing a Catholic school
Excellent choice! Cheese is one of my primary food sources, haha.
How can a friend or family member be supportive of someone who may want to leave religion? Also, best practices and what to avoid?
The single most helpful thing to remember when your loved one is considering deconverting or has already deconverted is that they are the same person you've always loved. They just lack a belief in gods now. Another helpful thing is to talk to them and give them space to discuss their beliefs. People make so many assumptions about atheists, and those assumptions can lead to unfair distrust and criticism. Instead, ask questions and listen. You don't need to agree with them, and you don't need to change your own beliefs. Just try to understand theirs. Additionally, if you hear someone bashing atheists or making assumptions, say something. It doesn't need to be a debate or a confrontation. Even just, "Hey, I actually know some atheists who are great people" can be so, so helpful. As is the case with so many minority groups, the stigma is really hard to overcome, and new deconverts often experience a lot of criticism, backlash, and even bullying when they're already going through a difficult transition. Anything that helps demystify and destigmatize atheism helps. Finally, many people get offended when an atheist even alludes to their atheism, but atheists are constantly surrounded by religious ideas, news stories, facebook posts, etc. If your friend or family member brings up atheism, try not to take it as a personal attack. It almost never is.
Podcasts have been immensely helpful to me throughout my faith transition, and I found them early on. I would love to hear you on an episode of Mormon Stories or Infants on Thrones. Have you ever considered reaching out to either of them and offering to do an interview?
I'm actually actively pursuing podcast appearances right now! I've recently appeared on the Recovering from Religion podcast and will hopefully be appearing on the Legion of Reason Diversion podcast as well. I will absolutely reach out to Mormon Stories and Infants on Thrones. Thank you for suggesting them!
What's your favorite dairy product?
Cheese! So much cheese.
Edit: Shoutout to my brother's amazing, life-changing vegan cheese!
I know that you have to be detached and neutral, but is there one story that you didn't know how to approach or that made you give a subjective answer?
It's always possible for a caller to throw you a curve ball. I'm going to stay away from talking about specific call details to protect the confidentiality of our clients. However, I can think of several situations where it's hard for me to remain neutral. For example, any call were a child is struggling and being deprived of choice/control is very, VERY hard for me in terms of staying neutral. It's also difficult to handle calls where the caller is clearly being impacted negatively by religion by they want to remain religious. We've got a lot of tools in our tool belt though to support callers in challenging situations without abandoning neutrality. When appropriate, there are also ways to gently advise (what I call open-ended advising) without inserting one's one opinion. The main thing that a hotline agent does is listen to the caller. We make every attempt to meet the caller where they are.
Do you see people struggling with what to believe morally once they leave the structure set for them by an organized religion?
We don't generally see people struggling with what to believe morally after leaving religion. One's moral code, even for deeply religious people, is almost always personally defined and sticks around when someone deconverts. What we do tend to see is more acceptance and open mindedness regarding certain topics (homosexuality, abortion, women's rights, racism, etc.) after they leave religion. Additionally, people express a stronger moral conviction, because the desire to do good is rooted in their own decision rather than the demands/expectations of religion.
Do you conduct follow-up with callers? Can they schedule additional conversations or is it a strictly crisis hotline?
This is a great question. Most importantly, we're not a crisis line. In the US (and elsewhere I assume), hotlines are classified as crisis lines, peer-support lines, or information/referral hotlines. Different types of hotlines have to meet different regulations, and crisis lines have the strictest regulations (understandably). We are considered both a peer-support line and an information/referral line. When we do get crisis calls, we refer them to the best crisis line for their situation and invite them to call us back when the crisis has been resolved.
As for follow-ups, we don't technically arrange follow-ups, but we have TONS of repeat callers - some have called us over 50 times. Repeat callers can be great because we get to see how they change and progress overtime.
Holy Godsend. Could there be a FaceBook group where members practice and chat about street epistemology?
Indeed! It's very cleverly called Street Epistemology! It's a private group, but they're super welcoming and have great videos and resources for those interested in SE. Also, check out Anthony Magnabosco's YouTube channel. He regularly uploads videos of his SE encounters. He's also just a great guy.
Ex-Mormon, current agnostic atheist here.
What do you say to people when they tell you how sad it is that you aren't religious anymore?
I tell them I'm not sad about it at all, but I find the entire sentiment patronizing and off-putting and wonder if I should say more sometimes.
As a relatively recent totally-out atheist, I've heard that line quite a bit. I share your frustration. Obviously, the "correct response" isn't going to be a one-size-fits-all statement. It depends a lot on who I'm talking to. However, I always explain that I'm actually much, much happier since I deconverted. I often point out that religious belief (or lack thereof) is a personal experience. I know that being religious makes many people feel just as happy and comfortable as being an atheist feels to me - we don't all need to agree. The last thing I want is for people to feel sad about my deconversion. If I'm talking to someone who I know well, especially family members, I try to be a little more assertive and detailed. Like I might point out that it's presumptuous to assume that I'm worse off. I also suggest that they ask me how I feel/what I believe instead of making assumptions. The only thing I don't recommend is lashing out or responding sarcastically (tempting though it surely is), e.g. "Well I think it's sad that you base your identity on a myth!" I haven't always held to that rule, but I try. Being snarky almost never improves the situation.
