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Goodbye Jesus

Out of about 30% of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated, only 4% identify as Atheist


moxieflux66

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I've seen reports of these stats. 

 

I think it takes some work to reach the point where one can affirm with some confidence that one declines to believe in God, and to give some reasons for that stance. I would guess that most people aren't interested in that level of engagement with "the large issues." I agree with the article's observations about the social shame angle - many of us grew up in environments where atheists were mistrusted and/or scorned, even cranky old Uncle Phil. And yes, I don't think Black or Latino atheists are very visible as a large group, though there are some who make their voices heard.

 

Most kids who grow up in non-religious households aren't going to become religious later on, but some do. I think in some cases, in addition to emotional reasons, converts from "nones" to religious are motivated by the attempts at rigorous thought that they can find among some religionists. Their upbringing hadn't prepared them to consider questions like "what are the implications of the principle that everything must have a cause that explains its existence sufficiently," and so on. So they are bowled over. Case in point: Leah Libresco. (Plus she had a Catholic boyfriend - but why? Cuz they were on the debate team at Yale?)

 

Well, I digress. Anyway, thanks for posting the link.

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I have found over the years that a lot of atheists are the rebellious type that really don't know that much about religions. I align more with the intellectual type which are atheists that don't believe because the bible consists of obviously questionable stories, some of which can easily be proven wrong by science, like Genesis.

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9 hours ago, ficino said:

many of us grew up in environments where atheists were mistrusted and/or scorned

So true. I grew up in the 1950s when being an atheist was associated with (gasp!) Communism. And America was at war with that. I remember when the words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance. (I don't say those words.)

 

I still think the word "atheist" is viewed by many as a pejorative. And the suffix "ist" or "ism" suggests that there is some sort of belief system associated with it. How many of us have been asked, "So what do you believe?" I avoid the word and when pressed describe myself as not believing in gods or spirits of any kind.

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10 hours ago, ficino said:

I think in some cases, in addition to emotional reasons, converts from "nones" to religious are motivated by the attempts at rigorous thought that they can find among some religionists. Their upbringing hadn't prepared them to consider questions like "what are the implications of the principle that everything must have a cause that explains its existence sufficiently," and so on. So they are bowled over.

I believe I know a case of exactly this. This young man was not raised with any religion and neither was his mother. He is also highly intelligent so I think that was the 'hook' for him. 

I can only hope he reasons his way out of it soon. 

Thank you for your input! 

 

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3 hours ago, pantheory said:

I have found over the years that a lot of atheists are the rebellious type that really don't know that much about religions. I align more with the intellectual type which are atheists that don't believe because the bible consists of obviously questionable stories, some of which can easily be proven wrong by science, like Genesis.

Did you see the part in the article about the specific age of 16? Didn't you decide at that age to be atheist? 

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10 minutes ago, older said:

So true. I grew up in the 1950s when being an atheist was associated with (gasp!) Communism. And America was at war with that. I remember when the words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance. (I don't say those words.)

 

I still think the word "atheist" is viewed by many as a pejorative. And the suffix "ist" or "ism" suggests that there is some sort of belief system associated with it. How many of us have been asked, "So what do you believe?" I avoid the word and when pressed describe myself as not believing in gods or spirits of any kind.

Even in the 70's, when I first heard someone defend Communism for the first time, Atheism wasn't mentioned. The stigma was synonymous with devil worshippers. 

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Ditto.

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I've noticed that some people see it as an all or none situation.  If you don't believe in the Biblical God, you are an atheist.  

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4 hours ago, Weezer said:

I've noticed that some people see it as an all or none situation.  If you don't believe in the Biblical God, you are an atheist.  

Once again, my experience with Atheism is limited. My one friend who was explained it more of what she DIDN'T believe as what she did. When it came to her response about what happens after death (a question I asked her) she said, 'game over'. What happens? Your body rots and your consciousness stops. 

Other details about it were just her lack of belief in a god of any type. 

Perhaps some of our members can educate us about these matters? Or start a new thread? 

 

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5 hours ago, moxieflux66 said:

 

Other details about it were just her lack of belief in a god of any type. 

 

That is bascally the definition of atheism, as I understand it.  But some people believe there may be an "energy" or "source" or "creator" or "intelligent designer" or "god" other than the Biblical God.  As a cousin told me a few days ago, "this huge, extremely complex, mind blowing universe didn't just happen.  It had to have an intelligent designer."   I asked my cousin who created the designer, and his reply was that the designer has always existed.  So I said, if designer has always existed, perhaps matter and life giving energy has always existed.  Who knows?? 

 

It's a mystery, and why I say I'm agnostic if pushed to know what I believe.

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On 5/30/2024 at 8:24 AM, ficino said:

 

. I would guess that most people aren't interested in that level of engagement with "the large issues."

 

Also my observation.

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2 hours ago, Weezer said:

As a cousin told me a few days ago, "this huge, extremely complex, mind blowing universe didn't just happen.  It had to have an intelligent designer."   I asked my cousin who created the designer, and his reply was that the designer has always existed.  So I said, if designer has always existed, perhaps matter and life giving energy has always existed.  Who knows?? 

 

 

But why does it have to be a 'something' or someone? 

