Changing Our Minds

Remember-that-it-is-okay-to-changeChange is healthy and necessary. To be able to change our minds about something when we’re presented with new information is a mark of maturity and wisdom. If we’re so set in our ways that we can never admit when we’re wrong, so stubborn that we refuse to acknowledge the possibility that we could be incorrect in some of our thinking, then we will never make progress and grow as a person. And we will certainly never change the world for the better.

Some people get upset when a member of their religion stops believing. They can’t understand why that person would make such a drastic change in their thinking. However, this is often a bit hypocritical, since those same people wouldn’t think twice about a major change of thinking if the other person was coming INTO their religion instead of LEAVING it. In other words, it’s only shocking for someone to change their mind if they are leaving a religion.

I have dealt with this personally many times. When I came out as an atheist, some people close to me couldn’t comprehend how I could change my mind so drastically. I’ve been told things like this after changing my mind about religion:

  • “You must be deceived by the devil.”
  • “Did you ever really believe at all?”
  • “Were you faking being a Christian?”
  • “If you can change your mind on this, what else will you change your mind on?”
  • “How could you possibly change your mind about this after experiencing God like you did?”
  • “I feel like I don’t know you anymore.”

The general sense that I got was this: Changing your mind was a scary, negative thing. These people were terrified of change. They actually believed that this kind of change would open the door for me to become a horrible person, like opening the floodgates. What does it say about these kinds of religion, when even changing your mind is threatening to them? Free thought is demonized, critical thinking is twisted to mean “relate everything back to your religion”.

The meme below certainly doesn’t speak for all atheists or all fundamentalist/Evangelical Christians, but it does reflect the general difference between the two. As I’ve stated before, the Christians I refer to in my blogs are generally of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist or similar persuasion because those are the groups that tend to be the most harmful and oppressive in their thinking. I love the fact that many Christian groups today don’t fit these descriptions, and that even in those groups there are those who are breaking the mold. I wish the term Christian were not so widespread because it makes it complicated differentiating between them sometimes.


15 thoughts on “Changing Our Minds

    • Absolutely. If the evidence concretely pointed in a different direction than my current beliefs or opinions, then yes certainly I would change my mind. I want to live in reality, even if that reality isn’t what I expected. This is exactly the process that happened when I deconverted from Christianity to atheism- I could no longer ignore the overwhelming evidence against Christianity, the cognitive dissonance was really eating away at me. I’m not the kind of person that can knowingly ignore evidence for very long- and if I think evidence is there that I haven’t yet looked into, my insatiable curiosity drives me to examine all possibilities. The result of my lifelong innate curiosity and desire for reality is my atheism.

      However, changing my mind about the existence of a deity (if it was proven to exist) is very different than worshiping or submitting to this deity. That would be determined by the deity’s character and the morality of his actions, which isn’t just about evidence but is also about our conscience and beliefs about behavior and morality.

  1. Then I invite you to learn about Islam. The religion Islam provides a very balanced view of life. It asks you to submit to one God which is Allah. Allah has control over everything that happens in the world. He gave humans the power of reasoning to differentiate between right and wrong religion. Islam asks believers to be humble, truthful, just and optimistic. What evidence made you choose atheism. Christianity is not entirely wrong but with time big changes have been made in its content which makes it difficult to understand what is original and what has been added. In Islam, this is not the case. Quran has been preserved in the same exact wordings that has been revealed on Prophet Mohammad in the seventh century. Allah made this promise nearly 13 centuries ago and has kept it. This is a sure sign about Islam. Quran had been revealed long before the invention of the press and each of its word remain exactly the same. Take Quran from any part of the world and compare the words, you will understand.

    • Until you can concretely prove that Allah or any other God exists, with scientific evidence and peer review like every other scientific matter, I see no reason to believe in Islam or any other religion. It doesn’t matter how balanced or good a religion is; if the god you worship is not real, then I have no personal interest in it. I can and do find joy, balance, morality, and other positive things without religion, I have no need of religion to make my life better.

      Prophecies are used by every religion as supposed evidence of their faith. But prophecies are not proof of divinity or of the existence of a deity. Nor do they necessarily require anything supernatural; phsychology and history teaches us much about the unreliable and very human nature of prophecy.

      • Yes please I want to know these reasons. How were you created, what is your belief?
        I belief I can prove God exists but what kind of a proof do you want. I cannot directly show you God but appeal to your sense of reason. However, I am only going to show you that Allah exists and Islam is the right religion.

