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How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:02 pm
by silvanis2.0
EDIT: My apologies for this post and that it is now taking up space.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:21 pm
by Xeno
Thank you for posting something that portrays us atheists like this. I see your note at the end, but that doesn't really cover it. Many of us come from Christian households and have fallen out of theism for a wide spread of reasons and we have very specific reasons for disliking theism. Yes, some atheists are very brash in how they approach theists, but thats because they see theism as a serious problem with the world and they feel it should go away. The arguments this Richkins throws out are also quite weak and not the kinds of arguments that someone who is actually trying to attack a faith would be using. If I wanted to make you question your faith, I have a list of questions that are must less vague and far more sharp than what was included in the story.
We are not bad people. Stop portraying us as such.

Also, "Richkins" is also a very obvious portmanteau of Richard Dawkins, who is an accomplished molecular biologist who happens to also being a well known author and at the forefront of the atheist/anti-theist movement.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:26 pm
by silvanis2.0
I really meant no offense, Xeno. It was just that I'd come in contact with a lot of people like this. I was not in any way trying to generalize. I apologize for inadvertently insulting you.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:11 pm
by Xeno
Come in contact with a lot of people like what? I have never met a fellow atheist that has asked a theist to literally confess that they no longer believe in a deity. We also don't hate god, since it's illogical to hate something that we don't even believe exists. You do realize that atheists are not like "dark christians" with our own set of dogmas, traditions, and rites right? What makes atheists "atheist" is the fact that we have a lack of believe in a higher power. Because of that being the only requirement you do get a wide range of people who fit into the "group" from far right-wing conservative to far left-wing liberal in all socio-economic classes and races in both genders of all races and from every country.

This story really just makes no sense, and if you want to have an actual conversation about or with atheists then lets do so but without ridiculous misunderstood stereotypes.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:17 pm
by Davidizer13
A Christian blogger I read made a great point this week: you can only believe lies about a supposedly monstrous Other until you meet that Other. I think that's what's going on here - whether by intention or not, we in American Christianity have been conditioned to believe that everyone who is not a Christian is a problem, or a virus, seeking to destroy Christianity at every chance they get. So we've make up stories about the bogeymen who exist beyond its boundaries, and are convinced that when we eventually meet those creatures we'll have the cure to the problem on hand because we know what they're going to look like, how they're going to respond; after all, we've heard the stories about what they're really like, right?

Of course, in the real world we actually come into contact with them, and often they have very good reasons why they're that way. And they ask questions and make arguments that are different from the ones we know they'll ask, like they've been told in the stories. So now the Christian in this situation has a choice: either they change their view of these Others, or their faith snaps completely, because the way their faith is built, it's not flexible enough to change; anything that contradicts it means that it's wrong, from the foundation up. I've read the story about the daughter of a Christian apologist who became an atheist because she was provided with the logical tools to break apart the false assumptions about the world that she had been taught by her father because it had to fall into that paradigm, and when it didn't, it all came apart. I've spent the last few years trying to build flexibility into my faith, tearing apart what I believed, putting it back together again, and coming up with new answers to the issues I'd been dealing with and the reasons for my faith.

So there's that.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:27 pm
by Peanut
In my senior year of College, I decided to confront some of the modern, popular atheist writers. I went and picked up The God Delusion, god is not Great, and took a good bit of time to read Letter to a Christian Nation. Because of conflicts in time, I was only able to read Letter to a Christian Nation all the way through and it took me up until a few days ago for me to complete The God Delusion (I haven't touched god is not Great yet). What I found in my reading of these books was that both Sam Harris (wrote Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith) and Richard Dawkins are incredibly uninformed, offensive, and, frankly, an embarrassment to atheists around the world. If you are familiar with the topics they go into, you'll find that the majority arguments are pitifully weak, relying more often on appeals to emotion then any tangible evidence or solid logic or both to support them (with a few exceptions in Dawkin's book). I walked away from these books with the knowledge that these boogeymen lack the teeth, claws and crazy look on their face to cause anyone who knows these topics to tremble in fear. If they were Christians writing this way about Christianity, I would ignore their existence as best I could and if someone pointed them out to me, would proceed to join with them in talking about how terrible they are (and I do do this with certain works in Christianity *cough*Left Behind*cough*). The one good thing that has come out from this (so far) is that I've come to appreciate some of the writing of Bertrand Russell and any atheist who is significantly more reasonable and well mannered then either of them.

