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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Because atheism is the only logical conclusion.

When I prayed, nothing ever happened. I can remember going to church with my great-grandmother when i was about 3 or 4 and asking her where "god" was? If he didn't have to be there, why did we? She just brought more raisins and Ritz crackers to feed me and keep me from talking. I continued to attend random churches in So Cal throughout my childhood and teens. It never seemed convincing. I once tore a bible to pieces while I argued with my mother. She protected that book the way she protected her bottles or Brandy, and snatched what was left away. I told her "See?! I'm still here! Nothing happened! It's fake!" I was usually made to go to church with her husband and "their" child. She got to stay home. I couldn't understand why I had to go to HELL every Sunday. As an adult, I tried again. Didn't see a difference. The majority of my friends and family are christians and what-not. The harder I try to get them to use simple logic, the more they thank god (in all caps) just to spite me. I make a point to reply with a bit of truth (Vicious anti-religion posts or quotes). Childish? Hell Yes! But very satisfying, and I've opened up a couple of my friends eyes in a matter of days. It is offensive to hear "god bless...", "sending prayers", "god is good", "thank the lord" ,etc... So I feel its just fine to insult religion with facts and my opinions of those who are too damn closed minded and stupid to see the world for what it is. It pisses me off. I feel like an extremist, but I'm just passionate about the truth. It's been said, "the truth shall set you free". Yet people want to remain bound by the restraints of religion. I just don't get it. And like Steve said... "atheism is the only logical conclusion"

I was raised as a third generation atheist, in a household with three bookcases full of youth and adult encyclopaedias, classic literature and poetry and some good fiction, and huge stack of NatGeo magazines to read and ogle on the toilet! My first books were Alice in Wonderland and Edgar Allen Poe's Gold Scarab and Murder on Rue Morgue at age 7, along with my entire youth encyclopaedia. Those readings confirmed for me there was no room for god in our world, and made plenty of room in my mind for horizontal thinking. In my entire 45 years, I spent approximately 2 weeks wondering if there might possibly be a god, around age 14, after months of a group of friends pressuring me. It was a very slim doubt. After those 2 weeks I called one of those friends and terminated our friendship. I said if you guys are that dumb I don't need you in my life. It's been a bit of a curse, in some ways. I spent my first university years in biochemistry, but got tired of nerdiness (wasn't my style, I'm a hedonist), and so tried out humanities. But I could not take the mindlessness I was seeing there, founding entire theories on clouds and vapour and subjectivity (business, languages, philosophy), with a complete and utter lack of understanding of anything material and concrete on the planet. I was so depressed after that. I eventually returned to uni to pursue studies in physiology/toxicology/ecology.


So ya, I've been an atheist since birth, and a strong atheist for 45 years minus 2 weeks. It also means I cannot stand any conventional political parties. The only political party that even comes close to rationality and science based policies are "green" parties, and since they've never really held any position of power, they haven't yet been corrupted. parties, powerless, "haven't yet been corrupted."

YES! The Greens, if they want voters, have to offer evidence that they won't quickly become as corrupt as the Dems and Repubs.

One piece of evidence they can offer is support for the DIRECT initiative and referendum in the 32 states whose voters do not now have them. These voters are the prey of the predators they elect to public office.
I like the map. It illustrates that in the territories that joined the union late, the people who wanted statehood:
1) could see the corruption in the more eastern (older) states,
2) knew voters would be less corrupt than legislators, and
3) wrote direct initiative and referendum into their constitutions.

The blue states have the most democracy and their voters can punish corrupt legislators. The grey/tan states have the least democracy and their voters are the victims of corrupt legislators.

Tom, as I began to write about the meaning of "DIRECT initiative and referendum", I realize I know absolutely nothing about these. I need an education. I'll start with Googling the topics. Can you make recommendations of what I should read? 

Joan, you found the map; I'd found only words.

If you want to talk with people about DI & R, you'll probably find them to be members of the League of Women Voters, or in associations of taxpayers.

That is a good beginning! Thanks!

Joan, a thought-experiment may help.

Imagine a law you want to change. You and your allies can write it the way you want it to be, collect enough voters' signatures, and WA's secretary of state can put it out for a vote. If a majority vote 'YES', it becomes law.

In WA only the legislature can amend the state constitution. Here in CA, voters can make laws and amend the constitution.

Thanks, Tom, very clearly explained. OK, then I guess there is work to be done to create the kind of laws we want. 

By being around religious people at work who forced their ideas, traditions, conformity, and practices on everyone else.





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