At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

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At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

4 or younger
3
1%
5
3
1%
6-7
10
5%
8-9
10
5%
10-11
17
8%
12-14
43
20%
15-18
53
25%
19-23
28
13%
24-29
3
1%
30 or older
1
0%
Never
27
13%
Otter / Duck
17
8%
 
Total votes: 215

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:42 pm UTC

Your face makes everything you say magnify in its humor. The expression is priceless.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby null » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:43 pm UTC

I was never brought up with a religion...I knew some people believed in god, but personally i never found a need for it...

If i had a question, i usually looked in an encyclopedia...Oh btw im an engineer. Its so genetic its not funny.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:46 pm UTC

MotorToad wrote:Yes, you're right. The angle of it I was trying to get at is that this omnipotent being apparently doesn't notice that these douchebags are flying his flag. I mean, I'd be pissed as all hell if some redneck church made huge signs that said "MOTORTOAD HATES FAGS" or that sort of thing (there's a thread on here somewhere, I'm sure you've seen it). Were that happening, and I was omnipotent, there would be some biblical-proportion smiting going on. And that is nothing like the scale of the church killing hundreds or thousands of innocent people for no reason. Or bombing abortion clinics.


Given that, apparently this whole free-will thing is so we can come to love him by our own decision instead of loving him like his angel posse does (because he made them that way), one of the side-effects is the need for that free-will love to be tested. Free-will doesn't do a damned thing if there's only one game in town. So... you need assholes like this doing stupid shit proudly proclaiming "JEEBUS IS WITH MEEEE!!!" to test the believers and make sure they're down with being lumped in with those fucktards.

At least, as I understand it. It's not so much that God approves of them, but they're a necessary evil.

Of course, I've always thought the whole Satan and Lucifer thing was because *someone* had to do it. I mean, Satan clearly exists because there needed to be something to define what was NotGod. Lucifer's fall thing was because someone had to show that even if you're good and down, it's easy to get off the right track

Oh btw im an engineer. Its so genetic its not funny.


How.. is a profession genetic?
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:50 pm UTC

Ren wrote:For him, it was like he was an astronaut whose child doesn't believe the world is round. You know? I felt terrible. I love my parents, I didn't want to hurt them.


This hit very close to home. My father doesn't just want me to go through the motions of being an observant Jew, he wants me to believe and feel what he does for the faith. As such, I'll placate him with larger matters and goto Yom Kippur services, but what he really wants is an express desire to be spiritual with Judaism as the venue.

Unfortunately, he won't get it, and it'll continue to be a thorn in our side. Religion was crammed down my throat until I was 16 or so, and spending a summer in Israel I finally realized one could culturally identify as being Jewish, like I did, without giving two shits about faith, as I don't. (I find that to be a very interesting phenomenon, being culturally jewish but not spiritually jewish)

We're all just people. No one has any right to tell me how I should feel about things, nor I them.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby proof_man » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

edit
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Ess » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:11 pm UTC

As a small child, I didn't have much exposure to religion, but once I went to kindergarten all my friends were very Christian, so I learned about stuff from them and considered myself Christian. I had a few doubts about the whole God thing, and in 4th grade I decided it was all bull**** and declared myself an atheist (this happened right after September 11th, and I was in a general "everything sucks and I hate it all" phase.). A few years later, I went through a finding myself phase, went back on the whole there is no God thing, and was considering several religions until I realized none of them were right for me. I went back to being an atheist until fairly recently when I reevaluated my belief in a lack of a higher power and decided I was really more agnostic.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby cypherspace » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:22 pm UTC

Ess wrote: I went back to being an atheist until fairly recently when I reevaluated my belief in a lack of a higher power and decided I was really more agnostic.


