Happy Atheist Forum

Community => Life As An Atheist => Topic started by: Ali on February 17, 2012, 05:03:43 PM

Title: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Ali on February 17, 2012, 05:03:43 PM
I was just thinking this morning about a conversation I had with my 12th grade science teacher.  To set the scene, I was 17, and I had already concluded that I did not subscribe to Christianity, but I still believed in god and an afterlife.

We were talking about the ethics behind cloning in my biology class, and I remember feeling very strongly that it was wrong because "those people wouldn't have a soul."  I said this outloud to my science teacher who literally reacted like "SOUL?!?  Ali thinks that science should halt its progress because she believes in a soul!!!!" *sneer*  Or anyway, that's how I remember it.  At the time I was furious that he would just completely dismiss my beliefs, but thinking back now I'm kind of amused and embarassed. 

For those of you that used to be theists, do you have any funny or embarassing memories like that?
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Tank on February 17, 2012, 05:30:58 PM
(https://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg210.imageshack.us%2Fimg210%2F5684%2Fpopcy.gif&hash=937d85773291a5b5ddaa9d753f0bffa4981276ec)
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Davin on February 17, 2012, 05:32:28 PM
I've had many moments were I was publicly shown that I was incorrect because of what I was taught at home about religion and in church. Though, I can't remember a specific one right now, they were enough to make sure that I only accept things that I both understand and have evidential support for.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Amicale on February 17, 2012, 06:56:31 PM
Here's one embarassing tale. In my defense, I was naive, and 14 years old. We were asked to create a poetry anthology of our own. Our poems could be about anything, on any subject, they just had to have a theme generally running through the entire anthology. Some students chose love, others death, others science, sports, hobbies, you name it. I picked... yup, you guessed it, religion. Although I'd already started to have some issues with the Catholic faith I was raised in, I was spending a lot of time around Protestants, and I'd even joined the "Christian club" at the school.  (Ack, I know.) Soooo... my little poetry anthology was very, very cheesy. It rhymed sickeningly, it was preachy as well as cutesy, it utterly lacked imagination... in short, when I got it back, my teacher informed me of all the above, and I was properly mortified.  :D

I feel so, so sorry for this man now. He was one of my favourite teachers, brilliantly smart and funny, and I knew he was a skeptic with maybe a bit of Taoism thrown into his thinking, but I was actually dumb enough to think that my stupid poetry would 'help him see how awesome Jesus is'. I imagine he rolled his eyes and engaged in a good bit of longsuffering when it came to me!

Years later I wrote him a letter, while I was partway through university, and told him how my views had changed and how, looking back, he'd helped to change them by exposing me to philosophers I'd never heard of. He responded with a very kind letter, saying that most adults never bother changing the views they held when they were 14, and he was damned glad I had.  :D



Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Ali on February 17, 2012, 09:04:26 PM
Amicale, that is too funny.  How awesome that you let him know that your thinking changed and he had something to do with it.  I would love to talk to my old bio teacher again and tell him that I grew up to know better. 

It's stuff like this that makes me snerk (okay, a lot of things make me snerk) when Christians complain that "nowadays our kids get brainwashed in schools" or whatever.  My hubby is a teacher and he has to be so careful to be sure not to offend anyone's religious sensibilities, to the point to refusing to even answer direct questions from the students about his own beliefs, but meanwhile back when we were growing up teachers were allowed to roll their eyes and tell you that your poetry sucks and it's ridiculous that you believe in souls.  LOL
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 05:22:21 AM
I'm so jealous of people who have these ""Teacher who changed my life" stories.

I had bio at a Christian school and remember the teacher making disclaimers to not blame him if things he taught conflicted with our Christian beliefs.   
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Amicale on February 18, 2012, 05:49:56 AM
I'm so jealous of people who have these ""Teacher who changed my life" stories.

I had bio at a Christian school and remember the teacher making disclaimers to not blame him if things he taught conflicted with our Christian beliefs.   

Ironically, if he taught a decent biology class you probably ended up thanking him rather than blaming him.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 01:06:59 PM
I'm so jealous of people who have these ""Teacher who changed my life" stories.

