Monday, October 15, 2007

Atheist Turned Christian Advises Truth Seeking

I love irony, especially when the one being ironic is doing it on accident. I have an old post (over two years old!) that a friend of mine once wrote and requested that I post on my blog. I almost forgot about the post entirely, but just today a guy named Atheist Turned Christian submitted a comment on it.

His comment was well meaning, but with all due respect, the guy has some seriously backwards ideas in his head. I decided to respond to him by making a blog post rather than replying in the comments. Other atheist readers should feel free to respond to it to in the comments section of this post. But be nice and extend to him the same level of respect the he has given. His words are in italics and indented, and my words are regular format:

AtheistTurnedChristian said...

For 19 years I was an Atheist. Now I'm Christian. You can call me crazy, but I was just like you, the way I saw things was just like you.

Welcome to my blog, Atheist Turned Christian!

Actually, we are more like polar opposites than just like each other. You see, I was a Christian for 17 years, but now I'm an atheist. You can call me crazy, but I did the exact opposite flip that you did. I guess I can at least concede though that we share the similarity of flipping from one extreme worldview to the other.

Rather than trying so hard to debunk everything, why don't you just try your best to find the truth?

Actually, I already did that years ago, back when I was a Christian. It was my studying to learn more about the "truth" of my Christian faith that eventually backfired and started my slow but mind-blowing journey to atheism.

You write an essay with your mind set on being Anti-Christian.

Well of course I do. When I was a Christian I was passionate about spreading the faith, and now that I'm an atheist I am passionate about spreading the rationality. My passion for seeking the truth hasn't ever changed, only my worldview has changed.

You think Christians and religious people are crazy, but they were all once atheists or at the very least agnostics.

Just to set the record straight, I do not believe at all that Christians and religious people are crazy simply because of their faith. It is the faith itself that is crazy. To use a variation of a popular saying, "Crazy people will do crazy things, and normal people will do normal things. But for normal people to do crazy things, that takes religion."

They see something you don't see, but they can at least say they've been where you are. Can you say you've been where they are? Can you say you were once religious? If not, you're speaking with half the experience of those who are religious. Especially those who are 'born-again' and not born into a religion.

If they were born into a religion then they weren't really consciously atheistic, were they? And yes, I can say that I've been where the Christians were. I used to think I felt God and heard Jesus talk to me when I prayed. I used to attend Sunday service regularly. I was also a member of the church's youth group, and went on various LOG (Love Of God) retreats. I can go on... but I think that should suffice. And no offense, Atheist Turned Christian, but it is not very nice to assume that an atheist has never been a theist or has never experienced faith. Most atheists, especially the vocal and active atheists like me, had their starts in religion, and only became atheists after many painful months, and even years, of self-reflection and thought and prayer. I for one did everything I could do to stop the erosion of my faith, but I couldn't stop learning about the issues and I couldn't stop honestly looking at the arguments. I couldn't lie to myself or force myself to continue believing what had eventually shown itself to be an obvious, blatant, and horrible lie: faith.

If you look at history, man's moral degradation worsens as religion is pushed further and further away. How's that good?

You are most definitely incorrect. Please show some supporting evidence for this assertion. In the meantime, I will provide some links that show that the less religious a society is, the better off they are. Enjoy these:

Intelligence and Religion Statistics
Societies Worse Off When They Have God On Their Side
Religiosity Common Among Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Strep Throat > Faith

Those are good links for starters, but I got lots more where that came from. I can't wait to see what you present as evidence to the contrary.

The billions of people on earth who believe in a God, how can you DEFINITIVELY say you are right? Everyone is just on one big acid trip and you're right?

That is nothing but a plain old argument from popularity. And I do not claim to DEFINITELY be right. I'm only claiming that the evidence and logic is vastly in favor of atheism being true, and God being imaginary. I am the first to admit the possibility of being wrong, but I am more than comfortable betting my chips on atheism.

So why don't you share with me the story of how you went from atheist to Christian? Atheists that convert to Christianity are seemingly rare in the blogosphere, and I'd love to hear how it happened to you.


