Causes of atheism


#1

In order to keep this thread on topic I’d like to ask any fellow atheists on the board to refrain from posting in this thread. I’d also like to ask members to not debate or challenge the viewpoints displayed by others here. I may ask participants to clarify a point or further explain their views but I won’t counter them.

So in your opinion what are the causes or reasons for people to choose atheism? Also what keeps them on the path of atheism?


#2

Okay, I know that I’m completely disregarding what you said about atheists not posting in here, but I think it’s only right to let them have their say in this. (Forgive me?)

Personally, I chose atheism because it seems like the most logical philosophy to me. It doesn’t really interfere with the lifestyle I have right now, and I’m all right with relying on science and philosophy. My family is pretty chill about it, (I’m a teenager) and it’s not really hurting anyone. It’s neither harmful nor beneficial. It’s a small choice that I’ve made, and I treat it as I would any other choice in life.


#3

[quote=iamaninja]Okay, I know that I’m completely disregarding what you said about atheists not posting in here, but I think it’s only right to let them have their say in this. (Forgive me?)

Personally, I chose atheism because it seems like the most logical philosophy to me. It doesn’t really interfere with the lifestyle I have right now, and I’m all right with relying on science and philosophy. My family is pretty chill about it, (I’m a teenager) and it’s not really hurting anyone. It’s neither harmful nor beneficial. It’s a small choice that I’ve made, and I treat it as I would any other choice in life.
[/quote]

Notice above, “It doesn’t really interfere with the lifestyle I have right now.” Since any reasonable person can see that atheism is not rational, (in fact it is more reasonable to believe that their unicorns dancing on a rainbow outside my classroom, than to believe that God does not exist), then most choose atheism becasue it is convenient to their life style. No morals forced on us by God, no hell as punishment for sin, just do whatever you want. So really atheism is chosen because it feels nice. It is happy, fluffy, and easy. BTW, you are not a ninja.


#4

[quote=iamaninja]Okay, I know that I’m completely disregarding what you said about atheists not posting in here, but I think it’s only right to let them have their say in this. (Forgive me?)

Personally, I chose atheism because it seems like the most logical philosophy to me. It doesn’t really interfere with the lifestyle I have right now, and I’m all right with relying on science and philosophy. My family is pretty chill about it, (I’m a teenager) and it’s not really hurting anyone. It’s neither harmful nor beneficial. It’s a small choice that I’ve made, and I treat it as I would any other choice in life.
[/quote]

I think you missed the point I was making in my opening post.

I don’t want atheists to explain why they believe what they do; I think I have a pretty good idea. I want the Catholic members to explain how they perceive atheists and what reasons they think we’ve chosen atheism.


#5

[quote=tilis]Notice above, “It doesn’t really interfere with the lifestyle I have right now.” Since any reasonable person can see that atheism is not rational, (in fact it is more reasonable to believe that their unicorns dancing on a rainbow outside my classroom, than to believe that God does not exist), then most choose atheism becasue it is convenient to their life style. No morals forced on us by God, no hell as punishment for sin, just do whatever you want. So really atheism is chosen because it feels nice. It is happy, fluffy, and easy. BTW, you are not a ninja.
[/quote]

So in your view you believe people choose atheism to escape from the guilt of sinning?

If this is the case do you think atheists still have a belief in God despite contrary claims?


#6

I’m not an atheist, but I can see why people choose this idea. Essentially when you start looking at religions, there’s thousands of differing view points, and they all essentially condemn others while claiming truth for themselves. If during the course of trying to get your arms around a chosen doctrine, you can begin to think that it’s all man made superstition. So instead of commiting to doctrines of men, you rely on what you perceive, and can know for certain, like science.

I disagree tiis, I think believing in a ‘perfect’ religion is ‘cushy’ not atheism. Belieivng there’s a God who created you, and if you live by precepts of a Church, then you go off to Heaven when you die, is cushy. Believing in no God, and when you die you cease to exist is frightening and no where near cushy.

One thing is for certain, we shouldn’t judge atheists and condemn or look down on them.


#7

[quote=Grandtheftcow]So in your view you believe people choose atheism to escape from the guilt of sinning?

If this is the case do you think atheists still have a belief in God despite contrary claims?
[/quote]

That is a good. Question. I think that there is a point where atheists talk themselves out of belief, so much so, that the intellect becomes dulled and they truely reject the existence of God. But that does not make their rejection of God’s existence rational.


