Religious to Atheist to Religious

Has anyone converted from Christian to Atheism and then back to Christianity?

I was born Catholic. When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I started to think of myself as an atheist. I ended up going to a Catholic high school and was still an atheist when I graduated. I reverted to Catholicism in college.

When I was religious, I thought I was an atheist before becoming truly an atheist.

There’s the old story about the Anglican bishop in England who was asked how his son was doing at the University.

“He’s doing fine. Right now he’s an atheist.”

That’s only the wrong type of “atheists” who pretend to be atheists so they can look cool in some areas, those aren’t really atheists and the majority of atheists aren’t like that.
I used to pretend to be an atheist when in school but I wasn’t, in fact I was a believer, until I truly became a life long atheist for reasonable reasons. Being open about how you disbelieve can cause social and legal problems in some areas, I don’t think it’s always “cool” .
There is many of life long brilliant atheists, saying it’s a teen phase is just ridiculous, it could be for some but it wouldn’t be sincere or true.

I smell a Scotsman. Alas, he is from York.

On topic: Anything can happen. CharlemagneII (Spelling? Right name even?) may be a candidate.

I read empther’s comment in reference to the fact that one might try on a lot of intellectual hats while in college. For me there was a great irony in leaving my Catholic high school as an atheist and going to a very secular and liberal institution, only to return to the Catholic Church. For a couple months, friends from high school thought I was pulling their legs.

Honestly, if some told me a year ago that I would ever be a Christian, I would not have believed him.

That said, when I was an atheist, it did bother me when people called it a phase, and I don’t think that is a just characterization, since even if atheism is irrational, many people will remain atheists for life.

I’m sorry? How on earth can anyone pretend to be atheist, and somehow come off cool? Did I miss something?

I wanna know how I can leech some cool off what I previously thought was, you know, nothing :stuck_out_tongue:

Sure. When I was young, I had a simple, traditional view of God. Then I realized that then as I saw more of the injustice and darkness of this bitter life, that “vita stercus est, deinde eris mortuus”, I stopped believing in Divine Providence, as the evidence totally contradicted it, and I suppose stopped believing in this world and humanity, etc. Then I read Augustine, and started believing again, but in a totally different way.

How did you come to believing again?

I can understand when an educated atheist turns agnostic atheist or deist, but to believe again in what you used to consider superstitions and fabricated unscientific irrational myths, that’s something I don’t understand and I tend to think it’s for an emotional need rather than a realistic rationality.

When someone says he’s no longer an atheist and now he’s religious, it comes to my mind a child who knew Santa is a myth and comes back to believe it’s real.

I’m asking this because I want to know whether it’s correct or not, you could have something reasonable to say but I notice that all people who say they were atheists return to their original faith, is this a coincidence!

Well, I reconsidered Catholicism after having some debates with a high school teacher which showed that my case for atheism wasn’t really as good as I thought it was, even if atheism were true. I became an atheist as a middle schooler when I learned about evolution and the big bang. At that time, I’d found Church boring etc., so I pretty readily accepted evolution and the big bang as justifications for atheism, I guess because I was looking for justifications.

But evolution and the big bang aren’t actually evidence for the non-existence of God, though I’d taken them to be at the time, perhaps out of a reaction against something like popular New Earth creationism.

(Although I was generally pro-choice, I was opposed to abortion, which in my view caused problem for any sort of empiricist ethics; liberty is taken to be a fundamental, inalienable right in America, but when someone is denied liberty, we simply deny that they are a person, and claim that the case for their personhood has not been sufficiently made. Ethics then just becomes the will of the people, since on an empiricist view, any mob can deny the personhood of any group.)

(I generally have never viewed religion as positively pernicious in the sense that, say, New Atheists do. I just thought it was false.)

So taking into account the fact that I did not have rational reasons for becoming an atheist, I tried to look into the matter again. I thought some of William Lane Craig’s arguments were pretty good, although I disagreed about his moral argument (I would just deny that objective morality exists, which for some reason his opponents never do) and his logical justification for the necessity of a finite past (although I’ve never read any of his works on the cosmological argument, so he might state it better there).

Eventually I studied Aquinas more, though, and I did find his Five Ways convincing.

