Posts tagged ‘spirituality’

How smart does one have to be to know Jesus?

Lately, Christians have been challenging me on the intellectual case for Christ based on the evidence for the resurrection and his miracles. For most/all Christians their faith hinges on the resurrection, so I find that it’s best to concentrate on this as opposed to the water-to-wine or heal-the-blind events. However, apparently I’m not intellectual enough to grasp this evidence.

Here’s the main points of the evidence/proof they proposed (unfairly I’m sure they’ll say):

  • The disciples claim to have seen him alive and later died for this belief – ‘people just don’t do that’
  • 513 (or so) saw him alive after the resurrection.

Before I get to the main point of this, let me give my simplistic and probably ignorant assessment of these points…

Continue Reading December 13, 2007 at 10:00 am 64 comments

Atheism vs. Theism 2: Independence from Persons

In my previous post on this subject, Independence in Thought, I discussed a point made by Phillychief in his post entitled Insularity?, where he stated that atheists, by and large, are critical thinkers.

Captain MiracleAnother point that Phillychief made, with which I agree, is that atheists are not as prone to hero worship and personality cults as theists appear to be. He cites the examples of Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet, et al, and notes that their positions are scrutinized incessantly. What he implied but didn’t say outright, which I will say, is that much of this scrutiny comes from people who generally accept these writers’ ideas. The critics criticize because they want to sharpen their own thinking skills and also because they want to challenge these writers, and others like them, to put forward the strongest possible arguments for their positions and to articulate those arguments clearly, succinctly and coherently.

I, for example, like Richard Dawkins, and I enjoyed reading The God Delusion. That doesn’t blind me to the fact that the book has some substantive flaws. My atheism does not depend on Dawkins being infallible. Ditto for all the recent flap about Antony Flew – the fact that he shifted from atheism to a deist position doesn’t undermine my atheist position at all. My atheistic view does not depend upon the Gospels according to St. Antony and St. Richard…

Continue Reading December 11, 2007 at 12:28 am 39 comments

God is cruising down US I-35

LeoPardus recently wrote about a prayer he prayed during his de-conversion journey where he asked the following of God – “God, if you’re real, do something. Anything.”

Well Leo, hop in your car and head to I-35. God is there and he’s in full action. He’s even delivering people from homosexuality (what greater miracle could you see).

Updated December 20th: I-35: ‘Ex Gay’ Now ‘Ex Ex Gay’ »

- The de-Convert

December 10, 2007 at 11:59 pm 16 comments

Atheism vs. Theism 1: Independence in Thought

Thinking 1In Phillychief’s post entitled, Insularity?, one of his points was that atheists, by and large, are critical thinkers. I agree with this view. Even those atheists who are born into atheist families and have never held religious beliefs often, at some point in their lives, weigh their non-belief against the theistic and other religious alternatives to which they are inevitably exposed, and choose atheism as the most rational choice. For many, this process occurs in their childhood or teen years.

The other set of atheists, those who have de-converted from a particular religion, usually do so after a period of critically scrutinizing their beliefs. My cruises around the blogosphere, plus nearly 5 decades of living and interacting with evangelical theists, have shown me that many theists refuse to believe that de-conversion is a rational decision. Instead, they typically ascribe de-conversion to a multitude of other causes, such as (this list is selective and representative, not anywhere close to exhaustive):

  • anger or disappointment at being hurt by another believer
  • a desire to embrace a wanton lifestyle free of the moral constraints religion imposes
  • having been a false convert rather than a real Christian
  • failure to practice such spiritual disciplines as daily prayer and Bible reading
  • having a flawed understanding of Christian doctrine
  • harboring a secret sin that is getting between oneself and God…

Continue Reading December 9, 2007 at 1:03 pm 57 comments

The route from belief to unbelief

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned intoJonathan Swift (Irish writer and satirist)

Belief cannot argue with unbelief, it can only preach to itKarl Barth (influential Christian thinker)

Above are two quotes, both of which I tend to accept as sensible. So I’m trying to work out the implications of it for those who live inside a world of faith and those who live outside.

Following the logic in both these statements, it’s very difficult to ‘reason’ someone out of a faith position – certainly if it’s a faith held as a child.

My first question to Christians now is always ‘what made you first believe?’ – and if the answer involves the phrases ‘well I was brought up in a christian home…’ or ‘at the age of 13 i went to a camp…’ – it doesn’t mean their faith is any less real or valid, but as far as discussion goes, again I must refer to Swift and Barth.

Can the de-converted people on this site maybe take a moment to discuss what they think are the best ways to guide people from their prison of faith?

(excuse the inflammatory last statement :) ) – QuestionMonkey

December 2, 2007 at 5:37 am 80 comments

I want to go back, I want the blue pill !

In the movie ‘The Matrix’, Thomas Anderson is living a fairly contented life as a computer programmer, everything is pretty much as he likes it until he is meets Morpheus . Although Thomas resists and struggles to cling on, over time Morpheus shows him that the world he is living in is make-believe, his real name is Neo. When Neo finally realises the truth Morpheus offers him a blue pill. The blue pill will make him forget about the matrix and allow him to return to his normal comfortable life, the red pill will open his mind to the disturbing knowledge of the matrix, with no going back. He takes the red pill and accepts the disturbing reality.

Over the last four or five years Morpheus has been in my head banging on at me to wake up and open my eyes. After much deliberation and a protracted grieving process I took the red pill, I looked behind the curtain and found that the wizard of oz wasn’t magical (too many movie references?). The reality is now obvious, or more accurately the unreality of the father-figure god is obvious. When I watch, listen or read debates between god fearing types and skeptics, the god-believers say things which only a few years ago I would have taken as an honest reflection of my reality – now seem completely deluded…

Continue Reading November 13, 2007 at 9:52 am 56 comments

In Fear and Trembling – The Peace from Our Lord

Hieronymus Bosch's depiction of Hell.  Detail from the right panel of the Garden of Earthly Delights tryptich c1450LeoPardus recently published 3 articles which focused on reasons he left Christianity. I will be reprinting 3 slightly edited articles from my old website that highlight only one of the main reasons I left Christianity – the tortuous doctrine of eternal damnation. If you have already read these, forgive me for this second go-around.

I used to wear a button on my hat. I wore it everyday for years. It was one of those buttons that I used to identify myself as a Bible Believing Christian, without having to go through the trouble of actually having to say it to everyone I met. My button had a cliché printed on it.

It read “Know Jesus Know Peace, No Jesus No Peace.”

Why did I have peace in Jesus? I was to have peace because my faith in Jesus Christ gave me hope of an eternal reward in Heaven. No matter the trials of this mortal life, no matter how I was persecuted for my faith, no matter what physical ailments may become me, no matter if death knocked on my door, I could say “O death where is thy victory, O death where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55)…

Continue Reading November 12, 2007 at 9:58 pm 46 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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