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Pt 3. On being an atheist
June 10, 2013 stevec

Pt 3. On being an atheist

Posted in Forum Post

(… because intellect divorced from experience is useless).

Yes, I was a teenager when I became an atheist, but I could see the implications of what I believed more clearly than a lot of mature atheists living today.

We live in an age of Atheism Lite. This is quite different from what I grew up with as a younger man. In those days atheism was nihilism and you faced it like a man – none of this ‘There’s probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life’ nonsense. I have been told by internet atheists that I got my atheism all wrong – that it is no different from a Christian claiming not to believe in Zeus, it is simply a lack of belief with no logical conclusions because it is ‘post-suppositional. Such drivel shows a total lack of knowledge of the art, literature and philosophy of the early 20th Century when modern day secularism was crystallising. Nietzsche and Sartre would have laughed at today’s New Atheists. As I studies the world of these people, of course it was expected that I would share their world-view – no writer, tutor or fellow student raised an objection and I was swept along by it all.

I remember when I first started thinking as an atheist. It was when I had a huge disappointment in romance – the kind of thing that happens to everyone, but which hit an insecure romantic like me particularly hard. It was then that I had an epiphone of complete loss. That girl I had fallen in love with could have been anyone. The fact is that we are accidents crawling across the surface of the Earth just trying to fill time with meaningless distractions because we don’t want to face up to the fact that we are all going to die pointless deaths, and no one will remember us because eventually there won’t be a human race.

The absolute darkness of atheism is difficult to comprehend when you are in it. It was after I left atheism that I really saw with clarity what I was living through. I had a kid sister who I loved and my greatest nightmare was that the love I felt was just an evolutionary trick to protect the species. It had no substance or meaning at all. So the only way to live was to throw yourself into distraction. For me it was art, but the problem is that all the while you are getting involved you always know it is only a distraction, so it is a lie! Someone I know who had an affair with a married man said the worst thing about it was the constant lying. Lying takes up energy, so the only solution is to not think. Atheists promote themselves today as the only people who are really thinking. I know that to be untrue.

My way of not thinking came in the form of drink. At 19 years of age I was developing a dependancy on alcohol.

In my first year of art college I worked on a project about how different cultures depicted the elements in art and how that reflected their philosophy. When it came to the harsh portrayals of the Northern Renaissance I claimed it was due to the strife caused by Christianity. As I wrote it, I knew I was only saying what I was expected to say. I knew that any abomination committed in the name of Christianity had nothing to do with the teachings or person of Christ, but who was going to contradict me? I was lying to myself and I knew it.

Thank God someone was praying for me.

Comments (17)

  1. jstuartparker@gmail.com
    Stu the Bold 5 years ago

    This is great Steve, the same thing happened to me. I saw the true nihilism of atheism and couldn’t escape it. It was the worst time in my life. I am so glad I left it behind.

    1. stevecarroll3@me.com

      I am glad you appreciated it, Stu. I feel odd writing it as a biography, but our stories are something no-one can take away from us. God bless and keep you, Steve.

  2. b.brettstrong@yahoo.com

    Hey Steve Caroll, if I may chime in on your post: your post is exactly why I tell Christians to remain Christians; and I say the same thing to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other religions and cults–if it makes you feel good and do good and feel loved then believe whatever it is you believe…even if your religion is say Spiderman is god and one day he’s coming back for me; then BRAVO! Seriously! Just lose the dogma but definitely keep the religion or god that comforts you and encourages you to do good…I’m all for that..I would NEVER try to convince someone to be an atheist or agnostic…my ministry is about keeping people in the religion they are in; just minus the dogma (like hell talk, etc)…and that’s why I’m the next wave…because I’m unlike anything that has come before…

    Brett Strong

  3. stevecarroll3@me.com

    I have avoided talking to you, Brett Strong, because you epitomise the odious internet troll I have little time for. Your message of ‘keep your religion minus the dogma’ is ridiculous. The content of Christianity is what it is all about. If you are not interested in the content of what we believe then I have nothing to say to you.

