Would You Be an Atheist Without the Internet?

An interesting question from the forums:

Do you think you would be an atheist today if the Internet did not exist?

I don’t think I would be… when the doubt about my religion started to creep into my mind, I found my answers late at night online. It was those crude websites and email newsletters which helped me answer my questions and formed new ones.

I sure as hell didn’t know any other atheists.

Anyone else owe their atheism to the Interwebs?

  • Apsalar

    Wow, great question. I’ve been floating down the intertubes since about 1994, which is well before I deconverted, so I can’t say for sure, but I like to think the answer is yes. The internet was great for helping me learn about the rest of the world beyond my red state small town upbringing, but the first non-Christians I met who liked to talk about their lack of religion (they were both agnostics) I knew from “real life” and a lot of what sent me down the road from conservative Christian to liberal Christian to agnostic to atheist was just from talking to other people and reading books.

  • mike

    I owe much of it to the Interwebs. Dawkins videos on youtube really cemented the doubts that had been creeping up for years.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    I’m not sure I would be an atheist without the Interweb. I was calling myself an agnostic and a skeptic and a doubter before I started blogging and reading other blogs… but it was the atheist blogosphere that got me really re-thinking atheism.

    It’s not what tipped me over the edge. What tipped me over the edge was The God Delusion. I was an agnostic when I started that book, and an atheist when I was finished with it. But I’m not sure I wold have gotten interested in the book if it hadn’t been for the atheosphere. (And the atheosphere, combined with The God Delusion, is definitely what got me spending so much time thinking and writing about it.)

  • CybrgnX

    I first questioned my christianity at age 10 52yrs ago. While at seminary (age 16) I finally went full blown agnostic when I was sick of being called “evil & sinfull” and left the cathelic church. And by the time the internet was born I was an isolated atheist. But after seeing the larger atheist family on the internet my atheism would have solidified a lot faster if it would have been around. My main influences to atheism were Heinlein & Asimov. But my readings on the internet have sharpened my knowledge of its details.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Well I, for one, was an atheist long before Al Gore ;) invented it.
    I was wearing a “I swear to God I’m an atheist” tee-shirt back in high-scool in 1979.

  • Eric

    I’d still have been one. I first rejected my religion (Christianity) by opening the Bible. Well, I might still be calling myself agnostic, but I’d live as an atheist.

  • http://msathiests.org Oliver

    I owe my atheism to the website Fark. I was a Farker for many years. There are many pigheaded and stubborn people on that site who won’t accept the limited amount of evidence for any religion. As an Christian, trying to debate that stubbornness was difficult. I felt taking the debate to the Internet was necessary. It took several years to turn that same stubbornness on my own faith. Soon, I became a skeptic.

  • Jack Applin

    Sure, I would. My atheism predates the internet.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    I became an atheist before the www, but I did learn a lot on local BBS forums. So, I am not sure if that counts.

  • Amber

    I can’t say I would be anywhere near the person I am today without the Internet. I questioned god my entire life, being brought up with the notion that god ‘took my dad away because he needed him more’ and being expected to accept it. Needless to say, that was a big part of it, but without the intertoobs to fuel my skeptical little mind (probably somewhere around 2000-2001 to begin with) I would likely still be searching in the dark for jesus to save me.

  • elianara

    I would like to think that yes, I would be an atheist even without the Internet, but I can’t be sure. I was an agnostic before I got access to the internet, so atheism is not that big a step forward. But I also believe it would have taken me a lot longer to admit I’m an atheist without the Internet.

    Almost the same information one finds on the Internet can be found in the library, but the effort one puts into finding answers is different, and the time it takes to find the answers is different too. One has faster and better access to materials and information on the Internet.

  • http://wings1295.blogspot.com/ Wings

    I would still be an atheist, as I came to the realization about when I graduated high school, in ’89.

    I wouldn’t know any others, however. All the other atheists I know are online.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Gosh, probably not. At the time that I deconverted, I strongly believed in free skeptical inquiry into all things, including religion, but I was also instinctively ashamed to research into my doubts. The internet helps because browsing the internet takes relatively little commitment, and can be done in quiet solitude at home. If it required going to a bookstore or library, I might never have invested the effort.

    But then again, even if I hadn’t done any outside reading, I’m pretty sure I still would have found the apologetics I learned in high school to be unconvincing. In fact, we were told that they’re not supposed to be completely convincing (you need faith as well). I’m not sure I would have accepted that excuse.

  • Brian

    I know that internet was very important in my path to atheism. I had long had many questions regarding Christianity and had stopped going to church when I went to college in 1987. Even though I had really stopped believing I had a difficult time accepting it. After discovering all of the websites and great people on the internet I was finally able to call myself an Atheist. Knowing that there are so many more atheists out there was eye opening to me. I am now an out and proud Atheist and appreciate the people on the internet for providing me information and support that I needed.

  • Diagoras

    I know that I would not be an atheist today if I had not had the interweb. It was the atheistic ideas that were so bluntly and openly expressed on the internet (and almost nowhere else) that led me doubt my former christian faith and eventually led to my atheism.

  • Robin

    I was an atheist before I was on the internet. It didn’t occur to me to look for other atheists on the internet for years. (Not until this past year actually.)

  • weaves

    I think so. I never really bought into the whole God thing and my disbelief occurred without the internet and due to school. I’ve always had a critical opinion of it.
    It’s not until recently that I started searching out fellow a-theists online.

  • Pustulio

    I’ve been an atheist since I was old enough to understand the concept, long before I’d even heard of the internet.

