Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
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12-01-2016, 08:18 AM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
(09-01-2016 02:09 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I sort of did. I wasn't raised religious, and when I was young (maybe 6ish?) my brother set me straight. I learned three things at once: The neighbour spilled the beans about Santa Claus (I was already suspicious, but mildly upset anyways), then my bro leaned over and whispered, "oh yeah, and God? ...same shit different pile."

What stuck with me most was that wonderful phrase, "same shit, different pile." I use it to this day.

It is so easy when you're young to never believe, it is so difficult when you're an adult to set it aside.

I wish my brother had said the same thing to me at that age.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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13-01-2016, 06:58 AM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
I was baptised Catholic but was never forced to take religion seriously. I prayed a nighttime prayer as a kid. Asked God to fix certain situations as an adult but often questioned if he existed. My ah ha moment is still something I can't forgive myself for.
My mom was dying from pancreas cancer. She was religious as well as a certain set of aunt and uncle that was in the room. My mom was very sick and unable to speak. Their pastor was in the room and they started in with trying to save me. My mom was giving me a really concerned look and my aunt and uncle were trying to be persuasive. I realized I had totally lost my faith when I couldn't even pretend to go along with it. After my mom died my aunt and uncle told me that my mom told them how much it would mean to her to see me saved. I know let my mom down. Even though she doesn't know anyone, I do.
Ed
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13-01-2016, 08:06 AM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
(13-01-2016 06:58 AM)edbaldwin Wrote:  I was baptised Catholic but was never forced to take religion seriously. I prayed a nighttime prayer as a kid. Asked God to fix certain situations as an adult but often questioned if he existed. My ah ha moment is still something I can't forgive myself for.
My mom was dying from pancreas cancer. She was religious as well as a certain set of aunt and uncle that was in the room. My mom was very sick and unable to speak. Their pastor was in the room and they started in with trying to save me. My mom was giving me a really concerned look and my aunt and uncle were trying to be persuasive. I realized I had totally lost my faith when I couldn't even pretend to go along with it. After my mom died my aunt and uncle told me that my mom told them how much it would mean to her to see me saved. I know let my mom down. Even though she doesn't know anyone, I do.
Ed

Wow! Sorry to hear that you were put into such a situation. I probably would have stormed out and regretted doing so later.

At the same time, it's clear that there is a manipulative mindset there with their attempts at coercion without regard to who they hurt. They set up that ugly situation, not you. Might want to steer clear of those two in the future.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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13-01-2016, 09:11 AM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
(13-01-2016 06:58 AM)edbaldwin Wrote:  I was baptised Catholic but was never forced to take religion seriously. I prayed a nighttime prayer as a kid. Asked God to fix certain situations as an adult but often questioned if he existed. My ah ha moment is still something I can't forgive myself for.
My mom was dying from pancreas cancer. She was religious as well as a certain set of aunt and uncle that was in the room. My mom was very sick and unable to speak. Their pastor was in the room and they started in with trying to save me. My mom was giving me a really concerned look and my aunt and uncle were trying to be persuasive. I realized I had totally lost my faith when I couldn't even pretend to go along with it. After my mom died my aunt and uncle told me that my mom told them how much it would mean to her to see me saved. I know let my mom down. Even though she doesn't know anyone, I do.
Ed

So sorry you feel you let your mom down that's a sad burden to carry around with you. She is not suffering anymore but carrying that around in your heart must be painful. I hope you can find peace with it.

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13-01-2016, 12:53 PM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
I was raised in a VERY Catholic yet very liberal household that encouraged education and particularly science education, which seems ironic now . Went to Catholic elementary and high school, the whole shebang... even practised faithfully while I was in the Army. Never questioned it, married my husband partially because he was a liberal-minded practicing Catholic, raised our two kids in the faith , you get the picture.

For a long time I criticised the Catholic church's policies on women's rights, abortion, contraception yada yada, which seemed (and are) so backward, but I chalked this up to the fact that they had to appease less liberal cultures in Africa and South America. But when the Council of Canadian Bishops started spouting that nonsense, I started having doubts, so I started shopping for a different version of Christianity, one that didn't clash so much with my liberal values.

kept looking ... and looking ... (almost went UU) ... until

In 2014, my daughter was accepted into a prestigious master's program in political theory, and in preparation, we started playing "philosophy Jeopardy", a game she invented where we basically used an encyclopedia of philosophical thought, which was divided into various categories, to asked each other questions (Jeopardy-style) about different philosophers, from the ancient to the most recent. It was a good way to learn about many philosophies I had not run across before, particularly Bertrand Russell's, which I really connected with.

That started me down a path of internet research that eventually led me HERE!

So no Ah-ha moments, per se, just a series of dawning realizations and a gradual shedding of belief, or rather, a recognition of what the belief was: an indoctrinated delusion.

