Dean Owen

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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In the Company of “Nones”

In the Company of “Nones”

What do I have in common with Richard Branson, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Edison, and possibly Ernest Hemingway?

I kid myself that the first word that sprung in your mind was “genius”, but if you look at my grades at school, clearly you’d be mistaken.

What we do share is a lack of belief in the existence of deities.

“All thinking men are atheists”

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Whilst I cannot speak for any of them, do understand that it is an uncomfortable position to take.

Fortunately I live in a country where atheists are tolerated, but throughout history, people have been persecuted just as much for their lack of belief as their beliefs. Atheists are the heathens, the immorals, the sinners, the blasphemers, the unbelievers. Even in the 21st Century, there are some countries that inflict severe punishment on non-believers including lashings, life imprisonment and even death. In the “Land of the Free”, seven “Bible Belt” US states ban atheists from holding public office. Few politicians will ever proclaim their atheism, since in many countries, this is political suicide. Discrimination against atheism exists, but is often ignored.

On a more personal level, I have never felt comfortable telling people my beliefs. To be honest, I have struggled with my beliefs my entire life. I was brought up in a household where religion played no part. My boarding school was historically a place for sons of the clergy. I was forced to attend church every morning. I actually liked it. I embraced the good messages I read, and at 18, I even decided to get baptized, not because I believed, but because I wanted to believe. I had classmates that spoke in tongues. We’d argue constantly about the existence of God. I wanted them to convince me.

And then I enter my professional life. For years it was a constant battle. It was not that I needed proof of the existence of an Almighty. It was more that there appeared to be more evidence of the lack of existence of an Almighty.

I turn you over to the English comedian, actor, author, Stephen Fry in this short and controversial interview. It is worth seeing just to see the priceless reaction of the host.

I am perhaps a “None”. “Nones” consist of atheists, agnostics, and the unaffiliated.

Do not be condescending. Do not be patronizing. Do not condemn us.

Just because we do not believe in a God, does not mean we don’t believe in Good.

We respect your beliefs, each and every one of you.

Please respect ours.

Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment

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Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #52

Thank you Kevin Pashuk, great topic!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #51

And here is Jim Murray's excellent piece if you missed it : -

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #50

Here's my post Lisa Gallagher on the topic...

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #49

I'm playing catch up, been away for a few days, hope to find Kevin Pashuk' s posts. Links? Thanks :))

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #48

It's funny (not in the 'ha ha' sense)- I was brought up a Christian and some of the 'sayings' just don't leave. But, over the years the more I read the bible it made no sense to me what so ever. As children, we believe what we are taught. I do remember many times wondering how some dude in the sky could be watching over everyone in the entire world. I came to the conclusion 10 or more years ago, I'm an agnostic. I can't prove or disprove there is something out there that created life. I don't however, buy that if there is a higher power, entity or whatever others may call it would create a hell, and that evil would be part of the plan. I know Christians will say, that's because of free will, but we have free will to do good no matter. I respect everyone's views UNLESS they are trying to cram what the bible calls 'salvation' down my throat. I find that to be extremely judgemental. I enjoyed the video, it made so much sense. I'm also glad this popped back up today Dean Owen. Without writing too much, let me just say I am not anti-Christian, anti-atheist etc.. I AM anti-judgemental. I believe living our lives to the best of our abilities and putting others first (as we can) along with enjoying all the beauty that surrounds us is the beauty of life. The rest, well we just can't prove it so I have my fantasies about an after life, which gets me through this life too. I know many who do not believe in an afterlife and they are good friends of mine. We've had many great discussions and I respect their views as well.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #47

I will be keeping an eye on my feed your next article, and look forward to the one that was prompted by a hint! Thanks again Lada Prkic

Dean Owen

5 years ago #46

Thanks Jim. It took me a while, but I am beginning to see eye to eye with you on a number of things....

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #45

Looking forward to reading your post Phillip. Although others have come to a different conclusion, I find the concept of an afterlife quite plausible.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #44

I'm looking forward to reading your post, Kevin Pashuk. It seems to be a very popular topic. :-)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #43

Thanks Dean Owen for your kind words. You gave me a hint, but for now I'm dealing with a different topic for my post.

