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Thread: 5 Reasons an Atheist Changed His Mind About Religion

  1. #11
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    5- Many of my foundational arguments were much weaker than I had suspected. was initially convinced that the Bible was plagiarised from Pagan myths, filled with scientific errors (true) and bad morality. Whilst I never outright denied the existence of Jesus (nor did I believe the Catholic Church taught the Earth was flat or that Hitler was motivated by Christianity, or that Christianity was unevocqually pro-slavery), I did believe elements of his story were taken from earlier pagan deities such as Mithras and Krishna (I was aware that the Horus stuff was a load of BS however). I later of course discovered this was completely wrong.


    I agree with this. Too many atheists I listen to are not really all that versed in history or theology, and take on some very odd positions as a consequence.


    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    4- Realising atheists do not have the monopoly on truth, as they think they do. This is linked to the first point. Thanks to Tim OíNeill, Ben Stanhope and others I have realised the hypocritical promotion of junk historical theories by almost the entire movement. Whilst it does not convince me of God, it certainly means that I will never again associate my self with the movement of New Atheism.


    I have not met too many atheists that think they have the "monopoly" on truth. Indeed, this is often a claim I hear from some theists, who claim a kind of inerrant knowledge that is biblically inspired or god-inspired. Most atheists that I know of are fairly heavily science-focused, and if they know their science, they know that "truth" is not an absolute thing.
    Unfortunately, I've met far too many atheists like that. Some even here. On a popular level, you definitely get this impression from people like Dawkins, and even moreso Alex Rosenberg who defends "scientism" as the only basis of truth. I agree, though, that there are theists, too, who hold similar views.


    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    3- I do see evidence for some form of design. I find it hard to see how the laws which govern the universe could have came about through naturalism.


    I have never found the argument from design compelling. It tends to presuppose its conclusion. "Order" does not required an order. The universe exhibits a degree of order because of the natural laws under which it functions. These natural laws are the "nature" of the universe - they describe it. They did not "come about" in some fashion. In a sense, just as the nature of god is said to be intrinsic to god, the nature of the universe is intrinsic to the universe. We seek to discover and understand them, much as Christians seek to discover and understand the nature of their god. Different methodologies, of course, but a similar goal.
    Yeah, this is the common rebuttal one often hears to teleological arguments. I'm pretty sure this is the atheist philosopher Michael Ruse' objection to teleological arguments. It's just not a very convincing argument, I don't think. A number of atheists are abandoning it to views like the one I mentioned that Starlight holds...that the design of the universe points to....something, and that that something might be some sort of virtual simulation.


    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    2- Christianity and Judaism are the only two religions I have seen which give some form of explanation for Ďwhyí God would go through the trouble of creation. After reading John Waltonís Lost World, Iím convinced it is to function as a temple to him.


    I'm not sure this is true either. Islam has an explanation for creation (https://www.islamreligion.com/articl...create-part-1/), and so do many other religions. I'm not sure why the writer thnks this is unique to Christianity and Judaism.
    Perhaps he finds the Judeo/Christian conception more self-consistent, less ad-hoc (for a religion anyways). Have you read Walton's Lost World? Good book. If not, you should add it to your list.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    1- Perhaps the most important reason for me is realising how foundational Christianity is to liberal, western values. New Atheists do not like to hear it, but our ideas on Liberty, Dignity and Equality do have a greater basis in Christianity than anything else. Iím in no way suggesting that you canít be good without God, you can, but we canít expect everbody to intellectually rationalise things. I feel as though eventually, as western countries lose their foundational values through secularism, we will inevitably turn to chaos.


    There is no question that Christianity was (and is) the dominant force in Europe and the Americas. The Christian ethics has framed much of modern social ethics. As Christianity is giving way to a more secular population, ethics and morality are going through a change. Change usually comes with some amount of discomfort and pain. I look at the way our young people today are standing up for the disenfranchised, helping the poor, fighting for equal rights for all people, and I think the future is going to be in good hands. I do not see any more or less chaos than we have had in the past.
    I really wish more people understood how dominate Christianity framed modern Western social ethics, because that seems to be lost on SOOO many atheists I've read/debated.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    An atheist responds...
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. #12
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Basically Carpe, he is saying he turned from JimL into you.

