Why Atheist?

By Brother Jeff

The following is a glorious update to my original 2002 "extimony."

I grew up in a nominally religious home. I was raised United Methodist, but at home religion was limited to occasionally reading some bible stories, and that's about it. I quit going to church when I was about ten years old, and didn't get involved in religion again until I was 19-years old. At that time, through the influence of my good friend Mike, I became a "sold out to Jesus" fanatic fundie. That was a huge change for me, going from a party animal alcoholic and drug user to Jesus Freak. It was a huge adjustment for my family too. I was still living at home at the time, and I remember when Mike and I came home one day and we were climbing the stairs on the way to my bedroom, my younger sister laughed when she heard us going on about how wonderful Jesus was. She thought it was hysterically funny, but of course I knew that she just wasn't saved - yet. I had religion, and I had it bad! I'm sure she laughed even harder when I cranked up Keith Green and Sandi Patti Christian music instead of the awesome 80's Rock that was usually blasting from my stereo. She wasn't laughing though, and neither was my mother, when I threw away hundreds of dollars worth of records and tapes (hey, this was before the days of the CD!) because "that music is satanic". Fortunately, they found out in time before the trash ran, and my mother forced me to retrieve the bags from the garbage dumpster. But anyway... I spent the next 15 years of my life as a fanatic fundie Christian. Due to my then undiagnosed bipolar illness, I had for that entire time swings from periods of devout religious belief to times of serious substance abuse. Every time I "backslid" though, I would always eventually (usually within a matter of months) be back in church serving Jesus again and wondering how I could have ever left Him. In hindsight now, I know that when I got "saved" I just added religion as a way to cope with the symptoms of my illness. Sometimes religion worked great, and sometimes substance abuse worked great. Either way, I was just self-medicating, whether I was high on Jesus or high on drugs and alcohol.

I deconverted in early 2000 at the age of 34, and since then - with the exception of a few bipolar-induced and unfortunately very public short-lived "reconversions" - I have remained an ex-Christian, and I see no good reason to ever return to the faith again. I'm alternately extremely pissed off about the years I devoted to a demonstrably false belief system, and sometimes I wonder if I should be grateful for my Christian experience because it may have saved my life by giving me something positive to hold on to when I was so ill. But the reality is that if I had never become a Christian (and in many ways I wish I never had), then I would have found some other way to cope besides extreme religious belief.

What religion gave me was a strong belief in a loving God who cared about me and cared about what happened to me. It also gave me a sense of importance because I believed that Jesus loved me personally enough to die for me. I also had a strong belief in a Heaven wonderful beyond our ability to describe that I was going to go to after I died and spend eternity there with the God and Savior that I loved. I really needed those beliefs at the time because I had assurance that the miseries of this life that were caused by my illness were nothing compared to the eternal joy and love and happiness that I was going to experience once this life was over. I spent years really, really looking forward to Heaven and desperately wanting Jesus to return so I could be delivered from the struggles of this life. I remember how excited I was in 1988 when Jesus was supposed to return on Rosh Hashanah of that year. I read the book "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988" by Edgar Whisenant with great excitement. On the night that the Rapture was supposed to occur, I told my unsaved family goodnight for what I thought would be the last time, and went to bed fully expecting to be gloriously raptured into the presence of Jesus sometime during the night. Imagine my disappointment when I woke up the next morning! My family just smiled at my religious foolishness and gave me a bit of a hard time about it, but then life went on as usual.

What Atheism gave me back was the use of my brain and common sense. I value reason and rational thought a great deal because I lost the use of them for so long in the area of religious belief. Because I don't believe in God, my destiny is my own. What I do with my life is up to me, and I don't have to spend it trying to please God or constantly apologize for sins either real or imagined. I don't have to constantly apologize for being human. I can just be me - a good and good-natured but fallible and imperfect human being - instead of what I think and hope that God wants me to be. It's very difficult to know if you are really pleasing a God who never gives you any sort of feedback! What Atheism also gave me was relief from the fear of Hell. Hell is an obvious myth, and a sick and demented and evil myth at that. But I spent years worrying that my unsaved family and friends were going to go there and at times when I doubted my salvation, I was very afraid that I would end up going there too.

