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Are atheists a collective group?

I’m not sure yet if I’m already an atheist. I was born a Catholic but I don’t practice religious stuff since birth mainly because of lack of parental influences; only my mother goes to church and my dad doesn’t. He only participates in TV religious shows where there are speakers of 'sects’.

What I want to know is:
1. Is atheism a belief that you just proclaim yourself? Are there any kinds of initiation to make yourself an atheist?
2. Is it essential for atheists to flock together? When you are an atheist, you don’t have any religious rituals right?

So does that mean that it isn’t necessary for them to come together? Will that make atheism an individual and just a personal thing?

Posted: May 12th 2011

SmartLX www

Atheism requires no initiation and no rituals. Whether you’re an atheist depends solely on whether you believe in a god or gods. If you don’t, you’re an atheist even if you’re also fully assimilated into a religion. (He probably isn’t, but the Pope would be an atheist if he suddenly lost his faith.) Furthermore, you don’t even have to say you’re an atheist. Many atheists worldwide keep their lack of belief to themselves, for fear of persecution by religionists.

That said, being an atheist doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t participate in spiritual or even outright religious rituals. Prominent “New Atheist” Sam Harris advocates transcendental meditation in the Buddhist tradition, not because he thinks it has any supernatural effect but because he thinks it benefits the mind. Many Unitarian Universalists are atheists but still go to UU church regularly. Also, of course, many atheists accompany their friends and families to theistic services out of a sense of obligation, or for the social interaction, or because their atheism is still a secret.

There are atheist groups everywhere if you look for them, but if you do decide you’re an atheist there’s no obligation to join anything you don’t want to.

Posted: May 15th 2011

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logicel

I live in a very secular culture with a high percentage of atheists. Nobody discusses atheism or theism (because theists keep their non-evidential beliefs to themselves and in their private groups).

Atheism only exists because of theism. Atheism is simply the lack of god belief. The GNU atheists, the very critical and vocal present crop of atheists, often share the love of science and other aspects, like the appreciation of cats and liberal political policies so there can be some overlapping of interests that seems to appeal to many atheists.

In opposite environments, where theism is in your face, where there is a push for theocracy, where atheists are actually not considered to be full citizens, atheists will come together to lobby politically and to advocate for their group, which is people who lack god belief.

Posted: May 14th 2011

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