Any atheists here who were once believers?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by wegs, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    billvon, I know what the Catholic Church's views are with respect to evolution. This would fail to matter (to me) if the Catholic Church had always interpreted the Bible (Genesis in particular) as not to be taken literally. But, it didn't.

    And so when I look at Fundamentalists clinging to their Bibles unwilling to accept evolution, they are living their faith, authentically.
    They choose faith over science. That may seem like an ignorant route to some, but at least their faith is meaningful enough to them to go against the culture. Yes, evidence supports evolution, but if you believe Genesis to be a literal story of the origin of man, then you will discount evidence for your faith. I don't support their faith beliefs, but I admire that they don't let popular opinion of them "change their minds."

    The Catholic Church tries to appeal to everyone, and when it comes to religion, and need to be in or out. I don't give a shit what any Pope says or has said on the matter, in terms of "how to view" evolution (because its flock couldn't possibly figure out evolution on its own lol) they are all interested in maintaining power and authority, above other Christian denominations. Which is why it covered up the disgusting molestation of children that went on for decades. And that includes the leadership of many country wide Dioceses. So, one would be wise to view the Catholic Church as standing for popular support over upholding Truth.

    And it shouldn't be praised for supporting evolution, because it can't without side stepping the Bible and modifying parts of the definition of the theory itself.
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

    September 22, 2008
    The Pope is Not a Biblical Literalist
    Post by Kate Childs Graham

    During Pope Benedict’s recent visit to France, he spoke at the College des Bernardins in Paris to “representatives from the world of French culture.” In his speech he spoke out against Biblical Literalism and fundamentalism. He stated:

    "Scripture requires exegesis, and it requires the context of the community in which it came to birth and in which it is lived. This is where its unity is to be found, and here too its unifying meaning is opened up. … It perceives in the words the Word, the ‘Logos’ itself, which spreads its mystery through this multiplicity. This particular structure of the Bible issues a constantly new challenge to every generation. It excludes by its nature everything that today is known as fundamentalism.

    In effect the word of God can never simply be equated with the letter of the text. To attain to it involves a transcending and a process of understanding, led by the inner movement of the whole and hence it also has to become a process of living. Only within the dynamic unity of the whole are the many books one book. God’s word and action in the world are only revealed in the word and history of human beings.

    The transcending of the letter and understanding it solely from the perspective of the whole is forcefully expressed by St. Paul with the phrase: ‘the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.‘ But the liberating Spirit is not simply… the exegete’s own vision. The Spirit is Christ … Who shows us the way. With the word of Spirit and of freedom, a further horizon opens up, but at the same time a clear limit is placed upon arbitrariness and subjectivity, which unequivocally binds both the individual and the community and brings about a new, higher obligation than that of the letter: namely, the obligation of insight and love."

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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    What is the real motive the Catholic Church has behind "speaking out against" Fundamentalism?
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    omg, Jan. I found the post you wanted me to reply to, replied to every point, and when I clicked reply, it took me to the sign in page. And I lost the entire post to reply to you. :bawl:

    I'll try again tomorrow, sorry.
  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    You didn't say anything about the different stages of sleep.

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    So I'm you think that the 'I' only exists in terms of being self-aware, so once we slip into a deep sleep, and we are no longer ''self aware,'' (but still conscious)...the 'I' no longer exists? (Jan feels I believe(?) that the ''I'' exists independent of levels of consciousness. Am I correct in assuming that is his take?)

    You will enjoy this:
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    If it happens again, just sign in as requested, and it should then post your reply... so you shouldn't lose it. Happens to me quite frequently - especially when embroiled in a lengthy discussion and posts end up being a mile long. :!
  10. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    I always make a copy of my replies just before I press send.

  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Thanks. Yes I did enjoy link, but need to return to fully understand. I have not followed developments about brain function for at least 25 years so even some of the terms used, were new to me. About 30 years ago, I got the opportunity to concentrate my attention on how 3D visual perception is achieved even with flat, 2D photo graph (all objects in it are at same distance from eyes so visual parallax and eye focus are the same. - When viewing an actual 3D scene, these and also slight head movements, provide data to help with that problem.)

    On (1): I don't know how "stages of sleep" are currently defined or measured. Your link seems to give the presence (or absence) of some slow EEG waves a major role in that. I have some doubts about how useful that is as know of experiments done more than 30 years ago with EEG machine connected up to a skull-sized bowl of Jello. That produced quite similar to sleep EEG patterns ("alpha waves" especially) but not the high frequency "noise-like" EEG* from an alert brain. I distinguish three clearly defined "sleep stages" or activity levels, but do not intend to argue with experts from my 25+ year old base of ignorance. (None of this was ever my field during Ph. D. studies in physics.) My three stages are: Awake, Deep Sleep and REM Sleep, which I and most I bet still is associated with dreaming sleep. REM sleep has a very distinct EEG, part of which is an artifact, due to the electrical signals associated with muscles moving the eye balls. (I assume you know, but for others: REM is contraction of Rapid Eye Movements, perhaps done to "follow" the action of the dream even though nothing is seen via the retina.)

