Posts tagged ‘atheist’
Thanks for having me.
So let’s just jump right in. Did you have any Christian background before you “joined the tribe” so to speak?
I grew up in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada. Basically in the countryside. Where I lived, our only choices were to be “secular”, or to adopt Evangelical Christianity. A few became Jehovah’s Witnesses. My own family was not religious, although my parents brought me and my siblings to Sunday School at various churches. That was common practice in those days. Just to give kids a foundation of morality, or so the parents thought. Really it was about arts and crafts, a few fantasy-like Bible stories and silly songs. My generation of kids didn’t take it all very seriously.
If I grew up in Saudi Arabia, I’m pretty sure I’d be a Muslim. If in Thailand, I’d be a Buddhist. Or in India, a Hindu. I think the planet’s citizens are most often tied to their religion by geography than anything else.
Did any person, or book, or something else, win you over to Christianity?…..
OK, here it is, warts and all, the first episode of … this. Whatever this turns out to be. Warning, it is about 38 minutes long, so make sure you have a bit of time on your hands.
Don’t expect a Hollywood production here, folks. This has absolutely no production value, and the only edits I made were to remove two or three times where I slipped and called RoseMary by her real name. But I think the audio came out ok, and that is what is important.
I uploaded this to blip.tv since they allow me to embed an audio player here. Here is the description I put there:
My wife RoseMary and I would like to welcome you to the first episode our podcast. She is a Catholic Christian, and has been her entire life. I met her in 2004. We dated, and even though I was a liberal Baptist Christian, we fell in love. We wed in 2005. Some time in 2007, after 2 years of marraige, I lost my Christian Faith, and now considers the term ‘atheist’ to most accurately describe my religious stance. But my wife loves him whom I do not believe exists.
Does this story sound familiar? Is your marraige challenged with a similar situation? Has one of you fallen out of the Faith? Believer, what advice have you gotten from your friends, family and church? Non-believer, do you have anywhere to turn for support, or do you feel compelled to stay in the closet? RoseMary and I both believe that these stories are very common, yet few are willing to share these stories.
We are not so sure that we want to tell others our own stories, but are willing to give it a try. We want to share our experiences of being “unequally yoked”. Do you have a story to share? We would like to hear it, and possibly share it with others. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is my hope that this proves beneficial to somebody out there, and it generates some healthy discussion around here.
Ray Comfort has been aptly dubbed “The Grandmaster of Christian Ignorance”. Here are a few choice samples of his utter idocy.
If you would like to see the expanded version, go to his blog, Atheist Central, and look on the right side of the page a little ways down.
• If God didn’t exist, the atheist wouldn’t have something to not believe in.
• An atheist is someone who believes that nothing made everything.
• An atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God.
• The human propensity to gullibility is evidenced by evolution’s many believers.
• It is impossible for a Christian to convert to atheism because a Christian is someone who knows God.
• We have men who call themselves scientists, when they should have instead got a job with Disney as “imagineers.”
• School children should have evolution explained to them, so that they can see how unscientific and crazy it is.
Much ink has been spilled in the skeptical community over the issue of labels. What should we call ourselves: atheists, or agnostics? Which term is more “justified”? Here, I toss my own hat into the ring on this question… and then I will argue that this issue is unimportant, distracting, and, potentially, divisive.
There is at least a small upside to this issue, which is why I’m including my own reasoning. The only potentially serious function it has, in my view, is that it provides a convenient arena in which to explore some epistemology. “Epistemology” is that branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge – how do we know what we know? Hashing out the atheist vs. agnostic question can be an entry way into how we approach questions of knowledge. We can sharpen our critical thinking skills and learn some philosophy to boot. To the degree that they serve that purpose, such debates can be informative, maybe even useful. There’s a serious downside, though, but I’ll save that for the end. So, for what intellectual exercise it’s worth, here’s my take on this question:
I start by defining terms: theism, of course, refers to belief in god(s). Atheism, then, obviously refers to a lack of belief in god(s). Agnosticism is the assertion that it is not possible to know the answer, and thus a refusal to opine (with any confidence) on the existence of god(s).
Now, some atheists define atheism broadly. They suggest it can mean one who asserts, “there is no god”, but also one who simply lacks (by choice or happenstance) any belief in god. This is a rather fine distinction, but real enough, I think. The former position is sometimes called “hard” atheism, the latter, “soft” atheism. However, since a “soft” atheist (a) does not assert “there is no god”, and also (b) does not assert “there is a god”, for my part I do not see any difference between this position, and agnosticism. So, for my usage of these terms below, I will restrict the word “atheism” to the “hard” variety: an atheist is one who asserts “there is no god.”…
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 …
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…
When I started the series, Why do Christians de-convert?, I said I was analysing de-conversion stories with an eye towards answering a rather simple question about tactics. How can we support or even promote de-conversion?
These stories have shown that there are a number of ways of supporting Christians who make steps towards de-conversion, but in almost every single case it appears that the doubt that led to de-conversion came from within the individual.
Here’s the only story I found among the one hundred and seventeen I examined that credited de-conversion to the specific intervention of an atheist:
I ran into a very good friend and told him the story of my conversion. He was not critical, but kept asking questions about why I took to this religion and specifically required that I put things in my own words instead of mouthing what I had been told. He made me think! and that’s all it took.
We can tell people that there are alternatives to Christianity, and for many people who chafe at the stupidity of religion yet are unable to properly express it, this is liberating. We can raise questions about the dogma, hypocrisy, or the illogical beliefs of religion, but most people who cited these as factors, raised the questions themselves…