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Thread: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

  1. #41
    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    I do not know for certain if Ravi Zacharias was an out and out atheist but as a young man when trying to kill himself he met Jesus Christ and for sure since then he has made a point of debating where the opposition to Jesus Christ is at its strongest. Alistair McGrath wrote a terrific response to the God Delusion.

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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    I promise you he didn't meet Jesus Christ lmao

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  3. #43
    MaximiIian's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calypze View Post
    BY contrast, are there any examples of atheists who became religious?
    I was raised as an atheist, in an atheistic household; I was not even raised around Christianity really, and was unaware that people seriously believed in god until late in elementary school. Though I did have several Jewish friends, I was more aware of it as an ethnicity and a set of rituals and things-done rather than as a faith.
    I became a militant atheist for much of middle school. Around age 16 I mellowed out, and began identifying as neopagan, though it was more of an identity based on its ethics, its rituals, and its spiritualistic focus on nature and folklore, though I had always sympathized with ancient and modern polytheist movements. Essentially, I came to understand that my militant atheism as really just militant anti-Christianity, because I never harbored that kind of animosity towards Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, or Pagans.

    I gradually had personal experiences that, for lack of a better term, "converted" me to polytheism. And my strong interest in ancient history led me towards devotional, reconstructionist paganism.

    I would not say that I am a person of blind faith, or anything like that. On the contrary, I am still a skeptic at heart and I encourage people to not believe things until they see it for themselves. Even if you have experiences, think critically about them.

  4. #44
    Stario's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    I used to be atheist but (as I gained more knowledge in biology, chemistry & become interested in physics & then astronomy etc ) became a deist. The universe (the origin of life) is so complex it simply cannot be chance.
    IMO the Theory of evolution by natural selection fails to explain the origin of life- the simplest living cell -in the first place.

    There is evidence of intelligent/complex design in even the simplest living one-cell organisms. Moreover, there is a key feature of living cells; one that shows evidence of intelligent design.
    Like the precisely arranged zeros and ones in a computer program, the chemical bases in DNA convey instructions by virtue of their specific arrangement -the machine code of the genes is very computer like.
    Last edited by Stario; March 05, 2020 at 07:08 AM.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blind_Watchmaker

    "To dispel the idea that complexity cannot arise without the intervention of a "creator", Dawkins uses the example of the eye. Beginning with a simple organism, capable only of distinguishing between light and dark, in only the crudest fashion, he takes the reader through a series of minor modifications, which build in sophistication until we arrive at the elegant and complex mammalian eye. In making this journey, he points to several creatures whose various seeing apparatus are, whilst still useful, living examples of intermediate levels of complexity."

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  6. #46
    Stario's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Beginning with a simple organism
    The problem is these 'simple' organism aren't actually simple at all- these so called 'simple' organism are actually very complex + also shows evidence of intelligent design- like the precisely arranged zeros and ones in a computer program, the chemical bases in DNA convey instructions by virtue of their specific arrangement -the machine code of the genes is very computer like.
    Last edited by Stario; March 05, 2020 at 07:15 AM.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blind_Watchmaker

    "To dispel the idea that complexity cannot arise without the intervention of a "creator", Dawkins uses the example of the eye. Beginning with a simple organism, capable only of distinguishing between light and dark, in only the crudest fashion, he takes the reader through a series of minor modifications, which build in sophistication until we arrive at the elegant and complex mammalian eye. In making this journey, he points to several creatures whose various seeing apparatus are, whilst still useful, living examples of intermediate levels of complexity."
    As Stario said those organisms are nowhere near simple, and comparing the complexity of the eye with the complexity of the universe is pretty stupid imho. Dawkins comes across as somebody who cannot see the forest because of the trees.

    Brian Greene makes much more sense despite being an atheist
    Last edited by Settra; March 05, 2020 at 01:08 PM.
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  8. #48
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    The god of the gaps explanation is by definition unsatisfying and doomed in an uninterrupted retreat, as scientific thinking gradually advances. Moreover, its metaphysical answer to the question of complexity poses an even greater challenge, as new question arise: Who created that omnipotent entity capable of designing such elegant mechanisms and organisms, not to mention the complexion of that entity in itself. The theist argument clumsily attempts to give a simplistic explanation, by taking advantage of our limited knowledge of the universe, but actually manages to render the problem even more difficult. The only alternative option is to manipulate the divine concept and to apply it to phenomenons like the Big Bang, but such a definition would be pretty irrelevant to how believers and theologians have been imagining god across history.

