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Why are you atheist and what age did you convert? (for theist to atheist converts)

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    I think I was about 13, I just thought about it and decided it was pretty unlikely.
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    Still in progression; I would class myself as agnostic now but I'd say it's only a matter of time until I'm atheist. Too many things that are nonsensical and very hard to believe in. I'm 17 by the way.
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    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    The lack of positive evidence for something is support for negation. You can't have a situation where there is no evidence for something and no evidence against something, because the absence of evidence against that thing is the evidence we find for something.

    Before people spout rubbish about "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" - that's the most clichéd, incorrect phrase that humans ever invented. It's entirely wrong. If we have no evidence for God, that gap equates to evidence against God. If we can't find evidence for something, despite years of attempting to, that is evidence that it doesn't exist.

    Suppose we are doing a scientific test. We test for the aether. What do tests show up with? A lack of evidence for the aether. We predict what would happen if the aether exists, and fail to find this evidence. Hence we have evidence that the aether doesn't exist. Do people claim that the aether can still exist because there is no evidence for its absence? No.

    Somehow people managed to twist words into the catchy, but incorrect, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".
    Preliminarily, I'd just like to point out that the first two paragraphs are a mere assertion of your main thesis, and not any kind of support for it. They contribute nothing beyond what the first sentence does, despite the conviction with which they are delivered.

    If you approach the question from the angle of attempting to support either the proposition or its negation, rather than support or undermine the proposition, you will find that lack of evidence either way is insufficient to draw any conclusions. Partly because in this case God is not sufficiently well-defined for us to make any statements about his character or predictions about presumed consequences of his existence. Presuming that the aether is a well-defined enough notion that consequences of its existence could be ascertained, that is where your analogy fails. If that presumption doesn't hold, the example would not work as you suggest.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Preliminarily, I'd just like to point out that the first two paragraphs are a mere assertion of your main thesis, and not any kind of support for it. They contribute nothing beyond what the first sentence does, despite the conviction with which they are delivered.

    If you approach the question from the angle of attempting to support either the proposition or its negation, rather than support or undermine the proposition, you will find that lack of evidence either way is insufficient to draw any conclusions. Partly because in this case God is not sufficiently well-defined for us to make any statements about his character or predictions about presumed consequences of his existence. Presuming that the aether is a well-defined enough notion that consequences of its existence could be ascertained, that is where your analogy fails. If that presumption doesn't hold, the example would not work as you suggest.
    I'd like to think that the following sentences to my first claim expand and explain the first sentence!

    Your criticism is that it doesn't apply well to God. I wasn't referring specifically to a God, and attempts to prove it, but to the general situation where we have no specific evidence for or against a concept. In this situation we can deduce that, if sufficient effort has been made to find supporting evidence, the lack of findings supports the negation of the thing's existence.

    In the reverse situation, if you were attempting to demonstrate something's existence, a lack of evidence to negate its existence doesn't support the notion that it exists, because anything that doesn't exist will give no results when we attempt to negate it.

    Summary: The only way to negate something's claim to existence is to attempt to prove its existence against its defined properties. The only way to confirm something's claim to existence is to prove its existence given defined properties. This is why the situation cannot occur where we have no evidence for or against something's existence, and "absence of evidence is evidence of absence."

    This does not, as you pointed out correctly, apply to God as a loose term, because we haven't defined it suitably. It relies on those whose claims to existence include investigable properties. However if we are to investigate supernatural activity, which is well defined as anything which doesn't conform to physical laws, we find that the lack of evidence for supernatural occurrences is evidence that the supernatural plane, or whatever we want to call it, is not real.
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    I was really on the fence until I was sent to a Church in Wales primary school. (not by parents choice, catchment area) What i found when I got there was a class of 10-11 year olds that were afraid of not believing in God. The ones who did not believe were afraid to share this view. The school made us pray seven times a day, and used weird repetitive chants, and fear, to make us believe in God.
    Naturally this creeped me out, and therefore I did my best to challenge any religious statement said by a teacher with a valid science based argument. I remember having quite a falling out with the priest (and the headteacher) when I refused to be blessed, got a week of detention.
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    (Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
    I was really on the fence until I was sent to a Church in Wales primary school. (not by parents choice, catchment area) What i found when I got there was a class of 10-11 year olds that were afraid of not believing in God. The ones who did not believe were afraid to share this view. The school made us pray seven times a day, and used weird repetitive chants, and fear, to make us believe in God.
    Naturally this creeped me out, and therefore I did my best to challenge any religious statement said by a teacher with a valid science based argument. I remember having quite a falling out with the priest (and the headteacher) when I refused to be blessed, got a week of detention.
    Sexy.
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    (Original post by WayneCorp)
    Still in progression; I would class myself as agnostic now but I'd say it's only a matter of time until I'm atheist. Too many things that are nonsensical and very hard to believe in. I'm 17 by the way.
    You can always be both an agnostic and an atheist.
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    (Original post by PandyAndy)
    You can always be both an agnostic and an atheist.
    Personally, I beg to differ. And I'm an atheist.
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    (Original post by Aleandcynicism)
    Personally, I beg to differ. And I'm an atheist.
    I agree for the most part; is someone asked me my religious stance I'd probably say "atheist" rather than "agnostic atheist". If they then pressed with "Haha! But you don't know that God doesn't exist" then I'd throw the agnostic bit in. I was more putting across the point that the two aren't mutually exclusive.
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    At about 9/10 ish I think, I wasn't really ever incredibly religious, but I believed it to some extent and we went to church etc. My mum's Christian, however my dad isn't at all religious and was always open with us kids about that, so I guess I was just allowed to make my own choices on what I believed.
    though I kind of think I decided to not be religious because I hated school and prayers and church and authority in general because I was a little bugger, and religion is kind of like some massive authority, rather than I was smart enough to think about those things at that age so I think I just went with the option that wouldn't send me to hell for misbehaving
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    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    I'd like to think that the following sentences to my first claim expand and explain the first sentence!

