Jump to content
GreaseSpot Cafe

Recommended Posts

This thread continues "Seeing the Dark," but I wanted to kick it off as something new rather than direct new questions to an old thread.

A recent post stated that the evidence for Christianity and for atheism hasn't changed, so I must have. I'm paraphrasing.

Now, this is of course true. BUT it's also silly. It assumes a static recipient of information who is unable to receive new information or reconsider previously held positions. It's almost like saying, Joe was not a doctor when he was 20. When he was 40, he was a brain surgeon. The information about human anatomy didn't change, so Joe must have.

I mean, yeah. He got educated and is now a doctor.

I was indoctrinated into Christianity from birth, first by a sincere Jehovah's Witness couple, then by an evangelical friend, then by TWI, then by an offshoot, and finally by a mainstream evangelical church. Not once did any of these folks seriously question the existence of God, and never did I. 

I doubted evolution no matter how much I learned about it. I believed Genesis and Exodus were history, and that gap theory  explained why the earth was so much older than a Biblical calculation would allow. 

But nobody's perfect, and we all hold views and opinions that conflict with each other. You can smoke as if you're invincible, even though you know how bad it is for you. You may believe in Adam and Eve even though you know enough about science to know the human race was never down to two people. You may believe Exodus really happened and dismiss the fact that the,Egyptian civilization failed to record any of it.

The discomfort you feel is called cognitive dissonance. You can deal with it (usually by compartmentalizing the conflicting beliefs) or you can confront it.

What Changed Raf? That's easy. In the summer of 2012, after a long slow process of questioning a little bit here and a little bit there, I decided to confront my cognitive dissonance, finally realizing that everything, EVERYTHING made more sense if you remove a God from the equation. 

To be continued.

[This thread was originally titled "What changed Raf" before it was correctly pointed out that one person's journey is not necessarily a proper thread topic].

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I get it so just like you faked speaking in tongues by default everyone else is faking, and just like you experienced cognitive dissonance about God everyone else does. I love your logic. If it happened to raf it must happen to everyone else. Fair enough. I guess I better become an atheist now since I apparently am experiencing some distressing cognitive dissonance about God. Sorry God.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is not an honest dialogue, Mr. Confused. You're misrepresenting me, either maliciously or out of profound ignorance and lack of understanding of basic English. I said nothing you allege, and frankly I'm a little sick of trying to explain simple sht to you in plain English only to have you distort it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, ImLikeSoConfused said:

Oh I get it so just like you faked speaking in tongues by default everyone else is faking, and just like you experienced cognitive dissonance about God everyone else does. I love your logic. If it happened to Raf it must happen to everyone else. Fair enough. I guess I better become an atheist now since I apparently am experiencing some distressing cognitive dissonance about God. Sorry God.

Where in that post do you see anything that suggests Raf is trying to tell you what to believe or to do?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried to politely answer his questions, publicly and privately, only to have him distort what I've been trying to communicate using straw man arguments and condescending, holier than thou pronouncements.

Dude, you fake tongues as surely as I did. I'm wrong? Fine. Document the language you are producing or STFU. No excuses. Shove your but but buts up yours. You want me to be impressed with your little magic trick: do something I can't.

Yeah, I thought not.

You know why I think you're faking it? Because you can't produce a language. Not because I games it. BUT because you know damn well you're faking it too. That's why you feel the obsessive need to disparage my character. Because my existence shakes your faith. 

Pardon me while I search for my give-a-damn.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Raf said:

This is not an honest dialogue, Mr. Confused. You're misrepresenting me, either maliciously or out of profound ignorance and lack of understanding of basic English. I said nothing you allege, and frankly I'm a little sick of trying to explain simple sht to you in plain English only to have you distort it. 

Allow me... Mr Confused may or may not be intentionally confused on that point... but he demonstrates (either willful or incidental) lack of understanding of "I statements."

"It is not selfish to use the word "I." It does not mean that you only care about yourself. Rather, "I" statements are direct, rational, objective and honest. "I" statements show that you are taking responsibility for how you feel and are not blaming someone else for your feelings. "I" statements are factual and non-judgmental.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Raf assumes a lot about other people based on his personal experience. He says his existence shakes my faith? lol but this board is biased towards supporting their fallen brother so go ahead guys support him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not the one following you around insulting you, picking fights with you and maligning your character. 

