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"yeah, I Was There."


lilcoppertop
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You know how Christians like to say "You never really knew him...you must never have been a truly committed Christian or you wouldn't have left the church..."? And how infuriating that can be? Have any of you encountered Christians who claim to have been where you are now and questioned everything, and "found" that Christianity really did have all the answers they were seeking? How do you respond to that?

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back away slowly saying placating words.

 

Then run.

 

Honestly, there is no response to that, which would be accepted by them.

 

The polite way out would be to turn the conversation back on to them, let them talk about themselves for a bit. Then thank them for their thoughts and walk away.

 

Christianity is all about me and my relationship with Jesus. That is what a person like that truly wants. Validity through proselytizing.

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Yeah, on another forum populated by former fundamentalists, I see this a lot. People talk about how they were once atheists, but came back to being Christians. I can't say I understand it, myself. How do you just put the blinders back on after seeing reality? I can't. Not ever. Not without a clear sign from God himself.

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Well, I guess I'd say, "Oh, good for you. I'm glad you've found something that makes sense to you." Then I'd move onto someone more interesting to talk to.

 

If I had more time and patience, I'd ask, "What questions brought you into Christianity?" and "How did you look for answers when you were an atheist?" If someone was a Christian-turned-atheist-turned-Christian-again, I'd probe even deeper about each transition. I'd ask hard questions and make them do all the thinking and talking. Then I'd refill my wine glass.

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I'd simply ask them how they defined the word atheist, and for what reasons they used to be one.

 

But practically speaking, I'm with T2M. Once you really truly see the wizard behind the curtain how do you ever go back? For this reason I doubt the sincerity of the likes of Kirk Cameron and Lee Stroebel.

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Now, to be fair, most of the people that I know that went back to religion after being atheists didn't go back to a fundamentalist, literal Biblical mindset. Most seem to have either gone more toward deism, or fallen in with the more liberal Christianity.

 

I still find it odd, though. When you ask them how it is they were convinced to go back, the answer is usually equivalent to, "I was watching a beautiful sunset and got warm fuzzies, so I just know that there's something out there that allowed all of this to happen."

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It so pisses me off to hear fundies declare that former christians were never true christians. There is not a word you can say that would convince them differently. It is as futile to argue with a TRUE fundy on this matter as it is in arguing the validity of christianity. The basis of their argument is subjective and fantastical. At the end, feeling is all they need to support their position. Their delusion runs so deep.

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I can see how many people can reach the edge of reason and stop just short of jumping off.

 

I was there a few years ago. I spent one day looking at the world as an atheist. I was reasonably convinced that God did not exist and that Christianity was based on lies and false assumptions. But at the end of the day I decided that it would be too damaging to my family and my reputation.

 

The next day I managed to pretty much go back to my old inquisitive Christianity for a time, going back and forth about different doctrines. I read and recommended a book by Oz Guiness called "In Two Minds," convinced that pursuing God was the way to go.

 

But the nagging questions and cognitive dissonance kept resurfacing until I finally began obsessively studying my way out.

 

I've also seen people go through the "beyond born again" experience, where they choose another label and re-define God. I'm still considering this path myself. Like many of you, my profile declares that Love is God... ;)

 

Then there's always the peer pressure and brainwashing factor...

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My wife's biggest argument right now is "Nobody can know, you weren't alive back then!".....

 

But the things we do know and can observe display no signs of a super-natural god who's interested in our lives. It's all perception and the only ones that see it are the ones who believe in it.

 

I had a FB friend recently say... "The world says they must see it to believe it, but I think you must believe it to see it."

 

There's certainly some truth to that but the level of bias this creates in the world we observe can fog our judgment. It's really not the rational way to approach truth.

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My answer is typically "everything leaves evidence.. it may not all survive to this day, but some does, and what we find strongly disagrees with religion"

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My answer is typically "everything leaves evidence.. it may not all survive to this day, but some does, and what we find strongly disagrees with religion"

 

Good point... Why does God leave himself only to religion(s)? Why can't he also be found in science?

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Guest Babylonian Dream

I was raised fundamentalist. Became a hardcore fundamentalist atheist. Now, I've found Jesus. I'd like to share my personal relationship with the Lord your God with you. You just have to be willing to learn about God. I know you used to believe, but did you really?

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Lee strobel is one who claims that we was once an atheist, and after reading his books i highly doubt it.

 

Ditto. Apatheist, perhaps, but stupid as a box of rocks....and conveniently selective in his choice of experts--wait....he is a lawyer....and he has sold a lot of books....maybe not so stupid--just a greedy asshole.

