Disclaimer: This post is in fact from an atheist perspective. I've been an atheist since birth (through lack of exposure to religion; my first contact with god was a kindergarten classmate telling me I was going to hell.) As I wasn’t converted into atheism, I don’t have any firsthand experience with organized religion, nor see much of a purpose.

I also apologize if this has already been debated; if it has, I haven't seen it.

Why does this website exist?

Are you so shaky in your beliefs that you need them hammered into you by hundreds of mostly anonymous posts bashing religion and holding atheism on a pedestal?

Is your desire for imagined community so great that you strive to create an archetypical atheist (loves science, evolution, etc)? 

Organized atheism goes against the idea of forming informed opinions individually, which, is a central idea of atheism (if a group defined by absence of faith can have tenets). Having atheists leaders (Dawkins, Hitchens, etc) is as laughable as having an atheist prophet.

It's fine to share ideas that resonate with you, but taking one person's word as gospel, like many of the posts I've seen suggest, is the antithesis of what the atheist community (if there is one) is supposed to represent. Even having a community seems against atheist principles.

I'm curious. Is community through faith still important, even for atheists?

Should the atheism be defined as a community of tolerant rationalists rather than as an ideological state defined by absence?

If not to gather reaffirmation through dogma, why are all of you here?

(This post might be over-inflammatory. Feel free to mellow it down in your mind.)

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I joined this site at a time when I lived in a very religious community.  I found the site while looking for info on an archaeological dig and found it interesting that there was an 'atheist social network'.  I mostly joined for the scientific discussions but found some of the discussions of epistemology intriguing and, yes, I joined in some of the religion bashing discussions because they often reflected the frustrations I faced in dealing with a very religious customer base at my place of business.

I now live in a very irreligious community and so no longer share in the frustrations of those who do - but I understand their need to vent and share with like minded people.  I don't find it odd that people who often find themselves in a minority subculture tend to flock together - and I'm not sure why you (the op) do.  Has your life been so incredibly sheltered that you are unable to conceive that not everyone has shared your experience in life? 

Like many Atheists I know on this site, I do come from a background of religious indoctrination. I was a non-believer long before I realised I was an Atheist, if that makes sense. When I came to understand the term “Atheist” as a self-descriptive term it was almost a revelation. It made sense to me. It was not so much a label I applied to myself as many theists assume it is but rather a term that I used privately to make sense of own perceptions and understandings of a world that were not religious. Even then I was the only Atheist I knew of. I did know some people that said they were not religious but I never considered them to be like minded.

At the age of fifteen I asked my teacher if we should consider the “Five Proofs” of Aquinas to be “Five Arguments” as they did not prove the existence of God (Yahweh) but only argued for the existence of a god that we could not know the name of. This drove him nuts, lol. This resulted in me being suspended from class and a local priest calling to my home to advise my very Catholic parents that I may be hanging out with the wrong people. That only helped me to realise that god is a delusion. I used that term 30 years ago, long before it became a book title.

None of that converted me into Atheism as you use the words. It only affirmed my idea of how incorrect a view of the world the religious view is. I became an Atheist because I no longer believed in the existence of god(s). I no longer believed what everyone else around me believed.

Once I said to myself “No gods exist that I believe in” or to be honest, what I say to myself is “There are no Gods”, I had to look for other answers to the bigger questions in life that religion had tried to  answer. Maybe it was the unsatisfactory answers that religion offered that first started me thinking that it was all wrong? I found Science to be the only satisfactory method of discovery worth considering. That gave me a completely different worldview. It was still difficult to meet people that openly identified as Atheists.

Ok long story shortened….When I found T/A I found likeminded people. They also value Science, Reason and open-minded debate. I am here to learn and maybe to help others new to Atheism if I can. If I can deride religious bigotry and laugh at the silliness of some of their beliefs then that it something I make no apologies for. I see religion as a dead weight on the back of humanity. It is a spent tool and has offered nothing knew to mankind for centuries. If it shines a torch for some that is fine with me. However I have the floodlights of Science and Reason which I discovered when I became an Atheist.

I am and have been “active” as a militant Atheist for over 25 years. My “atheist agenda” is to keep religion out of schools and politics and to help promote freedom from religion and access to education for all in countries where people of god are prepared to kill or imprison people that do not believe in their imaginary supernatural gods. I also actively debate believers to get them to challenge their own beliefs, i.e. what they are telling me is the Truth. If they (as many have) de-convert from their faith (no one converts to atheism) then I am happy for them and they can swap their torch for some floodlights. If not, so what.

This site has helped me to refine my debating skills. If I say something incorrect I will not get away with it. I will be challenged to put up or shut up. Someone will give me a new perspective on a topic I am interested in or post a link that further educates me. They will also be just as irreverent as me. If someone takes offence to anything then that is what they have done. It is always taken, never given.  

I value the company of Atheists, not because they are non believers in gods, but because I know that anyone who has enough self-awareness to say out loud “I am an Atheist”, that they value civil debate and value evidence based reasoning. They don’t suffer from magical thinking. They will be most likely be against allowing any further encroachment of religion into society. One thing is sure though, I am not here for any form of confirmation bias or “reaffirmation through dogma”. Other than that we may have very little else in common but that is not of any consequence and nobody here is concerned with that.

r@Ann - As you noted, I was most borrowing tired arguments from religious people who don't understand Atheism. I'm aware that "There are no "central ideas of Atheism".

