You theists come here asking why we do not believe, let's reverse this and hear from you theists.
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Silence speaks loudly.
After only 45 minutes?
I'll get the popcorn ready.
At one time I was a theist so I will kick things off.
For myself, I grew up in a christian family, god and jesus were automatically accepted like air. Within my tight community no one raised any controversial questions. I am sure a lot of it was peer pressure, but IMO most was just an unresearched and unexplored acceptance.
For my father, most of those conditions also existed, but augmented by his powerful fear of death. He needed solace, he needed that support.
I've recently had heart surgery and I'm not feeling well the last couple of days so my participation here may me sporadic.
First of all I would say, as for myself, I didn't come here asking why you don't believe. I was an unbeliever the first 27 years of my life and I'm well aware of why you don't believe. At least I am aware of why I didn't and as much as I can assume you have similar reasons. It really doesn't matter to me why you don't believe. I came here because I like discussing the Bible and religion and can't do that in real life because all of my family and friends are atheists. I've gotten bored with working on websites of my own due to the isolation and lack of feedback. I like having these sorts of discussions with atheists more than with theists because I can relate to them far better than theists. And generally speaking the atheists are somewhat more knowledgeable on the subject than my contemporaries.
It has been my observation, over 20 years discussing the subject online with countless theists and atheists that most theists believe for reasons strange to me. In fact I often question whether they believe or not. It seems far more likely that the church going theists are attracted to religion for cultural, social, traditional, or familial reasons. In Shintoism it's all about community. They gathered together during planting and harvest for support. Their "gods" or countless spirits were interchangeable.
The modern day apostate Christian is unconcerned about the pagan adoptions that have infiltrated their religion, but rather, they embrace them and have no interest in seeking accurate knowledge. The Jehovah's Witnesses are the exception to this but they have the trappings of religiosity as well.
Online there is the presence of the fringe element of Christianity. This must reflect the offline world at least to some degree. Probably pretty well, actually, but that is only my own speculation. They tend to embrace some sort of basic tenets of their religion, but tend to have remarkable variations of their personal fabrication of the teachings. I find these teachings to be odd and usually extremely quixotic.
Speaking for myself it's simple. I started an intense study of the Bible because I had the opportunity to do so and felt that it was only right for me to do so for some basis of by criticism. Having been raised in the Bible belt I found Christians to be hypocritical, self righteous, narcissistic idiots who thought they had some idea about how I should live my life.
In my teens music was my thing. I played drums and listened to all sorts of music. Because of my dress and the fact that my atheist parents had brought me up believing that there was no such thing as an obscene word, and the fact that I smoked cigarettes the local "Christian" parents told their kids to stay away from me because I obviously was into drugs and alcohol. I wasn't but their kids were. Being a closet homosexual didn't help. Fake morals of Christians had no appeal to me.
Later after becoming a believer, I would start to use drugs and alcohol and frequent the gay bars and roadside rest areas.The dark places where we tend to gather. For years my favorite pastime was to get as wasted as I could and go online to taunt atheists in forums like this. I had to make up my mind what I really wanted and it wasn't that. I stopped drinking and practicing homosexuality and I try to live my life according to that which is acceptable to Jehovah, though I often fail.
Wow you shared a lot there.
Despite our differences I hope you have a speedy and full recovery from your heart surgery. I can see why you have your particular brand of beliefs based on the life story you shared here.
Do you remember when you decided "god" was real? Was it one moment or thing you read that changed it all or was it a slow gradual change, and one day you woke up and realized you do believe in god?
▮I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
▮Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
▮Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
You seem like a really nice person, and I appreciate that. I enjoy our discussions.
I think that when I began to study I was fortunate to have all sorts of Watchtower literature that the JW's had left with my mother when I was younger. I was then an avid reader and so I would dig that stuff out of the trash or the back of some closet and keep it for myself, though I never read any of it for years I always thought that I would. This helped me sift through the pagan apostasy of modern day Christianity and get to the true teachings of the Bible.
It was a fairly gradual process covering about 6 months. I was in a period of transition and had that time to study. I studied for 12-16 hours a day for 7 days a week for most of that 6 months. Always looking for a weakness and never finding it, which I adopted as my strategy even to this day. For example, with my responses to the SAB. It helps me see things I would see on my own.
If there was one moment when I realized that Jehovah God was real, that is, it was when I studied the prophecy of Cyrus. That did it for me. But for him to be real in you heart and mind isn't necessarily the same for him to be real in your life. In a practical sense it's pretty difficult to wrap your mind around. And, like James said; "You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder." (James 2:19) The demons have a great deal more intimate experience with God than I do. They know and shudder.
