Questions for Former Theists
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10-11-2017, 05:42 AM
Questions for Former Theists
Hi all,

I've started a blog, (linked in my sig), that hopefully can give some advice/help to people who are thinking of leaving their chosen religion or just looking for further information on a non-theistic life style.

I'd like to start a Q/A type section, and if anybody would like to get involved, I've posted some questions below. If you'd like to help me out, please answer, and I'll feature as many as I can on the blog page Smile Feel free to expand upon your answers as much as you would like to do so.

1. Which religion did you follow before following the Atheist mind set?

2. Was there a reason to leave your chosen religion?

3. Did the religion you followed actively promote anti-LGBT subjects?

4. Did your chosen religion actively promote anti science based subjects? (anti-Evolution, anti-big bang theory, etc)

5. Do you regret any of your time with your former religion?

6. Have you taken any positives from your former religion?

7. Overall, has the Atheist mind set been a positive or negative to you personally?

8. What would you say to others thinking of joining a theistic lifestyle?

9. What would you say to those thinking of leaving a Theistic lifestyle?

"When you’re in a relationship, you’re in a band. Sometimes you sing lead and sometimes you’re on tambourine. And if you’re on tambourine, play it right. Play it with a fucking smile. ‘Cause nobody wants to see a mad tambourine player.” - Chris Rock
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10-11-2017, 05:55 AM
RE: Questions for Former Theists
1. I was lightly indoctrinated in catholic faith, before I returned to natural state of lack of belief.

2. Too light indoctrination and perhaps classic question about evil in world with omni god.

3. Yes.

4. Parents chosen religion for me, I had no input in it.

Pope Francis says some shit about god causing evolution and BB if I'm not mistaken so yes, I think it could be said that catholicism promote anti science stance.

5. I would preffer to not be inddoctrinated at all but I can't really speak about regrets.

6. No. Polish catholicism as far as I'm concerned has no positives. It's clownish and authoritarian crap.

7. Wouldn't call it mindset. It's positive though - I have no space Hitler (flood) to be afraid of nor I need to make mental gymnastics to fit book of myths into modern life.

8. Joining is mainly done during childhood and it's not a choice; I don't have words for children. For adults chosing different opiate - their life, their problem. If they need sky daddy I don't much care.

9. Go for it. Nothing of value will be lost.

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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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10-11-2017, 06:32 AM (This post was last modified: 10-11-2017 06:39 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Questions for Former Theists
I was a student of the iconoclastic Sufi interpretations of the Muslim religion. Since Sufis promoted science as supporting their interpretations, including evolutionary theory, psychology, and cosmology, I studied those other subjects in an attempt to combine them with my beliefs. That led to cognitive dissonance, to conflicts with other students, and ultimately to the attribute of consciousness falling out of my God concept, after which I realized it was no longer a God concept. That's when I became open to studying atheistic alternatives.

I regret most all of my time studying religion since for me it was just a roundabout approach to studying science, which I could have started with. Becoming an atheist at the age of fifty has been very positive in my life, since I dropped a whole series of mentally unhealthy preoccupations. I would encourage any theist to not only try to find some reasonable grounds for their beliefs, but to consider atheistic alternatives up front instead of later, after their rationalizations fail.

As for any "theistic lifestyle," Sufis encourage people to be well-integrated into their local social groups, and I considered social pressures as something to be ignored and avoided in considering religious ideas. I was very wary of indoctrination techniques, since I had already experienced Christian social pressures. That's one point which attracted me to Sufism, since Sufis condemned merely training people to doctrines, holy books, personalities, and so on.
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10-11-2017, 06:34 AM
RE: Questions for Former Theists
1. Which religion did you follow before following the Atheist mind set?
Baptist.

2. Was there a reason to leave your chosen religion?
My reasons included: 1) The god of this religion was immoral and unethical, at least as I read the Bible. 2) Following the religion did not seem to make adherents better humans. Instead, religion was used as a reason to be nasty to nonbelievers. 3) The more I learned about the history of religion, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, the easier it was to see that all religions were made by people, not gods.

3. Did the religion you followed actively promote anti-LGBT subjects?
Oh yes. Abominations, etc. Also promoted female chastity and subjugation to males, inferiority of non-white races, and stupidity as better than education.