  4. b.brettstrong@yahoo.com

    Hi Steve…again typical of Christians (not all [like Kurt 🙂 ] but many like you)… plenty of name calling (ad hominine attacks: like “troll”) but absolutely ZERO (0!) empirical evidence for ones position (the BIG 3: Jesus, god, or hell as being real…again: ZERO empirical evidence but lots of hot air)…you say content…I ask what content? ..if you mean the bible as content, no problem, just join the bunch of holy scripture religious groups like the Koran, the Gita, Book of Mormons and a host of other holy content…if you mean a personal experience then again join the masses of other religions and cults that claim personal experience with their deities or spirits too…

    You see Steve Caroll: the reason you are forced into name calling because you refuse to (it seems to even hurt you to) admit the painfully obvious, that you have no empirical proof for your beliefs… but as I say to all, no problem, just stop the dogma (like hell talk, obey god, etc) but definitely keep the love of your deity and do good works in your deities name… that’s certainty fair enough…

    Brett Strong…the next wave is here and I am he!

    (in light of what I’ve just said…Christian name calling, refusing to admit the obvious, Christian dogmas like hell, etc) …is it any wonder that 75% to 95% of the Christian youth leave the church by college? …is it any wonder that Christianity in America and Europe are only shadows of what it use to be? …is it any wonder that Christians are being shut down and called hate speech throughout America and Europe? …is it any wonder that 85% of pastors wives say the worst thing that happened to their family is when their husbands became pastors? …is it any wonder, you guys?

    …well let me help you guys out a bit…why do you think at the same time Christian music has exploded in popularity? Zero dogma and ZERO name calling…just love, love, and more love! Wow! …who could argue with that? ..not me!

    …and Kurt seems to have instinctively latched on to that and to that I congratulate Kurt and wish his ministry all the success in the world

    1. jstuartparker@gmail.com
      Stu the Bold 5 years ago

      Brett,

      You strike me as headstrong young man. If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?

      – Stu

      1. stevecarroll3@me.com

        I’m 53.

        1. stevecarroll3@me.com

          Sorry, Stu. this came up on my email and I thought it was aimed at me. Or was I just flattering myself with the thought of being called a ‘young man’ however head strong. 🙂 So I am old enough to remember people trying to create the Christian faith minus the content and it failed. Funnily enough I think they called that ‘the next wave’ too.

          1. jstuartparker@gmail.com
            Stu the Bold 5 years ago

            No problem, are you an artist? I’m a graphic designer and an illustrator myself.

      2. Stevec
        Stevec 5 years ago

        Stu, take a look at the following sites to see my work:

        http://www.inspiration-by-design.co.uk

        stevecarrollssussex.com

        I’d love to see your work.

        Steve

        1. jstuartparker@gmail.com
          Stu the Bold 5 years ago

          Steve,

          Love your work, what media do you work in?

          http://jstuartparker.com

          1. Stevec
            Stevec 5 years ago

            Are you talking about my prints of Sussex? I draw them in Indian ink then scan them into the Mac and colour them in Adobe Photoshop. There are a some, like ‘Under the Pier’ which are created in Adobe Illustrator. They have a screenprinted feel which I like. I sell them as digital prints, but I would like to create them as screen prints.

          2. Stevec
            Stevec 5 years ago

            Love your work too. I have always been a fan of the bold American approach to graphics. In the UK there is greater timidity, I think. Thanks, Stu, I’m inspired!

    2. stevecarroll3@me.com

      Dear Brett,

      I am sorry you took the phrase ‘odious troll’ as an insult, I meant it as a description. Your behaviour on this website has not been condusive to discussion – just copying and pasting the same stuff over and over again. However, as you have asked about content it seems right for me to respond.

      Content is not just a phrase like ‘Holy Book’ or ‘religious experience’. Those are categories, they do not describe the content itself.