I had bio at a Christian school and remember the teacher making disclaimers to not blame him if things he taught conflicted with our Christian beliefs.   

Ironically, if he taught a decent biology class you probably ended up thanking him rather than blaming him.
I don't remember anything he said challenging my beliefs that
1 We were created and not evolved.
2 The whole world was around 6,000 years old.
3 Dinosaurs never existed and fossils were either planted by godless men or Satan to trick weak Christians.
 
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 01:08:43 PM
I'm sorry Ali this is a great topic I didn't mean to spin it off topic.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Ali on February 18, 2012, 02:17:12 PM
No problem!  It's so interesting to me to hear what different people were taught as they were growing up.  So Crockoduck, when did you start believing in evolution and dinosaurs?
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on February 18, 2012, 05:03:37 PM
When I first met my husband and he told me he was an atheist, my first reaction was "But he's too nice to be an atheist!"

I also had a sociology professor that flat-out told us that to be a good sociologist you have to be an atheist (he was like the Dr.House of sociologists). I was pretty offended at the time, but I see his point now.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 05:19:36 PM
No problem!  It's so interesting to me to hear what different people were taught as they were growing up.  So Crockoduck, when did you start believing in evolution and dinosaurs?
Ah don't make me say...it's not been long. :-[ I can't remember when I first thought dinosaurs had to be true or that Noah ark story was crap.

I'm not a dumb person but I spent most of my life believing the dumbest things.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 05:23:41 PM
When I first met my husband and he told me he was an atheist, my first reaction was "But he's too nice to be an atheist!"
Yessssssssssssssss atheists could not ever be nice...
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on February 18, 2012, 05:33:10 PM
When I first met my husband and he told me he was an atheist, my first reaction was "But he's too nice to be an atheist!"
Yessssssssssssssss atheists could not ever be nice...

Well, I obviously disagree now!
And, to be fair, it was the first time I had ever met someone who openly called themselves an atheist.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Tank on February 18, 2012, 05:34:44 PM
When I first met my husband and he told me he was an atheist, my first reaction was "But he's too nice to be an atheist!"
Yessssssssssssssss atheists could not ever be nice...

Well, I obviously disagree now!
And, to be fair, it was the first time I had ever met someone who openly called themselves an atheist.
And he brought you to the dark side, good man!
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Ali on February 18, 2012, 05:41:47 PM
No problem!  It's so interesting to me to hear what different people were taught as they were growing up.  So Crockoduck, when did you start believing in evolution and dinosaurs?
Ah don't make me say...it's not been long. :-[ I can't remember when I first thought dinosaurs had to be true or that Noah ark story was crap.

I'm not a dumb person but I spent most of my life believing the dumbest things.

There, there.  Most of us that used to believe astonishingly stupid things were raised that way.  What's that old Jesuit saying?  "Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man"?  We should just be happy that we were able to turn from it in adulthood.  Most don't, as evidenced by the fact that something like 85% of the population (assuming you are in the US, like me) still believes.

DeterminedJuliet - isn't it funny how many people don't think that atheists can be nice?  Husband and I were at a family/friends of the family event a few months ago and an acquaintance of ours was updating us on some gossip.  She told us that so and so's husband had recently died, and no one knew until the funeral, but he was an atheist.  "Atheist" whispered, with wide eyes, of course.  She then said "And he was so nice too!"  Husband and I just smiled politely and said something like "Hmmmm." but now I wish I would have asked her "I'm sorry, why wouldn't he have been nice?"
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 05:56:27 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Amicale on February 18, 2012, 06:02:15 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 08:17:19 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 08:19:12 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
I like that "in recovery" cause I have some issues!
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Amicale on February 18, 2012, 10:21:02 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
I like that "in recovery" cause I have some issues!

