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An ex-atheist's testimony
January 27, 2006 9:53 AM   Subscribe

From Skepticism to Worship. "I made a resolution to read the entire Bible again, only this time I was going to read it as I would poetry or fiction, and not as a proposal of fact." An ex-atheist's story.
posted by brownpau (111 comments total)

 
Oh brother. Ought to be subtitled, "How I went from one type of self-righteous extremism to another."
posted by kgasmart at 10:05 AM on January 27, 2006


brownpau, I am unclear on why you think this needs to be dragged out again and again and again. If this thread doesn't deterioriate into the same characters dancing the same blustery dance, I'll be pleasantly surprised, but I just don't see the point.
posted by lodurr at 10:06 AM on January 27, 2006


Jack Chick gives it 2 thumbs up.
posted by Pseudonumb at 10:10 AM on January 27, 2006


Uh . . .

"I was raised a Roman Catholic in a home where the name of Jesus Christ and God was never mentioned. I was encouraged to attend catechism and church every weekend, but the concept of God was never made completely real to me. I entertained the notion as any child would, but I just wasn't into the imaginary friend scene and by the time I was thirteen, I had concluded that God was merely a vicious adult version of the Easter bunny. I abandoned the lie, informed my upset parents that I would no longer be attending church, and began seeking truth."

So from theist to disillusioned theist to atheist to theist. Big fucking deal.

Plus: if Jesus and God were not mentioned at all in the home, why were his parents upset. Further, if it were a non-religious household, why go to church every weekend?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:11 AM on January 27, 2006


This post has made me consider my religious beliefs in an entirely new way...PSYCH! Metafilter is turning into Beliefnet.
posted by billysumday at 10:17 AM on January 27, 2006


When yuou say "the bible," which bible do you refer to?
posted by Postroad at 10:17 AM on January 27, 2006


lodurr - it's almost over.
posted by brownpau at 10:19 AM on January 27, 2006


"What was the point of prolonging any one life? What difference did it make if a girl didn't live to marry or her mother live to see it? Of what value were temporary emotional experiences? They were simply the biochemistry of the brain reacting to sensory input and, upon that individual's death...My extreme point of view had reduced people into throwaway metabolic units; I had become as cold and indifferent as the logic that I exalted."

That's not logic. That's one dreadful person, and probably a sick puppy to boot.

posted by QuietDesperation at 10:20 AM on January 27, 2006


Within days, almost every viewpoint I had once so loudly announced, changed. I could no longer justify my advocacy of abortion, homosexuality or pre-marital sex because I recognized these options for what they were, that being selfishness.

Oh boy. I had high hopes for this, being a born-and-raised atheist who's been reading lots of Bible and Bible commentary lately. But this person just happens to be a cementhead. His views on this, or any, topic are going to be uninteresting, poorly thought out, and self-absorbed.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:21 AM on January 27, 2006


Satan wins. Again.
posted by bardic at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2006


"How I went from one type of self-righteous extremism to another"

Is it only cool to be an agnostic?
posted by melt away at 10:25 AM on January 27, 2006


God, I wish people who find god would just shut up about it. It's worse than people on the bus who want to tell you about the dream they had last night.
posted by 327.ca at 10:25 AM on January 27, 2006


So...this is the pro-wrestling version of theology?

I’ve always thought that rational thought led to compassion for others.

But apparently it leads to spurious inferences from obsolescent notions of causality.
(I hadda swipe that line, it’s too good)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:26 AM on January 27, 2006


brownpau's last seven posts:

YFrom Skepticism to Worship. "I made a resolution to read the entire Bible again, only this time I was going to read it as I would poetry or fiction, and not as a proposal of fact." An ex-atheist's story.
posted on Jan-27-06 at 9:53 AM PST

Breaking the Science-Atheism Bond. "When I was growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the 1960s, I came to the view that God was an infantile illusion, suitable for the elderly, the intellectually feeble, and the fraudulently religious."
posted on Jan-24-06 at 2:39 PM PST

Reconstructing Aunt Sally's Secret Recipe. Addressing the Retranslations Fallacy, a common misconception about how the Bible we read has been handed down to us. [via]
posted on Jan-23-06 at 12:38 PM PST

