The Growth of Atheism and What it Means for Our Future

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posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:11 AM
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I agree with much of what you say, except that in America, athiesm is viewed with disdain. Those holding those views, especially if they are public officials, cannot openly admit their athiesm without worrying about retribution.

As simple proof that our society is not neutral on this, consider words like "belief" and "believing" and "believer." The subtle revelation by using these specific words reveal the complete assumptive starting point by society that there IS a God because it implies as fact that something exists to be believed in and that not believing makes one an "unbeliever" because you have "disbelief," which are by definition negative versions of the words. In other words, "belief" in our society is ingrained culturally as a virtuous thing, thus implying the contrary -- that athiesm is equal to lack of moral compass, lack of virtue. (Some will actively argue that point under the ignorant and silly notion that morality ONLY exists because of religious doctrine.)

In fact, it is SO ingrained that you yourself unknowingly completely accept the premise, as shown by your statement that no one is born an athiest. As a matter of fact, ALL humans ARE born as athiests because religion is TAUGHT to the young. The young may be curious and ponder the great questions like "where did this come from?" or "what does this mean?" but these are not signs of religion, only signs that humans are beings filled with curiosity.

edit on 13-6-2011 by pajoly because: (no reason given)
edit on 13-6-2011 by pajoly because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:22 AM
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Originally posted by Gorman91
reply to post by nicolee123nd
 


Not really any different. The growing atheist population is clearly just as human, with all the hatred and bigotry of the religious. If this wasn't true, then you wouldn't see such heated debates.

I was born into Catholicism, became an atheist, then thought it was dumb and went back into Catholicism, now I'm some sort of Christian. Point is this. When I had no faith, I still thought homosexuality was gross, abortion was wrong and scientifically proven to be murder, Muslims are pretty silly, wars must be fought to end wrong ideologies, and that there is evil in the world. So in actuality, my faith or lack there of had no effect on my view of social issues.


LOL. You demonstrate by your writing that all those things you believe ARE based upon your upbringing. Deny it if you will, but you were RAISED a hard right version of Catholic. Whether or not you are now a catholic is beside the point; the positions and cultural values taught to you are retained obviously. Why do you think you think homosexuality is gross? Why do you think Muslim's are silly? Why do you think abortion is wrong? You think these ideas just came to you out of the ether fully formed? Of course not. You hold those rather strident hard right values because of your upbringing, your childhood religion and if not by that religion than by your PARENTS and circle of family friends who themselves have had their values formed by their deeply doctrinaire religious upbringing.
edit on 13-6-2011 by pajoly because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:24 AM
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Well, I just would like to say that the MORE Atheist a country -- the more likely they are to be without war and have a higher quotient of happiness.

You want to find some country, breaking bricks into rubble, with generations in war and drenched in blood -- find one that is so devout, that merely mentioning you are the wrong religion will get you stoned to death.

There MIGHT be a heaven after life -- but all I really know about is life. If we acted as if there were nothing waiting for us, then we MIGHT hold life more dear. You know, instead of those platitudes that maybe in the afterlife, misery will be rewarded -- maybe we would defend those whose lives are filled with hunger and hopelessness, because maybe that's all they will ever know.

I don't know if people noticed a pattern of those who would abuse power, seeking authoritarian positions where power is unquestioned -- whether in business, government or the church -- but nothing is "more" unquestioned than the Word of God -- according to someone who has NOT been investigated properly.



... Well, that's my two cents, from a person who has figured out the ULTIMATE truth - and that is, that the ancient Greeks were right all along; we are the amusement of the Gods. Not that we are a video game -- these are much more evolved and sophisticated Gods -- we are more a giant hobby of Farmville.

But since I don't get to enjoy the other end of this game from their point of view -- I prefer to be in the "growing and prospering" farm, if it's all the same to you.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:27 AM
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reply to post by nicolee123nd
 


I was born an atheist and became Christian and I will tell you this, TPTB will use religion or atheism to accomplish there goals. The one difference that both parties should come to agree on to defeat TPTB is the fact that the Constitution and Bill of Rights rely on the belief that are rights are from God or a God, if you remove the existence of a God then these rights will have to come from a man. If atheist were smart they would not really care if they do not believe in God if they are right then there is no God to come back and take those rights away. Same with supposed Christians,Atheism is not a threat, I never posed a threat to Christians when I was an atheist, I had true Christian friends, gay friends,Buddhist friends and we all agreed that this was an important right that no "man"can tell you what to believe in. There is no one human being that I would trust to decide for the whole world what we all should believe in, let people judge for them selves. This concept will one day be destroyed by people who push evolution "AND" those who abuse religious beliefs.This country is special, that is why so many people have fled other countries to live here under the freedoms that we keep, yes if we can keep it. And to all my fellow Christians brothers and sisters out there that pretend to represent the ways of Jesus, you have done the worst damage, he is not a baseball bat to swing around and bash people with, if he was here today he probably would be hanging out with everyone but people of so called faith.Focus on the prize my peeps.If you are true believers than he will show himself thru you "not" you thru him.



