ANSWERS: 37
  • It goes both ways. Atheism liberates people from the constraints of a belief in a God, but it adds the constraint of forcing one to accept responsibility for ones own behavior.
  • Aye..at first I suppose. Then despairing I'm sure.
  • I wouldn't know but I suspect atheists would try to claim so and deny that little seed in their conscience that tells them constantly that they are wrong. Every time they see a seed grow into a flower they must wonder about how they could have become so skeptical of love, and feel somewhat lost.
  • Thinking about my stance right now, I don't see it as liberating, because I had liberated myself years ago. Now it seems like normal life. For people who are thinking about it- I suppose it can be. As Yarnlady said, you have to take responsibility for your own actions, which can be scary for some people at first- but you don't have a bunch of rules and some guy who thinks he's something special, breathing down your neck. It depends on your stance, I suppose.
  • Yes and no. If one is in the grip of a belief system -- regardless of it's characteristics, there is some "imprisonment" there. Specifically, we have a strong tendency to identify with belief systems -- to use them to define our identity. When we do that, there is a loss of freedom. It doesn't matter what the *content* of the belief system is... this is a non-discriminating phenomenon. The moment I've identified with a belief, I begin to be "used by" that belief... I become it's puppet to the degree that my sense of self is derived from holding onto the belief. This applies on both sides of the theism / atheism duality. Now, if you say "I'm open, I don't see evidence of God, but I don't feel the need to force out any conclusions", then you're holding your knowledge properly: with a certain distance, honoring the doubt that is inherent in all conceptual knowledge. But people doing that normally don't go around announcing "I am an atheist", because to do so is to identify with the viewpoint "atheism". The real freedom / liberation comes from learning to have the right relationship to ideas: one which recognizes them as useful, but also sees their limitations... and is particularly cautious about making any personal claims to absolute knowledge regarding matters not in personal experience. This could also be called "intellectual honesty".
  • Yea it is. You get your panties in a wad a lot less.
  • Compared to what? Theism? Which form of Theism?
  • As the other answers have said, it is not liberating, in the sense that your personal responsibilities are increased. You don't "give it up to god" anymore, you are responsible for your own actions, decisions, and life. You also, unfortunately, tend to lose a lot of support system when you are not in a religious movement, and if you left one then the personal and practical support you used to get from a church or community is gone. This kind of societal isolation can be another kind of constraint. You are, however, liberated from unreasonable external constraints on your own mind and heart. Morally you are responsible for your own behavior and to know what's right and wrong. But you're freed up from ancient rituals that don't make practical sense in your life, like circumcising your baby if you don't want to. You can see sexuality as the beautiful thing that it is, rather than some ugly duty to produce babies. You are liberated from the idea that joy is inherently sinful - dance, sing, eat, love, without guilt, without it being dirty or wrong. You will know that it is okay not to think in exactly the same way as everyone else, that it doesn't mean that you are somehow broken. And you can no longer be frightened into action by a threat of eternal pain and suffering, because you now know that it is an empty threat. So, yes, in some ways it is liberating, and in other ways not.
  • I find it is. I am allowed to make my own mind up about things especially morals which under the confines of a religion I cannot do, as they are prescribed for me. Just one example :)
  • Well for me it was i used to have a lot of pointless fears now i know theres no need to be afraid.
  • In some forms, yes it is indeed. I mean, we can actually /think/ about how all the marvels in our world came to be insted of saying some magic man did it all, but we must also take on alot more responsibilty. In most forms of theism, you have a 'get out of hell/trouble free card". Basicaly, you can do whatever you want, ask to be forgiven, and magicaly you are. That's not the case in reality and in atheism. One must take on alot more responsibilty.
  • Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It is comforting to not have the idea of some giant father figure watching over you all the time, because you can enjoy things like sex, etc, without feeling guilty about it. However, when it comes to larger issues, Atheists must work harder to find justification for their morals and values.
  • "Liberating" is probably a bit extreme, but I think not belonging to a particular religion can free you up to examine the causes of things from a blank starting point, rather than accepting things as they are written in whatever holy book. I think there's more scope for wonder, creativity and learning in atheism (or at least an agnosticism leaning toward atheism) - I think believing you have the scope to discover more and more about how the world came about, rather than accepting everything is already written in some holy book, makes life infinitly more fascinating. I've certainly always felt that the world is more beautiful, mysterious and interesting from an atheistic standpoint. But that's just me you know. If other people want to believe in God that's their own business.
  • No. -In the service of the Master. Thank you and God bless you!
  • Yes....It unties the binds of religion, Gods and submission to superstition. I never felt so free.
  • It wasn't for me, I was an atheist for many years and found that trying to declare the truth a lie was exhausting, as well as trying to defend a theory in evolution to the point of declaring it fact was the real lie. Accepting the truth that there is a God was much more liberating for me.
  • Free from giving mental lip service to believers. Free to do the right thing because it's the right thing, not because some structure told me to. Free from fear of religious retribution, hell, etc.
  • If you were in a belief system that was controlling, rules-based, fear-based, judgmental, patriarchal that kept you from being all you really are, it could be. But if you have a spiritual path or belief system that's love-based, based on your spiritual experiences and knowledge rather than forcing to to swallow dogma you're not comfortable with, that's accepting and non-judgmental, then non-atheism can be more liberating. It can help you be free from fear and worries about everyday issues, and the practice of prayer and/or meditation can provide stress relief. Relief from worries isn't a frivolous attitude of "Ah, God's looking after me, I'm all set", but the realization of the truth of your nature and God's / the universe's nature that helps you melt your concerns away. One recurring theme I've seen in AB comments that lean against "religion" is that they seem to buy into the "fundamentalist" or Old Testament version of God, judgmental and rule-based, and rail against that, as if it were the only alternative to atheism.
  • I do, once i banished my faith, and looked at the world thru openminded eyes, and not thru the close minded, hate filled statements of the church. Now I feel like a burden, and a weight has been lifted. I feel like I can truely live :)
  • very much so ! :))
  • Atheism was liberating for me in many ways. For one, I felt like my morals and ethics were more real as I stopped being moral or ethical simply because that's what God wanted. I am a moral being because I believe in simple humanism. Also, you stop seeing things like you were watching a movie or a video game where good and evil are always clearly defined. I learned to open my mind and understand that there is no absolute law of moral or ethics but that the environment and situation can dictate changes in morality. To be honest, though. For me, becoming an atheist wasn't about liberating my mind and spirit or any of that. To me, it was the obvious, logical, and ultimately inevitable conclusion I arrived when I followed reason. There was no point when I said "Now I'm an atheist!" it was more of a gradual and somewhat scary road that I traversed against the social, psychological, and moral dogma that had been thoroughly ingrained in my psyche since I was a child. I eventually reached a point where I had to fess up to myself that despite my earnest wishes, I simply couldn't go on with this tiring facade of faith when non existed for me. Don't be afraid to ask questions and argue.
  • VERY liberating, also less annoying, I mean you get up, go to church, sit there for 2 hr bored listening to people who cant carry a tune to save their lives, go up, and only get ONE sip of wine.......want me to go back to church? replace the wine with jack daniels, and make it a pint, not a sip, and get better music in there, good gawd, church sounds like a funeral because usually someone dies of boredom.
  • It was for me.
  • I think so, yes. When you realize you don't need the crutch of an imaginary friend and a bunch of really silly associated beliefs it's very liberating.
  • Yes. It frees you from the chains of religion. I don't see being responsible for myself as a burden, I mean that's what being human is all about, its about being your own person, and owning your mistakes. There is no one but myself to blame for the circumstances that I create.
  • I've been an atheist all my natural life, therefore, I wouldn't know what it's like to be liberated from religion. I do, however, know what it's like to be stifled by having it all around you, tripling your rights and encroaching your way of life
  • Atheism is a hypnotic trance.
  • Not necessarily. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who could avoid it.
  • Yes it is. It frees you from the sheer blind ignorance associated with religion, it allows you to think more outside the box that religion keeps you in inside your mind.
  • It is for me. When you realize there are no gods and no afterlife, it's a major step in growing up. Suddenly you see the world in a new, realistic perspective. No more make-believe gods and spirits to watch over you & kiss your owie when you fall down. You take responsibility for your own life. You work to make the world a better place, instead of selfishly trying to win brownie points and suck up to an imaginary god in the childlike hope that he'll have mercy on you and take you to "heaven." This is it. This is your only opportunity to live. Figure out what's important and DO IT.
  • It certainly is for some. Our family was actively Roman Catholic until 1958, when we gave remodeling our house higher priority than going to church. The last time we went to church together was 50 years ago. I still believed in the existence of a deity after we stopped attending church, but since my parents provided us with a comparatively secular environment (about the only Catholic thing we did was eat fish on Friday which I think is a good dietary practice anyway), there was almost nothing religious from which to be liberated. In summation, not having to attend church was substantially more liberating for me than my transition to agnosticism.
  • <oops>
  • >>Is atheism liberating? Yes, very liberating. You don't see us stuck in a mental rut, posting obscure quotations from ancient scraps of papyrus.
  • i was "jewish" for most of my life because my parents brought me to temple all the time and when i got mature enough to think for myself i realized how stupid religion was, i felt like a new person, but its strange to be around everyone who believes in "god". It boggles my mind that people can beleive in stupid things like higher beings such as god. I want proof that there is someone watching over me then ill beleive.
  • Any strongly held belief is "liberating" to that individual
  • In my opinion, yes and no. It is liberating in a way because it frees one from the mythology, superstition and outdated rules of religion. However, now the atheist themself is responsible for not only their own actions, but for the mental heavy lifting of figuring out what right action is.

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