Title pretty much says it all, but I became one because:
-Catholicism's ideology just didn't make sense
-I had some major issues with their core beliefs
-my Confirmation program at my church made me really think about what I was believing
-I just don't think that this God that I was brought up with exists.
-My mom constantly imposing on me made me realize that a life with religion was not a life I wanted to live at all
-I believe man created God, not the other way around.

I am interested in your experiences :) so do tell!

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At 9 I was told that speaking Latin over crackers and wine literally transformed it into a 2,000 year old Jewish man. From then on I wrestled with constant doubt. As a teenager I read the bible, and that only made my doubt even greater. When I moved out on my own at 18 I started reading a lot about other religions. They all still seemed to be complete bunk (although Buddhism had some good points to it). The more I read and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn't really believe in a god. After reading Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris and Stenger, it made more sense to not believe.
Rebecca and Brian: I actually agree with you both. None of it just made any sense and I always had my doubts as a young kid. It was only now that I really looked into it and just kinda fell out of it from there. I am a lot happier with myself now.
Can't remember a time when I did believe in God.
I see. I think it's actually better that people are raised without a religion and are allowed to explore different views and choose whatever suits them best. It also enables them to think rationally, analytically, and logically.
I didn't know which religion I belonged to till I went to school.

In kindergarten, I met another 4 yr old who told me Christianity was the only true religion and all other religions were false, etc etc
So I went back home and asked my dad if we were christians. He said he wasn't, and instead of telling me what I was, just asked me to ask that christian kid where God came from - since everything was created, why stop asking that who-created-this question at God?

I didn't have an answer to that question - and upon a little more reflection decided there couldn't be a God. When I asked the christian kid, he had no answer. I became a heathen in Kindergarten. :-)

Despite being sure there was no God, I preferred not to publicize it and be respectful towards my more religious classmates till an incident occurred when I was 10. I remember a teacher asking the entire class "Is there any fool in here who believes there is no God?" I did not raise my hand, and no one else did either. My cowardice was something I was very ashamed of - and I vowed I'd never hide my stance on such topics in the future, and I've kept that vow :-)
Cheers
Good for you, Ashish!
My parents were neutral, neither for or against. We never went to a church and none of my extended family are religious.

When I was about 6 or 7 kids at school were saying they were this or that type of christian. I remember, clearly for some reason, asking my mom "what religion are we?" She said "that's for you to decide". Around the same time I somehow heard the verse about the angels at the four corners of the earth and thought that was obviously wrong. That was it, I ignored it from then on.

When I was about 9 a minister came to our school. He gave a talk in the gym about the virtues of the new testament and took questions when he was was done. Me, being completely naive, asked "what was wrong with the old testament?" I assumed the "new' testament was somehow an improvement on the old. As far as I knew he could have wrote the new testament that morning before his talk. He got rather unexpectedly upset (unexpected by me anyway) and I got hauled down to the office. My mother was called in I suppose to, as they may have thought, straighten me out. I couldn't hear it but through the window in the office I watched my mother tear a strip off of the minister.

I never gave religion another thought, accept for the occasional eye rolling, until 9/11. Since then I've been actively pushing back against this nonsense before it kills us all.
1)The theory of evolution by natural selection (I just cant give credits to a god,who is supposedly a loving one and lets life to develope by such a cruel way)

2)Problem of evil

3)I think that the idea of god(and religion) is a product of evolution

4)Richard Dawkins,Christopher Hitchens and so on...

5)Nature is full of examples that it is unintelligently designed.
My bullshit detector was set pretty high and even though I attended Sunday School for eight years (from age 4 to 12) I just could not believe the ratbag stories they told me - Jesus walked on water? Impossible! End of story.

On my very first day of Sunday School (at age four) I couldn't get my head around the idea that angels were flitting about all over the place 2,000 years ago, but these days we never get to see them. I kept on asking why, until the teacher told me to be quiet --- and then I knew: There was no answer, the story was bullshit.

Just to get things into perspective, I didn't believe any of the regular fairytales either. Houses made of Gingerbread? What load of codswallop.

I did, however, believe in both Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy - but I had solid evidence for those characters - all those coins under my pillow and all those presents under the tree. Who else could have put them there?
This is my first forum post, let's pray (::crickets::) I do well. Very interesting reading about many of your experiences. I have to go back and finish reading a few posts but it brings such great insight on how similar and how different people come to a realization.

For me, I think back wondering if I ever truly believed in God or similar. I was brought up in a Jewish family. Not super religious but traditional. There are and were others in my family who followed more closely and conservatively. Most of these were on my Mother's side of the family. On my Father's side, there had been some who became more involved in Judaism as years went on but growing up, it was few, if any.

As I grew up, I went with it all. Both my older siblings had their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Holidays were spent either at Temple or at a family members' home. I also had my Bar Mitzvah at 13 but never looked to further my religious studies after that. In the end, I never gave much thought of the relevance of God. It was taught to me, I accepted it as is. No questions, no concerns. One thing which I did abhor that might have lead to my further thinking or maybe simply my disgust with people in general was when I had gone to religious school (Hebrew School). It seemed cliquey. There was favoritism from the teachers to students. To the families and higher ups. I did what I needed to do and moved on. Did this make me not believe in God? Likely not, but it at least detached me.

