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Lived in Northern Ireland until I was 26. Brought up Presbyterian, but parents were quite liberal and church-going intermittent. Church was OK; Sunday School was awful. After a short period of mental agony in my teens, decided the whole scene was not for me. Spent three years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then came to live permanently in Australia. Married to an Australian; two adult children.

Comments

[en.m.wikipedia.org] This is interesting. Thought I'd share.
Coffeo comments on May 13, 2018:
Yeah, thought so.
Do you consider yourself a Scientist??
Coffeo comments on May 11, 2018:
Yes: PhD in physics but at 74 I've forgotten most of it now.
Truth State something you KNOW is true No opinions please
Coffeo comments on May 11, 2018:
I'm agnostic. Don't know a damn thing.
Testing testing I'm not a member of this group. @Admin @SiteSupport
Coffeo comments on May 11, 2018:
Was the test satisfactory?
Which is more useful, intelligence or wisdom?
Coffeo comments on May 11, 2018:
I think I'm more intelligent than wise. I'm not sure it's a good thing.
Positive Thinking: A New Secular Religion?
Coffeo comments on May 11, 2018:
Best not to idolize anyone, regardless of how much you agree with their views.
Should I get an Atheist sticker for my car?
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
I'd say better not. Even here in Australia, where there are heaps of non-believers, I'd be reluctant. Religion (or lack of it) is something we don't advertise much.
I don't understand why a man can't be a cat guy when it comes to pets, and not be given shit about ...
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
I love cats. Perhaps not quite a "Crazy Cat Man", but not far off. And not ashamed of it, either.
You are God for the day. What commandments would you make?
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
If I am God, I set the rules. I can be God for as long as I like, and I can have as many commandments as I like. So there. 8)
A new Facebook friend got religious on me and here is what I said (correct me where I am wrong).
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
Basically true, although there are still many unanswered questions. Also, I don't see this a being convincing to a religious person. But then, what is?
Saw this quote and thought I would share it.
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
Well said!
Is Trump an atheist?
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
Well he's certainly not a Christian. But he probably thinks he is.
If three men working on a train track had a train heading toward them they couldn’t see and you ...
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
I think this is one of those cases where it's not possible to know for sure in advance what you'd do. @SpikeTalon is still thinking. (Too late!) I might think that there's a better chance for one person to jump aside at the last minute than three. Don't know.
I LOVE THE WORLD When I was a boy, I was told that the world was evil, that the things of the ...
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
Once again let me compliment you on your wonderful writing style. It's a shame you missed out on however many years of loving the world, but you're putting that to rights now! And that view over the lough from Knockagh is superb! (I was last there in 2005).
Atheists are good or bad persons?
Coffeo comments on May 9, 2018:
I think I am a good atheist. I am sure there are bad ones. My mother was a good Christian. I am absolutely sure there are bad ones. I hope the association you founded will grow and prosper.
SpaceX Set to Debut Newest Falcon 9 Rocket: 'Block 5' [space.com]
Coffeo comments on May 8, 2018:
If all this goes according to plan, it will be _very impressive indeed_.
How about some night stuff? My first try at star reflections, got some work to do still...
Coffeo comments on May 8, 2018:
Sword of Orion so vivid!