#8

[quote=Mike_D30]I’m not an atheist, but I can see why people choose this idea. Essentially when you start looking at religions, there’s thousands of differing view points, and they all essentially condemn others while claiming truth for themselves. If during the course of trying to get your arms around a chosen doctrine, you can begin to think that it’s all man made superstition. So instead of commiting to doctrines of men, you rely on what you perceive, and can know for certain, like science.

I disagree tiis, I think believing in a ‘perfect’ religion is ‘cushy’ not atheism. Belieivng there’s a God who created you, and if you live by precepts of a Church, then you go off to Heaven when you die, is cushy. Believing in no God, and when you die you cease to exist is frightening and no where near cushy.

One thing is for certain, we shouldn’t judge atheists and condemn or look down on them.
[/quote]

First of all, belief in God is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of reason. Second, I would much prefer that God not exist. If he did not exist, I could live as I choose, do whatever I want, and not have to face judgement and possibly hell after death. There would simply be nothing, which is not frightening at all. But as it is, God does exist, so I must order my life in accordance with his commands and desires. That is much more challenging. Even still, my eternity is not certain. I may fail and still go to hell. That is terrifying. Atheism, is much preferable.


#9

[quote=tilis]First of all, belief in God is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of reason. Second, I would much prefer that God not exist. If he did not exist, I could live as I choose, do whatever I want, and not have to face judgement and possibly hell after death. There would simply be nothing, which is not frightening at all. But as it is, God does exist, so I must order my life in accordance with his commands and desires. That is much more challenging. Even still, my eternity is not certain. I may fail and still go to hell. That is terrifying. Atheism, is much preferable.
[/quote]

Belief in God is a matter of faith, no matter what your stance is, there’s zero proof of an existence of a supernatural God. Therefore it requires faith, not reason to believe in God.

Second I completely disagree with saying it’s easier as an atheist. It isn’t, and your example is pointless because all data we can find shows athesists act no more immorally than practicing Christians, Jews, or Muslims. So obviously they aren’t choosing atheism so they can keep sinning, that’s a fallacy. I have a friend who is an atheist, and he has more inegrity and morals than anyone I know within my Church.

And lastly it’s much tougher to accept you are alone in the world, nothing created you, no super being loves you, and when you die you a rotting corpse forgotten and gone. Rather than belieivng there’s a personal God who loves you, and will reward you with eternal heaven if you behave.


#10

[quote=tilis]That is a good. Question. I think that there is a point where atheists talk themselves out of belief, so much so, that the intellect becomes dulled and they truely reject the existence of God. But that does not make their rejection of God’s existence rational.
[/quote]

Since atheists deny the existence of a God where do you think an atheist’s morality comes from? For you morality comes from God, the church, and the Bible. So what sources or reasoning do you think are behind the values of an atheist?


#11

[quote=Mike_D30]Belief in God is a matter of faith, no matter what your stance is, there’s zero proof of an existence of a supernatural God. Therefore it requires faith, not reason to believe in God.
[/quote]

A Christian has told me before that evidence doesn’t matter and that everything is based on faith.

Do you see this as an obstacle for those who are outside of the church?


#12

Being Catholic all my life, I have only run into a very select few people who define their beliefs as atheist. From what I see, just like any other group, you cannot definitively say it has 1 cause or another.
The Injured Atheist
I have seen christians turn from their beliefs because they are mad at God and proclaim that they are atheists. These are the most pitiful of people. They are almost always angry over the loss of a loved one. To these people, the fact that they lost a loved one “proves” to them that there is no God because if there were, he most certainly would have saved the life of that person. It is as though they really believe that God should do their bidding and everything should be happy.
The Intellectual Atheist
The next type I have seen are those that I would describe as intellectual snobs. The irony is that they have a God, he is science. There are some things even science cannot yet explain, but still they cling to this pseudo intellectualism and refuse to believe in “God” because they can’t see him. If they are truthful to themselves, they will admit that they actually think they are much smarter than any christian could ever be. It is like Christianity is some childrens fable that we are just too stupid to outgrow. So Sad!!!
The Rebellious Atheist
The next group would be laughable if they didn’t cause so much damage for both atheists and Christians. There are a small select few atheists that cannot be content to have their beliefs. They want to obliterate any mention of God in society. They think it is their right to mold this world in their image. For the intellectual or injured atheist, they are often seen as the embarrassment because they just won’t shut up, they can’t just let the world be…they seem to have this drive to ruin things for everyone else. Much like a rebellious willful child that runs and tells his siblings that Santa Claus isn’t real. For the Christian, they are the ones that will file suit because a town has a nativity they claim offends them, when in reality, they don’t live in that town.