I think the fact that I am such a threat to you demonstrates how flimsy your faith is. Otherwise you would engage me in an honest discussion instead of being a rude little pest whose fear of being wrong about God is as transparent as the phony babbling that comes out of his mouth when he speaks in "tongues."

 

Edited by Raf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, ImLikeSoConfused said:

Raf assumes a lot about other people based on his personal experience. He says his existence shakes my faith? lol but this board is biased towards supporting their fallen brother so go ahead guys support him.

That comment again demonstrates lack of understanding of the concept of "I statements." I refer you back to me post about 15 minutes ago. I provided a link to reference material.  Do you want to continue to be confused?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Raf said:

I'm not the one following you around insulting you, picking fights with you and maligning your character. 

I think the fact that I am such a threat to you demonstrates how flimsy your faith is. Otherwise you would engage me in an honest discussion instead of being a rude little pest whose fear of being wrong about God is as transparent as the phony babbling that comes out of his mouth when he speaks in "tongues."

 

How am I following you around? You make a lot of assumptions about my faith that you just can't back up. My faith is much stronger than yours ever could've been that I know. You have said and done nothing that would make anyone lose faith. You're an atheist great, you should be proud, but these assumptions you make are based on nothing but what you wish were true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Raf said:

I'm not the one following you around insulting you, picking fights with you and maligning your character. 

I think the fact that I am such a threat to you demonstrates how flimsy your faith is. Otherwise you would engage me in an honest discussion instead of being a rude little pest whose fear of being wrong about God is as transparent as the phony babbling that comes out of his mouth when he speaks in "tongues."

 

Raf, I would recommend that you avoid taking Mr Confused's bait.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your faith were strong then you would engage me with integrity. You don't. Therefore it's not.

If I were you I would go through at least a six month bible study course so that you could at least have a shot at keeping up with me, Mr. Confused.

Edited by Raf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Raf said:

If your faith were strong then you would engage me with integrity. You don't. Therefore it's not.

If I were you I would go through at least a six month bible study course so that you could at least have a shot at keeping up with me, Mr. Condused.

What I said about your character was based on a if statement. I said if you really were faking speaking in tongues it shows you have a shady character. But you know you faked it so you know you have a shady character. No honest quality person would do what you said you do then if that wasn't enough then go around and claim everyone else does it too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your lack of integrity is on full display, pal. How you could straight up lie about stuff you JUST SAID is astonishing.

Past... Document your language yet? I thought not. Know why? You're faking it. I know it and you know it too. That's why my existence bothers you SO much it's practically the only reason you keep showing up here.

It's ok, though. Honest. When you admit what we all know, that you're faking it, you'll see that it's a relief.

Meantime, to call me dishonest is glaring hypocrisy on your part. I'm done with you. Peace out, troll.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Raf said:

Your lack of integrity is on full display, pal. How you could straight up lie about stuff you JUST SAID is astonishing.

Past... Document your language yet? I thought not. Know why? You're faking it. I know it and you know it too. That's why my existence bothers you SO much it's practically the only reason you keep showing up here.

It's ok, though. Honest. When you admit what we all know, that you're faking it, you'll see that it's a relief.

Meantime, to call me dishonest is glaring hypocrisy on your part. I'm done with you. Peace out, troll.

Fine with me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With believers like that, who needs atheists. You do a much more effective job leading people from Christ than I ever will.

Edited by Raf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going to debate whether to continue participating in this thread. I did not anticipate the level of disingenuousness that would be directed at me by someone faking sincere interest in my journey.

See you guys soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, I've cooled down. 

I will not be baited by trolls, and will not entertain false Christians who misrepresent the faith by feigning interest but really seeking only to malign others. If you think my admission that I lied about SIT means I lack character, no problem. Your refusal to admit you are still lying about it says more to me about yours.

I know, you're not lying. And you're going to prove it by identifying your language, right? I thought not. Now sit down and STFU before aatheist humiliates you by showing he knows more about your holy book than you ever will.

The truth is, I came to a series of realizations that led me to the "conclusion" that the God hypothesis is false. You may not agree with me, and I respect that. What I don't respect is anyone's need to be a d*ck about it. 