I did have an "aha" moment one particular time in church (which I continue to attend to spare my 93-year-old mother) when I truly felt like a stranger looking in, a very weird sensation, given that church had been such an integral part of my life for so long. That's when I knew I had "ex-communicated" myself Smile

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13-01-2016, 01:09 PM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
(13-01-2016 12:53 PM)Reducetarian Wrote:  I was raised in a VERY Catholic yet very liberal household that encouraged education and particularly science education, which seems ironic now . Went to Catholic elementary and high school, the whole shebang... even practised faithfully while I was in the Army. Never questioned it, married my husband partially because he was a liberal-minded practicing Catholic, raised our two kids in the faith , you get the picture.

For a long time I criticised the Catholic church's policies on women's rights, abortion, contraception yada yada, which seemed (and are) so backward, but I chalked this up to the fact that they had to appease less liberal cultures in Africa and South America. But when the Council of Canadian Bishops started spouting that nonsense, I started having doubts, so I started shopping for a different version of Christianity, one that didn't clash so much with my liberal values.

kept looking ... and looking ... (almost went UU) ... until

In 2014, my daughter was accepted into a prestigious master's program in political theory, and in preparation, we started playing "philosophy Jeopardy", a game she invented where we basically used an encyclopedia of philosophical thought, which was divided into various categories, to asked each other questions (Jeopardy-style) about different philosophers, from the ancient to the most recent. It was a good way to learn about many philosophies I had not run across before, particularly Bertrand Russell's, which I really connected with.

That started me down a path of internet research that eventually led me HERE!

So no Ah-ha moments, per se, just a series of dawning realizations and a gradual shedding of belief, or rather, a recognition of what the belief was: an indoctrinated delusion.

I did have an "aha" moment one particular time in church (which I continue to attend to spare my 93-year-old mother) when I truly felt like a stranger looking in, a very weird sensation, given that church had been such an integral part of my life for so long. That's when I knew I had "ex-communicated" myself Smile

Wow, interesting story. Is anyone else in your family secular? Maybe we should require everyone to play that game in school. Big Grin

When you say you felt like a stranger I immediately remembered that feeling of being a minority in a crowd. Awkward and somewhat at a loss.

Thx for sharing.

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13-01-2016, 01:26 PM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
[/quote]

Wow, interesting story. Is anyone else in your family secular? Maybe we should require everyone to play that game in school. Big Grin

When you say you felt like a stranger I immediately remembered that feeling of being a minority in a crowd. Awkward and somewhat at a loss.

Thx for sharing.
[/quote]

None of us is "out" , but that's probably because no one wants to upset the matriarch. Pretty sure my son is atheist/agnostic and possibly my daughter. Neither goes to church except to please Grand-ma (thank goodness)
As for playing "philosopher Jeopardy", I'm afraid we're a pretty geeky bunch, so I'm not convinced it would catch on in school Smile

One of the most insightful things I learned through that game was how Homer's Odyssey, specifically the section on the lotus eaters, illustrates how human life only takes on meaning because it is not infinite, which is completely counter-intuitive from a Christian perspective.

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13-01-2016, 02:53 PM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
I'll skip to the end of my story.

After coming to doubt one aspect of my Christian faith after another, I was left with just one proposition I felt I could not escape. That was what I refer to as the martyrdom of the saints in the first century church. Other people may use the same expression to mean something slightly different, so I will explain it in the sense of what it meant to me.

Basically, the first century apostles were in a position to know for a fact whether the resurrection story of Jesus was true. They knew for a fact whether he rose from the dead. Now, anyone can claim anything. I can claim my mother is Queen of Syria. But no matter how sincere I am in expressing that claim, you can believe I was either lying or telling the truth, depending on the evidence I presented.

Now, if I were to tell you my mothers initials are JG, you again may or may not believe me. But, as a thought experiment, let's say you are deeply, DEEPLY interested in my mother's initials, for whatever reason. I tell you the initials are JG, but you believe the truth is JO. I insist her initials are JG, but you don't believe me. In fact, it drives you to violence. You put a gun to my head and tell me, "If you don't renounce the claim that your mother's initials are JG, I will shoot you in the head."

You know what? In all likelihood, even KNOWING my mother's initials are JG, I will tell you that you are right and I was lying. Because I would not want to die for such an inconsequential truth. But, but, but, what if I said, "Look, pal, you can blow my brains out right now, but my mother's initials are JG, and nothing you can say will change that." So, you blow my head off. Then you turn to my brother, point the gun at him and say "What are your mother's initials?" KNOWING you're going to kill him, my brother answers, "JG." BLAM!

An outside observer witnessing this barbarism would conclude that my mother's initials probably really are JG. Why else would I be willing to die for it?

The resurrection of Jesus is of far more consequence than my mother's initials. And in the first century church, when apostles who were in a position to know for a fact whether Jesus was raised from the dead were given a choice to renounce the resurrection or die, those apostles chose death.

We're not talking about dying for a belief that turned out to be false, like so many at Jonestown or Waco or the Heaven's Gate cult. We're talking about people who KNEW, not merely believed. They chose death.

So I felt for the longest time, as a believer, that the resurrection of Jesus was irrefutable for the simple fact that people who were in a position to KNOW if it were false chose to die rather than renounce their belief. That's enormous.

