Were you always an atheist? Were you at one point in time a Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc.? What made you stop believing?

I'm sure we could all give voluminous answers to why we don't believe in a personal god including, but not limited to: Personal, philosophical, scientific, historical, etc. reasons; which are all perfectly valid. But I want to know what spurred you to question your former beliefs and become an atheist.

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My answer boils down to this: I was sick of compartmentalizing. The objective evidence wasn't there, nor was there really any subjective evidence available to me other than the insistence of my peers that they felt "His presence."

My extended deconversion story
Technically, atheist and agnostic aren't mutually exclusive. Agnostics are atheists too. ;)

Theism & atheism are about belief, while gnosticism and agnosticism are about (claims of) knowledge.
Not all agnostics are atheists. One can be an agnostic theist (believe in God, but believe it is impossible to know for sure God exists).

I call myself an agnostic atheist, which I think is equivalent to what Dawkins refers to as a
"weak atheist".

Now, most agnostic theists would probably disassociate themselves from the term "agnostic" because in the minds of many, an agnostic is the equivalent of being an atheist. However, as was pointed out, agnosticism makes no statement on belief, only about the availability of knowledge regarding the existence of a diety.
According to Stephen Colbert, agnostics are atheists without balls. Just sayin'.
My brother gave me a different definition; an agnostic is someone who has thought about religion/god, an atheist is someone who has thought about it more.
lol yeah that sounds about right, that describes my journey away from theism
THAT is a fantastic definition :-)
Hey, I've been quoted! :)
Hey look, it's my brother!
That, my friend, is pure awesomeness. :)
I agree with ronin, what a great topic for a thread!

I think I was just born an atheist. Of course you could argue all babies are, but deeper than that, I'm just not wired to believe in unsubstantiated claims of the supernatural.

When I was around six, I confronted my parents with a list of evidence I'd gathered that Santa Claus was a lie. I don't remember all of it, but this list included things like, identical wrapping paper on "From Santa" and "From Mommy and Daddy" Christmas gifts, and something I overheard on a talk show my mom was watching where the host was interviewing a new mother of quadruplets and said "you've got a lot of stockings to fill this year!"

Practically every other kid I knew was devastated when they were told Santa isn't real. When my parents admitted it to me, I just felt vindicated, and hurt that they had been forcing this lie upon me and my siblings.

From there, my skepticism spread, and I realized that God was just Santa Claus on a much larger scale -- heck, even my parents were fooled by it. I couldn't see how it was any different. A big man with a beard who knows if you do good or bad things and will reward you or punish you accordingly. All December, my parents would remind us to be good or Santa wouldn't bring the presents we wanted. The minister would tell us all to be good and we'd get to go to Heaven.

As I've gotten older and learned about things like the scientific method and all the claims of religion that are refuted powerfully by empirical evidence, my skepticism has gotten pretty strong!

The trouble is, having never been a theist, I have the hardest time relating to them. It just strikes me as nothing short of INSANE to believe these silly things despite (literal) mountains of evidence to the contrary! And yet I'm completely surrounded by evangelical Christians where I live now. Eeek.
I very much agree - God is basically the Santa Clause for adults. I really don't believe in the carrot & stick morality. I believe it's unwise and does more harm than good.
I think it's time society grows up.

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