Conversation with an ex-creationist


I’ve never been a believer, so who am I to say how to convince others to leave their faith? Tonight at 7pm Central, I’ll have a conversation with Glenn D., a former true believer who even donated money to Answers in Genesis, but has now seen the Light. Let’s find out what it took.

If you have questions you’d like me to ask, feel free to leave them here; he’s also commented here before so maybe he’ll answer you directly.

Comments

  1. nowamfound says

    how many abused wives did he counsel to stay in abusive relationships? how many gay kids were shunned by their families that he thought was a great idea! how many suicidal gay kids? how about that whole white supremacist christian elitist bullshit?

  2. says

    I didn’t do any counseling, so none. I also did not participate in any shunning. I did see it happen, though. I was never a white supremacist, but definitely had an elitist mindset to some extent.

  3. Alt-X says

    Excellent talk. I always found promoting scientific understanding of the natural world is the BEST way to sow doubt.

  4. daemonios says

    Thank you both for this, I found it very interesting as I’ve never really talked with anyone about going from religious belief to atheism.
    In my case it was just a matter of acknowledging that I simply didn’t have any sort of faith, even though I was brought up as Catholic. I was baptised, had my first communion, went to Sunday school, was supposed to go to church every week (although my brothers and I often ditched it when we could get away with it). At about 15, when I was supposed to get Confirmation, I felt too uncomfortable continuing to pay lip service to something that said nothing to me at a fundamental level, so I told my parents I didn’t believe in God. It wasn’t overly dramatic, although I remember my mother wasn’t thrilled and tried to pressure me with some reference about how it was going to be a sad Christmas that year. One of my biggest remaining doubts is why some people – otherwise very intelligent and rational people – truly believe while others do not. That is something that I don’t know if I’ll ever understand.
    Another issue raised in the discussion that I find appealing is how – or if – you can reason someone into atheism. More importantly, *should* we atheists try to proselytise to believers, as it were? The atheist movement, or parts of it, has been branded recently as militant, and I would agree that it is sometimes very confrontational, to the point that sometimes I think we forget basic respect owed to believers. In the same way that I can’t fathom how someone comes to have faith, I expect a religious person wouldn’t really be able to understand how I come to lack it.
    Mind you, this isn’t some defence of equally valid personal truths – I am still convinced that there is no God, and that there are serious issues with religious beliefs and practices. What I mean is that maybe we should reserve militancy to those areas that affect unwilling participants, namely attempts to impose religious views through law or policy; and when addressing religious believers we shouldn’t assume that we can convert them, we should exchange our incompatible views respectfully rather than as a debate where we expect one side to win, and keep in mind that however wrong we think these beliefs are, they are not indicative of reduced intelligence or worth as a person.

  5. Owlmirror says

    Actually, the first comment reminds me of something I wanted to ask:

    When you were still a devout believer, do you recall seeing anything said about believers in general, or yourself in particular, that you felt was false at the time, but which you later realized was true, or close to being true?

    Was there anything said about believers which you thought was false then and which you still think is false?

  6. carlie says

    Solidarity fist-bump.

    I grew up as a devout Southern Baptist. I am lucky that I was old enough that by the time Creationism a) became a big fad and b) came to my own church in the form of a new pastor who was all-in for it, I had hit the teenager-in-college “say what now” attitude towards hometown authority and it didn’t take hold the way all the other beliefs had. But I was still susceptible. I took an evolution class to, and I quote myself literally, “see what the other side thinks so I can refute it better” (with a side internal monologue of “and it seems really interesting…”). The class turned out to be a brain-awakening experience that led me to become an evolutionary biologist, and was itself the wedge of “if they’re wrong about that, what else are they wrong about?” that led me to atheism, so I’m basically a Ken Ham-customized Chick Tract come to life. :)

    Anyway, good on you for being open and willing to change your mind. I know firsthand what kind of personal family and social cost that can come at; it’s not easy for non-religious people to even fathom how much it disrupts your world.

  7. moloch says

    After my first 16 years as a nominal non-religious protestant, I had a bout of fundie christendom the next 16 years. Belief is a strange thing. I think I did a good bit of compartementalization – since I was always a STEM afficionado and had lots of interests in science.
    One of the things that made me lose faith was a friend who challenged me to read The God Delusion – and I pretty much concluded that my faith wasn’t worth much if I couldn’t read something like that. Also, I stumbled on a review of that book by AIG – which I found to be a pretty bad hatched job and not any kind of thoughtful and reasonable critique. This was pretty much the “shock” that caused me to take two steps back and review everything – at which point the whole house of cards crumbled.

    Anyway – for some people, a shock-like experience can absolutely be the trigger to wake them.

    On a side note, as a child I stumbled over some of the Jack Chick cartoons in a book store at a US airport – that stuff can be traumatizing for kids.

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