Is Atheism a Choice?

The most stressful part of me becoming an atheist has been my experience hiding my unbelief from my mother, subsequently coming out to her, and having to deal with her reaction. For the most part, she has become defensive and resorted to stubborn remarks and insults that have helped no one.

If you haven’t read my coming out story to my mother up to this point, I would recommend it in order to understand this post.

Your God, Not Mine
Coming Out to My Mother: Part 1
Coming Out to My Mother: Part 2
My Mom Thinks I’m Crazy
Christians in Foxholes

If you’re familiar with the second in that sequence, I’d like to update you on my wedding plans which set into motion this entire coming out frenzy. This post will tell you more about why we ended up needing to have a secular non-church ceremony and why that forced me to come out to my two older sisters and their husbands. In short, my fiance and I have set a wedding date this fall, and for now, as far as my family knows, I will be living at my mother’s house from my college graduation in May until then.

Whether I will actually do that and not end up moving into my fiance’s apartment before the big day is highly questionable. Just as I had to explain to my mother that without religion, I had no moral opposition to premarital sex, my fiance and I will have to explain that we also have no reason not to premaritally cohabit. “Because your religion says it is bad” is not a valid reason for two grown atheists to not do something that is entirely their business.

The fun doesn’t end there, of course. The premarital cohabitation conversation is only one that I’ll be having with my mother in the near future. I’m afraid I will also have to explain to her that my atheism is out of her control–or mine, for that matter.

I know that one can control their being an atheist more than they could control being gay, for example. We don’t have any control over our sexual orientation. But the control that we have over what we believe is more complex than “none at all”. In my opinion, I can control what I read and what information and arguments I choose to expose myself to. I can deliberate on what makes the most sense, or if I see some sense in both sides of an argument, I will usually choose to dig deeper on the topic until I find a more concrete answer. What I can’t control is what conclusion I come to.

Take, for example, the kalam argument. Christian apologists love this classic argument from a first mover: “Everything that has a beginning has a cause. The universe had a beginning, so it has a cause. That cause is God. God never had a beginning, so he doesn’t need a cause.” I suppose it’s my choice to take that progression of presupposed facts as they are and agree that an uncaused God must be the prime mover of the big bang. But I can’t help but not be satisfied in this deft wordplay that keeps this assumedly eternal god exempt from scrutiny. I automatically ask, “How do you know that God doesn’t have a beginning or need a cause? How do you know that he’s the end to the infinite regress of events any more than the big bang is?”

The most common response that I’ve seen to this is, “Well, he’s an eternal being. Infinite, uncaused existence and unlimited power are intrinsic parts of his nature.” Well, apologist, skepticism is an intrinsic part of my nature, and I can’t force myself to find your answer satisfactory. And until I get a better answer, or demonstrable evidence that a god, specifically the Christian god, more specifically the god of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, is actually eternal, uncaused, and omnipotent, I can’t not be an atheist. And I have so many other questions that religion has never answered for me, and not only this one, but all of them, would have to be completely answered before I could ever convert. I can’t just google “How to believe in God” and follow the WikiHow instructions. So I hope that my mom isn’t holding her breath for me to change.

The problem I’m having is that my mom is, in fact, waiting for me to convert back to Christianity. Aside from trying to convince me that answered prayers and miracles and signs from God prove that he is real, we haven’t really gotten in any logical debates. She hasn’t otherwise tried to sway me with what she sees as evidence. That is because she is really convinced that if I return to God, it will be because I choose to. She has said to me:

“You are looking at this the wrong way with your reading books and taking classes on whether there is evidence for God. You’re not going to find answers by doing that. What you need is read the bible and devotionals, and pray to God asking him to reveal himself to you.”

“God is real. Whether you believe in him or not. You know that, right?” (No, Mom, I don’t think you quite get how not believing in God works.)

“You are missing out on the best part of life.”

“You are dumb and wrong.”

“You never gave God a chance.”

“You don’t believe because you are stubborn and you think you are smarter than the creator of the universe.”

“You decided to become an atheist for an excuse to be antisocial and hate everyone at your school.”

“Hang this up in your dorm room. I want you to honestly contemplate what it means every time you look at it. Also, you can’t take it down. This is in exchange for me paying your college tuition. Isn’t it a coincidence that this is the verse you were assigned at your church confirmation!?”

