Why don't you believe in God?

Where atheists can talk among themselves, and about those pesky Christians.

Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby brakingnews » Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:00 pm

I'm not sure if people would consider me an atheist or an agnostic. It seems I get labeled as both depending on who's asking. I'm a strict atheist to the idea of a personal god, but I don't know if there was any god according to anyone's definition at all ever.

The reason I'm an atheist is because although I grew up in a Christian household and went to church twice a week (on Wednesdays to a christian youth group and sundays to actual church) eventually I realized that Christianity was really unfair and if god was just then he couldn't exist as Christians defined him.

I didn't understand how christians could say christ existed and billions of people were going to hell but not spend every second of their time converting people. It didn't make any sense that we knew 100% that we were going to hell if we didn't accept Christ, but people were more than willing to spend their time doing nothing rather than saving people. I felt like I was seeing billions of people drowning except for me and my family and tehy didn't feel it was necessary to help others out of the water. I explained this and they suggested I go on missions to other coutnries when I got older, but it still didn't satisfy me.

I eventually decided that if all these people were indeed drowning that it was unfair that I was born out of the water, since i was baptized and grew up christian, but other people were born to families of other religions, thus kind of being born in a net underwater where it'd be very difficult for them to get saved. I never had that sufficiently answered and one question led to another and from the time when I was 14 through 15 I was really agnostic and had no opinion about anything except that I knew Christianity couldn't be true.

When I was 15-16 I began surfing the internet and listening to the argument's of atheists. I read Letter to a Christian Nation and it really only took a month or so after reading such great arguments for me to switch to being atheist. Now I'm 17 and I do not discount the idea of a god period, just the idea of a personal god.

BTW, my family was not ecstatic when they found out. Occasionally I get asked questions like "it must be hard being an atheist" but if I try to explain how for me it's easier to be an atheist I get told to stop harrasing people about my atheism :roll:

sorry if I went too deep into my own personal story instead the factual reasons, but i'm new to the board and figured it wouldn't be a bad place to introduce myself as well as answer the question.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby NH Baritone » Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:49 pm

brakingnews wrote:I'm not sure if people would consider me an atheist or an agnostic. It seems I get labeled as both depending on who's asking. I'm a strict atheist to the idea of a personal god, but I don't know if there was any god according to anyone's definition at all ever.

The reason I'm an atheist is because although I grew up in a Christian household and went to church twice a week (on Wednesdays to a christian youth group and sundays to actual church) eventually I realized that Christianity was really unfair and if god was just then he couldn't exist as Christians defined him.

I didn't understand how christians could say christ existed and billions of people were going to hell but not spend every second of their time converting people. It didn't make any sense that we knew 100% that we were going to hell if we didn't accept Christ, but people were more than willing to spend their time doing nothing rather than saving people. I felt like I was seeing billions of people drowning except for me and my family and tehy didn't feel it was necessary to help others out of the water. I explained this and they suggested I go on missions to other coutnries when I got older, but it still didn't satisfy me.

I eventually decided that if all these people were indeed drowning that it was unfair that I was born out of the water, since i was baptized and grew up christian, but other people were born to families of other religions, thus kind of being born in a net underwater where it'd be very difficult for them to get saved. I never had that sufficiently answered and one question led to another and from the time when I was 14 through 15 I was really agnostic and had no opinion about anything except that I knew Christianity couldn't be true.

When I was 15-16 I began surfing the internet and listening to the argument's of atheists. I read Letter to a Christian Nation and it really only took a month or so after reading such great arguments for me to switch to being atheist. Now I'm 17 and I do not discount the idea of a god period, just the idea of a personal god.

BTW, my family was not ecstatic when they found out. Occasionally I get asked questions like "it must be hard being an atheist" but if I try to explain how for me it's easier to be an atheist I get told to stop harrasing people about my atheism :roll:

sorry if I went too deep into my own personal story instead the factual reasons, but i'm new to the board and figured it wouldn't be a bad place to introduce myself as well as answer the question.

I don't consider your answer too deep at all. Your story reflects my own, only about 35 years later on. I am a minister's son, and we went to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening (first youth group, then church), and then on Wednesday evenings for prayer meeting. In the south, teachers knew not to give too much homework on Wednesdays because many students went to prayer meeting. More than once when a teacher forgot, she felt the need to apologize the next day.

