Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Atheism: In Your Own Words

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Realizing that you are an atheist is a profound, personal experience. This video records the stories (in their own words) of some people who came to the realization that they are atheists.

Comments

  1. #1 Donna B.
    June 13, 2010

    I am not be able to describe the path I took that has led me to be an atheist as these people have done. I suspect that is because I never believed even though I pretended, just as I pretended there was a tooth fairy and a santa claus.

    Pretending is a lot of fun as a child. And the pretense (in my case) was shared with my parents as far as fairies and elves were concerned.

    Religion was a bit different, but my parents felt no need to “protect” me from different views. I went to catechism with my Catholic friend, to Mormon youth groups with my Mormon friend, and to Baptist vacation bible school with my Baptist friend.

    First, I wondered why my friend’s parents were not so willing to let my friends attend various religious events that my church offered.

    Then I began to wonder how anyone could tell which of the various interpretations of “the Word” might be right.

    And then… I began to think that perhaps it was “the Word” that was at fault because it could be interpreted in so many different and exclusive ways.

    At that point I decided that all religions were man-made, whether there was a God or not. Following that I decided that it made no difference to mankind in any way whether there was or was not a God.

    Now, rather than bog myself down in refuting bits and pieces of religious writings, I only ask believers “why would a God act as if he were a human?”

  2. #2 Russell
    June 13, 2010

    I realized at a pretty young age that most religious belief was “just pretend,” and that I couldn’t pretend so well to myself.

  3. #3 Kate from Iowa
    June 13, 2010

    No, actually it isn`t a deeply profound or affecting experience, not for all of us. I never fit in anywhere, my entire damned life. I tried everything, I followed my religious gadfly of a mother back and forth between various sects of Christianity, to traditional Islam, to Nation of Islam, went to college and tried sects of Christianity we don`t have up here; gave up on that and tried Buddhism, tried solo spiritualities, started taking religious classes in order to try and figure out if I was just missing the point somewhere, tried out several types of neo-pagan worship and at the end of it all? I just don`t care. Not only did I/do I not care, I got sick and tired of pretending. It irritates me to no end that everyone seems to assume that some profound and life changing moment came along, some metaphysical eureka moment when I decided that I didn`t believe. I grew up with an unbeliever, she`s just too fucking conditioned and afraid to admit it, even to herself. Maybe for her it would be one of these deeply moving, personal moments, so bound up in the cultural norms of her childhood as she is, but for me? And for many other athiests like me? Not so much, and it would really be nice if all of you who are oh so wise in the ways of oh so many athiests would stop trying to tell us all about how the hell we feel about it all!

  4. #4 Aaron
    June 13, 2010

    @Donna B.
    I had a similar experience. I asked why God would punish the crimes of mass murder and petty theft equally, since they certainly seem to be on different levels to me.
    I was told, “God is so far above us that the differences are meaningless. Would you make a distinction between theft and murder if two worms did these crimes?” My answer was “yes”, but I got his point.
    I applied this “God/us=us/worms” to the “Word of God’. How can any book be the word of God? A worm would have no ability to begin to transcribe any portion of the “Word of Man”, so how could we possible consider any book to be the “Word of God”? We would not be able to read or comprehend one iota of such a book.
    This explained why all religions have the same basis in fact, and why there are so many contradictory explanations of even the same book. The books are all made up by men pretending to have the “Word of God”. Other bits of evidence were the beliefs and behaviors of those suffering mental illnesses, and that many believers do not actually act as if they take their beliefs seriously. They also refuse to answer logical questions, if you take them far enough, and then fall back on ad hominem arguments and threats to support their point.
    The realization that religion is, at best, a collection of philosophical metaphors lead to the realization that it is all made by men, and that it is not what it claims to be, hence it is a lie. Religious practices may be useful and have some beneficial effects, but the foundation is false.

  5. #5 Grackle
    June 13, 2010

    Advice to people who make these things, adding music over voice: Stop.

    It would be easier to hear the speaker if the music were replaced by equally-loud static noise because we can easily hear through the static. Music is structured and therefore voice-like: it is correlated noise, which trips up any signal processing. Trying to listen to a speaker while trying to ignore the music is like trying to listen to someone important while some brat chatters away loudly and incessantly.

    Have you not figured out why the band stops playing before the President gives his speech?

    I quit that video less than a minute in. That music is as offensive and rude as the crap they shove in our ears during TV commercials.

  6. #6 Otto
    June 13, 2010

    “Realizing that you are an atheist is a profound, personal experience.”

    Especially if it doesn’t disturb one’s psychological position at the center of the universe, apparently.

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