Atheism - Default or Conscious Choice?

United Kingdom
September 30, 2011 7:32am CST
After reading some other posts about atheism and religion, I began to wonder this: Do atheists make a conscious decision to be or to become an atheist or is it more that atheism is a "default" option for those without religion?
3 people like this
9 responses
@nezavisima (7418)
• Bulgaria
30 Sep 11
everyone has a religion and everyone is born with a religion. some others are not atheists. for me what no matter what and no one can make to someone today and tomorrow one another. I think another thing that we are such as God made ??us. nice day!
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
30 Sep 11
Thanks for your response. I do, however, disagree with you about being born with a religion and everyone having a religion. There are plenty of people who do not consider themselves to have any religion. Atheism itself is not a religion, merely an absence of a belief in God. The question I'm trying to ask is whether someone who is an atheist has deliberately chosen to be so or if they are simply an atheist because they do not believe in a religion.
1 person likes this
@1hopefulman (27542)
• Canada
2 Oct 11
None of us are born with a religion. We are born a blank page. Our parents and teachers and others may share with us their knowledge. In some countries we have the freedom to choose and in some countries people are forced to accept a religion or an ideology. Some accept religion through their own understanding of the universe. Others see what some religion has done and do not want any religion. Some do not like the idea of God and choose to be theists. Others do not see any evidence of God and also become atheists. Some are not sure and leave things as they are. I just wish we could all be allowed to make our own decision and that no one forces anything on anybody. Share information but allow freedom of choice!
2 people like this
• Bulgaria
3 Oct 11
be able to make friends. I'm generally not very familiar with these religions. not everyone has the right of choice and I agree with you. Anyone can say whatever he wants but the only choice is ours. Have a nice day!
1 person likes this
@1hopefulman (27542)
• Canada
2 Oct 11
I don't think there is a unified body of atheists. The different ones that I have met and that were willing to discuss why and how they became atheists varied in their replies. Some atheists I've met do not want to discuss the subject or share their views. So I would have to say that there are different strokes for different atheists. If you are an atheist, how did you become one? If you are not, why are not one?
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
3 Oct 11
I have never considered myself an atheist although I am not religious either. I am yet to decide whether I believe in any deity. I don't have any specific beliefs. That might be because I was brought up with my Dad being a Jehovah's Witness and my Mum calling herself a Heathen, saying she neither knows nor cares whether there is a God. I have, however, studied a bit about many religions but, as someone else mentioned, we believe what we believe and can't force ourselves to believe or disbelieve anything.
@1hopefulman (27542)
• Canada
4 Oct 11
Yes, we each decide. All the best with your search!
1 person likes this
@cecil04 (409)
• South Africa
1 Oct 11
Yes atheism is a default for all humans because when we're born we know nothing about religion so we learn or pick it up. In the end it doesn't matter if you are atheism or not you are still a human being so lets stop making everything about religion.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
1 Oct 11
I had no intention of making anything "about" religion. It was simply a question to which I was interested to know the answer.
@cecil04 (409)
• South Africa
2 Oct 11
I'm really sorry pumpkinjam for sounding like I was attacking you, guess I just got carried away.
1 person likes this
@Christoph56 (1508)
• Canada
30 Sep 11
Its been seeming to me, that Atheism is more of a default, then really a conscious choice, although it may seem that way to people who become atheist. From myself, personally, I was raised in a city that was quite christian, although my direct family was more... agnostic. In finding more about religion, I had and more disagreements with what the religious text was saying, and where the whole thing was going, and when I would have discussions with religious people about these things, it would often get more towards arguments, and in some cases, even physical. I just never wanted religion, something inside me never liked religion, I like things to be more in the direction of scientific, and I see no point to religion, it seems more like something that naturally happened to me, rather then any choice I made.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
1 Oct 11
I guess, in a way, you could say that you were raised with atheism just as someone might be raised into a religion. Of course you could not say whether your beliefs (or lack thereof!) would be different had you been raised into a religious family.
• Canada
1 Oct 11
I guess I made my post more complex then that, but still going after that main idea. I think that even if I was raised in a religious family, I would have still turned out atheist. I've heard many stories of atheists who were always either against, or just unbelieving of the religion they were shown, and when they come from extremely religious backgrounds, it makes it much more difficult, and they get more thrown out of their family and community.
1 person likes this
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
30 Sep 11
I am not an Atheist so I can only speak from observation. I have watched people loose their "faith" many times and become Atheists out of frustration with the established religions. This is sad because many of them were strong in their beliefs at one time. Other folks were raised Atheists. However, some people have spent much time thinking the whole thing thru and have come to an educated decision just as religious folks do. They firmly believe that there is no higher power and have many scientific elements to back up their belief. No one is "Born" to a religion. They are either taught or learn on their own.
• Philippines
1 Oct 11
yeah, frustration from religions who claims to represent God yet at the same time doing the things that God forbids.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
1 Oct 11
That's a really good answer. I guess everyone is different and, as with religions and other beliefs, some people are born and raised with it and do not question it while others spend time thinking about it and making what they believe is the right decision. Thank you.
@p1kef1sh (45642)
30 Sep 11
I don't know. If you work on the premis that in the UK we are (perhaps were) all notionally born into one orthodox religion or another then the decision to become atheist has to be a conscious one. However, that accident of birth means that we each grow up reflecting the faith of our parents. In a secular society we are less likely to experience a religious home-life and so perhaps we are more likely to be born atheist, or at least ignorant of religion. In most cases I suspect that people don't know nor care.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
1 Oct 11
I think you may be right that people don't know or care. I guess it does depend on each individual.
@mythociate (15225)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2 Oct 11
Atheists are always quick to say that 'they are not a religion.' Though I haven't known many people who proudly say they come from a 'good, long atheist tradition' ("well, my parents were atheist, and their parents were atheist, and THEIR ..."), it IS just as much a choice as religionists claim their religion is. But "atheist" is just a blanket-term for 'those whose worldview does not respect the existence of deity' (which includes some agnostics). Sure, there are 'levels' of Atheism (you could call them 'denominations,' but again "atheism IS NOT a religion!" ); but it's a whole class with many sub-classes, like 'we're all human, but not all the same.'
1 person likes this
• India
2 Jun 12
it is a conscious choise.
@_sketch_ (5709)
• United States
11 Oct 11
Both. We are born atheist. We would not be a part of any religion if we were not taught it. However, when faced with the idea of theism, we can consciously choose what ideas make sense to us and which don't. I wouldn't say that people have a choice of what they believe. That is just the result of reasoning in our heads.