Author Topic: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails  (Read 6539 times)

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Offline onesteward

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #58 on: November 27, 2011, 02:47:08 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.

Do any of them mention "vows" of any kind?When they took them - if they lied- wouldn't they just be pretenders at that point. They can't really think they can be both 'ministers of the Gospel' and atheists at the same time do they?Do you think Dennet actually published that and kept a 'straight face'?He had to know he'd be 'preachin' to the choir' with that study.

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.

Not to worry.In Christianity there aren't any.Mutual exclusivity I think it's termed.They may go through the motions but aren't really ministering.To me, the fact that they are liars and having no problem with it, says nothing of God but speaks volumes about atheism.


 They should be overwhelmed with evidence of God. But of course, there can be no more evidence for them, than anybody else.

Absolutely correct...a level playing field.

Like Scripture says: 19)Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.   20)For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

 21)Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.   22)Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,


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 ungod

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #59 on: November 27, 2011, 03:31:51 PM »
Like Scripture says:  <snip>

How inneresting - using the bible to prove God. YAWN.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #60 on: November 27, 2011, 04:25:43 PM »
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.

Not to worry.In Christianity there aren't any.Mutual exclusivity I think it's termed.They may go through the motions but aren't really ministering.To me, the fact that they are liars and having no problem with it, says nothing of God but speaks volumes about atheism.

I think it does speak something about god.  Couldn't god do one of the following?
1) Convince the atheist ministers that he [god] does exist.
2) Convince the parishioners that their atheist minister is a false leader.
3) Convince the atheist minister to get out of his/her career and stop being a false leader.
4) Convince the parishioners to talk to the atheist minister to get them back into the flock.

Maybe god doesn't really want to mess around with the ministers.  But why wouldn't he want to help out the ones who are seeking him?  I mean, if you think about it, there is this poor parishioner out there who is getting the word of god from someone who doesn't even believe that god exists; that parishioner really, really believes in god and is doing his/her best to seek god out.  There is this 'false prophet' (false leader, etc.) that is tainting this parishioner.  The parishioner is getting screwed out of the salvation he/she wants.  Why doesn't god intervene on the parishioner's behalf?  He/she thinks that she is seeking god properly but is being led down by a false prophet.  What else is the parishioner to do?
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #61 on: November 27, 2011, 04:41:58 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.

I kinda like these distinctions.

It would be like creating labels on the basis of the response to the question 'Does an entity god exist?':
Nontheist: The question is nonsensical and therefore has no answer.
Atheist: No.
Rational atheist: Doesn't look like it.
Emotional atheist: No, the idea of god existing is pretty horrifying.
Fake atheist: No.  We came from monkeys so of course god doesn't exist.

Well, the distinction between 'atheist' and 'rational atheist' seems to be 'gnostic' vs. 'agnostic', and so the above isn't really accurate.  I'll pine on that one some more.
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #62 on: November 28, 2011, 02:12:14 AM »

Do any of them mention "vows" of any kind?When they took them - if they lied- wouldn't they just be pretenders at that point. They can't really think they can be both 'ministers of the Gospel' and atheists at the same time do they?Do you think Dennet actually published that and kept a 'straight face'?He had to know he'd be 'preachin' to the choir' with that study.


I'm pretty sure they believed they were Christian at the time they took their vows. And, as I pointed out to you, the reason why they lost their faith is important. They lost it through study of how the Bible was constructed, and their continual experiences as a priest.

Quote
Not to worry.In Christianity there aren't any.Mutual exclusivity I think it's termed.They may go through the motions but aren't really ministering.To me, the fact that they are liars and having no problem with it, says nothing of God but speaks volumes about atheism.

A cheap shot is all you can come up with. I think a better way to interpret it, is that they have been lying all their lives as Christians, why not keep lying?

Quote

 They should be overwhelmed with evidence of God. But of course, there can be no more evidence for them, than anybody else.

Absolutely correct...a level playing field.

There shouldn't be a level paying field between all religions. There should be one group of ministers that have continual evidence of God, and then the others flock to the true religion.

The way you answered that post, by not dealing with it on any level,  suggests to me that you really are perturbed by the fact that the clergy could be full of atheists.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #63 on: November 28, 2011, 10:36:30 AM »
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. :-\

also does a lovely job of kicking any concept of "free will" right in the balls.  Paul gets taken over by god, gee. 
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #64 on: November 28, 2011, 11:01:59 AM »
That was my only point here.By virtue of that belief it would seem the op is incorrect.
Okay, I’ll show you my reason for thinking you’ve made some points you may not have.  The OP is this
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
to me it seems more than evidence we’re talking about adults here and their indoctrinated beliefs and their later conversions and deconversions.  You seem desperate to grasp onto a misapphrension of what was intended here.
 
Quote
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.
 
