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Wednesday, February 15, 2006 

Deconversion; Dennett

Reader gaz pointed out recently:
However, it's interesting that you choose a somewhat negative term like 'deconverted' to describe your transition, as if you feel that you have lost something or at least, experienced some sense of loss.
This is astute! I actually think of my transition as a de-evolution. To evolve means to become more complex and my beliefs are now much simpler. However, the other part of the evolution definition is "better". Obviously, I think my change IS for the better. So I punted, and said "deconversion".

But there's more... once you understand you've been mislead, it's like being punk'd! Doh! I'm an idiot! So, "deconversion" is somewhat negative also because I feel stupid not to have started questioning earlier in life.

gaz also recommends this funny article about Daniel C. Dennett, who has recently published Breaking the Spell : Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. Wow, gaz, this is totally up my alley and looks like a fabulous book. Thanks!

That's so funny..."being Punk'd" explains it perfectly!

For me it was a "realization"...sort of an "awakening" instead of a deconversion because I always had doubts that grew and grew. Things just sounded too far-fetched, and the more education I got, the clearer things became. I think most people who say they are christians have doubts and it's why they are so desperate to convert others. The more who they can bring "into the fold" the more it validates their own beliefs.

By the way, isn't it amazing that we atheists are so damn interesting that christians just love to hang out on our blogs? (I have seen some christian blogs and they ARE pretty boring. It must be hard for them to talk to each other when they only have pre-recorded messages to say to each other.) What is especially funny is they actually think we are going to go back to believing all that bullcrap! I think some just get their jollies harrassing people.

About Dennett's book (I have ordered it)...here is a quote in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The most baffling thing about religion, surely, is how few people seem to find it baffling at all. From the inside -- the perspective of the practicing believer -- the religious life may seem the most natural thing in the world. But that each religion has its bizarre features is an all-too-obvious fact to those who stand outside it. What matters more, though, is that religion itself is a rather bizarre phenomenon -- a fact that is less commonly observed than it might be, not only because few of us approach religion entirely "from the outside," but also because most religions have built-in mechanisms to discourage objective evaluation, investigation and criticism."

Here's the link to the whole article

This from the SciAm review on the Amazon link: If nowhere else, the dead live on in our brain cells, not just as memories but as programs— computerlike models compiled over the years capturing how the dearly departed behaved when they were alive.

That's what finally got me off my desperate desire to find a personal Truth. My history needs to be overcome in order to discern how to practice incorporating actual, empirical truth into my dreadfully emotional perspectives. Oy vey...

Thusly I've added it to my Wish List. Thx! {-;

you guys are great.

Wow, Stardust you've 'pained' me :). When you put it all that way, I feel like a mindless half-wit searching for others to follow me into the ditch.

FreeThought, just curious, would you do some posts on some of these topics?

What do you think happens when you die and do we possess anything 'eternal' in our body, i.e. a soul?

How did we all get here?

Would love to hear your views on this stuff if you feel so inclined.

Why do you hang out on atheist blogs?
What is your purpose?
If you hang out on atheist blogs, you are going to hear what we belief and think from OUR perspectives -- oftentimes LOUD AND CLEAR. So why are you hanging out on atheist blogs?

I am not speaking for Freethoughtmom...I just had to answer your questions for myself...Just because we don't know how we got here doesn't mean we have to make something up to explain it. That is why we have science and we are searching for answers. Life is what WE make it and what WE DO with our lives gives our life meaning.

We are made up of the same things as stars...we will return to nature when we die. It's the cycle of life.

I found this quote by atheist Stephen A. Lonsdale about how he feels about death...it is pretty much how my husband, myself and our grown children feel about death:

"I accept the fact that death is inescapable and that it is also final. I have no illusions as to an afterlife. I understand that when I die that will be that, end of story. This does not bother me in the least. What I am concerned about is lying on my death bed thinking that my life was wasted. I would rather have it said of me that I was good for something."

