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 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 1
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The Conversion of an atheistPage 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I was reading about C.S. Lewis' conversion from atheism to deist to Christian. Interestingly Lewis could find no "proof" that Christianity had any validity. He considered it one of many myths that sprung up throughout history. Lewis did not sound much different in his thinking than many of the atheists who come here. What kept hammering away at Lewis was that Christianity had a "ring of truth to it". This eventually led him into becoming a Christian.

I would not be so naive to believe that everyone who claims to be an atheist is like Lewis, but I have often wondered why someone who does not believe in God is so intent on "enlightening" the rest of humanity to that fact as some have claimed. Personally I do not believe in Santa Claus and I leave it at that. I am not going to spend my time trying to rescue children from believing in this myth. I am curious if some of the people here who claim to be atheists have read Lewis' authobiography or other writings about his conversion and what was thought about it.
 Robertj64
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 2
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 8:12:00 AM
RDtoo
The more interesting question would be - How many more Christians have turned atheist than the other way around? It is true that most myths contain an element of truth in it. However, the nature of Christianity insists on a real Jesus being crucified and dying for our sins. The lack of evidence of any first hand eye-witness testimony, plus the manner of the canonization of the later scriptures and the development of fantastic stories of miracles, resurrection etc. later plus the fact that the story is not original all points to Jesus likely being a mythical character.
I would be interested in reading Lewis' biography but I suspect that he converted because of the truths that were developed out of a fictional story.
 Lord Dave
Joined: 11/25/2005
Msg: 3
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 8:27:58 AM
I can't say I've read it either, but so what? People change from athiest to christian to jew to hindu, to muslim, ect.... Why they do it is anyone's guess really.
I can't speak for all athiests, but for me, I don't try to enlighten, I try to force people to think. When you have blind faith, you don't need to think, you just do. When you don't think, you become a puppet.
That's my goal. To get people to think for themselves. If they still want to believe in God, then whatever works for them, but I'd rather have them actually want to rather then simply doing what they've always done because everyone else they've been around did it.

Oh and why do those of other religions try to convert us?
 Freespeech
Joined: 4/15/2006
Msg: 4
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 10:57:15 AM

Oh and why do those of other religions try to convert us?


They try to convert us because their right and were wrong, LOL. Same reason some Athiests adamantly try to convince us that there is no god and were following blind faith. I believe in Philosophical terms, they are 'Egotists'.

Just a nice little thought, but no one person or even group can be right. There's always some truth and merit to their arguements but not always applicable to everyone. So we compromise, like the Muslims acknowledge Jesus was a prophet but will not venture as far as to say he was the son of God.

I think the answer is either right in the middle or something that makes us all wrong, LOL. I also personally believe in a higher power but not quite like what most people expect. I dont push that belief on any other person and let them decide their faith, or lack thereof, by themselves.

On a personal note, I do not believe that there is any true 100% Athiests. I think there is just different levels of faith. I may be wrong because I have never met every single Athiest which is the same applicable arguement that Athiests should have when defining faith and existence of higher powers.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 5
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 11:03:23 AM
I try to enlighten simply because I think Christianity is a dangerous religion.

I haven't read the biography so I don't know what ring of truth he's talking about. Talking snakes and creation within the last few millenia don't have the ring of truth about them.
 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 6
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The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 2:00:20 PM
Count, I agree with you. Christianity is a dangerous religion. I have seen some incredibly moronic things done in the name of Christ. Lewis thought it was a dangerous religion as well. In one of the Narnia books he has one of the children asking if Aslan is "safe". The reply was "Of course He is not safe".

On the other hand, the whole human condition is dangerous, is it not?
 Breaca
Joined: 10/26/2005
Msg: 7
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 2:31:13 PM

I try to enlighten simply because I think Christianity is a dangerous religion.


