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Converts How Do You Now Feel?

This is not about me (an atheists) gloating that I am smarter.  I am Just trying to state what I now feel.

I'm really interested in the views of agnostics and atheists here who once had faith and believed in the religion they were brought up in but have since converted to atheism or agnosticism. I just want to know how that change has affected your over all attitude towards life and your world view in general and your level of intelligence by intelligence i mean your capability of thought processes, thirst for knowledge, and actual knowledge of things. I say this because It is hard to separate out intellectual growth that would have occurred naturally with the passage of time and experiences regardless of faith and religion. 

When I look back on my religious days I feel acutely aware of the stupidity of some of the stuff I entertained in my mind and accepted.  Some of it is quite embarrassing to me I must say.  Had I not broken free, I feel there are so many questions and angles of thought I would have denied myself.

If I were a Theist

1. I would have believed and held deeply unto answers given to me by someone else and accept them as the facts.

2. I will be homophobic.

3. I would have been judgmental and disrespectful towards others by looking down on them just because they do not share my beliefs.

4. I would have been very superstitious and believe in things that do not agree with the reality I see around me.

5. I would be less curious about the origins of the universe and life - certainly less open-minded to new ideas and avenues of speculation. Because back in the days I was less curious and accepted everything I was told and the god did it mantra seems to explain away everything even though  the god did it answer sometimes did not explain anything to me personally.

6. I would have been somewhat anti-science - let's face it, it's a war of considerable animosity even if some scientists somehow are able to compartmentalize their religion and their work

7. I would have been depending on prayers to help me out when in need or in trouble.

Now that I am a firm atheist, and very confident in my atheism, I now know more about and think more than ever about:

1. Human morality and how it is constantly evolving.

2. Human beings who happen to be born in other parts of the world and which I used to consider the wrong parts of the planet.

3.  All religions and their social and societal impact and how they affect people.

4. The bible and the Koran(their origins and how they were written and put together)

5. Conservation and sustainability of planet earth.

6. Different cultures and different people and how the try to function as a unit.

7. I am now loving myself and my own intellectual growth.

8. The origins of religions(Islam and Christianity) I was brought up in.

I want to know how your atheism has affected your world view and changed you as a person. . . .so my atheist friends I will like you come come and contribute to this thread. . . .Thank you. . . .

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23 answers

Gbam!! i will contribute solely on this ground,  i still do believe there is a cause of the creations in the world, this cause, i consider to be the creator, who i give the utmost respect.

but i can tell you that i am happy and joyous, to be finally free, from the various politically motivated religions, we have around.

like someone said earlier,  all i see is a helpless bat or cat, while someone else is shouting demons!!

i am less afraid now, death is inevitable, and i care less about heaven and hell,

i look with intense love at people, weda the person be muslim or christian or buddhist.

love is all we need. merry christmas.

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One of the failures of religion has been man's inabilty to properly define God. Personally i don't think the human vocabulary has the words or the expressions to aptly define the creator, thus all the problems we find when various religions try to put God in a box of their definition. That same error i believe is what deepsight is making here.  Another plausible theory is that the creator God who created man is diffeent from the creator God who created the universe with all it's trillions of planets/solar systems/galaxies e.t.c. This is not to say i don't believe biblical writings, i do but the way i see it the biblcal authors wrote within  the limits of their understanding and limited vocabulary. And that is why it seems some of the things they wrote then does not make sense today[i.e Noah' flood story] hat is apart from the fact that a lot of the stories were handed dwn by oral tradition which is subject to distortions.

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Just as an aside, i find it so strange that many people do not realize that biblical and quoranic ideas of God actually dovetail into a oneness of infinity. . .being monotheistic religins -

They state that God is ONE

They state that God is eternal or infinite. . .

Need i say more. . .

So you see, its you guys who simply resent a term who have not heard before without analyzing it. . .

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When I talk of theism I am referring to the theistic beliefs and dogma I was brought up in which are Christianity and Islam. Your oneness of Infinity is of no use and of no importance to me at all.

Since you are not blind you can see it for yourself here on the NL religion section. .  .When I was a christian I used to pity those that talk about some preachers who I considered men of god and whom I depended on their teachings and methods as a means of guidance. Touch not my anointed is the mantra all the time. I used to accept the words of men that know even less than me just because I believed they were men of god. . . .