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Now, to be fair, most of the people that I know that went back to religion after being atheists didn't go back to a fundamentalist, literal Biblical mindset. Most seem to have either gone more toward deism, or fallen in with the more liberal Christianity.

 

I have two particular people in mind....the first one who was the reason why I wrote the OP. I never knew her very well....she was more conservative than me and, if it were at all possible, seemed even MORE obsessed with the Bible than I was. She found my blog a couple months ago and it saddened her to read about the questions I was asking and the direction it was leading me. Emailed to say she understands and had had similar questions a couple years ago. Did a quiet rebellion thing without her parents knowing...looked into paganism and stuff...didn't really believe in god...then one day she was alone in her room reading or something and suddenly just KNEW she had to get right with god again. So now she's off to South Carolina to study at the fundy Bob Jones University to further her education and relationship with god.

 

The other person grew up in a christian home, turned atheist as a teen and kept looking for proof that god didn't exist, found the arguments for god more compelling in the end than the ones against god, and came back to christianity because it was the religion that made the most sense to him. Now he's a Pentecostal youth pastor.

 

So I look at these two people and wonder....did you REALLY explore those questions? Did you really look for answers? Were you completely honest with yourself about your doubts and about the evidence or answers that came your way? But I don't like to suggest aloud that they weren't serious about it simply because the suggestion that I never was a committed christian infuriates me.

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Well, I guess I'd say, "Oh, good for you. I'm glad you've found something that makes sense to you." Then I'd move onto someone more interesting to talk to.

 

If I had more time and patience, I'd ask, "What questions brought you into Christianity?" and "How did you look for answers when you were an atheist?" If someone was a Christian-turned-atheist-turned-Christian-again, I'd probe even deeper about each transition. I'd ask hard questions and make them do all the thinking and talking. Then I'd refill my wine glass.

 

More than likely the "atheist" time would be for that person, just a questioning of faith, not true atheism. Since I am at the time I am trying to determine if I am in fact an atheist or not, this thread is resonating with me.

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But I don't like to suggest aloud that they weren't serious about it simply because the suggestion that I never was a committed christian infuriates me.

 

Great point, copper! Just as they should not project their beliefs on us, we have no right to project ours onto them.

 

We are likely to see many things completely differently in the future, as are your friends. We all need room to learn and change at our own pace.

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But I don't like to suggest aloud that they weren't serious about it simply because the suggestion that I never was a committed christian infuriates me.

 

Great point, copper! Just as they should not project their beliefs on us, we have no right to project ours onto them.

 

We are likely to see many things completely differently in the future, as are your friends. We all need room to learn and change at our own pace.

.

And I also agree that the "no true Scotsman" fallacy is infuriating, especially from a close friend!

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Christianity is all about me and my relationship with Jesus. That is what a person like that truly wants. Validity through proselytizing.

 

I noticed that; hated it when I was still in it. My former school had chapel every day. I was into it for a little while, but after that I started to concern myself more with the other people around me than with connecting with god. To me, god can found when we connect with other people.

 

Maybe I never really knew Jesus. It's kind of difficult to have a deep one-sided relationship with somebody who may or may not exist...

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You know how Christians like to say "You never really knew him...you must never have been a truly committed Christian or you wouldn't have left the church..."?

 

I suppose the reason I'm no longer a high school graduate is because I was not truly committed.

 

That same reasoning I suppose also explains why I'm no longer a graduate student!

 

I suppose the reason I'm an old man is because I wasn't committed to being a young adult!

 

Hell, whats growth, development, maturity have to do with anything.

 

I suppose the reason I no longer choose to be the "whipping boy" for my sick dad's idea of Love is because I wasn't committed to his killing me in the name of love!

 

I seriously doubt that anyone other than myself could understand;

 

My sleepless nights leaning against the Garden wall,

Wailing, cold, stupefied and wild,

Wishing to trade in all of Eden,

Even to fall from grace,

That I might have a story of myself to tell in some other place.

 

~the above is my personal adaption of Jennifer Michael Hecht's poem entitled
History

 

How on earth could I tell anyone who has not walked that path what that is like?

 

Why should I?

 

After years of needlessly trying to explain my life, my history, myself, I buried that hatchet.

 

I only buried it because swing it became more that I was willing tto bear.

 

I suppose the reason I don't swing that hatchet any longer shows that I was never committed to swinging it.

 

Who will ever know but me?

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More than likely the "atheist" time would be for that person, just a questioning of faith, not true atheism.

I guess we should be saying to these atheists-turned-Christians: You were never a true atheist.

 

lol

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