Can I just point out to you, and some others, that atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive? They deal with different aspects of belief. Anyone who does not actively believe in a god is an atheist. Everyone is an atheist with regard to Thor and Zeus. Agnosticism is a different kind of question - it deals with whether the question of God can ever be answered. What you are, most likely, is an agnostic atheist. You don't believe in a god, but you don't think it's conclusively proven there isn't one. Similarly it's possible to be an agnostic theist - someone who believes there is a higher power but doesn't think it can be conclusively proven. It's a common misconception but it needs to be corrected.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby DayTripper47 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

I was raised in a VERY Christian family. My dad is a pastor. Up until about half a year ago when I was 15, I considered myself to be a hardcore Christian. It was only at about that time that I truly appreciated the value of knowledge and being intelligent. As I started conversing with my more intelligent friends, reading more books, listening to more music, just learning more in general and using logic and reason to sort out my beliefs, I realized how extremely ignorant my Christian acquaintances and I were. At first, my reaction to this revelation was to just stop caring, but then I realized I needed to take a stand on my beliefs. I wouldn't say I'm atheist, but I definitely don't believe in God anymore, so I guess I'm an agnostic. However, influence from my previous beliefs still are very important to me. Right now, I have nothing against religion and encourage whoever wishes to pursue it. But myself, I regard religion as a philosophy. I still live according to some of Jesus' teachings and of the rest of the Bible, because I believe they are very true, but as a philosophy. However, completely opposite of that, I also believe in Nietzsche's philosophy in Thus Spoke Zarathustra about the arts and pursuit of becoming like the overman.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Jessica » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:02 pm UTC

Raised agnostic, now athiest.
Not really a change in faith.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Cheese » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:08 pm UTC

Born and raised a Catholic. At about 11-12 (I voted 12, because I'm sure that I was sure (of the complete load of bollocks that I see Catholicism as) by then), I realised my realisations, explained in the brackets inside those parentheses. However, my wonderful parents decided that I still had to go to church with them every week, or lose the roof over my head.

Isn't organised religion great at imposing itself onto those who don't believe a word of it?


Oh, and what's probably an FT: I've planned to make a poll labelled 'religion of upbringing', with options as to the changing of one's faith (or lack of it) during their life, several months back, but never got round to it. This one, along with the replies made to the OP, probably sums up what information I'd have gleaned from that. Thank you, Robin S.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby MFHodge » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

cypherspace: What are the "weak" and "strong" supposed to mean in your graphic? As there seems to be that "gnostic" = "strong", what additional information is it meant to convey?
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:26 pm UTC

@VTHodge: I think he's referring to the whole "weak atheism"/"strong atheism" thing. Which could also spill over to the theist side in that plane.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:28 pm UTC

gnostic smash! You ever fight with a zen gnostic? Its like trying to hit water.Water that hits hard.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Ess » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:44 pm UTC

cypherspace wrote:What you are, most likely, is an agnostic atheist. You don't believe in a god, but you don't think it's conclusively proven there isn't one.]



Actually, I've decided that there's just too much stuff in the universe for there to be no higher power that set all the rules and put everything in motion; I just don't think that higher power is an old man in the sky that judges you and wants to be worshiped. So what exactly does that make me?

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:03 pm UTC

@Ess: Someone who has never played the Game of Life (not the stupid boardgame, nor the one where you live).
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:05 pm UTC

Ess wrote:Actually, I've decided that there's just too much stuff in the universe for there to be no higher power that set all the rules and put everything in motion; I just don't think that higher power is an old man in the sky that judges you and wants to be worshiped. So what exactly does that make me?


Depends. If you don't think the higher power cares anymore, possibly a Deist
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby cypherspace » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:05 pm UTC

Ess wrote:
cypherspace wrote:What you are, most likely, is an agnostic atheist. You don't believe in a god, but you don't think it's conclusively proven there isn't one.]


Actually, I've decided that there's just too much stuff in the universe for there to be no higher power that set all the rules and put everything in motion; I just don't think that higher power is an old man in the sky that judges you and wants to be worshiped. So what exactly does that make me?


A theist, just not a Christian (often known as a deist). Probably an agnostic theist. If you answer the question "Do you believe a god or gods exist" with "yes", that makes you a theist, regardless of other qualifiers. This does leave the question of defining "god", but I think that's probably one for another topic...

VTHodge - it's not my graphic, just one I found. But yes, it refers to what is often termed "weak" or "strong" atheism, in that an agnostic atheist is often one that does not actively believe in a god but doesn't rule it out, on the basis that we can never know everything - this is often referred to as "weak" atheism, whereas "strong" atheism usually means that someone actively believes that there is no god in the universe. In this case agnosticism and gnosticism are related in the same way atheism and theism are related - agnosticism is the lack of certainty in the same way that atheism is a lack of belief.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Cheese » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:48 pm UTC

Insignificant Deification wrote:@Ess: Someone who has never played the Game of Life (not the stupid boardgame, nor the one where you live).
I once spent about twelve hours trying to make something that'd produce those 'walker' thingies... I failed, and looked one up. I assume that you're talking about the "three cells lives, two or three cells continues to live" game of life?

