Feelings toward converts/deconverts
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04-11-2014, 05:18 AM
Feelings toward converts/deconverts
I've noticed that when a story circulates of a self-identified atheist converting to Christianity, or when a Christians loses his faith all together, and becomes an atheist, the comments from the parties they left, are typically very hostile. Folks will begin by doubting the authenticity of their abandoned view point, or remark on their lack of intelligence, their rebellious nature, call them delusional, deviants, etc....

Many of these folks appear to take the issue personally, taking it almost as a personal insult in a way. These folks are imagined as those who know less than we do, we never wonder if perhaps they might have known more or understood something we didn't. It's always imagined as a failing on their part, but never pondered if it's a failing on our part.

What is your typical reaction when you hear an account of a conversion? Why do you think you're compelled to feel this way? Would you feel the same if the person was one of your good friends? (for theists who like to respond the question should be understood as modified)
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04-11-2014, 06:30 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
(04-11-2014 05:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I've noticed that when a story circulates of a self-identified atheist converting to Christianity, or when a Christians loses his faith all together, and becomes an atheist, the comments from the parties they left, are typically very hostile. Folks will begin by doubting the authenticity of their abandoned view point, or remark on their lack of intelligence, their rebellious nature, call them delusional, deviants, etc....

My guess is this is a combination of tribalism and confirmation bias. People are quick to point to converts to bolster their point, and de-converts hurt that point. Naturally, they look for a way to dismiss it as evidence.


(04-11-2014 05:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  What is your typical reaction when you hear an account of a conversion? Why do you think you're compelled to feel this way? Would you feel the same if the person was one of your good friends? (for theists who like to respond the question should be understood as modified)

It's complicated. There's no one reason people join or leave a faith. I do often question why they had their beliefs in the first place. I've seen people switch religions so they can get married, and I wonder how genuine the switch really is.

I don't care about it like I used to. When I was Christian, I would get quite disappointed to hear that someone had stopped believing in God. Of course, a lot of this was based in the idea that they were now on the road t hell. Now that I don't believe that, I have much less issue with a person who becomes religious. I may find a lot of their ideas rather credulous, but I don't have the same disappointment and dread. My best friend stopped being religious long before I did. Now, that I no longer believe, he's gravitating toward some very vague notions of spirituality. I find it bizarre and presumptuous, but I'm not disappointed like I was when he left the faith when I was still Christian.

I guess, in short, I've found it a lot easier to be open-minded.
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04-11-2014, 06:39 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
Like Robby said, it's rather disappointing to see someone revert back to faith, but not as ominous as it once was when I believed.

Though I will give the example of Kirk Cameron, it's hard not to be accused of the No True Scotsman when talking about him. I think he applied about the same intellectual rigor as a hamster in evaluating the Christian myth. Though apologists are really good at coming up with compelling yet shallow reasons for believing.

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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04-11-2014, 06:45 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
(04-11-2014 05:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I've noticed that when a story circulates of a self-identified atheist converting to Christianity, or when a Christians loses his faith all together, and becomes an atheist, the comments from the parties they left, are typically very hostile. Folks will begin by doubting the authenticity of their abandoned view point, or remark on their lack of intelligence, their rebellious nature, call them delusional, deviants, etc....

When someone converts to a religion, I am more curious than hostile. It seems that he's had an experience that he interpret as religious/spiritual and convinces him of "something more".

Quote:Many of these folks appear to take the issue personally, taking it almost as a personal insult in a way. These folks are imagined as those who know less than we do, we never wonder if perhaps they might have known more or understood something we didn't.


I'm quite sure that someone who believes in a god thinks he or she knows or understands something I don't. It doesn't make that something true.

Quote:It's always imagined as a failing on their part, but never pondered if it's a failing on our part.

A failing on our part? What do you mean? I am not responsible for anyone's beliefs but my own.

Quote:What is your typical reaction when you hear an account of a conversion? Why do you think you're compelled to feel this way? Would you feel the same if the person was one of your good friends? (for theists who like to respond the question should be understood as modified)

I have a relative who has become a Christian of some sort. Given her intelligence and upbringing, I am appalled. When I talked with her about it, she reasons were emotional and unclear.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-11-2014, 06:53 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
For me when a theist examines their religious views and then begins to think critically, it's a natural flow to atheism, like water running downhill.

