From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
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03-05-2013, 08:19 PM
From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
I recently became an atheist, as you may know. I've been an atheist for about a month so far. I don't remember the day I "converted." It was a long process. It took a lot of DEEP THINKING before I got to the stage of unbelief because I grew up believing in the Judeo-Christian god---like most of my fellow Americans.

I grew up in a Catholic family and I've always strived to be a good person. I've felt guilty from time to time when I have failed to live up to the standards set by the church. When I was a teenager, I became a Seventh-day Adventist and I regularly studied the Holy Bible. I was also very active in church activities. However, during this time, I did stuff that good Christian church officials didn't approve of: listening to heavy metal music and looking at porn. Somehow, my fear of Judgement Day wasn't strong enough to rid me of my secular lifestyle. During my first few years of college, I'd often read books in the library instead of doing my homework. When I was 19 years old, I stopped going to church for a while because I didn't feel like it. When I was 20 years old, I read a lot of books about different religions and started questioning my own beliefs. It was a time when I was confused about life in general. A lot of my philosophical questions about the world I lived in couldn't be answered by the religions or by praying to a god, or anything else. A few years later, I started going back to church. I guess it felt like the right thing to do. After a while, I was just pretending to be a Christian. I never told anyone I was an agnostic. When I joined the Army, I went to a Christian church and went to Bible studies w/ Christian groups. I was still an agnostic all the time. I was living in The South and many people were eager to make me a member of their church. I just wasn't interested. My lifestyle was very secular. At the time, I would ask a lot of questions about the Bible and about the nature of the Judeo-Christian god (J-C god). The answers people would give me were varied and creative. There's a part of me that's a skeptic and I found it hard to believe that the reason people are committing acts of evil around the world is because a man and a woman ate a forbidden fruit----which they had easy access too! And I'm being punished for their disobedience. Hmm...is that fair? After my first enlistment, I decided to become a chaplain assistant---not for religious reasons, but because it seemed like an easy way to earn a living, and I didn't mind going to church services. I was right: it was an easy job! Basically, what I had to do was assist the pastor in church services, answer the phone, make counseling appointments, and type up correspondence. I wasn't out in the heat and getting my boots dirty like the other poor, unfortunate souls in the Army. I liked my job very much. I sat in an air-conditioned office. I watched cable-tv in the guest room during my lunch breaks. It was heavenly. And the irony was: I lived a secular life. I had no religious affiliation and I often disagreed with the Christian literature and the sermons. During that time, I was able to read the Jewish Torah and the Quran. Chaplain assistants get a lot of religious literature about various religions. They learn how to serve people of different faiths---even Wiccans. I read stuff out of curiosity. It's interesting how the Holy Bible had some meaning to me because my parents believed in it and the Quran was just another book. Would I feel the same way if I grew up in a Middle-Eastern Muslim family? Probably not.

I was an agnostic for about 24 years---longer than I was a Christian. In the past few years, I've enjoyed watching Christopher Hitchens on YouTube debating the existence of God with various pastors, priests, rabbis, clerics, and other men of religious authority. Hitchens was entertaining because of his jokes and occasional rudeness. Then I watched other debates with Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I admired them because they did their homework before the debate. They had a lot of factual information to back up their arguments. They also encouraged skepticism---if you disagreed with them, you had better have a valid reason for doing so. Even after watching many debates, I never came to the conclusion that there is no J-C god. But the seeds of atheism were planted in my mind. Also: I had no counter-argument whenever Hitchens talked about the ability to make a moral statement w/o the belief in a god:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqFwree7Kak

After watching these debates, I became curious about atheism. I watched a lot of YouTube videos created by atheists. The two accounts that really had an affect on me were: NonStampCollector and DarkMatter2525. I watched their videos, looked up Bible verses, and pondered their arguments for many days. One day it all made sense. I mean, it made perfect sense to me. All these years I've been lied to! I can't describe what I'm feeling right now. I look at the world the way a scientist would---I demand proof! I want evidence! I see the world in a different way. I suppose that I'm re-discovering reality. If you don't filter reality through a deity or a religion, it makes sense. Well, actually, Buddhism is one of the few religions that I have no criticism for.

In a nutshell, the reason I'm an atheist is because of YouTube! No wonder governments want to censor the internet.
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03-05-2013, 08:45 PM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
Welcome aboard, friend!