Oh, and as I don't think I said it in my previous post - I think of myself as a 'strong' atheist, as in completely sure of the complete lack of any 'intelligent power'. However, I don't try and spew it all over anyone with faith of any kind, as:
1) It's their choice - if believing in something helps at all, go them.
2) It's probably not the best way to make friends;
"Hey, you're religious? Wow, that makes no sense in my belief system! Why the hell do you think that there's some guy watching you [on the toilet/during sex/getting drunk/watching porn/sleeping/masturbating/other generally private thing]? I think it's a stupid idea."
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:03 pm UTC

Yes, that game of life.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Cheese » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:06 pm UTC

I sort of get what you mean... but just don't see that principle being applied to our world. I'm willing to listen to any arguments about agnosticism, and the proving/disproving of the existence of 'god', but seriously doubt that you'd make any headway into my lack of belief.

I guess that's what being forced to 'believe' in something's done to me.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:11 pm UTC

I think.. and I'm sure ID will correct me if I get her point wrong... the parallel is that a small set of simple rules produce incredibly complex results.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Cheese » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:18 pm UTC

Good point. Although there is often some intelligent design behind the Game of Life, and sometimes just a lot of random chance (depending on whether you make a pattern to begin with, or just move your mouse around and click a bit (assuming you're using your mouse to design the starting configuration)). Metaphors are annoying, as they can usually be interpreted in several contrasting ways...
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:25 pm UTC

ST got it right.

And the game of life doesn't need intelligent design, what's happening there is we're making a model of our predictions of what would happen if this layout happened in the game of life when we manually set the parameters in the game of life. Follow?
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Dobblesworth » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:54 am UTC

Initially brought up Roman Catholic, church every sunday. I never really showed much interest or faith in Catholicism back then, despite taking Communion and everything. Around 11/12 I started thinking of myself as an atheist, and it was around this time I was too busy at weekends to go to church, so I guess that affirmed things. As a teenager I slided more towards general agnosticism as a result of religious studies lessons over secondary school. Despite having some serious atheists (and Christians for that matter) among my circle of friends, I currently think of myself as a deist. Rational non-religious belief in the existence of a powerful non-intervening being(s) kinda suits me I reckon. Although one of my atheist friends said, on first meeting her and having a late night chat about religion and that crap, that she considers deists to be a 'bunch of agnostics who act smug when you can't conclusively disprove their beliefs, while they can't conclusively back them up.'

In general, religion and God isn't something I think about really.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby TheKhakinator » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:02 am UTC

cypherspace wrote:We had prayers at school and religious songs, but I remember always looking round in prayers wondering what everyone else was doing, and I just liked the songs and never paid attention to what the lyrics were actually about.

I always loved this as a kid. Once went to my friend's house and his family said Grace at dinner, and I sneakily opened my eyes trying to figure out if anyone was taking it seriously.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:03 am UTC

Insignificant Deification wrote:Your face makes everything you say magnify in its humor. The expression is priceless.


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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:17 am UTC

It's definitely a compliment.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby N.K. » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:41 am UTC

I was an apathetic agnostic before. I was, "Well, silly humans and their silly idea that they can understand the ways of a God." I never gave the subject much thought.

At 12, I began getting more militantly agnostic, and thought more and more about the subject of religion.

Right now, I'm a fairly militant agnostic. Mind, I don't start debates, but if someone challenges me, I sure as hell finish them.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby @trophy » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:39 am UTC

@trophy here, reporting for the minority.

My mom is Christian, my dad is Baha'i. He was raised Methodist and became Baha'i in college. I was raised pretty much without religion ever being a factor... we went to church once or twice a year with my cousins, and I thought it was something I had to sit through, but that's pretty much it.

