Hi there everyone!


A friend of mine linked me to a news story that was on here a bit ago, and I figured I'd check the site out a bit more.  I'm hoping that a site like this, I'll find more people that fall in with my beliefs a bit better.


Been an atheist for quite a bit, now, about 5 years or so.  I don't believe in religion or God, but my main problem is that most atheists I've met have been completely down on the idea of religion.  I respect people with religion greatly, though, and that's where I usually hit the disconnect.  The idea that you can believe in something that you can't see is amazing to me, and to have that sort of faith in something is great.  There are bad apples on both sides, of course, with people looking down on atheists as well as the other way around, which is why I usually stay out of the fray if given the choice.


My atheist friends won't stop downtalking, and my religious friends don't know I'm an atheist.  I'm hoping here, I'll meet my happy medium.  So, hello to you all!

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Welcome to TA Nicholas :)

I'll second that.

That's my bad for not being entirely clear, there.


I'm starting to slowly let my religious friends know of my beliefs.  Some are more than ok with that, and some have stopped talking to me.  Really there's only one that I haven't told yet on purpose, which I suspect is because he's my best friend, and I don't really know how he'd react.  More of a fear thing than anything.

Hello and welcome to Think Atheist!


First of all, I would like to make a clear distinction between religious belief (specifically theism) and religious people.  Our philosophy tends to be something along the lines of, "People deserve respect, but ideas must earn it."  Keep in mind that while being an atheist tells you nothing about what a person believes, many atheists are also humanists.  One of the humanist goals is to be kind to and cooperate with others who have differing yet humane beliefs.  So yes, on one hand we do not allow any hate speech or bigotry to be directed at theists on this site.  (Theists come here from time to time).


On the other hand, however, it sounds to me like you are someone who "believes in belief" when you make this statement: 


"The idea that you can believe in something that you can't see is amazing to me, and to have that sort of faith in something is great."


Belief in belief is something you will probably not find much support for here.  While we certainly respect religious people themselves, we tend not to automatically respect their beliefs simply because they believe them.  For example, most Christians believe that atheists will burn in hell for eternity for not excepting Jesus into our hearts.  Many Muslims believe that atheists are physically impure, and that physical contact with us transfers that impurity to them.  They need to wash themselves in a special way before prayer to cleanse off the dirtiness of the non-believer.  Why should such beliefs be respected simply because they are held by certain religious people?  We tend to prefer to be honest about the vast differences in our world views and encourage open discussion rather than trying to pretend that no differences exist.  This is also why we tend to encourage critical thinking skills and honest rational inquiry rather than simply pushing for atheism. 

Agreed Apple.  The part you quoted leapt out at me too. A big 'why?' is in order there.


p.s. Welcome!

Very well said.
Hello Nicholas. Just read your post. I think that the views people take and the degree to which they take them is a key point here. Some people come across as being what you might describe as militant Atheists. Maybe they have an extremely negative view of organized religions because of what they may have been through themselves. Maybe they are just very forthright and possibly opinionated. I can empathise with this because of the negativity I've experienced from those with faith. I like to think that I at least respect people for their beliefs but that doesn't make me any less the strong Atheist that I am. In my opinion it is a question of finding some balance when sharing opinions with other Atheists and Theists alike. I think that people are more likely to listen if you can offer some thoughtful debate and listen to all opinions.
I've been an Atheist for over 66 years now, but I still have  relatives, & 'kids' who  believe. I don't 'look down' on them - just their beliefs.
Welcome to TA. I placate to Christians all the time. Maby one day I will be inspired to take a firmer stance in my atheism. I learn a lot of positive things about atheism here at TA.
Hey, welcome first of all. I guess it is a nice thing to have the power to believe and have faith in something that doesn't exist. But then again they should have the same respect towards you and your beliefs. Maybe some new friends will do it

Hello Nicholas and welcome to TA!  Talking with your unbelief with friends and family who believe is difficult.  You should take your time, do it at your own pace, and reach out from us if you need help or advice. I applaud your courage!

I think it's important to  be able to seperate respect for an individual and supporting the belief system they have.  They are not mutually exclusive.  When you speak to your friends who hold religious beliefs the best way to approach it is to let them know you aren't trying to make them abandon their beliefs simply because you do not share them.   For most human beings the belief in a higher power makes the world easier to deal with.  It may not be rational, but it gives them comfort.  Getting in somones face and trying to make them feel stupid for that makes us no better than the right wing Christians who tell everyone they're going to hell because they don't "believe".  


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