The Girl of Your Dreams. "Jesus had a dream girl. Jesus had a girl that He wanted to marry for several thousand years. But she treated him like shit."
posted on Jan-19-06 at 10:54 AM PST

Doug TenNapel reviews "The God Who Wasn't There" in three parts: [1,2,3]. (Religion not your thing? He also does comics. And video games.)
posted on Jan-15-06 at 5:09 PM PST

Can God make a rock so heavy that he could not lift it?
posted on Jan-13-06 at 2:46 PM PST

Did Jesus Really Exist? Also some notes on the doubtful existence of Hannibal.
posted on Jan-9-06 at 3:41 PM PST
posted by doctor_negative at 10:26 AM on January 27, 2006


Yeah, well...

Occupation: INTRACTABLE BIBLE-THUMPING CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST
posted by 327.ca at 10:28 AM on January 27, 2006


UltimateQuestionfilter.
posted by konolia at 10:29 AM on January 27, 2006


Thanks for the link. I found it fascinating.
posted by konolia at 10:29 AM on January 27, 2006


Everything in this screed makes perfect sense... right up until the bit where the author found God.

To paraphrase Steven Weinberg, there's not much comfort to be found as a mote in a stark and rational universe. I'm impressed by people who find purpose and meaning despite the fact that, aside from gamete dissemination, life has no intrinsic purpose. By contrast, I think it's inadvisable and intellectually dishonest to practice the kind of spiritual double-think that enabled this guy's epiphany.
posted by killdevil at 10:32 AM on January 27, 2006


Hey doctor_negative-- so they guy is interested in religion and posts about it frequently. That's not a bad thing.

Unless the content of those FPPs was as weak as this one...
posted by ibmcginty at 10:32 AM on January 27, 2006


This is a good post, by the way.
posted by killdevil at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2006


doctor_negative: "brownpau's last seven posts"

So what? My last seven FPPs consist of things that I'm interested in, too. Why does posting things brownpau finds interesting or worthwhile reading become an agenda (yes, that's your implication) just because you don't agree with his POV?
posted by Plutor at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2006


What ibmcginty said.
posted by Plutor at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2006


For the first time in my life, I became aware of my soul and how dirty it was when the light of Christ fell upon it.

So the guy felt guilty for living in a way that was different to the way he was raised. Jeez. Who cares.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2006


This guy is less credible than James Frey. No one who's not a sociopath all of a sudden becomes a raving asshole nihilist once they lose their faith.

Unless they're trying to convince others that those without faith are raving asshole nihilists.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:35 AM on January 27, 2006


I'm having a tough time believing this rant is anything but not-so-cleverly crafted propaganda, most definitely not related to real events at all..
posted by nightchrome at 10:37 AM on January 27, 2006


Everything in this screed makes perfect sense..

Hmm. It pretty much stopped making sense for me at "RATIONAL THOUGHT REPLACES MY COMPASSION FOR OTHERS". Secular humanism demonstrates quite well that rational thought need do no such thing.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:37 AM on January 27, 2006


Science had done nothing to answer the questions that raged in my head. Why should I care? How much should I care? Should I care at all? What is my purpose in life?

Well, maybe if she had looked to philosophy to answer philosophical questions, she'd have had better luck.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:39 AM on January 27, 2006


I'm having a tough time believing this rant is anything but not-so-cleverly crafted propaganda, most definitely not related to real events at all.

Same feeling I got, nightchrome. His description of atheism as pure amorality doesn't jibe with how most self-described atheists that I've known have felt.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:40 AM on January 27, 2006


Augustine's Confessions is better. He at least had lots of sex with concubines before his conversion.
posted by stbalbach at 10:41 AM on January 27, 2006


Optimus Chyme, maybe it's the Indian food I just ate, but I have no idea what you just said.
posted by dobie at 10:42 AM on January 27, 2006


Growing old, scared to die, loveless, joins the club. Now he doesn't have to die alone.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:50 AM on January 27, 2006


Here's where he snaps: "Was I arrogantly making my morality superior to that of the being who allegedly authored all of morality?"

