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Is anyone here an ex-atheist?


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#1 gentileCheerios

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:23 AM

Just trying to get a discussion started.

 

I used to be an atheist during my childhood and adolescense until my early twenties, until I actually bothered to pick up Thomas Aquinas and realize that I never had any real philosophical basis for my belief. Yeah, there are criticisms to his ontological arguments, but in the end you'll still have something with divine powers, but that thing will be matter itself or the universe or some other bullshit materialist theory like that. Then I actually bothered to read the history books and realized that no society other than the ones with well established christian traditions gave birth to liberal democracies that truly respected individual freedoms. Countries where anti-religious experiments took place, such as China and Russia don't seem to fare better on social issues than the ones such as Iceland, Denmark, Sweden et cetera. Gay people enjoy the casual bashing by the police in Russia, while they have full rights in the United States, being able to own firearms and property, all in a "backwards and retarded and conservative christian nation".

 

So, I guess you could say I'm a born-again christian, though I recognize that many Christians also base their faith on simply rejecting any other possibility, which is what I was doing as an atheist.

 

 



#2 dada

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 09:33 AM

Then I actually bothered to read the history books and realized that no society other than the ones with well established christian traditions gave birth to liberal democracies that truly respected individual freedoms.

you seem to be implying a causal relation without giving any evidence for it. it's one thing to say that only christian societies have some arbitrary degree of popular influence on policy—which isn't true (just think of where democracy was invented in the first place)—but another thing to state that one follows naturally from the other. just to give an example, when we look at one interesting experiment with anarchism in the deeply christian aragon and catalonia, in which there was far greater public influence on policy than any current Western democracy, we can't find any link between it and religion whatsoever. even if you can find a link, try proving that it's something specific to christianity.

accordingly, in light of the previous example, liberal democracies are hardly the pinnacle of public influence. when we look at Western democracies today, such as the US, we see they're best described as plutocracies with deep internal problems. huge swaths of the population are de facto disenfranchised and there's a huge amount of internal repression. ok, that's the respect for individual freedoms. and when we look at the horrors that are being inflicted by the US on large parts of the world, it can hardly be seen as one that respects human beings.

Countries where anti-religious experiments took place, such as China and Russia don't seem to fare better on social issues than the ones such as Iceland, Denmark, Sweden et cetera. Gay people enjoy the casual bashing by the police in Russia, while they have full rights in the United States, being able to own firearms and property, all in a "backwards and retarded and conservative christian nation".

gay people don't have full rights in the US and still face a huge amount of harassment. both in the amount of legal rights they have as well as beyond that. but even if it were different, it's completely irrelevant. we can find neither a correlation, let alone a causal relation, with (christian) religion. if you can find one, I'd like to see it.


#3 Barack Obama

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 09:58 AM

:fogetthumbsup:


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#4 dada

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:11 AM

your signature is gone :(


#5 dada

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:46 PM

ps I don't know if this is a joke account or whatever but I don't really care


#6 JMickle

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 02:57 PM

Gay people enjoy the casual bashing by the police in Russia,

Don't like to sound like I'm attacking you in anyway but you very obviously haven't experienced the problems homosexual people have in even the most progressive countries.

 

also everything dada said because i was totally gonna say all of that. specifically: It's a joke to use gay rights as an example trying to defend Christianity.

 

I do find it very intriguing to know people's reasoning behind changing/finding faith, though, so I appreciate you sharing. A few years ago I stopped identifying as Atheist because not only does that have huge evangelical connotations that I don't want to be associated with, I was recently brought to the realization that it is rather silly to define yourself by your lack of belief in something. I'd need an infinite list of nouns to do that.



#7 dada

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:11 PM

it really doesn't make sense no matter how far you stretch the imagination. brazil is about as christian as the US and it's far more lethal there to be gay. holland is far less christian than the US and it's much better. there is no correlation because it doesn't have anything to do with christianity—it's a general developmental problem. and it's not limited to gay people; every specific group that has a weakness to exploit is stepped on. it's the predictable result of general class oppression.

but then, it's said, it's really the "christian roots" that makes the difference. for one thing, nobody understands what that means. and if you do understand it, try finding some causal relation. there's just no arguing with this kind of fantasy. I can't take it seriously. the enlightenment/libertarian concept of personal liberties, which was the first step towards them being taken seriously, was specifically a move away from established christian dogma.


#8 Warped655

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:47 PM

oh boy. I feel a big post coming on from me...

