I am an atheist because the religious BS I was taught didn't add up. I saw very early on in life that none of it made sense, that there was no evidence of any of the events it claimed happened in the past and also no evidence of its effect on the present. So I rejected it at some point between the ages of 10 and 12 or so, and that was that.
There is NOTHING to distinguish the entire religious complex from something that is 100% made up. So why believe any of it? Now, I fully respect and admire the weaving of a grand tapestry of made-up, but I pity those who live their lives as if made-up were true. It's insane and freaky how bamboozled most people are, and most of them will also never realize that they are. How did this medieval holdover follow us into the 21st century? It's really weird that society hasn't grown out of it yet.
I was raised as a Christian and I attended church but never really read the bible.I was a strong believer when I was 17 I stated to go to church every week.I listened and started to fall under the brainwashing.I really believed but how I did I can't figure out now.In the mid-80's a show aired on tv here called American Atheist.I listen to what they said.I was shocked to hear them talking about Jesus the way they did.These Atheist are evil I thought.I called them every name under the book.In the weeks to come I kept watching.They stated to point out things about the bible.I could see the bible not as truth but a fable of sorts.It was over this time I started to see that religions were wrote by men not a god.Overtime I become one of those Atheist I thought were evil.Today,I'm so happy to be free of religious dogma.I'm thankful for Madalyn Murray O'Hare because she was the woman I was listening to when I watched the American Atheist program so many years ago.
My family was pretty neutral growing up. At the time, my father was Agnostic - although he never talked about it, and my mother was a deist. They sent me to a Catholic school, where I was very involved in religion. I used to attend some church or religious-type service about 3 times a week. I was 'born again'.
But then the internet came about. I not only continued to study my religion, but others as well. I eventually lost my faith in Christianity and started practicing various forms of paganism.
It all went downhill from there. After a few years of studying various religions, I came to realize that they were all man-made myths. I fell into agnosticism-atheism... and became a fully-self-declared-atheist after the blasphemy challenge. :)
For me in the beginning it was person struggles and things that would come up and make me question my faith. I was not a devout Christian by any means in fact I learned more about my religion when I was questioning it then when I was apart of it.
After awhile of unanswered prayers and studying the bible I moved to agnosticism.
At this point I looked for other religions and found some that intrigued me but I never really jumped on any. During this time I moved to Mississippi( I am from Ohio by the way.) because my father got a new job. While I was down there I dealt with a lot of religious nuts saying I was going to hell and all the bullshit.
Through some personal experiences and some study of religion and science I declared myself an atheist. Whats funny in a way Mississippi turned me into an atheist and as much I hated it down there I did become more of an individual with my own personal opinions and beliefs.
i was raised in a family that is to say the least intelligent, and at best artists and philosophers. i happened to be the nerdiest of the family and was into mythology, my dad gave me a book on comparative mythology, i realised that all religions had the same stories, at about the same time i was asking my parents their beliefs and my dad refused to tell me his, so i started searching and searching, and for awhile i was a deist buddhist, then i just started to think, why should i believe in something that has no proof whatsoever? so in reality im an agnostic of sorts because i believe we can not know for certain, but i so highly doubt the existence of this deity that i say he doesnt exist.
Why am I an atheist? I think, therefore I am. Nah, too easy...
I wish I could say that there was some period in my life where I sat back and did some serious existential reflection and came to atheism as a result of my own cognition. That would be almost as big a load of bullshit as religion, though; the fact is I had atheist parents who were both very interested in the sciences. I never even believed in santa, let alone crackpot theories of invisible omnipotent beings. So for about 22 years I never really thought about my atheism too much. Then, I joined the Marine Corps infantry and things started to change.
The first problem I had was that your religious preference is imprinted on your dog tags. Atheist or Agnostic wasn't an option, so "No Preference" was printed on my issued tags. After boot camp I had to go purchase custom tags from a military surplus store to get "Atheist" printed on them in hopes that if I died overseas a priest would keep his filthy hands off me. I served my time in the military, completing two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan without any more problems from the faith heads.
Somewhere around 2 years ago one of my best friends, a deist with a predilection for science reading, dropped his belief in any sort of god after quite a lot of study and reflection. Since for the first time in my life I now had an atheist friend, we ended up discussing atheism and attending science lectures and imbibing seriously fantastic quantities of scotch whiskey.
Fueled by an astronomical blood alcohol concentration and the words of wiser men, I started getting more interested in my lack of religion and what I could do to be more active in it. Mostly, I would just write highly offensive but witty (I think) essays in response to crack-pot email forwards with religious overtones. Then I began reading atheist books and publications and listening to skeptical podcasts. All of that has led up to me not only being an atheist, but being fanatically anti-religion.
So now here I am on the Atheist Nexus in hopes of meeting more like-minded people before the faith heads and wrong thinkers drive me to complete insanity.
