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Thu May 16, 2019, 10:49 AM

For Every Adult Atheist Who Becomes a Christian, How Many

Christians are there who have become atheists? I don't know the answer to that question. I know many Christians. I know quite a few atheists. Most of the atheists I know were Christians at some point in their lives. Most. I do not, however, personally know any Christians who were adult atheists before becoming Christians. Not one.

I use the word "adult," because we are all born without belief in deities. We are taught to believe. It is really not until adulthood when such a change is notable.

Occasionally, I read about some atheist who has found Jesus. Typically I read about it because another believer has posted it to make some sort of point. I have read many accounts on the internet of Christians and followers of other religions who have become atheists. Typically, I read those when the individual person posts something to that effect.

But, I have no idea what the numbers of either change in beliefs actually are, beyond my own reading and knowledge.

Here's the thing: I find both things to be decidedly uninteresting. People adopt and discard beliefs from time to time. It's not particularly remarkable. Most do so without a lot of fanfare. The phenomenon of people being "saved" at revival meetings is emotionally based and carefully orchestrated. It's easy to suddenly declare one's conversion at such an event, and there is the reward of the celebration of those who have already done so. The newly converted are often very excited by that and are eager to relate their experience to all who will listen.

Going from belief to non-belief, on the other hand, is rarely done emotionally or immediately. Generally, it involves some thought and questioning of ones prior beliefs. It's often a gradual process, with a realization at some point that one no longer believes in supernatural entities and events. Since it's not an epiphany of some sort, most people who make that transition don't make it a topic of conversation or volunteer that information.

Still, I do not know the comparative numbers of people going in either direction. I don't know how those numbers would be calculated, frankly. Perhaps it's not even something that interesting, really. Religious belief or disbelief is, in the end, just a personal thing. Nevertheless, I'm curious about those numbers.

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Reply For Every Adult Atheist Who Becomes a Christian, How Many (Original post)
MineralMan Thursday OP
Croney Thursday #1
samnsara Thursday #2
Apple Fritter Thursday #3
TlalocW Thursday #4
MineralMan Thursday #6
TlalocW Thursday #8
MineralMan Thursday #9
Runningdawg Thursday #5
MineralMan Thursday #7
TlalocW Thursday #10
Act_of_Reparation Thursday #11
Major Nikon Thursday #12

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 11:04 AM

1. Atheist to Christian is like putting the banana back in the peel.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 11:25 AM

2. i guess it depends on how indoctrinated the child was in religion..how guilty they were made to feel

...for DARING not to believe. My folks just let us believe how we wanted to but they still pushed us to go to church... even in our teen years when they both quit going. We (my 2 sisters and me) only went because of the boys. There was another family of 5 girls we were great friends with..and still are (im close to 70). We did the Sunday School thing (Calvary Baptist) as kids and the youth meetings (First Christian Church) as early teens. Most my first crushes were on boys in church and youth group. I had the biggest crush on a boy named Robbie..he was a high school Senior and LOVED to do all the girls hair. He later died of Aids. That must have been a difficult time for him.

We didnt get 'Baptized' until we were in our early teens. It meant nothing to me...more of a messy inconvenience...the whole dunking thing. But mom and dad were now reassured I wouldnt go to hell I guess...so it was for them.


God was never a part of our so called 'religious upbringing'...except in the presentations and we always talked during those times. It was a socialization thing and taught us not to cuss out loud in public and stuff like that. Once we were old enuff to make up our minds I quit going. The only times i go into a church building now is for a funeral or wedding. I respectfully close my eyes during prayers and what not.


I Went from saying i didnt believe in organized religion (high school)..which was met with loud GASPS from friends...to agnostic to grad school where i finally said fuck it im atheist.

Hubbys like me but was raised as Catholic so a lot of guilt survives.

My 2 sisters went on to both become Mormon, then Episcopalian then one went on to become Jewish and the other a Trumper right to life Catholic. Go figure.

