Thoughts on my de-conversion, one year later

July 20, 2008 at 1:07 am 207 comments

So it has been just about a year since I made public that I had abandoned the faith to which I clung so dearly for seven-plus years of my adolescent and adult life. It seemed appropriate to write down, for my own sake, some of my reflections on the process that has occurred during this last year. For anyone who reads this, what follows may or may not be coherent, that is my fair warning to you—I am writing as I think, I am not writing any kind of academic essay.

The Kubler-Ross model describes five stages in which persons deal with grief. Generally this model is attached to a tragedy of some kind: diagnosis of an illness, loss of a loved one, economic turmoil, etc. I was not raised in a religious family, and began flirting with the prospect of religious faith as early as sixth grade when I became friends with several evangelical Christians. During my freshman year of high school I experienced a profound conversion experience which radically altered my life. It would be easy to attempt to relegate this conversion experience as having simply “bad” or simply “good” consequences; however, to do so devalues the way in which my religious faith has shaped me as an individual. I digress. Nonetheless, it is important to know that my Christian faith pervaded every aspect of my life over the next seven years.

By no means was I a perfect Christian, I was never quite able to figure out how to acquiesce to the tenets of my own faith. Regardless, my faith was incredibly important to me. I belabor this point only to set the stage for this fact: when I realized that I could no longer intellectually assent to the system of belief which had shaped my entire life for seven years, it was very much tragic for me. Christians often refer to Jesus as their “best friend,” and while I am honest enough now to admit that at my most devout, my faith never received the attention it deserved, the figure of Jesus was always a very personal priority in my daily life. Thus, to experience a sudden paradigm shift to the magnitude of denying the very existence of the person of Jesus was much like discovering that one of my parents or closest friends had only existed in my mind.

Again, I digress. Returning to Kubler-Ross (who I brought up at least fifteen lines of text ago), my response to this ‘tragedy’ falls under three of the five stages, at least. For months I suppressed what my intellect and my intuition both told me: my God was no different than Allah, Krishna, Ra, or Zeus. In fact, during this stage I exhibited a renewed fervor in my religious devotion. After all, it was my own sin that led me to doubt, yes? Bible study and prayer consumed my time. Systematic theology and philosophy of religion became the choice of leisure reading for the greater part of last summer. In the end, however, my own denial caught up with me.

Next came anger. Somewhere in July I tested the waters and hinted that I was on the verge of walking away from Christianity. By August I made it public that I no longer considered myself to be a Christian. By September I was furious with my circumstance: a 21 year old college student who had built his very life on the foundation of Christian faith, came to reject that foundational structure of his life, and then found himself living in the midst of Christians for another long year. It seemed unbearable. Chapel. Christian kitsch—the cheesy music, the godawful (no pun intended) WWJD bracelets, and for heaven’s sake the T-shirts. Prayer at the beginning of every class. Fear of being “found out” by professors or employers who would surely react poorly.

It was as if a wool had been pulled away from my eyes and I perceived things in an entirely new light. It wasn’t chapel or the t-shirts that really made me angry. It was the deeper issues. The guilt that I saw people carrying around. The self-loathing for their inability to rid themselves of “sin” in their lives. The ever so subtle judgment of one another. “Well I just don’t understand how she drinks and says she is a Christian.” “Well I remember Jesus saying, ‘Judge not!’” Corporate Christianity seemed, at that point, to look very much like corporate America. Smiles on the outside, unbridled ambition and jealousy on the inside. During much of last fall, I found myself lashing out at any opportunity against the Christian faith. I craved the debates with Christian friends. I hungered to show them up.

Finally, I came to accept my situation. I came to realize that my former religious faith was a natural belief set to hold, and likewise the current religious faith of others is perfectly normal. Unfortunately, my “anger” phase caused me to burn bridges and had the unintended consequence of hurting many of those who I cared about the most.

It is interesting now that I no longer live among Christians, I am much more comfortable with myself and where my thoughts have landed on the issues surrounding faith. For most of my time now, it is a non issue. On the outside of the “Christian bubble,” faith or lack thereof simply does not matter to most people.

For an entire year I have struggled with the question of, “What next?” I have shared this question with many people in that time. If in fact, there is no god, there is much struggle and strife going on in the world for no reason. People carry around unnecessary guilt. Muslim extremists devote themselves to suicide missions for no real gain. Christian conservatives tout anti-gay propaganda without any real moral grounding. Wars have been, and are being, fought for a non-issue. What next, then? Do I dedicate my life to eradicating religion from the planet?

No. To do so would require becoming as dogmatic as those who I criticize. Sure, I will spar with theists in a debate. Definitely I will share my de-conversion with others. Certainly, I think that the world will be more safe when religion eventually does earn itself a place in the history classroom and nowhere else. On the other hand, I recognize that the world is infinitely complex. All actions carry with them a combination of good, bad, and neutral consequences (if we can even know what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ even mean!). I do not believe any transcendent being exists. And it inspires in me the need to understand with the problems that confront the world.

I am more committed now than ever to pursuing those issues that matter to me: preserving the environment, combating poverty and ending wars, expanding health care and protecting personal liberties. I am moved more now than when I was a Christian by an image of a starving child in Africa infected with AIDS. I am more committed now to understand how gun laws affect the safety of a poor family in the inner city. I am more determined now to see education flourish not onlin in America, but in the world. On the other hand, I recognize that there are others who are inspired to do the exact same things because of their religious faith. There are those who, before their religious conversion, would seek to serve only themselves. People are complex (therefore they require a designer… wait, wrong argument) and persons interacting in the global community are even more complex. Religious faith brings with it a muddy mix of good and bad. I don’t seek to eradicate faith, rather I seek to encourage those positive effects of religious faith and to mitigate the negative effects of religious faith.

As for me? I am happier now than I have ever been. I find myself with purpose and goals and confidence and comfort. I have done good things in life and I have done bad things in life. Jesus promised freedom from the bad, but only loaded more guilt on my shoulders. Now my mind is filled with clarity. I seek to correct those behaviors which I would consider to be “bad”—note: behaviors which I consider to be bad, based on empirical evidence and personal exploration; not behaviors which I consider to be bad because an ancient text arbitrarily says they are bad—I am free from the guilt that plagued me as a Christian.

A strange confession: from time to time I still enjoy listening to Christian music. It reminds me why I was attracted to Christianity in the first place. The narrative, presented from a certain perspective, really is beautiful (at least when it remains simple). A person is born into a slavery of sorts and is freed by one who is already free but sacrifices himself. Altruism and love are qualities which should be aspired to. For me, listening to the music that tells this story is kind of like reminiscing with an old friend. Ultimately, though, I walk away each time more certain about designating myself to be an atheist (well, at least to most people—thank you, Bertrand Russell). I envision a world in which education is valued, where healthcare is a right and not a privilege, where the world is cared for, where poverty (at least abject poverty as we know it today) is eliminated. This world that I envision for the future, not a utopia mind you, but a constantly improving society, is what gives me hope and fulfillment and joy.

- CarriedTheCross

Entry filed under: CarriedTheCross. Tags: , , , .

Fundamentalism: An Existentialist Critique In God We Trust?

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  • 2. Goldfishflakes  |  July 20, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Excellent story! Thanks for sharing that.

  • 3. The de-Convert  |  July 20, 2008 at 2:08 am

    A strange confession: from time to time I still enjoy listening to Christian music. It reminds me why I was attracted to Christianity in the first place. The narrative, presented from a certain perspective, really is beautiful (at least when it remains simple). A person is born into a slavery of sorts and is freed by one who is already free but sacrifices himself. Altruism and love are qualities which should be aspired to. For me, listening to the music that tells this story is kind of like reminiscing with an old friend.

    I do also, from time to time, listen to Christian music. I did have to cut out some of my favorite songs because I found the lyrics offensive :) but there are many of the ones that were borderline “Christian” to begin with that are still great to listen to (like the 77s, Da, later Holy Soldier, etc.)

    I look at it no differently than listening to something from the 80’s…

    Paul

  • 4. John Morales  |  July 20, 2008 at 4:59 am

    CarriedTheCross, kudos.

  • 5. Doris Tracey  |  July 20, 2008 at 6:33 am

    This is a very beautiful article and spoken from the heart. Your Christianity may have led you to your divine plan of de-converting the old man to the new man or hidden man of the heart.

  • 6. fianllyhappy  |  July 20, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Wow. Thanks for summing up what I’ve been struggling to piece together in my own thoughts over the last few months. Excellent job! My personal favorite line of you blog: “I am free from the guilt that plagued me as a christian.”

  • 7. johnwarren  |  July 20, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I guess the question that I have after reading your story is what will you worship? We are all born to worship something? Be it God, Money, Health, Education, Nature, Allah, Krishna, Ra, or Zeus. God is concerned with all of the things that you mentioned in your writing health care, poverty, education. In reading the Gospels which not doubt you have. You will learn that Jesus always attended to the physical needs of the person first before he attended to their spiritual needs. What will happen to you when you died? And who is Jesus to you now?

  • 8. LeoPardus  |  July 20, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    We are all born to worship something

    This is what I call “pulpit drivel”. That’s the silliness that comes from the mouth of preachers, that isn’t even in the Bible. Pew sitters soak up pulpit drivel and spit it back out as if it was from the Bible.

    Y’all gotta learn to distinguish between what the Bible actually says, what reality actually is, and what the prater babbles from the pulpit. Often they are 3 totally different things.

    Now try thinking about how you would even begin to prove your thesis We are all born to worship something. You can’t. It’s just an assertion. So please don’t act like it’s an a priori fact. It’s just an opinion, with no backing.

    God is concerned with all of the things that you mentioned in your writing health care, poverty, education.

    How nice. If he’d actually DO something about any of them, we might believe he existed.

  • 9. ubi dubium  |  July 20, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    johnwarren:

    Why do you assume that we have to “worship” anything? I feel no need to bow down to anybody or anything. And I don’t think I’m alone in that.

  • 10. thatgirl  |  July 20, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    As far as the statement in question, I thought about it and it does make sense. But maybe you shouldn’t use the term “worship”. That’s “Christianese” but what it really means is spending time, money, effort, thought, concern, whatever it is for you on one thing. It doesn’t necesarially involve a god or spiritual force. What johnwarren means is everyone devotes their time and love to something. For my brother it’s computer games. For the two-year-old down the street it’s Thomas the Tank Engine. For my mormon friend it’s her god. That’s what you “worship”. And we all have something that’s like that to us. Interesting blog.

  • 11. downcastmysoul  |  July 20, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Hi,

    Very nice post. I don’t think that Christ turned you off, but PHONEY CHRISTIANS did. He didn’t like them anymore than you do. Corporate megachurch “Churchianity” is an invention of the devil to drive away real believers. Fake Christians are beautiful on the outside full of glowing testimonies, Bible verses and kindness flowing like milk and honey. Get just a wee bit deeper and you will find a dark pit slithering with spiders and snakes and more sinfulness than your non believer friends ever dreamed of. I believe there are as many devilish satanic infiltraitors in the so called Church as there are sincere Christians. They are doing the devil’s work to drive out the real believers and to keep the weak wishy washy ones in the Church so one day they can subtly drive the sheeple away from the steeple into the ONE WORLD RELIGION of the antichrist.

    The simple Christianity you discussed in your post is the real kind, I believe. The guilt, unfortunately, is part of the package, as we are born in the flesh and carry the sins of countless generations before us. When left to myself without God’s laws or Jesus’ Grace I fall further and further into depravity. No one is just the same from year to year. Either you go forwards or backwards. When I do not believe and am angry with God I slip further and further backwards.

    This past year has been very tough for me and I have questioned my faith a lot. I was pretty much an agnostic before Salvation 13 years ago and reading a prominent atheist writer from the past has brought up some of the old feelings. I can see your brand of atheism is more of the “social gospel” type rather than the hard right capitalistic beliefs she had and I feel more comfortable reading your opinions rather than hers. The only thing I love about her is her insistence on total personal integrity. That should be what more religious people aspire to. Sorry for rambling all over the place.

