Thursday, October 08, 2015

Shadow to Light on conversion and deconversion: We have met the enemy and it is us, or is it them?

When someone becomes a Christian, what sets the stage is the following intuitive insight: There is something very wrong with me; I need to change.
When someone becomes an atheist, what sets the stage i(s) the following intuitive insight: There is something very wrong with them; they need to be stopped.

16 comments:

John Moore said...

This story might resonate for some people, but it's equally plausible to just get the insight that "there is nothing wrong with me."

This is consistent with what atheists are always saying - that atheism is simply the negation of the theistic assertion.

Joe Hinman said...

that's constantly disproved by the things they say.

B. Prokop said...

By John's reasoning Donald Trump is an atheist. He claims to have never done anything requiring forgiveness, and says that even if he did, he would simply improve himself by his own unaided efforts without "bringing God into that picture".

If that's what John meant, then here is a case where we agree with each other.

(Unrelated to John's posting, but Trump also employs the well worn gnu trope of referring to the Holy Eucharist as "a little wine and a cracker".)

jdhuey said...

Over the years I have read and heard a fair number of de-conversion stories from atheists but honestly I have never heard a one that fits the description of "there is something wrong with them".

While there are a few of the stories that involve some traumatic emotional event, most of the stories revolve around an intellectual desire to know the truth and the eventual realization that religions just don't make much sense.

Here is a link to a large number of de-conversions stories:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9663.htm

I, of course, haven't read them all (and have not intention to do so) so, if someone finds an example of a de-conversion that matches the "something wrong with them" story point it out.

Crude said...

Over the years I have read and heard a fair number of de-conversion stories from atheists but honestly I have never heard a one that fits the description of "there is something wrong with them".

Go ask Cowboy Hat how intelligent he thinks Christians are.

most of the stories revolve around an intellectual desire to know the truth and the eventual realization that religions just don't make much sense.


'Eventual realization' meaning 'Sudden bald assertion, usually had early into or prior to the teenage years'.

Bob,

By John's reasoning Donald Trump is an atheist.

Here's to a year+ of the following clownshow:

"I'm totally apolitical! I never talk about politics!"

"Trump is an atheist, no Christian can support him! Bernie Sander is an agnostic jew? Uh I don't want to talk about that."

"I'm totally apolitical you guys! Woe is me, I fell into that trap for years, but I am a changed man! The second amendment should be stripped from the Constitution!"

"Everyone should support the person who clearly is antagonistic towards Christianity for president! I say this as a Christian, not a political person, this isn't a political statement. I think Christ's teaching is clear on this matter."

"I know I said you couldn't vote for Trump because I think he's an atheist. So I contradict myself. I contain multitudes. That's a quote from an author btw so that means I'm good."

Etc, etc.

jdhuey said...

'Sudden bald assertion, usually had early into or prior to the teenage years'.

I'm only speaking to my readings and conversations, obviously, I can't make any scientific claims. I'm sure the scenario you have in mind occurs often; however, frequently, believers will spend years trying to find some valid justification to continue to believe but after always coming up empty handed, they finally accept that a belief in a deity is unwarranted.

Crude said...

I'm only speaking to my readings and conversations, obviously, I can't make any scientific claims. I'm sure the scenario you have in mind occurs often;

See the 'conversion experience' of Dawkins, Coyne, Hitchens, etc.

I'm sure the scenario you have in mind occurs often; however, frequently, believers will spend years trying to find some valid justification to continue to believe but after always coming up empty handed

When you say 'frequently', you're talking about 'second hand testimony from a website meant to portray atheism in a positive light'. How long do you think it'll take me to pull up second hand testimony from ex-atheists admitting that they atheism was rooted in sin, ignorance or both, and they were compelled by a combination of reason and self-honesty?

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

You're the one bringing politics into this. I never brought up Trump's political campaign or his positions. I am simply discussing him as a human being. No politics involved whatsoever.

But since you have a long history of seeing absolutely everything through a political lens, it's not surprising you cannot comprehend someone who has no interest in it.

