I have read many reasons why people are atheist on here. What has begun to bother me is many people's justification for their atheist point of view is not based on logic. Many seem to be coming from a place of anger then they attach theists for their injustices. Injustice is not mutually exclusive to religion. I think people should move past that and get their views from sound examination of facts and fiction. I don't believe there is a God for one reason and one reason only. I have no proof of his existence and the inconsistencies about who and what he is. I am not Atheist because of the flaws to religious institutions. To me that puts you in a very weak and shaky place. What do each of you think?
In the beginning (of my life), "God" created my father. He saw my father as being in "His" image, and said he was good.
My father, who guided our young family based on his outwardly fervent religious belief, relied on his misguided belief in Christian god's forgiveness while he emotionally abused me, and also sexually molested me from the age of nine, until I was seventeen.
My earliest sense that there is no god was absolutely an emotional/anger response to those experiences. But I kept trying to believe - WANTING to believe there was a being out there that would help me as an adult to deal with the devastating effects of incest. But as years went on while I prayed, cried and screamed to God for help even as a child, I began to have serious doubts that this deity had any interest in my pain.
In the forty or so years since, I took a long, hard intellectual look at my religious beliefs using rationality instead of emotionality. What finally cemented my atheistic views about three years ago was reading Why Won't God Heal Amputees?
The incest by my father indirectly laid the groundwork for years of depression and increasingly severe social anxiety disorder. This disorder, in itself, leaves me terribly isolated with no support system to speak of. In addition, most of my family has died. I am left with a brother who is 'highly' religious, and who supported my father, both spiritually and emotionally, until the day he died despite what my father did to me (and to others).
I do apologize if this sounds like a 'sob story', but it's difficult not to mention such unpleasant things when explaining how I came to a rational stance on religion.
I have had the thought that perhaps also indirectly, the silver lining of what I experienced as a child is that I'm now a rational person - at least when it comes to religious belief.
Still, in the past few years, I have been dealing with depression at a level of suicidal ideation. I am in desperate in need of an occasional (I promise) outlet for my pain, as well as camaraderie with those who feel as I do about religious belief. I've sought out, and participated a number of atheist forums, but after having studied this one quite a bit today, it seems like the friendliest, most welcoming one.
And I have already cast my vote at About.com (even though I'm also a member of Atheist Nexus)!
No scientific evidence for a deity of any kind.
Morality of religious institutions very questionable.
Morality of a god who allows suffering to good people where it may have prevented it, weakens arguement that any such god is 'good'.
Basically religion fails across the board. Normal people can do anything 'good' (very loose term) that religion can do.
Atheist is a broad therm. I consider my self a naturalist and a humanist by birth because I don't believe in supernatural explanations of things and I care for other peoples wellbeing and emotions, and, which is very important, I have been this way since I, as a child, sat on the floor surrounded by encyclopaedias. I haven't seen miracles, and if I heard about them ether I explained them in scientific manner or dismissed them as propaganda lies. I even hated to watch X Files because they were so farfetched about their stories which were set in supposed reality.
But recently I have became a dictionary atheist which means that I fight religion because I see it as malefic. This anger with religion started slowly and grew over time from when I was very young because I started to associate religion with nationalist and political extremism in my country's history. As I got deeper into understanding what religion is thing became stranger and stranger.
So what do I think? I've never truly believed in god even though religion enter my life very early (around six years old) but I think they were to late because when I read the bible all I read was stories, not in million life would I consider this stories as truths mostly because people in pictures (I had an illustrated children's bible) wore strange cloths and carried massive pieces of fruit (this was in the part when Jews finally arrived in Canaan and the land was fruitful).
It is just now that I'm fully amazed that some people see this as fact not fiction, and that thay make importan political decision based on moral gathered from this stories. That is when I realised that the problem is serious and that I should get actively involved. So only now I truly consider my self an atheist.
p.s. Do you know where I kept my illustrated bible? Just beside Andersen's fairy tales and stories about Heidi. True fact! It's there even now ;D
So there are many reasons for being an atheist – but some are going to ‘stick’ better than others. Sometimes you’ll see a guest on a talk show and they’ll be a ‘former atheist’. I’m willing to be money that they were not an atheist for scientific reasons. I’m now going to ramble on about why I am an atheist.