  • 12. John T.  |  July 20, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Im Curious, again I hear a christian de convert, only to flip to the other extreme, belief in no creator. Why does it seem that it is always all or nothing? Wheres the middle ground?

    Theres a wonderful Greek Myth about Icarus.

    The moral of it dont fly too high or too low, Fly the middle way.

  • 13. johnwarren  |  July 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    A thought for LeoPardus where would the third world be without Christian Missionaries? The Missionaries provide education, health care, etc. to help them live a better life? The information that I shared in my comment has nothing to do with what is said in a pulpit. It is through my own study of the Bible and text outside of the Bible. Again the main questions that I ask that no know one yet has addressed is who is Jesus to you? And what happens to you when you die?

  • 14. AJ  |  July 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I left the Christian church a number of years ago.

    Being a non-Christian has been much harder than being a Christian because I don’t have the comfort of being able to blame the devil for tempting me, knowing that God has a purpose for all the horrible tragedy in the world, or for knowing that no matter what harm I caused, Jesus would forgive me for being “born in sin.” I learned to accept responsibility for my choices and my actions. Well, I’m still working on it.

    I stopped believing in re-incarnation and an after-life. I accepted that life-everlasting meant that my dead body would go into the ground and provide nutrients for other living things. I will not see my already dead loved ones. The time for me to see them and remember them is now, while I live.

    Leaving behind the belief in a supreme being meant that when tragedy struck, there was no greater purpose that only God could know. Death and loss was without purpose and it made no sense. It just was.

    I had been taught not to question God’s will. So, I was supposed to love and follow a being who took away my loved ones or tortured me or tortured others just to prove his power and I was not to question, nor was I to doubt, and especially not to leave behind this being. Hmmm. I’ve had friends who had to get restraining orders after leaving this kind of relationship.

    I’ve spent years evaluating my spiritual beliefs and learning about other systems of spirituality. I wish you well on your continuing journey. You have asked much of yourself and your path will not be easy but you will undoubtedly be very strong for the challenges.

  • 15. John Morales  |  July 20, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    John T:

    Im Curious, again I hear a christian de convert, only to flip to the other extreme, belief in no creator. Why does it seem that it is always all or nothing? Wheres the middle ground?
    Theres a wonderful Greek Myth about Icarus.
    The moral of it dont fly too high or too low, Fly the middle way.

    That’s a very poor comparison (and, I suspect, intentionally misleading one).

    A more apt comparision would be like believing you were brought into the world by a stork, then one day getting married and having a baby and discovering where children come from.

    Why abandon the stork belief entirely?
    Where’s the middle ground?

  • 16. orDover  |  July 20, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Im Curious, again I hear a christian de convert, only to flip to the other extreme, belief in no creator. Why does it seem that it is always all or nothing? Wheres the middle ground?

    I’m curious as to what you think the “middle ground” is? Agnosticism?
    Most deconverts here would call ourselves agnostic, but it carries with it a negative indecisive connotation. For myself, I say I am an atheist, although I am technically an agnostic. I believe that the existence of god cannot, at this time, be proven or disproved, so I am an agnostic, but my working hypothesis is atheist because I believe there is currently more reason to not believe in god than to believe in god.

  • 17. John T.  |  July 20, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    The middle ground for me is a belief in a force that drives the universe as I see it. I dont need a doctrine or religious affiliation for my belief to be credible in my mind. It is an intuitive sense and I find all the world wide systems seem to have a sense of it too. The problem is when they try to quantify it, This I believe is beyond us. Thus the Mystery.

  • 18. John T.  |  July 20, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    John M.

    “That’s a very poor comparison (and, I suspect, intentionally misleading one).”

    A poor one in your mind. You strike me as a cynic. Though I may be wrong ;)

  • 19. digitaldame  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Fantastic. I often hear Christians touting morality, and having a sense of morality, as proof of God’s existence. And yet here you are, more committed than ever, and more committed than most who believe in God, to dedicate yourself to relieving the suffering of others. I think it’s simply part of our genetic makeup. They’ve now identified a gene that causes rage, I believe in time everything else will follow. Being without belief in Jesus does not instantly make someone callow and heartless.

  • 20. The de-Convert  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Johnwarren,

    Again the main questions that I ask that no know one yet has addressed is who is Jesus to you? And what happens to you when you die?

    Do you really believe that this statement and question has any impact?

    It only has any power over an individual if they believe it when you instill FEAR into them by telling them that there’s a loving Father God in heaven who will torture them forever and ever in the fires of hell with evil demons surrounding them if they do not accept a God-man who lived 2,000 years ago into their heart – the beautiful message of the good news.

    As the great classical hymn, Amazing Grace, states: “twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.” If we don’t allow your message of “grace” to bring the fear, we won’t need the message of “grace” to relieve it.

    In other words, your statement and question is irrelevant and you’ll just get a blank response or a HUH????

    Paul

  • 21. Donna  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I agree with the earlier sentiment left with “Downcastmysoul”. I will be sincerely praying for you. The Christian life is not always an easy one. I am not a philosopher or a pastor, but I know my beliefs and convictions. Many of the folks you encountered in the past sound like modern day Pharisees or false Christians who know the “Law”, but do not have the love of Christ in their hearts. One would think the people you meet in the church setting are Christians, but unfortunately some are not. The bible itself speaks of false teachers and false prophets. Just because you are in a garage does not make you a car, alas, just because you are in a church pew or do good works, it does not make you a Christian. I would encourage you to read “90 Minutes in Heaven” by Don Piper and “The Case for Christ” written by a very well educated former athiest who set out to convince his spouse that there is no God and became a Christian in his conquest. The belief of whether or not to accept Christ is the most important decision in your life and not a decision to make lightly. God bless you in your soul seach.

  • 22. The de-Convert  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Donna,

    Here are some thoughts on The Case For Christ

    Also, do you really believe that Don Piper spent 90 minutes in heaven? Over the years, I’ve heard so many stories about people going to heaven (Roberts Liardon, etc.) or hell (Kenneth Hagin, etc.) and I have to tell you, they just have very creative minds or they’re like the character in the film “A Beautiful Mind.”

    BTW, thanks for the spirit of your post. It was kind and seemed sincere (unlike many Christians who comment here).

    If you could get God to show up and perform a real miracle (like growing someone a new arm in 5.8 secs), we wouldn’t need to have this blog. Put in a good word for us. We’re interested.

    Paul

  • 23. LeoPardus  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    johnwarren:

    where would the third world be without Christian Missionaries? The Missionaries provide education, health care, etc. to help them live a better life

    Nice of them. I admire them for it. Likewise the Peace Corps or anyone else who helps where it’s needed. So what’s that got to do with God? He’s not helping. People are. And as I just know you’ll tell me that God inspired them to help, or some such drivel, here’s a thought for you. Why’s God so lousy at it? He sends in a few thousand missionaries to help some 1000s of folks and leaves millions more dying, screaming for help, etc.

    Look I know the games you play with this intractable problem. God “can’t” just fix everything, blah, blah. But your imaginary friend doesn’t fix anything. Get him to stop child molesters (heck get him to that just within His own church). Get him to stop a tidal wave. Get him to respond to any of the millions screaming their eyes out to save them from abuse, starvation, loss of parents, etc. Then I’ll think you’ve got something more that your own blather and wishful thinking.

    The information that I shared in my comment has nothing to do with what is said in a pulpit. It is through my own study of the Bible and text outside of the Bible.

    So you didn’t get it from a pulpit. You got it from a book written by a pulpit pundit. Same difference.

    Again the main questions that I ask that no know one yet has addressed is who is Jesus to you?

    You addressed the question only to the author of the article as far as anyone could tell. But since you’ve expanded to all, we may answer it now.

    To me, Jesus is an historical individual who lived in Israel roughly 2000 years ago. He is likely the titular founder of the religion known as Christianity. Numerous claims have been made of him having miraculous powers. It is impossible to confirm or deny these claims today.

    I could probably give you a list of claims about Jesus that I specifically do not believe if that would help.

    And what happens to you when you die?

    It’s impossible to know with any certainty. There may be some life after this one. I simply don’t know. My inclination is to believe that when you die, it’s just like before you were born. You don’t exist. (Except of course that before you were born there weren’t any memories of you.)

  • 24. LeoPardus  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Donna:

    I would encourage you to read “90 Minutes in Heaven” by Don Piper and “The Case for Christ”

    Like so many who wander in here, you fail to understand that we are mostly former (or even current) apologists, pastors, religious studies majors, etc. Most of us have read tons of apologetics. I know for certain that people on this blog have read Strobel’s stuff.

    We DON’T need apologetics. You can spout worthless arguments until the cows come home. It’s meaningless because it’s just opinion vs opinion. (Yes, I know you think Strobel and Piper give nothing but incontrovertible facts.) If you want anyone here to think about “the reality” of God, you’re going to have to come up with a real God. You know, one that can actually do something. Kind of like the one you read about in the Bible ya know.

  • 25. Obi  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Regarding the person who posed the question regarding the third world countries and Christian missionaries — do you think those third world countries (especially in Africa) would be in the state that they’re currently in if it hadn’t been for the Christian conquerors, colonialists, and converters who came before them?

  • 26. Quester  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Carried,

    I’m glad you’ve reached the acceptance stage and found some issues to work for. I don’t see being against theism to be a goal worth much. Being for something seems much more positive, and much more effective.

    John Warren,

    I am still seeking some issue or philosophy to devote time, money and energy to.

    I don’t know what will happen after I have died, and see no way to know.

    Jesus (when not referring to the Spanish name of identical spelling) is the English corruption of a Greek corruption of a Hebrew name. If there ever was a person like the one this corrupted name is applied to in English Bibles, I have no reason to think his teachings have been any less corrupted than his name. If the teachings have been passed down perfectly, he was a Jewish rebel and storyteller.

    John T,

    To leave Christianity, I had to first see that there was no evidence for any part of it, including there being a creator.

    Downcast and Donna,

    Please look in the sidebar on the right hand side of the screen for the red exclamation point and click on the links under Attention Christian Readers. You will see here the reasons usually given by Christians who visit the site telling us why we deconverted, and our own reasons for why we did.

    Donna, de-Convert’s already pointed you to the article on The Case for Christ, so I won’t do the same.

  • 27. John T.  |  July 20, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Quester

    “To leave Christianity, I had to first see that there was no evidence for any part of it, including there being a creator.”

    Im not Christian, and I dont have any evidence that there is a Creator, but my gut still tells me there is. I like that feeling, works well for me. I also like all the physical stuff this world has to offer.
    :)

  • 28. Gary  |  July 20, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    downcastmysoul, I am not even going to begin trying to argue with your statements. Knowing that I once thought as you, I see them as merely rehashed arguments from what you have read and heard. Please, before offering such ideas, think for a moment as to why you are doing so, and what you hope to achieve. Earnest stories are presented here for reflection and consideration – and your fundamentalism only further drives the wedge of our condemnation of all such belief systems.

  • 29. LeoPardus  |  July 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    AJ:

    I’ve had friends who had to get restraining orders after leaving this kind of relationship.
    :D That is funny. In part because it’s rather true. I sometimes marvel that I didn’t see that earlier in my Christian life. Really, I’m astounded at the amount of cognitive dissonance I was mired in.

