Author Topic: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails  (Read 7226 times)

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Offline velkyn

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2011, 01:20:46 PM »
Seriously, do atheists as a rule believe we are born atheists?Do you have to "become" an atheist?

As a rule? What does that mean?

You were born without any type of god belief.

 Would the majority of atheists hold to that position?

I do.  A more interesting question is, would you hold to this position?  Can you point to any instance where a child rejected the religion of its home/parents in favor of another without knowing about that others in any way but being born with a beleive in some god?
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Offline jetson

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2011, 01:44:43 PM »
Yes, all brand new humans are atheists.

That hasn't been verified. At this point it is just philosophical conjecture.

Please.  Are you about to show us where newborns have some built-in awareness of one of the gods?  Which one?

Offline jetson

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2011, 01:54:44 PM »
I find it hard to believe that humans just blithely follow anything without a single private thought on the matter - perhaps I'm wrong?

You most certainly are.

I doubt it.

When it comes to gods, self-proclaimed atheists are more rational than theists, wholesale.

Most of them, yes. But there are always those who are more irrational than (some) theists.

Yes, but how many, percentage wise?

And if you have atheists who use their ability to reject gods based on something other than a rational, fact/evidence based conclusion, then you're left simply with someone saying they don't believe in gods.

Yup.

Show me some.

But what would that disbelief be based on?

No basis for it at all.

In other words, no private thoughts, no thoughts whatsoever?

I can't back it up, but I would argue that there are very few atheists who simply "believe" there are no gods.  There are probably a lot of people who don't believe in gods though, who would never label themselves as atheists.

Their labels are pointless. If you do not believe in gods, you are an atheist. Whether you're gnostic, agnostic, ignostic or apnostic is a different issue altogether.
But I am making a distinction for a reason.  The reason is related to the OP - calling yourself atheists on purpose, or even calling yourself a former atheist, is disingenuous if you're simply trying to argue that people go from atheist to theist without thought.

Maybe that's a distinction that I should have made earlier?

Probably, although I disagree with it anyway.
So, you see no distinction at all between someone who has never given atheism a thought, and someone who argues that they used to be atheist?

Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2011, 02:07:36 PM »
Yes, all brand new humans are atheists.

That hasn't been verified. At this point it is just philosophical conjecture.

Please.  Are you about to show us where newborns have some built-in awareness of one of the gods?  Which one?

And if this awareness exists, why do we not see mass blabberings about divine space-dads coming out the mouths of toddlers worldwide?

This of course does not count the kids of preachers and religious wack-a-loons who prompt their kids to make godtalk and then say "ITZ A MURKLE!", ala Marjoe.

If there was some sort of built-in knowledge of cosmic wizardry, it would be an epidemic. It would be a natural part of kid-rearing, like potty-training, trying to get them to STOP talking about gods. You know, since it would be pretty much the ONLY actual intellectual concept any human being is naturally born with.
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Offline onesteward

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2011, 02:08:01 PM »
Catch- phrase?

well-supported fact.  But not a "tenent".  it's like saying "accepting apples grow on trees" is a tenent of atheism.

 Then the "I used to be an an atheist" stories never fail , correct?

I'm not following you. I would say that, bluntly, I find that the "I used to be an atheist" stories always fail since there is no good reason to believe them to be valid,
you just posted that everyone is born atheist and that is a "well-supported fact".If that is true every single one is valid because every single person starts out atheist then.
Quote
other than humans can latch onto all sorts of nonsense when stressed.  They may have indeed been atheists, but the stories are always the same, the usual appeals to emotion, the "oh how awful I was before I found Jesus" nonsense.  It also makes me amused since this version of how God works isn't universally accepted by all Christians.  But that's so often the case.
All the major doctrines are though.
 
Quote


Never do we see an atheist who was a perfectly fine person, like many here on the forum, who found a good reason to become a theist.  We never see any atheist have read the bible and come to the conclusion it was right, which in theory should happen if this message from this god was so obvious.
Do you personally know many of the forum members?In person ...face to face?
Communist countries are full of stories about "cradle to grave"... atheist taught ...fine people who have become Christians.People seem to overlook the fact that the Church of Christ is a universal one.Wall Street brokers to low class Indian dalits to oppressed people in communist countries....who are only taught atheism.Their stories of salvation number in the millions.


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

Offline onesteward

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2011, 02:13:57 PM »


I do.  A more interesting question is, would you hold to this position?  Can you point to any instance where a child rejected the religion of its home/parents in favor of another without knowing about that others in any way but being born with a beleive in some god?

I would assume that the 1st evolved ape who had that thought would be the one you'd think it was.

BTW I have to go....Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that celebrates it!
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

Offline velkyn

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2011, 02:33:31 PM »
you just posted that everyone is born atheist and that is a "well-supported fact".If that is true every single one is valid because every single person starts out atheist then.
Yep, until it’s proven otherwise.  Can you?  You seem to think you can.
Quote
All the major doctrines are though.
No, they aren’t.  What you consider a major doctrine another does not.  Does God use predestination or not?  What does one have to do to be saved?  I think we’ve gone through this before and the fact that Christian sects have huge disagreements is still there. 
 