P.S. I myself included in said last remark.
edit on 13-6-2011 by fireFNmissles because: I am not perfect and never will claim to be.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:28 AM
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I suppose you could say I was "raised christian", although I rejected it from a very early age. I cant ever remember 'adhering' to the dogma they taught. As a young child I just went to church every sunday and suffered through the lecture, because I didnt know any better and even if I did, I had no say in the matter. From there I went directly to rejecting religion in general because it just didnt make any sense. I still went to church though because I was still quite young. If I put up any fuss about it I would get 'grounded' (which I frequently was). It wasn't until about age 14 that I was finally able to stop going to church altogether, and I had a lot of pent up rage and hatred towards religion. I felt the very same way you seem to come across in your post, the entire world would be better off without religion, and that it is a detriment to society. I have since changed that opinion.
I still reject religion up front, yet wouldnt consider myself an athiest, most likely because I dont want to label myself, or 'belong' to any one group.

While I can agree with many of the points that have been brought up, for instance religious wars, adherence to blind faith, seemingly not questioning obvious logic, etc... There is also a flip side to that coin. There are a few points I would like to address.

First of all, Darwin himself didnt even fully believe his theory. Second, you mentioned there is nothing that can disprove evolution. That claim is just as ridiculous as religious fanatics that claim there is nothing that can disprove god. You seem to have put your blind faith into evolution. 60 years ago children were raised by the church if you will. Today children are raised by the schools, to draw a correlation. Micro-evolution has been proven time and time again, but to my knowledge there is not a single shred of evidence that supports macro-evolution. You yourself are not looking at the evidence that is out there with a clear and logical mindset, but enough about darwinian evolution

I have seen, first hand, religion completely change someones life. I dont wish to go into details, but religion has been a very good thing for this person. If believing in a fairy tale is what it takes to allow this person to function in normal society then I dont wish to take that away from them. Religion does have some good aspects to it, rules to live ones life by, attempting to 'imitate christ', etc.

I dont believe religion should ever be abolished or lost, they (collectively) are a wealth of historical information (no matter how embellished the stories are, nor to the extent we misinterpret the context today.) I dont think anybody should just accept religion at face value, but that doesnt mean there is no value to religion at all.

The way I understand it, religion was created as a form of (fear based) law. A way to control the masses, and institute some sort of wide reaching coherence throughout your kingdom. But this is no different than today. Religion begets good behavior through fear of eternal hellfire. Government begets good behavior through fear of incarceration.

For fun, I would suggest you go back and take a second look at religion when you feel ready. Come at it from an unbiased viewpoint. Throw everything you think you know out the window, and try to think outside the box while you do this. I find it entertaining to do this. For instance, take the bible and read it from several different viewpoints. Read it as an epic sci-fi novel. Read it as a historical account written by a people that didnt understand anything. See how they describe these fantastic events, wonder how they might interpret such things. How would they describe a cell phone, or a car, or even a musket (the simplest of all firearms) for example? Without knowledge of how these things worked, they would describe it in terms they could understand.

Having gone back and reread everything I typed, I do seem to be coming across aggressively which I hoped to avoid. I would just like to make it clear that I dont mean to attack you, in fact I agree with a lot of what you had said. Religion has been holding us back from realizing our full potential, and heinous acts have been committed in the name of religion (from the crusades, to alter-boys), although Im not fully convinced that none of these would have happened without religion though. They still may have been committed in the name of something else. I still have a few more thoughts swimming around in my head, but they are too jumbled and in the effort of keeping this reply short I will say that you have restarted a great discussion that has drawn mostly mature and conversational responses.
+ *



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:32 AM
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reply to post by Sundowner
 


Hey, why can't religion and science get along?

My fiance and I both agree that science fits in just fine with religion. After all, why not? I mean, I, being christian, have no problem with science and advancements in it. It's a tool that God gave us, and as the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves...!