No, I’m not attempting to read your mind. I am reading your posts and it seems to me that you think you can show that people aren’t atheists/nontheists when they are born.  I don’t need any IAS or magic decoder ring, only your own words.  Shall I quote you?
Seriously, do atheists as a rule believe we are born atheists?Do you have to "become" an atheist?
Would the majority of atheists hold to that position?
Now, it seems that you would want to argue that since babies are atheists/nontheists when born then *all* people are atheists and thus this would make any claim that a Christian was “once an atheist” valid.  As has been stated, that’s true in only the most technical sense.  A child is raised in a religion and never consciously thinks that atheism is the only way to go, they can’t.  It is only until they can think that they can entertain any concept like that.  I’m sure I when from being baby atheist/nontheist to believer with never knowing that I did not believe in a god.  I was indoctrinated from essentially birth.  I was told about this god by people I had reason to trust.

Now, looking at your questions above, this seems to indicate that you think that I am wrong in stating that all babies are atheists/nontheists.  If this is what you meant, and I’ll allow you your own conscience to deal with if you tell the truth about that or not, then this would also indicate that you think you have some evidence that has convinced you otherwise.  Now, I’m asking, what is that evidence?  You see, all logically derived and not needed the desperate attempts by a Christian to find some rock for his religion to live under. Now if you didn’t mean to seem like if you were questioning why atheists believed in such a thing, then that’s fine and you did mean only to point out the potential problem in the OP and I was wrong.

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

But you claimed that there weren’t any major differences.  You claimed that all major doctrines accept on how God works.  That was not true.  And again, you want to claim that “but but they aren’t *that* different” but you of course can’t show that, OS.  You wave your hands and make claims but fail to show that I’m wrong.  Please do, I don’t mind being shown that I’m wrong if someone has the evidence to support themselves.  If you want to claim I’m “fabricating” something, then put up or shut up because if you can’t, that’s just you lying about what I’m doing, a bit of false witnessing.

Is it a major doctrinal difference between predestination and free will to accept God?  What exactly does one have to do to be saved e.g. which sect is the “right’ one?  Some from my prior posts: 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?

I’d also like you to address my other questions in that post: 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? 

EDIT:

Absolutely correct...a level playing field.

Like Scripture says: 19)Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.   20)For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

 21)Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.   22)Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,


Funny how all religions claim the exact thing for their nonexistent gods too.  How very very convenient, especially when the OT and NT are full of this god supposedly going out of its way to show people that it existed and JC saying that one should believe in God just because of the miracles, not that one should just look around.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 11:04:15 AM by velkyn »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2011, 06:17:29 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. :-\

also does a lovely job of kicking any concept of "free will" right in the balls.  Paul gets taken over by god, gee.

I think when many people say "atheist" they mean "having no particular religion" ie nontheist. They have not taken an active stance of disbelief in god(s). They just don't worry about it one way or another.

However, they do start to take an active interest because there are cool people in the college Christian club, or they have a life crisis, or get struck by god's holy lightning bolt.  When they become religious, it is most likely the one religion that is most prevalent in their immediate environment.

In a Christian environment they adopt some form of Christianity; in a Muslim environment they become Muslim.  Only 2% of the population in Hindu-heavy India is Christian. If the nontheist really gave all religions (or even a handful of religions) an equal shot, wouldn't there be more Bahais, Buddhists, and Rastafarians among the "I used to be an atheist but now I believe" set? Why are they so often drawn to Protestant Christianity in the US?

I guess that is one of the many reasons for my own disbelief:  peoples' religious beliefs too often mirror those of the people around them. Kinda like the language kids grow up speaking is going to be whatever the people round them speak. Not the best or most correct language, chosen rationally from all the possibilities on the planet, but the one most commonly available. Like junk food, you pick it because it is easy and all around you.

In other words, religion is learned behavior, not coming from any supernatural gods who choose who to bestow belief upon. Nor is it based on "anyone who seeks god with a pure and open heart." Too many people including ex-nuns and ex-priests tell of painful, devout prayer sessions while losing faith.
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 onesteward

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2011, 07:03:53 PM »

I'm pretty sure they believed they were Christian at the time they took their vows.

The stories I read made them out to be 'sketchy' at best.One mentioned that he realized seminary would keep him out of the military...however it wasn't his only reason for going.None of them seem to be 'died in the wool Bible Thumpers" before going but I didn't spend much time in the article to say for sure.


 And, as I pointed out to you, the reason why they lost their faith is important. They lost it through study of how the Bible was constructed, and their continual experiences as a priest.

They seem to all have had, and held in high regard, the " liberals" that taught them.Don't get me wrong here AH--I'm certain that there were many Christians who went in to seminary and came out agnostic or atheist.This is not a new phenomenon.I have favorite authors from as far back as the 1700's concerned about this very thing.

