Author Topic: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?  (Read 8355 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JohnE

  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 1882
  • Gender: Male
  • Heeeere's JohnE!
What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« on: June 06, 2013, 05:32:20 pm »
If you're an atheist or agnostic, what would it take to convince you of the existence of god in general, and/or Christianity in particular? And for Christians, what would it take to convince you that god doesn't exist and/or that Christianity isn't true?

Here's a few things that might convince me of god/Christianity. And one thing might not be enough, but they would certainly make me rethink my worldview.

Personal religious experience
I could never be 100% sure that it wasn't just my brain playing tricks on me, but a powerful enough religious experience might convert me. (Other people's experiences do nothing for me, though)

The power of prayer
If prayer could be shown to have a statistically significant effect on things that could not be attributed to the placebo effect, I'd be convinced that something was going on, though not necessarily that Christianity was true (unless it only worked with Christian prayers).

Miracles
Stories about miracles, especially from ancient sources, don't convince me, but if a few unambiguous miracles were captured on tape and witnessed and corroborated by many people independently, that might be enough. Or if I witnessed something and other witnesses verified it.

... That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I may add more things later.

Offline Sleepy

  • Fuck Yes Sunshine In a Bag
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 4563
  • Gender: Female
  • Danger zone
    • Toki Matters
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 06:01:06 pm »
I would have to see the god, and it would have to perform a crapload of godly things in front of me, like transforming my couch into an ocelot. And loads of other people would have to see it so I can ensure I'm not hallucinating. I see no reason to believe, otherwise.
Guys, this is getting creepy. Can we talk about cannibalism instead?

If a clown eats salmon on Tuesday, how much does a triangle weigh on Jupiter? Ask Mr. Wiggins for 10% off of your next dry cleaning bill. -Hades

Offline Hofstadter's Tortoise

  • Russian Lush
  • Global Moderator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 2485
  • Ни шагу назад
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 06:03:40 pm »
I have an irky feeling that i would just crack one day and convert just to avoid the possibility of going to hell
Faisons lever l'étoile du mérite passé.  Le monde a besoin de lumière,  Le monde a besoin de la France,  La France a besoin de tous les Français.

Offline Cerim Treascair

  • My Love Is Lunar
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 3093
  • Gender: Male
  • Get me my arbalest... explosive bolts, please.
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 06:05:10 pm »
in my case... it's not exactly a matter of Pascal's Wager.  More 'what have I got to lose?'
There is light and darkness in the world, to be sure.  However, there's no harm to be had in walking in the shade or shadows.

Formerly Priestling

"I don't give a fuck about race...I'm white, I'm American, but that shit don't matter.  I'm human."

Offline Shane for Wax

  • Official Mosin Nagant Fanboy, Crazy, and Lord of Androgynes
  • Kakarot
  • ******
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
  • Gender: Male
  • Twin to shy, lover of weapons, pagan, wolf-brother
    • Game Podunk
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 06:08:05 pm »
For me, I believe that if there is a god, or (as many have seen me say) a goddess, I think that they would take into account my attempts to be a good person. To do good by my kin, legal or not. Many people here are my kin and I have tried multiple times to aid them where I can. I think those acts, acts that I might never see myself get repaid for but I do out of love, would allow a god or goddess to look kindly upon me.

If they aren't a total dick like the Christian God can show himself to be and nothing I do could be right by him.

TL;DR- I wouldn't convert to Christianity of any stripe. I would be Tony Stark in the presence of Thor.

&
"The human race. Greatest monsters of them all."
"Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya."
Fucking Dalek twats I’m going to twat you over the head with my fucking TARDIS you fucking fucks!

Offline Morgenleoht

  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 777
  • Gender: Female
  • Formerly Known As Runa
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 06:11:38 pm »
TL;DR- I wouldn't convert to Christianity of any stripe. I would be Tony Stark in the presence of Thor.

Cracking snarky jokes about his speech, cloak and looks?
Fundie Neighbour: "Pagans don't feel things the same way Christians do."

