1. Joined
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    21 Aug '15 15:41
    If you were once a devout believer, now an atheist, this thread is for you.

    I've always been an atheist, so I haven't struggled too much with religious beliefs. I've been curious, looked into it a little, but remain unconvinced. I understand that it couldn't have been just one thing that turned you atheist, but I'm curious if there was one definitive moment when you realised you're no longer a believer.
  2. Joined
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    21 Aug '15 16:341 edit
    Originally posted by C Hess
    If you were once a devout believer, now an atheist, this thread is for you.

    I've always been an atheist, so I haven't struggled too much with religious beliefs. I've been curious, looked into it a little, but remain unconvinced. I understand that it couldn't have been just one thing that turned you atheist, but I'm curious if there was one definitive moment when you realised you're no longer a believer.
    I am what is in some circles is known as a weak atheist, lacking belief in deity as commonly envisioned in the West, instead of having a belief there is no such thing. (Of course it is up to the theists to define their deities and some of those definitions may entail logical contradiction which would support a belief that they do not exist.) So I do not actively promote a belief that there is no deity.

    I must have been emotionally prepared to drop my belief in deities before I came upon Homer Simpson's Man and His Gods, otherwise I would not have read it. It certainly led to an intellectual understanding that there is nothing special about the deity called "God" relative to the other deities worshiped by humans over time. There is one unique quality: God is the most successful reconciliation of the contradictions of Western polytheism (deities as persons) into monotheism. Yet there is that pesky trinity in one of its branches. (Edit: And Satan, and to some, Mary, and Michael, Gabriel, etc.)

    The following is a link to the book.

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/homer1a.htm

    The forward is by Albert Einstein.
  3. Cape Town
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    21 Aug '15 16:49
    Originally posted by C Hess
    If you were once a devout believer, now an atheist, this thread is for you.
    I was brought up as a Christian. I wouldn't describe my experience as 'devout believer' but I most certainly believed there was a God and prayed etc but didn't believe everything I was told about said God. Becoming atheist for me was a particular moment when I must have been about 12 years old and I was thinking about whether or not God really existed (I had always harbored some doubts I think) and I just considered for a moment 'what if God doesn't exist?' and initially I was scared of some backlash from God, but soon realized that if he doesn't exist, no backlash is coming. Since then, I have a few times seriously considered the possibility that a God does exist, and at times wanted a God to exist, but I have pretty much been atheist since that day.
    One sort of confirming moment for me was in my late teens when I did something really stupid and nearly drowned. I was totally exhausted in the middle of a very big river and was convinced that I was about to die. It thought to myself, 'this is the moment people turn to God, and yet I still don't think there is a God.' I thought also of what my parents and family would think of my death. I did survive (obviously) and it is likely that I wasn't nearly as close to death as I had thought, but somehow that experience solidified my conviction that I was right that there was no God. My understanding of theism has matured a lot since then and I would say my current reasons for not believing in a God may be quite different from what they were back then although ultimately it boils down to two things: lack of evidence in support and plenty of evidence to the contrary - at least with regards to a personal God as described in Christianity.
  4. Standard memberAgerg
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    21 Aug '15 17:241 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    I am what is in some circles is known as a weak atheist, lacking belief in deity as commonly envisioned in the West, instead of having a belief there is no such thing. (Of course it is up to the theists to define their deities and some of those definitions may entail logical contradiction which would support a belief that they do not exist.) So I do not active ...[text shortened]... e book.

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/homer1a.htm

    The forward is by Albert Einstein.
    ... before I came upon Homer Simpson's Man and His Gods, ...

    I take it you meant to say Homer Smith? 😉
  5. Joined
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    21 Aug '15 17:251 edit
    Originally posted by Agerg
    [b]... before I came upon Homer Simpson's Man and His Gods, ...

    I take it you meant to say Homer Smith? 😉[/b]
    Doh!
  6. Hmmm . . .
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    21 Aug '15 18:35
    I let those for whom the god of supernaturalist dualism was the only possible god-understanding convince me. I also let those who seem to think that questions like the following all have the same entailments convince me that only one set of entailments was valid:

    Is ~(A & ~A) true?

    Is love true?

    Is beauty true?

    Do you think Beethoven is true?

    Does love exist?

    Does God exist?

    Does beauty exist?

    Does that rock over there exist?

    Do subatomic particles exist?

    Does logic exist?

    Do you believe in reason?

    Do you believe in evolution?

    Do you believe in Beethoven?

    Do you believe in love?

    Do you believe in God?

    ______________________________________________________

    Now, “Beethoven” (symbolic here of art generally) informs my life as much as do (hopefully) logic and reason—in fact, more. I would rather live a life rich with love and beauty than one that was only rich in logic and reason—even if that life entailed certain absurdities (absurdity being the opposite of logic). Others would disagree. Some find logic and mathematics as richly and as informatively aesthetic as I find poetry and music. That does not mean that I would go to Beethoven for my medical check-up; it means that I go to my medical check-up so I can live a full life of “Beethoven”.