Religious upbringing
Coffeo comments on May 8, 2018:
_This question comes up in various guises from time to time, but that's OK, you can't be expected to read all that went before! :) Here's a slightly edited version of what I wrote in response to an earlier question on the same subject:_ Between the ages of 3 and 12 I lived in a household that consisted only of me, my parents, and my father's aunt (I have no siblings). My parents were Presbyterian church-goers, but (luckily for me) far from fanatical: they went once or twice a month (taking me with them, of course). Only my great-aunt was insufferably religious, but not in an evangelical way, more in a strict Presbyterian sort of way — no games, whistling or excessive noise allowed on Sundays, for instance. I think it was she who started me thinking this whole religion thing wasn't all that great. Then there was Sunday school, which I utterly disliked. It was on Sunday afternoon, so if it was one of those Sundays that I'd been to church in the morning, I'd lost pretty much the whole day. And it involved learning by heart some bible verses and bits of the shorter catechism, which made even less sense than the bible. My great-aunt died when I was 12, after which it was just me and my parents. I think by that time I was well on the way to being an atheist, and when I found out that Sunday school, unlike day school, wasn't actually compulsory, I simply stopped going. Church itself I didn't mind so much, and I can even remember one sunny, frosty Christmas morning that I practically dragged my parents there. But I was already on what my mother would have seen as the slippery slope away from faith. After a number of months of futile attempts at prayer, following the guide at the back of my hymn-book, and after reading Fred Hoyle's _The Nature of the Universe_, I decided that Christianity was not for me. My mother was very unhappy about it, and always hoped I would 'return to the fold'. My father never expressed an opinion at any stage, as far as I can recall. It wasn't until much later (after his death) that it occurred to me that he might have been a closet atheist or agnostic.
WHO ARE YOU TO WORSHIP GOD?
Coffeo comments on May 8, 2018:
Your writing has immense power. It should be widely read.
Telling children Santa Claus is real? Are you against it or for it?
Coffeo comments on May 7, 2018:
I think Santa is kinda fun. Our two children were brought up with belief in Santa, but they had a bit of churchy stuff, too (not my idea). I'm not sure how learning the truth affected them, but one is now an atheist and the other sort of — well, I dunno — certainly not churchy. I believed in Santa, and told a friend so about four days before my parents let me into the Big Secret. Embarrassing! (I had been told there was only one Santa, and the ones I encountered in department stores etc. were just 'pretend'.) Being told the truth about Santa was the beginning of my doubts about God, so in a way that was Good Thing. My mother believed in God and I went to church with my parents, though we didn't go every Sunday. I was never threatened with anything if I didn't believe in God. Neither of my parents believed in hell, and I later suspected my father was a closet atheist or agnostic. He never talked about religion, and my guess is that he had promised my mother that he wouldn't.
What is your preferred method of accessing this site? Why?
Coffeo comments on May 7, 2018:
Website. I like a big screen. Besides, it's only if I'm home that I have time to browse stuff.
How to coss-eye free view Stereo-photograpic images: Click each image to enlarge it.
Coffeo comments on May 6, 2018:
These are great! The first one took me maybe ten seconds to "get". The others just "snapped in" straight away. I'm guessing you either (1) use a special camera, or (2) move the camera between shots. Option (2) would only work for very static objects.
So while in the bathroom a thought occurred to me, Some of my best thinking happens in the bathroom...
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
Too many non-believers here in Oz. Nothing much will change...
Expressions
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
I often say "My God!" or just "God!". You don't have to believe in him to say it. (He only minds if you _do_ believe in him.) :)
The problem with evolution and Christianity.
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
I was brought up Christian, and it was never once suggested to me that there was anything wrong with the idea of evolution.
What if it became public knowledge that the pope is an atheist?
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
It would only make a difference if he actually came out and said so himself.
New Ham, sometimes pagan, vegetarian, dog lover, cat lover, bookahaulic, map slut, caver, ...
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
Love books, cats, science etc. Do you find being briefly religious gets you out of trouble?
How many people find it difficult to ask for help?
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
I'd walk miles in the wrong direction before asking someone. Silly, isn't it?
Mammatus clouds over my neighborhood, past summer.
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
Ominous but beautiful.
Right here, right now, I'm ok.
Coffeo comments on May 5, 2018:
Lovely!
Please tell me, is it Okay to post a pic I took and then 'dressed up' in Photoshop?
Coffeo comments on May 4, 2018:
Since it's not a photo competition, I wouldn't worry too much. Usually I just make minor tweaks, although my Diamond Head photo was manipulated slightly more, and I mentioned this in the caption.
Multiverse?
Coffeo comments on May 2, 2018:
I prefer to avoid the term 'proof' outside of mathematics, even for such things as black holes, for which there is a wealth of observational evidence. The multiverse is less well-established and by no means universally accepted among cosmologists, although it may by now be out in front in terms of acceptance.
