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Thread: An atheists journey to god

  1. #1 An atheists journey to god 
    Forum Freshman Vashti's Daughter's Avatar
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    I was born into an atheist family. Growing up and through school I did not go to church and most of my friend were also atheist. Actually athesist is probably not the correct term here, religion featured in our lives so little that we vever took the time or trouble to define ourselves as atheist. Maybe areligious is more accurate. I studied a degree in business and thought little about religion.

    I have always read a lot but until this point mainly fiction. In my late twenties I started reading more non fiction; history and a little philosophy; this led me onto reading about buddhism, which I became quite taken with for a while. I then realised that although I was becoming taken with buddhism I had little or no knowledge of other religions escpecially the one of my country christianity. I then set out to read the bible, the koran and various other writings ranging from chritianity to taoism and more. During this process which lasted years (well is still ongoing) I found that I had adopted a firm belief in the existence of god. I cant define the exact moment this happened but it did.

    I do not belong to any organisation, I have not been preached to or converted. I believe I am of at least average intelligence. I live a happy life , I have friends, family and a job. There hase been no great trauma in my life and as my career seems to be progressing I conclude that my mental faculties are still working properly. My family and friends are still atheist, expect a few mild christians.

    I can see that my belief may be scientifically illogical, but that does not deter me, I cannot shake my belief in god. And to be honest I dont want to shake it either. The task of my reading is now to define / refine my philosphies / theologies and pursuit of truth.

    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way? I cant be the only one (I know i'm not from other sources).

    I am not looking for an in depth analysis of my life here nor my belief system but I thought this scenario for atheist conversion to god would make for interesting discussion.


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    Vashti's Daughter,

    I am of the opinion that you are doing just fine, as you will probably agree. I hold nothing, really, against Christians, or any of the other members of any religion, as long as you are peaceful and respectful of other people's choice to not believe in God. This goes both ways, and I can understand the argument from either the religious side or the atheist side. Myself, as you have probably noticed, am somewhere in the middle, which may be seen to be the worst place to be. I'm not so sure about this. I like the idea of being able to see both sides, though I am leaning atheist after a lifetime of Christianity. I wonder why some of us do go from one extreme, so to speak, to the other?

    My problem is when a "religious" person or an atheist or anyone starts to think they are 100% sure they are right and then try to impose their belief on someone else, or on another nation, as the US IS doing right now in IRAQ. Don't tell me we are not, anyone, please. This is about money, power, and religion (as a means to more money and power).

    Anyway, I'm glad you feel like talking about your journey, and I respect your belief, though of course I, while on my own journey, have gone in the opposite direction, and I do wonder a lot about what makes a person turn either from or to God, or what we individually think God might be.


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  4. #3 Re: An atheists journey to god 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vashti's Daughter
    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way? I cant be the only one (I know i'm not from other sources).
    God can easily be inferred. Not in the simplistic way as some anti-theists have it, "If you don't understand something, you say God did it".

    One of the possible sources of inference is linear time logic and linear causality. They suppose a beginning and an end. A beginning and an end cannot be explained using linear logic -- other than surmising that there is something else at work here.

    Another possible source of inference is that of justice and rights. Can we say that human rights and justice exist, if there is no instance to provide for these rights and consistently sanction the violation of them?

    Yet another possible source of inferring God is the questions pertaining the meaning of life.
    "Why do I live?"
    Some people answer this question without God, and are fully satisified with their answer. However, upon further inquiry, you can always find them lacking consistency.


    It is quite possible to come to seek God without ever having heard a word of Him.
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  5. #4  
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    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way?

    You blindly accept that which you've read or have been told rather than question it. You wanted and chose to believe to exist that which has never been shown to exist.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Freshman Vashti's Daughter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    You blindly accept that which you've read or have been told rather than question it. You wanted and chose to believe to exist that which has never been shown to exist.
    Blind how? I had plenty of other experience and reference material, secular education, read some philosophy etc. In what way do you see me as blinded?

    If I blindly accepted I would have never got past buddhism!!
    Truth is not taught, only experienced.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vashti's Daughter
    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    You blindly accept that which you've read or have been told rather than question it. You wanted and chose to believe to exist that which has never been shown to exist.
    Blind how? I had plenty of other experience and reference material, secular education, read some philosophy etc. In what way do you see me as blinded?

