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Becoming an Athiest

By Edited Aug 15, 2015 3 7

In this article, I must assume that you are already questioning the tenets of the faith that you were brought up in, and I must encourage you, this is healthy behavior. I think that no matter what beliefs you hold, whether they be religious, spiritual, scientific, or anything else, should always be challenged. If you challenge what you believe and decide you no longer believe it, that is called growth. And if you challenge what you believe and it comes out intact, you have made your belief stronger, and have discovered a new way to help share that belief with others.

Things You Will Need

There are not many "materials" that you will need. However, I do encourage anyone that thinks they might be an atheist to have and read religious texts. You should not reject something you know nothing about.

Step 1

Open your mind - This goes without saying of course, and the reasons for it are explained in the introduction. If you are truly unwilling to challenge the beliefs you already hold, you will not be able to learn anything new.

Step 2

Read the bible, quran, or any other holy book, or all of them - In order to make an informed decision on whether or not to be an atheist, you must learn about the ideas and philosophies you will reject by being an atheist. A misinformed atheist is no better than a misinformed christian. Misinformation can lead to bigotry and discrimination, and in order to be a good representative of atheists, you do not want to come across this way. If you even decide to try to help others become interested in atheism, it helps when you know their faith and can speak about it as well as they do.

Step 3

Be willing to constantly question - You must be willing to constantly question what other people tell you. Also, and usually more difficult for most people, you must constantly be willing to question yourself. Seek truth, not satisfaction. The truth is not always what you expect, or what you want. But the truth, backed by facts and observation, is more powerful than just hearing what you want to hear.

Step 4

Be humble - Many atheists can be guilty of coming across as arrogant. It is ok to be convinced, based on your open-minded explorations of the facts, that you are correct. In fact, if you have doubts about your atheism, you would more accurately be described as an agnostic. But just because you are convinced does not mean that everyone else should be, so you must not judge them or think yourself better than them.

Step 5

Live a better life - Some religious people believe that morality comes from god, and that without god civilization would devolve into a disgusting mess of murder, rape, and destruction. Live your life in a way that proves this is not true. Be good to your fellow man, donate to charity, volunteer your time, be a moral person. Morality can come from any number of sources, depending on who you are, so prove that atheists are just as moral as anyone else by living a good life in the service of other people.

Step 6

Seek out others - Seek the knowledge of others who have gone before you. Many prominent atheists have already had the ideas that you are now discovering. Read books by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and others. However, while doing this, avoid at all costs the dangers of group-think. Read the writings of prominent religious figures as well. Let them challenge your beliefs. Consider what they say and understand why you reject it. You will always be a more informed and well rounded person if you seek information from all sides, and understand why you accept or reject that information.

Being an atheist is not necessarily a lifestyle choice. It is possible to choose to be a private atheist who believes there is no god, but does not have a public discourse on the matter, and that is fine. I have written the above steps with the expectation that you might be the kind of person who wants to share their ideas with others, to help them achieve the peace that I have achieved by not always worrying that a god is looking over my shoulder all day. However, I must again stress the importance of living a better life once you have made that decision. My own source of morality comes from the idea that this life we have is the only one we have. With that in mind, I do everything I can to try to help people enjoy the life they are living. This sometimes means NOT asking them to question their religious beliefs. Some people may not be ready to do so, and you will only cause stress or anger by asking them to. Be thoughtful and selective if you choose to try to spread your beliefs, just as you would ask of a religious person trying to spread theirs to you. And if you notice you are making someone uncomfortable that you might be trying to spread your beliefs to, be courteous. I'm not asking that you should give up your right to free speech in the interest of someone else's comfort, but there is a time and a place for everything. Speak you mind boldly, be confident if you have come to your decision with facts and reasoning, but do not proselytize to others if they are not interested. And always, always accept criticism will the knowledge that you are being given an opportunity to learn from it.

Tips & Warnings

Becoming an atheist can be taxing emotionally. You risk the rejection of friends and family, and ridicule from many people in your community. However, in my own life, I have found that seeking the truth at the expense of ridicule has always, in the end, been more rewarding fulfilling.


Dec 11, 2009 4:14am
While I am not an Atheist, I certainly applaud your most respectful and well-written article.

I think the biggest problem religious people find with most Atheists is that they seem to be on a mission to prove there is no God. Personally, I think those Atheists are truly unsure themselves. Otherwise, they'd simply agree to disagree and move on. I also think the largest problem people in general have with those who are religious is they feel the need to convert sometimes too! Mind you, I'm not trying to stereotype, just speaking from what I've personally observed.

I don't pretend to know the answers or even if the answers exist -- making me Agnostic -- But I; like you, realize that faith, religion, beliefs, spirituality or whatever else people call it, is most sacred to them and deserves the highest level of respect.

I've spent a good many of years studying religion from all over the world. It is surely as fascinating as any subject to me. I can only guess, but I could imagine you would agree.

Thanks for the great read and reminding people that there are Atheists out there with great morals and respect.
Dec 11, 2009 11:06am
Thank you for the kind words. I agree that respect is important, but I do not entirely agree that it is the beliefs that deserve respect. In my honest opinion, many of the faiths that people practice deserve no respect whatsoever, BUT the person who practices them DOES deserve respect. I am wholeheartedly against bigotry of any kind. When someone's religious beliefs lead them to be bigoted against homosexuals, or people of another faith, race, etc., I do not think that their faith deserves any kind of respect. If they proselytize those ideas, I do not think they deserve that respect either.

I truly believe that religions have caused a lot of harm in our world, and that the world would probably be a better place without most of them. But, I do not think that using that as a starting platform to try to get people to change their mind is a good idea. I try to live by example, being a good person, caring about others, contributing to humanity. When people see how I live and care about the people around me, then find out what I believe, they are more likely to be persuaded. I am certainly interested in changing people's minds about religion, I just think it's not possible to do so "missionary" style by trying to beat it into their heads. By being respectful, they'll be more likely to listen to me, and by listening to me, they'll have a better chance of changing their minds than if I just tried to argue instead of reason with them.
Dec 21, 2009 8:34pm
A well written article. Just because I'm not religious doesn't mean I'm not moral, I'm more moral than most "religious" people I know! Most people I find that are religious really have no idea what it is they believe in and worship unfortunately, knowledge is key.
Mar 20, 2010 12:51pm
Believe in God!!!

Jun 5, 2010 7:03pm
I have no problem with people who are atheists. One of our best friends is one. The problem I have is with ANYONE, who tries to 'push their beliefs on others'.
Dec 14, 2010 11:31am
Good luck with your change. It is unfortunate that leaving a religion has to be emotionally taxing and sometimes mixed with threats of withdrawal of love from family and friends.
I am reading more and more about families that exist and are happy to have relatives of different creeds or be creedless.
I am an atheist and find it important to express it if it is asked for. By doing so, I hope that closeted atheists will feel better that there are others like them in the world and be less afraid to come out.
Religion and atheism will always have heated debates on politics and so many other things. But, it is important to remember to choose debate over violence or war.
Mar 11, 2011 2:04pm
The debate on whether or not God exists has been around forever. I am a Christian, but I really enjoyed this article, and I really appreciate the fact that no one was insulted by the information presented. Thank you.
I actually agree with a lot of what was said, simply because I also believe that God reveals Himself. If He hasn't revealed Himself, then how will you know or believe.
I have lived a very interesting life, in the fact that just because I have strong belief in Yahweh, my life is not perfect, nor is it always pleasant. What I have achieved in my belief is that even when it is not perfect or pleasant, I have a foundation on which I can run to for inner strength to get through them.
I also agree with the comment that beliefs, whether for God, or against, should never be pushed on another person's journey through this realm. Each of us must walk our own path, learning along the way. For me, God is absolutely real, but for another, it could be different. Either way, let's share this earth together, peacefully. Blessings to the Writer.
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