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Thread: So my friend turned from an atheist into a christian......

  1. #1 So my friend turned from an atheist into a christian...... 
    New Member ghost13's Avatar
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    Hello this is my first post on this forum so be nice, this is a long thread so I hope it is an interesting read :-D . Since I left school and university my source for scientific and skeptical debates are drying up as I have moved back home and most of my friends here are not the brightest :wink: .

    So I thought I would share this story with you. One of my friends that I've known since school, I'm slightly apprehensive about using his real name so lets call him Sean, was basically my best friend for long periods of my life and ever since we were young we used to chat about science and how 'ridiculous' religion was, we were the definition of militant atheists. I've enjoyed many long chats in the pub about philosophy, history and physics etc. But recently he met a girl....

    She's devoutly Christian and he absolutely loves her, and her family would never approve of her 'seeing' someone who is a non believer, so he basically blagged it, and said he was an agnostic but she has slowly been sending him bible passages and scrambling his brains to the point he now attends evangelical services and does believe in the Christian faith. I've met up with him for a beer since and I've desperately tried to get him to see reason, he dragged me along to a church service which I was not happy about. Anyway I think he is a lost cause now but In my last final ditch to get him to fall in love with science again I showed him this video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY59wZdCDo0

    Which sends shivers down my spine everytime, but it didn't work. So my question to you is, what would you do if this happened to you?

    Thanks for reading, and thank god for making me an atheist


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  3. #2  
    Forum Senior questor's Avatar
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    Well, change can be a tough thing, especially after emotion has kicked in, for then the rational-logical may have said "good-bye", more out of being buried than of any conscious decision weighing. Good video.


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  4. #3  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Ghost13 - Sex is powerful. Your friends logical mind has taken a back seat to his reptilian mind. He is thinking with his pants, not his cortex. It's amazing what we all do for sex.

    What would I do if this were my friend? Find a way to get him laid repeatedly and pleasurably by another one or two people who are not caught in the god fog. The best way to break the spell of one woman is to get some from another...

    Also, don't take it personally. It's his choice. If this is something he wishes to do, then so be it. It's his life, not yours. The question is, can you remain friends with someone with whom you disagree?

    If not, then move on. Live your life, and don't fret over his. Be a friend, but remember that the girl has something you never will... A way to flood his brain with happy pleasure chemicals.
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  5. #4  
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    I wouldn't underestimate the power of the God message either. His girl got him into the church, but Christianity has been honing it's rhetoric for 2000 years to attract people. Its promise of eternal life, everlasting happiness, a set of concrete morals and an assertion of the meaning of life etc. are amazingly persuasive. It's even more so for someone in a weakened mental state, children, people in bad straits such as such as after loosing someone close, or haven fallen head or heals in love with an ardent believer.
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    Is he happy?
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

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  7. #6 re: 
    New Member ghost13's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. Yes he's happy, he's happy with her and that's important, one thing I did say to him was to listen to that skeptical whisper in your head otherwise it will eventually leave. I've chatted with her too, not bringing up religion, she likes history and is very clever too, she likes the idea that love is special rather than just a chemical process in the human brain.
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  8. #7  
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    When in love, enjoying the message, it's probably not the best thing to dwell on the messenger actions of the bonding hormones beneath, even if that's how it really is at the source; it could be a mood breaker, plus, the hormones do indeed reflect the attraction.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    goes to show : not only is love a chemical, but also a special sort of madness
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    So, there can indeed be chemistry between people.
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  11. #10 Re: re: 
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost13
    ...she likes the idea that love is special rather than just a chemical process in the human brain.
    Being a chemical process, and even understanding that process, doesn't make love any less special.

    I was asked to convert to Islam in the name of love recently. I chose not to, but it was, still is, heart wrenching. Personally i'd leave him to it and just be there for him; the devil on his shoulder. I'm sure he's going through an emotional upheaval.

    Like the video, its optimism is refreshing. Guess that's why i chose not to convert.
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

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  12. #11  
    sox
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    The attitudes on this forum can at times be quite apalling.