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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03-05-2013, 09:14 PM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
Welcome. Nice to have another fellow atheist.

Want something? Then do something.
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03-05-2013, 10:11 PM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
Thank you!

(03-05-2013 08:45 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Welcome aboard, friend!
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03-05-2013, 10:12 PM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
Thank you!

(03-05-2013 09:14 PM)HU.Junyuan Wrote:  Welcome. Nice to have another fellow atheist.
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03-05-2013, 10:43 PM
Lightbulb RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
Addendum: George Carlin is one hell of a comedian! And so is Penn Jillette. Both have influenced me.
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04-05-2013, 08:56 AM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
Welcome Smile
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04-05-2013, 12:09 PM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
(03-05-2013 08:19 PM)CaliforniaSurf Wrote:  After my first enlistment, I decided to become a chaplain assistant---not for religious reasons, but because it seemed like an easy way to earn a living, and I didn't mind going to church services. I was right: it was an easy job! Basically, what I had to do was assist the pastor in church services, answer the phone, make counseling appointments, and type up correspondence. I wasn't out in the heat and getting my boots dirty like the other poor, unfortunate souls in the Army. I liked my job very much. I sat in an air-conditioned office. I watched cable-tv in the guest room during my lunch breaks. It was heavenly. And the irony was: I lived a secular life. I had no religious affiliation and I often disagreed with the Christian literature and the sermons. During that time, I was able to read the Jewish Torah and the Quran. Chaplain assistants get a lot of religious literature about various religions. They learn how to serve people of different faiths---even Wiccans. I read stuff out of curiosity. It's interesting how the Holy Bible had some meaning to me because my parents believed in it and the Quran was just another book. Would I feel the same way if I grew up in a Middle-Eastern Muslim family? Probably not.

I almost reenlisted with the National Guard in 2006-2007 as a Chaplain Assistant, but I ultimately passed because at that point I was going through the early stages of my deconversion, and also I didn't really want to deal with the military life again (I had previously spent 6 years in the Marines on active duty from 85 to 91, so I kind of felt compelled to "do my duty" during the current conflicts, and also prove my middle-aged manhood as I sat out the first Gulf War in SoCal - body surfing while off-duty, ironically enough). Instead, I walked the Camino pilgrimage trail in Spain and ended up becoming an agnostic, and then finally an atheist. It's nice to see that becoming a CA helped you deconvert, though - makes me wonder how it would have worked out for me.

Quote:I was an agnostic for about 24 years---longer than I was a Christian. In the past few years, I've enjoyed watching Christopher Hitchens on YouTube debating the existence of God with various pastors, priests, rabbis, clerics, and other men of religious authority. Hitchens was entertaining because of his jokes and occasional rudeness.
In a nutshell, the reason I'm an atheist is because of YouTube! No wonder governments want to censor the internet.

Yeah, the Hitch and Dawkins certainly helped begin my deconversion process as well, although I didn't really get into the YouTube stuff until recently. I certainly agree that the Internet has been a game-changer in this regard, now that information is available at the click of a mouse! It makes it that much harder for ignorance to flourish when you can tap into the evidence from your couch! Well done! Thumbsup
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04-05-2013, 01:42 PM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
(03-05-2013 08:19 PM)CaliforniaSurf Wrote:  I recently became an atheist, as you may know. I've been an atheist for about a month so far. I don't remember the day I "converted." It was a long process. It took a lot of DEEP THINKING before I got to the stage of unbelief because I grew up believing in the Judeo-Christian god---like most of my fellow Americans.

