Hi, I am a recently joined member on this forum and like the majority here, I am an Atheist. I would first like to recount my journey and then explain how I straightened out my philosophy. One can see the irony, but exactly 2 years ago I was a new ager, reading the secret, listening to lectures on Lynn Mctaggart's experiments and had given up my specs to heal my myopia through my will. When it didn't work out, I started reading the critics. I was introdued to Shermer through Ted on ytube and PnT's Bullshit soon followed. Randi, derren and other were next. I converted to being a scientific sceptic. That by itself may have done much, but I also happened to be a avid reader of science and I absolutely loved modern physics and biology. So the next step was Attenbrough's epic Life series [all 9 of em]. Combined with a lecture series on existentialism, I was converted to a naturalistic, eclectic, absurdist, scietific sceptic. I was now a agnostic, leading towards spinoza's God as a crutch to hold up my theism. It was only recently that I had the courage to read Dawkin's 'the God Delusion' and it completeled the journey for me. I am currently reading Harris, Sagan, Shermer, Randi and other prominet atheists. Now the second part, my philosophy. When I was using spinoza as a crutch, I firmly establised the idea that the religious gods were a interpretation, and a poor one at that, of spinoza's god. Learning about logic, fallicies and biases and a lecture series on rhetoric moulded my philosophy to one compatible with naturistic, rational atheism. My current view is as such: I refer to god in three senses: Ideological: This is the god of religion IN the minds of its followers. He is the ideological set of beilefs that drive and motivate deeply religious people. He exists in the sense that he can make a terrorist lay down his life without hesistation or convince a catholic that his protestant friend will burn in hell. Such gods exist only as long as the people who believe in them do. In this sense, Thor and Zeus are extinct Gods while Jesus and Allah are extant ones. The evangelical movement in America can be understood as a 'jesus conservation initiative', fighting the rational and scientific in a country where both are increasing at an alarming rate. Experiential: This is the god we experience, though is largely misplaced by people into the third category. This god of experience is the name we give to the wonder one experiences marvelling at the beauty of an orchid, in reflecting how evolution shaped it as such, how simple insects and plants sustain a complex relationship like pollination. This is the god we feel looking at sunset, looking at the gradient in the sky, realising how the increased length of the light's path redshifts the scattered light in the atmosphere. This is the joy we feel looking at a hummingbird in slow motion, seeing its wings swivel in a figure 8. This is accentuated, not diminished, when we do xrays on the birds, test it in wind tunnels and determine the structural stresses the little wings bear. This god, of course exists in the sense discribed above, but no more than that. Indeed, my own conversion to atheism seems almost paved by a higher power. I know, of course, that this is explained by confirmation and personal bais, though that doesnt take away its wonder for me. I feel happier that I understand why it looks apparently paved for me. Literal: This is a misplacement of a experiential god within a ideology resulting in belief that the ideological god is a real something, with misplaced examples of experiential god as proofs. This is the god of fundamentalist religions and he almost certainly doesn't exist. A final word on morality: If we need a higher law to keep us in line, we need to rethink a few things. If we can do without a higher law, God isn't needed. Indeed, God was necessary when the religions were first created millennia ago. Now science has filled the space, explaining things and helping us understand the world; and logic and philosophy are well equiped to handle the moral and ethical espects once the domian of religion. In today's world, and more so in tomorrow's, religion is no longer needed and is just a harmful burden, to be rid of and rid of quickly unless people can have a non-fundamental, secular, rational point of view accepting their "holy books" as myths and continuing a culture or tradition but no more. PS. About the poll: From 0 to 9, 0 being undoubting belief that god exists and 9 being undoubting belief that god does not exist, What would u rate urself?