This is just my observation… I harbor no hatred for any of these groups, I just believe that either they are putting their faith in the wrong place or they truly do not have faith in anything at all. Either way, they have earned my prayers and my pity.


#13

[quote=BlestOne]The Intellectual Atheist
The next type I have seen are those that I would describe as intellectual snobs. The irony is that they have a God, he is science. There are some things even science cannot yet explain, but still they cling to this pseudo intellectualism and refuse to believe in “God” because they can’t see him. If they are truthful to themselves, they will admit that they actually think they are much smarter than any christian could ever be. It is like Christianity is some childrens fable that we are just too stupid to outgrow. So Sad!!!
[/quote]

Since I seem to fit into this category I’ll focus on this part the most.

What is your view of science? Do you see it as simply a philosophy, a necessary tool for the modern age, or perhaps you have a different viewpoint?


#14

[quote=Grandtheftcow]A Christian has told me before that evidence doesn’t matter and that everything is based on faith.

Do you see this as an obstacle for those who are outside of the church?
[/quote]

Faith is a belief in something intangible. I submit to you that even an atheist must have some faith…faith that science is what drives us to believe tomorrow will come is still faith… A Christian, having seen the words and the works of God around him, takes the leap of faith that there is something much larger than himself, a divine omnipotent being that guides us. This in fact can be considered an educated outcome to the historical and present data in ones life. There is an old riddle that asks how much faith an angel has…the answer is none, they have seen God, they have no faith because it has been replaced by dwelling with God.

An Atheist has most likely seen the same empirical data on the historical and present proof of God but has interpreted the data differently. Their standard of judgement is based on physical proof of the continued existence of God not the initial proof.


#15

[quote=Grandtheftcow]A Christian has told me before that evidence doesn’t matter and that everything is based on faith.

Do you see this as an obstacle for those who are outside of the church?
[/quote]

I definitely see it as an obstacle for those outside the Church. As someone who has spent years as an agnostic (I never quite could grasp that everything was one massive accident as atheists will contend). But also I have had major issues in believing in all loving benevolent God, when our world appears to be in direct contradiction to that.

I still have issues with doctrine and bounce backand forth.

But anyone who believe in God in the judeo Christian sense of a persoanl God, who loves his creation, is acting completely on faith. And thsoe who have never been raised or indoctrinated in the Church will have a near impossible time reconcilling everythingthat must be taken on faith.

To be honest I can understand agnosticism, there’s so many religions out there, if you have no concept of religion, what would make one decide which is right? However full blown atheism to me, seems to be as much of a leap of faith as the hard core Bible thumper.


#16

Atheism has as many reasons as it has followers. Every person who chooses a particular belief system has very particular reasons. We might even share reasons with persons who have chosen opposite paths.

You and I stand at the start of the road of life. We look at the maps, at the road conditions, at the places we want to end up and at the places we might end up. We check for interesting sights along the routes, for rest stops, and for filling stations. We look to see what travelers aids are available on the different byways. And we choose our roads.

You and I might choose different roads for some of the same reasons. We both want plenty of company on the trip. So I choose the Church for the spiritual help available and you choose atheism for the wealth of advice from others who have taken that road. Because of the differences in our destinations we have chosen different roads. But there may be someone on my road with your destination in mind and someone on your road who is trying to get somewhere else entirely.

Asking me to tell you why someone would choose a different path is, at best, an exercise in futility because I can only speculate on their motives. I cannot speak with authority on why other people make the chioces that they make. I can only tell you why I have made the choices I have.

If you want to know about atheists, you should ask atheists, not Catholics. If I want to enter the conversation, I can only do so with the understanding that I know nothing of the topic.


#17

[quote=Grandtheftcow]Since I seem to fit into this category I’ll focus on this part the most.

