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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.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 4
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: 5
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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?
 flyguy51
Joined: 8/11/2005
Msg: 6
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.
 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 9
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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.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 11
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.
 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 13
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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: 14
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: 15
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.
 GreenEyesAndHam
Joined: 2/11/2005
Msg: 16
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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.
 GreenEyesAndHam
Joined: 2/11/2005
Msg: 19
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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
 GreenEyesAndHam
Joined: 2/11/2005
Msg: 21
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The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 9:22:26 PM

freespeech: 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?
Nope. Do you believe that there exists a cure for cancer? Me either - and we're right. Still, I believe that there's a possibility that there'll eventually be a cure. When there's a proven cure for cancer, then I'll believe in it. When there's proof of a god, gods or advanced beings - then I'll believe in them. That's the scientific way*.


So please define Atheism so it fits that bill.

QED**

GE&H

* That would sound cool if Sean Connery said it like he said That's the Chicago way in "The Untouchables".

** Pretentious Latin
 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 22
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The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 9:28:47 PM
I have always thought that one of the quickest ways to become an atheist is to be raised Catholic. I realize others become atheists, but most of the ones I have met were raised Catholic. (I just know I am going to see a variety of posts now stating "I was raised Amish" and similar).

Count, how do I know it was the Christian God? One of the incidents that I mentioned happened when I was calling upon Jesus, so it seemed obvious. I will state though that I do not build my faith on my experiences, but what is written in the Bible. (Now I will see a variety of posts which will point out a verse in Esther or something where one word was misinterpreted or something).
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 23
The Metric Conversion of an Atheist
Posted: 5/1/2006 10:10:02 PM
RD, how do you know it wasn't Trickster having a bit of fun at your expense?
 RDtoo
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 24
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Posted: 5/1/2006 10:19:51 PM
Like I said Count, I cannot base faith on experiences. It has to be based on the Word of God and nothing else. When I was younger I got very confused when I got the same calming sensation from a couple of Pentecostals laying hands on me and having a girl into Zen take hold of my hand when I was feeling particularly jumpy. After pondering this for quite some time I came to the conclusion that you could not base anything on emotional experience. Nonetheless, my encounter with the Divine was real enough that I would not question that Someone was listening to me.
 GreenEyesAndHam
Joined: 2/11/2005
Msg: 26
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The Tantric Conversation of an Atheist
Posted: 5/2/2006 12:39:27 AM

freespeech: So the clear terminology of an Athiest is defined as one who refuses to accept anything until it is proven.
No, you're making it antagonistic. An atheist just doesn't believe in a god or gods - for whatever reason. It's as simple as that. Skepticism is unrelated.

I don't believe that this thread is the place to discuss the ontological or metaphysical discussions that you touched on, so I'll leave those out.


freespeech: Is a Athiest, a true one as defined in previous posts, truly skeptical and lacks all faith. Or is there faith just less then other's?
Why do you insist on picking an incorrect definition, and then compounding your error by making it sound like athiests are lacking something (faith)? It's as bad as if I said that Christians are lacking common sense or that a healthy human is lacking cancer. Faith is in addition to people's empirical experience, it's not the standard.

GE&H
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 27
The Tantric Conversation of an Atheist
Posted: 5/2/2006 7:25:11 AM
Who do so many Christians have trouble accepting that Atheism is simply lacking belief in any gods?
 vichycycl
Joined: 5/5/2007
Msg: 29
The Tantric Conversation of an Atheist
Posted: 5/10/2007 4:35:58 PM
I am completely convinced, beyond skepticism, that logic, empirical observation and strict verifiability protocols are the way to the truth. It is no more dogmatic of me to say I have zero faith than it is to say I have zero desire to mate with porcupines. I am quite sure.

To convert me, show me evidence. If you say I have to look spiritually or with my heart, why not say look "citrically" and use my toes: that's not how one finds truth. Use a spade to dig a hole, use your intimate heart to talk to your lover, use science to find truth.

Why I try to enlighten: I never start it. It's always explaining why I don't have faith, or a response to something really acinine like "atheists actually have faith in order to not believe".
 Matt Adore
Joined: 10/1/2006
Msg: 30
The Tantric Conversation of an Atheist
Posted: 5/10/2007 6:15:37 PM
I enjoy reading the posts of GreenEyesAnd Ham and the several regular agnostic/atheists here at POF...It is obvious that they are logical thinkers. That's why I would like to direct this forum back to it's original subject.

C.S. Lewis has a lot in common with the regulars, especially GE+H... Many of ya'll have said that you haven't read the Lewis account, or some of his other great books. 'Mere Christianity' is an amazing book too!

Lee Strobel's, 'The Case for Christ' is a great read; very entertaining as well. He gives many accounts from his carreer as an investigative journalist to help teach the lessons. His carreer activities read like a good detective novel...

My point here is that intelligent people like the regular posters should highly enjoy these stimulating books.
 Ender
Joined: 2/1/2004
Msg: 31
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/10/2007 7:02:54 PM
Faith makes sense to people for different reasons. I would never choose to attack someone based simply on their beleifs....its much more productive to attack the beleif system itself.


Enlightening people and having a desire to help others open their mind isn't something restricted to religions. I think we all have a duty to help others expand their thinking.
 Ender
Joined: 2/1/2004
Msg: 33
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/10/2007 8:22:17 PM
^^^^ So you are saying that you beleive because you fear the possible reprecusions in the possible afterlife?



Oh, and its called blind faith because it doesn't require that you ACTUALLY see any proof....the beleif is its own justification. Suprisingly enough, that is also one of the defenitions of insanity.
 Stonestongue
Joined: 5/18/2006
Msg: 34
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/10/2007 8:29:36 PM

What kept hammering away at Lewis was that Christianity had a "ring of truth to it". This eventually led him into becoming a Christian.


Everything has a ring of truth to it if you can disregard what you see as truth...
 rockondon
Joined: 2/21/2007
Msg: 35
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The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/11/2007 1:49:03 PM

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.

You might think differently if billions of people believed in Santa and told you that your beliefs are wrong and theirs are right. And you better accept Santa's love or you'll spend eternity in hell. Plus the Santaians want to take away rights from certain groups that Santaity looks down upon, tells other people how they should live, makes outrageous claims about the universe that contrast greatly with evidence, every time they don't know the answer to a question they say Santa did it, etc etc.

Plus look at the name: Santa. Now take out the 'n' and put it on the end. Ya....nuff said.
Beware the santa.
 Matt Adore
Joined: 10/1/2006
Msg: 36
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/11/2007 3:47:51 PM
In the preface of 'Mere Christianity' it says, "C.S. Lewis was for many years an atheist, and described his conversion in Surprised by Joy: 'In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God... perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.' It was this experience that helped him to understand not only apathy but active unwillingness to accept religion, and, as a christian writer, gifted with an exceptionally brilliant and logical mind and a lucid, lively style, he was without peer."...

Just trying to peek some interests to read Mr. Lewis.
 flyguy51
Joined: 8/11/2005
Msg: 37
The Conversion of an atheist
Posted: 5/11/2007 6:21:33 PM
"Surprised by Joy" is a fascinating book for the thinker-type. Almost the entire autobiograhy takes place inside Lewis' head, if I recall correctly. His conversion to Christianity is almost entirely a cerebral one, which is unusual in my experience. Usually it's an emotional journey.

If one wants to see reviews of his writings by non-Christians, I would recommend going to amazon's site and reading those reviews. Most find his arguments and analogies unconvincing.
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