N00b with a question for former theists
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18-09-2013, 09:56 AM
RE: N00b with a question for former theists
(18-09-2013 09:21 AM)Fisty_McBeefpunch Wrote:  
(18-09-2013 08:08 AM)RedJamaX Wrote:  You can't have Good without Evil is probably one of the best arguments a theist can use to re-assure the beliefs that person already possesses. (I remember saying it myself)...

I've had this discussion with a theist friend. He claims that Monotheism was a great leap forward in consolidating morality and simplifying the world through the work of a single creator. I asked him when the so-called "problem of evil" became an issue in a theological context. It seemed to me that this concept implodes on itself by presenting a single God that is responsible for both, and yet is repulsed by and punishes only one side for it. It only becomes a problem for theologians and apologists. At least the Greeks and others could attribute good and bad to separate personalities and disputes among their gods with out "the problem of evil".

NOW, I agree with you... but you have to remember, when a theist is still deep in the monotheist belief that he/she was raised with, applying rational thought is NOT a strong suit, especially when it comes to their theism. I remember how naive I was when it came to Christianity. The belief is even re-enforced subconsciously, with simple associations that we are taught, such as Christianity being identified as a "religion", where are the Greek Gods were just "mythology". Mythology was taught as literature... religion is not... and they are NEVER compared to each other in school (not K through 12 anyway). So even in school the association between the two is broken up and places anything identified as religion to be taken more seriously as some sort of truth... and Mythology is just a bunch of stories. So even "if" they make more sense in many respects, the theist won't compare them because they are presented very differently in a social aspect.
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18-09-2013, 10:25 AM
RE: N00b with a question for former theists
(18-09-2013 09:56 AM)RedJamaX Wrote:  ...
Mythology was taught as literature... religion is not... and they are NEVER compared to each other in school (not K through 12 anyway). ...

Interesting you should bring this up... I went to public high school in the 70s and was offered a fairly progressive batch of electives, which included a course called "The Bible As Literature". Obviously, things have changed in the good ol' USA. Wink

In the earlier grades, I recall a smattering of mythology stories and an exploration of different religions being associated with various cultures. I didn't feel pressed to associate religions or mythologies to be considered either truth or non-truth, it was understood they were illustrations of morality or ethics or reason, etc.,. The Fox & Grapes comes to mind as well as Androcles and the Lion. I made no distinction between any of these stories because I knew they were all just stories.

Consider Maybe that's how the confusion begins; the pressure placed, to decide at such an early age, prior to experience, prior to an exploration of reasoning and/or ethics ... hmm.

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A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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18-09-2013, 12:39 PM
RE: N00b with a question for former theists
(18-09-2013 07:26 AM)MissPierce Wrote:  So, former theists, were you one of those who believed that any skepticism of your faith was the work of the devil? At what point during your de-conversion did you let go of that fear? Was it a conscious decision? It almost seems like it would have to be. At some point wouldn't you realize that you were thinking heretical thoughts, and feel squeamish about it? Why did you stop feeling squeamish about it? When did you stop thinking of doubts as Satan's whispers? Was it precipitated by an event, a particular bit of reasoning, or simply knowing an unbeliever who was obviously a good person, and you couldn't dismiss them as the devil's minion?

As a Xian for almost 25 years, I felt that God was in charge, and therefore all truth led to him, no matter how unpleasant. So I kept asking questions and reading books. However, many of the people I asked and books I read were Xian, so there was sort of a self-sustaining belief system going on.

It was when I got dumped in 2006 by a woman I thought was "The One" that I really began searching for answers. That was around the time the New Atheist books were coming out, and since I figured I was destined to be a lifelong single at 40, I figured I needed to take my faith to the next level by challenging it with their writings.

However, the New Atheists made more sense than my Xian apologetics, which really threw me for a loop. As a last-ditch effort to find the face of God, I took a leave of absence from work and walked 500 miles across Spain on the old Camino Frances pilgrimage trail. But instead of finding God, I met other people living decent lives without Him, and the more I argued with myself, the more I became convinced that my faith was a human construct vs. divine edict.

By the time I finished the Way, I was basically an agnostic. I tried to fit back into my church, but I simply couldn't do it anymore and I left it and all my other Xian-related activities behind. Eventually I became an atheist, to the chagrin of friends and family.

In the end, I believe making the break from religion comes down to asking questions, not being satisfied with pat answers, engaging with difficult data/answers, traveling to other countries and seeing how other societies get on without God, questioning my own presuppositions, and looking at my beliefs from an outside viewpoint.

And even after all of that, my agnosticism/atheism wasn't a conscious choice, but a compelling realization that my faith was false in the light of rationality and science. Perhaps that shift was enabled by my personality as an introvert, as I wonder if I'd still be in the Church as a believer had I been married or otherwise managed to fit better into evangelical culture...hard to say!
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