When I left Christianity, I immediately thought of myself as an atheist. Is it "an atheist" or "a atheist"...I've seen it both ways?

After time, I started to call myself an agnostic atheist and generally leaned towards just calling myself an agnostic, because, well, I can't prove one way or another, if there is or is not a god. Part of the reason I think I tended to say I'm an agnostic, was because it was easier on the ears of those who were my belieivng theist friends.

It's taken me four years to come back to realizing that when push comes to shove, I'm an agnostic atheist but the short answer is, I'm an atheist because I don't believe in or worship any god(s).

I think for those who were once Christians, the transition to finding a new label (because it seems the world must have them) can be a very difficult one, scary even.

Any thoughts?

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I've been on the verge of atheism since I was about 7, but never gave it too much though because my parents were so religious. Even when i was young i though about all the basic contradictions involving christianity, but never said them since that would have been a lack of belief. When i finally read the bible cover to cover(less than a year ago), all those thoughts came back, and so much more. Then i started to watch youtube videos, find non-theistic websites, and for the first time saw that I wasn't the only person who saw these contradictions in religion.

After about 4 months of studying about atheism and christianity in general, I called myself an atheist. Though I still haven't told anyone in real life, it still feels good to finally be sure of myself. Still living at my parents house and needing them for financial support it might be a little while before I'll tell them, but then again I might just tell them to get the discussion started.
I had one of the faster swaps, I guess. I spent about 2.5 years with conflicts in my head. I had a messy marriage/divorce, had a child (free of original sin, trust me), studied other religions and cults, etc. And then I foolishly watched a YouTube video titled something like, "Ten Questions Every Intelligent Christian Must Ask" and by the end of that day I was saying "God is imaginary". I spent six months only letting a few people know, and dropping words like "rational" and "critical thinking" in conversations with family. I wanted them to know me as an atheist without knowing I WAS an atheist for a long time, so that when I came out, they couldn't pretend like they saw some huge difference in my core character. I'm currently 26 and realized my atheism 1 year ago last week.
It took me about 10 years (from about 18 to my late 20's). I was fully de-converted by the time I was 30.

I began by liberalizing my beliefs, moving from dogmatic evangelical to main-stream Methodist/Uniting Church.

The accelerating factor was academic study (much of it self-initiated) of the background and history of the Christian religion and its various branches.

I read the Bible in large connected chunks and whole books (and discovered that I would not have liked St. Paul if I had met him), compared stories about the same event or dogma (lots of conflicts became apparent), placed the Biblical text in historical, cultural and ideological perspective (textual criticism) and compared it with other writings and mythologies of the era.

I read Greek and Roman myths (and noted how consistent they were with central themes in the Christian gospels). I read the horrific history of how the Biblical cannon came into being (which included the wholesale slaughter of rival Christian groups). I discovered how the Roman church was founded and the reasoning behind this (a deliberate amalgamation of prevailing mythology in the region and a Jewish derivative religion abhorred by mainstream Jews in an attempt to unite the Roman people and destroy the Jews.) I studied formal theology with a view to becomming a Uniting Church minister. I lasted one year before I buckled under the strain of trying to justify which was increasingly appearing to be illogical nonsense. I left because I admitted to myself that the system was logically untenable and its morality was deeply flawed.

Then I studied psychology and became adept at applying the scientific method. Social psychology and the psychology of religion were the final nails in an already shut coffin. My first (entry level) dissertation was a retrospective (10 years) study of religious belief change and loss among former members of the Christian Union at my university and the correlating personality and cognitive characteristics. I would love to have the opportunity to follow this up with a prospective study to see whether there are factors which can predict which of the "real" Christians will become "not real" Christians in later years :-)
I still go by "agnostic" to my family. However, when dealing with people who i don't know/care about the shock value of saying you are an atheist in the middle of the bible belt can be fun :)

It took me about a year to say i'm an atheist. and about 6 months of agnosticism before i told my family.

Technically i'm an agnostic-atheist, but most people have enough trouble understanding 1 title, never mine two!
From Fundie to Atheist took about 30 years going through moderate Christianity, Deism, Agnosticism and finally to Atheism.

I went through a three year journey from Hell.  It actually started by reading the entire Bible.  I wrote down difficult passages and took them to my pastor and / or sunday school teacher.  The list of questions got longer and the answers got vaguer.  My process was deeply involved Christian to doubter (deep guilt for doubting), to deist to finally Agnostic Atheist.

It took me about a month after leaving my church, to admit that I was an atheist.




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