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The Dude
El Duderino


Reged: 11/15/02
Posts: 5013
Loc: Strong men also cry.
The Dude Converts
      #9973947 - 04/16/07 12:02 PM

My whole life I've been Christian. I went to Sunday school as a kid, ministered to others in high school and after, and went to a Christian University. When I went to college, I started to have conversations with people about why I believed what I did - in philosophy and ethics classes and with people on 2+2. I was forced to change some of my theology in order to maintain that my Christian worldview was logically sound, but that wasn't a difficult transition. I still held the firm belief that the most likely explanation for the Universe as I knew it was a Supernatural God, and the only religion that didn't seem completely off the wall wacky to me was Christianity (well, Judaism is an exception, but that's another discussion).

Well, very late Wednesday night, while reading Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion, I became logically convinced that not only is a Supernatural God not the most likely explanation for the universe, but in fact His inexistence is a virtual certainty. With this knowledge, my whole Christian beliefs are completely shattered.

I thought about this for a day or so, telling nobody, because I wanted to be sure that this wasn't a momentary lapse in faith, or half-hearted decision I'd made. I knew, though, that it wasn't. And after about 36 hours I began trying to figure out how I was going to tell people. After all, all my family, most of my friends, and (most importantly) my wife are all Christians. Not all of them buy into the fire-and-brimstone hell doctrine, but few of them are likely to be at ease about this decision - especially my wife.

As a general rule, it's a very good idea to not marry someone of a different faith, especially if that faith is very important to at least one of the partners - as it was to both my wife and me when we got married 7 mos ago. While I know I haven't wronged my wife in any way by this, I do feel like she got jipped a little. Just a few months ago she made a lifetime commitment, with a vision in her head about what that future life looked like. It included raising kids as Christians, going to church together, and sharing her spiritual journey with her husband. Much of that now can never happen.

I also have in-laws whom loaned us money for our business, and who are very devout. They are very good people, but this certainly will have a negative impact on their future likelihood to want to partner in business ventures with me.

Well, my wife's initial reaction was that she wanted to leave me. After all, she wanted her life to go in a completely different direction that I wanted, apparently. She has since realized how much she doesn't want her life to not include me, either, and has reconsidered. But we are going to go to counseling, and to say that everything is okay right now is not accurate.

My family's reaction - and that of my wife's parents - was actually better than I had hoped. That is not so say that they're okay or indifferent toward it, but it is to say that there won't be tension in those relationships, and her parents don't (at least openly) resent what I've done to their daughter.

Ultimately, I don't think I would have ever been able to really hear Dawkins's arguments were it not for all the debate I've engaged in on 2+2 and in the classrooms at my Christian University.

I don't really know how this is all going to pan out, but I do know that it's extremely unlikely that I'll ever convert back, and I don't know if my life's going to better in the end because of this. Part of me wished I'd never realized this (for the sake of my relationships, not my faith), but mostly I wish I'd realized this 7 mos ago - it would be much more fair to my wife in the decision she had to make.


CLIFF NOTES: The Dude becomes an atheist, after having been Christian his whole life. It's unknown exactly how this will affect his marriage and other relationships in his life.


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turnipmonster
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 07/14/03
Posts: 6353
Loc: ain't got no flyin' shoes
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: The Dude]
      #9974002 - 04/16/07 12:08 PM

this is a very interesting post, and something I think a lot about as one of my best friends and my sister are very devout christians and I have been an atheist from a very young age.

I realize things are probably very hard for you right now, but I am really interested in hearing about some of the things that had a profound impact on you. if you feel like expounding on them, I would be super interested. again I am sorry that this is causing trouble in your personal life, sounds like a tough situation for everyone.


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Dids
CARDS IS FUN


Reged: 02/01/04
Posts: 21118
Loc: 215 lbs of fatness
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: The Dude]
      #9974003 - 04/16/07 12:08 PM

"I thought about this for a day or so, telling nobody, because I wanted to be sure that this wasn't a momentary lapse in faith, or half-hearted decision I'd made. I knew, though, that it wasn't. And after about 36 hours I began trying to figure out how I was going to tell people. After all, all my family, most of my friends, and (most importantly) my wife are all Christians. Not all of them buy into the fire-and-brimstone hell doctrine, but few of them are likely to be at ease about this decision - especially my wife."