What Atheism robbed me of was my strong belief in a loving God. No longer can I lay my problems and struggles down at the foot of the cross or in God's hands for Him to carry instead of me. No longer can I pray and believe that I am being lovingly heard by God in times of spiritual, emotional, or physical need. No longer can I engage in the praise and worship that I used to enjoy so much. No longer can I stand in awe of the holiness and purity of God as I pray. That belief is gone, and it is no longer possible for me to honestly believe that the loving God that I once believed in so strongly actually exists. God is pure mythology, and though the emotions I felt were wonderful, they were a product of the incredible power of belief, and that belief no longer exists.

Atheism robbed me of a belief in a Savior who was my best friend. I knew that Jesus loved me more than I could possibly comprehend, and that He would never let me down. He was with me always! I was sure that I let Him down a lot, but I believed in His love and forgiveness, and I knew that He would always take me back when I repented after I fell into indulging in sinful thoughts or behaviors. When I became an atheist, I lost my best friend.

Atheism robbed me of a belief in a Heaven wonderful beyond description that was waiting for me after I died. As an atheist now, I know that instead of going to a wonderful Heaven when I die, I'm simply going to cease to exist at the moment of my death. There is no good evidence that any part of us survives death, and I no longer expect or believe in any sort of afterlife. But, it was a tremendous hurt and disappointment to discover that my belief in Heaven - a place that I wanted to believe was real so badly - was based on nothing but ancient mythology.

Atheism robbed me of the belief that the bible was the "Word of God". I spent many years viewing it as a Divine Book - an inerrant, infallible, Divinely inspired guide for living straight from the throne of God. Now I recognize the fact that the bible is anything but the "word" of a god. It is, in reality, a collection of ancient religious mythology that clearly reflects the time in which it was written. The mostly anonymous authors of the bible clearly knew nothing of modern science, and God didn't reveal any modern scientific knowledge to them. The bible, in reality, is far from being inerrant or infallible. It is riddled with contradictions, absurdities, obvious myths, and a great deal of non-historical "history".

Atheism robbed me of my sense of divine specialness. I believed for years that God created mankind generally, and that he created me specifically with a loving and great plan for my life in mind if I would just obey Him and give myself completely to Jesus. Now I know that I am nothing but an accident. If a particular sperm from my father and a particular egg from my mother had not met and formed me one night in early 1965, I wouldn't exist. Perhaps I am still special in the sense that I am unique - the only me there ever has been or ever will be - but there is no divine plan behind my existence.

Atheism robbed me of my hope that maybe there was some greater purpose behind my bipolar illness. I hoped for years that God would heal me and use my life to glorify Him. Now I know that I simply drew the short end of the genetic stick (or whatever), and that no supernatural or divine reason for my illness exists. I had the misfortune of being born with genes that would cause mental illness starting in my teenage years, but the only reason for it is just simply genetics. There's nobody to blame and no particular reason that it happened to me. It just did, and I have to live with it and the consequences of it every single day.

Atheism robbed me of the belief that there is a higher purpose behind our existence. I know now that we exist because we evolved over a period of millions of years, not because God created us for companionship with Him. I know now that we have to find our own purpose for being. We have to create our own reasons for living because there is no greater divine purpose behind our lives. I still honestly wish that there was some sort of divine plan behind our existence, but there isn't, so I accept that reality even if I do so still somewhat grudgingly.

Atheism robbed me of my belief that I would be reunited with family and friends after death in Heaven. All of my grandparents are now dead. Granddaddy Reid died first in 1993 at the age of 85. Granddaddy Shelley died in 1994 at the age of 76 after years of struggling with heart problems caused by the rheumatic fever he had as a child. Grandmother Shelley died in 2002 at the age of 84 from a ruptured aortic aneurysm caused by high blood pressure. Grandmother Reid was the last to go in 2003 at the age of 87, but her mind was gone long before then, I believe from Alzheimer's Disease. I loved them all deeply and I still miss them terribly. I no longer expect to be reunited with them in Heaven. I remember when Granddaddy Shelley was in the hospital near death, he said to my Baptist minister uncle, "Danny, I hope I make it!" My grandfather wasn't a religious man, but he believed in God and he wanted to go to heaven. He made it one of his goals to read as much of the bible as he could before he died. My uncle didn't share the gospel with him at that time, and I remember feeling terribly guilty for a long time because I didn't either. I worried for a long time that my grandfather might have died unsaved and gone to hell. I'm relieved of that fear now, but I know now that I will never, ever see my grandparents again. They are dead and irretrievably gone. My parents are in their mid-60's now, and they too will die, and I will never, ever see them or know their love and support again. I lost my good friend Donny to suicide in 1985. I know now that I will never, ever see him again. When people die, they really die. They cease to exist and are gone forever. This is a sad, brutal reality that atheists accept without trying to shelter themselves from it with religious mythology. The reality and finality of death makes me sad, but at the same time it makes me value my family and friends more because I know that life is short, unpredictable, and temporary. It's very important to me to spend as much time as I possibly can with those I love and care about and to tell them frequently that I do.

