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  1. #21
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    Most of us started off believing in Santa and ghosts. And then there was that moment that said... maybe not. Not necessarily comparing the two, but I think there are parallels for non-believers.

    For me, it was considering the idea that maybe the afterlife is wrong (this started in roughly 5th grade). It terrified me (I stayed up for hours on end tormenting over it, before realizing how much of a non-concern non-existence really is months or years later), but I couldn't find any evidence that afterlife existed or was plausible.

    But the reasons doubt starts are legion (no religious implication intended). Perhaps you saw that there are many religions, and no one could be right. Maybe you felt the moral ideals of the whatever text were dubious. Maybe the concept of God was suspect. Maybe you felt that the answers in your religion were wrong scientifically or didn't add up. Maybe you saw people using religion for oppositional reasons. Maybe some religious story was just silly to you. Maybe you saw darkness in the world God shouldn't allow. Or someone told you AIDS was God's punishment and that didn't sit right. Hell, maybe your parents didn't believe to begin with.

    So non-believers. What was that first little nougat of questioning that blossomed into your current ideology?
    It wasn't a thought, more of a feeling. I was about 18 and the change from Catholicism to Agnosticism was about as dramatic as someone who has been heterosexual for years and then all of a sudden comes out of the closet. I just couldn't physically live a lie anymore. I have always been that way, though. I just have trouble with strong conviction. I remember being 3 and 4 years old and looking at the wrapping papers on my gifts and thinking, "This paper is the same stuff that my mom uses. He writes "love santa" in the same way that my mom would write "love Santa"... I remember inspecting the gifts every time and just trying to fathom a guy fitting in a chimney. Yeah, we had a chimney in the main part of the house, but it was so small. It would make more sense to just come through the front door.... My mother kept insisting that he comes through the chimney, but I just kept saying that he would have to come through the front door. I also pictured all the reindeer walking down the street. It wouldn't make sense for him to fly from roof to roof, given how close every neighbor was, the take off and the landing, and most people didn't have a chimney, so he would have to actually climb off the roof and go in the door anyways. In neighborhoods it would just make more sense to walk around- only flying when you hit a more rural area where houses are farther apart or if you needed to head out over long stretches. (All thoughts that I had over 4, 5, 6 years old-) and then when I was 7 at Easter I just said, "Mom, there is no Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, or Santa, is there???"

    And so my thought process was for every unproven, magical and mystical thing that I came across through my whole life. So at 18, one day I just said, "yeah I'm actually an agnostic, it's just who I am." A whole bunch of thoughts and feelings and aversion to strong belief carrying me to the sudden grand conclusion.
    06/13 10:51:03 five sounds: you!!!
    06/13 10:51:08 shortnsweet: no you!!
    06/13 10:51:12 shortnsweet: go do your things and my things too!
    06/13 10:51:23 five sounds: oh hell naw
    06/13 10:51:55 shortnsweet: !!!!
    06/13 10:51:57 shortnsweet: (cries)
    06/13 10:52:19 RiftsWRX: You two are like furbies stuck in a shoe box

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  2. #22
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sui generis View Post
    In one of my psych courses in college, the professor (himself an out skeptic) talked about how stimulating the brain in certain ways can cause the owner of the brain to have "spiritual" experiences. I'd never considered before that there didn't have to be an actual "god" involved at all!
    Hallucinations can do that to people. Probably why a certain someone had *cough* talked to a burning bush *cough,* or why walking in the desert when you are thirsty makes you hallucinate a small pond off in the distance.

    Or why I dream a week ago that I was walking on water.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    For me it was largely learning about other religions that first lead to my atheist stage.
    I had a similar experience, I was unnerved by the diversity of answers to the same questions, it made me question the correctness of my own creedo but it was a stage and I'm past that. When I think about it now there was a lot of it which was based upon faulty logic or rationalisations which made non-belief seem more plausible to me.

    The thing is that if I had applied the same faulty thinking to something else, a different topic, anything else in fact I dont believe I would have been able to sustain the conclusions I had reached, which itself made me think again. The present day culture, more than any other, I think sustains non-belief, its by no means restricted to the veracity of religious convictions or beliefs either. People are more liable than ever to distrust others, including loved ones. I think that's all part of it.

