2 of 2
2
What caused you to move from Believer to non-Believer?
Posted: 25 February 2012 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  52
Joined  2011-11-30

I came out of the closet and was tossed out of my Christian in-group so fast, I had emotional whiplash.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Not only am I an atheist and skeptic, I’m wary of anything that smacks of cliches and collectivism.

 Signature 


I would like to thank everyone at CFI for their hard work and all the forum participants for their thoughtfulness and good manners.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 February 2012 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3121
Joined  2008-04-07

Next time you see your xtian ex-friends….

Image Attachments
theT.jpg
 Signature 

Turn off Fox News - Bad News For America
(Atheists are myth understood)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 February 2012 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  189
Joined  2010-10-09

I grew up in Britain during those grim, grey - but, oddly, hopeful - years immediately following World War II. At that time, it seemed everyone was thanking God that a cruel, dangerous, and presumably unChristian enemy had been defeated; there was compulsory prayers, hymn singing and a sermon from the Headmaster (Principal) every morning at school; virtually everyone at least professed Christianity, even if few ever went to church except for baptisms, weddings and funerals. My own family was Unitarian, which is probably the most liberal brand of Christianity, but for a while we were caretakers at the local Unitarian chapel and thus “expected” to attend services, social occasions, harvest festivals, etc….

In such an environment one absorbs Christianity by a kind of osmosis. If anyone had asked me I would have said I was Christian, but I wasn’t especially interested in religion. We had what was called Religious Education in school - which was really Bible study from a strictly orthodox, Protestant point of view, no other religions were even given a mention - but I failed the final exam, dismally. My Religious education teacher was deeply disappointed in me.

It was only later - I was about 14 or 15 - I started to read the Bible in any sort of systematic way, and I immediately ran into problems. I read the Garden of Eden story, and started to wonder why God forbade Adam and Eve from eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and why he had to lie about it; “...in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” I read on, and found a supposedly omniscient God saying to Abraham, “Prove that you love me; sacrifice your firstborn son.” And Abraham says, “Sure, no problem. Will tomorrow morning do?” And a bit later, the story of Lot, supposedly the only Righteous Man in all of Sodom and Gomorrah, offering his little girls to be gang raped by a mob of perverts…... and I began to wonder, a bit.

Being a studious sort of kid, I began to read other stuff. Buddhism, a religion apparently without Gods and without warlike pretensions, attracted me for a while, but the idea of spending long hours meditating seemed kind of boring. I read Swedenborg, Blavatsky, Max Heindel, flirted with Rosicrucianism briefly, read about UFOs, leylines, magic(k) and Sacred Geometry; then I read Gerald Gardner’s books on Witchcraft. Woohoo!! Prancing around in the woods with naked girls!! This is the religion for me!!

Unfortunately I could’t find a Coven where I lived. I considered starting one of my own, but none of the girls I knew expressed any interest (I wonder why….). Eventually other interests prevailed; the necessity for earning a living raised its ugly head, and I began studying science and engineering seriously. I emigrated to Canada, worked as a mining geologist, got married, got divorced, but kept on studying. Evolution made a lot more sense to me than the Biblical creation story, but I couldn’t entirely put religious - or at least - for want of a better word - spiritual - ideas out of my mind. I read John Lilly, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley. I became an Initiated Thelemite (Ordo Templi Orientis) and an initiated Witch. I even led my own coven, for a while (!!)

So, to today. As far as most versions of God are concerned, I’m an atheist. I recognise the traditional images of Gods as Jungian archetypes, personifications of aspects of our own minds, for the most part; but I don’t entirely dismiss the idea of powerful other “beings” existing in alternative Universes, who might, for reasons of their own, interact in some way with our own Universe - but who, again for reasons of their own, have made very sure to have given us humans no unambiguous evidence of their existence. I don’t believe in them, any more than I believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft, or that ghosts are apparitions of the dead….. I just wonder a bit, sometimes, late at night…...

This has the advantage that I don’t have a “position” or “opinion” to defend; I can listen to anyone and decide for myself whether what they say makes any sense or not (mostly not, it seems). Science, to me, makes far more sense than any religion; but I recognise that science does not, yet, know everything; and I recall how eminent scientists of the calibre of Lavoisier once dismissed meteorites as superstitious nonsense, and…... I wonder a bit…...

‘bye for now.

Theflyingsorcerer.

[ Edited: 26 February 2012 12:22 PM by Theflyingsorcerer ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 February 2012 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  29
Joined  2011-11-05

First, a question:  What kind of believer/un-believer?

If by believer you mean a fundamentalist who agrees to accept the premise that the sacred religious text is literally true, word for word, that the religion’s historical teachings are to be followed without question, and that it is possible to petition a “being-god” to do things in the natural world for oneself and/or others, I never qualified as a believer. Such an unthinking position could, in my book, qualify as “stupid” (i.e. unreasonable) and although I wouldn’t want to tell someone that to his face I would want to do everything possible to counter the use of such fundamentalism to control society.  I am also interested to hear how someone moves from such a position to that of “unbeliever.”

If by unbeliever you mean someone who feels that anyone who participates in any religious organization is, merely by the fact of that participation, “stupid,” I’m not an unbeliever either. And I might consider arguing that such a fundamentalist atheistic position could be as “stupid” as blind faith since it excludes the possibility of exceptions or some new evidence that there is some aspect of the universe that, while humans have previously described it in anthropomorphic terms that are not accurate, could be described as “god.”

I guess that makes me a secular humanist—I no longer believe that participating in a religious organization is the best use of personal time and resources, and I believe that humans have within ourselves the ability to be good and make ethical decisions. I am, however, willing to leave open the question of “what is god,” but based on reason, not blind faith.  What caused me to finally decide to leave Christianity was a pastor who was trying to drag a progressive Christian congregation back to practices that they gave up 30 years ago. (I had previously left a congregation that was trying to drag a progressive pastor back to practices that some of us felt they should have given up 30 years ago.)

Another question for me is, if organized religion has been the source of so much evil, should we be attempting to form atheist/humanist/agnostic/freethinking organizations?  (It looks to me as though there are several fledgling “denominations” already in existence!) If so, how do we avoid the pitfalls of the human proclivity for finding and wielding power and control in evil ways?  If not, how do we teach each other and our children to use reason and our own powers of caring and observation to make ethical decisions that make a hopeful (and sustainable) future possible for our entire globe?

 Signature 

The Muddler (Diane)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 February 2012 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9283
Joined  2006-08-29

I was never a believer but I used to be very confused. Things started to makes sense for me after I read Dawkins’s “The Selfish Gene.” I guess I could use the title of one of Dobzhansky’s essays here, change it a bit and say that for me “nothing in life makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 February 2012 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1741
Joined  2007-10-22

I grew up in a liberal Baptist Church,  what was important there was human relationships.  We did read the Bible and I would credit final break from the theology involved eas reafing Mark Twain’s Letters From the Earth.  I was approx. 17 at the tme.  Many of the people from the church are still good friends of mine and as my age group matured many of us became non-believers.

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 2
2