The bible and the koran DO NOT support gay rights at all. . . .Publicly declaring support for gays in Nigeria can get you into trouble. . . .The aglican church is considered to be a heretical sect by many Christians no?

So many popes before Paul John Paul were that way. . . . .Majority of religious people are Judgmental and look down of those that do not believe in their delusions. . , Its all over nairaland for you to see. . .

Pastor AIO is some one I consider to be every where. . .He does not really have a particular belief cos he is neither a Christian or a Moslem. . . . .Any Christian or Moslem that says he does not believe in witches, demons, satans, etc is a lair and NOT a christian or moslem. . . . Why do you think westerners(Europeans) are leaving all these religions and their mythical dogma's and beliefs in droves? The core message of these religions rely on superstition.

Einstein was not a theist. . . . But these people are not what you will call conventional Christians. . . .they were considered heretics during their times Newton is not some one you will call a Christian per say. . . .They were theist but they did not allow their theistic beliefs to interfere with their quest for knowledge. . .Their findings even turned to be detrimental to their various mythical and theistic beliefs. . . . .They worked in-spite of their beliefs.

Too many theist have been anti-science. . . .Some of the greatest critics of science and the scientific process today remain theist. . . .Those theist worked in spite of their beliefs. . . In fact most of them worked against their beliefs. . .

And how has prayer ever solved anything or helped any body? There is nothing wrong with hoping and wishing(because that is what prayer is). . . .But when people depend on it like the way Nigerians do then it becomes a problem because it has failed and will continue to fail them. . . .

When I talk about Theism  I am only referring to Christianity and Islam, I am not really interested in your own theistic delusions. . . . .

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Noetic my man! Meeeerry Christmas!

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I take very serious exception to the above.

What is meant by this?

Are you suggesting to me that Theism necessarily comes together with –

1. Believing in answers given by other people? (I am a theist and very few people can make make this claim about me. . . I grind out my own ideas everyday. . .).

2. Being homophobic? (Of course you are aware that there are gay anglican priests who are of course theists. Also the Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa is pro gay rights. But what the hell. . . must we all be the same? Must I support gay behaviour if I find it repulsive? Must I? What has that got to do with atheism or theism?)

3. Being Judgmental and Disrespectful (Really? Are all theists this way? Was Pope John Paul this way? Was Mahatma Ghandi this way? Wwas Mother Theresa this way? All of them are theists. . .)

4. Being Superstitious (Would you describe all theists as superstitious? Does Pastor AIO strike you as superstitious?)

5. Being less curious about the origins of the universe and life? (Don’t you dare try this one. . . the vast majority of inquisitive scientists who have made the greatest strides in deciphering the universe have been theists. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, and a zillion others were all theists!)

6. Being anti-science (as above! . . . too many great scientsists have been theists for you to make this FALSE claim.)

7. Depending on prayer. . . what is wrong with prayer?. . .Besides Deists are theists and they do not necessarily depend on prayer. . .

YOUR ASSUMPTIONS ARE ENTIRELY FALSE AND SHOW A DELIBERATE MISCHARACTERIZATION OF THEISM.

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I AM STILL CERTAIN THAT ATHEISM FOR MANY HERE SIMPLY MEANS A REJECTION OF RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS IDEAS OF GOD AND EXISTENCE AND NOT A PURISTIC REJECTION OF THE CONCEPT OF A CREATOR.

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Well i come from an entirely different background from u guys. As a British born and bred Nigerian from a weak catholic background with no dogma or indoctrination. My journey to atheism was pretty much straightforward. At age 14 i began to question my beliefs about Christianity and the story of a man creating the planet in 6 days didn't make sense to me. And the story of Noah's Ark dosen't say anything about the dinosaurs. I don't remember exactly when i heard about evolution although i was still in secondary school but i find that easier to believe, it makes more sense and i haven't looked back since.

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First of all I greet you all nice posts.

My first year as an out of closet atheist and I feel like a million bucks, like wirinet I never really had an encounter per-say but it was a gradual process of rejecting things that did not make sense, I remember fully well the awe that struck my friends when I openly told them I saw nothing wrong with anyone who was gay, so even as a christian I was seen as a rebel. But slowly and surely I cast the fear aside and faced things head on, I was no longer going to accept things on face value I was going to reject every single thing that did not make sense to me.

