18 Atheists Explain Why They Don’t Believe In A Higher Power

There are all kinds of believers when it comes to religion. Those who are stalwart in their beliefs and cannot be shaken, those who believe but are willing to question certain aspects of what they were taught, those who believe in something but they’re not sure what, and then the atheists, who don’t believe there’s anything other than the here and now.

If you’re not an atheist, that thinking can seem pretty foreign. So, in the interest of understanding, here are 18 non-believers willing to tell you why they think the way they do.

18. A good, honest talk.

I went all out debating with my mom one day, explaining how it made no sense (I was young, probably 6 or 7) and she finally buckled and told me that it gives her comfort to believe someone is looking out for us and that there is a positive afterlife waiting for us.

It was a pretty heavy but honest talk for a young kid and I never forgot it.

Edit: I think some people “believe” but don’t really believe. It just makes them feel better about living on this f**ked up planet lol.

17. Simple and honest.

No reason. And I mean that precisely.

I don’t have any reason to believe so I don’t.

There’s lots of stories about dragons and elves and Lithuania, but I don’t believe in them either.

16. Religion doesn’t walk the walk.

I’m more agnostic than atheist, but most organized religions don’t do themselves a lot of favors because they rarely walk the talk.

They preach love but show hate. They preach accepting but refuse to show tolerance. If there is a god/God, they are not paying much attention.

15. The non-answers.

I was raised in a religious family, but I gradually fell away from it. Literally every religious explanation for the world at large boils down to some version of “because it’s God’s plan”.

The window dressing is different for different religions, but that statement is at the end of all beliefs. If you try to push past that, you get told some version of “God’s plan is unknowable”.

Those are non-answers. At best, it’s like a parent trying to shush their small child. At worst, it’s like an abusive parent threatening to beat their child for daring to challenge their authority.

14. Believers have shown them their true colors.

Me and my family often feel like outcasts because we are surrounded by Christians yet are not Christians ourselves. Even our own family treats us poorly because we don’t believe like them. It’s incredibly difficult to have people you love so dearly treat you like you are the plague. It’s made life very hard for us.

Sorry for venting, but I never get to share because there is never anyone that I can share with. It just blows my mind that you can treat someone like that.

13. The question is backward.

This exactly. The question already starts in the wrong spot, assuming that you need a reason to NOT believe in something.

It’s backwards.

The burden of proof is on those who claim something, not the other way round.

A lot of unexplainable stuff used to be attributed to god, but as science has progressed, we have gotten explanations and proof. Just because we can’t explain everything isn’t proof of God.

12. An abusive relationship.

Yeah I left Christianity for a lot of reasons but the main one is that I grew up with lots of physical and mental disabilities and its amazing I’m not dead from it all. (My chances of living were slim for most of my life) all good now. Family and church said it was a miracle by God, so I asked why God gave me this problems in the first place, or why he couldn’t take them away like he did with the blind man. Why would he heal that man’s disabilities and not mine? Every time I heard that story at church I would blow up.

Was told, well, about everything I dealt with that it was a test of faith. The test of faith thing makes me more mad than anything else that religion did. Even when I was kicked out for being gay. I’m on the edge of thinking the “tests of faith” are worse.

A relationship with God is an abusive relationship.

11. God’s plan kind of sucks.

“Gods plan” is often just cruel punishment for whatever the hell, who knows. It’s God’s plan for children to be bullied? God’s plan is giving children cancer?

Why? Apparently God’s plan is also to make zero f**kin sense. There’s no reward for the supposed plan like they imply, or straight up claim.

Why are only the terrible things that happen to us part of God’s plan? I grew up in a catholic household, and began piecing it all together even as a young child.

This absolutely is all just bulls*%t.

10. We can’t all be right.

It’s mainly the fact that everyone believes that their version of god is correct. If there’s a higher power, then the odds of it being tri-Omni in any sense isn’t realistic.

9. It’s not because they’re self-centered.

“You atheists are so self centered thinking that humans are the highest form of intelligence and your science knows it all”.

Dude I think I’m a random collection of particles barely held together and controlled by bursts of electricity and that we are all entirely meaningless in the grand scheme of the universe.

You think that the greatest power in existence knows how many hairs are on your head, listens to your requests about winning a sporting event, and is REALLY interested in what you do with your genitals.

But no, I’m self-centered. Please, continue.

8. They can’t make themselves believe.

I was really into mythology as a kid, and also loved anything about mummies, Egypt, but also Neolithic sites like Stonehenge. I think this was one of the reasons I questioned religion from such a young age. My dad and his family are quite religious and couldn’t answer my questions, and it really bothered me when they got defensive (as if questioning faith is so outrageous…religious thinkers and leaders across the ages did it).

Later, I ended up minoring in Religious Studies, and that’s when I accepted that I wasn’t simply agnostic, but really an atheist. Religion and philosophy are fascinating, they provide an amazing insight into people, cultures, and humanity at large, and I am always intrigued by syncretism and obviously the historical context. But I don’t believe in Christ the Messiah anymore than I believe in Zeus or Rama. Sometimes I wish I did. Rituals and traditions can be very comforting, and it’s nice to truly be a part of a spiritual community.

You can obviously still enjoy aspects of that and I’ve got my advent candles and crèche. But I can’t make myself believe, nor do I want to. It does make for some awkward conversations with religious family members, but it’s not like I’m personally uncomfortable sharing my perspective if asked.

7. Food for thought.

Not sure if it was his original thought, but I think Ricky Gervais said something like this:

If you stripped away all the religious ideas and texts humanity had ever conceived and reset us back 100,000 years, we’d rebuild them all and come up with various kinds of religions and ideas completely different than the ones that exist now.

If you did the same thing with science and reset us back 100,000 years, we’d eventually build it all back the exact same way.

6. It’s not the easy road.

I totally agree with this. One of the things that Christians like to say about the non-believers is that they just want the easy road. Well honestly its not the easy road to be this way.

I look at them and the comfort they get in praising God, I wish it was that easy.

5. Too many questions.

So many things religious people believe in are empirically identical to those beliefs being false.

If God says no to prayers, how is that visibly different to not answering prayers?

If God works in mysterious ways, how is that visibly different from him not existing?

If everything is predestined but we cannot know what the future holds, how is that different than no divine plan?

Why would you believe something that has no bearing on anything?

4. Just history.

I was told that I was a bad parent when someone overheard me answering my daughters question of why different people have different religions with “it is about 90% geography, and 10% what your grandparents believe”

3. Born from a sick mind.

Another favorite from Christopher Hitchens, something along the lines of;

“Nothing proves the manmade character of religion like the sick mind that created hell, unless it is the sorely limited mind that failed to create heaven.”

2. They’re all equal.

I haven’t heard any version of “proof” for one type of god that isn’t equally valid or invalid to apply to any others.

1. If they’re lying about one thing…

My mother dragged me to church when I was younger. The pastor at the church told me that dinosaurs didn’t exist. At ~5 years old, I knew it was all a sham.

My reasoning: I had seen a full T-rex skeleton at the museum (ROM), so I figured they were lying about everything.

It’s so interesting to hear other people’s perspectives, don’t you think?

If you’re an atheist and feel like talking about your reasons in the comments, we’d love to hear from you, too!