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Did you arrive at your decision of belief by means of research and critical thinking or merely personal feeling?

Khmm 5 Feb 17

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To me, it was just mere observation. As a ten year old I would constantly pray and never ever get ANY results. Before that, I had found out about Santa Claus. I hated to think that Jesus was the very same, but ALL evidence pointed to this. Life became hopeless...knowing that no one was gonna deliver us children from the abject physical abuse that we had to endure...at the hands of devoutly religious people!

"constantly pray and never ever get ANY results." - Emo Phillips had the answer. HE used to pray and pray for a new bike, but never got one. So, he went out and stole one, then prayed for forgiveness.So, prayer does work 🙂

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Christopher Hitchens "Atheism is not chosen, it is discovered."

It is really not possible to honestly choose a belief. If I asked you to do your best to believe that Scooby Doo is a real living cartoon dog no matter how you tried to believe it you could not. You could pretend to or lie about it but you know that it is just a cartoon. We make assessments and come to conclusions. When I was a small child I was told God was real. I believed that my parents were not lying to me so I accepted that it was true on my understanding that my parents were truthful. When I grew up I studied the Bible as a believer. After many years I could no longer believe that it was god's words at all. I then had to evaluate it God was real at all. There was no good reason to believe that god existed. There was much research involved actually to shore up my belief. The evidence led to disbelief. Critical thinking was what sealed the deal. Personal feeling actually inhibited my ability to make a proper assessment of the facts for many years.

I so get this. When I began to believe myself my reactions and my gut..... Life got better....religions the casualty now not me.

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Neither. Personal circumstance, reaction to non-religious discrimination and bias and in depth philosophical inquury and reading.

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research and critical thinking for me... painful moments of disillusionment... and finally that peace that one has found what fits... disbelief and no more bullshit. 🙂

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Neither. For me it was simply observing reality and how Nature works and how religion doesn't work.

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For me it's through critical thinking that I derive my answers.

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A combination of research common sense and a touch of critical thinking, it's hard for most to break free of their programming.

I think most don't want to face the possibility that there is no god, are convinced that any atheistic thoughts are planted by Satan, and convince themselves that they believe out of fear. Christianity has 2000 years of experience brainwashing people they've gotten damned good at it.

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Both. When I was into studying the Bible, the more I learned, the more challenging things became. A god of love who was also a genocidal maniac. In my own life it seemed that there were areas that God simply wouldn't touch (or couldn't touch). when my life fell around me, there wasn't any help coming from above. So eventually I came to the conclusion that I probably wasn't dealing with a real entity.

Love this. Similar experience so I get it.

That's part of what I felt. That and if you love me because I threaten to torture and kill you if you don't, do you really love me?

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Education for me. When one steps out of their religion of birth and learns it isn't really original, it makes one think.

jeffy Level 7 Feb 17, 2018
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For me it was observation, critical thinking and questioning. I observed a lot of hypocritical behaviors and questioned it. The answers I was given were so full of holes and they didnt make sense. As far as the Bible goes, it is a book that has been paraphrased and reinterpreted for thousands of years. Who even knows what the original content and intention was? Also, I don't feel the need to be told how to behave. I'm self-directed

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I am what's know as an ignostic. That means that my belief depends on the definition. I arrived at this view by means of reason.

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A mixture of all three

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Neither but simply as a period of learning and evolving. A coincidence of events (1994 UN convention in Egypt on population and a group of which I was a long time sponsor, Children Int'l) came together and forced my hand. It was knowledge and a strong feeling of true morality.

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Always critical thinking. I value objectivity above all. I never espouse a personal belief until I can competently (as the claim will allow) argue all sides. I put my feelings away when forming my world view. My feelings only matter to me and those whom I choose to engage in interpersonal relationships with. They never matter where facts are concerned.

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Common sense should tell you the Bible couldn’t be true.

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A bit of both. My parents had to teach me to obey at a very young age, using abusive tactics and co trolling behavior to get me to comply. At 6 with a blossoming mental illness, I tried very hard to fall into place. But something just didn't feel right. So I paid attention in class, tried to interpret their beliefs in my own head but I never got it the way they wanted it in me.

So I kept searching. Class after class, chapter by chapter until I had a notebook full of questions and a line of priests and parents who just said I just had to have faith. That faith was blind.

But then someone, I forget who, told me. "Faith can't be blind because it had to come from somewhere."

And I realized I never had faith. So I just felt better afterwards.

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By critical thinking, having read the bible 3 times as a teenager, and learning what I did in science. I did not research religious question with specificity. Simply, what I learned showed me that religion did not match reality.

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All of the above. is there any separation in all that thought process?

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It started in my elementry school and then with a lot of review and research over the years i was able to state with out any reservation that god does not exist for me. I was a catholic and the teachings just did not make sense . The idea that anyone who had not heard of the catholic church was going to hell just wasn't good enough for me. That seem cruel > Things just went down hill from there.

Interesting.....my first dissonance was at 5 when my mother told me about heaven......did not sound even remotely cool.

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I never did believe things that I couldn't see without any good explanation. of course I have been wrong and it is a belief not a fact.

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All the above actually, hell I was Baptized when I was 12.

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I don't think I ever made a decision. I attended church, Sunday school, choir and yearly VBS, but it was never anything that I believed. Even as a child, I was amazed that all the adults in church were that stupid.

This was the reaction of two of my daughters. Poor things had to put up with me in those years.

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Like most deconverted atheists, personal feeling was the initial impetus for unbelief, but would not have been sufficient to sustain it. Critical thinking and observation and reason were necessary for it to stick.

People don't change substantively -- and especially do not change their beliefs -- unless the pain of changing becomes less than the pain of not changing. My theism repeatedly failed to accurately explain or predict experienced reality, which caused cognitive dissonance and suffering. In this way, the pain of changing my beliefs became less than the pain of maintaining them. This allowed me to start to think skeptically / critically about my god beliefs.

Once I started thinking critically, I found there are far better and more defensible reasons for unbelief than "ow! faith hurts!". If I had not found a critical basis for unbelief, I might have potentially decided for example that persevering in faith in spite of experience, was more virtuous.

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Research. Lots of reasearch.

Me too

@Khmm For me - important to rely on credible research and careful scholarship, combined with the application of good old fashioned logic and reason. Truth is the best antidote for superstition and propaganda.

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This is a bit of a simplistic question to my mind.

It assumes that when you become an atheist, you have "arrived". And it appears to assume we have all arrived at the same place.

A bit of a travel through the conversations on this site will reveal that not only have we not arrived at the same place, but that other major points of view are vastly disparate.

The REAL objective, IMHO, is the continual search for better and better understanding, and in the process we will meet others who reach some of the same points as us. Atheism is no destination, its just one level in an ongoing search.

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