So that would leave me “further” than “agnostic atheist.” And I would distinguish between deism and philosophical theism. I don’t really find deism plausible, and Aquinas’s Five Ways establish the existence of an Unmoved Mover/First Efficient Cause/Necessary Being/Perfect Being/Supreme Intellect that necessarily exists and sustains the world here and now.

So one is left with philosophical theism. But if philosophical theism affirms the existence of an omnipotent, intelligent, good being, then you would need a good reason for rejecting the major monotheistic religions, for, if the Unmoved Mover of philosophical theism has any interest in us, revelation would be necessary. It’s also relevant that there is not really a viable “alternative” explanation to Jesus’s resurrection. If you have materialistic philosophical commitments, you are more inclined to say that it must be false, but once you believe in an omnipotent being, the argument that “miracles are impossible” loses its viability.

I find Catholicism the most plausible for a variety of reasons, but the facts that it has produced the most cogent proofs of God’s existence and holds that God’s existence is knowable through natural reason would rule out most Christian denominations for me. I don’t think I could rely on sola scriptura; I also believe that authority would be necessary to mediate the interpretation of any religious text inspired by God. I think whatever institution that represents God on earth would have to be relatively changeless. I also think that Catholicism (and Thomistic philosophy in particular) has produced the most consistent conception of God. I also find it implausible that Jesus Christ would have failed to establish his Church and that Martin Luther or John Calvin would have to fix it 1500 years later.

You might find this blog interesting.

Except no one ever does that, and there are no powerful metaphysical arguments for the existence of Santa.


**That said, when I was an atheist, it did bother me when people called it a phase, and I don’t think that is a just characterization, since even if atheism is irrational, many people will remain atheists for life. **

That said, Jean Paul Sartre, the most famous atheist of the 20th century, converted as his death approached. So did Antony Flew, another famous atheist.

We don’t know how many have converted as death approaches. I had an uncle who never went to church. On the day of his death he accepted a visit from a priest. There may well be a staggering number of atheists who are in this category … or not. :eek:

I have great news for you. You weren’t an atheist.

There was a period of about 6 years when I would have asserted that the proposition “God exists” was false. What, exactly, does it take to be an atheist, then?

True, we don’t know, and we can hope and pray. But I fear that many (including my friends and, perhaps, my siblings) could remain atheists for their entire lives.

If you thought you had proof of something, or furthermore that it hinged on it, I don’t believe you grasped the non-concept. Either way it doesn’t matter

our non-existent bylaws kept on an invisible blank pdf on the top of mount nowhere, CLEARLY doesn’t state that, by invoking the name of William Lane Craig you are disqualified. You cannot be an ex-member of our imaginary club nobody is aware of

(apologies for the sarcasm. If you don’t get it, it kinda further proves my point. Sorry, I won’t mention it again)

You mean that even if I thought I had a reason for being an atheist, I didn’t “grasp” atheism, and so was not an atheist? Sounds a lot like no true Scotsman to me. Atheism has nothing to do with rational justification. It is just a metaphysical position, and was one that I subscribed to for several years.

Yes, that’s what I’m telling you. If you felt you had “reasons” i.e. proof, you were mistaken.
The man was right who told you…
"my case for atheism wasn’t really as good as I thought it was"

& it wasn’t. Clearly.

I’m giving you a wonderful gift. No more do you have to worry about those years. You just had a misunderstanding is all.

I wasn’t worried about those years anyway.

But atheism still has nothing to do with proofs or reasons, it just has to do with how one would qualify the proposition “God exists”. I think most people, when pressed, would be demonstrably unfamiliar with the strength of the arguments for God’s existence. By this standard, it would follow that those people could not be atheists.

Honestly, this would almost amount to saying that Antony Flew was never an atheist because he eventually realized that his atheism was not justified.

You’re still looking at it wrong. What justified?
Lemme tell ya (& this should make u feel good) if any atheist tells you he has proof God doesn’t exist, he’s lying to you

He’s also doing it wrong.

either way, I don’t wanna drag this out. I’m also not sure why it seems very important to you that you were an atheist. Does it make your story sound better? I thought you’d be happy I told you that you just had a misunderstanding is all. :shrug:

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