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Author Topic:   What is an "Ex Believer", anyway?
Phat
Member
Posts: 10671
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 1 of 123 (193023)
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


Often, I hear certain people who used to have religious views (mainly Christian) refer to themselves as an ex-believer. Forgive me, but I find this concept hard to define. It would be as if I once went to visit my Uncle Bill in New York City when I was 7. After meeting him and getting to know his farm, I came home with my parents. Years later, my parents told me that Uncle Bill was not our real Uncle. Who did I meet, then? :confused: Don't give me the suggestibility psychological arguments. I maintain that those who used to believe in God never actually experienced meeting Him. If they had, they would know it!
Replies to this message:
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 123 (193083)
03-21-2005 2:42 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
CK
Member (Idle past 1872 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 3 of 123 (193086)
03-21-2005 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


And those of us who are atheists would say that you are deluded.

I'll check back after 300 circular posts....


This message is a reply to:
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Dan Carroll 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2311 days)
Posts: 2904
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 4 of 123 (193087)
03-21-2005 2:59 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


It would be as if I once went to visit my Uncle Bill in New York City when I was 7. After meeting him and getting to know his farm, I came home with my parents. Years later, my parents told me that Uncle Bill was not our real Uncle. Who did I meet, then?

This needs to be answered? You met a guy named Bill. You were told he was your uncle, and you didn't question it. But in reality, things were not as you were told.

What's so complicated about that?


"Creationists make it sound as though a theory is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night."
-Isaac Asimov
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jar
Member
Posts: 30151
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 5 of 123 (193089)
03-21-2005 3:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


Let me tell you about the Muggwumps.
Before I moved back to Texas I was living in Georgia. In the apartment across the walkway lived a family with two kids, one in pre-K, the other just learning to stand on one foot.

They loved my two little doggies and would often come to the door asking if they could take Demi and D'Arcy out to play.

When Demi was little ...

they would get all their friends and play "Pass the Puppy".

They too moved back home to Texas about a year before I did. I put together a travel kit for them with two pairs of little binoculars, a road map so they could mark off the trip, crayons and stickers for cities they would go through and Official Georgia Department of Natural Resources caps to wear.

They always called me Uncle Jim even though I was not related in anyway. I still get email from them, sometimes take them to the Zoo with their parents, they send me their school pictures every year and pictures of major events like Awards Day.

But I'm not their Uncle.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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sfs
Member (Idle past 278 days)
Posts: 464
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 6 of 123 (193091)
03-21-2005 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


I'm afraid I find your question rather confused. A "believer" is someone who believes in something religious. The belief may be belief about matters of fact (e.g. God exists and Mohammed was his prophet) or a trust placed in something (e.g. trusting in God). An ex-believer is someone who used to believe (in either sense) and no longer does; he either no longer thinks the factual statements are true or no longer is able or willing to place his trust as before.

An experience of having "met God" has no necessary connection to the matter of being a believer. One can believe without ever having such an experience, and one can have an intense experience and still not believe in its reality. Of course, some (many?) believers base their belief on having had such an experience, but lots don't. Of those who do, some will later decide that they misinterpreted an inner psychological experience as an encounter with an external personal being. That you want to deny such people their own understanding of their own experience is kind of obnoxious, but is unlikely to persuade anyone but yourself.


This message is a reply to:
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mikehager
Member (Idle past 4211 days)
Posts: 534
Joined: 09-02-2004


Message 7 of 123 (193092)
03-21-2005 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


No true believer.
Do you realize that your argument is a great example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy?

The concept of ex-believer is not hard to define. A person who once had faith in a religion and no longer does. An example of one is even easier. Me.

You go on to say:

I maintain that those who used to believe in God never actually experienced meeting Him. If they had, they would know it!

In other words, if they were "real" believers (i.e. "meeting" god, whatever that means) they would never have stopped believing.

So, to paraphrase:
Phat: There are no ex-believers.
Me: I am an ex-believer.
Phat: Ah! But you were no true believer.

Are we to take it that your position is that anyone who claims to be a believer and then changes their mind was lying or mistaken? That the only way to be a "true" believer is to believe until death?

Also, what does "meeting Him" mean? You are surely using it to mean something other then what the words actually say. Neither you nor any one else has "met" god. You have had subjective experiences that you have chosen to interpert as "meeting Him", or so I would conjecture.


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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1201 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 8 of 123 (193096)
03-21-2005 3:59 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


You were told that Bill was your Uncle. Did you believe he was your Uncle because you met him and got to know him or because someone told you he was your Uncle?

Once you were told he was not your Uncle, did you still believe he was your Uncle or did you understand the facts and why he was not a real Uncle?

Of course your example with Bill is very different from God.

Imagine that you are taken to a homestead and you are told it is Uncle Bill's. There was no Uncle Bill there. You spent time in the house and on the farm. Your parents tell you stories of Uncle Bill, but there are no photos of Uncle Bill in the house and Uncle Bill never shows up.

You believed Uncle Bill was real because your parents told you he was.
So during your stay, did you really meet Uncle Bill and get to know him?

Later your parents tell you that there really isn't an Uncle Bill and that wasn't his house.
Do you believe what your parents tell you or do you investigate?

If you investigate and find out that you have no Uncle Bill in your family tree, do you continue to believe you have an Uncle Bill?


"The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which lasts forever." --Anatole France
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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3577
From: Florida
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 9 of 123 (193192)
03-22-2005 12:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


phatboy writes:

Who did I meet, then?


