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Were you an atheist?

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Tellyontellyon, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. Tellyontellyon

    Tellyontellyon Active Member

    349
    +112
    United Kingdom
    Buddhist
    Married
    Some people are atheist for many years of their life and then something suddenly changes and their perspective changes...

    *** Is that what happened to you?
    How did it change for you?
    What woke you up?

    Thank you
     
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  2. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

    +6,327
    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    I cannot say for certain that I was ever an atheist. In my earliest years I went to Sunday School in a Baptist church and always believed in "God, Jesus, and so on" but never had any real knowledge beyond that Sunday School level education. There have been times in my life I suppose you could say I was without faith in anything really. But once when I was in SERE school in the Navy I was beaten in the face with a rubber hose and told "say there is no god" and I refused to do it. At the end of the course my evaluation rated me as "too religious". If that means anything.

    About twenty five years or so I had an experience and began asking questions. No one had any real answers, and the answers they had were wrong. I found the answers I was looking for in the Orthodox Church.
     
  3. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

    +9,371
    United Kingdom
    Anglican
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    During the first 12 years of my life, I was an orphan, and during that time there was no doubt in my mind that God exists. And that belief has stayed with me to the present day.
     
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  4. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

    +5,024
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    I believed in all of the points of the Nicene Creed.
    I just didn't understand how Jesus being God, dying, resurrecting, et al. was relevant to me, personally, until I learned about the ramifications of Original Sin (which, surprisingly, isn't in the NC) in my life.
     
  5. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Anti-Democratic Monarchist

    +2,746
    New Zealand
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    I remember citing the argument from evil as to why God can't exist when I had just started highschool. I suppose I was an atheist at that time, although one that didn't care all too much. I changed my mind and converted upon reading about the life of Christ and what he did for us later on in highschool.
     
  6. jacks

    jacks Er Victus Supporter

    +2,168
    Christian
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    I was raised as an atheist and remained one until my mid twenties. I wasn't a rabid atheist and people that had faith didn't bother me, I just thought they were deluded. I then began looking at a variety of religious beliefs since science doesn't answer the big questions. I actually studied a wide variety of faiths, but never Christianity. (I thought I was a Taoist for a few years.) Finally I looked into Christianity and became what you could call a Christian atheist. That is I could see the wisdom of Jesus's teachings, but still didn't believe in God. No one event changed my mind, it was a question of continually asking questions and seeking that slowly started to bring Christ into my life. (There was much resistance to this since none of my friends or family were Christians.) I then had a number of personal experiences that seemed supernatural and felt Christ within me. My whole perspective changed, especially the reading of Scripture, that came alive. I have always felt free to question everything and scrutinize my beliefs and faith. All my questioning has just made my faith stronger. Jesus is with me and gives me strength, I'm very thankful He never gave up on me.
     
  7. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    +8,937
    Protestant
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    Former fairly militant atheist. I wrote a testimonium on it a while back:

    Saved from Atheism
     
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  8. Vap841

    Vap841 Member

    159
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    I think it’s too ambiguous what the words atheism and God mean. I would say that I always found random chance to make no sense, however I feel torn between whether there is or is not a grand consciousness attached to reality (or if reality just something produces conscious entities)
     
  9. Vap841

    Vap841 Member

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    Hello. Looking back, what did you once agree with about Bertrand Russell’s position on atheism that you now reject?
     
  10. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    +8,937
    Protestant
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    Well, I certainly disagree with his idea that religion is primarily motivated by fear, that morality can arise on developmental models, and with the very idea of 'progress' that somehow religion retards. Similarly his belief that religion only arises from emotion, as if it dissipates when only facts are considered - is silly beyond belief, as if any objective value can be determined.

    In general, atheism was very pessimistic and a dark view of the world. That everything is Selfish Genes and Nature red in tooth and claw, that altruism is a sham if you look deep enough and only a advantage gained, real or imagined to the organism, can elicit an action on his part. On axiomatic grounds it is clear to me that the world is Good, and that a real value that one thing is better than another, feeding a child rather than killing it say, is true. I don't see how this can be reached on any developmental models; and any such are at heart either just someone who enforced his will, a justification a posteriori of facts on the ground by hook or crook, or religious garb dressed-up as secular - like Robespierre's cult of Reason. I still respect Bertrand Russell, but I think he is almost completely wrong and utterly unable to even realise it himself or self-examine his inconsistencies. It is the "has ears but cannot hear and eyes but cannot see" at heart.
     
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  11. elytron

    elytron Active Member

    404
    +148
    United States
    Christian
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    Yes, for my first 17 years I was an atheist. May have been simpler in my case, to believe in God having come from a non-belief background. Then if I had been raised up in some other false god/religion. I am confident that God is real and that he is the one written about in the Christian Bible.
     
  12. Vap841

    Vap841 Member

    159
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    I don’t agree with those theories either that religion, and morals are just developed and invented. I think that things like right & wrong, and good & bad are a natural part of reality for humans, and all cultures give contexts to those ideas which results in a religion. I can however get stuck on whether I believe that this reality is like a fully automated warehouse that produces conscious beings, some of which are self aware like humans which have higher understandings or morality, or do I believe that the warehouse is managed by a grand consciousness that oversees the whole operation (God). I try to think of ways to think through the puzzle. So basically I don’t get wrapped up into things like fine tuning arguments because I simply think that by default reality is highly organized and that there’s no such thing as non-organization, but I just don’t know if reality is automated, where morality is almost like a metaphysical law of nature, or if reality has a manager aka God, aka a grand consciousness.

