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matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.

By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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7/4/2016 3:00:23 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.
Matt, thank you for the offer.

When people begin lives in religion, their family and friends have usually formed a faith community in which their beliefs developed, and my question so assumes.

When irreligion began to put you at odds with your faith community, who was most accepting whom you expected to be least accepting, and who was least accepting whom you'd have most expected to accept your decision and choice? What, if anything, did you learn by this?
EtrnlVw
Posts: 2,322
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7/4/2016 3:29:45 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


As someone who was raised in a religious upbringing, did you ever connect with any of it's aspects on your own accord? or was religion primarily forced upon you? as an atheist, where did you disconnect from where you may have been connected, if any.
As an atheist, do you ever feel as though your new ideology determines your perceptions?
VirBinarus
Posts: 323
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7/4/2016 6:44:14 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

What did you understand "being a christian" to mean?
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
1 thessalonians, 5:11
janesix
Posts: 3,485
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7/4/2016 6:56:10 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

If you do not believe in an interventionist God, do you believe in a deistic God?
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 2:57:15 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 3:00:23 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.
Matt, thank you for the offer.

When people begin lives in religion, their family and friends have usually formed a faith community in which their beliefs developed, and my question so assumes.

When irreligion began to put you at odds with your faith community, who was most accepting whom you expected to be least accepting, and who was least accepting whom you'd have most expected to accept your decision and choice? What, if anything, did you learn by this?

Hi Ruv, great questions.

Although I have considered myself irreligious for the last decade or so, it is only within the last year or so that I would identify myself as being an atheist. It is still in the process of being known to my friends and family. Since I tend to be a bit reclusive, I don"t interact with my friends and family as much as many other people do so I suppose it would take a bit longer.

Of my male friends, they tend to be either so religious that I could not have a productive conversation with them or they don"t feel strongly enough about the subject to have a productive conversation. My friends consider me intelligent and well-read, and do not generally seek to debate me. Im not one that pushes uncomfortable subjects.

With my female friends, I tend to have more deep and philosophical conversations. When I said my final goodbye to religion, I nudged a few conversations that direction with a few of them. Two of them were raised Christian and still identified as Christian at the time. I was surprised at how accepting they were. After some interesting and thoughtful conversations, they now identify as atheist however.

I live in a different part of the country as my extended family so I don"t interact much. The family on my mothers side are Evangelical Christians. If they knew I was an atheist, there would be much speaking in tongues. They are stereotypical American bible belt people and would probably mean the end of any remaining communication. I was raised by my mother in that environment. My fathers side is intellectual and has little need for religion, much to my consternation growing up. My father shares the same beliefs I have now.

The biggest thing that surprised me about the process of transitioning from a theist to an atheist is the amount of mental processing that goes into the paradigm shift. It is all the typical questions one would expect from a theist to an atheist. What is moral? What is the purpose of my life? What happens when we die? How did life get here?

One surprise is that life and the existence of consciousness and the universe seem even more "miraculous" than it did before. I also became aware that it felt unnatural and uncomfortable to admit I didn"t know how and why the universe came to exist. I had to learn to accept uncertainty.

Another surprise is the clarity of thought that I now have. I can only speculate why the difference in the ability to critically think about subjects unrelated to religion is so significant. I assume it is because the methods I now use to categorize what is true is radically different. This has led me to the conclusion that teaching children to believe in extraordinary things with no evidence is detrimental to their ability to develop and utilize logic.

The assertion that theists make that atheist dismiss god simply to satisfy their own desires is false, at least in my case. I believe that the realization that your invisible friend does not design your life for you nor grant wishes is initially very unpleasant.

I now own my life. I am free to question anything. I am free to come to my own conclusions. Losing religion is very intellectually freeing.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 3:13:35 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 3:29:45 AM, EtrnlVw wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


As someone who was raised in a religious upbringing, did you ever connect with any of it's aspects on your own accord? or was religion primarily forced upon you?

