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 parents tried to raise my brother and me the christian way (practially my whole family on my dad`s side are devout christians), but it never kicked in. I`ve never believed in gods. I remember asking my friends in elementary school, whether they believed in god or not. The answer was always "Ofcourse I do, don`t you?".
At that age I almost felt guilty not believing in god, as everybody else did. When I got older, I wasn`t afraid anymore to say I didn`t believe in god, and that I found the evolution theory far more plausible than some all-powerful ghost.
Nowadays I find myself more aware of my atheism, as christianity and islam show their ugly heads more and more, and being more agressive about it. Who said "If you don`t stand up for something, you`ll fall for anything."?
Probably an over-simplification, but I am an atheist because I freed myself to ask myself as a Reformed Believer (you know the ones who REALLY know the truth) "What if I'm wrong?" That and an innate love for the truth. I just couldn't live knowing that I believed something simply because it kept me from some harsh realities. I totally agree with some previous posts- I feel more alive and happy and free now than ever before! All that nonsense about Atheists having no hope and being depressed is a bunch of BS!
Like everyone else, I was born an atheist. I then had the misfortune of being indoctrinated into Christianity. My parents were convinced it would be good for me, most likely because their parents did the same to them.

I guess what made me stop believing was that I realized during adolescence that much of what I had been asked to believe was simply absurd. Not only was there no evidence to support any of it, but I discovered what beliefs of this nature did to people. It was a combination of reading, secular education, and my own life experience that helped me free myself from the mind virus of religious belief.
Birth > Christian School > Indoctrination > Christian Conservative > Public High School > Study of World Religions > Curiosity > Psychology > College > Philosophy > Doubt > Biology, Astronomy, & more Philosophy > Agnosticism & Belief in Evolution > Notice lies taught in Christian Schools > Redefine Myself > Atheist > Study Politics > Anarchist > Now
A++ in succinctness. :)
I've always been fascinated by religious/metaphysical questions. As a young person I went to one church after another trying to find answers to my questions. None of the churches I visited were able to address them. Eventually, in my teens, I became involved in a Pentecostal church. I became a youth pastor and was not only very involved but an ardent believer.

By the time I was 20 I lost my enthusiasm for the Pentecostal movement and converted to Catholicism (I really did get into the music and pageantry). When I left the Army at 25 I intended to enter seminary. At the same time I was reading Thomas Merton, which lead to reading Alan Watts, which lead to realizing that what I appreciated about religion had nothing to do with god. Examining my beliefs, I concluded I really didn't buy the god concept at all. The mysticism still attracted me, but I hardly needed a church membership to explore that.

For a while I identified my beliefs as Buddhist, then later admitted to myself that I was an atheist. Theists had failed to present sufficient reason to suppose their gods, or any god, existed.

Just for fun and to provide a real ministry to the atheistic community, I got ordained by the ULC. So I'm a legitimate atheist minister. I even put up a website (reverendjackcarlson.com) where I can expand on my belief in non-religious spirituality.

Now I've been an atheist for over 30 years and know that this is what I am in regards to theism.
I'll throw my hat into the "raised quasi-Christian" (Catholic for me) ring, and also as one who never really swallowed the consecrated Kool-aid. The sticking point for me, though, was a strong belief that faith in something was better than a lack of faith. This took me well into my 30s to shake free of, and it's just been within the past 2 years or so that I've been able to freely call myself an atheist. Better late than never, I suppose. :)
Hi y'all - sorry but the question is spurious. We were all born atheists!
Yes we were all born atheists...

However that doesn't always sufficiently answer the question: why?

[funny icon by the way, is that you?]
I think it answers the question why! Religion is man made and it is not indoctrinated into children until they develop the capacity to absorb it and write it virtually indelibly on their sub-conscious. Children born of Muslim families in Iran are unlikely to become Christians - parents indoctinate their kids.
Were you ever indoctrinated into a belief system, if so, what made you change your mind?
I used to regularly attend church with my parents. I think this was probably the beginning of a long process that led me to where I am today, as I never really had a say in the matter and was discouraged from questioning the "powers that be".

In high school, I gained a bit more freedom from my parents and was able to stop and question why I supposedly believed what I was being fed, and I decided that I didn't buy into the whole Jesus thing, but the idea of some higher power seemed possible. I dabbled in Judaism for a while, but the more I learned about it, the more I realized that it was just like any other religion. Over time, the more I thought about it, the less sense the idea of some invisible entity made to me.

I guess I can't really call myself an "atheist" per se, as I don't think the existence (or lack thereof) of some higher power can be scientifically proven or disproven, although I can confidently say that I don't personally believe in one. On second thought, I guess that is probably atheism after all. At any rate, I can't really judge others for believing whatever they decide to believe. It's the ones who try to push their beliefs onto others that get to me (and that includes atheists as well... I've met quite a few extremely pushy ones).

At the end of the day, whether you're a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, Zoroastrian, Scientologist, Mormon, or whatever, as long as you don't try and tell me what to think, we can get along.


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