A few shots from Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.
Coffeo comments on May 1, 2018:
Old cemeteries are often very photogenic (the more neglected the better!)
Walk with my son around Allamuchy past Waterloo Village.
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
Good observation!
A couple of photo restorations I have tried.
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
I've had a go at this sort of thing too. Time-consuming but rewarding.
A research project: What caused your shift away from religion?
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
_Below is what I wrote in response to a similar question back in February. If you genuinely want more detail, I wrote a chapter of about 6500 words about it in an autobiography (for family) that covered the first third of a century of my life. Too much to put here, obviously, but I could email it if you think it would be helpful for your research._ Between the ages of 3 and 12 I lived in a household that consisted only of me, my parents, and my father's aunt (I have no siblings). My parents were church-goers, but (luckily for me) far from fanatical: they went once or twice a month (taking me with them, of course). Only my great-aunt was insufferably religious, but not in an evangelical way, more in a strict Presbyterian sort of way — no games, whistling or excessive noise allowed on Sundays, for instance. I think it was she who started me thinking this whole religion thing wasn't all that great. Then there was Sunday school, which I utterly disliked. It was on Sunday afternoon, so if it was one of those Sundays that I'd been to church in the morning, I'd lost pretty much the whole day. And it involved learning by heart some bible verses and bits of the shorter catechism, which made even less sense than the bible. My great-aunt died when I was 12. I think by that time I was well on the way to being an atheist, and when I found out that Sunday school, unlike day school, wasn't actually compulsory, I simply stopped going. Church itself I didn't mind so much, and I can even remember one sunny, frosty Christmas morning that I practically dragged my parents there. But I was already on what my mother would have seen as the slippery slope away from faith. After a number of months of futile attempts at prayer, following the guide at the back of my hymn-book, and after reading Fred Hoyle's _The Nature of the Universe_, I decided that Christianity was not for me. My mother was very unhappy about it, and always hoped I would 'return to the fold'. My father never expressed an opinion at any stage, as far as I can recall.
My occaisional home, the SV Mystic, Ganges, British Columbia, Canada
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
Beautiful lighting!
Just wondering
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
It doesn't seem to me to be a matter of _choice_. Wanting to believe (which I don't) wouldn't actually make me believe. In any case, it's hard to think of many things more tedious than the Christian idea of heaven, even without harps. As for my funeral, if I should predecease my wife, she thinks I should have an Anglican funeral, even though she herself is no longer a church-goer. It seems silly to me, but if it's what she wants, it's not going to bother me, is it?
Welcome me! I’m new.
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
Welcome from Australia!
Which one would you choose?
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
I dislike vacuuming. My kids are adults now, but if they had never once fought with each other or complained, I'd have been very worried about them.
Should we live and let live?
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
I voted for what seems to be the most popular option. I'd be inclined towards "persuade when possible", except that it's not my personal style.
Do you believe in the butterfly effect?
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
It's not really a matter of _belief_. I think it's been demonstrated (not with actual butterflies, though).
How far is too far?
Coffeo comments on Apr 30, 2018:
You can be sure someone, somewhere, is considering it (at the very least).
How far is too far?
Coffeo comments on Apr 29, 2018:
Who draws the line?
This atmospheric effect is sometimes known as The Fingers of God.
Coffeo comments on Apr 28, 2018:
Stunning!
The French! A window on Menton, June 2017, France
Coffeo comments on Apr 28, 2018:
So _very_ French! Lovely!
Ohio state reformatory, also known as Mansfield prison, is no longer in use but if you’ve even ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
Very striking images.
Quick questions... or maybe not... How does everyone feel about marriage?
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
My son was married last year. God didn't get a mention.
Are we meant to be with one person forever?
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
We've recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Sure we've had arguments but divorce has never been remotely under consideration. But it can't be that way for everyone, and in many cases it shouldn't be. As for _'meant to be_', that phrase suggests that someone or something '_means_' us to be, which I don't go along with at all.
Ever wonder, for no particular reason, if you will make it through the night?
