But, have you ever had a deep held belief in which you've turned around on?
What made you change?
If you study a topic you believe in, do you also research/read the opposing opinions?
I was raised Catholic and went to church regularly as well as a Catholic grade school. God/Jesus was an everyday thing for me. When I became a teenager, like many, I became interested in supernatural subjects like ghosts, ESP, UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle. The movie The Exorcist came out when I was 13 and I was obsessed with demonic possession. I read everything I could on the subject.
I was convinced all these things were real and happening around me. My parents chuckled and told me to think about these subjects critically. They asked me to look for actually evidence and to look for other possible explanations to specific events.
They were very patient!
But, over the next 4-5 years, as I matured and learned, I did start asking the questions "Why?" and "How?" I started learning about the world around me. With a little education, a lot of the supernatural disappeared.
One day I asked my mom why we should believe in a god when the natural world could be explained by natural processes (I probably didn't use those words. And I most likely just didn't want to go to church.). She didn't have an answer and gave me the official Catholic Church response. "Don't ask questions." I found out that when it came to her faith, she didn't practice what she preached.
Long story short, I fell in love with science in high school and religion became less important to me. I went to college wanting to become a NASA engineer and received AA degrees in Physics and Psychology before deciding that Video Production and Film History was the direction my career would lead. I became an 'official' Atheist my last year in Catholic college when I took a class called Atheism and Religion.
But you ask, have I changed my mind on scientific subjects? Yes.
In the past, I questioned man's impact on Earth's climate. Our environment changes at a fairly slow pace and we have such a small data set of weather conditions over the last 125 years to draw on. But, as more information is collected and as the amount of change has become (practically) logarithmic, it's became pretty clear that man can have a huge impact on his environment.
I also would like to believe in multi-verses and that idea that more then four dimensions exist. It would make our 'uni'-verse infinitely more wondrous. But, alas there is no actual evidence for them (yet). They only exist in mathematical constructs which, like Zeno's Paradoxes, are open to logical errors.
When I look at the universe without a god, I see a place even more exciting and beautiful then the one I saw with a god! Having no predetermined 'purpose' or 'meaning' give us infinite possibilities to explore and find our own purpose and meaning!
Morality is a human construct. We've developed a social order over tens of thousands of years in order to live together and prosper. Our values have shifted over the millennia. It obviously doesn't work perfectly but it's gotten us this far.
A world with god and religion is indistinguishable but a world without (apart from the churches of course). Just as many horrible, bloody acts of violence have been committed by the followers of gods as by those who commit horrible acts to fulfill their own needs. And just as much good. You can be good without god.
What's your story?