Me: "Just remember what the Vikings used to do to Christians that annoyed them."

Offline Sigmaleph

  • Ungodlike
  • Administrator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 3394
    • sigmaleph on tumblr
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 06:35:08 pm »
[I realise this post is long. If you want to read one paragraph only, choose the one with the bolded sentence]


What would convince me of the God of Christianity in particular? Evidence that I've been hallucinating every time I've had anyone describe how the Christian God is supposed to be.

Allow me to elaborate. While there's many, many things that don't line up with the Christian God hypothesis, I will use the argument from evil for the purposes of this post.

We are to assume an omnipotent entity which is supposed to be benevolent. There is no possible way that such a thing is even barely compatible with the universe we observe. For one thing, people die, all the time, for the stupidest of reasons, after living lives that may or may not be filled with suffering. Even if you buy the "free will" argument* that God cannot make all people be nice, the universe is simply not optimised for being good by any reasonable standard, for reasons that have fuck-all to do with human behaviour. Most of it is empty of intelligent life, for starters. If you could make the universe be any way you like, would you only put people in one particular place, unable to see almost all of it, guaranteed to die after a relatively minuscule amount of time? Why? Put us in every planet. Make us immortal, or able to live for as long as we desire until we get tired of it. Get rid of lightspeed limit, so we can reasonably see a bigger portion of the world. At the very least, don't add flesh-eating bacteria to the world, because what the fuck does that accomplish? I'm not saying I know the formula for maximising the goodness of human life, but sure as hell it doesn't look like this.

So between the choice that the universe is completely different to what I observe in basically every major way, and that I've simply managed to misunderstand every time I heard that God is omnipotent and he loves us, the latter is the least improbable one. Any universe where the God of Christianity exists as I think he's supposed to requires hypotheses on the Cartesian Demon level.


Any god in general is trickier question, not in the least because it's not a well-defined term. For the purposes of this, let's just say that a god is a being (with a mind, so as not to argue whether "the universe itself" counts as a being) that can perform straight-up miracles. Change the stars in the sky, manipulate time at will, that sorta thing. Let's ignore how they do this, so they could be an alien race that exploits technology we don't have or a Matrix Lord or a supernatural transcendent spirit that created the universe.

In that case, the most likely evidence that'd convince me would be them regularly using their miraculous power to accomplish their goals. If you change the midday sky to green with red spots once, then it's far more likely that I'm on drugs than that you are a god. If you do it every day to send messages to a friend in Mars, that's more interesting. If you teleport me to the moon for a few seconds to impress me, I don't know if you just have a very convincing holographic projector. If you can move the entire civilization across the galaxy because the sun is about to blow up, you're probably a god.

There are probably other things that would convince me, but the bottom line is that godhood should not be an evasive, immaterial thing that might as well not be there. A sentient being with god-level powers should have obviously visible consequences. If not, any clever excuse as to why we never notice their displays of godliness is by far more likely to be humans generating rationalizations than actual gods.

It's not impossible that there is a very good reason why some being that can reassemble the world at will, doesn't do so. Finding such a reason would greatly relax the standards of evidence, but would also mean by its very nature I'm unlikely to get that evidence. I don't know how an argument that proves that I shouldn't expect to see any displays of godly power (or see them but don't realise it), and yet allows that I will see evidence, would be like. Perhaps a personal meeting with a god-creature who wants me in particular to believe it is there but doesn't want anyone else to?



*I don't, but a universe where I realise my objections against it are invalid is the least unlikely hypothetical in this scenario.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 06:38:14 pm by Sigmaleph »
Σא

Offline Rime

  • Pope
  • ****
  • Posts: 252
  • Gender: Male
  • Born too slow
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 08:01:31 pm »
Two things, and I'm not just talking Christian, but this can also refer to Islam, Hinduism, Wicca, etc...