Russell Hume said...

Just a note, he states:

They see something you don't see, but they can at least say they've been where you are. Can you say you've been where they are? Can you say you were once religious? If not, you're speaking with half the experience of those who are religious. Especially those who are 'born-again' and not born into a religion.

This is simply an appeal to anecdotal evidence. We do not rely on personal experience to validate the truth of a proposition, we have logic and science for that.

Glintir said...

You think Christians and religious people are crazy, but they were all once atheists or at the very least agnostics.

Uhhhh..... Okay, I get the born agains. However, if his statement is true, then he's admitting that children are atheists until indoctrinated otherwise. Sounds right to me. Odd to hear him admit that.

SMACK! No it's not, he's not thinking, he's regurgitating. My mistake.

Anonymous said...

"The billions of people on earth who believe in a God, how can you DEFINITIVELY say you are right? Everyone is just on one big acid trip and you're right?"

Besides being an argument from popularity, it's not even a GOOD argument from popularity. If you say "20 million people bought Michael Jackson's last album so it must be good" at least you are saying that 20 million people bought the same thing.

Saying that Billions of people believe in God is a misnomer without defining first what the hell you mean by God! At least the Michael Jackson album is concrete, there's only one version of it, and it's exactly the same. That lends a LITTLE bit of weight to the argument, even if it's not a rational argument. We all make popularity judgments all the time. We all say to ourselves "wow, that restaurant has a line going out the door every day for 8 hours a day, I'll have to try it".

But saying that about God implies that there is some consistency in God-belief that doesn't exist in the slightest bit.

It's all a wash anyway, since all of these are subjective aesthetic assertions (i.e. Michael Jackson is a good artist, Chinese food is good, etc) not truths, as implied above.


Aaron Kinney said...

Russel, Glintir, and Olly,

Excellent points, all! I didnt think about those points.

And I really like what Olly said about the definition of God and how its a misnomer unless you are defining which God youre talking about.

Well done! Now where is this Atheist Turned Christian? I want him to come back and respond to this post.

Unknown said...

I like the post. I've been trying to see the "rationality" in Christianity lately by trying to open my heart to some Christian friends. If I can't agree with them, I can at least have compassion for them. It seems to be drawing me farther away, sadly. I'm beginning to realize that it's essential to have others around you who think in similar ways. I'll be back!

Aaron Kinney said...


Thank you! Im glad you like the post!

Your strategy open hearted compassion in dealing with Christians is a good one. On a related note, you should read a more recent post of mine in which I expound on this very same issue. Here is a quote from the 3rd point in my three point list:

3) Win by converting your opponent, not attacking him. While this principle is not my most important one, it is certainly my favorite. Kill 'em with kindness. Hide your sword with a smile. You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Build bridges, not walls. It can be stated many different ways, but the idea is the same. When facing an opponent, the strategy is to paint both of you as being on the same side, while painting his position or ideology as actually being against the both of you. Framing the situation as you and your opponent vs. the ideology/argument in question, and not simply as you vs. your opponent, paves the way for your opponent's conversion.

Anonymous said...

"Rather than trying so hard to debunk everything, why don't you just try your best to find the truth?"

I really appreciated this part. It makes clear as daylight the deep misunderstanding about the only realistic way we have to make small steps towards the Truth.

We can advance in our understanding of the Universe we live in only by trying to debunk, to check, to falsify, to destroy all the theories we come out with to explain things and phenomena. If an idea survives to this debunking effort, then, we can be more confident of its validity and have conquered a little bit more of the truth.

angelsdepart said...

The crazy thing to consider is.....what if all of these psychos are right. What if we are standing at the gates of heaven whe we die and this guys is in a fucking mansion with gold and virgins or whatever and Peter looks at me me and goes "oh, you were an atheist. Well I don't know how to tell you this but you have to live down there" as he points to the lake of fire. Sure it is far fetched but somewhere in their warped little Christian brains I have to think that they are laughing at us with a sense of superiority. I mean how can a belief system based on eternal rewards not create this aura? Sometimes I just feel like throwing my hands in the air. Right now I feel ike I am crawling through mud. Good post Aaron!