    If I blindly accepted I would have never got past buddhism!!
    Good question. What made you choose EDIT(I said Christ and wasn't thinking) Gnosticism over Buddha? Very good question. Please tell us why you chose one over the other.
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    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way?
    Because relating to people is our primary mode of being. Therefore, when questions arise about our existence, the answer that make sense to us deals with a personality. It's a built in homocentric bias.

    That being said, I admire your systematic way of reading all the religious texts, but don't leave out the ones that offer an alternative opinion.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm
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    If I blindly accepted I would have never got past buddhism!!

    No, you blindly accepted whatever fit your perception of how you would like the world to be, just like every other theist with their versions of god. In your case, Buddhism didn't fit.
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  10. #9  
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    Yet another possible source of inferring God is the questions pertaining the meaning of life.
    "Why do I live?"
    Some people answer this question without God, and are fully satisified with their answer. However, upon further inquiry, you can always find them lacking consistency.


    The answer to the question to which those who are satisfied without god is simply that, life came into existence. It is satisfactory because all evidence suggests and supports it, and it is entirely consistent.

    Of course, you have full permission to list and argue those so-called inconsistencies.

    Is religion consistent? How many religions exist and how many gods do they support? Why is one theists perception of his religion and his god different from all others?
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    Since no one knows the nature of God, believing in God and not believing in God are existentially identical.
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    Vashti:

    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way? I cant be the only one (I know i'm not from other sources).
    Of course you're not. You get this way by being unwilling to do the hard work of actually understanding how the universe works. By taking the easy, comfortable way of adopting a sky daddy to take care of you and your everlasting "soul" you avoid the uncomfortable position of having to acknowledge reality as it is.

    It's ok though. You're just following an ancient survival-enhancing program that allows you to make quick but simple decisions about the environment you find yourself in. You are in fine company. Simplicity can make for a very comfortable existance. Good luck with that.
    Huh?
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  13. #12 Re: An atheists journey to god 
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    Quote Originally Posted by water
    God can easily be inferred. Not in the simplistic way as some anti-theists have it, "If you don't understand something, you say God did it".
    Ok. Let's see.

    One of the possible sources of inference is linear time logic and linear causality. They suppose a beginning and an end. A beginning and an end cannot be explained using linear logic -- other than surmising that there is something else at work here.
    I assume you mean the universe? Who supposes a beginning and an end? They? There are many theories involving a big bang that are infinitely cyclic. A never-beginning, never-ending cycle of universes. No one currently knows since events prior to the current spacetime expansion are not available to us. Or you.

    Another possible source of inference is that of justice and rights. Can we say that human rights and justice exist, if there is no instance to provide for these rights and consistently sanction the violation of them?
    What!? Human rights and "justice" are conferred and upheld solely at the discretion of the current host society. They stem from the inherent biological mechanisms of evolutionary group selection.

    Yet another possible source of inferring God is the questions pertaining the meaning of life.
    "Why do I live?"
    Some people answer this question without God, and are fully satisified with their answer. However, upon further inquiry, you can always find them lacking consistency.
    Oh please! Your religions are so fragmented and confused (how many christian sects do you have?). A scientific atheists world view is far more consistent than yours at any level of inspection. Feel free to provide examples of your consistency vs our "inconsistency".

    It is quite possible to come to seek God without ever having heard a word of Him.
    Of course it is. It's a simple belief engine developed over millions of years to help you survive when long introspection might get you eaten by a plains lion. It's simple. It's easy. Why do you think there are so many more theists than atheists?
    Huh?
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    Forum Junior superluminal's Avatar
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    Vashti,

    Totally off topic but... I'm in love with your avatar. (swooning... palms sweating...)
    Huh?
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    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way? I cant be the only one (I know i'm not from other sources).
    Vashti's Daughter,

    You are absolutely correct in that you were never an atheist. At best
    you were apathetic and began findinig various religions attractive. My
    guess is that your concept of 'God' felt good to entertain.

