Why is it that you meet so many more "Ex atheists" than atheists?

Unsavedsinner
Unsavedsinner's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
Why is it that you meet so many more "Ex atheists" than atheists?

It sure feels like to me that 60% of people claim to have once been atheist and converted to theism. Meanwhile only about 9% of the population claim to be atheist. Our numbers have been even shorter in the past too.
What do you think?

Support our voice in politics by voting for the question "Is America unofficially a Theocracy?" at http://www.communitycounts.us/debates so it can be asked live at the CNN/YouTube debates!!


pariahjane
pariahjane's picture
Posts: 1595
Joined: 2006-05-06
User is offlineOffline
I think many of those

I think many of those 'ex-atheists' are full of shit.  Think about it, how powerful would Jesus be to 'save' an atheist rather than a 'part-time Christian'.  I was always under the notion that most people aren't even considered 'christian' until they have been 'saved'. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


JB_Montag
JB_Montag's picture
Posts: 68
Joined: 2006-07-27
User is offlineOffline
I have to agree about the

I have to agree about the bull shit. I feel most of them were simply not going to church, and that is the extent of their "Atheism".

The paper read yesterday, the earth exploded, nobody noticed the passing of this hapless planet.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2843
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
Unsavedsinner wrote: It

Unsavedsinner wrote:
It sure feels like to me that 60% of people claim to have once been atheist and converted to theism.

100% of theists were once atheists who converted to theism.

But most of them were only default atheists... atheists without any knowledge of theism or atheism. 

The reality is that most of the christians who claim to have been atheists were not likely adults who deconverted to atheism through rational pondering, they were most likely people like Kirk Cameron, default atheists, who didn't really know a damn thing about theism or atheism, or 'converted' at age 17... i.e. soon after they began to ponder the situation.

 

 

Quote:
 

Meanwhile only about 9% of the population claim to be atheist.

Our numbers have been even shorter in the past too.


What do you think?

Smaller in the past, growing in the present, that's the right direction. 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


Voided
Posts: 1195
Joined: 2006-02-20
User is offlineOffline
The first thing I ask of a

The first thing I ask of a person who said they were once atheist is what made them change there mind. That and what they mean by atheist.

Did they have arguments against theism? Did they think about god? Was there reason for going to theism emotional? Did they believe, but simply didn't like god? 


MrRage
Posts: 896
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
Unsavedsinner wrote: It

Unsavedsinner wrote:
It sure feels like to me that 60% of people claim to have once been atheist and converted to theism. Meanwhile only about 9% of the population claim to be atheist. Our numbers have been even shorter in the past too.
What do you think?

On the other hand, many evangelical/fundamentalist Christians would think I wasn't really a Christian, or that I'm still a Christian just in denial or something.


GodofWar
Posts: 2
Joined: 2007-08-14
User is offlineOffline
todangst

todangst wrote:

Unsavedsinner wrote:
It sure feels like to me that 60% of people claim to have once been atheist and converted to theism.

100% of theists were once atheists who converted to theism.

But most of them were only default atheists... atheists without any knowledge of theism or atheism. 

The reality is that most of the christians who claim to have been atheists were not likely adults who deconverted to atheism through rational pondering, they were most likely people like Kirk Cameron, default atheists, who didn't really know a damn thing about theism or atheism, or 'converted' at age 17... i.e. soon after they began to ponder the situation.

Quote:
 

Meanwhile only about 9% of the population claim to be atheist.

Our numbers have been even shorter in the past too.


What do you think?

Smaller in the past, growing in the present, that's the right direction. 

You stole my thunder.


Raki
Superfan
Raki's picture
Posts: 259
Joined: 2007-08-05
User is offlineOffline
I don't think many were

I don't think many were athiests to begin with.


Little Roller U...
Superfan
Little Roller Up First's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: 2007-06-27
User is offlineOffline
Raki wrote: I don't think

Raki wrote:
I don't think many were athiests to begin with.

