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Hello, I Am An Atheist. Ask Me Anything.

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by ffb25, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Hi! My name is Matt. I am 22 years old and I left my faith when I was in high school, maybe 6 years ago. I would be very happy to answer any questions that you might have as long as they are earnest (that is, you actually want to know the answer rather than just baiting me) and non-inflammatory. Although I do not share the beliefs of Christians, I am not looking to attack yours, I just enjoy exploring alternate opinions. I will try not to proselytize for unbelief, I will simply answer whatever you may be wondering. I look forward to talking with all of you :)
    kmel likes this.
  2. Hi Matt

    Well, I for one have had my fair share of early morning discussions with my atheist family. There is nothing that I feel I need to know.

    But, if you don't mind, can we rather discuss why it is that you left the faith? That is a partially baited question ;), but I promise to speak nice and friendly!!
  3. welcome Matt ..
    I have a few questions for you, if that's ok ..
    by faith you mean belief ???
    and I'm assuming that was Christian, right ???
    if you belonged to a denomination, which one was it ???

    and here is my real question .. what made you leave ???

    since you said you "enjoy exploring alternate opinions" ..
    then feel free to ask me anything as well :)
  4. hi King J ..
    you're more then likely are pretty well versed in the Richard Dawkins handbook I take it .. it seems to me, most people fall away because nobody showed them how tangible God really is ..
  5. Definitely. I started writing a long reply but then deleted it :p. Lets wait on ffb25 and try focus here. It is so easy to get carried away.

    All I will say is that because of the dust settling now... a while since the 'wilder claims' by said person and his ilk, there are many more 'agnostic atheists' around.
  6. Hi guys, thank you for your questions. Since you both asked why I left my faith I will start with ixoye_8's questions and then get to that.

    By faith I do mean belief in a God or any supernatural elements to the universe.

    I was a Christian, yes. I was raised in the Lutheran church. I attended Sunday School and vacation Bible study in my childhood and completed the requisite classes to be confirmed in the Lutheran church when I was a teenager. I was very active for many years. I am now 22 and left when I was maybe 17. I continue to read the Bible. Even if you don't consider it a historical message or the absolute word of God, it is one of the most important works ever written (from a cultural/literary perspective).

    Leaving my religion didn't happen all at once like it does for some. When I was in my early teens I started questioning the idea of a church. I thought it was bizarre that we were expected to celebrate God en masse. I was convinced that I could do so just as effectively in my own house. I was still devoted to the Christian God, I just became skeptical of organized religion. It's not that I thought it was suspicious, I just didn't understand what its purpose was.

    Later on, I became somewhat suspicious of the Bible. I'm not going to point out contradictions in the Bible because I think that's taking cheap shots; There is something in the Bible everyone can use for their own purposes. Ultimately though, this was the beginning of the end. It sort of opened the floodgates. The first thing I said to myself was "it seems rather unlikely that the world in 6,000 years old, as the Bible claims it to be". Then things sort of started to unravel in my hands. If I considered one part of the Bible untrue, then it seemed odd to me that I should accept the rest of it 'on faith', if you'll excuse the expression.

    Ultimately, I decided that "why not believe it?" was the wrong question. "Why believe it?" seemed to me the rational way to consider things. I don't have a good reason for not believing in unicorns. I cannot prove that they don't exist. They may be invisible, they may be incredibly rare. To me that's not a good reason to assume that they DO exist. If you came to my house and informed me that there was a unicorn in my backyard, I would look out the window and say "no there is not". If you were to ask me why I don't believe that there was one out there, I would tell you that I don't see one. You could tell me that he was invisible, you could tell me he galloped away. And you may be right. But I still would still be skeptical that this was the case.

    There are some Atheists that think that they know FOR SURE that there is not a God. I am not one of them. In the above example, I would not be able to say at 100% certainty that the unicorn was not there. I would, however, be able to say that there's no basis on which for me to suspect that he had been, and I was therefore maybe 99.99% sure he was not. This is the way I feel about God. Can I prove that he doesn't exist? Certainly not. I can't prove that God doesn't exist any more than I can prove unicorns don't exist than I can prove that there is not a teapot orbiting the Earth than I can prove Johnny Depp is not taking a nap under your futon at this very moment. However, I am deeply skeptical that any of these things are true.