I was asked a question about my experience and I answered it in good faith, only to have my inquisitor turn my answer around and twist it into something I never said.

MY cognitive dissonance became too much for ME to bear. You may not experience the same issue. You may be able to juggle conflicting thoughts in a way I wasn't. And maybe, possibly, some of you, not all, not even most, but some, are just not intelligent enough to know what all these squiggly lines on the computer mean. They're called words. We use them to communicate. You use them to confound.

It's no wonder you're like so confused.

Edited by Raf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not everyone's going to want to get into your personal journey.  Even if they did, it's easy to go from curiosity into what ends up becoming barbed, even if it was never intended. But not everyone will want to get that personal.  I never got into you about my own journey, and you never asked why I went into the Summer of 1985 as anti-Christian and openly contemptuous about the Bible (and all "holy" books)  and returned from that Summer trying to memorize that self-same Bible.  More recently, I'd wondered if I'd done you a disservice by keeping the strangest and most odd things from you, even when they happened under your nose.  I concluded that I'd take responsibility for your journey if I thought so, and I certainly respect your right to make your own decisions and draw your own conclusions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the Wikipedia page on Cognitive Dissonance (recommended reading, by the way). Emphases are mine:

Quote

 

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; when performing an action that contradicts existing beliefs, ideas, or values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts existing beliefs, ideas, and values.

Leon Festinger's 1957 theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how human beings strive for internal consistency. A person who experiences inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to try to reduce the cognitive dissonance occurring, and actively avoids situations and information likely to increase the psychological discomfort.

 

Quote

The disconfirmation (contradiction) of a belief, an ideal, or a system of values causes cognitive dissonance that can be resolved by changing the belief under contradiction; yet, instead of effecting change, the resultant mental stress restores psychological consonance to the person, either by mis-perception, by rejection, or by refutation of the contradiction; by seeking moral support from people who share the contradicted beliefs; and acting to persuade other people that the contradiction is unreal.

The attempt to eliminate cognitive dissonance by the latter methods was a major TWI tactic. Remember "The Word of God is perfect, so it cannot contradict itself"? Yet, we know the book contradicts itself more than a Washington politician. So what does TWI do? Call them "apparent contradictions." See? That papers over the reality of the contradictions.

How many times did Peter deny Jesus? Let's ask Matthew. Three. Let's ask Mark. Three. Let's ask Luke. Three. Let's ask John. Three. Let's ask TWI: SIX! Why? Because the details of the denials differ, and in order for them ALL to be true, there had to be six denials. This is easily resolved by eliminating the phony requirement that the Bible has no contradictions, but we can't have that. So we refute the contradiction and seek moral support from people who share our beliefs. 

....

To WordWolf's point: I know that not everyone is interested in my personal journey. I shared it in Seeing the Dark because I felt it was in order. I continued it here because I had already opened that door and I thought it would be better to redirect the conversation from other threads where it was being used as a form of ad hominem (rejecting my arguments because I'm the one making them, rather than on the merits of the arguments). I mistakenly thought we could discuss what makes a person an atheist without the kind of dishonest hostility that greeted me from post 2.

You will observe, I think, a decent amount of time between the first post and my second. That was deliberate. If there was no interest in the discussion, I was prepared to drop it, just as I dropped multiple subjects in this forum before that troll decided to come along and malign my character.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, WordWolf said:

Not everyone's going to want to get into your personal journey.  Even if they did, it's easy to go from curiosity into what ends up becoming barbed, even if it was never intended. But not everyone will want to get that personal.  I never got into you about my own journey, and you never asked why I went into the Summer of 1985 as anti-Christian and openly contemptuous about the Bible (and all "holy" books)  and returned from that Summer trying to memorize that self-same Bible.  More recently, I'd wondered if I'd done you a disservice by keeping the strangest and most odd things from you, even when they happened under your nose.  I concluded that I'd take responsibility for your journey if I thought so, and I certainly respect your right to make your own decisions and draw your own conclusions.

And I respect your right to draw your own conclusions. We shared a lot of experiences, including some I look back on now and realize I was wrong. There IS such a thing as coincidence. In August of 1989, everyone at TWI was thinking about the same themes; it should surprise no one that those themes would recur in conversations public and private. Intuition is not revelation.