As for your question of whether or not you're an atheist, there are "soft atheists" (who see no reason to believe in God, but don't claim their belief is firm) and "hard atheists" (who firmly believe that there is no god). Both are likely to deny knowing beyond all doubt about the existence of God, so by that definition they both remain agnostic (un-knowing), but they share the common answer to the question, "Do you believe in God?" And that answer is, "No."

At some point perhaps your family will stop asking you questions for which they don't want to know the answers. You're still young, and you have the opportunity to go to college without the burden of filtering every bit of knowledge through religion's mesh. On that journey, I wish you well.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby Atheist37 » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:15 am

brakingnews wrote:When I was 15-16 I began surfing the internet and listening to the argument's of atheists. I read Letter to a Christian Nation and it really only took a month or so after reading such great arguments for me to switch to being atheist. Now I'm 17 and I do not discount the idea of a god period, just the idea of a personal god.

I enjoyed reading your story, I think it shows that you're a very thoughtful young man. As a life-long atheist the question I get asked most often is, "where do you get your morals?" I think this is a worthwhile topic to spend time thinking over, realizing that some great people spent a lifetime trying to figure it out and perhaps were never totally satisfied with the answer. It's an important skill to be able to make moral or ethical judgments, not just about your own actions but also about the behavior and actions of others. You can see that some of the most prominent religious leaders have made very bad moral choices in their lives, or at least they often show a great deal of hypocrisy.

Anyway, I think it's worth thinking over so that when you're presented with the challenge to back up your moral foundation, that you're ready for it.

PS -- I love your Colbert quote about BS in government! (Big Secularism) The man is a comic genius!
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby JustJim » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:35 am

Atheist37 wrote:As a life-long atheist the question I get asked most often is, "where do you get your morals?"

This triggered for me similar situations I run into when I visit with my NINE brothers and sisters, all but two of whom are pretty basic conservative Christians in their espoused belief systems, up in Michigan.

If one of them asks me the question - "Where do you get your morals?" - I reply in the way I've learned is most effective in ending the conversation without an argument... :D I tell them I got my morals from the same place everyone else, believers or not, gets them: parents, teachers, siblings, other family members, friends, TV, movies, song lyrics, poems, books, magazines, strangers, radio, lectures, and - most importantly - thinking and reasoning, and that it all comes "automatically" - as though through some kind of absorption that I don't really have to pay much attention to 'filing away' for future use. (Or words to that effect....)

So, when people immediately ask, "What about the Bible?" I just point out to them that I already said "books" in my list of sources. (That usually changes the topic to "Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?", and I don't have to explain the source of my morals anymore, and can transition into all the fine examples of their God's "morality" in the Bible.) :) But, if they ask if I think God had anything to do with my morals, I just tell them there's no way I could know if there even is a God like that or not, but I don't think there's any reason for now to believe so. Then I remind them of my extensive Christian background of believing, just to keep them from jumping in on me like some heathen on the street that they need to explain Jesus to. When it's my family doing the asking, it always ends with them having eternal pity on my soul and them telling me they'll keep praying for me.

So, welcome to the forum, brakingnews! I hope you keep on delving deeper and deeper into your own personal ideas and opinions about all these "God" questions. It sounds to me like you're "dead on track". I wish I was where you are at your age (I'm sixty-one now), and didn't have to go through so many years of mental and emotional turmoil and upheaval to get where I am now. But, for me, I don't think the "quest" will ever end, so I'm just enjoying the ride while I can....

Jim
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby brakingnews » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:23 pm

Atheist37 wrote:I enjoyed reading your story, I think it shows that you're a very thoughtful young man. As a life-long atheist the question I get asked most often is, "where do you get your morals?" I think this is a worthwhile topic to spend time thinking over, realizing that some great people spent a lifetime trying to figure it out and perhaps were never totally satisfied with the answer. It's an important skill to be able to make moral or ethical judgments, not just about your own actions but also about the behavior and actions of others. You can see that some of the most prominent religious leaders have made very bad moral choices in their lives, or at least they often show a great deal of hypocrisy.

Anyway, I think it's worth thinking over so that when you're presented with the challenge to back up your moral foundation, that you're ready for it.

PS -- I love your Colbert quote about BS in government! (Big Secularism) The man is a comic genius!



Thankyou! But I'm actually a young woman. I probably should have mentioned that somewhere in my story.

I too am asked where I get my morals from and I usually try to convince them that atheists are no less moral than theists. We are not heartless vulcans who don't care about emotions at all. We still feel mercy and forgiveness and all those things that Christianity tries to propagate as their own invention. We just work to see the universe in the least clouded way we can.

