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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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.

Too true. We have no "Manifest Destiny" as a species. I think we have a lot of growing pains to endure yet.

I did not intend to say that intelligence was the only factor that contrubuted to reproductive sucess pior to the germ theory.

Fair point. And I did not try to imply that you did state that or imply that. The deficiencies and inefficiencies of language are a pain, sometimes.

I like this idea.


I have to give credit to Thunderf00t for better defining this for me. He articulated this hope for the future in one of his videos. If I could find it, I would post it. But I really liked it, too.
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.


As Spider Robinson said in one of his novels, "It took billions of years to get a thinking ape, and you expect a smart one in a few hundred thousand?"
Haha! I like that!
"It took billions of years to get a thinking ape, and you expect a smart one in a few hundred thousand?"

Exsactly what I was trying to say. Thanks for the quote.
I Chose Atheism

I understand where you are coming from and most certainly can identify with what you describe. Being raised as a theist in a very harsh Dutch reformed Christian Household.
But I think that "finding" atheism or non belief is almost a spiritual experience in its own. Rejecting the bonds, and guilt and all encompassing control of a religion certainly does seem to have given me a sense of freedom and acceptance that there IS NO GOD.

For me it was a long process that took me along a route of self discovery and learning. Reading about atheism, reading about the origins of religion and the things that I used to stand for as a Christian suddenly did not seem so pride worthy anymore.

Today one of the most detested words for me is "Crusade". Even used away from its original context it wakes in me feelings of anger, distrust and loathing. The mere thought of things that have been done in the name of religion can scare some. Cause others to get angry and the worst feeling is the one where you get mad at yourself for having been so gullible for so long. Indoctrinated, seeing only what your religion allows you to see.

So My feeling is that I chose Atheism. And in some way it chose me.
Indoctrinated, seeing only what your religion allows you to see.

The supposed Prophecy of the messiah was suppose to satisfy two conditions (as i understand it - please correct me if i'm wrong). One was that the messiah would be born in Bethleham (i have no idea why such a small village would have such a bad infulence on the rest of human history) and two that the messiah was a decendent of david - a guy (king?) that lived 28 or 41 generations ago (take your pick. The bible says that both are good. surely their great god could master a skill as simple as counting and addition!). Now, one account said that mary started off in the village while the other has mary take an ass to the village because her husband needed to return to the place of his ancestors (28 or 41 generations is a very long time. Surely he would go to wherever his father was born) and sign in for a Census. It is contary to history but never let that get in the way of a good story. So jesus was born in some village just like another few dozen children at the time, and proboly a large percentage of everyoe else. Condition 2 was that he was the decendent of David. Mary's husband was such a decendent but since jesus wasn't his child, jesus wasn't a decendent and thus not the messiah. Christianity is based on a lie (an assumption using faulty logic) and the word of a reanimated zombie. WTF!
in fact, most "Christians" already disregard vast portions of what is supposed to be the inerrant word of god

Including the part where if a woman (or more likely girl given the time) is not a virgin before she is married shall be stoned or excuted. LOL. I hate sexist comments like that. It is as if the 'male' god had a problem with females. Maybe there was some marital problems with the virgin mary! He must have known it wasn't a good idea to cheat on someone else's wife, he is all-knowing.
Maybe a god doesnt have to follow his own rules.
I think that I understand people who are agnostic because really, who wouldn't like to believe that there is something out there? Especially those who are suffering a lot in this life and hope for an afterlife. That being said, I really don't understand people who refuse to look at any evidence against their religion - and I'm not even talking about just evidence in support of atheism but even about other people's beliefs. I don't understand people who are so sure that specifically Protestantism or Catholicism is the correct religion and all others are poppycock. I don't understand how they don't even question their beliefs or worse, when they are faced with a question they cannot answer and respond "it just comes down to faith".
I don't think one "chooses' to be Atheist. It's like saying I wake up in the morning and choose not to be gay. Atheism is natural. Religion is pumped into those of us that left it at an extremely early age because that's how all indoctrination works...from the youth. I got into a debate on Twitter with @Lizzs_Lockeroom abt atheism. She replied saying atheism was a "disease". Someone else also said that it was "extreme self loathing" Both of these insane opinions rest on the notion that "god" is an irrefutable fact and that we slapped him in the face by refusing to acknowledge his coolness. People just don't realize that people care more about reality than fantasy and fairy tales.
just respond with the quote from Robert Heinlein: History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.
It was hard to continue to be a Christian once I realized there was no god. So no, there was no choice, only an acceptance of the conclusive nature of the evidence.
I don't think a person really chooses atheism either. After high school (and even during, at times) I began wrestling with the idea of religion and explored various faiths by reading up on them. I became a religious studies minor and really was struggling with the fact that I just couldn't seem to believe most of it. I went all "Ivan Karamazov" for a while but after really talking about it and thinking about it, I became comfortable with being an atheist. I can't really help what I believe and though at times I even think it would be great if there was a God, I can't seem to shake my feeling that he/she doesn't exist.

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