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 wanted to suggest that humans find themselves embeded in many cultures and histories like fish in water. Asserting that groups are truely issolated and can create ideas/beliefs that are truely 'new' or 'original' seems to be a denial of deep social connections over time.
I am not able to do the deep research that I might like. I realized several years ago that I want a 'LIFE', I do not want to spend my valuable time between the pages of a book, but to be in the world. I am not anothers 'belief', or a phantasm of another's dilusion. I want to find out what 'is'.
I feel at times that 'reality' is ignored to our peril, humans excaping into our books and fantasy. I figure that our lives have atleast two poles, one culture, the other 'being', but culture has been accendent for too long. Rediscovering 'being' seems to be the major mass movement of our times, but it is easy to fall back into the old traps.
I think only one response is necessary but we can certainly continue this discussion. Mainstream scholarship, not just "creationist or apologetics" considers any parallel story as nothing more than incidental or insignificant (The Golden Bough was the first treatment of this theory).
Christian thinkers like myself have had to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with the crap on the internet due to the various websites that tout parallels and borrowing as disproving or weakening Christianity. BTW, the first person I ran into that started this stuff up again was some lady named "Acharya S".
Craig, if you dont mind, I want to know more about buddhism banning playing musical instruments.
Well, my family filled my head with all sorts of fairy tales about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Boogimen, Yahweh, and Jesus. Over time I figured out that they were all just psychological babysitters.
Interesting that you put it that way. My dad implied the same thing when I had a discussion with him about being me an atheist. He said that he was an agnostic when he was younger, but when he decided to have kids, he said he couldn't raise us without the fear of hell. Psychological babysitting as it were. It's ironic really.
Well, the best way to guard a paranoid inmate is to tell them that they really are being watched.
My family did not play the 'going to hell' card. I have been told several times by other folks that the 'going to hell' option was still open!
Sadly, many of these warnings of death, over cooking, and eternal damnation, sounded hollow to me. If you curse someone, then nothing happens, all the time, it starts looking like crap. Trying to get power over another by little creative, but over used, lingistic jingles makes the user look impetent.
Over the course of my 'maturity', I gave fate, chemistry and physics several opportunities, but they do not use the 'going to hell card', just the 'disintigument following unforseen affect'. Our science club used the phrases 'you did not get out of the flash I see' or 'distructive disassembly, hindsight now logged''.
The best way to deconvert is to attend church regularly and to read the Bible thoroughly, as I did. If you are intelligent and thoughtful you will see religion for the utter nonsense that it is and reject it. If, on the other hand, you are credulous and irrationally fearful of death there probably isn’t anything that will wean you away from the notion that there must be, as Kevin's "faith" assures him, a magic man floating around in the cosmos somewhere with the power and intention of judging and/or controlling your life and those of nearly 7 billion other people in the world. Pretty good trick.
By the way, since Kevin loves science so much (he claims), I hope he will enlighten us all with his accumulated scientific evidence for the Christian God. I'm waiting breathlessly!
Oh, he continually spouts off about all the evidence and then reverts to gods being self-evident. I don't think he understands the difference.
Faith is not a way of knowing something, it's what you do with what you know. But I suggest you get in the right Category if you want to discuss these things. I'm not interested in discussing "a magic man floating around the cosmos". Or tooth fairies, unicorns, Santa, or any other Category Errors.
As far as God and Science, one can draw theistic and philosophical inferences from scientific discoveries, but science qua science is limited to the material realm.
RE: "the material realm" - actually, "realm" implies a kingdom, though it can be extended to mean field of interest. As far as we're concerned, the material realm is the only game in town, unless of course you can prove another --
Interesting sign I saw on another website yesterday: "Do you believe you know the difference between belief and knowledge?"
You know which one I mean, don't you Tao?