What was losing your faith like? [YOU RESPOND]

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What was losing your faith like? [YOU RESPOND]

From: ace-62@juno.com
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2008 3:38 AM
Subject: [General Question] Kind of a deep question

 

Rob sent a message using the contact form at
http://www.rationalresponders.com/contact.

I kind of have what is an important question to me.
What was it like for you all when you all started to pull away from
"faith" in God and accept your atheist thoughts?
Thank you very much.
 

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ace-62@juno.com

ace-62@juno.com wrote:
Subject: [General Question] Kind of a deep question

I kind of have what is an important question to me.
What was it like for you all when you all started to pull away from
"faith" in God and accept your atheist thoughts?
Thank you very much.

Like any learning, really. Old idea falls away, new idea makes it all a bit more clear.

It's like the moment you understood what 2+2=4 means: From the abstract to the real.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Wouldn't know. Never had

Wouldn't know. Never had faith in God.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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Conor Wilson
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For me, anyway...

...it basically occurred (sp?) in two stages:

 

1. The rationalization phase: I tried for *years* to make Christianity, some form of Christianity, any form of Christianity be true, almost as if I could send away error by some act of sheer will.  This was a "slow twisting in the wind," on a mental level, and as you might imagine...it was no fun at all.  Why did I keep at it so long?  Well...probably because on some level I did believe, and like anyone else, I didn't want to have to admit to being taken for a ride.  Nobody wants to be a sucker.

 

2. Once I finally ended up deconverting...it was a relief.  No more hours of study trying to justify the unjustifiable.  No more attempting to bend history into shapes that it cannot assume.  No more elaborate evasions, just to avoid conceding a point that "faith" cannot tolerate.  From this side of the fence, "Christian apologetics" is easily seen as nothing more than the art of defending mythology by twisting logic and ignoring evidence, all in the name of "the truth."

 

Conor


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 At first, it was kind of

 At first, it was kind of unsettling just because it was unknown, but honestly, the moment I discovered that the absence of God means the universe makes sense, it was the biggest relief of my life.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 I always kind of didn't

 I always kind of didn't believe. I remember being in first grade in catholic school and they took all the kids in to pray for the first time and I remember looking around not really getting what I was supposed to do.

Then for a little while in my late teen's some tv preachers kind of scared the crap out of me with the whole armageddon thing and that went away after I really thought about it.

So, I guess I was more afraid than faithful and it was kind of a relief too.

Eden had a 25% murder rate and incest was rampant.


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Rob wrote:I kind of have

Rob wrote:
I kind of have what is an important question to me.
What was it like for you all when you all started to pull away from
"faith" in God and accept your atheist thoughts?
Thank you very much.
 

Are you thinking of stopping believing in the god nonsense? Congratulations if so.

Funny thing about that, I could never develop faith in anything that never exhibited any evidence of its own existence. I thought people were either lying or they were hallucinating.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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It's

It's like...................thinking.

Here, Hamby, I'll do it for you.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/new_atheists_really_all_there

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Well... "God"...

I have never been a christian- I used to be more of an agnostic with a New-Age streak, and later I thought I had found "it" in buddhism.

Also, I never really "lost" my faith, but rather, I felt forced to discard it in the light of... well, evidence about "the real world", really, and also of "what I knew I could know to be true, and what I thought I knew because I wánted it to be true".

The "transition" was unavoidable, and it was not pleasant (at all!). But there it was.