    Your criticism is that it doesn't apply well to God. I wasn't referring specifically to a God, and attempts to prove it, but to the general situation where we have no specific evidence for or against a concept. In this situation we can deduce that, if sufficient effort has been made to find supporting evidence, the lack of findings supports the negation of the thing's existence.

    In the reverse situation, if you were attempting to demonstrate something's existence, a lack of evidence to negate its existence doesn't support the notion that it exists, because anything that doesn't exist will give no results when we attempt to negate it.

    Summary: The only way to negate something's claim to existence is to attempt to prove its existence against its defined properties. The only way to confirm something's claim to existence is to prove its existence given defined properties. This is why the situation cannot occur where we have no evidence for or against something's existence, and "absence of evidence is evidence of absence."

    This does not, as you pointed out correctly, apply to God as a loose term, because we haven't defined it suitably. It relies on those whose claims to existence include investigable properties. However if we are to investigate supernatural activity, which is well defined as anything which doesn't conform to physical laws, we find that the lack of evidence for supernatural occurrences is evidence that the supernatural plane, or whatever we want to call it, is not real.
    I understand what you're saying: we can hold a belief in all gradations of certainty, unlike the metaphysical fact of the thing's existence which is absolute. Our certainty over the matter should mirror the available evidence. But no matter how much evidence you fail to acquire that something does exist, you will never preclude the possibility that new evidence could not confirm it. Scientific 'knowledge' is inherently limited, though certainly useful. It constitutes a set of working assumptions; knowledge is a strong term.

    To take us back to the present topic (and avoid an epistemological morass which I'm afraid I don't have time for tonight - sorry), the reply of mine you originally quoted was to a poster (OP) who said that he had rejected agnosticism for atheism. This means that the question is not one of belief so much as knowledge. Perhaps you and I are talking at cross-purposes, or were you trying to strike up a tangential discussion?
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    (Original post by Some random guy)
    Sexy.
    It was
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    Surely you don't "convert" to atheism, you just relinquish your religion.
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    I know this thread is about "converting" to atheism, but here is some insight from an agnostic. Firstly, I was raised in a Catholic family, was baptised, confirmed, so on and so forth. I spent the ages 14 to 16 a firm Christian; I really formulated my own ideas as to why is made sense. Even then I believed in evolution and was a rational person. Then one day in Theology class (I am an American who currently attends a Catholic high school) the lesson for the day was Hell. It just then hit me that an all-knowing, benevolent, infinitely loving God would never send people that he created personally to Hell. If he is all-knowing, why does he create people and, since he knows their final destination, send them to he'll. Also, the old testament and the new testament totally contradict each other. If God is all-powerful, why doesn't he just obliterate Satan. So he sends his own creations to hell but he doesn't even touch Satan. Why does the old sky wizard have to make a spectacle out of it? So it was a matter of months ago when I realised that the concept of organised religion is irrational. Do I feel bad that I don't have "faith" anymore? Absolutely not! Instead of living like a prude on earth tho live forever on a cloud, I am going to do some crazy things, party a lot, drink, smoke, have fun, and most importantly...LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!!
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Null hypotheses are no basis for a claim to knowledge, though. Or are you still an agnostic? I assumed from your previous posts that you had rejected agnosticism in favour of a 'strong atheistic' stance.
    Hypocrisms stance pretty much answers my question.

    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    The lack of positive evidence for something is support for negation. You can't have a situation where there is no evidence for something and no evidence against something, because the absence of evidence against that thing is the evidence we find for something.

    Before people spout rubbish about "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" - that's the most clichéd, incorrect phrase that humans ever invented. It's entirely wrong. If we have no evidence for God, that gap equates to evidence against God. If we can't find evidence for something, despite years of attempting to, that is evidence that it doesn't exist.

