By 'ah-Ha moment' I mean here, the point at which I came to the realization that there really is no such thing as god. Up until that point I considered myself agnostic. Maybe everyone has a moment like this. If so, I'd like to hear yours.

My 'ah HA' moment came when I read, watched news broadcasts and heard on public radio descriptions of all the devastation resulting from the 2004 Indian Ocean / Boxing Day Tsunami. I believe that over 230,000 people in more than ten countries were killed by this massive surge of water, including many tens of thousands of children. That last point confirmed for me that no such thing as god could exist if it would allow so many people to die needlessly. This was no manmade event like a war or floods and draught from global warming. This was a completely natural event which could have been stopped by the 'hand of God' or by some other divine intervention, if any supernatural being ever existed.

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This is a question, as phrased, about the moment of transition to gnostic atheism specifically, which, strictly speaking, didn't happen to me. My "ah-ha moment" was when I realized that, while I had espoused theism for years, I didn't actually think that God existed. I'd slipped from a sort of brittle-sugar-shell gnostic theist to agnostic theist before this moment--although it was agnosticism about any afterlife.

However, I can be modelled for all intents and purposes as a gnostic atheist since my "lack of knowledge" about God's existence is like my lack of knowledge that I'm going to get struck by airplane or die in a lightning crash.
I'd had suspicions all along because of the problem of evil--that old gag. The supports were weakened further by my forays into Taoism and Buddhism. Neither is theistic at all in pure form, and they each made sense to me. So, a GOD made less and less sense. Reading Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris helped it all along too.

Funnily enough what finally made me let go, never to return, was reading a book called The Ego Tunnel. This solved an old riddle for me once and for all, courtesy of Zen: "What is this corpse that seeks enlightenment?"

Perhaps not so much a lightning bolt moment as it was a jigsaw puzzle finally piecing itself together before me. But "ah ha" did escape my lips. It all made sense. Nothing supernatural needed.
That's interesting. Personally, I've never, ever felt that there was anything supernatural, so I never had a deconversion or anything. 9 years of Catholic school, and all the while I was thinking, "This is wrong", "I can't believe this" and "Why are all these adults so convinced of this madness?".

I also find it interesting that a particular event would cause someone to say, "That's it, I can no longer believe this stuff." God (at least the Abrahamic version) seems to have absolutely no problem with floods, volcanoes, and other natural catastrophies that wipe out large portions of the population. It's a common theme in the Bible, and one that believers hold onto dearly. "Oh, these humans aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing (and I knew that they wouldn't, since I know everything(!?)), so lemme just wipe em out and start over. Hmm, will it be a Great Flood, locusts or fire today...decisions, decisions..."
I had been doing some serious thinking about prayer and its efficacy. It just clicked.
I don't recall any specific "ah HA!" moment, so much as it was just a gradual clarity with regards to what it is that I believe.

I was first in middle school when I realized that I didn't believe in any such thing as a god, which greatly explains the muddled introversion I was capable of.

Ironically, I had never believed in a god; I just didn't realize it, since the subject of a god never occurred to me.
I was bought up a Christian and as usual didn't question what I was told, even then though a whole lot didn't make sence to me and when I asked the vicar questions such as, "Where did Kanes wife come from?" and why did god see fit not to kill ducks, geese, fish and the like? Wouldnt a great fire been more efficiant? and the uncomfertable looks the teachers gave each other, I knew someone was lying! Then of course my mind developed critical thinking and the word 'faith' started to mean less and less.
I'd been an atheist-in-denial for most of my life (since I was 12, best I can remember). My a-ha moment came as I was driving on a lonely Montana highway and was thinking about god and faith. I suddenly realized that what was keeping me shackled to the idea that I had to have a "relationship with god" was that I hadn't come to accept this one particular fact which must accompany atheism: when we die, we just die.

I had quite a conversation with myself during that long drive but by the time I finally made it home, I had come to terms with my fear. It's been a great journey since then as I have devoured every book about atheism and evolution I could get my hands on. I have also been thrilled at virtually every turn to discover how much more I value and enjoy life, the firmer my atheist feet get beneath me.
My skepticism started in earnest when I took a required "World Religions" class (ironically at an all-boys RC separate school) in grade 9 or 10. I figured they all could not be right, so none of them were right.

During high school and university, I gradually transitioned into an agnostic, holding onto the basic fundamentals (be good to others), but ignoring all the ridiculous mythology. But I still held onto some comfort that at least Jesus was probably a real guy wandering around being the ultimate altruistic role model.

But that was torn asunder when I watched "Zeitgeist". (I very highly recommend this movie for anyone!) I was astonished to learn that it is very likely that Jesus never existed at all. So not only was there no evidence for some ghost-like father figure up in the sky, there was not even any evidence for the flesh-and-blood incarnation.

The final nail in the coffin (or should that be cross?) was reading "The God Delusion" (followed by many others since), and I have never looked back.

So it has been a 20+ year a-ha moment!
My ah-ha realisation came when was reading 'My First Child's Bible' courtesy of a pro-Christian uncle of mine at the age of 6 years old. I couldn't equate the morality of the God character or his chosen people with civillised human behaviour and concluded that God was no friend to humanity. After my mum let me watch Star Trek reruns in the late 70s I realised that phasers can kill malevolent entities who play God and torment humans, so I figured that Id rather risk being damned by an evil God for being an intelligent, rational, doubting human being who doesn't buy into superstition (except for belief in phasers which do exist cos I saw them on telly), than rewarded by a God for betraying my fellow human beings just to please his worshipfulness.
Mine was in 1971 when I was 12 and I seduced a priest and it was very good for my physical and mental health instead of the fire and brimstone that were supposed to rain down on me after I led one of HIS faithful servants right down into temptation and waaaaay beyond. He cried, I kissed him on the forehead and said see you next Sunday.
Mine was quite recently. I've rejected religions for years, but, to some degree, clung to the thought of a "god" who might intervene in peoples lives in some circumstances.
Hard times led me to try prayer again, which did not help in the least. I realized I would have to be honest with myself if I were to keep my sanity. I saw that prayer only worked when I prayed and then took action. All the contradictions about the possible existence of god I've always seen, but would not take a close look at came to me. This time I chose not to shake them off, but looked into them via the net and books.
For the first time in my life the nagging specter of the possibility of an eternity in a hell is lifted from me. The contradictions between reality and the reality that should exist if there were a god is no longer a confusion. I feel connected to the world like never before.
I still have the problem I had when I prayed for guidance from god, but, I feel more capable of working threw it than I did when I still clung to the vestiges of my delusion.
My Ah-ha! moment has turned the world around for me.
Thank you all for your comments.

Thanks to sites like Atheist Nexus, non-believers like me (and you) can share our views without feeling condemned or scorned by those around us. I think that by openly discussing our ideas and concerns about religion, and the arrogance of religion in general, we can slowly bring about long-lasting change in our society.

I'm no longer 'in the closet' about my ideas on religion and willingly engage in debate those who disagree with me. I no longer have guilt or feel that I should apologize for my reluctance to accept what to everyone else is obvious. I can sleep better at night knowing that the world is mostly how I see and imagine it to be, and nothing magical is going to arbitrarily change that. We non-believers are becoming the 'silent majority' and soon our government will need to listen to our concerns and make changes that reflect a more secular approach in the way it governs us, a people free from religions' insidious influences.


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