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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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."

HUH?!?! WHAAAA?!?!?

The All-Powerfull God NEEDED my father in heaven MORE than lill' Tor needed him on Earth.

NO WAY!

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!!!

My mom was the secretary to the archbishop in New Orleans. So I was babysat by a nun and a priest. They fell in love babysitting for me and my sis. They both left their frocks behind and got married. The first time I saw them in their civvies I was taken aback by the no collar and habit. I said let's go to church and celebrate. That's when they told me they had been excommunicated for falling in love and getting married. I was 6, confused and angry, and I stated out loud, "that's not right?!?" Is it? I was told the truth and I saw through the lie of religion clearly. "These rules are made by man, right?" They stated yes. I stated, "a loving god wouldn't punish people for love." They laughed. Seed of doubt was firmly planted that day. Dogma was man made and I didn't trust man anymore.

Etienne, I don't read novels but your experience certainly does suggest one. I wish you well.

I have doubted the existence of God for most of my life even as a child. I was born handicapped and that just didn't seem to agree with the idea of a good God (reminds me of a poster I saw that said, "Intelligent design ? Tell that to all the children born with mental and physical handicaps"). I had my religious period in my teens, but it was not long lived. Over the years I've studied and researched the matter, and today I am a strong atheist. I never entertain the idea that any god(s) might possibly exist.

Anthony, you wrote "I never entertain the idea that any god(s) might possibly exist."

In this discussion you've entertained the idea at considerable length.

I can honestly say I have no idea. My mom is a rather pragmatic Catholic, she never told me what to believe...she just said I had to go to church until I was confirmed, so with that and some instances at church had the most influence. Then just not going to Church for a long time loosened whatever ties I still had to the Church, though I still identified as a Catholic for the longest time because..well.. everyone belongs to a Church, right? 
Then I made a friend, and her husband is an outspoken Atheist. I mentioned Intelligent Design and he would have a rebuttal, one time I picked up and read part of Carl Sagans book. And I stopped thinking about religion, I just didn't worry about it. I felt it was just appropriate to speak out against bad things, no matter what shield it hides under. God was just a figment of the mind. So then I found out what the word Atheist meant, and took that title. So, yeah.

My children found GOD to be merciful, honest and caring.

Yes, 'Good Old Dad' has always been there for them!

It was because of Sister Angela from Ireland who was my teacher in 4th class at the age of 10 years. Sometimes when I was naughty she would belt me on the bum and legs with her leather strap but when I was good she was nice to me.One day in class I was sitting at my desk with my catechism open and Sister Angela said that we would go to hell if we did not attend mass at least every Sunday and holy days of obligation. This scared me at first because I had already heard of the eternal fires of hell, I thought I might have to attend mass every day to make sure of my salvation. However, thereafter I thought about what Sister Angela said critically and I began to doubt it's truth.I was an agnostic child and if Jesus was real then I was cool with him anyway but I was concerned about getting 'stiffies' in class especially if Sister Angela told me to stand and come to the front of the class.

Damn, Napoleon! If Sister Emile, who I had for 8th grade, looked anything like Sister Angela, I might have stuck with it. Unfortunately, Sister Emile looked more like a decrepit version of Batman's mother. And just as freaking mean!

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