Atheist, theist, deist, or simply not Christian?
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31-01-2013, 05:28 PM
My perspective
As soon as I realized that God might not be real I went to atheism because it assumes less and it is the default position. I realized that I shouldn't try to lessen god to a deistic view because that still would be an assumption off of no evidence.

Sorry for not making a long post, I was sorely tempted to do an essay on it but I already said what I needed to above.

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Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
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06-02-2013, 06:57 PM
RE: Atheist, theist, deist, or simply not Christian?
Quest, I went from Christianity to I guess what you'd call pantheism and/or deism. Then like Misanthropik and others, I decided I was agnostic then finally atheist. I too realized that all religions that I know of require belief in superstition. I too am in the bibble (spelling intentional) belt and am surrounded by southern baptists, Pentecostals and evangelicals. I also read The God Delusion and other great atheist books and began to see that no evidence is there whatsoever, not even for deism. Plus deism is pointless. Even if some celestial watchmaker created all this, then bowed out, belief in it, prayer, worship, or whatever are useless since he/she/it does not intervene in our lives.

Because I'm outnmbered by Christians at work, I can't say much about my atheism. There should be no need since this kind of thing is personal. However, somehow it's ok for Christians to pray at public events, meetings, and ceremonies, when I do not work for a religious organization. This pisses me off, as it probably does Muslims and Hindus (yes we have nonchristians in the south). It's a huge double standard, and I would be seen as the bad guy (or gal in my case) if I make a fuss, even though they violate the separation of church and state nine kinds of ways.

So I may get to the activist stage at some point because I'm sick of prayer at work and our legislature trying to get it into public schools. But for now I'm in the closet except for friends and family. I gotta pay my mortgage and have a son, and don't need any death threats from good Christians.

Hope this somewhat helps what you were asking. Many of us did the transition you mentioned, but we have ended up here (at least most on the board are, there are some theists here, but that's another story). Good luck on your journey.

Godless in the Magnolia State
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07-02-2013, 09:28 AM
RE: Atheist, theist, deist, or simply not Christian?
(30-01-2013 05:43 PM)Quest Wrote:  Quick background: New to the forum. I've got an INCREDIBLY similar background to Seth Andrews (I just finished his audiobook). hauntingly similar. However, I didn't inherit my Christian "faith" but "accepted" it at 18. I've been practicing that for 25+ years. About 4 years ago, a simple question put me on a journey of discovery. At a "small group" gathering someone asked "What if all are saved?" This was so foreign to me, I didn't know what to think. I had spent all of my years "in the faith" just drinking the Kool-aid and never asking many tough questions.

After copious amounts of information being sifted through, I affirmed, I was a believer in Universal Reconciliation. Long story short, this opened up a LOT of doors in my mind to think outside of the Christian box. I was liberated but told I was a heretic. Today, I've converted and I'm happy to say I'm no longer a heretic but rather an Apostate. Progress! I still work for a Christian ministry and I can't really "come out" yet, so even this post is a risk. Not sure who trolls here.

So, my question... It seems most on here and most, in general, Atheists came to that place after rejecting the idea of God as presented in the Bible and by evangelical Christians. But, I don't see much discussion on how you have made the leap from believer to Atheist and didn't stop at Theist or even Deist. It seem, to me, most have said "All that stuff in the bible is crazy. There must not be a God." (Incredibly summarized, I realize).

So help me out here (I'm not looking for a battle), tell me how you leapt over or moved through Deism or Theism. I'll be around to interact and I look forward to it. For the record, if I were to be forced to put a label on myself, it would be deist or agnostic theist (or deist). Though, I would be inclined to follow the thinking of Soren Kierkegaard who is quoted as saying "When you label me, you negate me." Confused
Welcome!

First, a bit of advice. You probably know this already, but in this case it's probably better to err on the side of caution. Guard the secret carefully until (unless) you're ready to go public. Think long and hard before telling anyone. This isn't to say you shouldn't let anyone in (spouses are usually better to bring in than leave out), but every person you do bring in increases the odds of exposure. Being "out" isn't a bad thing, but it is something you want to time and do yourself, rather than have done by rumors. Since you're in the ministry, start a job hunt now, just in case you get outed on someone else's schedule. Either find a secular career, or find a religion such as Unitarian-Universalism that's accepting of ministerial freedom. Take a look at The Clergy Project if you haven't already.

I came from a pretty secular household and don't have much of a deconversion story. However, there is an excellent You-tube series by Evid3nc3. (Be warned, it's long, over two and a half hours, have a nice block of time when people you don't want to know aren't likely to walk in.)

If you're seeking an intellectual process by which you can dismiss the existence of any type of God? Well, you can't actually disprove all of them, for the simple reason that there are too many ways to construct models. Even if we were to avoid overlooking any possible model of a god (which, frankly, isn't what I'd expect of humans), there simply wouldn't be enough minutes in a human lifespan to examine and reject each and every one. I'm an ignostic, and take perverse pleasure from this, but even I don't put the rest of my life on hold. Instead, I'll pose two questions to you.

First, what difference would the existence of a god would make? I'm not talking about sweeping theological, metaphysical, or supposed afterlife implications, I'm talking in terms of things that are actually observable in our own lifespans. For example, would prayer work to control the winner of a football game, or increase the success rate of medical procedures? If so, this is observable, and hence testable. You can dig into statistics on prayer and see if this phenomenon is actually there. (Or check the work of scientists who have already done this.) If there isn't a phenomenon like this, you've got a duck problem. It walks, quacks, swims, and looks like a no-god-exists duck.

Second, lemme pose a couple of hypotheticals. Suppose that some mad scientist has put your brain in a vat, and wired it to a computer "reality simulation" via electrodes, so that you believe you are experiencing an entire world which is fiction. Any obvious disproofs that we might have of this (such as, computers aren't advanced enough for that sort of simulation, or we don't have the tech to keep brains alive in jars) are dismissible because they are based in our understanding of a fictional simulation, and that reality might not follow the same rules. Or as a second hypothetical, maybe we're a patient in some sort of asylum in a world which seems too alien to understand, delusional to the point where what we perceive has no relation at all to reality. For all we know, though we might perceive a solid floor in front of us, if we take a step we could be jumping off a balcony to our deaths or, worse, a prolonged, crippled existence of chronic pain and agony. And really, there's no way to disprove this. Yet we keep walling, because we don't really take the possibility seriously. And there are myriad possibilities like this, every single second, and we don't fret about them at all. So why give extra attention to the possibility of a god, while we ignore the possibility that our next step will lead to our destruction?

I'm not really trying to (further) deconvert you, it just sounded like you were looking for something like that. I've got no dog in that fight, and however you identify and whatever your process, in my book you're welcome here.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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