I honestly think Christians are highly intelligent people just as atheists are. Sometimes i really think there is a genetic difference between Christians and Atheists. I can't figure out any environmental factor that would cause people like me born in christian households who were never really severely harmed by the church to become atheist. I also wonder if there's a genetic difference between those who are liberal and those who are conservative because I'm a liberal and my family on both sides have always been strict Republicans and raised me with conservative values. I might have to deal with the possibility that I was adopted, I was dropped on my head, or they mixed up babies at the hospital :wink:

I love that quote too. Stephen Colbert is a true genius, and just to drive the point home that I think religous people can be and are intelligent, Stephen Colbert is a devout Catholic (no, it's not just his character, he actually is. he teaches sunday school.) and I still call him one of the most brilliant minds alive today.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby flawedprefect » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:25 pm

G'day. New to these boards. Really enjoying the podcast, tho I got a backlog as long as... I dunno. Pick something long.

I'm gonna keep this simple and to the point.

I don't believe in God because I do not believe God is a complex enough explanation for why we are here and why the Universe exists.

I cannot believe the Bible is proof that God exists, as it was written and edited by men for the purpose of governing groups of people.

I do believe Jesus may have existed as a man, but the Myth and story of his life is just a retelling of the archetypal Hero's tale. I may as well follow and believe in the path of Harry Potter.

I can explain further on other threads, and intend to, but above all, I enjoy that this debate is being handled in this way.

Glad to be here.

Cheers,

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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby spongebob » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:55 am

flawedperfect...nice paradoxical moniker.

Your premise that god does not exist because it is not "complicated enough" is a poor logical starting point and not supportable. First of all, you have not defined god, so we don't know what his complication factor is, unless it is defined. Second, I could easily define god in a way that renders such a notion unfalsifiable, which kind of defeats the whole argument. So, while I share your conclusion, I hope you see the problem with the argument.
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: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby flawedprefect » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:10 pm

Cheers, Spongebob. Please excuse my habit of trying to boil things down to the bare essentials. This forum is huge, and lots has been discussed already. I am trawling through many posts that pique my interest and don't really want to bring an opinion or view that's been seen already.

Well ok, I guess it is difficult to define God, but I'll start... and I'm open to crit and discussion.

God as I was brought up to believe in (was raised Catholic; got an Italian background) was the creator of the world, and passed down the rules to mankind to follow. As simple a definition as that is, I think it covers everything (correct me if I'm wrong).

My opinion is that the idea of the world created by someone is archaic and the stuff of myth and folklore in light of the ability to measure and test the world around us. I believe God is a simple explanation that is suitable only when one cannot test his own surroundings. We have had the ability to re-assess the world around us countless times throughout history. In most cases, when evidence was so overwhelming to provide an explanation that could be satisfied by scientific method, it was usually adopted as fact.

I wish to get into why I don't believe in religion because I believe this is a separate topic to the believe in the existence of God - after all, that is what an Agnostic is: someone who believes in a higher intelligent power, but does not subscribe to a religious way of life. However, the Christian faith constantly trying to evolve to keep up with the times makes me discredit any belief system on a higher being just because it keeps shifting its center - when Charles Darwin wrote "The Origin of Species" the faith rejected the idea we may have evolved because God created everything in one week and that was taken as near fact. Now some Christians are trying to embrace evolution by changing Genesis into a myth which really explains how God set things in motion to make evolution possible, so in a way God DID create man out of clay... only over millions of years and with a few bumps along the way.

This alteration in order to accept more widely accepted truths (I cannot prove evolution unless I live for a substantial amount of time, but we can accept that it is a widely held belief that it is fact) discredit, at least for me, a religion which preaches the Word of God, and therefore, the existence of God. It's like a witness on the stand for a court case, credited to be an authority on a specific topic. If he/she is discredited, the word cannot be taken as fact, because he/she has been debunked as an expert.

I read books such as "The Blind Watchmaker" which discredits intelligent design by proposing an alternative view of how life came to be. In a nutshell, the premise is that we have evolved over a very very long time through the process of imperfect replication in a dynamically shifting environment. Instead of having a being set things in motion to reach an end game, we have evolved to this stage purely by chance.

So: God as a conscious, intelligent creator with a purpose for mankind would be my definition of God which I reject.