    IMO, it's a pretty natural path. People like to accept things as truth that
    they find attractive and make them feel good.
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  16. #15  
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    superluminal,



    Of course you're not. You get this way by being unwilling to do the hard work of actually understanding how the universe works. By taking the easy, comfortable way of adopting a sky daddy to take care of you and your everlasting "soul" you avoid the uncomfortable position of having to acknowledge reality as it is.
    What does it help me if I know of all the chemical reactions and all that?
    Answer me: Why do you live? What is the meaning of your life?


    I assume you mean the universe? Who supposes a beginning and an end? They?
    Linear time and causality supposes a beginning and an end. At least, it is troubled once you ask about the ultimate cause: What was the first cause? If causality is linear, then what was the first cause?


    There are many theories involving a big bang that are infinitely cyclic. A never-beginning, never-ending cycle of universes.
    If so, then how adequate is it to ever use linear causality? The whole of science is based on finding causal relationships between phenomena, ie. linear causality. But how then can anything ever be cyclic?


    What!? Human rights and "justice" are conferred and upheld solely at the discretion of the current host society. They stem from the inherent biological mechanisms of evolutionary group selection.
    Really? How? Prove me, scientifically, that what you are saying above is true.


    Oh please! Your religions are so fragmented and confused (how many christian sects do you have?). A scientific atheists world view is far more consistent than yours at any level of inspection. Feel free to provide examples of your consistency vs our "inconsistency".
    I will give you examples, first provide me material for them: Answer me: Why do you live? Why does anyone live? What is the meaning of life?


    Of course it is. It's a simple belief engine developed over millions of years to help you survive when long introspection might get you eaten by a plains lion. It's simple. It's easy.
    I do not think theism is easy at all.


    Why do you think there are so many more theists than atheists?
    Anything I would say to this would be a mere speculation.


    * * *


    Crunchy Cat,


    People like to accept things as truth that
    they find attractive and make them feel good.
    This goes for everyone. Everyone.
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  17. #16 Re: An atheists journey to god 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vashti's Daughter
    I was born into an atheist family. Growing up and through school I did not go to church and most of my friend were also atheist. Actually atheist is probably not the correct term here, religion featured in our lives so little that we never took the time or trouble to define ourselves as atheist. Maybe areligious is more accurate. I studied a degree in business and thought little about religion.

    I have always read a lot but until this point mainly fiction. In my late twenties I started reading more non fiction; history and a little philosophy; this led me onto reading about buddhism, which I became quite taken with for a while. I then realised that although I was becoming taken with buddhism I had little or no knowledge of other religions escpecially the one of my country christianity. I then set out to read the bible, the koran and various other writings ranging from chritianity to taoism and more. During this process which lasted years (well is still ongoing) I found that I had adopted a firm belief in the existence of god. I cant define the exact moment this happened but it did.

    I do not belong to any organisation, I have not been preached to or converted. I believe I am of at least average intelligence. I live a happy life , I have friends, family and a job. There hase been no great trauma in my life and as my career seems to be progressing I conclude that my mental faculties are still working properly. My family and friends are still atheist, expect a few mild christians.

    I can see that my belief may be scientifically illogical, but that does not deter me, I cannot shake my belief in god. And to be honest I dont want to shake it either. The task of my reading is now to define / refine my philosphies / theologies and pursuit of truth.

    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way? I cant be the only one (I know i'm not from other sources).

    I am not looking for an in depth analysis of my life here nor my belief system but I thought this scenario for atheist conversion to god would make for interesting discussion.
    this statement is a great way in showing how to bring up children to decide for themselves, without being indoctrinated.

    you could not have been a Atheist, at any time in the past. as you would still be an Atheist, however your parents are,
    to become an atheist, is'nt an easy thing, it goes against everything you've been taught,
    ( the complete opposite to how you were brought up) from day one, you must ostracize yourself from your chidhood friends and family, (you were lucky, and were brought up a free thinker with clear thinking parents, they dont indoctrinate there children, there allowed to chose there own path) apart from years of study and questioning,(ie the bible, the qu'ran, the torah, and the vegas, the book of mormon,infact anything to do with spirituality/supernatural) until enlightenment is reached, it is a hard road to travel, especially for those from a very strong religious base..so once there, there is no turning back, apart from a blow to the head that is.
    so therefore you should rewrite it to read that you were aparthetic to religion/god, you were just non-religious, that would be the more honest way to write it.

