Can a person who prays be an atheist if they just HOPE a god is listening but very much doubt there really is?

i.e. Really doubts it a LOT. Between the ages of 8 and 18 I used to pray. Not because I out and out believed in God exactly but because I had been conditioned to BELIEVE therefore I conformed to my cultural background. All the while I kind of wondered whether my prayers were heard and deep down I felt somewhat foolish doing it. I just thought 'well there MIGHT be a God' and kept it up.

Eventually I realised I was only doing it because I was HOPING there was a listener but couldn't really sense any presence or see any tangible results from praying so I just stopped. I would still have called myself an agnostic but actually found that if ever I asked nyself 'but is there REALLY any reason to think there actually IS a God? The answer was 'no' so I gradually realised I was actually an atheist.

Was I an atheist all along but THOUGHT I was at least agnostic. Surely atheism / agnosticism / theism are actually descriptions which only meaningfully apply to someone who is developed enough to decided this question for themselves. I'd say somewhere around the age of 12 or 13 perhaps depending on their reflectiveness.

What really constitutes an atheist really? Can a person who prays be one if they just HOPE a god is listening? Think of it this way: If you were in a hotel at night and all the power failed and you were in total darkness with no light source and you went into the room next door saying 'Is there anyone here?' you may not KNOW or BELIEVE anyone IS there despite the possibility that someone might be. This is the analogy I would use i.e. I have ALWAYS been subconsciously atheistic even if consciously I may have had some HOPE that some sort of god existed. Who or what it was is any ones guess -there are SO MANY concepts and NO proof that ANY one of them exists at all - just faith faith faith which isn't saying much if you really think about it hard enough.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
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    I know what you are saying. I could say I was an atheist from the time I was 6 when I first questioned God at a Catholic church. However, I did go through a great deal of "theistic cognitions" and "lapsed atheism". That didn't happen so much in my 20's, although I "tried" different religions. (i.e., learned about them and practiced as a novice might) Around 30 apatheism became the way to go. Around 35, that began to change. Drastic drama caused another "theistic bout", and that caused my leftyism* to take over. In due time, that became gnostic atheism. Of course, I'm also a Panaentheist now, on account of my high religiosity. (All thanks to original theistic indoctrination...which is why I can prove it's a bad thing.)

    *leftyism, the state of being lefty

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Lef...

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Why pray if you think a God MIGHT exist?? Hope God hears you yet your not sure if God exist? Faith is Believing in things not seen. I have a question for you ( im not trying to incriminate you) what happens after we die? I'm Christian i used to be open-minded i understand where your coming from I was once there... I thought if all this bad stuff was happening there couldn't be a God but then I thought what about the good... I'm still breathing right. There is beginning and an end. But dose the end mean everything dies or disappears or maybe goes on happy? My hope was happy... There has to be something's beyond you, me and this universe full of chaos. Something peaceful...I found my truth in Christianity...I hope you find yours someday. Btw don't listen to people who say your going to hell because you don't fully believe in God... Your judged for what you know...I had a feeling you've been told that before lol

    Source(s): Not trying to sound preachy....just what happened to me
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  • 8 years ago

    I think from what you describe you were an agnostic but hoped. I think many Christians are like that. An Agnostic is someone who says, "No one has adequately proved to me that there is a God so I don't know if there is one or not. An Atheist Believes that there is no God and will argue that there is no God even though no one can prove that there is no God.

    There is nothing wrong with hoping that there is a God and praying to God just in case. How does anyone come to really believe that God is real. Either they have an experience of becoming aware of God or they ask God for a lot of things and they get so many of the things they ask for that it can't be coincidence.

    Please pray to God because if you continue to do that you will come to know the truth. God, our Father, is the best and closest friend that I have. I have experienced the reality of God and He has given me so many things over the years (I'm 68) that it is impossible that my relationship with Him is just my imagination.

    Source(s): Personal experience.
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  • 8 years ago

    I've known some atheists to pray, particularly those that were conditioned to do it during childhood, despite their realisation that there's probably nobody but themselves listening. So yes.

    If you never believed that a god existed, then yes, you were an atheist all along. Note that atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive categories.

    Source(s): Agnostic atheist
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  • 8 years ago

    The theory of Atheism is well-defined in Genesis 51:35-40. The course of action against atheists is laid out in Genesis 51:41-42. Really, if you actually read this portion of the bible you would understand everything in the universe, as those verses pretty much sum up everything that you could ever want to know.

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  • 8 years ago

    I'd say that's more along the lines of Agnostic. You believe something is there, you know something is listening, you just can't put a name or religion to them/it.

    Atheism is the lack of any belief.

    For a short time, I believed myself Atheist.

    But I would subconsciously pray to the heavens.

    I think I answered your question...

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    An atheist is somebody who doesn't believe in any deities

    If you even consciously consider that there may be a God, I doubt you could be counted as an atheist, although it doesn't really matter, they're just words, you don't need to fit yourself into a box.

    Source(s): Atheist
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  • 8 years ago

    Faith is the question. How do you define faith. Guess what you can't, you can only find true faith within you. Ill pray you find God, cause I know he found you. Don't be so quick to doubt what you can't comprehend. Doubt is a dream killer my friend

    anyone who puts thumbs down on what i said clearly doesn't understand Faith in any word, shape, or form so ill excuse there ignorance.

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  • 8 years ago

    An atheist praying to a non existent invisible sky wizard. I don't think so.

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  • 8 years ago

    In my opinion an atheist is certainly without belief. No hope.

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