The title is pretty self-explanatory. I had just assumed that after my research and falling out, I chose to be an Atheist. The other day I was speaking to my brother, and he said that to him Atheism wasn't really a choice. And in a way it's true. I don't think I could ever force myself to return to Christianity or believe the things I was taught. I'm kind of stuck, really. So, what do you think? Is atheism a choice?

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Yes and no.

Being an atheist wasn't a choice personally for me, I wasn't raised in any religion or structured belief system. I never caught the meme or it didn't catch me. When I was older and heard the sophisticated arguments for various gods, they didn't make any sense.

That isn't to say I didn't believe in all manner of strange things Aliens, ghosts, new ager crap and other stuff. I don't believe in any of those things now.

My non-belief in such things isn't anymore a choice then being an atheist was. I simply don't believe that they exist or work the way people claim they work anymore. The arguments and claims do not meet the hype.

Now in regards to atheism I did make a choice in a strange way. I decided to stand up and be counted as one, as an atheist. This was a choice I made because I thought it was important.

Being an atheist for me isn't a choice, but being counted as one is.
Jay, That's my position as well. I don't recalled a choice of being atheist. God was, to me, no different than Santa Claus - just a story. In fact, from a young age, I always thought people who believed there was a god were a bit strange.
Two of my mother's friends who were intelligent, engaging and likeable ladies were outspoken Atheist, it was from them I realized that I was an Atheist. At 17 I found the works of Ingersol - that defined the reasons I was an Atheist.
I have been thinking about the term non-belief and as I see it most people seem to think it means the same as a negative belief. It isn't that I don't believe in such things, instead given the available evidence, I now see that such things don't exist, at least not in the way they are presented.

I added the additional examples as a way to show this. The funny thing is that the way I feel about "Aliens" now is exactly the same way I feel about the idea of gods and being an atheist. It is too simple to say that it was a choice I made to not believe in "Aliens".

I think aliens are possible, I think that there might be alien life forms out there, if only because of how mind boggling big the universe is. But active, intelligent, here right now on earth Aliens, I see no evidence for them existing at all. It is now a non-starter for me, and the funny thing is mentally it occupies the same space as the rest of these non-beliefs. I used to subscribe to the idea, now I don't.

Frankly it was more like the evaporation of belief, rather then a choice not to believe.
I was raised Christian, but it just never took. I struggled with it from the time I was in elementary school until I was in my late 20's before I would even admit it to myself. I even considered going into the ministry during my teens to "straighten myself out" and figure out what was wrong with me. Fortunately I didn't do that. So I suppose it was my choice to accept it, but my nature is what prevented me from accepting the indoctrination of religion. I guess it was a little of both.
On one hand it was part of who I am, but I did have the choice to reject it and do what I was told. I just chose not to do that and accepted who I really am.
Being honest with oneself is a choice. I was flirting with atheism at age 18 but then I tried really hard to believe in woo and stuff because I wanted to fit in and feel like I was special like all these people said they were. Lying to myself worked partly, but eventually when I stopped things became more clear. A lot of people lie to themselves in religion.

But basically, I don't think what someone believes is a choice. You can pretend or try really hard to believe something else, and the best you can do is lie to yourself. That's why burning in hell for eternity b/c of what you believe is the silliest idea ever.
When I was a kid, I was an atheist. But I wanted to believe, and struggled with belief until relatively recently.

Eventually I ended up back at atheism simply because I couldn't reconcile my enjoyment of reading history and myths and legends, and then the legends and myths of contemporary religions.
It does make me wonder, as me and my dad are a lot alike, and have similar thought patterns, something we've only realized recently since we've had more time to hang out. We've had very dissimilar experiences in life, and I spent more time with my religious mother growing up.
My younger sister is more like my religious mother, while my youngest sister is more like me and my dad.
If I ever made a choice in the matter, it was a choice to try to see the world as it is, without preconceptions, and let it tell me what it means; the religious viewpoint tries to fit everything into a narrative already written, and imposes that meaning on reality.
But that choice I made was dependent, to some extent, on having the intellectual capacity and confidence to "figure stuff out" when I had a problem to solve, and on the fact that my parents didn't push any religion on me past the age of 12. Not everyone is granted the tools to even think about making a choice.
And the tool we think with evolved to assist in survival and reproduction by finding patterns in nature, not to decode the meaning of the universe. And since it's usually better and safer to see patterns where there are none than it is to miss patterns that are really there, our brains were selected to err on the side of seeing patterns that aren't real. There's a lot to overcome for the best of us.
So no, it's not a choice. We're forced to be atheists because our brains work better.
Well, in my case atheism was as much a choice as growing up was. I'd say belief is a choice. Believers routinely choose to ignore the overwhelming evidence contrary to their particular religious flavour.
I would have to say Atheism is a choice. To say it wasn't would say we were pre-programmed to be atheist and unable to be anything else. Like the rest of you I don't think I could ever see my self embrace Christianity or any other religion in life again...

But as people choose to be religious we can choose to be non religious that is the nature of humans eh?
Was breathing ever a choice to you? Because that's exactly how I see my atheism.
The problem is it is a choice. Even if you don't see that there are "Reasonable" alternatives there are infact alternatives, whether you accept them or not does deny the fact it was a choice.

Think of it this way. You were offered an Apple, and you really love your apple, and as long as you knew the only fruit out there was apple, and then you left your home and found out there is a place whether they have apples and oranges. Now you can choose to stay with your apples or go through oranges, but you can have one. Even though you were originally presented with the apple it now becomes a choice versus a static state of possession.

I realize the fruit aren't the metaphor but I hope this passes my point.
Once you accept reason as a fundamental value, the lack of reasonable alternatives effectively equates lack of alternatives. At least as far as I'm concerned.




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