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Atheist Men Vs. Atheist Women


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I was listening to a podcast today and a guest psychologist suggested that most women come to atheism as a result of moral inconsistencies. Ex. god killing babies so they don't want to worship a tyrant. Because he didn't site a main reason for males I assume that males arrive for different reason. Im not really interested in the latter since Ive been a male for 30 years but am interested to hear if people agree with the guest speakers reasoning for women. Those of you that know my story probably can piece together why Im bringing this up.zDuivel7.gif .

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Okay before we dive in . . .

 

Bad: If you are a woman then you X

 

Good: Studies comparing one population with another found a trend X.

 

I'm not an expert on male vs. female brains but from what little I have heard there are different trends. Maybe the guest psychologist has data supporting his or her conclusion. I would like to hear more. I did not come to atheism due to God's immorality. For me it came about because I realized how stupid I had been in my faith. I couldn't tell you if I am the trend for men or an outlier.

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I became an atheist because I found that religion could be made up and could fool billions of people and that there were valid reasons to make it up (like men gaining power because they "talked to god", control the masses, ect.). Could became probably was and, well, here I am! The immorality of it all only confirmed my non belief after the fact.

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For me it was the teachings on homosexuality that led me to question all the teachings - not just moral ones, all of them. It wasn't about not wanting to worship a homophobic god, it was just the issue that felt obviously wrong and led me to question (and eventually disbelieve) the others. So I'm not quite with the rest of the atheist women there, but I'm quite used to being the weirdo!

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I'm with Edie. It was teaching on homosexuality that made me start to realize the injustice of the God of the Bible. It was the first thing I couldn't "spin" to myself any longer. From that beginning I quickly admitted a lot of other things that don't stand up.

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Female here who realized it was all a lot more likely to be made up simply because we want those religious claims to be true. That's why every culture has its various faith traditions and colorful creation myths. So, understanding something about the way the world works and something about human psychology got me here.

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Female who realized that the buybull just didn't make sense. (Although one of the first things I ever learned about the bible -- the Abraham/Isaac story -- completely horrified me at five years old! So maybe that moral inconsistency got me started on the road to atheism.) Later on in middle/high school, when I learned about the various religions of the world, I realized they're all variations on basically the same theme. Obviously man-made.

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I can't speak for all men or women, but I can speak based on my experiences only.

 

My decisions were mainly based on inconsistencies. If something is going to be the basis for my entire life, it better damn well be consistent. It also needs to prove to me that it's a valid way to run my life. Nothing can demand my freedom unless it has a darn good reason. I think for a lot of men, it comes down to freedom of choice. Most men don't like being told they HAVE to do something. I want to choose to do something for good reasons.

 

From the women I've known, the choice seems to be more based on social responsibility. A lot of them will be perfectly willing to accept faith without proof if it's good for the family group. For women that this holds true with, I can see that their primary reason for leaving the faith would be the texts that describe God condoning the death of women and infants.

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Okay before we dive in . . .

 

Bad: If you are a woman then you X

 

Good: Studies comparing one population with another found a trend X.

 

I completely agree but I didnt find anything about the way he or I worded this stereotyping or generalizing.

 

 

...... (Although one of the first things I ever learned about the bible -- the Abraham/Isaac story -- completely horrified me at five years old! So maybe that moral inconsistency got me started on the road to atheism.)

 

Its worth pointing out that to point out that since deconversion is so gradual we do forget the little things that started chipping away at our faith. We are in a study on arbraham at church and my wife said something about it to my 4 year old. I butted in and sarcastically said that abraham took his son up on a mountain to kill him and make god happy. My wife looked at me likeeek.gif but its the sad truth.

 

I did look back and it was john loftus who quoted that statistic and he is neither psychologist or economist. However, I could see this being somewhat valid. God as a tyrant never crossed my mind I actually thought the tyrant part was kinda cool since I was on his side.

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For me it was gradual at first. When I was young I was very involved in the church (evangelical), as it was the dominating institution in my small town. However, I was always bright kid and because of this intellect I was often malaligned and ostracized for not being "faithful" enough. How they came to that conclusion I don't know. However when reading about the Jeff Warren trial, about how young men were banished at the whim of church elders. I've come to realize that this hostility they held for me was due to fear, the fear that I'd expose them for what they are and that it was only a matter of time till I became enlightened to their ploys. Unfortunately, due to my relative isolation in a small town I'd consider it to be "human shortcomings." Afterwards I entered the Army and was exposed to the larger world, in turn found it to be far more pervasive than my original assessment.

