Despite all humorous comments that may indicate otherwise, I am not bragging or flaunting this development. I am memorializing it on
behalf of a friend who apparently takes great pride and appreciation in his conversion. This is more of a memento of the occasion than anything else.
I just thought I'd make a thread concerning the recent conversion of a friend of mine. We've been having these long talks as of late, due to his
confusion regarding the compatibility of his Catholic education with the world as he now understands it. Having had a taste of my rather eccentric
approach to these things, he asked me question after question, allowing me to expound upon my ideas and theories regarding my observations of the
world, how they conflict with most world religions, and why I believe that my ideas were closer to the truth than theirs. Not stopping there, I then
questioned him about his feelings regarding his education and how his Catholic history had affected him. More than once, he's had run-ins with his
superiors in those times, butting heads over differences in belief. And when I explained to him the psychological inhibitions that instated through
such doctrines, he began to really "dig" what I was saying.
Night after night, we've been holding discussions of this nature, until he finally looked up and said, "You know, I might be an atheist." I told him I
didn't want him to change his stance in the matter based solely on my involvement, as I have never believed that proselytizing should be a mandatory
exercise in atheism, but he insisted that my only part was giving him information in a way that made sense. He was tired of being held back, of being
pushed down, contained inside a little box of trepidation and self-imposing an ignorant lifestyle out of fear of what his imperfections might hold for
him if he gave them a chance. I had explained the opportunities imperfections provide for us, and he agreed completely. And then he decided.
"I don't believe in a god...but I do believe in an afterlife. Is that a problem?"
"Atheism is defined as lack of belief in any deity. That's as far as the term goes."
"Well, I guess that's alright. I suppose I'm an atheist then. I do believe in all of that mysticism stuff, but I can't reconcile myself with a deity."
So there you have it. He's decided to delete all of his religious videos and asked me to send him some of my research materials so that he can explore
at leisure. This morning, he declared: "I feel like a new man! A gnostic atheist!" I questioned him on the gnostic part, and he voiced his opinion
that it can be proven that there is no god. While I hesitate at the use of the word 'proven', I am proud of his new-found confidence and self-esteem.
I want to make it clear at this point that I have also informed him of my own efforts to remain respectful towards the opinions and beliefs of those
who follow a religion. My words: "Atheism is not a right to condescension." He understands this completely, so I hope I didn't create another of those
snooty atheists that turn their nose up at any person who doesn't rationalize exactly as they do. I'm sure the religious denizens of this forum will
appreciate my efforts on their behalf.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I should feel about this. As an atheist, I have never felt driven to convert people, only to provide an
alternative perspective so that in their choice to be religious, they understand why
they have chosen to be that way. I've always striven to
reveal the truth in their motivations and what they can expect from such psychological mechanisms. An informed decision is what I want them to have.
If they decide to be atheist, good on them. If they decide to stick to religion, good on them still. So this development gives me mixed feelings:
while I am certain I have not damned my friend in converting him, I also am responsible for any loss of meaning or direction he may discover as a
result. So now I'm a little concerned about what the future may hold for the emotional stability of my friend. See, I'm flexible in that way. Durable.
I possess the mindset necessary to hold on for dear life in the darkest of storms, to brave the rapids in the river, knowing that nothing lasts
forever - good or bad. Some people, however, don't possess such mental grit.
I suppose I'll just have to wait and see. So in conclusion...I have both furthered the cause and preserved my integrity in the process. I
inadvertently converted a Catholic to atheism. You may bow now.
edit on 15-6-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)