I spent 15 years of my life believing strongly in a demonstrably false religion. Religion gave me a lot that was good, but it also filled my mind with many false promises and false beliefs. Walking away from religion and my belief in God and consequently embracing Atheism is the hardest but the best thing I have ever done for myself. Although I still sometimes miss the religious feelings I enjoyed and the beliefs that I had, I don't regret my decision to reject religious belief in favor of demonstrable reality at all. I am a stronger, better person because I am an atheist. I face reality as it is - even the most unpleasant parts of it - and I am good and moral because that's a part of who I am as a person, not because I am trying to please God or because I am living in fear of him. I have discovered how wonderful it is to face life on its own terms, free of religious myths and lies! Glory!

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi brother jeff I was moved to write because I suffer from schizoaffective disorder and I just wanted to encourage you that though god didn't create you that way for a divine purpose as you believed that the depth one develops as a result of mental illness is a virtue and I also wanted to say that there are people, not everyone, but some who can love you infinetly more than 'god' can people who dream to see you happy and fulfilled apart from whether you love them in return or 'worship them' this has got to be better than what god offers.

twincats said...

Jeff, I don't think you should worry too much about the part of your life that you wasted as a Christian.

It sounds to me like Christianity was an anchor for you during a difficult time in your life. But so was substance abuse. Perhaps the two were not much different for you.

The important thing here is that you didn't let either one go from being an anchor to a crutch.

Lorena said...

Jeff,

I love the it-robbed me list. Well said. No wonder it takes so long to recover from Christianity. It is a very powerful drug. It has to be for reasonably smart people like us to fall for it.

Micah Cowan said...

Wow, Jeff, that was great. I, too, really enjoyed the "it robbed me" list, and heard my own heart echoing most of it. It is hard to reject the emotional comforts and assurances that came with Christianity.

Atheism robbed me of my hope that maybe there was some greater purpose behind my bipolar illness.

This has to be particularly hard. I don't suffer from this, but my wife does. One of the things that really helped her to be able to cope sometimes was the idea that God could use her to reach out to other people that suffer from the illness.

My wife is still a Christian, though an agnostic one who no longer believes the Bible is inerrant. But even if you remove God and His Plans from the picture, you can still be useful to reach out and help other people that suffer from mental disorders. People with bipolar also tend to be very sensitive in general to emotional pain that other people are suffering, even when it's not brain chemistry-based. When we were church-goers, my wife would regularly pick up "vibes" from those people in the pews who were just wearing their thin plastic-smile fa├žades, and dying on the inside.

Bill said...

Hey Jeff,
Great read. I enjoyed your story. I never became a Christian despite my best efforts. I was an out of control alcoholic who suffered from severe adult onset depression. My subconscious mind would never allow myself to be saved. I guess I never could allow myself to be sucked into the cult. My sceptical side always won out although I did profess God(a generic one) belief and belief in heaven. I became sober(16 years) on my own after hitting complete rock bottom. It wasn't any fucking higher power that helped me, just real people in the real world. Shame had a lot to do with it also.

It really doesn't bother me that life doesn't have a grand purpose, but I am very depressed that those who come into the world totally fucked, like people with severe mental and physical hadicaps will never get there just reward in the end. When I see a child who has never walked, played, or rode a bike is the time I really wish there were more to this existence, but life is and always will be unfair.

xrayman

P.S. I lost a great friend to Christianity and he destroyed an awsome album collection that he once so much cherished. What a dumb fuck.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Thank you Jeff for your candidness. You said so much of what I have felt as a former Christian. That is why this site is so important. Christians just do not understand the profundity of losing one's religion. While it is liberating, there is a profound sadness that comes along with the loosening of our shackles. Like children clinging to our oppressive and abusive parents, we oft times left the apron strings of our religion kicking and screaming.

