Circular logic at its finest

Sent in by Jeff

As I perused over a lot of the articles on this site, I realized I fit the common profile. I grew up in Alabama my whole life, was born and raised in a Southern Baptist church, and was inducted into the cult around the age of 9. For several years, everything about Christianity made sense (at least from what I could perceive). But, starting around the age of 15 (i estimate), i would get occasional doubts in my mind. E.g. How could a perfectly benevolent god create evil? and if he didn't, wouldn't his omniscience and omnipotence enable him to prevent ANYTHING from creating a malevolent presence? Or if all of creation was ruled by god, why did he have no choice but to sacrifice his son?

But every time, I would cast off these thoughts as evidence that I didn't know enough about the Bible.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, I had my revelation. After hearing a lecture from my Geography professor, I decided to do some research on the age of the Earth. I realized that there is more than enough physical evidence that gives way to the idea of a billion-year old earth, but the Bible only accounts for an earth around 7000 years old. This was not the first time I had this thought. My pastors and Bible study teachers would always dismiss such evidence with biblical passages about "not following the way of science, but the way of faith" or something like that. But now, 19 years old, I had a new thought: If God wants nothing more than all mankind to follow him, why would he create an earth filled with endless amounts of proof against his Word? Sounds like a pretty deceptive god to me. Even if he was real, he isn't the kind of god I'd want to live for. This revelation made me realize that almost all the proof that I had rested my faith on in the past was evidence in the Bible itself. Circular logic at its finest.

I still haven't pinpointed what exactly I believe in yet. I know that the near perfectness of the earth (axis tilt, nearness to sun, etc) gives way to the possibility of intelligent design, but not by the Judeo-Christian god. Then again, if the universe is indeed infinite (as some believe), then maybe Earth is just one of infinite outcomes of chance.

Now I have mixed feelings. Everything I had ever known to believe has been shattered by intelligence. The greatest fear I have is telling all my friends and family of my newfound beliefs. Almost all my friends back home went to my church, where I was an avid member. Worst even, my parents are some of the most blindly fundamental Christians I know. I have little doubt that they will cease to fund my college education, if not completely disown me.

So for now, I'll keep relatively quiet, at least until I am firm enough in my beliefs to face them as more than just a confused teenager.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeff,
At least you have something most fundamental American Christians don't have: A BRAIN, and one that has not been completely poisoned by Christianity. I was born into a Roman Catholic family and educated by the Jesuits. However I was always keen on Science and could never believe any of that bibleshit. I never believed in the Trinity.

At about 30 years of age I had enough and broke away from the church and now call myself a bedraggled refugee from the "Holy" Roman Catholic Church. I have a very good knowledge of Astronomy and Astrophysics and any notion of creation is stupid and breaks one the the fundamental Laws of Physics, the 1st Law of Thermodymanics: Matter/Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. I am now a total Card Carrying Atheist and am lucky that I live in Australia where Atheists are not despised as they are in the United Christian States of America. You would love it here, very few bible thumpers.

Do yourself a favour. Tear up that bible and get some good books on Science. You will then see that I am right and not the reverend biblethumpers who spew out bullshit every Sunday.

Telmi said...

Jeff,

To me, blind faith or faith without reason is intellectual bankruptcy.

Where an argument has to be settled via facts or logic, facts or logic will prevail.

It appears you have started to use reason or logic for your thoughts or beliefs.

That's great and congrats.

Do continue to discover through using your reasoning power.

Anonymous said...

Two quotations from A. Eistein.

"That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?"



“I cannot accept any concept of God based on the fear of life or the fear of death or blind faith. I cannot prove to you that there is no personal God, but if I were to speak of him I would be a liar.”

trancelation said...

I once knew a bodybuilder that claimed that there was so much evidence against God so that, at the end, God could judge those that had faith no matter what as worthy. I told him that he haad just admitted that god was deceptive and, therefore, evil. Naturally, he said that this was not the case. But what about when humans do this? I asked. When humans are deceptive for the sake of gauging a person's trustworthiness, is this not a bad thing? Naturally, it's different when God does it. So then I asked why faith is such a good thing. Why does God think it's so important that we have faith in its existence despite evidence against it? How does having this belief accomplish any good in the world? I asked. Apparently, mankind is inherently evil and incapable of doing good without the fear of Hell to motivate them. I told him that he had just admitted that that is not faith, but fear. God has not motivated anyone to anything better; the faithful are being good solely for the their own sake. Criminals behave well in prison so that they can get out earlier and go commit more crimes. In the same vein, I said, it seems that Christians will commit crimes, too, regardless of the promise of Hell. This bodybuilder I knew used steroids, which of course in the US is illegal. That was different, he said. He believes, so he is saved. So we come 'round full circle again. Having faith in a God in no way makes a person better. Why, then, should we have faith in things we cannot prove at all?

evan said...

Jeff

I'm a Christian who also believes the Earth is MUCH older than a few thousand years. Not trying to "get you back", just letting you know it isn't completly an either or.

trancelation said...

Evan:

That really doesn't matter. No two Christians agree on Christianity. Each and every one of you has their own interpretation for everything in the Bible. It doesn't change the fact that the Bible is a cancerous mass of contradictions, lies and complete misunderstandings of the physical world. I knew some very nice white supremacists - some of them were fire fighters, some of them were cops, some of them were lawyers - but at the very core of their being was this errant belief. The same thing can be said of Christians. No matter how nice you are, no matter what you claim to believe, you are still tied to an errant belief system that, it is stated quite clearly in the Bible, demands total obedience. You can be as awesome a person as you want, it does not change the nature of Christianity in any way. there is no need for Christianity. Christianity has caused us nothing but pain and suffering and woe, never mind that some of its practicioners are awesome people. You can be an awesome person WITHOUT Christianity, Evan. Christianity is a lie. Knowing these two things, why do you kiss Christianity's ass?

sillywhispers said...