  • 30. truthwalker  |  July 20, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I always feel goofy being the 30th commenter on a site. What could I say that hasn’t been said? Here goes: I grew up ultra-baptist. It took me 23 years and not 7 to accept atheism. I don’t think most people understand why I accept it, but I think you might: Joy. All my life, all I wanted was the Joy and Peace that the Christians around me talked about so much. With atheism, the frustration and pain of never quite measuring up, never quite wanting it enough, never quite having enough of whatever, was gone. When I finally accepted atheism, it was as if a 1000 lb load fell of my back. I read these comments, and its so weird. Its true, I think most of us were apologists. I was. I was the guy posting about “real” Christianity and saying “Don’t give up on Jesus!’ . Now I am the guy blogging about why I became an atheist, and commenting to other atheists. Thanks for writing, it needs to be said.

  • 31. Quester  |  July 21, 2008 at 12:16 am

    John T,

    You were asking why many people deconverting from Christianity do not accept a Creator. Why should we? If I was willing to accept such a belief on no evidence, why would I have left Christianity? I’m afraid your gut feeling is not enough for people who are not you. You are trying to argue for something without bothering to have any actual arguments? Why?

    truthwalker

    Welcome. I hope you find something here for you.

  • 32. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 21, 2008 at 1:05 am

    John T.-

    Im not Christian, and I dont have any evidence that there is a Creator, but my gut still tells me there is. I like that feeling, works well for me.

    Hey, if that works for you, great. I don’t have that gut feeling, though; combined with no evidence for any kind of deity, I’m left with no choice but to be honest with myself that I don’t believe in a creator.

    Not everyone on this blog is an atheist, though; there definitely are some deists. Just seems like the atheists have been the more active group lately.

  • 33. John Morales  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:51 am

    To be fair, John T. is clearly saying “Evidence and reason are less important to me than my gut feelings; I believe that which makes me feel comfortable”.

    That’s not an attitude amenable to being changed by reasoned discourse.

    I leave unsaid the implications as to his purpose for his presence here, given that.

  • 34. rover  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:06 am

    I know I will be destroyed for the following comments but…

    I have been struggling with my faith lately. I see many excellent points made by the de-converts on this page and I wonder why I still believe in Christ. However, when I have such a great weekend like I just had I have to think that Christianity must be true. Yes many Christians are horrilbe and the cause of all of the worl’s ills, but sometimes the christian life can be so beautiful. The unity, the fellowship, the love can be so satisfying that it all “seems” to make sense. People willing to love the unlovable, to listen to the lonely, to encourage the downhearted. These all seem to be ideas beyond that which evolution should produce. I have been around this site for several weeks and I am certainly not trying to convince anyone of anything, but I do wonder if you miss this kind of experience or if you ever had it. I know experience is not science and I know my words sound less then logical, but man sometimes when you find Christians that are really into the teachings of Christ it is hard for me to deny His existence.

  • 35. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Quester

    “You are trying to argue for something without bothering to have any actual arguments? Why?”

    I am not trying to argue, Im genuinely curious why such extreme flip flops happen. In your mind, do you have to have proof of something for it to resonate within you? Also because you have no proof of something does that mean its not real. There was a time, actually a very long period when no one new what an atom was, yet it was there affecting the universe as we know it. If someone claimed to know about it thousands of years ago, they would have be deemed nuts.

  • 36. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:17 am

    To be fair, John T. is clearly saying “Evidence and reason are less important to me than my gut feelings; I believe that which makes me feel comfortable”.

    That’s not an attitude amenable to being changed by reasoned discourse.

    I leave unsaid the implications as to his purpose for his presence here, given that.(John Morales)

    I actually use both my reason and intuition to make my way in life. I am also not trying to change you or anyone, I am just putting forth a different view point on life that seems to not be on here. That of a belief in a creator without it having to have a doctrine of any sort to back it up. I like discourse, if you wish me to leave John M., just ask.

    Let me ask you this John, Do you think that maybe intuition will one day be quantifiable?

  • 37. John Morales  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Rover: It’s not like you have to rush or even consciously choose. All you have to do is be honest with yourself and live what you feel is a good life.

    If you need a belief to do that, fine. Not my worry.

    John T.:

    I am not trying to argue, Im genuinely curious why such extreme flip flops happen. In your mind, do you have to have proof of something for it to resonate within you?

    Well, the thing is, it doesn’t seem like an extreme flip-flop to me. I still believe things, I just think it’s irrational to believe in absurd or pointless things, which I only dimly and inchoately realised as a child (when I believed).

    You’re making a big deal out of nothing, in my opinion. I realise my opinion is not the norm, just in case you think to appeal to popularity.

  • 38. Grace  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Hi, John,

    Thought-provoking blog. I’m a Christian, although not a fundamentalistl. There are many atheists who are truly caring, and compassionate people, more so that some so-called Christians.

    But, seriously, I wonder what an entire culture based in atheism would be like over many decades. I think part of the reason people are moved to act in compassionate ways toward others, and to care about things like world hunger, and saving the planet come from a deep sense that human life is infinitely precious, that we are made in the very image and likeness of God, and that the whole creation is a gift showing the glory of the creator.

    With atheism as a philosophical base, humans as nothing more than highly evolved animals, would it be alot easier for folks over time to just adopt a survival of the fittest kind of ethic through the generations?

    Without divine moral law, can we reasonably argue that the end doesn’t justify the means? Who is to say, really?

  • 39. Grace  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Truthwalker, I want to share that for me, the best part about being a Christian is actually knowing that I don’t have to measure up to anyone’s expectations.God unconditionally loves and accepts us in Christ no matter what. In Him, we’re being made a “new creation.”

    That’s the “good news,” to me.

  • 40. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:54 am

    John M

    “You’re making a big deal out of nothing, in my opinion. I realise my opinion is not the norm, just in case you think to appeal to popularity.”

    Is my discussion of less value than yours? Also, is someone always wrong if there is no “physical” proof for their idea?

  • 41. john  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Grace:

    I agree, despite all of the very intelligent points that that these knowledgable men use against christianity it does seem counterintuative that we have formed this love of life. A love that is beyond a mere survival instinct. I know there are many arguments to explain altruism but it does not seem like a natural growth from materialism.

    What kind of Christian are you?

  • 42. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Grace

    There are just as many non believers as believers who have a good moral code. I have several in my family that blow the socks off most Christians. The one thing about my faith is that it doesnt have a system, I cant prove it, I just sense it. The issue I have with Christianity or most of the religions of the world is that I can actually find the “mistakes” in the doctrine, and because of that it makes it easy to disbelieve. I do believe though, science will one day be able to pin point more clearly what I sense is real.

  • 43. John Morales  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:05 am

    But, seriously, I wonder what an entire culture based in atheism would be like over many decades.

    Well, we know what iron-age cultures were like in the middle east. Slavery, genocide, tribalism, oppression and misoginy were the order of the day.
    A culture based in atheism would be very similar to a secular state, but without the religious memes crippling young minds that still linger. Think modern western Europe or here in Australia.
    As time goes by, I am optimistic. The internet helps.

    1. Is my discussion of less value than yours? Also, 2. is someone always wrong if there is no “physical” proof for their idea?

    1. Are you insecure? 2. Only if the proof required is necessarily “physical”. In what way is “physical” different to physical?

  • 44. John Morales  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Oops, I lost the credit to the author of both sophistries during editing: it was John T.

    Nothing like rhetorical maneouvering to liven up a thread, eh John?

  • 45. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:13 am

    John M.

    “Nothing like rhetorical maneouvering to liven up a thread, eh John?”

    I think you got me John. Because of my ignorance, your dialogue has now blown way over my head. I now know why you seem so familiar, most bullies I know did it with their fists, you do it with your words. ;)

  • 46. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:15 am

    John M.

    “The internet helps”

    It helps spread both the shit and the sugar.

  • 47. John Morales  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Wow, how could I miss this?

    Grace:

    I want to share that for me, the best part about being a Christian is actually knowing that I don’t have to measure up to anyone’s expectations.

    Bingo!

  • 48. ubi dubium  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Grace:

    I think part of the reason people are moved to act in compassionate ways toward others, and to care about things like world hunger, and saving the planet come from a deep sense that human life is infinitely precious, that we are made in the very image and likeness of God, and that the whole creation is a gift showing the glory of the creator.

    Well Grace, to me, as a atheist, life is more precious than it was to me as a believer. If this life is but an insignificant fraction of some eternal life to come, then how much can it really matter? But if this life is all there is, then it’s vitally important that we do a good job with it while we can. If all that is left of us when we die is the effect we have had on others, then I want the world to be a better place for my having been in it. Life is wonderful, the universe has enough mystery for me, and it’s a privilege to have a chance to participate in it as a member of the human species.

  • 49. John Morales  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I think you got me John. Because of my ignorance, your dialogue has now blown way over my head. I now know why you seem so familiar, most bullies I know did it with their fists, you do it with your words.

    Wrong.

    I “got” you because I was both honest and blunt.

    From what I’ve seen here, and I’m darned new and may not linger, is that most regulars (yes, I have researched before posting) are honest and polite.

    I am polite by nature.

    But I will not be passive-aggresively bullied or tolerate disingenuity without calling it.

    I’d have thought that’d’ve been obvious by now.

  • 50. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:26 am

    John M

    My friends would laugh to hear me called passive aggressive. And as far as you thinking your polite, well we all have some delusional behaviour.

  • 51. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 21, 2008 at 11:45 am

    rover-

    People willing to love the unlovable, to listen to the lonely, to encourage the downhearted. These all seem to be ideas beyond that which evolution should produce. I have been around this site for several weeks and I am certainly not trying to convince anyone of anything, but I do wonder if you miss this kind of experience or if you ever had it.

    Do I miss it? No, because I still experience it all the time (and did experience it as a Christian, also, so it’s lack is not why I left the faith). There seems to be this idea pervading Christianity that atheists are all unfeeling, heartless bastards. Both the Christians and atheists in my group of friends are some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met. My experience has coincided with many here, in that it seems, overall, Christians are not different from non-Christians except in their beliefs.

    Grace-

    With atheism as a philosophical base, humans as nothing more than highly evolved animals, would it be alot easier for folks over time to just adopt a survival of the fittest kind of ethic through the generations?

    Atheism isn’t a philosophy, though, just a belief in the non-existence of any kind of deity. As far as I can tell, a lot of atheists adopt a philosophical base of Humanism. As far as I can tell, no significant group of atheists has ever decided to adopt a pure survival of the fittest attitude.

  • 52. Lorena  |  July 21, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Truthwalker, I want to share that for me, the best part about being a Christian is actually knowing that I don’t have to measure up to anyone’s expectations.God unconditionally loves and accepts us in Christ no matter what. In Him, we’re being made a “new creation.”

    Really, have you read YOUR Bible? Let me give you just two Bible verses that pop to mind about the fact that YOU DO have to measure up:

    1) Be holy because I am holy
    2)So then, because thou art luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee out of my mouth:

    These are, of course, in the New Testament, if I were to use the old, I would have to paste here the whole thing.

  • 53. Cthulhu  |  July 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Grace,

    But, seriously, I wonder what an entire culture based in atheism would be like over many decades.

    The phrase ‘based on atheism’ is a misnomer here. Atheism is a lack of belief’, not a worldview or a philosophy. But a society based on rationality, personal responsibility and critical thinking would fair very well in my opinion.

    Cheers…

  • 54. Cthulhu  |  July 21, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    A little off-topic – please forgive me.

    If anyone is interested there is a new social networking site for atheists. It it the Atheists Nexus at http://www.atheistnexus.org. What are you waiting for – join now!

    Disclaimer: I am in no way connected the Atheist Nexus except as a member…here is my profile.

    http://www.atheistnexus.org/profile/BradFeaker

  • 55. The de-Convert  |  July 21, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    rover,

    I know I will be destroyed for the following comments but… I have been struggling with my faith lately. I see many excellent points made by the de-converts on this page and I wonder why I still believe in Christ. However, when I have such a great weekend like I just had I have to think that Christianity must be true.

    I’m not sure why you think you’d be “destroyed” for that comment. Most of us de-converts will say “more power to ya.” In fact, if you read through the archives, you’ll find a few “I wish I could have continued to believe” type posts. However, for most of us, we came to a point that we could no longer believe.