Excellent points. Back when I was a theist, I never found my faith and my science in conflict. Similarly, my love of science has nothing to do with my turning to atheism.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:35 AM
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Originally posted by pajoly

Originally posted by Gorman91
reply to post by nicolee123nd
 


Not really any different. The growing atheist population is clearly just as human, with all the hatred and bigotry of the religious. If this wasn't true, then you wouldn't see such heated debates.

I was born into Catholicism, became an atheist, then thought it was dumb and went back into Catholicism, now I'm some sort of Christian. Point is this. When I had no faith, I still thought homosexuality was gross, abortion was wrong and scientifically proven to be murder, Muslims are pretty silly, wars must be fought to end wrong ideologies, and that there is evil in the world. So in actuality, my faith or lack there of had no effect on my view of social issues.


LOL. You demonstrate by your writing that all those things you believe ARE based upon your upbringing. Deny it if you will, but you were RAISED a hard right version of Catholic. Whether or not you are now a catholic is beside the point; the positions and cultural values taught to you are retained obviously. Why do you think you think homosexuality is gross? Why do you think Muslim's are silly? Why do you think abortion is wrong? You think these ideas just came to you out of the ether fully formed? Of course not. You hold those rather strident hard right values because of your upbringing, your childhood religion and if not by that religion than by your PARENTS and circle of family friends who themselves have had their values formed by their deeply doctrinaire religious upbringing.
edit on 13-6-2011 by pajoly because: (no reason given)



>> Homosexuality, amongst almost ALL mammals, is about the same in the Human population, as it is in chimps and monkeys and squirrels. People saying; "that's not natural" are surely not the naturalists. If God didn't want us to have homosexuality and abortion -- he wouldn't be the number one producer of Gays and "still" births.

And as far as the HISTORY of the church and abortion is concerned -- go look up "baby skeletons in the convent walls." Go ahead, I'll wait. You see, all those "ladies going to a nunnery" -- were usually from some wealthy dowager who didn't want anyone to know that his virginal daughter got knocked up by some farm hand -- so they send them to a Convent for a 10 month sabbatical to get closer to God. Being that medicine wasn't a strong suit, the normal technique was to wait 9 months, and either send the bastard child to be raised with abuse in an institution where he was sure to become a criminal, or just toss him in the walls and crypt of the Convent.

THAT is the history of "defense of children" for the Catholic church. But now, it's good to have more consumers and Christians, so every sperm is sacred.


>> As for this "Word of God" thing -- when was the last time some Buddhist kid, on his Tenth birthday, just up and said; "I'm following the teachings of Jesus!" Only if he got exposed and "taught" Christianity. So it's ALL about how you are raised. And the idea that you have to PROTECT children from exposure to "ungodly ways" -- is because if something REALLY were the Word of God, and were really, really powerful and great all on it's own, you wouldn't have to force it down their throats because they would steal it.

WE raise kids in this country to believe in Jesus and Santa. And then when they are something like Ten years old, we tell them the one that gives them stuff is not real, and the other one must be followed for the rest of their lives and requires they give him money and not really investigate all the other "truths" they are told because therein lies the devil.

And then you push for politicians and policies that guarantee misery, because nothing makes a people search for grace more than being totally miserable.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:38 AM
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Im a christian so to speak and I have come to this conclusion based on my own research into many different areas. I DO NOT take the bible literally because it was written by men, and men tend to stretch the truth. I do believe there is an ET side to this story somewhere but its hard to say what is and what is not, all im saying is that I am openminded to all conclusions about existence. The point I wanted to make is this, Atheism IS NOT good, atheism is no better than any other hardcore religious belief system. I say this because a true atheist will have no conscience. Here is what an atheist considers conscience ( "if i do this bad thing to this other person then there might be an adverse effect to my biological machine in the future such as jail or socail alienation"). So to say if a religious person was presented with a situation where they could do something wrong for their own personal benifit and there was no chance of them being caught, a truly religious person would not do said thing because they knew that their action did have a higher purpose. The atheist would almost always take the bait because it would be "illogical" not to, there would be no cons to outweigh the pro's of doing the wrong thing.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:40 AM
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I can't remember if it's a bumper sticker or a T-shirt I saw that said:



I don't have a problem with God.
It's his fan clubs that piss me off.


Or something like that.
edit on 13-6-2011 by CryHavoc because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:46 AM
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Originally posted by iterationzero
reply to post by Sundowner
 


Hey, why can't religion and science get along?

My fiance and I both agree that science fits in just fine with religion. After all, why not? I mean, I, being christian, have no problem with science and advancements in it. It's a tool that God gave us, and as the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves...!

