Why do intelligent people believe weird things?

Do you ever find yourself thinking "How did I ever believe that stuff?" or "How can my perfectly intelligent Christadelphian friend/family member believe that stuff?" In this conversation with Seth Andrews, Michael Shermer explains why even intelligent people sometimes believe things that reason suggests they probably shouldn't.

Quote of the day

"You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts."

From On Children by Khalil Gibran

Quote of the day

"In the long run it is far more dangerous to adhere to illusion than to face what the actual fact is."

David Bohm, theoretical physicist

Quote of the day

"Death is not to be feared as much as the unlived life. You don't have to live forever - you just have to live."

From the film Tuck Everlasting

My Christadelphian experience

by Phynnodderee

Whenever I read blogs by other people who have left their religion, the thing I find most interesting is their personal stories. So I thought I would share my story here in case it resonates with anyone else.

Quote of the day

"Re-examine all you have been told... dismiss whatever insults your soul."

Walt Whitman, American poet

Will you ever return to the Christadelphians?

By Jon Morgan

I have been asked by a number of Christadelphians whether I will ever return. Depending on how the question is asked, my answers have ranged from “I don’t see any path back” to “I don’t rule it out”. But I think it very unlikely that I will ever return to being a Christadelphian. Here’s why.

Click here to read the rest of this article

Quote of the day

 "My true home is wherever the truth lies."

Rob Hyndman, former Christadelphian

Broadening your perspective

An important part of moving on from the Christadelphians is learning to see the community from an outsider's perspective. This includes understanding that the Christadelphian community is not an entirely unique phenomenon but forms part of a whole array of nonconformist movements that emerged around the same time and in a similar social-historical context.

Quote of the day

"There are few things more dangerous than inbred religious certainty."

Bart D. Ehrman, Biblical scholar

Breaking free

Marlene Winell, a psychologist and former fundamentalist Christian who coined the term Religious Trauma Syndrome, has identified ten nine 'steps to recovery' from harmful religion. She has advice for each stage, some of which may be helpful to ex-Christadelphians or people considering leaving the community. Read the full article at Journey Free

Quote of the day

"Someone has somewhere commented on the fact that millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."

Susan Ertz, British/American writer

Quote of the day

"Humans may crave absolute certainty; they may aspire to it; they may pretend, as partisans of certain religions do, to have attained it. But the history of science - by far the most successful claim to knowledge accessible to humans - teaches that the most we can hope for is successive improvement in our understanding, learning from our mistakes, an asymptotic approach to the Universe, but with the proviso that absolute certainty will always elude us."

From The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

Quote of the day

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

Anne Lamott, American writer

Book review: 'In the Days of Rain' by Rebecca Stott

By Phynnodderee

Prowling round the religion section at my local library, I came across this book by a former member of the Exclusive Brethren and was instantly curious, as I wondered if this group had any similarities to the Christadelphians. I devoured it that evening in a single sitting.

The three gap theory

By Jon Morgan
As a believer, I found it difficult to address or dismiss intellectual arguments for God’s existence, even when I doubted his presence. Though over time I did reject some of the arguments, I never did a systematic evaluation. I think I was concerned about whether I would get stuck: What if I couldn’t dismiss the intellectual arguments, but they didn’t help me recover my lost confidence?

One of the things that helped most to evaluate those arguments was a theory that I imaginatively call the “three gap theory”. It showed me clearly why common intellectual arguments couldn’t provide me all the certainty I needed to remain a Christadelphian.

Click here to read the rest of this article

The Balfour Declaration: 100 years on

By Jon Morgan

One hundred years ago today, the British Government issued the Balfour Declaration, a statement which supported “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. Christadelphians who expected the Jews to be supported by the British in a return to the land of Israel immediately seized on it, particularly since the British were advancing against the Ottoman Empire through Palestine. They have continued to view it as important, though I’m not sure how much effect it had on the formation of the state of Israel.

Click here to read the rest of this article

Some book recommendations

By Jon Morgan

Recently, I put together a short list of books that had helped me when struggling with doubts, and that I wished I had read earlier.  They were:
  • Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary (available online here)
  • Unbelievable (available online here)
  • Why Evolution is True
  • Sapiens
For more information about how these books helped me, plus some fiction and a couple of other recommendations, see my original blog post.

But it got me thinking: I knew about all of these books because of recommendations by others (some of them on this site). And I'm sure that there are other helpful books that I'm not aware of.  So I thought I'd throw it open to discussion.

Are there any books that you would particularly recommend here?  Books that helped with dealing with doubt or with constructing a new worldview?  Please comment below.

Left the Christadelphians? You’re not alone

By Phynnodderee

When I left the Christadelphian community, I felt completely alone. I felt like the only person who had ever taken this step. I also found myself in the horrible predicament of having to rebuild my worldview almost from scratch. The purpose of this article is to reach out to people in the same situation. It is aimed at those who have recently left the Christadelphians and who are feeling disorientated or isolated as a result. Basically, it’s the kind of supportive advice I wish I could have received when I was going through that phase.

This article is based on my personal experience, so it might resonate with you or it might not. At the very least, I hope it reassures you that you aren’t alone and other people have gone through the process of adjusting to a new life outside the Christadelphians, and have emerged stronger on the other side.

Book review: Atheism for Dummies by Dale McGowan

By Phynnodderee

I spotted this book at my local library recently while I was looking for something else entirely. I found it so interesting that I decided to share this review with you.

Who’s the author?
Dale McGowan, an American atheist and humanist, who is a former music professor and now writer. He writes, blogs and runs workshops on non-religious parenting. You can read his blog at www.parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog.

What’s it about?
Atheism for Dummies (2013) is an introduction to atheism: what it is, what it isn’t, why so many people don’t believe in gods, the history of atheist thought and how it has developed over the millennia (yes, millennia – atheism is very old), and how atheists think, see the world and relate to religious people.

Tell me more…