Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to Lose Your Religion in 10 Steps

Atheists face a bit of a dilemma. Many of us wouldn't be so blunt about it, especially not to a believer's face, but it's inescapable: if atheism is true then most people in the world, including some very smart and rational people, believe in ridiculous and unsubstantiated ancient myths and fairy tales invented at a time when people thought thunder happened because the sky was mad at them. So why do so many smart and rational people believe something that should be so completely and obviously wrong?

A lot could be written about that topic. In a nutshell, though, I think it comes down to the defences religion has that keeps people from seriously questioning it, from treating it like they treat any other idea. These defences could be part of the religion itself (e.g. "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed") or they could be from our own biases (e.g. us being more likely to accept evidence for something we already believe).

So I was thinking: if atheism really is the rational choice, how could a rational and intellectually honest person lose their religion?

It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, and definitely in a very rough form, but I've come up with some steps for doing just that. I hope to make a series of this and link to each point as I write about it, so consider this a table of contents:

1. Learn What Atheism Is
2. Learn What Religion Is
3. Lose Your Faith
4. Think About How You Think
5. Realize That Your Religion Isn't Special
6. Learn What Your Religion Actually Says
7. Examine the Real World Claims of Your Religion
8. Compare and Contrast: A Theistic World and an Atheistic World
9. Read Your Religion's Apologetics (and Why They're Mistaken)
10. Learn More About Atheism

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