Quote
Do you personally know many of the forum members?In person ...face to face?
Communist countries are full of stories about "cradle to grave"... atheist taught ...fine people who have become Christians.People seem to overlook the fact that the Church of Christ is a universal one.Wall Street brokers to low class Indian dalits to oppressed people in communist countries....who are only taught atheism.Their stories of salvation number in the millions.
The Christain church is anything but “universal”.  That’s hilarious since it’s so easy to show how it’s not.  How about the Christians with the “prosperity gospel”?  How about Christians who are universalists, everyone gets into heaven/the kingdom of heaven on earth and no punishment will be given to those who don’t believe in the Christian God? Let me guess, those aren't TrueChristianstm? &)

I’m sure that there are conversion stories in the millions, but why very few, if not none, that simply depend on the supposed message in the book?  Why does it always require a human to “interpret” what God “really” meant to another person, invoking only emotion and never evidence?  Why do Christians desperately try to convert each other from one sect to another?  Why did my former church sent missionaries to Australia and to hugely Catholic countries like the ones in Central and South America if there was no harm in remaining Catholic?  You see, OS, your claims are not born out by reality. 

And no, I don’t know any forum members in the flesh.  So?  I don’t know you either but I know a lot about you, OS, and other Christians.  I have little choice to believe what you say about yourselves, unless I have a reason not to.  These canned glurgy conversion stories make me suspicious.  They hit their marks too consistently and too well for me to think that every Christian that posts on this board was such a horrible person before.   

You haven’t addressed the lack of anyone actually converting by reading the bible which, in theory, should happen all of the time, with the reader automatically coming to agree with one of the sects with no prompting. 

Ray brought up a good point. Why if people have some sense of god as babies, why nothing to demonstrate that?  We have a couple of legends about how some Christian kings/emperors tried to demonstrate this in trying to see if children would automatically speak some divine language http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_deprivation_experiments#In_history  If what you are trying to claim is true, and I am assuming you are indeed trying ot say that people aren’t atheists at birth e.g. having no preconceived notions of a divine being that controls the universe and their lives, why no success for them or evidence for you?




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Offline velkyn

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2011, 02:36:06 PM »


I do.  A more interesting question is, would you hold to this position?  Can you point to any instance where a child rejected the religion of its home/parents in favor of another without knowing about that others in any way but being born with a beleive in some god?

I would assume that the 1st evolved ape who had that thought would be the one you'd think it was.

BTW I have to go....Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that celebrates it!
wow, nice non-answer there.  Of course you can't support your claims.  How expected.  I do so enjoy watching Christians fail.

and one can be thankful to other than your impotent imaginary god.   ;)   Pity that it can't give manna and quail to those who really need it, whilst you are piously praying.
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Offline Avatar Of Belial

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #37 on: November 23, 2011, 02:59:04 PM »
Since the theists are looking for loopholes in the term "atheist" I'd say redefine the term in the OP to "active atheist" or "vocal atheist" since that is usually the context of the Testimonials of the Christians.

I'd preffer we use some qualifiers, but "active" and "vocal" don't really do it, because those don't specify anything about why you're an atheist.

I would propose these distinctions:

Nontheist: All-encompassing, babies included term (instead of agnostic, which means something else and can be combined with any of these). These people simply lack a belief in god/God/gods. Maybe they never thought about it, maybe they just don't care. They just aren't theists.

Atheist: Someone who has chosen the stance that no gods exist.

Rational atheist: What most of us are. We have come to the conclusion that no gods exist and support it with evidence and logic. If you want to use an "I was an atheist" story, you'd probably be more convincing if you could convince us that you were a rational one. In order for most of us to stop being atheists, we would need some very compelling evidence.

Emotional atheist: I think this one is pretty rare, but the classification is needed. If you are an atheist because of emotional reasons, then it is much easier to slip back into religion via emotional appeals.

Fake atheist: Ok, technically not an atheist (thus "Fake"), but I'd like to point it out because it has to do with the topic at hand, since many of the "I was an atheist" stories seem like this to me. In at least one instance I remember reading someone claiming they were once an "Athiest" who stopped being an atheist because the Bible is the word of God.

Erm... what?

This person probably doesn't even know what an atheist is, much less what would convince one. These are theists who would become emotional atheists, but they never actually drop the belief portion, so they just wallow in their confusion and assume thats what atheism is.

---

If accepted, babies would no longer be considered atheists; but at the same time I think it would make things clearer.
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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2011, 03:04:45 PM »
I doubt it.

Before I realized just how often people lie, I never once questioned anything my mom, grandmother or brother told me. That includes the existence of the judeo-christian god.

