I see my last sentence is not exactly right. I don't fear death, but I do believe in it. lol.
I think I officially thought of myself as an atheist in my freshman year of high school, so I was probably 15-ish then I actually told my parents I was atheist during my sophomore year at 16. I got an interesting reaction. I'm 19 now so this was all 3 years ago more or less.
My more religious parent (my mom) was actually more... accepting. She wasn't necessarily understanding, but she just went with it. My dad however actually told me "You don't get to decide what you believe until you're 18" which was weird because he's never been particularly religious. That and he's never been particularly irrational either. In fact we have conversations about reason, atheism, religion, etc all the time so I still have no idea why he forced me to continue to go to church until I was 18.
Brendon, religion makes people do stupid things. "You don't get to decide what you believe in" at any age is absurd. Can someone else make you experience thoughts that you don't experience? Hopefully he's more accepting now.
I was about 16. The book by Bertrand Russell "Why I am not a Christian" pushed me over into declaring it. The odd thing was my parents did not tell me they were atheists. They belonged to a church and I went to Sunday school. My dad would chastise me when I came home and questioned religious dogma. I think their attitude was it was not safe to publicly push back against religion. This convinced me that I was rebelling and they were Christians.
The other funny thing was after I left home my dad began a big push for atheism by writing to the local papers. I didn't realize how much until I got home from the reason rally and opened a big box of his stuff I have had for 18 years after he passed away. He had quite a few very long letters published. He also clipped out the letters from people who wrote complaining about him and some of them are hilarious.
14, it happened during my Confirmation ceremony. ah, God must work in mysterious ways :)
For real? NICE!
OK, since about age 14 I stopped trying to believe. I went through the catholic indoctrination, and was waiting for the "key". That means, OK, you've given me all the information, now how about something that will make me believe it.
Of course, that never happened. I admitted to a few people about high school age that I didn't believe, but really kept mainly to myself. I even married a strange style catholic from the Philippines. She dragged me off to church once in a while, but then eventually gave up. I have let go two relationships because of the religion thing as well.
You can't convince a religious person any more than they could convince you.
I am alone now, but happy. My best friend is Buddist though. Sort of an even mix. We love each other dearly, and understand our minor differences.
OK enough rant, but you started it.
Don't know. It never seemed important, but I think I'll bring it up. We do discuss such things.
Like many other religions, there are differences in belief in Buddists. I'll be interested in what Anna has to say.
By the way, she is Vietnamese just for information.
Hey Andrea. Grew up mormon, but by 19 I'd had it. Still believed in god, but I became what I now know to be a diest. God started everything, but then stepped back and did not interfere directly. No miracles, didn't answer prayers, etc. Never went to any meetings, or identified with any religion after that, but studied baha'i, hinduism, buddhism, zorozstrianism, gnoticism, etc. Pretty much all over the map. I wasn't really looking for something to follow, but I was studying humanity. And religion seemed to inform me of the social, civic, and political mindset of people. Called myself agnostic by the time mid-thirties rolled around. By 2000, realized I was really more in tune with atheism. There really is no all powerful diety. And if their is, so what? Even if he/she/it/they showed up, didn't care. Still don't care. Logical reason supported by emperical evidence. Only way to fly. So there you go. Hope this is what you were looking for. Peace.