I also read books such as Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a thousand Faces" which explores the interconnectedness of world mythologies and religions. The idea of a creator goes way beyond the origins of Christianity and is seen throughout history and the world, but the common premise is that it only exists in the realm of myth - stories to explain the origins of things when there is no observable explanation.

Science does not hold all the answers, but it does offer many which continually evolve our way of perceiving the world, and I believe it has given sufficient evidence to disprove - at least to me - the existence of an intelligent creator.

I really want to expand on heaps of points, and I apologize for being a bit generalistic, but it is a forum post, after all. Good to meet you, Spongebob! I can tell you're a thinker, and like to cover all areas to support a case until it is watertight.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby Jimminy » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:53 am

~~~~~~~~
Hi, Baritone. I read your argument. I think it is seriously flawed and I thought I'd point out those flaws, 'cuase I knew you'd appreciate it if I did. :)
~~~~~~~~
I'll try to be brief. You start out with your belief that one cannot find evidence for or against God via deductive or inductive reasoning. Here it is:

In addition, because there is no evidence either for or against the existence of God, you cannot use deductive logic (a+b=c; therefore c-b=a). You can only reach a conclusion by inductive reasoning using the balance of evidence (90% of A is also B; C is B, so the chances are 90% that C is also A).

I agree, that's what I've essentially been saying all along in this forum.

You then state that the only RELEVANT [caps yours] definition of "God states that GOD INTERVENES TO CIRCUMVENT NATURAL LAWS." Here it is:

So to begin with, I will assert (and others may shoot this down) that the only RELEVANT definition of God states that GOD INTERVENES TO CIRCUMVENT NATURAL LAWS.

Good and well.

You then state your belief that if God were to intervene by circumventing natural law then we would not be able to understand natural law. Here it is:

If God circumvents natural laws, then it becomes impossible to understand natural laws. All scientific findings would have to include the stipulation, "It is also possible that these results are an act of God, a miracle, thereby making our research meaningless."

Okay.

You follow that with the good news that we have expanded our knowledge of natural laws, and consequently our scientific methods lead to applicable discoveries. Here it is in red letters:

However, we have been able to expand our knowledge of natural laws (evidenced by every appliance in your kitchen). Therefore, because the scientific method leads to applicable discoveries, and the likely conclusion is that God, at least the intervening kind, does not exist.

Your grand conclusion from all this is that an intervening God does not exist, because if God had relevancy to us then we would be confounded scientifically, a situation that clearly has not developed. Here it in red letters:

However, we have been able to expand our knowledge of natural laws (evidenced by every appliance in your kitchen). Therefore, because the scientific method leads to applicable discoveries, and the likely conclusion is that God, at least the intervening kind, does not exist.

I'll present my objections now.

***#1) First, why must it be exclusively that either God is relevant and we are confounded scientifically or that God is not relevant and nonexistent (as you say). Why couldn't the all-knowing, all-loving God that you describe in your argument intervene judiciously in our lives, leaving the bulk of our knowledge and consequent science intact? Isn't it possible that God could merely confound or amaze us just once or twice in a lifetime without us losing all hope in reason? I think it far more reasonable to presume an all-knowing God capable of intervening without causing too much bodily harm.

***#2) Secondly, I don't know why you must assume that if God were to intervene to be relevant that the affect will necessarily by detrimental. Isn't it just as plausible to think that an all-loving, all-knowing God would intervene so as to enhance our knowledge of natural law? Why must God play the role of mischievous little child and confound us rather than be the enlightened teacher who reveals natural law and--presumably--enhances the quality of our lives. Unlike you , I find it far more plausible that if God were to intervene it would be to promote knowledge in truth, not vandalize the cognitive abilities of His created beings.

***#3) Third, and this one bothers me the most. In #2 I offered my view that it more probable that God's intervention would result in an enhanced understanding and improved quality of life for us. In #3 I will assume--for argument--that you are correct and that any circumventing of natural law by God would result in us being confounded in knowledge and science. If that's the case, then you believe that God is capable of malicious acts by subverting our knowledge and science; acts that seriously contradict the all loving, all-knowing God you declare God to be elsewhere in the same post. It's like God can't catch a break here. If God doesn't intervene then He is not relevant and is therefore nonexistent, as you have stated. On-the-other-hand, if God does intervene He confounds us,"thereby making our research meaningless," to use your words.

