How has being an atheist made you a better person?

Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
How has being an atheist made you a better person?

So I created a video to respond with my thoughts.
 
I just came off the top of my head and didn't take too much time to think about it, and I know I left a lot of room to improve on what I've said, so I'd like to hear from you. How has being free of theism made you a better person?
 
Or if you think you're not a better person, please explain how you've changed if at all. I directed youtubers to this thread, so if you're a viewer of youtube and want to put your thoughts down in text, please feel free, and welcome aboard.

Here is my video response on the issue, although the jist of what I say is that I think more clearly now.

 

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


skepticdude
Posts: 85
Joined: 2008-06-09
User is offlineOffline
Sapient wrote: How has being

Sapient wrote:
How has being free of theism made you a better person?

The operative word is "better", which is unfortunately a subjective judgement call that will no doubt be different in the minds of the individual poster.

I'm "better" because I'm far less depressed and prone to suicide as an atheist, than I was when I tried to live under the madness of "apostle Paul" and his insane beliefs.  Most people would agree with me that throwing off something depressing and becoming happier is "better".  Of course some asshole fundamentalist will say some dads are more happy to leave the kids and wife, does this make them better just because they feel freer and less depressed?  My answer is the same: what constitutes "better" is a subjective judgement call.  The fact that lots of men do this, means there are probably just as many dads who leave their kids and feel better about life because of it, as there are other dads who disagree and say it's better to stay with the kids and wife and be depressed.  As such, I was right.  The fact that you can find a lot of people to agree with you that dads who abandon their kids are not better for doing so, means nothing more than the fact that there are also crowds of such men who disagree with that point.

It could also be argued that the dad who leaves the kids, does so after being more honest with himself, and discovering that it is more likely he will do far worse for his kids by staying around them.  The individual father is the best judge of what he will or won't do in the future.

A Christian may ask "Hitler felt better about killing Jews just because they were Jews, is he better?"  Assuming for the sake of argument Hitler was an atheist (he wasn't), again, it is a subjective judgement call, because morals are relative.  Ok, you've got a bunch of people that agree with you that Hitler was immoral in this.  So?  Are you saying that popularity contests determine which morals are absolute?  If not, then your idea that Hitler was wrong, is not absolute, which means how many people agree with you on the point, are irrelevent to the rightness or wrongness of Hitler's actions.  Right and wrong are entirely subjective.  Yes, I disagree with atheists who advocate objective morals

 

Faith does not have the power to move mountains. However, it does have the power to make you think a mountain has moved.


mrjonno
Posts: 726
Joined: 2007-02-26
User is offlineOffline
Being an atheist makes you a

Being an atheist makes you a more rational person and frees your mind.

What you do with that freedom is up to you, some prisoners are happier being in jail than being on the outside.

Being an atheist also frees you from some serious evil brainwashing from various  death cults of course there are plenty of other bad influences out there too

 

but no it doesnt automatically make you a better person

Jon


skepticdude
Posts: 85
Joined: 2008-06-09
User is offlineOffline
I would also question

I would also question whether a belief system's soundness should be judged by whether it made you "better."

People can join a belief-system without becoming better.  There are many Christians who use illegal drugs, commit adultery, idolatry, fornicate, lie, steal, etc, etc,  and so drag their families down the tubes with them.   Does that prove the belief system they profess to follow, false?  No.  Christianity's problem is lack of evidence for God, further critique would require progressively narrower definitions of Christianity.

Therefore if somebody can prove that some brutal dictator was an atheist, this doesn't prove atheism is false just because it didn't make that guy "better".

And as I stated before, what constitutes "better" is not an absolute moral judgement call.  I feel better without the shackles of religion hanging over me, yes I feel better now that I can use prostitutes without guilt.  Challenge to Christians; If you don't think this new attitude atheism gave me is "better", so what?  You don't have a provable absolute standard for what's "better", do you?  If I started killing children in the name of your God like Moses Joshua Samuel and others did, would I be "better" than the current pacifist atheist I am now?  You are guessing "no."

Faith does not have the power to move mountains. However, it does have the power to make you think a mountain has moved.


sansh0u
Troll
sansh0u's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: 2008-06-15
User is offlineOffline
hello and thank you!!!!

not sure if this is the right place, but it seemed as good as any for starters.

i'm an athiest because of you guys. i saw the blasphemy challenge and it made me realize just how oppressed atheists are how afraid to speak out. since then i've relized that my own doubts are normal and actully good.

i just wanted to say thx, especially to mr sapient. you are a roll model for people like me. please dont stop what your doing!


angelwire
Posts: 4
Joined: 2008-06-16
User is offlineOffline
How Atheism has made me a better person

When I left my protestant faith it was a result of rationality and morality. As a bible thumper I used to think that the bible was inherent and our only source for morals. As a theist I relied upon God to provide for my daily needs. Through reading the scriptures I came to believe that the bible is immoral and the bible is not inherant but filled with contradictions (did i mention immorality?)

Irrational belief leads to irrational behavior. In this way I am "better" now as I am mentally more healthy and base my decisions more on rationalism than faith. I am more moral now and less bigoted towards people of other faiths and sexuality.

I've recently started a blog site at www.Angelwire.net where I discuss my objections to Christianity that lead me away from the faith. I will hopefully be posting some of themhere in the future for everyone's benefit.


Condawg
Posts: 2
Joined: 2008-06-21
User is offlineOffline
Nice video =]I don't have

Nice video =]

I don't have the time to make a video right now, but I will share with you how atheism has helped me to better myself and others around me.

 

I was Christian up until I was around 11... I'm 15 now, and so I've been an atheist for about 4 years or so.