But I don't want you to think for a second that you did me any disservice, either by providing information or withholding it.  You are not responsible for my journey except insofar as you wanted the best for me and offered what you thought was best. And vice versa. 

You know full well that I devoured the scripture, that I sought its answers about everything. We all fall short of its ideals (often regretfully but, surprisingly, sometimes mercifully). 

I take responsibility for my decisions. I don't blame God for anything, not for the consequences of my actions and not for the tragic developments that resulted in the sudden loss of a friend's wife, the sudden loss of a brother, the gradual loss of a sister, the impairment of a child. God is to blame for none of it. Nor do I give him credit as a matchmaker. He heals disease, in some cases with a capricious whimsy indistinguishable from ransom chance, and in other cases with a success rate that seems remarkably dependent on professional medical intervention.

"Pray for Sally. She's going into surgery tomorrow. Pray for those doctors' hands." Psst. It's the doctors. It's the medicine. It's the training. It's biology. You know what it's Not? Magic.

I don't want this to sound harsh, and forgive me if it does, but I believed in God in the first place because I was gullible as a 4-year-old. Because I was a 4-year-old. My daddy told me, and that meant it was true. And for me, the ONLY question was "what does the Bible say?" From 4 to 40. The notion that it was wrong? That what it says carries no intrinsic credibility? Utterly foreign to me! But if you approach that book with the same impartiality that you approach any other holy book, it begins falling apart real quick.

Job. Job only makes sense if you make it a work of fiction. As fact, it is relentlessly cruel, and it makes God out to be a right foul git, as they say in England. Rationalize it all you want: God is a major jerk in that book.

Unless you want the lesson of Job to be sh*t happens and it's not God's fault. Then it's cool as a story, as long as real people didn't have to die so that Yahweh could win a bet he already knew he would win. You know? As long as an infinitely wise Creator doesnt really think you make up for the loss of your family by just getting a new bunch of kids and that makes it all better.

And that's just Job, man. Cummins wrote in Demonstrating God's Power that the closer you look at the Word of God, the more perfect it becomes. There is not enough wash to clean that hog! 

We all knew the Bible stories happened, until we realized some couldn't have. Like Noah. Like Abraham.

Abraham!

News flash: if a voice in your head tells you to kill your son, there is one and only one moral response. And that response is NO! NO WAY! NOT GONNA DO IT. HAYL NO. Abraham said yes? And that makes him someone to admire? That makes him someone to lock up!

Remember the time Abraham pimped out his wife by pretending she was his sister, which totally wasn't lying because, ew, she was? But the local king wanted her because she was smoking hot. You know, for a 70-year-old. Remember that? Remember buying that?

Remember that time Jonah was hanging out with Pinocchio and Gepetto in the whale' s belly? Alive of course. No, wait, dead. I guess it depends on your denomination. Anyway and he gets spit up and, cool, he's ok. And we know this happened... because... he said so...

Stop. Rtight now. Imagine, right now, you, with your brain, are told by the holiest person you know... I spent 72 hours in a whale' s belly. Now convert or perish!

And the whole city...

Doesn't convert. No record that city ever had that kind of conversion. 

You wouldn't buy that with my money and a guarantee.

Point is, true, the evidence did not change. But by all means, keep examining it with all the devotion we claim to bring to the task. But turn on your critical thinking skills, too. Claims are being made left and right. Claims that can be tested left and right. 

Test them!

Or don't. I'm good either way. I'm just answering for myself because I was asked, and despite the lack of sincerity of the person who did the asking, I've opened the door.

To anyone who's read this far and has been struggling with doubts, hit me up with a private message. You are not alone. It's ok. There is life after religion. And it's beautiful.

Edited by Raf
Grammar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/25/2017 at 3:24 PM, Raf said:

 . . .

A recent post stated that the evidence for Christianity and for atheism hasn't changed, so I must have. I'm paraphrasing.

Now, this is of course true. BUT it's also silly. It assumes a static recipient of information who is unable to receive new information or reconsider previously held positions. It's almost like saying, Joe was not a doctor when he was 20. When he was 40, he was a brain surgeon. The information about human anatomy didn't change, so Joe must have.