 

But yeah I actually I agree with Dada. Furthermore, Christianity as an organized religion has had I'm sure positive influence and negative influence but really most of the christian influence you see these days in popular interpretation is that are judgmental and intolerant. This is probably tied less to the specific religion itself and more to ignorance (possibly willful), paranoia (us against them), and traditionalism (fear of progress or change) but this doesn't excuse Christianity of essentially reinforcing this and as almost any organized religion it brings about a sometimes subtle but always very stubborn fanaticism.

 

There are aspects of Jesus's teachings that I admire as an agnostic atheist but I find the vast majority of modern Christians ignore much of the whole hippy 'love and forgiveness' stuff.

 

Actually though, I do have one main question for you that I must bring up: Why pick Christianity? Why any particular organized religion? I say I'm an agnostic atheist because I merely lean heavily towards there not being a god, but acknowledge the possibility of one. If I were to sway in the other direction in the future I wouldn't become an agnostic christian. I'd become a agnostic deist. Becoming an agnostic christian makes about as much sense as becoming an agnostic hindu

 after becoming a agnostic atheist after being a christian. Sure you could say that you are just sticking to the popular local flavor of 'god' because that is what you grew up with, but there actually is little logic in that. The Christian god, the Jewish god, the Islamic god, why does it really matter?

 

 

I have much more to say on the matter, but I have to leave for a graduation party.


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#9 JMickle

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:51 PM

gentileCheerios did give reasons for picking christianity specifically, that was pretty much the entirety of the post. presented with that evidence, I can see no reason to pick a religion other than christianity. It'd be pretty weird to say "All progressive cultures were founded on Christianity, so I'll be a Jew!"



#10 gentileCheerios

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 05:03 PM

it really doesn't make sense no matter how far you stretch the imagination. brazil is about as christian as the US and it's far more lethal there to be gay. holland is far less christian than the US and it's much better. there is no correlation because it doesn't have anything to do with christianity—it's a general developmental problem. and it's not limited to gay people; every specific group that has a weakness to exploit is stepped on. it's the predictable result of general class oppression.

but then, it's said, it's really the "christian roots" that makes the difference. for one thing, nobody understands what that means. and if you do understand it, try finding some causal relation. there's just no arguing with this kind of fantasy. I can't take it seriously. the enlightenment/libertarian concept of personal liberties, which was the first step towards them being taken seriously, was specifically a move away from established christian dogma.

 

Well, it is true that countries with a catholic tradition tend to be shitholes in general, see Mexico and most of Latin America, but it's a different story with countries with protestant tradition, which are usually the more progressive and gay loving countries in the world, such as Sweden, where even gender itself is seen as nothing more than a social construct.

 

I used to be upset at the fact that protestant nations turned out to be far better than the rest, but it's a fact, what the hell can I do about it?

 

Read Weber.



#11 scoby

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 06:05 PM

then I actually bothered to read the history books and realized that no society other than the ones with well established christian traditions gave birth to liberal democracies that truly respected individual freedoms

lol!

 

ya, Atheist Pride is pretty lmao. and yeah, there are some beautiful things about the teachings of jesus. it's really up to you what you want to believe, but I do think you're making the same mistake as gamer atheists by placing the whole axis of the world upon the specific supernaturals people believe in. it's no wonder you returned to your western belief system, it doesn't sound like you ever really left.



#12 EvilDemonCreature

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 06:06 PM

So let me get this straight. First you were an atheist, but then sort of had a crisis with that when you realized you had no philosophical basis for truly believing in it. But then you become a Christian not because of some profound change in your own heart, but rather because you looked at the world and noted an observation about how countries centered on "protestant christian theology" are generally "better off" than countries that are centered around some alternative to that.

 

So my question to you is simply this: You do recognize that other Christians also base their faith on simply rejecting any other possibility, does that imply that you personally believe that this is the only requisite for having true faith in the Christian version of God, and that it is enough of a basis to form a real sense of conviction where Jesus Christ holds a permanent place in your heart as the one true Lord?

 

I just want to get a grasp if your new-found conviction is simply based on this correlation you noticed, or if the correlation itself was just a single point in time that triggered you into philosophizing or rationalizing and basing your conviction more specifically on how or why Christianity has this correlation with how developing countries closer to being completely centered around it operate on a ethical and/or sociocultural level.

 

(Also it's looking like you are making all these statements operating under the assumption that Christianity itself is fundamentally unique from every single religious theology that preceded it, and I can't help but find that is just absolutely adorable!)



#13 gentileCheerios

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 06:24 PM

The realization that, liking it or not, theism was the only correct metaphysical explanation for reality is what made me grow out of atheism.

 

Christianity was pretty much an arbitrary choice for me, based on historical facts alone. If I had to pick one, it had to be the one that took the man to the moon, that had produced free, tolerant and productive societies, not the one that creates a society where there is widespread belief in magic potions that can only be made to work by rape.

