Happy Atheist Forum

Community => Life As An Atheist => Topic started by: AnimatedDirt on March 22, 2012, 04:39:43 PM

Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 22, 2012, 04:39:43 PM
When I was "losing the faith" my test was praying that God would give me complete faith again. I mean, really, it makes no sense why he wouldn't. God wanted us to have faith. I wanted to have faith. I wasn't asking for anything selfish, I just wanted to believe what he wanted me to believe. But nope. It didn't work.

So, if it turns out that I'm wrong and there is a God, I can say it was his fault! If he wanted me to be a believer, he should have answered my last prayer!

Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 22, 2012, 04:48:13 PM
When I was "losing the faith" my test was praying that God would give me complete faith again. I mean, really, it makes no sense why he wouldn't. God wanted us to have faith. I wanted to have faith. I wasn't asking for anything selfish, I just wanted to believe what he wanted me to believe. But nope. It didn't work.

So, if it turns out that I'm wrong and there is a God, I can say it was his fault! If he wanted me to be a believer, he should have answered my last prayer!

Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?


That assumes an awful lot on your part AD. This wasn't a "one time thing". This was a very long process, over the course of several years (the "holocaust moment" I talked to you about earlier was the final straw, so to speak, in a long history of "de-conversation"). Don't get annoyed with us because you don't think we're being fair to your God. That was our experience. We are entitled to feel however we like about "God" not answering our prayers.

And yes, this is an ex-Christian's thinking. What possible reason could there be for God not "helping" in that way when there were very sincere pleas over the course of several years?

How many times do Christians say: "Pray for Grace. Pray for redemption. Pray for faith. Pray for closeness to God. Pray for his wisdom", etc etc. Well, you know what, if you pray for those things and they never come, what does that say? It was my fault? How? Even in the twisted responsibility that religion puts on humans, how could asking for those things be a fault?

Anyway, this is usually the point where a Christian tells me "oh, well, I guess you were never a Christian to begin with" because it makes it easier for them to reconcile their own beliefs with this. Because there is NO reason that God would deny a Christian these things, so they just say that I must not have been a "proper" Christian to begin with. Which is pretty insulting in its own right.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 22, 2012, 04:54:23 PM
DJ, you said it's really sad how many chances some of us give to an imaginary person. Well, I gave 'him' lots of chances. And you know the saddest thing? I never saw it that way. Instead, I was the one asking that 'god' for "just one more chance" because I was convinced that I had been the one who screwed up and wasn't faithful enough for HIM. Go figure. Faith fucks with your head, it really, truly does. If I do one good thing in this world, it'll be to spare my daughter the childhood indoctrination I got, myself... and just teach her how to ask questions from the get go, and let her know how precious and loved she is just for being HER, not because she needs some kind of "salvation".

This is poignant and so very true.
That's the thing about religion, it teaches you that if you are ever disappointed, it has to be your fault, your failing, your ineptitude, sin, weakness. That's a painful thing to absorb, especially as a child. I can't imagine ever sitting my son down and saying "Now, little one, you're a sinner. You're broken." Even if I was still religious, I don't think I could ever do it.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Asherah on March 22, 2012, 05:07:25 PM
When I was "losing the faith" my test was praying that God would give me complete faith again. I mean, really, it makes no sense why he wouldn't. God wanted us to have faith. I wanted to have faith. I wasn't asking for anything selfish, I just wanted to believe what he wanted me to believe. But nope. It didn't work.

So, if it turns out that I'm wrong and there is a God, I can say it was his fault! If he wanted me to be a believer, he should have answered my last prayer!

Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?


Actually, it's the Christian view. Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Asherah on March 22, 2012, 05:12:29 PM
When I was "losing the faith" my test was praying that God would give me complete faith again. I mean, really, it makes no sense why he wouldn't. God wanted us to have faith. I wanted to have faith. I wasn't asking for anything selfish, I just wanted to believe what he wanted me to believe. But nope. It didn't work.

So, if it turns out that I'm wrong and there is a God, I can say it was his fault! If he wanted me to be a believer, he should have answered my last prayer!

Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?


Actually, it's the Christian view. Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

Another good one: Luke 11:9-11 ""So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. [10] For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

[11] "Which of your fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? [12] Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? [13] If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 22, 2012, 05:33:54 PM
When I was "losing the faith" my test was praying that God would give me complete faith again. I mean, really, it makes no sense why he wouldn't. God wanted us to have faith. I wanted to have faith. I wasn't asking for anything selfish, I just wanted to believe what he wanted me to believe. But nope. It didn't work.

So, if it turns out that I'm wrong and there is a God, I can say it was his fault! If he wanted me to be a believer, he should have answered my last prayer!

Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?

Actually, it's the Christian view. Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

In that sense, yes, faith is a gift from God.  However, it is not just turned on and off like a switch and normally when a person comes to this realization, it is not necessarily "faith" that converts.  It is a need within the person that first believes.  First, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in.  Without that need, faith cannot (normally) work, as evidenced by some deconversions of slowly losing faith to a point where it simply just disappears.  I don't doubt God can give a person faith...but the question rather is, would He?  I don't think so as that would imply being forced to have faith. 

One can claim they asked for faith non-stop.  If *you are this person that asked and asked for faith, in hindsight, did you really want it having the knowledge you have now?
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 22, 2012, 05:36:02 PM
When I was "losing the faith" my test was praying that God would give me complete faith again. I mean, really, it makes no sense why he wouldn't. God wanted us to have faith. I wanted to have faith. I wasn't asking for anything selfish, I just wanted to believe what he wanted me to believe. But nope. It didn't work.

So, if it turns out that I'm wrong and there is a God, I can say it was his fault! If he wanted me to be a believer, he should have answered my last prayer!

Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?


It's a little odd that you would assume the beliefs of all atheists from one since, unlike Xtians or other religious, we don't have a single script we're reading from.  Altho in this case that is what I remember being told by Xtians, you got faith simply by asking for it.

Anyway, this is usually the point where a Christian tells me "oh, well, I guess you were never a Christian to begin with" because it makes it easier for them to reconcile their own beliefs with this. Because there is NO reason that God would deny a Christian these things, so they just say that I must not have been a "proper" Christian to begin with. Which is pretty insulting in its own right.

Personally, I've accepted that as my own position.  It rather comforts me to think that, altho the doubt was apparently buried deep in my subconscious, I was never taken in by all this nonsense and just needed to develop the mental independence to shake off indoctrination.

Another good one: Luke 11:9-11 ""So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. [10] For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

[snipped only for brevity]

I love an atheist who knows her bible.  Can't wait to see what spin is offered up for these.

Edited to add, ask and ye shall receive:

I don't doubt God can give a person faith...but the question rather is, would He?  I don't think so as that would imply being forced to have faith. 

Faith is being forced when the person is literally asking for it?

Quote
One can claim they asked for faith non-stop.  If *you are this person that asked and asked for faith, in hindsight, did you really want it having the knowledge you have now?

So god denies faith to people who would not, in the future, have a use for what they learned to live without, having been denied it?  Then god wants some people to be atheists so he can eventually send them to Hell for the sin of adapting rather than continuing to live in emotional and spiritual misery all their lives?  Hey, as long as you believe it's the will of something you call a god . . .
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Amicale on March 22, 2012, 06:06:58 PM
When I was "losing the faith" my test was praying that God would give me complete faith again. I mean, really, it makes no sense why he wouldn't. God wanted us to have faith. I wanted to have faith. I wasn't asking for anything selfish, I just wanted to believe what he wanted me to believe. But nope. It didn't work.

