Some people are raised believing in God, and the belief that atheism is wrong.
Senior computer science major Igor Sorokin, president of the Atheism and Skeptics for Knowledge club, said atheism is not a belief in something.
“Atheism is the rejection of belief or disbelief in the existence of a God,” he stated in an email.
It’s important to define God, and specifically what atheists don’t believe, according to Sorokin.
“God is most regularly understood as a supernatural being,” he stated. “Atheists don’t believe in the supernatural because empiricism based science has not found any evidence of a supernatural being, and because philosophy has not found any arguments towards the existence of a supernatural being valid.”
There is no way to actively practice atheism according to Sorokin.
“All you need to do is to use your mind and apply it towards the facts which you have been given,” he stated. “And make up your mind whether there is sufficient reason to believe a supernatural being exists.”
Each person has their own logic and reasoning for not believing in supernatural beings, according to Sorokin.
Junior finance major Diaundra Pooler, said she became agnostic because she began to wonder and question the belief in irrational things without proof, such as the supernatural.
“I was raised by an extremely religious parent,” she stated in an email. “He’s never pushed his religious views on me.”
She said her father wanted her to choose a view which suited her, so she began to do extensive research to figure out who she was spiritually.
“Through that journey I realized that though I agreed with a lot of the morals placed in the literature from the religions. I didn't quite understand some of the (for lack of better words) stories," she stated. "And when I asked in depth questions about these stories the only answer that was given to me was: faith.”
She said this lead to her becoming an atheist.
Pooler said her atheism has an impact on her daily life, like dealing with questions about being atheist, and explaining to others the reasoning for her being atheist.
“We have to remember that only a very small percentage of the population is atheist,” she stated in an email. “So, it's hard finding a group of individuals who you can talk to and share your beliefs with.”
Pooler also said that it’s scientifically proven that atheists are one of the most discriminated against groups.
According to an article by Scientific American, atheists are one of the most disliked groups in America.
“Only 45 percent of Americans say they would vote for a qualified atheist presidential candidate, and atheists are rated as the least desirable group for a potential son-in-law or daughter-in-law to belong to,” the article states.
Another article on the Time Magazine Newsfeed website provides information about delivery company UPS discriminating against atheist packages, and simply “losing” them.
“According to Atheist Shoes, company-branded packages took on average three days longer to reach their destination and were 10 times more likely to disappear outright,” the article stated.
Pooler said this type of negativity towards atheism is what creates “closet atheists.”
“They're in closet because they believe they'll let their family or friends down,” she stated in an email. “And the negative stigma that comes with being a labeled atheist.”
Sierra Weir, the social activities officer for the Atheism and Skeptics for Knowledge club, said abandoning faith and becoming atheist as a result is not unusual.
“Most atheists were raised in and at one point subscribed to a religion,” she stated in an email. “They may have, for instance, accepted Christianity, and attempted to test the promise that anything two or more people ask for in Jesus' name, God will grant. When that test failed, it can start the process of questioning.”
Weir said she doesn’t think people set out to become atheist, but it is a result of the questioning of valid proof.
“It can actually be a painful or frightening realization and can threaten relationships with a person's social support group, much like the realization that one is gay,” she stated.
While some became atheist after abandoning a prior religious belief, Weir said some grew up atheist because they were never raised in a religion.
Weir said being atheist has it’s impacts on college life.
“Many religious groups teach that LGBT people are sinning or otherwise contravening a particular religion's tenets,” she stated. “Being atheist often means there aren't the same taboos, and so an atheist might have an easier time befriending a queer person.”
Religious taboos can mean a person does not admit their sexual orientation, so being atheist can make it easier to come out, according to Weir.
Weir said there can also be taboos on certain behaviors for a women.
“Being atheist combined with skepticism can allow a person to see through the argument that women are less important than men just because the first woman ate the forbidden snack,” she stated.
Skepticism is the practice of using evidence and reason to come to conclusions, according to Weir.
“So while atheism can be the result of skepticism, it's not necessarily a result of it,” she stated. “And skepticism is hardly a necessary condition of being atheist.”
She said it requires asking questions about the claim to see if reasoning supports it.
“Most people are skeptical about most things most of the time,” she stated.
Weir said skeptical examination of her beliefs led her to become atheist.
“What ultimately did it for me, however, was that I was cognitively incapable of reconciling the idea that there is this all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful deity, a perfectly just god, with the idea that this same deity would punish a finite crime with an infinite punishment,” she stated.
Weir said that being skeptical allows people to seek out alternative explanations for everyday life.