My posting was 100% a-political.

Jezu ufam tobie!

jdhuey said...

When I lived in Indianapolis, I was evolved with the local chapter of CFI. Two of our members were a married couple that had both been raised in the Pentacostal faith. They had met in church and been married there. After about a year of married, she began to have some doubts about there church. The two of them began a five year research 'program' to explore not only the Pentacostal faith, but Christianity and religion itself. She was the skeptic and he kept trying to overcome her doubts. He failed. And he had by his failure convinced himself that a naturalistic worldview was the only valid position to take and that entailed the rejection of any deity. There was never a 'road to Damascus' moment, only a gradual slide to rationality. I am assuming that if I have encountered such a couple and have read of similar cases, then they are not uncommon - hence the word 'frequently'.

In my own personal case, the process took a number of years - from the time I was about 10 to the time I was 15. (Actually, my first memory of doubt happened when I was 8, in Vacation Bible School. The lesson was about Moses convincing the Pharaoh to let the Jews go. There is a scene where the Pharaoh's priests toss down their staffs and become snakes. Moses then tosses down his own staff and it becomes a snake that eats the other snakes. Thus showing that the god of Moses was greater than the gods of Eygpt. However, what I got from the story was that the Egyptian gods had some power and therefore had to be considered real.) I never had a 'moment' - it was just that the more I learned the more convinced I became that what religion was teaching was a crock.

Legion of Logic said...

Except that atheism is not a valid position to take. It defies all reason. So that couple went into a slide into delusion, and the woman dragged the man behind her. How sad.

Crude said...

Bob,

You're the one bringing politics into this. I never brought up Trump's political campaign or

Sure Bob. The choice of Trump was completely random and apolitical. Just as your behavior - which I have accurately prophesized, and you will prove me right - will be utterly apolitical, while you attack your political enemies exclusively, defend your political allies, and express political positions which you say aren't political.

Let me give you a little tip: you're a bad liar. No one believed you when you said that your joy at 'living in the bluest of the blue states - woo!' was a joke rather than an expression of partisanism. No one believes you when you say you think you're being apolitical. All you prove is that, when it comes to Christianity, not only are your political allegiances front and center - but you will lie your ass off in the service of them.

Do as you will. Like I said, it's going to be entertaining.

Crude said...

jdhuey,

I am assuming that if I have encountered such a couple and have read of similar cases, then they are not uncommon - hence the word 'frequently'.

That doesn't answer my point at all. Again: your own reference point was an atheist website devoted to promoting atheism and making it look good.

I've had multiple incidents of watching atheists get pushed out of naturalism - and atheism - upon realizing that they found it to be untenable, that the arguments didn't hold up, that they didn't HAVE arguments to begin with. I've seen atheists pushed to deism, atheists pushed to Christianity. By your logic, I can likewise say that atheists frequently convert from naturalism to non-naturalism because of the strength of the arguments and evidence.

And I can say that, frequently, atheist conversion experiences are pretty shallow: teenage years or younger, 'suddenly realized there is no God/religion is all wrong'. Usually with zero apparent recognition that there's a big gulf between 'Christianity is wrong' and 'atheism', and another between 'atheism' and 'naturalism is true'.

I never had a 'moment' - it was just that the more I learned the more convinced I became that what religion was teaching was a crock.

I pointed out that some of the most prominent atheists around did, in fact, have that 'moment'. Again, by your standards, it's not uncommon. I can point out another: usually, the evidence and arguments they give for their new view are uniformly bad. Dawkins' are legendarily bad. His followers don't really improve on it.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

I stand by what I wrote above. I have zero interest in Trump's politics. In fact, I don't even know what they are (and I doubt anyone else does, either).

But I am certain that Trump is a Bad Man. And that ain't politics - it's all about the person. He is an enemy of Catholicism, and if he's even a Christian, it's in name only. Every statement he's made so far on the subject makes me believe he's either an atheist, or a hypocrite.