4. Did your chosen religion actively promote anti science based subjects? (anti-Evolution, anti-big bang theory, etc)
Anti-evolution, gawd made the universe in six days 6,000 years ago, end times nigh, syncopation is the devil's rhythm, etc., etc.

5. Do you regret any of your time with your former religion?
I don't regret any of my experiences. However, spending 12 hours in church and a few more hours in church-related activities every week certainly wasn't the most productive use of that time.

6. Have you taken any positives from your former religion?
Empathy towards people stuck in it, energizing anger towards the people at the top who use it to oppress, helpful (though painful) pragmatic education in group dynamics.

7. Overall, has the Atheist mind set been a positive or negative to you personally?
Positive. However, it has made relations with my fundie family members more fragile.

8. What would you say to others thinking of joining a theistic lifestyle?
It's a waste of money, time, and intellect. The social support you may gain won't offset the loss of your dignity.

9. What would you say to those thinking of leaving a Theistic lifestyle?
Go ahead, but get a support system in place if you're somewhere where the culture is fundie-dominant.
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10-11-2017, 06:40 AM
RE: Questions for Former Theists
(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  1. Which religion did you follow before following the Atheist mind set?

Fundamentalist Pentecostal, same as snake handlers, except they jumped around like a bunch of idiots instead of handling snakes. Thumbsup

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  2. Was there a reason to leave your chosen religion?

The problem of evil began my questioning, science contradicting biblical claims eventually convinced me, yet it was a decades long process.

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  3. Did the religion you followed actively promote anti-LGBT subjects?

Yes, they roundly condemned homosexuality and a number of benign sexual practices including condemnation of sex outside of marriage.

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  4. Did your chosen religion actively promote anti science based subjects? (anti-Evolution, anti-big bang theory, etc)

Yep, couldn't go along with this sophistry.

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  5. Do you regret any of your time with your former religion?

Oh yeah, I feel as if I was cheated of life experiences because of the inordinate amount of guilt I felt. I regret that I settled on a "I don't give a fuck" attitude for decades instead of facing the truth in my early twenties and clarifying my own attitudes and beliefs.

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  6. Have you taken any positives from your former religion?

There is a very vague core of "love one another" buried under the mountain of shit that you have to dig through to get to that part.

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  7. Overall, has the Atheist mind set been a positive or negative to you personally?

Intellectually, it has been liberating, taboo subjects such as evolution are open to me now and a source of fascination as well as a robust intellectual pursuit to learn more about it.
This had the unpredictable effect of me rediscovering my childhood fascination with dinosaurs, but now I don't have to puzzle over how those T-Rex's got along with all of those other animals on Noah's boat. Laugh out load

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  8. What would you say to others thinking of joining a theistic lifestyle?

Evaluate it's claims from an outsider perspective. Examine your own biases from an outsider's perspective. Do not be cavalier about believing something because you want it to be true.

(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  9. What would you say to those thinking of leaving a Theistic lifestyle?

You can be more intellectually honest with yourself, you don't have to make excuses for a book of fantasy when reality contradicts the book. However, it takes some stalwart mental discipline to maintain a viewpoint of evidence and science over comforting half-truths and outright lies.

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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10-11-2017, 07:17 AM
RE: Questions for Former Theists
1. I was raised Catholic, but then later became a pretty devout Christian.

2. How I felt inside didn't line up with the teachings of my church (women should be submissive, same sex couples are going to hell simply for loving another person, etc.)

3. It didn't actively promote it, but it was there.

4. Yes.

5. Yes. I was in constant fear of pissing off God if I sinned.

6. To always investigate claims made by anyone and to require evidence for such claims.

7. Positive. I feel free.

8. Think before you leap. Faith alone is not a good enough reason to believe. Investigate why you believe what you believe. Always look behind the curtain. Research. Research. Research. And by research I mean use peer-reviewed and scholarly materials compiled by experts with no hidden agenda (i.e. a desire to propagate a specific lifestyle, belief system).

