1. At what point did you become an atheist? Why did you become one, what were the factors leading up to the decision, if you weren’t always one?
It was either in third or fourth grade, I can’t remember which it was. I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school up until 6th grade. I knew about Christianity obviously, although really only one brand of it, and they also briefly taught us about what Judaism and Islam were at said school, but other religions were never mentioned. The decision to raise me Catholic was my Mother’s decision while my Father had always told me to think for myself. One day I realized that you didn’t have to believe in God, that it wasn’t required, and after thinking about whether I should believe in God I decided that I didn’t have any good reason to. I looked up the word for someone who doesn’t believe in God later that day and started calling myself an atheist. Until I started educating myself in Philosophy I had essentially come to the conclusion of logical positivism (which I now disagree with strongly for the record) and from there it’s obvious why I wouldn’t believe in the Christian God. I dismissed the other two religions that I knew of for the same reasons.
2. What religion did you grow up with? Did you have positive or negative experiences with religion?
As I said in 1, Catholicism. I had a pretty bad experience with it, thinking back, but only AFTER I had made a claim of atheism. The very first time I said I was an atheist the conversation went like this:
Me: I’m an atheist.
Jessica: What’s that?
Me: It means I do not believe in God.
Jessica: What? You don’t believe in God? What are you stupid?
I suppose the bad experience is simply a result of most, if not all, of the religious that I had encountered being total imbeciles with minds tightly welded shut.
3. Are you more outspoken or more apathetic atheist? Why?
I like to talk about what I think, so outspoken I guess. It’s not as if I take preference in talking about atheism though, I just like talking about my thoughts in general. I like putting them out there for essentially three reasons
To make good conversation
To possible educate myself about new evidence and logical arguments
To possible educate others about the same except from their frame of reference
So this is a bit difficult to answer because I’m not particularly outspoken about my atheism and am just outspoken in general; My attitude towards atheism specifically is in the middle of the two, it’s just another bunch of thoughts clustered in my brain.
4. Do you think religion is obsolete and should be wiped completely off the face of the earth, or do you think some good comes from it?
It is most definitely obsolete. There is no reason to stick with the naive superstitions and prejudices of our ancestors when we have access to mounds and mounds of information that they simply lacked. Given that, do I want to FORCE it to be eliminated? No. It must be something that happens on its own, which is good reason to believe that it will never happen completely.
5. Did you lose any friends because you decided to be an atheist? Did your family flip out?
I haven’t lost friends since prior to my atheism I was the shyest of kids who was incredibly lonely and had no friends. It’s perhaps the case that I’ve lost opportunities to make some new friends because of it, but it’s hard to say for sure.
I never told my family directly. I simply started talking about how Christianity was shit, essentially, and it was obvious that I had given it up. When I did that my Father agreed with me and my Mother seemed apathetic.
The only thing relatively close to a “flip out” that happened was fairly recent. My Grandmother came into my room (after I think hearing an AmazingAtheist video that I was listening to) and said “You really ought to believe in God” and I asked “why?” and she responded “Because it’s good for you!” and walked out and slammed the door.
6. How do you feel about so-called “militant atheists” like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris?
You mean the New Atheists who are essentially the third generation of Logical Positivists? I disagree very strongly with a core aspect of their philosophy, pretty much on the same grounds as Karl Popper, so it’s difficult for me to think much of them. I do appreciate some of the works of Daniel Dennett, though.
7. Except for God, do you believe in anything supernatural or pseudosceintific? (Ghosts, alien abductions, spirits, souls, demons, psychics, magic, Harry Potter, etc.)
I believe that aliens likely exist (we ourselves are evidence of that) but they’ve likely never had any sort of contact with Earth, so in the sense posed in the question I do not believe. So no, I don’t.
8. What’s your political alignment? Does your atheism influence how you vote and how you feel on issues?
I’m an anarchist. My atheism doesn’t really effect my view in politics in any substantial way. My political views kind of influence my attitudes towards religion though. For example, if the Christian God existed, I’d hate that bastard. He wants me to serve and worship him and he burns people for all of eternity if they don’t. Fuck that guy; He’s more tyrannical than any modern state.
Speaking of that, I highly recommend Bakunin’s “God & The State”, it’s much more compelling than today’s atheist thinkers in my opinion.
9. Even though you’re an atheist, have you ever experienced a moment that could be called “religious?” Like an epiphany about the world or complete peace?
By far my most compelling and articulate answer:
10. Are you spiritual, or are your feet always on the ground?
I’m not sure I totally understand the question, but I try to think about things thoroughly and not be taken in by superstitions, so I think the latter.
11. Do you have or plan on having a career in the sciences? Alternatively: which brand of science interests you most?
No I do not. I have some semblance of a desire to get a PhD and be a college professor or some sort of lecturer, but that will likely never happen as I do not have the funds.
12. What happens when we die? Do you fear death?
Most likely nothing. All evidence points to our consciousness being a result of our brain (if our brain is altered then so is our personality).
Actually I really don’t. I’ve likely said the opposite before but I’ve had a few near-death experiences and in the moment I’m never really afraid. We all play this game called life, we all die, no big deal.
13. Would you ever date or marry someone who follows a religion? Be honest.
I’m dating a Christian right now, so the obvious answer is of course not that’d be awful.
14. On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with life at this moment, and why?
A 9. I can’t really conceive of things being better than they are right now, but they probably can so I’ll give it a bit of room to grow XD
15. Recommend a book. Doesn’t have to be relevant to atheism, just any good book.
Woops, I already kinda did this above with Bakunin’s God & The State. I’ll do another one though: William James’ “The Variety of Religious Experience”.
A change in man’s way of thinking will not automatically eliminate any of society’s problems, not even the smallest and most inconsequential ones.
If most people of influence had certain opinions that are currently only held by those with little influence then many social problems would be vastly improved upon; We have available knowledge, ingenuity, and material resources to make a far fairer world than we currently have; I desire to take a look at the obstacles which prevent us from availing ourselves to those problems and to address the difficulties that stand in the way of such a change in mind-set and how to over-come them.
The world seems to require immediate moral and economic changes that to most seem impossible to even imagine. We have new problems and adjustments to make yet no preliminary intellectual regeneration has been made. We must first create a new attitude of mind in order to cope with new conditions and utilize new knowledge, then and only then can we take advantage of these new conditions and knowledge in order to question the opinions which have been handed down to use by men from far different times with less scientific knowledge available.
In order to achieve this intellectual regeneration and attitude of mind we must first overcome inveterate natural tendencies and artificial habits of long standing. In order to put ourselves in a position to think of new ideas and question old ones which we fear examining we must first rid ourselves of our fond prejudices and open our minds.