Posts filed under ‘809334’
A while ago, when I was reading up on the atheist / theist debate, I remember coming across multiple instances where an atheist would say:
“God is a non-answer.”
As a Christian I remember going “what? That’s a clever ruse. Just say it isn’t an answer and dismiss it off-hand?” I honestly thought it was a stupid, clever trick to dismiss God.
But then I’ve been thinking about it. “God did everything” or “God allowed everything” or “God made everything” or “God is everywhere” or “God designed everything” or “God has every answer” or “God knows” are not very useful statements. They are just as useful as “Satan is the source of all lies” or “sin is the source of all suffering” or “government corruption is caused by greed”. For, if we were to honestly apply those answers in our daily lives, they would get us no where…
A year flies by so unbelievably fast. Yet, I simultaneously can’t believe it’s only been about a year since I admitted to myself something I had known for a long time: I no longer believed in God. It’s kind of strange. I look back on my journal entries and first few blog entries. I’ve grown so much in the last year, and in so many ways. Timid, scared, and incredibly sad are words that once suited me well.
A year ago, I could only timidly confess the intellectual reasons why I stopped believing in God. I did, however, leave my conservative church for highly painful, emotional experiences I could barely breathe through, let alone write about. Now I fiercely write just about everything. Through my writing, I find support, and through the support, healing. Healing that never existed in Christian circles.
I imagine my atheism will always have a tinge of awkwardness with my highly conservative family, but I’m getting used to it. Losing the depth of those relationships has been very difficult, but everyone is adjusting. It’s not the normal I’m used to. They’re not as meaningful as they were BDc (Before De-converting). But it is something, and even as I have lost those relationships in some ways, I have found new relationships. A new family in the friends I have now. Friends who love me and care about me whether or not I follow their idea of a life path. Friends who laugh with me, cry with me, and celebrate with me. They are happy because I am happy, not because I am conforming to their standards. That is a gift, indeed. I never realized how conditional the love my church and family gave. It feels as though my relationships now are capable of so much more depth because of it.
Too, I recently realized, as a former Baptist minister’s wife who rarely had a voice in the religious world dominated by men, that while I had lost my faith, I gained my voice. Even while I mourned for a loss of something I held dear, I did not realize I was gaining so much more. So take heart, those of you who are still in the agonizing phase of losing everything you once held dear: it gets better. I know it’s rough. I know there are moments when you want so badly to cling to the religion you left behind, but you can’t. So you grasp at anything, and it feels like you are grasping at the air, hanging onto nothing. Or you’re angry at the pain you suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to love you. And you don’t know how to find healing, because the only way you were ever taught to find healing was through Jesus, who you want so badly to believe in, but can’t. There were moments I didn’t think I could make it. There are still bad moments, but they are manageable now. Keep hanging on. You find your new normal. You grow, and you like what you see. If you don’t like what you see, you now have the power to change yourself into something you do like. No more rigid gender roles! No more desperately trying to conform yourself to a personality and standards that don’t fit. Focus on those positives. Go where you want, do what you want. Chase down those dreams. It will all be worth it in the end.
It’s been a year. Are things perfect? No, no, and no. Definitely not! I still struggle with many issues. I still have days where I feel I’ve fallen so hard, I’ll never get anywhere. But those days are becoming fewer and farther between. Life is better. A lot better. Each new day brings just a little more healing. With that healing comes more confidence: I am strong. I am likeable. I am able. I am free.
How have you changed since you de-converted?
Warning: heavy fallacious creationist argument techniques used to produce the following satire with an underpinning in logical argument. Recommended served cold with a side of biscuits.
I don’t think intelligent designers realize how unintelligent intelligent design is.
Do they see the natural conclusion of their arguments?
No! But guess what? I do! And since I have an answer they can’t prove with their “faith reasoning”, this – of course – means that I obviously have access to the common sense proof of my argument which, of course, is divinely revealed by my God.
I finally realized that the intelligent design supporters are right. They are. In fact, they are so right that I am going to apply their principles and show where their reasoning leads. If you can’t beat ‘em… join ‘em.
Intelligent Design used to Intelligently Design an Intelligent Designer who intelligently Designed Yahweh
Guess what? I am going to intelligently design a God who intelligently designed a universe where humans could intelligently design gods.
