"I was a christian", theist argument.
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08-10-2015, 01:35 PM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
(08-10-2015 09:41 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I disagree. I know for sure there was one person I know who published a book via a christian vanity press who basically said he was an atheist -- which wasn't true. His book played well in church circles.

Before that I'll admit I always kinda figured they stretched the truth. But what was written in that book (allegedly a memoir) were just outright lies.

While I can't be completely certain, I think the main motivation was business -- which from what I can gather was hurting before the book and flourished after. Of course there was a lengthy blurb about him too, effectively pitching his business.

I tend not to doubt people’s former atheism or theism, even if they use it sell books. Someone claiming to be a former atheist, is not really the same as claiming they’re a rocket scientist. There’s no real requirements, other than a lack of belief. The former atheism may not have been all that thoughtful or considered, and shares nothing in common with any other atheists here, which tends to always be the case with any form of atheism that just lasts a quick spell.

But I’m not too sure who this person you speak of is. Perhaps he told you personally that he made it up. Even if that were the case, it would more than likely be the exception rather than the rule.

Quote:I’ll admit I've read far more books alleging the former atheist becoming Christian book....because those stories give so much hope to family members when they believe someone has become "lost".

But that’s just the norm though. If my friend tell me he’s battling disbelief, I’ll tell him that I feel you, I’ve been there before. Or if the cashier at the grocery store tells me they were in the military, I’ll tell them I was too. If there some sort of aspect of our lives, we see as being able to bridge some sense of recognizability, we seem quite eager to offer it. If any believer comes on this forum, creating a post about his struggles with disbelief, there’ll be plenty of well meaning folks letting him know they’ve been their before, and all eager to push him in the direction of disbelief.

I’d say that pretty much most of the books written by your run of the mill atheist as opposed to a professional scientist, or philosopher type, tend to wear their former theism on their sleeves of their book jackets. If they were former pastor, or on some pastoral track, that part of their biography is featured in every 30 second introduction. Nothing wrong with this, but it’s all just to advertise that they’re not entirely absent of any personal experience on the subject.

Quote:Aside from using the word "atheist," I didn't see any parallels between me and them.

People who have never given god/church/whatever, much thought or the people who did have bad things happen to them and briefly for a time hated god...didn't resonate with me in the least.

Nor did the book I read once who again claimed they were atheist (again, not giving god much thought doesn't really make an atheist) until they married a good catholic girl and saw the light.

I find this to be true both ways. That the sort of atheists who converts to christianity tends to occupy a certain type, distinguishable from the sort than tend to be life long committed atheists. And the sort of theists that eventually disregard their religion also occupy a certain type.


I also have a hard time seeing myself in any of the biographical sketches of an atheist’s former theism. Even in regards to the younger versions of ourselves that sat in the pews of a fundie evangelical church. I’m likely to never find an atheists who’s a spitting image of me, but lost his faith. In fact the ones I encounter so often appear as if they’re from a different planet all together. And this disparity has little to do with what they believe or don’t believe, but in regards to living an entirely different life than my own. More to do with me not being a white male, with white parents, etc… than educational resources. There are factors present in my history, that are likely to be absent for many atheists, like parent’s whose christianity placed them in the minority, that lacked any religious/political intermingling. For whom, their thriving and prosperity in this country was a direct result of these intricately woven religious communities that welcomed them when they stepped to shore, that huddled and preserved their values and commitments. While unbelievers exist, anti-theism is an impossibility for us. In our immediate lives, in our communal and ethnic existence, Christianity has been an undeniably good thing. Our christian experience also lacks the baggage and history attached to it among white Westerners. A white baptist church has to deal with the images in their history of gathering together in their Sunday best to watch a black man being lynched, but that’s not an image we share with them, because ours is one in which we would have been strung right along with the victim.

There’s all these features of our dynamics, of our histories, our relationships, etc… that are considerably more of a factor on what end of the tunnel we come out of, than an outcome produced by merely considering a thought, or reading a book. Our unbelief and belief, tend to be an intricate feature of our identity, and that identity is not crafted by logic or rational thinking, but that messy long chisel of life, by conscious and unconscious factors, by all those factors that made us attracted to one thing, and the lack of luster in another thing, we once held dearly.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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08-10-2015, 11:33 PM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
(07-10-2015 01:50 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  There are plenty of theists peddling books, in which they proclaim to be former atheists. There’s also plenty of books written by atheists, proclaiming to be former theists as well, some even on a pastoral track, like our Matt Dillahunty. So you say you were a former believer? Well I was a former unbeliever myself, but I can’t say either of us are trying to sell something. Nor could we say that what form of believer your were, or whatever form of unbeliever I was, that there’s any real parallel between us.

