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Ex-christian Athiests....


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I have a question for people who are now athiest that used to be Christian...

 

I know that many individuals have been devout athiests all along(raised in a non religious background)...But how did you, as an ex-christian, come to your total unbelief in supernatural things after deconversion?For me its because I've been reading alot of science books, and watching discovery channel documentaries, regarding theories of evolution etc...It was a gradual process because I started dabbling in: Buddhism, hindu, wicca, and various others...But now, after leaving Xtianity, those seem just as unrealistic as my old faith...

 

I am beginning to think that religion came about as mankind's coping mechanism for death. Death was so pervasive in early human history that we, in our intelligence, devised the concept to deal with grieving...Now, looking back on ALL of the religions, to me, they are all incredible flights of fancy. In my opinion it is ultimate fear in complete non existence, and the idea that we really are small, and that life is VERY fragile...

 

So I guess this is another question but...How will human kind evolve past the need for religion? Now that I no longer believe in it it all seems quite...well...primitive...Why can't people take solace in the fact that their loved one will live forever, in the hearts, minds, pictures, and video cameras of others? No matter what we do go on...So do we still need to hold onto the idea of heaven?

 

 

I don't mean to slam on anyone who does still worship any dieties, but that is how I view the whole thing now.

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The only reason I ever believed in God in the first place was because my parents brought me up to do so. I have never feared death. For me, it started in 2004, when I came to terms with the fact that I had never once felt God, even when I was supposed to. I went through a lot of grief and anger until I realized that it was OK to question my parents' god's existance. It's been a slow process. If I went back to 2004 and told my past self that in a little over two years his worldview would be essentialy nontheistic, he would be horrified.

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I have a question for people who are now athiest that used to be Christian...

 

I know that many individuals have been devout athiests all along(raised in a non religious background)...But how did you, as an ex-christian, come to your total unbelief in supernatural things after deconversion?For me its because I've been reading alot of science books, and watching discovery channel documentaries, regarding theories of evolution etc...It was a gradual process because I started dabbling in: Buddhism, hindu, wicca, and various others...But now, after leaving Xtianity, those seem just as unrealistic as my old faith...

 

first off, you can be wicca and be an atheist. Delicate_Catastrophe (my gf) is. you don't have to believe in a god or gods for wicca. second, not all of us who are atheists disbelieve in all things "supernatural." rather, we view those things as something that is natural, unattached to a god, but yet unexplained by science (assuming these things even exist).

 

 

I am beginning to think that religion came about as mankind's coping mechanism for death. Death was so pervasive in early human history that we, in our intelligence, devised the concept to deal with grieving...Now, looking back on ALL of the religions, to me, they are all incredible flights of fancy. In my opinion it is ultimate fear in complete non existence, and the idea that we really are small, and that life is VERY fragile...

 

So I guess this is another question but...How will human kind evolve past the need for religion? Now that I no longer believe in it it all seems quite...well...primitive...Why can't people take solace in the fact that their loved one will live forever, in the hearts, minds, pictures, and video cameras of others? No matter what we do go on...So do we still need to hold onto the idea of heaven?

 

 

I don't mean to slam on anyone who does still worship any dieties, but that is how I view the whole thing now.

 

 

i think the same thing about religion. however, i doubt we will ever be rid of religion. i mean, maybe in millions of years, if we haven't destroyed everything by then, but i highly doubt it. and simply holding onto a memory is NOTHING like thinking you'll get to actually interact with them again.

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So I guess this is another question but...How will human kind evolve past the need for religion? Now that I no longer believe in it it all seems quite...well...primitive...Why can't people take solace in the fact that their loved one will live forever, in the hearts, minds, pictures, and video cameras of others? No matter what we do go on...So do we still need to hold onto the idea of heaven?

 

I think so, when we start putting our faith into each other more and less into the idea of a god. Think about it, if people put as much stock and reverence in their fellow man as they do with god, our prioritys would change and there would be a lot less suffering in the world.

