posted on Oct, 24 2013 @ 02:39 PM
I realize some may feel this is better suited for the religion forum, but this is more of a philosophical discussion on how to change a belief, then
it is a discussion about religion itself, please keep that in mind, this isn't the place for religious arguments.
As a child I was brought up in a non-religious household, but oddly enough was sent to sunday school or whatever the local church's equivalent of
that would be, once a week for quite some time. One of the (public) school's organizations my mother was a part of was operated out of the church, so
that might have played a part.
Anyway, among the typical things one would hear at such a place, is that to be saved, you must believe in God and Jesus. Being brought up in a
non-religious household, god and religion weren't taught as bad, they just weren't really a part of anything. But the ideas weren't totally foreign
to me, as some extended family was religious, in addition to it being impossible to avoid knowledge of such things in today's world.
As a young child my views on what exactly religion did and was weren't accurate at all, I saw some sort of bizarre web of "gods" that you had to
avoid pissing off in order to avoid eternal torture. It seemed more about things you were supposed to avoid doing, not what you were supposed to
believe. I wondered why people would get involved with groups that made them do things to avoid getting tortured.
So once I realized you were supposed to actually believe in god and Jesus in order to be saved, as opposed to just doing what they told us, I was
confused. I figured, why would you need to believe in someone like god or jesus? They are such powerful and well known figures, so as a young child my
mind told me these "people" must be real, but why people would follow them still confused me.
Upon figuring out that the reason we are supposed to believe in them, is because they don't "exist" in the way that "normal people" exist, I
became even more confused. Typical "how I became an atheist" story follows, although I don't consider myself an atheist.
Sorry for the long lead in, but the issue I always had was that you are supposed to believe a certain way, and that somehow you can be "converted"
or convinced to believe in god.
My lack of religious beliefs doesn't stem from hatred of religion, a desire to rebel, or to avoid judgement for my actions. It comes from my total
inability to believe, with any significant conviction, that god exists in any form even remotely approaching what is taught by most all major
So to get to the basis of this thread, how do you change a belief? The way I see it, belief is based on input just like anything else. You believe
something is true based on reasons, and will continue to believe it's true until you are given additional input, or previous input is found to be
faulty. Which is just another way of saying I'll believe in god when he pops up on my couch one evening.
So how can I believe in god? What actions and thoughts could I take that would lead me down a path that would result in my actual beliefs being
changed? It seems many people have experiences that are turning points, where something happens and they instantly "find god"
Other than that, what can be done to change a belief? If I really, really wanted to become a christian, or a muslim, I couldn't do so honestly unless
I actually believed in god.
The obvious answer to me, is that nobody can ever really be "converted" you can change your "official" title but your beliefs don't change. You
can trick yourself into reconciling certain things, in a similar way an abused wife convinces herself that her husband still loves her, but deep down
she still knows he doesn't. This isn't a judgement towards anyone here who has changed religion. If your inputs changed and caused a change in
belief that makes perfect sense.
I'm speaking more about the practice of forced conversions, conversions in order to marry, and the idea in general that any religion can "save"
people by convincing them to believe in god.
Maybe I should go chat with someone at a church and say I really want to join, but honestly I don't believe in god, but would like my mind changed on
that subject. What could be done? Quoting scripture does nothing, as the non-believer gives no legitimacy to the scripture in the first place. How can
my belief be honestly changed? Is it a long journey of exposing myself to certain circumstances and experiences, or is there a nugget of wisdom that
one comes across and instantly it all clicks?
What are your thoughts?