A cheap shot is all you can come up with. I think a better way to interpret it, is that they have been lying all their lives as Christians, why not keep lying?

It was and not necessary.They have lost the supernatural in Christianity and are attempting to use God in a humanistic way it seems.Well intentioned I'm sure but like the old saying goes: "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".That is not  to open up the "hell" can of worms.Please.



There shouldn't be a level paying field between all religions. There should be one group of ministers that have continual evidence of God, and then the others flock to the true religion.
I think we will ultimately understand that everyone got a fair chance.God is equally available to everyone.If you note the lives of Christ and the apostles prayer was a main focus.Jesus "alone -all night on the mountain...praying".If we lead their lives we will do their works.The ministry doesn't have better access than anyone else I don't believe.The ones that disciplined themselves to have Communion with God are naturally the ones back then who would get chosen to minister.


The way you answered that post, by not dealing with it on any level,  suggests to me that you really are perturbed by the fact that the clergy could be full of atheists.

Not in 1st world countries.It doesn't surprise me.I think saying "the clergy could be full of atheists" might be a bit of a stretch, though.Why would an atheist stay in the ministry anyway?
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 nogodsforme

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2011, 07:17:43 PM »
I read an account of a minister who lost his faith-- he listed all the reasons an atheist would stay in the ministry. He said, among other things:
-- that he had spent his entire adult life preparing for a career as a minister and did not have any idea of what else to do
--he had devoted many years to the job and could not see just throwing it all away
--his family thought of him as a devoted, godly man and that would have to change
--his congregation did not seem to be able to tell the difference, which both pleased and dismayed him[1]
--he was a leader in the community and valued his role
--he had a family to support and could not just up and quit
--he actually liked his job and the people he worked with, except for not believing any more
--he was still good at being a minister, comforting the bereaved, counseling people, etc
--when he finally started confiding in people he found out that he was not the only one!

Some of the same reasons atheists continue to attend church with their families-- I attended church with my family for Thanksgiving. They read the proclamation from President Obama, which I enjoyed although it was a bit god-heavy for a secular country. And the singing was wonderful. The parts in between were tedious.  :D
 1. For me, this is one of the most significant things I remember from the article-- that nobody could tell he was an atheist. Like, he did not suddenly grow horns or start urinating on the altar.
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.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #68 on: November 29, 2011, 02:22:15 AM »

I'm pretty sure they believed they were Christian at the time they took their vows.

The stories I read made them out to be 'sketchy' at best.One mentioned that he realized seminary would keep him out of the military...however it wasn't his only reason for going.None of them seem to be 'died in the wool Bible Thumpers" before going but I didn't spend much time in the article to say for sure.


Well, I can see why you'd want to pretend that there was a certain type of Christian who could lose their faith; to insulate yourself from the possibility that it could happen to you. You are formulating a "No True Scottsman" logic. There surely must have been something defective about them.

Try Dan Barker's story, and tell me why he was not a real Christian. I'm sure you can discover it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Barker
http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=lostfaith

Quote
They were intrigued that someone who had been so strongly religious could so radically "stray" and not be ashamed. They kept probing for some deep psychological cause, some hidden disappointment, secret bitterness, temptation or pride. They were like spiritual doctors trying to remove a tumor or blinding cataract.

I can see that you think that some people have the spirit and can never lose it. Rather than looking for psychological out-clauses in de-converted Christians, it would be more logical to accept that any Christian can become an atheist. That you are a candidate. Mother Teresa pretty much lost it, but kept doing the motions.

Quote
I think we will ultimately understand that everyone got a fair chance.God is equally available to everyone.

True. Zero availability. He is available to anyone who can imagine it, and interpret everything to that end. As long as they belong to a religion that places emphasis on lack of proof, they will not be disappointed. Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign.

Say, if God is equally available, then why did he write a Genesis in a way that would be interpreted as being incorrect from 1890 onwards? Don't you think he should have given people in this era a fighting chance, by creating the galaxy in day one, and our star on day 3, and Earth on day 6, and then making animals evolve by intelligent design? The Quran has made this mistake as well, offering proof that birds fly is evidence of Allah. Now people know that Allah is not holding up birds, they must be at a disadvantage.

Quote
I think saying "the clergy could be full of atheists" might be a bit of a stretch, though.Why would an atheist stay in the ministry anyway?

I think it might be normal in Catholicism and Anglican denominations to have severely "liberal" approaches. If they lose it completely, then yes, most of them would get out.

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 #69 on: November 29, 2011, 04:47:47 AM »
They also try to use the "I was raised in an atheist household" lie to bolster their belief that they were at one time, atheist. 

Why assume it is a lie?  Mistrust is not a great way to start a constructive dialog about someone's experience or beliefs.  You're essentially sabotaging the dialogue and you set yourself up to a tainted and judgmental viewpoint from the get go.  Hardly open-minded or fair...

