Is there anybody out there who WAS a true believer and is now an atheist? If so, I'd love to hear how you got from there to here. I always put the whole God story in the same category as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and I was lucky enough to grow up in New York, so I knew from the beginning that there were lots of belief systems and lots of degrees of belief and compliance. I've always been impressed by people who had what must have been the comfort and ease of automatic belief and who gave it up for the much more demanding and unsavory challenges of reality. I'd love to hear your stories, particularly those of people from communities where no other options were around, were available, were even acknowledged.

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When I was 6, out went Santa Claus, and in came atheism.

The next 12 years at school where morning assembly and grovelling prayers were held at 9 A.M. convinced me that I had made the right decision first time.
Was the Santa Claus revelation the impetus? Was it something along the lines of "how can this possibly be real" and then further realization of what just simply couldn't be real?
The Santa Claus revelation did it for me as well. The idea of a god and all that goes with it was a much more elaborate yet similar myth. I know there is no god as I know there is no Santa, Tooth Fairy etc. and am very happy to live as an atheist.
Atheism actually makes me happy too. I really like the idea that I'm dealing with reality, not some pretty illusion that's been painted Pepto-pink to make it go down easier. Were you always an atheist, or do you remember some specific moment or incident where you truly had a revelation?
The proof I needed came after finding out that santa was not real. I did go to Sunday School and we would sit in church for a part of that. Even at that young age I never did quite buy the biblical stories - they just seemed so much like any of my childrens fairy tale books. Santa left evidence of his appearance every year and as a kid I liked the gifts. So I suppose I was always an atheist to some extent leading to being a strongly passionate and active one today.
The Santa Claus revelation put me on the path to question everything and eventually led to atheism as well.
there is no santa claus? pls tell me ur kidding :(
It turns out everyone mixed up the Jesus and Santa Claus stories.
JESUS is fake and Santa is Real.
Thank you, Loving Thinker. I'll check them out.

And to MrMister - no, no. Everything's fine. Santa Claus is alive and well and living and living in Bora Bora off the franchise money.
I wasn't quite raised in Pentecostalism, but I was exposed to it at an early age from other family members, and converted for about four and a half years. Pentecostalism is more extreme than most forms of Christianity. I was involved in a sect of Pentecostalism that is more extreme than even many other Pentecostal sects; it was very similar to a cult.

My questioning probably started as a child. I remember reading the Bible and thinking, "This would be so much easier to believe if this Noah's ark story wasn't included!" And as I got older, I had more questions related to what I read in the Bible, the inconsistencies, immorality, that kind of thing.

So I said to hell with all that, but I still retained a belief in an afterlife and the supernatural and some vague concept of a god for a long time before I decided that was crap, too.

I became interested in more liberal forms of Christianity for a while but finally decided that the label "Christian" isn't worth defending, and it's much easier and of higher integrity to simply say what I mean and mean what I say.

I now consider myself an atheist and a Humanist.

James
Wow! It always amazes me when people who are universally discouraged from thinking for themselves somehow do it anyway. A lot of the time, I worry about the whole human species because we seem so determined to ignore reality, and then along come people like you who can somehow go from the extremes of self-delusion all the way to I guess what we could call self actualization. Sorry, I didn't mean to get all philosophical on you - I really just wanted to say thanks for indulging my curiousity.
Thank you so much for giving me so much of yourself, and congratulations on finding peace with yourself. I've always thought that many (if not most) of the organized religions alienate so many good people by insisting on such rigid definitions of "good" or "moral." I'm glad you realized that the problem was with them, not with you. Again, thank you.

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