    If you’re not there, that’s ok too. IMO, the main thing is that we try to positively impact our world, be kind, be compassionate, tolerant, etc.

    We may disagree with the reason that you believe Christianity to be “true” but if you choose to believe anyway, that’s your choice and you have to live by your beliefs and convictions.

    Remember, we’re not here to de-convert but to be a resource to skeptical Christians and to provide a community to the de-cons.

    Paul

  • 56. TheNerd  |  July 21, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I’m a bit late to this conversation, but I just wanted to clear up the issue of Agnosticism. Agnostics aren’t a stand-alone bunch. It is simply a filter through which one views the world. There are Agnostic Atheists and Agnostic Christians alike, simply meaning they think there is know way of knowing ABSOLUTELY that they are in fact correct. Agnostic Atheists are far more common than Agnostic Christians because Christianity usually binds itself to being an absolute authority, no questions asked.

  • 57. downcastmysoul  |  July 21, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I guess I’ll get flamed again but I will point out that abandoning God was one of Hitler’s objectives in creating the perfect Aryan state. Hitler knew he could not create his dream world with moral absolutes that are found in religion. He decided then to create a state religion based on myths about Atlantis to stir the people to what he wanted them to do. Without moral absolutes morality can be made up as you go along. If the political leader decides a group of people are disposable all he has to do is come up with a reason as to why they are and the reason is correct since there are no moral absolutes.

    Another thing: mainline satanists call themselves atheists (Church of Satan). Do the people on this website who once accepted God want to be associated with them who are NOT really atheists but worship the ultimate evil?

    The only atheists I can believe are Objectivists (Ayn Rand). They believe in moral absolutes based on a form of selfishness that requires one not hurt another human being in order to further one’s own self interests. I still wonder where Miss Rand is today, though.

  • 58. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    downcastmysoul, congratulations on being the first to Godwin the thread!

  • 59. downcastmysoul  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    OK, had to look that one up! I guess Godwin means that bringing up Hitler or the Nazis in an argument is a no no. Uh oh.

  • 60. Joe  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Wow. Thanks for summing up what I’ve been struggling to piece together in my own thoughts over the last few months. Excellent job! My personal favorite line of you blog: “I am free from the guilt that plagued me as a christian.”

    This sentence intrigued me. There is a verse in Romans 8:1 which reads “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus”. There really is no reason for a Christian to be carrying around guilt–if you are it is false guilt.

    I also have to ask a question. Everyone of these testimonies always includes how the person feels so much more caring about the world, etc. It just makes me wonder why I never see any atheistic organizations collecting for the poor, or trying to feed the children, etc.—-they use all their money to print books, pay speakers, send mailers, write articles that state that God doesn’t exist. All the finances go to speaking about why a deity doesn’t exist—-but I see none of it going to help better the world, feed the poor, etc. Why is this the case if becoming a non-believer is so “freeing” and changes one’s “life-perspective”. I realy am curious about this. There are groups like Atheists United. Why don’t I ever see or hear “Atheists United” helps with flood victims” or something such as this? They are usually the Red Cross, or Christian groups that are dedicating their time, not “Humanists”. Why is that?

  • 61. LeoPardus  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Grace:

    I wonder what an entire culture based in atheism would be like over many decades.

    There are some places to look. Some good, some bad. The old USSR came out very bad. OTOH Denmark, Sweden, and France aren’t so bad. Of course their Christian heritage can be a point of argument still.

    I think part of the reason people are moved to act in compassionate ways toward others, and to care about things like world hunger, and saving the planet come from a deep sense that human life is infinitely precious,

    Nietzsche thought that the idea that life was precious was true and a motivator for morality. He did not need a deity in the equation. Most of us don’t see the need anymore, though many of us formerly thought as you do.

    that we are made in the very image and likeness of God, and that the whole creation is a gift showing the glory of the creator.

    You do realize the problem here right? If it all shows of God’s invisible nature, etc (a la Romans) then he’s got a good chunk of mean, nasty, heartless, uncaring SOB in his nature.

    would it be alot easier for folks over time to just adopt a survival of the fittest kind of ethic through the generations?

    That’s what we do yep. But you, like most folks, don’t understand “survival of the fittest” or “natural selection” or other evolutionary forces. They don’t act on the individual level. They act on the species level. Hence a species that cooperates to improve survival of its members will thrive. When we humans do the things you mention, we improve our overall specietal survival. So compassion becomes a selectable trait.

    Without divine moral law, can we reasonably argue that the end doesn’t justify the means? Who is to say, really?

    And with “divine moral law” how well do we do? People still interpret it as they please. Hence the religious symbols used to lead people into battle, or the religious backing of historical apartheid policies, etc.

    Had you lived centuries ago, you would have thought that “divine moral law” was something quite different from what you think it is living today.

  • 62. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    It just makes me wonder why I never see any atheistic organizations collecting for the poor, or trying to feed the children, etc.

    Child’s Play, a charity run by a pair of atheists.

    There are plenty of secular charities, if you’d actually look for them. Sure, there are more Christian organizations doing this, but that’s exactly what we’d expect in a country where Christianity is the religion held by the majority of the population.

    downcast, check out Reductio ad Hitlerum; bringing up Hitler and the Nazis usually tends to be used in a logical fallacy. Just because Hitler supported something doesn’t make it bad.

  • 63. LeoPardus  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    downcastmysoul:

    Ignore the Godwin crap. I have a personal, burning hatred of the intellectual bankruptcy that screams “no fair” “not allowed” anytime Hitler is brought up.

    abandoning God was one of Hitler’s objectives in creating the perfect Aryan state…He decided then to create a state religion based on myths about Atlantis to stir the people to what he wanted them to do.

    Refs please. This would be news to me.

    mainline satanists call themselves atheists (Church of Satan). Do the people on this website who once accepted God want to be associated with them who are NOT really atheists but worship the ultimate evil?

    You really should read up better. The COS doesn’t believe in Satan either. (Peter Gilmore, “There’s no God, there’s no Devil. No one cares.’)

    I still wonder where Miss Rand is today, though.

    Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York. Now you know.

  • 64. Obi  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Uh oh, it’s Joe

    Check this out: http://www.daylightatheism.org/2007/05/atheist-charity.html

    I know of several university-based secular charities and clubs in the very city that I live in. Some even specifically label themselves as atheists, if only for the fact that people such as yourself wonder where all of the “atheist charities” are. Why should we proclaim that we’re atheists doing work for people? I find that Christian charities label themselves as so to be self-righteous. If you’re doing work for the benefit of humanity, why do you feel the need to proclaim to everyone what your beliefs are? Do you complain that there are no “People With Afros” charities or “People Who Love Chocolate Ice Cream” charities?

  • 65. Cthulhu  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Joe,

    It just makes me wonder why I never see any atheistic organizations collecting for the poor, or trying to feed the children, etc.

    Ever hear of Doctors Without Borders?

  • 66. Cthulhu  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    oops…sorry for the missed tag.

  • 67. BigHouse  |  July 21, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    …“People With Afros” charities

    THAT would be a fantastic charitible group!

  • 68. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Leo-

    Ignore the Godwin crap. I have a personal, burning hatred of the intellectual bankruptcy that screams “no fair” “not allowed” anytime Hitler is brought up.

    What about the intellectual bankruptcy of invoking Hitler and Nazis to make a logical fallacy? It reaches a point where, if you bring up Hitler or Nazis to make a point, I can assume you’re making a logical fallacy; the vast majority of the time, this assumption is correct. Is it intellectually bankrupt to demand people make logical arguments instead of appealing to our disgust for Hitler?

    Make a logical argument and then bring up Nazis or Hitler as a supporting example, but don’t let Hitler and Nazis be your argument (even then I’d recommend finding a different example, just because Hitler and Nazis is such a tired cliche to use).

  • 69. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    On a frivolous note, I like to joke that my family has been Godwinned, since my great-great uncle was a Nazi :P

  • 70. BigHouse  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Particularly Hitler and his Atlantis fetish…

  • 71. The de-Convert  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    downcastmysoul,

    Another thing: mainline satanists call themselves atheists (Church of Satan). Do the people on this website who once accepted God want to be associated with them who are NOT really atheists but worship the ultimate evil?

    As Leo mentioned, the Church of Satan do NOT worship the Satan of Christianity. In case you hadn’t heard, Mike Warnke made up all his stories.

    Here’s a bit more about what “Satan” means to the COS (if you’re interested):

    The Nine Satanic Statements

    The Nine Satanic Statements outline what “Satan” represents in the Church of Satan.

    1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence
    2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams
    3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit
    4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates
    5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek
    6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires
    7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all
    8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification
    9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years

    (Source: Wikipedia)

    Paul

  • 72. Joe  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Why should we proclaim that we’re atheists doing work for people?

    Why not? A group like “Atheists United” puts the word “Atheist” there for a reason. They proclaim they’re atheists on all of their paperwork, newsletters, etc. Why not let people know they are involved? It might do a lot to show people that atheists really do care about something more than proclaiming God doesn’t exist.

    Great Obi—give me an atheist site to prove atheists are charitable people. :>) That makes sense. I’ve got a Christian site that says Christians are the most giving people in the world too. :>) That makes about as much sense.

    Snuggly—I’ll take your word for it that “Child’s Play” is an atheist organization—or “founded” by atheists. if so, good for the atheists—glad to see it. If they truly are better off without God, it’s good see them spending the money on little kids, rather than attempting to prove God doesn’t exist. Show me your life is better by what you do, not what you say. That’s a good way of doing it for sure. thanks for the link.

  • 73. Joe  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Uh oh, it’s Joe…

    Hello to you too Obi. :>)

  • 74. BigHouse  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    if so, good for the atheists—glad to see it. If they truly are better off without God, it’s good see them spending the money on little kids, rather than attempting to prove God doesn’t exist.

    This seems out of line to me, given that a good portion of Christian organization budgets are spent on “proving that God exists and spreading his word”. Good for the goose, but not the gander?

  • 75. Obi  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Joe —

    Yes, it does make sense. I’m sorry, but I fail to see your point. You asked for charitable atheists, and I provided them to you.

  • 76. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Also, only tangentially related, Godwin’s Law technically only deals with the probability that Hitler or Nazis will be mentioned in a thread. Basically, that as a thread continues, the probability of them being mentioned approaches 100%.

    It’s “corollaries” to Godwin’s Law that generally deal with their mention causing the poster to “lose the argument.”

    I guess as opposed to invoking Godwin’s Law, I can just say that downcast is making the logical fallacies of Wrong Direction and Guilt by Association.

  • 77. Quester  |  July 21, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Rover

    As others have said before me, I do not need to miss the love, fellowship and unity, the loving the unlovable, listening to the lonely and the encouraging the downhearted. I still have all that in my life outside of both the Christian faith and the Christian religion.

    But if you are experiencing Christ’s love where you are and it is inspiring you to share that love with others through listening and encouragement, than by all means keep the faith!

    I’m curious, though, about the other side of your struggle. If you are experiencing such love and inspiration, why are you tempted to leave Christianity?

    John T

    These “extreme flip flops” happen when there is no reason for them not to happen and some reason for them to (ie: a desire to learn more about the Creator that leads to the realization that there is nothing to be known). Note I do not say proof, but reason. The only reason you claim for believing what you do is it satisfies your gut feeling. Why no one else seems to share your gut feeling is between yourself, your gut and perhaps a trained psychologist.

    Grace

    I don’t think that a culture can be based in atheism, as atheism is not a philosophy, simply a lack of belief in a certain type of entity. A culture can not be based on that. An actual philosophy ,or at least a set of values, is needed.

    Without divine moral law, can we reasonably argue that the end doesn’t justify the means?