      • If you look under the categories “Beliefs” and My Journey”, I have tagged my blogs that relate to what I believe and how I got to where I am. I have also put my basic deconversion story in one of my pages at the top of my blog, you can read it here:

        I wasn’t created. I am a product of evolution, and science provides overwhelming evidence of this. Science cannot yet prove how life originally began on earth, although there are many interesting scientific speculations that we don’t have have the technology or knowledge to prove (yet). But I don’t see any reason to believe a supernatural explanation for the origin of life when there is no evidence to prove that theory.

        If you cannot directly show me God or show me scientific proof of God, then why should I believe in him? If his actions are not clear enough to be seen, and if we cannot prove that those actions did not have some other cause, then isn’t it possible that it isn’t God doing those things at all? What if you are attributing those events and feelings to a deity, but they really have a natural explanation that you have not considered? Without proof, it’s all just speculation, not fact.

        I have never seen an albino tiger in person. And yet, I am confident that it exists. Why? Because the evidence for it is overwhelming. There are photos and videos of the actual live animal, skeletons, and book after book of studies and documentation that proves its existence via the scientific method. For me to deny the existence of albino tigers would be utter foolishness. So why am I expected to accept less evidence for an all powerful deity than for a simple tiger? That makes no sense to me.

      • Why are you only now trying to prove that Islam is correct? Would it not be better to examine all of the evidence first, then then come to your conclusions about religion and God afterwards? It seems that many religious people believe in the religion first, and then only look for proof afterwards to prove it to others. If you did not seek this proof before believing in Islam, then why do you believe in it at all?

      • I have read your post. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of both evolution and science. I do not mean this to be rude, just factual. Anyone who says evolution is a “guess” does not understand what a scientific Theory is (as opposed to a theory in a non-scientific context, they are dramatically different), nor do they understand the mountains of proof and evidence that overwhelmingly prove the process of evolution to be factual.

        We don’t yet know where life first came from, true. However, we have solid proof of how life evolved after it began; there is no doubt of this scientifically. Perhaps a deity provided that initial spark, perhaps it had another cause- there are countless theories (not to be confused with a Scientific Theory, which is completely different). But you cannot prove the origins of life any more than I; we are both only at to speculate based on current evidence. The process of evolution, however, is a proven fact.

      • Quran does not deny evolution but rather supports it. Quran does not disprove science but rather encourages it. When I attack evolution, I was attacking the fact that evolution alone is not enough to prove the existence of mankind. In Quran, you will find proofs that will amaze you and you will see a truth in this religion.

      • I am glad that you do not deny the scientific fact of evolution.

        Christians say the same thing about their Bible; it’s supposed to prove the origins of the world and be the source of ultimate truth too. I grew up in Christianity; they use the exact same arguments as you are to prove their own religion. These arguments are not unique to Islam or Christianity. Because of this, I have learned to be skeptical of all such claims.

        It is not enough for a holy book to make claims about the origin of the world and life. Every religion has their own story about how this came to be, this does not impress me. You must prove that your specific religion’s story is true. Until then, it is just a theory like all the rest.

      • By the way, we do see the process of evolution today. It’s why we have to get a new flu shot every year, because the virus is constantly evolving. There are many examples of evolution being observed both in the lab and in nature.

        Macroevolution is simply the culmination of many thousands of generations of microevolution. After enough small changes occur over thousands of years, eventually the new animal is too different from the original animal species to be called the same thing anymore. After millions of years, those accumulated tiny changes result in a very different creature altogether. It’s fascinating, actually!

        We see this occur when animals split off into different environments that are isolated from each other- they evolve differently because they have different survival needs, and often end up being so different from their cousins than they could no longer mate with each them if they were to meet (we have observed this). The longer they develop separately in their different environments, the more different from each other they become. Sometimes this results in an entirely new species that has developed to thrive in that specific environment.

        Evolution is observable, testable, and predictable. But for those of us who do not hold degrees in science, some of these processes can be difficult to comprehend. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true. I don’t know how to perform brain surgery, but I know it can be done. I don’t understand how a jet engine works, but I know it does. Our ignorance does not change what science has proven, it only determines how much of it we understand and accept.

No trolling, please! Genuine dialogue for the purpose of mutual understanding is appreciated; debates are not. General comments are welcome.

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