When I challenged my belief in God and converted to an atheist, I didn't stop there. I challenged several of my core beliefs, including my political, social and economic beliefs. As a result, I have left my long time political party, changed my views on abortion and all the gay issues (marriage, don't ask/don't tell), and changed my views on governments role in our economic system (we need a strong government to offset big business/banks). I also changed my previously held views on Global Warming and I'm seriously considering giving up eating meat.
I wrote a Facebook email to an old friend about my conversion story. I'm sharing that story with this group as well at the end of this message (in italics) in an effort to explain the change I have gone through the past 6 to 9 months..
My questions is this: Did your loss of faith in God/Religion change your beliefs or views in other areas of your life? If so, what changed?
Hi Jeannette, I picked up your IM from the other night, but am responding via email since we are no longer “on-line” together and this story won’t fit in those little IM boxes.
Yes, I do have a conversion story, but I should be clear, I am not a Democrat, and I a not a Republican, I’m also not a Liberal nor am I a Conservative. I don't care how things get done, just that they get done and I refuse to wear any label. I agree with you about the polarization issue. Talk radio/TV/internet are forcing people to pick sides. Once you pick a side, it is ingrained in our culture to defend that side no matter what the facts are. I’m not picking any sides; instead I’m letting a critical assessment of the facts draw me to the best possible conclusion.
My conversion story is how I went from letting others think for me to thinking for myself. It’s been an interesting journey and one that I’ll be on for the rest of my days.
In short, when I gave up my religion and belief in a higher power, which is story for another day, it opened my mind up. I was completely closed minded in just about every way. Giving up my belief completely changed me – for the good. For the first time in my life, I actually think for myself – using relatively unbiased data and sources to help me develop my thoughts and conclusions.
Anyways, after the 6 month process of losing my faith, and gaining my mind back, I started wondering about some of my other deeply held beliefs. I wondered what else I “believed” because of what someone told me, like fox news/radio, versus what the actual evidence tells me? Do you remember the 1943 Guide to Hiring Women that I posted? Well, I really wondered about that and what I would have felt about that article if I was in the workforce back in 1943. I bet you that I would have been nodding my head in agreement as I took in the author’s wisdom.
I decided that this was not a good thing. Conventional beliefs are not necessarily the right beliefs. I thought back to civil rights changes, environmental changes and other big changes and wondered where I would have stood on those issues if I had lived in that time. I bet you I would have taken the conventional view.
I also decided that my current information sources were the equivalent of the author of the 1943 Guide. I could not trust them anymore and had to do the hard work of understanding the issues myself
I decided to pick two topics – Global Warming (because I like science) and Health Care (since it impacts me and my family personally) and to really dig into these topics. I also decided to let the facts draw me to the conclusion, and not to form a conclusion first, then go find data that supports that conclusion
I read books, magazines and websites from all sorts of sources – good and bad, pro and con. I also read books about critical thinking – how to assess and weight sources, how to sniff out bias and about the art of argumentation. It’s been another long journey and I’m no-where near the end.
The evidence is overwhelming on both fronts.
•Global Climate Change is a scientific fact (or more accurately, Global Climate destabilization), and it is, as least partially, caused by man.
•Our health care system is a disaster that is fundamentally flawed
What is the most alarming to me, is how good, moral, intelligent people, like our facebook friends, can be so duped into picking a position that is fundamentally harmful to them personally.
How many people, who are against health care reform, will go bankrupt because of health care related costs? How many will have untreated or undiagnosed medical conditions because they can’t afford to go to the doctor or to get medical treatment? How many are not able to buy the drugs they need? How many will not get preventative care, but instead, will go to the emergency room later to treat a condition that could have been prevented with on-going care? How many will die? How many will lose their children/parents/siblings/friends because of lack of health care?
None of these things would happen if they lived in any of the 29 other countries that have universal health care – and at a lower cost.
And they think what we have is a good thing? How did we get to this point where our beliefs are so against that which actually benefits the majority of Americans, including our friends? Well, I think I have a pretty good theory, but that will have to wait until another day.
Sorry to be so long winded, but I do find this topic very interesting. Let me know if you would like to hear about me “losing faith in faith”. I’ll be glad to share it. It is a good story.
Take care and keep fighting the good fight, Larry