If it did not hold in reality then I am not even ready to entertain it, I have seen myself grow and grow especially on this forum and I am now able to even make fun of so many things while skipping things I am beginning to find really unnecessary such as the oneness of infinty and talk like that. I am able to connect with theists around me and not try to convince them but just show them that I am not crazy to be skeptical. My relationship with my parents and siblings have taken another turn not for the worst but with loads of understanding, a simple I do not believe in your God is enough these days and I am usually left alone. Just last night a poor bat got missing and hit the window while flying and while I could see a stranded animal, my sisters were screaming blood of Jesus. . . . . . . . the stories are endless, I now know that I am responsible for my actions when I hurt people and I work hard to earn their trust and not hope that some imaginary being would forgive me for stealing deep sights knowledge box. . . . . .

Happy Holidays people.

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Thanks bro. I'm perfectly fine.

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Eheh, atheist and their companions are sharing testimonies of their belief. Omo, this xmas na bomb o! Man is truly a social animal. Dey go still do atheist watchnight service and crusade go follow.

@Tudor

i believe you're expecting this response, so I'll give it anyway. God still has need of you, that's why you're spared in this accident. I'm praying that you'll still serve God to full capacity. Only Jesus can save

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M deep sight, you and this your emotional physical things and non physical things, I could no longer see the direction the debate is going and so felt no motivation to respond further.

Saying that emotions is a physical thing is oxymoronic, because when you say physical or material things, i assume you are talking about Matter as taught is integrated science and there is no way Emotion fits such a description. Your all encompassing definition of physical things will include every word in the English dictionary.

There are many non physical things or terms to be more specific , atheist do not say the universe is made up of only matter, there is energy too, there is space-time, and there are infinite interactions between the three. But the problem i have with you is to regard every noun, verb, adjective  as a physical thing. To you words like love, kill, cry,  fear is now a physical thing, or are you only referring to emotions as physical things?

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Wirinet -

You stated in a thread i opened some time ago that you do not regard emotions as physical things.

How do you reconcile a belief in non-physical things with pure materialist atheism please?

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Tudor, sorry to hear of your accident. At least i know you are alright or else you would not be able to post.

As for me Atheism came Naturally, no conversion involved. I think the fact that i was born in a riverine village deep at the heart of the Niger Delta is the main reason, i was not consumed by Christianity. I did not come in contact with western civilization and its attendant religion - Christianity, until i was 6 yrs when i came to settle in Lagos. I was baptized at 7 yrs in the African church (African version of the Anglican church) and i naturally coasted along with the religion without even giving it a thought. I also attended Catholic Primary School and Secondary School and also coasted along in all the rituals without giving them a thought.

My problem started when i was in form four and was now actually thinking of the sense in the whole thing, and i could find none. Once i asked the big question of my teacher of Who Created God, and the scolding i got was severe and the fear put in me gave me one week of sleepless nights. On recovering i decided not to think of the question again. By the time i went for A levels the question took over my mind again, this time with more troubling ones like what is the purpose of life and the universe. What is spirit and soul, and myriads of others. Then i was so disoriented that i was a very unhappy person. I searched through so many books, Philosophy, the Bible and eastern spiritual books , and still i found no answers

When i got to the university as OAU had an extensive Library. I sifted through more disciplines like Paleontology,  Religious history, World mythologies, Prehistoric history, and advanced astronomy and cosmology ( i had learnt basic astronomy in secondary school). I was reading these topics even more than my course of sturdy which was Architecture. And i can say by the time i graduated with my first degree, everything became clear as crystal and i have been living a very fulfilled life since.

I do not have many fears and have not had a nightmare for over 25 years, in fact i rarely dream. I am more a peace with myself, my environment and the universe, i have no fear whatsoever of death( except the fear of the fate of my family if i am gone).  I am in control of my life 100%.  My conscience is my God.  I have no enemy that i know off ( i just avoid people i am not in harmony with, but i do not hate them or wish them bad).

So that is a summery of my "conversion" story and how i feel.  I still owe Chrisbenogor my complete story though.

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Tudor my man? Happy new year in advance. . .Sorry to hear about your accident. . .Your really were lucky. . .

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@Tudor

- Sorry to hear about the accident.