Knowing is only part of the picture. I had to make up my mind whether or not I wanted to be a part of Jehovah's will and purpose for man. That took a while for me to sort out.
Thanks for doing that write up.
I do like learning how other people think and arrive to their conclusions, as it gives me better insight on people that think differently than I do. If anything to better predict motivations.
And in an online mostly anonymous format, I can ask these questions openly and other people may feel inclined to answer them more honestly then they would in person in a social setting.
And I am always especially curious about the people that say they go from atheist to a religion as an adult with a college education, as this one of the transitions I least understand, being an atheist myself where suddenly believing in a god feels roughly akin to believing in Santa Claus again as an adult with a college education.
▮I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
▮Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
▮Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
@Empedocles I hope you are ok.
Thanks, I appreciate that. I'm seem to be doing better today.
@empedocles Wishing you well on your recovery!
I don't think the OP is calling you out specifically. Before your arrival here and long after That, there will be theists joining and posing this question. So try not to take it personally. Doing so is implying that the shoe fits.
Again, I wish you a solid recovery.
Thanks, I appreciate the well wishing.
I've learned to not take anything personally on forum posting, even when it seems personal it is really about something else, usually about the message rather than the messenger.
I agree. Looking forward to some healthy discussions and debates.
Empedocles, you wrote, “I've learned to not take anything personally on forum posting, even when it seems personal it is really about something else, usually about the message rather than the messenger.”
I don’t understand. If this is the case, why do you tell folks to ‘shut the fuck up’ or respond with whining sounds then? Why not just ignore those folks if you don’t take their posts personally? Or is it the squabbling you find entertaining? Is that the message?
@Em Oh man I didn't know you were talking to people like that. You are kind of inconsistent.
Howdy. Just wanted to chime in here real quick if that's okay. For starters, I also would like to wish you a speedy recovery. Many of my family and friends have dealt with various heart problems over the years, so I know how "debilitating" they can be. Do get well soon.
Next, even though I have not been actively participating lately as much as I usually do (Much happening in the "real world" with many distractions... *chuckle*), I have at least been trying to keep up with some of the more interesting discussions. And for what it is worth, I would like to say I have actually enjoyed reading some of your posts since you joined us. Along those same lines, I also like how you conduct yourself. Very rare to get a theist on here who is sincerely interested in actual discussions. Granted, you and I may be on opposite sides of the fence in relation to religion/god, but I like to give credit where credit is due. Just a personal observation I felt compelled to share. Welcome to the AR. Looking forward to reading more from you. And, again, speedy recovery.
Edit to add: Well, damn. I reckon I spoke too soon.... *heavy sigh*... After making this post I went on to read a couple of other threads in which you posted. Oh, well. I try to give a sincere compliment and get egg on my face. Drats! That'll teach me. Anyway, that aside, I still wish you a quick recovery.
Thanks for your compliments and criticism. Allow me to explain myself, and I have no apologies about my conduct here so far. That isn't entirely true. I did apologize once when I got carried away. Sheldon brings that out in me. It's a very real side of me. It isn't a contradiction. I'm imperfect and I was raised to believe, and I still do believe, that there isn't obscene or taboo words.
I see the guidelines that say:
No disclosure of someone else's personal info
No unrelated topics
No homophobic, or sexist comments
No non-English posts
No links to gory pictures or harmful websites
No threats of harm
No advertising or self-promotion
I don't think I'm doing any of that, at least not any more than the atheists are doing to AJ777 or have done to me. If I see someone acting like a smart ass little prick I call them out on it and I respond in kind. When in Rome, I believe Paul said. i encourage and accept those who see me acting like a smart ass little prick to call me out on it as well. As you and others here have. To believers. Not to unbelievers. You wouldn't want to do that, now, would you.
I would. With believers. I'm all about fairness and honesty.
What you've read, at first, was conversations that I have had with people that treat me and my beliefs with respect. Then you read some posts where I was having conversations with people who disrespect me and my beliefs. That's the way I roll.
If they don't like it they can remove me. No worries. But there are two things I won't do. Suck up to some smart ass little prick or cry like a baby when someone don't suck up to me.