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
I suppose I vaguely wonder this every night, but I'm never really surprised to wake up. I suppose one day I'll be surprised not to. :S
Hello, figured I'd check this site out . I often ask where I can meet atheist chicks, so here I am
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
I'm not in the USA, and I'm not a chick, but welcome anyhow!
"Remember Rosetta?
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
Excellent!
Philosophy vs Religion...
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
So true!
Are you a skeptic?
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
Definitely. Question everything. Things that haven't an adequate explanation are at best working hypotheses.
I trust most of us here have studied the Bible more thoroughly than those who profess belief; if ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 26, 2018:
I found the bible incredibly boring.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Coffeo comments on Apr 25, 2018:
I especially like the owl. I'd like one in my yard.
Paul Bragg his theory about starving
Coffeo comments on Apr 25, 2018:
Care to provide some links?
Racing into the sunset.
Coffeo comments on Apr 25, 2018:
Excellent photo!
Sorta sad that I had to give up my religion in order to find this site and meet some amazingly ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 24, 2018:
Yes it's great. Don't be sad!
I see sometimes people using the term;Tough Love;.
Coffeo comments on Apr 24, 2018:
I prefer "firm love".
A question for you mathematicians.
Coffeo comments on Apr 24, 2018:
This is a very silly question to have attracted so many comments.
I took this photo at the Buffalo Canoe Club on Lake Erie last summer.
Coffeo comments on Apr 24, 2018:
Love the towering cloud in the distance.
Life is like a highway.
Coffeo comments on Apr 23, 2018:
I especially like #4
Selfies and pics
Coffeo comments on Apr 23, 2018:
I look like a leprechaun in most photos of me these days.
I shed a tear for John Keats.
Coffeo comments on Apr 22, 2018:
Ok I'll bite. Why?
What’s the longest you’ll allow dirty dishes to be in the sink?
Coffeo comments on Apr 22, 2018:
I get them rinsed with hot water as soon as possiblr before residue hardens. Washing with detergent can then be delayed until next day.
Mixelplix pics
Coffeo comments on Apr 22, 2018:
Creative!
Summer Vacations
Coffeo comments on Apr 22, 2018:
As a child: by the sea. As a teenager: car touring in the UK. As a young adult: touring in various European countries. As a slightly older adult: touring in North America. As a family man: touring in Australia. Now: just brief visits to various places, preferably __not__ in summer.
When it comes to nationalism, I say fuck all flags and anthems, we should be free and united as ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 22, 2018:
I've often wondered why people put their country before all else.
I have identified as an atheist/agnostic for a long time.
Coffeo comments on Apr 22, 2018:
For some reason I don't find religion — any religion — in the least bit interesting.
I scream, you scream!
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
I dissolve a teaspoonful of instant coffee in a small amount of cold water (i.e. make very strong coffee) and pour it over vanilla ice cream. I stir it in as the ice cream gradually softens. __Nice__.
I've been pondering for a few years on what we mean by the word "soul.
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
I never use the word 'soul', because I've bever understood it.
I I am leaving room for the possibility of a god that produced The Big Bang.
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
I also allow for the possibility of a creator god (not an Abrahamic one). But the possibility seems remote. It what sense would it explain things? If time and space both originated with a big bang, how could there be a being that pre-existed? And where did that being come from? Still, one never knows...
Ashley is 18.
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
Dear old cat!
Let’s see pics of your pets!
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
Here's Darcy spending some time being a rabbit.
I’ve often wondered how the term “'New Atheism”' gained such currency.
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
So who, when and what was the __old atheism__?
When did you realise you were an atheist?
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
Also brought up in the UK, the change for me was a good deal more gradual. I'd never been led to believe in either the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy, but I did believe in Santa, so discovering that I'd been hoodwinked there was quite a shock to the system. But doubts about God arose more gradually, and it's only relatively recently that I've been comfortable thinking of myself as an atheist. I consider the possibility of an Abrahamic-style god to be as close to zero as to make no difference, though I don't totally rule out some kind of creator/designer. But even that does seem a tad far-fetched to me now.
