Posts tagged ‘atheism’

How some Christian commentors have helped…to solidify my atheism

When I first came to the de-Conversion blog I was afraid to read comments left by Christians. I was afraid that my atheistic position was actually weak, and that they would present some argument for God that I hadn’t considered, or that was so rationally sound that I couldn’t ignore it. And to be perfectly honest, I wanted them to succeed in convincing me. I read the responses searching for a glimmer of truth, looking for some defense that would lead me back into the comfortable faith of my childhood. It didn’t take me very long to figure out that would never happen.

Here is why:

1. They never bring anything new to the table.
I’ve been an avid reader of the blog for over a year now, and I’ve read virtually every comment. I’ve read hundreds of Christian arguments and apologetics, but of those hundreds, no one has ever introduced a new or novel argument. They all use the same hackneyed apologetic tactics and arguments, and to make things even more frustrating, they present these arguments as if no one has ever heard of them before, as if they are completely original and earth-shattering. Since most of us here are former Christians who were deeply immersed and educated in the faith, this attitude is nothing less than insulting.

2.
They present no convincing arguments...

Continue Reading September 24, 2008 at 3:17 pm 395 comments

I’m not sure I want to be called an atheist anymore

I change my mind a lot. For most of my life I have been on an involuntary spiritual journey that has led me into and out of Christianity, through explorations of Buddhism, through agnosticism and into atheism. And now I am not sure where I am heading.

This year I’ve decided that I’m not sure I want to be called an atheist anymore, even though I don’t believe in god(s). I know according to the dictionary that I am an atheist, but I’ve become disillusioned with the atheist movement, which largely seems to thrive on making fun of believers and ignoring the desire for spiritual fulfillment that most people feel.

Although I have some Christian friends in America, over the past years, I have found myself viewing all religious people as some sort of monolithic negative stereotype, hell bent on controlling everything and everyone, and teetering on the edge of insanity. I spent the summer in Lithuania where I met people from all over the world, I found that I’d made new friends who were Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Buddhist, agnostic, and “just spiritual.” Although we didn’t talk very much about religion, we engaged in meaningful and interesting conversations about many different topics. I found myself rethinking the stereotypes I’d come to accept, and wanting to engage more fully with people of differing backgrounds and philosophies. I want to be open to see where my own spiritual journey will take me next, and I am not willing to be pegged down by labels or stereotypes, even those of my own invention…

Continue Reading September 21, 2008 at 11:48 pm 113 comments

What are the best arguments, and what are the strawmen?

My on-going experiment to ruthlessly engage with those who wish to effectively argue for Christianity has been underway for what seems like an eternity (no pun intended), but in many ways, I’m no closer to finding that killer argument (unsurprising really). Reflecting back on my days as a Christian, I wish I had come up against some of these arguments earlier so it would have resulted in a paradigm shift in my thinking – but I’m really not sure that there was ever an argument out there that could penetrate the barriers to change prior to when one is ready.

So, it seems that no argument I have submitted to a Christian has even caused them to flinch. It’s quite depressing to leave it at that, because I imagine if I carried out a similar onslaught with members of another religion, I would get the same result – and they can’t ALL be right. At least some (if not all) people of religious faith seem to be immune to reasoned argument. Maybe that’s quite obnoxious on my part.

So what have I learned? What are the arguments to which the response has been particularly weak and/or non-forthcoming but there are also lines of debate which yield absolutely no fruit?

First of all, it is completely futile trying to point out contradictions, inaccuracies and difficulties within the bible. The response is one of ‘yes, it’s difficult, we need to try hard to understand all this… our mind is small compared to god’s”

Continue Reading September 9, 2008 at 10:58 am 11 comments

Null Hypothesis ≠ Presuppositionalism

It was just over a year ago that I seriously considered a range of theological, philosophical and empirical data regarding the existence of God and the likelihood that any theistic religion, particularly Christianity, was true. As I read books, blogs and web sites, I occasionally stumbled across the term, presuppositionalism. I quickly gathered that this is a branch of Christian apologetics that starts with the premises that God is real and that Christianity is true, and then seeks to find rational support for those premises. I probably don’t need to point out to you that this method of reasoning is circular. Presuppositionalists try to weasel out of that charge by claiming that there are different types of circularity, that their method does not rely on mere vicious circularity (which they agree is a logical fallacy) and that all methods of inquiry rely, to some degree, on presuppositionalism. Therefore, even if they are guilty, so is everyone else.