While I also self indentify as an athiest, and because of that kinda think it would be best if everybody else did as well, I think you need more than a few days to make this decision, especially if it's going to have that powerful of an effect on your relationship.

The other answer is that you're very much the same person today that you were last week, and regardless of what drives you, you'll still have the same qualities that made your wife love you in the first place. One would hope that if she really loves you, she'll be able to see this and you'll work through it.


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The Dude
El Duderino


Reged: 11/15/02
Posts: 5013
Loc: Strong men also cry.
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: Dids]
      #9974082 - 04/16/07 12:14 PM

Quote:

I think you need more than a few days to make this decision, especially if it's going to have that powerful of an effect on your relationship.



I don't really think so. I wasn't really on fence with my faith when this happened. I wasn't hurt by some event or by somebody and blamed it on God. I didn't say "I can't imagine how a loving God could let this happen to me." I read through an argument, accepted the argument as logically sound and accurate, and followed it through to its logical conclusion.

I hadn't initially planned on having the conversation with anybody but my wife. She's always been the first person I look to for advice, and she'd the first person I want to share anything with. Unfortunately, she left that conversation in tears and went straight to her parents. At that point it was already out there.

Quote:

The other answer is that you're very much the same person today that you were last week, and regardless of what drives you, you'll still have the same qualities that made your wife love you in the first place.



This is absolutely true, and becoming convinced of this is one of the major reasons my wife has the desire to work things out.


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The Bride
addict


Reged: 09/21/05
Posts: 430
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: The Dude]
      #9974084 - 04/16/07 12:14 PM

Wow. I enjoyed Dawkin's "Selfish Gene", but once he got on the anti-religion rant I lost interest. I figured he was just wasting his career, since the only people who would read his book would be fellow atheists. I guess I was completely wrong

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NoahSD
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 08/13/05
Posts: 8925
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: Dids]
      #9974093 - 04/16/07 12:15 PM

Ugh... I'm sorry Dude. Most of the smart people I know who are atheists wish they believed in God.

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Dids
CARDS IS FUN


Reged: 02/01/04
Posts: 21118
Loc: 215 lbs of fatness
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: NoahSD]
      #9974147 - 04/16/07 12:19 PM

Dude,

Having been an athiest my whole life, I don't really understand the whole God thing at all, so while beliving in God seems pretty damn implausible to me in the first place, I wouldn't be shocked if somebody up and started re-believing as well.

Noah,

What the heck does that mean?


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The Dude
El Duderino


Reged: 11/15/02
Posts: 5013
Loc: Strong men also cry.
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: The Bride]
      #9974152 - 04/16/07 12:19 PM

Quote:

once he got on the anti-religion rant I lost interest.



I was actually very disappointed in the book through the first 100 pages, in that it was full of rhetoric and woefully pathetic accounts of the arguments for God's existence. That kind of banter is highly unlikely to really convince anyone who has a genuine faith. (It might get a good amount of agnostics, though.)

He found his stride, however, when giving arguments why God doesn't exist, and in explaining the evolutionary processes that made us as a people susceptible to religion, as well as justifying how we can be morally good without religion. I actually haven't finished the book yet, but its very good at this point.

FWIW, it was Dawkins's "Ultimate 747 Argument" that got me, more than anything else.


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The Dude
El Duderino


Reged: 11/15/02
Posts: 5013
Loc: Strong men also cry.
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: Dids]
      #9974182 - 04/16/07 12:21 PM

Dids,

Either Noah means "most of the smart atheists I know wish that God did exist, and that there were a heaven for us to go to," or he's misrepresenting things. At least that's my take.


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turnipmonster
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 07/14/03
Posts: 6353
Loc: ain't got no flyin' shoes
Re: The Dude Converts [Re: The Dude]
      #9974213 - 04/16/07 12:23 PM

Quote:


I was actually very disappointed in the book through the first 100 pages, in that it was full of rhetoric and woefully pathetic accounts of the arguments for God's existence. That kind of banter is highly unlikely to really convince anyone who has a genuine faith. (It might get a good amount of agnostics, though.)




fwiw I had the exact same opinion of the beginning of the book, and stopped reading it at about page 80 or something. I will definitely finish it now.


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