As an atheist, it always surprises me that people seriously believe that god really will answer their prayers. Perhaps it’s something you have to be religious in order to comprehend. But some people pray, and pray, and pray, until as one individual put it:
The following examples are from the 8.51% of the de-conversion stories, amongst the sample I read, in which people tried to speak to god, and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion.
“Being very eager to please, I would often beg Jesus to save me. Expecting trumpets and angels, or at the very least a pat on the head, and getting nothing, I think I just eventually realised god wasn’t going to answer.”
For some the experience of god failing to answer their prayers as promised was a highly distressing experience:
In high school, I gradually started to question more, but did not get satisfactory answers. My prayers for clarity and a stronger faith went unanswered. Why would God let my faith slip? That was the question that haunted me for years…
The Political Inquirer will be hosting a three round debate between “M” of the group blog ATHEISM IS DEAD and Leo Pardus of DE-CONVERSION. The “thesis questions” of this debate are these, “Is Atheism beneficial or dangerous to society?” and similarly, “Is Theism beneficial or dangerous to society?”
The debate is moderated by Brian LePort, a Political Inquirer contributor.
- Introduction: God in Society, an Atheism-Theism Debate
- Round One: Five Questions and Responses
- Round Two: The Next Set of Questions and Answers
- Final Statement 1: Why I am a Theist – M
- Final Statement 2: Why I am an Atheist – LeoPardus
by John Trever, Albuquerque Journal, 1998.
Earlier I stated that dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample I read (14.89%). However, the realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality was
the second most an equally common reason for de-conversion cited within the sample (also at 14.89%). In other words, religious fundamentalists wage war against science with good reason.
Surprisingly, as the following examples highlight, rarely was it Richard Dawkins ramming logic down someone’s throat with something like The God Delusion that resulted in de-conversion. De-conversion appeared to occur when people didn’t have their religiously trained defenses up. And again, it could happen at a young age:
When I was in 8th grade, I was studying my cousin’s biology book, which happened to teach evolution. I remember hearing things about how evolution was “incorrect” according to the sometimes Christian media. I did not completely dismiss the idea of god at this time, but it caused me to invalidate the idea of an actual organized religion because they were inelastic and unable to accept change or new ideas because their “holy” scripture was infallible. This was the beginning of my de-conversion to atheism.
Simple facts, and simple doubts. It did not even have to be evolution, something as simple as a scouting trip can provoke doubt…
Religions other than Christianity exist. These religions have existed and competed for followers for the entire history of religion, but this seems to be something that some Christian de-convertees reported being shocked about. They had been taught by their faith how special and how singular they and their beliefs were, and as a result, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs caused deep doubts for 8.5% of the sample I read.
Consider the following examples:
- In English class we were reading a book about ancient mythology. I thought to myself, “If everyone thinks of these people’s beliefs as a crock now, I wonder how our society’s beliefs will look to people in 2 or 3 thousand years. Hmmm.”
- The revelation happened while reading the “Upanishads” on a bus to work. I realised that the Hindu religion made as much sense and was just as convincing (or unconvincing) as Christianity was…