    Well, we couldn’t successfully argue it *with* divine moral law, so no, probably not.

    john

    I know there are many arguments to explain altruism but it does not seem like a natural growth from materialism.

    Who is arguing that altruism grows from materialism?

    downcast

    The problem is not mentioning Hitler, but in stating the other side of an argument is obviously wrong simply because Hitler said or did something that sounds like what the other side in the argument is saying or doing. It’s like the argument from authority fallacy, if in some weird reversal. It’s not unlike the frequent attempts I see made by theists, deists and atheists to claim that Albert Einstein agreed with them. So what? Einstein was not all knowing. Hitler was not pure evil in every thought, word and deed.

    Your actual argument seems to be “Without moral absolutes morality can be made up as you go along.” And, while I’ve argued against this extensively in previous threads, I’m beginning to think you may be right. Morality is made up as we go along. It always has been, even if we claimed divinely inspired moral absolutes in doing so.

    This is really hard for me to accept, but it is growing harder for me to deny, also.

  • 78. Joe  |  July 21, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    This seems out of line to me, given that a good portion of Christian organization budgets are spent on “proving that God exists and spreading his word”. Good for the goose, but not the gander?

    BigHouse—

    You’re right—-kind of a stupid thing to being having a discussion about—-“who’s more giving?” is actually a rather pride filled statement isn’t it?

    Yes, it does make sense. I’m sorry, but I fail to see your point. You asked for charitable atheists, and I provided them to you.

    Obi—

    Actually I was just kidding around. What I was saying is that if I wanted to “prove” to you Christians were “giving” people, I wouldn’t refer you to some Christian website–because of course, it’s going to be one-sided. The site you referred was an atheist site—so of course they are going to give a view of “great giving” by atheists. I was just giving you a little flack for that was all. A better place to go might be a place that keeps statistics on organizations around the world, and how much of the money actually gets to the afflicted, etc., if one wanted to make that argument.

    But as I mentioned to BigHouse, a discussion about who’s more giving is really pretty much a waste of time—and I shouldn’t have brought it up.

  • 79. rover  |  July 21, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Quester,

    the struggle is that it is difficult, once you “have been enlightened” to continue to feel comfortable within your old social unit. Certainly, after a while my true beliefs would surface and I would be looked upon as an apostate or a false teacher.
    Most christians are insecure – read Joe’s blogs- lol.

  • 80. Anonymous  |  July 21, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Most christians are insecure – read Joe’s blogs- lol.

    Can you be more specific? I may get sarcastic, bombastic, argumentative, and a little off-base at times—-but can you give an example of insecurity? Just curious.

    –Joe :>)

  • 81. Joe  |  July 21, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    The above was me.–not anonymous. -Joe

  • 82. thatgirl  |  July 21, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Wow, so much has happened since I commented. eek. You really have to check in every few hours to be in on the action here. :P

    First of all, Donna, thank you for the comment you made. Somewhat summed up some of the stuff I’ve been thinking. Ok so maybe the Nazi thing isn’t a good example of what the world will be like when God is totally removed. I don’t think you’ll have to wait long to see an example of that, though. It’s in-progress here in the states. Stick around for a few decades. You’ll get your fill. :)

    Oh, and I don’t know whether or not she’ll come back, but Lorena I’d love to get references from you on those verses. The whole thing about not having to measure up to something is like Donna or Grace said. We don’t have to act a certain way to make ourselves holy. We can’t. Jesus did. That;s how we can be holy as He is. The way we “do life” is a reaction to the amazing love He has shown us. It;s like when you meet someone who you fall in love with. You don;t HAVE to go to the movies with them or talk to them on the phone, you just do because you want to be with them and show them your love. That’s what it’s like to follow Jesus. We can’t be perfect on our own strength, but we can show him how much we love him through our actions (which is all He asks for). We also can be made holy by admitting we screwed up to God, and He cleans us up. Sorry for the long comment responding to a comment a while ago, but it really bothered me. :D

    Oh, and sorry for all the apostrophe errors–typing with a wrist brace is harder than I thought. :-|

  • 83. rover  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    sure:

    Can you be more specific? I may get sarcastic, bombastic, argumentative, and a little off-base at times—-but can you give an example of insecurity? Just curious.

    –Joe :>

  • 84. John T.  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Quester

    “Why no one else seems to share your gut feeling is between yourself, your gut and perhaps a trained psychologist.”

    Actually I know many people who have an intuitive sense of life being more than just what we can quantify. None of us try to push it on others, but we definately like to discuss with people of different takes on life. I tried the psychologist, but when he figured out I was a sociopath I had to terminate his existence. Though before he died, he said he would get me back on the flip side ;)

  • 85. Cthulhu  |  July 21, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    John T.

    I tried the psychologist, but when he figured out I was a sociopath I had to terminate his existence. Though before he died, he said he would get me back on the flip side

    THAT was funny – who says deists don’t have a sense of humor :-)

  • 86. OneSmallStep  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    was the deeper issues. The guilt that I saw people carrying around. The self-loathing for their inability to rid themselves of “sin” in their lives.

    Is there any way to eliminate this if one believes that one is saved from a fate one so “justly” deserves? I’ve seen this in evangelicals, in where one might talk about a person behind his/her back, and then later have the person do something nice, so the evangelical adds his/her behavior to the list of reasons as to why they need to be forgiven.

    I can see why letting this go is relaxing. There’s the viewpoint of “You aren’t perfect, but just try your best” which allows one to be okay with oneself, and grow. When contrasted to the idea of “You, imperfect creature, have failed to be perfect, and can never be perfect,” I don’t see how there’s any way to avoid the guilt or self-loathing.

  • 87. Grace  |  July 21, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    John,

    I’m an orthodox Episcopalian. Although, I was reared as a young person in the Lutheran church. I remember struggling with the Christian faith from a very young age. I wondered why a loving God would allow so much pain, and suffering in the world. I was always asking questions, challenging the Sunday school teachers.

    Then one night while I was praying, asking God to reveal Himself, by this time I was agnostic, God actually showed up. I mean not physically of course. But, I actually has this sense of His presence. I realized the finiteness of my human mind, and the awesomeness of the creator of the universe. It’s hard to explaing this, or even put it into words all these years later. But, looking back, it was sort of like a Jobian experience.

    It wasn’t too long after this that I actually came to a personal faith in Christ. Reading books by C.S. Lewis, and listening to Dr. Billy Graham’s preaching also made an impact, and helped put it altogether for me.

    Well , of course, my faith has had tons of ups and downs since then. I certainly don’t think that Christian faith means the absence of doubt, and I think God actually honors honest doubt, and all of our questions. I think it’s through all the challenges to faith, that our trust in Him can become deeper, and more sure. I’m speaking from my own experience, now.

    Several years ago, I was involved in a terrible riding accident. I was bleeding internally, and going in to shock. While I was lying on the doctor’s table, he asked for my permission to operate. I was totally terrified, and thought I might die. Desperately, I prayed for God’s help, and wisdom to make the right decision.

    And, again, I physically and spiritually sensed the presence of the Lord. I was able to know that He was there with me, and that no matter what happened, it would be ok. I think in the face of death, the hope of the resurrection is more than powerful.

    I want to add that one thing I love about my church is that it doesn’t require anyone to check their mind at the door. Hey, whatever questions or challenges anyone has I think the Episcopal church can handle it. Also, I feel very much spiritually nourished by the richness of our tradiition, and the liturgy, most of all by the great spiritual community that’s there.

    Personally, I believe many people are turned off by the abuses of institutional religion. But, of course, no instituion is perfect, and we’re all works in progress. I think, though, that a real relationship with Christ, truly following His teaching, can only enhance anyone’s life, and make the world a better place to be.

    Hey, Christians believe eternal life starts in the here and now. It’s not just “pie in the sky after you die.” :) To me the whole problem is not that as a culture we’ve tried Christianity, and found it wanting. It’s just that it’s never truly been walked out consistently by most of us, let alone by all of us.

    I know that I can’t convince anyone here. That’s way above my paygrade. And, I think any position anyone takes can be challenged one way or the other. I mean the debate could be endless. Still, thanks for listening, and for the opportunity to share.

    Pax. :)

  • 88. Cthulhu  |  July 21, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Grace,

    Several years ago, I was involved in a terrible riding accident. I was bleeding internally, and going in to shock. While I was lying on the doctor’s table, he asked for my permission to operate. I was totally terrified, and thought I might die. Desperately, I prayed for God’s help, and wisdom to make the right decision.

    And, again, I physically and spiritually sensed the presence of the Lord. I was able to know that He was there with me, and that no matter what happened, it would be ok. I think in the face of death, the hope of the resurrection is more than powerful.

    Have you ever asked yourself – why didn’t God just heal me right then and there instead of just an arbitrary felling of ‘presence’?

  • 89. Grace  |  July 21, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    No, Cthulhu,

    I was just more than happy to be up, and walking around. But, what I’m meaning to share is that I knew it was ok even if I never woke up in this life. He took away even the fear of death.

    Of course, I better be clear here. (There are times when my prayers feel like they’re balancing off the ceiling. )(laughing ) I don’t sense God in this way all the time. Although, I think it’s “in Him that we all live, and move, and have our being.” But, it’s in these times of intense crisis and longing that God has shown Himself in this more tangible way.

  • 90. Quester  |  July 21, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Rover

    Sorry if it sounds like I’m harping, but what exactly do you mean by “enlightened”?

    John T

    I was just responding to your query, “Why does it seem that it is always all or nothing?” when I said no one was agreeing with you. If there are some agreeing with you, then it is not always all or nothing, and you no longer have an issue, if you ever did.

    Grace

    I enjoyed my time as an orthodox (if slightly irreverent) Episcopalian. I, too, spent a lot of time with the Lutheran church (as well as Roman Catholic, Alliance, Salvation Army, Baptist and a few others). I enjoyed the traditions, the theology, and the willingness to wrestle intellectually with different issues. I enjoyed debates, discussions and preaching, and am thankful for the times in my past where I truly thought I had experienced God’s presence. The idea of God’s Kingdom being something we could participate in and help create here and now inspired me, and I preached on it often. I hope you continue to experience God’s presence in your life, and that it gives you peace and joy and inspires you to love. I hope, too, that if the Episcopalian church manages to self-destruct, as it sometimes seems it might, that you find some way to be church that still nurtures you.

  • 91. lorenarod1@yahoo.com  |  July 22, 2008 at 2:07 am

    but Lorena I’d love to get references from you on those verses.

    You SERIOUSLY don’t know where those verses are? Are you kidding? I didn’t write the references because I was too lazy to look them up, and because the verses are so popular that anyone who calls themselves a Christian should know where they are.

    I am still too lazy to look the references up. And since you are the bible believer, a concordance should be of great help to you.

  • 92. Quester  |  July 22, 2008 at 2:24 am

    Lorena and Thatgirl,

    1 Peter 1: 16 (quoting Leviticus) and Revelations 3:16 (an interesting contrast to John 3:16). BibleGateway.com can be a helpful tool for quickly finding verses.

  • 93. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Quester probably figured there was no need to say you can search on sentence fragments or even single words very easily to find stuff. BibleGateway is very handy.

  • 94. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Then one night while I was praying, asking God to reveal Himself, by this time I was agnostic, God actually showed up.

    I ponder how agnostic a praying person is.

  • 95. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Hm. Interesting question.

    My first impression is that
    * Here are two continua that are correlated:
    Prays……………………..does not pray (wish to purpose/to an entity)
    Believes…………………..does not believe (in God)
    * The correlation is not linear

    Of course, quantifying this would be near impossible.
    Furthermore, what is praying?
    There are times when I have high anxiety and fervently wish for some fortunate outcome with “every fibre of my being”. Nonetheless, I can not with any honesty say that in any sense I “pray”.

    I strongly suspect this isn’t common. It is easy for me, but I full well know that it is not for others.

