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The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism

The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« on: August 13, 2008, 02:31:03 AM »
I was raised as a Christian and I eventually became agnostic. Most of the people here call themselves atheist, and I am wondering what exactly convinced you guys to make the jump from agnosticism to atheism (that is, assuming that you did just that). Even though I am sure that the God as the Bible describes it is not real, I just can't throw out the idea of some higher power. I mean, as unlikely as it is, there is just so much there is to know, and so many things that are possible that I can't completely reject the idea of a higher power, or a greater consciousness.

Maybe I am misunderstanding the definitions of agnosticim and atheism; if I am could someone explain it to me? Either way, I would like to know your reasons for being atheist rather than agnostic.
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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 02:58:23 AM »
Welcome to the forum, monkey.

There is actually some debate over if atheist means someone who knows that a god does not exist and/or denies that one exist or if atheist means someone who does not believe in god.  Imo, since most people who call themselves atheist consider it to mean someone who simply doesn't believe in gods, then common usage dictates that's what it means.  As far as what it was meant to mean originally, that's debatable.  

Here's a little list I put together to try and define atheist agnostic etc:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=830

You'll see in that link that there are terms such as strong and weak atheism that basically exist to clarify viewpoints.

Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 05:15:24 AM »
If I'm pushed, I will admit that agnostic fits me best... even the hubby will do so.  Honestly, no one knows for sure, so agnostic is the most accurate descriptor.

However, based on all of the information currently available, I can honestly say that I'm so sure there is no god, I describe myself as atheist.  I no longer waste time wondering and pondering and debating.  For me, there is no such thing as god... therefore, I'm an atheist.
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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2008, 07:26:20 AM »
I agree with the definition of atheist that defines it as a lack of belief in any gods. I've always been an Athiest. Early in my life, I realized the only reason for god was to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2008, 09:48:10 AM »
Quote from: "Msblue"
I agree with the definition of atheist that defines it as a lack of belief in any gods. I've always been an Athiest. Early in my life, I realized the only reason for god was to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.
...and/or to fill the pages in a poor Fantasy book. Well, two poor Fantasy books and one scroll. :D
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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2008, 06:24:35 PM »
Depending on the definition, I guess that I am both atheist (in that I don't believe in a deity) and agnostic (in that I know it is impossible to guess either way about a god's existence). Then naming yourself either one is really just splitting hairs.

Thanks for the responses and clearing up my confusion.  :D
I capitalize the letter g in "God" like how I capitalize the letters h and f in "Huckleberry Finn".

Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2008, 10:12:43 PM »
I decided to just stick with atheist when I kept realizing that the wanting idea of some grand supernatural force that makes the universe go 'round, or of a kind a fatherly/motherly anthropomorphic supernatural deity to be true were from self serving reasons.  

I wanted there to be some divine arbiter of justice, I wanted there to be a wonderful happy place were good people spent the rest of eternity in bliss, I wanted there to be some designed order and structure in the universe.  After realizing that when I thought about justice, or an afterlife, or god I kept using the word "want" it was time to finally accept that I just don't believe in some anthropomorphic supernatural deity(s).  

So here I sit, still unconvinced, waiting for an argument or proof that will completely change my view of the universe.

Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2008, 02:15:02 AM »
For me, it was never a question of waiting for an explanation or proof of god-- quite the opposite. I was waiting for an explanation of why people were talking about god as a reality in the first place. At some point pretty early in childhood/ school years, I wondered, "Why do people talk about god and santa claus? Do they think those things are real? Are they just lying? Why do they want to talk about this?

I know I'm not the only one who never saw any reality in god after reaching the mental age of reason. Who else had this experience?
"Reality is the leading cause of stress for those who are in touch with it."- Lily Tomlin

Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2008, 08:31:13 PM »
I went from Christian to I-don't-know-what-the-hell-is-going-on, to atheist. I skipped the agnostic stage because the thought of living in the "I don't know" was taboo to me. I always "knew". I couldn't imagine not knowing.