Wheee!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:53 AM on January 27, 2006


Is it arrogant that I immediately categorize the writer as a person less intelligent than me?
posted by gagglezoomer at 10:54 AM on January 27, 2006


I gave up church for lent.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:55 AM on January 27, 2006


Optimus Chyme, maybe it's the Indian food I just ate, but I have no idea what you just said.

The author is trotting out the old chestnut that only the religious can be a Good Person.

As a demonstration of her new-found decency she notes that "My atheistic philosophy had allowed me to lose my compassion for others", whereas after finding Jesus, she has a new-found disapproval of homosexuals. But, you know, with compassion.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:56 AM on January 27, 2006


It does start to seem like axe-grinding after a while.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:56 AM on January 27, 2006


So again the Christian testimonial nonsense hits the blue - sorry, Optimus, for me it stops making sense at "I was a devout atheist for over twenty years".

Christian fanatics (actually all Monotheist fanatics) have a hard time escaping the self-reference. There is no such a thing as a "devout atheist", except perhaps among teenagers trying to look smart. No one wastes time and energy fighting for the non-existence of some entity. Educated people won't even waste time trying to "prove" non-existence, because well, they were educated - they know you can't prove the non-existence of a non-observed phenomenon, you can just attribute it an extremely low probability of existence and leave at that. Usually people stop thinking about it in the early twenties and move on.

As it is, again, to paraphrase our supposed author (haven't they got this idea of testimonials from porn mags?), the linked page is an account of how he went from hardcore skepticism to hardcore servant of a fanatic obscurantist sect. So sad.
posted by nkyad at 11:03 AM on January 27, 2006


trite, cliched, poorly written.
posted by empath at 11:03 AM on January 27, 2006


Jack Chick gives it 2 thumbs up.

2 big man-thumbs up Jack Chick's pulsating asshole, I would think.
posted by theorique at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2006


It does start to seem like axe-grinding after a while.

Eh, by MeFi standards, 7 posts on a subject doesn't really qualify as axe-grinding.
posted by boaz at 11:08 AM on January 27, 2006


There's an interesting discussion to be had regarding this post but I'll be damned if I know what it is.
posted by djeo at 11:09 AM on January 27, 2006


brownpau I have an honest question for you:
Are you witnessing for metafilter? In essence that's what this post is. I know you didn't write it, but it seems to be your intent. If you are perhaps metatalk or askMe would be a more appropriate venue.
posted by ozomatli at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2006


Jack Chick's pulsating asshole

Thanks for the inspiration for my new band's name.
posted by melt away at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2006


There's an interesting discussion to be had regarding this post but I'll be damned if I know what it is.

Maybe on the pitfalls of false testimonials? Or on different manifestations of psychosis?
posted by ibmcginty at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2006


I'm so glad this was posted. I was a devout atheist for over twenty years until I read this post. Now I believe in that thing you want me to believe in.

Thank you.
posted by BackwardsCity at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2006


"I started with Jean-Paul Sartre's "Being and Nothingness". This man had won a Nobel Prize for basically taking white and logically demonstrating how it was really black."

This is why philosophy should only be read by trained professionals.

Gawd Allmighty, what a fucking jackass. Can we just call this one a draw and concede that he was likely a total tool on both sides of the God equation, and be left with a precipitate of tooldom? Bullshit like this is why it's so easy to make fun of both sides...
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2006


No, I'm not witnessing. I'm posting links I find interesting.
posted by brownpau at 11:15 AM on January 27, 2006


Optimus was indicating that the purported raving asshole nihilism of the Ex-Papist Narrator ("XPN") was exaggerated for cathetical purposes: a cautionary example of how evil those Atheistic Godless Persons get--and why they get that way.

I note the "failed Catholic" meme as another earmark of apparent evangelical agitprop. Nothing like snatching a convert from the clutches of the Whore of Babylon. . .
posted by rdone at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2006


Are you witnessing for metafilter?

Ozo... you hit something that I've been thinking about lately. I'm familiar with witnessing strategies and ministries outside of the church. It seems like lately, even within the last week, that every community news/blog site I normally visit - say Metafilter, Slashdot and Digg - have seen numerous religious discussions, especially when a scientific thread occurs that could be twisted into an ID vs evolution thread. It's starting to come across as some kind of planned mass-witnessing 'attack'. Holy AstroTurf or just my imagination?
posted by melt away at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2006


I started out my thoughtful existence thinking Christians were confused but well intentioned.