  • http://ichthyologistbright.blogspot.com Laurie Soule

    I’ve always been an atheist, but it was only a year and a half ago that I found Austin Cline. From there, I started reading other atheist blogs.

  • Diana

    I was an atheist before I knew the word, but I’m certainly a less lonely and closeted atheist than I used to be. I always seem to find the one or two like-minded people wherever I have been, but back in the 60′s, I had to count on growing my own – my children, now both around 40 yo, and my husband of 15 years, and a very few others I have run into accidentally. There is an atheist “church” in Dallas that I went to for a while, but most who gravitate to that sort of thing just sort of wander away after a while. We don’t organize well. The internet is perfect for us – drop in when you feel like it. I found this site through Pharyngula, and I like to read about the de-conversion stories. No question, though, the internet has made me, and others, too, probably, much more articulate about the whole concept.

  • cre8tivewmn

    I was a pre-net athiest. Now, after many years as a lone athiest, I have other athiests and skeptics to listen to and talk with.

  • Jeff

    I became an atheist in 1986 (before www) when I decided I should figure out why I ultimately believed in Christianity so I could better convince others, notably my then girlfriend (and now wife of 21 years). All I found was circular reasoning and fallacies of logic.

    I realized that I was a christian because I was brought up that way, it seemed self-consistent (this the www helps debunk), and it seemed like something that would be nice to be true (wishful thinking).

  • http://starseyer.blogspot.com Mikayla

    I think I would still be an atheist, or maybe an ‘agnostic’, but I would be an isolated and lonely one. I’d probably still be going to church and beating myself up over not believing any of it. Like back in the days when I didn’t believe, but wouldn’t admit it to myself because I thought there was something terribly wrong with disbelief of Christian dogma. Bleh, that would be a depressing fate.

  • http://perkyskeptic.blogspot.com/ The Perky Skeptic

    Nope.

  • http://www.meetup.com/beltwayatheists Shelley Mountjoy

    I would be an atheist without the internet but I would likely not be involved in atheist activism.

  • Dallas

    I became an atheist well before I ever started using the internet, when I was eleven. Throughout middle school and high school I was always able to find atheist and agnostic friends, so I never really needed to go and look for any on the internet.

    I never really knew of any atheists before I became one, I just realized how much I despised the idea of religion and god and knew I wanted no part in it. Being just a kid at the time, it took me a few years to really articulate my argument for by non-belief though.

  • Sandra

    I was an atheist for a few years before I ever thought to “google” atheist. I would still be an atheist, but more in the closet without the www, not to mention I would be less inclined to engage “fundies” in debate. :0)

  • http://smackshack.livejournal.com/ Marvin

    Great question! When I first started hanging out on the ‘net (was that 1996?) I regarded myself as a modern ecumenically minded Christian with rationalist tendencies. One of the things that hardened my skepticism over time was watching highly intelligent, well-educated Christians try to argue the theistic perspective on morality against well-educated, highly intelligent skeptics. Without fail the Christians always — ALWAYS — ended up resorting to cheap evasions, prejudiced appeals to authority, and emotional abuse when they failed to get their way. Always.

  • skinman

    My ascent into atheism began well before the internet, so yes, I would be an atheist without it.

  • Wendy

    Without the net I would still be an atheist, but I wouldn’t *know* I was an atheist. (It took quite a bit of Googling to figure it all out!) I never believed in god, ever, and I knew what “atheist” meant, but I havethe internet to thank for helping me put 2 and 2 together! :) Thank FSM for the internet!

  • RobL

    The internet didn’t exist in 1977 when I decided it was a bunch of hooey so no, it was not part of the equation. The Book of Mormon was probably the last straw that turned me into a heathen. The internet has however made me more comfortable with being an atheist – prior to the internet I felt like a leper and now I know it’s most everyone else who has the mental virus, not me.

  • garrick

    My atheism definitely predates the Internet, but it did make it more important in my life. It was on the Internet where I learned that theism wasn’t just incorrect, but actively harmful to society.

  • zoo

    I realized a few years ago I’ve actually always been an atheist, but I was raised Southern Baptist and always did what made the adults happy. It was someone I met on the internet that started me on to realizing what I really believed. I think the seeds were already there (people telling me how I should feel and how well I should remember the day I ‘got saved’ [I'm told I was 5. . .], and I didn’t feel that way or remember the event). I’m thinking I would’ve come around eventually, but it would have taken a lot longer.

  • Dutch

    No atheist here, just a rock solid Christian. The internet has helped in researching for a book. The atheist sites I have read have actually confirmed what I know to be true. On the internet, and elsewhere, you will find exactly what you are looking for – nothing more, nothing less.

  • http://www.lsfdev.com Jim

    I was always extremely agnostic, and did not care about the exact label. After 9/11 attacks, I started being curious about Islam and the belief system that led the hijackers to to their deed. I ran into excerpts from End of Faith by Sam Harris and realized that I was an atheist. (On the Internet). Christopher Hitchens comments about being an anti-theist have some appeal to me, but I don’t think I’m really that sort of an activist.

  • Nicholas

    I don’t believe in atheism, it all sounds a bit implausible and outlandish for my liking and, lets be honest, demands a much greater leap of faith (and imagination) than any religion (except maybe scientology). I’ll just stick to good old fashioned Christianity.

  • http://www.yostivanich.com/ Justin Yost

    I would have been an atheist either way. It wasn’t anything particularly on the Internet that changed my mind, it was actually books that I had read.

    Also I’m pretty sure there were atheists before the Internet.

