The Cleveland Freethinkers Message Board › Your "deconversion" story

Your "deconversion" story

Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 576
I guess you can define occasionally as ten to twenty times a week.

Why, yes- yes I can. There were several instances of this in the past few days. For instance, in discussion of the following news story:

"Ronald Weinland, who considers himself a prophet of God, continues to warn that Jesus Christ is returning on May 27, 2012. For those who do not believe him and mock his message, Weinland claims that they will die from cancer."

Tim called Ronald Weinland an idiot on the forum. I'll back him up on that- and I'll call Ronald an idiot again right here and now. Ronald Weinland is an idiot. And a lunatic.

As a former atheist and current agnostic I do not use these adjectives. would you mind supplying some data that would support your claim?

Don't be daft. Check some comments sections of major news outlet articles about religion, or especially articles having to do with science denial because of religion, and you'll usually find some similar-type "insults" hurled its way. Try this one for starters-

http://religion.blogs...­

Some articles, blog entries, and websites:

RELIGION IS RIDICULOUS
RELIGION IS RIDICULOUS
RELIGION IS RIDICULOUS
RELIGION IS RIDICULOUS
RELIGION IS DUMB
RELIGION IS DUMB
RELIGION IS STUPID
RELIGION IS STUPID
RELIGION IS ABSURD
RELIGION IS ABSURD
RELIGION IS ABSURD
RELIGION IS BULLSHIT
RELIGION IS BULLSHIT
RELIGION IS BULLSHIT

And for the heck of it, a cap-off from Einstein:

RELIGION IS CHILDISH

...I would say it applies more to liberals than conservatives. In my experiences.

I'm not sure I believe you. Could you provide us with some examples, and specify what YOU mean by rigidity? I was referring to people clamming up/getting red-faced & steamed/refusing to talk about the subject at hand any further.







Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 578
Jenny said:

I suppose I should've clarified in that when trying to talk to hardcore religious people, if one argues with them, they're likely to become more rigid and less likely to consider secularism (thusly doing more harm than good) than if one tried the "soft sell." So, if the goal is, "open their minds to science," flat-out arguing with them wouldn't work. It's human nature. Saying "Have you tried looking at it this way?" would be much more effective.

Agreed- with a caveat. Sometimes my "Have you tried looking at it this way" is the equivalent of a "silent but deadly". smile

For instance- I've pulled this one out a number of times (with run-of-the-mill theists, though). The person I'm conversing with will be of course referring to God as a male figure... after which I'll calmly say, "How is it that God is male? What determines his "maleness"? Does God have testicles?"

No one has ever become angry at that except one woman I conversed with at a showing of an anti-factory farming documentary who had earlier said that she "never met an atheist before". We had a pretty nice conversation, she asked me a lot of questions... until I pulled out the He/testicles thing. She basically walked away, calling me an ass in so many words.

In contrast, a very Catholic fellow at work answered, "Hmmm... that IS a good question. I guess the male thing doesn't really make any sense." He's still a practicing Catholic, but over the past few years he has liberalized in his religion quite a bit.
A former member
Post #: 23


For instance- I've pulled this one out a number of times (with run-of-the-mill theists, though). The person I'm conversing with will be of course referring to God as a male figure... after which I'll calmly say, "How is it that God is male? What determines his "maleness"? Does God have testicles?"


LOL! tongue Though all things considered, if God is the creator, wouldn't "He" have more in common with a "She" anyway? wink

Honestly, theists don't really bother me that much. Unless they're trying to force their opinions on someone else, I don't really care. My boyfriend's a Christian, but he accepts me for who I am and vice versa. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Having gone from being raised Catholic (but questioning it a LOT) to agnostic for many years, then briefly an atheist after my aunt died, then having sort of a paradigm shift and am now a Unitarian Universalist, I can kind of see where all people are coming from (or at least try to see). I don't really care what religion someone is as long as they're nice. (I'd rather hang out with a Mormon who's nice than an atheist who's a jerk, even though there's a lot about Mormonism I don't agree with). I believe we're all on our own journeys here, and that everyone has a reason to believe what they do, even if I don't necessarily agree with that reason. I can't change everyone's minds, but I can place the evidence that I've found in from of them (gently), and the rest is up to them. They'll change their minds if they're ready for it, but if they're not, they won't, and there's nothing I can do to change that. The important thing, IMO, is that we try to treat each other with unconditional love and to keep learning. That's SUPPOSED to be the basis for all religions (and secular humanism), but as we all know, that little bit often gets buried in all the muck.
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 580
LOL! tongue Though all things considered, if God is the creator, wouldn't "He" have more in common with a "She" anyway? wink

I think that would be definitely more logical than the goofy male-dominated theology/mythologies. The universe developed "in the ovenwomb" and then "popped out" when it was ready cool

The remainder of your post sounds like a healthy attitude to me. "Converting" people has never really been my goal...