Your story is so sad, and one that I can relate to, but ironically it was Christianity that caused my mental instability in the first place. I do not suffer menal illness or depression, but the longer I was a Christian, the more neurotic and unstable I became. The more I struggled with the "love of God" and lamented over the fear of hell, the more depressed and suicidal I became. It wasn't until I let go of GAWD that I experienced real freedom and peace.

Lance said...

Margaret Mead once said that one of the ways to gain insight was "to have a religious conversion and get over it."

Here is the entire quote from her answer to a question about her list of ways to gain insight. I think it is appropriate for this post.

"I used to say to my classes that the ways to get insight are: to study infants; to study animals; to study primitive people; to be psychoanalyzed; to have a religious conversion and get over it; to have a psychotic episode and get over it; or to have a love affair with an Old Russian. And I stopped saying that when a little dancer in the front row put up her hand and said, ‘Does he have to be old?’"
-- Margaret Mead

So don't beat yourself up for the wasted years. Just think of the insight you now have into the religious mind. And then go find an old Russian.

Bloviator said...

Hi brother jeff:

Very moving story there -- you have a nice talent for writing. To echo many other comments, don't be too harsh on yourself about the past. We all fell for it one way or the other, didn't we? Also, your list dug deep for me -- one of the reasons I had difficulty releasing the concept of the christian god was my unwillingness to accept life as meaningless (in the grand scheme of things, that is). But as the saying goes "wishing don't make it so".

All that said, I think we can add meaning to our lives if we choose to, without resorting to some higher authority to give a stamp of approval. Whether existence in itself is some sort of 'grand joke' or no, we are here today and can give joy, peace, strength and hope to each other as we traverse the hills and valleys of our lives. Whether I ever understand .000000000001% of this world, one thing I know is this: I am alive today and can make it good or bad, my choice.

Like Bill(xrayman), I am also a recovered alcoholic with a long history of family depression (an autism for that matter). Also like bill, I never 'swallowed the pill' of salvation -- maybe it was my catholic upbringing, maybe just my common sense, but I could never buy into all the shit about original sin and being bathed in the blood of christ, etc. Too spooky sounding. I did accept the idea of Jesus and his teachings and that god was GOOD and LOVE and stuff (you can tell I grew up in the '60s and '70s) and believed we couldn't understand the 'mystery' of god and we'd all be brought to heaven, blah, blah, blah, blah.... It all gave me the strength I needed to get through the day -- and I had a lot of very tough days. Truth be told, it is probably the only thing that kept suicidal thoughts at bay. So, long story short, I don't regret it as much as some do, as I see it serving a purpose for good (keeping me alive), even if it wasn't true. So my advice, pointless as it may be, is: live, love, laugh, care. What else can we do?

eel_shepherd said...

Brother Jeff wrote:
"...When I became an atheist, I lost my best friend..."

Not so. That's when you gained your best friend.

Bloviator said...

jeff wrote:
"...When I became an atheist, I lost my best friend..."

Eel sheperd wrote:
"Not so. That's when you gained your best friend."

Amen brother!!

Ellytoad said...

That's how I kind of feel too... relief from the fear of hell but missing all the good parts.


But when I think about it, I could never ENJOY the good parts because the fear of losing my salvation masked it so much. And so I realize that I have truly missed nothing by giving up my belief in Christianity.

IvanD said...

When sometimes at night, I think about life and death, I feel such a deep luck in my heart. Although I am still young, I have the "old perspective" in my mind, which means, I now look on my life, as I will do when I am old. Accepting death for what it is, does not only make everything sad - it also makes every moment special, every loved person so damn valuable. I could never feel the same love and deepness considering life in general and the people that are part of my life, if I would be convinced that life is just a small step to a great eternal existence. That is why, I believe, the evangelical Christians I know are not able to share such a deep love to other people. Why they do not really care about the other people in their live, about friends, family etc. - Jesus is always is the most important thing, and life is not so valuable, because it is just a small step of the existence in this view.

