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  • Atheism

    Recently, I finished reading, "God Is NOT Great, How Religion Destroys Everything" by Christopher Hitchens.

    After reading, I began to reflect how I became atheist.

    The question for those who identify as atheist, how did you come to identify as atheist? What did you experience to change your views?

    In my case, I grew up in a religious household. My mom converted to pentecostalism from catholicism. I attended catholic school, all through high school. I have always remembered never wanting to go to church. Instead of it being something I can freely do, it was something that was forced onto me. My mom would volunteer me, without consulting me, for youth choirs and other church activities. I never found myself buying any of the sermons and teachings of the church. I further found everyone to be nut cases. Pentecostalism, in my opinion, is so extreme that I can not understand why people participate. I recall the rules of the church: no pants, jewelry, or makeup for women, no "sinful" music, amongst other restrictive things. The whole thing turned me off to religion.

    I think what turned me off the most was the hypocrisy and intolerance of many "christians."

    In addition, I never understood the concept of "praising" some mythical person we never hear, see, or speak. A form of magical thinking I guess.

    So my question to you, why are you an atheist?

  • #2
    I suppose the most important reason is...umm...reason.



    • #3
      I was brought up in a mainstream Protestant household. In my early teens I started reading the Bible to, among other things, determine the purpose of life. I found that I was constantly trying to find ways of interpreting Genesis to be consistent with what I knew of science. After a while I realized that I was simply deceiving myself to try to force a false consistency and I realized that doing so was foolish.

      I utterly fail to understand how anybody with any intelligence who is intellectually honest can believe in the inerrancy of a book that says that pi is equal to three (in First Kings, chapter 23) when anyone who remembers any high school geometry can easily prove that it must be greater than three.


      • #4
        The reason I became an atheist? Well, I find this question actually easier to respond to after having read God Is Not Great. One of the themes Hitchens had in that book was that we've explained enough things for ourselves without to simply no longer need the concept of a deity. For example, leading up to, and pretty much ever since, the renaissance, church organizations have been trying insert God into equations where the idea isn't necessary and in fact just tends to complicate things once their true nature is understood. Astronomy was one of his best, and arguably most easily employed, examples. I did feel this way in my youth, when I began rejecting deism, but reading these types of books helps me to articulate those feelings not only within but with other people.
        I've had some religious friends over the years and enjoyed the debates with them, but I was always annoyed when they stated that religion was based on faith to the effect that they seemed to feel that was enough to legitimize faith in itself (the poorly thought out idea that faith, despite being the antithesis of reason, somehow just becomes reason). No, I don't have faith. I'm ok with that because if you think really hard, faith entails the rejection of reason in order to meet one's own psychological needs. I believe that when this happens and is mixed with instincts and social influences like politics, you end up with all kinds of awfulness that the faithful themselves would ironically describe as "evil" or "sinful". Unfortunately it is that same faith that then binds them to religious organizations, or at least schools of ideology, and then they can't help but ignore the very "evil" they perpetrate., I guess I got off topic, but it's hard to stop once I get going. Anyway, to reiterate, I didn't have any life changing moment or influencing literature or figures that lead to my atheism. I simply didn't enjoy going to church, and once I developed the mental faculties to think these issues through, I saw no reason to need a deity (and perhaps never felt that need anyway). Likewise I never developed a need for "purpose". In fact, I've always wanted to see a real study of this issue; why are people always asking "what is my purpose?"; why is it not "do I have a purpose?", or even "do I NEED a purpose?". Personally, I'm just along for the ride.


        • #5
          I would not call myself an atheist, but I have rejected the christian ideal of god, "he" was just to hypocritical for me. The sending of his only son to die for our sins and having hell for those who do sin, just did not sit well with me.


          • #6
            I cannnot think of any particular moment in time that I decided religion was not for me. I was brought up christian and married a Jew. Neither of us are religious. It just seems so silly. To me the bible is nothing more than a collection of folk tales. It's been rewritten and retinterprested so many time to fit the needs of the moment, that it's lost any credibility (in my eyes). Religion has been the source of so much pain in the world. Prayer is nothing more than "will. By that I mean, if I pray everynight for a new and better job and get one, it's not becasue of god, it's because I willed myself to have the courage to seek out a new job. I just don't get why people cannot see the reality that religion is a scam.