      I would start by saying why I believe in God – from my story it should be obvious that it was because atheism didn’t work. This led me to my convincing experience of Christ (but more of that later). It was 34 years ago that I became a Christian and I have had plenty of hurts and disappointments that, I am told, lead people away from God, but they have not with me. The demand for ’empirical evidence’ seems odd when talking about an entity who would have to be separate from the physical universe if He were to be the creator of it. I subscribe to the cosmological argument and believe that the options for how the universe could exist are stark. If God did not create it, then it is either infinite in age or it came from nothing. Both those options are absurd. I agree with the saying that atheism is actually worse than magic as it has absolutely no reason to be considered an explanation for what actually exists.

      I also reject naturalism as it does not give a basis for epistemological necessity:

      1. Naturalism denies the existence of supernatural agents;
      2. Naturalism therefor claims that all phenomenon have a physical cause;
      3. Naturalism has a physical cause;
      4. If naturalism is caused it cannot be an explanation.

      If we than zone in on Christian belief I would say that even if I did not believe the Bible, I would still believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. I have read book after book on this subject and heard all the skeptical arguments and none of them work. The argument that it just could not have happened because miracles don’t happen is a circular argument, and we have already established above that naturalism is not an explanation worth considering.

      Having seen Jesus as more than a religious teacher or philosopher, I have chosen to adopt His view of the world, which includes His view of the Bible – and no more than His view of the Bible!

      I have also read the Qur’an and it did not have any entry point like the resurrection. The muslim argument for the Qur’an’s authority is circular, unlike my reason for believing the Bible as stated above. I have not read the Book of Mormon – I assume you have from your use of it in your argument. What did you think, Brett?

      As for lumping all religious experience together, what right have you to do that? Again, surely it is about content. Have you heard the testimony of a convert to Islam? Was it about forgiveness? Were they assured of salvation? These are the questions we should be asking, not just dismissing them. If you judge it just on the strength of feeling, you could say some people’s adoration of a football team needs to be registered as a religion, but I cannot imagine any intelligent person doing that.

      As for questions about people leaving the church or pastor’s wives having a hard time, Jesus tells us that people will turn away from God in the Parable of the Sower and that the Christian life is hard. He also tells us through the Parable of the Prodigal Son that there is always a welcome to those who return to God.

      I’m afraid the question of why people do or don’t believe is off limits to us all. We simply don’t know what is going on in people’s heads, and we certainly shouldn’t try to control what people think. We can only be sure of what we believe. That is why I am contributing to this site in the form of a testimony. I do hope you stick with it.

  5. b.brettstrong@yahoo.com

    Hi Steve…you say demand for empirical evidence seems odd? …well, in the fairytale bible empirical evidence was expected, even demanded as proof one was saying the truth; just one example out of many–all throughout Exodus loud empirical evidence (for the immaterial god) was given to 2 nations, Egypt & Israel…but today we get nothing & worse yet people like you complain when people like me demand empirical evidence when I’m just following the vast majority of your own bible–so go figure Steve? …don’t get upset at us; get upset at your own bible…

    Secondly, you say miracles can’t happen is a circular argument? …really? then walk on warm bath water, you or the 2 billion Christians in the world, and please cry and beg to your god or Jesus to make it happen–and I can personally guarantee you that ZERO (0) will walk on water, but yet you still say Jesus and god are real…Seriously? …that’s no different than what Space Aliens believers deliver, NOTHING! …& the same for all other scripture based religions gods, NOTHING as far as empirical evidence…

    …Steve, you believe a mutilated corpse magically rose back to life and this 5’1 110 pound guy (est. height and weight of a historical Jesus from the 1st century) is coming back for you, while surfing the clouds….OK, that definitely goes against science & modern medicine and is way more farfetched than Santa Clause and flying reindeer…but to each his own, just lose the dogma…cool…like you say Jesus makes you feel good…hey Santa Clause makes kids feel good…so thumbs up to both…

    also Steve YOU DO NOT adopt the storybook Jesus’ worldview, for he lived and obeyed the Torah…surely you do not, so stop fooling yourself…

    and Steve u r perfectly right for saying “what you believe”…no different than Space Aliens “beliefs” and Fairy “beliefs” and BigFoot “beliefs” and other scripture based “beliefs” yes, Steve throw them in one big pile of “beliefs” with ZERO empirical proof of any…

    Brett Strong!

