As weird as it is, I think it was the attitude of my former "fellow" Christians that started me on the road to doubt. Even though I've got a bachelors in Physics and have generally held a belief in evolution and big bang cosmology for most of the believing stage of my life, it really wasn't science that brought up questions(cognitive dissonance at its best). I think I've always generally never had a connection with anyone in any church I had ever attended. Mainly since most Christians, especially in the south, are non-intellectuals. But I think it really started when I began listening to extreme metal. I couldn't understand how anyone could look down on something that I loved so much and felt so natural to listen to. I can't tell you how many people have told me that its "the devils music"(even though most of the lyrics are socio-political).

Of course later on I did my research and discovered how ridiculous my former beliefs were. So who or what started you on your path to disbelief?

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If could pin point the moment I started to question it was when I first saw that image of a starved African child with a distended belly and a vulture watching it.

I could not stop from asking, 'How could a loving god allow this?'

When I read the bible looking for an answer I found that not only did God allow it, but he even caused it and other horrible things to happen to children. From there it was a long painful spiral to rejecting the whole of religion -- all religion.

I share your contempt of the 'rapture' story. How could a loving god not only allow his creations, whom he supposedly loves, fall victim to a pit of endless suffering -- AND create that pit for them. It just doesn't make any fucking sense. God cannot be both vengeful and benevolent as the Book of Revelation tries to argue.
Your free will comment made me remember this(I think there's two more parts):
I started with something simular I ask that with a ALL-Knowning God that knows past, present and furture, then why should he judge us when we die for god knows what we would have already done. and i did not accept the free-will.

that was my start on becomeing atheist
For me it was listening to a woman give a talk to the whole congregation in church about how an underage, young woman tempted her father to have sex with her because she wore immodest clothing and so it was really at least partially her fault that he had sex with her. Now, technically speaking, that doesn't necessarily disprove their version of God, but it sure got me taking their claims seriously.
Whoa, that's really horrible. For someone reason, I think women rape-apologists are worse than men; maybe I expect as women for them to understand what it's like to be physically weaker and aggressively pursued by someone (in the case of this girl, by someone who had legal and financial control over her). Glad it sounded immoral to you.
Internalized sexism is pretty sad.
For me, it was a lot of things that happened at once.

A teenage friend of mine got pregnant and married the father and set aside her hopes of going to college. I couldn't help but think that if that was what God wanted, he was a big bastard.

I started watching Discovery Health programs about intersexuality and birth defects of various kinds. My dad often says that when I was a kid I'd go around saying, "God don't make no junk," and here I was seeing things about children born with half a brain and dying within hours of birth. What kind of point was God trying to make there?

Hurricane Katrina happened. What sort of "loving" God would do that to his creation?

Finally I just got tired of hearing people say "God has a plan" and decided NO. God did not have a plan, and if he did, it was a really badly executed one.
The usual response I get to that is "sin caused nature to fall". According to that idea then, wouldn't there be a correlation between how bad someone is and how sick or deformed someone is? And wouldn't there be no illness in children until they have had a chance to do a little sin here and there? It seems rather unfair that this sin-sickness would affect people indiscriminantly......
Yeah, those thoughts went through my mind too. Besides, as far as I know, it was only humans who actually did the so-called "sinning," so how did the rest of creation get wrapped up in it too?? Just makes no sense.
But then you get into the truly evil Biblical doctrine of generational curses. A friend of mine had two daughters born with brain cancer; one is in remission and the other has died. Sadly, my friend blames herself, and says that god is punishing her for getting pregnant at 15 with her oldest, and that that's why he killed her baby girl and let both her daughters suffer so much physical pain. It's heartbreaking.
I grew up as a catholic and was forced to take confession at 8 years of age. I remember thinking 'why do I have to do this?' and trying so hard to think of things I thought I did wrong. I think I ended up confessing something along the lines of 'I was mean to my mum because I didn't put my things away when she told me...'

But to clarify the point I'm making, I don't think religion cares how old someone is in order to label them sinful. The act of baptism is a cleansing of baby before introducing them into the family of Christ. Now that's pretty messed up cos I don't see what a newborn baby needs to be particularly cleansed of.
It's funny how people pick and choose when 'God has a plan' - sometimes all they can say is 'God is with you'. I find that's said in the exceptionally bad cases where even the religious cannot see that their all powerful saviour would be following a game plan.


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