Alright, so a couple of days ago I was talking to a friend of mine in class. And we began to talk about religion. Now I'm far from the kind of person that likes to showcase my views on things, But I told him I was an Atheist. He Actually didn't believe me at first, and said that people have to take a oath to become an atheist. We literally argued about this for 5 whole minutes before I finally said lets go to an computer and get google the definition. after I showed him what atheism actually is, He still retained doubt. I just said forget it, and ended the conversation on it there. 


What I'm asking is how long will people remain that ignorant on atheism. It's not like he's dumb when it comes to other topics. He says He's a christian and he never even read the bible. And when I told him and another friend I read it They Laughed. Oh yeah and I forgot to mention one of the guys laughing has a tattoo that says "blessed" on his chest. And he never read the bible. That's just stupid to me, But I kinda want to know what other people think about this.

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Why would they want to know? Why risk their belief just to find out a disturbing truth. Religion will always be with us.

Kristal, I enjoy xians making themselves look like fools, especially:

1. when they do it themselves without my help, or

2.when they don't know they are doing it.

To those who insist on doing their praying in public, I remind them  that Matthew in 6,6 tells them to pray in closets after they have closed the closet doors.

Religion will be with us as long as their leaders, instead of helping them deal with their fear, use it to manipulate them. Their leaders become wealthy and they, the fearful xians, remain poor.

You'll understand atheism, like any other "ism", only if it's relevant to you.  Otherwise why bother?  Ask Americans what Communism is and you'll get a lot of wacky answers.  If you're not an atheist and don't know any, why would you care about understanding it?

Thank you, Noble9, for the shot of reality you added to this discussion's wishful thinking.

Human minds did not evolve to be logical machines - cognitive bias is deeply embedded in the way humans think.  Belief in supernatural forces is, oddly, natural for humans; hence the need for a Scientific Method which helps us avoid cognitive bias.

So: People will always believe in the supernatural.  Some people's minds are more "susceptible" to supernatural thought than others - hence some people tend towards atheism more easily than others.  However, education can push people towards more-rational thinking:  Europe has a much higher % of agnostics and atheists than the U.S., and I suspect it's due to   1.) higher-quality, more-accessible public education, and  2.) cross-fertilization among diverse cultures (on a continent where most people speak multiple languages and it's easy to explore other nations and perspectives).

Tom, methinks Europe's centuries of religious warfare account for the higher % of agnostics and atheists there. They learned.

America won't have religious warfare like Europe's because we get rid of presidents after four or eight years.

> They learned.

Who is "they"? Babies aren't born with the lessons of history hard-wired into their brains. And the Middle East has had "centuries of religious warfare" and has a very low % of atheists.

You're positing a causal relationship with no control group, no evidence.  If the U.S. had lots of atheists, you could say "It's because separation of church and state is codified in our laws." If Europe had few atheists, you could say "It's because years of religious warfare have made people defensive and reactionary about their beliefs."  Your hypothesis sounds nice but is arbitrary - you basically picked a reason that feels good, without thinking about falsifiability or comparative social history (e.g. the Middle East).

On the other hand, falsifiable evidence from neuropsychology and anthropology clearly show that magical thinking is natural to humans.  Most people are born as magical thinkers, and will continue to think as such throughout their lives unless taught otherwise (and some never learn how to think rationally anyway).

I gotta say, all the comments on this site about how believers are stupid or lazy or scared reflects an embarrassing ignorance of human neuropsychology and cognitive bias, the real roots of magical thinking.

If you want to learn a bit about cognitive bias and the roots of magical thinking, see here:

I think with the advent of the inernet, people who question religion will now have a huge resource to find that they are not alone, 25 years ago, where could you go? It's only a matter of time, perhaps 40 or 50 years away when believers are in the minority.

It will happen, religion dedest knowledge.

hi there. here in the philippines which is a pre-dominantly catholic country, most people have never read the bible. or some might have read it but never really understand what it says. that's the main problem here in our country. most people rely on blind faith and never really bother to search for the truth. they find comfort in their religion. specially those who are desperate for help, like those with terminal illnesses. religion is taught at the first instance of comprehension here so "faith" is indoctrinated at a very early age which guarantees deep roots. Atheism is taught here as the work of the devil or something really really bad. Guilt is often used to discourage people from thinking out of the theist's box. so as to your question, i think it will still be a very long time before people understand  what the atheists' believe. Although I am very optimistic that with the development of technologies which expose more people to other schools of thought, the answer to your question can be seen in our lifetime.

The people you are chatting with are what I would refer to as convenient Christians since it is a matter of convenience that they refer to themselves as such so as to "fit". Convenient Christians don't understand atheists or atheism because they don't understand the doctrine by which they label themselves having never actually sat and read it nor would most understand it were they to do so. They require a mediator in the same way I require a mediator to understand physics. The problem for them is that the mediatior for the faith they claim to believe in only speaks of the positive narrative of the faith and often in his own words thereby cleaning it up to sound as cozy as possible. And that thier parents, siblings and friends all claim to follow the same faith so there is a sort of club mentality in which questioning one person in the club is to question all members. Peer pressure is a powerful thing. These folks know that for you to question the belief they claim to ally themselves with is to challenge not just them but the entire group, so you and they both know you are outnumbered. Just remember that facts don't care who's side you are on and that the veneer these individuals are wearing is quite thin and remarkably sensitive. Keep poking at it, you'll see.

Egocentrism; the belief that your views are everyone else's and that they chose not to believe in god and commit evil. I have in the past been called a "satanist" and a "pagan" i tried to explain atheism to these people but they were devout muslims, fortunately all of my friends when i was in school were smart and understood what an atheist was, even if they weren't

When do you think people will finally start to understand atheism?

Has anyone here pointed out that "people" (a too-generic term) will understand atheism when an asymptote (a line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance) reaches that curve?

Or, choose any direction you wish and travel in that direction until you reach the horizon. Take a few lunches with you.


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