I know a lot of you on here are fairly non-religious judging by the general consensus in this section. I'm also assuming that most of you were raised in religious households, or at the very least households which identified themselves as a part of a religion (even if your parents weren't very dedicated to their religion, as is the case for my parents).
I can't remember the exact age of when I stopped believing in God, but it's always fluctuated. Up until I was 12, I was fully theist. Then I began questioning my religion, when I was 15 or so, I was a deist. Then by the time I was 18, I became an agnostic. There was a period after that where I was uncertain of God's existence and even began to identify myself as a deist at certain times. Nowadays, I am pretty much fully atheist.
How did you evolve (pun intended) from theist to atheist? Likewise if you are still religious, have you ever considered atheism a potential option/world view?
Last Edit: Feb 18, 2015 23:55:20 GMT 5 by Vodmeister
I kind of believed some kind of God or really powerful godlike being when I was REALLY young. For I a while I didn't really believe in God, but for some reason didn't like the atheist label. Then I got into a bunch of youtubers and heard a lot of the arguments for both sides. Which led me to being an atheist now.
Last Edit: Feb 18, 2015 9:41:11 GMT 5 by mechafire
Post by creature386 on Feb 18, 2015 22:51:05 GMT 5
I would have started the thread title with "For the atheists here:" or something because this forum may be fairly secular, but the thread title makes it look like as if there was no religious minority here (after all, a bit more than a third voted for God in the "Rate your belief" poll). As for me, I started questioning my faith lately in elementary school. In 2012, I started becoming more religious again (due to a stupid website that brain washed me) until I finally was able to use my brain again. My self-conflict (how religious am I?) will probably never end, but I believe my input still fits to the thread topic.
I would have started the thread title with "For the atheists here:" or something because this forum may be fairly secular, but the thread title makes it look like as if there was no religious minority here (after all, a bit more than a third voted for God in the "Rate your belief" poll).
Changed the title to a more appropriately phrased question
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2015 0:00:14 GMT 5 by Vodmeister
Post by Infinity Blade on Feb 19, 2015 1:05:07 GMT 5
Started becoming rather uninterested in my religion maybe ~4 years ago. I questioned it and I think I can say I no longer believe in God. However, for all a lot of people who know me know, I still believe in God, for I still come to church, pray before dinner (at least when I'm with them), and whatnot. So I guess I'm a wolf in sheep's clothing in that respect.
In 2012, I started becoming more religious again (due to a stupid website that brain washed me) until I finally was able to use my brain again.
I presume this site was German and not English?
When I first discovered William Lane Craig, I actually underwent a brief transition phase from atheism to deism as I watched some of his debates. Nowadays I can see through all the nonsense and straw-men that WLC uses to win his debates, and I've become an agnostic atheist again.
So, here is my story. It is very long and put in a spoiler. Remember that key parts happened 4-5 years ago, so my memory is of course not fresh. The main section is also rather confusing because a lot happened at once. Warning, very long. It reads a bit like some diary of mine, but I thought it is of public interest, especially because some of you saw the stuff I've written on carnivora in late 2012 and alluded to it in this very thread, so you deserve the full (or at least what my memories managed to store) story. It also helps to understand why I care so much for Christianity and post so much in this section.
