Sorry if this has been asked before. i was raised in a christian home (Still kinda am) and i became atheist at the age of 16. i had been a christian since i was born (not technically) but when i was 14 in 2009 my granny died suddenly. i prayed all day hoping that "god" would save her. but that didn't happen so about (insert day/month) after that happened i started searching online for the truth about "god" and came across a few things that challenged my religious beliefs so i become an agnostic cause i didn't know what to actually believe. when i was 16 i discovered Dawkins witch turned me into a complete atheist.
if that was hard to read i apologize.
About 33 years ago I went from a catholic school to a public school before the 6th grade started. I heard more god-speak and saw worse behavior after the change of schools. At that point, I decided that I didn't like people in general (mostly the stupid ones) and that god was total bull$#!t (after hearing the word GOD much more than one too many times from the afore mentioned mouths). Atheism was a great way to disassociate my self from the people that I wouldn't like. This is still a great tool which has motivated me to be way to open for every one else's comfort. Once the spell was broken, it didn't take too long to realize how ridiculous my beliefs were. I have since analyzed more closely my motives and tried to make decisions that wouldn't cause harm unnecessarily (not always successful on this one).
I didn't experience much of a loss over my faith in a deity. I did experienced a greater loss by loosing my faith "that almost all people are generally good". This is hardly the case. It has taken much time to come to terms that most people are so, but many are not. And, it has taken even longer to figure that "good" is only relatively defined.
I don't ever recall actually believing in the existence of the magic sky guy. When my parents informed me that they had lied about Santa Claus they were about 2 years late; but, I still participated in the myth of the fat elf for largely greedy motives (OK completely greedy) . God was just another Santa Claus story (without the presents)
My father was a closet Atheist and never discussed religion. He maintained his occupancy in the closet to keep the peace in his 1st generation very Italian and very large Catholic family. My mother saw church as a social event and was pretty iffy on the rest.
When I was a kid my grandmother (who was very Christian) had successfully made me believe in God. I later told my father that I believed in God. He then said: "That's all right. I don't believe in God myself, though". I then realized that it was not necessary to believe in God. So then I stopped believing and didn't give it any more thought.
However, when I was around 10 me and friend buried a lemming and I had a small relapse as we said a prayer expecting something magical to happen in the sky, but that's it. :)
I was 15 when I first used the word "atheist" after having been raised in a very Christian environment. This was after I had struggled my way through several realizations over the previous 3 years. These realizations were roughly:
1. I didn't like going to church
2. The people in my church were very close-minded, especially when it came to homosexuality
3. Science made a whole lot of sense
4. God didn't protect me from bad things happening to me; in fact, lots of bad things happened to innocent people all the time
5. I just didn't believe any of it anymore
However, the reaction I received to using the word "atheist" in my small, conservative town scared me back into the closet for a while. I then went through phases of describing myself as "agnostic", "searching", "neo-pagan", "Buddhist" and "Taoist" before I finally reverted to plain old "atheist" in my early 20s. Yes, Dawkins helped quite a bit with that, though I still retain a fondness for Buddhist and Taoist philosophy.
it happened I think 6 years ago, though I'm not quite sure. 6 years ago I moved to another state and therefore stopped going to church. However, even then, going to church, I had my doubts. I wasn't a die-hard Christian. nor were my family.
I started questioning the existence of God and religion itself more and more. Soon, I stopped believing in God completely and now I think religion is complete nonsense.
I like this reply. I think I was born programmed to become an atheist because I was born with insatiable curiosity. I wanted to know the why to everything and I drove my family crazy questioning everything. "Curiosity killed the cat," you know. I still would like to know everything there is to know before I die which is impossible, of course, but definitely a challenge. We went to church just because everyone else did and to fit in, I guess. I never heard my grandparents, aunts or uncles, parents, brothers, sisters or friends speak of anything religious, read the bible, pray, nothing. From an early age religion never made sense to me. When I pretended to pray, no one replied. I liked fairy tales but I definitely knew they were not true. I can't recall the actual day I realized I was an atheist. It was just sort of always there in the back of my mind. I really have no choice so don't tell me what I "ought" to believe.
Indeed, we are all born atheists. I was hoping someone would point that out.
So, the question is pretty easily answered. So easily, that if one thinks for a moment, it becomes evident that the question need not be asked.
I announced to my parents that I was an atheist at age 16 and was heavily influenced by Bertrand Russell's book "Why I am Not a Christian". I first remember questioning religious education in grade 5 in public school and being told by my father not to ask those sorts of questions. My parents had me go to church and I had no idea they were atheists. Evan at 16 my impression was they were religious and I was an atheist because my dad cautioned me about being public with my opinions. Of course he went on to contradict his own advice.
When I was out of the house in my twenties my father got embroiled in a huge debate with a religious group "Halton Renaissance Committee" that wanted to turn the clock back on education. I never realized the extent of it until he passed away and I received all the letters in the newspaper. The local Oakville papers printed my dad's lengthy atheist arguments and several lengthy religious replies. There must be about 50 of these types of letters in the collection. That is great that local papers facilitated that type of debate in the 1970's. I can't see that happening today. Some of the letter headlines are "Reader Prays for Pangborn", "Pangborn Defends Himself", "She's Sick of Reading Atheist's Views".
My favorite letter in the local paper was from someone who opened up the national paper "The Toronto Star" and saw a letter from my dad on atheism. He complained in the local paper that "After having read only one sentence of a letter to the editor in a recent edition of the Toronto Star, I was able to identify it's author ... another put down of religion ... our eminent local atheist, A. L. Pangborn."
To this day I can't get over how my parents fooled me - they never indoctrinated me to be an atheist. They exposed me to religious mumbo jumbo by sending me to church. I really thought I was rebelling against their beliefs - although in retrospect they never talked positively about religion.
Around 14. Brought up catholic and my mother objected strongly to my not wanting to attend church. Became totally free of the church at 21 when I married and moved away.
I was raised as a muslim and at about the age of 14-15 i was very religious at 17 the scientific method made me agnostic and when i was reading the qur'an it stated that god's religion was islam and any one who is not a muslim is going to burn in hell and i told myself that even christians think they are the right ones. In the koran it is stated that God created life and death to test you for your good deeds. but this test is limited and the torture is unlimitted, then i asked myself why for this life?. And I have seen that all religions are against scientific advancement, advocating homophobia, the treatment of women,honor killing, stoning for adultery I also read the book The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking no need for a god or any higher power for all of this.
I may be the slowest person ever to figure it out. By 10 or 12 I decided there was no hell; it didn't make sense. Traditional heaven came next; nobody could make it sound appealing. But I was on a church board 40 years after that. Finally, approaching 60, I heard "If god did not exist man would be compelled to invent him" and I snapped: That's what really happened! (One son had it by fourteen, maybe sooner; a grandson with a religious mother got it by 11.)