I know what led me here, and I also know that my original premise was faulty. I came here (atheism) straight out of Christianity. I hadn't, at that point, read any other religious texts. I just went on hearsay (mostly from my friends/family that were Christians) that all the other religions were false. When I figured out theirs was as well, it was pretty much right to atheism. Now, I'm backtracking and studying as many other religions as I possibly can. I know I'm right, as an atheist, but it just got me wondering:

How many of you out there are still studying other religions?

I do it constantly, both to become more well-rounded (not EVERYTHING in all those religious books is bullshit, just most of it), and to know how to debate against any type of theist I come across. I know a lot, if not most of you, have read the bible... But who here, like me, has read or is reading the Koran, the Vedas, I Ching, the Dhammapada, etc.? I talk to a lot of atheists who can virtually destroy one of the aforementioned religions, but they seem content with what they've learned. When I make an attempt to teach them more, I get something along the lines of "Who cares? Religion is all crap anyways!" I don't get it. Isn't that the same close-mindedness that we fight to discourage? Is atheism becoming a trend, which is sprouting mindless followers (thinking S.E. Cupp, if she actually IS an atheist) of it's own?

Maybe I'm fucking crazy (no comments on this line, please), maybe I've just got too much time on my hands, but it sometimes seems like I'm alone in my quest to learn as much as I can about my passion.

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Agreed. When I broke away from Christianity, part of me immediately gravitated to "So what DO I believe in?" After some thought, I realized that I don't have to believe in anything. Atheism is a descriptor for a baseline of being a living human being. I don't seek out to learn about other religions just as I don't seek out to learn about the Flying Spaghetti Monster or what claims people have made about purple elephants living on Pluto.

I'm content with studying the observable, testable world. If some phenomenon happens that makes me take a step back and question reality as I've known it, so be it. Even then, however, it has to cross a threshold from "I don't know why, but it's not significant enough to find out why" to "I don't know why, but I NEED to because it's happened too many times or it was too significant to ignore."

The latter is how I feel about Near Death Experiences. Too many people have experienced similar things and I want to know why and what's happening. Is it a phenomenon happening as the brain dies? Is there some other energy or supernatural phenomenon happening? I hope to explore these questions and more going forward.

I spent much of my life studying religions and various beliefs. Frankly, I'm happy to be unbound from it now.

If your intended question was "Do you think you've found the truth and now you can stop looking?" then yes and no. I think I've found the truth, but not the WHOLE truth. I don't know that we ever CAN find the WHOLE truth, so the search for it never ends :)
I constantly study other religions. Honestly, I still study Christianity. I actually find that I can appreciate the Bible for the great work of literature that it is now that I'm not living my life constantly feeling threatened by it.

I find religion and spirituality fascinating. It was awkward to try and read other religious texts while growing up in a firmly Christian community. Discussing other religions was frowned upon, unless you were presenting the other religion in a negative (or at the very least unflattering) manner. It was very constricting.

I'm really on the fence between atheism and agnosticism. Sometimes I joke that my brain is an atheist and my heart is an agnostic. I can't bring myself to believe in "God," the Big Man Upstairs, etc, but I have a hard time totally dismissing all other possibilities.

I'm definitely not searching for another religion. My interest in most belief systems is not an attempt to adopt a new one for myself. I just feel that it would be kind of narrow-minded for me to say "Because I can't find a logical reason to believe in a god, there is no validity to any form of spiritualism or religion." And so, I read and learn, when I have the time and the drive to do so.