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    The god of the gaps explanation is by definition unsatisfying and doomed in an uninterrupted retreat, as scientific thinking gradually advances.
    As a former theist I have qualms with your use of "unsatisfying" by definition.
    I would put forward that it depends on one's disposition, whether one is motivated by passion or logic, as Nietzsche put it: the Dionysian or the Apollonian. Theism, I would say, is beyond reason. It exists in a separate dimension of existence. While the dimension we live in day to day is one of reason and causality, logic and quantifiable materialism. Some theists (wrong headedly) try to bridge the unbridgeable gap between these two dimensions by applying the rules of these incomparable dimensions with things like God of the Gaps, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, Calvinist Predestination and other such clap trap precisely to make themselves feel like their beliefs also belong in this world alongside things like science and other quantifiable phenomena.
    The precise utility in these notions is solely in producing satisfaction and nothing else, it has less than nothing to do with truth in the sense of producing a mathematical formula.

    Moreover, its metaphysical answer to the question of complexity poses an even greater challenge, as new question arise: Who created that omnipotent entity capable of designing such elegant mechanisms and organisms, not to mention the complexion of that entity in itself. The theist argument clumsily attempts to give a simplistic explanation, by taking advantage of our limited knowledge of the universe, but actually manages to render the problem even more difficult. The only alternative option is to manipulate the divine concept and to apply it to phenomenons like the Big Bang, but such a definition would be pretty irrelevant to how believers and theologians have been imagining god across history.
    Exactly, as I said, it's not about creating a workable model or logic (it's unrelated to that), it's about creating the illusion that the unbridgeable and be bridged.
    Now it should be pointed out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being incompatible with cold hard reason. It's something that Kierkegaard wrote a lot about.
    The very idea of applying science to religion is destructive. Imagine if we proved that, for example, that the Red Sea did actually part because of a freak tide occurrence, or that the walls of Jericho were felled by a sudden/sharp earthquake at the same time as trumpets were blown. Those explanations demean the nature of miracles, they're literally reduced to the level of the mundane and undermine the essential majesty of the Abrahamic God. The same is to be said for the pseudo-scientific theories put forward by wrong-headed theists. They're undermining their religion by explaining away miracles with pseudo-science.

    Science and religion must stay separated: they're poisonous to each other.
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
    -Betrand Russell

  10. #50

    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    The very idea of applying science to religion is destructive. Imagine if we proved that, for example, that the Red Sea did actually part because of a freak tide occurrence, or that the walls of Jericho were felled by a sudden/sharp earthquake at the same time as trumpets were blown. Those explanations demean the nature of miracles, they're literally reduced to the level of the mundane and undermine the essential majesty of the Abrahamic God. The same is to be said for the pseudo-scientific theories put forward by wrong-headed theists. They're undermining their religion by explaining away miracles with pseudo-science.

    Science and religion must stay separated: they're poisonous to each other.
    Miracles are a defiance of scientific explanation. "Disproving" a miracle is impossible as it already refuses to abide by natural phenomena. Faith is not diminished because its adversity is greater than it was before. On the contrary, it is proof that your faith (or delusion) is even greater than previously imagined. So I quite agree. Science is incompatible with religion.

  11. #51
    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    I promise you he didn't meet Jesus Christ lmao
    Akar,

    How can you promise that?

  12. #52

    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stario View Post
    I used to be atheist but (as I gained more knowledge in biology, chemistry & become interested in physics & then astronomy etc ) became a deist. The universe (the origin of life) is so complex it simply cannot be chance.
    Isn't this basically an argument from ignorance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stario View Post
    IMO the Theory of evolution by natural selection fails to explain the origin of life- the simplest living cell -in the first place.
    Neither does the theory of gravity succeed to explain it. But it doesn't set out to do that. Ditto with the theory of evolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stario View Post
    There is evidence of intelligent/complex design in even the simplest living one-cell organisms. Moreover, there is a key feature of living cells; one that shows evidence of intelligent design.
    Like the precisely arranged zeros and ones in a computer program, the chemical bases in DNA convey instructions by virtue of their specific arrangement -the machine code of the genes is very computer like.
    Then how you explain poor eye-eight and genetic diseases? Intelligently designed?