The one and only thing that an Atheist agrees on  - Prove to me there is a god - every thing else is open for discussion - for me, there is no God.  I speak up either when a xian comes here, or a xian sys 'bless you, or some such platitude. They have to bring it up first

The bible is made of stories, twists of history - vulgar, brutal stories. 

G'day - Bob, read  even one chapter "Of- In-His-own-image"  yet. We have read your book, do some research, enhance your education on why Atheism is growing, because people are actually analysing the bible, and getting knowledge of how Atheist teenagers are treated by "Good god fearing xians'.

I left TA when Archy was censored by sone numb nut - I don't believe anybody should be censored on TA - xians are allowed to say what they will - get very rude and arrogant - but not an Atheist?. And Archy was not rude or arrogant. Try even getting onto a xian site - not going to happen - who is fearful?

We don't bash religion, if religious people of every persuasion were not warring people, who enjoy torture, blackmailing by fear. I speak up either when a xian comes here, or a xian sys 'bless you, or some such platitude. They have to bring it up first, but when they do, I say, don't bother, I am an Atheist. When good xian people are trying to stop Science and bring in religion to secular schools, I will protest.

If mormons come to my door -  I invite them in, and read the bible to them. That really is fun.

"We don't bash religion, if religious people of every persuasion were not warring people, who enjoy torture, blackmailing by fear."

[smile]

Nope, no bashing at all.

- Bob the Blackmailing Torturer

Suzanne: "We don't bash religion, if religious people of every persuasion were not warring people, who enjoy torture, blackmailing by fear."

Bob: [smile] Nope, no bashing at all. - Bob the Blackmailing Torturer

[bigger smile]

What a totally unfair, inaccurate criticism, Suzanne.

Bob never enjoys tormenting atheists.
- Gallup, the morally and intellectually bankrupt leader and inspirer of pogroms and genocides, member of an atheist hate group equivalent to Westboro Baptist Church, and propagator of ideological ignorance, hurtful stereotypes, and hatred of others.

Thanks, Suz - luv ya Babe!

@dinoman:

Nice to see ya post.

Only for my Lady --

As it should be...

Disclaimer: This post is in fact from an atheist perspective. I've been an atheist since birth (through lack of exposure to religion; my first contact with god was a kindergarten classmate telling me I was going to hell.)

Sweet, me too! Except not the kindergarten part. But, yay!

As I wasn’t converted into atheism, I don’t have any firsthand experience with organized religion, nor see much of a purpose.

Sames. Except for the present where I see the harm first hand.

I also apologize if this has already been debated; if it has, I haven't seen it.

Don't think it has, and either way, there are a lot of double threads here, no worries. Can't read 'em all.

Why does this website exist?

Because there is this sly fox, Morgan...

And one day he decided to make a website for atheists to have a place to call their own, where they can talk about whatever and not be afraid of getting any theist hate on them. 

Are you so shaky in your beliefs that you need them hammered into you by hundreds of mostly anonymous posts bashing religion and holding atheism on a pedestal?

Nope. The reason we bash religion is because we don't plan on killing anyone for not not believing in god.

Is your desire for imagined community so great that you strive to create an archetypical atheist (loves science, evolution, etc)? 

What imagined community? I'm pretty sure everyone here is a real person. Except Yahweh, maybe...

The only "archetypal atheist" there is is one that doesn't believe in gods. The fact that many of us, and many atheists love science, evolution, etc is just a nice bonus.

Organized atheism goes against the idea of forming informed opinions individually, which, is a central idea of atheism

Except for the whole part where it's not. People can form opinions on their own and then find others who formed the same opinion... And the only central idea of atheism is not believing in gods. Am I missing something here?

(if a group defined by absence of faith can have tenets). Having atheists leaders (Dawkins, Hitchens, etc) is as laughable as having an atheist prophet.

It sure is! Good thing there are no "atheist leaders". People like Dawkins and Hitchens are just able to be in the spotlight easier than others. They don't lead anything. What about AronRa, Seth Andrews, Dusty Smith? Are those guys leaders too because they talk about atheism online and write books?

It's fine to share ideas that resonate with you, but taking one person's word as gospel, like many of the posts I've seen suggest,

Where? Where is a post that holds anyone's word as gospel?

is the antithesis of what the atheist community (if there is one) is supposed to represent. Even having a community seems against atheist principles.

Well, there is such a thing as an atheist community, you're participating in it right now... And the only atheist principle is... once again... DON'T BELIEVE IN ANY GODS!

I'm curious. Is community through faith still important, even for atheists?

Should the atheism be defined as a community of tolerant rationalists rather than as an ideological state defined by absence?

Atheism should be defined by what it is already defined by.. not believing in fucking gods! Everything else is just extra baggage that identifies each individual. I think you are confusing atheism and humanism.

If not to gather reaffirmation through dogma, why are all of you here?

Because it's my day off from work and I have a few minutes to kill. But let's get serious.. People come here for whatever reason they feel like coming here for. Why should there be any one reason to be here? Some people are curious, some don't have anyone to talk to about these things, etc.

(This post might be over-inflammatory. Feel free to mellow it down in your mind.)

How's that for mellow?

Seems like you've browsed a few parts of the website and decided to generalize every member of this site into one category of "not real atheists". Why, I really don't know, but I find it pretty sad that you couldn't even empathize enough to think that to some people this is the only safe place where they can speak their minds without fear of being ostracized, hated, disowned, or worse.

I'm not looking for a "community." Pure and simple. I'm here because I like discussion and debate.

Oh be still my heart...I think I'm in Love with Anne.

Anne I'm glad you posted this (I already get enough hate mail). :)

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