nutrichuckles93

Explaining Your Unbelief Without Appearing Unsure

24 posts in this topic

Hey everyone,

Many of you probably know I still attend a church with my wife. My belief is dead and really, I don't know why I still attend. Especially since my wife (who knows I've fallen off) has given me the go ahead to stop attending church and small groups with her. Maybe it's so I can maintain a level of social construct even though I don't relate to them anymore. No one asks me about my relationship with God that often, so I don't have to deal with the issue much.

 

Point of subject: last week (Sat 4/8), I texted one of the pastors (who had asked me to hang out) why I can't see him: because of his role in the church, if I speak honestly to him, I don't think he will be able to see me as anything other than a project to be saved. I told him that. I have only seen him at one church event since, and was able to avoid him.

 

I expect that won't last forever. Eventually I'll have to confront him personally, he will tell someone else (or another pastor) and they will confront me, or I'll end up confessing to someone else and they'll confront me about my unbelief.

 

I don't have a firm answer on why I no longer believe. I only know that the apologetic reasoning for the Bible is confusing as hell and makes no sense, and that is largely why I don't believe. And seriously, how can any of that stuff be real? Why the hell should you have to apologize or defend something if it were actually true?

 

How can I sound sure of myself in a conversation if forced to, and not buck to them with an "I don't know, I just don't anymore" answer?

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How about, "I tried, I really did, but I can find no evidence or compelling reasons to believe the unbelievable. It requires faith, which by definition means one must simply decide to believe it as there is no actual reason to assume it's true."

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Honestly whenever people back me into a corner with this, I pull out predestination. This mostly works through shock value but I ask if they truly believe that some people are saved and some people are not. And when they say yes I just say I'm not one of them. They'll try to deny it but you can ask how they know and they won't have an answer.

 

If you want to be less confrontational though, just tell them to respect your choice. Faith is always a choice. They believe that god made it that way. So in their refusal to accept your choice they're also refusing your god given right.

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Here's another perspective:

 

"I am honestly not sure of all the reasons I don't believe.

 

There may be things about this that I still DO believe.

 

If, as you say, these issues are the most pivotal and significant in my life - the most important choices I will ever make,

 

then I would appreciate that you show me respect by honoring my need for time to think, space to deal and validation as an individual who is able to determine for myself what I believe.

 

I do not know how my decisions to believe or not believe will ultimately affect my life, and neither do you. Please don't approach me with any sort of confidence that you know all the answers.

 

Thank you."

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"I've been respecting your belief for some time now."

"Please respect unbelief!"

 

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2 hours ago, MOHO said:

"I've been respecting your belief for some time now."

"Please respect unbelief!"

 

 

That's similar to what I said to my dad one time when he was pushing the issue. I said that I loved him and respected his right to his views, but he needed to learn to respect me and my right to my views.

 

He hasn't bugged me about it for quite a while now. I suspect that he'll eventuality bring it up again, but at least he knows not to constantly pester me about it.

 

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Whenever someone finds out I'm an atheist and asks why, my first answer is to say that I see no compelling evidence that God is active in the world today. I tell them I see no real evidence that prayer works. It may make people feel better, but I don't see any discernible difference in circumstances as a result of prayer.  Any 'answered' prayers are no more likely than simple coincidence. 

 

I also tell them that my problem with this is that God says that if we pray, he will answer.  So with hundreds of millions of praying Christians in this country and around the world, why don't we see thousands of stories on the news of miraculous answers to pray?  Healings (visible ones, including regrowing of an amputated limb), impossible rescues, miraculous provision, etc, that all defy any other natural explanation?  But we don't see those.  Not even one. 

 

They may may try to give you an example of a prayer they prayed that came true, but your response can almost always be 'how do you know that wasn't just coincidence' or 'do you have evidence that really happened'?  Or they may say that God can't reveal himself too much (by answering prayers) because we wouldn't need faith, to which you can reply that he revealed himself in the OT, why not now? Or you can say 'how can you have a relationship with someone who hides from you?'.  They often change the subject to something else like creation or morality for which you would need more knowledge to be able sound like you know what you're talking about. You can always say that many smart people/scientists/scholars disagree with that.

