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Do you think that one "chooses" to become an atheist or is it more like they always were but only realized it?

If you accept the statement "there is no god, therefore religion (Christianity, etc) is false" as true, then the argument can be made that you weren't really a Christian because Christianity is not real.
For example, you think you are an alien and call yourself an alien, then realize that that belief was false and now call yourself a human. You didn't choose to be a human, you only realized you were one.

Sorry if it is confusing.

By AnnaMD5
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80 comments

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12

Realistically speaking, we are born atheists and learn religion. In a manner of speaking, I s'pose that we "return" to our natural state.

I do agree

That's a beautiful way to look at it!

10

We're all born atheists. Unfortunately, we are also born in societies that tell us what to believe as we grow up so it's a demographical crap shoot. We are born healthy and given a disease... it's up to us to find the cure.

Super-Kid Level 3 Jan 2, 2019
6

Well, you have to be taught a religion. Once you are, becoming an atheist is a painful process, usually driven by a search for truth, is what I have observed.

Orbit Level 7 Jan 2, 2019
5

No one chooses. We are born without religion and are forced into it by our parents/environment. I was lucky enough to realize this when I was a child

Pc716 Level 2 Jan 8, 2019

Finally a real man like myself telling the truth about violent faiths. ..good job guy !

5

We are all born atheists. Not believing in anything is the natural state. Only societal influence brings about the possibility of becoming religious.

AnthonyP Level 5 Jan 2, 2019
4

I think a case can be made that way. If you discover existentialist, highly self-aware introspection and objectivity at a young enough age, you will more easily find that you are philosophically aligned to be a freethinker, dispelling the myths as you hear them. Others have to go along long before they divorce themselves from ideology, and I wonder at what age they really learn to think for themselves. My theory is that the age at which you first practice honest, non-egotistical consciousness determines the amount of resistance you require before you truly think for yourself.

MJF6922 Level 4 Jan 9, 2019

Well said.

4

I feel like obviously atheism is the “default “ we are born with. Nobody becomes religious until they are taught their particular god’s dogma. But once you have been indoctrinated it is incredibly difficult to escape

Essie Level 6 Jan 8, 2019

John Lennon sang twice "it's easy" all you need is love" and IMAGINE, it's easy if you try, no hell below us above us only sky

...or until you witness something you have absolutely no words to describe and not the intellectual capacity to understand.

@Lilith
I am a person that is obviously not as intelligent as my brilliant older sibling.

I learned at an early age to accept my inability to understand some things immediately. I became accepting, if not comfortable, in my ignorance. A long list of questions accumulated. I was constantly curious.

Later, in Junior High, I took a lesson in Fallacies and Logic. It really helped to cut away confusion. Thereafter, I was not only asking for advice, but prepared to listen sceptically.

I have found answers to most of my questions. I am unwilling to "make up" answers for the rest.

Most acquaintances think me wise or intelligent. It took a lot of work. I still think my brother is a genius.

4

When you're born you're an athiest. It's only when beliefs are impressioned that one believes. Usually most religious people don't believe in the hundreds of religions that there are in the world. So for those hundreds of beliefs...they are an athiest to

Jaed Level 5 Jan 2, 2019
4

Hilariously enough, by the definition of Christian, I'm a far better Christian now than I ever was before. Christian means "little Christ" and now that I study Buddhist and stoic philosophy, I'm more Christ-like. I forgive people because they know not what they do. I pardon humanity of my imagined sins, the slings and arrows. I also see myself as part of a greater universe. I also learned to suspend judgement, which Jesus also teaches, but not well. If Christian's never asked me about religion, and also followed their own, we'd get along swimmingly!

Do you believe in reincarnation?

@MsDemeanour Not necessarily. I believe in possibilities, not certainties.

@MsDemeanour I do. I can't even explain what happened for a year after my husband of 26yrs passed. Every lightbulb in the house was replaced at least once. Sometime 4 blew at the same time different rooms. There's so much more inexplicable events it would take a couple pages to explain.

@K9Kohle789 so you believe in an afterlife?

@K9Kohle789 I think the light bulb episodes and your husband's passing are recent events you feel must be in some way connected, since they are roughly contemporaneous. To suggest that the one caused the other in some way is certainly not logically justified. It makes as much sense - none - to say that your husband's death caused some fault with the lighting as it does to say that the faulty lighting killed him.

@Iantopantoateo FIRST: I never believed in religion at any time in my life. I equated god with the Easter Bunny and Tooth fairy. Man created god.

