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What caused you to move from Believer to non-Believer?
Posted: 23 February 2012 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was never a strong believer. But my move to non-believer was not a slow tortuous process as it was for Bart Ehrman.  For me, the transition took place in approximately 2 seconds.

  When I was a boy we went to church regularly.  I sang in the Choir – I really liked the music.  Then one day I was sitting in Church and I heard the words: “Believe in me and you will have everlasting life”.  I was overcome by a wave of emotion!  My thought was: Are you nuts?  (This was way before Nixon’s time – but consider the image of Richard Nixon selling used cars.) – You just don’t believe it.

  Then I started reading the Bible.  That was a bad mistake.  My impression was that the books were written by psychotic desert warlords who wanted to maintain control of their tribe – who did not like men much – and who liked women even less.  I stopped reading – it was just too sick.

  Then came 9/11.  Surely people will now understand the true nature of religion.  I was shocked to see that religious philosophy was not considered as a major contributor to the disaster!  So I asked my wife (Mary) about this.  She is a molecular biologist and minored in Psychology.  She said:  “An event like this will only increase the faith of the faithful – because they are stupid.  Now don’t bother me with any more this religious crap.  I have meaningful problems to solve in the world of science and medicine.  And besides, we have a road race to train for this weekend”. 

  Now I divide my time between religion, science, running road races and photographing road races.  I can get occasional input from Mary on Religion – if I have also critiqued some of the articles for her in the Journals “Science” and “Nature”.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ted Tyler - 23 February 2012 10:02 AM

An event like this will only increase the faith of the faithful – because they are stupid.

Deluded, yes. Intellectually dishonest, in some case, yes. Stupid? Rarely. Most religious people I have come in contact with (including my former self) are far from stupid. That is an incredibly insulting statement.

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“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

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Posted: 23 February 2012 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes, I agree.  Some deeply religious people are very intelligent.  But Mary - like the Emperor in Star Wars - is not as forgiving as I am.
However, if there is a disaster, many people are killed, and some of the survivors come out with “God must have been watching over me”, then I would have to say that you are looking at a stupid person – regardless of their IQ scores..
TT.

[ Edited: 23 February 2012 11:08 AM by Ted Tyler ]
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If your belief is true, the data will confirm it.  If your belief is false, then you need faith to believe it.
Religions that demand respect the most - are the religions that merit respect the least.
If you are offended by attacks on your religion, then your religion has programmed you well.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Quoting TT: 

Then I started reading the Bible.

I also did that as a child, but I wasn’t old enough to have value judgements.  Rather, I just saw it as a great set of fairytales, sort of like an early-day comic book. 

If I were to decide that everyone who didn’t agree with me about theology, politics, society, personal relationships, kinds of trees to plant, etc. were stupid, I’d have a difficult time dealing with anyone.  I have to recognize that people have all gotten different early imputs, and in many cases so early that they were breainwashed.  They have no ability to reach down into their minds and examine them logically.  As such, I try to relate to them in the areas where they make sense.

Occam

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Posted: 23 February 2012 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Occam. - 23 February 2012 11:08 AM

I also did that as a child, but I wasn’t old enough to have value judgements.  Rather, I just saw it as a great set of fairytales, sort of like an early-day comic book. 

Same here. I enjoyed Genesis just like I enjoyed Greek myths and Tolkein.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Doug and Occam.
  That could be a significant point – age matters.  You read the Bible as a child.  It is a fairy tale.  It is not real – and if you continue to read the Bible into adulthood it remains real.  So put it away for 20 years and come back to it.  Then you may see it for what it is:  A collection of supernatural legends with a historical setting and a moral code of submit or die.

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If your belief is true, the data will confirm it.  If your belief is false, then you need faith to believe it.
Religions that demand respect the most - are the religions that merit respect the least.
If you are offended by attacks on your religion, then your religion has programmed you well.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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FreeInKy - 23 February 2012 10:26 AM
Ted Tyler - 23 February 2012 10:02 AM

An event like this will only increase the faith of the faithful – because they are stupid.

Deluded, yes. Intellectually dishonest, in some case, yes. Stupid? Rarely. Most religious people I have come in contact with (including my former self) are far from stupid. That is an incredibly insulting statement.

