Were you always an atheist? Were you at one point in time a Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc.? What made you stop believing?

I'm sure we could all give voluminous answers to why we don't believe in a personal god including, but not limited to: Personal, philosophical, scientific, historical, etc. reasons; which are all perfectly valid. But I want to know what spurred you to question your former beliefs and become an atheist.

Views: 659

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I never 'became' an atheist, and consider the a- in atheism to be in the same vein as in amoral, lacking moral sensibility; not caring about right and wrong, i.e. I lack the need to believe in anything non-tangible.
If you are not allowed to question something means that someone got no answers, or got something to hide, or both!
I came to a slow realization that I couldn't justify my beliefs. I began to question, and the answers I found weren't very convincing (or could be used to justify any belief). That's the short answer, anyway.
I didn't think about it much. Even felt sort of guilty or somewhat "lazy" for not thinking about it enough, as in "everybody seems to be religious in one sense or another, what's wrong with me?" Then I read a good chunk of the Bible while sitting with my dying father in a hospital room. That got me a' thinkin' and next thing you know, atheist.
My family were 'social' Christians. It was the done thing in Britain just after the 2nd world war. I had a christian lite experience, did all the usual things; Sunday school, choir etc, culminating in confirmation at age 14. When my folks moved to another house, they stopped going to church and so for the next 44 years the only time I ever visited a church was for hatching, matching and dispatching.

Anyway at age 19 I can recall standing in the middle of an airfield. I asked of God the perfectly reasonable question. 'If you're there, show me' He didn't, so I quit and became an atheist.
My mother was Jewish, and my father was Catholic. Neither of them are particularly religious, and were very supportive of free thought.

I had no religious background.

When I was a kid, I rarely thought about religious things. I was an apatheist, I guess? I had other things to think about.

I remember one time, I was reading a parody of the Christian idea of hell, and what would happen if I was not saved. I was young, didn't realize it was a parody, and was quite frightened for a while until my aunt made a remark about, "Those crazies, they're absolutely bonkers!"

Middle school was when I got more interested in religion, and whether or not there was a god. It's also when, I'm rather sad to say, I started to view religion in a more critical light. I questioned why I should accept anything that doesn't have any real backing in evidence.

So over time, I just ended up being an atheist/agnostic.
I was raised as a steady state protestant. My family believed and I went along for the ride. I guess I was a christian but there were always questions and problems with the contradictions in the faith.

In my early 20 I had somewhat of a crisis and was at a crossroads in my life, I never forget a chaplain walking away because if he supported me it would cause problems for him. ( long story )

After that the questions got more and more and the answers less and less.

I still have belief in some form of metaphysical existence because of some weird experiences I have had but I doubt there a god being that is so petty as to demand our strict obedience or it will doom us to a pit of eternal torment.

I guess this is one of the major problems I always had with the christian faith, "God loves you, and is willing to torture you for eternity if you fuck up"
So... Am I the only one who was raised by non-religious parents?
whew, a little tired here, so i'll post the condensed version: It started with anthropology 101. I am a dropout, but anyway, the professor said something like "If you believe in adam and eve, there's the door (pointing to the door)". I was a believer long after, until about age 27, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I caught myself praying, and asked myself "what are you doing?" I tried my no praying experiment, and my life started to clear up. I remember being really interested in human evolution after seeing an early man documentary. About one week after feeling silly for praying, i threw god out on his rear end.
Apatheist family, although my mother is what I could call the conveniently religious opportunist on occasion. This meant she would drag the family off to church when she wanted to impress someone. This happened maybe once every few months, and it was always a disaster. Usually thanks to something I would do. I was always scared and either too hot or too cold (days before climate control).

Anyway, religion wasn't a part of most of my childhood. For 5th grade, however, I was sent to a Lutheran school, and I got my first real exposure to Christianity, mostly through the religious classes we had to endure every. Bloody. Day.

I was doing my homework for that one evening, we were studying the Ten Commandments, and I came across this explanation for what the commandment about no other god before me was supposed to be about: "God is a jealous God."

I froze. This wasn't right. All my life, authority figures, especially my mother and grandparents, had taught me that jealousy was bad, bad, bad! Jealousy was actively discouraged. Yet my religion teachers were saying that 1) I needed to be like Jesus, who was God on earth for a while, yet 2) that perfect God was jealous. To be like God, wouldn't I need to be jealous--going against the wishes of people another commandment said I was supposed to honor? Or...was it possible my mom was right...and God was wrong...?

It didn't take long to find other examples of things that didn't make sense.