The lights never had issues before. Within days the kitchen had 2 lights that held 4 bulbs each and they began to flicker and burn out until I eventually replaced them all- some more than once. Then the lamp next to me in the liv room began to flicker all the time, irritating me so I switched it for the less used one across the room, and that one began to flicker all the time. I replaced bulbs rewired the lamps to be solid and non moving. Still had to replace bulbs all the time.

My husband, when sick, said not to let my son or sister move in (both were alcoholics) and my sister lived in CA. I was on the phone and told a friend my sister was visiting for a couple days. I got the spare bedroom futon ready and a stand up halogen lamp immediately blew. I had a spare I put in and within 3 days blew again. I was very frustrated with lights and lamps. I tossed it out at the dump and got another one from the cellar put it in the spare room and didn't turn it on until the day before my sister was coming. Blew the halogen bulb. I bought new ones. My sister stayed there for 2 days and when she left I had to call her and ask if the halogen bulb blew when she was in there cuz it didn't work and yes it did! Energy, electricity call what's leftover after we die, may linger and I didn't believe until then. I would say things in the car like why did you have to die and leave me? And a song on the radio would answer the question.

I stood in my yard and said out loud if everything is going to be ok for me I want to look down right this second and find a 4 leaf clover--I did. Couldn't believe it. More uncanny things happened. I wrote them down but they're all packed to move.Nothing like that has occurred to me since I've been in FL.

When my boyfriend died at 19 he'd said to me in the past "you'll never be without a dime as long as I'm around" and after he passed I would bend over to pick up something and a dime would fall out of my shirt pocket. Dimes were suddenly everywhere. I still find them when I'm most depressed or confused. I'm seriously in a mentally confused place because I'm leaving FL after 10 yrs to a place I know nothing about near Asheville NC. It's kind of remote and over the TN border. I found a dime yesterday that had been in a dirt parking lot a LONG LONG time. Driven over and shoved so deeply into the dirt I thought it was a penny. But it picked me up mentally. I don't think I'm making shit up. To me this stuff was real. I felt it & knew it at the time. There is such a thing as ESP and why not a spiritual leftover after one dies? It's not as if I believe in god or anything in particular just think those things were not ordinary. They were memorable and had a great effect on me inside.

@Kohle789 the dime thing. I never heard anyone else talk about it before but yes, without going into details, I have a little piggy bank that is half full of dimes I find in odd times and places but always when a lost dear one is on my mind.
There are too many strange things that happen over a long lifetime that chip away at the rigid beliefs we cling to.

3

I've always labored under the idea that I was born Atheist and became Humanist by default.

3

I think we are born just human. from infancy we have a need to be connected this inbuilt desire to trust and this is an area where faith comes from. the baby trusts that its needs will be met the and child knows and works out that when it cries its mother comes and feeds it. So Religion becomes the need fullfiller the quencher the mother the father you may not of had and this is why it is so popular but does it make it true?. I don't think we were born anything and certianly not athiest or religous, I like Human with a need to connect.

outbox Level 2 Jan 3, 2019
3

Beliefs don't have to be true for them to exist. I used to believe in Santa and now I don't. I hadn't always not believed in Santa just because he doesn't exist.

mxelh Level 2 Jan 1, 2019
3

There are thousands if not millions of "gods". Anything that can be conceptualized is +real+. Thought=matter=reality. Religion and god are not the same thing. Religion is commerce, "God" is personal.

Lilith Level 5 Dec 31, 2018

You think god would exist without religion? I don't. Religion builds the support story about having faith and someday if you're a good little dooby you'll even meet him face to face.without the fable and moral to the story there's no reason for god.

There doesn't have to be a "reason" for God. There is no "reason" for us, either.

@Lilith I agree there is no reason for us. But we are real. There has to be a reason for God or religion or neither would exist. I believe that reason to be fear of death in most instances or naturally occurring phenomenon for which uneducated people cannot determine or accept the cause. Do you think belief in Gods spontaneously arose?

@mooredolezal I think "GODS" are relative. I do not believe in A God. I believe that GODS are simply a superior species. I have several personal stories in mind.

3

I think it's possible to be a believer and to lose that belief based upon evidence or experience. While we may choose to ignore facts, arguments, or evidence, I don't think we choose what we believe or don't. The things that ultimately convince us or inform or opinions often come unbidden, and can cause unwelcome changes to our lives. It would be much easier, for instance, for me to be a devoted Christian believer where I live. If I frequented any church in this little town, I'd probably be dating some nice, financially stable man within a few short months, and be embraced by a congregation of welcoming "friends." As desirable as that outcome would seem, I cannot make myself believe something I consider dishonest and absurd, nor could I respect a man who does.