Without my atheism, I could not really understand life, how sad and beautiful it is. (but also a deep and beautiful sadness which gives so much meaning to life!!)

As a christian, I could never have such a deep understanding of my and other peoples existence, I could never have developed such a deep love for certain people I know. Christians are maybe happyier in some ways on a daily basis, but they cannot understand anything about life. A superficial daily hypnotic religious joy is nothing compared to the deep luck that the acceptance of death can bring one regarding life. How could I love my family, my friends, and so many people I have met as much as I do, when accepting a hell and a heaven? How could I love life in general like I do? Never, ever.

Excuse my probably poor language, I am German.

whateverlolawants said...

I really liked the "it robbed me" list. It really is true for most of us, I think. I also agree that- while I often feel the same way- you shouldn't regret your time as a religious person too much. You learned a lot from being one and then deconverting.

I also like the two previous responses about gaining a best friend. How fascinating it was to realize that whenever "God" told me something or offered me comfort, it was actually me! What power we have inside ourselves!

whateverlolawants said...

PS- Ivand, your English is just fine! :) Yay Deutsch!

Anonymous said...

If you've left religion behind, snaps to that. Following Jesus is not about "religion" anyway. (See the words of Jesus). Sadly, many, many Christians don't get that. But following Jesus isn't about the Christians but the Christ.

But I have this question for you: What about God? Do you ever feel like you turned your back on him? And what if Jesus really is real? What if he really did die to spare you from punishment of your sins yet you turned your back on him? What then?

Find a Bible. Read Luke 15:11-24.

God still loves you. Come home.

Yule Goat 2 Hell said...

Fundibot: "But I have this question for you: What about God? Do you ever feel like you turned your back on him?"

YG2H: He's a big boy; he'll get over it.

Fundibot: "And what if Jesus really is real? What if he really did die to spare you from punishment of your sins yet you turned your back on him? What then?"

YG2H: He'll get over it, too. Though it may take a bit longer. Such a drama queen, feigning a big sacrifice when he just spent a few days in hell (nothing compared to what is supposedly in store for the vast majority of humanity) and then went up to heaven to have his butt kissed for all eternity. Besides, I could never respect anyone who condones the idea of hell in the first place.

Fundibot: "Find a Bible. Read Luke 15:11-24."

YG2H: Read it. Not impressed. In fact, everyone here has probably read it. How insufferably arrogant of you to suggest otherwise to EX-christers.

Fundibot: "God still loves you. Come home."

YG2H: And the Easter Bunny thinks you're sort of cute in a goofy way. Now, go find someone who cares. (Hint: not on this website)

William said...

To Coward (a.k.a. the 2nd anonymous, a.k.a. Fundie-bot):

YOU'RE STILL DOING THE SAME THING EVERY SINGLE TIME! NO VARIATION! NO IMAGINATION! STOP POSTING APOLOGETICS EVERYWHERE! THEY DON'T WORK!

Now that I have that out of my system, let my proceed to rip him a new asshole (besides the one that is on his rear, and the one that is his entirety):

You will find NO ONE with half-a-brain on this website willing to convert to Christianity again. Everyone here at least has that much in order to get out of the dumbass religion. I'm tired of answering your cut-and-paste apologetics. What movement is this? Cretin Faux-Solace for Atheist in A Minor (probably more of a bowel movement than anything actually musical)? Go back to your CARM site. You're not wanted or needed here.

You're still cowardly, you still suck at arguing. Your apologetics still suck, and are NOTHING I haven't already heard (i.e. from others; you've posted pretty much the same thing quite a few times anyway). Once again, I've answered all of your apologetics on other topics. Now shut up.

Ryan said...