No, I save my snark for the internet. ;) Much better than with friends and family.
Thanks for answering. I usually just don't get into it at all. I'd rather discuss almost anything OTHER than religion, and I don't think people mean to be offensive when they say these things. It is, though.
Yup. No argument here. I also do my best to keep my atheism out of the conversation (as well as anyone else's religion). I hesitated to even share my AMA on my facebook today (though I eventually did) because I knew that many of my friends were unaware of my role on the hotline, and I didn't really feel like being bombarded with religious comments. :P
What proportion of your cases are Mormons? What proportion are from other religions?
It's hard to say without doing a lot of call report analysis (we don't specifically track callers' religious affiliations -- though that's something I may add to our call/chat reports now). However, lately we've gotten a TON of Mormon and ex-Mormon clients. I'd estimate they've made up 15-20% of our calls/chats lately.
I am a total data nerd, and that is absolutely a stat I would love to see tracked. You can compare your call volume with overall membership numbers of each religion to get a sense of how common these issues are per capita, or per thousand.
Something like "we get one call from a Mormon per thousand Mormons, 1 call per Catholic per 10,000 Catholics" or whatever.
Thanks for responding!
Stat nerds, unite! Thank you for the suggestion! I've added it to my (seemingly infinite) to-do list. :D
Who's the best atheists speaker: Hitchens, Dawkins, or Sam Harris?
Just from those three, it's a really tough call. I'm a big fan of all three. Sam Harris appeals to me because he's a neuroscientist (my original field of study). I also admire how incredibly calm he stays in almost every debate, even when his peer keeps escalating. Dawkins appeals to me because he's such an amazing educator regarding evolution (I'm a big biology nerd). I think Dawkins is one of the best speakers around when it comes to explaining complex biology concepts in a way almost anyone can understand. No one does scathing wit like Hitch though. He's who I channel when I have a bad day, haha. I really miss him.
What advice would you give to someone who deals with some sometimes crushing cognitive dissonance?
I lost my faith and left mormonism, but after about a decade ended up attending a non-denominational megachurch. I still know many of the arguments against religion, and ways that the bible is contradicted by itself and by evidence. But at the same time, I have a great community there, and most of my friends are part of that church. I've seen a lot of weird things in my life, and my church community says those things are God, but then I'm torn between that and what I know to be fact - such as there could not have been a literal Adam and Eve.
To make things worse, I've been diagnosed with gender identity disorder by two different psychologists (under DSM IV), but my church (and the religious people in my family) says I just need to pick up my cross and follow Jesus and live as my birth gender. And life is easier in a way when I try to "conceal, don't feel" - but mostly because it just decreases instances of people being mean to me. I can only go six months or so before the dysphoria starts weighing down on me pretty hard. I was two years into transition, and had even legally changed my name, and they talked me into reverting. So there's depression around that. And the ongoing cognitive dissonance from me engaging with community which tells me that what I am is wrong.
It seems like the short answer would be to just abandon everything and be myself, but in reality life is much more complicated. Is there any hope in a situation like that?
I'm so sorry you're going through that. There's really no simple solution, and you're right that saying "just be yourself!" is far, far easier than doing it.
First and foremost, yes! There is hope.
Also, consider therapy. Many people underestimate just how helpful therapy can be, but it can be life-changing. If you don't already know about it, the Secular Therapist Project is an amazing resource. It's a database of therapists who have specifically pledged to provide secular, evidence-based therapy. Even for theists, secular therapy is wonderful. No one will ever tell you to just pray about it or pick up your cross and carry on. They'll offer you well-establish tools, techniques, and guidance to cope with and make sense of your situation.
Furthermore, give yourself permission to do what feels right for you. If that means embracing the community you've found in your church, that's okay! The only person who can determine what you believe and need is you.
That being said, it sounds like you're quite conflicted about your own beliefs and identity. Understandably so! Many of our callers benefit from simply doing research and gathering more information so they can make an informed decision. It sounds like you have already done a lot of research and still maintain a lot of the knowledge you gained when you were not religious.
Another thing you might consider is looking into other sources of community and fellowship. The Secular Directory has a HUGE database of secular groups all around the US and even in some other countries. Many secular groups don't overtly focus on patting themselves on the back for being atheists. Instead, a lot just establish a religion-free zone in which cool people can get together, hang out, and enjoy activities together. Others focus on humanistic charity work or community service. Others actively cater to people of multiple religious backgrounds and discuss their varying ideas. Perhaps forming some good social connections outside your church would give you a little more freedom to make up your mind without stressing as much over losing your social support. Even if you choose to remain active in your church, having some friends outside the church may give some added support and give you an outlet to vent about/discuss the religious beliefs with which you disagree.