After expressing that it means a lot to her if I come with her to church even as an atheist, she forces me to participate once I’m there (for example, I have to sing along to hymns and I can’t go on my phone). I used to have great fun taking sermon and bible study notes about the insane things that were preached at me, but now that she knows that it was in mockery, she made sure that I know I’m only to take genuine notes. Obviously I can’t do that, because I can’t force myself to agree with the pastor, so I’ve abandoned the practice. Now when I do go to church it’s extremely boring.

My mom (as well as my sister and her pastor-husband) have made it clear to me that communion at our church is only for confessing, believing Lutherans. I’m not really that upset that I no longer have the holy privilege of eating the literal flesh and drinking the literal blood of Our Lord the Jewish Zombie Jesus Christ, but not participating is definitely a frowned-upon heathenly act. But what really bothers me is that each time my fiance or I attend church with her, she asks if we’ll be attending communion. I say, “Well, no, I’m not supposed to, because only believing Christians are allowed to take the sacrament.” To this, the reply is always, “Well, I don’t know what’s in your heart.”

Yes… you do. I’m an atheist. I told you that. I promise that if I convert back, I will tell you.

What my mom doesn’t understand is that she shouldn’t hold her breath on my converting back. If there’s anything that this post has shown, it is that she hasn’t accepted my atheism yet, which is to be expected. But she can’t expect me to wake up one day and decide that I’m going to be a Christian. Or that this is only a phase that will last for a year or two. Or that I can pray to a god that I don’t believe in or try to read the bible “with a heart that is open and ready to accept God.” I physically can’t force myself to believe through my heart before it passes the inspection of logic and reason in my head. This is the cold, hard truth that I will soon have to break with my barely coping mother.

 

38 Replies to “Is Atheism a Choice?”

  1. Clearly, from reading your blog, you are an atheist. I can see it in your writing.

    Also, if allow your mom read your blog (I’m assuming she hasn’t read it) than maybe she will have a better understanding and acceptance of your choice. I think perhaps your mom is confused which is leading her to be irrational. Ex., Telling her you’re an atheist but still attending church service and participating in “religious things” is misleading. Doing religious things to please your mom and family is only going to make them assume you are still interested in Faith.

    Anyway keep writing your blog and I look forward to seeing how your life turns out. Goodluck.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree with EM. By you continuing to attend church services, it gives “hope” to your mom and family that maybe, just maybe, “God” will speak to you and you’ll come back “home.” Believers have a VERY difficult time accepting atheism. They are so indoctrinated (sorry, don’t mean to be crass), that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to accept the idea a person can walk away from the faith … and LIKE it.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. I find your journey captivating, though often times heartbreaking. I feel for you, and your mother, and am saddened by the strained relationship. But it makes for rich and wonderful observations of the human condition. I understand the motives behind her actions, though I do not agree with them, and I understand how her anger and attempts at manipulation are driven by fear, and will only serve to drive further wedges between you and her, and do more to damage her intent then help it. I wish many things were experienced in a different, and more loving way for you, even if your choices remained the same

    I am taken aback by her actions, and how they must be perceived, how they reflect a Christian faith, and also am taken aback by the perception others have, as reflected in the comments. I have to talk myself out of commenting on each one, because I know it will only lead to more bitterness, and ultimately serve no one. But I do enjoy following your journey, your blog, and have been reading along intently. I hope that these relationships are not forever destroyed, but rather there is peace and fellowship to be had at the end of this transition of your life, built on free will, freedom, and mutual respect.

