Atheist-turned-Christians
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20-06-2011, 04:50 PM (This post was last modified: 20-06-2011 05:00 PM by ghostexorcist.)
Atheist-turned-Christians
I’ve been interested in the subject of Atheists who return to Christianity. I just don’t see how it’s possible for someone to be skeptical or even critical of a religion only to embrace it. I recently asked a similar question on Wikipedia’s reference desk. You can read the replies here (the discussion will probably be archived soon, so I will have to list a different link for those who come later to this thread). Most of the replies I got involved atheists trying to impress a future spouse, those dying or severally injured, or those who were really just agnostics to begin with. The first is not a true heartfelt conversion, the second is just a damaged psyche grasping for something comforting, and the last doesn’t really count since they acknowledge the existence of God. None of it explains the atheist-turned-fundamentalist Christian phenomenon that I have heard of before. One such person is the well known ShockofGod.

However, after watching this video, I seriously have to doubt that he was ever much of an atheist to begin with. He first starts off by saying he was an unbeliever through his elementary to high school years. His friends used to make fun of Christians, as did he. But after he got out of school, he began talking to Christians who showed him all of the evidence pointing to the historicity of Jesus and the truth in the lessons he taught. He studied the evidence and stated to “doubt atheism” (like it was some sort of religion). He weighed the evidence to see if Christianity or atheism was “accurate and correct.” The Christians gave him loads of concrete evidence that Jesus was really the son of God, whereas atheists couldn’t support their views. After reading the bible in small spurts, he found: “The Bible is so brilliant and so genius and so awesome, I could not believe that mankind could come up with this stuff.” He converted to Christianity after crying to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.

I have several problems with what he said. Firstly, his friends might have been atheists, but he was more likely a closet agnostic. He probably acted like an atheist just to be a part of the group. Or, even if he truly thought he was an atheist, the fact that reading the Bible changed his world view shows that he had never looked into the evidence in the first place, he was just following the group. Second, the evidence that the Christians showed him was based on circular logic. The Bible is true because the Bible says it is true, right? Even if they someday conclusively prove Jesus was a historical person, there is no way that they can prove he was the literal bastard son of a deity. I don’t think anyone is going to come up with a revolutionary “Ethereal DNA” testing process anytime soon. If they do, God owes Mary A LOT of back child support! Third, his notion that atheism needs to prove itself “accurate and correct” is just silly. This seems like his way of putting atheism on par with a religion. We don’t have an ancient book we can point to that says we are correct because the ancient book says we are correct. We don’t have a majority group that says atheism is correct because their parents, grandparents, or some other respected elder said it is. This would amount to oral legend in written form and longstanding hearsay. We simply have facts. We know the earth is older than 6,000 years. We know man was not raised from the earth and imbibed with a soul, but evolved alongside apes from an earlier common ancestor living in Africa. We know humans are different colors because the environments of their ancestors afforded different levels of Vitamin D, not because one of the sons of Noah was cursed by God. We know morality is not the product of civilized religious society because it is so apparent within the animal kingdom. We know mankind can live happy, healthy, and productive lives without needing religion (atheists are a good example). And even if we don’t currently know something, it doesn’t mean that we won’t know it in the future. That is the beauty of Atheism, seeking out knowledge as opposed to blindly accepting what is written in the Bible.

Why do others think some atheists become Christians?
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20-06-2011, 05:46 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
There's a lot of youtube videos from "ex-atheists" that set off a bunch of red flags about these people's original atheist stance.

They says things like "I started to lose my faith in atheism" or "I couldn't understand why I was so angry at Jesus." All of these are theist assumptions that atheists laugh at. No atheist has "faith" in his lack of belief. And if you have accepted that Jesus is a deity for you to be mad at him... you aren't atheist, are you? Even people who use the term "ex-atheist" makes me raise an eyebrow. How can you label yourself and ex-nonbeliever? Wouldn't that just make you a believer? I don't go around saying I was ex-nonsmoker. I would just be a smoker. Their bad terminology hints that they held atheism to be a belief structure, or some ideology that can be "turned away from."

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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20-06-2011, 05:57 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
You see, you come to a point in your atheist life where you realize there is money to be made if you "turn" Christian.
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20-06-2011, 06:12 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
Ah but that would be dishonest Wink

I hate those idiots like Kirk Cameron and SoG T_T

Hey brother christian, with your high and mighty errand, your actions speak so loud, I can't hear a word you're saying.

"This machine kills fascists..."

"Well this machine kills commies!"
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20-06-2011, 06:50 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
I think the approach is, or could be, more scientific. I think it feels so damn good to pray and 'connect' when scared, in fear or guilty- or whatever negative emotion these people are feeling, that the neuronal path is so beat down to sooth it that they decide to entertain this soothing feeling again. Simple, I know, but it seems so logical to me. Especially after my friend invited me to her church a couple years ago and I saw how frantic this congregation got. It was almost like a trance at a rave club or something, pretty intense.
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20-06-2011, 07:06 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
(20-06-2011 05:57 PM)NotSoVacuous Wrote:  You see, you come to a point in your atheist life where you realize there is money to be made if you "turn" Christian.


I've actually considered becoming a televangelist, just to make money off the millions who are willing to believe anything I say as long as I conclude with Praise Jesus! Just put on a suit and hop around on stage energetically. I certainly know the Bible but that actually seems like it would be a hindrance from what I've seen. I'll have to come up with some "novelty act miracle" that I'm known for, like spraying the "healing powers" of my fire hose onto the crowd.

It's the easiest job to do. Just say "Yessssssssah" and speak in tongues and dance around saying Hallelujah, which shouldn't be too hard when I see the size of the donation plate making its way around.

Now that I think about it, being a preacher is basically like being homeless. You hold out your "offering" plate/hat/guitar case and entertain people and try to make them feel good enough to willingly give you money.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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20-06-2011, 08:01 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
Don't forget, Lee Strobel and Kirk Cameron were once 'devout atheists'.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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20-06-2011, 08:45 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
While I can fully understand my fellow atheists feelings about the supposed conversions of former atheists. I cannot imagine turning from rationality to religion. But I want to caution all of us that when we can easily fall into "no true Scotsman" thinking.

That being said, I've read a Lee Stobel's book and seen Kirk Cameron's videos, I find it extremely hard to believe they were serious atheists in any way I am. The difference in the way an atheist and a believer thinks is so different that I would really like to have a serious talk with other of these converted atheists, I am immensely curious if they are are like Lee and Kirk.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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20-06-2011, 08:55 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
I would definitely have to say that most converts are lying to try and de-emphasize atheism. I've found two factors that haven't been mentioned yet though. Many atheists convert because the religion ostracizes them, this works two ways. In the main way they feel alone constantly and eventually tire of arguing and just accept faith or at least the title. The other is that they get mad at their atheist community and it makes them feel they must find something else. Those are two pretty real answers, obviously the anger one causes more fundamentalism. The other factor that causes this change that hasn't been mentioned is confusion. Not all atheists are that skeptical, some simply have decided they prefer the view they've held for a long time. When these light atheists run into life problems that don't seem to have an answer sometimes they find their answer within religion, all the sudden they've converted because they needed some random thing to make sense.

Remember that not all atheists are very dedicated to it. Plenty just plain don't care about religion. When it becomes important enough to them they just convert because it matters now.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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20-06-2011, 08:59 PM
RE: Atheist-turned-Christians
Doesn't surprise me. "And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Some of us blink, some of us don't. No biggie either way.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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