Deb57 Level 7 Dec 29, 2018

This is a great response!

@Byrdsfan Well, thank you! smile001.gif

3

Your Premise is not accurate.

To not correctly define atheist as one that accept the premise "there is no god" shifts the burden of proof from the theist (there is a god) to the not theist.

Atheist (not a theist) is simply not accepting the theists positive (there is a god) assertion.

If you believe there is a god/s, you are a theist/polytheist
If you lack that belief you are an atheist. (not a theist)

@alliwant No.

Wrong on two fronts.

The atheist does not doubt. The atheists (does not accept) HUGE difference.

Denial vs doubt is not applicable to my (what I considered was obvious) The word denial implies something has been demonstrated and is not accepted. This is not applicable.

The original definition is "There is no god" this is a positive assertion that unnecessarily places a burden of proof on the person asserting there is not god. If you assign that (INCORRECT) definition of atheist, you place the burden of proof on the atheist to demonstrate there is not god. This is not necessary and a no-win position. The correct position is "does not accept the positive there is a god assertion." Now the burden is on the person asserting the positive "there is a god" assertion.

Rather then type a page to explain this, PLEASE watch this video. All his points are worth watching but If you in a hurry, advance to 11:25. He will do a very good job of describing the burden of proof.

Now onto you use of Antitheism "Antitheism, also known pejoratively as "militant atheism" (despite having nothing to do with militancyWikipedia's W.svg) is the belief that theism and religion are harmful to society and people, and that even if theistic beliefs were true, they would be undesirable. Antitheism, which is often characterized as outspoken opposition to theism and religion, asserts that religious and especially theistic beliefs are harmful and should be discarded in favor of humanism, rationalism, science and other alternatives." quoted from rationalwiki.org

Time stamp 11:25

3

The truth of the matter is that EVERY child is born an Atheist, it is ONLY after they are either indoctrinated or allowed to develop their minds free from said indoctrination that they become either ' faithfools' or Atheists.

Triphid Level 8 Dec 28, 2018

I agree with you. I also think that Christians would say that every child is born a Christian, Jews would say every child is born Jewish, etc

@AnnaMD Exactly and every one of them would 100% incorrect since NO newborn child is even remotely aware of either God or religion until it has been told/indoctrinated.

@Triphid Children can't be religious because they cannot think independently for themselves at that age. I believe someone important said something like that, I just can't remember who.

@Triphid If they aren't even aware of the very notion of gods , then they cannot very well reject them now can they ? I think that saying that since babies don't yet know about God they are atheist would be like saying that since children are not yet aware of what government is they must all be anarchist .

@Marmion As a Registered and once practicing, now retired, Male Mid-wife with the delivery of 164 babies under my belt over numerous years I can say most adamantly that NO new-born baby is aware of anything except its immediate need for comfort, warmth, food and security.
I have NEVER once seen a new-born arrive into this world and immediately begin to pray for its safe arrival, etc, etc, have you ever seen such?

It's very easy to forget just how unstructured our consciousness is early in life. I have vague recollections going back to about age 12-15 months, when I hardly even knew what I was. I was mostly a little bundle of reflexes. I didn't even think about anything much beyond my parents and toys. God never entered my mind.

@Triphid By that criteria though , all animals are atheists .

@Marmion Yes, that is a very much more than likely possibility since any ideology involving a deity is merely just a human concept at its very best, I'm sure you'd agree on that fact.

2

Everyone who has ever lived was an atheist until they were indoctrinated into whatever religion dominated their region or family.

Mossback Level 4 Jan 27, 2019
2

It's called "indoctrination" for a reason, which then leads into delusional. It's also ignorance and stupidity.

Qwent91 Level 6 Jan 13, 2019
2

I think there may be some truth behind that. Before I became an atheist. I didnt pray to god very often and when I did. I felt like I was talking to myself. I was always reading national geographic books. That often talked about evolution and I'm a huge George Carlin fan so yea, I was just didnt know it yet.lol

2

Religion & atheism are choices. You either choose to believe in a God or you choose not to. I've been reading a lot of comments saying that babies are born atheist and I don't believe that to be true. I believe that you have to be aware of the concept of religion before you can either be for or against it. There is no default option in my opinion.

“Atheism” simply means without theism (belief in god). Babies are born without a knowledge of, and therefore without a belief in god, this atheist.