You just hit the nail on the head. These self-proclaimed "ex-atheists" probably just identify themselves as such for the whole "I didn't truly believe in God and I was in an endless downward spiral until I accepted Jesus into my life, and now just look at how successful I've become" routine.

Good night, funny man, and thanks for the laughter.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2843
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
GodofWar wrote: You stole

GodofWar wrote:
You stole my thunder.

 

A dangerous thing to do to a god of war.

 


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Speaking of which

Speaking of which ~

Welcome, GodofWar!

When you get a minute, we'd love it if you'd hop over to the General Conversation, Introductions and Humor forum and introduce yourself. 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


RickRebel
RickRebel's picture
Posts: 327
Joined: 2007-01-16
User is offlineOffline
Unsavedsinner wrote: It

Unsavedsinner wrote:
It sure feels like to me that 60% of people claim to have once been atheist and converted to theism. Meanwhile only about 9% of the population claim to be atheist. Our numbers have been even shorter in the past too.

Are these your own personal statistics or are you getting this from a survey? The last statistics I saw on this, the number of atheists in America was close to 15 percent and was on the rise.

If people who have experienced reality have decided to revert back to fantasy, that doesn't bode well for the furure of society. In fact, it's scary as hell.

 

Frosty's coming back someday. Will you be ready?


Unsavedsinner
Unsavedsinner's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
I made up those statistics.

I made up those statistics. But it would be very interesting if someone did a poll asking "Were you once an atheist?" and compare those numbers to the percentage of real atheists. It would probably be 60-something% to 9-15%

Support our voice in politics by voting for the question "Is America unofficially a Theocracy?" at http://www.communitycounts.us/debates so it can be asked live at the CNN/YouTube debates!!


RickRebel
RickRebel's picture
Posts: 327
Joined: 2007-01-16
User is offlineOffline
According to the website

According to the website "Atheists in America" this is a breakdown of the percentage of atheists in the United States today.

 

Percentages Per State (some states not counted)

Frosty's coming back someday. Will you be ready?


Unsavedsinner
Unsavedsinner's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
That is odd there are the

That is odd there are the same amount of atheists in OK and NY.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2843
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
Wow, are those stats

Wow, are those stats accurate? I just moved from NJ to Wyoming for the year, I can't believe that percentage wise, there are more atheists here....

 

On the other hand, I've thought of moving to Oregon.... 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


RickRebel
RickRebel's picture
Posts: 327
Joined: 2007-01-16
User is offlineOffline
Unsaved sinner wrote: That

Unsaved sinner wrote:
That is odd there are the same amount of atheists in OK and NY.

 

I don't know how reliable these statistics are or when they did the study but your 60% figure of theists is probably a little low as is your atheists figure.

According to this website, the 28% percent in Oregon is the highest percent of atheists in the US which is probably close to the number of theists in many European countries.

Maybe Americans just can't deal with reality. After decades of watching Saturday morning cartoons, maybe they believe cartoons are real life. Hopefully someday they'll figure out the talking donkey in the Bible is only make believe.

Note to fellow Americans: Animals can't really talk. The donkey in "Shrek" is only make believe and the voice is Eddy Murphy's. It's not real.

 

 

 

 

Frosty's coming back someday. Will you be ready?


Unsavedsinner
Unsavedsinner's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
RickRebel wrote: Note to

RickRebel wrote:

Note to fellow Americans: Animals can't really talk. The donkey in "Shrek" is only make believe and the voice is Eddy Murphy's. It's not real.

 

 

 

 


You just gotta have faith.

Support our voice in politics by voting for the question "Is America unofficially a Theocracy?" at http://www.communitycounts.us/debates so it can be asked live at the CNN/YouTube debates!!


lester ballard
Posts: 63
Joined: 2007-02-20
User is offlineOffline
Maybe in part due to the

Maybe in part due to the language.  What kind of atheism has been abandoned?  Divinity has been so multiply defined (transcendent, immanent, etc) that theist needs qualifiers. Ditto atheist.

[I'm content with calling myself a non-believer.  As there's never been a comprehensive definition of God (my view--some may disagree) I'm not sure what I would be denying should I call myself an atheist.]

