Time to introduce myself. I've been prowling around this site for a few months and have finally added a pic. He is Colonel Thomas Blood, a supposedly distant relative of mine and 1st class scoundrel. I use his name, as mine is sufficiently unusual to show up on a Google search. I am a nurse, and health care is rampant with xians. I am also an ordained clergy person and - well things are just a bit complicated right now. Folks who I don't want in the know, will not come snooping here on their own.

Enough intro: Here is the morsel for you to chew on. I have heard it expressed explicitly at least once, and implied by several of you that if one is an atheist, the is NO WAY that you could ever become sufficiently delusional to believe in a god. Well I was. Or did.

I grew up with a believing mother and an atheist father. We never went to church and my religious training was minimal (one year of a generic protestant Sunday school). I was atheist by age 15. I was always fascinated by xians however, especially the really confident kind. Long story short; over several years I developed and pursued the hypothesis that the only way I could be sure that there was no god was to diligently seek him. This led me on multiple pathways until I wound up in a fundamentalist country church one night where I was invited to "come to Jesus" Multiple threads in my life had brought me to the place where I was able to suspend my skepticism enough to accept the possibility of this being real. When I stood up, the world changed. The event and my theories about would take another blog.

The result of this "encounter " was that I became a fundamentalist xian .  My lack of religious upbringing actually worked against me as I had no framework for my new life, only that "reason" had failed as method for finding the TRUTH.  Over the course of decades my inquiring mind kept pushing me into ever more "liberal" understandings of God until I finally realized that my theology had become "Jesus as metaphor" and that I no longer needed the metaphor.

So here I am, full circle again. The experience has not been a complete waste of my life (Thank GOD!!!). I have a very full, hands on type of understanding of religious faith and have first hand knowledge of many of the different flavors of belief. I find many of you off-putting. You can be so bloody sanctimonious sometimes, as if all people of faith were idiots. I am sure I actually had more IQ points when I was religious than I do how. But I DO understand how you feel. I sometimes have to stop myself from thinking "How can anyone BELIEVE that crap?" when it was not so long ago that I did in fact believe it myself.

I've rattled on long enough. Have at it!

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Of course the iq points would be higher for a religious person. A religious person would probably take a test approved by the church where every answer is "God"

If anyone watched that simpsons. Remember the family joined the movementarians? then bart all of a sudden knew all the answers because all the answers were "the leader"

Na na na na na na na na Leader. Na na na na na na na na Leader. Na na na na na na na na BATMAN! I mean LEADER!

Religion is the ultimate con-job par excellence.  A promise of an imaginary lottery ticket (immortality) which awaits you in a supernatural magic land... and the only condition attached is you must die first to get it. How convenient.  And all without a shred of evidence to support it. Wonderful! All religion is organized schizophrenia. Have a nice day. 

What Logicallunatic said +

I like what Richard Dawkins said: "Science takes you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings"

I think that was popularized by Victor Stenger. 

everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die...

 

The thought of living anywhere for eternity does not appeal to me, not even if it were in Heaven.  Can you imagine that?  I can't!  The only reason I would choose to go there would be if the only other alternative were Hell.  I prefer to go back to wherever I was before I was born.  I don't think I minded that a bit!

Thomas Blood, I'm wondering if, a few years from now, you will still believe:

1) there is A TRUTH, and/or

2) reason will succeed as a method for finding it.

So it sounds more like you went from agnostic to christian to athiest. How did you suddenly get dumber since becoming an athiest? It's probably the first time I have ever heard anyone say something like that.  

"I now feel dumber than when I spoke to imaginary folk" 

Well, those who talk to gods have all the answers - while those who know better realize they haven't scratched the surface.

Raising an atheist is generally a bad idea. What you really want to do is raise a skeptic, moreover an intellectually honest skeptic. No matter what that person eventually decides for themselves you can pretty much rest assured that it wont be anything crazy. You might have just gotten the short end of a weird stick, but your experience proved useful anyway. Personally I never ascribed to the "no true atheist" belief. Most atheists would say that, but dont really believe it. Take Kirk Cameron, who used to be a "devout" atheist, as an example. By ANY definition of the word I doubt Kirk was EVER an atheist, but you can label yourself whatever you want so in that regard - sure... Kirk was an atheist. Cant really argue with that, can you?

Sorry I haven't responded earlier. Had a root canal 2 days ago. It was like going through... well....a root canal.

Didn't mean to offend anyone out there. I have a wonderful lady friend and lover who has always been an atheist, and I guess I have forgotten much of what it is like to be the lone skeptic in a sea of belief. I realize now that what I hear predominantly is sheer frustration and sites like this provide the only out for so many of us.

I didn't want to imply that I had to get stupider in order to dis-believe. My loss of IQ points is simply an effect of age and other abuses to my brain. My point is that IQ may correlate with skepticism but is not a reliable predictor.   

I was not clear about the clergy status. I resigned from the church I was serving when I realized that my faith was slipping away. I am a full time nurse and do not get involved with church anymore. However my coworkers have known me as a "Rev" for years, so I am still in the closet on that one. I do not work with any fundy types and none of these xians would ever dream of beating me with a bible, but there is sufficient drama in my life and workplace now that I am disinclined to add any more.

I like Milo's response. As a kid I was always nerdy and interested in science. I am proof that you can know a great deal of science facts and still not have any real training in the critical thinking that is crucial to understanding and applying science. Educators take note!

And yes, I believe in the truth. I believe science and reason will get us there. What I don't believe in, is the TRUTH, some great cosmic purpose for life, the universe, and everything.

I'm lying.  I DO believe.  The answer is 42.

Ah but to truly understand that answer you must know what base it is in, Grasshopper.

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