I've made the transition: I think that Christians have traded intellectual integrity for comfort/assurance, and not only that, in the process they have adopted an actually malignant set of values to take comfort in (re: women, homos, animals, infidels, creation, etc.).

So, I'm on the outs with them. Ditto all other children of Abraham. This article from yesterday is only the beginning. The progress of Science suggests we'll one day look back on Christianity and think, "basically, it's witch burning." Sorry, JC, you gave it your best shot.
posted by ewkpates at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2006


I'm having a tough time believing this rant is anything but not-so-cleverly crafted propaganda, most definitely not related to real events at all.

Maybe this one is faked -- we can't really know. But if you want something that's true and awfully similar, check out C. S. Lewis's autobiography Surprised by Joy. Or, fine, the thirty-second Wikipedia version.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2006


brownpau's last seven posts

I applaud brownpau for the work he has put into numerous FPPs on religion, faith, belief and unbelief. Thank you from me to you for your valuable contributions to the community -- contributions that are infinitely more valuable than lame callouts intended to deride people for what they bring to the front page.

Keep 'em coming, BP.

ObFPP: I agree that the guy is a cementhead.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:18 AM on January 27, 2006


In the interests of keeping it civil in the thread, MeTa.
posted by BackwardsCity at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2006


Let me be clear: I am in no way making a judgement call on brownpau's fpp's. I was merely curious as to thier intent. I am satisfied with brownpau's answer and I don't want people to misconstue what I said into a callout.
posted by ozomatli at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2006


Babylon only had one whore? That's lame.
posted by psmealey at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2006


Dear Big Guy,

We don't want this one. He's a pain in the tuchis. You guys can have him if you like.

Cheers,

Satan
posted by fleetmouse at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2006


To Summarize..."Once I stopped thinking about what bullshit the bible is, I was able to believe in the invisible skyman"
posted by Megafly at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2006


I'm not saying anyone is withnessing. Just seems like the interweb's been inundated with religious debate more and more each day. Probably just my perception, though.
posted by melt away at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2006


Obviously brownpau is on some anti-atheist kick, his last post was 2 days ago called: Breaking the Science-Atheism Bond.

sigh. Enjoy.
posted by skallas at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2006


I also made a resolution to read the entire Bible again, and I realized that if God is the God of the Old Testament, then I despise him. For he is a cruel, petty and insecure God who happily destroyed Job's whole life, to win a bet with Satan.

If he is the God of the New Testament, then I'm already saved, and it doesn't matter if I believe.

As such, the best possible course of my life is to ignore traditional religion and worship tacos.

Also, get your own fucking blog.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2006


Gee, your blog has a link to John 6:40 at the bottom.

You know, if you want to post about "religion" there is more to religion than the usual atheist vs jesus wankfest you encourage here.
posted by skallas at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2006


brownpau: That's enough proselytizing. Please stop now.
posted by Malor at 11:42 AM on January 27, 2006


This Bible, it sure sounds like a dangerous book.
posted by caddis at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2006


Thank you brownpau, I am also enjoying your posts. Just wondering if the story was the other way round, someone "converting" from Christianity to atheism, it would still be considered no big deal.
posted by blue shadows at 11:49 AM on January 27, 2006


Could only be better if he became a boozer first.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2006


If you're tempted to post in here to say that brownpau and/or Jesus are boneheads, please go directly to MeTa.

Let's keep this thread limited to discussing the personality flaws, lack of persuasive force, logical errors, and poor writing on display in the linked article.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:54 AM on January 27, 2006


Just once I'd like to see a story about a dissolute, devout Christian who drinks and beats his kids, but one day has a revelation, stops going to church, becomes an atheist, kicks the booze and turns his life around. That's a story I'd like to hear.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2006


Just wondering if the story was the other way round, someone "converting" from Christianity to atheism, it would still be considered no big deal.

