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Can atheists become theists later on?

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Aug 28, 2020
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Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

Several people have become atheists in their life. Early life theism can be due to parental or guardian influence. Becoming an atheist, later on, may be a personal choice.

However, has anyone who was an atheist before, become a theist? What were the reasons?

If you think an atheist cannot become a theist later on, why do you think so?
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Creative contributions

Loneliness & Fear of Social Rejection

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Mohammad Shazaib
Mohammad Shazaib Aug 28, 2020
We have seen a number of philosophers and thinkers turn away from their faith, denying the idea of God and the Creator, particularly in their young and middle ages. But as time passes, their thoughts get mature, in order to accomplish mental peace and contentment, they prefer to reconcile themselves with differing opinions. We have a number of examples in history and in modern times, Antony Flew is a great example, who was a staunch atheist until 2004 when he reconsidered his stance as an atheist and became a theist. In most of the cases, its due to lack of determination and social acceptance, if you live in a society deeply rooted with religious beliefs and practices, it will be difficult for you to thrive and face criticism from the social classes. Which results in a change of mind or a reconsideration of thought and philosophy.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Thank you for the contribution Mohammad! So is "loneliness" the reason you suggest for becoming a theist?
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Mohammad Shazaib
Mohammad Shazaiba year ago
Yeah, as in the modern era, the Elders live in solitude, since they are not acquainted with new forms of life. As a result, the community rejects them and they are seen as an insignificant member of the families as well as societies. This is why anyone who spent his/her golden age dwelling on the mysterious problems of life and solving religious mysteries is now seeking to find a peaceful haven in the family and community by embracing them and welcoming differences of opinion.
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Fear (of death)

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 28, 2020
I was told that my grandma was never a believer during her youth but I remember in her old age she was as religious as most older people in the area. In the younger generations, there was hardly a believer to be found. I remember wondering how the church would survive when our generations become adults. As a child, I had a feeling that religion brings comfort to people who fear death. Over the years I refined this into the following hypothesis: As children, our parents/caregivers are the alpha and omega for us. They know everything, are almighty, can solve all our problems - all we need to do is ask/cry. As we grow older and our horizons expand, we realize that our parents are just slightly more advanced humans. Eventually, we reach their level and even surpass them. In our minds though, we still keep this innately built-in position for an "almighty" caregiver. When our parents lose this position in our eyes, we find ourselves "all alone" in this scary world. There are really two ways of dealing with it. Either you become self-relying or you fill the void by finding a replacement caregiver - an almighty someone/something to continue watching over you. Whether you create one yourself or go along with any of the well-established gods depends on your environment and experience. In old age, we become frail and reliant on others. It feels familiar, almost like we've been through this before... It sure would be nice to have almighty parents again. Some people find religion to keep them strong during the long good-bye from this world. Where else do we often find religion? In prison, in war, during disease - generally in situations when we desperately need someone to come and save us - like our parents used to when they were almighty.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Agreed. Fear (of death, vulnerability) accompanied by loneliness (after losing the care-givers) might be a major reason to become a theist.
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The missing link between atheism (science) and theism is spirituality

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FK
Felix Krengel Aug 29, 2020
I think there’s no doubt that atheists can become theists and vice versa. But I’d like to point out something I consider much more important: In the end, it may all be the same! Atheists are supposed to have a rather scientific mindset, but all science can do is prove certain religious dogmas wrong. However, science has not been (and will probably never be) able to holistically explain the existence of the universe. If it was created, who created the creator? And if it has always been there, how can that be explained based only on natural laws? Maybe theism is the wrong word, because it implies the existence of a god, and in my opinion, there’s no need to believe in one. A spiritual Atheism could be a better approach to unite both mindsets, maybe in the form of a “scientific Buddhism”, an idea that has partly been outlined by the Dalai Lama. In summary, I think that religion has to accept scientific facts, and science has to learn from religion that things that cannot be explained rationally have to be examined on a spiritual level. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0008429819860051f?journalCode=sira
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
I agree with spiritual atheism, Felix! I read (probably in the book "The biology of belief") that religion and science used to go hand-in-hand in the past. The power vested among the religious preachers was, therefore, tremendous. That corrupted them eventually and led to the formation of a new branch called science. Spirituality is currently attached to religion and probably, therefore, not practiced along with science.
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