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Old 14th November 2017, 03:31 PM   #1
Thor 2
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Religious Kick Start

Just finished reading about the Australian Journalist Mike Willesee, who got back into his Catholic faith, after a premonition about a plane crashing before he got on board.

This account strikes a cord with me, as I had a brother and mother who both re- embraced the religion they were brought up in, Lutheranism, after what they saw as some god involved event.

I wonder about this phenomenon and how common it is. Do those who experience something they see as god driven, generally go back to the religion of their past? Does anyone know of someone with no religious background, (somewhat rare perhaps), embracing a religion as a result of some "god experience."
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Old 14th November 2017, 03:51 PM   #2
Squeegee Beckenheim
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Not quite the same but my granddad was Catholic until he was in WWII in his early 20s. I forget the exact details, but he was off doing something or other while the rest of his unit were some distance away and he saw them get hit by a bomb, which left no survivors. That killed his faith stone dead and he was an atheist for almost as long as he lived.

However, when he was in the hospice with only weeks left, dying of leukaemia in his mid-90s, he became terrified that God was angry with him for being an atheist. So my mum got the hospice priest and they prayed together, and that helped set his mind at ease a little, although I don't think he ever quite got rid of the fear.

I'm not sure if that can count as a full re-conversion in the sense that you're talking about, but he definitely found that beliefs that he had long rejected still had power over him when he was faced with his own mortality.
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Old 14th November 2017, 04:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for that. An interesting story and strange that the bomb incident "killed his faith".

Although reluctant to admit it I think there may be some truth in the claim of some theists that atheists "hate God". That is to say some atheists may fit into this category as they have not really discarded belief.

It occurs to me that videos, like the one discussed on the "Atheist Bible Class" thread, may be of some value to those with lingering faith. I am sure there are many that have discarded religious observance, but have no strong reasons for doing so.
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Old 14th November 2017, 06:20 PM   #4
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I'm pretty certain that he had completely abandoned his faith for the vast majority of his life. I think it was just Pascal's Wager coming to bite him in the arse, as well as the very human trait of not really wanting to die.

I do think that it illustrates how pernicious and destructive religious belief can be, though.
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Old 15th November 2017, 03:21 PM   #5
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Yes pernicious indeed. There is some similarity between your fathers experience and that of my mother, who had some horrific hallucinations when given pain relieving drugs in hospital. She saw it as God's warning I think.

My mother never really dealt with her disbelief, or perhaps more accurately her lack of observance of religious ritual. I think there are many like this, who have left there religion behind, without solid reasons for doing so. They are the vulnerable ones.

The theists will point to this person or that, who have returned to the church after being "atheists", whereas the truth is they were never really atheists at all. Just backsliders.
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Old 16th November 2017, 05:31 PM   #6
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My father was a "Baptist" Freemason before WW2 (in Freemasonry, belief in a supreme being is a requirement). He was a Knight Templar, a Mark Master Mason.

However, the totality of his experiences during the war resulted in him withdrawing from Freemasonry in or around 1946. It was very difficult to get him to talk about it, but I was able to glean that he was the only "service age" member of his lodge to survive the war... basically, all his friends were killed., and this caused him to lose his faith. His justification, at least to me, was to the effect that any god that could let that war happen is not a god that he could believe in.. Of disasters and tragedies, he would sometimes say something like "No just God would allow this!" or variations of it.

He became an atheist and remained that way until the day he died.
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Old 17th November 2017, 02:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
My father was a "Baptist" Freemason before WW2 (in Freemasonry, belief in a supreme being is a requirement). He was a Knight Templar, a Mark Master Mason.

However, the totality of his experiences during the war resulted in him withdrawing from Freemasonry in or around 1946. It was very difficult to get him to talk about it, but I was able to glean that he was the only "service age" member of his lodge to survive the war... basically, all his friends were killed., and this caused him to lose his faith. His justification, at least to me, was to the effect that any god that could let that war happen is not a god that he could believe in.. Of disasters and tragedies, he would sometimes say something like "No just God would allow this!" or variations of it.

He became an atheist and remained that way until the day he died.

My father was a Freemason as well and I know, from sneaking a peak at some of the literature I came across, that they referred to God as the "Universal Architect". Apart from this he refused to participate in any religious observance, giving as a reason that he did not like the way "Christianity was taught here", that is Australia, as we came from Sweden. The ammunition he had to support this notion, was reports back from my brother and I about Hell and such, taught us in Sunday school. We, my brother and I, were taken to church by other families who were church goers. My brother went willingly while I left furrows in the ground from my dragging heels.

After my mother embraced Christianity again father remained steadfast in his detachment and jokingly referred to my mothers church friends as her "hallelujah friends". My brother and his family spoke ill of my father, and my nephew even blamed him for what he saw as a demon, that had taken up residence in himself at one stage. He was drawing on the commandment that spoke of God wreaking vengeance on future generations of sinners. What can you say in answer to someone who comes out with this kind of crap?
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