I recently met a new friend who says that he went from being an atheist to a Christian. I found this intriguing since I (and many other people I know) went from being a Christian to an atheist. I present below, first, what he calls his "testimony," and following, my response to it. I have decided to make this section "interactive."
| However, if you are the sort of Christian (or a believer in other religious claims) who wishes to make an attempt at rational justification for your opinions, or if you are a non-believer who wishes to answer the religious claims made here, please read Jordan's piece, then my response, and then feel free to respond. You may respond to only one writer or to a small group of people I have chosen to receive the responses. If you would like to be in this group let me know. If you wish to respond:|
*ONLY to Jordan, click here; *ONLY to me, click here;
I may decide to post particularly interesting responses elsewhere on the site for all to read. I would like to hear from anyone who wishes to share their "conversion story" of going from atheist to Christian or vice-versa. Be aware that anything you write may appear on this site and/or in the print magazine SOAR unless you specifically place the words "NOT FOR PUBLICATION" on it.
no copyright is enforced
I will never be the same again. I will never return. I've closed the door. I will walk a path. I'll run the race. And I will never be the same again.- Hillsongs of Australia
Throughout my life, I observed people behaving differently in church than in daily living. I found such hypocrisy all too common in church-going Christians. I also observed they would accept "sin" in their lives, confess it or answer an altar call on Sundays, then continue it the next week. That taught me sin was preferrable over God's design. I deduced God might not even exist; if He were real, people would not discard Him as they exited church doors. If God did exist, His design for man evidenced flaws. I had my own design: sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, and a little bit of country.
The atheists, Ed and Michael Buckner, cited a 1975 edition of National Geographic as their source in citing Benjamin Franklin’s words in their publication Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church (1993, page 27).
In the Buckners’ defense, they went on to quote other Franklin thoughts that expressed a value for religion. Quite possibly, the omission came from their source, and they merely trusted it.
That statement was actually made in opposition to Christianity, but let’s examine it. Christians claim this Christ fella is without blemish. They worship Him and claim no one can match His purity.|
Actually, if there is any truth to the Bible, it demonstrates how much the conquistadors and other barbarians would need that Christ figure. I have to ponder this further because, viscerally, I am beginning to think that Jesus fella took a bad rap, and sadly, mostly because of those who claim to follow Him. After all, I have always admired Mark Twain’s claim that ‘If Christ were real, there is one thing He would not be, and that is a Christian.’”
“At this point, I would be lying to you, myself, that congregation, and their God if He exists, if I were to claim I don’t believe that congregation has something from on high. I’m not saying I believe in a God, or I can anthropomorphize that force. I’m saying there’s more to it than I have knowledge to explain. Don’t expect me to run up the altar. However, they deserve a new respect.”
Vickie responded with, “You realize if that Jesus is anything, He is everything.” Her observation stuck with me unshakably.
I obsessed over Christianity and atheism. I disliked what was happening. I began thinking I had been wrong and had unfairly blamed Jesus Christ for what humans had done in His name. I felt somewhat shamed and remorseful. After great agonizing and investigating, I determined:
1. Unconstitutionally, Secular Humanism is America’s governmentally established religion despite the “wall of separation” value secularists espouse. I devoted years of support to organizations that professed to be protecting that wall, while in practice were actually forcing a non-theistic religion onto the public.
2. Humanists control mainstream media, politicians, and the entertainment industry.
3. Religiosity was a factor in America’s history. That history has been rewritten or omitted in some public [government-run] schools. For example, some public school texts omit George Washington’s religious references from his Farewell Address.
4. Currently, American governmental entities have grown totalitarian and coercive whereas Jesus still seeks voluntary hearts.
5. Jesus endured attacks from His corporeal visit through today yet survives. Christianity flourished against all odds.
6. Jesus’ teachings do not support the Christian atrocities I have condemned throughout my atheism. Jesus should not be charged for those atrocities. Further, atheistic regimes have committed equally atrocious acts in the name of “the people.” Both atrocious histories merely demonstrate just how much Christ’s teachings are needed.
7. I reject the idea the apostles allowed themselves to be persecuted over something they knew to be false. I also reject that the apostles and the 500 witnesses to His ascension into Heaven experienced joint hallucinations. Science has yet to prove such hallucinations are possible. The apostles had everything to lose by practicing their faith and nothing to gain. Cultists are convinced of a future happening; W.W.II Japanese kamikaze pilots (similar to other religious and political martyrs) were youth indoctrinated from birth regarding the Empire/God unity concept. The disciples were neither cultists, nor kamikaze styled religious fanatics, for they were steadfast over something they personally witnessed.