Offline velkyn

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #70 on: November 29, 2011, 09:53:37 AM »
Why assume it is a lie?  Mistrust is not a great way to start a constructive dialog about someone's experience or beliefs.  You're essentially sabotaging the dialogue and you set yourself up to a tainted and judgmental viewpoint from the get go.  Hardly open-minded or fair...

Unfortunately, theway, we've seen theists lie and lie again on these forums. It is not simply a matter of mistrust, but of having trust that was abused time and time again.   It is not we who are poisoning the well, the theists do that quite well on their own. 

Now, I'm going I'm going to predict something, that you'll claim that those who lie weren't really the theists they claimed to be.  Would that be accurate?  This is not simply a baseless assumption on my part, but experience with how theists think (Having been one myself, I am quite familiar with that).
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #71 on: November 29, 2011, 10:05:52 AM »
I think we will ultimately understand that everyone got a fair chance.God is equally available to everyone.If you note the lives of Christ and the apostles prayer was a main focus.Jesus "alone -all night on the mountain...praying".If we lead their lives we will do their works.The ministry doesn't have better access than anyone else I don't believe.The ones that disciplined themselves to have Communion with God are naturally the ones back then who would get chosen to minister.

This reads as the usual magic spell claims by Christians, that if we just do “x” then God will reveal itself.  Unfortunately, this never *EVER* works.  OS, you make an assumption that if we just pray enough then we can do miracles, etc, just like the original apostles. Do you honestly think that no one has done this “enough”?  That no person in the two millennia plus since JC supposed existed, got this right?  Even you can’t evidently get this right or don’t care to even try.  Doesn’t speak well for your claims of being so pious.

I’ll agree that no one has got it right since we never see any miracles done, only stories from some deepest darkest superstious village. There’s nothing to get “right”. We never see an amputee healed, we never see someone with a suppurating cancer healed.  That’s because there is no God or Jesus and no amount of prayer, or being baptized, or being an itinerant preacher with nothing to their name, or whatever other qualifications you want to pull out of your hat, will work. 

As for your claim that ministers are “chosen” that’s pretty amusing, because you say, they were disciplined to have “Communion” with God.  I just got my latest FFRF newsletter and that newsletter always has a “Black Collar” list of all of the religious types who have been charged, convicted, or sentenced for crimes. It is always at least two full 11”x 17” pages of newsprint type the size you find on a classifieds page e.g. smaller than usual newspaper print, *every* month.  Seems that those who are “chosen” by God have no better track record than anyone else and it sure seems like a much worse one.  It’s sad that the vast majority of crimes are sexual abuse of a minor and theft.
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theway

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #72 on: November 29, 2011, 12:20:51 PM »
Unfortunately, theway, we've seen theists lie and lie again on these forums. It is not simply a matter of mistrust, but of having trust that was abused time and time again.   It is not we who are poisoning the well, the theists do that quite well on their own. 

Nevertheless, starting from a viewpoint of assuming that one is lying does indeed sabotage the dialog regardless of which viewpoint you're coming from.  I just don't think it's a great foundation from which do build on. 

Now, I'm going I'm going to predict something, that you'll claim that those who lie weren't really the theists they claimed to be.  Would that be accurate?  This is not simply a baseless assumption on my part, but experience with how theists think (Having been one myself, I am quite familiar with that).
Not necessarily.  Are theists exempt from lying, adultery, murder?  Having a faith in God does not preclude one from "sin", or hypocrisy.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #73 on: November 29, 2011, 12:42:19 PM »
Unfortunately, theway, we've seen theists lie and lie again on these forums. It is not simply a matter of mistrust, but of having trust that was abused time and time again.   It is not we who are poisoning the well, the theists do that quite well on their own. 
Nevertheless, starting from a viewpoint of assuming that one is lying does indeed sabotage the dialog regardless of which viewpoint you're coming from.  I just don't think it's a great foundation from which do build on.
I don’t agree.  It doesn’t sabotage anything.  It’s like a cop interviewing an informant.  The cop knows this guy will lie but he might be able to get some useable information.  He does have to take into consideration his sources is lying though.  It gives experience that one can work with to judge a post.  I’m sure it probably does give a theist pause when their arguments are already known.  I am quite open minded, but that doesn’t mean my mind is like a 2 dollar whore, accepting anything.  I will often assume that a theist will attempt to lie for their faith, I have piles of evidence where they do.  However, they are innocent until proven guilty, but they do have a higher hurdle to jump thanks to their brethren.
Now, I'm going I'm going to predict something, that you'll claim that those who lie weren't really the theists they claimed to be.  Would that be accurate?  This is not simply a baseless assumption on my part, but experience with how theists think (Having been one myself, I am quite familiar with that).
Quote
Not necessarily.  Are theists exempt from lying, adultery, murder?  Having a faith in God does not preclude one from "sin", or hypocrisy.
“not necessarily”.  So, I am correct, at least part of the time?  And no, no one is excempt from lying, adultery, or murder.  Having faith in God makes no difference in how people act. They always find a reason why they can.  One would think that considering the smiting that this god did in the OT when someone committed adultery(killing their children), lied (killed Sapphira and Ananias), and murder(banishing Cain, etc) that Christians wouldn’t be able to do anything bad. But as always this god seems either quite impotent or imaginary. 
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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #74 on: November 29, 2011, 12:55:17 PM »
Nevertheless, starting from a viewpoint of assuming that one is lying does indeed sabotage the dialog regardless of which viewpoint you're coming from.  I just don't think it's a great foundation from which do build on.

