Atheism is about lack of belief in a deity, Leandro. If you are convinced there is NO deity, you're an atheist. If you're not certain and that certainty about that question is not available, more likely you're an agnostic.
This isn't a question that people generally come to easily, and I suspect that, if you want to take time to process, you'll find a reasonably receptive audience here on A|N. Best wishes.
I call myself an agnostic atheist. It means that I do not believe in the existence of any god, because I have found no reason to do so. I have a personal philosophy which allows me to live with that state of mind. I use the prefix agnostic, because I have no way of proving that there is no god, but anyone who knows a little philosophy underatsnds that you can't prove a universal negative, unless the entity has some essential property which can be shown to be false. A way to keep a belief in a god is to make that god unknowable, then it is completely unfalsifiable. On the other hand, an unknowable god is not a real concept in the mind - just an unknown. If a god was unknowable, then we'd all have to be agnostic - there would be no test by which we could prove or disprove the god.
The question is, Leandro, do you believe in a god or not? 'Theos' means 'god' in Greek. A theist lives with the belief in a god. An atheist lives without such a belief, for whatever reason, such as apathy, intellectual disability, lack of education, lack of convincing, or whatever. First what do you believe or not believe? Then why?
Note: To not believe is not the same as to disbelieve.
thats a tough question for me Gila, i was brought up in a a religious country the philippines. my family was a roman catholic and now born again christians. if i try to tell my self i dont believe in god theres a feeling inside me that what im saying is not true.... but then again if i say i believe then i should live a life that follows god....but im not....and dont like to do so. i just want to live w/o following any religious norm, i just want to prove that even if im not reading the bible or going to church...that im NOT evil.
There's a lot of misinformation about us among theists who often believe that the only way a person can be good is through god. If you can believe that doing right is a choice, then you can be a good person regardless of your faith or lack of faith. I suspect you are feeling guilty because you don't want to go to church. Sitting inside a building and listening to someone drone on never made anyone a good or bad person. I am sure you know plenty of bad, hypocritic people who attend church all the time. And very nice people who never do.
Whether you choose to help or hurt your fellow human beings entirely up to you. There are good and bad people who attend or do not attend church.
Rejection of organized religion is not necessarily the same thing as being an atheist. An atheist not only rejects organized religion, but also the gods of that religion. Before you come out to your family as an atheist, be really sure of yourself as it can have serious repercussions.
Do you need to tell your family?
How will life be better if they have this information?
Will you feel like a fake if you don't tell them? Will you, or they, be happier by their knowing?
You don't have a deadline for telling them, so I'd suggest you consider how the knowledge will make you, and them, feel.
Then do what will bring on the least harm to anybody.
I can't agree that others will be harmed by knowing one is agnostic or atheist, yes, they may be unhappy but so what?
I have a really tightly knit family and love them all, but once I realized the harm religion causes, I would rather be free of it than play games of hide-and-seek in order to be accepted. I would reject family before they reject me.
thanks for the replies guys......you answers all made sense thanks again
You can be an agnostic and still be theistic. You believe in a god but don't claim to know for certain that one exists or not. You seem to be leaning towards deism (the least devout form of theism). If you believe in a god or the god Yahweh, or have a nagging suspicion that there is a god of some kind, then you are not an atheist and shouldn't call yourself one. In this case there is no need to break anything to your family because you still believe in a god, but aren't as enthusiastic in taking part in the rituals of that particular religion.
Your family maybe confused as to what an agnostic is, and assume you don't believe in a god or their god as far as they're concerned and will perform a back flip right before your eyes if you tell them you're an agnostic without first explaining what an agnostic is. Agnosticism and Gnosticism deal with knowledge of a god, where as Theism and Atheism deal with belief in a god. You believe in a god but do not know this god is for real, then you are an agnostic theist, not an atheist. :)
your right about that dustin, to be honest i really dont know what agnostic mean at first but thanks to Gila and you for explaining further.
in my country agnostic thiest is a strange word, i just dont know how will my family react even if i explain to them.. im sure they will brand me evil....as well as anyone in our community but this is what i feel, i tried to belive in god but it doesnt work for me.....i always find things that questions is there really a god? @booklover yes i sometimes feel the same way as you do.
I like your question, Lejandro. I was a devout christian doing all I could to participate in christian activities. Then, one day, I said, "God damn you god, I did everything you demanded of me." I cursed jesus as a fraud and liar, I saw my pastor, the education director, members of my bible study group as fools, following a mythology that did not protect me from abuse.
"I am an atheist!" I sat at my desk waiting for a bolt of lightning to strike me dead. Nothing happened. Except everything happened. I was trained to be passive, subordinate, helpless, and dependent. I became active, responsible for my safety, security, and stability, a strong, and independent person.
That was 44 years ago. I worked at minimum wage jobs. I went to school full time, earning a Bachelor's Degree in psychology, a Masters Degree with a thesis, "Toward a Theory of Family Violence, its Antecedents, Treatment and Prevention.” My Doctoral Dissertation was, "A Splendid Heresy" in which I documented the ways religion limits women from developing into mentally healthy, mature adults.
I now know religion limits men from developing into mentally healthy, mature adults.
Word count 196.