Is Atheism a Choice?
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15-05-2011, 10:09 PM
RE: Is Atheism a Choice?
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." ~ Stephen Roberts

People become religious based on their upbringings. It just takes a brain for them to break away from it.
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15-05-2011, 10:58 PM
RE: Is Atheism a Choice?
I don't fully agree on the "people are born atheist" anymore...
I think people are born deist. Atheism requires knowledge of philosophy, abstract thinking and science to understand how everything came to be and what the amazing coincidences are. If you don't teach a child what the universe, the stars and the planet is, they come up with deistic concepts. There is a lot of appeal in thinking that the world was created for you. Religion caters to that need.


Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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16-05-2011, 12:00 AM
RE: Is Atheism a Choice?
I certainly agree that choices are made along the way to becoming an atheist. I really struggled with the initial question posed- my immediate reaction was; well, duh, of course I chose to be an atheist, when I could have easily continued to go along with the Christian crowd to save myself a lot of trouble.

But upon further consideration I realized that once I had arrived at the definitive state of atheism- when I no longer had any doubt whatsoever that God did not exist, there was absolutely no way that I could then choose any other position. It's not like having the option of buying a Chevy or a Ford; not satisfied with my first choice, I could switch my brand allegiance the next time I had to buy a car. But once the obvious conclusion that God does not exist is reached, no matter how much you might dislike the knowledge that you won't be spending eternity in heaven after all, or that half your family is seriously going to worry you've damned yourself to hell for eternity, you cannot go back and reach a different conclusion based upon the same evidence, no matter how convenient or comforting it would be to do so. There is no longer any choice.

(15-05-2011 08:24 PM)night owl Wrote:  In many ways we all do this to an extent - have you ever cringed in the presence of a friend who has a habit of telling you things you don't want to know, like the number of Malaysian sweatshops supplying your favorite clothing chain, or how many starving children in Africa you could feed for the money you're spending on that new stereo system you've been coveting? It's human nature, an act of emotional self-preservation.

That's a trait of human nature I have great difficulty with. If I am cringing in the presence of a friend who is informing me of some ugly truths, that means I've heard what the friend has to say and I acknowledge those things as likely to be true. So once that's happened, how do I then "unknow" what I now know? How do I "unhear" that there are starving children in Africa? Because in order to *believe* that I am doing the morally correct thing in buying that stereo, rather than just acknowledging that I'm indulging my own desires while I could be doing something far more altruistic with my money, I have to somehow *disbelieve* that it is possible for me to send my money to some agency that will buy food for those starving kids. And I don't think that state of disbelief is acheivable. While a person can certainly forget things they've learned over the passage of time, they cannot willfully expunge knowledge from their own minds. Once you've walked in on your wife in bed with another man, there's no way to pretend to yourself you never saw the evidence of her infidelity. But to me, this is what any Christian in the modern age is doing on a daily basis. They are surrounded by evidence that conflicts with their beliefs. Their own eyes and ears give them all the information they need to question the Bible's veracity. So how do they dismiss it all and continue to have faith?

I know they do- I know they have a great motivator in their fear of death- but I can't understand HOW someone "unhears", "unsees", and "unlearns" all the things necessary to maintain a belief that is utterly unsupportable, not to mention equal parts ridiculous and repulsive to anyone who has common sense and decency.

The way to see by Faith, is to shut the eye of Reason. - Ben Franklin
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