When I first decided to give up my Christian beliefs, I was absolutely devestated that my parents had been lying to me about something so huge, something so life changing... I eventually realized that they weren't trying to 'wrong' me, but that's just how it happens.

Ever since then, I've been a much happier person. I indulge in that from which I recieve physical or emotional gratification, leading to a happier me, instead of holding back because of religious beliefs or "hell."

No more church meant more free time to use constructively. I only went to church every now and again, not a regular schdedule , but even still, I had more time to myself to do as I pleased, instead of blindly worshipping an invisible man in the sky.

Being an atheist has helped me think more clearly, because... If they can make up that lie and have millions of followers, what can't they cook up?

This has caused me to analyze every single thing. This has been a very bad thing for me, because I accidently overdo it. I don't just analyze things that most people analyze, but I analyze every single supbject, ever. Anything that's about to happen, I think about it. Anything that I want to do, I think about it -- over think about it -- and I play through all the negative possible outcomes in my head moreso then the possible positive outcomes, and this causes me to b e hesitent.

I've not kissed a girl yet because of this. I don't take too many risks because of this. Although it does tend to help with some things, most of the time it's a burdon.

But, the benifits definitely outweigh the downfalls.

And I have used this to help others by enlightening them.

I sometimes try to talk to religious friends about why they believe in what they do, but I don't push it; if they don't want to hear it, I stop. I'm not a christian. And a lot of my friends are like that... Very stubborn. They believe it, that's that. They even admit that it doesn't make sense, but they still believe it.

But there are some people who I get through to, and it helps to change their life, and their possible childrens lives, for the better, in the effect that there won't be any religious torture held in their lives unless they so choose.


I AM GOD AS YOU
Superfan
Posts: 4793
Joined: 2007-09-29
User is offlineOffline
Thanks very much to you

Thanks very much to you recent new posters, spreading the "Good Word", Atheism ....


eddybaby (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Wake up and smell the milk!

 I had just turned 40 (ten years ago).  I went into my kitchen and opened the 'fridge and poured myself a nice tall, cold glass of milk, because I was very thirsty.  I then reached for the cookies, or some other snack food.  I reached for that snack food NOT because I was also hungry, but for the simple fact that I needed something to eat when I drank milk because I could not stand the taste of milk by itself.   Ever since I could remember, I had drank milk.  It had to be almost ice cold, and I ALWAYS had to eat something with it to cut the taste.  Standing there with the fattening cookies in one hand and the cold milk in the other, I thought about what I was about to do.  I was about to eat something I did not need or want to cover the taste (and smell)  of something I had to admit that I had honestly never really liked.  I then asked myself the ultimate question:  "Why are you doing this?  Why are you drinking something you do not like?"  The answer slowly formed in the back of my mind, then with the clarity of a window pane, the answer shot to the forefront of my mind in a flash.  "I drink milk because as a kid, MY MOTHER TOLD ME IT WAS GOOD FOR ME."  Well, I said (aloud) "F**k that!  I am forty years old and don't have to do what Mom says anymore!"  I then set the cookies down, turned to the sink, and dumped the milk down the drain and have not purchased a carton of milk since that day.  Not too long after that, my son was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and he received  treatment at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital.  While walking through that hospital, terrified for the fate of my son, I looked around me and saw suffering of the innocent far beyond anything I had seen in the past.  On that day I had an epiphany about the existence of "god" much like the one I had about the milk.  "How can an all loving, all knowing God allow such suffering and misery in people who cannot have ever committed any sort of sin?"  The next question was logical, "How can you believe in such crap?"  Again, the answer was the same as the milk question:  "Because, as a kid, your Mother told you it was good for you."  Well, from that day forward I've been an atheist, and rather than wasting my time in prayer over my son's affliction, we spend our time with treatment and living our lives for the moment.


andries
Posts: 1
Joined: 2008-04-21
User is offlineOffline
A long tradition

Since the early 1900's, my family have been atheists. My great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and I have not been baptized. "Use your senses", "Think before do", "Do as you like, as long as you don't hurt anybody", "Always help people who are in need", are some of the rules in which I was raised.

My grandfather lived in a very small town and was known as "That non-believer devil". My grandfather liked to point out the hypocrisy of religious people, and was very open and frank about that (to everyone). He pointed out that religious people didn't really care about other people.

After the second world war, this small town turned to the better. More people became agnostic, or even atheists as soon as they foud out my grandfather was hiding several jews in his basement.

In the end people turn to people the can trust, with or without God.


I AM GOD AS YOU
Superfan
Posts: 4793
Joined: 2007-09-29
User is offlineOffline
andries   Lucky you ....

andries

   Lucky you .... Yes, all we can do is trust our OWN common sense .... unfortunately so many are taught to not take the time to think on their own, nor trust themselves,   the sheep they are sometimes called , and even worse , hypocrites ..... spouting dogmas ....

 


Yaerav
Bronze Member
Posts: 103
Joined: 2008-02-28
User is offlineOffline
Not a worse one either, but:

I don't think being an atheist makes- or has made me a better person. What I dó know is that that I stand for what I stand because I consciously thought about most of it myself and not because some spiritual or philosophical guru decreed which principles I should have.

Furthermore, being an atheist gives me all the freedom to, at any time, change my point of view or even admit that I was wrong on just about anything... you  know: the mind is like a rose bush in that pruning from time makes it bloom so much better. And atheism makes for a great pair of shears


Rich Woods
Rational VIP!
Rich Woods's picture
Posts: 868
Joined: 2008-02-06
User is offlineOffline
Honesty

Being Honest makes you a better person.

I always claim that I have no problems with anyone else's beleif's...Provided they are Honest...not used as a means to express Bigotry & Hatred...not born of a self-righteous indignation, and a burning desire to impose your beleifs on others.