    Ultimately, to me, Atheism is the default. No one has said "Here's why you SHOULD believe that there is a God" and given me a satisfactory answer. Even if they had convinced me that there is a God, I daresay they would next have to answer why I should believe in the Christian god or Muslim god or whatever faith they were advocating and that this would be an even more difficult task.

    I hope I'm not misunderstood. I'm not saying that a logical person can't rationally arrive at religion. I'm not that conceited. I believe that people should arrive at their own conclusions. I simply think that every human being must follow their OWN logic and I saw fit to follow mine, and this is where it lead me.

    So, Ixoye_8, I will take you up on your offer and ask you a question of my own. For what reason do you believe in God? And why your God specifically?
    kmel likes this.
  7. teapots and unicorns

    the parables of their chosen teachers.....

    the indoctrination of the atheist.....

    we are all students of life....

    we choose our teachers.....
  8. Hello ffb25, I seem to remember reading the unicorn argument on another forum. OK, so I have a few comments and questions based on your reply.
    Have you considered a glowing coal once it is removed from the fire? It quickly dies does it not? You have removed yourself from the fire no?

    Please tell me....where does the Bible claim the World is 6000 years old?
    What if you were shown the hoof prints left by the Unicorn, would that not tend to convince you that it was there?
    Paul, in his letter to the Roman Christians made a similar point in saying that The evidence in nature points to a Creator.
    Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
    If you were to ask the above question of me, my answer would be that I believe in God because I have met Him and I have found that He matches (so far) the profile of Him as given in the Bible.
  9. Certainly we do! I don't dispute this . The previous two posters seem to be familiar enough with Ath. Literature to recognize that my logic doesn't exist in a vacuum, maybe even recognize the Bertrand Russell allusion straightaway. The question ultimately becomes why make the choices that we do? Why, for instance, would I choose something other than atheism as the default? This is how I would approach other questions, by assuming the non-existence of something until I'm given one (just one) reason to question the default premise.
  10. 1. Similar arguments have been made by many, I sort of picked an arbitrary scenario.

    2. I don't understand the glowing coal argument. Please expand.

    3. Certainly I would, if I could be reasonably combined that they belonged to a unicorn instead a deer or horse or something. Maybe it's easiest to drop the metaphor. I certainly think there COULD be evidence of god outside of him actually revealing himself, literally, in the flesh. I, however, have never come across any natural phenomena that I felt could be described only as the work of god. And once again, you'd have the difficulty of explaining why it seemed that your god, rather than say, Zeus, was the most likely culprit.

    4. Outstanding! I, on the other hand, have not.
  11. #11 calvin, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
    The idea behind the glowing coal is that if there were a fire burning away happily in the fire place and one of the coals were to be removed, that coal would quickly loose heat and stop giving off warmth. When a Christian forsakes the gathering together with other Christians as you have said of yourself, then that Christian's faith can grow cold. Heb 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
    Also, is it not reasonable that if a person departs from Christ that Christ might depart from that person also?
    Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Just a thought.
    BTW, you didn't point to where the Bible claims the world is 6000 years old or there abouts....can you?
  12. Just gonna make a note here. While I respect what you appear to be trying to do, and I have no immediate intention of stopping you, I know from experience that if you are genuine in what you say you are here for, you will be the very, very first ever. So long as you are here to learn, you are welcome. Just know, that I cannot allow you to inject doubt into the minds of those who are not strong in their faith. Not everyone here is a mature and strong Christian, and it is our job to protect those who are not yet able to protect their own faith.
    Kurt75 and RosaVera say Amen and like this.
  13. Hi, Matt -- welcome!

    Very cool of you to come in here and allow theists to ask an atheist directly his position on things.

    Acknowledging that you don't believe in the existence of God, what do you believe God is according to Christianity? In other words, regarding the concept of God, what is God and what isn't God?
  14. Ok, just don’t place all your bets in Philosophy, there is hidden catch in creating Premises.

    We are Christians here.
    We choose to seek righteousness in Jesus law and precepts, and we did found righteousness.
    Jesus antithesis challenges the accepted Premises during his time.
    How you arrive to chose that premise, i have no idea.....
    ... although i usually see a pattern that it starts on on examining other people defect, instead of examining one's defect: that is: judgmental

    Atlhough since you mentioned above: Ultimately, I decided that "why not believe it?" was the wrong question. "Why believe it?" seemed to me the rational way to consider things.

    BOTH are rational way: try to be objective: how you stated those in italics shows your objectivity is lacking, the usual pattern of close minded search....

