Atheists: Besides science, why don't you believe in God? Any life experiences? (I'm doing research!)?
Okay, first of all, please, please, PLEASE only Atheists answer this question! I really don't care what anybody else thinks, I need answers from somone who's actually an Atheist!
I'm currently writing a play, and the Protagonist is an Atheist, however, I need to give him a REASON for being Atheistic to develop his character more. I already have science, but what other reasons do you have for being an Atheist? I know there are more out there, I just don't know of any, so I'm doing research for this play by getting information straight from Atheists themselves. I'm religious myself, so I need to ask others.
If there are certain life experiences (such as, parents or a church deterring you from believing), could you please describe them? Who were the people involved, at what age was it, etc?
Who knows, if you give me a good enough answer, you might just see it on stage one day. ;-)
- skepticLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
How I became an atheist (or - my religious history)
I was born in to a basically non-religious family. I was baptized as Lutheran and just went to Church occasionally. Around the age of 8, I met a nice Christian man who became a sort of father figure for me. He told me about Christianity and how I needed to be saved, and how wonderful Christ was. Of course I wondered immediately - with all the religions out there, how could anyone know which was the correct one.
I attended the Baptist church for almost two years and listened as carefully as I could. I prayed many times, as sincerely as I could, for Jesus to show me the way and for the Holy Spirit to enter my heart - all I ever got was silence in return. I realized that no one in the Church (including the preacher) had a good answer to the question. So I became an agnostic.
As I began to study more religion from that time on, I found myself drawn to Buddhism, especially because of its non-reliance on faith. After-all, it occurred to me that if you claim to know what you know through faith, then faith in one religion is just as good as faith in another.
At age 24 I had a spiritual experience through meditation that told me that if there was a God, it would be much more like the Pantheistic version of God and certainly NOT like the Christian God. But by that time I was in College and studying science and critical thinking. I knew I had to have the courage to apply the most critical thinking to my own experience. I eventually came across the book "Why God Won't Go Away" which describes my spiritual experience as a function of the brain (specifically as a temporary shutting down of the anterior, posterior parietal lobe that orients the body in space and time).
My experience was the best reason that I knew of for the existence of a God. Yet if it could be explained as a function of the brain, we couldn't conclude much from it.
But there was always a part of me that thought there must be a good reason that so many people believe in God. How could it just be a mass delusion? It was when I started reading books like "Breaking the Spell" by Daniel Dennet, "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris, "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" by Francis Collins and I talked to Christians more and more as well as reading the Bible (I've read most of it), that I realized that Christians really did not have a good reason for their belief.
I also talked to Creationists and read books like "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer that made me realize that otherwise rational people (Mormons in this case) will believe anything no matter how irrational.
Mostly, I learned that there were two definitions for atheist: 1) Belief that there is no God. 2) No belief in God.
So, that's where I am - No belief in God.
Can I tell you with certainty that there is no God? No, of course not. But I can not tell you with certainty there is no such thing as Unicorns, Leprechauns, Zeus, Poseidon, Quetzalcoatl, or any other of the thousands of Gods that have been said to exist.
- Deirdre HLv 71 decade ago
I think that what you'll find, if you do enough research, is that atheism is much larger than you believe. All that the word "atheist" means is "one who does not believe in a god". I know a number of quite religious atheists. Many Buddhists, if not most, are atheists.
The more common sort that you'll find in America is the one who takes the philosophical position that they will believe in that which may be reasonably shown to be true. They don't make an assumption of a god as a starting point. Just because something is currently unexplainable doesn't imply that one should resort to the supernatural for an answer.
I'm sorry for answering while not being an atheist, but my own spiritual journey has taken me to many places. One of my current spiritual teachers is an atheist. We've had a great many discussions in this area and these have opened both our minds.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Logic and reason are my biggest allies. For me, I haven't been shown one single piece of evidence for the existance of god. Faith is not proof of existance, that is believing in something you have no shread of proof, it just "feels" right so it must be true. Plus seeing the events of 9/11 and how dangerous religion and beliefs in god really are.
I was raised in Christianity and in my early teens is when I woke up. I started feeling weird every time we sung hymns or talked about the stories in the bible. I was wondering, "where is this god?" and "what has he done?" And most of the stories in the bible were so weird, unintelligible and almost alien to me. More so today.
Also seeing a picture of the Earth began to put things into perspective. It's called "Pale Blue Dot" a picture of the Earth from 4 billion miles away. It shows me how small and insigifcant we really are. We are the only ones who can save ourselves. If we all had a humanist point of view, the world would be at peace.
