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WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE??


Weezer
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I am curious.  What were the differences between you, and your circle of friends and family that remainded in their faith?  

 

Or, another way to put it is, what motivated you, or gave you "permission" to look outside the box of your religion?

 

Was it personality differences?  Were you more rebellious?  Headstrong?  Curious?  Willful?

Was it different educations or life experiences?

Did you have bad experiences that helped to turn you away?

Other reasons that motivated you to look outside the box?

What would you say was the biggest factor that made the difference?

 

Please feel free to write as much as you want.

 

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On 9/2/2022 at 5:23 PM, Weezer said:

I am curious.  What were the differences between you, and your circle of friends and family that remainded in their faith?  

 

Or, another way to put it is, what motivated you, or gave you "permission" to look outside the box of your religion?

 

Was it personality differences?  Were you more rebellious?  Headstrong?  Curious?  Willful?

Was it different educations or life experiences?

Did you have bad experiences that helped to turn you away?

What would you say was the biggest factor that made the difference?

 

Please feel free to write as much as you want.

 

My difference was easy breezy.  During high school, upon about a year of studying religion I came to a eureka moment regarding all religions, that they were all BS. When asked to go to church by family members I always went. I liked to sing the songs but religion was almost laughable to me then. In college I revealed that I no longer believed to my family, but didn't use the word atheist until much later. I had no friends that liked to discuss religion, but I believed that I was no different from everybody else in my surroundings. When JW's or Mormons came to the door soliciting religion I would tell them that I was an atheist and always invited them in. Almost always they would come in to discuss the "good news." :)  Sometimes I would go to their church upon invitation, even though they knew I was an atheist. So I've really never had a conflict with religion. My dad knew I was an atheist but didn't say anything. It was a big disappointment to my mother who then considered me an educated fool. She was the biggest believer in my family and usually went to church every Sunday. When I was in college a long ways away, I couldn't go to church with her excepting when I visited.

 

One of my adult sons is a believer and the other is not. My daughter is a believer and goes to church once in awhile. I was married twice and both wives were believers but neither went to church. My young teenage niece cried when I told her I was an atheist when she asked. Because my general thinking including religion is very different from my family members and our society in general, one of my sisters calls me an alien of the UFO variety.  But generally speaking I never had a problem with religion and still don't. I simply view all religions like Greek mythology.

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I have the feeling, at least in my case, it was about taking the time and making the effort.  Working your way through hundreds of claims, arguments and counter arguments and endless debates is a big undertaking, one which I think a lot of people just can't be bothered with.  So apathy is a big part.  If your place in the world is comfortable and you have plenty of life issues to worry about, then investing vast amounts of time looking into opposing views is such a low priority as to be never touched.

People who work hard, dawn to dusk, are unlikely to kick back at the end of the day to study religion.  Real life gets in the way so we focus on things that affect our day to day activities.  Modern society has given us more free time and more access to information, so we have the ability to research where even our parents generation didn't.  

 

You find belief in religion says a high percentage when no one has the time to look into it.  I'm sure if I lived on a farm like my ancestors, working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, then my motivation to delve into religion would be greatly diminished.  When I started looking into it, I had to browse the library, order books via mail order and physically attend lectures.  Now days you can do all of that with a tap of your smart phone screen.  It took me a decade to use the term atheist, but I reckon if I had the internet from the start I could have made the change in a couple of years at most.

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6 hours ago, Wertbag said:

I have the feeling, at least in my case, it was about taking the time and making the effort.  Working your way through hundreds of claims, arguments and counter arguments and endless debates is a big undertaking, one which I think a lot of people just can't be bothered with.  So apathy is a big part.  If your place in the world is comfortable and you have plenty of life issues to worry about, then investing vast amounts of time looking into opposing views is such a low priority as to be never touched.

People who work hard, dawn to dusk, are unlikely to kick back at the end of the day to study religion.  Real life gets in the way so we focus on things that affect our day to day activities.  Modern society has given us more free time and more access to information, so we have the ability to research where even our parents generation didn't.  

 

You find belief in religion says a high percentage when no one has the time to look into it.  I'm sure if I lived on a farm like my ancestors, working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, then my motivation to delve into religion would be greatly diminished.  When I started looking into it, I had to browse the library, order books via mail order and physically attend lectures.  Now days you can do all of that with a tap of your smart phone screen.  It took me a decade to use the term atheist, but I reckon if I had the internet from the start I could have made the change in a couple of years at most.

 

You made some very good points.  I also started in the days before computors.  What caused you to even start the questioning?

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On 9/2/2022 at 8:19 PM, pantheory said:

 

My difference was easy breezy.   

 

 generally speaking I never had a problem with religion and still don't I simply view all religions like Greek mythology.

 

Yes it sounds easy compaired to what some of us went through.  

 

I never got into Greek mythology.  Did they use anything like the fear of Hell for not being obedient?

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7 hours ago, Weezer said:

You made some very good points.  I also started in the days before computors.  What caused you to even start the questioning?

Our bible teacher was a literalist, so when she told us the Ark story and global flood was completely true I was left with all sorts of questions.  I looked around the class at the others who smiled and nodded along, so I felt like I was stupid for having questions.  I felt like everyone else got it, and it was obviously my own ignorance that made me unable to understand what the others did.  I couldn't ask questions in class, I was too ashamed to ask anything in front of everyone, so I had this motivation to fill in the gap in my knowledge so I could understand what everyone else did.  So in my own time I started reading books, requesting information and trying to pass ideas back and forth between the two sides to see how each answered the others points.  Time and time again I found science would tell you not only the conclusion, but how it was reached, how the tests could be repeated and how that would fit in with all of the other fields of study.  Christianity on the other hand kept giving "god is mysterious" or "magic was used" as answers, which failed to answer anything.  

