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Old 04-06-2012, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
163 posts, read 117,137 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Since it's on - topic, I'd like to hear that, too. We hear a lot of deconversion stories so it would be interesting to hear why someone thought the atheism case didn't stack up.
We are going to stretch my mind a bit as I haven't thought about this is quite some time. I was raised in a very strict Catholic home back in the 1970s. Sunday mornings were brutal as my mom was stressed out getting all of us ready for another grueling hour at mass. My father was a non-practicing Lutheran so he didn't attend church much, only when my mom made him. And there were huge family tensions with the grandparents since my parents were in a religiously mixed marriage. She was Catholic, he Lutheran. My dad's parents had much more issue with having grandchildren who were Catholic. That is another story for a therapist!

When I left for the military at age 19 I felt a twinge of guilt on Sunday mornings and my mother's voice in my head telling me I better go to church or else. I went for awhile but still felt like church was an obligation, so I stopped attending. During that time I met a guy on the military base who told me about philosophy. We talked quite a bit about atheism, agnosticism and all the other religions in the world. The only other time I'd thought about leaving the Catholic church and trying another one was a non-denominational my uncle and his family attended. My mother told me I could never leave the Catholic church and that would be about the biggest sin ever.

After talking with that guy on the base I really pondered the thought of God not existing and that church was simply made up to give people a reason to feel better about themselves.

I decided to put the no God theory to a test. I chose to live for a few weeks as if there was no God and see what happened and how I felt. During that period of time I became very depressed at the thought of there being nothing after death, and simply no reason to why we where on this earth. My entire demeanor had changed and was noticed by my sergeants and a few of my co-workers. I didn't tell them about my trial so they weren't even aware.

One of my sergeants who I respected more than the others pulled me aside and told me what he noticed about my depression. He wanted to know what was going on. Reluctantly I told him. He was in his mid 30s and I was in my early 20s at the time. He told me that I had to find what was right for me in my life, and from his perspective it was evident that I did believe God existed and I couldn't live without Him. My sergeant didn't attend church but he knew me and knew that God was very real to me, even if I chose to not attend church.

Months later I received a call from my mother (I was stationed overseas and this was long before email, we lived on expensive phone calls and handwritten letters way back in the 80s!). My youngest brother who was in high school had told her he wasn't going to attend the Catholic church anymore. I was shocked and even though I'd resigned myself to never attend that church again I was worried about him. I prayed that God would bring "those type of people" who brainwashed him into my life so I could understand what he was thinking and going through.

It's a longer story here but through this event I realized my need for Jesus as a savior in my life and it is when I chose to give my life over to Him. Ironically my sergeant and many others saw a dramatic change in my life. I had never realized that I wasn't the most reliable worker until my work ethic changed immediately. While many didn't agree with my choice to have Christ in my life, they did appreciate my new found work ethic.

So basically my logical decision to dismiss atheism was based on how I personally responded to living a life with no aspect of God in it. While it may not be logical or agreeable to others, it's what I did to test and see if I truly believed in a God.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 1,315,275 times
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The answer I hear most often from those who couldn't accept atheism, was that they just feel god there, then they gather psuedo-intellectual arguments to support that feeling such as they just can't see how the organized world around them could come to be without a god.

Edit: This post was written before post #31 was posted.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
163 posts, read 117,137 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hueffenhardt View Post
The answer I hear most often from those who couldn't accept atheism, was that they just feel god there, then they gather psuedo-intellectual arguments to support that feeling such as they just can't see how the organized world around them could come to be without a god.
So are you saying that what I shared is insufficient to logically decide whether a God exists? Aren't "feelings" or rather emotions a part of our makeup? I believe a rational decision should utilize all aspects of what we are. We should use not only intelligence but emotions as well. Thanks for the feedback.

EDIT: Just saw your edit. Thought I'd keep this as a response anyway. Thanks for the edit update.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:53 AM
 
1,645 posts, read 1,378,220 times
Reputation: 1008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_loves_to_cook View Post
So are you saying that what I shared is insufficient to logically decide whether a God exists? Aren't "feelings" or rather emotions a part of our makeup? I believe a rational decision should utilize all aspects of what we are. We should use not only intelligence but emotions as well. Thanks for the feedback.