As for Sanders (can't figure why you even brought him up), I haven't given him 10 seconds thought so far. Not interested.

The only candidate who came even close to interesting me is down in the single digits in the polls, so I am probably going to be sidelined anyway in this election.

Crude said...

Bob,

I stand by what I wrote above. I have zero interest in Trump's politics.

See what I said before re: lying.

As for Sanders (can't figure why you even brought him up), I haven't given him 10 seconds thought so far. Not interested.

Again, see what I said re: lying.

I'll add that you're not just bad at lying, but you're unintentionally funny.

Seriously: 'I have no idea what Trump's politics are! Goodness gracious, is he running for president or something? News to me. But I heard he said he never asked God for forgiveness and that makes him an enemy of the Church, an enemy of Christian, an evil person, and probably an atheist. I have no opinion on the very popular and expressly non-believing Jew running for president, and do not want to discuss that, now or ever.'

That, my friend, is comedy gold.

B. Prokop said...

Laugh it up, funny man, but it be the truth. You simply can't conceive of anyone not being interested in politics, can you? That terribly blinkered view comes from your seeing everything through a political lens, and you project that mindset onto everyone else.

It is also indicative of where your ultimate priorities may be. Be careful you don't fall into what C.S. Lewis called the "Christianity and" trap, where whatever comes after the "and" is what's truly important to you.

And no, speaking in all honesty, I have never seen any information whatsoever about Sanders' religion, other than what you have posted here and on your own blog. Zip, nado, nil, bupkis, nichego, nihil, nothing. I had no idea he was even Jewish, believing or otherwise. And other than your word, I still don't know whether he is.

You choose to not believe this, but my a-politicism is the direct and continuing result of an epiphany I had some years back on my nth re-reading of The Divine Comedy (specifically, Canto VII of the Inferno), where I realized that blind partisanship is a Mortal Sin, fully capable of damning one to hell. I have since fully repented of my own many sins in that area, and now avoid political partisanship like the plague.

Now that, of course, does not stop me from having opinions on various matters, but I resolutely de-link them from any and all political taint. On a side note, you might be surprised that the one person currently running for president that I would most like to see win is a Republican. Unfortunately, his poll numbers are in the single digits, so it's most likely not gonna happen. (And there were two Republicans running last time around who I would have been very happy to have seen win. Neither one got the nomination.)

And even before my epiphany, I was never (like some people) blindly partisan. I've participated in 11 presidential elections in my lifetime, and I voted for one party 8 times and the other 3. Now that may not be an even split, but it's evidence I have always voted for the person and not the party. I've often enjoyed informing people that I'm the only person I know who voted for both McGovern and Goldwater. And while they're scratching their heads trying to figure out just how old I am, I then reveal that my vote for Goldwater was for senator (and not in his 1964 presidential bid).

Jezu ufam tobie!

Crude said...

Laugh it up, funny man, but it be the truth. You simply can't conceive of anyone not being interested in politics, can you?

Oh, I can, easily. Plenty of people have no interest in politics. You can usually tell who they are, because they, uh... don't talk about politics or political candidates.

And even before my epiphany, I was never (like some people) blindly partisan.

Hahaha.

Once again, your famous quote about Elizabeth Warren: Makes me wish I lived in Massachusetts so I could vote for her. (But wait, I already live in the bluest of Blue States, Maryland. Hooray!!!

Followed by, well after the fact, constantly dishonesty about how you were just /kidding/, why you're a solid non-partisan, utterly apolitical.

Like I said: not just a bad liar, but a funny one.

Oh, and one more, since you keep coming back for this:

And no, speaking in all honesty, I have never seen any information whatsoever about Sanders' religion, other than what you have posted here and on your own blog.

He's a non-practicing Jew. You tell me, pal: enemy of the Church or what? Remember, your gold standard is 'Never asked God for forgiveness. He must be an atheist, and at the least he's an enemy of Christ.' Tell me how to vote when it comes to irreligious jews.

I'm waiting for a good one like, 'Well, look, sometimes an antichrist is the best candidate.'