I think the first doubts crept in during the 8th grade. I failed catechism. The group met on wednesday nights at this man's house, and it was torture for me. I didn't see the point. One wednesday, i walked into his house and forgot that it was exam day at the church. His daughter screamed, and thought i was a burglar. He told me about the exam. I went there on my bike, and was late. The test givers were pissed and put me at the edge of the room near entrance. I failed the test, and remember not being scared. What will happen if I fail catechism? I didn't get kicked out of my public school, and god didn't reprimand me. So what's the big freakin deal here? I started thinking that i can do what i want and nothing will happen.
This will sound strange, but one of the first things that got me started on the road to skepticism was an ongoing online conversation I was having with a nutjob who thought the writings of a (relatively) recently deceased minister were divinely inspired and had actually superceded the Bible, being inspired by God in English without the complication of poor translations, interpolations, etc. His arguments for his position echoed my arguments for the divine inspiration of the Bible. I was able to show he was wrong by pointing out indisputable errors and falsehoods in the supposedly God-breathed writing of his minister idol, but in the back of my head I knew that I was also proving the Bible did not live up to the standard of divine inspiration that I held it to.
I ended up rationalizing my position by changing my definition of divine inspiration, allowing for the errors and opinions of man to creep into the writing.
Took a lot more time to work my way through the rest.
i'm getting my bachelors in physics in jul'13 too!!! YAY!!! finally! after 3 yrs..painful, but tastefully satisfying =D!
hmm...was a christian as far back as i can rmb(parents->sunday school and all)....but since i was 12 i always had the scratching "this doesn't seem to make much sense" at the back of mind. After much thinking through, i realise, even in the smallest remotest chance it's true, i'm better off believing this is just how the world is alrdy.
what i tot of really only 2 things(which well, could be me deluding myself): if there was no objective good, no such thing as sin, no need for a divine judge. (no evidence of utopia in the future also, so maybe i think the world is already in some sort of equilibrium, it's already in an ideal state...yes murder is not nice, and it's great when we see some kid gives his seat up to an old lady.....but to "believe" that everyone would behave/think like that in the future,when there's no evidence of such a utopia...i just cannot. (doesn't mean i see the world as dark & gloomy, still alot of great nice things here....like physics T_T)
the chaos needed in order to make a planet, some planetesimals also dun make it...just seem like redundant steps, why not just "poof" a planet straight. not thru evolution and everything. just "poof" a human.
yup, that's just what i think, i do accept there might be loopholes in my beliefs, and they may be just irrational. *shrugs*
I started my doubts at a very young age, attending Sunday school and listening to the stuff that they taught us and the little Christian type storybooks we were given to read. Mostly little fantasy books about Jesus, which I thought at the time were quite lame. This was at the age of 8. I sort of went along with it and half believed for most of my early life, up till my teens where I had to choose, when I was sent to a religion based boarding school where attending church and studying the Bible was mandatory. I passed my final year and went to college to study electronics, but ended up doing Information Science.
By then I was also smoking and wanted to give up so I joined a pentecostal Christian group with the belief that the holy spirit would assist in my giving up smoking. Though I found most of the members were frauds, even those who professed to giving up smoking with the help of their lord. I learnt this from their children who described them smoking indoors to avoid being seen (poor children) and running around with the air freshener afterwards in case of visitors. At the same time I was attending our university library where I studied the Koran and books on religious history as well as philosophy such as Voltaire's work. I also lived in a house with 2 Muslims, a Taoist (trainee monk) and a Buddhist. All of which had open theological/philosophical discussions. We got on perfectly, despite our differences and shared the good points of each person's belief system. I particularly enjoyed their different foods and we ignored those customs or rituals that weren't to our liking.
I played a little sting on the tongue speaking pentecostal church and proved the entire establishment as fraudulent.