1 Some truly obvious sign that there are supernatural machinations and not just the assertions of everyone who is convinced that it's interfering with this universe.  Not that I have a problem with someone believing in supernatural beings and their interactions with this reality, but at the present, the supernatural seems to be another crowbar in the toolbox of the would-be evangelist, desperate to have me join him in his beliefs.

2 Being able to separate the evangelist's message from his personal desire to have me convert in a manner that pleases him.
And when we're done soul searching,
And we carry the weight and die for a cause.
Is misery made beautiful
Right before our eyes.

Mercy be revealed, or blind us where we stand?

Offline BigChrisfilm

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • Posts: 53
  • Gender: Male
  • This just happend?
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 08:43:37 pm »
I think that if we are all honest with ourselves we would say we aren't sure. I truly don't believe there is anything. Im so convinced that it's true, even if I saw someone claiming to be Jesus doing miracles I'd question what he was saying if it were against what I knew to be true. If there is one thing that could do it, it's be if God could be 100%, without a doubt proven to not exist.

Offline Sigmaleph

  • Ungodlike
  • Administrator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 3394
    • sigmaleph on tumblr
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 09:09:42 pm »
Quote
If there is one thing that could do it, it's be if God could be 100%, without a doubt proven to not exist.
Can you be more specific? What would something that proves God doesn't exist (as far as you are concerned) look like?
Σא

Offline Sleepy

  • Fuck Yes Sunshine In a Bag
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 4563
  • Gender: Female
  • Danger zone
    • Toki Matters
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 09:12:57 pm »
I don't know how you prove such a thing. Do you have to swear that you've searched every inch of the earth? Search outer space? (Which is obviously limited.) It just doesn't work.
Guys, this is getting creepy. Can we talk about cannibalism instead?

If a clown eats salmon on Tuesday, how much does a triangle weigh on Jupiter? Ask Mr. Wiggins for 10% off of your next dry cleaning bill. -Hades

Offline BigChrisfilm

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • Posts: 53
  • Gender: Male
  • This just happend?
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 09:51:39 pm »
I don't know how you prove such a thing. Do you have to swear that you've searched every inch of the earth? Search outer space? (Which is obviously limited.) It just doesn't work.
I don't know how either, that's why I was saying I honestly don't think there is anyway to do so.

Offline Sigmaleph

  • Ungodlike
  • Administrator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 3394
    • sigmaleph on tumblr
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 10:15:26 pm »
Does your belief in God have really no consequences whatsoever? Is there nothing that you would expect to see or not see in a universe where God is real, as opposed to one where he's not?

If there is, then that implies the possibility of seeing something you wouldn't expect to see if God was real, thus evidence against. If not, well, can you really say you believe in any meaningful way?
Σא

Offline BigChrisfilm

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • Posts: 53
  • Gender: Male
  • This just happend?
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 10:38:42 pm »
Does your belief in God have really no consequences whatsoever? Is there nothing that you would expect to see or not see in a universe where God is real, as opposed to one where he's not?

If there is, then that implies the possibility of seeing something you wouldn't expect to see if God was real, thus evidence against. If not, well, can you really say you believe in any meaningful way?

I think I know what you're trying to say. The reason that doesn't work for me is that I believe in an explanation for why there is bad on the world. So the fact there is bad in the world doesn't disprove God for me.

Offline R. U. Sirius

  • He Who Must Be Smooched By Cute FSTDT Forumgirls
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 2896
  • Gender: Male
  • Just look at me. Who could distrust this face?
Re: What Would it Take to Convert/Deconvert You?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 10:49:28 pm »
That wasn't the question, Chris.

The question was, "is there anything you wouldn't expect to see in a universe where God existed?" Anything at all, not just the existence of evil or pain.
http://www.gofundme.com/kw5o78
My GoFundMe campaign. Donations are greatly appreciated.

http://imgur.com/user/RUSirius1/submitted
My Imgur account. Upvotes always appreciated

If you look at it logically, cannibalism has great potential to simultaneously solve our overpopulation and food shortage problems.