So, if it turns out that I'm wrong and there is a God, I can say it was his fault! If he wanted me to be a believer, he should have answered my last prayer!

Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?

Actually, it's the Christian view. Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

In that sense, yes, faith is a gift from God.  However, it is not just turned on and off like a switch and normally when a person comes to this realization, it is not necessarily "faith" that converts.  It is a need within the person that first believes.  First, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in.  Without that need, faith cannot (normally) work, as evidenced by some deconversions of slowly losing faith to a point where it simply just disappears.  I don't doubt God can give a person faith...but the question rather is, would He?  I don't think so as that would imply being forced to have faith. 

One can claim they asked for faith non-stop.  If *you are this person that asked and asked for faith, in hindsight, did you really want it having the knowledge you have now?


AD, I was a Christian for several years. I started to lose my faith, despite feeling a need for God. Of course I felt one. With all my heart, I wanted to believe. In so many ways, it would have made life a lot more comforting, if not easier. So unfortunately, you can't just say that first, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in. I wish it were that simple. How can you answer the question of someone wanting God, wanting to know God, and at the same time losing their faith without being able to get it back? How can you answer the question of someone having more questions than answers, even if they wished with all their heart that the damned questions would just go away? I use 'you' generally, not you, AD, although you're welcome to answer them only if you'd care to. As it so happened, I asked for faith non-stop. I felt myself losing faith, and I tried hard to keep hold of it. I prayed constantly. Nothing. Read my bible. No reassurance there -- if anything, I was reminded that God spits lukewarm people like I was out of his mouth. I attended different churches, talked to tons of different Christians, just kept praying and hoping and trying again and again to 'come back to God', begged him for all the 'second chances' I possibly could.... and finally, after years of that, I realized I was on the outside looking in, and it certainly wasn't through lack of trying or caring.

As for your question, considering the knowledge and understanding I have now (a secular, humanistic worldview, personally), did I really want faith back then? The answer is yes. Absolutely. And I'll put myself out there because as unpopular as me saying this might be to fellow nonbelievers.... if I'm absolutely honest, I'd love to be able to have faith in some kind of loving creator who I knew would take care of everyone, comfort the hurting, heal the broken, make the wrongs right again. If we had evidence that kind of creator existed, if we begged for faith and received it, begged for healing and comfort (for not just ourselves but others) and received it, asked that God to help those so desperately in need... and all that actually happened.... now, that would be something. If we could actually know that there was some tangible proof for the very comforting stories, I suspect more of us might be inclined to give those very comforting stories another shot.

For some people here on this board, they may not believe in God because they see no need for a God, wouldn't want to know a God, wouldn't be interested in following a God even if that God were actually kind and loving. Then for others of us who USED to believe.... we (generally speaking) probably no longer do believe because we've seen something very, very broken in the system and as much as we'd like to, going back just isn't something we could probably do. Instead, for myself, I've forged ahead the best I know how. I've learned morality for its own sake, not for God's. I've learned a lot about the world around me. I'm still learning, and I've come to deeply appreciate life as I see it, not as I think and wish it ought to be. And that's as honest as I can be.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Asherah on March 22, 2012, 06:07:50 PM

In that sense, yes, faith is a gift from God.  However, it is not just turned on and off like a switch and normally when a person comes to this realization, it is not necessarily "faith" that converts.  It is a need within the person that first believes.  First, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in.  


So, you must feel a need for God before faith comes in? But, before you can realize the need for God, you must believe there is a God. And, that requires faith. So, how can you have a need for God without faith? It seems that faith would have to come first. There are people who believe in a God but don't have a need for him.

Without that need, faith cannot (normally) work, as evidenced by some deconversions of slowly losing faith to a point where it simply just disappears.  

You are missing one crucial point. Faith in God and a need for God slowly disappear together because of the total and complete lack of conclusive evidence that there is a God, much less, the Christian God.

I don't doubt God can give a person faith...but the question rather is, would He?  I don't think so as that would imply being forced to have faith.  

If someone is asking for faith, how would it be forced? Let's say that God did try to give a person faith who didn't want it. Just like any gift, it can be rejected. The person would have the free will to say, "no thanks". And, that isn't God forcing anyone to do anything.

One can claim they asked for faith non-stop.  If *you are this person that asked and asked for faith, in hindsight, did you really want it having the knowledge you have now?

What do you mean "did you really want it having the knowledge that you have now." Yes, I really wanted it, but I didn't have the knowledge that I have now back then. Now, if you are asking if I really want faith now with the knowledge I have now, that's an odd question. Why would I want faith if there is no god? What would I have faith in? If you are saying "would I want faith if there is a god to grant it", then I would say "yes". I want to know that entity. But, since he most likely doesn't exist, wanting faith is like wanting to fly. It's wishful thinking.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 22, 2012, 06:24:09 PM
Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?

It's a little odd that you would assume the beliefs of all atheists from one since, unlike Xtians or other religious, we don't have a single script we're reading from.  Altho in this case that is what I remember being told by Xtians, you got faith simply by asking for it.

What you claim an assumption is actually a question, hence the "Is it...?"

One can get faith just from the asking.  The question remains;  With your knowledge today, are *you still longing for that faith or is this faith now a matter that you're glad you never had/got?  From the evidence on HAF, it would seem the latter is more true.

Quote from: BooksCatsEtc
I don't doubt God can give a person faith...but the question rather is, would He?  I don't think so as that would imply being forced to have faith. 

Faith is being forced when the person is literally asking for it?

I don't claim to know your heart.  Only the person asking knows.  However, I would equate it with the common parent-child instance that one child is asked to say their sorry to their sibling for something or the other.  The child then regurgitates the words.  The parent then says, "You didn't mean that..."

Quote from: BooksCatsEtc
One can claim they asked for faith non-stop.  If *you are this person that asked and asked for faith, in hindsight, did you really want it having the knowledge you have now?

So god denies faith to people who would not, in the future, have a use for what they learned to live without, having been denied it?  Then god wants some people to be atheists so he can eventually send them to Hell for the sin of adapting rather than continuing to live in emotional and spiritual misery all their lives?  Hey, as long as you believe it's the will of something you call a god . . .

If God is...and therefore knows the heart, you are angry at this God for allowing you to make your own decison?
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 22, 2012, 06:44:44 PM
Is it the Atheist's thinking that the believer has faith SIMPLY because of asking for it...that from one moment to the next a light switch was turned on and voila!, faith strikes the believer?

It's a little odd that you would assume the beliefs of all atheists from one since, unlike Xtians or other religious, we don't have a single script we're reading from.  Altho in this case that is what I remember being told by Xtians, you got faith simply by asking for it.

What you claim an assumption is actually a question, hence the "Is it...?"

One can get faith just from the asking.  The question remains;  With your knowledge today, are *you still longing for that faith or is this faith now a matter that you're glad you never had/got?  From the evidence on HAF, it would seem the latter is more true.

I saw the question mark, but for whatever reason, it struck me as more as an imperative than a question. But that might just me being touchy, so I apologize if that's the case. Anyhoo. 

The process seems inevitable to me now (but that's hindsight, I guess). But yes, *now* I am happier where I am, though it is still painful/emotional to think back at the process oh how I got here sometimes (though I guess that could be said of a lot of growth in life - not just religious). For the most part, this sort of things doesn't cross my mind on a day-to-day basis. I only really think of it when having chats with theists here  ;).