Yes, but how many, percentage wise?

How am I supposed to know?

Show me some.

Sorry, I misread your point. An atheist who is not the subject of indoctrination will not come to the conclusion that there are no gods; he/she will just lack belief in them.

In other words, no private thoughts, no thoughts whatsoever?

They might think about it (I'd be surprised if they didn't), but never even consider arguments to support it.

But I am making a distinction for a reason.  The reason is related to the OP - calling yourself atheists on purpose, or even calling yourself a former atheist, is disingenuous if you're simply trying to argue that people go from atheist to theist without thought.

Agreed.

So, you see no distinction at all between someone who has never given atheism a thought, and someone who argues that they used to be atheist?

Assuming the first is an atheist:
Although the process (or lack thereof) by which they arrived to/never left disbelief is different, they're still both atheists. Obviously there are a few differences between them, and they might (and most likely will) have different reactions to attempted indoctrination, but they remain atheists nonetheless.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #39 on: November 23, 2011, 04:57:22 PM »
Please.  Are you about to show us where newborns have some built-in awareness of one of the gods?  Which one?

Sort of. Current research suggests that we are "hard wired" to believe in the super natural. But don't just take my word for it. I haven't even really researched it much. But this is what I am talking about;

A study into the way children's brains develop suggests that during the process of evolution those with religious tendencies began to benefit from their beliefs - possibly by working in groups to ensure the future of their community.

The findings of Bruce Hood, professor of developmental psychology at Bristol University, suggest that magical and supernatural beliefs are hardwired into our brains from birth, and that religions are therefore tapping into a powerful psychological force.

Quote
Our research shows children have a natural, intuitive way of reasoning that leads them to all kinds of supernatural beliefs about how the world works.
 
As they grow up they overlay these beliefs with more rational approaches but the tendency to illogical supernatural beliefs remains as religion.

It's not a matter of which God we are born to believe in but the fact that we seem to be born to believe...in something...anything at all which is very telling.

If Bruce is correct then it would seem that being atheist is a personal decision, instead of a default position, which is not inline with our natural inclinations.  It would also explain exactly why it is such a painful process for life long theists to de-convert.


Edit:

I forgot to mention that Bruce does not offer this as proof of any gods actually existing and neither am I. He asserts that religion is superstition and I agree.


« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 05:06:04 PM by jaybwell32 »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #40 on: November 23, 2011, 05:20:44 PM »
One of my students said he was an atheist and had a conversion experience a la Saul on the road to Damascus. He was suddenly, out of the blue, overcome with the belief in god. It may be true that he had no religious beliefs before, but I don't know if he had been what we are calling a "rational atheist". And it still sounds like an emotional event. :-\
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline relativetruth

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #41 on: November 23, 2011, 06:31:11 PM »
When I was a ten-year old I shared the same building with a number of university students.

One student I often spoke to was a keen sports fan especially Football [Soccer] and I loved all that.
He knew my parents were theist but one day he made the statement
'God does not exist'

I asked him 'Why are you so sure'. Although brought up as a theist (Salvation Army) I had started to have my doubts by that stage but I was not very sure at all.

He could not give me a rational answer as to why he was an atheist? He just said 'trust me, when you die you die, there is no heaven'.
He had come from a wealthy background of presumably atheist parents. He was in his 7th year of trying to complete a 3-year degree.

Although most atheists would class themselves as 'rational' I suspect there is a small minority who call themselves atheists just because it is 'cool' in the social group they hang out with.
And when they meet a 'hot' other human who happens to be
theist and they want a relationship then ......

The theist would say the OP fails because it is the 'No true Scotsman' fallacy.
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #42 on: November 23, 2011, 10:42:38 PM »
First off, what is the point of declaring that babies are natural-born atheists?  I honestly don't understand why it is necessary to even make this point, unless it's intended as a pure technicality.  If that's the case, could the point not be made much more succinctly by simply saying that nobody is born with a belief system?

Second, I agree with the OP's point.  "I used to be a..." isn't convincing to those who still are.

Offline Auntie Gravity

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #43 on: November 24, 2011, 12:27:30 AM »
Hi all!  First post!

I notice none of the commenters have themselves copped to the "ex-atheist" position. Shame. I've seen this claim made on other threads, and I tend to dismiss it, as I believe the OP does, as a transparent attempt to seem "reasonable". 

What I would demand to know, is how they came to decide which particular brand of theism to embrace, after having  previouslydecided that religion was bunk?  Did they weigh the claims of the various sects of Christianity and arrive at their decision?  Why did they decide on, say, Evangelical Protestantism, rather than more traditional Catholicism?  Did they give Eastern Orthodoxy a fair hearing, or compare and contrast Methodism, Congregationalism, Presbyterianism and Lutheranism and make a rational decision which of their differing dogmas made the most sense?  Did they research Mormonism, Scientology, Ba Ha'i, Hare Krishna?