If they didn't keep giving us reasons to mistrust the statement, we would probably be less jaded about it. You cannot say it is not understandable that we mistrust the statement.

That said, we accept evidence; if they were a rational atheist then they need only show us what convinced them. This isn't an opinion we form out of nowhere that a little emotional baggage like "mistrust" can sway. The person either has convincing evidence, or the person does not.
"You play make-believe every day of your life, and yet you have no concept of 'imagination'."
I do not have "faith" in science. I have expectations of science. "Faith" in something is an unfounded assertion, whereas reasonable expectations require a precedent.

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #75 on: November 29, 2011, 01:29:55 PM »
Nevertheless, starting from a viewpoint of assuming that one is lying does indeed sabotage the dialog regardless of which viewpoint you're coming from.  I just don't think it's a great foundation from which do build on.

If they didn't keep giving us reasons to mistrust the statement, we would probably be less jaded about it. You cannot say it is not understandable that we mistrust the statement.

That said, we accept evidence; if they were a rational atheist then they need only show us what convinced them. This isn't an opinion we form out of nowhere that a little emotional baggage like "mistrust" can sway. The person either has convincing evidence, or the person does not.

I guess it is a difference in viewpoint.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt regarding their personal accounts.  If you tell me, for example, that you were once a Christian, or that you grew up in a "Christian home", I like to take you at your word as a starting point for any dialogue together.  If out of the gate I assume you are lying, the entire conversation and perspective changes.  In a sense, it sabotages the dialogue because if I assume you are lying about something as simple as your background, then why wouldn't I assume that you are lying about everything.  And if I assume you are lying about everything, then what is the point of discussing anything with a "liar" when nothing they say can be trusted?  That is more or less where I'm coming from when I say it sabotages the conversation.  You may disagree with my viewpoint, but at least you'll know where I'm coming from.  That is, assuming you believe I'm sincere ;)

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #76 on: November 29, 2011, 04:25:57 PM »
I guess it is a difference in viewpoint.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt regarding their personal accounts.  If you tell me, for example, that you were once a Christian, or that you grew up in a "Christian home", I like to take you at your word as a starting point for any dialogue together.

   Well, personally, I don't assume they are lying, so much as are incorrect. Most All of the theists I've encountered who say they were former atheists either didn't understand what that actually means (fake atheist) or were only there on an emotional level (emotional atheist). Neither of those are ways to relate to me or assure me they took the correct path, which is what that tactic is meant to do. That said, we have encountered idiots who have outright lied. As a result, I try instead to probe their supposed "past" mindset before deciding how much to trust or distrust what they say about themselves.

Quote
If out of the gate I assume you are lying, the entire conversation and perspective changes.  In a sense, it sabotages the dialogue because if I assume you are lying about something as simple as your background, then why wouldn't I assume that you are lying about everything.  And if I assume you are lying about everything, then what is the point of discussing anything with a "liar" when nothing they say can be trusted?

   I liked Velkyn's response to this:

   "It doesn’t sabotage anything.  It’s like a cop interviewing an informant.  The cop knows this guy will lie but he might be able to get some useable information.  He does have to take into consideration his sources is lying though."

   A lie can tell just as much about the liar as the truth can, sometimes even more. We just have to be better at reading people.

Quote
That is, assuming you believe I'm sincere ;)

   I have yet to see anything to call you out on, so I have no reason to yet think you insincere. If you have said something of that nature, please point it out so I can mistrust you accordingly. ;D
You will, however, have to understand that I have seen enough theists (proportionally) exploit "benefit of the doubt" to avoid giving it out so freely.

   Either way, a belated welcome to the site; I hope to see you in fruitful future conversations.
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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #77 on: November 29, 2011, 06:32:28 PM »

Well, I can see why you'd want to pretend that there was a certain type of Christian who could lose their faith; to insulate yourself from the possibility that it could happen to you.

  It did happen to me , though...for more than a decade.I was a backslider after having this experience:

3Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.

    5Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [[a]even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.(A)

    6What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
But become an atheist? Not possible.You have to let go of one or the other.