If I could have chosen any scenario, I would have chosen to have been raised atheist. There were positives to being Christian, and I think it helps me understand their perspective sometimes, but that's what I would would "want" now, if I could retroactively decide. Though, it's really very hard to tease apart my feelings now from my feelings then. Just as Christians say they are "re-born" when they enter the church, I really do feel like an entirely different person now - in my opinion, for the better. It is a huge shift in worldview, so it's hard to connect feelings now to feelings then without colouring them in some way.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 22, 2012, 07:04:05 PM

In that sense, yes, faith is a gift from God.  However, it is not just turned on and off like a switch and normally when a person comes to this realization, it is not necessarily "faith" that converts.  It is a need within the person that first believes.  First, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in.  

So, you must feel a need for God before faith comes in? But, before you can realize the need for God, you must believe there is a God. And, that requires faith. So, how can you have a need for God without faith? It seems that faith would have to come first. There are people who believe in a God but don't have a need for him.

You're right to some degree.  My disagreement with this is just that one doesn't necessarily HAVE TO believe in this God.  One may simply feel the hope this God does exist and if so, want something from Him.  The part I can agree that you're right to is the part of faith that starts as a mustard seed.  I don't know for sure, maybe that mustard seed is that desire or hope within a person to want something "better".  I only say better in that he/she must want something more from their life and therefore they would be in want of something better.  The typical Atheist, it seems, is content with their life and that of the world at large.  Maybe not happy about it all, but what can one burp of stardust do?

So how can one have a need for God without faith?  Hope. 

Quote from: Asherah
Without that need, faith cannot (normally) work, as evidenced by some deconversions of slowly losing faith to a point where it simply just disappears.  

You are missing one crucial point. Faith in God and a need for God slowly disappear together because of the total and complete lack of conclusive evidence that there is a God, much less, the Christian God.

You've concluded this, I agree.  However there is just as much evidence for as there is against.  In today's world, it's all at your finger tips.  Don't blame God for no evidence.  It's not His way to overwhelm you with evidence and leave you with no choice.  Has not, for the most part, the Atheist at least on HAF mentioned more than once that "Even if God were to prove his existence to me, I would not follow the God of the bible..."?  That in itself proves choice/freewill.

Quote from: Asherah
I don't doubt God can give a person faith...but the question rather is, would He?  I don't think so as that would imply being forced to have faith.

If someone is asking for faith, how would it be forced? Let's say that God did try to give a person faith who didn't want it. Just like any gift, it can be rejected. The person would have the free will to say, "no thanks". And, that isn't God forcing anyone to do anything.

I think you answered your own question.  (my bold above.)

Quote from: Asherah
One can claim they asked for faith non-stop.  If *you are this person that asked and asked for faith, in hindsight, did you really want it having the knowledge you have now?

What do you mean "did you really want it having the knowledge that you have now." Yes, I really wanted it, but I didn't have the knowledge that I have now back then. Now, if you are asking if I really want faith now with the knowledge I have now, that's an odd question. Why would I want faith if there is no god? What would I have faith in? If you are saying "would I want faith if there is a god to grant it", then I would say "yes". I want to know that entity. But, since he most likely doesn't exist, wanting faith is like wanting to fly. It's wishful thinking.

What do I mean?  Ok.  You are split into three.  One standing outside of the two.  A believer and the one that doesn't want faith.  Which do you choose?
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Stevil on March 22, 2012, 07:45:48 PM
However there is just as much evidence for as there is against.  In today's world, it's all at your finger tips.  Don't blame God for no evidence.

Time for another Kevin Crady gem
Quote
We have better evidence than that for a crashed flying saucer at Roswell.  In addition to eyewitness testimony of people who claim to have handled crash debris made of inexplicable materials, seen alien bodies being taken in for dissection, etc., we even have contemorary accounts--a newspaper story and radio broadcast--given within days of the events.

True, there's a debunking story that came out, but that could just be an Establishment Coveruptm.  The eyewitnesses reject the "weather balloon" story.

Now, many Christians, especially the more "fundamentalist" variety, would reject the idea of aliens from other planets visiting the Earth in spaceships because the Bible does not say anything about extraterrestrial life visiting Earth.

Do you have any evidence, other than dubious Roswell-quality eyewitness claims made decades after the alleged event, to validate the resurrection of Jesus? 
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 22, 2012, 09:39:17 PM
Don't blame God for no evidence.  It's not His way to overwhelm you with evidence and leave you with no choice. 

Answer me this, then. Do you believe that God answers prayers? In any way? What, if any, is the purpose of prayer in your view?
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 22, 2012, 10:08:40 PM
Don't blame God for no evidence.  It's not His way to overwhelm you with evidence and leave you with no choice.  

Answer me this, then. Do you believe that God answers prayers? In any way? What, if any, is the purpose of prayer in your view?

Quote from: Matthew 6:9-13
"This, then, is how you should pray:

  `Our Father in heaven,
  hallowed be your name,
  your kingdom come,
  your will be done
  on earth as it is in heaven.
  Give us today our daily bread.
  Forgive us our debts,
  as we also have forgiven our debtors.
  And lead us not into temptation,
  but deliver us from the evil one.'

I believe God answers prayer.  It's a parent/child relationship in that sometimes we just will not understand the reasons why or why not nor will we always know WHAT to ask for.

It's better to keep prayer as an open "dialogue" from either child to parent or friend to friend.  Whichever way one finds easier.    

Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 22, 2012, 10:17:43 PM
Okay, thanks for answering my question.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 22, 2012, 10:51:52 PM
And that's as honest as I can be.

I'm on my way out...I'm not dismissing your post.  Tomorrow.  :)
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Asherah on March 22, 2012, 10:55:04 PM

You've concluded this, I agree.  However there is just as much evidence for as there is against.  In today's world, it's all at your finger tips.  Don't blame God for no evidence.  It's not His way to overwhelm you with evidence and leave you with no choice.  Has not, for the most part, the Atheist at least on HAF mentioned more than once that "Even if God were to prove his existence to me, I would not follow the God of the bible..."?  That in itself proves choice/freewill.


Wow, bold claim. I'm really interested to hear your top five evidences for god. Then, I'll tell you what I think of them.

As for everything else in your previous post to me, I realize that it's futile talking with you on those topics. And, the evidence for god will probably be futile as well. But, hey, let's have some fun! I'm really interested. And, remember, it needs to be CONCLUSIVE evidence, lacking in ambiguity.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 23, 2012, 07:50:42 AM
What you claim an assumption is actually a question, hence the "Is it...?"

Which struck me as imperative too.  Just like this next bit strikes me as back-pedalling:

Quote
One can get faith just from the asking.  The question remains;  With your knowledge today, are *you still longing for that faith or is this faith now a matter that you're glad you never had/got?  From the evidence on HAF, it would seem the latter is more true.

I've never understood what you mean by putting an asterisk in front of "you".  It's interesting that altho you later claim not to know anyone's heart, here you're freely assuming ex-Xtians who asked god to bolster or return their faith were never real believers at all.  Frankly, I think it's very unlikely that anybody who "never had/got" faith would have a reason to ask for it's return. 

Quote
Quote from: BooksCatsEtc
I don't doubt God can give a person faith...but the question rather is, would He?  I don't think so as that would imply being forced to have faith. 

Faith is being forced when the person is literally asking for it?

I don't claim to know your heart.  Only the person asking knows.  However, I would equate it with the common parent-child instance that one child is asked to say their sorry to their sibling for something or the other.  The child then regurgitates the words.  The parent then says, "You didn't mean that..."

Quote from: BooksCatsEtc
One can claim they asked for faith non-stop.  If *you are this person that asked and asked for faith, in hindsight, did you really want it having the knowledge you have now?