Here’s something interesting which will highlight the Count's sentiments.

http://www.neopagan.net/ABCDEF.html

The above is a wonderful cult evaluator which was developed in order to assist those who are concerned that they or someone they know might be involved in a cult. Put the expectations of the Christian church in there (also try Jewish and Muslim) and the result is truly scary. .. or I should say dangerous.
 flyguy51
Joined: 8/11/2005
Msg: 8
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The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 7:04:43 PM
I read "Surprised By Joy" several years back, and it made me a Lewis fan. It's probably the only autobiography I've read where the author discusses what he has thought about rather than what he has done. In that sense, it is a thinking person's book. I think Lord Dave would appreciate it.

On another note, I would not consider the book a threat to atheism any more than an atheist's book is a threat to theism. That decision still remains with the reader.
 twobits45
Joined: 12/4/2005
Msg: 9
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 8:22:26 PM
Any book ever written that has any spiritual truths or revelations should be a threat to atheism. CS Lewis was a man who knew God, but didn't wear his religion on his sleeves. He wrote as he spoke. With reason and faith and exhibited his God-given imagination in a multitude of science fiction novels. I have read most of his stuff, but appreciate most his writings on appreciation of the arts. There is a very good book written about John Kennedy, CS Lewis, and Aldous Huxley called "Between Heaven and Hell" and they are conversing with each other as they entered heaven. All three with a different life philosophies all, ironically, died on the same day.
 Lord Dave
Joined: 11/25/2005
Msg: 10
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/29/2006 10:43:08 PM
Meh, I'm athiest, but I believe a being of pure energy and thought could exist. Doesn't make them god though because in my mind the definition of God is...

"The creator of the whole universe and each individual species of life directly or indirectly, has unlimited power, makes all the rules, is alone, and cannot 'die'. " That is my definition. A being of pure thought doesn't fit in there becaus such a being would have evolved with the universe, thus not have made it. Also such a being wouldn't have unlimited power. God is a being that cannot exist within our definitions of the physical laws of conservation of energy. Doesn't mean I can't be wrong though.
 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 11
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The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/30/2006 12:33:10 AM
That is an interesting admission. I have thought for quite some time now that I am much more open minded than an atheist. Most atheists are the most close minded people I have ever seen. I have stated here several times that if someone could give me a reasonable argument of why I am wasting my time with Christianity, I would listen. I have yet to see one.
 Lord Dave
Joined: 11/25/2005
Msg: 12
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/30/2006 1:14:37 PM
Athiests are no more or less open minded then christians or muslims or jews, ect... We all have our extreme fundamentalists, completely relaxed, and everyone in between. Look at someone like Pat Robertson: He surely doesn't represent the majority, yet I might think otherwise and thus assume all christains are more close minded then anyone else.
It's all about who you view as the role model, not the exception.

Oh and your not wasting your time with christianity so long as it gives you happiness. However you should be mindfull of the dangers of blind faith. As long as you don't fall into the trap of "Don't think just follow" then your fine.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 13
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/30/2006 3:50:36 PM


That is an interesting admission. I have thought for quite some time now that I am much more open minded than an atheist. Most atheists are the most close minded people I have ever seen.


I think you'll find that most Atheists would become ex-Atheists if you could supply us with some emperical evidence for God.



I have stated here several times that if someone could give me a reasonable argument of why I am wasting my time with Christianity, I would listen. I have yet to see one.


I'm curious to hear what you would even consider a reasonable argument.
 Freespeech
Joined: 4/15/2006
Msg: 14
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/30/2006 10:21:12 PM

I think you'll find that most Atheists would become ex-Atheists if you could supply us with some emperical evidence for God.


With all due respect, I do not feel there is one true athiest. There are people more skeptical then others, but I believe still maintain some sort of faith. To stand up and proclaim that without a doubt, there is no way that we were created and no way that our universe is governed by a supreme being. I am guessing that people who make this claim assume that there is logic to explain what religion states. Which means they have decided that to approach any answer is to be done so with experimentation and by proving theories.

So since the logical way to go about finding answers is to take all possible angles and test those theories. I do believe faith is an angle as well. We havent proven anything so how can we eliminate faith. For me personally, I do not believe that there is one solitary person that can claim total faith or even claim to be an absolute athiest. There is always doubt and there will always be faith. Unless of course someone can stand up and proclaim they have the answer and it is apparent to everyone.

