Why I changed my mind


(RiderOnTheClouds) #1

I’d just like to explain the five main reasons why I changed my mind about religion.

5- Many of my foundational arguments were much weaker than I had suspected. was initially convinced that the Bible was plagiarised from Pagan myths, filled with scientific errors (true) and bad morality. Whilst I never outright denied the existence of Jesus (nor did I believe the Catholic Church taught the Earth was flat or that Hitler was motivated by Christianity, or that Christianity was unevocqually pro-slavery), I did believe elements of his story were taken from earlier pagan deities such as Mithras and Krishna (I was aware that the Horus stuff was a load of BS however). I later of course discovered this was completely wrong.

4- Realising atheists do not have the monopoly on truth, as they think they do. This is linked to the first point. Thanks to Tim O’Neill, Ben Stanhope and others I have realised the hypocritical promotion of junk historical theories by almost the entire movement. Whilst it does not convince me of God, it certainly means that I will never again associate my self with the movement of New Atheism.

3- I do see evidence for some form of design. I find it hard to see how the laws which govern the universe could have came about through naturalism.

2- Christianity and Judaism are the only two religions I have seen which give some form of explanation for ‘why’ God would go through the trouble of creation. After reading John Walton’s Lost World, I’m convinced it is to function as a temple to him.

1- Perhaps the most important reason for me is realising how foundational Christianity is to liberal, western values. New Atheists do not like to hear it, but our ideas on Liberty, Dignity and Equality do have a greater basis in Christianity than anything else. I’m in no way suggesting that you can’t be good without God, you can, but we can’t expect everbody to intellectually rationalise things. I feel as though eventually, as western countries lose their foundational values through secularism, we will inevitably turn to chaos.

There you go, that is the reason why 2017 was the year I changed my mind, probably for good.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #2

The Spirit uses all sorts of ways to draw us to Christ, and so it is an occasion for rejoicing that these have connected with you. Once we are drawn closer, it may become necessary to reflect on whether our allegiance now finally is centered on Christ, or is it still centered on other things? (I don’t believe any Christian, no matter how mature, ever gets past having to constantly answer this question.)

So one might fairly ask you, then: Is it Christ you seek? Or is it really liberal western values? You seem to be prioritizing the latter and then seeing Christianity as a useful tool to help sustain a western culture. You are far from alone among us here in being tempted in those directions. So we are all challenged to ask what we take our real starting point to be. Is it Christ? Or is it democratic western values as supported by science and reason? The two are not everywhere opposed to each other, but all the same: only one can be on the throne. Christ subjected all principalities and powers to himself on the cross. They are not destroyed, but they are destined to be his footstool. Do we have the faith to believe that? I’m asking this of myself and other believers here this as much as you.

But all that said, I really do rejoice that you are deciding to look to Christ.

An edit already applied.


#3

Don’t you think saying stuff like this is a tad arrogant and dismissive?


(Juan Romero) #4

I think that is not the way of saying it, but I think the idea is true. I remember dealing with an atheist some days ago who thought the universe has always existed (without any solid scientific evidence) and refused to accept any of my arguments.

I shared with him several articles, books and videos and explained him why he was wrong, and even sent him a link to a great analysis of Prof. Frank Tipler’s Omega Point theory.

Guess what? He dismissed it all of that as garbage and said he was using “testable scientific evidence that God does not exist”, while he was just showing his ignorance of the Big Bang cosmology.

One of his two friends (because it was a three versus one) said that he “destroyed” me, and the other one said that I was using “invalid arguments” and that I “didn’t want to accept God does not exist”.

I just wrote a final (and long) rebuttal to all of their arguments. They never responded.

One of them even said that a “historian” proved Jesus was invented by the Romans in the Middle Ages. Really, I even have the screenshots.


#5

It’s still a sweeping generalization. On the internet you will run into plenty of know-it-alls, and many are religious.


#6

I think you’re right here. Taking in refugees, providing for the needs of the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the widows, and the orphans are all important liberal Christian values. Not so much conservative Christian values these days.


(Mark Moore) #7

Well hold on now, the position that “there is no God” (or as some try to shade it, no evidence for God) pretty much requires them to assert a negative as if they could look all over this universe, and whatever may be beyond this universe. Further, they are saying that 100% of people who have claimed to have interactions with God throughout human history- including those in scripture, are mistaken or lying even though they do not have the resources to investigate even 1% of these claims. Nor do they have anything but speculation as to how this ordered universe arose without intelligent intent yet they insist that it did.

They think they have a monopoly on truth on the issue of the existence of God. Christians are wrong, Jews are wrong, Hindus are wrong, Zorastrians and Muslims are wrong on the question “does God exist” while they, a few percent of the population, are right.

So I think @Reggie_O_Donoghue has it about right. Does this make them incorrect? Not necessarily. Every religion also thinks it has a “monopoly on truth” regarding certain details about God. That is the nature of truth claims. Why not own it? The only way it would not apply is the same reason it would not apply to Christian or Muslim truth claims- it is not strictly a “monopoly” because anyone can convert to the position Still, the fact is on this very broad question, the atheist position does claim they are right and the rest are wrong.


#8

No, it’s about atheists thinking they have a monopoly on truth. Period.