When I was 14 I asked myself for the first time "What do I want to believe?" Don't know why... just thought it was a good idea to ask myself that I guess. Anyways, I became a Christian at that point, and was way too dogmatic over the next two years, although I struggled with it a lot because I had the constant nagging feeling that the actions of the modern church were incongruent with the teachings of Christ (obviously bombing abortion clinics is, but I'm not talking about that... I'm talking about the small stuff that happens in churches on a daily basis).

My senior year in high school I met a girl who was a fellow thinker, and did a lot more re-evaluating. I began to feel the same way about being a Christian that I do about being an American: America was founded on some really good ideas, that if we actually put them into practice would make the world a lot better place. Unfortunately, America's citizens don't always live up to those ideas, so while I retain total loyalty to the ideas themselves, I also have no problem burning flags or whatever to alert people to the fact that those ideas are being neglected.

Also, I believe in evolution, old-earth, all that jazz... so I'm not sure if that would affect how I should have answered for the purposes of this poll.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:59 am UTC

I live in rural Oklahoma. Heavy Baptist. My mother's got a viewpoint I find irritating (not because it's stupid, but because it's so...inconclusive? Probably irrational irritation.) and that would be Deism or something. Any discussion she has on this topic includes the phrase "something" because she doesn't pin it down, just that she refuses to accept a material world. That said, for some reason I can't understand, I semi-regularly attended church for a long, long time.

Never bought it. Some part of my mind perked up and said "none of these people know this for sure...how can they believe this stuff? Magic's not real, this stuff is outrageous, they have no proof" I wouldn't have phrased it that way when I was four, but nonetheless that was the sentiment. This continued, and I even for a little while believed God to be Basically an adult Santa Claus: nobody believed it, but they pretended to out of tradition.

When I was eleven, I was reading the IGN forums (my hangout of choice back then) and came across someone claiming to be an atheist and espousing their viewpoint. Either I'd seen the word before, I worked it out through context, or I had that much Greek in me already. Whatever the method, I understood the word, and suddenly got that it was a valid philosophical position. I suddenly understood that I didn't have to have a faith, and I took that road.

In sixth grade, soon after this, I started attending weekly Wednesday youth services, but it was too late, I was inoculated. Any argument advanced for God, I saw the holes in. I researched my position and was able to hold my own against attacks from outside. Since then, I've kept it semi-quiet. My friends know (and agree). Anyone who asks knows. But I don't speak about it loudly--it's not done here.

As for agnosticism vs atheism, I call myself an atheist. Quite simply, it' sbecause I default that your proposition is false if it has no support. You could call me an agnostic atheist. Yes, we will never know for sure. But that certainly doesn't mean I consider it an open question. We will never know for sure that there is no teapot orbiting just beyond Mercury. But it's a ridiculous question nonetheless, and I have no responsibility to respect it. That example doesn't even involve the supernatural. Besides, 'atheist' is a better-defined and less slippery term than agnostic, so I shorten it to that. Secular humanist is also a good phrase, but a bit obscure around here.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby MotorToad » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:34 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:I live in rural Oklahoma. Heavy Baptist.
My condolences. My grandfather was a baptist preacher in a one-room unair-conditioned church outside of Norman, OK. I haven't thought back on those days in a long time... they were some of the worst times of my life. Spending summers in Oklahoma's modern version of the early 20th century should fall under "cruel and unusual."
Sir_Elderberry wrote:I suddenly understood that I didn't have to have a faith, and I took that road.
That's another thing I'd forgotten about. I'd been so indoctrinated when I was young that it took me a long time to accept "0" as an option. I knew there were holes in what I was being told and I damn sure knew I wasn't following what they said was the "way," but the last step of saying "hey, this is crap and I'm not gonna allow it to fog my thinking" took a long time for me.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby bbctol » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:45 am UTC

I've always been a sort of agnostic-type Tao-following being-that-morality-is-subjective-there's-much-point-to-all-of-this kind of guy. If I want something, I will attempt to get it without exerting myself unduly. Other than that, I will go with the flow. Does this mean I'm completely amoral? Probably.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby synaesthetist » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:13 am UTC

I want to preface this by saying that my parents never beat me and this was an isolated incident:

When I was 6, I was in a department store and was so obsessed with getting some toy that I threw a little fit over it. I even attempted to put the toy in my mothers purse when she wasn't looking so that she'd accidentally take it out of the store with her. At one point she got so frustrated that she slapped me hard across the face and I was so crazed and mid-tantrum that I immediately stomped on her foot.