Likely there's also a psychological dynamic.  Religion is usually linked with authority.  Some may declare atheism out of anger in their personal experiences with authority (parents, school, whatever).

I suspect these are the ones who revert.  If nothing else, religion is comfort.


MrRage
Posts: 896
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
todangst wrote: Wow, are

todangst wrote:

Wow, are those stats accurate? I just moved from NJ to Wyoming for the year, I can't believe that percentage wise, there are more atheists here....

 

On the other hand, I've thought of moving to Oregon....

Washington state (at least the part the west of the Cascades) is even more godless than Oregon according to the last census. Maybe Oregon's caught up in the last seven years though.


D-cubed
Rational VIP!
D-cubed's picture
Posts: 715
Joined: 2007-01-04
User is offlineOffline
I highly doubt the claims

I highly doubt the claims of anyone who say they used to be atheist then converted.  In most cases I've seen is that people have grown up in a religious household but remained indifferent to religion then returned to religion for emotional reasons, never intellectual ones.

I haven't had the opportunity to talk to many so-called ex-atheists but when I do I ask them what rational reasons did they have to believe that gods didn't exist and why are they no longer valid now.  I've never gotten a response.

Two examples of people claiming to be former atheists are Kirk Cameron and Paul Vitz the incompentent psychologist who wrote the pseudoscientific novel Faith of the Fatherless.

Kirk claimed to have converted after he asked himself "What if I'm wrong."  It's the exact sort of thing we'd expect a Christian to say if they were never an Atheist.

Vitz claimed that he grew up in a religious household believed in god but stopped going to church in college because he wanted to be accepted by the intellectual crowd.  Since he defined being religious as not merely believing in god but regularly going to church, tithing and other nonsense he considered himself a genuine atheist.  It apparently never occured to "Dr." Vitz that Atheists really don't believe in god.

One of my friends is a former agnostic who converted to Christianity (she grew up in a religious household).  She was experiencing severe depression and turned to religion for it's self-deluding comfort.  Nobody ever converts to Christianity because life is going absolutely perfect and everything is happy so they want to embrace the guilt and self-hating shame that religion offers. 


Unsavedsinner
Unsavedsinner's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
Well, shouldn't they ask

Well, shouldn't they ask themselves "What if I'm wrong and praising the wrong god?" then?

Support our voice in politics by voting for the question "Is America unofficially a Theocracy?" at http://www.communitycounts.us/debates so it can be asked live at the CNN/YouTube debates!!


pariahjane
pariahjane's picture
Posts: 1595
Joined: 2006-05-06
User is offlineOffline
todangst wrote: Wow, are

todangst wrote:

Wow, are those stats accurate? I just moved from NJ to Wyoming for the year, I can't believe that percentage wise, there are more atheists here....

 

On the other hand, I've thought of moving to Oregon.... 

I was really surprised by this as well.  I certainly thought there would be a lot more atheists in NJ. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


Bigg
Bigg's picture
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-06-10
User is offlineOffline
Jane I wasnt.Most everyone i

Jane I wasnt.Most everyone i know here in Jersey outside my circle of friends are Christian,they just dont know jack shit about the religion or the babble.They were all told when they were young they are christian,and god is real,and never bothered questioning anything.But atleast most of them dont preach or try to convert others,only one i really had pull the shit on me was my friends wife,i got into a little trouble once and all she could say was "you need jesus in your life!!!!!" Even after i told her its all bullshit all id hear for a week was that I need jesus,and to go to church,thats pretty much the extent of it.

"Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions."--Frater Ravus


SassyDevil
SassyDevil's picture
Posts: 116
Joined: 2006-09-30
User is offlineOffline
Seems a lot of us here are

Seems a lot of us here are in, from or at least lived in NJ once. Smiling  (Yes, I'm in southern NJ.)

 I don't know a lot of atheists or freethinkers here (or, at least, they haven't been vocal about it).  

And, on a side note, I get so sick of that "You need Jesus!" crap!  No matter what state it's coming from. 