    Consciousness is like the judge said about "pornography" - is impossible to define, but easily recognizable. No doubt I'm strongly biased by belief my RTS is truth / real, so I tend to associate consciousness with being aware that "I" exist. That my postulated parietal RTS is "running" as it is when I am awake or dreaming but not in 'Deep Sleep."

    On (2) Yes, I am also strongly of the opinion Jan thinks "I" am either soul now embodied in a body while that body lives Or in some way caused by the presence of that embodied soul. Perhaps the latter would bring me and him into near complete agreement except I believe "I" am caused by the RTS, not his postulated soul.

    * I worked more than two summers for free for a few hour most days in a primate lab called "Friends." It was in a part of Baltimore called Catonsville and had about 40 or so Rhesus monkeys and one discarded, marginally functional EEG machine, which we occasionally connected up to a monkey in a restraining chair. The REM artifact is relatively strong vs. the high frequency noise of brain activity. I occasionally "showed off" to others by watching the EEG paper move away from the pens with my back turned to the monkey by announcing things like: "He just glanced right."

    They especially appreciated me helping as I could use the fabrication facilities of APL to make electrode stimulation arrays we implanted on the superior cerebellar cortex. A doctor Cooper in Boston was doing this to humans, for various disorders associated with tremor and movements, but with little prior animal studies. Both he and his patients believe it helped, but so does the placebo effect of that belief. As the stimulation wires break the "brain-blood barrier" (considerable risk of difficult to cure brain infections) we were trying to see if the effects achieved were real or just placebo.

    The main focus of the JHU hospital neuro-surgeon leading the Friends Lab, was how to treat accidents to spinal cord, 30 minutes after the injury (typical ambulance delay) We made a lot of very reproducible back injuries by dropping metal ball directly onto the exposed dura covering the cord thru a tube, about 1.5 cm in diameter. Then did nothing to the sedated monkey for 30 minutes. Once during that interval he was called back to the hospital to treat a soon to arrive injured human. I, and his only paid full-time assistant, who mainly cared for the monkeys, made notes on their recovery progress, etc. had to complete the operation in progress.

    I have always had mixed emotions about intentionally seriously injuring many monkeys, but as we needlessly eat cows, etc. and the goal was to help humans, they did not stop my participation, and I was learning a lot - even held a formaldehyde treated human brain in my hands while the brain neuro-surgeon explained parts to me. I think he also did have well suppressed concerns about injuring the monkeys too. He preferred me to refer to the monkey, at least when on the operating table, as a "preparation" as he always did.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2013
  12. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    So frustrating!

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    I figured it was gone when the log in page appeared. I'll keep this in mind.

    this is a GREAT idea haha

    @ Billy: Just a quick comment. So, Jan feels that the brain "interfaces" with consciousness through the soul? While you think the very same idea sans "the soul" part? (in reference to determining the ''I'')
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Jesus saves!
  14. Balerion Banned Banned

    So what's the problem? Their understanding of the text has been flexible for a long time. What's wrong with that?

    No, not hypocritical. It has never preached that their understanding of scripture was final and complete.
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    So, an entire religion has been going strong based on allegory, and not literalism? lol Okay.
    No, it's more like, they have chosen cultural approval over upholding literalism of their holy book. And that is disingenuous. (from a religious viewpoint, of course)

    If they were to view the Bible in a literal sense, like their Fundamentalist peers do (and the way the Catholic Church once viewed it before science got in the way), they too would reject evolution as a plausible theory. That's my point. And as has been discussed in this thread, they don't accept evolution for what it authentically proposes either. They're just disingenuous all over the place.

    From Wikipedia to give you a more in depth answer:

    Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error "when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church".

    Guess those Popes who once taught that the Bible should be taken literally, :shrug:

    I think you and I have reached an impasse.

    The Catholic Church is disingenuous, and not only on this topic.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

    You're showing your religious roots here, wegs. You don't like the reality of something, so you laugh it off and choose to believe something more comfortable.

    That's not being disingenuous. You're having a real problem with misusing terms here. When someone changes their mind based on new information, that's called adapting. You did it yourself when you stopped believing in God and decided the truth was unknowable. Do you consider yourself to be disingenuous? (I'll save you the headache: No, you're not disingenuous.)
  17. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I thought we reached an impasse.

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    But it followed a process of disbelieving the Bible to be literal (as I had always been taught it was) and then, abandoning my faith.

    And then, determining that the truth about God is unknowable. (in my opinion)

    If science didn't ''get in its way'', do you think the Church would still be teaching that the Bible should be taken literally? Be honest. What does science and 'new information' have to do with a religious organization viewing its own holy book in a different light?

