I don’t think that you can actually choose to believe something. You either believe it or you don’t. In my thinking agnosticism is the most intellectually honest position. The existence of God is the great unknowable. If a God came and inflicted all of the horrors described in the Revelations could you know it was God, a space alien, a new Russian secret weapon or a hallucination?

The Theists of early America (read The Age of Reason) believed in a creator, but a non-intervening one which actually makes the question of the existence of a God irrelevant. They did not think of themselves as atheists, they just didn’t believe in revealed religions. That is important because many atheists rejected the revealed religion of their environment and with that rejected the notion of God, thinking that that religion represented a reality about God.

To back up a bit to my statement that you can’t choose, it was a beginning. I married a Buddhist raised in a Buddhist culture. I was a Baptist with the belief that salvation is a matter of faith in the God described in the Bible. Does this mean that if my wife never accepted Christianity that I would spend eternity in heaven praising the God that is burning the woman I love in eternal torment because she didn’t believe something? I couldn’t believe in such evil and tended toward atheism in my rejection of that idea. The thing is, I have no way of knowing that there is not a God just because I rejected the story of the genocidal God of the Bible. Yes, I read it. Lots of people become atheists after reading it.

I don’t believe that there is no God, I just have no idea of the nature of a God who could consciously create the universe, which is a very different from a petty, jealous, anthropomorphic deity that would burn you in hell because you didn’t believe a story. So I think of myself as agnostic. Not believing a particular story does not make me an atheist. When people use the word atheist are they all talking about the same thing?

Retired and living my golden years in a world full of angry people.

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