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What made you change your views?
#1
What made you change your views?
I am working on a research dealing with religion, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. The goal is to find out what factors play the key role in deconversion from such ideas.

If you dropped your religious, conspiracy or pseudoscience beliefs, what made you change your views? I know it is usually very long and complicated journey, but try to zoom out on the main factors.

I am also interested whether any kind of ridicule / poking fun / comedy or calls for self-deprecation played any role?
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#2
RE: What made you change your views?
Mine was a mixture of trauma and logic.

I was 14 when I started getting abused. I was a Christian but didn't have a label at the time. Over the course of the abuse I figured that no loving god would put me through that. After that realization happened I started questioning other aspects of religion. It no longer dealt with being angry at a god it was more of a none of this makes sense. By the time the abuser was removed and I graduated high school I was a full atheist. I saw god as the adult version of Santa.
“What screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of what it's supposed to be.”

Also if your signature makes my scrolling mess up "you're tacky and I hate you."
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#3
RE: What made you change your views?
I was in my late teens when my views toward religion began to change.

It began by reading the bible with critical analysis, discovering the ill logic within its pages that believers would ignore or apologetically explain away to comfort themselves further in their misguided faith.

Within the next year, I was searching the internet and discovered a man named Robert Green Ingersoll. It was his writings that set me on the path toward reason and eventually atheism due to discovering through someone else's mind what I had already been experiencing and understanding about religion.
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#4
RE: What made you change your views?
When I was a devout Pentecostal, I undertook to read the Bible (KJV) cover-to-cover. Then I read it again in a modern English version hoping that the King's English had somehow confused me. No such luck. That didn't cure me of being a theist, but it cured me of being a Christian. I had too high an opinion of God to think the Bible was an accurate representation.

But I had no real defense mechanism against woo. I believed everything: ghosts, ESP, the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, alien abductions, ancient astronauts, all of it. Then a couple of kids spoofed the Duke University ESP research department, which I had thought 'proved' ESP, at least statistically. Turned out that they were just easy to fool, and tightening their protocols also made those significant results disappear. After that I got a little more skeptical.

So I was an agnostic theist for about 15 years, gradually dropping exotic beliefs with highly questionable substantiation along the way. I still thought 'someone' must have started it all. I got my college education late, and learned about natural explanations for the cosmos, which was an eye-opener. Also took a lot of biology and it turned out that biological evolution is not a hoax. But I still kept a spot in my brain for God, because I thought it would be close-minded not to, since I couldn't prove some sort of God does not exist.

The tipping point was a semester where I took Intro to Religion taught by an apologist and Logic 201 on the same days; so I would hear an argument for God first thing in the morning; and an explanation of why it's a bad argument probably in the same week, maybe in the next hour. I had been leaning toward skepticism in general for years; but held back from applying it to religious claims, however seeing the flaws in those claims exposed so clearly and especially learning about burden of proof sealed the deal. And the religion professor's claim that he wasn't going to cover atheism because it's illogical led me to read The Case Against God by George Smith, and I realized that 'negative atheism' was where I was at.

I'm still there today, about 22 years later, though I'm a positive atheist about certain versions of God: the God of theodicy (contradictions), the Abrahamic God that performed the feats of the Bible (no flood, no sun stopping, therefore no God that did those things). The God of deism...maybe, no good reason to think that one is true, but at least it's not a married bachelor.
I'm not anti-Christian. I'm anti-stupid.
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#5
RE: What made you change your views?
(May 1, 2017 at 11:51 am)pulzar Wrote: I am working on a research dealing with religion, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. The goal is to find out what factors play the key role in deconversion from such ideas.

If you dropped your religious, conspiracy or pseudoscience beliefs, what made you change your views? I know it is usually very long and complicated journey, but try to zoom out on the main factors.

I am also interested whether any kind of ridicule / poking fun / comedy or calls for self-deprecation played any role?

For me it was cognitive dissonance plain and simple (i.e. being gay and a Christian). I was a Christian up until the age of 18. There was no desire to leave Christianity, nor any intellectual quest to disprove it. There was an intellectual quest of sorts though in the sense of trying to come to terms with and understand the Christian perspective on homosexuality... and to integrate it in my life... but there was never any point where I didn't want to be a Christian. Then one day, in a flashbulb memory event forever after imprinted on my mind (ie exactly where I was), out of the blue it just clicked... 'there is no God'. And that was it.

As to ridicule, no, that played no part in my deconversion. I was one of the few Christians in a predominantly atheist environment (and 'out' as gay from the age of 15) so I was used to ridicule... if anything it just made me dig in more.
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#6
RE: What made you change your views?
The only one that I can think of is the JFK assassination that occurred the year I was born.