    So far as afterlife goes, I think my fears about it being sufficiently different to that I've expected to date, which is my whole fear, I dont believe that consciousness ceases because when indivduals are unconscious or asleep it doesnt cease but an afterlife may be sufficiently different from this life as to be not a "life" in any meaningful sense. A lot of it was linked, stupid when I think about it, to very human and very temporal concerns about satisfaction, in other words having enough, having no unfinished business (I obsess about reading and finishing all the books I own or could own, which objectively isnt likely).

    Presently I do believe that there is a God and God's will is going to determine the what and whether of afterlife, I dont worry now, its up to divine providence and I'm going to enjoy every moment of this gift which is my life that I'm living.

  4. #24
    You're fired. Lol. Antimony's Avatar
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    I was in the 6th grade and wondering- why would all these terrible things happen to people if there was a god? Things like the Holocaust, and all other sorts of terrible things. I began looking into Buddhism, and thought it sounded more plausible. While I appreciate some of the aspects of it, like other religions, I am not Buddhist. However, those were my first seedlings of doubt.

    Now, I would say that I am agnostic. I can't be an atheist or a Christian for the same reason- there is no way for me to know. So I pursue a more 'spiritual' path and just focus on self development. That is very important. What is the good of being a Christian if you go around killing people? My opinion on God/a god has been, for some time, as a figure who would love, and understand. Not claim all 'sins' equal. Sins are relative, anyway.

    I would say that I believe in God in the sense that it is more of a concept of love, etc. A concept people can cling to. There is probably something that can take the name God, but that doesn't mean it has actually been identified. I don't care if it is a particle, something coming from nothing, or a loving entity.
    Excuse me, but does this smell like chloroform to you?

    Always reserve the right to become smarter at a future point in time, for only a fool limits themselves to all they knew in the past. -Alex

  5. #25
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Things such as the problem of evil never troubled me and I've never had a problem believing in a God.

    I could have been a deist for a while but I have occasionally thought that God being omniscent and omnipotent its a little like the relationship between myself and an ameba or molecule and that isnt a conscious or interventionist relationship on my part, it could be more incidential or accidential. So thinking that way God is no longer God but "God" a cosmic force of nature rather than something to be loved, honoured and obeyed, the object to be revered.

    Its a little like what, I think it was Chesterton said, that he'd be more afraid that God exists and has given up on humanity and the earth than that God didnt exist at all.

  6. #26
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    I was raised in a very religious home so I actually didn't question it until I was 13 and a very religious, church-going friend of mine committed suicide. I questioned everything from that point forward and stopped attending church.

    However, what convinced me more and more toward agnosticism as an adult was education and scientific knowledge. I was raised around Christianity mixed with Irish superstition, so it didn't even seem normal for me to question it as much as I did until I broke out of that environment. I think if I had been raised with more emphasis on scientific fact I may have been more skeptical at a younger age.

    At the moment I consider myself spiritual-but-not-religious and agnostic, and I am a bit of a Taoist, in terms of life philosophy.

  7. #27
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    The idea of god never really sunk in with me, stories of Noah's Ark and Jonah being swallowed by a whale never felt like real happenings and people, just stories. God was (and is) just a pleasant idea, like fairies.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

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  8. #28
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    My parents and brothers are all catholic, and I've studied in a catholic school from 6 to 16 years. I've been brainwashed for most of my life, so it took me some time to really question the existence of a God. I think the pivotal point happened while I was watching Animal Planet and saw how a animal called sea louse reproduced. Basically the male lured the female to his pit, poisoned her, and then copulated. Ok, I can live with that. The really sick thing is that the poisoning wasn't for copulation alone, she was poisoned so that the offspring could eat the female from the inside out. I used to blame mankind and their free will for all the evil in the world, but that left me with no explanations. What kind of God would let evolution go that way?! I felt like Sensui after he watched the black chapter tape. It was a dark phase in my life. Except that in the end, it made me a better person.
    -----------------

    A man builds. A parasite asks 'Where is my share?'
    A man creates. A parasite says, 'What will the neighbors think?'
    A man invents. A parasite says, 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God... '


    -----------------

  9. #29
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Smile Doubt, Thought and Gratitude

    It was René Descartes who taught me to doubt.

    He also taught me cogito ego sum (I think therefore I am). And I have enjoyed thinking ever since. I love thinking. Thinking provides me a gloss on the world and gives the world its gloss.

    So dear René taught me to doubt and think, and I am forever grateful.

  10. #30
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Having non-religious parents and being home-schooled, it is difficult to answer this question. I don't ever remember believing, so when can I locate the beginning of doubt?
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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