I am very curious if anyone has done any research in the area who has the greatest potential to become Atheist?
From my experiences, many of my research colleagues and professors are atheists. I personally believe, atheists tend to like thinking and doubting, just through this way, they became atheists. I two questions here,are atheist more introverted or extroverted? are they conservative or more open?
rational people. I also find that most Atheists I meet are more liberal.
This is a good question. i would actually say that a decent science background goes a long way. I had issues as a Christian trying to make Christianity fit within the context of science. Much of the bible necessarily became aligorical, which weakened the importance of the "truth" of the bible. My "faith" was further undermined by my recognition of the rampant sexism. God was love, and it didn't seem like he loved women very much. To justify how all that got into the bible, I had to admit that it was written by men from a different time, who injected their wrong ideas into the bible. From there, the scriptures, and my faith, began to unravel. I had so many questions, I looked to the bible for answers, and all I found was more questions. By the time I was done reading my bible the whole way through, I was done with Christianity.
All that is to say that these factors were major contributors to my becoming an Atheist:
I personally fight for all three of these in my daily life. I think we're doing pretty well in the fight for scientific literacy. We just need to keep going along the course we've set here.
We could use a bit more work on the recognition of equal rights. There's an unfortunate misogynistic streak in Atheism that needs to be addressed. We would also do well to ally ourselves with the LGBTQ movement. We have amazing potential for allies there as well as within feminism. Yes, many of the people within those movements are religious, but we are fighting for a lot of the same things and we would do well to make allies of them.
Also yes, I'm an Atheist who encourages people to read their bibles. So far, a much larger proportion of my Atheist friends have read the entire bible than my Christian acquaintances. This has led me to believe that the quickest way to get someone to turn away from gods is to actually learn about them. I encourage all my Christian friends to read their bibles the whole way through. After all, if a godless Atheist can do it, then they can too, surely I don't love Jesus more than they do. I also encourage Atheists here in America to read the bible for the simple fact that they'll be able to know what they're talking about if/when scripture comes up.
Nathaniel, I agree. I was raised without religion though. So even as a child, without a large scientific background, I always thought that when people talked about religion they sounded insane. I remember thinking "WHAT?" Grown-ups talking about an invisible man in the sky? How silly! I also always thought everyone had equal rights, because my family was so liberal. So to a child who wasn't brain-washed, or made to think some people were better than others, no religion & equality for everyone was just a natural state. Then I grew up and became jaded. :(
My younger son became an atheist by attending a Presbyterian church and thinking. For me, the process took decades, starting with doubting the existence of hell. I couldn't worship a god who allowed hell, so I threw out one to keep the other. Eventually it all unraveled. My grandson (daughter's son) raised in that same church threw it all out by age nine, all on his own. I'd have to say it's people who are not afraid to think the unthinkable and question the unquestionable.
The person who is in fact already an atheist is a baby from new born until old enough to begin to learn in simple to more complex ways commiserate with the age of the child as it grows.
Indoctrination comes with learning if the child is unfortunate enough to have religious parents, and the child, being trusting in it's parents, will most likely absorb the indoctrination into their own world view in later years. When some children of religious parents become an adult they begin to question their and their parents' worldview. They initially start in their research trying to find justification for their worldview. If they begin to expand their research into more and more diverse and varied fields such as Astronomy, Cosmology, Biology, paleontology, and Quantum physics, and even varied philosophical arguments on the varied ideas of God from atheism to theism, then they may become even more doubtful of their worldview.
They begin to think more and more about it and work to reason it out in their minds based on available evidence of his/her worldview and of all these other areas of research. He may reach a point when he no longer believes in the worldview inherited from his parents. He may even lose belief in any and all gods, and so become an atheist.
Other children begin to doubt their parents' worldview or sometimes at least question them in their young minds at earlier ages, and as they get older they learn to doubt and question more. They too, may do research into other areas such as those named above, trying to find reasons to either believe or to not believe. Then, maybe one day they discover that they have become an atheist, and just cannot justify believing in any god.
I was one of the lucky ones born into the last group. How about any of you ?
Maybe I am the luckiest one, i was born Atheist and no chance to become a theist
But I am very curious about religion, but could not serious about it
since there is some time when i am very confused, very helpless, i do hope there is God
who can guide me, but i am also very convinced that there is no one
For there to be a god who could guide you, then god would have to make himself known. This simply is not happening! God makes himself known (in every culture and belief system) through the writings of MEN. Why would anyone believe that "god had a plan for you" but this plan was given to ancient uneducated men to write into a book? In the Christian religion at least, we next face the fact that many books have been bound into ONE book, supposedly telling a continuous story, when this is not the case at all! Most of the books had nothing to do with each other. At this point we find that the mythos has been created, and if you do not have faith and believe what you are reading, you are going to hell and will be lost. It is explained to you that things in the Bible do not happen today like they did then. Why not? Let's take a step forward logically and claim that these things never did happen! Modern Christian apologists need to understand that. I've found that the more I study the more I see the Bible as allegory. It could not possibly be anything else. The God of the Bible is imaginary, just like all the other gods in recorded history.
But things have changed much in my lifetime. Fundamentalist churches used to have the Apostles Creed visible on church walls and everyone would recite it. Not today. The strict rules of dress codes and not smoking has went out the window as well. One minister told me that they just preach to the people and let God do the rest. How interesting. Fewer people discuss (or maybe even believe in) the "virgin birth" while more and more church people smoke. Young men come to church to see if they can "pick up girls" who are obviously showing more skin. My daughter has smoked so much that she has had to have a throat operation. My step father smokes away while he sings and watches Jimmy Swaggert. All of these people are waiting for Jebus to swoop down from the sky and "save them." Sorry. It will never happen! The mythos that they have created over many years is not holding ground. What it means to me is that secretly they know it. Reasons for being very strict in the first place was because "this is how you get to heaven."
I have seen documentary films in which young people proclaim that the "rapture doctrine" is true, and that it could happen at any time, but they hope not because they appear more interested in living their lives than wanting to go to "heaven." It can only mean that the present generation is paying lip service to organized religion. In time most will break away from it. This will hold true with time regardless of which religious system it is.
Deep down there are not many believers any more. One day they will admit that to themselves.
Bamboo, you were both lucky and unlucky.
Lucky because you didn't feel the guilt, shame and passivity that religions heap onto believers.
Unlucky because you didn't have to free yourself from those oppressions and become stronger.
A man I know and I both went to Catholic schools. He tries to free himself by taking up dogmas such as A Course in Miracles or some kind of meditation.These programs might work for people but he takes them up one after the other, enthusiastically for a few months and then quits them to take up another.
One day he teased me with the words Once a Catholic, always a Catholic. I told him I'd never heard those words but he wouldn't stop.
We were both officers in a club and I watched him when problems arose. He almost always gave up and the problems worsened until other officers dealt with them.
One day I teased him back with Once a Catholic, always helpless. He stopped teasing me.
Religions do that: they teach people to be helpless.
Who is likely to be an atheist..? any small dosage of Rationalism Empiricism and skepticism is a 1st step.Plus fearlessness in thinking, independent thinking...
BUT absence of community of the fellow-minded makes it hard for many potential atheists to become ones in full...
is universities grounds for Atheism? may be so in the West and elsewhere, But here in Afrika, Universities have been centres for religious proselytizing, many becomes born - again at campuses...
In Catholic school religion classes I first compared what I was hearing with my own experience. For instance, a nun one day said to turn the other cheek when someone hurts me. I'd had a few small fights with other boys and realized that I had only two cheeks. I stopped turning cheeks. I don't remember what grade I was in.
So fearlessness, followed quickly by some independent thinking, are important.
Some rebellion is important. I first rebelled in fifth grade: I was the only boy in the class who refused to take the training to become an altar boy. What drove me? Shyness. I didn't want everyone in the church to watch me as I walked around doing what altar boys do.
It helped that my dad was not a dogmatic Catholic and my mom was a Methodist. Neither one talked about religion.
About the proselytizing. These are conservative groups here in the USofA who send people to Africa to do that. One group is trying to get African nations to outlaw homosexuality. I hope Africans can stop them.
I think you have it backwards. People don't "become atheists" they are born atheists. A child is born without religion; without a god concept. Those ideas are implanted after birth. The more accurate question would be: "who has greatest potential to become theist?"
The answer is, at least to me, simple. Children of alcoholics tend to become alcoholics, abused children tend to become abusers ...... the disease of religion is implanted early in life, by abusive parents. When we finally begin treating religious indoctrination of children as child abuse, we will begin to cure the disease. Not before. I was never infected by the religion virus as a child, and grew up, naturally, as an atheist.
"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
I'm not really sure there's a coherent way to answer this question. From an actuarial standpoint, sure, we can determine that certain demographics are statistically more probable to come to (or remain on, as Bob has mentioned above) the "dark side", as it were; however, I don't think we can set any sort of quantitative "potential" on this. My opinion is that, irrespective of gender, race, profession, sexual or political leanings, the most probable candidate for atheism is one who is firstly skeptical, and secondly able and willing to apply this skepticism to their religious beliefs.
Does anyone agree with this? Or disagree?