Skip to comments.Losing My Religion: Student Thanks Boston College for making him an Atheist
Posted on 03/22/2014 5:46:52 PM PDT by Diago
While I had doubts about the existence of God before entering college, I considered myself a Christian and checked off the Protestant Methodist box on my application. Still, I had some apprehension in attending Boston Collegea religious, Jesuit, Catholic institution. So, it came much to my surprise that nearly as soon as I stepped on campus, my faith in Christianity and God started to wane.
I took both sections of Philosophy of the Person my first year at BC, not because I was interested in the subject, but solely as a means to fulfill the Core curriculum thats a major part of BCs Jesuit identity. I hadnt previously taken a philosophy course, though I quickly came to enjoy the deep and abstract thinking required of the class as a contrast to the quantitative work present in my economics and finance courses.
We read a number of proofs for the existence of God, and as any good intro philosophy class allows, we examined each side of the argument. After both class discussions and my own thinking, I realized I sided more with arguments against God. I recall writing an essay disputing St. Thomas Aquinas five proofs of existence, my finishing line reading, Couldnt God have left more compelling evidence [for his existence]? Little did I know this marked an important turning point in my educational journeyit was the first time I seriously considered the distinct possibility that God didnt exist.
These thoughts continued during a two-semester Religious Quest class my sophomore year that compared Islam and Christianity. It was my first exposure to Islam besides what Id seen and read in the news, and I also learned extensively about Christianity. Never before had I gained such a detailed perspective on the origins, sects, and traditions of the two religions. The power of community provided by each faith throughout history was immense, and based on their shared teachings of peace and worship, it was easy to see why each has thrived and accumulated millions of members worldwide.
A major point of the class was how similar the religions are, and indeed, they are more similar than Id have ever thought. But by examining them so closely, I also studied their many differences. And those differences, most historians agree, have contributed to millions of deaths around the worldnot only between the two religions (The Crusades), but also due to intra-religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants (30 Years War) and Sunni and Shiite Muslims (Iran vs. Saudi Arabia & Iraq).
After a great deal of reflection undertaken both as a requirement inside the classroom and on my own, I came away with two conclusions. One, no higher being would ever tolerate millions of people being killed over the right way to worship him. Two, the differences between each religion made it unlikely that followers of both could be accepted into the same afterlife, meaning that, if there were a God, millions would be left out of eternal lifein my view, an unjust punishment for having the wrong belief.
Due to those two required core classes, by the second half of my sophomore year I had enough qualitative reasons for not believing in God. A class I took the following semester supplied me with more technical explanations. I enrolled in evolutionary economics, a course that discussed how humans have developed certain traits through evolution. Evolutionary psychologists believe that sexual selection and preference has shaped much of how we behave today, explaining behaviors such as riskier tendencies in men compared to women, outward displays of fitness to attract mates, and, ultimately, the development of a creative and intelligent human mind.
As one can imagine, the class required intensive reflection on views of human behavior that wed previously considered to be quite basic. We also expanded our knowledge by reading a number of evolutionary passages, including a section from Richard Dawkins book, The Selfish Gene (emphasis on gene). His work, in addition to meticulously explaining how natural selection works down to the genetic level, offered a solid explanation of how life began without a creator.
By the end of the semester, I fully believed evolution as a fact for the first time. Further, as someone who finds the existence of God and evolution mutually exclusive, it was much harder for me to identify with the Christian faith. But I was not yet committed to saying I didnt believe in God.
That changed the next semester, the first of my junior year. I registered for Philosophy of Existence to fulfill my minor in the subjecta route I would never have pursued had I gone to a different school. We studied a number of existentialist philosophers, some who based their philosophies in religion, and others who didnt. Two of the latter were Sartre and Nietzsche, known atheist scholars. Sartre wrote that the essence of being human is being free, while Nietzsche famously said, God is dead and we have killed him. They both provided a view of the world in which mankind had created the notion of God.
By the end of the class, and after deep contemplation, I finally realized what I truly believedthere is no God. Both the idea of a higher being, and the many religions of the world, were founded by man to inspire hope and influence human behavior.
Despite entering college as a Christian, two months from now I will graduate this Jesuit, Catholic school as an atheist. Ironically, the basis of that belief was developed in classes I was required to take based on Jesuit values and ideals the education of the whole person through BCs core curriculum. The Jesuits dont teach students what to think. They teach them how to think. Above all else, thats what college is for. And Im grateful that I chose BC as the place to learn that.
Editors Note: The views presented in this column are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of The Heights.
Check with the cardinal newman society or you will regret it.
Don’t worry, the Pope says atheists can get to heaven too as long as they follow after “the good.”