I don’t believe in God for the same reason I don’t believe in Godzilla – I think they are both made up. As a child I didn’t know this to be true, ‘God’ was mentioned on TV as if were fact. But luckily my family never went to church, so indoctrination was never more than societal.
In grade nine I went to a catholic high school out of a matter of convenience – it was much closer than any public high school. Suddenly I had to think about ‘God’ more than I would have otherwise. I had never really read or cared to know many of the bible stories. And here I was hearing them a decade after many children would first know them. The stories didn’t make much sense.
So I had my doubts about this whole ‘God’ thing, and I remember saying things like if the bible is less than 100%, who is to say that it’s even 2% accurate. I left it at that, occasionally asking friends what they thought.
One of my friends simply said ‘I think the Greeks were pretty stupid for believing in Zeus. I don’t see a difference between that and what people believe today.” I agreed.
Eventually the internet came along. (This would have been a big help when I was a teen wanting to know ‘stuff’.) I can watch great youtube videos now about non-belief, and strengthen my own arguments. I can watch Richard Darwkins, Sam Harris and Michael Shermer give talks or debate theists. I can read their books or listen to their audio books.
I know I have science, logic, evidence and reason on my side. Theists have Bronze Age ideas, mythology, folklore and legacy on their side. Churches either stand their ground – often making fools of themselves (although occasionally setting back science, such as the teaching of evolution in biology classes) or they back peddle. I think the ones that stand their ground are easier to dismiss entirely – although they may cause more harm. The back peddlers will take decades, perhaps centuries to back pedal to the point of redundancy. Because they don’t stand their ground, they are more evasive, but that’s religion for you.
And others I’m sure.
Mega Zeus Thor
Well, I see where you're coming from. If anyone has purely emotional reasons for being an atheist then that is a liability because they won't be able to defend themselves in argument.
However, I don't necessarily think that the anger you describe is bad. It might just be how a particular atheist expresses contradictions they perceive in religious systems.
Here's an example. a person thinks to him-or-herself "If this God they keep expecting everybody to believe in is both the all powerful creator of the planet and perfectly good, then why are there billions of people suffering greatly on the planet?" This prompts them to get angry. If they were just angry for no reason, that would be silly, but they're angry because religious people they know justify their bigotry with contradiction.
Okay I am a Happy Atheist. I came to Atheism through a long thoughtful path. I am not angry. I just realized one day there was no god. Not emotional but reasoned after much reading. I can not say it is logic because I am not very good at logic.
However I don't feel the need to 'defend' my lack of beliefs at every turn. I am an Atheist and people can take it or leave it. Why should I argue or get upset by other people and their beliefs?
Okay the big lit up cross on the hill above town irritates me. But it is on private land and if the guy wants to waste money and electricity that way it is his right. I can't do anything about it so I move on.
We are not all angry. We don't all feel that we have to defend ourselves in argument. And your generalizations about atheists is just as faulty in logic as a Christians.
BRAVO!!!! Cathleen I came to this place the same way. I actually was in a born again sect and spent my youth trying to reconcile the beliefs against what was in plain sight in front of me. I spent so much time searching for God and finally I found out he wasn't there. For the most part my family are still strong believers and that is ok with me. What I am not ok with is when some want to denegrate and then my debating skills come to the surface and I leave them frustrated and angry. They end up going to the tried and true answer; "You don't question God." My answer to them is don't worry I don't. All the time thinking, "There is no god to question."
Luckily for the most part most of my family respect me. They still struggle with saying to me things like "God bless you" when I sneeze. I don't care about such things and I respect them for who they are. I find it good to come from a place of understanding why so many people need religion. That is fine with me. What is not fine is condemnation of me and others who see life as I do. Then they deal with my position. No anger just let them know I will not be intimidated by them.