Why you don’t need Dawkins to become an atheist

Fellow atheist and ex-pastor Drew writes on the Rational Doubt blog about his recent conversation with seminary students. Particularly where he shatters the myth that somehow atheist books are causing people to abandon the faith. You don’t need Dawkins to make you an atheist, you just need the bible.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rationaldoubt/2015/05/2133/

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3 thoughts on “Why you don’t need Dawkins to become an atheist

  1. I don’t get how they naturally assume that we nonbelievers required some outside force to draw us away from faith. Although I clung on to believing a deity existed for a while, I never remember believing the bible stories. I always thought they were a load of mess from an early age. Forcing me to go to church on Sundays was always the worst thing ever….so boring and a waste of time. It was built into me from the beginning I suppose.

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  2. I have been an atheist since the 6th grade. Before that I attended Catholic school for 5 years. We were taught that, for example, if you even had the thought of stealing, that that was bad and you were a sinner. Fuck that. I just used common sense. LOL

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  3. Yep. Reading the Bible all the way through was what made me an atheist. Bit of irony, there, since the reason I’d decided to read it was to become a better Christian.

    Actually, I had to read it twice. The first time, I kept coming across things that didn’t make sense, or just seemed plain wrong. But somehow I’d got it into my head that to question was to blaspheme, and to blaspheme put me in danger of eternal damnation. So I just shoved any doubts and questions aside and tried not to think too hard about what I was reading. (Which, I suppose, is the whole point of the “questioning=blasphemy” idea: to keep adherents from thinking too deeply about their beliefs.)

    That I had to do that bothered me, though, so a couple of years later, I read it again. This time, I approached it with the attitude that if a thing is true, then it can withstand any amount of sincere questioning and scrutiny; but if it cannot withstand such examination, and reveals itself to be false, then it’s not worth believing. So I paid a great deal of attention to what I was reading, and wrestled with what I found.

    Before I’d gotten through Exodus, the image I’d been taught of God as a benevolent and just deity lay in ruins; by the time I finished Revelation, I was forced to confront the fact that because the testable promises made in the Gospels didn’t hold up, I had no reason to believe any of the untestable ones; and that either the Bible did not accurately represent God (in which case it was worthless, because none of it could be trusted), God existed but his promises were worth nothing, or (the simplest explanation) that God didn’t exist at all.

    It was not a place I’d expected to end up at when I started, nor a place I particularly wanted to be. And it took me quite a while (and a whole bunch of increasingly desperate, yet consistently unanswered, prayers to shore up my crumbling faith) to come to terms with the fact that I just couldn’t make myself believe any more.

    This was long ago, well before Dawkins or even the Web; and for a while I was the only atheist I knew (and I didn’t tell anyone because of that). But I ran across the newsgroup alt.atheism, which showed me that I wasn’t alone, and gave me some tools to use against the standard arguments (Pascal’s Wager, etc.) when I finally did “come out” as an atheist.

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