Jim Murray

5 years ago #42

This could be a huge comment or a succinct one. A) Good post, Dean Owen stated. Live a good life and if there is an afterlife you're in. If there isn't at least you'll be remembered as a guy who lived a good life. You can't the existence or non-existence of god, so my conclusion is that god is nothing and everything. Why not? This world is a much more beautiful place than it is an ugly one. I just go back and forth, trying to alert people to ugliness and getting them to appreciate the beauty. It's a dirty job but a bunch of us have to do it.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #41

How did I miss this? Thanks Lada Prkic has one in the works.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #40

Thanks Lada Prkic, and thanks for sharing. Knowing your skill at writing, I'm sure had you written on the subject, you would have put my article to shame!

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #39

It' looks like you've put my thoughts into your words, Dean Owen. I wish both of us good luck finding the way.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #38

Glad to see this topic ongoing. I love people who have good hearts and dont judge others. I dont care if they are religious or an atheist as long as their intentions come from a good place. We all make mistakes and even mistakes are forgivable.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #37

Thank you Rod Loader, that says a tremendous amount about your faith. People like you, the (current) Pope, and good people from all religions gives me hope for a better future.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #36

I'd not seen that Gerald Hecht (being new to social media), "What the hell is water?" - brilliant.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #35

Yes Sarah Elkins, and thanks for the comments. It is as if we have been conditioned to form an instant impression when we see for example a bearded Middle Eastern youth with a rucksack. I don't know who is to blame - the media, Hollywood, our natural survival instincts? Kind of sad really. To counter this we need to be fed more images of Muslims doing good, Sikhs doing good. And they do good all around the world, but we rarely see that.

Sarah Elkins

5 years ago #34

Such a perfect and, if I may say, a Christian response, Rod Loader.

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #33

Everybody should be free to believe or not. Nobody should preach, judge or condemn. Just to feel free to give an opinion ! Definitely I am in your club Dean Owen :). I am happy with great persons like you !!!

Sarah Elkins

5 years ago #32

Yes, Dean Owen, it's human nature to assess and make value-decisions within seconds of meeting a person, and something many of us choose to fight. It's always a tricky balance to trust our instincts but fight judgment, right?

Dean Owen

5 years ago #31

Well said @Praveen Raj Gullepalli. Religion should be personal. Unfortunately the history of the world illustrates that is far from the case. "Nones" do not preach, judge and condemn.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #30

Glad to know I am in excellent company Javier C\u00e1mara Rica. i like your logic. For me too, science explains all and where science cannot offer a valid explanation is where our understanding of science must be incomplete.

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #29

José Manuel Nieves writes excellent articles about science and technology connections. Hopefully we will have a translator integrated on beBee soon.

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #28

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #27

Dean Owen I am in your "club". I am a “None”, an unaffiliated. I believe in Good. I am only focused on telling everybody to be a good person. That means what it means. It is easy. Religion only exists to try to explain what science can not explain. But whenever society, technology and knowledge go on , everything can be explained. I am very interested in studying "black holes" and astronomy. That is great ! Can you imagine if a roman would see a plane ?? That would be an UFO or a God ?

Dean Owen

5 years ago #26

Glad to hear you found your way @Neal Rauhauser. Us "Nones" have yet to find ours.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #25

Well you certainly have an aura Mamen Delgado. It is clearly evident in your attitude on life. I suspect your spiritual energy comes from within and not above. It's funny you mention Taoism. I have met quite a few (being in Asia), and much like when I was in the presence of Buddhist monks in Tibet or Bhutan, there was a sense of spirituality. Had I stayed, I would no doubt have embraced their beliefs.