I just wanted to let Jeff know that I appreciated the honesty and depth of your post. I am still a Christian and this is my first post, and I won't pretend that I fear coming across as a holier than though ass or recieving a "new one" by other posters. I teach science, embrace evolution, and have wresteled with issues of bipolar myself. In the end I have come to believe that science with all of its power is still limited to explaining the natural world with natural reasons. It can never explain the joy I have at the end of the day watching a sunset, listening to great music (p.s. regardless of its label (should have burned the Sandi Patti)), having sex, and listening to the rain fall. They all seem to me to echo a poetry beyond the empirical world. Perhaps I delude myself to call that God. But it feels more to me and of course science can never truly ever speak to that sense poetry and science never made great partners. I do suggest reading the "New Kind of Christian' trilogy by Brian Mclaren. It addressed many of the concerns I felt were at a dissonance with my Christian faith and belief in science (similar to your thoughts). In the end I eneded up keeping my faith but dumping the sh*t fundmentalists added to it. It also addresses the Mythology of Hell. Another interesting book I have been reading is "Is God Good, Bad, or Irrelevant" which is a friendly conversation with a Christian history professor and Greg Gaffin of Bad Religion who has a doctorate in evolutionary biology. I am struck how both sides arrive at their conclusions because of how it meets a need for them to see the universe. Thanks for opening up with your thoughts and feelings. I hope mine can be treated in kind though I imagine I my post is akin to walking into Northern Yellowstone with raw steak tied around my neck!

.:webmaster:. said...

Ryan said, "Science can never..."

I have no idea what science may one day uncover and explain. I wonder how you can be so sure what the future holds in this regard.

Ryan, if the beautiful, poetic, loving, kissy-kissy god you believe is your personal friend really exists, then no one on this planet has anything to worry about. No god like that would met out everlasting, retributive, horrific, torturous, punishment the average person's pathetic little errors in life.

And even the monsters of this world would find mercy at the hands of the potter who fashioned the clay.

So, why bother preaching?

Everything's All Right Now, Everything's fine
And we want you to sleep well tonight
Let the world turn without you tonight
If we try, we'll get by
So forget all about us tonight.
-- Mary Magdalene, JC Superstar

Ryan said...

I was simply stating a fact of science. Science is an explanation to the perceived (by the five senses) natural universe. In science natural explanations are the only allowed ones. I actually agree that this makes for a great system of thought and a very powerful one as well. Science has provided the world with many great things. I would assume that you might even argue (and I might be inclined to agree) that the benefits to humanity from science are far greater than the benefits from organized religion. Of course such simple statements gloss over the downsides to those technological advancements such as nuclear war and the ease the Internet has made for the exchanging of child pornagraphy. Anyways, the very nature of science demands that "supernatural" explanations be unallowed and supernatural questions unworthy of study. This is the argument (appropriately) against the inclusion of intelligent design in science curriculum. One can not insert a supernatural explanation i.e. God into a science explanation because by defintion it is unable to be studied by science. I say all that to say again that for me there seems to be times, occurances, moments, that are beyond the simple physical (natural) processes of chemicals and electricity (when working properly!) of my physical brain. You would argue that I need a crutch or they are echos of some long distant evolutionary need. That may be true, but in the end I still like poetry and that can never be fully measured by science. By the way my favorite poem is the Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry. Instead of me belittling you or vise versa how about "Googling" the poem an telling me what you think. It always gives me comfort when I read it.

stronger now said...

Ryan,

Perhaps christianity isn't really the religion you want. If you have to change or overlook so much of what the bible says about the world and god then why not change religions alltogeather?(sp?)

Might I suggest Wicca?

alanh said...

Ryan

With all due respect, the limits of science that you describe are not quite accurate. First of all, we have instrumentation from electron microscopes to particle accelerators and radio telescopes that allow us to explore phenomena that are far beyond the innate capacity of our senses. Second, the "supernatural" is a valid topic for scientific inquiry, if you go to PubMed and search for intercessory prayer, you will find 19 abstracts of clinical studies on the health effects of prayer. If there is a "supernatural" realm, how are we going to know it exists unless it affects our natural world? And if it affects our natural world, then it can be studied scientifically. I'm not trying to take away the appreciation of art or music or poetry, and the idea that science will necessarily reduce human thought and emotion to chemical activity in the brain is a strawman argument. But at some point we have to face the possibility that some beliefs are just not grounded in reality.

dano said...

Ryan,

If you have two monkeys, and one get up very day and climbs down out of the tree and looks around and says to himself "Ain't life grand?"
"It feels really good to be alive" Girl monkey, your butt looks GOOD!"

