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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Hah, mine was "Should I take an eye for an eye, or turn the other cheek?"
I doubted religious teachings since I was a small child in christian Sunday school. I remember the teacher talking about our "soul" and how we go about getting into heaven. I asked her if dogs and cats had souls and went to heaven, she said "No". I also questioned her about natives in Africa and they were a no. I asked her how she knew that and don't remember her reply but it was not convincing. I questioned everything and was very skeptical.

However, it was when I went to the university at age 17 and took a course on philosophy which had a segment on world religions that I went "Aha". I have been an agnostic since then - similar to Carl Sagan. I have trouble with the words - I'm probably an atheist, but I don't know exactly how the world I know was created and until I do, I'm an agnostic.

Carolyn
(Psst - call yourself whatever you want, but FYI agnosticism/gnosticism deals with matters of knowledge and atheism/theism deals with areas of belief. So, I'm an agnostic atheist - I don't believe there is a god, and I don't know there is a god. At this point, I'm probably a positive atheist - I believe there is NO god, but not all atheists take things as far.)
While I'm sure many events led up to me be brave enough to ask this question, but what I finally said to myself was 'How can I know the Methodist church is right when there are so many others?'

That led to 'How can I know Christianity is right when there are so many others?'

Which led to applying Occam's Razor before I knew what it was. The simplest solution, was that they are all man made.

I dabbled around in deist type philosophies, but slowly the emotional attachment to having a 'special purpose' faded and I accepted the natural universe for what it is empirically observed to be.
1. you go to hell if you don't worship Jesus
2. god gave us no evidence to chose Jesus over other gods or no god
3. God is loving
(all 3 cant be ture)

and stuff like this
1 Timothy 2:12 (New International Version)

12:I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

also biology class/geology class/ psychology classes/ and reading peter singers books


Also for those of you who doubted as kids, im so impressed by that you people are my hero's.... took me until college to muster up the brain power to see what a sham it all was, its embarrassing
Don't think I ever really bought the Catholic doctrine despite 12 years of nuns and brothers. I gave basically the same confession until I stopped going at around 21...lied twice, swore once.

When I got divorced in the seventies it was still pretty taboo and the church's attitude was that I was either ex-communicated or later that I could never remarry and later that if I did remarry there could be no marital sex because it would be infidelity since I could never be really divorced in the eyes of the church. That's when I started to look at the church with a jaundiced eye and eventually decided that if you don't want me then I don't want you, so fuck off. After that it was easy to pick apart the hypocrasies that they had indoctrinated me with without the built in guilt about questioning any of the church's truths under penalty of eternal punishment. Smoking pot really helped because I was able to look at the church in a cold blooded realistic light without the guilt. That's probably one of the reasons that marijuanna will never be legalized. Both the government and the world's religions know that even though it is not really a gateway drug to other drugs it can lead people to question their beliefs. Worked for me obviously.
Yeah, it took me till college as well. But its nothing to be ashamed of, religion has an extremely emotional hold over humans. Especially since my parents are some of the most religious out there(Texas fundies), there really wasn't a chance that I would have ever doubted while still in their house.
I feel like you do about the early-atheists, but then I remember HOW brainwashed I was. Even within my *own* christian fundamentalist family, I was chosen for special extra indoctrination over my siblings. My brain was more myth than reality, and it made life scary and painful. It's hard to make rational decisions or look at things critically under those conditions. College got you physically away from church, family, and indoctrination long enough to think things through, and also exposed you to bookoo knowledge. Glad it worked then.

I met a guy online the other day - he's 70 and just became an atheist this summer!
In my High School priests were effeminates(Jesuits),only favoured the rich,and there was lots of gays around them.Compared to the school I was before ,that had girls,the Jesuit School was abnormal.
I never really cared. Then I went to religious ed (and I'm still forced to cause my mom doesn't know I'm atheist) and they were talking about praying before you sleep. Well, I prayed nightly for about a month, then I realized that my prayers were half-hearted. Then my cousin started being open about atheism and I just noticed, "Hey, I don't give a shit about god either!"

Well I tried to be openish about it at school. Told it to a friend and he became all super-Christian on me. Everytime I prove him wrong in ANYTHING he just yells, "Shut up you atheist bastard, you'll go to hell" or something similar. Now I try to hide my atheism because of zealots like him.
That guys not a friend anymore, right?
I'm pretty sure I was born atheist. When I was little, I'd ask lots of questions of my Sunday school teachers and, when given bullshit, my chances of believing went from 1 in 100 to -1 in 100. The first major defining moment for me was when I was 11, when the Harry Potter series was met with intense Christian resistance. My Sunday School teachers forced my class to watch this hour-long propaganda film about how the series was a work of the devil in an illustrious attempt to lure children. Even then...I realized how crazy the people sounded. The next week I bought a book written by a priest about how, really, Harry Potter is a great example for Christianity in understanding morality. I tried giving this book to my teachers.

They rejected the book, and refused to even touch it on the grounds that looking at the words of evil would be blasphemous. And then proceeded to chastise me for presenting another viewpoint.

My final confirmation literally came with...confirmation. My parents pressured me - and I tricked myself - into joining my mum's baptist church at 13. After officially joining/enrolling in pre-baptism classes, I went home and cried my eyes out. My parents thought I was happy; I later realized I was crying out of sheer sorrow because it felt entirely wrong, and would be crying again during and after my baptism. Little did my pastor know that the baptism worked in reverse - it solidified my atheism rather than pull me into the "fold." I also looked at other religions and realized they were practically the same message in different manifestations. And even way back then (ha, I'm 19, it's not THAT way back) I was NOT cool with how women are viewed in general religion - no one could tell me why both men and women couldn't be equal, and no one could produce biblical evidence against homosexuality or interracial dating.

Sometimes, religion does us as atheists a favour in pointing out the contradictions and bullshit FOR us.

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