  3. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.
  4. #13
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Basically Carpe, he is saying he turned from JimL into you.
    Thanks... I think...
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Unfortunately, I've met far too many atheists like that. Some even here. On a popular level, you definitely get this impression from people like Dawkins, and even moreso Alex Rosenberg who defends "scientism" as the only basis of truth. I agree, though, that there are theists, too, who hold similar views.
    Yeah - they're definitely out there. However, most of the atheists of my acquaintenance are also rooted in philosophy, so we tend to note that science is good for discovering some truths, but not all. I'm not sure science will ever explain my love for my family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Yeah, this is the common rebuttal one often hears to teleological arguments. I'm pretty sure this is the atheist philosopher Michael Ruse' objection to teleological arguments. It's just not a very convincing argument, I don't think. A number of atheists are abandoning it to views like the one I mentioned that Starlight holds...that the design of the universe points to....something, and that that something might be some sort of virtual simulation.
    I have found the "virtual simluation" discussion interesting, at least philosophically. But it seems to me to inevitably lead to the "turtles all the way down" problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Perhaps he finds the Judeo/Christian conception more self-consistent, less ad-hoc (for a religion anyways). Have you read Walton's Lost World? Good book. If not, you should add it to your list.
    Just what I need - another book.

    I'll add it - but thus one goes to the BOTTOM of the list!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    I really wish more people understood how dominate Christianity framed modern Western social ethics, because that seems to be lost on SOOO many atheists I've read/debated.
    I think some atheists seem to feel that if they acknowledge any good out of religion, they "give ground." I don't have that concern. Religion has played an important role in the history of humanity. That role is changing, but re-writing history is not something I think we should be doing unless we have learned we were wrong to begin with. The major religions of the world have done much good - and some not so good - throughout history. Keeping a balanced perspective seems to me to be prudent.

    And I think religions have a role to play for some time to come, frankly.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

  6. #15
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I have found the "virtual simluation" discussion interesting, at least philosophically.
    Since I was mentioned in regard to that view in the context of teleology, let me point out that I do not find "the argument from design" at all compelling in any way, shape or form, and that it comprises 0% of my reasons for thinking the view seems a likely one.

    But it seems to me to inevitably lead to the "turtles all the way down" problem.
    There might be turtles a long way down. I have no problem with that, perhaps it is even likely. I don't think we're in any position to make claims about what's below the turtles, in the same way that Super Mario within his computer game, as he exists within that world inside this world, is in no position to make claims about our world.

    But I think it's extremely presumptive to assume that there is not allowed to be anything between the First Cause and our universe coming into existence, the way most theists are prone to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    There is no question that Christianity was (and is) the dominant force in Europe and the Americas. The Christian ethics has framed much of modern social ethics. A lot of that framing has been good - some not so much. As Christianity is giving way to a more secular population, ethics and morality are going through a change. Change usually comes with some amount of discomfort and pain. I look at the way our young people today are standing up for the disenfranchised, helping the poor, fighting for equal rights for all people, and I think the future is going to be in good hands. I do not see any more or less chaos than we have had in the past.
    I feel like you're ignoring the extent to which the secularization of politics in the Enlightenment, and subsequent increasingly widespread adoption of utilitarianism as the de facto moral code for use by legislators, have had.

  7. #16
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Since I was mentioned in regard to that view in the context of teleology, let me point out that I do not find "the argument from design" at all compelling in any way, shape or form, and that it comprises 0% of my reasons for thinking the view seems a likely one.

    There might be turtles a long way down. I have no problem with that, perhaps it is even likely. I don't think we're in any position to make claims about what's below the turtles, in the same way that Super Mario within his computer game, as he exists within that world inside this world, is in no position to make claims about our world.

