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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Yes! I feel you. I remember being quite perplexed as a child kneeling down reading this out of my dads insanely huge family bible.
Studying history, just a passing glance and the atrocities done in the name of religion are endless, also learning about other religions and the evolution of religious doctrine.

Know them all...Believe in none.
I never really believed that everything in the bible was true, and we never really went to church. I was raised non-denominational christian, but my mom was against every sect of christianity saying that they were the one true way and everyone else was going to burn in hell. Added to that I'm pretty sure my dad is a closeted nontheist.
Ha, my parents thought every denomination was wrong, but that WE were the special chosen ones. So close to normal, and yet sooooo far.
I'm not really sure to be completely honest. I remember praying a lot when I was a kid for various things that never happened. That was probably it. Quite sure I was skeptical even before then, but not in any noticeable way. It took me years to reach true atheism. I was agnostic and searching for god for most of my life. If nothing else I believed in belief and was so scared of death (eventual non-existence) I attempted to find proof of some sort of an afterlife. Philosophy (Camus and Nietzsche had the most influence) coupled with my already existing love for science really put the final nails in my belief in belief. Religion is at its core pessimistic.
My story is a bit different from all of yours. I was actually on a path of integrating Judaism, and Buddhism. I sought out books to make sure that Buddhism didn't create some kind of a conflict and during this journey questions arose with my own personal psyche. I started to question the Old Testament when I was learning Hebrew. Oh, and when I started reciting a prayer in Hebrew that thanks God for slaying the babies of our enemies that hit the nail on the proverbial head. I knew that a truly loving God would not kill or destroy. He would not ask us to slaughter out own unborn children.

After this I began a search and was led to a movie by Brian Flemming. While geared toward Christians it forced me to question the Original Testament even more. Ten books later and a few podcasts, including one by Stephen Uhl, who was a former Catholic Priest eventually led me to Sherwin T. Wine, who created Humanistic Judaism last century. Humanistic Judaism was created for those Jews who had no belief in God but want to retain a link to the cultural and historical part of Judaism which is important to all Jews.

Anyway, I hope my reply wasn't too long or boring for all of you. If one other Jewish person can be helped by my story so be it.

Oh, and the link to The God Who Wasn't There can be found here.



I grew up with a rather relaxed Judaism, with parents who asserted that our own reason and judgment can and should be able to overrule received traditions and rules. They would have agreed with Reconstructionist Judaism cofounder Mordecai Kaplan's idea that "the past should have a vote but not a veto."

For me there was no one single "aha!" moment. A few things that come to mind:

- After synagogue as a kid, thinking that we give God plenty of slack, accepting things that we'd never accept from a president or even a king. (And that the U.S. is proud of having thrown off a king and [theoretically] governing ourselves.)

- Discovering the book Causing Death and Saving Lives by Jonathan Glover, where after discussing moral reasoning in general (and how, if our axioms lead us to unacceptable conclusions, we might need to revise our axioms), he lays out a well-reasoned, compelling, secular, godless framework for valuing life and for considering killing to usually be wrong; all this before examining specific issues like abortion, war, capital punishment, suicide, euthanasia, and lifesaving priorities. (In that middle section he also mentions, as part of considering and rejecting "God's plan" ideas, that knocking aside a rock that was about to hit and kill you could be seen as thwarting God's plan. [Editorializing: yet religious people never criticize anyone for that. Similarly, were medical advances like the germ theory, and antibiotics, and anesthesia, fulfilling or opposing God's plan?])

- Discovering the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. That may have helped me firmly realize that the traditional western idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god is untenable. (Rabbi Kushner came to believe in a limited God who can't prevent or fix the world's outrages and tragedies, and is just as saddened and angered as we are about them.)

- ...and coming to realize that (as Humanistic Judaism affirms) I'm fine without an invisible friend.

Ok, this may sound funny, but when I was a kid I figured no one believed in god anymore because we had been to outer space and there is no heaven there. *lol* Boy was I wrong! I went through a period of "belief" (I believed but felt uncomfortable regarding religion). It wasn't until a few years ago in undergrad that I realized I was agnostic, and then I finally admitted to myself that I am an atheist. Ah, it feels good to say that.
As a child I went to church with my grandparents .I must admit I did have my moments of doubt but felt like I wanted to be a good Christian.It wasn't until I reached my mid-20's that I was searching through the tv channels and seen a show on public access by American Atheist and a woman name Madalyn Murray O'Hair.I turned the volume low so my family wouldn't hear what I was listening to.I couldn't believe what I was hearing.I didn't like these people.They were going to hell.I would watch the show many more times just to poke fun at them.I started to study the bible more and I was seeing what American Atheist were
pointing out and I could see the contradictions.I started to think it was never a god that made these religions but men.I started to see religion as a means of control over the masses.
By my early 30's I started to consider myself an atheist.I very happy today not to be a follower of the cult which is religion.
I began reading the bible more thoroughly and found out that there were errors, verses of hate and violence and started to doubt.
Even though I grew up in a Catholic family with pretty devout Catholic parents I always, in the back of my mind, questioned the practices and how illogical they seemed to be (like its a big sin to eat meat on Fridays during lent as one example), but continued to go with the flow regardless. I attend catholic high school, as well as a catholic based university. Ironically, it was here that I truly took my first step to Atheism. The Catholic university required you take a set number of religious credits and so I took a course called "The Letters of Paul" during my sophomore year. This course examined his writings in the New Testament and revealed to me how Paul was the one to basically found and push Christianity to the masses (not some divine being called Jesus). As I never before really examined how Christianity got its start, this realization really hit me that it was invented and spread by men like any other religious belief, ie Greek mythology and Scientology that the general populous overall consider ridiculous today.

Needless to say this new realization combined with my prior doubts pushed me over the edge to break free from the need to practice a religion. I then went agnostic (a 3 to 4 on Dawkins' belief scale) for the next 8 years. Then back in February of this year, when I was casually asked what my religious beliefs were, I decided to look into what it really meant to be "Agnostic". I realized after this search, that I actually was an atheist (and not alone!), but was just afraid to admit it (due to the negative stigma that term is given in the catholic community I think). Ever since then I have accepted this as my stance on the subject, which has really changed my outlook in other aspects of life for the better!
Hear, hear. Atheism kicks ass :) I'm always intrigued by long agnosticism. I jumped from creationist to atheist in about 48 hours. "Do not pass Go..."




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