You know what this means? My God invented a universe that had the naturalistic potential to bring about humans who could invent gods – including Yahweh. In other words, my God invented Yahweh. This means that my God is greater than Yahweh.
And the best part?
My God is supported by Intelligent Design!
It gets even better!
My God is supported by creationist reasoning. Why?
My God was created ex-nihilo (out of nothing). Take that AIG!
Prove my God doesn’t exist. Just do it. You know what? You can’t prove that my God doesn’t exist. You know why? He is self-evident. But because He is so great, He does not care whether you believe in Him or not. He is secure in His deitiness. He does not need you to believe in Him in order for Him to be real.
Yahweh is nothing but a mere petty invention of my God but my God doesn’t care that you believe in Yahweh. You won’t go to hell for believing in the wrong God. You’ll just suffer for all your life to a delusion. That is your punishment for the error of your ways. Your only life – wasted – believing in the wrong God.
The evidence is all around you that my God is true. Just look at all the deities around the world. My God created the universe that had the potential for these deities to be invented by humans. If there are deities, there must be a deitier! There must be someone who created all those deities, right? There must be a deity inventor.
The evidence is conclusive. My God exists and your God – Yahweh – was invented by my God.
Who’s your daddy now?
To be quite frank with you Josh, I really don’t enjoy discussing philosophy, religion, evolution/creation, or similar things with you. Our worldviews are diametrically opposed and there is no way to reconcile them. That’s OK. We know where you stand, you know where we stand. Considering that we hold our views very strongly, discussing them with you has become both wearying and depressing for both Mom and I and has only seemed to lead to great frustration and anger from you. In other words, a waste of all our time and energy. Therefore, we will try our best to refrain from discussing philosophy, religion, and the like with you. We’d appreciate your not trying to discuss them with us either.
So the rest of us [family] met, and are choosing to spend Christmas Day focusing upon Christ and do presents at random other times during the holidays. If someone has a desire to give a gift, they can spontaneously present it whenever they choose. This will help remove the feelings of obligation to purchase gifts, and focus more on the joy of giving as each of us feels led to do so.
What do you guys think? Is it normal for me to lose all respect for my dad after this letter?
The very gall to insist that they indoctrinate us kids and then refuse to discuss the issues with us when we get older… the double standard is just ridiculous.
Am I right to be this upset?
As I have watched discussions on forums and in debates about morals I have made what I think is a unique discovery since I have not yet seen it expressed anywhere else. Since I have watched or listened to hundreds of debates and been involved in studying apologetics which has lead me to study just about every moral explanation I could find, I am really curious to see if I have missed something. As such, please enlighten me if I am simply making an explanation of morality that has already been covered by someone else.
I want to start with a few premises and definitions:
- value: perception of an item, idea, or concept directly related to the work it takes to obtain or maintain it and directly related to the comfort the item brings. The more rare something is, the greater its value. If an item is not rare but difficult to maintain, its perceived value goes up. Capitalism is based on this simple principle.
- benefit: an increase in value.
- harm: a reduction in value. This is not to be confused with pain because a painful thing can be perceived to be beneficial.
- suffering: harmful pain.
Now then, I confess it is extremely difficult to continue and explain how morality works because in doing so I am actually applying the principle I am explaining. The principle is extremely simple at its core, but can lead to such complex nuances so quickly that it is hard for me to focus on the simplicity of the principle and not get caught up in tertiary thought processes. As such, at the end of explaining the principle, I plan on demonstrating the principles validity by showing how writing this paper demonstrates the principle in action. I hope that for most people that will be good evidence I have deeply thought this through…
I get extremely frustrated with moderate Christians and I believe I’ve figured out why.
Most moderate Christians will say things like:
“Well, I studied all the evidence too and I’ve come to the conclusion that Christianity is true. People can study the same evidence and come to different conclusions.”
I agree: you studied the same evidence I did and you still believe or came to believe. At first I want to say “that’s fantastic and I won’t judge you for it. It is good that we can study the same evidence and come to different conclusions and I respect you for it and approve of your search and conclusions.”
