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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Your first sentence says it all. And, you sound like a great Mom. I wish you and success and happiness.

I had always had my doubts. I think that for most of my teenage, and adult life I been the agnostic(even during conformation) with the mentality "Christianity was incorrect, but good" I think that when I ended up getting a pit bull that needed a home. Realizing how wrong the rumors were, and then hearing people believe outrages rumors about the breed of dog, as a snake owner I was used to misconceptions.
Walking around Philly with her you find out why there are mean dog. People were not shy about how they made their dog mean. Of course the dog is blamed not the person.
Then when your see county's go around and take people dogs and kill them(PG county MD took every Pit Bull and put them to sleep) you see how misconceptions can be dangerous.
I think it made me aware. One thing led to another and as I researched more and more, now I am a atheist.
I was never "devout" as many say they were. I merely was a kid who went to church with her aunt every Sunday like a good girl. I remember telling my great aunt that when I got my license I would drive us both to church. She was very old and sick. She eventually died, a few months before I got my drivers license. I was very angry at "God" and did not understand why he would do something so cruel. It was not too long after that I met a friend in high school, his name was Josh. He was an atheist. We talked about religion and he told me all of his beliefs. I began to see what I had been thinking was the truth was merely a way to get me to be a "moral person who, if followed the bible, would be rewarded in the after life" Obviously at this point I knew Santa was not real, but the similarities with this fairy tale was too closely related to God.

It was then I knew that the bible was shite. It was all shite.
Even as a very young kid, I was a biologist (by the time I was 8, I had decided to get my Ph.D. in entomology). The whole "Noah's Arc" thing was far beyond my willing suspension of disbelief, and the older I got the less plausible any of the pat stories seemed.

My parents were quite active in various Protestant churches, so I kept quiet while I lived with them, but I can really say I lost faith at the age of reason.
When I was 7 or 8 it occurred to me that Santa Clause could not possibly visit all the houses in the world in one night. I said to my grandmother, “Santa Clause is not real is he?” She replied that he is not. I asked, “The Easter Bunny is not real either is he?” She said no he is not. I asked, “God is not real either is he?” She said he was real, but the claims for God were even sillier than those for Santa and the Easter Bunny so I never believed in God again. I was openly atheistic in school with friends and teachers as well as my family from at least grade 6 onward.
Maynard James Keenan.

The song "Judith" by A Perfect Circle came out at a particularly rough time in my life. I considered myself a Christian at the time, but really knew nothing about "my faith" having never read the bible. While the song is about Keenan's mother, a fundamentalist who was paralyzed by a stroke, the lyrics resonated with me:

F*ck your God
Your Lord and your Christ
He did this
Took all you had and
Left you this way
Still you pray, you never stray
Never taste of the fruit
You never thought to question why

It's not like you killed someone
It's not like you drove a hateful spear into his side
Praise the one who left you
Broken down and paralyzed
He did it all for you

It was like he was singing to me. I can't say I became an Atheist that day, but after a few sitting with that song, I began to "pursue other avenues".
The beginnings of my doubt and shift to atheism were, humorously, brought upon by my youth pastor at my old church. One of the lessons she was doing related to the whole 'faith versus works' bit, and her point of view was essentially that of faith alone. She provided an example of two men, with one being a doctor who focused his entire life on doing good for others, researching the cure for cancer, etc. while being a nonbeliever, and the other was a convict who had raped, murdered, and pretty much done the worst things imaginable. The good guy went to hell because he didn't believe in God and the convict was sent to heaven because he found God minutes before the electric chair and asked for forgiveness of his sins.

I'm pretty sure it was a convincing story for 'her', but to me, that was when all the red sirens went off. After that, I was a christian simply because of Pascal's Wager, essentially. Then when I realized the problems with that, I was agnostic, and reading the God Delusion after watching Dawkins on Stephen Colbert make a helluva point shifted me right into atheism. Subsequent philosophy classes have now made me atheist and pretty loud about it to any of my extended family or friends who have issues with it, but most of my immediate family and the friends that matter have accepted or understood why my position is how it is XD.