 You are formulating a "No True Scottsman" logic. There surely must have been something defective about them.

I don't know that much about them actually.
 Do You believe every person who claims to be a Christian is one just by virtue of them saying it?I know of people who claimed to be- just so they could pick up girls at 'youth group'.They in no way, shape, or form thought of themselves as Christians.Do you believe there is no way, scripturally , to see if a persons claims to be Christian can be authenticated?At least give us an idea?The" fruit inspector" test, maybe?


Try Dan Barker's story, and tell me why he was not a real Christian. I'm sure you can discover it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Barker
http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=lostfaith

." My childhood was filled with love, fun and purpose. I felt truly fortunate to have been born into the "truth" and at the age of fifteen I committed myself to a lifetime of Christian ministry."

I don't see anything on his own conversion ." Born into the "truth""doesn't explain much.It sounds like a reference to family circumstance the way he puts it here.Committing to a lifetime of christian ministry just doesn't  mean as  much after reading about 'the atheist clergy'.


I can see that you think that some people have the spirit and can never lose it.

In all actuality I don't believe that at all.



 Rather than looking for psychological out-clauses in de-converted Christians, it would be more logical to accept that any Christian can become an atheist.

I don't see the logic, I guess.I don't believe Christians can become atheists.Not based on the verses in John anyway.Backslidden?....absolutely!!We have a couple of those kickin' around in here.


 That you are a candidate. Mother Teresa pretty much lost it, but kept doing the motions.
I can backslide- of course.Renounce my faith...sure.Deny that I had an encounter with God....just can't happen.I even tried, but, no dice.
I don't know much about Mother Theresa.


Say, if God is equally available, then why did he write a Genesis in a way that would be interpreted as being incorrect from 1890 onwards?

I don't believe that it is by all the experts in the various disciplines.



 Don't you think he should have given people in this era a fighting chance, by creating the galaxy in day one, and our star on day 3, and Earth on day 6, and then making animals evolve by intelligent design?

Could you expand on this a bit? Verses could help.
The Quran has made this mistake as well, offering proof that birds fly is evidence of Allah. Now people know that Allah is not holding up birds, they must be at a disadvantage.

I don't get into the Quaran much...not since I learned their whole " God had no Son" schtick.

I think it might be normal in Catholicism and Anglican denominations to have severely "liberal" approaches. If they lose it completely, then yes, most of them would get out.

Actually The Methodists were mentioned and I know The Episcopal church seems to be as well.I don't know much about them at all....except for the ordained openly gay Bishop .He comes to one of the churches in the town I live in.
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 Hatter23

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #78 on: November 29, 2011, 06:52:27 PM »

Well, I can see why you'd want to pretend that there was a certain type of Christian who could lose their faith; to insulate yourself from the possibility that it could happen to you.

  It did happen to me , though...for more than a decade.I was a backslider after having this experience:

3Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.

    5Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [[a]even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.(A)

    6What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
But become an atheist? Not possible.You have to let go of one or the other.


What experience, I see some happy horse crap that seems taken from the born again quote book....not a personal experience.

And the stuff you bold, I see a lot of unsupported assertions and tautologies. Got anything better?
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 #79 on: November 29, 2011, 08:56:37 PM »
They also try to use the "I was raised in an atheist household" lie to bolster their belief that they were at one time, atheist. 

Why assume it is a lie?  Mistrust is not a great way to start a constructive dialog about someone's experience or beliefs.  You're essentially sabotaging the dialogue and you set yourself up to a tainted and judgmental viewpoint from the get go.  Hardly open-minded or fair...

I feel that I have to mistrust most theists who use any form of "I used to be atheist" in their argument.  On a case by base basis, and based solely on how the theist interacts in discussion, I could be persuaded that some genuine effort was put into proclaiming that one was a former atheist.  While I can't argue that it is not possible to go from atheist to theist, I would argue that something irrational, or emotional occurred in the persons life to cause them to "become" a believer.  Someone who openly proclaims no belief in gods, has typically either never cared about gods, or has determined that it is a far more rational position to take through careful consideration of real evidence - or lack of any, in the case of gods, in my opinion.


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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #80 on: November 29, 2011, 09:09:32 PM »

 You are formulating a "No True Scottsman" logic. There surely must have been something defective about them.

I don't know that much about them actually.
 Do You believe every person who claims to be a Christian is one just by virtue of them saying it?I know of people who claimed to be- just so they could pick up girls at 'youth group'.They in no way, shape, or form thought of themselves as Christians.Do you believe there is no way, scripturally , to see if a persons claims to be Christian can be authenticated?At least give us an idea?The" fruit inspector" test, maybe?

