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Is it possible to be an atheist and not even try to be?

Okay so I have this family member who is very religious, but they know I've never really been for religion at all, and she told me that what would really make her happy is to see me get my life to the Lord and to start living for him. Well, I've read the bible plenty of times and each time I read it, it just doesn't seem like this is a sacred book at all. To be honest, it feels like I'm reading a fictional book with crazy Bronze Age rules and nothing more. I've tried hard to believe in the God of the bible and I really just can't. Not because I don't want to, but I can't bring myself to believe in him. There's just no way this God is real. He's way too petty and vindictive. He was making mistakes since the creation story when he made everything perfect, but turned out Adam and Eve messed up his plan by rebelling. He would have known that was going to happen way before he created them. The deal with lucifer. Lucifer was his favorite, most beautiful angels, but I'm sure God would have already know he was going to rebel and then turn evil. The whole thing just doesn't make any since. Feels like I'm reading a dark age book with lots of plot holes. Maybe it is alright to read for entertainment, but nothing more lol.

EmeraldJewel 7 Nov 27

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That is Kind of how I came to simply be "Agnostic" myself.

twill Level 7 Dec 13, 2017

"she told me that what would really make her happy is to see me get my life to the Lord and to start living for him."

What she was really saying was she needs you to agree with her strong worldview that there is an afterlife, so she can continue to curtail her death anxiety and not face the prospects of her finality.

Atheism is pretty much a default setting, so, yes, it is possible to be an atheist without trying to be. When religious people (family) start pressuring me to conform to their worldview, I express empathy first and tell them I've been there and understand how powerful death anxiety can be. I'll share the research that my atheism reminds them of their mortality. []

If they continue, I will read scripture to them, i.e., Numbers 31, and ask them why they would want to spend eternity with this god, especially considering that they would likely not want to be around a human who behaves and thinks in this way.

You just made some strong points! Thanks for your response!

@tsjames It does tend to nip it in the bud. It's not a typical response to their proselytizing.

@EmeraldJewel Thanks. I hope it helps some. I live in the most religious state in the U.S., so I tend to be prepared in dealing with the incessant proselytizing.

@SKDeitch Thanks for your comment. I agree that humans can be uncomfortable with not knowing. That's the nature of our brain. However, I have several friends from other non-religious countries who were never raised with the belief in god. I have talked with them at length on this subject, and they didn't default to god belief nor superstition when their questions could not be answered.

But you said it well that there are certain people who are unhappy with uncertainty. Studies show that these people tend to have increased gray matter volume in their right amygdala, so environment plays a big role, including what hormones (i.e. cortisol) the fetus is exposed to in the womb.

Your response about death anxiety is an interesting approach in these conversations. Acknowledging my own death anxiety was instrumental in me starting to question my faith. Thanks for the link, also!

thanks for that reply, i have never read the bible, can't be bothered to read drivel, but i googled numbers 31, and wow. to think that humans can believe or follow this kind of garbage really makes you wonder about their intelligence or lack of. The death anxiety makes perfect sense. What is the thing people value most? life. they don't want to think that there is actually and END to their life. Of course that is just exactly what happens. you die. just the same as the fly you kill, it dies, it doesnt go to heaven, hell or anywhere. People can not face the reality of final death. Being in the funeral industry I can't count how many churches of every kind I have been to, for funerals, these people all preach life after death LOL,,, try keeping a straight face when they go on about that big like... 17 years of that so far

@Funeralgirl, I can just imagine. Lol But, having gotten to know a lot of ex-pastors since I've been blogging, and even some still in the pulpit, I found it interesting that most of them didn't/don't really believe in what they were saying regarding the afterlife. As former evangelical pastor Jerry Dewitt stated --- pastors become meaning machines. They sell meaning.


I would say there isn't any real "trying to be atheist". You believe in god(s) or you don't. Atheism alone doesn't really have you doing anything past that.


Yup. I didn't have to make any effort at all. I've never believed in God. At some point, I just realised there was a word for it.

Me too!

Me, as well. Religion never made any sense to me as a kid. When I was 16 I became a Buddhist, but I am still an atheist since Buddhism isn't Deity-worship. Buddha was a wise, enlightened man, who chose to share his knowledge with the world to help alleviate suffering.


Your experience is ery similar to mine. Many years ago, by the time I was 15, I had read the Bible from cover to cover 3 times. Each time, I saw more and more things that simply did not make sense. By the end of the 3rd time, as I finished Revelations, I came to see it was the bizarre rants of a raving lunatic. I also did not like feeling like a sinner for having normal thoughts, feelings and urges. That began the journey to independence. I never tried to become an atheist. It was the natural evolution of a thinking person.


Everyone's born an atheist. You have to learn (or be indoctrinated) to be religious.


There are two reasons that justify reading the Bible: 1) To gather ammo to fight back whatever silly comment / belief the theists have and 2) To give it a meaningful use when there is a shortage of toilet paper....although it can't provide a good service since comes from the factory already full of cr..p.

Your relative (the one who says would be the happiest if you embrace the Lord) deserves one of those answers that lingers over a person's head until death.
Your relative is a selfish person who only thinks about what pleases him / her...with total lack of respect for your feelings and opinions. individual whose arrogance borders a deep ignorance.