The funny thing is that nothing really changed in my lifestyle: I still meditate, my principles and actions still roughly conform what many Buddhists would call "Dharma", and I am still perfectly comfortable with it it all. And in the end, without all the silly "spiritual notions", it all actually makes móre- rather then less sense. It also (I think) more or less made me look at life, the universe and everything afresh - and with the realisation that there may not be answers to all questions, but there are álways questions... and questions are good- I'd even say that questions are the cobblestones on the path- which, as Chögyam Trungpa so aptly said, is also the goal Smiling


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Honestly

Kinda like when I figured out fairies don't exist or santa doesn't exist, I already had figured it out I just had to accept it, and for me I had that figured out by an early age (same time as fairies and santa went away, age 7 or Cool and since my family isn't religious at all, I never had a feeling of loss or anything. I had taken an interest in science (well electronic science and have become an electronic engineer now), and found more wonder and amazement in the natural world than I have ever found in fantasy (truth is almost always more interesting than fiction).


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I discovered the joys of

I discovered the joys of BBQing kittens and haven't looked back since. I have run into problems with those pesky people at PETA though. (Note to self: Did I think that, or type it?)

All kidding aside losing my faith was a slow long process but much like the 2+2=4 analogy posted earlier. The more I questioned the more I learned, the more I learned the harder it was to keep that position. Finally I realized that none of it made sense, other than what I know now in that humans like these ideas merely because the idea of a magical protector appeals to them.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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I would describe it as

I would describe it as pretty fucking magical and exciting.

 

To put it metaphorically, before I discovered my inner atheist, I wasn't ready to give up thinking magically, i.e. theistically. I was never a devout Christian, but I was one of those "well there MUST be something out there, but I don't know what, so I'll pray to whatever it is just in case" type people. I had been watching the magic show all my life, pulled from my bed every Sunday and marched off to the stage, where it became routine to roar with happiness as the magician (preacher) pulled rabbits (bullshit) out of his hat (bible). Maybe it's true that atheists are just wired differently than theists, because even at the time in my life when I wanted to believe in the magic show, I sense that the magic show was at the very least ASSISTED by some smoke and mirrors, though I wasn't ready to admit that maybe... JUST MAYBE.... it was all smoke and mirrors.

Have you ever seen one of those television specials---particularly the awesome ones done by Penn & Teller---where they reveal how famous magic tricks are done? For the whole show, you get to enjoy that feeling of "Oh yeah!!! So THAT'S how!!!"

 

Losing your faith is exactly like watching one of those. You can still appreciate the magic show afterward, but in a completely different kind of way. The only things you lose respect for are 1) The magicians who get angry at you when you refuse to believe they are real magicians, 2) the audience at the magic shows who get angry at you for suggesting that they aren't witnessing real magic.

And then you try to explain the magic tricks, and then they try to be apologetic with crap like, "Yeah, but even if the magician isn't really making the woman disappear but is only letting her escape through a secret trap door, you can't prove that he is incapable of making her actually disappear; and you can't prove that he didn't use magic to create the trap door either. Just give it up, silly atheist."

 

But really is the most awesome Ah-ha! moment, though it lasts for much longer than a moment. It goes on and on. That's what atheists are talking about when they praise science so heavily. Everything you learn about the world around you, past or present, is an opportunity to make some sense of the illusion. And the more sense you can make of the illusion, the more in-control and happy and---believe it or not---reverent you become.

Douglas Adams made the same point more concisely: "I'll take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day."

 

But before you get there, faith has got to go; which brings me to a quote I'll close with. It's one of my favorite quotes, not only because it's a funny analogy, but also because, when you get past the sarcastic/provoking aspect of it, it's one of the truest things I've ever heard, being a person who has experienced both sides of the analogy and agrees whole-heartedly:

 

"Faith is like virginity. You'll never appreciate how annoying it is until you actually give it up."

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Well, for me, losing my

Well, for me, losing my faith was kind of like losing my keys. Seriously, if I knew where I put my keys, would they really be lost?

 

I can point to a few specific moments where my faith was challenged. For example, when I learned that I have to believe that evolution did not happen in order to be a Christian. So I can be a Christian but I have to believe in false things to do so.

