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Author Gil Dodgen Discusses His Loss of Faith in Adulthood


I was raised an atheist, and was very devout as a kid. I studied astronomy, cosmology, and the origins of the universe. I remember saying to a scientist, “I don’t get it. I read a book that said there was an explosion known as the Big Bang, and that all the laws of physics were fine-tuned to make life possible. Wouldn’t this require design and purpose?” Unfortunately, the response I got was, “Only mindless, uneducated religious fanatics ask that question. It was all an accident. Stop asking stupid questions.” But I wasn’t mindless, uneducated, or a religious fanatic. I was an atheist!

A light went off, and I said, “Materialism doesn’t make sense. Design and purpose in the cosmos makes much more sense to me.” And I just gravitated away from atheism.

Sometimes when people lose their faith all they need to do is to check under the sofa cushions- and down deep in those cracks. :) Joseph
Ah, watched it again and found the subtitles hiding under an ad. What steve_h said. But "Over the Rainbow" is still beautiful. IZ died a while ago and I think the last scenes are of his ashes being scattered into the ocean. That's the way I want my funeral to go, surrounded by happy people. djmullen
computerist, is that film supposed to be in German? Also, while trying to get it to play I spotted "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole (if I got the spelling of his last name right.) I'd heard of it on NPR and it's as beautiful as advertised. Thanks! djmullen
Paul Giem @12 "Or buy a ***" I think my ad blocker is working properly now. Hehe :) IRQ Conflict
Did you really have this conversation? Or is this just a parody of the Dan Brown story? The particular conversation did not take place with an individual, but it encapsulates the sentiment I encountered from my fellow intellectual atheists when my apostasy and heresy became evident through the kinds of challenges I was making and questions I was asking. I was treated by some people, including some family members, as though I had completely lost my mind. It was as a result of this kind of response that it became evident to me that devout atheists are as "religious" as those they denigrate for the same offense. Interestingly, I did not encounter this level of hostility and derisiveness when I challenged a Christian friend with all my carefully rehearsed atheistic challenges. (It's a long story, but as my atheistic worldview was imploding, I contacted a Christian friend who knew I was an atheist, I guess in one last desperate attempt to reassure myself that theism was stupid, so I could return to the darkness of my atheistic nihilism with no remorse.) As it turned out, this young man was used to totally transform my life for the better. He suggested that I read Michael Denton's first book. I then acquired a thirst for real knowledge, and realized that my entire life I had lived in a dark, cold cave, isolated from an incredibly rich intellectual and spiritual tradition that goes back thousands of years. I devoured the Bible, ID books, and books by C.S. Lewis, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, and too many more to mention. And now you know, the rest of the story (with a whole lot of details left out -- I'd have to write a book about it). GilDodgen
bfast, there's not much to ponder. The absence of having a million dollars is "having zero dollars" ($0); The opposite is "owing a million dollars" ($-1,000,000). 0 and -1,000,000 are not the same thing. Likewise the absence of good is not the same as the the opposite of good. Not doing good is not the same as deliberately causing harm. I was an agnostoid. However, since reading a book about the big bang in my forties, discussing it with my vicar, a foul-smelling gas light went out and some other, environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, more expensive, lights came on, and my understanding of the concept of evil started to differ from yours. At this time I stopped lusting after female volleyball players and started to concentrate on hard maths, parachute drops, frilly romantic piano music etc., albeit temporarily. If I were a believer in Gods and/or Devils, I would expect the Devils to actively oppose that God - not just to be an absence of Him; The absence of a God is Nothing, Zero, Zilch, B.A., F.A., nothing to see move on - which would make the Devil also nothing and/or any/all of those things. The opposite of God should be a Deity (or Similarly powerful being) Who Actively Opposes Everything That He Stands For (Argument from typical English usage) Oh and no way was Einstein that student. See snopes.com. I shall be resuming my ban now. steve_h
camanintx, on a hunch I disabled my ad blocker. It works now, thank-you. Strange, I've never blocked anything on Tangle before that I remember. I do block google ads as they don't always play nice. On one site the ad loaded all four of my CPU cores to near 100%. IRQ Conflict