For that matter, did they look into Islam?  What about Hinduism, Shinto, Buddhism or Animism?  These belief systems claim billions of adherents in the world--can you be sure they are all wrong?  If you have made the rational decision to abandon skepticism (is that even possible?), how can you be sure you haven't chosen the wrong path after all?  How much would that suck?  I mean, here you were, comfortable in your dismissal of all superstitious world-views, then one day, you decided to start over as a theist, but then you went and jumped on the wrong bus!  What if it turns out you die and get to heaven, and they tell you you should have been praying on your knees, rather than just bowing your head?  What if you find out the Ancient Greeks were actually right all along, and you should have been making sacrifices to Zeus all this time?

Offline wright

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #44 on: November 24, 2011, 12:48:03 AM »
Welcome, Auntie!

Hi all!  First post!

What I would demand to know, is how they came to decide which particular brand of theism to embrace, after having  previouslydecided that religion was bunk?  Did they weigh the claims of the various sects of Christianity and arrive at their decision?

For that matter, did they look into Islam?  What about Hinduism, Shinto, Buddhism or Animism?  These belief systems claim billions of adherents in the world--can you be sure they are all wrong?  If you have made the rational decision to abandon skepticism (is that even possible?), how can you be sure you haven't chosen the wrong path after all?  How much would that suck?  I mean, here you were, comfortable in your dismissal of all superstitious world-views, then one day, you decided to start over as a theist, but then you went and jumped on the wrong bus! 

Ha! Very good point, Auntie! Any re-converts are gambling that they've picked the winning number for Pascal's Lottery! That must have been some damn good evidence (for those of them that considered themselves skeptics, anyway). Maybe they'll be generous and show it to the rest of the class...
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Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #45 on: November 24, 2011, 01:28:16 AM »
Inspired by zerwwgha's post in the Questions for Christians thread.

The "I used to be an atheist" stories fails because they're always[1] boils down to "I had a big emotional moment".  They're never about rational thoughts and inquiries.  Having an emotional moment does not make something true.  As an example, suppose you found out you've won the lottery.  You're excited beyond belief, you call everyone you know... then you find out you didn't win the lottery at all.  You misheard/misunderstood something, and your big emotional moment will not do anything to change that.

Oftentimes, the words about the emotional moments are preceded by "I wanted to believe".  Again, there's nothing about rational thoughts and inquiries.  No usage of the scientific method, etc.  If you're desperate for god, then it's no wonder you'll have an emotional moment as a catalyst for belief.

For these stories to work, they would have to drop the emotional angle.  They need to start with "I have read/heard the arguments for god, studied the evidences presented, and have come to the conclusion that god exists based upon the following: (*insert conclusive proof here*).  These findings are repeatable, testable and falseable."  It would also be great if at least some of them could end with  "I have submitted my findings to the scientific community for peer reviewing, and I am confident that my findings will hold up."  But I have my doubts we'll see that anytime soon.
 1. technically, I suppose I should say "almost always", in case there's an exception out there, but I have yet to see one, and I doubt there is one

You are correct in that there is no ritual, incantation, prayer, chant, utterance, series of moves, etc. which will consistently yield an entity which can be seen and measured by others and commonly agreed to as being "God". 

All religion, by it's very nature is subjective (at least to my way of thinking). 

I may be very wrong (not the first time in my life) but I think the core issue is not the testimony by an atheist who converts to theism.  Rather, it is the presentation of that conversion as though the beliefs associated with that conversion are irrefutable fact.  What am I missing?

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving I remain,

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy 
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #46 on: November 24, 2011, 10:04:15 AM »

 Then the "I used to be an an atheist" stories never fail , correct?

Technically, it is correct.  But this is not where the argument is coming from at all.  It is the theist looking to bolster their delusion, by appealing to the "I used to be an atheist" position, meaning they knowingly rejected the god they now believe in - which is not atheism.
Wouldn't that only be true in the cases where they weren't atheists first?Antony Flew was an 'accepted' atheist then became a Deist ,I believe.He was never really an atheist?

Despite the fact I get tired of hearing about Flew. :"The World's most Notorious Atheist" my ass! You actually raise a good point.Agnostic atheism and agnostic theism are close enough positions that one could with mildly flawed rationality switch from one to the other. It is dubious in Flew's case because of some of the circumstances...him being out of the limelight for over thirty years before his conversion, the book of his conversion is filled with expressions that a life long resident of the UK wouldn't be likely to use, his advanced age...all cast some doubt as to if this conversion was legitimate. However, I can see it all the same.

Gnostic theism such as you practice, however....nope, never. There is no rational way to hold that position if you are a fully formed mentally capable adult.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #47 on: November 24, 2011, 01:28:09 PM »
...I can't back it up, but I would argue that there are very few atheists who simply "believe" there are no gods....