Growing up at that time, the "conspiracy" was actually about the only version that was discussed. That Oswald acted alone was just not even an option for the public. Many even viewed the fact that the government concluded that Oswald acted alone as proof that he didn't! 
I was not a JFK nut so never looked into the assassination until a few years after Oliver Stone's movie came out.

It didn't take very long to realize that the "conspiracy theories" we're a bunch of bullshit and that Oswald was just an american wing nut with a gun. It was the facts that changed my mind.

I've two reasons why I think this conspiracy is so deeply entrenched.
1) No one wants to believe that a nobody like Oswald could have pulled off one of the biggest crimes of the century.
2) There is lots of money to made because of 1)

I don't know if this will help your research as I'm a natural skeptic and not a conspiracy theorist.
If god was real he wouldn't need middle men to explain his wants or do his bidding.
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#7
RE: What made you change your views?
I just got lucky that my captors (my parents) lost interest or got busy, and stopped taking us to church before I started school. And so the official methodist belief system was never successfully implanted all the way. I drifted along with just a few ideas about Christianity more or less making up my own version. It was a pretty nice bit of creation on my part but in the end, as attractive as I'd made it, it just seemed far from likely. I'll bet there are others here who were forced to say things before their church and coerced by their communities, who only wish they'd had such lax jailers.
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#8
RE: What made you change your views?
This question is asked a lot on this forum but I'll just have to try and find new inventive ways of answering it because I do like answering this question.

I'll try as best as I can to recollect from memory the major points when I was a very young child christian.  Major points where I thought something along the lines of "Hmmmm that's odd." Leading me to eventually believe god doesn't exist.

I took the bible we were learning very literally and I remember being confused that no one seemed to be learning the lessons from the bible.  No one I knew gave much to the poor, people in church made fun of the poor, they'd all try and dress better than one another.  Showing what I'd consider to be vanity and contempt for anyone who looked slightly scruffy.
Christian kids in my school would have bitter arguments over who was closer to God.  I just never got any notion of clean cut morality involving being nice to people, it was more like a fake morality of "I'm nicer/holier than thou, so I'll look down my nose at these other people."
This was noticable around the age of 7.

Secondly, I know there's probably Christians who have their apologetic arguments for Adam and Eve coinciding with dinosaurs, but we were just taught two contradictory accounts of what the world was like with no explanation given. 
Not that I give any credit to Christian explanations as to what the bible says and how that relates to scientific explanations of the formation of the world, I'm just saying that we weren't even taught any sophisticated Christian explanations.
We were simply taught there were dinosaurs and other strange beasts millions of years ago before man, and also god made everything in a few days including man.
This was around the age of 10.

And then I was in my teenage years and in secondary school where it was even more obvious to me how many religions there were, how history is full of empires using religion as a political tool, the very sketchy evidence for Christianity.

And to add to all this the questions I was asking when I was 10 about dinosaurs still weren't be answered which definitely set alarm bells going.

I've only spent a brief period in my life interested in media dedicated to atheism.  People like Dawkins and Hitchens and so on. 

But I always seem to have had a tendency to gravitate towards a fair emount of media that would involve atheism and mocking/casting doubt on religion/God.
The list of things is endless but to name a few that I remember from my younger years, Metallica, The Simpsons, Motorhead, Civilisation the computer game.


Are you ready for the fire? We are firemen. WE ARE FIREMEN! The heat doesn’t bother us. We live in the heat. We train in the heat. It tells us that we’re ready, we’re at home, we’re where we’re supposed to be. Flames don’t intimidate us. What do we do? We control the flame. We control them. We move the flames where we want to. And then we extinguish them.

Impersonation is treason.





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#9
RE: What made you change your views?
(May 1, 2017 at 4:47 pm)paulpablo Wrote: This question is asked a lot on this forum

That's true about how people stopped being religious, but I was hoping to hear more about conspiracy theories or pseudoscience.
I don't think I've ever seen that asked in a forum, or maybe it's just never answered due to embarrassment? Who wants to admit they thought the moon landings were fake.
If god was real he wouldn't need middle men to explain his wants or do his bidding.
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#10
RE: What made you change your views?
A large part of it is the internet. Talking on forums allowed me to get out of my community bubble, so to speak. I already had my doubts about how devout I really was, given that I didn't agree with most of the old testament, and parts of the new one. The internet brings with it the information age, and the more you find out about these old religions, and the cultures around them, the more you realize they're not really that special.
Poe's Law: "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."

10 Christ-like figures that predate Jesus. Link shortened to Chris ate Jesus for some reason...
http://listverse.com/2009/04/13/10-chris...ate-jesus/

Good video to watch, if you want to know how common the Jesus story really is.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50

A list of biblical contradictions from the infallible word of Yahweh.
http://infidels.org/library/modern/jim_m...tions.html

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