    I myself have failed more times then I can count to be a “good” example of Christianity, so when I see the perceptions of it reflected within the hearts of non-believers, I suppose I should not be surprised. I congratulate you on your upcoming marriage, and I hope it is not tainted with family drama, but is a celebration of hope and happiness for you. Best wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Whether or not atheism is a choice or not is probably less relevant than the fact that you can’t make yourself believe in a philosophy that makes less sense to you. I think we all have some beliefs, we all have faith at times…for me it wasn’t all about evidence, it was also about just certain explanations by religion that simply didn’t make sense. A believer might feel that religion is as obvious as what you see in front of your face, but for me the logical contradictions become just as obvious. And there is simply no getting around them to me. And all those other things that I think people feel they need God for, community, moral guidelines, peace about death, these are all possible without believing in God. In makes far more sense why humanity would conjure up God, but far less sense that a personal God would conjure up humanity.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. If there is an all knowing, unconditionally loving, all powerful, omnipresent, compassionate god who created EVERYTHING does it really matter if you believe in him/her/it or not? Would there really be a ticket to enter the kingdom based on if you exercised a human belief system that he/she/it created in us? I would think, to god, this ‘choice’ of belief or not would be equal to ‘do you want apple pie or pecan pie.” I think he/she/it is fairly amused that we even worry about it at all. Live your life. Eat some pie. Laugh and try not to hurt each other in the process. As Kurt Vonnegut said so wisely, Poo-Tee-Weet.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I am so sorry you have to put up with your mum’s ignorance. I don’t know how I would react if I was living with my parents and they were saying things like that – I probably wouldn’t react very nicely. But hey, I’m guessing that much of what she’s saying comes from religious ignorance and not that she doesn’t love you.

    As for you living with your fiance before marriage, I don’t see any reason for you not to at this point, if the arrangement works out – especially since you have already told your mum you’re atheist now. I don’t like telling others what I think they should do, but if living with mum gets too much then it’s a great idea to move.

    As a side note, I didn’t know such a Wikihow article existed… LOL.

    Best wishes for you and your future husband.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When it comes to your search for evidence for a god, what I would say is:

    Keep in mind how scientists search for extrasolar planets. (Planets outside of our solar system.)

    Because of the sheer distance, and the competency of their instruments, scientists don’t look for a planet itself, but at everything a planet would have an effect on.

    For example: one method scientists use is to point their telescope at a star and then, measuring how much that star’s light dims as an object passes in front of it, determine if that orbiting object is, in fact, a planet. Through methods like that, scientists can’t see a planet, but they nonetheless know one is there.

    I believe God is like PSR B1257+12 (the first planet found outside the solar system) — you can’t see him, but judging by everything he effects, you know he’s there.

    In your search for evidence, I recommend looking up Lourdes, France; a place where people have sought healing for hundreds of years, with a few of those healings being dubbed “miraculous” — unexplainable by the doctors who studied such cases. In Lourdes, I would say, is one example of the effect that a god would have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your analogy here to the search for planets is a false one, because the inference that a planet exists in some distant solar system is one based on our understanding of physical laws. I don’t need to visually see a black hole, if I know what a black hole can do I can detect other things that are not detectable through my senses, but are detectable by instruments that can see in electromagnetic ranges, or detect slight shifts in movements that I had no reason to detect through evolution.

      Then you still have the problem of deciding what God would have an effect on. Because if something seems unexplainable to you, that doesn’t mean God has an effect on it. It just means you don’t know. And if you know how something works then you do need the divine as an explanation.

      The healing at Lourdes, France is highly suspect. Modern medicine can do better. So if that’s God revealing Himself, I’ll choose science before going for the healing bath method. http://skepdic.com/lourdes.html

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “…the inference that a planet exists in some distant solar system is one based on our understanding of physical laws.”

        I agree.

        “…if I know what a black hole can do I can detect other things that are not detectable through my senses, but are detectable by instruments that can see in electromagnetic ranges, or detect slight shifts in movements…”

        I agree.

        “Then you still have the problem of deciding what God would have an effect on.”

        Depends on what one believes about God.

        “Because if something seems unexplainable to you, that doesn’t mean God has an effect on it. It just means you don’t know.”

        I agree.

        “And if you know how something works then you do need the divine as an explanation.”

        And if, as a result of one’s understanding of physical laws, “the divine” is the only explanation that fits?

        “The healing at Lourdes, France is highly suspect.”

        From The Economist, “Miracles under the microscope” (April 20th, 2000):

        “In 1999, 19 patients declared themselves healed. According to Patrick Theillier, head of the Medical Bureau, six of these are “legitimate” cases: a herniated disc, two ovarian tumours, breast cancer, deafness and a skin lesion. To be considered further by Lourdes’ complex vetting process, such cures have to meet strict standards laid down by Pope Benedict XIV in the 18th century. The original disease must be incapacitating, with a sure and precise diagnosis. Any organic or physical ailment qualifies, but psychiatric conditions are, for the moment, excluded since diagnoses are too uncertain and recoveries too hard to assess. The cure, which should be sudden, instantaneous and without convalescence, must not result from medical treatment; and recovery must permanently restore normal function to the beneficiary.”