Vic said...

The billions of people on earth who believe in a God, how can you DEFINITIVELY say you are right?

Given that there are (I think) more muslims than christians in the world, why isn't his handle "Atheist turned muslim"? Intellectual dishonesty, or just sloppy 'thinking'?

Reason's Whore said...

Very interesting post and good response. It would certianly be informative to hear former atheist's response to you in turn.

Actually I've seen a lot of posts from people who say they were Godless atheists and turned to Christianity. Generally these were people who were 1) raised in a religious household but fell away from their beliefs, 2) never actually arrived at a position of atheism through rational thought and 3) returned to theism because of its emotional appeal, often during a time of life crisis.

I know it's a cliche atheists often hear: you were never a "true" Christian...but IMO these people were never truly a-theistic, meaning naturalistic, materialistic and skeptical.

In any case, the emotional appeal of religion does not demonstrate its truth or falsehood.

Survival of the smartest said...

Here is a new point of view for you all. I used to think God could not be real. How could lies, money, and selfish ambition dominate the world I grew up in and a loving God just let it happen without intervention?
Later on in life I killed someone.... Feeling the life drain from him through my actions and hate was surreal. I don't want to believe in a spirit, but watching his fade away was like looking at the sun through a telescope. It definitely changed something inside of me and not by my choice.
Years later I was at the seen of a brutal accident. Two people dying were maimed beyond repair. Again, I watched silently and objectively as the young lady gasped for her last breaths. I do not want to believe in spirits of any sort....but the more death I am mind changes.
Not many people can afford this point of view because very few of you will kill people in fights and unless you are law enforcement or medical personnel, you will not see death happen so uniquely.
I personally like the thought of no god no spirits. I enjoy not feeling anything for anybody. I do not fight emotions, I just lack an understanding of obligations to feel them. Save my son, I do not love anyone with some fictitious feeling that all people claim you should feel, and that if you do not, you are a lesser being. I resent all religion, I feel no racism, I disregard most peoples point of view unless they live great things.
I am looking for a way not believe in a god, but I now cannot find it. Atheism has only presented me authors whom I know nothing about, therefore cannot believe. Science in the course of my life has been no different than religion in that it changes and recants its own points of view every few years. New discovery cancels out the old. All my personnel Atheist friends are in some kind of mental dilemma and turn to bottles and drugs use to ease there mental pains. All of the religious people I know are constantly battling themselves and trying to convince themselves of whatever it is they think they should be believing, as if they stop affirming it God will go away from them.
I am always interested to hear a new point of view, so I thought I would share my unique position with free thinkers since you all found proof of what I cannot get past now. Namely, existence of a mind or force that put or wove or designed the format for this life, if I can say it like this....plz share your thoughts

T-Mart said...

After reading this I decided to go to my local "mega" church's website. More accurately his blog. I think everyone should go here and maybe drop him a nice hello or even a spirited "you're full of shit."

Anonymous said...

Aaron, how can you call "Faith" a lie? A person's trust in something can never be a lie, only the principle that they believe in.

Please, Explain to me what's wrong with Christianity and why you changed to Atheism...

Aaron Kinney said...


The only thing true about faith is that people have it.

Faith, BY DEFINITION, is belief in something by virtue of its unsupportability. That is, belief in something BECAUSE you cant verify the truth of it.

The object of one's faith is, definitionally, FALSE.

QED ;)

Now if you want to have a big long discussion about why I left Christianity after 17 years and became an atheist, I am happy to talk to you about it, but this comments section isnt the most efficient place to have that kind of dialogue. So perhaps you would want to contact me through MySpace or something? You can find the link to my MySpace profile in my links column. Or you can find me on Skype, if you have that program :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, well, on the whole faith thing. I could say the same thing about having faith that Christianity is false. It is virtually unsupportable. And so it's "FALSE"? But I say that you can verify the truth of chrisitanity. Can you verify the truth that christianity is definitely false?

I hope I don't sound unfriendly...

angelsdepart said...


