Could you ever go back?
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27-04-2011, 02:37 PM
Could you ever go back?
My christian friends often ask me this question, in one form or another. It can also be phrased like this: "What is it gonna take for you to become a christian again?"

Here is my story:

I am from a city in Denmark with about 200.000 inhabitants, and christians are a very small minority. Nevertheless, I was raised in a christian family along with my brother who is 2 years older than me. Every evening, our parents read bible stories to us, and prayed with us. We went to church every sunday, and were put in a special christian kindergarten.

Later on we were both sent to a christian private school where i attended from age 6-14. Here, i was explained that the earth was about 6000 years old, and that the ice age was actually the great flood from the story of Noah's arc (You know, the usual nonsense), and i believed everything i heard, because it was all i had ever known. At age 15, I was sent to a christian boarding school, and this is where i started feeling that something was wrong. We had these worship nights (twice/month) where we would sing songs, and praise our invisible friend in the sky. Most of my friends and fellow students loved it, and talked about how they felt the holy spirit's presence. The problem was; i hated it and i didn't feel anything, but i kept quiet about it.

My second year there, i got my first real girlfriend (i was 16). I don't wanna get into too many slippery details, but you probably know how it goes.. at some point, your body tells you to do something that you know "God" doesn't like.
We ended up doing it, and afterwards we both felt really guilty about it.
And that got me thinking; "Why should we feel guilty about doing something that felt so natural and good?"

I guess my initial problems with the faith i was raised in, were all the rules. At least i spent the next few years drinking and partying my ass off, but if you had asked me if i believed in god at the time, i would probably have said yes. The complete break with christianity came when i was about 20. I decided to read the bible cover to cover, and ran into a bunch of problems. The creation myth struck me as a primitive work of fiction, and god as a homicidal maniac. Then i stumbled across works like "The god delusion"(Dawkins) and "God is not great" which pretty much made the conversion complete.

About a year later, i told my parents that i no longer believed in god. They freaked out and started crying, but its never easy thinking that your child is going to hell, so i understand them. Fortunately they respect my decision, and i am very grateful for that.

But the question still pops up with predictable regularity from either them or my friends from my boarding school days:

What is it gonna take for you to believe in god again?

I never quite know what to say, because i am as sure as i have ever been of anything that the christian god does not exist. I guess he would have to pop up right in front of me on more than one occation and tell me to convert back to christianity. (And of course, i would have to be completely sober)
Even if that happened, i would still despise him for being cruel and vindictive.

Anyways, back to the topic:

Could YOU ever go back?
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27-04-2011, 02:47 PM
RE: Could you ever go back?
My wife loves the allegory of the Matrix to describe it.

If you plug back in can you enjoy the steak even if you know the steak isn't real?

Is it better the be unshackled from the Matrix and free, but face a tougher existence or to be drained of your life in a cocoon living an illusion? That's how she sees it and it makes sense to me...there is a community to be had in your local church along with the fellowship and commonality of outlooks among the congregants, but there are many other opportunities to forge communal ties with people outside of church as well. One reason that I think people find so appealing about church (not even religion per se) is that genetically we are social animals and church provides for that basic human need.

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27-04-2011, 02:48 PM
RE: Could you ever go back?
If there would be one religion in the world with one interpretation that works and is believed as well by Papua, Arabs and Chinese or whoever all alike I would never ever doubt that.

(I believe that even exists and is called "the scientific method")

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27-04-2011, 03:41 PM
RE: Could you ever go back?
Wouldn't the obvious answer be "Only if God revealed himself to the world"?

The God excuse: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument. "God did it." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. - George Carlin

Whenever I'm asked "What if you're wrong?", I always show the asker this video: http://youtu.be/iClejS8vWjo Screw Pascal's wager.
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27-04-2011, 05:44 PM
RE: Could you ever go back?
Despite being raised Christian, and having an entirely Christian family, I don't think I could ever have considered myself one. I've been an agnostic at one point and even been to church a few times off my own back but I've never really felt like a Christian. With that being the case I can't really go back but, as far as becoming a Christian goes, I don't think I ever could. I just feel that it is all so blatantly contradictory and incoherent that I could never subscribe to an organised religion. I don't even see myself subscribing to a personal religion as when I used not to believe evolution (before I properly understood it) I never believed in creation or anything, I just said 'I don't know how the world came to be, I haven't found a theory I like yet'.

To be honest I wish more people in the world would use my former logic, I can get why people might say 'I doubt evolution as there are gaps in the theory as I understand it' but why then revert to an all powerful super-being, it's not like that theory is particularly watertight.

It seems people see God as the default stance if there is nothing else but it would make more sense to just hold your judgement.

Well I kinda meandered of the topic a little there but to sum up, I don't think anything could make me believe in a God, especially a God from a particular religion.
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27-04-2011, 06:08 PM
 
RE: Could you ever go back?
If my friends asked me, "What is it gonna take for you to become a christian again?", I'd first check the back of their necks to see if they were the sequel to "Body Snatchers". Tongue

And pretty much, my answer would be Yeshua breaking through the clouds and taking me by the hand, looking me deep in my big hazel eyes while asking me to return to his flock.

Other than that, not a chance.

Though I have to say when things got really dramatic a while ago here, I had a long think on it. Especially since the family library, in the home I inherited, has a lot of King James Bibles handed down through the generations, on the shelves.

I remember picking one up and at random opening it to see if there was any verse that stood out that would give me a sign or sorts. (STOP! DO NOT READ IF YOU VALUE YOUR SELF RESPECT!) No, not that one. But any other type sign. And I remember I had cracked it open to the book of Isaiah. I don't remember the verse that I saw there, however I did recall in that moment 45:7. And that pretty much cinched it for me.

It's like they say, once you know the truth in your heart you can never return to honestly living the lie. Because no matter how well you pull it off in the face of others, your own self knows you're betraying yourself.
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27-04-2011, 06:17 PM
RE: Could you ever go back?
I'm always of the mind that eternity with a mysoginstic bastard such as Yahweh or hell, I'd opt for hell. The God of the bible is sick, scary sob that I want no part of.

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27-04-2011, 11:32 PM
RE: Could you ever go back?
No. I can never return to be a believer. Absolute proof of such a being's existence isn't enough. Such a being would have to prove that it isn't the mysoginstic bastard from the bible and prove that it is an absolutely loving god. Since children die of all diseases and starvation, such proof is impossible.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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28-04-2011, 01:02 AM
RE: Could you ever go back?
There is no way that I would ever except religion as a way of life. Only if He would to come down and talk to me for a long, long time, He (or She...) would have to do a lot of explaining, and that would only mean I believe He exists, but to truly worship Him would require me to understand why and how is it all part of some plan. So I don't really think that will ever happen.

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28-04-2011, 02:05 AM
RE: Could you ever go back?
This is like asking if you could ever believe in Santa again.

The way to see by Faith, is to shut the eye of Reason. - Ben Franklin
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