I'm saying all this because I am offended for both Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris after reading the story in the initial post. Especially for Richard Dawkins who seems to have been picked as the opponent as is being horribly misrepresented in it. The arguments used are not even shadows of what Dawkins himself presents in The God Delusion. I like the basic premise and it parallels my own experience examining part of the so called Unholy Trinity's works but please tell your friend to read the source material he's trying to draw from or to present it in a more accurate and complete way.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:14 pm
by Xeno
Sam Harris is a hack. How he came to the forefront of the atheist movement really confuses me. Dawkins, while I agree with a lot of what Peanut said about "The God Delusion", does talk a lot about biology and evolution itself in that book and his other ones. Dr. Lawrence Krauss talks about he origin of the universe and scientifically how things spawned from "nothing" in "A Universe from Nothing". "god is Not Great" is a bit more of the same when it comes to "The God Delusion" but less science talk and more anecdotal it felt. I personally find Dawkins' regular science books such as "The Greatest Show on Earth", "The Magic of Reality", and "The Selfish Gene" to be much more fascinating, and ultimately speak volumes more for a godless world and universe than so-called atheist apologetics. The same goes for science books by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, and Lawrence Krauss. It might be an emotional appeal, but when science can explain the universe away to the point where the god of the bible is a god-of-the-gaps, that is horribly unsatisfying.

On the philosophy side of the table, I have to admit that I'm not much for philosophy as I personally feel modern day philosophy doesn't contribute much to the progression of society. That said, in the past they did contribute a great deal, and as such I like Bertrand Russell and some Nietzsche (though I take issue with some of Nietzsche's ideals).

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:54 pm
by Ante Bellum
silvanis2.0 wrote:This was written by a good friend of mine, Kevin O. I take no credit, but thought I'd share.

How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know
I was reared as a Christian. My parents reinforced in me the values that they thought were the best, but they always let me make my own decisions. They believed in informed minds, questions, and finding the proper answer. Sometime in middle school I made up my mind, convinced in the Christian God.
But it wasn’t until college that that all changed. See, I had always been taught about God by preachers, pastors, and church-goers. Believers, as they are commonly called, seemed to be generally united in their understanding in scripture. This was encouraging to me, as strong dissension is not an attractive aspect of any culture that wants to get their beliefs known. Anyway, in college I encountered another group of people who were quite adamant about my Faith. Not their faith,but mine. I assume they were borrowing mine because they had abandoned theirs or had not gotten one to begin with. Regardless, they were incredibly interested in it.

How does one borrow a faith? No, really. Do they play along? There's no point to acting along with a religion for kicks but not actually believing in it. Wouldn't you be offended if I suddenly pretended to be a Christian, using my understanding of Christianity, without actually believing?

This was good for me. I liked it when people were interested in my faith because it was then that I could share it with them. But this was a different kind of interest. These people were trying to SAVE ME. Apparently, I needed salvation from salvation, and these people were saviors from my savior. So, understand how interested I was indeed in these claims. I did, after all, want to be saved.

So, they pretended to be Christian to...stop you from being Christian? That makes no sense. Why would you need to be saved if you were already a Christian? People usually consider themselves saved when they become Christian (or go through some revival, whatever).

While I met many people who were like-minded in their atheist servanthood, I can conglomerate their ideals into one person who will represent them all. I will name him Richkins.

Xeno already covered all I need to say about "Richkins." Atheism is an incredibly broad group. Clumping us all together would be like grouping you in with, say, WBC. You would hate that, so don't you think we'd hate it too? Not to mention, there's no "servanthood" in atheism, unless you'd consider humanism that. Again, not all atheists are humanist.

