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. 

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Kevin :

Why would a mind make us so inefficiently?  I mean we have so many downfalls....our bodies are far from perfect (from a supposedly "perfect" being) For example if you listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson he points out a number of things that are incredibly UN-intelligent about our design. Forgive me for poor grammar or spelling, it is 2:35 am and hot as hell here.  For example as humans we have to eat and drink constantly.  Too much of something and we get sick, too little of something and we get sick. We need it "just right", just like the goldilocks zone.  We eat and drink out of the same "hole" so to speak so we have a constant possibility of choking.  And why would an intelligent, thinking mind put an amusement park next to a sewer system?? These are only a few flaws in a list of many more that logically suggest something other than intelligent design.

Yeah, that's an excellent discussion. Without writing volumes, the parameters of the discussion center around Efficient Design vs. Optimal Design.

First, it is difficult to define what constitutes optimal design. How many things could be added to a car or a laptop before it became "optimally designed"? If you add too many things to a laptop it will no longer fit on your lap! Or, the car would no longer be affordable!

Efficient Design is only the domain of someone with limited time or resources. She must do with what she has to make the widget work. But someone (God) with unlimited time and resources is just not held to such efficiency. So God can design sufficiently for various life forms.

Secondly, I've seen Tyson's laundry list. The problem is, it assumes that, on theism, God did not design efficiently, optimally, or sufficiently. We discover things all the time that overturn long-held beliefs that something was useless or vestigial (e.g. "junk DNA", the appendix, etc.). Not knowing all the factors, it is a huge burden of proof to assume something is "poorly designed", and it certainly doesn't dispute that design itself is there. 

Also, there is a distinctly Christian consideration: the fallen world. One may speculate as to how the fall of man has affected various systems. 

(BTW, don't worry about spelling or grammar. No pressure with me!)

With unlimited time and resources to 'create', your god still had to steal a rib from Adam to make Eve?  It could pop a cosmos into existence purely through thought, but needed mud to fashion Adam?  Let's not forget how many people died in horrible agony of their teeth before we figured out how to pull those damn wisdom teeth - that would have been a nice thing to write in the manual, don't you think?

Yeah, it's a shame God had to create dentists! I would just say that God often does things in a symbolic or parabolic way for communication purposes (and read what I said about the rib again).

When God created man "from the dust" that is actually very interesting! The Hebrew lnguage indicates pre-existing material ("dust"). And, in fact, we have the same elements as the stars! Stardust?

I'm not impressed with Hitchen's complaint about tooth decay (but I am impressed with the toothache I had 3 months ago!). In Christian theology, the fallen world predicts such things and contemplates the Problem of Evil. 

I also suspect that ancient man wasn't sucking on all the sugars and crappy processed foods we do! 

I haven't read what you said about the rib the first time, nor do I know where that particular line of malarkey is located. 'Parabolic', huh?  Sounds a lot like inefficiency to me.

The trouble with the stardust thing is that, according to your bible, plants were created before the sun or other stars, yet they are supposed to be made of stardust as well.  Oops.

Ancient man didn't need to eat sweets for his wisdom teeth to crush the other teeth in his jaw - this little 'flaw' ensured that few people lived past 35, and we have the archaeological records to prove that.

No, the plants were not created prior to the sun. Check any reputable commentary on that. If you insist, I'll spell out the chronology.

The rest is, again, the Problem of Evil.

No, the rest is the unanswered problem of 'infinite resources' and then the need for mud and theft of a rib.

I've read Genesis 1, so you had best 'spell it out' for me.  We'll get the that raqia problem later.

@Kevin Harris - Markwars are things that begin to exist without being caused to exist.  I've been all through this with you in chat.

Markwars?

Exactly! Markwars? I've acknowledged above that if a markwar is something that began to exist without being caused then it is an exception to the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. 

Well, do Markwars exist? And how does one determine that they began without a cause?

Is Markwar just another name for God?

Of course Markwars exist - you've failed to prove that they don't.

They are not 'another name' for your concept of a god, because your concept of a god 'never began to exist'.  Harkwars are things that never began to exist, and if your god existed then it would be a harkwar.

Yeah, I see the tautology: God is a Harkwar if a Harkwar is God. 

You seem to want to take the attributes of "what everyone calls God" (Anselm) and give it another name. A rose by any other name...!

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