For me nothing else would work.i like reason too much.I ask too many questions.
"So, what do you think? Is atheism a choice?"
When you were born, did you decide to be a christian, muslim, buddist,etc? How is this even a question? If you were any of all religions, then were you brought up to be a particular one, or did you decide before hand? You shouldn't be an Atheist because you picked it out of a hat, and felt it best suited you. You're who you are because your free thinking brought you to the conclusion of "what" you are. Is Atheism a choice? If you lie to yourself, sure its a "choice".
I wish it were that simple.
Most people crave community and are comforted by shared fantasy. To turn your back on "all that," you have to have some kind of problem with it. Maybe you don't get along with the peer group, or maybe you can't help looking behind the curtain. I think that's a matter of temperament, not choice.
Booklover's "sheeple" christians are, IMO, mostly in it for the cover dish suppers, an excuse to dress up once a week, and maybe the chance to do something nice for somebody once in a while. I don't have a problem with them, and will not stoop to insulting their intelligence (except when they vote for guys like Bush). Their "sin" is not a lack of reason, just a difference in focus.
Further, many people have legitimate experiences of religious ecstasy. It's pretty hard to turn your back on that, even if it leads you to a bad place.
So, if you don't enjoy church and don't like church people, and have never been stricken with the Spirit, and have the intellect and temperament to draw your own conclusions, you may deprogram yourself from what you learned as a child.
THEN the choice is as clear as this:
> Religion is a choice in that blind faith is a choice. Atheism is a choice in that the exercize of ones reason is a choice.
We get our religion and our god by chance of our birth. No choice. Most people choose to stay with this initial position. No choice. No one can come anywhere near atheism unless he musters courage for rational thinking. If this happens, if one has enough courage to think rationally, then one becomes an atheist, no choice! Atheism and faith are not alternative choices, they are alternative positions.
Born and raised atheist, I don't consider it a choice, though I did have a choice to be religious if I had wanted to. It is a different scenario I guess for those who are now atheist but raised religious.
I cannot help but to go to Neil Degrasse Tysons explanation of "If you're scientifically literate the world looks very different t...
This to me is a realization, not a choice. I just cannot fathom the faith and belief. I don't understand it and I never will.
Is it so bad that atheism is a choice? If it is by choice, then it is a good one.
Born as an atheist. There are a few others also who claim to be born atheists. I have also read a book titled 'Born Atheist" which also says that everybody is born as an atheist. I however, do not agree with this. Atheism comes, not out of ignorance but out of knowledge. Mny accept faith in their childhood through the influence of their parents due to lack of adequate knowlwdge and beome atheists when they earn enough knowledge to make their own decision. A child does not have enough knowledge to make his own decision or understand atheism and may acquire atheism through parents, which is not true atheism. Atheism should come through knowledge and not through ignorance.
I understand this Madhukar, I think I have always said "born atheist" simply because my parents were devout atheists so really, I was destined to 'start' out as an atheist. It is more of a personal description rather than a general one. But that is not to say that I was not aware of religion growing up, friends and family members were religious and we had numerous bibles of different denominations in the house.
Nobody is born as religious or as an atheist. Traditional influences make a person a religious person. Non-tradional thinking makes one an atheist. That what I mean to say.
No, atheism is the default position since it is a lack of belief in a deity. A positive belief such as naturalism or theism is something that can be acquired, but it is not something intrinsic in humans.
Children have a tendency to see purpose in objects that you and I perhaps would not, a rock is for a cow to rub against, a tree is for protection from the rain. If anything children seem to be animistic in nature, perhaps one of the many reasons why children are not considered to be mature and capable of making informed decisions is because they are basically insane.
They just cannot grasp reality until a certain age, they can be incredibly naive as well. That's why they need supervision and protection.
Anyway, there are many ways to become a theist or atheist, but they are different things all together and they do not compare well. Atheism does not hold any positive statement or affirmation of a belief, it is simply a lack of belief in a deity, religion on the other hand is a positive statement that contains statements about reality.
Although a lot of people think that atheism is a belief, it is not. If you're an atheist it means that you have other, positive beliefs such as my belief in scientific materialism (FTW!). From that positive belief flows that I am not convinced of theism's statement that there is a god.
Not trying to only argue semantics here, but I do believe that a distinction is in order.
No, atheism is the default position since it is a lack of belief in a deity.
I beg to differ with you. Belief in god and religion can be accepted withot knowledge but that is not the case with atheism. Athiesm can not be ignorance, atheism means that we know why there is no god. I do not accept that an ignorent child is an atheist. If we accept this, then the difinition of atheism has to be altered.
The answer I have given below to Rob van Senten includes an answer to your question too. I would not attempt to change a so well established definition and even if I dare to do so, I will have to provide massive explaination. The definition of atheism does not tell us when atheism arises in our mind.