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From Atheist to Believer


florduh
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Weird how so many of these later-in-life conversion stories center around some kind of physical, natural, or emotional disaster.  It's never, "I was just driving along I-85 southbound near Spartanburg when suddenly jesus himself appeared and was seen by 17 passenger cars, 3 tractor trailers, a crew of inmates cleaning the shoulders, and one highway patrolman who was hiding in the median." 

 

No.  Instead it's, "Well, I was out back humping the dog when I heard a big 'whoosh bang' and when I looked up a tornado had took my house away.  So I called sister down at the strip club to tell her but her sugar daddy had beat her and left her for dead.  And as I sat there beside her in the hospital, struggling to breathe, a preacher man showed up and led me to jesus.  Now I know I'll see my sister again in heaven; and that preacher man even married me and the dog so we're no longer humping in sin."

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1 hour ago, alreadyGone said:

Because that sort of thing is all-too-common in the vicinity of Spartanburg..

🙂

 

Is it?  Maybe that's why you never find stray dogs in the area.

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On 5/26/2021 at 10:16 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Is it?  Maybe that's why you never find stray dogs in the area.

     Keep the wives on a short leash, eh?

 

          mwc

 

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On 5/26/2021 at 8:45 AM, florduh said:

Is the lack of evidence enough to not believe? What think ye?

 

https://dykn.com/former-atheists-share-their-conversion-stories/15

 

 

The first one, pretty typical. Never thought much about religion. Meaning never study any of it or knew anything about it. Watched grandpa die and became convinced that dead great grandma had been in the room the whole and time and that the afterlife is a certainty. Then somehow that is probably linked back to the bible even though it has little to do with the bible, but they wouldn't know that because they know next to nothing about religion or the bible. 

 

Atheist to believer! 

 

The second one knew someone who acted differently after a short death experience in the hospital. 

 

Atheist to believer! 

 

The third one basically knew nothing about religion and didn't attend church. Blamed seemingly bad luck on getting away from god. Then went back and started viewing reality differently and taking a more positive internal outlook. What could it be if not god???? Except atheist's like myself often live the same up beat life experiencing the same general good luck in the wake of an internal positive outlook. So god literally has zero to do with any of it. The positive outlook itself, if anything, seems a more logical source. Which is common to both parties in question - the godly and the godless. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

 

The third one basically knew nothing about religion and didn't attend church. Blamed seemingly bad luck on getting away from god. Then went back and started viewing reality differently and taking a more positive internal outlook. What could it be if not god???? Except atheist's like myself often live the same up beat life experiencing the same general good luck in the wake of an internal positive outlook. So god literally has zero to do with any of it. The positive outlook itself, if anything, seems a more logical source. Which is common to both parties in question - the godly and the godless. 

 

 

 

Life has ups and downs. You can assign agency to that if it makes you more comfortable. But life still has ups and downs after you add God to it. If belief gives you strength to get through the day then have at it. I imagine some people just adopt a lukewarm level of belief so they can get the benefit of the God safety blanket while avoiding guilt, fear and shame of fundy Christianity.

 

 

 

 

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It's always seemed to me that the true power of a spiritual or religious belief stems from the lack of real evidence, not because of it. A belief is the most powerful thing we have and beliefs unfounded in our normal reality are even stronger. It doesn't matter if there's nothing real behind it, belief can heal your illness or bring it about. It can provide the courage to persevere. Belief itself is the magic; I've seen it keep people alive years past their expiration date and I've seen it bring joy and fulfillment in the face of devastating obstacles. We are more inclined to be ruled by emotion than cold, hard facts and intellect. Christian apologists do not understand this, but the article presents the case for belief for its own sake and is necessarily based on personal experience, perception and emotion. Is that a valid point?

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1 hour ago, florduh said:

It's always seemed to me that the true power of a spiritual or religious belief stems from the lack of real evidence, not because of it. A belief is the most powerful thing we have and beliefs unfounded in our normal reality are even stronger. It doesn't matter if there's nothing real behind it, belief can heal your illness or bring it about. It can provide the courage to persevere. Belief itself is the magic; I've seen it keep people alive years past their expiration date and I've seen it bring joy and fulfillment in the face of devastating obstacles. We are more inclined to be ruled by emotion than cold, hard facts and intellect. Christian apologists do not understand this, but the article presents the case for belief for its own sake and is necessarily based on personal experience, perception and emotion. Is that a valid point?

 

This is excellent, Florduh.

 

If I may add...

 

While belief is the strongest thing we have what it cannot do it alter the fabric of reality outside of ourselves.

 

So, when wider reality diverges from our beliefs about it, cognitive dissonance co-opts the power of belief to ignore, deny or rationalize the divergence away.