 

But the conversation will go round and round and not get you anywhere, so I try to stay on the original subject by saying that my biggest issue is the prayer thing. I have found they really don't have much of an answer to that. 

 

 

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Might I suggest a very simple approach?

 

"What I do or do not believe is my business, my personal choice.  I have neither reason nor inclination to discuss it with you."

 

Continue with a blank refusal to engage.

 

It has the advantage of leaving no opening to a determined evangelist, and of asserting your own control of your own life and destiny (which is, ultimately, what they seek to take from you).

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4 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Might I suggest a very simple approach?

 

"What I do or do not believe is my business, my personal choice.  I have neither reason nor inclination to discuss it with you."

 

I wouldn't use the word "choice" in that context, though, because it would reinforce the Christian's misconception that disbelief is a choice. I did not choose to stop believing. In fact, I wanted to keep my faith and I tried desperately to reinforce it, but in the end the insurmountable weight of the evidence against Christianity gave me no choice but to cease believing.

 

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All very good suggestions and all are about along the lines of how I feel. My issue might be more needing a stronger backbone so I don't get pulled into a personal lecture, which tended to happen anytime I even voiced mere doubts.

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On 19/04/2017 at 8:27 PM, nutrichuckles93 said:

I don't have a firm answer on why I no longer believe. I only know that the apologetic reasoning for the Bible is confusing as hell and makes no sense, and that is largely why I don't believe. And seriously, how can any of that stuff be real? Why the hell should you have to apologize or defend something if it were actually true?

 

I would think that this should suffice for now. There's nothing wrong with just saying "I don't believe because it makes no sense." Honest and accurate.

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10 hours ago, Citsonga said:

 

I wouldn't use the word "choice" in that context, though, because it would reinforce the Christian's misconception that disbelief is a choice. I did not choose to stop believing. In fact, I wanted to keep my faith and I tried desperately to reinforce it, but in the end the insurmountable weight of the evidence against Christianity gave me no choice but to cease believing.

 

 

This is important.

 

As soon as you bring choice into it you are in a losing battle. Did you choose to leave Christianity? If so why? Was it really a choice?

 

I didn't choose to stop believing - it was something that happened to me as I considered all the evidence for and against Christianity. Here's the best shortest clip I can find of how belief is not a choice one makes:

 

 

The other thing to realize is that it is the Christian who thinks they 'know', that they are 'sure'. I don't think you have to necessarily think that you know everything - example I have said that I don't know there is no God (Which makes people bring up pascals wager etc) But you should at least be confident in your reasons for unbelief. There are reasons why you don't believe - what are they? Maybe summarize them and write them down. My meta argument is simply I see no evidence, nor has any been presented to me, that leads me to believe any gods exist. Now after that it will depend on you as to whether you want to converse deeper. The chances are they will say well there is this and that, and the 'fact' Jesus rose from the dead etc. So being familiar with some of these arguments and reasons for why they are not evidence for God can be helpful.

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3 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

As soon as you bring choice into it you are in a losing battle. Did you choose to leave Christianity? If so why? Was it really a choice?

 

I didn't choose to stop believing - it was something that happened to me as I considered all the evidence for and against Christianity.

 

 

Exactly. If one makes the statement that it's his/her choice to not believe, what the believer hears is that he/she just doesn't want to believe. In other words, the believer sees it as confirmation that disbelief isn't based on evidence, but rather rebellion. That just feeds right into their misconception of why people stop believing.

 

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22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Might I suggest a very simple approach?

 

"What I do or do not believe is my business, my personal choice.  I have neither reason nor inclination to discuss it with you."

 

Continue with a blank refusal to engage.

 

It has the advantage of leaving no opening to a determined evangelist, and of asserting your own control of your own life and destiny (which is, ultimately, what they seek to take from you).

 

IMHO leaving out the "my personal choice" makes this a perfect response.  Depending on the individual, sometimes I'll throw in a little stink-eye just for fun.  :HaHa:

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Point taken regarding "choice".  Just say "... a matter that does not concern you..." instead.

 

I did not think about the possible validation (in their eyes) of the Christians' arguments.

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Another simple approach to this is to tell them you don't know what god is any more. They will probably say something like, "everybody knows what god is", at which point you can say "well I'm afraid I don't. Perhaps you can enlighten me." If they do enlighten you, please post their response here, and then we'll all know what they're talking about. 