So god denies faith to people who would not, in the future, have a use for what they learned to live without, having been denied it?  Then god wants some people to be atheists so he can eventually send them to Hell for the sin of adapting rather than continuing to live in emotional and spiritual misery all their lives?  Hey, as long as you believe it's the will of something you call a god . . .

If God is...and therefore knows the heart, you are angry at this God for allowing you to make your own decison?

I'm not angry with any claimed divine being, I'm the one who agrees she never had any faith to begin with.  And you evaded the question of your god condemning people for adapting to a situation it forced on them after they, by their own decision, asked for faith. 

Quote
However there is just as much evidence for as there is against.  In today's world, it's all at your finger tips.  Don't blame God for no evidence.

I blame you for the lack of evidence.  You keep claiming it exists, but you never present any.  If you've got evidence of a god's existence at your fingertips, let's see it so we put it thru the wringer as one does with evidence.  Otherwise all you've got is cheap talk.

Quote
Has not, for the most part, the Atheist at least on HAF mentioned more than once that "Even if God were to prove his existence to me, I would not follow the God of the bible..."?  That in itself proves choice/freewill.

You're confusing accepting a god exists with worshipping it.  These are two separate issues and the first does not automatically involve the second.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Guardian85 on March 23, 2012, 12:06:53 PM
Quote
Has not, for the most part, the Atheist at least on HAF mentioned more than once that "Even if God were to prove his existence to me, I would not follow the God of the bible..."?  That in itself proves choice/freewill.

You're confusing accepting a god exists with worshipping it.  These are two separate issues and the first does not automatically involve the second.
Wether Yahwee exists or not, and wheter he is worthy of praise and worship are two seperate questions.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Amicale on March 23, 2012, 02:20:09 PM
Quote
Has not, for the most part, the Atheist at least on HAF mentioned more than once that "Even if God were to prove his existence to me, I would not follow the God of the bible..."?  That in itself proves choice/freewill.

You're confusing accepting a god exists with worshipping it.  These are two separate issues and the first does not automatically involve the second.
Wether Yahwee exists or not, and wheter he is worthy of praise and worship are two seperate questions.

What you both said is true, yes.

It's one thing to hope or possibly speculate that somewhere out there, there's a chance (however slim) that some sort of god or deity existed.

It's quite another to say definitively that a) that god is the God Yahweh of the Old Testament; b) that god is worthy of praise or worship.

As it follows, I do not personally happen to think that the concept of God as described particularly in the OT is one worth worshipping at all. In fact, I wouldn't and couldn't. The last half dozen times I tried over the course of a few years, it never went well.  ;)

I have maintained that if we had evidence an intrinsically good, kind creator who helped and took care of its people existed, I'd be interested in learning more about it. Heck, I'd be interested in learning more if we had evidence for a creator far more of the deistic sort, simply because even if it never helped us, it would be an interesting aspect of science, the beginnings of the universe, etc.

But while I could maybe be persuaded to accept that the deity existed in either case, I might come to appreciate it or be glad it was there... but worship, no. Not for me, sorry. I'm not the 'fawning over' type. The best I could maybe muster would be an appreciation.  I don't worship my friends, or my family, although I love and appreciate them.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 23, 2012, 04:10:34 PM
But while I could maybe be persuaded to accept that the deity existed in either case, I might come to appreciate it or be glad it was there... but worship, no. Not for me, sorry. I'm not the 'fawning over' type. The best I could maybe muster would be an appreciation.  I don't worship my friends, or my family, although I love and appreciate them.

That sums it up for me as well.  If there were proof -- real proof, not that "know it in your heart" crap -- that some kind of god exists, that would be fascinating, the biggest scientific break through ever.  I'd be all agog and excited about that discovery.  Even if it was proved to be the Xtian god specifically, I could spare an "as improbable as it seemed, He actually exists.  How about that."

But worship?  That's way out of my emotional range and I'm not even interested in trying to go there.  There's something intrinsically wrong with extreme emotions, at least as far as I'm concerned. 

Now following It, that could be another story depending on what rules and philosophy It, and not some tap-dancing human minion, was offering up.  If I thought the guidelines for living It proposed were good and sensible, and based on something worthwhile, then I might well follow It just as I can be said to generally follow Seneca or the Buddha.  But my own sense of right and wrong, just and unjust, would remain in play to judge how far I followed since I would assume that having been given an independent intelligence, I was meant to use it.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: Too Few Lions on March 23, 2012, 04:18:19 PM
 ^great posts Amicale and BCE^

why would any deity, if it existed, want people to worship it, or even care if people believed in its existence? That sounds like a very insecure, smallminded (and all too human) god.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 23, 2012, 04:30:49 PM
AD, I was a Christian for several years. I started to lose my faith, despite feeling a need for God. Of course I felt one. With all my heart, I wanted to believe. In so many ways, it would have made life a lot more comforting, if not easier. So unfortunately, you can't just say that first, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in. I wish it were that simple. How can you answer the question of someone wanting God, wanting to know God, and at the same time losing their faith without being able to get it back? How can you answer the question of someone having more questions than answers, even if they wished with all their heart that the damned questions would just go away? I use 'you' generally, not you, AD, although you're welcome to answer them only if you'd care to. As it so happened, I asked for faith non-stop. I felt myself losing faith, and I tried hard to keep hold of it. I prayed constantly. Nothing. Read my bible. No reassurance there -- if anything, I was reminded that God spits lukewarm people like I was out of his mouth. I attended different churches, talked to tons of different Christians, just kept praying and hoping and trying again and again to 'come back to God', begged him for all the 'second chances' I possibly could.... and finally, after years of that, I realized I was on the outside looking in, and it certainly wasn't through lack of trying or caring.

It certainly sounds like you really wanted to be a Christian and believe.  I'm wondering how long of a time this took...to lose your faith?  What was it about God you wanted so deeply?  What questions did you need answers to that caused this deep want to disapear?  I ask because its interesting that some can have the same questions, needing answers, but are content to not know the answer.  Some things are going to remain in the unanswered questions column throughout life.  Within your framework of belief as a secular humanist, are all your questions answered or are there some that you are able to leave unanswered for a later date or even never answered in your lifetime?  Have any of these caused you to lose your secular humanist view, or causing doubt?

Quote from: Amicale
As for your question, considering the knowledge and understanding I have now (a secular, humanistic worldview, personally), did I really want faith back then? The answer is yes. Absolutely. And I'll put myself out there because as unpopular as me saying this might be to fellow nonbelievers.... if I'm absolutely honest, I'd love to be able to have faith in some kind of loving creator who I knew would take care of everyone, comfort the hurting, heal the broken, make the wrongs right again. If we had evidence that kind of creator existed, if we begged for faith and received it, begged for healing and comfort (for not just ourselves but others) and received it, asked that God to help those so desperately in need... and all that actually happened.... now, that would be something. If we could actually know that there was some tangible proof for the very comforting stories, I suspect more of us might be inclined to give those very comforting stories another shot.

I'm not sure what you were taught as a Christian.  I don't really know your background.  What I can tell you is what I've been taught since being a child.  That this life is not fair.  That I may be put to death for my belief(s).  That a full and happy/wealthy life is not guaranteed, but much of our wealth and happiness depends on us alone.  That we do no posess all the answers to our many questions.  That while God can do many things, He probably will not do everything we desire be done.  That we see only what we can see, we may not see everything.  That this God does love us, that He came and died the death of a sinner (we all die, I don't think we disagree), but was innocent of any sin, that to die in this life is of no real consequence considering the better life.   That He will return to find some who have remained faithful despite unanswered questions. 