I don't really know when I became an atheist, I just realised one day that there was nothing left.  I had written dozens of pages of notes, and every single one ended up with scientific answers being superior to religious ones.  I would say it was about a decade of being just agnostic, but I'd probably come to the conclusion long before I admitted it to myself.

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I was self-converted out of fear of monsters, in particular demons (after seeing an advert for The Exorcist). But I was all-in and devoured the Bible day and night. Flash forward 30 years and I was in the midst of promoting a trusted preacher who seemed to be leading a small band of missionaries that were experiencing actual miracles rather often while working quite hard among the remnants of the Aztec Indians in the hills of Mexico. He recounted long tales of failure, of hard work, and of outstanding healings from God. I took every recording I could find of him over a decade and digitized them and made them available online for free, and sent out thousands of CDs of his preaching all over the world. 

 

Then one day I caught him in an outright fabrication. I had just finished watching him preach a few times in a German church, and it was standard Pentecostal stuff, though his translator had trouble with his Louisiana accent and would often have to pause and think about how to translate or just simply didn't understand. 

 

Then I played the next video of when he landed back in the USA and preached about what happened in Germany. He launched into a long tale of how a coven of witches had come to the church and openly challenged the power of God. He described the female leader in detail and how their devil power was affecting his translator's ability to talk. He said he finally had enough and jumped down from the platform and confronted her. The power of God and Satan was shaking both of them and ended up tossing her across the room, and all of the coven was knocked out by the power of God. Later they came crawling up begging to be born again. Of course, I had the videos showing what actually happened and literally none of what he described took place. But the American church was applauding and eating it up. 

 

I realized I'd been duped by this guy and his cult for 9 years. Great storyteller. But having previously visited his compound in Mexico, the women were like robots, the guys all too macho and total control freaks. But visitors like us went along with it because we wanted to see the power of God. We all got food poisoning at their house, which he attributed to the devil. It was just lack of refrigeration and sanitation. 

 

I was stunned by what I saw on the video, shut off the website, and began soul-searching and fasting and praying trying to get an answer about all of it. I eventually realized I'd been in a cult of this man's personality. Many years later I realized that he was part of a branch of Pentecostals that think if they believe something strongly, then it is real regardless of what the physical world is saying to the contrary. And boy does this guy have a strong imagination and will. But the rest of the church he preaches to doesn't realize that all of his claimed miracles are in his imagination, which he equates by faith with physical reality. And they dump money into his pockets to keep him going. 

 

It was all a big slap in the face that started me questioning in ways that I don't think anything else would have. Those questions uncovered lots of other questions I'd shelved over the years (Why is the god of the bible such a total psychotic asshole?, Why is death the punishment instead of a spanking or something?, Why do modern humans so easily believe such obvious primitive tales of buildings reaching high enough that God had to keep them out of his heaven which is "up" above the planet (there is no up in space), or Jesus ascending "up" into the clouds when we have airplanes and spacecraft that go there and haven't encountered a barrier into heaven? Why is the natural sex drive taboo when God made it in EVERY species that mates? Why would he care about eating pork ever? All just stupid tribal taboos and myths.)

 

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4 hours ago, Fuego said:

Why would he care about eating pork ever?

I heard a theory that there were outbreaks of illness from various things back before refrigeration was known.  The people in charge figured out that the illness came from pork, beef, shellfish or poor hygiene around the foreskin, but knowing their people would ignore legal proclamations, they used god to make the law unbreakable.  We can't police the law, but god is always watching and you'll get punished later.  It would have worked too, the superstitious people would have avoided the bad food and illness dropped, therefore proving god was happy.  Of course once you let the cat out of the bag there is no way to get it back in.

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9 hours ago, Fuego said:

 

Those questions uncovered lots of other questions I'd shelved over the years 

 

a similar thing happened with me.  Researching the questions kept leading to other questions.  Almost a snowball effect.  There was a couple of times I had to stop studying a while and let things soak in.  But I could never completely turn the curosity off.

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On 9/4/2022 at 8:09 PM, Weezer said:

Yes it sounds easy compaired to what some of us went through.  

 

I never got into Greek mythology.  Did they use anything like the fear of Hell for not being obedient?

 

I felt I was a good child when I was young so I never had any fear of hell -- or considered the joys of heaven either. I lightly studied Greek mythology but not as anything serious. I came to consider all religions as simply another joke upon mankind -- for the more weak-minded of us.

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On 9/5/2022 at 9:57 PM, pantheory said:

 

I felt I was a good child when I was young so I never had any fear of hell --

 

I was also a good child, but our religion said we would go to Hell if we knew right from wrong and had not been dunked (baptised by emersion).  And then during adolecense that evil ole LUST just would not go away!   I just knew I was going to Hell.

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On 9/4/2022 at 8:09 PM, Weezer said:

Yes it sounds easy compaired to what some of us went through.  

 

I never got into Greek mythology.  Did they use anything like the fear of Hell for not being obedient?

 

Yeah, maybe something like heaven and hell. If you were good you would be involved with Mount Olympus (like heaven). And if you were bad you would beome part of the underworld, something like hell.

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