Do you think that some people are just Born to be Atheist? I think that I was, as I grew up in a Christian Family, went to church every day till I was 13, and then started to think about it a little more, and came to the conclusion that there was not God. What makes me different then my brother, or my friends, or my girlfreind, who had a relatively similar upbringing? What made me an Atheist, and them religious? Was I just born this way?
Yes, it’s called a “high I.Q.”
Seriously, though, I would imagine that folks who are more disposed to skepticism and logic-oriented thinking (the traditional “left-brain” approach) would be more inclined to be atheist. After all, much of religion is built on faith and trust in things that you cannot verify, which would chafe logic-oriented people.
I suspect that a simplified left/right brain lateralization has practically zero correlation to whether someone identifies as an atheist or not. (Is every religious person left-handed? Left-handedness tends to correlate with being “right-brained.”)
Brain structure is tied to mystical/religious experience, just as its tied to consciousness in general. Different structures, different qualia of experience, and genetic differences are one sizable factor in people having different structures in their noggins. I don’t have much difficulty believing that many brains end up wired in such a way that certain bits don’t produce mystical experiences in the way that other brains do. A skeptically-minded sort who happens to own a brain with a difficult-to-trip “God circuit” is likely to be an atheist for life–they won’t have experiential evidence, and no other kind is convincing.
Testing that sort of thing probably requires figuring out quite a bit more about the correlation between brain structure and consciousness than we know right now, though.
As far back as I can remember I was put off by religion. I just never could connect to it even though I tried. By the time I was in junior high - and probably earlier - I was asking myself some pretty troubling questions for a pre-teen. Questions like:
Where did God come from? If he has been around forever, why did he just recently create the universe?
And why did he create the universe? Just so people could worship him? What a jerk!
If he’s supposed to know everything why were the very first humans so flawed?
And the most troubling of all - eternity is a looooong time. Isn’t God going to get bored with it all eventually? Then what?
I kept all this to myself because I felt like I was the only one on the planet who had these thoughts, but over time I came to accept my non-theistic point of view.
What’s interesting here are the parallels between my religious journey with that of homosexuals and their journeys of identity. I don’t know if this makes it hardwired or not, just an observation.
I can even remember the Sunday School lesson that put me off the Christian (and Jewish) religion for good.
It concerned the time when God told Moses to go back and demand of Pharaoh that the Israelites be set free. But God said that he would “harden Pharaoh’s heart” so that he wouldn’t do it. Then God would kill all the first born in Egypt.
The teacher seemed to approve of God having caused something and then killed, not Pharoah which would also be hard to defend, but thousands of innocents because of it.
I now realize that the Old Testament tells a story of the Israelites point of view and is an attempt to square their legends with the idea of a god who is much more powerful than the gods of the tribes among which they lived. So God had to show his power off to the Egyptians somehow, in the Israelite versian anyway.
But regardless, that’s what started it for me. I decided that I really didn’t want all that much to do with those who could approve such a course of action.
rjung, why do you think that “logic-oriented” people are perhaps predisposed to Atheism? All evidence I have goes to the contrary. In my graduating class, the valedictorian, salutatorian, and all of the summa grads aren’t Atheist. Albert Einstein, the Man of the Century, as named by Time magazine, was Jewish.
I, as well as my peers consider myself to be a highly intelligent, highly skeptical individual. I am also a devout Lutheran Christian.
Besides, what isn’t based on things that cannot be verified, besides the famous Cogito ergo sum, made famous by Descartes (Deist.)
Because religious beliefs require a leap of faith somewhere down the line, and leaps of faith are illogical.
That hardly proves anything. I wouldn’t expect the graduating class of Bob Jones University to have any atheists, for instance.
By birth, sure, but IIRC Einstein was not a devout Jew. His notion of God as the laws of the universe sure isn’t from the Old Testament.
If it is true that atheism is “hard-wired” into my system, then wouldn’t a god know this and compensate for this by showing me physical evidence of her or his existence? Wouldn’t anything less be unfair?
This statement is extremely illogical. If atheism is hard-wired than how can a god which does not exist show proof of his/her being. I don’t believe that it is hard-wired from birth. Most of it has to do with upbringing and your own personal choices and experiences. And for the most part atheists are very logical people who can look at most sides of a subject. While the vast majority of believers cannot and will not look at the view points of conflicting religions.