My parents are Serbian-Orthodox, though they seem to be more like nominal Christians, so I did not hear much of Jesus or God at home and I never really saw them praying or going to church. At elementary school, I attended a Catholic faith school (mostly because few other good schools were available and not because my parents liked it a lot, my father has a grudge against Catholics) and that's when I actually learned about the important Christian concepts. I liked it. I liked all the stories from the Bible and the way they were presented. The ten commandments were presented in a way that makes a lot of sense (and persuaded me that things like divorce or homosexuality are sinful). My religion teacher was also a highly sympathetic man and the lessons with him were quite funny with many anecdotes and stuff. A moment of interest was when I asked him why Genesis conflicted with scientific evidence. He answered that the Bible is not a science book and gave a response in the NOMA style. I did not go to church (I prayed quite often though and I thought God and I were good friends) because my parents didn't, so I was a bit hurt when some pastor belittled those of us who did not go to church. Otherwise, I really enjoyed my religion classes. After having finished elementary school, I attended a secular high school (there is no thing such as a middle school in Germany). It was a funny shift in the ethnic composition. There were plenty of Poles in elementary school which got replaced by Turks in high school. Only the Muslims seemed to be really pious in high school, most of the other students were rather secular. I was one of only three people to attend Catholic religious classes and it were really more ethic than religious lessons. My faith was wavering. I had a truly overwhelming fear of death, fearing the cessation of existence. I wondered how atheists can deal with all that. I was in a existential crisis (this crisis happened shortly after the death of my grandfather, I don't quite remember if there was a causal connection). Through the secular environment I lived in and my general reasoning, as well as my experience with other religions, I went on to adopt some unitarian faith for a brief time where no religion is the "true" one and everyone goes to heaven, even animals. I actually believed my grandfather was in heaven. While the Bible was still of value to me, my beliefs had more to do with the vague New Age stuff about some unspecified higher cosmic power than with Christianity (even though I still identified with Christianity and I thought the Bible was not meant to be taken literally and that fundamentalists are not "true" Christians). Here is a post I've made from the time I held these beliefs: carnivoraforum.com/topic/9616383/3/ I was quite glad to see the posts of Wild and Godzillaman which have shown that you aren't somehow weird when you try to reconcile your beliefs with science. I was also rather appalled by the posts of some antitheists on carnivora and on YouTube (and I was for some reason really glad when I've heard Wyvax explaining how Hitler was an atheist). However, I did not want to believe blindly and search for evidence of an afterlife. I remembered when my teacher at my elementary school talked about near death experiences and I wanted to find out more about them. They were persuasive to me (http://carnivoraforum.com/single/?p=8394861&t=9616383 ) and I was unable to grasp the skepticism from the carnivorans, thinking they just needed faith. Then it happened. A google search led my to an evangelical Christian fundamentalist website (http://www.lebensentscheidung.de/english/ - I of course read the German version, my English was poor back then, just look at my carnivora posts from 2012). This website included NDEs and visions from people who claimed to have witnessed heaven and hell. The website was evangelical in tone, explicitly denouncing all other faiths as counterfeits which lead you straight to hell and they were very hostile to Catholicism. The descriptions of hell were particularly terrifying (I tried to imagine myself in the middle of demons and fire, for eternity, when I felt thirsty, I imagined what the thirst of the sinners in hell must be like). They sounded so convincing to me. You just can't make this stuff up. People skeptical of their accounts obviously have never read them. You just feel how they must be real. I was especially convinced by the conversion stories which evangelicals are so obsessed with ("I used to be a Buddhist, now I'm a Christian") I spent a lot of time reading them and I thought only if you actually read these accounts, you can be convinced that they are true. Some accounts were near death experiences, some happened in the middle of the night, some were prophetic in nature with people receiving visions. Most of them had detailed descriptions of hell which were horrific. They were enough to convince me that I was in danger and that I had to repent. "Repent". This was a word which very, very often appeared there. I tried to repent as much as I could. I actually started going to church. I stopped listening to "sinful" music (I liked gangsta rap a lot before that) and I listened more to religious music. I tried to pray as much as possible and to obey the ten commandments as hard as I could. I grew obsessed with my sexuality. I was a 14 year old boy back then, so this was an issue. Every time I masturbated, I felt really, really, really bad and started searching for websites which should teach me how to stop it. My life was not easy. I even became sick and some fundamentalist even claimed that demons caused them and that God was testing me to make me as strong as Job. I just waited until Jesus would finally come back to Earth and rapture me, I did not want to grow old and possibly lose my faith on this horrible Earth. I could not wait, but I did not want to commit suicide, this was a heavy sin and the fear of hell kept me alive in the hard phases. I also tried to evangelize. I grew to believe that pretty much everyone goes to hell. I thought my grandfather was in hell (ironically, before and after my "rebirth in Christ", I believed to have received messages from God about the afterlife status of my