Why Atheism is not a Choice

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Just about every person on this earth defines himself and his beliefs on what he sees and experiences each day. People can often choose what they experience-but what one takes from each experience is beyond his control.

Different Beliefs of the World

There are millions, if not more, religious people in the world. They follow myriad different religions, with myriad different beliefs. Most religions believe in at least one God. They see this God as a creator. Some stop there-they say that this God created the universe and left it to run in its own way. Some take it a step further and preach a compassionate, personal God who helps us all through our day-to-day lives. They say he is in everyone, and we can talk to him and he will reply to us-if we know how to listen.

Why do some people believe as they do?

For many, it is the mere fact that they have been taught to believe for as long as they can remember, and they have never questioned. Others see good things in the world and attribute them to a higher, benevolent power. Still others turn to science to verify their beliefs. Some succeed in proving a higher being to themselves. Others come up with a different answer.

About 1.1 billion people in the world do not follow any religion. Many believe that the universe is a Godless place, and that life should be lived without the expectation of an afterlife or the time wasted on mass. Why have they decided to believe what most see as a very grim and unpleasant outlook on life?

The simple answer is that they have not. Beliefs are not a choice-they are merely a reaction to our everyday experiences and observations. An atheist typically does not one day decide to cast all religious affiliation aside. He will not decide that belief in God is ridiculous. He will respond to what he has seen and experienced. Often, atheists look around and see the world as it is-a place without obvious magic, without mystery, and without outside influence. He will turn to science to explain the mysteries of the universe-and explain it does. He is satisfied with the answers offered by science-he does not need a God in a world where God is not needed to explain why things work the way they do.

Atheism is a natural reaction to seeing the world as it is. One does not decide one’s beliefs-religious or nonreligious. Sometimes, evidence of a world without outside influence is enough to change one’s beliefs. A decision, however, is not.

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