 

But it's a lot to ask of someone just to be "ok" with the idea of memories and pictures of someone they've lost. It's not ok. A life lost is a tragedy. Not even those of us who've accepted the idea that there is nothing after death have problems when someone we know goes to Oblivion. It seems like a very pointless and simple end to something as complex as a person. Though Oblivion is really more of a problem to the living than the dead. When you're loved one is gone, you don't have to worry about them anymore, you just got to worry about yourself. Coming to that conclusion takes a lot of introspection though.

 

Death is always hardest on those still living. It's at that time where we need to learn to accept the comfort of each other most. People are trained that only god can give comfort and take away pain, so they can't hear or feel words of comfort from other people. I think someday if religion starts to crumble we'll start being able to accept grace from fellow humans over gods.

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I know that many individuals have been devout athiests all along(raised in a non religious background)...But how did you, as an ex-christian, come to your total unbelief in supernatural things after deconversion?For me its because I've been reading alot of science books, and watching discovery channel documentaries, regarding theories of evolution etc...It was a gradual process because I started dabbling in: Buddhism, hindu, wicca, and various others...But now, after leaving Xtianity, those seem just as unrealistic as my old faith...

 

Buddhists are Atheists. Some are Agnostic too.

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I am beginning to think that religion came about as mankind's coping mechanism for death. Death was so pervasive in early human history that we, in our intelligence, devised the concept to deal with grieving...Now, looking back on ALL of the religions, to me, they are all incredible flights of fancy. In my opinion it is ultimate fear in complete non existence, and the idea that we really are small, and that life is VERY fragile...

 

So I guess this is another question but...How will human kind evolve past the need for religion? Now that I no longer believe in it it all seems quite...well...primitive...Why can't people take solace in the fact that their loved one will live forever, in the hearts, minds, pictures, and video cameras of others? No matter what we do go on...So do we still need to hold onto the idea of heaven?

 

I for one see the need for supernatural religion dying a slow and violent death over the next 500 years or so. As to what will bring about its total destruction? Physical immortality will play a strong part. Barring an unforseen calamity we are within mere generations of an era where human mastery of technology will make the necessity of death as we know it a thing of the past. At that point, eternal life will look pretty frail as an incentive to believe.

 

Check out The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant, a short story by Nick Bostrom. Some of us are determined to give immortality our best shot in the here and now. If you have an hour and a half to kill, check out Exploring Life Extension on Google Video.

 

I realize that for some odd reason the concept of physical immortality doesn't jive with many people. The only times I've ever felt like I could possibly just accept death were when I was hopelessly tired. Life is way too cool to let it slip away.

 

-To the Future!

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I just realised that I'd never asked myself the question "Does God exist?". I'd never considered it before...I just accepted there was a god thanks to my schooling where we had to sing hymns/pray/etc. I figured from a young age that there's all these teachers basically telling me there is a god so therefore there is. I didn't realise there was an alternative.

 

By the time I came out of Christianity it was essentially a choice between Christianity and atheism for me. I'd dabbled with paganism and investigated other religions already but none of them felt right. Then when I lost faith in Christianity, it was because I first began to question various Christian doctrines before asking "Does god exist?"...through my reading I came to conclude that the answer was probably not and so didn't consider looking into other religions after that.

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I know that many individuals have been devout athiests all along(raised in a non religious background)...But how did you, as an ex-christian, come to your total unbelief in supernatural things after deconversion?For me its because I've been reading alot of science books, and watching discovery channel documentaries, regarding theories of evolution etc...It was a gradual process because I started dabbling in: Buddhism, hindu, wicca, and various others...But now, after leaving Xtianity, those seem just as unrealistic as my old faith...

 

Buddhists are Atheists. Some are Agnostic too.

 

Well, alot of Buddhists actually believe in reincarnation...So That is a form of belief, in my opinion.

Also, if I am not mistaken, some of them believe in a higher reality where there is no god. That I tried to wrap my brain around, but couldn't...so I stopped trying...

 

first off, you can be wicca and be an atheist. Delicate_Catastrophe (my gf) is. you don't have to believe in a god or gods for wicca. second, not all of us who are atheists disbelieve in all things "supernatural." rather, we view those things as something that is natural, unattached to a god, but yet unexplained by science (assuming these things even exist).