Presuppositionalists claim that their presuppositions – 1. that God exists and 2. that the Christian version of God is the correct one – are not unreasonable and are, in fact, the only ones by which humans can make any sense of the world. Naturalists, on the other hand, claim that humans are capable of observing and testing data in the world and drawing sound conclusions about the nature of the universe on the bases of their tests and observations…

Continue Reading September 3, 2008 at 9:57 pm 13 comments

The de-conversion story of an Ashkenazi Jew

Hi everyone! My name is Shai, I am 23 years old, I live in a city near Tel-Aviv, Israel, and I am an atheist. As an atheist, I lack the belief in a god, gods, or any other supreme/supernatural being. I believe that everyone on the planet earth are godless creatures that were not created by anything and that the origin of life and its evolution are the product of purely natural processes.

Now that I’ve firmly depicted my worldview, I want to share with d-C’s readers why and how I adopted this rather unusual worldview. (if you lived in Israel, you’d know that it’s quite unusual, although, as far as I know, not illegal, to be an atheist)

I was born and raised in Israel. Since I read that this blog is mainly about Christian de-conversion, my story is probably going to be a bit alien to you. My atheism owes itself to 3 major factors: My personality, my upbringing, and some atheist asshole who sent me some websites about critical thinking and atheism.

First of all, let me tell you a bit about religion in Israel. Israel is defined as a “Jewish democratic state”. Although I bet it sounds to any American/Anglo-Saxon reader to be some sort of cynical euphemism for “Jewish Theocracy” – it’s not entirely true. Israel, on the whole, is a fairly secular nation. But that’s not because Jews are a jolly good bunch who know that personal freedom should trump religious dogma at all costs. First of all, we have organizations here in Israel that are entirely dedicated to removing religious impositions upon Israeli citizens…

Continue Reading August 31, 2008 at 6:25 pm 44 comments

From Gospel Preacher to Good Atheist

My Early Years – Growing up, I was a typical American kid. I had a brother and a sister, a loving mom and dad, and we were taught to believe in Christianity, America’s status quo faith. Mom and dad were not religious fanatics, but they were mild fundamentalists who believed that Christianity was the only way and that no one could have the highest morality without belief in the Christian God. I swallowed this philosophy hook, line, and sinker from day one, though I didn’t become a baptized believer until my eighteenth birthday.

I was converted for the same reason that many others were — I was at a time in my life when I needed emotional and psychological support. I had fought my own battles with depression growing up, but when Christianity came along, that was the end of my singing the blues! Finding something to believe in is a big part of the psychological make up of the individual. I had also just fallen out of a relationship with a girl and this made me begin to “look upward” for help like I’d never done before. I was a party-goer, by and large, but I knew that someday, I would have to give up my selfish life and become a part of what I was taught God told me to do — to be baptized and live as a Christian. I remember how it felt to start looking for answers in the bible and pray like I never had before. I was a changed man at my conversion one cold February morning in 1994. What I felt Christ did for me was all too apparent in my mind. I decided to live for him since he gave so much for me, and I was so thankful that I had escaped the eternal flames of Hell that awaited me …

Continue Reading July 29, 2008 at 8:09 pm 217 comments

Atheistic attacks on Christianity

A pristine second-hand copy of What’s So Great About Christianity? by Dinesh D’Souza became available to me recently. D’Souza tackles the current onslaught of atheistic attacks on Christianity by addressing the primary arguments within the framework of traditional Christianity or the kind of Christianity that takes the Bible to be the revealed word of God, the primary source of revelation.

The first two chapters are, for the most part, a sociological survey of the current success of Christianity as the world’s fastest growing religion. Vibrant Christianity, it seems, is an emerging force particularly in South America, Asia and Africa.

The third and forth chapters contain quite an informed characterization of the atheistic challenge to religion and Christianity in particular. D’Souza quotes a number of prominent figures to highlight their overtly negative views. Had I not read The End of Faith and listened to a portion of The God Delusion audiobook, I might have taken quite a dim view of Dawkins and Harris, considering them to be taking mere elitist positions in relation to science.

However, I now know that while their attacks on religion are strong, both men remain positive and mystically-oriented rather than negative and materialistic…

Continue Reading July 13, 2008 at 11:31 am 71 comments

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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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