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #24

I grew up in a Catholic family, but never a Catholic sentiment grew within me. If I had to define myself in that sense I would say I'm more Taoist than anything else. When I discovered Taoism I thought actually I had always been Taoist, since childhood. And I have to say that I have had some "funny" experiences throughout my life that make me feel "protected". By whom o what? I have no idea, I don't give a name, but even with physical sensations whose memory makes me get goose bumps. Always for the better. It's a kind of energy connection to the Universe. I don't know. I've been practicing meditation for the last 28 years, no religion involved, so probably it has something to do with it. But if someone ask me the question, I would say I am a "None". I feel a "None".

Dean Owen

5 years ago #23

That is a fascinating interview CityVP Manjit. I remember clearly the whole Rushdie in hiding episode, but never took it upon myself to read the book, simply because a book called The Satanic Verses does not sound appealing to me. Having listened to the chapter in the interview, clearly I have been missing out.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #22

I believe there is a god, but not in the sense of a being. I'm semi-agnostic, is that even a term lol? Anyhow, if there is a God, I think it's all the positive energy in the universe. I have a sister who became very religious after my mother died. She started quoting bible verses to me and I told her I don't like to hear bible verses. She thought I was mad at her. I told her I wasn't mad at all, and I respect what she's seeking. I added that if she's happy, I'm happy for her. I went on to say, it's just that I believe the bible is more about history and not words given to man by God. Oddly, I used to believe in the bible. Not sure what happened. Respecting differences is healthy.

CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #21

One can respect differences but what is really great in my book is that one can learn from differences. A Bill Moyers interview with Salmon Rushdie showed just how well this can be accomplished. The link contains Part 1 and 2 of the video with Rushdie or a transcript of the interview is also available - see right hand column in the website linked. At BeBee what I learned here is that diversity is nice, but appreciation of affinity is even better. If we focus on affinity we don't waste our time trying to tell others how they should live their lives and especially what they should believe. We grow in understanding our own affinity in relationship to the affinity of others that we personally choose to appreciate or study.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #20

Thanks Phil Friedman, that really means a lot coming from you. I figured if Mark Zuckerberg could declare his atheism in a Tweet and on his FB page, perhaps the world more tolerant than I thought.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #19

Actually, Dean Owen, I have always thought that the most rational explanation for the world is polytheism, i.e., multiple gods on pretty much equal footing who screw the world over in a kind of inter-deity competition for dominance. If a single theory accounts for what we can observe that does it best. Excellent post, my friend. Authentic and courageous, especially for someone in business. Cheers!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #18

Thanks Vivian Chapman, I am not convinced that if there is a God, he/she/it always works with minorities. Much appreciate you stopping by!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #17

Couldn't be more clear Phillip Hubbell. That is a powerful concept. Free will is certainly sacred, but not always a given.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #16

Thanks you Sarah Elkins. I think to some extent we are all guilty of passing a snap judgement, when perhaps we see a Middle Eastern man on the street with a rucksack (an MBA student perhaps?), or a rich old white man holding hands with a pretty young blond (his daughter perhaps?). This is a constant battle. But you are right, what right have any of us to pass judgement on others beliefs. Thanks for the kind words. I would never consider myself wise ! (I need a grey beard for that!).

Dean Owen

5 years ago #15

, thanks for pointing out the video. I changed it to a different version which is slightly longer, but you can skip the ending commentary and just watch the 2 minute interview. Would love to hear your thoughts on it, assuming you can see it. I can totally relate to your experience Pamela. So glad that the real crook was actually stupid enough to continue the crookery after you left. I think many of us have experiences that are hard to comprehend. I once held hands with a ghost ! :)

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #14

agree 100% Dean Owen. Not sure why I thought you were referring to yourself- I read too late at night sometimes. I wish more people were less judgmental and tended to their own gardens.

Sarah Elkins

5 years ago #13

It makes me so sad that people judge others based on anything other than their character & behavior. Why judge at all? Why expend energy on something so futile? Keep up your education efforts, Dean Owen. I'll continue to see you for the beauty, conscience, and wisdom you bring to our planet.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #12

Thank you Randy Keho. I believe we are indeed alike in that we share similar values, and I am grateful for my partial religious upbringing for teaching me those values. Much appreciate the comments.