@Empedocles Re: Fairness
*chuckling to self*.... Dammit... I can't really argue any of that... *grin*.... Can't fault a guy for being honest, whether I agree with him or not. You are correct: Fair is fair. Thanks for the response. And do take care of your ol' ticker. Those things are hard to come by, believe me! lol
@Empedocles: I've recently had heart surgery and I'm not feeling well the last couple of days
Sorry to hear that. I went through a triple-bypass a few years ago. It takes a while to get over something like that, and you have to expect a bit of discomfort in the early stages. The anesthetic alone can be quite a shock to the system.
Stay away from the cigarettes. Nicotine damages your arteries and those of anyone around you.
Thanks. I had a massive heart attack in my early 40's and a quadruple bypass. A month later I had a bi-ventricular ICD implant and recently a bad lead was trying to convince the device that I needed to be fibrillated when I didn't. So they tried to remove the lead but couldn't get all of it. Now, a couple weeks later I'm feeling . . . just bad. Week and sickly. Maybe a little feverish.
Most societies force people to "believe" in some type of deity because the con men control the society and will punish or kill any who deviate. It is not enough that people believe in a deity, they have to believe in the con man's deity.
When Moses was taking a vacation on the mountain the Israelites wanted to have freedom of religion so they started doing it. Moses returned, saw them worshiping a god other than his own delusion, and immediately had his goons kill three thousand of them. That restored his position as the head man whose commands must be obeyed. If you had been an ancient Aztec you would have worshiped the Aztec gods or the con men would have cut out your heart.
My belief is because of this.
A book claiming to be divinely inspired has been passed down through many generations, essentially a map to eternal salvation and wondrous things.
This book describes a man who walked the earth performing acts impossible to regular man.
Men who walked with this man provide a first hand account of the works.
Even men who were opposed to his teachings provide first hand historical documentation of his existence, even describing him performing superhuman feats.
The first half of the book, written thousands of years prior to this man's birth, predicts everything with accuracy.
The teachings in this book, both the first half and the second half, provide more accurate, detailed, and profound information regarding our psychology as human beings, confirmed today by modern science.
The more I study and read both the bible and the interpretations from extremely intellegent scientits, philosophers, lawyers, teachers, professors, doctors, etc, the harder it is for me to find any contradictions within the book, or between the book and the practices of our faith.
I have, since becoming Christian, obtained a perspective on both positive/negative events in my life that provide a healthier reaction, aiding to my growth as a decent human being, better father, and a much better husband.
So i'd say, as far as I'm concerned, I have PLENTY of proof that it is real.
There are no (known) contemporary sources for the character Jesus (I assume that is who you are speaking about).
That isn't entirely true. There are several. Most of which, admittedly, are thought to be spurious. However, that is debatable, but even more important is the questionable significance of such sources given the spurious possibility of the passages themselves. The Bible, which also has spurious passages, is often overlooked as the most accurate history of mankind and yet is dismissed as lesser importance than those other sources.
For example, if the Bible says Pilate existed then there is some doubt until some fragment or other reference is discovered confirming it.
Best wishes for your recovery I just nursed my partner through her second mitral valve replacement...it is a long road but she is now sprightlier (and more annoying) than ever!
In what sense debatable? All the sources of contemporary evidence quoted by apologists are spurious. No debate. They are either much later interpolations,(Josephus) Hearsay (Tacitus) Political (Pliny) or irrelevant (Lucian) .
What part of the Pentateuch do you maintain is accurate? Most of it is either recycled legends from previous years, national jingoistic puffery or completely inaccurate according to the Dept of Archeology at Tel Aviv University.
Please do not compare wishful thinking with actual history.
Quite right, and those doubts rightly persisted until relatively recently when solid archeological evidence was discovered that Pilate did exist. But that only proves Pilate the existed as corroborated by Tacitus. It is evidence of nothing else. It would take a long leap from the existence of a particular Procurator/Prefect (the misnomer is why Tacitus was disregarded) to believing all the magic in that section of the NT . One would need much more corroboration than that.
Are you going to keep us in suspense? Could you list a few?
More accurate than what? How much more accurate? What methodology did you use to determine this? What are the dimensions of this accuracy?
/e Or rephrased: how can we determine if what you said is accurate, or just an opinion?
"I have, since becoming Christian, obtained a perspective on both positive/negative events in my life that provide a healthier reaction, aiding to my growth as a decent human being, better father, and a much better husband."
If you are a follower of the Jesus character you would hate your family and be running around telling everyone how wonderful he is. Matthew 10:34-40, Matthew 19:29.
You Have a history of taking quotes out of context and misinterpreting verses to satisfy your beliefs (sorry I mean non beliefs). But just know you don’t understand the quote you just used. Would do you some good to understand it before posting.
-from a friend.