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Austin Cline

Mailbag: Former Atheist

By December 2, 2012

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From: "Tim"
Subject: athesim: bastion of an infertile mind?
I am a former atheist, and since becomming a biblical christian I have not been able to find any atheists who can defend their position without resorting to "I just beleive it that's why" Surely your religion can do better than this!! I am very polite and do not yell or rant or rave or resort to "that is just a mystery of faith arguments" except when the atheist says so first. Surely someone would love a chance to "remove me from my delusional state and teach me to live without the crutch of theism".

That he calls atheism a "religion" tells me that he doesn't know as much about atheism as he pretends. That he would give his email message the title "atheism: bastion of an infertile mind" tells me that he isn't as interested in civil discourse as one would hope. The fact that he sent me a message the previous day from the above in which he stated that he had "...always more or less been a christian sort of, I want to see if anyone can help me understand atheism any better." tells me that he is not entirely honest about himself or what he thinks.

It's amazing how often someone will claim to be a former atheist and then proceed to make all sorts of really basic errors about what atheism is. It's obvious that they aren't being entirely truthful, "Tim" is just unique in not being bright enough to remember what he wrote the previous day.

More selections from the Agnosticism / Atheism Mailbag...

Comments
August 24, 2006 at 9:50 pm
(1) Christina says:

I would just like to state that as a Christian i have been apalled by the attitude that my brothers and sisters have towards atheists. I apologize and see that atheists are generally searching for something genuine. When we react in a spirit of anger or pride we are wrong. Not that it is wrong to debate, but please remember how Christ said we should prove we are His disciples. May we show His love. Please act out of love.

November 19, 2006 at 4:44 pm
(2) blunderov says:

Thank you Christina. You exemplify the best of your religion. Respect.

“I have not been able to find any atheists who can defend their position without resorting to “I just beleive it that’s why” Surely your religion can do better than this!!”

Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is not a position which is defended. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods in view of the complete lack of evidence thereof.

At the very instant that I become persuaded that a god thingee actually exists, or is even a coherent notion, I will cease to be an atheist.

I can’t imagine that any atheist would wish to believe that something was true if it was not, or that something was not true if it was.

Where would be the sense in that?

December 2, 2012 at 9:14 am
(3) Andrew says:

As a former Christian I think patience is needed with this type of person. Too often they parrot whet they hear from preachers and other followers honestly believing it to be true. Of course this isn’t always the case, some repeat the same garbage even after it is thoroughly refuted.

This particular one seems to be of the latter category. I have yet to come across an Atheist who defends his position with anything close to “I just beleive it that’s why”. And if he has debated any Atheists at all I can’t see one of them telling him Atheism is not a religion. There is no holy book, no moral codebook that all Atheists must follow.

December 2, 2012 at 10:53 am
(4) mobathome says:

(2) blunderov says:
Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is not a position which is defended. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods in view of the complete lack of evidence thereof.
.
.
I canít imagine that any atheist would wish to believe that something was true if it was not, or that something was not true if it was.

@blunderov, if your description of atheism in your first statement is complete, is the condition in your second statement, the one that you “can’t imagine,” a description of a different condition? AFAIK, there are atheists who believe statements without evidence (e.g. UFOs, Bigfoot, buried pirate treasure, that the US has a two party system, etc.). And there are alleged atheists who wish they would believe in a god (e,g S. E. Cupp).

December 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm
(5) Edmond says:

I’d be very curious as to how Tim himself defended his atheism, when that was his position. Also, what was it that convinced him that Christianity is true?

Personally, my defense of atheism is simply this: I have not yet heard stories of any gods that have been convincing. It isn’t about “faith” or “mystery”. I just don’t take the claims that I hear, and make them into a “belief”, until I have very good reason to do so. Not until there’s been SOME kind of evidence provided to support the claim, at the very least.

And it’s not a “religion” to feel this way. I’m not following any particular dogma or tenets when I’m unconvinced by stories of the supernatural. I’m only following logic and reason, when I ask myself if these stories are likely or possible. I also ask myself if it’s likely or possible that they’re just STORIES, created by primitive people with a penchant for dreaming up fantastical myths. We already know that humans are prone to do that, from the Greeks, the Romans, the Incas, etc. What is different about Christians, Buddhists, Shintos, Muslims, etc?

In the end, I guess I am not defending “atheism” per se, but I’m defending critical thinking. Are you, Tim?

December 7, 2012 at 10:50 am
(6) Melinda says:

FYI:
Buddhism is an atheistic religion. Although some cultures have taken to “worshipping” buddhas/statues etc, the original intention of Shakyamuni was to show that all people must find their salvation within.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
The Buddha

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