it was a gradual process, not a sudden awakening. I couldn't tell you when the first doubts happened, although certainly it was a long time before those doubts solidified into considering myself agnostic/atheist. That would be sometime in early high school, maybe, or middle school (raised super-fundamentalist-religious, complete with watching endless kent hovind videos to "disprove" evolution)
I remember being extremely young and realizing I had done a lot of things that were "bad" which meant I was going to hell. This scared me. But then, I also remember thinking that some of the bad things I did I had done for what I thought were good reasons. I remember agonizing about whose good was better..."god's good", or "my good"? Then the solution came to me; all I had to do is apologize for all the "bad things" I did just before I died and apparently that would be enough to get into heaven. In the mean time, I could do what I want...lol
I told others about this realization and I remember being ostracized and reprimanded by classmates and religious teachers..(We went to church, and we were taught religion in school..)..but by the time I was really learning about all the religion stuff I had already found a "loophole" so I was always a lost case I think. It wasn't the stories of floods, and giants, and angels that caused me to question religion, it was the contradiction of "being bad" and still being able to get into heaven if you played your cards right...
Ironically, I think I took religion a lot more seriously than a lot of my classmates..if I was going to play my cards right I needed to know the rules of the game lol...Along the way I developed an appreciation for it even with it's flaws as it seemed to me to be a good way to make people get along. I remember laughing at how everyone seemed to fear god...when he was so easily fooled.
Yes, I was probably way too smart for my own good. I stole from my classmates all the time until I was eventually caught. It was at this point I realized I could "befriend people" and get what I wanted..all it took was manipulation.
Keep in mind, this was all before I was really able to discern "right from wrong". I must have been around 6 or 7 before I actually thought stealing was something "bad to do" and not because god said so, but because other people were suffering because of it...
Looking back at it I regret some of what I did...which is why I never really opposed religion. I always felt a bit guilty for finding a "loophole". Fundamentally, all it was trying to do was get kids like me to behave...just another tool. As a teen I went through a phase where I was convinced it did more bad than good....but I got over that as well...it does what people wan it to do.
(It's posts like these that really make me think about my own morality. Yes, now I can logically argue that an extremist belief in God is ultimately detrimental to the human experience but back then my motivations were far from logical. I just wanted to do what I wanted..god or no god. It's this type of behavior that makes me think that perhaps religion, even though flawed, should be encouraged..I could have been a real problem child. In fact..I was in a way. I was the kid that would accompany you while you did something bad then laugh at you for being stupid enough to get caught...)
(Now I'm the guy who feels sorry for those who still haven't found a "loophole" or a contradiction or something...and sort of freaked out that it's taken as seriously as it is..)
I have no recollection of ever believing in some kind of a superior being. So, there isn't any specific moment when I started having doubts or anything. Religion has never been a conscious part of my life, my parents never even talked about it. I remember in first grade when some people went to Sunday school and I had no idea what it was they talked about.
Christmas, Easter - days off from school, the Christmas tree, gifts, ginger bread and eggs, plus mom made something special for dinner. The fact that they're associated with religion only dawned on me much later. It didn't matter and I didn't realize that it somehow should matter. Religions didn't have any specific interest or importance for me.
Even when I read books and saw movies and stuff, I was only a distant observer of people doing their stuff and expressing their beliefs on the matter and I was cool with that. Thinking back on it now, sure, I remember my grandmother giving my mom a Bible and my brother a book with Bible stories with pictures. I read them both, it was kind of fun, but that's what they were, only stories, like in every other book I read. That goes for other religions as well when they were mentioned in books or movies.
The reason I consider myself an agnostic is because I just don't know, there isn't anything to prove me right or wrong to take any sides and develop strong beliefs on the matter. I reached the conclusion only some years ago when I happened to read up on some stuff and thought that if anybody asks, I'd better have an answer ready for them. Otherwise, it personally doesn't matter to me.
If you've read much of my posts, you know that I was born and raised as a Jehovah's Witness. I believed very deeply. I suppose the prototype of my life so far is a memory of me at 12 being very upset that the Elders had mentioned that I wasn't living up to expectations. I had been upset, as in crying, because my belief in God was as sincere and deep as I could imagine, but somehow even so, I wasn't doing and saying the 'right' things.
At some point after that, maybe around 13 or 14 I discovered that there was a world. The JW culture is very insular, obviously, but also the Latino culture I grew up in isn't really all that outwardly looking either. Most of what I learned about the world, ironically sounding to certain people, was through science fiction. It was this window into a different way of thinking. And while my parents could monitor who I spent time with, and what I watched and listened to, for some reason they didn't think to audit the books I was reading.