The problem you are running into here is not a new one. It is an issue with burden of proof. I can say that "Unicorns are real." I can have faith that they are but I am making a "fantastic claim." For you to say that you don't believe that they are real, is reasonable. I now have what is referred to as the "burden of proof." It would be uncouth of me to then say "well you can't prove that they don't exist either," because the fact is, you can't. Is it reasonable for me to have you go around and try to prove all of the silly things that I might think are real though? No it is not! This is why when someone has a crazy claim like "God is always with us, or Jesus healed sick people, or your soul goes to heaven when you die" it does not fall on the unbeliever to prove that these things are false but rather it falls on the believer to prove that these things are true. To this date I have yet to see anyone do this. Can you do this Jacob? Cause if you can you will make a believer out of me.

I hope I don't sound unfriendly :)


Aaron Kinney said...

Angelsdeparts wins with a 3 pointer at the buzzer!

Anonymous said...

ha ha...alright. But if you can't prove it's False, then why don't you believe in it? But I see you're logic though. Hmm...the believers job to prove these things true. So...i'm assuming you guy's believe in evolution right? So maybe if i can convince you that evolution is wrong, it should prove that there is a God that created the world. Isn't that some sort of principle? If either 'A' or 'B' have to be true, and 'A' isn't true, then 'B' must be true.

The Probability that evolution is true. That atoms initiated life without outside help is 1 in 1•10^340,000,000. That is 1 followed by 340,000,000 zeroes. So then the probability that God created life is (1•10^340,000,000)-1/1•10^340,000,000. Basically God created life is about 99.99% while evolution is about 00.01%. If you're rational, what would you put you're faith on?

angelsdepart said...

I will try to keep this short for you Jacob since I don't want to take up Aaron's blog with a theological debate. Your statistics are nothing short of made up. On top of that you are using the "this or that" fallacy. This is a very common fallacy among Christian debaters. Let me give you another example. 'The shirt that I am wearing is not white, therefore it must be black." Do you see what is wrong with this statement? If it is not A then it is B. This is a fallacy because we forgot about Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, Red, Yellow, and several other wonderful colors. It locks us in a box and does not allow us to look at our problem with an open mind.

It actually fascinates me that Christians don't try to embrace the evolutionary theory rather than fight it so harshly. After all if god was smart enough to create a creature that was going to live in an every changing environment, wouldn't he be smart enough to make a creature that could constantly adapt to that environment?

Anyways, if you would like a structured debate, I am more than happy to give you one. Please come visit me at my blog.

Anonymous said...

Yes, well I did fail to mention the distinction between micro and macro evolution. I do believe that creatures adapt, but I'm just trying to say that a Universe of life did not come about from dust particles. But what do you believe?
What are the other color shirts?

I don't see what's wrong with my 'A' 'B' logic. I said that if 'A' or 'B' HAD to be true. So their are no 'c's and 'd's or 'red's in my scenario. Maybe I'm just ignorant, But now that their mentioned (the 'c's), can't we say that if nothing ELSE (all other scenarios) is true, then creation is true?

I'll try to get some more info on evoltion, so i'm informed and i'll have to go to your blog.

Aaron Kinney said...


Yes, well I did fail to mention the distinction between micro and macro evolution.

Macro, micro, whats the difference fundamentally? Nothing. Physics and the laws of nature are scalable and universal; in other words, the laws by which evolution occurs are the same no matter the size of the object or entity in question. And this principle of universality is evident in so many things, not just evolution.

I do believe that creatures adapt, but I'm just trying to say that a Universe of life did not come about from dust particles. But what do you believe?
What are the other color shirts?

Stars, planets, nebulas, and everything in the universe, on an atomic level, ultimately came from hydrogen and perhaps a bit of helium. Why should any degree of complexity or autonomy or replication be exempt? And with what justification? Incredulity is not an argument against abiogenesis.

Additionaly, your argument only pushes down the question, it doesnt answer it. If we assume that "macro" evolution or the beginning of life requires a designer by virtue of its complexity, then where did the designer come from? Is the designer of life not also complex? By your logic, wouldnt he have to be MORE complex than the very things he designed? So why would the "its so complex that it needs a designer" claim also apply to whatever designed us?

