Many religious folks who visit atheist websites labor under a false impression that we are atheists because we have not yet heard the "word". They come thinking that they can lure us into the fold. What these religious folks rarely know is that most of us were raised in religious families, saying grace at every meal and bedtime prayers. We HAVE heard the word...and it wasn't good enough.
Myself, my discomfort with religion started when I was about 8 years old and the cartoon pages we were coloring in Sunday School seemed strangely inappropriate...Noah's family and giraffes looking out the portholes of the Ark while mothers with innocent babies in their arms were drowning outside. This was God's love for his innocent children?!
As I learned more about religion, my discomfort grew over the years and I eventually told my family that I would not go to church with them any more. Mother crying "where did I fail you?"...you get the picture.
When I got to college one of the first classes I took was Oceanography, primarily because I wanted to know all there was to know about Noah's Flood. I looked and looked, but there was absolutely no geologic evidence for any such occurrence. Huge changes in sea level had occurred, on the order of 300 feet, but these were always very slow changes. I finally had to conclude that the flood story was just an exaggeration of a much smaller event.
I declared my major to be Geology. I took the required Astronomy/Cosmology course, and once again I saw elegant explanations that made perfect sense, while the version in Genesis was wrong on so many details that again it was very clear that at least that part of Genesis was just a myth.
When I got to my required Paleontology course, one of our assignments was to sketch the differences between clamshells that had been collected from a sequence of ancient seabottom sediment beds. What I observed with my own eyes was the slow evolution of one species into another. Evolution was real. I saw it with my own eyes, touched the fossils with my own hands. Poof, another section of Genesis blown away like dust.
By the time I graduated from college, I had been transformed from a doubter to a knower. I was not an agnostic, I was an *informed* atheist who had tested his faith against science, and science won.
Theists tend to ridicule the empirical worldview of scientists, and they need constant reminding that scientists really do know what they are talking about, and what they are saying is that religion is a set of beliefs that are wrong, irrelevant...even dangerous... to the modern world.
God is indeed dead, but the body of believers are still standing...metaphorically dead on their feet but not yet collapsed. Just a matter of time...and solid education.
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