An Atheist Finds Salvation

Discussion in 'Philosophy & Religion' started by Bulla, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. Bulla

    Bulla Well-Known Member

    Richard Morgan writes about how God found him – even through the darkness of the Richard Dawkins website. Sometimes it is worth debating!

    What a relief it was to become an atheist. I had become worn out and frustrated by my fruitless search for God. I had studied holy writings from three different continents. No God there. I had tried prayer and “positive thinking” as if they were the same thing. I had wrestled with the problems of theodicy without even knowing that the word existed. I felt that I had sought God everywhere – in the cosmos, in my neurones, in my bank account. Everywhere. Or so I thought. Then I read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. What an immense relief it was to discover that my search for God and Meaning was bound to be frustrating and disappointing; it could only lead me up blind alleys, because God simply didn’t exist. How obvious. Evolution explained everything. The notion of God (the supreme alpha-male) was a side-effect of the evolution of the human brain. Attributing “agency” was an effective survival strategy.

    The God that you attributed agency to was uniquely dependent on the culture into which you had been born. Religion was an exercise in social manipulation and power. Believing information received from non-verifiable sources (revelation) opened the door to all kinds of horrendous excesses, from Inquisitions and witch-burning to flying planes into towers and fathers committing “honour killings” and a president lying in order to bomb and massacre innocent people in Iraq. Man had invented God in his own image. God was the ultimate comfort blanket. Science was leaving no space for the “God of the gaps”. Talk of Eternal Life was in fact just a morbid obsession with death. Even monkeys had invented The Golden Rule. Science and Reason alone revealed Truth.

    An “Omnipotent God” was an impossible notion anyway. Religion was “the opium of the people.” Love, self-sacrifice and charity were just the misfiring of evolutionarily selected survival mechanisms. Everything could be explained. There was just simply no need for the God delusion anymore. Hallelujah!

    Many years later, around the beginning of 2007, I discovered the internet site Richard Dawkins.Net, and my very first internet Forum/Discussion group. What a joyous experience that was for me at the beginning! Discovering other people’s ideas on atheism, being able to interact with them, making friends with some of them, and from time to time being presented with some scientific discovery or irrefutable philosophical reasoning – this was what life was all about.

    One of the favourite sports on RDNet was insulting and mocking Christian authors who had the gall to write books refuting Dawkins’ The God Delusion. One thread on the site was devoted mainly to David Robertson’s The Dawkins Letters. I mention this, because it was this same David Robertson who spoiled all the fun for me. He replied at great length, with considerable politeness and restraint, to a very long “review” of his book The Dawkins Letters. My first reaction was, “Poor guy, why is he wasting all his time doing this?” My RDNet friends had the answer for me: “Attention-seeking.” (Ironically, I was to discover that they weren’t entirely wrong. Except that DR wasn’t seeking to draw attention to himself...) In spite of the abuse, DR kept coming back. He kept answering the criticisms. Several of us started wondering, “What is wrong with this guy?” The “royal decree” on DR was that he was a “dishonest, unpleasant, unbalanced fruitcake”, so why did we all persist in engaging him in discussion? Not only did he argue with us, from time to time he wished us well and quoted scripture! But (and it’s a big “but”) many RDnetters accused David Robertson of being a liar. This surprised me, but I didn’t dare say so on the site. I couldn’t risk being excommunicated as a troll.

    “Get over thyself.” “Get thyself a life.” Those were our commandments. I read and re-read DR’s lengthy comments. I found all the evidence I needed to prove that he was probably a deluded fruitcake, but none to substantiate the accusations of being “mean” or “evil”, or best of all, “a liar.” The poor deluded “WeeFlea” asked in all humility for someone to point out precisely where and how he had lied. I got brave and posted, saying, “Whatever else we may think about DR, I’m sure he does not willfully and knowingly tell lies.” My friends, of course, shot me down in flames.

    So I tried to accept that the lies were there, but that I was intellectually incapable of perceiving them. Then came that terrible moment, when the site administrator published an article about some deluded Russian prophet who had tried to commit suicide in a particularly clownish way when his prediction for the date of the end of the world failed to come true. Even as I was reading the article, I started having forebodings about the kind of comments that I was likely to find afterwards. And my worst suspicions were confirmed. Much laughter. Considerable mocking and jeering. And there were even a couple of posters who regretted that the fallen prophet had failed in his “attempt” to put an end to his life. I expressed my shock and disappointment in a couple of posts. And then I went too far.