I would of gone with, OUR Seth Andrews, this being his site and all. Plus he has released actual books accounting his past and his former Christian Radio life and all that jazz, or all that gospel I suppose I should say. Yeah Matt has his studying up with desire to a christian story or there is Jerry Dewitt and the ex. pastor community they have going. But they're not ours, Seth you can say is. Cool

I don't doubt the claims, but I don't care if you're claiming it or what. The only relevant question in my book is Why were you X and why did you believe that? I guess "what form" is far more important to me than just the functional life that was lived. So the form, the motivation the thoughts and reasons for the position matter to me more than the concluded position.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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09-10-2015, 04:25 AM (This post was last modified: 09-10-2015 05:13 AM by WillemRM.)
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
I don't think you can respond to those people. The only think I could do is to walk away. Undecided
[/quote]

I wonder how this guy explains that there are people who are not christian. If all christians have the same relationship with God as married people with their partner it would be impossible for anyone to deny his existence. Even if you don't like marriage, don't believe in it, you can not deny that it exists.
If it applies to Jesus we would all be christians out of love or fear; we are not; so it does not. There is no such thing as a factual Christian, which he claims/believes to be. No christian can prove their relationship the same way as a married person can.

He wants us to accept the actual existence of Jesus as a falsifiable fact without having to falsify it. This is a purely authoritarian argument. It is more intended for other christians then for atheists, to convince them he's the best/greatest genuine and infallible believer among them. Reminds me of that song "He's the Groove, he's the Man, he's the Pope in the Vatican".
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09-10-2015, 08:06 AM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
(08-10-2015 12:04 PM)cjlr Wrote:  A lovely non-answer.

If what you think someone thinks is explicitly contradictory to what they say they think, you'd best have a very good reason for it.

What I think is that folks tend to over emphasize the power of their thinking, and under emphasize their feelings. And provide reasons and justifications for one thing or the other, under the impression that they’re their captains of their ship, rather than passengers. That it’s all the same basic pathology that goes with beliefs in free-will, and the esteemed sense of one’s autonomy. To acknowledge the falsity of these things, requires a bit of rethinking of how you got from point A to point B.

And what I say is that a person’s history, a biographical portrait of their lives, reveals far more about why they believe the things they do, than any introspective response, especially the sort that tries to brush these details under the rug. There’s more to be said as to why you’re an atheists, and why I’m a believer, in the details of your family life, your friendships, relationships, and experiences, than supposedly objective rational you spit out.

This doesn’t require me to be a mind reader, but is rather just stating the obvious. The reasons for why you or I are attracted to certain set of beliefs, have more to do with you as a person, shaped by your history, from an endless stream of factors. And those immediate relationships good and bad, are likely to be the most the significant aspect in this shaping than anything else. To believe otherwise, is more a product of magical thinking than anything else. That you some how found a bag of fairy dust that your sprinkled on yourself, that allowed you to transcend the limitations imposed on everybody else.

If you told me about your parents, about you relationship with your family, your upbringing, and those folks that occupy your immediate reality, you would be telling me more so as to why you’re an atheists, than any removed rational you dispense that keeps these aspects off the table. Is this rocket science, or mind reading? No. It’s just how shit works.

Quote:That there are atheists of all walks of life and yet religious affiliation is highly segregated by community is, I'm sure, entirely coincidental.


There’s probably for more homogeny among self-identifying atheists, than among self-identifying christians or muslims. But yes the community aspect is not coincidental at all, but likely not in the way you mean to imply it here. Religions live and thrive off of community, and die when those structures become eroded, or irrelevant for any particular group of people. It’s not coincidental that folks who abandon religious communities, have little interest in communities all together. You don’t find that for every dead church, a humanist gathering arises to take it’s place. Or that nations with high levels of atheisms, are welfare states, where the state has acquired nearly all the aspects that people once depended on their communities for. And again there’s more to say as why you’re an atheists, in why participating in any meaningful community, with real commitments and relationships, doesn’t appeal to you, than there is some sort of scientific observations you learned about.

While the story in which atheism, arises by a humanity being led by the light of reason to it, as a sort of historical waking up, occurring in greater frequency as time marches on, might be an attractive one to you, it’s just a myth. Shit don’t work like that.

Quote:It's a hell of a long way to go to pretend you're not just scotsmanning it, but whatever helps you sleep at night, I guess.