I like the drink poison and handle poisonous vipers test better. Moving mountains and healing amputees would do in a pinch.
As a former preacher's kid, I know that there are a few good people who coincidentally are christian, but I knew hundreds of christians, often the most vocal and well known, that were pure assholes.
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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #81 on: November 30, 2011, 09:36:10 AM »
to add to why I distrust theists on this board, the attempt to claim "I was an atheist" in an attempt to validate their claims makes me suspicious about as much as "I have many African American friends" when someone is trying to claim how unbigotted they are.

I'm curious if OS can define "born again" and how he knows someone has been. Up to this point it seems he thinks he's psychic.  Not that it' possible but I'd love to have OS have to pick a "born again Christian" out of a line up, knowing everythign about people except their religious status.
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Offline onesteward

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #82 on: November 30, 2011, 12:48:30 PM »

I'm curious if OS can define "born again" and how he knows someone has been.
As you agreed to about your own conversion experience -being "born again"; like you claimed to be, is a sovereign act of The Holy Spirit.Surely you must remember your own experience  even after being backslidden for a while.

 Up to this point it seems he thinks he's psychic.
That is more like one of your talents.Evolution apparently gave you 'the nod' on that one.
Or "selected" you.


 Not that it' possible but I'd love to have OS have to pick a "born again Christian" out of a line up, knowing everythign about people except their religious status.

You can't know much really...Where their time and money gets 'spent'.What they read.Those kind of things would be 'giveaways' about their 'religious status' maybe.Even Jesus didn't "judge" based  on appearances.

Hey Velkyn, you're like a FFRF evangelist.Do you know if Barker ever expanded on this claim in any of his writings:

"I served for a while as librarian for Kathryn Kuhlman's Los Angeles choir, observing the "miracles" first-hand. I was even instrumental in a few healings myself."

That was interesting and I would be curious to read more about 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

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #83 on: November 30, 2011, 01:17:15 PM »
As you agreed to about your own conversion experience -being "born again"; like you claimed to be, is a sovereign act of The Holy Spirit.Surely you must remember your own experience  even after being backslidden for a while.
  I remember my own, so am I to take it that you admit that this experience is just a feeling, and nothing real?  And again, can you show me know you know someone has really be “born again”?
Quote
That is more like one of your talents.Evolution apparently gave you 'the nod' on that one.Or "selected" you.
Oh, evolution?  You mean that thing that you misrepresent and are evidently ignorant about when you try to attack it?  No, OS, I just read what you post, no need for being psychic there.  You make claims on how you somehow “know” things you can’t, how someone is a real Christian.  This seems to be a claim of supernatural powers, especially since you have yet to demonstrate from actual real abilities how you would know someone is that or not.
Quote
You can't know much really...Where their time and money gets 'spent'. What they read.Those kind of things would be 'giveaways' about their 'religious status' maybe.Even Jesus didn't "judge" based  on appearances.
  Indeed, he supposedly didn’t.  I said except their religious status for a reason, and I mean if they attended or gave to a church/religious charity.  Now, how do you figure it out if you don’t know that?  What if a person gave to various charities, was polite, worked to better the world through helping
Quote
Hey Velkyn, you're like a FFRF evangelist.Do you know if Barker ever expanded on this claim in any of his writings:  "I served for a while as librarian for Kathryn Kuhlman's Los Angeles choir, observing the "miracles" first-hand. I was even instrumental in a few healings myself."That was interesting and I would be curious to read more about it.
Hah, an evangelist.  No, OS, I’m not one of those.  I actually do things.  I support the FFRF in what they do and what they do takes memberships and donations.  I’m sure you can email Mr. Barker at the foundation: http://ffrf.org/about/contact/  about that claim from his list of what he did as a Christian. They get all sorts of emails, I read them every month in the newsletter, all of the wrathful cursing from “good  Christians”. It’s really something.   I should put a few of them up here but it’s so SSDD that it’s hardly worth the space, even for the amusement.
I’m sure you see that he has miracles in quotes, so you can see he finds that this claim is rather specious.  Did you read the rest of the essay?: http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=lostfaith   You can see just what he thought of religion before and after leaving it.  I’m curious what you want to know about the bit about healings.  Let me guess, you think it means that Dan really really does *believe* since he didn’t put “healings” in quotes :D  I rather doubt that.  With the right preparation and spiel, I could “heal” people too, just like yogis in India or witch doctors in Africa.  Do you believe that they heal people too? 
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Offline onesteward

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #84 on: November 30, 2011, 07:07:52 PM »

  I remember my own, so am I to take it that you admit that this experience is just a feeling, and nothing real?

Am I to take it that you admit that your experience was just a feeling and nothing real?
If yours was not real why are you so adamant in claiming  that you used to be
either a christian or a theist?If you really believed you had an encounter with The Holy Spirit who would have 'quickened' you....gave you Spiritual life ( born again) then you are a backslider, granted a very pissed off one, but one none-the-less .But you have to deny that experience, which you now finally seem to do,( "nothing real" ) in order to embrace atheism.If you are an atheist then of course you believe there was no God or Holy Spirit to do anything and you begin to make more sense.Why don't you just drop the bone Velkyn and deny the possibility of you ever being Christian?
 I would think at that point it should feel like you found out the test came back negative...you really don't have cancer!!!You should be rejoicing!


