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Have you changed your mind?

(19 Posts)
technodad Sun 10-Nov-13 22:14:32

Maybe you are referring to the argument that the earth is an oblique spheroid, rather than flat!

technodad Sun 10-Nov-13 22:13:27

Fair point. Those digs passed me by somehow.

By "circular arguments" are you getting the word "circular" mixed up with the phrase "intelligent and cohesive"?

headinhands Sun 10-Nov-13 19:20:17

Oh Springy that description could be me save for the circular arguments and the hacking. Am very interested to hear what circular arguments an atheist might use?

technodad Sun 10-Nov-13 14:12:20

You got the wrong person - I have never had religion.

I doubt a ration argument will convince someone of faith, since faith requires a leap of trust that goes beyond logic and fact (otherwise it wouldn't be called "faith").

I was simply interested.

springytick Sun 10-Nov-13 12:53:33

Are you the poster who constantly hacks away at the christian faith (with circular arguments) on here OP? If so, seem to remember you used to be a christian (and have taken it upon yourself to 'enlighten' believers). Or maybe I've got the wrong poster. Apologies if so. You say you have no agenda in your OP so maybe it's not you wondering if your arguments have had an effect.

HolofernesesHead Sat 26-Oct-13 19:46:28

I've enjoyed the discussions on here, and at times when I've stopped enjoying them, I've stopped posting!

Has MN changed my mind? It has helped me along the way towards being more feminist, like KayHarker. On religion, not so much. I'm not keen on the thought of this philosophy etc board being fundamentally about trying to change other people's minds, tbh; I'd much rather see it as a place to express and explore one's own beliefs and have them challenged as part of that, and to encounter peole of different convictions. The say it turns into a scramble for converts to any belief system or lack thereof is the day I stop posting for good.

madhairday Sat 26-Oct-13 13:14:12

I've not changed my mind - still sold out Christian - but the robust debates on here have helped me question and explore my beliefs - why I believe what I believe - more, and have actually had the opposite effect in that my faith is greatly strengthened by engaging in such debate. I really enjoy it too, have been a bit quiet lately as been quite ill but still been reading and appreciating.

I've also been challenged a lot, especially in the area of science, which I am fairly clueless on, but have begun to read around more widely, as it is fascinating. I hope I will continue to be challenged and challenge myself; if my faith is not intellectually robust then it is not as it should be.

I'm interested to hear about any who have changed their minds either way too.

headinhands Sat 26-Oct-13 08:28:06

What's a 'spiritually focused' person?

IndigoBarbie Sat 26-Oct-13 07:49:26

And waving over to headinhands, what you said re supernatural: as you know from my previous posts you offer great thinking responses for me, just as techno dad does;
I have definitely experienced more of what has previously been defined as 'supernatural' in my everyday life, so much so that it's my 'norm' now. I'm sure others can concur, but many seek a frame of reference in scientific terms.

IndigoBarbie Sat 26-Oct-13 07:44:43

Debate hasn't achieved anything for me in that respect, but other's viewpoints gave me a spark of curiosity; which led to me experiencing different things which led to my beliefs.

However, I'm yet to be able to define these beliefs by a particular religious teaching since I wasn't really raised in any strict sense of religious teachings: I go by what has occurred for me, not by what I've been taught to believe is the one single or multiple truth.

Debates are interesting though, as particularly on the woo woo topics: I'd say I was a non believer until I had my own experiences. Or perhaps i still had an open mind but wasn't quite sure what to think. I can't un-know what I know and it doesn't have to be measurable to be 'real', in fact from my perspective many occurrences are so immeasurable but that's not important to me, it's the experience itself that is.

headinhands Fri 25-Oct-13 17:45:20

I shouldn't have singled out Christianity. My thinking changed a lot of my beliefs, not just the supernatural ones that made me Christian.

mypavlova Fri 25-Oct-13 17:45:04

The atheist influences and intense discussion in my life has come mainly from family, and I was/am unsatisfied by this explanation, feeling that this view of reality is incomplete and forecloses upon too many questions. My atheists feel that if it can't be measured you can't know it exists, so in their view faith does.not.compute.
But this has been a great jumping off point of exploration and questioning for me (my atheists don't really want to hear it). What can one know? Is the quantitive all that can be real? Is the qualitative inconsequential? What about recognition, fundamentally a qualitative experience? Can consciousnes itself be explained away? Isn't it amusing to see consciousness at pains to explain itself away as a mere epiphenomenon dependent on biological processes? Imo atheism vs. spirituality raises broad questions of meaning versus nihilism that directly impact how you view and live life.
I had a lovely time mooching around new age and mystery religion, and all sorts of forums back in the 90s,then became more focused in on eastern thought and yoga practice. Funnily enough it all led me back to taking up Catholicism again as I now find the practice convergent and resonant with my conclusions from earlier explorations.
Forums have been great for new ideas, references, books, personal insights and hearing from the most interestingly thoughtful, delightful people. It is through talking with so many people that my respect for the spiritual, meaningful approach to life has greatly increased. My experience is that hearing from and reading the thoughts of such spiritually focused people has been a very healthy, good influence on me.

As a result of conversations on discussion boards I've done a fair bit of reading up on atheism. I joined a really conservative Christian discussion forum at the beginning of the year to try and understand where they were coming from. Years ago I did a huge amount of research on new age spirituality as a result of discovering all sorts of ideas about mystery religions that I came across on discussion boards.

My first degree is from Oxford so my critical thinking skills are pretty good I think. I'm still a Christian and now studying a masters in theology as I find ideas and the philosophy behind them really interesting.

headinhands Fri 25-Oct-13 15:08:40

My journey to unbelief started after frequenting a debate forum but it was about ghosts not Christianity. The debates about ghosts exposed me to thinking on logic and evidence that I hadn't really taken on board before. As time went on my newly harnessed critical thinking skills gradually dismantled my beliefs.

acorntree Fri 25-Oct-13 13:07:18

I find debates very interesting, but so far more in that they help me understand other people rather than change my mind.

Also, to hear, and to try and understand arguments from a radically different point of view helps develop and define my own beliefs, but personally I find this tends to strengthen rather than change them. I am a physicist by training, and always taught to test, poke, challenge hypotheses. Robust debate helps me to test, poke and challenge my beliefs (I'm Christian).

I don't find the sort of debate where people on each side of the argument throw the verbal equivalent of bad eggs or rotten tomatoes at eachother very helpful at all. That just entrenches stereotypes and prejudices on both sides.

KayHarker Fri 25-Oct-13 11:53:46

Not exactly. But MN did expose me to feminist thinking which changed my approach to faith entirely. The argy-bargy of debate just depressed me, with the frequent ad hominems against believers, which usually just made me more entrenched, as atheists seemed such an unpleasant bunch. Now I am one I know that's not the case, but I've yet to see mockery and nastiness change anyone's mind.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 24-Oct-13 22:20:30

No, I haven't changed my mind. But I have been inspired to broaden my thinking. Mostly to comedic effect.thlblushthlgrin

SunshineSuperNova Thu 24-Oct-13 22:04:46

I'm an atheist and have never changed my mind. However, I am often interested in the debates and am interested in discussions.

technodad Thu 24-Oct-13 20:13:40

There is often some really healthy, and sometimes robust debate on this forum between atheists / agnostics and religious people.

I am really interested to know if any debate has ever made someone stop and think, or even change their mind.

Has any debate been a trigger for anyone to think about loosing their faith, or has anyone gone out to investigate a faith when they were previously a non-believer?

Just interested - no agenda, and I have no idea what the response might be.

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