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Religion Free: The Appeal of Atheism in Today’s World

atheist
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While religion has historically been an integral part of societies and cultures around the world, more and more people are embracing atheism.

Atheism is the disbelief in a higher power or any type of deity. With atheism on the move, people are living their lives absent of the religions they were raised with, which has both positive and negative consequences.

From Hindu to atheist

Abhishek Ravi, a Colorado State University student from India, became an atheist when he first moved to Colorado.

Hindu Gods (via Pixabay) vs atheism
Hindu gods (via Pixabay)

“I was raised in the Hindu faith because in my town, everyone was Hindu, everyone celebrated the same holidays and participated in the same rituals,” Ravi said. “I was basically a Hindu because everyone around me told me I had to be. When I came to Colorado for school, I realized that I no longer needed religion.  I choose to be an atheist because I don’t need religion in my life.  I’m happier just being myself and doing what I want instead of being told what I’m supposed to do.”

Atheist population

According to the Pew Research Center, about 16 percent of the world population identifies as atheist or irreligious. The most atheist region of the world is in Asia and the Pacific which makes up 76 percent of the atheist population on Earth. The Middle East and North Africa have the lowest rates of atheism at less than 1 percent.

I was basically a Hindu because everyone around me told me I had to be.

Abhishek Ravi

Omari Asfour, an atheist from Yemen, said, “I think why the atheist population in the Middle East is so low is because their political systems are tied into religion, particularly Islam. This makes it harder for people to reject God because some countries make religion mandatory and any opinions against religion can be punishable by death.”

Religion and family

Family also plays a huge role in religion because religion outlines what it means to be a family.  Children often don’t have the choice to be religious or not.

Quran vs atheism
Quran (via Pixabay)

“In my case, I moved here away from my family where I’m free to be as irreligious as I want, but I know if I ever told them I’m no longer a practicing Muslim, they would be heartbroken because Islam is a fundamental part of their lives,” according to Asfour. 

“If I were to just opt out of Islamic holidays or fasting, they would be so disappointed in me,” he added. “But, I’m happier not being religious than I ever was practicing Islam, so at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for me.”

I’m happier not being religious than I ever was practicing Islam.

Omari Asfour

Even though religion is woven into the political and social systems of countries around the world, atheism is gaining popularity. While atheism is great for people who feel like they don’t need to believe in God or practice certain rituals, it can be hard to become an atheist when your family, your country and your government all tell you to believe one thing when your heart feels another way.

Atheism symbol (via Pixabay)
Atheism symbol (via Pixabay)
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6 comments

  1. I think that although people are raised believing in a religion because of their parents, the reason those people will stay with that religion is that it is frowned upon to change religion. As someone who grew up in a Catholic household, when I told my parents that I did not really believe in their God, they were extremely upset with me, would cry their eyes out, and questioned if something was wrong with me. I’m pretty sure if my experience is similar to other peoples’ parents and other loved ones getting upset at you changing religions would be a discouraging factor in changing religion or going atheist.

  2. I found this article very interesting because I am one of the only people I know who was raised in an atheist household. I always hear similar stories from friends about how their families have always forced them to participate in religion even if they do not want to. Some of them experience judgement but are allowed to believe what they want, while others are strictly forced to participate in the family religion. I personally think that it doesn’t matter what religion you or your family are, as long as you allow others to have their own religious beliefs.

  3. Wow, there is a lot of intriguing concepts to digest here. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a household where religion was often thought of as a personal choice, meaning if I tried out my parents’ or local community’s religion and did not like it, then I was encouraged to find one/many that work best for me. I find it fascinating that most religion in our world is interrelated with each other and atheism seems to be a conscious revolt against the social construction of religion. So, now I wonder how many atheists in the world are actually more agnostic in their belief systems.

  4. I really like the way this article brings in to light the different reasons why people choose to be atheist and it seems that this reasons connect. As someone who grew up in two very strict religions I can relate to the feeling of freedom away from religion. I do believe in higher power but I don’t consider religion a crucial part of my life. It was a bit sad to see that to a certain extend people that grow up religious feel a sense of guilt for not believing in what they were taught as children. I grew up in Mexico and even though my country is not fully embracing one religion as part of the politics most our holydays have to do with Catholicism. I appreciate the different view this article showed.

  5. I found this article extremely interesting, and coming from a religious background, I can see how it can be challenging to break the mold and become an atheist. I find that this is a reasonable change for many individuals because of the political climate surrounding religion. Having atheism as a growing belief system, allows individuals to focus on their own ideals rather than those of their parents or ancestors. It is foreign too many, but the changing popularity of it is growing a community that isn’t so heavily influenced by religions that seem to be separating the world more and more. I like how this is giving people a new option of religion that they can explore away from what they experienced as a child.

  6. This article was a really interesting read. I feel like usually when people are raised with a religion it is then hard to deviate away from that. I never thought about moving to a new area would effect the ease or difficulty of letting go of that religion or exploring others, but it makes sense. When everyone around you is no longer telling you what you need to believe then it makes exploring things far easier especially when the new culture doesn’t practice it to begin with.

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