What is your view of science? Do you see it as simply a philosophy, a necessary tool for the modern age, or perhaps you have a different viewpoint?
[/quote]

Science emcompasses so many different diciplines…let’s focus on physical life science…evolution is not a theory that is incongruent with faith in God, for example. Most people that want to argue this say, “Well you believe that God created everything in 6 days and I find that scientifically impossible.” Who says? What exactly is 6 days to God? At the beginning of time was a day 24 hours? We have no way of knowing or proving this at this time. A day could have been millions of years, Time is a man made concept. We define a day as 24 hours…but why? Because that is the approximate amount of time that it took for one revolution of our planet. Was this always so? Scientific data indicates that is was not always so. Science is not the enemy of Christianity nor is Christianity the enemy of science. We are not privy to the exact sequence that created our earth. Through the Bible we can believe that it was planned, but not the exact sequence. I am going to ask you to look at something a little differently than you have in the past. It is the Biblical account of the creation. Do you disagree with the sequence that is recorded in the bible?
1 In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. 2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. 3 And God said: Be light made. And light was made. 4 And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. 5 And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.
Do you think that the sky and the earth had to be created before anything else? Do you think that before this there were periods of prolonged light or darkness? Possibly, this is saying that a mass formed and took up an orbit…would you agree?

6 And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day. 9 God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven, be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. 10 And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Do you not think that the atmosphere would come next? Then possibly the division of bodies of water and land? So far, even to an atheist the order would make sense wouldn’t it?

11 And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. 12 And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day. 14 And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: 15 To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done.
Ok, so after the land mass…then the orbit…then the atmosphere…then the emergence of bodies of water and land…next is vegetation…does this not make sense? Doesn’t it also make sense that once there was vegetation, there was a drying of the vapor and stars became visable at night?
—continued—


#18

6 And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. 17 And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. 18 And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and morning were the fourth day. 20 God also said: Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven.

OK…on the second day was light but now on the 4 th day is the specific division…sun (day) moon (night) stars…all now clearly visable from the earth. Then the first part of the animal kingdom creation…fish and birds…much lower on the evolutionary chain than mammals…

21 And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. 23 And the evening and morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Aha!!! Here we go…do you agree so far that not mentioning time frames this is the most logical sequence. Do you agree? OK, now before going any further…how would the writer of Genesis know this? Do you know when Genesis was written? thousands of years ago… were there any scientific theories back then? So whoever wrote it could be considered the first scientist…

many atheists have disputed the actual sequence of evolution in contrast with Genesis, however, they are not looking at it from the view of the author. We know that the light and darkness were revealed before the seperation of light and dark (Sun and Moon) but who is to say that there wasn’t light from the cosmic event of the earth and the heavens being formed? or that the author could only see light and darkness but until the atmosphere was established, could not see the sun or the moon…We don’t have those answers…nobody does

So if time is not the same as the time we know now…i.e. 60 sec=1min, 60 min=1 hour, 24 hours= 1 day…etc
then perhaps this is all possible as it was told in Genesis.


#19

[quote=tilis]Notice above, “It doesn’t really interfere with the lifestyle I have right now.” Since any reasonable person can see that atheism is not rational, (in fact it is more reasonable to believe that their unicorns dancing on a rainbow outside my classroom, than to believe that God does not exist), then most choose atheism becasue it is convenient to their life style. No morals forced on us by God, no hell as punishment for sin, just do whatever you want. So really atheism is chosen because it feels nice. It is happy, fluffy, and easy. BTW, you are not a ninja.
[/quote]

You’re right. I do whatever I want. I live my life in excess. I love perpetrating the stereotype of the grouchy, immoral atheist who suffers from clinical depression and scares all the little kids on my street away from the house.

And btw: I’m sure ‘knowing’ that you’re living by manmade morals in the hopes that you’ll go to some fanciful supernatural haven must be really tough. :rolleyes:

PS:=o You never know. It IS the internet. ;D


#20

[quote=Grandtheftcow]Since atheists deny the existence of a God where do you think an atheist’s morality comes from? For you morality comes from God, the church, and the Bible. So what sources or reasoning do you think are behind the values of an atheist?
[/quote]

Every person has a conscience, as well as natural law written in their hearts. Christians believe that these are God’s voice within each of us. So, conscience could guide an atheist.

My personal opinion of why atheists deny God’s existence coincides with a quote from Saint Augustine: “He who denies the existence of God has some reason for wishing that God did not exist.” I do not say this out of unkindness, and I am not judging any atheists. :slight_smile:


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