Author Topic: From whence I come...  (Read 1037 times)

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Offline Timo

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From whence I come...
« on: June 29, 2010, 04:38:47 PM »
I come from a mainline, Black, protestant church.  I have no bad memories of coming up in this tradition, really.  I was personally acquainted with every minister and most of the bishops and church elders that we've had and enjoyed the company of all of them.  I still do.  Point of fact, I'm still somewhat involved with the church, having just discussed the latest internal politics with my aunt and my cousin, today.  All that said, I can't believe what they ask me to believe.  I reject Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior.  They know this.  But, to some extent, the Black church is more about community than it is about religion.  And so there's that.

I'm not sure if it's correct to say that I ever "lost faith" really.  I believed as a child, but I'm not sure if that should even count as genuine belief rather than as a belief that was the result of the sort of credulity with which a child approaches every claim of their parents/authority figures.  My mother still, for example, enjoys telling the story of how I cried one Christmas, thinking that Santa wasn't going to come to visit me when I was something like 6 or 7.  (It doesn't hurt that I was a particularly adorable child.)  But I haven't believed in Santa since I was old enough to really think about it.  The same goes for God.

I suppose that what really got me thinking at first was growing up in a somewhat religiously diverse community.  My friends were Catholic, they were Jewish, they were Muslims.  And the fact that the religious views that were being instilled in me necessitated that they (or at the very least the Jews and Muslims) be subject to eternal torment really forced me to take a more critical look at my faith.  My friends weren't going to hell, were they?

I should also say that I've never, though I've prayed for it, had a personal experience of Christ.  I can't talk about the inner witness of the Holy Spirit because I've never felt it.  As such, I've had to go by the arguments for and against the existence of God.  And, as far as I have been able to tell, these arguments firmly establish that there's no evidence of God's existence and that there's good evidence that God, at least as most monotheistic traditions conceive him, does not exist.

Actually, this lack of a personal experience of God, more than any particular argument, has been the most convincing disproof of his existence for me.  I should say that, growing up, I lost some friends to gun violence.  I suppose that it's not surprising that these deaths led me to questions of what the purpose of life is, whether there's life after death, etc.  And while I prayed a lot on these topics, I received nothing in return.  The silence was deafening.  And I tend to take it into account any time someone tries to talk to me about their inner witness of God.

So, these days, I'm perfectly happy with saying that there probably is no god.  I tend to think that I only have 80 or so years and I've used almost 30 of them.  And I tend to think that I'm lucky to be here.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 10:41:41 PM by Timo »
Nah son...

Offline Jessie

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Re: From whence I come...
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 06:36:56 PM »
Yes, learning that there were other religions was what really got me asking questions. I eventually realized that we can't all be right, but we can all be wrong.
"Two hands working can do more than a
thousand clasped in prayer." – Anonymous
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent
force for atheism ever conceived." – Isaac Asimov
"The government of the United States is not,
in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." - John Adams

Offline screwtape

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Re: From whence I come...
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 09:44:13 PM »
Welcome, Timo.
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What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline mrbiscoop

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Re: From whence I come...
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 10:14:36 PM »
Very well said. Welcome to the real world.
So you're gonna go out there, drink your drink, say "Goodnight, I've had a very lovely evening", go home, jerk off. And that's all you're gonna do.
     -Vincent Vega

Offline Timo

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Re: From whence I come...
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2010, 10:36:40 PM »
Thanks for the welcome!
Nah son...

Offline xphobe

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Re: From whence I come...
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2010, 10:43:11 PM »
You said it quite well, but that seems to be the general formula for people who just gradually grew out of religion:

(1) you realize other childhood myths are made up
(2) other people believe different religions
(3) lack of a response to prayer, ever

Yup... for me, check, check and check!  :)

Welcome to the forum!
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...