I believe there are no gods. And I've never seen any evidence whatsoever to support a belief in god. I can't remember ever believing in gods. And I can't remember a time when I ever really gave belief in gods any credence whatsoever. Every experience I've had supports the idea/belief that gods don't exist. I remember way back in elementary school refusing to say "one nation under god" in our pledge. First grade and I thought it was silly. It was only later that I found out that it used to be "one nation, indivisible ..." and the "under god" was added by communist-fearing folks during the cold war. So, which came first? Logic or belief? When there's no evidence whatsoever for something, belief may exist before conscious study. I knew the tooth fairy was my mom, that santa was my dad, and that the easter bunny was my aunt. It didn't ruin the fun for me to know it was make believe, and I didn't study where the myths came from until much later in life.
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #48 on: November 25, 2011, 09:10:36 AM »
you just posted that everyone is born atheist and that is a "well-supported fact".If that is true every single one is valid because every single person starts out atheist then.

Yep, until it’s proven otherwise.

That was my only point here.By virtue of that belief it would seem the op is incorrect.

Quote
Can you?  You seem to think you can.

There you go again- reading minds.You don't believe in a magic decoder ring so where does that ability come from? It like a mysterious IAS  ( Innate Ape Sense) or something....wow.

I haven't expessed a position either way,I was only pointing out how the op was wrong if  the "born atheist" doctrine is true.


All the major doctrines are though.
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No, they aren’t.  What you consider a major doctrine another does not.

Does God use predestination or not?  What does one have to do to be saved?  I think we’ve gone through this before and the fact that Christian sects have huge disagreements is still there.

There are difference, sure.I think you will find that the differences are not as stikingly dissimilar as you fabricate them to be.
 
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #49 on: November 25, 2011, 09:55:40 AM »

I haven't expessed a position either way,I was only pointing out how the op was wrong if  the "born atheist" doctrine is true.


Typically, we are born ignorant. Ignorance is not anti-theism, until some significant culture gets drilled into you; say for example a culture which only accepts first hand evidence, like in the "Piraha" tribe, which stubbornly refuses to accept Christianity, because nobody has met Jesus, and they cannot see God. I think you may be untheist, until some theist antagonises you; then you become anti-that-theist. Atheism is a more hardened position of rejecting all religions of this particular planet, because they don't come with a warranty.

Quote
There are difference, sure.I think you will find that the differences are not as stikingly dissimilar as you fabricate them to be.

It doesn't matter what the differences are; there should not be any differences. Any difference at all proves that they are not based on evidence.
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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #50 on: November 25, 2011, 10:16:31 AM »
Nontheist: All-encompassing, babies included term (instead of agnostic, which means something else and can be combined with any of these). These people simply lack a belief in god/God/gods. Maybe they never thought about it, maybe they just don't care. They just aren't theists.

Atheist: Someone who has chosen the stance that no gods exist.
A member called Dominic convinced me of that.

Kirk Cameron says he and his sister used-to-be-atheists-but-saw-the-light.  But when he describes his former state it seems they were both unreflective.  As you call it, nontheists.

In France the term is nonreligious.  One of the premiers of France brought introduced his fiancee to his parents noting in the first sentence that she was nonreligious.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #51 on: November 25, 2011, 10:22:28 AM »
BTW, English speaking Moslems have their own code word:  revert.

You do not "convert" to Islam, you "revert" to Islam. 

The usage comes from their saying that all babies are born Moslem.  Islam is simply the natural state of humanity if you would but recognize it.

I'm guessing that is behind the mental state of the occasional Moslems who arrive at this site and think that the merest introduction of Islam will make us flock to it.  Then they quickly leave in bewilderment.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #52 on: November 25, 2011, 03:45:39 PM »

I haven't expessed a position either way,I was only pointing out how the op was wrong if  the "born atheist" doctrine is true.

Quote
Typically, we are born ignorant. Ignorance is not anti-theism, until some significant culture gets drilled into you; say for example a culture which only accepts first hand evidence, like in the "Piraha" tribe, which stubbornly refuses to accept Christianity, because nobody has met Jesus, and they cannot see God.

 Yet they do believe in a "spiritual realm" and claim to see the "spirits' when they take on a material form even when the researchers with them saw nothing.

Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.[13]

Interesting phrase...."lives above the clouds."At least I thought so.
 



 I think you may be untheist, until some theist antagonises you; then you become anti-that-theist. Atheism is a more hardened position of rejecting all religions of this particular planet, because they don't come with a warranty.
You will have to hash that out with other atheists, I guess.
Me:
''you just posted that everyone is born atheist and that is a "well-supported fact"

Velkyn:
" Yep, until it’s proven otherwise."

Personally, I don't have too much invested in the whole thing.

Quote
There are difference, sure.I think you will find that the differences are not as stikingly dissimilar as you fabricate them to be.


It doesn't matter what the differences are; there should not be any differences. Any difference at all proves that they are not based on evidence.