9. Do it. We get one life. You are allowed to live it as you see fit and not under the thumb of church mentality and under the hammer of a magical being who lives in the clouds. It's okay to leave ancient thinking behind. It's okay to investigate the claims of ancient people who claimed they found a divine sky being. It's okay to look behind the curtain.
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10-11-2017, 07:24 AM (This post was last modified: 10-11-2017 07:37 AM by Fatbaldhobbit.)
RE: Questions for Former Theists
1. Which religion did you follow before following the Atheist mind set?
Roman Catholic

2. Was there a reason to leave your chosen religion?
Several, really. The hypocrisy and scandals of the Catholic church, the contradictions and atrocities of the bible, etc. It all built up over time until I was introduced to the works of people like Hitchens, Chomsky, Dawkins, etc.

3. Did the religion you followed actively promote anti-LGBT subjects?
Anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti- everything non catholic, etc.

4. Did your chosen religion actively promote anti science based subjects? (anti-Evolution, anti-big bang theory, etc)
Yes. The church is more cautious about it now than in the past, but they still subtly undermine science and social reform when they can.


5. Do you regret any of your time with your former religion?

It is a part of my past and the experiences I had have helped make me who I am today. It's not something I can change, and really not something I had a choice in, at least until I was an adult.

6. Have you taken any positives from your former religion?
The positive aspects would be related to community and charity work. However it is important to note that activities like these are not exclusive to religion, rather they are manifestations of human nature.

7. Overall, has the Atheist mind set been a positive or negative to you personally?
On one hand, I think it has been one of the best things that happened to me. Learning how to educate myself, critical thinking, learning history, philosophy, etc. These are all valuable skills and I am proud of the time I have spent learning them.

On the other hand though, things have been difficult. My wife is a devout believer, and my de-conversion has caused a great deal of stress between us.

8. What would you say to others thinking of joining a theistic lifestyle?
I would encourage skepticism, rationality, humanism and critical thinking.

9. What would you say to those thinking of leaving a Theistic lifestyle?
I would encourage skepticism, rationality, humanism and critical thinking.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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10-11-2017, 09:13 AM
RE: Questions for Former Theists
(10-11-2017 05:42 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  I'd like to start a Q/A type section, and if anybody would like to get involved, I've posted some questions below...


1. Which religion did you follow before following the Atheist mind set?
I involuntarily "followed" my parents' region from around age 0 to age 12 (high school/puberty years). Their religion was Christian; nominally *Methodist.

2. Was there a reason to leave your chosen religion?
Yes; an awareness brought on by a maturing mindset from age 13. the realisation the religion was built around doubtful fairy stories which I'd questioned from day one, and which were proven to be nonsensical by high-school science—biology, chemistry, and astronomy mainly.

3. Did the religion you followed actively promote anti-LGBT subjects?
Not in the 1940s to early 1950s. Strict Methodism does so today however, with the position of (too) many that that same-sex relations are incompatible with "Christian teaching". They will (grudgingly) extend their ministry to people of a homosexual orientation, because "all individuals are of sacred worth".

4. Did your chosen religion actively promote anti science based subjects? (anti-Evolution, anti-big bang theory, etc)
They ignored science rather than actively denying it. Science was not once mentioned in Methodist preaching, and I was too young to ask the questions necessary to correct that avoidance.

5. Do you regret any of your time with your former religion?
Not really, as a mature, educated, rational adult. It did piss me off though having to get up at 8AM every Sunday to go to Sunday School LOL.

6. Have you taken any positives from your former religion?
In a nutshell no. Other than to be extremely skeptical in later life whenever somebody mentions paranormal phenomena or supernatural entities.

7. Overall, has the Atheist mind set been a positive or negative to you personally?
Overwhelmingly positive and scientifically enlightening. I can't even imagine how much less of a person I would've been ethically, morally, and intellectually had I continued believing religious mythology as an adult.

8. What would you say to others thinking of joining a theistic lifestyle?
Simple: please seriously reconsider. And read some books by Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Krauss, or Dennett for example.

9. What would you say to those thinking of leaving a Theistic lifestyle?
Do so as soon as possible. But do it progressively, and whilst giving due diligence to authors (as above suggestions) who propose, debate, and prove unequivocally that science absolutely trumps each and every religion's fraudulent "science" and absurd perspectives on the world and its inhabitants, from molluscs to man.

*
[Here in Australia, the Methodists and the Presbyterians
combined dogma and real estate (and shared absurdities?)
in 1977 and morphed into what's unsurprisingly now called
the "Uniting Church".]

