Mar 172013

Question by Alexandria: What makes a non believer in religion?
I have found that some think they are non believers as a sort of calling, as priests feel they are called to serve.
There are many reasons people doubt God.
This question, is just for those who do not believe in God.
So if you believe in God, please pass and comment another time.
I just want to understand why some do not.
This is not to criticize or attack; I just like reading other points of view.
Warning if you are not a nonbeliever, I will put a thumbs down on your answer; as the answers are by invitation only to non believers.
I will not post my comments or thoughts at all after somebody starts posting.
Thank you for understanding.

Best answer:

Answer by Rolento
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

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  4 Responses to “What makes a non believer in religion?”

  1. atheism is not a religion

  2. It wasn’t a choice for me; I just couldn’t believe any longer.

    Sometime around 28-30, as I studied multiple religions, I realized that belief was very easy to elicit from people, and no religion was more true than another (although many are demonstrably more false than others).

    I also could no longer make myself believe that the god who created the galaxies, mountains, the sun, and all the other unknown wonders of nature, the god who was the deepest philosopher in the universe, would come to a group of desert nomads and say “I like the smell of burned cows. Burn them for me. Also don’t boil a goat in its mother’s milk. I hate that.”

    There may be a creator god, but I cannot force myself to believe it’s that one.

  3. We don’t believe in god because gods are man-made ideas that began rather late in human history – first appearing around 11,000 years ago from somewhere between the ancient cities of Ur and Nineveh. In pre-Columbian America, sky gods first appeared around 100BC in Teotihuacan.

    Prior to the invention of sky gods, humans long believed in various types of shamanism where a medicine man would awaken sleeping spirits whom resided in sacred places and call upon them to do good or evil deeds.

    The transformation from earth-bound spirits to sky gods followed the invention of
    agriculture in both hemispheres. Agriculture required the precise charting of the sun and the stars in order to track the seasons. Large stone monuments appeared and curious points of light were discovered that crossed the constellations. These lights which are now known as planets became embodied in mystery and eventually into the realm of the divine.

    Planetary worship was gradually replaced with supernatural personified beings shortly after the early Babylonians began to use mathematics to calculate the precise arrival of ominous phenomena like eclipses around 1900BC.

    One of the first known gods of this type to appear was the annunaki from Sumeria. These god beings gradually lead to the invention of marduk. Marduk then transpires into Enlil who in turn, inspires a whole bunch of gods called the “El” series such as El-Elyon and El-Shaddai. The El series inspires yet another bout of god families called the “Baal” series. This family begins the worship of female dieties as consorts like Isis, Inana and Asherah. Somewhere in this timeframe, the idea of personalized gods appeared such as Yahweh Sabaoth – the god of the armies.

    The progression of these religious beliefs demonstrate that our ideas of the gods are only provisional – that they are
    entirely man-made and have come and gone throughout our human history – manufactured from previous concepts that faded from popularity as newer and bolder ideas sprang up around them.

  4. The philosopher G.K. Chesterton once wrote “There are a thousand doors by which a man may enter the church, and no two are alike.”
    He was talking about Catholicism, but I think the phrase is just as apt for non-belief. There really are many ways one may become irreligious.

    First of all there is the possibility of intrinsic atheism.
    All children are born atheist (hence the word “intrinsic”), in that they do not have a concept of God as a wailing baby, and no way to construct a theory of belief whilst being breast fed. They learn about God from parents as they go along. Usually though, intrinsic atheists are those who were raised in irreligious surroundings, and no one ever tried to teach or convert them.

    For a long time in history this would have been an extremely rare case as people would have been quickly versed in their societal beliefs. More recently though, especially in oppressive environments like China thanks to their brutal Cultural Revolution it is possible to have been raised to adulthood without even encountering the concept of God, let alone questioning it’s validity.
    However back in the west, atheists from intrinsic backgrounds are becoming more common, especially in nations like Japan and Sweden where organised religion is borderline extinct. Even where I am in the UK things are somewhat critical for religion with church going Christians now less than 10% of the population. My partner is an intrinsic atheist. Unlike my family, hers were never interested in religious matters. The Intrinsics look set to snowball their numbers during the 21st century, so we’ll have to see where these trends lead.

    I think most 20th century born atheists here started out life as Theists. I certainly did for the first 20 years of mine. Tales of leaving religion are likely to be more common here than tails of never having been a believer.

    I’d say primary route number 1 to being non-religious is apathy. Apatheists (often confused with agnostics but they’re something else) Just don’t care about religion, the nature of existence or God, or pretty much anything else about religion. They’re happy just doing their own thing in life and would prefer we just stayed out of their hair. I think a large portion of Joe Public fit this description. Maybe they had a religious background, maybe not, either way, they’re not going to get spiritual about it.

    Education seems to be becoming a driving force in identifying non-religious patches in society. Education is disseminated via secularism, and secularism then channels resources back into education in a feedback loop. Ranking the world’s nations in order of the best education standards creates a pretty impressively well correlated list of countries with high rates of non-religion. Universities nearly always show much lower levels of belief than the national average. The higher up in education you look, the more rare religion seems to become. In two extreme examples: 97% of the UK’s science council,The Royal Society registers as atheist. The US’ National Academy of Sciences is 93%. Something about getting letters after one’s name seems to lead to disinterest in faith.

    The rest of the reasons all start to get muddy and philosophical which is too hard for me to pin down in a short essay.
    Personally my loss of belief was down to several factors. My frustration at religion’s apparent inability to make a positive difference in the world, My liberalist views on the equality of women and of homosexuality, my distrust of the bible and an inability of my church to answer questions on matters which were being answered constructively in secular society. The final straw was that I just couldn’t find God anywhere. Everywhere in nature was a natural explanation waiting. God just didn’t seem needed anywhere and that seemed wrong somehow.

    As for everyone else, people can leave a faith because they find the rules placed on them too restrictive for their life choices.
    Others leave because they were made to face an insoluble moral conflict with their faith.
    Or they could have suffered a great and devastating loss which religion couldn’t console.
    Some people find huge contradictions in their faiths that rot it away from the inside out.
    Sceptically minded people may just have preferred the secular explanations that were offered instead of spiritual ones.
    Quite a few probably go because the drip drip drip of doubt eventually means they wake up one day and realise they just don’t believe in it anymore.
    And of course, some people just don’t believe anything anyone ever tells them about anything!

    I’m sure there’s many more reasons out there beyond my generalising.

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