Well, that pretty much eliminates every theist. Religion has a way of allowing people to Justify cruelty & bigotry... especially if you it can be rationalized as the will of the invisible creator.

We Athiests suffer from no such moral contradiction... The most "Christian" people I know (defined by their deeds and actions, not simply saying the words) have all been Athiests.

 


vixen strangely
vixen strangely's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: 2008-07-12
User is offlineOffline
No action is arbitrarily moral--

to me, the worst thing about faith-based behavior is--you have to deal with the arbitrary whims of a Bronze Age Deity.  So you kill in God's name--heretics are very flammable--do what you want? But sleep with someone of your own sex? God'll get cross.

 

Letting go of religion meant letting go of pre-conceived notions of what morality is and leaves me more open-minded to the whole range of individul human acts. I can't judge, I just have to weigh acts n response to conditions to see if some thing "seems amiss" or was Righteous in respect to the consequence. In a way, this logical pproach has made it easier for me to understand other people, than the umpteem rules in any organized faith, that never really bids you to "connect."

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

--Ben Franklin


Mark:17 (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Atheism

When I eventually evolved beyond belief, I felt liberated, free from the chains of ancient myths and the guilt associated with it!

I frequent a site; www.activeamericans.com to blog on various topics. It has no real connection to religion, but of course some guy has to suggest praying in times of hardship. I've been commenting as an Atheist but sure could use some interjection by fellow Atheists to show unity and support, since plenty of folks are watching this thread. I don't know if it's required to subscribe to comment, I hope not...if not, please help show I'm not the only Atheist lurking on this particular blog.

It's under Blogs - on the left side, the topic is Faith in the Family, my username is Mark:17

 

Excuse me if this request is out of line.

 

Mark:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I AM GOD AS YOU
Superfan
Posts: 4793
Joined: 2007-09-29
User is offlineOffline
Mark:17, I read your posts

Mark:17, I read your posts over there and I say you've got it nicely handled. Good job, thanks friend. You could invite them here. That would be doing anyone a real favor. The "good word" to spread is Atheism ....


Sleestack
Sleestack's picture
Posts: 172
Joined: 2008-07-07
User is offlineOffline
Mark:17 wrote:When I

Mark:17 wrote:

When I eventually evolved beyond belief, I felt liberated, free from the chains of ancient myths and the guilt associated with it!

I frequent a site; www.activeamericans.com to blog on various topics. It has no real connection to religion, but of course some guy has to suggest praying in times of hardship. I've been commenting as an Atheist but sure could use some interjection by fellow Atheists to show unity and support, since plenty of folks are watching this thread. I don't know if it's required to subscribe to comment, I hope not...if not, please help show I'm not the only Atheist lurking on this particular blog.

It's under Blogs - on the left side, the topic is Faith in the Family, my username is Mark:17

 

Excuse me if this request is out of line.

 

Mark:17

Mark, it looks like the person (James I believe) that youare debating with sounds like a typical religious Republican. His post on Obama being the anit-christ and congress should end all funding for space exploration, really gives an insight into this persons mentality. He seems to be several six packs short of a case.


Corbin
Corbin's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: 2008-08-23
User is offlineOffline
It shouldn't have done anything

If you were a true athiest then your morals should have remained the same along with everything else the only thing that should have changed was your public stance on god's existence.


marcusfish
Superfan
marcusfish's picture
Posts: 676
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
For me, atheism was a step.

For me, atheism was a step. I took it when I was about 14.

For the remainder of my formative years it brought me a great deal of heart ache and ostricized me from "normal" society. I found that my outlook on the world and my existence was bent. Or maybe everyone elses was bent? And that was the step, for me. I questioned everone else and my surroundings. It was just a painful journey at times.

When I found the online atheist community I began to have an outlet for my thoughts/angst. I found that I was not alone; far from it. At this point I began learning from the other members of my community. I was prompted to do independant study. I began to read books on Exestencialism, Humanism, Budhism, and Ethics. I've learned a great deal and my outlook on the world and my existance has matured (a bit).

On good days I have clear eyes and can see what is really important. I recognize how finite life is and that this is my only chance to live so I'd better make it count. I try to resist the urge to dispair and work to spend that particular day as well as I can because I might not wake up tomorrow.

On really good days I can see that my impact on the world is substantial. I know that every word I say and every interaction I have ripples into the world. I know, on these days, that I should work toward a legacy to foster community, to spread peace instead of violence, calm instead of rage, etc.

Atheism has given me leave to question, improve, grow, and it has given me permission to reject the childish laws of religious thinking.


dj_kenshin
dj_kenshin's picture
Posts: 7
Joined: 2008-09-13
User is offlineOffline
My Story

This is my first post on this forum. no better place to start than here.

i guess it all started when i was young. Going to church every day with my parents. even then, i never bought in to anything the bible had to say. i can remember saying to myself "yeah right, like that could ever happen." or "these people must be crazy to believe these things!"

My parents always tried to raise me to be a Christian. for years and years i endured going to church every Sunday, all the while, making excuses as often as i could to get out of going. The truth is that i was scared to tell them the way i really felt about religion. Scared they would not accept me, and never take me seriously. i"m 18 years old. i finally admitted it to them about 2 years ago. Ever since then, I've never felt better. They don't accept it i know, but they have no choice.

Without my parents and everyone else breathing down my neck about how i should act because "the bible says so" and countless other things, i feel free...free to see the beauty in life and the science behind it without accepting an answer as simple as "Its exists because god put it here."

I feel sorry for people like my parents. People that are not able to think freely because of all this ridiculous dogma. They remind me of robots. programmed by their parents to believe in Him.

