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A Matter Of Investigation


chrisstavrous
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When it all comes down to it leaving christianity is a matter of investigation, but how many of us actually investigated the facts about christianity before we joined and if we did would we still have believed.

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The obvious answer is very few, but that isn't surprising because religion is the one of the very few things on this planet that isn't based on facts or valid evidence. Religion is based on faith commonly expressed as beliefs.

 

be·lief

 

Noun

  1. An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
  2. Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.

 

By definition belief doesn't require evidence and that’s why religion is so widespread and has so many adherents. Christianity isn't under any obligation to "prove" their doctrines and traditions are true or factually accurate because they are all faith based issues. Kind of like a Ripley's Believe It Or Not sort of thing. And millions of people obviously choose to "believe".

 

As you correctly noted, the majority of people who leave religion do so because they have investigated its claims and beliefs and found there is no evidence that supports their suppositions and traditions. Organized religion is clearly the most successful scam in the history of mankind.

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I was 11. Eleven-year-olds aren't known for investigating ideas that appear to be universally accepted.

 

I suppose that's why it took so very long (41 years) for me to finally realize what was going on. Nearly 100% of my exposure was to people who practiced the mythology, and a huge portion of those people practiced the same brand of it that I did. I work with a lot of Muslims and a couple of Hindus, but they don't try to push their mythology. (Contrary to popular belief, the particular sect of Muslims that are predominate at my office believe that Jesus was a prophet and that Christians are "people of the book", therefore, going to Heaven.)

 

It was questions about my particular brand of Christianity that first caused me to start thinking about it. Had I not become convinced that some things my church teaches were not actually biblical, I would never have investigated far enough to see that it's all bogus.

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When it all comes down to it leaving christianity is a matter of investigation, but how many of us actually investigated the facts about christianity before we joined and if we did would we still have believed.

I'd say most Christians are Christians due to indoctrination (as I was).  If you're taught something from an early age, before you can scrutinize it with knowledge of how the world works this becomes your world-view.  There's "spiritual" meaning behind everything... Every failure, every success and all of these events serve as further "proof" of God's existence.

 

The problem arises when Christians continue to accept this world-view without question.  For some reason I started developing issue with the fact that this belief, this central part of who I was, I had nothing to do with.  That's a serious fucking problem!  You believe something because you were programmed to.  Not because you investigated it, proved it, tested it.  But because someone else WANTED you to believe it.  That's the core issue here.  And it is extremely problematic and dangerous.  It perpetuates ignorance, it perpetuates hate, intolerance and judgment.  For you to be a genuine YOU, you need to fucking disbelieve every fucking thing you've been taught to believe at least once in your life (Descartes)!  Disconnect from that shit.  Test it, scrutinize it.  And if works out for you, great.  If not, become a new you.  One that you sign off on. A real, genuine you.

 

And that's how I became an atheist.  And even better, I'm a genuine me. smile.png

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I did a lot of investigating right after I joined Christianity wanting to be sure I understood what I was committing to and how I needed to behave as a Christian with the motivator being the fear of hell.  I am veeerrry autistic so I poured over everything I could find, reading the bible (of which 99 percent made no sense to my concrete autistic mind) and studying what people had written on the internet (horrible idea, as every Christian had a different view "here's how to be saved", and then another site "no here's how to be saved"....drove me mad being that I was sure I'd be damned if I got it wrong).  So I did much more investigating than the typical Christian however fear held me back from asking myself the important questions.  Is this right?  Is this healthy?  Is this really the best moral guide? Why do many of god's commands in the bible conflict with what I know to be right in my heart (ie: god's command to "hamstring the horses" and in my heart I know this is wicked). I thought if I allowed myself to address the deepest concerns (why is god commanding genocide, rape, animal slaughter, crucifies his son, gays going to hell even though a lesbian girl was one of my only friends at school)....then I would end up leaving Christianity and be damned for it.  Took a long time but eventually those questions and concerns bubbled over the surface and couldn't be held back anymore. 

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Many of us didn't have the opportunity to investigate it - in my case it was forced on me as a young child. I am talking age 5 or 6. And the word "forced" is not overstating it.

 

If I try to imagine learning about Christianity at an older age without being coerced, I would like to think I would have the intelligence to see through it.  I really don't know.  Some of it did appeal to my imagination when I was younger.

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I'd wager that damn few people first study the Bible and its history, church history, comparative religion, then say, "Well, that makes sense! Why didn't I turn my worthless self over to a genocidal invisible being sooner and let some ancient goat herders tell me how the universe works???"

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I did a little thinking about how could there be truth and rationality without a source to guarantee it - sort of my fumbling version of TAG.  But I had always believed in God, miracles, etc.  I was at a point of psychological crisis at 19, other Christian students seemed to have what I thought I wanted to have, I could see that I had done wrong things, so breaking down and praying the sinner's prayer didn't take me that long.  Then I put in years of investigation, which eventually led me out.

 

I used to think arguments like Who Moved the Stone? were very convincing.  They seemed so because I was assuming that the NT documents were historically reliable.  

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Church history is never taught to most Christians.  Unless they make a special study of it themselves. That is why most of the Christians we get here preaching are so woefully ignorant on the subject.

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Deva: That's one thing I've thought about a lot. I mean that Xtians are not taught Xtian history. That's a hard policy for the clergy to defend, not teaching their own history. In fact, it really does make them look like they are participating in a massive conspiracy, doesn't it? They obviously are aware that the catholics, protestants, jehovah witnesses, mormons, or adventists have a history they could not use effectively to pedal their respective myths. Of course, there is nothing they can't lie themselves out of with their own kind. But their is so much ammunition against them.     bill

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