            • #7
              I was, for a few years, an atheist. I was raised Methodist, although religion was not very important. We attended church until I was in fifth grade.

              For years, I just couldn't buy into the whole Jesus-as-G*d's-son thing and just turned away from all religion.

              Although I now associate myself with Judaism, I have kept my skepticism with religious stories that are in the Bible and just concentrate on my own personal spiritual, which is more important anyway.

              Bob S.


              • #8
                I find it interesting that most of the stories in here have roots in a christian upbringing. Then for whatever reason "Religion" was rejected.

                Some, I guess, make the mistake of tying God into religion. But God is not that is unfortunate. Religion is man made, a construct for interfacing with something we are unable to fully understand. And as a rule, anything man made is prone to error, it is weak (including scientific theory).

                God came before religion and before science. So one cannot use the rejection of religion to falsify God, nor can one use Science to argue against the existence of God.

                Can an orphan reject the notion that they ever had parents?

                Athiests are just orphans.....but by choice. And apparently what seems to be the common thread is that you all made THAT CHOICE.

                "Lean not on your own understanding....There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death." - Proverbs


                • #9
                  How can you assume God came before religion? The old "where else would we have came from?" theory? It is my contention that god is just as man made as religion or science, the idea just preceded the former by a short amount of time, and the latter even longer.


                  • #10
                    I think that since the determination of where we spend eternity after our death here on Earth, there should be more convincing evidence than just heresay.


                    • #11
                      "DUDE",we have a generation or two of evidence that "orphans" have human progenitors. Please don't try that tired "watchmaker" argument. I worked my way back to the "god" who founded the Holy School of Watchmaking (I think it was in Loma Linda) but then the evidence of "his" parentage became a bit scant and I lost interest.
                      Oh, and the "common thread" is not that we made THAT CHOICE but that we reject argument absent evidence. For a REASON

                      pray for the sick in Florida


                      • #12
                        Last month, I read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins - a bestseller over here. While I found his book both angry and lacking in profundity, he does raise valid grounds for doubting that there is any merit in the tenets in the Abrahamic religions. There is no doubt in my mind that Christianity and its sister faiths are founded on superstition. They can never hope to withstand the onslaught of factual information about the earth, the universe and nature coming at us by way of scientific discovery and observation.

                        For the record, I consider myself to be an atheist with Buddhist leanings.



                        • #13
                          They can never hope to withstand the onslaught of factual information about the earth, the universe and nature coming at us by way of scientific discovery and observation.
                          Except they have...


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LamontCranston:
                            They can never hope to withstand the onslaught of factual information about the earth, the universe and nature coming at us by way of scientific discovery and observation.
                            Except they have...

                            Not in the UK. Fewer than 10% of our population now attend a regular place of worship and our churches are closing down all over the country. People here are now becoming ignorant as to what Christianity stands for and more and more are abandoning any pretext at having "faith". Consequently, church weddings are becoming less common in favour of civil ceremonies and there are now firms which offer atheist funerals.

                            I really believe that religion here in Europe is in terminal decline, and I suspect that North America will follow in due course. In a couple of centuries, the fact that people today believe in Jesus and resurrection and miracles will seem as bizarre and nonsensical as the Egyptian belief in Osiris, the Romans belief in Minerva or the Viking belief in Odin.



                            • #15
                              Baron Lake...did you actually attend the Holy School of Watchmaking? Cause I have a Rip Curl watch that is broken.... But what I said above isn't the "Watchmaker" analogy. Intelligent design is a seperate topic along the lines of the devolution of evolution. We are speaking about atheism here.

                              Gentlemen....ponder this. Atheism cannot exist with out acknowledging God. The very name "Atheism" has as it's center the latin root "theos" screams the name God everytime you say it. There is actually no name for the void which you wish to exist. It is a secondary product that is dependant on the idea of without God there would be no atheism. For "asexual" being implies and acknowledges that there are other beings which are sexual. "Aseptic" technique implies and acknowledges that germs really DO exist. (I know...generic philosophical juxtapositioning, but it's kind of fun to write....I'm sure there is a name for that too).

                              A Eulogy at an Atheist Funeral:
                              "I wish I could say they were in a better place....I wish I could say their life meant something....but they simply existed, and now they don't....hmm. Why are we here then? I have an idea, anybody want to go out for some food and reproduction?"