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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:29 pm
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Former Atheists: What Convinced You?

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I've noticed quite a few of the Christians here claim to be former atheists. This intrigues me, because I know of very few people who used to be atheists and are now Christians. In contrast, I know plenty of former Christians who are now atheists (including myself).

If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you guys a few questions on your atheist past and your conversion process.

1. What religion were you raised in? How serious was your parents' / guardians' faith?

2. When did you start to question the religion of your upbringing? If you were raised in a secular home, when did you come to realize that you were an atheist?

3. How did you become an atheist? What made you decide to become an atheist?

4. What caused you to question your atheism? Did you start questioning for intellectual or emotional reasons?

5. How old were you when you began to question your atheism?

6. What caused you to make the decision to convert to Christianity? Once again, did you convert for intellectual or emotional reasons? How old were you when you converted?

7. What has changed in your life since becoming a Christian? Have your perspectives on things such as science (including evolution), philosophy, politics, etc., changed as a result of your conversion?

8. What would you say to an atheist considering converting to Christianity?

9. Are there any other comments you'd like to make?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:32 pm
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Haven wrote:
I've noticed quite a few of the Christians here claim to be former atheists. This intrigues me, because I know of very few people who used to be atheists and are now Christians. In contrast, I know plenty of former Christians who are now atheists (including myself).

If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you guys a few questions on your atheist past and your conversion process.

1. What religion were you raised in? How serious was your parents' / guardians' faith?

The Old Stone Church---Assembly of God, Yakima Washington---Fundamentalist Pentecostal. Some of my family were quite taken by all of this, but not my mother. In the fifties, she was as enlightened as any individual could be.

2. When did you start to question the religion of your upbringing? If you were raised in a secular home, when did you come to realize that you were an atheist?

There never was a day that I believed that all of this 'stuff' was real.

3. How did you become an atheist? What made you decide to become an atheist?

I have always been an atheist, if atheist means not to believe in a personal, intervening God.

4. What caused you to question your atheism? Did you start questioning for intellectual or emotional reasons?

In my early fifties, I began a six year quest to single-handedly destroy the Bible. One year of seminary, two hundred books, a thousand conversations---I wanted to know what 'they' knew.

5. How old were you when you began to question your atheism?

The Bible won me over. I suppose I was in my early fifties when I fell head over heels in love with the Bible.

6. What caused you to make the decision to convert to Christianity? Once again, did you convert for intellectual or emotional reasons? How old were you when you converted?

I found myself surrounded by priests, ministers, theologians, and lay folk that didn't believe any more of the Bible than I did. They called themselves Christians on the weight of transformative elements in the Bible. The Resurrection means nothing unless one is a participant. It is difficult to be a participant if it is something that God did. It is a miracle of direction, not a miracle of physical impossibilities.

7. What has changed in your life since becoming a Christian? Have your perspectives on things such as science (including evolution), philosophy, politics, etc., changed as a result of your conversion?

Everything. There have been so many positive changes in my life that I don't think it possible that ragging on Christianity will ever have any serious influence on me.

8. What would you say to an atheist considering converting to Christianity?

I wrote a book which is essentially that: the conditions in which Christianity might look good to an atheist. But here again, this is not a Fundamentalist Christianity. Can the symbols of Christianity be useful once they are freed of their literalist baggage---I think so.

9. Are there any other comments you'd like to make?

It is virtually impossible to go from atheist to Fundamentalist Christianity. In the one instance of which I am aware, it involved a woman so injured by her husband that she retreated into religion for essentially the purpose of abandoning culture---a culture that she perceived as so decadent that only evil was possible there (it was in response to the culture of the sixties)

In the culture in which I grew up, there was no greater display of genuine religious power than to have once been an atheist. As a result, everyone was once an atheist. I take most of these stories with a grain of salt.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:10 pm
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Johnmarc, thanks for sharing your story. I'm actually considering going down a very similar road myself.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:43 am
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I wasn't really a 'former atheist' as such. I think I was an atheist for two days. But seeing the lack of responses in this thread, I might be able to provide something some might find interesting.