 

Or, putting it another way, we go with our ruling emotions and not with the cold, hard evidence.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

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17 hours ago, florduh said:

It's always seemed to me that the true power of a spiritual or religious belief stems from the lack of real evidence, not because of it. A belief is the most powerful thing we have and beliefs unfounded in our normal reality are even stronger. It doesn't matter if there's nothing real behind it, belief can heal your illness or bring it about. It can provide the courage to persevere. Belief itself is the magic; I've seen it keep people alive years past their expiration date and I've seen it bring joy and fulfillment in the face of devastating obstacles. We are more inclined to be ruled by emotion than cold, hard facts and intellect. Christian apologists do not understand this, but the article presents the case for belief for its own sake and is necessarily based on personal experience, perception and emotion. Is that a valid point?

 

Yes, believing you will do good or have basically good luck seems to be it. And these mundane beliefs in yourself available to atheists are just as powerful or possibly more so in some cases as the theistic varieties focusing the belief on gods.

 

I feel like I can hold my own or even surpass a lot of theistic believers where these mundane beliefs in day to day life are concerned. As if getting rid of the side track of funneling belief through a god or religion can make it more powerful yet because it becomes very direct with a lot less mystery surrounding it. You know and realize what's really happening and that you are in the drivers seat, not some imaginary being off away in magical wonder land. That to me, at this point in life, would represent a handicap within the process. A blinder of sorts. And a stumbling block where belief and faith are concerned. 

 

I believe in myself, very strongly. 

 

I have faith in myself and my ability, very strongly. 

 

I have zero belief in mythical gods.

 

I have zero faith that mythological tales are real. 

 

I feel like belief and faith are not necessarily bad or bullshit, unless misdirected and railroaded off on ridiculous and ultimately unnecessary asides by most religions. 

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There seemed to be a couple of fairly common patterns here, not necessarily mutually exclusive:

 

1) People without a religious background who had just never thought about religion much. A "none" who may not explicitly call themselves atheist or agnostic, or a cultural christian/deist.

2) A drift toward the mores, beliefs, or practices of a group that they are spending time with.

3) A fairly rapid conversion in response to a trauma.

 

If you want a good read, check out "Amazing Conversions: Why Some Turn to Faith and Others Abandon Religion" by Bob Altemeyer and Bruce Hunsberger.

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On 5/26/2021 at 7:45 AM, florduh said:

Is the lack of evidence enough to not believe? What think ye?

 

https://dykn.com/former-atheists-share-their-conversion-stories/15

 

It seems to me that a lot of these stories are a result of people thinking that because they cannot think of any other possible explanations to their experience, they attribute it to a god.  Instead they should look for good evidence for their belief that a god was involved.

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4 minutes ago, Clizby_Wampuscat said:

It seems to me that a lot of these stories are a result of people thinking that because they cannot think of any other possible explanations to their experience, they attribute it to a god.  Instead they should look for good evidence for their belief that a god was involved.

Argument from Incredulity: "Y must be true because I simply cannot believe X". 

 

I can't believe that was just a coincidence; therefore god...

 

god must be the creator because I ain't  come from no monkey...

 

Too many good things have happened in my life for me not to believe in god...

 

A sad excuse for "evidence," indeed.

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I miss this place for a few days and you guys put together some of the best most interesting insights I've ever encountered.

 

May be a message there for me somewhere..  🙂

 

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17 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Argument from Incredulity: "Y must be true because I simply cannot believe X". 

 

I can't believe that was just a coincidence; therefore god...

 

god must be the creator because I ain't  come from no monkey...

 

Too many good things have happened in my life for me not to believe in god...

 

A sad excuse for "evidence," indeed.

Yeah, until it is pointed out to people it can be a persuasive argument.  It helped me stay a believer for awhile.

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On 7/13/2021 at 2:51 PM, Clizby_Wampuscat said:

It seems to me that a lot of these stories are a result of people thinking that because they cannot think of any other possible explanations to their experience, they attribute it to a god.  Instead they should look for good evidence for their belief that a god was involved.

The ability to say "I don't know" is a truly valuable quality.

 

It helps protect against the impulse to embrace fallacies to stave off the discomfort of not knowing. Coupled with curiosity, it's a huge incentive to do the hard work of seeking out evidenced based answers.

 

And if the question is not answerable, or not answerable in our lifetime, or not answerable by you, or just not answerable yet, not knowing is so much better than believing something you don't have good reason to believe.