  • http://brokenocean.wordpress.com Nick

    I was already an atheist in the early days of the Internet. What the Internet did is provided a way for me to research and reinforce my ideas. The Internet paved the way for my interest in philosophy and logic, which I believe go hand-in-hand with atheism and religious scholarship.

  • http://www.rationalitynow.com Dan Gilbert

    I started down the atheist path sometime around 1978, so the internet didn’t have any affect on my journey. I find it invaluable now, though. :-)

  • http://frodology.blogspot.com FrodoSaves

    The interweb is after all the lair of the atheist brain-god Thinky.

  • http://tranchingreality.wordpress.com John Moeller

    10% of my atheism is due to a fellow atheist friend at the time.

    90% is due to the Internet, which at that time included the FAQ on the alt.atheism.moderated Usenet newsgroup, which he introduced me to. This was ’92 maybe? Those were the days when a 14.4 modem could still get you places. But it was still the Internet.

    What I realized after I read all that material was that I had been questioning whether God existed all along (I was nominally Lutheran, but unpracticing). I was an atheist from that point on.

    The God Delusion solidified my will to be open about it, and encouraged me go out and find the atheist community and really be a part of it.

  • SarahH

    I hadn’t really experienced much of the internet beyond e-mail when I decided I was an atheist. I was one of those long-slow-journey people who took baby steps from fundamental, literalist evangelicalism to atheism, and pretty much everything I experienced contributed to my eventual atheism, really.

    The Internet is certainly a nice resource to have now though, or I don’t think I’d get the chance to be open about my atheism very often – or meet other atheists.

  • Luther Weeks

    I was an atheist before the Internet, but the Internet confirmed my rationality because, I know that:

    If there was a god and it intended there to be an Internet, I would have been born with one.

  • A.Ou

    I don’t believe in atheism, it all sounds a bit implausible and outlandish for my liking and, lets be honest, demands a much greater leap of faith (and imagination) than any religion (except maybe scientology).

    That’s because your first assumption, as a Christian, is that God exists and that the burden of proof lies on the atheists – which is just as sensible as assuming fairies exist and saying that it’s up to the “a-fairy-ists” to disprove that belief.

    Back to Hemant’s question…
    I was never a true believer, even though I had some exposure to Christianity (not the fundamentalist brand, however). However, it was what I read on the Internet which convinced me to accurately describe my disbelief as atheism.

  • Pinoy Heathen

    The Internet gave me more knowledge about atheism although I’ve been an atheist even before the Internet age. It is so nice to know that a lot of people are like me.

  • Skeptimal

    Whether I’m an atheist depends on your definition, but the internet didn’t really play a role. On the other hand it *may* have saved my sanity back in 2003-2004 when it seemed like everyone I knew believed every word that proceeded from the mouth of a certain faith-based president.

  • http://ashkara.livejournal.com Kristine

    I rejected the bible at the age of about six, but then converted to Paganism when I was in my teens. If I hadn’t hopped onto a religion forum during a period of doubt, I would probably still be a Pagan. I’m thankful that there were so many supportive atheists who were able to show me the debunks of everything that had previously convinced me.

    I’m so much happier now as an atheist :D

  • Nicholas

    That’s because your first assumption, as a Christian, is that God exists and that the burden of proof lies on the atheists – which is just as sensible as assuming fairies exist and saying that it’s up to the “a-fairy-ists” to disprove that belief.

    The burden of proof does not lie on atheists at all, nor do I suggest it does. All I suggest is that a completely self-contained and self manufactured universe, manufactured from nothing by chance, and yet governed by rational, immutable laws at the fundamental level – and subsequently capable of supporting ‘life’ and all its foibles – is, in my opinion, pretty implausible. I find it much more plausible and believable that an external intelligent (replace with complex if you will) force caused it to be. Furthermore, I believe that this ‘force’ was responsible for the acts attributed to God in the Bible, and quite frankly, if he calls himself Yahweh, then I’m inclined to believe him.

  • Indigo

    Without the Internet, I would probably still be an atheist, but I think a much more lukewarm one – more of a “meh, who cares?” atheist than a “religion is irrational” one. I say probably because I never thought faith was a big honking deal, even as a child. Mostly I found church and everything to do with religion boring and incomprehensible; I can’t remember ever having a moment of inspiration from it.
    It’s possible that the Internet just jump-started the process and that my philosophy classes in university would have worked just as well to quash any remaining traces of belief, but I can’t really say. It does occur to me that it might have worked the other way and the Internet could have made me a more devout believer where otherwise I would just not think about it too much.

  • Nero Null

    I was an atheist long before the internet. God was already nonexistent when the internet was invented.

  • http://www.xanga.com/Andrea_TheNerd The Nerd

    Eventually I would be, but I would have lived many more years of frustration with my cognitive dissonance. I am so glad I live in the era I do now, where I can have access to all opinions equally, and decide for myself.

  • http://www.summersquirrel.blogspot.com Tina Marie

    I’d still be an atheist. The craziness of my religious relatives convinced me there couldn’t possibly be a god. The internet helped to me to find others of like mind.

  • Polly

    Looking back, atheism was inevitable. The truth is I always had moments of doubt and mainly looked to apologetics to mollify my skepticism. While it was a single word on the internet that led me to read the book that started me on my road to atheism (“redactor”) it was reading a book offline and wanting to “know the Bible better” that really unleashed all my skepticism. Ironically, it was also at this time that I read Jack Chic’s (on his website) take on the TRUE translation of the Bible – the KJV. That also piqued my curiosity about the origins of the Bible. The rest is godless history.