I don’t find myself scotsmanning at all, since I’m not arguing that folks who were former theists, of former atheists, weren’t really theists of atheists at the time. I’m agreeing with a point that’s likely agreed upon here, that Kirk Cameron may have been an atheist, but nothing like the you, or other atheists here, and that this works both ways.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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09-10-2015, 08:11 AM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
"What I think is that folks tend to over emphasize the power of their thinking, and under emphasize their feelings. And provide reasons and justifications for one thing or the other, under the impression that they’re their captains of their ship, rather than passengers. That it’s all the same basic pathology that goes with beliefs in free-will, and the esteemed sense of one’s autonomy. To acknowledge the falsity of these things, requires a bit of rethinking of how you got from point A to point B."

Criticizes thinking, encourages "feelings" be more important. Suggests thinking about this in order to come to that conclusion. I feel like you couldn't be this stupid unless you were really trying. Consider

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09-10-2015, 08:15 AM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
How about this? I had a feeling that the bible was bullshit, so I rethought about the way I approached it and then realized my feelings were correct and that the bible was bullshit.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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09-10-2015, 08:33 AM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
"I don’t find myself scotsmanning at all, since I’m not arguing that folks who were former theists, of former atheists, weren’t really theists of atheists at the time. I’m agreeing with a point that’s likely agreed upon here, that Kirk Cameron may have been an atheist, but nothing like the you, or other atheists here, and that this works both ways."

Yeah, that is a straw man. Facepalm

"Well, they might have been a(n) atheist/theist, but they weren't a(n) atheist/theist like regular atheists/theists because I have deduced this based on the fact that I am an atheist/theist."

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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09-10-2015, 08:37 AM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
(08-10-2015 11:48 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You shouldn't try and play shrink. There were no great schisms in my church. No conflicts. No tragedies. In fact, my life was pretty boring around the time I began to lose my faith.

I wasn’t trying to imply there was some great schism, or conflict or tragedy in your church. In fact in seems that the reasons you stopped going to church, even while still subscribricing to theism, is likely mundane ones, like you grew bored of it. If that’s not the case, why did you stop going church for so many years, even while considering yourself a christian?

Quote:No, I wouldn't. In fact, not going to church probably extended my period of religiousness/spirituality by a decade or so.

Maybe. Most people who don’t attend church, tend to subscribe to some sort of spirituality, or quasi religious beliefs, even in regions with high levels of atheism, where half the population would be classified as none, the bulk of the nones still believe in some life force, or energy. But these beliefs tend to be casual ones, in back of the mind, holding little relevance for the persons subscribing to them.

Wouldn’t that be perhaps true for you? Even though you might have stuck with religion and spirituality for awhile after you were no longer attending church, but at this point it held very little significance or meaning to you as a person? At this point you likely thought very little about your religious or spiritual beliefs, they didn’t frequently appear in your head as something to think about. You started thinking about it more, when you took some required classes on religion in school, but prior to that they were just a set of casual beliefs in the back of your mind?

Quote:Then came my deistic phase. My pantheistic phase. My deistic phase again. Then my atheism (but from start to finish, it took 4-5 years to go from Christian to atheist).

Did your self-identifying atheism arise after you met your wife, and perhaps her family? Or were you already a full pledged atheists prior to that?

Quote:My interactions with theists that represent those I "hate" tend to be the ones trying to interject their religion into the political sphere or who try to preach to me (explicitly or implicitly) or preach (gossip, etc) about me to others. The GOP and my in-laws are good example)

When did you start “hating” these types. It doesn’t seem to be while you were in church, or directed towards your parents. And the history you outline, shows more of an indifference than hatred for much of it. The only people you seem to harbor that hatred towards in your own personal and immediate life, are your in-laws. So wouldn’t it be fair to say that this hatred arose for these types, in that period in which you started interacting with your wife’s family?

And does that “hatred” extend to her parents and siblings as well? And if so, does she share your “hatred” for her own family?

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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09-10-2015, 08:46 AM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
(09-10-2015 08:37 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(08-10-2015 11:48 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You shouldn't try and play shrink. There were no great schisms in my church. No conflicts. No tragedies. In fact, my life was pretty boring around the time I began to lose my faith.

I wasn’t trying to imply there was some great schism, or conflict or tragedy in your church. In fact in seems that the reasons you stopped going to church, even while still subscribricing to theism, is likely mundane ones, like you grew bored of it. If that’s not the case, why did you stop going church for so many years, even while considering yourself a christian?

Quote:No, I wouldn't. In fact, not going to church probably extended my period of religiousness/spirituality by a decade or so.

Maybe. Most people who don’t attend church, tend to subscribe to some sort of spirituality, or quasi religious beliefs, even in regions with high levels of atheism, where half the population would be classified as none, the bulk of the nones still believe in some life force, or energy. But these beliefs tend to be casual ones, in back of the mind, holding little relevance for the persons subscribing to them.