Lastly, if there is anyone out there reading this that has even the slightest doubt of their religion, i encourage you to please see the bigger picture. think outside the box, and don't be like everyone else. We only have one life to live. Do things the way YOU want to do them, not the way the bible tells you.

sincerely,

Dylan

 

 

 

 

 

 


I AM GOD AS YOU
Superfan
Posts: 4793
Joined: 2007-09-29
User is offlineOffline
dj_kenshin Yes, thank you ,

dj_kenshin

 Yes, thank you , and welcome to RRS , keep on shouting at the devil (religion) 


curlyfries22
Posts: 5
Joined: 2008-09-14
User is offlineOffline
Atheism has made me a more

Atheism has made me a more tolerant person than I would be if I was a theist. I grew up in a very Christian area and there's a TON of intolerance going on all the time against atheists in the area. We atheists however are rarely intolerant of them (Granted it DOES happen). Atheists are more open minded! I think the idea of believing in an invisible sky wizard is completely absurd and ridiculous but if you really want to believe in it I'm not going to stop you.


I AM GOD AS YOU
Superfan
Posts: 4793
Joined: 2007-09-29
User is offlineOffline
  But I will try stop them

  But I will try stop them , so I shout,  FUCK YOU idol worshipers .... FUCK YOU ....


Zeeboe
Posts: 332
Joined: 2007-07-15
User is offlineOffline
An update.

Just wanted to give a small update on me for those who care and/or remember me. I was raised Christian but then became an atheist in the summer of 2007. At first, it was very hard for me and between some other issues that were going on in my life at the time, I was close to suicide in August of that year. But because of the love for my Mother, I did not take my life and I'm glad I didn't. I back paddled a few times, but I can now safely say I am an atheist and I don't feel bad about it anymore. Infact, since becoming an atheist, I have found that I appreciate life here more. Sure, there are many bad things but there are lots of good things too. There was a time that I didn't think any of this matter and that I'd one day have a better life which I now know was a very negative way of thinking. This life here is a beautiful and precious life and should be lived fully. I also like that I can sin now without feeling guilty. I don't hurt anyone, lie or steal but I do lust without feeling ashamed and I even take the Lord's name in vain often and I've discovered it's actually very healthy. Smiling

 


Jnixon
Posts: 1
Joined: 2008-10-06
User is offlineOffline
How atheisim has changed me.

I have changed dramaticly since becoming an atheist and I don't know about for other people but it wasn't exactly over night.   There was one point when I agreed with everything the preachers would say just because when your a kid they scare the crap out of you, A nun told me once when I was seven that because I missed church one sunday I had a mortal sin on my soal and I would go to hell and now I am much happier knowing I am not going to go to hell when I die but the think was when I was religious I didn't care if I heard about somebody I didn't know dying back then I just thought its okay if they were good then they just go to heaven.  Now though It makes me sad to see people die for no reason.  I have defintely changed for the better I realized that gay people have the same right to live as every one else and I now know how crazy fundamentalists are back then I would just think people from other religions are crazy now I know they are all crazy and a lot of them are not all that intelligent (Bush, Palin) just two examples.  When I was religious I just listened to every thing that was told to me now I look at the whole picture and from more then one angle.  Basicly I look at the world around me instead of keeping my nose buried in a book that was written thousands of years ago by men who had no clue what they were talking about. 


I AM GOD AS YOU
Superfan
Posts: 4793
Joined: 2007-09-29
User is offlineOffline
Good to hear Jnixon, welcome

Good to hear Jnixon, welcome to rocking RRS ....


Schobeleth
Schobeleth's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: 2008-10-22
User is offlineOffline
I'm new to the RRS forums

I'm new to the RRS forums but I've been updated on their activities and such for a long time, a huge fan of you guys!

I was raised in a pretty religious family, the majority of my immediate family are all Catholic and some of my extended family are Christian, most of them hold firm beliefs that there just has to be a creator regardless of the fact that they themselves rarely go to church or actually do anything to praise said creator. Through the years I also was handed crucifixes and various other plaques with prayers and scripture quotes and other garbage and I always wondered what the hell it was all about, I always wondered what my mom was talking about when she said spirits of dead relatives and even pets visited her both when she's awake and asleep. I just never felt or saw anything that they so proudly claimed to have experienced. At one point years ago I was manically depressed from various reasons. I was suicidal and I even got to the point where I asked God for help, and as you all can obviously tell I received no answer.

Several years ago (I forget actually, it feels like it's been so long) I began to explore the atheist community on the internet as I had been an internet surfer for several years before that as well. I was welcomed with warm open arms as I dove into the works of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, James Randi, even comedians like George Carlin and so on. I was so scared for so long to actually come out in the open with my beliefs in fear of being persecuted by both my immediate family and my friends even. After much deliberation I finally broke the news to my parents and they laughed at me, and to this day they still assert that I'm simply going through a phase, that I always wanted to be different and that someday I'll finally believe again and I'll be safe from His wrath; which that only reinforces my principal argument: fear is God's pillar and it has made all of them blind. After I stepped out from under that pillar I felt amazing and have every day since! I even inspired a best friend of mine to come out as an atheist as well, his parents are even more religious than mine and he has been feeling a lot better as well.

"Truly, if there is evil in the world, it lurks within the hearts of mankind." -Edward D. Morrison


faithnomore
atheist
Posts: 48
Joined: 2007-10-28
User is offlineOffline
Becoming an atheist has made

Becoming an atheist has made me a better parent.  Unlike a christian,  I don't scare my children with the thought of an all powerful being that will send them to hell if they don't please him.  Also, I don't tell them to count on someone to help them out that is not even there.   I have a great relationship with my kids and I think that is partly because I don't fill their head with religious absurdities. 