All of this brings me to my A Ha moment. It was when I began searching for corroboration for the assertion that first century believers who were executed were ever given the "renounce the resurrection or die" ultimatum. Care to guess how much corroboration there is?

Not.

One.

Scrap.

In fact, not only was there zero evidence for the martyrdom of the saints in the first century church, there is zero evidence many of these men even existed! The legends surrounding their deaths first surfaced decades or even centuries after their alleged deaths.

There was no evidence of the resurrection.

And just like that, I was an "agnostic." Days later, I embraced the label atheist. I'm not 100 percent sure there is no god at all, but first, I find no reason to believe there is one, and second, I am 100 percent certain that the proposed gods of the world's religions are fictional characters. Yahweh, Allah, Zeus, Ra, etc. are fictional characters. So when it comes to any "God" who matters,, there is nothing agnostic about my position. I am atheist.

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13-01-2016, 03:13 PM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
(13-01-2016 02:53 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  I'll skip to the end of my story.

After coming to doubt one aspect of my Christian faith after another, I was left with just one proposition I felt I could not escape. That was what I refer to as the martyrdom of the saints in the first century church. Other people may use the same expression to mean something slightly different, so I will explain it in the sense of what it meant to me.

Basically, the first century apostles were in a position to know for a fact whether the resurrection story of Jesus was true. They knew for a fact whether he rose from the dead. Now, anyone can claim anything. I can claim my mother is Queen of Syria. But no matter how sincere I am in expressing that claim, you can believe I was either lying or telling the truth, depending on the evidence I presented.

Now, if I were to tell you my mothers initials are JG, you again may or may not believe me. But, as a thought experiment, let's say you are deeply, DEEPLY interested in my mother's initials, for whatever reason. I tell you the initials are JG, but you believe the truth is JO. I insist her initials are JG, but you don't believe me. In fact, it drives you to violence. You put a gun to my head and tell me, "If you don't renounce the claim that your mother's initials are JG, I will shoot you in the head."

You know what? In all likelihood, even KNOWING my mother's initials are JG, I will tell you that you are right and I was lying. Because I would not want to die for such an inconsequential truth. But, but, but, what if I said, "Look, pal, you can blow my brains out right now, but my mother's initials are JG, and nothing you can say will change that." So, you blow my head off. Then you turn to my brother, point the gun at him and say "What are your mother's initials?" KNOWING you're going to kill him, my brother answers, "JG." BLAM!

An outside observer witnessing this barbarism would conclude that my mother's initials probably really are JG. Why else would I be willing to die for it?

The resurrection of Jesus is of far more consequence than my mother's initials. And in the first century church, when apostles who were in a position to know for a fact whether Jesus was raised from the dead were given a choice to renounce the resurrection or die, those apostles chose death.

We're not talking about dying for a belief that turned out to be false, like so many at Jonestown or Waco or the Heaven's Gate cult. We're talking about people who KNEW, not merely believed. They chose death.

So I felt for the longest time, as a believer, that the resurrection of Jesus was irrefutable for the simple fact that people who were in a position to KNOW if it were false chose to die rather than renounce their belief. That's enormous.

All of this brings me to my A Ha moment. It was when I began searching for corroboration for the assertion that first century believers who were executed were ever given the "renounce the resurrection or die" ultimatum. Care to guess how much corroboration there is?

Not.

One.

Scrap.

In fact, not only was there zero evidence for the martyrdom of the saints in the first century church, there is zero evidence many of these men even existed! The legends surrounding their deaths first surfaced decades or even centuries after their alleged deaths.

There was no evidence of the resurrection.

And just like that, I was an "agnostic." Days later, I embraced the label atheist. I'm not 100 percent sure there is no god at all, but first, I find no reason to believe there is one, and second, I am 100 percent certain that the proposed gods of the world's religions are fictional characters. Yahweh, Allah, Zeus, Ra, etc. are fictional characters. So when it comes to any "God" who matters,, there is nothing agnostic about my position. I am atheist.

Thank you for educating me. I really know next to nothing about the bible other than some things I picked up along the way in atheist conversations. I didn't know anything about the apostles so now I know a bit more.

I guess I'm still pretty blind as to how so many people in so many generations could simply follow along in religious beliefs and not question it more. I think maybe the bible is a smaller part of the scam than the charlatan's that have actual knowledge of the bible.

Someone once told me if you want to lose your faith go to seminary school. I think they are right. One of my favorite lines is from Tammy Faye Bakker on going to college, "Be careful or you'll educate yourself right out of a relationship with god." I think this is why so many religious people want their kids to go to religious colleges so they can continue to reinforce/indoctrinate them into adulthood.

It's so much harder to get free when you're older than when you're young, I think.

Thanks!

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14-01-2016, 01:16 AM
RE: Ah Ha Moment, did you have one?
In June 2008, three or four days before George Carlin passed away, I watched his bit about god. That was my "ah ha" moment. Yeah, my "ah ha" moment came from a comedian, but that bit he did was pretty awesome.
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