Here's my story... (its not short- but I’ll make it as short as I can)
Born in a christian home, with christian parents. Went to a christian school, married my high school sweetheart (15 years now), a christian of course, who is the daughter of a preacher. Needless to say...everyone I know and have ever known are all christians.
The thing that started my on the path to Atheism was a class I took on World Religions about 9 years ago, while attending night school. The more I learned about other religions, the more I realized that some things didn't seem to make sense. For me, the thought of a Buddhist monk, living on a mountain top in Nepal, who spends his whole life trying to be a good person is clearly rejecting Jesus and therefore deserves eternal punishment. While on the flip side, a child molesting, murdering rapist from America can accept Jesus while in prison and get rewarded in heaven for all of eternity. Hmmm. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that something is wrong here.
While my curiosity was beginning to peak, I vividly remember the last day I ever went to church. The pastor was going through his yearly sermon on tithing. To make a very long story shorter, in the end, after showing numerous passages that showed god wanted us to tithe (10%) to the church, he challenged the congregation to start small. He said that for those that didn’t give anything, they should try to commit to giving 1% for a while. Then 2%, then 3%, eventually working up to 10%. Sounded good to most....but I called bullshit. He just spent an hour telling us what god supposedly wanted us to do- give 10%, but since we might find that difficult, he gave us his own instructions on how to make that easier for us. What a joke. I mean, god says though shall not kill...but if that’s too hard for you, try killing one person a month and work your way up to not killing anyone. This was the day I realized that I was no longer going to let someone tell me what god says...or what I need to do to be a good christian. I can read. I'll read the bible myself and do what god says to do.
And that’s when the real trouble began in paradise. I didn’t get through Genesis before I could tell something was terribly wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it). This was about the time I finally asked myself…what exactly do I believe and why do I believe it. It was amazing to me how much of my belief system was unjustifiable. I was simply repeating things I had been taught or told, but had no real understanding why I believed these things. Thus began the long journey of studying the bible, evolution, apologetics and everything else I could sink my teeth into to try and discover the truth. I was amazed at how little I knew about the world. Needless to say, with the help of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, Sagan, Loftus, Barker, and many others (including Darwin of course) I finally discovered the truth.
Now, this is where I have been for the last few years- but it is definitely coming at a price. My wife teaches at a Christian school, where both my children attend. My wife has shown absolutely zero interest in discussing anything about religion with me for many, many years. We are in total disagreement on how to raise the kids (while I don’t mind the private school, I refuse to lie to them about the age of the earth, the flood, the fact of evolution etc.). Yet I’ve forced myself to remain quiet for the benefit of what is otherwise an absolutely wonderful marriage. I’ve been the lone black sheep of my family for many years now and its getting really old. It’s tough to discover something fascinating about the world and not have anyone to share it with.
A couple of years ago my mother, who has been a life long Christian- heavily involved in the church, decided to quit the charade. She admitted that she felt she was faking it for the last decade or so. It’s been nice to talk to her and watch her learn and grow. I think she is just about ready to admit she’s an atheist. In the end however, I still have a need to surround myself with people that I can talk to about what is the most important questions in life. What is the meaning? How’d we get here? Is there life after death? It’s a shame I can’t discuss these things with the majority of my own circle- but I’m glad to have found A/N! Finally…a group of people not afraid to ask how and why and really dig in, investigate and find the answers.
I’d love to meet people in my area who would like to set up an anti-bible bible study/support group where we could meet in person. I’d like to get a new set of friends and a new circle of people that aren’t afraid to ask themselves why they believe what they believe. Unfortunately, except for my mom, I think the entire population of Victorville is walking around with Jesus glasses on. So for now, I’ll share my thoughts and opinions with fellow freethinkers here on A/N.
Thanks for reading!