Are you trying to say that "true evidence" can't be looked at and have more than one interpretation of that evidence?
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #53 on: November 25, 2011, 10:27:30 PM »

Are you trying to say that "true evidence" can't be looked at and have more than one interpretation of that evidence?

What I'm saying, is that the science community is not deeply divided on the subject of gravity being 9.81m/s2, because we can measure it, and there is no dispute. When a dispute involving God appears, no matter how trivial or great, there is nobody who can get in contact with God to sort it out, because you are playing make-believe. The issues are:

- Whether hell exists, and which version of it to believe
- Joseph Smith wrote some new books; are they true?
- Mohammad said the whole Bible was a crock, and Jesus(pbuh) was just a prophet
- Was Mary really a virgin?
- Did Jesus really rise form the dead, or did the Gospel of Matthew have a faked ending?
- Did Jesus come from the spiritual world, like Marcion and Paul said?
- Are we saved by works or faith, given the core contradiction on the Judaised Gospel?
- Is the whole law still in place?
- Is there really a ranking system in heaven? Is it true that we have to be more righteous than the scribes?
- Do unsaved children go to hell?
- How many versions of Matthew occurred before or after Justin Martyr's version?
- Who really wrote Revelation and Acts?
- Will we really go to hell if we get divorced, or shout Raca?
- Should Christians test God by holding snakes?
- Did the creation really happen as described, or should we ignore a Jewish book?
- Was the serpent really Satan?
- Does Satan really exist, and what does he do? How powerful is he? Should we really worry about him? Why does God let him walk around?
- Does God really know the future, given that all the Jewish prophecies are a failure? Is God really omnipotent, given that he was scared of a tower?
- Is there really a trinity? Was Jesus begotten, or born?
- Should we expect to be healed by God, if we pray?
- Does God really exist?
- Does God have time to hear our prayers? Why would God listen us rather than needy Africans?

I know some very "talented" creationists believe that they can interpret geological evidence in a different way to scientists, so it is possible for incredibly determined people to misinterpret evidence, however, Christianity is held together by intelligent people who run the church machine. They make the complex decisions involving doctrine, and they cannot agree on much, er.. besides that scientists are right about the Earth being very old. There are now a few studies showing that priests are just as likely to be atheist as the general community; this should not happen if there is any evidence to interpret.

I'm not asking you to attempt to undermine my statement, by finding some examples of science which have dual interpretation. Your problem is that there are no agreed facts or things we can verify within the religious community, because whether done by Mohammed or people writing books about Jesus, all religious dogma relies on believing some writer who said he looked into a hat, or had a vision, or met someone who said something, and none of it, inc. the existence of a god can be verified in any way. This causes divisions within the churches and religions that can only be stamped out by killing the opposition. Killing is a good way to unify interpretation, but still breeds a nagging doubt. What happened to the Gnostics?

Yes, there is a general agreement within the Christian-type churches that emulating or worshiping or revering Jesus might get you to a heaven, if it existed (in the future), but typically they do not tighten up the rules, in case they are wrong and deter church membership. There should be a science to this, if there is any truth to it. It should not be a religious challenge to even have proof that a god exists.

Theists should be rolling boulders off a cliff onto atheists, but instead, you are pushing boulders up hill and wheezing, to try and prove every point you make, because you are not working from verifiable first-hand evidence.

Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #54 on: November 26, 2011, 07:23:24 PM »

Are you trying to say that "true evidence" can't be looked at and have more than one interpretation of that evidence?

What I'm saying, is that the science community is not deeply divided on the subject of gravity being 9.81m/s2, because we can measure it, and there is no dispute.

But other scientific "evidence" is disputed: The Big Bang and evolution to name two.They can't be measured like gravity so of course there are differing opinions.Same info...different interpretations.I would expect those on both sides are sure they are right.Who is the final authority on subjects like these?You don't have one...are you playing make- believe? are the others that disagree with you playing make- believe?

When a dispute involving God appears, no matter how trivial or great, there is nobody who can get in contact with God to sort it out, because you are playing make-believe.

We can get in touch with Him through prayer and His Word.It is the most real thing there is ...it is eternal.What we know here and now is transitory.


The issues are:

That was quite a long list AH.I would hope you would know the response to several of them already.The  'loaded' questions you can't really expect one.Any serious questions I would like to see about an answer, though.

I know some very "talented" creationists believe that they can interpret geological evidence in a different way to scientists, so it is possible for incredibly determined people to misinterpret evidence,
Which is of course what they say about the evolutionists.They might add something about them controlling the 'purse strings' as well.


 however, Christianity is held together by intelligent people who run the church machine.

 Actually , Christ's Church is held together by God.What does the church machine look like in North Korea? Saudi Arabia?China maybe.The term "machine" sounds like it must surely be of great influence in those places.


Are you familiar with the term: " Human Rights Violation"?



