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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I like the idea of exploring religion but all I really have around me are christian churches that I would rather avoid. Taoism I have thought about but all I have is internet references and that doenst help me to immerse myself. Even Hinduism I have thought about being more about several gods. Islam makes more Sense than christianity but with all the politics and terrorism, I dare not try. Religion makes me feel uncomfortable but atheism doesn't. Therefore I am an Atheist.
that's true. the only other thing I really explored was Buddhism and many people describe it as a way of life, instead of a religion.
Ah, atheism as a default position.
I was trying to be a theist when I became anti-theist. I wanted religion and community and light and love and like beliefs. But it turned out to be too ridiculous (and let's not forget horrifying) for my mind to grasp as a reality. In the end, I felt relief. Science, nature, evolution: that made sense.
Same here. I really tried to believe the nonsense, but I never could. Eventually I stopped yearning to be delusional, too. What a relief!
yes, of course. one chooses....anything. you made a choice and you chose to be an atheist, instead of "continuing theist".....

i don't see your point of argument here??? you say you were once a "theist", then changed mind and try to be a "theist" again.....but failed. so now, you are an atheist.
basically, there are 3 categories (this applies to anything in life): yes, no, and in between. examples: tall, short, and in between....pretty, ugly, and in, poor, and in, slow, and in between....soft, hard, and in between......get my point? you will notice that "in between category" is the largest of the three, obviously.....

no one has forced you to be an atheist, you made a conscious decision to become one. this means that you chose it. i don't see how you didn't choose it. you seemed to be in "denial".....
Absolutely I was in denial when I tried to "turn back to theism!" I was under the erronious impression that I "wasn't trying hard enough, and that if I tried harder, then Jesus would reach out to me." It never happened, of course.
While it IS a choice to DECLARE yourself as an atheist, it DOES NOT seem to be a choice on whether you actually ARE an atheist by definition. In the case of belief in god/ gods, there are only 2 categories... either you do, or you don't. You can't have anything in between. It's like, either you DO believe in Leprachauns or Santa Clause, or you don't... there isn't anything in between [contrary to the claims of many theists that "Agnostics are in between" - they aren't. They are either THEISTIC agnostics or ATHEISTIC agnostics, ergo, they are still either theists or atheists!]
Yet, while I do think that adults make the choice to stay with theism, or convert to it [if they were an atheist]. I think that most children that were indoctrinated into a faith DO NOT make a choice. They often are too young to be able to question their parents, therefore, they don't choose.

Why do people not choose to DECONVERT into an atheist? Because the logical human brain seems to be unable to stop questioning theism and rejecting nonsense, it seems to be a human instinct. ALTHOUGH some people seem to be able to override that instinct by performing mental acrobatics and making a choice to shut down their logical minds to remain theists. Although, this may require a LOT of effort. If someone allows their logical mind to remain active, they often will deconvert through the simple process of logic, and not by conscious choice... whether they call themselves "atheists," "agnostics," "brights," "freethinkers," etc.
It seems to be a case of being a believer or not. I think everyone can agree that there is not conclusive evidence one way or the other as to the existence or non-existence of a god or gods. That is such a thing cannot, by definition, be proven or disproven. That said, everyone naturally seems to decide for themselves at some point whether to buy into divine certainty or scientific skepticism. I think that NatureBoy is pointing out that a great many of us (but not all of us) appear to be persuadable in either direction. Thus the "in between" catagory. I completely agree.
There are not always three categories in life. It isn't pregnant, not pregnant, or in between, is it? Either you believe or you don't. There is no in between. If you are unsure, then you don't believe.
lol~~~~yes, you got a point there, reggie.....but you are comparing apples and oranges....of which if i say about "apple". is it an apple or not? sure, it is an there's is nothing "in between" about it.......but, we need to distinguish the, in your example, you are perfectly correct.
having said that, i'll give another example. maybe, this will be more "appropriate". a person contemplates whether he or she is in love with someone. if I take your example, one either loves or one doesn't, correct? but.....this is not the case, is it now?

this part is "tricky/confusing". there is a phase that we go through...asking ourselves if one is in love or not. it is this period that i'm referring to when i mentioned "in between" category. one is unsure whether he or she is in love........a state of "questioning oneself".....which leads to revelation in the end.
thus, this example is relevant to the state of one who is questioning one's is this "phase period".
i'm sure you went through it(not talking about love, but in belief). you didn't just become an atheist next day.
you, too, had "questioning phase".......slowly and gradually building your skepticism, until finally
making a commitment to be an atheist. this is a choice and no "in between" about it....
this concept is not easy to comprehend but once you know how to apply and when to apply it, it becomes much clearer....
I'm cool with the spectrum, but I guess it depends on what belief people are believing in. I see your point, but the way I have been thinking about it is that belief is digital, not analog, like pregnancy. Perhaps there are gradients of belief and non belief, but there is certainly a one or the other aspect about it.

My personal experience is that I have been an atheist for a long time without even knowing it, even when I was trying desperately to believe in the Jesus myth. I just couldn't truly believe in it, no matter how much I desired to. For me, it wasn't a choice, or else I'd be a Christian right now, in all likelihood. Now, I did eventually choose to embrace my atheism, but it was already there whether I would choose it or not.
hmmm....i see, i think i'm getting bogged down with this choice thingy....well...
~~~as for me, i was committed to atheism while i was taking a biology course in junior high(7 or 8th grade?). somehow i could relate to science and it made more sense to me.
funny thing is that i still attended church on and off........but it was just formality.....all show, hehe...

during my college years, i cut my ties with the church. i just couldn't live with myself deceiving people that i was a christian.....

so, after many years of wanderlust, .....voila! i found this site and signed up =^.^=


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