Ask the Atheist.

I recently vowed to (try) not to be offensive to theists and remind mysef that I consider many of them friends (or at least admirable people), so this thread is for general curiosity type questions such as “are you willing to get married” (my answer is yes, bring on the bride!)

I know there are things that theists might be curious about the opinions and life of an atheist. And with a few other atheist type threads floating around recently (and with a little conversation going on in How do Atheists testify in court? I felt like it was an appropriate time to start this thread.

Obviously not all atheists have the same opinions or beliefs. This thread is about mine. But feel free, atheists, to answer questions from your own POV.

If it is a repost please take the necesary action and my apologies.

So you were raised religiously? You had to go to church with your family and stuff? When did you come to your own conclusions about god?

Can you make a rock so preposterous that you don’t believe in it?

:wink: :smiley:

There seems to be an almost unspoken belief among all that practice theism that their faith is just innate – they simply “know” that their God exists, and they live their life according to the principles of that God and that belief.

But I’m curious – are there specific reasons you don’t believe in a higher power?

Second part to that question – what if you’re wrong?

The religious raising was done by the school, not the home. Other than celebrating Christmas my family did nothing religous.

My first ‘taste’ of atheism was at a very young age asking my mum “why do people get christened” (being unable to find the logic in it). If I remember rightly my mum could not give me a satisfactory answer. I think she said something like “It’s tradition”

Growing up I’d always go along with the childish belief that when it was raining ‘God was crying’ but I think deep down I knew it was just a superstition (or I believed it was a superstition)

Only in the past year or so have I been ‘actively’ atheistic. Fully accepting the non-existence of God as my ‘belief’. So I guess it’s taken the last… 10 years to go from agnostic to atheist. I probably believed in God 15 years ago, but then I believed in santa 20 years ago.
I went to church with school. I’ve been to church for christenings (my nieces) and for one wedding. (I’ve been to other weddings, but not at churches)

If I am wrong, I am wrong. If I burn in hell, at least I was honest. If I go to heaven. I will be humble and greatful.

The first question is difficult to answer.

I admit I am mostly ignorant to the details of theism and history, but basically I can see the logic in society having a God or gods as a device to maintain morality. I believe God doesn’t exist because he is a human concept. Something made up for a purpose.

I believe in Love. I believe love is nothing more than a chemical process in the brain (but still an an amazing thing). Those people who ‘know’, I believe are just experiencing God like we experience love. God exists as a chemical process, not as an external power.

We can love a human being based on a belief in qualities they appear to have, and those qualities can turn out to be lacking.

Also I can’t see the logic in the existence of God. I am a big fan of logic and science.

And finally, It might have something to do with not growing up in a strongly religous society.

I’ll take Lobsang’s invitation for other atheists to chip in, if I may :smiley:

I was raised in a completely non-religious environment. My mother had an Irish Catholic upbringing, which directly led to her complete rejection of religion. My father had the usual wishy-washy C of E background. With my elder sister, they made a concious and controversial decision to have no christening and no religious aspect to our upbringing.

Try as I might, I cannot find any possible reason to believe in one. Indeed, I find the attitude that there must be an ‘explanation’ for me being here, for all of our presence, slightly arrogant.

I’m as 100% certain of my position as, say, a Protestant or a Jew. Most religious people don’t spend their whole time worrying about what will happen if they’re wrong, so nor do I.

Thanks for the honest reply, Lob. FTR, I’m a pretty firm agnostic these days, so I didn’t ask in order to bait you or anything. I’m still working things out for myself, honestly.

I do, however, want to point out that people who believe in God will invariably show up to point out that “man was made in God’s image.” So the idea of God-as-human-construct theory will likely be broached again.

I do have a follow-up question, however, and it may seem odd considering the topic: Are you married? Do you have children?

No to both. But I want to have children and get married (in order of importance, not cronology)

Marriage is one tradition I am willing to go along with. I still believe getting married produces a strong bond between two people. But a legal bond, not a religious one.

In the big picture I believe marriage is something that Govornment should eventually borrow from religion.

Just to correct myself slightly - For Theists marriage is a religious bond. What I mean is I will accept marriage partly as a tradition and mainly as a legal bond.

And in choosing a partner (to eventually marry) religion will play no part in the choosing, so I might well end up with a deeply religous girl who’ll want to marry in the traditions of their religion.

Do you as an actively atheistic person try to convert other people to atheism? What does being actively atheistic entail exactly mean then?

I put actively in inverted commas to imply that I don’t mean it literally. I mean I have decided to ‘settle’ to being an atheist.

I don’t try to convert people, but if religion came up in a conversation I might argue against theism politely. (If I dare)

I guess my question to an athiest is how do you believe you were created?

As an atheist, do you believe in free will?

Yes; my family is (mostly) Jewish.

At about age 13.

No. What I discovered, after really thinking about it for the first times, was that there was no reason I did believe anything, just what I’d been told. I’m not sure if that even really qualifies as believing. At this point, I don’t believe in god because there’s no reason for me to do so.

How often do you worry that you’re wrong? I don’t think about it.

For me, marriage is a promise two people make to each other. That’s a big enough deal in and of itself. I’d answer lexi2’s question as well, but I need a little more info to understand it. Do you mean me personally, or humanity, or… some third thing? Thanks.

Lost my post to the hamsters…

Me personally or the human race?

I assume you mean the latter. In which case I don’t yet know what to believe. Evolution (survival of the fittest, natural selection) makes sense. But sometimes it’s hard to believe something that as beautiful as us (and many animals) came from an accident of chemistry. However I find it much easier to believe than the creation theory.

Again, haven’t worked out what to believe. It feels like I have free will, but it could be that everything I do is predetermined because whatever happens in my brain to make me do something willingly is physically pre-determined. If a ball is let go in mid air it falls. In a more complicated way my brain is going to do whatever it does.

Sorry, I worded my question quite poorly there, I keep getting distracted (at work), but you answered the question well.

So, have you had opportunity to argue against theism?

There was nothing wrong with your question. :slight_smile:

Only through the internet (here and in chat rooms) and always badly. I was probably condescending, makeing theists out to be childish and superstitious. I regret that and hopefully will never do it again.

I don’t discuss the issue with my ‘in-person’ friends for fear of losing a friend. I have one or two with quite conservative views, so I suspect they might be theists also.

But in an odd way I look forward to the day a stranger tries to talk to me about Jesus when I can say “Sorry, I’m an atheist” and see what the reaction is.

Darwin Walking Fish Emblems (That Spoof the Ichthus)

Have one on your car?
Have one a T-shirt?
Have one on a necklace?

If yes to any of the above, why?

Lots of people seem to be taking the whole “what if you’re wrong” question the wrong way. So let me elaborate for future reply.

In the whole Pascal’s Theory way of thinking, there will be no tangible penalty for believing in God if God does NOT exist. However, a substantial penalty exists for NOT believing in God, should God truly exist.

So how do you feel about that?

Oh, and for the record, Marley, I worry that I’m wrong quite a bit in life. I have strong principles and beliefs, but I’m never so sure of something that I can’t consider whether others might be right instead.