8. If Jesus and His apostles (authors of the New Testament) existed and were truthful, the empty tomb is beyond secular explanation. If Jesus and His disciples did not exist, who wrote the New Testament and why? I reject that some loonies wrote it, then ignoramuses followed their insanity for 2000 years. There had been other virgin births and saviors in actual religions that died. Why would a fantasy version live on? Why would lives be changed by it?
9. Bible prophecies have come to pass against enormous odds.
10. Women are not the subjugated male-inferiors that non-Christians perceive the Bible teaches. Husbands are to sacrifice themselves for their wives as Christ did for the church (Ephesians 5:25).
With those 10 points in mind, I further determined that, even if Jesus had been a mere man, I could support His teachings with vigor and zeal, if the supernatural aspects were applied figuratively. Later, I questioned if I was correcting the teacher by omitting the supernatural of which He spoke. Still fighting it, I owned up that following is following, whereas tailoring is tailoring. Deep down inside I knew He actually deserved to be accepted and followed by His standard, not mine. I questioned that millions of people have accepted Him via a sinner’s prayer of admitting guilt and repenting. Was I the insightful sage who knew what millions of others did not? I thought not.
I now share what Swindall shared with me in my cherished autographed copy of his A House Divided:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power. -Colossians 2:8-10
For skeptics, I recommend reading Scaling the Secular City, by J. P. Moreland (1987), Baker Book House. For a succinct delivery of its principles, read Know Why You Believe, by Paul E. Little (1976), Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois 60515.
G. Zeinelde Jordan, Se. (age 39) has been a member and drama ministry performer of West Cobb Baptist Church in Powder Springs, Georgia, since his salvation, March 1, 1998. He is a researcher for CSM, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia, and editor of the Museletter, a monthly publication of The Literary Round Table. He is completing two manuscripts. “Perjurer or Saint?” is a monograph about former U.S. Congressman Pat Swindall, which he began while an atheist demonstrating the innocence of a Christian wrongly charged with perjury. The work reveals that investigating the subject led him to know Jesus Christ as Lord. “Shiny Hats” is Jordan’s testimony from age six when he first formed political and religious impressions resulting from an evil woman who intercepted his happy childhood, then haunted his memories many years. He expects to complete both manuscripts by winter of 1999. His wife of four years, Vickie L. Patterson, Ph.D. (Gerontologist, Community Psychologist), is on the board of directors for Caring for the Elderly, a non-profit organization that supports in-home caregivers of elders. She is also a private consultant in gerontology and community psychology. They live in Marietta, Georgia, with their three dogs and two cats. They have no other children.
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My Response to Jordan
by Temy R. Beal (October 1999)
Warning: Copyleft projected!
In one sense, Jordan, I suspect that you and I are alike – that is, we would both be considered by most other people to be extremists, at least the kind of extremist who takes his beliefs seriously enough to defend and to live by. I seem to remember someone once saying something like, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” I feel that way with respect to truth. One troubling difference in our ideologies is that if one truly follows Christianity to an extreme, one is bound to kill other people. For better or worse most of the many millions of Christians in this country are lukewarm at best. Very few read the Bible, even fewer un-derstand it, and fewer still have any inkling of the history of their religion and what it is founded upon.
Though you and I do not yet know each other very well, I think you do know me well enough to know that I could not let the assertions made in your testimony to pass unchallenged. Indeed, I intend to challenge them with both barrels blazing (figuratively, of course).
First, I offer my sympathies on being addicted to drugs and the “failures” you experienced. This culture is extremely well-adapted – mainly by influence from Christianity – to heaping guilt upon those who do not succeed in playing the games it is founded on. “Shame and disgrace” are the trophies awarded anyone here who “fails” in business, or who has the “moral failing” of succumbing to a psychological or mental illness, disorder, or addiction.
You say “Christianity repulsed me” and “I felt conned.” These are almost inevitable feelings one will experience when the door of reason is really opened and the light of truth shines upon Christian ugliness. There are several possible paths one may take from that point onward. Many of us took the path of searching for truth and vowed to never stop the search until it was found. Unfortunately, you apparently did not follow this path to its conclusion. This is evident from “I described myself as philosophically agnostic.” The agnostic who has left religion behind has stopped in the middle of the road and cannot or will not proceed, and will argue that at either end of the road lies madness, despite the fact that he has not yet been to the other end.
