It seems like some of the people who define themselves as "strong atheist" were never "real believers" in religious gods, while others started out as strong believers. In some cases, they were strong believers in especially rigid sects. I'm curious about what led people to not only lose faith but also become what they define as "strong atheist". In my own case, the loss of faith was due to reading the Bible. Being raised in a fundamentalist Baptist background, I was taught that either it's ALL true, or it's not - that we couldn't pick and choose. I started out as a strong believer in the Bible and the Baptist church. Then literal readings of the Bible led me to realize that the internal contradictions could not ALL be true. So I lost faith, completely.

The "strong" atheist part was due to excesses and psychological and physical brutality that I see in religion, and the lies and hypocracy that I saw in both my original church and in the powerful leaders on a more general national, and international, basis. Even stronger with recent events, in the US and in the Middle East.

What leads others, or most people, to "strong" atheism, as opposed to just not beleiving?

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its impossible anyway to discuss religion. it is like talking to a wall. Faith or religion makes blind by indoctrination. i dont mean they (religious people) cant be great friends! as a footnote, politics can be as bad as religion. is there a word for a non believer in politics? mayby poleathist?? might make a good new topic, religion and politics are both based on:lies, assumption, promises and makebelieve
regardsa richard
Good question. My experience was similar to yours, in that, I was raised christian and taught that the bible was the literal word from god. As I grew older, I began to realize that some of the things in the bible just didn't make sense and how some things were ignored and others had begun to unravel in my mind and heart but it still took nearly twenty years before I was able to lay down all religions completely.

The further away I got from religion the more in focus it became (weird, uh) and I could clearly see the blatant sexism, racism and anti-intellectualism that it not only fostered but encouraged. So, for me, being a strong atheist comes not from choice so much, as knowledge and the inability to turn away while these ideologies hobble human evolution, enslave women and marginalize people of color, gay men and lesbians.

I have never regretted my renunciation of christianity nor my 'militant' atheism for one second. In fact, tomorrow (Dec.25th) I will be with my two grown atheists sons celebrating my youngest son's birthday at a Chinese restaurant and will feel very lucky indeed.
I was never a real believer - I think I was always a curious and skeptical little heathen. The idea of religion and the idea of a god are two separate things for me. I am anti religion because of what I see it does to people. Sure there are good people who are religious but religion is not needed to be good. The negatives (homophobia, racism, violence etc) outway the positives of religion for me. Therefore I do not believe in religion.