When the opposite happens, I find it unbelievable just like water running uphill. It's unnatural

But religion is in the business of teaching unnatural things. They call it supernatural but really I think unnatural is a better term

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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04-11-2014, 06:53 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
(04-11-2014 05:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I've noticed that when a story circulates of a self-identified atheist converting to Christianity, or when a Christians loses his faith all together, and becomes an atheist, the comments from the parties they left, are typically very hostile. Folks will begin by doubting the authenticity of their abandoned view point, or remark on their lack of intelligence, their rebellious nature, call them delusional, deviants, etc....

Many of these folks appear to take the issue personally, taking it almost as a personal insult in a way. These folks are imagined as those who know less than we do, we never wonder if perhaps they might have known more or understood something we didn't. It's always imagined as a failing on their part, but never pondered if it's a failing on our part.

What is your typical reaction when you hear an account of a conversion? Why do you think you're compelled to feel this way? Would you feel the same if the person was one of your good friends? (for theists who like to respond the question should be understood as modified)

Unlike religious doctrine, I don't judge a person's morals on whether or not they believe in deities, so it doesn't matter what they believe as far as I'm concerned. I'll be friends with a kind religious person who doesn't go spouting their religious beliefs everywhere they go over an atheist who is an asshole any day.

I have never known somebody who was a stone cold atheist turn around and become creationists. The closest thing I've seen is a couple of atheist friends who got into Buddhism, but they don't believe in all the woo that a lot of cultures believe in. Even my roommate, who grew up in a Buddhist family, and he has no supernatural beliefs.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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04-11-2014, 06:55 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
(04-11-2014 06:45 AM)Chas Wrote:  A failing on our part? What do you mean? I am not responsible for anyone's beliefs but my own.

I mean rather than a gut reaction to paint the other person as wrong, to wonder if perhaps we just didn't look at the question properly, or perhaps we are wrong, or they might know something which I have trouble getting my head around.


Quote:I have a relative who has become a Christian of some sort. Given her intelligence and upbringing, I am appalled.

But why would you feel appalled? I can understand why a theists might be appealed, because in their view of things, this a sin, a transgression against God, a ticket to hell, etc., but I don't understand why atheists feel appalled?

If someone found religion, and this gives them comfort, or piece of mind, who cares if this belief is not true? Why do you have to feel appalled by it?
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04-11-2014, 07:12 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
(04-11-2014 06:55 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(04-11-2014 06:45 AM)Chas Wrote:  A failing on our part? What do you mean? I am not responsible for anyone's beliefs but my own.

I mean rather than a gut reaction to paint the other person as wrong, to wonder if perhaps we just didn't look at the question properly, or perhaps we are wrong, or they might know something which I have trouble getting my head around.

It appears you didn't read my response.

Quote:
Quote:I have a relative who has become a Christian of some sort. Given her intelligence and upbringing, I am appalled.

But why would you feel appalled? I can understand why a theists might be appealed, because in their view of things, this a sin, a transgression against God, a ticket to hell, etc., but I don't understand why atheists feel appalled?

If someone found religion, and this gives them comfort, or piece of mind, who cares if this belief is not true? Why do you have to feel appalled by it?

Because Christianity is completely irrational.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-11-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
(04-11-2014 06:55 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  If someone found religion, and this gives them comfort, or piece of mind, who cares if this belief is not true? Why do you have to feel appalled by it?

The same reasons if that someone told me they had seen a mermaid, that by the way is a true story.

To me the person has stopped thinking critically and has jumped into the deep end of the snake oil pool with their eyes closed. My gut reaction is to distance myself and that is especially melancholy when I like the person. When people "find" god they just want to talk about it nonstop and I just have to head for the door.

I actually feel more of a sense of loss than being appalled now that I think more on it.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
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04-11-2014, 07:42 AM
RE: Feelings toward converts/deconverts
Humans start out as atheist. Babies have no belief in god, and they're dumb as shit. I suppose a grown ass person could go from disbelief to belief if they're stupid, or aren't skeptical about their own perception. That... Or god really does exist. Either way, I don't take it as personal insult; that would be ridiculous. I do, however, see religion and mysticism as a threat to the longevity of the human species... So I'm not enthused when I discover someone is likely not as skeptical as I thought.

At the same time, some theists DO claim deconversion simply to be a rebel. Remember those weird goth kids in highschool who were no more skeptical than the theists they mocked?... Yeah, a shit tonne of them are probably posting pseudo science and cutesy pictures of their babies baptisms on Facebook right now.

Lol who needs god anyway; I have my power crystals.
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