The other monkey has never felt that way, and the first thing that comes to his mind is, "Why should I climb down out of this tree?"
"I will probably not find enough to eat today, and a lion will probably eat me, and besides I don't think any of the other monkeys find me attractive, and I will probably not get to have sex today"

Which monkey has the better chance of having little grandmonkies as he grows older?
Dan, Agnostic

ryan said...

Dan, you did not provide the answer so I am guessing the monkey with the biggest penis? Of course the monkey with the higher fecundity will have the greatest chance of passing on his genes to the future. Of course we do live in a random universe so it is possible that while being distracted by quality monkey butt the first monkey could get snatched by an alligator....

Strongernow: I must admit that my only understanding of Wiccan is the belief that the divine is in all things. Is this even correct? Please tell me more.

Alan H: Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I would argue that particle accelerators and electron microscopes, while yielding information unavailable to the unaided eye, are still observing physical phenomenon (atoms, protons, etc.) Strangely the current edge of particle physics with its string theory and 13 dimensions comes as close to the supernatural as any other area in science. It is odd that they eagerly propose the idea of extra dimensions that are unknowable and immeasurable to satisfy math equations but become adamant that something supernatural like God could not exist. But if there is (for the sake of discussion) something beyond matter and energy, science regardless of its technological advances is powerless to describe it until it interacts in some way with the physical world (such as in the prayer research you cite). I argue (probably poorly) that I "feel" the interaction of the supernatural in my "heart" (something more than the underlying brain synapses and cells) when I sing, laugh, or have religious. Perhaps I am misreading the signals, but perhaps it is something more. If it is, it is immeasurable (but I would argue not unknowable) gifts. Is it not strange that we can even have this conversation? Is it the result of enough neuron connections that make us want to debate the existence of the supernatural? If so we are unique on earth and perhaps the universe. Perhaps one day we can hardwire a computer with enough circuits to ask it, “Do you believe?” If it says “yes” than I suppose I will have to yield my case. This will have to be my last post. I thank the few who took the time to reply to my thoughts with careful thoughts of your own. If you are all indeed ex-Christians, I suppose you have arrived at your conclusions with more thoughtful consideration than those that profess faith of their own but are more likely parroting their parents and/or pastors. As a follower of Christ I hope I have given as much deep thought to arrive at my conclusion as you have for yours. Be encouraged in your journey.
Ryan

dano said...

Ryan wrote:

"As a follower of Christ I hope I have given as much deep thought to arrive at my conclusion as you have for yours. Be encouraged in your journey.
Ryan"

Are you saying that it takes "deep thought", to believe that God created millions of galaxies with billions of suns, and trillions of planets and decided to choose one species of ape that has evolved on one of the more average planets, that is orbiting one of the lessor stars, at a time when he has just climbed down out of the trees and said to that primate "love me or I'LL torture you forever," and since there were so many design flaws in his chosen creatures, that he created, he had to have a specially created son so that he could arrange to have him sacrificed to himself to atone for all the wrong things that they did, and...................?

I wish I had the capacity for such deep thought!

Dan, Agnostic

boomSLANG said...

Christian Theist/Ryan said: It is odd that they[scientists] eagerly propose the idea of extra dimensions that are unknowable and immeasurable to satisfy math equations but become adamant that something supernatural like God could not exist.

For starters, there is an objective description/definition of the noun, "dimension", by which scientists can use as a universal frame of reference, even if it is intangible. Conversely, but not too shockingly, there is no such definition of "God"(upper case "G"). Furthermore, it is useless for Theists to merely say that "God" is a "supernatural" and "timeless" being who created everything, because these very same people might turn right around and say that this being acts "naturally" and temporally, in the very next breath.

Secondly: There is a difference between science saying that a particular thing "could not exist", and that a particular thing does not exist.

As for the former, and if we use the characteristics ascribed to "God" by the very Theists who posit it's existence, then yes, science surely can argue that such a being "could not exist", similar to how they can argue that square circles "could not" exist. As for what "does not exist", again, there is currently zero empirical evidence for gods, or "God". Until there is such evidence; until "God" can be objectively defined, we can reasonably conclude that "God"(uppercase "G") "does not exist" beyond a muddled and ambiguous concept.