I do not mean some lost scripture or even formulas saying that it should work. I mean concrete proof. A physical manifestation of God saying I am the almighty and this is how it started and these are the universal rules. Or even scientific proof with substantial data explaining everything. Perhaps some sore of combination. But in the end, answering all our questions.

Until then it is speculation and human nature is to think, question, and move forward so that in itself is a form of faith. Some of course are alot more open-minded then other's and they tend to be the one's finding answer's. Imagine if we lost faith and the will to learn and discover. I'm guessing we would still be banging rocks together trying to make fire, LOL.
 llama911
Joined: 9/26/2005
Msg: 15
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/30/2006 11:21:22 PM
I don't seek out believers to convert but I enjoy a debate so I will engage any who bring up the subject with me or on a public forum. I don't believe it will change their mind but I enjoy debate.


I do not feel there is one true athiest

You are wrong. I am more that an athiest even if you proved to me that without question some kind of god existed I would not worship it. I have no doubts because I don't care and will never worship anything or anyone.
 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 16
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The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 4/30/2006 11:47:18 PM
Count, I have said here many times before that I am a sceptic. A Christian but sceptical all the same. My faith was almost completely destroyed by the Pentecostals. I would see people dancing around with arms lifted looking for all the world like they were having an orgasm. That was never my experience and all I got out of it was guilty feelings that I was not reaching some esctatic state like the rest of them. I fianlly decided that they were just whipping themselves into a frenzy rather than being touched by God. My prayers went unanswered. I would listen to Christians give moronic explanations to things like dinosaurs and flying saucers, blaming them on satan. At the same time I was studying the Theatre of the Absurd in college. Plays like "No Exit" were more my experience than "Amazing Grace". I could have easily chucked the Christian faith, BUT, I had seen just enough that convinced me that Christ is indeed the Way. When asked if they wanted to turn back the disciples said to Jesus "Where would we go? You have the Words of eternal life". I have to agree with that. Christianity can be confusing especially the way it is lived out by some. For me the Bible gives a reasonable argument for existence. People can say all they want about the Universe being formed by billions of particles but that seems much more fantastic than by simply believing in God.Secular psychlogists have pronounced the Bible psychologically sound. There is something to it or billions of people would not have committed their lives to it nor would so many be bothered by it so much that they spend their lives trying to disprove it. Like Lewis said there is something that rings true in it.

I have had 2 encounters in my life with who I am fairly certain was God. Both encounters came at awkward times. The results of both incidents were amazingly positive. It cannot be explained away to me that it was some inner subconscious feelings that emerged. The encounters were supernatural. Some people claim God speaks to them daily. Maybe He does. That has not been my experience. I do know that He spoke to me at least once and overwhelmed me on another occasion. I am not a person who seeks emotional experiences. It was nothing I conjured up. I have no doubt that on those 2 occasions I was touched by the Divine. I can understand how someone can become an atheist, but I think once the Divine targets you, you cannot remain one. That is what happened to C.S. Lewis. I think an atheist is probably much closer to becoming a Christian than an agnostic is. Atheists are generally more passionate. It happened to Lewis. It happened to Madelyn Murray O'Hairs son. In retrospect, a reasonable argument would not do after all. It would take a miracle for me not to believe.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 17
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 7:28:09 AM


In retrospect, a reasonable argument would not do after all. It would take a miracle for me not to believe.


Wouldn't a miracle be proof that God does exist?

Obviously you'll never be convinced that God doesn't exist. So let's assume for the sake of argument (not that we should literally argue, of course) that you were touched by the Divine. What makes you think it was the Christian God? Faith, incidentally, isn't a very good answer. Muslims have faith too. So do Jews, Hindus, and plenty of other religious folk. The future of your eternal soul is at stake here. What happens on Judgement Day when you stand before Allah and He damns you for worshipping Jesus? You think He's going to forgive you because you had faith in Jesus?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 18
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 7:31:47 AM


With all due respect, I do not feel there is one true athiest.


What the heck is a "true atheist"?

