As weird as it is, I think it was the attitude of my former "fellow" Christians that started me on the road to doubt. Even though I've got a bachelors in Physics and have generally held a belief in evolution and big bang cosmology for most of the believing stage of my life, it really wasn't science that brought up questions(cognitive dissonance at its best). I think I've always generally never had a connection with anyone in any church I had ever attended. Mainly since most Christians, especially in the south, are non-intellectuals. But I think it really started when I began listening to extreme metal. I couldn't understand how anyone could look down on something that I loved so much and felt so natural to listen to. I can't tell you how many people have told me that its "the devils music"(even though most of the lyrics are socio-political).

Of course later on I did my research and discovered how ridiculous my former beliefs were. So who or what started you on your path to disbelief?

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What an interesting thread.  I have never been religious.  When I learned what an agnostic was, I seized upon that term because it seemed so even-handed and reasonable.  So I claimed to be an agnostic for years.  Then for awhile I got involved as a UU because I'm politically progressive and they claim to welcome agnostics.

Then two summers ago I watched the entire run of the original Carl Sagan Cosmos on youtube.  I came out of the other side as a full-on atheist and haven't looked back since.  I'm no longer speaking to my dad because I was honest with him that I think his sister's religion--- the Jehovah's Witnesses--- are an especially nutty, not to mention misogynist and controlling, cult.  I wasn't willing to help facilitate the continued illusion that there's nothing cray-cray about my auntie's beliefs that the end times are always around the corner and that a nice, round six-digit number of people will make it to heaven.  Given a choice between logic and reason, or loyalty to illusive constructs of his sister, he chose the latter and told me to go to hell.  It makes me more angry in principle.  I don't actually miss him.  He's also an alcoholic, a lousy grandparent, and spends all his free time in karaoke bars pretending to be Elvis.  He hasn't sent my son a birthday present or Christmas present in two years.  All because I was honest about my feelings about that profoundly crazy religion of his sister.

Pretends to be Elvis?! Duh! THAT is his religion. Why do you think so many people kept seeing the King after his passing? Remember all those who claimed they saw Jesus after he got strung up on the cross timbers? It's a relatively common phenomenon. The resurrections are nothing but wish fulfillment after the loss of a cherished fellow human.

But, but...Elvis was a real flesh and blood person (we met him, up close & personal,  when we played Memphis in 1960...he'd just gotten out of the army.) Not that I was very impressed with him; he was a bit of a dork, but he and his close buddies sang nicely together.

I'm not so sure about Jeebus....the gospels were written several generations after his supposed crucifiction by people who NEVER even saw him.  Nor did any of the Jewish or Roman historians who wrote down everything that happened in Jerusalem and Galilee at that time.

Indeed.  I too am skeptical of the existence of even the so-called "historical Jesus."

It is funny that we have no real words of Jesus, historical or otherwise. He spoke mostly in platitudes. You cannot tell this to the believer however. He thinks his Bible has the words of Jesus in red.

As a child I was taught that there was a person named Santa Claus with superpowers living in the north pole. He would bring me presents or coal every year based on my behavior. He could see me all the time and kept a list of all the naughty and nice things I did. My parents, and most powerful authority figures, would remind me of this story in order to control my behavior especially when Xmas was approaching. When I found out that this story was untrue, I couldn't help but see the correlations between the story of Santa Clause and the stories I was being told in church. I also liked history and noticed how many religions there have been over the centuries and wondered how I could be sure mine was the correct one. I also realized how many people in power through the years would switch religious beliefs for political purposes and use religion as a tool of control. I eventually noticed how much easier it made the lives of those in authority if the populace believed an invisible being was keeping track of all their thoughts and actions.

@Sky God: You may be aware of the recent studies showing that children brought up in religious households have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction. This may explain why all fundamentalists watch Fox News.

It also depends on the degree (depth?) of religion.  We went to church on Sundays, but NEVER prayed or read the buybull at home.  I loved fantasy fiction from a very early age, and KNEW it was fiction.  I mean, talking elephants in suits?  C'monnnn! 

I see no problem  in playing along with children  when it comes to Santa Claus and other mythical figures up until the age of 6 when they begin their education....

Wrong. Until parents no longer feel a need to bribe their children.

Family democracy will help. Rational thinking will, by definition, follow.

It's too bad when they let Santa Claus to embrace Santa Jesus.

There's a difference between fantasy fiction and the ignorance of the buybull.

You need intelligence to create fantasy fiction, but you have to be an ignorant writer to spew the idiocies from the buybull.

The problem is not in the children but in the parents. I was about seven years old when my parents told me that I no longer needed to believe in Sinterklaas. Logical question:"And when are you going to tell me that I no longer need to believe in God?" You can guess the answer - hell broke loose.

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