I was 8. Well I did not know what atheism was then but anyway I said there could be no God or gods at 8.
Age 67 was when I declared to myself that I was an atheist. Two more years before I came-out to my family.
It's still embarrassing to admit it took me that long to see the truth. The only reason I can see is that I was thoroughly brainwashed as a child into the cult of Mormonism, and the fear of satan and hell kept me believing for 67 years.
I had doubts as far back as I can remember (age 8), but I put them on the back shelf. The doubts started coming off the back shelf and flying around my brain strongly at about the age of 50. I stopped going to church, but still had lingering fear that satan might be deceiving me.
I finally overcame my fear enough to study evolution (a big no-no in Mormonism). I found evolution much easier to understand than I thought I would, and it became obvious that's how life came about.
I watched several hours of Richard Dawkins lectures on evolution, and read The God Delusion. Dawkins was the one that finally convinced me absolutely that there were no Gods. I now have no belief in or fear of hell, satan, or death.
Spud, that is a really moving story. I feel like sharing it with some of my family members, particularly my kids of course. Glad you came around.
I see my last sentence is not exactly right. I don't fear death, but I do believe in it. lol.
I told my friend that I couldn't stand Jesus and she crunched her head down as if something was going to hurt her for my comment. Religion makes you fear any thought not theirs; the biggest bullies on Earth.
I think I officially thought of myself as an atheist in my freshman year of high school, so I was probably 15-ish then I actually told my parents I was atheist during my sophomore year at 16. I got an interesting reaction. I'm 19 now so this was all 3 years ago more or less.
My more religious parent (my mom) was actually more... accepting. She wasn't necessarily understanding, but she just went with it. My dad however actually told me "You don't get to decide what you believe until you're 18" which was weird because he's never been particularly religious. That and he's never been particularly irrational either. In fact we have conversations about reason, atheism, religion, etc all the time so I still have no idea why he forced me to continue to go to church until I was 18.
Brendon, religion makes people do stupid things. "You don't get to decide what you believe in" at any age is absurd. Can someone else make you experience thoughts that you don't experience? Hopefully he's more accepting now.
Oh man, that is such a ridiculous statement! Glad you are accepted now that you are of age.
I was about 16. The book by Bertrand Russell "Why I am not a Christian" pushed me over into declaring it. The odd thing was my parents did not tell me they were atheists. They belonged to a church and I went to Sunday school. My dad would chastise me when I came home and questioned religious dogma. I think their attitude was it was not safe to publicly push back against religion. This convinced me that I was rebelling and they were Christians.
The other funny thing was after I left home my dad began a big push for atheism by writing to the local papers. I didn't realize how much until I got home from the reason rally and opened a big box of his stuff I have had for 18 years after he passed away. He had quite a few very long letters published. He also clipped out the letters from people who wrote complaining about him and some of them are hilarious.
Interesting story. Were they ashamed for being atheist or scared? Happy for you to find out who you parents really were.