Most if not all theists believe atheism to be a choice. To them it is something you can choose to accept or reject. Therefore, to the typical theist, if you become an atheist, you have chosen to be one. If you leave atheism, then you have chosen to leave it. While this second argument is most likely true. The person who decides to abandon atheism for theism has most likely made a choice. The person who becomes a theist has usually made a choice. [except in the case of young children raised as theists, who are almost always too young to make this choice.] However, is it true that a theist who converts [or more accurately "deconverts"] to atheism, really chosen to be an atheist? I don't think so.

 

For me, I certainly did not have a choice in becoming an atheist.

Although I am now quite happy as an atheist... when I first lost my faith, I wanted SOO BADLY to go back to it.

Being raised as a typical theist, I held the erronious belief that if I simply went to church and prayed hard enough, then Jesus would answer me and turn me back to him and away from my sin of "rejecting him." - Amazingly, I was so badly brainwashed at this time, that I didn't realize that I didn't choose to become an atheist, that it just happened, I thought that "I was being sinful and turning away from God, or God was "testing me."

So... I went to church and prayed, and begged, and sang praises, and through my heart and "soul" into trying desperately to find my way back to Jesus.

Certainly I tried hard enough, but the "light of God" never touched me, I was outcast.

 

So, does one "choose" atheism...

I doubt it.

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The older I get, the more I think genetics explains almost all human behavior, genes are not destiny, but if you don't have the genes for a behavior, you will never understand why others behave in that manner. I don't have the genes for sports, or gambling and I don't see or feel the attraction that most people do.
For sure, but I don't want to end up on a slippery slope over this. After all if we follow this too far then no one would ever be responsible for what they do ever again ("It's my damn genes, I can't help it."). It seems like some people are absolutely ruled by their natural tendencies while others (perhaps most?) are considerably more mailable, taking their direction from an exclusive group or society at large. Sometimes I think that we are a desperately confused animal, which (as Grandma says) "doesn't know whether to shit or go blind."
Again, genes are not destiny! If one has the gene for sadism, he'd better be able to control it. Just cause you have the predilection for a behavior does not mean the freedom to express it.
I read the above and it reads to me as if you saw only 2 possible choices: the version of religion that you had been presented with (modern Christianity, monotheism) or atheism. Did you explore other religions before letting go of god? Perhaps it wasn't a choice when you saw irrefutable evidence that god - as you had been taught about him - doesn't exist. But there were other ways you could have chosen to interpret that information. You could have converted to a different religion. Instead you chose atheism. What do you think?
Actually I did try out several other religions before I concluded that I wasn't going to find one that fit. I tried out Judaism and non-denominational christianity. I even tried out wiccanism and the occult. But none of that worked or made any more sense than the religion I grew up in. I didn't choose atheism therefore, I fell into it. I became an atheist when I ran out of religions that were less bloodstained and ridiculous than christianity.
I explored just about ever variation of christianity, judaism, janism, zoranastoranism, budism, hinduism, shinto, taoism (my personal favorite), mysticism, paganism, and several others that I can't recall at the moment, and found them all wanting.
My thoughts exactly. Why it is that religion is so prominent in our lives. I feel I did not have to choose a religion as this was not an important part of my life. I saw my Uncle return from a prisoner of war camp, well what was left of him, and knew at that moment I did not have to choose, as I asked if there was a God would he let this happen and not save the poor and abused, and, the more I saw and heard about the evils in the World, I did not want to know this god. If I saw him and spoke to him I suppose it would be a different matter, we could at least discuss it, and ask him why he created man if he knew humans would hate those of different faiths,etc..
I thought for some time that if there was a god he was wicked.
Always been strong willed and I saw for myself that religion divided people and which story was I to believe. Now at my age, I am still confuse, and an Atheist..
Humans have a greater potential for general evil than good. Our intelligence has not had enough time to evolve to a point where we can actually think logically and with clear reason. Animals have instincts, so do we bu our 'intelligence' hasoverrides this and we are working with an undeveloped brain compared to other animals. And with the current selection pressures not set up to improve this intelligence, we may be stuck like this for a long time. Maybe this is why we havent received any messages from other worlds. Maybe they too stuffed themselves like this.

Skycomet, when you left your church, you were suffering from withdraw symptoms. But it now appears that you have sucessfully broken the addction.
we are working with an undeveloped brain compared to other animals. And with the current selection pressures not set up to improve this intelligence

What do you mean we are working with an "undeveloped" brain? And why do you say that current selection pressures will not improve intelligence?
Undeveloped as in that our inteligence has only just suppressed our instincts (in most cases), and that it has not had time to be improved via natural selection while animal instints have been being improved for many times that.
I have misphrased that statement. Thanks bringing it to my attention (my syntax is not that good either). It should read, 'we are working with an undeveloped part of the brain that would normally be run by instinct in other animals'.
My point is that our level of inteligence has not been worked at for several millon years while animal instict has and that this animal instict of ours has been eclisped by our inteligence. While inteligence is better, it has not reached its potential. Like copper telephone wires (instict) vs fibre optics (inteligenece) with the odd machine not being compadible with.

Our current world does not require most of us to think in such a way that our inteligence is a reproductive factor as much as it use to be say a millon years ago. The dumb ones tried to bite the tiger, the smart ones made spears. We go through school and then the majority of us go into a trade or some low paid job that has not been taken by a machine. Face it, most (majority) of us cannot get jobs that force us to think outside the box and this does not equal reproductive sucess as much as it use to. This ease of life allows those that natural selection would have normally killed off in post-modern times to reproduce, thusly degrading the gene pool.

Does this make any logical sense?
I have misphrased that statement.

Happens to me all the time. Someone, if they were so inclined and a little insane, could probably go through all my posts and expose me as a hypocrite due to all my sloppy phrasing.

My point is that our level of inteligence has not been worked at for several millon years while animal instict has and that this animal instict of ours has been eclisped by our inteligence. While inteligence is better, it has not reached its potential

I think I agree with you on that a lot more than I did before now that you rephrased it. Our level of intelligence is definitely something new to life on Earth and the implications of it are profound. I do think that we have far more potential to evolve out of our emotional and instinctive past and achieve truly great things.

Our current world does not require most of us to think in such a way that our inteligence is a reproductive factor as much as it use to be say a millon years ago

I don't know about that one. Comparing us to our ancestors a million years ago may be unfair. And natural selection didn't favor intelligence of individuals when it came to pathogens. That is a major pressure that is completely out of a person's hands prior to germ theory.

But our next step, evolutionarily speaking, may not be a dramatic rise in individual intelligence, but rather that of the collective. And we have seen that already. Just as the next step for a cell was not to become a bigger cell, but part of a collective to achieve a greater goal, we might see something along those same lines and I think we already have.
Thanks for the support.
But the future is not certian. Humanity has just as much (if not more) ability to destroy rather than create and achieve. We may not have been through the Age of Religion. The second one might be even more destructive.

natural selection didn't favor intelligence of individuals when it came to pathogens
natural selection doesnt favor the intelligence of anything when it comes to pathogens, even against other pathogens. I did not intend to say that intelligence was the only factor that contrubuted to reproductive sucess pior to the germ theory.

but rather that of the collective
I like this idea. Already we have sites such as Wiki working to pool all collective data, fact and ideas (even the stupid ones) into a massive resource. In jobs we work on small tasks that add to the project rather than everyone working alone and seperately. A more loose hive system may be the future of humanity, hopefully capitalism stays. I like the idea of freedom from the state. Like a cell, each one doing a job yet a seperate unit.

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