When our time comes, my husband and I will be cremated, ashes scattered on Lake Michigan and the ones left behind will hold a "celebration" of our life. This does not mean that they will be "joyous" or rowdy, but they can rememeber the good times and love we all have had together. It's what goes on in the here and now that matters most.

Stardust, wow....
I get the feeling I've done something that has truly pissed you off; oh well.

I find the dialogue to be quite thought provoking. Certainly, if I believe in something so adamantly that I'm willing to stake my very life on it; I want to be sure that I know what I think I know. I'm always open to oposing viewpoints; and it doesn't offend me to have those who disagree with me 'hang out' on my site.

I find Lonsdale's comments to be interesting and also hope that my life, in the end, will have 'counted' for something. But, I am hoping and believing that this is not the end.

So....we came from star dust, and will return to star dust? But admittedly he truly doesn't know and this is just speculation?

And when we're dead, we're done?

Any other thoughts Mrs. FreeThought?

"I get the feeling I've done something that has truly pissed you off; oh well."

Marcguyver...thanks for the explanation of why you hang out on atheist blogs. I was just curious. I have only been to a couple of christian blogs after they had visited my blogs...but have found nothing but hostility and aggressiveness! Then they have come back to MY blog to harrass the heck out of me. So, I won't be baited anymore.

I don't go looking for anything on christian blogs because I have been there,done that. I don't have doubts about my non-beliefs. The reason I am speaking out on my own blogsite is because christians bother people so much and try to force everyone to think like they do. They want to incorporate their religion into our educational system, government and private lives...people are free in this country to believe what they choose and I want to preserve that.

As for being pissed off...you know why I have an attitude towards you, but I will say it again. You are associated with the hateful GGG blog who likes to slander other people and post their email addresses blatantly on their blog and encourage other people to SPAM them for merely making ONE comment on their blog that the moderator didn't like or agree with. They could have merely deleted my comment that I made in response to YOUR comment...or let YOU respond to me. But they went all crazy. I should have known better than to comment on a blog titled godgunsglory...but you were the one whose comment I was responding to, and since we had talked on your own personal blog and mine, I thought it would be ok. I am new to blogging and had didn't realize how cruel some people can be. (I am learning fast.) Have you pointed out to these "friends" of yours how "unchristian-like" their actions are? They would probably post your email for the world to see too if you challenged them. They should have a closed blog and not allow outside comments if they want a private discussion group.

"So....we came from star dust, and will return to star dust? But admittedly he truly doesn't know and this is just speculation?"

Marc, That we are made of the same stuff stars are has been proven. Sagan was a SCIENTIST and one of the best. His work still continues through others. He has made great contributions to astronomy and science. That we are made of stardust is more than mere speculation. Take an astronomy course and you will be AMAZED. It was when I took astronomy and biology at the university that my eyes really were opened to so many possibilities.

"Except for hydrogen, all the atoms that make each of us up -- the iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, the carbon in our brains -- were manufactured in red giant stars thousands of light-years away in space and billions of years ago in time.

I tought I'd give my perspective on these questions as well. :-)

What do you think happens when you die and do we possess anything 'eternal' in our body, i.e. a soul?

I think that when we die, we're dead. No soul, no spirit, nothing. There is nothing but skin and bones and when our brain ceases to function, it's similar to a dead plant in the ground.

How did we all get here?

My thoughts: I have no idea. I don't know, and I don't spend my time thinking about it, although what Stardust posted above is just amazing.

I truely wonder why humans are so concerned about this. Do cats sit around all the time wondering what their purpose in life is? Probably not. They just are. As I am.

Hi Cassandra! LOL! Your comment made me laugh! It's TRUE though...cats and animals don't sit around worrying...they live, they eat...they enjoy the sunbeams...they get old...die.
"How did we get here?" We may never know that...at least I am sure I never will. I think it is better to just say "I don't know" than to make up some wild scenerios as to how we all came to be.
Humans spend so much time wondering why why why..what's my purpose...there is no "given" purpose. Life is what one makes it. It is a shame to waste it worrying about what will happen to you after you are dead...so start living is what I say!

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  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
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