Now, I consider myself an atheist in the sense that I have no belief in a god(s) and I don't care if one exists. I live like none exist. I can get a little annoyed with agnostics sometimes (at least the ones I've talked to, two of which are now atheists, hehe...) I don't think it's fifty-fifty whether or not a god exists. That's what the agnostics I have met have tried to convince me. I disagree. If a god's existence or lack thereof it's fifty-fifty, then the same goes for the IPU and Thor.

But that's just me. It's a fun topic to discuss.
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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2008, 09:10:25 PM »
For some reason I've thought very little about whether I care if god exists.  The existence of god never seemed possible to me. And the impossibility of god's existence is just reinforced by the fact that every single scripture follows the lines of how humans think, without even a remote suggestion of anything having originated from a unique and all-knowing entity. God is so obviously what people want, not what actually is.

When it comes to all the legends of what god does to errant humans, scriptures so closely reflect what people want to see done to those they consider "the wrong sort of people" that the tales of Divine Thinking and Divine Revenge become all the more laughable

Religious doctrines and dogma tell us nothing at all about proof of god's existence, but they tell us very much indeed about homo sapiens (to my mind, a much more interesting and puzzling subject).
« Last Edit: September 01, 2008, 04:04:23 PM by Reasoner »
"Reality is the leading cause of stress for those who are in touch with it."- Lily Tomlin

Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2008, 10:18:25 AM »
The concept of a higher power is a fabrication of man. What better way to explain the things we don't understand? Herein lies the problem, we shouldn't be trying to explain the things we don't understand until we can understand them enough to put forward a useful explanation. Keep in mind that when Gods were first invented, they were attributed to things like rain, crop yield, and babies. We know now that there are perfectly logical explanations for these things, so we can cast aside the delusions of our ancestors.

To me, belief in a higher power is kind of like claiming you can accurately predict the end results of an experiment that's never been done before. We can not possibly explain the universe, because we simply don't have the knowledge. Until we have that knowledge, any belief that attempts to explain everything is just wild conjecture.

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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2008, 01:06:36 AM »
I don't think an atheist will say that there couldn't be some force which I guess you could call a higher power, but just that such a thing would not fit what we think of as a god. My thing is religion. Even if there was a god, I wouldn't be religious. I believe an actual god would be nothing like our man made gods, and would find religion repugnant.
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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2008, 08:06:56 PM »
I was raised to believe in one All Powerful God. When I realized that All Powerful God was a myth, it became very difficult for me to believe any others were any more reasonable than the first. I toyed with deism for a while, but I realized any belief in the supernatural really has no basis in fact. The universe seems to run independently all by itself, and we're made of the same stuff the universe is. It makes perfect sense to me there's no supernatural forces guiding the chaos we live in. It wasn't a difficult jump to atheism for me, once I let go of faith.
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Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2008, 11:00:08 PM »
I love the way Dawkins puts it. "Would you say that you are agnostic to the invisible flying unicorn? Of course not." (paraphrased) That's what helped me make the jump.

It's not an absolute certainty. It's a conclusion based on evidence we have at the moment.

Re: The Jump from Agnosticism to Atheism
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2008, 07:35:20 PM »
Quote from: "monkeyNutBread"
I was raised as a Christian and I eventually became agnostic. Most of the people here call themselves atheist, and I am wondering what exactly convinced you guys to make the jump from agnosticism to atheism (that is, assuming that you did just that). Even though I am sure that the God as the Bible describes it is not real, I just can't throw out the idea of some higher power. I mean, as unlikely as it is, there is just so much there is to know, and so many things that are possible that I can't completely reject the idea of a higher power, or a greater consciousness.

By that token, you can't dismiss the possibility of anything. You can't dismiss the possibility that this forum is populated entirely by bots and you're the only one here, or that you're living in the Matrix, or that your computer comes alive and paces up and down muttering to itself whenever you leave the room. That's why I'd make the jump. Though I've never really been an agnostic. I called myself that for a while but only because, at the time, I didn't know much about the various theistic philosophies or the arguments for and against them. I didn't want to officially commit myself to anything in ignorance, though I never had any reason to think god remotely plausible. I was simply giving theists the benefit of the doubt to see if I could find a scrap of evidence or straight reason to support their claims. Surprise surprise, I didn't.