Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

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Were you always an Atheist/Agnostic?

I was born a skeptic.
21
29%
I had a Christian upbringing, but then I saw the light.
48
66%
I was an Atheist, then I was deluded into Christianity, and luckly found my way out again. Hallelujah!
4
5%
 
Total votes : 73

Postby Paine » Wed May 16, 2007 4:54 pm

I was born a bred as the perfect evangelical Christian child, and became an atheist in my late teens after the Bogus Alarm finally started ringing in my head.
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Postby Atheist37 » Thu May 17, 2007 12:25 am

Here's a book I highly recommend:
http://ffrf.org/books/lfif/
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby skeptic346 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:52 am

My parents took me to an Anglican church here in Australia every week when I was young, but I don't think I ever really believed in God. I just saw no evidence for it whatsoever, and I found church services to be extremely boring. I stopped going to church when I was about 15 and haven't been back since. I'm now 31 but it's only in the last few years I've become a lot more interested in religion, albeit in quite a cynical way, by listening to lots of skeptical, scientific and atheist/free thought podcasts. Neither of my sisters have turned out to be religious either. I'm open minded to the possibility of a god existing, I just think it is extremely unlikely. What I dislike is the absolute certainty that some believers have and the refusal to admit they could be mistaken, especially when they believe it purely on faith and zero empirical evidence.
"Philosophy is questions that can't be answered. Religion is answers that can't be questioned." - Anonymous
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby NH Baritone » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:14 am

skeptic346 wrote:My parents took me to an Anglican church here in Australia every week when I was young, but I don't think I ever really believed in God. I just saw no evidence for it whatsoever, and I found church services to be extremely boring. I stopped going to church when I was about 15 and haven't been back since. I'm now 31 but it's only in the last few years I've become a lot more interested in religion, albeit in quite a cynical way, by listening to lots of skeptical, scientific and atheist/free thought podcasts. Neither of my sisters have turned out to be religious either. I'm open minded to the possibility of a god existing, I just think it is extremely unlikely. What I dislike is the absolute certainty that some believers have and the refusal to admit they could be mistaken, especially when they believe it purely on faith and zero empirical evidence.

You may find a few of those "true believers" on here, but the Christians I find to be most mind-bogglingly exasperating are those who are willing to admit they could be mistaken, yet still insist on imposing religious rules on those who don't share their religion.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby skeptic346 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:27 am

NH Baritone, It's amazing to me that there are people who think that way (not having certainty but still trying to impose their views on other people) but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. People hold any view we could imagine and obviously some we don't, or at least that I didn't. You're right though in that the worst believers are the ones trying to force their views on other people, regardless of whether or not they have certainty about them, but it seems even more ridiculous if they don't have certainty, because what they are saying is that their opinion is more valid than others' opinions. It's almost like people trying to outlaw music styles and tv shows that they personally didn't like, only the consequences are far more grave in this case.
"Philosophy is questions that can't be answered. Religion is answers that can't be questioned." - Anonymous
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby whoosanightowl » Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:38 pm

NH Baritone, It's amazing to me that there are people who think that way (not having certainty but still trying to impose their views on other people) but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. People hold any view we could imagine and obviously some we don't, or at least that I didn't. You're right though in that the worst believers are the ones trying to force their views on other people, regardless of whether or not they have certainty about them, but it seems even more ridiculous if they don't have certainty, because what they are saying is that their opinion is more valid than others' opinions. It's almost like people trying to outlaw music styles and tv shows that they personally didn't like, only the consequences are far more grave in this case.

Skeptic and NHB,
I understand what you're saying, but I'm not sure I completely agree. I think for the most part, Christians who honestly admit they aren't 100% positive about their particular God beliefs, still feel certain enough and are pretty well convinced of the truth to their claims. And they consider it important enough to want others to see what they see. It's no different than how we are with political views really. Most of us would admit that our chosen party affiliation or their solutions to certain social issues may not be perfect, but we have enough confidence in them to give our support with votes, donations of time and or money, and to try to sway others by focusing on what we consider their merits.
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Queen:`...you haven't had much practice, When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby NH Baritone » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:42 pm

whoosanightowl wrote:
NH Baritone, It's amazing to me that there are people who think that way (not having certainty but still trying to impose their views on other people) but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. People hold any view we could imagine and obviously some we don't, or at least that I didn't. You're right though in that the worst believers are the ones trying to force their views on other people, regardless of whether or not they have certainty about them, but it seems even more ridiculous if they don't have certainty, because what they are saying is that their opinion is more valid than others' opinions. It's almost like people trying to outlaw music styles and tv shows that they personally didn't like, only the consequences are far more grave in this case.

Skeptic and NHB,
I understand what you're saying, but I'm not sure I completely agree. I think for the most part, Christians who honestly admit they aren't 100% positive about their particular God beliefs, still feel certain enough and are pretty well convinced of the truth to their claims. And they consider it important enough to want others to see what they see. It's no different than how we are with political views really. Most of us would admit that our chosen party affiliation or their solutions to certain social issues may not be perfect, but we have enough confidence in them to give our support with votes, donations of time and or money, and to try to sway others by focusing on what we consider their merits.

While I agree that party affiliation is inevitably flawed (how can any "group" accurately reflect the all views of the individual members?), I was referring not to party but to issues. I have written to my congressional representatives since I was in my 20s regarding issues, no matter what party they belonged to or whether I voted for them. My vote goes to the candidate whom I believe will do the least harm and hopefully support the most beneficial government actions. But after the election and after they're in office, the real work begins: paying attention to the issues before the legislature, writing letters to representatives and to newspapers, and helping promote ideas among other voters who will do the same.

