Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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rikuoamero
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Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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Post by rikuoamero »

What I'm writing here is for those people who consider themselves to be former atheist i.e. at one point in life, they either lacked a belief in a god of any kind, or actively disbelieved there is a God (there's a difference between the two).
I'm hoping that at least some people who are of this group (and hopefully joined the usergroup called 'Former Atheist' on this site) are/were also skeptical, in that they demanded evidence for religious claims.

My question is - What is it that convinced you? If you were to somehow go back in time and meet your previous, atheist (hopefully skeptic) self, would you or could you use whatever it is that convinced you to convince that version of you? Or would your past self be skeptical and dismissive of what it is you present?

Just to be clear - This isn't restricted to Christians only. You can be a Muslim who considers him/herself former atheist or whatever religion or belief you subscribe to. I want to hear from you.
I also promise NOT to debate in this thread. All I want are responses and your thoughts on this question. I will probably debate elsewhere, but not on this thread. This thread is solely for me to gather information.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #181

Post by otseng »

2timothy316 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:13 pm Still can't answer eh. Well, thank you for your time. When you are more educated to make critical choices, are able to move past the academic to the practical, then let me know and we will continue. Until then, I wish you well.
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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #182

Post by otseng »

bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:25 pm I recommend you educate yourself on the laws of logic and familiarize yourself with the more common logical fallacies.
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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #183

Post by Purple Knight »

2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:22 amThus they will never be able to pass the practical driving part of the exam. There are things that can't be learned from talking about it. They must be put into practical application. That is why a person is not given a license just for passing the written exam. So why stop short of practical application? Fear of failure? Fear they will be laughed at? Fear they might harm themselves or others? A person frozen to inaction because they don't have all the answers could suffer more than a person that is willing to act enough they don't have the complete picture. Some think it is not critical, but what do they based that on? They can make decision that it's not critical but do they have all the answers to make the choice something is not critical to act on?

There is enough evidence in the world, to not prove, but to make a decision if the first living organism was make by an intelligent being. I asked as far as what evidence he has collected, which way does it point? Some act like it's going to kill them to make a choice. The fear is puzzling.
This is actually something that has been much on my mind. Bolded the relevant bit. I hope I'm not derailing and I admit this is a tangent.

I can say I think life came about on its own. I don't think we need a god. I can give you reasons I think this, one of which being that even if every monotheist is right, then God came about on its own and thus we have abiogenesis regardless of whether the first life on this planet was created by an intelligent being or not.

I can say what I think and just be wrong. I might be. What's the worst that could happen?

Well, if it convinces people to be Atheists and they all go to Hell I'd be partly responsible, especially if I infused my statements with a confidence they don't deserve.

All beliefs have consequences. I know we live in a safe world where almost nobody around us has starved or just randomly died or been preyed upon by a sabre-toothed tiger and frankly this is not the natural state and it's perverse and it gives us the idea that wrong beliefs don't really have consequences when they do.

Being incorrect is supposed to have horrible consequences, and it does, it's just that our advanced society tends to shield us from them. We live in an upside-down world wherein the biggest risk-takers shoot straight to the top because they are insulated from the bad results of their risks. This is unsustainable because when everyone becomes a devil-may-care risk-taker, society can no longer insulate people.

The easiest example of a wrong belief that has consequences is that red means go. While nobody actually thinks this, some people do actually believe traffic lights don't need to be obeyed strictly and they cause accidents. They sometimes cost lives. Others are too certain of their driving ability and they cost lives. Oh, I can shoot in there, there probably isn't anyone coming, or if there is, they see me, they'll just have to stop so I can shoot ahead of them. And what happens to him? He kills someone else but it's an "accident" and no one ruins his life over it. He gets points on his license, his insurance goes up (realistically he just dumps the insurance, giving him more advantage), but he doesn't die. He doesn't have any real consequences, but in the wild people who guess wrong and are overly confident get eaten. In our world we move the consequences around so that everyone bears their burden and no one gets eaten.

The reason some people are not confident is that confidence costs lives; this is the true state. In our upside-down world, confidence is a pure advantage and not being confident is a pure disadvantage. But this is not the natural world. The natural world is unforgiving and we still live in that world though society will try to tell you we don't. As the water rises, we turn our eyes away and think only land exists. The higher the water rises, the more we ignore it.

I don't know is the right answer.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #184

Post by 2timothy316 »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:05 pm
2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:22 amThus they will never be able to pass the practical driving part of the exam. There are things that can't be learned from talking about it. They must be put into practical application. That is why a person is not given a license just for passing the written exam. So why stop short of practical application? Fear of failure? Fear they will be laughed at? Fear they might harm themselves or others? A person frozen to inaction because they don't have all the answers could suffer more than a person that is willing to act enough they don't have the complete picture. Some think it is not critical, but what do they based that on? They can make decision that it's not critical but do they have all the answers to make the choice something is not critical to act on?

There is enough evidence in the world, to not prove, but to make a decision if the first living organism was make by an intelligent being. I asked as far as what evidence he has collected, which way does it point? Some act like it's going to kill them to make a choice. The fear is puzzling.
This is actually something that has been much on my mind. Bolded the relevant bit. I hope I'm not derailing and I admit this is a tangent.
I actually think you're hitting the heart of the of the whole topic.