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe. - Carl Sagan

Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion. - School Superintendent on "The Simpsons" episode #1


Zach Moritz
Posts: 13
Joined: 2007-06-28
User is offlineOffline
I've been an atheist for

I've been an atheist for about a year and a half now and in that time I've become much more of a critical thinker and an activist. I'm sure some of that has to do with the fact that I was 16 when I took the dive and I'm about to turn 18 now, so I've been influenced by a lot of people in that time, but I've become a volunteer, I look at the world more intellectually and ask deeper, more meaningful questions, and I feel that when I was a christian (catholic no less) I just didn't.


Megatron
Superfan
Posts: 35
Joined: 2008-11-10
User is offlineOffline
Basically this.

 When growing up, I was raised by my Christian mother, my Atheist father, and my Jewish relatives on my dad's side.  My mother would always say,"God looks over us all", and my dad would say,"When you die, you go in the ground".  My Jewish relatives basically said that there is a god but he doesn't always look over us, which is why bad things happen(That raised several alarms when I was a Christian).  My mother always, ALWAYS pressed her beliefs on me.  My father said,"I'm an atheist, but don't listen to me.  Your religion is completely up to you".  Well now I'm an atheist.  Before I would do things thinking that God was watching, wanting his praise and love.  Now I do things for other people, knowing that I have made them happy or helped them in some way.  I suppose it boils down to doing things for your fellow man and not a god who isn't there.  Also believing without evidence is just 'tarded.  Anyway, that's my view and I hope you benefited from it. 

Evolution cannot be debated. 'Tis real.


InfidelMatt
Posts: 9
Joined: 2008-12-23
User is offlineOffline
  I think that being an

 

 I think that being an atheist has made me a better person because I have more love and compassion for humanity than I ever did as a Christian. I am more loving, more good-humored, more friendly, and more interested in improving the quality of life for myself and others. I am much more joyful than I ever was as a Christian. In fact, when I was a Christian, I was so sober, that my Christian parents would complain about me. My father complained that I had no sense of humor. In fact, I think I bugged my parents and others around me because I took myself too seriously for them. I found good-natured ribbing to be tiresome and irking. I also suffered from serious clinical depression because I was convinced that my singleness was a punishment from Yahweh and when I couldn't figure out what I had done to deserve being punished, I thought that I was being romantically starved out of pure spite.

 I have noticed a definite change in me. Every cause that I am devoted to is to helping improve the quality of life for my fellow human beings. In my introductory post, I mentioned that I wanted to train as a biblical scholar. I also want to be a philosopher of religion. This is so I can help people to understand religion and help enrich and educate people so that they can make up their own minds and think as rationally as they can on the subject. I want people to understand the origins and evolution of holy books like the Bible and the Quran so people can better understand the world around them.

  Even political activism is in service to my fellow human beings. I enjoy being friendly and helpful to people. I enjoy making people laugh and if I can brighten up a person's day with a smile, that makes my life more meaningful and fulfilling. I have noticed how much more people mean to me these days and how much more fulfilling life is by having people who care about me in my life and having people I can care about. I am devoted to helping humanity to help itself, to end oppression and exploitation, and to help liberate people through reason-based education and through political and economic freedom!

  I think that the reason for this change is because I learned to see human beings as ends unto themselves and not as mere means to an end- that is as means to Yahweh's ends which seems to cheapen human life. To me this is the essence of Humanism- treating all human beings as ends unto themselves and each human being worthy of unalienable rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom.

  Matthew


SmallChristian
SmallChristian's picture
Posts: 87
Joined: 2007-03-21
User is offlineOffline
Yes

I was a Christian most of my life.  It wasn't until my mid twenties, when I became a fundamentalist, did I jump on the road to atheism(unwittingly).   My story with Christianity, and falling from it, is very complex.  I will try to keep things short.

1. My understanding of the Bible was very difficult.  IT was also very hard for me not to question things, and was treated poorly by the chruch when I did.

2. I jumped from church to church trying to find the right place for me, but I managed to dive from one doctrine into another, from one interperation of the scriptutres to another, only to find out that every Christian struggled with this issue the same, yet their simple answer of "trust him" didn't make sense.  Everything else in my life I've applied critical thinking to, and it worked. Why couldn't I apply it to religion? 

3. My ex-gf whom I loved very much had a different religion than mine, even though we were both professed Christians.  She was KJV-ONLY, Young earth Creationist, fundamentalist, and believed in all kinds of conspiracy theories.  This made me dive deeper into the Bible, to find reconcilation, but all I found were more questions.  I could not reoncile.

4. I broke things off with her, and went into a month of solitude.  During the month I decided I would take a break from religion and just relax.

5. November 2007, I lost all faith.  I decided that I would do something right, be honest, with myself.

6. I joined the gym shortly after, I have lost 80 lbs and kept it off.  I did this by applying the scientific method to my body.  I learned how many Calories my body needs, created a deficit, and also exercised 4x a week.  I still do to this day.

7. I made amends to all the people I have wronged in the past.  I decided that because forgiveness is finite, and I only live once, that making amends was much more beautiful.  I have re-friended some of those I had hurt, and have gained respect as a very Honest person, one thing that has been tough to earn.  My friends know me as someone who has a strong character, who will not wrong you, and who is honest to a fault.

8. I got a second Job and I have increased my net income by 60%.  

9. I had about 8,000 dollars in Credit Card debt as of 2007.  As a Christian, I gave my tithes away constantly, and could not get out of debt.  I have now paid off all debts, except my car.  I am doing by far wayyy better Financially.

 

When I left Religion I:

1. Became more honest with myself and others, and made amends to those I hurt in the past.

2. Lost 80 lbs of fat and have kept it off

3. Paid off 8,000 in Credit Card Debt.

4. Became more industrious and hard working.

5. Proved to myself that I don't need to pray to anything to lose weight, gain friendships, pay off debt, and maintain job security.

 edit: I joiend this site over a year ago when I was a Christian, so yeah, my username doesnt fit me well at all. 