I am an atheist because I'm too smart not to be. I was raised a christian, I was baptized catholic, my parents got divorced and mom got remarried, so we started attending my stepdad's church. It was one of those 5000 seat evangelical churches with people speaking in tongues and fainting and all of that silliness. I was always skeptical of religion, I remember being admonished in sunday school when I was 6 because because I asked how god came to be, I mean, if everything complex requires a creator doesn't that mean someone created god? I really came to dislike organized religion when I was fifteen and two men from the church showed up at our house and said "We've noticed you having been tithing lately, would you like to make a donation tonight?" That was a revelation for me, religion wasn't about morals or eternal life, it was about money and power. The head pastor of our church drove a brand new Cadillac and had just built a $400,000 home and they have the nerve to come to our home and ask for more?
I decided to worship god in my own way, but rationality eventually set in. I'm interested in science, physics, biology, astronomy, my studying of these subject helped me come some conclusions about god, namely, that while I admit there may be a chance that god exists, it's about the same chance that there is a monster living under my bed. I can lay in bed with the sheets pulled over my head and not get out of bed until the sun comes out, or I take a chance and get out of bed in the dark to go to the bathroom. Sure, there's a chance the monster will grab me and eat me, but at least I won't be sleeping in a puddle of my own piss.
I went to church with my parents - raised Methodist, which is probably one of the most innocuous religions going, which is actually a good thing. I liked some of the sermons, and I liked singing the hymns, not because of the words, just because I like to sing. I sang in the church choir, I was confirmed, and even taught Sunday School. I was involved in church related outings, Habitat for Humanity, etc., and enjoyed Thanksgiving helping the homeless and elderly have a free meal at our church. I could understand the whole idea of community that church brought to people - I could see that it made them feel better to be a part of something so many other people were a part of. HOWEVER, I didn't believe in god, not then, not ever. I didn't understand god. I couldn't see "him", so I didn't believe "he" existed. I also didn't get that no one could tell me who made god. My parents and I stopped going to church regularly, so it just fell by the wayside for me after a few years. My parents still consider themselves Methodist - my Mother was raised strict Catholic and my Dad was raised Christian Science. They believe in a higher power, but never forced it on me. The only guilt trip I've ever gotten is that because I don't have "faith" that's why I've been miserable about a lot of things. No, faith has nothing to do with it, it's because I see the crap around me, and THAT makes me miserable!!!!
I don't remember ever believing in a god. I guess you could say, as a child, I was an agnostic. If a first grader can be an agnostic, that is. I was raised in a catholic home, went to catholic elementary school, the whole routine. My best friend and I went into church when we were in 2nd grade and "dared" god to strike us dead. When nothing happened, we were convinced that the whole scheme was a means to keep us kids in line! It didn't work in our cases. We had nuns as teachers and they were the scariest women I've ever known. Talk about repressed! One time, in front of my whole class, I asked Sister Theresa why she didn't have boobs. You'd have thought I called the Virgin Mary a whore! I guess I was too inquisitive as a child :)
Needless to say, it was all down hill from there. Apparently I asked too many questions, because they were always calling my parents. Anyway, I went to public school from 6th grade on and stopped going to church when I was 16. The only thing my parents ever gave me a hard time about was not baptising my kids. I raised them without religion, but I told them both what my opinion was, when they asked. I told them that they could make their own choices on what to believe in and that I would respect whatever decisions they made. Luckily, they were smart enough to make the right choice . . . and I'm proud of them for it.
That's an easy one! Because I don't believe in God of course! ;)
But for me that's really the answer. I was raised, as most people are, with many fantastic stories of Goldilocks and Bears, Princesses and Peas, Magical Dragons, Noah and Arks.... I enjoyed them all for what they were. Fictional stories. I was quite disturbed at around the age of 8 when I got this understanding in my first Sunday school class that adults take some of those stories seriously.
I've had a rocky road to here. Raised in a pretty conservative, religious family, though not multiple trips a week to the church or anything. I think my questions started really young. I started wondering about all of those tribes people in the middle of Africa that didn't know Jesus. That turned into wondering about people of other faiths. I was a theist by 12 (though I didn't really know it), an agnostic by 16, then back to being a theist for a while, and followed by being some kind of a Christian theist in my early 20s (but mostly for my girlfriend at the time and her family).
Then, a couple years ago, I had some late nights with my friend Lyndsey (she's an atheist; her parents are atheists), drinking/being drunk and talking about the universe and existence and everything in between. At some point during those conversations, I realized that all of existence made substantially more sense if there was no god involved. It was at that point that I realized that I had been forcing some sort of a god figure into my understandings this whole time. I felt so much freer, so much more able to see the beauty and the intoxication of life for what it was. To feel so in control and know that all of my faults are my own, as are all of my accomplishments, is so totally empowering.
Side note: every time I watched an OSU football game this year, I'd see the religious messages on the black strips under Laurenitis' eyes and think, "You work entirely too hard to not take all of the credit for yourself."