- Let's wait to see if you get anything from the insurance people cus in reality, its their nature (i.e insurers) to do everything possible to make sure that you do not get paid. . .

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^^

Nothing mega. . . . I spent less than 30 mins in the hospital and i've been running around my insurance guy ever since.

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Tudor, am really sorry about your accident. Hope all is well.

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@ topic. . . I feel inspired, and motivated to try to be a better person. I really have been trying to improve how I conduct myself, and I do think my passion for religion has played a big part. Just being honest.

But i don't believe any of the superstition, just because I've studied the stuff and seen for myself that those are just the baggage of the time and space of where those religious phenomena came from. They are not actual historical events. No one walked on water, and raised the dead and is the word that was there with God in the beginnings and all that nonsense that people take literally. That's why I don't subscribe to it. I know for a 100% fact that all that stuff is NONSENSE if taken literally. Jesus, as a man who tried to make a difference and died for it, calling us to do the same for the people at the bottom. . . that is a powerful message and he doesn't have to be deified for him to inspire and move one into action. The rest is just magical wishful thinking that does not match up with life as I experience it. . . we need to delete all that stuff sharp sharp.

People adopted foreign cultures and redefined terms, imperial authorities changed stuff, early leaders had their biases, "gospel" authors had theirs, etc etc. Thats just the reality of life as we see in our everyday lives and to think that religion is free of human influence is just wishful thinking.

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I think people should just make an effort to actually understand what they believe in. I think people just accept what has been handed down to them through Church/Christian tradition. The creeds, the doctrine, the bible, etc. Some (or all) of those things are accepted to be of divine origin with no critical engagement. That is where I think the problem is.

If your faith is based on false premises, then it pretty much means the whole foundation of your life is a lie, and when it boils down to it one is just "lost". Religious people aren't necessary superstitious. People read all these elaborate theological material and get impressed by how "deep" it sounds/reads. They just eat it up and don't bother to try to understand how it all came about, and where exactly it came from. 2000 years is a long time, and ideas evolve and take on lives of their own. What you have received 2000 after the fact, especially after all sorts of imperial and cultural influences is far far removed from what is at the heart of your faith. That's just the fact of it. Ignoring that FACT isn't going to get you far. The truth will set you free. Please get your heads out of the sand, my Nigerian brothers and sisters. We have too much progress to make. . . this stuff is messing with our heads, BIG TIME!!

Just my honest opinion.

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Nice topic,. . . . I very much concur with what Tony and mazaje have listed but the most important to me is I live my life without fear.

Fear is a very very powerful thing that can keep even the strongest man tied up in bondage.

Religious people especially christians in Africa are very paranoid people. Whenever I feel like it I rotate my sat dish to where religious stations are concentrated. Fliping through stations you notice they all have a central theme i.e how you're in bondage, the enemies are coming to get you, the devil can kill you, demons are responsible for your sickness and poverty etc. Looking at the faces of the congregation you can see the horror and fear in their eyes. The admiration and reverence they have for these men/women of god who can supposedly take on the wicked devil and tackle their enemies is so palpable. . . They'll do and believe ANYTHING these men of god would ask them to.

Even right here on Nairaland you can see them with their "Touch not his anointed", "Don't let God strike you dead", "God will punish you and your unborn generations", "Things will not work well for you"etc All these are supposed to happen whenever you criticize these men for the crooks they are.

Sometimes I just sit back and wonder what my life woulda been like if I allowed myself to be ruled by such fear. Few days ago I was involved in an accident where I crashed my car and it was basically a heap of metal afterwards. I remember a friend telling me I might claim to be an atheist but when faced with death I'd call out to God. Lo and behold when I was being somersaulted in the car, my only thoughts were "Fukc I am about to die how do I get out of this shiit". Infact I had not one single thought of heaven, hell, jesus, angel micheal or holy spirit neither did my mind go to prayer. Luckily for me I was able to come out with just tiny lacerations to my abdomen and legs.

If I were religious i'd have found a way to link God to my escape but had I died then my family woulda blamed the devil and the enemies.

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Where are the other atheist in the house? Will love to see your own contributions. . .

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Toneyb and Mazeje,

You guys have taken all the words out of my mouth. I cannot think of anything else, but when I do, I shall make sure I post it here.

Great idea Mazaje

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