For those who are athest, or non-christian, how did you come to this decision?

by Tameria2001 34 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • OneEyedJoe
    OneEyedJoe

    When I was in my late teens I started thinking about a lot of things more objectively - you see I really internalized the idea of being a "truthseeker" from the cult, I guess I just missed the point that truth=cult. I was also in college getting a degree in computer science engineering at the time, so I was taking a lot of courses on logic, statistics, etc and got interested in rationality and logical fallacies. I learned how to spot logical fallacies and started seeing them in every theist's argument for the existence of god. Usually taking the form of special pleading, appeals to authority or appeals to consequences. When I thought about this stuff I often found myself thinking "If I weren't a JW I'd definitely be an atheist" or "If I hadn't been born into being a JW, there's no way I'd ever become one." Unfortunately life got in the way and a few things happened that caused me to fall back into the cult mind control for another 10 years or so, but if I'd been honest with myself, I'd have become an atheist back then. Once I woke up to the mind control of the cult, I wasted no more time with theism.

    If you're really interested in finding truth, I'd start by learning how to really be rational and how to beat the in-built biases that we all have that make us tend to be irrational. Here's where I'd focus:

    Learn about logical fallacies. This wikipedia page is a pretty good starting point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies As you learn about these, try to spot places where you have in the past or where you're still relying on one of these fallacies to justify some belief. You don't have to look at your belief in god to start - the more invested you are the harder it will be to attack a belief, so start with small things - maybe little bits of trivia that you've never verified but you still tell people, etc. Many people, when learning about logical fallacies, learn to apply them to other people but still have a hard time applying their new skill to their own beliefs - don't fall into this trap. If you do this, you use rationality to make yourself stupider.

    Actively try to find places where your beliefs are wrong. Again, maybe don't start with religion...maybe start with some political view that you're drawn to but aren't very invested in one way or the other. Research the counter arguments for what is your gut feeling. Make arguments for your stance and then pick them apart as though they were another person's argument and you are arguing against it.

    When you discover that you've been wrong - celebrate! Shove aside the shame that we all instinctively feel when we find out that we've been wrong, and instead celebrate that you're now wrong about one less thing. Everyone everywhere is walking around with at least one wrong belief, and being wrong feels a lot like being right...it's when you find out that you've been wrong that you feel bad, but that's precisely the moment when you should celebrate your success. This may seem like a little thing, but I suspect that a great deal of people's irrationality about things stems from a fear of accepting the shame of having been wrong. If you can eliminate this feeling of shame from yourself, you eliminate a large source of bias.

    Learn about Bayesian inference. This is a remarkably simple, but extremely powerful tool for coming to accurate beliefs. This is a method of essentially assigning a probability for the truth of an idea (its credence) and then updating based on information. It's a quantitative tool, but just having a qualitative grasp on the idea is very helpful.

    If you want to challenge belief in god directly, there are lots of good books out there, one that many people have found helpful is Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion." For a great (but long) primer on rationality, I can't reccomend Eliezer Yudkowsky's "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" enough. It's long and delves in to a number of topics that are a little bit more philosophical, and it spends a fair amount of time on discussions of artificial intelligence, but I found most of the diversions quite interesting as well, and they were typically still very helpful as metaphors.

  • Onager
    Onager

    It was where the trail of breadcrumbs eventually led. It wasn't my intention, but eventually it was the inevitable conclusion.

  • Crazyguy
    Crazyguy

    Read something about the god of the Canaanites being named EL . I knew that the god of the Bible was also named El or had the title El so I did some research into this Canaanite god.

  • Finkelstein
    Finkelstein

    The bible writings as other expressions of spiritualism are in fact fictional mythology born mostly out of human ignorance of what those ancients had to endure and this is further confirmed by today's knowledge of the world in which we live.

    Nevertheless that imposing fear of those supernatural deities were used as vehicle of power and control for an established civilization such as the ancient Hebrew civilization, the power of those deities were essentially in the hands of the high priests.