You met someone that you thought was your uncle. In reality, such an uncle never existed... just like god.

I maintain that those who used to believe in God never actually experienced meeting Him.

Oh, so now you're a mind reader.
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Replies to this message:
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Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 10 of 123 (193229)
03-22-2005 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-21-2005 10:19 AM


The thing you've got to realise Phatboy is that your god doesn't exist, he's a figment of your imagination. At one time I had a figment of my imagination that I called "God" or "Jesus" (depending on mood) but I came to realise that that's all it was - a figment of my imagination - and decided I'd rather live in the real world without an imaginary friend to call my own.
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contracycle
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 123 (193247)
03-22-2005 6:14 AM


It's also dangerously close to being a blame-game - clearly, if god has not come to you, either "your heart was closed to him" or you must be in some way unworthy. Whatever, the failure of god to appear is rationalised as your fault, rather than as just possibly indicating god is imaginary. This is one of the unsavoury aspects of religion that makes it dishonest and manipulative.

This message has been edited by contracycle, 03-22-2005 06:15 AM


  
Citizzzen
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 123 (193478)
03-22-2005 4:28 PM


I am not a Billist, I am a devout uncle Charlie-ist...
On a related note, and something that fascinates me, who is it that Muslims, and Deist Buddhists and Hindus meet/experience? If you ask them, they would say Allah or maybe Krishna. However, if these are "false" gods, then they must either be meeting your god under a different name, or they are not experiencing anything real at all...

I have asked my Christian friends who claim the ultimate proof of God is the emotional connection they feel this same question. Some are sure that other religious believers do NOT feel anything like they do. Other speculate that they are communing with lesser gods.

As an atheist, I say that they are all experiencing the same thing, and that it comes from within not from outside.

Citizzzen


The message is ended, go in peace.
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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 477 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 13 of 123 (193481)
03-22-2005 4:46 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Citizzzen
03-22-2005 4:28 PM


Re: I am not a Billist, I am a devout uncle Charlie-ist...
even as a christian, i suspect you are probably right.
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jar
Member
Posts: 30151
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 14 of 123 (193488)
03-22-2005 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Citizzzen
03-22-2005 4:28 PM


Re: I am not a Billist, I am a devout uncle Charlie-ist...
As a Christian, not only do I think you're correct, but to limit GOD by saying he was incapable of reaching audiences through different means, different people goes against what is shown in the Bible and also diminishes and limits GODs capabilities.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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Phat
Member
Posts: 10671
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 15 of 123 (193602)
03-23-2005 3:51 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Lammy
03-22-2005 12:21 AM


I'm not insane, I'm telling you! You've Got to believe me!
CK writes:

And those of us who are atheists would say that you are deluded.

I know. We really should do a test to validate or invalidate my sanity! ;)

Jar writes:

But I'm not their Uncle.

Not by Blood. We are not related to God by Blood unless His Blood is accepted as part of our belief. His shed Blood, that is.
sfs writes:

I'm afraid I find your question rather confused. A "believer" is someone who believes in something religious.

No. A Believer is someone who has actually( at least in their perception) met God...through a spiritual epiphany. My point is that once you meet someone, you can never deny their reality.
That you want to deny such people their own understanding of their own experience is kind of obnoxious, but is unlikely to persuade anyone but yourself.
OK. I will admit that I am asking everyone to accept MY idea of Belief.
I keep forgetting that my truth is not perceived by many of you as your truth. Alas....
mikehagar writes:

Do you realize that your argument is a great example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy?

Why yes! You are right. But why is this fallacy provable as false?
What are the rules of logic, here? Are we bound by human wisdom derived logic or can we allow my experience with the divine to be entered as my source of truth?
mikehagar writes:

Also, what does "meeting Him" mean? You are surely using it to mean something other then what the words actually say. Neither you nor any one else has "met" god. You have had subjective experiences that you have chosen to interpert as "meeting Him", or so I would conjecture.

So lets wheel Phatboy off to the rubber room and reassure him that he met god....all the while defending the sanity of a society which surely could never allow such a supernatural truth to be a viable possibility. Come visit me occasionally, and I will tell you more supernatural tales from the world which you dismiss as insanity.
purpledawn writes:

Imagine that you are taken to a homestead and you are told it is Uncle Bill's. There was no Uncle Bill there.

ahh but in my example, Uncle Bill was there.
You spent time in the house and on the farm. Your parents tell you stories of Uncle Bill, but there are no photos of Uncle Bill in the house and Uncle Bill never shows up.
You believed Uncle Bill was real because your parents told you he was.
In your parable, YOU believed__________because your parents said so. In my example, I believed because I experienced.

So during your stay, did you really meet Uncle Bill and get to know him?

Uncle Bill=God. And yes, I DO talk with Him every day. Were you to observe me, you could rightly conclude that I was talking to myself. Rightly, at least, within your belief paradigm.
What if you experienced what I claim to have experienced. Would you stick to your rational mind and attempt every way to explain your experience within a empiracal framework?
In other words, do you refuse to consider belief because it is uncomfortable, impossible, or merely threatening to your own sense of control over what you allow to influence you? :)

BTW Lam...Don't we have fun disagreeing with each other? If I ever became smitten with your logic and reasoning and wanted to be tutored by you, would you not want to gag? In other words, is not disagreeing with me more fun? Why else do we waste our time here?
I really could be watching T.V. right now...which reminds me...gotta go! ;)

This message has been edited by Phatboy, 03-23-2005 01:56 AM


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