    The locus of intersection of those two continua that would include Grace would not in my opinon be much greater in magnitude than that which defines mine.

    And I’d better stop my musings here.

  • 96. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Um, I think my penultimate paragraph is too allusively worded. Sorry.

    I mean there are many unacknowledged non-prayers and non-believers. I personally know a number of apatheists who (by definition) would not bother posting in fora such as this, and others who are “cultural” churchgoing non-believers.

    Anyway.

  • 97. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 7:34 am

    One more thought.

    (for simplicity, set up an axis for each of (prays,believes) with the origin at the midpoint of each.

    I wonder where a non-religiously acculturated “normal” person would fall.

  • 98. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

    “I was just responding to your query, “Why does it seem that it is always all or nothing?” when I said no one was agreeing with you. If there are some agreeing with you, then it is not always all or nothing, and you no longer have an issue, if you ever did.”(Quester)

    Actually quester, most people who agree with me werent Christians at one time and De converted. I am making reference to most of the De converts on here. It seems to me and I may be wrong, but many such as yourself seem to do an extreme flip. One day believing Jesus to be your saviour and lord and then whoops theres no God. It almost seems manic. Now again there may be many who still have a sense of a Creator so correct me if I am wrong. Its just that youre not one of them, hence my question to you. Now if my questioning offends you, just say so. I am just curious how you came to your conclusion so completely.

  • 99. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:32 am

    John T.:

    One day believing Jesus to be your saviour and lord and then whoops theres no God. It almost seems manic.

    Not at insulting.

  • 100. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:34 am

    John M.

    “Furthermore, what is praying?”

    Praying for many people is like meditation, its a way of, for lack of a better word, Centering themselves. You dont necessarily have to pray to a specific entity. My prayers are based more on connection to a collective energy of sorts. Whether its real or not isnt the point, its the outcome to my physiology that counts. Study show that most people who pray have better overall levels of health.

  • 101. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:37 am

    John T., thank you. That’s actually a sensible comment, and in accord with my above ruminations.

    However, let me satirise your comment above in a different way. Don’t think of it as the cluebat, please.
    I would not wish to insult you.

    “One moment feeling dozy and then whoops you’re asleep. It almost seems manic.”

    Think about how much sense that makes to you, and consider how much sense the original makes to me.

  • 102. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Hey, I’m refreshing here in between reading.

    Dont’cha wanna have a near-real-time convo?

  • 103. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:47 am

    John M.

    You do realize my comments on the flip flop are directed to Quester?

  • 104. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Really? Why not email him?

    You posted here, I posted here.

    Care to address my comments?

  • 105. Grace  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Thank you, Questor.

  • 106. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:57 am

    … or her. I honestly didn’t pay attention.

  • 107. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:59 am

    “One moment feeling dozy and then whoops you’re asleep. It almost seems manic.””

    Feeling dozy and then being asleep are similar. Thinking Jesus to be God and then believing there is no God are very different. Hence the flip flop.

  • 108. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Ah. Well, as I already said, I don’t see it that way.

    Are you saying change from belief to unbelief is quantised rather than continous?

  • 109. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:04 am

    John M.

    What I am saying, and lol you know this, but here goes.

    Believing only in Jesus Christ and nothing else is extreme. Then believing in nothing at all is also extreme. There doesnt seem to be any middle ground for these 2 belief systems. Would that be correct in your mind?

  • 110. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:06 am

    No. Refer to #95 where I address that explicitly.

  • 111. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:07 am

    John T., let me help you out.

    What you refer to are the two extremes of the continua.

  • 112. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Ok so its not correct in your mind. In mine it is. So I see we are at an impasse. But thanks for your concern about helping me out. ;)

  • 113. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:10 am

    You’re dodging the question.

    Quantised or continuous.

    Two extremes of a range or an on/off switch?

    And you wonder why I say you’re dishonest.

  • 114. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:12 am

    I will pose one last question.

    If I am extremely happy and certain of my happiness and then I switch to being depressed, are those not extreme emotions with no inbetween feeling?

  • 115. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Well, yes, but your hypothetical is in no way congruent with the example of (belief->disbelief)/(sleep->wakefulness).

    You are “begging the question”, i.e. assuming the antecedent. If you do what you claim, yes it represents extremes with no inbetween.

    So, you’re arguing your putative claim of instantaneous mood changes is in any way credible or relevant?

    You do know what a category error is, right?

  • 116. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Not that in any sense you made a formal argument, not even an informal one. I had to interpolate.

  • 117. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Um. Assuming the consequent. Not that John would’ve known if I hadn’t admitted it.

  • 118. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:23 am

    “And you wonder why I say you’re dishonest”

    Maybe the way you post your questions are above my pay grade. Maybe just maybe your a little too literate for me. Or as my momma would say… “wordy”

  • 119. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Hey John, now I’ve confused myself!
    Maybe I got that wrong, again… :(

    Can you straighten me out, please?

    … pretty please?

  • 120. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Fine. At what level would you like me to communicate?

    Grade school? Higher?

  • 121. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:27 am

    John m.

    Its funny, youre the kid who teased me at school using his brilliant intellect and then I got frustrated and punched his lights out. :)

  • 122. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Sigh.

    Look, I’m trying.

    I’m saying that it’s like, say a thermostat versus an on/off switch.

    So, you can have it so low it’s not even on, or so high that it’s not even off; or it could be an old bar heater that’s either on or off.

    Does that help? What do you think of my claim that (belief->disbelief) is more like the thermostat than the on/off?

  • 123. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Um, you saying you could punch my lights out?

  • 124. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Oh, BTW, my IQ is hardly impressive.

    Reverse elitist, you are.

  • 125. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:40 am

    john

    be back later……..

  • 126. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Well!

    Bluff called, John T. discreetly retreats.

    Much happier is he with barbed snipes and ambiguity, but actually addressing one’s interlocutor’s claims directly is micturitious to him.

    Bah. Poser.

  • 127. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:00 am

    John M.

    “Much happier is he with barbed snipes and ambiguity, but actually addressing one’s interlocutor’s claims directly is micturitious to him.”

    I dont know about your world, but nobody I know of speaks like this in their everyday life. Thank G…..oops

  • 128. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:02 am

    John M.

    If your internal Thermostat fluctuated between extremes of Hot and Cold I would refer you to a Doctor.

  • 129. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Here’s a clue: this is the internet.

    Real life is you and a workstation.

    Face-to-face, I suspect I would quickly adapt to your level of comprehension, and restrict my lexicon, allusiveness etc. to your capacity.

    Unfortunately for you, on the internet I sometimes turn it on. There you go.

    Anyway, finished here. My apologies to CarriedTheCross for so derailing the thread, but I hope it was amusing for some.

    PS Please feel free to determine where I was plainly bullshitting and when I was being cogent.

  • 130. Grace  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:05 am

    I realize that the question wasn’t directed to me. But, I think belief/disbelief is definitely more like a thermostat. There is certainly a continium, IMO.

    That prayer in Scripture comes to mind. “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

  • 131. Grace  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:11 am

    I want to add that I think all Christians, if they’re honest ,admit that the strength of faith, and conviction can fluctuate over time.

    Of course, God is always faithful to us, whether we can sense His presence in our lives or not.” There is nothing in the whole creation that can seperate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus,” including our own unbelief.

  • 132. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Grace, indeed. I refer you to Mother Theresa.

  • 133. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:34 am

    SnugglyBuffalo:

    What about the intellectual bankruptcy of invoking Hitler and Nazis to make a logical fallacy?

    If someone uses Hitler and makes a logical fallacy, call them on the fallacy.

    It reaches a point where, if you bring up Hitler or Nazis to make a point, I can assume you’re making a logical fallacy; the vast majority of the time, this assumption is correct.

    You just committed a logical fallacy.

    Is it intellectually bankrupt to demand people make logical arguments instead of appealing to our disgust for Hitler?

    Not at all. If someone uses Hitler and makes a logical fallacy, call them on the fallacy.

    Make a logical argument and then bring up Nazis or Hitler as a supporting example, but don’t let Hitler and Nazis be your argument

    With you 100% on that.

    Now how about we add this. If someone makes an argument and uses the Nazis as support, don’t immediately cry “Godwin!” That’s a logical fallacy all on its own. And a damned stupid one that encourages ignorance of the Nazi history.

  • 134. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:39 am

    thatgirl:

    We don’t have to act a certain way to make ourselves holy. We can’t. Jesus did. That;s how we can be holy as He is. The way we “do life” is a reaction to the amazing love He has shown us.

    And the reason that Christians don’t do better (i.e. aren’t any more “holy”) than the rest of the world is ….. ???

    Look in the archives for a post “Reasons why I can no longer believe: 3 – Unchanged lives”

  • 135. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Grace:

    I mean not physically of course. But, I actually has this sense of His presence.

    And, again, I physically and spiritually sensed the presence of the Lord.

    My Mormon neighbor swears to his god because he had holy heartburn (the “burning in the bosom”). I don’t think anyone should buy his religion on such a silly basis. Why would anyone buy your “warm fuzzy’s”?

    God didn’t show up. You just felt fuzzy. If I want that, I can hug my dog. As for a god, show me a real one and I’ll pay close attention.

  • 136. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Face-to-face, I suspect I would quickly adapt to your level of comprehension, and restrict my lexicon, allusiveness etc. to your capacity.

    Unfortunately for you, on the internet I sometimes turn it on. There you go.

    Thats what good communicators do……….Adapt. Thanks.

  • 137. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:49 am

    (can’t help myself)

    John T., you git.

    You got exactly what I meant you to get.

    That’s communicating.

  • 138. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:53 am

    John m.

    Just curious how old are you?

  • 139. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:54 am

    DOB 5NOV60

  • 140. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Cool.. Glad to see my one of my peers is just as whacked lmao.

    july 14,1964

  • 141. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Yeah, sad to see one of mine is retarded.

    Bye.

  • 142. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Think we can get a spot on the next UFC card for John “the mauler” Morales vs John “total destruction” T ?? :)

  • 143. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 22, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Leo-

    It reaches a point where, if you bring up Hitler or Nazis to make a point, I can assume you’re making a logical fallacy; the vast majority of the time, this assumption is correct.

    You just committed a logical fallacy.

    OK, you got me with that one.

    I agree that it’s frustrating when someone invokes Godwin’s Law when the poster has a valid point, and will readily admit that I myself do this sometimes and try to police myself so that I don’t. I didn’t feel that this was one of those times (I’m certain I’ve been guilty of it in the past, but again, not this time). As for pointing out the fallacy, it’s easier to simply invoke Godwin’s Law than to break it down into its component fallacies. If the person is familiar with Godwin’s Law, they should recognize the fallacies they just committed. If they are unfamiliar, they can look it up and learn what fallacies they committed, as well as learning about an amusing and extremely prevalent internet meme.

    Anyway, I guess my point is that the Hitler/Nazis argument is used so often that it’s only natural it should become its own fallacy. Like the No True Scotsman fallacy, which can be broken down into a fallacy of equivocation and question begging, but no one bothers to break it down when arguing with someone who makes the fallacy. It’s useful to know about, and I agree that the abuse it sometimes incurs is lamentable.

    On to John T.

    Isn’t it possible that there is a continuum of belief to non-belief, and that those of us who have moved to atheism simply traversed that continuum? I started off believing, began to de-convert and was somewhere in the middle for a short while, and finally settled on the other end of the spectrum. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide, “I’m an atheist now.”

    I’ve always been a very skeptical person. Until a few months ago, I was skeptical about everything except my faith and God. Once I finally subjected my beliefs to my skepticism, I came to the same conclusion about God that I’ve reached on psychics, UFOs, and all manner of supernatural things. This shift in my view on God seems only natural to me, I don’t really understand why you find it so surprising.

  • 144. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 11:35 am

    The locus of intersection of those two continua that would include Grace would not in my opinon be much greater in magnitude than that which defines mine.