I guess everything added up, a picture of how the world worked as I had learned outside of what was spoonfed to me just couldn't jive with with what I was taught. The big moment was me thinking about an Muslim kid loving his God a continent away with the same strength that I believed and feeling bad for me going to hell as an infidel. I eventually left the JWs at 15, left the house at 16 and have been searching and rebuilding since.
My father was a chemical engineer and my mother a microbiologist, both were Agnostics; as you may presume - my childhood home ambiance was extremely spiritually-absent.
As an inquisitive observer of the religious practices and beliefs of my peers, I grew up to be both very skeptical and curious about this "fourth-dimension." As the fiery and controversial debate over religion became more comprehensible as I entered college, I realized that the skepticism of which Atheists portrayed was more pessimistic in nature as opposed to cautious.
This bias is synonymous with Atheism Achilles's heel:
"To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, "I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge" --Ravi Zacharias
I have personally arrived at the conclusion that a supreme being does exist, and it is only the diverging interpretations of that supreme being between religions (and their reconciliation with science) that led many to denial.
I love it when Atheists use Darwin and the theory of evolution as a counterpoint to the discussion of God!
Aren't they smart enough to realize that the discussion of God begins with the Big Bang, and anything thereafter is irrelevant to a criticism of a supreme being?
Since science has not yet rendered a verdict as to what had occurred before the inception of the Big Bang, the plausibility of there being an entity of higher power is open for ontological debate, and Atheism has no authority other than it being a refuge for emotional denial.
But that's just philosophical waffle ... let's talk science! Consider this:
I am assuming that all Atheists are well-versed in Hartle-Hawking cosmology and Ed Tyron's subatomic observations and theories since they are the constituents of Atheistic doctrine.
Science is skeptical, when done well, so let's put the intricacies of their works into perspective.
Edward Tryon's theory is the groundwork for Atheistic doctrine. According to his observations, reconciled with the Heisenberg principles, subatomic particles can transpire and cease to exist randomly without a divine cause. The absence of Boyle's law and Penrose's quantum cosmology in his assertion calls its validity into question.
With all of the variables considered, the odds of a life-sustainable universe existing by chance has been calculated at 10^10^123 to 1 (that's 1 followed by 10^123 zeros). This figure was calculated by Roger Penrose a very well-respected mathematician and cosmologist WHO IS AN ATHEIST HIMSELF.
The question is: How can W. Craig's H-H model and Tyron's quantum electrodynamics observation possibly jive with the rudimentary mathematics as devised by Penrose?
The odds of subatomic erraticism being the catalyst for the big bang and subsequent events are impossible as defined by Boyle's law at 1^50 (with infinite time)!
In layman's terms, it is patently obvious that quantum cosmology must coexist with its corresponding mathematical calculations. So either Hartle-Hawking cosmology does not purport to convey credible assumptions about the early universe, or all math is wrong (and we must re-numerate standard formulas and numbers). Since we know that numbers don't lie, I personally believe the former should bear the burden of doubt. Any objections as to why the H-H model should be given credence over mathematics?
PLEASE, no philosophical/metaphysical answers (of which have diminutive credibility).
Why does a letter always arrive at its Destination?
Why, indeed? Why could it not — sometimes, at least — also fail to reach it?1 Far from attesting a refined theoretical sensitivity, this Derridean reaction to the famous closing statement of Lacan's "Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter' "2 rather exhibits what we could call a primordial response of common sense: what if a letter does not reach its destination? Isn't it always possible for a letter to go astray?3
I. Imaginary mis/recognition
In a first approach, a letter which always arrives at its destination points at the logic of recognition/misrecognition (reconnaissance/méconnaissance) elaborated in detail by Louis Althusser and his followers (e.g. Michel Pêcheux)4: the logic by means of which one mis/recognizes oneself as the addressee of ideological interpellation. This illusion constitutive of the ideological order could be succinctly rendered by paraphrasing a formula of Barbara Johnson: "A letter always arrives at its destination since its destination is wherever it arrives."5 Its underlying mechanism was elaborated by Pêcheux apropos of jokes of the type: "Daddy was born in Manchester, Mummy in Bristol, and I in London: strange that the three of us should have met!6 In short, if we look at the process backwards, from its contingent result, the fact that events took precisely this turn could not but appear as uncanny, concealing some fateful meaning — as if some mysterious hand took care that the letter arrived at its destination, i.e., that my father and my mother met....