How, after 31 years . . . ?
Posted: 31 March 2008 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hiro Onoda, a Japanese soldier who fought during WWII in the Philippine islands, hid deep within the islands after the US reclaimed them in 1945.  He stayed hidden until 1974, never realizing the war had ended.  Someone found him in 1974 and told him the war had been over for 30 years.  Hiro refused to believe unless his commanding officer told him to surrender.  Through a chain of events the government of Japan found the commanding officer, flew him to the Philippines where he went into the jungle and commanded Hiro to surrender.  Still with a serviceable rifle and ammunition, and in uniform, Hiro laid down his arms and walked out of the jungle.  His story is here.  He wrote a book about it, too.

I was raised in a Christian family, received my B.A. in Biblical Studies from a conservative Baptist university, and for past 15 years, have believed entirely what most fundamental Christians believe.

For the past 6 years I have been an analyst for the Army, working to understand what makes terrorists tick - daily watching people, in the name of their god, kill men, women and children in most gruesome manners.

Within the last month I have read half of Richard Dawkins book, the God Delusion, read a handful of articles by Sam Harris, and watched a handful of debates with Sam Harris . . .

and renounced my faith.

Last night my wife, who remains a believer, asked me how, after 31 years of faith in the Christian god I could just give it all up after one month of consideration.

The only way I could explain it was to tell her the story of Hiro.  When obvious truth came crashing down on my head, I only needed the slightest assistance to realize the jungle of lies that I was living in.

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Posted: 31 March 2008 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hi Thinker35,

I like your analogy with the Japanese soldier.
Welcome to the real world now that you are out of that weird jungle of superstition.
I think you will like it here and although it can’t be easy, especially with a religious spouse, I am quite sure that you will not regret taking the red pill.

All the best to you.

Sander

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But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 31 March 2008 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thanks Sander.  I am certainly liking the real world.  I remain committed to my wife as she is to me, though neither of us are naive about the difficulties that will come.

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Posted: 31 March 2008 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Welcome, welcome! You’ll find a number of Hiro Onoda-types here.

(“Hiros”? - I like that better than “Brights”)

The woman I live with is also a Christian. Luckily she is of a fairly open-minded sort who is interested in my viewpoint. While she’s not ready to entirely leave her comfort zone yet, several years of quiet, reasonable give and take have changed her views of religion and, most importantly, those who eschew it.

If you’re not familiar with Dan Barker, I suggest his Losing Faith in Faith (you can also find large chunks of it online). His story of going from evangelical preacher to atheist (and the associated difficulties) might resonate with you.

Again, welcome!

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He who is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind  -Chamfort

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Posted: 31 March 2008 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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thinker35 - 31 March 2008 09:42 PM

Hiro Onoda, a Japanese soldier who fought during WWII in the Philippine islands, hid deep within the islands after the US reclaimed them in 1945.  He stayed hidden until 1974, never realizing the war had ended.  Someone found him in 1974 and told him the war had been over for 30 years.  Hiro refused to believe unless his commanding officer told him to surrender.  Through a chain of events the government of Japan found the commanding officer, flew him to the Philippines where he went into the jungle and commanded Hiro to surrender.  Still with a serviceable rifle and ammunition, and in uniform, Hiro laid down his arms and walked out of the jungle.  His story is here.  He wrote a book about it, too.

I was raised in a Christian family, received my B.A. in Biblical Studies from a conservative Baptist university, and for past 15 years, have believed entirely what most fundamental Christians believe.

For the past 6 years I have been an analyst for the Army, working to understand what makes terrorists tick - daily watching people, in the name of their god, kill men, women and children in most gruesome manners.

Within the last month I have read half of Richard Dawkins book, the God Delusion, read a handful of articles by Sam Harris, and watched a handful of debates with Sam Harris . . .

and renounced my faith.

Last night my wife, who remains a believer, asked me how, after 31 years of faith in the Christian god I could just give it all up after one month of consideration.

The only way I could explain it was to tell her the story of Hiro.  When obvious truth came crashing down on my head, I only needed the slightest assistance to realize the jungle of lies that I was living in.

My hat’s off to you, thinker35.  I always had it easy - I was never religious.  I had nothing to overcome.  You were an evangelical Christian!!! 

Often times in debates with theists I am very disappointed because I see that even reason is powerless to change their minds.  Stories like yours give me hope.  Congratulations on casting aside the God delusion! 

