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Old 31st May 2016, 11:58 AM
tmorg tmorg is offline
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Default I did not choose atheism, atheism chose me

I never made a conscious decision to become an atheist but now I am one. I grew up secular but due to my psychological pain I turned to religion and spirituality in my 20s. For example, I read the New Testament, Bhagavad-Gita and Buddhist literature while trying to attain spiritual perfection which I believed Jesus, Siddhartha (Buddha) and the others did. About the same time I read a little book called "Prisoners of Childhood" which resonated deeply with my being but I ignored it for 10 years. I had never heard of the author so I assumed she must not know what she is talking about. I also read New Age literature: Deepak Chopra, James Redfield, Scott Peck, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle* et al.

In my mid 20s I did a year of economics at university but got stuck with the mathematics and dropped out. Thus began my love affair with logic as I was teaching myself maths while I was doing economics and I kept doing it for fun after I dropped out of uni. I began watching science documentaries and reading popular science books. At this point I realised mathematical physicist was the coolest job in the world apart from, perhaps, guitar god. Max Tegmark, Stephen Hawking and later Lisa Randall became "idols" due to their public profiles (and good looks). After failing in my first attempts to study science at university I then got entangled in conspiracy theories, reading seven David Icke books in a year or so. But I could not get along with conspiracy theorists because we had little in common, at least on the surface. (I still have not resolved this intellectually.)

About this time I turned to atheism influenced by the books of Alice Miller, author of the aforementioned "Prisoners of Childhood", which I returned to after her name surfaced when I began a course of therapy. (My therapist likes her work.) Miller is critical of conventional morality in her brilliant books about emotional blindness and the cycle of abuse. This rung true with the deepest part of my being and I realised I wasted the best part of 10 years trying to find God via Eastern and Western religion and the New Age movement.

So I never consciously chose to be an atheist, atheism found me. It is the best explanation because no explanation is needed and I have not been this physically and mentally healthy since I was a very little boy. My search for freedom led me first to spirituality and God, and later conspiracies, but I only ended up trammelled by my need to find meaning in life where there is none (except for the meaning we give it). Lack of belief has given me the most freedom by enabling my emotional awakening and subjugating my intellect.

The understanding I received from the members of this forum played no minor role in my "conversion" to atheism which like I said was not a conscious decision but an arrival. It is clear to me now.

*In my opinion "The Power of Now", which I re-read recently, is an excellent book for what it is if you can look beyond its spiritual tone and appreciate its practicality and the elegance in simplicity of its message.

Last edited by tmorg; 31st May 2016 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 4th June 2016, 02:43 PM
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DanDare DanDare is offline
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Default Re: I did not choose atheism, atheism chose me

Thanks for this, TMorg. Difficult stuff to revisit I'm sure. Its very helpful though, to see, feel and understand other peoples journeys. I also read the bible, budhist works, hindu scriptures and some Tao, mostly out of curiosity to see if some great secret would jump out at me. Sadly, I found the bulk of it to be mostly tedious. There are a couple of nice allegories here and there but, meh.
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government".
-Thomas Jefferson

Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a claim to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to show the evidence presented is not adequate. If claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.

History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the people with the time machines.
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Old 4th June 2016, 06:27 PM
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142857 142857 is offline
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Default Re: I did not choose atheism, atheism chose me

Tmorg, I like how you describe becoming atheist as not a conscious decision but an arrival.
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Old 6th June 2016, 12:08 PM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: I did not choose atheism, atheism chose me

tmorg wrote:

<.....subjugating my intellect.......>

Confused about that one. Discarding religion or belief in supernatural claims seems an intellectual process to me, whether it is conscious or not. The mind must surely recognize the mismatch between supernatural claims and reality, as a pre-requisite, and then decide if the cognitive dissonance resulting is something one can live with. [Or not].
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Old 6th June 2016, 07:06 PM
Post-Theist Post-Theist is offline
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Default Re: I did not choose atheism, atheism chose me

Hi tmorg, I like your post. But what do you mean by psychological pain, especially so specifically? We certainly do get swept away in any number of cultural ideas when we're young, perhaps finding more rest as we age.
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