If I accept what you say is true, that God's intervention would lead to an undermining of our knowledge and science...then God's apparent absence should come as no surprise. After all, by not intervening God is merely acting concordantly with His own nature, honoring our gain in knowledge of the laws of nature and an improved quality of life. That's precisely how I would expect a loving, intelligent God to act.~Jimminy

P.s. You have another argument in your post about suffering and God's Omni abilities, but I don't have time right now. I hope you can help me understand.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby spongebob » Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:38 pm

Flawedperfect, I read your post and I understand where you are coming from. I don't think you are on the wrong path, but as a skeptic, and one who takes skepticism very seriously, I am probably harder on fellow skeptics than on theists. I suppose because when I see another person engaging in logic and skepticism, I want to make sure they aren't engaging in, heaven forbid, a fallacy. It's easy enough to do and we all fall prey to it from time to time. So that's why I challenge even the assertions of other skeptics. You'll find that is not altogether uncommon among skeptics. We try to keep each other honest.
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: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby flawedprefect » Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:49 pm

Hey Spongebob,

I got no problem with having my opinions picked apart. If I am wrong, I am man enough to accept it and move on. People who truly feel what I say matters will be the first to try and punch holes in the argument. This can only serve to show me the weaknesses, and thus give me ample opportunity to reassess, or reject my previous suppositions.

So skeptic away! Know that I'll appreciate your opinion all the more because you question mine.

Cheers, dude.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby NH Baritone » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:01 am