Good questions. Like many children that go to church, Sunday school and summer bible camp, I would have much rather been somewhere else. As I got older, I began to read the bible and Christian books in an attempt to understand God and my religion better. I was trying to make sense of the things that did not appear to make sense to me. I felt certain that if I just studied more, the pieces would come together.

as an atheist, where did you disconnect from where you may have been connected, if any.

My paradigm shift has not affected my ability to connect with music, art, the awe inspiring universe, love or beauty.

As an atheist, do you ever feel as though your new ideology determines your perceptions?

Definitely. I now feel that I am the captain of my own ship, with all the freedom and uncertainty that it comes with. It has not changed my perception on the importance of kindness and altruism.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 3:18:26 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 6:44:14 AM, VirBinarus wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

What did you understand "being a christian" to mean?

I understand 'Christian' to mean believing primarily that Jesus was sacrificed so that believer's sins could be forgiven. I believed that for most of my life. Then I went through a period where I still called myself a Christian but didn't find the idea of human sacrifice plausible.
Omniverse
Posts: 973
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7/4/2016 3:23:19 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

If I understand correctly, you were once a JW, right?

Can you speak of the trauma that it must have been going through life under the claw of such revolting cult?
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 3:33:28 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 6:56:10 AM, janesix wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

If you do not believe in an interventionist God, do you believe in a deistic God?

To believe something, one must have enough evidence to provide a foundation for that belief. Without direct evidence, it can only be classified as a suspicion at best, which is different than belief.

The fact that we exist at all, and are conscious, I find incredibly bizarre so I don't think ideas can be ruled out simply because they are bizarre. I suspect that there may be consciousness and/or intelligence that exists outside of our minds. I believe deists think that intelligence intentionally created the universe. I don't know why one would conclude that any more than thinking we intentionally chose to be born in a way to explain our existence. If 'it' exists, I don't know how one would form the opinion to define what 'it' is, its role in the universe or the degree of interaction with our existence.
matt8800
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7/4/2016 3:39:46 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 3:23:19 PM, Omniverse wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

If I understand correctly, you were once a JW, right?

Can you speak of the trauma that it must have been going through life under the claw of such revolting cult?

No, I was raised as a fundamentalist. I was always pretty much an independent thinker and was never one to fall into step simply because I was told to. Because of this independence, many other Christians did not think I was a 'good' Christian.

With that said, I feel that being taught to accept extraordinary claims with no evidence significantly affected my ability to critically think. While this is only speculation, I suspect I would have made different and better decisions in my younger years if I had realized that if I wasn't steering my life, nobody was.
lightseeker
Posts: 1,034
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7/4/2016 3:53:25 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

what were the main reasons that caused you to lose your faith?
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 4:23:55 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 3:53:25 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

what were the main reasons that caused you to lose your faith?

I spent many years asking questions and researching the arguments as to why Christianity is true. I wasn't trying to prove it wrong - I was trying to prove it right. For me to be able to feel that I was honest in my assessment, I felt I needed to research the opposing arguments and try to keep an open mind. Although many other theists would have felt guilty or disloyal to question their religion, I came to the conclusion that scrutiny only makes the truth stronger. It was a long process in giving myself permission to ask questions. Approaching it without bias was scary because I didn't want to accept the fact that I may be wrong (bias), along with all the implications I would have to face.

Questioning my religion was the most intellectually difficult thing I have ever done.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 4:27:41 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 3:53:25 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

what were the main reasons that caused you to lose your faith?

I didn't complete that last thought....

When researching both arguments, I felt the secular argument was hard to pick apart. The more I picked at the argument for Christianity, the more holes it seemed to expose that I could not reconcile.
lightseeker
Posts: 1,034
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7/4/2016 4:57:22 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 4:27:41 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 7/4/2016 3:53:25 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

what were the main reasons that caused you to lose your faith?

I didn't complete that last thought....

