My friend came up to me two days ago (March 25) and said that it was me that converted her to atheism. I showed her a couple of books, websites, and some of my favorites on youtube about a month ago, when she asked me about Atheism. I didn't really intend to convert her purposely, we were just casually yapping in my house about nothing and the subject came up. She thanked me too! This is the first person I ever converted!

If anyone has similar or great stories, please share.

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Yes, Pascal's wager, like all the other reasons for believing in gods, can get you into all sorts of intellectual/cognitive difficulties. Much simpler to jettison the lot and go with logic. But I understand Joan's position, too. Some people just don't get it and even if they do they are incapable of letting go completely - they can't abide not filling that god shaped hole in the human psyche. It was tough for me, too, in the beginning. So when people are resistent I don't push the envelop. In the end it's something people have to come to themselves and it sometimes involves a deep internal struggle. We cannot insist. We can only help and try to show that it is possible to be a good and happy atheist.
Circular reasoning really gives one a headache doesn't it?

Just play the lottery instead. The odds are infinitely better.
LOL, you summarized it beautifully.
I don't even try. If anyone wants to talk religion within earshot of me then I will give them my evidence based opinion. It has struck me that, where I work, most people seem already to be atheists but simply don't talk about it - it doesn't form part of their life. However, (there's always a 'however'!) there is a VERY religious biblical literalist also in my office - He is unshakeable in his irrationality!! There was a discussion about a climate change denial programme on TV one day and he made a remark whilst walking away (always whilst walking away!) that he didn't believe in climate change. I was just about to jump in with my little contribution when he followed that with the stunning, "...and I don't believe in evolution either!"
I was more than a little dumbfounded. Well, I'd never met a real life moron before - I wasn't sure how to react - but react I did. Once I understood the depth of his conviction(???) and the tortuous arguments he would resort to in order to keep the blinkers firmly strapped to his moronic visage, I gave up. He was so totally, utterly, completely and irrevocably convinced in the inerrant word of the bible and the existence of the sky fairy that further argument was futile. Since then I don't even try.
I have a suspicion that atheists are born & not converted. I'm not sure they ever really believe in the first place. Still, that said - good luck with future conversions.
I have a suspicion that atheists are born & not converted. I'm not sure they ever really believe in the first place. Still, that said - good luck with future conversions.

In some cases, yeah. I rejected Christianity when I was 5 or 6 years old, despite being immersed in the Catholic church from birth. This could have been my father's influence, though. He was in seminary, at one point. I suspect that he had the same sort of experiences as Matt Dillahunty, of the Atheist Experience. While studying the "higher mysteries" of the church and studying the history and formation of the Bible, you can't help but realize that it was all man-made, and then you start smelling the rat droppings.

He could have very well been a closet atheist and just continued with the Catholic church because of society and family. I know I never heard him talk about religion, outside of church, and I was surrounded by scientific, educational books, as a child. It's hard to say for sure if it was something inborn or something to do with my father's scientific influence. It sucks that I can't ask him, now that I'm ready to.

But going back to Matt Dillahunty, it sounds like he really believed, at one point. It was just in the exploration of the refutations of Christianity (with the intention of learning how to rebut them) that his rational mind took over and turned him atheistic, eventually. I'm sure there are some of both types, but I'm sure there are the guys like the one you mentioned at your work who are born and raised to be so illogical that they can't be reached.

I've randomly discovered a few other atheists at my office, as well, since I've been reading Dawkins and Hitchens in my downtime. Funny how openly reading a book called "The God Delusion" or "god is not Great" will spark conversation, huh?
I think people tend to convert themselves in both directions and only respond to proselytizing if they already have the buyer's itch. But the more radical conversions require extreme emotional and/or rational circumstances. Atheists usually claim rational motivations while the religious usually claim emotional and subjective ones. In the end both groups are influenced by both motivations, and those vectors determine where you are on the (un)belief continuum.
Actually, we are all born ignorant, quasi-irrational, and probably predisposed toward magical thinking. And that's the first step down religion road.

Defining atheism seems simple, but it presumes a human with the ability to believe in theist concepts. Otherwise the brain-dead and rocks are atheists. Babies have less ability to believe in religious concepts than my dogs. To claim that we are born atheists is really more of an unfair rhetorical gimmick in the never-ending head pounding theists and atheists give each other.
I don't mean to be overly nit-picky, but is your stalk of asparagus an atheist? Why or why not? No brain, no belief.

You may not know of someone's particular concept of a god until they share it with you, but obviously the first god-thought wasn't taught by a prior ape species. Some human thunk'd it all by his/her irrational-self. And I suspect it's one of those human mental tendencies.

When are humans capable of abstract religious/supernatural beliefs? Beats me, but I don't think it's when we take our first breaths.
I don't think a salesman invented the idea of gods. I suspect people have always had wild dreams and bad mushrooms and bumps in the night that confuse the imagination with reality. The politicians and hucksters may have made good use of memes already in circulation, but I don't think they said, 'Hey, there's this thing out there you've never, ever thought of, and it's telling me to tell you to submit to my will.'

So... did you ever get that asparagus problem figured?
The silliness is in claiming that babies are atheists. You just aren't willing to deal with it in all its silly glory.
Of course we're all born as Atheists. Then it's largely a matter of geography as to whether or which one gets dumped on you.
@NoSacredCow: It wasn't an analogy. It was the consistent application of an overly coarse definition, the same one you try to use to give a questionable 'natural state' legitimacy to atheism.

And I'm not a theist. If I had to peg myself, it'd igtheist.

Give it some more thought, NoSacredCow.

@William: There's no "of course" about it when you can't answer the objections with anything more than "that's silly!"

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