  • http://www.cognitivedissident.org cognitive dissident

    I would still be an atheist today without the Internet, but probably not without access to a good public library.

    Does anyone else have fond memories of card catalogs? Spending way too much time browsing the stacks? Looking up from a pile of open encyclopedia volumes to realize that it’s well past midnight?

    I found plenty of atheists on the page before I met any in real life.

  • Vee

    As much as my mother likes to blame my atheism on the internet, it wasn’t anything on the internet that caused it. I just realized that I didn’t agree with the church’s intolerant beliefs (which required realizing that the church HAD intolerant beliefs. My mom’s church doesn’t preach them, but the feelings are there in the congregation), and after that I started questioning ALL of it’s beliefs.
    I would still be an atheist without the internet, albeit a very lonely one.

  • Allison

    I would! I grew up as an atheist. Of course I know others — my parents and my brother for a start. :)

  • http://surrethang.blogspot.com Mike z

    Yes-my atheism started out as a simple early-teenage rebellion mostly as a result of music I was listening to and a Catholic upbringing. I met a good friend of mine (the first atheist I knew of) at a Christian summer camp, and she was confused when I went up to Communion during one of the three masses during the week. I had been doing it out of habit and to not upset my parents. The next biggest step was hearing Julia Sweeney’s “Letting Go of God,” which was only recently (a span of about 6-7 years in between the two events).

  • Ubi Dubium

    I’ve been an Atheist since the early 80′s, so no internet influence there. But it’s been a great resource, I feel less lonely, and I have more resources and support for raising my heathen daughters.

  • J Myers

    I’ve been an atheist my entire life, and as I’ve noted before, I find the idea that anyone could genuinely believe in any sort of god incomprehensible.

    On the internet, and elsewhere, you will find exactly what you are looking for – nothing more, nothing less.

    Thanks for that bit of projection, Dutch.

    All I suggest is that a completely self-contained and self manufactured universe, manufactured from nothing by chance, and yet governed by rational, immutable laws at the fundamental level – and subsequently capable of supporting ‘life’ and all its foibles – is, in my opinion, pretty implausible. I find it much more plausible and believable that an external intelligent (replace with complex if you will) force caused it to be. Furthermore, I believe that this ‘force’ was responsible for the acts attributed to God in the Bible, and quite frankly, if he calls himself Yahweh, then I’m inclined to believe him.

    Do you, in all honesty, not see how utterly stupid that is? Seriously?

  • i am a dodt

    Not an atheist because of the internet, but I’m more out of the closet because of it. Contrary to my parents’ intentions, catholic high school actually sped up my process of becoming an atheist (I was already questioning before hs).

  • Rat Bastard

    Nicholas said:
    The burden of proof does not lie on atheists at all, nor do I suggest it does. All I suggest is that a completely self-contained and self manufactured universe, manufactured from nothing by chance, and yet governed by rational, immutable laws at the fundamental level – and subsequently capable of supporting ‘life’ and all its foibles – is, in my opinion, pretty implausible. I find it much more plausible and believable that an external intelligent (replace with complex if you will) force caused it to be. Furthermore, I believe that this ‘force’ was responsible for the acts attributed to God in the Bible, and quite frankly, if he calls himself Yahweh, then I’m inclined to believe him.”

    Do you KNOW that the “universe” is “completely self-contained” and “self-manufactured” “from nothing but chance”? Prove it!

    How do you “KNOW” that it was “YAHWEH”? I claim that ODIN, in his fall from the tree of life, Yggrasadril, and his death and rebirth during the fall, while mastering the runes during the fall, is the true founding of the universe. Never mind the universe HE (ODIN) lived in before THE MASTERY. YOUR god yahweh is yet another imposter in the pantheon, and Thor’s hammer is made of IRON, which is going to perform TOTAL destruction on that bronze chariot. Superstitious twit.

  • Rat Bastard

    On topic, I realized I was an atheist before I went to the internet. But I learned more and reinforced my understanding of the logic thereof…and the sales pitches made by the charlatans and conmen, AKA the clergy.

  • Jasen777

    Wow, my question hit the big time! Thanks Hemant.

    A couple of key points of my deconversion process happened due to the internet. It’s likely I would not be an atheist now without the it. I think I would still get there though, but it would have been a longer and more painful experience.

  • Ann

    I would still be an atheist without the web since I found my godlessness without it. I actually thought I was alone in my non belief. But along came the god delusion, exploring richarddawkins.net, finding an actual community, and here I am!

    While I’d still be an atheist, I would have felt much more powerless, lonely, and unmotivated in my non belief without the internet.

  • Takma’rierah

    I didn’t need the internet to make me an atheist–although technically I suppose I’m an agnostic–because I’ve always been very skeptical. Perhaps a little more so these past several years as I learned more about the world, but a.) there weren’t enough dragons in the story of Christ for me to find it interesting and b.) my ability to believe in anything, even completely fictional deities that exist in their fantasy universes, is broken. That and I hate being wrong.

  • Richard Wade

    I’d be a non-believer, but I’d be less clear about it and certainly much more alone and powerless feeling. I have learned so much from so many of the good people right here. I had discovered Harris’ The End of Faith shortly before I knew anything about atheist blogs, so I was ripe for it.

  • chesss

    yup, without a shadow of a doubt.
    Ironically A thread titled “why don’t you believe in god” started it all for me.

  • Herk

    I was an atheist 25 years ago, long before I got internet. However, I wouldn’t be as informed or connected today without the internet.