Sounds to me like you’re confusing evidence and proof. Leaps of faith made in the absence of evidence are illogical. In contrast, many theists adopt their views because they believe the historical or scientific evidence warrants it, even if absolute proof is absent.
Of course, some (but not all) atheists claim that they don’t believe anything that’s not proven. Whenver they say that, I can’t help but think that they haven’t evaluated their own beliefs carefully enough.
I believe some things that aren’t proven, but I generally need some evidence at least. Back when I was trying hard to believe in God, I couldn’t find any, nor have I seen any since. A collection of primitive writings doesn’t really count. I don’t consider comic books to be evidence that Superman is real. (Not saying that the old scriptures were comic books, just that writing something down doesn’t constitute evidence to me.)
As far as I can recall, there is evidence that some people can become very religious as a result of brain disorders (either through injury/disease or as a congenital condition) and that there is a part of the brain (vast oversimplification) that deals with all that kind of stuff; I don’t imagine that it’s impossible for some people to be at the opposite end of the scale.
I’m glad that you feel that way, because that should be the attitude of thinking indivduals – whether theistic or not.
I am deeply disappointed by those atheists who claim to reject eveything that’s unproven (yeah, right). By the same token though, I am disappointed in theists who believe “just because.” Such “faith” amounts to little more than religious wishful thinking, which is a mark of poor scholarship and a false view of faith.
Contrary to what many atheists (and theists!) believe, faith does not automatically mean believing without evidence, or believing despite the evidence. It means putting your trust in that which is unproven, but which you (ideally at least) consider to be worthy of trust.
I speak from personal experience here. I was raised to believe in a particular denomination “just because.” “You were born a <fill-in-the-blank>” so you must trust in that religion!" I was told. Thankfully, I rejected that view and left that denomination. Eventually, I became an evangelical Christian because I became convinced that evangelical Christianity was worthy of belief and trust.
Well, I think you’re correct in one thing – being “written down” doesn’t automatically make something correct. I had to do a lot of research and introspection before I became convinced that the Biblical accounts were fundamentally trustworthy. (Which, FTR, is different from inerrancy – a tenet which took me even longer to accept, but which I ultimately did come to believe.)
You seem to be equating intelligence with thinking logically. While there is clearly a connection there, rjung was trying to distinguish right brain thinkers from left brain thinkers. Everyone has their own approach to solving problems. Some break it up into pieces, organize those pieces, and apply logic along with a little inspiration to find the answer. Others just look at the big picture and rely on inspiration and a little logic. Of course there are all sorts of strategies in between. No one way is necessarily better than another, although my guess is that valedictorians and the like would have those in-between strategies.
It would be interesting to do a study comparing the religious tendencies of different majors. My guess is that the arts and humanities would have fewer atheists than those in the hard sciences.
Finally, Albert Einstein was not a religious person. Being Jewish does not mean you buy into the religious aspects of it.
—Contrary to what many atheists (and theists!) believe, faith does not automatically mean believing without evidence, or believing despite the evidence. It means putting your trust in that which is unproven, but which you (ideally at least) consider to be worthy of trust.—
But that is simply faith without or despite evidence. That’s exactly what trust is: especially when the thing you are trusting in has no evidence to support it. You don’t need to trust in something you’re sure of.
This is part of the ambiguity in the word “believe.” Does it mean believe in the existence of, or believe in the mission of? I think for a lot of theists, when they use the word “believe,” they use it with BOTH senses at once, and the two different meanings sort of reinforce each other, building castles on air, in a sense.
Hillarious. And what do you think every axiom in logic is?
Atheism might be “hardwired” in the sense of a possibly defective, dull, or malformed limbic system. Controversy exists, but evidence is emerging.
Not, it isn’t. There is a tremendous difference between “evidence” and “proof,” as I just pointed out. In fact,
That’s exactly what trust is: especially when the thing you are trusting in has no evidence to support it. You don’t need to trust in something you’re sure of.
This is part of the ambiguity in the word “believe.” Does it mean believe in the existence of, or believe in the mission of? I think for a lot of theists, when they use the word “believe,” they use it with BOTH senses at once, and the two different meanings sort of reinforce each other, building castles on air, in a sense. **
There’s evidence linking a less-than-adequate limbic system with incidence of atheism?
Um … cite, please?
I wonder if the OP is actually suggesting that atheism is a lot like colorblindness.
Next time someone comes to your door with a “Watchtower”, try telling them you’re are congenitally atheist. It might work.