    But I think it's extremely presumptive to assume that there is not allowed to be anything between the First Cause and our universe coming into existence, the way most theists are prone to do.
    First, I have to admit this is a response to something I posted 2 weeks ago, I don't remember the entire discussion, and I haven't gone back to read it. With any luck - my responses will be consistent.

    I don't disagree with the points you make here. We know the universe we experience came into being at the so-called "Big Bang," but we do not know what came before. I am comfortable with saying, "I don't know" when asked about what caused the Big Bang or what came before. Infinite regression (turtles all the way down) makes me uncomfortable, but I have to admit I cannot rule it out as a possibility. As I said, I don't know. If it is infinite regression, then First Cause appears to be a moot point. It's also not clear to me that First Cause must be sentient. We simply don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I feel like you're ignoring the extent to which the secularization of politics in the Enlightenment, and subsequent increasingly widespread adoption of utilitarianism as the de facto moral code for use by legislators, have had.
    I think our views of history are different is scope. Christianity has been a dominanating influence in the west since Constantine. The Enlightenment dates to the 18th century, and we STILL are living with the resulting tension between religion and science, between secular and spiritual. One can argue that the entire U.S. experiment was rooted in the enlightenment, yet to this very day we are struggling to keep religion and government separate, and having arguments about it. My experience is that the same is not as much true in Europe. Remember that many of the earliest American immigrants (i.e., colonists) left Europe to avoid religious oppression. Then came the enlightenment, which profounding impacted Europe. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the "religious refugees" began the process of founding a nation. They explicitly wanted state and religion to be kept separate (hence the 1st Amendment), but most of them were deeply religious men, and even to this day, most U.S. citizens still associate (to some degree) with a Christian sect. To suggest otherwise is to turn a blind eye to the raging fight of LGBTQ rights, over abortion, etc.

    But the U.S. is, I believe, moving more and more to the European model, where religion appears to waning in influence, but the influence still exists and is real. It is stronger rurally than it is urbanly; it is stronger on the right than on the left; but it still storngly influences the discussion. Note that even a reprehensible man like Trump suddenly feels a need to position himself as "a man of god" to gain the favor of this significant political force. And an open atheist has little/no chance of being elected to a high office in the U.S. That is changing, but we're not there yet.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

  8. #17
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    So I occasionally wander to another theology forum, and found this encouraging from one of their resident atheists,

    Iíd just like to explain the five main reasons why I changed my mind about religion.

    5- Many of my foundational arguments were much weaker than I had suspected. was initially convinced that the Bible was plagiarised from Pagan myths, filled with scientific errors (true) and bad morality. Whilst I never outright denied the existence of Jesus (nor did I believe the Catholic Church taught the Earth was flat or that Hitler was motivated by Christianity, or that Christianity was unevocqually pro-slavery), I did believe elements of his story were taken from earlier pagan deities such as Mithras and Krishna (I was aware that the Horus stuff was a load of BS however). I later of course discovered this was completely wrong.

    4- Realising atheists do not have the monopoly on truth, as they think they do. This is linked to the first point. Thanks to Tim OíNeill, Ben Stanhope and others I have realised the hypocritical promotion of junk historical theories by almost the entire movement. Whilst it does not convince me of God, it certainly means that I will never again associate my self with the movement of New Atheism.

    3- I do see evidence for some form of design. I find it hard to see how the laws which govern the universe could have came about through naturalism.

    2- Christianity and Judaism are the only two religions I have seen which give some form of explanation for Ďwhyí God would go through the trouble of creation. After reading John Waltonís Lost World, Iím convinced it is to function as a temple to him.

    1- Perhaps the most important reason for me is realising how foundational Christianity is to liberal, western values. New Atheists do not like to hear it, but our ideas on Liberty, Dignity and Equality do have a greater basis in Christianity than anything else. Iím in no way suggesting that you canít be good without God, you can, but we canít expect everbody to intellectually rationalise things. I feel as though eventually, as western countries lose their foundational values through secularism, we will inevitably turn to chaos.

    There you go, that is the reason why 2017 was the year I changed my mind, probably for good.
    Reference please.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeareís Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  9. #18
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Reference please.
    We don't allow linking to other forums.

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