Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
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23-09-2012, 02:46 AM (This post was last modified: 23-09-2012 02:53 AM by Luminon.)
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
(19-09-2012 08:35 AM)frankiej Wrote:  I have always been an atheist. Even from a young age I was arguing with my YEC Gran about the existence of dinosaurs. Tongue Dinosaurs are too cool for a little kid not to believe in them.
That's right! Even though they sent me to Sunday school with other kids, my parents never got me baptisted. And I had some really nice dinosaur picture books when I was a kid. I don't know what grandma thought of that, but since earliest childhood I read about tenths and hundreds millions of years and nobody ever told me of the young earth nonsense. I suppose I first learned about the 6000 years thing some time in my early teens, that some theologian counted ages of all peoople in Bible and I never understood how much of a big deal it was.

My grandma was never the one to argue about doctrines, just like all the rest of local Evangelical community. (I suppose there's a Lutheran reformation history test during confirmation, but not the basics) They seem not to think at all, just get a little comfort in prayer and socializing and as nevermind facts and science. When asked outright, they'll repeat the "correct" YEC stories and if I tell them about facts, they'll say science doesn't work. Nevermind computers and cars, that's some kind of different science.


So basically, let's say you're an atheist in a mostly believer family. Let's say you have a very young brother or cousin or nephew/niece. Let's say there's birthday, Christmas or name day ahead.
Is it possible to give the kids a proper book about dinosaurs as a gift? I mean a real one, with millions and billions of year figures in it. A book with dinosaurs in proper cretacean or jurassic wilderness that has only gymnospermous trees (conifers basically) and not a single blade of grass anywhere.

What do you think would happen in your situation? There are several possible scenarios.
- The book will pass under the parental radar and the seed of reality will be planted in the child's mind.
- The parents will safely snatch the book away.
- Shit will hit the fan and you'll be accused of abusing children by spreading godless propaganda.
- The kid will get nightmares from the big toothy lizards.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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23-09-2012, 07:45 AM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
(22-09-2012 08:41 AM)Near Wrote:  If I had not been raised in religion, those things would not sound convincing at all. Since I was raised in religion, there's almost a sort of 'instinct' that tells me that I should believe it.

I can relate to this.

I held my religious beliefs for so long, and they are still familiar to me. I still find some of the ideas appealing, even though I know the go against all logic.
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23-09-2012, 10:51 PM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
In my own experience I think it is better to never have been a theist. I was raised by christian parents. They dragged me to church every sunday until I was old enough to have a job and I told them the boss wanted me to work on Sunday's. While I had actually volunteered to work every sunday. My father was a pretty firm believer for most of my life. I am not certain what changed his mind. He is now an atheist, however he cannot bring himself to say it. I am not sure how much of a hand I had in the change. To this day, he is still fairly depressed over it. I am not sure why he is so depressed. Could it be the realization that this is the only life anyone gets? Maybe it is how stupid the followers act. Giving every penny they can to powerful churches while they barely have the money to feed themselves. Could also be the damage religion is doing in the world right now. Between the catholic church sex scandals and the acts of violence in the name of islam. Truth is, I expect this type of behavior and I have never been a believer. So I don't have the sense of disappointment. For me it is better to have never believed in such things, because I have seen first hand what losing the belief does to some former believers. That is why I am not even mildly trying to change the beliefs my wife has. I want her to be happy, so if she changes her mind I want to have had little or nothing to do with it. Unless she changes in the other way. You know, becomes the crazy type of religious. Then I would have to take some kind of action. I don't see that happening though.
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26-09-2012, 12:08 PM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
(23-09-2012 10:51 PM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  My father was a pretty firm believer for most of my life. I am not certain what changed his mind. He is now an atheist, however he cannot bring himself to say it. I am not sure how much of a hand I had in the change. To this day, he is still fairly depressed over it. I am not sure why he is so depressed. Could it be the realization that this is the only life anyone gets?
I don't know how your father lost his faith, but in his place I'd feel pretty damn stupid for dragging my kid to the church for all these years for no reason. So I can understand he wouldn't want to admit that.

Probably he insisted so much because even then he had some doubts, so he tried to compensate them by having an all-believer family. Maybe he knows he kind of always felt this is bunk, yet he made you go to the church to keep himself from losing faith.

Looks like religious people are easygoing as long as they are completely sure in their belief, not threatened by anything. (and they're at least somewhat moderate) When they're not sure, they seek reassurance from other believers around (and seeing open non-believers around is a direct threat to their territory) and also by raising stakes on the Pascal's wager. That is, investing more into the faith, so it damn better be true.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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26-09-2012, 12:59 PM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
much,much better!
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16-12-2012, 09:47 AM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
(19-09-2012 09:30 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  This might be like asking, 'would it have been sweet to experience the dark ages?'. As much as the dark ages fascinate me, it sucks that my family thinks I'm a witch. Ha ha.

(Today's religions do fascinate me, it's an amazing part of our species story.)The irony of having a Christian family think you are a witch
is it is they and their bible that professes a real belief in both black and
white forms of magic….. : )
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16-12-2012, 05:41 PM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
I think that if you've been raised in a religious household you've been psychologically damaged.

You've been taught how not to think.

You're individuality has been suppressed.

You've always been taught that someone else knows better than you.

Your sense of self and self esteem has been compromised.

You've been plagued with cognitive dissonance.

You've been burdened with guilt.

I suspect (but can't prove) you're more prone to suffer from anxiety or depression.

You've had a lot of your time wasted.

Most of us recover, but the scars remain.
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16-12-2012, 06:29 PM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
Personally, I'm ok with my former theism. Because of it; I understand the theistic mindset, which provides at least a slight advantage over my opponents when engaging in debate.

Besides, every now and then I find myself reflecting on who I was then in contrast with who I am now, and it fills my heart with joy that I've managed to "see the light", so to speak, and reach this point. So, in a way, my former beliefs make me appreciate my reason and logic so much more.

For me: I'm glad I used to believe. It means I was strong enough to overcome something. I take pride in that.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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16-12-2012, 09:41 PM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
When I reflect on my former theistic beliefs, it's like I'm revisiting my childhood. When I was a child, I was willing to believe in just about everything I was told. Whenever my beliefs were challenged, I'd argue from ignorance to defend them. It took years for me to realize most of these beliefs are wrong, so I should stop pretending they're right. Ironically, I attribute my huge thirst for knowledge to my theistic beliefs of old. After thinking and believing like a theist for so long, it was like a whole new level of awareness opened when I started having personal doubts about my faith. It was like seeing the world for the first time.

Whether or not I would've been better off with or without my theistic beliefs of old, there's no way of knowing otherwise, I'm proud of how far I've come and how far I still have to go.

If you think Superman is real, comics are historical events,
and a bite from a radioactive spider will give you superpowers,
congratulations! You're on the same playing field as a theist.
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19-12-2012, 10:58 PM
RE: Is is better or worse to have never been a theist?
if you once believed than you can at least understand the mindset for certain. i dont know if those who never believed can understand the theist mindset. hell im not sure if i understand it these days but then ive been an atheist for more than 20 years (lost my faith at about 15 or so. id imagine those who believed well into adulthood or who lost faith recently have a better understanding of the religious mind. i figure this allows a person to see religion from both sides.
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