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Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)

AnimatedDirt

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Re: Your conversion to atheism (Derail about faith)
« 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?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 10:13:58 PM by Tank »

DeterminedJuliet

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 05:01:39 PM by DeterminedJuliet »
"We’ve thought of life by analogy with a journey, with pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end, and the THING was to get to that end; success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But, we missed the point the whole way along; It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.

DeterminedJuliet

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #2 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.
"We’ve thought of life by analogy with a journey, with pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end, and the THING was to get to that end; success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But, we missed the point the whole way along; It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.

Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #3 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."
As a scientist, I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect. - Dawkins

Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #4 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!"
As a scientist, I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect. - Dawkins

AnimatedDirt

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #5 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?

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #6 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 . . .
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 05:51:11 PM by BooksCatsEtc »
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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #7 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.


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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 06:13:00 PM by Asherah »
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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #9 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?

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #10 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.
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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #11 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?

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #12 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? 

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #13 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?
"We’ve thought of life by analogy with a journey, with pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end, and the THING was to get to that end; success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But, we missed the point the whole way along; It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.

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Re: Your conversion to atheism
« Reply #14 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.