Okay I now that this is going to seem kind of strange.
My name is Doug. I am a former atheist who is now a Bible thumping Jesus Freak. I am also a former journalist and currently run a facebook community for Christians.
Tomorrow I want to start a thread called "Ask the Atheist" where believers can engage with non-believers. This is not- IS NOT- an effort to try and convert anyone. Instead it's about building a community where people can talk about issues from every different perspective. The thread will go up around 10 am EST on Facebook...
The thing is I just need one Atheist to answer the questions. I suspect they will be along the line of : did you attend church as kid, are your parents religious, when did you tell them about your doubt, how have your encounters with Christians been- do they rub you the wrong way, or they always trying shove God down your throat.
I personally only know a few members of our on line community. But all of them have been very respectful. So if you are free (can be in front of a computer) tomorrow mid morning please let me know.
William is right. I don't need just one. I thought finding one would be hard enough, if there are others who would be willing to do it that would be great.
I am going to keep the discussion on facebook, as opposed to moving it here, because there will reach people larger then either community. We have about 1300 followers on our site.. and each time someone post on the site, all of their friends will be invited to join the discussion. I think it would be great to have a community where believers and non believers come together.
Tomorrow I will post a thread asking for questions. For those of you want to follow along and facebook you can do that, but as James as suggested I will repost the questions here. I will also extend an invitation to people on our site to join the discussion here, but this is all going to be trial and error so we will see how it works.
James I would be happy to promote any other projects.
Here is a link to the facebook site https://www.facebook.com/pages/Off-The-Wahl-Eassys-in-taking-the-ne...
Thank you for the acknowledgement of being right. Now I feel more confident in my statement about the ambush. 1300 to 1 is pretty poor odds. I don't think just one atheist could keep up with all the Q's and would result in a beatdown of xians who are not prepared to give time to answer. Pretty much along the lines of "Why can't you answer the questions?" "You're choosing which questions you want to answer" (now that one is funny...lol) and would pretty much fall flat on it's face fairly quickly. It would be over before it got even started. There are probably hundreds of xians with questions just ready to copy and paste as soon as the page opens.. On the other side of this, we as atheists do not have any answers ready because we have not seen the questions yet. We can guess, and probably quite accurately so, what a lot of the questions will be like. However we could not possibly prepare a barrage of responses up front per-say.
I think You're trying to do something Good here and I hope I am wrong. However that does not happen much. I usually think before I open my mouth and let my belly rumble...
Anyhoo. I've been on your link for a short while this morning. I want to say interesting....not sure if I can yet though.
Sadly, TA has had a slug of 'asserted' atheist turn coats/expatriots recently. So are you one of thoughs, or just some new breed of wishy-washy theist that is affraid to make a metaphysical commitment?
Maybe you are in some form of approach-avoidance conflict, and looking for a missing last datum that would seal the deal? A final atheist commitment, does not always come easily, you have to put the work in, and most us wondered around for a while before we got it.
Some of us got to atheism by deep study, others there by ugly social or family experience(s), but I expect that many went through all of these stages/steps. I doubt that there is a 12 step program to get to atheism, from theism, but some of us might consider theism as something to 'recover' from.
Returning to 'Theism', for me would seem more like a return to drinking, drugs, or smoking, happily none of these did I ever need to 'recover' from.
Over the years, I have returned to my roots a few times, by way of a church mass, singles clubs, potlucks, etc. Happily I could not find anything that could attract or convince me of a return to the fold.
If anything, IMHO, theism has decayed over these last 40 years, but some fellowships have atleast attempted to reform/redefine themselves by accepting gays or openning up the priesthood to women. I see these attempts at reform as mostly symbolic, for fear that the fellowships are lossing members and the 'great sucking sound' has become louder.
When I return to 'church', I have to leave my mind at the door, loose my respect for human intelligence, accept fiction as fact, and forget that human culture has advance for more that 2000 years since the 'birth' of a savior. That 'savior' has become one more disapointment, but human intelligence, manipulated by a quaint fiction should have known better.....
Where you a considered atheist before conversion? Did you know why you didn't believe?