  And again, can you show me know you know someone has really be “born again”?

I would have to go by their testimony by their actions and fruit.I believe the Scriptures about the new birth are for us to check ourselves primarily.


   You make claims on how you somehow “know” things you can’t, how someone is a real Christian.
One can compare a persons testimony and fruit to scripture Velkyn.It would be something I'd naturally do in a  congregation if my kids were under someone else's charge for instance.

  This seems to be a claim of supernatural powers, especially since you have yet to demonstrate from actual real abilities how you would know someone is that or not.

The Bible does have supernatural origins and is helpful in being a "fruit inspector".Do we know every case for sure...of course not. Are we to try?:

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act

Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

I think "beware" tells me that we should.



 What if a person gave to various charities, was polite, worked to better the world through helping
Not enough info to really tell much about them.


  I support the FFRF in what they do and what they do takes memberships and donations.  I’m sure you can email Mr. Barker at the foundation: http://ffrf.org/about/contact/  about that claim from his list of what he did as a Christian.
Do you know if this was from his "christian" days or atheist days by any chance:

 "I support a women's right to choose an abortion. Jesus never said anything about a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, He was silent on the issue, I think Christians should be as well. I think for most women an abortion is a blessing in her life, it is a wonderful thing.
 
 Is that one of the tenets of FFRF?



 I’m sure you see that he has miracles in quotes, so you can see he finds that this claim is rather specious.  Did you read the rest of the essay?: http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=lostfaith   You can see just what he thought of religion before and after leaving it.

 Any critique of his books I've read seem to make the case that he left something he didn't have much of a grasp on in the first place.Man, that would be ironic.



  I’m curious what you want to know about the bit about healings.  Let me guess, you think it means that Dan really really does *believe* since he didn’t put “healings” in quotes :D

It's like you can read my mind!! ;) Really,you aren't the least bit curious? You just take this guy at face value?I mean the part where he said he was "instrumental" ?


 I rather doubt that.  With the right preparation and spiel, I could “heal” people too, just like yogis in India or witch doctors in Africa. Do you believe that they heal people too?
Let's don't open that can of worms for now, ok?
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 #85 on: November 30, 2011, 10:05:02 PM »

I can backslide- of course.Renounce my faith...sure.Deny that I had an encounter with God....just can't happen.I even tried, but, no dice.
I don't know much about Mother Theresa.


Say, if God is equally available, then why did he write a Genesis in a way that would be interpreted as being incorrect from 1890 onwards?

I don't believe that it is by all the experts in the various disciplines.


OK, so you had an encounter which you believed came from a Christian God. I know this is pointless to argue about.

What I want to know, is why you think this validates Genesis, when Genesis is so obviously wrong. On the basis of your experience of God, can't you construct a version of Christianity, where Genesis is merely allegorical? (As the Jews have)

Hypothetically, what happens to your belief, if you are forced to accept that Genesis has obvious errors in it?

I can understand people who only have a fake belief in Christ, wanting Genesis to be true, but I cannot understand people who say they have an actual experience of God, needing Genesis to be true. You obviously need it to be true, or you wouldn't stick your head in the sand, and pretend that other experts validate Genesis.

Genesis is obviously wrong. You don't need to be an expert in a "various disciplines" to work out that "day and night" should come after the sun and stars were born. Also, that there is no way Noah could have done what he is said to have done for Americas, Africa, India, Australasia, New Zealand, Antarctica. The story is a children's bed time fairy tale. This is backed up, by the story not supplying details of how Noah crossed the continents. The story is not even that aware that plants would have died.

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I don't know much about Mother Theresa.

MT's letters to various priests and counselors were published. She basically lost the plot when she met the suffering in Calcutta, and referred to Jesus as "the absent one". She had no experience of God or jesus, but went on, doing the motions.

You ask me to come up with a definition of a Christian. Mother Teresa just said she was a Christian, apparently. She did "works", though. She put dirty needles into dying people, and got lots of prizes. Then she sent all her money to start convents in other countries. You can google all this.

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I don't believe that it is by all the experts in the various disciplines.

You require ALL the experts to not believe in Genesis, before you will have a look at it yourself?
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Theists: why your "I used to be an atheist" stories fails
« Reply #86 on: December 01, 2011, 06:10:34 AM »
Deny that I had an encounter with God....just can't happen.I even tried, but, no dice.

Would you describe this encounter with god to us? Which form of god? The Father, the Son, or The Holy Ghost? What did god look like? What did he say to you?
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