It started one day in the cafeteria. I was talking about Jesus and His love toward others when Richkins interrupted.
“Your God is a god of hate,” he said with conviction.

Yes, I too go up to Christians and start conversations like that. Also, how does this tie in with the people from before who were trying to "save" you?

Surprised,I turned to look at him. He stared back with concerned eyes and I knew he was going to try to save me.
“And here I thought He was a God of love,” I responded, “He says that repeatedly in scripture.”

I can say I love people until I'm blue and the face, but it would mean nothing if I ordered the slaughter of them.

“Well the scripture you are reading is wrong unless it’s from the Old Testament.”
I was shocked at how much Richkins new about my Faith,

You'd be surprised just how much atheists know about Christianity, especially when many of us come from religious backgrounds.

“You mean where God commanded that war should break out.”
“Merciless, brutal war,” said Richkins with a shake of his head, “how could a God of love command people to do such things?”
“I had heard that the Old Testament was a different time. A time to show how we are not prepared or able to fulfill every law God set forth for us. But those wars were not sudden slaughters,” I said, “But the result of a people unwilling to take the many, many chances that God had given them to turn away from their destructive ways.”

And how would it be any different today? Why would generations of so-called "destructive ways" be allowed to continue? Why send Jesus down at all?
If you asked me, I'd say it doesn't even matter. I see the destruction Christianity has caused, so why would a god change from a vengeful god who ordered to an all-loving god?

Richkins looked at me in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. I could tell that one part of his many emotions was pity for me. How lost I was.
“God hates gay people. God hates those who don’t follow him.”
“I never knew that,” I responded, “Considering how God never says that in His Word to us. I’m glad you’re here to set me straight on this issue. The message of hate that God has for us is so hard to see in the overwhelming references to Love for all mankind.

Nope, don't believe it for a moment. I've seen more messages of hate than of love. How many times I've been told I'd end up in hell, I can't count. I've been told that I'd become a drug abuser for no reason other than my atheism. And I'm just an atheist. Imagine if I were a gay man. Nice too see all those messages of love drowning out a SINGLE verse from Leviticus, eh?

“Glad I could help,” said Richkins with an understanding smile.
It was at this point that I realized that people who were not, in the most superficial way to put it, subscribed to the Christian culture could tell me so much about what I believe in. It was as amazing as watching an Argentinean describing the finer points of pasta making to an Italian, or watching a Muslim council as Buddhist in a Buddhist manner. I was amazed at what I apparently believed in. Maybe even appalled.

What was that about borrowing religion again?

I wished,then and there, that God did not hate gay people. I wished that He was patient,kind, and slow to anger. I wished desperately that God had prepared good things for me.

You just said you had trouble seeing the hate over the messages of love. Before, you said you were preaching love. Out of nowhere "Richkins," a guy you said was appalling for being able to argue your religion, made your faith unstable? Using one of the absolute weakest "arguments" I've ever seen? There was so little substance to it, I hesitate to even call it an argument.

Please understand, all I had before was the Bible, logic, my mind, and a deep sense I could not fully explain. Now I had this guy- somebody who could explain to me my beliefs so wonderfully.

If it were so logical, your faith should be able to take more of a beating than this. Next.

“Your Godsends people- GOOD people- to hell,” he followed up.
Now I didn’t remember where God did this in the bible, but another look at Richkins and I knew that it was important that I knew this.
“I always believed that God gave us the choice,” I said quietly, shaken, “I hope I don’t go to Hell.”
I did have some questions myself, “You don’t believe in God, do you?” I asked, only a little fight left in me.

At this point, I'm wondering if this is some attempt at an appeal to emotion. The weak victim, clinging to what little they have left, fighting against the big mean scary atheist. Could they ever survive?

“No, of course not. Bedtime stories and superstition for the stupid and hypocrites,” he said confidently, “I believe in logic and science.”
This was mind-blowing. I could not quite comprehend how someone who did not believe in God could speak so concretely and with such assurance on His qualities, but here he was before me. His addition on believing in logic was further distressing. I thought I believed in logic, too, and I have always loved science. Clearly Christianity and logic could not co-exist, and I had to choose one or the other. A tug-of-war played out in my head, but nothing was moving.It was as if the rope that Christianity and logic were playing with was a circle, and each pull helped the other team.