 They make the complex decisions involving doctrine, and they cannot agree on much, er.. besides that scientists are right about the Earth being very old.
And scientists- at least some, agree with the Bible-"In the beginning...".Of course not all do ,though.I guess if you can't measure it scientists  just can't agree on it.



 There are now a few studies showing that priests are just as likely to be atheist as the general community; this should not happen if there is any evidence to interpret.

I don't know what type of priest is being referred to here.But the statement strikes me as being something like this: Anthropologist Daniel Everett has been studying a tribe of skeptics...atheists actually.And like any true skeptic : "They require evidence for every claim made."Another thing they do according to Everett's study: " They trade Brazil nuts and sex for consumables or tools, e.g. machetes, gunpowder, powdered milk, sugar, whiskey."
Whether the practice is widespread amongst skeptics or not isn't known for sure but it does make one wonder.

I will try to get to the rest when I work next.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
what ever my lot, you have taught me to say
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #55 on: November 26, 2011, 09:05:05 PM »

But other scientific "evidence" is disputed: The Big Bang and evolution to name two.They can't be measured like gravity so of course there are differing opinions.Same info...different interpretations.I would expect those on both sides are sure they are right.Who is the final authority on subjects like these?You don't have one...are you playing make- believe? are the others that disagree with you playing make- believe?


The evidence for homoeopathy, astrology, vaccinations causing autism are also "disputed", but that does not mean that the people who take these sides have seriously looked at their own position. All it takes to refute homoeopathy, is for adherents to look at a few double blind studies, (all of which are done by graduates from their own homoeopathy colleges). All of these groups reject scientific method as a way to fault their position, even though they all say things like "astrology works", which is a scientific statement. Being brought up with science, all of them accept that things should "work", but reject any method which shows that they don't work, and can find no method which shows they do.

Science has numerous positions on the QM interpretation, which are quite contradictory: Copenhagen, Many Worlds, Transactional, Hidden variables. The reason why they can be so vague, is because there is ZERO evidence to support any interpretation against another. They may be all wrong. However, they are all right in the sense that they are constructed from verifiable evidence, and tell a rigorous story from one POV.

Homoeopathy, astrology, etc, all have different variants which severely contradict each other. Not only is there no evidence to construct these different positions, there is no real evidence that any of it works, anyway. At least with vague scientific propositions, there is evidence to base the speculation on. So, for the Big Bang, we can see evidence of something in the background radiation. What this is, is subject to interpretation.

It can be seen quite clearly that humans can hold many contradictory positions on various beliefs, but you have to admit that some of them are just plain wrong, whereas some of them can construct computers, satellites and engineer stem cells.

Creationism starts with a story that God created the sun, stars and moon, three days after day and night, which is incorrect. Also, that plants were created the day before the sun. It then goes on to imply that Noah put an impossible number of species into an ark, then forgot plant-life, and then pulled off the impossible feat of re-distrubting marsupials and mistletoe species and parasites back to Australia. Creationists also have other problems such as areas on Earth having 3 layers of coal deposits with tree roots and footprint horizons in them, and then a 55km eroded volcano and plug pushing up through it all.

How do we solidly differentiate between complete rubbish and things which are very well substantiated? Well, obviously it's up to the user to see the bleed'n obvious. With scientific problems, I cannot see any other interpretation, because I'm not bright enough to contradict the best scientists working in their respective fields, but someone who believes in astrology and creationism can figure out the crap, just by moderate thought processes. All they have to do, is drop their guard for a few minutes.

Quote
We can get in touch with Him through prayer and His Word.It is the most real thing there is ...it is eternal.What we know here and now is transitory.

If you can get in touch with Him by prayer, then he should be telling Muslims and Mormons that they are going to hell. But, for some reason, God never points out to people that they are worshiping the wrong religion. I speculate that the reason for this, is that (1) God does not care, or (2) you aren't really in touch with God, or (3) it's more complicated than your doctrine knows.

This would explain why you can't settle any issues without killing the opposition.

Quote
That was quite a long list AH.I would hope you would know the response to several of them already.The  'loaded' questions you can't really expect one.Any serious questions I would like to see about an answer, though.

Here, you really tripped up. I only know the "responses", because I know what YOU would say, not because I can speak for all theists. You see some of them as being "loaded", whilst others somehow completely settled, and others you would like to know the answer to. There is no difference in any of them. There is no way to decide any of the questions, besides asserting your POV and hoping to wipe out dissent. This is what homoeopaths and anti-vaccinators do. It's not "loaded" to discuss whether Jesus resurrected. Bishop Spong, Anglicans, and Muslims seem to have their opinion. And there are more of them than Christian creationists. Do they win by popular vote, or by killing you, or by showing some damn evidence?

Quote
Quote
I know some very "talented" creationists believe that they can interpret geological evidence in a different way to scientists, so it is possible for incredibly determined people to misinterpret evidence,
Which is of course what they say about the evolutionists.They might add something about them controlling the 'purse strings' as well.