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Interesting thing about co-incidences. All our lives are made of co occuring events. I brush my teeth, the nextdoor neighbour is having sex with his babysitter. An islamic imam is preaching in Baghdad about sone quran surah. A baby is born. Stars explode. We rarely think about these, on the macro or micro level. Yet, when you pray to find your keys and you find them, it is a miracle. It seems to me that WE , often, make those connections. Or get impressed by them. They deserved to be pondered on, of course, but we often out extreme focus on a verry narrow slice of events happenning, while losing the very very big picture. Like being fascinated by a grain of sand in a large beach, forgetting about the beach. There are things bigger and deepeer that deserve your attention,if you want to make an universal claim, not just some truly insignifiant details in the large scheme of things.

 

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12 hours ago, ShackledNoMore said:

The ability to say "I don't know" is a truly valuable quality.

 

It helps protect against the impulse to embrace fallacies to stave off the discomfort of not knowing. Coupled with curiosity, it's a huge incentive to do the hard work of seeking out evidenced based answers.

 

And if the question is not answerable, or not answerable in our lifetime, or not answerable by you, or just not answerable yet, not knowing is so much better than believing something you don't have good reason to believe.

Yes, to admit you don't know something is where knowledge exploration begins.  

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12 hours ago, Clizby_Wampuscat said:

Yes, to admit you don't know something is where knowledge exploration begins.  

 

Exactly! 

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On 5/26/2021 at 5:45 AM, florduh said:

Is the lack of evidence enough to not believe? What think ye?

 

https://dykn.com/former-atheists-share-their-conversion-stories/15

 

 

I think that to be a good Christian one would need to know a lot about the bible, as well as faith as to its validity.

 

To be a firmly-confirmed atheist I believe also requires a lot of knowledge about biology and cosmology. Darwin's answers are great, and modern day evolution theory explains nearly everything living. But Big Bang cosmology, on the other hand, is entirely BS IMO and can't answer any of the 'why' questions that can be simply answered by some other theories.

 

So there is a mountain of undeniable evidence to support biological evolution, but no accepted theory as yet to support abiogenisis -- although there are a number of different related hypothesis.  When the BB model is overturned IMO, those atheists that understand how science works will remain confirmed atheists. Going back to religion will only be for the foolish and those lacking fundamental understandings concerning how science works. 

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50 minutes ago, pantheory said:

I think that to be a good Christian one would need to know a lot about the bible, as well as faith as to its validity.

 

To be a firmly-confirmed atheist I believe also requires a lot of knowledge about biology and cosmology.

I'd like to know the percentage of Christians who know ANYTHING about their handbook or its origins. Clearly, it is a very low percentage.

 

My non-belief in the Christian god is simply a lack of belief due to a lack of evidence. Science, by definition, is not equipped to prove or disprove any god/spiritual concept and is therefore irrelevant to reaching the conclusion of non-belief, IMO.

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5 hours ago, florduh said:

I'd like to know the percentage of Christians who know ANYTHING about their handbook or its origins. Clearly, it is a very low percentage.

 

My non-belief in the Christian god is simply a lack of belief due to a lack of evidence. Science, by definition, is not equipped to prove or disprove any god/spiritual concept and is therefore irrelevant to reaching the conclusion of non-belief, IMO.

 

Yeah, why believe something that you have little knowledge of. only because of your family's or society's beliefs? Nearly all of my relatively small religious studies were done before the age of 15, and have studied little since then, countless decades past.. Even so,  I bet I know more of the Bible than 90% of professed Christians as a non-confrontational atheist. Religion IMO is too ridiculous to  argue about. A few concise explanations should suffice if anyone is interested.

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On 7/16/2021 at 9:45 PM, pantheory said:

 

Yeah, why believe something that you have little knowledge of. only because of your family's or society's beliefs? Nearly all of my relatively small religious studies were done before the age of 15, and have studied little since then, countless decades past.. Even so,  I bet I know more of the Bible than 90% of professed Christians as a non-confrontational atheist. Religion IMO is too ridiculous to  argue about. A few concise explanations should suffice if anyone is interested.

 

This I agree with. 

 

You've mentioned elsewhere that you think that the bible will be regarded as Greek mythology soon enough. Because it's too ridiculous not to end up that way. 

 

One thing that has to happen is that people like this sample of so called atheists have to become familiar with the fact that none of these examples equal god. As people claim that it does equal god and other people argue that it doesn't, the word will spread around. Someone had a near death experience, so god is real. No, that's actually one of the weakest explanations given an entire set of explanations. 

 

So while is too ridiculous to argue about, it's going to have to be argued anyways by those willing to keep the arguments goings. Or else no one's learn anything that they themselves can't conceive of or muster up on their own. Those who are blinded by religion depend those who are not in order to gain any sort of chance at beating it. I'm atheist now mostly because I had a debate with an atheist that I could not win. When I realized I could not win I was extremely angry. But then the anger led to accepting the truth of his argument. And then as it worked out subconsciously, my belief went away and I realized that all of the praying and everything else was merely internal dialogue the entire time. 