This ended any chance of my ever being a believer in Christianity or any other religion for that matter.
ohh? what sting? :)
Just a personal sting, because they were stupid enough to have a minister that claims to have the holy gift of tongue interpretation. They have canned that role since, since it leaves them open to such stings as I used. At the time I was essentially a street urchin, no job, no money and nowhere to live. It was a student region so I simply visited student parties and lived on the finger food. I told friends of the minister with the gift of tongue interpretation some lies like that I had just been given a job, scored a girlfriend and found a place to live. Something a truthful holy spirit wouldn't really be thanking any god for. Thus I knew he would hear these when enquiring about my movements. I also fabricated my tongue speak to include fruit, the 'f' & 'c' swear words so I knew I was not actually tongue speaking. It came my turn in church to speak in tongues so I swore my head off, lost count of the 'f's and 'c's, but others didn't detect them, because it sounded just like tongue speaking. To which the minister interpreted my so called personal words to god as I expected: Thank you oh lord for finding me a job, place to live and a nice girlfriend'.
All phony, the tongue speaking and the so called holy gift of interpretation.
The entire organization is thus, just a fraudulent money making organization that request us to pay 10% of our income for fake rot!
Those Pentecostals that were still smoking are "really trying to quit" but their spirit wasn't "holy" enough. Some of them go trough most of their life that way because they don't want to deny the power of "der holly giest."
I quit smoking 14 years ago and the "power" to do so was will. Not willpower, but my WILL. After 35 years of smoking it was the best thing I ever did for myself.
I might add that my now deceased mother always believed that I smoked secretly because that "justified and enabled" my stepfather who never could quit. This secret smoking was something they did between each other while they were going to church. "Oh, thank Jebus."
I grew up in a household that was lukewarm on religion. My parents believed, but didn't regularly attend church. I always figured it must be true, but thought regular church attendance wasn't neccessary. Years later I met a girl who was very religious and fell in love (I'm still married to her 24 years later). I began attending church with her soon after we started dating. Although much of the bible didn't make a lot of sense and often seemed contradictory, I was willing to set my intellect aside and "believe". After we were married, we moved around quite a bit for my job and attended quite a few other churches. They were always eager to use my natural leadership skills to help spread the word of god and his good works. I became a lay minister, a sunday school teacher and a youth leader. Then one sunday, a good friend of mine invited me to attend a 6 week sunday school series that he would be teaching. He assured me it would be a life changing event. Since I knew this man to be well educated and very intelligent, I agreed immediately. I can't imagine what my face must have looked like when he began teaching "Intelligent Design". Although I wasn't well educated in science, I had always been interested, especially in anthropology. I couldn't believe the things he was saying, but I didn't have to knowledge or the sources to refute anything he said. So I began researching and studying. My original intent was only to disprove I.D. I was still willing to believe there was a god in heaven who made us and cared for us. The problem is, once you start thinking critically, you must examine everything in that light. It didn't take long before I realized there was no evidence supporting any supernatural beings. Science can't explain everything, but I think it eventually will. Anyway, I have slowly lost faith in faith, and am now cautiously coming out of the religious closet. I am slowly bringing my wife and family around to the fact that I no longer believe.
My father ceased to exist (a.k.a. died) when I was five years of age.
The, so-called, adults told me, "God needed your father in heaven."
The All-Powerfull God NEEDED my father in heaven MORE than lill' Tor needed him on Earth.
I went to a private Catholic School for 12 years. In High school, we got more in dept with the study of religion but none of the reasons for positions were based on evidence. Many of my teachers/priests would form different opinions based on the same passage from the bible and everyone emphasized faith without providing evidence. So I suppose you could say studying my religion is what drove me from it. I also was forced to go to a teen-religious group weekly and people there excelled at picking and choosing lines from scripture to apply to their faith while ignoring other lines that didn't fit their view of their religion.
That being said, I got a great education, all of the priests/nuns were decent people, and I have friends who kept their faith through highschool and some who like me chose to leave it.
Bachelor of Theology from Multnomah, missionary in Europe, evangelical for 46 years: it all ended 4 years ago when thinking about the logic of Hell and how it relates to an all-loving God, started frying the circuits in my brain. Before my brain became toast, I threw my faith overboard, and thankfully my head was restored to it's normal functioning. And since there was no hell, there couldn't really be a heaven either, and thus no Personal God or Savior you needed to save you to or from either. I've been set free, HALLELUJAH!!!