Monday, April 7, 2008
Becoming vs. Being
Via Andrew Sullivan, I came across this article on the difficulty with becoming an atheist vs. "being" one; that is, atheism as a way of life. I may have missed his point, but it made me think that the level of difficulty of being an atheist,or a theist for that matter, depends of your starting point. This article seems to confine itself to the idea of conversion,as it were, from one to another. If a person is born and raised in a certain belief structure, then becoming and being are almost simultaneous; by the time the person is old enough to think about such matters, he will see himself as already "being" something. In other words, if a person was raised as an atheist, that person would likely see himself as "being" an atheist, and being one wouldn't be as difficult as having to contemplate the changes necessary to become one if one were raised as a theist. I admit that the fact that so few people are raised as atheists makes this hard to investigate, but it seems to be a reasonable extrapolation from the idea of converting from one religion to another.