Excellent points. Back when I was a theist, I never found my faith and my science in conflict. Similarly, my love of science has nothing to do with my turning to atheism.


Yeah, but its a good thing the Christians have the NEW Testament, because the old one -- the Bible, really has to be followed very loosely to fit in with modern science.

It isn't that Modern Life and Science fits in with Christianity or any of these other religions, it's that they add a bit to their recipe, in order that it's more palatable for the modern taste buds. Catholicism, if it's TOO strict for you and too full of "deity light" -- or as they call them; "saints", can always be traded in for Methodist.

We now know that kids need more fiber and less sugar. So the breakfast cereal "Captain Crunch" now boasts less sugar and "no corn syrup" -- you know, in case you were starting to think that Breakfast Cereal isn't really a good thing for kids.

So, in case you think that Evolution, and knowing that stars are Billions of years old like ours, and that we now know that solar systems and planets like earth formed from interstellar dust... "Genesis" is now just a "metaphor" when it used to be Gospel for tribes of Hebrews -- taken from the Babylonians. And ancient Greeks used to think that someone who did not contribute to a shrine of Zeus was liable to be hit by a bolt of lightening. Now we know it happens if you take Gods name in vain.

And the Religion that fits so well, used to burn witches and say "bless you" when you sneezed, because these same people thought the soul might exit the body when you blew your nose. Maybe the handkerchief was NOT an invention for sanitary habits -- it was to keep your mortal soul in your body.

The modern world is being driven by Psychopaths who will sell us Jesus or breakfast cereal or dog food, and it's just a new packaged product from the same stuff that was sold to superstitious "primitive" people. We don't carry spears anymore, we have iPods -- but we are basically, the same cowering fools.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by timepolarity
 


Atheism is not a religion, we simply do not believe in God or Gods, if you proved to me that good existed with physical proof I would accept it as truth, as with all science, when something is proven it becomes fact, you can't prove it because there isn't any prove, I can't prove he doesn't exist either, I've just wheighed up the all the arguments and the vast amount of flaws in religion and I CHOOSE not to believe in God, it requires no faith just critical thinking. Atheists do value human life, because without the slave bonds of religion, mankind can truly flourish, however I would never force non belief on someone, if you choose to believe, good luck to you, I certainly don't look down on you, I just don't agree :-)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:49 AM
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Originally posted by CryHavoc
I can't remember if it's a bumper sticker or a T-shirt I saw that said:



I don't have a problem with God.
It's his fan clubs that piss me off.


Or something like that.
edit on 13-6-2011 by CryHavoc because: (no reason given)


I like it -- but it's TOO LONG for a bumper sticker.

>> You can borrow this slogan that my dad and I came up with; "My philosophy is too complex for a bumper sticker".



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:50 AM
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reply to post by Gorman91
 


I just explained this. I do not believe. That's my position. My position is not "I believe there is no god".

Furthermore, that's idiotic. Scientific evidence, which is repeatedly tested and verified, takes about as much faith to accept as the faith that your legs won't suddenly turn into talc. Science and reason produce results, we can test those results and retest them and change parameters and come up with reasonable conclusions.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:51 AM
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reply to post by Nikola014
 



Originally posted by Nikola014
With your post you said everything about yourself.


And that was? Oh, I know what I said, that I embrace reason and object to broad generalizations about groups people are ignorant about.



I'm not going to respond you because this is insulting not just for me but for every single christian man here.


So the big scary atheist expressing his opinions about the blatant stereotype you presented is offensive? What is specifically offensive about it? That I disagreed with you?



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:55 AM
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reply to post by timepolarity
 



Originally posted by timepolarity
It's funny to me how atheists think they have the high ground - that believing in a lack of a God or gods is somehow distinct from other beliefs. It's still a faith in something you can't know with certainty.


How many times do I have to say this? Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in a lack.
Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in a lack.
Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in a lack.
Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in a lack.

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in a lack.


Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in a lack.
Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in a lack.





Atheism seems to me like the only faith that refuses to acknowledge that its a faith - which to me seems to make it the most foolish.


Atheism is not a faith, it is an absence of faith. I have no faith in deities. I do not believe in deities. I cannot make with epistemological certainty the claim that no deity exists, though I can make fairly reasonable claims about specific instances.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:55 AM
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reply to post by pajoly
 


Assumption right there, and a wrong one. Because my mother was pro-choice, and my dad barely spoke. I decided that abortion as murder through my own investigation into scientific proof of life. Something alive with its own unique characteristics that is terminated has been murdered. It's really that simple. In addition, I don't believe in morals, contrasting to what I was taught. The Catholics I grew up around didn't care about homosexuality. My opinion comes from a simple but humorous truth. Poop comes from there. Everyone's a little gay, I can't say my mind hasn't gone places. And when it does, that's gross. There's a host of things I believe that come from rebellion and not accepting something as true. You're assumptions of my life come from your own false generalizations. There's no such thing as a group. Everyone believes something different for their own reasons.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


For all we know that just proves life is a programmed thing. If you press play program on a computer it never changes. That doesn't make the program a real thing. It's still a program.