    I wrote and signed my own RDNet death sentence when I said: “...and apart from all that, don’t you guys realise that you are giving David Robertson and his ilk stuff to use against us as atheists? Already they accuse us of being soulless and unfeeling! I am sure that David Robertson would never, ever laugh and gloat over a suicide attempt by an atheist. Can you imagine him saying “Serve him right, dumb atheist! That’s where rejecting Jesus gets you! He deserves nothing better. Psychotic, godless fruitcake!” Now there are many fine and highly intelligent, articulate members of RDNet. A small number of them timidly came out and defended me. But one of the most respected of them, a doctor, contented herself with quoting me at length, and adding “LOL”: shorthand for “laugh out loud”

    After a few faltering attempts to justify my position, I decided that RDNet was not where I wanted, or needed, to be. The cognitive and affective dissonance was just too much for me. So there I was. Alone again. No God. Rejected by atheists. Now I have another confession to make here. Whenever David Robertson posted a long comment on RDNet, I had developed the guilty habit of printing it out, and sneaking onto the balcony to read it with my morning coffee. So on the morning of Saturday, April 12th, I took out my copies of his posts and re-read them. What did I have to lose? I found nothing of apparent interest. DR was clearly stubborn, persistent, polite but still deluded. As I was reading, my thoughts turned to the honeybee. And the invisible, ultra-violet landing pads on the petals of certain flowers that guide the bee to the pollen and the delicious nectar that awaits the happy apidae.

    The fact that I can’t see these landing pads doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Just as the fact that the bee can’t see the colour red doesn’t mean that he can fl y through a tomato. I have my five senses and a brain that works in a particular way to process what my five senses pick up. But that doesn’t prove that anything that can’t be captured by my five senses doesn’t exist. If ever, in a science fiction journey, I came across a universe where living beings had ten senses, well, I could only have half as much fun as they did. The wonderful philosophical explanations and arguments that I read on RDNet had fascinated me, filled me with awe and admiration, and I even understood some of them. But they always left me with the uneasy feeling of, “Well, yes, that’s what brains do. Ducks quack; the French complain; and the human brain processes information. However sophisticated my reasoning processes, they will still be limited to the capacity of my brain. But does that mean that anything that cannot be perceived by my senses and processed by my brain doesn’t exist?” I started ruminating about all this during that fateful weekend. But ruminating is not all that I did. I had committed the unforgivable sin: I started posting on the FCoS Forum. The Free Church of Scotland.
    A veritable den of theists. I defected. I spoke about being a sad atheist, about my desire to be able to believe. In reaction to my posts, FCoS’s “resident fruitcake” asked me two questions that were to change my life: “Why don’t you believe in God?” and “What could make you believe in God?” My knee-jerk reaction to the first question was, “That’s a dumb question.” And to the second, I had two instinctive and spontaneous answers: 1. I don’t know. 2. Certainly not proof and evidence. At that moment, the words that had always provoked a terrible sensation of longing in me came into my mind: “We can love Him, because He loved us first.” And my universe exploded. Lights came on, prison doors opened, and scales fell off my eyes, the whole “Amazing Grace” thing. As I considered my perception of life, the universe and everything, it was literally as if I had been looking at a two dimensional image in black and white, and in an instant everything became three-dimensional and Technicolor! A short time later, I went back to my DR documents and was amazed to discover that the words that almost leapt out at me from the pages were the Biblical references that had so embarrassed me before. Not David Robertson’s words – the Word of God. The ensuing 48 hours were very intense, as my brain started processing tons of previously stocked information in a different way.

    The Bible, that I had previously studied so much that I couldn’t read an “And it came to pass...” without having a migraine, became exciting. Meaningful.

    Today, I feel no resentment towards my RDNet correspondents. After all, it was among the atheists that I found salvation. An insistent, obtuse Scottish clergyman kept “coming back for more”. Not only defending his arguments, but boldly confronting atheists with the word of God. A voice crying in the wilderness? Perhaps. But even in the wilderness, perhaps somebody hiding behind a rock is listening. I was. “For the Word of God is living and full of power.” (Hebrews 4:12) It is so good to be loved without having done anything to deserve it. It is so good to raise my eyes from the science laboratories and the books of philosophy and start to behold the glory of God. Science and philosophy are wonderful manifestations of the enormous capacities of the human mind. But the Word of God is Truth, and truth is what it took to set me free. My journey in faith begins. Watch this space.

    Full length Audio Interview
  2. [N]

    [N] RATED [ ]

    god is good..........all the time!!!!!!

    all the time!!!!!!

    Next thing on the news athiest who finds salvation finds out that the cake is a lie! NNNNNNNoooooooooooooooo
  3. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    Bulla! Welcome back! We missed ya in this section.

    This article doesn't really mean much. You are going to find believers switching to atheist and vice versa. No different from a Muslim switching to Christianity. Or Christian switching to Buddhism. It happens all the time.

    However, after reading this transcript, it seems to me the guy just felt lonely because 1st he wasn't able to find god, so probably didn't get along with religious people. Then he was being rejected by other atheist because he became wishy washy. So he became very lonely, felt left out and rejected by all that surrounds him. Usually when people are at their low points or as they say when they hit rock bottom, that's when they find god. Because that's when their imagination takes over their reality. If you talk to these people and ask them what brought you back after you hit rock bottom. They will most likely say they found god, or God talked to them and guided them through the hard times or even God found me! Of course once this person starts believing again and mingles back into churches, temples or mosque, everyone in these organizations will of course welcome him back with open arms! He would feel accepted again and then tell everyone God has found him! And there you have your born again!
  4. Bulla

    Bulla Well-Known Member

    hunghai, use newer memes. :trollface2: go play Forza in secret.