    If any of my m8's tried to drive a wedge between me and my gf I'd promptly tell him to where he can get off, and if that didn't work I'd punch his face in.

    Also, if this is such an issue for you, then you must be a pretty shallow person, in which case your friend is better off without you.

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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    The attitudes on this forum can at times be quite apalling.

    If any of my m8's tried to drive a wedge between me and my gf I'd promptly tell him to where he can get off, and if that didn't work I'd punch his face in.

    Also, if this is such an issue for you, then you must be a pretty shallow person, in which case your friend is better off without you.
    "Militant atheists" tend to turn atheism into a dogmatic religion without recognizing that they are doing so. They become rather annoying by claiming some sort of intellectual high ground in the process. In reality they are just as illogical and dogmatic as any fundamentalist who espouses creationism. Both are wrong, just wrong about different things. They are roughlynequally annoying.

    In fact, science can tell us nothing about the existence or non-existence of God, and religion can tell us nothing about science. Conflict arises when either is applied improperly. Both are often improperly applied.

    Science is fundamentally based on the premise that nature is orderly. It is the job of the scientist to discern that order and formulate predictive models. If some supernatural being were to regularly intercede and alter the outcome of physical processes the requisite orderliness of nature would be destroyed and science would be impossible. That appears to not be the case. Science has been quite successful in discovering the fundamental principles that explain HOW (sometimes called why in conjunction with theoretical models but really how)nature works.

    WHY the laws of nature are what they are is a different question. That is not a question for science, but rather for religion and philosophy. Science has no tools to lend insight to such issues, any more than religion has tools to determine what the fundamental principles actually are.


    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_noma.html
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  14. #13  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    There are a few noteworthy criticisms of Gould's idea of non-overlapping magisteria.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-ove...ria#Criticisms

    Richard Dawkins has criticized Gould's position on the grounds that religion does not, and cannot, steer clear of the material scientific matters that Gould considers outside religion's scope. He writes, "it is completely unrealistic to claim, as Gould and many others do, that religion keeps itself away from science's turf, restricting itself to morals and values. A universe with a supernatural presence would be a fundamentally and qualitatively different kind of universe from one without. The difference is, inescapably, a scientific difference. Religions make existence claims, and this means scientific claims."

    Dawkins also argues that a religion in which there were no interventions in the physical world by supernatural beings (hence subject to scientific investigation) would be a far different one from any existent ones, and certainly different from all the Abrahamic religions. Moreover, he claims that religions would be only too happy to accept any scientific claims that supported their views. For example, if DNA evidence proved that Jesus had no earthly father, Dawkins claims that the argument of non-overlapping magisteria would be quickly dropped.

    Dawkins makes a more fundamental criticism of NOMA by stating that not all grammatically correct questions are legitimate (for example, "What does the color red smell like?"), and thus the Why? questions of religion do not necessarily deserve an answer. Under this argument, contrary to Gould's assertion that religion properly addresses "questions of moral meaning and value", the magisterium of religion encompasses nothing.

    Francis Collins attempted to criticise the limits of NOMA, arguing that science, religion, and other spheres have "partially overlapped," while agreeing with Gould that morals, spirituality, and ethics cannot be determined from naturalistic interpretation.

    It's also worthy to note that there truly are naturalistic explanations for morality, ethics, and even spirituality.



    EDIT: Based on the response below, wanted to supplement this a bit for any interested readers:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Non-Ove...ritics_of_NOMA
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Debate:...correctness%3F
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    There are a few noteworthy criticisms of Gould's idea of non-overlapping magisteria.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-ove...ria#Criticisms
    Richard Dawkins has criticized Gould's position on the grounds that religion does not, and cannot, steer clear of the material scientific matters that Gould considers outside religion's scope. He writes, "it is completely unrealistic to claim, as Gould and many others do, that religion keeps itself away from science's turf, restricting itself to morals and values. A universe with a supernatural presence would be a fundamentally and qualitatively different kind of universe from one without. The difference is, inescapably, a scientific difference. Religions make existence claims, and this means scientific claims."
    What many religions actually do, as opposed to what they should do is not the question.