So the choice of atheism was simply a matter of plain old logic in my case.
For me, it started when I was in elementary school. My family regularly took us to Sunday school and 'big church' afterwards. Naturally inquisitive, I often asked the Sunday school teacher questions about the lesson and our Christian practices. When she wanted me to shut up she would simply reply, "because God said so." That, of course, did not satisfy me, but I went along with it because that's how my parents raised me.

Well, one day, in the middle of our closing prayer, I realized something and interrupted the prayer with a single question. The question was, "If God lives up in Heaven, and the Devil down in Hell, why do bow our heads and talk to the Devil when we pray?" She couldn't answer my question. So, she hushed me up and we went on with the prayer.

The general atmosphere of the church and its community never seemed right to me. However, I was never taught that not believing in a god was possible. It was Christianity or nothing.

Then, one night when I was in Middle School, George Carlin's special was on T.V. My dad, a closet atheist, convinced me to sit down and watch one part of it.

The Ten Commandments, George Carlin.

This one speech, if you will, by Carlin seemed to confirm everything for me. It was relieving to know that somewhere, out there, there were people who suspected the same thing that I did and that I was not alone.

Shortly after that, I 'came out' and denied by parent's and the community's God, Trinity, all that jazz. It wasn't terribly dramatic, but my mother believed that it was just a phase I was going through, or that I could be healed by, you guessed it, going to church more often. It, of course, didn't work, so after a while my mom gave up. She wouldn't try again until High School.

Of course, I wasn't accepted by my peers anymore. I was very loud about my atheism in middle school, a silly move when you live in a small community guided by church. I was called names such as "devil worshiper," "witch," and was constantly asked by others to go to church with them. It hurt, but it didn't bother me. I wasn't going to be taunted back to the pupil.

Anyway, by high school I was already a proclaimed atheist. My mother had had enough and decided that I needed to go to church again. I fought it, stating various reasons, the biggest being that I simply did not believe in God. After some shouting, my parents came to the agreement that I would attend church for x amount of weeks. It was hellish, but I made sure to question everything that poor teacher said. After the time was up I still remained unfaithful and told my mom that the deal was over and she was not allowed to ask me again.

So, I guess it all boils down to personal reasons. I came out after learning that atheism was a real option and went from there. I still face alot of hatred, ignorance and bigotry, but I'm prepared to stand up for my lack of belief.

(Sorry for the long reply.)
I used to be the good little Baptist; church every Sunday, Wednesday, and all summer long, "Vacation" bible 'School." When I got to the age where I needed things to make sense, god didn't. I think that the bible actually converted me; remember the story of Job? I remember thinking, "This is a terrible thing to do for no reason at all." It proved to me the contradiction of a omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient diety-Why would god need to prove that someone loved him? I took this to a few other well known stories from the book; i.e., The Seven Plagues, the Flood, the exile from Eden. Even if it were proven to me, i think I'd have a hard time worshipping that seemed to embody all of the worst parts of humanity. So, I asked for clarification, and was told not to question god's will. This seemed like such a ridiculously easy out, and I realized that if it were applied to anything other than a god, it would be scoffed at. So, I stopped trying to rationalize what isn't rational. And then I got angry- how could such a crooked establishment not only get away with the unadultered hate that they teach as dogma, but also call it love?
I was raised Roman catholic, I don't think I ever truly bought into it, though I can say that I certainly tried to convince myself.

The thing that made me decide that christianity was not for me was one night I was at a church youth group meeting and in our discussion, the woman who led the meetings said how the bible said that all animals were put on earth for our (humans') use. I don't think I had a really good understanding of evolution at the time, but I knew enough to know that there's nothing really special about humans, we're animals just the same as monkeys, dogs, etc. It didn't make sense that a perfect god would play favourites among the species.

At that point, I still hadn't given up on the idea religion or god(s), so I spent quite a bit of time looking into other religions to see what made sense. Looking back, the religions that seemed to make the most sense were the ones that had the least to say about the supernatural: things like buddhism.

After all this inspection into other religions, I pretty much just came up with my own religious beliefs that had basically a deist/agnostic view on the issue of god. That was the basis for my thoughts on religion through most of high school and about half of college.

In college, I became good friends with a guy who was in a lot of the same classes and clubs on campus. It may sound strange, but he was really the first atheist that I ever met; at least he was the first atheist who identified himself as such to me (I grew up in the rural midwest United States). Until then, I never really considered atheism as a valid postion. After talking with him about religion for not very long, everything just made sense and I realized I'd been an atheist for a while, I just didn't know it or didn't want to admit it.




Update Your Membership :



Nexus on Social Media:

© 2020   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service