Was there a particular event in your life that contributed to you becoming atheist?

I'm new to this site, so I apologize ahead of time if this topic is repetitive.

About a month ago, a close family member of mine passed away after a four year battle with cancer.  She was diagnosed at age 37, and despite all the prayers for her, she finally gave up the fight.  

Having been raised Catholic, I rejected the religion entirely by the age of 15, and from that point on, I remained on the fence about the existence of a god - until about a month ago when my cousin died.  The hardest part for me was during the last visit that I had with her, when I finally had the chance to talk to her one on one.  She told me point blank, "I don't want to go yet.  I'm not ready to die yet."  Despite her incredible will to live, it wasn't enough.  

Losing her made me reevaluate everything I thought I believed in in terms of a god or the afterlife, and I've since come to the conclusion that it's all a bunch of fairy tale, hocus pocus nonsense, and it is precisely the reason I finally jumped off the fence I'd been sitting on about god, and finally embraced atheism.  Not only was this decision because of my cousin's death, but because atheism just makes more sense.  

The religious people out there try to convince me of this divine master plan that "God" has in store for her, that he needed her in heaven and blah, blah, blah.  All I can do is stare at them, absolutely baffled as to how anyone could be so deluded.  How long are people going to keep making excuses for this so-called god, trying so desperately to make sense of the senseless?

I still haven't come out of the atheist closet to my family, and I don't know if that would be the best idea at this time.  However, I believe that I will at some point in the future,


Part of my question also is whether or not any of you have switched to atheism after the death of a loved one?  Something tells me I'm not alone here, so I'd love to hear what anyone else has to say.  Thank you.

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A bit different for me. (blush)

I actually rejected religion, christianity, because I felt there was something very wrong with nuns and priests. I found nuns and priest creepy and they scared me. So to avoid the creepshow I just rejected all that stuff at a very young age. I although had to do my comunions, family tradition. But I remember being already a strong non-believer while doing my second one. I just faked all the stuff to be once and for all done with it.

I've been called a heretic and was very often told that if I didn't quit what I was doing and start to act as a good christian I would burn in hell...  But my fear for the creepshow was so big that for my young brain burning in hell forever was a small price to pay.

It's as a mid teenager that I made up my mind and became convinced that all those religious people were just mentally ill. Priests shouldn't be out there preaching but put in hospitals to have that stuff they call faith, healed. What I didn't get back then was, where that religious disease came from?

When I understood what indoctrination was about it all became obivous and that was the final nail. I never looked back and went on being a happy atheist.

 

They talk about tolerence but keep calling me names and wishing me horrible things. So I decieded to call them by their real name, nofuckguys and nofuckgirls.

I lost family over the years and am familiar with the heart searing pain of losing someone close. It gave me comfort to think they were "in a better place". When my mother passed after a two year battle with ALS, I was devistated. As I sat and listened to the eulogy, I was amazed at how much time was spent talking about my mother like she has the rest of eternity in front of her and she "had places to go and things to do". That strange talk got me thinking about what was real. My mother "had places to go and things to do"? The absurdity of those words stuck with me but I still held on tightly to hope and faith. I wasn't an atheist yet. That came years later.

I began to question the reason we humans cling so much to the idea of god and why the concept of god is different for different cultures. Why was there so much disparity between religions and even within religions? What got me was that they all seemed to say that if you did not believe what their particular god said, you are doomed to an eternity of hell. So, that meant that a 2 year old who dies in sub Saharan Africa that never heard of Jesus, is going to hell for not being christian? What about a devote Jew or muslim who lived their life the best they could within the context of their culture? Hell for them as well?

After that, I looked at and studied the bible with a critical mindset like never before. And, over time, that sealed the fate of religon for me. The "holy book" turned out to be nothing more than a human edited bunch of nonsensical, irrelevant, contradictory crap. Thankfully and at last...I was FREE!

So, the loss of someone close was a catalyst that sent me on the path of self discovery. But, unlike your experience, it did not directly influence my turn from faith to reality.

I have never been happier than I am now as an atheist. I love my family deeper, I live everyday more fully and I take better care of myself. The funny thing is, I was a worst "sinner" as a christian!

Thank you for sharing your story.

I don't think I had a single incident that resulted in my de conversion or move to atheism but I was constantly bothered by the inconsistencies and hypocrisy that I saw.


I went to a Catholic Church and remember when I was only six or seven years old being aware of the holier than thou Mr Woods who went around with the begging plate on a Sunday. This was the same Mr Woods who I saw treating his maid in a very nasty way.


Being in South Africa it always amazed me how the black populace could worship the supposed same God of the bible when the apartheid government used the same book to justify separation.


And of course always the inconsistency about a God who would allow so many poor and destitute people to exist when surrounded by such obscene amounts of wealth. I constantly read about that in America today and just don't understand how people can rationalise that.


It was also my own hypocrisy when I used to go to confession asking for forgiveness for things that I clearly had no intention of stopping. Just the ritual I guess and it finally came home to me that it was an idiotic arrangement. It also helps when you are at a boarding school and see the brothers and priests at close quarters every single day of your life warts and all. That certainly removes any mystique and you see them nothing more than people with no special powers or anything.


Then of course there has always been the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and their rumoured investments in the condom and arms industry which to me was quite obviously contradictory in terms of the supposed Christian values. And of course the ongoing defence of child abuse which has been going on for hundreds of years as more evidence comes to light.


Then we have an evangelical in South Africa by the name of Ray McCauley who has an ego to name his church after him. He also excommunicated a singer from the church when she got divorced. A couple of years later when he got divorced, he managed to convince the people that this was somehow blessed by his version of dog. WTF? Plenty of examples in the US along similar lines I see.


Then of course the cruelty of Bush sending all those people to war under what certainly seem to be false pretences along with his ally that truly nasty piece of work Blair. You just watch all these inconsistencies about loving your fellow man and the level of hypocrisy and just wonder how the hell anybody can possibly work their way through that.


Then just the good old question like "why doesn't God heal amputees?" And it has no foundation whatsoever.


The ability of a person to do the gymnastics of believing in dog just confounds me. And I haven’t gone into the Mormon, Jewish, Muslim inconsistency for people who all believe in their own sky fairy and then you believe your own to be special. Really easy to come over to the atheist side if you consider the evidence.

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