    Thank you for sharing your view on it and thank you for reading it.
  5. y5f7830aw

    y5f7830aw Guest

    Sac à mai

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  6. Yeaaa that's not french. That's a load of nonsensical shit.
  7. warriorsage

    warriorsage Well-Known Member

    this one smart woman talking
    skip to 18:30
  8. She's got a good point, but 30 minutes...

  9. warriorsage

    warriorsage Well-Known Member

    lol, i already point to go straight to minute 18:30, cut half of the 30 minutes
    i personally listen to her speech few times, to fully understand the speech and like her intellect skill, she is making a rationally logically smart arguments of what an atheist supposed to be.
  10. lol I didn't see it :p.

    From listening to her, one can tell she thinks analytically and rationally.

    Though my question is this: is there really a definition of "what an atheist is supposed to be?"

    Moreover, is there really a definition as to "what a religious individual is supposed to be?"

    Regardless of which group we supposedly follow, we are all human in the end. And one thing about being human is that we all have our differences. Regardless of our association with any group of people, we all have the liberty to our own opinions. I may agree in that thinking rationally and analytically is what I think a human being should do, however that does not mean that's what they are supposed to do. We all have an image of what we want others to be like, however we should not be enforcing that image onto others, or say "that's what they are supposed to be doing". We may think that our way of thinking is correct, but that does not mean it actually is correct.
  11. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    No. There is no definition or rules that Atheist have to follow. Like she said in the video, we just don't believe there is enough evidence to support the theory of god. That is it.

    On the other hand there is a definition for all other religions based on their holy book. Weather they choose to follow it to the tee like Islam (Quran) or cherry pick from the bible like the xtians. They all have rules they have to follow.

    Religious people don't realize when they claim the bible/Quran etc are words of god, they should follow everything that is said in such holy book. When they don't, they are disobeying their god. I can pull verses left and right from the bible that send these messages. However, they all cherry pick and only follow what fits their life style.

    For example, A group of xtians protesting gay rights and condemn gay people because of Leviticus 20:13 "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

    Yet these exact same xtians has tatoos all over their bodies and ignores the very same book a few lines down. Leviticus 19:28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord."
  12. Let's use some of this revered intellectual skill, of "rationally, logically smart arguments". I highly doubt being religious (Christianity) and cherry picking are mutually exclusive. Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is a fallacy adopted by all kinds of humans, regardless of their religious association. It just so happens that your experiences with the average Christian are those who adopt that fallacy.

    For the sake of argument, let's look at another topic considered which is (to some) a religion: sports. A successful team with a large fanbase will have all sorts of fans. There are fans who hate a player so much, that they selectively state evidence that the player sucks. If there are 10 statistics, where 9/10 are great stats and one is a bad statistic for a player, the fan will negate all 9 other stats and use the one stat to say that a player sucks.

    So if "cherry picking" has been demonstrated that it is not limited to just Christianity, then would that not imply that your anger towards Christians is misguided, if your main argument is that they cherry pick? Should your anger not be directed towards human nature?

    And plus, human nature is something that's pretty difficult to be angry about, because it's out of your control. So why be angry in the first place?

    Honestly, we keep arguing about religion, but IMO, religion is merely a medium. Our problem is human nature, where one nature doesn't agree with another. We cannot accept that other people have their own opinions and respect them for what they are. I am guilty of this as well. As is every single human being on this Earth.
  13. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    I'm NOT angry! That's the problem, that's how most people see atheist, that we are just an angry bunch. I personally like these type of discussions because it makes people think. It may seem like an argument but it's not. There is no winner Or losers here because in the end, minds won't be changed by these debates. Yes I have been wronged by my family who are xtians but that doesn't mean I love them any less. But I can't say the same for them, because they shun me and don't want anything to do with me. All because I don't believe what they believe.

    You are right, it is us humans that are the problem, but religion contributes to a lot of these ideas that create these problems. So I might sound angry, but in reality I'm just voicing my opinion and concerns for humanity. This is what is great about America, free speech! If I was in Malaysia or middle east I would be murdered by now. Again, because of religion. Do you see my point?
  14. I sure do.

    Though if there is no religion, there will always be something else. Now since human nature isn't something that can be changed, then the best thing is to accept it. I kind of find that hard to do lol.

    edit: especially after watching this video


    People like this exist whenever there is something to feel strongly about. Politics, sports, sexuality, race, everything. It's a fucking pity all people know is to argue for the sake of senseless bullshit.

    The worst part is that there's nothing that can be done about human nature. And I usually believe something can be done, but not in this case.

    edit2: this man has restored my faith in humanity

    #14 Dan, Nov 13, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013