....But.. like all my friends in college said..'If God/Jesus, whoever, landed smack down in front of me..hell yes...i would believe...in ALIENS!

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 11:55 AM

3. I've heard of people "finding god".

Like I don't know specifically if people were atheists or not but there are plenty of people who get into religion as a purposeful self-changing image or to repent. Wish we could,I don't know, visit a dog shelter instead of a church.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 12:22 PM

4. I don't know the breakdown

But that study that came out recently that showed "Nones" having reached the same percentage of the population as Evangelical Christians and Catholics would seem to indicate it's going Christian/Theist to Atheist more... A None being a person with no religious affiliation so that includes believers who have left the church and atheists.

TlalocW

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Response to TlalocW (Reply #4)

Thu May 16, 2019, 12:40 PM

6. Yes, the decline in active participation in religion sure looks that way.

There's no equivalent statistical evidence about atheists, though, becoming religious. There's no way to identify atheists, like there is for church-goers. So all there is is anecdotal evidence, when someone declares they have taken the step from atheism to religion.

So, there's no real way to study movement in that direction. Atheists don't gather together to celebrate their atheism, as a rule. There are no atheist "churches" to look at, and the few atheist organizations are small, compared to the number of atheists out there.

So, we'll probably never be able to get an accurate estimate of what percentage of athiests stop disbelieving in favor of believing in deities or whatever.

However, we'll sure hear about the rare atheist who finds religion and tells people about it. Those stories keep circulating, even years after they occur. Religionists love to point out such cases, believing somehow that it's a trend.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #6)

Thu May 16, 2019, 12:46 PM

8. If someone used an atheist becoming a Christian to "prove" something

I'd just direct them to the Clergy Project website, which helps religious professionals such as ministers and pastors who no longer believe come to grips with that and offers them support in what to do next.

TlalocW

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Response to TlalocW (Reply #8)

Thu May 16, 2019, 12:49 PM

9. That's a very interesting website. I've enjoyed reading some of the

individual stories of ministers who are atheists. Here's the link, for those who want to check it out:

http://clergyproject.org/

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 12:36 PM

5. I know of ONE (friend of a friend)

He "converted" in order to marry into an extremely wealthy family. I guess money allows you to stomach almost anything. IMO He missed his calling in life, he should have either been an actor or a politician.

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Response to Runningdawg (Reply #5)

Thu May 16, 2019, 12:41 PM

7. Thanks. That's one, then.

Of course, it may have been a conversion of convenience, I suppose...

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Response to Runningdawg (Reply #5)

Thu May 16, 2019, 12:52 PM

10. Two good friends in college

Married right after graduation. She was a lapsed Catholic, and he's an atheist. To appease her father's need to keep up appearances they had a Catholic wedding, even going to Catholic marriage bootcamp, where at one point when the priest had all the men in a group to answer their questions, my friend yelled at him, "The word is EJACULATE! Just say it!" The priest was hemming and hawing, trying to avoid the word when some other guy in the bootcamp asked about the church's position on oral sex. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. That guy is hilarious.

Wedding was even more fun. Full Catholic ceremony - Best man was gay, next groomsman was the best man's boyfriend, next groomsman an avowed atheist, etc.

TlalocW

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 01:20 PM

11. Liberal Christians, conservative Christians...

...hard to tell one from the other when apologetics comes up. Both "sides" deploy the same dishonest, underhanded crap.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 02:47 PM

12. There's not much hard data on the subject

Humans arenít as complex as we typically see ourselves. People tend to come to religion for the same reasons over and over. I personally know of nobody who came to religion as an adult with no childhood indoctrination except in instances where they hit rock bottom in one way or another. Thatís not to say it doesnít happen, but if it does to any significant degree Iíd like to know where those people are.

I have always suspected the reason religionists and especially cults primarily target schools and skid row is because thatís where the recruits are. I just donít see secular adults from a position of stability flocking to Jesus.

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