    I think what John is trying to say is “Grace’s prayer is not much different than mine”. He has a bit of a handicap in being so intellectually gifted.

  • 145. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 11:41 am

    John said:
    “That’s not an attitude amenable to being changed by reasoned discourse”.

    In today’s English:
    “You are close-minded”

  • 146. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 11:43 am

    These are just “paraphrases” mind you, and open to a more precise interpretation. I do not have an “intellectual to Modern English” dictionary so I am doing the best I can.

  • 147. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I know I will be destroyed for the following comments but… I have been struggling with my faith lately. I see many excellent points made by the de-converts on this page and I wonder why I still believe in Christ. However, when I have such a great weekend like I just had I have to think that Christianity must be true.

    Rover—

    And you’re calling me insecure? :>)

  • 148. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 11:51 am

    John—

    I’m just kidding by the way. Some people love to “sound” very intelligent and intellectual, others really are. I’m just having a hard time deciding which of the two you are. :>)

    –Joe

  • 149. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    I have apologized before on this blog. I feel I need to apologize
    again. I read a post from a Christian named “Grace” and it was such
    a breath of fresh air to me. I have to admit—–no fault of anyone here—-
    that when I visit this blog I become quite cynical—not about God—but about
    people. I have to admit–the attempted “intellectuality” by some on the
    board, where they put themselves “above” everyone else, and by comments
    speak in a condescending manner towards others, keys something off in me.

    This is not “your fault” however, it is how I am perceiving it and receiving it. If
    someone wants to “sound” intellectual that’s their prerogative, and they have
    every right to do so. I also admit that sometimes I ask things just to see how
    “riled up” people will become. This is unfair, and also childish. I admit that.
    I want to apologize to Obi for attempting to “set him off”–by the reaction in some
    of his posts I have really hit a nerve. I want to apologize for these things because
    it is not fair to you on the board, or for your discussion of deconversion.

    What I am going to attempt to do once again is regroup, spend more time reading
    than posting, and get back to posting from a Christian perspective, rather than a cynically
    defensive posture. I admit that what I have been doing is wrong, and hope (once again)
    you will accept my apology.

    Thanks, Joe

  • 150. Obi  |  July 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Joe —

    You think too highly of yourself, mate. No you didn’t “hit a nerve” with me, because I really couldn’t care less about you to begin with. I simply post to snap you back into line when I see you acting immaturely. Please, don’t hold the assumption that you’re upsetting me in any way.

    Now we’re clear.

  • 151. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Snuggly

    Isn’t it possible that there is a continuum of belief to non-belief, and that those of us who have moved to atheism simply traversed that continuum? I started off believing, began to de-convert and was somewhere in the middle for a short while, and finally settled on the other end of the spectrum. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide, “I’m an atheist now.”

    Thanks for this description. This is very clear to me.

  • 152. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Leo

    I did wrestle a Bear when I was 15. A real black bear. I think I needed to be a believer then lmao.

  • 153. Quester  |  July 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    John T,

    Not that I particularly want to step into the ant’s nest forming between you and John M, but you did ask me a question.

    I was a Christian, working on the assumption that I knew God’s Word and will from all the scripture I had read and heard, study groups I had been a part of, discussions I had had, and (especially) prayers I felt were answered. Then I experienced nine years of not feeling God’s presence, and finding reasons to doubt my earlier experiences. The last six of those nine years, I had reason to be searching through the Bible to find out God’s will for God’s people. I found no clear message of God’s will in scripture. I looked at the church and the world, and found no clear revelation of God’s will. Slowly, I realized that I also saw no sign of God’s presence or existence. Agonizingly, I struggled to keep my faith in a God I saw no clear sign of. Eventually, I realized that I did not believe any more.

    Am I certain? No. Last week the power went out while my wife and I were asleep, and I woke up eight minutes after it came back on, which allowed me to reset my alarm clock so that my wife and I got up in time for work the next day. I thought about this for a moment between resetting my alarm and falling back asleep, then thought, “God, if you are there, and you did wake me, thank-you.” I am looking at Deism, Sikhism, other religions and philosophies. But I was not ready to give up on Christianity until I saw that there was no clear reason to believe in a God at all. Hence, what looks like an extreme flip flop to you. I was not ready to let go of what was central to my life and identity, until I saw there was no solid core of it. I see no evidence for a God, nor reason to assume we can know God’s will if God does exist. That’s why I have stepped away from Christianity, not for any issue with the religion, institution or people. That’s also why I find I can stop nowhere short of lack of belief in any sort of God. Outside of your gut feeling, there is no reason to.

    Am I making myself clear?

  • 154. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Quester

    Perfectly. I think one of the problems of web talk is we dont get to personalize it. It just becomes words on a screen, and some are more literate than others, in fact some are too literate for others as you can see lol. I appreciate you taking the time to show me a piece of your person.

  • 155. Quester  |  July 22, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    John T.

    Glad I could help.

  • 156. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Joe is such a troll that it’s becoming truly pitiful.

    Not hitting any nerves huh? :>)

    Like I said, sorry though—didn’t mean to push anyone over the line like that. :>)

  • 157. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I did wrestle a Bear when I was 15.

    I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

  • 158. Obi  |  July 22, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Joe —

    No, you didn’t hit any nerves, because I don’t bother myself over trivial and inconsequential matters such as your behaviour on this blog. Studies have shown that people who do get upset over such things are more prone to heart attacks and stroke than those who are relaxed, and since I’m pursuing a career in cardiology and work hard to stay in great health in general, that isn’t for me.

  • 159. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Obi—

    OK. :>) There are a few posts that show a completely different story, but that’s cool. Usually humans admit they can be wrong, and admit they can get upset. You’re a different breed altogether. :>)

    No problem though. I “hear” you. Take care.

    –Joe

  • 160. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

    Hey, I got shot in Reno once. It was outside a motel, and this
    guy came up to me and…..wait a minute…..LEO!!!

  • 161. Anonymous  |  July 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    everyon on this site is a LIAR according to the WORD of GOD their is no such thing as a EX-cristian and if you say you are u r a LIAR cause christans know GOD u will know it and you can’t not know something u dont KNOW LOL!!! you were lying to yourself when u said you beleieved in GOD but then you were an ATHIEST the most hated ppl bcuz they know GOD is real but they pretend anywy so they do not feel guilty for their sins and sodamy and MURDER! like you say “I am free from the guilt” you are NOT FREE from the guilt bcause GOD still knows you just THINK you are but he will not be mocked and you WILL BE SORRY! or you are still a christan but now u choose to IGNORE GOD it is not about felling GOOD it is about going to HAEVEN NOT HELL!!!! even CHRISTIANS with hearts full of sin go to hell it is in the bible only 11400 LOOK IT UP!!!! 616 is the mark of the devil they changed it to 666 so ppl woudl not know but now u know so be prepared! YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE!!!!!

  • 162. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Re post 161:

    There’s just something about a poster who can’t spell, can’t capitalize, can’t use grammar properly, has bad syntax, and rants almost incoherently that makes me just want to dismiss anything he/she says as utter drivel, and dismiss him/her as a total loser.

    Don’t know what it is though. Can’t seem to put my finger on it.

  • 163. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 22, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    I dunno about you, Leo, but he/she convinced me! I’m gonna go re-dedicate my life to Christ right now!

  • 164. CheezChoc  |  July 22, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Oh, I don’t know, Leo…..There might be a secret code amidst all that gibberish and we’re just not seeing it.

  • 165. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 22, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Ooh, maybe if we take all the capitalized words?

    LIAR WORD GOD EX LIAR GOD KNOW LOL GOD ATHIEST (sic) GOD MURDER NOT FREE GOD THINK WILL BE SORRY IGNORE GOD GOOD HAEVEN (sic) NOT HELL CHRISTIANS LOOK IT UP YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE

    Well, God-murder isn’t free, God-think will be sorry, and ignoring God is good and will lead to heaven, not hell.

  • 166. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    he/she convinced me! I’m gonna go re-dedicate my life to Christ right now!

    Hold on SB! Think about it. Will you be able to find a church of sufficient stupidity to nurture such a dimwit faith? …….. Hmmm… sadly you probably would. :(

  • 167. LeoPardus  |  July 22, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    There might be a secret code amidst all that gibberish and we’re just not seeing it.

    I just went through it carefully to see. Now I’ve taken the migraine meds and I’m waiting for them to kick in. OWWWW!

    Thanks for that idea CheezChoc

  • 168. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    @165: LOL

  • 169. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Some people love to “sound” very intelligent and intellectual, others really are. I’m just having a hard time deciding which of the two you are. :>

    Which is why I called John T. a poser. Since you are apparently so interested, my IQ is in the low 120s. There’s plenty of people smarter than I.

    PS Why do Joe and John T. both like the smilies so much when they say something they consider may offend? I think I have an idea about that.

  • 170. john t.  |  July 22, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    John m

    I use the smiley face because im a happy person, and not angry. If I was angry id probably tell you to F… off. Oops did I say that. Just posing.

  • 171. Quester  |  July 22, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Hey, Snuggly and CheezChoc! What if the anonymous code isn’t the capitalized words, but the misspelled ones? Take all of the misspelled words, add a bit of creative punctuation, and you get a message that’s actually slightly more coherent than some of the other drive by postings we receive here:

    Everyone there ex-Christian you are because you.. you.. you.. believed atheist people. Because, anyway, sodomy. Because, Christian, you feeling. Heaven, people, would you?

  • 172. Joe  |  July 22, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    PS Why do Joe and John T. both like the smilies so much when they say something they consider may offend? I think I have an idea about that.

    Some people like to “sound” intellectual—I like to “look”
    like a redneck idiot—that’s why I use smilies. :>)

  • 173. downcastmysoul  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Hi,

    I should probably stay off this thread for my health but I guess I have to respond one more time.

    The HItler/Atlantis films were off of Hashem’s Films, a huge collection of various films dealing with society/conspiracies. It is the site with the famous The AntiChrist Dajjal is a Reptilian Shapeshifter series. I haven’t been keeping up with them lately but they had lots of good into on the New World Order and hidden Occultism in society.

    I did not know that using Der Furhrer Shitler was a sign of a bad argument. I thought using his Third Reich as an example would serve as a warning against trying to invent a moral code without God. I also didn’t know that using Einstein in an argument was considered gauche as well!

    As far as the 9 Satanic Statements…chilling.

    . Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence
    HOW FAR DO YOU LET INDULGENCE GO BEFORE IT BECOMES GROSS AND IMPINGES ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS?
    2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams
    WHAT IS SO VITAL ABOUT FOLLOWING SPRITUAL DEATH?
    3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit
    WHAT KIND OF UNDEFILED WISDOM, WHERE IS IT’S SOURCE?
    4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates
    THIS IS CHILLING…SO IF YOU DON’T “DESERVE” KINDNESS YOU SHOULD JUST DIE? I GUESS SATANISTS JUST STEP ON THE HOMELESS WHEN THEY SEE THEM.
    5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek
    WRITTEN ON THE WALLS OF HELL. WHO IS TO SAY WHAT SIN DESERVES VENGENCE AND WHAT DOES NOT? SOME PEOPLE THINK IF YOU LOOK AT THEM WRONG ON THE STREET YOU DESERVE VENGENCE FOR LIFE. LETTING GOD “DO THE VENGENCE” IS USUALLY BETTER. NOW, i DO BELIEVE IN JUSTICE, HOWEVER, FOR CRIMES AGAINST MYSELF AND OTHERS.
    6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires
    WHO IS TO SAY WHO IS A PSYCHIC VAMPIRE? ANOTHER STATEMENT IN THE VEIN OF “ONLY BE KIND OF THE LIKABLE”
    7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all
    TRUE
    8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification
    SOME PEOPLE BECOME “GRATIFIED” KILLING OTHER PEOPLE
    9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years
    SO TRUE..THERE ARE MORE CLOSET SATANISTS IN THE “CHURCH” THEN CHRISTIANS. A CHRISTIAN TODAY HAS A HARD TIME OF IT.