Notice how it’s all about him? God didn’t give “me” enough proof. “I” can’t imagine a God who would reject those with the wrong belief system, etc. ad nauseaum. A fount of scholarship he ain’t.
At least he didn’t say, “Thank God, I’m an atheist.”
Or “And I was like omigod.”
Well, that looks like a whole chunk of his problems.
These aren’t actually Catholic colleges. The fact that they are still allowed to remain affiliated should be considered a heresy in itself.
Here is the key line
“in my view, an unjust punishment for having the wrong belief”
Quite vain and arrogant isn’t it, that this pathetic, nothing (in his own worldview), just time plus matter plus chance, thinks his view means anything at all.
he asked why couldn’t God have left us better evidence of His existence
he (the student) himself is that evidence
his professor should hand him a mirror
Nothing “makes” you anything. You become what you decide and choose to be. The “world” is a whole lot less influence than you would suppose.
Respectfully disagree with this conclusion. Whenever we see societies move to control others, it is a man-made initiative. We see man's sinful nature arise as witnessed by the Nazis, communism, Islam, etc.
Christ centered societies, though not perfect, offer a clear distinction from the remainder of the world.
If you doubt this, just book a flight to North Korea and upon your landing say disparaging things about the little tyrant. You'll quickly learn what I'm talking about.
I often wonder why 22 year olds (or there abouts), think I give a crap what they think?
He should go see the movie God’s Not Dead.
I have read other accounts of even statistics regarding the outcome of people who go off to college fully believing in Creationism and after just a few college classes they are lead to believe in Evolution by secular college professors who lead their young impressionable students away from the values of their families.
These professors victimize their students as they understand that the college kids are often away from home for the first time and are for the first time experiencing freedom and responsibility. They use that as as opening and encourage their students to question all that they were taught and all their family and Christian values and plat the seed of Evolution.
I know one who became deeply confused at Boston College
He was extremely bright, complex in understanding
The consequences are not pretty
The student was interested in computer Ethics
Computers do not have ethics, People do.
One thing this article tells me is that he learned absolutely nothing.
Where does that leave Catholicism, given the current (Jesuit) pope?
So I guess you are saying the current Pope (a former Jesuit) is nuts. If so I’d agree.
Cognitive dissonance will eat you alive. You either change what you believe or make excuses so silly that you can’t look in the mirror.
Sorry people, Satan always has tried this type of thing, but the reason he is now more successful than ever is that sincerely faithful people have dropped the ball by their hyper-literalism and shallow “mega church” mentality. Centuries of wisdom about how to spiritually feed the flock with profound but mysterious signposts has been replaced by singing “I love you sooooo much Jesus” romance songs.
Simple. She doesn’t suffer from it. She really believes her own schtick.
I’ve heard it said that one of the quickest ways to become an atheist is to be educated by Jesuits.
That was before the Internet began spreading bad ideas with no need for authority figures to back them up, of course.
As for examples of what a Jesuit education can do to a man’s thoughts of God, you only need to look at Voltaire or the Marquis de Sade.
It appears to me that this young man has committed a common logical error. He assumed God’s nature was a certain way, and then, when confronted with evidence that He was not like that, concluded that God didn’t exist.
Boston College stopped being respectable a long time ago. They had a course, taught by a lesbian nun, about feminism and men were not allowed to take the class because the bull dyke nun wanted to rant and rave about how evil men were and would brook no disagreement from anyone who thought maybe God didn’t screw up when he created Adam.
>> “As for examples of what a Jesuit education can do to a mans thoughts of God, you only need to look at Voltaire or the Marquis de Sade.” <<
Or Guv Moonbeam...
He not only lost his faith, he never got anywhere close to being a competent thinker. His “reasons” for not believing in God are pathetic.
One day he will come face to face with the God that he now says doesn’t exist. Prayers that he will come to know Him
Noticed how he is smiling wide in his picture. He is satisfied at 20 something that there is no God and happy. Oh for the troubles that will shortly come upon him and the grief that he can not rely on a Holy and loving God to guide and comfort him during this short time on earth.
I’m not sure what’s more pathetic, this navel-gazing boy and his cliché “thesis on atheism” or the FReepers trying to take the same as a serious statement on Catholicism.
Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved. Whoever does not believe will be damned.” Mark 16:17. Unbelievers such as this young man will not be able to blame God for their eternal punishment. He made certain that this requirement has been taught by His church for millennia...or at least, it should be taught.
Well, that’s the decision we all must make. Do we believe the claims that Jesus Christ made?
>>Where does that leave Catholicism, given the current (Jesuit) pope?>>
The current Jesuit Pope was taught long, long before the Jesuits disgraced themselves with their irreligious teaching.
