Hi all. I've been part of ex-christian.net for awhile, and atheist myself for a little under a year (coming up in May!) I'm the granddaughter of a faith-healing cult leader, and was raised pretty whacky. Home birth, home school, home church, etc. No radio, limited TV, no pop culture. Saw a lot of things no adult should see, much less a child. I'm seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma and cult recovery and she's awesome, so I'm getting better. Until this past year I didn't know I'd been raised in a cult, because we were always told we were christians, read from the same bible, etc. and as we got older attended other non-denominational churches. It's only been very recently that I started to actively question my faith and the reasons behind it. The things that helped me wake up:

1. My son. No way was my little infant child guilty of original sin. Period. I can't express how huge this moment was for me, having always believed *I* was inherently evil. I just couldn't feel the same way about my son.

2. Islam. I was a International Relations major in college (dual with American History) and my focus was Israel/Palestine and larger Middle East. So I made a lot of Muslim female friends and studied the I/P conflict in great detail from both sides. Clearly the I/P clusterf*ck is due to religion (darn Jerusalem), and there's no way I was going to believe the claims of Islam. So then I started to question why I believed the Bible.

3. History. In a 1800-1850s US History class we read about utopian societies and cults. Everyone else in class thought it was weird, but to me it seemed familiar. That's when I started researching my grandmother's name and ministry and realized I'd been brought up in a cult myself.

Those three things all sort of stewed in my head for about 2.5 years of non-church attendance and a bad marriage/divorce. In the end I found a lot of good atheist videos on YouTube (KEEP MAKING THESE) and started reading Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. and just came to the conclusion that god is imaginary. Oh, and the site whywontgodhealamputees.com was really instrumental for me, since I grew up totally believing in faith healing, and this pointed out a lot of stats and studies showing how spectacularly god fails in laboratory settings.

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Well done - I bet that took a lot. And it's bloody awesome that you've shared (In point form!) some of the strategies for converting people, and aside from 'Get them pregnant' it seems the rest of the answers lie in education.




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