For the better part of my life, I've realized I was an atheist. I didn't know the term, but I always knew I didn't believe in god, or the idiocy I read in the bible. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I honestly do wonder, NOT what made you an atheist, but what keeps you coming back to the site? I know there's a lot of good info here, but really, in my case, it wasn't the knowledge I've gained...
I came to this site originally when I was taught the term 'atheist.' I had no clue up until that point that there was such a strong following (thanks Morgan), but I did know that I didn't 'fit in' with the rest of the people I hung out with. I've always felt like an outcast...
The reason I came here is solely by the grace of google. I wouldn't expect much more of an answer from most of you. What I do wonder, though, is this:
What keeps you coming back? The sense of community? The people? The incredible amount of credible information? The chatroom (Morgan, what's up with that, man? I loved the chatroom!)? etc...
In my experience, what keeps me here is the 'heart' (I know, the heart pumps blood, and not much more...). It's the friendships, the connections I've felt, and the complete sincerity (or lack thereof, in some cases :P) of the people I interact with here. There is really no other website I hold more dear (not even Facebook, but then again, I'm friends with most of you there, too).
I come here because there are few (if any) other places I can go and talk to people who are in, on or at least about the same place mentally as I am. People who still believe in God claim to me that they understand Atheism, but then they say something that completely exposes that claim as a lie. Only an Atheist understands what it means to be an Atheist. Other people like to think they understand.
Most often I get "I get it, atheists don't believe in God... but why do you have to go public with it?"....LOL....If they stopped at God then I might have bought that they understood me. But in my mind...
To truly understand Atheism is to become an Atheist. You can't understand it if you aren't one. Because to develop an understanding of Atheism, but still deny it's facets, is to lie to oneself about the existence of the supernatural and deny the explanations presented to us by scientific evidence, reason and logic.
You can be an Atheism and understand theism, but you can't be a theist and truly understand Atheism. That's just my opinion of course. And here, there are people who genuinely understand me. So that is why I continue to return. I need to collaborate with like-minds. The rest of the world doesn't understand, despite the persistent claim that they do.
Most often I get "I get it, atheists don't believe in God... but why do you have to go public with it?".
Maybe respond with "I get it, theists believe in God... but why do you have to go public with it?" and see how they respond. :)
This is all so new, interesting, and inspiring to me. It also has given me a place to vent and express my feelings. I lived most of my life as a Christian, I had and have friends and family that still are. I was hardcore Christian, and I had MANY misconceptions about nonbelievers. I'm the only atheist in my family, my daughter now considers herself a Buddhist and even my husband who was a Christian is still a very spiritual person. Actually it's been interesting to see the path he's taken since leaving Christianity, he's become a follower of the hermetic Golden Dawn, here's the site about it if you aren't familiar, I certainly wasn't: http://www.hermeticgoldendawn.org/
Given my husband's religion (although I don't think he'd call it a religion) and disdain for my cynicism and in my words feeling duped by religion, I am happy to have found this forum! I've been on youtube and nexus, they've both been great as well,I like this forum though because it's so active and because it is not a criteria to be atheist to join. My husband's cousin, an atheist who was a former Christian and Mormom has led me to a lot of great discussions and TED talks.
Basically my ideas and opinions are still changing, I enjoy reading the threads and thinking about the topics. I get excited when I read a topic about something I've been wondering or concerned about as well. I'm sure glad to be here :)