 

Reducing religion to nothing but a set of beliefs and rituals is a common mistake. For example, I don't know for a fact that Jesus will come again. Maybe he won't, maybe he will. I don't know if the Genesis is the literal history of the creation of the Universe. It is impossible to prove that.

 

Throughout my studies I have noted that societies can organize out of either religion or anti-religion, there is no other choice. There is no void that lasts too long. If its role is not fulfilled by an "anti-religion" (communist countries), a "secular religion" (vulgar materialism and utilitarian morals) or something like that, then it is eventually fulfilled by a proper religion, which is how religion appeared in first place, and which is how Islam is becoming popular in Western Europe.

 

 



#14 scoby

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 06:38 PM

it's impossible to respond to all the bad assumptions you're making, but the biggest is this correlation between religion and your logically (but not socially) arbitrary measure of success in societies. it also seems to show a complete lack of understanding or attention to the methods by which our perfect successful protestant societies managed to become "successful".



#15 Warped655

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:37 PM

gentileCheerios did give reasons for picking christianity specifically, that was pretty much the entirety of the post. presented with that evidence, I can see no reason to pick a religion other than christianity. It'd be pretty weird to say "All progressive cultures were founded on Christianity, so I'll be a Jew!"

I wish I had gotten back earlier to respond to this, but EDC actually says it better than I could have anyway. I suppose I read his post and couldn't take that as reasoning for belief because it felt more like a general concession based on a vague idea of history.

 

It almost sounds like like gentileCheerios isn't really a 'christian' but a theist that happens to support protestants a lot because of his perception of their positive influence on society. Its just sort of an odd thing to combine with the reason that he suddenly stopped being an atheist in the first place. That is, a 'logic' based move rather than a 'historical' based one.

 

The realization that, liking it or not, theism was the only correct metaphysical explanation for reality is what made me grow out of atheism.

 

Christianity was pretty much an arbitrary choice for me, based on historical facts alone. If I had to pick one, it had to be the one that took the man to the moon, that had produced free, tolerant and productive societies, not the one that creates a society where there is widespread belief in magic potions that can only be made to work by rape.

 

Reducing religion to nothing but a set of beliefs and rituals is a common mistake. For example, I don't know for a fact that Jesus will come again. Maybe he won't, maybe he will. I don't know if the Genesis is the literal history of the creation of the Universe. It is impossible to prove that.

 

Throughout my studies I have noted that societies can organize out of either religion or anti-religion, there is no other choice. There is no void that lasts too long. If its role is not fulfilled by an "anti-religion" (communist countries), a "secular religion" (vulgar materialism and utilitarian morals) or something like that, then it is eventually fulfilled by a proper religion, which is how religion appeared in first place, and which is how Islam is becoming popular in Western Europe.

The only only correct metaphysical explanation? I am really curious as to how to came to that conclusion. IDK if you intended this, but in the way you worded that it comes off as fairly stubborn and set. Which, coming from yourself seems odd since you moved from christian to atheist to christian again.

 

You mean it was arbitrary in the aspect of actual belief is what I'm assuming you intended by saying this, which than by most peoples definition of Christianity, you aren't really a christian. You may root for it and even participate in its traditions but if you don't actually worship and believe in its god (for instance that Jesus will return) its really odd to claim that you are one.

 

I don't reduce religion to beliefs and rituals. Its just that, you can philosophically agree with many teachings within any religion, that doesn't make you one of them necessarily.

 

Communist countries? What I think you mean is countries with a large concentration of power in one place tend to be awful places to live, and religion is one of the things a tyrannical power will use through either snuffing it out or creating and maintaining one that reinforces the ones in power. Communism and capitalism has little to do with this issue.


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#16 Vellfire

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 09:49 PM

Well, it is true that countries with a catholic tradition tend to be shitholes in general, see Mexico and most of Latin America, but it's a different story with countries with protestant tradition, which are usually the more progressive and gay loving countries in the world, such as Sweden, where even gender itself is seen as nothing more than a social construct.

 

Are you just sort of arbitrarily making things up in this thread?  I mean, first you claim the US is progressive re: gay rights and now you're claiming Sweden is some sort of post-sexism utopia.  None of this is true.


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#17 gentileCheerios

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:36 PM

gentileCheerios did give reasons for picking christianity specifically, that was pretty much the entirety of the post. presented with that evidence, I can see no reason to pick a religion other than christianity. It'd be pretty weird to say "All progressive cultures were founded on Christianity, so I'll be a Jew!"

I wish I had gotten back earlier to respond to this, but EDC actually says it better than I could have anyway. I suppose I read his post and couldn't take that as reasoning for belief because it felt more like a general concession based on a vague idea of history.