  • http://rgzblog.blogspot.com rgz

    Probably so, I was always skeptic about everything, my religion included. When I started reading the bible I was surprised not only it was so evil but that it was so patetically anti-intellectual and anti-skepticism.

    So I became an agnostic without the internet, but it was thanks to the Internet that met amny other worldviews, even talked to people of other religious backgrounds and read many holy books.

    I also learned about neurology and psychology and realized we are our brains so in the end the Internet played a vital role in my evolution to atheism.

  • Rest

    Absolutely. Without a doubt, I’d still be a born again Christian if not for the Net. The web opened me up to a world of competing religions, ideas, and philosophies. I started thinking and it was like a veil had been lifted from me and I could no longer believe in religion and superstition anymore.

  • http://bluehydra.blogspot.com/ Hydra

    No, I’d still be an atheist without the internet. The philosophy section at the local library is a great place to sow the seeds of doubt. :)

    But disconnected from other atheists, I think I’d be far more likely to be a “I’m just not religious” atheist than a more assertive skeptic of religion. Plus, I think exposure to retarded Christian apologetics online over the years has done much to solidify my conclusion that religion is ultimately a mistaken endeavor at best and a shameful act of willful self-deception at worst. All with the best of intentions of course, but embarrassingly untenable none the less.

  • Ross

    I would be non-religious I know that. Had a lot of atheist friends they didn’t convert me though it was me who strayed away.

    Now I wouldn’t be a militant atheist if it wasn’t for the internet.

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  • Neil K

    For me the philosophical question of God’s existence was already settled, before I was on the internet.

    However, the internet has changed my attitudes about religion, as an institution. In particular, Hitchens’ and Dawkins’ videos made me see how vulnerable these institutions really were, and how much dissent there truly is against religion.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Hmm…this is a very good question for me.

    I’m not sure whether I would be an atheist if it weren’t for the Internet. While there were several factors in my deconversion, being able to explore the resources on the Internet really helped confirm what I had begun to suspect. My first profound doubts emerged in a World Religions class — then I took to the ‘Net, began to connect with other atheists and agnostics, and I haven’t looked back since.

  • GullWatcher

    Yes, without a doubt, but I’d be a less vehement one. It’s not the sites like this that cause it, either, but the unending inundation of religious crap that makes it so.

  • http://chatiryworld.typepad Katherine

    I would, and I remember as a teenager reading about the British Humanist Association in a newspaper and writing off for more info. This was in the early 90s, I didn’t start using the internet until I went to university in 1996. The internet certainly makes atheism more interesting!

  • http://cannonballjones.wordpress.com/ Cannonball Jones

    I was an atheist long before the internet became widely available, indeed I can’t remember a time when I actively believed in god (although I do remember vomiting, Damien-like, on the steps of Sunday School about the age of three or four and having to be taken home as I was screaming and refusing to go in!)

    The internet has been wonderful in terms of letting me find out more about atheism i.e. interesting books and the problems faced by atheists in other countries. I reckon overall the access to information granted by the internet must have had a massive effect worldwide in guiding people towards a more rational and skeptical worldview.

  • Dirk B.

    I would have been an atheist anyway. The internet just sped up the process and made me feel much more comfortable about my atheism.

    Two years ago I had my last hurrah trying to make sense out of how fake Christmas is and bought some religious Xmas cards and tried to have a truly relgious Xmas with it being about Christ without the pagan tree etc. It didn’t work.

    A little over a year ago a got a copy of Zeitgeist and it clicked. I did research on Zeitgeist and I know there is a lot of misinformation in the movie but enough of it was true to seal the deal. About a month of investigating deism until I couldn’t rationalize the need for a creator and I became a full blown atheist.

    Now I entertain myself by debating with theists on youtube and take delight in knowing scripture better than many Xtians. I’m learning to be a friendly atheist with no need to make fun of the ill-informed people.

    Telling theists they are stupid for believing in Jewish Zombies is like Christians telling atheists they’ll pray for them.

    Peace

  • Hoffy

    Thankfully I was born with a functioning brain so the god thing always seemed like a total whack job idea, the internet just confirmed it………………

  • Jane

    I would still be agnostic/atheist without the internet. I learned about myself and about my beliefs in college. I was exposed to all kinds of people, and one of my best friends there was a philosophy major. So I had the information in person. But I am glad that the internet is around because it allows me to connect with many more agnostics/atheists/free-thinkers than I ever could without it.

  • Paul R

    Without a doubt yes I would be. My atheism started at a very young age – maybe around 10ish, and that would be in the late 70s early 80s, long before the web was even dreamt of, and the internet was just an academic curiosity.

    What the modern internet/web has done however is make me much less likely to apologise for my atheism because I know that there are so many more of us around that I had originally thought.

  • http://bit.ly/danny Danny

    I was already an atheist before I started going online, but it was the Internet Infidels’ articles of Robert Ingersoll (circa 2000) that made realize that atheism is more than mere anti-religion.

  • Stephen

    I was an atheist long ago. The internet certainly has introduced me to many others, such as yourself with similar disbeliefs. I tried Young Life at one time, but it just didn’t make any sense. Not much more sense than the Roman/Greek/Norse myths.

  • http://yangandcampion.googlepages.com Margaret Y.

    My atheism has nothing to do with the interwebs and everything to do with the crap that went on at my church.

  • llewelly

    Do you think you would be an atheist today if the Internet did not exist?

    I became an atheist in the mid-1980s, when I did not have internet access.