When researching both arguments, I felt the secular argument was hard to pick apart. The more I picked at the argument for Christianity, the more holes it seemed to expose that I could not reconcile.

hmm. I understand. but can you tell me what were the specific questions that Christianity couldn't give a good answer to, that caused you to ultimately leave it all?
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 6:00:45 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 4:57:22 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 4:27:41 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 7/4/2016 3:53:25 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

what were the main reasons that caused you to lose your faith?

I didn't complete that last thought....

When researching both arguments, I felt the secular argument was hard to pick apart. The more I picked at the argument for Christianity, the more holes it seemed to expose that I could not reconcile.

hmm. I understand. but can you tell me what were the specific questions that Christianity couldn't give a good answer to, that caused you to ultimately leave it all?

It wasn't its claim that a god existed. It was its claim of divine revelation. It started with the analysis of what verses to take literally and which ones to take metaphorically. The explanation on where to draw the line seemed arbitrary and open to individual interpretation implying an author whose communication was unclear and confusing. It seemed obvious that a perfect god that created the universe would be capable of communicating more clearly.

I had a hard time determining why I was a Christian as opposed to belonging to another religion. I was a Christian because that was the religion taught to me by the community I grew up around. if I was raised in a different culture, I would have belonged to a different religion. I needed more to understand why Christianity was the correct religion objectively. Christians claim God has placed knowledge in their heart that their religion is true yet members of other religions make the same claims.

The claims of miracles were extraordinary and prevalent yet no signs of such miracles exist today. Many of the stories, such as Jonah and Noah were very far from plausible, creating credibility issues.

There was inherent cruelty in the god as described in the bible. If my son was adopted to another family at birth, I could not fathom choosing to burn and torture him for not knowing me when I never provided any direct evidence. The cruelty and barbarism in the OT was so significant that even the vast majority of Christians today would never consider committing such acts, even if the exact situations arose.

At the end of the day, it is a religion centered around human sacrifice. I could find no reason to believe that human sacrifice was effective. The Bible was a book that I was supposed to believe was correct because other people said I should believe it. Due to its extraordinary claims, I felt a better reason to believe it was needed. Admonishment to simply believe without evidence or satisfactory explanation felt more and more suspect.

Virtually all the justifications in favor of the Bible violate Occams Razor. This was a problem to me.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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7/4/2016 7:13:23 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:57:15 PM, matt8800 wrote:
The biggest thing that surprised me is the amount of mental processing that goes into the paradigm shift.
The existence of consciousness and the universe seem even more "miraculous" than it did before. I had to learn to accept uncertainty.
Another surprise is the clarity of thought that I now have. I can only speculate why the difference in the ability to critically think about subjects unrelated to religion is so significant.

Thank you for your response in total, and these comments in particular, Matt. I think it's not just true of religion, but ideological zeal in general that it reduces a complex, nuanced, ambiguous world to a childishly simple single story. We may not realise how small the story is until we leave it and see how much more we notice and appreciate without it.

For interest, I link right a TED talk by author Chimamanda Adichie on this topic. It's not about religion, but about how rendering the world mythologically simple messes up our ability to think. It's one of my favourite TED talks, and I hope it might interest.

On a personal note, I'm sorry that it still remains difficult to talk to your family. That's not something I've experienced, but I have other friends who have. It saddens me when families trade love and respect for one another for loyalty to the unprovable. :( Please accept my best wishes for that continuing endeavour.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/4/2016 8:17:11 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 7:13:23 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:57:15 PM, matt8800 wrote:
The biggest thing that surprised me is the amount of mental processing that goes into the paradigm shift.
The existence of consciousness and the universe seem even more "miraculous" than it did before. I had to learn to accept uncertainty.
Another surprise is the clarity of thought that I now have. I can only speculate why the difference in the ability to critically think about subjects unrelated to religion is so significant.

Thank you for your response in total, and these comments in particular, Matt. I think it's not just true of religion, but ideological zeal in general that it reduces a complex, nuanced, ambiguous world to a childishly simple single story. We may not realise how small the story is until we leave it and see how much more we notice and appreciate without it.