    And there was a time when I ‘’convinced’’ myself that it was okay to view the OT, at least, as metaphorical, and not literal. But, it never felt right. This makes me sad because I think if one is truly committed to Christianity, then one must be committed to the truths within the Bible. And it was once taught as literal, and Fundamentalists believe it to be literal. They at least have chosen a path of religious righteousness, over pretending to be religious, as the Catholic Church has done. Many people don’t get an opportunity to speak openly as you and I and others here have been, about this. Or in this much detail. I had to ask myself…why do Fundamentalists believe the Bible to be literal, and Catholics don’t? And when you start asking yourself such questions, the answers are often disconcerting.

    I haven’t laughed anything off. In fact, it makes me sad to know what the Catholic Church (doesn’t) stand for.

    No Christian in good faith can support evolution.

    That's how I see it.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Did you run that past the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc.?
  19. Balerion Banned Banned

    It has to do with understanding. No denomination teaches that human understanding is perfect, nor do they pretend that their interpretation of scripture is perfect. (aside from the loony fundamentalists, of course) That's why theology exists. Adjusting one's understanding of the scripture is well in line with Catholic tradition. Like the wikipedia article you just quoted said, they've been allowing for allegorical interpretation since before the advent of modern science. Accepting evolution is just an extension of that.

    Is there any particular reason why? And what do you make of the millions that do?
  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Why should we care what the Pope thinks? The same Pope you suggest for me to 'run this past,' is the same Pope who will tell me that homosexuality is a sin and 'intrinsically disordered.' Do you agree with him on that point? Do you agree with him that women shouldn't be permitted in leadership positions within the Catholic Church? He will tell me that, too, if I were to question him about it.

    He is a mere mortal, who picks and chooses what he wishes to believe out of a ''holy book'' that is the crux of his very faith.

    Thank you. Exactly. ''Adjusting one's understanding,'' both scripturally and scientifically, is what is required to accepting evolution.

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    Ha, that's exactly right.

    hehe I know what you intended to say here, but it's ironic you worded it as such.

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    Christianity originated from objective truths, not subjective reasoning. When Christians start viewing the Bible, with subjective reasoning, thus interpreting it to mean something else, or perhaps interpreting it to mean something metaphorical, and not literal (which it was initially taught as literal)...then, it is no longer Christianity. A committed Christian seeks objective truths, and thus Fundamentalists who take the Bible literally, naturally can't support evolution, because it directly opposes the Genesis story.

    As to your question relating to the millions of Christians who support evolution, my thought is you cannot be a Christian in good faith, a committed Christian, and support evolution. To do so, would mean you either don't understand what you're supporting in terms of evolution (in its entirety and without modification!), or you don't understand how it opposes your faith.

    Just because the Catholic Church says it's ''ok'' to view the Bible as metaphorical, doesn't mean one should. Considering Christianity is a rather ''young'' religion, it wasn't that long ago that the Catholic Church taught the Bible as literal. It just became inconvenient for them to do so, when science started to oppose the literalism of the Bible. That's how I see it.

    So, Fundamentalists are not ''loony'' as you put it, at all. They are merely committed to their faith. Their allegiance lies with their faith. I don't support their beliefs, but I respect their tenacity to remain true to their faith, and not distort their beliefs in order to accept evolution. I left Christianity because I wasn't committed to the objectivity of it and I wasn't willing to redefine it to suit my own fancies and opinions. (just so I could 'call' myself a Christian)
  21. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member


    If I may ask...

    Were you once...a believer? If yes, what caused you to stop "believing?"
    Just wondering.
  22. Balerion Banned Banned

    I said exactly what I intended to say. That's what I've been saying all along.

    It wasn't necessarily taught as literal from the beginning. Maybe some stories were that aren't now, but there are plenty of passages that have always been considered allegory. You seem to be under the misapprehension that fundamentalism is the root of the faith, but that isn't so. You quoted the wiki source yourself that said the Catholic Church has just about always avoided the literalist interpretation, so why are you insisting that they haven't?

    And we're back to this again. Look, I don't know how many times it needs to be said to you, or in how many different ways, but fundamentalism is not "default" Christianity. Not every Christian denomination teaches a literal interpretation of the bible (most don't), and evolution does not say there is no God. There's no conflict. If something comes up that conflicts the scripture that they can't deny, they say "Well, we must be reading this wrong."

    You'd see it wrong.

    Why is it that the most stubborn ones are always the one who don't have the first clue what they're talking about? I mean, wegs, you're really out of your depth, and instead of searching for a better understanding, you're insisting on a particular opinion. Why? Is saying "I don't know" too humbling?

    Yes, fundamentalists are loony. That "commitment," as you put it, is an allegiance to ignorance. Unfortunately, that you respect something like that says quite a bit about you.
  23. Balerion Banned Banned

    I never was, no.

    Though why do you put "belief" in quotation marks? Are you making the full jump into Jan Ardena's No True Scotsman camp, where a believer who no longer believes was never a believer to begin with? It seems you're well on your way there.

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