Information icon.svg The election booth for the RationalWiki 2019 Moderator Election is now open. Cast your votes today!

Essay:Rohan’s Laws of Ex-atheists

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Essay.svg This essay is an original work by CircularReasoning.
It does not necessarily reflect the views expressed in RationalWiki's Mission Statement, but we welcome discussion of a broad range of ideas.
Unless otherwise stated, this is original content, released under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or any later version. See RationalWiki:Copyrights.
Feel free to make comments on the talk page, which will probably be far more interesting, and might reflect a broader range of RationalWiki editors' thoughts.

Have you ever heard a theist loudly claim, “I used to be an atheist”, but then give reasons for “converting” that make you think, “never change your opinions for a reason like that”? Well, I’ve derived a few logical laws regarding such claims.

Rohan’s First Law of Ex-atheists[edit]

The law[edit]

Any theist who claims to have once been an atheist but then demonstrates a blatant lack of understanding of what atheism even is and/or whose reasons for having "converted" appear to be suspiciously stereotypical or strawmanned requires no further consideration, and is deemed to be either dishonest or not the brightest bulb.

Examples of the law in action[edit]

  • “I was an atheist because I didn’t want to follow God’s rules, but then I repented and was baptized”[note 1]
  • “I wanted to sin, but now I don’t.”[note 2]
  • “I hated/was mad at God, but then I came back to him.”[note 3]
  • “I didn’t go to church, but now I do”[note 4]
  • “You are being controlled by Say-tan- trust me, I know because I was once like you!”[note 5]

Rohan’s Second Law of Ex-atheists[edit]

The law[edit]

Any theist who claims to have once been an atheist but then gives "reasons" for "converting"[note 6] that do anything other than explain how their views changed is not to be taken seriously, and is deemed to be either dishonest or pathologically naive.

An example of the law in action[edit]

The case described in this video

Rohan’s Third Law of Ex-atheists[edit]

The law[edit]

Any theist who claims to have once been an atheist but then claims that their "conversion" suddenly came about under unrealistic circumstances, e.g. upon said theist having had one or more of the following experiences—

  • Engaging in prayer and said prayer appearing to come true[note 7]
  • Being exposed to a particular religion for the very first time[note 8]
  • Being exposed to a theist who did not invoke the same reaction in them as usual[note 9]
  • Reading a particular religious scripture for the very first time (again, the sheer number of logical fallacies, holes, contradictions, and factual inaccuracies conveniently ignored)[note 10]
  • Having one of those street preachers threaten them with Hellfire and torment[note 11]

— can be safely ignored, and is deemed to be either dishonest or face-palmingly clueless. illogical, and... oh, words fail me.

Examples of the law in action[edit]

Many cases detailed in this very site’s article on the “ex-atheist” trope.

In short[edit]

These laws describe how many "ex-atheists" commonly seem to forget what exactly atheism is when they claim to have once been atheists themselves. And also, all human beings are born with no religious beliefs or belief in the supernatural to begin with, so by definition, aren't all theists "ex-atheists"?

Ex-atheists vs. Ex-theists[edit]

I'm an ex-theist myself, and here are some of the reasons why:

  • I read the Wholly Buybull from to cover to cover, and then realized that it was baloney (especially as I read Genesis, Exodus, and Revelation). I later discovered that many other minds have been freed in a very similar manner.
  • After that, I did research on some other religions, only to find that they too turned out to be the same pile of horseshit
  • Morality: I also realized that if you actually think that you are only not out on a killing-spree just for fear of what sky-daddy thinks, then what do you think that says about you as a human being?

Notice that none of my above reasons are anything like the following (which are analogous to the testimonies of many an "ex-atheist"):

  • "I wanted to remain ignorant but now I realized that it's better to have knowledge and be free", said no ex-theist ever.
  • "I befriended an atheist who told me that atheists weren't all like that, and that I could free myself from my worries by deconverting and embracing Humanism", said no ex-theist ever.
  • "One day I grew tired of always going to church on Sundays", said no ex-theist ever.
  • "I didn't want to follow Humanism", said no ex-theist ever.
  • "I refused to acknowledge that I needed Humanism in my life", said no ex-theist ever.

Also, notice that I made a point to omit the reasons for atheism that I gained after my existential opinions had changed, and not as I was still in the process of losing my faith (meaning that these reasons are not subject to the Second Law, as I did not describe them as if they were direct causes of my atheism).

Notes[edit]

  1. This one is very common, and sounds suspiciously an awful lot like exactly what many misguided theists want to hear about atheism.
  2. Now, this one is usually heard when a theist who didn't do their research on atheism is proselytizing to an atheist, so this seems a bit fishy...
  3. Now, I've seen virtually all instances of this one in Hollywood films, and books written by people of faith, as it is very illogical; it implies that if a bad experience in your past life causes you to question the existence of a particular deity, then you should just stop thinking critically altogether and go back to believing without question. As you can probably tell, this one seems very unlikely (if not impossible) to actually work on a real person.
  4. It is very common for many "ex-atheists" to conflate atheism with not attending church. Seems a bit strange for people who purport to have once been atheists themselves... you'd at least expect them to have a basic grasp of the actual definition of "atheism"...
  5. This one was inspired almost word-for-word by a proselytization attempt by a FFAF fanboy when arguing with atheist counter-propaganda on the hate site's Facebook page. I can't remember exactly where on the page this was, though.
  6. This almost always manifests itself in the form the percieved benefits of a certain religion
  7. Often in this case, it's worth noting that the non-supernatural factors that really made what they prayed for happen are conveniently unaccounted for.
  8. That's odd... doesn't usually seem to be the case... at least not for a smart atheist who is well-versed in logic and counter-apologetics.
  9. How come this never happened to me on all those occasions that I have come across religious moderates during my past 1-and-a-half years of heathendom (as of December 2018, when I am writing this)?
  10. Quite ironically, this is precisely what made me an atheist; (loud explosion followed by the sound of glass shattering) well, there goes another irony meter.
  11. I definitely remember hearing this one before in some video, but I don't know exactly which. Anyway, just about any atheist would be used to recieving such threats on an almost-daily basis, so I'm highly doubtful that this would work that well on most of us...