 

It almost sounds like like gentileCheerios isn't really a 'christian' but a theist that happens to support protestants a lot because of his perception of their positive influence on society. Its just sort of an odd thing to combine with the reason that he suddenly stopped being an atheist in the first place. That is, a 'logic' based move rather than a 'historical' based one.

 

I stopped being an atheist for a logical reasons, and arbitrarily picked Christianity because I wanted to be part of that group, instead of any other.

 

The realization that, liking it or not, theism was the only correct metaphysical explanation for reality is what made me grow out of atheism.

 

Christianity was pretty much an arbitrary choice for me, based on historical facts alone. If I had to pick one, it had to be the one that took the man to the moon, that had produced free, tolerant and productive societies, not the one that creates a society where there is widespread belief in magic potions that can only be made to work by rape.

 

Reducing religion to nothing but a set of beliefs and rituals is a common mistake. For example, I don't know for a fact that Jesus will come again. Maybe he won't, maybe he will. I don't know if the Genesis is the literal history of the creation of the Universe. It is impossible to prove that.

 

Throughout my studies I have noted that societies can organize out of either religion or anti-religion, there is no other choice. There is no void that lasts too long. If its role is not fulfilled by an "anti-religion" (communist countries), a "secular religion" (vulgar materialism and utilitarian morals) or something like that, then it is eventually fulfilled by a proper religion, which is how religion appeared in first place, and which is how Islam is becoming popular in Western Europe.

The only only correct metaphysical explanation? I am really curious as to how to came to that conclusion. IDK if you intended this, but in the way you worded that it comes off as fairly stubborn and set. Which, coming from yourself seems odd since you moved from christian to atheist to christian again.

 

You mean it was arbitrary in the aspect of actual belief is what I'm assuming you intended by saying this, which than by most peoples definition of Christianity, you aren't really a christian. You may root for it and even participate in its traditions but if you don't actually worship and believe in its god (for instance that Jesus will return) its really odd to claim that you are one.

 

I don't reduce religion to beliefs and rituals. Its just that, you can philosophically agree with many teachings within any religion, that doesn't make you one of them necessarily.

 

Communist countries? What I think you mean is countries with a large concentration of power in one place tend to be awful places to live, and religion is one of the things a tyrannical power will use through either snuffing it out or creating and maintaining one that reinforces the ones in power. Communism and capitalism has little to do with this issue.

 

Well, yeah. If the Universe is there, it is because something made it possible, i.e: God. If there is no God, then the Universe makes itself possible; it is a materialistic version of God. I'm accepting the premise that something that transcends reality created reality, and I'm choosing to be part of the christian "group", even though I wouldn't subscribe to a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. This isn't a black or white issue. You can agree with only 1% of christianity and still be part of the "group", and you could agree with 99% of it and not be a part of it.

 

Communist countries as in countries that were ruled by the communist movement, which IS a materialistic and anti-religious movement by principle. Like with religion, you cannot reduce communism to a set of principles and beliefs. It too, has a history, it's a culture by itself which is not stagnant, but evolves through a dialectics of its own.

 

 

Well, it is true that countries with a catholic tradition tend to be shitholes in general, see Mexico and most of Latin America, but it's a different story with countries with protestant tradition, which are usually the more progressive and gay loving countries in the world, such as Sweden, where even gender itself is seen as nothing more than a social construct.

 

Are you just sort of arbitrarily making things up in this thread?  I mean, first you claim the US is progressive re: gay rights and now you're claiming Sweden is some sort of post-sexism utopia.  None of this is true.

 

I think you're mistaking rights that gay people are entitled for the "gay rights" movement, which is a "social movement" or something like that, which is essentially a part of a larger movement that seeks to establish cultural hegemony. Read Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks. In Iran gay people are entitled to be hanged. In US gay people are entitled to stay alive, own property, firearms and consume like the rest of society, they have very basic human rights. In Sweden they're entitled to adopt children, but that is likely to change as the majority of that country's population eventually turns to Islam.



#18 gentileCheerios

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:39 PM

it's impossible to respond to all the bad assumptions you're making, but the biggest is this correlation between religion and your logically (but not socially) arbitrary measure of success in societies. it also seems to show a complete lack of understanding or attention to the methods by which our perfect successful protestant societies managed to become "successful".

 

I base success in societies as how much I'd like to live in them. I'd hate to live in Congo, for example, so it's a failure by my scale.



#19 Hundley

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:45 PM

i'd hate to live in chicago

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#20 fucked up wastoid

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 11:02 PM

I don't think that there's a point in getting into a debate, so I'll just say congrats on finding something that makes you happy.






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