Lets see, things I was afraid of all those years ago.
1. Afraid of my own common sense. I mean I was concluding there was an intelligent creator! This would be a seismic shift in the way I looked at everything.
2. Afraid that I was living a sunk cost fallacy. I had been pointing at theists for years saying they wouldn't change their minds because they had invested too much into their religion.....then I turned that observance back on myself. (gulp)
3. Afraid of all the crow I was about to have to eat. The smug smiles from who were going to say, "I told you so".
4. Afraid of all the friends that were likely going to drop me as their friend.
5. Afraid that I wouldn't be able to find truth because of the tens of thousands of ways people worship God.
6. Afraid of the word worship and what that would entail.

Here is my suggestion if any of these things hit the mark....Write all of your fears about changing your mind on a piece toilet paper and then flush it down the toilet. Fear is good for somethings but fear of just examining if one is wrong about something is not a good fear. Do you like Ted talks? Here is one of my favorites.

I can say I think life came about on its own. I don't think we need a god. I can give you reasons I think this, one of which being that even if every monotheist is right, then God came about on its own and thus we have abiogenesis regardless of whether the first life on this planet was created by an intelligent being or not.

I can say what I think and just be wrong. I might be. What's the worst that could happen?

Well, if it convinces people to be Atheists and they all go to Hell I'd be partly responsible, especially if I infused my statements with a confidence they don't deserve.
At least you have a concern for what you're teaching others. That's more than I can say for some atheists. I had that same feeling too when I changed my mind. The only thing I can do is encourage them to reconsider...as I am doing now. Some have many others continued as they were. My conscience is clean because I did point them to what I have discovered to the best of my ability but I can't make up their minds for them.
All beliefs have consequences. I know we live in a safe world where almost nobody around us has starved or just randomly died or been preyed upon by a sabre-toothed tiger and frankly this is not the natural state and it's perverse and it gives us the idea that wrong beliefs don't really have consequences when they do.

Being incorrect is supposed to have horrible consequences, and it does, it's just that our advanced society tends to shield us from them. We live in an upside-down world wherein the biggest risk-takers shoot straight to the top because they are insulated from the bad results of their risks. This is unsustainable because when everyone becomes a devil-may-care risk-taker, society can no longer insulate people.

The easiest example of a wrong belief that has consequences is that red means go. While nobody actually thinks this, some people do actually believe traffic lights don't need to be obeyed strictly and they cause accidents. They sometimes cost lives. Others are too certain of their driving ability and they cost lives. Oh, I can shoot in there, there probably isn't anyone coming, or if there is, they see me, they'll just have to stop so I can shoot ahead of them. And what happens to him? He kills someone else but it's an "accident" and no one ruins his life over it. He gets points on his license, his insurance goes up (realistically he just dumps the insurance, giving him more advantage), but he doesn't die. He doesn't have any real consequences, but in the wild people who guess wrong and are overly confident get eaten. In our world we move the consequences around so that everyone bears their burden and no one gets eaten.

The reason some people are not confident is that confidence costs lives; this is the true state. In our upside-down world, confidence is a pure advantage and not being confident is a pure disadvantage. But this is not the natural world. The natural world is unforgiving and we still live in that world though society will try to tell you we don't. As the water rises, we turn our eyes away and think only land exists. The higher the water rises, the more we ignore it.

I don't know is the right answer.
Yet if I ask a person, "Is a bus about to hit you." and they answer, "I don't know. I don't feel confident enough to answer that." Do you see the problem here? Is I don't know the right answer? Certainly there is a way to be confident in ones view without being confident in something that is not true.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #185

Post by bluegreenearth »

2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:22 am There is enough evidence in the world, to not prove, but to make a decision if the first living organism was make by an intelligent being. I asked as far as what evidence he has collected, which way does it point? Some act like it's going to kill them to make a choice. The fear is puzzling.
Your comments above helped to clarify what it was that you were asking me to choose between earlier. My response is as follows:

Regarding the availability of evidence, I don't know what the disconfirming evidence should be in this case for me to know where or how to acquire it. If I cannot identify what the disconfirming evidence would look like or where and how to obtain it, then that only leaves me with an ability to identify and acquire evidence which might appear to confirm the claim. To accept your claim as the most likely explanation based entirely on a collection of evidence that excludes disconfirming evidence would necessarily be a function of confirmation bias. If I don't have an ability to collect and compare disconfirming evidence against the supporting evidence, then it is impossible to mitigate for confirmation bias in any analysis of the available evidence. I cannot logically justify a decision to accept your claim as the most likely explanation given the impossibility of ruling-out the existence of confirmation bias in the conclusion. Therefore, by definition, choosing to accept a claim as true or most likely to be true without a logical justification is to make an irrational decision.

Even if I were to identify a demonstrably pragmatic reason to accept your unfalsifiable claim, the practicality of the decision would not function to demonstrate the claim is more likely to be true than false. There are numerous examples where practical applications result from false beliefs. One example is the Placebo Effect.