Exactly. I think getting older and away from parental authority also helps one get their own perspective, if they work at it. Many just trod along with the fairy tales without thought - but that does not make them stupid, they simply choose the path of least resistance.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 23 February 2012 11:27 AM
Occam. - 23 February 2012 11:08 AM

I also did that as a child, but I wasn’t old enough to have value judgements.  Rather, I just saw it as a great set of fairytales, sort of like an early-day comic book. 

Same here. I enjoyed Genesis just like I enjoyed Greek myths and Tolkein.

IMHO Tolkein is on a much higher level.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 23 February 2012 01:49 PM

IMHO Tolkein is on a much higher level.

Well, Tolkien’s work is modern, so it speaks more to our modern style. But he was a deep devotee of Beowulf and the Norse myths which are on a similar level to the OT.

For old myths I particularly like the Odyssey, but there are parts of the OT that are quite good as well.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Ted Tyler - 23 February 2012 10:58 AM

Yes, I agree.  Some deeply religious people are very intelligent.  But Mary - like the Emperor in Star Wars - is not as forgiving as I am.
However, if there is a disaster, many people are killed, and some of the survivors come out with “God must have been watching over me”, then I would have to say that you are looking at a stupid person – regardless of their IQ scores..
TT.

That’s a broad use of the word stupid IMO Ted - even though I see, and agree where your coming from.  I was kind of like you, in that I can’t remember ever having much belief, or even caring a lot about the “cloud and harp activities”.  My parents were not religious so I was able to escape from hearing much about the subject - although my mother did make me get first communion.  To this day I’ve only read a few pages of the bible here and there, I find it tedious as sh**. When I became aware of the word Atheist in my teens I thought; “that’s what I am”, and haven’t altered much since.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I find the Bible just dreadful. I read it only once and I have no idea how I got through it. And I don’t like Tolkien either. Odyssey, OTOH, or the Epic of Gilgamesh, are, IMO, quite beautiful.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The problem, George, is probably that you read it when you were old enough to recognize the dreadfulness.  It’s sort of like my experience of picking up to reread, as an adult, a used copy of a long S-F story that I loved when I read it as a 12 or 13 year old and finding it infantile and really badly written.  I got it for my seventh birthday so I was young enough to enjoy the fairytale structure of it.

Occam

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Posted: 23 February 2012 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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What caused me to go from believer to non-believer was studying religion, mythology, psychology, and Evolution.  A lot about religion didn’t make sense to me until I started learning about other religions and myths, and eventually got a degree in psychology.  Those are the biggest two things that caused it all to fall apart for me.

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Posted: 23 February 2012 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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While I came from a “religiously oriented” family I never considered myself a fundamentalist after the age of 16. That’s when I decided to tackle the whole bible and from Genesis on it’s disjointed story bored me to tears. I’ve always been a reader as are both of my parents. As a preteen I read every comic I could lay my hands on even sic fI books by Asimov and others. At 14 I tackled Speer’s book, “The rise and Fall of theThird Reich”. Also devoured practically everything Of Verne’s I could find. Every book, every chapter moved the storyline along from intro to denouement BUT the bible. At that time I had no notion of this as a cut and paste collection of stories. It just didn’t make sense. The story didn’t flow from genesis to revelations. I’m still amazed by anyone who can quote chapter and verse as I find it terribly difficult. I finally finished the bible and was just as confused as ever. In a literature class in college we were required to read the Illiad and the Odyssey, two stories that flowed from the first page to the last. And then on to The epic of Gilgamesh and bells and whistles went off. Hmmmm, where have I heard this story before? That set me on the path and like a mystery I looked for the clues behind the bible and they turned up everywhere in history. I had no revelation that Christianity or religion for that matter was merely wishful thinking. I became an atheist slowly after much research, in the 1990’s. It wasn’t an easy journey for sure. And I remain at odds with my extended family, some of whom are hard core fundies. We don’t communicate much as a result. They stay off the subject until it impacts politics. Obama is a Muslim and Rick sanatorium will save us from Satan. And BTW, Franklin Graham is Jesus returned. That’s when I excuse myself and head for the door. You can’t argue with a committed fundie!

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 24 February 2012 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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dougsmith - 23 February 2012 11:27 AM

Same here. I enjoyed Genesis just like I enjoyed Greek myths and Tolkein.

I enjoyed Tolkien more…

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Posted: 24 February 2012 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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GdB - 24 February 2012 01:42 AM
dougsmith - 23 February 2012 11:27 AM

Same here. I enjoyed Genesis just like I enjoyed Greek myths and Tolkein.

I enjoyed Tolkien more…

Me too. LOL

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