Fast forward to Communion when I was supposed to have my first confessional. I told the story of the department store incident and confessed to stomping on my mom's foot and received a 15 hail Mary's. When I asked him how many hail Mary's my mom should get for slapping me, he went on a long lecture about how it was OK for her to have hit me. After leaving the confessional, that just didn't sit right with me. That priest was definitely a catalyst for my loss of faith in Church and later on (maybe a year or two later) I finally put God on a list that included the Tooth Fairy and the Loch Ness Monster.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby ducknerd » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:46 am UTC

I was brought up Quaker, was an agnostic until last July, then had some bizarre and amazing experiences at a Quaker conference. Long story short, I went to bed one day believing in God, and that conviction stayed with me for some time. In the time since, I've re-examined the specific incidents many times since and am not quite sure what made me think that. It was a truly amazing time, but how it engendered a belief in God and a commitment to Quakerism I don't understand.

Fast forward about a month. For reasons also unclear to me, I go through a brief but acute depression. Possibly biochemical, possibly situational. This leads to several extremely unhappy weeks where I reassess pretty much everything (particularly a whole bunch of theology I had recently swallowed--bad idea) I believe, and a fair amount of calming down later, here I am. I don't particularly know what I believe by now, but I'm now happy in being more open to ideas than I've ever been before. I would call myself an atheist theologically, simply because I can't see what is so important in my life about whether a God in whatever way I define one exists. Happiness exists, overwhelming irrational love exists, and meaning, however relational and unstable, exists.

Sorry, this kinda turned into a soapbox, but in my defense it's stuff I've been turning over in my head for some time now and is at least tangentially related to the topic.

EDIT: Oh, and I'm 16.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby The Cosmic Fool » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:03 am UTC

I've been agnostic for a long time. Religion is just history. However, it can't be discounted because we know so little about our universe.

We'll never figure out why we're here. We're probably not suppose to know. I don't think it's a question that could be answered.
"The future is dark, the present burdensome. Only the past, dead and buried, bears contemplation."

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby jobriath » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:47 am UTC

Never been religious but have entertained mystical ideas. Fairly recently I read Dawkins, and started to think seriously about the usual questions. Ever since, I've been an atheist, hostile to religion and deeply suspicious of faith. I mean atheist in the sense that I believe in no gods, although I would naturally reconsider my position if faced with evidence. I just consider a god to be extremely unlikely, and the formulations I have see range from offense to reason, to abstract fluff.

(I've got to laugh: I hesitated writing "Dawkins" because people nod and go "ah yes, you read that book, we've got you figured out now". The reason I found it so engrossing was because I had had 90% of those thoughts, and (as someone said earlier) never really thought that 0 could be an answer.)

Edit: athetist? I haven't been one of those yet.

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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:21 pm UTC

A bit off topic, but as a side note, believing in science and evolution and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. I think it's fairly easy to believe in both, even with a more literal interpretation of the bible (it was never specified how long a day was in Genesis. One of God's days could be millions of years). Pope John Paul II in the 90s I believe spoke about evolution, and simply said that beings evolved because God planned it as such.

I believe in evolution and tend towards the non-belief in God, but I don't think that thinking scientifically requires atheism.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:27 pm UTC

It requires you to not believe in something without a damn good reason to, though.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:31 pm UTC

Citing Carl Sagan and his invisible dragon again, a tendency towards disbelief but not wanting out outright call it a load of crap could simply be due to the incredible numbers of people around the world who all believe in something without any evidence otherwise. People need something to believe, there's something to it, or everyone's partially insane. Those are the only logical conclusions I can reach.
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Re: At what ages have you experienced changes of faith?

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:35 pm UTC

I don't call it an outright load of crap because
- As you say, millions of people believe it. This is probably the weakest reason.
- Crazy, improbable, "miraculous" things happen to people all the time with no explanation. I have been on the receiving end of some odd supernatural happenings.
- I can't disprove it any more than I can prove it. I just plain don't know.

Either way, it's not something I stress about. As I mentioned before, I live my life such that I think I'll be in the clear with any higher power, should there be one.
Last edited by PictureSarah on Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:44 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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