Let’s see pics of your pets!
Coffeo comments on Apr 21, 2018:
This is Mia.
This is the image I was referring to the other day to @LetzGetReal, which is shot right around the ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 20, 2018:
Brilliant! Almost post-apocalyptic.
Down the lane
Coffeo comments on Apr 20, 2018:
Like an impressionist painting!
Help! Trying to upload photos and I get a clear square with an X. What am I doing wrong? Thanks
Coffeo comments on Apr 19, 2018:
If you have a way to do it, maybe make sure your photos aren't too big. I generally reduce mine to about 1000 pixels on the long dimension if I'm posting them anywhere.
If it were possible, would you live on the moon or Mars?
Coffeo comments on Apr 19, 2018:
Not as a pioneer. As part of an established colony, maybe (but at my age that's not going to happen!)
I live in the Rocky Mountains where viewing the night sky is limited Recently I went camping in ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 19, 2018:
My first good view of the Milky Way was from the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Since coming to Australia, I've seen it beautifully from country Victoria, with the added bonus of the Magellanic Clouds (southern hemisphere only!)
Is it ok to like religious music but disagree with the words.
Coffeo comments on Apr 19, 2018:
I like heaps of religious music. I even sang in a church choir for a while, long after I lost my faith, simply because I liked the music (traditional Anglican) so much.
This might come as a surprise to many of you.
Coffeo comments on Apr 18, 2018:
Beating each other being, of course, totally unheard of in male-female relationships.
How Would We Know If Intelligent Life Existed on Earth Before Humans?... [livescience.com]
Coffeo comments on Apr 18, 2018:
I don't think there would have been time for one to evolve before ours. And they would have left traces — possibly not obvious ones, but we'd have found them.
Beware the irrational however seductive.
Coffeo comments on Apr 18, 2018:
What is seductive about being irrational?
Cocktail time
Coffeo comments on Apr 18, 2018:
Wine tonight. Occasionally beer. Very occasionally vodka (it's expensive).
Thoughts....
Coffeo comments on Apr 18, 2018:
A very good quote.
Some of the posts here are serious in tone and beg a serious response.
Coffeo comments on Apr 18, 2018:
I might be concerned if the wise-ass reply was the _only_ reply.
Great Atheist Bomb Drops! - YouTube
Coffeo comments on Apr 18, 2018:
A very good compilation. But as usual, it will not be heard by those who need to hear and understand it.
Life and Death decision This may seem silly, but trust me, I'm going somewhere with this! If ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 17, 2018:
Fine by me, but I don't see it happening.
Earth - better off when humans go extinct?
Coffeo comments on Apr 17, 2018:
I voted YES, but it might depend on which species is making the judgement.
This morning I am grateful that the sun, moon, stars alligned to allow evolution.
Coffeo comments on Apr 17, 2018:
The sun has been vital, of course. I don't think the (other) stars had anything at all to do with evolution, but the moon's role in stabilising the Earth's axial tilt might have helped somewhat.
TV Commercials
Coffeo comments on Apr 17, 2018:
I never watch the ads. My TV has a mute button and I have a crossword.
This jewel, one more time, fall into my hands and SINCE IT WAS WRITTEN IN 1966 I think it fits ...
Coffeo comments on Apr 15, 2018:
According to this prediction, we have eleven centuries left. Such optimism!
Hello. New kid on the block.
Coffeo comments on Apr 15, 2018:
Hi! Welcome from Australia, home of the dingo( dog )s.
I'm new here, but I've posted a few times to see what it was like and I am so floored by how amazing...
Coffeo comments on Apr 15, 2018:
Yes, we exist! (Unlike someone else I could mention.)
Hi, I am a new member and have already been welcomed by a couple of people, which is really nice.
Coffeo comments on Apr 15, 2018:
Welcome from the remote southeast!
Terrorizing Children in the Name of God is Legal in the U.S.
Coffeo comments on Apr 14, 2018:
Is that the scariest picture of a bear they could find?
Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Secularist, Skeptic, Freethinker
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