I do, too. That's one of the reasons I joined HAF. For the community and fun and like-minded folks, but also to find a place that would give me a much-needed sense of balance and perspective. There's still a lot I'm thinking about. For instance, I call myself an agnostic, but not an atheist -- so I wanted to read up on why some people choose one term over the other, and in the end whether or not the distinction really matters much. And I've been a non-theist for a good while now, so I suspect this learning curve you, I and others here are on takes a good while. I'm not surprised though. After all, it's not like you can completely erase 20+ years of religion/belief and the influence it's had on your life, your perceptions, your family/social group etc.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Ali on February 18, 2012, 10:34:08 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
I like that "in recovery" cause I have some issues!

I do, too. That's one of the reasons I joined HAF. For the community and fun and like-minded folks, but also to find a place that would give me a much-needed sense of balance and perspective. There's still a lot I'm thinking about. For instance, I call myself an agnostic, but not an atheist -- so I wanted to read up on why some people choose one term over the other, and in the end whether or not the distinction really matters much. And I've been a non-theist for a good while now, so I suspect this learning curve you, I and others here are on takes a good while. I'm not surprised though. After all, it's not like you can completely erase 20+ years of religion/belief and the influence it's had on your life, your perceptions, your family/social group etc.

It took me several years to embrace the term atheist.  To be completely honest, I felt like that was a bridge that I couldn't uncross, and once I called myself an atheist, the god that I pretty much didn't believe in would send me to hell forever.  Of course, I remember very clearly being told as a child that if you ever doubt Jesus, even for one single second, you would spend eternity in hell, so you can imagine the forces I was up against.

In the end, I don't really think it matters what people call themselves, except for their own sakes.  I was scared to call myself an atheist - that's not healthy.  But if you truly are agnostic, then embrace it.  There is not a thing wrong with saying, simply, "I don't know."
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Amicale on February 18, 2012, 10:54:56 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
I like that "in recovery" cause I have some issues!

I do, too. That's one of the reasons I joined HAF. For the community and fun and like-minded folks, but also to find a place that would give me a much-needed sense of balance and perspective. There's still a lot I'm thinking about. For instance, I call myself an agnostic, but not an atheist -- so I wanted to read up on why some people choose one term over the other, and in the end whether or not the distinction really matters much. And I've been a non-theist for a good while now, so I suspect this learning curve you, I and others here are on takes a good while. I'm not surprised though. After all, it's not like you can completely erase 20+ years of religion/belief and the influence it's had on your life, your perceptions, your family/social group etc.

It took me several years to embrace the term atheist.  To be completely honest, I felt like that was a bridge that I couldn't uncross, and once I called myself an atheist, the god that I pretty much didn't believe in would send me to hell forever.  Of course, I remember very clearly being told as a child that if you ever doubt Jesus, even for one single second, you would spend eternity in hell, so you can imagine the forces I was up against.

In the end, I don't really think it matters what people call themselves, except for their own sakes.  I was scared to call myself an atheist - that's not healthy.  But if you truly are agnostic, then embrace it.  There is not a thing wrong with saying, simply, "I don't know."

Thanks, Ali. Yeah, I'm definitely agnostic. I don't know, I can't pretend I know, I'd like to keep my mind open in general but for all intents and purposes, how I live my life would certainly fall onto the secular side of things, in that I don't pray, don't worship, do embrace critical thought as well as science, etc. It's just that although it's great that others can feel sure enough to say "there's no God", I doubt I'll ever be that certain. :) I wouldn't be horribly surprised if some sort of deistic creator existed, but I reject religion as it currently exists in the world. If I went to a church at all for the community, it would be a unitarian universalist church. *shrug* As it is, the internet exists, as do message boards like this one, so I don't feel the need to.  ;D
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 11:16:24 PM
maybe the nicest most off topic posts I've ever read
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Dobermonster on February 18, 2012, 11:17:50 PM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
I like that "in recovery" cause I have some issues!

I do, too. That's one of the reasons I joined HAF. For the community and fun and like-minded folks, but also to find a place that would give me a much-needed sense of balance and perspective. There's still a lot I'm thinking about. For instance, I call myself an agnostic, but not an atheist -- so I wanted to read up on why some people choose one term over the other, and in the end whether or not the distinction really matters much. And I've been a non-theist for a good while now, so I suspect this learning curve you, I and others here are on takes a good while. I'm not surprised though. After all, it's not like you can completely erase 20+ years of religion/belief and the influence it's had on your life, your perceptions, your family/social group etc.

