I've run across ex-atheists at various online site; not many but a few. I just can't believe they ever were really atheists to begin with. How does somebody go about unembracing reason? It just doesn't add up. I get the feeling that a certain percentage of ex-atheists are actually Christian frauds using pseudonyms to give testimonies of fake reconversions.
What do you think? Can a real atheist really reconvert to Christianity? How?
Thank you, Mo. You understand perfectly. When you exit the place where all your family and friends reside, it does make you feel very alone. However, the strength I gained also makes me understand that alone in my beliefs is not a bad a place as the religious would have you to believe.
I think many who claim this are actually lying. Just like there are so many preachers who claim prestigious past military service, academic achievements, etc., that are false. If they were an "atheist" in any sense, it was probably not a true conviction but adolescent rebellion.
You raise a good point... I guess I would categorize atheists in two broad camps. Those who were never indoctrinated into a religious setting (lucky bastards) and therefore never really thought about it or had reason to ask "Does a god exist?" and those who were told with utter conviction, usually by people we love and trust, that a god does exist and if we don't want eternal damnation, better believe as well. That group of atheists, the one's who dig themselves out of the deep religious pit they were tossed in at a younger age, that is the the group I can't imagine "reverting" to religion. One Caveat... the mind is a very powerful thing. With great tragic loss of loved ones / loss of a child, I can see how someone might then go back to religion with the hope of eventual reunification with that child / loved one.
I have been told by several of my friends who are devout, that I have to abandon searching for answers using logic / reason / science and just accept on faith (I usually qualify their answer with "BLIND" faith) and they just shake their heads and state that something terrible is going to have to happen in my life, i.e. I need to hit rock bottom, before I will be able to find god. What a wonderful religion.
I still go to church majority of Sundays with my wife (and kids - unfortunately) and have even attended "Men's Bible Study" for the past 2.5 years as "Open Minded" as I can be and have seen, heard, felt NOTHING that even begins to remotely "activate" any belief in a higher being. Most of the stories I hear about the "truly" religious people are those that in fact did hit rock bottom, either drugs, porn, [insert vice here], and it occurred to me that religion is an addiction like anything else. It just replaced the Vice they had and viola', it was god working in their lives. My wife continues to ask me why I still go to bible study... fair question. I goes because A) I am still invited to go and they really want me to go (I think their are REALLY hoping to save me), B) As a study in human psychology (I find it ABSOLUTELY fascinating that a room full of otherwise, nice and intelligent people (mostly anyway), can still subscribe to something so obviously illogical), and C) to ask the hard questions to hopefully make them think OUTSIDE the bible! I have no illusions of "converting any of them... it is not my intention. Just to try to figure out WHY they think it is true. As I've said... FASCINATING!
@John R.. Again right on the money with how I've seen things myself.
The whole faith thing has always rubbed me the wrong way. I was even told once, "Some things you just don't question,," My first thought was.."Why not? Is there something they don't want you to know? What's going to happen when I question things? Are the Men in Black going to take me away to a secret lab and brainwash me?"
At this point in time, people believing in God is no different then people believing in little green men from space, Big Foot, or the Loch Ness Monster.. sure they're fun and it creates a sense of mystery, but outside of that what's the point?
You're probably right about the infiltrators... I've seen it on other anti religious sites as well.
Or they came from non religious families and then got caught up by someone or some idea claiming there was a panacea for all the ills in the world... when actually religion brings out the worst in people while professing to accommodate and embody the best. Hypocrites and fuzzy, lazy thinkers in my opinion.
Infiltrators! That's the word I was looking for. Sometimes my mind just doesn't cooperate.
Lol... I grasp for lost words in 3 languages as well. ;-)
Just a thought - It would seem plausible enough that Atheist sites like this where debate is paramount are likely to help people with doubts about their faith to become more analytical of what they claim to believe. This is even more likely when Theists are made welcome and allowed to engage in the debate. So some may be helped to get to a point where then can say “I am an Atheist”. Can you imagine someone who can realise that then joining a Christian forum and rediscovering faith? I was invited to join one which I did and made it clear at the outset that I was an Atheist who was willing to listen. The abuse and vitriol that I got was astounding. Nobody was able to answer a question without preaching or damning me to hell. My account was suspended and I had only asked questions. Man the talk about Angels was weird. There is no way that such sites could reconvert people online. It’s just a big group polarization session for those who are already zealots to the Jesus cause.
In an ideal world... helping people think would definitely be one rung up the ladder, unfortunately the Christaholics are hell bent on avoiding that giant leap of being responsible all on their own for their own thoughts and actions. It must be really scary if you've been told what to do all your life and suddenly you have to wing it.
As far as discussion goes... it's closed before you start, because we are the devils incarnate lol.
Internet debate fora tend to become echo chambers which reinforce opinions rather than challenge them. Just as there is a dearth of religious people on this site, there aren't too many atheists on religious sites. As humans are quite intellectually lazy, prefer the company of like-minded people, and prefer avoidance of conflict, I don't think too many people with doubts would choose to challenge these doubts on an atheist forum, but rather prefer to have them removed on a religious forum.
There ought to be some way to structure forum rules so that reasonable, rational, debate can take place. There was once a robust discussion, here, on abortion that went into hundreds of replies without getting nasty. That was a major accomplishment in civil discourse.
If that kind of civility could be encouraged and enforced, perhaps atheists and believers could actually have some good discussions. I think recognizing an impasse and agreeing to disagree is paramount if feelings are to be spared and respect maintained.