I hope this will not cause any problems between you and your wife.  My partner is agnostic, so I really can’t speak from experience.  But I imagine your marriage was not founded on faith or religion or theism, but on something else.  Whatever that something else is, I’d advise you to “lean” on it and remind each other why it is that you married one another in the first place.  The closest analogy in my own life is that I recently became a vegan, while my partner went on the Atkins diet - almost exactly at the same time!  Sure, we had a few heated discussions on the subject and the ethics of eating meat, but our relationship never suffered because we love and respect one another.  That is the constant.  As long as you keep the “constant” in your marriage, I think you’ll be OK.

Welcome to the forum, and again, my hat’s off to you.

Rami

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Posted: 01 April 2008 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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That is a good story, thinker35, and welcome to your new life.  One caveat though: if you’re familiar with Plato’s “Allegory Of The Cave” from The Republic you’ll remember how one of the cave dwellers was brought out of the dimness and into the bright light of the outside world.  Years later in a discussion about the story a friend cavalierly tossed out, “How does the cave dweller know he’s not in another cave?” 

Truth is elusive and it’s good to read you’re willing to seek it through more than one source.

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Posted: 03 April 2008 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Welcome thinker35!  I too am married to a woman who is still hanging on to threads of her fables.  I give this hope: when I began this transcendence from my inculcated life to my current worldview, she did not understand and would not speak with me about the changes I was going through.  She was a theist.  After two years of watching the changes in my behavior, she has become a deist…it’s only a matter of time.  She is such a bright woman and, like Darwin, some of us watch our fables decay with maturity.

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Posted: 09 October 2010 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Two years and six months have passed since I renounced my faith and began this thread.  I have learned more than I can express here, more about myself, more about bonds that break between us and bonds that bind us to each other and yet set us free. 

When I renounced my faith over two years ago, my wife remained a believer.  We stayed together for one rocky year and then separated in March 2009.  I initiated our divorce one year later, and it was finalized on July 1, 2010, the day before I boarded a plane that landed me where I now sit and type this update listening to the sounds of strong winds buffeting my room’s thin metal door - cool winds that have raced down from the recently snow capped Hindu Kush, swept across the dusty valley floor, scooped up the crackles of distant machine gun fire and delivered them to my ear along with the muffled voices of nameless men who are talking outside my room on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

The last 32 months have been not unlike this wind.  Swift, cool, refreshing, exciting, occasionally abrasive and frequently interrupted with sounds of danger that remind me I am a long way from where I have come.

As I lost I also gained.  Loosing my faith, I learned I never was truly connected to myself or others.  I had used religion as an excuse to be distant, even distant from and never truly connected to my wife, which made the divorce unemotional, mechanical, and perhaps unfortunately easy, for me at least.  I caused a lot of pain.  But in a selfish way, I was happy to know that I was now at least recognizing pain in others as pain, instead of seeing that pain as a divine tool used by a mysterious god to somehow make us better.

This awakened a long suppressed part of me that is insatiably curious, emotional, in love with the new world around me, and eager to connect with people on levels that I could not before.  And I am.  I have new life and an amazing new love.

I’ll continue to use this thread to explain more, fill in gaps, and try to communicate what the last 32 months have been like…

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Posted: 11 November 2010 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Hey jdavidallen.

Great story!  It’s too bad about your wife.  I have something of the same problem.  We were married in the regular Christian church, attended regularly, but after I started to investigate more and more, I became a Deist and ultimately an atheist.  It took me a long time though - I didn’t convert overnight. 

My wife hasn’t been happy.  But we’ve stuck together; for the kids if nothing else.  We just don’t talk about it.  But for her, I get the impression she’s upset for social reasons more than religious reasons.  I stopped going to church.  I just felt too much like a hypocrite and it was just felt like I was intruding on other people’s faith.  I don’t believe it and therefore shouldn’t pretend.

And then like you, my number got called - twice actually.  I’m in Kabul.  I get to BAF quite often.  I’d say, let’s have a beer, but maybe we can have a near beer at the bbg shack one night!

Talk to you later, shipmate!

SLD

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Posted: 28 November 2010 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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For the past 6 years I have been an analyst for the Army, working to understand what makes terrorists tick - daily watching people, in the name of their god, kill men, women and children in most gruesome manners.