It took me several years to embrace the term atheist.  To be completely honest, I felt like that was a bridge that I couldn't uncross, and once I called myself an atheist, the god that I pretty much didn't believe in would send me to hell forever.  Of course, I remember very clearly being told as a child that if you ever doubt Jesus, even for one single second, you would spend eternity in hell, so you can imagine the forces I was up against.

In the end, I don't really think it matters what people call themselves, except for their own sakes.  I was scared to call myself an atheist - that's not healthy.  But if you truly are agnostic, then embrace it.  There is not a thing wrong with saying, simply, "I don't know."

Thanks, Ali. Yeah, I'm definitely agnostic. I don't know, I can't pretend I know, I'd like to keep my mind open in general but for all intents and purposes, how I live my life would certainly fall onto the secular side of things, in that I don't pray, don't worship, do embrace critical thought as well as science, etc. It's just that although it's great that others can feel sure enough to say "there's no God", I doubt I'll ever be that certain. :) I wouldn't be horribly surprised if some sort of deistic creator existed, but I reject religion as it currently exists in the world. If I went to a church at all for the community, it would be a unitarian universalist church. *shrug* As it is, the internet exists, as do message boards like this one, so I don't feel the need to.  ;D

I don't think atheism is always equivalent to saying "There is no God", but I know what you mean. It took me awhile to get to saying I was an atheist rather than an agnostic, mostly because it sounded so harsh and definitive. I fully recognize that there might be a deity, but because there's no evidence in favour of this, I see no reason to believe it. For me, it's on the same level of the Loch Ness Monster. Loch Ness has been studied, throroughly explored with sonar, and there is no sign of a giant eel-creature. All tangible evidence has been shown to be false or mistakenly attributed. But . . . that bugger still might be hiding somewhere. It eventually it becomes a 'maybe' so one-sided in my mind, that I can no longer say just "I don't know" and speak truthfully. At most, I'll say "Sure, there might be. But I reeeeeally don't think so."

I hear you on still being "in recovery". Most people don't realize that losing faith also means dismantling a lifetime of opinions and prejudices that were taught to you as truth, having the insight to recognize what needs to be reworked, doing your own research to come to a better, well-informed opinion, and then overcoming the instilled fear that maybe, just maybe, your opinion is dooming you. Sucks, doesn't it? In some ways, it felt a lot better to be a theist, to feel secure in knowing all the answers, security in knowing all the moral dilemmas were solved in literal black and white, security in never having to think about life ending. It's hard to let all that go, especially for someone with a strong moral compass and a tendency to evangelize 'just a little'. Yeah, I was an annoying little tosser when I was a Christian (trying not to be now, sometimes failing).  
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 11:34:49 PM

I hear you on still being "in recovery". Most people don't realize that losing faith also means dismantling a lifetime of opinions and prejudices that were taught to you as truth,
PREACH THAT BROTHER!
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 11:39:29 PM
Ali you may have started something with this thead
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 18, 2012, 11:52:40 PM
I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Amicale on February 19, 2012, 12:14:27 AM
I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.

You just outed yourself as a former Protestant for sure, either Baptist or Pentacostal. Those folks especially do the covered casserole dish suppers. Amirite? ;)
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Dobermonster on February 19, 2012, 12:55:12 AM
I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.

You just outed yourself as a former Protestant for sure, either Baptist or Pentacostal. Those folks especially do the covered casserole dish suppers. Amirite? ;)

As we all know, the miracle of fishes and loaves is only scientifically explainable through the medium of casseroles. Hence why they were so popular at those pot-lucks I was forced to go to. That and an unreasonable variety of jello salads.
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Amicale on February 19, 2012, 01:00:41 AM
I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.

