I am a former Atheist. Oh, I grew up in the Church. My parents were Catholic, but that didn’t work for me – and sometime in junior high I told them I didn’t believe in God. That honestly may have been just a case of a teenager trying to get under his parent’s skin, but as time went on my doubt became real. In high school I started preparing for a career as a journalist – was trained to question everything. I spent my adult life in that line of work and saw and reported on a number of tragedies- all which only confirmed my believes that God didn’t exist – if he did he’d never would have allowed something like this to happen (a tornado, a hurricane, a murder, sexual assault of a child or whatever.)


But that all changed when I was 33. For the last 5 years I’ve been a bible thumping, Jesus freak. However I continue to think that the biggest problem with Christianity is the Christians. And so I am here in part to show the world that we are not all judgmental and self righteous.


So I decided to create this thread; Ask a former Atheist. You can grill me or attack me here. I think one truth is that Atheist talk about God as much as believers – if not more so – because it is such a fascinating topic.


By the way – just as a plug- I ‘ve written a book called Gradually to God which is all how finding faith as an adult. It can be purchased on amazon






Thanks for your time

Doug Wahl

Views: 229

Comment by Gaytor on April 14, 2011 at 10:17am
Your story sounds quite similar to Lee Strobel's. How to do you reconcile Biblical contradiction? IE Genesis 1 Man created on Day 6 as God's last thing to accomplish before his vacation. With Genesis 2 that says that Man was created before Plants, animals, etc, or by Day 2. Of course there are hundreds of these, but I thought the first one is a good place to start.
Comment by Gaytor on April 14, 2011 at 10:18am
Welcome to TA by the way.
Comment by Apple on April 14, 2011 at 10:55am

Welcome to Think Atheist.  You should find that we are not here to attack anyone.  Rather, we enjoy discussing ideas.


I think you will find that most of us are here for intellectual and not emotional reasons.  That is to say, as far as theism is concerned, only reasoned arguments carry any weight.  I'm more than open to hearing why you choose to become a theist, and why you choose the particular brand of theism that you did.  I am interested to know if you consider yourself to be a rational thinker, and if so, whether or not you apply the same standards to your faith as you do to other religious and non-religious extraordinary claims.

Comment by doug wahl on April 14, 2011 at 10:58am

Lee story is similar in that we are both journalists and former atheists, but his pursuit was different than mine. Honestly he really went after it as on an intellecutal basis. I went after God because I had honestly screwed by life up so badly that I had to give something else a try.

   As for the contridictions - and Gaytor I am not sure you are going to accept this answer- but in the earliest days of my pursuit I had to skip the book of Genesis.  Most of my big questions about the Bible coe from that book - and they are still there today. There is actually a story in Genesis about Jacob changing the color of cows by showing them a poka-dotted poll. As I sit here today I can't tell you if I honestly think that happened. It just doesn't make sense.

    But the faith is not called Jacob-anity or Adamism or Noahism.  So"in the beginning"  I had to skip the beginning.  Instead I started out by figuring what I thought about Jesus- and then kind of back tracked from there.

    The book of Genesis still gives me problems. But I can now read the stories without everything having to add up. Do I really believe cows changed color? I don't know....but I understand what the moral of that story is; you have to see something (the poka dotted poll) before you can become it.

Comment by Apple on April 14, 2011 at 11:13am

"I went after God because I had honestly screwed by life up so badly that I had to give something else a try."


I was wondering if it was going to go in this direction.  I am getting the feeling that you decided to become a theist for emotional reasons.  I don't doubt that becoming involved with and positive community could have a very positive effect on someone going through a rut in his or her life.  (though I would argue that the best theists have values that are more in line with humanism than their actual doctrines)  In any case, truth is truth and how we feel about it doesn't change what is. 


I you feel that theistic belief is has helped you in your life then that is good, but not relevant to atheists.  We are only interested in what is true.  You have to understand that belief is not a choice.  I cannot choose to believe in a god.  I must be persuaded to believe for good reasons.


Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Comment by Jason on April 14, 2011 at 11:22am
So......are you saved?
Comment by Gaytor on April 14, 2011 at 11:29am
Thanks for your answer. So let's move on to something in the New Testament then.
John 3:3 shows Jesus talking to Nicodemus about begin reborn. At one point Nicodemus gets confused and says in effect, reborn as in going back to your mother's womb? The double entendre problem occurs in Greek. Reborn can mean from above or a second time. However, Jesus and Nicodemus would have been speaking in Aramaic. In Aramaic, The term only has one meaning, from above. So being reborn can only mean from above and the confusion couldn't have happened. Since the confusion couldn't have happened, the conversation was made up. Now we have a huge section of the US whom are Evangelical largely based on the need to be re-born. Jesus never spoke of this and it's a misquote. How do you reconcile these, especially when it hits squarely at the heart of the religion and the modern understanding of the Bible?
Comment by doug wahl on April 14, 2011 at 11:35am

Apple,  I am going to try to respond to your first post here – and will come back to your second post in after I run an errand.


First off I do see myself as a rational thinker. Although I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t think of themselves as a rational thinker.)


 Let me say this – Christians do not have a monopoly on morality (although many believers think they do.) And at the same time nonbelievers do not have a monopoly on rational thought.  For this exchange to work you have to – for the sake of argument – you have to pay me the respect that I am someone who looked at the issue from every possible angle and just came to a different conclusion than the one you arrived at.


As for “do you apply the same standards to your faith as you do to other religious and non-religious extraordinary claims.” I think apply higher standards.


You have to understand how many ridicolous claims one hears when they belong to  a Christian community. I actually had dinner with a older couple that had just reunited after years of seperation. She moved in with him and as they were unpacking they discovered they had the same type of salt shakers, glass wear “even the same style of furniture.” They both took this as a sign from God. And hear they were telling me about th discoveries…and I am thinking this is bull shit. He left his wife and kids to reunite with his high school sweetheart. This is not of God in any way shape or form. But believers want to see God’s hand in their life to such an extant that they are out there creating sings.


There is a Biblical gift of dicernment which is basically what I am discribing – it’s the skeptical ability to look at things and ask is this really of God or is this someone manufactoring God.


I will answer you second post later this afternoon. ( I have to run to a school assembly) but as a tease I will tell you that I think one thing you said is a hundred percent wrong


Comment by Kenneth Montville D.D. on April 14, 2011 at 11:47am
Doug, welcome to the site. Let me say that your first reply to Gaytor left me a little surprised. I am impressed with the fact that you frankly admitted to having questions about some of the hard issues in the Bible rather than trying to dismiss them with the same tired used up claims. It is a sign of intellectual maturity. Bravo, I look forward to discussing religion with you.
Comment by Apple on April 14, 2011 at 12:05pm
Thank you for taking the time, Doug.  We often find theists on this site who do not answer questions and then abruptly jump to another argument.  You are likely to start getting questions from many users.  I hope you have the time and energy, and are up for the task.


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