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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I forget what age I was when I figured out that Santa wasn't real. I remember being a little hurt when I realized that my parents had been lying to me. Not long afterwords, I decided to share my new found knowledge with a younger friend. When his father found out, he yelled at me for telling his son the truth. I was baffled!
Well, I can understand the reasons why atheism would be say, considered better than Christianity. It's mostly the logical explanation and the wish to not get stuck up in circular arguments as well as the search for knowledge that make me like atheism. I am not one myself though.
So which circular argument do you prefer? :)
Same story here!
I dedicated my blog to the life long struggle I had reconciling the teachings of the baptist religion I was raised with. I refer to it as my personal evolution because that's what it is, but to put a finger on a moment when I took the first step in a running leap off the crazy train, it would be about four years ago standing in my kitchen with my already atheist brother (who had recently come home from Iraq, he had been through 2 TOD's in Bosnia and one in Iraq) and my father, a Vietnam vet.

As it is in a military home with more than one war veteran, the conversation turned to specific battles and firefights and I asked my brother "There was never a moment when you were so scared that you started praying" He said, "Never, I've seen alot of people die in alot of different ways, theres nothing there. Why put my faith in a nothing to get me home to my daughter, I have to do it by thinking clear." The survival instinct is so much stronger in someone who knows that when it's over, it's over.

I had been going back to college after my divorce from an abusive husband, and my Biology, Philosophy, and Evolution classes I was taking was in the process of clearing up many residual questions.
I leaned back on the counter edge while they continued to talk, and actually asked myself to make up my mind....Was I or Wasn't I? Do I believe?
I reckon you know the answer. Coming out publicly and saying it took the other four years and a strong push from the religions freaks in my town to stand up and shout back.
bad blog link...sorry.
Well I was fortunate enough not to be raised into any faith, I think my parents dragged me to a couple Unitarian services and a neighbor to a baptist one, but that's about it. During High School i considered myself a Taoist, but that was more Philosophical than anything else. I read a lot of different religious texts. After high school I joined the Army. Let's just say that my psyche and the military did not connect well, in this time I turned to a lot of religions searching for some solace/meaning/etc... no dice, I ended up just drinking my way through it.

So I've always approached religion as somewhat of an "outsider" and let me tell you when you look at them that way all are equally ridiculous. I can easily sift out the valuable messages from each, dispense with the garbage, etc... (shoot isn't that what most folks do nowadays anyhow, I haven't seen any stonings of petulant children)

As I've gotten older my interest in science (Physics, Biology, Archeology, Cosmology) has increased, I'm even thinking about going back to school... In my views the rational, naturalistic view of the world is the only one there is, everything else is delusion.
I was born a Mormon, from a long line of Mormons. It was who I was, who my family was. We lived and breathed Mormon. I felt I had the truth and had pity for all others who did not belong to my church. But in spite of all that, I fell to temptation in my teenage years, all the while squashing the heavy guilt and fear that my sinning would doom me to outer darkness. I became my Mothers worst nightmare at 17 when I got pregnant out of wedlock and then again at 21. Often I would question how god could see me so unworthy just because I enjoyed having a little fun. How could I be such a bad person that did not deserve to go to the coveted highest kingdom in heaven? I did not hurt others, I did not lie, cheat and steel. I was still a good person. So that was probably the start of my doubts, wondering what gave god the power or authority to judge me so harshly. For the next 12 yrs, I lived half in and half out of the church, still weighed down by the guilt and fear, but never able to wholly commit to the church and all its rules. At 34, my Dad introduced me to the possibility that Joseph Smith made the whole thing up. He gave me a book called "One Nation Under Gods" by Richard Abanes that opened my eyes to things I did not even know were possible. Growing up in the mormon church, you are taught never to question, never to read anything considered "anti-mormon" (which was anything not sanctioned by the church), and that the church is perfect and nothing exists anywhere that could disprove it. So this book was a big shock to me, my whole world was being turned upside down. That book started a huge journey of discovery. I dove into the internet, devouring every bit of information I could find. I learned that not only was my own religion not true, but that ALL religions were manmade, rooted in mythology and the supernatural, stemming from early mans desperate need to know where they came from & why they were here. It was their inability to understand the world around them or their own biology. So since they created their many gods as answers to those questions, to me, that was proof that god was not real. I learned that evolution was not just a “theory” but proven as fact, (it’s amazing to me now that anyone could doubt that and I am ashamed I ever did). So that was all I needed. Everything I have read since then has only solidified those facts in my mind. I am free from the guilt, I am free from the fear of death, and my life has never been better!
Don't be ashamed that you thought evolution was false, Religion is a very powerful entity which can delude your mind. It takes a very strong and intelligent person to break free of that mold. I've known a few Mormons in my life and I know how important their church family is to them, everything revolves around the church and its teachings: The Church = Truth; Evolution = Lie.

Your story tells me just how strong you were at that point in your life, and I think you're very brave to break out of the Mormon church like that. :)
I would have to agree with Dawkins, that no one is born into a religion. A child is too young to know what to believe.
But if a child is born with Atheists parents who also tell them that there is no God...is that child old enough to refuse to accept this claim?
Children of atheist are usually not told whether or not that there is a god, so there is rarely a claim to refuse it.

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