EDIT: Just saw your edit. Thought I'd keep this as a response anyway. Thanks for the edit update.
i'm not sure if he says yes to your question above or not, but i'm certainly going to say 'Yes'!
Your feelings are simply irrelevant when it comes to the question of whether a god exists or not. a god either exists or it does not. whether you and i believe or not believe that has no affect on those conditions and the ultimate answer to that question.
I can understand that 'believing that there's an afterlife and a god' made you 'feel' better about life, etc. but you must understand that you still haven't figured out the answer for yourself. you've just chosen to believe something, without really looking at whether there's ample evidence that warrants that belief.

you sound like a reasonable enough person....i suggest you try to look at the evidence on either sides of the argument and decide only then whether there's enough to convince you either way.
Feeling crappy because of a fact (if in fact you realize there's no god nor afterlife) isn't (in my opinion) a good enough reason to just 'believe' in the supernatural; essentially just fooling your emotions and your intellect.

I do recommend reading "The god delusion" by richard dawkins, if you're not opposed to it.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:14 AM
 
9,741 posts, read 7,715,906 times
Reputation: 5863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_loves_to_cook View Post
We are going to stretch my mind a bit as I haven't thought about this is quite some time. I was raised in a very strict Catholic home back in the 1970s. Sunday mornings were brutal as my mom was stressed out getting all of us ready for another grueling hour at mass. My father was a non-practicing Lutheran so he didn't attend church much, only when my mom made him. And there were huge family tensions with the grandparents since my parents were in a religiously mixed marriage. She was Catholic, he Lutheran. My dad's parents had much more issue with having grandchildren who were Catholic. That is another story for a therapist!

When I left for the military at age 19 I felt a twinge of guilt on Sunday mornings and my mother's voice in my head telling me I better go to church or else. I went for awhile but still felt like church was an obligation, so I stopped attending. During that time I met a guy on the military base who told me about philosophy. We talked quite a bit about atheism, agnosticism and all the other religions in the world. The only other time I'd thought about leaving the Catholic church and trying another one was a non-denominational my uncle and his family attended. My mother told me I could never leave the Catholic church and that would be about the biggest sin ever.

After talking with that guy on the base I really pondered the thought of God not existing and that church was simply made up to give people a reason to feel better about themselves.

I decided to put the no God theory to a test. I chose to live for a few weeks as if there was no God and see what happened and how I felt. During that period of time I became very depressed at the thought of there being nothing after death, and simply no reason to why we where on this earth. My entire demeanor had changed and was noticed by my sergeants and a few of my co-workers. I didn't tell them about my trial so they weren't even aware.

One of my sergeants who I respected more than the others pulled me aside and told me what he noticed about my depression. He wanted to know what was going on. Reluctantly I told him. He was in his mid 30s and I was in my early 20s at the time. He told me that I had to find what was right for me in my life, and from his perspective it was evident that I did believe God existed and I couldn't live without Him. My sergeant didn't attend church but he knew me and knew that God was very real to me, even if I chose to not attend church.

Months later I received a call from my mother (I was stationed overseas and this was long before email, we lived on expensive phone calls and handwritten letters way back in the 80s!). My youngest brother who was in high school had told her he wasn't going to attend the Catholic church anymore. I was shocked and even though I'd resigned myself to never attend that church again I was worried about him. I prayed that God would bring "those type of people" who brainwashed him into my life so I could understand what he was thinking and going through.

It's a longer story here but through this event I realized my need for Jesus as a savior in my life and it is when I chose to give my life over to Him. Ironically my sergeant and many others saw a dramatic change in my life. I had never realized that I wasn't the most reliable worker until my work ethic changed immediately. While many didn't agree with my choice to have Christ in my life, they did appreciate my new found work ethic.

So basically my logical decision to dismiss atheism was based on how I personally responded to living a life with no aspect of God in it. While it may not be logical or agreeable to others, it's what I did to test and see if I truly believed in a God.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Wow, I agree it would be a major turnoff for me if a particular worldview made me depressed and lose any reason to live. That's not what atheism should be about at all and it's definitely no reason to accept it.

