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Leaving Religion

I have often written about the psychological reasoning for the born again experience and the path in which many religious people take towards losing their religion. But today I want to talk more about the trends involved in the exodus from religion.

There are two pretty interesting trends that I have noticed in regard to the rise in atheism. The first and less significant trend is that in today’s society many religious people are actually not all that religious. Mainstream religion is fairly secular. This is a category that I fit into. My parents were religious believers, but they really didn’t let it affect their lives much at all. Aside from synagogue on the holidays and making me go to Hebrew School three times a week, religion really didn’t motivate our lives. My parents valued education and science over faith and tradition most of the time.

Many atheists grew up in a similar type of environment as I did and so it is only natural to continue to value science and reason. Of course, once the value of science and reason is focused toward religion, it becomes obvious that such superstitions is… well exactly that, superstitious.

More often then this scenario however are the atheists who are brought up in the super fundamentalist families. They see first hand the craziness which is religion. Often times they are indoctrinated into this craziness themselves and even go out of their way to debate and discuss religion with atheists. But at some point they begin to have doubts and they start to take the long road of educating themselves and thinking critically about their own beliefs.

The thing is that the starting places for these two scenarios pretty much account for the starting place of all believers. The difference really is the willingness to learn and think critically about religion.

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  • Asmodeus Azarak

    The thing I have observed is that many people who fall into the later of your two categories have an approach to atheism that reminds me of the “reformed (alcoholic, smoker, etc)”. Hurt by believing all those years they strike out and fail to realize that not everyone falls into a black and white category of extremes.

    I would also counter the point of “exactly that superstitious” with the observation that these parables and stories have a lot of value as a cultural language of metaphor and to spark discussion and thought, as does all mythology.

    The issue is that while people do not run around literally believing that we are all standing on the back of a turtle, or that there may be a labyrinth with a minotaur somewhere in Crete, mainstream religion is often taken literally.

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