 

While in the Army I operated in Korea, and gained the perception to observe cultural behaviors that often are unnoticeable to one who has grown up in a particular culture. Due in part to two decade long wars and massive levels of troop levels, I was in Iraq. Events you see there can lead to a "crisis of faith", and I'll leave it at that. So I left and re-entered civilian life. It was hard to adjust, my support systems where woefully inadequate, and many people just avoided looking me in the eye even. I tried to go to church to reconnect to "God" and in return I witnessed the most hateful, incendiary, and ignorant sermon, and so I left. I was convinced that there was no hope left in salvaging such a broken and malevolent institution and if there really was a "God" that they would have done something to address the injustices I've witnessed, done in their name.

 

So that's why I don't believe in any of that ridiculous mythology.

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I couldn't defend god anymore without feeling like a hypocritical jerk (namely, homosexuality, premarital sex, women's reproductive rights). Had I not went through a very painful season where I felt absolutely alone, praying for god's comfort with none received, I would probably still be a jerk. I think eventually I would have come to this conclusion, though.

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I believe that for each of us, it is different, based on our experiences, etc. For this male, it has more to do with debilitating illnesses and natural disasters (yes, I realize that I am an atheist, and at least to myself, am ready to own it).

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I completely agree but I didnt find anything about the way he or I worded this stereotyping or generalizing.

 

Nor I. I've just seen threads like this get derailed because down the road there is confusion. I just wanted to cover that before it came up.

 

 

Its worth pointing out that to point out that since deconversion is so gradual we do forget the little things that started chipping away at our faith. We are in a study on arbraham at church and my wife said something about it to my 4 year old. I butted in and sarcastically said that abraham took his son up on a mountain to kill him and make god happy. My wife looked at me likeeek.gif but its the sad truth.

 

I grew up in the church and that Biblical "Genocide is Justice" thing messed up my thinking.

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I was listening to a podcast today and a guest psychologist suggested that most women come to atheism as a result of moral inconsistencies. Ex. god killing babies so they don't want to worship a tyrant. Because he didn't site a main reason for males I assume that males arrive for different reason. Im not really interested in the latter since Ive been a male for 30 years but am interested to hear if people agree with the guest speakers reasoning for women. Those of you that know my story probably can piece together why Im bringing this up.zDuivel7.gif .

 

Female here. The inconsistencies and irrationalities hit me first -- and the fact that I could get only fishy answers from supposed "experts." Moral repugnance hit me later -- but harder. The fact that morally repellant stories and commands were in service to something so crazy-irrational combined finally to drive me away.

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For me, I had come to terms with the fact that my belief in a fella that died for me because some chick thousands of years ago ate an apple from a poisonous tree after a talking snake told her to was irrational. Snakes can't speak. Done and done. It wasn't about morality, but I think like a man. I have an uncanny ability to not make decisions based on emotion. I'm the female Sheldon Cooper.

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I could never quite give myself to it completely, although I tried very hard. There was always this little voice in my head saying, "You know this isn't real." And I've been tossing around this idea lately that there might be something in the way our brains are wired. I wonder if it isn't something sort of like the enlarged amygdala that Conservatives tend to have, which makes them more fearful and prone to make decisions based on that fear. I know now that people can come to believe anything they want to believe. Our brains are very powerful, and we can actually drum up emotional "love" for something or someone simply because we want it bad enough. If we pretend something long enough, it becomes very real for us. My mother swears she has a deeply loving relationship and communication with her god, just as if he were a real, breathing person, and if it weren't for that, she would never have made it through her life.

 

However, I really think that there are some people who never really can fool themselves, and they are always aware that it's not real, even though they put on quite an act. Some of us just start seeing the illusion for what it is. We can say it's the hypocrisy and the contradictions, or whatever, but mostly I think it really is just a mass delusion that we can't participate in anymore, because we're just not wired for pretense.

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I'm not exactly sure if mine counts as logical or moral. I never had an issue with the church's teaching being illogical if you start with their premises. I had a lot of fun building elaborate logical constructs in my head. Problem was that every time I tried to live out my life as a christian, those pretty constructs just didn't fit. Christianity was logical but not reasonable; reality proves that the assumptions were all wrong. It just wasn't livable.

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I did not come to atheism via moral concerns, but rather intellectual ones.