I was raised as a Star Trek fan, and I had a great respect for Mr Spock and Vulcan philosophy as a kid. Then, in eighth or ninth grade, I studied Death Stars, Jediism, and the origins of The Force. I remember saying to a Sith Lord, “I don’t get it. I saw a movie that showed there was a Federation which ran a Star Fleet, but here it says The Force created heaven and Earth and binds together all within it. Which is right?” Unfortunately, the response I got was a wave of a hand and, “Nice boys don’t want to know that.” And I said "Nice boys don't want to know that" The another wave of the hand and he said "A Federation doesn't make sense. The Force makes much more sense to me," A light went off, and I said, “The Federation doesn’t make sense. The Force makes much more sense to me.” Then he said "You can be about your business now" And I said "I'll be about my business now" and just gravitated away from the Federation. As I did so, I thought I heard something about The Force having a strong effect on the weak-minded. I could be wrong, of course. Seversky
computerist(1). Thanks for the link, that was a sweet video. Evil exists in the same way that cold and dark exist -- as the absence of its opposite. I'll ponder this concept for a while. bFast
IRQ Conflict, Your browser and Flash player are working just fine. The green hearts spinning in a circle are the tangle player telling you it is loading the content. You either have a slow connection or something (anti-virus software, ad blocking software or your firewall) is blocking the player's content. camanintx
IRQ conflict (#10, see #11), Or buy a Mac. :) Gil, Great post! The best part is, it is essentially true (which makes the parody of Dan Brown even more biting). Paul Giem
IRQ Conflict. Did you try refreshing the page a few times? Have you checked if IE or Google Chrome is loading and playing the FLV? It could be a problem with a flash DLL (NPSWF32.dll) on firefox, it should be located in the plugins folder of firefox directory. If its not there, go to your flash folder and copy and paste it manually. If it still doesn't work, uninstall your current flash player and reinstall it. If it still doesn't work try reinstalling firefox. computerist
computerist, thank-you. I installed it ok but for some reason the video doesn't seem to want to load for me. I'm using firefox on Vista. There is a green circle made of what looks like hearts spinning round but the video never appears. Must be some other issue. IRQ Conflict
Unfortunately, the response I got was, “Only mindless, uneducated religious fanatics ask that question. It was all an accident. Stop asking stupid questions.” ----------- Funny that you say that. I didn't grow up in a very religious home. I'd say my parents are theists and may even be Christians, but we never went to church or really discussed religion much at home... but from a very young age I had a belief in God because of the type of questions you had. I just couldn't make sense of the universe without him. Even as a teen/young adult I would debate my atheist/agnostic friends about this subject and I was not religious at all. In my mid 20s, I became a Christian and now I believe I can know the creator, not just know of him. dodgingcars
Well done! Barry Arrington
IRQ Conlict, try downloading the latest flash player here computerist
We need more "confessions" like this! I can't really give it that way myself. I was born into a highly religious family - in fact too much so - yes, there is bad religion - often when good religion goes to extremes. I had to go through many long years of questions and deep struggles, that few around me seemed to know the answers to. I had to dig for myself much of the time. Many of my questions seemed unique to me - I could find few who understand them and less who were even asking the same questions. But I did find answers and the answers were often so obvious I marveled that I hadn't seen them sooner. I had to wonder why most others weren't even seeing, either the glaring questions begging to be answered or the answers. That is the way of. Seek, and you shall find. The lights have been going on ever since. Borne
Gil Dodgen, Did you really have this conversation? Or is this just a parody of the Dan Brown story? Gaz
Thanks Gil. I was an atheist, and was very devout as a teenager and young adult. I studied anatomy, physiology, microbiology and biochemistry. I remember hearing a scientist lecture on the formation and uptake of insulin. I thought to myself, "I don’t get it. How could such a wonderfully complex, integrated system get built by chance?" Unfortunately, there was no one I could ask since everyone around me appeared to take it for granted that even highly ordered systems were all the result of fortuitous accidents, and I didn't know that there were any mindless, uneducated, religious fanatics who believed otherwise. A light went off, and I said, "Materialism doesn’t make sense. Design and purpose in the cosmos makes much more sense to me." And I just gravitated away from atheism, first becoming an agnostic and later, after I read the Bible, a Christian. Janice
Haha! I love it. Well done Gil. Clive Hayden
Well done Gil! computerist, the video does not play for me. All I get is a black box. Do I need a special plug-in for this? IRQ Conflict
Hah, nice one Gil. Here is a relevant video clip: LINK computerist

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