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Here’s another one for all y’all.

In one of the early chapters, I use one of my favorite Russell quotes as a hook for a section on questioning: “What is needed is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”

Questions about religion posed from the inside are a lot like questions about Santa posed from the inside of that belief. The will to believe trumps the will to find out, so the questions are timid and ancillary (“How do the reindeer fly?”, “Why do the innocent suffer?”) and even the most pitiful answers are readily accepted (“Magic corn!”, “No one is truly innocent”).

If/When the balance tips toward the will to find out, the central question is finally asked: Is Santa/God real?

Once you decide God does not exist, the tendency is to go back and ask all those old questions in a new light (like the brilliant ending of Letting Go of God). Then once that process is done, the newly-minted atheist begins to ask some entirely new questions — things that didn’t even occur to him or her to ask while a believer.

My question for you: What are some NEW questions you asked once you began to identify as an atheist?

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.