Hi Jeff,

Science is great, but not the only path to enlightenment. Even cartoons can get you there!

"Suppose we've chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we're just making him madder and madder" - Homer Simpson's version of Pascal's Wager

When I finally was able to question, the blinders came off. After that, the ridiculousness of Christianity was evident. It's amazing we can be duped like that.

Don't blame yourself. You were a Christian because of where and when you were born. If you had been born in Iraq, you'd probably be a Muslim. At least in America, in 2008, they don't hang you for blasphemy anymore.

Best Wishes,
Sillywhispers

resonate11 said...

Jeff, keep your faith--in evidence that is! Congratulations on allowing knowledge and reason to inform your beliefs.

I understand why you are choosing to lay low among your family and church friends. May the day soon come when you are able to share your good news.

Tara said...

Hi Jeff,

Welcome. I've been an atheist since the age of about 12 (that's when I "came out").

However, the first book on the lack of evidence for a god I read was Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I highly recommend this book. I consider it a sort of "primer". Read the book, it will introduce you to other concepts that you can then research in more detail.

One of the things it covers is ID - and how our earth may not be as unique as we tend to think it is. It's an "easy" read - meaning that you don't have to have a deep science background to get through it. However, some of the concepts may take a little while to sink in - but only because you have some "deprogramming" to go through.

You'll make it. Give yourself some time. Don't be in a hurry to have your epiphany - it will come.

Tara

sconnor said...

Jeff said, I know that the near perfectness of the earth (axis tilt, nearness to sun, etc) gives way to the possibility of intelligent design,

Allow me to burst that, "universe is finely tuned" bubble; why didn't the "intelligent" designer consider how the sun causes skin cancer or Xeroderma pigmentosum, a genetic disorder where in severe cases it is necessary to avoid sunlight completely, our sun isn't exactly perfect for people with this disorder.

Scott

Anonymous said...

Jeff, Congrats on breaking free. I would still keep it to yourself at home until you finish getting college paid for. I would have pretended to be an armadillo for a few years if it meant not being buried under the mountain of student loan debt my husband and I accrued. You can break it to them afterwards and I'm sure they'll blame it on your college education anyway.
Faith Shaker

evan said...

trancelation

Yes no two Christians completely agree. I think that is a good thing. A lot of Christianity's horrible mistakes have been committed in trying to make everyone believe the same thing.

Thanks for acknowledging it is possible for a Christian to still be a nice person. I appreciate that very much. Incidentally I believe "non-christians" can also be just as nice or more than christians.

I think to state that “Christianity has caused us nothing but pain and suffering and woe" is unfair. I assume from your comment though your point is that the good things I can point to that Christianity has done could have still been done outside that faith system.
If that was what you were saying I would respectfully disagree. I have seen Christianity change entire neighborhoods (locally and globally) for the better.

trancelation said...

Evan:

People change things for the better, not Christianity. All the Christians I know that are good people and do good things pleasantly choose to ignore certain parts of the Bible in order to benefit their modern-day take on an ancient dogma that they adhere to for no other reason than that they were brought up in it and are are either too lazy or too scared to look elsewhere. This seriously raises the question of whether or not they are even Christian to start with. When I was attempting to follow Buddhism, I struggled a lot with many of its concepts, even to the point of outright disagreeing with many of them. I had to ask myself if this meant that I was a Buddhist or not. Ultimately, if you choose to follow a theistic system, you must immerse yourself in it fully in order to be considered a 'true' follower of that system. Otherwise, you are only borrowing from it, and thusly not a Christian or Buddhist or whatever you want to call yourself. The great irony of this is that there are so many groups of every religion claiming to have the 'true' way, when all it boils down to is which parts they ignore and which parts they interpret differently than others. As an atheist, I am free to acknowledge good ideas found in religious texts - all of which are not exclusive to that religion. Knowing this, I know that religion is all but a pointless exercise. If Christians actually followed Christianity to the letter, as found in the Bible, it is likely that there would not be a single human left alive today, as a result of the mass xenocides that would result. So I have to seriously ask - is anyone calling themselves 'Christian' really a Christian? Seeing as how Christianity is such a confusing belief system to start with, and how EVERY Christian is willing to ignore certain rules in the text, I am seriously leaning towards NO.

With that in mind, it is easy to come to the conclusion that it is not Christianity that changes things for the better. Using your argument, I can say that white supremacy changes things for the better. After all, I have seen white supremacy bring whole neighborhoods together in a common cause to improve their conditions. Solely to stop the spread of the niggers, Jews, commies, spiks and Godless liberal hippies of course. So Christians doing good things really doesn't impress me. Anybody, regardless of their belief system. Child molesters can do community service, too. So what? Christianity has nothing unique and good to offer the world. So let me ask you again: what is the point of Christianity? We know that Christianity is a lie, and that we can be good people without it, and that its very core is the essence of evil. So why do we practice it at all?

resonate11 said...

trancelation,

Nicely said! Well argued.

trancelation said...

Thank you, resonate11. I don't think evan is going to see it that way.

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