So I was talking on facebook today and a friend suggested a book for me to read. Well, that's all fine and good, and it seems like I would like it...but it got me thinking about the long line of books I've yet to read. I am also a pretty slow reader as well when it comes to certain books, like factual books, like the majority of which make up my list of books I need to read. Anyhow, because of this, I was trying to figure out which books I wanted to finish first, and which ones I could wait on. Then my mind wondered across a book that I've been putting off for a really long time...
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Now, I received this book as a gift from my former fiance's grandmother, back when I was a Christian. Back when I received it, I couldn't wait to tear into it, but, at the time, I still had a big list of books I had to read. So, in the meantime, I let my former fiance (at this time just my girlfriend) borrow it. I finally received it back about 2 years(!!!) later right as I was entering my freshmen year of college...this year. Now by this time, I had more or less become atheistic whether I was calling myself an atheist or not, so the book got put in the "later pile" for a lack of interest. Now, fast forward to today, I come across it again and whether I should read it. My thought process proceeded something like this:
Hmmm, it would be neat to read now that I wouldn't be mindlessly agreeing to every word. I could even get a laugh out of it and point out all of the mistakes and possible bigotry. Though should I really waste my time reading a book by a man so thoughtlessly controlled by false ideas in an attempt to twist words to make something undeniable?
Pretty normal thoughts I suppose given my current beliefs and the sources I have to thank for them (Namely PZ Myers). Though after this thought, I had a vague memory of when I was a Christian when a friend of mine suggested I read On the Origins of Species by Charles Darwin. It's been awhile, but I am pretty sure my thought process proceeded something like the following:
Evolution? Well, it would be helpful to know what atheists believe so that I may be able to refute it whenever dealing with one. Plus it might be pretty funny to see what nonsense they believe in. It's not like it would change my mind or anything. I believe in God and no theory would make me think otherwise.
See a pattern there? Now, predicting I have a pretty normal thought process given who I was and am at the given periods, I think the statement I'm about to make proves true for those who are religious and atheist.
We are all self-defeating in this aspect.
Common knowledge, no? What I meant by this is the notion of someone denying another belief because their current belief. Giving it no chance to prove or enlighten, no matter how convincing it is. Now, for those people who have doubts in their beliefs, that's whom such arguments for beliefs are for. Simply put, a Christian trying to argue convincing reasons for faith to a confident Atheist or an Atheist who shows the most convincing evidence for evolution to a confident Christian is just wasting their time.
Now is this to say that anyone whoever changes their beliefs were never confident with their past beliefs? Certainly not, not to begin with anyway. Whenever there is a beginning, there tends to be a great deal of simplicity that many people are content with. Now as time passes and such a person starts to learn more about said belief, I think that is when confidence either starts to fade or build more.
Now whether a person's confidence in such a belief fades or builds is entirely situational.
Now, by saying this, am I making the claim that I was not confident in myself being a Christian. Certainly, for if I was, I would still be a Christian! Now this did not always prove true, at one point, of course when things were 'simple' as it were, I was very confident in my belief. As time passed however, and I learned what it 'meant' to be a 'Christian,' that is when I started to realize, that for me, things didn't match up and that I had many problems with such a belief.
Of course, there are always exceptions.
TLDR; People set in their ways will stay in their ways.
EDIT: After thinking about this some more, and not feeling entirely confident about the statement(s) I made, I'll be doing a follow up post to this one and will post the link to such a post here.