Talking with a few friends we realized that when we all first 'converted' to atheism we went through a phase of uncertainty and shyness about our religious beliefs. Then we all became much more vocal and militant, normally in the 15-20 age range. Then we settled down and became more tolerant and relaxed in our atheisms as we aged (of course I'm the youngest of the group but I still followed this trend).

Has anyone else noticed a similar trend in themselves or among friends, even among the religious? Uncertainty at first in declaring yourself an atheist, becoming more militant and even obnoxious during your late teens and then pulling back and becoming more 'each to their own' as you hit your twenties?

Has anyone else pulled a 180, complete opposite of that? (of course this assumes that you decided that you were an atheist by about the time you hit puberty, sorry later converters :/ )

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Your coming to atheism closely mirrors my own, I only recently embraced the atheist in me at 38 as well.
Yes, I went through the same. By age 13, I started doubting but I was hesitant to admit that I was, in fact, questioning things. Then, I became more vocal during my last years in high school and early years in college. But, now, I'm just sort of playing it cool, settling on it. No more thirst for debates over the existence of a god. I even find it tiring to discuss my belief or, erm, disbelief sometimes, because I'm finding it rather redundant. XD
I can't really say that I converted to atheism, as I never believed in a god. However, I did sort of follow your trend when I realized that there was a name for my belief (or lack thereof). I was fairly vocal about it during high school, which was a big deal in such a small town. When I went to college, it didn't really matter to people and I got rather comfortable with the open mindedness. Now I'm back in a smaller town and I can't really be vocal about it. The sad thing is, I can't really talk to my family about it. It makes me really glad a friend told me about this site.
Indeed, this place is a great resource for the people that need it :)
I find I often bounce repeatedly between tolerance to disgust.

Every time a religious person I know attempts to ridicule or convert me or a fellow atheist, I become incredibly disgusted in them and come down on them HARD. Intentionally repetitively pounding their beliefs into the ground as much as I possibly can.

Then I return to being tolerant.

I call it an aggressive defensive quirk of mine. An attack on me or someone like me results in a counter-attack with incredible prejudice and an aim of overkill.

But I still follow a strict rule of not verbally firing until fired upon.




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