For believers, it can be hard to imagine a life without faith. For people who have never believed in a god or have come to that conclusion at some point in their life, belief seems just as strange.

One of the first steps toward treating people different than yourself with love and understanding is to listen to what they have to say without judgement – so here are 16 reasons individuals choose not to believe in a higher power.

16. When you’re little, you do what you’re told.

When I was little, I attended a Catholic school, but I never really believed it all. I thought it was like the Three Wise Kings (The Christmast gift-bringers in my country) or stuff like that. I thought that people liked to pretend they were real for tradition or whatever but it’s not like they actually believed in them. My cousins went to a public shcool and they didn’t have religion classes, and I found weird that they didn’t want to be a “part of the game”, so to speak. When I started to grow older and realized that some people unironically believed in God, it was quite weird for me.

15. This is troubling for so many.

Mine was similar, geography issue. Christian dogma is that non-Christians go to hell. Ergo, people born in China are 5-10 times more likely to suffer for eternity than people born in Mississippi. Does god not care that hell is racially biased?

14. It requires some tough answers.

The problem with Evil and Suffering. Or as the Greek philosopher Epicurus puts it: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then from whence comes evil?”

13. That’s a long list to get through.

2000+ religions

4000+ Gods

Which do you choose? Which one is right? Why is that one right but the others wrong? Why would i worship something that causes so much pain, suffering, harm etc?

12. Just don’t hurt anyone else.

The biggest eye opener for me was the book of Job. I was at a church camp when I was around 14 and our leader asked if any of us had actually read the bible. Most of us said no and he asked us to pick a book in the bible and read it while we were at camp. I chose Job. No real reason why I just did.

God tortured that man on a dare from the devil. He ruined his life and killed his family on a dare. That was reason enough for me to decide I didn’t want to have anything to do with this religion any more.

Then I started to see how “Christians” treated anyone different than them and I just knew it was all bullshit.

But listen to me. If you find peace in believing in God, and going to church, do it. Do whatever makes you happy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

11. It just never made sense.

At some point when I reached a certain age, I realized that I didn’t really believe in the whole thing, I just kinda went along with it because everyone else did. But it never really made sense to me as I developed more critical thinking skills. So I just… Stopped.

10. Occam’s razor.

It’s really just Occam’s Razor for me. Like, the assumptions you’re required to make for Christianity or whatever religion to be true seem so much more over-the-top than everything just being a natural progression of evolution over billions of years.

Sometimes people will point to extremely complex systems (like humanity for one) and say how could something this complex have arisen naturally? It must have been designed with intelligent purpose. Those people I think just don’t understand math. Yes, the odds that humanity arose when and how it did were incredibly long, but that’s not the right question. With a virtually infinite universe, whatever small 1/1000…000 chance becomes likely to happen somewhere. Humanity didn’t have to rise like we did; we could have been some drastically different species on some other planet in some other galaxy, and arising that specific way would have been equally unlikely. But somewhere, an intelligent species was going to come about, and they would likely be asking the same questions about why they’re so special and have creation myths about being intelligently designed by their alien god or whatever.

9. It is kind of like that.

My mom, a Southern Baptist, talks about the age of accountability. The basic idea being that a person can’t be held responsible for not accepting Christ if they weren’t given a chance to know Christ. This is a way to make sure Hell isn’t full of infants and toddlers, but it also means if the word doesn’t reach you, you never had the opportunity to accept Christ even if you die at 120 (I think theologians are split on this last part, probably varies sect to sect or maybe by congregation too).

When asked why you’d put all these people at risk of hell by sending missionaries to essentially drag people into the age of accountability I get told it’s not like that and to shut up, so 🤷‍♂️

8. Different strokes for different folks.

I think a lot of people are comforted by the idea of heaven… I personally am terrified to the core of my being that there is a chance of an eternal consciousness of any kind, heaven or hell. I used to get panic attacks just thinking about it. I am comforted by the idea that my consciousness will end when I die.

7. It’s different if you’re a woman.

I had a similar reaction to learning the story of Sodom. About how the crowd wanted to gang rape angels that were staying at Lot’s home. But the angels were guests, so he said no, and offered his virgin daughters instead. Sitting in church as a young girl listening to this story, I realized who I’d have been, and my worth (lack thereof) as a person. Lot was supposed to be the example of the only good person in the city while all others there were sinners. He was seen as virtuous for offering his property to them. As if women are so meaningless it’s like giving someone a bite of your salad… not a single thought to the trauma and suffering they’d endure. Not only that but when Lot was told to leave the city with his family and not look back, his wife looked back, and was murdered by God or the angels or whatever for defying him. Meaningless as a person.

By that point I didn’t believe in God already but that was the turn of the tide for me about how I saw religion (or at least christianity) in general.

6. Everyone has to decide what they think is true.

I think alot of people want to belive their dead loved ones are in a better place, that they will be rewarded for being good and that their harshships in life was all a trial set by a higher being.

Just seems like escapism to me.

I don’t think there is anything waiting for me at the end of my life. I dont think my dead relatives are in a better place. I don’t think the hard times in my life will be rewarded in the afterlife.

I think its up to each of us to try and find meaning in life. Some just like the idea that someone else chosing a destiny for them.

5. Fads come and go.

The same reason you don’t believe in Zeus or all the other gods.

4. Philosophy asks the hard questions.

To take this one step further, consider the question of how the universe started without God.

If God started this universe, then what started God? If God has simply always existed, or came to exist without needing an origin, then why couldn’t that apply to our universe too?

3. There’s a certain freedom that comes with not caring.

I wouldnt call myself an atheist, but I’m certainly not a theist. I dont know if there is a god or higher power of some sort but I also dont care.

I live my life in a bastardized version of Pascal’s wager.

If there is no god, fine I lived my life how I wanted.

If there is a god and some sort of judgement that is not based on me being a good person but instead on whether or not I believed in them, then they’re an asshole anyways.

2. Very good reasons for some.

2 reasons

No solid evidence
It was used as an abuse tool against me as a child

1. Definitely something to think about, there.

I find the idea baffling to be honest.

It makes much more sense to me that there is no god, than there is one.

I’ve been on both sides of this fence and appreciate their honesty and courage in sharing.

Where do you fall? Could you share your reasons for your faith (or lack thereof) in the comments? We’d love to hear them!