Any atheists here who were once believers?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by wegs, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Over the past couple of years, I've fallen away from organized "religion." And while the Bible offers some moral guidance, I find myself not taking it literally. When I think about my trust in scientific truths, my faith beliefs seem even more erroneous. In a nutshell, I feel like I've been on a winding road with my faith...and now, I'm at a cross roads. (I've shared more details in the Christian Music thread if u are interested to gain perspective)

    I'm dating an atheist who doesn't scoff at my beliefs whatsoever. But he said something recently and it was this..."if you believe in God, you should know why you do." (And he went on to say...not for others, but for myself, I need to know why)

    I've believed in God all of my life; I don't "know" anything else.

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    But, for a while, I've been spiritually "dry." I'm hopeful that some of you might be inspired to share any story with me as to if you are an atheist, but you were once a believer. How did you come to terms with it? How did it change your worldview? Your life? Your decision making?

    I've read recently Charles Darwin's "journey" from following a faith to systematically denouncing the Old and New Testaments. He seemed to only apply logic, but is there more to it?

    Just looking for some thoughtful input and guidance from those who were once believers and now, are not.
    TIA!
     
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  3. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    One thing to add:

    During my devout Christian days, I used to think that atheism was a choice. That people "chose" to reject God. But, I don't think this, anymore. For me a believer, I can only explain this as a gradual "awakening." Almost like rising out of a spiritual coma or something.

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    Just wanted to add that because this isn't something one comes to lightly. I've been on this winding path for some time.
     
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  5. Robittybob1 Banned Banned

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    Personally I can't believe that you will give up hope of meeting your loved ones again. That is what atheism represents to me, the belief that death is the end. Death is not the end and Jesus proved that by coming back from Hell. He is now with the Father interceding for the saints. Saints like you and me. There are other believers here too but you and I had this desire to modernize the message. I believe we were given the green light for that.

    OK I will just have to wait and see if my hunch is correct. ttyl
     
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  7. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    Not an atheist. But I am pondering what it means that the big bang singularity came out of nothing, yet God still claims responsibility. Really weird.
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I never have been a "believer", so take what I say with this caveat -


    Christianity is not the alpha and omega of "organized religion."
    So falling away from Christianity is not the same as falling away from organized religion. Although it is conceivable for a Christian to think it is.
     
  9. Combo Registered Member

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    I would like to chip in briefly as a believer who has had a skeptical phase. I find the relationship between God and oneself requires effort: prayer, reading your Holy Book, reflecting and contemplating regularly, fellowship and service. It also requires constant vigilance about pursuing things in life that strengthen that relationship (whether it's friendships, hobbies, books) and also avoiding negative influences.

    You mention "devout Christian days" followed by what seems like drifting away. Is this perhaps more a case of neglect than of awakening?
     
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    To an untrained eye, they look strikingly similar ...
     
  11. arauca Banned Banned

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw8zlY-60Zc&list=PLCE4E525AD48251D0
    The Lord is my refuge
     
  12. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Hello

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    You and I have very similar views about science and "faith." Where my awakening has come in is in the fact that God doesn't claim anything, rather man claims God. This doesn't mean I don't believe in a higher power, but it has caused me to search into myself as to why I believe what I do, and is God's "existence" predicated upon the fact that I believe it to be? Is that the actual Alpha and Omega...my belief in God? What do you think? I am not trying to get anyone to doubt what he or she believes, let me make that disclaimer.
    hello

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    what holy book? There are a few...all opposing one another, riddled with sad to say, non truths. I've been a very faithful believer, but honestly...my awakening has caused my "neglect" rather than the other way around.

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    True. But, my awakening to what is true and what simply isn't no matter how much I pray or read etc...has led me to an awakening, of sorts. It hasn't been a choice, in fact, it frightens me a little to abandon my beliefs, but that is not a reason to follow a belief...strictly because I fear the unknown without it.
     
  13. elte Valued Senior Member

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    snip
    Wegs, a way to describe my journey is I believed based on what I knew, and now I don't believe based on what I know.
     
  14. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Hi elte…that’s it. That’s it, exactly.

    So, you were once a believer? Did anything notably change in your life, going from believing to not? Or was it gradual, as to not even appear like a transition?
    Not trying to pry, just wondering.
     
  15. elte Valued Senior Member

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    Hi Wegs, that's okay, it always turns out safe conversing with you.

    It was a gradual process. The drive to know made me search, and the information that I found gradually pushed me more and more to nonbelief.
     
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    As someone who has never been a "believer," I cannot particularly relate to your predicament. I do find your analysis of your situation very odd, though.
    To me, the way you have been analyzing your situation suggests that you have never been much of a believer to begin with, but more of a tentative believer, like your whole belief/religiosity has been a house of cards from the beginning, and you have been less or more aware of this from the beginning as well.