grandfather). And I thought everyone I loved would go to hell. I wanted to convert them (my family especially fell victim to this, not just because of the evangelism, but because I actively refused to buy anything on Sundays and because my mother was worried about the heavy emotional reactions I sometimes had). But unlike most evangelist nowadays, I kinda understood that they would not believe without evidence (evangelists for some reason don't understand that you have to be intellectually convinced of the truth of Christianity before accepting it, I understood it). What evidence did I have? The accounts! I told my parents to read them. I told the psychiatrist I visited (largely due to problems at school, not so much due to the religious stuff) to read them. I showed to blokes on YouTube. And of course to the guys on carnivora (I even wrote theropod an e-mail with the website!). See for yourself here: carnivoraforum.com/topic/9616383/12/ (I later had to delete some posts due to their embarrassing stupidity) Their conviction and their conversions were persuasive, though I was myself not quite sure because some intelligent people (like coherentsheaf) were skeptical of them. Some of the YouTube blokes also had sound arguments. Archer250 also picked them apart (http://carnivoraforum.com/topic/9616383/17/ and carnivoraforum.com/topic/9616383/18/ and carnivoraforum.com/topic/9616383/19/ ), pointing out that such reports were by no means unique to Christians. While I heard all the stuff about other religions being false prophets, I had to understand that such reasoning was very unconvincing to outsiders like Archer. He also found holes in the stories I've shown and seemed so much more knowledgable. It never occurs to me that the stories could be faked. I simply had no idea how apparently well meaning people could outright lie because they had an agenda (to win as many converts as possible, to become famous and to sell books). I tried my best not to appear stupid (something most apologists don't even try), but I did. I grew a bit skeptical, but the fear of the possibility of hell (Pascal's wager) kept me believing and made me suppress my doubts. I should NEVER lose my faith, I knew that apostasy was a heavy sin. I heard that some Christians deconverted. The sheer thought was terrifying. What if that happened to me? No, it couldn't. Naturally, my views of atheists were highly negative, being some stereotyped compendium of all attributes I had to avoid. I tried to read some apologetics (technically, only one website again and in German). I did not understand most of the stuff there (I just liked to hear an apologist talking about stuff that would somehow prove my faith to be correct and make me cheer), though I again linked some of the apologetics when talking to people. I again thought that the formulations by the authors would once again do the job of the convincing. I participated in discussions and watched some. I kinda felt that the theist side was losing. It was especially shocking for me when Archer showed biblical contradictions. Sure, he was taking them out of context, he was not understanding them, they could be reconciled and apologists are doing that. Even I saw how much twisting is necessary to reconcile such stuff. My next goal became not to convince people of Christianity, but to convince them that Christianity isn't stupid. I also discovered the website of the Islamic creationist Harun Yahya. While I found his creationism silly, I found his book about hell shocking. I actually believed that Muslims would go to heaven as well (for some reason, even though I've also seen "visions" of Muhammad in hell) and sometimes included Yahya in my prayers. Unfortunately, I very briefly even thought that religious wars could be justified. Another of my discoveries was some uber-fundamentalist (and likely parodist) German forum where Christian fundies met. I found it appalling and I tried to distance myself from them and I kinda understood why many atheists though theists are stupid. I cannot recall what happened after that, the archive provided by carnivora ends here (I wanted to write down all here to have another archive). I remember that my faith wavered when I saw how the arguments for God's existence failed, how the testimonies were unreliable, how the concept was nonsensical, how God was so obviously hidden from us (and how my own "experiences" of him were powerful self-delusion as measured by inconsistency). I could not pin down my exact cause for loss of faith, I have no archives for that. I can only remember that it was a very gradual process. I also read the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. I was shocked by how barbaric, boring and absurd this book is. I can recall that I was highly pious and excited when starting to read Genesis and bored and indifferent when reading Revelation (even though I have to admit that Revelation is one of the best-written books). I had to learn that what the websites I've visited taught me about hell was largely plagiarized from The Divine Comedy and had little biblical basis. The fact that the Bible laid such a low emphasis on hell was rather surprising! I talked to some fundamentalists how I couldn't believe. I still wanted to be a Christian (I was in a self-conflict which lasted well until 2015), but I was not really convinced. I was rather appalled by some of the stuff done by said fundamentalists and how stupid, ignorant and un-understanding they appeared to be. Doubt was a foreign concept to them. When I see them talking, I can kinda see a former bit of myself in them, just that I actually recognized the concept of fallibilism. They don't. My story so far, maybe I can correct and expand upon some stuff once I find more posts I've made in earlier years.
Post by creature386 on Jul 13, 2017 22:14:39 GMT 5
Young Earth creationists typically make a distinction between observational and historical science. Observational science is science dealing with the present and they believe that it is trustworthy and responsible for all technology. Historical science, however, deals with the past and is, according to YECs, both unreliable and useless for technology.
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