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14 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

...

My meta argument is simply I see no evidence, nor has any been presented to me, that leads me to believe any gods exist.

...

 

This is an honest observation.  It can be supplemented with corollary points something like:

 

 "And, I observe significant empirical evidence that religious dogma is human invention, speculation and wishful thinking, and is the centerpiece of childhood indoctrination and subsequent peer pressure instigated and maintained by believers.  In addition, I have come to understand rational thinking and the methods upon which science and intellectual honesty is based.  Science has refuted much of that dogma and relegated it to the dustbin of mythology."

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Put it between their eyes.   Tell them to show absolute physical proof that Gawd regrows amputated limbs or your through talking.  Tell them to show you someone that has had an amputated limb spontaneously grow back, if not,  then NEVER TRY TO GIVE YOU A LINE OF BULLSHIT AGAIN PERIOD. At the very least,  that might get their attention.  LOL. 

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Not only do I use the predestined line, I actually sort of believe it totally destroys Christianity lies about free will.

 

God knows all and creates all. He is the beginning and end claim believers, fine and dandy says I. So he creates people in the full and complete knowledge that they will lack faith and then sends them to Hell for being the way He created them. After all does not the Bible teach that He made some for destruction, that many will be called but few are chosen, wide is the path to Hell , but narrow the gate to Heaven, etc, etc , etc.

 

The Bible makes it as clear as day that most people are going to Hell forever because that is simply how God rolls.....

 

Not most modern Christians thou, nope, going to church once a week and subscribing to Christian You Tube videos is so totally enough for the Lord and they can be assured of a place in their Fathers Kingdom on high.....

 

Idiots 

 

Footnote.

 

There is nothing wrong with being unsure, I think its a sensible position to hold when one cannot have certain knowledge 100 percent.

 

Despite what modern believers say they are most unsure of their faith otherwise their behaviour would be quite different. When a Christian gets fatal cancer does he rejoice for truly he will be with his saviour this night in paradise. Does he heck. he goes running off to the hospital for his dose of treatment. They chant of their desire to be with the Lord and move Heaven and Earth to hold that happy day off as long as possible.

 

Look at Billy Graham, numerous  health problems for which he receives treatment. Graham has been America's Pope for decades and is in no rush to see the face of his master.

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3 hours ago, Garry said:

...

Footnote.

...

Despite what modern believers say they are most unsure of their faith otherwise their behaviour would be quite different. When a Christian gets fatal cancer does he rejoice for truly he will be with his saviour this night in paradise. Does he heck. he goes running off to the hospital for his dose of treatment. They chant of their desire to be with the Lord and move Heaven and Earth to hold that happy day off as long as possible.

 

Look at Billy Graham, numerous  health problems for which he receives treatment. Graham has been America's Pope for decades and is in no rush to see the face of his master.

 

Up to a point, but some are not so eager to cling to life.

 

My wife's uncle is recently deceased.  Some years ago, a previously undiagnosed heart problem became apparent.  He refused surgery because he was, in his words to the medical staff (and to the embarrassment of his non-Christian son), "ready to meet my god".

 

Admittedly, he accepted medication which kept him going for a while.  But the fact remains that he was happy to forego an operation even though that meant he would enter his eternity a little more quickly.

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You know I hadn't thought about the whole choice thing being a crack in the doorway they can shove their foot into. I'm going to have to start taking that into account when I talk to people about my faith if they're challenging me.

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I find it interesting that most Christians put such a strong emphasis on the need to be absolutely sure about things, especially when it comes to salvation, but even the bible doesn't make any guarantees. It is essentially impossible to know for certain that you will enter heaven, and yet so many people insist that you need Jesus in order to be certain, but even then, you still might not get in. Its really crazy.