An Atheist is someone who lacks belief in god or gods. I lack belief in any gods so I'm a true Atheist. I agree with Llama; if you could prove without a doubt that god(s) exists, I still wouldn't worship it. Any god who demands worship doesn't deserve it.
 Hezron
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 19
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 9:00:27 AM
For many...a belief in god is in no way tied to an organized religion. I have always viewed organized religion just as a means of people who share a common belief getting together and exploring that belief.
 GreenEyesAndHam
Joined: 2/11/2005
Msg: 20
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The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 1:32:00 PM
RDtoo: It would take a miracle for me not to believe.

...then don't bother looking for it. In fact, avoid it at all costs. Being able to believe is a gift - use it. By believing, you immediately lose any worry about what's going to happen to you after death. You don't have to worry that your life doesn't have meaning, that there isn't a purpose for life, or that good people aren't rewarded and bad people punished. You don't have to worry about anything anymore - just roughly follow the good book and you'll be fine. Everything you encounter will happen for a reason. What a beautiful secure feeling. When you die, like me when I die, we'll both just be dead and everything we've seen will be forgotten - but until then you will be perfectly relaxed.

As an athiest, I'm jealous of believers. I'd give anything to be able to switch. Not going to happen though. It's not a choice.

I don't try to convert people to atheism as there's not really many advantages to being one. A bit of spare time on Sundays or whatever, I guess. There's the cold comfort of likely being right about the nature of our existance - big deal. There's the feeling that any good acts that we do are somehow morally purer because we're doing them for no-one else but the receiver - again, big deal - there's no-one else to talk to them about or the act becomes impure anyway. There's more of an adrenaline rush in dangerous situations, as we know that we're playing for real every time. Still in all, if you have a choice, don't choose atheism.

GE&H

PS - I think that I'm spending too much time wallowing in sarcasm, because this post sounds exactly like my sarcastic ones, except that it's not. It's not attacking anyone either, for the record.

PPS - Some interesting (and inflammatory) quotations on this general subject:

"Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel." -- Ambrose Bierce

"Heathen, n. A benighten creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel." -- Ambrose Bierce

"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes." -- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

PPPS - Hmmm, those quotations seem like I'm trying to convert people. Not really, I'm just prodding. If this converts you, you didn't believe.
 Lord Dave
Joined: 11/25/2005
Msg: 21
The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 1:45:28 PM
Meh, how would anyone know God from someone with sufficiently advanced technology? Your best bet to prove it all right or wrong would be to find a way to travel backwards in time and see the earth form. That'll, more or less, prove one thing or another.
 Freespeech
Joined: 4/15/2006
Msg: 22
The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 5:26:34 PM

Your best bet to prove it all right or wrong would be to find a way to travel backwards in time and see the earth form. That'll, more or less, prove one thing or another.


Actually that's probably the only way, LOL. Except for the problem that everyone would have to do this and see it with their own eyes. Or atthe bare minimum, some sort of credible source that all can agree on.

I notice that the word 'faith' automatically gets linked to belief in a higher power. I am more prone to associate faith with hope. I am also not 100% sure exactly the true definition of an Athiest. If it is to just believe in absolutely no possible way a higher power exists, and ALL religion in any form is false, then I stand corrected. In that case it is possible to not believe in a god of sorts. Now does an athiest just stop with religion or do they dismiss everything and the possibility of anything explaining our universe?

I guess I also ask what is the difference between an Athiest of say a thousand years ago to now. Did they just dismiss a higher power or did they go as far to say well there's no possible way the Earth isnt flat. I ask because it is the uncertainty that eludes me. A previous poster stated he was an athiest and just doesnt think or worry about anything.

So if an athiest is just restricted to religion, that means they have another explanation. Which would determine an answer to universal questions and specifically origin's. It seems they spend just as much time trying to prove or in some cases not worry as a a religious person does.

I know onwe thing that if we dismiss religion before we have any answers we are tying one hand behind our back, so to speak. It is a possibility and no one knows for sure. To me it is like giving up hope that there is an answer.