    Ebola viruses intelligently designed?

    "The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference." - Richard Dawkins

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Isn't this basically an argument from ignorance?
    I think its precisely the opposite; an argument of knowledge- the more knowledge I gain regarding the workings & complexities of the universe the more I see intelligent design instead of blind luck.

    The god of the gaps explanation is by definition unsatisfying and doomed in an uninterrupted retreat, as scientific thinking gradually advances.
    You see i think its precisely the opposite- as science advances- intelligent design will be more revealing to us; we wont simply call it "just blind luck". But eventually come to a realisation the universe is designed? HURAAAH! Now that will be a wonderful revelation.


    Then how you explain poor eye-eight and genetic diseases? Intelligently designed?
    Ebola viruses intelligently designed?
    Ehhhh? I don't quite understand your argument here?
    If i was to leave my broken computer in the middle of a forest & you or someone else happens to stumble upon my broken computer- although the computer is broken does it now cease to be intelligently designed!?
    AND we already know computer viruses are indeed intelligently designed...LOL
    Last edited by Stario; March 08, 2020 at 07:47 AM.

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    His point is this:

    Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?
    If there is an intelligent creator, why does he allow things like that to exist in the world? Why is the creator imperfect?

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  15. #55

    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Settra View Post
    As Stario said those organisms are nowhere near simple, and comparing the complexity of the eye with the complexity of the universe is pretty stupid imho. Dawkins comes across as somebody who cannot see the forest because of the trees.

    Brian Greene makes much more sense despite being an atheist
    Are you expecting a biologist to give a solid explanation for what an astronomer would know and is still researching to this day?

    Let me phrase this another way for you. Why isn't Brian Greene explaining the complexities of Biology to you?
    Last edited by Gaidin; March 08, 2020 at 01:11 PM.
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  16. #56
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    His point is this:


    If there is an intelligent creator, why does he allow things like that to exist in the world? Why is the creator imperfect?
    See my previous response to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by ep1c_fail View Post
    The deduction (why call him God/there is no God) is correct, but only if you assume the accuracy of the preceding statements. The argument that the existence of evil proves God's malevolence can be rebuked by acknowledging either of the following two truths: (1) since good and evil are contingent on one another, a world devoid of evil is necessarily a world devoid of good and/or; (2) your subjective perception of "evil" (and by extension God's intentions) are faulty.

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    1) The idea that you cannot have good without evil is laughable. Was there no good in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve ate from the tree? Of course you can have good without evil.

    2) I think it's fair to say that infanticide and mass murder is objectively evil, not just subjective.

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  18. #58
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    1) The idea that you cannot have good without evil is laughable. Was there no good in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve ate from the tree? Of course you can have good without evil.
    As is evidenced by the presence of the serpent and the fruit of the tree which was in the midst of the garden, both good and evil existed in Eden. Adam and Eve were simply shielded from the truth of death until Eve was beguiled. The story is about a loss of innocence, not the absence of evil.

    2) I think it's fair to say that infanticide and mass murder is objectively evil, not just subjective.
    Your own self-professed standards deny you an ability to give an objective accounting of what constitutes evil or good; if the universe is nothing more than random interactions between elements and science is the only source of truth, then your concept of "good" is both subjective and emotional. The issue of "infanticide" which you raise is a case in point: millions of abortions are carried out every year, yet it is evidently the case that a significant portion of the human race (perhaps even a majority) do not view them as being "objectively evil".

  19. #59

    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    1) The idea that you cannot have good without evil is laughable. Was there no good in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve ate from the tree? Of course you can have good without evil.
    Humanity tends to naturally define things with contrasts. It's hard to find a good definition of something without finding its contrast somewhere in there.
    One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas.
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  20. #60
    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Do knowledgeable ex-atheists exist?

    The big problem that Akar has is that he doesn't think anyone who believes in God is knwowledgable.

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