    Dawkins also argues that a religion in which there were no interventions in the physical world by supernatural beings (hence subject to scientific investigation) would be a far different one from any existent ones, and certainly different from all the Abrahamic religions. Moreover, he claims that religions would be only too happy to accept any scientific claims that supported their views. For example, if DNA evidence proved that Jesus had no earthly father, Dawkins claims that the argument of non-overlapping magisteria would be quickly dropped.
    Speculation without substantion. Atheism as religion.

    Dawkins makes a more fundamental criticism of NOMA by stating that not all grammatically correct questions are legitimate (for example, "What does the color red smell like?"), and thus the Why? questions of religion do not necessarily deserve an answer. Under this argument, contrary to Gould's assertion that religion properly addresses "questions of moral meaning and value", the magisterium of religion encompasses nothing.
    Of course you can formulate grammatically correct yet meaningless questions, and declarative sentences for that matter. Dawkins does it with regularity. Here has vdone that with an entire paragraph.

    It is quite clear that religion has formulated quite reasonable and effective moral principles. It has also been the source of much senseless violence and bloodshed. That is not the point.

    Francis Collins attempted to criticise the limits of NOMA, arguing that science, religion, and other spheres have "partially overlapped," while agreeing with Gould that morals, spirituality, and ethics cannot be determined from naturalistic interpretation.
    So what ?


    It's also worthy to note that there truly are naturalistic explanations for morality, ethics, and even spirituality.
    No there are not. There are merely speculations and rationalizations. Often more atheism as religion.

    This should not be interpreted as meaning that without religion there could be no morality. Ethical codes have little to do with religion anyway -- lawyers have an ethical code (which pretty clearly has little to do with morality).

    Spirituality can include all sorts of superestition and is irrelevant here.

    The issue is not that religion and science are aften inappropriately mixed, but they need not be and should not be. I maintain that those who vehemently argue otherwise are either religious nuts or atheists who have turned atheism into any equally nutty religion.
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  16. #15  
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    To perhaps make this more clear I will tell you my personal perspective.

    This is NOT a scientific position. I will not debate it. I cannot prove that it is correct. No one can prove that it is incorrect.

    The laws of nature as we understand them have an intrinsic beauty that is revealed through mathematics. To me this order and beauty is extremely unlikely to exist without some higher reason. I do not believe that it is happenstance.

    I call that higher reason God. I have no idea whatever of the nature of God. I suspect that none of the world's religions have the right picture. I suspect that all of them have a small glimpse of the truth. I doubt that humans will ever know the whole truth. All of the major religions seem to agree on a few basic moral principles, and in that they are probably right. All of them have some rather bizarre notions that are most likely wrong and some are just absurd.

    To me, the best evidence for a higher authority can be found in a good text on general relativity or quantum field theory and the not-understood mechanism by which those principles give rise to our universe and the life within it.

    You are quite free to believe otherwise, as there is no scientific evidence to prove you wrong. Nor can there ever be such evidence. Separate majesteria.
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  17. #16  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing that. I respect both you and your views (trust me... not something I always do). My sense is that you seem to hold more of a mild deistic position, something akin to Spinoza's god... perhaps a close synonym with nature/cosmos, etc.

    My stance is that I don't know the answer to the deeper questions. I see the beauty and structure and intrinsic order all around me, and am profoundly awed by it, but I find the god concept deeply unsatisfying in nearly every possible way... A dissatisfaction reinforced nearly each day by my interactions with the ignorant, deluded, and/or misguided fools with whom I share existence on this planet... folks who assert that their personal religion or viewpoint or worldview is somehow relevant for any of the rest of us.

    The only point of contention I have with your reply is that morality most certainly has naturalistic explanation, but that's not really relevant here. Also, if you were to view my "magisteria Venn diagram," you would see plainly how my approach is to land the spiritual circle wholly within the circle which represents our natural human mind (if that makes any sense). Cheers.
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