  • llewelly

    All I suggest is that a completely self-contained and self manufactured universe, manufactured from nothing by chance, and yet governed by rational, immutable laws at the fundamental level – and subsequently capable of supporting ‘life’ and all its foibles – is, in my opinion, pretty implausible.

    You’re like the puddle that believes its hole in the ground must have been intelligently designed, expressly for it, because it fits so nicely.

  • Woody Tanaka

    I owe mine to Stephen Jay Gould, but not the internet. Seeing how evolution was responsible for the appearance of humans made religion (which was never really that big of a deal to me) unnecessary.

  • Don Pope

    Definitely yes.

    I went to a Catholic high school, and right there under my yearbook picture it says “Atheist”*. This was in 1984, several years before the internet was available.

    *-We could get away with this because our yearbook was done outside the school.

  • Emily

    The internet certainly helped me along and I probably wouldn’t be as staunch an atheist as I am without the tubes. The RRS and their Blasphemy Challenge were really what helped me come out as an atheist.

  • Joe

    I was an atheist before the Internet, but I didn’t know it. I questioned the existence of god and the need for religion since the sixth grade but it was a topic you just didn’t bring up in mixed company.

    The Internet allowed me to question, research, discuss and then solidify my beliefs (anti-beliefs?) using my own brain… imagine that!

    I think the Internet will speed up the eventual obsolescence of religion. I’ve noticed a huge change in the thought process of young people regarding a Deity just in the last few years.

  • Cyphern

    I was an atheist from the day i was born, as i have always lacked a belief in a god. When i became more interested in the topic, the internet allowed me to get arguments and counter-arguments for both sides, which helped solidified my rejection of theism.

    I would be an atheist without the internet, but i wouldn’t know much about it.

  • http://www.ironmomjenny.blogspot.com Jenny

    I can’t help but notice how intolerant many of you are of the guys who commented as non-atheist… calling him stupid and stuff. Are all theists this “nice?” or are you only nice and tolerant of other atheists?

  • Joe

    Nicholas said:

    “All I suggest is that a completely self-contained and self manufactured universe, manufactured from nothing by chance…”

    “CHANCE”?… boom.. you just lost the argument.

    There was no chance involved whatsoever and the beginning of the Universe is likely more complex than your brain (or mine) could ever comprehend. It’s likely there were trillions of trillions of combinations that didn’t work before life began.

    Allow me to simplify with an analogy: The “chance” of you winning the lottery is astronomical however, someone has to win it, and you buy a ticket every week. Now, on the day you normally buy a ticket, you get up, have a shower, eat breakfast, drive to work, hit some traffic because of an accident ahead, work on that report you were given, and decide to go have lunch. While out to lunch the service is slow and you have to run to the store to buy a ticket. You hold the door for a woman and then wait for her to buy her ticket. You buy your ticket, go back to work and find out the next day you didn’t win. The lady ahead of you in line did win, however you never find out it was her that won, only that you didn’t.

    Now, was it the traffic that caused you to be behind that split second? Because you chose an egg instead of toast for breakfast? The fact that you took an extra five seconds brushing your teeth? Maybe you stopped to get gas? The poor service at the restaurant? How about the extra two minutes you took to finish that last page of the report before lunch? Perhaps one of the other million or so decisions you made up until the point you bought that ticket.

    The fact is that if any one of these scenarios had been different, you may have been the winner, and because those scenarios played out the way they did, the woman won. However all of that is irrelevant because if you never find out that that the woman ahead of you won the lottery, then you’ll never become aware of the things that didn’t go right in order for you to lose. Is that chance?

    Things don’t happen for a reason, things just happen. If we don’t know the other possible outcomes and the failures that prevented them, then it appears that the actual outcome may have most certainly happened by chance.

    Chance, random and accident are all words creationists use to over-simplify evolution and/or the origin of the Universe. Ironically, their belief of how it all began is a far more simplistic, and child-like view.

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    Like many others, I was an atheist before the Internet.

    Now, would I be an atheist without editorial cartoons? Maybe, maybe not… ;)

  • http://www.thechildfreelife.com Duane

    The seeds of total non-belief were planted when I was 8, and fully sprouted when I was 16, back in 1984, way before I became aware of “the net” being a prolific way of life for me. So the answer for me is “Yes, I would be an atheist without the Internet.”

    I admit that the various interwebs have made me feel less lonely, that I wasn’t alone, but my belief structure would not be affected.

  • http://coffeeghost.net Al Sweigart

    Yes, but I would have been completely silent about my atheism though.

    I avoided the topic of religion growing up when I realized the view that other people had about atheists and agnostics. In college, I joined the campus atheist/agnostic group and realized that I wasn’t the only atheist in existence, and became more comfortable talking about my views (though I still never initiate these discussions).

    Eventually, I started creating YouTube videos about my atheism which gained some mild popularity ( http://youtube.com/user/Albert10110 ) and I’ve used the Internet to learn not only more about atheism but also religions in general.

  • brycey

    Interestingly the internet has been an excellent resource for my development as a Christian, theres all sorts of people on the tubes!

    “CHANCE”?… boom.. you just lost the argument.

    I don’t think he was trying to argue anything, just stating his (perfectly logical) point of view.

  • http://ridinginriverside.blogspot.com Justin N

    Yes, but I’d've been a lonely one. I never was religious, and I determined that I was an atheist without the assistance of the internet. However, the internet was instrumental in putting me in touch with other atheist, either through forums or (most notably) IRL (through the amazing Inland Empire Atheists, inlandepmireatheists.com).

  • http://ayrshireblog.blogspot.com Bunc

    I have been an atheist for over thirty five years so I think my answer is yes – but the internet certainly helps in getting to know others!!