 

As a theist, I have to believe in creation even though I know that it is wrong and I have to believe that it is truth. As an atheist, I may, at my pleasure, believe in the flying spaghetti monster and/or the invisible pink unicorn. However, I start from the assumption that they are both bullshit. While I have a problem with the former, I see not problem with the latter because of how it is attached to the mode of thought.

 

 

 

 

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Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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I don't remember an 'oh

I don't remember an 'oh shit! I'm an atheist' moment, but overall, I'm relieved be be rid of that burden.  I was quite young when I started doubting Xianity, and I was terrified of hell and even more terrified of heaven.  I was so confused with the contradicting information I was supposed to compartmentalize.

"I've yet to witness circumstance successfully manipulated through the babbling of ritualistic nonsense to an imaginary deity." -- me (josh)

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 It was like masturbating

 It was like masturbating with an oven mitt.


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I Can't lose something I've

I Can't lose something I've never had.


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For me, it was kind of like

For me, it was kind of like R.E.M...

 

"That's me in the corner" (realizing that I'm alone) 

"That's me in the spotlight, I'm losing my religion." (becoming more and more aware and eventually realizing that I'll have to expose myself without faith to people in my life)

 

...of I could just say it was like evacuating my colon after an all night Mexican food buffet; no more shit.

 

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me


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It all started when I was

It all started when I was about 11 years old, I was watching some old sci-fi show on T.V when there was a scene with some sort of religious gathering, confused I asked my mum what religion they were part of and she told me it was just made up for T.V. This bewildered me, I thought "How could some one make something like this up!" (I was young at the time, forgive me). After a few years of just pushing that thought to the back of my mind I started to do more research on Christianity, that led me to research other religions for some time and I could not believe any thing that they believed, then I took another look back at Christianity and I felt the same way. Although for about a year I desperately tried to hang on to it, Perhaps I was afraid of betraying my family or losing a part of me, what ever the reason was, I overcame it and let the remnants of my faith slip away. It was truly freeing.

 

 

I hope this answers your question, Its my first post so I figured this topic was as good as any to make it in.

 

-Always Question

DigitalNecromancer


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deludedgod wrote:Wouldn't

deludedgod wrote:

Wouldn't know. Never had faith in God.

What he said.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Growing up in small town

Growing up in small town Oklahoma, you are expected to follow some religion or another. I can remember going to church, being baptized and feeling compelled to pray in public. I can tell you I have never "felt" the presence of any higher being, nor have I believed in any of the ritiuals practiced by organized religion.

Perhaps spending my early childhood living in northern California, coupled with the fact that my dad was never religious until my mother left, might have left me with just enough of a window to see some truth in my early years.

Where I am from you really only have two choices as an atheist under the age of eighteen:
1.) Pretend to agree with all of the baptist BS.
2.) Be shunned as an outcast (perhaps a satanist), and grow up with no friends.

The strength of the theistic racket around here is simple. You are either with god, or against everyone in your entire town.

Sometimes you don't lose your faith, you just have to pretend to have it long enough to get through childhood.

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence." - Bertrand Russell

Stewie: Yay and God said to Abraham, "you will kill your son, Issak", and Abraham said, I can't hear you, you'll have to speak into the microphone." "Oh I'm sorry, Is this better? Check, check, check... Jerry, pull the high end out, I'm still getting some hiss back here."


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For me it came when I was

 

For me it came when I was 16ish(probably a little before) when I was in church the pastor said something like

' Why do you come to church?'

Or something along those lines. I thought to take communion. Then I realized I was going there to eat the body of some guy and to drink his blood WTF? After that I still believed but stopped attending church. A month later that same pastor quit the ministry and gave up his faith ( to drive ambulances) and that was the push I needed. I believed him and he didn't even believe what he was saying. No real change big shock, I just no longer believed there was a Muppet in the sky and stopped eating metaphorical people. A change for the good I think.

 

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.


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Ironically, my first thought

Ironically, my first thought after my announced atheism was a bible verse which expressed exactly how I felt:

John 8:32

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."