Ive read and heard people over the years claiming that they were once an atheist, but no longer. This is a curious statement to make. Of course, I’ve never met anyone who’s said that to me, these are all articles I’ve read or people on some television show making that claim. No one ever seems to want to challenge what is said.
Occasionally those same people are asked what made them want to leave atheism, as if being an atheist is akin to leaving one job for a new one. If I were the interviewer though, I would want to know a few things first:
Why did you become an atheist in the first place?
I think the answer to this question is crucial. People are atheists for varying reasons. There is no one answer. It’s possible the person came from a repressive religious household and when they were old enough, were able to break away. The experience could easily explain a rejection of god.
Why did you return to belief in god?
Based on the answer to the first question, it becomes more than possible that there never was an actual disbelief, just anger or possibly disappointment in religion. This is why so many non-atheists consider us to just be angry at god. It was easier to blame a god for their circumstance than the actual villan.
Of course, this answer automatically answers the third:
Why did you leave atheism for religion?
The person never actually lost their belief. They never actually considered what being an atheist is and referring to themselves as atheist actually meant nothing.
There may be many more reasons other than the example I outlined but I find it reasonable to accept that these people having made this claim were either hurt, or maybe just disappointed with their religious belief. I think these people looked at atheism as being just another religion, just one that is non-theistic. They became disillusioned that atheism is just what it purports to be: a non-belief in any god. There are no rules to live by, there is no book of philosophophy that atheists quote. We have no mythology.
People are looking for something to believe in. Religion for most, fills whatever void is in their lives. I understand that, having been there myself. I realized, as probably others have, that religion didn’t actually provide any answers I was actually looking for and that it was up to me to provide those answers in my life. No one, no religion, no god, can do that.
Atheism isn’t about unconditional love and forgiveness as religion preaches; it’s simply a person not accepting that there is something greater out there than themselves. We appreciate this life for what it is and live our lives accordingly. Right and wrong are not written in a book, and ethics isnt just a word.
Atheism isn’t a light switch and those that cavalierly think it is, don’t really underatand atheists.