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Why are we Atheists?

My Aunt was at my house the other day. My Aunt is a catholic, I am an Atheist (I think most of my family are atheists, almost all are 'non-religious'). Everyone knew all this and it was no source of tension (to the point of, whilst playing cards, exclaiming, "Another Ace, Aunt?! Are you getting God to cheat for you?"

Anyway, the point of this discussion is to tell you about a remark she made just the other day. Basically she implied, quite casually, that my atheism stemmed from me being an agumentative kind of person - just 'that type'.

At the time I didn't object, I just thought to myself "What? I'm not an atheist because...". But by then the conversation had moved on. Had I been quicker to retort, it would have been along these lines:

"Now wait a minute, I'm not an atheist because of some 'teenage-rebellion'-like feeling. It comes from something much deeper. I'm interested in the truth. I'm interested in whether or not God exists, as a matter of fact. Having thought about it, I don't think God really exists."

I think we should all learn a lesson from this - always make sure people don't write your atheism off as stemming from a desire to disagree with authority... from disagreeing just for the sake of it. If people hear it as an invitation to consider the possibility that God doesn't exist, then that is surely a good thing.

Any thoughts?



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