I've Changed My Mind Many Times, Especially About Religion

I've changed my mind a lot of times. I should be so lucky to have gotten everything correct from the time I was a young adult. I wonder if it's even possible for people never to change their minds if they have any longevity in life at all. Let's imagine for a second that at the age of 20 years old I held the same opinions as I do now, which is to say I was correct about everything I had an opinion about. Now don't get me wrong here. While I think I'm correct about everything I have an opinion about--to the appropriate degrees of probability--I also know with a very high degree of certainty I must be wrong about some of them. I just cannot see that I'm wrong right now. Back to being 20 years old. Even if at the age of 20 I agreed with my older current self about everything, I know I'd change some of my opinions as I grew older. So I don't think changing one's mind is any indicator of ignorance or instability or gullibility or anything like that. It can mean this is just what thinking people do, given time, thought and the experiences of life.

What have I changed my mind about? Too many things to say here, for sure. I've changed my opinions about lots of people as I got to know them better, about foods I like, about drinks I like, about which sports I like, about the sports teams I root for, about music I listen to, about art, politics, and religion.

When it comes to religion I began as a Catholic. In my earlier years I went through a paradigm shift of sorts. At the age of 17 I became a "Born Again" Pentecostal who was also taught to believe Dispensationalism and Calvinism. Then I started going to a Church of Christ and had to unlearn what I was converted to. I learned to reject Pentecostalism, Dispensationalism and Calvinist theology. Then I was taught that adult baptism by immersion was necessary for the forgiveness of sins, and that Arminianism and amillennial eschatology were biblically correct. Friends, all of this religious change took place in just 2-3 years of my young adult life. Soon I was set in my ways and stayed that way for two decades on major issues, although with more and more education I changed my mind slowly and gradually on lots of other minor ones.

From 1990 to 2005 I went though a second paradigm shift of sorts. I went from being a conservative to a moderate to a liberal to a deist to an agnostic and finally to an atheist, a weak or agnostic atheist.

Recently in the last 2-3 years to date, I have gone though third paradigm shift of sorts. I am now a strong atheist who has come to the conclusion there is no need to take the obfuscations of Christian philosophers seriously because all philosophical apologetics is special pleading, all of it. Philosophy itself is used to obfuscate the Bible and the theology based on it not to clarify them, because if they were truly clarified believers would see clearly the Christian emperor has no clothes on. Clarifying the Bible and the theology based on it rather than obfuscating them would strip away the blinders from the eyes of believers. Then believers could see the evidence-based truth. They would see their faith is a delusion on a par with Mormonism, Hinduism, Orthodox Judaism and even Scientology, as well as seeing they’ve been indoctrinated and/or brainwashed to believe.

I have changed my mind about faith because I’ve become better informed about it. I should not believe anything. Belief isn’t something any reasonable person should do when it comes to gaining knowledge about matters of fact like the nature of nature, its workings and its origins. Faith adds nothing to the probabilities. It has no method and solves no problems. If faith is trust we should not trust faith. It’s a cognitive bias keeping believers away from understanding the truth rather than strictly going with the probabilities based upon the objective evidence.

I have also changed my mind about the Courtier’s Reply. I now agree it's an appropriate and reasonable response to believers who claim to have evidence for their faith. I say this as someone trained in the philosophy of religion who has changed his mind about his own field of study. Furthermore, while I previously desired a respectful discussion with believers, I no longer think it's of the up-most importance. I have embraced the need for and the value of ridicule.

I get attacked for my present views. People do so, even atheists, not realizing I have been where they are now. I just want them to know I was once where they are now. They may attack me but they cannot claim I'm ignorant, just as Christians may attack me not realizing I was once where they are now. I might be wrong. But again, I'm not ignorant. You should take the fact that I've changed my mind as evidence I'm open-minded enough to consider different views. I have a lot to teach my atheist critics precisely because I have changed my views. For at one time I rejected the views of Dawkins and the subsequent Courtier's Reply as philosophically naive, but I now value them. My atheist critics are playing a pretend game when they take the obfuscations of Christian pseudo-philosophers seriously. They do so because they enjoy an intellectually challenging game, much like chess. While it may be fun and interesting to play the game called "Christian" and want to win at it, by playing the game they grant intellectual respectability to that which is bizarre and absurd.