  • Emily

    I think i probably would be, but it sure helps, with support, and resources on religion, etc.

  • stogoe

    I don’t think so. Reading about the Dover trial online and following links to Pharyngula were what pushed me into full-on atheism. If I hadn’t found a community of boorish, abrasive skeptics to engross myself in, I’d still be an apatheist.

  • http://diaphanus.livejournal.com/ Ian Andreas Miller

    Would You Be an Atheist Without the Internet?

    Yes, but I would think that I was the only atheist within a 100-mile radius.

  • Joe

    brycey said:

    I don’t think he was trying to argue anything, just stating his (perfectly logical) point of view.

    Anytime the words “chance”, “random” or “by accident” are used to describe evolution or abiogenesis, the explanation has now entered the precise antagonistic definition of logical. If one does the slightest bit of research on natural selection and abiogenesis, you’ll find that using words like chance, is tantamount to prefacing an explanation of the central nervous system as, “nothing special”.

    It cheapens the sheer magnitude and wonder at the complexity of the process and frankly, as soon as it’s referred to as “happening by chance”, the presenter loses all credibility.

    Science doesn’t rely on “points of view”, it relies on a much more involved method, and rather than me simply pointing out the flawed “point of view”, I tried to explain why it’s flawed.

    Give a “point of view” on how your favorite football team may perform in their next game. Don’t give a “point of view” on the creation of life, particularly if you’re going to sully it by using the word “chance” to discredit it.

  • Andrew

    I definitely owe my atheism to the internet. I was questioning my faith at the time and a particularly religious friend was bad-mouthing Dawkins. I really didn’t know much about him, but his diatribe made me curious. I found his video’s on youtube and the rest is history :)

  • brycey

    Anytime the words “chance”, “random” or “by accident” are used to describe evolution or abiogenesis, the explanation has now entered the precise antagonistic definition of logical. If one does the slightest bit of research on natural selection and abiogenesis, you’ll find that using words like chance, is tantamount to prefacing an explanation of the central nervous system as, “nothing special”.

    If you think chance doesn’t exist, you should read up on quantum uncertainty (true physical randomness), it’ll blow your mind! :D

  • http://lavenderprophets.wordpress.com/ Idir

    Well, even though my father is an atheist, and my stepdfather is a deist, I have been raised by mother who just can’t accept my “godless” fathers.
    She never answered any of my religious questions, but honestly, I’ve never swallowed it, and from the day she refused to answer my questions, I officially came out as an atheist. The Internets were a great support for me, though.

  • satish naidu

    Thank God Iam an athiest.Istopped praying since 1980.I just stopped praying I stopped begging & that was the end of god in me.This Universe the sun the moon the stars the planets,earth the air,water could not be made by any intellgense or any god.Man made GOD.Life sprung on earth by the combination of energy&. chemicals thats my opinion.

  • http://www.abandonallfear.co.uk Alex Fear

    I was raised with a non-belief in God (I say non-belief because my parents never tried to influence me to believe anything).

    I would say I was agnostic to the point of believing there was some force or thing out there, or aliens, but atheist when it came to that being a God (though, I would take Richard Dawkins position on it – possible but not likely).

    I became a Christian in 1997 (that’s another story), but as I grew and understood faith, I despaired at lack of rational thought and dialogue with others outside of Christianity by the majority in the church. Movements like the Religious Right (which is purely American), discredited Christianity and gave opportunity for anti-theists to project the Religious Right onto the church as a whole – as if all Christians act and believe this way.

    Thankfully the Tubes gave me a chance to connect with some likeminded people – many not even Christians.

    But faith would not exist without doubt, and there are always doubts that come to the surface. In those times, I’ve found it helpful to log onto anti-theist blogs and websites – reading forums like rd.net make me laugh and strengthen my faith.

    Reading ill-informed atheists debate online (mostly Americans), trying to ram science into a philosophy and making astounding logical leaps and fallacies, reassures me that no matter how ignorant theists can get, we’re all human and atheists are not excluded.

  • J Myers

    I can’t help but notice how intolerant many of you are of the guys who commented as non-atheist… calling him stupid and stuff. Are all theists [sic] this “nice?” or are you only nice and tolerant of other atheists?

    Jenny, it’s not “intolerant” to note that a comment was stupid. I did not make any general assessment of Nicholas’s intelligence; it’s quite possible that he’s a very bright guy, but that certainly did not come through in his amply stupid comment. It’s also rather obnoxious to post condescending, off topic comments as he did, yet you criticize us… interesting.

    I think I’m nice enough–for instance, I’m giving your inane comment a genuine answer, which is a great deal more than it deserves, don’t you think? Anyway, our (atheists) only common trait being a lack of belief in any gods, you’ll find that our beliefs and behaviors span a wide spectrum.

  • http://thesmalltownatheist.blogspot.com/ STA

    I’m like you, Hemant. Like many times when I’m searching for something, I looked toward the internet when my faith began to waver. Finding the ACA’s show “The Atheist Experience” helped seal the deal, so to speak.

    So, no, I doubt I’d understand that I’m an atheist if it wasn’t for the internet – and I certainly wouldn’t have as many well formed arguments.

  • cassiek

    I’m 45 years old and was raised in an agnostic/atheist home, so my answer is yes, I became an atheist without the internet. In fact, I was confounding little fundie kids and asking questions they had no answers for in the 1970′s, the Dark Ages before home computers. I will say though the internet has opened up communities for me that I did not have before.