"My parents reinforced in me the values that they thought were the best, but they always let me make my own decisions. They believed in informed minds, questions, and finding the proper answer."

"Please understand, all I had before was the Bible, logic, my mind, and a deep sense I could not fully explain."

I have nothing to add.

I broke down silently at this point, and Richkins continued, “These are just some of the reasons I don’t believe in a big bearded man in the sky.
There was no was I could describe my despair with this new revelation. Absurdly brought unto me like an afterthought. GOD WAS A BIG BEARDED MAN IN THE SKY? This was so different from how I thought of Him.
I wept,thinking of how much of the Bible I misunderstood. Richkins consolidated me with a hand on my back, shuddering with my sobs.
“Well I can’t believe in that god,” I concluded as I composed myself.
“I understand,” said Richkins, “That is the place I arrived as well.”
“Can you save me from this?” I asked hesitantly.
“Yes,” he said, “just confess with your tongue that God doesn’t exist and believe it with your heart, and you will be free from our judgment that is to come.”

Basically a continuation of what I said before. Doesn't line up with what you said before, plot holes I could drive my car through, whatever. Also going to double what Xeno said. I'm not here to convert anyone. I've never tried to convert anyone, period. It's mostly been people trying to convert me, of course. Their arguments were about as weak as the one above, though with slightly more effort.
What judgment? It's easier to get by as a Christian than an atheist, so it's not that. Divine judgment? Yeah, no, why would I want to save someone from something I don't believe exists?

I left after confessing that that god did not exist. I was now enlightened and so much more confident in Abba, Father, Alpha and Omega, His son Jesus who loves us(John 3:16), cares for us (Ephesians 1), gave us everything, and can’t wait to see us again, and the Holy Spirit who empowers us (Acts 1:8). I left reminded that God is not limited to our understanding, but what He reveals to us is Love(1 John 1:5). Agape, unconditional, unending love for each of us individually(1 John 4:7-12). I don’t know what god Richkins believes in, but that sounds like a very poor god indeed, so I was happy to leave that behind. My prayer now is that Richkins will see that God is beyond the misinterpretations, beyond the uninformed theories, and beyond our worldly descriptions. And for myself, that I would stand strong, deeply rooted in Truth, and not wash to and fro like a wave in the wind.

Richkins wouldn't believe in a god. Atheists don't believe in gods. That's what makes us atheists.
I shouldn't have to point out how nonsensical it is to say the god you believe in doesn't actually exists. Really.
As a final mention, I'm not sure what the point is of posting quotes. If you're using them to prove your religion right, then I have some very, very bad news.

Comments? Questions? Discuss kindly below!
feel free to share if you agree!
note- not at all a representation of all atheists.

I typed "quote" so many times, I felt like I was writing Cave Story fanfiction. That said, this was a poor story. I couldn't take it seriously as fiction, and I couldn't take the author seriously as, well, an author. It reads like a chain letter I'd get from my grandmother.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:51 am
by silvanis2.0
I am really sorry I offended so many people. It was merely comforting when I felt like I was a minority in college. Since it is so hurtful I will delete this thread and offer my sincerest apology.

Re: How Atheists Convinced Me To Lose My Faith in a God I Didn’t Know

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:16 am
by shooraijin
So, I'm going to close this before this goes further. silvanis, this probably was going to simply pick a fight from the beginning. While the official position of CAA is one of Christianity, we accept people of other religious backgrounds (or in this case the strictly irreligious) as long as they are aware of the viewpoint of the site, and we need to be mindful of that. We're not going to tolerate direct attacks on Christianity either, but I don't see these responses in that vein per se.

That said, we have plenty of people who have a kneejerk defense when they feel threatened, and it's unacceptable from anyone. If you think the post is inappropriate, rather than picking it apart and prolonging the squabble, report it.