 

Taking a step back from it all, you begin to see how the whole thing works. Be specific enough that requirements exist, but vague enough that you can control people and manipulate them into thinking that they need a specific brand of Christianity to be a True Christian™

 

The world is full of uncertainty. Christianity is full of uncertainty. The Bible says to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. This runs contrary to Romans which says you're saved if you confess and believe. The Bible says that if two or more are gathered in Jesus name and are in agreement, he will hear and answer their prayer. But he doesn't . He said he was going to return within the lifetime of those to whom he spoke with in Matthew 16: 27,28. That obviously didn't happen. The bible says if the elders come and anoint the sick with oil and lay hands on them, they will be healed. But it doesn't happen. There are countless things in the bible that every Christian knows isn't certain, but they still regard what they believe to be absolutely certain. Christianity is nothing more than a make it up as you go belief system that provides a coping mechanism for this thing called life.

 

Its ok to not know. Because you cannot know. Then Pascal's wager comes into play. We all know how that one ends up.

 

There isn't a need to know for certain. Why does it matter? We only get one trip on this earth. Live life. Enjoy it. Die without regrets. Leave a lasting legacy. Leave the world better than it was before you got here. You don't need God to do that.

 

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Really, there is no need to defend NOT believing in something presented without compelling evidence. If we had to defend everything we don't believe in we would have no time for anything other than explaining exactly why we don't believe in Santa, Tooth Fairy, Bigfoot, astrology, Scientology, pyramid power, reptilian overlords, Nessie or magic beans.

 

"Why don't you believe in Jesus?" Response: "Why don't YOU believe in Xenu?"

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On ‎4‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 7:27 PM, nutrichuckles93 said:

Hey everyone,

Many of you probably know I still attend a church with my wife. My belief is dead and really, I don't know why I still attend. Especially since my wife (who knows I've fallen off) has given me the go ahead to stop attending church and small groups with her. Maybe it's so I can maintain a level of social construct even though I don't relate to them anymore. No one asks me about my relationship with God that often, so I don't have to deal with the issue much.

 

Point of subject: last week (Sat 4/8), I texted one of the pastors (who had asked me to hang out) why I can't see him: because of his role in the church, if I speak honestly to him, I don't think he will be able to see me as anything other than a project to be saved. I told him that. I have only seen him at one church event since, and was able to avoid him.

 

I expect that won't last forever. Eventually I'll have to confront him personally, he will tell someone else (or another pastor) and they will confront me, or I'll end up confessing to someone else and they'll confront me about my unbelief.

 

I don't have a firm answer on why I no longer believe. I only know that the apologetic reasoning for the Bible is confusing as hell and makes no sense, and that is largely why I don't believe. And seriously, how can any of that stuff be real? Why the hell should you have to apologize or defend something if it were actually true?

 

How can I sound sure of myself in a conversation if forced to, and not buck to them with an "I don't know, I just don't anymore" answer?

 

I'm a strong advocate for both knowing why you are or are not a Christian. Saying I believe or I don't believe really isn't an answer. I have found few Christians really know why they are Christians. Apparently they believe just because they believe. Someone they trust told them the Bible was true so they just accepted that. The truth of the matter is that they really don't know what they believe or why.

 

The opposite can be true for non-believers too. If you don't know why you are not a believer than maybe you really aren't. Truth, based on valid evidence, I think should be the basis for either believing or not believing. I am convinced history is the place to find truth. A true historian is a fact checker whether their focus is U.S. History, WWII History, or Religious History. It is the historians job to find the truth. It's an apologist job to defend the faith even if they have to manipulate the facts or parse words. Their job is to validate their particular groups beliefs and traditions. That is why every denomination has their own apologist.

 

I have a list of religious historians that I read on a regular basis. I want to know what really happened, who really wrote what, when did they write it, and what evidence is there that supports this historians findings and conclusions.

 

I have discovered what historians have found is very different from what people are often told to believe by their Church. And in some cases they are not even remotely similar. Most Americans, if they know anything at all about American History, probable believe Betsy Ross designed the American Flag. That is just a common belief, but historians will confirm Betsy made a lot of flags but she never designed the American Flag. Historians are not certain who did design the flag but they know for certain who didn't.

 

A lot of traditions and beliefs about the Bible & the Christian faith are just as wrong as the belief that Betsy Ross designed the American Flag. Just like any other aspect of life EDUCATION is the key. Read acknowledged experts that have dedicated their life in the search for historical truth and accuracy.

 

I am not a believer and I know exactly why I'm not a believer. If asked I can give my reasons for not being a Christian and what historical evidence influenced my decision to reject Christianity and religion in general.

 

 

 

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