I can understand where you're coming from though, because I was a theist for most of my life. And I was exposed to atheism at an earlier point in my life by certain people. I felt a similar lack of meaning and vitality in their arguments at the time. I guess they were rookies.

But more recently, when I revisited atheism and learned to understand for myself the basis for it, I began to have a very different view of it. Reason, logic and scientific understanding replaced the role of religion for me. And it was much more intellectually satisfying.

It dawned on me that life doesn't need to have a single overriding purpose, such as seeking "God." That is painfully limiting. Rather, life has a potentially infinite number of purposes which can be as valuable as we want them to be. Infinite hopes, infinite meanings, infinite dreams - that's what atheism opened up for me. It was very liberating and invigorating. It felt good too!

Anyway, I understand that we all need to find our own paths during any period in our lives. Sometimes we're theist, sometimes we're agnostic, sometimes we're atheist. It's one long journey and that's what makes it exciting.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
114 posts, read 47,185 times
Reputation: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_loves_to_cook View Post
We are going to stretch my mind a bit as I haven't thought about this is quite some time. I was raised in a very strict Catholic home back in the 1970s. Sunday mornings were brutal as my mom was stressed out getting all of us ready for another grueling hour at mass. My father was a non-practicing Lutheran so he didn't attend church much, only when my mom made him. And there were huge family tensions with the grandparents since my parents were in a religiously mixed marriage. She was Catholic, he Lutheran. My dad's parents had much more issue with having grandchildren who were Catholic. That is another story for a therapist!

When I left for the military at age 19 I felt a twinge of guilt on Sunday mornings and my mother's voice in my head telling me I better go to church or else. I went for awhile but still felt like church was an obligation, so I stopped attending. During that time I met a guy on the military base who told me about philosophy. We talked quite a bit about atheism, agnosticism and all the other religions in the world. The only other time I'd thought about leaving the Catholic church and trying another one was a non-denominational my uncle and his family attended. My mother told me I could never leave the Catholic church and that would be about the biggest sin ever.

After talking with that guy on the base I really pondered the thought of God not existing and that church was simply made up to give people a reason to feel better about themselves.

I decided to put the no God theory to a test. I chose to live for a few weeks as if there was no God and see what happened and how I felt. During that period of time I became very depressed at the thought of there being nothing after death, and simply no reason to why we where on this earth. My entire demeanor had changed and was noticed by my sergeants and a few of my co-workers. I didn't tell them about my trial so they weren't even aware.

One of my sergeants who I respected more than the others pulled me aside and told me what he noticed about my depression. He wanted to know what was going on. Reluctantly I told him. He was in his mid 30s and I was in my early 20s at the time. He told me that I had to find what was right for me in my life, and from his perspective it was evident that I did believe God existed and I couldn't live without Him. My sergeant didn't attend church but he knew me and knew that God was very real to me, even if I chose to not attend church.

Months later I received a call from my mother (I was stationed overseas and this was long before email, we lived on expensive phone calls and handwritten letters way back in the 80s!). My youngest brother who was in high school had told her he wasn't going to attend the Catholic church anymore. I was shocked and even though I'd resigned myself to never attend that church again I was worried about him. I prayed that God would bring "those type of people" who brainwashed him into my life so I could understand what he was thinking and going through.

It's a longer story here but through this event I realized my need for Jesus as a savior in my life and it is when I chose to give my life over to Him. Ironically my sergeant and many others saw a dramatic change in my life. I had never realized that I wasn't the most reliable worker until my work ethic changed immediately. While many didn't agree with my choice to have Christ in my life, they did appreciate my new found work ethic.

So basically my logical decision to dismiss atheism was based on how I personally responded to living a life with no aspect of God in it. While it may not be logical or agreeable to others, it's what I did to test and see if I truly believed in a God.
Interesting.

My experience was exactly the opposite. Before I lost my faith, I was a very depressed kid. Even tried to kill myself a few times between the ages of 13 and 17 (so glad I failed).