To retain the label “freethinker… second only to Christian” is to abandon freethought. For a freethinker worthy of the appellation, in my opinion, “my thoughts are free” is not second to anything. The moment that you exempt Christianity – or anything else – from skeptical and critical analysis, in that moment you have accepted dogma or emotional “warm fuzzies” as superior in that field instead of thought.
It is perhaps unfortunate that your first encounter with “real atheists” was with Madalyn O’Hair. Though I never met her, I have read many different sources which paint her as an especially obnoxious person. True or not, she does not represent all atheists any more than Jerry Falwell represents all Christians.
In reading a great many of Jefferson’s writings, including his letter to the Danbury Baptists, it is abundantly clear that his intention was indeed a “wall of separation.” He did think that the government should have no power to interfere with private religious practices, and he also thought that religious groups and clergy should have no undue influence on secular government. The idea of a “one-sided wall” is a convenient fiction invented by those Christians (such as D. James Kennedy) who wish to completely do away with ALL secular power and have the government be the enforcing arm of the church. Now tell me, Jordan, when was the last time you saw a wall which had only one side? Such a discovery would overturn all of physics!
It is one unfortunate aspect of human nature – to which atheists are not immune – that hierarchical groups form and either an individual or a small group arises to “take charge” of things. From my reading it is apparent that Madalyn was not one who “worked well with others.” I see some evidence of heavy-handedness in the leadership of FFRF.
This is the single worst problem “organized” atheism has – it is the major reason that there are so many "lone wolf" atheists. Many of us admire most of the work that some of these groups do, but are simply unable in good conscience to stifle our own autonomy to the extent required by some atheist or freethought groups. A great many churches and larger organizations such as the Southern Baptists have similar problems, though not nearly to the degree the athe-ists do. This is primarily because the same personal attributes that help make one an atheist, also make one wary of “groupthink.” Christianity is utterly dependent on groupthink, and all “rebelliousness” is discouraged from the pulpit at least, and often harshly stamped out by whatever means necessary.
The “intellectual elite” can indeed be a problem in freethought groups, just as the “spiritual elite” can be in religious groups. This is due to another unfortunate innate human problem – lust for power and prestige. Those who fall into this trap have not found the wisdom or integrity to acknowledge when they are wrong. It is often said that truth is the first casualty in war. Unfortunately, it is also all too often the first apostate of many groups of all kinds.
As Bill points out, [in SOAR, Vol. 3 No. 4]you seem to have a tendency for wild swings. You go from being a Christian to hating Christians. Makes one wonder whether you now hate atheists. I too, felt conned and was very angry for a time after coming out of religion. But I was able to direct my anger, which blossomed into a profound loathing, toward religion and not its adherents. There are many “liberal” Christians, of which you are now apparently one, who truly are good-natured and kind people. However, “liberalism” is sharply at odds with biblical Christianity.
It is apparent from the whole of your writing that you were an atheist in name only at best, apparently a relatively brief period in which you might not have believed there was a god. Since you indicate that you were a Christian before this period, it is more like a case of a Christian becoming disgruntled with god, than of a serious deconversion to atheism. An atheist who has been an atheist for some years and who thoroughly understands why he is an atheist is not going back if he is intellectually honest. It would be like trying to unlearn the alphabet. This lack of understanding of what atheism is about is evidenced later on when you say you were convinced that your beliefs were held only by faith and indoctrination. Atheism requires no faith whatever and I seriously doubt it would be possible to “indoctrinate” anyone into being an atheist, and would certainly be unethical if it were. This is the methodology of religions and cults, not freethought.
While atheists may certainly agree with some of the politics of some Christians, no real atheist, in my opinion, will be “impressed” by anyone’s “religiosity.” I know virtually nothing of Pat Swindall and have no idea whether he is guilty of the accusations or not. In any case, I don’t see the relevance of that to Christianity and atheism.
Nor do I see the relevance of the slam against Ed and Michael Buckner. Your implication is that they may have deliberately misquoted historical figures to further a political agenda. I know Ed Buckner fairly well and consider him one of the most honest people I know. He often makes a point, when speaking to freethought groups, of telling his audience to check and double check all quotes to be certain of their authenticity. If he made an error, I have no doubt it was an honest (and rare) error.
