Here are the steps necessary to become an atheist:

One: don't believe in any gods.

That's it

there are no steps two, three, or four. All you have to do is not believe in the existence of any gods. None of the following are steps in becoming an atheist:


Austine Cline, an American atheists tells us how to be an atheists. Your comments. Do you feel these steps are correct, adequate or incorrect and incorrect?

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It looks very simple, but in fact there is a problem in the word "believe." If we say that not believing is enough, then not denying the existence of gods can easily appear to be ignoring the evidence or dismissing opposing views out of hand. It looks as though one is doing exactly what atheists accuse theists of doing, which is to deny rational argument by an appeal to "belief." I know that the atheist's lack of belief is justified, and that belief in this sense is not the same as faith, but too many theists are not that subtle with these words.

I have selected this piece for discussion because I myself found it a bit confusing. I will now await a few comments from atheists here before I do some more thinking of my own.

interesting topic of conversation

Madhukar - you would perhaps gain insight from reading the Naturalism website:

Let me know your thoughts about determinism, the causal web and contra-casual free will.

Well if you're going to bring all this up, you may want to examine Pen Teller's theory. He calls himself a "hard core atheist", as in he doesn't believe others believe in god either.

He starts off his book, "God No!", by asking the question "If god (however you perceive him/her/it) told you to kill your child-would you do it? If your answer is no, in my book, you're an atheist."

He goes on to explain his position in chapter 3. I won't get into it farther as I most likely won't be able to summarize properly, but he makes some interesting points. Btw, if you decide to read his book, be forewarned; it's not for everyone...his language may be considered harsh to some and he tells "colourful" stories. I myself, don't agree with everything he says, but he does make some interesting points.

very interesting - thanks for the book review.

Madhukar, thank you for the list of references about atheists. I had thought there were steps to atheism and someone on Atheist Nexus clarified for me that the word simply means no belief in any god/s. Given that I understand that, and you have clearly made known your atheism, then why do we seem to keep getting into tangles?
From my perspective, I am an angry, vindictive, retaliatory atheist. So, is it wrong to have such feelings? Of course not! I am angry and for very good reasons. Am I willing to be nice about it? Absolutely not! Now that our government is being taken over by some individuals who believe in god, want to impose their beliefs of me, desire to criminalize things that do not belong in the public domain, such as abortion, and who want to chisel their beliefs in public buildings paid for by believers and non-believers, insist their deity be represented on our paper and metal money, require an oath to god when testifying in court, then I am going to squawk. Loudly, I hope, decisively, and as powerfully as possible. 
As to how you perceive me, without a doubt you read my anger, and correctly so. I realize it is unpleasant to read rants every day from some little old lady whose glory days are behind her, and this little old lady speaks for all those young ones who are confused about what they believe and for the old ones who have suffered under the yoke of dogmatic beliefs as if those beliefs are true.
Calm? NO! Peaceful? Why should I be! Tolerant? How can someone be tolerant of intolerable behaviors! 
I do find comfort in my garden and share it with everyone and all the critters who are interested in beauty and abundance. Tranquility? No, there is no tranquility here; the hawks swoop in and carry off tiny little birds and squirrels, cats from all over the neighborhood come for an easy meal of birds and mice, birds dig worms from my worm farm. This little patch of earth is red in tooth and claw; it is what it is. 


Obviouly, there is much anger in your mind and most of your thinking agrees with my own. I have no reasons to carry permanent anger, but I do face circumstances where I feel anger and then my feelings are like your's  are. I have not seen you here replying with any anger. How do you manage this?

Madhukar, you wrote, "I have not seen you here replying with any anger. How do you manage this?"
I am surprised at your statement and question. Yes, I have shown my anger and sometimes it discomforts you. My intention is to cause you discomfort when you hold so tightly to the notion that I "paint with too wide a brush" about religion, I want you and everyone to know what I know about the harmful effects some people experienced and some principles held and imposed on others to the point of harm.  

As to "how do I manage this?" Silence in the face of family violence has never served me or anyone well. What happens behind closed doors remains unknown and maintains and perpetuates the crimes of assault on loved ones. I am aware women assault men and sometimes use lethal force. This is no more acceptable than men assaulting women. Children carry the scars for life, whether they experience physical beatings or emotional scars. 


I am surprised at your statement and question. Yes, I have shown my anger and sometimes it discomforts you. My intention is to cause you discomfort when you hold so tightly to the notion that I "paint with too wide a brush" about religion,


I have never felt any discomfort because of your answers. Besides, I have never said anything about a wide brush. We may occasionally have small differences, but both of us are matured enogh to get ovr them and still be good to each other. That is how we are doing.

Madhukar, good, I enjoy the conversations. 


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