Truth is reality itself cannot be proven true, we take it on faith it is. You can say you don't believe. But that's still faith. Faith not in God, faith in your own correctness. Faith that you are right. You can choose not to have faith in God, but that statement is an act of faith. Faith that you have no faith is still faith in something.

One could even argue that the confidence in your own free will ability to choose atheism is an act of faith. After all, we believe we have free will, but we don't know enough about the brain to know. It's faith.
edit on 13-6-2011 by Gorman91 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:59 AM
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I think it might be a good thing just because for many, atheism seems to be a necessary step on the path to true spirituality/religion.

Something like this (a gross oversimplification):

1. Raised a dogmatic Christian afraid to question anything.
2. Mind starts to open, you become an atheist.
3. Mind opens further, heart starts to open (this part often requires some profound suffering), you find God again but have a much different idea of Him than you grew up with.

Collectively, it's like a snake shedding its skin. I think the world might see that in the near future (if we don't annihilate ourselves). Around 2000 years ago the snake (our civilization) shed its old, degraded skin. The new skin is now old, degraded, the symbols have lost their meaning, our lives have become aimless again. Thus the time is ripe for a new skin.

It's just an analogy that may or may not represent the true state of things. Take it with a grain of salt.

edit on 13-6-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 11:00 AM
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Originally posted by JBeezy
Im a christian so to speak and I have come to this conclusion based on my own research into many different areas. I DO NOT take the bible literally because it was written by men, and men tend to stretch the truth. I do believe there is an ET side to this story somewhere but its hard to say what is and what is not, all im saying is that I am openminded to all conclusions about existence. The point I wanted to make is this, Atheism IS NOT good, atheism is no better than any other hardcore religious belief system. I say this because a true atheist will have no conscience. Here is what an atheist considers conscience ( "if i do this bad thing to this other person then there might be an adverse effect to my biological machine in the future such as jail or socail alienation"). So to say if a religious person was presented with a situation where they could do something wrong for their own personal benifit and there was no chance of them being caught, a truly religious person would not do said thing because they knew that their action did have a higher purpose. The atheist would almost always take the bait because it would be "illogical" not to, there would be no cons to outweigh the pro's of doing the wrong thing.



Your "logic" on why there is altruism is flawed. Atheists, do not suddenly kill each other when nobody is looking. There is less violence in a country like Sweden, which is mostly NON-religious, than there is in a very religious country like the USA. In fact, you can find MUCH more violence across the board and it seems to correlate with more religion -- not less.

But when I raise my kids, I don't say; "Don't pick on Jimmy" or "Don't beat up that kid" because Satan will torment you in Hell -- and I don't say; "Pick up your room and you will go to heaven." I have an Allowance for that. Basically, Heaven is reward and Hell is punishment -- but it's this thing that happens AFTER anyone can witness it. Kids do good and bad things, depending on their own natures and how they are raised; Period. The REASON, can be something abstract or something immediate -- but it's basically, some authority figure enforcing or rewarding something.


>> Civil Rights, protection of property from those with more power, Women's suffrage, and end to slavery -- a LOT of things we consider moral today, grew out of principles not only NOT founded in Religion, they were often in SPITE of Religion. However, some Christians did push for an end to slavery because back then, they really took the "what you do unto the least of mine, you do unto me" as important -- not so much these days.

But Religious Conservatives have opposed everything that you can name that we now consider Moral and Decent about America throughout history. Godless, "progressives" have always pushed the boundaries and for limits on the King, or the Clergy, or that Rich Bastard who wants to build a coal fueled power plant in a poor neighborhood because he can bribe a few people and lower his expenses on smoke stack scrubbers.

We made progress to be Better people in spite of religion -- not BECAUSE of it. You can rationalize the stoning of women for being raped with a religion. Without one -- you have to come up with a better excuse like "security." But with either paradigm -- I know that hurting someone is wrong, and I know it because people are TAUGHT to hate or taught to be good, regardless of the reason given.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 11:03 AM
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Spock, I've found that evil usually triumphs...unless good is very, very careful.





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