I myself come from an extremely devout conservative family. I was raised as a Catholic and became "born again" during a Summer Vacation Bible camp when I was in the sixth grade. I made all the sacraments, went to CCD (like Bible study classes), attended Christian Conferences and week long camps, and even went to a Private Catholic College. My husband went into the military shortly after we married and I think that was the beginning of my de-conversion. I attended LSU and lived all over the deep South. This really opened up my eyes to a world very different from where I grew up. I began questioning after attempting to find a church that "fit" us. Listening to pastors talk about beating their kids, using Bible quotes to condone it, and then sitting through masses about tithing and speaking in tongues, I started to see how crazy religion was. I guess I identified as non-denominational for a while because I didnt want to have anything to do with man made religion. Then it was watching documentaries and specials on Jesus and I started questioning the Bible and whether or not he could have existed and raised the dead, and walked on water, turned water to wine, etc....My conclusion upon getting my degree in Science Psychology was no he couldnt have, those things are improbable. If that was my conclusion then every other "story" in the Bible was improbable and where did that leave me?
My de-conversion was a process and progress if you ask me. I didnt just wake up one day and say "I think I'll be an atheist". I was a long sometimes painful process that led me here. I could never "go back" EVER, too many things about this world and Universe point to happen stance, probability, and accident. We are Serendipitous, the outcome of a happy accident. I'm fine with that, I'm happy with that! I no longer need a man in the sky subconsciously re affirming my every choice and "making" me feel guilty when I make a poor decision. My brain is far evolved from the mythology and going back is no longer an option.
The repercussions from my de-conversion have been slight. My Mom cried when she found out and told me I was going to Hell, now she just tries to get me to listen to Christian radio stations and referred to my recent raise and promotion as an "answer to her prayers". I deal with the religious rhetoric because she is family. I now look back often, especially when she looks at something purely scientific and attributes it to God, and wonder how I could have ever believed such nonsense.
I fear that holding ones breath can injure your health and increase your stress..;p). Better to let ACD's to continue, on their own, to 'make sense out of non-sense'.
In school I finally got fed up with all of it after a little hard work in propositonal calculus/logic. Working out the classical proofs for the existence of 'god', and trying to determine logic issues with the positivitists was a little enlightening. All the classical attempts at proof for 'god' are found to be false. It seemed clear that trying to get to 'god' via proof, does not work. They really do look good on the surface, but the real work offers no insight into existence, but might suggest that human cognition has a truely funny problem.
Working out a proof for the positivists concerning the demand for 'positive' evidence also seemed to offer a problem. The dependence on evidence might have a falt, if there exists a class of objects that offer no means of proof.
I would like to suggest, that there is a what could called a 'logic hole', where everything on the outside seems be available by evidence, the every thing that is asserted, supposed, wished, imagined, etc is in the 'hole'. We can keep pushing into the hole with new tools, ways of thinking, new evidence, etc, but the hole itself might not get much smaller due to the number of new questions/ideas that could be posed. I figure that 'god', demons, angels, monsters, aliens, etc could fit into the hole nicely with more room to spare. The 'making sense out of non-sense' could be a good example of what I would like to call 'logic hole surfing'. I think I have played there also, with several attempts at weird computer modeling.
Theist attempts to extract codes from the bible, determine the age of the universe by summing the ages of folks in the bible, or asserting that dinosaurs and humans existed at the same time because the bible says so 'right here', could be good indications of the above mentioned 'surfing'. In this case the validity is always subordinate to the bible and their undieing attempts at meaning/truth extraction. I guess they could have their own 'hole' to play in, but turning the lights on might be helpful..;p).
James - RE: "In school I finally got fed up with all of it after a little hard work in propositonal calculus/logic. Working out the classical proofs for the existence of 'god', and trying to determine logic issues with the positivitists was a little enlightening."
I know what you mean - I came to the same conclusion playing with Leggos --
Texas isn't the problem Michael, it's all those damned Texans!
The only source of that much concentrated wind that I know anything about, is Unseen, but I haven't seen him today - but then, I suppose that's to be expected, when your name is Unseen --
LOL!!! Good luck finding a place that isnt full of religious nut jobs. I would suggest the North East....but even then. I remeber when I lived in La and it was election time. I asked friends and aquaintances there who they were voting for. You know what they said...."George Bush of course cause hes from Texas and he's a Christian" Whaaaaa? So that's why you are voting for him....Really?!
We've got out religious whack jobs here too, but at least for 6 months of the year it's too cold to bother going outside to talk to anybody!
Kara i will also add my two cents. if you must believe in anything then believe in yourself. i think in search of god man finds himself and there at that point he has attained freedom. keep asking questions, do not commit philosophical suicide by taking a leap where an answer isn't available. in the end as humanly possible have a good relationship with your mom and those you consider dearer to you.
Words to live by, Onyango!
I find that without the God "crutch", as I like to refer to it, I am a much stronger capable person. I assume it is purely psychological but I was able to remove God and attribute my successes and faults to myself. It felt really good to be able to do that. I think when it comes to my mom and me we will be fine. She will eventually get over it but i think it is something that she will never accept. She already told me that she will never be able to have the type of relationship that she and my grandma had. (My grandma died last August.) That kinda hurt.
I was brought up christian catholic, went through the whole charade without really questioning anything about most times trying to defend religion and the catholic faith. when i started to make inquiries, i couldn't go to church anymore and then at about the same time i first killed jesus, took a while to assassinate god but now am here, since he does not exist am he.
i think time as is said heals all wounds and kills its patients, your relationship with your mum will be alright with time.
That's the wisest think I've heard all day.
I was raised in a family that was fairly relaxed with religion, but still was involved in Christianity. My parents sent us to Sunday school at a Presbyterian church. I went for the free doughnut every Sunday and getting to see some friends for a couple of hours. As I grew older I was involved in AWANAs, a Baptist church youth bible study group while still going to the Presbyterian church, and then a non-denominational youth group after moving to a new town without a Presbyterian church.
As I moved away to college i started to recognize that I didn't really believe any of it. I tried to be part of a youth group during my freshman year, but it was more evangelical/pentecostal than I had ever experienced and made me realize that the only reason I went was to hang out with friends. It's kind of hard to do that when you think everyone there is crazy. Then I underwent a serious introspection as I began to reconcile my sexuality and had an even more in-depth inspection of my religious beliefs. I could finally admit to myself at that point that I had never really believed in God, and I could see how I just went along with it and it seemed normal to do so.
After that, I read some sources online, looked at videos on youtube, and read "The God Delusion" (which was very helpful as it compiled most of the arguments against religion/God into one place). And now here I am.