Direct and To the Point

Question from May:
why dont you believe in GOD

Answer by SmartLX:
I’m not sure anyone’s ever asked me this on the site without coupling it with an argument or challenge. There are a few different parts to it, or if you prefer it could be interpreted a couple of different ways, so I’ll try to cover all aspects in chronological order.

Have I ever believed in God?
Yes.

I went to a Catholic primary school and the family attended church at Easter and Christmas. Most of the authority figures in my life talked about God as if He was real, and the rest didn’t comment, so I accepted it. I would pray matter-of-factly, talking quietly to God as if He were a foot in front of my face.

How and when did I stop believing in God?
It was sometime between the ages of 11 and 26, and the how of it will explain why it’s such a broad estimate.

When I moved on from primary to a secular high school I had a go at preaching to a couple of my classmates, and was immediately met with challenges to the whole idea that I’d never had to face before. The problem of evil, my own hypocritical behaviour, stuff like that. I was so embarrassed and confused, without any proper spiritual guide to reassure me, that I immediately stopped talking about God and pretty much stopped thinking about God too, and this lasted through all of high school and university. I just focused on other things.

In 2006 I read about Richard Dawkins and the New Atheist movement. I didn’t understand the arguments for and against at that point, but after reading what atheism actually is, I asked myself whether I still believed in God. It was the first time in over a decade I had seriously meditated on the concept, and it no longer rang true. In the time that had passed, my emotional connection to faith had completely faded, so I felt no loyalty or fear and continued to question. I realised that I was an atheist, which means that the point when I became an atheist, whether instantly or gradually, might have been any time from 1992 onwards.

Why has my faith not been restored by any apologetics, experiences, evidence or anything else?
Because all of this combined has proved insufficient.

Carrying on from the above, once I knew I was an atheist I quickly learned of the low opinion many believers have of atheists and their reasoning. I specifically sought out the best available arguments in favour of the existence of God in case there was something obvious that I had missed and I was clearly misguided. I found that the flaws in each of these arguments are easy to identify (see my Great Big Arguments series). I eventually realised that they are only really useful for reassuring believers, who do not wish to see the flaws in arguments that support their position. I prayed again, as sincerely as I could, on advice from certain evangelists who were certain God Himself would answer. He never had answered my childhood prayers, and He didn’t start now. There was no longer any apparent reason to believe, so I did not and do not.

What would it take for me to believe in God?
Something major, but potentially quite simple.

An argument could come along which I haven’t considered yet, and which is actually as airtight (to put it formally, both valid and sound) as Christians believe the other arguments are. God could speak to me or otherwise send me a message in a way which could not be explained by a hoax, and had a low probability of being my hallucination or dream. Or I could get old, sick or injured and lose some of my mental faculties, so that when the existing arguments or supposed evidence is eventually presented to me again, I’m unable to remember or discern the flaws or counterpoints and I finally accept God because of a misconception. (Remember, even if I start to believe it won’t necessarily mean that I’ll be right.) That’s about all the ways I can think of.

But enough about me. May, please answer in the comments if you would: why do you believe in God (if indeed you do)? To be a little more specific, never mind the arguments you would give now for God’s existence – I would like to know what caused you to believe in the first place. If you have simply always believed, tell me why that is. Any other believers are free to throw in.

7 thoughts on “Direct and To the Point”

  1. SmartLX, just a question or comment, you say that when you become an atheist you quickly realized how low opinion theists have on atheists, this amazes me, not that I don’t know about this, but I am sure that my, and probably of majority of atheists, judging by what I read on the Internet, low opinion about the religious is so deep and borders with despise of them, that I cannot describe it.

    So, my question to you is, are you aware that the atheists’ opinion of the theists is much lower than theirs of us, atheists and also, of the fact that the theists have no idea how deep it is???

    To start with the statistics, it has been well established that atheists in general are more educated and intelligent than theists and of higher ethics and morals. This is only the tip of the ice berg over the surface of water, of what I think of them myself.

    This was not always like this with me, I used to live in an ex real socialistic country, so I had not been exposed to the theists there to such a degree of I dare say sort of idiocy, pretense, hypocrisy, lie and deceit as I found it here, in Greece, after I had repatriated.

    And, again, this is just a beginning. So, anecdotally, here is an example.

    I took my magnesium in front of a Uni educated, professor of Greek, young woman, my something-in-law, and then she, who is deeply, to the degree of stupidity, religious, but aware of my as deep atheistic view of the world, as are hers of god, well, she then said, no joke, ‘WHY DON’T YOU LET GOD PUT SOME MAGNESIUM IN YOU?’ !!!

    Note, when she was pregnant, she had enough reasons in her left, some common sense to take vitamin B6, which prevents Down syndrome in embryos; she did not wait for her god to protect her unborn baby of that horrible malady…

    1. Of course the low opinion of the other’s intelligence goes both ways, for many theists and atheists. The generalisation is of course a fallacy, but it’s very easy to think that because someone is (you think) wrong they are also stupid. Far smarter people than any of us are wrong about the very same things.

      There’s no need to assume stupidity on the part of anyone, because true stupidity reveals itself very quickly in an attempt to create and sustain a structured argument. It’s usually possible to distinguish it from ignorance or inexperience.