    The Roman civilization later on embracing of the Christ savior god, a more humanistic god devised to help direct humanity into living a more cohesive cohabitation .

  • redvip2000
    redvip2000

    @OP

    I think your path is not uncommon. Most of us initially came to the conclusion that the Watchtower was fraudulent, but that God and the bible were true.

    The thing is, once you open the door to inspection about the Watchtower, you realize there is no reason to also stop there ( or at least you should). And as you peel the layers of belief looking for solid ground -- something that is finally supported by facts -- you realize that all of it is religious nonsense.

    We started to believe in a god or in a particular religious book, because we happened to be born in whatever culture has adopted it. We were never afforded a menu of all religions and all gods in order to examine each before making a decision. it's nonsense that was passed down from generation to generation from people who were plain ignorant about the world, and a god was just their best attempt at explaining everything.

  • DesirousOfChange
    DesirousOfChange

    Dear Believer

    I think this video explains it very well.

    There was also a YouTube video posted here that compared the "Christian Story" and the "Mormon Story" (and perhaps other religions). I could always see that the Mormon Story was ludicrous, yet never saw the similarities with Christianity. Can't find that video at the moment. Perhaps someone else remembers that can do so.

  • Spiral
    Spiral

    Once I gave up (or couldn't rationalize) a belief in Jehovah, I gave up believing in any sort of God. So, perhaps at heart, I always was an atheist, I just didn't realize it.

    As a child, I used to wonder: If God is so wonderful, why does he make it so hard to serve him? He is, among other things, a terrible communicator. And he must really like to watch people suffer. There's no way that the "preaching work" can ever reach everyone on the earth, there are so many people born every year, many in places where the JWs (or any other church) can't preach, that there would never be an end to it all. That made me think that if God does exist, he's not really a very nice person. From that point of view, it's an easy transition to full on atheism.

    It was a great relief to let all that god-belief go!

    All that doesn't mean I don't believe in being ethical and living life to a higher standard. It just means I'm not looking to an outside "god related" source to tell me what to do.

  • ILoveTTATT2
    ILoveTTATT2

    I came to that conclusion after knowing the two following things:

    1) The Bible is false.

    2) Evolution is true.

    To know that the Bible is false, you can read things like http://www.1001biblecontradictions.com/ or https://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

    To know that Evolution is true, I would strongly recommend Cofty┬┤s series of posts on it, they are brilliant, and also reading this book: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649

    Once you combine those two things, we are left with a tiny gap: Maybe there was a Creator that formed the first life, and then allowed it to evolve? But that gap is so tiny that it can easily be bridged and you can go ahead and just become atheist.

    Because there are so many amazing things that are true and that are very complex that, once the first life started, came about via evolution and natural selection... so if all that can come from natural processes, then it is highly likely that the very first life also came from natural processes.

  • EverApostate
    EverApostate

    Religious texts, including the Bible, are silly and ignorant to the core.

    Evolution has tangible and credible evidence and makes sense in every aspect. Anyone with an open mind and a quest for truth has no choice but to accept evolution. And Atheism is the child of Evolution !

  • snare&racket
    snare&racket

    I read the Bible, the god I was raised to believe in as a JW, simply doesn't exist in the scriptures.

    The fatherly, Santa Claus like god, just isn't there. The god of the Bible is vicious and quite evil. Had he been a human King, he'd have a horrid reputation.

    Once I realized this, it allowed me to question the authenticity of the Bible without fear. The history of the Bible, human history, the history of civilisation, the history of religions and beliefs.... everything unraveled.

    For me the most honest view is that we don't know if a deity or deities exist. I see no evidence and I see a clear explanation for where the idea of a deity came from. I also see no need for a deity to explain the universe. Despite all this, the most honest opinion is that we don't know. It's a strict position of agnosticism but I see as much evidence for a god as a unicorn. Everything is about probability, anyone claiming absolutes and a knowledge unique to them.... be weary, what makes them so special that they know something nobody else does? Answers are shared not owned.

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