How Did You Become An Atheist

When atheists gather, we discuss what it going on in our respective lives like all people. When new people show up because they found us on  meetup.com, they are often share their journey in religion.

A writer in the magazine, Humanist, reviewed her journey. It was so similar to what we hear from new comers I will paraphrase it here.

“One day when I was reading the Bible I realized I simply didn’t believe it anymore. Suddenly my whole world was off balance. God was no longer the great and powerful Wizard of Oz; he was a man behind the curtain of collective imagination. I honestly didn’t think this would happen to me. It was stranger because I thought I was the only nonbeliever in the world.

“Even more disconcerting to me was reading on line a definition of atheism. It was roughly, ‘Not being convinced of the validity of a deity or deities based on lack of evidence.’

“This broad definition was unsettling to me. It was unsettling because I did not want to be called an ‘atheist’ but the definition included me. In fact, it zeroed in on me.

“From what I had always heard, atheists hated God and hated people who believed in God. That would include my family. My only problem with God was he existed only in the mind. I was alarmed to learn that made me an atheist.

“Since then, I’ve come to accept that I’m an atheist. I simply don’t believe.”

 

 

10 Responses

  1. Juan Ruiz

    Religion may well be the only area where people willingly accept as fact what other people say, without any serious research of their own. This does not occur when dealing with car and insurance salesmen, stockbrokers, football coaches, or, eventually, even parents. Despite whatever contradictions or inconsistencies in “holy” books, it is still “God’s Word,” and must be believed. God supposedly gave Man a reasoning mind, yet that is supposed to be jettisoned in matters of religion. Faith, belief without evidence, must be applied.

    Among all biota, Man is the only species aware of his mortality…and he hates and fears it. It’s reflective of our hubris. The same hubris which makes God look like us. We are just too important for our life to end here. There must be immortality for us. We must live on. It is religion that exploits this foible. And we are more than anxious to accept it.

    Above all, atheists are quite happy to say this is it. We live, we die, we become a lifeless corpse. There is no need for another life, nor a soul which survives. Hence, there is no need for a god, a religion. It is peace which comes from this realization which brings satisfaction, free from all the carrot and stick, heaven and hell threats. Free from considering yourself a sinning maggot.

    1. Juan 6:11 Among all biota, Man is the only species aware of his mortality…and he hates and fears it. It’s reflective of our hubris. The same hubris which makes God look like us. We are just too important for our life to end here. There must be immortality for us. We must live on. It is religion that exploits this foible. And we are more than anxious to accept it.

      A beautiful piece of writing. Surely it is accurate to say the human preoccupation with death is one of the most central aspects of the human mind. Sure, there are others like the desire to be rich and/or attractive to others. But, fear of death trumps them all.

      What geniuses the ancients were to recognize how this fear of death dominates the mind and for finding a way to exploit it for their own gain. The exploitation continues to this day.

      I’ve asked our believing friends on this board a few times this question: Would you remain believers if it could be proved there was absolutely no life after this one? No one has answered.

      As you pointed out, the life after death idea is not something there is evidence for, it is something someone once said. We don’t even know who said it. But it is so attractive billions of people shell out money to hear it over and over again and a few come to this board to argue it is true.

  2. entech

    A more interesting question would be “How did you become a Christian”.
    In my case not coming from a religious family I could say that I became a Christian when I went to school, specifically boarding school when I was 11 years old. A Church of England school, as most were in those days, but not for that reason but because it was one that my family could afford.
    Every morning there was a school assembly, essentially a prayer meeting with news about the school, every day the curriculum included “religious instruction”, it was favourite subject along with history and geography. I did get a bit of hassle from some specialist teachers when I tried to work out the relationship between them all in my own little mind. When I was a little older in an extension of “social studies” we learned that there were other religions.

    Before schooldays I had not really heard any religious talk at all, so I can say that school led me to becoming a Christian and after being out of school for a few years I simply stopped being a Christian and reverting to my natural atheism.

    1. entech so I can say that school led me to becoming a Christian and after being out of school for a few years I simply stopped being a Christian and reverting to my natural atheism.

      Thanks for your interesting story. There are far more children born atheist than Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jew. In fact, every child everywhere in the world is born an atheist. That is stolen from billions of children without their consent.

      1. Juan Ruiz

        ” In fact, every child everywhere in the world is born an atheist. ”

        Everyone is an atheist in relation to religions in which they don’t believe.

        1. Juan 12:18 Everyone is an atheist in relation to religions in which they don’t believe.

          Well said. We here on this site have these on going arguments between believers and nonbelievers. But really, we are in agreement on almost everything. We all agree that thousands of gods do not exist. We only disagree about one of these thousands of gods.

          1. Juan Ruiz

            I have found that Christians aren’t as belligerent with me as they are with other Christians. Never mind that far right Fundamentalists call the Pope the Anti-Christ, Lutherans can’t even get along. But this has been going on from the beginning: Paulines, Arians, Docetists, ad nauseum. There has never been A Christianity; it was splintered from the beginning.

  3. entech

    I have mentioned before that there are two Jesuit astronomer/cosmologists that I really enjoy listening to. Bro. Guy has a good sense of humour, once when talking about science and religion and how there should not be any real conflict he said, “It’s not that difficult, after all I only believe in one more God than Steven Hawking.”

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