Isn't it erroneous to say "the only people" ? I myself found the arguments convincing after a lapse in belief, and I know several others who found their way into the church. To my understanding a significant number join religion from atheism or agnosticism, I admit the numbers most likely are not as high as those who go from religion to atheism, and definitely not as high as those who believe simply because they are born into it.
I don't mean there are flaws to the fact that the arguments are not convincing to a majority of people, however I do believe that generalities should be avoided.
I said unweighted agnostic. Someone who experiences a "lapse in belief" is not that. Anyway, I'm not attacking theists; skeptics of religion are the only ones that find arguments against god to be convincing. I'm saying that the arguments don't cause people to up and go "You know what now... I hadn't thought of THAT!" and change their minds. So the arguments don't convince people and there is no evidence.
There isn't a significant number of people who join religion from atheism or agnosticism. Most agnostics end up as atheists and most atheists were once religious but left. (And studies show they don't leave because of the arguments.) And the people leaving religion are the fastest growing group in surveys of religious affiliation/belief. But more importantly is WHY the few people who join a religion from atheism or agnosticism do so. Research says they do so for emotional reasons whereas people who leave religion for atheism and agnosticism do so after careful thought and consideration of the nature of the belief itself.
I do not mean any disrespect by this, but would you mind citing what research you are mentioning? I think it would be fascinating to read.
He talks about the sociological research into why people leave religion and about the motivations the few people who left and came back had for going back.
Thank you! I recognize my own lack of knowledge on the subject, and I shall endeavor to educate myself more fully.
That's only half of it. You have to also be prepared to accept whatever the implications are. Plenty of people read, far fewer actually take the information on board. The first part is easy. Just takes a comfortable chair and a bookmark.
I assure you, I will make every effort to comprehend the implications that such research suggests.
There are people who weren't indoctrinated as children. Or people who who had some indoctrination but never took it all that seriously. They know about religion, but it has little importance in their life and they don't care either way. They probably never thought much about arguments for or against gods. Those can easily fall into its clutches, but they weren't really atheists in the strictest sense. More like apatheists (from "apathy")
However, for a person who actively reasoned themselves out of religion, there is no way to go back. It really depends on how someone arrived at their state of non-belief
I was born an Atheist. As I learned to speak and understand what people were saying, I was indoctrinated into religions and told there was an invisible man in the sky. As strange as it sounds, as a child I would believe pretty much anything I was told; tooth fairy, Santa Claus, invisible man in the sky -> what did I know, huh?
Anyway, as my thoughts developed I began to wonder how things worked and why. I wanted to know why clocks ticked, flowers bloomed, leaves fell in autumn, etc. This process, and some rather profound contradictions in what I was being told about the invisible man, eventually led me to ask some questions that raised certain problems for me.
I found out that everyone who talked about god was lying, and telling even bigger lies than they had when they told me about Santa Claus. They claimed that god told them things all the time but when questioned about what he sounded like, well they started fidgeting the same way I had when my aunt had asked me what happened to her gold fish. When I asked about miraculous healings, my questions were met with anger -> because the stories were all bogus and no one was being healed.
Finally I looked back on all that I had been told: man living in a whale belly for 3 days; man walking on water; millions of animals on a boat; people being 'healed' -> well, I guess you get the picture. It's just a bunch of hooey and when you start digging into it all the 'facts' turn out to be nothing more than shadows cast by hand-puppets. I guess that's all.
That is very interesting, and I do not argue that those stories seem very outlandish. Not to mention the tendency of practicing Christians to lie constantly is something that irritates me greatly as well. So my question to you, if you do not mind, is: "What do you think Christianity is all about?"
I think Christianity is a lot of things to a lot of people. For a select few, like Ted Haggard, it is a lucrative way to get a lot of money without losing much of it to taxes. For the majority, it represents a community that admires them for nothing more than being a member of that community. There are untalented musicians who really appreciate having a place where they can play some corny songs and receive applause rather than criticism. There are also despicable people who like to take a prominent place in a church to bolster their reputation in the greater community.
Unfortunately, churches offer a profound political opportunity for those who want to dictate their own morality to a group of people who have committed themselves to squelching every question that pops into their head. To me, this represents a terrifying power base for the worst sort of narcissists imaginable. More and more I am seeing Christian congregations becoming anti-intellectual, intolerant, and outright aggressive in their hatred of anyone unwilling to submit to their cult leader.
What do you think Christianity is all about?