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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This looks like a fitting thread for my first post.

I was raised Catholic until around the age of 12, and then indoctrinated heavily into a very hard core Pentecostal church when my mother got "saved." My Achilles' heel was an exaggerated trust in authority figures, parents, pastors, etc. I thought that being older, they were also wiser than I was, and if they had figured it out with such certainty and were so earnestly feeding it to me, that they were right.

As time went by and I got older, I had to start going through more and more mental gymnastics to maintain my faith, but the fact that questioning my core religious beliefs was supposed to be a grievous sin helped suppress my questions in my mind. For the longest time, I told myself that god deliberately planted evidence contrary to the claims of Christianity as a test of our faith. My deconversion process lasted quite a long time, fully from my late teens to my mid 20s.

The catalyst that started me down the path to deconversion was when I realized the damage inflicted by suppressing every carnal thought, 24/7, 365 days a year, and how god would NOT magically fix it, but I eventually, gradually, gingerly at first, employed logic, reason, science, evidence (or rather, lack thereof for my Christian god as well as other gods), contradictions in the Bible, impossibilities in the Bible, history, and the tendency of religions, including mine, to borrow from each other, to realize that the Christian god and other gods were fabricated out of unsupported fables, and the religious claims they were built on simply did not hold water.
Welcome to the Atheist Nexus.

As someone who grew up in a Pentacostal church, I understand both your past and your journey. It is one many have gone through. I congratulate you on your escape from unreason. I look forward to your contributions to the forum here!
I am a former christian fundamentalist. Punk rock gave me a thrist for truth(or at least fanned the flame), which led to me christianity, which led me to agnosticism. I discovered that the bible is a very flawed and questionable document, which went against everything that I had heard from respected teachers of the gospel. Around the same time I started to study philosophy pretty intensely. At the same time I came to the realization that my religious neurosies were destroying my life and that I had to do something about it. I consider myself an agnostic as I reject all religious dogma and doctrine, but I dont know that there is no divine reality. The world is too rich and colorful and mysterious to for me to make such a claim.
Because I don't believe in lies. I don't remember exactly when I realized the atheist concept was an appropriate description of myself, since middle childhood indeed, but the aversion to god is old in me as the feeling of betrayal by believers.
I think I have always been an atheist, I was brought-up in a family where critical thinking and free thought were valued. We often had discussions concerning the nature of religion, the origin of life, the universe and everything. I was always encouraged to follow my own beliefs, to explore any belief system I wanted, but however much I studied religion I always found my way back to atheism. Science was always a far more satisfactory way of looking at the universe than looking through the myopia of religion.
I was raised Catholic. I even attended Catholic school (but only for the 2nd grade, before and after which I went to public schools). I learned about the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Big Bang in the 7th grade. I didn't really think much of it. Then in the 8th grade, I had a great biology teacher who taught us about evolution. Finally, everything just clicked together. My friends were kind of taken aback when I "came out". I even lost a friend because of it (a Mormon girl). But I've been more and more skeptical since then. I go as far as to call myself an anti-theist. A few friends have stopped talking to me because they don't like arguing with me. And others just don't see why I get so worked up about it all. :)
Though it may not be like a sudden change in any one's life. First some questions come into mind which suspect the validity of religious beliefs. As I remember, the first question to my mind at young age came, that if God is omnipotent and Almighty etc... then why there is so much repression, poverty, injustices around, and 'He' do not do anything... then, more and more questions on different aspects of religion and beliefs started coming up... and there was no absolute no logical answers from religion or religious people.. so I started moving towards scientific outlook of life and universe... And now I feel lucky to have come up towards science and rational thinking and obscurantism has left far behind..
I was raised as a Christian, Baptist to be more specific. My parents divorced when I was two and I lived with my mother and her parents. We lived in a upper middle class suburb. It was sort of like a small town in that everybody knew everybody and most of the people on our street had lived there for many years. There was a Catholic family across the street and our next door neighbor (their kid was my best friend) were atheists. I didn't find out the neighbors were atheists until I was a teenager and I really didn't comprehend what they believed at the time, but it wasn't a big deal to me. In fact, I think the only time I ever discussed religion with them was the day my friend told me he didn't believe in God.