For interest, I link right a TED talk by author Chimamanda Adichie on this topic. It's not about religion, but about how rendering the world mythologically simple messes up our ability to think. It's one of my favourite TED talks, and I hope it might interest.


On a personal note, I'm sorry that it still remains difficult to talk to your family. That's not something I've experienced, but I have other friends who have. It saddens me when families trade love and respect for one another for loyalty to the unprovable. :( Please accept my best wishes for that continuing endeavour.

Thanks for posting that video. I enjoy TED talks. I watched it and I agree that extrapolating a single story from incomplete information is a human tendency. I am aware that I have done this and try to be vigilant in this regard. The single story is like an invasive weed that is difficult to eradicate once it takes root.
lightseeker
Posts: 1,034
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7/5/2016 6:45:14 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 6:00:45 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 7/4/2016 4:57:22 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 4:27:41 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 7/4/2016 3:53:25 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

what were the main reasons that caused you to lose your faith?

I didn't complete that last thought....

When researching both arguments, I felt the secular argument was hard to pick apart. The more I picked at the argument for Christianity, the more holes it seemed to expose that I could not reconcile.

hmm. I understand. but can you tell me what were the specific questions that Christianity couldn't give a good answer to, that caused you to ultimately leave it all?

It wasn't its claim that a god existed. It was its claim of divine revelation. It started with the analysis of what verses to take literally and which ones to take metaphorically. The explanation on where to draw the line seemed arbitrary and open to individual interpretation implying an author whose communication was unclear and confusing. It seemed obvious that a perfect god that created the universe would be capable of communicating more clearly.

I had a hard time determining why I was a Christian as opposed to belonging to another religion. I was a Christian because that was the religion taught to me by the community I grew up around. if I was raised in a different culture, I would have belonged to a different religion. I needed more to understand why Christianity was the correct religion objectively. Christians claim God has placed knowledge in their heart that their religion is true yet members of other religions make the same claims.

The claims of miracles were extraordinary and prevalent yet no signs of such miracles exist today. Many of the stories, such as Jonah and Noah were very far from plausible, creating credibility issues.

There was inherent cruelty in the god as described in the bible. If my son was adopted to another family at birth, I could not fathom choosing to burn and torture him for not knowing me when I never provided any direct evidence. The cruelty and barbarism in the OT was so significant that even the vast majority of Christians today would never consider committing such acts, even if the exact situations arose.

At the end of the day, it is a religion centered around human sacrifice. I could find no reason to believe that human sacrifice was effective. The Bible was a book that I was supposed to believe was correct because other people said I should believe it. Due to its extraordinary claims, I felt a better reason to believe it was needed. Admonishment to simply believe without evidence or satisfactory explanation felt more and more suspect.

Virtually all the justifications in favor of the Bible violate Occams Razor. This was a problem to me.

first of all, thanks for the answer. it was very well written and points were very clear.
so, to sum it up, the main causes were:
1- human sacrifice
2- inherent cruelty in the OT.
3- ambiguity of the verses.
4- miracles.

so by human sacrifice, you mean literal sacrifice, as in killing humans in order to gain favor of God? or like letting go of one's earthly desires in order to achieve greatness?
annanicole
Posts: 19,791
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7/5/2016 6:49:25 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

What is an "interventionist deity"?
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/5/2016 1:49:12 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/5/2016 6:45:14 AM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 6:00:45 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 7/4/2016 4:57:22 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 4:27:41 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 7/4/2016 3:53:25 PM, lightseeker wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

what were the main reasons that caused you to lose your faith?

I didn't complete that last thought....

When researching both arguments, I felt the secular argument was hard to pick apart. The more I picked at the argument for Christianity, the more holes it seemed to expose that I could not reconcile.

hmm. I understand. but can you tell me what were the specific questions that Christianity couldn't give a good answer to, that caused you to ultimately leave it all?

