Wednesday, December 1, 2010

30 Days of Belief

I've seen this suggestion before for "curing" atheism:

Truly try to believe in Christianity for a month. Just 30 days. Give it a shot, because it can't hurt anything.

I don't know that I've ever met anyone for whom atheism was a choice, who just decided one day that the whole belief thing is a drag, so fuck it, I don't believe anymore. Most atheists I know were believers at one point, including myself. I was horrified when I realized I didn't believe anymore. I panicked, in fact, desperately trying to believe in something, anything. I felt lost and abandoned and betrayed. For the very first time, I felt my mortality, a real heaven-free mortality, and I did not like it.

I tried so hard to believe. I just couldn't.

It doesn't work. If you don't believe me, try believing, sincerely, for a mere 30 days, in invisible pink unicorns. You can't, no matter how hard you try. You know damn well invisible pink unicorns do not exist, and once you know that, there's no going back. Not for 30 days, not for ever.

Trust me, I tried.


  1. But... if there's no invisible pink unicorns, who has been leaving the invisible hoof prints in my house?

  2. Have you considered invisible, yet mischievous, boggles?

  3. "Truly try to believe in Christianity for a month. Just 30 days. Give it a shot, because it can't hurt anything."

    OMG. How fun! More Christian projection. It's not atheists who need to open their minds and consider the "other side," it's Christians.

    I'm reminded of anti-gay Christians who explain to gay people that we should just "try" being straight, as if even though being gay in a heterocentrist society can be really sucky, we have never thought of trying to be straight before!

    Dear anti-gay Christians,

    Truly try being gay for a month. Go to Craiglist, put an ad for a date or hookup with someone of the same sex, and meet a gay person with full sincerity of trying to be gay too. Just 30 days. Give it a shot, because it can't hurt anything.

  4. meet a gay person with full sincerity of trying to be gay too. Just 30 days. Give it a shot, because it can't hurt anything.

    Unless they sneeze on you and you catch the AIDS.

  5. Do the 25 years, give or take, of sincere belief and church attendance count? Or do I I have to do this 30 days thing based on some idea that I wasn't the right kind of Christian or it will be different now that I, y'know, don't believe?

  6. Well, I'm probably more the sort that this argument is aimed at: I've never believed. I've tried, honestly and sinscerely asking for God to help me believe, but never for more than a few minutes because it's difficult to 'pretend' to believe something. Oh, I could go through the actions: go to church and eat crackers and talk to myself before I go to bed, that side of things is easy. But they're not asking me to do that: they're asking me to pretend that I'm not talking to myself, that I actually believe god is up there. That's hard: not because I don't want to, but because it's an exercise in self-deception.

    Do you know, this method might actually work? If you manage to keep that level of self-deception up consistantly for a whole month, if you can truly ignore reality for that long, you might well become so innoculated to decieving yourself that you forget you're doing it and it becomes subconsious.

    But for someone who's used to examining and thinking about things critically, (ie. a skeptic) such behavior, ignoring the cognitive dissonance and forcing yourself not to consider the implications of reality, is utterly alien. We might be able to do it for short moments, but we're simply not capable of maintaining it.

    And anyway, I fail to see under any belief system how consious self-deception could possibly be interpreted as A Good Thing.


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