So - how did I come to where I am now? As I mentioned earlier, I never gave too much thought to the idea of God. I simply accepted it in the back of my head and questioned little after. I heard the biblical stories but never placed them as real. As years went on, it all seemed... Unrealistic. Antiquated. An imaginary being, which is not the same imaginary being which religion B and religion C believe, started a perfect world. It didn't compute. The "word" was infallible yet can be competed against with countless pieces of scientific knowledge. You have multiple religions and belief systems which came and went in time. Many too were before the Abrahamic religions were even in motion. So, now, we have a group of religions which internally fight with another yet ultimately are to believe one end idea. Once again, this does not factor evenly into my train of thought.

So, beyond this bit of an essay, what made me not believe? It is unrealistic. Simple as that. Is it because I think religions are bad? I'm not quite sure I subscribe to that entirely or use it as the sole reason which I have found many do. Do I abandon my culture of thousands of years because of this? No, this is where my family has come from. I merely see it as respecting thousands of years of tradition. I am not attending any religious services anytime soon but I do wish to learn more about where my people had come from and educate my children similarly. Even if my cultural history was based upon an idea of a deity. It is interesting even if I walk with the knowledge it wasn't ever real.

Does my family know my thoughts? Some, not all. Can I openly express them. Probably not. Does this bother me? It can from time to time when some use religion as a reason to degrade another person or culture. For example, at a particular family get together a comment was made about Muslims by one of the more conservative members of my family. It took me a very strong love for my Mother (and perhaps selfishly the hope when the time comes to get married I can still receive a lovely gift from these people) to not want to yell out in the middle of holiday dinner to these non-immediate family members that "NONE OF IT IS REAL! WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS! GET OVER YOURSELVES!". Outside of that, I try to respect what others believe. I am still attempting find out the best way to ask "why" they believe. It is a curiosity to me.

Thank you for listening. I tend to write a lot and tried to summarize as best as possible and am sure I am leaving out some pieces which any are feel free to ask if you want to inquire more. I likely will pick some of your guys' brains as well.

Thanks!
Well i'm sure my story isn't special really in any way, but I suppose, i'm in the mood to go into details. Please forgive its length.

Even as a child, i never really cared much for religion, of-course there were the ages below 10 where I pretty much took my parents opinion on everything.
For example the night I was so called "saved" I was probably around the age of 7 or 8 and i went to mom's room crying "Oh what's wrong honey? nightmare? Thats the devil's work if you ask Jesus into you're heart he'll make them go away". Needless to say i believed this since my mom said it was true. Of-course, i still had nightmares from time to time, but its not something I'd notice right away, I rarely dream.
Even though that may have been the beginning of me realizing my parents bullshit.

My skepticism on the things they told me were probably a result of my parents in ability to keep their word. That and their inability to actually explain why i was punished most of the time. Ex: "Why am i in trouble?" "YOU KNOW WHY" "...no i don't?" "QUITE LYING YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID DON'T DO IT AGAIN *spanks*".

There was also my exposure to what i'd call a religious brainfuck of a person. One particular experience that i will never forget is when me and my cousin where at his grandma's house (The religious brain-fuck in question). We were playing yoshi story. If you're not familiar with it, it's a child's video game for the nintendo 64 and when i say its a children's game, i don't think a game can be more of a child's game than yoshi story.
There we were minding our own business playing a game in between the two church meetings we were forced to attend on sunday, when i failed to make a jump and fell in a pit. Upon said fall i said "Crap, I died", apparently my cousin's grandma was in the other room listening to us, which prompted her to say "*gasp* You can die in that game? Dying is satan's work!" She forced us to cut off the game saying it was too violent, or unchristian i can't remember exactly and then she confiscated it. Apparently Yoshi's story was to violent for us. We spent the rest of the day being miserable. Being a quiet awkward kid that i was, i didn't socialize well, so taking away my entertainment doomed me to sitting somewhere quietly waiting for time to pass. And thus one of the many causes of my resentment toward Christianity in particular as a child.
At this point i was already agnostic, I knew what they believed in couldn't be "right" if people like my parents and my cousin's crazy grandmother were so hypocritical and fake. The skepticism i developed as a result of my parents, kept me from believing anything that wasn't obviously true. Not to say this was bullet proof, they somehow convinced me to be pro-bush and republican in middle school....(i don't know that i've ever thought of a better scenario in my life as to how parents manipulate their kids).
My lack of faith in what my parents believed would remain unmentioned for quite a long time.

A month after graduating high-school the biggest shit storm in my life so far, well hit me.
My senior year had already been miserable, due to me dating a very attractive and also quite insane chick.
Not that bad really, but to add to that my dad died of a heart attack randomly while getting ready for work,about a month after my high-school graduation. To add insult to injury the crazy bitch i was dating cheated on me 2 weeks after my dad's funeral.
This only served to confirm my suspicions that there either was no god, or he didn't give a fuck about me or anyone else.
With each passing year, i leaned more and more toward no god, as i grew more critical of everything around me. By the second half of my junior year of college (about 8 months ago), i was a full-fledged atheist.
'twas inevitable for me. Too naturally inquisitive and irreverent.

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