What Factors Can Influence Atheist/Theist Position?

This topic arose from discussing imposition of atheism in USSR by Communists.

“USSR became the first state to have as one objective of its official ideology the elimination of existing religion, and the prevention of future implanting of religious belief, with the goal of establishing state atheism”


I’d like to discuss a wider topic of what other factors, beside finding argumentation of a religious doctrine attractive and reasonable or, on the contrary, repulsive and unreasonable, can contribute to keeping one’s atheist/theist position or changing it. I think they can be internal (feelings) and external (social pressure).

For example, it is not uncommon when someone converts into a religion, either from atheism or from another religion, because one wants to marry a partner belonging to that religion. In such situation, strong feelings towards the partner can block critical attitude to contents of the religious doctrine, and one can convince oneself that’s exactly the views one wants to share with the beloved person, from now on.

As for the external factor of social pressure, we must admit that being in the minority (and especially persecuted minority), doesn’t feel very comfortable, and many people tend to follow the crowd, changing their beliefs, both religious and non-religious, as dominating views change in the society.

And finally, there are many people who care much less about abstract ideas than about their personal wellbeing and their families, such people might not even pay attention that phraseology of the ruling class has changed, unless it touches them personally in some way.

Your thoughts?

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