Quote from: Amicale
For some people here on this board, they may not believe in God because they see no need for a God, wouldn't want to know a God, wouldn't be interested in following a God even if that God were actually kind and loving. Then for others of us who USED to believe.... we (generally speaking) probably no longer do believe because we've seen something very, very broken in the system and as much as we'd like to, going back just isn't something we could probably do. Instead, for myself, I've forged ahead the best I know how. I've learned morality for its own sake, not for God's. I've learned a lot about the world around me. I'm still learning, and I've come to deeply appreciate life as I see it, not as I think and wish it ought to be. And that's as honest as I can be.

I appreciate the honesty.  I will say that you lost faith in God for unanswered questions to move to another position of different unanswered questions.  You've put faith in yourself to forge ahead as best you know, yet without all the answers.  you trust Man will come to the answers, but don't know when.  You've learned the morality of this life which you must agree, changes from society to society and will continue to change from generation to generation.  What you've learned today may be irrelevant tomorrow.  You've learned a lot about the world around you.  To what end?  Is it not widely accepted that we, man, will probably be the undoing of this earth? That what took the universe billions of years to build, Man may be able to kill off in a few hundred years?  That you're still learning...you still have questions and many unanswered.  You appreciate this life.  You deny God exists and appreciate THIS life?  This life is short and unfair and you accept this.  You've traded one belief for another "better" belief, and yet are in the same position as before...worse to some degree as beyond this, there is no KNOWN hope, but in yet unanswered questions.  A trade has been made.  One set of unanswered questions for another set of unanswered questions.  That's as honest as I can be.

(I hope my words are not in an unkind tone)     
Title: Re: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: xSilverPhinx on March 23, 2012, 04:40:00 PM
That I may be put to death for my belief(s). 

Huh? How many people do you know in your part of the world have been put to death for their beliefs?

??? 
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 23, 2012, 04:56:14 PM
I've never understood what you mean by putting an asterisk in front of "you".  It's interesting that altho you later claim not to know anyone's heart, here you're freely assuming ex-Xtians who asked god to bolster or return their faith were never real believers at all.  Frankly, I think it's very unlikely that anybody who "never had/got" faith would have a reason to ask for it's return. 

And this bothers me because it belittles *our whole experience. One thing I do care very deeply about is knowing myself; knowing my motivations and intentions and what drives me to make decisions. I have always spent a lot of time reflecting and analysing why I do what I do and care about what I care about.

I was born Christian, raised Christian and was an involved and earnest Christian in every way imaginable (including "in my heart") for a very long time. I literally did and felt everything I was supposed to because I thought I should and because I wanted to(everything you talk about AD, I did that).  When people dismiss all of that because I'm an atheist now, it irks me. It implies that I was just an "in the closet" atheist the entire time I was a Christian, but I don't have the wherewithal to acknowledge it now.  

I'm sure some atheists felt like they were "in the closet" or not being entirely honest with themselves (which is fine, we all do that sometimes), but they usually admit this after the fact. Which, again, is fine. But I resent having any label put on me that I feel is misleading or inaccurate, just because it makes the other party more comfortable with their worldview. And even if someone says "I don't know what's in your heart", but then lists "Oh God must not have responded because A,Y,Z" - when I DID A,Y,Z, it's frustrating.  

It's like trying to tell someone after they break up with a person, "Oh, you never really loved them." Maybe that was true and you didn't want to admit it at the time, or maybe you really did love someone and, for whatever reason, it didn't work out (they broke up with you, they moved, they turned out to be an imaginary-fairytale-daddy-figure). To tell someone that the love never existed, if it did, is belittling and inaccurate. It's untrue.

You can genuinely, honestly love a person/idea/God and then stop (again, actually stop. Not becomes a "pretend-atheist-who-will-'turn-back-to-god'-in-a-matter-of-time) without it meaning that the love never existed.  
Title: Re: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 23, 2012, 05:04:25 PM
That I may be put to death for my belief(s). 

Huh? How many people do you know in your part of the world have been put to death for their beliefs?

Oh...it has to be in my part of the world?  I do some work for a ministry that does a bit of globe trekking into places that are not so inclined to allow my freedom of religion/beliefs to the extent I'm used to here in comfy So. Cal.  However, there are many that face persecution because of their faith.  Again...it's all at your fingertips.  I'm not going to point it all out to you when it's only a simple search away.

As far as my comfy So. Cal., it's only a matter of time.  Maybe not in my lifetime though.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: Tank on March 23, 2012, 05:04:53 PM
Quote from: AD
It certainly sounds like you really wanted to be a Christian and believe.

No True Scotsman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman)

Quote
No true Scotsman is an informal logical fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.

Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 23, 2012, 05:08:24 PM
Quote from: AD
It certainly sounds like you really wanted to be a Christian and believe.

No True Scotsman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman)

Quote
No true Scotsman is an informal logical fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.



Yeah, that pretty much sums up my little rant.
Title: Re: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: xSilverPhinx on March 23, 2012, 05:25:33 PM
That I may be put to death for my belief(s). 

Huh? How many people do you know in your part of the world have been put to death for their beliefs?

Oh...it has to be in my part of the world?  I do some work for a ministry that does a bit of globe trekking into places that are not so inclined to allow my freedom of religion/beliefs to the extent I'm used to here in comfy So. Cal.  However, there are many that face persecution because of their faith.  Again...it's all at your fingertips.  I'm not going to point it all out to you when it's only a simple search away.

As far as my comfy So. Cal., it's only a matter of time.  Maybe not in my lifetime though.

There are minorities that are way more persecuted than Christians, who are not a minority group and are way more comfortable persecuting others, other theists and atheists included. There's the whole established and rather ancient by now status quo that has to be maintained, you see.

I find it baffling how some claim to be persecuted because of their beliefs in a society such as that of the US. As for other parts of the world, being victims of persecution is not exclusively Christian, as if they have something inherently special that others will hate them for. ::)

The same places that persecute Christians are also oppressing many other groups: atheists, homosexuals, other ethnicities etc. 

And btw, ridicule is not persecution. Beliefs such as creationism are very deserving of ridicule just as someone claiming that the world was flat these days would be ridiculed. They could pull the persecution card, but that would only make them look more ridiculous.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: history_geek on March 23, 2012, 06:46:29 PM
To make a quick side note on persecutions:

I haven't looked up a dictionary definition for the word, but I've always associated it with someone telling someone else to behave in certain way or preventing them from behaving in a manner that this first person (for whatever reason) does not agree with or condone, by using threats or acts of violence.

For example, what happened to Xtians prior and some time after Emperor Constantine's rule, and what happened to non-xtians during late 4th century.

For those interested in the latter:
THE CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION OF PAGANISM (http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Censorship/Christian%20Intolerance.htm)
(lists several books about the subject)
Christianity and its Persecutions of Pagans (http://www.heretication.info/_pagans.html)
(I also recommend visiting the main page, as the site is about the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Role of the Christian Religion in its development". Seemed like an interesting read)

I didn't include similar links about the persecution of Xtians, as I think we are well familiar with the subject, to a greater or lesser degree.

Furthermore, although it is certainly true that in certain countries and areas of the world, even to this day, one will be oppressed and perhaps even persecuted for believing differently then others, or not believing at all. It would be denying the facts to say this does not happen. However, to equate it with ridicule that the theists (or rather, their beliefs systems) in the western world (who happen to be mostly xtians, if they were, say, hindus, I doubt the treatment would be much different) have to "endure" is ludicrous. As they say, blasphemy is a victimless crime.

