Author Topic: An Athiest question  (Read 2269 times)

Offline KIP LEWIS

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An Athiest question
« on: October 31, 2010, 08:32:21 am »
During the summer I was reading a book and it had a statement in it that I wanted to, not necessarily challenge, but see if it's really true.  But I've hesitated, because I really just want to answer the question and not get into the merits of Christianity vs Athiesm or vis versa.

The statement was something like this, "In Christianity, we have seen people who have a conversion experience that totally changed their life; specifically people who were engaged in evil, even criminal behavior became a Christian and radically changed.  We've never seen someone who adopted athiesm and because of that "conversion", they stopped an evil, or even criminal, behavior."

Now, I know one guy who got saved and immediately stopped doing drugs.  I also know a man who by his own words was the meanist "drunk" who was verbally abusive to his family.  He got saved and immediately he became the...(this is the only word that describes him) jolliest man I've ever met and sober too.  And he's remained that way for many, many years.  

So, my question is, does any one know someone who became an athiest and because of their new belief system, they had a total change of personality from destructive, evil, criminal behaviors to a healthy, happy, legal, lifestyle?

Again, that's all I want to discuss here; I don't want this thread to drift into a Christianity vs Athiesm debate or bashing either one.  I just want to know if anyone knows someone who's life has changed in this way?
« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 08:34:10 am by KIP LEWIS »

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2010, 08:40:44 pm »
Wow, great topic!

Offline JLI Jesse

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 07:10:52 am »
So, my question is, does any one know someone who became an athiest and because of their new belief system, they had a total change of personality from destructive, evil, criminal behaviors to a healthy, happy, legal, lifestyle?

Again, that's all I want to discuss here; I don't want this thread to drift into a Christianity vs Atheism debate or bashing either one.  I just want to know if anyone knows someone who's life has changed in this way?

As someone raised Jewish, but doesn't believe in God, I have never heard of that happening.  But when someone is "saved" I think it is because they believe there is a higher power.  They either fear it of believe it is the one true way, so they suddenly alter their behavior.

If you don't believe in God, atheism wouldn't be the reason to change such behavior.  I guess the "god" of atheism would be science.  In religion, its the idea of an all knowing being.  Science is a thing not an entity, so I'm not sure it would elicit the type of personality change we are discussing.

Still, there must be other factors that would lead to that change...maybe converting from religious fundamentalism to atheism?

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 08:49:23 am »
Actually it can in a way. It may not be as "drastic" of a change but it can be there.  There are some circumstances what a christian child encountered may lead to "criminal activity". For example would be many of the little boys whom are raped by their pastors/minister/teacher of faith. Do they go back since another "teacher of faith" convinces them? Unsure really. Too many factors are in play regarding a criminal being converted. But who says it has something to do with one "finding christ" or "allah". It could also be that the person simply don't want to go back to jail.

If a person was raised of a certain faith or so throughout their childhood and when they decided to become atheist there is a huge relief and pressue that is lifted off their shoulders. There isn't this "fear" that Mr JLI pointed out


« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 10:06:11 am by BmoreAkuma »
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 11:00:10 am »
<<Science is a thing not an entity, so I'm not sure it would elicit the type of personality change we are discussing>>

An example of this is the one who is emotionally stiffling to the point of verbal abuse, (and maybe even physical abuse) of spouse and children.  But when he or she  adopts an athiestic view, they also drop the stern and ultra demands on his or her family, ie the family no longer lives in fear.

This would be an example, but has it ever happened?

Also, when I said criminal in the initial post, I wasn't thinking about people in jail, though they are included. I was thinking of people who do things illegally like drugs, whether they were ever caught or not.

Offline Redjack

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 11:03:02 am »
Yes. Julia Sweeney, of SNL fame, wrote and performed a one-woman show describing her gradual slide away from belief in the "spiritual" realm (including god) and towards an understanding of life as it actually is.

And how it made life better for her, happier, calmer. Just a massive improvement all around.

She's not a criminal but the conversion event is the same. She was devout prior to her "loss."

People who "transform" after coming to god are people who were going to transform anyway. The Bible or whatever was just the trigger. It could have been another book or a movie or a kind old lady at the local shop. The "religious" aspect is not important. What's important is what was going on in the person's life/mind that made them ready to change.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 12:24:56 pm by Redjack »
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Offline Wise Son

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 12:33:22 pm »
I have been thinking about this, as it is a very interesting question. What I realised is, that this is not a like for like comparison.

Being converted to a religion, or 'born again', is the sudden imposition of a set of values and structures which can help to get a life back on track, if only by adding stability. A move away from religion into atheism is a removal of many of those structures, and a questioning of the values, ultimately putting more personal responsibility on the person . Basically, you can't be 'saved' by atheism, but it can allow you more freedom to 'save yourself'.

A more like for like comparison would be comparing people who have had a sudden faith awakening with people who had a similar secular awakening, perhaps people who became politically active in prison, or at a time when their life was near rock bottom (for example, the Black Panther Party, Trade Unions, or even some of the fascist organisations which prey on prisoners for new converts).

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Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2010, 12:56:18 pm »
Also, when I said criminal in the initial post, I wasn't thinking about people in jail, though they are included. I was thinking of people who do things illegally like drugs, whether they were ever caught or not.
Even if you take out the prison aspect, maybe just maybe the person is tired of the lifestyle. Drug trafficing leads to a very short lifespan and maybe he doesn't want to any longer.
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: An Athiest question
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2010, 08:53:31 pm »
Yes. Julia Sweeney, of SNL fame, wrote and performed a one-woman show describing her gradual slide away from belief in the "spiritual" realm (including god) and towards an understanding of life as it actually is.

And how it made life better for her, happier, calmer. Just a massive improvement all around.

She's not a criminal but the conversion event is the same. She was devout prior to her "loss."

People who "transform" after coming to god are people who were going to transform anyway. The Bible or whatever was just the trigger. It could have been another book or a movie or a kind old lady at the local shop. The "religious" aspect is not important. What's important is what was going on in the person's life/mind that made them ready to change.

But a bit of irony, if that's the right word; the book that inspired the question, talks about Julia Sweeny and the forward that she wrote for "The Reason Driven Life."  So, since the author made this point after (I believe) talking about her, then I would say that he didn't view her life's change as example of the kind of life change he was talking about.  (I'm not saying I agree or disagree.  I don't want to go into that level of "splitting hairs" in this thread.) 

(In case you are wonder, the book that inspired the question was "Has Christianity failed you?" by Ravi Zacharias.  I can't say I totally recommend the book, though it did provoke some thoughts.)