Wouldn’t that be perhaps true for you? Even though you might have stuck with religion and spirituality for awhile after you were no longer attending church, but at this point it held very little significance or meaning to you as a person? At this point you likely thought very little about your religious or spiritual beliefs, they didn’t frequently appear in your head as something to think about. You started thinking about it more, when you took some required classes on religion in school, but prior to that they were just a set of casual beliefs in the back of your mind?

Quote:Then came my deistic phase. My pantheistic phase. My deistic phase again. Then my atheism (but from start to finish, it took 4-5 years to go from Christian to atheist).

Did your self-identifying atheism arise after you met your wife, and perhaps her family? Or were you already a full pledged atheists prior to that?

Quote:My interactions with theists that represent those I "hate" tend to be the ones trying to interject their religion into the political sphere or who try to preach to me (explicitly or implicitly) or preach (gossip, etc) about me to others. The GOP and my in-laws are good example)

When did you start “hating” these types. It doesn’t seem to be while you were in church, or directed towards your parents. And the history you outline, shows more of an indifference than hatred for much of it. The only people you seem to harbor that hatred towards in your own personal and immediate life, are your in-laws. So wouldn’t it be fair to say that this hatred arose for these types, in that period in which you started interacting with your wife’s family?

And does that “hatred” extend to her parents and siblings as well? And if so, does she share your “hatred” for her own family?

" If that’s not the case, why did you stop going church for so many years, even while considering yourself a christian?"

Because I was a teenager who played video games late on Saturday nights and then later because I was a teenager with a 6 day a week job who rested on Sundays.

"Maybe. Most people who don’t attend church, tend to subscribe to some sort of spirituality, or quasi religious beliefs, even in regions with high levels of atheism, where half the population would be classified as none, the bulk of the nones still believe in some life force, or energy. But these beliefs tend to be casual ones, in back of the mind, holding little relevance for the persons subscribing to them."

You do realize that you don't know better than me about my own life, right?

I still prayed to the same god and jesus as before. I just didn't go to church.

"Wouldn’t that be perhaps true for you? Even though you might have stuck with religion and spirituality for awhile after you were no longer attending church, but at this point it held very little significance or meaning to you as a person?"

No. Church wasn't important to me, but god and jesus were at that point.

"Did your self-identifying atheism arise after you met your wife, and perhaps her family? Or were you already a full pledged atheists prior to that? "

I was an atheist during the phase of dating my wife, but before knowing her family in any way other than knowing their name (I even went to a non-denominational easter service with my wife and mother-in-law while we were dating)

"When did you start “hating” these types. It doesn’t seem to be while you were in church, or directed towards your parents. And the history you outline, shows more of an indifference than hatred for much of it. The only people you seem to harbor that hatred towards in your own personal and immediate life, are your in-laws. So wouldn’t it be fair to say that this hatred arose for these types, in that period in which you started interacting with your wife’s family?

And does that “hatred” extend to her parents and siblings as well? And if so, does she share your “hatred” for her own family?"


Like I said before, you are clearly not a trained psychologist and should stop trying to diagnose my life with your presumptions.

I started "hating" theists who push their agendas on others when I realized religion was an inherently divisive system and that most of the "morals" the religious were pushing were vile and despicable rejections of our own humanity and nature.

I started "hating" these types when it became clear that they presumed to know better than me in their "holier than art thou" way, including the claims that they knew me and my life better than I did (including presumptions about why I did or didn't like theism or religion).

My wife's family is a separate world of problems that extend well beyond their religious fervor.

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09-10-2015, 08:47 AM
RE: "I was a christian", theist argument.
(09-10-2015 08:33 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I don’t find myself scotsmanning at all, since I’m not arguing that folks who were former theists, of former atheists, weren’t really theists of atheists at the time. I’m agreeing with a point that’s likely agreed upon here, that Kirk Cameron may have been an atheist, but nothing like the you, or other atheists here, and that this works both ways."

Yeah, that is a straw man. Facepalm

"Well, they might have been a(n) atheist/theist, but they weren't a(n) atheist/theist like regular atheists/theists because I have deduced this based on the fact that I am an atheist/theist."

Actually it would be: ""Well, they might have been a(n) atheist/theist, but they weren't a(n) atheist/theist like myself, and theist/atheists types I hang out with, or spend time with on a forum.

And I'm sure you'll have no problem acknowledging that whatever sort of atheism Kirk Cameron once subscribed to, it was nothing like yours, or folks here.

As to what constitutes as a regular atheists, or theists that would be a bit of tricky composition, so I would avoid making that comparison.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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