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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When I was in first grade my class at school did a big unit on dinosaurs. I remember asking my mother why dinosaurs weren't in the bible. I don't remember the answer she gave me, but it satisfied my six-year-old brain, for a while. However, for the rest of my school career, I had more and more trouble reconciling my knowledge with what the bible said. It didn't bother me too terribly much because my family was never fundamentalist or anything. But, eventually I started questioning why some things in the bible were apparently meant to be taken literally, while others were meant to be taken allegorically. Then, I started thinking about all the other religions in the world, past and present. The thought entered my head that religion was just something early humans invented to help them cope with and understand a world about which they knew very little. I know that many people before me had come to this conclusion, but it was a startling revelation when I finally made it for myself. However, I wasn't ready to completely let go for many years and just pushed the question of religion away and didn't do anything about it. And then I picked up God is Not Great at Barnes and Noble, and now here I am! Happily atheistic!
I think it was the realization that many people in America really, truly believe this shit (the Bible) to be inerrant and a literal reflection of reality, and then acted upon that belief. When I first heard of creationism I thought, "There is no way in hell people really believe this." It was like realizing that half of America believed in a flat earth.

The more I thought about all the bad things people have done in the name of religion and how religion has tried to skew science, the more I realized that I didn't want to be part of this bullshit anymore. I basicly became an atheist because I was sickened by the thought of being lumped in with these sick people. In the beginning it was a simple act of protest. As I learned more about atheism and the Bible (funny how becoming an atheist caused me to become more informed about religion), I found that the atheist perspective made much more sense than the theistic one. Now I have no doubts. There is no god, no heaven, no hell.

Feels good.
Yes, and I think even if every aspect of my Atheistic beliefs were some how negated, I will still be forever able to hold on to the utter hypocrisy of Christians as THE valid reason for non-belief...
You know what else really helped me along?

Things like this:
Exodus 20:12
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Luke 14:26

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

How is someone supposed to deal with that?
Hah, mine was "Should I take an eye for an eye, or turn the other cheek?"
I doubted religious teachings since I was a small child in christian Sunday school. I remember the teacher talking about our "soul" and how we go about getting into heaven. I asked her if dogs and cats had souls and went to heaven, she said "No". I also questioned her about natives in Africa and they were a no. I asked her how she knew that and don't remember her reply but it was not convincing. I questioned everything and was very skeptical.

However, it was when I went to the university at age 17 and took a course on philosophy which had a segment on world religions that I went "Aha". I have been an agnostic since then - similar to Carl Sagan. I have trouble with the words - I'm probably an atheist, but I don't know exactly how the world I know was created and until I do, I'm an agnostic.

Carolyn
(Psst - call yourself whatever you want, but FYI agnosticism/gnosticism deals with matters of knowledge and atheism/theism deals with areas of belief. So, I'm an agnostic atheist - I don't believe there is a god, and I don't know there is a god. At this point, I'm probably a positive atheist - I believe there is NO god, but not all atheists take things as far.)
While I'm sure many events led up to me be brave enough to ask this question, but what I finally said to myself was 'How can I know the Methodist church is right when there are so many others?'

That led to 'How can I know Christianity is right when there are so many others?'

Which led to applying Occam's Razor before I knew what it was. The simplest solution, was that they are all man made.

I dabbled around in deist type philosophies, but slowly the emotional attachment to having a 'special purpose' faded and I accepted the natural universe for what it is empirically observed to be.
1. you go to hell if you don't worship Jesus
2. god gave us no evidence to chose Jesus over other gods or no god
3. God is loving
(all 3 cant be ture)

and stuff like this
1 Timothy 2:12 (New International Version)

12:I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

also biology class/geology class/ psychology classes/ and reading peter singers books


Also for those of you who doubted as kids, im so impressed by that you people are my hero's.... took me until college to muster up the brain power to see what a sham it all was, its embarrassing
Don't think I ever really bought the Catholic doctrine despite 12 years of nuns and brothers. I gave basically the same confession until I stopped going at around 21...lied twice, swore once.

When I got divorced in the seventies it was still pretty taboo and the church's attitude was that I was either ex-communicated or later that I could never remarry and later that if I did remarry there could be no marital sex because it would be infidelity since I could never be really divorced in the eyes of the church. That's when I started to look at the church with a jaundiced eye and eventually decided that if you don't want me then I don't want you, so fuck off. After that it was easy to pick apart the hypocrasies that they had indoctrinated me with without the built in guilt about questioning any of the church's truths under penalty of eternal punishment. Smoking pot really helped because I was able to look at the church in a cold blooded realistic light without the guilt. That's probably one of the reasons that marijuanna will never be legalized. Both the government and the world's religions know that even though it is not really a gateway drug to other drugs it can lead people to question their beliefs. Worked for me obviously.
Yeah, it took me till college as well. But its nothing to be ashamed of, religion has an extremely emotional hold over humans. Especially since my parents are some of the most religious out there(Texas fundies), there really wasn't a chance that I would have ever doubted while still in their house.
I feel like you do about the early-atheists, but then I remember HOW brainwashed I was. Even within my *own* christian fundamentalist family, I was chosen for special extra indoctrination over my siblings. My brain was more myth than reality, and it made life scary and painful. It's hard to make rational decisions or look at things critically under those conditions. College got you physically away from church, family, and indoctrination long enough to think things through, and also exposed you to bookoo knowledge. Glad it worked then.

I met a guy online the other day - he's 70 and just became an atheist this summer!

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