        From Reuters, “French nun speaks of Lourdes ‘miracle’ that ended crippling disability” (February 13th, 2008):

        “…a lengthy investigation and panel reviews by doctors had concluded there was no scientific explanation for Moriau’s recovery.”

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        1. “declared themselves healed”

          because that’s scientific….

          “…a lengthy investigation and panel reviews by doctors had concluded there was no scientific explanation for Moriau’s recovery.”

          a panel, set up by the catholic church, which looks for cases to call a miracle, found a miracle because miracles are good, nay essential, for the business of the catholic church. You couldn’t get less scientific if you tried.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. “because that’s scientific….”

            What a condescending tone you have.

            “a panel, set up by the catholic church, which looks for cases to call a miracle…”

            So, turning to science, not just relying on faith, is now a bad thing? Noted.

            “…because miracles are good, nay essential, for the business of the catholic…”

            False; it is not only miracles that drive one to be a Catholic.

            Furthermore, a question: if miracles are so “essential,” why doesn’t the church declare more healings to be miracles? Only very few of reported healings have been dubbed miraculous.

            “You couldn’t get less scientific if you tried.”

            Sentences like this do the notion of “People can be good without God” no favors.

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            1. ” if miracles are so “essential,” why doesn’t the church declare more healings to be miracles? Only very few of reported healings have been dubbed miraculous.”

              A miracle that happens repeatedly, begins to look a bit fishy, and not all that miraculous. People expect a certain amount of drama from their miracles, and the Church obliges them by acknowledging only a chosen few to gnaw on.

              Put another way: anyone receiving an Academy award is considered special. There’s just so many to go around. If everyone who ‘deserved’ one got one, the entire process would be cheapened. Same thing applies to sainthood and miracles.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. “A miracle that happens repeatedly, begins to look a bit fishy, and not all that miraculous.”

              I would say: depends on the nature of the miracle.

              If the Blessed Mother appears to a peasant girl and asks her to tell church officials to build a church on a certain spot so that those who come to that place may be healed (i.e., Lourdes), is it “fishy” if that is then exactly what happens?

              I would say “No.” But that’s just me.

              “People expect a certain amount of drama from their miracles…”

              I don’t know where you’re getting that information.

              Since I do not know the mind of my fellow man — I’m no mind reader — I would not claim to know what anyone “expects.”

              “…the Church obliges them by acknowledging only a chosen few to gnaw on.”

              Your evidence that this is the reason the Church acknowledges “only a chosen few”?

              Because the following the reason strikes me as more likely: after an examination of the person’s case, people skilled in their various fields (medical professionals and church officials) came to the conclusion that the healing that occurred was not “miraculous.”

              On another note:

              This will be my one and only reply to your comment.

              The reason I am replying is because your tone strikes me as more civil than the tone of others on this blog I have talked to recently.

              I am partly responsible for that; my own tone has been un-civil (un-Christian) lately, and I am working to change that. (I say “partly” because the only person whose words I have any control over are my own; how a person chooses to sound is up to them and them alone.)

              Good day.

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        2. Depends on what one believes about God.

          This would make proof dependent upon belief of the nature God. God this could be assumed to have any nature thus making the natural world match to one’s conception of God. This is not how truth is determined. Because if I think nature of God is to make chocolate ice cream because this is his favorite, then I will find the taste of chocolate ice cream to be divinely inspired. So if your suggestion is that finding God is a matter of what one believes about its nature, then literally anything might be attributed to God. Such thinking doesn’t work for finding out where planets are located. But it works great for believing in things that you want to be true.

          In regards to the Lourdes, I am sure you will be undeterred by many of the articles I could post that cast doubt on what any healings at Lourdes really means. Suffice to say your trick is a common one, where you ignore the entire population of events of healing and non healing and point to the few cases that are unexplained. As the article I linked points out, when you look at the percentage of the people who have been healed, modern medicine has been far more successful. Also the statement that “there was no scientific explanation” simply means that science can’t explain it as our understanding of the science involved stands now. Clearly such statements could have been said for all sorts of phenomena in the past that we do understand now. In fact this is the very basis for magical thinking. When science can’t explain something, the theist will always assume the answer therefore must be the divine. There is however a third option besides explained by science, and explained by the divine, and that is “we don’t know”.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. “Depends on what one believes about God.”

            I agree.