 

Faith is inherently a barrier to intellectual integrity. When you realize that, no religion will suffice.

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I became an atheist because I found that religion could be made up and could fool billions of people and that there were valid reasons to make it up (like men gaining power because they "talked to god", control the masses, ect.). Could became probably was and, well, here I am! The immorality of it all only confirmed my non belief after the fact.

For me it was the teachings on homosexuality that led me to question all the teachings - not just moral ones, all of them. It wasn't about not wanting to worship a homophobic god, it was just the issue that felt obviously wrong and led me to question (and eventually disbelieve) the others. So I'm not quite with the rest of the atheist women there, but I'm quite used to being the weirdo!

 

Both of these were factors. Some of my deconversion was due to moral inconsistencies, and some were due to reason.

 

I struggled a lot with homosexuality. If I love my homosexual friends, how much more must God love them? How can the church rail against them? I did find Biblical ways to counter "Biblical" gay-bashing, but no one was willing to listen, or they would talk in circles to try and discredit what I had said.

 

I struggled GREATLY with Paul's "conversion" and acceptance as the head of the church. I struggled even more with his attitude towards women. I view Paul as the worst sort of misogynist; my priest and other religious friends tried quite in vain to prove to me that wasn't the case. As a feminist, I know female oppression when I see it.

 

I struggled with the hypocrisy. We could take a word, entirely made up by Paul and appearing in no other texts with no clearly defined or scholarly agreed-upon interpretation to mean "homosexuality" and use it to disenfranchise an entire subset of the world's population, while blatantly ignoring his clearly written decrees concerning women covering their heads in church and remaining quiet and subservient. There was a true cognitive dissonance here. I had seen, and had used myself, the "New Covenant" argument to reason why we were no longer held by Old Testament law, but this selective enforcement of New Testament law I could not understand.

 

I struggled with REASON. Having studied world religions and mythology, I know that many cultures have a flood myth similar to that of the Christian Noah. I know every religion has a creation myth. I know many have God-impregnation virgin birth myths that result in half-man half-god entities. I looked at these and said, aloud to my husband even, "If they made these up, then how do we know that ours, which is SO similar, is not made up as well?"

 

And my final straw in rejecting Christianity was actually at the hands of C.S. Lewis, famed Christian apologetic. In his book "Mere Christianity" he points out that you cannot believe that Jesus was just a good and moral man. Either he was who he claimed to be - the Christ - or he was crazy. Who goes around claiming that they are the son of God, not metaphorically but biologically, and is sane? NO ONE. So, while I appreciate the examples Jesus set, his positive intentions (which have since been blown to unrecognizable smithereens by generations of "Christians"), his good deeds, and even his profound teachings of love, I can only conclude that the guy had SERIOUS delusions of grandeur.

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Female here (if the flying unicorn avvie didn't clue you in). It's really hard to assess exactly what made me leave. The Bible's inconsistencies and lack of historicity *are* moral questions for me.

 

God said he'd always answer prayer. Not with yes/no/maybe. With YES. Always YES. Never NO. Never JUST WAIT. Always YES. But he doesn't. Jesus said he'd return in his followers' lifetimes. Not metaphorical lifetimes. Not the Earth's lifetime. He was talking plainly. But he didn't. It's not moral to lie.

 

Christian leaders assert that the Bible is a true and reliable accounting of God's behaviors, activities, demands, expectations, and promises for his followers, but it just isn't at all on any count. It's not moral to assert that which is untrue.

 

I mean, I had issues with Christianity's backwards stance on social issues as well (odd how Christians are, in the aggregate, *always* on the wrong side of these issues), but I'd have put up with these if the Bible had been true and kept its promises, in exactly the same way that a Hollywood intern puts up with sexual harassment if she knows she'll never find another job in that diseased town if she gets fired for complaining. My doubts could not coalesce without seeing objective evidence contradicting the Bible's claims and promises.

 

So I'm not sure what you'd say there about why I left. Was it for seeing immorality in the religion? Sort of. But I was only able to engage with that immorality because I was willing to accept the evidence against its truthfulness.

 

ETA: Kate, I *really* really really really like you and respect your intelligence and I thought that was an amazing post. Here's hoping you post a lot more.

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Maybe I can muddy the waters a bit: I grew up as a girl in a fundamentalist Christian family and lost my faith sometime towards the end of high school. Now I have transitioned genders and present as male. So not only can I not tell you which "side" I am a data point for, I'm somewhat skeptical of the categories of "man" and "woman," because they leave a significant number of people out.