    Finally, I think I saw a picture of Ayn Rand’s headstone on a web site. I heard her friends set a flower arrangement in the form of a dollar sign up at her funeral. I meant where is her soul now, not her physical remains.

  • 174. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I did not know that using Der Furhrer Shitler was a sign of a bad argument. I thought using his Third Reich as an example would serve as a warning against trying to invent a moral code without God. I also didn’t know that using Einstein in an argument was considered gauche as well!

    You don’t get it, do you? It’s not who you use, it’s whether you use a personage appositely.
    Like this:

    Einstein penned the letter on January 3 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind who had sent him a copy of his book Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt. The letter went on public sale a year later and has remained in private hands ever since.
    In the letter, he states: “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

  • 175. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    PS re Godwin’s Law: wouldn’t exist if so many people failed to do their most basic research about Hitler and religion, nevermind about his beliefs.

  • 176. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    PPS downcastmysoul, for crying out loud, stop shouting.

    Use tags to emphasise – like this:

    <b>emphasise</b>

  • 177. John T.  |  July 22, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Downcastmysoul

    Explain something to me. If you have accepted Jesus and you are now saved why in the world are you worried about Satan? By the way, you do know it was God who created evil.

    Isaiah 45:7

    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things

  • 178. John Morales  |  July 22, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    re #144. Joe : cf #96.

    Did you even read before you posted?

    Transparent idiocy.

  • 179. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 23, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Want to know why John T. and John Morales argue so much?

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    downcast-

    I did not know that using Der Furhrer Shitler was a sign of a bad argument. I thought using his Third Reich as an example would serve as a warning against trying to invent a moral code without God. I also didn’t know that using Einstein in an argument was considered gauche as well!

    In that case, I’m glad Leo called me on nearly blindly invoking Godwin’s Law. It’s not that you used Hitler to support your argument, it’s that Hitler was part of your argument. “Hitler got rid of religion, look what happened,” is a poor argument. Especially with the information that has been linked by John Morales. If you want to make a point about morality without God, try to do so logically, instead of immediately pointing to Hitler.

    For every Hitler, there are a bunch of atheists like the ones in my circle of friends (which is full of both atheists and Christians) who are some of the most moral people I know. And given the morally reprehensible people you see in Christianity (along with the morally upright) it seems clear to me that God isn’t the basis of morality at all.

  • 180. Grace  |  July 23, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Hi, Leo,

    How could God show Himself? What would make Him real to you?

  • 181. John T.  |  July 23, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Snuggly

    My wife thought that one was a blast. Im not sure John M. would like being on the bottom though ;)

  • 182. John Morales  |  July 23, 2008 at 8:49 am

    At least, with your mouth full, I wouldn’t have to listen to you John.

    Oh yeah, I forgot the obligatory smilie after the insult. :)

  • 183. John T.  |  July 23, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Hey John M.

    Youre assuming thats an insult. lol. So are you mc coy or Spock?

  • 184. John Morales  |  July 23, 2008 at 9:19 am

    It was as much or as little an insult as your own comment. Specifically, you were implying I’d take a submissive role. Obviously, you don’t know me.

    You seem to find time to chat, but not to address my earlier claim that your “flip-flop” theory of conversion has any plausibility.

    Let’s review: the post says

    Finally, I came to accept my situation.

    Then you pipe up regarding your incredulity (#12)

    Im Curious, again I hear a christian de convert, only to flip to the other extreme, belief in no creator. Why does it seem that it is always all or nothing? Wheres the middle ground?

    Then you were challenged on this.
    The belief continuum I referred to contains the middle ground between belief and non-belief.

    Other than saying you disagree, you have not justified your claim or responded to others’ contentions regarding your claim directly and relevantly.

    When I tried to pin you down, you did everything possible to avoid the challenge, then finally ran away.

    That’s intellectual cravenness.

  • 185. John Morales  |  July 23, 2008 at 9:28 am

    PS (belief in no creator) ≠ (lack of belief in creator)

  • 186. John T.  |  July 23, 2008 at 9:41 am

    John M.

    You disagree with me. Thats ok. I dont need to justify as I am not requiring you to believe what I think. You obviously have a need to fight. Pick it with someone else. I think you need to chill a little, you seem pretty tense. Hey maybe invite me over for a beer, I will buy and we can discuss your grievances mano a mano. If not why dont you come by our clinic for a massage, it may help you relax.

  • 187. Ubi Dubium  |  July 23, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Grace:

    Here’s a link to a really good YouTube video on the subject. How to Convert an Atheist

    Be sure to watch both part 1 and part 2. I have no idea whether Leo would concur with the ideas of the video, but it matches very well opinions that I have heard from many atheists.

  • 188. LeoPardus  |  July 23, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Grace:

    How could God show Himself? What would make Him real to you?

    I think an all knowing, all powerful deity ought to be able to figure out something. A miracle, a vision, a revelation, ……….??? I don’t know exactly what it would be, but again, it should be no problem for such a deity.

  • 189. Grace  |  July 23, 2008 at 11:36 am

    When I was really, really struggling with issues of faith as a young person, I considered that, too. But, then, how could we know it was really God? Charlatans can do apparent miracles. (Although I’ve heard first hand testimony of miraculous healing that I think is real.) Some spectacular cosmic display could be attributed to mass hallucination, delusion, or even an alien invasion.

    As a Christian, I think God has chosen to show Himself to us in the creation, and by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. But, Jesus shared in His time that some people could not even be convinced by a return from the dead.

    Check out the reaction of one pre-modern guy, King Agrippa, to the first hand witness of the apostle Paul. He thought poor Paul had lost it big time. (Acts 26.)

  • 190. Joe  |  July 23, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Did you even read before you posted?

    Transparent idiocy.

    I agree with John T.–take him up on the massage. I also know where you can take some anger management classes too if you would like. You only seem to have patience with yourself, no one else. Like John T. said have a beer and relax a bit.

  • 191. John T.  |  July 23, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Grace

    Do you not see that your belief is just that, a belief. You have no proof, in fact, which many on here keep telling you there are tons of contradictions in the Bible. It is not Inerrant(other than in your mind). Shouldnt you save the people who want to be saved.

    Theres an old saying that goes……

    “Dont teach until youre asked”

  • 192. LeoPardus  |  July 23, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Grace:

    Exactly the response I expected. So your God CAN’T convince me, eh? He’s pretty dang pathetic then, isn’t He then? What’s the use of having all knowledge, and all power, and even knowing my thoughts from afar, if He can’t figure a way to be convincing to me?

    Look in the archives for an article I wrote called, “The Call for Miracles”. I deal with this stuff there.

  • 193. Anonymous  |  July 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Well,

    ((Leo Pardus))) maybe the Lord’s not done with you yet. Sometimes our timing is not God’s timing. How old was that incorrigabler rascal C.S. Lewis before he came to faith, not a young man for sure?

    Love,
    Grace.

  • 194. Anonymous  |  July 23, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    You have a point there John T.

    Although, I have to share that my faith is not based on some concept of the inerrancy of the Bible, but in how God has revealed Himself in Christ.

  • 195. Grace  |  July 23, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Yikes, that anon was me. Posting on a different computer.

  • 196. John Morales  |  July 23, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    John T, to patronise me you need some credibility.

    You obviously have a need to fight. Pick it with someone else. I think you need to chill a little, you seem pretty tense.

    You obviously don’t have opinions you can support, and rely on obfuscation and misdirection when someone calls you on it. Do it in some other place, or put up with me calling you on it. I think you need to read up on critical thinking and the psychology of belief in belief, you seem pretty dense.

    Joe, you’re just a functional idiot.

    PS I’m a skeptic as well as an atheist.
    “wellness clinic”, eh? Somehow, I doubt John T is into EBM.

  • 197. John Morales  |  July 24, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Joe:

    You only seem to have patience with yourself, no one else. Like John T. said have a beer and relax a bit.

    You have no idea of whereof you speak, do you?

    feh.

  • 198. rltjs  |  July 24, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia. But it is also known as the most corrupt. Does it mean that I should hate Christ? No. I see Christ in my own eyes. He was not corrupt.

    Is not it possible that you were looking at Christ through the eyes of others? You were seeing people who practice Christ they think it should be. And you did not like what you saw. In fact it was those people that you don’t approve, and probably not Christ himself.

  • 199. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 24, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    rltjs, look in the sidebar for the big red exclamation point, and read the two posts linked.

  • 200. RLTJ  |  July 24, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Talking of Adolph H as an atheist. Did not it strike one that while people saw him as an atheist, he also saw those he threw into concentration camps and gas chambers as the real atheists? Why does man act so wrathful and so cruel? It’s because he sees others as no more than animals and beasts. And animals have no idea about god.

    We still have that problem today. We have ‘terrorists’ who must be seeing ‘counter-terrorists’ the other way around – as the godless atheists.

    There is no such thing as godless, Godless or Atheist. More of my position may be viewed in my site. (There is No Such Thing as Atheist or Atheism, Some Thoughts by Another Walking Organism, and others posts I’ve categorized under Religion)

    An antithesis of religion is in fact religion.

  • 201. John Morales  |  July 25, 2008 at 5:38 am

    It boggles the mind that anyone who has read anything on Hitler could think he was in any sense an atheist.

    But then, stupidity has no upper limits, unlike intelligence.

    Which is why [humankind] can act so wrathfully and so cruelly, IMO.

  • 202. John Morales  |  July 25, 2008 at 5:41 am

    PS I actually was going to write “people”, but I wanted to clarify that your use of “man” is an archaism and not really politically correct (in the linguistic sense, I hasten to add).

    But then I thought it would still probably be unclear. Thus this PS.

  • 203. RLTJ  |  July 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I would prefer the word man…Homo. Homo sapiens or homo erectus whatever. We had Stalin, Mao, Polpot. We had Hiroshima and Nagasaki by him

  • 204. yogamama7  |  August 17, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Carried,

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your story.

    I’m an atheist whose entire family is fundamentalist Christian. Upon entering my parents’ home, I was interested to see a handwritten sign that read

    “If God doesn’t exist, NOTHING MATTERS.
    If Got DOES exist, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.”

    I was struck with sadness, and also confusion, because I have found life (and those inconvenient, messy, and often irritating beings we call humans!) all the more precious now that I’m not waiting for an eternity in heaven. For me, the absence of a god makes that which we have now the most important consideration of all.

    Deconverting has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the best. I’m glad to have found this site (I came over from the Friendly Atheist blog).

  • 205. Quester  |  August 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Welcome, Yogamama. I hope you get something out of your time here.

  • 206. yogamama7  |  August 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Quester,

    Thanks. Lucky for me, my husband is on the same path as I am, so we face the craziness (from both families) together. With children of our own now, I’m so glad we see the universe similarly.

    I check in here often and am always interested in people who are a little further from their de-conversion experiences. It’s so brutally painful and reading other people’s stories gives me hope that I will continue finding ways to stay strong in the face of rabid conservative Christianity. Thanks for the welcome.

  • 207. Chris Byrd  |  May 28, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I totally sympathize with your thoughts here. I “came out” as a non-believer a few years ago myself & had much the same feelings as you described. I read recently a quote from Julian Barnes on being a non-believer: “I don’t believe in Goad anymore, but I do miss Him.” Sometimes I miss Him, too, but mostly for the “comfort food” style of music, etc.

    Like you, “I walk away each time more certain about designating myself to be an atheist” but find it less combative to say non-believer. It’s almost like believers & especially evangelicals call it “fighting words” to say atheist but non-believer is less confrontational. And it’s the confrontation I find so disheartening.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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