There's been a few time I lashed out at her and told her how annoying and pushy she was. She got her feelings hurt, but oh well.

SHE GOT HER FEELINGS HURT?THESE BELIEVERS ARE AMAZING; THEY STEP ON YOUR FEELINGS, OPINIONS, RIGHTS, DECISIONS...BUT THEY GET THEIR FEELINGS HURT. She reminds me of a "friend" who got hurt / offended when I asked her to pay me the money I had lent to her several years before. These people are the "hardest-faces" who would cross your life.


A logical and reasonable mind notices contradictions and mistakes. A more creative mind fills the plot holes.

The bible makes sense for some people because it fills a need within them. If it makes them feel good about themselves then there is nothing wrong with that. It's a problem only when they try to force others to believe as they do.

You question naturally and that makes you a critical thinker and that's a good thing. 🙂

Betty Level 7 Nov 27, 2017

My epiphany came when I took a Humanities course and one of the topics was the origin of christianity. What an eye-opener! I guess I had always thought that this religion was here all along. This led to the realization that this religion was created by man.


We are all atheist by default at birth, so yes.


When I read the Bible I keep thinking I'm reading a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.


So he's asking if you can be an unconscious atheist or or a conscious atheist? It seems like everyone here, including in the original post, have examined this so we are all conscious atheists. Not sure I understand how atheism is the default. We all get socialized from conception til death. When we are born it's not that we are all atheists; it's that we aren't capable of that kind of complex thinking. Our focus is avoiding pain, breast milk and what the hell is that in my diaper. As we get older we get socialized by the world around us and some of us develop the capacity to question our existence through some combination of genetics and environment and some don't.


No one is born religious, they are made. If there is no early indoctrination and especially of one grows up with a view of critical thinking it would be easy to be non-theistic. I was close to someone who fit that model and no amount of proselytizing would get her to believe. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky.


There's nothing to try. All atheism is, is not believing something on bad evidence. You really have to try to not be an atheist.


It is not only possible to be an atheist without trying to be, it's the default position, as somebody below said. We're all atheists at birth, and it is merely societal influences that intrude upon it thereafter. Your family member is a good example of that. You should not feel guilty for not believing her religious crap--the burden of proof is upon her and the prehistoric text she is trying to cram down your throat.

Love your answer!


that's what an atheist is. someone who goes about their daily life dealing with everyone [and thing] in its own right


We are all atheist from birth churches use this to try and possess you at a young age but fear takes over logic.


I think I always wanted to believe. It seemed to believe in something is to belong, and I wanted a group. It was later that I reassessed and found that I couldn't believe and that it was not a fluke that I just vaguely floated into and out of "belief groups" without ever truly belonging.


For me it is possible to be an atheist and not try to be. I went to a Catholic grade school. I even had to be an altar boy, but I never read the Bible and never believed any of it. I'm a lazy Atheist. I always have been. It makes life easier. I just have to deal with the here and now.


Well, what are your thoughts on life and the universe? Do we come from nothing and return to it? Is what we see really all there is to you?

There are plenty of ways to engage with the divine, different religious sects, Jewish, Muslim, Wicca, so on. There are also those who define themselves by the questioning of belief, Agnostics, and there are those who believe in a spiritual other, a God if you will, but reject organized religion and religious scriptures as principle, deists.

What's really important and I think you should point out to your relative, that so long as you're happy and help friends, family, and even strangers when you can, try to live a moral and kind life, then does it really matter how you spend your Sundays? What does her God value more, petty, pious, and fearful worship, or actual acts of goodness and humanity.

You can "try" to be atheistic I suppose, but I think it's a far more worthwhile effort to be the kind of person you imagine a good person would be. I think it's more important to be kind and humane than be right on this point. Because one way or the other, we all find out in the end.


Of course it is. One has to try to believe something. To not believe requires no effort at all. This is demonstrated every day by religious folks trying to 'explain' their nonsense. We have nothing to explain.


Great question!
Atheism to me is the default position. We're all born atheists until we're taught (trained) not to be.
As soon as we're born it can start to be drilled into our heads by our parents, without our consent or knowledge.
We're drug off to church every Sunday to hear some sugar-coated version of 2000 y/o bullshit.
Don't be worried that you don't understand why others question why you won't give over to Jeebus. The truth is, once you see it for what it really is (fiction) you can never stop seeing it that way.

I should have read the rest of the comments before I commented, but I think this is an important subject. Sorry for the repeat.


In my opinion, this is a choice, for you to decide. Also, I don't try to disbelieve...I just don't


Yes off course. That's the best kind of atheist. Someone who hasn't rationalized there is no god...but has a guy feeling that one doesn't exist. Say no thanks to religion. When someone asks you to read the Bible ask them to watch religiosity by bill maher. Christ was a rehash.


yes. You must live with people that are overly involved with personal issues.I hope you find some folks that let you be

No, I don't live with them. I'm on my own, but I have to see them a lot now, especially with the holidays.

still sounds too close for comfort EmeralJewel


well, i didn't try to be (or not to be) an atheist. i just realized there were no gods. i didn't have to try to realize it. i just did. there is a word for a person who knows there are no gods. the word is atheist. it's not a club you join, or a thing you study and perfect, or a religion. it's just a noun that means a person who knows there are no gods. people who don't know that are not atheists.


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