I grew up in a Catholic family and I've always strived to be a good person. I've felt guilty from time to time when I have failed to live up to the standards set by the church. When I was a teenager, I became a Seventh-day Adventist and I regularly studied the Holy Bible. I was also very active in church activities. However, during this time, I did stuff that good Christian church officials didn't approve of: listening to heavy metal music and looking at porn. Somehow, my fear of Judgement Day wasn't strong enough to rid me of my secular lifestyle. During my first few years of college, I'd often read books in the library instead of doing my homework. When I was 19 years old, I stopped going to church for a while because I didn't feel like it. When I was 20 years old, I read a lot of books about different religions and started questioning my own beliefs. It was a time when I was confused about life in general. A lot of my philosophical questions about the world I lived in couldn't be answered by the religions or by praying to a god, or anything else. A few years later, I started going back to church. I guess it felt like the right thing to do. After a while, I was just pretending to be a Christian. I never told anyone I was an agnostic. When I joined the Army, I went to a Christian church and went to Bible studies w/ Christian groups. I was still an agnostic all the time. I was living in The South and many people were eager to make me a member of their church. I just wasn't interested. My lifestyle was very secular. At the time, I would ask a lot of questions about the Bible and about the nature of the Judeo-Christian god (J-C god). The answers people would give me were varied and creative. There's a part of me that's a skeptic and I found it hard to believe that the reason people are committing acts of evil around the world is because a man and a woman ate a forbidden fruit----which they had easy access too! And I'm being punished for their disobedience. Hmm...is that fair? After my first enlistment, I decided to become a chaplain assistant---not for religious reasons, but because it seemed like an easy way to earn a living, and I didn't mind going to church services. I was right: it was an easy job! Basically, what I had to do was assist the pastor in church services, answer the phone, make counseling appointments, and type up correspondence. I wasn't out in the heat and getting my boots dirty like the other poor, unfortunate souls in the Army. I liked my job very much. I sat in an air-conditioned office. I watched cable-tv in the guest room during my lunch breaks. It was heavenly. And the irony was: I lived a secular life. I had no religious affiliation and I often disagreed with the Christian literature and the sermons. During that time, I was able to read the Jewish Torah and the Quran. Chaplain assistants get a lot of religious literature about various religions. They learn how to serve people of different faiths---even Wiccans. I read stuff out of curiosity. It's interesting how the Holy Bible had some meaning to me because my parents believed in it and the Quran was just another book. Would I feel the same way if I grew up in a Middle-Eastern Muslim family? Probably not.

I was an agnostic for about 24 years---longer than I was a Christian. In the past few years, I've enjoyed watching Christopher Hitchens on YouTube debating the existence of God with various pastors, priests, rabbis, clerics, and other men of religious authority. Hitchens was entertaining because of his jokes and occasional rudeness. Then I watched other debates with Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I admired them because they did their homework before the debate. They had a lot of factual information to back up their arguments. They also encouraged skepticism---if you disagreed with them, you had better have a valid reason for doing so. Even after watching many debates, I never came to the conclusion that there is no J-C god. But the seeds of atheism were planted in my mind. Also: I had no counter-argument whenever Hitchens talked about the ability to make a moral statement w/o the belief in a god:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqFwree7Kak

After watching these debates, I became curious about atheism. I watched a lot of YouTube videos created by atheists. The two accounts that really had an affect on me were: NonStampCollector and DarkMatter2525. I watched their videos, looked up Bible verses, and pondered their arguments for many days. One day it all made sense. I mean, it made perfect sense to me. All these years I've been lied to! I can't describe what I'm feeling right now. I look at the world the way a scientist would---I demand proof! I want evidence! I see the world in a different way. I suppose that I'm re-discovering reality. If you don't filter reality through a deity or a religion, it makes sense. Well, actually, Buddhism is one of the few religions that I have no criticism for.

In a nutshell, the reason I'm an atheist is because of YouTube! No wonder governments want to censor the internet.

I'm an ex-christian my self and the frustration with christian's misguided love can last for a long time. They lied to us out of kindness. They thought the god idea was worth spreading, but we found it to be evil, twisted, morally corrupt, and damaging.

It's hard to remember most of them want to be good, and do good, it's simply we have another way. It's more complicated, but at least it makes sense.

Member of the Cult of Reason

The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
-Baron d'Holbach-
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04-05-2013, 08:23 PM
RE: From Christian To Agnostic To Atheist
Welcome, CaliforniaSurf!

I came to nonbelief through a different route: the absence of God, and the kindler, gentler atheist.

The New Atheists with their, ah, direct methodology scared me off. It took more gentle souls (like Dan Barker, and Seth Andrews) to get me to the point where I could put 2 and 2 together. Once everything came together in my mind, it was easy for me to walk away from Christianity. Now there are tenets of evangelical Christian philosophy I still hold to (do unto others, be honest, etc.) that are shared humanist values, so it's not like I think the Bible is completely worthless with zero value. I just see things differently now, like you do.
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