@A2Jennifer My search of the definition of atheism or atheist all say something along the lines of

"a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods"

"a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings"

So I stick to my statement.

@Flowers28 a baby, or anyone who has not been told about gods, does not believe in the existence of gods. Just as a person who has not been told about unicorns or the tooth fairy does not have belief in those things.
There is a difference between having no belief and having disbelief. Those with disbelief can more accurately be described as “anti-theist.”

@A2Jennifer We'll just have to disagree on this.

@Flowers28 ok you are free to disregard definitions of words, but one is either a theist or not a theist (atheist).

@A2Jennifer lol

2

Pretty simple.i believed my first few years because I was told to. Not in those words, I was just presented with no other options. There was not an internet or anything like it and I just thought everyone felt the same. As a young teen I started having serious doubts of any being capable of divine intervention when I was able to think for myself and see the world around me. Considered myself more of a deists for awhile, then agnostic. Then after the age of technology with a wealth of info and research at my fingertips went the rest of the way to atheist. So not so much a choice as just when I was able to see all the facts or lack of, it just made sense. No proof of divine existence, no reason to be a believer

NicMick Level 3 Jan 6, 2019
2

I don't know if we are born atheist, but we are born innocent. And from then on a whole lot of effort goes into molding us to fit our family or society. Language, gender identity, social class and morality. Education and religion are two institutions that get results in molding minds. Other animals are born instinctively knowing how to use their social structure in ways that are beneficial to the , but humans seem a bit deficient in that respect. Education could function as a way to improve society, but we evidently need a bit more covincing from the fear of eternal damnation in order to cooperate. Religion can also be used to calm fears, assure us we are loved, and convince us to be kind. If someone remains in their beliefs out of need for comfort it is understandable, if not necessary.

ohnoudun Level 5 Jan 5, 2019

Hi.. tell me, do u think there's difference between this "instinct" animals are born with and our innate understanding of our ancestral cultures? Both were born out of the need for survival..

@Blackmind Do we have an Innate understanding of our ancestral culture? I have seen studies that indicate we may carry a reaction to ancestral trauma in our dna. But I am not aware of any awareness of ancestral culture at birth.

@ohnoudun I truly think so..It's like other living things who instinctively know what to do the moment they are born.. spiders, gazelles, sea turtles, etc. they are coded from their ancestral environment and environment dictates culture..

2

Not necessarily!.
If we look at the 10 Commandments, as an example of religion, and discard the first four-since we are atheists, the remaining are guidelines towards a peaceful, non-hateful coexistence. This is not false but rather valid.
So, not ALL religion is false. Some of it might makes sense!

Pochteca Level 1 Jan 3, 2019

Yes, but following the other 6 commandments doesn't have to be couched in a religious system. It is simply being fair and just to those around you. Actually you could eliminate #5 (keeping the Sabbath) as well. It just matter unless you're Jewish or Christian.

@Meleia thank you for your comment. I agree that the remaining six commandments are not exclusive of religion. More like "let's not throw the baby with the bath water "" BTW, the 5th commandment is Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother whereas the 4th refers to the Sabbath.
Cheers,
Fernando

2

People do not come out of the womb complete with all kinds of beliefs. political, religious, and so on. Such beliefs are formed as one matures, and for the "vast majority," they are virtually inherited, because the individuals are the subject of indoctrination from a quite early age. They grow up believing that what they believe is just natural and is something they inherited along with the remainder of the Life package. That's why it is so difficult and painful when an individual begins to question those attitudes and beliefs; I suspect there's a good bit of guilt feeling that goes along with it. I personally began questioning such things at a quite early age, perhaps, 7 or 8, and by the time I was around 13 or 14, I had pretty much written most of it off, but kept my mouth shut about it. At 16, I was offered financial support to go to college, by the minister and Deacons of the church I attended, if I would agree to study the ministry. Of course, they had unwittingly forced my hand, and I had to confess that I could not accept such an offer, even though I was deeply appreciative of their trust in me. I left church that day I told them, and I have never been back. Ordinarily I say nothing about it unless someone else brings it up, but I do not shy away from it either. I feel obligated to speak the truth as I understand it, but I am not a proselyte. I learned long ago that you cannot change any else's mind; they must do it for themselves, so it is useless and generally unwanted for one to try. I do not pretend to have "the answer" nor do I believe anyone else does, so who am I to tell someone else what to believe?

2

Like most things, I don’t think we have much choice in what we do and do not believe. We just do or do not.

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