Former Atheists: You Do NOT Know Me
On several religious debate forums, I've had more than one former atheist say that they were "once like me", and thus my motivations are similar to what there's were. Furthermore many go on to insist that every person has some sort of, for lack of a better word, "faith seed" in them that accounts for all the anti religious attitudes in atheists. These folks say that because atheists fight what god put in them, that we're an angry lot with a chip on our shoulders looking to fight Christians.
While I can't speak for all atheists, I can say with assurance that none of this describes me. I don't believe that I ever had this "faith seed" in my system (I'm really curious to see what Dr. Persinger's God Helmet would do for me. Richard Dawkins tried it and got nada. I feel pretty sure my results would be similar). I never disbelieved out of rebellion, in fact, except for some brief teen episodes, I wasn't a rebellious kid, so the belief that people are atheists because they don't want rules is utterly ridiculous, at least in my case it is. I'm the type of person who will stand at a street corner at 3 AM and wait for the traffic light to change before I cross even when there's no traffic.
All of my life growing up, I wanted to beleive.Religion was a big part of my family's personal and professional lives. My parents were very popular gospel singers in their day,having a TV and recording career that went back decades. For one thing, I was taught that if I didn't believe, I would burn eternally in hell or miss the Rapture, which was the cause for many of my childhood nightmares (they began to fade as I reached adolescence, the recurring nightmares of being dragged to hell started to become a comedic parady by the time I was 12, often the dream images were mixed with images and sounds from popular media. I once had a dream of being in hell and listening to the Kentucky Fried Chicken jingle). Also, virtually all of my friends were (many still are ) devout believers ( as is evidenced by the interviews I've shared here with my old friend, Ben Schumacher). It was in my best interest to believe. If you've ever lived in the deep south, especially in decades past, you know what I'm talking about. If you're a church going believer, you have an entire support system in the infrastructure, connections to jobs, schools, the best deals on car and house loans as all of those avenues can be found in the tight circles in churches.
I just didn't get it. I tried, more than once in various stages to be a believer, but it just wouldn't work with me. I would see my folks getting all emotional about god and what they believed and it stirred absolutely nothing within me. I couldn't buy it intellectually or emotionally. I have never once felt any attraction to the belief system or culture of any religion I was ever exposed to. For the longest time I thought something was wrong with me as I would see people who were very happy in their beliefs as well as those that cried during testimony, I wondered why I didn't feel anything.
Furthermore, I don't hate religious people. I really don't even hate religion, per se as I see it as a need for many folks, yet I absolutely deplore it when religious people feel the need to impose their beliefs on people through political action. This isn't limited to religious people, I also hate it when political fringe types and some of the crazier special interest groups do the same thing.
The bottom line, here, theistic friends, is that I don't feel you or your god and I never have, so any of you former atheists who have now renounced your unbelief, your background is most likely nothing like mine and your former motivations for non belief are not mine.
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"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."