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.
We could just consider atheism on parr with calculus, or quantum mechanics. If you study deeply and well, new insights are found and your personal perspective grows. You could consider theism as the 'doggy and horseys' version of enlightenment, but if your lucky and walk into the back alley, where the light is better, the truely wonderful stuff trashes your personal vanity, and kills the childish metaphors. It is unclear if the 'sleeper has awakened', but it might be a close second....
I had the same issue arise recently with my own mom. I told her before, but I have to keep telling her that I am an atheist. She thought - and personally still think - that she thinks atheism is devil worship. She doesn't care what I believe - not that it would matter anyways - and I am fine with that.
The general consensus is so lazy to look anything up for themselves, that I am thoroughly convinced that I could convince somebody that the sky is actually orange and appears blue only to us (provided I caught them on a good day, probably after that said person came out of a revival service). Once people get over their laziness, maybe then we can better explain ourselves.
So far as discussing the matter with people, if I attempt to discuss anything with anyone who hasn't taken the prior time to research an issue out for themselves, I am immediately annoyed and offended with the individual. It is rude and discourteous to put on a facade of being educated, and to try and initiate a discussion because they saw a single video or read a singular article or quip somewhere. And everybody should know damn well what I am talking about. The quips like "God doesn't believe in people who don't believe in him.", or "Why, this nation was founded on Christian virtues.", and "You can't explain why I am a human and monkeys are still around.". Those are the ones I selected living in the Bible Belt my entire life, having heard them every five minutes.
General observation: It seems that many atheists - including many on this site - are motivated by an anti-religion perspective rather than by a critique of the belief in supernatural forces in general. In other words: Many atheists spend time (validly) criticizing the Christian Bible, as if the Bible's invalidity supports atheism. But deep atheism is unrelated to a given religion; deep atheism is simply the recognition that supernatural forces are mythical - with no reference to any particular religious structure.
This may reflect the fact that many atheists became so due to dissatisfaction/disgust with their particular religion: They moved *away* from religion, rather than moving *towards* rationalism. I believe that the Earth is round not because claims that it is flat are internally contradictory; I believe so because of the overwhelming evidence of the Earth's roundness.
I think it's valuable for us to be conscious of the roots of our atheism. Are you an atheist because a particular religion seems absurd, or because of the evidence for a godless universe?
I would like to add one more measure: experience dealing with believers.
My catholic childhood allowed me to look into some of the beliefs of the church, how people promote the ideology, how they model the teachings, and how they relate to the larger culture. Sadly as a young nerd and as an adult, I was not able to join that fellowship with good conscience. Even applying the teachings, seem to contradict teachings. So much had to be given up, even the tools that 'God' was asserted to have given us. At some point, it seemed that even 'reality' needed to be given up because the acts of 'God' would denign any stable perception of 'reality'. Inadvertently, they seemed to have opened the doors to chaos.
As I studied, it seemed to imply that reality was much more stable, vast, and mysterious that the church let on. The Earth, to them seemed to be the center of the universe, but in my understanding, was hardly more than a speck orbiting a small star, in a vast sea of stars. My even basic studies in geology, with fossil collecting, seemed to imply a vast expanse of deep time, with church dogma hardly scraching the surface of it. The bible not even recognizing that depth of eternity. Over time, it seemed clear that the church has hands that are not up to the task of understanding much of anything, it reaches, but hardly grasps. Believers, so bent on promotion, and prostration, caught in the church bubble, that they seem to not recognize the inadequacy if it. I remember a minister telling me at a wedding, 'we put away childish things as we mature'. Some of us are stuck with tinker toys, others mature to telescopes, and questions!
Good point, Tom.
Tom, that's a valid general observation. There are generalists and specialists. I will try to specialize your observation.
Religion does harm to people and it did harm to many of us. Our reactions are not entirely rational.
I think there is a connection in most cases in the western world. As an atheist I am supported by the overwhelming evidence for a godless universe but I feel all religions are absurd.Since I was born and raised in the western world, the religion I am familiar with is christianity and it seems only natural to be critical of the christian bullshit that contradicts rational and free thought.I personally do feel that the christian bible's invalidy supports ahteism. I agree by definition, atheism is just a non belief in a diety and the supernatural and everyone is entitled to their own personal beliefs. However, I feel that those christians who wish to venture into the public forum and attempt to force their beliefs on others are fair game for debate. I too believe the earth is round because of the overwhelming evidence supporting it but find it hard to resist speaking up when someone says it isn't because "god says so".
Tom M., the term "deep atheism" is new to me. How closely does it resemble your atheism?
It's rather ridiculous what some people think about atheism. A classmate of mine asked if I believed in reincarnation if I didn't believe in heaven and hell. I had to explain to him that I don't believe in souls, therefore I believe in neither reincarnation or heaven and hell. Then he said "Oh, have fun lol".
Milly, I hope you were able (and are able) to reply, "I am having fun."
I think this or the next generation might clear things up. I mean, I think most of the atheists currently alive are from this generation (please correct me I am wrong), so I'd say that they might educate their children. Even if the children decided they wanted to believe in a god, they would still retain the knowledge their atheist parent(s) gave them.
I honestly hope I'll have the courage to tell my own parents about my lack of religion soon so I can finally tell them that their assumptions about non-religious people (atheists) is wrong and prejudiced-- but hey, I'm twelve. I have plenty of time left.
I know exactly what you mean even though it's not to do with Christianity in my case , pretty much everyone around me is a Muslim and when it came out (I didn't plan on telling them) that I was an atheist they laughed it off as a phase and assumed that my becoming atheist meant a complete breakdown of my morals and beliefs. Not to mention the incessant preaching that followed it. They keep waiting for me to grow out of it.