If becoming an atheist made the writer realize that "I could no longer justify my advocacy of abortion, homosexuality or pre-marital sex because I recognized these options for what they were, that being selfishness.", then yeah, people would probably call bullshit on that too.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2006


ibmcginty : "If you're tempted to post in here to say that brownpau and/or Jesus are boneheads, please go directly to MeTa. "

Why would Jesus boneheadedness or its lack thereof be a good topic for Meta? Since this post deals directly with the Christian myths and legends and its fanatic followers, why wouldn't it be on topic here?
posted by nkyad at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2006


caddis: This Bible, it sure sounds like a dangerous book.

Evil known liberal Noam Chomsky thinks so
"The Bible is probably the most genocidal book ever written."

"You can see that in the polls too. I was just looking at a study by an American sociologist (published in England) of comparative religious attitudes in various countries. The figures are shocking. Three quarters of the American population literally believe in religious miracles. The numbers who believe in the devil, in resurrection, in God doing this and that -- it's astonishing. These numbers aren't duplicated anywhere else in the industrial world. You'd have to maybe go to mosques in Iran or do a poll among old ladies in Sicily to get numbers like this. Yet this is the American population."
posted by skallas at 11:59 AM on January 27, 2006


Some interesting Christian-to-atheist conversion (deconversion?) stories here.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2006


I had paraded around, thinking myself to be the sophisticate, oblivious to the trail of toilet paper clinging to my shoe.

What won't the bible fix?

Intriguing potential, poor execution. I have little sympathy for atheists who don't understand the reasons one should be compassionate even in the absence of God's commanding it, and less for born-agains who think they have "been there, done that" when they have missed some of the most important aspects of secular humanism.
posted by voltairemodern at 12:07 PM on January 27, 2006


Frightened, confused individual turns to religion for comfort. News at 11:00...
posted by batou_ at 12:07 PM on January 27, 2006


Hey, thanks Fleetmouse! Ask and ye shall receive.
And yeah, would that be "deconversion"? Antirevelation?
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:09 PM on January 27, 2006


From worsticism to skepship. "I made a resolution to read the bible and the origin of the species at the same time, and all I got was a lame Jehoraffe."
posted by qvantamon at 12:10 PM on January 27, 2006



Just once I'd like to see a story about a dissolute, devout Christian who drinks and beats his kids, but one day has a revelation, stops going to church, becomes an atheist, kicks the booze and turns his life around. That's a story I'd like to hear.


I think if atheists had the social support system that Christians did, it would happen more often. IMO, it's not finding Jesus that helps people, but finding a Church. And I don't think very many people actually become better people from converting. They just replace one bad habit with a more socially acceptable one.
posted by empath at 12:11 PM on January 27, 2006


nkyad: you are right. Allegations of Jesus's boneheadedness are a fit topic for this thread; allegations of brownpau's boneheadedness are not.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:13 PM on January 27, 2006


Am I the only person who thought this whole story was completely made up, and the writer had never been an atheist?
posted by miss tea at 12:15 PM on January 27, 2006


No.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:18 PM on January 27, 2006


Miss Tea: Not only that, I don't believe he'd ever been a Catholic.

As someone who was raised Catholic and became an atheist, nothing of what is in that article rings true for me. It's pretty clearly written by an evangelical imagining what that would be like based on a very muddy idea of what being a Catholic and what being an Atheist is all about. I mean a "devout atheist"? Please.

My 'prized science degree'? Who would call it that? I'm guessing this person went to junior college at best.
posted by empath at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2006


miss tea: and the writer had never been an atheist?

I don't think that's fair to say. Anyone can change their minds and personalities. Look at the guy who runs Little Green Footballs. Previous to 9/11 he wrote about the web and had fairly mainstream opinions, if not liberal if I remember correctly. Now his website is the #1 place to read about towlheads, camel fuckers, and when and how to nuke the middle east. Events change people. Our own Steven Den Best (or was it another steven) became a militant right-winger who eventually left mefi because his now right-wing blog got so popular.

I don't see how personal change or even trends equate with the validity of one's positions. Tomorrow I may find out I have cancer and become the most devout Raelian Elohim has ever seen. Who knows. That's just not proof of anything nor is it even philosophically interesting, unless the subject is how easily humans can change belief systems.
posted by skallas at 12:21 PM on January 27, 2006


empath : "Miss Tea: Not only that, I don't believe he'd ever been a Catholic."