So far, I find Taoism to be quite interesting, though I wouldn't really call it a "religion."
I think my atheism is a big part of my life due to the fact that I'm somewhat bitter about how some of my family/friends treat me over it. I never believed, but was fine with religion for a long time. Then I was kind of pulled out of the closet, and religion was no longer fine with me. I really guess it depends basically on how religious the people you associate with are. I always feel the need to have my guard up and be prepared, because I never know when I'll get a call from an aunt (for example) I haven't talked to in years, calling to let me know she's heard the bad news, and to 'save my soul/tell me I'm going to hell.' You all may wear your atheism as a 'minor accessory,' I wear mine (mostly) as the Jews wore the Star of David.
And yes, I know I've been bitter in some of my posts lately, but that's because I recently got one of those calls.
You are very likely wrong in your assertion that you are the only Atheist you know. Bob Altemeyer psychologist of great renown of the University of Manitoba has studied (among others,) Fundamentalist and Evangelicals people. In his anonymous surveys he has found that fully one third are in fact none believers but they simply remain in the faith and community for a variety of reasons so it is very likely that one in every three people you know, feel as you do, but are too afraid to say.
There is some excellent reading material covering his research here: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/
and its all free.
I think the other other thing to point out here Radu and Nelson is no amount of logic, proof or rational argument will ever change the mind of a Fundy or Evangelical. Debating them is pointless since they have serious mental issues (this is not just me name calling, there is real evidence for this and some of the most conclusive can be found at: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/)..
When you debate you ask some one to think. These people do not think at all. So if you were to read volumes and volumes of religious "stuff" in order to be armed to debate these mind-free people you would be seriously waisting a lot of time.

Also what is the point of trying to disprove the unprovable?
There is no point at all.
You do make a valid point. I've thought about reading the Koran for some good giggles, but in the end it's still based on the Abrahamic God, and I know how I feel about him. As far as looking further, I don't have an interest in gods, just as I don't read up on Bigfoot, Ghosts, and other fantastical stories.
Am I closed minded... maybe. It's not the closed minded type where nothing else is possible. I'm just not going out of my way pro or con. There are too many subjects in the world for me to fixate on one. I still read up on religion constantly, but I stick to the Bible due to location/culture.
Have I thoroughly studied other religions? No. Do I know the basics of the major ones? Yes. It's more due to the overwhelming number of religions and then breaking them into their again even more overwhelming sects, cults, offshoots, etc. than because I am "closed-minded." I don't believe in a god (or gods or goddesses, etc.), and so I don't necessarily feel the need to explore the world's religions in depth. I don't think I'll suddenly discover one hidden someone that I really need to worship. It's fun to read about religions sometimes, Christianity included. I don't limit myself, certainly. I just don't always seek it out.
It is important to study religions to better understand the evolution of human societies. It helps one to understand how and why people think and behave the way they do.

I am confident that if you seriously study religion, it will only re-enforce your atheism. At the same time, it will help you to navigate the religious world we still find ourselves in.
I don't think that it is wise to call your self an Atheist unless you took the time to do research on other beliefs.
My fiance is Pagan, which really got me interested in other beliefs. I have learned a lot about other religions, and actually, if your going to have to defend your own beliefs, it helps to know others. esp. since most of them are so intertwined. most Christians don't even know that their region is so much like other ones, or that it comes from Pagan roots.

don't get me wrong, I'm not against religion at all. I find it interesting that so many people can share the same beliefs and base there lives on it. Its political science, its history, its philosophy, its just interesting to me to study other religions.
"I don't think that it is wise to call your self an Atheist unless you took the time to do research on other beliefs."
Thats patently ridiculous. A very basic understanding of science is all the evidence any person needs to realize there is no God.
All study of religion reveals is that there are many methods we can use to control people.
I would take your argument further and assert we were born atheist (as I'm sure you would agree and have probably already acknowledged). There are no qualifiers for atheism except that a person does not believe, even if their reasons for not believing are stupid. If a person doesn't play chess, that's it... they don't play chess. It doesn't matter if they don't play because they were never taught, or because they played and decided they didn't like it, or because they found flaws in the strategies. It's all the same.

What I think is "unwise" is claiming a belief system that you have not researched (atheism is lack of belief... in one thing). I was born into a Christian family and considered myself a Christian... but the more I read about the history of Christianity and its foundation, Judaism, the more I realized I had no idea what I'd been subscribing to all those years. A person shouldn't claim to be a Republican or Democrat until they know what those parties stand for. But choosing to be "unaffiliated" when you register to vote does not require research.


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