    …again Steve, stop fooling yourself by saying the Christian life is hard…really? ..in America, Christian life is hard? Seriously?

  6. Stevec
    Stevec 5 years ago

    Well, Brett. I am surprised you reacted so harshly to the term ‘troll’. In England it means someone who posts offensive messages and disrupts serious discussion. You certainly do that.

    Your post is a circular argument. You start by saying that God gave empirical evidence in the Bible, so where is it? Then, when I refer to good evidence for the resurrection you call it ‘way more farfetched than Santa Clause and flying reindeer’. Empirical evidence means evidence that can be experienced through the senses. In the Bible ‘signs’ or miracles are given, but the fact that they are miracles means they don’t happen all the time and when they are no longer happening we look to historic evidence, not empirical evidence. We cannot experience God continually in an empirical way for reasons I gave in my previous post.

    As for Jesus’ approach to the Torah, He was attacked by the religious authorities for His approach to the Torah, putting Himself forward as an authority above it. Matthew 5:38-39. I agree with you, Brett, that we can fool ourselves about the teachings of Christ, but not for the reasons you give. When I read that passage in Matthew I am convicted as to how I do not follow Christ’s loving commands.

    And finally, Brett, I DON’T LIVE IN AMERICA, I’M BRITISH!!!! In Britain (and Europe generally) Christians are marginalised. The media is openly aggressive towards Christianity. As a teacher I have to be very careful about expressing my views. I am always under the watchful eye of the politically correct, whilst atheist teachers have no problem spouting on about their beliefs and offending Christian staff and students. However, I will continue to stand for Christ wherever I am, even if it means losing my job.

    You obviously did not read my blog properly, or else you would not have mistaken me for an American. In the same way you obviously have not read the holy books you mentioned. Your ‘just cut the dogma’ message is typical of your stance – no content.

  7. b.brettstrong@yahoo.com

    Hey Steve, I was not offended by “troll”…no biggy…about serious discussion….hmmm, what could be more serious than asking you to empirically prove what you claim to be true…our courts try to come as close to empirical as possible…do you take court seriously? then why call me non-genuine when I ask you to prove your position? …you have double standard I see…correct it please…

    …and Steve, seriously, you make a huge mistake thinking miracles can be proved historically…as Gary Habermas & Bart Ehrman emphatically say: historically YOU CAN’T PROVE MIRACLES…miracles of the fairytale bible are by faith not by fact…no different than the miracle claims of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, & cults of all kinds–its all faith based my friend! so join the pile! …

    …Steve thanks for your honesty for admitting you don’t follow Jesus because if I may remind you Jesus of the storybook bible was on purpose homeless and I’m sure you are not homeless, just another way you are not following the Jesus of the gospels…remember Steve count the cost 🙂 …and that goes for JP too 🙂

    …so your British & you say you are suffering for Christianity? seriously? …try telling that to a missionary in the Middle East…again, Steve stop fooling yourself, you are not persecuted!…everyone has to watch what they say, and????? ….no one can say whatever they want to whomever they want, not even to ones wife or kids! so your persecution for the faith is borders self delusion (and I mean that in the kindest ways)

    ….Steve, you want to suffer for your faith, just go to the Middle East like in Taliban country, then surely you will suffer for your faith…but as long as your in cozy Britain, no way you are suffering persecution that is uncommon to the common man…

    Brett Strong!

    …I see you try to blow off the empirical evidence I have repeatedly demanded of you for the BIG 3 (Jesus, god, hell) –and you blow it off by a smoke screen approach by saying Brett’s not being seriously when I ask such demands when in reality I am more than serious when I ask you for empirical evidence, just as serious as if I was a judge in court demanding empirical evidence for such outrageous claims (superhero Jesus, immaterial personal god, and hell)

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