Saturday, January 23, 2010

Michelle Wickstrom

Hello Everyone,

I want to start by giving Kim M. a big thank you for her post last weekend! If you haven't done so, I urge you to read Kim's post. Kim is a Wiccan, and her answers were both fascinating and very informative, and I hope will dispel any misunderstandings people may have had regarding this religion.

Next up we have our third post- Michelle Wickstrom, who is an Atheist. I found Michelle's answers very interesting and makes one wonder whether you really do need a religion afterall?

Here is Michelle Wickstrom's Introduction:

There's not alot to tell you with regard to me. Blue-collar worker, lifelong underachiever :) and couch philosopher. I am fascinated by all religions but am put off by any type of commercialism tied to it or wars waged in the name of it. Discussing religion can be explosive. The folks at have attempted an open Q&A format with the opportunity for intelligent discussion, but as with any public internet forum---opinions turn into verbal missiles, heated discussions turn ugly, misunderstandings galore. Good luck :)

1) What religion do you practice?

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
My father is a non-practicing Catholic, my mother had no religion.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
---------do you consider yourself an atheist or do you believe there is a god or 'higher being' but just don't practice a certain religion?

I guess if I have to pigeon-hole myself, I would be an atheist. No, I don't believe in god or a higher power/spirit/creator--but I don't dismiss other people's beliefs. It's part of who they are.

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
Need more clarification.
------some people believe a moderate would be someone who practices a certain religion but not nearly as closely as a conservative would. As an example, say someone is Jewish- they might consider themself moderate because they may not attend a synagogue or follow the diet requirements as someone who may consider themselves conservative would. Let me know if that helps!
Ok, I understand. Using your explanation, that would mean that conservatives are rigid in their beliefs and moderates are more flexible. I guess I would be a moderately conservative atheist :)

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
Warm, sunny beach.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Everyone has a place in their own heaven/paradise.

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
There is room to ask questions without fear of persecution.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
No holy days. All days are free to experience life, faith, prayer, hope.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Absolutely. I have a non-denominational friend clause :)

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
If they felt comfortable enough to let me join them, yes. It would be interesting to see how they celebrate and why.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
The burka is just a unit of clothing, not unlike a uniform. I have nothing against people who wear them. Shariah Law--RIDICULOUS> shuns women and gays.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
I think women can do anything they want to do.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
I don't really have a "place of worship". My maternal grandfather always maintained that you didn't need a church to pray. I do like the community-based aspect of church---just not the religious part.

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
My non-religious lifestyle allows me to keep an open mind about social issues.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
If it made him happy, then I would have no issue at all.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
I don't believe in hell, so no.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
I guess the closest to my beliefs would be Richard Dawkins. I agree with him on everything.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
--- Since you are of no particular faith, have you ever been the target of someone who is of a certain religion, ie has anyone tried to persuade you to join their religion? If yes, please explain.

I have been approached by Jehovah's Witnesses, LDS and Scientology people. The people I have encountered have always been pleasant, and usually take NO for an answer when I have absorbed enough information. I guess once they realize I am a heathen--they just let me go as a lost cause :)

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No. I think once we're dead, that's it. It's a pretty thought to believe that our souls are out there looking after the ones who have gone before and the ones who are still living, but I don't believe that your spirit (or soul or whatever) inhabits another body. I do joke about it though (as in....I must have been a bastard in a previous life to be subjected to all this misery in this one). I do realize now that what I get in life is what I put out there in the first place. Karma is something I can get on board with.

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