            “This would make proof dependent upon belief of the nature God.”

            I agree.

            “God this could be assumed to have any nature thus making the natural world match to one’s conception of God.”

            I agree.

            “…if I think nature of God is to make chocolate ice cream because this is his favorite, then I will find the taste of chocolate ice cream to be divinely inspired.”

            Hmm.

            My thoughts on that: God, being God, is a creator. And if you believe that chocolate ice cream is “good,” than it stands to reason that God — the one responsible for its creation since all things ultimately have their source in him — is also “good.”

            “…if your suggestion is that finding God is a matter of what one believes about its nature…”

            As you will recall, this comment was addressed to The Closet Atheist. A former Lutheran.

            The CA asks for proof about God, and since Lutherans see God as “good,” it stands to reason that, searching for evidence of God, one would look for evidence of God’s “goodness.”

            “Such thinking doesn’t work for finding out where planets are located.”

            I agree.

            I brought up how planets are located because: since the CA is looking for God — specifically: looking for evidence of God — one way to find it is to look at everything she would believe a god would have an effect on.

            Which is why I said to her: “When it comes to your search for evidence for a god, what I would say is: “Keep in mind how scientists search for extrasolar planets.”

            “…it works great for believing in things that you want to be true.”

            Miracles are not the only reason I believe in a god.

            If you are interested: Why I Believe In A God (we’re already discussing reason #2):
            https://nakedsoul678219887.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/why-i-believe-in-a-god/

            “…your trick is a common one…”

            There are no tricks here.

            “…you ignore the entire population of events of healing and non healing and point to the few cases that are unexplained.”

            I gave one example of a healing that was dubbed “miraculous,” pointed out the strict criteria a healing must meet in order to be seen as a miracle, and pointed out that not all recorded healings are “miraculous.”

            I fail to see how that is ignoring “the entire population of events of healing and non healing.”

            “As the article I linked points out, when you look at the percentage of the people who have been healed, modern medicine has been far more successful.”

            I agree — more people are healed by medicine than by the “miraculous” waters of Lourdes.

            However: until scientists find a scientific explanation for the number of healings dubbed “miraculous,” that there is something other-worldly going on at Lourdes is a logical view for one to hold.

            “Also the statement that ‘there was no scientific explanation’ simply means that science can’t explain it as our understanding of the science involved stands now.”

            You’re right; science could eventually explain “miraculous” healings.

            That being said: I would think that, with access to a person’s medical history, and as a result of a review of that person’s case by people skilled in various scientific fields, determining whether or not a healing is “miraculous” would be relatively easy.

            What would be needed in order disprove a “miraculous” healing?

            “When science can’t explain something, the theist will always assume the answer therefore must be the divine.”

            That’s quite a statement.

            “Always assume”? I disagree.

            “There is however a third option besides explained by science, and explained by the divine, and that is ‘we don’t know’.”

            In your eyes, it seems, there will never be a case that can be “explained by the divine.”

            Which strikes me as close-minded.

            Speaking for myself: I go where the evidence takes me.

            To quote G.K. Chesterton:

            “The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

            Belief in a god is, in my eyes, “solid.”

            I have yet to be convinced that it is not.

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            1. What would medical history do, if we have imperfect knowledge of the human bodies and infection diseases? Again, why is defying current scientific explanation mean, miracle is the only logical conclusion? I mean I could easily reword your statement:

              However: until scientists find a scientific explanation for how something as massive as mountains are where they are that there is something other-worldly going on at the Alps is a logical view for one to hold.

              You are describing nothing more than God being a God of the gaps, whose abilities are only relegated to things we can’t explain. And if modern medicine has higher success rates, what is the value of this other worldly healing, when worldly healing gets us further?

              Finally.

              In your eyes, it seems, there will never be a case that can be “explained by the divine.”
              Which strikes me as close-minded.

              You’re right that evidence of the divine is difficult to find indeed. There is also the Arthur C. Clarke axiom that any technology sufficiently advanced enough is indistinguishable from magic. Many things we are capable of today if we did them in front of someone 2000 years ago we would appear to have magical abilities. The point being that imperfect knowledge is the only reason why one would think that magic has occurred rather than the person of today who knows that it has been a 2000 year progression of scientific and technological knowledge.

