Monday, June 9, 2008

False reasons given for why people become atheists

Religious theists sometimes try to dismiss atheism and atheists by claiming that people only become atheists due to bad experiences as kids with false or bad religions. This myth allows theists to imagine that atheists' experiences with "false" religion has nothing to do with their own "true" religion, that atheistic critiques of religion don't really impact their own religion, and that if atheists only learned about "true" religion then they would abandon their atheism.

None of these beliefs are true — at least in the sense that there is a necessary logical progression involved. We must, however, grant that there are some strong correlations involved. People who grow up in a very positive religious environment are probably less likely to question the religious beliefs they are taught and abandon their religion, much less theism itself. Such an event is possible, but it is less likely.

Similarly, a person who grows up in a home where religion is used as a tool for abuse and control may be a bit more likely to question the foundations of that religion. This, then, can more readily lead them to give up the religious beliefs taught to them and perhaps even belief in God as well. Once again, such a result is not guaranteed because there are many who do not follow that path, but it isn't uncommon either.

Austin Cline writing on

Myth: Atheism is Caused by False Religion, Bad Experiences with Bad Religions

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