How and when did you arrive at nontheism as your personal opinion?

I was brought up in a family of people who are by descent Catholic. My Father has both Catholic and Protestant ancestry from Ireland and my Mother had Catholic ancestry from Germany.
I don't know if my parents ever went to church regularly as children, or as adults, or even if they choose to get married in a church because they themselves were Christian.
However, Five weeks after i was born, nearly a year after my parents marriage, my mother died of Cancer.
I know from my dads own admission, this is what made him stop going to church, i guess he felt like he had lost faith (if he had faith anyway).
so despite history, i grew up in a nontheist family, i was indeed christened, but i don't feel that this makes me special or worthy.
nor do i feel that reading Dawkins extensively makes atheists worthy.

but recently, in the last two years roughly, i came across a blog by one, PZ Myers: Pharyngula.
it struck a cord within me and i now read regularly, i just wanted too know, what made you an 'active' nontheist, as opposed too nontheist by defualt but not really interested in the matter.

i've read alot of posts here about people (im guessing mosttly in the US) who are atheist and really suffer for it, they are shunned and sidelined for being a minority.
i guees what i want too know is, (especially for all those people living in wannabe theocracies such as the USA, or theist majority societies) was there a click moment, a sudden epiphany???

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Comment by Fred Price on November 9, 2010 at 2:01pm
@ Rchard Healy

'The path to realisation was a process never a moment.'

interesting point, please elaborate.
Comment by Fred Price on November 9, 2010 at 1:56pm
exactly what i think, its the whole 'good without god' problem, or the 'if does not exist, where is morailty going to come from?' problems again.
my thinking is thus: everybody is human and equal, not everybody is religious, so why bring religion into a discussion or topic on something that is not absolute and/or more objective.

if the decisions politicians make cannot be made with every human instead of the 'special' ones chosen by siome fairy, the the decisions and laws made for society are worthless at best and pure evil at worst. situations such as this are where i would support the dismantling and reshaping of the social contract in place in that society.
Comment by Earther on November 8, 2010 at 4:53pm
Sort of yes, I was in my early 20's and it was one day that I realized it was really stupid to believe or even pretend to believe in a diety. What I did not stop believing in is life. I hope we continue to have a government that supports life. That is the problem, if our government supports only religious civil rights and not civil rights for all people.
Comment by Richard Healy on November 8, 2010 at 12:12pm
The path to realisation was a process never a moment.

It began I remember clearly when I realised I didn't believe in life after death aged 12 and thus satisfied myself that ghosts did not exist and such stories about them were probably false.

Church was part of my youth but not in a terrible serious way, it was nothing like some of the horror stories I hear. I was saved by a preponderance of faith being what the adults did while the kids got of mess about with the glitter and glue. Nevertheless some of it stuck but the grip was rather tenuous and didn't take.

Circa aged 18 I was a fully fledged associate agnostic - just 'cos I didn't think it likely that god was it's a bit dubious y'know what I mean it's like there might not be y'know maybe and stuff. and ooh look butterflies net result was I stopped going to church becuase I thought my presence as a doubter would offend god, like having a stone in your sandals. But I was safely invisible if I didn't go. Yeah it don't make sense to me know either but that is what I did.

21 going on 22, I graduate in several senses and emerge a fully functioning atheist, having finally obviated my need to rely on non-material categories of stuff as being in any valid or investigative sense real. Like ghosts before them that special area I'd reserved for the possibility of such things as gods and supernatural causes evaporated and was burnt away like so much mist by the piercing light of the dawn of a day of reason.

I began vigorously consuming books in the sciences I'd been ignoring, and found these more satisfying then I remembered or had previously understood. A few years later, Dawkins publishes The God Delusion and I experience the warm happy tingle of seeing my own thoughts reflected and validated and the hue and cry of a great many people shouting 'how dare he?'
Comment by Fred Price on November 8, 2010 at 11:22am
thanks people, i have had four interesting, informative comments so far.
it is interesting to see that despite the fundamental differences in belief and non-belief, all children will think the same way A.K.A they will not question, whether brought up nontheist or theist, its is through doubt and questioning that they came too understand more deeply what belief is.
and, because of the logic involved, they arrived at nontheism as their final concusion anyway.
Hurrah!!!! three cheers for atheism!!!!

i am really interested in all that stuff about doubt/belief/knowledge right now because i wrote an essay on it.
if you want i can email you a copy and you can tell me what you think.
Comment by Fred Price on November 7, 2010 at 10:29am
as an aside, i would appreciate if people used this thread solely for comments related too the original question. you can still post links but please do not derail the conversation.
Comment by Fred Price on November 7, 2010 at 10:21am
@ FreeFree, that song is really good. might be on par with the original...
Comment by Fred Price on November 7, 2010 at 10:19am
@Keith R Araneo
I think nontheism is just the collective term for not being a theist, so agnostics, atheists, all that.
Comment by Keith R Araneo on November 7, 2010 at 10:11am
I was always under the impression that non-theism is treating theism as a non-issue. Am I wrong?
Comment by Carla on November 7, 2010 at 9:20am
I was raised christian and had tiny, nagging doubts beginning in my 20's. They grew as time went on from news stories and the like, things that made me say to myself "Wow, where was God on that one." Anyway I guess my epiphany moment was when I saw the photo of a starving baby in Sudan being followed by a buzzard just waiting for him to die....and the very next thing I saw was a farmer who had won a prize for growing a giant pumpkin and he said he just prayed to god to win and god listened. Stupid!!!!!

Anyway, there is a song by "A Perfect Circle," it's actually a remake or cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" and the video shows some of this.

Epiphany? I guess not because it wasn't a sudden realization, maybe that's when I just finally decided it was all so very stupid and that even if there was a god up there I was not going to worship a being who just sat back and allowed it all to happen and I damn sure wasn't going to continue telling my children there was a god out there.

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