Little Roller U...
Superfan
Little Roller Up First's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: 2007-06-27
User is offlineOffline
SassyDevil wrote: And, on a

SassyDevil wrote:
And, on a side note, I get so sick of that "You need Jesus!" crap! No matter what state it's coming from.

I need Jesus in my life only slightly less than a fish needs a bicycle.

Good night, funny man, and thanks for the laughter.


The Patrician
The Patrician's picture
Posts: 474
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
Even a fish needs a ride

Even a fish needs a ride now and again. Smiling

As for the ex-atheists, never really noticed it on this forum. 

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.


Big Willem
Posts: 34
Joined: 2007-05-29
User is offlineOffline
I think some of them equate

I think some of them equate not thinking about religion and god with being an atheist.

Some of them try to square bad shit they did in the past, with being an atheist. Because if they were truly christians at the time, they wouldn't have done that bad shit wouldn't they? They confuse doing things, with lacking the believe in things.

And I think that most of them are lying.

Some because they want street cred. The bigger sinner you were, the bigger the miracle your conversion was.

And a lot of them because they can attack or try to convert you with it and say "I was just like you, but I found God and found the error of my way's and so should you"

And some actually were atheists and really converted. It happens.

Speaking for me, of all the atheists I know personally, and I know a lot of them, I have never seen one convert to theism. So I think it happens, but not a lot.


ISH
ISH's picture
Posts: 14
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
I'd agree with many of the

I'd agree with many of the previous comments. But there's also the fanatacism of converts to consider. It's like smoking. The people who are keenest to tell smokers to give up are ex-smokers...they have a kind of zeal about it that people who have never smoked don't have. "I gave up," they'll say, "you can do it too."

Ex-atheists, having gone from one extreme to the other, have the same kind of enthusiasm to share what they see as the benefits of their experience.

The reverse of this is also true. I'm sure that one of the reasons that I am vocal and passionate about my own atheism is my own previous theism.

And then there is the question of the way that your mind works. You talk about the number of ex-atheists that you meet. But I suspect part of this is the fact that as an atheist you notice and remember ex-atheists far more than ex-theists. An atheist sees an ex-theist as 'normal' (whatever that means) and thus not particularly memorable. However an ex-atheist appears distinctly weird to the atheist - and so more memorable.


Not_Your_Therapist
atheist
Not_Your_Therapist's picture
Posts: 108
Joined: 2007-06-28
User is offlineOffline
I know of 3 verified people

I know of 3 verified people close to me who are friends or family, who say they are atheists because they are "angry at god"

My brother used to say he was an atheist because the bible doesn't make any sense and is full of contradictions. He believed in god, but said that god was definitely not the Xian god. I few good books from my library helped him out Smiling 

 

Obviously, this is a misunderstanding of atheism. I am willing to bet there are others out there who are "atheists because they are angry at/hate god" and when someone convinces them to quit hating and start loving, they say they converted from atheism to Christianity.

Your resident OTD/S, Christina
A good scientist will always change her mind if new evidence is presented which gives her sufficient reason to change it.
www.ziztur.com


CrimsonEdge
CrimsonEdge's picture
Posts: 499
Joined: 2007-01-02
User is offlineOffline
As a previous poster

As a previous poster stated, many people are extremely uneducated about atheism. Christians, who think they have the only religion, view atheism as having a "hate" of God. How absolutely obsurd. I can't hate something I don't believe in. In fact, no one can hate something they don't believe in.

I also find belief in God extremely offensive, especially when they denote the achievements of man. "Thank God your cancer is gone!" What? Thank the doctors that got rid of it. Thank the scientists that researched the different ways to get rid of it. Why thank a God that CREATED it, you dim witted twits?

People praise God for doing all sorts of positive things. "OH THANK GOD I SURVIVED THAT CAR WRECK!" NO. DO NOT THANK GOD. THANK THE PEOPLE WHO DESIGNED THE CAR. THANK THE PARAMEDICS THAT GOT THERE IN A HURRY. THANK ANYTHING BUT A BEING THAT ALLOWED SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO HAPPEN.

