This was actually something I noted on my home page. From as far back as I can remember, I always had had that doubt, that questioning about religious teachings. I remember being in Sunday school class, bored out of my mind listening to these stories and wondering why my family went to church every week. I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, and thinking "how do they really know this stuff happened, because it was such a long time ago". Thinking about it, my doubt probably started just because I was so bored and irritated, that I just didn't want to listen to their crap.
I would say there were two significant events that pushed me to full blown atheism. The first, and this is going to come as a shocker, was that my family left the Baptist church they were going to after one of the congregation members (I think he was 24 or 25) started having a relationship with my 14 year old sister (she is almost 7 years older than me). Whether he was a pedophile and actually had sex with her I still don't know till this day. No one was aware of what was going on until he talked her into running off with him to another state. My memory is that it took a couple of days for the police to catch up with him, but they eventually did in Virginia. After that, my family pretty much disconnected from the church for about 10 years. Looking back at it now, having the break with the church at that time allowed my already strong doubts to grow even stronger without challenge.
The second "event" was that I really grew to like reading. Not being your normal kid, I liked to read all kinds of stuff. I read the newspaper almost every day, and not just the comics. I kept up on all of the political stuff, read the letters to the editor, and the op-ed page. I liked to read mysteries, horror stories and science-fiction books. Probably my two biggest influences were reading books on mythology, and my all time favorite as a kid, Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I think reading books with the mythology allowed me to see the fallacy of gods, and reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries exposed me to a scientific process / logical way of thinking and analyzing things.
Actually I should say that there are three things that led me away from religion, with the third being sports. I started playing baseball in Little League and then played into high school. My step-dad was also big sports fan and got me into football and hockey too. With all that time devoted to playing, watching, or reading about sports, it kept me away from the religious stuff.
My mother did eventually start going to church again, but she switched to a Methodist church in a different town as we had moved a few years after the perv tried to run off with my sister. We had a couple of minor fights over me going to church, but I held my ground. Already being 16 or 17, my dad (step-dad) backed me up saying that I was old enough to decide if I wanted to go or not, and that was the end of that.
J'ai eu une éducation catholique en Australie et était un agnostique de l'âge de treize ans à compter quand j'ai refusé de participer à la messe. J'ai récemment rendu compte que je suis athée.
We are all born Atheists! it is then that the indoctrination starts... fortunately for me I was never indoctrinated. So I have always been an atheist. I remember having the God squad visit my school about age 6 preaching the fun of god (to appeal to little kids of course! and they say its not brainwashing...) I remember thinking it was a load of crap. and at about age 9 telling the head mistress (very christian) in front of the entire school (about 200 kids) that I wouldn't sing at the carol service because it was being held in a church!! Suffice to say my parents got a call to warn them I was a heathen and they just told her to get lost. lol. She never much liked me after that, but then, I never much liked her either ;-)
I was very fortunate to have avoided all the B/S.
When I discovered that Santa was just a story I took a leap of childhood logic and assumed that god and jeebus were also just stories. In the many years since then nothing has convinced me that childhood logic was wrong.
I have always been open about my Atheism and have never really got any shit over it. My wife, two daughters, brother, niece, nephew and 4 grand kids are also Atheist, as are most of my cousins (and my dog, I think).
I haven't always identified as an atheist, but since the first day in sunday school I never bought the crap they spoon feed you. So i was a skeptic since the beginning who claimed to be christian simply because i was to naive to understand i didn't have to be.
I was thinking of posting a similar discussion when this one popped up in the feed. As I started to read the comments, I then noticed the dates - this was started some time ago!
But yes, I have often felt that I was a little different because I was raised atheist, my mother being agnostic and my father being anti-religious. As noted a lot of atheists are ex-xtians. I often wonder if I am a fundamental atheist because of my upbringing as I am constant and staunch about my atheism. I have no room for movement for the religious, I absolutely disbelieve and even if a god or a religion was proven to be true, I would still not follow the teachings, in the same context that I know communism exists but I am not a communist.
I was thrown out of religious class at school every week, but this was the influence of my father. "Ask them where god stood when 'he' made the earth"! He taunted me and I went along. I was eventually banned from religious class and was the only one in the whole school that spent that time in the library - where I read astronomy books, ironically. But unlike you, I didn't have such a 'rough' childhood, we were rather average.
By simply joining this site, I have never been around so many atheists before, I was always the 'odd one out'.
Thanks for bringing this up. I can't remember a time, ever, when I fully believed although I was raised in a baptist household & attended church. There were many "what the heck" moments for me as a child. But the first moment I knew without a doubt this was a phony,self serving construct was age 11. In the small community where I lived, gossip and uninformed judgement ruined a couple's lives. It is too long a story to go into here but that was the moment when the last of the cloudy thoughts cleared.What I was being taught in sunday school was turned on it's head in real life by the same people that were teaching me. Of course over the years I have come to understand more and put it all in context. At the time though, I blamed the church because that was were I saw most of the gossip and condemnation take place. All of that love your fellow man, don't judge others and do unto others stuff disappeared in the gleeful destruction of this family's social existence in that community.
Don't know if this helped you any. I do think there are those of us who have never bought into the God idea and just went with the flow we were in until we were old enough to define our thoughts and beliefs for ourselves.It may have appeared to others that we were "Christian" even if that was not what was in our minds and hearts.
I remember thinking how ridiculous it seemed that people were claiming that a being had created everything and refused to sing the various "oh lord, you are so big" songs from a young age. I can't remember ever believing those lies.
I can remember sitting through Catholic CCD (Their religious training) and thinking.... Really, you guys believe this stuff? You know you are talking about magical people living in space right??
I've always been an Atheist. I wasn't raised in a religious home. We never went to church or any other religious activities and my parents always taught me to question things. I guess I was lucky in that way. They also didn't do the whole "Santa Clause" thing with me and my sister, and it didn't ruin Christmas at all. ;) I know that my father is not an Atheist though, I guess I would describe him as a Deist. Not sure about my mother or my grandparents.
I guess I've never really believed in god, but I've tried.
I grew up in the Netherlands, my mom was raised catholic but never believed in god, my dad who came from christian and muslim parents (grandpa had to convert to islam in order to marry grandma but converted back to christianity after they fled to Holland right after the war--they lived in Indonesia, has 'tried on' several religions (though my mom says, the only reason that my dad decided that we were -at one point- jehova's witnesses was to save money on birthday presents). My dad is no longer affiliated with any religion.
I was always free in what I wanted to believe. When I was 14 I was struggling with certain issues and life questions and thought to seek answers through religion. I had talks with the pastor of a local church, I got baptized, went to church summer camp, sang in the choir, distributed flyers, the whole shabam. I even suggested to my family to start praying for dinner (we never did that before) and they were so kind that they went along with it.
I think I spent maybe two years with that church but just I didn't find any answers that helped me in any way, didn't find the bible at all helpful and I couldn't connect with the church members who didn't seem overly interested in understanding their religion. We never talked about the bible or even god. In fact, I found most of them rather un spiritual and close minded. Though they had lots of opinions when I changed my look and went 'hardrock', (I just let my hair down and wore a leather jacket and dr martins, oh noo!) what a joke. I eventually said goodbye to the church and religion.
In hind side, the church summer camps were fun though, lots of partying, only one church service on Sunday for half an hour or so and hardly any talk about god. I appreciate that now, but when I was 14, I did want to talk about god.