Mike3667
Mike3667's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: 2009-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Well, I guess I'll give a

Well, I guess I'll give a list like the guy above me or try to. Sticking out tongue

1. I think more logically. Instead of assuming that God did everything, I actually look things up and research them.

2. I don't worry about going to hell, I live life more fully.

3. I don't worry about my friends will go to hell, or any family members.

4. I know that this life is my only life so I need to live it again, more fully.

5. I can laugh at anything ^^.

6. I don't waste time and money at church or God. <<Like free sundays.

 

That's my short list, there are more but it's almost 3:30 AM and I'm tired.


danielnottheheb...
danielnotthehebrewguy's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: 2009-01-06
User is offlineOffline
Becoming atheist has made me a better person because

I don't judge anyone else's religion based upon my own dogma, since I don't have any!

When I was Christian, I was taught homosexuality was a choice and a sin, which is REDICULOUS!

I don't worry and stress about dead family members maybe being in hell, because there isn't one!

I'm not a Christian, bible-beating douche bag anymore! Yey!

Daniel (not the Hebrew guy)


Infinitesoul
Posts: 1
Joined: 2009-01-13
User is offlineOffline
Question

I am not religious in any way, I acutally think most religious people are brainwashed, but I just wanted to ask how do you guys know for sure there is no god?


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3681
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Infinitesoul wrote:I am not

Infinitesoul wrote:

I am not religious in any way, I acutally think most religious people are brainwashed, but I just wanted to ask how do you guys know for sure there is no god?

Most atheists are weak or agnostic atheists, in that they hold that we can't be 100% that a God doesn't exist. Usually, this is simply a healthy dose of rationalism, applying the same doubt to the existence of God that one would with any issue. People are "sure" that Santa Claus doesn't exist, but under further questioning, many people would say that they are not 100% positive. The strong atheism position, which I am starting to favor more and more, does state that Gods, or at least many Gods, are impossible due to their contradictory/inconsistent characteristics/definitions.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


vansterdam
Posts: 1
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
How has being an atheist made you a better person?

I feel that I've become a better person. My parents brought me up going to a mainstream united church. It wasn't til I was about 13 that I visited a friend's pentecostal church. They had somebody "speaking in tongues" and I looked around at all these supposed adults sucking this in. It was a little scary to a 13 year old however, I was amazed that these people believed this ridiculous trick. My friend's father was a stockbroker, with a university education, (for all the good it did him), he believed this drool with all his heart. This silly display forced me to look at my parents church more critically. It seemed to be more of a social organization than a church. None the less, they were advocating a belief in something in which I simply did not believe. I think this made me look inside for a moral compass of my own. It helped me to develop an interest in critical thinking, history, physics. I now believe, some 25 years later that our only hope  as a species is to rid ourselves of these absurd beliefs and embrace science and logic. How much further would we have been advanced had we never been burdened with religion? That is a question that will never be answered although  it is safe to assume, we would be much further ahead of our current state.


Scyth3s
Scyth3s's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: 2008-12-12
User is offlineOffline
General gist: I have more


General gist: I have more self control (only myself to blame), my intellect has grown exponentially (Theism no longer stops me from studying some sciences), and I am more of an individual. I now stand up for whatever is right whenever I can.

 

I question everything.

View my Atheist blog, shared with two friends!

www.faithistheenemy.blogspot.com -Daniel the "Scientist"


Heidi (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Being an athiest has allowed

Being an athiest has allowed me focus on this life more closely and find happiness in my life. I come from a very catholic family and my dad has always said that "this life is just preparation for the next." i've always known that this is bullshit. SO instead of worrying about getting into heaven, or am i worthy enough, or..have i been a good enough person, have i paid enough money to the church....etc... 

i get to live the life i love.

i'm not a bad person (maybe in the churches eyes i am).. but shouldn't we all be enjoyin ourselves now? i mean, this is all we've got. and it's a hell of a short time to worry and worry and plan for that nothing in the sky.

 


mandescience
Posts: 13
Joined: 2009-02-15
User is offlineOffline
I was indocrinated in the

I was indocrinated in the Christian religion and i must say that ever since being an atheist i have felt completely liberated. It was three years ago, and ever since then I've had a more diverse outlook and no longer make irrational moral judgements based on a Bronze-Aged set of primitive moral code. So, it has helped me become a "better" person in many respects. The problem with the Abrahamic religions, is that they are all extremely exclusive, and dwell in the fact that they have acquired some more superiority. I think that's the most enticing thing about religion-- its ability to make people feel big in a small scale, cosmically. ANd that is exploited after you submit to a faith, because thereafter, all your judgements are derived from an archaic text and you somehow think you're an agent for god. well my friend, its bullshit.

“I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."


marshalltenbears
marshalltenbears's picture
Posts: 223
Joined: 2009-02-19
User is offlineOffline
recently renouned my faith

I have recently renounced my faith, I wrote quite a bit about it on the free thinkers forum, its titled, getting over the fear of hell. I can say that for once I don't feel miserable about doing things that may be a "sin". I wouldn't call myself an athiest though b/c i don't know what happens when i die or where everything came from. I simply don't know and I leave it at that. But after letting go of all of my faith I feel much more stress free and happy. I feel that now I can truly get along with anyone and be a genuine friend of anyone no matter what their lifestyle is.( of course there are some exceptions). But before I could pretend to be nice to a gay person, but in the back of my mind I was thinking about their salvation etc. So now I feel like a more honest person. Its liberating.