I just felt like there were natural explanations for everything, and that there just wasn't enough evidence for God. Two things won me over:

- Miracles
- Creation of the universe and the origin of time
- Objective moral laws

I felt that if there wasn't enough evidence of Christianity, at least it offered explanations for some of these other things (which Science quite possibly will never know for sure).

Without absolute moral laws, as society becomes more corrupt so does the laws. It just stands to question doesn't it? So just sit and weight as all the relativist moral laws start slipping along with society. Now I am not claiming that the slope will always slide downwards, but that is the real danger.

My problems with religion were through ignorance.

I had been arguing with atheists for years, without hearing the arguments of other intelligent Christians.

I started to read my Catechism, I bought books (Why God Won't Go Away, There Is A God etc.) and my love of God just rushed back. It was a time of intellectual numbness, and depression for me. I don't know what caused what though...

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:25 am
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His Name Is John wrote:
I wasn't really a 'former atheist' as such. I think I was an atheist for two days. But seeing the lack of responses in this thread, I might be able to provide something some might find interesting.

I just felt like there were natural explanations for everything, and that there just wasn't enough evidence for God. Two things won me over:

- Miracles


I would love to see tangible and empirical evidence of any miracles. I see unsupported claims, but nothing that can be examined independently.

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- Creation of the universe and the origin of time


I would love to see evidence that the universe was created, and what the origin of time is. "I don't know' doesn't equate to 'There is a God' to me.

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- Objective moral laws


I would love to see how you can show me an objective moral law.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:03 am
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Goat wrote:
I would love to see tangible and empirical evidence of any miracles. I see unsupported claims, but nothing that can be examined independently.


Even if I did show you, you would just say there is another explanation we don't know about yet. What would be required for you to believe in a miracle?

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I would love to see evidence that the universe was created, and what the origin of time is. "I don't know' doesn't equate to 'There is a God' to me.


Big bang theory states that the universe came into being. I think the fact that it was started by 'a spark of light' is rather amazing as well. I support the argument for prime mover. I will believe God is the cause of the creation of time until a better explanation is presented (which I don't think will ever happen).

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I would love to see how you can show me an objective moral law.


I can't show it to you. But the fact remains that I believe, no matter what, the murder of innocent people is always wrong. I believe everyone knows that rape of children is wrong. I am not willing to say these things are not objective moral laws, and thus I should believe in a divine law giver - God.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:01 am
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His Name Is John wrote:
Goat wrote:
I would love to see tangible and empirical evidence of any miracles. I see unsupported claims, but nothing that can be examined independently.


Even if I did show you, you would just say there is another explanation we don't know about yet. What would be required for you to believe in a miracle?


Oh, being able to play a game of cribbage with my dear old deceased father.. .. that would be a good start. The claimed miracles in Lourdes are .. well, not very convincing at all. Or, if of of the miracles had to do with the spontaneous regrowing of lost limbs from an amputee that is properly documented.
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I would love to see evidence that the universe was created, and what the origin of time is. "I don't know' doesn't equate to 'There is a God' to me.


Big bang theory states that the universe came into being. I think the fact that it was started by 'a spark of light' is rather amazing as well. I support the argument for prime mover. I will believe God is the cause of the creation of time until a better explanation is presented (which I don't think will ever happen).
[


When someone misstates what the big bang theory says, That makes me sure he doesn't understand anything about science. The big bang theory said the universe began to expand... .. it says nothing about it 'coming into being'. The theory only covers to the point of time of 1 * 10 ^ -43 seconds, and it was already 'in being' by then. It says nothing about if anything existed before the expansion. You accept the 'argument for a prime mover'.. but that is nothing but the logical fallacy known as 'Argument from personal belief'. or 'Argument from ignorance'.