Neither of my parents attended church (they did as children). My grandmother attended church and worked as a secretary at the local Baptist church for about 10 years. My grandfather died when I was young and I'm not sure if he attended church. Anyway, I attended daycare and kindergarten at a Baptist school (my guess is that this was at the behest of my grandmother). It was here that I learned about the Bible and how to pray and all that stuff.

Meanwhile, my uncle (my mom's brother) was a highly educated man and for my birthday or Christmas, he would give me books about dinosaurs, the stars and planets, etc. I had a lot of respect for him. In fact, when we were asked in second grade to write a story about who our hero was, I chose my uncle (while most of the other kids said people like Joe Montana or Michael Jackson...this was the mid '80s). Anyway, these books were the first step towards questioning what I had been taught about religion.

When my grandmother died in 1990, I really started to think about death. The idea of death scared the hell out of me (pardon the expression). I got more religious after that. I prayed at night before going to bed. Sometimes I would pray to say thanks, sometimes I would ask for things (I never got what I asked for, although perhaps I was being a bit greedy lol). Well, actually, I did pray for a day off school due to snow one time and we were off school the next day, but I didn't pray until after I saw the forecast for 6 inches of snow. Somehow, I believed that God had answered my prayer. I also remember that I would wake up early on Saturday morning (I was always an early riser as a kid) and I would watch a local TV station broadcast a Catholic show that featured a still picture of the virgin Mary with a preacher reciting the Hail Mary prayer followed by Nuns reciting the response prayer. They would say this ad infinitum for about two hours. For some reason, I would watch it, even though I wasn't Catholic (I guess because there was nothing else on).

Still, I always had questions. I thought about how enormous the universe is and how it seemed to contradict the view that the Bible gave. I remember sitting on the steps a few times and just trying to contemplate the universe. It seemed such a radical concept at the time. I wondered if I had been born in another country if my beliefs would have been different. Would I believe in Jesus if I was born in India to Hindu parents and had Hindu neighbors? Sometimes, I would stay up half the night and just listen to music and think.

As I learned more about science and history, my questions increased. Then, when I went to college, I took a course on the history of philosophy. By this time, I was an agnostic. I started going in chat rooms and discussing religion, usually playing the Devil's advocate. By the beginning of my junior year, I was an agnostic atheist, as I am today. That was about 10 years ago. That semester, I took a course on existentialism. I didn't even know what that meant, but the course description intrigued me. That was probably the course I most enjoyed in college. Nietzsche, in particular, fascinated me.

Finally, I should add that music has been an influence on my views as well. I grew up listen to hard rock and pop music. As a kid, Van Halen was my favorite band. A lot of their songs reflect my laid back personality.
I have always been an atheist.

Mum sent me off to Sunday School when I was four.

It was coming up to Christmas time and the teacher told us that angels came down from heaven to to tell Mary she was going to have a baby. I simply did not believe it. I asked a lot of questions until the teacher finally gave up and told me to be quiet while she finished the story.

Even at that young age, I treated every other bible story with similar disdain. Not that I had any any real arguments against the stories - I just didn't believe them.

I still remember closely watching the teacher's face as she told us about Jesus walking on the water, and wondering whether she really believed this stuff - or did adults just tell lies to kids as a matter of course.

To put it in perspective, I should tell you that I was a cynical little chap. Even in the "regular" school, I never believed any of the fairy stories in the books that were read to us. Again, not because I had any answers - just that they were so far removed from reality, I simply could not accept them.

These days I use the "Problem of Evil" to satisfy myself that God does not exist - and that allows me to further claim that the bible is not the inspired word of God and Jesus was not the Son of God.
me niether
i became an atheist simply because i noticed how hypnoticed everybody else was...where you try to think outside the box they just are stuck in there ways....puppets on a string....clones
for me it started in school,i asked normal questions and given unsatisfing answers ie; if i were a criminal god would know it before i was born that was not fair [ an innocent child likes things to be fair] and was told things like"but you do have free will" to me in my small mind a chicken and egg excuse.

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