Personally I think oppressing, let alone persecuting anyone for their beliefs is just plain stupid. I think we all have a right to believe whatever we want (albeit it isn't a "god given" right. For some reason that saying seems like mental masturbation to me, if you'll excuse the rather...disturbing mental image), but no-one ever has the right to force others to believe what they believe, no matter what the reason (key word: force). And really, people should be learn to laugh, even when their beliefs are the center of the joke....
Title: Re: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: xSilverPhinx on March 23, 2012, 07:19:07 PM
Not to mention Chrisitanity even persecuted and oppressed other minority Christian groups. The idea that some people have that the early Christians peacefuly endured everything and won followers to their side that way is a bit naively romanticised.

I recommened the movie Agora (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/) (about Hypatia), in case anyone's interested. It's set during the time when Christians destroyed the library of Alexandria.

But anyways, you want an example of real persecution, look at what's happening in the Sunni/Xiite struggle in Iraque. Sunnies are being literally massacered (not just laughed at) just because they have a Sunni name. No other reason needed.

And on the other hand you have Christians in the Western world who have never (despite what they say) been persecuted, suffering from severe persecution complex. It just baffles me ::)

But anyways this was more of a rant than anything.   
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: Amicale on March 23, 2012, 08:44:41 PM
AD, just wanted to let you know that I read your response and appreciate the time you took with it -- and no, it didn't come off as unkind at all.  :)

I wanted to give myself the chance to think it over some before responding, so I'll get to it, probably this evening. Thanks!
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Amicale on March 25, 2012, 05:39:58 AM
Quote from: AnimatedDirt
AD, I was a Christian for several years. I started to lose my faith, despite feeling a need for God. Of course I felt one. With all my heart, I wanted to believe. In so many ways, it would have made life a lot more comforting, if not easier. So unfortunately, you can't just say that first, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in. I wish it were that simple. How can you answer the question of someone wanting God, wanting to know God, and at the same time losing their faith without being able to get it back? How can you answer the question of someone having more questions than answers, even if they wished with all their heart that the damned questions would just go away? I use 'you' generally, not you, AD, although you're welcome to answer them only if you'd care to. As it so happened, I asked for faith non-stop. I felt myself losing faith, and I tried hard to keep hold of it. I prayed constantly. Nothing. Read my bible. No reassurance there -- if anything, I was reminded that God spits lukewarm people like I was out of his mouth. I attended different churches, talked to tons of different Christians, just kept praying and hoping and trying again and again to 'come back to God', begged him for all the 'second chances' I possibly could.... and finally, after years of that, I realized I was on the outside looking in, and it certainly wasn't through lack of trying or caring.

It certainly sounds like you really wanted to be a Christian and believe.  I'm wondering how long of a time this took...to lose your faith?  What was it about God you wanted so deeply?  What questions did you need answers to that caused this deep want to disapear?  I ask because its interesting that some can have the same questions, needing answers, but are content to not know the answer.  Some things are going to remain in the unanswered questions column throughout life.  Within your framework of belief as a secular humanist, are all your questions answered or are there some that you are able to leave unanswered for a later date or even never answered in your lifetime?  Have any of these caused you to lose your secular humanist view, or causing doubt?

Well, lets see. I'd say there was a period of 5 or 6 very long years where I was fighting to keep my faith, and slowly losing it. I know I was driving my friends and family nuts, because faith seemed so easy to them -- either you had it, or you didn't, but you didn't really have to THINK about it. If you believed, you believed. If you were an atheist, you were an atheist. For me, I wanted to believe, you're right. I was also finding it harder and harder to, and the last couple years of that struggle really sealed it for me.

As for what questions I had as a theist that left me needing answers, they're unfortunately more of a personal, emotional variety I'd just as soon not get into on an open board. But suffice it to say, they plagued me and they were very real, and very significant to me. They mostly had to do with the way God interacted with his creation, and with what God allowed and didn't. Within my secular humanist framework, I can actually say that yes, all the old questions are gone. In that sense, I have peace. I certainly have lots of new questions, mostly about the way the universe works, or practical questions about how we as humans can successfully help other humans -- but I'm OK with those being answered at a later date, or gradually, or partially now, partially later. The difference is that the questions I have now have more to do with human discovery and human progress and dialoging/working with others to actually find answers, rather than asking a personal question of a personal omniscient, omnipresent God.

Quote from: AnimatedDirt
Quote from: Amicale
As for your question, considering the knowledge and understanding I have now (a secular, humanistic worldview, personally), did I really want faith back then? The answer is yes. Absolutely. And I'll put myself out there because as unpopular as me saying this might be to fellow nonbelievers.... if I'm absolutely honest, I'd love to be able to have faith in some kind of loving creator who I knew would take care of everyone, comfort the hurting, heal the broken, make the wrongs right again. If we had evidence that kind of creator existed, if we begged for faith and received it, begged for healing and comfort (for not just ourselves but others) and received it, asked that God to help those so desperately in need... and all that actually happened.... now, that would be something. If we could actually know that there was some tangible proof for the very comforting stories, I suspect more of us might be inclined to give those very comforting stories another shot.

I'm not sure what you were taught as a Christian.  I don't really know your background.  What I can tell you is what I've been taught since being a child.  That this life is not fair.  That I may be put to death for my belief(s).  That a full and happy/wealthy life is not guaranteed, but much of our wealth and happiness depends on us alone.  That we do no posess all the answers to our many questions.  That while God can do many things, He probably will not do everything we desire be done.  That we see only what we can see, we may not see everything.  That this God does love us, that He came and died the death of a sinner (we all die, I don't think we disagree), but was innocent of any sin, that to die in this life is of no real consequence considering the better life.   That He will return to find some who have remained faithful despite unanswered questions. 

My general background is a vague Catholic upbringing (occasional church, youth group, bible study) to about the age of 12 or 13, after which I bounced around like crazy through just about every Protestant denomination in walking or bussing distance, interspersed with occasional severe bouts of extreme doubt that went on and off for years. Theologically, I've been all over the Christian and secular map. But basically, I came to believe more or less what you said you'd been taught -- this life isn't fair, Jesus didn't come to make this life better, etc. I was never taught that I might die for my beliefs, although I knew of martrys in other countries who certainly were dying for theirs. I was taught that if you persevere to the end, despite your questions, you'd have eternal life with God, etc etc. My basic trouble is, I think I was born with a curious nature. And when I have a question, I'm unfortunately generally unable to let it go until I've pursued it, asked it, discussed it, etc. It's just how I am. :) Some people can have questions and not be swayed by them. Fair enough.

Quote from: AnimatedDirt
Quote from: Amicale
For some people here on this board, they may not believe in God because they see no need for a God, wouldn't want to know a God, wouldn't be interested in following a God even if that God were actually kind and loving. Then for others of us who USED to believe.... we (generally speaking) probably no longer do believe because we've seen something very, very broken in the system and as much as we'd like to, going back just isn't something we could probably do. Instead, for myself, I've forged ahead the best I know how. I've learned morality for its own sake, not for God's. I've learned a lot about the world around me. I'm still learning, and I've come to deeply appreciate life as I see it, not as I think and wish it ought to be. And that's as honest as I can be.

I appreciate the honesty.  I will say that you lost faith in God for unanswered questions to move to another position of different unanswered questions.  You've put faith in yourself to forge ahead as best you know, yet without all the answers.  you trust Man will come to the answers, but don't know when.  You've learned the morality of this life which you must agree, changes from society to society and will continue to change from generation to generation.  What you've learned today may be irrelevant tomorrow.  You've learned a lot about the world around you.  To what end?  Is it not widely accepted that we, man, will probably be the undoing of this earth? That what took the universe billions of years to build, Man may be able to kill off in a few hundred years?  That you're still learning...you still have questions and many unanswered.  You appreciate this life.  You deny God exists and appreciate THIS life?  This life is short and unfair and you accept this.  You've traded one belief for another "better" belief, and yet are in the same position as before...worse to some degree as beyond this, there is no KNOWN hope, but in yet unanswered questions.  A trade has been made.  One set of unanswered questions for another set of unanswered questions.  That's as honest as I can be.