Christians who march lock-step with their churches are not even considering (much less basing their votes on) rationally foreseeable consequences, but instead a myth-infused fairy tale that can only through intellectual charity be called a "world view." Why do you think John Hagee and his ilk are supporting Israel: Because he believes that the country serves as a backstop to thwart global anti-Semitism? No. He does so because he thinks that Israel's existence is necessary to bring about the battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Jesus. This is the equivalent of supporting virginity so you have young women to sacrifice to the volcano god. Hagee and others don't care about anything except trying to bring about the end of their favorite bedtime story. They don't care whom it hurts. And they apply the same carelessness to same-sex marriage, women's reproductive rights, teaching that (un)"intelligent design" is science, prayer in public schools, the nature of church-state separation, etc.

I have to admit an overriding bias of mine, that someone else's right to swing their fist stops at my nose. Christians can believe or say anything they want, but once they start carving into my rights, then I reserve the right to raise bloody hell about it.
Diversity is the offspring of Liberty. Nonetheless, frightened, mainstream ideologues treat diversity like a bastard stepchild, instead of like a welcome indicator of our overall well-being.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby Rian » Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:48 pm

skeptic346 wrote:You're right though in that the worst believers are the ones trying to force their views on other people, regardless of whether or not they have certainty about them, but it seems even more ridiculous if they don't have certainty, because what they are saying is that their opinion is more valid than others' opinions.
No, it's saying that all of our opinions are equal.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby NH Baritone » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:16 pm

Rian wrote:
skeptic346 wrote:You're right though in that the worst believers are the ones trying to force their views on other people, regardless of whether or not they have certainty about them, but it seems even more ridiculous if they don't have certainty, because what they are saying is that their opinion is more valid than others' opinions.
No, it's saying that all of our opinions are equal.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion ... but not their own facts.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby Rian » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:44 pm

I'm fine with facts - it's some people's interpretations of the facts that I have issues with.

The abortion issue is a good example. There are many facts involved - but it's the interpretation of those facts where people have their differences. And we can't tell which interpretation is right. So my position is that we should each think things carefully through, and then humbly and soberly cast our vote.
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby whoosanightowl » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:10 pm

Rian wrote:

The abortion issue is a good example. There are many facts involved - but it's the interpretation of those facts where people have their differences. And we can't tell which interpretation is right. So my position is that we should each think things carefully through, and then humbly and soberly cast our vote.

I completely agree. We need to be true to our own convictions based on how we interpret the available information.
Voting for something I don't personally view as moral would be wrong on my part, even if I'm incorrectly interpreting the information at the time. We have to go with the best we know at the time our input is needed. Hindsight may be 20/20, but most of us don't have the gift of predicting the future. As much as I may believe I'm making the right decision or casting the right vote, I could find out tomorrow it was not the best choice after all. It's just a fact of life that we're all going to make wrong calls occasionally.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby spongebob » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:28 am

This particular area of dicussion isn't about opinions being equal or having evidence of one's beliefs. It strikes at the base of freedom and liberty. Our country was established on the basis of liberty and the freedom to choose most of the aspects of our life. What I constantly see from fundamental Christianity is a desire to limit those freedoms and liberties and pressure to conform to their beliefs and way of life. This is not about equality of beliefs. This is about the encroachment of one belief on others. But I am thankful that the fundamentals are generally held in check by those with cooler heads and are not always sucessful in trampling everyone's liberty.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby Rian » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:37 pm

spongebob wrote:This particular area of dicussion isn't about opinions being equal or having evidence of one's beliefs.

Sue and I think it is.

It strikes at the base of freedom and liberty. Our country was established on the basis of liberty and the freedom to choose most of the aspects of our life.
I can agree with that. And that's what voting is about - expressing our opinions about the different aspects of life.

What I constantly see from fundamental Christianity is a desire to limit those freedoms and liberties and pressure to conform to their beliefs and way of life. This is not about equality of beliefs. This is about the encroachment of one belief on others.

When ANY person votes, they sometimes encroach on the beliefs of others.

But I am thankful that the fundamentals are generally held in check by those with cooler heads and are not always sucessful in trampling everyone's liberty.
Ditto with those atheists! :D

On the general front of encroaching, whatcha think about this? linkey-link I'm curious ...
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby whoosanightowl » Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:20 pm

Rian wrote:
On the general front of encroaching, whatcha think about this? linkey-link I'm curious ...

This is a though one, Rian. My first reaction was "this is crazy, how can they force a photographer to photograph a wedding they are opposed to morally?" But then I started thinking, well I work in a dentist office, and if the dentist I work for refused to treat a patient because he/she was gay, or even more legitimately because he/she had aids, he would be guilty of the same thing as this photographer. Do we have to like the lifestyle our patients or customers choose to live? No. But treating them differently or worse yet, refusing treatment or services based on our personal views would be wrong in my opinion. There are many instances where things like this could happen, and I think it shows more professional integrity to not allow personal convictions to interfere with our job duties.
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Re: Life-Long Atheists vs. Converts to Atheism

Postby Rian » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:14 pm

I don't think it's quite the same, though - I think a better comparison would be should ob/gyns be forced to perform abortions if they think abortions are wrong and there are other providers close by who are fine with it. I'm sure there are other wedding photographers in NM who don't have moral objections to gay marriage. Why force them to support something that they find morally wrong?
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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