 

I know there are athiest wiccans...I tried dabbling in that. However, it wasn't for me.

 

I tend to like reading about all the mythologies in regards to religion...not actually worshipping them though.

 

I don't believe in any magic, white or black...And I think nature is just nature, something to be taken care of...not revered. That is why I couldn't do the wicca thing.

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I think of religion(s) developing not only to explain death, but also as an attempt to make sense out of the natural events going on in the world.

 

In the old days, children died, routinely, of disease and injury. That is a heartbreaking loss to a village of primitive people in general, and to the family in particular. Along comes a shaman, with reassurance that the child did not really die, but went on to live in a spirit-world, free from the dangers of life, to a better place. Same with events like storms, floods, earthquakes...events sent from the tribal gods, to strengthen the tribe for service to the god or gods.

 

Science has come a long way in explaining why disease, injury, and congenital anomalies cause death of children. Likewise, we know the answers as to why floods, earthquakes, storms, and volcanic eruptions occur. And we know that as we age, our bodies become susceptible to simply wearing out, acquiring diseases like cancer, heart disease, hardening of our blood vessels, and so forth. The gods have taken second fiddle to knowledge.

 

What perpetuates christianity and other religions is the ultimate unknowable...what happens to us after we die? The primary evidence is...nothing. Death is simply the end of life, period. That does not mean that the deeds we do, the things we say, the legacy we construct while we live cannot live on after we have departed. Those whose lives we have touched will influence their lives, behaviors, and their own legacies. We are not there to see it, but we can trust that good begets good, and hope for the best.

 

That's how I see the scheme of things. And there are no gods involved in that scenario.

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I have a question for people who are now athiest that used to be Christian...

 

I know that many individuals have been devout athiests all along(raised in a non religious background)...But how did you, as an ex-christian, come to your total unbelief in supernatural things after deconversion?For me its because I've been reading alot of science books, and watching discovery channel documentaries, regarding theories of evolution etc...It was a gradual process because I started dabbling in: Buddhism, hindu, wicca, and various others...But now, after leaving Xtianity, those seem just as unrealistic as my old faith...

 

I never explored other religions, but pretty much arrived where I am today for similar reasons you outlined above. For some reason I jumped immediately to the idea that "if Christianity is a myth, then they all are."

 

So I guess this is another question but...How will human kind evolve past the need for religion?

 

I don't see this happening unless humans actually do "evolve." By that I refer to biological evolution that separates us further from our ape-man past. I could be wrong though. Social evolution in Europe has watered down religious belief quite a bit.

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Well, alot of Buddhists actually believe in reincarnation...So That is a form of belief, in my opinion. Also, if I am not mistaken, some of them believe in a higher reality where there is no god. That I tried to wrap my brain around, but couldn't...so I stopped trying...

 

NOT SO. BUDDHISTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION.

 

see my earlier post here - http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...mp;#entry235949

 

posts #10 and #15

 

THERE IS NO BELIEF IN A GOD IN BUDDHISM. Gods and miracles, ghosts and goblins, spirits and demons have nothing to do with Buddhism.

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But how did you, as an ex-christian, come to your total unbelief in supernatural things after deconversion?

 

How will human kind evolve past the need for religion? Now that I no longer believe in it it all seems quite...well...primitive...Why can't people take solace in the fact that their loved one will live forever, in the hearts, minds, pictures, and video cameras of others? No matter what we do go on...So do we still need to hold onto the idea of heaven?

 

 

 

For the first question, I first abandoned fellowship which was probably the core of the brainwash for me. After that, I took the minute to think about my spiritual beliefs. I had also studied Myths in college and that helped to bring the whole Christian religion into a much broader view with other religions and myths. From there, I carefully analysed the stories contained in the Bible and any other religious source. It was too difficult to take literally or to even believe. Things such as demons, angels, ghouls, gods, centaurs, etc are the subjects of myths, legends and folklore. I cannot for the life of me take them seriously. I just can't. It's good fiction, that's all it is to me. So, even after my deconversion, that stuff never bothered me. Unless there's solid factual proof that exists where I can see it on the bare surface, it's fiction. Experiencing certain "spiritual" drifts is not enough either. People can start believing in some comfortable creature if it soothes their broken emotions.