So, I hope my explanation above is sufficient to demonstrate that my inability to answer your question is not compelled by fear but by an application of logic and intellectual honesty.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #186

Post by 2timothy316 »

[Replying to bluegreenearth in post #186]

Very well, I leave you with this. You will not get the answer with the method you are using. It can only be done through decisiveness and practical application. Practical application doesn't always lead to false beliefs, if that is what you are afraid of. Where you can name numerous examples of practical application leading to false beliefs, I can name many where it doesn't, it leads not to belief but to truth. If people never applied practical application then we wouldn't have trains, airplanes, spaceships etc. Because at some point even though something looks good on paper, like an airfoil. One must to go build it and try it out to see if its true that an airfoil works to build an airplane. If we never used practical application and everything stayed locked up in our minds, or on paper what would we have? Nothing but a lot of paper. It's like a man trying to describe living in Paris though he has never left America. What does that guy really know about the truth about Paris? There is information you can't get anyway else except through practical application. Would you get into an airplane with a pilot that had never flown a plane but only studied how to fly one only using books and his imagination?

If you are ever ready to try something else, then seek me or another Jehovah's Witness out.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #187

Post by bluegreenearth »

2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:03 pm [Replying to bluegreenearth in post #186]

Very well, I leave you with this. You will not get the answer with the method you are using. It can only be done through decisiveness and practical application. Practical application doesn't always lead to false beliefs, if that is what you are afraid of. Where you can name numerous examples of practical application leading to false beliefs, I can name many where it doesn't, it leads not to belief but to truth. If people never applied practical application then we wouldn't have trains, airplanes, spaceships etc. Because at some point even though something looks good on paper, like an airfoil. One must to go build it and try it out to see if its true that an airfoil works to build an airplane. If we never used practical application and everything stayed locked up in our minds, or on paper what would we have? Nothing but a lot of paper. It's like a man trying to describe living in Paris though he has never left America. What does that guy really know about the truth about Paris? There is information you can't get anyway else except through practical application. Would you get into an airplane with a pilot that had never flown a plane but only studied how to fly one only using books and his imagination?

If you are ever ready to try something else, then seek me or another Jehovah's Witness out.
The examples of practical applications you've provided were for falsifiable claims. The invention of the train, the airplane, and the spaceship were effectively the tests designed to determine if the underlying claims were false. Had it been the case that those inventions did not succeed, their failure would have demonstrated the associated falsifiable claims were false. What would be an equivalent practical application that would determine if your claim is false or not?

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #188

Post by bluegreenearth »

2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:58 pm Yet if I ask a person, "Is a bus about to hit you." and they answer, "I don't know. I don't feel confident enough to answer that." Do you see the problem here? Is I don't know the right answer? Certainly there is a way to be confident in ones view without being confident in something that is not true.
Again, your example above is just another false equivalence fallacy because it refers to a falsifiable claim rather than an unfalsifiable claim like the one you are defending. Failing to observe a bus anywhere around you would be disconfirming evidence for the claim that a bus is about hit you. Having identified what the disconfirming evidence should be, you could determine if that evidence exists by observing your surroundings. Failing to observe a bus traveling toward you would falsify the claim. On the other hand, observing a bus moving toward you would demonstrate that the claim was not false.

An equivalent unfalsifiable claim would be that an invisible bus is about to pass through you with no detectable consequences. How would you know if that claim is false or not?

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #189

Post by Purple Knight »

2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:58 pmYet if I ask a person, "Is a bus about to hit you." and they answer, "I don't know. I don't feel confident enough to answer that." Do you see the problem here? Is I don't know the right answer? Certainly there is a way to be confident in ones view without being confident in something that is not true.
I think this shows us the right answer: This should be how confident you should be.

In other words, when you act to stop something, you or someone else should be in highly probable, immediate danger.

Otherwise, yes, I think the right answer is I don't know.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #190

Post by 2timothy316 »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:57 pm
2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:58 pmYet if I ask a person, "Is a bus about to hit you." and they answer, "I don't know. I don't feel confident enough to answer that." Do you see the problem here? Is I don't know the right answer? Certainly there is a way to be confident in ones view without being confident in something that is not true.
I think this shows us the right answer: This should be how confident you should be.

In other words, when you act to stop something, you or someone else should be in highly probable, immediate danger.

Otherwise, yes, I think the right answer is I don't know.
As we look at the world and the state it is in today, is the world about to 'get hit by a bus'? Is 'I don't know' a good answer? Are we living in a time where "I don't know" could be a really bad answer? If you don't think it's a bad answer, what evidence is there for or against it being a bad answer? And have you only investigated one side of the question?

Think of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. There were reports before that attack of a possible Japanese fleet with the intent on attacking the US. The question as at the time, 'Is Japan about to attack the US?' The answer was "We don't know". There wasn't much investigation. There were major signs overlooked because there was little investigation. https://www.history.com/news/pearl-harb ... wii-attack

Are we living in a Pearl Harbor kind of situation? There are reports of something pretty bad coming our way. Should we diligently investigate? Should we be making decisions actions now? Or are we not living in a critical time?
Last edited by 2timothy316 on Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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