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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:

:bulletblack: 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.

:bulletblack: 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:

:bulletblack: 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.

:bulletblack: 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.

:bulletblack: 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.
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nobodyknows14 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2017
These are probably all good points. I do have a question though, which I'd be quite interested to hear the answer to:
Are there any ex-atheists who were believers before they became atheists that you know of? If so, I'd be very interested in hearing the details of their deconversion and reconversion and what led them to each point of view. As someone who deconverted from Christianity, and has never found any reason to return to it, having looked at many apologists' arguments thoroughly and found them unsatisfactory, it would be something quite intriguing to look at.
MenollySagittaria Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
7. There are more "ex-Christians" than "ex-Atheists", therefore atheists have more reasoning to leave religion.

Yeah, and isn't reasoning that atheists always criticize from believers that "there are more people who believe in a higher power than don't, therefore there must be a higher power." Then someone else turns around and says "there are more people converting from religion that to it, therefore there must not be a higher power." Sheesh. Sheeple. 

"God sounds so mean in the old testament!"

I wouldn't put this in the emotional reasoning category. If a being who *claims* to be supremely good and supremely loving then turns around and endorses and engages in slaughter, there *appears* to be a huge problem there, even though I've come up with one and seen a couple of possibilities to resolve it. 

Sydney-Carton Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015
Nice. You're very well worded. You present things I believe in a way that I (usually) lack. Your praise isn't unfounded.

I was raised with atheistic beliefs. Since I grew up I developed the common sense, and basic reasoning skills, any (non brainwashed person) would naturally know absent of atheistic indoctrination. In short: I learned to think for myself and develop original thoughts, questions and logical conclusions based solely upon said questions (without personal preferences factoring into my conclusions).

I found, upon objective consideration (absent emotion), that I was forced into choosing between intrinsic morality, or atheism. Either one could be true, either one is a matter of faith.

As much as I loved atheism (and still do) I refused to discard true morality. So, I am now a theist.

All Creation (all truth and reality, conceivable, or otherwise) is either: "Created" with a divine will ( = absolute and objective in any circumstance), or is merely a matter of blind chance ( = relative and subjective in any circumstance).

:) I use the smile emoticon because I anticipate the objections. Yes i read your post. My assertion is not "an either, or" argument. Well, (literally) it is. Logically, it isn't; because there (literally) aren't any other options. Consider the choices (absent of emotion)...

If we're a product of some cosmic "accident", then all perspectives are equally finite and equally valid: from the most "overlooked" amoeba and/or bacteria to the most "developed intelligence". All strive to "survive". All are entitled to the same "right" to live, and their individual perspectives from that as a collective to that of the individual (which includes doing whatever is necessary to survive in spite of the opinion of ANY other perspective, or lifeform). In short: as a product of a cosmic accident (without design) any, and all, life forms have an equally valid "relative" moral drive. ALL life forms. Regardless of the opinion of ANY other life form. Relative...regardless of special incentive and motivation. Even if the incentive (of any random life form) isn't geared toward survival and propagation of species it remains equally valid; absent of a Creator.

I could believe that (as an atheist). I have no evidence against it other than my own (personal) bent towards "absolute morality". That's hardly "scientific". In fact, no one can provide empirical evidence against the fact that all life forms have the power ( and the "right") to do whatever it is in their power to do. The RIGHT to do whatever is in their power to do; simply because they can. There is no "universal law" to dictate otherwise. Literally, no law. People who claim otherwise are victims of wishful (unscientific) thinking, or religion.

This was my thought process.

Like I said, I was unwilling to sacrifice morality upon the altar of atheism.

So, there's another option. We don't HAVE to be some cosmic "happening" in which any moral perspective it, randomly, develops is (logically) equally as valid as any other randomly developed perspective.

I choose to be a theist because it is the ONLY honest option if I choose to believe in morality. Otherwise, I could (literally) justify any action that pleased me. So can anyone else who is intelligent enough to understand the difference (and implications) between subjective, and objective morality.
MenollySagittaria Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"If we're a product of some cosmic "accident", then all perspectives are equally finite and equally valid."

Let's take this from a completely atheistic perspective, as a mental exercise. 

Short answer: No, they aren't. If you deem your own experiences of pain, fear, and suffering as real enough to act on and not ignore, then the logical progression would be that you have to acknowledge others' pain, fear, and suffering is real as well. From that point it is a teensy, tiny step to want to reduce suffering.

