"I don't believe in gods."

 

"You're not Christian?"

 

"No."

 

"But you were baptized. Your parents are Christian."

 

"Yes, I was baptized and my parents were Christian. I am an atheist."

 

"So you don't believe in anything?"

 

"..."

 

"What made you turn away from God?"

 

"What made you turn away from leprechauns?"

 

"Leprechauns aren't real."

 

"..."

 

"Anyway, you were a Christian once. Now you aren't. How did that happen?"

 

"You're assuming that since I was baptized I was automatically a believer. But, I was a believer once. My parents brought me up believing in Jesus in just the same way they taught me to believe in Santa, except they expected me to keep believing in Jesus. You want to know the story of why I stopped believing?"

 

"Yes, I would. Was it a traumatic event? Are you rebelling against Him?"

 

"Your assumptions are wrong. I don't hate your god any more than I hate Bigfoot."

 

"Then why are you turning against Him?"

 

"Why are you turning against Santa? The answer is the same; I'm not. I simply don't believe he exists."

 

"Santa is based on a real historical person."

 

"It's much easier to believe in a man named Nicholas than a magical immortal man in a flying sleigh who travels around the world in one night. I am referring to the latter."

 

"Back to the subject..."

 

"Yes, please. You see, when I was a child, I loved your god. I believed in him with all my heart. I loved him so much I wanted to know everything about him. And that's when the trouble started."

 

"I see. You learned about the old testament and your young mind could not grasp how a loving god could act in those ways."

 

"No. Again, you're assuming this was an emotional reaction. It wasn't. I wasn't abused by a priest. I didn't have an unhappy childhood. I don't just want to sin. I'm not rebelling against authority."

 

"Then what?"

 

"I learned too much."

 

"Explain."

 

"I looked at the origins of Christian and jewish belief. Do you know what I found in historical records outside of the Bible?"

 

"No. What did you find?"

 

"I found the Epic of Gilgamesh, a story almost word for word exactly paralleling Noah and the great flood, hundreds of years before Noah became part of Jewish lore. I found the legends of Sargon of Akkhad, possibly the world's first emperor, were written at latest in the 7th century B.C.E. and Biblical stories such as Moses' birth are copied from it in the 4th century. I found multiple stories of lawgivers going up mountains to receive divine guidance, hundreds and thousands of years before Moses went up Mt. Sinai. And some of them had names quite similar to his. I found the Hebrews are genetically, linguistically, and culturally related to the surrounding tribes they slaughtered. I learned that if two million Exodus Hebrews lined up a meter apart, the first one would reach the promised land before the last one set foot out of Egypt. I learned there is no archaeological evidence of a mass Exodus wandering for 40 years in the desert. I found there were multiple Jewish messianic sects a hundred years before Jesus was said to have been born, and some of those sects may have had churches through the 1st century B.C.E. to the 2nd century A.D. I found there are multiple examples of new Testament writings being added and altered to excuse the Romans and blame the old Jewish authority for the crucifixion, which happens to coincide with the struggle at that time for the early church to gain Roman favor and separate itself from the persecuted Jewish sect. I investigated the claims of miracles and found nothing remotely divine. I found the Shroud of Turin to be a 12th century fraud. I found there are at least thirty nails enshrined that are supposed to be the ones from Jesus' cross. I learned that genetically we are a species of great ape, descended from other great apes with no genetic bottlenecking that would suggest we came from a single pair of ancestors in a garden. Need I go on?"

 "... That's quite a list. Are you sure you don't hate god?"

 

"I don't hate god. I sometimes hate what people do in the name of their imaginary friends. I hate when people use religion to make life worse for those around them, including killing them, deluding and brainwashing them, impeding lifesaving medical treatments, indoctrinating a distrust of science and logic, and demonizing other cultures and new ideas in general."

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Comment by Milo Coots on September 27, 2017 at 10:14am

Wow, some of my margins were bad. Mostly fixed now. Thank you for the comments!

Comment by Michael Penn on September 27, 2017 at 9:01am

I stopped believing in god when he failed to bring me a pony one year. No, wait! That was Santa Claus.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 27, 2017 at 6:37am

DRAT!  I misstated that last one (caffeine, where's the [censored!] CAFFEINE!!!  I MEANT to say, "I know too much NOT to be an atheist!"

{And while we're at it, why would I waste my time hating something that doesn't exist?!?}

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