As the former editor of a freethought group’s newsletter, I can certainly understand possible reasons why My Appeal to the AFS was not printed. In my personal opinion, it should have, and should have been answered. But if an AFA member had submitted something similar to The Alabama Freethinker (TAF) while I was editor, it would probably not have seen print there either. Though I was the editor, I understood that TAF was the group’s newsletter, not mine, and for whatever reasons, many of the leadership of the group would not have wanted such a thing in their newsletter. This is one reason I probably would have started SOAR even if I had continued as editor of TAF. On the other hand, do you suppose for one second that if I were still attending my old Assembly of God church that I would get space to criticize anything about Christianity in their newsletter?
Your charge that some freethinkers “embrace a God of government,” only with a small “g,” has merit. A typical Christian assertion is that people cannot be moral without the threat of eternal punishment from their god. Too many freethinkers seem to think that people cannot be moral without the threat of physical punishment from government (is this anyone you know?). The Christian version of this is based on the notion of “original sin.” The secular version seems unduly influenced by that as well – it seems to assume that humans are naturally bad.
However, your charge that Humanism is a “religious faith” is bunk. Humanism, as defined by Encarta Dictionary, is: “A system of thought that centers on human beings and their values, capacities, and worth.” I know some people call themselves “religious humanists.” There are even some who call themselves religious atheists. To quote Clark Adams of the Internet Infidels, “If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color!” Perhaps these folks want to be people of reason but fear of Pascal’s Wager has them dangerously spreadeagled with one foot in each camp and the gap is ever widening. I don’t believe that one can hold “a system of thought that centers on human beings…” and simultaneously embrace religion, which is an ideology that centers on one or more deities.
You say you have a “ ‘net results’ orientation” which I take to mean you are a “bottom line” person. This is good because, believe it or not, this writing will eventually get to a bottom line.
It is much easier in some ways to live in a society in which, as you put it, “up was up, down was down, good was good, and bad was bad.” But only for those who wish to abdicate their own decision making responsibilities for themselves to some external power, be it a god or a government. It is all-too-religious a notion to blame all society’s ills (drug use, fatherless children, etc.) on a lack of morals. This is a gross oversimplification and ignores the fact that there are myriad factors which influence these things, including some of the most cherished ideologies in the society.
I have not read LeHaye’s Battle for the Mind, but I can tell from the author’s name and the title that it is the typical Christian view of things, i.e., will your mind be controlled by “God” or by “the world.”
The humanist/atheist/freethought view is (or should be) that the individual should think for himself about all things without regard to dogma or authority – something which is anathema to all religion and most of what we call politics.
You say, “Anything that Jesus fella actually said or did is not particularly offensive.” Really? Aside from the fact that it has certainly never been proven that “that Jesus fella” ever existed in the first place, many things he supposedly said and did are offensive to most of us. You want examples?
Luke 19:27(TEV) “Now, as for those enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and kill them in my presence!” Ordering his sycophants to kill anyone who won’t worship him is not offensive to you!? What happened to freethought? Or freedom? Mark 11:13(TEV) “He saw in the distance a fig tree covered with leaves, so he went to see if he could find any figs on it. But when he came to it, he found only leaves, because it was not the right time for figs. 14 Jesus said to the fig tree, "No one shall ever eat figs from you again!" And his disciples heard him.” A guy who would curse a fig tree for not having figs on it out of season (didn’t he know the season? The fig tree’s nature?) is a guy you admire and want to worship!?
Ah, but it’s only a parable, you say. Well, what does it mean? Maybe he was trying to show the disciples how to use supernatural power? |
Matt. 21:20 “The disciples saw this and were astounded. "How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?" they asked. 21 Jesus answered, "I assure you that if you believe and do not doubt, you will be able to do what I have done to this fig tree. And not only this, but you will even be able to say to this hill, "Get up and throw yourself in the sea,' and it will.”
Yeah, sure, show me someone who can do that trick besides maybe David Copperfield. Or maybe the parable means kill all those you can’t convert to Christianity. Luke 13:6 “Then Jesus told them this parable: "There was once a man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it but found none. 7 So he said to his gardener, "Look, for three years I have been coming here looking for figs on this fig tree, and I haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?' Sure, if they won’t be Christians, kill them. Why should they go on using up the air and water and soil, etc.? Sounds pretty offensive to me either way you look at it.
Ah, your 10 points. Jordan’s shorter version of Luther’s “95 theses”?
1. I have already answered. Secular Humanism is not a religion. More and more I am convinced there is no such thing as a “non-theistic” religion. I say the minimum definition of “religion” is belief in and/or worship of one or more supernatural beings.