If you are like most human beings, you are a highly social animal programmed to feel good when someone else feels good, and to thrive off of reciprocation. Therefore it is in your own self-interest to do for others. Empathy is our "natural" state on the whole, because it allowed us to work together where apart we would have died out. In our current times, it reduces domestic or internal conflict and war, which is not pleasant for anyone to be *individually* caught up in. So it is logical for the individual to do what they can to reduce them. Everyone benefits from peaceful coexistence. 

The concept of karma doesn't have to exist objectively to apply. If you send bad ripples out around you- if you make one person feel bad, step on them, and denigrate them, they will in turn treat others badly out of mood and frustration. That polluted circle can come back to you quite easily. Maybe even they'll go for retaliation personally. It's not logical to take that risk when to not take it is about as easy to do. 

Of course, none of this provides a framework for a *specific* morality, (you can leave that to utilitarianism and data) but it does give pretty darn strong incentive for you to be a considerate, conscientious person, and you'll look like a self-sabotaging moron if you don't. Don't pee in the water you drink in. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as the old saying goes. 
Sydney-Carton Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015
The previous argument makes sense when you assume certain things to begin with. I'm not (assuming anything, that is). For example: you're assuming that morality (from an atheistic perspective) should hinge mostly, if not entirely, as an incentive to what is best for you as an individual within a specific social spectrum. When you begin with such assumptions, the outcome (logically) follows.

This not only suggests, but demands, that morality is purely subjective in any form. It's a classic either, or scenario. I'm not against "either or's"; they have their place and are logical. Just so I'm not misunderstood. When you suggest (imply) that morality's validity stems from an individual need for what is best to 'that' "necessarily" dictates that morality is nothing more than a matter of perspective. Under that thought process, it follows that any action can be justified as long as you don't damage your social standing (which would then, presumably, damage you). Again, the incentive isn't for the 'greater good", it's only for what is best for me (roundabout, or otherwise). This is anything but "moral", it's a simple extension of self preservation. Morality dictates that you do "the right thing" even if it demands the termination of your life and all the lives of those you care about for no other reason than 'because it is right". The idea that the definition of morality means you should behave in a "socially acceptable" manner to avoid ridicule (or pain in any sense) is a weak argument, at best, intentionally misleading at worst.

Also, this assumption applies only until you have gained the power, or influence to change others' perspective of morality. This is anything but rhetoric or theory. Every society has developed its own idea of moral standards independent of what other societies teach, and preach. It's tested fact. You may be moral, or immoral, within your particular "tribe", but that doesn't necessarily translate to the concept of morality another "tribe" has developed. Most cultures throughout all human history developed some form of slavery independent of other cultures, and justified it without a problem. Don't be fooled; lots of societies (as a whole) benefited by employing slaves. No one remembers ancient Egypt because of the benevolence of the ruling class, we remember them because the ruling class made all those slaves build the pyramids. Not least among them, the Hebrews. The Jews, for example, have been ridiculed, murdered, put down, enslaved, and oppressed by everyone for thousands of years; even to this day. Most of us still justify this, at least in part (ridicule, en mass), some in blatant active genocidal action. Well, our present society is very immature. Many cultures prospered for thousands of years on the backs of slaves and they were happy to do it. 'Matter of perspective. If you're an Egyptian noble you're building a legacy, if you're a slave you're building a mound of callouses.

Anyway...that's all arguable stuff (it's arguable since morality can be considered subjective), but beside the real point. Subjective morality covered (in part)...

Objective morality demands that "peeing in the water you drink in" is irrelevant. Some things are right, some things are wrong. Period. Slavery, for example. If you believe in an objective morality that demands slavery is wrong you will stand against slavery no matter how many of your species (or anyone of any other species) advocates it. You will, then, stand against slavery even if it leads to your death and the deaths of those you love. You will do so, not because it stands against the social order. You will do so because it is fundamentally wrong in spite of social acceptance. Being 'a social creature' has no bearing on morality, whatsoever. It only dictates what is 'socially acceptable'.
yoyonah Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
O_O Well. This was certainly very well worded, not insulting to anyone, polite, and intelligent. Just, dang. Very very well done.
SeraphOfChrist Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Incredible, simple incredible. You did a fantastic job in composing this. *adds to favorites*
IZZY-CHAN13 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll just direct naysayers here from now on x'D Or I can memorize the basics, but I got most of it from the beginning :nod:
Preach-it Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love 5 and 8. This was VERY well written. 7hank you.
Aegris Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Student Writer
In regards to Question 3, I recommend mentioning Antony Flew. Though, as far as I know, he isn't a Christian, he's a deist. But he was famous for being an atheist that converted to theism.

Wonderful group. :D
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October 30, 2012


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