It wasn't its claim that a god existed. It was its claim of divine revelation. It started with the analysis of what verses to take literally and which ones to take metaphorically. The explanation on where to draw the line seemed arbitrary and open to individual interpretation implying an author whose communication was unclear and confusing. It seemed obvious that a perfect god that created the universe would be capable of communicating more clearly.

I had a hard time determining why I was a Christian as opposed to belonging to another religion. I was a Christian because that was the religion taught to me by the community I grew up around. if I was raised in a different culture, I would have belonged to a different religion. I needed more to understand why Christianity was the correct religion objectively. Christians claim God has placed knowledge in their heart that their religion is true yet members of other religions make the same claims.

The claims of miracles were extraordinary and prevalent yet no signs of such miracles exist today. Many of the stories, such as Jonah and Noah were very far from plausible, creating credibility issues.

There was inherent cruelty in the god as described in the bible. If my son was adopted to another family at birth, I could not fathom choosing to burn and torture him for not knowing me when I never provided any direct evidence. The cruelty and barbarism in the OT was so significant that even the vast majority of Christians today would never consider committing such acts, even if the exact situations arose.

At the end of the day, it is a religion centered around human sacrifice. I could find no reason to believe that human sacrifice was effective. The Bible was a book that I was supposed to believe was correct because other people said I should believe it. Due to its extraordinary claims, I felt a better reason to believe it was needed. Admonishment to simply believe without evidence or satisfactory explanation felt more and more suspect.

Virtually all the justifications in favor of the Bible violate Occams Razor. This was a problem to me.

first of all, thanks for the answer. it was very well written and points were very clear.
so, to sum it up, the main causes were:
1- human sacrifice
2- inherent cruelty in the OT.
3- ambiguity of the verses.
4- miracles.

so by human sacrifice, you mean literal sacrifice, as in killing humans in order to gain favor of God? or like letting go of one's earthly desires in order to achieve greatness?

If I put some thought and time into it, I could come up with more but those are the main ones that come to mind.

Regarding human sacrifice, specifically it was the sacrifice of Jesus that Christianity asserts is the reason why their sins can be forgiven.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/5/2016 1:59:03 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/5/2016 6:49:25 AM, annanicole wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

What is an "interventionist deity"?

I suppose to use 'interventionist' and 'rules over and judges the daily lives...' in the same sentence is redundant.

Some deists believe that there is a god that exists as an intelligent consciousness in the universe but that it/he does not get involved or intervene in the lives of humans. That is the god that Einstein and many of the US founding fathers professed belief in. That is contrasted with most theists that believe that there is a god that lives in the sky that listens to their prayers, talks to them in their heads and judges them, and is particularly obsessed about the matters of human genital use or misuse.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,674
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7/5/2016 2:04:04 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

Were you happier in life while you had significant religious beliefs or without?

When you abandoned your religion, did anyone else follow with you?

Did you suffer any long-term negative effects as a result of this change (e.g. relationships)?
matt8800
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7/5/2016 2:29:12 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/5/2016 2:04:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

Were you happier in life while you had significant religious beliefs or without?

Good questions. Its hard to know what to attribute to what but during that time of my life I was less happy. I was less focused on making smart decisions and I think that might be because life decisions matter less when you think god has a plan that is beyond your control.

When you abandoned your religion, did anyone else follow with you?

My children and a couple of my female friends. Although I raised my kids around religion, I taught them to think for themselves and to not just believe things without questioning. Because I raised them to think critically, they started developing doubts at the same time. From my experience of raising children, I think that if you teach a child to think critically, they are more likely than not to discard religion.

Did you suffer any long-term negative effects as a result of this change (e.g. relationships)?

Not at all. It has changed my life for the better. I am a more clear thinker and a much more solid person overall. Now if negative things happen in my life, I accept it as an impersonal fact of life rather than some personal attack with unknown motives from players in some kind of 'spirit war'.