The idea of a god is something that is not part of me. I guess being an atheist for so long my everyday living never includes the concept for me. I think it is delusional and a negative concept to have. The god of the bible, I can say as certain as there being a Santa or tooth fairy does not exist. Perhaps there are unknown earth bound or even universal energies yet to be discovered. I would not call these a god as they would operate in a very mathematical way without any loving personality. Therfore I not only do not believe in god, I reject the concept totally making me a strong or gnostic atheist.
I was brought up a catholic and went to catholic school until 12 years old. From then on I found myself questioning what I had been led to believe. It just did not make sense to me. After that I just put it out of my mind and never really thought about it much until the last couple of years, and the emergence of the so called, 'New Atheism'. This led me to actually think about it, and the more I did, the more hideous my disbelief became. Now I can clearly see how ridiculous it all is.
I'm a life long atheist. It started when I was able to think on my own which was early because I enjoyed Edgar Rice Burroughs' and Jack London's books when I was very young. For a very long time, I just kept away from the religious as often as possible. It wasn't until Bush became President that I actually started watching the behavior of others in local and federal gov't in relationship to religion. Having come to the conclusion that there was something very basically maladaptive in the behavior of people around me, the Bush Administration put me on a path of research on religion and American human behavior. I joined atheists groups and realized that the maladaptive behavior still existed among atheists. I then came to the conclusion that it didn't really matter if you believed in a god or not. Behavior premises was what was important. Armed with basic Cultural Anthropological tools from college and my military experience over seas, I started taking a closer look at our culture. I was shocked to realized that since our cultured is based in Christian Philosophy that most atheists were bigots and didn't even know it. In other words, their behavior, as well as the theists, is culturally correct. The most glaring examples of this is behavior concerning sex and marriage. Now, I don't want to get into this too deeply, but, maybe, I should just explain my relationships to prove a point. I live in a culturally sanctioned marriage, but my wife and I realized at a certain point that we really weren't romantically involved. Instead of screwing up the lives of our two kids. We stayed together and kept our family as our first priority. Socially, we play in different circles. Although our relationship is platonic, we work very well together supporting the family. I don't remember the last time we had an argument. Many theists and atheists alike find our behavior in very poor taste. Well, such a reaction is based on religious prejudice and has nothing to do with whether one believes in a god. Our children are well adapted. One is in her third year of college and the other is finishing up H.S. in an impressive fashion. Why can't others behave like this? It is because their basic behavior premises are unrealistic. Since childhood, many have been fed unrealistic behavior values. Of course, if you think that my example is promoting this behavior as the only reasonable behavior then you just don't get it. The key word is "adaptive". You do whatever makes you and you significant others happy without causing hardships for others. That is the bottom line. I'm am a strong atheists because I am aware of the influence of god-based values on our everyday lives and strive to point them out to others. I also realize that one can not make someone aware of the obvious if their eyes are closed to it. I am strong enough to back off and let them continue to follow their fantasies. I'm would like to save the world, but I can't do it by myself. At this point in time, I find very few that understand what the solution is to this horrific problem, but I continue to present ideas that will one day make sense to the many that,today, don't realize that they based their social values on religious ideals. When they reach that level of awareness, the solution becomes simple. One day, the weight of this knowledge will be put in a book. Unfortunately, I will write it only as a form of expression, because the misinformation and disinformation created by our religious based culture is too prevalent to think that anything that I might write will have much of an impact. Even in the far off future, it will be too late. Reality is quickly knocking us down. That lack of understanding of the reasons behind the ignorance of the human race will most likely cause us to go extinct. I have to go now and enjoy living to it's fullest despite the ignorance around me. Live long and prosper, but not at the expense of the human race.
Sorry for the late reply, just arrived in group. But I was kinda feeling all alone in this regard (your response), so I'm quite happy right now :) I get quite frustrated at all the self proclaimed atheists who are simply godless Christians. They propagate the same moral framework as the religious, but have simply removed god, all in the guise of "Christian morals are universal humankind morals". I 99% disagree with that take on philosophy. I basically have some religious friends because they are nice and/or fun to party with, but without exception they are all a little daft and naïve, and get all caught up in pyramid schemes, MLMs, personal enrichment seminars, and email frauds. I have been harsh on those friends. But we get drunk and make up and have some more fun times. My more savant friends just aren't hedonist enough for me.
I've always been an atheist; the first thoughts I can remember thinking about god were, "That doesn't make sense". But it took being exposed to and learning more about the harm religion does, plus a few thousand arguments, to make me a strong atheist. If I hadn't thought about it as much as I've been forced to, I probably wouldn't have as strong an opinion about it. There need to be strong atheists to counteract the fundamentalists.
I grew up in a secular household, my mother believes in a god but she never taught me that god exists.
I don't really count my self as a true strong atheist. Yahweh Allah, Zeus, Thore, etc these don't exist. The universe dose not look the way it should if they did and when theists try to make there god(s) fit the universe there god(s) are so different that they are a completely different god and or they make them far, far more logically inconsistent.
A deist god, a "god" that creates the universe than walks away to other experiment and dies of old age, goes of to create other universes, dies in the explosion. Well at this point its. Its hard to say such a "god" doesn't exist but most likely not.
I was raised Catholic and even went to Catholic school for one year in elementary school (thank goodness it was only one year). But sometime in middle school, after learning about the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition in history class and the Big Bang and Evolution in my science classes, it struck me. Religion is a crock. :) So I declared myself an atheist at age 12.

As time passed, I began to learn more and more about religion and its affect on the world. It's just so unnecessary and futile. I just can't respect the idea of faith with zero evidence. So I guess I'm a strong atheist.

Definitions get tricky, really. So I'll just lay it all out: I lack a belief in any conscious deities. I do not believe in any gods at all. I'm not saying I know there are no gods, because, as Richard Dawkins would say, I can't say that with 100% certainty. That would be quite the unscientific thing to say. I'm just not going to invest my time believing in something for which there is no evidence.
I was an apologist up until a few years ago when I read The God Delusion and later The End of Faith.
That and more recent introspection has provoked a violent backlash against, as it was so delicately termed in the group description: religious bullshit.
I grew up a third generation atheist in England and never gave much voice to my lack of belief until recently because it would have cost me my job. Prayer meetings for all! That got my attention at work and I rapidly learned to keep my head down both figuratively and literally. This planet is about to see another mass extinction: the extinction of large numbers of species including Homo Sapiens. The cause is failure to adapt behavior (evolve) to reduce environmental damage. It comes largely from false beliefs being applied to living styles as opposed to applying scientific principles. It is probably too late to save ourselves but I shall take childish pleasure in shouting "I told you so" at the religious with their imaginary friends who have brought about this catastrophe.
How well put! How many times I should have said those words instead of mine! Only trouble with your last line is, when we near catastrophe, the theists will also say: I told you so :(    The more I listen to scientific exposés AGW the more pessimist I am. We constantly speak in yearly outputs, but we fail to expand on the fact that CO2 reabsorption into the CO2 cycle has long been maxed out. And we're basically in a pot of boiling water, that even with the burner off, the consequences of overheating will continue to spread. We have extracted from the earth in 2000 years what it took millions of years to store in the first place. That is an unfixable problem.




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