For one, Catholics usually have a fairly sophisticated understanding of Philosophy, having the Catholic Church produced a handful of major philosophers, and most wouldn't be caught writing such jewels as "I started with Jean-Paul Sartre's "Being and Nothingness". This man had won a Nobel Prize for basically taking white and logically demonstrating how it was really black."
posted by nkyad at 12:29 PM on January 27, 2006


melt away: Just seems like the interweb's been inundated with religious debate more and more each day. Probably just my perception, though.

Hmmm..., consider that with each passing day, teh intarwebs become more and more accessible by 'regular folks' (as opposed to academics and computer geeks), and regular folks love them some Jaysus.

I'd say you're on to something there.
posted by LordSludge at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2006



I’m curious about what philosophical position on knowlege - and indeed evidence -atheists take.

From that site:
“In practice, believing that no God described by any religion exists is very close to believing that no God exists. However, it is sufficiently different that counter-arguments based on the impossibility of disproving every kind of God are not really applicable.”

Ok then...

“Firstly, before you begin your proof, you must come up with a clear and precise definition of exactly what you mean by "God". A logical proof requires a clear definition of that which you are trying to prove.”

But then....

“Unfortunately, reality is not decided by logic. Even if you could rigorously prove that God exists, it wouldn't actually get you very far.”

So....
“In the end, the only way to find out what is really going on is to observe it.”

It appears to me that this takes the empirical evidence is all that matters position. (Empiricists believe that all knowledge is ultimately derived from some kind of external experience).

So obviously what comes to mind is the problem of criteria (the regress argument - and the implications for mathmatical knowlege Godel brought up) but I’m also thinking of the cognitive process involved in observation. Particularly as it pertains to Heisenberg and modern Quantum mathematics. Most particle physics is indeed unobservable.
By the atheist criteria I’m assuming -(perhaps wrongly) it’s “unprovable.”
Yet many atheists might accept the existance of (say) wave-particle duality even though it’s a description of a nebulous “probability” of finding particle at a given point in space at a given time.

It’s knowlege, but infered, not directly observed.
I’m ascribing no “meaning” to QM as such, merely looking at the classification we give to “evidence” and knowlege and the philosophical position an atheist takes on them.
(indeed considering Bell’s theorem there is empirical evidence - but it is infinite in measure - so we’re sort of back to square one on the infinite regress - is the information one chooses really “knowlege”)

As the posted article reads, it appears to give a very broad umbrella to the term “atheism.”

Cuts us Zen folks a lotta slack tho’, which is nice.

Anyway - for any atheists - is a priori knowlege (non-trivial) possible?

Given the implications of quantum indeterminacy, that is, the apparent - necessary - incompleteness in the description of a physical system - is “the only way to find out what is really going on is to observe it?”

If so I’d take athiests to mean that they don’t believe in non-empirical knowlege.

If not - then is atheism is a counter to theism - that is, the absence of a “God” as theism defines it? Or is it a body of thought at all or the assertion for the lack of thought in the area of theism or more broadly speaking metaphysics?

It’s a pretty wide brush, and I’m not castigating anyone, but I made the assumption (based on reading stuff like in the article I (re)posted above) that atheists don’t believe in a priori knowlege and I got a lot of shit for it.

Maybe it’s a loose definition?

I honestly don’t know.

I know where most theists are coming from (God is Allah; God is love; God hates fags) etc.
So I can rationally argue a position for, against, neutral, expicative, etc., atheism seems to elude me because I can’t seem to hammer down a philosophical perspective on it.

But maybe it isn’t one and it’s just a loose term?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2006


brownpau: lodurr - it's almost over.
Do you know something I don't know? Should I be getting right with the big guy, or something?
posted by lodurr at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2006


'Explicative' that should be.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2006


Do you know something I don't know?

In the twist ending, brownpau has recently converted to Jainism!
posted by boaz at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2006


Plutor: doctor_negative: "brownpau's last seven posts"

So what? My last seven FPPs consist of things that I'm interested in, too. Why does posting things brownpau finds interesting or worthwhile reading become an agenda (yes, that's your implication) just because you don't agree with his POV?
Maybe when his posting history is aimed at "starting discussions" that he damn well knows won't be anything but a platform for extremists to rant about their various persecutions by teh other side?