 

But it took arguing with an atheist to get that response. 

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I understand your point. I do my

On 7/20/2021 at 4:26 AM, Joshpantera said:

 

This I agree with. 

 

You've mentioned elsewhere that you think that the bible will be regarded as Greek mythology soon enough. Because it's too ridiculous not to end up that way. 

 

One thing that has to happen is that people like this sample of so called atheists have to become familiar with the fact that none of these examples equal god. As people claim that it does equal god and other people argue that it doesn't, the word will spread around. Someone had a near death experience, so god is real. No, that's actually one of the weakest explanations given an entire set of explanations. 

 

So while is too ridiculous to argue about, it's going to have to be argued anyways by those willing to keep the arguments goings. Or else no one's learn anything that they themselves can't conceive of or muster up on their own. Those who are blinded by religion depend those who are not in order to gain any sort of chance at beating it. I'm atheist now mostly because I had a debate with an atheist that I could not win. When I realized I could not win I was extremely angry. But then the anger led to accepting the truth of his argument. And then as it worked out subconsciously, my belief went away and I realized that all of the praying and everything else was merely internal dialogue the entire time. 

 

But it took arguing with an atheist to get that response. 

 

I understand your point. I do my best here but all that I can see here is a number of well-meaning Christians trying to convert us. As you know their only tool for argument IMO is how they personally feel, generally not related to religious justification. I'm pretty good with people but only make short term friends because most realize in time that we have little in common.  I have one long term Christian friend who truly believes, we only kid about religion since he has always known that I'm a devout non-confrontational atheist. When we talk about such things as fornication he says to me in jest, I'll pray for you. My sisters are religious but would never dare talk religion with me because they know that I would explain non-confrontational things about religion that they would never want to hear.

 

My mother knew I was an atheist and was very disappointed concerning that aspect of me. When she was mad at me when I got older, she would refer to me as an educated fool. She always believed that college education caused me to lose my faith. I never would have told her that her soft request of me to do personal home study of the bible as a teenager is how I lost my faith when I was still  in high school.  Especially Genesis and Revelations in light of modern science  were obvious to me as being no better than fairy tales.  My dad was not very religious, but did believe in God I think, but certainly did not like to talk about religion. I think he was simply a cynic concerning religion. Both of my parents were also college educated.

 

I still go to church once in a while, but no church, synagogue, or temple in particular. I go on an invitation basis only once in a blue moon. I had an older Indian friend for many decades, now passed away. I would often go to the Indian temple with him when we were together to socialize. He was also an atheist but always believed in Hindu traditions such as Yoga and their other social practices. I once regularly went to a Chinese Christian church home study group every Friday night. I would sing and socialize, and study Mandarin Chinese. In time none would dare talk to me of religion because they would only hear very gentle things that they never would want to hear. I went there so that I wouldn't go to the bar every Friday night, which was becoming a bad habit that I was trying to break by being expected somewhere else :)

 

But I do have the character flaw of secretly feeling like laughing at, or sometimes feeling sorry for those who openly profess religious ideas and beliefs.

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On 7/20/2021 at 11:38 AM, pantheory said:

I understand your point. I do my best here but all that I can see here is a number of well-meaning Christians trying to convert us. As you know their only tool for argument IMO is how they personally feel, nothing to do with religion.

 

Yeah, that's about it. 

 

On 7/20/2021 at 11:38 AM, pantheory said:

I still go to church once in a while, but no church, synagogue, or temple in particular. I go on an invitation basis only once in a blue moon. I had an older Indian friend for many decades, now passed away. I would almost always go to the Indian temple when invited, when we were together to socialize. He was also an atheist but always believed in Hindu traditions such as Yoga. I once regularly went to a Chinese Christian church home study group every Friday night. I would sing and socialize, and study Mandarin. In time none would dare talk to me of religion because they would only hear very gentle things that they never would want to hear. I went there so that I wouldn't go to the bar every Friday night, which was a bad habit that I was forming and trying to break by being expected somewhere else :)

 

I'm not found in churches much at all. Some funerals. I can't manage to sit through any sermons. The ignorance involved annoys me and I can't deal with it. Some guy up there who doesn't understand the first thing about the bible preaching to other people about what they should be doing according to the bible? And then I start thinking about what's the more pathetic, the guy who doesn't understand shit about anything trying to lead everyone or the people who blindly follow behind the guy who doesn't know shit about anything???

 

This is the sort of atheism that you don't see examples of conversion associated with. People who see it as bullshit and understand what's wrong with it generally don't convert to it, because they already know better. It's the variety of people who don't already know better that we find in these various atheist to religious conversions.  

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