Jimminy wrote:~~~~~~~~
Hi, Baritone. I read your argument. I think it is seriously flawed and I thought I'd point out those flaws, 'cuase I knew you'd appreciate it if I did. :)
~~~~~~~~
***#1) First, why must it be exclusively that either God is relevant and we are confounded scientifically or that God is not relevant and nonexistent (as you say). Why couldn't the all-knowing, all-loving God that you describe in your argument intervene judiciously in our lives, leaving the bulk of our knowledge and consequent science intact? Isn't it possible that God could merely confound or amaze us just once or twice in a lifetime without us losing all hope in reason? I think it far more reasonable to presume an all-knowing God capable of intervening without causing too much bodily harm.

***#2) Secondly, I don't know why you must assume that if God were to intervene to be relevant that the affect will necessarily by detrimental. Isn't it just as plausible to think that an all-loving, all-knowing God would intervene so as to enhance our knowledge of natural law? Why must God play the role of mischievous little child and confound us rather than be the enlightened teacher who reveals natural law and--presumably--enhances the quality of our lives. Unlike you , I find it far more plausible that if God were to intervene it would be to promote knowledge in truth, not vandalize the cognitive abilities of His created beings.

***#3) Third, and this one bothers me the most. In #2 I offered my view that it more probable that God's intervention would result in an enhanced understanding and improved quality of life for us. In #3 I will assume--for argument--that you are correct and that any circumventing of natural law by God would result in us being confounded in knowledge and science. If that's the case, then you believe that God is capable of malicious acts by subverting our knowledge and science; acts that seriously contradict the all loving, all-knowing God you declare God to be elsewhere in the same post. It's like God can't catch a break here. If God doesn't intervene then He is not relevant and is therefore nonexistent, as you have stated. On-the-other-hand, if God does intervene He confounds us,"thereby making our research meaningless," to use your words.

If I accept what you say is true, that God's intervention would lead to an undermining of our knowledge and science...then God's apparent absence should come as no surprise. After all, by not intervening God is merely acting concordantly with His own nature, honoring our gain in knowledge of the laws of nature and an improved quality of life. That's precisely how I would expect a loving, intelligent God to act.~Jimminy

P.s. You have another argument in your post about suffering and God's Omni abilities, but I don't have time right now. I hope you can help me understand.

This is the ATHEISTS' portion of the board. The free-for-all section is elsewhere. To accommodate your desire for feedback, I will post your comments in "General Discussion," complete with my statement. In posting it here, I meant to prompt discussion among atheists, not a debate with theists.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby Jimminy » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:17 am

This is the [b]ATHEISTS' portion of the board. The free-for-all section is elsewhere. To accommodate your desire for feedback, I will post your comments in "General Discussion," complete with my statement. In posting it here, I meant to prompt discussion among atheists, not a debate with theists~Baritone[/b]

Okay, thanks for your time.~Jimminy
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby whoosanightowl » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:26 am

Wow, there were many things that contributed to my becoming an atheist (in a God that intervenes in this world).
One was the history of the bible. How it's evolved over the centuries and how it's continuously being translated and reinterpreted. Who actually wrote it, and why there were not many more eyewitness testimonies. Why there are so many inconsistencies and even outright contradictions.
Another was how believers were quick to brag that God was "blessing" them with protection, jobs, health, loved ones, house, etc.; while at the same time not acknowledging that he was ignoring most of the world, not even meeting the basic needs of food and water for millions.
The whole prayer matter which get's God completely off the hook for anything that happens. Natural disasters are not blamed on him, but if one person survives it, God gets the glory. Most prayers appear to go unanswered, but believers claim God is just giving either a "not right now" or "no".
Then there's the denomination problem, each who believe they are are on the right track (true Christians) while all others are being deceived by Satan in some way. Not to mention all other religions who are sure to spend eternity in hell.
And lastly (for now) trying to justify how a "good, just, loving, merciful" God, would create an eternal place of torment for all who didn't pick the right religion/God.
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Re: Why don't you believe in God?

Postby StillSearching » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:23 am

First, a little history. Like NHB, I was raised by a pastor. Christianity and faith were a fundamental part of life in my household. My father was a United Church of Christ minister (now retired) so the brand of Christianity in which I was raised is a very liberal one. No strict biblical literalism, no condemnation to hell for non-believers or believers of other faiths, no unrealistic expectations of people living perfect lives, no condemnation of humanity for being sinful, etc. I was taught to believe in a loving, caring God who had great things in store for the world.

Ironically, my interest in learning more about faith and God was what ultimately led to my disbelief (at least in an intervening God). I attended church regularly until I was about 20 years old. Upon departing my parents' household to attend college, I decided that I was burned out on church and stopped attending regularly. College opened my eyes to all sorts of different religions, philosophy, sociology. In other words, I discovered that there was a whole world of thought and knowledge outside of the sterile worldview of suburban American Christianity. This didn't completely kill my existing belief in God, but it did plant the seeds. I put God on the back burner for a long time. My first wife and I tried out a couple of churches, but I didn't attend church regularly for many years. When we divorced, I tried turning to scripture and prayer to find solace, but little was provided.

My second (and current) wife rekindled my interest in church. She had been raised in a non-religious (though not totally non-spiritual) family, but had been attending an Episcopal church for a couple years and was a member of the choir. I had always loved choral music, so when we started dating seriously I started going to choir with her and singing during services on Sundays. It was great. I reconnected with my spiritual side and enjoyed the fellowship that church offered. The Episcopal church we attend is liturgically traditional, and I found that to be a pleasant change from the more casual services of my parents' church. The music especially got to me. There is something wonderfully spiritual about blending your voice with others to make music.

About five years ago, my wife and I were asked to chaperone a youth group trip to a local water park. Any of you who have volunteered your time at church or for some other cause probably know that once you display a willingness to help, you are typically asked to do more and more, and that is what happened. We went from lending a helping hand on one occasion to being youth leaders in the church. As I became more involved in working with the youth, it occurred to me that my knowledge of Christianity was severely lacking. Questions were being asked in Christian Ed classes to which I hadn't the slightest idea of an answer. In an attempt to solve this problem, I dove into the studying the bible. Unfortunately, my rational brain found few answers in the bible. Instead I found many more questions. I ran into many of the same problems that make non-believers out of devout Christians: Why does God allow evil and suffering? Why are Christians so convinced that their way is the only way, when there are hundreds of other possibilities? How does one reconcile all of the contradictions and silliness in the bible? Why doesn't God act in the physical world the way he did in ancient times? And on and on and on and on.

Which leads to where I am now. Am I an atheist? Most atheists would probably say no if they knew the full extent of my spirituality. Am I a Christian? Most Christians would probably say no if they knew the full extent of my doubts. I guess you could label me an atheist with occasional bouts of agnosticism. I still attend the Episcopal church that I joined with my wife. I still work with the youth group. I still enjoy the people there and the fellowship we share. However, I have recently stopped participating in many of the rituals. I don't recite the prayers, or confession of sins, or the Nicene Creed. I listen to the scripture readings and sermons with a skeptical ear.

As you can tell from my moniker, I am still searching for spiritual peace. This world is a very confusing, frustrating and depressing place sometimes. I'd like to discover enough answers to at least put my mind at ease. But I have come to accept the fact that I'm not going to get those answers from Christianity. In fact, I have come to realize that religion, rather than providing answers, mostly serves to make the world more confusing, frustrating and depressing.
"The word 'Christianity' is already a misunderstanding - in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross."
Friedrich Nietzsche
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StillSearching
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