(Mark Moore) #9

Sounds like you are claiming a monopoly on truth as to the sense of meaning the young man was intending when he used the phrase “monopoly on truth”. I guess we should just wait and let him elaborate on what his meaning was.


(Stephen Matheson) #10

So, @beaglelady accurately identified this kind of talk as “a tad arrogant and dismissive.” We can add “false.”


(George Brooks) #11

@Mark_Moore,

As someone who has had similar experiences to @Reggie_O_Donoghue, I think I can hazard an educated guess as to what he means:

I think Reggie knows full well there are Atheists out there who are not interested in trying to convince anyone else about Atheism. So, if he were wearing his Editor hat, he would no doubt be more precise in his general statement.

But in wearing his “I am a Theist” hat, he and I are quite confident that when we bump into an Atheist blogger it is with the expectation that the Atheist will reject any evidence which Reggie and I find useful in making our decision to be Theists… and categorically deny that such evidence is acceptable: only evidence vetted by an Atheist is deemed true.

I’ve seen these exact same conversations right here on these BioLogos boards.


(Mark Moore) #12

Why so touchy about it? Isn’t every truth claim a claim for a “monopoly on truth” in regards to the question? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and as Logos existed in the beginning with God and was God. I am convinced that this is the only correct position and that all contradictory ideas about the identity of Jesus are incorrect. So I suppose I could be said to be claiming a “monopoly on truth” in that sense, and that’s fine. I’ll own it. What I don’t get is why atheists are so touchy about taking the same ownership of a position which they clearly do own. When an atheist says “there is no evidence for God” they are disputing the validity of many many contradictory claims most of which they could not have examined closely. The umbrage just seems disproportionate to the “offense”.


(Juan Romero) #13

Totally true.


(Stephen Matheson) #14

Your blanket statements about atheists are also something you should own, because more thoughtful believers (just like more thoughtful atheists) always avoid them. You are missing the point of why these kinds of silly blanket pronouncements are arrogant and dismissive. Lots to own there.


#15

I am not a “New” atheist, and in my experience very few atheists are. I can understand the attractiveness of finding some atheists who have bad arguments and extrapolating it to the rest of the atheist community, but this simply isn’t the truth of the matter.

On top of that, atheism is full of “I don’t knows” and massive holes in our knowledge of the most basic questions, such as why we are here and where the universe came from. In my experience, some people shy away from atheism because it lacks the knowledge (i.e. “truth”) they are looking for.[quote=“Reggie_O_Donoghue, post:1, topic:37604”]
Perhaps the most important reason for me is realising how foundational Christianity is to liberal, western values. New Atheists do not like to hear it, but our ideas on Liberty, Dignity and Equality do have a greater basis in Christianity than anything else.
[/quote]

How so?[quote=“Reggie_O_Donoghue, post:1, topic:37604”]
I feel as though eventually, as western countries lose their foundational values through secularism, we will inevitably turn to chaos.
[/quote]

Didn’t you just get done saying that Liberty, Dignity, and Equality come from Christianity? Now you are arguing against those things?


#16

Because not all atheists hold to those positions. We are a bit of an eclectic bunch whose only shared worldviews are skepticism and a lack of belief in deities. Not all of us buy into the Jesus Mythicist stuff, and I would say that a majority could care less if Jesus was a real historical person or not. We atheists also believe that Joseph Smith was a real historical person, yet we aren’t converting to Mormonism in droves.[quote=“Mark_Moore, post:12, topic:37604”]
When an atheist says “there is no evidence for God” they are disputing the validity of many many contradictory claims most of which they could not have examined closely.
[/quote]

We are saying that we have seen no evidence for God, not that no such evidence exists or could exist. We operate under the simple logical principle that it is up to those making the God claims to provide the evidence that God exists.


#17

Most atheists lack a belief in deities, but never claim that no deities exist.[quote=“Mark_Moore, post:7, topic:37604”]
Further, they are saying that 100% of people who have claimed to have interactions with God throughout human history- including those in scripture, are mistaken or lying even though they do not have the resources to investigate even 1% of these claims.
[/quote]

We are claiming that we have yet to see evidence that what they claim is true. We don’t assume something is true simply because they write it down in a book, and we also don’t assume they are lying. Surely you understand that it is up to those making the positive claim to supply the positive evidence, right?[quote=“Mark_Moore, post:7, topic:37604”]
Still, the fact is on this very broad question, the atheist position does claim they are right and the rest are wrong.
[/quote]

The atheist position is to ask theists to demonstrate they are right, and to withhold belief in God until such evidence is provided.


#18

The term “liberal” has taken on many meanings over the ages. Here is the original meaning:

"Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.[1][2][3] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]"


#19

Surely you can understand that finding a few atheists who are wrong does not make all atheists wrong. I don’t label all Christians as being young Earth creationists, and then use science to disprove the Bible. I think atheists deserve to state their own positions and not be labeled by a stereotype.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #20

You may be right, I should have said, ‘like many new atheists think they do’, not all atheists, probably most don’t. Michael Shermer, Tim O’Neill, and many others I believe are mostly right as far as science and history is concerned. I’m talking about Harris, Coyne, Dawkins, Myers and their ilk.