Randy Keho

5 years ago #11

Fortunately, I have yet to stare death in the face, but, raised as a Christian, I believe I should be thinking of God when that time comes. Perhaps, it's only because of that "Fear of God" that accompanies the faith., which promotes that "Power of Good." We are taught that he will take care of the rest. When we die, we are to be judged by our maker -- not our family and friends. However, as you stated, there are times when I don't feel I have the right to ask for forgiveness., either. even though I talk to him on a daily basis. We all make mistakes. We are human. However, the faith contains some conflicting ideas in that regard.. If his Son died for our sins and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness, then why should we fear him at all? No harm, no foul.. Nonetheless, I don't want to chance it. That's simply my view. I am not a Christian scholar. I am just a man, who, like you, believes in good. We are more alike than different, my friend@Dean Owen .#10

Dean Owen

5 years ago #10

thanks Paul Kemner, perhaps that is because those you have met are ones who were brought up Christian, so that was their choice, Christian or Atheist. For me, I have lived for the last 30 years in a continent where Christianity is not the dominant religion. Sikhs are especially having a hard time in the States.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #9

Fascinating question Randy Keho, and yes I think we all have been in such situations. When desperate, I have thought of prayer but then rationalized that since I have chosen not to believe, I don't have the right to ask in my time of need. I think back to an extremely turbulent flight in which we were sure we would not survive. People in front were praying. People left right and center were screaming. All I could think of was to thank everyone in my life and tell them I loved them. Would you be thinking of family or God in your dying breath?

Randy Keho

5 years ago #8

I applaud your bravery @Dean Owen. You're standing up for what you believe in, which, if I'm not mistaken, is the power of "good." What I would ask you, then: Have you ever had a moment when you're faith in good has been challenged? I mean, really challenged? As they say, there are no atheists (agnostics/unaffiliated) in foxholes. What will you cling to when you know you're about to take your last breath? I'm simply curious. I am making no judgments.

Laurent Boscherini

5 years ago #7

I am agree with you Dean Owen.Everyone has the gift of faith–that innate drive to seek meaning, purpose and significance–but some people have exercised this innate gift more than others, allowing their faith to be better defined than others.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #6

Thank you Laurent BOSCHERINI, Being atheist does not mean that we are soulless, spiritless humans without faith. We question our faith constantly and our decisions are not dismissals of other peoples faiths.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #5

Thanks Lisa Gallagher. I think I never classified myself as an atheist, I tend not to like classifications, and if anything, I was agnostic for many many years. With this article I just wanted to highlight the pressure we face from society to conform. We respect everyone's right to believe and we would appreciate everyone's respect in return.

Laurent Boscherini

5 years ago #4

Thank you Dean Owen for sharing your insightful and relevant approach. Social cohesion, seems required fidelity to uncertainty, not certainty. Let me invite you to consider it with the metaphor of thermodynamics concept, a change of state is a transition of phase during the passage of a state from the subject to an other one. The understand that basic human desire in religious terms. Atheists still have the same desire as an achievable through other forms of secular progressive hope, charity and respect. But all of them are equally uncertain and none yet existent. Any movement that seeks social change and improvement is a faith-based one. It has to be, otherwise there would be no reason to hope for something better.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #3

I respect everyones right to believe as they want. I had a professor in College who was an Atheist and my first thought was, oh no.. now I'm creeped out. After I got to know him and met with him after class one day, I asked him to explain what an Atheist is. I had a lot of respect for him after we spoke and a completely different understanding of Aetheism. He was one of the Kindest, sincere person I met. I think sometimes when people lack understanding they fear the term. Others are just intolerant if people don't believe as they do. I find that mindset to be a very narrow worldview. Some of the biggest hypocrites arr religious fanatics. Thanks for sharing Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #2

I emphasis Pascal, but glad that I am not alone. There is such tremendous pressure from society, it really makes you question your goodness. I hope Margaret Aranda, MD, PhD is still a friend. I am not here to offend, but here to understand.

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #1

I will have to join your band of misfits too :-) Not always an easy stand in Ireland the rest of the family being standard irish catholics including my children who quite dont understand why I am not baptized :-)

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