One thing I have noticed is a tendency to "doubt" my new path in life. I still want to reach for the Bible sometimes. I still hesitate somewhat when someone mentions Pascal's "Wager"...LOL! Even though I know that science teaches this and that no real evidence exists for claims,etc....sometimes I wonder if it would be 'better to be safe than sorry" know?

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When I was a child I really did think that way. I insisted on believing in Santa for the sake of gifts in December. Better safe 'n sorry!

We all grow out of these childish habits, we just do them at different paces.

Just maintain your skeptic critical thinking and you should be fine. I think everyone in some way "wishes" their fantasies could be true, but we as skeptics know that fantasy is just... fantasy.

This happens a whole lot, especially in recovering Catholics like me.

I finally put Pascal's Wager to rest just a couple of years ago, when I realized that it means that, to be on the safe side, one must appease the most savage and vindictive of gods, as well as the pettiest. To paraphrase Marcus Aurelius, if there are gods and they are unjust, you should not want to worship them.

There is also the little matter of, who is right?

"But, Marge, what if we're worshipping the wrong God? Maybe every week we're just making God madder and madder!" --Homer Simpson

Indeed. As so eloquently expressed in Homer Simpson's quote, the wager can be turned inside out.
I'd say, when you want to reach for the Bible, read it. But also read other so-called holy texts as well. It takes some of the power away from the Bible. Also, read up on how some of the things found in the Bible are in other writings that came before it. In other words, in a lot of passages, the Bible is not an original but copied from other culture's mythology and folklore.

As for Pascal's Wager--well I never understood it. If God is all-knowing, then he knows you're only believing "to be safe". For me, I find it ridiculous that a god would be upset and want to harm me for not believing.

The ultimate problem with Pascal's Wager is that Pascal assumed that he, as a Catholic, was the one who was correct.


What about Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Jainists, Animists... hell... what about other Christians (incl. Mormons)?


The only person who can truly make that argument is the one person who strictly, conservatively, and fanatically follows the traditions and dogma of every single religion that ever was, is, and will be.



Plus, let's look at it from the perspective of just Christianity (incl. Catholicism and Mormonism... just assume I'm including those 2 when I say Christianity), Islam, and Judaism. When a Christian asks you this question, you can turn it around on them and ask then what if Jews or Muslims are right?


You see, from the perspective of Judaism and, I think, Islam, Christians are committing a much greater sin that non-belief. Christians are in fact breaking 2 of the 10 Commandments:


-I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.


-You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.


You see... if Christianity is wrong and Judaism (or maybe Islam) is right, then Christians are idol-worshipers, and God will deal much more harshly with idol-worshipers than he will with "fools" (those of us who don't believe in him).




And here's a third point against Pascal's Wager... we atheists have a 1 in 2 chance of being right. Pascal had a 1 in millions upon millions chance of being right. Which means we atheists have a greater chance of being right that any person who subscribes to any one religion.


Of course, if you're talking to a Deist, then it doesn't really matter who's right, because Deists (at least, the ones I know) believe in Hell about as much as we atheists believe in Hell.

I don't find myself reaching for God or the Bible.  Well....I do reach for the Bible to find those passages and contradictions that come in handy when discussing it with true believers!  I do, however, find myself knocking on wood or wishing there was life after death (wouldn't that be interesting!).

I don't turn to the bible anymore mainly because I have had so many classes on the history of Christianity (how it all came together; how the bible was assembled with its various debates on which books would be accepted as 'sacred', as well as the various doctrines that took centuries to be formulated), that I can't accept it as a valid sacred text.  Its authors claim it is from a (the) God, but too many groups of men were involved in putting it together for me to accept it as being divine.  I would suggest you take some classes on the evolution of Christianity (pun intended), to see how it all came together.  This might help.

We see the bible in its complete form and feel it has always been this way; FAR from it.  When you see how long it took to get to this point you begin to see the logic problems of its claims. 

There is something to lose by betting there is a God. You could have faith in nonsense. You could waste your life and time working against people who are trying to make the world a better place. The belief in God may not so dangerous but the actions the faith require have a tendency to be counter productive.
Yeah I understand completely how you feel with that, being a recent change over and all. I don't really have an issue with Pascal's Wager because I wasn't introduced to it until after i had decided that I was an atheist, but my issues stem from over indoctrination. When watching the Atheist Experience I still have a tendency to argue with them in my head using what I've learned while growing up as a Christian, even as they calmly, and sometimes not so calmly, debunk each and every one of them

Doubt is good! Still want to reach for the Bible? Go ahead, do it. Indulge your doubt. It's a healthy thing.


As has been said many times, the surest way to give up Christianity for atheism is to read the Bible. Really read it. It's f'ing crazy! Don't be afraid of it, it's just a book. Now that you've got the hang of this doubt thing, use it. Could that book really offer any real information about the alleged creator of the universe? I recommend starting with Chapter 1, verse 1. The very first sentence disproves the legitimacy of that book.

My father is an evangelical christian minister, so I understand your situation. Doubting your new  path is normal and expected. Pascal's wager is hard to let go of. The thought of burning alive for all eternity is traumatizing and doesn't leave overnight. It can take years to release. But reassure yourself that any god capable of such wrath is a monster and not worthy of respect or consideration. 

I found it helpful to immerse myself in science. I highly recommend viewing television shows such as  "Wonders of the Universe" with Brian Cox on the BBC & Science Channel.  This tends to put the concept of god in perspective. Then, when you pick up a bible, you will see it for what it is - a book of myths, legends, & superstitions written by 1st century goat herders.  






Sometimes, it's hard, even when you know the facts. There are times when i think it would be easier if I was christian or even a deist, for simply settling my mother's (albeit irrational) fears. You think something like, "How could everyone else in my family be wrong about something so integral to our existence?" I don't know about you, but people in my family are smart and have great senses of humor, as well as loads of compassion. It's hard to admit that they have themselves duped in a tradition called religion.

After living in Japan, and seeing how religion is dealt with here, as a cultural heritage that is in flux and transition, I am finally able to appreciate christianity as part of my home culture, even though I hardly identify with it at all, myself, even as mythology. I find the pagan myths far more interesting, and buddhism more compelling philosophically.

Perhaps, if you can get to the point of seeing christianity as mythology and a cultural asset, it will help in your deconversion. I don't know... Oddly enough, I had been pagan for many years, before I came across a website that showed christianity as an extension of, and therefore, a pagan religion. The last crumb of faith that had held on was blown away, that day. My pagan beliefs, otherwise, were eroded away over time. As well, stepping out from a car wreck that should have ended my life took away my fear of what comes after death. There was no worry I was going to hell. There was no idea that gods existed at all or anything else was to happen. There was only peace. And I'm okay with that.




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