In early 2010, I found myself in an uncomfortable situation. I was surrounded by family, friends, and old acquaintances who were religious–both in real life and in the ever expanding social media network. Not only were they religious, but they were vocal. I wanted to respond but felt constrained. It can become awkward to tell a friend or family member what you consider a hard truth.
This blog is my compromise where I can respond to bad arguments and even make some positive arguments of my own. I think a lot of us are in figurative foxholes with respect to our beliefs. I hope to create an open forum for these ideas that will encourage others to share. All are welcome to comment here as long as you respect the need for reasoned discussion or have honest questions.
If anyone is concerned with my credentials, I have a degree in psychology with minors in philosophy and religious studies. I am also working toward a Master’s in philosophy. (Ok, so they’re not that great, but they could be a lot worse!) I also occasionally write for the group blog An American Atheist.
Why I became an atheist – obligatory for any atheist blog
I do not believe there is an argument that shows the absolute correctness of the atheist position. For me, it was a personal choice, only reached after rejecting every argument in favor of God of which I knew. Eventually in that scenario you run out of reasons to believe. And that is the crux of my becoming an atheist. I could not find any reason to believe. There was no flash of genius, only years of contemplation and struggle against what I had been told all my life.
I was raised a Christian in the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal sect. I wasn’t just raised in it; I was indoctrinated. I spoke in tongues, believed many stories from the Bible as literal truths, laid hands on people with the hope of healing them, went on a missionary trip, and much more. I did have doubts, such as whether we have free will if God is omniscient, but they always led to guilt and prayer for forgiveness. Yet, in the back of my mind, I was still never satisfied with the so-called answers to those questions.
When I started learning about the Bible in college, I was already on the agnostic fence and leaning heavily. Upon finding out the numerous problems in Biblical scholarship that are essentially hidden from the kind of church congregations I had known, the floodgates opened. I realized we could not point to anything with certainty in that or any religious text. I briefly thought about other religions, including Buddhism, but it didn’t last long because I feel they all have the same fundamental flaws. While some arguments are better than others and I do admire a few of theism’s defenders, I feel that religion tends to be based on untestable claims, no evidence, and fallacy-based reasons for belief.