I would say my main goals of being part of a freethought group, besides the community, great conversation, sharing of knowledge, and friendship it provides, are to 1) help those who are already non-theists to come "out of the closet", stand up & be recognized, and be free of their (sometimes self-imposed) intellectual exile; and 2) help to eradicate the sense of "Christian privilege" that continues to pervade U.S. society.
Rafiq M.
RafiqMahmood
Bogor, ID
Post #: 1,071
Being part of this group has also helped me to think and analyse questions I would not have considered before. It has also helped me to realise the extent to which religion pervades the US – something I had not really paid much attention to before. More than anything, the awareness that "I am not alone" is extremely important and supportive.
A former member
Post #: 30
Being part of this group has also helped me to think and analyse questions I would not have considered before. It has also helped me to realise the extent to which religion pervades the US – something I had not really paid much attention to before. More than anything, the awareness that "I am not alone" is extremely important and supportive.

Most definitely. It's been truly bizarre to realize how much the US has leaned toward becoming a theocracy in the past decade or so. If one doesn't conform to "the norm," it's instant demonization.

Look what happened to Obama and all the questioning of "Is he a 'true' Christian... or a TERRORIST?" (false dichotomy much?)
A former member
Post #: 31
I think that would be definitely more logical than the goofy male-dominated theology/mythologies. The universe developed "in the ovenwomb" and then "popped out" when it was ready cool

Now you're making me hungry! biggrin
Mark R. O.
MROrel
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 100
Mark:

Don't be daft. Check some comments sections of major news outlet articles about religion, or especially articles having to do with science denial because of religion, and you'll usually find some similar-type "insults" hurled its way. Try this one for starters-


I apologize, when I asked for data I should
have been more specific. I should have quantified
my query with quantitative data, not anecdotal.

Please supply me with statistics that show the total
number of atheists and agnostics vs. those that report
using the adjectives "stupid", "absurd", "ridiculous", etc..


I'm not sure I believe you. Could you provide us with some examples, and specify what YOU mean by rigidity? I was referring to people clamming up/getting red-faced & steamed/refusing to talk about the subject at hand any further.

Now, here I was quite specific that my statement was
entirely anecdotal and is restricted to my experience.

See below.


I agree, I just think it equally applies to liberals.
As anecdotal, I would say it applies more to liberals
than conservatives. In my experiences.

I would still like to know what you consider to
be "good philosophy"



M. Orel
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 581
I apologize, when I asked for data I should have been more specific. I should have quantified
my query with quantitative data, not anecdotal.

Please supply me with statistics that show the total number of atheists and agnostics vs. those that report
using the adjectives "stupid", "absurd", "ridiculous", etc..

No way, goalpost-mover! You know darn well no such "statistics" exist- you'll have to compile them yourself. Better yet, you can observe the phenomena yourself in real time. Keep a daily log of posts & comments at a place where it is known that a large number of atheists & agnostics "hang out"... Pharyngula would be an obvious choice. You can keep your own tally of how many degrading adjectives are linked with religion (often justifiably so).

*Side Note*- PZ Myers used a direct insult (sorry to say, justified) today which I hadn't encountered before. He called Christians who are having a fit over the removal of a prayer plaque from a public school in Cranston, RI, a bunch of "religious gomers". I shall use that one, when justified.

Now, here I was quite specific that my statement was entirely anecdotal and is restricted to my experience.

I was simply asking for one or more examples from your experience.

I would still like to know what you consider to be "good philosophy"

Probably more than I know of. Philosophy that is grounded in realism. The philosophies of Naturalism and Rationalism, for starters.
Rafiq M.
RafiqMahmood
Bogor, ID
Post #: 1,076
Philosophy, by definition, is good in the sense that it is a love of wisdom and a systematic and rational approach to solving problems. In that sense, there can be no "bad" philosophy.

What we can say is that a particular discussion or argument is good or bad as a philosophy. In other words, does it match up to the requirements of being rigorous and logical and without a reliance on spurious assumptions or entities. So, by shorthand, it is either good or bad philosophy.

You can't have a good or bad branch of mathematics, but you can have been doing bad maths if your proof is flawed. You do need mathematics, however, to demonstrate the flaw in the proof.

An epistemology claiming the existence of God because of the necessity of a first cause is bad philosophy because it is neither rigorous nor logical and it relies on spurious assumptions and invokes a spurious entity. It is not, in that sense, a philosophy at all but you do need philosophy (if only in a trivial sense) to demonstrate the flaw of the epistemology. That is why it makes sense to talk about bad philosophy (and, conversely, good philosophy).
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