    But be careful: even experienced lawyers: when they accept a case they do not agree with, for the sake of the case, at the end of it: they found merit on the case even they do not agree with it in the first place.

    It is a law, natural law: what you sow is what you reap.
  15. Hello Matt, welcome.

    I was an atheist once. Then I started paying attention. I hope you learn something while you're here.
  16. Hey Matt.

    When you say you were a Christian, what does that mean? Had you experienced the sort of life-changing "indwelling of the Holy Spirit" (as it's often called)?
  17. @Banarenth : Thank you. I have carefully read the rules of your forum and will try to best to refrain from anything you would deem inappropriate. I have recently encountered some questions about what atheists think of the soul, morality, love, etc. and I think these are valid questions that deserve answers. As I said, I am not here to proselytize. I will try to avoid saying anything that is not a direct answer to a question since I'm already seeing the beginning of an argument here. For instance @aha 's post was valuable, however it was a series of statements and I have no intention of arguing with them.

    Of course if you do think that I am here for unjust reasons, then I do invite you to pull the thread off the site. I don't wish to participate where I'm unwanted. Also feel free to let me know if anything is toeing the line.

    So far, aside from one personal message I received, no one has been untoward and it seems many embrace the discussion. I hope this continues to be the case. I imagine if a Christian were to post something similar on an Atheist forum, they would be met with greater hostility than I have. I appreciate this and am thankful for the grace of the posters so far.
  18. I apologize @calvin , I forgot that question when I was replying.

    It is nowhere explicitly stated. Some scholars have treated the genealogies in genesis as complete and have calculated that this would put the date of the earth's creation somewhere in 4004 b.c.

    HOWEVER, I do realize that other books suggest that these genealogies are not complete and that some of the complex family relationships are lost on translation. I do not mean to say that the only interpretation of scripture is that the earth is that young. It isn't. It's merely the first skeptical question that I asked myself. I come from a young Earth family. When I asked myself "why should I believe in a young Earth?" The next question was "why believe any of it?". Thus far I have not encountered a satisfactory answer. You are all welcome to provide one. I could come up with another claim in the Bible that I find difficult to believe but as I say I'm not here to attack.

    Thank you for your clarification. Yes, that is certainly possible.
  19. @LysanderShapiro :

    Hi! Thank you, hopefully we will all learn something.

    That is BIG question, I'm not sure I can fully answer it without getting too deeply metaphysical but I'll try for simple answer.

    As I say, I personally reject the idea of anything supernatural. I think the universe, or the multiverse or whatever it turns out to be can be entirely explained without resorting to "oh that part? I'm not sure how that happened, I think god did that."

    What I'm not saying is that I think we have it all figured out. We certainly have not and never will. I'm just saying that I believe given an unlimited amount of time and resources it COULD be figured out. We will simply be foiled by the finity of life/our species' survival, etc. I recognize that some of faith believe this as well.

    I still believe in some concepts that could be designated "spiritual", although I would not designate them as such. For instance, life is an incredible thing to me. But for me it is also purely chemical. The 'soul' to me is mechanical. It exists because our bodies and minds exist and if this ceases to be the case, then the soul ceases to exist as well.

    Many religions treat the soul and the body as separate entities that can be separated from one another. I do not subscribe to this. I believe that life and the 'soul' are synonyms and once life is extinguished everything of that person's being is as well.

    So most of the descriptions of God I've encountered - from Descartes' omnipotent, omnipresent God to the Deist blind watchmaker - fall somewhere in the realm of what I would call 'supernatural'. I have heard some people say that they believe in God in a more abstract sense, that god is simply the way the universe works - more as a force of nature than a being - but at a certain point if one's concept of God is not omnipotent or isn't intimately involved in a conscious way with creation, then the label 'God' seems to me a misnomer.

    So as a summary: What I think of as 'not god' is any mechanical, chemical forces etc. What is God would be either a supernatural force outside of the observable and explicable or any sort of conscious intention that the universe has.
  20. @RiverJordan :

    I would not say that I ever had a life- changing experience or was ever born again into Christ or anything. I was simply raised to believe that God created the heavens and the Earth, that he sent his only son to die for our sins, Holy Spirit, life after death. You know, Apostles' Creed stuff. I eventually decided that I did not think that this was factually accurate.

    In my adolescence I believed that I felt the presence of God. I imagine in hindsight, however, that Hindus or ancient Greeks or what have you also believe that they feel the presence of their specific God, many having much more intense and palpable experiences.

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