(I hope my words are not in an unkind tone)     

Well, there are a lot of questions here. But basically, yes, I appreciate this life, despite it being short and unfair. Why? Because if I see no evidence for God's existence, then technically, there's nothing supernatural out there responsible for its creation, or for the state it's in now. There's nothing to be angry at. Nobody to shake a fist at, and say 'why the heck are you allowing this?' other than myself and my fellow humans. But taking the supernatural out of the equation leaves me and everyone else here responsible for making this world a better place. Not God. And there's no option for deferring happiness to an afterlife. We either help people out here, and make life a little better now, or it'll never happen. I admit that I HATE that there's no much injustice in this world. There's a lot that's broken.

But that being said, there IS hope, and its this -- we have each other. For every rotten person out there who's willing to destroy, there's a good person out there willing to heal and love. For every violent person, there's a peaceful one. There's the hope that we can do everything we personally can to make this world better. There's the hope that we can work together to make it happen. I believe there are good people everywhere. Morality changes from society to society, but it changes as understanding and education grow. What I'm trying to say (sorry, I am tired and sick) is that I have not written this earth off as a complete waste. When humans suffer, others step up to help them. When there's hunger, we offer food. When there's disaster, we offer relief. When something wrong happens, a lot of us do our best to put an end to it. So, that's the hope I have. That we humans aren't all bad, and that most of us are good, that most of us love and care and give a damn. :)
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: DeterminedJuliet on March 25, 2012, 06:30:31 PM
But that being said, there IS hope, and its this -- we have each other. For every rotten person out there who's willing to destroy, there's a good person out there willing to heal and love. For every violent person, there's a peaceful one. There's the hope that we can do everything we personally can to make this world better. There's the hope that we can work together to make it happen. I believe there are good people everywhere.

(https://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia-cache0.pinterest.com%2Fupload%2F211880357438453606_uM04n3f2_f.jpg&hash=a687e3bacbbb5fe522c686c28b654d988251e845)

:)
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Amicale on March 25, 2012, 06:37:00 PM
But that being said, there IS hope, and its this -- we have each other. For every rotten person out there who's willing to destroy, there's a good person out there willing to heal and love. For every violent person, there's a peaceful one. There's the hope that we can do everything we personally can to make this world better. There's the hope that we can work together to make it happen. I believe there are good people everywhere.

(https://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia-cache0.pinterest.com%2Fupload%2F211880357438453606_uM04n3f2_f.jpg&hash=a687e3bacbbb5fe522c686c28b654d988251e845)

:)

Thank you for this! It made me smile. I'll take those odds, too!  :)
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Sandra Craft on March 25, 2012, 07:24:29 PM
Thank you for this! It made me smile. I'll take those odds, too!  :)

Make that ditto for me.
Title: Re: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: Ali on March 26, 2012, 06:21:35 PM
Re: the persecution of Christians in the US

Whenever Christians are denied the "right" to institutionalize their religion, they cry persecution and claim that their freedom of religion is being violated.  No baby Jesus on the courthouse lawn during the month of December?  Persecution.  No official prayer in school?  Persecution.  No teaching of their creation myth in science classrooms?  Persecution.  By the Christian definition of persecution, every day that my company refuses to accept Miss Vickies Jalepeno Chips as the Official Chip of the Denver Office, I am being persecuted.   >:(
Title: Re: Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
Post by: Amicale on March 26, 2012, 06:27:20 PM
Re: the persecution of Christians in the US

Whenever Christians are denied the "right" to institutionalize their religion, they cry persecution and claim that their freedom of religion is being violated.  No baby Jesus on the courthouse lawn during the month of December?  Persecution.  No official prayer in school?  Persecution.  No teaching of their creation myth in science classrooms?  Persecution.  By the Christian definition of persecution, every day that my company refuses to accept Miss Vickies Jalepeno Chips as the Official Chip of the Denver Office, I am being persecuted.   >:(

You most certainly are! Those chips are ah-MAY-zing!  ;)
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 28, 2012, 04:02:57 PM
Quote from: AnimatedDirt
AD, I was a Christian for several years. I started to lose my faith, despite feeling a need for God. Of course I felt one. With all my heart, I wanted to believe. In so many ways, it would have made life a lot more comforting, if not easier. So unfortunately, you can't just say that first, one must feel a need of God, then faith comes in. I wish it were that simple. How can you answer the question of someone wanting God, wanting to know God, and at the same time losing their faith without being able to get it back? How can you answer the question of someone having more questions than answers, even if they wished with all their heart that the damned questions would just go away? I use 'you' generally, not you, AD, although you're welcome to answer them only if you'd care to. As it so happened, I asked for faith non-stop. I felt myself losing faith, and I tried hard to keep hold of it. I prayed constantly. Nothing. Read my bible. No reassurance there -- if anything, I was reminded that God spits lukewarm people like I was out of his mouth. I attended different churches, talked to tons of different Christians, just kept praying and hoping and trying again and again to 'come back to God', begged him for all the 'second chances' I possibly could.... and finally, after years of that, I realized I was on the outside looking in, and it certainly wasn't through lack of trying or caring.

It certainly sounds like you really wanted to be a Christian and believe.  I'm wondering how long of a time this took...to lose your faith?  What was it about God you wanted so deeply?  What questions did you need answers to that caused this deep want to disapear?  I ask because its interesting that some can have the same questions, needing answers, but are content to not know the answer.  Some things are going to remain in the unanswered questions column throughout life.  Within your framework of belief as a secular humanist, are all your questions answered or are there some that you are able to leave unanswered for a later date or even never answered in your lifetime?  Have any of these caused you to lose your secular humanist view, or causing doubt?

Well, lets see. I'd say there was a period of 5 or 6 very long years where I was fighting to keep my faith, and slowly losing it. I know I was driving my friends and family nuts, because faith seemed so easy to them -- either you had it, or you didn't, but you didn't really have to THINK about it. If you believed, you believed. If you were an atheist, you were an atheist. For me, I wanted to believe, you're right. I was also finding it harder and harder to, and the last couple years of that struggle really sealed it for me.

As for what questions I had as a theist that left me needing answers, they're unfortunately more of a personal, emotional variety I'd just as soon not get into on an open board. But suffice it to say, they plagued me and they were very real, and very significant to me. They mostly had to do with the way God interacted with his creation, and with what God allowed and didn't. Within my secular humanist framework, I can actually say that yes, all the old questions are gone. In that sense, I have peace. I certainly have lots of new questions, mostly about the way the universe works, or practical questions about how we as humans can successfully help other humans -- but I'm OK with those being answered at a later date, or gradually, or partially now, partially later. The difference is that the questions I have now have more to do with human discovery and human progress and dialoging/working with others to actually find answers, rather than asking a personal question of a personal omniscient, omnipresent God.

Quote from: AnimatedDirt
Quote from: Amicale
As for your question, considering the knowledge and understanding I have now (a secular, humanistic worldview, personally), did I really want faith back then? The answer is yes. Absolutely. And I'll put myself out there because as unpopular as me saying this might be to fellow nonbelievers.... if I'm absolutely honest, I'd love to be able to have faith in some kind of loving creator who I knew would take care of everyone, comfort the hurting, heal the broken, make the wrongs right again. If we had evidence that kind of creator existed, if we begged for faith and received it, begged for healing and comfort (for not just ourselves but others) and received it, asked that God to help those so desperately in need... and all that actually happened.... now, that would be something. If we could actually know that there was some tangible proof for the very comforting stories, I suspect more of us might be inclined to give those very comforting stories another shot.

