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Who Are the Atheists? What Does Being an Atheist Mean?

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Do People Choose To Be Atheists?:

Many theists argue that people "choose" to be atheists and, hence, will be held accountable for such a (sinful) choice. But is atheism chosen? No: belief is not an action and cannot be attained by command. Once a person realizes what they must believe beyond all doubt, what other steps do they take in order to have that belief? None, it seems - there is nothing left to do. Thus, there is no extra, identifiable step which we can label the act of "choosing." Atheism is Not a Choice or Act of Will...

Why Do People Become Atheists?:

There are as many reasons for being an atheist as there are atheists: the road to atheism tends to be very personal and individual, based upon the specific circumstances of a person's life, experiences, and attitudes. Nevertheless, it is possible to describe some general similarities which tend to be common among quite a few atheists, particularly atheists in the West. It is, however, important to remember that nothing in these general descriptions is necessarily common to all atheists. Why People Become Atheists...

Why Are You An Atheist?:

I was not always an atheist. Although my parents did not raise me to be religious, they also did not raise me to be an atheist. When I was in school, I was invited by a classmate to start attending a Christian church and I did so. My parents did not attend with me, but they also did not discourage me. On the contrary, they did whatever was necessary to help me attend and participate in the church's youth activities. Why I am an Atheist...

Are Atheists All Freethinkers?:

For freethinkers and those who associate themselves with freethought, claims are judged based on how closely they are found to correlate with reality. A freethinker is someone who evaluates claims and ideas based upon the standards of reason and logic rather than tradition, popularity, or other commonly used standards. What this means is that freethought and theism are compatible while freethought and atheism are not the same and one does not automatically necessitate the other. Atheists and Freethought...

Are There Any Famous Atheists?:

Some people might tend to think that atheists are such a minority that they have never heard of any famous atheists who have contributed to society. As a matter of fact, many famous philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, and more have been atheists, skeptics, freethinkers, secularists, humanists, etc. Although separated by time and profession, what unites them is a common interest in reason, skepticism and critical thinking - in particular when it comes to traditional beliefs and religious dogmas. The challenges and questions posed by these and similar individuals cannot be ignored. Famous Atheists...

Do Any Atheists Go to Church? Why Would Atheists Attend Church Services?:

The idea of an atheist attending church services seems contradictory. Doesn't that require belief in God? Doesn't a person have to believe in a religion in order to attend it's worship services? Isn't freedom on Sunday morning one of the benefits of atheism? Although most atheists don't count themselves as part of religions which require regular attendance at churches or other houses of worship, you can still find some who do attend such services from time to time or even regularly. Some Atheists go to Church...

Is Atheism Just a Phase You're Going Through? Isn't Atheism for the Immature?:

This sort of question is asked much more often of young atheists than of adults, perhaps because young people do go through a number of "phases" during which they explore various ideas, philosophies, and positions. Although the term "phase" is used in a derogatory manner, it shouldn't be. There is nothing genuinely wrong with such exploration and experimentation, so long as it is accurately recognized and accepted as such. If someone is going through an "atheism" phase, what's wrong with that? Atheism is Not Just a Phase...

Are Atheists all Materialistic, Hedonistic, Nihilistic, or Cynical?:

Although there are a lot of different myths about atheism and atheists, there is one theme which keeps coming up over and over again: the assumption that all atheists share some political position, philosophical system, or attitude. In short, it's assumed that all atheists believe some "X," where X has little or nothing whatsoever to do with ateheism. Thus theists try to pigeonhole atheists into a single philosophical straight-jacket, be it humanism, communism, nihilism, objectivism, etc. Atheists are Not all Cynics, Nihilists, Hedonists...

Are Atheists Anti-Religion, Anti-Christian, Anti-Theistic, and Anti-God?:

Because atheists are so often seen critiquing religion, it's common for religious theists to wonder what atheists really think about religion and why. The truth is complex, however, because there is no single atheistic opinion about religion. Atheists' critical stance with regards to religion is more a product of cultural trends in the West than of anything internal to atheism itself, which is only the absence of belief in gods. Some atheists hate religion. Some atheists think religion can be useful. Some atheists are themselves religious and adherents of atheistic religions. Atheists Aren't All Anti-Religion...

Who are Practical Atheists? What is Practical Atheism?:

Have you ever heard of 'practical atheists'? This is a category used by some religious theists to describe all those theists who technically believe in a god, but who behave immorally. The assumption is that moral behavior follows automatically from genuine theism, thus immoral behavior is a consequence of not genuinely believing. Theists who behave immorally must really be atheists, regardless of what they believe. The term 'practical atheist' is thus a smear against atheists generally. Immoral Theists are not "Practical Atheists"...

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