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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10-11-2017, 10:10 AM
RE: Questions for Former Theists
1. Which religion did you follow before following the Atheist mind set?
Roman Catholicism.

2. Was there a reason to leave your chosen religion?
First of all, I did not choose this religion. My parents sent me to Catholic schools to be indoctrinated. I eventually left Catholicism because the God of the Bible was a moral thug, Catholic doctrines were irrational and inhumane, and the Church proved to be morally and politically corrupt. I discovered atheism to be rationally unassailable.

3. Did the religion you followed actively promote anti-LGBT subjects?
At that time (late 1960's), the Church taught that homosexuality was a mental disease and a moral depravity.

4. Did your chosen religion actively promote anti science based subjects? (anti-Evolution, anti-big bang theory, etc.)
The Catholic teachers I had at that time were split between denying evolutionary theory or refusing to address it. Evolution was a taboo subject. The Big Band was touted as an act of creation by God.

5. Do you regret any of your time with your former religion?
Yes. It destroyed most of the happiness of my youth and afflicted me with periods of chronic depression which I didn't overcome until I was in my mid-40's.

6. Have you taken any positives from your former religion?
None whatsoever.

7. Overall, has the Atheist mind set been a positive or negative to you personally?
It has been positive. When I finally realized I was an atheist, I experienced an overwhelming sense of emancipation.

8. What would you say to others thinking of joining a theistic lifestyle?
Religions are all bunk. Don't squander your only existence on a pipe dream.

9. What would you say to those thinking of leaving a Theistic lifestyle?
Congratulations on learning to think for yourself. You have nothing to fear and everything to gain from an honest pursuit of the truth.
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10-11-2017, 02:21 PM
RE: Questions for Former Theists
1. Which religion did you follow before following the Atheist mind set?
I was a Christian- Pentecostal, specifically. Assemblies of God and the like.

2. Was there a reason to leave your chosen religion?
I became less and less convinced that it was a force for good in my life. And then, eventually, started to realize that it didn't mesh well with science- evolution, cosmology, etc. I felt

3. Did the religion you followed actively promote anti-LGBT subjects?
Yes. I had no idea how badly it impacted me at the time, being a member of the LGBT community myself, but just not really quite aware of it yet. Most people and at most places, it was a "hate the sin, love the sinner" approach- but that also means gay marriage and homosexual sex were prohibited.

4. Did your chosen religion actively promote anti science based subjects? (anti-Evolution, anti-big bang theory, etc)
Yes, anti-evolution, anti-big bang, fundamentalist, literalist, evangelist, etc. I was super committed.

5. Do you regret any of your time with your former religion?
Yes. Although, I don't regret where I am today, I do regret that I devoted so much of my life to it, and so many of my formative early adult and teenage years.

6. Have you taken any positives from your former religion?
I guess maybe? Though, I don't know how much I can actually attribute to the religion itself as opposed to influence from my parents and other human beings. The doctrine itself is something I find to be rather useless to me.

7. Overall, has the Atheist mind set been a positive or negative to you personally?
Yes! Absolutely. My outlook and happiness have improved. The freedom to approach my own sexuality and gender identity struggles with honesty and self-love over self-loathing is far and away the best part. Beyond that, not being burdened by anachronistic rules, morals, and traditions has been a weight off my chest.

No longer demeaning myself before an imaginary being in my head has been fantastic for my life outlook. No longer hammering myself with guilt about how badly I'm failing to meet unrealistic demands about piety and chastity has been an amazing relief.

That's not to say I no longer feel guilt, but that I can now learn how to use guilt for actual self-improvement.

8. What would you say to others thinking of joining a theistic lifestyle?
What can I say? If you're convinced of the existence of a god, then there's probably little I can do to change that. However, I'd say to seriously weigh your god's morality against your own morality. If you're a bible believer- or potentially one- then consider what is permitted in the early bible (slavery, rape, etc) and whether those actions fit within your moral system today. Remember, the God of the Bible is supposedly unchanging and just.

9. What would you say to those thinking of leaving a Theistic lifestyle?
You don't have to justify your lack of belief to anyone but yourself. If you're a curious person, feed that curiosity with science and philosophy. Take time for self-examination and work on self-awareness in as honest a light that you can. You have one life- but your life impacts those around you. Live your best life in a way that seeks to avoid harming others' lives.
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