I personally have never given in to the philosophy of abandoning something simply because it has not been proven. If people throughout history had done that then where would we be?

Just a final observation, but in the case of an Athiest vs a person of religious faith, it seems that the religious person has not been so quick to dismiss the athiest's possible view. Even the Vatican has a scientific branch. Does the Athiest society have a branch to examine if religion is possible?

Maybe I am wrong and the key to life is to just say forget worrying about things. Quit all experiments and all quests to move our society forward. If someone comes up with an idea we'll just throw it away because it's too unbelievable. Until of course someone you care about could benefit from someone else's willingness to not give up. People thought at one time the ability to share information all across the world in a matter of seconds was absurd and impossible. Correct me if I am wrong, but arent we doing that right now.

To the gambler's out there, quick which view wiould you bet on. The possibility there is some sort of higher power or that there is no way this is even a possibility. Without hope our society will not move forward. Without faith, we lose our humanity. Sounded good in my head at least, LOL.
 GreenEyesAndHam
Joined: 2/11/2005
Msg: 23
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The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 7:26:19 PM
freespeech,

Atheist just means that one doesn't believe in a god or gods. It doesn't have anything to do with the possibility. It also doesn't have anything to do with being close-minded any more than being Catholic does. I assume that reasonable people from both sides would accept the truth if it was conclusively shown to differ from their views. What 'conclusively' means is the sticking point.

You tried to smear atheists in the following ways:

• Atheism tied in with the flat-Earth theory.
• Atheists have given up hope; and that hope only comes from religion.
• Atheists dismiss possible solutions in an unscientific manner.
• Catholicism is more open-minded than atheism in the ways of science.
• Atheists are anti-technology or anti-science.

The most superficial of searches will show numerous reasons why this tactic is wrong.


People thought at one time the ability to share information all across the world in a matter of seconds was absurd and impossible. Correct me if I am wrong, but arent we doing that right now.
Who, exactly, thought this? The atheists? Please.

GE&H
 Freespeech
Joined: 4/15/2006
Msg: 24
The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 8:11:00 PM

Atheist just means that one doesn't believe in a god or gods. It doesn't have anything to do with the possibility.


My intention was not to smear atheism but rather to have a clear definition. Which is still in doubt. If theism is to believe in a god or at least a possibility of one, does Atheism not mean to believe that there is no god and hence no possibility of one?

To be clear how can you say you are an atheist but still may be open to the possibility that one exists? I am sorry but that logic is not comprehensible to myself.

I see faith like this, you believe in something or at least a possibility of it but never truly dismiss it. Scientifically, if you have unknowns you try to solve them with all possible data.

So personally I do not view atheist's as absolutely against the possibility of divine existence, but rather as another form of theism. Perhaps skeptisism at best but not constituting a label that is completly opposite of another label.

If someone can explain how you can still be open to the possibility, but still not have faith in some sort I would love to hear it. Or rather explain how every person out there who thinks that God may exist is religious to some degree but yet a group of individuals can say there is no god but there might be, maybe can get away with it. So please define Atheism so it fits that bill.
 AlbertaGirlie
Joined: 6/11/2005
Msg: 25
The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 8:11:12 PM
I agree with GE&H, you don't choose Athiesm.

I tried religion, I was raised Catholic. I even attended a seminary as a pre-preparation for the "vocation". I thought there was something wrong with me because I just didn't get it, and thought that perhaps some more formal education in the matter would do the trick.

After that failed, I tried every single Christian organized religion in existance, and yet I didn't feel it.

I've also extensively studied every other major religion or organized spiritual belief system.

The thing is, I simply don't believe. I lack faith. I wish I had it, but I don't. I didn't choose Athiesm, it's merely the category in which I fit.

Now while I don't have the faith and don't believe in a God, I don't criticize, scorn or otherwise attempt to "convert" people into being an atheist. They believe, I do not. Good on them, and I'm actually a bit jealous I don't have it in some ways.

P.S Wow, I didn't know there were Atheist societies. A simple google search found them. Interesting, as I would never have thought there was an organization of them.
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