Quote:

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I would love to see how you can show me an objective moral law.


I can't show it to you. But the fact remains that I believe, no matter what, the murder of innocent people is always wrong. I believe everyone knows that rape of children is wrong. I am not willing to say these things are not objective moral laws, and thus I should believe in a divine law giver - God.


Which seems to translate as 'I believe in God because there is this thing that I can't show exists that shows there is a God'. I am sorry, but there is objective evidence that your belief that 'Every one knows rape of children is wrong' is incorrect.. because of the rape of children (In Africa, rape of children is one of the folk medicine cures for aids in some countries). The mere existence of psychopaths shows that your believe in incorrect.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:02 am
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His Name Is John wrote:

I just felt like there were natural explanations for everything, and that there just wasn't enough evidence for God. Two things won me over:

- Miracles
- Creation of the universe and the origin of time
- Objective moral laws

I felt that if there wasn't enough evidence of Christianity, at least it offered explanations for some of these other things (which Science quite possibly will never know for sure).


Count much? I see three items listed after the colon. Smile

Sufi Islam, Bahai, Pentecostalism, Buddhism, Christian Science, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism and many other religions all have their claims of miracles.
American Revolutionary War patriot and hero Ethan Allen wrote:

In those parts of the world where learning and science have prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue.

His Name Is John wrote:

Without absolute moral laws, as society becomes more corrupt so does the laws. It just stands to question doesn't it? So just sit and weight as all the relativist moral laws start slipping along with society. Now I am not claiming that the slope will always slide downwards, but that is the real danger.


Oddly enough, as secularism advances, our collective morality improves. Under theocracy, immoral acts are tolerated in the name of the god.

His Name Is John wrote:

My problems with religion were through ignorance.


My problem with religion is how it deals with legitimate ignorance. Ignorance should be admitted. I don't know how the universe began. Neither do you. To dismiss that ignorance with a "God did it" is not an answer, it is a refusal to seek for answers.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:16 am
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His Name Is John wrote:

Big bang theory states that the universe came into being. I think the fact that it was started by 'a spark of light' is rather amazing as well.


Really, a spark of light? I must have missed that. Which modern cosmologist describes the Big Bang as a spark of light?

His Name Is John wrote:

I support the argument for prime mover. I will believe God is the cause of the creation of time until a better explanation is presented (which I don't think will ever happen).


But really it is not an explanation. Where did all this stuff come from? God. Where did God come from? God's always been. What then do you mean by the word God? Whatever it was that made all this stuff. Oh, that's really helpful. What else can we know about this God?

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I would love to see how you can show me an objective moral law.

His Name Is John wrote:

I can't show it to you. But the fact remains that I believe, no matter what, the murder of innocent people is always wrong.


* cough * Jephtha's daughter.

His Name Is John wrote:

I believe everyone knows that rape of children is wrong. I am not willing to say these things are not objective moral laws, and thus I should believe in a divine law giver - God.


To me, objective moral laws are on the same level as objective physical laws. The speed of light is constant, therefore there must be a God?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Fri May 04, 2012 7:51 am
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McCulloch wrote:
Really, a spark of light? I must have missed that. Which modern cosmologist describes the Big Bang as a spark of light?


I was under the impression this was what most scientists believed. I must check this...

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But really it is not an explanation. Where did all this stuff come from? God. Where did God come from? God's always been. What then do you mean by the word God? Whatever it was that made all this stuff. Oh, that's really helpful. What else can we know about this God?


God is good. God is all loving. God is all knowing. God is all powerful.

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* cough * Jephtha's daughter.


I still think it is wrong.

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To me, objective moral laws are on the same level as objective physical laws. The speed of light is constant, therefore there must be a God?


We can test objective physical laws, not objective moral laws.

However I think one could argue that because the speed of light is constant there must be a God. But you wont hear me making that argument in the near future.

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