But I don’t respect them at all, and here is why: the moderate Christian dismisses outright the desire on my part to figure out why we came to a different conclusion and how we can determine which conclusion is accurate. Furthermore, to add injury to insult the moderate Christian’s concluding belief implies that I am to be judged in some manner for coming to a different conclusion.
So, based on this standard, why is it wrong for me – the atheist – to genuinely judge the moderate Christian as intellectually dishonest and holding a double-standard? If they feel justified in believing that I am condemned in any way by their God for coming to different conclusions, I suddenly do not feel so bad about judging them any more.
To the moderate Christian: what substantial evidence do you have whose weight is strong enough to justify your belief that your God is just in condemning me in any way for coming to a different conclusion than you?
If you have none, I rest my case. You are not justified for believing anything about my status before your God, which undermines the very core of the gospel, justifying my claim that the Biblical gospel(s) is / are invalid.
Fundamentalist Christian: I believe. The things I believe in are self-evident truths so though I believe they are backed up by the evidence all opposition to it comes from a blinded person who doesn’t want to see the truth and therefore they are self-condemned. I will show you the evidence, listen to your opposition, gently tell you you are wrong, and trust God to work in your heart. And that is the end of the matter. Don’t cloud my understanding with your skepticism because you are only doubting because you are secretly angry at God and his enemy.
Moderate Christian: I believe, but I recognize that others can believe differently based on the same evidence. I respect your position, but you are still condemned by God. We can discuss the evidence, and I will show you how I came to my conclusion and you can show me how you came to yours, but eventually all decisions come down to faith so from the start I recognize we will never be able to figure out who is right and who is wrong in this life. But remember, my beliefs still say you are going to suffer for rejecting God.
Liberal Christian: I believe because it is beneficial, though I don’t necessarily hold that it is physically and literally true. However, I will not say that or it will ruin the entire thing.
This last year and a half I’ve watched my own attitude change as I left the faith and slowly learned to deal with all the emotions. In the process, I’ve watched countless others go through similar experiences and I can’t help but notice this pattern:
A person de-converts…
De-convert feels extremely sad, a sense of loss and remorse, struggling to cope with a worldview without a Personal Deity. Thoughts of meaninglessness and suicide are often overcome by curiosity about the real world that drives the person to learn.
De-convert spends massive amounts of time devouring new information, studying whatever topics that can help them overcome their particular questions or issues related to their time in the faith – now that their mind is free from restrictions on what to study. In the same way a starving man may first devour tons of food as soon as he is allowed access, a de-convert begins to devour information to help his or her starving mind and curiosity. This period is normally filled with tons of forum browsing, blog post writing, commenting, reading, debate watching, skeptic society attending, new friend making, etc.
De-convert has learned just how inane their belief system was.
De-convert feels angry at everyone who they feel – intentionally or not – lead them wrong. This period is normally filled with attempts to de-convert others, to speak rationally with those still in the faith, and attempts to immunize others who are outside the faith. All of this is done out of the goodwill to keep others from going through the same thing and to rescue those still inside the belief system they now realize is so stupid.
De-convert’s loving and respectful attempts to speak rationally with those still in the faith become so predictably insane, the de-convert begins to wonder how in the world anyone could ever believe that stuff. All attempts to talk with those inside the faith leave the de-convert feeling helpless and as if communication is impossible.
De-convert begins to feel that all attempts to be respectful toward those in the faith system are useless. Resignation seems to be a common feeling at this point. The de-convert becomes resigned to a world where people believe stupid stuff and there isn’t much you can do about it because reason is undermined in the minds of the faithful. A sense of “it’s not my problem” begins to overcome the individual.
Note: this one seems to depend upon how much interaction with religion a person has after leaving the faith and how much perceived harm it is causing in their life.
The de-convert begins to notice just how much pain and problems faith truly causes because he or she sees how much reason could solve. The attitude begins to shift from resignation and respect of religion to a growing sense of near hatred toward it. Religion itself becomes an enemy like cancer, malaria, or any other disease. This can lead to militant atheism, depending on how much pain the de-convert perceives religion causing in their world. As the de-converts comfort in a worldview without faith begins to strengthen, their determination and confidence rises.
Where are you in this journey?