You just outed yourself as a former Protestant for sure, either Baptist or Pentacostal. Those folks especially do the covered casserole dish suppers. Amirite? ;)

As we all know, the miracle of fishes and loaves is only scientifically explainable through the medium of casseroles. Hence why they were so popular at those pot-lucks I was forced to go to. That and an unreasonable variety of jello salads.

 :D

See, that's why being Catholic had its advantages. There were no church dinners or potlucks we had to go to. All you were ever expected to bring to church was 5 bucks for the collection basket, and a willingness to keep your lips zipped when something didn't make sense. (There are good reasons the priest politely told my family I was better off quitting the youth group!)
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 19, 2012, 01:53:27 AM
I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.

You just outed yourself as a former Protestant for sure, either Baptist or Pentacostal. Those folks especially do the covered casserole dish suppers. Amirite? ;)

As we all know, the miracle of fishes and loaves is only scientifically explainable through the medium of casseroles. Hence why they were so popular at those pot-lucks I was forced to go to. That and an unreasonable variety of jello salads.
I almost dropped my laptop laughing

I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.

You just outed yourself as a former Protestant for sure, either Baptist or Pentacostal. Those folks especially do the covered casserole dish suppers. Amirite? ;)
I was a Nazarene but sent to Baptist schools
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 19, 2012, 02:12:31 AM

 and a willingness to keep your lips zipped when something didn't make sense.
Where did that go wrong?  :D
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Crocoduck on February 19, 2012, 02:19:31 AM
Thank you Ali your a kinder person then I Am

Crocoduck, no worries. :) A LOT of us are still "in recovery", and we remember all too well all the stuff that got drilled into our heads as kids/teens/young adults. Been there, done that!
I like that "in recovery" cause I have some issues!

I do, too. That's one of the reasons I joined HAF. For the community and fun and like-minded folks, but also to find a place that would give me a much-needed sense of balance and perspective. There's still a lot I'm thinking about. For instance, I call myself an agnostic, but not an atheist -- so I wanted to read up on why some people choose one term over the other, and in the end whether or not the distinction really matters much. And I've been a non-theist for a good while now, so I suspect this learning curve you, I and others here are on takes a good while. I'm not surprised though. After all, it's not like you can completely erase 20+ years of religion/belief and the influence it's had on your life, your perceptions, your family/social group etc.

It took me several years to embrace the term atheist.  To be completely honest, I felt like that was a bridge that I couldn't uncross, and once I called myself an atheist, the god that I pretty much didn't believe in would send me to hell forever.  Of course, I remember very clearly being told as a child that if you ever doubt Jesus, even for one single second, you would spend eternity in hell, so you can imagine the forces I was up against.

In the end, I don't really think it matters what people call themselves, except for their own sakes.  I was scared to call myself an atheist - that's not healthy.  But if you truly are agnostic, then embrace it.  There is not a thing wrong with saying, simply, "I don't know."

The unpardonable sin "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" the scariest thing ever
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Anne D. on February 19, 2012, 02:33:39 AM
I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.

You just outed yourself as a former Protestant for sure, either Baptist or Pentacostal. Those folks especially do the covered casserole dish suppers. Amirite? ;)

As we all know, the miracle of fishes and loaves is only scientifically explainable through the medium of casseroles. Hence why they were so popular at those pot-lucks I was forced to go to. That and an unreasonable variety of jello salads.

Props, Amicale and Dobermonster  :D
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Guardian85 on February 19, 2012, 12:54:06 PM
I wish my Mother and Father were still alive so I could yell at them......You fools Dinosaurs are real...the Earth is old and tuna casserole is nasty.

Tuna is nasty in any form. That's why we don't eat them up north. Now a pollock casserole, that is good shit!
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Tank on February 19, 2012, 04:15:24 PM
I like Tuna. Particularly as sushi (raw).
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: Ali on February 19, 2012, 04:39:17 PM
I like Tuna. Particularly as sushi (raw).

YES.  Yellowfin sushi = <3
Title: Re: When you were a theist.....
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on February 19, 2012, 06:45:49 PM
I like Tuna. Particularly as sushi (raw).

That's the only way I like it!