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Wednesday, January 29, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

What do I think?

sent in response to: Why the Interest?

I think there are Christians who believe foolish things, I also find flawed logic among atheists. After visiting your site weekly for the last five months I find that your beliefs consistently strengthen my own because what inspires you is objectively true. I glean valuable insight from those inspirations.

Worldview is simply how we understand the nature of true things. Reality itself will accommodate neither my understanding of it or yours. Personal worldview is literally the keystone that shapes every other belief we hold by faith throughout our lives, yet most people will die defending someone else’s. Theism is not what brings havoc to one’s mind, an inconsistency in our worldview ultimately will. Awareness of this changed my mindset.

As a fundamentalist I once grounded my beliefs in the knowledge of other people. My point of view was unyielding because it relied on clear, fixed boundaries to protect my faith. Clarence Darrow was correct; "To believe in a thing, an image of the thing must be stamped upon the mind". It is obvious to both of us that many Christians have no tangible evidence of God so their confidence is fixed upon accepted religious authority. Likewise an atheist with a fundamentalist mindset chooses an authority to believe along side, often some scientist, always like minded. Peer groups have a powerful capacity to hold brilliant minds narrow. This mindset is what constricts thinking, religion just happens to be one.

You wrote that a good atheist must be passionate about theism because it (theism) is a direct threat to a thinking person’s freedom. Actually fundamentalism is a common threat regardless of one’s worldview. In fact, it is imperative for a thinking person to inoculate his mind for narrowness of thought or his mind will simply move from one trap to another.

Point of view is a poor basis for beliefs because it must change for us to learn. If human perspective were not dynamic true awareness would never grow. Examples: Prior to 1997 Neandertal was believed to be our direct progenitor. DNA provides algorithms as better evidence than dust on bones so evolutionary models accommodated that fact, and soon will again. We no longer argue the science of virgin birth we debate its ethics. Stem cells harvested from blood marrow will certainly regenerate human tissue one day soon, it’s simply thought provoking that a man living 3800 years ago dreamed it was possible.

I try to sift out insight wherever human minds exercise their opinion. Only what is unchangeable is worth holding onto. The beliefs of men are unimportant if they are not inspired by something true. I find it constructive to consider point of view and identify the object of inspiration before dismissing as foolishness wisdom hidden in the shadows of faith. Men who sacrifice the blood of lambs have no capacity to relate to the thoughts of a mind that clones sheep, when the latter is true it is only by choice.

With insufficient awareness of true things much of the time, I readily accept that my own real knowledge will frequently be incorrect. It took ten years to stop being angry at Christian hypocrisy after 28 years failing to "feel" faithful. After my long sabbatical I became profoundly aware of my objective impressions (reference points) from which (as a human being) I must use reason to believe. I choose to leave my faith as vulnerable as possible to ensure awareness of what is unchangeably true is never again clouded by my very biased hopes or fears. February marks my 6th year of freedom from narrowness of mind, sixteen years absolved from hypocrisy of my religious complacency. I changed reality did not.

Where our beliefs are for us to sort out on our own, our combined experience holds insight to ensure our worldviews are as consistent as our beliefs are passionate. You have a knowable mind because you choose to share your thoughts, your passions and your life. With only your thoughts in words I can know you as truly as you choose to reveal yourself. An intelligent mind credibly stamps its indelible image upon another.

My beliefs have no intrinsic value, but you are welcome to any insight my inspiration offers.

Respectfully,

David Hooten



Thanks for your insights Dave,

Often the feedback I get is from someone who has been on my site all of five minutes and never returns again. I respect yours because you have taken some time to see the total context of the information presented here.

I agree with several of your points, especially that fundamentalism, regardless of worldview, tends to narrow one's thinking abilities. I also can relate to your realization that reality is what it is, what is difficult is our interpretation of reality. My "beliefs" have changed dramatically over the years on all kinds of subjects, and I suppose they will continue to do so, based on my perspective. I now think that much of that changing perspective has to do with age. For example, as a middle-aged man, I now know that I know a whole lot less about raising kids than I used to know as a 25 year old father.

Anyway, thanks for the note and please feel welcome to join the forums and post as often as you like. We could all use the encouragement.

Saturday, January 11, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

Hi

I was surfing the web, and I came across your Ex-Christian web site and read your testimony and stuff. I read some of the comments too, people can be so rude sometimes. Anyways, I didn't e-mail you to argue with you or anything, or to give you $10 (unfortunately I was just asking for the same thing a couple of minutes ago), I just wanted to see how you're doing. You seem really interesting. I know what you mean about not being able to carry on an intelligentellegent conversation with anyone about doctrine. Although my very close friends can, most people I come across aren't studying much, and certainly cannot defend their faith. I did want you to know, though, that reading your testimony, did convict me to know more answers and try harder to have them available for my recall.
I'm studying predestination as of now and it's kicking my butt so far, but luckily I'm working through it slowly. I was just curious about you and what you believe right now, or what you are studying. I know you said you weren't sure what you believe, but I would be interested to know if you are leaning towards any other philosophies. Thanks.

-Rachel

Hello Rachel,

Thanks for the pleasant note, its a nice change from the usual.

Right now I am spending most of my time raising my children, caring for my aging parents and loving my wife. This also has become my basic philosophy until such time as I stumble upon something else. In other words, I am functionally existential and atheistic for the time being. When I look at mummies from Egypt and realize they too believed in an afterlife like the Christian, it really makes me think. If they were wrong about continuing on, we probably are too. We have no problem believing dogs, cats, horses, sequoia trees and every other form of life simply ceases to exist at death, but we insist that we continue on. Other than our intellect, I just don't see the difference anymore between us and the rest of life.

Hope that helps.

Have a great day!

Dave VanAllen
webmaster of http://exchristian.net