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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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.
I only study religion is so far as it affects the other things I am currently interested in. I don't however actively seek out information on 'other' religions (like reading their 'holy' books); frankly I find it to be a waste of my time. I'd rather spend the bulk of my time researching and seeking to understand the universe to the best of my and current science's ability (or on things relating to teaching pre-kindergarteners).

Really for me it all boils down to one simple thing: proof. Is there testable empirical proof that your god exists? If there isn't then I'm not particularly interested and I'm not going to waste my precious time debating ad nauseum with that person either.

I find it really arrogant and insulting that practically ever theist I have ever discussed religion with wants me to reconsider the same arguments I have already considered over and over again or wants me to read their religious text. What makes any person think that 'god of the gaps' (as only one example of the arguments I hear over and over again as if they were novel)is going to be any better of an argument for the existence of god today than it is going to be tomorrow. What makes them think that reading only one book again or for the first time is going to change my mind on everything? If that were true I wouldn't be where I am today I'd be at my local Catholic Church (since that is the religion I was 'born' into.)

Even after all I've said I don't consider myself closed minded; but neither is my mind so open that my brains fall out. I'm cautiously receptive to new information/arguments and willing to change my mind/views when ample evidence is presented.

Anyways... if you find actively studying religions and reading their texts to be intellectually fulfilling then I really think that's an awesome thing. The rest of us atheists who don't find it intellectually fulfilling are really in debt to you for providing us with your information through google searches when the topic/contents of 'holy' books are necessary for an argument. :)
Lol. Love ' my mind isn't so open that my brain falls out'. What an apt descriptor for those who are so easily sucked into believing something. Thanks for the great figurative language. Hope you don't mind if I use your phrase from time to time.
As I was just brushing my teeth getting ready for bed something else popped into my mind. I find it rather insulting (or at least insensitive) to imply (as some seem to have on this thread) that because an atheist never studied a variety of religions means they didn't become an atheist for 'wise' reasons. Or that because an atheist didn't study religions their atheism is somehow lesser than that of atheists who have studied religions. Should it really be expected for a person to have studied religions; it that person for all intents and purposes was raised atheist or was one like me who was always an atheist even though I tried really hard to believe? I almost feel as if we have a lite version of no true Scottsman going on here.

Or perhaps I misinterpreted or read a little too much into some of the posts. Anyways I hope at least what I am trying to get at here is understood.

Good Night all....
I agree. All it takes for a person to become an atheist is a basic understanding of science.
The only valid reasons I see for studying religion would be academic. Such as understanding their place in society from both a historical and sociological point of view or even in terms of finding the best methods to deploy in order to control large numbers of people without violence.
Science shows us all religions are bullshit demonstrating that there is no requirement for the supernatural nor is there evidence of such.

The only other reasons I could see study of religions taking place are:
1. to understand it in order to quote it back at believers, pointless if you know a little science since there is nothing a religious person could quote that could not be refuted by simple logic and evidence. I do not need to have read any of the religious texts regarding the giant spaghetti monster to know it is bullshit.
2. To find the one true religion.
Bullshit since there is no true religion

Thats it.
I only read the bible occasionally to sharpen my sense of logic by finding flaws. I spend my time reading any and everything; and I'm fascinated with politics and propaganda, sciences and my dog. But I have never been deep in anything but . . . wine.

 It's funny but it was not until I left religion that I became interested in understanding it. All of it is a bunch of crap but I like ancient Egyptian religion it's no more unbelievable than the rest. Seem's most people when they become atheist do become more interested in religion. I guess we all have our motives for studying religion but mine is not to win an argument. I guess I'm jealous that some one can tell such an unbelievable pile of crap and for some reason people eat it up. I'd like to invent a religion I'm pretty sure I can do a better job. lol. In my religion women would be treated as queens. Any smart man knows you are sure to win if you keep the women happy.


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