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Comment by paul_murray on Crisis of Faith · 2008-10-16T07:39:00.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

[quote]I became a Christian because I was a Bayesian first. I know there are others like me. I saw and experienced evidence that caused me to positively update my belief.

Now if you don't like that argument, then please tell me how can anyone become an atheist via Bayesian updating? Can your posterior really go to a point mass at zero (belief in God)? If so, please tell me what prior you were using. If not, please tell me how you define atheism.
[/quote]
And how can your probability go to one? You erect a straw man, sir. My probablility that there is a god is not exactly zero, any more than yours is exactly one. If God were to send an actual angel down, right now, and make my dinner vanish with his magic stick (it's in Genesis, somewhere) then that would shift my probability.

But as things stand, I am confident that there are no gods.


Comment by paul_murray on Rationality Quotes 13 · 2008-10-15T05:17:04.000Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press."

An obvious lie. Soldiers are always owned and paid for by the establishment. We owe our freedoms to the insurget, the freedom fighter, or if you perfer - the terrorist.

Comment by paul_murray on Crisis of Faith · 2008-10-15T04:32:00.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I was raised a theist and came to no longer belive as an adult. One of the turning points was reading the Anglican confession of faith, and supposing what my own beliefs might look like to an Anglican, who was also a christian, saved by Jesus just like me - just a different variety of.

Eventually I began to wonder what my life experiences might look like to an atheist - religion is above all an interpretive filter that we use to make sense of our lives. Although I knew that my beliefs in God were right, what would my life look like to me if I did not belive it?

Eventually, I could not help noticing that the nonbeliver point of view made better sense of the world.

If I had to attach labels to the personal qualities that changed my mind (excuse me if I sound vain), I'd say: curiosity - a drive to know the truth, whatever it may be; humility - from the first, I was prepared to accept that the Anglicans might be right and I wrong (and the the catholics, the muslims, the hindus, and finally the atheists); refraining from judgment - being prepared to tolerate an open question; perhaps even courage. And ... a decision to trust myself to come to a right conclusion - somthing that religions actively discourage. Perhaps we might call it "integrity".

But deliberately setting out to have a crisis of faith? I cant imagine doin ... actually, yes I can. I did it every time I asked myself "what would an atheist think of this miracle, this prophecy, this teaching, this world event".

No: that's not the key. The key is not "what would an athest think ..", but "what would I think, if I were an atheist?". Admitting the possibility of change. Fully owning, if only for a moment, another point of view. Seeing the world with your own eyes from someone else's point of view. Or at least, making an honest effort to.

Comment by paul_murray on The Ritual · 2008-10-15T03:48:46.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I changed my mind, once, but it took several years. It is not that I changed it, but that one afternoon I discovered that I no longer belived as I used to.