OK, so now you are playing the underdog, but you are a member of a 2000 year old, insanely rich church structure. The Catholics and Anglicans, which are very rich, have decided that: no, the sun was not created 3 days after day and night. And there is ample evidence that the world is older than 10,000 years.

Yes, it can be said that there is an alternate position to evolution, but the alternate position can be seen through, by people of moderate intellect. Creationists also will not stick to any particular position, and their main motivation is to convince people by faulty procedure that their god made the world. If I said that the sky was blue, not because of the water in the heavens above the sun, but because it was the baby Jesus' favourite colour, and God made the sky according to the Jesu's preference, you would not be terribly worried at my intellectual bankruptcy, but would instead celebrate my discovery of Jesus.

Seriously, would you contradict me, if I said that there was a layer of water above the sun, moon and stars in the firmament? That's what your Bible says, so you can't. No matter how moronic it is, you can't contradict me.


Quote
Actually , Christ's Church is held together by God.What does the church machine look like in North Korea? Saudi Arabia?China maybe.The term "machine" sounds like it must surely be of great influence in those places.

Are you familiar with the term: " Human Rights Violation"?

Yes, I'm familiar with the idea that Anglicans and Catholics do not have a monopoly, and there are many other evangelical protestant sects who dissent and have viewpoints that they can't substantiate in any way.

Quote
I don't know what type of priest is being referred to here.But the statement strikes me as being something like this:

Not really, because you are building a off-topic strawman. I only introduced the Piraha tribe to demonstrate that there are some cultures which have a neutral indoctrination that makes them naturally resistant to Christianity, in a similar way to the way atheists reject it, but they were not formally atheists, prior to rejecting someone else's god-proposition. As far as I know, missionaries have not managed to convert any of them, largely because they ask impertinent questions that Christians and other theists are conditioned not to ask.

========================================================

In summary, whilst science has room for interpretation on some subjects, religion has no consensus on anything, or any verifiable evidence for any of the propositions.

NB: attacking science and evolution is not going to get you anywhere. You have to demonstrate proof of your own position.



« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 09:23:32 PM by Add Homonym »
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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #56 on: November 26, 2011, 10:05:23 PM »
http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP08122150.pdf

That is the study done by Daniel Dennet, which interviews 5 atheist clergy, and examines their issues. The thing that comes across, is how they lost their faith; it starts very early in seminary school.

http://www.clergyproject.org/

The clergy project is a support group for atheist clergy. Currently with only 100 members.

"Wes", in the study above, believed that atheist clergy may be all around him, but not admitting it. It's a bit like gaydar; atheistdar.

There should not be athiest clergy. They should be overwhelmed with evidence of God. But of course, there can be no more evidence for them, than anybody else.

Quote
When we asked one of the other pastors we talked with
initially if he thought clergy with his views were rare in the church, he responded, “Oh, you
can’t go through seminary and come out believing in God!” Surely an overstatement, but a
telling one.  As Wes put it:

 
Quote
…there are a lot of clergy out there  who --- if you were to ask them --- if
you were to list the five things that you think may be the most central beliefs
of Christianity, they would reject every one of them.

One can be initiated into a conspiracy without a single word  exchanged or secret
handshake; all it takes is the dawning realization, beginning in seminary, that you and the
others are privy to a secret, and that they know that  you know, and you know that they
know that you know. This is what is known  to philosophers and linguists as mutual
knowledge, and it plays a potent role in many social circumstances. Without any explicit
agreement, mutual knowledge seals the deal: you then have no right to betray this bond by
unilaterally divulging it, or even discussing it.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #57 on: November 26, 2011, 10:37:02 PM »
  I thought one of atheism's foundational tenets is "We are all born atheists".Wouldn't everyone- Christians included,have been 'true atheists' at one time?

Yes, all brand new humans are atheists.  Unless their theistic parents proclaim them otherwise!  Tell that to the babies!

It's a simple matter of definition.  Some people believe that one must proclaim their disbelief in God in order to be an atheist - and conveniently leave out the fact there is literally no reason to think there is a god to begin with.  Excepting the fact that humans have been deluded about this forever, and this is what they pass on to their children automatically, and without actual thought.

I've always liked the phrase "All babies are atheists". When I heard or read that phrase, I never worried about opposing definitions of the word "atheist". The phrase is a powerful argument. The only nutjobs who have "visions" of Jesus, are the ones who have actually heard of Jesus. There are still uncontacted peoples in the world today who have never heard of Jesus. Their nutjobs have visions of Hoonga Boonga(or whoever the fuck). There are many catch-phrases that people can use that are not meant to be taken too literally. Now, if two atheists want to technically debate "Are all babies atheists?", that's fine. It's frustrating when a Christian tries to dismiss the phrase when you know damn well if he was born in the right spot near the Amazon, Hoonga Boonga would be a huge part of his everyday life instead of Jay-suhs.
Enough with your bullshit.
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