Ryan said: I argue (probably poorly) that I "feel" the interaction of the supernatural in my "heart" (something more than the underlying brain synapses and cells) when I sing, laugh, or have religious. Perhaps I am misreading the signals, but perhaps it is something more.

If we're going to talk about what is "perhaps" true, and further, then base it on "faith", then we've just entered into a realm where the possibilities are literally infinite.

Furthermore, even though we may feel warm and fuzzy feelings when we experience certain things..i.e when we "sing", and while these emotions may seem intangible, the bottom line is that these emotions are generated by a physical brain, which can be "measured", to some degree.

Ryan: Is it not strange that we can even have this conversation? Is it the result of enough neuron connections that make us want to debate the existence of the supernatural? If so we are unique on earth and perhaps the universe.

Good grief...'got non sequitur? In any event, we wouldn't be debating the "existence of the supernatural", if it weren't for people insisting that there is such a thing. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

All you "backsliders" need to check if you were in fact saved or just false converts.

All you "brights" need to know that God is an almighty and just God; and the concept that Lawbreakers do not go unpunished.

All you "dims" (aka Christians) need to know that Atheisim is itself a crutch - a crutch for the proud to justify any deed or thought eg. cannot string 2 words together without swearing. There is a strong cumulative case that God exists and a resulting reasonableness that He does. If you are not satisifed God does exist, then prove he does not and then we can all go home and get some sleep.

Check out resources on WayoftheMaster.com (PS I am not in anyway connected to their site, I found the info helpful).

boomSLANG said...

Yet, one more nameless sheep cries out: Check out resources on WayoftheMaster.com (PS I am not in anyway connected to their site, I found the info helpful)

Yes, yes, "Ways of the Master", starring that flunky has-been Kirk Cameron, and his trusty side-kick....what's his name?...y'know, the one who picks up the banana and TILTS it towards his mouth, and then says that "God" designed it that way?? LMAO! Yes, I find that very "helpful".

But seriously, can't these asinine Anony' posts just be deleted on the spot from now on? Jesus-f%#@ing chrust, I hope so.

stronger now said...

boomslang, I need to work on my defenses in a less hot headed kinda way. So if I may..


Anonymous said...
"All you "backsliders" need to check if you were in fact saved or just false converts."

If we imagine salvation as a hill that one climbs to god/heaven, then how can one backslide down the hill if he was never really climbing it?

What is a "false convert"? Is it someone who didn't really believe in the first place? If so I don't think we would need to check, we would already know. And what are we supposed to "check" anyway? Is there an autographed copy of the bible somewhere and we were supposed to check its authenticity before believeing in it?

Anaony:"All you "brights" need to know that God is an almighty and just God;..."

A god that will fry your ass forever and ever if you don't find the authorized autographed original bible and believe what it says.

Anony:"Atheisim is itself a crutch - a crutch for the proud to justify any deed or thought..."

I think anony just confused atheism with christianity here. Atheism is the lack of a crutch. A crutch that has been used to justify all kinds of dispicable acts such as genocide, slavery, torture, ect...

Anony:"There is a strong cumulative case that God exists and a resulting reasonableness that He does."

Got any credible evidence? Lets hear it. But first do some real reasearch on what credible evidence is.

Anony:"If you are not satisifed God does exist, then prove he does not and then we can all go home and get some sleep."

I'll prove god doesn't exist if you can prove that leprichans don't exist. You can't prove leprichans don't exist. But there is no reason to believe that leprichans do exist untill there is some credible evidence for them.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Check out resources on WayoftheMaster.com

I think that this tells us all we need to know about Mr(s). Anonymous' ability to discern fact from fantasy. Threats and insults are Kirk & Ray's stock-in-trade, the objective being to use fear to coerce acceptance of Christian doctrine. Anonymous was kind enough to demonstrate that he/she favors their methods. Having viewed most of the materials available on their site, I can only conclude that those who subscribe to their methods are among the least scientifically knowledgeable, the least compassionate, and most credulous of Christians. Indeed, whatever pride an atheist may have is nothing to the stupifying arrogance and condescension of Cameron & Comfort.

alanh said...

Anonymous wrote:

All you "backsliders" need to check if you were in fact saved...

Would I have received some paperwork, like a certificate stating that I was saved? If so let me know and I'll see if I can find it.

Archived Testimonial Pageviews this week: