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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 12:29 AM

HEY Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! .

My name is Hamed Khatiz and I am an eighteen year old student. As you can tell from my name, I am the pure definition of "white boy". LOL no, I have been Afghan my whole life, I have lived in Australia my whole life and the whole time I have been Muslim.

Shocking I know .

I just wanted to ask, by observation of some of my close friends and peers both here and abroad, how come so many teenagers are turning away from the path of religion and becoming atheist? A lot of people my age are using the phrase: "religion crammed down my throat".

I hate that phrase, I really do. Not only does it sound absolutely revolting but it goes completely against my experience...

I used to attend Quran classes during my childhood and it was an amazing experience. I loved learning so much about my religion and the Quran itself and the God so many have dedicated their lives to serving. It was a sense of brotherhood. Every year, I attend some special prayers designed for our major annual ceremony, Eid. And the scenes of thousands of people lining the Showgrounds where they are held and afterwards, everyone shaking hands and hugging, even if they don't know each other LOL, it just creates a sense of togetherness and peace which in today's world can be quite hard to find.

I just think there is a being with a higher power than humans. Humans suck dude, humans make mistakes, a HUMAN invaded Crimea last month and ordered shots across the South Korean border. I mean there has got to be someone better than us and that's what I think God provides.

Last year, I was sitting down, studying for my exam in Biology at home, and I received a message from a friend of mine, stating another friend of mine was in a massive amount of danger. During about a half an hour period afterwards, she was forwarding messages to me and we were exchanging details about the situation and then the call came in that she was actually in the process of attempting NOW. So, I frantically search my emails and find her address, before calling 000 and sending someone out there to save her with about ten minutes to spare.

You can calculate the odds, but someone put me in the right place at the right time. My sister had my laptop, I wasn't supposed to be online that day. That's no coincidence and I can proudly thank God that she survived. I can't understand why people think these experiences are "shoved down their throat"....

But what about you guys, how come you're atheists and how come SO SO many others are?


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 12:40 AM

I was just never raised religious. I'm not necessarily Atheist but I don't really know what to believe and don't really believe in GOD per say. My mom is an Atheist and while my dad is Catholic, he never made me go to church. So I never was brought up with that background. From there, I just never really cared to research God and developed my own beliefs. The beliefs I have mainly focus on the afterlife, not so much a "higher power" or anything else that has to do with religion. I can't get myself to believe in some higher power. Humans suck, but that's all we are and I don't tend to believe that we have some predetermined path set out by us from some God or some God providing for us.

I guess I believe more in science.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 03:14 AM

I don't necessarily consider myself to be as strongly atheist anymore, and instead prefer identifying with secular humanism (humanity can be functional without religion). Anyways, the view that some strongly orthodox and extremely traditionalist and fundamentalist religions are extremely controlling and hold onto outdated values, combined with the new technological and scientific advancements, seems to be sending members of the current generation reeling, and left without any system of belief that suits them, choose to identify with atheism.




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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 06:53 AM

My family rarely went to church when I was little, and eventually we stopped going altogether. Maybe it was because it was a waste of time to my parents, who had children to raise and errands to run. Or maybe it is because one parent is Catholic and one is Protestant. Who really knows at this point? I never could wrap my mind around an invisible, omnipotent being when I was little, so I was atheistic from the start. Church was boring because I had no idea what was going on and I wanted to play rather than sit and be quiet. And of course, the atmosphere and imagery in the churches always freaked me out a little, so that didn't help. I did enjoy studying Egypt as a child, though, and that's what introduced me to the world of Paganism when I got older. So atheism could be caused by a number of things, just as studying interesting religions can cause one to adopt them. However, it seems a great deal of your enjoyment comes from your religious community. Note that not everyone feels the same way about their religious peers, or the material they are taught.
   
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 02:40 PM

Personally, I think a lot of teens in general are not educated in a wide range of religious or spiritual beliefs. Often, they only know the religion that they are raised in. So if a teen decides they do not believe what their parents believe, they tend to go to the only other option they know “there must not be a god at all.” I think teaching a world religions course in high school would be highly beneficial, it would create awareness on the plethora of beliefs and faiths out there. And perhaps things would be different.




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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 04:21 PM

Why are they atheist? 2 reasons.
1) They never loved religion
2) they chose to me atheist

Ill take myself as an example. Im anticleric/atheist. I believe in my own beliefs. Till then, since most of people in my country are christians, im a christian, or at least pretending to be. All i want is the money from relatives for chrism. After that, anyone who asks, im an anticleric or an atheist, depending on my mood really. Its what i chose. World is a big place with a lot of people and a lot of oppinions. Some respect Kur'an, some the Bible, some something else. I believe in nothing like that. I dont believe in God like any religion on this planet has imagined it.
My parents told me to chose my own religion. I did.
Not everyone think the same when it comes to religion...
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 05:29 PM

Sometimes it seems like it's "cool" and that people get a kick out of the idea that they are superior because they read about different theories. Then they can make fun of people who do believe and are not as well versed in theories as they are.

On here, I remember saying that I am an atheist because I just don't believe in god. That was horrible for another atheist because I didn't care about the different scientific theories because simply they did not affect my overall job and career choice. The poster went as far as to say I was not a true atheist because I simply didn't believe.
   
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 07:56 PM

There are a lot of reasons, but here's the main one:

Science

I personally find science really quite cool, amazing. Obviously, a lot of teenagers aren't quite that into it, but we're all (or certainly in the UK) given compulsory education in it. A large role of religion in less scientifically developed times was to answer 'big questions'.
Like, where does life come from? Well, science now answers that for us in evolution.
How did the universe begin? Cue, the Big Bang theory.
What is right and wrong? Evolutionary theory explains this for us too.
Do I need God to exist? Well, clearly not.

Of course, needing, wanting, and having are different things, but the general consensus among my peers is either "I've done quite a bit of research and am atheist [humanist]," "I've not thought about, but I can copy the clever people who have done the research - plus, my parents never introduced me to any religion, even if they 'believe' [but don't actively attend church, etc.]" or "I've never really thought about it, but I'm religious because that's what I was brought up with".
Everyone's different, of course, and has different experiences, but that's generally how it seems to be.
We have quite comprehensive religious education classes, too, and whilst they're not yet completely objective, for the most part, they are the study of religion, rather than actually condoning them. That's the case in our secular schools, anyway.

For those of us who have looked into religion, I think it has seemed implausible and unable to fit with science, and the morally despicable things that happen in the name of religion tend to put us off too.

Essentially, we have science, and science is doing us an awful lot more good as far as we can tell (advances in technology, medicine, liberalism and general knowledge) than religion ever did. We now either have explanations to questions which religion answered a few centuries ago (and now we have evidence to go with the explanations), or we're just happy to admit that we don't know, and want to find the answer, rather than claiming to have the answers. We don't see any "need" for a god to exist, and we therefore choose to play games together rather than sitting through three hours of interminable boredom [another reason for active religions' demise, by the way] every Sunday.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 11:39 PM

Probably a decline in church attendance and religion losing societal influence.
I don't want to be disrespectful, but if you can't indoctrinate children to believe in something when they're impressionable, you'll be hard pressed to maintain numbers in a religion when you're facing skeptical adults.
The kind of paradigms religious philosophy typically uses as guidelines for epistemology would be dismissed by those who haven't been raised in it a lot of the time.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 1st 2014, 11:57 PM

I'm Christian, but I know and can understand why some teenagers are, including one of my friends.

There's lots of things going on in the world that has shit on the teenage generation lately. My friend, who was taught religion, but never raised on religion is atheist because "how is there such a thing as a loving god when he makes gay people and sends them to hell?"

I don't believe in that interpretation of the Christian bible, but I can understand that being some of the many reasons why people stray away from religion in general.


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April 2nd 2014, 01:02 AM

I think a lot of it is that we learn quite a bit of science, and not as much education. I usually just think of things like that situation as lucky coincidences, not that a God wanted them to happen. That said, I don't consider myself atheist, but I'm not serious about my religion. I have a lot of doubts about certain gods/religions though. The best way I have ever seen it put was, "I believe in a capital-S Something." I kind of agree with that - there's Something, I just haven't had enough time to decide what it is yet.

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Originally Posted by Merpop. View Post
I was just never raised religious. I'm not necessarily Atheist but I don't really know what to believe and don't really believe in GOD per say. My mom is an Atheist and while my dad is Catholic, he never made me go to church. So I never was brought up with that background. From there, I just never really cared to research God and developed my own beliefs. The beliefs I have mainly focus on the afterlife, not so much a "higher power" or anything else that has to do with religion. I can't get myself to believe in some higher power. Humans suck, but that's all we are and I don't tend to believe that we have some predetermined path set out by us from some God or some God providing for us.

I guess I believe more in science.
I also agree with this - well put! I do like learning about religion and its history, though, I think it's very interesting.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 2nd 2014, 08:57 AM

If parents are not exposing their kids to a religious environments because they never believed in it themselves, then that's a bit disturbing in my view . They never get exposed to something which may be able to help them because their parents thought church was boring and they never attended.

It's good though that there is some education in religion in schools, so if they find something which might be able to change their lives, and religion does change people's lives sometimes, then they can do that .


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 2nd 2014, 10:03 AM

I'm going to respectfully disagree with you, Hamed. I'm not saying it because I disagree that religion can help, because I know that for a LOT of people they do find comfort and aid in religion, and I am definitely not knocking that because I know how important it can be.

Sure it does kind of suck if a kid isn't exposed, but my parents DID let my sister and me make our own choices when it came to religion. My sister did her communion, but then realized it's not what she believed in and stopped going to church. She was given the choice to stop, and I was probably given that choice too but never really minded.

Sure religion is helpful to tons of people but remember that everyone has their own things that help them get by. I can't think of any specific examples because it's 6 AM, but there are things that give people hope, which aren't necessarily religion.

Here, religion is generally not talked about in schools either, or at least not in any of the three schools I went to. If you put your child into a school that has those beliefs (ie a private Catholic school, etc) then yes, there will be religious education, but in public schools I've never really seen it taught. The only time I've seen religion taught was my ninth grade social studies class and that was focused more on just the basics of some beliefs (Catholic, Judaism, Islam) and their formation and stuff.


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April 2nd 2014, 02:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
how come so many teenagers are turning away from the path of religion and becoming atheist?

People are atheists if they are not convinced of any god claim. It's a s simple as that. Some people lose their faith because they find out that their beliefs are not logically consistent. Some people might lose their beliefs based on purely emotional reasons. Either way, they're not convinced of religious claims. That's all. There are no other conclusions you can draw about people that are atheists.


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Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
A lot of people my age are using the phrase: "religion crammed down my throat".

That might be because they're at an age where people are trying to influence them the most. If they have a lot of people trying to convince them of different religious claims, it might seem like it's being "crammed down their throat".


Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
I hate that phrase, I really do. Not only does it sound absolutely revolting but it goes completely against my experience...

So what if you hate that phrase? It's not reasonable to ask people to stop using a phrase, simply because you find it offensive or because you don't like it. Sometimes religious people make claims that are FAR more revolting than this. I definitely wouldn't say that's the norm, but it does happen.

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Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
I used to attend Quran classes during my childhood and it was an amazing experience. I loved learning so much about my religion and the Quran itself and the God so many have dedicated their lives to serving.
Some people have the exact opposite experience. They are forced to go to classes/camps about their religion, and it's a completely terrible experience that's filled with abuse. I'm glad you had such a good experience, and it is fortunate that you felt like you were belonged there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
I just think there is a being with a higher power than humans.

Do you have a good reason for believing that?


Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
Humans suck dude, humans make mistakes, a HUMAN invaded Crimea last month and ordered shots across the South Korean border.
I'd like to think that there are lots of humans that are compassionate, empathetic, and generally care about others. If we start from the claim "Humans suck", it's a little bit hard to advance as a society. If everybody just assumed that "humans suck", it' quite difficult to coexist with others that are different than us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
I mean there has got to be someone better than us and that's what I think God provides.


Actually, there doesn't HAVE to be someone that's better than us. Plus, that's a meaningless statement unless you have some kind of way to objectively measure "better".

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
Last year, I was sitting down, studying for my exam in Biology at home, and I received a message from a friend of mine, stating another friend of mine was in a massive amount of danger. During about a half an hour period afterwards, she was forwarding messages to me and we were exchanging details about the situation and then the call came in that she was actually in the process of attempting NOW. So, I frantically search my emails and find her address, before calling 000 and sending someone out there to save her with about ten minutes to spare.
I'm glad your friend was okay, but what reason do you think that a god was required for that to turn out the way it did?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
You can calculate the odds, but someone put me in the right place at the right time. My sister had my laptop, I wasn't supposed to be online that day. That's no coincidence and I can proudly thank God that she survived. I can't understand why people think these experiences are "shoved down their throat"....

But what about you guys, how come you're atheists and how come SO SO many others are?
Sorry to nitpick, but you really can't calculate the odds, and as much as you don't want to think so, this situation probably could have played out out in a number of other ways without any harm to your friend.

To me, this situation is very unconvincing. A god is NOT required simply because there was a low probability. There are other explanations that make more sense (ie. coincidence). I would be happy if you could successfully defend your claim that a god was required in this situation, because it would convince me that a god is real.

It would be nice to believe in a god that cares about us so much, but I simply can't when the "evidence" people provide is something that could easily be described as a coincidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzie View Post
Personally, I think a lot of teens in general are not educated in a wide range of religious or spiritual beliefs. Often, they only know the religion that they are raised in. So if a teen decides they do not believe what their parents believe, they tend to go to the only other option they know “there must not be a god at all.” I think teaching a world religions course in high school would be highly beneficial, it would create awareness on the plethora of beliefs and faiths out there. And perhaps things would be different.
Do you think that the introduction of a comparative religion course would necessarily cause an increase in god-belief? I agree that most people are uneducated when it comes to world religions, but if the desired effect is to see an overall increase in religiosity, it would make sense to me to only teach people about one religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8!n4ry8unny View Post
Why are they atheist? 2 reasons.
1) They never loved religion
2) they chose to me atheist
I think I disagree with you. Yes, it's true that some people never experienced any good from religion, and that eventually lead to their lack of god-belief. However, I don't think that a belief in god is actually a choice. People are either convinced, or they're not convinced. It may be their own choice to search for answers, but it is not their choice whether they actually maintain a belief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lelola View Post
Sometimes it seems like it's "cool" and that people get a kick out of the idea that they are superior because they read about different theories. Then they can make fun of people who do believe and are not as well versed in theories as they are.

On here, I remember saying that I am an atheist because I just don't believe in god. That was horrible for another atheist because I didn't care about the different scientific theories because simply they did not affect my overall job and career choice. The poster went as far as to say I was not a true atheist because I simply didn't believe.
I'm sorry, but did that actually happen? It's kind of hilarious seeing the no true scotsman fallacy coming from the point of an atheist. Obviously, if you don't want to study science, then you just don't want to study science. It's not a big deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam the Fish View Post
There are a lot of reasons, but here's the main one:

Science

I personally find science really quite cool, amazing. Obviously, a lot of teenagers aren't quite that into it, but we're all (or certainly in the UK) given compulsory education in it. A large role of religion in less scientifically developed times was to answer 'big questions'.
Like, where does life come from? Well, science now answers that for us in evolution.
How did the universe begin? Cue, the Big Bang theory.
What is right and wrong? Evolutionary theory explains this for us too.
Do I need God to exist? Well, clearly not.
Science is pretty awesome, but I'm gonna have to do some nitpicking here. Science actually doesn't have answers to the "big questions" that you're talking about.

Evolution does not explain the origin of life, but rather gives an explanation for the complexity of life. You see, evolution provides a mechanism for simple life to bring forth complex life, given billions of years. It doesn't actually explain the beginning of life. The leading hypothesis (NOT theory) is abiogenesis from a primordial soup. Scientists are currently working specifically on the origins of life.

Also, the big bang is NOT the cause of the universe, but rather a description of the rapid expansion immediately following the beginning of time. We do not yet have an explanation for the cause of the universe or even if it makes sense to use the word "cause" in its traditional sense. It might actually make more sense to say that the universe just came into existence without a cause. However, we don't know at this point in time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceol View Post

I don't believe in that interpretation of the Christian bible, but I can understand that being some of the many reasons why people stray away from religion in general.
Boy, am I ever doing a lot of nitpicking today. It is not an interpretation that the bible is anti-gay. It says straight out that homosexuality is a sin, and it does so in more than one place. It also condones slavery, says that women can't talk in church or teach, and that it is okay for a man to be polygamous.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
If parents are not exposing their kids to a religious environments because they never believed in it themselves, then that's a bit disturbing in my view . They never get exposed to something which may be able to help them because their parents thought church was boring and they never attended.

It's good though that there is some education in religion in schools, so if they find something which might be able to change their lives, and religion does change people's lives sometimes, then they can do that .
*sigh*
The majority of the world is religious. It is impossible to go through life without being exposed to it. If a parent does a good job at teaching their kids to think critically, rather than blindly accept a belief, they should be able to come to their own conclusions.

Why does that disturb you? If you have a reasonable belief that is accepted by many people, don't you think that a non-religious person could be convinced by it if they have the ability to reason?

The second part of that paragraph is an appeal to consequence. Sure, I think it's good to tell your kids about religion, since the majority of the world is religious. Why does it have to be more than, "Some people believe in something called god, and you should respect their beliefs." and "You can believe what you want about god."?

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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 2nd 2014, 06:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindBodySpirit View Post
Do you think that the introduction of a comparative religion course would necessarily cause an increase in god-belief? I agree that most people are uneducated when it comes to world religions, but if the desired effect is to see an overall increase in religiosity, it would make sense to me to only teach people about one religion.
I think it would provide teens with more options. Just because they do not believe in one type of God, doesn't mean if they were exposed to different beliefs they may feel a stronger connection to a different type of God. I know many teens I have talked to thought that if they didn't agree with Christianity, they must therefore not believe in God. But they just don't believe in the Christian God.




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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 2nd 2014, 06:57 PM

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Originally Posted by Lizzie View Post


I think it would provide teens with more options. Just because they do not believe in one type of God, doesn't mean if they were exposed to different beliefs they may feel a stronger connection to a different type of God. I know many teens I have talked to thought that if they didn't agree with Christianity, they must therefore not believe in God. But they just don't believe in the Christian God.
With regard to Abrahamic religions, they're all fairly similar anyway (please don't all followers of Abrahamic religions attack that, I know it's a bit of a sweeping statement, BUT they have very similar basis). But I think the thing is that if people find 'god' - in whatever form they perceive 'god' to be (or not - and that's the only thing that defines 'god' anyway, individually) - implausible, they're not going to believe it. They don't have to. I'd suggest that if God was really so concerned about someone coming to a specific religion, then such an omnipotent god might fancy...you know, making them?

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Originally Posted by EmergencyHugMaster View Post
If parents are not exposing their kids to a religious environments because they never believed in it themselves, then that's a bit disturbing in my view . They never get exposed to something which may be able to help them because their parents thought church was boring and they never attended.

It's good though that there is some education in religion in schools, so if they find something which might be able to change their lives, and religion does change people's lives sometimes, then they can do that .
Only to the same degree that I might find it disturbing (and I do) that people expose their children to things like creationism from an early age; even possibly promote any sort of homophobia; implant any idea of being rewarded for good deeds, making it utterly incentivised to be a decent person; suggest that an innocent child has displeased an almighty ruler, and might be punished; etc. Obviously, not all religion does this - and certainly some is okay in that it does provide comfort and happiness.
My point is basically that it's not less disturbing that children aren't being indoctrinated with things than the idea that children are being indoctrinated with things. Of course, it depends on your viewpoint - because, of course, you believe that children are being indoctrinated with what is absolutely true, whereas I obviously beg to differ.

I actually think that if I had children, I'd want them to - as most UK RE lessons do - objectively look at religion. They could make a decision about whether they want to be part of any of them at a later date, when they understand a bit more, rather than being 'baptised' into one, or having a religious circumcision which can't really be undone if it turns out that they don't believe in something.

Religion can change lives for the better, I can't really argue (successfully and truthfully) against that. I'd suggest that science and technology has changed one heck of a lot more lives, and moreso for the better, though.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 4th 2014, 06:58 AM

My reason is because I was never forced into any religion. The only religion anybody's attempted to force on me was Christianity. I went to Sunday school once because my Dad's friend's kid said that it would be fun, and I wound up sitting in a grey room for, well, I don't really know how long, until they let me out. That was the only time I had ever gone to Sunday school, and it's the only time I have will.
For other teenagers, this could be the case:
Their God hadn't shown a sign of there being anything there, they could pray for days on end and something might not happen.
   
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 7th 2014, 03:56 AM

I'm not atheist because I'm a teenager. I've become atheist because of what I know about science.
   
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 7th 2014, 04:47 AM

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Originally Posted by Adam the Fish View Post


With regard to Abrahamic religions, they're all fairly similar anyway (please don't all followers of Abrahamic religions attack that, I know it's a bit of a sweeping statement, BUT they have very similar basis). But I think the thing is that if people find 'god' - in whatever form they perceive 'god' to be (or not - and that's the only thing that defines 'god' anyway, individually) - implausible, they're not going to believe it. They don't have to. I'd suggest that if God was really so concerned about someone coming to a specific religion, then such an omnipotent god might fancy...you know, making them?


Comparative religion classes don't only teach the Abrahamic religions. I am currently enrolled in one and, while we have discussed the three Abrahamic religions, we have also been exposed to the beliefs of Hinduism, Buddhism, and a few of the New Age religions. Looking at these religions might show people that there are paths OTHER than the Christian god. I'm not saying that it's necessary for anyone to choose a religion to become part of. If atheism remains their choice, that's just as valid as a belief in any religion. Personally, I think it would be beneficial to have these classes mandated in some way, simply as a way to expose people to the beliefs of many different types of religions. If nothing else, it will give them a better understanding of what people who identify certain religions believe, rather than looking at the misconceptions often provided by other sources.


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Only to the same degree that I might find it disturbing (and I do) that people expose their children to things like creationism from an early age; even possibly promote any sort of homophobia; implant any idea of being rewarded for good deeds, making it utterly incentivised to be a decent person; suggest that an innocent child has displeased an almighty ruler, and might be punished; etc. Obviously, not all religion does this - and certainly some is okay in that it does provide comfort and happiness.
My point is basically that it's not less disturbing that children aren't being indoctrinated with things than the idea that children are being indoctrinated with things. Of course, it depends on your viewpoint - because, of course, you believe that children are being indoctrinated with what is absolutely true, whereas I obviously beg to differ.

I actually think that if I had children, I'd want them to - as most UK RE lessons do - objectively look at religion. They could make a decision about whether they want to be part of any of them at a later date, when they understand a bit more, rather than being 'baptised' into one, or having a religious circumcision which can't really be undone if it turns out that they don't believe in something.
I agree here, to a point. I don't necessarily see it as wrong for parents to want to pass their beliefs on to their children, although I wish they would be more cautious about forming beliefs about social issues in their children at such young ages. But, I think that parents also need to give their kids the freedom to make their own choices about religion. Trying to force your children into believing the same things you do is wrong. I don't see sharing your beliefs with your child and then allowing them to examine other options objectively and choose what they feel is best for them as a problem.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 7th 2014, 05:05 PM

It just depends on the person.

Some people simply were never raised religions.

Other people were but simply started questioning it when they started being old enough to do so. That's pretty normal, plenty of people change religions or stop believing and they get older. As to why it happens in people's teens, it may simply be because it's an age where you have a better understanding of larger issues than you did when you were a young kid and are more willing to question what you've gotten from adults. There's no harm in that.

Some people were also raised religious but had a bad experience with it. Just because your experience was a good one it doesn't mean everyone will be as lucky, some people have had traumatic or bad experiences because of religious people around them.

Ultimately, it just depends on belief. Just as someone simply believes in spiritual things, others simply don't, or they may find it easier to believe in different things. There's nothing wrong with that either way, people should be free to believe or not believe in whatever they want because that's a very personal thing. What I don't agree with is when anyone uses their beliefs as a justification to hurt or judge others.

I personally enjoy learning about religions in general but am not religious. I don't think this makes me better or worse than anyone else. I dislike it when people are narrow-minded though, but I also know not all religious people are bigots and have met atheists who were also narrow-minded. For me what matters is how a person acts towards others, not what their personal beliefs are or aren't.


   
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 7th 2014, 06:58 PM

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Originally Posted by Masquerade. View Post
Comparative religion classes don't only teach the Abrahamic religions. I am currently enrolled in one and, while we have discussed the three Abrahamic religions, we have also been exposed to the beliefs of Hinduism, Buddhism, and a few of the New Age religions. Looking at these religions might show people that there are paths OTHER than the Christian god. I'm not saying that it's necessary for anyone to choose a religion to become part of. If atheism remains their choice, that's just as valid as a belief in any religion. Personally, I think it would be beneficial to have these classes mandated in some way, simply as a way to expose people to the beliefs of many different types of religions. If nothing else, it will give them a better understanding of what people who identify certain religions believe, rather than looking at the misconceptions often provided by other sources.
The classes I was referring to were the (mandatory) classes taught up until the age of 14 in the UK; they don't teach completely objectively, and the UK still allows "faith" schools and requires "collective worship", which rather invalidates state objectivity (sadly), but it's a hell of a lot better than it could be. For the most part, along with compulsory teaching of scientific theories like evolution (and happily now a ban on pseudoscienctific "theories") it allows pupils to objectively judge whether they believe something or not.

Obviously not every country does the same, and not every school appears to bother obeying the rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masquerade. View Post
I agree here, to a point. I don't necessarily see it as wrong for parents to want to pass their beliefs on to their children, although I wish they would be more cautious about forming beliefs about social issues in their children at such young ages. But, I think that parents also need to give their kids the freedom to make their own choices about religion. Trying to force your children into believing the same things you do is wrong. I don't see sharing your beliefs with your child and then allowing them to examine other options objectively and choose what they feel is best for them as a problem.
Sharing a belief you, with equal weight to beliefs that others hold, I think is fine. The thing is that, whilst parents might like their child to believe the same as them, it's not fair - in my opinion - to try to sway them towards any option (any more than - at a young age - a parent holding the opinion will).
Again, if the belief is "correct" (or seems to be) after objective evaluation, surely the child will choose it anyway? If anything, prejudicing a child in favour of a certain belief (system) simply shows how fragile said belief system is.
This, relating to the original question, is why science works. Because it can be questioned, and objectively evaluated with the evidence - which is specifically collected, challenged, carefully recorded and checked by experts - where religion can't.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 7th 2014, 08:26 PM

When/If I have children, I'll expose them to all sorts of religions tremendously, so that way they can choose whether they want to decide to believe in something or nothing at all. I believe in the Christian god (the one that's loving, not hateful like a bunch of the conservative people are) but want my kid(s) to choose themselves.


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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 12th 2014, 09:55 PM

Assalamu alaikum brother,

I chose Atheism for a grounding solution of not knowing which path to take. Islam, Satanism, Wicca, Christianity, Catholic? Which one is worth taking up?.. I'm an ex-Catholic, raised in a family where mum's a Buddhist and dad's a Catholic. I have personal reasons to why I'm strictly an Atheist and I do seem to disagree with certain religious.

Humans rely a lot on assumptions, even science does a lot of the time. I'd prefer it if I left all this a mystery and discard the idea of God, Heaven, Hell and so on so I have more room for questions than answers.



   
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 13th 2014, 12:47 PM

(Wall-o'-text here, apologies. )

My atheism is more akin to a humanistic viewpoint of society in general. I used to be Roman Catholic, and it is fair to say that I grew up in what Frank McCourt described as the "miserable Irish Catholic childhood" in Angela's Ashes. Said book (and film adaptation) is set in my hometown, and depicts very realistically the stranglehold the Catholic Church has on the Irish working-class. In the past couple of decades, Ireland has become a lot more "post-Catholic", and even I, as a teenager born in the country's most pious city, have obtained the ability to see past indoctrination.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the (so-called Republic of) Ireland, the best example of theocracy in the western world.

I attended a Catholic primary school, for the sole reason that there was no other primary school in the area. Even in a suburb where Irish Catholics are now a minority, the Church blocked any initiatives for secular or interdenominational primary schooling across the country. The Church block any liberal agenda. Legislation allowing for abortion in the case when a woman's life is threatened was only passed very recently, and no progress has been made on same-sex marriage, which is a very, very sad reflection on a first-world country. "Rome rule" was the way under Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and even Labour. Not one politician ever stood up to the Vatican, until, rather ironically, Enda Kenny of Fine Gael, a conservative and usually pro-Church party. The more liberal-ish Fianna Fáil legalised civil partnerships for same-sex couples a few years back, having been blocked from doing so by the Church for the best part of two decades. Our country, in the past few decades, would have been far more functional and socially just without Rome rule. The Catholic Church in Ireland harp on about their principles the whole time, but I see no feckin' principles, unless their ethos consists of sexism, homophobia and opposition to the democratic will of the people.

What does this mean for Irish teenagers born post-1995ish? Their parents are often increasingly secular, for they might have woken up and smelt the injustice. (My parents are not at all, I am the sole humanist in my household.) Therefore, they are more likely to turn out secularists themselves. Young people I know are increasingly secular, certainly. What has brought it well home for a lot of people is the recent sexual abuse scandal, and some of you might have seen Pope Francis begging for forgiveness. Priests in my hometown prefer, to borrow a term from Michael, a "no true Scotsman" approach. One priest in my parish stated that sexual abuse would never happen here. The next week, another parish priest was charged.

Thankfully, trust for the Catholic Church is lowering as people begin to see the injustice they caused them. When my nation adopts a secular constitution, I will gladly welcome the first true Republic of Ireland.

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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 14th 2014, 05:22 AM

Personally and with my best friend of 8 years, we were bother raised in Christian religions and being from Texas, it's very radical, as you might say. Another factor in this was our parents. Her parents are extremely strict about religion and they go to church every Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday. I think she honestly got sick of being forced into doing it.
   
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Re: Why Are So Many Teenagers Atheist? - April 14th 2014, 06:35 AM

The phrase "religion crammed down my throat" makes perfect sense. It may not apply to you, but I think it relates to many teenagers nowadays.
Take myself, for example. I have a strict, over-protective, sheltering, devout Christian mother. My friend once joked that I was losing my faith in God, and my mom freaked out. It took weeks, maybe even months, to convince her that I was fine. Over those weeks and months, however, I was forced into church every week and "prayed over" constantly. I know my mom was just trying to look out for me, but ironically, her "protection" made me lose even more interest in this God she was forcing me to believe in.
Really, it's the religion crammed down my throat that has turned me against this religion. I still believe in God, sure. I still sometimes pray to him. But if religion entailed no freedom and no asking questions, no wondering "what if there is no God...?", then I'm out.
I suppose I'll become 100% Christian again one day, when I have the time to fully dedicate my life to it and to Christ. But right now, all I need is God and the Bible. Two things I still don't really understand.


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