A Question For Atheists.

(249 Posts)
DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 21:09:49

When and how did you decide that you didn't believe in god?

HesterShaw Tue 26-Mar-13 22:18:11

And I have never read any Dawkins or anything.

I enjoyed Philip Pullman though!

While I was in primary school I didn't really know faith was optional. I went through phases of voluntarily going to church and sunday school, and I didn't really consider that Christianity might not have it right until I was 12 or 13. When I thought about it properly I realised that there was no God-shaped gap in my scientific knowledge of the universe, and that was it for me.

nancy75 Tue 26-Mar-13 22:21:48

About the same time I stopped believing in father Christmas. God was never really a thing in our house, it was just something that got mentioned in assembly at school.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 22:26:07

LadyKinbote, I ask because I am interested in the answers. I wanted to see what, if anything, was similar to me becoming an atheist, although I am no longer one. I also asked in the hope of engaging atheists who do not post here and to start a thread about atheism that talks about non-belief for it's own sake and not just as a reaction to the faith of others.

Kissmyheathenass, can you explain what it is to be raised CofE, yet not have religion as part of your life at all?

mikey9 Tue 26-Mar-13 22:28:42

Similar to many - I now find the assumption in the OP wrong. I was raised without any real religion but Cub Scouts involved "Church Parade" and you were docked points on Monday if your six didn't have a good turnout.....we also had to tidy the graveyard weeds (more points there).
Never really gave it much thought - managed a couple of trips to "Sunday School" but no pessure from parents there either.

When left home - thankfully fell in with thankfully questioning groups for late teens early 20s - including believers (which has led to some enlightening conversations about "belief"....)

Now with own kids I am struggling with "Celebrating" Christmas and Easter and the Beavers "Promise" to (their) God, however don't want the kids to stand out so am letting it go and will educate our boys instead to make their own decisions when they have plenty of information on the range of views out there.........

sweetkitty Tue 26-Mar-13 22:31:05

Around about 15 when I learned about human evolution.

My DC are being raised RC, it's a struggle at times .

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 22:32:05

Bunny and Technodad you say that babies are born atheist. How do you know this?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 22:36:00

Sweetkitty, that sounds very difficult.sad Why did you decide to raise your DCs in the catholic faith and how do you deal with that?

HesterShaw Tue 26-Mar-13 22:36:22

Why on earth would a baby have any conception of God?

badguider Tue 26-Mar-13 22:38:35

I was brought up catholic but was pretty much a secret agnostic from as young as i can remember. I had a nice church and community and went through the motions till university (though stopped going to mass weekly at about 15 when i got a weekend job).
I arrived at university still going along to church easter, christmas etc. though not really believing, went through an 'i believe in something' phase then studied philosophy and by second year i was sure i was atheist and don't believe in any higher power.
I was a little bit nervous about saying it out loud except to one or two friends I studied philosophy with until after uni when I met more people who were happy to say they are atheist and understood the feeling i have that morality has nothing to do with belief in a god of any sort.

Now I feel able to articulate my lack of belief and confident in my stance on most things moral, ethical and relating to death and religion but that didn't come till I was in my 30s.

MaterFacit Tue 26-Mar-13 22:41:05

There has never been a point where I have believed.

Sunnywithshowers Tue 26-Mar-13 22:42:58

I went to church as a child, but didn't 'feel' like the other kids. I dropped out.

I was agnostic for years, until a dear friend killed herself. My then boyfriend, a Catholic, told me that I should 'pray that God forgives her'. That was it for me.

tangledupinpoo Tue 26-Mar-13 22:43:33

Can't remember one single lightbulb moment. My father had a catholic upbringing, my mother agnostic and I went to a 'high church' Church of England school, so God figured a lot. I remember believing then (say, under 14 yrs). It was more an accumulation of thoughts over the years, the increasing evidence (as it seemed to me) that the universe, and we, had come about without a 'prime mover'.

The tipping point was reading Genome, by Matt Ridley. I am not a scientist, so learning about the complexity of our DNA made it impossible for me to believe that we had been designed. Have also read Dawkins' God Delusion, although I dislike his need to tear down faith quite so aggressively. Unlike him, I think humans are essentially tribal, and if we weren't killing each other over religion, we would find something else to do it over.

I also have a couple of 'actively' Christian friends. A huge part of me envies the comforts of their faith. I also love Christian music and find churches peaceful and good to sit in and think. But really really wanting something to be true, doesn't make it true in my head, so I just can't get there (to belief).

I also don't think that religion has the monopoly on morality, far from it.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 22:43:54

Hester, I have no idea what babies do or don't believe. I am asking those who have made a statement to the fact how they know.

How do I know this?

Belief in gods is a learned behaviour.

If you put a newborn baby in a room alone and let him grow up in that room alone with no outside influence do you think he'd believe in God? Or Allah? Or Xenu?

Of course he wouldn't. Religion is an accident of birth. The only reason children can be said to subscribe to any religion is because it's thrust upon them by their parents.

Shitty parenting 101.

technodad Tue 26-Mar-13 22:48:02

How do I know that babies are born with no prior knowledge of any concepts made up by other humans in the world?

Well, it can be scientifically proven using FMRI scans of a babies brain. If you were to show them any spiritual reference (or read them the bible etc), you will not get a cognitive response difference to showing them a lump of cheese.

You will no doubt tell me that they are connected to god in a different non-measurable way, to which my response would be "oh grow up"!

technodad Tue 26-Mar-13 22:48:36

Easter got their first - good answer

BlissfullyIgnorant Tue 26-Mar-13 22:49:24

There's a long process of recognising more and more every day that evidence outweighs faith: there is no hard evidence that anything written in the bible is true, but there is mounting evidence from scientific research every day of such things as the 'miracle' of life and the way it reproduces, and that the universe is by far much older than the few thousand years the holy books claim. Religious people also tend to cherry pick - its bad to be gay but fine to wear polycotton and its ok to indulge in such sinful abominations as moules frites or prawn cocktail as long as you love god unconditionally and despise and deride those who don't.

HesterShaw Tue 26-Mar-13 22:51:16

Yes, I am asking as well. Why would a baby have any concept of God? A baby is so intent on eating and growing and sleeping, we have no memories of being babies. It stands to reason that there is no way a baby would have any concept of something it can't see or hear.

I agree with easterbunny. You wouldn't think of the Christian religion and all its ridiculous complexities for yourself unless someone taught it to you. Same for Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and other organised religion.

Viviennemary Tue 26-Mar-13 22:51:39

I do still consider myself a Christian. But in the last few years I have thought quite a lot that it is really so so unlikely that there is a God. I'm not an atheist yet but a very strong doubter.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 22:53:18

Bunny, to my knowledge, this has never been done. So is it something that you know or something that you believe?

HesterShaw Tue 26-Mar-13 22:56:56

I would know it in the same way as I know Paris is the capital of France.

But then a die-hard Christian would say the same about the existence of God.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 22:57:23

Technodad, I have no intention of saying any such thing. As I said above, I don't know what babies do or do not believe. Do you know of studies regarding MRI scans of baby's response to cheese, bibles or anysuch?

SucksToBeMe Tue 26-Mar-13 22:59:55

Your not at all like your user name would suggest Blissfullyignorant!

I shall quote you next time my born again Christian father shoves his beliefs down my throat!

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 23:00:10

Hester that Paris is the capital of France is an easily provable fact. I am asking what proof there is for a newborn's belief or lack thereof, as stated by some posters.

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