    as to your question "why does a person get to god in this way?"well it would definitely not be from an atheistic basis, but from a non-religious basis.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    Quote Originally Posted by water
    Crunchy Cat,


    People like to accept things as truth that
    they find attractive and make them feel good.
    This goes for everyone. Everyone.
    Yeppers.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Freshman Vashti's Daughter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontop3000
    I like the idea of being able to see both sides, though I am leaning atheist after a lifetime of Christianity. I wonder why some of us do go from one extreme, so to speak, to the other?.
    If more people could see from both side the would would certainly be a better place.

    As a rule I think extremes should be avoided - somewhere in the middle is probably a good place to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontop3000
    Anyway, I'm glad you feel like talking about your journey, and I respect your belief, though of course I, while on my own journey, have gone in the opposite direction, and I do wonder a lot about what makes a person turn either from or to God, or what we individually think God might be.
    Thanks for that. I think as important to how we try to define or deny a deity, is our conduct in life and our treatment of our fellow beings with kindness and compassion, and not just our fellow beings but we must have kindness and compassion towards our selves. Whether you are moving towards or away from a religion or a lack of religion always remember that.
    Truth is not taught, only experienced.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Freshman Vashti's Daughter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontop3000
    Good question. What made you choose EDIT(I said Christ and wasn't thinking) Gnosticism over Buddha? Very good question. Please tell us why you chose one over the other.
    Its not so much that I have chosen one religion over another, than that religions have guided me and continue to guide me onwards to truths that I believe we can only discover for ourselves, this involves thinking for ourselves. Different religions often express the same truths from different perspectives; some more philosphical, some more mystic. In the past they have adapted for different cultures, but now we can choose the perception which best suits our understanding.

    We can choose one religion to follow, but that may also limit us; we may gain more understanding from looking at things from a few different viewpoints. Religions have had their uses through time, but a more freeflowing spiritual pursuit is now possible, freeing one from meaningless ceremony and dogma.

    When we look at philosophy, a few people read a number of philosophers choose one and simply accept their views as their own and cease to think for themselves, but most people read a number of philosophers and use their differing views to help them think for themselves and develop their own concepts of truth. The same can be applied to religion.

    Traditionally we have had to choose a religion and cease to think for ourselves but know we can use their teachings to guide us in our own thoughts.
    Truth is not taught, only experienced.
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  21. #20  
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    In the past they have adapted for different cultures, but now we can choose the perception which best suits our understanding.

    Exactly, you choose the religion which bests suits your worldview, the way in which you want things to work, your understanding, as opposed to how they actually work, your lack of understanding.

    Traditionally we have had to choose a religion and cease to think for ourselves but know we can use their teachings to guide us in our own thoughts.

    You will never be able to think for yourself if you allow religion to guide your thoughts. Clearly, you must eventually choose between that which is rational and that which runs contrary to your thinking, dogma.

    You will be forced to choose dogma or go against your beliefs.
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  22. #21 Re: An atheists journey to god 
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    I cannot shake my belief in god.

    So the question is why does a person get to god in this way? I cant be the only one (I know i'm not from other sources).
    I'm very happy for you. A few thoughts on the above:

    Scientifically speaking, when we say that something is true, don't we mean that it's most probably true since the world appears to behave as though it were true. For example, when we say that the sun 'exists', aren't we really saying that, according to every means we have of determining that it be so, we can accept it as a virtual certainty. Does that mean that it must be true 'absolutely'? I suggest that it doesn't. Is it not also reasonable, then, that one might evaluate the world and one's inner experience of it, and conclude, in exactly the same way, that it is a virtual certainty that God 'is'?

    You have access to 'data' within yourself - you are able to come to conclusions that have evolved within yourself, from your personal experience of the 'external' world and your private 'inner world'. Evidence or proof of the veracity of your conclusions is therefore available only to you, even though countless others may have 'experienced' the same conclusions.

    Best Wishes
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