Even though it's been quite a few years, the evil bastard in me wants to go back to my old church and actually point out to that youth pastor that she began my descent(or ascent) into atheism, but that's pretty low, and I'd like to think that I'm a better person than that.
i was never brought up with religion but in primary school when i was about 10 one of my best mates invited me to go to church with him, so wanting to spend time with my mate i went. every sunday and tuesday for 10 years.

right from the begining i didnt "feel" anything everyone around is going crazy saying can you feel god and i never did, it got to a stage where felt stupid praying and listening to sermains about how everything in life related back to god and i never understood how it did. i never heard anything i never felt anything and i eventually realised it was a waste of time and i rather be sleeping or going on a breakfast run on a sunday than sit in church listening to hogwash.

what also tipped the scales for me was my uncle, he is a paster and he lives in the lap of luxury and i never understood that. you get the poorest of the poor coming to church on sunday and giving what little they have and here is the paster who drives the top of the range merc, porche 4x4, bmw M3 convertable, lots of bike living in a 2 million pound house. it just makes no sense. My dad who is an atheist and always was, explained it to me buy saying it was just a money making scheme and after thinking about it the same way a motivational speaker makes money so does a paster. i think that was what broke the proverbial camels back
There wasn't one strong item other than the Christian bible and doctrine. The stories seemed ridiculous even at a young age and as I grew older, I discounted them completely.

Doubted all the b/s stories in sunday school. got swept in around 12. around 14 thought it was boring. 15 thought it was bogus. 16 started looking at other religions. 17,18,19 tried other religions, bogus too. 20-22 struggled with idea of no god. 22/23-25 decided no god and struggled with openness. 26,27(now) open about atheism to all but Mom & Dad.
My disbelief started very much like yours. It took me a good 6-7 years to finally become an atheist. It started in 5th grade when I wad at a private Christian school where I was bullied constantly cause I didn't wear the bar brand clothing like them cause they were all rich douchebags. If course I never defended myself because fighting was a sin. Then in 6th grade I went to a private school were I made many friends with the "wrong crowd" and was rarely bullied. Throughout 7-8th grade I still repented for my sins and attended church but started to "fall away" when I realized that my non-religious, pot-smoking friends treated me a thousand times better than the self-righteous hypocrites in my youth group. My fear of Hell kept me religious until my junior and senior year in high school when I read the whole bible and started studying religions including Mormonism, Catholicism, Satanism (specifically Lavey's), Buddism, Muslim, etc. After about a year of being a non-practicing Laveyan I decided that Atheism made the most sense. I have been an Atheist since.
To be completely honest, I never actually believed in god to begin with. I guess that as I child I mistook people's fanaticism and irrational fear as overacting, and their "faith" as enthusiastic imagination. Religion seemed like it was somewhere between a party game and a "no girls allowed" club: "God is something you pretend to believe in because it can be fun to do so... like Santa." Or, "God is something that people use to exclude each other from games and activities because they don't like admitting that they don't have any real friends." Hmm, then again, maybe I did have it right on that second one.

Anyway, I thought that everyone understood that god doesn't really exist, and that it just was sometimes fun or comforting to pretend that he/she/it/they do/es from time to time. Starting from when I was three or so, I would make up little shrines and rituals because I needed something that I was comfortable pretending and nothing out there really fit the bill. Even for pretend, I didn't want anything to do with a god that would randomly declare things like "Ripping apart pregnant women? FUCK YEAH!!" (Hosea 13:16)

Everybody else always prayed to angry gods that I could never pretend to like, so I looked for little gods instead. I prayed to forest spirits and looked for life in the stones hidden in the hills around my house, and I made up gods of things like milk cartons and egg crates, velcro and blu-tack, puppets and computer games: things that I could have fun praying to and that nobody else ever bothered to talk to. "Oh please, Great God of Egg Crates, let the grocery store's shipments not be smashed today. My mother needs to be able to buy some eggs to bake a cake for her party tomorrow." "Please, God of Chocolate Milk, let the chocolate mix not all sink to the bottom today. I don't like it when it gets all clumped up." That kind of thing. It was all pretend. Gods were like imaginary friends: I understood that none of it was real and I had no problem with that, religion was just another thing to have fun with.

It wasn't until a few years had passed (I was probably six or seven at the time) that I realized that people out there genuinely DO believe that there's an invisible voyeuristic, racist, misogynistic, generally horrible old man sitting somewhere up in the clouds who hates you and thinks you're a horrible person, demands that you pray to him constantly and kill people who call him a different name than you do, and that you send people who claim to represent him 10% of your income forever. The idea was just so absurd that I couldn't wrap my head around it. Why? Why would you want that in your life? Why would you try so hard every day to hate people because someone else said that some magical creature told them that's what you're supposed to do? If you wanted someone imaginary to talk to, why not make it fun and personal? I just didn't understand it, but the realization of people's dependance on their imaginary friend baffled and scared the crap out of me. Mine were imaginary friends and I understood that they were such. Though I spoke to them, they never spoke back. To have an imaginary fried that tells you what to do, and is such a jerk about it... that was just creepy to me. To this day, that still bewilders me.

To be honest, I still far prefer the Egg Crate and Chocolate Milk Gods and such to others I've come across. If I regress and decide I want imaginary friends again someday, I'm going to talk to them. Now those are some guys who can get shit done. ;P
I pray to the cable gods for my internet to not go out! LOL




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