I would also suggest trying to find a local support group or even an online support group for trans people. How you identify and whether or not you choose to transition and live in line with your gender identity is an entirely personal decision. What is best for you is something only you can determine. Please don't let others dictate that for you. Whether you choose to transition or to continue to live as your birth gender, do it because you believe it's best for you not because someone else pressured you.
I'm truly sorry I don't have a magic wand to set everything right. Here's another /HUG though.
And there is also /r/StreetEpistemology right here on Reddit.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing that!
When you hear that hotline ring, can it only mean one thing?
Hahaha, nice reference! We try to keep our hotline blings and hotline rings strictly separated.
Thanks for doing this awesome work. In your experience, what are the typical emotional states of people who call in, and what are the proportions of those groups?
We speak with many clients who are struggling with depression and anxiety, especially among people who have deconverted recently. Many people genuinely grieve for their lost faith, and the process is just as difficult as the other forms of grief we experience. That being said, it's not unusual to talk to clients who are very sad and conflicted. Anger is also common since it's often a shock to conclude that one's religious identity was based on falsehoods. Anger is frequently directed toward the church in general or clients' families. In my experience, a lot of those emotions, especially anger, wane over time. When they linger long-term, we always recommend support groups and/or counseling.
On the other hand, we get a lot of calls from people who feel an entirely new level of freedom, independence, peace, and happiness after leaving religion. So we hear from plenty of callers who are almost giddy. Most often, our clients don't appear to be feeling an intense emotion, positive or negative, when they call (though tone of voice isn't really a good indicator of a person's inner thoughts).
As far as stats, I don't really know what the proportions are.
About how often do you receive phone calls? Several a day or a few a week or ? I'm glad you are offering this service, thank you :)
*fixed missing word
We average 2-5 per day, but it fluctuates a lot. Every once in a while, we have a day with no calls or chats at all. In contrast, a few weekends ago we had so many calls at once that three agents weren't enough to cover all of them, haha. After today's AMA, we got 7 calls in 4 hours. :D
Is this some troll shit? It's just so dumb I feel like I'm drunk reading something so stupid lol
>Is this some troll shit?
Nope. We're actually pretty awesome, and we work really, really hard to make the world a safe, happier, healthier place for our fellow humans.
>It's just so dumb I feel like I'm drunk reading something so stupid lol
Isn't is amazing that we live in a world with so much content constantly at our fingertips even if a lot of it doesn't personally serve each individual? Have you considered getting figuratively drunk on something you really enjoy?
Ok so u basically know nothing. Ok
It's true there is a lot that I don't know, certainly a vast, vast amount more than I do know. As is true of all humans. I don't even know if a supernatural deity or force exists, and I would never claim otherwise. However, I have been convinced by the information available that the existence of a god is much less likely than the nonexistence of all gods. If evidence becomes available that points to another conclusion, I will change my mind. All I can say is that I will keep striving to learn more.
Space and time aren't man made. And by origin I mean where did everything come from. It's ok though your answers have told me enough about you
I never said space and time were man-made, and I responded to your question about the origins of everything. We don't know where everything (i.e. matter, the universe) originated from. Maybe it always existed. Maybe it came from something we don't understand. Maybe it even came from a supernatural god. Nobody knows. We might know someday. I'm not losing any sleep over it though.
>It's ok though your answers have told me enough about you
Wonderful! I'm glad they clarified that for you. I hope you have a lovely night.
But smart people dont need support hotlines?
LOL There's an /s implied in there, I hope, but I'm answering anyway. Everyone needs support. For some people, support isn't available among their friends and family, so a hotline or meetup group or even subreddit can really help.
edit: words are hard
Really? Information? Can you tell me what lies beyond the expanding universe? Can you tell me how anything exists? Can you tell me if there are other dimensions out there and can they be "harnessed" one day? Can you tell me where time, space, matter and anything came from? What is our origin and why do we exist? Do you really think everything just happened to happen?
>Can you tell me what lies beyond the expanding universe?
>Can you tell me how anything exists?
Some things, yes. Some things, no.
>Can you tell me if there are other dimensions out there and can they be "harnessed" one day?
Not yet, but I'm also not a physicist.
>Can you tell me where time, space, matter and anything came from?
Time, no, although our entire conception of time (i.e. time measurement) was defined by man. Space was presumably always in existence, but we can't be sure. Matter, no. Anything? Again, some things, yes. Some things, no.
>What is our origin and why do we exist?
The origin of humans is undeniably evolution. The origins of life are still unknown, though there are many credible explanations that don't involve supernatural deities. As for why we exist, I don't know. I don't really know of any reason that we need to have a reason to exist. We need not have a preordained purpose in order to create purpose in our own lives.
>Do you really think everything just happened to happen?
Yes, but it's okay with me if you don't.