I'm not sure what you were taught as a Christian.  I don't really know your background.  What I can tell you is what I've been taught since being a child.  That this life is not fair.  That I may be put to death for my belief(s).  That a full and happy/wealthy life is not guaranteed, but much of our wealth and happiness depends on us alone.  That we do no posess all the answers to our many questions.  That while God can do many things, He probably will not do everything we desire be done.  That we see only what we can see, we may not see everything.  That this God does love us, that He came and died the death of a sinner (we all die, I don't think we disagree), but was innocent of any sin, that to die in this life is of no real consequence considering the better life.   That He will return to find some who have remained faithful despite unanswered questions. 

My general background is a vague Catholic upbringing (occasional church, youth group, bible study) to about the age of 12 or 13, after which I bounced around like crazy through just about every Protestant denomination in walking or bussing distance, interspersed with occasional severe bouts of extreme doubt that went on and off for years. Theologically, I've been all over the Christian and secular map. But basically, I came to believe more or less what you said you'd been taught -- this life isn't fair, Jesus didn't come to make this life better, etc. I was never taught that I might die for my beliefs, although I knew of martrys in other countries who certainly were dying for theirs. I was taught that if you persevere to the end, despite your questions, you'd have eternal life with God, etc etc. My basic trouble is, I think I was born with a curious nature. And when I have a question, I'm unfortunately generally unable to let it go until I've pursued it, asked it, discussed it, etc. It's just how I am. :) Some people can have questions and not be swayed by them. Fair enough.

Quote from: AnimatedDirt
Quote from: Amicale
For some people here on this board, they may not believe in God because they see no need for a God, wouldn't want to know a God, wouldn't be interested in following a God even if that God were actually kind and loving. Then for others of us who USED to believe.... we (generally speaking) probably no longer do believe because we've seen something very, very broken in the system and as much as we'd like to, going back just isn't something we could probably do. Instead, for myself, I've forged ahead the best I know how. I've learned morality for its own sake, not for God's. I've learned a lot about the world around me. I'm still learning, and I've come to deeply appreciate life as I see it, not as I think and wish it ought to be. And that's as honest as I can be.

I appreciate the honesty.  I will say that you lost faith in God for unanswered questions to move to another position of different unanswered questions.  You've put faith in yourself to forge ahead as best you know, yet without all the answers.  you trust Man will come to the answers, but don't know when.  You've learned the morality of this life which you must agree, changes from society to society and will continue to change from generation to generation.  What you've learned today may be irrelevant tomorrow.  You've learned a lot about the world around you.  To what end?  Is it not widely accepted that we, man, will probably be the undoing of this earth? That what took the universe billions of years to build, Man may be able to kill off in a few hundred years?  That you're still learning...you still have questions and many unanswered.  You appreciate this life.  You deny God exists and appreciate THIS life?  This life is short and unfair and you accept this.  You've traded one belief for another "better" belief, and yet are in the same position as before...worse to some degree as beyond this, there is no KNOWN hope, but in yet unanswered questions.  A trade has been made.  One set of unanswered questions for another set of unanswered questions.  That's as honest as I can be.

(I hope my words are not in an unkind tone)     

Well, there are a lot of questions here. But basically, yes, I appreciate this life, despite it being short and unfair. Why? Because if I see no evidence for God's existence, then technically, there's nothing supernatural out there responsible for its creation, or for the state it's in now. There's nothing to be angry at. Nobody to shake a fist at, and say 'why the heck are you allowing this?' other than myself and my fellow humans. But taking the supernatural out of the equation leaves me and everyone else here responsible for making this world a better place. Not God. And there's no option for deferring happiness to an afterlife. We either help people out here, and make life a little better now, or it'll never happen. I admit that I HATE that there's no much injustice in this world. There's a lot that's broken.

But that being said, there IS hope, and its this -- we have each other. For every rotten person out there who's willing to destroy, there's a good person out there willing to heal and love. For every violent person, there's a peaceful one. There's the hope that we can do everything we personally can to make this world better. There's the hope that we can work together to make it happen. I believe there are good people everywhere. Morality changes from society to society, but it changes as understanding and education grow. What I'm trying to say (sorry, I am tired and sick) is that I have not written this earth off as a complete waste. When humans suffer, others step up to help them. When there's hunger, we offer food. When there's disaster, we offer relief. When something wrong happens, a lot of us do our best to put an end to it. So, that's the hope I have. That we humans aren't all bad, and that most of us are good, that most of us love and care and give a damn. :)

As I've mentioned on HAF at least once before, I do appreciate your position and that of most Atheism.  I believe there is reason to question and enough reason to disbelieve.  My wish is that it would be the above Atheism that is promoted and not that of the typical post in the image thread(s).  Likewise I'm sure there is a better side of Christianity that you might prefer to the hypocrite and finger-pointing [insert other bad qualities] Christianity that does run rampant. 
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Amicale on March 28, 2012, 04:38:24 PM

As I've mentioned on HAF at least once before, I do appreciate your position and that of most Atheism.  I believe there is reason to question and enough reason to disbelieve.  My wish is that it would be the above Atheism that is promoted and not that of the typical post in the image thread(s).  Likewise I'm sure there is a better side of Christianity that you might prefer to the hypocrite and finger-pointing [insert other bad qualities] Christianity that does run rampant. 

:) Absolutely. I'm friends with more than a few Christians who are good, kind people. The sort who don't bash you with their beliefs, but either discuss them calmly, or simply just live life as your friend.

One woman I know who has always been like an aunt to me my entire life although we're not related is absolutely Christian to the hilt -- church, bible studies, praise&worship music, Christian movies, you name it -- but the way she shows her faith isn't a hypocritical, or finger-pointing way. She'd give anyone the shirt off her back. She does her very best to practice what she preaches. If anyone needs something, even at 3 am, she's there. She'll laugh with you, or cry with you. When I think of the word 'kindness', I often think of her. I have more respect, love and affection for her than I'd ever have for the most popular evangelists in the world today, simply because I know her and trust her, and because she's shown me time and again that when she says "I love you", she means it. No threats of hell. No guilt trips for not believing as she does. Just love, no strings attached. And I love her right back.

I DEFINITELY prefer that kind of Christianity -- the honest seeker, who does their best to show the love they believe they're supposed to show. I'd say she and people like her draw in a LOT more people than the stereotypical, believe-or-burn hard-nosers would. :)

For the record AD, your brand of Christianity is definitely appreciated. Whenever I've interacted with you, it's been a calm, interesting, thoughtful conversation. And I wish more Christians would engage others the way you do.
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: AnimatedDirt on March 28, 2012, 05:40:59 PM
For the record AD, your brand of Christianity is definitely appreciated. Whenever I've interacted with you, it's been a calm, interesting, thoughtful conversation. And I wish more Christians would engage others the way you do.

Thanks.  The record does, however, show a few blemished instances...to my shame.  :)
Title: Re: Your conversion to atheism
Post by: Amicale on March 28, 2012, 06:28:27 PM
For the record AD, your brand of Christianity is definitely appreciated. Whenever I've interacted with you, it's been a calm, interesting, thoughtful conversation. And I wish more Christians would engage others the way you do.

Thanks.  The record does, however, show a few blemished instances...to my shame.  :)

Eh, we're all human.  :) Except perhaps Asmo. ;)