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.


Brian said...

I'll have to ask my daughter in a few years.

I didn't actually raise her as an atheist--in fact, she spent one year in Catholic school. But what did happen was that when she was fairly young, her mother and I (divorced by then) just stopped being religious. I made the transformation to being atheist, while I think my ex just became apathetic, but either way, we didn't instill a sense of religiosity into her, but I at least instilled a knowledge of worldwide myth so she could make the connections herself. I think she'll wind up either atheist or agnostic as a result, but one never knows with these things.

Anonymous said...

In most cases, if there is any intelligence left by the time a person becomes a teenager, then questioning the received ideas is an inevitable and necessary part of the process of growing up.

And beside which, the usual mommy-daddy "religious" stories are a very paper thin basis on which to base a truly adult life.

Why/how are the archaic tribal cultic deities of the ancient Middle Eastern of any relevance in 2008? Especially when all of the Sacred Scriptures, and every possible philosophical point of view, of the entire Great Tradition of Humankind is freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

Most of it is just a load of unexamined psycho-babble. Just as paper thin as most new-age psycho-babble.

Which is not to say that Real God, The Divine Conscious Light does not exist.