              The mistake your making here is thinking that my view is closed minded as opposed to your view as open minded. The fact that you view unexplainable events as being explained by the divine is no more open minded than saying we just don’t know. Not it’s obvious you are much more open minded than a zealot would, but when the divine becomes a replacement for I don’t know, there are those who take that quite seriously. Such that suggesting that there might be a natural explanation to things is a sign that the devil is in you, and that you shouldn’t question such things. History is full of people who tried to explain things naturally when we previously didn’t know the answer, and because that answer was against religious teachings got them in a lot of trouble. So I would say that your point of view, at the very least leads to a much more strict and dangerous close-mindedness than mine. But more importantly your point of view assumes that the divine exists a priori in order to even plug it into a “we don’t know” scenario. Yet the existence of the divine is not inductively reasoned from instances that we have no explanation of.

              Personally, I’m okay with uncertainty, and maybe someday someone will come along with a way to prove the existence of the divine. Perhaps that discovery is yet to be made. But I know of no existing line of reason that inductively allows for the conclusion that the divine exists. But I am open to the possibility that it one day might.

              As for now if you have to a priori believe in something’s nature to find evidence of it, then you are putting the cart before the horse and that just defies basic logic. Which is fine, if your beliefs make you happy, but it doesn’t make God solid, just that you believe it to be solid.

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            2. “…why is defying current scientific explanation mean, miracle is the only logical conclusion?”

              I don’t see a miracle as “the only logical conclusion,” but as the most logical.

              Until science provides a “better” explanation for the healing I mentioned in my first reply to you, I will believe in the existence of miracles. In my eyes, it is logical to do such a thing.

              “You are describing nothing more than God being a God of the gaps…”

              False.

              To repeat words from my previous comment to you:

              In my original comment — my comment to the CA — I told her to look at what a god would have an effect on.

              That is not a “God of the gaps” argument, but a “Look for evidence of what one believes about God” argument.

              “…if modern medicine has higher success rates, what is the value of this other worldly healing, when worldly healing gets us further?”

              The value is this:

              Other-worldly healing is evidence for an other-worldly being (i.e., God) — evidence that, contrary to what one might believe, God is not confined to an ancient book; he is active in the world today.

              “Not it’s obvious you are much more open minded than a zealot would…”

              You have resorted to name-calling, viewing me as a “zealot.”

              As a result of such un-civil behavior, I quote HAL 9000, from Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”:

              “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.”

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          2. There is one other explanation, and it’s a valid one; doctors, being fallible, now and then misdiagnose. We all have stories about the missed signs, the wrong medication, the hurried exam that showed a lump that was malignant but in fact was benign…

            A frightened patient of Dr. X takes a trip to Lourdes, takes the waters, and voila, the lump is now shrinking away, and is revealed to have been miraculously turned into a benign wart. Psychosomatic ailments are the bane of every doctor, and it can be very hard to convince someone that they do not have a wasting disease, bone cancers, or rheumatoid arthritis, if they truly believe they do. Again, they hie themselves off to Lourdes and a miracle occurs.

            And cynical old me thinks the church would be stupid not to cash in on all of this, so they make sure a few here and there are chosen as true miracles. Sort of a “keep the glow going” thing…

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I am certain those situation arise, and I am not even certain that it requires a diabolical desire to “cash in”, it could be borne out of honest belief in their faith and convinced that they are performing miracles simply don’t look at the evidence objectively enough.

              But more to the point, these type of “miracle cures” happen everywhere as you’ve indicated by your comment of psychosomatic ailments. There are plenty of cases, not at Lourdes where a cancer goes into remission, completely unexplained.

              There is nothing at Lourdes that convinces me the divine as at work, when we have a field of medicine which rests on imperfect knowledge about the human body, and is being diagnosed by imperfect beings. In fact it would be far more surprising if there weren’t such mysteries in the field of medicine given our current state of understanding about how life works.

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  7. CA, this phrase of yours:

    —skepticism is an intrinsic part of my nature,—

    expresses exactly my thoughts on free will. Trying hard to not be simplistic, I would ask what more I could say? My deconversion was very, very easy. I did not, for one moment, expect any reasonable explanation. My doubts were (are) too huge to be removed. It goes without saying that many believers call this stubbornness. So be it. I do not choose the path to follow, my – natural – mindset does it. And it also guides me on the detours that often are necessary. Besides, they make voyages richer and more pleasant than straight routes only.