Certainly I can't read his mind, but brownpau's attempts at starting dialog on these "issues" seem a bit disingenuous. (And please, this is really a very poor excuse for a spiritual account. It's quite implausible, and it just fucking loses me completely when it passes off freshman-level misuderstandings of existentialism as epiphany. It's crap. In fact, all of the apologetics I've looked at so far on that site are implausible crap. I'd go so far as to conjectuer that it's essentially a fake site. I've got nothing against a decent spiritual story -- hell, I've got half a bookshelf of them upstairs -- but at least make me beleive it's not something that a believer cooked up out of what they imagine un-belief must be like.)
posted by lodurr at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2006


While I'm not going to defend, in any way shape or form, the freakshow that is modern biblethumpery, brownpau has made one of what may be 20-25 posts today. There are other things to read if you don't like it. I hardly think that a series of thematically linked posts would translate in any way to the site becoming anything like Beliefnet [*]. Had this been about a religious fellow who turned atheist, I'm sure it would not draw as much attention.
posted by moonbird at 1:21 PM on January 27, 2006


Had this been about a religious fellow who turned atheist, I'm sure it would not draw as much attention.

You must've missed my thread. Understandable, since it got deleted, and most people don't read metatalk.
posted by I Love Tacos at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2006


"I could no longer justify my advocacy of abortion, homosexuality or pre-marital sex because I recognized these options for what they were, that being selfishness.",


Oh dear, so discovering 'the perfect love of God' means turning into a particular sort of sexual conservative. I presume that all the people I know from non-conservative denominations who don't share this sort of agenda and who don't interpret the Bible in this way must just have found some imperfect inferior love of God.


Browpau, most of the Christians I know would not be in the least impressed with this, so what makes you think a general audience are going to be interested in it? Or are you just posting it as some sort of game to see what response it gets?
posted by Flitcraft at 1:39 PM on January 27, 2006


moonbird: brownpau has made one of what may be 20-25 posts today. There are other things to read if you don't like it.

You heard it. If you don't like your neighbors' dog pooping on your lawn, you've got lots of non-pooped lawn to enjoy! To address the poop is to give in to the terrorists!
posted by skallas at 1:40 PM on January 27, 2006


skallas: I wasn't disputing the truth of this narrative because of its content (that an intellegent person could become devout through a conversion experience) but because the details just didn't ring true to me-- his supposed religious education as a catholic, his extreme narcisissim and sociopathy while an atheist, etc. sorry i wasn't clear. i personally know people who've become christian, jewish, buddhist, etc., evolving from an agnostic or atheistic perspective. i know it does happen. just not to this guy/gal., IMHO.
posted by miss tea at 2:11 PM on January 27, 2006


There were bits of the article I felt empathy with, but the argument seemed to be that there should be a reason that the writer felt negative and wanted someone or something to blame.

Is it a surprise that in their moment of despair they chose to go back to what they had been brought up with?

As Armitage Shanks mentioned earlier, simply believing does not make you a good person. The article offers no other argument for religion than 'it makes you feel better about yourself', as far as I could see.

I simply don't see the point of the article-the post has created some interesting discussion though. It just comes across as propaganda to me, though of course I could just be jaundiced by the tabloid press. Nobody does anything without a reason, consciously or otherwise.
posted by 999 at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2006


I was a total fucking prick when I was religious. When I finally realized that I had been raised in an utterly insane belief system (we believed that our church, and our church alone, was saved; I was taught that homosexuals had sexual congress with animals as a matter of course), I was disgusted with how I had behaved- the church offered me easy ways to make myself feel superior to others, and I had taken them.
Of course, this wasn't until religion had split my family and caused a loved one mental trauma.
There were good people in the church, but the things that they professed to and let happen are inexcusable.
posted by 235w103 at 2:32 PM on January 27, 2006


voltairemodern writes "I have little sympathy for atheists who don't understand the reasons one should be compassionate even in the absence of God's commanding it..."