As long as we have religion, we will never have peace.
I'm a screenwriter too and I hope you are unbiased in your view of atheists.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
There are a few reasons I am an atheist.
1) It makes sense. Religion is absurd and irrational.
2) Occam's Razor - the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Why have an eternal god that made the universe when you can simply have an eternal universe?
3) Religion is harmful to society and individuals - wars, manipulation, prejudice.
4) I am not afraid of dying, or not having all the answers. I'm perfectly content to say, "I don't know why we are here."
5) If I die and discover there is a god similar to the insane thing that Christians worship, I WANT to be separated from him for eternity.
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- 1 decade ago
My friend always says that God is an alien and if you don't believe in aliens then.... Well really now if you stop to think of all the ruckus caused over the belief in God then maybe the world would be a better place if instead of believing in God we concentrate on our lives and making them better one by one(without killing or hating our neighbors) God is a crutch in so many ways...If all you do thats mean and bad in your life is forgiven just because you accept Jesus into your heart and get babtized then its all too easy...but if you know that you are spending time in a hell just for you because your Karma requires that you make up for past disgressions then by gosh you may really be careful and use alittle more care in how you treat others(even animals) So If you want to know which moy be your future ask the Dalai Lama...He represents Buddhists from Tibet and in his belief in the future births of anyone is tied, not to a belief in God, but a system that is almost scientific in its cause and effect.
- Pirate AM™Lv 71 decade ago
To be honest most of the answers (that I've seen) come down to two basic ones:
1. No evidence for any god. No evidence that their holy book is anything more than stories and some history.
2. No god is portrayed as anything more than man made.
I did see an answer that blamed a priest for molesting him when he was 9.
- SubconsciouslessLv 71 decade ago
Perhaps your character could've have come from a family like mine. My family is full of devout Christians, but when I was young and asked them a direct and basic question like "How do you know that God is real" they couldn't give me a straight answer that make any rational sense. That really motivated me to question theism even more and eventually, after much study and thought, become an atheist. I don't want to wholeheartedly believe in anything I can't prove. It would seem foolish.
- Jess HLv 71 decade ago
Sorry...I'm really not that interesting. lol. I just started to realize, as I grew older, that the idea of magical, invisible, supernatural beings just didn't make sense to me. I was raised Christian. I was very happy growing up with my beliefs, but as I got older, the things I was told made less and less sense to me. So I did research. I did a *lot* of research. I read, I talked to people that were my own faith and people of other faiths, I spent nights on my knees praying, and I studied the Bible. I spent years trying to "save" my faith. In the years I spent honestly searching for "God", I found nothing but the inventions of men, and absolutely nothing to show otherwise. There was *no* evidence for God out there, anywhere. There is an awful lot of wishful thinking, there is an awful lot of fear, and there's an awful lot of superstition. But no evidence.
Now *Christianity* has the added burden of not only needing to prove that there even EXISTS a GOD to begin with, but also that *Jesus* is God in the flesh come to Earth. That in and of itself is a whole NEW argument. People can't even prove that Jesus ever even *existed*, let alone that there is a God and Jesus is God in the flesh.
- 1 decade ago
my father is, by culture, jewish and my mother is a fairly religious roman catholic. my dad is agnostic, but before i was born, my mother had a daughter who died shortly after being born, and so when my mother had me, she insisted that both my brother and i have a religion. since my dad is diehard antireligious, we ended up being roman catholic.
when i was little, i always tried to believe in what the priest was preaching, but it was more of a learning experience - where i learned about something that didn't really relate to me, or seem real. eventually, as i grew up, i moved from believing in roman catholisism completely (just out of habit) (until age 9), to believing in jesus (until age 11), to believing in god (until age 13), to my current atheist postition. although it's impossible to prove something doesnt exist, i think that, through logic and science, there is no god. I guess my ideas were further strengthened by my distrust in religion, and my first hand experiences of how people only seemed to become religious out of desperation for answers (example - my mom). i played along for her, and made all of my appropriate sacraments -i am confirmed (and, ironically, i was an atheist when i was) and i just feel like i can logically figure out where religion came from, and why it isn't real (based on personal experience, and history) and i feel that by using my brain, i have come to the realization that there isn't a god.
- Anonymous4 years ago
Newton rejected Trinitarian Christianity, and Einstein was anything but a theist, so this Flew fellow (I assume he's a fellow, but the first reference was dropped....) seems to have left a smoking bullet hole in his foot. It's always good to edit our drag-n-drop plagiaries, makes them less obvious.