    +++God is real+++

    Not a shadow of a doubt that God is real! Of course he is. But in the minds of believers. In mine, he is not.

    I wish you all the luck in the world. Let your mother not take it away from you. Celebrate your premarital sex unblessed!
    Cheers.-

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I dont understand why someone would be so afraid of their mother’s disapproval. It’s not that serious, say “I dont agree with your views and I have different beliefs than you”, if she can’t handle it then distance yourself from her; call her on holidays and go about your business.

    As an adult it is YOUR responsibility to teach others how to treat you, NOT other’s responsibility to just know where you stand. If you don’t assert your independence and stop trying to please her then you’ll forever be miserable and in fear of her disapproval.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. and one other thing you might suggest to her: tell her that the more she pushes at you, the more she pushes you away. You have options, and she may not realize that as an adult (and you are, legally) you are not bound to live with her, nor to “obey”. But try to get her to understand that insults and threats will do nothing but move you out a bit faster.

      Liked by 5 people

  9. Everything about this is so extremely relatable and accurate. I can feel your frustration, as I have had similar conversations with my mother. She can’t seem to comprehend that someone can’t choose to believe.
    I appreciate you sharing your story, it shows me that I’m not alone. I hope everything with your wedding works out well, and you can enjoy it the way you should! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. oh my sainted aunt. “he’s an eternal being. Infinite, uncaused existence and unlimited power are intrinsic parts of his nature” makes as much sense as, “it’s red because it’s supposed to be…”

    I love this: “Our lord the Jewish Zombie Jesus Christ”…Im amazed at how many icons and pictures of Jesus AND/OR Mary have them portrayed as Gentiles, with blonde hair and blue eyes. If they ever stopped to think about it, they will still shun Jews as friends, but worship a Jew as their Savior…

    My only suggestion, move in with your fiance. The torrent of verbal abuse and condemnation you will be getting from your mother and sisters will at least be mitigated by the haven you have with your boyfriend. There really is no need to live with your mother, and if the idea of living together doesn’t bother you,..

    Liked by 7 people

  11. Believing the unbelievable is a choice. Overlooking obvious contradiction and fallacies is a choice. Symbolically casting your woes at the feet of Jesus and absolving yourself of responsibility is a choice. Not believing it is also a choice. Calling out the king has no clothes, instead of blindly following along is a choice. That was my moment of deconversion. When I realized I didn’t have to any more. When you are in it though, your physiology is weirdened -is that a word? But when the light to freedom comes on, rarely can you go back to belief.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. A lot of people go back to belief (of sorts) after a senseless tragedy, or in the face of their own mortality. The phrase “It is (was) god’s will” does actually help many people accept the loss of loved ones, or other public events. This of course makes no sense if one is looking for evidence, but people in shock can find it quite comforting.
      That doesn’t make it any truer, it’s just another panacea that has been around so long, and is believed by so many, it is easier to accept it than to fight it. But without that tragedy, no, few people will go back to belief if they have reasoned that belief makes no sense.
      In this case there is no tragedy, but rather an impending celebration that could be ruined by the theist/atheist dichotomy. My personal opinion is that elopement makes more sense, with a possible post-marriage celebration if one is felt to be necessary.
      Meanwhile, do it your way, CA, and enjoy it to the best of your ability.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. And that well may explain why so many Christians are so angry and downright hostile to nonbelievers:
        At some level they know the shadows, and what they mean. But to acknowledge that is to admit that they’ve been duped, lied to, abandoned, and since their only moral strength comes from the very thing that they’ve been worshiping, well, no wonder they get mad at us.

        We’re reality, and we do get in the way of their comfortable, if difficult, fantasies.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Well said. If you read the previous article here on Creationism you will see a good example of that. I’m referring to the article written by Matthew Harrison on a six day creation. It’s like he acknowledges something isn’t right but prefers to pummel his doubts into submission. He potentially has quite a lot to lose by leaving Christianity though…

          Liked by 3 people

          1. my main argument with the six day creation thing is that if there was a void in the heavens and God started creating things, there was no Time.
            I mean, there was no concept of time passing, of days or weeks or centuries. Time is a human construct, an artificial way of measuring and keeping track of of our lives.
            Whoever wrote the Bible was writing (aha, she said) from the perspective of someone for whom time (or Time) was a known quantity.

            Liked by 2 people

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