My reasons were inherently selfish. It wasn't because of a bad immediate family situation... hell, my family is practically a fairy-tale story of separation and return and has "happily ever after" written all over it. Technically, I should believe in "soul-mates" because of my Mom and Dad (I don't because I find the idea to be irrational, but there you go). My brother was, and still is, my best friend. Not too mention how close I am with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousin, and how close I was with my great-grandparents, too (though my great grandparents have all now passed, sadly... however, the last one died when I was 22).

The problem was, due to things I did as a kid, I was (technically still am) horribly socially awkward. I basically had zero friends. I was the kid that got bullied even by other bully-victims. I loved my home life, but hated everything else about myself. And it was my fault, too, as I was a messed up and very stupid kid. I can say with certainty that if who I am now knew who I was then, I would not be my friend. I brought the teasing and bullying onto myself (and I can say that objectively... for example: you would not believe how long it took me to give up the idea of "imaginary friends"... it's pathetic, to be honest... it all boils down to the fact that it took me until 10th Grade to throw off the "Kindergarten mentality"... and the rest of high school to break the bad habits that I ended up with because of that... then I took two years off of college, and didn't care about my first year in college, all adding up to me being a 24-year-old college Junior on his way to his first Bachelor's, which is at least 4 years too late).

I didn't blame God for any of this, though. I believed in free will. I made the decisions that did all that to me. God had nothing to do with it.

At least consciously, the reason I lost my faith was because I honestly could not answer the question "why do you believe in God?" with anything other than a cliche, rehearsed answer. The honest answer was that I'm really not sure if I ever believed. It seemed I only "believed" because everyone else around me believed. I was going with the crowd, basically. It never really meant anything to me. There's more to the story, of course... involving a Led Zeppelin forum, discovering the evolution vs. creation debate and getting into the thick of that debate, reading the "God Delusion" (though, at least consciously, it only had a minor effect on me... maybe it had a stronger effect on me subconsciously) and so on. But it was that question that was, I guess, the straw that broke the camel's back.

This happened when I was about two months away from turning 21. I was going through other changes at this time, as well. The biggest one was the throwing off of my depression. I'm definitely still fighting against my social phobias, and it is extremely hard (I'm terrified of bars and parties and such, and find I converse easier online then offline). I'm also a very tense and stressed-out person (which means I have to consciously act to avoid cigarettes because of how relaxed and stress-free nicotine makes me feel... I'm afraid of smoking not because of the lung cancer or any of that, but because I'm a [Blues Rock] singer and have no interesting in tearing my voice up... but I'd likely be a chain smoker if such weren't the case), which makes the fight against the social phobias even harder. But it's also extremely rewarding, especially now that I've figured out who I want to be.

I'm happier since losing my faith.




However, from my view, none of that matters. The problem with emotion is that it is inherently subjective. That's why it cannot be an argument for the existence of anything. We don't "believe in" the existence of Martin Luther King, Jr because of the way his story makes us feel. We know for a fact he existed because we have empirical evidence for his existence (pictures, video, audio, witnesses, his still-existing family, etc).

I feel as if the same has to be applied to the existence of a higher power. It's why I reject the idea that the question of God's existence, and the existence of a supernatural/paranormal realm in total, is outside the scope of science (Non-Overlapping Magisteria, or NOMa).

Science is the best tool we have to answer questions about the nature of reality. The question of God's existence is not just a question about the nature of reality, but the question, and the reason is because the answer effects reality in the most fundamental way, seeing as the answer is hinged entirely on why there is a reality to begin with. Reality is the domain of science, and as such, anything claimed to be real is best corroborated (or disproven) with science.

So even if I felt depressed and lost without my faith, it wouldn't matter. The question is not an emotional one, but a physical one. Reality is not supposed to make us feel good. Reality just is. How we feel about it is entirely up to us.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:58 AM
 
1,645 posts, read 1,378,220 times
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Originally Posted by NateHevens View Post

So even if I felt depressed and lost without my faith, it wouldn't matter. The question is not an emotional one, but a physical one. Reality is not supposed to make us feel good. Reality just is. How we feel about it is entirely up to us.
Well said.
thanks!
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:36 PM
 
Location: London, UK
15,498 posts, read 7,275,875 times
Reputation: 2585
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_loves_to_cook View Post
We are going to stretch my mind a bit as I haven't thought about this is quite some time. I was raised in a very strict Catholic home back in the 1970s. Sunday mornings were brutal as my mom was stressed out getting all of us ready for another grueling hour at mass. My father was a non-practicing Lutheran so he didn't attend church much, only when my mom made him. And there were huge family tensions with the grandparents since my parents were in a religiously mixed marriage. She was Catholic, he Lutheran. My dad's parents had much more issue with having grandchildren who were Catholic. That is another story for a therapist!

