Because I sure do!

Actually, I had been skeptical about religion since the 6th grade, but I had not considered atheism until about four years later. The moment in which I declared myself an atheist, to no one's surprise, happened in my 10th grade theology class. We were having a lesson on the ten commandments, and my teacher said that god would always forgive you, no matter what commandment you broke as long as you are truly sorry, but the only unforgivable sin is the complete rejection of his existence. So, according to this woman atheists are worse than murderers. That was the moment in which I decided that I was an atheist, and I have never looked back!

This reason is not the only reason, but it would take a book the size of a set of encyclopedias to list all of the fallacies of the catholic church, so even if you do not have one exact moment that led to your deconversion, list some of your reasons. I am sure that we will all agree with you!

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Well actually, there was a period in there where I tried to deny my atheism. I did some in depth research on religious orders and had every intention of becoming a nun, but this incident in my class ended that. I decided that I wanted nothing to do with an organization that was so hateful and discriminatory. Its funny how things turned out. I know I was only trying to be religious so that I would not be a "horrible" person. This idea was embedded in my mind, and it wasn't until someone actually said that atheists are the worst kind of people that I came to the realization that I had it backwards. By being a part of this religion, especially when I had no real belief in it, was only perpetuating this hate and discrimination.
Funny. I was an alter boy, and I thought about becoming a monk when I was in elementary school. I don't think the holy mother would have gone for your pink hair
I think, like many people here on AN, I never had what you would call "true faith". As a child in catholic school, I did what was expected of me. I prayed, went to confession, took the eucharist, passed religion tests to keep up my good grades... I went through the motions but they were essentially empty. The funniest part of this looking back is that I wasn't ashamed of my lack of faith. I remember sitting in church during friday morning mass, studying the kids around me and wondering if they were finding the experience as useless as I was. After a while I convinced myself that everyone felt the way I did. It was comforting in a way. I wondered, do the adults around me honestly believe they're consuming the body and blood of Christ? And if they do, how is this a safe environment for me as a child? I think the real turning point for me came when I moved and started public high school. It was like a long needed mental break. I was suddenly on my own in a very real way because no one knew my past history. I went through a rough re-adjustment period, in more ways than just figuring out my spirituality, but I was finally able to wash my hands of Catholicism. One day when I was fifteen or sixteen I told my mom I wasn't going to church with her anymore, and that was that. Fortunately, my dad is non-religious/ambivalent and he was a great help in smoothing things over with her. Since then (I'm 22 now) I've went my own way and I've been very critical of the church.
I know I'm resurrecting an older thread, but my story is much like Renee's. I just never really believed. I think I lack the faith gene. I went through the motions, and as I got older, tried to get out of going to church, but my dad wouldn't let me.

Honestly, I think the beginning of the end was when I was about 10 and wanted to wear shorts to church. My dad said "no way" and I tried arguing with him that God doesn't care what I'm wearing, he just wants you to worship. It was the start of me questioning a lot of the rules surrounding church. I'm 38 now and only really came to embrace my atheism about 3 years ago.