What made you suddenly believe...was it an experience of some sort? I could be facetious but it makes no sense to go from lack of belief to belief. If you somehow had evidence for a god, that might be an interesting line of enquiry.
What do you get out of christianity? Why did you choose christianity and not one of the other thousands of religions around the globe?
Yes I was considered an atheist. In fact in my high school there was a Christian group of students who used to pray for me every week, and I didn't know that until 20 years laters.
I didn't have an experience like hearing the voice of God. There was no flash of light. There wasn't a moment in time, where I can say at this hour and in this place, I became a believer. Instead it was a process. But I did have the type of experience of brokenness- of feeling I had screwed up my life. And that started me to studying. Someone said earlier it takes a lotof studying to be an atheist... I believe that. But it also takes a lot of studying to go in the opposite direction. The first thing I read was not the Bible.. it was the so called Jefferson Bible. Which allowed me to focus on the teachings of Jesus without the super natural stuff getting in the way. Having said that- 6 years later- I do believe in the super natural. But even if they never happened, I believe his teachings alone were enough to change the course of history.
What do I get out of Christianity- Karl there are some days that I don't think I get any thing out of it. There are some days when I question my sanity and wonder what the hell I've gotten myself into. And there are other moments..when my faith helps me deal with the stresses of life. Please understand that Christianity hasn't made my life easier. There is still drama, and I - like you- have a ton of people who are always tapping into me and making big withdraws of time, money and attention. For me faith is how I replenish... it's what fills my tank up so others can keep taping into it
RE: "I believe his teachings alone were enough to change the course of history."
With all due respect doug, you have no idea what "his" teachings were, as there is no evidence that he ever existed. The Gospels were written anonymously, and only attributed to "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke" and "John" (the son of Zebedee) many years later. No one knows who wrote them, how reliable the writers were, or the sources of their information.
What we DO know, is that they represented the orthodox point of view, and that all writings representing any other point of view were considered "heretical," and suppressed or destroyed by those who wished their own points of view to be the only ones remaining.
With the discovery of the safely-hidden scrolls at Nag Hamadi, however, we get a glimpse into the past and discover that other "Christians" quoted teachings, purportedly also by "him," that widely contradict "orthodox" scripture.
So to say, "his teachings alone were enough to change the course of history," you'd have to be more specific - do you mean those teachings that were often altered by scribes to fit the orthodox position or those that contradict that position? Or perhaps those that were destroyed by early Christian power brokers who felt their view was "right" and made sure no one else had a choice?
BOING!!! ... "Time for bed." said Zebedee
Also of course, translations that you or I are unable to confirm, even the actual translators may not have known the era's meaning of the words they were translating. And we don't actually know the full motives of anyone at that time...and life was shorter so the earliest text, 60 years after Jesus's supposed death, was 2 to 3 lifetimes after he died. And we know that the stories of other mystics at the time were suppressed.
I used the term "considered atheist" meaning how you were an atheist, not how others considered you. I am sure there are some who consider me a good man and others a bad man, some consider me intelligent and others a moron, but their opinions are no proof of who I am or my capabilities.
An atheist can simply be someone who's never thought about it, or a someone who understands there is no god or gods and why. The former could be indoctrinated, the latter cannot.
So from what you say, you felt you weren't doing a good job of managing your life and chose the christian "philosophy". Why that and not Buddhism, or Confuscianism..or just plain old secular philosophy??
Using the christian or other religions path in life is not necessarily bad as long as you don't go spreading the lies, but it's unnecessary.
And you don't describe how you came to believe in the impossible...the supernatural beings. You are saying that you came to believe in something that as an atheist, you would have known to be a fantasy.
And the process you describe...why would you follow a process to believe unless you believed already...your response makes no sense to me at all.
This is my question, as it is with most theists. How can you justify skipping the old testament - god is jesus, jesus is god, and depending which brand of religion one follows, there is also a ghost thrown in. Yet again, cherry picking, and that doesn't work for me.
The edit button isn't working -
@Blaine - exactly, doug, you have been there, done that, if you were an Atheist, why were you an Atheist?