    Suppose we are doing a scientific test. We test for the aether. What do tests show up with? A lack of evidence for the aether. We predict what would happen if the aether exists, and fail to find this evidence. Hence we have evidence that the aether doesn't exist. Do people claim that the aether can still exist because there is no evidence for its absence? No.

    Somehow people managed to twist words into the catchy, but incorrect, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".
    Yup, a negative positive is a negative, a positive negative is still a negative. Either way, the absence of evidence means that there is evidence that it is not there in itself. If I use the "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" phrase on unicorns, people would say I'm crazy, but it's the exact same principle.
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    (Original post by ConnorTheYank)
    I know this thread is about "converting" to atheism, but here is some insight from an agnostic. Firstly, I was raised in a Catholic family, was baptised, confirmed, so on and so forth. I spent the ages 14 to 16 a firm Christian; I really formulated my own ideas as to why is made sense. Even then I believed in evolution and was a rational person. Then one day in Theology class (I am an American who currently attends a Catholic high school) the lesson for the day was Hell. It just then hit me that an all-knowing, benevolent, infinitely loving God would never send people that he created personally to Hell. If he is all-knowing, why does he create people and, since he knows their final destination, send them to he'll. Also, the old testament and the new testament totally contradict each other. If God is all-powerful, why doesn't he just obliterate Satan. So he sends his own creations to hell but he doesn't even touch Satan. Why does the old sky wizard have to make a spectacle out of it? So it was a matter of months ago when I realised that the concept of organised religion is irrational. Do I feel bad that I don't have "faith" anymore? Absolutely not! Instead of living like a prude on earth tho live forever on a cloud, I am going to do some crazy things, party a lot, drink, smoke, have fun, and most importantly...LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!!
    Go on bro!! I thought about this. Do the crazy things in life, because it's fun, it's boring just living in fear of a sky wizard in the hope he'll give you heaven, I'd rather go to hell in all honesty.

    Another thing I wondered is whether we still have our consciousness when we are in heaven? Say your friend goes to hell but you're in heaven, surely you wouldn't be happy about that e.g.
    So unless God takes away your thoughts and tempers with you(free will means he can't) then surely heaven isn't that all happy all good place. The bible doesn't really talk about how people would be in heaven, it just says there are pearly gates and people are rounded up if they're good or bad.

    The whole idea of God, heaven, angels and demons sounds like it was made by c.s. lewis.
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    (Original post by jam277)
    Go on bro!! I thought about this. Do the crazy things in life, because it's fun, it's boring just living in fear of a sky wizard in the hope he'll give you heaven, I'd rather go to hell in all honesty.

    Another thing I wondered is whether we still have our consciousness when we are in heaven? Say your friend goes to hell but you're in heaven, surely you wouldn't be happy about that e.g.
    So unless God takes away your thoughts and tempers with you(free will means he can't) then surely heaven isn't that all happy all good place. The bible doesn't really talk about how people would be in heaven, it just says there are pearly gates and people are rounded up if they're good or bad.

    The whole idea of God, heaven, angels and demons sounds like it was made by c.s. lewis.
    Haha, I'd rather go to hell as well. It all sounds like C.S. Lewis made it up as you said. It must have been easy for a children's author who wrote fantasy to defend the fantasy that is religion. I guess I have just been force fed Christianity for my entire life. I know so much about it that I am able to realise and understand how frankly dumb it all sounds.
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    (Original post by ConnorTheYank)
    Haha, I'd rather go to hell as well. It all sounds like C.S. Lewis made it up as you said. It must have been easy for a children's author who wrote fantasy to defend the fantasy that is religion. I guess I have just been force fed Christianity for my entire life. I know so much about it that I am able to realise and understand how frankly dumb it all sounds.
    I get what you mean man, I feel the same too, been force fed and everything.
    One question, how comes you're an agnostic and not an atheist? Not trying to change your beliefs or anything, just a general question as I'm intrigued.
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    Up until I was 12 I didn't believe in a God, so I guess that made me an Athiest. Then I was drawn in by religion for a couple of years and reverted to Atheism at around 16. When I was little I had an idea that science can do anything, not God. Now looking back that was quit naive. I reverted to Atheism because I tried and tried to search for evidence of God in many religions but all were unsatisfactory. Then I considered deism and became a deist for a few months after realising deism is pretty much a bigger waste of time than religion. One thing an Athiest should know is why they are an Atheist. You need to research in all ways possible before making the decision to be an atheist otherwise your decision would be a rash decision. Therefore when I was little I think I made a pretty rash decision to be an Atheist, but now I know I have reasoned out the arguments.
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    (Original post by jam277)
    Hypocrisms stance pretty much answers my question.
    Right, so what would you say to what I said to him? You said that you had rejected agnosticism, which presumably means you claim knowledge that God does not exist.

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