I seek out relationships that are substantive. I have walked away some from a few friendships where my friends were highly superstitious but that is partly because they started sounded even more crazy than they did before. I had one friend that told me that some day he was going to have so much faith that he will literally move a mountain simply by praying because the bible told him so. He sounded like a complete nut. It was then that I decided to assess whether I thought the friendship was conducive to where I want to go in life as a person.
NewLifeChristian
Posts: 1,236
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7/5/2016 5:03:32 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.
What made you an atheist?
Pro-Life Quotes:

"I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."
- Ronald Reagan

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government."
- Thomas Jefferson

"A person is a person no matter how small."
- Dr. Seuss
desmac
Posts: 5,078
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7/5/2016 5:06:54 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/5/2016 5:03:32 PM, NewLifeChristian wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.
What made you an atheist?

Common sense.
NewLifeChristian
Posts: 1,236
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7/5/2016 5:08:31 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/5/2016 5:06:54 PM, desmac wrote:
At 7/5/2016 5:03:32 PM, NewLifeChristian wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.
What made you an atheist?

Common sense.
Could you elaborate?
Pro-Life Quotes:

"I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."
- Ronald Reagan

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government."
- Thomas Jefferson

"A person is a person no matter how small."
- Dr. Seuss
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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7/5/2016 5:31:29 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/5/2016 5:03:32 PM, NewLifeChristian wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.
What made you an atheist?

Once I discarded religion from what I saw as a lack of credibility, I couldn't find any reason to believe there was a god that was watching us, listening to our prayers or judging us.

I should note that the realization that a god was not judging us did not change my desire to be a good person in the least. I still value kindness and altruism in the same way.
matt8800
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7/5/2016 5:33:13 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/5/2016 5:03:32 PM, NewLifeChristian wrote:
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.
What made you an atheist?

As far as specific reasons I discarded religion, here is a repost of what I posted earlier to a similar comment:

It wasn't its claim that a god existed. It was its claim of divine revelation. It started with the analysis of what verses to take literally and which ones to take metaphorically. The explanation on where to draw the line seemed arbitrary and open to individual interpretation implying an author whose communication was unclear and confusing. It seemed obvious that a perfect god that created the universe would be capable of communicating more clearly.

I had a hard time determining why I was a Christian as opposed to belonging to another religion. I was a Christian because that was the religion taught to me by the community I grew up around. if I was raised in a different culture, I would have belonged to a different religion. I needed more to understand why Christianity was the correct religion objectively. Christians claim God has placed knowledge in their heart that their religion is true yet members of other religions make the same claims.

The claims of miracles were extraordinary and prevalent yet no signs of such miracles exist today. Many of the stories, such as Jonah and Noah were very far from plausible, creating credibility issues.

There was inherent cruelty in the god as described in the bible. If my son was adopted to another family at birth, I could not fathom choosing to burn and torture him for not knowing me when I never provided any direct evidence. The cruelty and barbarism in the OT was so significant that even the vast majority of Christians today would never consider committing such acts, even if the exact situations arose.

At the end of the day, it is a religion centered around human sacrifice. I could find no reason to believe that human sacrifice was effective. The Bible was a book that I was supposed to believe was correct because other people said I should believe it. Due to its extraordinary claims, I felt a better reason to believe it was needed. Admonishment to simply believe without evidence or satisfactory explanation felt more and more suspect.

Virtually all the justifications in favor of the Bible violate Occams Razor. This was a problem to me.
Deb-8-A-Bull
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7/5/2016 5:40:37 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/4/2016 2:54:43 AM, matt8800 wrote:
I thought I would start this thread for two groups of people: theists and atheists that were not previously theists.

Feel free to ask me anything pertaining to my perspective of someone who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist.


By atheist, I mean someone that does not own a belief in a god.

By a god, I mean an interventionist deity that rules over and judges the daily lives of humans.

Can you get the cash back from God that you chipped in every week going to church ?