    For me, the God questions best fit in the same categories as the Beethoven questions, and the love and beauty questions. In some sense, they are unanswerable—in an epistemological sense, they may make no sense. To suggest that “beauty exists in the eye of the beholder” may make sense—but not the same (non?)sense that it would make to say, “Biology exists in the eye of the beholder”.

    So what am I? I might call myself a non-supernaturalist, agnostic panentheist. Others can insist whatever they want about what sorts of entailments that statement must carry—I consider it no different than saying that I am a lover, or that I believe Her to be beautiful.
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    21 Aug '15 23:031 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I let those for whom the god of supernaturalist dualism was the only possible god-understanding convince me. I also let those who seem to think that questions like the following all have the same entailments convince me that only one set of entailments was valid:

    Is ~(A & ~A) true?

    Is love true?

    Is beauty true?

    Do you think Beethoven is true?

    ...[text shortened]... I consider it no different than saying that I am a lover, or that I believe Her to be beautiful.
    In my shorthand thoughts upon reading your post, I am left with: What is does it mean for something to be true? What is does it mean for something to exist? What is does it mean for someone to believe something? And why would the answers matter?
  8. Standard memberKellyJay
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    21 Aug '15 23:09
    Originally posted by JS357
    In my shorthand thoughts upon reading your post, I am left with: What is does it mean for something to be true? What is does it mean for something to exist? What is does it mean for someone to believe something? And why would the answers matter?
    If I cannot prove something I believe is true, make that thing untrue?
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    21 Aug '15 23:33
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    If I cannot prove something I believe is true, make that thing untrue?
    No, IMO, and by way of edit, I wonder about the difference between "believe" and "believe in."

    But a fair question is, if you want me to believe it too, why do you believe it? It seems that you would have a reason that is satisfactory to you, unless you just accept the idea that if you believe something, it is true. You could at least state the reason, if you have one.
  10. Standard memberKellyJay
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    22 Aug '15 00:041 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    No, IMO, and by way of edit, I wonder about the difference between "believe" and "believe in."

    But a fair question is, if you want me to believe it too, why do you believe it? It seems that you would have a reason that is satisfactory to you, unless you just accept the idea that if you believe something, it is true. You could at least state the reason, if you have one.
    I agree with you on that, but do you want me to answer that in this thread since it sort of
    goes against the grain of it, or should another be started?
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    22 Aug '15 00:12
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    I agree with you on that, but do you want me to answer that in this thread since it sort of
    goes against the grain of it, or should another be started?
    You are right to respect the thread. I'm not asking you to state here or anywhere why you believe what you believe, it's enough to know we agree on the principle of backing up one's beliefs (no matter whether they are G or not-G) if we want others to believe as we do.
  12. SubscriberFMF
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    22 Aug '15 00:291 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    But a fair question is, if you want me to believe it too, why do you believe it? It seems that you would have a reason that is satisfactory to you, unless you just accept the idea that if you believe something, it is true. You could at least state the reason, if you have one.
    In a mechanism purportedly to decide who is "saved" and who is "damned" for eternity, the inability to believe what religious proponents of certain truth claims believe ~ when they cannot prove anything and cannot make their truth claims convincing or coherent to others ~ seems very tenuous and arbitrary - indeed far-fetched - on the part of the supposedly omnipotent God who created the mechanism and who is being promoted.

    I would say that this glaring credibility gap and not-fit-for-purpose mechanism [How can it even remotely be described as "justice" for example?] ~ which reeks of human-imagination origin ~ would be one of the major reasons why many atheists I have known reject Christian ideology and either become or remain atheists.
  13. Hmmm . . .
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    22 Aug '15 01:101 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    In my shorthand thoughts upon reading your post, I am left with: What is does it mean for something to be true? What is does it mean for something to exist? What is does it mean for someone to believe something? And why would the answers matter?
    Fair enough. My "longhand" list was designed to provoke two ideas: (1) That "what it means to be true" (etc.) might differ depending on the context and what exactly you're asking about, and (2) that the question, as well as similar questions, might just not make any sense, depending, again, on the context and the object of the question.

    Is the question, "Is the Bible true?" closer to "Is the law of noncontradiction true?", or "Is Beethoven true?", or one of the others.
  14. Donationrwingett
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    22 Aug '15 01:21
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I let those for whom the god of supernaturalist dualism was the only possible god-understanding convince me. I also let those who seem to think that questions like the following all have the same entailments convince me that only one set of entailments was valid:

    Is ~(A & ~A) true?

    Is love true?

    Is beauty true?

    Do you think Beethoven is true?

    ...[text shortened]... I consider it no different than saying that I am a lover, or that I believe Her to be beautiful.
    Why panentheist instead of pantheist? The former would seem to lean more heavily on supernaturalism.
  15. SubscriberSuzianne
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    22 Aug '15 01:43
    Originally posted by FMF
    In a mechanism purportedly to decide who is "saved" and who is "damned" for eternity, [b]the inability to believe what religious proponents of certain truth claims believe ~ when they cannot prove anything and cannot make their truth claims convincing or coherent to others ~ seems very tenuous and arbitrary - indeed far-fetched - on the part of the supposedl ...[text shortened]... s why many atheists I have known reject Christian ideology and either become or remain atheists.[/b]
    Right, because 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater' is always eminently reasonable.
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