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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No, I don't study religions, including the one I grew into. My great interest is understanding reality, before I try to understand the imaginary. Atheism is not my defining feature, nor one of my interests. I guess that I don't study religions from the same reason I don't study other things I think are crap, like global warming denialism, the Chupacabra, crop circles etc.

For me, there are better ways of spending my precious time in this world than studying what people believe. I guess that studying how these beliefs form in order to understand the human brain would be more appealing, but this would only be possible with extensive knowledge in brain matters, if you know what I mean.

P.S. I don't really understand why atheism should be such an important subject for atheists themselves. Why talk about it all the time, when there is so much interesting stuff to talk about, like how the world really works? So yes, I don't really care about religions, at least not more than I care about being happy and fulfilled in my life. Sorry, but I am not that much of an anti-theist to debate theists, let alone study their beliefs for this purpose.

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 haven't read "The God Delusion" either. Actually, I don't need to read any book whatsoever to state clearly why I don't believe in gods. Thankfully I don't really need to, either. I guess it would have been very hard for me to live in Jesusland too, but I still wouldn't have needed to read a book in order to argue my position. I think people should reconsider their beliefs whenever they find themselves reading arguments for that particular belief. If a person can't say why he/she believes, or doesn't believe, something without reading others' arguments, then maybe that person is not that much different than theists, creationists, denialists, and any group of people who believe something because they think "Gee, that guy's arguments for this belief seem reasonable to me! It must be true then".

Again, I can certainly appreciate that I don't live in a fundamentalist society, so my interest for religion might have been different if the circumstances were different.
Oh, that's not what I meant. However, if you believe something, you should have a very clear view of why you believe it. I have many reasons not to believe in gods and I am currently waiting for reasons to believe in them, rather than acquiring ever more reasons not to believe in such beings. After all, the most important reason for not believing something is not having any reason for believing it. That's why I find it more important to ask people why they believe in gods, rather than asking them why they don't. If I find myself on the other side of the fence, I assure you I'll reverse my attitude, but I am reluctant to think this would be anything more than very unlikely as I am having a very hard time receiving logical answers to my questions.
How many books have you read about the inexistence of invisible flying elephants. I guess none, but you don't need to, right? Why is that? Isn't it because you can't find reasons to believe such creatures exist? If someone comes to you saying they do exist, do you go read some books that argue against their existence, or do you ask that person to say why he/she believes they exist. If the answer is illogical, like saying that you will go to hell if you don't believe in them, then it's really not necessary to find any more arguments against that belief. And even if it was, I think I could find plenty, as I can when it comes to gods. If I ever find myself short of arguments, I'll ask others what they think. Until then, I have better things to do, like enjoying my life and figuring out what is, rather than what isn't.
So is it a numbers game now? Is logic somewhat affected by great numbers of people who believe illogical things? I have passed this phase where I considered religions to be plausible or logical. I have neurological reasons to believe there isn't an afterlife, even if I can't be 100% sure, but the fact that it says in a book there is an afterlife and that I should take their word for it doesn't really affect my point. So, yeah, I don't really care who believes something as long as it is stupid. If people believed in invisible flying elephants, should I have spend precious time reading why it would all be bullshit when it would have been as clear as day that this was in fact the case?

Should I read why ghosts, alien abductions and crop circles, homeopathy, voodoo, or Bigfoot are probably not real as well? Should I give up my entire spare time for this crap? Maybe I made the wrong choice when I thought that my time could be spent on better things than studying illogical beliefs.
Why does the belief in "god" (what god exactly) has such a "huge influence in our day to day lives"? I don't believe in any god because I can't find any reason to believe in one, therefore any argument that supports my view is unnecessary.

About the afterlife, what can I say? Our consciousness is the result of our brain activity, the brain activity stops when we die, end of story.

Also, my analogies didn't fail. It's just that you said they did. The effectiveness of homeopathy has a great importance to our lives. It would mean that we can cure diseases by undergoing homeopathic treatments. I can come up with thousands of other unproven treatments just for filling your time with trying to disprove them. Wait a minute! They wouldn't be proven in the first place, so they wouldn't need to be disproved, right? It's the same thing with aliens, ghosts and yes, gods. It is important whether I might get abducted by an alien, possessed by spirits or attacked using voodoo techniques. I don't need to read arguments against these things when there is no real argument for them, do I?

Anyway, I bet that you can't come up with a single argument for the existence of any god that I couldn't argue against without reaching for outside help.
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.



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