When I left for the military at age 19 I felt a twinge of guilt on Sunday mornings and my mother's voice in my head telling me I better go to church or else. I went for awhile but still felt like church was an obligation, so I stopped attending. During that time I met a guy on the military base who told me about philosophy. We talked quite a bit about atheism, agnosticism and all the other religions in the world. The only other time I'd thought about leaving the Catholic church and trying another one was a non-denominational my uncle and his family attended. My mother told me I could never leave the Catholic church and that would be about the biggest sin ever.

After talking with that guy on the base I really pondered the thought of God not existing and that church was simply made up to give people a reason to feel better about themselves.

I decided to put the no God theory to a test. I chose to live for a few weeks as if there was no God and see what happened and how I felt. During that period of time I became very depressed at the thought of there being nothing after death, and simply no reason to why we where on this earth. My entire demeanor had changed and was noticed by my sergeants and a few of my co-workers. I didn't tell them about my trial so they weren't even aware.

One of my sergeants who I respected more than the others pulled me aside and told me what he noticed about my depression. He wanted to know what was going on. Reluctantly I told him. He was in his mid 30s and I was in my early 20s at the time. He told me that I had to find what was right for me in my life, and from his perspective it was evident that I did believe God existed and I couldn't live without Him. My sergeant didn't attend church but he knew me and knew that God was very real to me, even if I chose to not attend church.

Months later I received a call from my mother (I was stationed overseas and this was long before email, we lived on expensive phone calls and handwritten letters way back in the 80s!). My youngest brother who was in high school had told her he wasn't going to attend the Catholic church anymore. I was shocked and even though I'd resigned myself to never attend that church again I was worried about him. I prayed that God would bring "those type of people" who brainwashed him into my life so I could understand what he was thinking and going through.

It's a longer story here but through this event I realized my need for Jesus as a savior in my life and it is when I chose to give my life over to Him. Ironically my sergeant and many others saw a dramatic change in my life. I had never realized that I wasn't the most reliable worker until my work ethic changed immediately. While many didn't agree with my choice to have Christ in my life, they did appreciate my new found work ethic.

So basically my logical decision to dismiss atheism was based on how I personally responded to living a life with no aspect of God in it. While it may not be logical or agreeable to others, it's what I did to test and see if I truly believed in a God.
Thank you! I must say it is a bit of a relief that you didn't so much find that the atheist case didn't stack up but that you couldn't manage without theism.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:28 PM
Status: "Turn off the news, get healthy!" (set 2 days ago)
 
5,176 posts, read 2,438,843 times
Reputation: 3763
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg Bach View Post
Intellectually I am tempted to go the atheist route...but I can't because it does not make sense. It all has to do with modern pride - ego and an attempt at being more sophisticated than the next guy..this in my opinion creates atheists..

Religion is also the culprit..because it is corrupt and lies. Most intellectually figure out that the universe thinks and that the miracle we live in is a devine creation...that there is a God....Atheists are striking out against man..not God...sadly they toss the baby out with the bath water.
I can't say crap like this didn't help my route.


Honestly I grew up without religion and when that happens churches just look like every other big box store advertising the lowest price whether it's true or not. It's harder to believe that it is, then to not believe if you know what I mean.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma
2,487 posts, read 2,090,304 times
Reputation: 1694
I finally got to the point where I realized you can't make sense out of nonsense. For instance, today is the day that Jesus was crucified for our sins and "shed his blood" because God requires "blood" to forgive sins.

Why? He's God. He makes up the rules. He doesn't "require" blood, or cotton candy or anything else to "forgive" sins. He can just forgive them if he wants to.........or he can let sins go........or he can decide that there is no such thing as sin.

I mean all this blood? Who the heck does God think he is? ME?????
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