Q: What is an argument that won you over as a theist
A: I think I can now articulate my own argument which was the final straw that won me over. It began with a rejection of Christian aesthetics, and is kind of wordy though:
>All stories must end someday and it’s better when characters stoically face their fate and exit the stage gracefully.
>No individual truly needs one thing or person to be happy; there are no sacred cows when there are so many substitutables.
(Muv Luv’s typical 10 minute death scene with a pity-me speech)
>Real life is cold and nothing like the bible.
>People drop dead instantly.
>There are no dramatic speeches from God or to loved ones; no themes and readily apparent deeper meanings before most of us die.
>People just separate without goodbyes, which is the opposite of what you would expect if someone had put everyone in the universe on a stage before either an audience or some judges.
A compassionate God would allow you to take time making slow goodbyes before someone left you forever. But in the bible no major characters die without Angels giving speeches, God or Jesus giving a speech first. It’s like how you can predict someone might die in a fantasy novel because someone just gave a long speech that made you care about that person. It’s a set of cliches that foreshadow the future, but which you never see in real life when someone suddenly dies of a stroke or to an automobile accident.
Real life ends with “natural endings” which are always open-ended. There is no meaning expect what is interpreted by the observer, and there is no absolute sense of closure. A narrator never appears to tell you what its about. Grieving can be protracted because there is no final speech that explains why it had to be.
Life periodically shoves you from companionship into separation and loneliness, therefore the idea of an afterlife of eternal companionship is unnatural. Expecting eternal love from soul-mates or God is unnatural, selfish and oppressive. Looking for absolute promises flies against the randomness a universe that is perpetually changing; it’s unrealistic. Reluctance to break our side of childish promises keeps us in religion.
The real world is more sophisticated than any fantasy or theology, because stories always use simplified models of reality, drawn from a subset of possibilities to focus on some variable. If you can move beyond idealization and can enjoy the details of muted shades of grey, then the real world will be more detailed & have better graphics.
(That’s the argument. Before that though I had already seen contradictions with the bible, and my own ethnocentrism. All I needed was a reason that living without Christianity might be more aesthetically pleasing, and then I was emotionally ready to discard the lie.)