According to evolution, the main scientific explanation for the existence of life, which is held by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and etc., this kind of lifestyle can not be viewed as bad.  Evolution claims that the fittest survive.  So if one race kills another, the other race simply wasn’t fit enough to survive (if you believe in evolution, you can not disagree with this statement).  But, more importantly, I would like to know how many times you saw Christians out there who were murdering people in this manner today.  I’m not talking about people who believe in a god or a higher power, but how many people did you see out there who claimed to believe in the risen Lord Jesus Christ who were performing these terrible murders?  Now, in the past, Christianity has made some blunders in this area (i.e. the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.), but as a Christian I would agree with atheists (and any others who disagree with these acts) that these were wrong ways of living out Christianity.  But, just as science today can not be held responsible for thinking that the world was once flat, Christians today are not responsible for the Crusades and the Inquisition.  But, once again, I would simply like to remind you that if you subscribe to evolution, or to the fact that there is no God, then one can not disagree with these type of crimes because it is merely survival of the fittest (which is also the justification for racism and many other wrong attitudes and cruel actions).  But as a Christian who believes in the moral precepts set forth by God in the Bible, I can clearly disagree with these type of acts.  Also to say that belief in any god is wrong just because some religions do horrible thing in the name of their gods is just as wrong as saying that all science is wrong because some scientists once believed that the world was flat.  I look forward to hearing your response soon!!!! smile

      In Christ’s Love,
        Cody Alan Rushing smile

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Posted: 28 November 2010 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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NotAnAtheist - 28 November 2010 09:55 PM

For the past 6 years I have been an analyst for the Army, working to understand what makes terrorists tick - daily watching people, in the name of their god, kill men, women and children in most gruesome manners.

According to evolution, the main scientific explanation for the existence of life, which is held by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and etc., this kind of lifestyle can not be viewed as bad.  Evolution claims that the fittest survive.  So if one race kills another, the other race simply wasn’t fit enough to survive (if you believe in evolution, you can not disagree with this statement).

Sighhhhhh.  Once again, a Christian who THINKS he knows something about evolution proves how ignorant he is.  Why do you people do this?  It’s downright embarassing how little you know about evolution and yet pontificate like you’re the greatest expert ever.  Have you ever bothered to so much as take a college level course on the subject?  How about read a real book on the subject that explains it?  Or do you just get your information from fundy websites and message boards?

  But, more importantly, I would like to know how many times you saw Christians out there who were murdering people in this manner today.  I’m not talking about people who believe in a god or a higher power, but how many people did you see out there who claimed to believe in the risen Lord Jesus Christ who were performing these terrible murders?  Now, in the past, Christianity has made some blunders in this area (i.e. the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.), but as a Christian I would agree with atheists (and any others who disagree with these acts) that these were wrong ways of living out Christianity.  But, just as science today can not be held responsible for thinking that the world was once flat, Christians today are not responsible for the Crusades and the Inquisition.

No True Scotsmen!!!  Man, not only are you ignorant of evolutionary biology, you know nothing of history!  Are you really going to contend that the last time Christians murdered people in the name of Christ was the Inquisition?  That’s it?!  The inquisition and the Crusades?  Jeeez.  You need to read some history, of the US, of Europe in the 19th and 20th Century, of George W Bush in the 21st.

  But, once again, I would simply like to remind you that if you subscribe to evolution, or to the fact that there is no God, then one can not disagree with these type of crimes because it is merely survival of the fittest (which is also the justification for racism and many other wrong attitudes and cruel actions).  But as a Christian who believes in the moral precepts set forth by God in the Bible, I can clearly disagree with these type of acts.  Also to say that belief in any god is wrong just because some religions do horrible thing in the name of their gods is just as wrong as saying that all science is wrong because some scientists once believed that the world was flat.  I look forward to hearing your response soon!!!!

Ohhhhh please.  Spare us the Christian superiority drama.  Only christians can judge what is wrong - right.  rolleyes For someone posting on these boards it’s pretty obvious you haven’t read any of Sam Harris’s books.  Try the latest - it’s quite enjoyable.

      In Christ’s Love,
        Cody Alan Rushing smile

Christ doesn’t love you, Cody.  He’s dead.  Been dead for almost 2,000 years.  He’s not coming back.  Time to get over it and move on with your life.

SLD

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Posted: 28 November 2010 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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NotAnAtheist - 28 November 2010 09:55 PM

For the past 6 years I have been an analyst for the Army, working to understand what makes terrorists tick - daily watching people, in the name of their god, kill men, women and children in most gruesome manners.

According to evolution, the main scientific explanation for the existence of life, which is held by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and etc., this kind of lifestyle can not be viewed as bad.


I doubt you really believe that ... at least not if you’ve genuinely looked into evolution much at all.

It would take too high a capacity for self-deception.

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