  2. SmartLX, just another one. You said somewhere in the middle of your text above, something to the effect that there is no reason for theists to believe in god, I am lazy to go up and see how you put it exactly, but I am sure it was to this effect, so, I can think of only one reason for the theists to believe that the Universe has been created by some higher than nature whatever they call it, usually god.

    This would be the inability of SCIENCE to explain the origin of energy and its other form, matter. I once posed this on a site and a physicists said that matter became of energy. Ok, but how did energy find itself in space, no one ever explained to me, and I believe that the theory of forever in the past of energy, having no origin, has been abandoned.

    This inability of atheist scientists to answer THIS PRIMAL QUESTION OF THE ORIGIN OF ENERGY AND THUS MATTER IN THE SPACE WE CALL UNIVERSE, seems to be the only and the last resort of the theists, who think, ah, that they answer this question putting their god in the place of creator of even energy, from nothing, of course. Stepnen Hawking some years ago and later many other scientist say that matter CAN come from nothing, and disappear back to it, and that this is happening every day even now.

    This exactly is what theists think they caught us unaware, that by the Aristotelian logic and law of causality, NOTHING CAN BECOME FROM NOTHING, I of course agree, but this is valid only AFTER the start of the Universe with the Big Bang event of Singularity. From then on, yes, nothing comes from nothing, but Stephen and others explained how come that SOMETHING .C A N. COME FROM NOTHING, or, alternatively, that it has been here forever in the past. Energy, matter, whatever.

    And then, theists say, towing behind the causality law, that NO, nothing can become out of nothing, so, there was their god to start the Universe…from nothing.

    Excuse me, dear theists, why do you suppose that NATURE cannot have something from nothing, but your GOD can,eh?

    You will say god does not need origin, but I will, Gerald, answer, that NEITHER DOES NATURE.

    So, we are now 1:1, your god does need origin, nor my nature.

    BUT, DEAR LITTLE MINDS, THERE IS A LARGE AS ‘HEAVEN’ DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR GOD AND MY NATURE, AND IT IS THAT YOU GIVE YOUR GOD TRAITS AS ARE INTELLIGENCE, WILL AND INTENT.

    I BEG YOUR PARDON, THESE ARE TRAITS OF ONLY MATERIAL BRAINS, OH HUMANS, AND YOU ARE SAYING THAT GOD IS NOT OF MATTER BUT IS A FORCE. OK. LET’S SAY IT IS, BUT WHY WOULD IT FOR ‘GODS’, HAHAHA HIS OWN SAKE WANT TO CREATE THE UNIVERSE?

    WHAT THE HELL FOR?

    BUT, YOU ARE CHEEKY LITTLE ONES, YOU TELL ME BECAUSE HE, WHY HE, WHY NOT SHE OR IT, LIVES US.

    I .B E G. Y O U R. P A R D O N, LOVES .W H O M ?!

    The verb to LOVE needs its object, so who was the object of this love of god? We did not even exist then, so how could he have loved somebody who does not exist as object of his love, impossible.

    You can compare it, for you call him our father, instead of mother, women give birth to children, so, imagine a human mother that loves her children that he has not had yet. hahaha She may love the IDEA of having children, not for them, but for herself, for her to have children, not for then to be born, because every time she does not have sex with her husband, and any other man in the world, she is preventing some children from being conceived within her.

    So, I responsibly say that god does not exist, the way theists imagine him, and thus the only possible, left, explanation of the presence of energy and matter in the space is that they have been there forever or came into being on its own, energy, that is.

    From then on, it was pa piece of cake for there to be Singularity and Big Bang, and everything else simply followed pushed forward by causality law of cause and consequence and determinism of all, because water flows only downwards. Until the moment I told you this, GERALD !
    N.

    PS. As for quantum physics which state randomness, no causality there, perhaps, but it does not prevent us to be causal and consequential.

    But, these are Chinese letters for you…

    You theists are taking the easy road of explaining issues that are beyong your understanding: ‘GOD’, and no discussion. God can do everything.

    EXCEPT FOR THAT IT DOES NOT EXIST AND THUS CANNOT.

    HAHAHA

  3. PS. I just remembered that scientists answer the question I posed in my comment above, origin of energy, by explaining of

    WHY THERE IS SOMETHING RATHER THAN NOTHING.

    When I read it I understood it well, something about non balance of plus and minus, so the Universe was doomed to become out of nothing, or, rather, as I call it, out of

    PREGNANT NOTHING

    1. Laurence Krauss explained the same concept thus: something comes from nothing when the nothing is unstable. A zero can become a +1 and a -1 (e.g. matter and antimatter) and still add up to the same thing.

      1. Exactly. I’ve often tried (and apparently failed) to point this out to Gerald numerous times at this website. The entire universe adds up to nothing. You don’t need an external magical force for a universe to come from an unstable net sum of zero.

  4. That was a good answer LX, similar to my own story in a lot of ways.

    May, the only thing I would add is that at this point in my life every effort I have made to discover new information about the existence of any gods has only further cemented by conclusion that there are no such creatures. No matter what deity humans have worshiped and prayed to over the millennia, they include contradictory properties and characteristics that make it impossible for such things to really exist. They always violate known laws of the universe, they always allow unspeakable horrors, and yet they supposedly created us and care for us more than anything.

    Gods seem to be a figment of our collective imagination, perhaps some sort of unintended result of the brain evolution of the human species. Whatever the reason, I can’t possibly consider them to be real existing things.

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