I don't see what's wrong with my 'A' 'B' logic. I said that if 'A' or 'B' HAD to be true. So their are no 'c's and 'd's or 'red's in my scenario. Maybe I'm just ignorant, But now that their mentioned (the 'c's), can't we say that if nothing ELSE (all other scenarios) is true, then creation is true?

Actually, your a-b logic fails to get off the ground, because it pushes back the question instead of answering it. Its internally inconsistent. That is because, as I explained above, invoking a rule that posits a designer for any sufficiently complex system only brings up the question of who designed the complex designer, and then who designed the designers designer, ad nausem.

Anonymous said...

Back to the original question: IF God is fake ... how did hydrogen and a bit of helium get to be here? How did the Universe get here? The big bang? How did that get here? So you see, you have to have faith to be an Atheist.

So why put your faith in this? What could you possibly gain from it?

The a-b logic wasn't meant to answer a question. It was meant to express a point. I still wanna know what the other colors or shirts are. As far as I know, there is only Atheism and Theism. So the a-b thing was supposed to say that if Atheism is wrong then theism, is right. But you must believe that their is some third choice that explains how neither exist.

The reason incredulity is relevant is because the probability of spontaneous generation makes it extremely unlikly.

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: jacob,

Back to the original question: IF God is fake ... how did hydrogen and a bit of helium get to be here? How did the Universe get here? The big bang?

The first law of thermodynamics says that none of this "got" here, it was always here. Matter and energy are never created nor destroyed.

Besides, if we are to require for everything to be created, then that applies to god too. You cant change the rules arbitrarily from one entity to another.

If God needs no creator than neither does the universe. But if the universe needs a creator than so does God.

angelsdepart said...

The thing that trips up conversations between atheist and theist is that they are coming from completely different perspectives. Atheist tend to look for evidence while theist look for purpose. Jacob, you are repeatedly asking and trying to solve for how we could possibly believe the way we do given that the only way life makes sense is if it is intentional and the only way it is intentional is if god created it. You are making assumptions with this reasoning though. We do not get trapped in that style of thinking. Even if there was only a0.000000000000001% chance that life as we know it could not happen without a creator, the fact is that it did end happening that way. Are we solving based on evidence or on statistical improbabilities? In this explanation the smaller probability is were everything ended up. Things are how they are and they will always be that way. Evolution has not planned progression, purpose or meaning. It is just what it is. Once you cease to look for purpose and meaning in all of these things you may be more open to define your reality by evidence rather than faith.

Anonymous said...

then show me the evidence...

angelsdepart said...

As far as I know, there is only Atheism and Theism. So the a-b thing was supposed to say that if Atheism is wrong then theism, is right. But you must believe that their is some third choice that explains how neither exist.

There are many schools of thought as to how the world got here, what its purpose is and who we are supposed to worship in spite of it all.

then show me the evidence...

I am not claiming to have the answer Jacob. I am just claiming that you don’t have it either, because if you did you would have already made a believer out of me.

Anonymous said...

There is more to us than meets the eye. The wonders of the human mind, microbiology, the complexity of life, such intelligent design needs an intelligent designer. The odds of random evolution of life in the universe are just too slim to be random. We are in the hospitable orbit of the sun, The fact that we are smart enough to think about and debate such topics like this are proof enough of god's existence and his creation of us. We are so much more than these bodies and All atheists deep down want an afterlife, but their minds are narrowed by the lack of god in society today. So because of that I can't Blame you atheists for feeling the way you do.

Anonymous said...