Such narrow minded praise in something they aren't sure exists is absolutely stupid. This is no different in praising a mass murderer for saving a deer from a bear trap.

"OH WHAT A HERO HE IS!" 


JeremiahSmith
Posts: 361
Joined: 2006-11-25
User is offlineOffline
Given the stigma against

Given the stigma against atheists that still exists in places, it's less likely someone will admit to being an atheist than someone will admit to having been an atheist but that they "got better".

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


Unsavedsinner
Unsavedsinner's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
People claim they found god

People claim they found god and used to not believe. I think it's just because they never took it seriously. 

Support our voice in politics by voting for the question "Is America unofficially a Theocracy?" at http://www.communitycounts.us/debates so it can be asked live at the CNN/YouTube debates!!


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2843
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
pariahjane wrote: todangst

pariahjane wrote:
todangst wrote:

Wow, are those stats accurate? I just moved from NJ to Wyoming for the year, I can't believe that percentage wise, there are more atheists here....

 

On the other hand, I've thought of moving to Oregon....

I was really surprised by this as well. I certainly thought there would be a lot more atheists in NJ.

I still suspect that there are, even so, even if the percentages are correct, the population of Wyoming is about 500,000, so sheer number wise, there are many more atheists in NJ.

 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


pariahjane
pariahjane's picture
Posts: 1595
Joined: 2006-05-06
User is offlineOffline
todangst wrote: pariahjane

todangst wrote:
pariahjane wrote:
todangst wrote:

Wow, are those stats accurate? I just moved from NJ to Wyoming for the year, I can't believe that percentage wise, there are more atheists here....

 

On the other hand, I've thought of moving to Oregon....

I was really surprised by this as well. I certainly thought there would be a lot more atheists in NJ.

I still suspect that there are, even so, even if the percentages are correct, the population of Wyoming is about 500,000, so sheer number wise, there are many more atheists in NJ.

 

 

With the amount of people crammed into this state, I'm sure there are more atheists here than in Wyoming, but it's still surprising to me that the percentage would be that low.  Though I suppose the reason I'm so surprised is because people here aren't as... vocal about religion as other places.  I guess I just take it for granted.  

If god takes life he's an indian giver


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2843
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
pariahjane wrote: With the

pariahjane wrote:

With the amount of people crammed into this state, I'm sure there are more atheists here than in Wyoming, but it's still surprising to me that the percentage would be that low.

You are more optimistic than I... I thought 16% was high, hearing 21% for Wyoming is the shocker... They must be counting me 1000 times or something.... 

 

Quote:

Though I suppose the reason I'm so surprised is because people here aren't as... vocal about religion as other places. I guess I just take it for granted.

Hmm... yeah, I'd guess so... 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


ParanoidAgnostic
ParanoidAgnostic's picture
Posts: 402
Joined: 2007-05-20
User is offlineOffline
Big Willem wrote: And a

Big Willem wrote:

And a lot of them because they can attack or try to convert you with it and say "I was just like you, but I found God and found the error of my way's and so should you"

Next time one tries that I'm going to reply with "I was just like you, but then I turned 6".

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


nullusdeus
SuperfanBronze Member
nullusdeus's picture
Posts: 126
Joined: 2007-02-15
User is offlineOffline
In my recent post under

In my recent post under Freethinking Anonymous: Atheists converting to theism - incomprehensible! I basically asked the same question. The replies here are more numerous and I'm glad I saw your post. So I guess it's my fault for not phrasing the question as well as you did.

Miracles don't exist. "Miracle" is a word given to a preposterous event that a theist considers dogmatically advantageous. Def. - Ecclesiastical sensationalism.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 15843
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
You have to remember that

You have to remember that definitions are a semantic mindfeild.

"Atheist" to the newley "converted" merely means that "if they had only believed" they wouldnt have done the things they had done.

Most former "atheists" are merely people who "didnt follow the word of god".

There is only one reason to buy anything, be it a car, house or god, EVIDENCE!

These are people who are mistaking rebelion to society for rebelion to a fictional character that doesnt exist. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37