 

Onto the second question. I believe that humankind will not evolve past the need for religion as long as religion is embraced to sooth people's losses and emotional struggles. Embracing the idea of Heaven is like telling one self that there's nothing to worry about. It's relieving oneself from things that they don't want to believe otherwise. For many others, it's just laziness and irresponsible behaviour with an absurd conclusion. To me, truth has no conclusions as long as we live on earth. Life is an on-going experience here on earth until death. Death is much more truthful than "God."

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For me it was pretty straightforward.

 

As a Christian, I believed there was only one real god. Once it became obvious that one was not real, there were none left in which to believe.

 

I'm not saying 'supernatural' entities can't exist. But that's not relevant to the gods of the religions we know as they are all based on ancient superstitions and do not stand up to analysis.

 

Having a pretty good grasp of physics and modern scientific thinking and understanding of our world, it's long been pretty clear to me that there is room in the natural world for many things we call supernatural, all within the bounds of explanation. The trouble is the contradictory nature or lack of evidence for such things.

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My deconversion took a somewhat different path from many here. It wasn't science at all, it was just good old fashioned Bible study.

 

First off, how I came to be an atheist was pretty straight forward after I stopped believing in xtianity. I didn't believe in any of those other gods or religions while I was a xtian, so when I no longer believed in Yahweh that didn't leave me with much alternative. Like what Vigile_del_fuoco1 said, when I saw that xtianity was false I simply assumed that all other religions were false as well. (Not completely logical, but it seems to be true :scratch: )

 

I have always been fascinated by science. Even when I was a Christian I would read every science book I could get my hands on and also some magazines like Scientific American. I never saw a conflict between my faith in Yahweh and what I was learning about science. When I look back at that now I see it was a classic case of mental compartmentalization.

 

Anyway, when I graduated from high school I decided I wanted to become a missionary. I chose to attend Abilene Christian University and major in Biblical studies with a concentration in missions. Well, I wasn't there a full year before I decided that missions wasn't for me and switched to Physics, but I still retained my faith. At ACU everyone is required to take 5 semesters of Bible classes, and I was no exception. It was in these classes that I first began to notice some inconsistencies in the Good Book™. I won't get into all of the inconsistencies I began to notice, as I'm sure many here are already aware that they are there.

 

The more I studied the Bible, the more problems I began to notice. I went to my professors seeking answers to some of the questions I had, but their answers were never satisfactory. Of course they had answers, and and to their credit they were usually consistent; however, I couldn't accept them. Why, I thought, didn't God, the creator of the whole universe, the creator of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, think to put that in the Bible himself? If these answers my professors had to my questions were not in the Bible, then where did they come from? Somebody just made them up was the conclusion I eventually came to.

 

To make a long story short, I started looking elsewhere for the answers I sought. I eventually found the Jesus Seminar and several liberal and secular bible scholars, and what they had to say just made so much sense to me that it had to be right. :grin:

 

Anyway, my faith had run out and I began to read all I could in the Bible and about the Bible from a skeptical viewpoint, and what I had always thought to be a firm foundation in my life turned out to be mostly sand.

 

I moved pretty quickly from Deism to Atheism after that.

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I used to be a Catholic, then went Deist, then totally Pagan, now am a mixture of Pagan and Atheist. I believe that some people can perform what one would call "magic" (ie, influencing events or others through ritualized concentration and direction of one's will), I am an animal totemist (though mostly in a purely philosophical sense), I "worship" (ie, honor) nature and the solstices/equinoxes, and practice a form of ancestor worship. I am open to the ideas of reincarnation and the afterlife also.

 

I basically came to Atheism after reading the arguments made by Atheists and making my own judgement calls. Ever since leaving Xianity, I learned to rely on my mind and the facts most of all, and even as a total Pagan I had a hard time justifying the existence of any gods, since I could easily see there was no evidence for any and no way to prove any existed.

 

After coming to accept that simple truth, the door to Atheism was wide open. I don't need any gods other than myself and the ideals I hold dear, and certainly no actual deities.

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