2. “Humanists control mainstream media, politicians, and the entertainment industry.” Replace the word “humanists” in that sentence with “Jews” and you would have a statement that could have come from any white supremacist group. Such a statement from the white supremacist would be closer to the truth – it can be shown that a huge number of Jews do hold high positions in these areas, especially politics. While there are almost certainly some humanists involved in these areas, their numbers are extremely low. That humanists control these areas is simply false.
3. I have never heard anyone assert that “religiosity” was not a factor in America’s history. To my knowledge, there were no atheists at all among the “founding fathers.” Paine was one of the most religious men of his time. He detested Christianity though, about as much as he detested atheism. The man was a Deist. It is true that the textbooks used by many public schools today omit quite a bit about early American history – a situation that parents and teachers should demand be remedied. But the charge that American history is being rewritten by those evil Secular Humanists is pure Christian propaganda and I challenge anyone to produce any credible example of that.
Most secular people want government to be completely neutral regarding religion. This may arguably be a desirable ideal but it is simply impossible in practice because government does not exist as an entity unto itself – it is made up of people. And as long as religious people are allowed to hold governmental positions, the government cannot be neutral toward religion. Any person who is sincere in his religious beliefs, will attempt to live those beliefs. If a sincere Christian is in any government office he will attempt to make policy, vote, etc., based on his beliefs. To do otherwise would be hypocritical. A Christian who is truly trying to live according to biblical principles will understand that he is ordered by his god to evangelize at every opportunity. This will obviously include using whatever political power he has to that end because, to a sincere Christian, doing what he perceives to be the will of his god is and always will be number one priority. This is why I only reluctantly support the notion of “separation of church and state.” It would be good if it could be achieved but it cannot. This is also why I assert that BOTH church and state should be abolished utterly.
4. A) I certainly agree that American government is growing more totalitarian and coercive – this due mainly to Christian influence – it being by far the most dominant religion in the country. I cannot imagine any government being nearly as totalitarian and coercive as Christianity. B) “Jesus still seeks voluntary hearts” is pure nonsense. Remember Luke 19:7. Yeah, sounds real “voluntary” to me!
5. Considering that Christianity absorbed such a huge amount of the pagan dates, rituals, etc., and considering that throughout history Christianity has lived the above verse, literally slaying millions who would not conform, it’s hardly surprising that it “flourished.”
6. By “atheistic regimes have committed equally atrocious acts,” I presume you refer to Stalin. It is true that such regimes committed atrocious acts, but there are two points on that: 1) the number of acts and the number of dead pale in comparison to those committed by religions and, 2) the terrible things done by atheistic regimes were not done because of atheism, whereas those done by religion are al-most always done because of the religious beliefs. The Jewish belief that “God gave us this land” is the reason they made war on the Palestinians and took their land. The same belief by Christians caused them to take the lands of many people. Granted this makes little difference to the dead, but it should matter a great deal to the living.
7. I have to go through this one point by point. “I reject the idea that the apostles allowed themselves to be persecuted over something they knew to be false.” A) You have no proof there were apostles, B) if there were and they thought their beliefs were true, it only shows their gullibility. Whether or not they believed this stuff is irrelevant to whether it is actually true.
“I…reject that the apostles and the 500 witnesses to His ascension into Heaven experienced joint hallucinations. Science has yet to prove such hallucinations are possible.” A) You don’t know that there were either 500 witnesses (who were they?) or an ascension. It is only one ridiculous claim in a book chock full of ridiculous claims. B) Mass hallucination is a well known and fairly common occurrence. Recently thousands claimed to have witnessed appearances of the Virgin Mary and all manner of “miracles” in Conyers, GA, only they didn’t think they were hallucinations of course. Those experiencing hallucinations rarely know they are hallucinations.
“The disciples were neither cultists, nor kamikaze styled religious fanatics, for they were steadfast over something they personally witnessed.” You are simply assuming the truth of something you want to believe. The Heaven’s Gate bunch sincerely believed that they would be “going home” on a spaceship. Did that sincerity make it true? Where is the hard evidence that these disciples existed, or personally witnessed these things?
8. “If Jesus and His disciples … existed and were truthful, the empty tomb is beyond secular explanation.” Very big IF on both counts. There are many possible “secular” answers to why a tomb might be empty. I’m sure you could think of some if you try.
“Why would lives be changed by it?” People’s lives can and do dramatically change all the time based on beliefs the individual acquires. This says nothing whatever about the truth or falsity of the beliefs.