Well, Christianity is a big lie. I was a Christian for 33 years. Not to say that I had a smooth ride when it came to faith.
For eg. I had to grapple with issues that was I believe common to most of the people who are christians. For eg. "Jesus virgin birth", I was supposed to believe it, I never quite believed it, yet when I go to church and say the Apostles creed, I have to utter an untruth. I have to say something that I never believed in. Towards the end I figured out it is so much easier not to be a christian. But more importantly I learned about other faiths that are poles apart when it comes to christianity when it comes to belief. For eg. Buddhists are atheists. They dont believe in God, God as a creator etc. But they teach you to value your spiritual experiences. And again no force is placed on you. You are free not to believe if you dont have that experience.
So with Hinduism where they take the whole universe as God and teaches that you are just a part of it that has no concrete identity. So these are definitely ways that help humans to lead good life. I am not an atheist because, underlying the word 'atheist' there is a belief that 'God' is a person( say with sexy blonde hair and blue eyes etc) who sayd "Let there be light" and there was light. I think you can give alternative definition of God and it becomes unreasonable to say some of those dont exist. For eg. If you define God as nature, then your worldview changes profoundly. You see nature as not only existing, but you and others being part of it. You can feel empathy with the suffering and enough motivation to do good and enough wisdom to understand what is good.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting, and I am glad that I found this blog. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and believe that He is the maker of all things. I was a little confused when I recently was watching the news, and they were doing a story on these athiests that were running ads on city buses. These ads say there are no gods, so just be jolly, or something of the sort. I am curious why they would care what others believe as if its hurts them to see people of faith. I guess I don't understand what they are trying to accomplish here. If you don't believe, then you don't believe, it's just that simple. Christians, or persons of any faith, put their faith out there for everyone to see because they genuinely care about them and their souls. As I Christian, I know how many "fakes" are out there, I know that some people are in fact hypocrites, however, we are each individuals accountable for our own actions, and it is not because of thinking anyone is better that anyone thing, it is a human thing. Everyone has the tendency to do wrong, Christian or Atheist, human by a sinful nature. So as I cannot account for other Christians, I can only be accountable for my own actions, and ultimately, when it is my time to face my final judgement, I know at that particular time, I will not be able to make excuses because "they were gossiping", or "they lied", or "they stole something". I have to be consciensous every minute of every day, to live my life, to the best of my ability according to the Word of God. If I mess up, then I am the one accountable. By being a Christian, I know that if I ask God for forgiveness in genuine mindset, and make myself know what I did was wrong, and try to remedy that for life, that I have done my part, and try to live each day better and better. There is a great book that I have been reading called 'Right from Wrong' by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler. The book is geared toward youth pastors, but is very detailed in its history of objective truth, and absolute truth. I had not the greatest life growing up, I was in 2 abusive relationships, and nearly beat to death, there is plenty more to my sob story that so many others face in this world, and even worse then what I went through, but it was my faith in God that saved my life. If you want to know more, I would love to share my story. I am so blessed in my life, and it is not because I am some awesome chick that had superhuman powers to overcome everything, it was God. Stanley Newbigin,author of 'The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society', has said,"Every kind of systematic thought has to begin from some starting point". For centuries in western culture, that starting point was the nature and character of God. Please respond! I will be praying for you all continually that God will make His presence known to you in such an intimate way, that you will know the TRUTH.
God Bless you all!

Anonymous said...

there is a GOD and you will all burn for your ignorance towards him one day! muhahahahahaha!!!

Anonymous said...

We would like to nominate you for a Best

of Blog Entry.

Please visit our site at: to

submit your blog entry!

Benefits include:
1) Permanent Backlinks to your blog
2) Fully SEO optimized for maximum exposure
3) A chance to be published into a top 500 best of blog


Raz said...

I have found people who have believed themselves to have been Christian and turned from the faith, but none who have actually done so. It turned out that they really were not Christian and did not understand what it meant to be one.It makes a nice argument to say I was the other way round and turned away from Christianity ! My own position comes from one of an experience, and you can't be turned away from such very easily. Again I have had others claim the same from other faiths,but when asking the precise details found it was not so at all. Nothing had ever happened that had proven anything when looked at impartially or intelligently. Most people come to the argument from a position of bias anyway. Either they want to believe or they do not, for their own reasons. In particular, anybody who has a nice life going does not want any interference with that ! Would love to see it when they come before him, and tell him he does not exist !

Anonymous said...

ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can't hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can't speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man. 1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiableSee More