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If a Theist turns Atheist and then Theist again, was he ever truly an Atheist?

 
 
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2014 04:11 pm
A great discussion held with a good friend of mine, I figured that I'd share it here too.

My theory is yes. We all believe or do not believe on different levels in a god or gods in a constant state of flux according to the data we evaluate. If one believes a god is plausible, but something causes him to believe his is less plausible, he can cease to believe, or believe that a god cannot exist, becoming by some definitions an Atheist. Belief however can be reignited however if the object to plausibility is removed or reasoned to a degree of acceptance.

What are your thoughts?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 2,086 • Replies: 27
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farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2014 05:43 pm
@Smileyrius,
he could have just been a student of Theomorphology
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2014 05:45 pm
It depends upon whether or not he attended the monthly meetings and paid his dues.
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Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2014 05:52 pm
@Smileyrius,
I'm not sure I understand the problem. One is what one is at each given moment, not necessarily in perpetuity. "All is motion, all is flux,"
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2014 07:26 pm
By the wording of the question, you state, with no ambiguity, that he is theist, is atheist, is theist again. Therefore, the answer is "YES."
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2014 07:35 pm
@Smileyrius,
I don't see any reason why a person couldn't change their theistic perspective from one moment to the next. What argument is your friend using to claim that an Atheist cannot become a Theist?
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2014 02:34 pm
@rosborne979,
I guess his point is that as an Atheist he believes there is no way he could ever be persuaded that a god exists, and any return to religion for an Atheist is more down to the desire to believe than actual logical belief. I would hazard that he is defining a difference between Atheists and those that are angry with the god concept they were taught to believe in
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2014 07:00 pm
@Smileyrius,
He's probably right that there is no logical path back to theism, but the emotional paths back to theism are still pretty strong and I'm sure there are circumstances in which desire overcomes logic. I might even argue that all theism is a case of desire overcoming logic. The whole point of having "Faith" is to supersede logic and reason.

I think he's also right about there being a difference between Atheists and those who are angry with the god concept. People are never angry at things they don't believe in.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 01:10 am
I think that you're working with an absolute and somewhat simple-minded view of what an atheist is. There are several different flavors of atheist (and of theists, too). There are atheists who assert that there is and cannot be any god. There are also atheists who could be described as agnostic atheists--they don't claim to know, but they don't believe the god proposition. (For theists, that would be those who assert that there is a god, and those who don't know, but believe that there is. The latter could be called agnostic theists.)

One of the most interesting things i're read of in recent years are those who participate in organized religion, and don't believe in god. Ipsos in Canada and Pew Research in the United States routinely poll people about their religious affiliations and beliefs. A few years ago, somebody decided to ask people who profess a religious affiliation ("I'm a Catholic," or "I'm a Methodist") whether or not they believe in god. About 10% in both countries who professed a religious affiliation said that they didn't believe in god. Those people have been able to separate the experience of religious community from the core question of theism.

Makes ya think, don't it?
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 06:42 am
@Setanta,
I would add to that that there are a number among organized religion that teach it despite not believing it. I used to work with a fellow who was studying to be a priest as he had a fascination with religion, yet had no belief that a god existed. It pays well and there are many perks. I guess if it pays well Smile
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 03:47 pm
@Smileyrius,
Smileyrius wrote:
I used to work with a fellow who was studying to be a priest as he had a fascination with religion, yet had no belief that a god existed.

Before you sneer, check out the Sea Of Faith Network.

http://www.sofn.org.uk/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Faith



contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 03:48 pm
@Smileyrius,
Smileyrius wrote:
I would add to that that there are a number among organized religion that teach it despite not believing it.

Depends what you mean by "teach" and "believe". See my post above.


Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 03:57 pm
@contrex,
I'll try another statement to the same effect which clarify my original

There are those on the payroll of organised religious bodies who do not believe that the God they represent actually exists
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 03:58 pm
@rosborne979,
Is your assertion that no theist could have come to be a theist through logic and reason?
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 04:00 pm
@contrex,
Thank you for those links, contrex. That movement is news to me.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 04:00 pm
There was no reason to characterize Smiley's remark as a sneer. Contrex obviously doesn't know Smiley.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 04:17 pm
I'm sure I knew of jesuits who stopped believing, but haven't data on that, just people who knew some other people. I know at least one person who was a believer, an atheist, and changed later back to believing.

The first is hearsay and the second from someone I know.
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 04:31 pm
@Smileyrius,
Maybe your friend should start to believe in himself before reaching out for contradictory concepts to subdue his insecurities.
Or, maybe not.
Answer is subjective - Hence uncalculable.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 04:38 pm
@Setanta,
In fact, Contrex didn't accuse Smiley of sneering. He was merely cautioning Smiley against doing so. Subtle difference.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 04:53 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
There was no reason to characterize Smiley's remark as a sneer. Contrex obviously doesn't know Smiley.

Maybe "sneer" is the wrong word, in which case I apologise. I wanted to convey the idea that it is possible for a person to sincerely hold a calling as a priest without believing in a "real" God. UK people may remember Dr David Jenkins, the Bishop of Durham during the 1980s, who some sections of the UK press dubbed "the bishop who doesn't believe in God". More sober commentators noted that his views had been held by some academic theologians since the 1890s. There is some leakage of non realist views across religious boundaries. I have read of an address given by the ex--Catholic, now Anglican Rev Jude Bullock, who is mentioned on the Sea Of Faith website, to an interested Reform synagogue in London.
0 Replies
 
 

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