"Take all the heads of the people
and hang them up before the Lord
against the sun.” -- Numbers 25:4


Damon Fillman
Damon Fillman's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: 2009-02-16
User is offlineOffline
Atheism pointed me in the

Atheism pointed me in the direction, the direction  i was destined to take, and by destined I mean my own intentions were misled prior to the revelation of Atheism.  I find myself caring more for the weak, the destitute, than a theist who claims to care only to better a public image of themselves.  Which is why I don't brag to people the volunteer work I do.  Volunteering one's time to help another is to further the good of our species, not some kind of personal gratitude that is shallow and synthetic. 

I am a much better person now.  Things that once bothered me don't anymore.  For instance, bad relationships...i used to worry about a significant other finding some one else and that I would be ruined because of it.  Now, as an Atheist, it's comforting to know that there is no afterlife and that she, like me, will die a painful death.  That may sound sinister but this is the reptialian brain speaking here. 

And in so many other ways....


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Is this atheism or anti-theism? What is there to be proud about?

 I grew up in a communist country, so atheism is nothing special for me - just the way I was raised. I presume this fact is what makes me differ from some people here, since I don't pound my chest with something that trivial. It would be like being proud of breathing air.

 

I could never subscribe to any religion myself. If it should happen that, against all reason, a "God" of some sort would pest me after my death, I would probably attempt to hurt him/her badly for all the nice things he/she has done. This however, does not mean that I will not listen to very intelligent deeply religious people, who work their ass off trying to find flaws in my reasoning.

 

This is the biggest gift an atheist can expect from any group of people - a huge movement that constantly tries our empathy, intelligence and our view of reality. No matter how ridiculous their alternative view is, it's craziest points might be exactly where they had to go, to avoid our potential absurdity. I am a scientist myself and the best thing atheistic scientific pursuit has enabled me to do so far is listen to people who attack my assumptions. My disdain for their irrational and sometimes outright stupid assumptions is ALWAYS secondary to my intolerance towards my own stupidity.

 

For all of our sake, I hope we have a strong opponent that will point out our soft underbelly of prejudice, lack of empathy and general disregard for other people as long as we exist, no matter how flawed this opponent himself is.

 

 

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Ken G (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Becomming an Atheist

By becomming an Atheist,it has made me more aware of all the non-sence that the religious assholes are always crying about. Ever since I was young,around 12-13 yrs. old,I started to see through all of the crap that was drilled into my little head,I was in Catholic school until I was 15 and at the urging of a nun I transfered to public school,she said to me that I just asked to many questions,and I would find public school more fit for my questions and she was right ,learning about how the world really was and how I came into being,was a real eye-opener.and now that I have found many Atheist communitiesin on line, believing in a God seems so stupid and I think that all of humanity would be better off without a religious belief floating around in their heads.Logic and Reason are the best tools that we have to navigate in this world,religion belongs in the dust bin.


Straydoglogic
Posts: 3
Joined: 2009-02-28
User is offlineOffline
I've been an atheist my

I've been an atheist my entire life..for some reason, and thankfully, they could never sucker me in...I am a bit of a taoist but that's a completely different deal..But I think by being an atheist I have been accepting and non judgmental of others..I don't hate purely on different beliefs..though christians do drive me absolutely nuts...but I can think for myself and don't rely on stories and fables to dictate my life..I feel that I'm a more kind and generous person by being an atheist as well...that doesn't even make sense to theists..lol....


Anonymous
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
new here

Hey, I just discovered this rational response gang on youtube.  I thought this thread was appropriate as first post Smiling

 

I've been a convinced atheist from the moment I knew what the word meant I guess.

When asked "how does that make you a better person", I guess my answer would be...

 

I understand how microscopic and insignificant we are.  If humanity were to be destroyed tomorrow... nothing will change. It won't matter in the larger scheme of things. Other life will just go on.  Other creatures will fill the void we leave in the eco system.  The universe will continue what it does. And "humanity" will be rendered a funny footnote detail in the story of the universe.

 

This makes me look at the person next to me and think "what are we arguing/fighting about anyway?"  In other words, it pulls me out of the "us and them" mentality.

And that can't be a bad thing.


Screwhead
Posts: 3
Joined: 2009-04-03
User is offlineOffline
Being an atheist

I'm hoping I'm doing this right, last couple of times I've tried to post I get some "The message you're replying to doesn't exist" message, so I'm hoping that the "add a new comment" on the first message (as opposed to "reply" on the last message posted) is the way to go..

As far as I can remember, I've been an atheist all my life.. rather than re-type and re-phrase it, I'll just quote/post something that I wrote about two years ago on a blog;

Quote:

It's amazing what you can remember sometimes. Considering I can barely rememeber what I did last week, last month, last year.. remembering something in such vivid detail from when I was around 2 years old is fuckin' amazing. But it's also one of those important moments in life, where something happens that really defines a part of who you are; a part that will stay with you and never change. It's like, you have your life before this one moment, and your life after this one moment.


I'm willing to bet not too many 2 year olds have had many of those.

Despite all the bullshit that I was put through with my parents, there's one thing that I have to give them credit for, and that's never lying to me and teaching me how bad lying was. I was never told about santa claus or the easter bunny or the tooth fairy or any of that shit; I was very much grounded in reality from day 1 when it came to all the bullshit people tell kids to give them some "magic" in their childhood.

when I was 2-3 years old (though probably closer to 2) my mother was back working and my dad worked also, and rather than send me off to strangers to be babysat, my grandmother (father's mother) would babysit me every day. She'd taught me to read by the time I was 2, and not just kids books, I could read the newspaper (though I had to ask what a lot of words were, and didn't always understand the stories, I could read most of the words)

So, she wanted to move me on to something else to read, which she figgured was something better suited to a young child, and that was the bible. I remember her reading to me every day parts from her little leather-bound bible with those ultra-thin gold-edged pages.

