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.

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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.
I was brought up in a catholic family of Irish descent so there were not only a lot in my immediate family (5 siblings), but there are numerous aunts, uncles and cousins too. The majority of my extended family and 3 of my immediate family are still practicing catholics. When my mum was alive, she was the most ardent. That said she and my dad brought us up to question the world around us. I was about 10 when I started doubting the existence of god and no more than 13 when I railed against my entire family and refuted the existence of god.

I am scientifically minded and could find no evidence to support the possibility of a deity and moreover a lot of evidence to see the negative effects of belief. I could cite innumerable reasons why I am a confirmed atheist, but the main one is there is no evidence for a god. I find the believers support for god fatuous and ill-conceived and it does make my day when they try to convince me they're right. Although a world without faith would be 'heavenly', I quite like having people to argue with.
what spurred you to question your former beliefs and become an atheist.

In my case it was simple - I could no longer reconcile the findings of science (especially evolutionary biology and cosmology) with the teachings of Christianity. As I have stated on another forum - religion and Christianity in particular are a detriment to reason and wonder. Rationality is beautiful.
Hello. My first post here.

I was raised as a Catholic - not any sort of fundy, hard-core type, just your typical church on Sunday thing. Pretty much as far back as I can remember, none of the religion I learned in church ever made any sense to me. I had always been fascinated with science and science fiction from an early age - from the time my Dad took me to see 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Cinerama Done in Hollywood. I was about 6. I loved it and was enthralled with it; the space ships, the black obelisks, the stars in space, the psychedelic light show at the end, all of it. Of course I didn't understand it then but, I sure was enchanted by it. That, I think, is probably where it started for me. As I grew older and started learning more and more science, the scientific explanations of the how, what, and why of the world were what made sense to me, not fairy tales. Science and technology has fascinated me ever since.

Now in my mid-forties, I have seen nothing whatsoever that in any way shape or form leads me to think that religion is nothing more than mass delusion and everything to think that there is only a material universe. Just look at the advances and successes of science vs. what religion has contributed towards knowledge of the universe. It's a pretty stark contrast.

I definitely fall into the Richard Dawkins/Chris Hutchison/PZ Myers school of atheism. I have seen very little that religion contributes that is positive in this world and a lot of negative; superstition, intolerance, hate, ignorance - all that leads to people doing a lot of very bad things to other people. I have little deference or regard towards people's silly, stupid, childish beliefs in magic sky daddies, monsters, and other magical nonsense. It makes for great movies (and job opportunities for me in making that stuff up for the movies), but not much good for understanding the real world.

That's it in a nutshell for me.
Well, my family is Muslim (extremely non- practicing, to the point where they might as well be agnostic), so as a young child, that was pretty much what I was. Around two years ago, when I was 13, and I actually started developing opinions of my own, I decided that I was agnostic, and at 14 I finally realized that I was actually atheist.

I've always been a scientific person and between that and all of the contradictory evidence in holy books against God that I had read in articles on the internet, it didn't take me long for me to find myself subscribing to atheism.
My mother was raised sort of christian, even though her mother seems more secretly hindu to me than christian. My father wasn't raised as anything, I think the whole part of that family are carebears when it comes to religious belief.

I'm baptized, as most people where I live - but it's very rarely because of religious beliefs, it's about the "tradition" to most. People find the christian traditions more appealing, even though they don't believe in them. My parents never cared about my religious beliefs, and at the age of 16 I resigned myself from the state church (which I automaticly become a member of when I become baptized).

I've considered becoming a member of The Humanist Association, but I don't feel I need a "hook" where I can hang my life.
I've grown up without knowing anything about god an believe, until I went to primary school. In Germany the church and the state have a pact to teach religions at schools and I had to visit this subject. I've never loved it and asked questions, nobody wanted to answer. I had to visit it until the last 3 years at school. In history I learnd that religion is only maked to control people, to break men, to have an unquestionable reason to kill someone other ('my god told me to kill them and them ...'). I didn't have to become an atheist, I just stayed what I was. But now asking more questions

I hope you understand what I wanted to say.
I never had any religious beliefs to spur. I was raised in a semi-religious family, but I had problems with the veracity of the things I heard from very early on, and can never remember a time that I believed in any kind of supernatural higher power. When I was around 30 I quit being afraid to say I had never believed and admitted publicly that I was an atheist. (Not too long before I admitted I was a lesbian)
I suppose I'm in the minority that was simply never religious. My religious education ceased at my baptism, though I'm not sure why my parents even bothered with that much. My parents never even tried to pull Santa Claus or the tooth fairy on me. The bible was introduced to me (my mother had inherited an old mason's bible, complete with apocrypha) as a piece of ancient literature, not as a source of fact.

It was quite a shock when I finally collided with children who really believed in those things. It simply hadn't occurred to me that there were people who didn't recognize them as fairy tales.

It also didn't occur to me that there might be reasons to keep my lack of belief quiet until well after everyone knew.
Like many others, there was something of a process that led me away from the Catholicism of my upbringing. One of the key moments I recall in cementing things was getting booted out of comparative religion class (which was interesting, but I digress) for "making the other children question their faith". It occurred to me, sitting alone in "independent study", that any "faith" that cannot stand up to questioning is probably not worth spending much time on.

As part of that same incident I recall driving a classmate to tears by simply asking "why" to every statement she made. I.e. - "we're not supposed to eat meat on Fridays" "Why?" "because the bible says so." "really? where?" "uh... I dunno".

Given all that time to sit & think about stuff, it very quickly became apparent that belief in fairy tales was not necessary to make it through my day. I'm comfortable saying "I don't know" to such weighty questions as "why are we here?" and "where did whatever the hell blew up to make the big bang come from?"

Most importantly, though, years down the road, I realize that the time and money wasted on foolish children's stories was much better spent on the things that matter - friends, family, leather couches, etc.
Some of my Christmas cards have the Flying Spaghetti Monster nativity scene. They're going to be darling. :P
i got sick of the jesus wafers at church!

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