In my case, I was raised south of Charleston along the Stono river. We raised animals for food and had a garden. I hunted and fished and loved the natural world. I looked for Indian arrow heads, burial grounds and fossils in limestone and along the stono river. We went to church and worshiped God. I was baptized at age 10 and sinned the same day. I watched thru a cracked door as the girls returned wet and revealed from the pool. Nothing changed! I was interested in bird watching, taxidermy, taxonomy,evolution,stone age peoples ,American Indians, Whites living close to nature as did the mountain men in the Rockies. The old Charleston Museum before it burned held me captive for many hours on many days. I read science, philosophy, anthropology and geology. By time President Kennedy announced that we would land a man on the moon I had become an atheist. In contrast my father always thought it was a hoax until he died many years later. I believe that certain targeted education will result in becoming an atheist. What do you think? Can it be figured out?
I'll throw in my two cents worth...
I probably had a similar upbringing and somewhat similar interests (except that we were too poor for a pool at our church- did you mean the baptismal pool?). I was more interested in things like math, astronomy, physics, history, psychology, and philosophy as a kid.
I read a few books on logic and propaganda as a HS Freshman which turned out to be real eye-openers because I could immediately see how various persuasion techniques were being used in religious and political writings.
Anyhow, I'm not so sure that atheism at its best can be taught without getting some backlash from the indoctrinee, I've always seen it as more of an enlightenment that usually comes after some inner reflection on the way things work.
When atheism is taught it becomes more like a dogma or another religion. You see that when atheism is a part of the party line in such political systems as Communism. If you notice, there isn't a lot of serious thought given to atheism in Russia or China since it's the official "religion", so to speak.
They haven't done as much to "advance" the "cause" of atheism in the last 50 years or so as the western, "Christianized" nations have. In fact, they're probably swinging more TOWARDS religion, now that they have a chance, and particularly since their thoughts supporting atheism are rather narrow and antiquated.
They have become popular prey for the proselytizing Protestants and their promises of perpetual prosperity.
(Excuse my alliteration, I just had a Monty Python moment there, anyone remember "Bells"?
The Shintoists don't come here shattering sheet glass in the s#ithouse, shouting slogans...)
In a sense, this is a lot like parts of Europe where there are state churches. There tends to be less overall interest in religion when it's mandated by the state. So maybe having an official state religion would be a good start! That way we'd get immediate buy-in from the anarchists among us.
Aside from that, I think the best "education" is to just teach people to think for themselves, question authority, and stay alert to other possibilities.
I think that's what eventually worked for me. That and a strong interest in science. I don't know that many people become atheists without at least a basic understanding of science and the scientific method along with some logic and reasoning skills.
Unless, of course, they were just born into a society in which atheism is the official dogma and they are just going along to get along. And in that case, I think they are easy converts.
So, I think it's still best if atheism is arrived at more organically (or built from the ground up by the unbeliever) rather than taught, imposed, or dictated from outsiders.
And it's probably less volatile and/or fanatical as well.
Atheism is not a belief. Communism is a economic belief as is Capitalism. We are at odds with Communism because it has a different approach to economics then we do. With Communism, individual rights can not be tolerated. It is all about the collective. Communism, like religious fundamentalism, will not tolerate any other belief other than it's own. The actual culprit is the actual belief, regardless if it is a belief in a god.
Thanks Robert Knowles, this is what I was looking for. I strongly agree with the Scientific Method and science in general. I would add to your list anthropology, knowledge of carbon dating, tree ring dating and linguistics (for the meanings and limitations of words ) just to keep the ball rolling. What else ?
Everyone was born an atheist. It was the socialization process that spoon fed us the fantasy about a god or gods. It seems that you are asking if there is one way that we all got deprogrammed. Of course, not. The socialization process is very complex. One has to consider all the external stimuli that shaped our perspectives of the environment around us. Even twins are not exposed to the same external stimuli by the time they reach adulthood. All of us have travelled on different paths in our lives.
Because atheists have a wider awareness of the environment then theists, it is more likely that two atheists will be different. Theists, on the other hand, have a much more narrower awareness of the environment so two of them are likely to be more similar. If you question the accuracy of the awareness difference, you only need to look at issues like Global Warming and Evolution. There are exceptions, however. Like theists, atheists can be brainwashed by deity base beliefs. Libertarians are a good example. Communism is another.
If there was an answer to your question, theists would be overjoyed. It would give them a way to reprogram us. Your awareness is obviously very limited as evidenced by your question. I can only think of two reasons for this. You are either very young or you have some belief system that has narrowed your ability to have an adequate level of awareness. Strong beliefs cause narrow awareness. Many atheists who have strong beliefs are as out of touch with reality as theists.
The litmus test for constraints on awareness is simple. Do you separate human perception of reality from actual reality? Many think their perception of reality should not be questioned. This isn't true because human perception is extremely fallible. All of us should question our perceptions against actual reality. Of course, one needs to know how to identify actual reality. Many poor souls can't even do that.
Thanks Reality Activist. Can you identify some specific knowledge that would help the many poor souls gain the ability to identify actual reality and a wider awareness of the environment thereby deprograming their fantasies about god or gods