What Draws an Atheist to Religion


Why are atheists so curious about religion?

Asking the question “Why are atheists so curious about religion?” is like asking, “Why are religious people so curious about atheism?” This is a huge generalization. If you were to round up 100 self-proclaimed Atheists and ask them about their level of curiosity about religion, you would get 100 individual answers. The range of interest would span from very curious to not curious at all. Perhaps a better question would be “What motivates an individual Atheist to become curious about religion?” I think that to become an Atheist, one must first deny the existence of a power greater than humanity, an omnipotent presence that transcends molecular structure. In order to deny this greater power, one has to consider it first. You can’t deny what you’ve never considered. Even if the idea of a god or gods has been transferred to one’s mind by others, once the seed of the idea is in our mind, it is natural for our mind to consider the possibilities. Perhaps the possibilities of the universe are the source of a person’s curiosity, religion being the vehicle some use to define those possibilities.

Another idea to consider is the social nature of religion.

Religion may provide us with cultural identity, a sense of history, and belonging to a group. An atheist may be drawn to a particular religion because it mirrors elements of his/her individual cultural identity. Religious practices and beliefs also explain individual or group behaviors. Atheists may be curious about why persons of specific religious sects behave the way they do.

By educating oneself about the religions of the world, a person can better understand other points of view. This, in turn, gives one a broader perspective and greater insight.

A final possibility is a role religion plays in explaining the purpose of our existence. Religion provides guidelines that encourage domestic and social order. Religion creates boundaries for acceptable social behavior. It creates traditions and celebrations that unite people. Religion provides comfort to many. It allows people to express their joys and sorrows in ways understood by others. It provides comfort in sickness and isolation. It is an expression of being human. A person who is an atheist may be seeking an understanding of others by understanding their religion. A person who is an athiest who is curious about religion may be seeking an understanding of themselves.

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