Then we got to jesus, and the miracles he performed. I specifically remember the one about how he spit in the dirt to make some mud, rubbed it on the eyes of a blind man, and it made him see again. I remember asking my grandmother how that was possible, and why don't people do that for everyone that was blind, and she answered with the typical "god works in mysterious ways" crap that really means "well, I don't know, but the bible says it so it must be true". 

I remember asking a lot of questions about the god, jesus, and the miracles that could be preformed, and asking why, if god loved us so much, doesn't he just make everyone better and just remove dissease and blindness and things like that from existance, and the answeres just didn't make sense.

That's the distinct moment that I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that religion and the concept of an all-knowing, all-loving, caring god was a complete crock of shit, and that god was just santa claus for adults who are too old to believe in imaginary friends.



So that's pretty much the "why/how" of my realisation that god was just bullshit..

I think that being an atheist makes me a better person because I can accept things that others can't. I can accept that people 'just die' and not need the 'comfort' of a person's death having been part of some 'great plan' that we just can't understand. 

I can accept responsibility for my words and actions without resorting to "the devil made me do it!" as a way to back-pedal out of some situation where I may have screwed up. Everything I say or do is a personal choice/decision with no influence/interference by an imaginary god or devil.

My choices and my life are mine, and not shaped around someone else's oppinions on how I should live. At the end of the day, the only person I have to please and stay true to is myself; the only goals I have to achieve are the ones I set out for myself.

Just about the only thing that I can agree on with the bible is the old-testament notion of 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth'. I believe that everything bad a person does to another should be done onto them, and I treat the religiously intollerant with as much hate and intollerance as they have for those who aren't of their faith and belief. The more you hate others for being who they are and for being what makes them happy, the more I hate you.

 


moonshiner1820
Posts: 1
Joined: 2009-04-09
User is offlineOffline
Sapient wrote:How has being

Sapient wrote:

How has being free of theism made you a better person?
 
I was seventeen when I took the plunge.  At fifteen, I had more questions than answers.  Being from a multi-denominational family my answers usually just lent themselves to more questions.  The more and more I took it upon myself to find my own answers the more skeptical I became.  I took a rational progression from skeptic to becoming Agnostic and then Atheist in about two years.  Now at thirty-three the past eighteen years of discovery (always on a constant search for information - almost all scientific for the last decade) has lead me to believe there is absolutely no god, higher power, etc... and I am absolutely 100% unshakeable in that resolution.  If I'm wrong well then I'm wrong.  Won't be the first time, but I'll die thinking I'm right with a far larger pile of fact on my side of the fence.  
I live in the very Conservative Christian stronghold of West Texas.  People rarely like my responses to any of their questions regarding faith-based religions, but as long as we remain civil I am more than willing to let them know what I believe and why.  My being a non-believer has cost me several relationships (usually with people who argue with circling logic and finally just turn their back), but it has also given me several.   The one major difference I notice between myself and my religous friends is they generally lack the same respect for life and liberty that I have.  I.E. being for torture of detainees, against equal rights for gays and lesbians, against stem-cell research, etc...  That is not to say they are bad people or that I am better, but knowing that this life is all I've got allows me a lust they think they can only have post mortem.  
I guess this is a drawn out way of saying if being free of theism has made me a better person; it has done so by opening my eyes to the real world (that is to say the world we live in and what we can prove) and my appreciation for it as well as my love of it.  That really does carry out in every part of your life.

 

 


mboy
Posts: 1
Joined: 2009-04-09
User is offlineOffline
Am I an Athiest?

Hi Im new to this forum, am I an Atheist, I think so.. well I dont know if God exists, Im certainly open to possibilities, I have an open mind and love to seek things truthfully.. I use my five senses to verify whats real or not and evaluate evidence logically.  I think the Bible and most other religious texts belong in the fiction section next to Harry Potter books and I generally feel nausious around churches

I was actually brought up in a catholic environment and eventually managed to get away from the mind set of guilt and sin etc through self evaluation and self love, I realise the Hypocracy of teaching about a God who loves his creation on the one hand but on the other, destroys it and tortures it mercilessly and unendingly for failing to bow to its ever changing and strange demands.. Is it any wonder that humans have had a hard time trying to work out what love really is, given this kind of role model.. doesnt take a huge stretch of the imagination to see why the worlds in the state its in.. In the microcosm of religion there are nicities, people coming together, praying for the sick, charity, and the teachings of Jesus, which are all well and good, but the Macrocosm is a world of divisions, hatred and self rightousness where evil acts are commited in God's name.. the bad far outweighs the good, the purveyors of religion must think, if only everyone believed in what I did, we would all be fine and live harmonyoously.. failing to see the Irony in his position and the complicity in the state of the Worlds current ills.  How anyone can look at a new born innocent baby and begin to teach it as soon as it is able to listen about its inate sinfulness and how to be ashamed of its body parts, how we can teach everone to deny our sexual impulses as sinful... If only they knew of the psychological trauma inflicted on the consciousness of mankind.  One of the most Damaging and terrible ideas ever inflicted on humans 'That some God exists which requires something from us.. failing to do so results in unending torture'   

 

Soooo, how has being an Athiest helped me become a better person.. by freeing me from becoming a carbon copy of the so called merciful God they claim to represent. This alone alows me to love freely and to allow others to live there lives in peace, regardless of sexual orientation, creed, other beliefs or anything, I live benefitially for the preservation of planet earth.. not for the appeasment of said invisably bully in the sky

 

Peace

 


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
mboy wrote:I think the Bible

mboy wrote:

I think the Bible and most other religious texts belong in the fiction section next to Harry Potter books and I generally feel nausious around churches

I feel nausious around Harry Potter books.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3681
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
  

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare