Agnostics, Atheists, Skeptics -Why DON'T you believe in God?

Ok, Calling all non-believers! I am genuinely interested in why you DON'T believe in a God/Deity/Creator. I will not debate you on this. I am looking for serious answers. Was that the way you were raised? Is it a conclusion you came to on your own? Was your decision based on experiences, books, teachings? NOTE: Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.- Please do not turn this into an argument! If you have serious questions to the RESPONSES, then ask them. If you want to express why you DO believe in God/Gods, go to my "Why do you believe?" forum.

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Kiteman9 years ago
Some (very generalised) thoughts on why atheists don't stand out:

Believers, of whatever religion, stand out at some point. They flock together at the same holy place, have common phrases they exchange in public, and often wear something obvious and symbolic.

Like bikers at a particular bar, or football fans wearing the same shirt, they are brought together and organised because they have something in common. My brother in law drives a TVR, and has ended up in a local TVR owners' club.

It is very hard, though, to form a group of people who don't have something in common.

You don't get people dropping in at a particular rural pub on the off-chance that there will be somebody else there who doesn't drive a TVR.

It's the same with atheists - you don't get atheists gathering together to thank nobody in particular that they don't believe in deities. There are so many to not believe in, that there's no common ground.

Maybe, if there was only one religion, atheists would meet more. It would be like a two-party system.

The other thing is that atheists tend to be free-thinkers, independently-minded. A large part of religious life involves a hierarchy passing down The Truth, delineating how the believers should live their lives, interpret their Holy Writings or specifying what is "good" and what is "evil".

One of the defining aspects of the atheist psyche is a broad streak of independence and a dislike of being told what to think and how to live. Atheists consider themselves capable of making their own life decisions and of formulating their own usefully-functional moral framework.

Consequently, very few atheists have the same attitudes towards things as other atheists, and do not feel constrained to subjugate their opinions to those of others. They are not natural "club" people.

From an atheist's point of view, believers can be seen as sheep (indeed, Christian ministers often call their congregation, their "flock"). A flock of sheep will happily travel together, wherever their shepherd points them, including into the back of a lorry heading off to the abattoir.

Atheists, on the other hand, are more like feral cats. Try shutting a bunch of those in a barn...

Just some off-the-cuff thoughts on what may make it hard for believers to "get" atheists, and maybe a bit of the original question "why don't we believe?" as well.
skunkbait (author)  Kiteman9 years ago
Good thoughts! I definitely agree with the lack of uniformity, and the lack of meetings. Even loosely organized religious groups tend to meet because they have something in common. More structured religious groups tend to make cookie-cutter followers, to the point that an outsider can barely tell them apart!

I was quite shocked to find the JWs aren't supposed to read the Bible without the most recent copy of Watchtower to hand to tell them what it means. Worse, Watchtower is written and edited anonymously!
Where did you read that!? JW's are actually encouraged constantly to read the Bible on their own and do extensive research to draw their own conclusions. Also, the Watchtower is not written anonymously, this is obviously based on a conclusion you came to after realizing that their is no auther quoted at the end of an article. They implimented that because of the importance of not glorifing oneself. However, the writing and editing of the Watchtower is done by a specific branch of what's referred to as the Governing Body, and they are very familiar with who makes up the Governing Body, they know their names and many of them have even met them and gone to conventions where they give talks.
OK then, who are these people who don't glorify themselves (that people know their names and many of them have even met them and gone to conventions where they give talks)?

(The Watchtower; 6/15/1951; pp. 375)

But if each of us were left to himself just because he has a copy of the Bible and were to direct his movements independently as he thought he understood the Word, what? It is likely, or possible, that there would be a great deal of confusion or working in competition among us. Hence, besides individually possessing God's Word, we need a theocratic organization. Yes, besides having God's spirit of illumination, a Christian needs Jehovah's theocratic organization in order to understand the Bible.

Watchtower, Sept 15, 1911, pg. 4885
"Rather we should seek for dependent Bible study, rather than for independent Bible study."

Doesn't look like independent study is sought after though, does it ?
I didn't read it, I was told it by a JW child.

There is not a single name, on the entire Watchtower site, of somebody who can be spoken to *as* a JW. Think about it - I know the name of the leader of the Church of England, the RCC, and a quick google reveals the leading figures in every other major religion.

Do you know, without resorting to the internet, the names of the people who run your religion?

skunkbait (author)  Kiteman9 years ago
Wow, they don't even know who's behind their faith. That's atrocious!
Have a wander around their website - it's bizarre.

They mix science and philosophy articles, maybe to make the philosophy seem like fact, like an informative article on why some people are allergic to pollen next to "What's wrong with pre-marital sex?". Read their article on GW, and it's fairly balanced, until the third page when suddenly it becomes God's plan for the end of the world.

And there's not an author named in the whole thing!

Sorry, off topic, I'll stop now.
The magazine your referring too is the Awake magazine. This magazine is designed and written to be read by people other than JW's... which many of the people that recieve the magazine through their preaching work may know little if nothing about the Bible, thus to keep it interesting to anybody they may meet at the door no matter what religion it's designed to combine religious and non-religious articles.
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