9. “Bible prophecies have come to pass against enormous odds.” If enough people “prophecy” enough things and enough people “interpret” them for long enough, it would be astounding if none of them “came true.” Most biblical prophecies are either not prophecies at all or were made after the fact. But Farrell Till’s The Skeptical Review is a better place for in-depth discussion of prophecy fulfillment claims.
10. “Women are not the subjugated male inferiors that non-Christians perceive the Bible teaches. Husbands are to sacrifice themselves for their wives as Christ did for the church (Ephesians 5:25).” Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” Christianity is an extremely patriarchal religion. To assert that women in general were anything more than chattel in biblical teachings is disingenuous.
nbsp; Most atheists I know are repulsed by the idea of being subservient, especially as to a king. As an atheist, as an autonomous being, as a man, the mindset of a person willingly abdicating their dignity and responsibility for their own lives is troubling. The notion of letting someone else live for me, either real or imaginary, is repugnant. As a Christian for over 25 years, I certainly understand the feeling, and how it seemed a good thing at the time. As an atheist it is sometimes difficult to believe that I ever thought that way, and it’s most embarrassing. I value my life highly, but I would die before I would willingly bow or kneel to anyone, god or otherwise. I keep my seat in a courtroom when all are ordered to rise. I do not take orders.
“It is the most awesome story ever told.” Not hardly. I think the story of a man actually setting foot on the moon passes this one by a mile. I would credit the “Jesus story” with being one of the dumbest and most asinine ever told. You have a being of incredible power – enough to make an entire universe (somehow). Yet that “omnipotent” being cannot fathom a better way to communicate with his creatures than “inspiring” a few of them to write a book! How absurd! He could have as easily “inspired” all humans to behave as he wanted couldn’t he?
Then the “omnipresent” being sends a part of himself (somehow – God works in mysterious ways) to live a while among humans to die to redeem them from punishment that he would otherwise impart to them – for behaving as he surely knew they would to start with if he was so smart. The very notion of “vicarious atonement” is vile and goes against any reasoned sense of justice. Christians make a big deal of the alleged death of Jesus, which is a crock on several levels. A) He probably never existed at all. B) If he did, and said and did the things attributed to him in the Bible, he was obviously a pathetic and severely deluded fellow. If he had been what the Bible claims he was, then his dying, while very painful (though it need not have been) was hardly a big deal. If I knew with certainty that I would be resurrected very shortly, dying would be at most a minor inconvenience.
The bottom line? Yes, at last we have arrived! Here it is: There is not a shred of evidence that the biblical god ever existed or could exist, and the historical existence of many other biblical characters, including Jesus, Moses, Solomon and David, is in doubt. Further, the “omni” attributes contradict themselves, each other and common sense – therefore no being can exist which possesses them.
One of the most fundamental precepts of science is that matter can neither be created nor destroyed – only its form changes. You either accept that as true or not. If so, it blows the god hypothesis out of the water because the universe obviously exists and is made of matter – therefore the universe itself is eternal (in some form) and had no need of a creator. If you do not accept that as fact, then you should provide compelling evidence that it is false.
Any being which demands to be worshipped, no matter how powerful, is unworthy of even respect, much less wor-ship. Worship is a demeaning act which is beneath human dignity…. and it truly saddens me that a good man would subjugate himself so, into an Orwellian world of double-speak where groveling is a privilege, suffering and persecution are blessings, and dying means eternal life. Did you forget that you like a world where up is up and down is down? That is my bottom line.
"We may define "faith" as the firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of "faith." We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead to strife, since different groups, substitute different emotions." – Bertrand Russell
Thankfully, alleged conversions from atheism to religion (so far I've only heard to Christianity) seem to continue to be much more rare than stories of people coming out of religion to at least agnosticism, Deism, or atheism.
Above is the "testimony" of Jordan, who claims he was an atheist and became a Christian, follwed by my response to that. Now I find another guy who claims to have gone from atheist to Baptist to Catholic. Read the story of Gary Hoge.
I think I will start collecting stories of people who claim to have converted from atheism to religion, especially some flavor of Christianity. If you know of such a story that is posted on the web somewhere, please send me the URL. If you know of a story not posted, please ask the person to send me their story, particularly including their reasons for conversion, to either my email or postal address:
P.O. Box 447, Ariton, AL 36311-0447
And yes, I would also like very much to hear the same from any former religious folk who now call themselves atheist or agnostic.
These are not the only two such stories I have read (though I now have forgotten where I saw others). My purpose in wishing to collect such stories is to thoroughly examine them, compare them, and attempt to spot common threads that may run through all of them.