Firstly,

The question is, how do people get to be atheists?

The most common path to becoming an atheist is through Rational Critical Thinking, or in other words, questioning their own faith in light of all available evidence.

Theists so often claim that atheists are ignorant of religion and god, yet, actually the opposite has been found to be true.

Survey results (i) indicate that on average, atheists actually know more about religion than the vast majority of theists, in fact, atheists often know more about Christianity than many high ranking clergy, such as priests and cardinals.

As many atheists had been high ranking clerics in many religions.

They found their way to becoming atheists by critically examining their beliefs and found, often to their own dismay, that they can no longer believe.

After this discovery of their non-belief, many thought there was something wrong with themselves, for not being able to believe any more. As so often their religions state that losing belief is a sign of possession by the evil one or an affliction of the soul.  So, many try in vain to re-establish their belief in god.

But, as most atheists eventually discover. Belief is not a choice an individual can make!

If you cannot feel comfortable trying to make yourself believe something, no matter how hard you try and even pretend to believe, then you, really are not a believer and likely never will be again.

This is the position many in religion, including high ranking clergy find themselves.

Some stay on as closet non-believers, pretending to believe.

Yet many admit their non-belief and find themselves on sites like Atheist Nexus.

They arrived here through the process of Rational Critical Thinking.

They are indeed more intelligent than their theistic peers and even leaders of their past religion.

Because they are capable of thinking beyond the closed, ignorance that they had been indoctrinated into during their theistic years.

These atheists that result from having lost religious belief through critical thinking are in many ways superior to those they once shared their religious belief with.

Surveys have confirmed this.

(i) http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/09/28/130191248/atheists-a...

(ii) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/religious-people-are-less...

(iii) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2395972/Atheists-higher-IQs...

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/high-iq-turns-academics-...

These atheists are not only higher thinkers, they are also special, because they have found a freedom of expression and existence that no devout theists will ever find.

Essentially, they have found themselves.

Something fundamentalist theists will never achieve.

Yes, there are even spiritual atheists, as I like the comments Diana Nyad made in this interview with Opra. I also feel awe every time I look outside my windows or take a walk.

Thanks to Sk8eycat for reminding me:

For anybody in a sensitive position who has found that they no longer believe in god, where exposing your non-belief could have nasty consequences, such as in a clerical role of an established religion, in which you have peers that may come down heavily on you, followers who may be distraught and bitter,  and thinking of these  distress you. "The Clergy Project" may be able to help provide you with the best way out of your predicament. 

http://clergyproject.org/

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I guess I did it bassackwards.  Even as a child, I thought the sunday school tales we were told belonged in the same category as "Cinderella," "Snow White," and other fantasy tales, and when I realized everyone else believed Jesus was true, I thought there was something wrong with me.  I went to services and buybull study 3 or 4 times a week, but it was more for the social contacts....I still don't understand what "worship" really means..If anything.

Anyroad, when I was in my early 20s, I decided to read the entire buybull looking for answers.  I was partly horrified, and half the time laughing at the preposterous stuff in both testaments....and by the time I got to Revelation it began to sound like what I was beginning to hear about the effects of psychedelic drugs.

I realized that I could not force myself to believe that stuff, and it was like a 100 lb sack of manure slid off my back.  I thought WTF, and relaxed about the whole thing.  And broke up with the boyfriend who insisted that I convert to Catholicism because he wanted our wedding to be a high nuptial mass.  That was also a relief.

That was more than 50 years ago, and I only think about it when we get into a church-state entanglement the way we are now....hearing our enlightened founders whirling in their graves.

A high nuptial mass?

He would have owned you like a slave...until one of you died.

I know that now....I never wanted children, and he would have wanted me to pop one out every 18 months or so.  I got over that "romance" very fast!

(The Disgusting Duggars should NOT be on any TV cable show.  Bleah.)

Every 18 months, Sheesh!

You would have to not breast feed them.

As natives who continually breast feed their children, only pop one out every 3 to 5 years.

The progesterone produced from breast feeding, acts as a natural contraceptive, it prevents ovulation.

Western women don't breast feed often enough for the effect to work properly.

Yet, native women like those of the Kalahari have it timed perfectly, so they have years between cycles.

Interesting stuff.

Learned this from Robert Sapolsky's book, "Why Zebra's Don't Get Ulcers"

:-D~

That breast-feeding myth works about as well as the Cat-lick rhythm method....ie: about 50% of the time.  I knew a girl when I was in high school who became pregnant with her second child while she was still nursing the first.  That was back in the 1950s, before the first version of the pill became available, and LONG before Roe v. Wade.  She tried to kill herself, and that didn't work either.

PS: If there were not people like Dan Barker, a former pentecostal evangelist who started reading scientific books, magazines, and essays, because he had always wanted to know the TRUTH about the world, there would be no need for web sites like The Clergy Project....they help ministers, priests, pastors who have "lost" their faith learn new professions and get their asses out of the pulpits that are killing them.

Yes, I should have given "The Clergy Project" a plug.

Thanks Sk8ey!

I really feel sadder for people who sincerely believed and then discovered that they had been force-fed nonsense than I do for people like myself who never could believe any religion.  (I studied a LOT of different ones before I let it all go...I was looking for the "right" one....that's how I almost married a Crap-lick.  *whew!*  Narrow escape!)

I only dated a theist once, all my other girlfriends have been atheists.

Among the women here, the vast majority I have met, have been atheist.

The theist and I didn't get along too well, as my first visit to her family, I upset her fundamentalist father with my comments.

So, I think that spelled the beginning of the end.

He was a Church Of God devotee.

His daughter was one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen, that possibly comes from her Swedish mother who was also a great beauty.

But, it was not to be.

Though, afterwards, I reconciled to myself that it was likely for the better.

Sounds like Matt Gabe

He's Blind and Stupid!

BTW, that nutjob Matt Gabe is at it again, will have to shuffle him down to where he belongs.

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