Ding ding ding! You win!
The “Christian” youth of today are essentially incapable of engaging in critical thinking as they develop their Faith. They have no apologetics skills. They are easy picking for crafty, liberal, atheist, institutional professors.
My conservative Catholic mother always warned me...Never trust a Jesuit.
The author is about to "graduate" from an institution formally endorsed by the Catholic Church, and the Pope's order in particular.
Saying that this story says nothing about the current filthy state of Catholicism is like saying overflowing prisons says nothing about the state of the American inner-city.
Not surprised...You want to be secular, study human philosophy...You want to be a Christian, study the bible...
It however doesn’t have to be permanent...Could be some day God will rap his head up against a tree and he will allow a little light to shine in...
I think it would be funny, but they certainly wouldn’t publish it, of a student who wrote that when he entered school he was an atheist, but *despite* their efforts to reinforce his atheism, he became a Christian.
Perhaps go on a while about how he discovered atheists were weak and unhappy people, determined to inflict atheism on others precisely because they were wracked with doubts about their atheist beliefs. How they felt isolated and alone, leading useless and empty lives, and destined for nothingness.
Maybe conclude by saying how much his teachers must be disappointed in him. That instead of pursuing a meaningless existence, he now has the solace and succor of faith, and feels the warmth of love and purpose in his life.
Such a letter would bug the heck out of them.
You’ll be back ....
Riddle me this:
“Everything has a mathematical formula as well it’s existence for place and time are mathematically predictable.
Where did that math come from???”
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Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
I don't really have much hesitation to send my son, should he wind up there.
It's all in the preparation. My parents (and my wife's parents) had no idea that the culture had turned against them and their faith even by the 1950s (when our older siblings were very young). They thought that the culture would support them in raising their children Catholic. By the time they realized that they were losing their children to the culture wars, it was too late.
My wife and I saw what happened to our siblings. By the grace of God, we managed to hold onto our Catholic faith, cooperated with God to deepen it, and deepened our understanding of it. We prayed for more faith, and God never refused us.
When we had our own children, we were bound and determined that the most important part of our vocation as parents was to transmit the faith, bring our sons up in the faith, and equip them with everything they needed to keep the faith. We prayed a bunch, we homeschooled, and instead of merely giving them the intellectual and spiritual tools to defend their faith, we also taught them how to go on the offense for Jesus and His Gospel. My guys are Warriors for Jesus. Don't get in the way. It could be bloody.
My wife and I are blessed in that their intellectual faith is informed by real spiritual lives, alive by their relationship with God, Himself. Each of them has experienced the power and presence of God in their lives, and thus, they believe first-hand, so to speak, rather than merely on the witness of others.
But the best defense is a good offense. My older son is at a university that most would consider the belly of the Beast. He sought out the local Catholic community, joined the local Knights of Columbus council, got involved in serving others through the Knights and the local Catholic community, has found a competent confessor, and seemingly has far more effect on non-believers than they have on him.
Parents, you don't need to see your children go off to college to lose their faith. But you DO need to understand that transmitting the faith and giving your children all the moral, intellectual and SPIRITUAL gifts they need to sustain and grow their faith is the most important part of being a parent.
You cannot, of yourself, force the Holy Spirit to directly nourish them with a personal relationship with the Most Holy Trinity, but you can make sure that the Holy Spirit will have a clear field to do His thing. And he will. Every single time. Jesus promised.
And you have to start early. The earlier, the better. We started when we found out we were pregnant. We asked the Holy Spirit to come be with our children in the womb, and to never let them out of His care.
I know that it is God's will that we do NOT abandon the high places of our culture. It is NOT God's will that we cede institutions like Boston College to the enemy, but rather, that we do what we must to counter-invade and counter-attack, and make the enemy disgorge his ill-gotten gains. We must do battle and prepare our children for battle, as well.
For Catholic parents, finally, one really big piece of advice: pray the Rosary, teach your children to pray it, and pray it frequently with them.
Apparently he missed the forest for the trees.
All you really need to study is the salvation method of the two religions.
So facing a perfect Holy God, a God who knows no sin, which one do you thing will fly?
While I had doubts about the existence of God before entering college, I considered myself a Christian and checked off the Protestant Methodist box on my application. Still, I had some apprehension in attending Boston Collegea religious, Jesuit, Catholic institution. So, it came much to my surprise that nearly as soon as I stepped on campus, my faith in Christianity and God started to wane
based on this I suspect this person was never a born again gave his life to Christ Christian but someone who’s parents were Christian and he went to church with them.
Myself, I prefer Jesus's call, "I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
The ONLY way to be sure of salvation is through Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross!