Against all odds we are atheist. What in your life do you think led you to be an atheist? Was it an emotional event or some combination of things learned. Can it be determined what is necessary to program an atheist? Is it a matter of deprogramming false beliefs? This knowledge could enable profound changes in our collective world views. We could all be on the same page. What do you think?
Ironically, it was my parents who unknowingly started me on a very long path to disbelief. They indoctrinated me with religion almost from day one. When I reached adolescence and began asking questions that they felt uncomfortable answering, they merely resorted to the old "God did it" routine. When I actually learned the truth, I felt ashamed that I had been so stupid. I didn't become an atheist then and there, that took many years of reading, learning, and critical thinking. For many of those years, I considered myself agnostic, or a fence sitter. But, when I read Dawkins' "The God Delusion," it gave me that final push. It was like a tremendous weight was lifted from my shoulders, and I felt a sense of freedom I had never felt before.
It began with a half-hearted attempt by my parents to educate me as a xtian. At first, we were brought to the local community church for services. Later, we were dropped off and picked up. Not that I resent it but that isn't how I would go about it if I was determined to warp my kids brains. That is almost exactly how I would do it if I wanted to encourage my kids to consider the entire enterprise as fraudulent. I should be happy how things went.
Later, it was the awkward period of junior high/High school, where you're trying to fit in. What do they know that I don't know? Why haven't I met God/Jesus? So many other people talk as if they've got the personal relationship. This is where the seed began to grow that personal experience was the only proof for the existence of a higher power.
Coming to the conclusion I was probably never going to fit in, I began to consider whether God was a testable hypothesis. That required I read the bible. Egads, why do people believe this? You say because that's what people have always believed? Umm...where is the line for people who don't want to BS their way through life? Just how ethical a person do I want to be? What do I know and how do I know it? All philosophy 101 type questions.
There have been several books and authors that left an impression on my. Usually, they were history or biographical. As an example, I remember when I saw the first episode of "The Day the Universe Changed" on PBS. I immediately went to the library and reserved a book that hadn't even been ordered yet. Burke and others show us that religion has been a persistent problem throughout history. At some point, without threat of miserable punishment or death, each of us has to stand up and make a claim as to what we're willing to believe. Religion has been found wanting long ago. It's up to us to put an end to the claim that it is supposedly self-evident. What the heck does that even mean? It sounds like we're being shamed into believing that not only does the emperor have clothes but that they're purple, with purple spots and a gold fringe. I'm not colorblind but I'm just not seeing it.
It was combination of things for me. The way people behave in those religions don't help matters either. Books on religion say one thing, yet they do opposite. If they do follow those horrible rules then we realize how inhumane they really are. The whole thing is a scheme for money and control.
Being morally good doesn't need a religion. Deprogramming of these beliefs can be easy or hard depending on the person. As atheists we aren't all going to be on the same page, but that is what makes us individuals.
Literally brainwashed as a child, I willingly fell into the theist crap hook, line and sinker. I studied hard and was to be the next big fundie minister, so my parents believed. I'm atheist today because I studied my bible too much. Just study it enough and it should make an atheist out of anybody!
Your last line... "Just study it enough"......but why doesn't it turn out droves of atheists? I hear the tv church preachers selling their bible study courses (yes for the $$) and the churches weekly bible study groups saying how great it is. Same people year after decade doing bible study and still not coming out atheist. I agree with your comment though never did a bible study group so wondering do they just skip the bad stuff, gloss over it, never study it or question why they don't study it? The brain washing shutting down any critical thinking?
My parents were never church goers when I was a kid. I went with the neighbors sometimes, but not regularly. My grandparents were southern born agains who liked to talk disparagingly about the 'ni**ers down the road. Being from Ohio, I didn't like it, even at 5, and I didn't want to be like that. I think that's what started my journey. If that was a good xtian, I wanted no part of it.
I was in a singing group in HS that met at a church, and I started to attend. I liked it there and for I while I tried to be a believer. but it didn't really take. I prayed before meals, sometimes. We celebrated Christmas and easter and receive all of the candy and presents that go along with it :)
Fast forward a decade. I started to feel like a hypocrite, just going along, going through the motions. I didn't like not being honest. I was honest to myself, but I found it tiring to play along. And there were Atheists, intelligent and brave, out there standing up for non-belief. I started to believe that there were a lot of people like me. People just going along, going through the motions, not making waves, but inside knowing that it's a bunch of hooey. So, I stopped lying. I told my Mom and my best friend, both seem to be embracing their religion more, as I run away. I don't run around and tell people, unless they ask. I feel like it's a crutch some people need. But not me. I am strong or weak, but it's all me. If I need strength, I better rustle it up for myself.
My Mom started going to church when my father got sick, and she liked to have a community around when he died. Plus, she likes to sing in the choir. But she's a retired science teacher, and she's smart. She doesn't really believe. It makes me wonder about some of the other people in my family, they all live in the south. I try to serve as an example. You can be strong and brave. You can be good without god.
My wife is black, but in my earlier days I was the same way with the N word. The thing is, christians think this is all normal just like slavery is normal. (Well, it was normal then??)
CHRISTIAN LOGIC FOR YOU
The TV preacher was talking about people decended from Abraham and he touched upon the black man. Fancy words and names here, and the preacher claims that the black race will always be servants and slaves. That's a nice message. Maybe they should just give up and stop trying then. Maybe we all should. (And this guy is a preacher?)
That self same preacher then tells about the decendants of Osama bin Laden, and what an eye opener this was for him to see where this race comes from, and why they are like they are and will never change. He spoke of the mindset that they have, these people. (And this guy is a preacher?)
Well, he got me to thinking. I thought of Frank and Jesse James and how they were train and bank robbers. That's what they will always be, and it means that all of their decendants are exactly the same and will be the same way forever . . . . .
Hey, wait a minute! I don't think I like this gawd or this preacher. Drive me off this picture!
I stopped attending church regularly when I went off to college, went through a new age phase and a LGAT phase, then started reading books like How to Think About Weird Things, FlimFlam!, and Demon Haunted World. It was actually when a friend's (who had gone through the LGAT training with me) mother asked me to research into the group's background that started the whole steam roller, although obviously the seed was already planted since high school at least. It just needed knowledge to make it grow. Reading those books (and more! I went through all the books I could find at the local library), things finally clicked in my brain. It all made sense.
I'd like to see 5th or 6th graders being taught how to think critically. Imagine the possibilities if children were taught from a young age to explore all avenues before making decisions, how to shift through evidence, how to realize there's information that might be missing, to not believe everything you read, to not just follow the crowd. Imagine the chaos at home! Imagine what those kids could become!