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February 28th, 2006


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coach_carolyn
08:21 pm
Hi, I'm brand-new here, and I apologize if this has been asked before.

I'm an atheist, and I think I always have been. I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a household where my parents always encouraged us to make decisions for ourselves based on evidence and observations, and never once were we made to go to church. I have studied religions extensively because I have an academic interest in them (and, frankly, I want to be knowledgeable when strangers try to convert me), but I certainly have never believed in any kind of superior being. However, I know this isn't very common, even today.

What I was wondering is (to the atheists out there), what (if any) events/ideas/personal qualities do you think helped you decide that you were an atheist? I've always wondered how other people (especially those raised in religious households) came to the same conclusions as me.

Thanks!
Current Mood: curiouscurious

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From:chemoelectric
Date:March 1st, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
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I was not raised without religion and was not always without religion.

History and other scientific evidence prove—in the empirical sense—that religions are mythologies: explanatory tales belonging to a pre-scientific era. The usual way around this is to substitute the empirical sense of 'to prove' with a 'philosophical' one that is literally impossible to overcome. So I simply refuse to make that substitution. Another method is for a religion to adopt scientific facts, such as evolution, without also adopting scientific method (which would require, for instance, abandonment of the notion of a 'soul').

Essentially I extend (and so no doubt do many others) scientific method to cover one's 'spiritual' life as well as the 'technical' sciences.
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From:chemoelectric
Date:March 1st, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
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See also http://crudfactory.chemoelectric.org/SundayMorning.pdf (about 2 megabytes) for a poetic statement on the matter.
From:terminalplacebo
Date:March 5th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
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i think ugly people prove that there is no god. HOORAY!!!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 20th, 2006 07:24 am (UTC)
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I was just always confused with what to tell people when they asked. My parents are both monothiests, and never have I been to church either. I was agnostic for a while, but after reading all this stuff on the Bible and all the religion and how it causes so much dispute, I just said 'F - it" and said..'hey, I'm an atheist, and that's all I need to say'
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From:whenhesdown
Date:August 1st, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
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As an 'atheist'(by which i mean without god), i don't really believe that many atheists come to the same conclusions on many things, many come to the conclusion that as there is fundamental flaws in mainstream religion God cannot exist, but from my stand point, God is an idea, as an idea it cannot be proven or disproven, which works in religious advantage.

my main concern as a 21 British atheist, as i'm classified, is why would a devine an all forgiving and all good being create something (ie hankind) and place it into a world to suffer, to only judge it's rights to enternity in heaven or hell.
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From:mjp
Date:August 24th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
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I was born and raised in a semi-secularized Reform Jewish household. I was given a bris (TMI, probably) and raised Jewish. I went to Hebrew School every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 during the school year and studied hard for my Bar Mitzvah. During that Hebrew school environment (from around age 7 to age 12) and only during that Hebrew school environment, I think I was pretty damn well indoctrinated and never really questioned anything. I was told that Israel was the rightful Holy Land of the Jewish people, that Palestinians were bombing it and killing my people, that we had "made the desert bloom," that Germany should never have been allowed to exist after 1946, etc. etc. I read from my family's Torah, gave $500 to be my Israel Bond as a mitzvah (When you're BMed, you're supposed to do a thing of community service and that was the prevalent choice for a twelve-year old kid), etc.

Then, a funny thing happened. We didn't go to synagogue any more on the High Holy Days or holidays. I'd always hated that, having to behave for two or three hours on end. Standing, sitting, singing. I hated the sound of people singing and still do with the exception of a couple of music groups. My parents weren't too fond of going to temple, either. We'd celebrate the holidays at home and with family. Like most modern American Jews, we weren't very religious. My grandparents on my mother's side were Orthodox and my father's side were observant Reform, but both sides never really were very religious.

I started having severe depression as a child, and things just got so painful to exist that I kept on crying out, "Why is this happening to me? What have I done wrong? God, why are you doing this to me?" No answer, no answer, no answer. Not through suicidal times, not through running away a couple of times, nothing.

I started questioning everything not too long before I started my bar mitzvah studies. Over the years, I evolved into an atheist on the basis of evidence and how the world worked. I just somehow came to that point. I "came out" as it were, and my parents were fine with it. They disagreed with me on my thoughts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (I question Israel's right to exist on the grounds of the Balfour Declaration and the actions of all parties after 1948) but it wasn't that huge of a deal.

I think that the pain of existence really turned me towards atheism, but it was learning to question authority in all forms at all levels that really got me to becoming an atheist.

I know this is way after your post, but I figured I'd toss in my $0.02. :-P
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From:choclytgremlins
Date:October 14th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
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I come from a family of nonbelievers. My mother is an ex-Cathoic and my father is an ex-Jew. However, they've always encouraged me to think for myself when it comes to religion.

There have been times when I've kind of wanted a religion - it sure would make it easier when things get shitty - but my mind will not let me suspend its ability to reason. There are so many systems of belief, each claiming to be infallible, many producing books that they claim are infallible, and people who strictly follow these systems of belief have nasty habits of killing each other over it.

Yes, I have come to the conclusion that we are a big cosmic accident, and that our purposes in life are not so much fixed and found as they are made (oh, I love Opus). This can be a little bit depressing - it's not nice that we all die and lose everything. However, if everyone were to accept that life is finite, maybe we'd all treat it with a bit more respect. I'm an atheist because it makes the most sense to me. No more or less than that.
Hi, I'm brand-new here, and I apologize if this has been asked… - Ask An Atheist

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