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!
Yeah, Bob, a priest once suggested that I go forward to Aquinas' 13th century mind and writings and to Augustine's 6th century mind and writings.
They were too far forward for me, but you appear to have needs you can satisfy there.
Oh, I find Augustine and Aquinas interesting, and good thinkers for their day. Worth quoting, and using from time to time, in the same way that Newton or Leibniz are interesting, and good thinkers for their day, and still useful in some ways.
I wouldn't send an introductory physics student to go read Newton, however, so I disagree with your parish priest. I also wouldn't send an introductory student to go read Physical Review. It's best for an introduction to go to an instructor and texts that present old ideas like Newton's or Augustine's in a modern formulation.
Yeah, since man hasn't learned ANYTHING since the 13th century.
Hey, I know, why don't you try the 21st Century, instead?
This is true.
I find many of you off-putting. You can be so bloody sanctimonious sometimes, as if all people of faith were idiots.
Of all the things you wrote, the insulting stereotype is the most interesting. Not the comment in and of itself, but that you'd actually dare to post it here.
Have at it!
Challenge accepted. In what way do "many of us" atheists not adhere to the same high standards we claim to possess or that we set for people of faith? Explain this. Be specific.
If most religions weren't so off-putting to me, I would say that I really would like to believe in all that crap. The idea that there is an explicit purpose for me on this earth, that there is something better waiting for me if I just do the right thing, and the idea of eventually knowing everything are all very compelling motives.
In my experience, few Christians really believe their own mythology. If they did, they would all undertake much greater efforts to understand it - to read their holy text, to search out and verify the miracles that they rattle-off so frequently, to carefully document the success of following those inner feelings that they think come from their gods.
Given that, I think most Christians choose to believe as they do - choose to delude themselves. I believe that is why they see atheism as a choice. I do believe that one could, given proper motivation, choose to suspend their credulity and buy into Christian mythology.
I agree with you that some people here are very narrow minded. Most of them are lovely though.
I don't think all believers are idiots and I don't even close myself off to the idea that I would ever change my mind. I could. But right now, I'm not convinced and lack faith.
Its like this, some people have gone in one direction and we have gone in another. But in saying that however, some believers are too radical and as far as I am concerned these types of people are delusional wakkos. But most religious persons I know offline tend to be quite level headed and intelligent people. People just need to learn not to generalise either side of the coin so to speak
@ Heather...Would that make more sense if you said: improper motivation? In other words, what would be proper to suspend one's credulity?
@ Nerdy....I wouldn't contend that faith is a lacking trait, its absence is actually an embellishment of one's logic and reason. Just my opinion. I use a similar word "confidence" in lieu of faith, which seems appropriate enough.
How about 'sufficient motivation'?
That works. <g>
I was perplexed by your comment: "I am a nurse, and health care is rampant with xians."
How is this relevant to your admission? There are also organizations that help clergy/ministers who have adopted an atheistic stance.
You present a mildly interesting story. Have at it!