And like Vincent, now that I'm adult, I see how much damage the guilt about sex has caused me. I still have a gut reaction that it is somehow dirty and immoral, even though intellectually, I know it's not.
I had many arguments with my mom over not wanting to go to church!
My lightening rod moment was reading that Jesus had brothers & sisters - there it was, in simple black and white, a repudiation of the notion of the ever-virgin Mary
I’ve just joined this group and would like to add my two-pennies worth. I was born into a Catholic family and certainly the first part of my life as a Catholic, well . . . we had a ball. I can still remember the deep hollow feeling of awe in my stomach going to Mass at seven on a Sunday morning (it might actually have been hunger – remember the days of fasting before communion? ;-). My father was a convert from the fundamental religion of his parents and my mother was from staunch Irish stock. Although regular churchgoers and involved parishioners, neither were well versed in the real technicalities of Catholicism and I think this helped in how I saw the Church. My mother, in particular, just carried on doing what her mother and grandmother had done, and I suspect my father relished the independence from the fundamental and charismatic beliefs of his parents.
My first schooling was by nuns – a French order from a convent in the parish managed the parish school with the help of a few lay teachers. This was a great childhood . . . there seemed to be a time for religion and a time for life. Although we were supposed to follow the precepts of the Church, it was never rammed down our throats; perhaps this was the French way. There were school fairs, picnics, saint’s holidays (you were supposed to go to Mass before having the day off, but, with dad working and mum busy with more kids, sometimes this wasn’t manageable). The nuns taught the 3Rs well, but I think (now) they were a bit basic in their Christian learning and doctrine lessons were simple and easy to absorb. The parish priest turned up once a month and chatted to us in class – nothing tough or threatening.
The convent also had a magnificent old chapel and they assumed the duty of training altar boys for the parish. If you were ‘picked’ to be an altar boy (usually with the influence of your parents), you learned the rudiments of the various ceremonies and paraphernalia used – this was huge fun. Imagine the joy swinging the thurible (incense burner) to keep it alight, and ringing a set of variable chimes during the ceremony at the appropriate time – eventually we were told one ‘gong’ would do, tunes weren’t necessary. On big saint’s days there would be a procession needing all the altar boys to hold candles, banners, holy water and all manner of other contrivances. So, you had to pray a bit, and get up early for daybreak Mass, but hell, it was fun. I guess the mechanics of it all took over from any spiritual effect. We were working, not praying – I can still recite the Lord’s Prayer in Latin, and sing it in plain chant; all learnt from sitting about in mini soutaines and surplices, listening for our next cue.
By coincidence, the parish was staffed by priests from another French order, this time specialising in teaching. There were only a few of these parishes in the country, usually attached to a provincial Catholic college taught by the same order of priests. This was the next step – see part 2
These priests were well educated, most having teaching degrees in their subjects, and seemed a cut above the normal parish priest. They weren’t as severe as the Jesuits, preferring a more bon vivante lifestyle. Although seemingly secure in their own beliefs, they were prepared to argue and discuss variations and other ideas. Remember the joke about old church theologians disputing how many angels could dance on the end of a pin? They weren’t serious about this; it was simply a tool used to teach priests to argue and debate on the slenderest of arguments. And they were good at it (they had to be:-). They taught us to argue and debate just about anything, probably hoping we’d put it to good use. Many of us turned it back on them. And I guess that’s where it started. I’d always felt there were injustices in the god’s system – telling a grieving mother at her baby daughter’s funeral that it was god’s plan and we mustn’t blame god, then the following Sunday we’d be thanking god for glorious weather for the parish day out. Even the meanest of altar boys picked up the paradox in that. And when eating fish on Friday became a just minor sin, we would ask what happened to all those through history who’d sinned that way in the past and were now in hell? It was always a game to us – baiting the boar in his lair. And sometimes we were surprised by them – the priest who couldn’t see anything wrong with a spinster who’d sacrificed her life looking after her elderly parents, taking an ‘illicit’ lover after her parents died – he thought she deserved at least that much. As we got older, the weekly doctrine classes dropped to once or twice a week. One old chap felt the class was better spent teaching us manners and etiquette, and how to deal with the world. I’ll always owe them a debt for the free thinking inquisitive path they set us on. Again looking back, I think they wanted to produce thinking Christians, and accepted that if they did so there would be a price to pay in the ‘faith’ stakes.
Very late in her life, my mother asked me if we’d ever come across any of ‘this paedophile business’. I can honestly say we were lucky – that the priests we were taught by were exceptional in that regard. Yes there had been small incidents that we noticed in the past but I doubt whether there were any major events (it was more drink problems for them) and so far very few of that order have been accused. I don’t doubt that serious abuse has occurred, and that it has been cynically handled by the church, but as I said, I think we were lucky (perhaps, seeing my picture above, I was such an ugly bastard, nobody was interested).
Once I left school, I took part in Catholic youth, parish councils and served on school committees, but all the time it was as if a part of me wasn’t going to be sucked in to the whole thing. The crux came with my marriage – we struck a problem that all the religion in the world couldn’t fix and the Church’s beliefs had prepared us so ineptly for it that a divorce became inevitable. I did a Myers-Briggs programme soon after that, and one of ‘my’ characteristic clauses was that “. . . would find the essence of god within themselves . . .” . I took that to mean that I was to be the sole arbiter and judge of my actions; that the god I had thought was unjust, uncaring and a bit of a sod, was actually me, that I could rely on my own judgment in life, and that I answered only to myself and my conscience. So there you have it -- ‘day’s long journey through the night’. Compared to other posters, mine was a happy journey – it taught much and I don’t regret it. I do have some wonderments though, more later
I do not. I just remember being skeptical my whole life and being given very poor answers to what I considered basic questions. When I was in eighth grade, I was in enough doubt that I didn't want to be confirmed, but they used all the wrong methods to pressure me to do it--"your parents will be embarrassed" "all your friends are doing it, and you'll be alone," "why are you being difficult?" It was a long series of things like that which led me to questioning specific religions, but it was really a study of science and a critical look at the inconsistencies and just plain bullshit in the bible that led me to atheism.
I wish I hadn't been Confirmed but I know it would've sent my mom over the edge. Not like it matters one way or the other now.
I do. I was in 6th grade, and I was being confirmed. We were told that during Confirmation, the Holy Spirit would descend down upon us as we were confirmed by the bishop. Well, when I was confirmed, I felt no different. It was right there that I began to question my bogus faith, and I was never the same. I did not fully embrace reality until a few years ago. It took me awhile to come to terms with what was going on despite the fact that I had logically traced out the reason for the man made institution of faith-based practice. It feels so good to be logical
3rd grade Catholic School. Priest was talking to us about the 10 commandments. I said I couldn't love anyone more than I loved my Mommy & Daddy. He said I would go to hell. Because God requires us love no one above him. I'm serious..I said "Bullshit"...You should have seen that priest go RED...Holy Shit would been a good description of what happened next. I never had a need to go back to church after that. However, in high school a priest who was invited to the school by a Christian Club came over to my table to talk to me and my friends. He said we could answer any questions. I said "Is it true that thinking of bad things is as much of a sin as doing the deed" He in a round about way said yes. I then said "So, wondering what Jesus looked like under his loin cloth is a sin" I was totally serious asking this question....again...told I was going to hell.

As a child I had felt dirty and bad for not being faithful. I felt that it was unfair that I'd go to hell when I loved my parents so much. The later episode, where the priest couldn't even answer a serious question with out whiping out damnation was a cop out. He couldn't speak honestly and truthfully about his faith about the faith that he wanted us to have..All I could think was...BULLSHIT




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