  • tee

    I’d still be an atheist. Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness pushed me into believing it without too much research :D However, my convicion wouldn’t be as strong if it weren’t for the internet. And I wouldn’t have probably found out about most of the books that I’ve got my hands on either. So having the internet has definitely boosted my atheism beliefs.

  • http://erichaas.blogspot.com/ Eric Haas

    I became an atheist in the late 70s, so the Internet didn’t play a role for me.

  • http://www.patcoston.com/ Patrick

    I became an atheist in 1979 at age 16 losing my faith in Christianity for which I was raised. The first time I started using the Internet was about 1993.

  • Nicholas

    Joe said:

    Don’t give a “point of view” on the creation of life, particularly if you’re going to sully it by using the word “chance” to discredit it.

    I feel I must respond to this advice. I did not give a point of view on the creation of life, rather I was expressing my point of view on the creation of the universe itself.

    If someone were to claim that cartons of milk kept appearing in their fridge, completely out of thin air, I’m sure most people would be a bit skeptical. Similarly (but to a greater degree), I am skeptical of the sheer mass, energy, fundamental fabric, time and rational laws of this universe simply popping into existence from nowhere.
    I have heard the arguments of brane theory, that how this universe was simply the collateral spin-off of two ‘parent universes’ colliding in higher dimensional space – thus the big bang. However, I find this thinking flawed because it assumes an eternal ‘multiverse’. (if it does not then the question of original creation is as unanswered as ever)

    If this ‘multiverse’ is eternal then it will have experienced an infinite amount of time, thus experiencing an infinite amount of entropic decay. Why look at our own universe, all the mass in it is slowly evaporating away as stray photons, given enough time, it will be a sea of photons with lonely wandering black holes interspersed (and thats just one FINITE universe lifetime).

    I would also respond to J Myers’ comment about calling comments stupid and such. Please, genuinely, tell me why. I would love to hear your opinion. (also I think a more general case is that peoples’ beliefs and behaviours span a wide spectrum ^_^)

  • Joe

    Nicolas said:

    I feel I must respond to this advice. I did not give a point of view on the creation of life, rather I was expressing my point of view on the creation of the universe itself.

    Apologies. The creation of life is an event that would have of course followed the creation of the Universe. I was over-generalizing to show the callowness of using a simple subjective description for a recondite event. My comment was directed more towards brycey.

    Nicholas said:

    If someone were to claim that cartons of milk kept appearing in their fridge, completely out of thin air, I’m sure most people would be a bit skeptical. Similarly (but to a greater degree), I am skeptical of the sheer mass, energy, fundamental fabric, time and rational laws of this universe simply popping into existence from nowhere.

    “Popping into existence from nowhere” is again, an over-simplification that will of course take away validity to the theory – much like using the term chance - particularly when you preface it (greater degree otherwise) with a comparison as inane as cartons of milk appearing in a fridge. These are all creationist comparisons and arguments that offer no insight or evidence to even fall into the category of analogy.

    There is evidence of an expanding universe, there are myriads of scientists who offer that evidence in debate to help quantify the theory. So far, it’s the best theory we have to work with because of that evidence. Perhaps one day we may find something better or expand on the findings, that’s what science does, it’s ever-learning. We won’t, however, move forward with backward thinking, using ancient scripture and a creator as a way of trying disprove the theory.

    Gravity is only a theory and there is still much about it that isn’t understood, but you accept that theory without question. Is that because there is no mention in Genesis of god creating gravity on day three after he finished with the herb yielding seed?

    Nicholas said:

    I have heard the arguments of brane theory, that how this universe was simply the collateral spin-off of two ‘parent universes’ colliding in higher dimensional space – thus the big bang. However, I find this thinking flawed because it assumes an eternal ‘multiverse’. (if it does not then the question of original creation is as unanswered as ever)

    Regardless whether you think it’s flawed or not is irrelevant, because it’s your opinion. In my opinion, the flying spaghetti monster is the creator and supreme ruler of the Universe, but in science, my opinion doesn’t matter. Unless you can provide the slightest bit of evidence that can be scrutinized and put through the scientific method, as the Big Bang theory has been and continues to be, your opinion is as valid as mine.

  • http://ecstathy.blogspot.com efrique

    I was an atheist for a number of years before I was first active on the internet in the early 90s (mostly via usenet groups and mailing lists). So I’d be one without the internet.

    But I’d have thought about it a lot less, I’d be unaware there are as many of us as there are, and I’d be a lot less active.

  • http://thesmalltownatheist.blogspot.com/ STA
  • Steven

    Im 36 and I started questioning my strict christian (assembly of God) upbringing around 1996. I had no computer then but I got a few of my concerns met through books I would find at Barnes and Nobles or by slowly changing my world views and then honing them on the internet years later…I feel like Ive left the ranks of the mindless religious zombies but I still feel surrounded by them!

  • AnonyMouse

    I think I would have become an atheist eventually with or without the Internet, but it certainly hastened the process. I’d certainly be a less happy atheist, at any rate.

  • Guest

    I wouldn’t be surprised either way. I’m sure it helped. You don’t usually get to ask these questions in church after all, since they don’t exactly encourage people to use their brain. Good luck meeting atheists in the environment I had growing up… When your family is strictly conservative Christian, you don’t know anything else. When you are threatened with having no food or being kicked out of the house if you don’t go to church with them, your options are limited. The internet allowed me to discuss things that the society around me was suppressing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mflaminivt Matt Flamini

    absolutely. My friends one by one came out as atheists, all while we attended Catholic High School. The information available on the internet helped me to form many new ideas about religion.