I Converted A Catholic To Atheism

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posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:08 AM
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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)




posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:17 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Your friend sounds easily swayed. Perhaps you should be encouraging him to spend time with each of the religions, including Atheism, to help him decide what he really believes to be truth. It might be that he believes an amalgam of the religions/beliefs. Is he young?

As a note, his beliefs may change multiple times over time as well. He should be aware of this.
edit on 15/6/2013 by Iamonlyhuman because: (no reason given)


+14 more 
posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:17 AM
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Wow, kudos.


You converted someone from one belief that has no proof to another one that has no proof.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by butcherguy
 



Wow, kudos.

You converted someone from one belief that has no proof to another one that has no proof.


You say that like I care about your approval. Allow me to disillusion you: I don't.
edit on 15-6-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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Now you will have a buddy in Hell.

You should be very proud of yourself.

Because, you have no idea if God really exists.

Neither do I...



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:19 AM
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reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 



Your friend sounds easily swayed. Perhaps you should be encouraging him to spend time with each of the religions, including Atheism, to help him decide what he really believes to be truth. It might be that he believes an amalgam of the religions/beliefs. Is he young?


Nein. He is over 50. If he had made a transition from Buddhism to Catholicism, would you still suggest that he is easily swayed? You don't know what I said to him and I have no desire to type out and post a two hour conversation. Or a one hour conversation. Or a hour and a half conversation. Or any of the between tidbits that were exchanged. Suffice it to say that considerable thought and energy was devoted to this interaction.
edit on 15-6-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:20 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 



Originally posted by AfterInfinity
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.


And so will we atheists appreciate your efforts.
More snooty atheists is NOT what anyone needs.



ISo 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.


You friend is an adult, right? I don't think you can take responsibility for his emotions or thoughts. Many of us have struggled when giving up the religion we were raised with. Sometimes it takes years to really feel comfortable.


You may bow now.





posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:23 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



You friend is an adult, right? I don't think you can take responsibility for his emotions or thoughts. Many of us have struggled when giving up the religion we were raised with. Sometimes it takes years to really feel comfortable.


It's like telling a kid that Santa Claus isn't real. All he has is himself now, but I guess he feels like he's ready to embrace his potential as a creative entity. And by 'creative entity', I mean a human being with the mind and will to do or be whatever makes him happy.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:26 AM
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Originally posted by AfterInfinity
reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 


Nein. He is over 50. If he had made a transition from Buddhism to Catholicism, would you still suggest that he is easily swayed? You don't know what I said to him and I have no desire to type out and post a two hour conversation. Or a one hour conversation. Or a hour and a half conversation. Or any of the between tidbits that were exchanged. Suffice it to say that considerable thought and energy was devoted to this interaction.
edit on 15-6-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)


Whoa there nelly! I'm glad you didn't type out your conversation
. I have no desire to read it. My only point was that he sounded easily swayed by what people tell him.... after all, it sounded like, from what you wrote, that he made this decision based on conversations with you and not on his own searching. And yes, I would still suggest he was easily swayed by people had he made a transition from Buddhism to Catholicism.
edit on 15/6/2013 by Iamonlyhuman because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:27 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 
As you already know how I feel about the subject I won't get into a long, drawn out debate about it. I really hope for the sake of you and your friend that you don't come to a point sometime in your lives where you regret the beliefs that you have today. I wish you both peace and hope there won't be psychological or any other repercussions for either of you. Be well!



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by AfterInfinity
reply to post by butcherguy
 



Wow, kudos.

You converted someone from one belief that has no proof to another one that has no proof.


You say that like I care about your approval. Allow me to disillusion you: I don't.
edit on 15-6-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)

I really don't care about either one of you.

Just making the point that you have no idea, and you converted someone else that has no idea. In the end everyone should be agnostic. No conversions needed.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:29 AM
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reply to post by butcherguy
 



I really don't care about either one of you.

Just making the point that you have no idea, and you converted someone else that has no idea. In the end everyone should be agnostic. No conversions needed.


Thank you for your opinion. Have a nice day.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:30 AM
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reply to post by littled16
 



As you already know how I feel about the subject I won't get into a long, drawn out debate about it. I really hope for the sake of you and your friend that you don't come to a point sometime in your lives where you regret the beliefs that you have today. I wish you both peace and hope there won't be psychological or any other repercussions for either of you. Be well!


My friend is gay. Unless he spends the rest of his life hating himself, there's really no turning back for him. More than once, his teachers and superiors refused to absolve him for his nature. And knowing the kind of loving and kind and generous person he is, I cannot stand by and watch him suffer under oppressive influences of the Judaic faiths and any of its subsidiaries (the Bible is quite clear regarding homosexuals) when I have a perfectly good alternative that I have experience in and can inform him about. Had he decided to remain Catholic, I would have left it alone. I'm pretty cool like that.

As it is, I consider him to be in a much more emotionally healthy place than when he was Catholic.

As for myself, well...I can always repent, can't I?


Thank you for your respectful post. I do appreciate it.
edit on 15-6-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by AfterInfinity
reply to post by butcherguy
 



I really don't care about either one of you.

Just making the point that you have no idea, and you converted someone else that has no idea. In the end everyone should be agnostic. No conversions needed.


Thank you for your opinion. Have a nice day.

Oh, you are quite welcome.
You have a nice day too!



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:32 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 



Originally posted by AfterInfinity
It's like telling a kid that Santa Claus isn't real.


No, it's like telling a 50 year old that Santa isn't real.


He's got a mind and will believe what he wants, regardless what you tell him. I think we all come to atheism ultimately by exploring our own selves, regardless where the information we use to do that comes from.



All he has is himself now...


That's all any of us has. And it's very freeing to realize.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:35 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



That's all any of us has. And it's very freeing to realize.


Like moving out for the first time. Then comes the responsibilities. All the scary, dark, depressing responsibilities. Even as you are free to walk away, you are also beholden to your own needs and your own actions, and some people have a hard time grappling with that. If he ever needs support, though, I'm there.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:39 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 

Are you boasting about your persuasive skills? If so its like boasting about how you turned your lover gay.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:39 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


To be honest with you, I don't think it's possible to convert anyone to atheism.

Those who lack faith never really had any to begin with.

You only solidified what he already believed or wanted to believe down deep in his heart.



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:41 AM
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As for myself, well...I can always repent, can't I?
reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Don't count on it...


So you completely tore a 50 year old man's belief system apart?

What bugs me is you sound proud about it.

I am not trying to pick a fight. But what exactly qualifies you to preach this?

Is it because you have over 9000 posts on ATS?

Has the thought crossed your mind you may be wrong?

Just what if you are wrong?

It's an honest question...



posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 10:43 AM
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I think it to be sad, that a Catholic school no longer holds the power of spirituality that affects someone with correct teaching.

I would also easily convert to atheism if I do not have a good grounding in Catholicism.

It is weird because I see a different Catholicism than others, and it seems those outside of it see a different thing, because when I speak to others about the Church they see it in a way that I could hardly think of it.

It is sad that God is becoming some sort of celebrity among dull believers, some sort of out of reach, scandalous, mischievous stranger, when He is actually the absolute Source of all Life.

Not trying to cause in argument, just singing my sorrowful tune.





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