    So as for this thread title I’m not positive if belief in an automated system that produces products of morality would technically be atheism, because I see so many atheism claims that atheism is random chance and that our universe is just pure luck, I never believed that. I’ve lost confidence in the consistency of the word God, it gets thrown around pretty recklessly lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  13. Paulus59

    Paulus59 Active Member

    403
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    I don't think I was an atheist before I became a Christian even though my brothers were and often told me there was no such thing as God. I never really thought about God, but in retrospect I think deep down inside I did believe in a God, though I didn't know him until I went through some hard times as a teenager when I just cried out to God one day in an act of desperation and then after that he lead me to read the Gospels where he revealed himself to me through his word and I fell in love with Jesus. I ended up going to church for the first time and I got baptized and received the Holy Spirit and thus began my spiritual journey.

    How did it change for me?.........Quite profoundly as God revealed his son Christ Jesus to me through his Gospel and a door open up within myself. I became "born again" and my life was transformed into a new being in Christ.

    What woke me up?.........The Gospel woke me up as God reveals himself to us through his word or Gospel.

    Read the Gospels if you want to find God and read them with an open heart and God will show himself to you through his son Christ Jesus. It says in the Gospel that if you believe Jesus with your heart you shall be saved and that's how it was with me. (Romans 10:9; John 12:44)

    I think all atheists hide behind their pride and a hard heart, it is only when they are broken & humbled that they are able to digest & accept God's message of salvation.

    Read here: How does God reveal Himself to us? | GotQuestions.org
    How does God reveal Himself to us?

    ******************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  14. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

    585
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    Christian
    Married
    Is that what happened to you?
    • Yes
    What woke you up?
    • An epiphany ... a "road to Damascus" encounter.
    How did it change for you?
    • An immediate, fundamental transformation of worldview from Nihilism to 'bondi' of CHRIST.
    • Followed by a LONG, slow process of learning and growth and empirical discovery.
     
  15. Shiningstar89

    Shiningstar89 New Member

    6
    +5
    United States
    Christian Seeker
    Married
    One thing I've never been is an atheist. The reason I say that is ever since I was little, I've always *known* there was more to life than what we can see.
     
  16. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

    +517
    Ireland
    Charismatic
    Single
    I became an atheist when I was a teenager - although I hadn't been brought up as any particular religion, it was just that Christianity was dominant where I was brought up (England). At 17 my best friends all went to church and I went along as an interested atheist. It blew my mind, because it was clear that to everyone there that God was real. it didn't change my atheism, but it did give me pause for thought.

    jumping forward 4 years, after finishing my degree I felt the need to make friends and as most of the people I knew my own age were Christians I went with them to a Christian camp. By that time I was more agnostic, but the first night at the camp I felt the presence of God for the first time. I tried to reason it out but found that too much was happening and I then gave my life to Jesus two nights later.

    Never looked back (that last bit is a lie, I've looked back loads of times and come to the same conclusions as I did then!)
     
  17. DragonFox91

    DragonFox91 Well-Known Member

    +528
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    US-Republican
    I'm one of those 'who always believed.'

    I grew up in a family that took me to church every Sunday from age 5 till high school graduation, but my family didn't talk to me about belief or anything, & none of my church peers believed. Even the Sunday School teachers didn't bother to push it down our throats b/c they had a 'you'll believe if you believe' attitude. Sunday School was just a social time. It's actually amazing I made it thru w/out converting to atheism like a lot in my generation.
     
  18. Bob Crowley

    Bob Crowley Well-Known Member Supporter

    +1,089
    Australia
    Catholic
    Married
    I was an atheist from the age of about 15 to 28, due to a few reasons. One of these was the fact that I did not come from a religious family background. I had real issues with my father who was cruel, so God as Father means very little to me, even now after nearly 40 years as a Christian. Neither parent went to church, and while I think my mother believed in a sense, my father certainly didn't.

    There was the theory of evolution as taught in school, which made the Protestant claim about Scripture somewhat difficult to accept. Nor did I feel included in those church activities I did attend. So I gradually turned against Christianity.

    I did have some Sunday School experience.

    It wasn't until I went through the most disastrous four years of my life that I started getting this sense I ought to go back to the same Church where I had attended Sunday School years before. I resisted for a while but then I went. A few weeks later I made a commitment. While it was the same church, it was now under the control of an outstanding pastor with a brilliant family, and I learnt a lot from him and them.

    On the night I made the commitment I walked home. I had this peculiar sense of "walking on air". I thought there was something wrong with me and I was glad to get home.

    But years later I happened to hear a testimony from a chap who attends my wife's Baptist Church, and he had exactly the same sensation when he walked home for the first time after making a commitment, a long time before I did. In fact the term was his - I just borrowed it because "walking on air" was exactly what it felt like - as though my feet weren't touching the ground.
     
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