Just got here! I would love to hear why/how some of you converted to Atheism.

This is my first post here, and as a recent convert from Christianity (try not to faint from shock) I would quite enjoy hearing some interesting stories of enlightenment. Personally I became frustrated with the inaction of my sky god, and decided to figure out why in the nine hells i was worshiping such a jerk. I objectively re-read the Bible, and was shocked how awful the god of the old-testament "was", coupled with how I could have possibly overlooked this in the past. Since I have a college library at my disposal i began reading other religious texts, it became a sort of hobby. After reading the Koran, the book of Mormon, and prying my forehead from my palm, I stumbled onto The Selfish Gene by my new hero Richard Dawkins. Since I am a student of science, the transition was easy, and took far too long. 

Not a terribly riveting tale of conversion, but it was a fun journey nonetheless. I'm glad to see a whole community of like-minded individuals, Ohio is hardly a hotbed for Atheism these days.

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I'm actually in the Psychology field, but Paleontology has always fascinated me! I can't wait to learn more, what an awesome age we live in!
This is cool and makes me feel better.
I've been an athiest for about 8 years, I guess. I was born and raised by Baptists, so i was a Baptist. I was baptized and everything. Once I was a teenager I hated going to church and so I drifted away from the formal stuff, but I retained my beliefs. I used to pray when I was scared.
In the mid 1990s, I worked in Taiwan for a few weeks. There, I saw that there were all these non-christian people and it kind of got me thinking that there might be another truth out there. I realized that I didn't really believe all the stuff in the bible, so I started researching other religions. I read up on Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American spirituality and even started studying some of the new age stuff that was out there. What I found was that every religion I studied had some really cool notions, but if I continued to pry into them they all got into this magical thinking stuff. And I couldn't hang with that.
Finally, I realized that it was all a bunch of hooboo jooboo. And realizing that, made me feel really free and really smart (even though I was way to old to be figuring all this stuff out). :)
Now I read lots of stuff from Dawkins, Sagan, Shermer and the like. And it really makes me want to take a stand and work with people to help open their eyes. But, in truth, I'm still largely in the closet. I don't feel comfortable enough, in the U.S. south, that my unbelief will be accepted. I've heard war stories about people losing jobs and family contact over admitting athiesm. So, for now, I'm only known as an athiest to my wife and kids and several close friends. But I'm working on it.
Anyway, it feels good to be somewhere that I can talk openly about all this stuff and feel comfortable! And reading this string of comments has been a breath of fresh air in my world. So thanks!
Heck yeah man! You're pretty fortunate to have traveled to non-christian countries, i'm jealous! I'm sorry to hear the south still isn't a good place to "come out", although Ohio is only slightly better.. Some day man.. some day..

These comments were huge for me as well.. this is a great community!
My story's on my page, if you care to read it, but it's similar to yours, Adam, in that reading and studying the Bible made me deconvert. The key lies in reading the Bible objectively.
Truer things have not been said man, reading that thing objectively made me wonder what the hell i had been doing. It's refreshing to see someone else arrive here in such a similar fashion :)
Hi Adam,

Glad you could join A/N, and I think that you will find a good diversity of atheists on this site. Although you say that your story is not terribly riveting, I would say that anyone who questions what they believe, weighs the alternatives and makes a difficult decision not to believe in their societies favorite sky daddy, that is truly inspiring.

My short story is that my wife studied art history as a part of her degree in college, she saw the churchy BS stories breaking down quickly, and she is actually the one who came out first. It took me some time to rationalize her arguments, as I attended church up until my teens, and so it took me some time to really be honest with myself. Since then I have also went on a religious history binge, reading everything I can get my hands on, to better understand the world and people around me. Now I have a feeling of self awareness, a greater love for life (knowing it is limited), and can see the world through a rational natural world view of Humanism. Take care.
Your transition sounds a lot like mine :-). Actually, I read the Bible and part of the Book of Mormon while still a Christian. I too somehow never noticed how insecure, petty and bloodthirsty the Old Testament revealed God to be. After becoming an atheist (by way of cynicism of organized religion, then an agnostic period), I read the Quran and re-read the Bible. It's amazing how unabashedly hateful these scripture are.

I read The Selfish Gene a year or so ago. If you ask me, it's more likely The Selfish Gene is divinely inspired than is any scripture from a revealed God.
Hi Adam,

when I read "The selfish gene" a few years ago, it didn't alter my religious beliefs. Somehow belief and evolution seemed to co-exist within my head. So my transition took even longer. For me, it took stronger stuff to get rid of unreasonable religious claims.

The book that did it for me was written by Richard Dawkins, too. It's "The god delusion", which I strongly recommend. While reading that book, I realized that I had to decide between the unreasonable, arbitrary claims of religions and the reasonable, proven facts of evolution. Mr. Dawkins does a very good job on explaining why both just don't go together.

So I decided to be an Atheist. Instead of reading books about other religions, I prefer reading books about neuro science.

To me, the most important result of neuro science is that conciousness is not a thing, but a process, a certain function of the brain. If the brain doesn't work in a certain way, there is no conciousness - just like there is no heartbeat without a working heart. Conciousness is not a "thing" that goes to "heaven" or anywhere else after death. A stopped process won't go to heaven, it just ceases to be.

For any former believer, this is quite a shock: No eternal life, no hope for heaven, just one life. But after thinking a bit about this, I've found there are some advantages to this:

1) It's proven by science, so it's highly likely to be true. That's far better than any religious fairy tales.

2) It teaches you to be humble - in fact, it does this job better than religion, which usually suggests you were among the chosen ones.

3) Knowing you've got no second life increases the worth of this live.

4) As a christian, you are threatened by a propability p>0 that you may suffer eternal torture in hell. As an atheist, you no longer suffer from that threat.

So welcome to A/N.
Hi Adam, I was never a Christian. I was religiously confused as a kid b/c I went to UU church, learned about all religions, and my family sometimes celebrated Jewish holidays, mom sometimes dabbled in paganism. Being exposed to several religions--without having any one drilled into your head as the "right" answer--is the way to make your kid eventually become atheist, I think. Maybe it's even more effective than raising them specifically atheist, because this way they figure it out for themselves.

I really tried to fit in with my pagan friends in college, was involved with them for many years and it's amazing how someone can lie to themselves if they have a reason. What makes covens worse than the usual clique of girls is that they not only stab each other in the back and pick out scapegoats, but they also convince themselves that they're sisters for life, in perfect love and perfect trust, and other incredible bullshit. I was shunned b/c I had a conflict with one of the sacred cows...soon after I realized I'd been living a lie for years and it was like taking off a blindfold. Too many people have a rosy picture of paganism, but I say it's just like Christianity but without the homophobia. The Demon Haunted World was very instrumental in my deconversion.
It's good to point out that deconversion is much easier when one is exposed to the scientific perspective of things. I considered myself an agnostic until I took a biological anthropology class. I had been taught that evolution was unproven and "just a theory" made by evil godless scientists. I took biology in high school and the teacher told us "You don't have to believe any of this if you don't want to, but I still have to teach it." A few years later I took the anthropology class in college, and our professor discussed evolution in detail. It all made perfect sense. Evolution is the change in allele frequency within a population. There's no room for "design". She also made sure to teach us about pseudoscience and creationism from a scientific perspective. In other words, that these are false, invalid, unscientific. It was refreshing to embrace knowledge based on evidence rather than some bogus myth.

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