I mean, yeah. He got educated and is now a doctor.

I don't agree this is a good analogy.  I agree there is no "static recipient of information".

A qualified physician today may not qualify as a physician many years for now, because information grows, training changes.  What counts as a physician is in constant change.  

A person has to decide to do what is necessary and make changes to be called "physician" and submit to those who decide on such things.  And keep at it, or that will change.

Information is infinite.  There's no point, and there will never be a point where you can say, "Ok, all the holes in knowledge and perception are filled"

god / no-god is a back-and-forth discussion that goes on forever.  IMO.  We call or think of ourselves as atheist or theist or agnostic as a matter of decision at specific moments in time.  And we're always free to change our minds.  We may have started out assuming what we have been told to be true to be true, and then realized later that the alternate views are just as valid.

Another thing is using the Bible to argue against Christianity.  I agree the Bible is loaded with fiction.  But fiction is a real tool for dealing with real life.

From this book.  "I had to believe now that the Bible was written by men inspired to write about God, and sometimes these writers got it wrong"  . . .  Many do believe that the Bible being full of non-factual information does not necessarily disprove the source of its inspired purpose.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bolshevik said:

I don't agree this is a good analogy.  I agree there is no "static recipient of information".

A qualified physician today may not qualify as a physician many years for now, because information grows, training changes.  What counts as a physician is in constant change.  

A person has to decide to do what is necessary and make changes to be called "physician" and submit to those who decide on such things.  And keep at it, or that will change.

Information is infinite.  There's no point, and there will never be a point where you can say, "Ok, all the holes in knowledge and perception are filled"

god / no-god is a back-and-forth discussion that goes on forever.  IMO.  We call or think of ourselves as atheist or theist or agnostic as a matter of decision at specific moments in time.  And we're always free to change our minds.  We may have started out assuming what we have been told to be true to be true, and then realized later that the alternate views are just as valid.

Another thing is using the Bible to argue against Christianity.  I agree the Bible is loaded with fiction.  But fiction is a real tool for dealing with real life.

From this book.  "I had to believe now that the Bible was written by men inspired to write about God, and sometimes these writers got it wrong"  . . .  Many do believe that the Bible being full of non-factual information does not necessarily disprove the source of its inspired purpose.

 

A couple more books to contribute to the discussion of those points:

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind I'm currently reading this overview of world/human history and find it exquisitely fascinating.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity from Amazon, " Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi struggled with an inner turmoil that will challenge Christians, Muslims, and all those who are interested in the world’s greatest religions."

I just learned about Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus today and find the claim about evidence that Jesus rose from the dead to be intriguing... not sure I believe the claim (that what he found is actually evidence), however.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/25/2017 at 3:24 PM, Raf said:

. . .

What Changed Raf? That's easy. In the summer of 2012, after a long slow process of questioning a little bit here and a little bit there, I decided to confront my cognitive dissonance, finally realizing that everything, EVERYTHING made more sense if you remove a God from the equation. 

. . .

I believe I completely relate to this.  I came to the same conclusion.  Probably for the same reasons.  Which I think is perfectly sensible.

Because I think "God" is usually introduced, assumed to be true, and used to explain everything there is, was, and will be.  Holes in logic are found almost immediately.  And they just grow, and grow, and grow . . . and the people who believe this you feel more and more distant from.

That form of God can't possibly exist.  I know I have no sensible reason to think it does exist.

But if we try and begin without any conception of God, and reason through what we know about reality, we might find we can come to the conclusion that there is one, but one that is not at all like the one we'd previously assumed to exist.  I also know we tend to think someone is trying to prank us into the fold.

Have you explored DesCartes's reasoning?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/26/2017 at 8:09 PM, ImLikeSoConfused said:

What I said about your character was based on a if statement. I said if you really were faking speaking in tongues it shows you have a shady character. But you know you faked it so you know you have a shady character. No honest quality person would do what you said you do then if that wasn't enough then go around and claim everyone else does it too.

You mean like Victor Paul Wierwille faked speaking in tongues on stage at an Oral Roberts convention in front of thousands?  Prior to his JE Stiles encounter?  As recorded in Elena Whiteside's book?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...