 

So, for whatever it may be worth, I think I left for two main reasons. The first was that the faith I was taught was not working for me, personally, at all. I was seriously depressed as a teenager, trying very hard not to be queer, and baffled to the point of incredulity as to how I was supposed to make sense of what was already for me a very complicated existence, given only the simple tools I had been handed by my parents and the church. I prayed; nobody answered. I tried to be happy and "full of the spirit" but no matter where I went trying to achieve that, it eluded me.

 

While this was happening, I think something quite simple was also happening: my brain was maturing and I began to be able to think critically about what I had been taught. So as god remained silent while I flailed about trying to understand how I was supposed to fit into his plan, I began to see how tortured was the logic that was being used by both my family and by church leaders to explain such things as unanswered prayers, complex problems of evil and free will, atrocities committed in the name of Christianity, and all the other problems most skeptics have been familiar with for a long time. Finally, the whole cosmology I had believed in as a child became so obviously childish, simplistic, and reactionary, while still being claimed by adults as the ultimate truth, that in my head the entire system collapsed in on itself, its circular base assumptions being insufficient to sustain it any longer.

 

So I left mainly because my personal experience could not be made to square with the demands of this faith without my having to deny everything I knew to be true about myself, but also because the system I had been taught could not stand up to the scrutiny of a 16-year-old high school student armed only with an increasingly sensitive intellectual dishonesty detector. In the 1970s there was not a lot of skeptical writing available to kids living in the Deep South of the US. I had to come to my own conclusions, and while it almost killed me to figure all this out, I am still somewhat astonished at how fragile this god turned out to be, who was figured as solid bedrock by his adult followers.

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In my case my faith did not work for me at all. I don't see the point in treating people who are not Christians like garbage, which is how quite a few Christians I have encountered treat others. Like trash. When I was 19, a gay Mormon kid was tossed out of his parents house (the Mormons in that kids ward later threw fits that the parents did this) and a local Christian family took the guy in. He was 17, and would have been living on the streets otherwise. You do not want to know what kind of grief that family endured for taking that kid in. Several people told the family that he really did need to learn to live on the street and starve for being gay. I'm not kidding. They wanted him to repent of the sin of being gay.

 

I have never ever agreed with the church's politics. I used to describe myself as pro-life to appease others, but reality is that even when I was a Christian I did not care what other women did with their bodies. My brother and I spent a significant amount of time in Nevada as kids, enough to where the state's very laid back attitudes politically have influenced us - Nevada doesn't have many laws, they are very lax when it comes to morality (prositition is even legal in some counties, gambling is everywhere, etc) and very lax on taxes, so both myself and my brother have always struggled with the ideals of the right wing Christians. I have deconverted fully; my brother won't step foot in a church but still claims Christ. I never understood dictating who should marry. I never understood why gambling should be illegal. The entire time I was a Christian those ideals that Christians strove for gnawed at me. Even more so when I read the Bible and saw that the early Christians were not that way. They didn't picket things. They didn't talk about how gay people should starve the gayness out of themselves.

 

In my case it was seeing how Christians treated others. Most cases it was nasty, or they were using the other person, hoping the other person would convert. The whole house of cards crashed though when I finally read the Bible. One of my LDS roommates in college had a quote from Mother Teresa that served as a reminder not to treat people poorly. I can't remember the exact wording, but it was something to the effect of "you can tell a person's character by how they treat people who are of no value to them." The treatment Christians often engage in when it comes to gays, atheists, Mormons, Jews, Democrats, anyone not like them is truly appalling.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's interesting, and made me look back. I think that the first thing that got me looking at christianity with some suspicion was the incredible misogyny of it, now that I'm honest with myself. (maybe that was fueled by the fact that i am not even close to being a domestic goddess, or a breeder and could never buy the view that women are less intelligent or logical than men are)

 

I was insulted and offended by that and no amount of apologetics convinced me that it wasn't 'anti-female' because it's pretty clear that it is. I needed to understand that... Of course we all know where inquiry leads... lol

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I had an argument with a muslim man, whom i actually like, about the hijab.

 

he said, "it's because we respect women that the hijab is good, it is for their protection. You are showing her you value her. Your wife is like a diamond and the hijab protects her like you would protect anything precious".

 

*sigh*

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