    So to me, it looks like you're not falling away from religion, but more like "falling away" from wishful thinking.
     
  17. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Yes...this has been the same for me too. Things happened, to cause me to search. I never walked through life as a 'doubting Thomas,' I always felt a connection with God, or to my faith in God. I think when I stopped taking the bible literally, it caused me to start looking at my entire set of beliefs. Sometimes, sweeping my doubts under the rug and going through the motions...but the carpet can't hold all my doubts anymore, and I don't want to live my life 'going through the motions' of a faith that I no longer feel is true.

    But, my belief in God. That is where I'm at now...why do I believe what I believe. Had my boyfriend not asked me this, maybe I would still be in a fog. He got me to think. Thanks for sharing, elte.

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    I haven't begun to share my analysis of it here, so you can only speculate as to my 'predicament.' That said...perhaps, it's all just wishful thinking.
    My belief wasn't built on a house of cards, quite the contrary. But, the past few years, experiences...people...I view things and my life, differently. I view my thoughts to God, differently. It hasn't been an earth shaking experience to feel differently than I once did, about my beliefs. It was gradual. Like a consistent drip of a faucet and now I find myself standing in a puddle. I don't know.
     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I'd concur about possibly only being a "tentative believer".

    Wegs, I think I went through something similar while I was about 15/16.
    I looked at why I thought I believed, and then concluded that I didn't, and when I admitted to myself that I didn't believe, it felt like such a weight off my shoulder.
    And I can honestly say that I knew myself more through that process.
    But I also know others who went through the same process and came out as stronger believers.
    So all I can add, really, is that once you know yourself sufficiently, you will know whether you believe or not, even before you address that question head on.
    So you believe in God merely to hold on to the belief that you will meet loved ones again? Do you not think that atheists also wish this was true?
    But no matter how hard we try, we just can't choose to believe... and certainly not through some wishful thinking that you highlight.
    Plus, once you accept that death is the end then such issues (that rely on life after death for their emotional impact) become moot.
     
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I've been trying to understand the minds of believers, but I just can't ...

    And the way people who identify themselves as former believers describe their situation - it sounds to me like they were never actual believers to begin with.
     
  20. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Sarkus, I have tears in my eyes reading what you wrote…wow, that’s it. I don’t know who I am without my faith. It has been my identity all my life. That is why I’ve ignored my doubts. I have felt a sweeping sense of peace, over the past year…once I really started to search for truth. I’ve also felt guilt. But the guilt is dissipating, and peace is becoming more realized.

    Thank you...you don't know how I much I needed to read your post today.
     
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I think it's bizzare to suggest that a person could or would believe in God "merely to hold on to the belief that you will meet loved ones again."
    I'm sure that the hope of meeting loved ones again plays a part in belief in God, but to think it could be the main reason ... that's just so suburban American.


    Agreed. Although the way esp. American Christians explain and justify their belief, they indeed tend to speak of it as if it would be an act of choice, a single choice at that.
    In contrast, the traditional European Catholics that I am familiar with would not describe their belief this way. Which leads me to think that there may be a strong culturally specific element in how people describe the heuristic of belief, and lack thereof. So if we want to analyze religion, we have to separate the religious from the cultural.

    American Protestant Christians may be working out of a religious epistemology that is foreign to other Christians from other cultures.
     
  22. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I’ll post more to this later, but want to say something…and it’s really important, because it underscores why I’ve had negative thoughts about atheism.

    When you spend your life believing in God…following Christianity, for the most part, whether you admit it to yourself/others or not…you hear negative things about atheism. You learn that atheists are out to ‘destroy’ Christianity. You learn that atheists are the root to all the evils in the world. You learn that atheism is evil. That atheists believe themselves to be ‘higher than God.’ They reject God, they compete with God…On and on it goes. I have atheists for friends, and I’m here to say…they are magnificent human beings WITH NO AGENDA. They love me for me. My boyfriend is an atheist, and he is a tremendous person. He has not tried to ‘talk me out of my faith,’ but he asks me questions. He merely gets me to think.

    My Christian friends are great people too…but far more judging than my atheist friends. Why is that.

    Atheism is not an evil ‘concept.’ It is merely the belief that a god does not exist, and instead, that humanity is responsible for humanity. There is beauty in letting go of the trappings of religiousness, and embracing the authenticity of living a very human life.
     
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    To me, you sound just so American and so do your experiences with people ...

    I know Christians can be nasty anywhere, but American Christians are like a category for themselves.


    I'd say there is beauty in letting go of the trappings of American religiousness, and embracing the authenticity of living a very human life.
     

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