In my culture, we call those people "sociopaths".
posted by mr_roboto at 3:06 PM on January 27, 2006


235w103 writes "I was taught that homosexuals had sexual congress with animals as a matter of course)"


You went to the Church of Rick Santorum?
posted by orthogonality at 3:08 PM on January 27, 2006


This whole thing reads a lot like the crap that gets broadcast on a local Christian radio station around central virginia. It's sponsored by this really hardcore evangelical church. I listen to them while driving after a stressful day. It helps to put things in perspective. No matter how hard my day has been, listening to someone tell the story of how they were lost because they turned their back on Abraham's god and the trials and tribulations they suffered because if it always make me feel special. Because I can always laugh my ass off when they say crap like "riding down the middle of the street that night on my Huffy, I pledged my life to Satan" with the sincerity that would convince a Hindu to eat a hamburger.
Athiests, just laugh at them.
Agnostics, pat them on the head and say "ok, if you say so."
I'm sure their brethren will pat them on the back and welcome them into the flock. It's like going to an AA meeting; "Hi, my name is Ralph, and I used to fuck chickens in my deranged athiest rituals. Then I found Jesus and I'm all better now."
The worst part is that the comparison to Jack Chick is perfect because these stories all follow the same plot. It's almost like the Christian version of The Aristocrats. It's always the same story, but depending on the teller and their imagination, they make it unique and interesting. Or it's supposed to be. There are some real stinkers out there who just can't keep a straight face when they get into the harder stuff. Like this story. The whole sociopathic tendencies. That's just creepy.

Anyway.
Statement. Religion is used to control people more than it is used to set people free. Discuss.
posted by daq at 3:22 PM on January 27, 2006


The James Frey of religion. At lest I'm taking other's words for it. Anyone who has any intrest in reading the bible isn't really an athiest, unless they're a theology Prof or something.
posted by delmoi at 4:09 PM on January 27, 2006


Are you doing a study or something, Brownpau? Us gerbils want to know.
posted by Devils Slide at 4:09 PM on January 27, 2006


Fortunately, the Bible IS a work of fiction, and thus can be safely disregarded as a template by which to live one's life.

Another vote for the author never having really been an atheist—on the outside, "A.S.A. Jones" confused being an A.S.S. Hole with being an atheist, and now realizes that the bible is a convenient glass house from which to throw stones at gay people and the like.

I make no sense
posted by jenovus at 4:11 PM on January 27, 2006


I'm awfully glad I took the time to read that article and thereby dismiss it more authoritatively.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 4:20 PM on January 27, 2006


Just in case brownpau is doing a study, let me reiterate that I don't believe in god because it is horse-shit.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:31 PM on January 27, 2006


I read that ex-atheists link about as far as "God can’t." Learn your own damn religion before you preach it.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:32 PM on January 27, 2006


I don't believe in brownpau. Or Elvis. Or Zimmerman. Or Beatles.
posted by skallas at 5:04 PM on January 27, 2006


one man's poop is another man's pleasure.
posted by moonbird at 5:10 PM on January 27, 2006


... unless the subject is how easily humans can change belief systems ...

Bethany: You're saying that having beliefs is a bad thing?
Rufus: I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier.
posted by bwg at 5:35 PM on January 27, 2006


OptimusChyme hit it early. Fourth comment.

I'm having a tough time believing this rant is anything but not-so-cleverly crafted propaganda, most definitely not related to real events at all.

Ding. Dong.

Another deist's POV: Jesus Without The Miracles: Thomas Jefferson's Bible and the Gospel of Thomas
posted by mrgrimm at 5:44 PM on January 27, 2006


Anyone who has any intrest in reading the bible isn't really an athiest, unless they're a theology Prof or something.

I disagree. I'm atheist, and I have a slight interest in reading the Bible as mythology. I've read some of it. Some of the Jesus shit was right on. Plus Song of Songs:

I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.

posted by mrgrimm at 5:50 PM on January 27, 2006


mrgrimm - Cool link. That's my dinner reading.
posted by brownpau at 6:00 PM on January 27, 2006


Jesus Distraught over Book of Daniel Cancellation
posted by homunculus at 10:15 PM on January 27, 2006


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