1. There is no such thing as an "ex-atheist".
An ex-atheist is an individual who has abandoned the atheistic view of the "absence of belief" in a deity. I am one of them.
2. Ex-atheists were never atheist to begin with.
This is false. Atheism has no ideology or guideline in terms of who is a "true" atheist and who isn't. The closest thing to a "guideline" in terms of anti-religion is regarding "Dawkins Scale" representing the various levels of atheism depending on one's confidence level. But even then, there are flaws in the chart that go against reality terms of theism. To say that another individual was never an atheist before coming to religion after they proclaimed to be so is unruly in itself and only encourages that atheism is more like a religion rather than a freedom of religion. This is said because Christianity and other religions do have a guideline determining how true followers will handle doubt in face of a belief system or the existence of a deity. Often this guideline is overlooked when concerning those who have turned away from that religion, thus they have all the reason to be considered "false".
3. There is no ex-atheist who was famous for being atheist before converting, so they do not count as part of the bigger picture.
In that case, I don't see Richard Dawkins being famous for being Christian before he converted to Atheism. I guess he doesn't count as important either, right?
4. Nobody would leave the rationality of Atheism without being brainwashed into religion in some form.
This sounds like something a brain-washer would say, not to mention it reeks of two fallacies:
Black-&-White Fallacy:also known as the false dilemma, this insidious tactic has the appearance of forming a logical argument, but under closer scrutiny it becomes evident that there are more possibilities than the either/or choice that is presented.
Ad Hominem: attacks of this fallacy can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes.
All in all, it's a very weak argument, as there are many ex-atheists (including myself) who have come to God completely on their own terms.
5. Religion does not give you freedom, it cuts you off from it.
So far, I have seen only New Atheists attempt to tell this to a whole number of people who are actually very capable of thinking for themselves, making their own decisions and are satisfied with what they have despite not having everything they want and are content with following religious views.
Again, this argument is only valid to the individual making the claim, thus committing the Ancedotal Fallacy, where someone uses a personal experience concerning their upbringing or they take the first few radical religious persons they come across and use them to represent a whole community of a religion rather than giving objective and solid data to proof their claim.
Religion can only limit how you live your life as an individual if
- You have a shallow outlook in how you should live your life in the first place
- You mistreat your beliefs in a radical manner
- You interpret a belief system in a way they were not meant to be interpreted.
Believe it or not, there are many religious folk who actually discourage pushing their beliefs on others and only share their beliefs to help others with misinterpretations that radical members have caused in their image.
6. These so-called "ex-atheists" were only going through a phase. An act of rebellion.
See Statement #2 . Stating that one was merely an atheist out of rebellion is invalid in terms of individual reasoning, it mostly fits in the False Cause Fallacy where someone presumes that because things are happening together that one thing is therefore the cause of the other -- in other words, they can only assume that when someone was young and atheist that they were only acting on teenage rebellion (btw, if this was true in some way, who is to say those who stay atheist have never left that rebellious stage since?)
7. There are more "ex-Christians" than "ex-Atheists", therefore atheists have more reasoning to leave religion.
There are alot of the anti-religious who try to use the argument that having Christians convert to atheism gives them the upper-hand as the ones who are more logical and with more reason. This kind of argument makes no strong impact because it's a Self-Selection Fallacy argument, focusing on the idea that there are only people turning away from religion, when in fact there are people turning away from atheism. Just look at ex-atheists like Bill Craig, Anthony Flew, and C.S. Lewis who are very well known for their reasoning and logic -- and they are only but a few.
It's very easy to explain why there seems to be more "ex-Christian" sites, stories, and youtubers/deviant etc. It's because New Atheism promises emotional appeal and emphasis on one's pain and personal experience. That is their greatest and ONLY reasoning system, (one which is a fallacy((Emotional Appeal Fallacy))) and the weird thing is they try to shift the style of "reasoning" onto religion. It is very easy for one to be caught up with a false sense of meaning and accomplishment when all they are doing if focusing on a feeling of satisfaction while sitting on a imaginary throne of subjective morality and cynical triumphs over those they claim to be oppressed by.
In regards of "ex-atheists", you will often find both emotional and rational reasoning combined, depending on the level of faith they are currently in. The more mature they become in faith and the more they study about what they actually claim to believe in, the more reasons they have for their faith that are less based on personal/emotional experience.
8. Religion doesn't allow for questioning or doubt/Religion does not encourage you to think or have second thoughts.
On the contrary, Christianity and other religions encourage finding reasons to believe in it. There are scientists and teachers and ministers who seek answers for their questions, no matter how intimidating they seem.
From a psychological point of view, here are some various ranges of a Christian who doubts:
Factual doubt: doubt that asks for facts, most often scientific or historical. In terms of science, the bible does not give us much detail, regarding how science only talks about "how" things work and not "why". In terms of history, however, it's accuracy is strong and often unavoidable, especially with skeptics like Richard Dawkins. Christians are (or should be) encouraged to explore and ask questions regarding factual information for their faith, since it will more than often give them ways of defending their faith against those who attack it.
Emotional doubt: doubt that demands emotional satisfaction. This range is tricky because our emotions can easily be swayed and brought up through either guilt, anger, impatience, or bitterness. Christians are taught to confront those unruly emotions and decide whether or not they are worth trusting concerning their own faith. Those who doubt in this range often ask questions like
- "Does God hate me?"
- "How do I know God will give me what I need?"
- "Why does evil exist if he's such a loving God?"
- "If God is there for me, why didn't he help me in this situation?"
- "God sounds so mean in the old testament!"
- "Being a Christian is so hard and unfufilling!"
Alot of these answers can be found in deeper studies of the Bible, should they take the time to look into it. Alot of personal support in this range can be found in devotional books or bibles which focuses mainly on emotional aspects of faith.
Volitional doubt: weak faith or lack of motivation to follow the Lord. This is often the cause that most "ex-Christians" fall under. This is where a Christian is in need for the most help, since this is more often when people cannot accept or find factual or emotional satisfaction, and end up feeling like they have no legitimate reason to have such a faith in the first place. Some end up falling away, while others fall away only to return at another point in their life.