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…
As an atheist looking into the world of Christian de-conversion, I expected to see more tales of people de-converting after they realise how hypocritical churches are. In fact I barely expected any other cause, perhaps aside from exposure to science. I thought that Christians who read the bible did so through the lens of the preachers words and were thus immune from realising it’s faults, and that religions would have all the answers to the really simple questions down pat. I mean, surely children have been asking the church “what about dinosaurs” since dinosaurs entered the popular imagination.
But pedophile priests, church leaders blowing money on yachts and a luxurious lifestyle, or the existence of something like the Vatican bank – surely these were the things that would shake people’s faith in large numbers. However, only 8.51% of people in the sample attributed their de-conversion to the hypocrisy of the church.
Personal experience highlighted the hypocrisy of religion to this person:
I began immediately to see hypocrisy in both the organizations and the individuals with whom I associated. I married a man in seminary studying for the ministry but I knew from the outset that his heart was not in what he was doing and he was just there because his minister father had pushed him into it. I am still married to this man after 35 years and I still love him but I noticed a great unhappiness in him…