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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The use of "convert" to describe becoming an atheist also bothered me. But that got me thinking -- is the reason I would shun such a word some kind of defensiveness? All atheists, to one degree or another, have had to put up with believers and the ways they try to meddle, and while I don't hide my atheism, I also don't bring up the topic. I'll answer honestly if directly asked, but I don't go looking for that conversation. It just isn't fun for me anymore. Perhaps this makes me a bad atheist? Perhaps it would be better if rather than being reserved, I was much more gregarious about it. That can backfire though .... I just don't know. But I'm uncomfortable with how I'm uncomfortable with the word "convert" now.

As for the original question and my own enlightenment, it just happened all on its own around age 16, as naturally as breathing. I just noticed one day that I did not believe in any gods. Of course, my family was not terribly religious -- or at least not in any traditional sense. My dad was actually constantly interested in various faiths (even Pentacostal one year when I was 6 or 7 -- I kept bringing in fir branches to make up for our missing Christmas tree), but he ping ponged between versions of christianity and a number of alternative mystical belief systems. My mom was a non-practicing jew who kinda played along. Anyway, religion in my upbringing was totally random, and after awhile, the variations all started to look silly. I still like christmas trees though. ;-)
i dont know exactly when i became an atheist . although its all pretty recent . First time i called myself an athiest to another person was at work only a couple of months ago when i was asked if i believed in a god .i said it was weird to label myself as an athiest . but the more i research about atheism and religion the more i relate.
i come from a muslim background. from saudi arabia none the less. so i was taught since childhood to fear god in school. and was taught the code of morality ( what deeds i have to preform in order to gain his apporval) pray, fast..etc i used to fast as a kid , never so much on the praying...but then i quit when i was around 17-18 ..i didnt have the will power to do it since i picked up smoking. and always considered myself as a bad muslim, a rebel if you will .

i met a couple of norwegians while i was living in norway and we had a drunken debate about evolving from monkeys , that was the first time i considered the alternative. i didnt giveit much thought later , only last year as i went back to visit my mother in norway did i have a talk with the same coulple about richard dawkins book the God delusion. and they asked me how i approached the subject of having a religious family . they had become anti religious after reading his book . turns out i had purchased that book just before i moved back to saudi arabia but had left it in my room unread in norway . so when i got home that night i checked my desk and there it was. i took it home with me to SA and have become a fan of his since then. im still adjusting my position on being surrounded by believers, friends and family. so far my apporach has been not to approach. but i leave hints here and there because i just cant help it :) i dont wanna turn out to feel suffocated by religion. id rather learn about it and the only way i can do it with interest is if i feel free in my own beliefs or shall i say lack of them.

thats the short version of my story
Thats great, and i can absolutely relate to the "family of believers" dilemma. I finally let it slip to my mother (via facebook) and have since been slightly ostracized from my very Christian family. Learning about religion is much easier as an Atheist i think :)
I was raised a (lazy) Baptist, who just happened to be reasonably smart and loved to read books (already I'm on the path to heathenism). Around 11 or so, I decided that I wanted to try a religion not so...man-friendly, for lack of a better word. So, I studied Wicca (among other Neo-Pagan religions) for about 5 years (though I could probably be described as a deistic pagan at this point, no worshiping gods/goddesses for me, but I didn't necessarily discount them either).

Fast forward to 16, and I decide to try the non-denominational Christian thing, even got baptized, but found I (of course) didn't like the oppressive nature (of women, thinking, etc), they're obvious picking and choosing what to believe, and bad singing. So after baptism, I pretty much dropped the whole bit, and opted to use the church (albeit an outwardly nice church) as a means (my only means, due to my small town in Texas location) to socialize with my peers.

Finally got away from the town, got to college (my de-conversion almost complete), and I get a mass email from what is to be the founders of SHAA (Sam Houston Atheist Alliance), and realize...there's a name for what I am...Atheist! Freethinker! Wham bam thank you ma'am, I'm out of the closet (called the mom after a few days of thinking), and the rest is history. =)
Right on! I love that bad singing had a hand in your choice as well haha, this is likely more the case than most of us former-Christian Atheists will admit :)
There is something to be said in following churches with good singers...Perhaps someone should look into that further.
Heh I was readying your reply and take out the Baptist, switch it to Lutheran and I did the Wicca stage, until i was about 13-14 I think, and instead of going non-denominational i deconvereted then to atheism.

College has helped a lot with affirming and being confident in what I believe in, and oddly enough I read a lot about people reaching Dawkings book, but I've never touched it. Although when discussions at campus come up they all assume I have >./body>
I was christian by default. Everyone around me was xtian, so i said "I'm a christian". When i went through a rough patch, i started praying before bed. One day out of the blue, i asked myself "what's going to happen if i don't pray?", so i tried it. I wasn't struck by lightning, and my life started to clear up, and i just realized that life marches on no matter what. After questioning everything i thought i believed, i started to really dig into it, and like someone else mentioned, it was so much more interesting than the religious babble. There was no turning back. I did lose friends and some extended family think i'm a bum, but they can just simmer in it. At family gatherings, they keep expecting a train wreck when they see me, and my revenge is to show them that i'm doing just fine and i'm happy. It confuses them, so they just don't speak to me anymore.
They don't speak to you anymore? Thats weak man, people show their true colours at times like this..
I wouldn't say that I converted to atheism, more like I woke up and started thinking for myself. I was raised christian in the south (a.k.a. the bible belt) but I never really believed any of it and a lot of it just never made any sense to me. Even as a kid, the things about talking snakes and a man living in a whale just seemed off. For a while I tried to mend logic with the bible but that only works if you know very little about the bible or the world, I was just kidding myself.

Richard Dawkins is absolutely brilliant. I'm about half way through The God Delusion now and it's hard to put it down, if you haven't read it you need to. I knew the basics of Darwinism before but he explains it so well, even explaining theories of how religion came into being because of it. He is my new found hero as well.
I actually just finished it! Dawkins is the man! I'm pretty damn impressed you saw through the whole "jonah and the whale" story as a child, I was a daft little bloke when I was a boy.
Hi Adam, I'm new here too (been here a day) but I never converted to atheism because I was never anything else so it is really interesting to read all of these amazing conversion stories on this site. I still remember when I was six years old (this was 1967), I was escorted home from the local Presbyterian Church Sunday school class by the local Minister after only the second week. He was not happy. My mother came to the door and he pushed me towards her and just said "Don't send him back!". Apparently I asked too many really really good questions. Please continue your science studies. I don't know what field of science you are into but I would suggest you read some paleontology - gives you a great sense of your place in time and space (and will help support some of your reading of Dawkins).

Would love to hear more of your story.

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