 

"matter and life giving energy"...another name for god? 🤔

Sorry Weez

 

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1 hour ago, moxieflux66 said:

But why does it have to be a 'something' or someone? 

 

I am not sure I'm understanding this question.  Can you expand on what you are asking?

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4 minutes ago, Weezer said:

 

I am not sure I'm understanding this question.  Can you expand on what you are asking?

Let me put it like this. And relate it to a thread Edgarcito started a while back too. About perfection....

 

Maybe perfection, as well as God, can only exist in our individual imaginations. As an example, I was once told, "The fantasy is always better than the reality". I've found that to be true in other ways, but does it relate to God too? As soon as we bring god down to earth 'he' his flawed. Maybe that's why 'he' didn't want idols made, or graven images? 

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1 minute ago, moxieflux66 said:

 

Maybe perfection, as well as God, can only exist in our individual imaginations. As an example, I was once told, "The fantasy is always better than the reality". I've found that to be true in other ways, but does it relate to God too? As soon as we bring god down to earth 'he' his flawed. Maybe that's why 'he' didn't want idols made, or graven images? 

 

You nailed it in your first sentence!  No one has seen, heard, measured, or observed "god", so he is, as far as we know, only a concept (imagination) in our minds.  What we "bring down to earth" is the MYTHS (imaginations) (biblical stories) created by humans of the God concept.  There is no "reality" to compare it to.  Does this answer your question?

 

By the way, I have found in life that there are a few times when the reality has been better than the fantasy! 😁  And I ain't talking about religion.

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Maybe my question was rhetorical Weez. 😉 But thank you for asking and thank you for the clarifying answer! 

Maybe God is what we make it/him/her and we don't have to sell it? Or justify it? 

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2 hours ago, moxieflux66 said:

 

"matter and life giving energy"...another name for god? 🤔

 

Not exactly.  I'm no scientist, but the way I see it, the universe contains matter and energy.  Where those two things came from, and how they are  combined to create life is the big mystery in my mind.  The Bible says "God" did it, but that god seems to only be a concept in peoples minds. 

 

Would one of the scientists on the forum help me out here??

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4 minutes ago, moxieflux66 said:

 

Maybe God is what we make it/him/her and we don't have to sell it? Or justify it? 

 

Exactly!

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I actually used the study mentioned in the article as a source for one of my papers in school this past semester. As I recall, about five or six years ago, atheism was at just 2.5-3% of the nones. Personally, I think it's a healthy thing to avoid organized religion. Someone who is spiritual, I can respect. When they start legislating my life based on their spirituality, then I have an issue.

 

One thing I wish the study had done was measure secularists as well. While this isn't a religion, it's an important societal value that can better inform the numbers in the original study. 

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4 hours ago, TheBluegrassSkeptic said:

I actually used the study mentioned in the article as a source for one of my papers in school this past semester. As I recall, about five or six years ago, atheism was at just 2.5-3% of the nones. Personally, I think it's a healthy thing to avoid organized religion. Someone who is spiritual, I can respect. When they start legislating my life based on their spirituality, then I have an issue.

Yes!!

And do you have a link available for your paper, perchance? I'd love to read it ❤️

 

4 hours ago, TheBluegrassSkeptic said:

One thing I wish the study had done was measure secularists as well. While this isn't a religion, it's an important societal value that can better inform the numbers in the original study

I would also be interested in this if such a study comes about. Can you keep us updated? 

 

So happy to hear from you Bluegrass! 

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5 hours ago, moxieflux66 said:

 

And do you have a link available for your paper, perchance? I'd love to read it ❤️

 

 

It was just a short paper for sociology class and wasn't specifically focused on the topic of the study, but had some data relevant to what I was writing about. Nothing important lol

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17 hours ago, TheBluegrassSkeptic said:

 

It was just a short paper for sociology class and wasn't specifically focused on the topic of the study, but had some data relevant to what I was writing about. Nothing important lol

Thanks, but I'm sure you're probably being modest. Instead, I will read more of your 'rotting ideas and motivations' both here and abroad on Amazon! Thanks again for your comment. 

Moxie 

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On 5/30/2024 at 4:35 PM, moxieflux66 said:

Did you see the part in the article about the specific age of 16? Didn't you decide at that age to be atheist? 

 

Yup, about age 15 or 16, after studying quite a bit of many religions and science, I finally came to a Eureka moment one day, coming to the realization that all religions were simply BS, some with possible philosophical values like Buddhism, or selective moral values to consider in many religions. At that moment I silently declared myself an atheist knowing that parts of the Christian Bible could easily be proven wrong by science.

 

My Eureka moment was different, however, in that I also realized at the same time that not all of science was the gospel truth also.

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On 5/30/2024 at 4:27 PM, older said:

I still think the word "atheist" is viewed by many as a pejorative. And the suffix "ist" or "ism" suggests that there is some sort of belief system associated with it. How many of us have been asked, "So what do you believe?" I avoid the word and when pressed describe myself as not believing in gods or spirits of any kind.

 

Atheism isn't a belief system per se ... but the 'new' atheists I see online more often than not are married to logic, science, and evidence. It's very common. It isn't simply a lack of belief in a god or gods. It's a secular philosophy and some of its members are as consumed with its dogma as much as any religious believer. 

 

 

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